You know you’ve got it pretty dang good when your work week consists of a whole lot of play. When putting effort into achieving something exceptional means you get to share in laughter, fun and a multitude of happy memories over dinner with some wonderful people. When hosting a friend from out-of-town ultimately means supporting them in achieving one of their biggest goals in life….let’s just say life has been pretty great lately.
A little less than two weeks ago I was given the most amazing opportunity to host a dinner party alongside my friend Sally in celebration of my dear friend Anna’s kickstarter journey. Collaborating with these two insanely talented women was already something I’d had the pleasure of experiencing before (at this event in NYC) and knowing I’d get the chance to collaborate with them again on my own home turf of Seattle literally made me giddy.
The evening took place in Sally and her husband Chris’ beautiful backyard (I mean how enchanting are those stranded bulb lights against the bamboo?!) amidst the company of our husbands and some dear friends from the wedding industry here in Seattle. When Anna reached out many many months ago to ask if a dinner party in Seattle was a possibility, I never once hesitated to say yes. Let’s see : a private dinner cooked by an amazing chef and I get to style a pretty tabletop to celebrate the occasion?? YES, PLEASE!
AND seriously! What an honor it was to support Anna’s mission. Anna set out eight months ago to self publish her own cookbook - over 100 healthy and simple recipes meant to inspire others to not only eat well, but to celebrate in the joy of sharing a meal around the table. To set communal dining as a priority and to engage with others often over the sharing of life experiences and the pleasure of eating well. In the midst of cooking, shooting and executing all of the recipes and images for her cookbook, Anna proceeded to pack up a teeny VW bug in early June and drove from NYC all the way to LA, all the while concocting the most beautiful dinner parties along the way with blogger friends. Each dinner uniquely promoting the upcoming release of her book. She flew to Seattle as her last destination and what a joy it was to be in her company. You can read all about Anna’s journey, nab a first edition copy of her book AND support her kickstarter campaign here … (as of this afternoon she’s only a few hundred dollars away from her goal with 7 days to go!! She’s so so close!).
Being that Anna always puts in insane amount of effort into any experience, she sourced the most beautiful cheeses and artisan breads, along with local crostini and some pretty bits of Simple and Crisp dried fruit for appetizers for the evening. We all toasted to Anna’s long cross-country journey and the beginning of new friendships over glasses filled to the brim with wine. We took in the amazing evening sunlight and warmth of summer while gearing up for a dinner menu that was sure to be a big treat.
Sally used a pencil to hand letter the most beautiful menus on lush creamy white paper to give the table a casual yet elegant feel. Before dinner I hand-burned the edges of the menus to pay tribute to our fireside s’mores we would be having for dessert before placing them on a chartreuse fringed napkin at each setting.
I wanted the design of the tabletop to be simple, fresh and colorful to celebrate the summer season and reflect the joy I felt not only for my friendship with Anna, but everyone else around the table. Bold pops of color from peonies, lavender from my yard, chamomile, and a plethora of other PNW locally grown florals completed the floral design for the table. We used simple manila tags to create name cards for each person, which were safety pinned along the side of the pretty Auntie Oti linens at each spot at the table.
Seattle Farm Table‘s beautiful dark barnwood benches, antique flatware, clear glassware I’d sourced from my travels to Paris, and an array of mid-century pottery completed the look. We ended up getting 13 of us around the table that evening despite our fear of barely fitting 10. The more the merrier had always been Anna’s philosophy with entertaining, and after this amazing meal I couldn’t agree with her more. The evening was just so so perfect.
Everything from the appetizers, to the salad of arugula & local fava beans, to the parchment paper wrapped cod was just divine. I’ve had the pleasure of consuming many of the dishes in Anna’s cookbook but this dinner was definitely one for the books. I loved that everything was served family style making the evening all the more communal and warm. We ended the evening with s’mores over Sally’s fire pit and never-ending conversation and laughter. Being that it was a work night I expected everyone to wrap up and head home by 9:30, but it was nearly midnight before we finally started packing up the night.
Anna is honestly one of the most exceptional people I’ve ever met, and as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I admire not only her talents as a chef and food writer, but her tenacity to fight for her dreams and not only express them but experience and live them out fully. It was such an honor to be the last city on Anna’s amazing kickstarter journey and with just 7 short days to go and her being so so close to achieving her goal, I couldn’t be prouder of her! Thank you for such an amazing evening Anna!
If you’d like to contribute to Anna’s campaign and nab yourself a first edition copy of her cookbook, be sure to head over here ASAP as the campaign ends next week! Cannot wait to get a copy of her book in my hands!! It’s gonna be so so good!
Also, a gigantic thank you to Elizabeth
who so graciously photographed the evening on last minute notice when we we found ourselves without a photographer. It was so much fun meeting you and I’m so grateful for your presence that evening despite not knowing any of us before arriving. I hope we get many more chances to collaborate in the future! Thank you for everything!
Oh my goodness. What an amazing month of June it was! Over the past few years I’ve spent much of my summers traveling, but this year I wanted things to be different. Seattle is at its very best during the summer months – seriously in 7 years of living in this city I cannot remember a better June than this one and I’m so happy I stayed put long enough to enjoy it!
The sun has been shining on more days than I can count over the past few weeks, and we’ve had a plethora of amazing visitors coming to stay with us. This week as the perfect celebration and counterpart to the 4th of July holiday, my littlest sister Coli and her boyfriend Zach are coming up from New Mexico to hang with us for the week. I’m literally jumping with joy! I can’t wait to show them some of our favorite spots around town and spend our days soaking up the glorious sunshine!
A few essentials that I have in mind for this week’s festivities and city exploring :
01. Sunglasses : a good pair of Ray-Ban’s is practically a summer staple in my book. I’m definitely coveting these ones.
02. Denim Shorts : never been one to love wearing shorts, but you cannot go wrong with a great pair of classic denim cutoffs especially for an afternoon on the beach.
03. Ankle Wrap Sandal : simple is everything I want in a sandal this year. I love this perfect pop of green color too.
04. Picnic Basket for Two : one of my favorite things to do in the summertime here in Seattle is evening bonfires on the beach. Golden Gardens is our favorite spot and this pretty picnic basket for packing up treats could quickly become my new BFF.
05. Marshmallow Skewers : uhhhh, what is a bonfire on the beach without some s’mores eh?! I love the handle on these metal ones.
06. Simple and Crisp : oh my gosh. Although I’ve never been a big “dried fruit” type of gal, I can’t get over the yummy tastes of Simple and Crisp. Their blood orange fruit slices are so so good, and with a bit of creamy cheese on top this will be my go-to snack this 4th.
07. Cozy Tee Shirt : comfort has always been my biggest priority during the 4th of July holiday. It’s typically a warm weather day and a loose, simple cotton tee-shirt is a priority for sure.
08. Lip Balm : when the weather is hot and we are acting as tourists in our own city while showing visitors around town, my only must have for a quick makeup pick-me-up is a light dab of chapstick. I love the smell of this rose scented one.
09. Bikini Bottoms : we are always looking for new ways to celebrate a holiday and to explore our city in new ways. This year we are definitely taking kayaks through the arboretum. For only $10 (I know right?!) you can take a rented kayak out into the beautiful waters of Lake Washington. We’ve never done this before despite wanting to for years! I’m SO excited for this part of our week, and a pair of cute bikini bottoms is perfect for dunking in the lake water to cool off from the heat.
10. Bixby Bicycle : riding a bike through a city with the wind in your hair has always reminded me of my most cherished moments in Paris. I would give anything to have a pretty bike to ride around town this 4th of July.
Wishing you all a relaxing and joyous 4th of July this week. I hope you get a chance to spend time with loved ones and celebrate the pleasures of summer.
A couple of months back I had the pleasure of collaborating with West Elm and my dear friend Aran of the world-renowned blog Cannelle et Vanille. When Aran initially reached out to me asking if I would style some images for some of her favorite summer time spanish recipes I absolutely couldn’t resist. I have admired Aran’s work for longer than I can remember, tasted the delightfulness of her amazing cooking during many get-togethers with girlfriends, and spent practically at least one afternoon a week scouring the props and decor of the local West Elm in downtown Seattle. Collaborating with not only Aran but a brand like West Elm was a no brainer.
I was like a kid in a candy store as I scoured West Elm’s site looking for the perfect summer season compliments to Aran’s planned dishes. I couldn’t wait to taste her paella (I’d actually never had paella before as seafood has always made my tummy churn a bit, but this shoot alone and the tastefulness of the dish convinced me that consuming it again on a recent trip to Barcelona was an absolute must). I loved West Elm’s gigantic paella pan so much that we now have two of them in our own kitchen. I’ve also gushed before in IG how much I love Aran’s spanish tortilla so seeing that on the list of recipes made me gleefully happy.
Be sure to head over to West Elm’s blog : here, here and here or Aran’s blog post to check out the full list of recipes and for more pretty pictures.
Photography & Food Styling : Aran Goyoaga | Prop Styling & Florals : Jenn Elliott Blake | Many of the items you see in this post are from West Elm’s summer collection
Wow…it has been one eventful week around here. My sister and sweet nephew were in town visiting from Colorado, so I took the week off to relish in the beauty of spending some much needed time with them. It was so much fun to show them our new house and for my nephew to really experience all the whimsy of Seattle (the last time he was here he was only 6 months old!). Flowers and fish throwing at Pike Place Market, swing sets at Carkeek Park, molten chocolate cake from Hot Cakes, a water taxi and pork sliders in West Seattle, sea shell picking on Alki, an evening bonfire and s’mores on the beach…we packed it in!
We also had a not so fun and seriously terrifying attack happen on Tuesday that left us all really shaken up – we came home from a walk from the grilled cheese and fried mac & cheese food truck down the street to a crazed man with a knife in our yard threatening our lives. Luckily no one was hurt and our neighbors were complete angels getting my sister and nephew quickly to safety as we waited for the police to arrive. I was so so proud of Adam for being such a valiant protector of us and am thanking my lucky stars that he wasn’t injured after being threatened so intensely. It’s frightening incidents like this that really make you realize how precious and delicate life is, and how valuable it is to have a close community with whom you trust. I was mostly angry that the incident happened while my pregnant sister and Emryk were here, making us all feel so violated and scared, but thankfully it didn’t dampen the joy of our time together too too much. Adam is spending the weekend putting up a fence on our side yard to hopefully prevent something like this from happening again in the future. Cross your fingers for us that this guy remains in jail for a long while.
After one crazy week, I’m so excited to be sharing the news that I will be hosting a pop-up shop alongside my dear friend Cassandra LaValle at her amazing studio at 95 Yesler next weekend. Yep! All kinds of vintage goods, home decor pieces, props and furniture to boot! The pop-up will be from 10am-4pm on Saturday June 21st at the studio in Pioneer Square. My last pop-up sale was so much fun and I hope to see many of you there once again. If you’re local or plan to be in Seattle next Saturday would would love to see you!
Happy Weekend ya’ll!
Wow…I can’t believe it’s already Friday! Monday was…well, kinda yesterday it feels like. It has been a pretty eventful week around here. Adam and I spent last weekend and much of this week purging practically EVERYTHING we own (which for us is somewhat of a miracle!). I tend to lean very much in the direction of “serial hoarder” and up until 2 months ago, getting rid of random things like dingy childhood mementos, unused rice cookers, 50+ clear glass mason jars, and that one t-shirt that I wore that one time ten years ago was just : OUT OF THE QUESTION. Why?? I’m not really sure, although I’ve done a lot of analyzing of my quirks lately, and I think one of the reasons I had trouble getting rid of all those things is because they reminded me of who I WAS.
If I’ve learned anything in the past few years it’s that people are ever evolving. We are ALWAYS changing, and that can be a really great thing. I think with my career change, and moving, and new friends, and a new house, and a whole plethora of other “new” things over the past few years, my stuff made me feel grounded, recognizable even. Although in the end it just really made me feel nothing but weighed down.
After a multitude of experiences in Europe (most recently with my friend Ann in Paris), I’ve just come to realize that at the end of the day, stuff is just stuff and less REALLY IS more (Europeans do the tiny space living SO SO well AND with so much intention!). We made a commitment that with this new house we wouldn’t be controlled by our stuff. That negative space is a wonderful thing and that if something wasn’t getting used at least a couple of times within the last few months it just had to go. And it did. A LOT of it. Truckloads donated, boxes and boxes rounded up for a pop-up shop later on down the road, and a few items held onto as they will make their way to Craigslist this weekend. It has felt SO SO good this week to live without the excess and really access what’s most important for us to hold onto and what isn’t.
A few other things that have been on my mind this week :
1. On a serious hunt for one of these original Beni Ourain stunners for our living room. The search is almost as addicting as the style itself. Wishing I could hop on a plan to Morocco next week to meet my friend Camille and purchase one of these beauties. Will just have to admire from afar for now…ahhhh.
2. When will the madness stop??! After learning of the shooting at SPU yesterday here in Seattle, I was dumbfounded and heartbroken to hear of another shooting on our home turf and too close to home for comfort (I was sophomore in high school in Colorado when Columbine happened). It’s impossible to pinpoint the root of the cause to one single thing, but I think massively lacking gun control laws and the horrific absence of adequate and accessible mental health support in this country is a good place to start. I’m sickened by how many times this has to keep happening before something changes. When will enough be enough for our nation to get a clue?
3. Oh my gosh. This heartfelt, intimate and beautiful tribute by my dear friend Lisa for her Mom made me sob uncontrollably this week. My heart goes out to all those I know who are struggling with the loss or illness of a parent or family member right now. Life is so precious and it’s posts like Lisa’s that remind me to stop and cherish every moment, hug, and expression of love I’m blessed with.
4. Taking on some new styling projects with these fun folks and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of their team! Freelancing can be a really lonely place sometimes, so it is so great to know I’ll be spending a whole lot more day-to-day time with people who greatly inspire me in the coming months.
5. After spending the last couple of weeks coming up with creative ways to save space in our new house that has all but ONE closet in it, I loved this simple and effective DIY for storing dirties.
6. Some people out there are just so dang creative. Every time I’ve seen a new “face the foliage” instagram by sweet Justina Blakeney this week I’m just tickled. So so brilliant!
7. Did you happen to see this exciting new line?!? Hygge & West + Rifle Paper Co?! Match made in wallpaper heaven! Can’t wait to use at least one of these pretty wallpapers around our house!
8. Got a new haircut and a fresh color from Kaitlin this week. It’s amazing how much your attitude and mood can change from a simple blowout and a root touch up! Seriously, if you live in the Seattle area you should definitely look her up – she made me feel like a million bucks!
9. I’ve gotta get outdoors more often. We keep talking about spending sometime camping this summer in the pretty PNW especially after our fun BBQ on the beach with friends (photo above) and after finding our tent in a heap of mess while purging this week.
10. And….drumroll please! The winner of last week’s BHLDN giveaway is Ellen Oliver Mote! Congrats Ellen! We hope you enjoy all the goodies and we are so excited you will be using them for an upcoming bridal shower this summer.
Happy Weekend Friends!
The weekend is almost here (hallelujah!) and I couldn’t be more excited! I’ve randomly been home for nearly a month (I know that doesn’t sound like a lot but for those of you who know me well, this sort of situation could be defined as a miracle) yet I’m loving every second of it. I can’t remember the last time I actually felt this grounded and present in my day to day life. I’m really enjoying the consistent comforts of “home” and although I’m already itching to travel again, I’m excited to spend this weekend working on our new house. Just about every room in our new home still needs a TON of work, never-mind our bottom floor still remains barren and gutted to the studs. My sister and nephew Emryk are coming to visit in a couple of weeks and getting a prop stylist’s home ready for a two-year-old (lets just say that unfortunately practically every last thing is breakable around here!) is quite the challenge. Great training I guess for kids of our own one of these days…right?!
I’m excited to be sharing a fun giveaway on the blog today in collaboration with the nice folks over at BHLDN. If you missed yesterday’s post, be sure to check out all of the fun bohemian garden inspiration here and here. It was such a thrill to partner with such a fun company, and I’m so excited to pass along some of the pretty products and decor items that were included in the shoot! I’m also going to be sending along one of the custom macrame chair hangings I made for the bridal shower inspired design. Dorothee (my friend and the glorious photographer who captured all of the details from yesterday’s shoot) and I have already used one to create a wall hanging for each of our homes using a found piece of drift wood…so many possibilities!
This fun BHLDN spring/summer collection giveaway includes some really fun decor items including :
1. A pair of maple wood Bride and Groom Banners perfect as a gift or for that upcoming shower you’re throwing this summer.
2. Six Moss Spheres in various sizes perfect for fun centerpieces or as foundational pieces for floral backdrops.
3. One custom-made macrame hanging as pictured above. Hang from pretty piece of found wood or a copper rod to instantly elevate a wall in your home!
4. Amourous Flatware including both the fork and knife set. Super cute and so useful for a backyard BBQ this summer with friends!
5. Take The Cake Napkins in white. These make me want to pair them with a cocktail ASAP!
6. One medium sized Revelry Cake Stand with cute beaded rim. So so pretty and the neutral color makes this stand really universal.
7. Set of 25 pretty Mulberry Bark Place Cards in smaller 2.5 x 3.5 size. The texture of these cards is so divine!
8. The Love Grows Here Cake Topper. Ummm how cute is that?! I’m thinking that would make one heck of a cute baby shower cake topper too!
9. A Chalkboard Balloon Kit so great for every and any occasion. These are SO fun and versatile! Would make a perfect complement to a fun family photo session or party!
10. Laser etched Beech Wood Cake Serving Set sourced sustainably from Europe…yes please!
11. Two sets of festive Ivory String Lights. I love these lights – stranded together they are perfect for the backyard too!
12. Pretty Birdcage Holder - works great to hold flowers or cards and gifts from guests. Or for my Mom a pretty home decor piece too!
13. Two adorable Wooden Box Planters for pretty floral arrangements, or turn them over to create height on a dessert table.
14. Eight fun rustic Hanging Bud Vases. I LOVE these cute little guys! There were one of my favorite details of the shoot!
15. A set of 3 Boxwood Wreath Frames perfect for arranging as a backdrop.
16. Custom painted Wooden Chalkboard Pennant with “here comes the bride” and pretty hand painted floral detail. Not getting married or throwing a shower? Easily repaint the pennant to use for your next event.
17. Chalkboard Cake Stand custom painted with a fun floral design as seen in yesterday’s shoot, or perfect for repainting again and again for each of your upcoming occasions.
18. Six Petaled Card Holders perfect for holding small name cards around your tabletop setting.
To enter to win all of these fun BHLDN products : a $619 value, simply 1) “like” our SCOUT facebook page or follow along on our adventures via instagram, 2) ”like” BHLDN on their facebook page AND 3) leave a comment in the comment section below telling us what your favorite BHLDN product is from our bohemian inspired shoot, why you love it, and what upcoming event or dinner party you might use it for.
One winner will be chosen at random on Friday, June 6th at 8AM PST. Open to US readers only. This post was created in collaboration with BHLDN. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
UPDATE : Congrats to our giveaway winner – Ellen Oliver Mote!
When BHLDN reached out a couple of months back and asked me to highlight some of their spring/summer decor collection in a bridal shower inspired shoot, I couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities! They sent along a product-board of the items they desired me to highlight and I got to work brainstorming potential ideas.
When it comes to styling events, bridal showers are absolutely one of the most thrilling and fun ones to plan. There are SO many potential possibilities with all sorts of themes, color palettes and places to look for inspiration, especially ones that will make the bride smile and reflect her style. For this particular shoot, I knew that BHLDN was eager for me to showcase their rustic/garden inspired products in a refined and polished way. I’ve really been itching for summer to turn the corner as well, so I wanted the shoot to be full of bold pops of color and perfect for a backyard or indoor affair.
After sorting through the items they sent I was immediately inspired by the rustic charm of BHLDN’s wooden box planters. I spent the morning before the day of the shoot at the local growers market picking out the most stunning and seasonal florals I could find. Peonies, tulips, anemones, poppies, and a whole plethora of other pretties helped to create really robust and bountiful arrangements. Floral design is quickly becoming my new favorite thing to do in my spare time and while styling, and these arrangements made me happy from start to finish. Flowers are always such a simple and natural way to create texture and dimension at parties and are perfect for bridal showers! I love how the flowers bold colors play off the bohemian vibe of all of the rugs and additional decor elements.
No party and certainly no bridal shower is complete without something sweet, right?! Thankfully Jenny over at Jenny Cookies created the most wonderful desserts complete with a pretty single tall tiered cake topped with BHLDN’s “love grows here” cake topper, homemade cranberry oat cookies, coconut brownie bites and the most darling cupcakes with Simple and Crisp dried fruits on top. The fruit was an absolutely genius way to play into the color palette of the shoot and the organic garden vibe of the day.
All of the desserts were labeled using mulberry bark place cards and chalkboard paint thanks to Sally of La Happy. I loved how Sally painted the stark white tags to play off of the other chalkboard elements from BHLDN’s line including the chalkboard cake stand, and the wooden chalkboard pennants. Sally even hand painted floral garland on the cake stand, pennants and the chalkboard napkin rings!! SO SO gorgeous and such a great way to bring bohemian style into the shoot!
I loved these bamboo chairs from ABC Rentals by Cort and had so much fun creating the custom macrame hangers for each chair. The pretty rugs and pillows were sourced from Leslie over at Anima Mundi in Ballard and Turabi Rug Gallery in Pioneer Square. If you ever have a chance to visit Seattle, you MUST stop into these shops! Such an amazing selection of beautiful textiles to choose from and I’m certainly headed back to both during the process of our house remodel. All day throughout the shoot everyone on set kept saying how much they wished they could “live here”. I’m seriously considering the rug layering I did for this shoot to become an absolute staple in our new house! I was like a kid in a candy store the day I went to hand-pick the selection for this shoot – love all the fun patterns of the rugs!
The gorgeous rustic tables were sourced from Beckie over at Vintage Ambiance - she has the most wonderful selection of vintage pieces and her collection was the perfect way to showcase all of the desserts & sweets. This turquoise patina table worked so well paired with the pretty floral paintings by Sally on BHLDN’s chalkboard pennants.
I’ve been on a serious boho kick lately and haven’t stopped thinking about how fun macrame is. I’ve always been inspired by its 70′s retro charm even using it as inspiration for a shoot I directed and styled a couple years back. I definitely wanted it to be a main focal point for this shower theme. BUT : one teensy-itsy-bitsy tiny problem. I didn’t know how to macrame my vision to life. Thankfully my mom is a full fledged hippie at heart and a wizard at whipping up pretty much any project she puts her mind to. I told her my idea for the macrame backdrop which could include BHLDN’S pretty hanging bud vases from it, and my ideas for incorporating macrame throughout the shoot including chair hangings and sleeves for the cake stands. Not two days later I was flying out to Denver, and we spent 24 hours straight crafting the macrame backdrop you see here. I stuffed the entire thing into a small carry on suitcase and brought it straight back to Seattle a few days before the shoot. I’m so so thankful to my Mom for being such an amazing assistant and even more thrilled that I now know how to whip up one of these macrame beauties in no time!
The dessert table was overflowing with pretty decor from BHLDN including the beech wood cake serving set, revelry cake stands, their flower tag holders and more. I also pulled in some pretty details from Anthropologie including their cumulus glassware, majorelle teacups and saucers, and netted fringe table runner to help accentuate the style.
I feel so blessed to have had Dorothee by my side throughout the day to capture all of the details. She is such a joy to work with and she always does the best job in bringing a story or concept to life. I can’t speak enough to the importance and value in working with people you love and who love you back. Dorothee made what could have been a stressful day of setup, something fun and exciting – hallelujah! Also, a big hug to my friend Jess for all her help in sourcing some of the Anthropologie products you see here. She was invaluable in getting those smoke ring plates sourced from NYC when I couldn’t find them anywhere else.
Hands down one of the most important parts of creating a really beautiful party setting is the location. Location, location, location! A space that provides a beautiful, yet non-competing foundation for your party design is always ideal. I was SO in love with the location of our shoot : 95 Yesler. The space is located in the Pioneer Square area of Seattle and also houses the workspaces of some of my dearest Seattle friends. Good news is the space is available for rent for events and parties, so if you’re looking for a great space to celebrate in and are local to Seattle, be sure to check out their killer space! Aren’t those windows unbelievable?!!
One of the largest fallacies in event or party planning is that great experiences and beautiful images are made possible by the ideas and workings of one single person. I often sit down with clients who have the expectation that they are going to recreate an image they found online with little regard or understanding that it likely took 5-10-13+ people to make that image happen especially on a wedding day. This bridal shower would never have come to life without the amazing help of so many people I admire. The creative community here in Seattle is always so giving and the talent is phenomenal – each of the folks that contributed to this shoot are so passionate about what they do and their kindness and hard work are evident throughout all of the details. Thank you to Sally, Jenny, Dorothee, Beckie, Jess, Cass, Leslie, and the kind folks at Simple & Crisp and Turabi Rug Gallery for helping bring my vision to life. Couldn’t have done it without you!
Tomorrow I’ll be announcing a giveaway of some of the fun BHLDN products you see in this shoot! Head back to the blog tomorrow for details! You can also see this shoot as well as other’s to inspire your upcoming event highlighted on BHLDN’s blog here today!
Photography : Dorothee of Belathee Photography | Art Direction, Styling and Floral Design : Jenn Elliott Blake | Calligraphy and hand painted details : Sally Balt of La Happy | Venue : 95 Yesler | Desserts : Jenny Keller of Jenny Cookies| Dried Fruits on Cupcakes : Simple and Crisp | Rugs & Pillows : Leslie of Anima Mundi and Turabi Rug Gallery | Rustic Tables : Vintage Ambiance| Bamboo Chairs : ABC Rentals by Cort
BHLDN products used in this shoot : chalkboard napkin rings | birdcage holder | wooden box planters | hanging bud vases | love grows here cake topper | chalkboard cake stand | revelry cake stands | beech wood cake serving set | mulberry bark place cards | amorous flatware | ivory string lights | wooden chalkboard pennants | silk flower tag holders
This post was created in partnership with BHLDN. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Three. The number of pairs of shoes I soaked through on the day I sourced for this dinner. The rain was blowing side-ways, up-ways, all-ways and the city seemed to swallow me up whole. I kept gazing up to the sky wondering when it was going to surrender, its gray hue creating a grid amongst the skyscrapers. I was well aware before leaving for NYC that although my job is typically ridden with challenges, this time around would be different. Very different.
I landed in NYC on Monday morning that week and we immediately hit the ground running. This particular event had been in the works for months. And when I say months, I mean MONTHS. The delay merely caused by a challenge in coordinating schedules, not at all from a lack of enthusiasm. Anna and I initially discussed the possibility for this dinner party last fall (nearly 8 months before it happened) and our excitement the week of the event was palpable. Working together we knew was fun (we’d already done so here and here), but this felt different. It was different. This week was monumental. Not only to me (my first big gig in NYC), but especially to Anna. This week marked the official launch of her long journey and The Yellow Table Cookbook.
Anna set out last year with one plan. To create her own cookbook. She would recipe test, cook, style, execute and self publish the entire thing in her tiny Manhattan studio apartment – an apartment I might add which has no elevator access and is a 6th floor walk-up! Day after day, she hikes with bags and bags of groceries & props up her narrow staircase and cooks until the sun goes down. I know this, because I’ve seen it. The girl works.her.tail.off! All for the love of what she does. The love of good food. Of good friendship. Of community. And a desire to share her passion for all of these things in written and visual form. And how blessed I felt to not only witness her journey, but to also be a part of it that week. Seriously – even writing this post, I’m still in complete shock that I had the opportunity to be a part of something so so special.
During the planning and design process, one thing kept coming to mind for me. Kindness. Anna is absolutely hands down the kindest person I have EVER met. When she speaks to you, you feel like the only person in the room. When she sends you a card, you know it wasn’t simply a formality, but rather a well thought out expression of love. When she cooks for you, you savor every last bite not only because it tastes damn good, but because you know the process of executing the dish came right from her heart. Everything this woman does is from a place of good. A place of connection, of something real. I wanted everything about this dinner to feel approachable, sweet, organic, and reflective of the spring season. But mostly I wanted it to reflect the woman with which we were all celebrating that night. Kind, passionate and determined Anna.
My job is always made a whole heck of a lot easier by two things. Location and great stuff. And by location I mean Drift Studio (okay seriously, what party wouldn’t look amazing in THIS perfect blank space?!), and by stuff I mean ABC – the interior mecca of all things good and awesome and beautiful. If you’ve never had the chance to visit ABC Carpet and Home in NYC, please please PLEASE do so if you are ever in town. It’s pretty much a prop stylists version of heaven. Floors and floors full of the best loot you’ve ever seen! When I initially found out I’d be sourcing all of the items for the night from ABC, I actually had to re-read Anna’s email four times. Say what?!! I couldn’t believe it, let alone imagine the beauty that was to ensue. From the antique european wood tables (the one on the right is actually an archived piece of the CEO’s!), to the fresh white bistro chairs, to the olive wood bread bowls, to that runner….OH that runner!, to the lovely Jane Burtz ceramics, to a plethora of stunning vases to hold fresh florals…everything about this dinner and the potential for a beautiful tabletop made me grin from ear to ear from start to finish.
Not only did I have beautiful products to style the dinner with, but I wanted the dinner to feel personal as well. I wanted it to be reflective of the reason we were there. Here’s where I thank Sally. Sally brought my vision for the menu to life in the best possible way. I was struggling for a few weeks to come up with a way to bring the actual yellow table – the table Anna grew up with and for her represents community & family; the table that currently sits in her own NYC apartment; the table that symbolizes and inspired her entire journey as a food writer & chef; and the table that was also unfortunately a logistical nightmare to actually get to the studio space for the dinner party itself. Uh-oh.
No yellow table, meant I had to bring the yellow table to dinner some other way. I just HAD to. A week before I left for NYC, I sat straight up in bed at 2am. Yep, I had it. The menu. Of course! I sent Anna a text super early that morning after barely sleeping another wink, crossing my fingers my idea could actually come to life. Would she have a photo? Would it scan okay? Would Sally be able to print it on such short notice? I asked Anna to scan me some of her favorite images of the yellow table from her childhood and after 3 visits to Kinko’s (bless her heart!) I was able to get a copy from Anna and on to Sally. The photo I chose to use was actually from the year Anna was born and created the perfect backdrop to Sally’s gorgeous calligraphy. I also asked Sally to calligraphy each guests name on a stark white piece of cardstock. I used an exacto knife to cut a two-inch slice near the bottom of each card and then slid them onto each fork the day of the event.
The week of the dinner was non-stop. Although ABC was providing all of the decor and furniture for the event there was still so much to do! After spending all day Monday and Tuesday errand running and finalizing details with Anna, I woke Wednesday morning at 5am to hit the flower markets early and had already soaked through my first pair of shoes by 5:07. The market was crazy. Busy. Frantic actually. And EXPENSIVE. Overwhelmingly expensive.
As with any design related task, you have a vision. And once you have set your sights on that vision it can often be hard to compromise. And I’m not good at compromise. I really like to get my way. So what I had meant to be one single trip to the flower market that day turned into 5 separate trips, including one to the local farmer’s market to get the best deals. Determined as I was to make arrangements that were bountiful, beautiful and reflected the spring vision I had for the dinner party, the weather made it nearly an impossible task. No taxis in sight, subway platforms that had inches of water on them, nowhere near enough clothing layers…I was freezing, slightly overwhelmed by a gigantic bustling city, and exhausted.
BUT through it all, I was exhilarated and SO SO SO happy. Happy to be doing what I loved. Happy to be creating in a city like New York. Happy to be spending such quality time with a friend. Happy to be working with a company I had admired and respected so long. Happy to be creating in such a gorgeous space. H-A-P-P-Y overtook all the challenges and by Thursday, the sun was out, and all the hiccups of the week turned into laughter, great conversations, and a tabletop I was proud of.
This special night also would have NEVER come to life without the immense help and support of an amazing group of people. To Annie at ABC Carpet and Home who worked endlessly to ensure we got everything we needed for the night – even rushing over a pretty pink vintage table in a cab with her when it didn’t make it on the delivery truck. To Nathan who lent his beautiful space for the evening and who never once complained or even questioned lending a helping hand – he was there through it all and I’m so grateful!; to Dorothee who without her this event would not have been photographed so fully – I called her merely hours before the event in an emergency and she dropped everything she was doing to be there to capture it – what I friend I’ve found in that lady wow!; to Sally whose gorgeous calligraphy and efficiency brought my vision for the menu to life; to Jean-Luc Le Du whose wines were the cherry on top of a perfect evening – those gigantic rose bottles will forever remain one of the best moments of the night!; and mostly to Anna – your friendship, support and trust mean everything in the end. Congratulations sweet lady. So excited to follow you on the rest of your journey!
Photography : Dorothee of Belathee Photography | Art Direction, Styling & Flowers : Jenn Elliott Blake | Menu & Food : Anna Watson Carl & Linda Sarris | Furniture, Settings and Chairs : ABC Carpet & Home | Venue : Drift Studio | Calligraphy : Sally Balt | Wines : Le Du’s Wines
The dust has finally settled a bit on our initial remodel of the new house (our full electrical and plumbing overhaul are 95% done) and as the kitchen and bathroom slowly come to life this place is starting to feel more like “home” everyday. Although we have a VERY long way to go until this place really sings, we are focusing the majority of our energies right now on getting the kitchen and bathroom as livable as possible. There will be many photos to come soon of our slow, but steady progress, but for now a few kitchen items that have caught my eye and will gradually be making their way into our space, if they haven’t already.
1. Marble Kitchen Slab : As much as I would have loved for all of our countertops to be marble it just wasn’t in the budget. I’m still thrilled with the butcher block countertops we went with, and as a means of keeping them looking pretty and fresh we are using this pretty marble slab on top of the counter for all of our meal prep.
2. White Subway Tile : This is hands down the thing I’m most excited about when it comes to our kitchen remodel. I plan to do ceiling to floor subway tiling throughout the entire kitchen. Currently looking to this Melbourne home and this San Francisco coffee shop for inspiration.
3. Glass Jars for Pantry : We have really limited storage space in this kitchen so I want to do an open pantry with reclaimed wood shelving and have all of our storables in glass jars. I’ve already purchased a variety of these Ikea jars in the small, medium and large sizes.
4. Turkish Kars Rug : I’m on the hunt for the perfect rug to sit underneath the sink. I want something with fun bright colors to juxtapose the neutral foundation of the white cabinets and appliances and butcher block countertops.
5. Wood Utensils : I’ve collected wood kitchen tools all over the world during my travels and can’t wait to finally have a place to display my collection in pretty canisters on our countertop. I especially love these pretty jobillo wood spoons and these ones too!
6. Copper Pots and Pans : With the majority of our decor budget going down the drain with the plumbing and electrical overhaul (ha! get it!), purchasing these gorgeous copper beauties is a long ways off, but a girl can have a bit of wishful thinking right?
7. Enamel Dishware : I’ve had just a teeny obsession with enamel for a while now, especially this amazing collection at Merci in Paris. I bought one of these pretty almond green bowls last time I was there and am wishing I could have the entire collection for entertaining.
8. Leather Cabinet Pulls : I’ve always been drawn towards kitchens that offers a little something untraditional. I tend to get bored easily with interior decor, and all of the cabinet pulls and nobs I’ve found online never spark much interest for me. For longer than I can remember I’ve envisioned having leather cabinet pulls if we ever got a chance to remodel a kitchen. Now that the cabinets are installed (thank you Adam and Jason!), I’ll be spending next weekend looking for the perfect leather hide to create our new pulls. I like these ones, but feel like for the price I can easily make my own and be just as happy with them. I’ll keep you posted on how they turn out!
9. Apron Sink : At least 10 people told me it wasn’t possible. To give up the idea, it just wasn’t gonna work with our cabinet choice. Well, guess what? It worked and looks damn good. A BIG thank you to my sweet hubby for not giving up and making that apron farm house sink a reality for us after cutting into the cabinets for the perfect fit. And although we had to wait months to get the darn thing, I’m so grateful this one was a reasonable price!
10. Scented Soy Candle : I love having candles burning throughout the day especially in the kitchen. I fell head over heels in love with these Apotheke soy candles while we were in Brooklyn a few weeks back. They have so many fun scents, including the basil sage mint, tomato and the green tea ginger, all perfect compliments to a kitchen. I brought home the jasmine scent for our living room too!
11. GE Artistry Series Appliances : When we initially started our hunt for new appliances (the house had none in it when we purchased it) I thought we would head in the direction of stainless steel, but none of the appliances we could afford really made me happy. When I randomly stumbled across this white retro looking line from GE, Adam and I both fell madly in love. At the end of the day, we wanted our kitchen to be really clean and neutral in color and these appliances fit right in. We purchased the fridge (my favorite of all of the appliances), the stove, microwave and dishwasher too (hallelujah for that last one!). I couldn’t be more thrilled with how they look.
What?!? It’s Monday again?! I’m seriously not sure why weekends can’t go on and on forever, especially when they include a plethora of amazing sunshine like we’ve been experiencing here in the PNW. Seriously, best place on the planet to live when the sun is out!
We spent our weekend slowly chipping away at some tasks on the house (nothing exciting enough to share on the blog), and were also out and about with a visit to the Ballard Farmer’s Market (pretty much heaven on earth and the closest thing to my memories of the markets in Paris), an evening of wine and chatter with close friends, and a quick jaunt down the street on Sunday morning for the biscuit food truck. Yep – you heard me correctly…fluffy, buttery, covered in gravy…yum, yum…yum! One of the best parts about the new house is that Chuck’s Hop Shop (this would be Adam’s version of heaven on earth) is literally a two-minute walk away and they always have the best food trucks parked out front on the weekends. I feel a new tradition in the making my friends…!!
After five weeks of non-stop projects, I’ll be spending the next couple of days cleaning up the mess of those said projects. Although it may seem that a prop stylists job is complete once the shoot or event is done, that’s hardly the case. Endless returns (props, decor, furniture, borrowed elements), invoicing, re-organizing, unpacking, re-packing, clean up…there is almost more to do after a shoot than before sometimes! Today is all about returns so I’ll be rushing out that door with an arm full of organized loot this afternoon, but before then, I wanted to give you a little peek into a simple brunch I styled a couple week’s back at my friend Anna’s‘s gorgeous pad in NYC.
Her amazing apartment is in the Nolita neighborhood and it was such a joy to see Anna in her element as she whipped up the most amazing and tasty Saturday brunch for some of her closest friends. Anna is working on self publishing her own cookbook (you can learn all about her amazing journey here) and I went to New York to help her execute some fun gatherings, one of which was this simple brunch in her beautiful home. What I took away most from Anna during my time in New York, was her philosophy on sharing oneself with loved ones around our very own dining tables. That not everything has to be perfect; the menu doesn’t have to be grand or elaborate ; really no fuss at all. That a home cooked meal served under the bounty of laughter and conversation of friendship is one of the most important things in life and can actually be simple and beautiful all at once. Some fresh lilac, white ceramics, a new set of linen napkins, a classic menu and of course the yellow table made this particular Saturday incredibly special.
My time with Anna actually inspired me to make community and the art of “gathering” a new priority in our house. We have always used our dining room for something other than a table (my office, additional storage, an extension of the living room) but after being around Anna for a full week, and watching her relish in the beauty of the table and sharing in the simple pleasures of great food cooked at home with friends on a regular basis, I cannot even imagine not making that same experience a priority in our new home.
For more details on this lovely and simple brunch, some fantastic recipes, as well as all the amazing adventures Anna is heading on later this summer be sure to head over to her blog! I’ll also be sharing some fun (and gorgeous!) images from the dinner party I styled for the launch of Anna’s book later this week. Stay tuned!
photos by : signe birck.