Outdoor entertaining essentials

It’s my favorite time of the year. The season of outdoor picnics, s’mores, bare feet, and pool parties. Here are some backyard entertaining essentials to kick the season off right.


Outdoor Final

String Light // Wireless Outdoor Speaker // Gold Flatware

Towels //  Plastic Wine Glasses // Moby Dick Raft // Plastic Plates // Lanterns

Stool // Umbrella Straws // Tray

(Those string lights are battery powered. We just got them for our backyard because we don’t have an outlet in the right spot.  These eliminate the need for extension cords and wires every where. Also, love those lanterns on and around an outdoor dinner table to help set the mood.  And well, everyone needs a whale raft in their life.)

Have a good weekend, everyone!

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mothers day gift guide

Whether you are one or know one or have one… pretty sure we can agree that there is no bigger job out there. Here, in no particular order, are some ideas for the mom(s) on your list.  My highlights :

  • That dish towel pretty much says it all, at least if you have a house like mine, in which most days I could completely lose my mind.
  • Barr and Co. honeysuckle hand lotion is a St. Louis-made favorite. Smells yummy and makes your hands super soft.
  • The One Line a Day journal was also on my Christmas list, but love it for Mother’s Day, too. Anything to help us remember, because as they say, “The days are long, but the years are short.”
  • Last thing…but I’ve been really into tortoise accessories lately. Love that vase from Ballard Design. Add pink peonies and a note for a pretty, heartfelt gift.

MD Final

Dish Towel // Make Up Brushes // Earrings // Cosmetic Case

PJ’s // Bath Oil // Hand Lotion // Photograph

Weekend Bag // Vase // Daily Journal

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a NY state of mind

Sooooo, you want me to summarize my trip to New York in zero words or less? Can do:


How about them apples?! This is how it went down: After spending all day Friday on the Upper East side with long, wary, car-sick inducing taxi rides both ways from our Tribeca digs, I vowed to my mom I would NOT be passing north of mid-town again. Not worth it. Too much traffic.

No sooner had the words left my mouth, that I see an Instagram from Derek Blasberg announcing his talk at the Gagosian Gallery the following day at 2 PM. Well, when in Rome. I dragged my poor mom back the 100 blocks uptown with less than a 24 hour turnaround. But let me tell you it was the best cab fare I’d ever spent. Derek is darling, and photographer Jean Pigozzi even cuter (if possible). In case you aren’t familiar, Pigozzi is a photographer famous for his black and white candid images of celebrities taken at his home in the South of France.  He has just published a coffee table book (here) and also was  written up in this month’s Vanity Fair.

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In the studio with Zack Smithey

To refer to St. Louis artist Zack Smithey as a Renaissance Man would be an understatement. He started painting under his grandmother’s guise as a child, played the viola for a decade, has painted sets at the Muny, taught high school art, owns a restaurant with his wife, is the general contractor on his new “shipping container” home and, well, is a full time artist. I was introduced to his work while wandering thru Kit + Ace last month and fell in love with his over-sized, bold-colored swirls of paint, which Smithey refers to as his Vibrations series.  Then I ran into Smithey again at Wall Ball, where I got to see first hand the technique he uses to create the Vibrations pieces (for the record, it’s enamel paint drizzled, dripped, swirled or pooled on masonite). After that, I was hooked. So I made a visit to his studio last week to see where the magic happens.

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We were in Miami for Spring Break and a favorite stop while we’re in town is always the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). The contemporary art museum originally opened in 1984, but has gone thru a series of name and location changes before ending up its current spot overlooking the Intercostal Waterway on the edge of downtown.  The new building (seen below) was designed by Swiss architect firm Herzog & de Neuron and overlooks a 20 acre Museum Park. The art museum shares this museum complex with a science museum, still under construction, but slated to open later this year. The architecture is amazing. There is a trellace cantilevered over the entire building, from which huge columns of plants hang- like a floating greenhouse.  The structure overlooks the Miami skyline on one side and the marina traffic of the Intercostal on the other.  With dozens of cruise ships and barges lined up to set sail in the nearby water, you can go for the view if you’re not into the art.



While the exhibits are ever -changing, this time my favorite was Matthew Ronay’s whimsical sculptures in the museums Projects Gallery (below). Made out of wood, clay, and fabric, his bright objects look like they just stepped out of a Pixar film and can only make you smile.


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Art in Bloom

Spring is in the air at the St. Louis Art Museum until Sunday, March 13th.  It’s Art In Bloom, an annual collection of 35 floral arrangements done by area florists and garden clubs that mimic the works in the gallery. The 35 pieces are scattered about the museum, depicting everything from vases to rugs to furniture to classic paintings. Seeing how florists choose to interpret the work is fascinating. Some literal (see photo of Enforcer by Alice Gibson below), some not so much (a floral depiction of George Washington by Rembrandt Peale was a stretch to say the least).

How does the art/floral paring come to be? Well, the museum determines which pieces they want in the show. Then in January, the florists meet and draw their assigned artwork out of a hat. The only stipulation is that you can’t use big vases filled with water or include food in your arrangement – basically anything that might harm the art if spilled. Otherwise, everything else is free game.


Charing Cross Bridge by Claude Monet, Flowers by Melinda Roeleveld

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Wall Ball: the event, not the game

There is an event here in St. Louis that is held annually to benefit Artscope, a children’s art studio in Tower Grove Park. Artscope’s goal is to make art education accessible to all in a safe and educational environment. If you live in town and have kids, check out their website because they have some really cool classes. Their event, Wall Ball , is equally cool. It is in its 14th year and this year they raised over $30,o00. Thirty-six local artists participated. Essentially, the artists create their pieces, while patrons watch and bid on their work in a silent-auction type format.

It was held at a new event space in Maplewood, called Majorette . Tickets were sold in advance and at the door. Artists lined the perimeter, both upstairs and down. It was festive…there was a bar, appetizers were passed and a DJ played tunes. The variety of artists was remarkable. There were painters, printers, jewelry makers, even a woman making a stain glass window.

Wall Ball 1

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perfecting The art of correspondence

I read an article last week about Facebook founder and CEO,  Mark Zuckerberg. It said that every year he focuses on one thing to “better” himself.  For example, in 2009, he wore a tie everyday. In 2010, he learned to speak Mandarin. In 2011, he vowed only to eat meat he had slaughtered himself. In 2014, he promised to write one a thank you note a day. Some I thought a little odd (for example, I’d rather be a vegetarian than slaughter my own meat), but I found his thank you note resolution to be heart felt and caring, especially in an era in which I consider an e-mail (as opposed to a text) to be a formal, personal form of communication.

The same week I read about Zuckerberg, I also came across this company: The Gramr Gratitude Co. . They have thrown their hat in the subscription box ring with an aim to rejuvenate the art of the hand-written word. For $45/quarter you get 4 correspondence cards, 4 square cards and 4 postcards with the necessary postage and some goodies to throw into the envelopes. Just enough to send one card a week for 3 months. For an extra $10 per box, they’ll add 4 cute cards for your kids to mail, too…start early to instill good habits.

I’m into it. I love receiving snail mail and feel like this would encourage me to pay it forward. So watch out Zuckerberg, I just might pull a Winkelvoss and steal your idea too.

Not ready to commit to one a week? Here are some cute single cards that will get the job done:

    1 // 2 // 3

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Framing Decoded

In the last month, I’ve had a lot of redecorating going on. My husband moved offices and my son moved into a big boy bed. Both required a move, painting and new furniture. Along with, came new art. I am a big proponent of the adage that art makes a room. It can hide imperfections in furniture, decor and lighting, just by drawing your eye away from the bad and to the good. Art gives your room a personality- and is a reflection of your own.


Pieces framed with the Ikea/Michaels option described below.

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Haute Hip Hop

Hip hop’s influence in fashion is top of mind lately.  I mean, you can’t even walk down the street without hearing Yeezy-this or did-you-see-my-new Yeezy that. But the idea of hip hop influencing fashion is nothing new. Maybe not as mainstream as Kanye’s Yeezy, but hip hop has been influencing fashion since its roots in the 70’s in the South Bronx. The Central West End gallery, Projects + Gallery would agree. Their latest show, called Haute Hip Hop, traces hip hop’s influence through the decades. To quote the gallery, “This exhibit examines the progress of hip hop style and influence, rooted in its music, art and attitude…”



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