I mentioned in an earlier post this week that our dog area has grown. It is fun to offer a variety of things that are great to give as gifts to a friend with a dog, or to keep for your own best buddy. The red tennis balls from Harry Barker will be a gift giving winner this season.
One of my favorite ways to stretch the impact of a simple bunch of flowers that you pick up at the grocery store or corner market is to let each stem take center stage. The other day I picked up a bunch that had 6 dahlia stems in it. It was the lone bundle of white, and the only color that looked fresh, so I opted for freshness over abundance. We have a set of vintage bottles that I found ages ago that would work perfectly holding these long and luscious beauties. I love how vintage bottles are generally quite thick glass, have irregularities, and are just plain pretty to look at whether they have something in them or not.
A canvas boat & tote bag from L.L. Bean is a beautiful thing. I have been a fan of the bags since I was in high school, schlepping tennis what-not here and there. These bags really are built for the long haul. Constructed of sail cloth canvas, they really will last close to forever, and will keep you looking preppily chic and organized.
They also occasionally offer one with leather handles, which I adore. This bag I have had since I had my wholesale showroom. It has accompanied me to every trade show, working perfectly to hold orders and paperwork.
And lastly, they are our go-to gift for special occasions. We give them often to friends who have just had a baby, and we have the name of the child embroidered on the bag. The 2 pictured here were a recent “thank you” gift to friends who threw us a wedding party after our recent nuptials. I filled them with orange related treats, like a bottle of Veuve and things to have with it while they enjoyed the champagne.
I taught tennis in Boston the Summer between my senior year in high school and freshman year in college. I made the trek to Freeport, Maine on one of my free week-ends to pay homage to my beloved L.L. Bean. They make a slew of other amazing things that I have loved over the years, but the boat & tote will always hold a special place in my heart.
With a crispness in the air, and the days getting darker earlier, I walk right in the door and light a candle when we arrive home. There is something about the ritual I find immensely soothing. I am not sure if it somewhat relates to growing up Catholic and being an altar boy, but I have a strong suspicion it might. When we have guests, the task of lighting all the candles I like to have lit can take quite a bit of time. It almost becomes a form of meditation. The repetition of the match hitting the striker, the flame touching the wick and transferring the flame–creating light and warmth.
Walking the Market on Saturday morning is always a visual feast. This week, lilies were abound–their heady fragrance filling the air. With many shades of color to ponder, I kept going back to the simple & classic white. Once I gave them a fresh cut and put them in water, the blooms started to unfurl and show their true beauty.
With goods arriving daily, it is hard to narrow it down to only a hand full. These are the things that really resonated with me these past few weeks.
This was one of my favorite finds at the show in New York. A lucite cube with a burlap tufted seat, with twisted rope handles on 2 sides. I can think of a zillion usages for this exquisite little fellow.
A restful, beginning of Autumn Sunday to you all.
Having food set out for when guests arrive on the island for dinner has become a tradition. The ferry ride is not really very long, but there is something about the journey that makes folks hungry. Even though we will have a sit down dinner later, we find that the nibbles we put out initially are almost always eaten up and enjoyed. It allows for guests to linger, take a walk on the beach, sit by the fire, make a small plate of food or just graze. We are on “island time” so it is just super relaxing to have no real set agenda.
This grouping of food varies a bit from what we put out in town when we are having guests for dinner. We tend to offer more options. Here is what we did a few Sundays ago, when we had a small group of friends over.
We typically choose things that can sit out for awhile. Saint Andre is one of our favorite cheeses, so we started there, and also added an herbed chevre, which is a favorite too. A seeded baguette works perfectly for both. It also works great with the salmon spread we make. Recipe to follow in the coming weeks. Since I always like to offer a nut option, pistachios are the nut of choice this week. We always have a few jars filled and at the ready. A small bowl of olives, with a small bowl set next to them for the pits, as well as the pistachio shells. I had found these gargantuan radishes at the Market, so I cut them in quarters. They work perfectly dipped into the French sea salt. I also sliced a cucumber and splashed a bit of rice wine vinegar over them. Lastly, a quick mini caprese. Cherry tomatoes and small mozzarella balls cut in half, tear a few leaves of basil, drizzle with olive oil and a few pinches of salt.
Then the festivities were ready to begin!
Having something out to nibble on while you have cocktails with your dinner guests is always a lovely addition to the evening. I find it really helps to spark lively conversation before the main meal, and keeps your guests from becoming ravenous. If we are serving a heavy meal, we keep the options fairly limited, but still tasty. The other evening when we had guests over, we were serving a light dinner of fish, so I put out a much heartier fare.
A bowl of cashews because I always like some sort of nut option, and cashews are almost always at the top of my list. My new fav combo is feta with a really good aged balsamic drizzled on top. I poured the balsamic to just one side, so if a guest was not into the flavor combination, they could opt to just have the feta. A spreadable sheep’s milk cheese the woman at the cheese shop highly recommended was a huge hit. I put out 2 different jams to have with it. The sweet and the tart really playing off one another. We served both with a softer crusted baguette. Delaurenti makes a superb artichoke dip, so that was added too.
All of the above worked great with the champagne, as the conversation, as well as the bubbly, flowed.
I love giving a book as a gift. There is something very intimate about giving a book. It seems to cross paths of the giver and the recipient of the book. I always give a book I like, and my hope is that I match it up to the likes of the person I am giving it to.
Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire is one such book. It is one of my favorite parts of the magazine, and I like how this book brings many of them together. We just got this in, and I know it will be book I will give often.
We found these purple carrots at one of the organic farm stands on Vashon Island last week-end. They were just toooo beautiful to pass up. After a little Google search, I found out that the purple carrot was actually the first variety of carrot 5000 years ago. We just sliced them up and served them raw alongside sandwiches. They really are a superfood–good, and good for you.
Happy Wednesday all!