There is something so special about a sparkly holiday table. It just makes you feel festive. Strolling down Fifth Avenue today I decided to pop into Bergdorf Goodman and visit the holiday decor floor. Every year I like to buy one or two ornaments there to add to the tree. This year my friend Jen and I were taken aback by the beautiful glittering table settings they had on display. Imagine being invited to such a gorgeous dinner. I had to share pictures to start putting everyone in the holiday spirit. The trick to a great table is to have objects at different heights in the middle of the table. Decorative objects and candlelight work well. Pick a color scheme and then work within that. Use jewel tones around the holidays to represent the time of year. You do not have to spend a fortune to create a festive look. Try using a luxurious velvet tablecloth in green or blue like this one from Amazon ($18.39) as the base for your holiday decor. Then you can add a charger or beaded placemat and top your dinner plates with a napkin tucked into a napkin ring. A bowl full of ornaments surrounded by candles can work well as a centerpiece. Use my pictures for inspiration and let me know how your table decor turns out. Have fun with it.
I think it’s very important this year to do something to make yourself happy. Bake some Christmas cookies, decorate a gingerbread house, watch a silly holiday movie, buy a poinsettia plant or some pretty Amaryllis flowers to brighten up your home. Whatever it may be, do something to lift your spirits and make this a special time of year. I ordered a fresh garland and a bunch of Amaryllis flowers from Flowerbx. I have used this floral delivery company in the past and have been pleased with the quality and variety of flowers they have. The flowers, garland and wreaths come well packaged in white cardboard boxes so the flowers are ready to be placed in a vase. You can also purchase a vase from them which will be packaged separately. Flowerbx is an online delivery company that delivers the flowers straight from the growers to you. As a result their prices are a bit lower than a traditional florist.The Holiday flowers took a week to be delivered to me but they do offer a wide variety of flowers that can be delivered the next day. Since we are all spending a lot of time at home I recommend creating a cozy winter look in one or two of your rooms. This can be done by switching your regular throw pillows with some that are more wintery, maybe velvet or faux fur? A warm cozy throw will complete the look all winer long. In the Spring you can switch back to your other pillows and the room will look fresh for the next season. I have two sets of pillows for my house, one for the colder months and one set for the Spring/Summer. I always keep my furniture neutral so I can change the look of a room without spending a fortune. I would love to hear what you like to do around the holidays so please email me.
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The night before Thanksgiving is the perfect time to set the table. You will have much too much to do on Thanksgiving to worry about setting the table. Doing it the night before will allow you to make sure it looks great. The most important thing to remember when setting a table is that it is important to have different levels of height, particularly with candlelight. I like to use taper candles or pillar candles and also use lower votives so that the light reflects off of the centerpiece at different angles.
If you are setting a square or round table I like to use one arrangement in the middle and surround the arrangement with candles and other decorative items. Rectangle tables should have two or three arrangements down the middle so it is more linear. The centerpieces can vary in height on a rectangular table if you are using three or more. The goal is for the setting to be interesting and tell a story. Why are we at the dinner? What is the occasion? In my restaurant I believe that people eat with their eyes. It is very important to set the mood for the meal that is about to be served. First pick your color scheme and then decide what you would like to incorporate. Flowers are always nice but also try and use some things that are different like fresh fruit, nuts or herbs. You can also add a little sparkle by using crystal or glass beads. Have fun with it but make sure you remember to save room for the food.
This year I decided to keep my Thanksgiving table very natural. I wanted to bring nature inside. Since we will be hosting a much smaller dinner than in typical years I wanted a more intimate setting. Something that evoked the beauty of close family. Since I live in NYC I wasn’t able to go outside and find branches to use but I was lucky enough to have some sent to me by Wholesale Magnolia in California. I used silver dollar Eucalyptus branches and magnolia branches in my arrangement. Wholesale Magnolia also sells beautiful wreaths and garlands. It is a beautiful way to bring a natural holiday feel into your apartment or house. I surrounded the branches with tiny pumpkins, gourds and pine cones. I chose pillar lighting surrounded by sparkling glass acorns and bronze votives to complete the look of Fall. I placed a small pinecone on each napkin to carry the look across the entire table. You should always place something decorative on each napkin, it can even be a sprig of rosemary.
I love Fall in New York City. One of my favorite things to do is take a long walk through Central Park, around the reservoir and end up on 59th Street and Fifth Avenue. Central Park is such a beautiful spot in NYC. The juxtaposition of the tall buildings with the greenery of the park is so special to look at. Watching the seasons change in the park is incredible. The view changes according to the time of year but each view is equally as beautiful as the others.
On Sunday I was lucky enough to stroll through the park with my daughter Olivia. The weather was just warm enough and we knew that after the the long walk we would be ready for a delicious brunch before a little midtown shopping. It is so nice to escape the noise of New York and be able to take in a little nature and peace and quiet. The sky was so blue and I just loved the way it reflected off the water of the reservoir.
After our walk, we had brunch at Benoit on 55th Street owned by celebrated Chef Alain Ducasse. Benoit is so beautiful; creamy walls with bright red accents and brass fixtures give an elegant Parisian feel to the dining room. There is also a very nice separate bar area that is currently closed but is definitely worth a visit once it reopens again. The brunch menu at Benoit has a nice variety of brunch and lunch items. I chose the Eggs Norwegian: Poached Eggs with Smoked Salmon and Hollandaise Sauce. I always order the hollandaise on the side so the eggs aren’t soaked in sauce. Olivia ordered Croque Monsieur; open-faced grilled cheese with béchamel. We of course had to have french fries as well. The Croque Monsieur was delicious, the cheese was browned perfectly on top which added the perfect crunch to the creamy béchamel. I love Sunday brunch, it always feels so luxurious to linger over a meal in the middle of the afternoon.
After our delicious, leisurely lunch Olivia and I decided to head over to Zara on 51st and Fifth. We were both in the mood to buy something new. Zara has a great line for Fall. Lots of gray and beige. Beautiful, easy to wear, Fall clothing. Liv was feeling chilly so she decided to check out the hats. She happens to look terrific in hats so it was difficult to choose. Which one do you like better?
They also had some very pretty scarves for the Fall and Winter. My favorite was the blue cashmere or the gray knit. I think either would make a great gift for the Holidays. We left with some bags full of goodies to try on at home since the dressing rooms are currently closed at Zara. They also have a great website to order online. Returns are very easy as well. All in all a great day in NYC.