Spring's Bouquet Awaits

If you have been a reader of our blog, you know how much Irwin and I love our country lifestyle; how we bask in the glow of that simpler slow home life surrounded by the beauty of nature in every season.  And while we adore every moment we are able to spend there, I have to admit that returning to the country this past weekend was slightly depressing.  While we were the ones who practically hearkened the plague of Snow Days that befell us this winter, we have exceeded a point of satiation and are longing to see grass, however brown or soggy it may be.

When we arrived in the country we were greeted with exceedingly muddy roads bordered by massive banks of blackened snow.  Our patio, still buried in gray frozen matter, revealed the season’s wrath with our spun fiberglass table literally crushed from snow weight and the glass top of our bar precariously perched on winter’s muddled remains.

Remains of the season: Crushed

 

 

Design: Fallen Asunder

 

But the temperature was above freezing and although the pervasive dreariness seemed to hearken back to an early English Gothic novel, rain was on the way and with it the long awaited, much overdue disappearing act of the snow.

As promised, it rained throughout the night as well as the following day, which included our entire ride back to the city.  So imagine our surprise when the alarm company called us the following morning to advise us of a power outage in the country. It seemed that the rain turned into snow and ice, devastating our entire area and leaving almost three hundred homes without power.  The highly anticipated cleansing promised by the foul weather turned into an ice storm with trees and power lines down.

A bleak trip

 

 

a wet welcome

 

 

 

A Hauntingly beautiful yet destructive surprise

photo courtesy of  J.Debonis

 

Three days have passed and we are still awaiting power restoration, which has already been pushed back four times.  We are desperately hoping to avoid receiving that dreaded “low temperature” call from the alarm company and the possibility of frozen pipes as well as extensive damage.

Which brings me to my much-circumvented point: Life is unpredictable. There are so many things we have little or no control over on a daily basis.  What we do know for sure is that we must embrace all that we have, hold on to our seats and hang on for the ride, taking the wheel whenever possible and ALWAYS wearing our seat belts.

Despite the length and severity of this winter, spring will indeed arrive EVENTUALLY, and with it, the beautiful, bountiful bouquet of scents, textures and colors that remind us all that life, despite its unpredictability, is spectacular.

Spring's Bouquet: Arriving shortly

 

In celebration and in anticipation of spring, a season of rebirth and renewal, we are once again teaming up with Komen CT to raise funds and awareness for and about Breast Cancer.  Our pair of Pretty in Pink 4 Life Mid Century Bouquet Club Chairs in a bold hot pink floral print are available individually or as a pair, and as with the beautiful Pretty in Pink 4 Life bench, all the proceeds from the sale will go directly to Komen CT.

 

Our Mid Century Bouquet Chairs: Pretty in Pink

 

 

A Beautiful addition...for life

 

Help us celebrate the beauty of springtime and the gift of life itself.  Please share this  so that everyone can be Pretty in Pink for Life.

 


Yes, it is true we have found a home for our Pretty in Pink 4 Life bench and how befitting that it happened right before the universal day of Love, Valentine’s Day. It is truly a Love Story that was four months in the making.  Needless to say, we, along with Komen CT and countless others are overjoyed with this very happy ending; one that would absolutely never happened without the good friends of our Social Media Village.

A Sweetheart of a Valentine's Day gift!

 

As it happens we just celebrated our second anniversary on Twitter a week ago, having created our account February 13, 2009.  Simply typing that made me quite nostalgic and consequently I spent the last couple of hours attempting to locate my fist tweet. While I have not been able to locate either my first tweet or the first people I followed, I can remember how overwhelmed I felt at the prospect of engaging in any form of Social Media.  I was so overcome with fear that after the initial set up I did nothing with our Twitter account for almost two weeks, until that fateful day when my then eighteen year-old son agreed to give me a Twitter tutorial; one which lasted all of sixty seconds. His fingers flew across my keyboard as he followed a couple of dozen people and said: “This is all you need to do ….and if you're lucky, they’ll follow you back”. And with that, he was gone leaving me in the driver’s seat without a single driving lesson.  So I began my journey, driving in the slow lane, hunting and pecking, following and re-tweeting, learning and engaging.

Our Social Media Birth

 

Virtual conversations turned into real life meetings and priceless friendships, and as a result, here we are two years later, immersed in a generous, collaborative community of like-minded, talented individuals who make wishes come true and help seemingly impossible dreams become life-changing realities.

 

From Virtual to Real Life 

Photo courtesy of Amy Dragoo of abcdesign.com

 

Off the Tweetdeck into the gallery

Yours Truly with Tamara Stephenson 

photo courtesy of Landino Photo

supporting friends at ICFF

Leslie Carothers, Me, Tracy Hiner, Maybelline Te

photo courtesy of Leslie carothers

And so it was for our beautiful Pretty in Pink 4 Life bench. We had been trying to find a home for it since mid-October and despite tweeting, blogging and facebooking our hearts out about it relentlessly, it remained homeless.

Valentine’s Day was quickly approaching and I was hoping to tap into the gift giving spirit.  I wrote another post about the bench and asked for help. I also emailed many of my SM friends asking them if they would include something about the bench in their posts about Valentine’s Day.  The result was better than I could have ever imagined and the bench has found a wonderful new home where it is cherished and loved.

It currently resides in the home of Philip Erdoes, aka @CEO_TheNewTrad, the CEO of the New Traditionalists, a design house focused on home furnishings and a client of Leslie Carothers the CEO and founder of The Kaleidoscope Partnership – a social media agency for the home furnishings and related industriesShe happened to share our blog post with Philip and as a result, he purchased the bench in honor of his three beautiful young daughters for Valentine’s Day.  And he did it because, as he said :”With three daughters I'm totally focused on that issue”.  And that says it all!

I cannot begin to thank the Social Media Village that made it possible…but I will try.

Many thanks to Marcy Michaud of @Stylesson for sharing our post on her site stylesson.com, Susan de Chaira of @the zhush for writing a lovely post on her blog, The Zhush, Amy Dragoo of @abcdesigns for featuring us on her guest post for @ChicModern, Wanda Horton (@wandashorton ) for her heartfelt post on her site Interior Concepts by Wanda S Horton and Yvonne Blacker (@yblacker) for asking us to be contributors in her fabulous new digital magazine New England Finery

Other good friends that helped make this happen by spreading the word include  @maybellinete @shorelychic @modenus @brivkind @averydesign @jgoden @swaygrl @nestnestnest @exuberanthome @annNyberg @DecoratingDiva @JuliskaDesigns @GimletMommy  and soo many more.

Our Social Media village is powerful and harnessing its power for business is wonderful, but using it to support lifesaving organizations like Komen for the Cure is beyond astounding.

Although this is indeed a VERY happy ending, it is not the end, but rather what we hope is the beginning of much collaboration, in support of Komen for the Cure.

 

 Happily ever after
photo courtesy of Philip Erdoes

 

 

 

Last weekend as I watched the change of seasons unfold in the country, I was astonished by the fact, that despite many early undressed trees and piles of crunchy leaves amassing on the ground, there was still an astounding amount of summer blooms flourishing.   What I found most striking and quite telling, was the abundance of pink roses burgeoning amidst the deconstruction of flora that is synonymous with the arrival of fall; a testament to both their resilience as well as their sheer will to survive.  For me the irony was overwhelming and this unexpected sign of hope, like a beacon on a moonless night represents what organizations like Komen for the Cure offer.

Colors of the season

  

Trees undressed surrounded by a blanket of leaves

  

 

 

The remains of summer blooms

 

Pink power endures


A will to survive

 

When we were first approached by New England Home Connecticut Magazine to host their first Connecticut Fall Networking Event in our Gallery, we were both excited and delighted.  We were thrilled to welcome so many of our CT neighbors and share an evening with others.

To make this event a truly collaborative effort, I immediately reached out to my neighbors and many of them responded so generously, that it almost took my breath away.  Our newest neighbor, Fairway Market agreed to come on board and supply food for the event and Juliska, Colorblends and Godiva Chocolates were more than happy to supply lovely additions for our gift bags.

Fairway's sumptuous buffet

 

Juliska's lovely gift bag contribution

 

Pink Tulip bubs courtesy of Colorblends

 

Dreamy chocolate from Godiva

 

"In the Pink" Gift Bags

 

But it seemed that a gathering of some of Fairfield County ‘s (and beyond) “Best & Brightest” during October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, needed to be more than just a networking event and we decided to use this wonderful evening to raise awareness as well as funds for Komen for the Cure, CT.

Anne Morris, Executive Director of Komen CT was on hand to share valuable information with the crowd as we previewed our “Pretty in Pink 4 Life” customized Mid Century bench which we are now selling with ALL proceeds from its sale going directly to Komen CT.

 

 

The "pretty in Pink 4 Life" Bench

  

With a close personal connection, we are deeply committed to supporting Komen for the Cure.  It is one of the reasons we decided to participate in Holiday House last year doing a tabletop and returning again this year, doing a complete room. 

 

Holiday House 2009 "The 4th of July"

  

We hope that through our efforts, we can motivate other small businesses to see that with a little imagination and a lot of perseverance, they can help raise both awareness as well as funds for lifesaving causes.

 

Our new Gallery section featuring the works of Vincent Longo & our Pink Ribbon Chair

 

 

Just before the guests arrive: Pink Abounds!

 

Irwin & Roberta Thomas Mancuso of New England Home CT Magazine

 

 

Let the cocktails begin!

 

The evening was an amazing success.  A melding of designers, architects, suppliers, bloggers and more converged in the Gallery despite less than perfect weather.  Twitter and Facebook friends emerged from the virtual world and joined with old as well as many new friends for a delightful evening of food and fun.

A Happy group including Robert Dean, Beth-Eaton Koch, Evelyn Oschler, Elizabeth Chrystal, Betsy Abeles-Kravit, Anne Morris, Irwin &...Me

(photo courtesy of  Landino Photo)

 

 

Stacy Kuntsel, Tamara Stephenson, Roberta Thomas Mancuso, Yours Truly, Susan Young,

Robin Horton,  Gloria Battista-Collins & Liz Orgera

(photo courtesy of Tamara)

  

With many thanks to our good friends at New England Home Connecticut, including Betsy Abeles-Kravitz, Publisher, Kyle Hoepner, Editor-in Chief, Roberta Thomas Mancuso, Kate Koch, Glenn Sadin & of course our very own @StacyStyle Stacy Kuntsel, Homes Editor for helping make this evening so special.  And where would we be without the brilliant photography of Neil Landino, Jr. of Landino Photo who was on hand to capture the evening.

 

 StacyKuntsel, Roberta Thomas Mancuso, Me being held in place, Kyle Hoepner, Irwin, Steve cassler

& Betsy Abeles-Kravitz

(photo courtesy of  Landino Photo)

 

Though the evening is over, the memories remain, new friendships have been forged and collaborations continue.

So many of you including Kyle Hoepner and our good friends at Juliska, have offered to continue to promote the sale of our “Pretty in Pink for Life” bench and we truly appreciate all of your help.

Together, there is nothing we cannot do.  As the pink roses remain in bloom despite the arrival of cooler temperatures and less than perfect conditions, so too, must we continue to support organizations like Komen 4 the Cure, who allow those roses to continue to survive and flourish.

 And please don’t forget: We are looking for a wonderful home for our “Pretty in Pink 4 Life “ bench.  Anything you can do to help make that happen would be appreciated.

 

The "Pretty in Pink 4 Life" Bench Specially priced at $1800 to celebrate "Life"

 

 

More photos of the festivities to follow soon!

As many of you may have noticed, I have been highlighting some of our pink Mid Century Modern pieces the last few days, not only because they are simply beautiful, but also because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month; a cause that is near and dear to our hearts.

 

Our "Pink Ribbon" Chair

 

 

Our Hot Pink Curvy Chaise Lounge

 

 

our Pink Magazine Rack

 

 

Many Social Media and blogger design friends of mine including Leslie Carothers, Catherine Avery  Wanda S. Horton, and Cynthia Mason have been doing the same, sharing pictures and writing posts about #ProjectPink and #ThinkPINK with a common goal: To raise Breast Cancer awareness and promote Breast Cancer research.

Dear friends and relatives have both won and lost heroic battles with Breast Cancer and others very close to us are still fighting daily for survival.  With this close personal connection, we are more committed than ever to raising Breast Cancer awareness.  It is the reason we chose to participate in Holiday House, a Designer Show House that will be open for its third holiday season next month in NYC.  Designers will once again join together to raise both awareness and funds for the NYC affiliate of Komen for the Cure.

Next week we will be hosting the New England Home Connecticut Fall Networking Event in our Stamford CT gallery.  With lots of our Connecticut neighbors expected for a fun evening, we thought it would be an amazing opportunity to do something wonderful for Breast Cancer Research.  So, as part of our evening, we will be previewing our custom designed Mid Mod "Pretty in Pink 4 Life" Bench and donating all proceeds of its sale to Komen for the Cure CT

 

our Pretty in pink 4 life bench

is a mystery for now but will be revealed

October 14th

 

 

We are excited to be able to do this for Komen CT and Breast Cancer Awareness Month and hope you will help spread the word.  Although the Bench will be revealed on October 14th in the Gallery, you don’t have to be there to purchase the bench or share information about it.  The  "Pretty in Pink 4 Life" Bench will be on our website the following morning. 

 

With so many wonderful people joining together to achieve a common goal we cannot lose!  We look forward to a day very soon, when we no longer have to view our world through rose-colored glasses, a day when everyone can be “Pretty in Pink 4 Life”.

Making Every Word Count

This past weekend, with Irwin out of town, I spent most of my time catching up on work while our youngest began to work in earnest on his college essays.  As we both sat working on our computers, I observed my son struggling to capture his thoughts and best articulate them within a maximum word count and I was struck by the precious nature of each word we utter as well as write.

As an active participant in Social Media on Twitter and FaceBook as well as being a blog writer, I understand the significance of accounting for the written word.  But what about the words we speak?  What if they were subjected to a word count as well?  Despite the fact that I have actively adopted and have been working on a slow home way of life inside and out, I have not yet confronted the editing of my spoken-word; a task that I find a bit intimidating.

 

While be limited to 140 characters, I've still racked up over 14,000 tweets

 

 

 

I always try to limit posts to a single typed page

 

Perhaps if we had a word cap on our spoken word, we would take more care with what we said. Maybe we should consider a word allowance similar to the speed limit on a highway, or the calorie count of a diet.   Having a maximum word limit along with a minimum limit would afford us the ability to strike a better balance between excess and deficiency.

 

Should we apply these to our spoken-Word?

 

 

to strike a better daily spoken-word balance

 

 

It would be an immense relief, at least for me, to improve my self-editing of the spoken word.  What I would give to not fall victim to excessive word use while always being assured of using a minimum amount of words to guard against  leaving necessary things unsaid.  It would be like attaining “word nirvana”.

 

 

 

I already know that this is more easily written than said, so I attempt to devise an experiment to see if it is actually possible to monitor and limit the words I use in my daily verbal dialogue.  Although it is physically possible to count the words that leave my mouth; that kind of concentration is going to so drastically alter everything I will say, that just thinking about it is generating angst.

 

A spoken word experiment: More easily written than said

 

Feeling that kind of anxiety is more telling than any experiment I could possibly enact and I immediately know that this level of achievement is much more difficult than I had even imagined. This startling realization clearly illustrates the substantial difference between the written and oral word and how differently we process and deliver each.  

the subject: My mouth

 

 

I have always preached the “five second rule” to my children but, as in several of my preaching categories, I do not do as good a job in practice. I am at a loss and am hoping to wake up tomorrow morning with some startling self-realization.

 

I left this post unfinished last night because honestly, I didn’t know how it should end.  This morning, however, I realize that there is no definitive ending; at least not for the moment.  What I did remember this morning as I put up the coffee, was to be mindful of my spoken word.  So relieved to not be the subject of my own experiment, I felt an unexpected exhilaration, like I had just been granted new empowerment. 

 

the spoken-Word...In print, of course

 

And maybe that is precisely the point.  If we simply acknowledge the supreme responsibility of being the keepers of the spoken word, we are on our way.  And, much like a calorie or speed limit count, if we measure the amount and quality of the words we choose, then maybe, just maybe we have the chance to achieve “word nirvana”; making every word count.

 

Only on Twitter my Friends, Only on Twitter

When I returned from the country last night, I was exhausted.  I was so tired that I could not even lift a finger to tweet, a condition more rare than the Hope Diamond.  So imagine my surprise, when I awoke this morning to find that today had become Nate Day!

Yes, today is Nate Day.  Don’t waste any time looking for it on your calendar, you won’t find it.  It is the brainchild of The Moggit Girls, Joy and Janet, whom I follow on Twitter.  They have mastered the art of sharing the not so good, bad & “fugly” of home decor with us on a daily basis and always seem to supply some much- needed levity to interior design.

As you MUST know by now, Nate Berkus has a new show that will premiere on NBC September 13th and The Moggit Girls thought it would be a great idea for Nate to fill his audience with bloggers  AND with that seed of an idea, they proceeded to tweet and blog about it and before they knew it, they were contacted by the producers of the show. 

I actually lost track of things after that until this morning when I awoke to discover that it was Nate Day.  While I understand the beauty of Social Media and the collaboration and friendships it has afforded me over the past year, its sheer power never ceases to amaze me.  And when my friend Julie (@jbint) sent me her Nate Day post, which included several of our pieces, I couldn’t resist writing a short piece as well.

And this is how it happens, how things “go viral”, how one idea can be transported and shared, how powerful collaboration can be.  And my favorite Nate Berkus design? 

 

Yes, it is his Twitter page, the design that began this whole chain of events. Best of luck and success with your new show Nate and many thanks to The Moggitt Girls for sharing Nate Day. 

Don't forget to read the amazing collection of #NateDayBloggers and celebrate Nate Day with us!

Another amazing experience that could only happen on Twitter my friends, only on Twitter.

An Affair to Remember

Last Tuesday night I had the pleasure of attending The 2010 Innovation in Design Awards presented by Connecticut Cottages and Gardens and Westchester C&G held at the Garden Pavilion of the Stamford Hilton in Stamford CT.

As the owner of a local Mid Century Modern gallery, and a design blogger, I was delighted when Beth Dempsey of Images & Details invited me to be a part of this auspicious evening, where design aficionados honored their own in this 4th   annual celebration of innovation in design.  Both the competition and the celebration were revamped this year and the results were stunning.  For the first time, the competition was open to design professionals from Westchester as well as Connecticut and the inception of an annual Innovator Award was added to the evening’s honors.  The celebration was grander as well, showcased in a beautiful venue and most satisfying of all was the partnership CTC&G forged with buildOn, a non-profit organization “that empowers urban U.S. high school students through in-class and intensive after-school programs.”  buildOn was the fortunate recipient of a portion of the evening’s ticket sales.

And what an evening it was!

Upon entering the beautiful Garden Pavillion, resplendent with a draped cathedral ceiling and sparkling chandeliers, the tone for the evening was immediately established:  Simply set tables graced with Jamie Drake for Schumacher  “Temple Garden” fabric runners in “Appletini” welcomed all.  While nominees, sponsors and community members mingled during cocktails, student volunteers from buildOn circulated the room selling raffle tickets and describing the organization’s activities.  

 Garden Pavillion

 

 

 

Draped & Chandeliered Ceiling

 

 Table close-up featuring Jamie Drake for Schumacher  “Temple Garden” fabric runners

 

 

 

buildOn Student Volunteers

 

 

Guests Chatting

 

I was delighted to have the opportunity to meet and chat with some of the nominees and attendees including Interior Design nominee & winner, Claire Maestroni of Mis en Scene in Greenwich, Rona Landman, and the incomparable Jamie Drake, the first recipient of The Design Innovator Award.

Claire Maestroni & Beth Dempsey
Liz Orgera & Rona Landman

 

 

Liz Orgera & Jamie drake

 

We were then off to our seats, where I was happy to share the events of the evening with good friend and blogger, Liz Orgera of Shorely Chic.  Both Marianne Howatson, C&G’s CEO and D.J. Carey, C&G’s Editorial Director spoke about the design industry and the publication’s commitment to showcasing innovative design and D.J. introduced and shared some little known and amusing facts about Jamie Drake, a design icon who needed no introduction.

Marianne Howatson

 

D.J. Carey introducing Jamie Drake

 

Jamie Drake Accepting his award

 

The work of the nominees in each category was shared with the attendees and then third place, second place and first place winners were selected and honored.

Winners in each category are as follows:

Interior Design: Mis en Scene

Landscape: Robin Kramer Garden Design

Kitchen: Alisberg Parker Architects

Bath: Austin Patterson Disston

Architecture: Joeb Moore & Partners Architects

And the “trophies” themselves? I was delighted to see that they were none other than beautiful Juliska bowls; so appropriate, not only because they are aesthetically  dazzling,  but because Juliska is a local Stamford business that so generously works with designers all the time.

The "Trophy" by Juliska

 

 

The Mis en Scene Table with their trophy

 

And while only one nominee in each category was the honored recipient of “best” in their respective categories, all who attended were winners that evening.  I look forward to next year’s celebration and the fine design and community work that will be showcased.

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