Let’s face it. If you haven’t dreamt about a piece of furniture yet, you are about to. Every night before I fall asleep, I go over my day’s accomplishments and tomorrow’s to-do list (yes, I’m that type A). I think about all the things I’m thankful for, along with how I forgot to pay my credit card bill and how much I really need a new desk chair for my 5-9 pm blogging gig. I ooo and ahh over Society Social’s Matisse Chair on my iPhone and fall asleep in shades of avocado and orchid twill.
Meet Roxy Owens – owner and head designer of Society Social, a home and lifestyle furniture line featuring bold colors and tropical influences. As a leading tastemaker in the home and entertaining industry, Roxy has received high praises from HGTV, House Beautiful, Southern Living, and Lonny.
Known widely for her renaissance of the bar cart, Roxy has taken the home-decor industry by the horns by inviting bright colors, bold fabrics, and fine-detailed materials into the mix. Getting to know Roxy’s business mottos and career overview was easy – two of my favorite blogs had done the heavy lifting for me. As an aspiring designer, I knew I had to say hello – even if it were only to ask some silly questions of my own (Roxy, can we totally be BFF’s?!).
9 Q’s for Roxy O:
You almost single-handedly brought the bar cart back to life. If you could pick one other furniture or fashion comeback, what would it be?
“That is so sweet! Thank you! I definitely took on a mission to bring the bar cart back and have been so tickled to see it make a spirited resurgence. I would love to see classic rattan in more homes, whether it’s natural or newly refinished in a pop of pink!”
Give me a walkthrough of your closet. What items are your staples?
“I don’t like to spend a lot of time getting dressed in the morning because it makes me feel like I’m not focused on getting to work, so my closet is filled with easy, casual go-to’s like breezy dresses, linen tees (love!), and my favorite ripped jeans. After hours, I loved to dress up and have a weakness for glam dresses and caftans so there’s a few of those in there too!
A good hostess should never run out of ________.
You are designing a friend’s powder room. Do you splurge for the patterned wallpaper or make a statement with a funky mirror?
“How do I possibly choose? Both!”
What book should be on every girl’s reading list?
“It’s summer so an easy, beach read to be enjoyed with a cocktail in hand. Crazy, Rich Asians is hilarious and fascinating all at once.”
Beyonce has offered you her private jet for the day. Where do you go and what do you do?
“I would pack it full of friends and family and off to Positano we would go!”
What item doesn’t belong on your bar cart, but is there anyway?
“I live in a small NYC apartment, so every piece of furniture has to double task. The top of my bar cart is styled as an end table, while the bottom holds all our glassware and booze. I don’t think there are rules in decorating! The most important thing is to make the space your own!”
What do you love about the first piece of furniture you created and what do you love about the last?
“What I love most about the design process is the very end of it, when customers send me images of their home and how they’ve made SS their own.”
At the end of the day, what complements your gin and tonic?
“I’ve been known to take a few laps around the room, dancing solo.”
I can’t thank you enough, Roxy! I’ll join your dance party any day.
My poor mother. She has received a boat-load of Mother’s Day gifts that were handcrafted with love and personality: hand-cut heart-shaped cards, finger-painted murals, and discombobulated pottery to say the least. And hey – I grew up to earn a fine art degree so I had some skill as a child, right?
Let’s face it, when it comes to DIY, we can’t all be Martha Stewart. But that doesn’t give us the right to give up! Ladies and gents, you have a week to get your act together and serve your mum breakfast in bed in style. Introducing, the do-it-yourself serving tray: durable wood, clean-safe stained glass, and stylish copper handles. Trust me – you can do this!
Here’s what you’ll need:
14 x 14 inch cut smooth wood (this is your base)
12 x 12 inch stained glass (find tons of pre-cut color/pattern choices at Hobby Lobby)
1/4-inch copper pipe, 2 pieces at 12-inches long
1/4-inch copper elbows, 4 total
permanent adhesive glue
paint and primer
power drill and 1/4-inch paddle bit
Step No. 1: Prep your base
Start by sanding your wood base, if needed. Apply a primer, then the paint color of your choice. I chose to paint my base an off-white to allow the copper and marble green to really pop.
Step No. 2: Adhere the glass
Using a strong adhesive glue, coat the back of your stained glass. Place in the center of the painted wood base. Let dry.
Step No. 3: Attaching your handles
Start by applying permanent glue onto each end of your copper pipe and then attach the copper elbow. Do this for both sides of your pipe and let dry. This will be your handle. Position the handle on your tray and measure the length from each elbow’s center point. Mark the center points on the tray with a pencil.
Next, use your power drill and 1/4-inch paddle bit to drill partially into the wooden base (roughly 1/8-inch). You may want to seek assistance with for part if you have never used a power drill.
Finally, fill your newly created intention with permanent adhesive. Insert the handle elbows into the intentions so they fit snug. Let dry.
Step No. 4: Mimosa’s and Mom
Surprise your favorite lady with fresh blooms from the garden and a bubbly mimosa to start her day. Happy Mother’s Day!
Don’t forget to share your creations online! Tag @blancblog and hashtag #boldwithblanc
How do you define style? Google defines the noun as “a distinctive appearance, typically determined by the principles according to which something is designed.” But come on, isn’t style way more than that?
Some of us dream of Clueless Cher’s revolving closet of the 90’s – bound forever to fashion forward magazines and the styles found in local boutiques. Others focus on style at home – form, function, and originality. There is an entire multi-million dollar industry focusing on this word. Style. It’s quite overused, wouldn’t you say?
Let’s remix this baby. Redefine style and what do you get? Confidence, originality, trend-setting, unexpected combinations, courage, poise, unique details, and ultimately, a defined design.
As a designer, a pet peeve of mine is to see inspired works overused in the industry (chevron, you poor thing…). Skilled designers are emerging daily, but who’s to decide if they have this newly-defined style or not? I’ll tell you one thing, The Blush Label nailed it.
Meet sisters Christie and Mary, the design duo and creative directors of happy hour and home. The two may not have revolving closets, but they dream of a day when the linens in their homes would be as colorful and lively as the clothes in their closets. Posh patterns and layered color combinations rule the scene in their works. There is a sophisticated chicness that overtakes you into a sea of tropical color combinations.
They have formed a brand that truly embodies style. I spoke with Mary to get the label’s full story: where they started, who they’ve become, and what advice they have for women entrepreneurs.
Try not to drool, okay?
Tell me about the Blush Label. Who are you as a company? What do you stand for?
“The Blush Label is a home decor and entertaining accessories company based in North and South Carolina. We’ve designed our line to be functional and affordable with a bright color palette. Since we launched our line, it’s been important for us to stay true to our design aesthetic and to our affordable prices.”
How did you start? Who had the “big idea” and when did you know it was time to say “let’s do it.”?
“We were on a trip to Puerto Rico in 2012 when we decided to start the business, but it took us two years of prep work before we even launched. Starting a business doesn’t happen overnight! We launched a blog first (Things That Make Us Blush) to make sure there was a market for what we wanted to do, after that we decided to go for it.”
What challenges did you have in your first year? How much did self doubt play into things, if any?
“There were a lot of challenges and of course, there still are! But the important thing is to always stay true to yourselves and true to your customers. We’ve had glitches in the system and orders take longer than expected, but those issues happen when you’re a small business. The important thing is how you deal with those issues that will set you apart. It’s important to believe in yourself – always. We can’t stress that enough. There are times when we’ve doubted projects or product lines and they’ve ended up being huge for us. The important thing is to try and to not take it personally if a particular product doesn’t do well.”
You started with cocktail napkins. Why is that?
“We launched our business in phases to ensure that we weren’t overwhelmed when we first started. It was a decision that worked very well for us. If you’re starting a business, test the waters with what you can handle first and then expand from there. Doing that will help you refine your processes in small increments along the way.”
What other product have you designed since the cocktail napkin?
“It wasn’t until High Point Market that we realized how many products we now offer! Decorative pillows, coasters, place-mats, glassware, serving trays and silk scarves.”
What makes you different from the other entertaining retailers?
“What makes us different is our design aesthetic and pricing. We offer quality products at an affordable price in bold color schemes, and we also design everything in-house – you can’t find it anywhere else!”
Tell me about your individual styles. How did you merge those? How do each of your strengths play into The Blush Label?
“Christie’s style is more bold like Kelly Wearstler, but mine is a little more classic. I love the classic blue and white scheme with pops of color. One thing we do agree on is our love for gold – we aren’t big on silver finishes. Everything in our line was originally inspired by our father’s native Puerto Rico. The island is oozing beautiful, bright colors and we’ve incorporated those in our products. We also love to travel so while we were in the Amalfi Coast last year, we decided to bring in some of the colors we saw during that trip as well.
We each have different strengths, and we’ve divided those up to help our brand. Christie is the Creative Director so she designs everything and builds our product portfolio. I head up the business side of the company and handle our accounts, finances and PR. We both take on a lot, but we’re very supportive of each other in our areas of the business. We are constantly communicating, which is key for us! We hold FaceTime meetings three times a week to keep us on task.”
What goals have you accomplished as a company or personally at this point. What goals do you have for the future?
“It was our goal originally to make this into a full-time career for both of us and we’ve accomplished that, which is huge for us. Starting a business and working on it while having a full-time job is incredibly hard. There are a lot of late nights and early mornings, but as long as you have the drive and desire to make it happen, you can.
As a company, we’ve grown leaps and bounds within a year of launching. Our product portfolio has grown and we continue to open new accounts with great customers, stores and designers from around the world. We plan to continue growing from here by increasing our presence in the marketplace.”
What advice do you have for young women looking to start their own brand?
“1. Stop doubting yourself and go for it! We’re lucky to have each other to lean on when we hit a rough patch. Some entrepreneurs don’t have the luxury of having a business partner (especially one from your family) so it’s important to always stay motivated.
2. Listen to the women who have done it before you. We met the founder of a well-established and fast-growing company the other day and her advice was on point for where we are in this stage of business. They’ve been there before and know what it’s like to be where you are in your stage of business.
3. Use the feedback you receive to improve your product. We did this after our first market and it helped us immensely with one of our product lines. Don’t take the feedback as someone being negative – use the feedback to your advantage to improve your line. This can be difficult since there are some products we’re attached to, but take a step back and really listen to your market.
4. Read! There is so much amazing material out there. Newspapers, blogs, magazines, editorials, etc. – stay informed about what is going on in your community and the marketplace.”
What’s your best seller?
“Coasters and glassware – we can hardly keep them in stock!”
What’s your favorite piece?
“We both love the pineapple rocks glasses! The Bombay Scarf is another one of our favorites.”
Shop my favorites:
See more of The Blush Label online and on social media:
It’s finally happened. You are old enough to have close friends that are getting married. When did we become so grown up?!
In your 20’s, you are new to the wedding world. Most brides, grooms, or wedding attendees seek wedding advice, tips, and formalities from their elders: whom to invite, what to say, what to wear, what to give… the list of questions is, in all honesty, endless! If you are a bride or groom that is working with a wedding planner, this inquisitive list can be checked off quite easily. For guests, or those without a planner, we have a woman named Emily Post.
Emily Post was an American author, renowned for her books on proper etiquette. Though the guru of civility has past, she is still the go-to for brides, grooms, and wedding planners across the country. Her manners and spirit are still alive with the help of the authors in her family.
Though she is known for her traditional thinking, Ms. Post has certainly evolved over the years. Her most recent book includes modern day circumstances such as same sex marriage, budgeting for the bridal party, and today’s music selections. Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette, 6th Edition, is said to be the end-all, be-all to proper wedding and event formalities.
So don’t worry friends – Ms. Post has you covered. Here are your top questions, answered. Thank you Post family!
As a member of the bridal party:
What are the expectations of being a bridesmaid?
Generally, bridesmaids should purchase their own wedding-day attire (dress/shoes/jewelry, as directed by the bride). Bridesmaids should also give a wedding gift, though many couples consider the attendants’ participation as their gift.
Are the bridesmaids/maid of honor expected to host a shower?
The answer is no. Contrary to popular belief, bridesmaids are not required to host a shower and the bride should not insist that they do. If the bridesmaids would like to plan a shower, it is pertinent that they are all in agreement. The maid of honor or a single bridesmaid should never organize a party an expect others to help pay for it.
More common hosts for showers are close friends of the couple or the couple’s parents. If there are multiple showers thrown, the host should be considerate when inviting guests and should not invite guests to more than one shower (exceptions might be close family members).
Can more than the bridal party be invited to showers/bachelorette?
Of course. There are few rules when it comes to a tasteful bachelorette party. Invited guests usually include the bridal party, close friends or relatives, and possibly the mothers of the bride and groom.
Who pays for the bachelorette party?
Guests should pay their own way, as well has help cover the cost of the bride. Just be sure that it’s clear before the celebration begins. No gifts should be expected but if gifts are given, they are usually inexpensive or humorous.
As a guest:
If you cannot attend a shower, are you obligated to send a gift?
No, though sometimes close friends or relatives do.
How much should you spend on a shower gift?
Shower gifts should be less expensive than the wedding gift and are usually centered around a theme.
How much should you spend on a wedding gift?
There are many theories on how to calculate the perfectly budgeted wedding gift. Emily tells us that the gift should be based on the giver’s affection for and relationship to the couple and their families and on their personal budget.
I’m inviting to the wedding but can’t come. Do I have to give a gift?
Yes, it is proper to mail one to the couple.
I am invited to the reception only. Do I have to give a gift?
Whether it is the same day or a belated reception, you are not required to give a gift, though you may do so if you wish.
I received an “and guest.” How do I handle the gift giving?
The person invited should is responsible for purchasing the gift.
What questions do you have for the Post family? Comment below and I will do my best to answer! Looking for the entire guide to wedding etiquette? Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette, 6th Edition is available on Amazon. You can find daily tips at http://www.emilypost.com.
St. Patty’s day is usually filled with fried Irish goodness and washed down with green beer – and I’m not complaining. Yum. This year, gain your Irish bar crawl strength with a stomach full of some healthy grub. Introducing the Vanilla-Mint Green Smoothie by 3 Boys Unprocessed.
This double layer smoothie is packed with nutrients and greens. Add chia seeds for extra protein and antioxidants. Here’s what you’ll need:
1 frozen banana (peeled and sliced)
1/2 cup of light coconut milk (canned)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
Green Mint Layer
1/2 frozen banana (peeled and sliced)
1 and 1/2 cups fresh spinach
10-15 fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup coconut milk
Blend vanilla layer in food processor. Pour into serving glass.
Blend green mint layer in food processor (no need to clean it first). Pour into serving glass on top of vanilla layer.
Garnish with a mint leaf and serve immediately.
The health benefits of this smoothie are out the window and sure as hell beat that dyed beer you’ll be drinking. Mint not only helps with digestion, it can also promote weight loss and better skin. Spinach (as we’ve learned from Popeye The Sailor) strengthens muscles and eyesight, as well as helps maintain blood pressure. It’s a win, win.
Since 2011, Toby Keith has hummed his way into Party City stores of America with his oh-so-lovely single, “Red Solo Cup.” Throughout college, it didn’t matter what you were drinking out of, but rather what you are drinking. A red or blue solo cup was the norm. My friends and I would throw in a plastic Lily Pulitzer cup at times just for a little style, but most of the time, no one gave a damn.
Since graduating and working in the events world (and becoming oh-so-much more sophisticated 😉 ), my opinions have changed. It kind-of, sort-of matters what houses those college-mixed drinks. I noticed that it had become a pet peeve of sorts when I went out for a cocktail and had my champs brought out in a wine glass. Nit-picky? Maybe a little, but I knew it was served improper – what a buzz kill, ladies!
So as I pour myself a glass of red wine (a stemless glass, to be specific), I’m going over the importance of the right glass: which pairs with its drink of choice, which to serve to guests, and which will make you look like you know what you’re doing in the drink-making department. A little glass-ology, if you will!
Let’s start with the essentials: Red vs. White Wine vs. Champagne
Red | Typically red wine glasses will be a bit taller and have a larger bowl than white wine glasses. In general, reds are bigger and bolder wines so they require a larger glass to allow all the aromas and flavors to emerge.
White | Most white wine glasses have smaller bowls and mouths. This reduces the area of contact that the wine has with the air (in scientific terms, reducing the rate of oxidation).
Champagne | Champagne glasses, or flutes, are the most thin of all the wine glasses you will use. Every girl loves her “bubbly,” and this glass, my friends, will keep it there. The less oxidation it gets, the longer your champs will bubble.
Favorites that I have at home:
Cocktails: Rocks vs. Neat
Let’s get some terminology down here: a neat drink is a single, unmixed liquor, served without being chilled and without any water or other mixer. On the rocks referes to liquor poured over ice. Both can be served in a rocks glass. A drink served neat can also be served in a martini glass.
Where to get the goods:
With a new craft beer emerging daily, finding the right glass can be a toughie. The most common glasses you may recognize are the mug, pilsner, or pint glass. Other choices include the snifter, tulip, or weizen, but the list can honestly go on for days. These specialty glasses are a bit harder to collect. I like to keep some Charleston pints and tall boy (usually pilsner or weizen) glasses on hand in case I’m ever serving beer.
Frozen Cocktails & Fan Favorites
Here’s where you can have a little fun. I’ve picked out the best specialty mugs, goblets, and frozen-drink favorites. Your Moscow Mule has not been forgotten!
We’re a week of away from the most loving day of the year. The boys will buzz to the flower shop and swoon their lady with scented beauties, a candle-lit dinner, or a heart full of chocolates. The girls will have an extra excuse to wear their favorite shade of pink and brag about how precious their bae is.
If you’re in a relationship, there is a bit of an expectation for the 14th. If you’re not in a relationship, there is a different kind of expectation… most involving a girls night-in, drooling over Ryan Gosling, Harry Styles, and Liam Helmsworth (Me me! Yummmm), all while popping bottle after bottle of $10 pink-label champagne. Am I right?
Well cheer up buttercup, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be such a drag. There is plenty of love to go around (#talkprettytome), and if you’re lucky, that love is coated in a festive cocktail and scalloped Valentine decor (from Michael’s craft store at 40% off – a steal!).
Here you go, girls. My favorite Valentine’s Day (or any day, really) cocktails for date night or a girls night-in. Choose your fancy. Make a large pitcher for multiple guests, or mix one on your own!
2 oz. citrus-flavored vodka
.5 oz. gin
1 splash simple syrup*
1 splash fresh lemon juice
Shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Ganish with cherry. Serve in a martini glass (or a rocks glass if you don’t have a martini glass on hand).
*Simple Syrup Recipe: mix 1 part water and 1 part sugar (i.e. 1 cup of both) in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Your mixture will be grainy at first, then cloudy. Your simple syrup is ready when the concoction is completely clear.
For Glass: Lime wedge and course salt (or sugar!)
1.5 oz. tequila
.5 oz. peppermint schnapps
.5 oz. grapefruit juice
2 tsp. simple syrup
Rim old-fashioned glass with lime and salt. Fill with ice. Shake remaining ingredients with ice. Strain into glass.
.75 oz. vodka
.75 oz. Campari
5 oz. chilled Champagne
Garnish with an orange twist
Shake vodka and Campari with ice. Strain into chilled champagne flute and top with Champagne. Add orange twist.
A quality bar cart does not come together overnight. It does not come together with one trip to Target, C.Wonder, or Pier One. The best of bar carts are an eclectic mix of gadgets cultivated over time: a jigger that never got used in college, a vintage mermaid bottle opener I found at a thrift store, cocktail napkins I created for the event designer, Tara Guerard’s Life is a Party pop up shoppe… to name a few.
When you’re on a budget, super-studly bar accessories fall low on the shopping list. I’ve collected some of the best bar finds out for under $25 (most are under $10!). Trust me, you can’t beat these prices.
I am a goner when it comes to snacking. I can eat salads all day, every day, but when it comes to a salty mid-day treat or dessert, I can’t help but to have “just one.” The more chocolate the better, and if you cover it in peanut butter, I’m done for. So this year, as many years before, I have vowed to snack smarter. Carrot sticks, celery, raisins – they’re all in the mix. Doesn’t that sound exciting?
Well, with a little research, I’ve found a loop hole in smart snacking. It comes from the delicious movie snack that we all grew up with. Sans butter and 500 mg of salt, popcorn is truly a smart snack. It’s a whole, unprocessed grain and is full of fiber. It’s antioxidants can even help fight cancer and diabetes. Take an afternoon and try one of the recipes below as a three o’clock snack. You won’t be sorry!