Gratitude on Thanksgiving…

Gratitudes and Thankfulness
Gratitudes and Thankfulness

“Thankfulness is the beginning of Happiness” – Anon.

Thanksgiving.  Simply stated.  Gratitude.  Perhaps there is no other moment during the year when we are urged to contemplate and find gratitude.  Thankfulness.  What a wonderful virtue and focus to find appreciation, gratitude and thankfulness for our life and the gifts within our life.  Gratitude really does turn what we have into enough.  May your Thanksgiving holiday serve as a reminder to you today, and each and every day, that thankfulness truly is the beginning of happiness. Onward in that.  Onward in appreciation, thankfulness and gratitude…

Onward,

Kristin

City Inspirations: Fashionable Windows Of Chicago In July

Fashionable Windows Of Chicago In July
Fashionable Windows Of Chicago In July

On a hot & humid, mid-July day I ventured, once again, into the city that continually beckons me. My monthly journey for inspiration. For certain, Chicago is a city that always speaks to me. And so it is, from behind the lens of my camera, seeking inspiration from behind the changing windows of fashion. The desire to capture & compose fashion’s presentations brings me anticipation every time I arrive upon the city streets of Chicago.

I must add that I knew it was to be a different journey. For the first time in over 3 years of my solo journey to Chicago my path was altered. The moving force of the bridge I cross over from the train station changed the direction I would wander through the streets of Chicago. Although my route past the bridge alters, my destinations remain constant. Perhaps, as in life, our paths are often forced to change or we simply choose to take another path. Another route. Discovery always awaits along the journey, either way. That said, we simply need to look up with appreciation, looking at what surrounds us, looking closer at the details of life presented around us. Like fashion’s windows. Consider the fashionable windows of Chicago through the journey of my camera lens…

Forced Diversions & Moving Parts: Lyric Opera Bridge/Chicago
Forced Diversions & Moving Parts: Lyric Opera Bridge/Chicago

And of the windows of fashion in July? Fall fashion’s pending presence was evident from behind the panes of reflective glass. Paired with official signs of Summer sales, the “Last Call” of Summer, layers of Fall were still met with lightweight layers of Summer. Forward thinking in fashion, however, will always endure. For certain, like the windows of fashion themselves, fashion is always changing. A continual evolution of visual collaboration of designers and visual display with the goal of creating to stir a desire. An visual art form, indeed…

Summer's Fashionable Appeal:  Windows Of Chicago
Summer’s Fashionable Appeal: Windows Of Chicago

The windows of Ralph Lauren continue to provide me with fashionable delight. Timeless fashion that exudes elegance. This month’s window was alluring with hues of beige and camel toned layers of cooler weather style. In acknowledging a designer who understands with consistency good taste and style, decade after decade, I will always smile in appreciation at the visuals set before us from the windows of the Michigan Avenue store of Ralph Lauren. Fashion at its best. And of the fashionable sketches that created a backdrop for the striking mannequins that graced center stage? A reminder that fashion itself begins with a sketch. An idea first, a sketch second…

Neutral Delights Of Layered Appeal:  Ralph Lauren, Chicago
Neutral Delights Of Layered Appeal: Ralph Lauren, Chicago
Fashion's Timeless Approach:  Ralph Lauren
Fashion’s Timeless Approach: Ralph Lauren
Fall's Fashion Impact:  Chicago In July
Fall’s Fashion Impact: Chicago In July
Burberry, Chicago:  Fall Inspiration In July
Burberry, Chicago: Fall Inspiration In July
Pre-Fall Impressions/Chanel, Chicago
Pre-Fall Impressions/Chanel, Chicago
Max Mara, Chicago In July:  Hints Of Autumn
Max Mara, Chicago In July: Hints Of Autumn
Fashion Behind The Windows Of Chicago
Fashion Behind The Windows Of Chicago
Embellishments & Layers:  Fashionable Windows Of Chicago
Embellishments & Layers: Fashionable Windows Of Chicago

Summer in Chicago is perhaps best visually captured with an image of the iconic historic Old Water Tower on the Magnificent Mile on North Michigan Avenue. As the 2nd oldest standing water tower in America today, a seasonal image of this historic structure flanked with palm trees is a visual snapshot of Chicago in the heat of the Summer…

The Old Chicago Water Tower in July
The Old Chicago Water Tower (1869)/Michigan Avenue/July
Fashion On The City Streets Of Chicago
Fashion On The City Streets Of Chicago

Consider with appreciation the fashionable windows that surround you. Amidst the glory of the sun-soaked days of effortless fashion that are still ahead, consider with mere appreciation fashion as a changing form. A changing force that is constant, no matter how long we wish to hold onto the long, warm days of Summer. Consider the visual display aimed to inspire. No matter the season that embarks upon us, appreciation from behind my lens will continue to be a constant…

Onward,

Kristin

Reflections:  Myself, Behind The Lens
Reflections: Myself, Behind The Lens

PS: Personal ponderings and afterthoughts….
Perhaps to the world, as in life itself, often what is seen to be real on the outside is not really what is reality on the inside. Perhaps it can be considered a mirage. What one assumes they see. Behind the windows of fashion, a mirage is presented to the world. The world of fashion is essentially a world of fantasy. Perhaps that is the lure it offers us. Like fashion, we also continue to evolve. Yet in fashion, consistent are the classics. Reinvented. My love for the visual of fashion will continue from behind my lens. It is truly what beckons me to seek what is presented behind the windows of thick, glass panes. Appreciation of form and function that is constantly evolving. As are we. Reinvented. And if the tracks of your life change, always travel forward with appreciation. Always. Onward to moving forward…

“Tracks of Change”
Chicago Loop

Wedded Bliss Under Nature’s Canopy: The Outdoor Wedding Reception

Natural Delights:  The Outdoor Reception
Natural Delights: The Outdoor Reception

The outdoor wedding reception under nature’s canopy. Sheer delight of dreamy appeal. On a day in which the moment of a lifetime culminates into a celebration of significance under the sky of natural wonder, those that gather are seemingly transported within the magical setting set forth. Perfection. The scenery that is offered, courtesy of Mother Nature, offers breathtaking, natural elegance that pairs with the elegance of a grand affair. Nature itself provides a spontaneity and perhaps even an unexpected element that brings another dimension to a memorable celebration of life. The natural atmosphere paired with the embellishments of wedded celebration is simply magical. For certain, the charms of nature paired with the joy of a lifetime event are a perfect marriage in entertaining.

Simply stated, the visuals of magical moments of elegant affairs of wedded bliss under nature’s canopy deserve attention and mere appreciation. For those that will plan a moment under the brilliant sun filled sky or under the twinkling, star dotted sky perhaps the images, sourced and compiled from the wide world of the web, will offer inspiration of a grand event yet to unfold. And for those that merely seek inspiration for creating an event under the canopy of nature, may inspiration follow….

Breathtaking Delights Under Nature's Canopy:  Outdoor Wedding Receptions
Breathtaking Delights Under Nature’s Canopy: Outdoor Wedding Receptions
Evening Delights:  Wedded Bliss Under The Stars & Twinkling Lights
Evening Delights: Wedded Bliss Under The Stars & Twinkling Lights
Soft Hues Of Beauty:  The Elegant Outdoor Wedding Reception
Soft Hues Of Beauty: The Elegant Outdoor Wedding Reception
Evening Elegance:  The Outdoor Wedding Reception
Evening Elegance: The Outdoor Wedding Reception
Events Of A Lifetime:  Surrounded By Nature
Events Of A Lifetime: Surrounded By Nature
Outdoor entertaining:  The Elegant Wedding Reception
Outdoor entertaining: The Elegant Wedding Reception
Ambiance & Natural Appeal:  The Outdoor Wedding Reception
Ambiance & Natural Appeal: The Outdoor Wedding Reception
Candlelit Delight:  The Wedded Delight Of Outdoor Receptions
Candlelit Delight: The Wedded Delight Of Outdoor Receptions
Under Nature's Canopy:  The Elegant & Natural Outdoor Affair
Under Nature’s Canopy: The Elegant & Natural Outdoor Affair
Natural & Stunning Delights:  The Outdoor Wedded Event Of Elegance
Natural & Stunning Delights: The Outdoor Wedded Event Of Elegance
Outdoor Entertaining:  The Wedded  Outdoor Celebrations
Outdoor Entertaining: The Wedded Outdoor Celebrations
Outdoor Delights Of Wedded Celebrations
Outdoor Delights Of Wedded Celebrations
Wedded Enchantment:  The Outdoor Affair
Wedded Enchantment: The Outdoor Affair

Consider the beauty and elegance of a wedded celebration under the canopy of nature. Whether the event is filled with beaming sunshine or the twinkling stars from above, the outdoor event will offer memorable moments experienced by all. The beauty of nature is everywhere. Pairing that beauty with the beautiful moments of life? Perfection. Wedded bliss under nature’s canopy, indeed…

Onward,

Kristin

“There is something of the marvelous in all things of nature”- Aristotle

Elegance In Sugar: The Decadence & Artistry Of Fondant Cakes

Sugared Delights:  Fondant Cakes
Sugared Delights: Fondant Cakes

The coated confectionary decadence of fondantelegance tailored to personal and sweet perfection. There is perhaps no other cake that presents itself with such a grand effect as the wrapped, smooth layers of indulgent sugary appeal with rich, sweet cake awaiting inside. Pure delight.

Fondant is a type of icing used to decorate cakes that offers a mysteriously seamless layered confectionary appeal. A thick, sugar paste of decorative topping. Fondant icing, also commonly referred to simply as fondant, (fɑndɑnt in French) is termed as an “edible icing used to decorate or sculpt cakes and pastries”. In French the word refers to “melting” and is derived from the same root as “foundry” in English. Interesting. Rolled fondant was derived from traditional British fondant recipes of pouring the sweet, thick concoction over a cake and allowing it to harden to seal in moisture. Poured fondant is a creamy confection used as a filling or coating for cakes, pastries, and candies or sweets. “In its simplest form, it is sugar and water cooked to the soft-ball stage, cooled slightly, and stirred or beaten until it is an opaque mass of creamy consistency”. British immigrants are said to have brought their recipes to Australia where changes were made in the 1950’s to advance the art of sugar craft. Of note, the earliest “rolled fondant” recipes found in American cook books date back to the early 1980’s. Who knew? Perhaps considered as a newer art form within the industry of baking it is no wonder that creativity with fondant has risen to the ranks in creativity of sugared wonder. Although fondant can be bought ready-to-use it is the skilled art form of the baker that creates the fondant from scratch and embellishes with unique and elegant wonder that my attention focusses upon. As artisans of sugar craft, the creations that result are to the sheer delight of the guests that are smitten with their elegance and beauty. The artistry that goes into these confectionary wonders is craftsmanship and experience in sugar, for certain.

In appreciation for the elegant details and grand, sculpted statements that await the world. A visual celebration of masterpieces of sugar….

Golden Beauties:  The Elegance Of Fondant Cakes
Golden Beauties: The Elegance Of Fondant Cakes
Artistry In Sugar:  Fondant Cake
Artistry In Sugar: Fondant Cake
Pastel Hued Confectionary Delights:  Fondant Cakes
Pastel Hued Confectionary Delights: Fondant Cakes
Fondant Cakes:  Elegant Objects Of sweet Decoration
Fondant Cakes: Elegant Objects Of sweet Decoration
Spectacular Presentation Of Confectionary Delight:  Fondant Cakes
Spectacular Presentation Of Confectionary Delight: Fondant Cakes
Icing Of Sugary & Sweet Elegance:  Fondant Cakes
Icing Of Sugary & Sweet Elegance: Fondant Cakes
Modern Appeal Of Confectionary Wonders:  The Fondant Cake
Modern Appeal Of Confectionary Wonders: The Fondant Cake
Fondant Cakes:  Masterpieces In Sugar
Fondant Cakes: Masterpieces In Sugar
“Tiffany Blue” Confections Of Sugary Delight: Fondant Cakes
Pink, Vibrant Delights Of Sugary Confections: Fondant Cakes
Pink, Vibrant Delights Of Sugary Confections: Fondant Cakes
Sugared Beauties Of Confectionary Wonder:  Fondant Cakes
Sugared Beauties Of Confectionary Wonder: Fondant Cakes
Celebratory, Sunny Appeal In Sugar:  Fondant Cakes
Celebratory, Sunny Appeal In Sugar: Fondant Cakes
Pink Delights Of Sweet Presentation Of Elegance:  Fondant Cakes
Pink Delights Of Sweet Presentation Of Elegance: Fondant Cakes
Wrapped & Decorated Perfection:  Fondant Cakes
Wrapped & Decorated Perfection: Fondant Cakes
Spectacular Presentations In Sugared Delight: Fondant Cakes
Spectacular Presentations In Sugared Delight: Fondant Cakes
Fondant Cakes:  Decorated Sugared Elegance
Fondant Cakes: Decorated Sugared Elegance

I fell in love with these sugared beauties since the moment I first sighted these creations of distinction. As with everything, taste must prevail. It is the elegance of simplicity that truly creates a memorable confectionary creation. Creating a spectacular, elegant presentation for those events of life that require stunning celebratory confections. As for the first fondant cake I required to be designed for our own personal celebratory event? It was a cake with embellishments of gold with a striking “pop” of color with a sugared orange poppy…vivid & sweet recollections, indeed…

Personal Design:  Our Fondant Cake Of Celebration
Personal Design: Our Fondant Cake Of Celebration
Decorated Elegance:  The Artistry Of Embellishment With Fondant Cakes
Decorated Elegance: The Artistry Of Embellishment With Fondant Cakes

Consider with appreciation the sweet sugary elegance of fondant cakes. Stunning and unique, the possibilities in sugar are endless. Tailored to one’s own preferences, the hues and embellishments of sugary delight as celebratory focal points of sweet and elegant impact await. Decadent elegance in sugar, indeed…

Kristin

In Acknowledgement Of An Iconic Tradition & The Grand “Hats” Of The “Kentucky Derby”

An Icon With History:  The Great Kentucky Derby
An Icon With History: The Great Kentucky Derby

As the grand American Equestrian race date swiftly approaches, an acknowledgment of tradition and the assemblages of high style that unite this event of iconic status deserve focus. “The Kentucky Derby”

Louisville, Kentucky. “Home of the Kentucky Derby”. An American cultural event of high stakes and high style. For certain, the Kentucky Derby, held at Churchill Downs racetrack, is one of the most famed horse races in the world. History paired with tradition. Named “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports”, the Kentucky Derby is held on the first Saturday in May. The thrill at stake of the thoroughbred horses that race along the track at high speeds have captivated crowds for generations. With traditions that date back to the late 18th century, it is interesting to note that this premier racetrack was founded by the grandson of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition, Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr. Who knew? Meriwether Clark organized the Louisville Jockey Club to sponsor funds to build one of the greatest racing facility, Churchill Downs, after being inspired from travels to England and France’s Jockey Clubs and races. (Of note, it was not until 1937 that the name “Churchill Downs” was officially incorporated). The inaugural race was held on May 17th, 1875 with 10,000 spectators. Imagine! With men & women decked in lavish and classic hats paired with and garments of high style, the donning of hats would continue to evolve into an expected, iconic tradition at the races…

Vintage Acknowledgments:  The Kentucky Derby
Vintage Acknowledgments: The Kentucky Derby
“Run For The Roses” Derby Winner & The Draped Horse

Since 1925 the race has been referred to as “The Run for the Roses” which would eventually reference the blanket of 554 roses that grace the winning horse each year. A tradition that endures to be an esteemed honor. What first began as a bouquet presentation would evolve into a blanket bouquet of red. The tradition itself is believed to be linked to a post-Derby party that Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr. attended in 1883 in which New York socialite E. Berry Wall presented roses to the ladies in attendance. The start of a tradition? Perhaps a perfect recognition that paired with the “romance of the old South”. Enduring appeal, for certain.

From the onset of the inaugural race, spectators ranged from royalty and wealth within the clubhouse to working class revelers celebrating in the infield along the track. All the while, the event would certainly remain an event that created a visual presence. “To see and be seen”, indeed…

At The Races:  The Iconic Kentucky Derby
Elegance At The Races: The Iconic Kentucky Derby
“Run For The Roses”: A Horse Race Of High Style
High Stakes Style:  The Embellishments Of Hats At The Kentucky Derby
High Stakes Style: The Embellishments Of Hats At The Kentucky Derby
“To See And Be Seen”: Run For The Roses In High Style At The Derby

Of course, beyond the graces of hats on women, a homage to the men that have and will don hats at the races and beyond. An accessory of masculine elegance that will visually endure as timeless classics

Masculine Appeal At The Races:  The Enduring Elegance Of Hats
Masculine Appeal At The Races:  The Enduring Elegance Of Hats

One cannot talk of Derby style without referencing the iconic role of Audrey Hepburn as “Eliza Doolittle” in the 1964 film “My Fair Lady” and her transformation hat and gown at the “Derby”. For certain, the fashionable appeal and inspiration from the past history of the Kentucky Derby was captured. And the oversize hat? Hollywood’s extravagance that was quite memorable…

Audrey Hepburn/My Fair Lady/1964- Inspiration From The Kentucky Derby
Audrey Hepburn/My Fair Lady/1964- Inspiration From The Kentucky Derby

And of the hats of massive proportions and impact that have evolved from the gracious, opulent & gentile era of the 1875 Kentucky Derby? Alas, fashion evolves. Said to bring good luck,the long-established fashion tradition at the racetrack endures. The tradition is also linked to the marketing creativity of race promotor Colonel Matt Winn, also known as “Mr. Kentucky Derby” and General Manager of Churchill Downs. Winn, alongside his father, was in attendance at the inaugural race of 1875. Personal history paired with racing enthusiasm and marketing skills . Winn is said to have “worked to create an event of exotic grandeur that women soon flocked to, coming from both fashionable society and the ordinary working classes. Success in creating an event of grand proportion that fashion and society seekers certainly do flock to. Onward! The “aura of romance around the Kentucky Derby” that Winn achieved has continued today. So it is with the hats of today, carrying a tradition of exotic appeal and honoring the enduring romance of the Southern charms of Kentucky. Of course, somewhere along the way, the hats on women would take on an oversized proportion and would be decked with plumage and details of spectacular visual. However, the tradition of the hat continues. In acknowledgement of the classic hats that adorn men and the wide brimmed “Southern Belle” inspired hats of great proportion, style, elegance and dramatic appeal that adorn the women of the Kentucky Derby….Onward!

Lavish Embellishments Of Statement Form & Proportion:  The Hats of The Kentucky Derby
Lavish Embellishments Of Statement Form & Proportion: The Hats of The Kentucky Derby

A nod to icons of fashion and style…

Timeless Inspiration:  The Donning Of Statement Hats
Timeless Fashionable Inspiration: The Donning Of Statement Hats
Vintage Acknowledgements:  The Kentucky Derby
Vintage Acknowledgements: The Kentucky Derby

Consider the history, the race and the iconic social traditions of the Kentucky Derby. And of course, consider the hat. Perhaps alongside the tradition of sipping Mint Juleps at trackside, the glory of the race, fashionably speaking, is perhaps the tradition of dressing to the “nines”. A moment (or two minutes) at the racetrack that beckons celebration and excitement of life. A cause for fashionable statements of style, indeed. My appreciation of the world of the Equestrian life and the elegance of the horse is enduring but is a life I have only appreciated from afar. An event that brings forth further appreciation paired with a history of elegance certainly deserves focus. An acknowledgment of an iconic tradition and the grand hats that proclaim it….

Onward,

Kristin


“The crowd in the grand stand sent out a volume of voice, and the crowd in the field took it up and carried it from boundary to boundary of Churchill Downs.”
-1883 Kentucky Derby article

“The seats in the grandstand were filled with gaily dressed women and men. The mass of green, pink, red, yellow, blue, all the colors of the rainbow, blending into one harmonious whole was as beautiful a sight as His Eminence in the lead.”
-1901 Louisville Courier-Journal

And from the merchandising windows of Chicago…

Merchandising Windows Of Chicago:  The Derby
Merchandising Windows Of Chicago: The Derby

Elegant, Mini Delights: Small Bottles Of Sparkling “Champagne”

Mini Delights Of Sparkling Bubbly
Mini Delights Of Sparkling Bubbly

Mini delights of sparkling bubbles. Whether French Champagne, Spanish Cava, Italian Prosecco or another sparkling bubbly, the elegant, small bottles of bliss are sure to delight. Referred to as “Champagne Splits”, these individual bottles are a quarter size of a regular 750ml bottle of bubbly. Equal to two small glasses or one generous glass of sparking bubbly, these “splits” are also referred to as an “Individual” or “Single Serving” bottle. Who knew that you can even find these effervescent bottles in a 4-pack? Alas, since sparkling wines should be enjoyed shortly after the cork is popped to maintain the integrity of the bubbles, perhaps a mini bottle is the perfect aperitif. “Tiny bubbles in tiny bottles” are the perfect “take-away” from a celebration. Any celebration is perhaps the perfect opportunity to bestow a memorable token of appreciation to those that fill our lives. Life is a celebration and celebrations require bubbly!

Although I have expounded on the topic of the timeless effervescence of Champagne, a quick review is always in order-and a word about “Champagne”….

True “Champagne” is the French word for the exquisite sparkling wine from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France. Following rules that demand a secondary fermentation process to create the iconic carbonation, it is a bubbly delight to savor. Although the term “Champagne” is used generically for sparkling wine the name “Champange” is reserved exclusively for sparkling wines that come from Champagne, France. Thus, the terms “Cava” and “Prosecco” hold reference to a sparkling bubbly such as champagne. The leading producers of this magnificent bubbly have certainly devoted themselves to crafting an identity paired with history for their sparkling wine. Looking to the past, the history of wines from the Champagne region are said to have been known before medieval times. The Romans planted the vineyards in Northeast France and the region was cultivated by the 5th century, if not earlier. Church owned vineyards and monks continued to produce the wine. In fact, the oldest recorded sparkling wine is “Blanquette de Limoux”, said to have been created by Benedictine Monks in the Abbey of Saint Hilaire in 1531. This accidental feat was accomplished by bottling the wine before the initial fermentation was completed. Who knew? This traditional method of production is termed “Methode Champenoise”. A traditional method that has endured to delight us with sparkling, bubbly bliss. Of note, the designation “Brut Champagne”, the ‘Modern Champagne’, has certainly endured as a bubbly of esteemed status. Whether you prefer your Champagne dry, extra dry or sweet (Demi Sec or Doux Blends), whether the sparkling bubbly is Cava or Prosecco, there is sure to be a bubbly that meets your taste. The key is finding your preference and uncorking its glory. Iconic effervescence, indeed…

For myself, sparkling wines took on a new precedence upon visiting Europe during the late 1990’s. As an American visiting Barcelona, Spain I learned just how pleasurable a glass of Cava was as an apertif. Alas, it was not just for celebratory moments and occasions in Spain as it is in the United States. It was merely the enjoyment and lightness of this drink. An aperitif that I have since embraced as a perfect prelude. Sheer delight in bubbly bliss! Even still, giving attention to this mini-bottle of sparkling delight in moments of celebration is worthy of appreciation. And of the decoration of these mini bottles for events and tokens of appreciation to delighted guests? Labeled and ribboned festive bottles of effervescent pleasure are elegant gestures of continued celebration….

Festive Bubbles:  Mini Bottles Of Celebration
Festive Bubbles: Mini Bottles Of Celebration
Mini Bubbles:  Bottles Of Effervescence
Mini Bubbles: Bottles Of Effervescence
Sparkling Tokens Of Appreciation:  Mini "Champagne" Bottles
Sparkling Tokens Of Appreciation: Mini “Champagne” Bottles
Celebratory Moments:  Mini Sparkling Bubbly
Celebratory Moments: Mini Sparkling Bubbly
Corked Delights Of Sparkling Bliss
Corked Delights Of Sparkling Bliss
Elegant & Toast-Worthy: Mini Bottles Of Sparkling Bubbly
Elegant & Toast-Worthy: Mini Bottles Of Sparkling Bubbly
Sparkling Minis Of Celebration: Mini Bottles Of "Champagne"
Sparkling Minis Of Celebration: Mini Bottles Of “Champagne”
Small Bottles Of  Effervescence:  Mini Bubbly
Small Bottles Of Effervescence: Mini Bubbly
Pop The Cork:  Celebrations Of Life With Bubbly
Pop The Cork: Celebrations Of Life With Bubbly
 Our Winter Champagne  Soirée...
Our Winter “Champagne” Soirée…

When life calls for moments to gather and celebrate, one such Winter night would bring forth a small, intimate gathering of friends at our home. A myriad of sparkling bubbly awaited aside from the French “Champagne”. It was a sparkling evening, indeed…

Myself, Capturing The Moment Of Bubbly Bliss:  Our "Sparkling Soirée"
Myself, Capturing The Moment Before Our Sparkling Evening Of Bubbly Bliss: Our “Sparkling Soirée”
Our "Sparkling Soirée" & Guest Tokens of Appreciation Upon Departure...
Our “Sparkling Soirée” & Guest Tokens of Appreciation Upon Departure…

Consider the mini bottles of sparkling wines. These extraordinary and iconic bubbly are certainly relished during pivotal life events and celebratory moments. In praise of this effervescence of delicious wonderment, it is a sparkling beverage that can and should be enjoyed at any moment in life and should not be relegated to only monumental events and celebrations. Every day is a celebration. Uncorking this bubbly is a celebration in and of itself. Bubbly from which to raise a glass to, indeed!

Kristin

Serving "Bubbly"...
Serving “Bubbly”…

Thanksgiving Wishes…Gratitude For The Bounty Of Life

Thanksgiving/Martha Stewart
A “Bounty” is defined as something given liberally. Life and its bountiful offerings that surround us are certainly something to be thankful for. With gratitude, reflecting with appreciation that every day is a gift, we all certainly have something to be thankful for on this day of Thanksgiving. With thankful hearts and a giving spirit…

“Thanksgiving, to be truly Thanksgiving, is first thanks, then giving”
-Author unknown

Thanksgiving Wishes
Thanksgiving Wishes

Wishing you and yours a memorable Thanksgiving filled with appreciation and gratitude for the bounty that life offers to each of us and for those we share it with. Every day is a gift. A day of gratitude and acknowledgment of the bounty of life, indeed…

Kristin


For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food
For love and for friends
For everything thy goodness sends. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Foundation Of Entertaining & Serving: White Platters

Perfection In Serving:  White Platters
Perfection In Serving: White Platters

In the world of entertaining, there is no better basic foundation than the white platter. Of course, selecting the elements of the table, such as the linens, glasses, cutlery, dishes and even the centerpiece are key. Yet the platters that hold the culinary creations deserve our focus and attention. Alas, the serving platter. White is always right. A foundation of entertaining, for certain. The year round usefulness of these objects of function as serving pieces also provide an elegant visual of white when paired with any theme your table sets before your guests. The form and function of these serving pieces offer a “blank slate” background that showcases and enhances the culinary delights that are offered upon them

White Platters: The Perfect Background For Culinary Delights
White Platters: The Perfect Background For Culinary Delights

Chefs create artistry within the culinary world and part of their artistry involves the art of “plating”. To a chef the three elements of plating are the plate, the food and the arrangement of the food. The goal is always that the platter or plate does not detract from the delight placed upon it. Simple elegance. That said, presentation is everything. It is no surprise that white is the choice in plating the pleasures of culinary world. Alas, white truly is always right…

With the many shapes and sizes that are offered the choices are vast. Whether decorative and embossed, formal or simple in basic design, the visual of white platters laid out on a table in presentation style is an elegant delight. Perfection in entertaining, for certain. The world of white dishes and serving platters go far in offering a surface that showcases the dish and adds uniformity to the serveware. Even if the shapes and style of various white platters (and bowls) are different, the fact that they are all one color unites in classic style. A visual delight in white

Stacked & Layered Serveware On Display
Stacked & Layered Serveware On Display
Entertaining Basics:  White Platters
Entertaining Basics: White Platters
Foundations Of Entertaining:  White Platters
Foundations Of Entertaining: White Platters

Consider the foundation to entertaining. Whether laid out upon a table or stacked in waiting and ready position, white platters (or any white serveware, for that matter) offer perfection in entertaining. In support of adding entertaining elements of form and function to your world and your tables, consider the value of white platters. Purpose & versatile function with a stackable form that offers visual appeal. A foundation to the delights that await, indeed. Ease in elegant entertaining awaits. White is always right, indeed…

Kristin

Refinement Of The Past: Polished Hotel & Railroad “Travel” Silver

Historied Objects Of Form & Function:  The Grand Hotel Silver
Historied Objects Of Form & Function: The Grand Hotel Silver

The refined past of hotel & railroad silver. Well-polished style, indeed. The world of “travel silver” is one with a polished history, for certain. Although the world of silver in travel is international, a look back at the silver wares of American travel is my focus. An array of vintage silver reclaimed from hotels & railroads (of course, let’s not forget the silver of steamship, ocean liners and restaurants). These elements are historical artifacts that represent the elegance of the past. Made for function and beauty, the durability of the “Hotel’s finest silver” and wares from other travel venues were objects of high style and luxury. Carrying a reminder of a world of elegance that traveled before, these striking objects offer us today function and appeal within our own personal interiors.

Of note, in the late 19th century until the mid 20th century, silver is said to have been an expensive investment but was considered necessary for the business of serving travel guests. Interestingly, even some of the smaller hotels would often have their silver serving pieces engraved. Either the hotel name, logo or crest that would grace the top or bottom of a silver piece. Whether the objects were created by large hotel silver manufacturers, such as Gotham, R. Wallace, Gorham, Reed & Barton and Rogers Bros or small jewelers, these objects are coveted memorabilia today. These often intricate and high craftsmanship pieces graced many American tables of hotel dining and train car dining. Commonplace for every table setting and remnants of history that live on.

Many of America’s hotels of the past are still standing and have been restored to their original grandeur and remain in operation. Yet the world of travel that existed “back in the day” remain as visual photographs and iconic Hollywood reels of film classics that highlight the luxury of a more elegant time. Yet it is the physical objects that remain behind that bring that history alive. The dining experiences and ambiance offered by these esteemed hotels and trains that offered the wares of silver in their dining rooms and dining cars deserve an acknowledgement of appreciation. Elements of a refined past of travel, indeed…

Grand Historic Hotels & The World Of Grand Dining
Grand Historic Hotels & The World Of Grand Dining
Grand Elegance:  Dining Rooms Of Historic Hotels
Grand Elegance: Dining Rooms Of Historic Hotels
The Drake Hotel/Chicago (1925)
The Drake Hotel/Chicago (1925)
Train Travel:  The Elegant World Of Dining On The Rails
Train Travel: The Elegant World Of Dining On The Rails
The World Of Elegant Train Travel
The World Of Elegant Train Travel: Dining Car Elegance

A visual appreciation of the world of “travel silver” and its appearance within our personal interiors today…

Objects of Elegance: The Vintage Silver food Dome
Objects of Elegance: The Vintage Silver food Dome
Form & Function Of The Past:  Hotel Silver
Form & Function Of The Past: Hotel Silver
Objects That Link The Elegance Of The Past:   Hotel Silver
Objects That Link The Elegance Of The Past: Hotel Silver
Remnants Of Elegance:  Hotel Silver
Remnants Of Elegance: Hotel Silver
Objects Of Refinement:  Hotel Silver
Objects Of Refinement: Hotel Silver
Form & Function:  Durable Artifacts Of A Gilded Past
Form & Function: Durable Artifacts Of A Gilded Past
Hotel Silver:  Representations Of The Elegance Of The Past
Hotel Silver: Representations Of The Elegance Of The Past
Serveware With A History:  Hotel Silver
Serveware With A History: Hotel Silver

Alas, even beyond the marked silver pieces of serveware that the world of travel has left behind for us to enjoy, consider with appreciation the “Family” sterling or monogramed pieces from the past. Monogrammed vintage and antique silver & silver-plate flatware are lost art forms that hold historical importance. Possessing a history of the original owners, these orphaned heirlooms offer us a timeless, unique place in our personal worlds of entertaining. “Good Taste” of polished style with which to entertain in high style. Perhaps these objects of silver will carry on doing “double duty” of form & function that will continue in appreciation and use for generations to come. Elegance endures. And if you have no silver to polish and enjoy? A mere appreciation of these objects of silver. Elegance always endures. A “polished” approach to dining, indeed…

Kristin

Banded Iconic Style: The Elegant & Distinctive “Bow Tie”

Banded, Iconic Statement:  The Bow Tie
Banded, Iconic Statement: The Bow Tie

The distinctive “Bow Tie”. Banded, iconic style. The “Bow Tie” is described as “a type of men’s necktie consisting of a ribbon of fabric tied around the collar in a symmetrical manner such that the two opposite ends form loops”. Loops of iconic style. The traditional bow tie, consisting of a strip of cloth which the wearer must tie by hand is known as a “Self-Tie” or “Freestyle” bow tie. Who knew? The Art of the Bow Tie for certain! Of course, the “Ready-Tied” bow ties are sewn into shape, at a fixed length, incorporated into a clip that attaches to the points of the collar of the wearer. These adjustable bow ties are certainly a “one-size fits all”. Typically, however, two shapes are available with the iconic bow of black: the “Bat Wing” (parallel sided) and the “Thistle” (referred to as the “Butterfly”). Which is worn, of course, is a matter of personal preference. The modern bow tie is tied using a common “shoelace knot”. Found in many fabric materials, such as cotton and silk, it is the bow ties of silk that seems to have earned iconic status. A “Statement piece” in fashion. The timeless and classic, elegant “Bow Tie”

Timeless Elegance:  The Classic Black Bow Tie
Timeless Elegance: The Classic Black Bow Tie

History states that the “Bow Tie” originated among Croatian mercenaries during the Prussian wars of the 17th century. Again, who knew? The “Cravat” is termed as “a neckband and the forerunner of the modern tailored necktie and bow tie, originating from 17th-century Croatia.” “The “ruff”, a starched, pleated white linen strip, originated earlier in the 16th century as a neckcloth (readily changeable, to minimize the soiling of a doublet), as a bib, or as a napkin. A band could be either a plain, attached shirt collar or a detachable “falling band” that draped over the doublet collar.” The word “Cravat” derives from the French cravate, which is stated to be “a corrupt French pronunciation of Croate”. Interesting. The history of the Cravat is linked from the end of the 16th century as a men’s fashionable decoration. Of interest, between the 17th century and World War I it was of military origin. During the reign of Louis XIII of France, Croatian mercenaries were enlisted into a regiment supporting the King and Cardinal Richelieu. Perhaps it is no surprise that the traditional Croat military neckcloth would pique the interest of the fashionable Parisians curiosity. These unusual, picturesque scarves, distinctively knotted at the Croats’ necks, would be embraced by the French. Distinctive embellishments of elegance that endure. History is not clear, however, whether the Cravat first evolved into the bow tie or the neck tie. Yet the link to the bow tie is certainly tied to history

French King Louis XIV Decorated With An Early Cravat/1667
French King Louis XIV Decorated With An Early Cravat/1667

And of the bow tie adorning the graceful necks of women? Alas, a visual appreciation of the masculine statement of fashionable distinction. Bow ties, or slight variations thereof, are not new to the world of women’s fashion. Perhaps bold and unexpected, the bow tie is not an element of adornment that will grace the neck of every woman. However, the bow tie on the woman certainly deserves our appreciation. A visual reflection of images of iconic women who emblazoned themselves with masculine edge. Powerful visuals of bold, unexpected style and elegance. Life is a visual statement, for certain…

Vintage Distinction:  "Bow Tied" Style
Vintage Distinction: “Bow Tied” Style
Julie Andrews In The 1982 Film, "Victor Victoria":  Bow-Tied Style
Julie Andrews In The 1982 Film, “Victor Victoria”: Bow-Tied Style

Of course, our attention must also fall onto images of iconic men who stoically created a statement with the bow tie. A respectable and elegant statement, indeed. In recognition of the timeless elegance of the “Bow Tie”

Classic Icons Banded With The Iconic "Bow Tie"
Classic Icons Banded With The Iconic “Bow Tie”
"James Bond":  Classic 007 Style In The Black Bow Tie
“James Bond”: Classic 007 Style In The Black Bow Tie
Classic Elegance In "Bows" OF Black:  The "Bow Tie"
Classic Elegance In “Bows” OF Black: The “Bow Tie”
"Bow Tie" Embellishments:  Feminine Adornment Of Style
“Bow Tie” Embellishments: Feminine Adornment Of Style
A Twist Of The Classic:  Variations Of The "Bow Tie"
A Twist Of The Classic: Variations Of The “Bow Tie”
Variations Of A Classic:  Tied Loops Of "Bow Tied" Style
Variations Of A Classic: Tied Loops Of “Bow Tied” Style

Fashion's Embellishment:  A Variation Of The "Bow Tie"
Fashion’s Embellishment: A Variation Of The “Bow Tie”

Elements Of Adornment With A Masculine Edge:  The "Bow Tie"
Elements Of Adornment With A Masculine Edge: The “Bow Tie”

Consider the elegance of the “Bow Tie”. A timeless fashionable statement that has never left the archives of fashionable and dapper style. Stated to be the “Embodiment of propriety”, the formal elegance of the “Bow Tie” endures in remaining the part of the dress code of “Black Tie” affairs. Yet consider the simplicity of the tasteful neck adornment that requires confidence for the attention that they demand. Certainly, it is an accessory that sets apart and distinguishes the man (or the woman, for that matter) with elegance. A bold, iconic statement of recognized respectability of a venerable fashion tradition. Banded, iconic style, indeed

Kristin

“To its devotees the bow tie suggests iconoclasm of an Old World sort…. But perhaps most of all, wearing a bow tie is a way of broadcasting an aggressive lack of concern for what other people think”
-Warren St John, The New York Times