Planning a party at home is worth every single minute of effort and expense you put into it.Continue reading
Coq au Vin at the Country House
Even though it can often take days of prep, cooking good food at home helps to keep the family close.Continue reading
White Dress and Ricotta Toast
Breakfast in bed for Elizabeth.Continue reading
Grilled flank steak and seasonal vegetables were the stars of a recent dinner outdoors.Continue reading
I cut back three pots of basil to make a double batch of pesto for the freezer.Continue reading
Peanut in Portugal
taking some time to read for pleasureContinue reading
thoughts on Mother’s Day
I’ve been having anxious thoughts about this coming Sunday, and how to rightly celebrate. For years I’ve been planning one meal or another to mark the day, and these past few weeks have made me feel a little like opting out. That’s a sad thought, so I took myself for a long long walk outdoors […]Continue reading
day 10, a clean palate
In an effort to minimize, so far to go with that concept, for new house down south furnished in a flash I stuck with a color palate of white, grey, and dark brown, or one of my favorite words chocolate. Mostly white and grey, and we moved fast.
At Rooms to Go we picked up two white leather pieces, a sofa and a loveseat. The rest of the haul came from Restoration Hardware, and not embarrassed to say Restoration Hardware Outlet. Husband likes to move fast, no time to wait for special orders.
First night in the new house we slept on a mattress on the floor, and second daughter Booie slept on a yoga mat on the floor. In a land of plenty it was fun in a weird strange way. Booie and I also spent a night with no power, and that was fun too. Candlelight and early to bed.
Kind of like building a wardrobe based on a cohesive color story, furnishing this place with limited choice made it so much easier to make decisions. Of course, you always need to mix things up or throw in a curve ball, hence the Hermes orange cushions for outdoor seating area. Really like that little pop in what is otherwise Zen-like and serene.
Today’s work outfit was tone on tone too. Black cashmere V-neck, black leather skirt, soft white scarf, taupe suede boots, keeping it all in the same family made it so much easier to get out the door.
Every day dress, clothes: neutrals, interiors: mostly grey and white, food: Prosecco in the office and take-out for dinner.
Day 10, check.
For brides, grooms, and enquiring minds, here’s who helped us pull off with what I must say was last summer’s most epic lawn fete:
The Dress | Amsale
Oh, The Dress. Okay, so the blog here is called every day dress, so you know even though we wander we’re kind of all about the dress. Caroline has been looking at wedding dresses for as long as I can remember, even before the man entered the room. I think the dress was the very first thing that was decided on, and after that it was all systems go go. Caroline, working and living in NYC, set up 7 or so bridal appointments, Sarah and I flew in for one wonderful weekend. She spread the fun out over three days, on day one she kind of had two picked out, on day two at Amsale she and we knew, she had her dress. She put that gown on and tears came, champagne was poured, it was that good. Of course it was a little over budget, she would figure it out. Day three of appointments we politely thanked and cancelled. Oh, that dress. I’ll never forget her in that dress. She absolutely beamed walking down the aisle and the entire, glorious day. After all was said and done the next night she put the dress on with bare feet, hair up, and celebrated again under the brunch tent during an impromptu all-hands on deck pasta dinner. It really doesn’t get any better than that, the bride doing dress repeat.
The Caterer | Giancarlo’s
My family knows that after coffee the first thing I think about in the morning is what’s for breakfast, after that it’s what’s for lunch, and after that it’s obviously what’s for dinner. As the family cook and entertainment provider, my vote for food, drink, and service was heavily weighted. We considered two options, yet even before going into the process my mind was on Giancarlo’s. They’ve been in our city house and office serving up parties for years now, they always deliver. The family card helps too, Ethan played basketball with Anthony all while growing up, Maxwell and Anthony graduated from high school together, Gabriella is always delightful and professional, their staff is young, good looking, and energetic. We were planning a party where every last thing needed to be brought in to a sloping country grass field, huge responsibility, yet I just knew they would provide the experience we were looking for. And they did; a seamless, sophisticated cocktail hour, an elegant, unpretentious seated dinner for 212 guests, fun, spicy stuff for a boozy after party. This didn’t come without a cost, honestly when the quote first came in I was thinking of cooking that chicken dinner. Husband even offered me $15k (that’s a lot of new shoes) to take it on. Bride and groom weren’t biting, Giancarlo’s it was. They were superlative.
The Band | The Digs
Caroline’s best friends mom has her hand in wedding planning, she was the hero in referring The Digs, thank you Marilynn. They were extraordinary. Caroline and Sean were adamant about having a great band, we all know that can make or break a good party. Bride, groom, and siblings listened to play tapes, watched videos, and it was their decision to book this Toronto, Ontario phenomenon. Coming from Canada we needed to provide hotel accommodations, a green room, and two kinds of dinner, vegan is a thing with musicians. Again, over budget, absolutely worth every dollar spent. Dance floor was jammed from first song to last.
The Invitation | Smythson
The wedding invitation was emotional. In house we have two family graphic designers, bride’s brother Maxwell created the Save the Date, and bride’s aunt Tracy creates one-of-a-kind stationery suites for her clients under the umbrella of her west coast design company Radeff Design Studios. Given those two love affairs you just can’t pick. Here I was the heavy and sent Caroline on her lunch hour to Smythson on Madison Ave. She worked with the consultant in person and I worked remotely. We were a little under the wire, our decision came kind of late in the game and then all correspondence and proofs had to be vetted through London. Again, over budget, thank you Bill and Collins & Collins. (what’s a budget?). Invitation was delivered, I hand addressed and stamped, carried those big boxes to local post office and politely asked that they all be hand-canceled, thank you USPS.
Tenting, Rentals, and Lighting | McCarthy Tents & Events
Got a little crazy here, in the end we had 4 tents and the main party tent location was moved less than a week before the big day. Tent locations were initially measured under 3 feet of snow. Aunt Tracy was the super hero here, honestly she, along with McCarthy, made this happen. She tracked weather patterns, looked at sunrise and sunset, walked the property considering absolutely all logistics, and at the eleventh hour helped stake all tents.
McCarthy covered tents, tent lighting, tables, bars, bistros, chairs, dance floor, generators, maybe more, can’t remember if they did grills and/or hotboxes for caterer. They also had rain plan, heaters and air conditioners all on reserve if needed, they were not, grateful. Totally recommend.
Production Manager | Tracy Radeff McConnell | Radeff Design Studios
Tracy, founder and CEO of Radeff Design Studios, provided overall professional and logistical advisement. In essence, she brought all vendors together on the same page. She was timeline and detail oriented down to the minute. Bravo.
Photographer | Sarah Bridgeman
Her work, and spirit, simply outstanding. She and her team captured the day, and all you see here. Caroline emailed her letter of introduction, Sarah accepted, and the memories through photographs live on. Another referral from Marilynn, thank you.
Bridesmaid Dresses | Amanda Uprichard Bridal
Caroline and Sarah sourced bridesmaid dresses another NYC weekend. Finally, something great looking and on budget. Must say they all looked gorgeous and happy. Loved the shades of white.
Hair and Makeup | Groomservice Beauty & Dry Bar
Again, Caroline and Sarah on point, with advisement from Lexi. They know hair and makeup and booked Buffalo’s best. Glamour squad arrived city-side Saturday morning at about 7:15 am and helped us all get wedding day ready. Bride, wedding party, MOB (mother of bride), MOG (other of groom) and both maternal grandmothers. Special thanks to Kristen Baker. That in itself was a party. 🙂
Cake | Dessert Deli
Caroline and Sean during one of their Buffalo visits tasted cake. Sean, being the consummate sweet tooth, had first choice. Cake looked beautiful, I heard it was delicious. To this day I still think about that missed opportunity, and where that wedding cake went the day after.
Table Top Rentals | Petunia Rose
This was a god-send referral from stylist colleague Cary Kimber in Rochester, New York. Who knew there was a vintage and luxury table top rental provider an hour and fifteen minutes away that has done work at The Whitney Museum and The Met Ball? Woah, we were in good company. Caroline and I did early spring road trip and met with owner Eileen Wright. In less time than it took for us to get there we chose china, stemware, flatware, and details. Sure, we could have gone default stock white, yet Eileen’s belief shares ours, ‘that welcoming friends and sharing happy moments with them around a table that has been imagined and decorated for their sole pleasure exemplifies the art of entertaining’.
Sound | Indigo Productions
Behind the scenes but deal breaker if it goes wrong, it didn’t.
Linens | La Tavola
Coordinated by my sister and bride’s aunt, this fine linen rental company based in Napa, California helped provide beautiful, luxury linens.
Flowers | Maureen’s Buffalo Wholesale Flower Market
The vision board was clear: white, and shades of white. Hydrangea and Roses. Caroline sent me for initial consult, Caroline, Tracy, and I signed off on final consult. Flowers were what we wanted, pretty, fresh, beautiful, and not over-done. We were in the country after all and surrounded by greenery.
Church | Saint Louis Roman Catholic Church
My words can’t describe the beauty or history, please enjoy Sarah’s photo capture and visit St. Louis RC Church, here.
Pastor | Rev. Joseph S. Rogiano
Dear family friends Sam and Michelle helped facilitate the sincere, engaging, charismatic Father Joe, thank you, wholeheartedly.
Transportation | Buffalo Limousine
Never saw them, husband and I drove ourselves, yet understand their service was great transporting guests to and from Buffalo to Eden. Heard the drivers were friendly, as well.
Glamping Tents | Contentment Camping
Caroline’s grade school friend Andrew gifted her and Sean seventeen tents for friends to party on into the wee hours and the next day. Party on they did, indeed. Andrew and his mom Pat provide ‘glamping’ or ‘camping without roughing it’ events all over the country. Check them out here, Contentment Camping.
Restrooms | United Rentals
Never saw these, I guess that’s the idea, and they got rave reviews.
Lunch and Brunch | Carte Blanche
Church was at noon, reception at five. To feed the crew called in Carte Blanche and they delivered a wedding lunch of burgers and fries. Next day they brought corned beef hash, potatoes, Bloody Mary’s and more.
Planners | Marilynn Militello and Angelica McNally
Thank you and thank you. xoxo
really bad dinner
Snowed in and thinking about food, and clothes, obviously. We’re in spring trunk show mode and traffic is light, especially when everything is closed for three days and counting. Kind of love snow days, time is at a standstill.
Thinking too about the blog, and what I need to do to inspire myself. Yesterday got myself up, dressed, made the bed, packed up some ice for the drink bin and grabbed fresh flowers off the kitchen counter, headed downtown for client meetings, and with the snow falling the cancellations rolled in. Headed home, and all I could do was double denim, blue jeans and a blue shirt, and contemplate what could be had for lunch.
Last Friday night, in an effort to be new year healthy, picked up four salmon fillets and a head of green cabbage on the way home from the studio, having had worked with new spring clothes all day. Salmon and cabbage? Kind of spring like; and even though the cooking, technique, plating, and presentation were on point, it was a really bad dinner. The thing is it’s just not spring yet, and not even close to being spring like. So, while I might be dressing myself and my women in new spring clothes for the season ahead, the food correlation is just simply a no-go. It was a dinner for three, and not one of us could get through it. Instead, we tucked into the wine. Started with white, because you know white with fish, ha-ha. Took a look out the window, snow blustering all around, and poured some red. Ate some of the cabbage and simply pushed the farm raised pink stuff around the plate. I should and do definitely know better: do not buy farm raised fish, but I did. So, no dinner and over served on the wine. Went to bed hungry and spinning. It was for sure a really bad dinner.
Having made meatballs and sauce the day before served that up for lunch the next afternoon. That was the dinner we were looking for on a cold snowy night, live and learn. When you get it right it should go on repeat? We can do meatballs and sauce two nights in a row, especially and particularly in January.
Still trying to do healthy, yet wanting warmth, and comfort. Simmered up a double batch of vegetable stock, some for a hearty minestrone soup, and some for the freezer. A bowl of soup, combined with a grilled cheese sandwich, butter is still love, be still my January heart. See you later bland, pink fish.
As for spring clothes, we put in our order: a tailored single-breasted glen plaid blazer, for denim in all configurations, dark, distressed, white. Added the matching glen plaid trouser, not for a pant suit look but maybe, simply for having a nice trouser in the wardrobe. Try as I do denim can’t take you everywhere and felt a grown-up trouser for spring 19 was a must have. Also did a white blazer dress in a beautiful crepe with princess seaming, a bit of an asymmetric hem, to be worn as a dress, and as a coat. A black ballet inspired tee, semi-fitted, extended cap shoulder, because again, try as I do sometimes a tank is simply feeling a little too exposed. Added a beautiful navy unlined crewneck cardigan, with six silver buttons, a little fringe detail, tonal stitching, and long, cuffed sleeves, it’s stunning. For underneath a white pique blouse with silk chiffon trim, very classic and luxurious, hidden button front and long sleeves with deep cuffs and two rows of buttons. Of course, there is denim, a new pair of white, always need to refresh those to look best, a cool textured jacquard pair done in a black and navy texture, and a color block one with a cool fringed hem. Yeah, three pair of jeans yet that’s what we wear. To top it all off added a little iridescent jacket in a jet black and navy Moiré cotton, with silk habotai hem and cuffs. All great pieces can’t wait to get them, hopefully UPS is snow-proof.
As for the blog, they say write what you know, so food and clothes. Not for all, I know. If you like what we’ve got, thanks for hanging around. My in-house photographer grew up and went to college so the clothing shots have been lacking, only so far I can push the husband, and selfies feel a little weird. Speaking of selfies, here’s one in the studio, while snow swirls all around. A few DM’s about the taupe suede boots: they are Sarah Flint, a direct to consumer brand. Sarah makes great footwear using some of the same production sites as Hermes, Louboutin, and Blahnik, and counts the likes of Meghan Markle, Lady Gaga, Jane Fonda and Cindy Crawford as fans. I’m trying a little six month ambassador thing with them, and in return they’ve given me a code for clients and friends, RCOLLINS50, to use at checkout for $50 off your first pair. I do like her shoes and boots, have three pair now.
That’s all for now, I’ve broken the ice and re-fed the blog. Off to take an afternoon bath, time stands still on snow days, and then back to work on wardrobing women in new spring things. Really bad dinner, see you later. xoxo