Friday, May 15, 2020

Weekend Chic: You're Invited Classic Elegant Entertaining - A Must Have New Book By Stephanie Booth Shafran

~The Essentials~

"For me, the joy of entertaining is in the details: coordinating the colors, selecting the china, choosing the linens, and having it all come to fruition seamlessly.  No detail is too small!  To orchestrate a dreamy event, I focus on a few necessities that, when combined, create a fete to remember.  These include elegant invitations to set the tone, bounteous flowers, an in-season menu, and tablescapes that do more than serve: they delight the eyes."

I had the pleasure of watching my mom prepare for guests to come to our home.  She had a beautiful way of entertaining.  Her desire was to create a stylish, thoughtful event tailored to the guest(s).  Once, a dear friend of hers was in town for a few hours, which prompted her to cut a large sheath of mimosa-colored Forsythia blossoms from our backyard, her guest's favorite flower, placing them in a large clear vase with the stems surrounded by lemons, and "finger foods" and a small basket of travel luxuries for her trip.  Whenever she entertained it was about the guest, where every detail was thought through and the conversation and their time together, no matter the length, was what was important.

Stephanie Booth Shafran's new must have book:  You're Invited - Classic Elegant Entertaining is a lavish guide to entertaining at home which includes RecipesThe Menu and Party Inspiration for each event, a Pucci by the Pool Party for her daughters and friends, Holiday Magic, House Warming Party, Dinner Under the Stars, and Parties with a Purpose.  Buy one for yourself and a friend, read it cover to cover; it's a luxurious book with practical, beautifully detailed information presented with grace and hospitality which are the essence of entertaining at home.

"There is no nicer invitation in the world than being asked into someone's home." 

A Ladies' Charity Luncheon

A Lush Springtime Garden

Blush Pink, Sky Blue, and Crisp White

Pink Lilacs, Tulips, Sweet Peas, Roses, and Green Viburnum in chinoiserie vases and bud vases

Spring green chargers; Blue and white Herend China; Paisley tablecloth; Topiary Boxwood Balls; Blue Crystal Butterflies

Salads, Tea Sandwiches, and Cakes

"Arranging flowers at various heights echoes the natural lines of a garden and encourages the eye to wander."

"A tablescape is more than flowers, china, and linens - even your place card holders should be eye candy.  For this al fresco luncheon, I set the table with some of the most spring-like china in my collection, including the Herend Rothschild Bird with Blue Border and my inherited green buffet plates."

"Life is a party.  Dress like it." - Lilly Pulitzer


in your home, align your wardrobe for the night with the colors in your interiors, the food, and flowers.

and let the rooms you'll be using for entertaining give you ideas for flowers, food, and decor.  It's an approach that always works, whether you have a modern house that's more neutral or a traditional one that's filled with radiant color.

I tend to focus on what I'm wearing above the waist, as that's what people notice most.  Think statement earrings, a fun necklace, or a beautiful blouse.  And I always feel more festive in heels.

our outfits complement each other.  It sets the tone for the party, after all!  And he's a good sport about it.

get dressed up, it sets the tone instantly.

A Chic Dinner in the City

"I let classic New York serve as my inspiration... Everything, from the Beaux-Arts architecture of the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the 1914 neoclassical Frick Collection, conjures a cinematic version of the city that will live on forever."

"In New York City, a classic black and white palette exudes the same glamour as tuxedoed gentlemen at The Met.  Black taper candles call to mind Manhattan's soaring skyline.  The custom banquette maximizes space."

"In an intimate setting, such as a New York pied-a-terre, it is vital to edit everything down to its essence in keeping with the theme for the night.  Repetition (like the limited palette of black, white, burgundy, and metallic shown here) is key to keeping with the theme in a small space."

"Be pretty if you can, be witty if you must, but be gracious if it kills you." - Elsie de Wolf


"Christmas comes at an ideal time of year- when days are short, a chill is in the air, and it is even more important to spend time with loved ones.  I always adore the season and have so many fond memories of Christmas from my childhood, because my mom made each Christmas very special.  Once I had my own family, I continued some of her traditions and added new ones of my own, all with the goal of bringing the same sense of delight to Christmas."  


In our family we decorate these tender, crisp cookies with colored sugar, royal icing, and sprinkles.  The cookies make great hostess gifts.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies

2 1/2 Cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt to blend.  Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until very light and fluffy.  Beat the egg and vanilla extract.  Gradually blend in the flour mixture.

Divide the dough into 4 equal portions.  Shape each portion of dough into a ball, then flatten them into disks.  Wrap each dough disk in plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 4 hours minimum.  (The dough can be made up to 4 days ahead.  Keep refrigerated.)

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Line large heavy baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out a dough disk 1/4 inch thick.  Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes.  Transfer the cutouts to the prepared baking sheets.  Gather and re-roll scraps.  Repeat with the remaining dough disks.

Bake the cookies in batches until golden on the edges, about 10 minutes.  Transfer the cookies to racks to cool.  Cool completely before decorating.

"On the breakfast table, a centerpiece of verdant greens evokes the spirit of the winter woods."

"Fragrant paperwhites - a favorite for the holidays, take center stage at the breakfast table, where teddy bear moss topiaries add to the fun."

"Where we love is home - home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts."
-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

You're Invited: Classic, Elegant Entertaining 2020 by Stephanie Booth Sharan, Rizzoli New York.  
Photographs by The Ingalls.  Selected press images used with consent of

Stephanie Booth Shafran is a fifth-generation Angeleno and is one of Los Angeles's preeminent hostesses.   She serves on the board of UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital and is a member of the Colleagues, support group of CII, Children's Institute Inc.  She and her family divide their time between Los Angeles, New York City, and Sun Valley, Idaho.  Preeminent Decorator Jeffrey Bilhuber is the author of five books, including Everyday Decorating (Rizzoli 2019).  Celebrated photographers Gemma and Andrew Ingalls are the authors of  In Full Flower (Rizzoli, 2017)

“You’re invited into the world of classic, elegant entertaining by Stephanie Booth Shafran. Peek into the breathtaking houses, apartments, and rooms I’ve created for this world-class hostess and client who has a ‘gift for celebration.’ The book is a triumph (with a foreword by yours truly).” 

—Jeffrey Bilhuber, author of Everyday Decorating

My sincere congratulations to Stephanie Booth Shafran for her gorgeous, must-have book, the first of many, and for the lovely, thoughtful note.

To Jill and Lizzy at Jill Cohen Associates, Where Beautiful Books Begin, thank you for the opportunity, it's always a pleasure. Warmest regards.

And to Ron Longe at rizzoliusa thank you for the gift of this beautiful book.  All the best to you and yours.

**All quotes and colored text are by Stephanie Booth Shafran unless noted.**

Thursday, May 7, 2020

California Designer Mark D. Sikes 'MORE BEAUTIFUL' new furniture line with CHADDOCK

Spring is a time of renewal, beauty, and inspiration.  You only need to look at the new Mark D. Sikes collection for CHADDOCK to see that living beautifully and being inspired just got easier.  His customizable furniture and his color choices by the famed Farrow & Ball allow you to design or refresh your home with ease.  Sikes, who is known for his love of blue and white and gorgeous Chinoiserie, also has his second book More Beautiful: All -American Decorating to be released September 1st.  

Happy Spring to us!

Monday, April 27, 2020

Designer Caroline Gidiere's Alabama Georgian Home - A Garden Inside and Out

My love of Georgian homes started when I was young at the home of my mother's friend.  The perfect proportions and the symmetry is always so pleasing; nothing seems "out of sorts" as my mom used to say.  The gardens always frame the house beautifully and they are delight to visit.  For designer Caroline Gidiere who's parents had taken her to Colonial Williamsburg every summer for 20 years, she wanted a home based off the George Wythe brick Georgian, and she hired Architect James F. Carter to bring her dream to life.  It's a romantic home inside and out with beautiful gardens designed by landscape architect Randy McDaniel which boast a dahlia garden, trained espaliered hornbeams, boxwood, fruit trees, a petite greenhouse by Eden Brothers, a private side garden swathed in creeping fig, and the classic beauty of myrtle topiaries in pots.  Inside is just as beautiful, designed by Gidier's deft hand with a lovely mix of color, fabrics, and prints with a timeless traditional feel. 

A lovely garden inside and out...  Enjoy!

Photography by Brian Woodcock

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