Monthly Archives: December 2013

Ann Street Studio Holiday Party


When a photo studio become the perfect event space…

A few weeks ago I was a bit under the weather so I relaxed by watching the moving “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” (FYI, the Mercer-Williams house is my DREAM home). As the story goes, Mr. Jim Williams throws the most epic Christmas parties; so, inspired by the movie, I tweeted my dear friend @jessicakausen who organizes the events for Squarespace and asked if we could get a piano and space heaters for the balcony. She replied with “you can get anything in NYC” and the Ann Street Studio Holiday Party planning was underway…

What ended up happening was a wonderful night celebrating an exceptional year with our dearest friends, our creative collaborators, people who inspire us and people who keep us happy and healthy. I learned a lot of things about hosting a party – so it took 4 guys and an overseeing landlord to get the piano up the stairs to be played by Chris Pattishall but it was totally worth it! So the three tier red velvet cake we ordered was actually one level, but don’t panic, we had our friends at Elan Flowers give it a special topper of roses and hydrangeas! So the white lights we ordered for the garlands were actually twinkling lights… throw ’em up on the skylight instead! It looks like shooting stars! And of course there were surprises…our friend Bess sent a delivery of red bouquets and endless strands of garland that made the room wonderfully beautiful, people brought hosting gifts (our liquor cabinet is stocked now!) and one dear friend even made a painting for us which is one of the most touching things I have ever received.

It was so nice to stop, raise a glass, say thanks and give a kiss to the people in your life.

 While I worked on the guest list Kevin sketched the invitation while on a shoot down in Charleston, little pieces of our neighborhood, the cityscape we know so well, and our little studio tucked away on a street in Tribeca…




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A Day in the Life


You know the saying, walk a mile in someone’s shoes? I recently tried that out with supermodel and philanthropist Petra Nemcova as she moved from video interview to her business office, on the streets of New York and lunch meetings. These days everyone is busy, we all go so fast: an Instagram here, a flight there, back to back meetings and @ messages. It was so fascinating to shadow someone and watch as they live minute by minute and in Petra’s case, do it with such ease, grace, amazing kindness and triple kisses. As we moved from place to place, I learned so much about the woman whose face I knew so well, including all about her non-profit foundation, the Happy Hearts Fund.

Happy Hearts Fund focuses on bringing hope to children in the wake of natural disasters. Coming in to work after the emergency response is over, HHF is mostly focused on rebuilding schools and putting sustainable practices into place to make a real and lasting difference. Petra was inspired to create the foundation due to tragic events – she and her fiancé, photographer Simon Atlee, were in Thailand during the 2004 tsunami. Her fiancé was killed and though Petra was an incredibly lucky survivor, she suffered multiple serious injuries. During her recovery, she realized that after the emergency responders left, children were often forgotten about. Unsatisfied with charitable foundations available, Petra set out to create her own and thus Happy Hearts Fund was born. Since its beginning in 2006, it has been active in seven countries and has built and rebuilt 84 schools and kindergartens.

Recently the foundation has partnered with Chopard, a brand we know and love, to craft a special edition of a Happy Diamonds bracelet, featuring a free-moving pink sapphire inside a heart. A percentage of the sales from the bracelets will go toward the reconstruction of schools for children around the world, making the world a more beautiful place all around.

Petra_Nemcova_03 Petra_Nemcova_04

Above, Petra layers three of Chopard’s Happy Diamonds bracelets  as she prepares for her live interview.


Makeup artist Michelle Coursey (who has the most amazing vintage style) used all Clinique products to make up Petra’s beautiful face. She started with Super Balanced Makeup foundation, Airbrush Concealer, Blushing Blush Powder Blush in Sunset Glow, Sunswept bronzer, All About Shadow Duo in Sand Dunes on the eyes, High Lengths Mascara, and finished with bright lips in Cubby Stick Intense in Heftiest Hibiscus.

Her nail color which I especially loved is part of the special collaboration with Clinique and the Happy Hearts Fund. Clinique has created three unique products that help give back by donating part of the sales to Petra’s foundation and have already raised $550,000 for the rebuilding of schools across the world.


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Five Golden Rings…

I remember as a child believing in the magic of Christmas, the workshop of wonder hidden away up north where anything you could dream of was possible, the jolly bearded man with rose-colored cheeks and a boisterous laugh who was there thinking of you and your special gift that would be just perfect. Now I’m all grown up and although Santa does not magically bring me diamond tiaras (yes, that happened) the magic of Christmas wishing is not lost. Sometimes in my fantasies I dream of delicate little items, future heirlooms for unnamed children, and they float under a glass jar, so close but you can’t touch it… all you can do is hint, hint, hint and hope that someone you love is nearby to lift the glass and pick your perfect gift.

This #hintingseason I’m dreaming of something that will last forever, a piece of LoveGold jewelry that can come with a story, one filled with White Christmas mornings and cuddled fireside nights…

What are you hoping for this Christmas?

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Helen’s Guide to Charleston

The best recommendation is by word of mouth…

So yesterday we chatted with Helen about her life, business, and home as part of a very special series on inspiring women across the United States in partnership with Pandora…but today she’s taking us on the town! She gave us a list of her Charleston favorites – “I’m listing a lot of food because it’s so good!” – and we headed out to see what Charleston, South Carolina was all about…


First I made her take me to her pop-up shop, Pretend Store, where we chatted with the current designer in house, Proud Mary’s Harper Poe.

“We used to have our office in the little building that is now Pretend Store. We bought the building and renovated it a few years ago and when it was time to move out we didn’t know what we wanted to do with it so Pretend Store happened. It started as a way to bide our time while we figured out then longer plan for the building and turned into a way for us to connect with people that we’ve kind of had design crushes on. We rent the building to each participant for the month and then they do with it whatever they want. It’s been really fun seeing the space transformed time and time again. “




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