Tag Archives: southern

A Southern Holiday Party

Holiday party with Ecco Domani Merlot and Pinot Grigio

It feels like only a moment ago we were hosting last year’s holiday party for friends. My how fast a year comes and goes with so many new memories to stowaway in the vault. For this year’s get together in our new Upper West Side home I wanted to bring to life a piece of my past to make the meal even more personal and intimate by taking our friends on a culinary trip down south, to taste my southern roots and warm comfort food.

When I think about southern food I always think about BBQ and biscuits. A saucy slow cooked meat rolled in spices and balanced by the buttery softness of a warm biscuit. It’s sinful and wonderful and went beautifully with Ecco Domani’s full bodied Merlot. For the non-meat eating guests we offered southern catfish baked and served in my cast iron skillet my grandmother passed down to me which is seasoned with love, as I like to say, and a great compliment to Ecco Domani’s Pinot Grigio.

Of course, any time I host friends or family I like to start with a cheese plate for people to graze on while we finish preparing the meal. Following my simple rule I outlined in this post, I chose a wonderful soft goat cheese, aged gouda, manchego cheese to be accompanied by roasted almonds, apples and artisanal crackers. Wanting to start with a crisp and light wine, we opened Ecco Domani’s Pinot Grigio for the cheese course though it goes perfectly well with the Merlot too if you prefer.

In the end, no matter what you serve or what you wear, it’s about making memories with friends and loved ones, sharing stories, being at peace and above all, loving one another this holiday season. Cheers….

See below for entertaining tips and southern recipes created for this night by my friend Jared who is, as we call him, the cookie monster. Everything was served on handmade pottery (a wedding gift from my parents!) by Clayworks in the East Village and another very personal, homey touch to this intimate gathering.

Holiday party with Ecco Domani Merlot and Pinot Grigio

For last year’s holiday party we set individual photographs I had taken of each guest at their place setting to not only arrange the seating in a beautiful visual way but for each of the guests to take home a gift from the evening. This year I decided to create individual bouquets for each place setting that the guests could take home and enjoy for the days to come. Living in New York City this is a wonderfully easy way to play with your creativity. On 28th and 7th is the most fabulous flower market where you can find anything your heart desires. I love more than anything exploring in and out of these shops and creating my own story though flowers.

Above, setting the table in Maud Heline’s Arlanik white button up shirt dress made in Brooklyn  (ps- it’ has pockets!!) 

Holiday party with Ecco Domani Merlot and Pinot Grigio Holiday party with Ecco Domani Merlot and Pinot Grigio (more…)

This entry was posted in Lifestyle and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


Charleston's newest popular resturant HUSK.

Talk about COMFORT FOOD. Husk is Charleston’s perfect combination of modern day sophistication and down-home goodness. The second you walk onto the double-front porch and feel the coziness of being home, it’s like the whole experience has you wrapped in a cashmere blanket. The board on the foyer wall lists all the local farms, fishermen, growers who supply your food. It feels like one big Southern family here with roots that extend for generations. On the drink menu they serve things like cider made from the same recipe as its creation 100 years ago  or house-made soda concoctions and old classics like Cheerwine Soda from Salisbury, NC, the old soft drink company still run by the same family. With a menu that changes twice daily, it’s so hard to decide what to order! As far as the classics on the menu go, I’m always a sucker for southern catfish, which is outstanding here, but word has it they are the best burger in town. So add it to your must-eats list and feel free to take me with you when you go….

PS- the pig ear lettuce wraps are DELICIOUS, the selection of Madeira wine is fantastic, and their pimento cheese crostini haunt my dreams…

Charleston's newest popular resturant HUSK. Charleston's newest popular resturant HUSK. Charleston's newest popular resturant HUSK. (more…)

This entry was posted in Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Hampden Clothing


Being in New York City, especially now that the studio is so close to SoHo, we are very aware of all the amazing boutiques the city has to offer…almost to the point of being overwhelmed!

I’d been putting off buying a garden wedding dress for months. I didn’t want to spend a day going from store to store, but I also wanted to have more of an experience buying such a special piece than sitting all alone in my PJ’s on a Saturday morning and ordering online. I think there is a time to buy something quickly online and then there is a time to make it an experience.

When I was down in Charleston with Tibi for their pre-fall runway show, we stopped in to the boutique Hampden Clothing where creator and owner Stacy Smallwood has turned an historic King Street storefront into a little curated slice of SoHo heaven. I walked in, I said I was looking for a garden party wedding dress, and in 15mins it was done. It felt like I was finding something insanely special without having to do all the work. They carried everything from Alexander Wang to Rag & Bone, Tibi to KENZO and more. It was fabulous.

So what’s the point of covering a store? The point is, Stacy brought New York fashion -avant garde silhouettes, crazy patterns and pieces so chic they look like something a princess would wear – into Charleston South Carolina, a town of 400,000 people, and never looked back. She doesn’t sell beach flip flops or mass-produced product that’s here today, gone tomorrow; she respects her customer’s intelligence, sophistication and style. She created a space where you can love fashion but not have to know anything about it and still be taken care of. She has wound back the clock to an era of shopping where the store was specially curated for you, where shopkeepers knew your name and what you liked, pulled for you from designers when she is on buying trips to New York or Paris, and makes sure you feel as good as you look. In a time where the Internet makes us all so anonymous, it’s a modern day luxury to have someone like Stacy who KNOWS you.

I sat down with Stacy in her store to hear how she created her own fashion universe in the middle of the South.


How did you get into fashion?

I was recruited by Neiman Marcus at Vanderbilt to go straight into their buying program, and it was the best decision I ever made. I moved to Dallas and I was with Neiman Marcus for five years as an assistant buyer and designer in sportswear, and department manager in ladies shoes at the flagship store.

Why do you say it’s the best thing that ever happened to you?

It taught me a work ethic and gave me a bigger picture of the fashion industry that I wouldn’t have gotten. My buyer taught me to – she worked equally as hard if not harder, and she taught me to never ask anybody to do anything you wouldn’t do.

Hampden_Clothing_04 Hampden_Clothing_05 (more…)

This entry was posted in Fashion Reportage and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Cumberland Island


I remember that photograph. It was instantly synonymous with American style, American royalty, and that fairytale wedding to Prince Charming. I never forgot that image, the beauty of the moment, the elegance and intimacy of the chosen venue. Such an interesting choice to make for such a famous last name. Fast forward nearly 18 years later, and I’m standing on the steps of the First African Baptist Church on Cumberland Island thinking about all the dreams that one photograph gave me as a child. I remember reading about how the guests stayed at the Greyfield Inn where the reception was held but as time passed these little details faded away, now those faded details are a part of my very personal memories. Cumberland became more than a dream, but a cherished experience.

The day is full of delight with the kind of youthful energy and discovery you find in a F. Scott Fitzgerald book. We went on hour long hikes, took bike rides to old cemeteries and rode around horses grazing beneath the ruins of the Dungeness mansion. We rode for hours down the seashore without ever seeing another person, finding seashells and chasing horses. One of the most charming rituals of the Inn is how they make their guests picnic baskets for lunch everyday you can take with you on your private adventures.  On our second morning we rode with the house naturalist on a tour of the island where we visited that famous church, saw the house where President Jimmy Carter ate at multiple times, and discovered Plum Plantation which took my breath away. The history and nature, preservation and privateness is so far beyond anything I have ever experienced that I can only describe this stretch of land, twice the size of Manhattan, as magical.

If you ever need to find that corner of the world where things just are… where you can sit in the natural silence of the world alone and breathe in the sunlight, taste the salt of the sea and feel that life is just simply beautiful… then come to Cumberland Island. My heart will be there waiting for you.

Cumberland_Island_003    Cumberland_Island_005    Cumberland_Island_007 Cumberland_Island_008


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

This entry was posted in Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.