How to throw a stress free (well almost) outdoor party

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There is good stress (like worrying about what you are wearing to the Bachelorette premiere party) and bad stress (like worrying that Britt will beat out Katilyn, ugh). Throwing a party should be good stress – full of excitement and maybe some last-minute panic, but ultimately fun. I think what stresses me out about parties is a. managing guest expectations and b. making sure there is just enough for everyone, and that people can serve themselves, so that once the party starts my job is over. I was a waitress/bartender for years and those days are over if you know what I mean.

Let’s talk about the expectation thing – I think since I’m a stylist/designer person, I get it in my head that people expect it to look totally curated, pulled together, a la Martha (and they do). And unless it’s for a big shoot, it very rarely is. So what I ALWAYS do is frame it as a ‘casual backyard affair’ with comfort food and lots of options and then people don’t have high expectations (and are easily impressed). Have you ever been to a wedding where the venue is really luxurious and its black tie dress but everything else is super not and then its kinda jarring? Well, that’s because your expectations were high, based on the high-end location – so sadly the rest of the party kinda should match that in style. So if you just send out the ‘its a casual bbq’ vibe then people have pretty low expectations and then you can wow them. ‘Social Manipulation’ by Emily Henderson – the name of my next book.

This party was set up with Target, and I had loads of help so no, it wasn’t just ‘thrown together’. But the principles of how we set it up are easy, and things that I actually do (or ideas that I will start doing immediately).

Click through to see all the steps, tips, photos and resources:

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Design Mistake #3: Painting a small, dark room white

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I like a good, bright white room, sure, but it’s not for everyone. It’s like how some people can pull off really wild, crazy disheveled, sun-blown hair, and look cool while others look like they just finished the walk of shame, in 1987 – it really depends on all the other styling elements.

But there is this misconception flying out there, seemingly promoted by people exactly like me, that painting all rooms white will make them feel bigger, brighter and just generally more beautiful. For some it does, but if the room has very little natural light then it just looks DEAD. Flat. So boring. In photographs we can make any room look really bright, like the sun is just flooding them with light, (and we do) but it’s often VERY much not the case. White paint thrives in really bright rooms (like my living room and bedroom) but without that light bouncing around it, nothing happens.

Click through to what neutral colors you should paint your dark rooms …

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How to pull together a last minute flower arrangement for Mom

Yes, folks that time of year has come again, the time where you have to show your mother the much needed love she deserves for (painfully) bringing your bright and shining smile into this earth. Now if you are anything like me, sometimes our busy lives get the best of us and Mother’s Day creeps up on us faster than we anticipated. This year, rather than finding yourself waiting in line at the grocery with one of those tacky (you are the light in my life) Mother’s Day cards, skip the greeting card aisle and run on over to the flower section of your local grocer to grab a few fresh bunches of flowers. Our darling friend Rachel, shows us not only how to arrange them like a pro, but how to keep it under budget, so you don’t break the bank.

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Click through to find out how it’s done and what you need to buy:

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Small Business Tips and Tour: Gracias Madre

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I’m not a business expert or consultant, but I frequent a lot of small businesses in my pursuit of, well, getting out of the house and shopping and eating. We’ve all been to those restaurants that are doing a lot of things that are right, sure, but often the few small missteps (or just not doing something at all) can be what holds us from returning.

Well this post is dedicated to all you small business owners out there. You could have a restaurant, store, salon, or website, it doesn’t matter because the principles of how to become a repeat destination are the same. This time we are talking about a restaurant, Gracias Madre, and it’s a good one. So good, in fact, that we made a video about it demonstrating these tips:

There are more restaurants in LA than Botox injections. That is A LOT. I generally stick to my favorite 10 restaurants near in Silverlake or Los Feliz ….. unless there is something really pulling me, begging me to get out of my zip code, into my car and onto the peaceful open roads of Los Angeles.

But, Gracias Madre does that for me.

Click through to see the full tour and learn about my small business tips:

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WE MET THE GOAL !!! The Family Shelter Update

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Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU. It’s true, we reached our indiegogo goal of $35,000.  THANK YOU to all those who have donated so far (there is still time:)). With your help we’ll be able to furnish it comfortably and beautifully, to make the home look so much happier, which is going to make these families lives so much better. We’ve been working away (Ginny and Rebecca are leading this one), pulling together the plan and now that we have the funds we can start ordering.

There were many stores that were kind enough to donate product/furniture too – and many of them were GENEROUS amounts.

So here is a round-up of some of our favorite pieces from 6 of the companies that have kindly donated. These aren’t actually the pieces that will be used in the shelter, just some of the ones we love.

SERENA & LILY

 

1. Throw | 2.  Pendant light | 3. Swing chair | 4. Coffee table | 5. Baskets | 6. Origami pillow | 7. Pillow | 8. Camp stool | 9. Rug | 10. Tray

 

Lamps Plus

1.Bronze table lamp | 2. Black sconce | 3. Diamond pendant light | 4. Plug in wall sconce | 5.Brass floor lamp | 6. Hammered table lamp | 7. Brass & bronze swing arm sconce | 8. Black swing arm sconce | 9. Black & bronze pendant | 10. Brass wall sconce

Lulu & Georgia

1. Grey woven throw | 2. Lantern | 3. Slipper chair |4. Jute pouf | 5. Table lamp | 6. Face vase | 7. Coffee table | 8. Campaign nightstand | 9. Ikat pillow | 10. Navy pillow

Minted

And thank you to the others that have been in touch about donating so far.

Amy Coe | Art Resource GroupChairish | DENYKelly Ventura | The Jealous Curator | Jones Group InteriorKalisherLeah Koch | Meridian Interiors | Modop DesignMoore & Giles | Strand Books  | Taiping CarpetsTarget

We also want to give a special thank you to the Marlette Family who donated specifically to the Mother and baby nursery.  We are so excited that we will be able to make this room special and with their generous donation we will now be able to install wallpaper in there.

Even though we have reached the goal our time isn’t up, we still have 13 days left until the indiegogo closes and every little bit will help to make this space a better place.

Look out for the next update that will include a roundup of the artists that have donated some of their prints. And a special thanks to Danielle from The Jealous Curator who curated and contacted the artists about their pieces.

See here for more about the beginning of the project and the first update showing our concept moodboards.

Thanks everyone. It’s seriously appreciated by us, the shelter and the families that will temporarily call it home until they get back on their feet. xx