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5 Ways To Make Your Home More Interesting For Almost Nothing

Courtey Cachet at home.

Courtey Cachet at home.

Our homes tell the story of who we are.

Whether that home is a small rental apartment or a spacious home on a suburban tree-lined street, it doesn’t matter. I’ve been inside many beautifully decorated homes. It’s also my job to look at beautiful things all day long. My life and my brand are based on fabulous living. But, what about being interesting? How about that? Interesting is free. Some of the most interesting spaces I’ve been in have been those inhabited by unknown artists, design students and even a crafty single mom or two. Creativity can always find its way. And while I spend a great deal of my life focusing on the uber-fabulous and the aspirational, you can take your home — or any space — and make it more interesting for practically nothing.

It’s really quite simple; it all boils down to getting personal. When a stranger walks into your home, they should be able to tell something about you by standing in the middle of your living room (besides, “Whoa, their cleaning lady hasn’t been here in a while”). What can you do to make it feel more interesting? A lot, actually.

Something About You

When I say something about you, this does not mean you last week at a bar with your friends, or you with your kids and the mall’s Santa Claus. I mean, really something about you. For example, my husband and I are Armenian. We have a framed Armenian scroll hanging on a wall. Also, a few years ago I designed a furniture line and the couch is in our living room. Really, it could be anything. Try not to make it about a photograph, there’s room for that elsewhere.

Something Old

Every room needs something old. It can be vintage, an antique or a relic from Mom’s attic. In every room I design, I try and add something vintage. You simply cannot create a truly interesting room without an old piece or two. If you think you can’t afford it, you’re wrong. Garage sales, Etsy and eBay and are teeming with objects that cost under 20 dollars. Recently, we did a home makeover for NBC’s George to the Rescue and it was a super modern design. I added some vintage decorative objects from One Kings Lane like books, vases, trays and a candelabra that were all surprisingly affordable. They were not free, but they were definitely in the inexpensive zone. This is your biggest bang of fabulous for your buck.

Travel

Where you travel is one of the best ways to add interest and personalization to your home. If trips to Paris, Bariloche or Phuket aren’t on your agenda this year, don’t sweat it. People always think you have to spend a lot of money. A kitschy postcard in a cool frame is chic. A scarf you bought on the street at a fair in St. Louis can be just as cool as one in Montmartre (OK, maybe not). Maps are free and very cool in other languages. Those are the little things that create conversation, that make a room unique. The things you cannot buy at Bloomingdale’s, Target or Horchow. And you’re documenting your history in your home.

Art

There are two kinds of people: those who appreciate art and those who don’t know anything about art. I can’t educate you, I can only tell you that “Live, Love, Laugh” on a plaque in Home Goods is not art. Neither are photo collages of your children. Shocker, I know. Try and educate yourself a little bit about art and look for it. It can be free, it can be almost free and it can be millions of dollars. Your life and your home will be inherently better off with some art inside it. If you’re not “in the know,” don’t be intimidated. There was a time when I knew nothing and I educated myself, so you can too. I promise.

Books

A home without books freaks me out. I mean, really freaks me out. The strategically placed de rigueur coffee-table books are no better. Warhol, Vogue, Chanel… I mean, really? So, here’s the deal. Everybody has an iPad, too. But, there’s something about books in a home that just feels better. Maybe I’m a little old school like that, but I don’t think so. I’m thinking if you don’t have books in your house you’re probably not reading this anyway so I’m off the hook!

Now, when you walk into someone’s home and there’s no art and no books and just lots of family photos and some tacky plaque that says “Live, Love, Laugh,” you’ll think of me.

And send them a vintage book. Or a painting. And they’ll be on their way.

Check your local TV listings for more of celebrity designer and Gift.com expert, Courtney Cachet’s gift guides, style ideas and tips. You can catch her frequent appearances nationwide on TV and online, where she dishes out all the latest in all things fab for your home and lifestyle! Keep up with her on http://www.courtneycachet.com or Facebook and join the conversation!

8 Entertaining Tips That Are Fabulous In Every Season!

Fabulous Entertaining!

Fabulous Entertaining!

At least half of my on air segments relate to entertaining. Designing, decorating and entertaining are all loosely intertwined and through the years, this has become a forte of mine. From Mexican Food Trucks and French Soirees to Old School NYC Street Food, I’ve done it all! But, the basic tips are always the same. Just yesterday, I shot my Valentine’s Day segment for Better TV and as someone from the crew asked me, “How do you always do this so well?” I started thinking. So, I wrote them down and here they are! Whether it’s a snnow in or a beach bbq, it simply does not metter. And remember, your parties are only as good as your guests. Invite nice people. Nobody has fun with a room full of duds/bitches/drunken fools/obnoxious jerks. Get the point? Great! XOXO

1.Choose a theme
Don’t let the word “theme” scare you into thinking you need to come up with some elaborate and complicated idea that probably only exists on Pinterest! A theme could be anything from Fall Picnic to Appetizers and Appletinis. Establishing a theme, will keep your idea more focused and in the end, more fabulous!

2. Plan your menu
Whether you’re serving up ribs and slaw or an elegant spread of hors d’oeuvres, you need to plan a little! Have most of your food and beverages necessities bought and ready to go 48 hours before the party. Items like bread and pastries should be bought the morning of for freshness. Don’t be afraid to delegate!

3. Slow Down & Keep It Simple
Complicated parties make for complicated hostesses
and nobody likes to see a frazzled hostess. By keeping your food and drink offerings delicious but simple, you look and feel better and spend more time with your guests, which was the original idea! Start your cooking in the morning with one or more Crock Pots ensures you have more time to get ready and relax before your fete begins!

4. 5 Minute Decor
Regardless of your theme, there’s a 5 minute decor solution..Candles and flowers are pretty and appropriate in every season-plus they smell great! In the fall, you can never go wrong with pumpkin, cloves and mums. In the winter, evergreen an cranberry are instant mood lifters! These little details go a long way!

5. One Signature Drink
You can brew a warm apple cider or have one fabulous cocktail. Either way, have one basic drink that works with your theme. Have a platter of drinks by the door and greet everyone with a glass as they walk in your house.

6. That’s entertainment
Parties without music are awful. You son’t need a professional DJ, just a good playlist from iTunes, Spotify or Pandora will do. As you and your guests are gathered around the kitchen island drinking, eating and laughing, make sure they have something to move their hips to.

7. Send your guests home with a pre-printed recipe and a cute “to go” box
Maybe you made your mother’s legendary beef stew or your infamous pulled pork and everyone wants the recipe..Send your guests home with a little extra and a recipe card so they can make it, too! You can print them up or write them out, punch a hole and string them to the bag.

8. Share the memories
The best parties are those where you get together with family and friends and have a delicious meal and some laughs. Take a group photo and make it into a thank you card online. Inexpensive, cute and undeniably fabulous!

My Latest Home Makeover on NBC’s Open House NY: My Shopping List!

This morning, hopefully you caught my latest home makeover on NBC’s Open House NY.  This was one of my favorites in the past year! I bet you were swooning over some of that stuff, right? Ha, I know my people! No worries, my lovelies..Also, I am double excited since my Courtney Cachet pillows made their first national TV appearance today with two more coming this week!!

This week, I’ll go into more depth of exactly how I did it in my other outlets, but for now I wanted to provide you with the coveted shopping list! Even though things come together “In just one day!”, I take a lot of time selecting just the right pieces when decorating each room. I work with great companies and always look for a mix of vintage, quality, high end and toss in electronics and a few trendy/budget pieces that won’t break my heart when they break or go out of style like last year’s Prada..

If you want to score some of those fab pieces from the show, here you go!

FURNITURE:

Sofa and chair are the Reid Sofa and chair from American Leather

Loloi Rug is the Charlotte  in Peridot (softest rug I ever felt under my feet!)

Bar cart, side table and vintage Murano and brass decor are all from One Kings Lane

Side Tables are from Ikea

Ottoman is from Home Goods

TV Console is vintage

DECOR:

Pillows are all Courtney Cachet for Peking Handicraft (of course!) They are available nationwide. The complete line is available on the Designer Pillow Shop

TV Picture Frame is from Media Decor

Wallpaper is from Brewster Home

 Kenneth James’ Suzani by Eijffinger®: Pink Ethnic Stripe  and the Kenneth James’ Suzani by Eijffinger®: Arboretum Gold Geometric Trees Both are available at Jankovic in NY and Brewster Wall Coverings

Overlay fretwork are all from Overlays

Remote Shades are all from Lutron. They are the Serena Shades in Monaco. I SWEAR by these!! You should have them in every room..

Lamps are vintage from One Kings Lane

Bamboo bench is vintage

Spray Paint is Rustoleum-the only true gold spray paint I will use

HP Touchsmart Computer (this was way cool!)

Sonos Paly 5 Music System

Touchscreen Universal Universal Remote is by Logitech

 

On this gorgeous Sunday in New York-or wherever in the world you are-I hope you enjoy your day with whomever brings you joy and and a few good laughs. I’m off to take Brooke to her first lacrosse game!

Thank you and God bless.

XOXOXO

Courtney

 

 

 

 

 

Four Kind Of Amazing Hotel Amenities & A Great Weekend Entertaining Idea!

This has been a great week. At the end of great weeks, I always think about two things: Vacations and celebrations. Plus, I’m always trolling for all the latest/chicest must haves and most do’s! That said, I thought I’d share a few random, but very cool things with you today. Perhaps you’re planning a summer vacation or staycation? I do both with equal enthusiasm.

First, check out what’s new in some hotels these days. They are really pulling out all the stops when it comes to amenities and out of the box experiences..

“What’s On Your Life List?” The Four Seasons wants to know!

Apparently, travelers want more than luxurious accommodations and high quality meals. They want to spend their days having unforgettable experiences to check off items on their “life list.” One of my top go to hotel brands, Four Seasons is celebrating these travelers by launching World of Wonder, which highlights the unforgettable experiences around the world offered by several Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

These one-of-a-kind experiences promise to showcase the best each property has to offer and vary from assisting on an excavation of an ancient archaeological site in Beirut to cooking alongside a celebrity chef in Las Vegas. Um, hello! Sign Mama up!

The buck  stops at Chicago’s  Waldorf Astoria! 

At this uber-chic property, they have a strict no tipping policy.  A move that breaks with standard practices across the high-end and luxury hotel market, the hotel adopted this policy when it opened its doors in December 2009 as the Elysian and has maintained it throughout the hotel’s transition to the Waldorf Astoria Chicago. That’s kind of cool for us, isn’t it?

Bagpipes at Sunset in Sea Island

After a day of blowing off steam at Georgia’s Sea Island shooting school or playing one of the three championship golf courses, guests can relax in one of the Adirondack chairs on the porch of The Lodge and enjoy the sounds of the resort’s resident bagpiper, who plays on the golf course every day at sundown. Sounds fabulously sublime to me!

Leave the Workout Gear at Home with Westin

With workout gear taking up about half of the space in a carry-on, Westin Hotels And Resorts  makes it so that guests can leave their bulky sneakers behind.  For $5, guests can get an entire New Balance outfit – from a sports bra to shoes – delivered to their room as part of an exclusive gear-lending partnership with New Balance. How cool is that? No stinky gym clothes int he returning suitcase either is an added bonus!

Ok, time to party!

Haru Sushi’s Watermelon Fizz: Haru, one of my fave NY sushi spots, spiked everyone’s favorite summer fruit with Tequila! Around 100 calories, this cocktail will keep your bikini body in check, without sacrificing any flavor or punch. Photo credit Haru http://www.HaruSushi.com

Recipe:

Ingredients: 1 oz. Tequila, 3 oz. Watermelon, .1 oz. simple syrup, .1 oz soda water, 5 cilantro pieces, a squeeze of lime, and 1 bamboo spike.

Instructions: Muddle watermelon with cilantro leaves. Add ice, simple syrup, and tequila. Shake vigorously and pour all contents into a rocks glass. Garnish with a piece of watermelon in a bamboo spike. I die! So fresh and delicious and perfect for casual weekend entertaining!

 

Fab Serving Tip:  Instead of a traditional pitcher, carve out the inside of a watermelon until it’s hollow inside. Drill a small hole near the bottom of the melon that is large enough to fit a keg shank and faucet, but small enough to let any of the cocktail drip out of it. Once the watermelon is hollow and the keg shank is attached, fill the watermelon with Haru Sushi’s Watermelon Fizz, allowing the sides of the watermelon to give your cocktail extra flavor. Don’t forget to save the inside of the watermelon for dessert! You can buy the thingamajig at Keg Works. Photo pulled from Pinterest/FoodNetwork

Enjoy your weekend!

XO

Courtney

What The Heck Is A Formal Living Room?

The term “Formal Living Room” has almost no relevance in today’s world. Initially, formal living rooms were created to greet your social callers. I hate to bust your bubble, but you’re not Scarlett O’Hara and you don’t have “social callers.” Formal living rooms primary function today is to collect dust and put furniture in that nobody is allowed to touch. Formal living rooms should really just go away quietly like sponge painting, Mischa Barton and side swept bangs, don’t you think? Aren’t we smarter than that?

Let’s continue. Let’s take a look at other equally stupid things you may or may not have in your home and why they make no sense in how we live today.

The bidet. I remember when I was looking at homes a few years ago, some realtor was actually showing this to my husband and I like it might be a viable selling point. “And here in the master bath, you have all the upgrades-including a bidet!” I looked at my husband and we just starting cracking up. Call me crazy, but toilet paper and daily showers seem to be doing the trick thus far, thankyouverymuch. I mean really, in the age of Twitter like speed and Wet Ones travel packs, don’t we think this is the end of an era? One realtor actually tried telling us it was “Very European” in her thick Jersey accent. Um yeah, it’s very European. Really? That’s weird, since every time Americans travel to Europe, one of the first things we notice is how practically everyone we come in contact with could use a jumbo size bar of Irish Spring. Major! Keep the bidet, lose the bidet, you don’t need a bidet. Take a shower, douche and wipe your ass like your mama taught you. Let’s move on, shall we?

The Mud Room. Oh yeah, that’s another winner. I went to one home in Miami where they were showing me how they decorated their mud room. Here’s the thing: Mud Rooms were meant to clean off your boots, hang up your wet gear and your guns from hunting and fishing in rural areas. If you live in Coral Gables, you don’t need a mud room. FYI, if you live in Scarsdale you don’t need one either. A mud room today is used as a designated area to hang up coats.Oh, ok. How about a closet at the entryway of your home, isn’t that enough? One website told me I could also use it as a laundry room. Oh! Maybe I can use the kitchen as a game room, too? Wait, I’m confused! It’s stupid unless it’s in your country home, ski home or the like. A Classic 6 in Manhattan, no mud room.

The Butler’s Pantry. Oh, I love this one! This term really took flight during the McMansion explosion. It made mortgaged-up-to-their-eyeballs-wannabe-rich people feel, well, rich. Let’s call a Butler’s Pantry what it really is: More counter space in the hallway. Most wealthy people don’t even have butlers anymore. They have house managers, housekeepers, nannies, gardeners and lovers. Queen Elizabeth, LIttle Orphan Annie and the Pope had butlers, not you. If you buy a big home there’s this area usually off the kitchen on the way to the dining room that has pretty cabinetry. It’s called a Butler’s Pantry. A pantry is a closet. A butler is something you don’t have. Moronic for anyone under the age of 86. See ya, Grandpa!

With the exception of the bidet, I’m not actually suggesting you do without these things. Rather, I think they are irrelevant, dated and in need of some kind of evolvement in their nomenclature. I mean, remember when Asians were called Orientals, cleaning ladies were called servants and shopping online was called surfing the World Wide Web? It’s time, people. It’s time.

XO
Courtney

FABULOUS TRAVELS: Wellness Weekends At The Ocean House in Watch Hill

Ocean House

Rhode Island didn’t used to be the first place that came to mind when I thought of luxe weekend getaways. I’ve done the Newport thing a few times, I’ve been to Mystic, I figured I’m pretty much done. I’m ready to go back to The Hamptons in my own backyard, you know?

That was until I visited the Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island.

I am what’s called in the hotel world, a luxury traveler. While this is certainly fabulous and glamourous, it can also be challenging when you visit smaller boutique hotels. Often, as hard as they try, they miss the luxury mark. Clearly, even after seeing amazing glossy pictures on the internet (aren’t they all?) I wasn’t sure what to expect.

We took a train from Penn Station to get there that went pretty fast and was eased by the availability of free wifi, thankyouverymuch! A shiny Mercedes met us to take us to the hotel. When we got there I was really stunned. This breathtaking and pristine yellow and white building with a big white porch was just a lovely sight high atop a bluff overlooking the beach.

My room that had a view of the ocean and the sounds of the wind and the waves were crisp and clear. Oh my, I’m going to like it here!! Actually, views of the Atlantic Ocean are visible from every corner of the hotel. Block Island, Rhode Island, and Montauk are all right there for you to see.

Guest Room at Ocean House

The 49 guest rooms and suites are very well decorated in an elegant style but with subtle touches to remind you where you are..a tiny starfish on the hand towel, salty and sweet snacks in glass jars, linens in soft blues. It was all very well thought out and quite spacious.  Frette linens and towels, plush bathrobes and 4-fixture marble bathrooms with a large shower are standard in every room. Internet access, flat screen TV’s and iPod players ensure those who can’t miss Celebrity Apprentice or feel inclined to post pics of the room on Facebook (Here I am in my room! Isn’t it gorge??) are all squared away.

I went to Ocean House for a special they offer called Wellness Weekend. The OH! Spa at Ocean House is pretty big at 12,000 square feet. All the treatments are inspired by the ocean and the harvest and it’s all very charming. They have a nice gym and a small salt water lap pool overlooking the beach. I must say, one of my favorite things at the gym was something called Fitness On Request. You can go to the gym 24 hours a day and use this machine that transmits classes on a giant video screen. It was awesome!! A real spinning class, aerobics, dance, etc..all “live” on  this video screen. Note to self: I really need to see about getting one of these.

The spa itself has 7 treatment rooms including a couple’s room and a nail salon.  The OH! Spa uses a selection of seasonally changing treatments, so expect pumpkins, apples and sea salt to be in your treatments depending on what time of year you visit. Yum. I had a facial that was almost as nice as the oceanfront relaxation room I waited in for my aesthetician to retrieve me.

The property has several dining options and I found all to be delicious. I would venture to say even the pickiest foodie types would have no problem here. From Seasons for fine dining to a spa lunch at the  Club Room to a fabulous breakfast on the beach, I was thanking my lucky stars for the 24 hour gym. The food was sophisticated and very fresh. Speaking of fresh, we got a smoothie making lesson from the resort’s own Food Forager, Jan Faust Dane who is one of those people you instantly adore. She was warm and down to earth and clearly loves her job. Farm To Table is they way they roll here and she leads the pack. I never thought a smoothie made out of sweet potatoes could be delicious, but Jan showed me the light and gave me a printed card with the recipe to take home. Love those details.

I didn’t venture into town but I heard it is really nice in the summer in that beachy new Englandesque way. To be honest, I felt no need to leave the property. The setting is postcard perfect, the food was great and they had lots of activities from yoga to wine tastings and an art collection that kept my friends and I engaged all weekend. But, what stood out the most to me was the impeccable service at every turn. Their staff is very well trained in the kind of service I like. Attentive without overbearing and elegant without a snobby vibe. It really was a pleasure to stay there. If you’re looking for a weekend of wellness or a week of clambakes and ice cream, I’m confident you’ll love this place. It really is a great place to visit.

QUICK FACTS:

Opened in 1868, closed in 2003 after being deemed beyond feasible repair and was rebuilt using the exact measurements of the original structure and several pieces of the actual building.

Sits on 13 acres with 650 feet of private beach for hotel guests

It is a 3 hour drive from NYC, 90 minutes from Boston, 45 minutes from Providence Airport

Free valet parking

Free Afternoon Refreshments

49 guest rooms and suites

Tournament level croquet lawn with an on site pro all sumer

Day trips to Newport  and Mystic CT can be arranged

Check for ongoing specials events throughout the year

If you have small children that insist on a kid friendly type hotel pool, this is not for you.

For more info, you can visit the hotel’s website for rates and availability at <a href=”http://www.oceanhouseri.com” target=”_hplink”>http://www.oceanhouseri.com</a>

 

 

My Beach Getaway Packing List

LV Weekender I can't live without

As I get ready to leave for a short (but sure to be awesome) trip to The Cove at Atlantis tomorrow, I was asked about my “Beach Vacation Packing Tips”..Um, you sure about that? I am not known to travel light or with any notion of practicality. I try, but this is coming from someone who took gowns to the Greek island of Santorini. ‘Nuff said.

Also, my trips always incorporate work, so that is a whole other bag of tricks. Anyway, I do this with great frequency. That said, we work off a master list. Its part methodical, part ridiculous and it works for me. Except when I realize I forgot my favorite hairbrush!

This is The 3 Day/2 Night Beach Vacay Packing List.

What’s in your suitcase?

XO

Courtney

 

Swimsuits

Light tunics for cover ups

Chanel Sunglasses for sightseeing, TOMS Aviators for sunbathing

Havaianas/multiple colors

Floppy hat

Yankees cap, Heat cap

Greek suntan oil

Lancaster Suntan Extender

Vitamins

Advil

Beta Carotene vitamins to pop before sunning

Phytologie Sunblock for hair (don’t eant washed out highlights!)

Vintage Gucci totebag for beach bag or Lands End no monogram, thankyouverymuch

Marula oil

Baby wipes..to clean oil off cell phone

100 calorie protein bars

 

Three cute outfits for evening

Strappy sandals for each

Flats

Sparkly makeup

Waterproof mascara

Tinted moisturizer

Fekkai leave in conditioner

Korres body cream

Facial scrub

Deoderant

Dior Self Tanner

Tweezers,nail clippers, eyelash curler

Curling iron

Toothpaste

Floss

Travel size Woolite

Fake eyelashes

Dentyne

 

Louis Vuitton Weekender

Three cute bags in bright colors for evening, one metallic, clutches

A long skirt to pair with knotted t for casual evening look

Jeans

Candy colored skinny pants

Undergarments for all

Hermes belt

Hermes scarves

Gucci fannypack

Jewelry

Aakuula workout wear

Running shoes

Pumas

T-s and loungewear

 

Missoni tote for makeup, toiletries, vitamins

Laptop

Chargers

Headphones

iPad

Notebook

Magazines

Travel candle

Book

Camera/video

 

Printout of reservations

Cash

Phone Number of publicist, hotel manager, driver, United Club in both airports and my NY contact.

 

Photos of Aaron, Brooke and Ford.

5 Gifts For Mom With The Brother PE 500 Embroidery Machine!

 I am so excited to get the word out about the newest product launch from Brother™–the PE500.  It’s the first-ever embroidery-only machine from Brother! Everyone knows how much I like to personalize by embellishing my pillows, bedding and clothes.  Well, now I’ll show you a few ways you can, too and make it a perfect-and fabulously personalized Mother’s Day!

As a designer with a passion for detail, this is an amazing product. As someone who gets frustrated by anything that seems too complicated, it’s a dream come true! In the next several days, I’ll be showing you a ton of different things you can do with the PE500. If you’re not a crafty girl, don’t fret!  The machine is easy, fun and not to mention, totally affordable–it’s the lowest-priced Brother™ embroidery machine ever!

Stay tuned as we get ready to embroider, embellish and adorn!

Embroidered Yellow Placemat

And you could’ve made these fabu placemats, if you had a little more talent than Yours Truly! The key here (no pun intended) is the square shape of the placemat, making it more chic.

Embroidered Pendant

Typically, this wouldn’t be my look..a little too Laura Ingalls On Little House On The Prairie-ish. But it has a cute, vintage quality to it. The idea of it is very cute. Moms swoon over stuff like this if given to them..oh yeah, this one is pretty easy to do, also!

Every Mom-or pretty much everyone-would love a guest towel that doesn’t get all stained up from last night’s mascara..I’ve showed you these before and remarked on the Smarty Pants who thought this up at The Ace Hotel. So easy to do..great little gift for Mother’s Day or a housewarming present! I love these.

Embroidered Pillow Cover

This is very pretty and not that hard to do..I love the soft blue juxtaposed on the burlapesque vibe of the cover. That style of monogram is trés passé, mes amis! It’s not “preppy” it’s just kinda played out and predictable. This font is so ten years ago. But we love personalization here at Cachet Inc. so we’ll let it slide!

Embroidered Linen Napkin

I love linen napkins and think everyone should use them regularly, not just when you break out the good china! These are lovely and a set of these as a gift is elegant and sweet.  You work off a computerized design, so don’t worry if you think you have to freehand this! I think this might actually be something I’m trying..I’ll let you know how it goes!

Happy Mother’s Day!

XO

Courtney

If you want to buy the Bother PE 500, it’s available at Walmart!

I’m Not Crafty But Embroidery And I Are Having A Moment

I have a lot of friends who could be called crafty. You know the type: They try new recipes, make scrapbooks, totebags and headbands for your kid. Truthfully, I find them just slightly annoying. it’s just so not me. Part lack of time, part lack of interest, part I’d rather be doing Zumba. It shocks people when they meet me, like they expect me to be quilting or making chocolate souffles. Oh Honey, not this girl!

There is the frequent misconception that all designer are crafty types. I assure you this is not the case. As for me, I have the eye. Then, I have the phone number of the person to perform the task. However, I’ve always loved anything to do with sewing and embellishments. My grandmother sewed and all my fashion designer friends can sew. I got into sewing years ago because it gave me the ability to personalize things and add my own touch on something as simple as a pillowcase. Creating a custom look on just about anything is fabulous and slightly addicting.

Recently, I’ve been seeing a trend of embroidery coming into home decor. Pillows, chairs, linens and accessories seem to be most popular. Recently, I found embroidered fabric wall coverings in a very modern style that were gorgeous! The textural element is the type of detail I love in a home. I wanted to see if I could do it myself after I heard about the new Brother PE 500 “embroidery only” sewing machine which promised to deliver options and results previously unheard of and at $299 it was attractive, as well. I called an expert sewer friend of mine and she came over to help me get set up and assist, if needed. After opening the box, I was sweating! It looked way too complicated for me.

Brother states on their website that this machine is geared towards those interested in “trying your hand at embroidery for the first time, a crafter looking for a new challenge, or an advanced embroiderer looking for a unit to carry to a make & take”. Clearly, I was nervous since I wasn’t really in any of these categories. Oh brother..(no pun intended) what did I get myself into?

In spite of m lack of experience, I was blessed with the ability of quick learning, so away we go! It actually wasn’t that hard. I almost forgot my friend was there! She definitely helped me get more acclimated with the machine and the basics of what to do but for the most part, just playing with it helped the most. The best features for me were the automatic threader and built in tutorials. It has computer connectivity that can connect you to their site, ibroidery.com giving you access to thousands of designs available for purchase. The machine itself comes with 70 designs, 5 fonts and over 100 frame patterns. Don’t I sound like an expert already?

I’m really glad I got it and I intend on embroidering basically everything in my house. I bought a set of Egyptian cotton napkins at Home Goods for $14.99 and I plan on turning them into a fabulous monogrammed set for my mom this Mother’s Day! Wrap them in my own tissue paper and ribbon and she’ll think I spent a bundle in some Madison Ave. specialty shop. That’s what I’m talking about!

Although I had fun, I won’t be giving up my day job. And I have no plans of making Gruyere Mac and Cheese or Tartelettes de Framboises any time soon. Just saying..

Stay tuned for more!

XO

Courtney

Living The Life You Wish For..VIP Status, School Plays, Tastemaker Events, Swing Sets & A Pure Heart

In the public eye I am a designer and media personality. But I am also a mother and wife and that comes first for me, always. Last  week, I was a featured speaker at High Point Market..what a thrill to have so many people come here my opinions on design and thoughts on the future. It is always a humbling experience when so many people turn out. I started from such modest beginnings..a dining room table, a mailing list and a sheet of looseleaf paper with my rather lofty goals. Fast forward several years and I have accomplished so many of them. This week has been a whirlwind of activity..sometimes, I don’t even know how I do it.

I started off leaving for High Point on Sunday. I spoke on Monday to a crowd a bit larger than I anticipated..my notes were unable to print at the last minute and I did the whole thing off the cuff, which is really where I excel anyway, so I guess things roll out the way they should, even when it doesn’t seem that way at the moment..”What do you mean, my notes won’t print??” *sweat forming at brow*

I returned a little early for a meeting and to attend my Kindergarten daughter’s school play-what a thrill to see her front and center, fearless, smiling and full of confidence. Yeah baby!! Moments like that make my day!! Then I was off to the Overseas Press Club Awards gala at The Mandarin Oriental in NY as a guest of Subaru..yep, that Subaru. Shortly after being seated at our table, a lovely couple approached me and introduced themselves as the President of the OPC and his wife. When I introduced myself, they said “We know exactly who you are! We are big fans!” They even invited me for dinner at their home..What a moment it was, I was so flattered over the fuss and the pr girls with me were dying! OMG, really? When I got home, I received a letter that my stationery line with Expressionery had a banner 1st quarter..I had no idea my notecards were becoming that popular..time to create the next line.

The next evening, I headed off as a VIP guest of Home Goods to the Housing Works Design On  A Dime Event in NY. Amazing evening full of inspiration, charity, celeb sightings and meeting new and old friends. I also got to FINALLY meet my friends from the Home Goods corporate offices in person and they were as awesome as I knew they would be. Everyone from GMA anchors and Ty Pennington to my buddies Stephen Fanuka and Tyler Wisler were there.

Great. Freaking. Night.

On Thursday, I was invited to visit two luxury hotels that have just been renovated-(they all know about my love of luxury travel and hotels) and on Friday I finalized my lineup of over 150 pieces I am selling on One Kings Lane, where I will debut House Of Cachet my latest and biggest venture thus far. But also, we had a ginormous play set installed in our home I ordered from one of my have companies, Hayneedle. Kids in Heaven!

On Friday I received a contract for my latest corporate partnership that starts next week..lots of DIY ideas with the latest sewing machines! More soon on that. It’s going to be very cool, so excited!

I am with my husband and kids all weekend, going to first communions, watching The Wonder Pets and eating BBQ. It’s been a uber grande week for me personally and professionally. I’m not telling you this to show you “how fabulous I am”, but to inspire you that you can do anything, you can have everything and do it on your own terms. You can wake up everyday and have the life you always dreamt of no matter where you begin. This I know for sure.

Just start with a clear vision, a pure heart and ears that are closed to the negativity that inevitably comes with any measure of success. Just let it roll and you will soar.

Here’s to more and more Best Weeks Ever! I wish you a life of happiness, success and faith in yourself.

I’ve got nothing but love for ya!

XO

Courtney

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