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Neo-Trad of the Week

Neo-Trad of the Week

kate-picture

Name, Age, Location

Kate, 25, Boston

My cliff-note autobiography…

I was born and raised a New Yorker, growing up in the suburbs of NYC, but left my roots to move up to Boston for college. The funny thing is, I never intended to stay, in fact – I was never that excited to come at all. But now, approaching my 7th year of living in Boston, I’m still here. I fell in love with the charm and character of Boston — it’s a neo-traditional city, through and through. I’m a market research professional by day, a blogger by night, and DIY-addict by weekend.

Five things that make my heart flutter…

high-waisted pencil skirts and Mad Men-esque dresses; finding buried treasures at flea markets and tag sales; a well organized drawer/closet/shelf (bonus heart-fluttering if things are color-coded); playing hostess – arranging a cheese platter, crafting decorations and mixing cocktails are among my specialty skills; and the satisfaction of creating something from scratch.

My dream dinner party…

would take place under a big old oak tree with lots of sparkly strung lights and candles in mason jars. I’ve always preferred the cocktail party to a dinner party, because it means I can be mobile and mingling — so I’d make sure trays of delicious hors d’oeuvres and champagne cocktails were being passed around the event by sharply dressed waiters to keep my friends full and happy. The hostess has to be well dressed, so I’d probably pick up a party dress from Oscar de la Renta and pair it with some Kate Spade heels (think Carrie Bradshaw’s pink dress when she dances in McDonalds). And for when my feet get tired from running around in heels? I’ll set up some blankets on the lawn and we’ll kick off our shoes to watch an old romantic black and white movie projected on a hanging sheet.

In ten years I will be…

sitting behind a desk in a gorgeously designed office of a company run by me! I’d love to be my own boss some day and hope that by ten years from now, I’ve found a way to make that happen. And success isn’t anything unless you have someone to share it with, so hopefully a family of my own is also in the cards someday.

I am neo-traditional because…

I believe a home-cooked meal can fix just about anything; because I never leave the house without pearl earrings; because I call home every day; because I know my way around a needle and thread; because I’ll take the character and history of chipped paint and worn wood over stainless steel and granite any day, and because I always say please and thank you. (That reminds me! Thank you Katie, for asking me to participate!)

Thank YOU for participating, darling Kate!  Perhaps we can meet in Boston someday for champagne cocktails! xx
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Neo-Trad of the Week

Neo-Trad of the Week

ashlyn-africa

Name, Age, Location

Ashlyn Lovejoy (traveling in Africa, above), 23, New York, NY

My cliff-note autobiography…

I was born swimming in the waters and skiing in the mountains of New York and Colorado with my two older brothers and two younger sisters. High school was fine, but college was amazing. There, I met the loves of my life: my girlfriends! Boys may come and go (and one may even stick around for the long haul, though I have yet to find him), but there’s no one to gossip, share every little secret, and drink margaritas with like your best girlfriends. Now, I work for the contemporary furniture and design company West Elm in Brooklyn, maintain my blog Plan The Day (www.plan-the-day.com), and freelance for designers.

Five things that make my heart flutter…

leopard print in any form, horses, Scrabble, the Adirondacks, and the perfect pair of blue jeans. And my cat Malcolm. And my four month-old nephew Stone.

My dream dinner party…

While there are so many famous people dead and alive, like the comedian Gilda Radnor or the novelist John Irving, that I could imagine sitting around my dining table, there is no one else in the world with whom I would rather spend my time than my closest friends and family. Everyone would be crammed around my small table with chairs, maybe even a stool or two, brought in from other rooms in order to seat them all. The meal would be simple, a delicious pasta bolognese perhaps, and the wine would flow. The focus of the meal would be each other; and the neighbors would have to bang on the door and ask us to keep it to a dull roar.

In ten years I will be…

living in a cozy home in my hometown outside of New York City, married to a wonderful man with a child or two running amok. By then, I will have marked off more than half of my dream destinations on my travel list and I will be planning on sharing more worldly adventures to China, Tanzania, Peru, and more with my children. I will stay at home with my munchkins in their younger years, baking cookies and creating pasta art, then freelance for designer friends and participate in charity work once they’re in school.

I am neo-traditional because…

I enjoy walking up and down each chilly aisle of the grocery store, carefully testing the ripeness of and selecting each food; because I was a Classical Studies major with a focus on Latin and a French minor; because I am passionate about proper grammar and spelling; because I keep a diary and send hand-written letters and notes; and because I spend my free time reading, imagining the interior of my future home (understated feminine elegance with masculine flairs and whimsical touches), and needle-pointing.

Thank you Ashlyn!  I hope we’ll get to meet someday soon! xx katie
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Neo-Trad of the Week

Neo-Trad of the Week

Emily-1

Name, Age, Location

Emily Davis, 24, Houston, Texas

[Above, from left: Emily, her brother Parker, her sister Kamille, her mother Kate…such a darling bunch!]

My cliff-note autobiography…

Recent transplant to Texas…Oklahoma girl at heart. Grateful for where life has taken me thus far and grateful for my small town upbringing. Work at a non-profit that advocates for abused and neglected children and LOVE going to work every morning trying to better the world we live in. Married to a wonderful man who is truly my best friend.

Things that make my heart flutter…

True love, a great book, crisp white wine, anything Kate Spade, sunsets, songs that bring back fond memories and all of life’s celebrations.  And fresh flowers. And diamonds.

My dream dinner party…

Who: All my family and closest friends, obviously. Throw in William Shakespeare, Lady Gaga (why not), Steve Jobs, Elizabeth Gilbert, Ellen DeGeneres, and Carrie Bradshaw (not Sarah Jessica Parker- the real Carrie!)

Where: An amazing villa in the Italian countryside. On a patio overlooking a wine vineyard.

When: The most perfect cool, midsummer evening at sunset.

What: We would spend the evening sharing great stories and our hopes and dreams for the world while dining on pasta, bread, cheese and wine.

And, calories wouldn’t count.

In ten years I will be…

Back in Tulsa, living the most adorable cottage style house, renovating, decorating and running my own fine wine and cheese store. Oh and in my spare time I would like to be travelling the world, making a difference, and tickling the feet of my two (okay, maybe 3) adorable children. All while waking up every day and smiling at my wonderful husband and the life we have created.

I am neo-traditional because…

I truly believe that the best lessons we can learn come from those who came before us (thanks Momma!) I know there is no better way to say “thank you” or “I love you” than a handwritten note on gorgeous stationery and I live my life with the idea that it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.

[Below, Emily and her husband on their wedding day]

Emily-2

Thank you Emily!  I’m so touched you’re a fan of my little blog!  I hope we have the opportunity to meet someday! xx Katie
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Neo-Trad of the Week

Neo-Trad of the Week

Brooke-Barbara-Danielson

Name, Age, Location

Brooke Ely Danielson, 24, New York City

(Pictured above with her mother, Barbara)

My cliff-note autobiography…

Life thus far has treated me well! I grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia on a farm with horses, pigs, and cows. Being the middle of five children kept things lively. Eventually I was off to New York to study Fashion Design at Parsons and intern for Vogue magazine (an experience I will forever cherish). I live to travel and have made stops around the globe including Greece, Italy, France, Germany, Poland, Russia… Everyday I wake up with a smile and remember how precious life is.  We must embrace it!

Things that make my heart flutter…

Miles Aldridge photographs, vintage books, Van Morrison (specifically Ballerina), Corfu Greece (my heaven on earth), Ander Zorn’s pencil sketches, Vogue, pink peonies in turquoise vases, Coco Chanel (she sparked my love of fashion at the age of seven. I will never forget my first encounter with Chanel—Grandmother, thank you).

My dream dinner party…

My dream dinner party is in a garden at night in upstate New York. The food is all organic as we dine on local produce. The menu includes fresh mint mojitos, garden salad with fresh tomatoes, quinoa salad and salmon, and for dessert, vegan cupcakes (whilst sipping Reisling!). The table would be long barn tables with vintage floral table cloths complete with turquoise vases filled with multi-colored peonies.  My guests would include Katie (soon-to-be) Armour, Princess Diana, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, Pappy O’Daniel, Yves Saint Laurent, and the woman who taught me to love life, my grandmother, Frances Anderson (she married her college sweet heart at age 73 after having been separated during the war). We would dine by candle light and take tequila shots until last man down!

In ten years I will be…

Running my own clothing line, happily married, playing with my children! I hope to be splitting my time between the city and the country—-gardening, swimming, and teaching my little ones the important lessons my parents taught me. I would also love the opportunity to travel the world doing philanthropic work. My ideal day in ten years would include gardening, cooking, and painting with my children. We’d end the evening with dinner in the garden, sitting by a fire—-laughter until we tumble into bed!  Did I mention I will be drinking an fantastic bottle of Silver Oak while all this goes on?

I am neo-traditional because…

I love to sew, read, and have great zest for life. My first crush was Cary Grant! I am from the school of thought that you take one day at a time. Do something you love, no regrets.

Thank you Miss Brooke!  Can’t wait to see where life takes you—somewhere fabulous, no doubt! xx Katie
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Neo-Trad of the Week

Neo-Trad of the Week

carolyn-james-mcdonough
Name

Carolyn James McDonough

Age

Do we have to go there??? 43 (as of last Sunday) but I feel 35!

Location

Pound Ridge, NY (a little hamlet 50 minutes from the city)

My cliff-note autobiography…

I’m an identical mirror-image twin born in New York but raised in the Belgian countryside. We moved back to the States in our early teens to New England where our French and Flemish floundered, but our Spanish improved. With travel and languages in my blood, I graduated from Georgetown University in the midst of the last recession and moved to Paris, where I put that degree in Foreign Service and my rusty French to work by baking cookies for an American store. I fell in love with my student guide when I visited Kellogg (Northwestern University’s business school) – we’ve been married 16 years and have two very adorable (most of the time!) boys and two very adorable (most of the time!) labradoodles (my girls!). After a number of interesting jobs including being the editorial assistant to Jackie Onassis at Doubleday, a paralegal in an eco-conscious French law firm and an investment banker in the film and oil and gas industries in New York, I’ve finally settled down and am running my mother’s business (Diane James Home) with my twin, Cynthia, and writing about all that inspires me in our blog, The Buzz.

Five things that make my heart flutter…

First and foremost, my boys (husband included!), sunrise or sunset on the Seine, the Aston Martin DBS Volante, vintage Balenciaga and Valentino couture, the song “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell… and I could go on and on!

My dream dinner party…

My dream dinner party would take place in the gardens of the Musee Rodin in Paris (bien sur!), surrounded by beautiful flowers, sculptures and fountains. My guests would include Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn, Tony Duquette, George Cukor, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Nellie McKay and George Burns and Gracie Allen. Ina Garten and Alice Waters would combine their culinary skills to prepare a simple but delicious meal using seasonal and sustainable ingredients, and the lush peony and rose centerpieces would be designed by the mother-daughter team of Marilyn and Meredith Waga at Belle Fleur. We would dance under the stars to Sting singing classics from the Great American Songbook and the whole evening would be captured on film by the fabulous Slim Aarons.

In ten years I will be…

Enjoying the fruits of hard labor and running a much larger business, known the world over for beautiful faux flowers and botanically inspired home accessories (watch out Martha Stewart!) I would love to have the luxury of time to travel with my family to spiritual places like Machu Picchu, Bhutan and Jerusalem, and to build shelters for Women In Need. Our 1920’s home will finally be renovated with Michael Smith adding his signature style and a Christopher Peacock kitchen. After taking a myriad of cooking classes around the world, I will be an accomplished chef, regaling friends and family with cozy home-cooked meals served in a terraced garden designed by James Doyle. Above all, my home will always be source of warmth, comfort, laughter and love.

I am neo-traditional because…

I don’t think chivalry is dead; We use placemats and linen napkins at every meal (even if it’s a TV dinner!); I wake up the kids every day (much to their displeasure!) with on off-key rendition of the “Good Morning” song from “Singing in the Rain”; and while I haven’t yet mastered The Art of French Cooking (sorry Julia!), I have read Emily Post’s “Etiquette” and Genevieve Antoine Dariaux’s “A Guide to Elegance” cover to cover.

Above: a picture taken of me at my father-in-law’s birthday party – notice the real Claude Lalanne sheep by my side and the fake Monet in the background!

Thank you so very much Carolyn! From Jackie O. to Musee Rodin you’ve secured my life-long adoration! Isn’t she fabulous ladies? xx Katie
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Neo-Trad of the Week

Neo-Trad of the Week

Picture 41

Happy Friday loves!  This morning I’m launching a new series on the blog titled “Neo-Trad of the Week” and in it I’ll be featuring one of YOU and all your traditional-with-a-twist inspiration!  I feel so lucky to have the wonderful readers I do and thought this could be a fun way to give back and help you all get to know one another.  I’ll invite one neo-trad from my comments each week and there’s no obligations, just pure fun. Today’s reader is someone I’ve gotten to to know so well via email I feel as though I’ve known her all my life…she’s smart, beautiful, and ridiculously fun…enjoy getting to know our very first Neo-Trad of the Week, Miss Paige Nichols!

paige-nichols-1

Name, Age, Location

Paige Davis Nichols — 23 — Buenos Aires, Argentina

My cliff-note autobiography…

I was born in Washington, DC and grew up in Arlington, VA with my parents and older sister Meredith (equally chic and fabulous, currently living in London). I attended Georgetown Visitation, the first all-girls’ school of the original thirteen colonies, where my love and affection for classic literature, the fine arts and history really took off. After studying Philosophy and History at Boston College, I decided to move to Buenos Aires and have been living here for almost 2 years, working by day and prancing about in my free time. Moving across the world brought me to the man of my dreams, and I am now engaged to José; we plan to marry next June, an event which might precipitate a move back to the US and enrollment in a Master’s program. In my spare time I love appreciating the beauty in life- fresh flowers, a delicious meal shared among friends, the company of a good book, and anything of the Dionysian persuasion.

Things that make my heart flutter…

Anything written by Vladmir Nabokov, Albert Camus or William Faulkner, the Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires, long love letters, a bottle of Torrontés wine at La Huella in José Ignacio (Punta del Este), the Cartier love collection.

My dream dinner party…

Oh dear, where to begin? Guest list: my nearest and dearest, as well as Diana Vreeland, Vladmir Nabokov, Anthony Bourdain, Jenny Lewis (of Rilo Kiley), Alfred Hitchcock, Ansel Adams, Sister Parish…the list could go on! I would love to have the party at my godmother’s friend’s estate in the Brandywine Valley of Pennsylvania. Frolic Weymouth is a completely eccentric and entirely fabulous being with an even more fabulous home – original paint and details from the 18th century, a sprawling garden and so many amazing rooms to discover. It’s literally unreal. We’d all sit at a long country dining table, with what seems like hundreds of candles and little bunches of flowers strewn about, eating off of mismatched cutlery and plates. We’d linger for hours over bottles of wine and little cups of grappa after savoring the most abundant feast one can imagine – (“food porn” as Anthony Bourdain describes it). I taste spicy curry, slow-roasted lamb and dishes with layers of flavor brought in from all sorts of far-off lands. Then we’d pour ourselves into bed, wake up the next day and enjoy brunch and bloody Marys in the garden.

In ten years I will be…

Oh this is such a tough question! Hopefully dividing time between the US and Buenos Aires and frolicking around the world with José and our children. I would love to have a successful design company – I dream of opening a little shop and selling simply beautiful items: paper goods, vintage finds, one of a kind pieces for the home. I would love to return to DC, live in Kalorama and spend my weekends roaming the city in search of beautiful antiques and the spiciest curry I can find. I also plan to have a whole smattering of dogs – a French bulldog, a Great Dane, a dachshund, and an Irish wolfhound. I would like to include a turtle in there as well. In a nutshell, peaceful domestic bliss with a nice, bold streak of international travel and a well-run, small business with moi as the boss.

I am neo-traditional because…

A good hand-written note makes me weak in the knees. Because I love nothing more than mixing a fabulous vintage find with modern accents. Because I swoon over stamp collections, the “Natural Curiosities” volumes, and art-deco jewelry. Because I believe that the classics are such for a reason, and because nothing makes me happier than a house full of fresh flowers and good literature.