Thursday, May 27, 2010

5 Summer Must-Haves! The Domestic Dandy List!

5 Summer Must-Haves! The Domestic Dandy List!
As we head off for the Memorial Day holiday and the beginning of summer, I wanted to share with you the top 5 must-have items on the Domestic Dandy's list for summer fun!

1. A nice tan! 
As the sun can be way too damaging to our skin, I use Jergen's Natural Glow Foaming Daily Moisturizer to attain a nice subtle tan. It's also a wonderful body moisturizer and dries quickly so you can dress immediately after applying!

2. A Fun Beach Read!
Whether you are looking for a trashy or serious novel, one always needs to carry a book to the beach. Not only does it keep one's mind occupied, but it also comes in handy when sneaking furtive glances at your neighbor!

For the history buff I recommend "London" and "New York" by Edward Rutherfurd for some fun reading on the history of these two great cities

If you're looking for a book that is not going to last you until next summer, try reading "Trading Up" by Candace Bushnell. It's a fun fast-paced read about the glamorous, yet petulant life of the New York Glamorati. 

And for the mystery fan, I recommend "Angelology" by Danielle Trussoni. An exciting read involving the offspring of Angels and mortal woman. 

3. A Great Beach Towel
Any trip to the beach is not complete without a nice beach towel. Find one that speaks to your personality! I posted before about the zip-zac gym towel. It also comes in a beach towel! Perfect to store your wallet and mp3 player to keep the sand away.

4. Your MP3 Player Filled with Your Newest Playlist!
As you leave for your summer road trip, don't forget to upload some summer songs to speed you on your way. Below is a playlist brought to you exclusively by "The Domestic Dandy!"
Track List

Song NameArtist
Sugar (feat. Wynter)Flo Rida
Stereo Love (Radio Edit)Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina
This Sweet LoveJames Yuill
Heartbreak WarfareJohn Mayer
Black & Gold (Marcussen Album Version)Sam Sparro
Boom (Bimbo Jones Remix) [Extended Version]Anjulie
Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken DownAlicia Keys
SpeechlessLady GaGa
I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)Pitbull
Vogue (Club Mix)Paffendorf

Click here to listen and get your copy!

5. A Fun Beach Bag to Carry It All In!
My partner found this bag for me in Costa Rica! I love the natural sugarcane weave and it has plenty of room for all my essentials. I've also found some great bags at

Have a wonderful holiday weekend and don't forget the sunscreen!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Always One to Accessorize

Always One to Accessorize!
I'm always looking for new ways to spruce up a room, and so I keep an eye out for anything that might jump out at me as an interesting piece. This is the case the last time I visited Hillwood Museum and Gardens (See previous post on our visit to Hillwood).

As we were visiting Hillwood, the gift shop was having a summer clearance sale. Among the many treasures, I found a gorgeous green ceramic covered box, a beautiful sculptural bust and a fluted metal vase. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them, but I did know that they would fit beautifully into our decor.... and at 75% off I couldn't say no!

When I got home I tested the pieces in our different rooms. I found a wonderful spot for the bust, my partner Brian found a spot for the fluted vase, but I had special plans for the green ceramic box.

As soon as I spotted the ceramic box on the sales table, I envisioned using it as a vase for my soon-to-be blooming peonies. The beautiful green color and antique pattern would look great set against the pure white lacy petals of my peonies.  So in the morning, I got up, grabbed my gardening shears and headed out to the peonie bush to see if they were ready. Four of them were in full bloom, so I snipped them off their stems, knocked the poor ants off the blooms (I learned to always take this step when bringing flowers inside....don't ask) then looked around my garden for some interesting filler.

Walking around the garden, I found some dark purple Salvia and clipped some Magnolia limbs from the tree in our backyard to add some cool texture and color.

As I was putting the arrangement together, I wanted to create a casual striking arrangement and so I began by taping my grid across the top of the lip (see earlier post on easy flower arranging) and then started arranging the flowers together to create a new arrangement.

Once finished, I was really pleased with the color combination and how it complemented our foyer.

So when you're out and about, keep an eye out! Whether you're in a museum shop or your local Target, look at items on the shelf with a discerning eye and think about the many options you can use it for to create style in your home!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Life's A Party!

Life's A Party!
Looking for a fun theme for your next get together? Try a yoga party!

I invited friends over to Redbud Terrace for some relaxation and fun with our yoga instructor, Dave Kidney from Catalyst Yoga

Dave is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with the Yoga Alliance and offers personalized yoga instruction either at Tranquil Space or in your home!  

We began the evening with a warm-up and discussion by our yogi, Dave, and then stretched and toned our bodies for an hour.

After our practice, we enjoyed some zen refreshments, including hummus and pita, fresh fruit, and a selection of cheeses. For our parched guests, we served ice cold water with lemon slices, green tea, and for those who needed a little more relaxation, we served our signature drink for the evening, Green Tea Martini's.

To make a green tea martini mix together, 2 oz - Lemon Vodka, 1/2 oz - Orange Liqueur (I used Triple Sec) and 1 oz- chilled green tea (unsweetened). Combine with ice in a martini shaker then shake and pour into a martini glass!

As the evening wound down, each guest received a small gift to remember the evening.

To create the gift, I purchased yoga charms from Oriental Trading (They have great things for all party themes!) and tied them around Tazo "Zen" green tea bags, along with some informational cards, with a hemp cord.

Everyone enjoyed the evening and walked out into the night relaxed and refreshed!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Collecting Memories

Collecting Memories
If you are in the DC area or coming for a visit, here is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

My partner, a docent at Hillwood Museum and Gardens, and I spent a beautiful afternoon roaming the twenty-five acre former estate of Ms. Marjorie Merriweather Post.  

Ms. Post, who was heir to the Post cereal fortune, amassed a magnificent collection of artwork that includes beautiful Fabergé eggs and other Russian artifacts from the Czarist family. In addition, now through May 30 you can view an exhibition entitled, "Sévres Then and Now: Tradition and Innovation in Porcelain, 1750–2000 that "uses Marjorie Merriweather Post's passion for 18th-century French porcelain as a point of departure and brings together over ninety of Sévres' greatest pieces spanning two and a half centuries."  

Along with the mansion, the estate boasts magnificent gardens including a French Parterre, Rose Garden, Japanese-style garden, and the sweeping Lunar Lawn. 

Brian and I had a wonderful time walking the grounds and highly recommend it for you and your friends. A
nd while you are there don't forget to stop off for brunch and some champagne at the café!

Enjoying the French Parterre

The Lunar Lawn was a beautiful spot for a garden party!

Enjoying the Rose Garden

I also recommend their wonderful gift shop for those one of a kind gifts for birthdays and other special occasions!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Easy Time-Saver

Easy Time-Saver
When preparing my posts for "The Domestic Dandy" I use my flash drive...a lot! I tried several methods of keeping the small drive from disappearing into my work bags...and my partner will attest to, I have several. So I needed something that would work for all of them as I changed them in and out on a daily basis.

I tried a carabiner clip, but I didn't always have a loop to attach it to in my bags. My Solution! I attached the flash drive onto a binder clip...luckily I found one that matched the colors of the Domestic Dandy...and now when I need to put it in my bag, I simply clip it to any inside surface and I'm ready to roll.

Buy a binder clip that speaks to your personality!

Remove the metal arm from the main body of the binder clip and secure it on the key ring

Reconnect the metal arm onto the Binder and you're ready to go! flash drive, kindle and OK magazine...I'm ready for the day to begin!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Always One to Accessorize!

Always One to Accessorize!
My partner Brian and I are working on our guest room, so that we have a fun and creative sanctuary for our overnight guests. 

One aspect of providing for your guests is to have toiletries on hand in case they were forgotten at home. I wanted to come up with a way to personalize these items and so I decided to create our own "signature" packaging for our guest bath products.

To begin the project, I started to think about the design for our label. 

  • First, I used the name Brian and I christened our house with, "Redbud Terrace." 
    • This exercise could be a fun way to engage your friends and neighbors, as you come up with a name for your own home!
  • Then I took a photograph of our house, and imported it into Photoshop. Using the brush stroke filter I created a "pencil sketch" of our home. 
    • For a less "tech" version, simply take a digital photograph of your house and scale it to size using any photo manipulation program, or turn it into a black and white photo for a more modern feel!

  • Once I completed the portrait of our home, I imported it into PageMaker and began to create our signature label. 
    • You can use any word processing program to achieve the same results; however, PageMaker allows more ease of use. 
  • When designing my label, I decided to use the French Script font as our signature font to welcome our guests and to label the product. 

  • Then I added  our monogram with a decorative border to add a personalized accent. 

  • After adding a border around my label, I was ready to print them out on heavy card stock. 

  • Once printed, I cut the labels apart and trimmed the edges to the width of the white space that I needed. 
    • The recycled bottles I'm using for our bath products require a 1 1/2" width label.

  • After cutting out the labels, I measured and cut out a larger square of a laminating sheet to place over the label to protect it from water. 
  • After both label and laminating sheet were  cut out, I used a glue stick to affix the label to the bottle. Then pulling the backing sheet off of the laminating sheet, affixed it over top of the label. 

  • Once the label was in place, I simply filled the bottles with my favorite bath products and now have a signature packaged product to welcome our guests! 

Try this fun and creative project in your home. Your guests will love it! Hopefully, they won't fill up their suitcase with the bottles when they head home ;). 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

There's a Bag for That!

There's a Bag for That!
I wanted to share a great gym towel that I found for Brian and me! It has really come in handy now that the weather is warmer and I no longer need to wear a jacket (with lots of pockets) to the gym.

The Zip Zac is perfect for the on-the-go gym person. It's not only a soft and thick terry cloth towel, but it also contains a water resistant zippered pocket to store your wallet, keys or IPod!

I take mine to yoga class all the time and love the fact that I don't have to carry anything in my hands. I just place everything in the zippered pocket, attach the towel to my yoga bag using the hanging tab and off I go!

You can get yours at!
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