Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Simple and Gay Holiday Mantlepiece

Rather than entertaining at home this holiday, we are headed out of town. So when it came time to decorate our home for Christmas, I wanted to tone it down and do a low key mantle and tree this year.

To begin, I chose my golden rams head bowl I discovered at a local antique store. Filled with golden ornaments and green topiary balls, it gives me a lot of impact for my easy to do mantelpiece.

With my bowl front and center, I then added lighting. This year, instead of dealing with wrapping lights around my garland, I placed rope lighting behind my creation to uplight it and add some sparkle. 

I then added garland and glass candleholders flanking the mantle. Once I was satisfied with placement, I topped it off with golden mesh and ribbon.

Add some pillar candles, and the results are
a glittery but simple mantelpiece fit for a gay holiday!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Dandy Wedding Revisited!

Three years ago today, I married my partner and best friend of 14 years. With that in mind, I wanted to share some ideas that I used on our wedding day to help make it a dandy day!

One of the many fun things I did for our wedding
was create gift bags for our out of town guests! 

We had a few friends and family members who came from out of town for the wedding. I wanted to welcome them in true Dandy Style, so I created a welcome gift bag for each friend and family member who stayed overnight at our hotel.

I wanted to make our guests comfortable, so I thought about what to place in our welcome bag. I decided to include a bottle of water, a big cookie, a monogrammed vanilla candle and an invitation to breakfast with Brian and I the next morning.

I had a great time creating the personalized items.

The first item I personalized were the water bottles.
To begin, I bought water bottles and removed the company label that was attached to the bottles. 

After removing and measuring the label, I created my own label using cardstock and a color printer.

Once I created the labels, I then glued them to the water bottles creating our signature bottle!

The next items I created were the personalized cookie sleeves and monogrammed candles.

Both of these items I purchased through!

I purchased delicious cookies from our local bakery, tightly sealed them with saran wrap and then wrapped each individual cookie in a blue cellophane wrapper and slipped it inside each signature sleeve.

The candles arrived naked in it's tin shell and I simply applied the personalized stickers I created online!

I loved how easy it was to personalize each item and the finished look it gave our gifts!

The final item I added to our welcome bag were invitations to breakfast the next morning with my husband and myself.
It was wonderful seeing our guests happy and content the next morning at breakfast!

If you have guests coming from out of town, either for a wedding or simply coming to stay with you in your home, think about how you can make their stay a little bit more fun and interesting!

Another favorite idea from our wedding was the transitional aspect of our pew markers. Our florist, Stephen McLeod, designed them so that they could be taken to the reception sight and used as centerpieces on our tables. 

Floral Designs by Stephen McLeod
Photography by Patrick Onofre
It was a wonderful idea and saved us some money, which is always a dandy thing!

As Brian and I celebrate our anniversary, I would like to wish all those getting ready to tie the knot many blessings and a lifetime of happiness!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bayside Accents

Blocked by the major renovations that had to be done at WatersEdge, my creative juices are once again flowing as the major projects are nearing completion.

As our furniture began to arrive last week, I contemplated the design and decoration of our beautiful modern space taking shape. While the bay side retreat begs for some nautical flair, I didn't want a traditional or kitschy feeling space. One way I expressed the feeling of the space was with this Bayside centerpiece.

I began with a traditional large ornamental clam shell, but gave it an urban twist with succulents and rocks gleaned from the sandy shores of the Chesapeake bay.

What resulted was a beautiful bayside accent that enhances our Silverado Rectangular dining table and Pony Tweed chairs from CB2.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Beat the Heat: Summer Cocktail Party

Beat the Heat Summer Cocktail Party
If you’re like me, these hot humid days of summer are getting the best of you. Not only does it make it difficult to choose a dandy outfit, but it is also wilting my desire to entertain. But you can’t let the weather get the best of you, so I say beat the heat with a summer cocktail party. Nothing gets one in the mood like gathering together with well-dressed friends for a sultry evening of drinks, food and fun.  

To keep your evening gathering simple and hassle free, begin with a tasty signature cocktail. One of my favorite summer drinks is a John Daley, the traditional Arnold Palmer with vodka. Simply add 1 part lemonade to 1 part tea with 1.5 ounces of vodka. Add ice and you have a refreshingly easy drink sure to please one’s guests. When making my version, I like to use flavored vodka to add a little pizazz. My favorite is citrus vodka, but I would be tempted to use a berry flavored one as well. 

So that guests have something to nibble on while discussing their summer antics, I suggest making an easy dessert such as the “Lazy Peach Cobbler” (recipe below). This recipe was given to me by a good friend when I had an abundance of peaches due to an overzealous day at the orchard. It’s simple to make, yet tastes so good your friends will thank you for slaving away in the kitchen just for them! Don’t worry though, I won’t tell.

Keep cool!

Lazy Peach Cobbler
6-8 servings
¾ cup sugar
1 cup self-rising flour
½ cup milk
1 stick butter
4 cups peeled sliced peaches

Melt butter in 1.5-2 quart casserole dish.
Mix flour, sugar and milk together.  Pour over melted butter into casserole dish (DON’T STIR INTO BUTTER).
Place sliced peaches on top of batter (DON’T STIR INTO BATTER).
Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.

Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Sea Side Literature

If you're an avid reader like me, you may have already finished the dandy reads I recommended back in June. To keep your summer rolling, here are two more books I recently finished while sitting seaside.

The House of Velvet and Glass, by Katherine Howe
This lush piece of historical fiction tells the tale of an old moneyed Bostonian family torn by tragedy, who are trying to connect with the living and the dead. Sibyl Allston has lost her Mother and younger sister to the Titanic disaster and while she tries to reach them at her weekly seance meetings, she also yearns to connect with her father and brother who are lost in their own world of grief and pain. It is a story of love and loss in an age of spiritualism, strict societal rules, opium dens and a world on the edge of war.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
As Crazy Rich Asians opens, you are thrown into a world of power, money, and pedigree. As the story unfolds, Nicholas Young, heir to a massive family fortune, brings his ABC (American Born Chinese) girlfriend, Rachel, on an asian tour to meet the family and attend the wedding of the season. As Rachel tries to find her way in the very wealthy world of Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, there is nothing that will stop Nicholas' scheming, backbiting and gossiping "friends and family" from trying to stop the "deficient" Rachel from marrying him. Quick and delightful, filled with extravagance, this is a perfect summer beach time read!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Sparkle

Summer is a time of sun and fun but don't forget the sparkle!

With trips to the beach and laying out in your backyard your diamonds are bound to get a little messy what with the sunblock, tanning oil and moisturizers. Don't fret though.

You can easily clean them and get that new ring sparkle using the Connoisseurs Diamond Dazzle Stik.

And with it's small pen like design you can carry it with you wherever your summer travels take you!

Grab your stik and go!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Some Summer Shore Reading Suggestions

As the summer heat creeps in, my thoughts instantly turn to the beach and languid afternoons spent listening to the sounds of the surf as I quietly read a book in the rays of the warming sun. To help you get into the summer mood, I’ve listed a few dandy suggestions that will help you fill an afternoon of sun and literary fun.

My first suggestion may not seem like your typical beach read. However, as I read Edward Rutherfurd’s new novel, Paris, I was taken away to a different time and place…and isn’t that what you want in a summer read?! When I first saw the release of Rutherfurd’s novel, I was excited to reminisce and discover more about all the places my husband and I had visited while touring the city of lights. As I shadowed the lives of each character, from the street urchins of Montmartre to the wealthy aristocratic families, I became immersed in the rich history and violent past of this beautiful city.

Running at 832 pages, I would recommend reading this ambitious work on your e-reader and not lugging the thick tome around. However, if one were to carry the hardcopy version around, there is always the chance that you might catch the eye of someone who’s looking for a brain along with that brawn.

My next dandy suggestion for the tanned bibliophile is one of my all-time favorites. I first discovered Frank Decaro’s book, A Boy Named Phyllis: A Suburban Memoir, as I was scouring the book store for something interesting to read. As I came upon the cover, I had no choice but to purchase it and find out what this quirky book was all about. This gay coming-of-age story is as hilarious as it is heartwarming. Almost instantly, my boyhood self connected with this little outsider trying to make his way through the perils of growing up gay in Little Falls, New Jersey. With his witty one liners and hilarious turn of phrases, Decaro will have you laughing out loud and reminiscing about your own childhood angst.
The Dandy Meets the Beekman Boys
Another suggestion for those looking for a summer beach read is Josh Kilmer-Purcell’s, The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers. You may remember Josh and his partner Brent from their show “The Beekman Boys” or from their win on the recent “Amazing Race.” This fun and touching memoir chronicles the adventures of this dandy duo as they purchase the Beekman Mansion and surrounding farm in Sharon Springs, NY. As they work to restore the historic mansion and struggle through the renovations and day to day trials, this memoir reveals a loving and committed couple living their life and enriching their community along the way. 

There you have it. Some dandy suggestions that I hope will brighten your day at the beach and keep you entertained all summer long!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Kitchen Prep

After much thought and deliberation my husband Brian and I have finally chosen our kitchen remodel design.

Not satisfied with the current look...

We worked with Kitchentune-up on a new design. We will begin by having our wooden cabinets refaced with a bamboo wood veneer and top it off with a Cambria snowdon white countertop and Amerock modern hardware.

Can't wait for the finished design!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Beach Bound

Headed to Rehoboth Beach for the Memorial Day holiday? Be sure to stop by Boxwood Home (39 Baltimore Ave.) for some fresh summer picks.

Loving these Foo Dog Lamps 

and this coral centerpiece
While you're there, keep an eye out for the Dandy. I'll be stopping by to check out the new merchandise!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Planning a Dandy Anniversary

Celebrating Ten Years Together

Baltimore OUTloud is 10 years old! And the Dandy is helping to celebrate their anniversary!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cards with Style

Do you have a group of friends and family coming to visit over the Memorial Day holiday? Avoid those awkward pauses and stilted conversation with Aunt Ida by engaging them in a friendly game of cards!

Do it in style with Coach's Lexington Leather Boxed Card Set available at

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Dandy Disaster

Can the Dandy save this kitchen.....

Stay tuned for updates on this latest creative adventure!! 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Take a tote this summer!

Although it's raining out today, I find myself looking forward to summer. And what would summer be without a fun sunny tote to carry all of your summer essentials.

A few of my favorites include: 

This bright and sunny Heritage Web Canvas Pieced Stripe Tote by Coach. It's on sale now at!

Another favorite is the Jack Spade Dipped Coal Bag. Dipped in orange latex, it brings to mind those orange Creamsicles one had as a kid. 

And perfect for those trips to the beach, you can't go wrong with this monogrammed cooler speaker tote from Potterybarn! Just plug in your iphone or ipod and while away the hours in the sun!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spring Awakening

Spring is here! And if you’re like me, you want to celebrate with a fresh and spring like dinner party!

We recently hosted an Easter brunch for 8 and once the invitations were out, I…as one does…immediately began to think about my tablescape. I wanted something that would celebrate the season and the fresh feeling of spring.

So, after contemplating my theme, I began putting everything together starting with a colorful basket of fresh pansies. Purchased at my local grocery store, it was a convenient and dramatic anchor to my table.

To display my centerpiece, I placed the basket of pansies in a hand made twig tray that I’ve had for years and added some shredded paper “grass” to disguise the plastic pot.

After my centerpiece was complete, it was time to work on my place settings. I’ve created some fun and unique place card holders in my past, so with my creative juices flowing, I grabbed the last couple of bags of Easter eggs and some chocolates and headed home to work on my project.

I began by cutting a slit in the top of my eggs with my exacto knife…

and filled them with a chocolate surprise. I then created and printed out my place cards.

Once I assembled my egg place cards, by placing the card in the slit of the egg, I began building “nests.” To keep my eggs upright, I created little nests out of the shredded paper “grass” and rested them in our wedding china tea cup saucers.

Once everything was assembled, my guests were directed to their proper seats and enjoyed a little after dinner treat when they cracked their eggs open. 

Now, you may think to yourself. “That’s wonderful, but Easter is over.” Don’t worry, You can recreate this brunch setting without the “Easter” theme. Simply replace the Easter eggs with some foam or plastic robin's eggs and some twig nests and you have a beautiful spring table to greet your guests!

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