Soft Spoken: Soft Surroundings Blog

A Brush With Greatness - jane iredale

Complexion Brushes: used to apply primers, foundations, concealers and finishing powders

Somewhere in the foreground of every woman’s vanity are the tools she uses to apply her makeup. It is often a hodgepodge of brands and qualities that she has collected over the years. Rarely cleaned and often looking somewhat distressed, these are the only tools that many women never invest in, quite possibly because there are so many brushes for sale at such a broad range of price points – it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

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My goal is to simplify this so you’ll know which brush or brushes to use to achieve the most beautiful you. I will put our brushes into categories and teach you when to use each brush. I’ll start with our complexion brushes in this first article, though will be back to tell you about blush, bronzer and lip brushes, and of course eye brushes, in subsequent articles.

As you read about our brushes, keep in mind that they are hand tied before being placed into the ferrule (the metal base). This increases both the strength and longevity of the brush. All of the hair in our brushes is harvested without hurting animals. We want you to feel good about investing in our brushes and want you to know that we feel good about how we’re making them.

You’ll want to change your brush to achieve the best application results depending on whether you’re applying a liquid or powder complexion product.

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The Handi Brush – use to apply pressed powders and bronzers. The flat bristles, made from Goat Hair, prevent you from buffing the minerals, which allows for smooth, even application every time and no shine!

chisel powder

Chisel Powder Brush – use to apply loose powder. The Goat Hair bristles have the perfect firmness to evenly disperse the minerals.

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Foundation Brush – use to apply liquid foundations and primers. The firm bristles, made of Taklon Nylon, allow you to blend liquid product effortlessly. Its chiseled shape gives great precision for working in difficult areas like the corners of the nose and under the eyes.

blending

Blending Brush – use to apply both powder and liquid or cream-based products though this brush is particularly good for blending tinted moisturizer and cream blush so that your finished look is seamless. This brush is made of a unique combination of Goat Hair and Taklon Nylon allowing you to buff the bristles in a circular direction to eliminate any lines or smudges.

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Camouflage Brush – use to apply liquid and cream-based concealer. This Taklon Nylon brush is the perfect shape and size for a variety of concealing needs as it disperses and blends product beautifully.

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Sculpting Brush – use to apply liquid and cream-based concealer (use this brush to also apply liquid eye primer and liquid eye shadow, which I’ll explain more later). This Taklon Nylon brush can be worked in a circular direction to blend away any lines of demarcation so you won’t see where the concealer ends and the foundation begins.

Whatever brush you use, always remember to use a little product at a time so that you can control your application. Be sure to shampoo your brushes on a regular basis to ensure soft, non-abrasive bristles and brush longevity.

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ThrowsBlankets3Title

There is almost nothing more pleasing than fending off winter’s chill with a good long nap under cozy layers of bedding and blankets. True, we almost never have time for such indulgences, but we must. To rest and recharge is winter’s great message to us. So while nature slumbers in the Northern Hemisphere, you should squeeze in one or two, too. Thankfully, Soft Surroundings has some sumptuous ways to schedule in your well-deserved cap nap. Take a look…

For Keeps—Luxe Throws

We make it a point to offer a variety of opulent throw blankets in our catalog and on our website as soon as the leaves fall. We know it won’t be long before everyone has the urge to curl up under them and pretend to hibernate!

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All of our throws are woven with luxurious warmth mind. Of course it doesn’t hurt that they are all great beauties too! An abundance of petal-soft rosettes cover our feminine Giverny Throw. The look is graceful and posh. The touch is simply bliss. And on the reverse you’ll find a field of snuggly micro mink. The Giverny is a throw with classic French styling—an easy add-on to bed, armchair or couch. And it’s easy to coordinate, in blue, ivory and champagne.

St. Moritz Throw

Next, we took our inspiration for the St. Moritz Throw from the traditional Austrian ruching you might see in the velvety drapes and blinds at the fortress in Salzburg. After all, a castle must know how to keep the cold at bay. These channels of faux fur ripple and wave over the top, and the back is covered in a cozy, complimentary micro mink. In taupe or ivory, we love the way the St. Moritz adds an impeccable finish to a room, be it bedroom or living room.

Powder Plush Napping Set

Another option is to settle in for that long winter’s nap with our aptly named Powder Plush Napping Set. You couldn’t ask for more: an ensemble with pillow, throw and eye mask, all created from an incredibly soft fabric. In fact, all of our items that touch your skin are given our softness rating. The Napping Set earns a “3”—ultimate softness. It is also the perfect piece to monogram and give as a gift—one for you, one for me!

So throw a log on the fire and wrap yourself in the best throws you’ll find this season: our frilly French Giverny, the richly appointed St. Moritz or the Powder Plush Napping Set. Then visit our website to discover even more styles, colors and textures because a home always has room for one more throw.

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Secrets to Great gift giving

 

giftgiverThe Gifted Giver
We’ve often heard the phrase, “it’s the thought that counts”. Well, it truly is. It’s the personal care you’ve taken to choose a gift for just that person, with the anticipation of knowing they’re going to just love it. But how do we find that perfect present? The most thoughtful gifts are the ones where you really consider the other person’s wishes.

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Stop, Look & Listen
Really listen to what your friends and loved ones are saying, watching and wearing. You’ll get great gift tips. When you hear their “I wish” and “I want” comments, make a note, a physical note, so come gift giving season, you’ll have the perfect present in mind. And smartphones make it so easy to keep a handy running list that’s always ready for fresh, thoughtful ideas.

Social media cues

Social Media Cues
In this day and age, it’s easier than ever to find out what your family and friends “like”. Check your loved ones’ social media profiles to see what photos and posts they’ve written, liked and shared. Scan Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest to see what restaurants they have enjoyed or stores they love to frequent. It’s like taking a public peek inside their diary to find out a few of their favorite things, including your perfect gift.

Let's get personal

Let’s Get Personal Sometimes adding a personal touch to your present makes the gift all the more special. Why not consider a personalized item with a monogram? If chilly days leave your bestie feeling extra cold, maybe a perfect cuddle-up blanket with a beautiful monogram would be a wonderful treat. Or how about a set of monogrammed towels for your newlywed niece? There are so many gorgeous, embroidered monogram options from bedding and pillows to makeup bags and shirt cuffs. Even monogram jewelry or cufflinks can be a striking present. Or how about a sweet initialed mug filled with gourmet hot cocoa or coffee?

Me Time

Me Time
OK, so this is a bit harder to package, but you can give your spouse or friend the tools to make “me time” happen, even if it’s just little moments they can steal away. Maybe a soothing spa package of luxe bath items, complete with candles and a bottle of wine. Or that bestselling book that she’s been dying to read.

Time Dates

Time & Dates
Speaking of time, time together is actually the greatest give you can give. Instead of exchanging gifts with all of your girlfriends, make a plan to go out to a nice dinner together. To keep it stress-free, make your plans for after the holidays. Plan a lunch date with your sister, your treat. You can even make up a little gift certificate to give her on the holiday. Or how about a romantic weekend away with your honey? It could be your gift to each other.

Gift Cards
We often shy away from gift cards or money for presents because we fear they’re too impersonal. But actually, gift cards are the ideal way to get your loved one the exact gift he or she wants. In fact, many people prefer to receive gift cards so they can spend it as they choose. And gift cards are so super easy to get and can even be beautiful to give. Some stores offer lovely gift boxes for their gift cards so you still have the joy of watching your friend excitedly unwrap an actual gift.

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Material girl

Material Girl
Sometimes in our haste to get out the door or our zeal to hug a good friend, we end up with makeup smudged or smeared on our clothing. But don’t fret! Removing the stains can be as easy as 1,2,3. Much of makeup removal is about the technique. Blot. Dab. Lift. But whatever you do, don’t rub! You risk not only spreading the stain, but also damaging the fabric or material.

Tale of the tape

 

Tale of the Tape
A simple strip of tape can sometimes lift away an offending makeup mark. Use a dabbing motion and be sure to use a clean swath of tape with each dab. Lipsticks or powders respond well to tape since they tend to sit on top of fabric instead of soaking in. Tape is also a great, quick fix option for dry clean only items, when you don’t have time for a professional cleaning.

Portable Pens
Many laundry detergent and stain remover brands make easy-to-use pens for on-the-go emergencies. A few swipes of the pen can miraculously fade makeup mishaps. These pens also multi-task, doubling as a pre-wash treatment to ensure the stain doesn’t set in. This pre-treatment will also make your garment laundry-ready, no soaking required. Be sure to use a non-chlorine bleach pen on colored garments.

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Baby Love
Baby wipes not only get sticky fingers clean but also work wonders on removing pesky makeup stains. Dab and lift the stain, alternating with a dry cloth or paper towel. Use a clean section of wipe with each dab. Makeup remover wipes can also suit the same purpose. Keep a small package stowed in your handbag for quick touch-ups.

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Remover Remedies
Speaking of makeup remover, a careful drop of makeup remover can help whisk your stain right away. Make sure it’s oil-free or you may end up with a whole new worry. For nail polish whoops, nail polish remover is your savior. For best results, dab from the outside to the center of the spot. Always follow with a clean cloth to lift away the stain.

Alternative tricks

 

Alternative Tricks
Beyond makeup remover, you can also try dish detergent, shampoo or even shaving cream to break apart a stain. The astringent properties work to bust the oils in lipsticks and foundations. To use, mix a drop of solution with water and dab on the spot. Lift the stain with a clean damp cloth. While you finish getting ready, let the spot air dry first, then you can hit the wet area with your hairdryer for a speed dry.

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Dryer Beware
Before you use any product on any garment, consider this: Test your stain-busting solution in an inconspicuous spot to ensure it won’t adversely affect the color or fabric. And whatever you do, don’t put your stained garment in the dryer (or use your hairdryer) unless you are absolutely positive the spot is completely gone. You risk setting the stain permanently. Let it air dry first to be sure.

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Beyond Makeup
Those white telltale deodorant stripes seem to be so tricky to remove. We’ve all tried water on the marks, to no avail. Did you know you can simply blend away the marks by rubbing the stain against a clean section of your garment to gently disperse the streak? And what about toothpaste stains? Those white spots never seem to fade with water alone. Try dabbing stain remover or water with a few drops of detergent on the spot. Blot with water to finish.

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Luxe Moisture
The best way to soothe irritated, dry hands is to moisturize… and moisturize often throughout the day, especially after washing. Keep a pump lotion near all sinks for on-the-spot treatment. Stash a pocket-sized hand cream in your bag for on-the-go days. Oil-based creams are more emollient, giving richer hydration and longer-lasting results. Look for ingredients that create a moisture-sealing barrier like Lanolin, Glycerin, Dimethicone and Hyaluronic Acid.

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H2Oh, My!
We often remember to stay hydrated in the summer months, but it’s equally important during the winter, when biting winds and drying indoor heat can really take a toll on skin. Drinking water can hydrate every cell in your body and give your skin that dewy suppleness you crave. Shoot for eight 8 oz. cups throughout the day. Water-rich fruits and vegetables are not only hydrating, but also contain vitamins and antioxidants to help repair cells. Melons, berries, tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers are just a few good choices. Also, watch your alcohol and caffeine intake, which can be dehydrating.

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Clean Scene
Throughout the course of the day, we might wash our hands dozens of times. All this sudsing can leave your hands drier than the Sahara. Washing is important, but there is a kinder way. Opt for lukewarm water, not hot. Avoid harsh soaps with antibacterial or deodorant properties which can strip skin of vital moisture. Refrain from using liquid hand sanitizer, which contains up to 60% skin-drying alcohol.

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Gloved Wonders
Speaking of gloves, you really should wear them whenever the temperature dips. And there are so many chic styles in leather, wool or cashmere, detailed with bows or fur, or even fingerless varieties that are protective yet practical. Make the most of the long overnight hours by slathering hands with skin-softening cream (or even Olive Oil) and topping with a pair of cotton therapy gloves. Your hands will feel baby-soft and kissable by morning. Supercharge the nighttime results by sleeping with a hydrating humidifier.

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Super Spa
Treat your hands to an at-home spa day with these simple tricks. Start by soaking hands in warm water for only 5 minutes to soften calluses. Exfoliate with a good scrub. After exfoliating, rinse and pat dry. Finish with your favorite hand cream. Add some essential oil for a blissfully soothing experience. Rosewood Oil kickstarts cell turnover. Jasmine Oil restores youthful elasticity.

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Repair Wear
Sometimes, even with extra TLC, hands can become cracked, a condition that is particularly painful on your heavily-used fingers. One way to stop a crack from spreading is to try an OTC medical adhesive. A professional paraffin treatment can really restore chronically dry hands. An even easier solution is heat therapy moisturizing mitts. They quickly deliver deeply hydrating, skin-repairing results, without all the mess and aggravation of hot wax… or the pricey salon visit.

If after all of these treatments, you’re still struggling with raw, irritated hands, it may be time to consult a doctor to rule out more serious concerns.

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Onesingularsensation

One Singular Sensation
‘Tis the season to be jolly, but sometimes it feels more overwhelming than merry. Drop the multi-tasking mayhem and focus. On. One. Thing. At. A. Time. Allow yourself to fully embrace each experience without worrying about your lengthy list of to-dos. Trust us, they will still be there. In the meantime, you’ll better enjoy each moment and recharge a bit to boot. Engage your senses, taking in the sights, sounds and smells as you bake holiday cookies or take a snowy walk. Slow down and truly revel in the holiday spirit.

makingalist

Making a List
It’s not as fun as Santa’s Naughty or Nice list, but a daily to-do list is just as important. The key is to prioritize and keep it realistic with tasks you can actually achieve. A realistic to-do list will not only help you get organized, but let you feel successful as you cross off your accomplishments. Prioritize your favorite holiday traditions and don’t feel guilty about letting other time-consuming, lofty plans go.

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“Me” Time
While you’re making your to-dos, don’t forget to put yourself on the top of your list. Yes, physically schedule some “me” time. Spending a little downtime will actually make you more effective at accomplishing all the rest of your to-dos. Light a fire, grab a good book and relax. A quick mani/pedi with your girlfriend can also help you recharge. Or plan a night to drive around and look at the lights. And don’t feel guilty about saying “no” occasionally.

healthyholiday

A Healthy Holiday
In addition to downtime, it’s also important to focus on your health with healthy meals and exercise. Heart-healthy fish and antioxidant fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens, can not only give you vital energy, but also help detoxify the holiday overindulgences. Exercise is a great way to neutralize the stress hormone cortisol. Free your mind and your body tension with yoga. Or take a walk and enjoy the winter scenery. The frosty air will exhilarate. And don’t forget, a good night’s sleep is crucial for a healthy state of mind.

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Wrap Party
Gather your gifts and have a wrap party with your besties. This isn’t another worry-inducing party to plan. This is low-key casual, where everyone brings their favorite drink and a simple snack to nosh. You can make your presents perfect while enjoying perfectly pleasant conversation with your friends. Put on your favorite mood-lifting holiday movie or jingle some holiday cheer with your best-loved seasonal music.

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A Little Help from Your Friends
Just because you’re hosting the family holiday gathering, that doesn’t mean you have to do it all. Let everyone chip in and help. Create an easy sign-up. There are even free online tools like SignUpGenius.com that make it super simple. And while you’re planning to deck the halls for your holiday bash, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be magazine-ready. Remember, those splashy pages are planned months in advance by a team of professional designers.

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Donate old Decorations
As you’re decorating, also consider whether you really need eight tubs of decorations. Do you have any holiday décor you could donate to a charity or a family member just starting out? You’ll not only get the satisfaction of having an organized space and room for new pieces, but you’ll also experience a feel-good moment when you donate knowing you’ve just created a great gift for someone else’s holiday.

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ProventialChristmas5

The magic of the holidays often starts with decorating your home. You deck the halls with fresh-cut holly or evergreen boughs and garland. You dig through storage bins and boxes to bring out your precious, timeworn treasures. You might even add a couple of fresh new décor ideas here and there.

But after the celebrations are over, there’s always so much packing up and putting away to do—and that’s never a joy!

What if sprucing up the house was more effortless, more organic, more like the French do it in Provence? You’d have much less to pack up in January. And we promise, the décor will still be just as breathtaking as ever.

Here are a few ways to style your home for the holidays with gorgeous pieces that you’ll love to leave out all year round.

La Vielle Votive Holder

Glitz

The colors red and green time-out after the season winds down, but things that shimmer with a little glitz can definitely find a place in everyday décor. We love dressing a buffet or mantel with silvery mercury glass. Our sparkly La Vielle Votive Holder sets a wonder-filled tone for the season, but kept out through the winter it gives a room that special occasion feeling, any day of the week.

Antique Mercury Glass Boxes

Add a few of our Antique Mercury Glass Boxes on a side table; top them with bay leaves, whole cloves, or small pinecones and they’ll scent and sparkle. Then, when you’re ready, move them to the boudoir or vanity and fill them with rose petals, lavender, or pearls. So beautiful and so versatile.

Mediterranean Artichokes

Another one of our favorites is our hand-gilt Mediterranean Artichokes. Pile them up in a gorgeous bowl on table or sideboard, or put one at each plate with a place card tucked between its golden leaves. They symbolized health and abundance to the ancient Greeks, and they’re a longtime favorite of the stylish French. And come January, scatter them around the hearth, in the basket of firewood, or on a windowsill in the kitchen to remind you of nature’s riches.

Metallic Flameless Candles

One more simple, Provencal way to make a room gleam with magic this season is with our phenomenal Metallic Flameless Candles. Group several of them together, or create an arrangement by placing them under our vintage Glass Domes. The look is awe-inspiring and later, both candles and domes are endlessly useful.

Potted Boxwood Collection

Greenery

Trade out the traditional poinsettia and spruce garland with our stately and graphic preserved Potted Boxwood Collection. These vibrant green cones and spheres in limestone pots are miniatures of the ones you see in French Renaissance gardens. String them with tiny white lights or tie a French Blue Plaid ribbon around the pot and they’re ready for the festivities. And, because they are preserved, the green will never fade—just right for use all four seasons dressing up a countertop or forgotten corner.

Wreath Candle Holder

Another brilliant example of a twist on the traditional is to forgo the classic pine wreath and go with our wrought iron Wreath Candle Holder instead. At the center of the table, or taking center stage on the mantel, this dramatic décor item brings impeccable style and illumination. And its classic look is appropriate all year long.

White Owls

Much of the décor that’s prevalent at the holiday season in European countries takes its cue from woodsy wonderlands. Think Hans Christian Andersen. Our Birch Reindeer, and Great White Owls are perfectly adorable examples. Of course they cast a storybook spell when placed in and around the Christmas tree or on a decorated mantel. But also imagine them as part of a winter display next to a frosty February windowpane.

Vintage Tin ornaments

Glamour

The French have long known that a little glamour is seasonless—especially when it’s the vintage kind. Our Tin Ornaments are a great example. They’re handmade of pressed tin, hand-finished for an antique feel, and strung with a gold ribbon. Like architectural fragments off centuries-old cathedrals, they add something extra to your tree or tied onto gifts, but they’ll also shine, yearlong, hanging from the linen closet doorknob or strung between the panels on a drapery rod.

Bastia Apothecary Jar

And as soon as we saw our Bastia Apothecary Jars we knew they were just right for our Christmas in Provence. Made of glimmering mercury glass, they are etched and gilded in India, They give height, glow and glamour to a dining or serving table while entertaining, and elegance throughout the year.

Mother Nature

Draw inspiration from Mother Nature to set the stage for the holiday celebrations and you’ll never go wrong. That’s exactly how the people in the little towns and villages of the French provincial countryside do it. They are thankful for nature’s gifts and borrow them to bring an effortless, organic look to their homes for the holidays.

Birch Tree Candleholders

Consider our whimsical Birch Tree Candleholders. The birch bark is beautifully textural and signals the snowy river and thick woods of your favorite holiday songs. Propped with some of our sweet woodland creatures like the Eagle Owl Ornament or the Birch Reindeer and the ensemble is picturesque all winter long. Just like our Bird’s Nest Collection and Robin’s Egg Ornaments, these pieces are imaginative embellishments for the tree that can be re-imagined well into 2015. For example, tuck some of our Robin’s Egg Ornaments inside our Basse Box and welcome spring!

Robin’s Egg Ornaments

 

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GuestRetreat2

Creating a relaxing and inviting guest room, like the ones in the best hotels, is as simple as counting to five. It all starts with the bed and bedding. Once you get that right, scattering necessities and nice-ities here and there—all over the house— will pull it all together into a perfect retreat. Follow these easy steps to houseguest success.

ToileDeJuoy

Step 1: The Bed

There’s no reason why the bed and bedding in the guest room should be an afterthought. It’s a room on a mission: welcoming comfort, rest and relaxation. And the best way to accomplish that mission is with layered bedding and plenty of pillows.

Our Soft Surroundings Toile de Jouy quilted bedding is a traditional but luxurious foundation for your visitor’s bed. It features a tranquil print of the French provincial countryside in a peaceful shade of grey. Layer it with velvet, linen, and silk shams like our Alexa and Pont d’Arc collections and your room is well on its way. Don’t forget to throw in a throw blanket so your friends can curl up in comfort and nap away. Take a look at our Snow Lynx and Paris Faux Fur Throws. Every bed and sofa could use one!

NormandyNestingBasket

Step 2: Accoutrements in the Bedroom

It’s the little things that make the difference. When you fill some baskets like our Normandy Nesting Baskets with the odds and ends your guests will need or may have forgotten to bring, you make traveling no-fuss. And who doesn’t appreciate that?

Include magazines, toothpaste, hand or body lotion, even a tasting of our Tequila, Bourbon or Wine Brittle or our adorably festive Acorn Box with Almonds placed next to the bed.

Don’t forget to think about lighting too. Our flameless candles—with remote control—are safe, soothing and romantic, if that’s what you’re going for!

AdanaTowels

Step 3: Guest Bath

Almost as important as bedding are the towels you lay out for your guests. The softest, freshest, fluffed-up stack is always appreciated. Consider our plush Adana Towels. They have a vintage look and 5-star feel—a luxurious way to wrap your guests in comfort.

The bath is the first place to put fresh, fragrant flowers. The beauty of the vase is sometimes overlooked, however. We love the grace and ease of our Filigree Four Vase Tote. With recycled bottles, removable from the pressed tin container, it is gorgeous decked out in single stems of orchid or freesia.

Another great addition is to place a long-lasting reed diffuser in the bath or bedroom. It’s fun to switch out the scents depending on the tastes of your holiday guests.

ByronSofta

Step 4: Cozy Little Nooks

Visitors are drawn to conversation in cozy nooks and comfortable sofas. After all, visiting with you is what they’re there for. Make sure there are plenty of spots to spur everything from chitchat to heart-to-hearts. You’d be surprised what might come to light in the arms of our Byron Sofa and Lounge Chair.

On the other hand, a wingback chair—like our irresistible Fontaine—pulled up to the fire with a throw blanket and a book will inevitable be the most coveted spot in the house for those solo types.

And it’s never a bad idea to make sure the pets of your guests are pampered too! Our Grain Sac Pet Cushion is a super-considerate way to make the furry friends feel at home.

RivieraNestingTables

Step 5: Extras and Must-Haves

When the house is filled with guests for the holidays, a hostess is always in need of the little extras that make entertaining easier.

For example, our popular Riviera Nesting Tables are indispensible when the e-reader and coffee come out. And our elegant Martini Tables with burnished bronze finish are perfect for the holidays—and handy all year round. They are so quintessentially French.

Last but never least, accommodate your guests to simple gestures that comfort them as much as the bedding, throws, slippers and flowers. One way is with unique and memorable moments, like tea for two with our Expressions Tea Cups. Each one comes with a pewter spoon inscribed with a message. Choose “Always in hot water” or “Dressed to the tea” depending on who you’re serving. They’re charming and sweet to give as parting gifts too.

Treat your visitors to the retreat they deserve, and make their visit even easier on you this holiday season. Follow our easy steps and then tell us a few of your own. We love hearing from you.

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Creating the kind of holiday table that is both beautiful and comfortable enough for your guests to linger, raise a glass and indulge in a second helping is easier than you think. Follow a few rules of thumb, add your own creativity and don’t forget to have a little fun!

Keep in mind that layers and variety is key. By that we mean, include pieces in a range of heights, textures, patterns and variegated shapes in your tablescape. Mix it up. White glazed plates and serving dishes look even finer next to silver or gold. Circles and cylindrical shapes work well with the naturally irregular shapes in nature. Something delicate next to something solid and substantial creates a pleasing yin-yang relationship.

artichokes

Let Nature Inspire You

As the holidays begin, the theme is all about abundance. The harvest is in, and your table décor can draw from the bounty of nature.

Our silver and gold Mediterranean artichokes are a rich and attractive example. In Europe, the artichoke is the symbol of good health and abundance. What better way to represent Thanksgiving? Arrange them plentifully in a rustic wooden basket. Or mound them high in a hammered gold or silver bowl and use it as a simple and special centerpiece.

Best of all, you don’t have to pack them away later. These artichokes look wonderful scattered near a fireplace, in and around baskets of firewood and kindling all winter long. They also add eye-appeal to bowls of real artichokes on the kitchen counter.

Another understatedly opulent way to nod to nature and enhance your holiday tables is with our hand-gilt Feasting Pheasant. It instantly becomes an attention-getter wherever you place it.

Consider using two pheasants, and bookend a serving buffet or console with the pair. Then arrange a glorious spread of food, beverages or desserts in between. After all, pheasants are the symbol of good fellowship and nearly as much a favorite to the French as the beloved rooster.

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Sparkle and Shine

Our Feasting Pheasant is a perfect way to also bring height to your table décor. Including pieces that are low, medium and tall heights is an important ingredient to add depth, perspective and dimension. Another way to do this is to include tall tapers or a delicate, glowing candelabra like our Tre.

trecandelabraThe Tre Candelabra is named for its three slender spires. We love its Queen Anne claw feet and gold detailing. It is sophisticated but simple, and a beautiful compliment to other items around it that lend sparkle and shine.

No table would be complete these days without flameless candles, and our metallic ones are perfection. In gold or silver, they come in four sizes to give height and depth—not to mention romance!

The combination of the real flickering flames of the Tre Candelabra and the glint of our flameless metallic candles will bring an easy ambiance and a cozy glow that will last as long as the sterling conversation.

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The Essentials

Some designers create a look for a table by first selecting a color scheme. Others start with the essentials—serving platters and utensils. These pieces are the foundation of table décor and a great place to focus your energy.

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Hand crafted for us in Italy, our Marcella Platters are exceptional, each one a unique masterpiece. On your table or buffet, they conjure feelings of holidays in Provence or Tuscany with old-world grace and style. We love serving with the full medley of shapes and sizes—rectangular, oblong and circular—because they’re so useful, of course, but also because they add hints of classic architecture to the setting.

bonehandle

And then there’s our very favorite addition to our holiday collection and to your holiday parties: our bone-handled serving utensils. From corkscrews to cake servers, these handmade bone and ebony pieces are vintage inspired, with brushed steel and turned ends.

Pair the cake knife with cake server and cheese knife and they’ll dress up your dessert table. Or wrap up the bone corkscrew with the handsome bottle opener and nutcracker as a stunning gift. But absolutely don’t forget to treat yourself to the bone candlesnuffer. It’s such a perfect companion on the table with the Tre Candelabra.

It’s true having beautiful things on your holiday table is paramount. But what about the table itself? Isn’t it just as vital? Certainly!

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That’s why we love our Olivia Dining Table with its hand-carved apron and pedestal base. It’s so exquisite you’ll never want to hide it under a tablecloth. And its whitewashed, hand-finished patina is a splendid canvas for layering the affects of flickering candles, glittering metallics, white-glazed serving dishes, and bone-handled utensils. Surround the Olivia Table with our shabby chic linen upholstered Citeaux Abbey Side Chairs and the party decorating is delightfully done.

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