Saturday, December 7, 2013

Shop Small :: Westport, CT

I love to check out all of the quaint little towns everywhere we go, but having lived in Connecticut for six-plus years now before we recently moved, the shop-small feature wouldn't be the same without mentioning one of my favorite towns to shop!

Westport is a great town that straddles the Saugatuck River. There are beautiful homes, and fabulous little places to eat, shop and explore.

For me, a trip to Westport wouldn't be the same without a stop at these places:

Fig Linens. Fig is a great shop right in the heart of downtown. Perfect for walking to when you are walking around the other shops. They have specialized in high end luxury linens for over 7 years. Full Disclosure: I worked at fig for a few months at the beginning of this year. Working at Fig made me appreciate quality linens so much more.

Fig carries brands like John Robshaw, Matouk, and Sferra. Here are some of the things currently on display there:

Robshaw bedding
Bold Robshaw Pillows.
 Perfect Gifts from Fig:

Loilla Bath & Body Products.
Brahms Mount Ombre Throw.
And if you aren't sure they'll love the beautiful items your splurging on for them, a gift card from Fig is always a treat!

Next up on the must stop list, for any knitter or gifter of a knitter: Westport Yarns.

Westport Yarns is a beautiful little yarn shop that has beautiful rows of yarn, projects, and accessories that can keep your imagination brewing for days.

Here is a look at the shop:

Lovely yarn is packed into the shelves with projects and patterns everywhere.

Look at these beautiful colors!
 Some great gift ideas for the knitter or crocheter in your life:

For a beautiful project, you can't go wrong with a project bag.

My ball winder & swift were one of the best gifts from P. 

Cozy Sock set, stuff a cute mug with sock yarn & needles for a perfect gift!

Of course a gift card would do here, as well!

Other great shops to check out in Westport: Terrain (right across the street from Westport Yarns), Dovecote (right next store to Fig), and there are so many more. Of course, if you like BBQ check out Bobby Q's for lunch right downtown as well.

Happy shopping and keep it local!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Fireplace Season

Welcome to December, and welcome to fireplace season. The official season in which it is ideal to be snuggled up indoors, hunkered down with loved ones by a cozy fire.

This non-working fireplace has been stuffed with logs
and is complete with cozy throws to snuggle up on!

So let's take a look at some beautiful fireplaces. Not only are fireplaces warm physically, but the visual quality of looking at a fire in a fireplace creates a great sense of warmth as well.

In addition to their great warmth, fireplaces make for stunning focal points.

Here are some of my faves:

This mixed mantle of stone and a simple wood hearth are so warm and cozy.
Especially with the open back bench to snuggle into in front! 

A modern minimalist spin keeps cozy with this fireplace.
Fill the space below with some split logs, and it would be perfect!

And of course we can't leave out the stockings and the holiday trim.
This classic white hearth & mantle are a timeless classic no matter the season.

Do you have a fireplace that you like to cozy up by during the colder seasons? How do you transition the decor for the holidays?

Hunker down, and keep cozy!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Shop Small

Small Business Saturday is something I wholeheartedly support.

Shopping on Black Friday, well, I've done the early-morning waking up to beat the deals before the sun rises. But when you think about it, what is the point? I understand that some people need to buy gifts for their kids and they need to be able to spread out the cash. But the electronic-crazed people that go nuts and hurt people are ridiculous. Quite frankly, I'll just sleep in!

But on Saturday, you can count me in! I will support the local shops any day, but what I want to do is explore local shops with great gift ideas, and little restaurants, featuring different towns every Saturday from here until the holidays.

If you support the local shops, and the little guys, you are more likely to get a unique gift that is more specific to the person that you are gifting to.

And then the money stays in the town.

Do you support Small Business Saturday? For the last three years, I have shopped Princeton, New Jersey on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It is the closest little town that is packed with great little shops, awesome food, and great ideas for gifting! This year I will be heading back to Princeton! Follow along on Instagram to see what I find today!

I plan to check out a few little home decor shops, a few clothing shops, a cafe and/or a restaurant, and of course it wouldn't be the same without a stop at the knitting shop!

If you have a town you would like me to explore, let me know, and hopefully I can share my finds with you on Princeton soon!

I hope you all enjoyed a fabulous Thanksgiving with friends and family and made a lot of great memories! I am thankful that I have the means to support the little guys, and not have to bang down the doors at the big box stores yesterday!

Monday, November 25, 2013

5K & a Feast!

I'm not sure about the rest of you, but all I have to do is make it through three days at work, and then I will be rewarded with five days off! More exciting than five days off in a row? Why Thanksgiving of course!

This year, P & I are doing a 5K/month, each benefitting a different cause. This week is our Turkey Trot 5K and it is on Thanksgiving morning! We will be bringing canned food to donate to a local food bank, and then racing away! (Which really just means we're balancing out the extra calories!)

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

For some people Thanksgiving is all about the Turkey. And I'll give it to you, you can't have Thanksgiving without it. But for me it is really all about the smashed potatoes (I'm not really a fan of the super smooth completely lump free variety) and the brussels sprouts! And this year I will be making the brussels for the future in-laws!

I know what you are thinking, and it is probably, ewwwww! Brussels sprouts are gross!

I assure you, they are delicious--and soo easy!

All you do is trim them from the stem, peel off any loose gross looking leaves, and quarter or half them. If they are quartered they will cook much faster.
Give them a good rinse and pat them dry.
Toss them into a baking dish (I usually use a loaf pan, but any baking dish will do) with enough olive oil to coat, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Give them a good stir to make sure that they are all covered with the oils. Cover with foil and they are ready to go in the oven at 375. They will take between 20-35 minutes depending on if you halved or quartered them. You will know they are ready when the leaves are crispy, and you can put a fork through the middle of them without much resistance. 
If you want to kick them up and make them special for the holiday feast....then before you cover with foil, take two strips of bacon, cut in half lengthwise, and then dice. Sprinkle the bacon pieces throughout, then proceed to cover with foil and bake.

Everything will crisp up and they will be so delicious--It's making my mouth water just typing this!

What special dish makes your Thanksgiving dinner? Do you help with any of the cooking or have any special recipes to share?

I'm thankful for my health. Without which, our 5K goals would be unrealistic. (And I wouldn't be able to enjoy the feast afterwards!) Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Getting Your Kids Involved in the Spirit of Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful family holiday. It is a time to get everyone together, to have a feast, and to celebrate.

But the spirit of Thanksgiving is really about just that. Giving thanks!

If you have little ones, get them involved! Let them help with little things around the house, while getting ready for the holiday festivities, and give them thanks for their assistance.

One of the best things that I think you can pass to your children around this season is to give back! Show them what it means to root around in the pantry and find some non-perishables to donate. Help them try to appreciate what they have and how fortunate they are.

I love this fun & festive table-setting idea from Better Homes & Gardens!

After you're done showing them how to be charitable and appreciate giving, and really feeling thanks, reel them back in with some fun! Decorate some mini pumpkins with paint, stickers, etc. to decorate the table and the house with. Have them make paper chains in fall colors to string around the mantle, or along the banister.

Most importantly, remember to appreciate your kids, and your family. In all of their qualities. It can be stressful to deal with the mess of your kiddos while you are trying to clean the house and prep for holiday company. But be thankful for their childish ways. Be thankful for their mysterious minds. Be thankful for their big innocent hearts. And be thankful for their unconditional love.

I am so thankful for all of the babies that I have had the pleasure to know, to nurture, to love and to watch grow. Having worked with kids for so many years, I really do appreciate them. I appreciate how frustrating they can be, and how amazing they can be. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Formal {& Fun} Thanksgiving Table

Monday, we talked about etiquette. Today, we are going to talk about having a little fun with your fancy table.

When you set your multi-plate, multi-glass place settings, you will inevitably need to set a cloth napkin with it. How about practicing some fancy folding to go with it?

Leave it to Martha to teach us how to fold a napkin like a turkey. How cute & appropriate! For instructions, click here.

The other thing that I thought would be fun is mixing up the seating. At these types of family-and-friend get togethers, couples and families sit together. So let's shake it up! Have some new great conversations and make some good memories by mixing it up with some thankful seating.

Come up with a list of thankfuls, and if you need help, you can always ask your guests! Write down each thankful in one word on a piece of paper and a place card. Grab a fish bowl, basket, vase, etc., and put all of the individual words in the container. Put the coordinating place card holders around the table.

When your guests come in, have them choose a thankful, and then when it is time to eat, they will sit at their coordinating place! If your dinner is all family, it will just be fun and silly. If extended family is involved, it will be nice to catch up with some relatives that you don't get to spend that much time with. And if it is with new family or friends, then it will be a great experience. The best part? The thankful cards give your guests something to talk about if they are feeling shy.

So what do you think? Are you planning to add any fun touches to your Thanksgiving dinner?

I'm thankful for my wonderful fiancee, and the road that we are embarking on together!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dining Etiquette {cheat sheet}

Most of us don't have more than a 5-piece place setting, or more than a 5-piece flatware set. In fact, when I tell friends and family that I want to register for china, they all scoff "Are you sure you want to register for china?! You'll never use it!"

Well, I am just the kind of gal who will not only register for china, but I will use it!

And Thanksgiving, and the following holiday season are just the time to use it too! So if you are hosting, bring out your fancy dinnerware, and set a nice table! And if you are not hosting, here are some tips on which piece of silverware to use for which course...just in case you are attending a fancy Thanksgiving. 

Kate Spade "Chapel Hill" China Collection

The plates will usually be set according to how many courses there are. So if there is a soup bowl, and a salad plate, there is sure to be a soup course and a salad course. Again, in this day and age, we may not all be having the type of fancy Thanksgiving dinners in which there will be separate courses. But, nonetheless, if you have a soup bowl, and a salad plate, then use them. There is no need to slop everything on to your entree plate when there is a perfectly good plate already set out for those other parts of the meal.

Lennox stemware, Eternal Gold collection.

Another thing that you may encounter is a seemingly countless number of glasses in front of you. Probably as many as four. Often in multi-course meals, you will use each of these classes. The white wine glass for the poultry or fish course, the red wine glass for the red meat or main course, and the champagne glass for dessert and toasting of course. The fourth glass is your water glass which you will use throughout the dinner. But again, if you are having a more all-in-one type of Thanksgiving, the glasses will all be set in order to give you the choice of which wine you would like to be served.

Kate Spade, Grace Avenue flatware collection.

And finally the flatware. In case you didn't learn from Pretty Woman like I did, you use the silverware from the outside piece to the inside piece. And it's as simple as that!

Later on in our Thanksgiving series we will go over some ways to add some fun to your formal Thanksgiving table, so keep an eye out for that!

I am so thankful to have been raised by such a loving group of parents. Each of them has taught me so many wonderful life lessons, that resonate with me every day. Thanks Mom, Dad and Mr. Jay!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Say Hello! {link-up}

I'm participating in a one day link-up sponsored by the The Every Day Joys!

The Questions:
1. What is your morning routine?
My morning routine changes depending on which alarm I wake up to. The goal is to wake up early enough to get out and walk/jog 2 miles, shower, put myself together, grab breakfast and hit the road... but sometimes the first step gets left out!

2. Are you on Instagram? What's your username, and who are your 3 favorite IGers?
I am on Instagram, you can find me "designbykrystle" & check out what I share there! My three favorite IGers are AP (lvdmorethncrrts) from I love you more than carrots, "AndiEaton" of OuiWeGirl, and "homeontherunway" for great Interior inspiration.

3. Tell us 1-3 of your daily "must-read" blogs.
I always read ChanKnits, I check in with GMarieSews and I check in with fashion blogger MyStylePill a lot too. But I am looking for new blogs every day, and trying to find more time to read!

4. Tell us a little bit about you & your family.
My family is one of those crazy families with lots of branches in our family tree. I am blessed with three loving parents, my mom, my dad, and my step dad; and one beautiful sister. And now that P and I are planning our wedding our family grows even more! Lucky for us, our family is scattered between Washington, Montana, New York, New Jersey, and the Carolinas, so we get to visit a lot of great people in a lot of great places!

5. What are your favorite holiday traditions?
My favorite favorite holiday tradition is hand-made Christmas. We don't celebrate the consumerism that Christmas has become, but instead we pour love into our gifts and make them for our closes family and friends.

6. Tell us one random fact about you, make it fun!
Oy, a random fact?! I may be a little obsessed with nail polish. I polish my nails at least once a week, in a different shade, and I own more nail polish than any one person should!

Thanks Laura for hosting a fun link up! Can't wait to check out your blog and see what new bloggers I can find!

I am thankful for being a part of such a wonderful blogger community!

Follow my blog on bloglovin!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Expressing Gratitude

Welcome to November. Albeit, I'm a little late being that we are a week in already, but nonetheless, here we are!

The big focus of the month is of course, Thanksgiving. And I have an entire month of recipes and decor suggestions to grace your Thanksgiving table. But I also want to focus on the gratitude.

For me, Thanksgiving has always been about 3 things: family, food, and gratitude (not necessarily in that order). 

Expressing your gratitude is so important. For me, it is an important part of running DBK. Reaching out to my clients and readers and let you all know how much you truly mean to me. 

Thankful forest card from Rifle Paper Co.

It is also just an important way to live your life! Think of how good you feel when someone says thank you for something that you have done. It makes you feel really good. To be able to appreciate those around you and give them that feeling of being appreciated, it is such a wonderful gift.

Happy November, and a huge thank you and so much gratitude to all of my clients and readers. Without you....well let's just not even go there. Thank you!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

DIY Fall Decor

I was feeling rather crafty last night, and in the spirit of Autumn entertaining, I thought it would be nice to make a welcoming wreath!

A wreath is the perfect decor item to add and change seasonally or more frequently if you so desire. A wreath is the first thing your guests will see when they arrive, it can set a tone for your festivities too! 

To get inspired, I searched for fall wreath ideas on Pinterest. Talk about inspiration overload!

I headed to the craft store and selected a foam ring, some wide burlap ribbon, and an assortment of florals and grasses.

I laid everything out on the floor of one if the aisles to do some visual planning of the layers. I have never made a wreath before and I didn't want to end up with too much or not enough decor.

I knew I wanted to use sunflowers, and the white flowers looked nice against the brown burlap and the yellow sunflowers. I had some leaves with glitter on them, but I decided to swap them for the grasses for more of a rustic natural look.

It was so easy! After I wrapped the foam with the burlap, I hot glued the ends to hold it down, then I once again plotted the arrangement, and got to trimming!

I removed all the flower stems, keeping the reeds and plumes of the grasses but trimming the leaves.

I hot glued everything in layers. Reeds and grasses first, then the daisies, and finally the sunflowers. I toyed with the idea of adding a burlap bow, but didn't. I can always add that later...what do you guys think?

Happy Autum DIY-ing & Decorating!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Perfect Autumn Entertaining

Autumn is my absolute favorite time of year! I love everything about it.

I love the crispness of the air in the morning, I love the clear blue skies and days of the perfect temperature. I love the crunchy leaves that land in your path and the sound that they make while you walk through them. Around this time next year P and I will be getting married!

But of all of that, my most favorite part about fall is that it is the perfect season for entertaining.

The nights are cool, and if you don't feel like going out, almost any hot meal will pass. So make your best dish and have fun with the presentation!

So, invite your friends over and enjoy the night!

Happy Entertaining!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Color Week :: Pops & Accents

Marigold books and a blush sofa grace this room in subtle and delightful hues.
If you aren't sold on a particular color scheme, adding a pop of color in your accents will help liven up your space. Using accents that are easy to change up or rotate through when the next color strikes you.

This vastly neutral room gets maximum attention with bold accents.

These spaces feature a mostly neutral backdrop that allows the color used to really pop in the space.

Pink and gold grace this clean white workspace
to create a touch of playful sophistication.

What colors will you add to liven up your neutral spaces? This look is a lot easier to wrap your mind around, and it is less of a commitment than an overall color make-over.

I simply adore the way these minty chairs freshen up this gray and white space.

Happy Accessorizing your spaces!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Color Week :: Opposites Attract

Bold blue and orange complementary scheme. 
One of my favorite rules of color is that of complementary colors. You can create a sharp look with stunning visual appeal. 

So what are complementary colors? They are the colors that lie opposite each other on the color wheel. They are contrasting. If you use them in equally intense hues, they can make you go cross-eyed.

Notice the differing shades of each hue:
All of the shades of red, complement the shades of green.

But the beauty with a complementary color scheme is that you can use any gradation of the two colors opposite each other. Have fun with it! Play around. Choose which complementary colors you would like to play with and then branch out. 

Soft and serene green and red color scheme. 

What do I mean? The most basic complements are red and green, orange and blue, and yellow and purple. Choose one shade on one side of the complement pair, and then use the whole range of the other color to find the right intensities for you and for your space.

Vibrant plum and mustard color scheme. 

On a random side note, I have unintentionally been dressing in coordination with Color Week. Tuesday, I wore the cutest achromatic ensemble, and today I wore an orange gingham shirt and dark denim jeans with cognac booties. Color is my fave.

Happy Schemin'.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Color Week :: Fall Fashion

For fashion colors, I use Pantone as a go to source. Well Pantone, and some of my favorite fashion bloggers. But let's focus on Pantone for the purposes of this post.

Each Spring and Fall, Pantone releases a fashion color report with sketches from some great designers in the chosen hues. I love to see the sketches, almost more than I enjoy seeing the colors revealed.

This season there is a good mix of deep earth tones and jewel tones. The chosen colors are all of the more intense and saturated variety, with only a few subdued tones to anchor the palette. Take a look at some of the looks I love from this reveal!

The Vivacious in Tadashi Shoji's Design:

The Deep Lichen Green in Pamella Devos' Design:

The Koi in Bibhu Mohapatra's Design:

The Linden Green and Turbulance in Herve Leger's Design:

But my favorite has to be Charlotte Ronson's combination of Emerald, Acai and Mykonos Blue in her design:

What do you think? Do you love the colors in fashion this season? Be sure to look for clothing items that you feel good in. Colors that give you confidence or make you feel sexy when you wear them are more likely to become staples in your wardrobe, as they should!

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Color Week :: The Absence of Color

While we are on the subject of color, it is important to also talk about the lack there of.

Achromatic gray scale.

ach·ro·mat·ic (a-krə-ˈma-tik) adjective
1. not readily colored by the usual staining agents 2. possessing no hue : being or involving black, gray, or white.

So how does this apply to your space? Can you imagine a space that possesses no hue? It's hard for me to imagine why you would want to! 

But, there are some spaces that look great in an achromatic scheme! 

Think of a classic kitchen with black and white floor tiles, white cabinetry, and black granite countertops (Think of the 50s domestic Goddesses.). Now picture a modern version of this:

Modern Achromatic Kitchen
with Black & Gray cabinets
and a Caesar stone top.

Contrasting black cabinet bases on the island, with soft painted grey bases on the perimeter. Open shelving above, stainless appliances, quartz countertops in white with flecks of black and grey that shimmer. This would make an incredible kitchen space.

You can also spin off of a mostly achromatic scheme in any living room or bedroom, by adding accent pieces in pops of color that can easily be swapped out as the mood strikes you. 

What do you think? Are you more likely to keep things black and white? Or do you like to live in color?

As Color Week continues, Happy Tuesday!