There is nothing I love more than a book about lifestyle. Entertaining, decorating, cooking, style, wellness, etc. I even wrote a book about living because I really just love it so much. Lifestyle guides are what get me through life. I wish my grandmother had written one and I am now even thinking of two aunts of mine and how I may push them to write one too. I love digging deep into these books, I always have a highlighter and pen on hand so I can highlight and take notes. This book in particular, The Art of Southern Charm by Patricia Altschul really has me so inspired. Patricia is a muse, an inspiration, an example of the fabulous way of living that we women need to pay attention to. There is grace, elegance and charm in living intentionally, not rushed, hurried, wrinkled and stressed. What is glamorous about that? So I thought I would share 6 things I learned and noted in this book so that you can write these down too.
Build a stationary wardrobe. This is something that I have always done but let’s face it, life gets in the way and we forget to write those handwritten notes. It is easy to thank someone for a gift or send a thoughtful note to a friend who is grieving via text or email but this just isn’t charming. A handwritten note goes a LONG way. Naturally a stationary wardrobe will help you to inspire you to send someone a handwritten note, and with easy access to gorgeous stationary, you will be more inclined to write it. I recently went to pick up some new stationary and fell in love with Matthew Willamsons stationary designs for some pretty and easy notecards. Personalized stationary is key. In the South, monograms and personalization are everything so make sure to get yourself some personalized stationary, it is a MUST.
Treat yourself with trays. You must build a collection of trays for yourself. It makes ordinary actions seem like glamorous moments. Hit up an antique shop to find a gorgeous silver tray. Make sure you get one that is real silver with gorgeous handles and nice details like this beauty. I use my silver tray for coffee and tea in the mornings. You can use these to corral your beauty items in the bathroom or serve an afternoon sandwich. A bed tray is also an essential. You can find a beautiful tray for the bed to use while you read and catch up on the latest episode of Southern Charm. I am obsessed with this bohemian chic one.
Simplicity is key to entertaining well. Here’s the thing, if you want to be sure to host a fabulous party, keep the food simple but display it on gorgeous dishes. Tea sandwiches, hot dogs and deviled eggs look best on beautiful and whimsical dishes. Be creative about how you serve a simple dish and you will WOW your guests. No need to break out the Julia Childs cookbook. You can even order Chinese food but serve it on a gorgeous dish and voila’. Think Anthropologie dishes or my current obsession is the Tory Burch cabbage plates.
We need a resurgence of the cocktail hour. This is a secret to socializing without having to actually go out. Such a brilliant idea for someone like me who loves to be home. Or for anyone who has kids at home that makes it more difficult to go out. Throw a party from 6-8pm. Invite your friends. Create a signature cocktail for the event. Suggest a certain type of attire. Play some really fun music. Think Breakfast at Tiffanys house party, nothing formal or seated, just cocktails and good conversations.
Potpourri in a decorative bowl. It makes a lasting impression. The Bitter Orange blend by Agraria is her favorite. It’s nicknamed Park Avenue Potpourri. This is a signature move for her, so take the inspiration and create your own home signature scent.
Caftans and cocktails are a MUST. A caftan collection is all your wardrobe really needs. Especially in the South and in the Summertime. You can wear them while hosting an outdoor party or to a fabulous cocktail event. It’s all about the accessories, make sure you have some big statement earrings to go with it. Also, a dressing drink is always best. To help relax you as you get ready to attend an event or throw one. It helps to calm the nerves. The way to always be fabulous is to always be relaxed (caftans make you feel easy and breezy and so do cocktails) and ready to mingle.
I am obsessed with her pink caftan here, I am thinking I need one asap. Here are a few I have my eyes on.