Gift guide for the happy-hour crowd

If you’ve missed some of the food-related gift guides I did for Every Day with Rachael Ray, you can find the gift guide for the morning person here and the gift guide for kids here. Today’s gifts are for your cocktail party hosts, the people you regularly meet for happy hours and your wine and whine dinner party friends. Here’s the version that ran in the magazine. Don’t see something you fancy there? Let friends raise a glass to one of this gift guide for the happy-hour crowd. Cheers!


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Outfitting the bar

Old bar
I sold this packed bamboo cabinet turned bar before we moved. I originally bought it for the bathroom but ended up buying a medical cabinet that fit the space better. I always thought this would be perfect storage in a kids’ room one day, but it wasn’t worth hanging on to while we’re away in Switzerland.

And now I’ve got the bar back on the brain. Why? Shiny objects. I am enamored with the vast selection of glassware, decanters and shakers available right now, and I’m dreaming up ways of using then in our home. Here’s what I am thinking.
Bar style
I know that anytime I need vertical storage for a project, I go to the Vittsjo bookshelf (seen here), but honestly, I have yet to find a better shelving unit for the price that can be customized in so many different ways. I love all things gold right now, so I would paint this piece with my new favorite metallic spray paint.

Scott and I registered for classically simple glassware and got all of it from our good friend (thanks, Kelly Dyer!), but I haven’t had a place to display the graceful martini and champagne glasses she generously gifted to us. I believe in a well-edited bar, so I wouldn’t put everything out. Instead, I would keep our everyday (yes, I said EVERYDAY!) wine glasses in the cabinet next to the wine fridge (another wedding gift from the Dallas gang; thanks, ladies!) and get six of these fabulous tortoise shell goblets to add a little print to the bar area. A must purchase? This sophisticated shaker to pair with four blue glasses from our wedding centerpieces–the perfect pop of color.

At this point, you probably know I like mixing metals, evidenced here, here and here. My bar is no exception. This modern ice bucket was a sweet gift from Ann and would look stunning with the shaker, this decanter, these votives and this tray, already part of my collection. So much shine begs for something organic. I would add this vintage dough bowl and fill it with lemons or limes.

To style this bar, I would add a few small black-and-white prints. I currently have a crush on cacti, and I think it would be fun to have Scott photograph some up close. Guess we need a trip to Arizona. I’m inspired by some of these images on Etsy.

In French, you toast by saying Sante! (health). I want to create a custom typography print displaying this sentiment–in black and white as well. To finish off my bar, I would stack a few black and white books and showcase only the prettiest bottles of booze.

Turn your favorite outfit into a design

There’s a reason you have a go-to shift or a favorite ensemble you pull out every time you don’t know what to wear. It looks great on you, you love the colors and the style suits your taste.

The same is true in design. When working with new clients, I often ask them to send me photos of their favorite outfits or pictures of the inside of their closets. That’s because the colors we choose to wear are often our favorite shades, whether we realize it or not.

I have a favorite dress that I don whenever I have to dress up. It’s a one-sleeve coral dress that is amazingly comfortable. I pair it with nude shoes and bright turquoise earrings.

Turn this outfit into a room

It actually served as the inspiration for the bar area in my brother’s house.

Anthropologie, my old place of employment, always does a nice job of putting inspiring outfits together. I love this navy-and-gold combo.


I want to change up my bedroom using this outfit as inspiration. Here’s what I would do:

New bed

No major changes. I would swap my white bedding for a solid navy blue duvet cover, then toss a few decorative pillows on top, including this ikat design. I would add an occasional chair in a neutral animal print, add a rug that’s navy and jute and prop an exotic gold mirror on my dresser.

Have a favorite outfit you’d love to see turned into a room? Let me show you how to incorporate favorite shades and colors into your existing decor. Send me pictures!

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