Nostalgia: A Very Simmons Christmas

Friday, December 21, 2012
If you've read the blog the past few days, you know our friends are sharing what Christmas means to them. (If you missed Marin's Kentucky Christmas you can read it here and here.) Today, the always beautiful and gracious D'Andra Simmons shares the traditions that make Christmas special year after year with her family. Enjoy her essay and this special time with family and friends. 

 Christmas Traditions by D’Andra Simmons

Being an only child and only grandchild, has always meant that Christmas was focused a lot on me  as the youngest member of the household—how fortunate am I? Even now at 43 years of age, my mother still hangs my Christmas stocking, made painstakingly by my grandmother, Mom Belle. My name is emblazoned on the white stocking in red sequins with the year I was born—1969. Also on it hang little plastic charms (the kind you used to get in a bubble gum machine), from dolls to musical instruments and other handmade items sewn expertly by her. She was Martha Stewart before Martha Stewart was even born. Mom Belle taught me needlepoint, crochet, embroidery, flower arranging, origami, and ceramic birds. Unfortunately, my crafts have ceased and passed with her. My mother hauls my stocking anywhere we are in the world so that I can empty it on Christmas morning. It has been to the Caribbean many times, Europe and Hawaii most often. It is almost as well traveled as Santa himself! To this day, I always leave a plate of cookies and a glass of milk for Santa.

Left to right: Cookies left out for Santa / Reindeer tracks / D'Andra's original stocking / Inset: A special Santa from a special artist
Both of my grandmothers and my mom made sure that Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were beautiful and special events that were about more than just gift giving. Christmas Eve is traditionally the night we open gifts after attending the evening church service. My other grandmother Mickey was always in charge of the “Christmas Program”, which included reading the Christmas story from the Bible, singing Christmas carols, opening gifts, and eating a casual but delicious meal of hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and wassail. I remember one Christmas Eve at my aunt’s house the jingle of Santa’s sleigh bells were heard and reindeer footprints were found in the yard in an effort to get me to bed so that Santa could come and deliver his gifts. Fearing he would not come back, I ran and jumped into my bed and shut my eyes tightly, thinking that Santa had passed me over that year. It must have worked, because all was okay the next morning when I found that he indeed came back for me! 

Wassail / A P.O.S.H. place setting with Arte Italica and Gold Lace / D'Andra's mother's beautifully decorated home / Inset: Cobalt Blue Murano Medici goblets

Some of the unique decorations in my mother’s home are her collection of Santa Clauses that were made by a designer that was previously at Disney, and left to branch out on her own. Mom probably has more Santa Clauses tha anyone else in Dallas! So the house is most often Santa themed, which transitions over to the table theme in her home. Tabletop décor at Mom Belle’s always included her beautiful flower arrangements, and most often a very pretty hand embroidered napkin and homemade gift for each of us that was placed in the center of our plate at the table. There were miniature stockings, wreaths, and sleighs. Every woman in my family cooks, including me, so the food and table are always a part of every occasion, and china, crystal and linens are first and foremost in our mind when it comes to preparing for special occasions - and Christmas is the biggest of them all in our house!  

I have these lovely cobalt blue and gold Murano Medici glasses that I use during the holiday season because they are festive and beautiful. I collect glasses, colored glass dishes and most uniquely oyster plates (not that we eat a lot of oysters here in Texas, but I just love those darn plates). I have several types and patterns and can create a unique tabletop starting with the glassware and working to create a theme from whichever color and style I choose. I also have a penchant for table linens, especially napkins, and I am always purchasing unique napkins when I travel to take home for my next dinner party. I have several napkins and table runners that I purchased in Africa and Asia that are quite unique and match the décor of my home which is eclectic and worldly. 
D'Andra's mother's entry way / One of many Santa Clauses in their home / Reading the Christmas Story from The Bible

Entertain: Christmas in Corinthia

Thursday, December 20, 2012
Yesterday we introduced you to our friend Marin Fiske-Rankin. (If you missed her incredible Christmas memories growing up on Corinthia, her family's horse-racing farm in Kentucky, you can check it out here. Trust us; her pictures will make you want to immediately move to the countryside and ride horses.) Hailing from Lexington means she is not only from the "Horse Capitol of the World" but also the "Bourbon Capitol of the World". Of course, we had to ask her how to make the perfect libation for cold, winter nights. With an English father who makes a mean mincemeat pie, she also shared her family recipe for Yorkshire Puddings. In return, we created the perfect tabletop for a Corinthia Christmas. 

Top image: Marin Fiske-Rankin | Middle Image (from left): Mint Julep cup, Elise cut crystal wine goblet, Silver goblet / Elise double old-fashion glass / Christofle flatware: P.O.S.H. Couture Rentals. Floral arrangement by DEBBY JEWESSON AT BRANCHING OUT EVENTS & FLORAL DESIGN
P.O.S.H. PLACE SETTING: Jan Barboglio hammered charger / Mottahedeh Lace charger / Exotic Bird dinner + salad plate / Christofle flatware / Inset: Ivory Chiavari chair / White hemstitch napkin and berry red tablecloth

Nostalgia: A Kentucky Christmas with Marin

Wednesday, December 19, 2012
If anything, the holidays should be a time to reflect on our family and blessings. With everything going on in the world around us, that sentiment is only too apropos this December. With that in mind, we asked a couple of our dear friends to share the very things that make Christmastime so special for their families. 

We know Marin Fiske-Rankin as a friend and creative Events and Food Service Manager at SMU's Meadows Museum. (You may remember her handiwork from this post on the Velazquez Black Tie Dinner in honor of the collaboration with the famed Prado Museum.) Her sense of humor and sweet disposition immediately brought her to mind for this post, but once we found out she grew up on a horse-racing farm in Kentucky, we knew she would have great memories to share with us. See what makes a Kentucky Christmas so special below and check back tomorrow for a tabletop inspired by Marin and her scrumptious English and Kentucky recipes. 

Thank you for sharing with us, Marin. POSH friends, we'd love to hear what memories make you nostalgic for the holidays.

Tabletop Tuesday: Shimmering + Bright

Tuesday, December 18, 2012
We spend time picking the perfect outfit, planning the perfect menu, and even revising the perfect guest list - so why should tabletops be any different? For a melting pot of cultures, traditions, friends, and family, the one thing we can be certain of for the holiday dinners is that where we sit our guests should be shimmering and bright. With the popular jewel colors of the past fall and the upcoming spring, we created a winter wonderland perfect for anyone who wants to spin a proper blue Christmas or just add a pop of color and sparkle to their New Years tabletop. 

Clear Louis Ghost Chair by Kartell / Silver Metallic Soutache linen overlay all by RESOURCE ONE, exclusively at P.O.S.H. COUTURE RENTALS.
Get the look: Parisian flatware / Gold Rim charger / Barcelona Gold dinner plate / Gold Leaf salad plate / Hot Toddy demitasse on Gold Bead B&B charger / Royal Gold glassware // Rentals all available at P.O.S.H. COUTURE RENTALS


Spotted: The Gifts that Keep on Giving

Monday, December 17, 2012
Dallas has some pretty great blogs and magazines, but the revamped FD Luxe is quickly becoming one of our favorite monthly glossies. Their deep pocket gift guide is beyond fun, dare we say rivaling the great Neiman Marcus Christmas Book.  Our favorite pick? It's Your Party - an amazing event for any occasion from the brilliant team at Jackson Durham. Just check out the pedigree of this stellar event and floral design firm here. We've seen first hand what they can bring and can't wait to see what type of whimsical soiree they come up with for such a lucky recipient. A close second pick was the shoe of the month club, picked by none other than Brian Bolke from Forty Five Ten, because, well, obviously. See these great gift ideas for that special prince or princess in your life here.

left: photographs by MAXINE HELFMAN | styling by BRITTANY WINTER  courtesy of FD LUXE | right: Gold Lace Filigree Champagne Flutes from P.O.S.H. COUTURE RENTALS  

left: photographs by MAXINE HELFMAN | styling by BRITTANY WINTER  courtesy of FD LUXE | right: shoes available at  FORTY FIVE TEN