A sentimental posts for empty-nesters…

As empty-nesters, this time of year always makes us feel a bit sentimental. Thinking of all those first days of school, bringing our oldest to college, dropping our youngest off to college. Coming back home, just the two of us… It’s bittersweet.

365 Bible Verses in this handy mini journal; satin bookmark included and gold corner pieces. A beautiful keepsake for your grown child.

While we’re so proud of our children and the people they’ve become – and looking forward to so much in the future (our middle child, Carter, just got engaged to his fiance Robin!) – there’s so much we miss about raising our children in a home we built around them.

Small Squares with Mighty Words™ is a simple box containing 50 brightly-colored cards with bible verses on each one. The wooden stands are hand-stained and packaged in the box with the cards. Made in the USA.

These days especially, kids seem to grow up so quickly. Maybe it’s the technology available to them and us, maybe that’s how all parents feel once their kids have flown the nest…?

A fun & funky “Celfie Vase” (in Caramel) for pens and pencils or even makeup brushes! Available in two sizes and three colors.

It seems the nagging of toddlers quickly transitioned into the sweet notes shared with our elementary and middle schoolers and then on to the long, heartfelt letters as the kids grew. Our communication styles have certainly changed.

A place to track ideas, notes, to-do lists, inspiration, and the random things that fill up any day. The Day Dreamer, 196 pages full, is the perfect companion for those women who also use an online calendar to schedule their lives.

How fun it is now to think of our kids not just as our children, but also our friends! And how wonderful to be able to have a full conversation just about any time of day via quick text messages with our adult children?!?

One thing Jill has really enjoyed and been able to sympathize with is Gretchen Rubin‘s Happiness Project podcast (also a book) – especially as she’s been preparing for her oldest to begin college.

Help them organize their thoughts with this stylish Great Things Notepad from Rifle Paper. Made in the USA.

We hope our slightly weepy, sentimental posts may help those of your experiencing these same feelings know you are not alone. We’re in this empty-nester phase together and are truly enjoying our new normal!

*As you may have noticed, we’ve peppered the post with thoughtful little items your college-age or grown children may appreciate as a start of school or even a just-because gift. After all, they’re your babies no matter if they’re 12 or 22… Contact our team today and we’ll be happy to help you select the perfect little thoughtful something for your child, as well as gift wrap and shipping, if necessary.

Have a very stylish Earth Day!

Living a “green” lifestyle doesn’t have to be obvious and in-your-face… You can enjoy a more Earth-friendly lifestyle in a very stylish way – take it from us! Here are a couple quick tips and products we think are very stylish, and that also happen to be Earth friendly:

Correspond in Green

We’re not talking green ink, but rather use eco-friendly paper products, such as this collection we’re currently offering in the steve mckenzie’s showroom that’s made in Nepal from sustainable materials. It’s a beautiful and stylish as it is “green!”

Stay True to Textiles

A selection of some of the fabric napkins available at the steve mckenzie’s showroom.

We’ve shared this tip before, and we’ll surely share it again, as it’s one of our favorite tips, but use fabric napkins in place of paper!! This creates less waste and offers a more stylish place setting (no matter if it’s the dining room table, or cuddled next to a loved one on the sofa).

Neutral cloth napkin selection at steve mckenzie’s.

Make your use of cloth napkins even more eco-friendly by opting not to wash after every use – typically adults, and even older children, won’t soil their napkin after every use. Save on the water and energy used to clean the cloths by washing only when necessary. After each meal, ask family members to simply leave their cloth napkins in their seat, that way, when setting the table for the next meal, they’ll use “their” same napkin again.

Colorful cloth napkins at steve mckenzie’s.

When your cloth napkins have become soiled, toss them in the wash with your other laundry, so you don’t devote an entire load (and the resources) to only cleansing cloth napkins. Use eco-friendly detergent, wash in cold water, and when the weather’s nice, line dry. Nothing’s better than linens dried in the sun on a warm day!

Are you inspired to become more “green” on this Earth Day?! We sure hope so! We hope you all enjoy a lovely Earth Day, today and everyday!!

Happy Easter!!

We’re just hopping in today to wish all our steve mckenzie’s friends and fans a joyous Easter holiday! We hope you all have an opportunity to celebrate with the ones you love the most – and remember not to eat too much candy from the Easter Bunny :-))

We invite you to the steve mckenzie’s showroom this next week to check out all of the wonderful spring-themed items we have to make the most of the season. See you soon!

Tabletop Tuesday: Jardins Extraordinaires

Welcome to the inaugural post of our new “Tabletop Tuesday” blog series! Seeing that steve mckenzie’s is known for for offering some of the south’s top tabletop products – along with inspirational tablescape ideas and entertaining tips to go along with them – we thought it was high time for a series of blog posts featuring fabulous tabletops.

Now presenting Jardins Extraordinaires, our first ever “Tabletop Tuesday” blog post. We hope you enjoy!

Our first Tabletop Tuesday feature was inspired by the Jardin Extraordinaires collection by Gien, all of the tropical design we experienced at Maison & Objet, as well as the new Justina Blakeney collection for Selamat Designs.

To begin this tablescape we partnered with Erin Weston of Weston Farms, who styled the floral. For this tablescape we used the magnolia topiaries created during our in-store class.

The base of our tablescape was an antique French table, which offered plenty of warmth and character.

Our place setting began with an R. Wood Studio chartreuse dinner plate.

Next, Erin’s floral brings an organic, soft touch to the table.

A cocktail napkin to ground the glasses adds depth and interest.

A blue tumbler introduces a rich hue.

A pretty vintage cut glass tumbler is brought in for the wine – we love going stemless for wine; taking a note from our European friends!

The Jardins Extraordinaires oblong tray juxtaposed with the round dinner plate works!

The Gien wine coaster serves as a bread and butter plate – think outside of the box and consider dual uses for the pieces you already have!

Vintage brass cutlery, found at a flea market offers a sense of history and ties back into the antique table.

A small R. Wood Studio salad plate is added and ties into the dinner plate.

A soup bowl in R. Wood Studio’s blueberry colorway adds another solid blue element.

A Le Jacquard Francais napkin in a cheeky citrus tone brings in a bit of brightness.

The canape plate from Gien completes the look! The Jardins Extraordinaires small plates are offered in sets of four, with each plate depicting a different garden setting… A conversation starter for sure!

See it all come together in a few quick seconds here:

If only it were that quick in real life!

This tablescape makes us ready to jump into spring.  Most products are available in store at steve mckenzie’s or on our webstore. Contact us for up-to-the-minute availability or if you have any questions. Happy entertaining and bon appetit!

 

All Photos by Rustic White Photography

Tie It with a Bow

Spring brings travel, special events and celebrations like spring break, Mother’s Day, bridal showers, and graduations to name a few. Being ever the thoughtful Southerner, you know not to show up empty-handed!

This past week at Americas Mart, Steve showed a group of dedicated retail buyers several new ways to put together “The Ultimate Hostess Gift”, including a Holiday Jingle cocktail!

Tito's, sugar
Holiday Jingle Crush Cocktail

As a bonus, our fellow Butler University classmate and Delta Gamma sorority sister, Jill Miner, joined us.  Be sure to check out her award-winning bookstore in picturesque Gaylord, Michigan, Saturn Booksellers.

Back to the hostess gift!  Let’s deconstruct it and learn some tips.

pizza, salad, bowl, blue, towel, salt, cellar
Ingredients for a food lovers gift

Steve says to think about your host.  Do they have any hobbies?  This gracious host has discovered cooking and frequently entertains friends and family.

Next, let’s find an unusual container instead of the standard gift bag.  We love this vivid blue melamine (unbreakable!) salad bowl.  Then we filled it with delicious pesto, gourmet salt and a pizza kit from Atlanta-based Bella Cucina.  Tuck in a matching blue tea towel for some extra love.  Now, let’s look at it all put together.

pizza, food, salt, blue, salad, bowl
Food Lovers Basket

Twirl some cellophane around it and tie it with a bow.  Now you’re ready to say Thank You and enjoy your time together.  Shop the look here.

blue, pizza, salad, salt, gift, basket, kitchen, food
Tie it with a bow!

We’re going to share these ideas throughout the spring, so stay tuned for more wonderful ideas to wow your host.  Of course, if you’re pressed for time, our team at steve mckenzie’s is ready to prepare your hostess gifts for you.

Missed this seminar?  Keep track of our whereabouts, classes and events by following our  Facebook page and Instagram.

May Luck be Your Lady Today

Happy St. Patrick’s Day all!! We hope the day is treating you well and you’re wearing a little green to celebrate…

Enjoy the festivities – and a green beer, if that’s your thing, during cocktail hour this evening – and have a wonderful day!!

Click here to check out our festive St. Patrick’s Day messages from the past three years… There are some gems to enjoy for sure!

Pack it up!

This past Friday was “National Pack Your Lunch Day” (yes, it seems there’s a day for everything) and it inspired us to get thinking about more creative ways to get us excited about lunchtime. Forget the boring brown bag – we’re revitalizing lunchtime with some fun additions to pump up your basic lunch from home and tantalize your taste buds with the promise of a delicious, mid-day pick-me-up!

Our first step – forgo those pb&js for something a little more exotic and healthful. Such as, this butternut squash and cranberry quinoa salad from Katya at Little Broken blog…

BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND CRANBERRY QUINOA SALAD
  • 3 cups butternut squash, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (I used rainbow quinoa but any type will do)
  • 1½ cups water
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • ⅓ cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. toasted pumpkin seeds
  • salt and black pepper
Balsamic Vinaigrette
    • ½ cup olive oil
    • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tsp. honey
    • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • salt and black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange coated squash on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until squash is tender and lightly browned.
  3. While the squash is roasting, rinse quinoa under cold water until water runs clear. Place quinoa and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook partially covered until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  4. To assemble the salad, combine the cooked quinoa, roasted squash, cranberries, red onion, toasted pumpkin seeds in a large bowl. Add the vinaigrette and mix until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Chill in the refrigerator for couple hours and serve.
Balsamic Vinaigrette
  1. Whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

YUM. Now, that’ll get us excited for the lunch hour any day of the week! It’s fresh, flavorful and gluten free (a must for the McKenzie household).

MELAMINE CATALINA CEREAL BOWL

Another bonus to this salad, it’s beautiful to boot. You know they always say you eat with your eyes before your stomach, so we should make our food look as appetizing as possible. One way to do this is to drop the tupperware and serve your lunch in a dish more deserving of the effort you put into your meals. That’s where our melamine dishware comes in. It’s as beautiful as fine china, yet as durable as your plasticware. Bottom line, it’s brilliant and will make your lunch look lovely as well!

And how’s this for synergy – also last week, we also received an e-mail with a link to a post on The Edit about & “Recipes To Pack For Lunch This Week.” Wowzas… We don’t know what to go for first, the “Farmer’s Market Bowl” or the “Avocado Club Sandwich With Marinated Portobello Mushrooms?!?”

Although any of these amazing-sounding recipes are sure to elevate your traditional lunchtime fare, another easy way to make more of your packed meals are fabric napkins. We’re BIG fans of a classic fabric napkin and use them all day, every day. Steve and Jill have even been known to bring them on roadtrips!

LE JACQUARD ORIGAMI MULTI NAPKIN

Wrap your utensils in a fun fabric napkin and take your lunch to the next level!

So, please share – what are your favorite ways to make your typical weekday lunch a little special? We’d love to learn!