24 Hours in London with Mark Ingram

Mark Ingram BreakfastWorking out of his Manhattan atelier, Mark Ingram is best known for pairing the most beautiful brides to the most gorgeous wedding dresses. Dempsey and Carroll’s Austin Ackles recently asked him to take note of his very favorite delights and inspirations while out and about in glorious London. Spot on, Mark!

  How to get There

I absolutely adore London–I have traveled there one or two times a year for the past 14-15 years. One of the reasons I find myself there so often is that I love to fly Virgin Atlantic Upper Class service ‘across the pond’.  Whenever I am going to Milan, Rome or Barcelona, I will normally fly through Heathrow, have a small layover, and then go on my way via British Airways. I could spend a full day in the Virgin Upper Class lounge as it remains one of the few full service clubhouses with complimentary menu dining, full bar selection, showers, and rest options.  A layover is a pleasure!

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse

The 15 minute ride on the Heathrow Express train to London makes that trip painless, with train platforms just below the Virgin Airways terminal.

Where to Stay

My preferred hotels in London are mostly part of the Firmdale boutique hotel chain. I will trade full service and larger (usually poorly designed) rooms for the decor, ambiance, spa-like bathrooms, high thread count linens, and location of these exquisite boutique hotels. I have stayed in Firmdale properties in Covent Garden, Knightsbridge, South Kensington and Dorset Square a number of times. They may be pricey, but hotels are a huge part of the travel experience whether away on business or pleasure.  I don’t treat it with a “well, I just sleep here” mentality! Firmdale Hotel

About two years ago I discovered the charming Radisson Blu Edwardian-Mercer St. Hotel, and the lobby and restaurant were just upgraded recently. If you enjoy theater as I do, then this Covent Garden location is amazing. Located on a charming corner where seven small streets meet at a roundabout and monument, this is also a favorite place to stay when budget is more concerning.

Radisson Hotel

Overall, I prefer the Soho/Covent Garden, Marylebone and Chelsea/South Kensington neighborhoods to rest my head. I always love to use the remarkable and very efficient London Tube subway system to zip around the city!

 

Where to Eat and Drink

  • Adventures in Notting Hill will usually lead to a stop at the fabulous Ottolenghi for lunch and/or dessert.
  • A visit to the Art Nouveau Michelin Building in South Kensington must include lunch at Bibendum upstairs (the entire area is quite charming).
  • Any of the Carluccio’s restaurants are perfect for enjoying a light meal or coffee and dessert
  • The Wolseley, a London restaurant staple located in Piccadilly, used to be a grand bank before it was converted to a very popular eatery about a decade ago. The tall ceilings and marble décor make it very appealing along with a broad range of food on the menu.
  • Nothing is better than High Tea at Browns Hotel and evening cocktails at Claridge’s Hotel.Claridge's

Top London Sites and Experiences  

  • The hustle and bustle of the narrow, two lane Oxford Street, with pedestrians, double decker buses, street vendors and grand old emporium department stores like Selfridges.Oxford Street
  • The curve of Regent Street as it approaches Piccadilly; the limestone Regency office buildings at that vantage point are so grand, impressive, elegant, and stately.
  • A walk across the Thames River on almost any bridge (especially Waterloo Bridge) with clamor of the railroad trains just beside you at street level as they leave and approach Waterloo Station and Embankment.
  • Arriving at the Baker Street tube station and learning that it was built in the 1860’s for the underground steam engine subway line. Steam was released at holes in the tunnels leading up to the street level.South Kensington
  • A stroll through Chelsea and South Kensington (just off the tube station), through the beautiful streets and courts of stately town houses with immaculate gardens and window boxes, on the way to Harrods and Harvey Nichols. A walk through Pelham Crescent off of Fulham Road is a must, as you will see pristinely preserved architecture from the Regency Period.

 

 

Where are your favorite destinations to visit in London or other cities around the world?Discover our Jet Set Collection to inspire your next trip and use the #DestinationDempsey hashtag on social media to share your travels. 

 

 

 

Highlights from Memorial Day Weekend

Though the Solstice is weeks away, Memorial Day is generally considered the unofficial start of summer. A few of our team members shared highlights from how they kicked off the season in style over the holiday weekend!

A Birthday Weekend in the City 

Leo: Nothing beats a holiday weekend on my favorite island, Manhattan.  We celebrated a special birthday at Gramercy Tavern, where walk-in tables were easy to score. The “off the menu” order, a bacon cheeseburger with otherworldly house made chips, garnered jealous questioning from surrounding tables.

A Road Trip Through Connecticut

Jaimie: I’m a relatively new Connecticut resident so I love to hop in the car and explore my new home on weekends. There is so much natural beauty here, and there are so many charming towns to visit.

Dinner by the sea in Maine

Emma: My family was up in Durham for my sister’s graduation from the University of New Hampshire and we took advantage of our proximity to southern Maine. We dined on delicious lobsters at Fox’s Lobster House while enjoying the beautiful views of The Cape Neddick (“Nubble”) Lighthouse.

Exploring Rockland County, New York

Ariel: I love exploring Nyack Beach State Park because it allows me to escape from the city without having to travel too far! It’s my favorite place to stay-cation. We also had the chance to visit the site of Piermont’s Watch Fire, a Memorial Day tradition to honor fallen soldiers.

Memorial Day Packing Essentials

 

Memorial Day Weekend is upon us! Whether you’re headed to the beach, the mountains, or overseas, we wanted to share a few of our staples for any destination.

The Beach

  • The Bag: A classic tote bag for all of your beach essentials like this one from L.L Bean
  • The Shoes: Stylish sandals to slip on for happy hour. We love making a statement in these ones by Aquazurra.
  • The Stationery: Say hello from the beach with our Endless Summer Collection

 

A Long Weekend Abroad

  • The Bag: A leather bucket bag in a neutral color like the Mansur Gavriel Flamma.
  • The Shoes: A versatile pair of flats are easy to fit in a suitcase and they’ll match any outfit. You can’t go wrong with the classic Ballerinas by Chanel.
  • The Stationery: Fly away with our Jet Set Collection and send letters from all over the world

 

A Camping Trip

  • The Bag: A backpack with plenty of space for a day hike like the Escapist 25 from Osprey. Make sure that your pack is weatherproof!
  • The Shoes: Sturdy hiking boots for all terrain like the Breeze III by Vasque.
  • The Stationery: Stash a Schumacher Journal in your pack wherever you go

 

We hope that you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! What are some of your packing essentials for the Holiday Weekend?

For the Love of Script: The Importance of Teaching Cursive Writing in Schools

Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles shares his thoughts on the importance of script and how cursive writing should always be taught in schools.

I know there’s a lot of debate about teaching cursive writing in schools, but studies have shown that when notes are taken by hand (versus notes typed into a device), the information is much better retained. Furthermore, writing in cursive is fast and efficient, while block printing tends to take more time.

I can’t imagine someone not having a cursive signature. Though digital signatures are now legally binding when necessary, something important like a condolence letter should always be handwritten and sent through the post. A Facebook message or email is never acceptable for serious, life changing matters.

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When I was searching for my last two jobs, I would apply electronically and then send a printed hard copy in the mail. I know that the electronic applications to several companies were completely overlooked while the printed ones got me in the door. At the bottom of those printed cover letters, you must have a cursive signature to finish it off. Following a job interview, a handwritten thank you note will be noticed and remembered far longer than an email.

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Dempsey & Carroll always gets busy in the early fall with parents ordering engraved correspondence cards for their children. It’s school application time and those kids will all be following up with handwritten thank you notes after interviews. Cursive writing is a must if you’re looking to impress admissions at prestigious schools.

reply-card-1.jpgWhile a few of our clients do send digital save the dates, everyone sends a printed wedding invitation. As the recipient, you will need to send back a reply card, and a cursive signature is going to look very appropriate after that “M” prompt on many R.S.V.P cards.

 

 

If my child’s school did not teach cursive writing, I would teach it to her myself. Good social skills and dexterity never go out of fashion!

 

 

National Card and Letter Writing Month 2017

The U.S. Postal Service officially designated April as National Card and Letter Writing Month in 2001 “to raise awareness of the importance and historical significance of card and letter writing.”

We have always been strong proponents of handwritten correspondence and we firmly believe that there is no comparison to receiving a letter in the mail. In celebration of National Letter Writing month, the Dempsey & Carroll team has once again accepted the challenge of writing 30 letters in 30 days. Even if you can’t commit to writing a letter a day, we encourage all of our followers to pen a few notes to friends or family members who you have fallen out of touch with. Even if it is just a short note, the recipient will be thrilled to know that you took the time to think about them.

 

Write with us!

Throughout the month of April, we will have letter writing materials available at our flagship store at 1049 LEX for anyone who would like to take a few moments to write a letter. We have the paper, envelopes, writing utensils, and stamps; all that you need to do is write and we’ll send the letter off for you!

Letter Writing at 1049 Lexington

As a reminder, Our Annual Engraved Note Sheet Sale is taking place throughout the month of April for those of you who are fond of writing longer letters.

Get Social

Do you have a favorite place where you like to catch up on correspondence? Have you been practicing your calligraphy to add a special touch to your letters? Be sure to use the #nationalletterwritingmonth hashtag if you share any posts related to writing letters.Rumson Road

Don’t forget to follow  and tag us on social media:

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The U.S Postal Service honors Oscar de la Renta

Fashion meets mail with the beautiful new stamps honoring fashion icon Oscar de la Renta. The official Dedication Ceremony on February 16th, 2017 was a momentous occasion that brought together people from all different industries in honoring the late designer. We were thrilled to attend the event, which featured remarks by Oscar de La Renta CEO Alexander Bolen, Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Artistic Director of Conde Nast and Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Anna Wintour, and Secretary Hillary Clinton.

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Photo: U.S Postal Service

Janice D. Walker, Vice President of Corporate Communications for USPS, led the official stamp dedication and lauded de la Renta’s innovative designs and leadership in the fashion industry.

“Like Oscar de la Renta, handwritten letters never go out of style,” remarked Walker. The timelessness of handwritten letters rings true as we head into our 139th year as a proud New York company.

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(l-r) Alexander Bolen, Michael Bloomberg, Anna Wintour, Hillary Clinton, Janice Walker, Anderson Cooper (photo: Getty Images)

Following the ceremony, we had a chance to learn more about the stamp design process from Xavier C. Hernandez, a Communications Specialist and spokesperson for the USPS.

Can you tell us a bit more about who decides on the new stamps that are released?

 The stamp development team vets the ideas and does the design work, but the Postmaster General ultimately decides the next catalog of stamps for the year.

 During Anna Wintour’s speech, she exclaimed that de la Renta wasn’t a big letter writer, but how does the USPS see the connection between writing and fashion?

 The greater picture is that the Postal Service likes to honor American icons and their influence on American culture, especially for our commemorative stamp series.

 We’ve found that there is definitely a younger generation celebrating the art of letter writing in the age of emails and text messages. How does the USPS work to keep people interested in sending mail?

 There are so many great stamps out right now because we want to encourage people to write as many letters as possible. We have a JFK stamp coming out on President’s day and we just released new stamps for the Chinese New Year. We like to incorporate all different facets of American culture to be as inclusive as possible.

 It was incredible to see the turnout for this dedication event with people from all different industries!

 It’s wonderful to see a turnout like this for the official release of these commemorative stamp because our goal to bring everyone together. We are lucky that this wound up happening during Fashion Week so it has some relevance to timeliness.

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Thank you to the U.S Postal Service for the beautiful new stamps honoring Mr. de la Renta. We look forward to adding a fashionable touch to our envelopes!

National Handwriting Day 2017

Our handwriting’s just one of the many facets of ourselves.

January 23rd is officially known as “National Handwriting Day” as it falls on the birthday of John Hancock, the first person to sign The Declaration of Independence. The Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association started this holiday in 1977 to acknowledge the history of penmanship and to recognize the importance of handwritten notes.

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We continue to celebrate the art of the handwritten note and the individuality of each person’s handwriting. We hope that this holiday inspires you to put pen to paper and join the tradition! We’ve included a few of our favorite quotes about writing below, though we look forward to hearing from our followers as well.

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“And the idea of just wandering off to a cafe with a notebook and writing and seeing where that takes me for awhile is just bliss.” – J. K. Rowling

“Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” – Isaac Asimov

“True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, as those who move easiest have learned to dance.” – Alexander Pope

 “Writing gives a sort of immortality to all other things.” -Richard Herring

“My two fingers on a typewriter have never connected with my brain. My hand on a pen does. A fountain pen, of course.” – Graham Greene 

Please feel free to share your handwritten notes on social media by tagging @dempseycarroll on instagram or twitter and using the #NationalHandwritingDay hashtag to celebrate with us.