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. 

 

 

 

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.

IMG_7666

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.

IMG_6113

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!

 

 

Letter Writing Day 2016

The art of the handwritten note is something that we have cherished here at Dempsey & Carroll since our founding in 1878. In celebration of December 7th being declared “Letter Writing Day”, we wanted to share our thoughts on what inspires us to write letters.

Megan: “To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.”  – Phyllis Theroux width=

Carolyn: I love seeing other people’s handwriting! It’s your very own style–no one else can write the same way–To me, that’s one of the coolest things ever!

Austin: Perhaps my favorite thing about receiving a handwritten note comes years later when looking through a shoe box filled with them and having a special moment come back alive.

Ariel: I have always cherished the art of the handwritten note as it serves as a means to make sentiments tangible. Every letter I receive serves as a keepsake that I will forever appreciate.

Emma: There’s a wonderful quote by Haruki Murakami that speaks to my love of the handwritten note: “How wonderful it is to be able to write someone a letter! To feel like conveying your thoughts to a person, to sit at your desk and pick up a pen,
to put your thoughts into words like this is truly marvelous.”

Umara: For my contribution, I join Megan in citing the wise words of Phyllis Theroux: “To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart.” In a day and age where technology has taken over and everything is done instantly, the art of taking the time to write a letter is something that really does require deep thought and care from one’s heart.

Marina: Hand writing letters brings back some of the fondest memories of my childhood. I loved sitting at the dining room table with my mother, eating snacks while she wrote letters to our friends and family overseas while we discussed what to write.

Chandra: With all of the alternative forms of communication that exist today, it’s easy to think that letter writing may eventually become a lost art. On account of that, I’ve found the significance of written correspondence has increased, becoming that much more unique, genuine, beautiful and appreciated.

Leo: My father and I spent an afternoon in the store selecting these note cards for him. It was great fun not least because they suit him perfectly and were hardly a first choice. Notes from him on these cards will always remind me how much I admire him.leo

We now invite you to reflect upon your favorite things about handwritten notes. Please feel free to share your own anecdotes with us on social media and be sure to tag our accounts!

Instagram: @dempseycarroll

Twitter: @dempseycarroll

Facebook Page: Dempsey & Carroll

The History of the Calling Card

To honor our Annual Calling Card Event,  we wanted to share the history of the calling card and how its purposes have evolved over time. We hope that this piece inspires you to put your best card forward! 

History

Before the age of the telephone, the calling card (or carte de visite in French) had a significant role as a social tool. In the days when ladies might receive visitors during hours they were known to be “at home,” the calling card served to announce a visitor to the house. Thought to have originated in China in the 16th century, the calling card flourished in France and England before coming to America, reaching its heyday during the Gilded Age of the late 19th century.

Calling_Card_Hero

Function

A visitor would present his card to the butler, who would place it on a silver tray and, leaving the visitor to wait, take it to the lady of the house. Different corners of the card would be turned down to indicate the visitor came in person, or that the call was intended to express congratulations or condolence.

On an initial visit, a gentleman would give a card to the butler and leave; if the recipient wished to start a friendship, a card would be returned in the same manner; but no response or a card returned inside an envelope indicated the recipient did not wish the acquaintance to continue.

Although business cards existed, they were never used in social situations. Just as today it is usually considered rude even to ask a new acquaintance what he or she does to earn a living, the idea that a person might produce a card with business information in a social setting was inconceivable until the early twentieth century. So the calling card would have served that social function, and any information missing, or perhaps a short note, would often be written directly on the card.

Format

The most formal calling card format features only a person’s full name, complete with title: Mr., Mrs. or Miss. “Doctor” is spelled out, as is “junior.” A home address, as brief as possible, is sometimes added to the lower right corner of the card; men’s cards sometimes include the name of a club.CallingCardEvent-OrangeClutch-03-Edited

Traditional calling cards are always engraved, using only black ink, the finest paper stock, and one of a small selection of conservative typefaces. Interestingly, the ornate social codes of American Society developed standard sizes to denote sex and marital status. These “proper” sizes were in use well into the twentieth century, though today it is acceptable to throw these rules out the window and choose a size – or create a different size – that suits your taste.

 

Single Men:                                        1-9/16” x 3-1/4”

Married Men:                                     2” x 3-1/2”

Single women:                                   2” x 2-7/8”

Married women and widows:          2-3/8” x 3-1/4”

Married couples:                               2-1/2” x 3-1/2”

 

The Calling Card Today

 Calling cards, sometimes referred to as personal cards, are experiencing a renaissance, particularly among younger people, who change jobs more frequently and may want to present themselves socially with a less work-related face. Though a standard business card size is still popular for calling cards, a more unusual size may be a surprise to the recipient. Ink color and typeface are other ways to make the card have more personality. And today, there is sometimes more contact information put on the card; a cell phone number and personal email address are very common, as they don’t change when a person changes jobs or home addresses. Still, many clients prefer the simple elegance of engraving only their names on the center of the card.

CallingCardEvent-CountryGirl-12-Edited

How to Use Your Calling Cards

Calling cards are the perfect “blank slate” for today’s social and business interactions. It is perfectly acceptable to jot a little note or a bit of information directly on to your calling card. For example, after a business meeting you might add your work email and hand it to a new acquaintance. After running into an old friend you might write “call me” and include your mobile telephone number. How you use your cards is entirely up to you. You should be comfortable and confident that your cards are a sophisticated reflection of your personality and are completely adaptable to any situation. Calling cards also make fabulous gift enclosures – simply write “Happy Birthday” or “Congratulations” on the card and enclose it with a gift.

We’re sure you’ll find hundreds of ways to use your cards. Be sure to visit our website or call us at 212.570.4800 to learn more!

DSC04818-V1

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

It’s finally feeling like summer and we love using holidays as a chance to leave the city and travel. Here are a few of the places where the Dempsey & Carroll team could be found over Memorial Day Weekend.

Oxford, Mississippi

Fun Fact: Memorial Day began in the state of Mississippi in 1866 as a day of remembrance for those lost in the Civil War.

oxford pic

The Lafayette County Courthouse in Oxford

The Adirondack Mountains, New York

Fun Fact: Mount Marcy, which measures 5,343 feet, is the highest point in New York State.

mt van hoev view

The view from Mt. Van Hoevenberg in the High Peaks Region of the Adirondacks

Washington, D.C

Fun Fact: On July 16, 1790, Congress declared the city of Washington in the District of Columbia, the permanent capital of the United States.

national mall

The view from the Lincoln Memorial, overlooking the National Mall

 

Lake Sebago, N.Y

Fun Fact: Lake Sebago, with a swimming beach, boat launch, and cabin camping, is the largest lake in Harriman State Park.

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

Lake Sebago in the evening

Town & Country, May 2016

Our menu cards are usually used to show food and drink offerings for weddings, special events, or a dinner party. Alex Kuczynski’s “Me, Me, Me” piece in Town & Country’s May 2016 Youth & Beauty Issue puts a fun twist on them and features our luxurious scripted menu cards as a means of showing what is not on the menu. Kuczynski’s focus on “food allergy dieting” offers a look at how the diet of the future will be tailored to each specific person’s allergies and sensitivities in an elegant and polished way. Thank you to Town & Country for featuring us in an interesting dialogue on how we eat.

Town & Country (May 2016) cover jpegTown & Country (May 2016) picture jpeg

 

National Letter Writing Month

“How wonderful it is to be able to write someone a letter! To feel like conveying your thoughts to a person, to sit at your desk and pick up a pen, to put your thoughts into words like this is truly marvelous.”  – Haruki Murakami

letters insta

The Dempsey & Carroll Team has accepted the challenge of writing one letter per day for the month of April in celebration of National Card and Letter Writing Month. We always celebrate the art of the handwritten note throughout the year, but we are taking this challenge as an opportunity to reconnect with friends and family in the age of technology. It is always refreshing to see that people appreciate when time is taken to send a beautifully crafted note.

AJK stationery

We would love to see who else has taken up this challenge as well! Be sure to tag our Instagram handle @dempseycarroll and the #writeon and #dempseycarroll hashtags for the opportunity to be featured on our feed. Happy Writing!