Making Traditions Modern: Summer Entertaining

Summer is a time to enjoy the weather and move the party outside, whether for a backyard barbeque, seaside soirée, or rooftop cocktail hour. Earlier in August, we worked with five of our partners to showcase how they would style their ideal summer dinner party.

First, they set the scene by sharing their handwritten invitation on one of our Destination: Seaside note cards– Capri, Côte d’Azur, or the Hamptons. The following week, they styled their corresponding place cards (Lemon, Compass Rose, or Lobster) in the context of how they would use them for a party. We loved seeing how everyone put their own twist on entertaining!

With that, we hope you’re inspired to close out your summer in a noteworthy way! Share your entertaining favorites on Instagram by tagging @dempseycarroll and #makingtraditionsmodern.

Dempsey Carroll x Jackie Greaney - Summer Entertaining Post 1Dreaming up the perfect backyard lobster party with Dempsey & Carroll’s adorable lobster & lighthouse Destination note cards– checkered tablecloths, buoy centerpieces, lots of sunflowers, and a build-your-own-lobster roll station! Anything I’m missing? Let me know if you’ll be in Maine on August 14th!

Jackie Greaney for Dempsey Carroll Entertaining Post 2Crack em! Fill em! Roll em! Every backyard soirée needs a Build-Your-Own Lobster Roll station, don’t you think? Dempsey & Carroll place cards make it easy to mark out the station’s steps, and I love the little engraved lobsters on these! 

— Jackie, @jackiegreaney

 

harlowejames post 1These Capri inspired note cards from Dempsey & Carroll make the perfect invite for a summertime soiree. The engraved lemon detail on the card paired with the print on the inside of the envelope will get guests excited about the theme before they even get to the party! 

harlowejames post 2Instead of using standard place setting cards, switch it up by writing little notes to your guests. These lemon place cards from the Dempsey & Carroll Destination: Capri collection are the perfect addition to the table and tie the whole theme together!

— Chrissy, @_harlowejames

 

meaghanmurray 1“I couldn’t be shellfish and not share this with you” -said my Dempsey & Carroll party invitation 

meaghanmurray 2What the shell! Let’s eat some oysters. Thanks to my Dempsey & Carroll place cards for hooking up my oyster situation. Long Reach or Shore Island, anyone?

–Meaghan, @meaghanmurray

 

Traditions are everything and whenever I travel abroad I love collecting unique stamps to send notes, postcards and in this case invitations back home to my friends and family. A few weeks ago my family and I traveled up the Coast of Italy and on the way, I purchased stamps at Pompeii, Rome, or to sum it up, basically each stop. Once we arrived at our final destination, Florence, I had accumulated enough stamps to send out my annual Lobster Boil invitations to my friends far and wide. I figured this was a fun way for my guests to receive a little piece of Italy straight to their mailbox, along with a piece of New England thanks to these Dempsey & Carroll Seaside Correspondence Cards. I mean, you couldn’t find a more fitting invitation card for a lobster broil even if you tried. Now I want to hear from you all, does anyone else love writing letters back home when they travel 

A New England Summer isn’t complete until you’ve eaten your weight in dock & dine lobster rolls. Each summer I’m in charge of creating a unique lobster-themed table setting, for when my family and I head down the river, to our favorite dockable lobster joint. This year’s setting was designed around these Dempsey & Carroll Lobster place cards! Originally, I took inspiration from the bright red lobster featured on the place cards by incorporating similarly shaded napkins for a pop of color, amongst the natural tones of cream and brown. Creating these tablescapes is an annual tradition I adore, and while I do love seeing how excited our guests get when they dock up and find their names written on a place card, I’m really just going the extra mile in hopes of winning the annual table setting contest. Fingers crossed, this could be my year! 

— Aubrey, @thecoastalconfidence

 

post 1aWe don’t know about you, but one thing that we look forward to at dinner parties is the appetizers. Our dream dinner party would consist of a happy hour with different charcuterie boards and a variety of apps. What’s your dream dinner party? 

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Can’t resist oysters, especially while at a dinner party. What’s your favorite thing to eat during cocktail hour? 

— R’el and Marcus, @theplaceiwastellingyouabout

What’s in the Box?

Sure, we love keeping our note cards and sheets in our Keepsake Leather Boxes, but once our papers run out, we often wind up using our signature boxes for all kinds of fun storage needs. If you’re nearing the end of your stationery supply here are a few tricks we’ve been using ourselves that we thought you all might enjoy!

  1. Some of our favorite pens and a few forever stamps – perfect for when we’re writing a note. All of our supplies are in one place!
  2. A few of our favorite necklaces and rings to keep them from getting tangled in a larger jewelry box lb11
  3. Scarves — Summer, winter, you name it. Our boxes have everything from wool scarves to silk scarves stored in them.
  4. Lipstick – sometimes we’ll use a few boxes depending on the lipstick color. One for reds, one for pinks, one for clear glosses.
  5. Buttons – finally a place to keep all of those extra buttons from new sweater purchases.
  6. Photos — Retro, we know. Our boxes are perfect for any old photos, or even new ones (some of us still get them printed)!
  7. Letters — A given coming from us, but a very true statement. We LOVE saving letters and invitations from friends and family. Our boxes are the perfect place to store them.

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We’d love to hear about how you would use your Dempsey & Carroll Keepsake Leather Box. Purchase your own box on our site and share with us on Instagram @dempseycarroll.

 

Spotlight on Little Red Fox Bakery

Kristi Tursi of Little Red Fox Bakery knows how to please the eye just as much as the palate. Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles recently grilled her about celebrating with sweets throughout the seasons.

 

In just a few words, could you tell us about your bakery? 

I’m the owner of Little Red Fox Bakery located in Essex, Vermont.  What’s with the name, you may ask? When I was six I told my family that I was the owner of Little Red Fox Bakery, thus a dream has become a reality. The majority of my business specializes in ‘Celebration Cakes’ for weddings and ‘Elevated Events’ as the component of my bakery that focuses on all catered events. I incorporate locally sourced and ‘Made in Vermont’ ingredients in all of my bakery goods. I’m lucky enough to be able to use maple syrup that is produced down the road from where I live!

I’m also a food stylist and photographer with ongoing assignments throughout New England and the New York Metropolitan area where most of my work is based. Yes, I focus on the visual presentation, but I live by this rule: Flavor Leads Style.

 

You’re living in a perfect world: So many of us love to bake and everyone loves baked goods! How did you discover this passion?

I’ve been baking since I was a little girl, but the road to opening my bakery and catering business wasn’t a straight route! My mother’s side of the family is Hungarian, so I was fortunate enough to start my baking adventures with some of the world’s most classic recipes. Holidays, birthdays, and special occasions were all opportunities to learn my beloved recipes. I’m not embarrassed to say that on a recent trip to Budapest, Vienna, and Paris, I sampled pastries for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

I studied psychology and art history in college and even pursued post-undergraduate work in those fields, but my love for baking and the desire to run a business ultimately led me to opening the doors to Little Red Fox Bakery.  I love the exactness and precision of bakery life paired with the creative freedom and design work for wedding cakes and sweets.

And you’ve a great deal of experience as a food stylist down here in New York City?

I worked for a few luxury e-commerce sites and quickly segued into food photography and styling assignments–It’s an aspect of my business that I truly love. My work was recently published in PDN (Photo District News) for food photography and I also have ongoing collaborations with brands such as CARGO Cosmetics and Fjallraven for styling and photo work.

 

If you’re planning sweets for a large event, logistically speaking, what is a good direction to go in? And what types of treats might not go so smoothly?

For large scale events, I always work to appeal to everyone’s unique tastes and requirements; treats for people with nut allergies, some gluten free selections, and a show stopper type of dessert to add an element of surprise. I generally try to go with things that tease the palate, so I include a variety of textures: gooey, crunchy, smooth, and fluffy, to name a few. I also always like to include savory sweets, like rosemary or caraway biscotti. The latter goes well with wine at cocktail parties, so you can say that I cover the taste sensations that begin the meal and those that end it.

 

We’d love to hear more about some of the work you’ve done for weddings.

I specialize in wedding cakes, favors, and full service catering under the part of my business known as ‘Elevated Events.’ I love making wedding cakes that incorporate unique details, like calligraphed messages on wafer paper affixed to the surface.

A current trend is to have a dessert table in place of a cake. Brides (and grooms) come in for a consultation and talk about all their favorite memories of getting to know each other and the foods associated with those memories. We like to curate a menu that is truly a culinary reflection of their courtship.

 

Spring is just around the corner. What tastes and textures do you think are best served as people tire of heavy winter foods?

People generally want things with fruit and palettes that are reminders of the awakening of spring on the landscape. Small fruit tarts, fruit mousses in mini chocolate cups, and mini cheesecakes topped with fruit tend to be popular choices. On the more elaborate and fluffy side, we have meringues, a crowd favorite. They are feather light, perfectly sweet, and customizable to pretty much any flavor profile.

 

A truly elegant show stopper is a layered mocha dacquoise cake, which includes layered hazelnut meringue with mocha butter cream. A Spanish Windtorte, a Baroque looking construction of fancy meringue piping, is also excellent as it can be topped or filled with a pastry cream and seasonal fruits and berries – the perfect transition from decadent holiday treats!

 

What goodies do you think can keep cool in the summer heat?

I love trifles. The flavors are so versatile, and they can be made in large or small scale; it’s the ‘just right’ amount of cake to cream to fruit ratio! I also love fruits tarts and shortcakes, both of which incorporate fruit and can be made on the lighter side for those 90+ hot, humid days.

Last year, we did an event held in a non air-conditioned old barn at the edge of a river; think ninety degrees, humidity, and mosquitoes. We made a lemon three-tier cake with lemon and lavender infused pastry cream filling. It was a semi-naked cake that we adorned with frosted berries and mint leaves. On the side, I had chilled raspberry champagne-soaked watermelon mini cubes on a stick—they were almost as popular as the cake, maybe more so!

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And how is chocolate best served in the summer?

Hopefully not melted! I think a ganache tart can be served in hot and humid weather quite well.  My two most popular flavors in the summer incorporate orange blossom or lavender; both have a hint of flavor that is balanced by the semi sweetness of the chocolate. I love to garnish the tarts with edible flowers—always a gorgeous finishing touch for tying in the color scheme of a wedding. Time management and organization are key when baking and presenting food, especially when it’s warm. In summer weather, a cooler or two may displace diamonds as a girl’s best friend.

 

As fall returns, what ingredients do you like to bring forward from the back of the pantry?

Fall is one of my busier times for weddings and catered events, so I created a theme called ‘perfect pairings’ to help those planning a Fall wedding with some level of continuity among their sweet and savory choices! I tend to reach for nutmeg, cinnamon, or even smoked maple! I love mulled cider, as it pairs wonderfully with cider doughnuts and apple pies. As a Vermont-based baker, it goes without saying that I sweeten my desserts with maple syrup and maple sugar any chance I get. I think a dark maple syrup provides for the best pronounced flavors in my pumpkin pies, butter creams, and compotes! 15099470_1475730969123730_2837803386319929344_n

I also love chestnuts. I include a chocolate chestnut ganache tart as a holiday selection and I make Chestnut Mignons, a Hungarian specialty with chestnut cream, chocolate, and rum shaped into a chestnut shape and enrobed in chocolate and mocha couverture.

 

For winter holiday entertaining, whether it’s a cozy get together following an afternoon of ice skating, or a more formal holiday affair, what could we surprise our guests with?  

Who doesn’t love to fawn over a dessert table? For a small, casual gathering (after skating, say, by a roaring fire),  I would have a menu that includes cinnamon hot chocolate paired with Belgian brownies and whipped cream, hot cider paired with maple churros, and piping hot mochas with chocolate éclairs filled with blood orange pastry cream. 16122724_271096073310002_9068248877664043008_n

For a formal affair, I love to present a crepes cream cake that looks like it has a thousand layers. Another favorite that I made for a Scandinavian event was the Princess cake; a green dome of pistachio marzipan adorned with delicate pink flowers covering layers of cake, pastry cream,  and lots of whipped cream.

 

In terms of classic recipes, what do you think never goes out of style?

A classic genoise cake, which is a French-style cake that serves as the foundation for simple jelly rolls and many elaborate pastries. It is perfect ‘as is,’ but even better as the cake layers on a scrumptious wedding cake. A genoise holds up incredibly well year-round and can be made with ingredients that a home baker will have in their kitchen.

And when the ovens have cooled and you close up shop for the day, how do you like to spend your down time?

I live in Vermont for a majority of the year and love getting outside to enjoy the Green Mountains! From November through April, my skis are by the front door so I can literally step outside, don my skis, and off I go! In the summer months, I turn into a kayaker. I’m also the happy owner of a German Shepherd puppy, so hiking, trail running, and sailing on Lake Champlain are perfect departures from a chaotic day of baking and decorating (and it keeps the puppy happy)! My time in nature keeps me focused and serves as a beautiful work/life balance! When I’m in the city, I walk everywhere–I’ve been known to walk from SoHo to the UES. I love the contrast of solitude and city buzz. I think art and beauty and truth are found in that contrast.

 

Spotlight on Virginia Edelson

Based in beautiful Aspen, Colorado, Virginia Edelson of Bluebird Productions creates unforgettable events for the experience of a lifetime. Ever conscious of her impact on our environment, Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles asked Virginia how she achieves so much while keeping the region so gloriously gorgeous!

 

 

  •  Seasonal Flowers – We recommend consulting with your floral designer to select flowers and greenery that is seasonal and sustainable. The environmental impact is less (transportation, fuel, keeping cool, etc) and the design feels more appropriate. Bonus points for using a floral designer who works with farmers to source flowers that limit the use of pesticides and herbicides!

 

  • Potted Plants – We suggest incorporating potted plants and trees into the design when appropriate. These potted components of a design can then be gifted, put into homes, planted or repotted and used in a different capacity. We adore cut blooms and can’t imagine a wedding without them… but mixing cut and arranged with potted is a lovely approach to lessen the impact on the land.

 

  • Compost florals (and food) at the event – We recommend composting any green products after an event. It may not be the glamorous part of an event to discuss,  but it certainly has a large impact on our landfills.  

 

  • Group Transportation – When venue appropriate, we recommend providing transportation for all of your guests to and from a wedding. This will cut down on the fossil fuels burned by many many cars.

 

  • Local Food – Not only does local food just taste better, it’s better for the environment and supports the local community.

 

 

Our 2016 John Derian Collections

We have ushered in autumn with the exciting launch of our second collaboration with Designer John Derian. Our five new collections pair classic Dempsey & Carroll motifs with decoupage prints from Derian’s extensive archives. Some of our Dempsey & Carroll team members have offered insight into which lines are their favorites, though it is difficult to choose just one. We invite you to explore our 2016 John Derian collections so that you can discover your favorites as well!

Carolyn: “My favorite is the Fly Fisher. I love the color story, but most of all, I love how it can resonate with a consumer. For me, it reminds me of going fly fishing with my family inhp4-091216-derian-web Colorado and I’m sure it rings true for many other people all over the world!”

 

 

 

Lauren: “My favorite is Earth & Sky.  I love the colors and the round globe motif paired with the round map of the sky. There is a lovely balance between the latitude and longitude lines in the engraved globe and the colorful envelope liner– I love it! I am planning to order a set of 50 personalized.”

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Leo: “Earth & Sky is my pick. The celestial map envelope liner reminds me of a group of vintage prints that I have been collecting for years.  Astronomical maps seem to transcend time; at once modern and vintage.  The globe engraving is wonderfully detailed, a Dempsey & Carroll classic from the archive, and the gray engraving on white paper sets off a fresh mix and match with the envelope liner.”

Megan: “My favorite collection from the new John Derian collaboration is definitely Earth & Sky.  The stunning starry night liner coupled with the beautifully detailed engraved globe motif is a stellar combination to be used for any occasion.  I am already planning on having some on hand while I am traveling this Fall!”

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Evon: “I am most attracted to the John Derian Grand Tour Collection. The liner prints all display an excellent use of typography and color. Additionally, the crops of the liners are dynamic, providing just enough insight into these historic hotels, but yet still leaving much to the imagination.”

 

Ariel: “I really love all of the new John Derian products, but my personal favorite is Blue Coral. I have always loved spending time in Florida at the hp1-090116-derian-webbeach, and the stunning coral artwork brings back amazing memories from my family vacations”

 

 

 

Emma:” It is difficult to choose a favorite, but I am definitely favoring Tea Salon at the moment. I love how it pairs our classic tea cup motif with John Derian’s vintage Frehp1-091216-derian-webnch architecture-inspired patterns for the envelope lining. This collection brings back memories of living abroad in France, where afternoons were often spent studying in baroque-style salons de thé.”

 

 

 

 

What Are They Packing?

July 4th Weekend is a wonderful time to take a long weekend to travel, whether it involves hiking in Aspen or relaxing on the beach.  Sometimes the most difficult part of traveling is the packing, so our  Creative Director, Leo Mascotte, and CEO, Lauren Marrus, have graciously shared their essentials for their summer destinations.

Leo’s Aspen hiking essentials

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A Fourth of July Parade in Aspen

 

Lauren’s Beach essentials

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Sandy Hook Beach, New Jersey

Spotlight on FORM

Dempsey & Carroll’s Benjamin Manno sat down with the team from Form to talk about design and what inspires them. 

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BM: FORM taking function. How important is this concept to you when you begin working with a client? Have you ever had requests so “out of left field” that you had to sacrifice one for the other?

FL: The dance between form and function is never-ending. Frequently, at the outset of a project, one will take the dominant role according to the client, the scope of the project, or the voice of the space, itself. We believe that if you really listen, the “best” balance for a project can be achieved. We once had a client who had spent a lot of time dreaming of the ultimate shower for personal grooming—one that included a sink and full-length mirror. After communicating that a shower is essentially a temperature regulated water source with a drain, and that a sink would be redundant, he acquiesced. In terms of the mirror we were able to talk him down from full-length to something more modest that played well with the large format tile. Mirror is always tricky in a shower, as it will degrade over time due, to the moisture. We also had a client who had her heart set on the largest possible opening between her first floor and her back yard so she could maximize the family’s indoor / outdoor living experience. In the end, the door solution she could afford—while maintain the largest possible opening—was going to take up so much depth that the living room fireplace would be displaced from center. We made our case and lost. Somehow this didn’t seem to bother her.

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BM: Who do you admire? What is it about them that inspires you?

FL: In design and artistically we are often inspired by Tony Duquette. A true original, Tony Duquette designed boldly and fearlessly, creating iconic lighting, sculpture, textiles and spaces that live on today. Hutton Wilkinson, Tony’s business partner who now carries the Duquette design legacy says, “If it’s not fabulous, it’s meaningless” and we tend to agree.

It is people who have lived, and do live, with this kind of honest abandon whom we admire most.

We are also absurdly fond of Mexican architect Luis Barrágan’s; his maniacal use of restraint in color, scale and proportion, creates some of the loudest minimal environments and prove that, in fact, editing is everything.

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BM: West Coast vs. East Coast? The ultimate throw down. Who has the most brilliantly challenging spaces to create?

FL: We are in no way looking to be the Switzerland of design, however, we approach each project—regardless of location—from a unique perspective, such that brilliant challenges are ever present. Having said that, most Manhattan projects do present a specific set of parameters from the get-go and make scale and installation critically important to the conceptualization process.

BM: Where does sustainability and environmental consciousness swirl in to your work? How do you go green?

FL: We recently shared a flight with an owner of some of the world’s most prestigious caviar farms. When I [Josh] asked about his “farming” practices, in terms of the holistic quality of his caviar, he answered with the following; “We value the life of our fish first, the environment second, and the quality of our product third. Ultimately, we believe that if we are abiding by the first and second values, the third takes care of itself.” Not that it is a direct correlation, but we practice design much in that same way.

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BM: Dempsey & Carroll was honored to support your efforts for the 2015 Red and White Ball that raised relief funds for the Red Cross. What was the inspiration behind your stunning table design?

FL: Thank you so much. Dempsey & Carroll’s participation in our Red Cross 2015 Red and White Ball table design was truly the béarnaise on our filet. We were giddy when you said “yes” and the design process was absolute heaven (insert tongue-out wink emoji). The inspiration for our table design stemmed from this year’s gala theme of “hope.” As we pondered the Red Cross and the impact they make on our planet, we thought about how, at the simplest level, they represent people working together to create second chances. We translated this into our design with a centerpiece comprised of three wire frame red sculptures that we joined by a single headdress of monarch butterflies. The butterflies are the “hope” in our design and they played beautifully together throughout the various elements of the table design, including the stunning custom “Thank You” cards that Dempsey & Carroll created and so graciously donated.

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The Beauty of Experience: “At the Emperor’s Table”

At the Emperor’s Table, the last book published by Assouline for Valentino, is not just a book about beautiful mise-en-place, dream homes, or excellent food.

Valentino’s book proves to be a voyage for the sense. It showcases his personal style of living defined by proportions, emotions, and surprise, which, in Valentino’s own words, define elegance.

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Each page is a treat for the eye: a collection of fine china, crystals, and unique treasures that playfully awaken the senses.

It was a pleasure to receive his book last evening at the new Valentino store on New York’s Fifth Avenue. I experienced first-hand how the finest elements of life dance in his presence: beauty, passion and the surprise of a genuine smile when he heard me whispering “Grazie Maestro”.

Remo Nuzzolese,

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‘Style & Simplicity’ has arrived!

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A long time friend of Dempsey & Carroll, Ted Kennedy Watson, has just published a gorgeous lifestyle book called ‘Style & Simplicity’ on May 6th. The pages are brimming with colorful shots of home decor and dripping with inspiration. It arrived today in our showroom and we are fawning over it!

Ted is the proprietor of two specialty home shops in Seattle, and the writer for the self-titled blog, Ted Kennedy Watson. We have long adored Ted and his impeccably curated taste, and could not be happier for his success. 

Another exciting part of this launch is the new Ted Kennedy Watson Paper Collection partnership with Dempsey & Carroll. Ted’s passion for living life well, paired with his eye for the finer things in life define his new paper collection. These cards and envelopes remind us to share elegance and grace with the world around us. Every word counts.

Purchase the book here: Ted Kennedy Watson’s ‘Style & Simplicity’

Check out the paper collection here: Ted Kennedy Watson Paper Collection

Very exciting stuff! Do you guys have new, exciting things happening in your lives? Pass them on. We would love to hear the news!