Gift List | For the Party Host

Say thank you to friends and family for hosting this month with a thoughtful gift. From a unique salad server to stunning dining accessories, embrace any new season with elegance!

Swirl Glass Tumblers: These stylish tumblers are perfect for the party-thrower. Give with an assortment of cocktail bitters for a perfectly paired gift.

Park Avenue Throw: Another cozy throw is never amiss. Surprise the host with this gorgeous tribal-print option.

Black Serving Utensil Set: A beautiful, marbleized black serving spoon and fork set will bring a glamorous touch to any table. Tie one on to your favorite cookbook for a thoughtful gift.


Antique Picture Frame: An antiqued nickel-finished frame is classic, elegant, and timeless.

Lucienne Dish: A host can set multiples of these trays out with an array of appetizers, or leave them as a dining table centerpiece.

Small Boxes: Antiqued, elegant, and topped with gems — these unique boxes are perfect for everything from trinkets to jewelry.

Summer Gift List

From weddings and baby showers, retirement parties and anniversary celebrations – ’tis the season of summer parties. Looking for a gift that no one else can top? We’ve got your list right here! From unique tabletop accessories to architectural works of art, these one-of-a-kind designs offer an abundance of style.



Seated Angel Pottery

Exquisite handmade pottery pieces that are unique and traditional works executed in a very modern style. Bring style and elegance to your home with these seated angels.







Southern Belle Picture Frame

Our favorite color is brown and it makes the world go round. Take that cheap, boring black frame off your desk and use this handcrafted beauty instead.







Stamped Bible Box

What do you get the person that has everything? Perfect for the big book or a group of remotes for the TV. Set on top is a genuine turquoise stone cross, which works with all colors in any room.








Art Glass Bowls

The elegant ruffled edges and rich colors distinguish these art glass bowls. Artistically hand blown in brown, black, and metallic gold art glass, these unique and sophisticated bowls will be the center of attention on any shelf or side table.

Delightful New Derby Reads

Four new pony-related books have arrived in book stores just in time for race season.


American Pharoah: The Untold Story of the Triple Crown Winner’s Legendary Rise
By Joe Drape

“I was beginning to believe that I was never going to see a horse capture the Triple Crown,” writes New York Times sportswriter Joe Drape. Lucky for him—and us—he watched the rise of American Pharoah, the most important thoroughbred in modern history who, last June, became the first racehorse in thirty-seven years to win the Triple Crown. Through in-the-moment reporting plus interviews with the horse’s owner, trainer, and jockey, Drape takes the reader behind the gate for the inside story of American Pharoah’s climb, and to the track for every dust-flying, crowd-roaring minute.






The Sport of Kings
By C. E. Morgan

Expect this novel to show up in many summer reading lists and book clubs. It’s a piece of Southern gothic fiction with horses at the heart. Author C. E. Morgan sets the story in her resident state of Kentucky, and winds through generations of a Bluegrass family’s obsession with horses, their homeland, and the moral questions that will determine their fates.









Here Comes Exterminator! The Longshot Horse, the Great War, and the Making of an American Hero
By Eliza McGraw

Folks today wouldn’t recognize the subdued 1918 Kentucky Derby. With thousands of young men deployed overseas, women skipped wearing ornate hats, and many Americans thought the race was ostentatious for a country at war. So when a long-shot American horse by the name of Exterminator bolted past his 30-1 odds—and foreign-born colts—to win the Run for the Roses, it provided a much-needed jolt of energy and patriotism. Exterminator’s come-from-behind story captured hearts (and still-standing records, such as 33 stakes wins by a North American thoroughbred) as told in this deeply researched profile.






The Kentucky Derby
By Bill Doolittle

One of the historians behind the creation of the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville, Bill Doolittle had plenty of material to choose from when he compiled this coffee-table tome on the past and present of the greatest two minutes in sports. The book gathers archival photos, interviews, essays, and trivia together with dozens of full-color photographs that will make you the most in-the-know spectator at this year’s party.





Post and pictures courtesy of Garden & Gun.

Travel Much? Check This Out!

Travel woes begone! Planes of the future bring luxury back to the skies!

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Social media continues to alter the way we consume information. Breaking news on Facebook and Twitter, gathering intel on Instagram–social media’s influence has no bounds. Using these techniques, Aircraft manufacturer Airbus scoured social media for concerns, complaints and airline comparisons from frequent travelers. The company used the feedback to create its latest airplane model, Airspace. Some complaints included insufficient overhead space, a lack of broadband service, lackluster lighting and less-than-stellar lavatories. The result? A state-of-the-art cabin that gives travelers a lot more SPACE.

“Airspace is how Airbus will brand its interiors from now on,” explains vice president of strategy and marketing Dr. Kiran Rao. “We want passengers to get on and think ‘This is an Airspace cabin’.” Check out their video below!

And what can customers expect from the new interiors? Increased overhead space and wider seats–18 inches will be the economy seat standard, which is a first of its kind. Additionally, Airspace will provide a quieter cabin, a lavatory with antibacterial surfaces, built-in broadband for easy Internet access and a fourth generation in-flight entertainment system available at every seat.

Ready to take that vacation now?

Post and photos courtesy of PaperCity.

National Blues Museum Opens

The National Blues Museum in St. Louis, Missouri has opened its doors to the public.

Muddy Waters likeness inside the museum. (Photographs courtesy of the National Blues Museum)

Muddy Waters likeness inside the museum. (Photographs courtesy of the National Blues Museum)


The sprawling 23,000-square-foot space is packed with interactive exhibits and memorabilia that span the genre’s rich history and diverse styles. Throughout the years, St. Louis has been home to such blues influenced musicians as W.C. Handy, Henry “Mule” Townsend, Miles Davis, Ike and Tina Turner, Little Milton, and Chuck Berry, among others. “The blues mean something different to everyone,” says museum director Dion Brown, “which is why this museum is so heavily interactive.” The new museum pays homage to all those sounds and more. Below we have listed reasons you should visit, but for more information, head to their website HERE.

Reasons you should visit:

1. Be a blues musician for the day. Plug your email into a kiosk the start of the museum to write your own blues lyric. Move through the exhibit halls and by logging in with your email at various workstations you can add prerecorded guitar, harmonica, and piano lines to the lyric you created when you entered the museum. You can also learn to play the washboard or the spoons and then bang out a few riffs alongside digital street performers.

Interactive jug band exhibit.

Interactive jug band exhibit.


2. Try your hand at producing. The Mix it Up Experience lets you play with various blues styles, blending sounds to create your own composition. When you’re happy with the result, you can create your own cover art and email yourself an mp3.

The National Blues Museum in St. Louis, Missouri


3. Hear from the artists themselves. A new traveling exhibit “Blues at Home: Mississippi’s Living Blues Legends” pairs thirty-one paintings of Mississippi-based musicians with oral histories from each subject, including David “Honeyboy” Edwards, Bobby Rush, and the late B.B. King.

Suitcases representing the artists who left the South during the Great Migration.

Suitcases representing the artists who left the South during the Great Migration.


4. No matter your musical preferences, there’s something here for everyone. Legend has it that W.C. Handy penned “St. Louis Blues,” one of the genre’s most famous tracks, while sitting on the city’s riverfront. And though the St. Louis blues get its share of the spotlight, so do the jazz-inflected Memphis blues, the smooth soulful Delta blues, the grittier percussion-heavy Hill Country blues, and more. You’ll also discover the roots of jazz, country, R&B, and hip-hop here.

Jim McClaren’s collection of 900+ harmonicas.

Jim McClaren’s collection of 900+ harmonicas.


5. Oh, and there’s live music, too. Because there is no better way to experience the blues than to hear it first-hand, the museum built a one-hundred-seat theater that will host touring musicians with stops in St. Louis as well as regular shows.

Living legend Chuck Berry is celebrated in an exhibit.


Post courtesy of Garden & Gun.

How to Lie Like a Southerner

Falsehood. Story. Lie. Whatever you call it, fudging a little here and there is what makes Southern storytelling so colorful. Telling exaggerated stories isn’t just fun—it’s part of Southern heritage.

Adam Booth performs at Bear on the Square Mountain Festival in Dahlonega, Georgia. (Photograph by Margo Booth)

Adam Booth performs at Bear on the Square Mountain Festival in Dahlonega, Georgia. (Photograph by Margo Booth)

Adam Booth, a four-time West Virginia Liar’s Contest champion who teaches Appalachian Studies classes at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, tells his students that lying is regionally relevant. “Appalachian industries like railroading, coal mining, and timbering contributed to the health and vitality of lying,” he says. “While people were working they’d brag about how much rail they laid, how much wood they chopped, or how they ‘shot a gun and the one bullet didn’t just kill a deer but it killed a whole flock of birds and a bear.’”

The Bear on the Square Mountain Festival on April 16-17 brings together ambitious liars willing to put their storytelling chops to the test. It’s just one of the handful of bona fide lying festivals across the South – see also the Texas State Liars Contest in November and the Mountain Mack Liar’s Contest each spring in Virginia.

Booth has been a guest judge and performer at multiple lying festivals, so here he shares his best tips for telling a harmless tall tale:

1. Base the lie on some truth

Root the retelling in an event that actually happened. “Usually in lying contests, one of the categories you’re judged on is the believability of the story,” Booth says. He keeps a notebook of nearly unbelievable things that happen to him. Build a house of exaggeration on a solid foundation of truth.

2. Tell a story in pictures, not words

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had that moment of dread watching someone who memorized a story and can’t remember what they were saying because they were reciting and lost their place,” Booth says. Describe a big-picture scene before telling details within it. Your audience is more likely to believe something they can play out in their minds, and you’re less likely to forget what you were saying.

3. Don’t save the whopper for the end

A lot of liars will build up to a big, unbelievable finish. Booth has a different tactic—“I start lying as soon as possible with details that seem believable,” he says. Within the first minute of a story, he’s already dropping half-truths. “My details keep escalating, so it’s not such a big hit at the end. But when people snap out of it, they’re left wondering, ‘how did we get to this point?’”

4. Keep your body language in check

Plenty of self-help articles describe how to detect a liar—a left eye twitch or a face scratch. But over years of competitive lying, Booth has noticed something simpler—people shift their weight when they lie. “When they are really starting to stretch the truth, they lean forward and go on the tip of their toes or bend their waist out,” he says. “If you’re not used to looking for it, it’s too subtle.”

5. Mind your audience

Even if it’s just one person, pay attention to what hooks them. If something makes your audience laugh, bring back those details to pull the listener full circle. Practice helps. “Sit at the counter of your local donut shop and talk to the regulars, or gather people in your living room,” Booth says. “It’s great to get all those experiences because you learn how to react to the listeners.”

And remember that old adage: Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

Post and photos courtesy of Garden & Gun.

Houston MFAH: Rare Vehicles

Bodywork designed by Figoni & Falaschi, Delahaye, 135MS Roadster, 1937

Bodywork designed by Figoni & Falaschi, Delahaye, 135MS Roadster, 1937

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston has a truly unique exhibition: “Sculpted in Steel: Art Deco Automobiles and Motorcycles, 1929 –1940”. 20th-century design automobiles with dazzling steel and chrome coupes, speedsters, roadsters and sedans were the calling cards of the international Deco movement in America and Europe, and Houston’s got ’em!

The exhibition features 14 automobiles and three motorcycles, including the 1934 Model 40 designed by Ford Motor Company’s Bob Gregorie for Ford progeny and company president Edsel Ford — the only one in the world. Was there ever a more glamorous age for motoring?

William Stout, Stout Motorcar Company's Scarab, 1936

William Stout, Stout Motorcar Company’s Scarab, 1936

Guest curator Ken Gross is a man passionate about cars whose street cred includes his former directorship of the Holy Grail, L.A.’s Petersen Automotive Museum. He joins Cindi Strauss, MFAH curator of modern and contemporary decorative arts and design, in organizing this car-centric exhibition.

Go for marvels of aerodynamic design, with swoops and curves and assertive grilles such as those featured on the 1938 Dubbonet Xenia Coupe by luxe Spanish/French carmaker Hispano-Suiza, or the long, sleek excess of the Delahaye 135MS Roadster, a special design by Joseph Figoni and Ovidio Falaschi for the 1937 Paris Auto Show with an all-aluminum body complemented by a cosseted leather interior and matching car carpets from Hermès. American manufactures such as Packard (represented by a stately, stoic 1934 Twelve Model 1106, bodywork by LeBaron) and Chrysler (the sturdy 1935 Imperial Model C-2 Airflow Coupe with its commanding presence, articulated by designers Carl Breer and Norman Bel Geddes) exude attitude that makes today’s luxury rides look too tarted up or plain prosaic.

Bodywork designed by Figoni & Falaschi , Delahaye, 135MS Roadster, 1937

Bodywork designed by Figoni & Falaschi , Delahaye, 135MS Roadster, 1937

Among the three motorcycles presented, the Indian’s classic Chief from 1940 stands out as a magnificent piece. The strangest offering among “Sculpted in Steel” prefigures our era’s minivan: a 1936 Scarab crafted by American airplane and auto designer William Bushnell Stout for his eponymous engineering firm, featuring moveable seats, a folding table and a back seat that transforms into a settee.

At The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston now  – May 30; MFAH.

Post and photos courtesy of PaperCity.

Bug Mania Invades Houston

Grasshoppers, Beetles and Walking Sticks Invade Esperson Gallery at GreenStreet!

Bugs are taking over Houston's GreenStreet.

Bugs are taking over Houston’s GreenStreet.

A captivating installation takes place this spring at Esperson Gallery at GreenStreet. This exhibit will transport you back to the Victorian age, when the natural world possessed real magic and collectors were obsessed with acquiring rare and beautiful insect specimens to display under bell jars.

For the Esperson show, University of Wisconsin professor of design studies Jennifer Angus creates a unique take on bug mania, with insects literally taking over the walls and filling elaborate etymological dioramas. The exhibition incorporates “cicadas, grasshoppers, katydids, beetles, walking sticks, and moving leaves.”

“My plan is to show a little bit of all the things I do, from installation to printmaking to fanciful narrative-type dioramas. I would be inclined to call this show a broad survey of my work. I’ve created some brand new insect dioramas under bell jars. Far from a traditional museum diorama, the insects in my work live in otherworldly environments where anything is possible. The mysterious cicada ladies who are part cicada, part grasshopper and wear dresses made of beeswax rule these places. Look out for some new colorful praying mantis.”

Jennifer Angus installs In the Midnight Garden, 2015, at the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum. (Courtesy Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Photo Ron Blunt)

Jennifer Angus installs In the Midnight Garden, 2015, at the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum. (Courtesy Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Photo Ron Blunt)

“Jennifer Angus: Silver Wings and Golden Tails” at Esperson Gallery at GreenStreet, now through June 24, 2016.

Post and photos courtesy of PaperCity.

A Jet Interior Furnished Like a Train

For travelers who enjoy the comforts of train travel but need the speed of an intercontinental jet, a new jet interior from Airbus is here. The Airbus Corporate Jet Centre, in Toulouse, France, furnished an art deco–inspired custom cabin in an ACJ319 jet for a company in Asia. Combining comfort, function, and innovative design, the interior seats up to 19 passengers and features five individual mini-suites (each with its own storage spaces) that evoke the privacy and coziness of a vintage-train cabin. A lounge adjoins a separate parlor where two passengers can share a widescreen movie. The master bedroom offers an en suite bathroom with a shower, a private office, and a sofa converts to a conversation nook, with two VIP seats separated by a table.

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A brown-and-cream palette creates a sense of space and simplicity in the cabin, and gold-colored details enhance the classic retro aura. The dining area seats up to six in a snug booth setting. The retro styling is paired with state-of-the-art amenities and cabin controls. All 15 of the seats can recline to a fully flat position and are adjustable via Wi-Fi from a digital tablet. Two cocktail bars are hidden behind mirrors, emerging when needed with the push of a button. The ACJ319 cabin is 78 feet long by 12 feet wide, and the jet can travel up to 6,900 miles nonstop, at speeds up to about 540 mph. See there website here.

Post and photos courtesy of Robb Report.