Kelly Christakos Stivers


friday five: sweet little things i'm loving lately for lydia

Having a little girl is like living with a little doll who lets you dress her up, and it's even better when she loves jewelry and tiaras and and has an affinity for anything and everything gold, sparkly and girly!  While I've loved every stage of motherhood, I have to say, this one is definitely my favorite, so far.  As we approach Lydia's SECOND birthday way to quickly (HOW did that happen so fast?!) I'm loving the girly girl phase we have been in; she loves nothing more than to pile on the jewelry and head outside to dig in the dirt.  I'm also loving all the goodies my mother and I have squirrelled away for her - things that belonged to me as a baby (My grandmother was a master seamstress and made a lot of my clothes, which Lydia is wearing a lot of these days!) and things that belonged to my momma (check out the Nancy Drew books below).  I hope she loves tradition and sentiment as much as I do because this is just the beginning for her!  In lieu of a regular Friday Five post, I thought I'd share a few other sweet little things I'm loving for her lately, instead:

Every one of original Nancy Drew's in my mom1's collection has been given to my little miss.  Surface space is at a premium in the nursery, so, until baby girl is fully potty trained and we no longer need the changing pad, they will remain in the living room on my bookshelves, where they make me immensely happy every time I walk past them!  For today, though, a few of them are looking mighty fine in the cast iron bunny bookends my mom got her for Christmas last year:

Bunny bookends from Anthro; Gilded "L" from Hobby Lobby.

I have major envy over the most perfect, worn-in chambray shirt that hangs in my toddler's closet.  I bought it in three sizes last year at H&M so that I would have a couple years covered; I just wish they would make one for grownups because it is the softest thing baby girl owns, not to mention it's the perfect shade of pale blue.  I know it's wrong to have an attachment to clothing but seriously, is this not the cutest little thing you ever did see?

Mermaid from Pottery Barn; Superhero print from Etsy.

My mother found this darling little handpainted tea set (which comes in an equally adorable wicker case) on our girl's weekend to Charleston a few months back and bought it for Lydia.  We put on lots of jewelry and tiaras and sit at her kiddie table, eating cookies and sipping with our pinkies out while I hover like a crazy person in case she gives a piece a toss or sets it down too hard. 

This brass mermaid sign from Gypsy Warrior was too cute to pass up.  It will eventually make a great addition to her gallery wall, once I finally get around to hanging it up!

I went to clean out Lydia's closet a few weeks ago and realized that the kid had more outerwear than her momma, as pea coats, vests and, of course, denim jackets, seemed to take up half of her closet.  Most of them were gifts, but, just like the chambray shirt above, I did buy denim jackets in three different sizes from Baby Gap to last me for a while and it has really come in handy, as she wears them pretty much all year long!  I try to only buy staples for her and well-made, adorable coats make getting dressed to go out so much easier; the camel pea coat with cat pockets and faux fur vest are my current favorites:

Cat pea coat and faux fur vest from H&M; Denim jacket from Gap.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


simple, classic entertaining essentials for thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is going to be small and intimate for us this year, but I still plan on going all out on the food and, of course, the table setting!  I'm all about keeping things simple, as much for keeping my sanity while trying to cook and prepare everything, but also because I think decor-wise, simple can be so stunning.  Over the years I've amassed quite a collection of every day dining essentials that, when paired with a few key pieces, can make any gathering chic and festive.  I always fall back on classics - simple white dinner plates, serving bowls and platters, beautiful glassware, woven chargers, linen napkins - and then add some greenery and something festive like mini pumpkin taper candle holders (see how I made mine a few years ago here) or a bowl of clementines.  Trays can double as makeshift bar setups (for those of us who STILL don't have a bar cart); gold accents are not only chic, but can transition through Christmas, and handfuls of unscented, clear glass votives are a great alternative for an over-the-top centerpiece!  Here are a few entertaining essentials that are simple and classic without going overboard with all the kitsch.  What are your entertaining must-haves for the holidays?

Soup tureen / Rattan charger / Extra large gold ice bucket / Marble + brass serving tray

Gold flatware set / Raffia runner / Horn salad servers / French wine glass / Set of 72 glass votives

Horn bottle opener / White pitcher / Gold paisley napkins / Dauville gold bowl


at home in the garden with carolyn roehm

Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  Mine passed so quickly, I feel like the last three days were a complete blur. A highlight was reading this article by One King's Lane on the release of Carolyn Roehm's latest book, At Home in the Garden, complete with some of the prettiest images of her Connecticut home.  Just a little loveliness of what's to come in her book (which, might I add, is seriously one of the most gorgeous EVER).  Gleaming white, beautiful green topiary and a garden office that makes me want to build a greenhouse of my own and blog full-time from there!  Here are a few images from the article that had me swooning:

Floor-to-ceiling, glassfront cabinets in glaming white, classic glass pendant lights and myrtle topiary for a pop of green is just about as close to perfection as it gets, don't you think?

A vast collection of china in perfectly styled cabinets, gorgeous, monogrammed linen chairs and a marble top table are killing me softly in the breakfast area:

I love this glass house with its mix of metals, a generously sized farmhouse table, pots of white geraniums and lanterns.  Add some candlelight and it would be a stunning setting for dinner:

Framed botanicals and butterflies and more topiary against crisp white bead board in the office:

Design books, baskets and garden utensils may be utilitarian but look so chic in the outdoor office:

Love the stone facade and boxwoods out front:

A green and white parterre that looks striking all year long:

Perfection.  All of it.

Here are my picks for getting a similar look:

Topiary / Monogrammed pillow / Planter / Basket / Carolyn Roehm At Home in the Garden

Lanterns / Farmhouse table

Hope you're off to a great start this week!


where to buy nautical charts + budget-friendly tips for framing them

I've gotten a lot of emails lately, asking where I found the oversize nautical charts hanging over the sofa in our living room and, even though I've sourced where I bought mine in previous posts, there were a couple of tips I thought might come in handy for those of you who are interested in purchasing and framing some for yourself. 

I love, love, LOVE our nautical charts -  for one thing, they are HUGE and were a great way for me to make a dramatic impact on our vaulted walls without breaking the bank.  Second, they represent where I met my husband (Lisbon) and where we took our first vacation (Eastern Caribbean).  Anyone who knows me knows that it's important to me to fill our home with things that hold strong personal meaning and it just doesn't get more personal than that!

My charts came from Maryland Nautical.  I purchased them online and received them days later.  For less than $30, I have to say, I would be seriously hard pressed to find a bigger bang for my decorating buck! Each and every chart has a number in the bottom right and left hand corners.  If you know your number, you can just enter it into the search box:

If you don't know the number of the chart you're looking for or you just want to browse to pick one you like, click PRODUCTS, then NAUTICAL CHARTS.  I like the NGA options:

They have it broken down by region, making it super easy to find what you're looking for:

When it comes to framing these bad boys, the sheer size pretty much assures it will be an incredibly pricey endeavor, especially since most of them are much larger than the biggest standard size frames in Hobby Lobby and AC Moore.  When I was quoted $600 to frame each of mine, I knew I had to come up with another option, so I had them mounted on foam core mat board (I left this to professionals to do it right) and then made frames myself out of stock molding from Lowe's.  You can read all about how to do it, step by step, here.

I hope those of you who were interested in buying some for yourself found this helpful!


carrier + company: positively chic interiors

There is nothing I love more than curling up with a glass of wine and reading a beautiful interior design book after little miss goes to bed.  With all the new design books that have debuted this year, I realized I was quite behind in nabbing some for myself so I hopped on to Amazon last week and gave my credit card a little workout.  The first one to arrive on my doorstep was Carrier and Company: Positively Chic Interiors.  Not since Steven Gambrel's design tome was released a couple years ago have I loved a design book so much.  I DEVOURED the whole thing, lingering over page after page of some of the most beautiful, sophisticated and COMFORTABLE-looking rooms ever (which is the most coveted combination by parents of littles everywhere!) Gorgeous, blue and white spaces with a lovely mix of textiles, pattern and lots of texture are my favorite and this book is chock full of them.  I highly, HIGHLY recommend!  Here are a few snippets from their portfolio, but get the book for even more gloriousness!