Category Archives: Home Styling

Say Goodbye To Dear Andi…

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…and say hello to TheBrooklynStylist.com.

Dear loyal readers,

After over 3 years, I’ve decided that it’s time to say goodbye to Dear Andi.

The name had quite a bit of meaning to me at the time my blog launched. I was unsure of the direction of my career and I found my mother’s journals with all entries beginning with “Dear Andi” on it, and thought “that’s it!”

But “Dear Andi” was cute. It was an idea. It was something I didn’t think would turn into what it did, when fashion blogs were just on the cusp of becoming a thing. “Dear Andi” has also reached its peak.

And now it’s time for time for the next phase of my blog life; aligning my blog with what I do for a living as a NYC fashion stylist living in Brooklyn. Which brings us to “The Brooklyn Stylist.”

While it’s a new beginning, it’s going to be more or less a natural transition with similar posts like:

-my *realistic* personal style

-my insider look into the fashion industry

-my travels, as well as my stylish life in Brooklyn

-and of course, I’m still here as your personal stylist, answering your style dilemmas.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the future of The Brooklyn Stylist brings and to seeing you over there. (and on social media at my name, @LizTeich).

xoLiz

 

 

{ADVICE} Decorating 101

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DEAR ANDI,

I’ve been following your blog for a couple years now. I am moving in with my boyfriend soon (yay!) and all I can think about is decorating. Of course, he has a couple wall decor items from his school, University of Michigan, that I don’t really see fitting into the apartment. However id like to at least consider the thought. Do you have any suggestions on how to take college paraphernalia and make it cute or fit into an apartment that still makes people go “wow! You did a great job decorating!”

Any help would be great!

Also…what’s the best way to start decorating an apartment? A theme/color throughout? Piece of art in each room?

-Alex

Dear Alex,

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your apartment decor. The best way to go about decorating a new home is to start with what you have and slowly add to it over time with pieces you love.

The best decor advice I’ve ever heard was from when I interviewed the VP of Merchandising at One Kings Lane, Day Kornbluth, she told me that the way she approaches decorating is what her mother actually taught her and is the way she builds her wardrobe as well: collect what you love and over time, you will develop your own style from that.

It happens to be the way I decorate my own apartment (and fill my closet)—whether it’s antiques passed down from generations, shopping from refurbished vintage finds, gifts from friends and even found at Target, one of my favorite affordable decorating resources, it slowly came together over time and my living room looks like it’s decorated, but still feels like me.

It’s important to me for my home to feel like “me” and not out of a catalog or recognizable pieces—nothing’s worse than someone coming in and pointing out a piece of furniture from a cookie-cutter store. My decor also had to work with the rest of the finishes in our new home, which were more modern (not my style), as well as my hubby’s taste, which tends to be more masculine than mine.

Here’s how I developed my living room decor in 6 easy steps:

1. Find key words to describe what you want to evoke in your home.

When I purchase new decor, it has to fall into these categories for me personally:

industrial / Brooklyn

vintage

artsy

eclectic

functional

unique

Figure out what words mean the most to you at this stage of your life and when shopping for decor, ask yourself if those words describe it.

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2. Color Inspiration

What I did when I moved into my apartment was assess the focal point of the room, which was this Randy Howard painting (RIGHT) that was a surprisingly a reject from the artist and given to us. The large scale of the painting and the bold colors draw people’s eyes in as soon as they enter our living room. I also was inspired by peacock feathers after falling in love with the colors of them after buying these (LEFT) for a peacock-colored-theme fashion shoot and never used them.

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3. Start with what you have an build from there.

I’ve had this chartreuse 1930′s settee since I moved into my previous apartment and my Pottery Barn sofabed wouldn’t fit through the door of my old brownstone. I snatched two halves of these on Craigslist by a couple that refinished them and have been stuck with them since. They cost exactly what I sold the sofabed for, so it’s hard to let go of a piece that didn’t cost me anything, not to mention the color is divine.

I picked up both of the pillows on it for a shoot and decided to keep them because they compliment the couch quite nicely. The throw is from my recent travel to Vietnam, so it’s not only the perfect piece to hide some wear on the old piece, but it’s also a beautiful reminder of the artisans we met on our trip.

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4. Incorporate personal pieces and art.

It immediately creates your own style when you incorporate pieces that have meaning to you, whether it’s from your travels, friends or your own designs. I have so much of my own art, having received a BFA in art, but I’ve only hung a few pieces of it through my home. These tree drawings (ABOVE) not only work with the space, but have a lot of meaning because I spent months drawing the same tree over and over. The “11231″ pillow also lends meaning to my decor because it’s my zip code in Brooklyn and it also was given to me by my talented artist friend, Kate.

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5. Accept hand-me-downs and get crafty

Until you can afford better furniture that you would choose on your own if money were not an object, allow friends and family to pawn off their old pieces on you. You’d be surprised how you can make it work with a slight change.

This lamp (ABOVE) was passed down from my hubby’s family and I revived it with a new lampshade for only $20 at Target. The side table (ABOVE) was from my grandmother and after some repairs, looks great. Over time, you will slowly replace pieces with ones that feel more like you. I splurged (with a coupon!) on this Crate & Barrel sofa after stalking it for months and years of waiting to find the perfect one for the price I could afford. It makes me more likely to add a coat of paint to update an existing piece I own to save money on items that I will replace over time.

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6. Fill in with affordable pieces

I’m not saying buy out your nearest Ikea, but instead I’m saying that it’s okay to mix in a few small pieces from stores like these, which will look more expensive when mixed in with other pieces than just from those stores. Target’s Threshold home collection has become one of my favorite resources for this. This tray (above) and my curtains are from there and I hardly spent anything to get asked “where did you get that?”

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Maybe you incorporate the colors of your boyfriend’s Alma Mater into your decor, perhaps use a college-themed blanket as a throw on a chair or even sew a pillow out of the flag, frame the banner…get creative with this. Chances are, you’ll develop your style together over time and incorporate more of what you love from your trips and experiences together that it will overpower looking like a college dorm. Make shopping for your decor a fun outing for you both, rather than a chore.

Check out some of my favorite home decor resources for my own home:

Anthropologie

Ballard Designs

Brooklyn Flea

Brooklyn Reclamation

Brimfield Antique Show

Build It Green

By Brooklyn

The Find

Jim & Lala Howard Pottery

Klaff’s Lighting

Target


What A Difference Some Paint Makes

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When you have a wall that looks like this in the backyard of your home, it’s pretty cool for all of maybe 5 minutes. Then when you live with it for a year and realize that your Brooklyn backyard graffiti probably contributed to why you got a good deal on the apartment. It was great for a fashion shoot I hosted and styled (above), but right after I decided it needed a makeover.

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I debated for the past year whether to paint another mural over it, but my trip to New Orleans really inspired me, as well the walls of the East Village restaurant, Edie & The Wolf (above). I wanted a weathered oasis that seemed as though it naturally faded over time.

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What a difference some paint makes, right?

Here’s how I did it:

- 1 coat of Benjamin Moore outdoor primer paint

-2 coats of Benjamin Moore in Vintage Vogue with thick rollers and extenders

-2 light coats of the two paints mixed with a textured roller in all different directions. Focus more in the areas that would get weathered the most.

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Voila!

I also painted the back wall with chalkboard paint for a different look to pull in the black of our dining set.

Stay tuned for more of my home improvements as the journey of being a new homeowner continues…


6 Ways How To Host A Party In Style

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dress: Parker New York for Barney’s // tights: American Apparel // booties: Seychelles (similar online) // belt: c/o Nona E. Rose // necklaces: etc… and c/o Gorjana Griffin

This past weekend, a friend told me that I’m going to be “The next Martha Stewart…but with an edge.” I’ll take that, especially as I love to host a good gathering like Martha.

The hubby and I hosted a post-holiday party for a few close friends that has become a tradition, as the holiday season can be a tricky time to make plans with friends. We celebrate everything from Christmas to Chanukah and even the Chinese New Year with a menu that reflects all of that, but centered around our favorite traditional Chanukah fare, Latkes.

Just when the holidays may have gotten the best of you, there are more celebrations to be had. Whether you’re hosting a New Years Eve soiree, a birthday celebration, or even a post-holiday party, you too can be a Martha with my go-to tricks for being the “hostess with the mostest.”

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1. Create a menu and post it somewhere for your guests.

It’s helpful for your guests to clearly write out all of the menu items somewhere, so they can leave room for items coming out as they are ready. Additionally, you can use it as your own checklist. You can also leave out labels for each item on the table as well, in case you have any guests with allergies or dietary restrictions.

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2. Create a signature cocktail or two and make sure there are non-alcoholic refreshments available too.

Your guests will appreciate that they aren’t standing at the bar area dumbfounded on what to make.

Some sort of punch or sangria is perfect for guests because you can make quite a bit of it ahead of time. Make sure if your recipe calls for club soda, to add it right before guests arrive so it doesn’t go flat. I tend to make these cocktails slightly weaker, so party-goers don’t feel so guilty when they tend to drink it like juice.

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If you decide to make a signature drink that cannot be made beforehand, then leave out instructions for your guests, so in case you’re busy greeting someone, they can handle it themselves.

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3. Set up all of the dishes and plates for your hors d’oeuvres and bites prior to serving

It’s helpful to lay everything out prior, so you’re not scrambling while guests arrive. We even try to make as much as possible the night before so we can reserve last minute touches for the day of.

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4. Get a head count of your guests and make enough food for a third more.

While you may have politely asked for RSVP’s on your invite, there will always be those that bring a friend without mentioning it or those that come pretty hungry. It’s always best to prepare more and have leftovers for yourself and guests to go home with. Nothing makes people want to leave a party more than one that has run out of food and drinks.

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5. Create an activity for your guests.

Whether it’s a parlor game like the ever popular Cards Against Humanity, or another group activity, it’s great to have an ice breaker or something that guests can participate in. I leave out some games like Jenga or Apples To Apples for people to play with just in case the party starts to get quiet.

It’s become a tradition for this post-holiday party to do a “bad gift exchange,” where friends can bring a gift they received over the holidays that they weren’t a fan of (like the moldy farmer’s market turnip my mother-in-law gave us…just kidding) and trade it in for someone else’s wrapped gift under the tree before they leave. The subjectively “bad” gifts this year included a kitten calendar, a heart shaped candle, a tinsel scarf, texting gloves, and the one I received and am actually excited about, paper and binder clips. It made for some great laughs and actually made guests leaving early much less awkward for them.

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6. Make an easy and unique appetizer that your guests will demand at every party

The most memorable parties are the ones with the food that you continue to talk about. My agent once made this cream cheese wasabi spread at a party and I begged her for the recipe because it was such a hit. Turns out it was ridiculously simple to assemble and now my friends are demanding it for all of my gatherings and even to bring to their own.

Here’s how to make the Cream Cheese Wasabi Spread Served With Rice Crackers.

ingredients:

1 block of regular cream cheese (low fat is difficult to work with!)
wasabi paste
soy sauce
sesame seeds
rice crackers for serving

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Cut the cream cheese in half lengthwise.

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Spread on a thin layer of wasabi paste.

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Drizzle with soy sauce.

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Place the other half on top and repeat the last two steps. Then sprinkle a layer of sesame seeds on top. Serve with a spreading knife and pair it with rice crackers.

Of course the best way to host a party in style is by making sure everyone is having a good time, introducing friends to each other and making sure that even you are enjoying yourself.

Have a happy, healthy and *stylish* New Years. See you in 2014!


A Closet Fit For A Stylist

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“You need a wall of shoes.”

That was the first thing my friend Jason, the owner the NYC bar, The Wayland, when he saw the sad looking closet area in our new Brooklyn apartment. Jason designed his award-winning bar (DailyCandy even declared it the best bar in the country for 2013) from reclaimed materials, such as flooring from a school gym that was torn down a few blocks away and even a wine casket that creates the perfect sculptural rest for bar snacks. When he said he would help design my closet, I was all ears.

I knew that the reach-in closet in our garden-level bedroom wouldn’t be enough room for this stylist’s wardrobe, so I originally had a popular closet company come in to design and estimate for a walk-in closet to be created around this space. When I found out that they wanted to charge me $1500 to put up shelves and that didn’t even include the wall, door, moving the lights, etc., I gave those blueprints to Jason and we came up with a game plan—and of course, scrapped all of their plans. Here’s what we came up with:

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This is the same wall as the pre-existing reach-in closet, but we decided to raise the bar (literally and figuratively) and include a second bar for my pants to get more out of the space.

Jason came up with the idea of partitioning the left-hand side for my longer items like dresses and gowns.

To the right you can see there’s shelving we created for my sweaters, hats and even a cubbie for my sunglasses.

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The plan is to share this closet with the hubby, but of course it was devised more with my needs in mind (oops), as he tends to shove his daily wardrobe into drawers and shelves. We created a long bar for his nicer clothing to hang and one big shelf for him to throw his pants on at the end of the day, which is right above this nook that we customized for our hamper unit to tuck into. Brilliant, right?

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It wouldn’t be a stylist’s closet without a wall for shoes. Jason told his contractor to create different sizes based on my shoe heights and they actually measured my shoes to fit! What they didn’t account for where the ridiculous amount of handbags I own, so I had them stop adding shelves to fit them.

Somehow the hubby’s wardrobe is going to fit in here (to the left), but no one will be looking at that when there’s a wall of shoes!

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