Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Gentleman Entertains

A Gentleman Entertains

    When thinking of the upcoming holidays it's hard for me not to think of some of the awful dinner parties that bachelors will be throwing this year!   Turn off the sports boys and show some class.  It's not hard to be stylish if you have an advisor and most women dig the opportunity to meet real gentleman who know the art of gentlemanly etiquette.  It's a lost art on most.  However, there is help out there for the etiquette impaired.  In today's holiday entertaining article we are focusing on how real men entertain.

It's really not rocket science guys.  It just takes a little bit of thought and effort. Most of you already cook and also have you're own drink of choice.  Now you just need to set the table correctly in order to impress your friends and show them what you are really made of.

Martini Glasses by Artel Glass. Chartreuse Faceted Vase
by Artel Glass, Re-used chocolate Christmas Tree boxes, and
Table Cloth by Raulph Lauren. Tabletop design by j. thomas cahill

For this piece I've decorated the table quite simply with just enough decoration to make the atmosphere festive.  Martinis are the drink of choice at this table and each guest will be drinking out of a unique Martini Glass by Artel Glass

Paul Smith Handkerchief and Thomas Pink Bulldog Cufflinks as Party Favors
Every place setting has been carefully tailored to meet the interest of each and every guest including bespoke party favors.  For those with less etiquette and a need for upgrading themselves into a more mature adult I've offered ties and a gentleman's etiquette book by Brooks Brothers , as well as, a single tie to add or begin their collection of the mature man's essential wardrobe piece.  At place settings where more refined gentleman will be sitting, I've chosen cufflinks and handkerchiefs from different menswear designers such as Thomas Pink, Paul Smith, and Kenzo.       

In many ways, one just has to put a bit of thought into the type of atmosphere they want to create.  I have many ideas on Gentleman Entertaining ideas and can be a great resource for choosing and procuring party favors with class on most budgets.   Take a look for yourself at the photos in this article to gain more ideas and insight on how to create the perfect table for your holiday soiree!  

j.thomas cahill is available to help you with any of your holiday party or decorating ideas throughout the year and can be contacted at


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Holiday Wreaths and Why Good Decorator's use them!

Original Holiday Wreaths by Sara V.  Large: $37.50 Small: $27.50

Holiday Wreaths make great decoration accessories or central features in a home.  They are a holiday decoration staple item in a decorator's closet as they are able to allow the eye to move to and from other items placed in and around the home over the Season!
 It is very important to highlight areas in the home with wreaths as they are not only welcoming, but beautiful!  Wreaths date back to the Etruscan Era.  Originally, wreaths were made at all different times of the year for different types of cultural, religious, and family events such as weddings, victories, public announcement of a celebration, or to just let people in community know that something special was happening "here," where the wreath was placed.

These beautiful holiday wreaths are handcrafted by Sara and are available by custom order and as seen. Each wreath is meticulously constructed by hand by rolling pages of books into cones to create the wreath itself and then highlighted with different types of Holiday Adornments to bring in color, dazzle, and sparkle!

Custom order wreaths are available in; Silver Gold, Red, Green, Pink, Blue, Purple, Orange, and White.  Matte, Metallic, and Sparkle Finishes are also available on these adornments, as well as, detailed items such as silver and gold beads, natural elements including berries and pine cones.

Handcrafted Wreaths by Sara V. are available in small and large at:

Small Wreath:  $27.50
Large Wreath:  $37.50

Email us today to find out more information or place an order at

Large Handcrafted Wreath:  $37.50

Small Handcrafted Wreath $27.50

Monday, November 25, 2013

I'm Dreaming of a Pink Christmas!

In the world of tabletop design, it's always good to experiment and find new ways of showcasing both old and new decor from the home and one's own Holiday Decoration Collection, after all, these collections are filled with memories of past Holiday's and the Good Times we've had with family and friends at this festive time of year!

I'm Dreaming of a Pink Christmas!

One of my three favorite colors is pink. When used correctly it invokes a feeling of confidence, control, and at the same time, a calming emotion.

Here I've taken a large, very pink vase, sprigs of glitter, bobble sprigs, christmas birds in chartreuse, pink, and royal turquoise creating a "floral" arrangement that will last the season through all the way until Christmas Dinner is served.  I used green boughs of an artificial christmas tree and created synergies throughout with complimentary color usage,  natural, and unnatural objects to create a Seasonal Centerpiece that sparks the idea that Magic is in the Air!

Glass Vase by F+F Home, Glassware by Artel Glass, Harlequin Ornaments by Almi Decor. Design by j. thomas cahill
A token Christmas Bird Ornament adorns each individual place setting.

A Pheasant rests near a pine cone and a Peacock Feather.

The table is set. Now let's ENTERTAIN!!!!!

If you are looking for ideas for your upcoming Christmas or Holiday Party we're here to help you! We can work on any budget and are happy to consult with you every step of the way to make sure your entertaining is full stop, the best in it's class!

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you over the Holidays! 
Kindest Greetings!
j.and s.designs

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tabletop Design for Entertaining in Style?

A Bird Lover's Christmas Table Design.  (Shown Above:  Glacier White Porcelain Vase by Villeroy and Boch, Weave Tumbler and Highball Glasses by Artel, Kubistik Candle Holders by Artel, Heirloom Silver, Party Favors by Louis Vuitton, Hermes, and Balenciaga)  Tabletop Design by jthomascahill
The difference between good tabletop design and bad tabletop design is all within the story you are trying to tell.  The "story" is the mood and ambience that you would like to bring into your home for a specific evening of entertaining family or friends.  This of course, is done in many ways, bringing the design of the room into play with the type of music that is chosen for the event, providing the right type of cocktails to be served in relation to the design, as well as, having fun with Entertaining at Home!

A Bird Lover's Dream Table.
Many people believe that they can't afford to be creative with their specific party designs and that they have to use the same old things year in and year out.  Well, I'm here to tell you folks....nothing in this blog was purchased for any of the specific table designs that appear.  Everything has been reworked to become magical in it's own right and restore the old as new!  The idea that one has to spend a fortune to be FABULOUS is just not the case.  Perhaps, they just need a bit of help with what they already have or maybe they just need to put a budget together to spice up what they already do have to decorate the home or table.  Hence, this is why we're here,  we can provide you with consultation for your entertaining needs to help you make your events into seriously well thought out theme parties which fit into any budget.   Throughout this Season of Light we encourage you to be creative and will be bringing you ideas for the home and events within the home.  We will also be showcasing hand made items that are for sale and easily delivered to your home for convenience.

Today is a day of tabletop design example.  We will show photos of our latest design and give you tips and ideas of how you can bring these ideas into light in your own home.  We can also provide consultancy, purchasing, and implementation of any idea that you may have already and give you ideas on enhancing these ideas.

The tabletop design featured today was inspired by the designer's love for birds and antique crystal.  Using elements already existing in the home such as the silverware, vase, and, glassware, as well as, the
Height within a Tabletop design is very important! 
teardrop pink antique chandelier adornments I took the chance to break out a bit here by taking a quick walk to the park choosing very large cut branches and making this lovely ensemble with a Collection of Christmas Birds!  At my table I always want people to be inspired by the atmosphere and shear amazingness of the centerpiece.  People always smile when they walk into the dining room as they know they are not going to only enjoy a scrumptious meal, but they are going to be presented with beauty and personality all at the same time.

The beauty behind the expression shown here is that it relates to the personality of the entertainer, it shows off what I personally love....colored glassware, birds, antiques, as well as unbelievably nice party favors and boxes to boot!

If you are looking for ideas for your upcoming Christmas or Holiday Party we're here to help you! We can work on any budget and are happy to consult with you every step of the way to make sure your entertaining is full stop, the best in it's class!

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you over the Holidays. 
Kindest Greetings!
j.and s.designs

Find out more how we can help you this Holiday Season by subscribing to this blog or checking back daily for updates on goods and services!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Feeling Festive forThe Season? We're here to help you at home with your Holiday Decorative Planning and Implementation for Dinners and Parties!

(Teal Feather Wreath with Bejeweled Pheasants, Antique Snake Broache with emerald eyes)

Feeling Festive for The Season? 
The onset of the flurry one gets as the Holidays begin to approach can be exciting as well as daunting….planning different gatherings at your home, including menus, decorative themes, party favors, and tabletop design, can become overwhelming to say the least.  In partnership creating visual arrangements and craft items for over 20 years and having been close friends since middle school, It is with great pleasure that We invite you to the holiday world of Jason and Sara. We've decided to put together a line of handcrafted decorative Holiday accessories, whilst using our eye for design to create the perfect arrangements, tabletop centerpieces, themed dinner parties, or complete interior Holiday Decorating of your home.
We consult our clients to find out their list of needs, budgets, and enhance their own ideas following by the implementation of these ideas in a turn-key and rapid manner. For more information about our services and individual prices of items not listed in our blog, please email

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you over the Holidays. 
Kindest Greetings!

Find out more how we can help you this Holiday Season by subscribing to this blog or checking back daily for updates on goods and services!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Dreamy Chocolate Dipped Cream Filled Cupcakes

Dreamy Chocolate Dipped Cream Filled Cupcakes

IF YOU'D ASKED ME TWO YEARS AGO IF I'D EVER THOUGHT I'D BE WRITING ABOUT CUPCAKES, baking, or cooking for that matter, I'd most likely have told you that you were plain BAT SHIT CRAZY.  However, since I've had more time to do the things in life that actually make me happy these past few years I've discovered that baking is one of my favorite ways to relax.  It allows me to focus on one project from start to finish in a reasonable amount of time and provides a tasty outcome for myself, friends, and family. So...its a win-win really.  

So, for about the past year and a half I've been baking and baking and baking and thinking, wow, all of this is kind of interesting and perhaps it could be another outlet of mine.  Therefore, I've decided to blog about cooking and baking on a weekly basis here on this blog that started out as just a shopping blog.  Well its taking a turn after a long hiatus and is now becoming Shop in the Know...a lifestyle blog.  This way I can write about anything I want and focus on a few main subjects such as baking, cooking, shopping, interior design, as well as fitness and other topics that just pop in my mind from time to time.  I should preface this with the fact that it will be all encompassing of the strange and quirky but sophisticated world that is mine.

THIS WEEK'S BLOG IS REALLY ABOUT THE CUPCAKES I MADE THIS PAST WEEKEND...and OH MY GOODNESS they were excellent!  I get my recipes from everywhere, but this one specifically came out of The Cupcake Bible and was given to me by a very dear friend, Ms. Jenni Sidden for Christmas this past year.  Had to get that shout out there!  Now my cupcakes look a bit different from the one's they did in the book, but I wanted them to be bold and also extraordinarily I          did add in my own little touches here and there!  I do think with every recipe one should take license to experiment and see where it takes you!  Remember NO FEAR. Just do it, like with anything else in life.        

THE RECIPE. Courtesy of the Cupcake Bible

1 package (about 18 ounces) dark chocolate cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare mix
1/2 Cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/3 cups whipping cream, divided
1 teaspoon of salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 24 standard (2 1/2-inch) muffin cups with paper baking cups.  Prepare car mix according to package directions.  Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups filling two-thirds full.

2.  Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean.  Cool in pans 10 minutes.   Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

3.  Beat butter and shortening in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until well blended.  Add powdered sugar, 1/3 cup cream and salt; beat on low speed 1 minute.  Beat on medium-high speed 2 minutes or until fluffy.  Place filling in pastry bag fitted with large round tip.  Stick tip into top of each cupcake and squeeze in a small amount of filling.  Set remaining filling aside.

4.  Place chocolate chips in medium heatproof bowl.  Bring remaining 1 cup cream to a simmer in small saucepan over medium heat.  Pour cream over chocolate chips; let stand 1 minute.  Whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

5.  Place wire rack over waxed paper.  Dip tops of each cupcake into chocolate mixture; place on wire rack.  Dip a second time, if desired. Let stand until set.  Pipe swirl design on top of chocolate using remaining filling.

I made my own chocolate cake batter and also filled the cups higher than suggested. I also made the chocolate icing rich in flavor by using dark chocolate bars instead of chocolate chips.  I stacked the icing and then used the left over filling to make little toppers for each as seen in photos!

ALL CUPCAKES can be ordered through for any type of party or event!


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Essential Fall 2010 Wardrobe Items in Shop in the Know's closet!

Jacket and Scarf by Ralph Lauren.

Pullover by Fred Perry. Shirt by Ralph Laruen Custom Shop.

Quilted Jacket by Ralph Lauren in Green.

Quilted jacket by Ralph Lauren in Blue.

Brown Leather Earth Soled Loafers by Gucci.