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Rebecca Ray's Kentucky Derby Trip

Posted on May 06, 2014 by Rebecca | 1 comment

This weekend, Derek, Monica and I were treated to the most wonderful Southern hospitality as we attended the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks. I thought the thrill of the year would be designing and having our Rebecca Ray Designs Bags as an Officially Licensed Bag of Derby 140, but getting to go and see the behind the scenes of the Derby was the thrill of a lifetime!! I'm still in a bit of "recovery mode", but I am so excited to share the trip with you!!

       

We started our weekend on Thursday night, when we arrived at the hotel with hundreds of other guests from all over the country - getting all of the hats in safely was quite a chore.  As you can imagine, shopping for the outfits for this weekend of activities is enough to complex anyone!

 

On Friday morning, we headed off to the track for a day of racing featuring The Oaks, a race for the top fillies that is dedicated to breast cancer research and funding.  As the sun was shining, Churchill Downs was bedecked in the most marvelous pink banners and flags. Everyone was wearing pink - it was a beautiful sea of gorgeous dresses and hats decked out in flowers and draping.  

We stood on the edge of that legendary paddock watching our friend Jill Byrne, who is Director of Programming and official handicapper of Churchill Downs, tell over a hundred thousand people about her best picks for the day.  Later that weekend, Jill was gracious enough to wear her Rebecca Ray Designs Bit Cuff that coordinated beautifully with her Derby Red dress and gorgeous hat. 

We finished the night by sitting up in the very posh Turf Room sipping Lilly drinks (a fabulous concoction that involves vodka and cranberry juice) from our commemorative glasses. 

By Saturday morning, Derby Day, I had gotten the hat wearing trick down, and we were ready to go again.  This time we were sitting in marvelous seats on the ground level of the track, a few boxes back and one furlong off of the finish wire.  

All of our lives Derek and I had horses yet neither of us had ever bet on a horse! We received a quick lesson in the lingo and learned how to place a bet- Derek seemed to pick this up very quickly!

During the afternoon, we were treated to a special tour of the Churchill Downs, which included a trip to the inside of the paddock to watch a race prepare while they saddled, bridled and said those famous words, "Riders Up!"  

 

While on the tour we also saw all of the different levels of the building and the various clubs, including the Turf Club and the President's Room, where we viewed the Derby Trophies and all of the those famous sterling Mint Julep cups up close!!

       

 

Can't wait for next year's Derby!

 

Rebecca

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Following Your Heart in Designing: When the Angels Sing

Posted on April 04, 2014 by Rebecca | 2 comments

 

I have a very good friend who fascinates us every year with the story of his annual holiday trudge out into the fields looking for the perfect Christmas tree.  Here's the catch.  When he looks at it, the skies part and the Angels have to sing.  Then he knows it's the right tree.  Given his inclination to go to at least  6 tree lots and 3 barren, snow drifted fields a year before selecting this tree (much to the dismay of his wife and child) it is apparent that the Angels don't sing all that often.  We tease him mercilessly, but, I have to admit, yesterday I had an Angels moment. It got me to thinking about how we must follow our (or the Angels) intuition in design or we risk mediocrity. 

 

As you know, Derek, Lizzie and I have been restoring the century old farm that we recently bought, Hemlock Lane at Valley High.  While it would have been nice to tackle the interior of the house first, we have a responsibility to all of our furry, four footed friends, small and large, to have them in proper accommodations.  And, truthfully, it makes taking care of them so much easier!!  While this winter was not exactly the perfect weather to build a 3,500 square foot barn, we persevered (a lot like the pioneers) through -30 degree days, frozen foundations heaving and raging blizzards.  Fortunately we are over the hump, and the barn and kennels are coming along.  We should have everyone tucked in within the month.  

 

Yesterday, Builder Bob, who, in his great defense has lived through over ten years of home and barn renovations with me, showed up with a paver in his hand.  Bob was a little grumpy when he said to me, "If you don't pick the product we are using to pave the center aisle of the barn in the next hour (and have it delivered, today, I might add), I am selecting the surface."  Well, there's nothing that I love more than a design challenge, especially under pressure.  And, while Builder Bob's paver was all right - that is all it was, average and all right.  So, I jumped in the car and went over to a little landscaper place where I have had good luck before with surface stones.  And they had lots of very interesting things to use on the center aisle that all would have done the trick.  But throughout this project,  Derek and I have been managing a carefully balanced wire act of what can we do and what materials can we use that are beautiful, innovative, different and, above all, don't break the bank.  I had $4.00 a square foot to play with and now, a half hour to find it.  

 

As he was leading me through the stone yard pointing to this and that, the foreman casually said, "Well - there is one other thing - you could always have that..."  pointing to a rubble pile of the most gorgeous used brick pavers.  As I turned and looked at them, the cloudy skies parted and the angels sang.  I suddenly knew what our friend had been trying to tell me all along about those trees.  I gulped and played it cool when I asked, "Where are those coming from?" "Indiana brick roads" he casually answered. "They are reclaimed."  Could this deal get any better?  They are environmentally friendly. They were in my price range.  And, he could deliver them the same day.  Builder Bob was never going to believe this one- he thought he had finally gotten me.  But, a triumph was about to happen!

 

I raced home, and Builder Bob and Derek met me at the back of the car.  I raised the trunk and there was one of my precious bricks.  I knew I had Derek at the words "reclaimed road brick" but Builder Bob was another story. "Bricks?!" he said.  Are they on pallets, are they clean?  "They are gong to be much harder to work with..."  He gave me the long, not blinking stare, during which I was supposed to see the light and agree to something more reasonable.  But I didn't.  I just told him the angels sang.  Lucky for me, Builder Bob is such a softy.  I had half an aisle paved in reclaimed road bricks by 6 pm last evening.  And, if I do say so myself, the angels are still singing everytime I look at it.  Those are some lucky Percheron girls!!

 

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Traditional Home Magazine, Color and Rebecca Ray Designs

Posted on March 24, 2014 by Rebecca | 1 comment

Traditional Home Magazine and Rebecca Ray Designs have a lot in common in April's issue of the magazine!!  On page 34 of The Color issue, the editors of this venerable arbitrator of timeless home design feature pops of Rebecca Ray color with the Maryann Duffel in yellow, the Camryn Bag in navy and two of our brightest colored moc-croc Bit Cuffs, orange and cobalt.  We are so delighted to be included in the pages of Traditional Home; it is a lovely benchmark moment for us. 

 

Certainly, our faithful followers know that color plays a tremendous role in everything that we do here at Rebecca Ray Designs.  I've certainly never been one to shy away from color, which breathes life, depth and excitement into everything we create.  Our signature Maryann Tote in Orange is known as one of our most popular pieces. We continue to push the unusual and vibrant color barriers of fashion every day.  In fact, years ago, I singlehandedly got myself placed on my painter's watch list (and this isn't a positive!) by requesting that we paint the living room in the most delicious shade of dark navy blue with bright white trim and blue and white Delft tiles around the fireplace. It was much like the rooms featured on page 70 -71 in April's Traditional Home issue! In our last home, our dining room wall paper had tasteful sprays of marvelous florals underpinned with robin's egg blue in a very federal pattern. The family room had a Revolutionary War mustard, taken from historical Mount Vernon style colors. At the new farm, Hemlock Lane of Valley High, I've saturated the old, original kitchen cabinetry with a deep blue. I find that these colors provide the perfect backdrop for my collections while giving great dimension and warmth to our rooms.

 

 

 

Be sure to pick up a copy of the April 2014 issue of Traditional Home! Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Pinterest so that we can all continue to share in their marvelous use of color.

 

Rebecca

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Making a House a Home through Vintage Collections

Posted on March 17, 2014 by Rebecca | 0 comments

Many people ask me how to achieve a magazine look on a realistic budget in their homes. My answer is always the same: buy vintage and moderate antiques, and break all of the decorating rules you know!!  I am a firm believer that your home should be a reflection of who you and your family are and share what is important to you.  In our home, I tend to collect animal and sporting art.  I also cherish things that have been handed down from our families.  I know it isn't fun to polish silver and it takes an extra effort to set a table, but I think of that activity as an artistic endeavor that is an expression of whatever I'm feeling that day. Everything that you see in the picture of our dining room above is vintage, antique, hand-me-down or handmade.  The only thing I didn't make are these particular holiday crackers - although my daughter Lizzie and I have been known to make those as well!!  A home evolves as a collection evolves, one piece at a time.  As tempting as it is to buy everything at once from one catalog, that will not be a reflection of you and your family over time. The hunt is half the fun and provides you with the special memories when you look at your collections. Here are the rules I love to break when setting a table:

1. When you set a table - nothing has to match.  You may use different crystal, plates, flatware, candlesticks. I typically use 4-5 sets of things when I set a table and I never do it twice the same way. Pull out your grandmother's dishes; they are your heritage- just think of the stories they could tell!!

2. Flowers need not be elaborate.  In this tablescape, I picked fresh greens and added a small package of Trader Joe's roses. Use holiday picks or sparkles amongst your greens. For Easter, pick interesting branches from your yard, spray paint, and hang wonderful trinkets or eggs on them. You can use some floral oasis and put them in a wonderfully colored Easter basket.   

3. Use non-traditional items on your table.  Do you have a bunny collection somewhere? Tie bows around their necks and center them on your table amongst Easter grass and foil wrapped chocolate eggs. You could also put these trinkets in a small coffee cup for a little arrangement on the center of each person's plate.

4. Break the table linen tradition. I adore all of my vintage linens, yet I find that a burlap table runner or paper placemats makes things more casual when you're using Grandma's china. Wrap up napkins with twine and a piece of budding Forsythia. Add some kraft paper with an initial of the seat recipient on it. Or use vintage quilts on a table for Spring and Summer colors.

 

What are some of your favorite, no fail decorating tips that are outside the box? Be sure to visit our new Curated Vintage Finds Collection at RebeccaRayDesign.com/collections/curated.  I've been collecting one of a kind antiques for  the last few months so that you can get started on your on own collection and create special memories every time you walk through your home!!

 

 

 

 

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Go To Westminster Kennel Club with Rebecca: A Sneak Peek

Posted on February 21, 2014 by Rebecca | 1 comment

Once again, this year, I had the opportunity to steward at Westminster Kennel Club, along with my Mom, Ann Yuhasz.  Everyone always asks me, "What makes Westminster such a special dog show?" My response is that Westminster is the culmination of year's worth the efforts in the dog show world and we get to see the best of the best.  Having been in the dog show world my entire life, it is our opportunity to share with the world all of our blood, sweat and tears raising top show dogs and, most importantly, our canine companions.  Westminster is one of the oldest, most recognizable sporting events in this country and it is steeped in tradition.  Our friends from all over the world converge in New York City where we spend a week celebrating our sport. As they like to say: "Westminster: There is Only One!  It is our Olympics!! Enjoy my photo journal.

Surely one of the youngest handlers in the Springer Spaniel ring, where I was stewarding.  Couldn't resist the picture!!

Surely one of the youngest handlers in the Springer Spaniel ring, where I was stewarding. Couldn't resist the picture!!

 

The standard poodle ring was full of gorgeously turned out poodles!

 

A quick snap of the Beagle Ring, right before the beginning of the breed judging.

 

Sensation the English Pointer, the logo of Westminster Kennel Club

 

My mom, Ann Yuhasz,and I while we were stewarding in Ring 8.

 

The Empire State Building lights up the sky in the Westminster Kennel Club's colors of Purple and Gold.

 

A ring full of gorgeous Irish Setters

 

The ring at Madison Square Gardens awaits the evening's festivities.

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