Going The Extra MileAuthor:Lindsey Shook
From our Spring Issue!
Hiking Machu Picchu, winning an Olympic gold medal or hosting your own fabulous dinner party are all equally intimidating endeavors. But thanks to Sarah Sherman Samuel, a Los Angeles based blogger, art director, home goods designer and consummate hostess, at least entertaining at home has never been easier.
With Spring soirees about to kick-off, Sherman Samuel invited us into her home, sharing a glimpse at one of her enviably curated evenings during which she played hostess to an intimate dinner in Venice with the help of cook and author, Anna Watson Carl. Venice also happens to be home to Sherman Samuel’s design studio where she writes her popular lifestyle blog, Stories.
“This was the first party collaboration with Anna and the first time we met!” Sherman Samuel says. “A mutual friend/blogger recommended Anna for the California leg of her cookbook tour (The Yellow Table) and I am so glad she did.”
Touted for her creative approach to everything she touches, Sherman Samuel didn’t immediately gravitate towards the realm of design. “I grew up around it, without even knowing what it was,” she says. “My dad is a computer network engineer by trade and an extremely talented woodworker; my mom was also always creating something: moving around furniture, doing ceramics, painting, etc. I think those two brains combined to create a designer’s mind.”
Sherman Samuel didn’t fully entertain the idea of design as a career until college, when she switched from being a painting major to getting her BFA in graphic design. Eventually, her ascension up the corporate ladder led to the inspiration for her own home goods line. “I was working as a creative director at a company where we created a line of fashion paper goods for Target,” she says, “which was when I fell in love with product. After five years there I hit the ceiling, creatively, and started my blog which quickly grew the site into something I hadn’t anticipated. The blog is what gave me the confidence to go out on my own, design for myself, and create products that reflect my own personal aesthetic.”
That personal aesthetic is one that merges her California cool with her equally chic everyday living, marrying a relaxed, beachy vibe with elements Sherman Samuel picks up from her travels. “I’m constantly inspired by nature and traveling, and the patterns and textures found while out and about,” says Sherman Samuel, but she also credits being influenced by her contemporaries. “I have found so much inspiration from Kelly Wearstler and her maximalist aesthetic, even though my own personal style is more minimal.”
She not only makes everything she has a hand in seem effortless, she also transforms the daunting task of throwing a dinner party into something more palpable. “I think people often have a preconceived notion that hosting dinners are too much work,” she says, “but in actuality, if you keep it simple and relaxed it can be a really pleasant experience all around.”
Sarah Sherman Samuel’s Tips For Hosting:
SET THE TABLE EARLY: I like to set the table early in the day, and even do some prep the day before so things gradually come together instead of one mad dash to get it all perfect. Plus, perfect is boring, just a few personal touches really make a table.
ENLIST HELP: Delegating is another great way to lighten the hosting load. If you want to go all out on décor, opt to get the meal catered. If you need just a little help, simply hire out a bartender for a couple of hours during the party to help serve and clean up as the dinner goes on. This way you have ample time to enjoy time with your guests.
SERVE A SIGNATURE SPIRIT: My all-time favorite cocktail to serve (especially for Spring/Summer) is Gin, muddled ginger, St. Germain, a splash of lime juice and a sprig of mint.
BRING THE VIBE: To continue with the stress-free hosting, I like to just put on iTunes radio on the “Singer/Songwriter” channel and let them be the DJ.
Favorite Party Sherman Samuel Has Hosted:
“I’d have to say the picnic party I threw to celebrate the launch of my home goods line is definitely one that stands out. Some of my closest friends, fellow small business owners and all-around favorite people gathered with loads of blankets and picnic fare in a local park. We spread out and stayed long after the sunset serving rosé,” says Sherman Samuel.
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