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On My Bookshelf: Beauty at Home

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In "Beauty at Home," Aerin Lauder, granddaughter of Estee, opens the doors to her New York home. Aside from sharing the beautiful photos of her decor and style, she also shares memories of her famous grandmother, her early life, and her travels -- which all together make this book both a visual delight and a look into her life. It's very interesting to see the elegant legacy of her grandmother blended with her own modern tastes and personality -- check out the pictures below for some of my favorite snapshots of the title.

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Napkin-Folding Techniques for Thanksgiving

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An elegantly folded napkin makes such an impression on Thanksgiving dinner guests, and requires little time or skill on the host's part. Since there is a little bit of time before the holiday, you'll be able to practice these techniques for napkin folding and decide which one goes best with your table settings ahead of time.

In lieu of a traditional napkin fold, why not try something a bit more inventive and artful? Even the simplest folding techniques can transform your guest's place setting -- this modern fold is one of my favorites, along with the rest below.

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Modern Napkin Fold

Lotus Napkin Fold

Rose Napkin Fold For Rolls

Basic Napkin Fold For Silverware

Open Book Napkin Fold

Four Feathers Napkin Fold

Envelope Napkin Fold

 

Setting Your Thanksgiving Table

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After yesterday's archive post on chic boxes for Thanksgiving leftovers, I thought I'd continue the theme of Thanksgiving inspiration for this week -- here, some valuable advice on setting your table and making the best impression on your Thanksgiving guests:

The  tabletop is one of the first things I notice when I sit down at a restaurant or dining-room table. To me, every detail on your tabletop is an opportunity to showcase your personal style, set the mood for the meal, and make guests feel warm and welcome. Think of it as decorating a space for a few hours.

Here are some of my tips to help you set your Thanksgiving table:

How to Set a Formal Dinner Table

Setting The Table 101

From the plates, silverware, and glassware to table linens and floral arrangements -- every detail matters!

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Here is the proper place setting that you will arrange on your dining room table for a formal dinner like Thanksgiving.

1 Here is the proper place setting that you will arrange on your dining room table for a formal dinner like Thanksgiving.

Purely for decoration, a charger is a plate meant to serve as a placeholder until the main course is served on the dinner plate (which gets switched in for the charger). For a less formal option, put out the dinner plate. Use the bottom of the plate or charger as a guide for lining up the flate-ware.

2 Purely for decoration, a charger is a plate meant to serve as a placeholder until the main course is served on the dinner plate (which gets switched in for the charger). For a less formal option, put out the dinner plate. Use the bottom of the plate or charger as a guide for lining up the flate-ware.

On the left is the bread plate and butter knife. At the top is the saltcellar, which can be set anywhere above the dessert utensils. And on the right is the dessert spoon and fork (the spoon is set above the fork in the opposite direction of the fork).

3 On the left is the bread plate and butter knife. At the top is the saltcellar, which can be set anywhere above the dessert utensils. And on the right is the dessert spoon and fork (the spoon is set above the fork in the opposite direction of the fork).

From left to right: salad fork, fish fork, dinner fork.

4 From left to right: salad fork, fish fork, dinner fork.

From left to right: dinner knife, fish knife, soup spoon.

5 From left to right: dinner knife, fish knife, soup spoon.

Clockwise from the top: Red wine glass, white wine glass, and water glass.

6 Clockwise from the top: Red wine glass, white wine glass, and water glass.

From left to right: White wine, dessert wine, champagne, brandy, red wine, and water glasses.

7 From left to right: White wine, dessert wine, champagne, brandy, red wine, and water glasses.

Here is a detailed look at how your table's dessert plate setting should look like.

8 Here is a detailed look at how your table's dessert plate setting should look like.

Here is the proper setting of what you will see if your guests are still eating.

9 Here is the proper setting of what you will see if your guests are still eating.

And here is the proper setting you will see if your guests have finished their meal.

10 And here is the proper setting you will see if your guests have finished their meal.

The following pieces of china are what you will need for a formal place setting: dinner plate, salad plate, cup, saucer, bread-and-butter place, charger, dessert plate, and soup bowl.

11 The following pieces of china are what you will need for a formal place setting: dinner plate, salad plate, cup, saucer, bread-and-butter place, charger, dessert plate, and soup bowl.

For a formal table setting, you will need the following pieces of silverware: salad fork, dinner fork, dinner knife, soupspoon, teaspoon, butter knife, fish fork, fish knife, and dessert fork.

12 For a formal table setting, you will need the following pieces of silverware: salad fork, dinner fork, dinner knife, soupspoon, teaspoon, butter knife, fish fork, fish knife, and dessert fork.

Creating a mix-and-match table from your collections of china, glassware, and silverware is appropriate on many occasions -- and has the benefit of providing you with a unique table setting for each event.

13 Creating a mix-and-match table from your collections of china, glassware, and silverware is appropriate on many occasions -- and has the benefit of providing you with a unique table setting for each event.