Tips For {Traditional} Fabulous Living

12 November 2009
My name is Lisa Anderson and I believe that perfection is a full contact sport! Although initially frightened by being asked to be a guest writer for the fabulous Michelle, I now realize that I may have to fill in again due to the fact that my list of topics, albeit mundane, is long. I can talk the paint of the wall so this should be a cinch right? I am dodging controversy and going with a lifestyle topic by the way. I hope I don’t bore you too badly, if this goes well I will shake it up a little next time. This would be much better if we were talking about it over a class of wine but since we can’t, I will do the next best thing and drink a glass (or 2) while writing.


Although I think of myself as au courant maybe even trendy or cutting edge at times with my ideas, I am at heart a very traditional girl. When all else fails I go with the tried and true in every respect. Home, fashion, entertaining, food, response and etiquette.


My self-observation has been that as people compliment me on my domestic or life style skills, that the things I do are just deeply traditional. Old school, preppy at times or even upper crust could describe the flow. I have become what I as a child admired, “that woman” or at least I hope so. I am prepared at the drop of a hat and seem to do it effortlessly, so I have been told... I have to tell you that sometimes making this life look so easy, ain’t so easy!

Let me give you an example, at no time is this “pulled together” skill more evident then when we go to our lake house on a semi-secluded island. The very small market closes at this time of year by 5pm, taking food and supplies along from the city can be a challenge. A car full of people and animals doesn’t leave room for much else. These obstacles however, do not prevent the endless flow of company from dropping in. In minutes, I can pull together a quick bite and a classy cocktail that all can enjoy. Here are my tips on how tradition helps to make it look effortless:
  • I keep a rotating stock of soft and hard cheeses, dried meats and fruits, olives, nuts and honeycomb. All these things keep for a very long time on the shelf or when kept cold.
  • Stock the bar. You must at all times have vodka, rum, wine (preferably one white one red) and a good manly mans booze. Girls, don’t get all feminist on me, I said I was traditional! Scotch, gin, and or whisky. When you see a decent bottle of champagne on sale get it. When the occasion arises and you are the one with the chilled bubbly it is so rewarding but only if you thrive on perfection like me. If you buy only one flavored soda make it ginger ale, works for mixer and sour tummy. Never and I say NEVER think that you can substitute a lemon or lime flavored soda as a clear soda water with fresh fruit to be served with alcohol. So no vodka mixed with lemon lime fizz!
  • If it’s wood, like a front door, railing shelf etc and you can’t decide on a color, paint it black. If it’s a wall paint it linen white or tan.
  • Candles should be stocked in various sizes in white for entertaining.
  • Blue plates make food look putrid. Clear glass, or any shade of white to beige.
  • Monochromatic flowers always work
  • If you choose only one wrapping paper make it brown paper and then embellish as appropriate for the occasion.
  • Monogram stationary can work as a thank you, invitation, regret, sympathy and many other greetings. Cranes always makes a beautiful paper product.
  • Men’s cashmere… perfect for everything. You can wear it, he can wear it, wonderful to lend to a cold guest. Gray is the best color.
  • For women always have either a black turtleneck or white (finished) tee depending on the season. Classic jeans like Levis and black flats and you can go just about anywhere and look chic no matter what type of figure you may have.
I could go on and on but you get the idea!  And God help me, I even give myself a D on formatting but it's late and it's my anniversary so I hope you enjoyed my post!

{The front porch of our lake house.}


Ashley said...

Very enjoyable! I love learning new things and while I might never be that polished and pulled together, I've at least got the stocked bar taken care of!

Michelle said...

And let's face it Ash... that is the MOST important tip! :-)

Thanks Lisa!

G said...

I'm screwed. My plates are blue. Of course they are.

Jackie said... the pressure is seriously on for my guest post.....yikes. Great job Lisa.

AnnMarie said...

Wow!! You rock!!

C Barnes said...

Ahhh - the Rules of Lisa - I've been following them since 2003!

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