Skip to content

Welcome, October 2016!

Or should we say Artober as is it National Arts & Humanities Month? Locally CultureWorks is presenting its inaugural artoberVA to engage the entire community in arts and culture. Take a look at their Facebook page and calendar to see all the opportunities available in October.

artoberva logo

Maybe it’s coincidence, but many of the events we are looking forward to this month do indeed involve art and culture. Here’s what we’ve got on our list:

Party on the Avenues

Party on the Avenues 2016

Sunday, October 2nd
Noon – 6 p.m.
Libbie Avenue between Patterson and Guthrie
kick off the month with live music and local food and drink

The Ivy Market


Monday, October 3rd
4-9 pm
(cash bar opens at 4 pm sharp!)
Tuesday, October 4th 10 am-4 pm
Jepson Alumni Center at
The University of Richmond
the perfect place to get started on your holiday shopping with unique and creative vendors

When Art Meets Fashion

When Art Meets Fashion 2016

Thursday, October 6, 2016
6:00 – 9:30 pm
Saks Fifth Avenue at Stony Point
get tickets here
proceeds benefit the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU

23rd Annual Starry Night Gala

Starry Night Gala 2016 invitation

Friday, October 14th
6:30 pm
The Commonwealth Club
features local art in its silent auction
benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
information and tickets here

Launch of Boots and Bedlam

Boots and Bedlam by Ashley Farley

Ashley Farley’s latest
Tuesday, October 18th
a holiday novella about our favorite Sweeney sisters again set in the charming town of Prospect
order your advance copy here

ChildSavers Art Show

ChildSavers Art Show invitation

Thursday, October 20th
6 – 9 pm
glavekocen gallery
art sale and auction to support RVA’s children through life’s critical moments
get tickets here

Fine Arts & Flowers 2016

Fine Arts & Flowers 2016 invitation

Gala Preview
Wednesday, October 19th
7-10 pm<
Thursday, October 20th – Sunday, October 23rd
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
features works from the permanent collection interpreted through spectacular floral designs by talent garden club members from throughout the Commonwealth (see highlights from the last Fine Arts & Flowers here)
information and tickets here


Pumpkin stack in Brushstroke © The Gracious Posse
Monday, October 31st

See what we mean? October really is Artober. Even Halloween gets in on the creativity act. Will you?


September 29, 2016

From Inspiration to Transformation: How I Updated this Old Tray With Gold and Mirror

Versatility and style make trays one of our favorite workhorses for the gracious home. Meandering through Fraiche one day, I spied this elegant tray at the center of a lovely vignette. 

Gold tray with mirror at Fraiche © The Gracious Posse

Thinking of a long dormant project sitting in my basement, I realized my old tray (below) made a fine candidate to be gold-leafed and mirrored.

wooden tray before image © The Gracious Posse

After refreshing my memory of Alison’s experience with gold-leafing a side table, I purchased my gold-leafing supplies, red acrylic paint and brushes. As Alison mentioned, it’s key to set up a workspace that you can leave up for several days until you complete the project.

Pictured below is the tray awaiting its mirrored inlay, cut by Binswanger Glass in Richmond. Use 1/8″ thickness of mirror so that the tray isn’t too heavy when finished. Since I was going to install a mirror at the bottom of the tray, I didn’t need to paint or leaf that part. 

gold leafing on tray © The Gracious Posse

After light sanding, I covered all but the bottom with a base coat of red acrylic paint before applying the gold leaf (you can see a spot of red peeking out from the lower left corner). The red paint will show when your leafing inevitably misses some small spots, leaving an authentic look.

After I picked up the mirror, I applied a little Rub n Buff to reduce the shininess of the gold leafing (even after applying the sealer). I wasn’t wild about its dull finish, so I applied a small amount of Martha Stewart’s Gold Liquid Gilding

Martha Stewart's Gold Liquid Gilding

and am 100% satisfied with the combined result.

Gold Leafed Tray © The Gracious Posse

For a $25 mirror and less than $20 in other supplies, I gave an existing piece a fresh new look. Now when I sit down with a cup of coffee to relax with my favorite magazines, I feel peaceful not having to stare at the drab old tray anymore. Isn’t it always the small things that seem to bring us the most joy?


September 21, 2016

*contains affiliate links 

A Roundup of Stylish Walking Shoes and Travel Tips

I’m always on the hunt for new tips to make traveling as hassle-free and comfortable as possible. Last May I wrote about my quest for stylish walking shoes in preparation for summer travel, and many of you sent helpful feedback. Just like our tagline says – celebrating inspired living with a little help from our friends – we love learning and sharing from one another. Read on for the tips I gathered the past few months.

Walking Shoes 

tSt Danskos © The Gracious Posse

The Dansko Helen in black suede are my new must-haves in the suitcase. Compared to the traditional Dansko clog, they are smaller in profile, lighter-weight, breathable with black mesh in the toe box, and substantially more stylish. When faced with a horrid gate issue at Boston’s Logan Airport, I OJ’d through the concourses, changed terminals, slipped these off and on quickly in the security line (they have metal plates that are not TSA-friendly) and sprinted for the gate just before the jetway door closed.

tSt (sporting them above) bought them for hiking and biking on our upcoming Biking Belles trip to the San Juan Islands, remarked,

I think I would also wear them for travel with black pants and city-walking, like Chicago or NYC!

Two of you mentioned purchasing Clarks models after reading about them in the walking shoes post.

bJm Clarks © The Gracious PossebJm purchased the Sand Nubuck wedge and says, 

…my go-to shoe this past summer. Wore them all day long with shorts, pants, a dress….flattering, feminine, and the perfect heel height!

jCb Clarks collage © The Gracious Posse

jCb bought the Caslynn Shae metallic gold wedge and commented,

I received so many compliments on those shoes and I just love wearing them. They are so comfortable!

You now have three stylish walking shoes with the TGP Seal of Approval.

Mobile Passport App

Mobile Passport App logo

LDB spotted a sign promoting a free app for iOS and android phones that streamlines the immigration process for those who don’t have the Global Entry designation. In short, once you set up your secure profile in Mobile Passport Control, when you return from a trip abroad to the U.S., you can skip the loonnnggg immigration and customs lines and head straight to the express lane, show the Customs and Border Agent the QR code for your flight, and proceed to baggage claim. You can do this for all members in your family as well, so nobody holds up the return.


And speaking of baggage claim, standing there requires the weary traveler to summon an abundance of patience, wondering if their luggage arrived and in what condition.

Bag in a Bag

I stood behind jDa in the baggage check line and watched her bag her carry-on bag. She does this to protect her luggage. She uses an Osprey Airporter LZ Pack Duffel from REI and pops her bag into it while standing in bag drop line. I asked her if the wheels ever break through the nylon bag; she said she typically doesn’t roll it once it’s in the bag. 

jDa Protective luggage cover © The Gracious Posse

Numerous luggage protectors are on the market, but I couldn’t find any that protect the wheels, which can be a huge problem if broken. I like jDa’s solution to protect the entire bag.


When I travel, I abandon my usual minimalist cross-body bag and haul a backpack, like the one seen below on my family trip to Spain.

brown backpack in Cordoba © The Gracious Posse

It’s serviceable and doesn’t scream anything offensive but is decidedly old and frumpy. I’ve been on a quest for a worthy replacement, and finally discovered, through a link from the Skimm, the STATE Bags, whose tag line cool and classic backpacks and bags for a good cause resonated with me.

State Bag Backpack © The Gracious Posse

In addition to its style, I love this backpack’s interior cushioning for protecting phones, cameras and laptops. Also, its flat bottom makes it easier to stand upright. I searched long and hard for this backpack, so much so LDB quipped, our long national nightmare is over.

Keep sharing the intel friends! See how much we can learn from each other?


September 8, 2016

Fall 2016 Fashion Roundup cabi-Style

New York Fashion Week starts today and runs through the end of next week (see the full schedule of fashion shows here). Those shows featuring the Spring 2017 looks will be crowded with socialites and celebs who have the pocketbooks required to wear haute couture. The designers’ new looks provide inspiration for all, but they are not going to help us update our Fall wardrobes now as we start to feel the seasonal change in the air.

cabi invitation

Fortunately, we will be hosting our own Fashion Week with cabi stylist, Lisa Dempster, who is bringing cabi’s Fall 2016 collection to Ellen’s home tonight and tomorrow. cabi’s clothes work well for our daily lives, and this season’s collection looks indeed to be Effortless but Stylish. This fashion show will give you a brief peek:

We asked Lisa to tell us about the Fall 2016 trends coming out of cabi in advance of our show.

cabi Fall 2016

City Boho Style

Give simple outfits a touch of elegance with a mix of prints. Think country-meets-city and don’t be afraid of the combination.

cabi Habit

Who doesn’t crave soft knits and stretch comfort fabrics that you can dress up or down? The cabi habit collection will remind you of some of the earliest cabi designs. cabi’s new collection of basics include the serenity tee, the double v-tee, and the wrap tee all with colorway options.

Nod to Mod

Let’s swing for the 60’s with a classic A-line skirt and pointy flats. Or go all out in a windowpane trouser with a bright colored top. Don’t forget your Chelsea boots!

True Blue

cabi’s got the blues in the best kind of way. You’ll find everyone’s favorite color in shades ranging from deep, rich and dark to soft, pale and heathered.

Boy Meets Girl

Menswear is still hot, but you need to give it a feminine touch with the fabric and details.

cabi shoppers

Fall 2016 at cabi is all about low-key charm that reflects high-style. If this Elegantly Different style sounds right for you, why not come take a look at the cabi collection tonight starting at 6 or tomorrow from 10-4? Lisa will have a presentation  about all of these trends and more starting at 6:30 tonight. Contact Ellen,  , for her address and to let us know to expect you. We’d sure love to see you!


September 7, 2016

*contains affiliate links. As cabi hostesses, Ellen and I receive a discount on purchases from the current collection based on sales volume.

Welcome, September 2016!

Can you believe Tailgate Season starts tomorrow night? Where did the lazy days of summer go? Since our September calendars aren’t jam-packed the way they used to be before we became empty-nesters, we look forward to enjoying these events this transition month:

College Football Kick-Off

USC v. Vanderbilt

our college boys’ team face off against each other
Thursday, September 1st
8 p.m.

Labor Day

view over pool to Rivah © The Gracious Posse

Monday, September 5th
Hope you get to enjoy Summer’s last hoorah!

Grand Opening of Gilt and Ash

Gilt and Ash storefront © The Gracious Posse

Tuesday, September 6th
come see RVA’s latest and greatest gift shop
northeast corner of Libbie and Patterson Avenues

cabi shopping eventwork-10 capsule via Cabi


Kick off the fall season with great friends and great fashion. Stylist Lisa Dempster will present the Fall 16 cabi collection, and you are invited.
Wednesday, September 7th • 6:00 pm
presentation at 6:30
Thursday, September 8th from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Ellen’s home
please respond () if you would like to attend

Richmond Symphony Orchestra League 2016 Designer House

RSOL Designer House logo

opens Monday, September 12th
through  Saturday, October 10th
Pineapple Acre
3223 Hawthorne Avenue
ticket information and directions here

Lewis Ginter Fall PlantFest

Lewis Ginter Fall Plant Sale

Friday, September 16th
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday, September 17th
9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Fall really is the best time for planting!

43rd Street Festival

43rd Street Festival of the Arts

Saturday September 17th
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
local music, 75 artists and food
benefits CARITAS

Martha Graham Dance Company

Martha Graham Dance Company

Wednesday, September 21 & Thursday, September 22
7:30 p.m.
Alice Jepson Theatre at the Modlin Center for the Arts
University of Richmond
get tickets here

Richmond’s Original Italian Street Festival

Richmond Original Italian Street Festival

Saturday, September 24th and Sunday, September 25th
11 a.m. -8 p.m.
17th Street Farmers’ Market
tickets $5
get a glimpse of Italy right here in RVA


1776 The Musical

opens Friday, September 30, 2016
runs through October 23, 2016
presented by Virginia Repertory Theatre
at The November Theatre
get tickets here
With a great selection of events all month long, I think I might just be ready to face the change of seasons come the Autumnal Equinox on Friday, September 22nd. How about you?
August 31, 2016