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Designer Party Tips for Summer Entertaining

Designer Party Tips for Summer Entertaining

Summer entertaining is as easy as taking as few hints from the master, Susan Taylor of Black-eyed Susan! Get the party ambiance every host craves with her expert tips.

1. Start with lighting


Let’s face it, any party speaks the language of style when it begins with lights! Any season of the year lends itself to outdoor patio lights, Christmas lights…lights! You name it, put lights as your number one item to begin with.

2. Add color


I little trick that I have used for many years is water colored with food coloring. I am beginning with this…ONE drop of blue food coloring in a pitcher of water…yes, just one. It creates the most magical color!


Here, I have taken a collection of assorted glass cylinders and stacked them inside each other. Small within larger, and occassionally a taller one within a shorter one — as seen on the right, second from the end. Choose your sizes carefully for a varied look. Then, fill each outer container with water in a range of heights. (You can see the slight tint to the water. Too much is garish. ONE drop!)

If your glass containers are not flat on the bottom, use Kosher salt to level the candle. It’s also quite pretty! I used our very popular Luminara candles in varying sizes to create my magic. Think buffet table, poolside, front porch, mantel. This is always a delightful way to add instant atmosphere. Try pink for a toddler girl’s birthday, blue for summer pool parties, and green or yellow for summer graduation parties!

3. Raid your garden


Vintage containers filled with garden cuttings are quick and easy party decorations too! Float an abundance of David Austen rose heads for a beautiful effect. Now, go raid your garden…or a neighbor’s!

4. Cascading centerpieces


I gathered this collection of themed glass and candleholders from my store inventory. Black-eyed Susan speaks the language of party style! Note the assorted sizes and they are all connected by the silver bands and chrome finishes. Fill these with candles and flowers…succulents, simple ferns or hostas. You will find three sizes of the chrome and glass candlesticks and three sizes of the glass vases. A series of assorted sizes spread down your island or dining table will create pure drama!

Here’s a closeup of the vases I used…they look gold, but it must have been the light of day! Pure silver. Just fabulous and I’m saying these won’t last long! Think spring, summer, or even the holidays….totally versatile!

5. Use vintage plates


Nothing says party and festive like pulling out your vintage china to celebrate! I love this lovely petal pink set I recently uncovered while unpacking my new house! I. Love. Pink. This set is bound to make anyone feel special. Party on.


This is another of my vintage sets that I love to pull out for dinner parties, birthday parties and cake tastings! Chartreuse laurel wreaths say it all….pure style! Try serving dessert in a tea cup! Chocolate mousse, ice cream….it tastes divine in these beauties!

6. Save cake for breakfast


One last hint…when the party’s over and the cleanup complete, I look forward to this little bit of heaven. Yes, eat cake for breakfast! (I always try to stash a piece away in hiding to reward myself the next morning). I recommend it! It’s all about me and the motto on my Kate Spade mug the next morning!

7. Hire the professionals


Of course, you can’t host a room full of guests and still enjoy the party if you’re stuck prepping hors d’oeuvres or collecting dishes. That’s why we’ve partnered with Party Host Helpers to present our clients with an exciting giveaway: a $160 gift certificate, redeemable for one helper for up to four hours at your next event! All it takes is one LIKE on the giveaway post from our Facebook page to win. Get an extra entry when you leave a comment about an upcoming party you’re planning! The contest ends at 11:59 p.m. on June 13. A randomly selected winner will be announced on June 14.

Party Host Helpers provides staff for any occasion, big or small. They work in homes or event spaces and allow you to enjoy your own party. Their job is to make you, the host, look good while eliminating your stress. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing more stylish than hosting a stress-free party!

Lights + candles + silver + glass + vintage plates + cake for breakfast + bringing in the pros = Black-eyed Susan Style! Party on.

Big Blooms!

Big Blooms!

There’s no one who is more of a succulent fan than myself! About five years ago, succulents came into the design radar for me. Fabulous, right?! I’m not even tired of them….but, I have been keeping my eye open the last few markets for that “next big thing” — the “next succulent,” if you will.

Don’t misunderstand, I am still in love with succulents, and find myself mixing them with just about everything in my accessory calls and when I put the finishing details into completed projects. But this is what I’ve been bringing in the last few weeks and they have been flying out the door just about as fast as they arrive!

Flowers made of a foam-like substance…bright white or spectacular colors like orange, coral and vibrant pink. Oh. My. These beauties make my heart sing!                                              2016-05-12-11-02-36-2


Shown here is our large 50″ tray brimming with pink magnolias, local cuts of sycamore logs and dramatic white magnolia-like blooms. These are just spectacular! Think dining room centerpiece, foyer drama, or island statement.


Here’s a closeup of some spikey orange tinies…they come four on a stem, and I cut them short to creative individuals that I could dress these tiny vessels in. Perfect for those difficult spaces beneath your wall mounted TV above the mantle. That’s a tough request I often am faced with for client’s family rooms. I think I’ve got one answer!


Just another shot of the same darlings! Love.


John, my retail manager, put this dramatic statement together during our last “late shift” night…Wednesday nights are the nights we create magic in the store, revealing new arrivals, fresh ideas and inspirations for new color palettes. Furniture, art, and mirrors are shuffled around to create a whole new look. Thursdays should definitely be your go-to day to come in and be lifted and delighted! And John or myself will be around to help fill your centerpiece and accent needs.


The next three images are some of the same types of statement flowers that I’ve used in my new North Carolina home. I find white to be a strong contrast and naturally, perfect with any color palette. I loaded the same long tray I mentioned in the first photo with mossy spheres, succulents, bulbs, log cuts and fern fronds. Then I popped just a handful of the large white blooms (heads only), to put that pop into it. I’m loving it. Organic, lively, striking. It’s just the ticket I was looking for!


This striking bloom had me at the color! I’ve added hot pink into my gray and white mix, along with a little high gloss navy. (You can see that hot pink coral/lucite statement in the background). Combined with one of our large botanical leaves, this oversized bloom just pops out of the top of a favorite bamboo vessel. Pure style!


On the coffee table, I have accented an oversized foam succulent (!) with several of the same white heads cut from their stems to rest atop this organic-inspired, delightful metal bowl, sculptural in nature. Use vessels that can be re-invented during different seasons…fall, holiday, spring. I often have classes in the evenings to show how this is done. Watch our event listings for this!

I love the contrast between the lively lime green and the brilliant white!

All in all, I’m in love with these new additions to the world of succulents! Assorted colors, heights, sizes, and styles. Come in and see for yourself. I think you’ll fall in love.

Take me home!

Take me home!


These darling trinket plates have stolen my heart. That’s all. I really want one of each. Mother’s Day…Father’s Day…a friend who is sick or down in the dumps. Yep, I’ll take one of each.


Anyone have a boss or a co-worker who needs this?! Oh. My.


These tiny ceramic vases are the perfect thing for so many places…powder room, side table or sick tray. Add my real touch tiny tulips available in several colors, and wow!


I’ve had lots of requests of late to refill my AJ Morgan readers, and this collection will not disappoint! Oh, and please take a look at these fabulously stylish sunglasses! Great prices starting at $13.00. Oh. Such. Style! #ohsosusan

I’m afraid I took one of each…I have a problem with sunglasses!

These little bunnies below are going fast…I always hate it when my favorite displays start to fade from purchases. I guess that’s the life of a retailer. Hurry in before they are all gone. *sigh*



I Just Can’t Get Enough! Spring is Here

I Just Can’t Get Enough! Spring is Here



These tiny hand blown vases imported from Poland are the perfect accents to scatter on an accent table, master bathroom, or kitchen sill. 6 assorted sizes, each delicately made to hold the tiniest of my secret succulents!


Who wouldn’t delight in these tiny dwarf tulip bouquets?! Yellow is the happiest color! And that sheep sculpture is just calling my name. Add the trophy cup, and I call it an instant winner. What’s not to love?


When I saw these slender white vases with contrast silver linings, I knew they would speak my language of style perfectly. Yellow spring daffodils will make you think your first grader raided the flower beds! Use these in multiples for the most impact. To give to a friend or keep for your own treasure!


I’m pretty much in love with this giant succulent. This new medium for artificial flowers is interesting and arresting. Very stylized and fresh! Come see my array of colors…pink, white and green. They are incredibily versatile and new. Note to self….”get mine before they are gone”.


These bright pink and orange spray roses command attention in front of this fun peice of art…bold colors and a rooster…sure to make anyone’s kitchen the center of attention. These will make a beautiful accent for the powder room, guest room,or hall table .


These favorites in mass really take my breath away! Group them together for the most impact and combine varieties of my miniatures together for the glory of spring. Ahhhhhh!

So much to see. So much to love. It’s all here for the first takers! Get in on the fun.

Spring really is here…at least at Black-eyed Susan! I hope to see you soon.

A Week of Christmas Magic

A Week of Christmas Magic

Tomorrow marks our first day of holiday setups for our design clients who have booked our service to deck their halls with our merriment and magic! Six days packed full of fun. (Really!) Don’t be surprised if we show up with music and bags of snow. We take this seriously!


The Black-eyed Susan dream team (magic elves, basically!) arrive at your doorstep with a van full of tricks and inventory specially selected for your home. This platter consists of a gold shatterproof garland, glittered, bronzed pinecones, stag horns, candlesticks and our fabulous tiny battery operated lights! Oh. My. Whether this is for your island, coffee table or dining table, is it an instant centerpiece.


While you may not want our featured hot pink (!), we embellish lots of chandeliers with lush greens and ornaments. It’s a favorite request from clients each year. Pick your color and we will show you how! You can book us for next year…tii late this year!


You will always find a large selection of cloches…tall, small, dotted, etched, mini, oversized…I have them all!  This one is protecting a snowy owl with a garland of snowy, sparkly pine cones. A personal favorite, all around!


This is my second year for the snow-tipped sugar cones! We sell box after box of the plain ones, and this year I also have fabulous metallic gold ones! They are going fast, so come in soon! They are magic in a tree, on a mantle, tied together in a deep window or piled on a tray. Pour a little snow over them and you have a real statement!

I’ll try to keep you posted with a tiny vision from each setup we do this week. My team will be doing one day long setup or two half day setups all week! (Did I hear manis and pedis come at the end of the week?!)

Stay tuned for pure style and pure magic. Follow us on our instagram page too for live inspirations! #besusanstyle

It’s sure to be a week of high energy, high style and sheer exhaustion.

It’s All New Again! Stunning Showroom Arrivals

It’s All New Again! Stunning Showroom Arrivals

With fall in the air, it seemed like the perfect time to dig in and make a complete floor change. Every sofa is flipped, tables find new homes and mantels are new with the perfect story to complete each new vignette. Many hours of manpower are supplied to pull this off and in the end, it all looks like magic! And, it’s no surprise this time…we pulled it off with the help of our whole team!

Here’s just a few teasers to entice you to come in…


This iron and linen bed sets the stage for a cozy guest retreat, so perfect for Bucks County. Add a narrow mirrored side chest and coarse linen shaded lamps, a wool blanket folded at the bottom of the bed, and settle in for a fall overnight stay.


…pretty cool and stylish! This hair on hide miniature ottoman is the perfect touch!


The stage is set in the next vignette for more fall accessories…one of my personal favorite magnifiers and an oblong metal basket tray filled with gilded pears. Ahhhhh!


In the same theme, I love this birch cutting, protected by an extra tall cloche. Sooooooo stylishly organic.


I love my books….not so much the blurry photo! As you can see, the whole menswear look dominates this area of the store. You’ll always find volumes of beautiful books to complete your look. I. Love. Books.


An entire table of organic inspired accents always draws attention and steals hearts who love all things vintage and natural. Count me in.


For those of you who know my love of succulents, and their use in all room settings (!) this new beauty with air roots will be a keeper. Better run in, I don’t have too many!

There are many more areas to the showroom floor (all 10,000 square feet) that have inspiring new designs and colors. Stay tuned for more inspiration or just pop in for your own private tour! Hope to see you soon.

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