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TXDW Houston — Morning Mimosas and Entertaining Talk at Longoria Collection

The Perfect Setting For an Illustrated Talk and Book Signing

BY // 07.18.22
photography Johnny Than

Just like Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Shelley Johnstone-Paschke’s book, A Loving Table: Creating Memorable Gatherings  (Gibbs Smith), the Longoria Collection boutique was filled with mothers, daughters, friends, and a wealth of beautiful items for the tabletop and home, making it the perfect setting for an illustrated talk and book signing.

While Whitman, whose sick child at home in Dallas prevented her from making the trip to Houston, was sorely missed at the Texas Design Week Houston event, her co-author Johnstone-Paschke — in from Lake Forest, Illinois — found a delightful stand-in the form of Natalie Steen. The lawyer and founder of fashion newsletter The Nat Note gave her charming perspective as one of the 34 women who are featured in the book. For Steen, appearing in the book was a pinch-me moment.

“When I heard from Shelley and Kimberly, I jumped at the chance. At first I was, like, ‘Are you sure you’ve got the right Natalie?’ ”

Of course, Steen proved to be an excellent addition to the illustrated talk as well, which detailed how tastemakers from across the globe incorporate family traditions into their own  entertaining style. Steen’s photographs for the book were shot in the backyard of her parents’ home in Coral Gables, Florida, where she grew up. What wasn’t pictured, she said, was the group of childhood friends she invited over to help with the shoot (and enjoy the Cuban food and mojitos after they were photographed).

“Behind the photo are probably six of my friends laughing and helping me place everything,” she said, noting that in addition to heirloom pieces from her Cuban grandmother, there were plates, chairs, and other items on the table borrowed from the Cuban grandmothers of various friends. “It may not look like how we eat at my parents’ house 100 percent of the time, but it’s an authentic representation of what happens when I’m home and we all get together and have a great time,” she said.

Authenticity is what Whitman and Johnstone-Paschke were seeking with A Loving Table, which also includes tablescapes and personal insight from chic hostesses including Filipa De Abreu, Cathy Kincaid, Julie Neill, Chesie Breen, Jan Showers, Alessandra Branca, and Dara Caponigro.

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Welcoming the crowd was Elizabeth Fertitta, the proprietor of Longoria Collection, along with her mom, Sylvia Longoria Dorsey. Following the talk, Johnstone-Paschke signed copies of the book — which is covered in blazing pink and and illustrated with  artwork from Gracie.

PC Seen: Devon Liedtke, Laurie Liedtke, Crystal Owens, Betty Palmquist, Mimi Kerr, Cherry Damianoff, Kara Childress, Courtney Blair, Lynne Glattly, Lester Grundy, Monica Bickers, Tommy Dorsey, Sarah Prazak, Stacy Ellington, Anne Lee Phillips, Julie Whitworth, Palmer Brown, Ellen Brown, Elizabeth Fertitta, Courtnay Tartt Elias, Hallie Henley Sims, Phoebe Tudor, Suzanne Coulter, Tiffany Goodman, and Yelena Adams.

Texas Design Week Houston sponsors: Longoria Collection, New Orleans Auction Galleries, Monogram Luxury Appliances, Decorative Center Houston.

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