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Setting the table with...

Samantha Yanks

Creative force and woman about town Samantha Yanks knows how to keep chic, cool and calm over the holidays. She doesn’t let the stress get to her. Despite her intense professional and social schedule, and not to mention being a wife and mother, she’s found a way to slow down the frenetic pace of the season.

Her secret: host a tea party for her friends. “I love the rituals of tea service. There is a calming effect that comes with tea and it’s a refreshing way to head into the New Year,” says Samantha, who is applying the finishing touches to a lovely gilded and ivory spread on her dining table at her apartment in Manhattan. A lover of golden hues, Samantha explains that “gold is also associated with love, compassion, courage, and wisdom; all things I hope my guests and I carry into the New Year.”

Samantha, who has held various key editorial positions among the country’s top magazines, has just launched her own creative agency and therefore approached her table setting with an editorial eye.

“Kim Seybert’s tabletop is my favorite because of the depth of the design. I layered the Tangier Runners in Gold as a foundation to ground the table. The Capiz Placemats in Natural remind me of our favorite family getaway, the beach, and the Flare Napkin Rings in Gold remind me of my strong connection to my love of jewelry. I mixed the cream and gold hues with touches of seasonal greenery which led to the design of the flowers. The table brings me joy and, to me, that’s the best feeling,” expresses Samantha.

Capiz Placemat
in Natural
Tangier Napkin
in White, Gold & Silver
Flare Napkin Ring
in Gold
Crackle Tumbler
in Gold

To compliment the gorgeous table setting, she enlisted the help of a few friends to cater the tea party. She reached out to Poppy’s Brooklyn and told them the theme and colors of the affair and they came back with an assortment of pastries, which included gingerbread snowflake cookies, a rosemary tree shortbread, mini scones with white glaze and thyme sprig, and mini bundts with candied cranberries on a white glaze.

And the piece de resistance of course is the tea. “The teas are from the ultimate elegant brand Tea Forté. I put out a selection of individual festive blends for this holiday celebration. They make miniature pyramid muslin tea bags and I put one on each place setting with their orchid tea trays.  Guests can swap their flavors, but I tend to pick blends for my friends based on their personalities and tastes.  My favorite blends are Honey Yuzu, Ginger Snap and Lemon Vervain. They come in beautiful gold packages with a green leaf on top. That set the tone for the flowers as well – greens, golds and a cream palette.”

With the table all set, Samantha starts to light the many candles around her house and checks on the piles of presents wrapped in silver and blue stacked ever so stylishly in one corner. She also inspects her étagères and display cases to make sure that her shelves are artfully organized, as that is one of her passions. A quick glance at her Instagram account reveals her obsession with bookshelf design. With everything in place and her mind and body centered, she’s ready to welcome her guests into a cocoon of holiday serenity.

Samantha Yank’s Entertaining Do’s and Don’ts:

Pick a theme for the occasion. Here I wanted to invite friends over for a calm tea to prepare peacefully for the New Year.

Weaving in textures is an important way to create intrigue and depth in the showpiece, which in this case, is the table. The runners are an Indian weave, the placemats are shell with a shiny patina, and the napkin rings have a jewel like feel to them. Together they work beautifully and feel festive!

Remember what you appreciate about your friends and family and recall those characteristics when you introduce people to one another.

Being a gracious hostess means engaging with your guests and being part of the conversation. Prepare before so you are not too busy during the party.

A celebration, especially at your home, is all about the energy. Only surround yourself with those that you love spending time with.