Beauty, Lifestyle   //  09/26/14
The Double Cleansing Method, Explained!

We’ve made a discovery here at the Tata Harper Headquarters that we’re finding ourselves telling everyone about – our sisters, our friends, our Twitter followers – because it’s made such a difference in the way our skin looks and feels. What’s our big secret? Double Cleansing. While yes, you may have seen this term popping up on beauty blogs news sites, it’s not just some whimsical fad. It’s a real cleansing technique, and it’s a game changer.

In lieu of our big news (two brand new cleansers, fresh from the Tata Harper Open Lab! Check them out here), we thought we’d take a closer look at Double Cleansing, so you can get a sense of what it is, how it works, and if it might be right for you, to help your skin get to its healthiest, most beautiful place.

Double Cleansing is not news – it’s been around for centuries, primarily in Japan, where the traditional geishas used a two-step method to thoroughly wash the heavy, paint-like makeup from their faces each night. That method involved cleansing first with an oil, and letting that dissolve their makeup, following with a soapy cleanser that too care of leftover impurities and cleaned the pores.

The core philosophy behind Double Cleansing is this: stubborn impurities like heavy makeup (even light makeup, if worn every day), sunscreen and toxins from environmental pollution work their way into the pores in such a way that they often aren’t thoroughly removed with a quick 10-second scrub each night, not to mention a swipe with a cleansing cloth. When left on the skin, even in tiny amounts, those impurities can lead to premature signs of aging: wrinkles, dullness, etc. Cleansing twice gives you the ability to get your skin really clean. The first cleanse is all about clearing all that junk off of the surface of the skin, and the second cleanse is all about thoroughly, deeply cleansing. Plus, let’s not forget that clean skin is better able to absorb serums and moisturizers, making your skincare routine all around more-effective.

What kind of cleansers should you use? It’s best to use an oil or makeup-removing cleanser as your first step, to gently but thoroughly dissolve what’s on the top layer. Second, use your normal daily cleanser, which ever one you’ve found to cooperate with your skin type best.

May we recommend a few cleanser combinations?

We’ve found these to be effective at getting our skin to where we want it to be, whether that’s super-soft, super-glowy, super-clean (or all three).

One more important thing to point out: we recommend all of the below for evening cleansing, after your skin has spent a day dealing with makeup, sweat, pollution and the like.

Nourishing Oil Cleanser + Purifying Cleanser


This is Tata’s personal favorite Double Cleansing combination, one she’s already incorporated into her every day routine and has brought along on her recent travels. Here’s a quick how-to-use, and why-we-love-it:

  • First, lightly wet the hands and pump a few pumps of the Nourishing Oil Cleanser into the palms. Smooth over your face so it’s completely covered, and let it sit for a few seconds.
  • Splash a bit of water on the skin and begin a brief facial massage: really massage the oil into the skin in circular motions, focusing on the area around the nose, the cheeks, chin and forehead. This boosts microcirculation, which flushes fresh blood and oxygen into the skin to give it a healthy glow.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • While the skin is still damp, apply a few pumps of the Purifying Cleanser to the whole face (and experience that incredibly zesty, wake-you-up scent!).
  • Massage lightly, to activate the enzymes and essential oils and to allow the product to really penetrate the skin. Be sure to avoid the direct eye area.
  • Rise thoroughly, and viola! Skin will be clean and tingling, soft to the touch and totally makeup free.

Explore the Nourishing Oil Cleanser here, and the Purifying Cleanser here!

Nourishing Oil Cleanser + Regenerating Cleanser

oil_regen (1)

This cleansing combination leaves our skin super, super soft. If you’re addicted to the Regenerating Cleanser, like we are – and can’t imagine switching your normal cleanser up for a new one – you’ll be happy to know that by preceding with the Oil Cleanser, you’ll be getting an even deeper clean.

  • First, lightly wet the hands and pump a few pumps of the Nourishing Oil Cleanser into the palms. Smooth over your face so it’s completely covered, and let it sit for a few seconds.
  • Splash a bit of water on the skin and begin a brief facial massage: really massage the oil into the skin in circular motions, focusing on the area around the nose, the cheeks, chin and forehead. This boosts microcirculation, which flushes fresh blood and oxygen into the skin to give it a healthy glow.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • Pat the skin so it’s mostly dry. Apply a few pumps of the Regenerating Cleanser to the skin and massage thoroughly to activate the enzymes and to polish with the micro spherical Apricot Seed Powder; this extra exfoliating step really helps remove any buildup, leaving the skin impossibly soft.
  • Rinse thoroughly, and enjoy your glowing, smooth complexion!

Explore the Nourishing Oil Cleanser here, and the Regenerating Cleanser here!

Regenerating Cleanser + Purifying Cleanser


By beginning this cleansing combination with the exfoliating Regenerating, you’re buffing away dead skin and buildup first, to really provide a thoroughly decongested surface for the Purifying Cleanser. The reason this combination works so well is because the Purifying Cleanser is designed to work deep in the skin, with a blend of Essential Oils (clove, ginger, turmeric, silver fir) that penetrate the skin to help flush away impurities that are deeply lodged. It’s much more effective when the skin has already been exfoliated.

  • First, apply a few pumps of the Regenerating Cleanser to dry or barely-damp skin, and massage thoroughly to activate the enzymes, exfoliate and polish the skin.
  • Rinse thoroughly!
  • While the skin is still damp, apply the Purifying Cleanser to the whole face (and experience that incredibly zesty, wake-you-up scent!).
  • Massage lightly, to activate the enzymes and essential oils, and to allow the product to really penetrate into the skin, avoiding the direct eye area.
  • Rinse thoroughly.

Explore the Regenerating Cleanser here, and the Purifying Cleanser here.

Have you ever tried Double Cleansing? Love it, hate it? Let us know in a comment below!

Lifestyle   //  07/25/14
DIY: Garden-Fresh Floral Ice Cubes

Martha Stewart, this one is for you! If you recall back in October we attended Martha Stewart’s American Made Event in Grand Central Station. American Made celebrates the spirit of local craftsmanship by spotlighting businesses and communities that have turned their passion for beautiful, quality handmade goods into a way of life. We were humbled to be included and in such good company.

One of our favorite parts of the evening was the food… wait a minute, that’s just about every event we attend! The food stations were setup like art installations designed to look like you were plucking your small bite right out of the garden (or, we’d like to think, Martha’s garden!) We snacked on delicious veggies with mouthwatering spreads, decadent cheeses and two-bite sandwiches.

We couldn’t help but wonder, if this was a pot-luck, what artful conception would we contribute to the inviting spread? The idea for Tata’s garden flower ice cubes sprouted! We dreamed up plucking fresh blooms from Tata’s garden, making them into cubes and adding them to a zesty summer cocktail.

When it was time to put together our prop list for a July photoshoot on our farm, we dug this one out of the archive. Not only are the cubes perfect for keeping your drink nice and chill, they also help create the perfect backdrop for our Hydrating Floral Essence which is a soothing and cooling moisturizer and refreshing toner- perfect for summertime. Every picture tells a story. We hope you’ll enjoy and we hope this story makes it’s way to the desk of Martha.

Xo Jenna & Clare



(Makes enough cubes for two trays)

- If you have a wildflower garden (lucky you), pluck fresh blooms. Try to find as much variation in color as possible so you have a colorful array. Fill a cereal size bowl with your colorful bounty.

- Snip the flower with as little stem as possible left on the flower.

- If you’re not picking fresh flowers, visit your local floral market or store. Look for small flowers like mini roses, tiny daisies and poppies. (The poppies make the most beautiful cubes, in our opinion!)

- Set up two rubber ice cube trays on the counter. We got these ones from Crate and barrel. (Link) They have small and large size. We think it looks really nice to have one large and one small in a drink.

- Fill the trays less than half way with water. You want to have a frozen layer on the bottom so you can have a wildflower trapped inside the cube. Let the amount freeze completely and then drop on your flowers. Get creative and mix and match the flowers to your liking with little stems and sprouts. Fill the cubes trays with a small stream of water very carefully and slowly so that you don’t dislodge the flowers.


- Put in your freezer and let them freeze completely. Then, pop them out and serve up with your favorite summer cocktail recipe!

We’ll be serving these garden flower cocktail at our Open Lab event next week. For more eye candy and beautiful curiosities as well as an insiders look at our next event, be sure to follow us @tataharper on instagram!

Beauty, Lifestyle   //  06/28/14
Call it Love…
photo (6)

I just can’t get enough of my favorite morning juice and even more than I love the sweet, succulent taste, I l-o-v-e how it makes me feel. There was a time when I would drink an extra large ice coffee every day just to get the ol’ motherboard firing. Can you relate? By 3PM I would crash and reboot with an extraordinary ooey-gooey chocolate chip cookie the size of a hockey puck. I’m not going to mislead you, that cookie was beyond delicious and I miss it dearly but there is no denying the fact that I have much more energy since replacing my daily caffeine jolt with this healthier (and tastier) vibrant poppy-pink drink alternative.

You, too, will love the way it tastes and fuels your body for the day but there’s other benefits I experienced that you’ll be happy to discover as well. I didn’t start drinking it because it looks amazing in a mason jar (doesn’t it though?) and I wasn’t looking for a coffee replacement, I was looking for more ways to reduce the appearance of 11 wrinkles between the brows AKA grumpy cat wrinkles. I’ve really stepped up my antiaging skincare routine to help with this area but I wanted to take it a step further by looking into the source of the wrinkle a little deeper.


Lately, I have been voraciously consuming education about healing foods and gut health because I have a curiosity for it. Borrowing face reading principles, I looked to a face chart to see where an internal connection could be made. The two vertical lines between the eyebrows can signal issues with the liver and kidneys, which can be caused by rich foods, heavy oils, caffeine (you don’t say…) and without knowing whether or not that was indeed my unique situation, I just decided to switch out coffee for watermelon as an experiment. Since watermelon is rich in lycopene, it’s a great detoxifier for these two vital organs. I use watermelon in my pure love juice recipe below and enjoy this drink twice a day! Aside from having more balanced energy and supremely hydrated skin, truth be told, I am starting to see the 11s diminish further. Whether you’re looking for an amazing summer treat to sip on or are curious too about how healing foods can lend to your skincare routine, I think you will fall hard for the recipe below. Enjoy!


What you’ll need: 

High speed blender. I use my nutribullet.

1/2 one ripe organic seedless watermelon. Look for non GMO.

Handful of fresh organic raspberries

5 fresh, organic mint leaves

1/4 of a cup Santa Cruz pure organic lemon juice

1/2 cup of ice

Chop up watermelon with love and add all ingredients to blender. Keep the ice on the bottom. You don’t need any water for this recipe since the watermelon is full of it. Blend up, service in a tall cup or jar and enjoy. A mint garnish might make you feel a little special on a Monday morning. Try it!

Jenna’s Skincare Favorites

Rejuvenating Serum
Boosted Contouring Serum
Regenerating Cleanser
Soothing Apricot Resurfacing Mask


Beauty, Lifestyle   //  06/12/14
Your #AskTata Skincare Questions… Answered!

Thanks to everyone who responded to our #AskTata Instagram post with a beauty or skincare question – they’re all so excellent and useful for people of all skin types and ages. So, we thought we’d put them all in one public place where we could answer each one. We’ll still be running our #AskTata campaign on Instagram regularly – so if you didn’t get a chance to ask Tata your beauty Q this time, no worries. There will be another one soon!

Plus, we wanted to share a special, unique promotional code to all of you who participated!

Enter code ASKTATA at checkout for 15% off any order!*  Shop Here > 

Let the answers begin! 

@Missjuliadk Great questions! The best foods to eat for glowing skin are avocado, organic raw nuts, blueberries and raspberries, apricot and melons, and dark, leafy greens. Best foods to avoid are processed foods, foods with refined sugar, coffee (can dry out the skin), and fried foods. As for your 2nd post, try using our Resurfacing Mask when those breakouts arrive (or just before you think they’re coming), to fight inflammation and reduce acne-causing bacteria. Hormonal acne can be pretty difficult to control, but drink lots of water, avoid the foods above that I mentioned, and make sure you are managing stress well at that time to keep the breakouts at bay.

@sheridanfrench - Hey, great question, you are in a classic situation! I’d start with a cleanser that will multitask as a moisturizer and anti-ager… our Regenerating Cleanser is the way to go. It will exfoliate, soften, brighten, and keep moisture intact which is key for fighting wrinkles. Then, an antiaging serum. This will keep fine lines at bay and boost elasticity and skin resilience. Our Rejuvenating Serum is perfect. Then, the eyes!!! Our Restorative Eye Creme is super key for minimizing dark circles, and fighting fatigue around the eye area. It’s a best-seller and one of my faves. Then a face oil like our Replenishing Nutrient Complex to lock in moisture, give skin a glow and soften. Smells so lovely too. Do this every day, 2x a day, and stay hydrated! xo

@amyschnitzel - Keratosis Pilaris is a chronic condition that is difficult to totally eliminate but easy to control with the proper amount of exfoliation, like with gentle scrubs, softening moisturizers and oils or with glycolic acid treatments. Out of our line, I recommend our Revitalizing Body Oil, which is antibacterial, softening, nourishing, and is great for re-texturizing and balancing the skin!

@Ilbest – Radiance! That’s definitely what we’re all looking for every day :) The key is to exfoliate daily (with a gentle exfoliator; for example a Clarisonic daily would be too much). Every day the skin produces dead skin cells and staying on top of that buildup is the key to keeping the skin looking glowy. Our Regenerating Cleanser is amazing at making the skin glow because it exfoliates while preserving moisture. When the skin is properly moisturized, it reflects light in a way that dry skin doesn’t, and it looks radiant. Be sure to give your skin proper, deep moisture with a moisturizer like our Repairative Moisturizer or a face oil like our Replenishing Nutrient Complex!

@stephaniegeorgianni - Face oil is perfect for you. Some people with oily skin are hesitant to use an oil but they keep sebum production in check and bring skin back to a happy equilibrium, plus it’s healing and will reduce acne spots. Our Replenishing Nutrient Complex is perfect for you!

@mnmsd416 - The Rejuvenating Serum. It’s our hero product and always has been; it delivers amazing results and is perfect for both preventing signs of aging, if you’re young, and treating existing signs through all ages. It’s been called a “life changer” by Vogue Magazine and for good reason. Check it out!

@t94lee – Our Resurfacing Mask is really our best bet for fighting breakouts as they happen, and keeping the skin soft, glowy and fresh. Breakouts are so tough… make sure your diet isn’t promoting them (with refined sugar or fried foods), be sure to sure to hydrate properly to flush out your system, minimize stress, try Zinc, Spirulina or Fish Oil supplements, which can all help. But of course, before trying a new supplement, always talk to a doc. Try a healing product like our Replenishing Nutrient Complex to heal existing spots or scars!

@thezenbaby - Congratulations on the upcoming wedding!! To be sure your skin is perfect and glowy, use our Resurfacing Mask twice a week in the two weeks leading up to the wedding, and use it a day or two before the wedding itself, to leave the skin soft and radiant – skin that is well exfoliated always looks the best under makeup. For a regimen that delivers soft, glowy skin, I’d recommend our Regenerating Cleanser, Rejuvenating Serum and Replenishing Nutrient Complex – and Eye Creme, to fight under-eye bags and shadows. It’s an amazing combination. Your skin will glow guaranteed :) xo

@mrsthomas1115 – this is a great and really important question. Cleansing is probably the most important thing, but be sure to use a cleanser with no soaps, sulfates or detergents, which will strip your skin and make it look dry and tired… our Regenerating Cleanser gives the skin an immediate glow and polishes to soften the skin, plus it doesn’t dry the skin out and leaves it feeling fresh and moisturized. Then, an antiaging product that is a real multitasker, like our Rejuvenating Serum. The combination of these 2 takes just 1 minute and will work wonders.

@thereseprosche - I start the day with a big fruit smoothie with lots of berries plus coconut water, apple, carrot and melon juices, and for lunch I usually have a salad with fish or meat or a pasta dish – whatever we have handy. Usually the same goes for dinner. I’m a really easy eater, and I believe in eating whatever makes you happy and appeals to you… but always going for Organic, preferably local and as fresh as possible. My mid-afternoon always includes a little dark chocolate treat and some herbal tea!

@miss_e_robinson - Absolutely our Resurfacing Mask!  Use the mask twice a week in the two weeks leading up to the wedding, and use it a day or two before the wedding itself, to leave the skin soft and radiant – skin that is well exfoliated always looks the best under makeup. For a regimen that delivers soft, glowy skin, I’d recommend our Regenerating Cleanser, Rejuvenating Serum and Replenishing Nutrient Complex – and Eye Creme, to fight under-eye bags and shadows. It’s an amazing combination. Your skin will glow guaranteed :) xo

@samantharoswell - That is a great idea! We hadn’t thought of that yet. Have you tried our Restorative Eye Creme? It has a lot of the same neuropeptide technology as our Rejuvenating Serum and Elixir Vitae to smooth out fine lines and fight signs of fatigue.

@olyitsa - I love this question. I’m inspired by so much :) Primarily by my mission and the mission of my company, which is to create healthy, totally natural and pure products that give women the gorgeous skin they’ve always wanted, and therefore improve their lives and help people be their happiest, best selves. That really sums it up! As for your 2nd Q, I recommend the following: Regenerating Cleanser for an antiaging daily clarifying cleanser, the Rejuvenating Serum as a multitasking anti-ager, the Repairative Moisturizer for deep moisture, the Restorative Eye Creme, and Replenishing Nutrient Complex.

@shappyshop - For fine lines, definitely our Rejuvenating Serum or Elixir Vitae – both are amazing antiaging multitaskers and have the latest line smoothing technology, including neuropeptide ingredients that reduce muscle contractions happening just under the skin’s surface. And for pores, definitely our Resurfacing Mask! It gives the skin an instant glow and really minimizes pores, I think you’ll love it! xo

@thecuratedhouse - Hi Sarah! Sunscreen will be out in 2015 :) thanks for waiting patiently… we are working on it and it’s going to be amazing. As for melasma, we aren’t working on anything specifically for this condition but our Concentrated Brightening Serum would definitely help with dark spots and discoloration, as it tackles all forms of hyperpigmentation in the skin and addresses the entire cascade of events in the skin that leads to a dark spot or dark area!

@lion_k92 - I had no idea I wanted to be a beauty entrepreneur until I realized that I couldn’t find the skincare products that I was looking for anywhere in the world. I wanted real results, with zero synthetic chemicals, and I figured I had to make it myself. It really became my passion – I wanted to solve this problem!

@izzyrizz – Thanks for the love Kevin ;) you have great questions… oversized pores are tough but our Resurfacing Mask is a game changer. Also, exfoliate daily to keep the daily buildup of dead skin to a minimum, since that can really contribute to blackheads. Our Regenerating Cleanser is best for that. xo!

@sbpeesh - So glad you love the Love Potion! I do too. I think hair products are in the future… but probably not within the next year. But it’s great to get that feedback, so thank you! As for help in the chest or any body area that needs some support, dry brushing is great for boosting microcirculation and supporting the collagen structure of the skin, plus our Boosted Contouring Serum works anywhere on the body and lifts and firms all areas. I particularly love to use it on my neck and jawline area. xo!

@anummufeed - I think your best bet is to exfoliate regularly to reduce the possibility of those blackheads of forming, by clearing the surface of dead skin… and try the Resurfacing Mask to minimize pores overall.

@jessicaaakaitlyn - Problematic skin with no obvious cause can be so tough! Managing stress is a natural next-step, or making sure your regimen involves products with natural salicylic acid (like our Resurfacing Mask) to fight bacteria. Our Replenishing Nutrient Complex is great for healing existing acne spots or scars – try getting a deep cleanse facial with Blue Light therapy, which can really help reduce acne at the source. Hope this helps, xo!

@lizthegreenspirit - Exfoliate daily to reduce the buildup of dead skin cells, and use the Resurfacing Mask weekly. It’s super effective at minimizing pores!

@lizzyhnolan - Yep! Stay tuned in 2015 for SPF! ;)

@frenchgirlnyc – Yes, you’ve hit on one of my main philosophies – internal skincare is just as important as your external regimen! Your diet, sleep, stress, hydration all plays a huge part. I don’t think keeping your hair away from your face makes too much of a difference, unless it is super-unclean!

@ohmissmarie - I think it depends on you specific skincare needs, as our products are wonderful for skin of all types and races. As for new-mom skin, I’d recommend antiaging products that support elasticity and deep hydration as well as overall balance! Our Refreshing Cleanser, Rejuvenating Serum and Replenishing Nutrient Complex might be perfect for you. Congrats on motherhood! xo

@adioritz4 - Great questions, and the answer is yes, people who begin to use our line usually notice a difference in the radiance, vitality and texture of their skin within a few days of consistent use. The skin immediately looks healthier and more youthful. We’ve had so many wonderful testimonials from people who are so happy with the results and who have never seen it before with any other skincare. It’s worth a try! Our product that is best for dark circles is the Restorative Eye Creme. It has an ingredient called Eyebright flower that literally brightens those dark spots, while boosting microcirculation that can cause that dark stagnation. Try doing a light eye massage as you apply the Creme to boost flow in the area and wake the eyes up. xo!

@ekita27 - Absolutely the Resurfacing Mask for a little acne, and the Repairative Moisturizer for dry skin! (Plus for a little extra glow, the Replenishing Nutrient Complex is amazing) xo !!

@sam_wise9 - I’d recommend sunscreen and a hat to protect your sensitive skin, plus the Concentrated Brightening Serum is our main treatment for spots. That is really our only product that addresses hyperpigmentation, and it’s a general anti-ager as well so it will keep your skin looking gorgeous and youthful for the long-term!

@eantequera - Here are a few ideas: eat foods that are high in nutrients and minerals that promote firm skin, like berries, Brazil nuts, and pomegranate juice. Exfoliate with dry-brushing which boosts microcirculation which can help with firmness, and stay hydrated with lots of filtered water. And of course exercise is a must. Our Boosted Contouring serum is amazing to firm the body, but as it’s a small bottle it might not be best for a large area of the skin. Our Fortifying Body Lotion strengthens and tones as well with Gotu Kola and lots of antioxidant ingredients!

@leelaspics - Try our Resurfacing Mask just before the outbreak arrives and then during it, to reduce redness, irritation and as a spot treatment. Our Replenishing Nutrient Complex is super effective to reduce scarring, it’s a super healing facial oil and makes a world of difference. Definitely try it!

@monicamcilroy – I start my day with my children! Waking them up and greeting the day together is the best way to get energized. My first meal is a big fruit juice smoothie blend that we make at home. For my skin, I use my Regenerating Cleanser, Hydrating Floral Essence, Elixir Vitae, Repairative Moisturizer and Replenishing Nutrient Complex, which sounds like it would take forever but it’s really just 2 minutes. Then I head to the office and my day begins. My nightly regimen is the same, but I include my Restorative Eye Creme as well.


*Offer valid through 11:59 pm PST June 26th 2014 on only. Not valid at retail stores or department store locations. Offer may not be used in combination with any other offer or discount. Offer is not applicable to purchases made prior to today or after 11:59 pm PST June 26th 2014. Offer is subject to change without notice. All purchases are subject to bank authorization prior to processing. Only authorized purchases will be processed and shipped. We reserve the right to cancel any order due to unauthorized, altered, or ineligible use of offer and to modify or cancel this promotion due to system errors or unforeseen problems.

Lifestyle, Photos   //  05/21/14
“Never Stop to Think… Do I Have a Place for This?”

So, you think you’re a collector?

Well, meet the subjects of Mary Randolph Carter’s new book: Never Stop to Think… Do I Have a Place for This?. In this book, Carter explores the homes of some very cool and quirky individuals who all share a love of creating totally unique and very full living spaces, by collecting items (antiques, furniture, art, pillows, books, et. al) of whimsy, charm, sentimentality and priceless style. Flipping through the pages of this book is like strolling through a folk art museum, but one that’s been expertly arranged to accommodate the life and movements of families, guests and practical lifestyles.


Mary Randolph  Carter

And about halfway through, you’ll stumble on a full photo feature of Tata’s Vermont home and guest-house! Below, we’ve shared some of the photos that Carter took of Tata and the homes. A quote from Tata’s feature:

When she first stepped into the smaller farmhouse, now a guesthouse for overflow friends and their families, Tata started filling it like the pages of those childhood scrapbooks. She had no plan– ‘I just allowed whatever I was finding to find a place in the house.’ Her vision was to make it ‘very country… and all antiques.’ She didn’t want anything that was new. 

She collaged the walls with primitive paintings, vintage signs, folk art, and her favorite collection of silhouettes. ‘ I bought one, and then I found another, and then I couldn’t stop,’ she confesses. She forages for stuff in local places like Tom’s Treasures, and other haunts farther north in Burlington and Shelburne and on road trips to Maine. ‘I buy everywhere I go. The hunt is never over. The houses are never done.’”


Here’s an interview Tata conducted with Carter that has left us feeling SO inspired to get out and start junking!

Tata: Carter, I am a huge fan of your books. I love to collect them and give them as gifts. This year, you have a new book coming out. Tell me what it’s about and how it’s different from your other books?

Carter: Thanks, Tata. You and I have always had a bond about living with the things that we love—our family and our collections! That’s why the story of your collections (all 16 pages!) is in my new book—Never Stop To Think…Do I Have A Place For This? Though all my books are really about the same thing—my love of Junk, this one focuses more on the joy of collections. My philosophy and that shared by the 17 collectors in the book, including you, is that “more is better!” and if you really love something–one wooden chicken or twenty—you’ll find a place for them! The big hurdle that always seems to stop people from acquiring something that they love is that wretched question—“Do I really need this?” When it comes to need, let’s face it, we really need very little—food, a roof over our heads, and maybe a pair of shoes, but do we need to collect another ironstone pitcher patchwork quilt, cookie jar, toy truck, or whatever your passion is? As I write in my book—“Maybe the essentials like food, shelter, clothing come first, but let us not forget to feed, protect and embellish the life inside—our creative spirit—our imagination.”

Tata: How are you celebrating the launch?  Many of our blog readers live in major cities. If you’re going on a book tour, can you please share dates?

Carter: The book launches on May 6th and starting then there will be a series of book signings I will join around the country. Love to see any of you that can drop by! Here are a few: > Saturday, May 17th at Anthropologie in Richmond, Virginia—9200 Stony Point Parkway, from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M.

>Wednesday, May 21st at Anthropologie in Philadelphia, 1801 Walnut Street at the corner of 18th, from 5:30 to 8 P.M.

>Saturday, May 31st at Hunter Bee in Millerton, New York, 21 Main Street, 4 to 6 P.M.

>Saturday, June 7th at Antiques on Jackson, New Orleans, 6-8 P.M

>Saturday, June 21st at The Hudson Mercantile, 202 Allen Street, Hudson, New York, 3-6 P.M.

Tata: You’ve been quoted saying that “clutter is the poetry of our homes” and I love that. What influences in your life helped you develop your aesthetic and perspective on what makes a home soulful?

Carter: I do believe that clutter is the poetry of our homes—those amazing treasures from children’s art work to photographs to shells, sculptures, flags, jewelry, toy soldiers—that add character to the rooms we live in and share with friends and family! To me, the soul of a home is in those personal touches that reveal the character of those that live in it, that flourish in it, that are inspired by it! I love walking into a home like Tata and Henry’s where stacks of books are lovingly piled on tables, in the shell of an old TV set, in an industrial storage unit. Where the sofa is afloat with a million little pillows and layers of handmade quilts. Where a ceiling twinkles with dangling handmade stars and folk art paintings mix naturally with the children’s artwork.

I am and have been and continue to be (every day!!!) inspired by so many things. Growing up the oldest of nine in a 17th century farmhouse in Virginia certainly had an influence. Our life was chaotic and fun and always about welcoming friends into our home and making them feel like family. So my love of old things, vintage pieces, one of a kind primitives go back to those days in Virginia, but also the energy and bohemian spirit of New York City! I love mixing old and new (though mostly old!), I love textiles, wooden cupboard, chairs, chairs and more chairs, paintings—mostly collected from thrift shops, mostly landscapes and portraits. I have also worked for Ralph Lauren for 25 years and that has certainly grounded or freed the way I express the way I live.

Tata: The question I am most excited to ask… what does your beauty vanity look like? Do you have one?

Carter: Did you know I was once the Beauty & Health Editor of Mademoiselle magazine? You should have seen my beauty vanity then! I experimented with everything. I think I was the one who urged our Editor-in-Chief to change my title from Beauty Editor to Beauty & Health Editor. I really believed then, back in the seventies, that real beauty started with good skin care that was related to diet, exercise and all the things we take for granted today. Today my beauty vanity would probably disappoint you. Of course, the cabinet itself is an old mirrored cupboard that hangs in my bathroom filled mostly with a few basic products and lots of little cakes of soap that I collect when I travel.

Tata: What do you consider one of the most underrated elements of design when making a room come together?

Carter: I don’t know if it’s underrated, but I think the way we light our rooms is one of the most important ingredients to creating ambience and a mood. I love windows that flood a room with sunlight during the day and candles that set a mood at night. I love the light of an open fire. I recently bought a little electric fireplace for my son Sam’s apartment in New York City. He has an old mantle nailed on the wall behind it and like me; he loves dotting it with votive candles when he entertains. Recently I’ve discovered battery operated votive candles that even flicker. Though I will never give up on real candles, there is a safety value to the electric variety, and I’ve got to admit they’re pretty effective, and avoid the mess of dripping wax—though truthfully I must admit I kind of like that it.

Tata: Is there a top tip you can share when it comes to shopping at flea markets or thrifting?

Carter: Make a list of things you’re looking for, carry some cash and checks, wash n’ dries are nice to have, scour the place and see what’s what before you plunk your money down on the first thing you see…be a polite haggler, but always ask, “Can you do any better.” Dress comfortably, take couple of big bags or a little wagon to haul your finds in…I could go on forever. Never stop to think when confronted with something that you can’t live without—“Do I have a place for this?”

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Tata, Grace Paloma (left) and the author, Carter, in Tata’s garden

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All photos courtesy of Mary Randolph Carter, and photo credit to Carter Berg. You can shop for the new (and so wonderful!) book here. 

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