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Darcy Miller Transcript

New Ways for the Holidays with Darcy Miller

Kerry Diamond: Hey, Bombesquad, welcome back to New Ways For The Holidays, our holiday miniseries on Radio Cherry Bombe. I'm Kerry Diamond, your host and founder of Cherry Bombe.

Over the last few weeks, I chatted with some of our favorite entertaining experts to get their tips and tricks on décor, cooking, virtual celebrations, and more. On today's episode, we have none other than Darcy Miller, party expert, illustrator, and author of Celebrate Everything: Fun Ideas to Bring Your Parties to Life.

Darcy is a graduate of Martha Stewart University! I'm kidding. There is no such thing, but she did work for Martha Stewart for a long time. Imagine if there really was a Martha Stewart University. I might actually enroll in that. Anyway, so, Darcy is a wealth of entertaining information and inspiration. She joined me, virtually of course, to talk about all things holiday, and she had a ton of great advice, including how to jazz up your Zoom celebrations with favors, games, themes, and more.

If you'd love a little more Cherry Bombe in your life, you should check out Cherry Bombe magazine. It's a gorgeous print magazine, if I say so myself, with great stories, beautiful photography, illustrations, recipes, all on lush paper stock, for you paper nerds out there. Our latest issue, featuring Paola Velez of Bakers Against Racism on the cover, is now available. Visit Cherry Bombe.com for more. Thank you to the Wines of Sicily for sponsoring today's episode, and supporting our New Ways For The Holidays miniseries. Sicilian wines are terrific all year round, but especially during the holidays. Here's a word from Sicilian winemaker, Gaetana Jacono, on what makes Sicilian wines perfect for this holiday season.

Gaetana Jacono: Ciao, Cherry Bombe listeners. My name is Gaetana Jacono, and I am a sixth generation winemaker from Sicily. Our vineyards embody the natural beauty of a region known as the Bidini domain in Sicily, and we are so blessed to have beautiful nature and beautiful weather. Not to mention the amazing historic buildings on our property. As a part of Wines of Sicily, a group of more than 480 wineries from across the island, I believe tradition is very important, as is sustainability and modernity.

So, go ahead and pair our Sicilian wines with your favorite culinary creation, and be a part of our story. And the next time you are at your favorite locker wine shop, look for Frappato, our beautiful ruby-colored wine with intense aromas of violet spice, and yes, cherries. Or, if you love white wine, look for Grillo, the traditional Sicilian grape loved by the island's new generation of Sicilian winemakers. From all of us, Wines of Sicily, cin cin. Visit winesofsicily.com to learn more. Ciao!

Kerry Diamond: Now, here's my conversation with Darcy Miller.

I'm so excited to finally have you on the show, and what perfect timing. I did not know one of your sayings or slogans is DIT, as opposed to DIY, do it together.

Darcy Miller: For me, that's a lot of what it's about. Yes, you want to make things but you want to enjoy the process and make memories while you're making.

Kerry Diamond:Well, you are also the queen of DIY, so DIY and DIT. So that brings me to my first question for you, Darcy. You are one of the most creative people I know when it comes to entertaining. So, were you born this way?

Darcy Miller: Well, I would say that my parents are really creative and I grew up in a very creative house. My mother was always making every birthday party invitation, every, and actually, my mother is still in my book and everything. It's her handwriting, the calligraphy.

Kerry Diamond: Is it really?

Darcy Miller: In her handwriting. And growing up when I was in grade school, I grew up in Manhattan, and when I was in grade school, she worked for Diana Vreeland at the Metropolitan Museum of-

Kerry Diamond: She did? Darcy!

Darcy Miller: So she'd be like, "Sorry you have to come with me," I was doing the homework on the floor at the Metropolitan while she was getting ready for the costume shows. So, I definitely grew up in a creative household. My mom always, and still to today, all her holiday tables and everything. She has great style.

My dad worked at the Empire State Building, and so I used to go to 39th Street to the bead store. There was a bead store called Shiru that was really good between 5th and 6th, and my mom used to take me there. And then when I was in seventh grade, I had like a barrette and favor business, and I made barrettes and I sold them to this little store on Madison called Stone Free for Kids. I put them in a Ziploc bag. And so I feel like I was kind of always enjoying the process of being creative.

Kerry Diamond: You're such a New York kid.

Darcy Miller: That's true.

Kerry Diamond: So when did you start organizing your own parties?

Darcy Miller: I think it just happened organically. When I was at, I went to University of Pennsylvania, and when I was in college, I used to... I started actually a party favor business and I used to make T-shirts for fraternity parties with a friend of mine. And then when I graduated, I was helping other people with parties. And I just always loved to do it. And some people actually say like, "Oh, your parties," I'm actually not a party planner. I'm not in the service business. I leave it to my incredibly talented and patient friends who are event planners, which is a job I admire, but I do not do myself.

Kerry Diamond: That is a skill.

Darcy Miller: That is a whole other career. I really enjoy the process of coming up with and creating the celebration, and so, many of the celebrations that I share, whether they're in my books, or the website, or by social, are celebrations that I've actually been part of. So whether it was my kids birthday parties, or I threw a 70th birthday dinner for Martha, or my parents' anniversary, they're all kind of personal parties. I threw a bridal shower for Dylan Lauren, from Dylan's Candy Bar, that was obviously a candy themed shower. I really get into a theme.

Kerry Diamond: That's good to know, and good segue into the next question, because you mentioned Martha. So, before we start talking about the holidays, we can't not talk about Martha, because you worked for her for a very long time. Can you tell us how you wound up in Martha's universe?

Darcy Miller: Yes. So, I graduated in 1991, and as I said, I had this party favor business and my parents said, "Well, you have to get a real job. You have to work for someone else. You need to get some experience." So I had this plan that I was going to go work for a year or two and then just have my party favor business. At the time, Martha Stewart Living was launching, and it was in one of the first few issues, and I started as an editorial assistant, and I think I was employee number 13, and... But at the time, it was just a test with timing, so it was four times a year and it was super, super lean. So I would say my job responsibilities included answering the phone, ordering office supplies, dying Easter eggs, pulling clothes for Martha for the Today Show. It just was very startup.

I always remember one Christmas vacation, they wanted someone to be there to answer the phone so I stayed at the office and sat just to answer the phone between Christmas and New Year's, and I think not one person called except for on Christmas eve, on the 24th someone called and they're were like, "Hi, I'm looking for Martha. I have my ham in the oven and it's not... It says that you cook it this long, but I don't know, it doesn't look ready." And I have to say that I like to bake and I like to entertain, I'm not a big cook. So I was like, "Put the person on hold." I called my mom, I'm like, "Mom, what do I do? What do I tell her?"

But it was just one of those... I think it's a funny story and also, it just was very much about being part of a startup. And still to today, I think that a lot of us who kind of grew up at Martha Stewart, I think that I always say that. I also never went to art school, and I wanted to go to art school, but I never got back to doing that either.

Kerry Diamond: Well, that is a runaway train. You mentioned in '91, it was just a test coming out four times a year, but that very quickly went on to become one of the biggest success stories in magazines.

Darcy Miller: Yes. And Martha, of course, already had her entertaining book and she was already established. She was already doing things with Kmart, so, but it was the beginning of the magazine publishing. And actually, one other funny story is I had two actually interviews when I was looking for job. One was to be Anna Wintour's assistant, which actually at the time, I was not the least bit nervous about. I think I'd be more nervous today if I had to interview with her. But I was like, I think maybe ignorance is bliss. I had just graduated from college. I was like, "Oh, I could work at a fashion magazine, or I really like this magazine, because it's all the stuff I love. It's home and decorating and crafts," and I interviewed with Gael Towey, who was the creative director at Martha, and she hired me to be her assistant. And then I kind of did a little bit of everything like all of us did, and then I became an assistant editor, an associate editor, a senior associate editor, a senior editor, and then we started Weddings and I became the Weddings editor.

Kerry Diamond: You were editor in chief of Martha Stewart Weddings.

Darcy Miller: I was editorial director of Martha Stewart Weddings, and I remember '95, I worked on Weddings and I was very single. Definitely did not have any boyfriend and I thought, "How can I be the Weddings editor? What do I know?"

Kerry Diamond: I didn't realize that when you took over Weddings, you were single.

Darcy Miller: Oh, for a very long time. And actually, Martha told me that I better not get married, because then I was going to maybe lose interest in it. And then at some point, she goes, "You're getting old, you'd better get married," and she fixed me up my husband. But in '95, when we were working on Weddings, the wedding industry was totally a different industry. Everything was much more cookie cutter and when I think about... And I did say to Martha, "Can you leave my business card to 'style editor'?" I think at the time I was the style editor at Living. And I was like, "I don't know if I really want a business card that says Weddings editor." I was like, "Not the best thing to tell a blind date." What do you do?

Kerry Diamond: I do think people might not remember how revolutionary that magazine was when it came out. It was a huge deal, and I do think you helped contribute to making Weddings a lot more individualized.

Darcy Miller: Thank you. I do think we were a part of but it's a immensely talented industry filled with a lot of talents, and I would say that when I think about the first issue, actually it wasn't the first, the second issue, we said "Oh, well, maybe we should..." The first issue, we set up three fake weddings in a studio. I put trees, a tent, everything. I remember Susan Holland was the caterer, I just remember Ron Ben-Israel made a cake. It was a crazy town, and then the next one, we were like, "Well, why don't we shoot real people's weddings and then maybe we can actually help a little bit and help with some ideas and bring some details."

And I remember, one of the first ones was a bride who wore a chartreuse dress. And I remember saying to, I was close with Kate Spade, and I said to Kate Spade, "I need a bridal handbag," and she said, "Do you want white?" I said, "No, actually, do you have a chartreuse one and we could put a white gardenia? It'll feel very..." At the time, I think no one was like, "Wait, a green bag for a bride?" And likewise Wendy Kromer, who was one of the early contributors, who's brilliant, you have to check out her website - she's just an incredibly talented artist when it comes to sugar. I remember the conversation, "Should the cake be green?" And we're like, "Yes. It does not need to be white with columns."

And I would say everything within reason, I think for me, the balance for me always would, I was doing these weddings, it's like you really want someone's personality to shine through and you want people to leave a party and say, "That feels like them," not that it feels like the designer, or it feels like you want to say like, I always say the greatest compliment people gave me about our wedding is that it was so Darcy and Andy.

So, you want to fill it with personalization but there's the fine balance of also not overkill when it comes to a theme and of color. And it's always that balance of giving it the personality without shoving it in your face. For me, you shouldn't really even notice it. It should just be something that you feel and look, and... So Weddings, yeah, so we went from two times a year to four times a year to six times a year, and then as Martha had the TV show, we started to do wedding programming. We did wedding specials.

And I always say that I definitely worked hard, but it's also, sometimes in life, a little luck too. I ended up... And I actually didn't work Martha Stewart right away. I graduated in June and I spent about seven months looking for the right job and I couldn't find something I was really interested in, and so I was doing my party favors, I was living at home after college doing my party favors business, and I decided I was going to get all this experience that I could to try to figure out what I wanted to do.

So I worked for chef at an investment bank three days a week for lunchtime, and I worked for the party planner, Robert Isabell, at night, picking thorns off flowers and lighting votive candles, and I did windows at Bloomingdale's. I basically just offered to intern, volunteer, freelance, whatever to get experience, and then I ended up getting the job at Martha. But as I said it was hard work but it was also a little luck that it ended up... It was a startup, and as not all startups end up making it.

Kerry Diamond: No, but what a wild ride.

Darcy Miller: But it was fun, and I've to say, I don't know if you've seen promoted this year is the 30th anniversary of Martha Stewart Living, and when I look at some of the old pictures, I keep on meaning to go through to find some old pictures to post, but when I think about all the crazy experiences. I think the thing that I have a passion for is the creativity, and it was such an incredibly passionate group of people who were passionate about everything creative.

Kerry Diamond: I know this is a hard question to answer, but what were some of the key things you learned from Martha?

Darcy Miller: Obviously, I learned a lot. I'm trying to think of specific things. I mean, I learned a lot of, I don't want to say superficial, but there's tons of little things about cutting flowers, about taking care of your linens, about ironing, especially in the beginning when we were so small and we were all on shoots together all the time, there would be shoots that it would just be, I would go with Martha to, we went to a Peony farm with Gael in Champaign, Illinois, and it was the three of us and she was like, "Here, cut them lower," or, "Cut them at an angle," or whatever it was. So I feel like I just, it's kind of like homeschool 101 working for Martha. And she really does know so much about so many different things, which is what you think of her but it is really true. She knows as much about the paint as she does about the soil as she does about the butter.

Kerry Diamond: She's a sponge, that Martha.

Darcy Miller: Yeah.

Kerry Diamond: So Darcy, let's jump ahead to the December holidays, because it's December already, unbelievable. Which ones do you celebrate, personally.

Darcy Miller: Well, I love holiday time just in general. I feel like starting with, after Thanksgiving, it's just that whole time of year and we celebrate Hanukkah at home but I will say that the for me, I always decorate for the holidays. I don't necessarily decorate in a Hanukkah theme. But my birthday is in December, and when I was growing up, my mom always made the cutest decorations for my birthday night. She still has these little kind of vintage cardboard houses with some fake snow and she used to put batting down on the floor and some white paper, and my friends would sit around and those were my birthday parties.

And I've always loved to decorate and when I had my own apartment, I would put some greenery or something up, but I have to say that especially since I've had kids, I really love decorating the house and it usually involves, I have some glitter houses and little animals, and I think for, and some little twinkle lights, and it's just kind of a festive collection. And I have some Nutcracker stuff. My oldest daughter danced in the Nutcracker for a bunch of years at Lincoln Center so I became very Nutcracker theme focused for a couple of years.

But one of the things that I was going to say about the holidays and decorating and all this is that for me, it's also about the experience that I share with my kids, and I have to say that, I do think that sometimes you think like, "Oh, it's a lot of work," or, but I do think that it is very much a part of what my mother had kind of instilled in me and that my kids appreciate and sometimes, my youngest daughter said to me before Thanksgiving, like, "When are we putting out," or before Halloween. This was a weird Halloween this year. You weren't really having trick-or-treaters, you're... How much am I really decking out our foyer?

And Pippa said to me, "When are we putting up the Halloween decorations?" And it's so much a part of just kind of the joy, to me, of growing up and living and always the decorations are a mix of things we make, things we buy, things we collect. And the doormen in my building, probably don't appreciate all the bins, but I have bins that I take from the basement upstairs, because, and each year I was like, "Oh, I've got to get rid of some stuff," because each year, some little thing gets added. It's like when those bins come out and you take the stuff out, it's just part of just the emotion of that time of year.

And we have that whether it's holidays, or birthdays, whenever it's someone's birthday in our house, we decorate the breakfast table, and we do birthday banners, or when someone goes away, we make signs for the door to welcome them home. And it doesn't take, for me, being someone who's super crafty... It's more just doing what feels right to you and the experience of it, and I think that on Darcy Miller Designs, on our website and our Instagram, we're very focused always on giving people ideas that have a range of if you're really crafty, you can go all out, but we do a ton of downloadable templates that are easy, because for me, it's really important to help people to celebrate in an easy way, in whatever that means.

Kerry Diamond: So Darcy, when we were emailing earlier and talking, you had said a lot of folks are reaching out about virtual celebration ideas. Everyone's talking about, are they going to do their holidays on Zoom?

Darcy Miller: Right.

Kerry Diamond: Instagram Live, what whatever form they take. What are you recommending to folks? How do you make those kinds of celebrations special?

Darcy Miller: Right. Well I would say first, yes, it is still important to celebrate and I think that, I just want to, before we even talk about it, I want to say that I think that this is such a weird time in the world that sometimes people feel like, "Oh, I'm not even in the mood. I'm not going to bother to put up something in my house. I'm not going to bother." This isn't the year, but that's even more the reason, and I'm not talking about have a big party. Obviously, no one's having a big party. But celebrating to me isn't about a party, it's about joy and togetherness, and whether that's on a computer screen or something that you send in the mail, or doing something with immediate family, or your pod, everyone is finding the people who they're getting through this time with.

So, I would say two things. There's the celebrating in person with a smaller group and then there's the virtual celebrating, and I would say when it comes to celebrating in person, there are ways you can still make it festive, and you can still make it special. I mean, we have a lot of, and I mentioned this too before, but little cute paper templates that you can put on a small champagne bottle. And one of them is a cheers, one of them is a new year's resolution, one of them is you wish.

So, if you were having some friends over and you don't want to be obviously setting up a bar and everyone touching each other's drinks, it's as simple as getting a bunch of little champagne splits and some gold straws, and make that a game and make it a toast. And on our website, have actually a little kit, a DIY kit that we kind of inspire you to send someone a little champagne, a DIY champagne cocktail. So you could send them bitters, a lemon, a little toast card, and that's something you could put together. You could buy a bunch of stuff, put them together, and drop them off at friends houses, or for your neighbor, and then you can do it on Zoom.

Kerry Diamond: You've also got hot chocolate and hot toddy kits, right?

Darcy Miller: Exactly, we have a hot toddy kit. And I feel like these kits are really fun because it gives people the kind of, and of course, like everything, we give you the ideas, but then make it your own. But we have a little hot toddy kit, which gives you actually the recipe and gives you a couple little add-ons, if you want to make it extra sweet or a little pepper if you make it spicy, or a tea bag if you want to make it non-alcoholic.

I think that some of these are just easy things that you can put together or that you and your friends can say like, "Okay, Sunday, five o'clock, we're having hot toddies together." And I have to say, some of the virtual celebrations that we've been doing through the year, I feel like have really resonated because there are so many fun ideas that you can do whether you are actually in person or not.

We did all different ideas for a baby shower. Someone on our team had a baby, Jesse, and so we did a baby shower. And then we ordered on Amazon, we each sent her our favorite kid's book, and then we did a Zoom and we all went around and gave her one thing that we remember from our childhood that we enjoyed. And then, we have some downloadable templates for some baby blocks straws and a Zoom backdrop, and... But again, it's really just about making sure you have the time to check in on each other and doing one extra little thing. There's so many games you can play online.

Kerry Diamond: Yeah, let's stay on the Zoom subject for a minute because they can be a little deadly, sometimes. Where do you even start?

Darcy Miller: I think first of all, I, of course, go for the visual. I always think it's fun to do a fun Zoom backdrop, and we have a holiday one that goes with the gold stars and everything. But pick where, listen, if you guys are all used to traveling somewhere or you all... Go to Paris for your Zoom backdrop and say, "Hey, guys, we're going to have a Parisian holiday party," and just bring something, and everyone can bring, someone could be eating a croissant, someone could, you name it and just put the Eiffel Tower on your Zoom backdrop. Just make it fun, or play charades with French actors, or, there's so many fun things.

I would say that one thing I always advise is to be a little organized ahead of time about what you're doing and the timing. It does help if there's someone, I don't want to call them an MC, and of course it depends how many people you're doing it with. If you're doing it with your two, three, college roommates, then it's not necessary, but especially if you're getting kind of a group together.

We did a really fun one. There's so many fun mixologists. There's this great company, I don't know if you know them, they're named Muddling Memories, and they were one of our first Meet the Makers, which is a series we have, and we did a mixology class with them, and they sent a kit to everyone and we all mixed. And then, what was great is that, again, each of us went around, and I think that you do want to make sure, I think length of time is important too because what you don't want is that people are like, "Oh, I have to run now." It's almost better that you decide and you tell people ahead of time, "Do you guys want to Zoom from 5:00 to 6:00 on Thursday," and then people can set the time. And maybe you decide that you guys are going to, ahead of time, all bring something or share a photo or all share... For this baby shower, we also did where everyone brought a picture of them as a baby and we put them up and then guessed who was who.

I mean, there are so many fun things that you can do on Zoom. You can do a, there's so many of those apps that you can do a poll, and that you can just put up so you could put five true or false about me this year, what I did during the pandemic. I cleaned my closet, I called my ex-boyfriend.

Kerry Diamond: I'm going to ask a dumb question. You said there are so many apps you can use for Zoom. I'm going to confess, I didn't even know that was the thing.

Darcy Miller: I was more talking about the apps for Q&A, they're apps that, if you can do and I actually did this on a Zoom, and I was, no I did not set it up, I will admit I did not set it up. It was at a class Zoom that we had with actually my daughter's class and it was a way to get to know the new parents, and I'll have to get back to you, I could ask the class mom who organized it how she did it, but it was so fun because they put up four things, two were true and two were false, and you had to guess. It was like, "I've run a marathon." And it was just such a fun game. And you would go on and click it, and then the real answers would come up, and it would show 50% of people thought these were true. It was just super fun.

Kerry Diamond: I love it. I mean, 2021 is absolutely going to be the year of the Zoom creative industry.

Darcy Miller: Totally.

Kerry Diamond: With all these people coming up with cool things to do on Zoom. Let's talk about your website for a second. You've mentioned it a few times, Darcy. It is a treasure trove of ideas. So, if you're hearing Darcy mention all these things, and you're like, "Oh, I'm just not that creative. What can I do?" Well, you can go to Darcy's website. So, can you just tell us a little bit about what people can find on your site?

Darcy Miller: Yes, thank you, you're a very good publicist.

Kerry Diamond: This is legit, people. Go to Darcy's website, because you will just come out, even if you are creative, you will come away with some great ideas.

Darcy Miller: Well, thank you, and the website is darcymillerdesigns.com, and we really focus on, as I said, inspiring people to celebrate. And so, the content, we hit all the holidays, or not all of course, I wish we could do all of them, but we hit some of the bigger holidays that are more commonly celebrated, like New Year's, Valentine's Day, Thanksgiving, and then we also have just general celebration content, where again, as I said, projects that you can do to make people feel good.

One of my favorite things we did during the pandemic was this brownie pan. We give you the stencil letters to take just sugar, you can take powdered sugar on brownies, whether you buy them or you make them. And one of the phrases said, "Here for you," one said, "Thank you, thank you." But it kind of was inspired by what do you do for your neighbor who's alone, for your aunt who you can't see, for your doctor who is working around the clock. And so, we usually try to have enough kind of general ideas that can be used. That could be used for a teacher.

What I love, and I said this before, is to see how people interpret it. And I often see people taking one template that was really actually for Mother's Day, and they're using it for a birthday, or we have a really cute crown that we give you all the paper gems and you can write words on it, and it could be used for a bachelorette, it could be used for holidays.

Kerry Diamond: And Darcy, these are all things you can download for free.

Darcy Miller: Exactly.

Kerry Diamond: Yeah, so not only is it super useful and creative, but these are all free resources for folks. So, thank you for putting that out into the world, Darcy.

Darcy Miller: Oh, well as I said, I like to celebrate everything, so I like to share that joy and I hope that others get joy from celebrating everything. And I think that when people say, "Why do you love parties so much?" It's not actually the parties that I like. I think it's about doing things that make people feel good, and I think that specially now more than ever, we really need to support each other, take care of each other, and make each other feel good, because everyone kind of needs it these days.

Kerry Diamond: Amen. You also have two very cool collaborations I spotted on your website. You have one with Lennox, these beautiful plates that you're doing. What's that all about?

Darcy Miller: Well, that's, again, my love for entertaining. I have a dessert set of plates which have my artwork, and I think that some people don't realize sometimes when they see things on the website, they say, "Oh, who's the illustrator," but I'm the illustrator for the artwork. And of course, I have an amazing team who works for me and with me, and as I said, collaborates. I love, I feel like you can never go wrong with a little set of gold plates because they go with everything, and for me, going back to making people feel good, they just feel special. And even if...

A lot of people say today, "Oh, I don't need fine china. I don't use fine china," but china today is made, so use it, that's what it's made for. Most of it goes in the dishwasher. And I think that that's what, and especially since we've all been home so much, we know we're all spending a lot of time at home, that why not put breakfast on a plate with some little cool designs, and why not set the table for dinner with a plate that has a little sparkle? I just think that all that makes you feel good.

Kerry Diamond: Absolutely, and count me as one of those people who did not know you were the illustrator behind all those things. For as long as I've known you, I have your book, I didn't know you did all those illustrations.

Darcy Miller: Yes.

Kerry Diamond: Your creativity knows no bounds, Darcy Miller.

Darcy Miller: I like to do it, and as I said, I don't do it alone. No one can do anything alone. I work with incredibly talented, other team members from Darcy Miller Designs, and then I also, I love being inspired by others. I just posted yesterday, some little pie cookies that were from Jenny Cookies. I don't know, if you know her. She's amazing. For me, one of the fun parts is getting to support other small businesses.

Kerry Diamond: So you also have another collab, a wallpaper collab, and speaking of all the time we're spending at home, I'm sure a lot of folks are looking around at their walls and wondering, "I'm looking at these walls a lot. Do I need to change them up?" Tell us about your wallpaper collab.

Darcy Miller: Well, that was actually, it was inspired by when we moved into our Darcy Miller Designs studio. There were all these different things I wanted on the walls. And so I reached out to Chasing Paper, which was a company that I was always a fan of, and I said, "Can you make me some wallpaper and some decals," and they're like, "Sure," and then we were like, "Well, maybe we should sell them." And so, it ranges from everything from wallpaper with my artwork, there's a gray, there's a white, and then also fun decals from an illustrated frame that you, it's like instant décor. It's great for a dorm room, it's great for a kid's room, it's great for your office. Without actually having to nail frames up, you can just tape a little something up. You can make a whole gallery wall. I'm actually in the process of making my whole play room at home covered with a gallery wall of these illustrated frames.

And then we also have a window that looks at a view of New York City and a view of Paris. So if you want to travel and you cannot travel, you can have a big view of Paris or New York, my illustrations, on your wall. And then we have, just, there's just all sorts of fun, different... We've got post-its with my artwork that say, "Don't forget, life is short, celebrate everything." And then we have all different ones that are with motivational signage, and, "You're awesome," and they're, again, just really good giftable things, great for stockings and great for some of the smaller things when you feel like you want to change up your room or your office a little, but you're not going to spend the money to repaint and do anything big. They're just a little something to make you feel good.

Kerry Diamond: So Darcy, one thing I want to talk to you about before we let you go is positivity. So you, I don't know whether you realize this, but you are one of those people who lights up a room, and I've been very lucky to be at different New York parties and events, and you walk in and everybody is excited to see you. It's always like, "Darcy's here." Positivity is a tough thing to maintain right now, so I was just curious, how are you doing and how do you maintain that positive outlook that you're known for?

Darcy Miller: Well, thank you. That's very nice to say, and I feel very flattered. And I would say that I do enjoy people and I do thrive on people and I yes, I think of myself as a positive person, but like everyone, no one's happy all the time. You know what I mean? And I think that one of the things that I try to tell my kids, like, "Glass half full, not half empty," and that's actually one of our decals about glass half full, and there's a drawing of a glass. You need to, especially in trying times like this, where you're like, "Oh, what could be positive about this," and I've said a bunch of times that the silver lining of this pandemic, as terrible as it is, is I've gotten to be home more with my kids. And I have teenage daughters, and we went through months, how many nights we had dinner together every night for months.

So I do try to look at the positive, but I would say the other thing that's super important to me, is to know that I'm definitely not happy all the time. Talk to my kids, they'll tell you, I'm grumpy. One thing that I don't like about social media, is that sometimes if you look at our Instagram, which is just at Darcy Miller, it looks like we're having a party every day because we're sharing ideas to help you celebrate. For us, of course, that's what we do and we're happy to do it, but I do think it is the danger of the world today, because it's okay to not be happy all the time.

And that's what you have friends, hopefully people have good friends and family or whatever, their support system, to get through them through when they're not happy. And it's okay to also, to know that it's okay to not be happy all the time. I just thought, not to end our total fun celebratory interview on a downer, no, but it's a reality. I would say it's just a reality part of it, and I think that for me, again, it goes back to what celebrations are for me.

In the beginning of the book, there's a page with all the things you can celebrate. Half birthday, you lost your tooth, you, whatever, just try to celebrate the little things. And obviously, it's not just big milestone birthdays, but just try to take each day and appreciate health and whatever it is that you have.

Kerry Diamond: Absolutely. Well, we are going to end it on an up note, because we have a little speed round for you.

Darcy Miller: Okay.

Kerry Diamond: Ready. Eggnog. Yay or nay?

Darcy Miller: Yay.

Kerry Diamond: If you could invite one guest, past or present, to your holiday dinner, who would it be and why?

Darcy Miller: My deceased grandparents, who I never met, my dad's parents. I would want to meet them.

Kerry Diamond: Where did they live?

Darcy Miller: My dad grew up in Manhattan. He's from the Upper West Side, but I never met them. I feel like that would be who I would want to meet.

Kerry Diamond: Aw. Darcy, what is a holiday song that makes you smile?

Darcy Miller: Anything sung by Steve Tyrell. He has a whole holiday album and he always sings, actually, at the Regency, he took over for Bobby Short, for holiday season, and this will be the first year he hasn't in many years.

Kerry Diamond: Favorite holiday food.

Darcy Miller: I don't know but it has to be sweet.

Kerry Diamond: Oh, really? So you're a sweet person?

Darcy Miller: Yes.

Kerry Diamond: Is there something you always bake during the holidays?

Darcy Miller: I don't know, we just like to bake at home, but I particularly like, I like DIY bars where you can add different toppings whether it's... We have a pizzelle bar where you make pizzelle cookies and you can top them with Nutella or strawberries. And obviously if you're having more people, you can put more toppings, but just the idea of personalizing sweets, whether it's a pound cake bar, a hot chocolate bar, all these are fun ideas that you can find on our site.

Kerry Diamond: I love it. Okay, Darcy, if you could get one gift this year, what would it be?

Darcy Miller: Vaccine, for everyone. I mean, shouldn't that be what all of us are wishing, hoping for? World health and peace. Done.

Kerry Diamond: Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, Darcy, it's been so nice talking to you. This was long overdue. I've wanted you on the radio show forever, and I just appreciate everything you put out into the world. Like I said earlier, there's so much positivity, so much creativity. It was interesting learning about your entrepreneurial journey too, from a little barrette maker-

Darcy Miller: Right.

Kerry Diamond: In New York City, to today.

Darcy Miller: Well, thank you and thanks for having me. The mutual admiration is likewise.

Kerry Diamond: That's it for this episode. Thank you so much to Darcy for speaking with me and sharing her entertaining advice with all of us. Want more ideas for how to make your holidays special? Make sure to check out darcymillerdesigns.com for free party planning tips, tricks, and plenty of DIY fun. Also, pick up a copy of Darcy's book, Celebrate Everything: Fun Ideas to Bring Your Parties to Life, at your favorite local bookstore.

Thank you to the Wines of Sicily for supporting New Ways For The Holidays, and thanks to Gaetana Jacono for sharing her wine making story. I'm looking forward to meeting you and seeing your winery one day and hanging out in Sicily. Be sure to ask for Sicilia DOC, or D-O-C, at your favorite local wine shop and visit winesofsicily.com for more. Radio Cherry Bombe is edited by Kat Garelli and produced by Cherry Bombe Media. Hang in there, everybody, and thank you for listening. You are The Bombe, and I hope your holidays are too.