meet Marlene our weekly home & design contributor

today, i have a special post. y’all know i love to partner with brilliant, talented, savvy, and creative women. so it is my great pleasure to introduce you to Marlene! Marlene is joining Style at a Certain Age as a weekly contributor. stay tuned every Saturday for a special post from MMK. Marlene and i met during my San Francisco days when i worked as the Ralph Lauren Specialist at Bloomingdale’s. Marlene worked in an adjacent department – The Wedding Registry. let me tell you first hand, this woman has a wealth of experience to share. all of the well-heeled mothers in town booked an appointment with Marlene as she would take mother and daughter under her wing to make wedding registry a breeze! here’s Marlene in her own words:


Happy April!! Happy Spring!!

April Showers bring May Flowers…shower the people you love with love!!
How wonderful to receive Beth’s Special Guest invitation to meet all of you!!
Thank you, Beth, my fellow Virgo!!

Home is my love!! Hope you all will love it too!!
On upcoming Saturdays, I will be sharing my great passions with you, hoping you will enjoy, be inspired and
“Grace Your Home and Style!” (A little sneak peek at my incubating Blog) by MMK – Marlene Meccia Kristoff
My passions come to you via years as a student of Clothing & Textiles, Art and Jewelry, as well as experience
Buying, Directing Home Furnishings, Registering Couples-Housewarmings, Personal Shopping and numerous
Consulting-Executive-Management posts on both coasts.

Many storied Retailers, Museums, and quality Specialty Stores…have influenced my life and style: opens in a new windowBloomingdale’s
New York & San Francisco, opens in a new windowNeiman Marcus, opens in a new windowMacy’s and Gump’s San Francisco, Geary’s Beverly Hills, The Los
Angeles County Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim New York, and Design Within Reach, among others.
Work and love have literally moved me from Ohio to Boston, New York, San Francisco, Beverly Hills, New York, and
back again to SF!! Special mentors, both men and women, and personal experiences have created exciting learning
and travel opportunities to England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, The Philippines, and China.

These experiences have also shaped my passions for Interiors and Style of every kind.
Grace, Charm, Color, and Design have inspired my life, work, and studies since I was a little girl with Big Dreams…
always believing “God is in the details” and always remembering quality over quantity.
This will never steer you wrong or give you buyer’s remorse!

Little Pleasures:
Simple – elegant – beauty, fabulous color, and nature are loves… seeing them in every flower, textile, and sky!!
I want to live with them and believe our surroundings enhance our daily lives so happily!!
Life can be sooo challenging yet so beautiful! Let’s make it so!!!

Special treasures, memories, and personal collections are the fabric of our lives. They become who we are!
They may be from our Memories, Travels, Hobbies, Heritage, Friends, and Loves. Whether happy or sad, our
Home and Style become richer, more personal, and certainly comforting with these remembrances, joys, and loves!

So, you ask… what are some of My Loves or Favorite Things?
Along with the all-encompassing “Grace, Charm, Color and Design,”; I have great passion for:
Antiquing-Vintage Treasure Hunting, Art, Accessories, Books-Quotes, Flowers, Gardens, Film, Food & Wine,
Champagne, Crystal, Fashion, Interiors, Monograms, Music, Stationery, Tablesettings, Textiles, Themes, Views,
and Travel. Grace and Audrey Films are favorites, and Sophia Loren, of course! (I was born on her Birthday!!)
So now you will see a bit of what I am all About…and Creating Themes:
Each Saturday, I will share some of My Favorite Things with you!

Let’s visit Spring April 2021
Gifting – Creating Themes: Let’s Bring Your Gifting to Life…
Spring has sooo many upcoming celebrations! Think about those in your life this wild year!
They might be Birthdays, Showers or Engagements, Weddings, for New Baby or Home (Apartments are Homes
too!), Get Well, Thinking of you or??? Each gift becomes a theme – from the inside out!

These days, a gift may be literally taking the place of our “presence,” so let’s make them memorable and beautiful!
Little pleasures have directed and personalized my joy of selecting, creating, and gifting by theme for my work,
clients, friends, family, and loves. Whether picking flowers for a vase, selecting ribbon and wrap for a gift, sending a
card for a Special Occasion, it is a joy to Grace the lives you care about! The smallest personalized detail shows
your love, thought, and the meaning behind it all! I enjoy the process of creating a memorable gift or package,
whether hand-delivered or sent across many miles. I hope you will too! It is a reflection of who we are…and who
we love!!

shop Caspari napkins and paper plates



Who does not love receiving a gift…especially one charmingly wrapped in our favorite color, with our own initials,
name or card with the image of a beloved artist or a special hobby??

You might find it helpful to think about or make lists of those you wish to gift
with their favorite things: Color, hobby or interest, the significance of an actual date, Month with its color, flower, and
birthstone or gemstone.

Hopefully, these ideas and images inspire your own themes and creativity to make your gifts memorable and fun
for those you love and care about. Some of mine are here…. hope you enjoy!

This was a Birthday Gift for a Best Friend – whose name is Dot.
She loves Gardening & her pup, Olivia….
So what paper, ribbon color did I choose?? Why Polka Dots in Olive Green, of course, with a Garden Tree card!!
Everything has meaning…

This is a fun Spring Birthday treats for my nephew…
His fabulous B-day card is a mutual favorite artist of ours – opens in a new windowGeorgia O’Keeffe Sunflower by Caspari. It tops off 2
little gifts wrapped in a classic, slightly masculine, tailored stripe on top and Royal Blue beneath with spring green
grosgrain ribbon. Chic & youthful at the same time.
These gifts even prompted a lovely Thank you card for his Auntie!!

Everything opens in a new windowCaspari is quality…we have worked together for years. They continue to support worldwide Museums
and Artists!! As a respected publisher of finely designed and printed paper products for 70 years, their collections
have drawn inspiration from fine art, textiles, ceramics, and interior design.

April Birthday Collection for B (she refers to herself as b or B)
For this little collection, for the daughter I never had, I chose her favorite girlie colors since she was a child:
Shades of Pinks and Purples!!
Her initials RBM in script, personalize the little pouch of opens in a new windowPeony Jo Malone treats! Festive – charming girlie gold & glitter adorn her opens in a new windowCavallini Vintage B-Day Postcard, little heart sticker, and pouch! As I am half Italian, their products
have always charmed me!! They are all quality and printed in Italy!!

FYI. I overwrapped the 2 – piece box itself, so they could use it to store items even after the gift was opened.
One can never have enough beautiful storage!

Congratulations – Wedding & New Home Gift
For a special nephew and his wife who recently were married and purchased a new home – cabin in the woods, I
chose natural & gold opens in a new windowItalian Rossi Wrap Paper and Card that also has a lined envelop, for their gift of a charming
Earthenware Pitcher to Grace their New Home. It is Art and Function, wonderful for water, lemonade, or bearing a
bouquet of wildflowers as a centerpiece.

January Happy Birthday Gift for a Dear Friend who loves everything
Silver and Sparkles!!
Of course, I chose Shiny Silver Wrap with his Birthstone Garnet Ribbon
and Bugle Bead trimmed Card.
Handwritten initials were added to personalize; we both share a love of
Stationery and Monograms!!
We worked together years ago, opens in a new windowCrane & Co.!

A last snowfall prompted this shimmering Silver Thinking of you gift with Blue Letter-press Snowflakes, shimmering
satin ribbon & Royal Blue ink, of course!! I hope you feel inspired to create or plan some of your own memorable
gifts …until next week. Enjoy!! xoxo MMK

ladies, please join me with a very warm welcome to Marlene! thanks so much for taking time from your busy schedule to add beauty to our lives. it truly is the simple things in life that add so much joy!


shop the post


  1. Joanie wrote:

    Lovely and inspiring images and ideas. Thank you! Welcome MMK!

    Posted 4.11.21
    • Marlene M. Kristoff wrote:

      Merci – Merci for the charming welcome!
      Beth and I certainly share creative inspiration!! xoxo MMK

      Posted 4.11.21
  2. Cindy Woods wrote:

    With Spring finally arriving here in NE Ohio, this post was a feast for my eyes!! It’s a beautiful thing that plates, napkins, and wrapping paper/ribbon can elevate a gift, event, or mood. Hardest part is choosing…often the choice dictates the direction, right?

    Posted 4.11.21
    • Marlene M. Kristoff wrote:

      Hello Cindy,
      I am thrilled that you enjoyed…especially since you are a fellow Ohioan!! Yes, the choice helps “dictate” your direction…let it be fun…happy to suggest anytime!
      xoxo MMK

      Posted 4.11.21
  3. Kimberly Dickhut wrote:

    Welcome, Marlene!

    Posted 4.11.21
    • Marlene M. Kristoff wrote:

      Hi Kimberly!!
      Special thank you for the kind Welcome…
      Looking forward to a little April in Paris! xoxo MMK

      Posted 4.11.21
  4. Sangita M wrote:

    Welcome….What a wonderful post and a great addition to the blog. Looking forward to many more!

    Posted 4.11.21
    • Marlene M. Kristoff wrote:

      Hi Sangita!! Happy to be here!
      Fun times ahead for sure – thank you for your sweet words! xoxo MMK

      Posted 4.11.21
  5. sharon wrote:

    Welcome MMK! Love the ideas for gifts. Happy Sunday!
    Cheers to another new week💐

    Posted 4.11.21
    • Marlene M. Kristoff wrote:

      Hello Sharon!

      Thank you and “Cheers” to you too!
      Just sent off another package of goodies this week for my niece for her B-Day!

      Her B gifts in my first post today…are very special. Today is her Birthday!!
      xoxo MMK

      Posted 4.11.21
  6. Eve wrote:

    Welcome. I’m guilty of sending that gift card with a check when I should take time to show those I love how much I appreciate them. Lovely post!

    Posted 4.11.21
    • Marlene M. Kristoff wrote:

      Hi Eve – Lovely welcome, thank you!
      Don’t feel guilty, they still love you!! Maybe “wrap the gift check” with a special ribbon around the envelope with name or initials in colorful ink and include in a larger envelope!
      Happy to help!! xoxo MMK

      Posted 4.11.21
  7. Karen Ziegler wrote:

    I am so excited that you have joined Style at a Certain Age. What a wonderful idea Beth had to include you in her blog. I too am a lover of beautiful things and look forward to your blog on Saturdays !

    Posted 4.11.21
    • Marlene M. Kristoff wrote:

      Thank you, Karen!!
      I am thrilled to work with Beth again…she is total inspiration!
      Certainly, I miss her being close by in SF…so am really happy we have excuses to be in touch!!
      “See” you next week! xoxo MMK

      Posted 4.11.21
  8. G. Leanette Flentroy wrote:

    Thank you Beth for adding Marlene to your blog. I am looking forward to her ideas. Everything she embraces so do I. I love stationery. I love a gift beautifully presented, selecting just the right paper and ribbon. I love crystal, and a classic, vintage space of lovely furnishings. This is going to be a true treat.


    Posted 4.11.21
    • Marlene M. Kristoff wrote:

      Hi GLF! Thank you – delighted to be in touch and share our mutual passions! Yes, Stationery is major….more to come.
      xoxo MMK

      Posted 4.12.21
  9. Andrea wrote:

    Wow! Didn’t think I would ever wear wide legs – but wow, just wow – will definitely give it a whirl now, Beth,

    Love, your new partner. Welcome Marlene 👏. Have always loved, well dressed tables, unique writing papers, and personalized gift wrap, as they all say the giver considers the recipient to be special. 🌷

    Posted 4.11.21
    • Marlene M. Kristoff wrote:

      Hello Andrea,
      Kind thanks for the lovely welcome!!
      Happy to share with you…and that we both enjoy such loves!! More to come.
      xoxo MMK

      Posted 4.12.21
  10. Sylvia Espinoza wrote:

    Welcome, Marlene! Thank you for sharing your God-given talent, too. It’s why we love Beth (and Kelly!). Am very much looking forward to your Saturday posts~

    Posted 4.11.21
    • Marlene M. Kristoff wrote:

      Hi Sylvia,
      Merci – Merci for your sweet welcome and comments! You sound like my sister!
      xoxo More to come. MMK

      Posted 4.12.21
  11. Karen White wrote:

    Welcome MMK! I needed to order some guest towels and loved the Caspari ones you posted. What a wonderful addition to your blog Beth!

    Posted 4.11.21
    • Marlene M. Kristoff wrote:

      Hi Karen,
      Happy you love Caspari too, their quality is superior and designs so diverse! The monograming is such fun too.
      I miss working directly with them.
      Your comments are sooo appreciated! Thank you for the warm welcome.
      More to come! xoxo MMK

      Posted 4.12.21
  12. Connie R. Morgan wrote:

    Welcome, Marlene! Thank you for partnering with Beth to fill our hearts and minds with even more divine inspiration. The gift wrapping, cards, and ribbon combinations are so creative and beautiful! I look forward to what you have to share with us.

    Posted 4.12.21
    • Marlene M. Kristoff wrote:

      Hi Connie – Kind thanks for the lovely welcome and comments. It is certainly my pleasure to partner again with Beth!! She is a gem as you know. More to come!!
      xoxo MMK

      Posted 4.12.21
  13. Heather Mayes wrote:

    Hello to Beth and Welcome to MMK. Marlene, I loved seeing your beautiful gift wrapping. I could feel your gift giving joy as I read your comments. I have always loved (and collected) paper, stationary and cards. It’s lovely that you spend the time to thoughtfully wrap a gift for your loved ones. Thank you for sharing.

    Posted 4.12.21
    • Marlene M. Kristoff wrote:

      Hello Heather! Thank you for your lovely welcome and special acknowledgement of our shared passion of collecting stationery…all things paper! It’s my pleasure to connect and share…so wonderful of Beth to invite me to do so!
      More to come…thank you! MMK

      Posted 4.14.21
  14. Christi wrote:

    Oh, how I LOVE Caspari papers! I’ve been buying them for many years. Welcome, Marlene! You have excellent taste!

    Posted 4.13.21
    • Marlene M. Kristoff wrote:

      Hi Christi,
      LOVE is good!!
      Thank you for the sweet welcome and compliment. The Team at Caspari must be feeling the love! It is wonderful that their fine quality continues to be sooo appreciated.
      xoxo MMK

      Posted 4.14.21
  15. Carolyn wrote:

    Hello Beth and welcome Marlene…Two classy ladies in one post. I have always loved beautiful papers and wrappings. Presentation is everything, ever since I bought my first pre-teen stockings, breaking the paper seal to lift them out of the box. My dream was to be the gift-wrapper at Lazarus when I retired. Sadly that is long gone, taken over by mounds of gift bags. I still love Crane papers and Caspari napkins but buying online is not as much fun as going into a shop and being overwhelmed with the colors and patterns. Looking forward to your posts.
    Whatever is in your gifts could never be as exciting as those gorgeous wrappings.

    Posted 4.13.21
    • Marlene M. Kristoff wrote:

      Hi Carolyn,
      What a charming welcome, thank you soo very much!
      Yes, presentation is a love…whether dressing oneself or wrapping a special gift selection!! It is a surprise to learn of your memories of Lazarus…seems maybe you grew up in Ohio too!
      We all need to keep quality companies alive… Crane has gone thru many changes yet the heritage and quality continue, thankfully. The themes for both Crane and Caspari remain great fun. In a future post, maybe I’ll address some of the inside inspiration for the actual gift! Thanks again, MMK

      Posted 4.14.21

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