If you’re counting pennies in the entertainment category of your home budget, you’re probably inviting friends over for potluck instead of convening with them at bars, renting films rather than catching a premiere and just plain spending a lot of time at home. A lot.
May as well have fun and let the domestic diva in you shine. Having all the tools of a diva might take a bite out of your budget at first, but according to some who’ve made a livelihood selling lifestyle products from aprons to artichoke dip, it’s a long-term investment that keeps on giving.
A domestic diva might be defined as one who is the extreme Martha Stewart type, or someone who has all the accouterments but can’t boil spaghetti without scalding the bottom of the pot. The latter ends up salvaging her dinner party with takeout Chinese.
For Brooke Watson, that’s no matter. "It’s about making the details a little more glamorous, even if you’re not entertaining guests," she said. Watson was speaking to us from her store, SoHa Living at Kahala Mall, with phone in one hand and 5-month-old son in the other as he slept against her chest — a feat of domestic diva-ness in itself. "It’s about taking care of yourself. If you start with you, then others can sense it. I wear an apron when I cook; I just like the feeling of having one on," she said.
An apron seems a standard must-have for any double-D, according to Nalani Holliday, owner of Red Pineapple at Ward Centre. "A domestic diva definitely has to have a fabulous apron," she said. "She has fine china, whether it’s a gift or handed down from Grandmother, or even just a mix of serving pieces that she loves. And she doesn’t mind putting frozen pizza on it all as well as pate … It’s all about attitude."
Also, Holliday said, divas and candles go hand in hand. "Candlelight can make plastic forks look like polished silver. Everything just looks so much better in candlelight."
If you light candles, of course you’ve got to have a candle snuffer. "You don’t want smoke in your room," not to mention that smoky smell that results after blowing out a candle.
Domestic divas try to hold hurriedness at bay in order to enjoy the company of friends and family more. "It’s just about getting back to basics, regressing a bit but not in a bad way," Watson said. "The way it used to be with family, eating at the dinner table without the television on, sending personalized notes instead of e-mail and not (being) so hurried and rushed." And, again, paying attention to the details.
"Even if it’s just me and my husband on a Wednesday night, I’ll put down placemats and do plate settings. It makes it more special," she said.
It’s something she does even when dining solo or eating takeout. "I just transfer it all out of the Styrofoam clamshell onto the plate. It doesn’t take much. It feels more like a home-cooked meal. Yeah, you have to wash dishes afterward, but eating with silverware instead of a plastic fork makes so much difference."