Entertaining

Happy Holiday Season!

Every time I check in I cannot believe how fast time is flying!! This week was Hanukkah and tonight is Christmas Eve already! So what have I been up to? It's been a busy season getting ready for the holidays and helping people decorate their homes. Now it's time to kick back and relax (after we clean the house, prep dinner, and deliver dozens of cookies!).  Our neighbors benefit from my cookie cooking obsession - I don't normally bake desserts during the year since it's just the 2 of us at home, so I indulge during the holidays :)  

Every year I make the same few favorites and I've gotten my system down pretty well by now. Then I try adding a few new ones in to keep it interesting.  Here is a snapshot of this years cookies! Some photos are my own and others are from the recipe website. (links below!)

COOKIES

 

1- Peppermint Bark |  2-  Gingersnaps  |  3- Coffee Bon Bons

4- Rolo Cookies  |   5- Uncle Richie Cookies  |  6- Maraschino Cherry Almond Cookies

7- Triple Chocolate Chunk  |  8- No Bake Vanilla Cake Batter Truffles  |  9- Sea Salt & PB Turtle Cookies

10- Chocolate Peppermint Patty Cookies

GUEST ROOM

Let's see, what else have I been up to? I was interviewed for an article in our local paper! I gave a few tips for creating a nice comfortable guest room for the holidays and my picture was used for the entire article! Below is my picture and a link to the article. 

Article Link (pg 2): http://www.njherald.com/link/721023/hello-holidays

UGLY SWEATERS

I went to an "ugly sweater" party this year for a networking event and was excited to find not only what I thought was an ugly sweater, but an ugly sweater vest!! Then I found an equally ugly turtleneck to wear underneath and bam! I was ready for the party. Much to my disappointment though.... so many people actually told me that it looked cute!! CUTE PEOPLE!!! I was like - uh, seriously?? As the designer in your network I am wearing this to an UGLY SWEATER party - and you actually think it's cute?? Oh boy... So now I ask YOU - Is this ugly or cute?!? Be honest!

 

Well that's all for now! Let me know if you make any of the cookies I shared, and I'm curious to know your thoughts on this sweater vest! I will check in again before the year's end... which is next week already! In the meantime I wish you all the very best of the holiday season!!!

Cheers!

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A Thanksgiving Cheat Sheet

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all are getting ready to enjoy some time with family and friends this holiday weekend. Whether you are traveling out of town, or are running around preparing the big feast I wish you the best!

Wherever you sit this holiday season you are likely to encounter a beautiful table setting. Or if you are hosting you may want to create one. There are so many beautiful ideas out there, but just where does everything actually go? I mean the basic details such as: Does the fork go on the left or right of the plate?

(source)

Or as a guest if you all gather around a table filled with glasses, silverware and bread plates, which water glass is yours?

At last here is a cheat sheet that easily explains it all! No more wondering how to set, or which to use! I used to waitress so I am very familiar with the "proper" way to set a table. Another tip I can give is to start from "the outside in" meaning, your dessert fork will be closest to the plate, and your salad/app fork is furthest. Enjoy!

(Pinterest link)

Cheers!

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Oh Summer, Where Have You Gone??

I probably say this every year, but summer has gone by way too fast! I wish you a happy long weekend to soak up this last bit of summer! Here are some ways to indulge...

Swing in a hammock with drinks readily nearby (via Pinterest)

Enjoy a seat by the fire (via Pinterest)

Great tip I found on Pinterest: keep mosquitos away by making bundles of sage and toss into the fire!

 

Super Bowl Rooms for Rent

So the Super Bowl is almost here and the preparations are well underway! Ever since the announcement that the game would be played at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford NJ there has been much talk about the weather and if we'll have snow. I just checked the temperature and it's currently 1* Fahrenheit at my house, and Sunday looks like we might have a heat spell into the 40's! 

(source) 

We've gotten a lot of snow here lately and they've been hard at work clearing the stadium and getting ready. Snow is nothing new around here and I can attest to how well the airports have run during the storms this year. I always love to see behind the scene shots like these below from nj.com 

nj.com

nj.com

nj.com

Another interesting conversation I have been following is people renting out their homes, condos, or apartments for the game! I used to live in Rutherford NJ and work in Teterboro where I would see the stadium on my way in and out of town everyday. You can actually see the stadium when you are in the town, it is so close! I would have totally wanted to rent out my place for the game too, but since I don't live there anymore I checked out the other homes available. I found lots of options on flipkey and super-bowl-rentalz. 

Here is my favorite that is still available :) Now to be fair there was a designer involved so it's really quite lovely, but to see other people's actual homes click around and take a look! 

This is the front entry for a guest room for rent is in Edgewater NJ. They call it the Harlem Hideaway. Although the name is a bit misleading in terms of location the interior is very well done! 

Nice wood details everywhere add a warmth & depth to the space. 

I love the details of this room, especially that Guest List wall you can write on. Very cute idea for a

Last week in Review

It's that time of year when each week gets busier than the last and the list of to-do's keep growing! Last week was especially busy preparing for the decorating presentation I gave at the Habitat ReStore. I enjoyed putting my thoughts together and sharing some of my top decorating tips! 

Presentation set up with handouts

Raffled a Starbucks gift card and a cute little holiday tree from Trader Joes!

As I was preparing the slides of text and gathering the photos I realized it was a lot like assembling the largest blog post ever and presenting it live! And once I started creating it was so hard to stop! I could go on and on about the details of each photo since there are so many aspects that relate to each other. If you made it out to the presentation - thank you! It was great to see you, and if you couldn't make it I'll be giving more next year, stay in the loop here.

Below are a few of my favorite photos that correlate to holiday entertaining, maximizing the function, and creating good conversation areas.  

  

Happy Thanksgiving!


Chalkboard Tablecloth via 
Social Manor via Pinterest

Happy Thanksgiving To You!!!

There is a lot for me to be thankful for this year, including you! Thank you for taking the time to read through my blog and website. I enjoy posting here and hope you find inspiration and good advice. 

  • I also am thankful for my clients, who have been such a joy to work with. I have been lucky to get the best clients ;) 
  • I am thankful for a strong network of designers that have been extremely generous with their time and advice.
  • I am thankful for the continuing support of my family and friends, whose consistent encouragement and optimism is so meaningful. 

  • I am thankful for my husband, who is my loving companion and my steady rock. Oh, and he lets me try out my decorating ideas on our own home ;) 

THANK YOU!

I hope each of you has a safe Thanksgiving holiday, and enjoy time well spent with your loved ones. 

Cheers!

ps - there are more beautiful Thanksgiving table ideas at {this link here}

 

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!Buenos Dias! ICFF Outside

Hola mis amigos! Hello my dear friends. We just returned from our vacation in Mexico where we enjoyed some quality R&R on Akumal Beach - land of the turtle! It was so beautiful and great to take a little time off. Maybe I'll put together a few photos that highlight our trip. But in the meantime I wanted to share some outdoor furniture from the ICFF!

It is at events & fairs like the ICFF that I realize just how vast the design world is... it's totally crazy, mind melting, and inspiring all at once. It's hard to figure out how to organize these posts... I originally thought "furniture" would be just one category (silly me!).  Then I started sorting through everything so now I decided to add another sub-category: outdoor furniture. It's fun and funky- perfect for a summer post in August!

Weltevree Outdoor

Well I'm torn between the Dutchtub Original and the Dutchtub Wood... I mean you can carry the Original by bike and it come in so many colors....

Dutchtub Original - just look how romantic

Original by Bike... bring the party with you.

But the Dutchtub Wood shows how convenient it could be to stir-fry while soaking in the hot tub.

Dutchtub Wood - with Wok

It's totally crazy and totally awesome at the same time. I want one. We could fit it somewhere in the yard I'm sure. All sarcasm aside though, I do think it's rather simple and smart. No motors to break down just a simple wood fire for relaxing. I wonder if you could use it as a pool during the summer, sans fire?

Zachary A Design

Cement look + lightweight is what they claim. I wish I saw these in person, guess I missed them. The brochure shows a cute little boy lifting up one of these bad boys. Pretty good fake actually - a lot of these designs would look great in a garden setting.

Slab dining table

Van Eyke Chair

Blofield

These are interesting, their booth and brochure from the fair shows these at a campsite setting, which is pretty cool I guess. But I'm more interested in how they use them at hotels, and in the pool...

Donut  

Monaco Monte Carlo

Villa My Spy

Impromptu Gatherings & Surprise Guests: Quick Tips to Prepare!

The summer season is a wonderful time to entertain and catch up with friends. It's so easy to throw together a BBQ or pool party (if you have one). Gatherings are typically casual and relaxing - especially if you can be outside for the majority of the time. But hectic schedules and bad weather change plans quickly. Even if you plan your soiree outdoors you'll most likely greet your guests at the front door and they will probably use the bathroom at some point. And then if it rains... well then you'll stay indoors. I recently read an article in my local paper that I found to be a good refresher for last minute entertaining and wanted to share: "Half an hour to prepare for guests? Some tips". 


Some people find cleaning therapeutic and don't mind a routine weekly cleaning session. And those people are always welcome to our house to help--- cleaning is definitely not my favorite! Having guests over is really the best incentive that gets us cleaning. And at this point I think we've gotten really good at the last minute scramble. It's always good to have a basic strategy and to prioritize, and even better if you have someone to help you. Here are a few of my favorite tips from the article.

10 Minutes of Cleaning


Focus on the areas that guests will be entering, such as the kitchen, bath, front entry, main living room. Wipe down surfaces in the kitchen and bath, then grab an old sock or rag to dust visible surfaces in the living and dining room.

   

For a sink full of dirty dishes (like mine always is) consider stashing them in the oven to make room for new ones.

(source)

A quick vacuum of carpets or rugs in the main areas - and add a dash of deodorizer or baking soda as you go.

(source)

10 Minutes of Hiding Clutter

I'm sure you've all heard this before - grab an empty basket to collect the clutter. Then hid this in a bedroom or closet with doors closed. This basket helps to keep the clutter together and is easier to find and sort afterwards instead of stashing things in different drawers and closets as you go. If you have a pretty basket you could leave it in plain sight by tossing a pretty throw on it. 

Jumbo Yard Games and Pizza on the Grill

Happy 4th of July Everyone!!

I hope you are all able to carve out some time to enjoy the holiday! If you are staying home or entertaining this weekend here are some fun yard games to play - the bigger the better!

Jumbo Jenga(source)

This is my favorite idea so far. and I first heard about this from someone I used to work with (Mike R, if you ever stumble upon this I am giving you 100% credit right here!) At first it might sound dangerous to have large chunks of wood tumbling down all over making loud noises... But isn't that part of the fun? :)

(source)

Apparently it even makes a good wedding game! I saw several wedding reception photos including Jumbo Jenga. No danger here!

Super Bowl Weekend!

Well I didn't think it was right to let the Super Bowl pass without posting some amazing (dream) spaces to watch the game, and a deliciously easy recipe to try! This morning I was watching the Today show and they were battling about who makes the best crab: Maryland (blue crab, duh!) or San Fran dungeness, who knew?! You can read about their bet {here}.

Are you looking forward to the food, game, or commercials?
Here's to the weekend - and may the best team win :)