The Start Of Christmas Decorating!

Friday, November 28, 2014

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family, friends and of course good food!

I wanted to share with you what I've got going with Christmas decor so far! There will be more trust me!

I'll start with the entry that I started really from using things I already had around the house. Although I do have one new thing, my Christmas present! It's the Eagan Multipanel Small Mirror from Pottery Barn! And she's a beauty! I've wanted this mirror forever. Each mirror is beveled and really makes the whole mirror sparkle! It's everything I imagined!
I just picked up this Tartan Red Plaid throw from my favorite store here in Tampa RareHues. At first I had it laid over my white chairs and it looked beautiful there. But then I thought why not use it as a runner! I love it here! But you never know it could show up somewhere else!

My little boxwood wreath from Ballard Designs that I got last year placed on a lantern with a topiary and a couple of candles completes the look. I'm not sure about the lampshade that may change too! For now it looks pretty.
In the kitchen I have my magnolia wreath from Williams-Sonoma hanging in my big window. Along with another purchase from RareHues, this wire trellis. I will use this year round, but for Christmas I have a fragrant rosemary plant in it.

More to come so stay tuned...
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Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love this saying because it is so true! I wanted to stop by and say how thankful I am to each and every one of you. You guys have been so supportive in my blogging adventure. 

I can't tell you how much I appreciate all the positive comments and e-mails, Twitter followers, Pinterest followers, Facebook followers and now Instagram followers!  I can honestly say that I've never received one negative comment ever! But, if you have one I can take it! lol It has been a blast this year and I hope to continue blogging for as long as possible! 

So to all of you, I say a huge, "Thank you!!"

I hope your day is filled with family, friends and delicious food! I will be spending today with just my husband, maybe a little Cracker Barrel lol,  then we'll have our Thanksgiving tomorrow with the entire family. Our boys are firefighters and because of work schedules we'll celebrate tomorrow. But, to me it doesn't matter what day you celebrate your family and being together, just as long as you do it!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!
Now go chow down!

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Christmas Checklist!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Good morning!
Just a short post today, because I'm busy getting ready to cook and bake for Thanksgiving! I think I mentioned we are going to my niece and her husband's house. So excited and proud of them! It's nice to kind of hand off the torch! Although I still love hosting! This year  I'm making the dressing, gravy and an apple pie. I'm really getting off easy this year. Anyway…my mind is really on Christmas decorating!

If you're like me when I start dragging out my Christmas decor from the attic and closets I can never really remember what I have! Weird how that happens. But it does!

So this year I made up a Christmas Checklist to help you keep track of what you need. It's filled with the basics to help get you going.

If you start with basic elements then it's easy to add in all the other decor that you place out every year. (If you can remember what it is!)

If you're going shopping on black Friday or this weekend, print this out and take it with you to the store so you won't be like me and forget anything!
Have a great day and a Happy Thanksgiving!
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Forcing Paperwhites And Beautiful DIY Brass Bowl

Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving week!! I'm so excited for this week I can't even tell you! Because Thanksgiving means being together with my family! We haven't all been together under one roof in a long time! So I'm really looking forward to that! They are my everything! And not to mention some great food, which goes without saying!!
Also, it means the official start to the holidays!! I love Christmas! It's without a doubt my favorite time of the year!! I always get this special feeling inside when the holidays arrive. 
To me it's magical!!

So today I wanted to share with you my attempt at forcing paperwhites. I love paperwhites and love the classic look of them for Christmas.  But first, I want to give a little blogger love to a blog that I've admired and followed for a while now. Pam from Simple Details has a beautiful blog and amazing style! This is an adaptation of her DIY for taking inexpensive bowls and turning them into beautiful brass bowls for her paperwhites. You can see her original post here.

She took plain, inexpensive stainless steel bowls (from Ikea) and gave them a bit of pizazz with gold paint!! I'm not a huge DIY'er, but I thought even I can do this project!  Although I know I'm a little bit late for forcing paperwhites. But once they start sprouting a little green they'll still be pretty!

Here's what I did. Don't forget to stop by Simple Details to see Pam's full tutorial and her paperwhites in full bloom!

 I bought some cheap stainless steel mixing bowls and taped them off with painters tape to make a nice gold rim.

Then to give them the look of a footed bowl I bought 2 of these angled ceiling fan mounting kits to sit the bowls on. I think they were about $10 each from Lowes. 

 Using this Valspar metallic gold paint (sorry for the ugly picture) I gave the bowls and caps one good coat of paint and let them dry for a couple of hours.

 Remove the tape immediately, while the paint is still wet to avoid them peeling into your paint.

And tah-dah! Beautiful brass footed bowls! Wink! Wink!
No one has to know!

 I searched and searched for paperwhite bulbs in my area, and I couldn't find them anywhere. Weird I know!  Lowes, Home Depot or my favorite nurseries didn't carry them. So I ordered them from Amazon and got them in 2 days. Next year I will definitely start them around the first of November.

 The bowls had no holes for drainage so I added about an inch of pebbles to the bottom then filled the bowl with some good potting soil. I gave them a little water and sent them off for awhile.

To force the bulbs to bloom I placed them in a dark, cool closet for about a week. Keeping the soil moist. Once they start to sprout I'll bring them out. I think they'll make a beautiful addition to my Christmas decor and dining room table centerpiece.

So what about you, have you tried forcing paperwhites before? I'd love to hear any tips you may have!
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Back Porch Furniture…Redo!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Hi everyone! Brrr!! It is really cold here in Florida! I mean cold for us!! I hope everyone is hanging in there up North with this crazy weather! I've seen some unbelievable pictures on the news!
So I'm sending good thoughts for everyone dealing with it!
This post might warm you up a bit and have you thinking about Summer!
 It's my back porch…redo!

If you follow me on Facebook you might have remembered seeing this picture.

That's the picture of us loaded down with our new patio furniture and hauling it back to Target. If you'd like to see what it looked like on the porch hop on over here to see it in all it's glory!

I mentioned that it was a little stiff and I thought it would soften up over time. Well we had it for about 2 months and it was so uncomfortable. Sorry Target! I loved the look of it, but we have to have comfort out there. As I mentioned, we use it like another room so comfort is very important!

While we were sitting around one morning trying to get comfortable, I decided to call customer service and see what are options were. They told me we had until the first week of December to return it. That was it…within one hour we had it loaded up in my husbands truck and were barreling down the road taking it back!!

They were very nice about it and it was an easy return. We then stopped into  Leaders Casual Furniture and found the furniture we had been dreaming about all along…

It's their Seychelles All Weather Wicker Seating, and we couldn't be happier with the comfort and look it! It's really more our style than the Target furniture anyway.

 The color of the wicker is a pretty, "Rich earth finish." And heavy! Oh my gosh, is it heavy!
I also ordered a couple of white garden stools from Amazon. Which is the perfect spot for your coffee.

 I know these are a little summery, but my husband brought them home to me and I thought they looked beautiful out by the pool!

 We bought the love seat, 2 chairs and ottoman.

This is the fabric that it comes in. The chairs are kind of a paisley and the love seat is a navy/white stripe. But they have dozens of fabrics to choose from if you want a custom look. I love the navy/white combo so it was perfect for our porch!

I'm happy we didn't just "settle" for something that we weren't truly happy with. I think this new furniture will provide years, and years of happy napping!
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Mae's Banana Cake!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Good Morning!

Is everyone in full holiday mode yet? If not, you still have enough time! Don't sweat!
 Although it is coming full steam ahead! I'm still waiting to take my final pictures of our new driveway! I know it's been a while now. But, we decided to widen the sidewalk even more, so they had to order more pavers in order for that to happen. I'm hoping by next week it will be done. 

Today I wanted to share with you a recipe for banana cake given to me by my sweet Aunt that I call Mae!
 She will be 95 next May and she's a wonderful cook who loves decorating her home and is probably the sweetest person you'd ever want to meet!
 She's always made this banana cake for as long as I can remember! I remember her making it for my Sister's Birthday, because it was her favorite! I've made it into banana bread too. Toast it with some butter and it goes great with a cup of coffee!

This is a picture of Mae and I taken a couple of years ago!

It's super easy and if you have a few bananas that are really ripe it will be so moist and delicious!

*****Here's how to make this decadent cake*****

1 1/2 Cups of sugar
3/4 Cup of shortening
2 eggs
1 1/4 Cup of mashed bananas
1/4 Cup sour milk (add 1 Tablespoon of vinegar to milk and let sit for 15 mins.)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 Cup of flour
pinch of salt
Bake in 350 degree oven until toothpick comes out clean
Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl set aside. Cream sugar, shortening, and eggs. Add bananas, milk, and vanilla stir until combined. Add dry ingredients and stir.
Pour into greased cake pans. I use vegetable spray, or shortening

*****Cream Cheese Frosting*****
8 ounces cream cheese, room temp.
1 stick unsalted butter cut into pieces, room temp
1 Cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Place cream cheese in mixing bowl and beat on low until soft. Gradually add butter and beat until smooth. Slowly add confectioners' sugar and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla, and stir to combine.
Spread evenly on cake. Garnish with pecans

The cream cheese frosting sends it to the next level!

This cake would be perfect for your Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday!

I hope you'll give it a try!
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A Chilly Morning And Williams-Sonoma Croissants

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Happy Saturday friends!

I hope you're having a great Saturday morning! It's a chilly morning here in Florida with lows in the low 50's! My husband said it was actually 47 degrees here! Wow! We love it! 

There's nothing better than the weekend to relax in the morning with a cup of coffee and catch up together on the previous week! But this Saturday I had a special treat for Mike…Williams-Sonoma Croissants!

Let me tell you I've never been to France, but in my mind this is what France tastes like! These croissants are so light and decadent, perfectly buttery and flaky!  The perfect weekend treat! Or what an amazing gift to give someone for Christmas!

 You are supposed to bake them on parchment, but I didn't have any so I had to use foil. I would recommend using parchment. They come frozen and all you do is take them out the night before, cover and let them rise. I brushed them with an egg wash and baked until golden brown!
If you want to treat yourself or someone you love to a truly delicious croissant, give these a try! You can find them here from Williams-Sonoma.
They also come in chocolate!

Have a great weekend!

*I was not compensated for this post! I just really, really love them!
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Creating A Beautiful Dining Room For Entertaining

Friday, November 14, 2014

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it has me thinking of entertaining! Although I'm not having Thanksgiving this year at my house, I still love to entertain during the holidays. 

So I thought I would put together a few tips that I've learned through the years to make your entertaining as relaxed and stress free as much as possible. Because there's nothing worse than being an anxious mess, and not being able to enjoy your guests!

First off, start with a beautiful and comfortable table and chairs. That way your guests can linger and talk and not feel uncomfortable.  I prefer a round table, because it makes for easier conversation.

Traditional Dining Room by Boston Photographers Mary Prince

When you're entertaining it's important to have a beautiful centerpiece. But you want to keep in mind the height of your arrangement. There's nothing worse than sitting at a table and not being able to see the person across from you.
 I love to use fresh cut flowers or cuttings from your yard. Cut holly and place in several clear vases for an easy centerpiece. For Thanksgiving I've used fresh herbs in pots. Then after the holiday I have herbs ready to use!

Don't feel like you need fancy china to set a beautiful table. I like simple white china. It's been my go to for years. I think every bride should register for white dishware. And you can find beautiful inexpensive dishware at Target or Walmart. Then you can build from that. Adding colorful chargers, and change up your glassware. White is a great starting point!

Next is great lighting! This is a very important part of setting your dining mood! A beautiful chandelier above your table creates great ambiance for your guests. Also, make sure it's on a dimmer! No one wants to sit under a glaring light! And as a bonus it makes all your food look even more appetizing!

And last but not least, good music! Have you been to those dinner parties when no music is playing? It can make for some awkward silence to say the least! I have Pandora, and I set up a good smooth jazz station for relaxing music that still allows for conversation. 

Here's a few pictures of my Thanksgiving table and decor from last year!

So light some candles, serve some great food and enjoy time with family and friends!

Because that's what it's all about!!
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Christmas Past

Friday, November 7, 2014

Even though I won't be decorating for at least a few more weeks. I thought I would share with you some pictures from my Christmas' in the past. 

I'm ready to start decorating though! You should see my spare room. It's filled with a ton of new things that I'll be doing this year! Every day this week, I ask my Husband if he wants to get the rest of the decorations down from the attic! His answer is always, "No!"

I agree with him really. Even though I'm blogging, I don't feel the need to start decorating just to have something to write about. I want to get that Christmas feeling, and excitement that comes with decorating my home for all to enjoy! But, there's nothing wrong with being prepared. It definitely takes the stress off when you have a plan of what you want to do.

Here's a glimpse of what I've done in Christmas Pasts! I hope you enjoy it!

 Even though I always buy new things each Christmas season, I basically stick to the same theme. But, I think you need to buy new things to keep it fresh!

I had to add a picture of the Radio City Music Hall Christmas tree! We were there last year and it was truly magical!

Are you decorating now or do you wait?

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