Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category


From my home to yours…

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season filled with great food, family, friends and tons of cheer!

Happy Holidays!


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Yesterday, I posted some gorgeous photos of Stephen Shubel’s home in the Loire Valley. This morning, I lit some candles and cleared away the usual clutter to take some quick snap shots of my own home. You can see Stephen’s influence — the tangerines, votives and cuttings — all such simple and great ideas for the holidays!


For the past four years I’ve relinquished the tree decorating to my girls. In the first several years all the ornaments were located around the bottom of the tree, but I can see this year (with the help of a step stool) they’re  starting to spread out a bit more.




unnamed-26Of course, stacks of chocolate chip and ginger snap cookies are always nice to have around




unnamed-16Only  6 more days!! 

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I took this article out of Veranda many years ago (’05), and it has become my go-to for decorating ideas every holiday season. I just love the way designer Stephen Shubel decorated his home in the Loire Valley.

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Tomorrow — photos from around my own home (a little daring of me after this post).

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With the holidays fast approaching, I have gathered my favorite holiday photos from Pinterest to give those of us (who need it) that extra push to bring it all together.


I love the way they used the ribbon here


A great use of all those extra envelopes we have stashed away


You can never have enough votives around the home this time of year


Very elegant and simple



I have yet to finish decorating in my own home, and my girls remind me daily (not enough blown-up creatures in the front yard). When I do finish (hopefully this weekend), I’ll post a couple of photos.

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Holiday Inspiration

I just lit another fire and have been up since the crack of dawn. I have been sipping on coffee and perusing some amazing boards on Pinterest. It’s cold outside (for Southern California) and I don’t want to move, however, I must get on with my day. A meeting with a client, work emails and Christmas shopping is calling me. Before going I thought I would share some of my favorite Holiday pics from Pinterest.








Tomorrow – garage sales in Pacific Palisades and a tour of a friends garden! Happy weekend!

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This year was filled with many opportunities to sit at a long table and enjoy good friends. Looking back on 2011 the long table experience that was most memorable was at a very dear friend’s wedding in Topanga Canyon (photo below). Three extremely long tables filled a Tuscan-styled room as we celebrated a very special occasion.


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There’s something about a fireplace that evokes relaxation, warmth and a sense of place. The rhythmic bouncing of the flames seems to encourage contemplation when alone and conversation when with friends. Cheers to hoping your holiday season provides many warm memories in peaceful solitude or with loved ones.

Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.

– Washington Irving

sources: Elle Decor & Country Living

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The Guest Room

A good reading lamp, soft sheets and a cozy blanket provide a sense of comfort for those traveling far from home. Adding a box of chocolates and good reading material is also a nice touch depending how long you wish your guests to actually stay. For those of you living in smaller quarters, with a little imagination almost any part of your home could become a guest room. Once, I turned the dining room of our tiny Venice bungalow into a guest room for a friend staying for a week.

Whether your home is large or small the 8 items suggested below could apply to any size abode. It’s all about one’s attitude — being flexible and working with what you have.

A task lamp to give the perfect light for late night reading. This one is from Restoration Hardware but Target and Lamps Plus have similar ones as well.

A small bedside tray to house your guests jewelry, coins and spent candy wrappers. This “Dot Tray” is from Jayson Home & Garden.

A bedside carafe for water — from Crate & Barrel

A nice smelling candle for the dresser. The Fedora Patch Candle is from Jayson Home & Garden.

A throw for chilly days/nights

Slip on slippers to fit any foot size

Fresh flowers or anything green from your garden (or supermarket).

Another great thing to have when guest arrive is the aroma of something special on the stove or in the oven. So, I have also included my favorite comfort dish recipe, Braised Chicken with Shallots. It’s great because you can make it the day before and just reheat when you are ready.


8- Bone-in skinless chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds total)

coarse salt and ground pepper

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound small shallots (about 12), peeled and halved

5 garlic cloves, peeled and halved

1/2 cup dry white wine

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 pint cherry tomatoes halved

Fresh tarragon leaves for garnish (optional)


1. Season chicken with salt and pepper; coat with flour, shaking off excess.

2. In a Dutch oven or 5-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid heat oil over medium-high. Cook chicken until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.

3. Add shallots and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add wine; cook until evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in mustard and 1 1/2 cups water; bring to a boil.

4. Return chicken, bone side down, to pot. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until chicken is tender and cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate; loosely tent with aluminum foil to keep warm. Add tomatoes to pot; season with salt and pepper. Cook on high until sauce has thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and return chicken to pot; cook until heated through. Serve, garnished with tarragon, if desired.

Serves 4

The recipe (and photo) for Braised Chicken with Shallots are from Martha Stewart.com

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‘Tis The Season

Tonight, we are finishing up decorating for the holidays. The menu — hot cocoa, hot buttered rum and warm apple pie. Therefore, in needing some inspiration for this evening I took some time and visited some of my favorite websites. This year I am taking an easy approach to the holidays and using lots of wreaths, trimmings from the Christmas tree and lots of candles. Here are some more ideas I came across.

I love this star lantern from Terrain

Simple cream pillars from Restoration Hardware

Another great and easy thing to do for the holidays is to grow Amaryllis. They come in different colors/color combinations and if placed in the right light can produce amazing flowers. To purchase these from Terrain, click here.

Here, I tucked a couple Amaryllis into some greens

A simple wreath is always elegant

A couple of weeks ago, I found a wreath made from old Christmas music sheets at an Antique store. The photo above shows similar wreaths from Living with Lindsay. I wouldn’t think it would be too difficult to make? Click here to find out how to make one from Living with Lindsay.

I also found another photo of one from the blog, Nesting Place. She has some great ideas for decorating for the holiday season, click here to check them out.

Happy Holidays!

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For those of you, like myself, who are just getting started on Halloween decorations, I have collected a couple of ideas to inspire the child in all of us.

These are quite amazing and beautiful. If you have the tenacity for one of these they would be lovely to have around. From MarthaStewart.com.

Love these spiders. A fun craft project from Country LivingClick here for the details.

A slithery serpent wreath from Martha Stewart.com

This one is my favorite, and if I run out of time or patience to do the owls, I can at least spray paint some twigs black and call it a day. This is also from Martha Stewart. com.

Only 14 days away!

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