Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 was a good year...ready for 2012!

So I have been a bit nostalgic while wrapping up 2011 in my household and with my business. This past year was filled with some challenges but also with many blessings. I am grateful to all my clients, new and old, who keep my job fun and exciting every day. I am grateful that I ventured out to start this blog mid-year and had the opportunity to connect with so many talented and inspiring people! I just dipped my toe in the blogging world in 2011 but for 2012 I will be diving right in! I was absolutely amazed at how gracious and open the blogging community has been and I am resolving to blog more regularly next year. Here are a few thank you's to the people who opened their space up to me in 2011:

Thank you to Caroline over at SmartyPantsMama for inviting me to contribute here about Moms creating nooks of their own!
Read more here

Thank you to Toujours for inviting me to contribute here:


Thank you to www.SheKnows.com for featuring Homestyling101 and many of our holiday decorating ideas here!

And now that 2012 is staring us in the eye...why not pledge to take it by storm! Come join the SmartMamaLUTION and tackle those New Year's Resolutions one day at a time! I took the pledge and I will be guest posting one of those days, too!

Take the Pledge!

Now I'm off to start ringing in the New Year! See you all in 2012!



Friday, December 16, 2011

Celebrating with inspired tablescapes

I have been very busy (haven't we all!) and I haven't had a chance to blog much about decorating for the upcoming holiday festivities. In fact, I am a bit intimidated by all the beautiful holiday decor I have seen throughout the blogosphere the past few weeks. Since my dining room table is currently covered in Christmas cards, catalogs, contracts and school projects, I had to search the lovely land of Pinterest to find some motivation to create a beautiful tablescape this weekend. Check out some of my faves....

What do you think......Simple and Elegant:


Graphic and bold:

Unexpected Color:


Earthy and Natural:


Gorgeous Metallics:

Let's see if I can get anything on my table this weekend. Which would you choose?


Friday, December 9, 2011

Toujours Magazine: Holiday Decorating Guest Blog!

Today you can find me over at the Toujours blog....I know you have heard me rave about how stunning the online publication is so you can imagine how tickled I was when Editor-in-Chief, Meghan Beierle-O'Brien asked me to contribute to their blog! I tossed up a few of my holiday decorating tips....some of which I need to implement myself this very weekend! Please hop over to their blog and while you are there, leave a comment, subscribe to the blog, subscribe to the magazine...you know the drill. You surely don't want to miss anything Toujours publishes...it is always a feast for the eyes!

Read my Toujours Contribution HERE!


Check out their holiday issue as well...they just added a beautiful holiday decorating insert....their Design Editor, Emily Ruddo has such great style!

Toujours Holiday Issue HERE!



Toujours Magazine: Holiday Decorating Guest Blog!: Toujours Magazine asked East Coast designer, Joanne Palumbo , to share her favorite decorating tips for the season. Seeing as Joanne styl...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Charitable giving with your holiday gifts

As I slowly work my way through my insanely long Christmas list, buying gifts for my friends and family whom I cherish so much, I am continuously reminded about how blessed I am. Not just because I have such wonderful people in my life but because we are all fortunate enough to be able to indulge ourselves and our children in this massive shopping frenzy.

I also take the time to give to the less fortunate, whether it is adopting a family in need, putting some toys into the Toys for Tots bin or dropping extra change into the Salvation Army Santa collections. The idea of children without something to celebrate just about breaks my heart:( So when I am shopping for the people I love, love to buy those gifts that give back, too.
Salvation Army

Let's face it, I still have to get something for my dear aunts or teachers but when the gift gives in return, it is much more meaningful. Here is a round-up of some of my favorite charitable gifts this season:


I love this Etched Mercury Class Candlepot from Pottery Barn where 50% of purchase price goes to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Pottery Barn

I also love these super cool, graphic mugs from West Elm that benefit Teach America- 50% of purchase price goes to that charity. Isn't this a great teacher gift? Check them out, they also have mugs which donate to other charities...you can find one that suits that special someone!
Teach America Mug from West Elm
You absolutely have to check out this amazing website, Presents for Purpose. This site is filled with wonderful gifts and all purchases benefit a specific charity. It is like one-stop-charitable-shopping!
Here are some of the things I loved at Presents for Purpose:
Loving this bracelet....and you pick the charity it benefits!
Cool Metro Tote- can be personalized and donates to your selected charity!
Or this beauty of a charm bracelet benefiting children's cancer...so special!
I hope this helped your holiday shopping with a little bit of giving back, too! Do you have any charitable gifts you like to buy? Happy Shopping!

BTW- I was not given any money or gifts for publishing this post- I just like to share the things I like with the people I like:)



Friday, December 2, 2011

The amazing holiday issue of Toujours Magazine!

So I have finally come out of my turkey-induced food coma to find the breathtaking holiday edition of the online-magazine Toujours. It is chock full with 140 pages (yes, you read correctly!) of great gift ideas, design inspiration and amazing features (loving the Brooklyn artist feature!)

toujours
Absolutely stunning: you can view it below! Enjoy!




Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Keep the Cold out this Winter!


Today, I would like to welcome to introduce a guest post generously written by Interior Designer, Sharon Harlan. Sharon gives us some great tips on how to keep the cold out this winter...thanks for these great ideas, Sharon!

Three Ways to Fashionably, Discreetly and Cheaply Keep the Cool Air Out
The air has now become cool and crisp, and pretty soon it will be cold and blistering. If your home is lacking in insulation, you may want to start finding ways to block that cold air from entering your home and eating up your energy bill. Although heating costs are steadily rising, you don’t want to defeat your purpose by spending a fortune on various insulators for your windows and doors. However, staying true to your love for home design, you don’t want to be cheap and decrease the beauty of your home by hanging up garbage bags or stuffing sheets around your thresholds. Listed below are three easy ways to keep the cool air out of you home this winter season.
1. Make your own draft snake: This is a simple do-it-yourself project (or you can purchase a pre-made one), and it is probably one of the cheapest ways to insulate your home. To make your own, use these step-by-step instructions found on YouTube here.
2. Purchase heavy, layered curtains: Heavy curtains are a great way to reduce cold drafts from entering your home. They can also add a beautiful design touch to an interior space. The only drawback is that heavier curtains are usually more expensive. However, if you purchase a design that is timeless and useful for many decorating styles, you can keep them hung for a very long time. These great curtains pictured below can be purchased at jcpenney stores and online, and they come in several colors. Currently on sale for $30-$45 per panel, they were also designed specifically for energy saving.  
       3. Purchase a Chimney Balloon: If you have a fireplace, you should consider buying this genius invention. Although most cold air is blocked when you close the damper, there is still a “convection process” of hot air from your home rising into the chimney, cooling once it reaches the top and sinking back down into your home. The Chimney Balloon is supposed to stop this process. Once it has been installed, it can stay fully inflated for years or you can deflate it to use your fireplace. Also, if you forget about the balloon and light your fireplace before deflating it, it will deflate in seconds. The Chimney Balloon can be purchased online at http://www.chimneyballoon.us/chimneyballoon.htm for around $50.00.

Hope you have a safe winter season, and stay nice and cozy in your insulated home!

Sharon Harlan is an Interior Decorator and also owns the site : www.interiordesigndegree.net 
She likes to write articles about everything fashion and design.

Thanks Sharon for your valuable contribution! I think I have a draft snake on my to-do list this weekend!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Getting ready for some shopping: Our Favorite Things Linkup!

Thanksgiving is only days away and while some of you might have turkey and stuffing on the brain, I am already past that and dreaming about Black Friday. That's right...I am working on my strategies, my checklists and my coffee/bathroom breaks so I don't miss out on any of the 'early bird specials'. There is an art to shopping on Black Friday and over the years, my sister and I have mastered this event. I can't give away all my secrets but let's just say it includes sleeping in your clothes, forgoing a toothbrush and adapting a camel-like bladder for a day. However, for those of you who prefer to shop like normal, hygienic human beings- I strongly suggest you check out the Saved by Suzy Our Favorite Things Linkup to check out some great gift ideas.

One of my favorite gifts this season has to be the West Elm Acacia Slabs. These uber-luscious slabs of amazing wood are a great natural addition to any kitchen or party. And I am just a sucker for something with a monogram! Price range set from $24-$34 plus $7 for monogram and free shipping...you are talking less than $50 for an amazing gift!

West Elm Acacia Wood Slabs

I just bought one as an anniversary present for my sister and brother-in-laws for their 5th anniversary (wood is the symbol for the fifth anniversary!) and I know it is going to become a staple on my holiday shopping list!

Another great gift for one of your favorite ladies is this Antique Candlestick Jewelry Stand from Urban Outfitters. How chic would two of these look on a dresser? Chic and functional....sold!
Urban Outfitters Candlestick Jewelry Holder
 I am also LOVING this faux fur throw from Restoration Hardware...it is on sale now so it is even a better deal!
Restoration Hardware Faux Fur Throw
And has anyone checked out the jewelry at Banana Republic lately? I have been loving me some of that! Check out this sparkler for less than $50- great for the holidays!
Banana Republic Eliza Bracelet
And I have always felt that you can NEVER go wrong with something personalized. Everyone gets a little tickle out of seeing their name in print....c'mon, admit it! I was surprised when I opened the Red Envelope catalog and saw this collection of graphic pillows some of which you can personalize. These would be great in a kids room, den, master bedroom, living room...the possibilities are endless!


Red Envelope Graphic Pillows


Ok, I have given you lazy folks a few great ideas. If you need some more, be sure to check out Saved by Suzy for the Our Favorite Things Linkup. Or if you are one of those people who I so envy who finished all their holiday shopping, you should check out her blog anyway- it is always a great read!

Saved By Suzy

Do you have any gift ideas you would like to share? C'mon, don't be selfish...link up to the party or share right here!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mood Board Monday: Dining Room and Dishes

Today I am linking up to Pewter and Sage and their Mood Board Monday! The task is to design a Dining Room Mood Board around a set of dishes. I chose 'Chirp Collection' from Lenox Simply Fine Dinnerware at Macy's. These are the dishes:
Chirp Collection by Lenox
And here is my Mood Board....ok...it was a quick attempt and the table does not do itself justice in this photo. In real life...it is divine! Now if only I could pull this together by Thanksgiving!


Dining Room Table: Restoration Hardware 17th C Monastery Table
Dining Room Chairs: Wisteria Chinese Chippendale Chair
Chandelier:Ballard Designs Marseille Chandelier
Painting on Etsy: Original Painting Seascape Sailboat Bird
Drapes: Pottery Barn Velvet Drapes in Porcelain Blue
Wall Art: Wisteria Long Flight From France
Rug: Restoration Hardware Chaya Rug
Etagere: Ballard Designs Etagere
Fabric: Fabric.com Chipper Slub Corn Yellow
Paint: Cloverdale Vanilla Almond
Wing Chair: Restoration Hardware Wing Back

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pinterest interest and Giveaway winner!

Just a quick blog today because I have lots of loose clients ends to tie up......some decisions need to be made! Anyway, I am also catching up on some emails which always turns into a pinning fest on Pinterest. If you aren't already familiar with that site- you have to join here- it eases the anxiety of seeing a photo that inspires you and knowing you'll never find it when you need it....like this:
Zigzag floors I heart via Pinterest
Ok, ok, nothing new but still love these horizontal stripes here!

And now, down to business....here is the result of the Virtual Room Makeover giveaway!
And the winner is.......

#20 Smarty Pants Mama!
She said:
Smarty Pants Mama said...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Great online magazines are here!

Now that we finally have power back, I spent a few hours catching up on some of my blog reading, going through some emails, pinning some things on Pinterest- basically being a complete computer junkie. And lucky you....my sloth-like behavior leads to this very juicy post sharing three uber-cool online publications that are 'must-reads' in my book.

First, House of Fifty, the holiday issue. This mag is the creation of Janell Beals, author of the Isabella and Max blog. It is filled with contributions from a multitude of design-blogging veterans and it is quite the page turner! Complete with a great gift giving guide, tips for hosting house guests through the holidays and a great feature on a decor photographer who offers some insight on getting a good shot! You can subscribe, too, so future issues don't miss your inbox!
This is a holiday MUST READ! Check it out here!
And just in case you missed out on the last issue of House of Fifty, you can check out where I blogged about it here!
Issue Two! Read about it here!
My next recommendation for a good online read is Toujours Magazine, a great lifestyle and decor pub that I stumbled upon on while reading one of my fave blogs, Armonia Decors. Emily Ruddos, author of Armonia Decors, offers great tips on how to get your home fall-worthy. Plus, with articles entitled 'Jewelry for Your Lamp' and 'Not Your Grandmothers Pre Fab' you can tell this magazine has got a lot of personality and inspires visually!
Tou Jours
And the last online mag you have to check out comes to us from down under: Ivy and Piper. I found this publication on another one of my favorite design blogs Amber Interiors. Amber is an interior designer who just oozes cool- and she is a contributor in the lastest Ivy and Piper edition. This image book is so amazing- I'm talking chevron carpeted steps, red and white checkered floors- I am telling you- your eyes won't know what to do first! It will be a pinning fest for all my Pinterest peeps!
Ok, I have shared enough! No go get your Keurigs brewing and start reading! Let me know which you enjoy!
Oh- FYI- in the interest of full disclosure, these publications and blogs have not asked me to write about them or feature them. I am not being compensated in any way. However, if they felt the desire in their little hearts to thank me- I have some ideas of my own!! Really, I wrote about them because I love them and I love to share!