Inspired Christmas Table Settings

Not everyone has a multitude of dishes for every occasion, however with a change of accessories, glassware, chargers and colors you can create endless combinations.  The examples here show a change of theme with just a change of the accessories.

The above show pretty much the same dishes.  In the first, I’ve changed out the flatware for a woodland motif.  The others have some glamour appeal and the last is dressed down for a more casual and whimsical look, note the ‘snow globe’ ornament.  Using decorations at your dinner table adds interest and visual appeal.

Even though I have place card holders, sometimes I like to use gift tags adorned with stickers tied to napkins or a small ornament at each place setting.  The idea is to think beyond an items ‘designated’ use.  If it appeals to you, try to use it at the table.  Just be sure to coordinate colors and theme.  Have fun!


Cute Halloween Cupcake Treats


A friend of mine brought these to a Halloween party and I just had to share.  So darling and so very easy!  She just used chocolate cake mix and store bought frosting.  The little “tombstones” are Pepperidge Farm cookies stuck into the cupcake.  Pipe on the faces, etc, while they are laying flat, before you stick them into the cupcakes.  Adorable!

A Beautiful August Wedding

We recently attended the wedding of a close friends’ eldest daughter.  On a day that seemed custom ordered, we watched her walk down the aisle and into her new life – Kleenex please!  I wanted to share some pictures of that day since the theme and setting were so charming.  The reception was held at a local golf course.  Guests were greeted by staff presenting signature golf-themed drinks, (ie: the sand wedge) with straws bearing a small flag with the bride and groom monogram.  The monogram was presented on napkins and the menu cards as well.  There was a “closest to the pin” friendly competition during the cocktail hour – which the bride promptly won….in her wedding dress!  The flowers were just beautiful with gorgeous summer colors that matched the bridesmaids dresses and seemed also to be a nod to the colors of August.   The beauty in this wedding was truly the classic simplicity that is signature to the brides’ style.

A few days later my friend re-purposed some of the bouquets in her home and they still looked lovely.

Another friend had handkerchiefs custom embroidered with a monogram and wedding date.

As with anything, it is always the small touches that add to the total experience.  I believe nothing here was overlooked!  Enjoy the photographs.

Bridal Shower

The eldest daughter of a close friend of mine is getting married – can’t believe how quickly time goes by!  So the other day I went to her bridal shower.  I can honestly say, I am always amazed how creative my friends are.  The hostess put together such a sweet event and one of the highlights was this ‘mimosa bar’.  Just had to share here.  Inspiration to use this idea for any event.  The pictures will do the talking.

Lilly Pulitzer themed Golf League Luncheon

OK, let’s begin by saying, I’m not a great golfer, however, I do love the commradery and freindship of being on a league.  A year ago my golf partner and I won our annual member-member event (lets be clear – on handicap alone), which means you are the hosts for the next years event – who knew?!  So here I am trying to put a new twist on our annual Lily Pulitzer pink and green event.  Inspiration hit!  Flamingos!!  I created silk flower centerpieces adorned with garden flamingos.  All the ‘gifts’ were Palm Beach themed, soaps with glittery palm trees, tropical candles, even beach towels with flamingos on them.  We had garden flamingos put on the tee boxes for the “closest to the line’ and ‘longest drive’ holes, etc.  It was a smash.  Here are some pics from the event.  Remember, any occasion can be a chance to knock it out of the park.  Run with it!!

Evening Cocktails with an Olive Tasting Station

Flavored olive oils are all the rage lately.  The varieties are almost endless and very creative as well.  Here is a twist on the traditional cocktail cheese and cracker fare.  Round up some different varieties, have bread cubes, as pictured here, or bruchetta toasts.  Pour the oils into small dipping dishes.  Have extra olives and crudités as well, such as cornichons, figs, or hard salami.  Have a clever display to entice sampling. Remember different heights and containers make for a pleasing visual.

It’s Party Season – tips for successful entertaining

In my blog entry “Make Thanksgiving Stress Free”, I give many of my tried and true entertaining tips that bear repeating. Basically, as with everything, pre-planning is everything.   If you are having a holiday party, large or small, any or all of these tips will be beneficial for having your party run smoothly.

Have a designated closet or space for coats.  Preferably not right at your entrance, so as to avoid a cluttered look.  Rent or purchase a rolling coat rack, or clear out your hall closet of your own coats, so as to provide ample space for your guests.  Be sure to add hangers.

Clear out your refrigerator of any excess food, condiments, etc., so as to make room for large platters (that you have made in advance) and also for the leftovers that will be going in after the party.

Prepare as much of your food as you can in advance.  Have it ready to be placed in the oven or on the buffet in it’s serving container.

Empty the dishwasher so it is on the ready for loading day/night of your event

Look around, do you have enough seating?  This depends on the type of event you are throwing, naturally if it is a dinner you need chairs for your guests.  If you are throwing a cocktail party, I have found the majority of people stand or walk around having conversations.  Still, have seating in conversational groupings.  Many people make the mistake of removing too much furniture, you will need small tables here and there as a landing place for a drink or small plate.  If you must, re-arrange your living room furniture to accomodate.

If you have a fireplace, make sure the wood bins are full.  Have the logs stacked and ready to light.  You don’t want to be running around looking for newspaper minutes before your guests arrive.  Light the fireplace at least 1/2 hour prior to your event.  It could be just that night that the flue decides not to draft!  At least you can resolve that before anyone shows up!

Lighting is everything.  Lamps and candles help to set the mood.  Avoid bright overhead lighting unless it is a chandelier with a dimmer.  I always like to have a candle in the powder room, but avoid having them close to the bar or at the buffet.  And try not to have scented candles close to your food.

Be sure that there are ample hand towels in the powder room.  I like to use decorative paper hand towels, that way each guest has a clean dry towel. Always have at least an extra roll of toilet paper in a container or under the vanity.  Place a fresh new bar of soap in the soap dish or use a pump dispenser but again, make sure it is new and full.

Set the mood with music, but keep the volume from becoming overwhelming.

Have your entrances well lit and be prepared for winter weather by keeping shovels and salt handy if needed.

My children love to help at parties, and truthfully, they are quite good at it.  My son usually helps to direct with parking, shoveling walks and hanging coats.  My daughters clear away plates and work the buffet and loading dishwashers.  If you can’t hire a caterer, I suggest hiring a freind’s son or daughter for help – I have found that they are always more than happy to help out, plus they earn a little spending money!

And finally, always, always greet your guests.  Do not be upstairs fixing your hair as your guests show up.  You want to exude effortlessness and hospitality.  This instantly makes your guests feel welcome.   Let the festivities begin!


Greens and Roses centerpiece

This is just inspiration for a simple but elegant centerpiece that is easily put together.  Use oasis that has been soaked and placed in an oblong or rectangular container with a little depth to hold water.  I used White Pine branches because they are soft and easy to work with, red roses, red twig wild dogwood for height and some artificial sparkly pomogranates.  Real pomogranates could easily be used as well, since they have longevity. Use your imagination, just remember to vary the heights of your elements for eye appeal.

Olive Wreath – so pretty!

I think that this presentation of olives is so attractive and bonus – extra simple!  Sprigs of fresh rosemary and a mixture of olives, cornichons, and mozzarella cheese balls.  Try this one for sure for your holiday gatherings.

Appetizers deserve great presentation

Everything looks especially appealing when the extra effort is put out in the display of your appetizers.  Use various heights and containers.  Think beyond the traditional cheese board.  The key is uniformity.  Use containers that compliment eachother.