Tuesday, September 18, 2018

How To Throw A Stylish Baby Shower!


I'm honored to be the  host of a baby boy shower at my home. I have to admit that baby showers are my very favorite parties to host! There is something about letting my inner child loose that feels uplifting. The thought of a baby growing in a mothers body is the most amazing miracle. As adults we often feel pressure to be a 'grown up'. We must put away the gingham checks and baby pink blankets and take on the greys and blacks that make us look skinny or compliment our skin tone.

So I'm just thrilled to be able to toss aside all the grown-up rules and celebrate my inner child and the miracle of life! So, without further ado, lets get started!


I always wanted to do a baby girl nursery and though it would be boring and dull to decorate for a boy! Boy, (no pun intended) was I wrong! Times have changed and we no longer have to choose blue and white for a baby boy shower. The possibilities are endless!
I think the number one mistake that people make is going to the local craft store and perusing the baby shower theme items. Instantly you are bombarded with THEMES! Sure, some of them are cute. I love the cute lumberjack theme for boys. And then there is the classic...It's A Boy!, in blue and white. Shiver! Right now the Fox and Elephant theme is EVERYWHERE.

My advice is to stay away from that area until you have come up with your own idea in your head. This way you don't get tunnel vision. It's very hard to come up with your own ideas if you are bombarded with STUFF.


So where do you start for inspiration? With mom, of course. I had a good talk with my girlfriend who told me she was decorating the nursery with baby animals. Then her mother crocheted a beautiful blanket with soft and beautiful colors. I asked for a picture of the yarn and the invitations she liked. That's it. That's all it took for me to be inspired.

In my mind I'm thinking stuff animals. Elephants, giraffe, lions and bears...oh my! These cute animal heads are from Hobby Lobby.



Add real ribbon to your presents! You would be surprised at how much it dresses it up! Hobby Lobby has ribbon on sale every other week. I keep a stash around for just such occasions. 


I'm also thinking blue and white is very common. So how can I change it up a little and still have it a boy color theme? I found some great crinkle paper at my local Tuesday Morning and voila. I chose a blue, green and brown color scheme. Many people overlook that brown actually looks great with blue. And to raise the interest a bit I throw in some green in the same color palette. A soft green. Beautiful! Now I have the browns that tie into the stuffed animals and the blue as a nod to the baby being a boy. 
Now that I have a color scheme in mind and know I want baby animals it was time to shop!

Of course, I head straight to Hobby Lobby, Tuesday Morning and HomeGoods.




Tip # 1:
The rule used to be have everything match. But now we have discovered that it’s not as visually interesting as if you were to pull items from many areas.  In this case, I knew what I was looking for and focused on two things...color and texture. I knew I could go to Hobby Lobby and get paper plates, cups and accessories that match but I thought I wanted to do something different. I wanted to take it up a notch! Every thing should flow and work together but not be exactly the same. Color is a great way to tie things together. We used blue, green, and brown!

Shopping:

I found two beautiful shower curtains at Homegoods that were a perfect baby blue with a wonderful quilting design that just screamed baby boy. Perfect table clothes!!! I very rarely use paper table cloths. They just aren't as visually appealing to the eye. There is nothing like a nice fabric that drapes over a table. In general I always keep me eye open for cloths, throws of fabrics that will cover my table. It's worth the extra money in the long run and you can use them over and over! Think outside of the box...

Items that I use to cover my tables

  • Shower curtains (from natural fibers)
  • Throws
  • Large scarfs
  • Layer two or more fabrics
  • Bolts of fabric 
  • Duvet covers
  • Sheets   
 I bought these pompoms to decorate the ceiling. I rather liked them. Here is a tip. Paint your thumb tacks the color of the ceiling. I didn't have time to do that. 
Lol! I didn't realize that my partner in crime is in his favorite spot on the sofa! (Sorry for the not so great photos. I had to take them at the last minute with my iphone. )


I also used a lot of tulle in brown, green and blue. The tulle is just a little nicer than paper streamers. Some of the tulle had glitter so we laid down a sheet to keep it out of the carpet.

More Shopping:
My next stop was Tuesday Morning. I know they have cute baby stuff and I hit the jackpot! I found these adorable giraffe chairs that were too cute to pass up! So when I was shopping I focused on items that would serve double duty. A great baby gift that would also serve as decoration. Because lets face it, there is a significant cost for mom to decorate the nursery and get everything she needs for the baby. And my gifts, while might not seem as practical as a box of diapers will act as decorations for the baby's room and give him something safe to eventually crawl around on. And how cute would moms pictures be with the baby propped on the giraffe chair.

My next great find was at Homegoods! I found the perfect gift/prop! A lion sleeping bag! It was totally adorable and big enough to make an impact for decoration. I also was thinking that even though the baby couldn't use it as a sleeping bag right away it still would be perfect on the floor of the nursery for laying the baby on. Rug, sleeping bag, soft blanket! Multiple uses!

I bought a Cricut Air 2 to make the banner! I love this machine and I don't know how I ever managed before without it.



Tip 2#: Fake It

On of my tricks that I use often at Christmas time is to wrap empty boxes and stick them under the tree year after year. This works well if you have a very small family or there is just two persons and the tree looks empty. 
In this case I found an adorable gift bag that suited the color and animal requirements and stuffed it with coordinating tissue paper. This is the statement piece that I will use for the gift table. There is nothing worse than an empty gift table. It just looks sad. Ha, it's also sad that I forgot to take a picture of the gift table!

Tip3#: Easy Fresh Flowers
Fresh flowers are a must if you want to make a elegant party. I used the same principals as I used in my end of summer floral arrangement and added a few extras. I went to Trader Joe's and bought 1 bunch of white gladiolas and 5 bunch of blue hydrangea and 3 bunches of white tulips. 

The steps are easy peasy. Gladiolas in the middle surrounded by hydrangea at the base. I worked in white tulips in between the hydrangea. Then I puled some silver dollar eucalypti and white snapdragon from a floral arrangement I already had but wasn't excited about. I just tucked them in where ever there was a hole. Another easy arrangement was  mixing white tulips with blue hydrangea. Super easy! Real flowers are just wonderful at breathing life and elegance into a room.  





Tip #4: Have Something Homemade

I think my favorite project was the cupcake stand. I did a little research on Pinterest and was inspired to make a cupcake stand out of can food and Styrofoam disks. 






I used baby wrapping paper for the top, I used a little glue to keep it secure. I bought green crystal ribbon and used my double sided tape gun to secure the ribbon together. I might do a blog on how to make one! So easy and I loved propping my Hobby Lobby monkey on the very top!



I grabbed a few sets of Bvlgari shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and lotion from a nice hotel we stayed at a week earlier and we used these as prizes for games. I highly recommend this if you travel a lot. 


I bought this cute picture at Hobby Lobby and took it out of the frame for everyone to sign. It came out really cute!

I hope I have given you some ideas for your next party! Follow my page on Pinterest for more inspiration on baby boy showers!

Happy Decorating
Dee

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Dee's Table For The Last Dog Days Of Summer!






I always struggle at this time of year with when to set out my fall decor because here in Houston, TX our temps are still unbearable HOT. We don't have many seasons in Texas. 
We have hot, hotter and scorching. Sigh. 




So, for those of you who actually have four seasons a year, I envy you and imagine what your colorful fall leaves must look like and the light crisp feel in the air that hits you when you step outside of the door. 


So, my tabletop today is especially for us southerners who are still not quite feeling the fall vibe but are counting the days... 


 My goal was to achieve was something transitional.
 I wanted an end of summer vibe but moving defiantly towards fall.  (Apparently I also wanted breakfast:-) lol!
Pastry is from Whole Foods! I just added bluberies and power sugar! It was sooo yummy


T



Earlier this summer, I found some cute lemon/lime napkins at Tuesday Morning. I had no idea what I would do with them but I  thought they were so cute and the price was great. I think I paid about six bucks for 4. I ended up getting 8 so that I could set my larger dinning room as well. As I was brainstorming about how to achieve that in between look, I thought my new lemon napkins would work perfectly for the end of summer.

I did this photo so you could see the entire napkin. Ultimately, I decided to cover the oranges and just work with the lemons on my napkins and the greens on the napkin. 


What do you think?

 Lemon, rattan and burlap? 

Does this say last dog days of summer?


I pulled in green topiary's from my kitchen and green leaves from my bushes in the back yard. I used my handy dandy glass canister from Homegoods to show off my new silverware. I actually love the look. I think I will start keeping all my sets of silverware in glass canisters and store them in my pantry. Cute right? 

I needed a bit of color so it wasn't too monochromatic so I tossed in some blueberries! EASY! Can you see the underlying blue tones in the cabbage plate and napkins. 

TIP: It's so hot outside I wanted the visual relieve of cool blue tones to make it seem like a cooler temperature to the eye. If I would have pulled out more of the orange color it would have come across as too warm. 



SHOPPING

  • Napkins from Tuesday Morning. Similar lemon napkins HERE
  • Bordallo Pinheiro Cabbage salad plates HERE
  • Pottery Barn rattan chargers HERE
  • Green napkin rings from Khul-Lindscome in Houston. You can find similar napkin rings at Target
  • To warm up my grey table and really play up the texture,  I used two burlap table runners from Hobby Lobby. You can find them HERE.  
  • And you can find similar topiaries on Wayfair HERE
  • Pottery Barn Serving Tray HERE


No southern table would be complete without a cold pitcher of ice tea! I picked up these great glass jars at a traditional Mexican restaurant in our neighborhood. ( Find something similar HERE. ) 
For the life of me I can't remember the name of the restaurant, sorry!  They serve cantaloupe or watermelon juice out of them so I had to have them for tea or juice! They are the perfect size and I love the traditional wood cork inside. (I refuse to use plastic pitchers or glasses with ice tea. It's just not the same!)





For layers I have a few green depression glass plates. (I only have four, I must get more! They add that extra layer that I need and are great for stacking!

Tip: Setting a table is all about layering! Layering is sooo important. Lay down your base and start stacking! See how I have used my extra cabbage plates then depression plates then stacked the tea on top! I found a way to use the extra plates that I had left over to layer. If you find yourself having a hard time with layering think of stacking. Say to yourself, ok, what can I stack on top of this! Just think stack, stack, stack!


I wasn't sure about trying to store my silverware in this glass canister. I wanted to show off my silverware but I thought the idea might just be a little crazy. But, I was pleasantly surprised! I love it!  I usually store my silverware in a ziplock bag away in some back corner in my buffet in the dining room. I have to get on my hands and knees to dig them out! I think I'm going to start a linen/pantry for all my dishware and start storing all my silverware in glass canisters! What do you think? Good tip or no?


So why do I love creating a beautiful table top?

 There is something compelling about seeing a beautifully set table. It's an art. And if it's beautiful and inviting it's hard for people to say no!  When you see how much effort and love that goes into making a special table and a special meal it makes people stop and think twice before saying they can't sit down or stop to take the time to have a sit down meal.

I hope I've inspired you! I would love your feed back! Now go set your table! 

Happy Decorating,

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Why I Quit Using Soap And What I Use Instead!




I struggle with dry skin. Hitting my late 40's has not helped! I don't think my problem is an uncommon one, so I thought you might like to hear my story.

( And, if you are in a hurry just scroll to the bottom for my 7 point advice on how to help your dry skin. )

As most of you know I was in the hospital for two weeks after my spinal fusion. During this time I was not able to shower or bathe. Yes, that's right...yuck.

For those of you never lucky enough to have to go through something like this, let me explain... it's called a sponge bath. Nowadays, they have antimicrobial wipes, and yes, they resemble diaper wipes. Scrub down with a wipe and use dry shampoo, stick on a little deodorant and Viola, you're ready to go! So to speak. LOL.

What I didn't know that while a was staying as clean as I could, I wasn't exfoliating my skin with the normal routine of showering and living an active life. Also, I have very dry skin.  I'm a lotion freak! In a normal day, I apply lotion to my arms and legs after every shower and I obsess with hand lotion. But, in the hospital, lotion took a back seat to, well, everything else.

By the time I came home and could take a shower, my skin was a hot mess! Dead skin looked like scales on my legs.  Especially around my ankles. ( I know this is disgusting, sorry for those of you with a delicate constitution, but sometimes life is indelicate!)

I started by showering with my usual liquid soap and bath poof followed by, of course, my favorite body lotion. After a few days, I didn't see much improvement and I switched the poof for a exfoliating glove. Still no real improvement. I could tell I needed some crazy exfoliation intervention!

I decided that some sort of body scrub would be my next plan of action! I mean, my skin would actually hurt it was so dry. That's one less frustration that I could live without.  After pricing several luxury lines who made body scrubs, I left even more frustrated with the prices. I mean, I didn't even know if it would work! Then I decided to try swinging by Tuesday Morning and seeing what they had. This way I could do a little experimenting at a better price!

Sure enough, I found exactly what I was looking for! After looking through dozens, I decided to go with one that caught my eye with a small statement. "NO BAD STUFF"

The brand was Urban Hydration and they had several salt or sugar scrubs. Each one of them with a different plant with medicinal properties, coconut oil and Vit A, and Vit E. Since your skin is actually the largest organ in your body I tend to go for simple and natural if at all possible. I always wonder what toxins we are absorbing through our skin through lotions and cosmetics, but that's a subject for another day.



I started with a lime salt scrub. Nothing else. No soap! I just used a little plastic spoon to put a scoop in my hand and I just scrubbed. No puff, just my hand. The results were amazing. I finally found something that did the trick. After a couple of days, I could see that the results. Less dead flaky skin. After my shower I would pat dry and apple my favorite lotion,  Gold Bond CoQ10.



About soap....

So what do I mean by soap? Soap, basically is fat and salt. Most of us used to use a bar of soap and now we frequently think of liquid body wash.

The Technical Side...
Let's skip the technical jargon and just throw out this interesting fact..."the cleansing action of soap come from its unique ability to surround oil particles, causing them to be dispersed in water and easily rinsed away. (History Of Soap.)  In other words, every time you was with soap you are striping all of your natural oils in your skin. And then we throw artificial oils and chemicals on our skin to put the oil back. Hummmmm.

And, in case you are one of those people who think more is more when it comes to lather and suds, you might be wrong. Gasp! After reading many technical articles so you don't have to;-) it's unanimous that suds do not equal cleaning power! The suds come from the surfactants and they strip your body of its natural oils.  If you have dry skin avoid chemicals ammonium lauryl sulfate and sodium dodecyl sulfate (sodium laureth sulfate.) This is what makes the suds!

Instead look for a low suds cleanser. (In a broader scope this can apply to dishes and laundry.) Some of us recognize these in our facial cleanser, think Cetaphil. Or our HE washing machines-low sud detergent. 


Summery in a nut shell...

Okay so what I take away from this is soap strips oils from the body i.e. dryer skin. Maybe if you work as a mechanic or something of the equivalent you might need soap, but for most of us reading this article, we are just not that dirty.

  1.  Low sud body wash and face wash are the way to go. 
  2. Suds do not equal cleaning power. 
  3. Stay away from surfactants.
  4. Unless your really dirty, take it easy on your skin
  5. Never use real hot water to shower, warm is best
  6. Pat yourself dry do not scrub
  7. Invest in a healing lotion
So I hope some of this information was helpful! It's sounds silly but it has made my skin so much softer and smother. I don't have to rely on lotion as much and I feel better about my skin. Please let me know if you have any products that are your favorites! I would love to hear about them.

Happy Decorating!


Saturday, August 11, 2018

My Life and Blogging





Hi friends! It's been awhile...

Today I just wanted to share my thoughts on blogging and what has been going on in my life.
Blogging is more difficult than I thought!  I've taken time off from blogging and social media to reflect and research.  I think that was a terrible mistake. In researching other successful blogs, I found myself almost paralyzed to move forward. I think in the beginning I was so naive a to the world of blogging that it was  a good thing I didn't know what I was getting into!!!

Once you realize what you're really getting into you start having second thoughts. The best analogy that I can think of is having kids. LOL! If you only knew what you were getting into! But you can't think about the hundreds of poopie diapers, or the hours of sleep you will loose, or all the grey hair you will get, you just have to jump in and do it! One step at a time. And just like with kids, sometimes you have to just fumble your way through it.

And like kids, even though you didn't do everything perfectly, they usually turn out okay in the end and they are totally worth it.

In addition to hitting a wall with my blog I've also had several health problems that have limited my ability to get things done. I've had a spinal fusion that makes bending and even walking a challenge. Well, thank goodness, it seems that I'm over the hump with my back. The last two weeks I've had virtually no back pain! I've struggled with back pain my whole life due to being diagnosed with scoliosis at age 15. My spine was fused from L1-L4 when I was 15. Well, after so many years of an active life, (trying not to give away my age;-)  I needed to fuse L-4 thru S-1. I don't want to jinks myself but I'm actually wondering if I should have had the surgery years.ago!  I guess only time with tell. Keep your fingers crossed!

So, this is where I am now, I think I just need to just blog! It's not going to be perfect and it might take a while to find out what people want to hear most. In the blogging world they say to blog on one subject and get it perfect. Interior design is my passion so I've tried to run with it.  But who in this world is perfect? And what in this world is perfect?

Perfection is a real struggle for me. I feel everything needs to be perfect most of the time.  From decorating my house or struggling with weight gain from surgery to obsessing over my photos for Instagram! In the real world of blogging, behind the scenes, there is a BIG mess. The only thing that is perfect is what is in that very small photo. And, as soon as the photo shoot is done, you have another project to work on and it's back to chaos. Most bloggers struggle with this and I take comfort in that. I mean after all we all love those beautiful photos of , well anything, homes, fashion flower arrangements. But, I found, when I was reading thru hundreds of perfect blogs that I really enjoyed when they would let their hair down and share there real struggles and the mess behind those perfect photo shoots!!!

 I've found that I want to share a lot of different things with my friends. So please be patient with me while I work through this maze. I've found that I want to share about many things from my favorite new blue jeans to my makeup tips. From now on I'm just going to share, share, share. Some might be short and sweet, because let's face it, you have more to do than just read this blog! And then others might be long and instructional. You tell me what you like and what you want to hear! Feedback is the only way I'm going to learn!

So what's my next project???
Well right now, I'm hosting a baby shower! So much fun!!! A close girlfriend of mine is having a  baby boy! Baby animals are the theme and we are going with a blue, green and brown color scheme. I can't wait to share my photos, tips and tricks with you for the best baby shower!

Talk to you soon! And thank you for following me on this blogging journey.

Happy Decorating!

Friday, April 27, 2018

My Simple Mediterranean Orange Salad with Tilapia


Mediterranean Orange Salad


So for those who are just getting know me, I have a secret to disclose..
I never cook!
(well almost never)

Which, I know, is pathetic. Especial since my running theme on my blog is, table settings and beautiful flowers for entertaining! Well, I bet there are many of you out there with your busy lives that, even if you like to cook, you just don't have time to juggle everything! Who has time to plan a meal, run to the grocery store, go home and plan a nice table setting and cook from scratch! Whew, I'm tired just typing it out. It's not the same today as it was in Grandma's time.

 I was thinking of Mother's Day lunch when I decided to share this recipe but  then I thought this would be great for spring weather and dinning Al Fresco too! I have had several occasions where I have attempted to cook and this is one thing that stuck because it is so yummy. And it looks beautiful. I found the recipe a very long time ago in a Mediterranean cook book. Super healthy!


 I was thinking that, I'm no Barefoot Contessa, but my passion runs in the same direction. My second confession is...I cheat on the rare occasion I cook. There, I said it! I don't think meals need to take hours to make. I try to make half from scratch and half from something that is pre-made. But, of course, that item has to taste great too! So today I'm sharing my recipe for my delicious orange salad. And giving you my cheat tip for yummy Crusted Tilapia. 





 Levi is very curious as to what this thing called cooking is all about!





Mediterranean Orange Salad


Shopping List For 2-3 Portions:

  • 3 Large Oranges
  • 1/4 Pint Black pitted olives from olive bar
  • sliced almonds, a hand full, give or take 
  • a handful of sliced cherry tomatoes
  • 3  medium avocados
  • 1/8 sliced red onion to taste 
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • half a lemon
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of black pepper 
*This recipe is very forgiving. I don't measure anything I just make sure the main ingredient is oranges and the rest is balanced for color and appearance.

 P.S. Pick up some flowers while you are at the store. My choice was daffodils and a few Ranunculus.(Trader Joes)


First thing. Slice your oranges. I actually don't peel my orange so I don't damage it. Instead I first cut the two ends off. 



Then I make a slight cut thru the rind. It peels off easily this way and it doesn't destroy the orange. Then I slice the orange in whole slices about a 1/4 -1/2 inch thick. 



You can save 3 slices to "plate the salad on" this is just for presentation and is optional. Then proceed to make chunks with the remaining orange slices. I always think of the Dole's Chunky Pineapple, in a can. That's about the right size. 



Then continue to chop the rest of your ingredients. Slice tomato & olives in half. Sprinkle in almond slices. I buy mine already cut at HEB. Slice red onion. Cut avocado in chunks.

Professional Tip: Store your nuts in the refrigerator and they will last practically forever. I save rubber bands from the grocery store and wrap them around my bag and throw them in the crisper drawer.

Professional Tip: Make sure not to over handle the avocado otherwise it will turn the whole salad green. I add them in last and I toss the salad with my hands very carefully. Never use a spoon. I even use my hands to put it on the plate.



For the salad dressing I can't think of any thing simpler. I eyeball this too! A big splash of olive oil, a generous pinch of salt and a dash of black pepper. Everything to taste of course!


Spoon the dressing lightly into salad. Toss once or twice with your hands. Then, once the salad is on the plate
 you can spoon a little extra over the top.
 Just make sure you don't drench it in salad dressing. 
You don't need a lot.
 Let the flavor of the ingredients be the star.  



I love these little bowls I picked up at Sur La Table years ago. They are just right for getting my ingredients together ahead of time. And the salad dressing fits perfectly.  

Now for the cheat. My favorite Tilapia is from Costco! 

It takes about 13 minutes in the oven. Easy and yummy. I think any white fish would go perfectly with this salad. 
Just add a squeeze of lemon.

Please forgive my photos. It was getting dark by the time I took my photos on my Iphone. It looks better in real life.
The key is to using pre-made food is learning the art of presentation. It makes all the difference! Notice here I just added a few slices of lemon and a daffodil or two. And if you haven't spent all of your time cooking then you have a little time to make it look good with garnishes and lovely table settings. 

I'm starting a new board on Pinterest called Beautiful Foods. It's all about the presentation. Follow me and we can learn together!




And we can not forget the flowers. Daffodils and white Ranunculus tie in together with the citrus theme we have going on our plate. 

 
Tonight is dining for one' but come Mothers Day' this Table will be full of Happy Mothers and grateful kiddos! 
And hopefully continent bellies.

Happy cooking,

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Blue & White

                                             Photo by Wm Ohs Inc. - Search kitchen pictures  Link Click Here

Blue and white is an all time classic color pallet and I thought I would share some of my favorite inspirational photos! Scroll to the end for my favorite blue and white shopping list! Also, don't forget to follow me on Pinterest! I collect the most beautiful pictures for inspiration! I Especially collect color inspiration for your rooms. Enjoy!

Dan Carithers October 1999- Source
Traditional Home

1st Dibs

Picture via Pinterest, source unknown
Source
Frontgate
Domino

                                                                   Ballard Designs

Source
Source
Instagram

Picture via Pinterest, Source unknown

Instagram

My Shopping List!
The best finds on the internet!





Happy Decorating,