Friday, 30 November 2012

Random musings and off to Palm Beach!

Good morning! I  hope you have had a great week, it is amazing that we are less than a month away from Christmas!! Do you feel the pressure yet? My week has been super busy but productive. I feel like I am juggling many balls in the air and on top of that I have been waking up at a ridiculously early time every morning (think 4ish)  therefore I am anxious for a little relaxation.  Think this will be the ONLY four relaxing days I will have in all of December! So, I am off today to beautiful Palm Beach, really looking forward to a 3 day mini break from well.......everything :)

Such a beautiful jewel of a place, I plan on getting some much needed relaxation, rest, indulging in a few great meals, and maybe hopefully some retail therapy! Any suggestions that you feel compelled to share.....please by all means, let me know.  In the meantime...things are getting awfully busy around here. By next week hope to have my tree up and my front door wreath.

Though I like to hem and haw about how crazy and chaotic things are (and they are) it is very exciting to be celebrating Christmas in our new home. I am thrilled to be able to share it with all of you and hope your holiday season is off to  a blazing start! This is a very photo heavy post (consider it 3 days of posting all in one)! Enjoy your weekend......

I missed a dear friends birthday so invited her over for a one on one lunch.  I wanted to have it look pretty and we had such a nice time. I made my usual tricolor salad with grilled chicken and shaved Parmesan, a yummy chicken tortilla soup, fresh sour dough rolls and for dessert I was very practical, instead of a cake that would likely go to waste, or to have leftovers for that would be serious tempation for me late at night,  I got her one big oversized cupcake, fresh fruit and the best biscotti locally made I have ever eaten (its addicting, its that good). Here's a few highlights...

Even had a bottle of champagne for her to toast her belated birthday.........

Please remember those chairs are not like the plaid but they are something to sit on!

My pretty soup tureen

This soup is soooo good and really satisfying..recipe below!
The oversized cupcake, just perfect for 2!

Trust me it didn't stay there long!
 My very generous friend, came bearing gifts....these gorgeous flowers (she knows my love for white flowers) and these were exceptional and this beautiful holiday candle from Nest, too pretty to open!

Want the recipe for the soup? Here it is...say hello to your new comfort food! ( I buy ready made tortilla strips, and am generous with the extra sharp cheddar for that extra little "zing"!



2 tablespoons vegetable oil or light olive oil
¼ cup minced white onion
¼ cup mined Anaheim pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups chicken broth
2 cooked skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cooked skinless, boneless chicken thigh, cut into bite-size pieces
1 package sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3 (6-inch) corn tortillas, minced (if you actually want to do this yourself...not me)
2 tablespoons lime juice
Carrots very finely diced
1/2 green pepper and 1/2 red pepper, finely diced
¼ cup canned diced tomatoes
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon oregano
1 can pinto or black beans
3/4 cup of corn
¼ teaspoon salt
Tortilla strips, optional, for garnish


1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-low heat. Add the minced onion, pepper, and garlic, peppers and carrots and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until the minced onion begins to turn translucent.
2. Whisk the cornstarch into the chicken broth, then add the broth mixture to the pot, along with the chicken, cheddar cheese, corn, beans,, lime juice, diced tomatoes, cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano, and salt. Increase the heat to medium while stirring constantly to help the cheese melt. When the soup begins to bubble, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve the soup topped with tortilla strips and extra shredded cheese

Store news......Been busy fulfilling holiday orders, the monogram items are hot hot hot, the napkin rings and silver also moving fast. I do a consistent business with my pillows. This line is particularly fabulous, super high quality, beautiful heavy down filled and I discount substantially. I am excited to have a bunch of new pillows, they will be added on by Monday. Here's a peek at the new loot in the pillow dept! Click here to visit my online store.

Also...several of you have made inquires about the pewter chargers. I had gotten in a large batch which went immediately. I am working on trying to get more, not so easy! I did get in a random assortment of 14 of the scalloped ones and 3 of one of the more ornate ones.. If interested just email me. I am discounting the scalloped to a great deal of $25 a charger (they sell for 40) because on some of them there is the slightest trace of a "sticker residue" on them but they will be covered any way so its a small "defect". I tried to photograph them. Just email me here if you are interested!
 I have 14 of these
 And 3 of these

Moving on.....continuing to decorate around here for Christmas. I have had such a chock full week that I didn't get as much done as I would have liked, but am getting there! Here's a few new things in my holiday decorating....

 I do love the way red pops next to blue and white......

 Added some garland....will be adding pinecones at some point, this is phase I

 I like adding small sprigs of greenery with berries to vignettes around the holidays....

 I found this HUGE pumpkin for 1/2 off (so next fall you will be seeing a lot of it) Its so great looking, about 22" round!

I love late afternoon sunlight and the beautiful silhouette it creates.....
 Though I am not a huge "red" person have to say a touch of it here and there brings the holiday spirit into my home in a beautiful way....
Love adding scented pinecones to the base of a planter for my holiday flowers...

There is so much inspiration online that at times its intoxicating and overwhelming( I know many of you are shaking your head in agreement)! But it is so incredibly fun to drool over all the amazing images available! Here's a few I am loving lately........

Such a magical time of year, so much going on, so much inspiration everywhere! It is a wonderful season but it is also so important to pace yourself, I keep reminding myself of this every day and am a "list queen" and  love checking things off my list! Enjoy the magic of the season that is upon us and I will speak to you next week! Wishing you a fabulous weekend. Ho ho ho.......


Thursday, 29 November 2012

Bloggers buzz on holiday gifts part II

Hi there! Hope you are doing well. Are you like me and getting really busy with the holiday frenzy?  Ready for another collection of fabulous holiday gift ideas from my super chic blogging friends? Well here's another superb roundup of awesome gift ideas. I have to say I have gotten so many wonderful ideas. For the first time in years, I am feeling my stress 0' meter go down.....not up! 

Let's face it...the holidays are plenty stressful enough without the added pressure of gift giving pressure. I love all these ideas, so many unique ones, and something for everyone. Thank you ladies for your fabulous ideas! So let's get started, ladies take it away...........


Vicki from French Essence says.....

 Holiday Gift Ideas from French Essence…

Choosing gifts is such a pleasure… thinking of ideas, sourcing them and then
finding that perfect match. That is the best part… knowing that your gift is going
to please your special person. I love watching the un-wrapping… the guessing as
the parcel is prodded and poked… It’s all part of the art of giving…

I don’t believe that some are ‘impossible’ to buy for or that others ‘have
everything’… the art of giving means not being defeated, sometimes thinking
outside of the box or oftentimes just keeping it simple.

When I think of a special gift, I think about what I would love to receive, an
indulgence that I might not buy for myself… something that would make me
smile and make me feel spoilt… a Cire Trudon candle is perfect. My preferred
scent is Odalisque… a blend of orange blossom, lemon and vanilla. I like a gift to
be long lasting and to evoke memories… this is a scent that does just that.
My other most loved gifts are books… nothing makes me happier… and I always
want to give as I would like to receive…

To purchase click here

              ‘The Best of Flair’ is an exquisite piece and one that is the perfect addition to
              any library… it is beautifully illustrated and has many of the features that made
              the 1950’s magazines of the same name so popular. This is a collector’s item, an
              intriguing and fascinating book that enchants on every page.

To purchase click here

Carolyn  and Cynthia of the Buzz Blog says....

Here are our two favorite gift items this holiday season from our e-commerce site

  Our mother raised us with a tradition of never arriving empty-handed to holiday parties and that’s one of the reasons why we added a range of beautiful botanically inspired gifts to our collection of faux florals on Diane James Home.  It was hard to pick two of our favorite holiday hostess gifts but given that we’ve just introduced our new Winter scent candle made by Seda France, we had to include it!  And why not pair it with a lovely set of French-milled soaps, presented in a festive red box ready for gift giving (or re-gifting, if need be.)  Both gifts are sure to please!

Our Winter Candle (brand new for this holiday season and made by Seda France) - 


Mary Ann of Classic Casual Home says......

Hi Tina, Here are a couple of gift ideas that I will be giving this Christmas...

 These are only $18.95 for two pads of 100 sheets.  So thoughtful with the name or monogram personalization...and you can  create the look from lots of images. Here are some logos that I have used for friends (and even for myself).

 This Heart Key Chain would be perfect to give my girlfriends so they will know I care about them every time they use it.

 Thanks, Tina!

Desiree of Chic Coastal Living says......

My first gift choice this holiday season is this navy pom pom throw from Serena and Lily. I recently partnered with Serena and Lily and received this gorgeous substantial throw from them and all I can say is everyone needs one! I am looking forward to sitting by a  fireplace wrapped up in this ultra cozy high designer throw while sipping a delicious latte. Serena and Lily states on their website...that this throw is an understated design element. I totally agree!

My second gift choice this holiday season is that adorable iPad Mini. This great little device is every inch the iPad has everything that you love about it! Including a beautiful screen, fast fluid performance, and thousands of amazing apps to enjoy. You can choose to have cellular service on it and different capacities. The best part is that it can fit in one hand!

Kathysue from Good life of Design says.....

I love to give themed gifts. For some reason it helps me narrow down my choices. In the past I have chosen a monogrammed theme for gifts.

I try to get the beautiful towels that are on Neiman Marcus’s pink sale every year….

You will get two sets of three pieces for $58, this is a real bargain. Plus, you can have them monogrammed. 

I have personally purchased these towels as gifts, and for my own personal use. Many of my friends have done the same!

If you like the option of a colored towel, and a colored monogram these are the towels for you. Only $12 for a bath towel.

 I usually purchase the white with a sand monogram for myself, but have purchased other colors for gifts.

Gift #2
The next theme gift I love to give is dinner related! I love to purchase nice plain white serving pieces from Crate and Barrel just go HERE!…….

I add this fun gift to the serving pieces. It is called Destination Dinners. You can go to their website by clicking on their name below the image…..

You can choose a dinner kit from any of the following destinations for $30:
I round it all out with monogrammed napkins from Pottery barn…..

These are just a couple of themed gifts you can give. I bet if you think about it from this point of view you will come up with your own ideas!! 

Happy Gift Giving,

Michele of Hello Lovely Inc. says.....

Thanks for including me, Tina!
* * *
My favorite gifts to give and receive are
handmade or vintage in nature because
they are usually one of a kind and extra special.

ORIGINAL Abstract Painting on Canvas...MAINE No. 35
original abstracts on canvas

Naturally, two choices from my hello lovely etsy shop
include affordable original paintings by me
(a perfect size for a gallery wall)
and assorted vintage European bottles
which are fabulous on their own,
as a styling prop, or vase.
(They may even work for holiday decorating!)

vintage embossed bottles

hello lovely inc.


Luciane of Home Bunch says.....

Happy Holiday shopping, everyone!
Pick #1:
I have three small children and I'm always trying to make our home feels like a home for every and each member of our family. I like my kids to feel welcomed in every room, but I like to dedicate certain places exclusively to them. I think it's really important for our kids to have a place where they feel completely free to create, play and learn.
When I saw these children plates I immediately thought how neat would be to have them hung in a playroom. These alphabet plates are adorable and I'm sure any kid would enjoy seeing them!

Aren't they cute? The set for a mug and plate costs $26.00 and you can find them here.
Pick #2:

Maybe this Christmas we should do more than opening our wallets, maybe instead, we should open our eyes to see what the person next to one need.
We all get incredibly busy at this time of the year, we all try to send cards to all of friends and family and we're running from store to store with a huge list on hands, but is it all we can do? Is it all we can give? Perhaps, we can do more, perhaps we should do better.
What about actually being the gift for someone this Christmas? Look around, you can help in so many ways and that's a gift! Visit a neighbor you know could use of some help with the kids, or an elder person who needs help. You can do simple things, such as wrapping gifts or cooking some meals for the Holidays.
Offer help, be there and put a smile on someone's face.
The best gifts in life are usually priceless and comes from the heart, instead of a shelf.
Happy Holidays!


Elizabeth of Pretty Pink Tulips says.....

I am always on the look out, year round, for special items that would make a fabulous gift, so I was thrilled that Tina invited me to share a couple of picks with her lovely readers. I love to give things that will be savored, enjoyed and used. Personalized items are always a favorite of mine, but that doesn't necessarily mean a monogram. My first holiday gift pick is the exquisite new book, Flowers, by Carolyne Roehm. 

The book was a true labor of love, as Carolyne created all of the floral arrangements and photographed them herself. If you know someone how lives for their garden, a gorgeous flower arrangement or just loves a fabulous coffee table book...this is the one for the season! The most cost effective way to purchase her book is via, but you can also visit her website, to have her personalize the book for your recipient.

My next gift pick is something I have and use on a daily basis. The Russell + Hazel Tassel Key Chain is just a fun thing to give and receive. The personalization comes in choosing the perfect color. Mine is white and is easy to find in the bottom of my handbags.  Available at

Whatever you choose to give, remember the presentation is part of the gift!
xoxo Elizabeth

Thanks ladies! This is like the gift giving jackpot. So  many unique ideas, this is the beauty of having such talented blogging friends......wonderful ideas are always being generated and  of course the perk is getting to share them with you all. I am for once excited about my gift about you? Thanks again ladies and thank you everyone for stopping in....ho ho ho!