It was all a dream Alice….

Day 1. Year 40.

I’m going to slowly crawl out of the rabbit hole I like to call Holiday 2014…and recap. Truth be told, I had zero free time to post any thoughts during the last month. I tried. I sooo did try.

I scratched some ideas down in my notebook for posts titled, “a few of my favorite things”, “Hostess gifts the Hostess really wants to get”, and even one titled, “I don’t bake, I sauté”. Maybe one day I’ll post them or not. But the intention was there. Unfortunately there are only 24 hours in a day. And I require about 5 1/2 hours of sleep.

So, today I’m going to start the first day of my 40th year with a look back on the last Holiday season in my 30’s. Here we go!

It all began with a very special Santa Breakfast with Nana and Pop…

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Next up, Find the tree, get the tree home and decorate the tree. The kids picked it out this year and decorated it all by themselves (except the lights; maybe next year they can swing that too) It was a lovely tree.

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Next, time to bake all the cookies with cousins and Nana. Baking, not being a specialty of mine means I play the role of  a sous chef, mixing batter and bloody marys (for the grownups), and cleaning up little faces when they are covered with chocolate.



There was a short but fun lunch and shopping trip with old friends to one of my favorite places. Terrain. It’s a visual wonderland during the holidays (and the rest of the year to be honest).




Finally got around to wrapping gifts; over the course of 3 weeks and mostly at 11pm.




There was a quick trip to DC for work and I was lucky to stay at the stunning and historical Hotel Monaco. I didn’t take enough pics… go here to see the gorgeous rooms and lobby.


There was an Ugly Sweater party, which I chose to channel my inner 80’s girl by wearing some vintage 80’s (and 60’s) attire.  What does the fox say again?

imageAnd we finally made it to my favorite day. Nutcracker day. Magic as always. Eloise in the grand ballroom…. carrying on traditions.


A lovely gift inside and out from my team at work. Feeding my need for sparkly, shiny objects, and twine. image

Did we make it to Christmas Eve yet??? yes. Dinner? Check. (Note the mug; my don’t mess with me mug full of black coffee) Gifts with Grammy?Check. Santa? Check. Wine and It’s a Wonderful Life viewing? Check. image image


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Here’s where it really speeds up. Christmas Day went by like wild-fire. At home and at Nana and Pops house. I tried to really soak up one of the last years when both kids truly “believe”. The last 9 years have gone by so fast. I can’t imagine a year when they won’t be running into our room at 7am screaming “santa was here!!!!”.



Rounding out Christmas week in-between working (retail remember) we got to visit Pop Pop at his lake house…


and go to Frozen on Ice with some besties and the rest of the ti-state area. For real though, it was an amazing show. I mean Disney rules the free world as far as I’m concerned.

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If that’s not enough we finished the season and year by celebrating the new year at home. Of course I took that as an opportunity to add more lights, and a selfie station for the kiddos. Happy 2015!!


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Whew….I’m exhausted. But also excited. Excited to celebrate lots of new things this year. 40 is lurking around the corner. Sorry, lurking sounds ominous.

Let’s try: 40 is sitting quietly with her hands folded in the corner ready to start the party. Let’s do it 40. I’m ready.



There’s no place like home etc…

I must apologize for the lack of posting. I’ve been preoccupied. Where have I been, you ask? Well, in the visual retail world November is like getting ready to put on a new Broadway show or building the set for the Super Bowl half time show… you get the picture. Maybe not. May you never have to. I kid. I kid.

So I’m back from Oz after the Black Friday– decorate, work crazy hours, tweak the decorations, climb ladders, work till your feet and eyes feel like they’re bleeding (and your hands really are bleeding from the garland and wire cutting)— weekend. Then I found myself at Home Sweet Home on Tuesday. ALONE. It’s time for my own decorating party.


Now of course I have a few rules about decorating at home. #1 No decorating until the “work” installation is behind me. #2 Always decorate immediately after the “work” installation is behind me because if I wait, I will not have any motivation to do so at all. #3 Don’t take it too seriously and the kids get to do the tree with me…no rules. (p.s. the last one is a serious test for a visual merchandiser)

So I’m going to share some of my stuff with you. I have an eclectic mix (no…me?) of decorations ranging from vintage collectables to things saved from childhood to crafty and sometimes sparkly items. I mix them all together and somehow it seems to work for my house. Each room has a slightly different feel.


This year I started in the family room. I have a ton of these vintage and new tiny trees that I mix into the fireplace/ mantel display. This year I did a little terrarium on the coffee table as well mixed with some coral brought home from the Caribbean on our 10th anniversary.


Here’s a snippet of the mantel. The lights and gold starburst come from an old store holiday trim (a retail perk…getting to bring home the old stuff) The sparkle garland is from Homegoods.

Below are my favorite sparkly pinecones tied to my curtains…


Here’s a snap of the corner coffee table. I love dim light and candles. These white and silver balls give off such a pretty glow.


Moving into the kitchen, it’s a little more fun and kitschy. Some woodland creatures mixed in with some vintage pixies (stolen from my childhood tree; thanks mom)



backing up for  a better view…




Assigned seating in the kitchen to keep the peace. The wreaths are from the church pews at our wedding back in 2001.


Someone snuck into this pic…Vintage stocking on a vintage mirror. There’s something I soooo love about paint chipping off old things….

Moving on to the hall…a continuation of crafty, woodland things.



Bathroom stuff:


Oh, then there’s the obligatory elf (I mean cute idea but I can’t count the number of times “mommy” has failed to escort it to the new location before waking in a panic at 3am to do so— another Pinterest board I refuse to follow) he sits next to a vintage tray painted with a Partridge in a pear tree. I love this one.


In the dining room I like to play off the milk glass theme and get a little sparkly.




After 12 years of Catholic school, the manger still is a part of my decor and the kids have to cover the baby Jesus as he is not born till Christmas Day. Traditions are important. I keep this one so the kids can remember it’s not all about the gifts. (and we don’t make it to church Every Sunday…) This manger was a wedding gift and I’ve always loved it for being simple and classy.


So that was Tuesday. Of course there was wine 😉


Also, no tree or outdoor lights yet. Next week. And as I said before, the next portion heavily involves the kids. They need to contribute. Mommy is tired. And only they know just where to put that paper scribbled wreath or that foam frame with the pic of one of them in preschool in an elf hat. I save all of it as my mom did. They are made with love and deserve to be shown off for all the visitors including Santa to see.

imageWatching their “shows” by the Christmas lights.