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Monday Mood Boards: 4th of July

June 26, 2017, posted by Michelle – We’re in a patriotic mood and have assembled a couple of boards with 4th of July in mind.

Looking for some Independence Day decorations? You really don’t need much more than Old Glory! Evergreen Enterprises

But if you feel you need a few more things for your 4th of July celebration, we have some more ideas for you:

1. Juliska Iberian Indigo Cocktail Plate, bergdorfgoodman.com  | 2. Red Canape Plate, burkedecor.com  |  3. Hermes Bleus d’Ailleurs Plate, neimanmarcus.co  | 4. Stars and Stripes Mason Jar Trio, etsy.com | 5. Kim Seybert Stars Cocktail Coasters, barneyswarehouse.com  6. Stars and Stripes Party Fans, potterybarn.com  |  7. Ella Doran Rope Coasters, amara.com  | 8. Blue and White Cheese Board, etsy.com  |  9. Pre-owned Bottega Veneta Leather placemat, therealreal.com

We’ll have more 4th of July related posts this week, so check back with us!

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Fun Stuff on Friday: Purple Polish, Hula Girls and more

June 23, 2017, posted by Gina – We’ve made it to another Friday and another fun stuff post!

Summertime is a great time to try out some new fun colors on your toes. I had a pedicure yesterday and chose Polly Want a Lacquer by OPI. I love this pale purple color but admit it is not  one of my usual color choices. I stick to pinks and neutrals most of the time but sometimes you just have to step out and be a little more daring. Do you tend to wear the same colors or are you a bit adventuresome?


Maybe I fell in love with Special K Dark Chocolate Coconut granola because I was famished when I first tried it, but I don’t think so. I think it is just plain yummy. I went a bit past my regular lunch time and decided to have a Chobani yogurt with a little of this granola on top. It was a real treat. Let us know if you try this. We’d love to know what you think about it.


It thought these cute little dashboard hula girls were a thing of the past…or are they? If you’re of a certain age, you no doubt remember seeing them stuck on dashboards, wiggling with every turn and bump. My son decided that it would be funny to wear a Hawaiian shirt and place this hula girl on his dashboard on our recent trip to the beach. His sense of humor is one of his qualities I admire so much. Did you ever have one of these on your dash? I had a Mother Mary statue but I somehow don’t think they are in the same category.

Why is it that as summertime just seems to be getting into full swing Fall is forced upon us? In craft stores and in clothing stores alike an Autumn chill starts to creep in even though it’s 95 degrees outside. One day bathing suits fill an area and the next (usually after the 4th of July) they are 50% off and their space is being taken over by Fall clothing. Pinterest is such a good indicator of what people are thinking about. Recently, I have seen many Fall decorating pins. If you are a planner like me, it is hard not to start thinking ahead. How about you? Do you start preparing for the next season early? Or do you relish every last minute of each season?

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8 Reasons to Handwrite a Thank You Note

June 19, 2017, posted by Gina – We’ve all been taught how to write thank you notes, but do we still do it in the age of texts and emails? Our mother was very strict about writing thank you notes and writing them very promptly. We always had stationery on hand and knew we were expected to write a thank you note for a gift or a nice gesture from someone. Mama GDFC was so emphatic about writing thank you notes that as gifts arrived for my wedding, I was expected to open them and write a thank you at that very moment. At one point, when the wedding was only a week away, about 10 gifts arrived at our home in one day. I opened them and was a bit overwhelmed at writing all 10 thank you notes right then and there. Mama GDFC gave me a stern lecture on being grateful and so the thank you notes were written and mailed.

Today, many people think it is fine to shoot a text or email which is practical and immediate. While any expression of thanks is nice, a handwritten note is much more personal and meaningful. Here are a few good reasons to take the time to write a nice thank you note.

8 REASONS TO HANDWRITE A THANK YOU NOTE

1. It’s just plain exciting for people to open their mailbox and see a hand addressed piece of mail that they instantly know is not a bill, a sales piece or other routine mailings. They know that it is something special.
2. A personal note of thanks makes a connection that no other form of communication can achieve. Your warmth, appreciation and emotion shine through and truly make the addressee feel special, even if for a moment.
3. It shows you are sincerely thankful. You are sharing your inner most thoughts on paper that can be read and re-read.
4. If the person sent a gift by mail or made arrangements in a store for delivery, it lets them know that you received the gift.
5. It makes an impression on the receiver that will not be quickly forgotten.
6. Gratitude has a positive effect on your mood long after the note is written or received. It is said that the more we express gratitude, the more grateful we become.
7. You can use beautiful stationery. There are so many wonderful preprinted and personalized cards; the selection is endless.
8. It’s just the nice thing to do.

Go ahead, order some beautiful stationery and get some wonderful stamps. A pretty stamp helps make it even more special. Find a pen that you love and put all of these things together so it is fun to jot down a few lines and send a bit of joy to someone!

A few helpful tips.
We love to order personalized stationery from our friend Eleanor at www.pinkpeppermintpaper.com. She is wonderful to work with and has some fun designs.

These Oscar de la Renta stamps have us over the moon. Fashion and flowers all in one! They are just so pretty.

reasons to write thank you notes

Do you love writing thank you notes or do you think it is a chore? Let us know by leaving us a comment. We love hearing from you!

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Fun Stuff on Friday: 12 Gift Ideas for Father’s Day… and Other Stuff

June 16, 2017, posted by Gina – This week’s Fun Stuff post has a little bit of everything; Father’s Day gift ideas, cute shoes, tiny eggplant and Ina Garten’s new cooking show.

Father’s Day is this Sunday and we’ve been searching for the perfect gift. We seem to wrack our brains every year to come up with something he’ll love. Here is a list of some of the things we are considering as well as a few neat things we saw while out shopping. We hope these may be helpful to you if you are still looking for gifts.

1.Binoculars that fit on your face like glasses so they remain steady and you get a clearer focus on your subject.

2. Extra Photo Storage for an iPhone. I think maybe EVERYONE might need this one. It’s a Leef microSD reader that plugs into your iPhone allowing you to transfer photos from a microSD card to your iPhone or iPad and vice versa. It saves storage on your phone and keeps your photos safe all at once. It works with an App and you can read all the details on the Leef site HERE.

3. Camera Tripod. Mr. GDFC was attempting to take long range photos recently and mentioned he just could not keep the camera as still as he wanted. Light bulb! He will be getting a tripod to help him take just the right photos.

4. Grills and grilling equipment. We looked at a Green Egg but the price would make this purchase a family decision.

5. Kayaks. Ok, so you need to live near water for this one but it gets you on the water for a small price in comparison to boats or jet skis.

6. Tile Mate. This allows you to attach a small, square “tile” on your keys and wallet, download an App and if you lose, or just can’t locate either, the Tile Mate will help you find them.

7. mophie Power. This gives you 2 times regular battery power for your iPhone.

8. Swim trunks – perfect for summer

9. Exercise clothing or equipment

10. Wine

11. Ties – yes ties. Mr. GDFC wears a suit to work every day and it takes a great many ties to keep things fresh. He enjoys receiving new ties.

12. Clothing – always needed and nice to receive.

Now on to other fun stuff…

Check out these shoes! Yes, indeed they are mine! If you follow us then you know I have shown several other pairs of floral shoes but, each time I went to order them, I found they were out of stock. On a recent trip to New Orleans these wild and crazy babies caught my eye and they came home with me. I love the pearls on them. I mean, tennis shoes, flowers and pearls…. they fit my personality to a T!


Cook Like A Pro with Ina Garten is on air. I have seen one episode and was comforted just having Ina back on TV. This show is very much like her former ones and I loved every minute of it. I will confess I was on vacation when I saw the show and, having lost track of time, I don’t remember what day and time it came on. Check your local schedule to see when this wonderful show airs. All is right with the world again now that she if back on air.

Michelle buys flowers from the same ladies every Sunday at a farmers market in Lyon. Since she’s a loyal customer, they usually throw in a few extra flowers. Last week, they generously gave her 8 coral roses and a stem of …berries? pods? She wasn’t sure. After a little online search she discovered these yellow and green striped things are actually a tiny variety of eggplant called Thai eggplant! Neither of us had ever seen them before, maybe you have? At any rate, they looked very pretty mixed in with her flowers. We’ve incorporated tomatoes, artichokes, lemons, pears, apples, oranges, kumquats and a few other fruits and vegetables in our arrangements but this was a first.

That’s a wrap on our Friday. Enjoy your weekend and the fathers in your life!

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Mood Board Monday 2 comments

June 12, 2017, posted by Michelle – This Monday we’re dreaming of versatile baskets and trendy macramé. We use baskets all the time as planters and for flower arrangements and, actually, a million other things. There are so many pretty baskets around right now and they’re a simple way to add interesting texture and color to your home.

Macramé has been back for a couple of years and it seems to be as popular as ever. The updated versions of these knotted creations are pretty fun – oh, that chandelier! Growing up, we did have a macramé owl wall hanging in our wood panelled living room in the 1970s. Never fear, those came back too and as the song goes, everything old is new again.

1.Boho Basket, Chairish.com   |  2. Sophie Anderson Adadora Tote, Gilt.com  |  3. RattanBasket, Furniturerow.com  |  4. Bins Basket, Landofnod.com  |  5. Red Fruit Shopping Basket, Chairish.com

1.Mercury Glass Lantern with Macrame Holder, Crackerbarrel.com Did you get that? Who knew the country store inside the Cracker Barrel sold such cute things? Checking to see who reads these these descriptions!  | 2. Macramé Knitted Chandelier, Trouva.com  | 3. Jute Macramé Sunburst Wall Hanging, Chairish.com  |  4. Wall Hanging, Nordstromrack.com  |  5. Regina Andrew Donovan Black Macramé pillow, Shopcandelabra.com

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Before and After House Renovation

June 8, 2017, posted by Gina – When I was a young girl I was a bit of a tomboy. I would much rather have been riding my bike with my hair on fire than playing with dolls. When I did find myself in the midst of a bunch of Barbies, I would inevitably decorate the dollhouse and totally ignore the dolls. So, I suppose that decorating houses somehow just came naturally to me.

For as long as I can remember friends have asked me to help them decorate their homes. I have never promoted myself as a professional and people understand it’s simply a passion of mine, but still I am asked. I love the thrill of before and afters and making anything look beautiful. While I have helped with projects on interiors quite often, I have never worked on an exterior other than changing paint colors. That is until now.

A friend of mine started telling me about her home over two years ago. She and her family were unhappy with it and had even looked at moving. I began to ask questions. I learned that her home was in a beautiful, well-established neighborhood with lush greenery and great neighbors. I found out that she was mostly unhappy with her kitchen. It turns out that her lighting had caught on fire leaving her with very minimal lighting which is not ideal in any home but even more drastic for a family with 5 children. I also learned that the area in her kitchen that was intended to be the breakfast nook had been taken over by her two adorable Goldendoodles.

She also shared with me that the exterior windows had seen better days. She now reminds me that during these conversations I told her that I could make her fall in love with her house again. Lord only knows how I had this kind of confidence, or maybe it was stupidity. Upon my first visit to her home we toured all the trouble spots. After completing my list of items that needed to be addressed I told her I needed to let things “marinate”. I always seem to use this term and I truly believe that you should give things a minute to settle in your head before you start making decisions.

I made a booklet for her full of ideas for making improvements which were to begin with the exterior but we jump-started some work in the kitchen. Roll back to the fire that left them without lighting. I sent her some ideas on chandeliers and recessed lighting to her and before I knew it, she had ordered all of them and called an electrician.

One of the critical things I told her we needed to work on next were the windows. They needed replacing and the whole exterior needed a new paint job. She was also unhappy with her front door. New windows and fresh paint somehow did not seem that exciting and I could tell that she was happy but not very enthusiastic. I began looking closer at the house. Most of the time, I think that keeping the original integrity of the architecture during a renovation looks the best. I was having a hard time trying to figure out what would bring her house back to life and make it appear fresh and updated.

First, they had never had shutters on any of the exterior windows. In studying the front façade, I realized that if we accented just two of the windows we could really change the look of the house. She was very excited about this. In the back of my mind, I just could not shake that something still was not right. The house had a small front porch but for some reason it just looked unfinished to me. The front door was not defined. It looked exactly like the two doors beside it. Our original idea was to get a new front door. Still, the house was lacking something. After much thought, I realized it needed posts. I drove around looking at houses for days until I finally hit the jackpot. Cedar beams would be the ticket! They would complete the porch and update the 1990’s home all at once.

Then we got bad news on the front door. The one we selected was not going to work because of size and trim issues unless we did a whole lot of work. I told her not to worry that we would make her front door look nice. After the paint went up (we tried Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams) on the front door, it was very clear that it needed to be the same color as the other doors. The body of the house was painted Alabaster and the custom shutters were painted Pavestone, both by Sherwin Williams. Sometimes I guess you just should let the house speak to you. Still, the front door needed to stand apart from the others in some way. I decided that a light fixture beside the door and an address plaque would help it stand out. Of course, a nice welcoming floral basket would be a nice idea too.

We were both very happy at this point. Until we started looking at the landscaping. It had lived a full life and was no longer attractive. Some shrubbery had died and others had just grown too large. I told her I thought she should take it all out. Before I knew it, she had called someone to pull everything out and grind up all the stumps. And then the hard part came; I needed to select the new landscaping. I drew a plan on paper and she really liked it. I went to the nursery and priced everything out and then I felt ill. What had I done? What was I thinking? Was I suddenly a landscaper? Was I selecting the right plants? Would it look good? Would the plants work? I have no idea how I had the confidence to do this but I did. The plants were delivered in a few days and we placed them where they were to be planted. The landscaping crew planted them and put out new pine straw and it all looked great. I could breathe again.

The work was coming to an end on the exterior of the home. She called one day and really wanted to work on the kitchen, the one thing she really wanted in the first place. She wanted to paint her cabinets, get new pulls and find a new use for the area the dogs had taken over. Pulling all the cabinets out was not in the budget now. If you remember, the house was built in the 1990’s and back then there were not a lot of really tall cabinets like you see in today’s new homes. I kept studying the cabinets and the walls but could not decide on a paint color for the cabinets. We looked at a million colors and then a light bulb went off. Why not paint the cabinets the same color as the walls which was Revere Pewter by Sherwin Williams? It was a great color, she had the walls painted not too long ago, so why not? There would be no harsh separation between the shorter cabinets and the walls. So, the painting began. I was a nervous wreck. Would this look boring? What if she hated it? I was scared to call her. Literally. And then she sent me a picture and it was wonderful. We selected some beautiful gold hardware that really changed the look of the cabinets.

One day, one of the furniture stores in our town was having a huge sale. For some reason, I told her about it and said maybe it would be a good time to get furniture for her breakfast nook. I had learned that her family did not eat in that area because the dining room was much better suited for their family of 7 (5 children and 2 adults). I suggested they turn that into a keeping room. My new home had one and initially we had no idea how we would use it but now it is the most used room in our home, so I thought her family may enjoy it as well. We drew out a plan consisting of 2 club chairs, a loveseat, and a coffee table. She liked my idea of getting the furniture while on sale. I met her at the store and in about an hour we had selected the chairs, loveseat, a small table to go between the chairs, a coffee table and a large cow print now more commonly referred to as “Ellie” as named by my friend and her oldest daughter. Once the furniture arrived at her house, we determined that while the coffee table would fit, it would just seem too large. I recommended she cancel it and I would find something else. I finally realized that some garden stools would be the perfect addition to the cozy space.

One other thing she wanted to change was the tile floor in the kitchen. We decided to keep her current ones and top them with some seagrass rugs. This ended up working better than we originally thought all because of Ellie. That one painting brought all the colors together including the floor. Suddenly, the floor and the whole kitchen was transformed.

Now that everything is complete I can breathe a sigh of relief. It’s one thing when it’s your own house but an entirely different story when it is someone else’s. I absolutely loved working on this process which my friend made very enjoyable. She did not stress over anything. I wish I could be like that. I think moms with 5 children must have super powers and my friend is certainly one of them.

The biggest thing I learned from this process is that you don’t have to gut a room or an exterior to make big, wonderful changes. We made the best of her budget and she tells me she loves her home again. For me, I learned to trust myself with renovation decisions and that makes me very happy and ready to help with another project. And now for the pictures….

Here is the before photo of the house. There was a deep orange front door, olive green trim and no shutters. 

Here is the after: New paint, shutters, landscaping, light fixture, address plaque and front door arrangement.


This was the front porch before. The furniture was a bit large for the space so we removed it and hope to find something that is a better scale for the area in the future.


And here is the after of the front porch and new landscaping.


Here is a close-up of the custom made shutters. The gentleman who made these worked meticulously until he got them just right.


Another look at the shutters and landscaping up close. You also see that we chose bamboo shades on the interior windows. While they are for privacy they also serve as a decorative element from the exterior of the home.


Here are the windows on the far, northern side of the home. Hydrangeas were planted where they can be seen from the new keeping room.

Another view of the porch and shutters…


An up close view of the new columns that were custom made; the oil ribbed bronze light fixture and the address plaque. These design elements helped to define the front door.


Front door arrangement from GDFC and light fixture…

Here is a before photo of the windows without shutters and the overgrown landscaping.

renovation project before and after

Again, here is the finished exterior… Renovation Success!

before and after renovation

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Flowers for a Graduation

June 1, 2017 posted by Gina – I recently did flowers for graduation events at a local high school. This was a two-day celebration and many flower arrangements were needed. We incorporated the school colors into the designs. Let’s take a look at what the arrangements looked liked.

We arranged 8 of these smaller rose bowls filled with roses, bells of Ireland, billy balls, buplurem and solidago. They were used on large round tables.

This was the largest arrangement that was about 3 feet wide by 4 feet tall. It was used in the sanctuary of the church as well as in front of the podium at the actual graduation ceremony. White and yellow roses, bells of Ireland, snapdragons, stock, buplurum, solidago, billy balls and greenery filled the copper container.

This arrangement was made for a center hall table. White and yellow roses, bells of Ireland, snapdragons, stock, buplurum, solidago and greenery filled the copper container.


These small, round arrangements were made for cocktail tables and ended up being my favorite of all the grouping. White roses, solidago and bupleurum were used.


These two tall arrangements were made up for a couple of beverage tables.


Everything waiting and ready to go…

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Manners on Monday

May 29, 2017, posted by Gina – Happy Memorial Day! We hope you’ve had a great long weekend. As many people drive back from their mini-vacations, this may be the best time to bring up driving and courtesy.

Open road, no traffic, no problems!

Picture yourself driving down the road. You come upon a large amount of traffic. Cars trying to turn left through the traffic are having a very difficult time. You realize if you stay put you can allow a car to go ahead and cross through traffic in front of you. You motion for the person in the car trying to turn left to go ahead. It takes them a few minutes to realize you are motioning to them. Meanwhile, traffic is backing up behind you. The car turning left finally makes their way across the lane.

And then it happens, or rather it does not happen. You don’t get the nod or the wave or the salute. The person totally ignores your effort to be helpful. It feels as if you were slapped in the face. A simple nod or a wave of thanks is very much appreciated by the driver who has taken a few seconds to do something nice for another driver.

What about you? Are you always a little miffed when your courteous behavior goes unacknowledged? Or maybe you don’t mind if someone goes on their merry way without that little wave of thanks?

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Fun Stuff on Friday

May 26, 2017, posted by Gina – It’s Friday and we have a round up of some interesting things to share with you: a custom-made wreath, a couple of things at the grocery store and some gardening inspiration.

I created this whimsical wreath for a baby shower. The mom and dad-to-be had selected woodland creatures as the theme in their nursery. The hostess for the shower wanted a front door wreath that could be used at the hospital as well as in the baby’s nursery. Faux ferns, woodland creatures and a name plate complete this adorable wreath.

On a recent trip to Sam’s Club, I ran into two items that caught my eye. The first one was the drink dispenser you see on the left in the picture below. I was initially thinking that the marketers of this product had reduced themselves to finding the need to add alcohol to lemonade to attract people to purchase. Upon further investigation, I saw that it’s hard lemonade kit with everything provided except the vodka. Well, they successfully got my attention!

The second were these cupcakes. The thing that attracted me to them is that they are not in typical cupcake baking cups. When Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper opened her bakery, these are the types of baking cups she used for her 11 or 12 different flavored cupcakes. I remember watching that episode and wondering about the baking cups because I had never seen them. In doing a little investigating of my own, I found these baking cups on the internet and they are called Tulip Cupcake Baking cups complete with greaseproof paper. How cool is that? I am going to try them next time I make cupcakes. It does give them a nice homemade appearance.

The next few items are all about garden inspiration…

How inspiring is this grouping of plants in the upper left hand corner? From the worn pots to the colorful selection of plants. This photo was taken a few years ago at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear, Alabama. We always use it for inspiration.

We just might get our green thumb from our MOM. That gorgeous clematis is happy in her yard.

Good things come to those who wait. We started this collection of ferns from one single stem and a few years later we had this lush covering.

And we’ll leave you with that last photo in the bottom right corner… Isn’t it amazing that this lush greenery and park setting can be tucked away amongst the hustle and bustle of New York City. Central Park.

Have a great weekend!

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Making Grocery Store Orchids Look Special

May 16, 2017, posted by Gina – These days most grocery stores have a floral department and orchids seem to always be available. The convenience of putting one of these beauties in the cart is almost irresistible. Anyway, they seem to make it into our cart pretty often. We thought it might be fun to show you a few tricks to enhance an orchid whether it be for your own home or to give as a gift. Please note, this is one way to make an orchid look a little more dressed up for the short term and not the way an orchid should be planted if you want to keep it for years.

So, here you see an orchid that was just purchased at the grocery store. The container is not too bad but it’s not great either. The clamp holding the stems together is useful but also not so pretty.

Take the orchid out of the grocery store pot. The orchid will be in another pot, probably a thick plastic one. Place the orchid in its plastic pot into another pot. The pot you choose may be quite a bit larger than the one it was purchased in and you’ll need to secure the orchid in it. We used grocery store bags to push down around the two pots to keep the plant from moving around. We’ll deal with that unsightly clamp in a minute.

Gather a bit of moss around the clamp, secure it with a little raffia and then spread some moss around the bottom of the container. In this photo you can also see how we scrunched the plastic bags down between the pots.

orchid transformation in progress

And here you have what we think is a much more attractive presentation…

repotted orchid

What do you think about our quick transformation? Do you keep an orchid as long as it’s blooming, then toss it and buy a replacement? Or do you lovingly tend to them for as long as possible? Do you think they’re too much trouble or worth the trouble? We’d like to hear your thoughts, so please leave us any comments you may have.

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