Exterior Holiday Decorating and Festive Cookies!

Come on our walk in this pretty Newport Beach, California neighborhood.
This is one of my favorites.  Great Dutch door with circular window, painted brick and zinc planters.
Love the herringbone brick and curved garage doors.  This home was on the high school home tour and I missed it!  It would be fun to see the inside.
Elegant magnolia trees frame the front walkway. 
This front porch swing has Christmas pillows on display.

Here your eye is really drawn to the red on the door.
And another view of my favorite...that grass is real! Pretty seating and X railing.

The winner of the B. Toffee from my last post (comments and facebook "likes" added together, selected by random.org) is Jesse from Mix and Chic.

Pink Martini's and Pearls is a fun blog and its author, 
Marilyn is a local, Orange County gal.
She makes the most unbelievable cookies, like these snowflakes.
A few nights ago, with Tommy and his friends home from college for the holidays, I decided to 
make some of Marilyn's beautifully decorated cookies.  

(My comment on her blog during baking).

almost tried her fancy icing decorations, but instead used different sprinkles.
Marilyn's tip of painting milk on the cookies so the 
sprinkles stick during baking was useful.
Good thing I kept it simple (and took a photo)...since the next morning 
only a couple of cookies were left!
 Here is the recipe for the dough.
Marilyn has college aged sons (I get teared up with her funny/touching posts about them).
How does she feel when her masterpieces like these get gobbled up?  
How would you feel?

Participating in 


  1. Its always a pleasure to see the homes and gardens in Newport, and esp. on Balboa Island! Have you ever walked down Marigold St in Corona del Mar...the neighbors all try to plant some version of marigolds in their front yards. Thanks for the visit!

  2. Love the pairing of the poinsetti with the boxwood. And, of those X rails are fabulous!

  3. Her cookies are gorgeous and perfect. Afraid my baking skills aren't that good. Yours looked good too. I used to make sugar cookies in all the different Christmas shapes every year when my kids were home. Now not so much.

  4. That first place with the round window in the door and the round boxwoods and poinsettias in the tall planters, and the round stairs is genius. That's very smartly designed. My favorite too!

  5. Fun post....love all the beautiful decor and "your favorite" is a real showstopper, OMG That grass is real? Amazing, kind of reminds me of going to Disney where everything is so picture perfect!
    And onto your cookies, I am very impressed, not sure I would even have the courage to attempt anything Marilyn bakes up but you did a great job, they look beautiful and dare I say professional? Happy baking!

  6. What a gorgeous neighborhood! And the cookies look delicious! Happy Holidays!!

  7. They are so beautiful and would pass for gorgeous Christmas decorations!
    I am extremely impressed with the batches you made, Mary Ann!
    The houses are gorgeous, and I think they are all beautiful, but the white house and its golf-course groomed lawn is perfection.
    Congratulations on the win to Jesse.

  8. Those homes are lovely. I especially like the second one -- just my style. Thanks for sharing with us. And those cookies and just gorgeous. Great post!

  9. Mary Ann, that was a wonderful tour!! Beautiful entry ways and front gardens.
    Great post! The biscuits are so perfect they don´t look real!

  10. First, what a beautiful neighborhood! So nicely decorated for the holidays too. Second, those are such beautiful, perfect cookies! Mine always look like a big mess, but they are good and a lot of fun to make with the kids. I have 20 something kids too and when they come home they still like to make cookies!

  11. How I would love to tour your neighborhood in person. Such gorgeous inspiration. That black door is my favorite. Now, for cookie decorating...heaven bless you! They look beautiful! I am so not a baker, especially about cookies. I cannot imagine the patience required (and passion for it) to make those stunning white cookies!! Each one is a work of art. Seriously! I have such admiration for anyone who can decorate like that. Bravo to both of you!! :)

  12. I love Newport beach mansions and their decor. Very tastefully decorated homes.

  13. Mary Ann. the homes are stunning! and the cookies oh my..... I don't think I could handle anyone eating my works of art...LOL, they are so pretty. Fun! Happy Baking!

  14. Gorgeous homes and gorgeous cookies! :-)

  15. Not much would make me want to leave CO and the snow at Christmas, but that gorgeous neighborhood would be a close 2nd! Your cookies look fabulous, I'd feel guilty eating one, for about 5 seconds! :)

  16. The first thing I thought when I saw that first picture was, "Oh my gosh! Mary Ann's decorating at the White House!" I was really excited for ya for a sec:) Gorgeous homes--love that porch swing/bed...so charming! And those cookies...I think I'd tie a string around them and decorate my tree with them, they're that beautiful.

  17. OK, I am glad Jesse won! The houses are beautiful! Although it is California...they could easily be placed elsewhere...timeless.

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  19. These homes look beautiful. Love the gorgeous and elegant holiday decorations as well.

    Adore the cookies. They look so pretty. I bet they are yummy, too. You girls are so talented.

    Thanks for hosting such a fabulous giveaway. I am so happy to win this! I already sent you and Betsy an email.

    Have a wonderful holiday season, Mary Ann!


  20. How lovely to see beautiful homes all dressed up for Christmas. And I wish we had porch swings here in Australia - such a lovely, romantic addition.

  21. What a beautiful neighborhood! I'd take any one of those homes...

  22. My cookies look better on your blog than they do on mine! :). My dining room table is full of drying snowflake cookies as I speak. I love how you decorated with crushed candies. So traditional and welcoming. I'm so glad the recipe worked out well too. It makes the best dough, IMHO. ;)

    The homes are so beautiful. Our little piece of the east coast right here in our own backyard...well at least in your backyard. What island did you take your stroll on?

    Have a good week and a lovely Christmas.

  23. I loved seeing all of these homes, just beautiful. Those cookies are beautiful, I would not have even tried, so kudos to YOU! Merry Christmas, Kathysue

  24. Wow! Lovely traditional houses in Newport!

    I am an oldie! But I love (and have long- time clients who have a house on "Bay Island" Is that where this is?

    Gorgeous traditional houses!

    So happy to see that!

  25. Fantastic tour. All of the homes are lovely.

  26. Those cookies are so beautiful, I would want to hang them from the tree -- have to try the milk wash. The house with the lollipop walk is so sweet. Some lovely exterior decorations; thanks.

  27. These homes are gorgeous with the perfect decorations for each. The cookies are waaay to pretty to eat, but I believe somehow I'd manage.

  28. What a beautiful post for Christmas! Lovely homes. The fresh greens and poinsettias are perfect, not over the top. Of course, the architecture of the homes don't need much help. Love the swing.
    And I can't imagine someone eating those snowflake cookies. I'd want to put them in a frame!

  29. love all these images. The style of these homes are so charming.

  30. just gorgeous homes!!! so fun to see. I have never seen a dutch door like the one you featured. That is amazing. These are all so simple and elegant.

  31. I want to go on that walk with you! Those homes are all so beautiful! Your cookies look delicious and who knew about the milk thing to make the sprinkles stick.

  32. Congratulations on having your kids home for the holidays! You must be over the moon excited! I love the walking tour you took us on. The white house with the magnolia trees was my favorite, but they were all stunning! I also loved the porch swing with the holiday pillows. Beautiful touch! You did a great job with your cookies! :) I can see why they didn't last long on the plate- they look delicious!

  33. Yum your cookies look so super tasty!! Wish I could have some =) Love the Christmas inspiration too, especially the lollipop fence, what a wonderful idea!! Very sweet lol!

    xoxx Linda

  34. That was like a stroll down a street named Wonderful Homes Road!! I could look at that stuff all day long. Isn't it so much fun to see how others pull the holiday season together in their decor? XOXO.

  35. Wanted to pop over and thank you for leaving those great comments on My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia about my vintage/thrift shop tablescape!

    So glad I found you! Absolutely love that swing/bed on the porch and your newest follower.

  36. These cookies look amazing, I think the boys and I are going to bake tonight. I love all the pictures of the homes, so pretty!

  37. I must say your neighborhood has the most beautiful homes. Thanks for the tour as always!

    The cookies look so good and too pretty to eat!

    Linda in San Diego

  38. Beautiful Christmasy homes.....and those snowflake cookies are works of art! (yours too!) I wish I had the patience to put so much detail into my cookies!

    Hope you are having a good Christmas week!

  39. *** UBER LOVELY HOMEFRONTS, Mary Ann... EVERYthing is soooo beautiful!!! (How could it NOT be, tho... it's FAB Newport Beach!!!)...

    Those cookies make me want to ignore the sugar content in them (and ON them!), and pretend they are GOOD for me!!! (Yes, that's what I want for Christmas!!!)...

    Linda in AZ *

  40. So many beautiful homes! Love the cookies too!

  41. So lovely! Love all the beautiful homes! What a treat! Thank you for sharing!

  42. Gorgeous homes! Thanks for the tour. On the cookies, I always want to make those incredibly beautiful cookies but then I think of how fast they would be eaten...or not, if people felt guilty eating something so pretty!!! They are beautiful though - including yours!

  43. WOW!!!! Your favorite is mine too! Stunning post, stunning homes!

    Wishing you a very blessed Christmas, my friend!


    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

  44. I LOVE going on these walks with you! So much eye candy to look at! Just gorgeous.

  45. What a beautiful walk to go on! Thanks so much for sharing. I will go on a walk you with you anyday. Terrific taste. Happy Holidays!

  46. o many beautiful homes! So much fun to see what Christmas looks like in a warm climate. I have seen TV shows, but not an actual tour through a lovely private neighborhood! Love it!

    Wish I could put poinsettias in pots outside.
    They might last an hour!

    Wishing you and your family a lovely Christmas.

  47. Perfectly. I would love to eat cookies on a white swing in front of house)

  48. Apologies for my late comments - just catching with a few weeks of posts from my favourite blogs! The understated elegance of the Newport Beach, neighborhood is most appealing, as are the biscuits. Will try to make some.

  49. I love walking around your neighborhood Maryann!!!
    It's so inspiring, I always come away with great ideas!!!
    How was Mammoth?
    Looks like you are ready for Chritmas!

  50. What a gorgeous neighborhood tour! wow!

    Merry Christmas to you & yours ;O)


  51. Thanks for the tour! LOVE the houses! Those snowflake cookies are incredible!

  52. What great decorations these houses had! It's so much fun to see how everyone decorates for Christmas. It's to bad more people don't get in the spirit and decorate their homes.


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