Have a Seat at My Sister's Elegant Table

My sister, Teresa, lovingly arranged her table 
for our Christmas dinner. 
We decorated this dining room by mixing family heirlooms with a modern chandelier.   The antique settee is updated and covered in chocolate leather with nail heads to form a banquet.
With the white Irish linen and silver, this would also make a pretty setting for an intimate New Year's Eve party.  Notice how Teresa tucked rosemary branches from her garden into the napkin rings.
As we sat down to eat, we each placed the rosemary into the bouquets...so fragrant!

I prepared the first course.  It's impressive, light and easy...
Lobster, Grapefruit, Avocado Salad
adapted from Here
serves 8 small first courses

1 large cooked, chilled lobster tail (or you could cook it yourself)
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 pink or ruby red grapefruits
1 large firm-ripe California avocado
8 cups baby greens
Coarse ground sea salt to taste

1. Dressing: stir the shallot, lemon juice and salt in small bowl and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.  Then add the oil with a small whisk. 
2.  Cut the peal and pith from the grapefruits and take the segments out of the membranes and cut in half...put on paper towels to drain...ok, this was a little time consuming, but worth it.
3.  Half the avocado and cut into 1/2" cubes
4.  Cut the lobster tail in half and slice
5.  Divide the grapefruit, avocado and lobster on eight salad plates
6.  Top each mixture with a handful of the greens and drizzle with the dressing. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and serve right away.  Everyone really liked it.  

LOOK at this giant box of See's Candies that my mom received! 
  I'm glad it is still at her house...I'd like a couple candies now!

Another thing that I like is a gift that I won from Pink Martini's and Pearls.  Have you seen Marilyn's great blog and spectacular cookies?
Here are the Vera Bradley cosmetic bags that I won!

Today is our sweet, funny daughter, Alie's birthday.  She was born 25 years ago on a cold, snowy night in Bronxville, New York.  
It's been fun ever since.  
I hope 2013 brings you and your family 
good health, wisdom and warm hugs. 
Remember to give away a smile 
and voice a sincere compliment.
We are all in this together, and I am grateful.
Happy New Year!

Participating in 


Tiny Powder Room-Before and After

When my cousin, Patricia, was visiting from New Jersey, she asked for advice regarding a makeover for their little powder room off the kitchen and under the stairs...that looked like this...
 I said "Sure, let's ask Jim (her husband was at home) to send us some photos and measurements and we'll work on the plan while you are visiting."
Patricia and I went shopping at Roger's Gardens while she was here.

These are the before photos... time for an update.
 This sconce and mirror had to go and we didn't really need the medicine chest.  Nice photo, Jim.
Here is their powder room now...
 White bead board is used for a fresh look.  Patricia found the cute corner pedestal sink at Home Depot online (with the room size and door placement, this was the only solution--I know, I drew it out).
The walls were painted Restoration Hardware Silver Sage.
 A French style crystal ceiling light was installed.  This is very similar to a style from Circa Lighting fixture that I recommended, and Patricia found it in her local lighting store.  Pretty glow on the ceiling.
 We ordered the reasonably priced Venetian mirror from Wisteria.
 The painting has special meaning as they bought it when they were 
visiting us in Paris years ago.  
So, we went from this...

to this...
Have a great day!

Participating in
At the Picket Fence, Inspiration Friday


Have a Joy Filled Day!

Merry Christmas!
My friend, Sue and I had a fun time at Mammoth's Night of Lights.  Obviously, I didn't get any great photos, but it was a spectacular night of music, choreographed skiers with lights and fireworks. 
It's still snowing outside our condo and it looks like someone just had the perfect sled ride.

My warmest wishes to you and 
your loved ones for a peaceful, happy and special day.


Holiday House Tour & Healthy Homemade Gift

Debbie and I wanted to make some healthy, tasty presents for our friends and family.
So, I went over to her house yesterday to make a couple batches of 
We've made them before 
(and added dried cranberries to the recipe above).
They are great for breakfast or as an "on the go" snack.
We wrapped them individually and placed them in cupcake papers.
I bought these labels at Staples and personalized them.
 Debbie found the snack boxes at Home Goods...and here are our finished presents.  The bars can be frozen for later use.
 While I was at Debbie's house, I took a few shots of her Christmas decorating.
 I like how she put ornaments on her gifts.
 The wreath is a pretty detail on this sconce
 This is the jeweled tree that Debbie made when we made them together last year.   More on that HERE.  The year before that we made jeweled clipboards.

It's just occurred to me that Debbie and I have a holiday tradition of setting aside a little time during this busy season to create something together.
Tomorrow evening, we are meeting here for a little gift exchange with girlfriends.

 This is an interior hallway with a window that provides light to the kitchen nook beyond.

Best wishes!


Four Merry Décor Ideas

1.  Use Gift Tags as "Icing On the Cake"
This hand-made letterpress tag came from this Etsy shop.
The Joyeux Noel metal tags came from Save on Crafts 
and the vintage looking tag is from Pottery Barn.

2.  Christmas Card Organization/Display
This year, I bought red binder rings and am punching holes in the corner of the cards to keep them together.
This little guy is special as my friends saw me eyeing him in a Dania Beach, Florida antique shop and they bought him for me as a gift.
  It looks like he is begging to hold...
the cards!  But you could put your ringed cards on a tray or in a bowl.

3. Mix Up Your Glass
 Here are crystal decanters and candle sticks mixed with mercury glass from last year's mantel.

 4. Votive Holders for Other Uses
 I put a wreath and ribbon around a votive and filled it with mixed nuts.

The LED Christmas lights from Target that Tommy I put up across the front of our house yesterday look BAD...they have sort of an anemic, gray glow.  I know they are energy efficient but it wasn't worth all that effort on top of the ladder (me) and getting stabbed by the rose bushes (Tommy, while holding the ladder).  Does anyone know a better solution for next year?

PS...look what a sweet reader just sent to me after reading this post...
participating in 
Inspiration Friday @ At The Picket Fence, Feathered Nest Friday @ French Country Cottage, Show And Tell Friday @ My Romantic Home, Vintage Inspiration Friday @ Common Ground
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia Countdown to Winter