5 holiday curb appeal ideas to use on your own home

Now that the dishes have been done and the guests have left and you have begun your after a holiday meal exercise program, it is time to get serious about your Christmas decorating.  One of my favorite Christmas memories are the Christmas Eve drives we would take to look at all the neighborhood decorations.  To this day I look forward to walking or driving through neighborhoods and oohing and aahing over the lights and trees and even the Santas perched on the rooftop.  Not really a fan of the blow-ups but the kids seem to enjoy them.

You can turn your home into one of those holiday drive homes with just a few simple ideas:

  • My own personal decorating motto is definitely less is more.  The simplicity of an arrangement like this makes it possible to enjoy the beauty of each item in a display.Natural items like pinecones, greenery and berries make this an arrangement that can be enjoyed long past the holidays.


    via BHG

  • While I love a red, green and white color scheme I can also appreciate something different.  Combinations of silver and gold or multiple shades of blue or green, for example, can look just as pretty as the more traditional color combinations.  A bare window box is filled to the brim with colorful plastic ornaments in unusual colors like turquoise and lilac, along with traditional reds and greens.  So fun and SO easy!
  • Celebrate your inner child when decorating the exterior of your home.  Look closely and you will see that even Santa can be elegant!
    Christmas Holiday Decor
  • Nothing could be easier than wrapping an item with strings of lights.  If it is not breathing you can light it up!  This bicycle looks like a pretty package in the snow wrapped with battery operated lights.  And don’t you just love the old-fashioned”fat” lights?
  • christmas-lights-on-bicycle-from-bhg

    via BHG

  • The best outdoor decorations are those that look as pretty during the day as they do at night.  I love a festive and welcoming front porch or path decorated with seasonal flowers and candlelight.  With flameless candles you can safely use any container to create your own luminaries that will look inviting during the day and cast a warm glow when dark.christmas-luminary-from-better-homes-and-gardenvia BHG
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I want to live here


Welcome to the second installment of my “I want to live here” series where I feature rooms that appeal to me so much tha I actually want to live in them.

As the song says, this room features a few of my favorite things–A fire and a Christmas tree, wood paneled shelves, leather furniture, large windows, red plaid and row upon row of books.  Combine all these elements and you come up with a beautiful and inviting environment.  Other elements that make this room so livable include:

  • A mix of design styles with contemporary furnishings anchored by a traditionally styled mirror, for example.
  • That acrylic coffee table that literally disappears, allowing a full view of the roaring fire from any angle
  • Simple wood bookcases filled to the gills with your favorite reads
  • A mix of textures i.e. smooth metal table and furniture legs, wood bookshelves, grainy leather, woven rug atop shiny wood floors
  • Colorful pillows and throws that celebrate the season and could easily be switched out for other seasons.
  • Thoughtfully chosen decorative items that eliminate clutter including the tree that has not been over-done.  Very tasteful!
  • Simple fireplace. I am not usually a fan of large, carved wood mantels and fireplace surrounds.  The beauty of the black stone set against the high polished metal on this fireplace is stunning!
  • A view of snow-laden trees will always capture my attention.

Most everything in this room is available at Williams-Sonoma Home, online and in their retail stores.

Is this a room you could live in?


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I want to live here

I know it is a little early in the season but “Dear Santa” please let me live here!!


via Mountain Living Magazine

I do not even need to see the interiors to know I would be very happy here.  First of all, it is located in one of my favorite spots in this country, Aspen, Colorado.  Afternoons spent on the dock, evenings in front of the firepit and mornings gazing out at the beautiful lake– I would not have a care in the world–oh yea–just one–how do I pay for this?!

Could you live here?

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Baby got (furniture) back

Few things are as unwelcoming as being greeted with the plain back of a chair or sofa as soon as you enter a room.  If you have one of those rooms where the back of your furniture is visible then you know what I am talking about.  But furniture manufacturers have gotten wise to this problem and come up with some pretty impressive ways to beautify your sofa or chair’s backside.  Take a look:

If the room is large enough the easiest solution is to place two sofas back-to-back like this, creating dual conversation areas.

Traditional Family Room
However, if this furniture arrangement does not work in your space, never fear, there are other options.
A beautifully framed sofa requires no help.  While this arrangement has the sofas back to back, the wood frame of this couch creates a stunning look on its own.  Nail head trim would work just as well in framing the couch and creating interest.
contemporary living room / family room

Ethan Allen certainly knows how to solve a problem!  The beautiful woodwork  applied to these accent chairs is pretty from all angles.

Bold Living Room
Placing a console table or bench behind a sofa will fill up the back area of a long couch and allow you to place a lamp and decorative objects on top, thereby masking the back of the furniture.  You can imagine how bare and uninviting this room would be if nothing was placed behind that very long white couch.
Montecito Mid-Century Living Room
Sometimes all you need is some interesting back detailing in the form of stitching,for example, to break up the monotonous look of a long sofa.
jamesthomas, LLC
There you have it.   No need to get expensive implants to improve your backside…a little ingenous stitching or furniture placement will solve your problem.
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Happy Veteran’s Day

design flag folk art from k william kautz and painted furntiure barn

Flag folk art available at www.paintedfurniturebarn.com


I was raised in a military home.  I spent my entire childhood with a father who was an officer in the Navy.  We did not move as often as most military families and my father did not go on long deployments as he spent much of his time in school or in port so we were lucky.  The military is in my blood.  My husband is a Vietnam War era vet and we have many friends who have served…in fact, most of our friends either made the military a career or served a 4 year term.  I am so very proud of all of them and thankful to those who are serving now, preserving our freedoms and the American way of life we are all so fortunate to enjoy; never more evident than in the election that took place this past week.  So to everyone I know and don’t know, who served and are serving—Thank you for your service!


Captain Joseph P Harrison USN (ret)



From the nineties (check out those outfits) with Sr. Master Chief (ret) Ron Bowlin and his wife PN2 Sheryl Bowlin–two veterans we are proud to call our best friends

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Ten things that made me happy in October

happy face candy corn from clipartbestdotcom

via clipartbest.com

October…what a great month!  Football games, sweaters, crisp evenings and a fire in the fireplace-not to mention the anticipation of upcoming holidays…it truly is one of my favorite months full of happy moments.  Not the least of which were:

  • Taking our 4 year old granddaughter to see “Disney on Ice”.  One of the best parts of being a grandparent is being able to relive all the fun moments you had as a parent and then taking them back home after you have filled them up with lemonade and cotton candy!  Ah, sweet revenge…
  • Plenty of musical opportunities this month.  The San Diego Symphony offers a variety of concerts throughout the season including “The Beatles” and Michael Feinstein.  Along with seeing a production of “The Producers”, we enjoyed many October musical evenings.
  • Fall leaves.  Yes, even San Diego gets some fall color although you do have to hunt for it!  This site will help you find those leaves.
  • Traveling back in time via music.  We attended a concert by The Mersey Beatles and not only was their history interesting (their promoter is John Lennon’s sister) but if you closed your eyes you were 12 years old again and in love with 4 young English men.
  • Chargers win!!!!!  Hopefully this winning trend will make my happy list next month as well!
  • This photo of deer roaming down the road during the middle of the day in Pacific Grove.  This is my hometown and this was a daily site I grew up with and it makes me so happy and so homesick at the same time. 

  •  Ebates.  Ever heard of it?  For those of you who shop online it will make you very happy.  Free to sign up and once you do each time you shop online you get whatever rebate that company offers and they mail you a check at the end of the quarter.  I am due to receive a check for over $35, even more if I continue to shop.  (and those chances are good!)  Check it out…always nice to have a company pay me for a change.
  • Simple pleasures that have become the norm in our semi-retirement like trips to the gym together and then lunch and errands afterwards.  Why are errands so much easier when someone else is along?
  • The fact that I cannot figure out something as simple as proper numbering on this d..n wordpress site (hence all the misalignment, duplicate numbering etc) is something that drives me nuts so it does not belong on this blog post!!  But switching to bullet points makes me happy!
  •  Another hometown shot.  The monarch butterflies return to the same trees every year in Pacific Grove and it prompts the city to hold a parade, nominate a butterfly queen etc.  It is stunning to see, as this picture indicates.  The memories certainly make me happy.  Maybe this is why orange is one of my favorite colors!


    courtesy of Robert Pacelli 

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Do you pin?


Do you pin?  Those of you who do know that I am not talking about something involving a sewing machine.  “To pin” is the verb attached to the scrapbook sharing site known as Pinterest.  It’s kind of like window shopping and flipping through a magazine rolled into one.

I started to pin a couple of years ago in response to some of my writing client’s online needs.  But I quickly became hooked and began to pin for myself.  And when my daughter got engaged a year and a half ago Pinterest became our way of sharing wedding ideas and pictures.  This was so helpful as she travels for work and was out of town most of each month so thre was no time to sit and brainstorm.

To my surprise a couple of my pins have become very popular.This last minute bridal shower decorating idea is repinned several times a week.  I get a real chuckle out of this because all it is is a couple of yards of tulle that I clipped silk flowers onto and hung on the door with a wreath holder.  A true DIYer would have sewn the flowers on, added some sparkles and hemmed the tulle to look like a veil but no one has ever called me a DIYer so this is the best I could do.


Another very popular pin from my site is this photo of a beautiful mid-century living room designed by Amberinteriors.com and found on her site.  I pinned it under “Rooms I love” which is a page I created to file away pictures for future design inspiration.

If you haven’t already done so I invite you to take a look at Pinterest.  It is a fun and relaxing way to fill the time when you are waiting for an airplane, sitting in the doctor’s office or in front of the TV.  Let me know what you think and if you already pin, what is the most popular repin from your pinterest page?

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