June 2016 archive

Florida Room Challenge

I love spring and summer. Everything is so beautifully manicured and has a clean and fresh vibe.  I recently visited Amelia Island Florida where the weather was a beautiful 88 degrees and fabulous the entire week. There are such amazing properties in Florida.  We have often talked about moving there to retire.  It’s an easy flight back home to see friends and family and you can’t beat the weather. I’m already used to the humidity so my hair will still have issues for another few decades.  However, you could say I live the “salt life” already.   I’m 25 minutes from Virginia Beach and an hour away from Nags Head.  Although we have four distinct seasons here, I can still see a gorgeous beach sunrise or sunset anytime I want.

I am currently redoing our back patio and around our pool and designing an outdoor kitchen area.  I’m so excited for this home update, because we really are the kind of folks that entertain more outside.  My husband has clients over frequently and our two teenagers have friends over at the pool a lot.  We thought it was time to take the plunge and make the back of the house what we’ve always envisioned. Here is my moodboard for my patio decor.  I’m really into the resort black and white stripe for the accessories. While keeping the main pieces more neutral in beige and white.

 

My sunroom update mood board. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

When I think of coastal living I’m not necessarily drawn to beach themed decor, but rather comfortable interiors that have a relaxed peace about them. When owning a beach property, you can bring the same style and decor you use in your permanent residence to your beach property.  For an example of this style home, check out Shauna at The House of Silver Lining.  Her beach home looks just like she decorates her permanent residence. AND…. I think it is just fabulous.  Here are some tips for creating your Florida room or outdoor entertaining space.

  1. It is key to make any beach property or your Florida room low maintenance.  When designing my dream space, there were tons of rooms I saw that were glamorous and gorgeous, but they were not practical or livable spaces for my family.  You don’t want to live in a showroom. Think about the purpose of your space.  Will you be entertaining overnight guests? Will you be throwing parties?  Once you know how you will be using your space you can get a better plan for starting your own moodboard.
  2. Create a calming, relaxing space.  You need to be comfortable in your home. Soft neutral shades create relaxation.  I’m sure you’ve seen all those home improvement shows on HGTV and they are always painting the bedroom a calming neutral color.  That’s because they want to make it a relaxing, calm space.  You are looking to bring casual comfort in your furniture and design choices.  You will be spending lots of time in your Florida room or beach home.  You may have a magnificent view overlooking the ocean or a serene sanctuary of a space in your home that you can call your own.  Whatever place you can escape to, needs to have calming colors.
  3. Try to have a natural light source in your space.  Natural light has so many benefits.  From the economical reasons such as heating to health factors such as prevention of seasonal anxiety disorder.  Of course bloggers love it because it gives us the perfect set up for taking pictures for our posts.  So many reasons why natural sunlight is the way to go.
  4. Use accessories to bring in personality. I like to create a blank canvas by using a neutral color palette with my large pieces as anchors and then add pops of color in my accessories.  Things like pillows, area rugs. and decor items can be easily changed out as seasons change or your taste changes.  These items are less expensive and are easier to change out.  Then adding some greenery by using artificial or real plants will seal the deal.  I am not one that has had much luck with keeping my plants alive.  Whether real or artificial the fig tree is quite popular right now.
  5. Unplug technology and spend time with family. Even if you can’t live in a beach location, create a place to escape from the everyday rat race. Your place of solitude to get away from it all.  Unplug your technology and feel the serene surroundings.  Give your family and friends your undivided attention.  Everyone needs time away from the stresses of work and life’s worries.

I hope you have a place you enjoy spending time or entertaining guests.  I am almost ready to give you a tour of the outside of my home.  I can’t wait to present that post to you guys.  The outdoor kitchen and fire pit won’t be ready until closer to fall, but I’m okay with that.  We can have s’mores in September after Friday night football games.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

How to Start Planning A Big Party

My husband and I entertain quite often, but our big party every year is the 4th Of July.  We really get into the fireworks and have it catered so I can mingle and enjoy our guests.  It takes a lot to pull off having large numbers of people at your home, but there are key points to planning any party that can keep you on task and organized prior to the big day.

Secure All your Vendors

The first thing I do is secure all my vendors (DJ, caterer, party rentals etc….).  I have done this for so long now.  I just go back to my party notebook from last year and see what worked out and what I would like to change.  Actually most of the companies call me now and say, “Are you having your party and should we secure this date for you?”  It’s actually kind of nice when you do an annual party and you use amazing people.  You take care of them and they take care of you.  I’ve had the same DJ and caterer for 4 years now. Getting someone you’re comfortable with really helps take that part of the entertaining off of me.  I like to roam around and greet everyone and feel like part of the party.  If I’m constantly refilling food dishes then I really can’t  be with my guests the way I like to.  I just say the word and choose my theme and we work on a menu together to create the right feel for the party.

Here are some pictures from last years’ party!!

Sailboat from 4th of JULY 2015 party

The menu is something I spend extra time getting it just right.  I feel like the food really sets the tone for your party.  You want to have food for adults, but items the kids would enjoy as well.  I also have some “old favorites” that are requested every year like the mini funnel cakes and fried oreos that I have to have or I would have some very disappointed guests. If you are in the Hampton Roads area and are looking for an amazing caterer check out Chesapeake Bay Catering.

If you can’t have your event catered here are some tips to think about when planning your food set up.

  •  Keep your menu items simple.  You don’t want to spend your entire time in the kitchen.
  • Think about the food prep and how to keep it cold/hot.  Your food can be the most amazing dish, if it is supposed to be hot then you want it to stay hot for the guests.
  • Try to prep as much food prior to the party as you can.  This will help you save a lot of time the day of your party when you’re running around finishing last minute details.

Dessert and drink station 2015

Once I have all my vendors locked down and know for sure the party is going to be happening on a specific date then I work on invitations.  I still like to use evite. They have the free ones still as an option, but they also provide a premium version if you want something with a little more pizzazz. For this fourth, I was able to find a free one I liked.  Then you just gather your guests’ list and start emailing your evite out. The evite keeps a tally of who has replied to your party and who still needs to respond.  I like this because it gives you a place to look at a quick glance for a head count.  I like to send out my 4th of July evites a month in advance because it is a holiday.  However, I don’t expect the RSVP until a week before because people are still making their holiday weekend plans. Some people already know they will be out of town and I have found those people tend to go ahead and let you know that immediately.  This always helps me get a head count to give my caterer as an estimate.

Love using layered tiers to put my food out so everything can be at different heights.

For the 4th of July we always do fireworks at the end of the party, but I think you need to have some kind of entertainment set up whether it is structured games, a pool, water games so people have something to do.  I like to keep a loose timeline for the way I want the party flow.  These are some of the things I like to include in my party timeline.

Sailboat and food- 4th 2015

Party Timeline

6:15 Dinner is starting to come out

7:00 first structured game

7:30 DJ run songs to get crowd going

7:45 dessert and candy station go out

8:00 structured game

9:15 Fireworks

That kind of gives you a look into how I would run my outdoor party.  Of course any inflatables or water games would be going on simultaneously.  I hope this gives you a little peek into how I plan my parties.  If you have any tips or ideas on party planning I would love to hear them.  Leave me a comment below and I will get back to you.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

May Book Chatter

I can’t believe it’s June already.  I’m actually quite jealous that I’m seeing so many people out of school already on my social media.  No matter how old my kids get, every summer is still so fun for me.  We enjoy making a summer list of things we want to do before the next year begins. We go to school until the middle of June. But I guess I can’t complain.  We don’t go back to school until after labor day so it all works out.

I recently went on a relaxing vacay to Amelia Island in Florida. I was able to take several books along and have a little more time for reading this month.  I also stepped outside my box and read a sports selection. I grew up with parents who constantly watched sports and my son plays multiple sports so therefore I am very involved and often can be found watching a game on tv.  I thought reading Don’t Put Me in Coach,  might help me understand what my son deals with in competitive basketball. Come to find out the author, Mark Titus, started his writing career by writing a blog.  After writing several controversial posts and getting noticed by several big sport’s writers his blog took off. He then wrote his book called Don’t Put Me in Coach. I thought the book was quite funny. I literally laughed out loud on more than one occasion. However, his writing is quite blunt. If you’re easily offended, you may not want to read this book.

At the end Of April’s book Chatter I mentioned that I was reading Most Wanted.  It was so good by the way.  Lisa Scottoline writes thrillers that have some type of controversial thread that keeps you turning pages well into the night.  The couple in the book are having trouble conceiving so they use a sperm donor.  Toward the beginning of the book they think their sperm donor has committed multiple murders.  The pregnant wife sets out to find the truth about her donor even if he is the killer. This book explores the relationship between a husband and wife, the trials of infertility, and so much more.

Have you guys read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes?  The movie version came out in theaters this past weekend.  Louise Clark has just lost her job and is looking for work.  She takes the only job she can find looking after a paraplegic man named Will Traynor. The job is quite tough at first as there is some resistance from Will.  I don’t want to give away some of the plot twist if you are going to read the book.  Of course you know there is some sort of love story here.  My husband always wonders how a book can make someone cry.  This one was a hard one for me to read.  I’m not sure if I will see the movie in the theaters, but I will definitely rent it in the privacy of my home.

If you are looking for one book to read this month, check out You are A Badass by Jen Sincero. This is just a feel good book.  If you need a kick in the pants or a book to get you in the right frame of mind, this is the book I would recommend. Whether you’re looking to get a new job, lose weight, or get your finances in order; this book will help you get in the right frame of mind.  I do believe that if you have the right mindset and attitude a lot of positive things can go your way.  This book really affirms that belief and gives you lots of ways to get yourself thinking you can do the one thing that is keeping you down.

Do you have any great book recommendations for me?  I have a couple books lined up to start the summer, but I will read those rather quickly and soon be looking for new books to read.  Please leave a comment below to let me know what you’re reading.

Your Truly,

Jenn