November 2016 archive

Rose Gold and Blush Christmas

I am so excited that Christmas home tours are finally here. These are literally my favorite posts of the year. I have been decking the halls for a couple weeks now to get my home ready to share with you.  It takes me a while to get things presentable enough to photograph so I like to start early and take my time.  I’m lucky though. My neighborhood tends to decorate early. When I see the first person decorate it’s like an unspoken go ahead that I can decorate the outside of my home without getting strange looks.

This year I had my theme already decided way back in the summer. Knowing my theme early allowed me to start collecting anytime I saw something while I was out shopping. This way I could purchase things on sale. I was able to get my table decor for my kitchen by October. If you can shop early you will get things before they are picked over.  I know where I live there aren’t a lot of options for Christmas decor so when you find something you need to buy it early.

My theme this year incorporates rose gold, blush, and gold metallics. I love this theme.  It is very soft and romantic.  Very big contrast from the plaid red and black I did last year. Check out my home tour from 2015 here.  The pictures I took during last year’s home tour turned out so good I was a little nervous about how these colors would photograph, but I was so pleased with the tree I moved forward and tried my best to capture the tree in all its glory.

Blush and Rose Gold Christmas Home Tour - Yours Truly Jenn

 

Rose Gold and Blush Holiday Home Tour www.yourstrulyjenn.com

The curly ribbon is rolled around something round to create this shape.

Blush and rose gold Christmas Tree with gold metallic ornaments. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

These blush packages are from Sugar Paper for Target.

Blush tree, ornaments, and blush sugar paper gifts. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

A lot of my ornaments I’ve saved over the years, but At Home had a lot of rose gold and champagne accents this year.

Blush and white pillows Yours Truly Jenn Holiday Tour 2016. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

These pillows are from Michaels.

Blush and gold holiday home tour 2016. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

This champagne ribbon is from Dillard’s 2016 collection.

Holiday house tour 2016- Blush tree and Rose gold tablescape. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I bought these pink glasses at Anthropologie in the fall.

Rose Gold tablescape and rose gold glasses from Anthropology. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

These rose gold chargers came from Wayfair.

Blush and rose gold tablescape. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

These rose gold candles came from Amazon.

Rose gold tablescape with blush tree. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I found these rose gold napkin rings along with gold and silver at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Thank you for checking out the first part of my home tour.  There is lots more to see in the next couple of weeks so keep checking back. I have several more rooms to show you with different color themes. I hope this gives you some inspiration for your own home.  I post daily inspiration on my Instagram and Pinterest accounts.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

Tips for Stress Free Holiday Entertaining

I love to entertain especially around the holidays.  With all the decorating, shopping, and events to attend; it can be quite overwhelming to prepare your home for a party.  I have come across several things that have helped me over the years and I wanted to share these tips with you.  I always say work hard, but work smart.  You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.  I hope something in this post will be new to you so you can implement it this holiday season.

Holiday entertaining doesn't have to be stressful. Here are some tips to help you entertain. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Tips for stress free entertaining

  • SET THE TABLE DAYS IN ADVANCE–  Wash up all your dishes and arrange your table several days before your party.  This way you can see if you have everything you need and if your vision will turn out the way you “think” it will. Use a faux center piece and then add fresh flowers or other pieces at the very end so they keep their luster.
  • IF YOU CAN, HAVE YOUR PARTY CATERED- This is the best investment you will spend.  You will be able to mingle at your party instead of filling food trays.  Also most caterers will have items that you can rent from them like linens, tables, and decor.  This makes everything so simple for you.  They also have servers so it really takes the work off of you during the party.
  • USE WHITE DISHES- If you don’t have white dishes that is what you need to invest in.  Having white china and everyday dishes has really helped me when coming up with tablescape ideas during different seasons.  I have been able to change my themes easily because I have a neutral background. I can change out placemats, napkins, and centerpieces while adding pops of color to match my themes.
  • USE CANDLELIGHT TO CREATE BEAUTIFUL AMBIANCE- I love using candles on my tables for added light and to create a beautiful atmosphere.  I have a ton of candles.  I have the tapered kind for my crystal holders, but I also have the battery operated candles that are so easy to use.  They can be turned on by remote and are great for seasonal decorating.
  • CHECK YOUR BATHROOMS DURING THE MIDDLE OF YOUR PARTY- I always go through the restrooms in my home to make sure the bathroom is working properly and is clean.  I empty the trash, make sure the toilet is clean and working properly, and I check to make sure there is enough soap, toilet paper, and guest towels.   It’s also important to empty the trash.  This doesn’t take long, but is noticed if you don’t do this.
  • USE SOME KIND OF CHRISTMAS SCENT IN YOUR HOME- if you don’t have a real tree it’s always cool to have the scent of a real tree in your home.  Candles are an easy way to make your home smell great.  I like the pine smell, but I’m obsessed with my home smelling like I’ve baked all day.  Anything by Bath and Body Works that has vanilla bean in it will smell fabulous.  I love Merry Cookie and Gingerbread Latte for the holidays.
  • HAVE A FABULOUS PARTING GIFT FOR YOUR GUESTS- It’s always nice to give your guests a token of your appreciation for coming out to your party.  It takes effort to get all dressed up and leave your busy schedule so something special when you leave a party is a great idea.  It doesn’t have to be anything big.  Something just to say, “thanks for coming out.”
  • HAVE A BARTENDER ON HAND OR MAKE SIGNATURE DRINKS BEFOREHAND- This one is similar to having a caterer.  You don’t want to be behind the bar mixing up signature drinks all night.  Hiring a bartender makes sense so you don’t have to be watching the drinks all evening.  This will take a lot of stress off you.
  • HAVE SEVERAL DESIGNATED PLACES FOR TRASH- Check on trash often.  You don’t want the trash overflowing.  Especially if your party is inside your home.  I like to put several trash cans out in major locations so they are easy to find and are near the “go to” areas.
  • WATCH THE TEMPERATURE- Most people want to have a roaring fire going for ambiance, but lots of people are wearing velvet outfits for Christmas parties.  I actually turn on the AC at these kinds of parties.  There are so many people placed in a couple of rooms and it can get quite warm.  It’s the worst to be warm at someone’s home.  Think about this ahead of time and how you will handle this.

What kinds of things have you learned from hosting your own parties?  I’m sure you have several tricks up your sleeve that you’re willing to share with us.  Leave a comment below if you have a great tip to share. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

8 Tips to Make Your December More Enjoyable

Christmas is just around the corner.  As the song goes it is my favorite time of the year. There is so much to get excited about, but with that can also come a lot of stress and feeling overwhelmed.  There is a lot of pressure associated with pulling off a spectacular holiday for your family.  Busy moms deserve to have an amazing stress free December with their family.  The key to making things go smoother for me is to have a plan of action and be organized several days or weeks before the event actually occurs.  I am not good at waiting until the last minute to throw something together.  Here are some tips that I have found helpful to make my December more enjoyable.

Tips for a stress free December. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Tips to An Organized December

  1.  Decide what Charities and groups you will help early on.  There are lots of opportunities to help others around the holidays.  Our family is very involved with a group called PIN (People In Need).  It helps the homeless community get back on their feet.  My husband has been a huge part of this charity for quite some time.  Although we help them year round, we have also made it our family Christmas project. We save toiletries all year and then make care packages to hand out at Christmas to the homeless shelter.  If you don’t know of someone personally in need or don’t have a charity you can always give to Toys for Tots or the Angel Tree.
  2. Make your lists and shop early–  I try to make my master shopping list in late October and get a jump on my shopping in early November.  I like to have the majority of it done by early December so I can actually enjoy December.  I love for family members to give me a list of items they would like to receive. This makes my job a lot easier and my family gets what they want. I even keep my kid’s lists each year and we have fun looking back at the letters they wrote. It’s fun to see what they wrote to Santa when they were younger and what kinds of things they asked for each year.  If you can shop early, I would say that is the one thing that could save you from being overwhelmed in late December.
  3. You can’t do EVERYTHING in December if you want to stay sane-  You have to learn to say No.  There are certain events that you just are not going to be able to attend if you want to do what’s best for your family.  This one took me a while to get a grip on. There are so many extra events and parties between Thanksgiving and Christmas that you just want to cram everything in.  Well that’s when the bad moods and meltdowns are going to occur.  Stick to your family traditions that you enjoy and are a “must do” and a couple of other events.  Say NO to the rest.  Then you will have time to get your list done.
  4. Get your family traditions scheduled on the calendar ASAP-  There are things my family does each year that we want to continue doing.  Some things need reservations and if I’m not on the ball prior to the Thanksgiving break then we are out of luck.  One year, I was too late on setting up the brunch reservation at the place we eat each year.  We get dressed up and go to the hotel and look at all the holiday decor around the property. It was completely booked on every Sunday in December by the time I remembered to call.  You would have thought I had boycotted Christmas the way my kids acted.  But you can guarantee I will never forget to book that brunch because my family loves it so much. It is just part of what we do in December that makes it Christmas to us.
  5. Wrap your gifts as you buy them-  Wrapping your gifts as you purchase them can really keep you organized. Sometimes I actually forget what I have already purchased or lose small things like gift cards or jewelry.  Keeping the gifts wrapped as I go gets them out of my closet and under the tree.  I also use different paper for each child so it’s easier to pass out gifts on Christmas morning. Plus they like choosing their paper each year.
  6. Finish your Christmas Cards Early–  This is a hard task for me each year.  I don’t want to leave it until the middle of December. I really have to start thinking of this in October or my photographer will be booked.  I try to have him take the pictures and do a custom card for us.  It is just easier for me and I always love what he does. However, Minted offers such great cards and prices that you can create something amazing to show off your family to your friends. I like to start addressing them by Thanksgiving break and send them in early December.
  7. Make all special gifts for teachers, neighbors, and party hosts early- Get your ideas and supplies together for gifts you need to make for the special people in your life.  When my kids were younger we used to make DIY gifts for their teachers, bus drivers, and our wonderful neighbors.  It was fun to get them involved in the process.  We would throw some Christmas music on and get in the crafting zone. They took pride that the gift came from them and the teachers always loved something personal.  Of course it always came with a gift card.  Come on…. I’m a former teacher so I know what teachers like… There are only so many coffee mugs full of candy you can get in a season. But it’s the thought that counts. 
  8. Try to Shop during the week or online if you can- Shopping online saves so much time and you don’t have to go out and be bothered by the crowds.  Most sites are offering free shipping now so look for those deals.  Also try to search for coupons prior to your shopping. Most sites will actually have coupon codes that you can print out to take to the stores.  It’s worth a couple minutes to do a quick search.   

Do you have any tips that could help us save time and money this holiday?  Leave a comment below. I am always interested in learning something new.  Christmas is my favorite time of year and I would love to get through it with the least amount of stress as possible.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

Be Our Guests

  The Ultimate Guest Room

If your home is like ours you probably host a lot of guests during the holiday season.   There is one thing you can be sure of, after I travel 8 hours with two teenagers for Thanksgiving, I am the perfect one to describe items that weary travelers need when they arrive at their final destination.  You don’t want your guests to have to ask for items they may need or have forgotten to pack.  This guest room has a coastal design and is just amazing.  The furniture is from Outer Banks Furniture and was in Tara Preston’s Homearama home this year.  I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to help decorate this home.

The majority of this house is done in blue tones. However, I think the yellow accent color makes the room so bright and cheery.  Of course a guest room needs to be aesthetically pleasing, but there are several necessities that I immediately think of when I entertain overnight guests.

Blue guest room with a coastal design. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Musts for your overnight Guests

1.Have closet space for guests to hang their clothing-  Lots of us use our closets for storage.  However, when guests come to spend the night at your home, they will have clothing that will need to be hung up.  Always have empty hangers in the closet and make sure there is room for their clothes.  Nobody wants to open a closet and have an avalanche of your items fall on them.

2. Luggage rack- It is always a good idea to have at least one luggage rack for the guest room.  It makes it very convenient for your guests to place their bags on the rack and not have to put their suitcase in the floor. These are easy to find and don’t cost very much.  Plus you really don’t want luggage placed on your nice furniture so it is just easiest to have this for your guests.

Guests need a luggage rack and place to hang their clothing. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

3. Lamps-  Having lamps by the bedside tables give your guests the proper lighting they need.  Some people like to read before bed and this gives them the opportunity to do that without having to keep the ceiling light on.  Plus, if they have to get up in the middle of the night this gives them the option of having a light source. Sometimes, I even leave night lights in the bathroom especially if the guests have small children.

4.chair-  When I visit other people’s homes I love when there is some type of furniture in the room.  You can use it to layout clothes for the next day, sit and read, or just rest a few minutes in between activities without having to get into the bed.

5.tv- This isn’t a necessity, but I think it is a luxury most people would appreciate.  There will definitely be down time and time at night where your guests will have time to themselves and they can unwind by watching tv in their room.  It doesn’t have to be large or the latest smart tv, but your guests will appreciate the option of having one in their room.

6. Reading Materials- My mother in law has the best magazines for us when we visit her house.  I always take a book when I travel, but when I go to her house I never have to take magazines. We all know how much the decorating magazines cost so having several out for your guests would be greatly appreciated.

7. Wifi Password-  If your home has a password to use the wifi, you need to make sure your guests have instructions on how to use their technology. This is something you don’t want them to have to ask about.  You could even put this in a basket of goodies.

8. Basket of Goodies– Sometimes guests feel insecure asking for food or drink at other people’s homes.  To make this less awkward, leave a basket of goodies and water in their room.  Then they can access this whenever they feel hungry.  I’ve used nuts, granola bars, trail mix, and water to name a few.

Coastal decor for the guest bedroom. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

9. Extra Toiletries- Of course I always have things in the shower like shampoo, conditioner, bath gels and soap. I also put out enough fresh towels for my guests.  However, I leave a glass jar of extra toiletries just in case they forgot some things such as a razor, toothbrushes, toothpaste, q-tips, hand lotion, mouthwash, and small shampoos in case the large ones have agents they may be allergic to.  My son is allergic to lavender and lots of products have scents that bother me to the point where I get migraines. This makes me very sensitive to that issue and I try to put out things that I would normally pack myself.

10. Clock- Even though your guests are on vacation it is important to have a clock in their room.  some activities you may be doing have time constraints like dinner or theater plans and guests might need to be ready at a certain time.

11. Extra blankets– It is a great idea to leave extra blankets of varying weights and pillows in the room so guests can control the temperature.  I’m allergic to feathers and always prefer the down alternative options at hotels.  It is definitely something to think about when buying linens for your guest room.

12. keurig station-  Having a coffee and tea station set up in the guest room would really make your guests feel at home.  They could wake up and get the caffeine kick they need first thing in the morning.  Or in the evening some hot tea might hit the spot right before heading off to bed.  I know I would really appreciate this amenity.

Other Guest’s Amenities

I have insomnia and unfortunately am a late night snacker. Therefore, I know what it is like to be up late at night when everyone else is sleeping and you wish you had something to eat or drink. I like to stock a little basket of healthy snacks such as granola bars, nuts, fruit snacks etc… along with bottled water for guests. It also makes taking medications easier on guests if there is water in the room. Also, place some current magazines in several different genres for your guests to read during down time.

 Royal Treatment

The most important thing is to let your guests know up front that you are there for them and wish to make them as comfortable as possible. If you establish that from the start, you’re bound to have an amazing visit with your guests. The best thing to do when preparing your guest room is think about the things you would like or need when staying away from home.  Then you really design a beautiful, but functional room that you and your guests are happy with.

From Casa Ely we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends and travel safely.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

A Rose Gold Thanksgiving Tablescape

I can’t believe we are already in mid November.  I love November for many reasons.  It’s my birthday month, Thanksgiving is near and Christmas stuff starts showing up in stores. But the thing I like most about a blogger’s November is I get to see so many holiday home tours from my favorite sources of inspiration. I didn’t do a fall tour this year, but I would love for you to check out last year’s tour. This year my Thanksgiving tablescape revolves around rose gold metallics. I am obsessed with rose gold.  I wear it whenever I can and I am using it in my home decor as much as possible.  You are going to see it in most of my holiday decorating themes for the rest of the year.  I truly believe that you should use the things that make you happy in your home.  We know that fashion dictates trends in home and color trends. I think your home decor should reflect your style.  I try to change up one of my trees each year to incorporate colors that I’m excited about.

A Rose Gold Thanksgiving Tablescape by www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I also try to decorate my tables to match my tree’s theme and color palette. My tip to you is to get a set of white dishes and serving pieces.  Even my fine china is a classic cream color with just a simple band of gold trim.  This makes it so much easier to change your themes depending on the seasons and your changing style.  Then you can add pizzazz or pops of color with dinner napkins, placemats, and table runners.

I love the copper leaves I found at Michaels craft. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

My copper mugs from Target and and Copper hammered chargers from Wayfair were key pieces to pull off this rose gold look.  These are very inexpensive pieces that really set the tone for the look I was going for.

A mixture of faux pumpkins finish off this looks. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Dough bowls come in handy for so many reasons.  I actually use this smaller one for my husband’s stuff in our mudroom.  He keeps his keys and wallet and other important things from his pockets in here. I have several, but this one is the perfect size for a centerpiece for this table.  They are so popular that you can find them in almost any catalog.  This one came from Ballard Designs.

img_7203 The fall colored foliage gives the table a fresh look. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I picked up some dusty miller, fall foliage, and pomegranates at my local grocery store to help finish off my centerpiece.  I love using natural materials in my tablescapes when I can.  The velvet pumpkins I found on clearance at Target.

Adding pomegranates to the mix really finished off this look.

This tablescape is so different from anything I’ve done before.  I hope you liked it.  I’m going to use some of these items to create my Christmas table.  I really believe you should reuse what you can and shop your home before spending money on specialty seasonal dishes.

I love these fall colors together. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I would love to connect with you.  Check out my Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.  I share frequently on these platforms and you can keep up with me.  Thanks for stopping by.

Yours Truly,

Jenn