Family & Fun

Inspiring Holiday Decorating And A Festive Dinner!

I went on the Historic Oakwood Candlelight Tour yesterday. It highlights SUCH inspiring holiday decorating, done by homeowners of charming homes in one of Raleigh’s oldest neighborhoods.

Today we’re stuck in snow and ice (always exciting in North Carolina), so it’s extra nice to look at yesterday’s pictures.

Fortune smiled on us, not only with the weather, but also that the Governor’s Mansion was open to the public on the same day. I’ve never been, so it was an extra treat.

Above is an amazing console and mirror, all dolled up for the holidays in the Governor’s Mansion. The portrait you see reflected in the mirror is of Governor Jim Hunt. He was a wonderful governor during some exciting times in our state (1977-1985 and 1993-2001) and is still one of our best advocates.

The Dining Room is sparkalicioius. I wish the docent’s picture came out a little better and that I had gotten her name. She was sparkaliscious, too!

Another view of the Dining Room, so you can see the mantel, piled with simple glass balls. A little whimsey in a seriously decadent room!

This must be a parlor in the mansion. Classic southern elegance!

Let’s head to the “regular” homes in the hood:

Every home belongs to a person or family who is into detail in a big way and they’re beyond generous to welcome so many people on the Tour.

This master bedroom reminded me of New England. The vibe is slightly colonial—or Shaker, don’t you think? Those shutters!

This house was decorated in a very modern style. I love a clean, modern style and this mantel inspires me to give white walls a try soon!

The child of New England that I am will never cease to be amazed at the presence of flowers blooming in December! These camellias are the same color as the ones in my garden. And isn’t that fountain just fabulous? With all the snow we had last night, I bet he looks very different today!

This is Lisa—I wrote about her Kitchen update right here. We went to this same house tour last year. It’s different homes every year. Lisa is the kind of person who can put a smile on the face of a grinch (or THE Grinch)!

Lisa takes spectacular photos, like this one. This garden was a sweet surprise. Looks at all the birdhouses! And you’re not seeing the half of it. Imagine having this kind of space in the midst of a city!

Oh, look at the photo again—this time at my scarf. Can you see the little lights I wove into it? Here’s a better photo to see them:


It’s not a better picture of me, but it really shows up those lights! I used one of those strings of fairy lights that use a battery pack. I love fairy lights. So I wove a string through my scarf to add a festive touch. The battery pack is tucked inside my bra. TMI? Sorry!

I might try lighting up my boots next time. Then I could tuck the battery pack into the boot (my legs are thin, there’s always a little room in my boots).

The design trick I noticed at every house in Oakwood was to make every display, every mantel garland, every wreath VERY full. Lots of layers. It’s a luxurious look. We saw some spectacular tree toppers that were more like floral arrangements. Very dramatic.

In my own house though, I like simple and spare. Here’s the top of my china cabinet:

After I got home from the tour, it was time to head out for dinner with my boys (Hub and Grandboy).

We went to Gonza Tacos & Tequila, which has the MOST festive decor that is just as inspiring as the decorations on the Christmas tour. I always think those star lanterns hanging from the ceiling belong on the ceiling of my screen porch! And the Dia De Los Muertos spirits preside over all the happy families in the restaurant.

It was a day full of sparkle and texture!



The best hostess gift idea!

My friend, Lisa, always has the best gift ideas.  Recently we came home from a week at the beach to find the best hostess gift idea EVER on our kitchen table.  




There were 4 insulated tumblers, each with a sign attached to the top.  Wouldn't these catch your attention and make you smile?


Here are the tumblers:




Oh yes, I WILL be filling my tall tumbler with water during the workday and the short one with Proseco  on some lucky Fridays!  And Mike will be following the directions on his tumblers too!  Lisa knows us well!


She also included a wire whisk for me and a colorful dishtowel because we recently visited a store together and I mentioned needing a new whisk and my love of pretty dishtowels.  Lisa is one of those friends who listens to what you say and tucks the info away for occasions like this.  She always has the best gift ideas and I think listening is probably the key to her skill, don't you?





We got the "hostess" label because we had taken her uber-adorable son to the beach with us as he's our Grandboy's buddy.  At 13 years old, Grandboy needs to have more than our sparkling company to make a trip fun.  Lisa's son is a fun guy (as you can tell by the green hair) and we love having him along. Please don't tell the boys that their photo is on the blog. 13 is a tough age--I'm not allowed to show them off anymore! 

Do you have any creative hostess gift ideas to share?  I'd love to hear about them!




Life with a dog...

  is just somehow better than life without one.  Our rescue mutt is Raven.  Before Christmas, Marilyn Peryer of Style House Photography was at the house doing a shoot and took this precious photo when I wasn't looking:


rescue dog, family pet


Raven is a very skittish dog.  She is also incredibly sweet and very social - but everything scares her.  So to find this in the pile of photographs Marilyn sent to me was a wonderful surprise.

Thanks Marilyn!