As each day becomes shorter, we find ourselves wanting to be inside our cozy home.
Much better to be looking out at falling leaves, chilly, windy, and rainy weather than to be outside in the midst of it.
Just snuggling into a comfy chair with a good book and a cup of hot cocoa holds great appeal.
Along with inclement weather, however, there are certain colors that remind us of fall’s beauty.
Think of hot mulled-wine or cinnamon cookies for color hints that you may want to invite into your home decor.
It could just be an unforgettable fall season.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Infographic from HUFFPOST
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Memorial Day is but a memory and we are full-on into summer.
Those glorious days of heat, blue skies and fluffy white clouds.
Balmy evenings and star-filled skies.
Gardens bursting with so much color, we wonder how nature could gift us with such abundance.
Trees with their canopy of leaf-filled branches that help us stay cool.
Notice I purposely have not mentioned hail and thunderstorms, mosquitos and flies.
I know they’re a reality of summer, but prefer to think about the positive aspects of this glorious time of year.
While more time may be spent outdoors, we want our indoors to reflect the lightness and airiness of this season as well.
Here are 15 ideas for summer from my favorite blogger, Laura Gaskill, www.lauragaskill.com.
You’re sure to glean a few ideas that will help you get your home in the spirit of summer.
I wish you a safe and happy one.
The days are lengthening; the nights are warmer — it’s time to start thinking summer. From white curtains billowing in the breeze, sleeping porches, shell collections and wildflowers to fresh juice in the morning and nautical stripes, certain things just beg to be a part of your summer routine. Here are 15 fun, crafty and creative ways to get your home in the spirit of summer.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Photos via HOUZZ
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If you’re someone who loves floral arranging, this post is for you.

Firstly, there’s the joy of working with the scents, colors, and textures that nature gives us.
Secondly, it’s taking bits and pieces and creating a visual, living work of art. The satisfaction you receive is heady indeed. You look at your hands and then your floral masterpiece and say, “I did this and it’s beautiful!
Even better, this design is a step-by-step process. Almost like painting by number. You’re guaranteed success even if the final result doesn’t look exactly like the photo. It will still be great.
This floral design was created by Guillermo Del Pero of G Fiori Floral Design. The photographer is Carolyn Reyes, Houzz contributor. www.carolyn-reyes.com.
The tools and materials are listed and easily found. You don’t have to choose the purple calla lilies; they can be any color you love. Just match the colored ribbon to the lily shade.
You end up with a floral display that’s elegant, different, and original. And most importantly, you re-created it yourself.
This particular floral piece works especially well with contemporary, contemporary/Asian interior design styles. Here’s how to create it:
Until nest time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Courtesy HOUZZ
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There’s no getting around it. This time of year is fraught with pressure and a lot of it we create ourselves because we want everything perfect.

Instead of our home being the haven it should be, it often ends up becoming chaos central. This is even more true if we’re having guests in our home.
We get so caught up finishing our to-do lists, that the real meaning of the holiday becomes lost and the “joy” becomes a bit tarnished.
Here are 8 ways that can help you slow down, take some deep breaths, and feel better, maybe even great.
1) Look at your list and eliminate tasks that don’t really matter. I guarantee they’re there and
    aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things. Ask yourself if what you leave off of will
    even be missed or remembered a month from now.
2)  Hire someone for last minute house cleaning. It’s worth it, especially if you’re having guests.
3)  Take some time for yourself. Get a massage or go for broke and add a manicure and
     pedicure.
4)  Don’t forget exercise which is a great stress-buster, even if it’s just a short walk.
5)  Do some yoga stretches or meditate. Even 5 minutes will really help you slow everything
     down to a healthier pace.
6)  Try to eat and sleep well. For instance, instead of eating the whole cookie, try just a couple
     bites and get rid of the rest. Your taste buds won’t know you didn’t eat the whole thing. You
     don’t want the added stress of having to lose weight  in January because you over indulged
     in December.
7)  Stay mindful of alcohol intake. It’s so easy to drink more during this season and while it may
     be fun at the time, we generally pay for it in the form of not sleeping well, added poundage,
     dehydrated skin, and even feeling depressed.
8)  Give yourself permission. As women, so much falls on our shoulders, and much of it we do
     ourselves. Take some time on each of these busy days for yourself. You will feel and act
     calmer which in turn helps calm all of those around you.
Who knows, maybe we can extend this permission business into a year-round way of living. And wouldn’t that be terrific?
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Photos via HOUZZ
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No matter how hard we try, no matter how each year after the holidays we say, “next year it will be different I will keep it simple. I won’t run around like a chicken with its head cut and each moment thinking of what’s next on “the list.”
Sound familiar? And guess what, when next year’s holiday season comes around, we do it all over again. It has to stop for our own sanity. We have to be able to take a deep breath in order to truly enjoy this beautiful time of year and enjoy all of the gifts it offers and I don’t mean those that we find under the tree, although those are great, too!
This week’s post comes from my favorite blogger, LAURA GASKILL (http://www.lauragaskill.com). Her suggestions are sure to strike a chord and give you ideas that really can give you not only a more joyous holiday season, but stay with you throughout the year.
My personal favorite is #1.
Ready or not, the holidays are here! If you find yourself wrapped up in the holiday bustle without a moment to pause, you are not alone. Between the gift shopping and wrapping, cookie baking, party throwing and tree trimming, it’s all too easy to let these precious weeks fly by without savoring the experiences we love. Commit to making this year different by setting intentions, rethinking traditions and letting go of things that you do not enjoy. Here are eight ways to get started.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Photos via HOUZZ
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You’ve done everything to prepare for your party; a terrific menu; clean home; fresh flowers; etc.
But have you ever wondered how your present furniture arrangement will work for a gathering?
Does it allow for a good flow or does it seem crammed when envisioning a room full of people?
What works on a daily basis might not be right when you’re entertaining and want guests to mingle; and not necessarily in your kitchen either.
There’s hardly a living room/great room anywhere that can’t be re-arranged in different ways depending on what your needs are.
Here are a few examples of furniture arrangements that are perfect for entertaining. If you change your layout, you just may find you like it enough to keep it that way, even when the guests are no longer there.
Usually, furniture is flanked around the fireplace, but by opening up your sight line you create more open seating into different areas. This plan makes it easier for guests to move around.

This arrangement works very well for a larger room because you’re able to provide groups of furniture that allow guests to have places for intimate conversation. They don’t have to raise their voices to be heard.

Rustic Living Room by Alix Bragg Interior Design

Multiple seating with a console separating the two seating areas. Because the furniture is mostly mismatched, the room feels like pieces gathered over time and not a furniture showroom.

Beach Style Living Room by Catalyst Architects, LLC

This room has been arranged for entertainment by placing the two sofas back-to-back. When not entertaining, you still have the one sofa facing the fireplace for T.V. watching.

Contemporary Living Room by Dick Clark + Associates
This back-to-back sofa arrangement uses a very narrow console table between them which works in a smaller space.
Eclectic Living Room by Mandi Smith T Interiors

This is an excellent example of how a room should flow. None of the furniture placement impedes the circulation allowing guests to easily move around this room without jostling into one another.

Again, there is usually more than one way to arrange your furniture. We get so used to seeing our spaces one way, that it seems it’s the only way but that isn’t the case. Give it a try and I bet you’ll surprise yourself.
Happy entertaining!
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Photos via HOUZZ
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Most of us love to entertain, especially this time of year when friends and family gather together to share the joys of the season.
However, there’s often too much pressure; mostly that which we put on ourselves.
The house must look perfect with no dust bunnies in any corners; our decorations have to have visitors gasping in awe at our cleverness; the food must be gourmet causing all mouths to water in anticipation.
These are all normal thoughts because we take such pride in opening our door and offering our home to be enjoyed by all, if only for a little while.
Somehow, in all of this Martha Stewart snow globe that we create in our mind, we forget that our guests and loved ones accept our invitation because they want to spend time with us. They don’t need to be impressed. They don’t want or need perfection.
If you think about it, “perfect” entertaining requires only 3 things:
  • Refreshments
  • A place to sit
  • A bathroom

REFRESHMENTS

Have the basics out like a carafe of water. Add a few lemon slices to make it special. Bowels filled with nuts and other finger foods. Don’t forget cocktail napkins. Place them in such a way that guests know and feel comfortable helping themselves.
or:
Have a bar cart  that holds glasses, wine, beer, or even the makings for cocktails if you wish. It’s a comfortable feeling for a guest to know they can help themselves and not feel they have to be waited on.

SEATING

Everyone should have a place to sit and there are many ways to add seating so everyone is comfortable. Few of us have ready seating for 25. Most of us have to pull furniture from other areas of our home or have pieces already in place that can be used as extra seating when needed.

A BATHROOM

We all have at least one of these. When guests arrive and you’re taking their coats, let them know where the bathroom is so they don’t have to ask when they need it. Be sure to have extra toilet paper placed where it can easily be seen and room spray if needed so no one is embarrassed. Hand towels, pretty soaps, and maybe a fresh plant or small bouquet of flowers is all that’s needed for your guests to feel special and taken care of.
There you have it—just 3 things that insures you having a wonderfully successful gathering.
Don’t insist on perfection. If you do, you’ll avoid entertaining because it’s just too much work. The result of that? You’ll miss out on all of the joy and laughter that comes with sharing your home with others. You’ll also miss out on creating the memories that makes your home so very special and like no other.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
(Photos via HOUZZ)
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Summer is but a distant memory for sure.
Each season has it’s pros and cons, but in this darker and colder time think about would make you feel warm, happy, and content; what would you allow yourself to embrace this late fall/winter time of year.
Here are a few ideas that just might work for you. All of them stimulate one or more of your five senses and that’s a good thing.
Take a look:
Don't get your hot cocoa with marshmallows confused with your S.O.'s peppermint drink ever again.
Pictured here: Monogram mug, $8 for one; anthropologie.com
MONOGRAMMED MUGS
What can be better than your own personalized mug. Enjoy your favorite tea, coffee, warm cider, or even a hot buttered rum. Put your feet up, sip and sigh while looking at the nasty weather outside your window.
Nature tends to disappear during winter, and it can be rough to go without seeing some green leaves for months on end. Finding some low maintenance house plants to keep around your space can help hold you over until spring. Succulents are always an easy option for those lacking a green thumb.
FRESH GREENS
Much of nature settles down for its long winter nap. However, the human need for living growth continues regardless. To have living plants and trees indoors feeds us emotionally as well as physically because they help keep the air we breath clean. They tide us over until the earth comes alive again in the spring.
When it gets too frigid to enjoy Mother Nature's sweet scents, burning a woodsy candle is the next best thing. 
Pictured here: Diptyque holiday candle in Sapin, from $35; diptyqueparis.com
SCENTED CANDLES
Whatever your favorite scent might be, there’s a fragrant candle to satisfy it. It could be scents of the winter season like pine, fir, or cinnamon. It could also be something more exotic like bergamot or tobacco. It only matters that it pleases you.
Surviving winter is all about layers, so the more throws the merrier.
Pictured here: Faux fur throw, $395; calypsostbarth.com
THROWS
What could be better than a soft, cozy throw to cover yourself when chilled. In fact, you don’t even need to feel that cold as it’s like getting a big hug and who doesn’t love that?
When the cold weather kicks in, your tile floors practically become blocks of ice. Keep your toes toasty with thick (and playfully patterned!) socks.
Pictured here: Textured and printed socks, $16.50 a pair; jcrew.com
TOASTY SOCKS
Guaranteed to keep your feet warm and you all the happier for it. If you use them as slippers, have several pair and rotate them so they last until spring.
These are simple pleasures and sometimes those are the best of all. Photos via elledecore.com
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
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This morning I saw my breath for the first time, and it reminded m of what’s coming.
While the days are still warm, the nights are much cooler and ole man winter isn’t far away.
Soon, the frost will literally be on the pumpkins and the holidays will arrive sooner than we can blink.
There is much joy at this time of year as we savor the reds, russets, golds, and yellows of leaves changing and gently falling during these halcyon days of fall.
The world is becoming slower and quieter somehow, as nature readies itself for winter, at least in the northern hemisphere.
We automatically begin spending more time indoors.
We are drawn inside. Feeling warm and cozy is what we most want.
Take a look at the accessories in these photos They’ll welcome you on a cold day/night like a big hug!
THROWS

Whether they are cotton or cashmere, snuggle up with a throw. Except for the kitchen and bathroom, there’s not a room in the house where a throw is not welcomed.

CANDLES

No other light source offers the softness that candles bring. They’re especially beautiful when grouped as this photo shows. On top of that, everyone looks great in candlelight.

SOFT UNDER YOUR FEET RUGS

There’s nothing like a flokati rug to sink your toes into or even sit on during cold winter days and night, especially in front of a flickering fire.

SHEEPSKIN RUGS

I love placing small sheepskin rugs on dining chairs. They spell instant comfort and warmth. I have one on my desk chair and I swear work is easier and more fun. Inexpensive ones can be found at IKEA.

METALLICS

Add some metallic to your decor. They reflect light and add sparkle and glamour to your rooms.

DON’T FORGET TWINKLING LIGHTS

These are a favorite year round, but during the fall and winter they’re easily brought indoors and not just on holiday trees. They are available with an LED battery so you don’t need a plug-in. Picture tall glass vases filled with light on a dining table or sideboard in place of candles, for instance.

Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
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If you’re still decorating your home for the holidays or you just want to add something special, take a look at these photos from Instagram. They originally appeared on HOUSEBEAUTIFUL.COM
I know you love design that is beautiful, simple, and unusual, and these photos express that.
Incorporate 1 or 2 ideas to give your unique decor flair to this year’s holiday decorating. You’ll be impressed and your guests will appreciate the beauty you’ve created as well.
1. Metallics and white are just as festive as red and green.

2. Make wreaths out of unexpected materials, like quartz crystals.

3. Everything looks fancier on cake stands and under glass cloches.

4. Peonies make for a beautiful, if unexpected, alternative to poinsettias.

5. Sometimes trees don’t need ornaments to make a dramatic statement.

6. Unfussy greens and red ribbon make for a fresh take on outdoor wreaths.

7. Reindeer are always a chic choice.

8. Pine adds instant holiday flair to your arrangements.

9. Use trimming as Christmas tree garland.

Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Nancy
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
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