Black Friday 2017: Fashion Finds for Her

Nov 23, 2017

There are so many sales going on right now. I wasn't expecting to be impressed, but here are a few things that caught my eye.

Nordstrom Sale

I have always loved the Stuart Weitzman Highland boot. This is by far the lowest price I've ever seen!

I have these boots and get asked about them every single time I wear them out. I bought them because the heel is low enough to wear every day. I bought them on sale, but there's even an extra 20% off the sale price right now.

Kendra Scott jewelry is on sale! This is such a great gift idea.

Express-Everything is 50% off!

I mentioned these socks in my IG stories recently. They are only $12.45 so pick up one for you, too!

I love Express sweaters. I hadn't shopped there in years until recently. I was so impressed with the quality and softness of their sweaters that I think I've bought a half dozen this fall. This one is only $34.95!

Other Deals!

J.Crew-40% off with code THANKU
Banana Republic-50% off regular priced items
Gap-50% off with code BLKFRIDAY
Old Navy-50% off
Tory Burch-30% off $250 or more with code THANKS
Kate Spade-30% off with code GIVEJOY


My Cozy Fall Porch

Nov 18, 2017

One of my favorite spaces in my home is my back porch. It's the perfect place to sit in the evenings in front of the fire to watch TV with a glass of wine or a Moscow mule. My boys have been making s'mores every night after dinner in the fireplace, and then getting in a little trampoline time in the backyard before bed. Our Texas summers are brutal so the entire family is taking advantage of this weather.

I didn't do much this year to decorate the porch, but a little orange goes a long way. I've had this Ikea plaid throw for years and I paired it with a new outdoor pillow I found on clearance for $13 several months ago. I just added a couple of pumpkins and my little orange owl, and it was just enough fall decor for this space.

I have to admit that although I love this traditional look, I miss my light blue summer decor. I had planned on decorating with red next week for Christmas, but I think I'm going to bring the blue back out and decorate in the lighter colors I prefer. It's less seasonal pillows to store, too!

My Thanksgiving Table and Hosting Tips

Nov 11, 2017

I can't believe Thanksgiving is a week from Thursday! I always prepare early for the holidays because everything sells out so fast. I was looking for a few more velvet pumpkins in October, but all I could find was a small amount of fall decor to make room for Christmas. Thankfully, I have plenty of fall decor and didn't have to buy anything new for my dining table. I just used what I had on hand and clipped a few flowers from my breakfast table arrangement.

I have hosted Thanksgiving most years since I've been married the last 20 years. Here's a little rundown of how I prepare.

1. Create a Guest List-I start asking my family their plans in September. We have some out of town family and some who will celebrate with other sides of their family. I try to work around their schedules to decide if we should eat at lunch or dinner. We usually strive for lunch so we can have the leftovers that evening. 

2. Take Inventory-I don't know why, but I have silverware and glassware that goes missing over the year. I make sure I have enough as soon as I finalize the guest list, which is no later than the beginning of October. My silverware is the same pattern I bought when I got married so if I want it to match I have to buy it from Amazon or Ebay. This would also be the time to check your dinnerware and serverware if you don't regularly entertain. 

3. Seating Arrangements-This is probably the most difficult for me. I prefer to have everyone sit at the same table. I would be okay with a kids table if my three boys had cousins, but I don't like them in the breakfast room by themselves while the rest of the family is in the dining room. It is sometimes a bit of a logistical nightmare to get everyone at the same table. I don't assign seats, but the boys know the fabric chairs are for adults and the wood chairs are for them. 

4. Set the Table-There's no point of waiting unless you are going to use the dining room before Thanksgiving. I always use a tablecloth with a rubber cloth underneath in case there are any spills (You can find them at Bed, Bath and Beyond). I have several different tablecloths in different lengths depending on how many leaves I use in the table. This year I have to have both leaves since there are ten of us, which means I need the 144 inch table cloth. I've learned by trial and error to keep centerpieces very low and narrow when you have a crowded table. Real flowers and greenery are beautiful, but keep in mind you will be decorating the table the night before or the day of Thanksgiving so plan accordingly. This is the reason I used a faux garland. I do have small votive holders that will hold candles and small fresh florals. I can easily find any small spray of flowers at the grocery store the day before. Fresh pumpkins are always a good idea because they last a long time. I've had mine almost two months! 

5. Create a Menu and Try New Recipes First-Thanksgiving is always potluck in my family. Each person is known for a certain dish so it's a no brainer who will bring what dish. My kids have asked for mashed potatoes this year so I'm trying to find the perfect recipe. The first one was a miss so it looks like we'll be having mashed potatoes for dinner again this week! 

6. Shop for Groceries in Advance-I will be buying everything that won't spoil by Thanksgiving tomorrow! Don't forget about what you are making for breakfast and what you will need to enjoy the leftovers. Paper plates are always a must for leftovers so we don't have to do dishes all over again. 

7. Make What You Can Ahead-Besides pies, you can also make casseroles without baking them the day before. I usually start cleaning out the fridges (we have two) before the cooking begins so there is plenty of room. You will also need those leftover containers in your fridge. If you share your leftovers be sure to have disposable containers you can give away. If you will be cooking Thanksgiving lunch consider a breakfast you can make ahead. I prefer to buy doughnuts at the grocery store for the kids so I don't have even have to think about it. 

I feel like many people follow a similar guideline, but everyone has their first Thanksgiving at one point! We can't all be Martha Stewart. Speaking of Martha, look at what she or one of her assistants posted on Instagram from her cooking show. 

Someone obviously didn't think this through. She looks like she's about to strangle this poor goose on air and cook it for dinner. 

Kid Friendly Fabrics

Nov 6, 2017

I'm sure you have seen mentions here and there of "kid friendly fabrics." What are they? How do they work? Where do you find them? I imagine these are questions most people have when they see designers talk about light colored fabrics they chose for homes of families with small children. I don't see them go into detail so as someone who has lived with these fabrics for several years I'd like to share my thoughts.

This is just an average day after school. I've heard psychologists say they are bonding when they wrestle like this.

My sofa and two side chairs are both covered in Sunbrella fabric. They are the same outdoor fabric you already know, but the fabric is made for indoor use. They can mimic cotton, linen and even velvet.

The two cream colored chairs are from Pottery Barn. Most of their upholstered fabrics come with the option to be covered in Sunbrella. Mine are similar to a linen weave. The fabrics aren't quite as soft as a typical linen fabric, but once you combine that fabric with the down cushions it is one of the most comfortable chairs.

The sofa is from High Fashion Home. If you order online the only fabrics are standard linen, but if you visit the store you can choose from hundreds of fabrics including kid friendly ones. I initially chose a Sunbrella navy velvet fabric for this sofa. What a different look that would have been! Unfortunately, it was just a promotional fabric at that time and it was undetermined when I could get enough fabric to cover the sofa. The only fabrics they had at the time simulated linen or cotton. It's amazing how things can change in just a few years. There are so many new kid friendly options available now.

How resistant to stains are these fabrics? I would recommend to test out a sample before buying furniture covered in it. I spilled my two biggest vices on the samples, coffee and red wine. Both came out immediately after spills. I was thrilled! I did notice once I bought the furniture it was a little more difficult to remove stains that had been there a while. The reality is it isn't that hard to get out stains in any fabric if you remove it immediately. The hard part is removing stains that have been there for days, weeks or even months. In my experience, most of them can be removed easily with water and a paper towel. There are some stains that required a bit more work, but they all eventually came out. The issue was the integrity of the fabric was compromised the more I worked on it. The bottom line is it was definitely worth the extra cost for these fabrics regardless if you have kids or pets. I do not think these fabrics would have been worth it with very young children. My kids are older (school aged) and do not eat or drink in the living room. I think back to when they were toddlers and preschoolers and realize the leather sofas we had were probably the best choice. I wiped them down with a wet towel daily.

Restoration Hardware has been offering their Perennial fabrics for years. I've tested them out and they appear to be very similar to Sunbrella when it comes to stain resistance.

Crypton fabric is the newest fabric available. I have to be honest that I don't have any experience with this fabric, but it seems to be similar to Sunbrella and Perennial fabric with regards to texture and stain resistance.

I am happy to see more and more retailers offering kid friendly fabrics. I honestly can't imagine going back to regular fabric on light colored fabric furniture.  It is quite a bit more expensive, but you won't have to replace the furniture as often so it does pay for itself. I do not have one stain on my furniture at this time. I can't say that will always be the case, but after two years that's amazing!

It's Getting Spooky Outside!

Oct 25, 2017

We're ready for trick or treaters! I just love the way the Halloween decorations turned out this year. Hanging lights outside is one of those things I never want to do, but it's the boys favorite part of holiday decorating. 

If you remember, this is how I decorated my fall porch.

I just added a trick or treat sign to the planter, pumpkin lanterns to the ceiling (Michael's), and grapevine garlands with lights to the exterior arch. I didn't want to remove any of the decor because I liked it the way it was. I like it even better now!

We also have the dreaded blow-ups in the yard. Everyone in the family loves it but me. My husband warned me he is going to decorate the front yard this year for Christmas, and blow-ups are the first thing he's going to buy. Maybe I can get the porch?