Dec 6, 2017

Silver Beach Themed Christmas Centerpiece

This beach themed Christmas centerpiece appears enormously expensive but a closer look reveals white and silver ornaments, starfish, a string of faux white pearls, random pieces of rhinestone jewelry, tin foil snowflakes and sprays of freshly picked evergreen. I so wish I could tell you where to find an exquisite white cupcake stand like this. It would be mine as soon as possible - no matter what the cost. Here in Southeastern Virginia, we celebrate our tourist friendly beach in small ways and big (International Sandsculpting Contest at the Neptune Festival each year) but you don't have to live ten or twenty minutes from the oceanfront to appreciate how breathtakingly beautiful this beach themed centerpiece is.

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Dec 2, 2017

Simple Holiday Sugar Scrubs

Today I found these simple DIY holiday sugar scrubs at one of my favorite blogs at Evermine. The peppermint sugar scrub is made with just three ingredients - white sugar, coconut oil and a few drops of peppermint essential oil. Vanilla latte sugar scrub requires an additional one quarter cup of coffee grinds. White sugar acts as a natural exfoliator that increases blood circulation. The results are healthy and glowing skin. These labels and hang tags are available at Evermine - Bonjour Fancy Diamond for the peppermint and Iconic Christmas Fancy Diamond for the vanilla latte. The custom holiday hang tags are $1.00 each and two inch self-sticking circle labels are forty for $17.98. Photo button magnets are 99 cents each.

Peppermint Sugar Scrub
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • a few drops of peppermint essential oil
Vanilla Latte Sugar Scrub
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup coffee grinds
  • a few drops of vanilla extract
1.  Put all dry ingredients into a bowl.
2.  Heat up a few scoops of coconut oil (solid in cool weather) in microwave at 15 second intervals until it turns into a liquid form - about 30 to 45 seconds.
3.  Add the liquid coconut oil to the dry ingredients and stir well.
4.  Stir in vanilla extract or peppermint essential oil.
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Nov 26, 2017

Pine Cone Christmas Trees

For anyone who isn't able to make these incredibly lovely pine cone Christmas trees for next to nothing, I wish I could give you the treasure trove that was waiting on the deck for me this very afternoon. The pine cones I love - the pesky needles wedge themselves in the cracks between the wood, making the ten minute chore more like an hour and a half. Amazing evergreen pine trees, some as tall as 150 feet (a fifteen story building) and living up to 1,000 years. These hand dipped pine cones perched in tiny silver terra cotta pots (about 79 cents each) would make affordable winter wedding favors or Christmas mantle holiday décor.

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Nov 16, 2017

Breathtaking Thanksgiving Day Tablescapes

Because we're traveling up to Richmond to be with the girls, I still want a breathtakingly beautiful Thanksgiving Day tablescape that will be easy to put together away from the large stash of fall themed tablecloths and décor I keep here at home. Since I'm already making the mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, lemon meringue pie and caramel apple cider cocktails, I don't want to spend a lot of money to decorate the table for just one - although very wonderful - cold November day.

Any type of greenery placed down the center of the table from end to end
makes a beautiful backdrop for white and orange mini pumpkins,
small votive candles and randomly placed nuts.
I love the idea of painting mini pumpkins with a variety of the quick drying acrylic paints
I pick up at Walmart for only fifty cents each. But since we're on our way today (hopefully
with no traffic through the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel), I won't be able
to recreate the unconventional but very inviting tablescape shown above.
White and orange candles placed at various heights makes this Thanksgiving table look
elegant and expensive. Notice how this table has a plain tablecloth with plaid
napkins - just the opposite of the table at top. Small woodland animals
create a rustic and whimsical atmosphere.

Nov 12, 2017

Healthy Christmas Tree Appetizer Trays

I'm on the lookout for healthy appetizer trays, ones that don't lean so heavily on crackers, cheese and processed meat like salami (a mysterious collaboration of pork shoulder, pork fatback, salt and sugar - stuffed into a cellulose casing). In fact, my goal has been at least two fruits each and every day which usually includes red grapes and blueberries, called "the King of antioxidant foods." And for those of you that only eat canned pineapple, consider this. A good friend sent me a box of fresh pineapples from Hawaii and they were so fresh and fragrant, you could smell them unopened from down the block. Try one and you'll never go back! These Christmas tree shaped appetizer trays are easy and elegant, healthy options when so many holiday dishes we eat are heavy, starchy and overly sweet.

To keep apple slices from turning brown,
dip them in lemon juice or soak the cut fruit in ginger ale. 
Broccoli and cauliflower are both on the list of the World's Best Super Foods. 
A great appetizer to help you digest a heavier meal
with mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy.
Admittedly, cheese cubes are heavier and have more calories than fresh fruit. 
Seven cubes of cheddar cheese contains about 120 calories but has lots of calcium,
which is usually lacking in an American diet.
This star fruit makes the perfect tree topper.  Raw broccoli and cauliflower taste best
served with a homemade or store bought Ranch dip.

Nov 3, 2017

Best Selling Memorial Wedding Sign

This vintage inspired memorial wedding sign is available for only ten dollars at a shop on Etsy that I've featured before. The fact that this attractive unframed 8 x 10 print is such a best seller suggests we all remember and deeply cherish those loved ones we have lost. On a day when two people come together joyfully and without reservation to become husband and wife. Promising to be loving and faithful, in sickness and in health. And every other ordinary day, when your late father's favorite song comes on the radio on your way home from a rough day at work.

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Nov 2, 2017

Williams Sonoma Marshmallow Snowmen

Fun hot chocolate marshmallow snowmen courtesy of Williams Sonoma. You can purchase a twelve ounce container of Williams Sonoma hot chocolate mix, made with delicate bittersweet chocolate shavings that melt into milk for a rich and velvety sip. Their European style hot chocolate has been made by the famous Guittard family of northern California for over five generations and it doesn't come cheap. I'm not that fussy about drinking hot chocolate that's been finely ground from the world's best cacao bean. But I would love to serve these charming marshmallow snowman (with chocolate mouth and eyes and nose made of orange icing) - also available from Williams Sonoma in a little clear boxed set for $12.95.

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