Monday, November 24, 2014

Manners Monday: Reaching for the Correct Bread Plate

We're beginning a fun, new little series here at The Classy Woman. Just in time for the holiday, I'll be delivering regular tips that will come in handy during the holidays and beyond.

Today's Holiday Etiquette Tip No.1 addresses the sometimes confusing bread place location. Have you ever wondered which one was yours and began using the wrong one in error? Avoid this table manner faux pas by using this quick and easy trick for remembering. 

As we near Thanksgiving and the upcoming Christmas holidays, with more opportunities for dinner parties and the like, it's essential to know proper table manners. If you don't spend much time dining formally, it's a great way to remember and the perfect way to teach your children also! 

I'd love to hear from you! Do you use this little trick to remember which bread plate is yours? 

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Elegant Thanksgiving Table Decorating Ideas

Hi Everyone! First off, I apologize that it's been such a l-o-n-g time since I sat down to write a post here (with the exception of my last post sharing cozy & classy coats . The truth is that motherhood has kept me really busy, more so than I had ever anticipated, even with a totally awesome, laid back kiddo, this toddler stage of non-stop action has me pretty wiped out at the end of each day (which is typically when I used to write my posts). I knew I would have far less time for myself but had no idea what limited free moments I would actually have for some of the very things I enjoy most. I know all of your mamas can relate! More on that and other little updates in future posts, in the meantime let's talk about Thanksgiving, shall we?!

Every year about this time I begin getting really excited for the holidays. In Florida it's pretty hot year round but usually around early November it becomes much more bearable and the signs of Autumn start to surface. With it comes all of the cozy, warm goodness of things like pumpkin pie, comfy sweaters, crisp evening air, hot apple cider and so many more things I look forward to during this season. Since Thanksgiving is just a week away so it's the perfect time to get inspired with these 15 Thanksgiving place setting & table decorating ideas. They are my favorite images for a classy, modern and fun holiday table. :)

I love the rustic look of tree trunk slices as chargers. Most will not be dining outdoors for Thanksgiving but this same look can of course be re-created indoors also. 
A set of patterned napkins, some pillar candles, pumpkins and vintage goblets.

What gal doesn't love pink? I'm a huge fan of pink + gold together. Why not break away from the traditional orange and brown tones and go for something a bit unexpected? 
Pumpkins make a great vase too and they're easy to paint or spray paint.

Could these rosemary sprig place cards be any cuter? Perfect mix of simple + elegant.

Gourds and squash make great vases for colorful flowers. These can be added to the 
Thanksgiving tablescape down the center of the table or the
 perfect accessory for an entry console or mantel.

Add a bit of femininity to the table with some lace which can easily be laid out over existing place mats for interest or if you're worried about them shifting, you can permanently affix them with spray adhesive or sew them on. These turquoise napkins are so pretty and would complement some 
au naturel orange pumpkins very nicely.

Who says floral arrangements need to be expensive or complicated? Using inexpensive grocery store bouquets of mums, wheat, and a mix of other flowers, each vase can hold one type of flower, then a grouping can be arranged in the center of the table before guests.

Thanksgiving is all about celebrating and reminding ourselves how much we 
have to be thankful for. Why not start the conversation in a fun way but incorporating some printable thankfulness cards for each guest to share with the table. You can find this printable {here}.

Black, white & gold are classic, timeless colors that can be used for a variety of occasions. What's great is any pieces you invest in such as gold flatware, can over and over again. The polka dots add a modern and whimsical flair while the good pine cone place card holder with feather are more traditional. This tablescape easily pairs with cream, white, browns, tan and any pop of color can be introduced also such as a gorgeous peacock blue, cobalt blue, red, hot pink or hunter green.

Could creating a seating arrangement be any simpler with these pretty and simple 
golden leaves? You could find these in your own backyard!

Living in Florida, I naturally gravitate to coastal decor, this is a perfect illustration of how to do it. A pop of pattern is essential by using a great runner or napkins as they did here. The turquoise is such a great color (I own a set of soft blue that I love mixing and matching with). 

How is this for the easiest + least expensive place mat? This can be achieved with brown kraft paper & a sharpie. Every guest could be given a pen to write what they are most grateful for this year.

These take away pie containers are a cute way to send guests home with some leftovers or perhaps just those who didn't leave room for dessert. 

Speaking of pie, if you're looking to stray from your usual or traditional pumpkin pie recipe this year, this orange spice-coconut-pumpkin pie recipe looks divine!

This gorgeous bay leaf wreath caught my attention. I love how it includes all natural elements and while it would be pretty on any door, it would also make a great a great accessory to wrap around an over-sized ivory pillar candle (or a series of them) running down the center of a longer, rectangular table. You could also do the same with a tall cylindrical vase filled with water and floating candles.

These pieces would be a lovely addition to any Thanksgiving Table:

Whether you're hosting, visiting or simply enjoying a meal in someone else's home this year, no Thanksgiving would be complete without a little bit of a refresher and prep in the table setting and etiquette department. Take a peek at some of my previous posts if you're looking to brush up:

How are you planning to celebrate Thanksgiving this year? Whether you have a special longtime family tradition or you're hosting for the very first time, I'd love to hear what you have planned and which Thanksgiving ideas here best represent your personal sense of style!

Thanks for Reading!


*image sources: (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7)(8), (9), (10), (11), (12), (13), (14), (15)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Warm & Cozy Coats

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One of the things I love most about a fabulous coat or jacket is that it can add a polished look to any outfit, even if all you have underneath is a basic tee and jeans to run out to the store for late night milk or bread, it always provides a pulled together appearance. If you're in the market for a new coat you'll want to take a peek at Nordstrom's Clearance Sale which ends today and it's the perfect time to get a new coat (as well as any other clothing, shoes and accessories) at up to 40% off and as always the shipping is free! 

No matter whether you're dressing up for a day at the office or spending a casual weekend outdoors, in the cooler months a coat is the one necessary piece that will keep you warm and cozy and it's also the first thing that people typically see on you so it needs to be comfortable, flattering and must fit impeccably. When it comes to outerwear I've always treated my coats, trenches and jackets as investment pieces only buying those which I truly love and plan to wear for not only a season but for many years to come, Since they are worn regularly, they must hold up well over time. For that reason I always hunt for quality fabrics such as wool. leather, suede, etc., and make sure the fit is perfect. You can never go wrong with the classic lines of trench coats, pea coats, belted wool coats as well as military style jackets which are staples in the wardrobe of every classy woman. 

These timeless coats caught my eye. You can click on the images below to take a peek in more detail. Many of these coats have lovely details on the back as well. Oh, and if you've been looking for something a little bit different (less structured) for the fall such as a cape as I have been, I thought this Ellen Tracy Cape was really pretty! :)

What is your favorite style of fall/winter coat that you can't live without?

Thanks for Reading!


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A New Addition to the Nursery

When I first found out we had a little girl on the way at my 5 month ultrasound, I couldn't wait to design our daughter's nursery. I was busy pinning images, ordering sample fabrics, looking at paint color options and deciding which vintage furniture pieces from my office (the same space) I wanted to incorporate into her room. Then I got really busy with work, pre-natal appointments and life in general and procrastinated a bit to move all the furniture out of my office (because my office also doubled as our guest bedroom where I was getting more restful sleep at the time). Needless to say, her room didn't get painted until I was 36 weeks pregnant. Sadly, the trend of putting things off continued. I had a few items set up in her room but knowing she'd be sleeping in a bassinet beside me in our bedroom, I wasn't in any hurry to have everything in its place and thought I would have time after she was born. Any new mother can tell you that is not likely to happen! I always dreamed of having the nursery finished perfectly before she was born but it just never worked out that way. I know, I know the one who decorates everyone else's homes for a living couldn't get her own finished. ;)

Fast forward several months and slowly but surely her bedroom is finally starting to come together. It began with setting her beautiful crib up when she was nearly 4 months old when she became too tall for her bassinet, I knew we would be transitioning her into her own room after another few weeks in our bed which did not provide a good night's sleep for me. I started figuring out what kind of photo frames I wanted to use in her room and shelves, etc. Now that she's nearing her first birthday (seriously where does time go?) , I'm working to get it finished. Right now we're still shy of some wall art that I still need to hang, drapery and rods, a side table that needs to be painted with chalk paint along with an area rug from Pottery Barn that is a bit out of our budget right now so I may nix the rug altogether since her room has hardwood floors anyway or use a small rug in front of her crib only. We have an older home with brown doors that we have not updated yet so I may either paint the sliding closet doors white or may cover them with a pretty wallpaper.

I've been excited to display one of the beautiful photos from her newborn photo session in her room ever since we received the proofs. I wanted it to be one of the first things I saw when I entered her room so I found the perfect spot opposite the door just above her vintage painted dresser (please excuse the chipping paint, I have to do a few touch ups where the drawers stuck). I loved so many photos that the photographer took but there is something so sweet and natural about a baby in the buff and I love the simplicity of it. The colors in this photo also match the gray walls in her room perfectly. The color scheme is pink, gray, white and accents of mint and navy. The room is actually quite light, bright and airy most days however these photos were taken on a mostly cloud covered day, I opened up her blinds to let in as much light as possible.

I had been deciding if I wanted a framed photo or a canvas for a while. I have never ordered a custom canvas before but have liked the look of them on family gallery walls and baby nurseries in particular. I ordered a 16 x 20" canvas from Easy Canvas Prints and received my package in the mail not too long after that. I was impressed with the way they packaged it and protected it in transit wrapped sturdy in cardboard with a sealed clear plastic sleeve over my canvas. Not ever having ordered a canvas before I wasn't sure how clear it would look up close or from afar compared to a traditional print but I'm pleasantly surprised! I also like that they provide various options for the side finishes of the canvas. I chose to keep the same image wrapped around the edges instead of a solid color, to me that seemed like the most natural look and I'm so glad I did-it turned out gorgeous.

As I look through all of Lily's photos from birth to the most recent as I plan to use them in her upcoming party decor for her birthday, I can't help but reminisce about the moments when she was just a wee little one so dependent on her mama. Now she's doing so much on her own. I know I'll be creating more canvas prints in the future as she grows. It was such an easy experience and it took me just a few minutes to upload, select the features I wanted and add it to my shopping cart, I now understand why the company is called EASY canvas prints.

Easy Canvas Prints is currently offering 25% off any size canvas along with free standard shipping! It's a great time to get your favorite photos off your computer and up onto your walls. I'm actually getting ready to have a couple canvases made with special summer images of Lily for our parents.

A big thank you to Easy Canvas Prints for sponsoring this post! All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thanks for Reading!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Summer Tablescape with Love Letter Napkins

Last week Paul and decided that after 8 years of not loving our current mattress that we were due for a new one. What better gift to ourselves for our upcoming Anniversary on Sept. 3rd, than the gift of a good night's sleep?! We've been tossing and turning for a while now. When we first got married and I moved into my hubby's existing home he had already purchased a new mattress not too long before we met so he wasn't ready to give it up which had me bouncing around between our bedroom and the guest room. So, this was our first time shopping for one together and when the one we chose arrived we couldn't wait to make the bed and then lay on top of it side-by-side. Lily had fun crawling all over it. ;) The first night's sleep on our new memory foam mattress was heavenly and it was such a great investment, I'm so glad we did it. While an exotic trip would have been fun to celebrate our eight years together, this will last far longer.

Since we were already in the spirit of celebrating our Anniversary early, I thought I'd whip up a casual, impromptu little romantic lunch for just the two of us after Lily had gone down for her midday nap (which is her longest one of the day). As a parent it's so important to take the time to connect one-on-one after hectic days filled with life's many demands. This weekend we got to do just that and the timing couldn't have been more perfect as I had just received a set of 4 beautiful Love Letter napkins in the mail from Uncommon Goods. It was another little Anniversary present I planned to give to Paul to open that we would use together in our our home for occasions just like this as well as entertaining another couple. Instead of wrapping them up, I just surprised him with a little lunch instead and incorporated them into our casual summer place setting.

First off, if you haven't heard of Uncommon Goods you simply must check them out! If you've ever tried to buy a gift for a hard-to-shop-for person, you will really appreciate their one of kind designs that you can't find anywhere else. They were founded in 1999 and are a privately-owned retailer headquartered in Brooklyn, New York. About a third of their collection incorporates recycled and/or upcycled materials. I especially love that most of the items they carry are made in the USA and over half of what they sell is actually made by hand instead of overseas by machines so it has a real quality and authentic look and feel.

Whether you're looking for an Anniversary gift like I was, a Christmas present or even a birthday gift, you will definitely be impressed with the amazing selection they have to offer. Plus, a lot of the items are able to be monogrammed or customized so you can present an amazing personalized gift for the person you have in mind! I have been seeing a few neat products floating around Pinterest over the past few months and then realized while I was shopping the Uncommon Goods site, that's where they were from. I will definitely be shopping their site again soon as we approach the holidays.

Take a peek at these super cute love letter napkins! They are actual letters written by the likes of Mark Twain, Emily Dickinson, Jack London and D. H. Lawrence. While I loved using them as napkins, you cold also frame them or sew two together and make a one-of-a-kind pillow. :) They are made of lightweight cotton and are in classic black & white so they go with everything! You can see how I've paired them below.

Their lightweight texture is perfect for spring or summer I thought (but you could of course use them all year round). I like how they paired with soft pastel colors here in my table setting. I am a big fan of 'use what you have'. So when I decided to put together this spur of the moment little lunch for Paul and I, for both our meal and the table setting I used what I had on hand. Since I hadn't had an opportunity to pop by the store for some fresh flowers and I adore peonies, I used the realistic silk ones that live in Lily's nursery. I paired it with some seashell white dinner plates and beaded pale blue ceramic salad plates. We had just been to the market, so I thought the organic white peaches were a cute little touch in lieu of a place card holder since it was just us two.

In case you're wondering, we started with a fresh summer salad which included arugula, fresh sliced peaches, goat cheese, sunflower seeds and a papaya-poppyseed dressing-staples in our fridge. For our lunch we had pesto-chicken panini sandwiches with avocado slices. Our beverage was an organic sparkling probiotic drink in strawberry-acai-coconut flavor (I later added a few fresh raspberries to our glasses). It was the perfect light fare and we enjoyed the time to catch up and talk about our weekend.

As summer winds down and we move into fall and winter, I look forward to using these love letter napkins in new ways. I think it goes without saying that they'll be used in a romantic little meal for two on Valentine's Day and would complement red, pale pink or even hot pink nicely.

You can take a peek {here} to see each love letter in its entirety by each Author on the website. These are a fun lighthearted napkin that is not only unique but can act as a conversation starter during a dinner party.

Thanks for Reading!


*A big thank you to Uncommon Goods for sponsoring this post! All opinions and thoughts are my own.
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