Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Trash to Treasure: Preserving our Planet


When it comes to design, I love a good trash to treasure transformation as much as the next person. What's not to love? Pieces found for free or for a steal become something wonderful and creativity shines though in an amazing way that inspires others.

Today's post is about a different kind of transformation. Some of you may know that I'm an Eco-enthusiast. I enjoy a good river clean up, composting and it makes me sad to see my neighbors tossing all of their recyclables into the trash bin considering we're so fortunate to have a recycle pickup, as not every city or county does. I love new and innovative products that are made with materials that simply need to be 'recycled'. Classy women care about not only their own home environment, but the planet too so I thought this would be a great way to show you how a tiny bit of effort can do a lot of good.

Did you know that Whole Foods has a drop-off bin near the store entry/exit where you can recycle your No.5 plastics? Well, they do and I'm really excited about it. You see most cities, like here in Orlando, only recycle No.1 & 2 plastics leaving the rest to either be reused again (which we often do) and then eventually they'll wind up in the trash. There is a great way to to not only avoid this but make something wonderful in the process.

The best part is your yogurt and food containers as well as used Brita filters (yes, they recycle those too)  can go from this.....











to THIS!






Neat, huh? A company called Preserve collects all of the No.5 plastic and turns it into usable, practical and fun products so the plastic will have a second life and spare our landfills from anymore needless waste. When they reach their lifetime, you can recycle them yet again. :) For someone who gets excited about recycling this is great news!  Preserve creates everything from cutting boards, measuring cups and food storage containers to razors and toothbrushes! The best part is it's all BPA-free and made in the USA. You can see their neat little video on how items are made HERE.



All you need to do is wash out your No.5 plastics (look on the underside of your container for the little recycle triangle) and put them in a bag or box and drop them off at a 'Gimme 5' location when you are in the area. Preserve will do the rest and you'll feel good about making a difference too!

For those of you that felt a little mislead by the post title but made it this this point, I thought I'd share a fun, new blog that I found called Pure Green Design. HERE is one of their great trash to treasure posts which features the image shown at the top.

Now, in the spirit of turning trash to treasure, I'd love to hear how YOU reuse or give old items a new life in your own home. Feel free to leave a link to your thrifty trash to treasure decor posts too-I love those!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Manners Monday: The Basics


Several months ago I came across an article citing a survey on etiquette. I wasn't at all surprised to read that 35% of those asked, rated Americans as having poor etiquette and manners. What was more interesting though was that 80% of those surveyed reported their own manners as being 'excellent'. It's the age old adage of judging others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions. Sounds fair, right? ;)

Given that we all still have experiences with those that have less than stellar manners, I thought I'd do a little review of the basics. While many of you are aware of these common manners, sometimes it never hurts to have a little refresher. In these modern days when many things have increasingly become more lax, it's good to know what traditional etiquette still calls for.

1. Say Please & Thank You - It's amazing how simple this is to some and yet so difficult for others. When encountering flight attendants; waiters, store employees, cab drivers, business clients and your own family, friends and neighbors, remember to be courteous and polite. Adding to this would be saying the words 'You're Welcome' when someone has thanked you for something. While the words 'uh, huh', 'no problem', 'yup' or 'okay' are prevalent, especially here in America, it is not proper or polite.

2. Eye Contact & A Smile-Whether you are meeting up with an old friend, meeting new people at a party or interviewing for your dream job, be sure to make eye contact and give a warm smile. Not only does this put people at ease, but you will appear more confident even if you are in an uncomfortable setting. In some cases such, such as meeting someone for the first time, it is appropriate to entend your hand for an assertive handshake.

3. Use Discretion & Judgement- If you ever find yourself asking, "Is it alright to do, wear, say, 'x'?" then the answer is probably NO.  Whether it pertains to attire, gifts, greeting someone, leaving a party, etc., if you are unsure of how to handle a situation, do the most polite thing you feel possible and always consider anyone that might be affected or on the receiving end of a choice you make. Afterwards, be sure to consult an etiquette book on how to handle a similar situation in future.

4. Hold the Door - This is not reserved for chilvarous men, whether male or female, hold a door that you have just passed through for someone else. I am amazed at the amount of clueless passers-by that watch a woman struggle with a stroller and don't even make a move to help her, or those that are less gracious with the elderly.

5. The 'Right' Side- When you are on a sidewalk, walking up a set of stairs, on an escalator or riding a bike on the road, always keep to the right to avoid 'traffic jams' and bumping into others.

6. Turn the Cell Off- Cell phones have become quite a nuisance and have only gotten worse as all of the new applications launch.  Be sure to turn your cell phone completely off during a business meeting, social function, or while traveling via public transportation where others are enclosed in a space and forced to listen to your call. In other environments like the grocery store or the office, the 'vibrate' mode is most preferable.


7. Hostess Gifts & Thank You Cards- Always bring a gift for the hostess upon being invited to a party or event. It's best to bring something that won't cause her to stop and fuss with it, such as cutting and setting flowers in a vase. If it is a potluck event or you are asked to bring food or other items, the hostess gift if not a necessity as you've already contributed. As a guest, thank your host with a formal card. Hostesses should also thank anyone that has attended their event or gathering with a formal note card. In extremely casual settings, an e-card or an e-mail is acceptable.

8. Mingle- When being invited to a social event such as a wedding or even a business function, it's easier to chat with those you know, but well-mannered guests and hosts alike always make a point to circulate and speak to those they do not know. After all, it is the people, not the food or drink, that should be your main focus. How many times have you seen people flock to a dessert station or the bar only to linger for far longer than they should?

9. Be Kind- Treat others as you would like to be treated. Period. Even if you don't feel someone deserves the respect you will give them, be gracious and show respect and kindness at ALL times. There is nothing to be gained by being rude, cruel or speaking unkindly to another person.

10. Fork, Knife & Spoon- Whenever possible, even finger foods, should be eaten in the most polite way possible, especially while dining out with others. In very casual settings, using your fingers is acceptable for pizza, wings and the like. When eating meat, fish or vegetables, pieces should be cut as they are eaten, not sliced up ahead of time as one would prepare for a toddler. Sawing through food and stabbing a piece of meat as though using a pitchfork is not elegant dining behavior. Forks are also not replacements for knives, turning them on their side to push through a piece of food is not necessary unless it is a dessert, in which case using a spoon or fork to do so is expected. It shouldn't have to be mentioned here, but it still happens: no speaking while chewing and always push your chair in upon leaving the table.

There are literally thousands of tips that I could have listed here, but this post would have been huge! These are some of the most general essentials as it pertains to being well mannered.

Speaking of manners 101, I thought it would be cute to show you the very first book I ever read on good manners as a child. Thanks Mom and Dad!


Feel free to leave a comment and share a basic 'Manners' or 'Etiquette' tip that you have found many still do not embrace. Are there any on the list here that you feel you sometimes overlook. I look forward to hearing from you!



Sunday, June 27, 2010

4th of July Summer Drink Recipes


One of the things that I really enjoy about hot, sunny weather, is the fun, fruity, chilled drinks to help keep me cool. There are so many great variations and flavors to experiment with. As 4th of July is just around the corner, I thought I'd share some fun drinks that I came across in my recent edition of Coastal Living Magazine (July/August 2010).

While I'm not generally into overly themed parties, especially the typical red, white and blue, these drinks would be a fun addition to any upcoming BBQ or backyard party. I love that all three of these are so different from one another in not only color by flavor too. You could take your favorite and serve it at future events too. While all of these do have alcohol, sometimes you can edit them by removing the alcohol and adding in fruit, white chocolate or cacao. The first would be easiest to turn into a fruity chiller.














If red, white and blue is not your thing, HERE is a link to Coastal Living's 18 other great summer drink recipes! If you missed my post on great potluck dishes for an upcoming party you'll be hosting or attending, click to learn more about Simple and Perfect Potluck Fare.

I hope you're having a wonderful weekend!




*All images from CoastalLiving.com, header from Coastal Living Magazine July/Aug 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Reader Request: Handling Tardy RSVP Responses



To continue the theme of hosting and guest etiquette, I'm going to share a recent request  from Karen @ Strictly Simple Style She wrote me and asked this:

Here is a situation that I'd love you to cover, etiquette regarding R.S.V.P's. I am hosting a pre-party before another event that is a short distance from my home. This is an annual event and we've been hosting this party for years. I sent an evite because it's a casual affair, but I'd still like to know how many I should count on for cocktails and snacks. There are a few guests who never R.S.V.P. among this group. In some situations they call the day of the event to let me know. One person occasionally doesn't R.S.V.P but comes anyway.

My question: Is there a tactful way of wording the invitation that might result in a better response? Also, for those who don't respond to invitations in general, is it appropriate to give them a call or mention at a later time that I wished I'd known if they were coming?

Thank you Karen for your question!  This is an excellent question and it happens to hosts more often than not. It’s hard to imagine why a guest would not reply to an invitation, especially when the acronym for RSVP is actually a French phrase which means, "répondez, s'il vous plaît," or "please reply."  It is only common sense to make the hosts’ life easier by letting them know either way as soon as one knows if they are going to be unavailable.

Here are a few things that you as the host can implement to gain more RSVP’s to your events so that you can better plan accordingly and have things run smoothly.

How to Gain the Best RSVP Response


Firstly, include both your telephone number and e-mail in the RSVP. Also, ensure that you have a specific reply by date (10 days before the event is acceptable, unless of course the evite was sent out after that time frame, then choose a date based on the nature of what is involved in your preparations.) This gives respondents no excuses at all for not replying. Unfortunately, saying anything that could be perceived as negative on an invitation is not a good idea because it sets a negative tone for the occasion, so focusing on an exact date is best.

While some use a 'regrets only' approach to an RSVP, I warn against this because it sets you up to expect several people to show that may in fact not have bothered to reply, but appear to you as a ‘yes’. Also, try to avoid allowing ‘maybe’ responses. They are an easy selection for the undecided but some never change their response. A ‘no’ is more accurate than a maybe reply. If you choose to allow maybe responses, you need to count them as a ‘no’ until they are updated.


Following Up

1. Evite Response E-mail-When creating your evite, many companies that offer them, such as Evite, give you the ability to create a follow-up ‘reminder’ about your event. Firstly, you can set it up in such a way to be a general reminder for everyone a few days before so they don’t forget your event,. Better still, you can send a reminder which will solely go to those who have not taken the time to reply. On evite.com, you would go to ’Change Guest Reminders’ and then select ‘Viewed, but not responded’. It will go to the tardy invitees specifically and will be a good enough reminder to those that need to still give their yay or nay.

2. Follow-up Call- If a few of your guests still haven’t responded after a reminder e-mail and it is 10 days or less before your event, you have every right to follow-up and it is entirely appropriate. Let your would-be guests know you are calling so you can get an accurate head count. A great way of asking this is by saying, “We are having the place cards created (or the drink menu drafted) for the dinner this week and we are hoping that you are planning on attending." This is a subtle, positive message that will elicit a direct response. If you happen to get their voicemail-ask them to reply within 24 hours by calling you or replying via the evite itself.

After the Event

Addressing one who doesn't RSVP can be a tricky subject to broach. It would depend on how well you know the particular guest(s). For close friends, you could politely let them know that you always really enjoy their company but that it makes your planning go more smoothly when you have an accurate head count. If they don’t receive it well and are offended, then they are seriously lacking good manners and respect for you and your party. A friend would be apologetic and sure to not let it happen again.

For this particular event, it sounds as though you know most of the guests well.  Because of this track record and the casual nature, always err on the side of having extra cocktails and snacks for your guests without making a special announcement on the invitation itself as there really isn't a specific way to tactfully word your desire for them to reply, your RSVP instructions should be sufficient.

Karen, I hope this was helpful for you and best wishes for a successful pre-party event with a fully responsive guest list!

The concept of manners, etiquette and civility are not embraced by all, as we well know, so it is up to us that adhere to them to be a shining example to others.

How about YOU? Do you have some advice you'd like to add for Karen, perhaps on what specifically to say to those afterwards? Do you add something special to your invitation that seems to evoke a higher RSVP response rate? I'd love for you to share!

Warmly,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Inside These Perfect, Pretty Packages...


Look at what arrived in my mailbox yesterday! Isn't this wrapping and packaging so pretty? The pink and brown polka dots are so perfectly me-how did she know? Wait until you see what is inside them.

Nearly a month ago I entered a giveaway for something I've had my eye on-beautiful custom jewelry by the talented Lisa Leonard. I've seen her silver pieces everywhere online and have always appreciated them. Guess what? I won!! I was beyond excited to see my name after I entered Karla's giveaway (yes, we have the same name, spelling and the same middle initial to boot-how crazy is that?!) at It's the Little Things that Make a House a Home. She has a beautiful blog with a lot of great posts, you'll love it over there, I hope you'll pop over and visit her. Thanks again Karla!

I received $75 to spend any way I wanted online with Lisa Leonard Designs. I love all of her creations so it really was very difficult to choose but I actually ended up selecting two items that I am in love with! They exceeded my expectations as the quality and beauty were better appreciated in person vs. through my laptop screen. I am a huge fan of freshwater pearls, so the designs I chose had to incorporate them. I also love monograms so these were perfect. Below are the items I selected.



{This is the 'Teenie Tiny Initials Necklace' with mine and hubby's initials. Later, I can add our future childrens' names to the ring also-neat, huh? Love that freshwater pearl! }



{Love these double drop 'Cream Freshwater pearl earrings'. They look gorgeous on and will look great with so many different pieces in my closet! }

Both pieces came to just $71, so I actually stayed within my gift certificate budget and then all I had to do was pick up the few dollars in shipping. Thank you again so much Karla and Lisa for the opportunity to win!

For anyone wanting a unique, custom piece like a family tree or even a gift for your man or a friend, there are so many lovely things on Lisa's website from necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings to silver baby spoons and keyrings. Several celebrities wear her pieces too-isn't that cool? Check her website out HERE! She also has a lovely blog where she showcases some of her beautiful photography AND shares her newest works of art and sometimes a deal or two.

Do you own a Lisa Leonard piece or have you seen her work before? I'd love to hear which piece you purchased (if you have one) or hope to one day have in your jewelry box. ;) I now know exactly what to get my mom for her next gift!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Manners Monday: How to Avoid Overstaying Your Welcome




Last week, in our first post of the new  'Manners Monday' series we discussed how to treat a guest and be a good host when they visit, as it pertains to offering food and beverages. This week it's all about timing: When and how long to visit without overstaying your welcome.



We all know that person who drinks a little too much wine and stays hours after a party to the point of being obnoxious. There are those that show up at your door before you're even fully dressed or ready for company and then yet still, there are those that have a complete lack of respect and disregard for your time by showing up more than fashionably late to an event or dinner party.



Avoid Overstaying Your Welcome



1. The Drop-In- If you are just dropping by to visit a friend and have not called them to inform them first, the visit should last no longer than 20 minutes, unless those you are visiting urge you to stay longer and were truly delighted by the surprise. Do try to avoid the drop-in no matter how much you wish to surprise someone. You never know what their day entails and may catch them off guard.



2. The House Party or Casual BBQ- If you are invited to a more casual venue, your host may deem it a 'drop-in throughout the day' sort of affair or there may be a specific time listed on your invite. If there is a range of time such as between 1-5pm, be sure to stay no longer than the 5pm time listed and try to arrive at least an our before the party is due to end.  Don't show up early before the time specified, as your host may still be finding her perfect attire and avoid sipping on a glass of wine and staying for hours afterwards, even if other guests do. Your hosts may have something else to attend to afterwards but aren't interested in sharing those details.



3. The Dinner Party- If you are invited to a home for dinner, treat it as you would a restaurant and don't be late. Arrive no later than 10 minutes after the specified time on the invitation. Also, it's important to put in some face time, don't attend if you have to leave quickly after dinner or you will appear as though you are dining and dashing. Always offer to assist with the clean up and any dishes, your host will usually decline but it is only polite. Do stay for an after dinner drink or coffee if offered and some conversation but be sure to leave as other guests leave. You don't want to get to the point where you're chatting up your hosts well into the late evening hours while they're rubbing their eyes to give you a hint to leave because they're tired.



4. You: The House Guest- If you're staying for a weekend, week or longer, be sure to define the time frame upfront with your host and don't deviate from it unless discussing with them first. They should know exactly when you are to arrive and leave and you should also plan to use a cab or rental car unless they suggest otherwise or offer to pick you up from the airport. It's never appropriate to assume that they will be your chauffeur and it gives you your own independence while visiting. Be sure to tidy up and leave your room or space just as you found it and always leave your host or hostess with a special gift to thank them for their hospitality, even if they are close family members.



5. The Overnight Date- Don't turn an evening at your man's apartment into an overnight date-unless he suggests it and you are comfortable. If a man has invited you to stay in his home for a night or a weekend, regardless of how serious the relationship is, it's never okay to overstay or leave your personal belongings behind-he'll be onto you! As with any other situation, be neat while you stay and take everything home that you came with. Don't extend a longer stay by taking time off of work or planning a fun day for the two of you. Treat the situation as you would any other host. Leave when you are supposed to unless he's begging you to stay longer. However, even then in a relationship as a woman you risk being less mysterious and he may not be longing for more time with you.



Have you ever hosted such a great party that some of your guests just wouldn't leave? Maybe you entertained weekend guests that stayed well past the time they promised? Perhaps you see yourself as the guest who has overstayed? Leave a comment and share your experiences!


Thank you for reading!

XO

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Dad, My Hero


{Proud Papa- father/daughter dance to 'butterfly kisses'.}

Today I'm celebrating Father's Day with my dad in my heart, although many miles apart. Growing up each year, I'd try my best to make him something special and he appreciated everything that I made whether it be a creative card, pottery or a drawing. In fact to this day it warms my heart that he has kept everything that I've made for him. During my last trip to California to visit him last November I saw something I made him when I was 8 years old on his bookcase, I had seen it out before in other homes he had lived in but forgotten about that pale pink pinch pot that sported a big heart on the front. He's such a strong yet sentimental kind of guy.



{Giggling while getting kisses from daddy.}



{On top of the world out on the lake behind our house.}

My dad was the type of dad that stayed up with me until 3a.m. helping me type out my complex science projects that were due the next day along with helping me organize the display board. In grade six it was hydroponics, the next year corrosion. He really helped me challenge myself and stretch my abilities. He taught me how to find creative solutions to complicated dilemmas, introduced me to gardening, composting and cooking too. He's a bit of a neat freak and it is to him that I credit for making me want to be so organized and neat. Not that my mom didn't do any of these things, just that he had a special way and the right amount of passion and patience for each to really allow me to learn.

We would pick cucumbers from our garden to make our own pickles and pulled ripe peaches off of our backyard tree and baked fun desserts together-he is who I get my sweet tooth from! ;) He encouraged me to be the strong, independent woman that I am today by being confident and completely self-reliant, responsible and hard working. He encouraged me to save money at an early age and told me he had wished someone had told him to do the same when he was twenty. He made me the handy woman that I am too. We built a pergola together for the backyard, drywalled the basement and even went shopping at yard sales together on weekends. He has definitely had a large impact and influence upon the person I am today. For these things I will forever be grateful, and above all he's got such a heart of gold and loves God.

I came across this sweet poem and thought I'd include it as it represents the way I feel toward my own dad.


MY HERO



As I ponder the love that I saw in his eyes,

A Godly love, given without compromise....

I recall many times that he stood by my side,

And prodded me on with great vigor and pride.

His voice ever confident, firm and yet fair,

Always speaking with patience, tenderness and care.

The power and might of his hands was so sure,

I knew there was nothing we couldn't endure.

It's true, a few others provided insight,

Yet, he laid the foundation that kept me upright.

He's the grandest of men to have lived on this earth,

Although he's not royal by stature or birth.

He's a man of great dignity, honor and strength.

His merits are noble, and of admirable length.

He's far greater than all other men that I know,

He's my Dad, he's my mentor, my friend and hero.



Happy Father's Day to all the single mothers who do the job of both mom and dad, to all of the daughters who are celebrating their dads, to those celebrating with their hubby who is the father of their children and to those who may be remembering their father or grandfather who is no longer here today.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Manners and Etiquette: Are Your Guests Starving?




After the majority of you responded to my previous poll some months ago with a wish for more posts on Manners & Etiquette, I've decided to share some bite-sized, weekly posts on Manners & Etiquette. No topic is off limits here-everything from meeting new people at a social gathering to what is and is not acceptable at the office. If you have a specific question for me, I'd love to answer it in an upcoming post! Just e-mail me and you can choose to share your name and or/city, or simply remain anonymous.



I try to keep this blog well rounded so that there is something for everyone, all while fulfilling the purpose of this blog which is to introduce new ideas, inspiration and advice for those that wish to become (or continue to be) the Classy Woman they've always desired to be.



I don't know about you, but when I have guests visit my home I like to make sure that I make them feel as comfortable as possible. New friends get shown where the ladies' room is and they are always offered a beverage and when staying for more than just a quick 10 minute drop-in, they are always offered a little something to munch on too.



Today's post was inspired by my own personal experience, when I was on the 'receiving end' some months ago. Have you ever visited a home where you weren't offered even so much as a glass of water, nevermind a snack?



A couple months ago, I visited a new friend, we had planned to talk about some news she had and spent the day catching up. In my mind, I only planned to stay about 2 hours but she had a lot to share with me, so I stayed a little longer. I realized it had quickly turned into a 5-hour visit! I was starving and was not offered anything at all, aside from water about an hour after I arrived. I asked my friend if she was interested in heading out to grab some coffee or a quick bite as I didn't want to impose, hoping she was just as hungry. But she explained that she was on a tight budget and preferred not to. It got to the point where I had to kindly wrap up our visit and head out to get a snack fast! Don't let this happen to your guests. Here are some basic tips on taking care of planned guests and drop-in visitors in a more casual, conversational setting.



1. Stock Up-Always keep some snacks stocked that you like and others would also appreciate-corn chips & salsa/guacamole (a staple in our home is Wholly Guacamole and Archer Farms' Organic Blue Corn Chips with Flax), crackers and cheese with some grapes, fruit for slicing up or presenting on a small platter or some mixed nuts-these don't break the bank and will have you guest ready.



2. Be Prepared-When you know guests are popping over for over 30 minutes, be sure to prepare something small-some blueberries, strawberries and green grapes on a platter look pretty and are always tasty. You could always have an inexpensive store-bought or pre-made dessert at the ready. Be sure to have a few options for drinks also-water, lemonade, iced tea, fruit juice, coffee, tea, soda are all acceptible beverages and are usually on hand in most homes. Be sure to place the food out just before your guest(s) are due to arrive and in a central location.



3. Hostess with the Mostest-Get in the habit of asking guests after they first arrive if you can get them some water or another beverage. This way, you won't forget to ask later and they won't feel awkward for having to ask. If you are extremely busy with your children, and you feel comfortable, you can always let family or very good friends know that your house is their house. If a guest has never been to your home before, be sure to be a good hostess and grab it for them. Try though to make a point of serving your guests, it not only makes for a good hostess but a lot of people feel uncomfortable going into someone else's fridge and cupboards.



Here is another post you might enjoy about the Etiquette of Hosting House Guests.



How about YOU? Have you ever left someone's home starving or feeling a little dehydrated? Maybe you were the one hosting guests and wondered afterward if you had prepared enough food?

I'd love for you to share your thoughts and any tips or recipes you have when it comes to 'being ready' for drop-in or planned guests!



Pear Tree Giveaway WINNERS!


Ladies, thank you for taking the time to enter another great stationery giveaway by our sponsor Pear Tree Greetings! As I mentioned in the original giveaway post, this time there are 5 winners. Also, for everyone, scroll to the bottom, there is a discount code waiting for you. Is one of the five YOU? Scroll down and see if Random.org selected your number. Here are the winners in the order they were drawn........



Winner #2 is Shaunna of 'Perfectly Imperfect'!


Winner #21 is Melissa of 'Oh, My Darling'!



Winner #7 is Kristin of 'My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia'!


Winner #17 is Kathie Truitt of 'Hillbilly Debutante'! -I entered on her behalf, what can I say, I guess I was good luck. ;)



Last but not least, Winner # 19 is Anna of 'Slightly Off Center'!

***If you see your name here, please e-mail me and I'll make sure you get the info you need to get your free labels.

As always, a big thank you to the always generous Pear Tree team for making this giveaway possible! Congrats to everyone, I hope you enjoy your new address labels as much as I'm enjoying mine. :)

Everyone is a winner here today because Pear Tree Greetings will be offering 10% to all of my readers until the end of June on anything you choose that amounts to $19 or more! Use this code: PEARJUN10.

I hope you'll pop back over later today if you have a little time, I'll have another post and it will be the beginning of a fun, new weekly series!

xo

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Reminder and a Thank You


Ladies, it is a hot one here today-we are well into the hundreds and I've spent more time indoors than outdoors, that is for sure. Where ever you are,  I hope you are having fun, staying cool and hydrated!  This above photo from a Barbados resort describes where I'd love to be right now-in a refreshing pool with a view of the ocean and a virgin Pina Colada in hand please!

I wanted to remind you all to enter our Pear Tree Giveaway which ends tomorrow night and will have 5 winners! We've only got a few entries so far (and a couple were some sweet 'hello' messages from ineligble countries, which unfortunately do not count), your odds of winning are VERY good! :) If you've entered but not taken advantage of the extra entries like tweeting about the giveaway, you can still do that too-only comments on that post page will count though.



On a separate note, I have a Thank You which is now much overdue to Cathy M. over at Check It Off. On her May.21st post she was kind enough to bestow not one, but two awards upon my little blog. You can check them out HERE. Thanks Cathy-so very sweet and thoughtful of you! Those are my first blog awards, I feel so special. I hope you'll go visit Cathy, she covers a variety of topics on her blog and has cute to-do lists known as anti-procrastination lists that are sure to inspire you to get more done, or just check in to see what she's working on. I loved her office makeover too.

I'ts a pretty low-key weekend around here. We've just been puttering around the house, working a little bit and we're getting ready to visit with a friend this afternoon. What special things have you been doing this weekend? I'd love to hear. them!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Feature Friday: Practical Tips For EVERY Woman


Ladies, it's Friday already! Can you believe it? This past week I finally got a chance to catch up with my blog reading, after spending last week away with my hubby in Sarasota. I couldn't help but share these wonderful posts with you all!

There are some skills in life that I know nearly every woman is trying to become better at. And sometimes we've come to a point where we feel like we've perfected something only to find a new and better way of doing things. Here are 3 that I felt would be relevant and fun for you all to read. Enjoy!



1. Picture Taking Tips:  While this post isn't a complete handbook on the art of photography, it does allow all of us ladies with just a regular ol' digital camera to learn some great tips on improving our picture taking skills and getting sharper, more beautiful images. Ashley over at Domestic Fashionista did a lovely write up of how to master the art of your little camera and it's filled with beautiful photos of her recent trip.

Click on her Photo Taking Tips for those of us Without Big Expensive Cameras to see more! Thanks Ashley, I'm going to spend some time with my camera this weekend. :)





1. Three Ways to Pin Down Your Design Style: I don't know of a single woman who can say that she has completely perfected her design style. If you're out there-my sincere congrats!-for the rest, here is an interesting post that shows you three distinct ways to determine your design style. The post is more about how to pull everything that you love into your home's design scheme vs. trying to identify with a particular style name that sums up your overall decor style.While knowing that you like eclectic, french country or vintage modern style can be good, labeling it may not always be the most effective way to achieve the home of your dreams.

Sherry and John of Young House Love provide a fabulous post here that everyone is sure to learn from or even confirm that you are going about discovering it the right way. Click on the link to discover your Design Style. Sherry and John's blog is filled with useful design and home tips, they never disappoint!




3. Home Truths Your Guests Won't Tell You: I loved this last post because not only was it well written but it was also kinda funny too. The point about the bathtub made me laugh! :) It's all about the little things your guests will never tell you about with regards to your home or the guest room that you've provided for them! Save yourself some embarrassment this summer while entertaining guests by reading this post by Struggling to be Stylish.

If you are relatively new to this blog you may not have had a chance to see the post I wrote on the Etiquette for Hosting House Guests. This would be a great accompaniment to the article above.

Now if you're someone who spends any time at all staying overnight at the homes of your dear family and friends, you'll want to get all the goods on How to Be the Perfect House Guest.

I hope you find these posts to be as fun and informative as I did.

Happy Weekend!

xo

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Another Pear Tree Greetings Giveaway!


**THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED**

Ladies, I promised you a few days ago when I shared my lovely Pear Tree review with you, that I'd be posting another fun giveaway. I'm so excited that my friends at the ever-generous Pear Tree Greetings have allowed me to do another give away with them!

Our last stationery giveaway was so much fun. This one has a little twist, there will be 5, yes, I said FIVE winners! Even if you've entered one of my giveaways in the past and won, no need to shy away this is open to anyone in the U.S. My apologies to my international gals, but there will be future giveaways open to everyone. :)

Now, on with the prize. Since I shared with you how amazing their address labels are, I thought it would only be fair to let you try them for yourself. I was given the choice of having one winner receive 5 sets of labels or five ladies that will each receive a set of (12-24) stylish, custom labels-the more the merrier. The set amount depends on the specific label you choose, as there are 3 different sets of label dimensions. I use the word custom because several are available with the ability to add a photo-perfect for newlyweds, newly engaged, a new baby or even Christmas or holiday labels, most of the other designs come in multiple colors.

These designs are fresh, fun and fabulous! Here are the details to enter:

FIRST ENTRY: Mention that you already are a public follower or become one. :)

EXTRA ENTRIES: {Leave a separate comment for each of the following and an appropriate link/e-mail if you don't have a blog.}
1. (1) entry for adding me to your blogroll. (leave a comment also if you already have)

2. (1) entry for adding my blog button to your blog (code found in my sidebar, leave comment also if you already have)

3. (1) entry for tweeting about this giveaway (link to this post & provide your twitter ID in comment)

GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Monday June.14th at 11pm EST.
NUMBER OF WINNERS: Five
RULES: The winners will be selected using random.org and announced on 06/15.
OPEN TO: U.S. addresses ONLY for this giveaway.

Good Luck!

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