Go “Green” for your Next Event!

I recently designed an engagement celebration for a couple.  They wanted a “rustic chic” theme (right up my wheelhouse) – but threw me for a loop when they requested that every aspect of the party be “green” and “sustainable.”  I mean – I know what recycling is (I’m not from Mars).  But biodegradable flatware? Re-purposed materials?  Trash receptacles with distinguishing signs for plastic, paper or landfill?  This was all new to me.

I love a challenge.  So, I went to work designing an event that would not only be fun and elegant – but also comply with the bride and groom’s desire for their event to be “green.”  Want to host your own earth friendly soiree?  Here are some tricks to try on your own!

IMG_7504Re-Purpose Old Furniture. I put to use items that were already on the event site that could be transformed into something special.  In the basement, I discovered eight wrought iron chairs that were filthy and had long been forgotten about.  Rather than ship the chairs off to a landfill – I took the chairs and cleaned them off with soap and water.  Once dried, I spray painted them in chalk finished colors of cream, antique white, mint and rose.  (Tip:  Try Rust-Oleum paint brand in its chalk matte finish.)  I freshened up the chairs with throw-pillows.  The transformation was incredible!  The chairs were saved and the cost per chair was less than $15.

il_570xN.1068522041_m9yoUse Bio-Degradable Plates and Flatware.  The couple wanted “bio-degradable” plates and silverware.  Truth?  I’d never heard of such a thing!  However, I found an incredible variety of bio-degradable merchandise on Etsy.com (a popular online market for small businesses).  These products are plant based and de-compose naturally.  When the plates and silverware arrived – I was surprised by how beautiful they were!  Stylish and good for the environment?  Sold!  I will definitely be recommending “green” products to all design clients for future events!

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Parent Trap Ice Cream Pie from “Kimmer’s”

Shop Local.  To satisfy the “sustainable” component of the event – we used local businesses for food, alcohol and décor.  Before you head out to a big-box store for party supplies – consider browsing through one of the amazing shops owned by a local merchant.  For this “green” event – the candles, vases and wood elements came from Cocoon in Geneva.  The tables and drink containers were found at SG-Too in Saint Charles.  The food and drink?  All from local wineries, breweries and caterers (we relied upon “Alice’s Corner” – the amazing Bolivian empanada maker whose food-truck is always hopping at the French Market in Geneva on Sundays).  “Kimmer’s Ice Cream” in Saint Charles provided dessert.

The engagement celebration was a total hit!  Because of the unique touches – this was one of the most personal events I have ever hosted.  Also, planning a “green” party was a lot easier than I thought.  At the end of the event, I not only felt great about the experience the bride and groom had at their party – but also about the fact that nothing about the party caused a footprint on Mother Earth.  I will definitely be including a “green” component in all events I coordinate moving forward!

Want to Plan a “Green” Event? Let’s Connect!

Opening the Door.

“Yes, I am the door.  Those who come in through me will be saved.”  John 10:9.

After I acknowledged God – and started to study His Word – I resisted finding a church home.  The usual culprits were at play: pride, ego and (of course) fear.

I told myself I did not need to hang out with other Christians.  I had my “one on one” relationship with God and that sufficed.   I didn’t want other people to bear witness to my crazy.  Plus, I have an inherent distrust for people in power and don’t like being told what to do.  It’s a control thing.

Good thing for me God was ready to dole out a humility smack down to keep me on track.  My experience has been – that the minute I think “I know best” – God brings me down to earth and compels me to acknowledge that He is all powerful and I am – in the most loving way possible – an idiot.

DSC_2680fLet’s fast forward six years from when God came to me at my mother’s home and I purchased the pink Bible (Background Reading: Finding Faith).

I successfully passed my bar exam (whoo hoo!); was married to my best friend (Jeff); and had two beautiful girls.  We owned a sweet little farm house and I was partner in a law firm.  Life looked good.

In spite of my outward success – I wasn’t doing much better than I had been before I failed my bar exam.  I was plagued by anxiety and depression.  I despised my career and didn’t know how to get out of it.  We were remodeling our home and the disruption to our lives was great.  Jeff and I fought a lot.  We each struggled with demons.

On the outside – we looked perfect.  But on the inside?  We were a mess.

After our second daughter was born – things in our marriage spiraled downward.  Our fighting was volcanic and we even tried a period of separation.  Nothing worked.

imagesOne winter day, Jeff and I had a blowout.  I left home with our daughters to drive around and cool down.  I was devastated.  I thought my marriage was ending and that life had – yet again – become hopeless.  As the snow started to fall – I pulled into the parking lot of a large church I had driven past hundreds of times before.  I put the car in park as my girls slept in their car seats.

Every day on my way to and from the office, I drove past this church (where I was now parked).  I passed a lot of churches on my way to work- but this particular church always generated “feelings” in me.  It irritated me.  I would roll my eyes and mutter things like “Why do people go there?”

There was no rhyme or reason for it.  I was just being ornery.  The more fired up I became – the more I had to admit to myself that I was deeply curious about the church that annoyed me so much.  

I know better now.  The Spirit was working in me.  He was calling me to this church.  As is my pattern, I chose to argue with God instead of letting Him guide me.

Damn law degree. Damn willful nature.  Damn Irish stubbornness.

2017-11-18 11.51.28However, on this snowy day, something about the simple cross at the peak of the church called to me.  I didn’t feel annoyed at all.  I didn’t mutter anything under my breath.  I just wanted to be near it – in the presence of that cross.

So I parked in the parking lot by the main entrance of the church and cried big wet tears – willing someone to come out to my car and rescue me.  However, the parking lot was empty and no one was there.  The building was pitch black.

After awhile, I stopped crying and let the sound of silence and my daughters’ gentle breathing fill the car.  I closed my eyes and started to pray.  Soon, I felt a warmth spread over my body – comforting me – like a hug.

And then, I heard God’s voice.

“Go in.”

I looked at the church.  It was closed.  I raised my eyebrows.

Really?” came my sarcastic reply.

“Go in.”

“It’s CLOSED!” I said loudly – looking upward and gesturing with both hands.

“Go in.”

Now, when God speaks to me – it isn’t like a scene from a movie. There are no ominous voices or burning bushes.  I feel His voice in my head and heart.  Sometimes I am guilty of squashing that voice.  But on this day – I chose to listen. I rolled my eyes and sighed – dramatically – but I listened.

I was already the crazy lady crying in the church parking lot.  What did it matter at this point?

My daughters woke up.  I drove over to an entrance at the back of the church campus marked “Kids World.”  I had seen a jungle gym structure from the road and knew there was play equipment for children inside.  I took a chance – exited the car – and tested the back door.

Open!

“Okay – you’re right!” – I said loudly again, looking up at the sky and laughing.

“And so I tell you, keep on asking and you will receive what you ask for.  Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives.  Everyone who seeks finds.  And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:9-10.

IMG_7191I parked the car and brought the girls inside as the snow continued to fall.  They played and giggled.  I found myself giggling too.  Their joy became my joy and a great happiness filled my heart.  My pain went away and I felt nothing but peace.

After the girls had their fill on the play equipment – we walked around the church to check things out.  There was no one there except for us.  I kept thinking “how nice” this church was and “how comfortable” I felt there.  The more my girls explored and bounced around – the more convicted I became that I needed to attend a service.

I retuned home that evening – calm.  I apologized to Jeff.  Jeff apologized to me.  We forgave each other.  It was like the bubble of peace that had surrounded me at church had followed me to our broken home and filled that with peace as well.

Later that week, I asked my husband if he’d watch the girls so I could go back to the church to hear a sermon.  He agreed and I went to Saturday night service alone.

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The first time I heard the pastor speak, I was taken aback.  I had never been taught the Bible before.  I mean, to read the Bible is one thing – but to be taught the Bible – this was completely foreign to me!  I left feeling energized and hungry to dive deeper into His Word and purpose for my life.

I loved the feeling of being surrounded by so many people in worship.  Even though I knew no one there – and did not speak to anyone – I felt supported by everyone in attendance.  Where I was weak, I could feel the strength of the people in that room and the power of the God we worshiped.  He was there.  The Son was there.  The Spirit was there.  Present – with each of us eager to receive grace and, of course, love.

I was hooked.

After that first service, I invited my husband to join me at church and – initially – he declined.  I didn’t push – but asked if I could take our girls to a service.  He agreed and the three of us started to attend every weekend.

Lawyers are first taught the law and then learn how to apply it.  There is a huge difference between reading the law and understanding how its application impacts real life.  Up to this point, I had been reading God’s Word – but now – I was actually learning how to apply it.  As we flushed out the definitions of grace, forgiveness, accountability and judgment – I started to see the world with new eyes.  I became “quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” James 1:19.

Unknown-1Every Sunday I went.  Even though I sat alone, I went.  While I longed for Jeff to hold my small hand in his larger one during the sermon – I did not let my pain stop me from attending.  I knew God was at work.  I sat in a crowd of hundreds of people – but I often thought the pastor was speaking only to me – calling me out in a firm yet loving manner.  I often teared up in church.

I went because the discomfort I felt was a good discomfort – like the type you get after an exercise class.  My spiritual muscles were getting a workout.  Every day I read His Word – and expanded upon that reading on Sundays – I found myself growing stronger.  I started to see things differently.  As the world became increasingly new, I was compelled to adjust my lens.  (Background Reading: Looking Through a Different Lens).

Soon, Jeff noticed a difference in me.  I became patient – kind – less irritable.  Yet again I was being transformed into the woman, mother and wife God wanted me to be.  I could not control Jeff.  I could, however, control myself.  Through Christ’s example, I could be the light in the dark.  And through that light – perhaps my marriage could be saved and my husband could be drawn to Jesus too.

“Your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16.  

After months of attending service alone, praying for my husband to be with me, on a random Sunday, Jeff offered to go to church with me and our girls.  I was more excited than a kid on Christmas morning!  Raised Catholic, Jeff was taken aback by the modern praise music and the pastor’s casual jeans and sneakers.  However, he held my hand and listened.

After attending the first service, Jeff did not come back for several weeks. I invited him (lovingly) to join us every Sunday – but I did not press.  Jesus could not be a point of contention between us.  Plus, I had confidence that God was on my team.

I continued to pray that Jeff would attend church with me and our girls.  I continued to hope that Christ would save our marriage.  I continued to let God work on me through his Word and the pastor’s teaching and let that light shine for Jeff to see.

IMG_7353So, here’s the cool part about faith in Jesus Christ: if you believe – it is nearly impossible for those closest to you to not start to believe too.  His teachings are infectious.  His way?  Patient, loving and kind.  It is not always your words about Him that will bring others to His light – but the way you conduct yourself will attract many.  Including stubborn Italian husbands.

“…[C]lothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.  For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.  And always be thankful.”  Colossians 3:13 – 15

Eventually, Jeff started to come to church with us every Sunday.  Not because I made him – but because he wanted to.  Over time, we formed relationships with other people within our church community who became powerful influencers for us in our marriage and faith.  We started to put down roots.  The deeper those roots grew – the stronger our marriage and faith became.

The transformation that took place in both our lives is the definition of a miracle.

There is a reason why Jesus charged Peter as the rock upon which he will build churches.   To be clear, I am no Biblical scholar.  However, Jesus’ request that Peter “build” His church seems obvious to me.

You can believe.  You can follow.  You can read the Word.  But the temptation of this world is great.  By surrounding ourselves with a community of Christian fellowship – we strengthen (fortify if you will) as one against the power and persuasion of the dark one. We were not designed to do this alone.  We were meant to walk in faith with other believers.  Jesus Christ is our Savior.  We are each other’s security in this world.

For me? Finding my church home started by trying to open a door that (for all intensive purposes) should have been locked to me.  But it was’t.  In fact, the only thing keeping me out of that building had been my own willful pig-headedness (the root cause of most of my short comings).

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Let me challenge you.

For those in the faith – who do not have a church home – why not?  I bet the reasons you identify will shed light on challenges within your own life you need to take accountability for.  Just sayin’.

For those who are seeking – what are you afraid of?  I don’t mean to sound trite but it’s a church for crying out loud.  No one is going to bite you.  If I can do it – you can do it!

For those who say – “I already have a church” (but never attend said church) – then that is a different matter altogether.  Here’s something to consider.  If you are a member of a church; but don’t attend that church; maybe that church isn’t feeding you the way it should?  There is a reason why there are so many different denominations of Christianity.  We all respond to His Word in different ways.

I happen to respond to no-nonsense preaching; rock music; stadium seating and a latte.  But that’s just me.

So, how do you find a church community that fits you?  After all, not everyone will be blessed with a commute that takes them by their eventual church followed by a parking lot meltdown and an open door (which I will always attribute to divine intervention!).

Take some time and visit churches in your area.  Attend a service and journal about how the service made you feel and what you took away from it.  Did you find your mind drifting – or did it keep your attention?  Did the message resonate with you?  Did you feel that your presence during the sermon helped you on your spiritual journey?  Did you, well, “get into it?”

UnknownThrow your excuses and limitations out the window.  Trust me, in this department, you do not know best (and this is coming from someone who thinks she knows everything).  Open up your mind and heart.  What do you stand to benefit from putting up walls?  If you are not in a fulfilling Christian community – strongly consider who is keeping you from your Father’s house and why.  

Let me add that worship should never feel like a chore or obligation.  It is the one day a week we get to praise God with other believers!  Every Sunday, I can’t wait to get to church and, after, I don’t want to leave!  Jeff and the kids frequently need to drag me out of there!

Don’t stop seeking until you find a church that helps you deepen your faith.  Deepening your faith will mean a period of discomfort (which is a sure tell sign of growth) – but run – seriously run – from anything that makes you feel bad about yourself.  Self-deprecation is not part of the doctrine.  Accountability is – but self loathing, guilt and shame?  No.

The point is this: don’t sell yourself short by not finding a community of believers that will walk with you on your journey.  You cannot do this by yourself.  Take a chance – and open a door.  Who knows what you’ll discover on the other side.

Have Comments or Questions about my Faith Story?  Let’s Connect!

 


 

 

Stone Mountain Fried Chicken

I was born in Brooklyn, New York (this makes me a “Yankee”) but spent my formidable years in the south (Georgia and coastal Carolina).

During my southern tenure – I picked up a few souvenirs – specifically: a lingering accent and the ability to say “y’all” like a native; a love for Friday night football and (don’t judge me) country music; and most importantly – a sacred appreciation for fried chicken.

Oh chicken.  Why would anyone want you any other way than fried?  There is nothing more mouth watering than slightly spicy, skillet fried, crispy chicken.  One of the best presents I ever received was a skillet and a jar of overpriced pork fat from Moveable Feast to fry chicken in.  ::Sigh::

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The best fried chicken I ever had was at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia.  It was served out of the back of a woman’s pickup truck.  She shook it up in a brown paper bag filled with flour and spices, dipped it in buttermilk, and fried it up right there.  Amazing.

I’ve experimented with a number of recipes over the years in my quest to replicate the Stone Mountain fried chicken.  The one below is a hodgepodge of a few different recipes (taking the best component of each) that – together – most closely resemble that Holy Grail of fried chicken deliciousness I bit into over 25 years ago during a school field trip to Stone Mountain.

For you first timers – be patient with yourself as you learn to fry chicken.  It really is an art form and it takes time to develop your skill.  Plus, unlike other recipes, frying chicken requires a lot of attention.  You must tend to the chicken and methodically flip it so it cooks evenly and doesn’t burn.  The more you do it – the better you’ll get at it.

Cooking Tip:  If you want to fry chicken, you need to get yourself a skillet.  Being “country” is super trendy these days so you can purchase skillets at a wide variety of fine retailers.  The best part? A good skillet doesn’t need to set you back a million dollars.  The Lodge Large Cast Iron Skillet (13.25) is available at Crate & Barrel, does a great job and won’t break the bank at only $59.95.  You are also going to want to invest in a good pair of tongs and a baking tray.

KEEP IT LOCAL

My family believes in supporting local businesses.  If you live in the Chicagoland area – you can purchase everything you need to make Stone Mountain Fried Chicken at the retailers below.  If you are visiting this site from a different part of the globe – I encourage you to seek out your own local providers.  Supporting small businesses helps the local economy and preserves the cultural fabric of American life.

SHOPPING LIST

  • 8 Pieces of Chicken with Skin Intact
  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour (My Favorite is King Arthur Flour brand)
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt + 1/2 Tablespoon for Flour Mixture
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon of Cayenne
  • 1 Teaspoon of Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Cups of Fresh Buttermilk
  • 2 Farm Fresh Eggs
  • Pork Fat for Frying
  • Sturdy Freezer Bags
  • Paper Towels
  • Aluminum Foil

INSTRUCTIONS

Remove raw chicken from packaging and pat dry with paper towels.  Put all of the spices together in a freezer bag and shake until mixed.  Put the chicken into the freezer bag and shake until all of the pieces are evenly covered with the spices.  Place in refrigerator for a minimum of three hours or (even better) overnight.

Remove chicken from refrigerator and let rest until chicken is room temperature.  Mix flour and remaining 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix buttermilk and eggs together to form a “buttermilk bath.”

Take a piece of chicken and dunk it in the buttermilk bath.  Shaking off the excess liquid, roll the chicken in the flour mixture.  Shake off all residual flour until your chicken looks lightly dusted (flour coating should be thin – not thick).  Work in pieces until all of the chicken is bathed, floured and ready to go.

img_4258.jpgPre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Fire up your skillet over medium heat.  Put a generous amount of pork fat into the skillet.   There should be enough fat in the pan so that the chicken has a nice bubbling pool of melted fat to cook in.  Here is where the “art form” comes in.  Let the fat melt until it is shiny and piping hot – but not smoking.  When the chicken hits the pan – it should make a crackling – not a hissing sound.  You don’t want your pan too hot – but not too cool either. The more chicken you fry – the better you will get at spotting when your fat is ready for the chicken.

Some folks will try to get you to use a temperature gauge in the skillet to measure the heat of your oil.  Don’t do it!  Frying chicken is about simple pleasure and loving attention to a gorgeous piece of fried bird.  Don’t mess it up with fancy gadgets.  (A real southerner would insert a comment here about “Damn Yankees” and “Fancy knick-knacks ruining a good thing.”)

 

Once the fat is shiny and bubbling – place a few pieces of chicken into the grease.  Make sure the pieces have plenty of room from each other.  Never overcrowd the skillet.  Attentively watch your chicken and rotate.  And rotate.  And rotate.  And rotate until the skin is crackling and a crunchy golden crust forms all over the skin of the bird.  Once the skin is “finger lickin’ good” looking – remove the chicken from the skillet and place onto paper towels to absorb the excess grease.  Continue working in this manner until all pieces are done.

After all of the chicken has its excess fat absorbed – places all 8 pieces on a baking tray lined with tin foil.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Let rest for another 15 – and then hollar for your kin: “Chicken’s on the table y’all!” and watch ’em come a runnin’.

 Side Kick Recipe: Butter Drop Biscuit

  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 3/4 Cups Heavy Cream
  • Irish Butter – Softened
  • Farm Fresh Honey

Pre-heat oven to 350 Degrees.  Mix flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl.  Mix in heavy cream until mixture is thick – but too thick – and doughy.  Add more cream as necessary.  Using a large spoon – scoop even amounts of the biscuit dough onto a baking tray lined with chef’s parchment paper.  Bake until golden brown (about 15 minutes).  Remove from oven and serve piping hot with softened butter and drizzle with honey.

HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS RECIPE?

I love hearing from “y’all.”  If you have questions about how to execute the perfect fried chicken – or want additional tips and tricks – use the contact form to message me below.  I promise to get back to you lickity split.

Set the Perfect Table for Easter

Table top design is one of my favorite parts of hosting an event (whether private or for my own family).  A great table top is all about layering different textures to create a unique and one of a kind look. When I am designing a table top scheme – I use the following tips and tricks.  I hope they will help you as you design your own spring tabletop.

Linens & Fabric: Think of table linens, fabrics, napkins and runners as the foundation of your table setting.  If you have an amazing table with unique features – think twice before putting a table cloth on it.  Opt for a runner instead.  As a general rule, I only use a full length table cloth when (1) the table I’m using is a standard banquet table with folding legs etc. or (2) if I am trying to protect an otherwise beautiful table from a rowdy crowd of party goers (i.e., Kids! Well, and Super Bowl fans).  By using a runner over a table, you create a layered look that honors the lovely exposed elements of the table (wood, marble etc.) – while also adding a pop of color or detail.  If you do need to use a full length table cloth – consider layering a runner on as well.  Again, it is all about contrast and creating an aesthetic that is pleasing to the eye.

Regarding napkins, I use napkins that compliment my table linens – but are not identical.  In this year’s Easter design, I used a lovely brown and white checkered table runner.  Rather than having “matchy matchy” napkins – I relied upon light brown linen napkins.  Styled up with a festive Eater Egg Napkin Ring – the linens are a perfect complement to the dish ware described below.

Dishes, Glasses & Silverware:  When styling dishes, the rule of thumb is complimentary – but not matching.  For example, in my Easter tabletop – I layered distressed gold chargers, with pale green, white and gold polka dot dinner plates and a plain white salad plate.  To “dress” up the setting, I placed a brown linen napkin with Easter Egg Napkin Ring on the top of the salad plate – giving the entire look a “festive” vibe.  For the silverware, I found these adorable burlap stitched silverware holders from one of my favorite local boutiques (Royal Wren, Geneva)  Again, the benefit of layering with natural elements is that everything looks complimentary – even if the shades are slightly different.  Finally, I selected fun vintage pink glassware with raised eater bunnies to stay true to the whimsy of the season.

Floral Design: I do not like tall floral arrangements on dining tables.  I find that they obstruct the guests’  view and burden conversation.  Reserve “statement” arrangements for the bar area or at another place where  they will not be intrusive.  Or, opt for a statement wall arrangement like I did here with wooden angel wings (Cocoon, Geneva) and oversized roses (Paper Merchant, Geneva).  For my Easter table, I used simple cream and pink roses and arranged them into squat mason jars with a natural twine element.  I placed them around an incredible Jan Barboglio handblown wine decanter with iron cross decal (Artemisia, Geneva).

Love this Look? Let’s Connect!

Executing the perfect Easter tabletop isn’t easy.  Want to create this look? Need some extra support? Use the form below to connect with me directly.  Cheers and be Blessed!

Tabletop Design & Decor

I am obsessed with plates.  I love high-end designer dinnerware sold at luxury retailers like Neiman Marcus.  I love antique plates from second hand stores and local boutiques.  I love plates on clearance at Home Goods and World Market.  Lord help me at a garage or estate sale.  I squeal when I see a pattern that catches my eye.

The other day, I saw a collection of plates in an Instagram post from one of my favorite local boutiques (SG Too in Saint Charles, Illinois).  I was on the phone with the store begging them to hold the set for me until I could fly over in the minivan on my lunch break to scoop them up.  I am now the proud owner of a vintage Mackenzie Childs summer ware collection.  All is right in the world.

I think the reason I love plates so much is because of what they promise – namely – that friends and loved ones will gather over those plates to share a beautiful meal together lovingly prepared by my family in our home.  A plate isn’t just a thing.  It is the vessel for the food that will breed laughter, conversation and many beautiful memories.

You will see table top throughout my website – as I cannot really plan an event or celebration without giving the plates a tremendous amount of thought (sometimes I buy plates and then plan an event around them!).  However, continue to return to this page to see my favorites.

From my family to yours – Cheers and be Blessed! 

Have a Passion for Plates? Let’s Connect!

If you are as obsessed with tabletop as I am, let’s connect.  Send me a message below – or better yet – a picture of your favorite tabletop! Connect with me on Instagram by tagging me in a tabletop post and I’ll give you a shout out.

 

A Bright & Blooming Easter

As a Christ Follower, Easter is my favorite holiday of the year (Thanksgiving being a close second).  As a Chicago resident, after months of frigid cold tundra, Easter not only represents the celebration of my God’s ultimate sacrifice, but also the end of sub-zero temperatures, puffy coats and salt encrusted vehicles.

This year for Easter, I selected a vintage, pastel look with layers of natural elements.  Use the planning guide below to:

  • Decorate a Gorgeous Front Door for Spring
  • Set the Perfect Table
  • Host a One of a Kind Egg Hunt

From my family to yours – I hope you have a joyful Easter.  Cheers and be Blessed!


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Decorate the Perfect Front Door for Spring

Visit this page for a step by step guide on how to decorate your front door perfectly for Easter.  Let the neighborhood envy commence!


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Set the Table

I start planning my table top decor months in advance of any holiday or special event.  For Easter 2018 – I decided to go with a super romantic vintage look. Visit here to learn how to “set to impress” this Easter season.


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Bath Bomb Egg Hunt

I have hosted dozens of Easter Egg Hunts.  This year, I wanted to do something different and outside the box.  So, I opted to use bath bombs from one of my favorite local boutiques in lieu of “eggs.” Visit here for ideas on how to execute this concept at home.


Let’s Connect!

I love hearing from my readers.  Do you have any questions or comments about the looks  styled above?  Need help executing this concept? Message me below!  Together, we can plan the perfect Eater Celebration.

 

 

Front Door Decor: Make Way for Spring!

DSC_5973fI am so over this Chicago weather.  The cold, the snow, the gray – the yuck!  With the first day of Spring fast approaching (Tuesday March 20th!) – I am welcoming a balmy change of temperature (here’s hoping!) by creating the perfect Front Door Decor.

When I style my home, I love to use natural fibers and combine them with vintage textured pieces.  By using materials like hemp rope, burlap and well-worn wood, you can transition these items in between seasons.  A lovely jute rug for your front entranceway can shift gears nicely between winter and holiday decor into spring and Easter decor.



I decorate in layers and textures.  When people walk up to my front door – I want them to  be delighted, surprised and – most importantly – welcomed!  I work hard to keep the front door well maintained and fresh looking at all times.

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Basket Weave Bunny

Wooden crates are inexpensive and sold at any major craft store retailer (I am a loyal fan of JoAnn Fabric).  I use them as a quick solution for storage at parties, events and playdates.  However, they can just as easily be flipped upside down and used to stage a cake, candy bar, giveaways – or in this case – a basket weave bunny.  By placing the bunny on the crate, he is given height and then I can also “layer” additional items beneath – like a floral decor lantern.  Simple glass geometric lanterns are always good to have on hand.  Again, they can easily transition in between holidays and seasons.

 

 

Design Tip: If you want a simple solution to “spruce up” a lantern for seasonal decor – with minimal effort on your part – try using decorative napkin rings.  Find a napkin ring you love – I found these Easter Egg ones at Homegoods.  Simply slide the napkin ring over the top of the lantern and – ta-da!- you have a great seasonal decor item that required no major exertion.

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Lantern and Napkin Ring

The most important part of decorating for Spring is to keep things fresh and simple.  I use a lot of white with pops of bright color.  By the end of the season – I am so over dark and dreary.  That is why I love love love a bright white wreath.  It just pops on every kind of front door and says “Spring is here!”

Want help creating the Perfect Front Door Decor?

Creating the perfect front door decor isn’t always easy.  If you have questions, or need feedback on the look created here – please message me below.

Unicorn Makeover Party

Unicorns are very trendy right now.  I mean, unicorns are always trendy to 8 year old girls, but unicorn parties are super desirable.  For this event, a discerning birthday princess declared that she wanted a “Magical Unicorn Makeover Party.”  Our team got hard to work designing the perfect event.

I am proud to have collaborated with It’s a Girl Thing in Geneva, Illinois as the venue for the party.  Mary and her team did an excellent job “making over” the girls with fancy up-dos complete with glitter (so much glitter!).  Guests were led through a series of games before getting to “dress up” and do a live fashion show.

At the end, the made-over unicorn princesses dined on pizza (of course) and treats from a candy bar custom designed by yours truly.  The candy bar was full stocked with goodies from our friends at Rocket Fizz and Blue Goose Market both located in Saint Charles, Illinois.

WANT TO PLAN THE PERFECT PARTY? LET’S CONNECT!

Planning the perfect ice cream social isn’t easy.  I love sharing my tips and tricks with my readers.  Need additional support?  Connect with me below.

Transformed by the Word.

Recently, my church asked me to give testimony about my transformation through Christ.  My relationship with Jesus is just that – a relationship – and it is ongoing.  In this short video – you get to hear from me first hand how God got my attention – and how my life was never the same after.

Have Questions about my Faith Story? Let’s Connect!

I did not become a Christ Follower overnight.  My relationship with Jesus started when I was at the lowest point of my young adult life.  It took nearly a decade before I would be baptized.  No matter where you are in your faith journey – please connect with me below.  If I can be a resource to you – I will certainly try.  If you need prayer, I will gladly pray for you.  Walk boldly toward Jesus!  He is waiting with loving and open arms.