8 STEPS TO EASY ENTERTAINING ~ BUFFET STYLE

The holiday season is upon us in full gear, and, along with decorating, shopping and gift wrapping, we are also planning for holiday meals. It is definitely that time of year when celebrating and entertaining go hand in hand. This year, my husband’s godmother will be turning 90 on December 22nd and to honor her as well as show her how much we have appreciated her generosity and unconditional love, we are hosting a birthday dinner celebration in our home. I have ordered the floral centerpieces, the cake and made arrangements for tables, chairs, linens, china, flatware, glassware, etc., to be delivered, but I am doing all the cooking. I find buffet style entertaining, where guests serve themselves, a popular choice for any occasion. This style of entertaining allows you to mingle with guests and replenish serving containers as needed. It also allows you to serve a larger number of guests.

f57fb6f549063e0c20e1d51b8d47295e

1. Choose the Best Spot.

A buffet can be set up on a dining table or other large surface, such as a chest, kitchen counter, sideboard, library table or picnic table outside. Place the table where it is most convenient for serving, clearing and traffic flow. A minimum of 18 inches is required for guests to walk between pieces of furniture.

f34936e35d94f3020ecbd162b6084cf4

2. Organize the Flow

Arrange plates, food and serving utensils on a buffet in a logical order so guests can serve themselves without backtracking. If the buffet space accommodates only the food, place plates, silverware, and napkins on a separate table nearby.

a7255a3d5f3a92a0d4227907d07da29a

3. Plan for Cocktails

e55b5cb34afba27b81475e174d5202d2

4. Plan a Workable Menu

Make sure the food on the menu is simple to serve and eat. For my dinner celebration, the guests will be seated at tables, but for guests who will be seated in chairs only with plates on their laps, they will appreciate food they can eat with a fork. When seating space is limited and guests will have to stand, a menu consisting of finger foods is the best option.

5. Dress it Up With Pretty Fabrics

88434e3be80e06b0e9c3fca9dc75dc00

9dd5bb6c2be543d7dc32f95bc946063b

Fine table coverings, heirloom pieces, damask, linen, and sheer organdy toppers are used for formal occasions, but for casual or less formal events, look around your home for ideas. Try a quilt, fabrics that complement the dishes, burlap,  or crisp cotton sheets.

6. Stack It Up

01a5063f2f1afc4152c1f6dbd2808a07

 

44a94a7b8c8bb2ec634d26c432c147d7

Add interest to a buffet by elevating several dishes to create levels. A cake pedestal or a shallow-footed bowl are perfect choices to hold food or other serving pieces. Less attractive items used for height may be hidden under drapes of fabric for the same effect. Take a trial run on setting your buffet, you won’t know if an arrangement will work until you try it. When you find your desired look, make a drawing of the shape of your buffet surface with all items needed as a reference. Set the table the day before your event.

7. Add Beauty With Centerpieces

c874124f8e687c4c9d087ba705034261

Centerpieces should contribute to the mood of the occasion rather than dominate the table; otherwise, with the many serving pieces, the table will be too crowded. Also, if you are using a centerpiece on the table, be sure it isn’t too large or too tall which may obstruct the view of each guest. One arrangement in the center is best for circular tables. Scatter several arrangements down the middle of a rectangular table. Of course, fresh flowers are always lovely. Other possibilities to consider are fruits, nuts, greenery, potted bedding plants, ferns and figurines.

8. Go For Mood

c94fcb803fb8b60517347f230a4f067f

The type of lighting you choose can help establish the mood and atmosphere. A dimmer switch that lowers overhead lighting is a necessity in a dining room.  Remember to use candles only after dusk and do not put candles on the table unless they will be lit. Make sure all candles are lit before guests arrive. Tapered candles are usually used for a dressier table, while votive candles will work for any style table. Also choose votive holders to help carry out a theme.

49e8c3fdbdde6d6a64604ad389fa0257

INSPIRED ENTERTAINING

DESIGNED TO ENJOY

HAPPY CELEBRATIONS

Images Via My Pinterest

 

 

Signature

HOT HOMES ~ 12 BEDROOM LAGUNA BEACH ESTATE

The “Mariona”~~~~~

A sprawling, oceanfront Laguna Beach estate overlooking a private cove, was built nearly 100 years ago. This fabulous estate, perched on a cliff of prime real estate, was sold in 2012 for $12.75 million to investors from Denmark. They restored and enhanced it, adding modern, high-tech touches. Now……it’s on the market…….again……and?????, the asking price is a mere $30,000,000.00!!!!! This Mediterranean Revival-style compound has quite a storied past. It was built by Frank Augustus Miller, developer of the historic Mission Inn in Riverside, California. This Laguna house was a wedding gift to his second wife, “Marion”. For many years, the secluded estate was known as Villa Rockledge. It sits on a 1/2-acre of lush gardens and winding pathways. At the back of the property, a staircase descends to a 120-foot-long sandy beach with crashing waves. Modern amenities, such as Wi-Fi have been added which certainly contrasts with its 1918 beginnings. Neither power tools or electricity was used. The entire compound, except for an upper guest villa, was built by hand.

n6d5jj-b8882020z.120140529182839000gb32e7gn.10

n6d5jj-b8882020z.120140529182839000gb32e7mo.10

n6d5jk-b8882020z.120140529182839000gb32e7kn.10

n6d5jk-b8882020z.120140529182839000gb32e7g3.10

n6d5jk-b8882020z.120140529182839000gb32e7j2.10

n6d5jj-b8882020z.120140529182839000gb32e7gh.10

n6eir2-b3a6658x2

n6d5jl-b8882020z.120140529182839000gti2i946.10

n6d5jl-b8882020z.120140529182839000gbs2i9an.10

Well, there you have it, I hope you enjoyed the tour.

What do you think?? Could you imagine yourself here??

I think I could be quite happy here, I, of course, would change a few things….

Let’s talk window treatments for starters…..

And……I’m imagining some other changes, like {fill in the blank}, and {fill in the blank}, and {fill in the blank}

ISN’T IS FUN TO DREAM??

VISIONS TO INSPIRE, DESIGN TO ENRICH.

YOURS TRULY,

Signature

CHRISTMAS IN A CALIFORNIA HOME ~~ EAST COAST MEETS WEST COAST

Photography: Michael Garland

Architect: Douglas Burdge, Burdge & Associate Architects. buaia.com

Interior Designer: Emily Sullivan, Emily Sullivan Design.

102187904_w

The designer, her husband and children live in this new house in Pacific Palisades that is very reminiscent of their East Coast roots. She grew up in Washington D.C. and her husband grew up in Chicago. Their memories of Christmas were always dusted in snow. As designer, Emily Sullivan likes to point out, “it’s very much a challenge to make it feel like Christmas when it’s sunny and warm in California.” Nevertheless, they have certainly done a lovely job…East Coast meets West Coast….enjoy!

GRAND FOYER

102187924_w

GORGEOUS GREEN DINING ROOM

102187948_w

Stunning handpainted de Gournay tea paper wallcovering.

DECORATIVE MANTEL

102187954_w

FESTIVE TABLE SETTING

102187947_w

Pottery Barn chargers and Bernardaud’s “Constance” porcelain plates. Beautiful!!

102187945_w

Dining Details.

THE DINING ROOM BAY

102187955_w

The perfect, intimate spot for morning coffee.

CREAMY, DREAMY LIVING ROOM

102187941_w

“KID-FRIENDLY” FAMILY ROOM

102187917_w

Gorgeous architectural details, framed intaglios hung in a grid pattern, cowhide chairs, chinoiserie stools….dreamy, for sure.

102187922_w

THE KITCHEN

102187923_w

Lovely details, Greek key nailhead trim on the bar stools, patinated, overhead stove vent, and stunning, large scaled orb pendants.

THE GATHERING TABLE

102187959_w

VISIONS TO INSPIRE, DESIGN TO ENRICH

 

 

 

Signature

SO IT LOOKS LIKE I’M DOING THANKSGIVING ~ THE PLAN

Thanksgiving, the holiday meal where family and friends come together to share and give thanks. It’s also a holiday that has crept up exceedingly fast ~~ my goodness how the time has flown by. I wasn’t entirely sure whether I would be doing the turkey thing at our house this year, but it looks like I am, so I’ve got to kick it into gear! I love to cook and plan my menu and I especially like to try different recipes. Oh there are the standbys for cranberries and the dessert, but honestly, this meal is such a glutinous, calorie-laden, labor-intensive meal. Sooooooo, I’m always on the search for more healthful recipes to bring to the table.

THE PLAN ~ PUTTING TOGETHER MY MENU

RoastedPear-ButternutSoup

I usually like to start the meal with soup and this Roasted Pear and Butternut Soup  w/Crumbled Stilton from Eating Well looks really delicious and it can be made ahead of time.

FOR THE SIDES

SD4608

Sweet Potato Casserole, a healthier version of the calorie-laden casserole with marshmallows. :)

SD6283

Cornbread & Sausage Stuffing. This is a must on our family table and a homage to my Southern mother.

green_bean_casserole_close

Healthier Green Bean Casserole.

HOLIDAY BLESSINGS

THANKS FOR STOPPING BY

Signature

WINTER WHITE, WORDS THAT INSPIRE AND OTHER DESIRES~~~

I have so much going on these days, at least in my mind, it seems. I am trying to sort through a lot of ideas that I have whirling around, like learning more about blogging, e-design, e-commerce, Etsy, Shopify, Photography, Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator, design software programs…..and the list just goes on and on and on. Ughhhh!!! I’m taxed and there are only so many hours in a day.  I am trying….I haven’t thrown in the towel, but I have to say, it does get a little overwhelming. Just when you think you’ve got it, another curve ball is thrown your way. The amount of information that is available is certainly daunting, and, at the very least, seems almost unattainable, especially when time isn’t necessarily on your side. Anyhow, I have put together some images that I find inspiring, from fashion, words of wisdom and my love of horses~~~

WINTER WHITE

Winter White Inspired

SOME ANIMAL LOVE

a beautiful bay horse

Takes my breathe away.

a beautiful chestnut horse

Memories of my show days, braiding manes and tails, how I loved spending countless hours with my Chestnut Mare, Knight Life. There simply isn’t any deeper love than that between a horse and its owner.

a little girl and horse

The bond. The picture says it all.

INSPIRING WORDS

framed cs lewis quote

Images via my Pinterest.

Signature

MOODBOARD MONDAY

Inspiration~~~

Hi Everyone!! Happy Monday. Here’s a little inspiration I created for a lover of horses….

232813_original

VISIONS TO INSPIRE.

DESIGNS TO ENRICH.

 

Signature

EASY COPPER PROJECTS FOR EVERY ROOM

I am always on the hunt for inspiration and there is an amazing wealth of creativity to be discovered. My goodness, the internet has certainly unleashed the proverbial Pandora’s box on this subject. While exploring one of the many home decor magazines that I subscribe to, House Beautiful, I came across some wonderful DIY projects using copper as the metallic inspiration for creating some rather unique and cost effective home decor items. With the holidays upon us, any one of these items would certainly be a wonderful gift or accent to a holiday table. These are just a few inspiring items that I found and wanted to share, to see more visit House Beautiful.

00-copper-lovelyindeed-lgn

COPPER LEAF CANDLES ~ used ModPodge and Copper Leaf. From Blogger Lovely Indeed.

01-copper-fallfordiy-lgn

COPPER AND WOOD SIDE TABLE ~ From Blogger Fall for DIY.

02-copper-poppytalk-lgn

AIRPLANT HOLDERS ~ Leather + Copper Couplings = Perfectly Chic. From Poppytalk.

04-copper-zana-lgn

MAGAZINE STAND ~ From Zana.

06-copper-makers-lgn

COPPER-EDGED MIRROR ~ Full instructions found at Makers Society.

07-copper-merrythought-lgn

COPPER CANDLE ~ These tiny, simple votives take no time to make and are great holiday stocking stuffers for all your loved ones. Complete how-to at The Merry Thought.

10-copper-houseofearnest-lgn (1)

Blogger House of Earnest promises this DIY is “much easier than it looks.” Love this and it would no doubt, look lovely on your Thanksgiving table or Christmas table or Hanukkah table. You certainly aren’t limited to copper. Think silver or gold…..

12-copper-freutcake-lgn

VANITY BOWLS ~ Pretty and Practical, little bowls provide storage space for all the small things in your life. These copper-painted bowls from Freutcake are so simple to create and are a great way to bring a pop of copper into any room.

15-copper-handsoccupied-lgn

STENCILED LEAF MUG ~ Copper Accents are perfect for colder months, and this stenciled leaf mug DIY from blogger Hands Occupied will definitely bring you some cold-weather cheer!

DIY VISIONS TO INSPIRE, DESIGN TO ENRICH!

THANKS FOR STOPPING BY,

Signature

BEAUTIFUL FRENCH GARDENS ~ PART 2

Jean-Loup Dirand in Carmague

Carmague-Jean-Loup Dirand

An enchanting home in the country-side in the South of France.

JLD-3

JLD-4

JLD-2

Michel Biehn in Provence

Michel Biehn Provence

VISIONS TO INSPIRE ~ DESIGN TO ENRICH

Signature

BEAUTIFUL FRENCH GARDENS ~ PART 1

Historic French Garden

These gardens, designed by Lévy-Alban in 1999, were inspired by the designs of British landscape architect Russell Page. In Russell Page’s book, “he claimed you needed ‘rooms’ in gardens like you do in houses.

540f5d88effc2_-_ver-french-monastery-1-16819101-43176360-lg

HISTORIC FRENCH GARDEN ~ THE RUINS OF A FRENCH MONASTERY.

540f5d891074f_-_ver-french-monastery-2-18294265-54329355-lg

AN 18TH CENTURY TERRA COTTA STATUE OF BACCHUS.

540f5d8922d28_-_ver-french-monastery-3-74700776-10107890-lg

ARTICHOKES, FENNEL, THYME AND DILL ~ DECORATIVE AND DELICIOUS.

540f5985980a8_-_ver-french-monastery-4-46409404

A COURTYARD OF LAVENDER, SANDER’S WHITE ROSES AND FREESTANDING YEW.

540f5d89681f6_-_ver-french-monastery-6-70235273-3459482-lg

THE ITALIAN GARDEN ~ A FORMAL AND ORDERLY PLAN WITH TERRA COTTA URNS FILLED WITH BOXWOOD, GERANIUMS AND CAMELLIAS.

540f5d898f5e7_-_ver-french-monastery-8-50191354-47798407-lg

PLANTINGS IN THE MEDIEVAL GARDEN INCLUDE ROSES, LAVENDER AND TOPIARY.

540f5d89c213d_-_ver-french-monastery-10-6709117-28589186-lg

DINING AL FRESCO.

540f5d89a5112_-_ver-french-monastery-9-94153029-7129324-lg

Albans braques Français, is flanked by a pair of antique stone dogs on a terrace with Lime Trees and potted Fuschia.

A BEAUTIFUL FRENCH GARDEN ~ VISIONS TO INSPIRE!

Signature

SHADES OF WHITE

Ordinarily, I enjoy making color decisions, however, this time around, I am having such a difficult time. I am currently in the process of re-doing our Master Bedroom and while the preliminary design decisions have been made and the fabrics selected, I am down to making a decision on paint. I am taking the color palette and “feel” for our bedroom in a completely different direction. I have wanted to go much lighter for sometime now as my design aesthetic has changed for the space. I have been loving all the neutral, creamy whites and soft grays. These shades just seem to work so nicely for a serene yet elegant bedroom and this leaves me with the dilemma…….which one do I pick. As we all know, there are many, and I mean MANY shades of white and, honestly, it’s just WHITE, RIGHT??  All that said, I’ve started to (sort of)  narrow it down. Next up, I’ll do what I always tell clients to do and that is…….

Get Some Samples

And Look At Them During Different Times of the Day

 

MBDRM Paint Colors Grp 1

 

BEDROOM FABRICS

 

MBDRM Fabrics

MBDRM Paints Grp 2

 

HAPPY WEDNESDAY

Signature