Holiday Prep 101

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As a busy mom and a full time realtor, I have to be super organized when it comes to the holidays.  As mothers, we already have a ton on our plates….we juggle taking kids to and from school, to their after school activities and sporting events, we have to make dinner, do laundry, dishes….the list never ends. That same list just continues to grow during the months of November and December and in order to stay sane, I have a few helpful tips to share below.

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ORDER GROCERIES ONLINE – I started loading up my cart 2 weeks ago. I selected my order date and time ( believe me, available delivery spots fill up fast so reserve your slot ASAP) and have been adding items as I think of things I will need. I started with home goods; i.e.) toilet paper, water, soap….all the goods I will need for my guests and home.  Then I add groceries needed for recipes and meals.  Most online ordering allows you to add items up until the day before delivery.

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The Love & Lemons Cookbook

REVISIT RECIPES – We all have some favorite recipes, either  family traditions or basic staples that we love to make.  Start reviewing and organizing those recipes and notes a few weeks out.  This allows you plenty of time to adjust your menu or look for new recipes.  Just don’t forget to look at each ingredient to make sure you have it on hand (spices and herbs often to get forgotten) and then add to your online grocery list.

fullsizerender-2Inspo from HomeGoods

CONFIRM HEADCOUNT – The holidays always throw us a last minute curve ball and more often than not, an extra guest finds their way to your table.  Do take a few hours to layout seating and table arrangments.

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COMPLETE YOUR TABLESCAPES – I reuse a lot of my plates and decor for gatherings.  My plates are neutral and I have metallic chargers for under.  My linens are white, my candle holders & votives are mercury glass and my vases are clear.  From there, I add the color of the season or holiday with smaller plates, florals, napkins, pumpkins, pinecones, pine, etc. to create the story or theme I am going for. I usually start creating my tablescape 2-3 weeks out so I have time to buy an extra table cloth or accessory if needed.

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ORDER DESSERTS AND FLORALS – I love to cook but I can’t do it all and in all honesty,   my local bakery makes my favorite desserts.  Cross another item off your list by ordering these  goods and having them ready for pick up the day before your gathering. You can do the same with florals from your market.

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HAVE GIFTS ON HAND – A few years ago, I had a sweet neighbor (new to the neighborhood) stop buy with a really nice gift for our home.  She came by to introduce herself and wanted to wish us a Happy New Year.  I was so sad that I didn’t have a little something for her.  Obviously the holidays aren’t about buying someone a gift just because they gave you one, but I love to give – even if it’s  just cookies or a card. Throughout the year, as I am shopping for upcoming birthday gifts or I find a great sale on one of my favorite items, I make a purchase and hold onto these extra little goodies to give out as needed.  Sometimes it is as simple as my kids needing a last minute gift for a party or for a friend having a bad week that I am meeting for lunch.  I do the same with cards, as I find some favorites, I buy and use throughout the year.

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BUY HOLIDAY CARDS NOW – There are a ton of discounts on picture cards starting the end of October, beginning of November.  Plus many sites offer free shipping this early.  Don’t wait till the 2nd week of December and pay full price + expedited shipping.  This is an easy project to do while watching tv or in bed once kids are tucked away.  Some of my favorite sites: Tinyprints.com, Shutterfly.com, Minted.com

Happy Holidays from my family to yours! WW

HELPFUL HINT:  To save money and time, organize a cookie swap in your neighborhood or amongst friends.  This is a great way to get a lot of cookies made for not only your home and kids but to give out as gifts.  It also allows you time to be with friends and family and try new recipes. 

Buy Cookie Exchange Boxes Here      Rectangle Cookie Exchange Boxes

Spritz Cookie Exchange Kit   3 Dozen Holiday Treat Boxes

Thanksgiving Tablescapes

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It’s that time of year again…..THE HOLIDAYS!!!  There can be a tremendous amount of stress associated with preparing and prepping for dinners and parties but hopefully I can help by sharing a few of my favorite Thanksgiving table setting ideas.  Feel free to copy, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel when you have a grocery list to work on!

RUSTIC FARMHOUSE

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photo by Missy at Perch

If you have a rustic dining room table, this is a fun style to design around.  Use natural materials like jute and rope for your table linens (place mats, runners, napkins, etc).  Try to keep the overall palette neutral and use florals to add color.  While these designs can look hard to pull off, the settings are fairly simple.  Use more florals and candles to add drama or keep it simple with less down the center of your table.  Think natural, rustic and earthy when selecting your cloth napkins, runners and/or placemats.

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photo from Mountain Living magazine

 HELPFUL HINT – A great way to gain more seating is to remove chairs and add benches. I love the usage of a blanket to make the bench a tiny bit more cozy and comfy.

SHABBY CHIC 

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photo by Nudge Design Inc.

photos (clockwise) Allison Kathleen, Casita Turquesa, Ceci New York, Randi Garrett Design

This design is a nice balance of old and new, and somewhat eclectic.  If you have great china and linens, feel free to mix and match.  The key to pulling off this style is to use mixed materials, linens, china and metals  while keeping within the same design aesthetic.  Anthropologie is a great resource for interesting and special plates, stem & bar ware and votives.

 Click here for my favorite 20 piece brass flatware set

Bone Handle Flatware

Images from Anthropologie.com (Glenna and Ceres collection) 

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photo by Forest Grove Event Co.

HELPFUL HINT – Many grocery stores and markets have pre-made holiday floral arrangements so don’t waste your time trying to make bouquets when you can buy them already created.

TRADITONAL

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photo by Bed Bath & Beyond

photo (left) by Feus Haus // photo (bottom right) Love Lock Key

photo (left) by Topshelf Mike // photo (middle) by Coco Design // photo (right) by Elegant Inspired Living 

If you love the colors of fall, then this is the table setting for you.  Keep your table rich with gold and bronze tones.  Layer plates in shades of orange and rust to give pops of color.  Play with fabrics and linens that have shades of burgundy, tan, olive and metallic.  Complete this look by adding pumpkins, gourds and squash to your tablescape.

HELPFUL HINT – when buying plate chargers, purchase a neutral option (metallics work best).  This allows you to reuse them for any holiday.  Click this link for a set of 10 silver chargers for $23.99

CLEAN AND GREEN

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photo by Williams Sonoma

photo (left) by Interiors by Loredana // photo (right) Green of Greenwich

To achieve this design, stay clean with crisp linens in white or off white.  Decorate your table with mercury and clear glass votives, neutral china and lots of greenery.  Use neutral floral arrangements and white or light colored pumpkins to keep the table looking natural and elegant.

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photo from Haven Studios

HELPFUL HINT – add a sprig of sage to each table setting to complete this look. Fresh herbs will cost you less than a few bucks but will leave a lasting impression.

I would love to see your #tablescape.  Email me photos of your holiday table decor at within walls.com or share by leaving a picture in the comment section of this post! Happy table decorating!  WW

Holiday Decor that will last for 60 days

My favorite time of the year….FALL!!  I love everything about fall – pumpkin spice goodies, fall candles, layering clothing, the little bit of bite in the air on my daily walk and most importantly, fall decor!!! 

However, fall is a very short time frame and for me, I want to maximize my fall decor from October 1st to November 30th, without having to swap it out.  Below are my favorite examples of fall decor that works for both Halloween and Thanksgiving so you only have to decorate once.  Here’s to saving time and money!

Photos by Love Lock Key

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Photo by Rachel Parcell
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Photo by At the Picket Fence
Colorful mums and different types of pumpkins help play into both holiday vibes, aiding you to only decorate at the beginning of the fall season.

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Photo from Eleven Gables

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Spotted at Home Stories by Beth

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D.D.D. by Taryn
Many of my buyers and friends aren’t huge fans of color (they love neutrals). If you worry about your home clashing with your decor, experiment with white mums and white pumpkins that allow you to stay neutral.

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Photo by T. Lane Designs Limited

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Photo by Shelterness
If you have a large wrap around porch or entry, play it up with different types of squashes and pumpkins in a tiered approach to create height.

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Photo from Faded Velvet

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Spotted on Shelterless

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Vintage Home Love
Add a little more drama by incorporating a corn husk or two.  You can do this in both a large or small space; just keep in mind that you will need more husks in a larger space.  If you only have room for one, make sure it’s not too wide.

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Spotted on Shelterless

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Photo by Thrifty and Chic
Use of faux leaves to create garland and wreaths definitely makes your entry festive for both trick-or-treaters, as well as your turkey day guests. 
These Halloween Porches were too cool not to share. Just make sure to put the scary stuff away November 1st. Have a fabulous Fall! 💕 the Within Walls girls!
Photos by WithinWalls.com

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Photo by WithinWalls.com

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Photo by WithinWalls.com

Fall closet cleaning guide in 8 easy steps

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As a realtor, one of the biggest must haves on every female’s list is a “BIG closet”.  Well, we all know that this request doesn’t always get fulfilled, so then we are left with how to fit our favorite items in a small space which is why a guide to maintaining an “user friendly” closet is something I get asked about all the time.

Closet purging and organizing is not just a task to take on going into spring, but equally as important as you head into fall. In fact, getting your closet ready for the fall season is even more crucial, as winter items are bulkier and take up more space. Therefore, you must have strategy in place to create space for everything to fit. Here’s an easy guide to ensure you have room for all those scarves, gloves, jackets and boots.

1. Get mentally prepared. This project can be overwhelming.  Get in your most comfy attire, then mix your favorite mocktail, make some tea or head over to Swig, Sodalicious, FiiZ, Straws or Thirst & grab a Dirty Diet Coke!
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2. Purge. Rule of thumb – if you haven’t worn it in the last few seasons, donate it or sell it; feel good knowing you are sharing. eBay is a great way to make some quick cash on your better items. Hey, then you can buy something new for the season.
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3. Lose the boxes. I know it’s hard to part with those designer shoe boxes but they hog up space and aren’t the best way to store your shoes. If you need to protect your faves, use a dust bag.
4. Get creative.  When it comes to creating space, storing shoes both sideways and front facing allow you to squeeze in a few more pairs.
5. Adjustable closets. Utilize this feature by adjusting hanging bars and shelves to gain space. Don’t be afraid to play around.img_2104

6. Don’t have drawers, no problem. Dont go buy plastic storage bins when you can use old gift boxes. This is a great way to store items and keep you closet looking organized and pretty on the cheap.

7. 3 for 1’s. Find an ottoman that allows you to use it for not only seating, but storage, as well as a step stool to get to the higher spots in your closet.img_2101

This Pink Storage Ottoman comes in 22 different colors.  Click photo for details.

8.Hanger swagger. Swap out plastic hangers for skinny velvet hangers. By doing this, you can get 10% more hanging per section.img_2107


Jeronic Thin Beige Velvet Clothes Hangers – Pack of 50