by Randi Destefano
I don’t know about you, but I tend to procrastinate on holiday preparations. Sometimes it’s because I’m too busy with other things that were more important when I said “yes” to them. Other times, the perfectionist in me keeps thinking “what if?” What if a better table decorating idea comes to me later? What if there won’t be enough variety of food? Crazy, right?
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s time to think about what can be done right now that will bring more joy and less stress to the holiday. Remember, we want to avoid holiday chaos and focus on enjoying our family and friends. The answer could be discovering the ONE THING you want to accomplish with the preparation and the meal. For me, that would be enjoying our time together, staying calm, and living in the moment. When I focus on this….and how long it will take to pull it all together…it’s time to get real and make a plan.
Let’s take a look at some simple steps to avoid holiday chaos:
What can you easily accomplish in the time you have?
Remember that people typically come to a gathering for two reasons: food and fun. YOU are hoping to create lasting memories. But be realistic about the amount of time you can spend planning and preparing. When you’re completely exhausted by the time you sit down to dinner, it’s hard to enjoy the meal and your guests. Take it from me…been there, done that! My little Thanksgiving secret is that one year I went on strike in cooking the meal. But that’s another story for another day! LOL!!!
As you plan your meal, remember to delegate a dish or two to anyone who offers. Your party will be easier that way. And the bonus for your guests is that it lets them try a new recipe as well as feeling helpful.
What should you buy? What should you DIY?
Sometimes you just can’t do it all yourself. So you need to decide what can you buy and what can you realistically do yourself. Costco, Trader Joe’s and Fresh Market have delicious, prepared food that can fill in for side dishes you don’t have time to make.
This same mindset holds true for the table decorations. Most of us dream of having our Thanksgiving table decorated with perfectly coordinated china, colorful linens, and beautiful centerpieces. With a peaceful walk in the woods and a quick “shopping trip” around your own home, you can easily create a look that will wow your friends and family.
How to handle the clutter when guests are staying overnight?
I like being neat and tidy (most of the time), so a house full of overnight guests, luggage, and cramped quarters can feel a little crazy and chaotic.
Some of the ways I’ve managed to keep clutter to a minimum is to make sure everyone has a designated area for their family’s “stuff”. At my house that means all coolers are stored in the room off the garage and toys are kept all together.
Creating an out-of-the-way private space for guests to keep their suitcase will make them feel welcomed and keep the clutter to a minimum.
We all want the holiday to be a joyful, fun-filled and stress-free time. We want our guests to feel welcomed and comfortable. And most of all, we want to create cherished memories that last a lifetime as we give thanks for all of our many blessings.
by Randi Destefano
I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for. – Georgia O’Keeffe
When I think of Santa Fe, I think of Pueblos and pottery. I think of art. But mostly, I think of the beautiful colors of the earth, sky, and mountains at Ghost Ranch and the surrounding area. Each time I visit, a sense of calm washes over me and I feel at home walking around looking at the turquoise and blues, the corals, purples, and tans. They remind me of Fall…my favorite time of year.
So it was no surprise to me, when we moved to our last house and I discovered that everything I unpacked was turquoise, coral, blue or tan! People who know me best could see it, but it took starting fresh…with a clean slate…to make me see it. Now I realize, that except for the years of trying to follow the latest color trends, I always seem to go back to the colors that make me happy. Maybe this is why I get so excited to decorate for Fall. It’s the time of year when everyone wants to make their home a little cozier by adding deeper, richer colors and textures.
Here’s a checklist of some favorite ways to bring the colors of Santa Fe home this Fall:
- Add a bit of nature by collecting pinecones, acorns, or wildflowers and placing them in bowls or vases.
- Visit your local craft store for dried or silk flowers to add to your favorite piece of pottery.
- Change your pillows from summer colors to fall colors and patterns.
- Mix and match your dishes by adding salad plates with beautiful Fall colors. If you’re lucky enough to find 2 or 3 patterns with the same colors, your table top will have more interest. I found a really nice collection at Pier 1, but it’s even more fun to search flea markets for the perfect plate.
- Coordinate your new dishes with colorful, Fall placemats and napkins.
- Add a textured throw to your sofa or favorite chair to snuggle in on a crisp Fall evening.
- Bring in nature’s own with heirloom pumpkins and squash. I love the new colors of heirloom pumpkins ranging from sage to deep greens, white, and deep orange.
- Remember that anything you add to your home should be more about being true to your lifestyle and budget than trying to out-decorate your friends…it’s all about Authentic Living Interiors!!!
by Randi Destefano
Fall inspires me! It makes me want to take a walk in the woods, to stay outdoors, and to cook more. And…it inspires me to drag out that orange storage box filled with decorations and sprinkle them around my home. Sometimes I think I might have to much. But that’s another story for another day!
What really excites me, though, is decorating my front porch. Why, you ask? Because it always says “welcome to my home” for anyone who comes to visit. And who doesn’t want to welcome their family and friends?
This year my Fall inspiration happened on our fabulous trip to Tuscany with our good friends. We had such a fun time eating, drinking, and laughing our way through Italy!!! Every view was spectacular with amazing colors, and they were even better than I remembered.
After a few days, though, I realized there seemed to be a pattern emerging in all the pictures I was taking. It was the colors. The beautiful colors of the food we were served, the flowers, and the colors of a Fall harvest.
Gelato display in Sienna
Prickly Pear (Ficodindia in Italian)…you eat the red part!
Waiting for harvest!
Beautiful Italian hillside with lemons and flowers
Who wouldn’t be inspired to decorate for Fall when you have these beautiful things to look at? And with the temperatures on the cool side for this Southern girl, I was looking forward to getting back home to Fall, football, tailgating and….decorating for the season. After all, at our house, decorating is usually finished and ready to go by mid-September!
The theme is usually pumpkins and gourds with a special emphasis on adding a variety of colors with heirloom pumpkins. Don’t you just love this pyramid of Fall color? I wonder how they did it…
I love how the white, mum-filled pots are inviting you right up to the front door. And when you get there, you’re greeted by Mr. Scarecrow himself, surrounded by bales of hay, cornstalks, and more pumpkins!!!
Since we always see mums used for fall decorating, I love how hydrangeas are used here instead. The eggplant and green colors remind me of the grapes we saw hanging on vines in Tuscany.
Hopefully, these beautiful and welcoming porches will give you some Fall ideas to get started on your own home. And remember to use:
- Pumpkins – basic orange with some heirlooms added for interest
- Flowers – mums, hydrangeas, wild flowers from the woods
- Pine cones
- Tin buckets
- And anything you have around your house to use as containers
Want some help with your own color combinations? We’re here to help! Call us today (404)213-8571 to schedule your Color Consultation.