What “Living Winsomely is all about.”

Welcome to my blog site Living winsomely. I am a  believer that our homes are our castles and our hearts snuggery. They are our safe harbor, warm cozy place of refreshment and a berth where beauty can surround us everyday, soothing our souls and spirits.ritz107 As we create the dreams  within our hearts and bring them to life in each room, they add bliss and comfort to our lives and a place of repose and tranquility to every guest who enters our doors.  There is such a wealth of ways to bring forth an abundance of beauty within our ‘safe havens.’ My desire is to share these ideas with you as we begin this journey together.

Whether it be your Antebellum dining room, woodsy, warm, window filled office or captivating bedrooms that evoke an invitation for romance, refreshing and pampering to the soul, there are a bounty of ways to begin your peregrination to make your home the most inviting, alluring and resplendent home ever. B-4

My goal in creating this website is to share with you, each reader, some of my imaginative adaptions of esteemed traditions in which I hope will inspire you as you create your own lovely and stunning home.

Within my blog site ‘Living winsomely,’ I will explore with you an abundance of ideas of how to create the home of your dreams. All the way from fragrances, lighting, floral arrangements, furniture formations, color schemes, fabrics, room themes, music, cuisine, and delightful party ideas, making your guests (as well as yourself,) feel comfy and pampered. I will also implement some great ideas on how to quickly change your home around with items you already possess if you are desiring a ‘new look.’

Along with the myriad of decor ideas, I want to share how to create a more beautiful life. Your home is the sanctuary where all of your old and new ‘feel good’ memories and quiet joys tarry. I love to bring out that joy everyday and live within it, creating a more beautiful life for myself and our family. Whether learning to cook new cuisine  with your significant other, (we adore the food channel,) having breakfast in bed as Z-55you unabashedly take an hour or two to read the newspaper or watch your favorite classic movie, you can create your own pampered hours. How about making your home a weekend vacation retreat with using your best china, crystal and linens,  lighting a sundry of candles, not answering the phone or door bell and hiding away in your little cache, enjoying one another, (or just using the time for yourself if you live alone,) to bring forth refreshing and rejuvenation. A few other ideas… create a chimera-vision box with articles and photos of your dream homes, places you would love to travel, go to a High Tea at and the renowned eateries you would like to visit.  Create an eloquent setting under an alfresco canopy beneath your heroic trees, or amidst your flourishing garden…bringing forth a ‘sylvan charm’ as you read your novel and sip on your tea, robust coffee, lemonade or glass of Merlot.  Choosing to live a more beautiful life with my family has changed our lives in many positive ways.

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Living a winsome life is like going back to our childhood days… where being adventurous, creative and full of life was a normal day! Now, as an adult, it takes a little more work to receive all the childhood gifts that once beheld us.The giggles and endless curiosity and learning of our years as a baby, the bounce, vigor and creativity of our ‘toddler season’ and the urge to throw a snowball, play games all night long and go on adventuresome journeys as we did in our youth.  🙂 It is all there, still available to us in a plenitude of forms as we create our days and surroundings.

I believe that cultivating beauty all around us, enjoying the pampering of all five senses and living life to the fullest each day, (as children do naturally) brings a richness and joy to our hearts and souls!

I hope this site inspires you to bring forth your dreams, whether through decor or the things you choose to engender more beauty and joy into your life.

“There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer and the morning more fragrant than ever again.”~ Elizabeth Lawrence.

“It’s never to late to have a happy childhood.” Tom Robbinslittle_girl_briard3

Happy Creating!

CREDITS FOR PHOTOS. In placing your computer mouse over any of the photos or graphics, it will display to you where it originated from.

***  Dear readers, I want to encourage you to leave as many comments or questions on my blog site that you would like. There is no E-mail address associated with anyone’s name or comments for other bloggers to see unless you would like to share it. (Don’t forget, I also have a “contact page” if you need to leave a personal message as well as ask questions.)   I am enjoying all of you who visit my site from other countries! The Internet is amazing. PLEASE know that I can’t publish on my site comments or refer sites that are not written in English. I hope that you are able to put it in a translated form as you do your replies.  Lastly, I am implementing “credit”  to where it belongs RE; the photographs I use on my blog…Very few of them are mine and I feel blessed to have such a great resource with Google Images as well as my favorite magazines clippings , (some of them I have had for over 15 years.)  Thank you all for coming to my site and have a wonderful day! Susan

 

“Goodbyes are not FOREVER!”

Goodbyes are not forever.
Goodbyes are not the end.
They simply mean I’ll miss you
Until we meet again!
~Author Unknown

Little girl sitting on suitcase looking out onto Golden Gate Bridge

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard! ! ~ Carol Sobieski ~ Thomas Meehan

Dear Living Winsomely readers, I wanted to share with you that I am saying goodbye to this site, but with the words, that ring true in my heart, “Good bye does not mean forever.”

For those of you who have read “And the body just keeps on giving,” vignette , then you know that during my time of healing both physically and spiritually, I began this website with such an excitement and joy. I can not tell you how much having this blog site has been a blessing for me .

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It started with a few, and has grown in leaps and bounds! 🙂

To look back in February of 2013 (when we started the site)  we began with only a handful of readers. This year Living Winsomely has grown “in leaps and bounds.” 🙂 Because my husband owns the server that my site is on, he keeps me informed of the amount of readers coming to Living Winsomely. We both have been in awe at the growth. I am amazed at all of the different countries that are visiting the site, as well as how many readers here in America we have. I never dreamed Living Winsomely would have so many wonderful visitors.  I can’t tell you  how happy that makes me and how honored I feel.  It blesses me so much that you, the readers have enjoyed this  site and the writings.  Your comments to me over this last year and a half have blown me away.  (In a good way.) 🙂 Thank you from the bottom of  my  heart for supporting me, encouraging me and for all your kind words of affirmation, even for those of you who told me I had spelling errors 🙂 (I know…I don’t have an editor and  have tried to catch all my mistakes, but know they are out there.) 🙂

I have a new writing commitment that will be taking up all my time, thus I have to stop writing on Living Winsomely for now.  Its at this time, I wish I would have written much shorter blogs that didn’t take a week to complete, (so I could just write one up quickly whenever I had an hour to spare as I am staring this new writing commitment .)  🙂   But as we all know, I write kind of long blogs. (OK, really long blogs.)  🙂  I still have a few I have started and hope to come back when this commitment is over and put those up, with new ones… I will  miss writing on this site immensely, as well as you, the readers.

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~~~~~ LIVING WINSOMELY~~~~~

I  will be leaving the site up for all of you, the old and new readers as well as the readers who will come in the future. For those of you who have written in that you read the site daily and are on the lookout each week for a new blog, I am sorry…Maybe you can go back and read one of the old ones as you may have already forgotten it by now. 🙂 (Just joshing.) I did just post my last blog for now, “The  Joyous wedding of the old and the new.” I tried something new with adding a very classy (as well as classic,)  music video. (I hope you enjoy it.) 🙂   I know there are a tremendous amount of sites  on the internet that are exemplary.

My hope and heart when I began Livingwinsomely (and still is,) that you, the readers would be blessed with ideas of how to bring more beauty, fulfillment, joy, felicity and winsomeness  to your everyday lives.

I will have to turn the sites comment/ reply ability off as I am currently receiving about 250-300 spam comments a day and it takes a lot of my time to go through them all , especially when my time now will be fully dedicated to my new writing commitment. My computer program will hold all the replies that have already been made, they just won’t be showing up on the site, when I turn that service off.

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“Home”for the holidays!

I wish you all the very best and again, thank you so very much for reading, coming to the site, sending me such wonderful comments and for being such a great audience to write to… The site will stay up so enjoy!

I may occasionally sneak over to Living Winsomely and change the blogs in the main section according to the season.   Especially At Christmas time. 🙂 One of my all time favorite vignettes of Living Winsomely is “Home” for the holidays! (I will take that tour myself once again, this Christmas.)  🙂

 

 

If you have any questions, please know my “CONTACT US” icon at the bottom of the ‘Living  Winsomely’ Home page, is still open. (That comes directly to my e-mail address.)

May God bless you all and thank you so very much.

Sincerely, Susan, Kit and Grantham too.

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“A heart full of thanks TO YOU! “

 

 

 PHOTOGRAPHS CREDITS: In placing your computer mouse over any of the graphics or photos, it will display where the picture originated from.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours…

 

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and BEHOLD, everything is softer and more BEAUTIFUL! ~ Norman Vincent Peale

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One of our favorite Christmas Carols! ENJOY! Merry Christmas 2014!

 

For all of you, my readers, I wish  for you and your loved ones, a wonderful, happy and blessed Christmas. I began this site, Living Winsomely, in February 2013 and I feel so very humbled by all of your kind words and responses. Thank you all, so very much for your wonderful and much appreciated encouragement and support. I am looking forward to  the time I will be able to start writing creative blogs once  again for the Living Winsomely site.  It is my heart,  to continue to bring forth an array of inspirational vignettes, that add a touch of  beauty and winsomeness, to not only your homes, but to your lives as well, .   For all of you in other countries, (not knowing if you celebrate this holiday, or a holiday likened to it,) as well as all of you who celebrate Hanukkah, I pray your seasons of celebration are filled with laughter, joy, an abundance of new memories, love, family and dear friends.

Here is a little “Christmas” from our household….TO YOURS!

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In celebrating the “REASON FOR THIS MAGICAL, JOYOUS SEASON,” I wanted to share one of our favorite Christmas Carols , written and sung by Michael McDonald.

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“On This Night,” ~  Lyrics by Michael McDonald

In a world of no hope, a light will shine brightly
That all men might know the meaning of mercy
And of love beyond all love, peace that rests the soul
The heart will open and search no more

Behold I bring You tidings
Tidings of great joy
The world has found it’s answer
In a child that’s born on this night

Sing out across the seas, cry out from the mountains
The son of man is born, let’s sing of His mercy
And the peace beyond all peace, the King of kings has come
Let every heart surrender, every soul reborn

Behold I bring you tidings
Tidings of great joy
The world has found it’s Savior
In a child that’s born on this night, on this night

Behold I bring you tidings
Tidings of great joy
The world has found it’s answer
In a child that’s born .

May your home be filled with beauty, joy, celebration, scrumptious cuisine and love!    Merry Christmas!  Susan, Kit and Grantham!

thanksgiving516PHOTOGRAPHS: All photographs are from Living winsomely, except the beautiful snowman greeting card at the top, which is from Google Images.

“HOME”, for the holidays!

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“Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house; Our minds are astir with a medley of  thoughts; “Did I wrap all the presents?Happy966 How long does the roast cook tomorrow? I hope all of our FedEx packages arrived safely and is that TRULY the right “unforgettable moment- Aha gift,” I chose for my spouse? ”

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, “Did I get Graham the right toysHappy790 and  beefy bones? Kit the right pens, flashlight, pocketknife, ornaments and his favorite Dove dark chocolates? Speaking of chocolate, I pray Graham doesn’t get into Kits stocking tonight or tomorrow morning, there will be more than the sweet aroma of  fresh pine, lingering in the air.”

graham100Grantham is all settled, nestled snug upon his tapestry bed, while visions of our homes ‘mascot,’gratitude6 bunny rabbit and a winsome deer in the meadow, stand dauntlessly before him, daring him with their flirtatious eyes,  “Just try to catch us…go ahead.”

Mama in her kerchief, (that’s me? What the heck is a kerchief?), Kdeer101it never goes to bed in his cap. Restlessly, there I lay, wide awake, praying, hoping and longing for at least 6 hours of blissful sleep, OK, perhaps maybe just a 4 hour, refreshing nap!

 

 

Doesn’t it seem that our Christmas celebration begins the moment we dry our last Thanksgiving dish? Already we are  busily planning what kind of tree we will buy, where it will go and whether our Christmas theme this year will be ‘Angel’s,’ ‘Santa’s,’ or ‘Snowmen?’ Excitedly, we set our alarms early for the next morning to either participate in  ‘Black Fridays’ notorious  shopping sprees,  or begin our felicitous  trips to the attic to gather our  cherished  Christmas treasures and decor.Happy944 We stand back in awe as we behold our home after its finally decorated. It looks magical, filled with bliss and an elfin charm that we wish we could ‘capture in a large bottle,’ so we could borrow some of it’s resplendent essence, whenever we need a ‘bit of magic,’ in the new year that lies ahead.   Suddenly, the date on the calendar reminds us that its time to write our Christmas cards, we have three holiday parties we have answered a “yes” to, Christmas shopping, the candle light service at  Church, gift wrapping, caroling with our neighbors,Happy784 cooking, baking and YES, we are “having a lot of fun” yet we are beyond  exhausted! It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of this season, and forget to take time to smell the “evergreen branches, sugar cookies baking in the oven, unmatchable aroma of the firewood kindling in our hearths, or the delightful fragrance of the years first snowfall.”

This vignette, “HOME, for the holidays,”  is for you my readers, a gift of PURE ENJOYMENT!  There is no “hustle and bustle here…” 🙂 First of all, light a fire or some candles, fix yourself your  favorite holiday drink… a steamy mug of mulled cider, a caramel latte, a cup of Earl Grey tea in your Christmas china, a glass of Merlot or Chardonnay, ice cold beer or a cup of coffee…(with delicious peppermint-chocolate creamer…of course.)   Sit back, relax and enjoy a delightful Christmas Home tour, beholding beautiful rooms festooned for this wondrous season, glistening Christmas trees that will touch your hearts and spirits and just enjoy some blissful time of repose and rejuvenation as you reflect on this fabulous season…  I hope you ENJOY!

Diane

“Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays
Cause no matter how far away you roam,
When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze
For the holidays, you cant beat home, sweet home

 

Welcome to A kaleidoscopic, magical Christmas Home tour for this delightful and heartwarming season! Instead of just one or two homes, this tour holds a potpourri of resplendent homes, embodied with all styles and motifs of this magical, magnificent season.  (Is your Bing Crosby playing in the background?) :)”

 

 

THE FRONT PORCH

Lets start at the very beginning…Our front porches, festooned for an eminently “Welcome Christmas” ambiance. Whether for your children arriving home from College, the UPS guy delivering gifts, greeting festive carolers or your friends and family for Christmas days fete, it’s your Havens “first impression” and a tempting “peak” at what is laying wait for them beyond the front doors, inside. 🙂

How can you not love a red door at Christmas? Lovely!Happy706

A touch of Holiday flare!Happy705

Simplicity at its best!Happy703

Regal, inciting and royal!Happy710

Soft and glowing, exuding the comfort of HOME!Happy709

A beautiful reminder of Christmas’ past!Happy708

Quaint and inviting…Happy707

One of Winters hallmarks… Boy does this bring back nostalgic memories! 🙂 Happy704

Celebrate with a parade of lights!Happy111

You can’t beat the traditional medley of fresh foliage amongst vibrant reds.Happy702

One of my favorite “looks” for the holidays! It reminds me of an old fashioned English Christmas! 🙂C-72

Is this wintry snowman adorable or what? He is certainly a “cheerful greeter” for any visitor arriving to your home. A-99

A beautiful porch bannister, festooned for a classical red and green Christmas! A-65

This photo says it all! It reminds me of the antebellum homes in the south with their long porches, adorned with the renowned white rocking chairs…Beautifully bedecked for the holidays!A-64

A grandeur stairwell, embellished in a polished and splendid attire. “Simply Marvelous!”A-66

Even your mailbox deserves a “touch of Christmas!”  🙂Happy701

Our fair haired friends dressed up for a festive occasion. (Wonderful Christmas decor for the little ones and for all of us “Teddy bear lovers.”)  🙂   Happy717

A Romantic and felicitous Christmas wreath… I’ll take ten of these, please! 🙂 Happy700

 

THE BACK PORCH

Don’t forget ‘the extra square footage’ of your lovely home…your back porch! A special and private nook to grab a few moments of repose, a cup of hot cocoa and a breath of “really fresh air.”  BRRR!   Bring it alive with fresh greens and the vibrant colors of the Christmas season!Happy116

I love this choice, fresh cut evergreen wreath, bedecked with red silky ribbon, rustic pine cones and brilliantly hued apples.   Unique and eminently creative.Happy115

Subtle yet enchantingly stunning!Happy113

Nature’s bounty reflects this joyous season.Happy112

Another medley of undeniably aesthetic Christmas decor for your outside retreat…fresh greens amidst grapevine… It’s perfect plain, all by itself, or a great foundation for an abundance of Christmas color! Happy114

 

THE FOYER

How about your Foyer, entrance way, vestibule, passageway or lobby…. Make it unforgettable, a “holiday~love~at~first~site~encounter!”Happy724

I can’t think of two better “greeters…” A heartwarming Christmas tree with cheery, happy snowmen. Happy723

Walking into a “Winter wonderland!” 🙂 Happy722

Warm, colorful and beautifully welcoming!Happy721

“Angels we have heard on high.”  I am an angel lover…there is nothing more festive and  adorable than a chubby cherub angel dressed for Christmas…Happy720

Who wouldn’t feel welcomed, snug and cozy inside with these two beautiful, glistening hurricane lamps filled with opalescent candles, amongst beautiful tapestry? Absolutely gorgeous. Happy719

“Hark the Herald angels sing…” There is nothing more elegant, serene to the spirit and lovely to the eyes, than an Angel tableaux, or nativity scene, adorned with soft glowing lights and wondrous “glad tidings” to bring! angel100

 

 

THE MANTLE

Now that we’ve journeyed past all of the “entrance ways,” behold OUR main room, beautifully dressed for this “oh so special” occasion! Many of us spend most of our time in this cozy, blissful room, so why not go all out for Christmas and create a room full of your favorite Christmas colors, characters and decorations?  One of the focal points of this favored room is the fireplace mantle… WOW! What a beautiful array of diverse decor!Happy798

This mantle  is classic and will most definitely, have  every “little one” guessing where Santa is, and why has he left his bright red boots in the chimney for so long? 🙂  Happy795

Dreamy, romantic and a fireplace mantle I could look at all day, (and night) long! 🙂 Happy794

The architecture alone on this spectacular mantle is breathtaking. It’s “less is more” decor motif is perfect and brings this living room to life with it’s regal and festive ambiance. Happy792

Heavenly! The soft lighting, crisp white linens amidst the animated and lively ivy is absolutely winsome and warming to the heart. Happy790

This mantle reminds me of an old fashioned Christmas celebration with its abundance of golds and greens…brick hearth fireplace with charming homemade stockings… I love it!Happy788

“A resplendent symphony of Christmas tidings…”This festive and colorful patina is not only original and creative, but is filled to the brim with warmth, holiday cheer and an old English charm.Happy787

Elegant and beautifully simple! Happy785

Does it get any more spectacular and gorgeous as this? Mesmerizing!Happy784

With it’s fresh  green garland entwined with a medley of glistening white lights and Jolly Old St. Nicholas and Frosty’s cousins , this  beautiful mantle is sure to bring home the Christmas spirit to the child in all of us! 🙂Happy783

The combination of the timeless reds and greens amidst the alabaster white mantle is breathtaking! Don’t you just adore these spirited, animated old world Santa’s? (They look like they have a wondrous tale or two to share from all their magical journeys.) 🙂 Happy781

Not quite your traditional Christmas mantle, but lovely all the same. The medley of the blues and whites is a “welcomed patina” at any time of the year! Very festive!  Happy780

 

THE BANNISTER

If your cozy haven is two story, then you have the gift of creating Christmas on your stairwell. These festive bannisters are not only creative but eye-catching !  This balustrade is “heavenly” with it’s array of greens, bright orange , shimmering ribbons and berries amidst this gorgeous stairwell’s ornate and unique  architecture!   Happy806

Perfect ambiance for all of you Nutcracker lovers out there! Fabulously stunning!Happy804

This outdoors, kaleidoscopic display of bright reds, greenery and hushed berries is entrancingly  chic and classy! Happy802

My favorite color combination… a striking fresh green garland with soft, creamy white , opalescent ornaments….Does it get  any more romantic than this? 🙂Happy801

Not only fetching and soothing, this traditional and dapper green swag garland, amidst a brilliant white staircase, is also engagingly simple as well as elegant. I can hear it softly  declaring; “Christmas has arrived!” Happy800

Color changes everything and sets our mood! This festive bannister is alive with joy, gladness and celebration! Beautifully done!hapyy805

 

THE LIVING ROOM

Now we enter the grand room itself! Our festive living rooms dressed to a “T” for this wondrous, magical , long awaited Season! These living rooms evoke within us Christmas and all its joy and felicity.

“The hostess with the most-ess.” I adore these creative and diverse, festive topiary trees! A perfect way to dress up any room for the holidays! Happy753

This inviting and alluring mantle is certainly the “main attraction” in this living room. The color combination of striking greens and lulled, butter-cream whites,  is not only soft and welcoming, but, again, augustly romantic and lovely!Happy752

I’d be sitting by this fireplace all day long! 🙂 (A perfect place to read The Christmas story to your kids on the most dreamed about night of the year.) 🙂 Happy751

Galvanic, creative and festive! Those sweet treats are making me hungry!:)Happy750

A beautiful celebration of enveloping greens, rich golds and warm reds… fabulously snug and cozy!Happy749

Here come those adorable cherub angels again… This combination of pastel colors, amidst the fresh greens, with its resplendent baroque motif is one of my favorite…regal and noble, simple, yet elegant. I love it!  Happy748

Come and share a Christmas cup of tea! This room is not only cheery, bright and warm, but your heart fells welcomed the minute you walk through its doors.Happy747

 

I’m speechless! (just kidding!) 🙂 It goes without saying that mixing the exuberant colors of purple, rose and blue amidst the traditional golds, greens and reds is absolutely magical, elfin and STUNNING! Maybe Next year? 🙂 Happy746

This inviting, cozy, serene gathering place is definitely an ambiance where “LESS, truly  is more.” I absolutely love this patina! It speaks loudly of Christmas with all it’s splendor, without a lot of  flamboyant or flashy decor! Happy745 This living room reminds me of a remote cabin in the mountains, nestled on a  serene,  placid lake. It gives off the feeling of warmth, camaraderie and a big Christmas hug!  🙂 Happy742

 

A delightful and refreshing ambiance with it’s cozy faux painted walls, bright red and yellow poinsettias, luscious greens, and simple yet elegant setting! Happy741

 

THE KITCHEN

“No matter where I serve my guests, it seems they love my kitchen BEST!”  Isn’t that the truth! So many wondrous and intimate conversations take place in our cozy places of creation…These kitchens are “decked up” with an abundance of Christmas Cheer!

Simple, yet snug and cozy! I love the combination of the green and gold! Happy938

This aesthetic and buoyant kitchen is not only elegant with it’s highlights of green amongst it’s stellar whites, but is refreshing and roomy, all ready for Christmas baking! 🙂 Happy937 The warm wood, shiny copper and touches of green and red create a cozy, relaxed and comfortable kitchen for the holidays! Happy939

WOW! My favorite Christmas kitchen so far… With its rainbow of inciting colors and Christmas patina, I would spend most of my time looking for a reason to be in my kitchen. 🙂 It even has (what could be,) a writing desk. 🙂 Happy935

Adorable and creative…I am impressed with the gingerbread man motif! Happy934

How about dressing up a kitchen corner with a plate rack, filled with your cherished Christmas plates,  adorned  with swags of green garland and miniature white lights, to bring a little magic to the room?IMG_0296

One of Christmas’ hallmarks….The traditional Snowman…A great decor peace for any of your rooms this holiday season. IMG_0297

 

THE HUTCH

Whether your hutch is in your kitchen, dining room, living room or bedroom, it is the perfect place to display your  favorite Christmas treasures!

This vintage hutch with it’s adoring collection of Santa Clauses is not only magical and jocund, it adds a colorful display of Christmas cheer to this rooms ambiance.Happy933

Traditional, classy and blissful! (I love the butter cream yellows with the vibrant reds.) Happy932

I do not think that the color combination of  blue and white will ever go out of style! This hutch is so classy , festive and refreshing…Exceedingly elite and polished!Happy931

I always tell my  husband that sending and receiving Christmas cards or ornaments is one of  my favorite parts of Christmas. I keep every card and ornament, (and Christmas decoration someone blesses me with,) as it brings forth so many wonderful, gladsome memories of Christmas past! This “Santa and Penguin sleigh” is a gift from my beloved brother Jim… Unique, just like he was! 🙂 IMG_0351

How can you go wrong with a flourishing wintry wreath and a country snowman? IMG_0352

Candy canes amongst fresh greens and  bright red berries…a timeless and  festive motif for your Christmas hutch.Happy930

This antiquated, shabby chic, blue hutch with its abundant array of Santa’s, accentuated with the pewter is magical,  creative and overflowing with Christmas cheer.   Happy928

Every Christmas, I can hardly wait to get out my nativity collection, and display it upon our living room hutch. Its found its home! 🙂 Our hutches are such wonderful places to share our hearts aren’t they?  IMG_0349

 

THE DINING ROOM

The one place we gather with our beloved family and friends, sharing exquisite cuisine, old family recipes to die for, laughter and many a story of Christmas past…Our Dining rooms! This year I decided to go all out for our dining room with an Old English Christmas motif. What is your theme for your Christmas dining room tableaux this year?IMG_0292

I have always loved mixing my china patterns together… I used do it even before it was the “in thing.’ 🙂  You already  know me, I am a “more is more” person! 🙂 IMG_0291IMG_0272

I would love to be a dinner guest at this beautifully created holiday table! The chandelier with its soft lighting and festive decor is stunningly creative and alluring.Happy921

There is nothing more regal and fancy than a freshly polished silver goblet…add some Christmas greens and reds and its like MAGIC! A tablescape fit for royalty!Happy918

This dining room, all decked up for Christmas is blithesome, light some and full of splendor. An exceedingly soft display of the holiday spirit with it’s gorgeous whites, vintage red table and fresh cut greens…I love the way the decorator has used the white , sheer material to dress up her dining chairs with that “extra” added touch of elegance.inspired60

A step back in time… This dining rooms motif is abounding and flourishing with beauty and grace, with its array of alluring colors and unique, charming style.  I love it!Happy916

Okay! My new favorite Christmas dining room! Not only is it ‘ Victorian at its finest,” but beautifully romantic and overflowing with warmth! Happy915

Resounding and golden! What a refreshing Christmas motif.Happy922

I was wrong! This is my favorite Christmas Dining room of all time! 🙂 This room looks like a dream with its resplendent and ornate fireplace and mantle architecture, Victorian evergreen tree, rich tapestries, brilliantly white linens, antique china and fresh bouquet of wintry flowers… I would never get up from the meal! 🙂 Christmas1001

A formal Christmas dinner with a a roaring fire…This looks like something out of a fairytale. 🙂  Happy914

This room is abounding in rich color and most  certainly embodies a festive ambiance of Christmas cheer.Happy913

 

Also within our dining rooms, our delightfully festooned sideboards for the holidays fetes.

This gorgeous sideboard has been decorated with class, an abundance of rustic, fresh garlands and looks beautifully tailored.   Perfect for all the “extras’ from your bountiful Christmas feast. Happy927

I think one of the most irresistible animals on this earth is the cuddly, innocent and “oh so cute” Polar bear. What a great idea for a festive and celebratory sideboard table-scape in your dining room.Happy926

Elegant, heart warming and filled with charm!Happy925

This beautiful cherub angel with its subtle attire of reds and greens is stirring and amazingly radiant. If our home was really big, I would definitely  have an abundance of these “adorable guys” all over my house. 🙂 Happy924

 

This year, for our old English Christmas dining room theme, I brought out my Tutor house village collection… It looks so romantic all lit up at night on our sideboard…(I can’t fit any extra food on it while we are dining,  but hey, it looks good!) 🙂 . IMG_0360

A playful snowman to brighten the room… this sideboard has a little more room for food …OK, who really needs a sideboard for food at Christmas anyways? Would you rather have a Santa Claus,  jolly snowman, Polar bear gracing your room, or a side dish of broccoli casserole and basket of bread on the table? 🙂 I know what my husbands answer would be. 🙂  IMG_0401

THE BEDROOM

For our special place of respite, dreaming away in slumber land, our bedrooms need a little touch of the holiday festivity as well.

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This bedroom is undoubtedly dressed for Christmas! I love the red plaids amongst the crisp whites, the fresh greens wrapped around the bed posts and the simple, yet winsome and classy Christmas tree with its soft amber lights! Happy909

I never think of pink or rose as being a Christmas color, but I have sure changed my mind! This bedroom is gorgeous! It looks like a room where you would sleep peacefully with “visions of sugar plums dancing in your head.” 🙂  Happy911

This delightful bedroom is simple, yet embodies an ‘elegant flavor’ of Christmas. Happy910

This room resounds in abundance with it’s breathtaking color… Waking up each morning with all the gorgeous shades of red, blue, greens, whites, gold and yellows,would make  for a great start to any day!  Very beautiful and festive for the Christmas holidays!Happy908

Cozy, snug and mirthful!Happy907

Now this is the way Kit would like our bedroom to look at Christmas… Very clean lines, rustic yet warm with beautiful  earth tone colors…It’s handsome and baronial yet enchantingly charming. Happy904

Ah! A hot cup of Christmas tea, a roaring fire and a good Christmas novel…That sounds like a perfect night for this stunning bedroom.Happy903

Subtle touches of Christmas cheer make this room welcoming, fresh and delightful! I adore sleigh beds!Happy901

The combination of Christmas plaids with Victorian needlepoint pillows is undeniably polished, as well as festive and inviting.Happy900

Absolutely galvanizing! Earthy, yet amazingly heart- stopping-gorgeous!Vi67

 

CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS

Leading up to the grand finale,  THE CHRISTMAS TREE, we spend a lot of time finding just the right ornaments from our collections to create the “perfect Tree” we desire each year. My  older brother Jim started me on collecting Christmas ornaments when I was in Jr. High school and I have kept it going, (one of our families traditions,) each year.

My very first Christmas ornament from Jim in the 70’s. 🙂 Every year, I think of him when I find the perfect place for it to go, upon our Christmas tree.  IMG_0386

And my collection just keeps on growing! 🙂 IMG_0388

What a colorful and festive, jolly Santa! IMG_0390

With every ornament we place upon our tree each year, there are an abundance of warm, happy cherished memories that run through our minds and warm our hearts. That’s what I love about decorating the tree…

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What a unique Old world Santa Christmas ornament! Happy958

These exquisite ornaments are for all you Victorian lovers out there… So delicate and lovely!

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Nostalgic and magical!

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THE GRAND FINALE**** THE CHRISTMAS TREE

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One of my favorite memories as a child, was the day after Thanksgiving when my mom, six siblings and I loaded up  in our station wagon and went to FIND THE PERFECT EVERGREEN TREE!  I can still smell the fresh pine, hear our laughter and bantering… It was a perfect day! After the last decoration was placed upon our tree and the lights turned on, it was as if a magic wand touched our entire house, filling it with enchantment, love and gladsome hearts. To this day, I feel the same way!Happy949

Incredibly authentic, inspirational and this little angel toddler is precious! 🙂Happy947

Light hearted and debonair…this maritime Christmas tree is nurturing to the eye as well as the soul!Happy945

Whether in an array of heart stopping reds and greens, or vibrant blues and golds, both of these festive trees are authentic and stir up ample dramatic and festive celebratory emotions within, for the magical season.

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These Old fashioned Christmas trees awake the convivial spirit within … Incredibly jovial and enrapturing.

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Is there anything more magical and childlike than a teddy bear Christmas tree? Happy942

Amiable, welcoming and heart warming! The classic red , gold and green Christmas tree will never be outdated… Its timeless!Happy941

Another cordial and heartening classical Christmas tree! (With a patriotic touch!) 🙂 4sk29

“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…” I love this unique and authentic tree with its spruce  charm. Vi69

This tree reminds me of our Christmas tree growing up in the 70’s and 80’s…Classic! (I can still hear my fathers voice saying; “Kids, your putting way to much tinsel on the branches.) 🙂 (Then he’d take some off when we’d go to bed, not wanting to take away our pride from our “work of art” for the evening.) 🙂 Vi63

Another elegant and soft bethnic Christmas tree with its seafaring theme! Abundantly refreshing!BB-8

Vivacious and winsome! I can just hear the Carol of the bells, playing in the background. 🙂 K-2

An absolutely stunning Victorian Christmas tree…I could keep this up all year round! 🙂 G-103

Original and authentic…These  beautiful trees are “top of the line,” as well as ingenious.

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It looks like the elves were “super busy” bedecking this gorgeous, romantic tree…It definitely lines up with the “more is more” motto for decor! 🙂 E-63

Last, but not least, this modern, vibrant, kaleidoscopic tree is not only dramatically alluring but definitely festooned with gladness, cheer and good will! E-8

The finishing touch of each family tree is it’s creatively wrapped packages. (Half the fun of receiving a gift is being able to “guess” what it is, before unwrapping it 🙂Happy967

Sensational! Beautiful choice of colors!Happy966

There are so many creative ways to wrap your Christmas gifts this year… Even the Christmas gift bags are beautifully decorated! 🙂 Happy965

I love these Toile wine bottle covers… They would be a beautiful display year round on your ding room hutch or sideboard! Happy964

Bright and festive colors make all the difference! What a gorgeous combination of textures and hues! Happy963

 

Now, there is one Festooned part of this home tour I have left out? Can you guess what it is? No home, that hosts beloved ‘pets,’ is complete, without your precious cargo arrayed in a little, (or a lot) of Christmas splendor and cheer.  (They are so eager to get in the Christmas spirit and they adore all the extra attention!) 🙂

Oh my gosh…this gentle giant is so adorable! (And brimming over with Christmas spirit.)  Cutiepie5

Our little, (big) Grantham, decked out for the holidays…(Sitting in his favorite wing back chair.) The next thing you know, he’ll ask Kit or I to get him a cold glass of milk. 🙂 I-97

Precious! We do not have any cats, but these cuties sure tug at my heart to go to the nearest pet store! 🙂  How adorable!Christmas dress8

More treasured and beloved kitties enjoying the Christmas season. chirstmas dress 9

For all of you Horse lovers out there… These big guys love ‘dressing up’ for the occasion, just as much as our indoor pets! 🙂 Christmas dress 11

Grantham, when he was just a little puppy, dressed in his red Christmas sweater. I could not get him to wear the reindeer antlers for the life of me. 🙂 I-98

Is this not the cutest Christmas photo ever? What a cutie pie! This needs to be framed and put on the mantle… I love it!  arctic1

I hope you have enjoyed this Home for the holiday tour for the Christmas season, your latte or glass of wine, your time of repose and that perhaps an idea or two has ‘jumped out at you’ to add to your Christmas decor this season! Merry Christmas!

 

PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any of the photos or graphics, it will display where the picture originated from.

 

“IF ONLY FOR ONE NIGHT……”

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YOU are entering into an oasis of pure revery and  comfort…  your five senses are sublimely heightened as you begin sauntering through this magical and animated dining room…  The lovely banqueting table, IMG_0700set for eight, is dressed with scintillating  textures and sophisticated dinnerware , in a mixture of quill, yet stirring shades, with personalized place cards, creatively tucked into Lilliputian, shimmering silver teapots,  creating a phenomenally welcoming ambiance for an enchanted evening, shared with guests.

The beautifully bedecked, light oak dining table,  embellished with  a crisp, white Batten-burg lace, linen cloth and formal napkins, provides the perfect backdrop for the elaborate vintage silver candelabra , boastfully holding five lit, IFOnly200red taper candles with an inspiring arrangement of while  lilies, soft babies-breath and red roses …  Competing for your attention is the antiquated, heirloom silverware, and the glistening Waterford crystal framing each Lenox china dinner plate…

The aroma of fresh ginger, cinnamon, tart apples and nutmeg fills the room as a scrumptious  dutch apple pie is baking in the oven…Soft melodic tunes fill the room with a soothing, joyous calmness…Is that Michael Buble singing?

The room has a magical, elfin glow…Every tabletop alight with romantic tea light candles and  enlivened votive’s, amidst a cozy fire burning in the hearth… SUDDENLY, YOU WAKE UP, realizing this resplendent vision was only but a dream… What are you feeling right now?

Are you in 7th heaven, thinking of an occasion to celebrate, so you can invite a few friends over and create an awe-inspiring , magical dinner party? Are you looking for  a pen and paper, so you can  begin planning your menu, guest list and motif for your blithesome event?   OR…Do you feel as if you have just had a BAD nightmare, are beginning to sweat profusely ,  and are eminently relieved  when you remind yourself…It is not real… “We are not having a house full of dinner guests… it was just a dream.” 🙂

I have a handful of close friends, (men and women,) who absolutely adore  hosting parties, entertaining and blessing others with their special niche of hospitality…and I also know plenty of people who would rather go to the dentist and get a cavity filled , than attend or be a part of hosting a festive event at their home… 🙂

I was surprised to read  in the New York Times,  that the “dinner party” amongst the wealthy , socialite community,  is now  becoming extinct!  (Not quite sure why,) but I felt a bit wistful as I began the article…I don’t think it was because of all the expense these people go to , or their decadent menus and extravagant decor, (or even their intriguing, galvanizing guests lists,) IFOnly5000 but because dinner parties,  (or any type of a gathering surrounded by delicious food,) brings forth such a wondrous  opportunity for people to meet and mingle. Many a great friendship has begun from a social gathering as well as memories that last a life time. Recollections filled with an abundance of  laughter, excellent cuisine, fabulous conversations and exhilarating entertainment.  It’s hard to understand as for myself, hosting a fete within our home is something I have never fallen out of love with…My husband tells me I “look” for an occasion, (a holiday,  birthday, a  new season or even a small victory) to throw a shindig in our little haven 🙂 (And both of us still love going to gatherings at our friends homes.)

 

I have always felt thatElegantly lit  holiday dinner table with white ribbon gift hosting a gala at our home is a way of expressing our love towards our family or friends…I liken it to a large box, beautifully wrapped…  Inside of this box is a medley of enjoyment, pampering, regale, enchantment, bliss, laughter, a little recreation, camaraderie and  a splendid diversion from the hectic days of the work week that so many of us need…

winterscape40Whenever I go to a ladies luncheon,  an afternoon Tea, birthday celebration or dinner at a friends, I am eminently blessed  by all the “special touches,” the hosts have gone out of their way to create for us, their guests. Whether it is the charming, beautiful and warm ambiance,  the scrumptious menu, the party favors they have so thoughtfully chosen or the cordiality and rapport   between friends… I  hate for the gathering to come to an end.

If you are one that loves to entertain, (or loves being entertained,) 🙂  is there a certain ‘celebratory event’ that is at the top of of your list? Perhaps one that is your least adored to host or attend? 🙂   There are so many special moments in life to CELEBRATE! I love them all…

 

A Baby shower I think out of all the jubilant events  within our lives, a new life and ‘longed for’  arrival, has to be one of the greatest reasons to PARTY!    Give your “new mom to be”   the center spotlight in your home, pampering her with an abundance of attention, felicitous games, delicious foods and a spectacular cake, to end all cakes… Decorating with a rainbow of pastel colors and the splendorous motif of BABIES would be so much fun!if only 16

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CELEBRATE ACHIEVEMENT. Whether from Preschool, Elementary school, High school or College… What a wonderful time of merriment for your GRADUATE! Perhaps  a big bash with a large crowd and a DJ,  or a small gathering with their favorite dance music,  friends and  family…they won’t remember the SIZE of the party… only the honor, attention and love. Give them the acclaim and acknowledgement  they deserve while  adding  a few more “Kodak moments” to their scrapbook of life. 🙂

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Light up  the grill,  turn your outside stereo speakers on high, put on the steaks, burgers, brats-worth and corn on the cob… play some touch football , throw a few frisbee’s. After dinner, enjoy telling a few (not to scary)  ghost stories around the bonfire… What is more  relaxing, and  enjoyable  than a savory meal from the grill and being outdoors with your best friends?
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There is nothing quite like celebrating friendship with our girlfriends, than gathering for an afternoon tea.  A few hours of delicious cuisine, sweet confections, herbal teas, (coffee too) 🙂 and ‘much needed,’ pampering for the soul. Whether inside , during the wintry months, (a Christmas theme is divine,) or outdoors, amidst the spring blooms, blue sky and bright sunshine, an afternoon tea is one of my favorite parties to create and host. if only 20If only 2

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A traditional Christmas drop in for your close friends and family… Does it get any better than this?  The magic of Christmas really does do all the work, as your home is beautifully decked out for the glorious season with its stellar and alluring ambiance.  Everyone is already feeling an abundance of mirth, joy and festivity…sharing delicious cookie recipes, freshly made eggnog and kisses under the mistletoe. 🙂 I think its safe to say, it is one of all of our “all time favorite occasions” to celebrate within our home.

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Perhaps your love for suspense, intrigue, and “drama~drama” inspires you to host a Murder Mystery Dinner for your close friends and family! Setting the stage is exciting, choosing the plot is euphoric and everyone playing their part amidst delicious cuisine, and festive snacks, is something you can’t wait to do each year…if only7if only 60

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A Bridal shower for your best friend? Another honor… Marriage  is at the top of my list for a jubilant celebration! Surround the  “bride to be”  with a kaleidoscope of charismatic color, sweet indulgences, exciting games, gifts and an elegant, (to beautiful to cut into,) cake for her parties Grand Finale. 🙂  IFOnly5010

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How about a romantic dinner for those few “couple friends” that  you and your mate are so blessed to have in your life. Bestow  each guest with a stellar meal, candlelight, romantic music and create an evening they will never forget. (How about sharing how you all met your mate and the “moment” you knew you were in love with them. 😉1night

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There is always that relished moment, when your phone rings and it is one of your close siblings or a dear friend from your youth?  They have never been to your part of the country and want to come and stay for a few days?

 How much fun is it to set up your guest room with fresh flowers, a bottle of their favorite wine, your luxurious  linens, eiderdown comforters, a box of Sees candy and a freshly scented candle for the season.. I Love all the late night chats in P’J’s, sharing memories of our childhood days, (even though we both remember them ‘ so differently.’ 🙂 There is something so special about having them with you, to share in your daily  life, as your worlds seems so far apart with the geographical distance between you. (Kind of makes you feel all warm and cozy inside…) 🙂
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There are so many landmarks within our lives to celebrate and if you are one that adores entertaining, it is such a special gift that only you, with your signature style, can give to the world!
I began thinking …what would SPARK UP the desire for “everyone ” to put their best foot forward and really get excited about planning a menu, table scape and a  memorable  motif, happily creating one of the most unforgettable evenings  of your life… Here is my challenge, (as well as enjoyable endeavor) for you in this vignette…
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 WHAT IF, “FOR ONLY ONE NIGHT,”  YOU COULD ASK 5 FAMOUS CELEBRITIES, (THAT ARE LIVING TODAY) TO COME TO YOUR HOME FOR A DINNER PARTY? IT’S ALREADY A GIVEN THAT THEY WILL ALL SAY YES…(THIS IS YOUR DREAM,THUS ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.)
First off,  WHO would your five dinner guests be? (BTW, your spouse/sweetheart is already included, so they don’t count as your top Five.)
WHY these five in particular?
What would  your MENU be? (Dessert? Appetizers?)
 What would your table-scape presentation and AMBIANCE be? Formal? Casual?
What would you WEAR?
What dinner MUSIC would you play?
Lastly, what would your delightful, creatively wrapped PARTY FAVOR be for each guest? The same bestowal  for everyone or a specialized gift for each celebrity?

 

 

Before you begin envisioning your “If only for one night” dream dinner, lets look at  a few thoughts from a diversity of people on “celebrating delicious food,  good friends and convivial spirit.”

 

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“The ornaments of your house will be the guests who frequent it. “ ~Author Unknown

“Hospitality is making your guests feel at home, even if you wish they were. ” ~Author Unknown

“If I were invited to a dinner partyIFOnly5008 with my characters, I wouldn’t show up.”
– Dr. Seuss
“I try to greet my friends with a drink in my hand, a warm smile on my face, and great music in the background, because that’s what gets a dinner party off to a fun start.” ~  Ina Garten
“At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom.” ~ George Carlin
“That’s the secret of entertaining. You
make your guests feel welcome and at home. If you do that honestly, the rest takes care of itself.” ~  Barbara Hall
IFOnly5005“I can get a better grasp of what is going on in the world from one good Washington dinner party, than from all the background information NBC piles on my desk.” ~ Barbara Walters
“My doctor told me I had to stop throwing intimate dinners for four unless there are three other people.” ~ Orson Welles
“If more of us valued food andIFonly5017 cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” — J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.”
~ George Bernard Shaw

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“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.”~ Cesar Chavez

 For your “IF only for one night” dream dinner , are you a person who loves to create a formal atmosphere, really “Putin-on-the-Ritz,” for your guests, using your fine china, silver, crystal and finding just the right centerpiece with an elaborate pizzazz?

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Or, are you more of a “casual” person, favoring simplicity, home cooking, a cozy , warm and welcoming ambiance?

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What would your “eye catching” centerpiece be on your dining Table?

A colorful, fetching, elaborate,  formal  centerpiece or something  very easy on the eyes, simple and casual? Or perhaps you may choose your centerpiece to be a medley of glistening candles, creating a simple, ethereal  table. Here are few ideas for both formal as well as casual, seasonal centerpieces for your table-scape.

For the magical season of WINTER…

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Spring is in the air with these two elegant and classy, diverse table-scape ideas.

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Summer has never looked more inviting… Its a great time to celebrate with ambrosial food, festive drinks amongst wonderful people.

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Autumns vibrant colors of  nature provide ample ideas for your festive gathering’s table!

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What would you serve? Would you have it catered? Hire a professional chef for the evening? Cook your favorite recipes for your guests? Would it be a Buffet style or formal , sit down or a 5 course meal? How about wine or hordevoires?

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What is your ideal “dinner music?”  Country Western? Pop? R&B? Symphony music, flute and guitar? Perhaps you adore Opera, Piano tunes, romantic melodies or the magical sounds of Mannheim Steamroller…    You can always create a playlist for when your guests are arriving, (with a medley of artists,)  and choose a softer dinner music while dining.

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What would you serve  for dessert?

Something fancy, delectable and memorable,  like Bananas Foster, chocolate suicide cake, chocolate mousse with fresh red raspberry’s, or scrumptious coconut carrot cake? You can never go wrong with freshly baked hot apple pie, a la mode, fresh berries with whipped cream, cheesecake and strawberries or or a good, old fashioned, American favorite, a hot fudge sundae.

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IMHO….You have got to have some candle light going on…a few taper or column candles,  votive’s and tea lights to create a warm, convivial spirit.. and at least one soft scented Yankee candle,(or another brand you enjoy,)  to give your home a delicious fragrance, all night long..

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Have you decided what your Party Favor gift would be at each guests table setting? It can be the smallest thing, to the grandest gift that is within your heart to give them… How would you wrap it?

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I decided to interview a few special people in my life with this same challenge I am giving to you, (as well as myself.) Our  “If only for one night” dream dinner…They all surprised me with things I never knew about them, (especially with who their top five would be.)  I started thinking,  this challenge would be a great “Icebreaker” at any  party to get to know your guests better. 🙂

I know when I envisioned and created  my “If only for one night,” will-o-the-wisp,   It was like a dream..dreams7 I envisioned  what it would feel like, as each guest arrived and entered into our home. How special it would feel to get to meet 5 people I admire and  have received so much joy and smiles from.  Even though it is through our television, my computer,  the radio or the Big Screen,  these five  people have brought my life an abundance of heartfelt emotions,  richness, inspiration, enjoyment and of course LAUGHTER!  Getting to meet them in person and share a meal and evening together was a great “Chimera”… I felt excited, feeling that I could actually bless them, by giving them something no one else could…my cooking, our home embellished with festive colors, warmth and enchantment as well  as sharing how much each of them have touched my life through their amazing talents and giving  hearts. I chose each one of them for a specific reason… It truly was a lot of fun. Some of the people I interviewed asked me; “Susan, can I have more than five guests? Can I do it twice? (They couldn’t decide who they would ask, with a choice of only five and enjoyed the challenge  of creating their  “If only for one night” dream evening.”  🙂

Lets take a look at a  what a few special people, ( with diverse backgrounds,)  chose for there “If only for one night” dinner or gala…(as it can be whatever you imagine it to be…)

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#1. Patrick, an incredible high school  Counselor who lives on the coast, in Southern California.

“MY Five dinner guest would be: Brad Pitt, Diane Ravitch, Meryl Streep, Anderson Cooper and Bill Gates. My interest is about Education.”

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I choose these particular five guests, BECAUSE: ( IN ORDER of photos)  Brad Pitt has a great heart and has a lot of influence in the Media. Diane Ravitch is very well known in the field of Education and has studied trends in this particular field and she’s leaning toward public schools…although at one time,  she was an advocate for charter schools.   Meryl Streep is just a person I really like. Anderson Cooper has an investigative mind and influence in the news world. Bill Gates has the money to finance ideas and he’s leaning toward charter schools.

MY MENU?

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Broiled scallops wrapped in figs or bacon as an appetizer,  a fresh made tomato soup from a local restaurant, (that I love),  broiled salmon in a mustard-dill sauce with asparagus lightly broiled with garlic, and a creme Brulee for dessert, that has a hint of lavender. Fresh roasted bean coffee would be served in the living room by the fireplace with dessert. Wine served  upon request.

MY AMBIANCE AND TABLE-SCAPE.

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My patina would be a bit on the formal side. I would use my  formal china along with red taper candles.    My Table would be set with a white lace linen from Slovenia, linen napkins, crystal Waterford candle holders, Wedgwood china, crystal water and wine glasses.

 I WOULD WEAR something casual and comfortable, my khakis and a nice, light yellow sweater, made out of a soft wool. IN MY HOME…no one can wear any shoes. 🙂

MY DINNER MUSIC?

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The melodic music of  Eva Cassidy as well as Contemporary Jazz music and  Jazz singers.

PARTY FAVOR?

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My  special gift to each guest would be a book of poetry or the book , “The smartest kids in the world.” Maybe a different book for each guest.

 

#2. KIT!  A great Website designer who lives in Delaware  🙂IFOnly5025

 

“My top  five would be: Tom Clancy, Bill Cosby, Condoleezza  Rice, Mrs. Ronald Regan and Justin Timberlake.”

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I chose these dinner guests BECAUSE: Author Tom Clancy has such a wonderful background, has done an abundance of research and has a very interesting story to tell. Bill Cosby is extremely intelligent with such a diverse background. I would love to hear about his insights on people, his life and the world. Condoleezza Rice is a strong woman who has survived in the political world. She has a great perspective on the government, our leaders and other countries. Mrs. Regan is a woman who has served at a high level in politics, has a great perspective about the TRUTHS that have taken place in our country as well as the truth about what is happening in our country today. Justin Timberlake is very down to earth in his approach to respecting people, extremely intelligent and talented on many levels and doesn’t act like he’s rich and famous.

MY MENU?

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I would serve Coho salmon, steamed in a white wine and dill sauce, served over  brown rice with sweet peas, steamed asparagus with Hollandaise sauce, and for dessert, a flour-less chocolate tart with fresh strawberries.

MY AMBIANCE?

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MY AMBIANCEwould be very casual…with a autumn motif, our blue and white china, water glasses, a medley of fall, linen napkins,  and a few candles. Very simple.

I WOULD WEAR my black jeans with a long sleeve shirt, very comfortable and relaxed.

 

Dinner Music?

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“There’s going to be some changes made” DVD with Bruce Hornsby and friends.

 

Party Favor?

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Lastly, my gift to each guest? A very nice picture frame.  I would bring out my  camera that takes instant photos..I would ask each of my guest to have a photo taken with me…and ask each of them to sign their name…  They  would each take home a photo of themselves with me, and I would have 5 treasured photos of myself with each guest. Great memories to last a life time of this special and memorable  evening.

 

only110#3 Ellie.  A beautiful lady, happily living in Delaware after a fascinating career at the Patton office in Washington DC.

“MY GUESTS OF HONOR WOULD BE, Charles Krauthammer , George W. Bush, Reverend Billy Graham, Ben Carson and Donald Trump.”

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 Charles Krauthammer, (famous on Fox news,) holds many degrees and is greatly  studied in Politics.I admire and respect his opinions and think he is awesome. George W. Bush is just a very classy man!  Reverend Billy Graham I have always looked up to him as a true Christian who loves the Lord.  Ben Carson, is the top Brain Surgeon at Jon Hopkins in Baltimore. His life story is amazing. His mother is his hero.  He came from a poor family and his mother brought him up with love and taught him that just because your poor does not mean you will fail in life. Donald Trump, I would ask him what stock to buy. 🙂

MY Menu?

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I would serve a traditional American meal.  Roast beef, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls and salad with cheesecake for desert. Coffee and wine upon request.

MY AMBIANCE

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I would like to set a casual table but elegant too.  A beautiful linen table cloth with matching napkins, water and wine glasses as well as a baronial service plate. For my centerpiece, I would chose a colorful, welcoming fresh flower arrangement  that is the perfect height, (not to tall) so we can all see one another across the table. 🙂

 

I would wear a long sleeved,  black dress with stockings and a pair of low heels, accented with just a touch of gold jewelry.

Dinner Music?

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Nothing with a vocalist, just quiet, calming music, maybe a CD of piano music, bass and violin.

Party Favor?

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It  would be something with the names of the guest’s and the date, maybe a gold key chain.

 

IFonly500Gin. A lovely, creative, artistic lady who lives in the Midwest.

MY FIVE SPECIAL GUESTS? Reverend Billy Graham, Presidents; Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton and George Bush SR.

 

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Billy Graham has counseled all of the presidents of The United States and would have a great input on what is happening in our country today. I would invite the four previous presidents, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton and George Bush SR. to have an informative  discussion, ( with their much appreciated  opinions) on where we are at now as a country , the White House, economy and foreign policy.

MY MENU?

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For my guests appetizer, I would serve a homemade Oxtail soup with sour cream. For dinner, Beef Stroganoff, A Bib lettuce salad with mushrooms, orange slices and almonds, with a sweet vinaigrette, along with hot croissants and butter. I would serve either a nice bottle of Merlot or a rich, red Zinfandel. For dessert , a chocolate mousse cake with an amaretto sour cream sauce, served with champagne or a glass of  sherry.

MY AMBIANCE?

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My patina would be formal. An Irish linen table cloth with napkins, my Crown Emerald Green China, green crystal goblets, tall, white taper candles, a flower arrangement of blush pink roses with white iris’s, and champagne and sherry glasses for each guests choice of  an after dinner drink with dessert.

I WOULD WEAR a cashmere sweater with a long black skirt.

Dinner Music?

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George Winston Piano melodies… soothing and enchanting.

Party favors?

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Each guest would receive a different, beautifully photographed, coffee-table book about the White House.

 

I-97 #5. Sir Grantham!

 

 

My top five… Patrick, Cheryl, Ellie, and Susan and Kit. (We are “celebrities” in his eyes.) 🙂

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I would ask these special guests to my dinner party because Patrick ‘actually gets down on the floor and plays with me for longer than 10 minutes.’ Cheryl , when she spent the night, stays awake with me in the middle of the night, talks to me and pets me…(so I don’t feel lonely, when Kit and Susan are sleeping.)  Ellie, because she always gives me treats…ham bones, beef bones, bacon strips, “you name it.” …and last but not least, Susan and Kit because THEY ARE MY HEART &  HOME!

MY MENU?

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Grilled Porter house steaks for everyone, but I  get ALL the bones!

MY AMBIANCE?

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I’m easy… just throw a red check table cloth on the floor, we’ll use dad’s china plates and for my centerpiece, a bright, fire engine red, (highlighted with white rawhide bones,) doggy biscuit holder.

 

I I-98AM WEARING my fur coat as my red sweater is way to small for me now!

 

 

My Dinner music?

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Its always a toss up between my two favorite CD’s…maybe everyone will stay long enough for me to play both!

MY parting Gift?

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I would give each of my guests a choice of something special to remember me buy. 🙂

Susanhat Susan… The blog writer… who is hoping that you are enjoying this ” IF, Only for one night,” vignette. 🙂

 

My Five  guests would be, T.D Jakes, Justin Timberlake, (No I did not copy Kit,) Tyler Perry, (and he can come as Madea if he would like to,) Usher and Denzel Washington.

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I would invite T.D. Jakes for his beautiful spirit and love for the Lord, (as well as his keeping Justin and Usher in line,) 🙂 (Just joshing.)  Justin Timberlake because he is funny, exceedingly talented and a GREAT  dancer and musician. (I secretly hope he and Usher will sing a few  duets and teach us some great dance steps after dinner.)  Tyler Perry / Madea because I think he is a brilliant man, producer, actor and is tremendously  entertaining, as well as hilarious.  In hearing about his challenging life as a child and witnessing what he has done with his life, I am very impressed and inspired!  Usher, because he too is a great singer, dancer and has a big heart. He seems to be a genuinely NICE person, (in watching him as a judge on The Voice.) Lastly, My all time favorite actor is Denzel...his  biography is endless and I  would love to hear about  all the people he has met and worked with as well as his views on life.

My Menu?

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I would serve my BBQ pulled pork nachos for an appetizer…For the entree, A Caesar salad, Prime Rib (Medium rare) with  creamy horseradish sauce, baked potato, asparagus and hollandaise sauce, pumpernickel bread with fresh butter (stars) 🙂   and homemade coconut carrot cake for dessert with coffee. Wine upon request!

Ambiance?

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I would serve a formal dinner with my antique china, lace tablecloth, crystal water and wine glasses, if any of my guests would like a glass of wine, candle light everywhere, 🙂 and dessert and coffee served in the living room, (where Justin and Usher will be entertaining us, (and maybe Madea too) 🙂

I would wear my long black velvet dress with black pumps, pearl earrings and necklace to match.

 

Dinner Music?

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Dinner music? While everyone is arriving and we are having appetizers, I’d have a  playlist on with a little Bebe Winan gospel-contemporary Christian music,  and Justin and Usher, (clean) tunes playing…while we are dining, I’d switch to Victoria Secrets London symphony orchestra melodic CD..

Party Favor?

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A digital camera.. I would place their gift on their salad plate and have everyone open it at the same time…(I would have my own camera already out…) and invite everyone to take as many photos as they want during the evening…(I know I will be a camera hog the entire night.) 🙂 Its true what they say…  “A picture says a thousand words and the memories it brings,  lasts a lifetime.”

I hope you have enjoyed spending some time thinking about what your evening would be like with the famous and renowned people you chose to invite…celebrity1 Did it surprise you at all when you decided who your top five would be? Did your choices surprise others? It definitely gives you an insight into your life as well as reveals what you are  interested in, during this season of your life. (Politics? Americas’ future? Input on where Education is going within our country? A hunger for knowledge in areas of interest within your life from someone who is an expertise ?  A desire to learn more about human nature, ones travels and experiences? Or perhaps, to just be entertained, laugh abundantly and dance? 🙂

My last challenge to you… Keep  the dinner you have planned for your five renowned celebrities within your heart. ( All of  the decor ideas, presentation, menu, music, lighting, gifts,)  and invite Five of your favorite people in this entire world, and bestow upon  them the very same evening…  If some of your favorite people live out of state, plan the party for next year , or better yet, Christmas 2014…give them time to save up for their airfare, or long road trip.  🙂  Take some time to plan who those five people would be… after all, they are the real stars of your life:) (Sounds corny, I know, but you know its true!) 🙂

 

And always keep dreaming , for our dreams really can and often do, come true. 🙂

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PHOTOGRAPHS: In placing your computer mouse upon any of the photos or graphics, it will display where the picture originated from.