• BonnieforSCstockshop14-monogram

Steps for Decorating a Fabulous Christmas Tree

Each year I decorate about 6 trees in my own home and many more for clients that hire me to decorate for their business or personal tree for their home. If you haven’t noticed I LOVE Christmas.  I start the day after Christmas gathering sale items for the next year.  I may not already know my theme, but I collect mercury class ornaments so I’m always on the look out for those and other gorgeous items that I know I can find a home for. I have some steps that I follow when putting up any tree I decorate.  I hope these help you when decorating this year.

Steps for Decorating Your Tree

Choose your theme early I already had my holiday theme picked by June so I was able to shop for ribbon and mixed metals when I was out and about. Dishes, entertaining pieces, candles, and other items you may use for the holidays go on sale throughout the year. Plus you may not be able to spend a ton of money on holiday decor around the holidays when you’re purchasing gifts for others.  If you shop year round you can spread out your budget.

Choose artificial or real tree-  If you choose an artificial tree you need to decide whether it is pre-lit or will you add lights yourself.  I always buy pre-lit trees.  We buy artificial trees because my husband is allergic to real trees.  However, I have become used to them and love them.  I can put them up whenever I want and the branches are easy to manipulate. Of course live trees smell amazing!! But you have to worry about dried needles that fall off.  Also you have to be careful if your ornaments are heavy. If you are adding your own lights make sure you run extension cords down the center of your tree.  DON’T put them on one cord or you will blow a fuse.  Also, you should put 100 lights per each foot.  For example, if you have a 9′ tree you should add 900 lights.

Fluff your Tree- One of the most important things to make your tree look realistic is to fluff it and cut off the tags. After being in the box all year it is quite smushed. You want all your branches to be hiding holes and gaps in your tree.  Fluff each section and start to get it back in shape.

Put on the tree topper-  You want to add your tree topper before you put on the ornaments.  More than likely you will be on some sort of ladder and you don’t want to knock off your precious glass ornaments.  There are so many options these days that you can add on the top of your tree.  Try using a bow, an angel, picks, a star, a reindeer etc..

Add large tree fillers- This is where I like to add extra branches to my tree that make them look more realistic. My favorite are the branches that are frosted or covered in ice.  I love to make my green trees look like they have been hit with a little bit of snow. You don’t know how many people have asked me where I bought my tree when I used these branches.  This tree happened to be just a regular inexpensive tree and was just filled with wonderful picks and fillers to make it look amazing.

Add fillers into your tree to make it more realistic looking. Yours Truly Jenn

Add color with designer ribbon- Ribbon can be a game changer for your tree.  You can find this in any theme and color that you’re looking for.  Weaving ribbon in and out can take a special technique.  You don’t want to make it look like you just circled around the tree and wrapped the ribbon around and around and around. Here is a post I did last year showing the full decorating of all my trees.  And if you’re not already reading Kristen’s blog Ella Clare Inspired, you need to head over there and read her post on using ribbon on your Christmas Tree. For an 8 foot tree you want to buy at least 4 rolls of ribbon that are 10 yards long. This way you have enough to use on packages at the base of your tree.

Add decorative ribbon to your tree. Yours Truly Jenn

Organize ornaments by color and put large ornaments on the bottom-  I took the time this year to take all my ornaments down in October and instead of having them labeled by tree I put them in tubs by color. This was the smartest thing I did organization wise.  I started seeing how my trees could be decorated by using different color combinations. I really started mixing metals and materials and saved money by using the items I already own. Start down low and hang your large ornaments first.  Also, look for holes deep inside the tree where big ornaments can fill holes and dangle without hitting branches.  Remember, with artificial trees you can manipulate the branches.

Finish off with smaller Picks and decorative pieces-  This is one of my favorite steps.  I really love to add decorative fillers to the tree.  When you add items like colored picks, flowers, and netting you can really start to see the tree take a designer look.  These items can be expensive when buying multiple sets.  Look for sales and try to get these early so they are not picked over.

You want to put a tree skirt and holiday packages to finish off the look- You can find tree skirts everywhere in every theme.  I always like the classic white or gold ones so they go with most of my trees.  I also like to save some of my ribbon from the tree to use on my packages at the bottom of the tree.  It really pulls the look together.

Add packages to the bottom of your tree to add a decorative look. Yours Truly Jenn

Lastly, Put a stomper on your tree- I love stompers.  When you have as much holiday decor as I do stompers make your life so much easier.  They are cheap and can easily be found.

I hope some of these tips will help you add some pizzazz to your tree.  What are some of your holiday decorating tips?  I’m sure you have some that we could add.  Please leave a comment below and add to the discussion.  Happy Holidays.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

Rose Gold and Blush Christmas

I am so excited that Christmas home tours are finally here. These are literally my favorite posts of the year. I have been decking the halls for a couple weeks now to get my home ready to share with you.  It takes me a while to get things presentable enough to photograph so I like to start early and take my time.  I’m lucky though. My neighborhood tends to decorate early. When I see the first person decorate it’s like an unspoken go ahead that I can decorate the outside of my home without getting strange looks.

This year I had my theme already decided way back in the summer. Knowing my theme early allowed me to start collecting anytime I saw something while I was out shopping. This way I could purchase things on sale. I was able to get my table decor for my kitchen by October. If you can shop early you will get things before they are picked over.  I know where I live there aren’t a lot of options for Christmas decor so when you find something you need to buy it early.

My theme this year incorporates rose gold, blush, and gold metallics. I love this theme.  It is very soft and romantic.  Very big contrast from the plaid red and black I did last year. Check out my home tour from 2015 here.  The pictures I took during last year’s home tour turned out so good I was a little nervous about how these colors would photograph, but I was so pleased with the tree I moved forward and tried my best to capture the tree in all its glory.

Blush and Rose Gold Christmas Home Tour - Yours Truly Jenn

 

Rose Gold and Blush Holiday Home Tour www.yourstrulyjenn.com

The curly ribbon is rolled around something round to create this shape.

Blush and rose gold Christmas Tree with gold metallic ornaments. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

These blush packages are from Sugar Paper for Target.

Blush tree, ornaments, and blush sugar paper gifts. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

A lot of my ornaments I’ve saved over the years, but At Home had a lot of rose gold and champagne accents this year.

Blush and white pillows Yours Truly Jenn Holiday Tour 2016. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

These pillows are from Michaels.

Blush and gold holiday home tour 2016. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

This champagne ribbon is from Dillard’s 2016 collection.

Holiday house tour 2016- Blush tree and Rose gold tablescape. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I bought these pink glasses at Anthropologie in the fall.

Rose Gold tablescape and rose gold glasses from Anthropology. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

These rose gold chargers came from Wayfair.

Blush and rose gold tablescape. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

These rose gold candles came from Amazon.

Rose gold tablescape with blush tree. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I found these rose gold napkin rings along with gold and silver at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Thank you for checking out the first part of my home tour.  There is lots more to see in the next couple of weeks so keep checking back. I have several more rooms to show you with different color themes. I hope this gives you some inspiration for your own home.  I post daily inspiration on my Instagram and Pinterest accounts.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

Tips for Stress Free Holiday Entertaining

I love to entertain especially around the holidays.  With all the decorating, shopping, and events to attend; it can be quite overwhelming to prepare your home for a party.  I have come across several things that have helped me over the years and I wanted to share these tips with you.  I always say work hard, but work smart.  You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.  I hope something in this post will be new to you so you can implement it this holiday season.

Holiday entertaining doesn't have to be stressful. Here are some tips to help you entertain. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Tips for stress free entertaining

  • SET THE TABLE DAYS IN ADVANCE–  Wash up all your dishes and arrange your table several days before your party.  This way you can see if you have everything you need and if your vision will turn out the way you “think” it will. Use a faux center piece and then add fresh flowers or other pieces at the very end so they keep their luster.
  • IF YOU CAN, HAVE YOUR PARTY CATERED- This is the best investment you will spend.  You will be able to mingle at your party instead of filling food trays.  Also most caterers will have items that you can rent from them like linens, tables, and decor.  This makes everything so simple for you.  They also have servers so it really takes the work off of you during the party.
  • USE WHITE DISHES- If you don’t have white dishes that is what you need to invest in.  Having white china and everyday dishes has really helped me when coming up with tablescape ideas during different seasons.  I have been able to change my themes easily because I have a neutral background. I can change out placemats, napkins, and centerpieces while adding pops of color to match my themes.
  • USE CANDLELIGHT TO CREATE BEAUTIFUL AMBIANCE- I love using candles on my tables for added light and to create a beautiful atmosphere.  I have a ton of candles.  I have the tapered kind for my crystal holders, but I also have the battery operated candles that are so easy to use.  They can be turned on by remote and are great for seasonal decorating.
  • CHECK YOUR BATHROOMS DURING THE MIDDLE OF YOUR PARTY- I always go through the restrooms in my home to make sure the bathroom is working properly and is clean.  I empty the trash, make sure the toilet is clean and working properly, and I check to make sure there is enough soap, toilet paper, and guest towels.   It’s also important to empty the trash.  This doesn’t take long, but is noticed if you don’t do this.
  • USE SOME KIND OF CHRISTMAS SCENT IN YOUR HOME- if you don’t have a real tree it’s always cool to have the scent of a real tree in your home.  Candles are an easy way to make your home smell great.  I like the pine smell, but I’m obsessed with my home smelling like I’ve baked all day.  Anything by Bath and Body Works that has vanilla bean in it will smell fabulous.  I love Merry Cookie and Gingerbread Latte for the holidays.
  • HAVE A FABULOUS PARTING GIFT FOR YOUR GUESTS- It’s always nice to give your guests a token of your appreciation for coming out to your party.  It takes effort to get all dressed up and leave your busy schedule so something special when you leave a party is a great idea.  It doesn’t have to be anything big.  Something just to say, “thanks for coming out.”
  • HAVE A BARTENDER ON HAND OR MAKE SIGNATURE DRINKS BEFOREHAND- This one is similar to having a caterer.  You don’t want to be behind the bar mixing up signature drinks all night.  Hiring a bartender makes sense so you don’t have to be watching the drinks all evening.  This will take a lot of stress off you.
  • HAVE SEVERAL DESIGNATED PLACES FOR TRASH- Check on trash often.  You don’t want the trash overflowing.  Especially if your party is inside your home.  I like to put several trash cans out in major locations so they are easy to find and are near the “go to” areas.
  • WATCH THE TEMPERATURE- Most people want to have a roaring fire going for ambiance, but lots of people are wearing velvet outfits for Christmas parties.  I actually turn on the AC at these kinds of parties.  There are so many people placed in a couple of rooms and it can get quite warm.  It’s the worst to be warm at someone’s home.  Think about this ahead of time and how you will handle this.

What kinds of things have you learned from hosting your own parties?  I’m sure you have several tricks up your sleeve that you’re willing to share with us.  Leave a comment below if you have a great tip to share. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

8 Tips to Make Your December More Enjoyable

Christmas is just around the corner.  As the song goes it is my favorite time of the year. There is so much to get excited about, but with that can also come a lot of stress and feeling overwhelmed.  There is a lot of pressure associated with pulling off a spectacular holiday for your family.  Busy moms deserve to have an amazing stress free December with their family.  The key to making things go smoother for me is to have a plan of action and be organized several days or weeks before the event actually occurs.  I am not good at waiting until the last minute to throw something together.  Here are some tips that I have found helpful to make my December more enjoyable.

Tips for a stress free December. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Tips to An Organized December

  1.  Decide what Charities and groups you will help early on.  There are lots of opportunities to help others around the holidays.  Our family is very involved with a group called PIN (People In Need).  It helps the homeless community get back on their feet.  My husband has been a huge part of this charity for quite some time.  Although we help them year round, we have also made it our family Christmas project. We save toiletries all year and then make care packages to hand out at Christmas to the homeless shelter.  If you don’t know of someone personally in need or don’t have a charity you can always give to Toys for Tots or the Angel Tree.
  2. Make your lists and shop early–  I try to make my master shopping list in late October and get a jump on my shopping in early November.  I like to have the majority of it done by early December so I can actually enjoy December.  I love for family members to give me a list of items they would like to receive. This makes my job a lot easier and my family gets what they want. I even keep my kid’s lists each year and we have fun looking back at the letters they wrote. It’s fun to see what they wrote to Santa when they were younger and what kinds of things they asked for each year.  If you can shop early, I would say that is the one thing that could save you from being overwhelmed in late December.
  3. You can’t do EVERYTHING in December if you want to stay sane-  You have to learn to say No.  There are certain events that you just are not going to be able to attend if you want to do what’s best for your family.  This one took me a while to get a grip on. There are so many extra events and parties between Thanksgiving and Christmas that you just want to cram everything in.  Well that’s when the bad moods and meltdowns are going to occur.  Stick to your family traditions that you enjoy and are a “must do” and a couple of other events.  Say NO to the rest.  Then you will have time to get your list done.
  4. Get your family traditions scheduled on the calendar ASAP-  There are things my family does each year that we want to continue doing.  Some things need reservations and if I’m not on the ball prior to the Thanksgiving break then we are out of luck.  One year, I was too late on setting up the brunch reservation at the place we eat each year.  We get dressed up and go to the hotel and look at all the holiday decor around the property. It was completely booked on every Sunday in December by the time I remembered to call.  You would have thought I had boycotted Christmas the way my kids acted.  But you can guarantee I will never forget to book that brunch because my family loves it so much. It is just part of what we do in December that makes it Christmas to us.
  5. Wrap your gifts as you buy them-  Wrapping your gifts as you purchase them can really keep you organized. Sometimes I actually forget what I have already purchased or lose small things like gift cards or jewelry.  Keeping the gifts wrapped as I go gets them out of my closet and under the tree.  I also use different paper for each child so it’s easier to pass out gifts on Christmas morning. Plus they like choosing their paper each year.
  6. Finish your Christmas Cards Early–  This is a hard task for me each year.  I don’t want to leave it until the middle of December. I really have to start thinking of this in October or my photographer will be booked.  I try to have him take the pictures and do a custom card for us.  It is just easier for me and I always love what he does. However, Minted offers such great cards and prices that you can create something amazing to show off your family to your friends. I like to start addressing them by Thanksgiving break and send them in early December.
  7. Make all special gifts for teachers, neighbors, and party hosts early- Get your ideas and supplies together for gifts you need to make for the special people in your life.  When my kids were younger we used to make DIY gifts for their teachers, bus drivers, and our wonderful neighbors.  It was fun to get them involved in the process.  We would throw some Christmas music on and get in the crafting zone. They took pride that the gift came from them and the teachers always loved something personal.  Of course it always came with a gift card.  Come on…. I’m a former teacher so I know what teachers like… There are only so many coffee mugs full of candy you can get in a season. But it’s the thought that counts. 
  8. Try to Shop during the week or online if you can- Shopping online saves so much time and you don’t have to go out and be bothered by the crowds.  Most sites are offering free shipping now so look for those deals.  Also try to search for coupons prior to your shopping. Most sites will actually have coupon codes that you can print out to take to the stores.  It’s worth a couple minutes to do a quick search.   

Do you have any tips that could help us save time and money this holiday?  Leave a comment below. I am always interested in learning something new.  Christmas is my favorite time of year and I would love to get through it with the least amount of stress as possible.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

Be Our Guests

  The Ultimate Guest Room

If your home is like ours you probably host a lot of guests during the holiday season.   There is one thing you can be sure of, after I travel 8 hours with two teenagers for Thanksgiving, I am the perfect one to describe items that weary travelers need when they arrive at their final destination.  You don’t want your guests to have to ask for items they may need or have forgotten to pack.  This guest room has a coastal design and is just amazing.  The furniture is from Outer Banks Furniture and was in Tara Preston’s Homearama home this year.  I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to help decorate this home.

The majority of this house is done in blue tones. However, I think the yellow accent color makes the room so bright and cheery.  Of course a guest room needs to be aesthetically pleasing, but there are several necessities that I immediately think of when I entertain overnight guests.

Blue guest room with a coastal design. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Musts for your overnight Guests

1.Have closet space for guests to hang their clothing-  Lots of us use our closets for storage.  However, when guests come to spend the night at your home, they will have clothing that will need to be hung up.  Always have empty hangers in the closet and make sure there is room for their clothes.  Nobody wants to open a closet and have an avalanche of your items fall on them.

2. Luggage rack- It is always a good idea to have at least one luggage rack for the guest room.  It makes it very convenient for your guests to place their bags on the rack and not have to put their suitcase in the floor. These are easy to find and don’t cost very much.  Plus you really don’t want luggage placed on your nice furniture so it is just easiest to have this for your guests.

Guests need a luggage rack and place to hang their clothing. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

3. Lamps-  Having lamps by the bedside tables give your guests the proper lighting they need.  Some people like to read before bed and this gives them the opportunity to do that without having to keep the ceiling light on.  Plus, if they have to get up in the middle of the night this gives them the option of having a light source. Sometimes, I even leave night lights in the bathroom especially if the guests have small children.

4.chair-  When I visit other people’s homes I love when there is some type of furniture in the room.  You can use it to layout clothes for the next day, sit and read, or just rest a few minutes in between activities without having to get into the bed.

5.tv- This isn’t a necessity, but I think it is a luxury most people would appreciate.  There will definitely be down time and time at night where your guests will have time to themselves and they can unwind by watching tv in their room.  It doesn’t have to be large or the latest smart tv, but your guests will appreciate the option of having one in their room.

6. Reading Materials- My mother in law has the best magazines for us when we visit her house.  I always take a book when I travel, but when I go to her house I never have to take magazines. We all know how much the decorating magazines cost so having several out for your guests would be greatly appreciated.

7. Wifi Password-  If your home has a password to use the wifi, you need to make sure your guests have instructions on how to use their technology. This is something you don’t want them to have to ask about.  You could even put this in a basket of goodies.

8. Basket of Goodies– Sometimes guests feel insecure asking for food or drink at other people’s homes.  To make this less awkward, leave a basket of goodies and water in their room.  Then they can access this whenever they feel hungry.  I’ve used nuts, granola bars, trail mix, and water to name a few.

Coastal decor for the guest bedroom. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

9. Extra Toiletries- Of course I always have things in the shower like shampoo, conditioner, bath gels and soap. I also put out enough fresh towels for my guests.  However, I leave a glass jar of extra toiletries just in case they forgot some things such as a razor, toothbrushes, toothpaste, q-tips, hand lotion, mouthwash, and small shampoos in case the large ones have agents they may be allergic to.  My son is allergic to lavender and lots of products have scents that bother me to the point where I get migraines. This makes me very sensitive to that issue and I try to put out things that I would normally pack myself.

10. Clock- Even though your guests are on vacation it is important to have a clock in their room.  some activities you may be doing have time constraints like dinner or theater plans and guests might need to be ready at a certain time.

11. Extra blankets– It is a great idea to leave extra blankets of varying weights and pillows in the room so guests can control the temperature.  I’m allergic to feathers and always prefer the down alternative options at hotels.  It is definitely something to think about when buying linens for your guest room.

12. keurig station-  Having a coffee and tea station set up in the guest room would really make your guests feel at home.  They could wake up and get the caffeine kick they need first thing in the morning.  Or in the evening some hot tea might hit the spot right before heading off to bed.  I know I would really appreciate this amenity.

Other Guest’s Amenities

I have insomnia and unfortunately am a late night snacker. Therefore, I know what it is like to be up late at night when everyone else is sleeping and you wish you had something to eat or drink. I like to stock a little basket of healthy snacks such as granola bars, nuts, fruit snacks etc… along with bottled water for guests. It also makes taking medications easier on guests if there is water in the room. Also, place some current magazines in several different genres for your guests to read during down time.

 Royal Treatment

The most important thing is to let your guests know up front that you are there for them and wish to make them as comfortable as possible. If you establish that from the start, you’re bound to have an amazing visit with your guests. The best thing to do when preparing your guest room is think about the things you would like or need when staying away from home.  Then you really design a beautiful, but functional room that you and your guests are happy with.

From Casa Ely we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends and travel safely.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

A Rose Gold Thanksgiving Tablescape

I can’t believe we are already in mid November.  I love November for many reasons.  It’s my birthday month, Thanksgiving is near and Christmas stuff starts showing up in stores. But the thing I like most about a blogger’s November is I get to see so many holiday home tours from my favorite sources of inspiration. I didn’t do a fall tour this year, but I would love for you to check out last year’s tour. This year my Thanksgiving tablescape revolves around rose gold metallics. I am obsessed with rose gold.  I wear it whenever I can and I am using it in my home decor as much as possible.  You are going to see it in most of my holiday decorating themes for the rest of the year.  I truly believe that you should use the things that make you happy in your home.  We know that fashion dictates trends in home and color trends. I think your home decor should reflect your style.  I try to change up one of my trees each year to incorporate colors that I’m excited about.

A Rose Gold Thanksgiving Tablescape by www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I also try to decorate my tables to match my tree’s theme and color palette. My tip to you is to get a set of white dishes and serving pieces.  Even my fine china is a classic cream color with just a simple band of gold trim.  This makes it so much easier to change your themes depending on the seasons and your changing style.  Then you can add pizzazz or pops of color with dinner napkins, placemats, and table runners.

I love the copper leaves I found at Michaels craft. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

My copper mugs from Target and and Copper hammered chargers from Wayfair were key pieces to pull off this rose gold look.  These are very inexpensive pieces that really set the tone for the look I was going for.

A mixture of faux pumpkins finish off this looks. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Dough bowls come in handy for so many reasons.  I actually use this smaller one for my husband’s stuff in our mudroom.  He keeps his keys and wallet and other important things from his pockets in here. I have several, but this one is the perfect size for a centerpiece for this table.  They are so popular that you can find them in almost any catalog.  This one came from Ballard Designs.

img_7203 The fall colored foliage gives the table a fresh look. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I picked up some dusty miller, fall foliage, and pomegranates at my local grocery store to help finish off my centerpiece.  I love using natural materials in my tablescapes when I can.  The velvet pumpkins I found on clearance at Target.

Adding pomegranates to the mix really finished off this look.

This tablescape is so different from anything I’ve done before.  I hope you liked it.  I’m going to use some of these items to create my Christmas table.  I really believe you should reuse what you can and shop your home before spending money on specialty seasonal dishes.

I love these fall colors together. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I would love to connect with you.  Check out my Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.  I share frequently on these platforms and you can keep up with me.  Thanks for stopping by.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

Labor Day Last Summer Hurrah

I’ve been enjoying all your back to school photos on my social media, but my kids don’t go back to school until the day after Labor Day.  We are milking every bit of this summer vacation for all it’s worth.  We just got back from a relaxing week long vacation at Hilton Head.  We met my husband’s family there and rented a house together for the week.  It was such a great way to spend our last summer hurrah.  My kid’s parasailed, paddle boarded, swam, relaxed and ate a ton of amazing food.  It was nice to have a relaxing beach week before getting back into schedules, waking up early, and homework. We also got to enjoy some much needed family time before everyone is going in a hundred different directions.  This year I’m going to have a senior and a freshman.  This is going to be one CRAZY and EMOTIONAL year for me.

Labor Day Last Summer Hurrah www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I look at September as my New Year. I like to set goals for myself and organize everything. My favorite thing of all is buying office and school supplies. I just love new supplies. If they’re miniature that’s even better. My office will be the most organized and stocked in September. I am going to have this one last outdoor tablescape for Labor Day weekend and then my posts are going to start shifting to prepare for fall. Since it’s right around the corner, I’m kind of looking forward to sweaters, football, boots, and cozy fires.

Black, white, and chartreuse green outdoor tablescape. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

My theme for this year’s outdoor furniture was black and white and I accented with pops of color through my accessories such as pillows, umbrellas, tablescapes, and dishes. Having the black and white theme made it easy for me to add any color I wanted to match different holidays or themes.

Black and white Market umbrellas and Frontgate Balengia chaise lounges. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Whether you have started school or are about to start, I hope you can enjoy your three day weekend with your closest friends and family. Do the things that make you happy and inspire you. If your kids start school on Tuesday, September 6th like mine do, I hope you have an amazing day.

Pops of chartreuse green pillows and monogrammed dinner napkins complete this outdoor look. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

 Yours Truly,

Jenn

My Favorite Finds of the Week

I can’t believe we are halfway through the summer.  There are so many things I still want to do with my kids.  I love to see fall clothing in the stores, but I literally cringe when I see the school supplies.  I’m not ready for that yet.  I haven’t done a favorite’s list in quite a while because I have been focusing on my book chatter reviews.  I have several things I want to share with you guys.  I want to give a shout out to my Son’s basketball team the Virginia Marlins.  They had a great run at the National tournament this past weekend.  They came in 2nd place in their bracket. It was an honor just to be invited to that tournament. As you can imagine, I have no voice left and I’m worn out so let’s just get started with this list of faves.

My boys at the 2016 National basketball tournament in Hampton VA. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

If you’re looking for a new store to shop for your teen you have to check out Amazing Lace.  My daughter has ordered some clothes from there and she had really good luck with their stuff.

Looking for a healthy snack? Check out Chobani Flips. There are 13 flavors that crush the worst cravings.  If you want some ideas on how to use Chobani at your next party, check out my Entertaining with Chobani flips post.

I looked way too long for pillows for my back yard without much luck. Then I found Elemenopillows on Etsy. They have a great supply of colors and patterns for indoor and outdoor pillows and pillow covers.

We are redoing our back yard this year and purchased new Balencia bronze chaise lounges and cushions from Frontgate. They are so comfortable and they look amazing around the pool. If you want to check out the mood board that I used to start this project, I would love for you to check out my Florida Room Challenge post.

We are redoing our back yard and I love using black and white as the main color scheme. These chaise lounges from Frontgate are my favorite new purchase. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

 

Check out these Pineapple Party Plates from Anthropologie.  They are only $6 and can be used for so many occasions.

I was so thrilled to find the exact bedding I envisioned from Crane and Company.  I was able to snag it for a great price to complete decorating my room.

Fixate cookbook by Autumn Calabrese is a great way to start off the 21 day Fix.  I finished the  program and have been eating clean for about 3 months now.  I love it.  This cookbook will help you with meal ideas so you don’t get bored from eating the same things over and over.

Do you have any new stores or items that you have discovered recently?  I would love to hear about them.  I’m always on the look out for new products and stores to check out.  You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.  I would love to be friends.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

Entertaining with Chobani Flips

The summer is heating up and if you’re like me you don’t want to stay cooped up in the house.  We just had a big Fourth of July party, but I would love to have some smaller more intimate get togethers. If you want some summertime party ideas, I have just the cool refreshing treat to keep your guests happy.  I have been eating healthier these days and so has my family. I have found that there are certain desserts that are super healthy without sacrificing the taste.  Have you ever thought of using Chobani Flips at a party? Why not use what you already love to make yourself look like an entertaining rockstar?

Entertaining using Chobani Flips in your treats. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Chobani has 13 amazing Flip flavors. These Flips are all the craze with adults and kids.  The yogurt is on one side paired with great combinations on the other side.  Then you just flip these incredible ingredients in the yogurt and you have a pairing that is healthy and will crush any craving you have. Think of some classic pairs like Mac and Cheese, Peanut butter and Jelly and hamburgers and fries.  Soon you will become very familiar with all of Chobani’s new Flip pairings. THEY ARE THAT GOOD GUYS.

Using fruit in your yogurt is a healthy addition. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I used their flow chart to see what category of Flips I would like most. I fell in the sweet N sweet category. Use the chart below to figure out what path leads to your flavor soulmate.  This is just a guide to help you with some of your first choices when trying Chobani. I’m obsessed with the Salted Caramel Crunch flip. Eating this actually gave me the idea to create a parfait bar. I love the way bars are set up so you can personalize your own dessert and make it exactly how you want it.  They are perfect for showers, Mother’s Day gatherings, and brunch.

Chobani Flavor Soulmate Chart www.yourstrulyjenn.com

A Chobani Flip parfait bar is actually quite easy to set up.  I got these adorable dessert glasses on clearance at Pier 1.  They make this simple dessert look so fancy.  Your guests will think you’ve been slaving in the kitchen all day setting up this bar. The great thing about Chobani Yogurt is you can use it year round. So this bar can be used for any type of gathering. Bar set ups bring your guests together while they make their parfaits and it’s a great way to mingle with everyone you’ve invited. Making sure I speak to every guest is just as important to me as having the right food at my party.

Try the Salted Caramel Crunch. It's my favorite. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Seasonal fruits make great toppings for bars. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Summer is an amazing time to put together your bar because there are so many seasonal options. Of Course you will start with your favorite Chobani Flips and then whatever toppings you think would make great combinations. I love to use granola, fruit, nuts, and anything else I can think of.

A parfait bar makes for a great dessert at a party. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

On your next shopping trip try a Flip flavor that you think you would love.  My favorite one is only 190 calories and is packed with pretzels, chocolate, and praline pecans.  There aren’t many snacks for that caloric amount where you get to savor sweet and salty treats like that.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

 

Staging Your Home for Sale

My parents are selling their home and building.  My dad is quite talented and has built every home I lived in as a child.  We also took that crazy journey and he built 2 homes for my husband and me.  Building is quite an adventure, but it is something I love doing.  I really enjoy the process of choosing everything from the cabinet handles, paint switches, to the furniture used to furnish the home.

I love decorating with lemons to bring out the pops of yellow. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Although this time of year is perfect for selling a home, my parent’s home is in one of the higher price points.  These homes are taking longer to to sell.  My mom asked me to come and style her kitchen and sunroom as well as her dining room.  I thoroughly enjoyed doing this for her.  I actually saw a picture of some Pier 1 accessories in a magazine and knew from that picture  I was going to go with yellow and blues for my color scheme.  I gathered what I thought I would use and took off for her house.  She loved my inspiration picture so with the green light I went to work on decorating and setting up all my decor.

Dishes from Target and Pier 1 make a lovely summer arrangement that buyers are looking for. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

I used a mix of dishes from Target, Pier 1, and Pottery Barn.  It is amazing how you can gather things from so many different stores and collections and they can go together as if you purchased them as a set.  First, I worked on her kitchen table. Tablescapes are my absolute favorite things to decorate.  I always keep my dining room table decorated depending on the season or holiday.  With all the blue and yellow I chose to have a centerpiece of real lemons to tie in my accent color.  I love decorating with lemons and limes.

Blue and yellow pair well together for a great summer duo. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

Adding accessories to the gathering room pulled the two rooms together. www.yourstrulyjjenn.com

My mom has a large picture of a sailboat above her mantel so I thought I would bring in my boats to stay within her theme and continue with our blue and yellow color scheme.  I think they look amazing on top of her entertainment console. Lastly, the pillows really tie the whole room together.  I got those from Target.  I had them in a guest room at my home, but I think they look amazing here in her sunroom.

Flowers are a great choice to bring in added pops of color to a room. www.yourstrulyjenn.com

After I staged the house it sold in 2 weeks.  I’m so happy that they only had the house up for sale for a total of 5 weeks.  I was very happy to do it and if it helped them sell their house then I’m very flattered. Here are some tips for staging your own home.  I hope your house sells as quickly as my parent’s home did.

Depersonalize the Space

When someone looks at a house that they are really interested in they want to envision their stuff in the space.  You may have sentimental items that mean the world to you, but your house will show better if you pack them away.  Then when you get to your new house and unpack it will be so fun to see all your special possessions again. Also, keep the walls as neutral as possible.

Get Rid of Clutter

If you get rid of the clutter and piles building up in your home it will look a lot bigger. Also rearrange the furniture properly to maximize the size of the room. A big mistake I see homeowners make is putting the wrong size furniture in a room.  Don’t stuff oversized furniture into a small room.  It just doesn’t work.  You want to make sure each room is being used to its full potential.  You don’t want a dining room being used as a playroom. It would make the buyer think your home doesn’t have enough storage. Speaking of storage, clean out closets, the attic, and kitchen cabinets.  Storage is huge.  If your storage areas are stuffed and the door won’t shut, the buyer will again think there isn’t enough storage in your home.

Spring Clean

Keeping your home in “showing” condition is quite difficult.  Especially if you have kids.  However, if you spring clean before you put the house up for sale then you just have to straighten up before potential buyers come to look at your home. You want to focus on things like dusting fans, wipe down cabinets, change out toilet seats, and clean all your grout. Most buyers want a home inspection so repair anything that is broken before you put your house up for sale.

Curb Appeal

The first thing potential buyers will see is the outside of your home.  I hate judging a book by its cover, but the outside of your home will be the first impression for the buyer.  You want to have large house numbers so delivery personnel, your friends, and your family can see where you live.  Make sure you take care of any roofing issues, update the paint job, and make sure the landscaping is fresh and the lawn manicured.  This will give you curb appeal that makes a GREAT first impression.

Focus on Small Details

The small details are what make your decor personal and unique. I like to put fresh flower arrangements in the kitchen when I can.  As you can tell by the pictures above, I like to use real lemons in my decor as well.  When you pick your theme, try to think of something you can use as an accent. If you love art then decorate with that.  The sky is the limit.

 Moving can definitely be challenging, but It’s a great opportunity to clean out some of the stuff that has been accumulating in your home. Start in plenty enough time so you’re not overwhelmed.  Good luck with your move.  Please share this post with someone else who may be moving.  They might find the styling tips helpful.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

1 2 3 13