Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wrap It Up

Coco Chanel once said “The best things in life are free…the second best are expensive”.  As usual, Ms. Chanel was on the money.  Regardless of how much you spent on Christmas presents, you can make them look like a million bucks with carefully selected wrapping paper.  Below are some of our faves- click on the pictures for details. 

Whimsey Press- $4.50

Kate’s Paperie- $4.00 & $6.00

Red Stamp- $7.00

Crate&Barrel - $7.95 

Anthropologie- $10.00

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cyber Monday Savings

Here’s an equation I think you’ll enjoy…take Black Friday, subtract the getting up early, waiting in lines, and fighting through stores and multiply the convenience by two…what do you get?  Answer: Cyber Monday.  In the interest of alerting you to these amazing sales as soon as possible- I’m going to bypass any and all fluff and just tell you where the best sales are and just how good of a sale we’re talking about.  ‘Tis the season for giving, but keep in mind if there’s something you need for your home, now is the time to buy it.  Act fast cause most of these deals only last until the end of the day- believe me no one will be celebrating Too-Late-Tuesday.

Amazon is posting HUGE 50+% off sales all throughout the day in each of their many departments (books, movies, music, electronics, toys, games, clothing, shoes, home, etc,).  Quantities are limited, though- so once items are gone, they’re gone.

Take 20% off everything online, including furniture, home decor, kitchen and dining, food and drink, bed and bath and other accessories.  

Save up to 25% off trendy bedding, pillows,and lighting.

Save up to 75% off lighting fixtures, d├ęcor, furnishings, kitchen accessories, bedding, and more.  

Featured furniture is offered at 10-50% discount.

Save up to 50% on unique and personalized gifts.

Save 20% on everything in the store, including lighting, furniture, wall decor and more...plus get free shipping.

Take 10% off small kitchen appliances, bake ware, cutlery, home decor, and mattresses.

Take 15% off any order – enter promocode CYBER15 at checkout.
Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a verb, you know- and on this particular Thanksgiving I’ve got a whole lot to be grateful for.  I could ‘count my blessings and name them one by one’ as the old hymn goes, but that could take the rest of my adult life.  I think the best way to summarize is simply to say my family is one in a trillion.  I’m thankful beyond belief to be part of the Beretta clan.  We ate reeeeeally good today (which I’m also feeling pretty thankful about) and had a wonderful time enjoying each others company.  Here’s just a few shots from our celebration- tell me about yours!

Centerpieces and Place Settings

Appetizers and Dinner

Homemade Butternut Squash Ravioli 
(start to finish)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve Checklist

T-minus one day ‘til Thanksgiving and boy oh boy am I excited.  We’ve been planning, shopping and cooking for days…I can say with confidence that something delicious this way comes.  You’ve got the rest of today and a little bit of time tomorrow before Thanksgiving dinner officially begins.  Use your time wisely and don’t let odds and ends fall through the cracks!  As promised, here are few tips and reminders for your perusing pleasure.

-Unload the dishwasher before guests arrive.  This one is important!
-Empty the trash and consider double or triple lining it…that way when you empty the trash, another bag is already in place.
-Use foil any and everywhere for a snappy (and happy) clean-up.
-Clean your fridge so there’s room for the best leftovers of the year.
-Double check the toilet paper situation in your guest bathroom(s).
-Designate and area for coats…will you need extra hangers?  
-If you’re not accustomed to the pitter patter of little feet, the idea of childproofing your home might be easy to overlook.  Keep your miniature guests in mind and cover outlets, move breakable items placed on low shelves and ensure your home is safe for kids.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Survival Kit of the Fittest

There are two sides to every coin…exhibit A: Thanksgiving.  On one hand, it’s the biggest meal of the year which is fantastic.  Unfortunately, that also means it’s the biggest clean-up of the year.  Spills and dishes and garbage, oh my!  If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner (or if you’re the family’s token ‘prepared one’) then it might help to put together a small cleaning kit in advance.  Aside from the obvious cleaning items (dishwashing detergent, trash bags, etc.) here are some things you might consider gathering.

1)Disposable Tupperware:  The trick is to choose some you don’t ever care to see again.  Kiss them goodbye and use then to send leftovers home with family and friends.
2)Stain fighters: Grab a Tide-to-go stick (for sloppy guests), all-purpose spot carpet and upholstery cleaner, red wine remover, and talcum powder or cornstarch (to pre-treat oil based stains).  Remember- stains should be addressed immediately and blotted, not rubbed, for best results.
3)Waiter’s crumb scraper: Is it just me, or would that make cleaning up kind of fun?
4)Towel and iron: Great for removing candle wax from the carpet or tablecloth.
5)Items to bribe or blackmail guests into helping with the clean-up….just kidding…unless you can make it work, of course. 

Check back tomorrow for a last-minute Thanksgiving Checklist.  We’re oh so close to Turkey Day, ladies and gents!
Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Hostess

Of all the roles I’ve ever played, I think I enjoy ‘hostess’ the most.  Give me a room stuffed with smiling, full guests and I’m golden.  I have a small roster of usual suspects that come over pretty frequently….at this point, I’m not really sure they count as guests anymore.  About a week ago our little crew expanded after Nina and Anthony, two of my childhood friends, moved to Nashville.  They’re the cutest little newlyweds you’ve ever seen and we’re all so excited they’re finally here.  We’ve had a couple “family” dinners since their arrival and sweet Nina never comes empty handed.  Whether it’s a loaf of bread or a bottle of Chardonnay, she’s always contributing something.  Her sweet gestures got me thinking about Thanksgiving hostess gifts…if ever there was a time where it was appropriate to acknowledge your host/hostess, next week would be it.  Putting together Thanksgiving dinner is a lot of work- they deserve a special treat, don’t you think?  After reading up on it just a bit, I’ve found people have very strong opinions on this matter.  Some say you should never bring flowers because then the hostess has to stop what she’s doing and put them in a vase.  I’m thinking there’s a pretty obvious solution no one seems to mention…if your host loves flowers and you want to bring them….just bring them in a vase.  Problem solved.  Here are a couple ideas besides flowers that might be perfect for your Thanksgiving host.

1. Red Wine Aerator: 
Buying wine for other people can be intimidating and kind of a gamble.  If you’re looking for a creative and less risky gift for your wine-loving host, try an aerator.  They’re relatively inexpensive (around $40) and increase the palatability of red wine by allowing it to breathe instantly.  

2. Regional Snacks
If you’re visiting from out of town, consider bringing a few of the foods your region is famous for.  Try and stick to non-perishable items so your host or hostess doesn’t feel pressured to serve them with their meticulously planned dinner.  

3. Board Games
If your family is anything like ours, then you know all about the block of time between when Thanksgiving dinner has you vowing to never eat again and when you start breaking out the leftovers for a snack.  Although some of this time is for napping, and some of it is for football, there’s still plenty left for board games.  Buy your host one of your favorites and, when everyone snaps out of their food coma, it’ll be instant entertainment!  

4.  iTunes Gift Cards
They’ll need them for Christmas music.  Enough said. 

5. Your help!
This one is the most important of all.  Call ahead and offer to contribute to the meal- if you’re not a cook then ask if you can bring drinks, plates or silverware, or anything that doesn’t require a stove.  Remember, many hands make light work…this applies to the before, during and after of the meal.  Sure, you don’t feel like doing it, but the best way to land a spot at the top of your host’s “what I’m thankful for” list is to help them clean up!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Center of Attention

I’m gonna keep things short and sweet today...three sentences and I’m out.  1: The award for best Thanksgiving centerpieces goes to Women’s Day Magazine!  2: Follow the links below for full instructions on how to make these simple yet chic pieces.  3: Check back tomorrow for more Thanksgiving fun!




Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ready, Set (the Table), Go

I love my big family, and I’m so grateful we’ll have the chance to be together for the Thanksgiving holiday, but when you’re feeding the masses some concessions need to be made.  In our case, the damage is minimal- no formal place settings.  It’s a small price to pay.  If ever I find myself living in a world where money is no object and storage is easy to come by, this may no longer be the case…although even then, it’s would require purchasing a pretty impractical number of sets.  If your family is smaller OR if you’re looking for an excuse to argue for wholesale pricing, there are plenty of festive holiday pieces to choose from for your table.  If you didn’t read yesterday’s post, you missed out on my Thanksgiving confession…although I very much look forward to Thanksgiving every year, I do have a hard time giving it my full attention.  Come November 1st I’ve got at least one eye on Christmas.  I noted a few things you might want to take into consideration to help your transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas be a fluid one.  Check them out here.  In Part 1 of today’s post, I kept things quite neutral….any of these pieces are equally suited for your Thanksgiving or Christmas celebration.  Part 2 is a little more Thanksgiving specific...notice how the majority of these elements are minor and easily interchanged.  Check back tomorrow for ideas on one element of Thanksgiving that- big family or not- we certainly don’t skimp on…centerpieces!

Part 1:

Part 2: