a christmas eve house tour

i don't think i've ever spent so little time getting my house ready for christmas.
and yet i love the way everything looks.
our fake tree escaped the donation bin again and is decorated with my old christmas postcards and fresh magnolia leaves from the garden. 

santa dropped by and left me this ottoman.
thank you santa.
turns out he shops here.

if you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know how long i've been bemoaning my big leather ottoman.  i bought it back when i was clueless to the cruelty inflicted on animals to create fashionable goods for us.  i actually had no idea that cows were raised just for their hides. 
i thought they used the hides from cows slaughtered for food.
when i became a vegan and learned the truth it just made me sad as it sat in my living room.

it was snatched up on craigslist in a day.
i don't know if you can tell by the picture, but the new ottoman has casters!
  so english, so delightful.

 a view from the front door

total decorating time, 10 minutes flat.

as this season of high expectations comes to a peak tonight,
i hope you all have the best christmas you can.
some of us are missing loved ones, some are facing financial problems or health problems.  if you need it, you have my permission to be kind to yourself.
as with all holidays i will try to be on my best behavior and not kill anyone.
no one has a perfect life.
and as a very good friend always reminds me...nobody has it all.
it's just one day for goodness sakes and we will all live through it.
tonight i will go to midnight mass and express my deepest gratitude for all i have and all i don't have.

see you next year.



delivering jam clothes

in case you were wondering,
this is what i wore to deliver my jam today.

that's a lot of ralph lauren ruffles there.

my friend steve just won a contest for best christmas tree.
those judges were smart b/c his tree is awesome.
go see the whole contest at

i went to payless to pick up my red satin vegan kitten heels and they were too big.
so now i've got to start the whole ordering thing all over again and i'm not sure i'm up to that.

i'll be back as soon as i have something good to say.



christmas goodies

tomorrow i will be delivering my Christmas gifts to my neighbors.
assorted jams...fig, peach, apricot and strawberry.
i made them during the summer while you were probably having fun at the beach.

i'm linking to




a corner of christmas

my charming neighbor dropped this beautiful poinsettia off today and i thought, holy cow, it's getting close to christmas.

actually i still have 9 days left.

seriously, i've been enjoying myself by being a bystander and reading all the posts on
 beautiful bloggers list.

  it's been nice watching you all decorate and bake and go a little nuts.
you guys are good.

i could get used to this though.
it's way easier reading blogs than writing one.

i'm so excited to see just what is in store for me this weekend.

aren't you?


things this vegan would love for christmas...hint, hint

payless - under $20
i love everything about these red satin pumps
can you just imagine all the fun outfits they would go with?

ok, i have to admit, i already bought these!
when they first arrived i thought they looked a bit el cheapo but i've since changed my mind.
they are so soft and comfy and go with practically everything i own.
under $30

aren't these adorable?
payless - under $20

i've been wanting this white ruffle blouse for some time now.
i would wear it with jeans and those oxfords and leopard wedges.
or how about skinny black pants and the red satin pumps?


i tried this cape on in the store and fell in love with it.
i can't decide which i like better, the red one pictured here
or the navy blue one.
both are warm and absolutely adorable on.
perfect for a chilly stroll.


this american apparel 100% cotton flannel scarf is incredibly soft.
i got one for larry but plan to steal it on a regular basis.

so there you go, isn't this list so cute? 

i continue to wish you the most happy, healthy and compassionate
christmas ever.



the vegan stoner

this is quite possibily the coolest, easiest vegan cooking site i've ever seen.
thanks for hooking me up steve.
these people prove that being vegan is easy and they do it in a truly delightful and fresh way.

do something wonderful for yourself, the animals and the earth this christmas!

check out the vegan stoner here.



an ivy league makeover

this is karen's dining room when i started.  very beautiful but it just needed a few things to help tie it into the rest of the house.

this is a shot from midway up the stairs to show the relationship between the entry, living room and dining room.

this was the dining room on thanksgiving.
you can see the small changes that were made.
a seagrass rug, new chandelier and i had a print framed that they purchased while visiting their sons on the east coast.

coral and blue and white

i set the table using karen's french countryside dinnerware, linen napkins and fresh magnolia leaves scattered.  the candlesticks were hers, i just painted them all black.

standing in the entry - looking left

the view from the dining room.

working on this house has been such a joy to me.
karen is an amazing woman and so fun to work with.
this was not a big decorating job, really just clearing clutter and moving things around.

this is the family room.
again, a beautiful room that just need decluttering and a few extra touches.
the large sofa sectional is from crate and barrel.

all i did was organize the bookcase and switch things around a little.

i created this little reading corner for karen with things she already had.
all i purchased was the lamp, throw and had a large mat cut for the frame she already had to fit any 8x10 photo she wanted.
she chose a darling christmas photo of her sons when they were little boys.
she can easily switch the photo out seasonally or whenever she feels like it.

and finally her bedroom.
this bedroom had so much potential because the view of the golf course and mountains is just spectacular.
we squeaked out a makeover of the room with barely any money left in the budget.
but i just love the results.

the duvet cover was found at an estate sale for $20.
the lamps are from target and i believe they were $50 or $60 each.
the pillow shams were on clearance at pottery barn.
the nightstands were found at an estate sale.

the nightstands had been in a fire but they were made really well so def worth saving.
they cleaned up just fine so i painted the outsides white and the insides a deep marine blue.
the mirror is from marshalls.

this is the little sitting area off the bedroom

karen's husband bruce painted all the walls to match the blue that karen loves.
an ikea loveseat, throw and yardsale table and basket tray make the room useable.
the floorlamp is from target.

i also helped pull 2 guest rooms together but lost the before pictures when i lost my hardrive.
in those rooms i used what she had and just fluffed them up with new shams and lamps.

so that is it.  karen's house is done.
i hope you all have enjoyed seeing the progress as much as i had making it.

like i said it was a joy.

thank you all for your amazing comments regarding the sequins and chambray shirt.
i promise to wear it every which way you suggested!
thanks so much, i am truly blessed to have the best commenters in the world!


sequins and chambray

j. crew

before i met DANI and TABITHA, i was what you call crewless.
i really knew nothing about j. crew.

but these two elegant ladies know j. crew like the back of their hands.
their wardrobes are simply stunning, so i began looking around j. crew's website to see if i could find any ideas i could steal for a couple of festive events that are planned for the holiday season.
that's when i found the above outfit.
sequins and chambray got my attention.

i just so happen to have a leopard-print sequined dress from 1986.
what can i say, dynasty was the #1 show in america.
it was made by lillie rubin, the fancy resortwear company that was founded in 1946.

here it is in all its 1986 glory

and here it is tied at the waist with a chambray shirt

and here i am imitating a disco ball.

so what do you think?
with or without chambray shirt.
i'm leaning towards with.
don't hold back.


an ivy league mom - the entryway

the entry before

karen's number one complaint about her house was that she felt it was schizophrenic.  she loved the east coast/cape cod look but was overwhelmed when it came time to make decisions for her own home.  the first time i walked into karen's house and saw this sweeping staircase, i knew exactly what to do.  it is really beautiful and as many of you have noted, the house had a great start.  hardwood floors, beautiful light and gorgeous views.  like a lot of people do (me included) when decorating their home, she got side-tracked because she likes a  lot of different looks.  i helped her define the look she wanted and set out to create it as best i could on a small budget.  i basically just organized and reused what she had and introduced a few small touches here and there.  this entryway table is a good example.  it is a pretty table but had been faux-painted with olive branches and seemed out of place to me.  the accessories were nice but i thought the space could easily be improved upon.  so i painted the table black and brought in a few accessories.

this is the entryway today. 
the table is now black and with the addition of a pottery barn lantern, a large silver tray, a seashell and a vase filled with beach grasses i think it looks so classic and simple.

this may well be my favorite part of the house. 
the photo wall which tells the story of her son's lives and culminates with their framed acceptance letters to yale and princeton.
how cool is that?

wishing you all a gentle, peaceful thanksgiving.


sweaters and football

today we are watching football with friends so i have to get dressed. 
i think this is perfect and cozy for such a day.
someone is going to have to pry these boots off me when i die b/c i wear them everywhere with everything. 
 it's ridiculous.

some people have a problem with wearing second hand shoes and i understand that.

when i get a new pair of old shoes i wipe the insides with rubbing alcohol and let them dry.
and if the footbed is just awful, then i buy a new comfy one.
dr. scholls makes them and target sells really nice ones.
they run about $5-7 which is usually more than i paid for the shoes.

also, if the shoes are a little too tight, you can generously spray the insides with hairspray and quickly put on a thick pair of socks and squeeze your foot in and walk around for a bit.
the shoes will stretch out and conform perfectly to your foot.

and while i'm here why don't i answer all the questions about karen's house?

1.  the sconces are from pottery barn

2.  the sofa is an ektorp from ikea, the slipcover is sold separately.
i think they are perfect for rooms that don't get tons of use, like karen's living room.

3.  i am not going into the decorating business b/c i'm not a decorator but i would love to do organizing b/c i am an organizer.


this, that & the other thing

well yes, where have i been?  busy that's where.  busy is something i usually don't do but lately i have been helping a friend organize and simplify her house on a teeny tiny budget.  it has been a great deal of fun for me but b/c we are on a tight budget, it does take a lot of time looking for deals and losing my hardrive has made it worse because i lost all the pictures i had taken of her house.  luckily i had downloaded most of the befores onto blogger so they were saved.

also, i will not be cooking this thanksgiving so i thought i'd give you this definitive list of things for creating a compassionate thanksgiving in your home.  or here is my menu from last year.  and if you are overwhelmed by the idea of a complicated table setting, don't be, you can see mine from last year, right here.  and if the stress of the holidays is mounting, you can read this and know you are not alone.

so here is a peek inside karen's living room and also a peek at one of the outfits i'm putting together for the holiday season.

enjoy your weekend, you know i will.  have a happy, peaceful thanksgiving and lets all do the next right thing, shall we?


karens living room before


karen has 2 sons and one just graduated from princeton and the other from yale.
i know.

sequins and chambray
i know.
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