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Holiday Gift Guides
The Holidays are officially here so today I’m bringing you a few gift guides that will hopefully make your shopping experience a little easier. This year I polled my Instagram followers to see which people on their list were the hardest to shop for. Top of the list was husband/significant other, tweens, and mother in law. I couldn’t stop there so I added gifts for her, for the home, for the beauty lover, and your pet. shop the guide shop the guide shop the guide shop the guide shop the guide shop the guide shop the guide shop the guide
My favorite holiday is right around the corner and I’m excited to share this year's Thanksgiving table. I probably put as much thought and effort into the table scape as I do cooking the food. This year, however feels extra special - it's a mix of something old, something new with touches of blue. My entertaining style is relatively casual and I feel this table reflects exactly that. The linens and silver are very traditional while the mix of rattan and pumpkins bring a more casual element. The fresh florals are a mix of white hydrangeas and eucalyptus which I sourced from Trader Joes. I used simple blue & white ginger jars as the vase. A similar look could be achieved with just eucalyptus and pumpkins going down the center. I added some sentimental pieces to the centerpiece. Both the silver candle stick holders and glasses were my Grandmothers who passed away last month. Incorporating them into the table feels extra special while my white dishes were a wedding gift from my Grandfather. Speaking of my white dishes, these plates were gifted to me almost 15 years ago. They've held up beautifully and are still available today. I love the classic style and that I’ve been able to add to the set over the years. If your in need of new everyday china, putting together a registry or just looking for an updated look - I can’t recommend these enough! A few new additions to the table are these chargers and napkin rings. I love how they could both be easily dressed up or dressed down. My bamboo silverware was an early Christmas gift to myself. I’ve been eyeing it for sometime as it reminds me of the original set from Tiffany & Co. This will be our first time using it so stay tuned on my thoughts! SHOP THE LOOK
Chicken Verde Bowl
I’ve quickly realized that busy nights require me to plan ahead for dinner. Now that girls are back to school and dance I find myself pulling out my crockpot at least once a week. This chicken verde recipe has quickly become one of my go-to’s. Not only is it easy to make but it’s delicious too. The base of the recipe is from a Trader Joe’s Chicken Chile Verde recipe that I doctored up to make my own. What I love most is that you can serve it any way you like; whether over rice, black beans or a combination of the two!
1 large onion, diced
12 cloves of garlic, minced
2 jalapeños, de-seaded and diced (I only use 1 when the kids are eating with us)
2 lbs organic chicken thighs (I’ve also used chicken breast)
2 jars of Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde
1/2 tsp. Ground cumin
1 lime squeezed
1 avocado, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 bunch of cilantro chopped
1 can of black beans, drained
1 bag of Trader Joe’s jasmine rice
1 c sour cream
1/2 lime, squeezed
Add onion, garlic jalapeño, chicken thighs, salsa verde and cumin to slow cooker and stir to combine. Squeeze one whole lime over the top and cool on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Before serving take chicken out to shred and then add it back to crockpot. Serve over rice and beans, or anyway you like it!
For the garnishes I like to prep and chop everything beforehand. My favorite topping is the sour cream dressing. Just stir 1 cup of sour cream with a 1/2 of a lime squeeze. Stir until creamy and drizzle on top!
This is the crockpot I use. I love it because the removable insert makes prepping and clean up super simple.
Girls Room - On a budget!
Super excited about sharing the girls' new room. When we sold our last home we also sold about 98% of our furniture including the girls’ bedroom furniture. Ever since I can remember they've had separate bedrooms but prefer to sleep together. So when we signed a lease for a 3 bedroom rental house I gave the girls two options - 1. You can share a bedroom and use the 3rd bedroom as a playroom or 2. You can have separate bedrooms but no real play area. They didn’t think to long about it and went with option one just as I suspected. Our rental is super charming, a 1930’s bungalow and despite the cuteness it lacks two things - size and storage! I knew immediately that the girls room would be best suited for twin beds. I wanted something fun and different for the girls. These beds came in a few colors but I just loved the pop of blue! When selecting the bedding I knew I wanted the main quilt to remain white. White bedding is the easiest to keep clean and goes with everything. I wanted the girls to have some say in the decorating too so I gave them the job of picking out their sheets. There were so many cute options to choose from - mermaids, sharks, rainbows, etc but it was ultimately flamingos that they chose. This sheet set was such a great price point too! There is something about blue and coral that I love so much and while not on purpose this room very much reminds me of Liv’s old bedroom. When it came to selecting a rug I was between two - a natural jute and and indoor/outdoor chevron. I ultimately went with the indoor/outdoor because of it’s durability. I know that it will easily transition to the next house. Instead of using a traditional nightstand I traded it for a small desk and chair which both girls use frequently for homework. The wicker desk was a vintage find that was repainted. It paired perfectly with a reproduction ghost chair that just disappears in the room. The artwork above the girls’ desk was painted by my sister in law, Veronika. They have a very Lily Pulitzer vibe to them and I love them stacked on one another. Another great option is to do something like this above the bed - The mirrors above the girls bed were a HomeGoods find but I found some similar options here - As I mentioned storage is a major issue in this house so these wicker trunks are perfect for their dolls, stuffed animals and other bulky toys. I never realized how difficult it was to find a plain white dresser that wasn’t childish yet not too gigantic, and within budget. It’s safe to say I think I found it (the one downside is that it did need to be put together). For a little pop of fun I added new hardware to the dresser. These brass monstera leaves totally make it! Hardware is one of the easiest ways to update a space whether in your kitchen, powder bath or a vintage piece of furniture. Here are some of my favorites from a source you probably never thought to check out. I hope you enjoyed a peak into my girls’ coral and blue room, I had the best time decorating it. When it comes time to move most of the items will be donated to a family in need. Some of my favorite organization to donate gently used furniture to are Mother’s Helping Mother’s, SPARCC and Habitat for Humanity. Links for entire bedroom:
Construction is well underway at the new Ferguson Residence and I’m so excited to be sharing the process with you all. Back in May when I announced we were moving it seemed like time was standing still. Summer felt like one giant waiting game and while it didn’t go quite as planned; family road trips and long weekends away provided a good distraction. By the end of Summer our building plans were approved and we finally broke ground! So in case you're just tuning in my husband is a builder (I work in real estate) and we unexpectedly sold what we thought was our ‘dream home’ last Spring. I will spare you too many details and instead you can catch up by reading this post here. Since we had just gone through the design process two years ago I pretty much knew exactly what I wanted. Similar to the last house we wanted an open floor plan with traditional spaces throughout. While the new house is a completely different layout there are definitely some similarities. Prior to starting construction we needed to demolish the existing home on the property. The original home was what we call ‘non-conforming’, keeping the original structure and renovating was not an option. It took about two weeks to demolish the home, clear the site and bring any needed fill dirt. I should mention that anything that could be saved or donated was taken out prior to demolition. Once the site was ready the stem wall began to take shape. It’s always surreal to walk the outline of the house and imagine standing in the same place when it’s finished. If you've ever built a home before you will have moments where it feels small, then big, and then small again. Walking the perimeter of the new house gave me all the feels! Bringing in fill dirt for the stem wall was next on the agenda and just as we we finished the rains came. Back to back hurricanes left us unharmed but the outer bands produced so much rain that it took over 3 weeks for the stem wall to dry out. The few weeks delayed gave me the opportunely to make sure all the plumbing and electrical were in the right place. This means everything from plumbing drains to kitchen sink location and electrical floor outlets! Once dry the masonry crew came in to prep and pour the slab. There are a few major moments in the new build process and pouring the slab is definitely one of them. I waited patiently all day until I could etch our initials into the foundation of our new home. As you can probably tell by the photo we were all heading in different directions - Nick to the gym, Liv to dance and Elle & I back home to finish homework however I’m so glad we snapped this photo! So you're probably wondering now what? Well this is where the fun begins. Block is being delivered as I type this post and the next time I come on to write we should have our exterior walls up! In the meantime I’m working on our cabinet layout, picking out plumbing fixtures and looking for inspiration through my day to day activities. If home design is something you also love make sure you follow me Pinterest! To watch my videos on Instagram Stories, go follow the ‘new home’ tab and watch all the progress from start to finish.
My goal for these posts are to not only provide an insight into the home building process but also create a journal for myself as something to look back on. If there is something specifically you would like me to touch on make sure and comment below!
Palm Beach Getaway
Just this past weekend my husband Nick and I enjoyed a weekend getaway. It was a short trip, only 48 hours, but exactly what we needed to unwind, relax, and leave feeling refreshed! When I suggested an adults-only weekend getaway I had an ulterior motive in selecting our destination. First of all as many of you know we are getting ready to begin construction on our new home. As we embark on this new adventure I felt the need to travel outside of our hometown for a little design inspiration. Palm Beach is eclectic in style combining casual elegance in the most perfect way. It was Nick’s first time in Palm Beach so I wanted him to experience it in the best way possible. I booked our two night stay at The Breakers Palm Beach which is a 5-star hotel located on 140 acres of prime oceanfront property. The Italian Renaissance-style hotel has earned a spot of the National Register of Historic Places and is probably the nicest resort I’ve ever been to. While we didn’t get a chance to use many of the resort’s offerings they do have an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, spa, and oceanfront fitness center. One the many reasons I love The Breakers is that you never need to leave the resort. The hotel offers everything from fine dining to shopping, and so much more. If I had to pick my favorite part of the trip it would probably be just sitting poolside, enjoying both the sight and sound of the ocean waves crashing. Our favorite dinner spot was right in the hotel at the Seafood Bar. It was so good that we ate there both nights! I would highly recommend the oysters & filet mignon sliders. I thought it was important to mention that the hotel was very diligent in their health policies related to Covid-19. There were not only sanitizing stations at every corner but masks were required in all air conditioned spaces and where you could not socially distance. Due to these restrictions the Spa was only available for hair and nail services. *Housekeeping was available The Shopping One of my favorite things to do in Palm Beach is shop of course. Since I was a little bit more design focused, I made hitting the antique shops more of a priority. If your into the same type of thing then Antique Row is a must! You can find a full list of stores and a walking map here www.westpalmbeachantiques.com Here are some of my personal favorites Palm Beach Regency Circa Who Devonshire Florida Regency Palm Beach Home Style Casa Gusto Elephants Foot Florida Modern D&G Antiques Authentic Provence If you're looking for something a bit more eclectic head to the Royal Poinciana for the avocado toast at Sant Ambroeus. The outdoor shopping center is home to stores like Stoney Clover, Zimmerman, Love Shack Fancy, Hermes and so many more. And of course don’t forget the world famous Worth Ave. Known for it’s luxury shops such as Chanel, Ralph Lauren, and Aerin it also has some amazing restaurants like Pizza Al Fresco and Renato’s. One of my favorite stores to visit is the Lily Pulitzer store, even if the bright colors aren't your style the store is absolutely beautiful and worth a visit! I picked up this green dress during my last visit and absolutely love it! Restaurants The Breakers offers both casual and fine dining options. For breakfast we enjoyed sitting at the Beach Club Restaurant which overlooks both the pool and ocean. Some fine dining options are Flagler Steakhouse, the Seafood Bar, and Echo. Don't be worried though, resort attire is always appropriate! Henry's Palm Beach is located right off property and the hotel offers a complimentary shuttle to transport it's guests. Some other great off property options Sant Ambroeus Pizza Al Fresco Renato’s Meat Market Lola 41 Cafe Boulud Other places to stay Eau Resort Brazilian Court Colony Hotel (opening in October) Pineapple Pad (VRBO)
Road Trip Essentials
As a parent I love recreating some of my favorite childhood memories. One of my fondest memories was going to sleep away camp in Tuxedo, North Carolina. Each year my Mom would plan a family road trip with a few stops along the way before dropping me off at camp. I can’t say that I loved the long car ride but it was always an adventure. In an effort to beat the Florida summer heat we packed up the car and headed north to the mountains. It took almost 10 hours to reach our destination but boy was it worth it. Cool days and even cooler nights made every ‘are we there yet’ worth it! Given the circumstances of traveling this summer I have a feeling we aren’t the only ones planning a road trip. Here are some tips that have worked for us over the years — The night before: • Set your route and plan out your stops whether it be for gas, bathroom breaks or food. • Pack and prepare food. We planned on eating all our meals on the road so the night before I made sandwiches and cut up fruit and veggies so they would be all ready to go. This not only cut down our stops but it was healthier too! • If you can pre-pack the the car, do it. It will make early morning departures so much easier!
• Make sure all devices are fully charged. This might seem obvious but just double check a full charge.
• If you traveling with children (especially young ones) have them pack an extra pair of clothes so you can move them from bed to car without changing.
My travel outfit: I prefer comfort when traveling and this tank dress is just that. I added my favorite jean jacket around my waist so I would be ready for the cooler mountain temps! The morning of departure we were up and out the door early, 5:00 am to be exact. As Nick finished packing up the car I was getting the girls out of bed. They stayed in their pajamas and crawled into the car with their pillows and blankets only to fall back asleep for a few more hours. Getting those first few hours of driving in while the kids are sleeping is perfect. Once they woke up I was ready to hand them their breakfast and iPads! Pro tip: If traveling with kids pack a kids cooler or snack bag for the backseat. It’s much easier for the kids to manage their own drinks/snacks then constantly having to turning around. Some favorite travel must haves: • Books to read. I like to bring a book for the girls but audio books are a great option too.
• Coloring books & crayons. I especially love these crayons so they don’t roll off the table!
• Lap desk
• Interstate Bingo
• Headphones for everyone. I personally like the Apple AirPods but these are the headphones the girls use
• iPad/phone/other electronic devices Pro tip: Make sure you download any movie or audio book the night before!
In an effort to keep the kids doing something other than having their eyes glued to the iPad the entire time we brought some crafts for the trip. My oldest had recently learned how to braid bracelets so I suggested she make one for everyone! If long car rides make you queasy like me and my family try a game of Car Bingo. It will keep your eyes up and looking around! This was Lucy’s first road trip and she was amazing. To be honest she is happy wherever we are and napped the entire way. I do suggest a few things if traveling with your family pet -
• collapsable dog bowl
• car seat harness
• or carrier Not sure if it was the girls’ ages this year (6&9) or the activities we brought along but it was such an enjoyable road trip that I look forward to our next one! Stay tuned to for a followup post where I will share where we stayed in North Carolina along with some of our favorite hiking and dinner spots.
If your traveling over this long weekend I hope you stay safe and enjoy!
Watermelon Salad Recipe
Watermelon is the perfect summer fruit and not just because it’s cool and refreshing. Watermelon is loaded with antioxidants, rich in Vitamin B, and best of all it's hydrating. I’ve been making this watermelon salad for years, it’s the perfect side for any barbecue or cookout. Ingredients: 4 c. Seedless watermelon, cubed 1/2 c. Red onion thinly sliced 2 c. Arugula 1 c. Crumbled feta cheese 1/4 c. Extra-virgin olive oil 2 tbsp. Red wine vinegar 1 tbsp. Balsamic Directions: 1. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, balsamic 2. In a large serving bowl, combine watermelon, onion, arugula, and feta. Pour dressing and toss to combine. 3. Garnish with flaky sea salt. 4. Keep cold before serving.
Wine Spritzer Recipe
Wine spritzers have become my go-to drink of choice. Whether on a hot summer day, mid-day brunch or just because. I love how light and refreshing they are. Easy to make and served over wine the citrus adds a perfect zest flavor too. I prefer using Sauvignon Blanc in my spritzers however you can use any white wine. My personal favorite wine to use is Whitehaven it’s perfect for both spritzers and serving alongside a yummy meal. Ingredients: Ice White wine (I use Whitehaven) 1/4 glass chilled soda water Citrus of choice - lemon, lime, orange sliced Directions: Fill glass with ice and squeeze citrus over ice (I prefer using all three). Fill glass 3/4 of the way full with wine and top with soda, give a quick stir and enjoy! I love using a straw in my spritzer and these glass straws are my favorite. These are the same ones I use in my smoothies. I recently updated all of our wine glasses, I love these for their clean and classic design. I get so many compliments every time I pull them out to entertain too. Red wine glass (and what I use for my wine spritzers) White wine glass Champagne Water Goblet Cutting out drinking, not to worry. Soda water on ice with you favorite citrus is just as good. Don’t forget to serve it in your favorite wine glass. By viewing or using the information on this blog post in any way, you are confirming that you are of legal drinking age where you live and you are agreeing to hold us harmless for any claims otherwise. As always drink responsibly.
I recently read an article in the New York Times about the psychology of moving. Growing up we lived in the same home that my parents still live in today. For our family of four this was move number nine and in case your just tuning in you can check out this post to see why we moved and what our plans are for the future. At this point I consider myself a professional so today I’m sharing some of my tips & tricks to keep your day as stress free as possible. Our moves have changed over the years. They started off with minimal furniture, no children to worry about and were simple enough that Nick and I managed to do it on our own. As our family and ’stuff’ grew they became more and more complicated. About three moves ago I made the decision to hire movers and man did they make my life so much easier. I still took care of the clothes, linens and kitchen but didn’t have to worry about the heavy lifting. Around the time we were moving into our last house work was crazy, the kids were finishing school and I just didn’t know how I was going to get everything done in time. I had never hired packers before so when I called around for pricing I was pleasantly surprised at how reasonable it was. The company I used charged hourly so I was only paying for what they were packing. I will never forget the morning they came, it was a Saturday and the kids went to their grandparents for a sleepover. Nick and I were home and they just rolled in with all their boxes, wrapping paper and quickly got to work. We showed them around and just as my anxiety was starting to set in we hit the beach for a long walk. We ended up spending most of the day out of the house and when we came back the house was stacked floor to ceiling with boxes. I remember telling Nick — this was a game changer. Moving is expensive, it's stressful and sometimes emotional. I have found that over the years (and doing it as much as we have) that the more pressure I take off myself the better it is for everyone around me. With this last move I thought I was up for an ‘easy’ move, the new owners had bought all of our artwork and the majority of our furniture. The only thing I needed to worry about was the kitchen, our clothes and some accessories and toys. Easy, right? Boy was I wrong. Pro tip: If your selling your house and the buyer wants to buy your furniture - do it! It may sound strange at first but I can almost guarantee that not everything will fit in your new house. Of course there will be those few special pieces you want to keep but otherwise just buy it new! We will spend the next 14 or so months in the cutest 1930’s home that is perfectly situated between our old house and new build location. It’s incredibly charming with a white picket fence and close proximity to the girls' school. The only downside to it’s old charm is the lack of storage space. This is where some serious de-cluttering and downsizing came into play. In years past our personal belongings went to the same place however since we couldn’t fit everything in the rental I had to come up with another plan. With 3/4 of our things needing to go to storage I needed to figure out what I could/couldn't live without for the next year. I started in the kitchen where I only took the necessary appliances, pots, pans, plates, and a few serving dishes — to be honest this was probably the hardest part! Next I moved to our decorative accessories. While I didn’t want to live with bare shelves for the next year I only took a few of my favorite things and had the rest boxed up. For our clothes I had to separate by seasons, most of our bulky winter/ski clothes are in labeled plastic totes that can be easily grabbed when needed. The day the packers came I had already moved all the kitchen items, accessories and toys that were moving to the rental. This kept some of my costs down for not only the labor portion but also the costs associated with packing materials. Everything that the packers packed was then taken to our climate controlled storage unit. Pro tip: If your looking for short term storage options lock-in the online rate but call and ask to pay up front for the time you need. The small print allows them to increase the price every few months! It’s been said that moving is one of the top 3 most stressful events in your life. With our 9th move complete I’m sharing some tips & tricks to help keep your sanity - Here are some of my favorite moving essentials -
Sterilite bins. As I mentioned above these are great to haul anything you want to move yourself. I typically have 3 to 4 on hand to move my kitchen which is a lot easier than boxes in my opinion.
Vacuum seal bags. Whether for moving, storing, or just organizing and consolidating these are amazing. I recently used the XL size for storage of all of our extra pillows, blankets and comforters.
We have been in the rental now for about two weeks and are feeling more settled by the day. I’m still working on some organizational storage ideas for our small spaces and will share in a separate post once I’m finished.
A special thank you to my parents for watching and entertaining the girls. Yarnall for packing and moving us, and In Order to Succeed moving for being the best organizers in the business! If you have a special tip to share make sure you comment below!
One of the many great things about living in Florida is that you can almost always count on being outdoors. Just when I think it’s getting too hot the afternoon rains come to cool everything off. We have a few different outdoor areas to enjoy however my favorite is the covered porch just off my office. What I love most is how cozy it feels, even on the hottest of days I manage to get a nice breeze off the bay and the view isn’t too bad either! I love the pop of pink that the rug adds! I originally went with these rocking chairs because of the narrow deck however they quickly became one of my favorite places to sit. Our outdoor grill area is on the lower level which we did in sandblasted marble. The texture gives a grip even when wet and never gets hot. Because the lower level is exposed to the elements year round I wanted to go with a brand of furniture that I knew would stay behind they products. For the lounge area we went with this Restoration Hardware Province sectional and swivel chair. For the chaise lounges I didn’t want anything to bulky yet heavy enough not to move on the windiest of days. These lounge chairs are perfect. The cushion fabric is a performance fabric called perennials linen. When it came to shade I was limited to using umbrellas; however, I have to say this one has held up so well and it’s reasonably priced too!
Tie-dye has made a big comeback in 2020 and it looks like it’s here to stay. Every brand is taking a run at it; one of my personal favorites was the set I purchased from Target at the beginning of the year. It’s been sold out for a few months now so we decided to re-create it at home. As school came to an end and my role as homeschool teacher turned into camp director I began to look for activities to do with the kids. With the help of Pinterest and Amazon Prime we had this fun activity to look forward to! I originally searched for plain white tanks for the girls but they were pretty hard to come by (apparently I’m not the only one with the idea). I later found these adorable hooded sweatshirts and matching joggers. Next I searched for the dye. Now I’m sure there are many do-it yourself options out there however I wanted something a little easier for the girls. This kit had everything I needed and included 24 colors, rubber bands, gloves, and a table protector. It even had directions in case you were trying to achieve a particular pattern. I prefer winging it over following the directions so we just scrunched up the hoodies and pants and wrapped them in rubber bands. I would highly suggest taking this activity outside as it can be messy and staining would be a concern. I let the girls pick two colors each. We lightly dampened the clothes with water before adding the dye. This allows the colors to absorb better, if you're looking for more white spots I would suggest keeping it dry. I added water to each dye bottle and let the girls do their thing. The best part is there is no right or wrong way to go about it. Each came out so different and cute! When we were finished I placed them in individual gallon zip lock bags and set on the back deck. The directions say to leave for 24 hours however we were pretty excited to see how they came out and only made it 12 hours - ha! We rinsed each set separately under cold water getting the majority of the dye out and then transferred to the wash for a cold rinse cycle. Pro tip: make sure you wash separately!! With plenty of leftover colors I can’t wait to do it again. What has been your favorite family craft during quarantine? Comment below. **This activity was completed before Liv broke her collarbone. She is doing great now and will be back to her normal self in 4-6 weeks!