See + Hear + Heart


Modern Holiday Tree Vignettes

It’s that time of year that you have unspoken permission to decorate in excess. For those with a modern aesthetic, there are many new fun options to select from to create an entire space or vignettes that reflect your individual interpretation of the holidays. For some reason (perhaps because I’m a tree hugger), trees grab my attention first.

Abstract designs that symbolize the holiday season are my favorite.  While sourcing decor for client events, these pieces popped off the shelf.  Their charm and modern design appeal inspired my modern holiday tree and winter tablescapes/vignettes below.

My intention is that these modern holiday trees and accessorized vignettes will inspire you for some of your upcoming celebrations or just make you feel warm and fuzzy with glee. Oh, I threw in a transitional rustic vignette for you as well. Enjoy!

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Shot of friends having a dinner party at a restaurant

10 Tips for Behaving Like a Gracious Guest

The tables are set with beautiful centerpieces, the candles are lit, a welcome drink is awaiting you at the door and the music is pulsing with the party beat. The thrill of walking into a party still makes people’s heart beat.

Invitations to personal or business events connote an element of importance, favor and acceptance. In today’s lax environment of anything goes behavior, it is my belief that we could all benefit from a refresher on showing more appreciation and respect for invitations and to possibly relearn how to be a gracious guest.

Here are my tips for behaving as a gracious guest:

1.      Most invitations contain a  R.S.V.P. which is a French phrase, “répondez, s’il vous plaît,” which means “please reply.”  A final guest count is important for a host for numerous reasons. These include:

a)   Responding to a caterer for food count.Whether the caterer is on-site or the host orders and picks up from a restaurant, both will require a final count to accommodate preparation timelines and to confirm the host’s food costs. An on-site caterer will need time to secure an adequate staff to facilitate the planning, set-up, presentation, management and clean-up of food. This process requires a lot of work and organization. Additionally, most caterers will quote a price based upon a start and end time. If the timeframe is extended due to a variety of reasons, the host may have to pay them more.

b)   Responding to a bartending service firm for staff and/or purchasing enough alcohol and/or non-alcoholic beverages to accommodate the guests.

c) Adhering to a venue’s maximum capacity as set by local law.

As you can ascertain, these three factors alone require planning and coordination. It is less stressful for the host, if a planner is not hired, to avoid having to make lots of last minute adjustments due to a lack of timely R.S.V.P.’s. Besides that, hosts and guests want to keep the party fresh and alive with plenty of food and libations for all.

Conversely, if you R.S.V.P., it is completely acceptable to inform your host that your availability has changed and you will not be able to attend. We all know the feeling of anticipating guests and then not seeing them.

2.      Rentals. At times, it is necessary to rent tables, chairs, linens, dinnerware, etc. If that is the case, then the host will need an accurate attendance count for the rental company so that they can fulfill the order as needed.

3.      Dress appropriately to honor your host, yourself and the venue. It is a matter of courtesy and respect. Once you R.S.V.P., you are a participant who agrees to partake in the host’s planned festivities. Have some fun and make some fun (please see tips five and six).

4.      Bring a gift. Like a R.S.V.P., a  gift is a gesture of gratitude. A gift does not have to be expensive. Something relevant and thoughtful is ideal.

5.      Avoid overindulgence. Yes, the memo on this topic is still is either unknown or ignored. Please be conscious of the amount of food and especially alcoholic beverages you and your guest(s) consume. A free (open) bar is not a license to overindulge to the point of behaving belligerently including acting aggressively and slurring words. I have seen grown adults lose their bodily functions at professional events and it is never a shining moment for them or the host. Please demonstrate some discipline while at celebrations.

6.      Act responsibly. This includes not damaging the venue, whether it is an employer’s private residence or a local venue. It also includes socializing with the other guests and participating in the fun.

7.     Adhere to food etiquette. Do not put your hands in a platter of buffet food, stand over a buffet and begin eating, take multiple helpings prior to fellow guests receiving their first, use multiple plates when one will do, ask for containers to take food home in or stuff food into pockets or purses. This is disturbing behavior that I see at nearly every event. This is not your personal meal or kitchen space. The food is accounted for and set for numerous people to enjoy. I have also seen a brazen, arrogant guest put their fingers in a pan of cooking food at chef-attended private functions. This behavior is disgusting and inappropriate. Let’s stop being so self-focused and show some respect for everyone, starting with yourself.

8.      Do not hover over or block pathways of chefs, caterers or other staff that are in the process of setting up food. Wait away from the area for the set-up to finish. Then wait for announcement that dinner is ready for everyone.

9.      Clean-up your area. Even though staff are usually at an event to help with clean up, it is completely acceptable to take a moment to clean up your personal area and gather your plates, napkins and cups for disposal. If you dining with china, await the staff to gather your plates and silverware. There is a system for collecting dishware and disposing of food.

10.  Thank you host upon leaving and mail a personal note of thanks. In your note, you can mention some of the event highlights for you and your guest(s) as a wonderful way to further build your relationship with the host and share happy memories.

Events are meant for everyone’s enjoyment. When we all do our part to behave like gracious guests, then more fun is typically had by all. When you host an event, you’ll appreciate your guests abiding by these same tips.

Wallpapers’ Bold Floral Bouquets Fused with Fashion

As the season transitions to colder temperatures and stems retract into the soil, our thirst for vibrant arrangements of luscious flowers seems to intensify. Our affinity for year-round blooms is represented in the latest designs featured in both the interior and fashion industries.

A bold, big floral bouquet creates its own vocabulary of style, vibrant color and shapes. The most interesting seem to meander without formal structure or symmetry. These same floral arrangement patterns transfer to the latest floral wallpaper motifs. As a beauty bonus, this blog coordinates wallpaper with fall fashion.Plus you will learn how to decorate your space with a feature floral wall.

Monochromatic Wallpaper Bouquets

A monochromatic color pattern features one dominant color and can include derivatives and close complements to that color. Most floral wallpaper motifs include one bold flower or repetitious prints, literal and abstract, of a small bouquet. Roses and poppies are common preferences on a white background. Monochromatic themes allow you to easily repeat the patterns in upholstery on a chair, pillows or drapes.




Pastel Wallpaper Bouquets

Another option to incorporate a bold pattern is to soften the palette. In these examples, one type of flower is repeated in a large scale image and the others are a series of smaller flowers presented in fresh, contemporary watercolors. The end result is both striking and easy on the eyes. If you incorporate pastel floral wallpaper, you can extract the most prominent color for foundational pieces such as sofas, loveseats, chaises or rugs to create some balance.




Assorted Jewel-Tone Wallpaper Bouquets

Vibrant colors are the cold season’s antidote for sunny, happy days. These jewel-toned floral bouquets designs will make your walls sing with bold strokes of color in an array of exotic flowers. The following wallpaper images dance with unstructured bouquets filled with pink, fuschia, azure, orange and red with luscious lime and avocado colored leaves. These types of statement prints pair well with solid colored furniture with smooth lines upholstered in velvet, suede, cotton and other tightly woven textiles.

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Dark Color Wallpaper Bouquets

In tandem with the black wall trend, black serves as the canvas for contemporary arrangement selections of tulips, roses, poppies and more along with designs reminiscent Renaissance era floral paintings. Black with pinks and reds seem to be the most prevalent motifs. The contrasts will make metallic accessories in lighting, accessories and furniture hardware really pop. You can also just repeat black in your furniture and leave the patterns to the walls and rugs.


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The rules for living a distinctive modern life continue to adapt to people’s desire to customize every inch of their spaces.

Remember, if you can’t match your drapes, you can now match your wallpaper.


New + Next: Custom Tabletop Design Services

A beautifully decorated table is the foundation for celebrating friends and family over delicious food and libations. Even though every meal is an opportunity to surround yourself in beauty, the holiday season is perfect for time for showcasing a sensational table.

It is as easy as commissioning me to create a custom setting.

I can create designs utilizing your dinnerware, flatware, serviceware and glassware or I can bring in a completely new ensemble with accessories customized to your casual or formal tastes.

Let’s begin the process to reserve your commissioned table design today. It’s easy, just click here. Inquire about multiple event packages.

Remember, that chef led meals and custom menus with service staff are also a part of my cultured, culinary experiences services.


Please follow and like my profiles on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to see my original tabletop design ideas every Tuesday for Tabletop Tuesday. The image below kicks off the campaign.