The Case for a Flame Free Candle

Assorted sizes and styles

 

Purchasing a flameless candle was not on my list of things to buy until I recently saw them in person.  I realized how nice it would be to have few of these in my home. These candles are safe and create an amazing ambiance as well.  

Reasons to want them… 

 1. Fire Safety. It’s a no-brainer: If you fall asleep and forget to blow them out…the house won’t burn down.  

 2. Safety for children. If you have children, and need candles to relax, look for flameless candles that have a gentle flicker, use actual wax and come in a variety of scents.  

 3. Warm welcome home on a dark evening. I don’t know about you, but I hate walking into a dark home. Flameless Candles give you the option of a timer with up to 350 hours of battery time. Wouldn’t it be nice to come home to a candle-lit home every evening?  

 4. Protect your house. This goes hand in hand with number three. Not only will you walk into a cozy home, anyone outside looking in will see candles lit and think you’re home. Flameless candles are a simple and inexpensive safety feature.    

Miss the flame, but love the timer and the flicker

 

 Don’t get me wrong…I’m not giving up the real thing, but check out the flameless candles at Candle Expressions and Amazon. After a while, you forget they’re not real. xoxox    

    

    

    

 

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Pssst…look what I got! The Good Karma Swap

How fun is this?

At the beginning of the year I set a goal to blog more often and get to know some of my fellow bloggers. I also started twittering diligently a few weeks back, which is when I saw a tweet by Kaileen of kaileenelise.com saying there was only a few hours left to sign up for her Good Karma Gift Swap.  Moments later I posted a comment saying sign me up and I was in, along with 29 other Good Karma Swap bloggers.  The assignment was to send a secret blogger a treat that calms, something that comforts, a bit of celebration and a piece the promotes creativity. I’m so excited about this I’m a big fan of sending good Karma and talked about it in a post a few years ago when I wrote about Pay it Forward.      

A few days after signing up, I filled out a short questionnaire about things I liked and didn’t like and sent back to Kaileen to anxiously wait for a secret name to send my gifts to. I’ll blog about her when I know she’s received my gifts, but in the meantime, I want to share you what I received from the blogger that got my name!      

This past Friday I went to the mailbox and was sooooo excited to find a package. Could it be the Good Karma Gift? It was!       

A package from Megan (Yay!)

 Megan Loftin of Megan-Moir had sent me a package, but I was in the middle of a deadline and saved it to open until I got home…it was killing me not to open it immediately, but I wanted to enjoy it!    

I should add at this point that another New Year Resolution  is to “have a place for everything and everything in its place”, so I’ll also share with you exactly what I’m going to do with all my new goodies!     

   

Look at the goodies!

 As I opened the package, the first thing I saw was a burst of color…      

     

Tea with a bit of cream and sweetener -mmmmmm

 It’s tea! Who doesn’t  love a good cup of tea? This could be a new favorite…spicy but light…I’m going to have to find out where Megan got  this…it’s that good!    

     

This will not last long!

 This is a no brainer…It’s going straight into my favorite mug!    

      

Beautiful Stationary

 Look at this beautiful stationary! I can’t wait to write my first note. After my son Tyler suffered a head injury this summer, I received beautiful notes from friends that I will forever treasure and I promised myself to make a point of writing notes this year. Tyler is doing better every day, by the way!      

      

A new home for the note cards

 The note cards are on a desk that has a special place in my heart. My father-in-law, a few months before he passed away, asked if I wanted a small desk that wasn’t fancy, but had been his mother’s – of course I said yes, Though I have a few random items placed in it now, I’m getting ready to give it a fresh new look and when finished, I’ll  properly accessorize it. Of course, you’ll be the first to see photo’s when it’s done.      

      

Isn't this journal beautiful?

  I soooooo love this journal…I’ll use it more as an idea book and because a girl never knows when she’s going to get a fabulous bright new idea to jot down, this is where you’ll find my new journal…      

      

Perfect in the outside pocket

  Yep! I’ll carry it with me at all times and store in an outside pocket of my handbag.  

A Happy Book!

 It’s no secret…my friends all know that I’m a glass is half full kind of gal and I can’t wait to read this book… 

I wish this for you too...

 And isn’t this the most lovely note? awwww Megan… I wish you that too! I’ll tell you where this book is going after I show you the next gift…  

I love words...

 I wrote in my questionnaire that I love words. Quotes inspire me…and this word she sent is something I want need to see everyday, because I, like probably most of you, get so caught up in getting things done, that I forget to stop to enjoy the beauty of now.       

   

On the road...

This is where you’ll find my happy book and  enjoy…I carry this bag everyday to the office and sometime this week. It’ll be travelling with me to Florida on business.  Enjoy is a daily reminder to stop and breath… The happy book is perfect to read on the plane!        

Hugs to Megan for the beautiful and thoughtful gifts as well as Kailene for putting this all together. And while I’m at it hugs to you too… It’s been so much fun! xoxox        

The Cupcake Experiment

Mini Chocolate Buttercream Cupcakes

 

 For some time now I’ve been wanting to learn how to make pretty, fun and yummy cupcakes. One of my friends on twitter has the most beautiful cupcakes and even offers cupcake classes, but alas she is across the sea in england and I don’t have plans to be there anytime soon. Click to see Bea’s of Bloomsbery’s creations…aren’t they beautiful?  Since cupcake classes were out, I figured what the heck…just dive in and try it…so I did.   

 Last night my daughter Ashley decided to come for a sleep over and to try our hand at cupcakes and it was so much fun! I think the secret is in the buttercream icing (which I slightly messed up) and the decorative elements. Perfect they are not, but I think they’re pretty cute and taste absolutely yummy!     

 Next time I’ll try a batter from scratch and will remember to set the butter out in advance. This recipe call for butter at room temperature and instead of softening in the microwave, I accidently melted it…oooops! The icing was a bit runny as a result! This was the first time to use a decorating bag for the icing and it really was quite easy. I can’t wait till next time when my icing is the proper consistency.     

 Tip: Homegoods, my favorite place to shop, has a great and inexpensive selection of sprinkles, jimmies and drops.     

 Here’s some photo’s with my newbie insights 🙂     

Ready to Ice

 

 I had read that you should tap the pan before putting in the oven to get out any bubbles. We filled ours about 2/3 full – which seemed about right.     

Chocolate with Buttercream Icing

 

  Next time we make chocolate cupcakes, we’ll either use two paper wrappings or a metallic wrap…as you can see above (or not see); the cute design doesn’t show with a dark cake.     

White Dots

 

These pearly white dots came in a Princess multi-pack of sprinkles and were one of our favorites    

 

The Mini's were the Prettiest

 

We experimented with a variety of colors and sizes. One word of advice is to taste your sprinkles before you decorate. A few of our sugar sprinkles were a bit bitter and I wouldn’t use them again. Also, maybe it’s the designer in me, but you can’t go wrong when you color coordinate. The mini’s above are our favorite, not only because they are just darn tiny, but because we made sure they all matched. Remember…even in cupcakes…you need to plan your color scheme!    

This would be a great family activity on a cold winter night. Pre-bake the cupcakes and pre-ice as well,  if your kids are really young. Set up stations like an ice cream bar for decorating and let children decorate without inhibitions…this is all about developing creativity and confidence and none of it is about perfection. Giving kids the freedom to learn and explore with accolades instead of criticism is one the best gifts you can give your children and also makes it a bit more fun for everyone! I still have to remind myself of that sometimes! xoxox

Preventing a Car Break-In

     

My daughter Ashley had a string of bad luck. A string of really not so nice things have happened to her in the last few months to no fault of her own. As a mom, I want to fix it. Mostly, all I can do is offer hugs and hope; to explaining that things will get better and in general… humanity is good. I do believe that.     

The last incident, a car break-in,  is probably preventable. She learned from a previous break-in not to leave the navigator in plain sight and removed it; storing it in the center console. In retrospect, leaving the holder on the window was not a good idea, but according to her insurance company, even hiding that most likely wouldn’t have prevented the theft. Apparently, just seeing see ring marks on the window will prompt a break-in. Ashley also had an empty (thank goodness) Coach purse hidden in the back seat which they wouldn’t have seen from outside, but once in, they grabbed it as well.     

 The best way to prevent your car from being broken into is by having nothing in the car to steal – right? If you are anything like me, that’s easier said than done. I’m usually carrying an oversized handbag, my Design Assistant with a computer inside and a coffee mug. Now you want me to grab my navigator and other items as well?     

     

The answer is yes, but here’s an easy solution that can not only prevent a break-in, but simplify your life as well. I did a post a while back about Putting your Baskets to Work.   There I talked about designating a basket to go from home-to the car-and back to home. I recommended that you  “store it near the door you’ll use out to your car and fill it with items that need to be returned for credit, a water bottle, snacks, a shopping list, etc.”  Those suggestions will make your life a little simpler, but let’s take it a step further. You should also use it to store your navigator, CD’s and anything else that is not permanently attached to your car.     

Tip: Make sure your basket is lightweight and easily carried with one hand.     

Below is a friend’s collapsible car basket fully loaded and ready to go…items are kept in zippered bags for easy access. Simply leave it near the door for the next trip…no need to empty unless there’s something you don’t need to carry anymore.     

She keeps on the road paperwork & coupons inside, Do you see the Design Assistant file inside?

 

 This car basket even has a storage cup hooked inside to hold small tools and gadgets she often needs when on the road.    

Stores pens, tools and more

 

Last of all…don’t forget to clean your windshield of those telling little circles…Store wipes in a door pocket – it’s quick and easy to do!     

     

You’ll quickly wonder how you ever survived without a portable car basket and though it may add an extra step to getting in and out of the car, it prevents a whole lot of aggravation in the long run. xoxox 

Additional Safety Notes:     

  • When out shopping, keep a towel or blanket to cover your basket in a nondescript manner.  It’s better to cover it up than to publicly transfer the basket to your trunk while in a parking lot – that’s a definite heads up that something valuable is inside.
  • A good thing to keep in a car basket is a can of wasp/hornet spray. It has a 23′ stream and is better than pepper spray.
  • Never be a good Samaritan in a parking lot. If someone approaches you, get back in your car, tell them to stop and announce loudly that you are calling for help. Lock the doors and drive away.

What I’m (Really) Talking about on Twitter

I always say I’m talking about design, life and anything else that crosses my mind…but what do I REALLY talk about? I found the coolest site that will pull all your tweets off of twitter and show the actual top ten words that you used over the last year. Apparently, I laugh alot…haha xoxox

Win a Decorating Assistant!

  

The Decorating Assistant

Our friends over at Elle Decor and Point Home Click are giving away our favorite project organizer – the one and only Decorating Assistant! You have till the end of the month to register! Click here to Enter for one of 10 chances to win! You’ll love it even when you’re not decorating…I carry mine everywhere! It’s a great bag for the office and travelling! For more information on our company visit us at www.dishondesign.com or click here for product details! 

 GOOD LUCK!  xoxox

Newly Organized Hall Closet

Doesn't it look fabulous?

Below  is the mess that I met every time I went into the hall closet. It was so full of things we never used, that the doors were actually bulging out. Now that I’m in this organizing mode, I’m looking at the rest of my house wondering what I was thinking letting it get to this  point. My excuse would be that I was busy raising 3 very busy kids, starting a business and running a home, but the truth is if I had done this all along I would have less stress and more time. Here’s the before and after shots of the closet.   

Project: Organize the hall closet that we pass as we’re heading out the door.   

Before: pretty much a disaster

 

 Waaaaay to many coats and things that are never worn. Packed up 80% of the coats to give to someone who can use them.   

After: right side of the closet

 

I’m noticing a color trend… Not sure what I’m putting in the  94 cent plastic bins yet – I had the laminate shelves from years ago.     

After: left side of closet

This is my favorite area… I love that I can see everything and that everything has a place. I can’t wait till next weekend to start another project! xoxox