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Guest Post

Guest Post

Lessons Learned Blogging

Oh, Yeah!

Last month, our little blog turned 8 which officially makes it a “tween”!  When we took the time to reflect on what we’ve learned over the years, we came up with a number of lessons we thought we’d share.  Intrigued?  Then hop on over to Amara Interior Blog Awards to read more!

P.S.  And don’t forget to check out Petoji’s Kickstarter campaign and enter to win a custom made toy basket.  The giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on Sunday so please help us help Jenny and Jackie reach their funding goal.


Guest Post

Guest Post: True or False?

Celerie Kemble - Hamptons Designer Showhouse 2013

Celerie Kemble – Hamptons Designer Showhouse 2013

Having been in the business of designing faux flower bouquets and plants for the past fifteen years, we get a lot of questions about their origins, their production, and their care – and we also hear things about permanent botanicals that just aren’t true.  So we thought we’d play a little game of True or False to test your knowledge…  join us on Garrison Hullinger’s blog today – click here to read more!

Michael Smith - Chicago Apartment

Michael Smith – Chicago Penthouse

In case you haven’t heard, we’re partnering with this talented Portland-based design firm in The Ultimate GH iDesign Giveaway – $5,000 of Fabulous.  You can find out more about the contest here!

Photo: 1 and 2

Guest Post, Inspirations

Holiday How-to’s: Party Resources

If we were to hire someone to cater our next holiday get together (or any other celebration throughout the year) we’d want the very talented Dixie Todd from Connecticut-based Party Resources.  Known far and wide as the creator of unique and memorable events filled with flawless style, Dixie has a passion for parties that she’s passed down to her lovely daughter, Kate, who pens the company’s blog and whom we’ve gotten to know over the years.  It is with great pleasure that we have Kate here as a guest today sharing her tips on how to entertain with festive flair.

Introducing Kate…

What fun to be a guest at one of my favorite blogs – The Buzz.  These ladies have such great style!  This time of year is so festive with twinkling lights, garlands galore, and time with family and friends.  But it is also hectic and so I wanted to pass along a few tips for stress-free entertaining.

Setting the Mood

The very best thing is to plan ahead and the key to a memorable event is in the details.  I always do the cooking myself but usually hire someone to help serve and clean up at the end of the evening.

First set the tone – you want even your first guest to feel like it is a party when they walk in to your home.  Make a fire and light a luscious candle.  My new favorite for the holidays is THIS ONE from Archipelago.

Joy of the Season

I always make a custom playlist for a party – so make a mix of holiday classics.  Some of my favorite holiday albums include

Michael Buble’s Christmas

Tony Bennett’s Christmas Album

Nat King Cole’s Christmas Song

Beautiful seasonal flowers – go ahead and arrange them yourself!  This is a holiday arrangement I did with flowers from a local market mixed with berries and fresh rosemary.

Winter Whites

Of course you need a fully stocked bar.  But also make a tray of signature cocktails and impress your guests!  I love the cran-tinis from our good friend celebrity caterer Peter Callahan. RECIPE 

Fun and Festive

Send each guest home with a favor and even better if you make it yourself!  I like making BOOZY OLIVES


Or fill mason jars with SPICED NUTS and finish them with a custom tag.

Double Yum!

Make menu cards for each place like this one.

Holiday Menu

Even an elegant dinner can be prepared in advance.  Who wants to be in the kitchen when you should be enjoying a glass of holiday cheer with your friends?  My favorite recipe for the winter months is BEEF BOURGUIGNON 

A Savory Stew

Another make ahead favorite?  Individual molten lava cakes.  You can make them ahead, freeze them and then pop them in the oven to cook when you serve the main course. RECIPE

Molten Goodnes

I always serve champagne with dessert.  Always.

A Bit of Bubbly

Happy holidays to all of you!

And cheers to you, Kate!  Thank you for your wonderfully festive post.  Your recipe for Beef Bourgignon is our absolute favorite as well and guess what we’re serving Christmas Eve?  Our champagne is chilled, our candles are lit and we’re ready for guests thanks to you!
Photos via Carolyn Roehm, Archipelago, Amazon, Peter Callahn, Bon Appetit, Smitten Kitchen, Tumblr, Food Network, Zoon Yummy and Grant Gibson Blog

Guest Post, Inspirations

Holiday How-to’s: Design Chic

Decorating for the holidays is a must around here (though we always wait to the last minute to do so!) and we love being inspired by different themes.  While we have yet to buy a house by the sea, we dream of doing so one day and who best to help us with decorating ideas but the divine mother and daughter duo, Beth and Kristy, of Design Chic.  Last summer, they bought a fabulous antique home in Beaufort, NC (read all about the “insanity” here) and we’re living vicariously through the renovation process.  Everything about Design Chic is elegant and well, chic, and it’s a treat to have them here today!

Introducing Beth and Kristy…

Thanks so much for inviting us to be on your beautiful blog, Carolyn and Cynthia.  We adore The Buzz and can’t get through the day without a peek at what you have to share!  Christmas is, without a doubt, our favorite time of year, and this year, since we bought a house on the coast, this guest post got our minds churning with ideas for the perfect coastal Christmas decorations.  Here is a bit of our inspiration board.  We hope that wherever you’re celebrating this year, you enjoy our picks!

Christmas at the beach…  We can’t think of anything more fun, really.  The only thing that could be better than the smell of pine flooding the air is the colliding scents of pine and salt.  When it comes to holiday celebrations, being home for Christmas means being wherever our family is.  And we hope to spend more than a few Christmases with our family relaxing by the sea.  It may be a more casual celebration at the beach house, but when it comes to holidays, we’re never ones to skimp on decorations!

Cheery Coastal Wreath

Our first tip for decorating at the beach would be to focus on the front door.  A fabulous wreath is the first thing guests see when they come to your house, and a happy reminder for all who pass that this is a time for celebration!  Plus, even if you have nary a pine cone indoors, your house still looks festive!

Shiny Shell Trees

We don’t have anything against red, but we’re quite partial to gold and silver for Christmas.  These gorgeous, iridescent shells are festive, fun and undeniably coastal.  We love fresh everything, but it’s a nice idea to have accessories that don’t require water in a place where you’re likely to come and go.

Sea Star Tree Topper

Stockings can be hung by the chimney with care pretty much anywhere and are a must, must, must – even if you’re too old for Santa!  A roaring fire, a favorite Christmas album and all the people we love gathered in one place is a perfect celebration.  A soothing palette of timeless holiday accessories finishes the day like the angel – or starfish – atop the Christmas tree.

Beachy Branches

The essence of coastal Christmas chic is in its sparkling simplicity, accessories that complement the austere, cold nature outside the window without overpowering it.  A simple branch like this one is a stark yet cheerful reminder of the season we’re so happy to celebrate.

Beached Tree

Bundling up for family walks in the sand, bonfires and oysters, and, if you’re very, very lucky, maybe even a day or two of bare feet is the essence of a Christmas at the beach.  During a season that can become hectic and overwhelming, being able to get away is like learning to breathe again – and creates the space to remember what the season is really about.

Tree by the Sea

This dog has the right idea…  Lounging by the Christmas tree, the waves crashing to the shore is our idea of making memories that will last a lifetime.

However you choose to celebrate, we hope your holiday is beautiful!  Thanks again, Carolyn and Cynthia.


And a big thank you, Kristy and Beth, for sharing your chic coastal Christmas with us!  Who wouldn’t want to join you lovely ladies on the beach to celebrate the beauty of the season?  Just let us know when the house is ready and we’ll come down!

Photos via Design Chic


Guest Post, Inspirations

Holiday How-to’s: The Enchanted Home

Up next in our Holiday How-to series is Tina from the blog, The Enchanted Home (yes, the very same Tina who profiled our gifts last week!)  When she’s not blogging, Tina is putting the finishing touches on her dream home chateau.  Those of you who know Tina’s blog know how chock full of great ideas and pretty pictures her posts can be and this one does not disappoint!

Introducing The Enchanted Home…

Hi there, it’s Tina from The Enchanted Home.  I am so happy to be at one of the prettiest and most stylish  places in all blogland…  loooove The Buzz blog and am honored that they asked me to be their guest today.  My first thought was to do a post on table settings because I do love setting a pretty table for the holidays but then there was the pressure of having to actually set a table well before Christmas and sorry but it wasn’t doable with my crazy schedule lately.

So I decided to do a post on how to add holiday cheer and pretty festive touches throughout the house in subtle easy user friendly ways.  That I could handle!  And the perk is that it “forced” me to get a head start on holiday decorating and I have to say though it’s just begun, it feels great!  So here is what’s going on around here lately…..

I like adding subtle holiday touches everywhere but even in unexpected places like  the powder room,  it is important to not overlook them!  I added a pair of holiday topiaries which I have had for years and always find a place for them.  I added pine-cones to the base this year…  I will as Christmas nears, add a rope of fresh garland on top of the mirror as the crowning touch but can’t do it too soon so you’ll just have to visualize it.  I also like to have a holiday scented candle burning in my powder room for guests and think I will have to try the new Diane James Home Winter candle!  These work beautifully with my colors…

Holiday Topiaries

This is a simple touch, adding pine cones to the base of a plant or flower…

Added Festive Touches

LOVE flowers.  Especially white and on occasion, red.  This is a wee bit intimidating now that I’m thinking of it, doing this post for the doyennes of magnificent faux flowers!  (Hope this passes muster.)  One of the best investments I made years ago was on some really good quality white amaryllis flowers/plants; I cannot tell you how much use I have gotten from these babies.  I put them in different pots and containers and experiment and move them around…  and the best part is, they never die and always look fresh and perfect!  Here’s a look I am loving this season.  I added the amaryllis to various pots and filled the base with scented pine cones instead of the usual moss.  Looks pretty and smells so wonderful!  Pretty red amaryllis in pots with holiday greenery and berries are a nice accent to my breakfast room table.

Red Amaryllis and Berries

These are for my kitchen…

White Amaryllis and Pine Cones

Simple and soo easy.  I put them in my planters which are fiberglass that have an aged finish and are super light and easy to move around.  I simply “build them up” with tissue or whatever is handy and place the flowers then add a layer of scented pine cones on the base… and voila!  Love the look.

Kitchen Blue and White

Ditto for other containers.  Anyone who knows me or my blog knows my insatiable love for all things blue and white.  And I must say, Christmas flowers look splendid with blue and white – here’s proof!

On my island I keep this really huge old blue and white porcelain bowl (about 20″ round) and I like to change it out seasonally.  So for Christmas, I added two large white poinsettias and again, added the pine cones to the base… so easy but looks gorgeous and festive.

Kitchen Poinsettias

P.S.  I have to admit, these are fake poinsettias!  But they’re really good quality and I swear everyone thinks they’re real!  No shedding, no mess, nothing…  Love it!  I bought eight of these about eight years ago and saying I have gotten my money’s worth is an understatement!

Just starting to do a little front door decor.  It’s a work in progress but it’s getting there.  I like getting an over sized wreath; to me – the bigger, the better (nothing worse than a wreath too small for a door, kind of like drapes that are too short) and I like it on the simple side, a great big luxurious bow, lots of mixed greens, berries and pine cones and maybe minimal adornments just here and there.  This year I used a 36″ wreath of white pine filled with big chucks of variegated boxwood and regular boxwood to make it really thick and full, and it’s filled with big pine cones.  I may add some berries and this bow is from last year…  I may keep it or I may go with a mossy green bow.  Will experiment as I love to do!

A Lush and Lovely Wreath

Pretty Planters

Just Add Berries!

I haven’t thought yet of how I am going to set my still unfinished dining room but I will surely be using my antique china, my etched crystal, my sterling flatware, crisp white linens and will have a ball with my newest item, custom pewter napkin rings.  For Christmas, I am loving the idea of the deer, the Santa’s but also switching things up with a few of the whimsical animals, too.  I also have a “thing” for nutcrackers and bought  mini ones a few years ago and put one at each setting – they add a little holiday cheer to each space.  I also love to put a sprig of greenery with berries on top of each napkin…  Still experimenting, but that’s the fun part!  

The Table Set and Ready

Pewter and Gold

I love making small holiday vignettes on tables, consoles, etc. – it just allows the magic of the holiday to be felt all over the house instead of maybe just the room where the Christmas tree is placed.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how important it is to spread the cheer all around and it just makes me happy!  Here are two vignettes that are about done (though I knowing myself, I’ll be tweaking them right up until Christmas Eve!) 

Vignette #1

Vignette #2

This is where I am so far…  Still have to get the tree, decorate the stairs with garlands, bring out my nutcracker collection – there’s still plenty of decorating to do!

So hopefully you see a little imagination goes a long way.  Adding a little touch here and there in the principle rooms allows the holiday cheer to be felt in all rooms of the house.  Invest in good things and you will see you pull them out year after year; its amazing how much use I have gotten out of everything and literally everything I have shown I have had for years!!!  I do plant real paperwhites which will bloom hopefully in a few weeks – I love their elegance and intoxicating fragrance.  Throw in a few holiday candles burning around the house, some holiday music and fill in with laughter and it’s official…  the holidays are here!

Thanks girls for letting me stand on your soapbox today and allowing me to share some of the touche I like to add to my home during the holidays.  Fun idea for a series and thank you to everyone else for stopping in.  Wishing everyone a fabulous day and the merriest of holidays…  Ho, ho, ho!
Tina, thank YOU for such a festive post filled great decorating ideas and we love the fact that you use faux flowers!  You inspire us to get our holiday decorating done and spread the cheer throughout the house.  Happy weekend!


Guest Post, Inspirations

Holiday How-to’s: Haus Design

With so many talented and creative bloggers out there, how could we not have a holiday series to inspire and delight our readers?!  We’ve tapped some of our friends from all over the country to help with this “Holiday How-to” series and first up is the delightful Barbara from Haus Design (whom we got to meet when we traveled out west this summer!)

Introducing Haus Design

I am so happy to be here today on one of my favorite blogs, The Buzz!  We are new to the Seattle area, and new in our home, so this year will be a very special holiday season for us, full of new traditions and friendships.  I’m thinking that this December we will have a Holiday Open House to celebrate.  Notice I didn’t say *party*.  I’m not sure why, but I find it’s easier on me (and our guests) to have an Open House as opposed to a full blown party.  The difference is that people can just stop in when it works with their busy holiday schedule.  We provide a window of time when we’ll have drinks and appetizers, and they can pop in for 20 minutes or the whole time!  Here are a few of my favorite ways to celebrate this season.  My goal is to do all of these – we’ll see how successful I am! 🙂

Holiday Swags

I believe a festive welcome is a must to set the right one for the party.  I love the look of swags like these for a more interesting look.

Cranberry Mojito

My husband’s favorite drink is a Mojito.  I’m anxious to try this out 0 it will look so cheery floating around in guests’ hands at the party!

Cheerful Chairs

I’d love to dress up our dining room table with this type of detail.  Our dining room chairs are Danish – the sleek design lends itself perfectly to adding a slipcover and a flourish.

Elf Doughnuts

Since the kids will be coming, I want to provide some fun food, too.  How cute are these Elf Doughnuts?!

Gift Wrap with a Naural Touch

This is the Type A in me, but I truly adore when all of the Christmas gifts have coordinated wrapping paper.  This natural look won’t overpower the room and will give the tree a nice, cohesive, nature-inspired look.

I’ve been fortunate enough to meet Carolyn and Cynthia once before, and if they lived closer, I’d definitely love to be celebrating with them this holiday season!  C & C – if you decide to jump on a plane, let me know – I’ll have a cranberry mojito ready for you! 🙂


Thank you, Barbara, for your wonderful post –  just let us know when the party is and we’ll be there with sleigh bells on!

Photo sources and more Open House ideas can be found on Barbara’s Pinterest board here!


Guest Post

You’re Invited to a Wedding

Making a Peach of a Pair

When we were asked to write a post for Kate’s new series “I Do II”, we jumped at the chance…  After all, it’s been over 18 years since our own receptions and while we wouldn’t trade our hubbies in for the world, we love having a reason to throw a party.  So grab a glass of pink champagne and be our guest over at Party Resources!

Photo via Matchbook Magazine

Guest Post

Guest Post: Design Chic

Caribbean with a Twist!

We’re thrilled to have been invited by the lovely ladies at Design Chic to share what we think is “In Good Taste” so click here to read more about a fabulous English designer with a flair for island living!

Photo via Jenny Blanc


Guest Post

Spring Fashion… the Highs and Lows

Coveting This Closet!

It’s spring again and what better time to clean out those closets… a feat that always has its highs and lows (as in, that pair of color jeans bought last year are still in style (a high!) but you’ll have to lose that winter weight before you can zip them up again (a definite low!))  We always schedule a trip to the mall once we’re done and this year’s fabulous floral fashions are sure to make us smile (a high!) until we see the prices (a low!)  Thankfully, we’ve done our homework and uncovered some fashionable finds that won’t break the bank…

Blugirl Blossoms

You’ll have to join us on Women’s Voices for Change to read more! Happy Friday!

Photos via Freshome and Elle