Merry Christmas!

IMG_5107.jpg Christmas is bittersweet for me this year. It will be the first one without my Mom, but I am blessed to be sharing it with other beloved family members.  The Spode dinnerware shown above was a gift from my Mom and Dad 30 years ago when I was newly married.  I treasure it even more this year! Throughout the years, I have added linens, glassware and serving pieces to the collection.  Gold chargers enhance the plates. I’ve chosen a plaid tablecloth  and navy velvet runner to compliment the beautiful Spode Christmas tree pattern.  Crystal and brass candlesticks with white tapers complete the look. I decided to keep the floral arrangement simple and elegant.  Fresh evergreens and white roses provide just the right compliment for the table setting. I can’t wait to celebrate the joy of food and family together at our table!

I extend my sincere hope that you experience all the joys of Christmas with family and friends.  I am thinking of you, Mom (Miss you!), and also looking forward to a Christmas spent with loved ones!

XO,

Linda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May you and your families experience the many blessings of Christmas with those you love. I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year!

XO,

Linda

 

Christmas in Chicago

 

Image result for art institute lions wreath The holiday season in Chicago boasts an array of activities and plenty of festive cheer for everybody! Over the years, I have experienced everything from performances of “The Nutcracker”, “Zoo Lights” and even a “Santa Run”! The activities are way too numerous to mention.  Our family never misses an opportunity to soak up the beauty of Chicago at Christmastime. Something about the hustle and bustle adds an air of excitement to the season. Magnificent decorations abound everywhere. Second City? I think not!

This past Saturday, my daughter and I enjoyed a delightful Saturday together taking in the sights and sounds of Chicago at Christmas. Today, I am sharing some of my favorite things to do to celebrate the season. None are specific to a certain day or week during the season, just all super fun!

 TAKE IN A MUSEUM

So many word class museums exist in Chicago that it is difficult to select favorites. Pictured above are the wreathed lions that flank the entrance to the Art Institute of Chicago. Enjoy thousands of pieces of art from all reaches of the globe.  I never tire of a visit here.

 

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The Driehaus Museum is housed in a magnificent mansion in the gold coast area that showcases the art, architecture and design of the gilded age. During the holiday season they offer high tea and also a Santa program for the little ones.

ENJOY A SPECIAL LUNCH

 

The RL Restaurant is one of my all time favorites.  My daughter and I savored a delicious lunch there on Saturday. Located steps off of the Magnificant Mile and attached to its namesake store, Ralph Lauren, it provides a perfect respite from holiday shopping. Make reservations as it fills up weeks in advance!

SAUNTER DOWN OAK STREET

Image result for oak street chicago pictures Yes, the prices are sky high, but the stores and their window displays are oh so beautiful!

SHOP THE MAGNIFICENT MILE

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Crowds? Of course! My daughter and I still enjoy this holiday right of passage, shopping the vast array of stores on Michigan Avenue while enjoying its sights and sounds.

MAKE TIME FOR SOME HOLIDAY CHEER ( THE ALCOHOL KIND)

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Tavern on Rush is one of my favorite spots year round. We popped in here for some refreshments after mastering the crowds of the day. The festive decor and lively ambiance make it especially fun during the holidays.

Image result for butch mcguires christmas Butch McGuire’s offers a feast for the eyes this time of year. Words defy the number of Christmas decorations here.  From zillions of lights to running trains, Butch’s has it all. But….be prepared to stand shoulder to shoulder here for a cocktail!

DINNER AT A STEAKHOUSE

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As most people know, Chicago is known for its incredible steakhouses.  My new favorite is Gibson’s Italia.  Situated where the river branches with theater style seating, no restaurant in the city has a view like this! And the food…spectacular!

SEE A SHOW

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Hamilton! Need I say more?

Performed with the Chicago 1893 World’s Fair as its backdrop, this show is outstanding.

Obviously, these are only two of the hundreds of shows now playing in Chicago. Finish your fabulous day by taking one in.

So, I have offered a small sampling of holiday activities in the magnificent city of Chicago. More favorites include Macy’s animated Christmas windows, Tea at the Drake Hotel, Lincoln Park’s Zoo Lights, Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest, Museum of Science and Industry’s  Christmas around the World Festival, Ice skating at Millennium Park, Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas program, and on and on and on! I hope you are able to enjoy a  bit of what Chicago has to offer this holiday season! And oh yeah, maybe take in a Chicago Bears game….NFC champs!

XO,

Linda

Personalized Gifts for Him

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Monograms and personalized gifts aren’t just for women! Please don’t forget about the special men in your life when it comes to personalizing a gift! Add a monogram to elevate the look of a shirt, decanter, or briefcase. Let your imagination run wild! Not a monogram kind of guy? ….Consider a personal phrase for a fun twist.

Today I am sharing some of my favorite personalized gift ideas for your husband, significant other, father, brother or friend. (Anyone you can think of!)

 

FOR WHEN HE WANTS THE PERFECT FIT:

 

The ultimate in personalization, customize a shirt for the special man in your life. Brooks Brothers allows a choice of fit type, color, collar, back, sleeve length, neck size and monogram placement. This shirt is only one of a multitude of options.

Engraving Preview

Not interested in monogramming the cuffs themselves? Try a stunning pair of classic silver cufflinks from Tiffany’s with custom engraving. Pair the cufflinks with a french cuff shirt of your choosing for an elegant gift.

 

FOR WHEN HE WANTS TO CHILL:

Randall Plaid Men's Robe Robes provide a perfect canvas for personalization. Add a handsome monogram to this sophisticated plaid robe.

 

FOR WHEN HE WANTS TO SHOW OFF HIS STYLE APTITUDE:

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Let him flaunt his style! A perfectly paired set includes a monogrammed handkerchief, tie and socks. Select from a variety of colorful options.

 

FOR HIS WATCH COLLECTION:

Monogram Watch Box,
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                        color, F Watches deserve their own special showcase.  Allow him to safely store his collection in this monogrammed watch box.

FOR WHEN HE TRAVELS:

Leather Charger Roll Up, Navy Organize your techie guy when he’s on the road or in the air.  A luxurious leather case holds all his charger necessities.

Alternate Image An overnight duffel bag with his initials offers both handsome form and function. The waxed canvas of this bag adds updated appeal.

 

FOR HIS ____ (FILL IN THE BLANK) YEAR OLD SCOTCH:

Etched Windowpane Decanter

A drink just tastes better when poured from an elegant decanter. With an etched windowpane pattern and a classic monogram, who could question the quality of the scotch.

 

FOR HIS MARTINI:

Monogrammed Martini Glasses, Triple-Initial, Set of 4

Is he a martini drinker? Bring back memories of a bygone era with a set of monogrammed martini glasses.

 

I have way too many ideas to share in one post, but I hope you find inspiration in everything I have shared today! Contemplate his lifestyle and match a special, personalized gift with that image.  Happy shopping!

XO,

Linda

Five Fabulous Faux Furs for Under $50

IMG_E5006 Heat up your wardrobe with a faux fur coat or jacket! Faux Fur is so hot right now, that it is the must have piece of outwear for this winter! Every style, shape and color appears on both runways and streets. Since trends come and go quickly, I do not like to overspend on a trendy item.

Recently, while shopping at Target, I saw the leopard coat I am wearing in the photo above. As you know from my previous posts, I love all things animal print! With a price tag of $49.99, how could I resist? Needless to say, the coat went in my basket. Inspired by my recent faux fur purchase, I thought, why not share some fabulous faux fur choices that are also inexpensive? Add a bit of whimsy to your winter wardrobe with these additional five faux furs all under $50!

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Who can deny the appeal of this darling, burgundy short jacket? How perfect would this be for upcoming holiday parties? And a price tag of $39.99 makes it irresistible.

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A black, fuzzy jacket offers a versatile option.  It’s pictured casually here, but added to your little black dress it’s perfect for any soiree!

Image 1 of SOFT FAUX FUR COAT from Zara

 

A beautiful neutral colored fur says “wear me with anything”! With winter upon us, this coat provides cozy warmth.

Faux Fur Hooded Jacket A faux fur and an on trend green color make this bomber jacket a stand out.  Also available in ivory, throw this jacket on over your activewear to meet friends for coffee.

 

Adelaqueen Faux Fur Coat Jacket Women Black Long Sleeve Coat Jacket Large Winter Coat Clothing Plus Fluffy Fake Fur Coat Thick Cheap Fashion Faux Fur Lady Coat Outerwear Shaggy Fuzzy Elegant Coat XS

Wear this black faux fur dressed down with jeans or out for an evening this holiday season.  I love the slightly vintage feel of this coat!

Why not heat up your wardrobe with a bit of fabulous, faux fur? The hard part becomes selecting only one!

XO,

Linda

Personalized Gifts for Her

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Nothing personalizes a gift more than adding a monogram!  I must admit, I am a monogram addict. I know a little goes a long way, but I can’t resist a good monogrammed scarf, bag, towel, or anything. My sorority days included the requisite monogrammed sweater. Nowadays though, monograms can be traditional or modern.

Today, I am sharing some of my favorite personalized gifts for that certain someone on your list.  Add a monogram to individualize a special gift.

 A stunning cashmere robe provides the perfect canvas for a monogram. Restoration Hardware offers this robe in 9 colors. Select from a variety of monogram styles.

Alternate Image A classic set of quality cotton pjs should be on everyone’s list. Monogram the sleeve for a different twist. Imagine how chic she will look when she appears before her guests in the morning.

Women's Suede Moccasin Slippers

Monogrammed slippers add an air of sophistication to any sleeping ensemble.  These slippers are also offered in English Tan and Classic Navy.

Women's Cashmere Lined Leather Gloves

A simple initial or monogram ups the style quotient of a black coat with these sumptuous colored leather gloves. An added bonus is the cashmere lining.

Women's Twisted Cable Scarf

A well priced, cable knit scarf takes it up a notch with a simple initial.

 

Image result for photo shoot An acrylic block necklace lends a modern flair to the monogram.  This necklace has oodles of customization options. Choose the chain metal, chain length, acrylic color (12 available), monogram size, monogram letters. Talk about personalizing!

Slide View: 1: Block Letter Monogram Necklace A classic block letter adorns this gold necklace. I love how the initial falls in an unexpected way when worn.

 

Tortoise Cuff For the love of tortoise, I am sharing this elegant bracelet.  Dress it up with black or down with raw hem jeans.

 

engraved cologne 30ml bottle

Be still my heart! A Jo Malone fragrance and monogramming? Jo Malone of London offers engraving on either the bottle or lid of its fragrances. I have been wearing Jo Malone perfume for several years now. Their scents are so lovely, unique and never cloying.  I take advantage of the option of wearing two scents at once for my own personal blend.

Gold Foil Medium Julian Navy Topsail

Who doesn’t love a great Brahmin bag? Add a classic monogram to a luxurious leather handbag or zip wristlet.

 

 

Leather Passport Case

Don’t forget about the traveler! Gift a monogrammed passport case in a fun color. Add one of the other travel accessories for a matched set.

Slide View: 1: Monogram Lidded Jewelry Box A lidded jewelry box to store her precious gems will be a hit with the darling print and initial monogram.

Slide View: 1: Tea Time Monogram Mug How about a floral teacup for the tea drinker? The monogram is personal, and the teacup acknowledges you know she prefers tea to coffee.

Monogram  Box of 8 Flat Notes & Matching Envelopes I usually love everything the Rifle Paper Company makes.  These adorable monogrammed note cards are no exception.

So many choices are available to make your holiday gift to her a special one.  I hope my selections have inspired you to personalize your gift with a monogram.

Get shopping!

XO,

Linda

 

 

 

Holiday Aprons

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Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Tis the season for entertaining, cooking and baking! I know that I can make a terrible mess of both the kitchen and myself while cooking.  So, donning an apron mitigates the problem.  Wearing beautiful, new clothes really necessitates the use of an apron when hosting people during the holidays. Don’t settle for an ordinary apron. Select one that has a holiday feel to it. My daughter fueled my appreciation for aprons.  As a little girl, she loved wearing a fancy apron and baking cookies. Because of those memories, I have a fondness for aprons.

Not only do they protect your clothing, they are adorable! I know some of the patterns are a little cheesy, but oh so fun! I’m hoping the apron will trick people into thinking I am a serious cook!  Thanksgiving, a cookie baking party, or anytime you are in the kitchen during the holidays offer an opportunity to wear one.  I do not have grandchildren yet, but many of these aprons offer companion aprons in child sizes. So, today I am sharing some of my favorite aprons this season. Let the cooking and baking begin!

 

The rich autumn colors and print in this darling acorn print apron will be perfect to wear while cooking on Thanksgiving day.

An autumnal floral print apron adds a pretty, feminine feel.

Love plaid? This charming apron is fall festive in color.

Botanical Pumpkin Orange Apron

This fall botanical print apron is only part of a matching ensemble . Now that says serious chef! Or maybe not…they probably wear a plain white apron with faint stains that showcase the thousands of meals they have concocted from scratch!

An elegant paisley print defines a lovely apron.

ThankfulEmbrdrdGrphtLnAprnSHF18 The beautiful simplicity of this “Thankful” apron says it all!

Suzanne Kasler Holiday Plaid Apron Red plaid, I’m in! This festive red plaid apron is my newest pick. I also adore the gold thread monogram. I may also need to order one for my adult daughter (reminiscent of days gone by) for our yearly cookie baking.

Another plaid option!

 

Accessorize your holiday cooking look with a gorgeous red and white jacquard apron!

 

Wear an equally beautiful jacquard apron with a snowflake print.

 

Pair a novelty snowman print apron with the available child’s apron! Time for those photo opportunities!

Kiss the Cook Apron I love it – “Kiss the Cook“! The embroidered mistletoe on this darling apron is beautiful.

Holiday Striped Adult Apron Monogram a candy cane striped apron for a bit of holiday cheer!

'Twas the Night Before Christmas Apron Celebrate Santa’s imminent arrival in the “T’was the night before Christmas” apron while preparing Christmas Eve dinner!

 Calling all dog lovers! Who can resist an apron with our furry pals on it?

Do you have a favorite apron you wear for holidays? Perhaps it holds special memories.  Aprons are a wonderful way to celebrate this marvelous season! If you haven’t worn one before, give it a try.  It promises smiles as well as protecting your holiday outfit! Start the cooking and baking!

XO,

Linda

 

 

 

Set the Thanksgiving Table

 

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We have less than a week until that perfectly browned turkey (We can only hope!) appears on our dining room table! Ease some of that last minute stress by preparing your table ahead of time.

I love decorating a table when I am entertaining!  I know not everyone does.  Today, I am sharing my tips for a fabulous looking tablescape that everyone will rave about.  Who cares if the turkey is dry when everything looks pretty? Spend a few minutes a day now getting ready, and everything will come together perfectly.

TAKE AN INVENTORY

At least one week before, confirm who will be attending.  With this information, open the cupboards and make sure you have enough plates, silverware, glasses, linens, etc. for everyone. If not, purchase what you need or enlist a friend or family member to bring the additional number of items you need. Having a huge crowd? Consider renting your place settings.  Check with your local party rental company.  Most of them offer beautiful choices at reasonable prices.

POLISH THE SILVER

 

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If you plan on using good silver, make sure it is tarnish free.  If not, polish it. Nothing is more beautiful on a table than gleaming silver! Don’t have silver? No worries, just make sure your silverware is clean and spot free.

 

WASH THE GLASSWARE

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 Check all the glassware you plan to use for water spots, or, heaven forbid, lipstick remants. You want everything to sparkle! While you are at it, run those dishes through a wash cycle to ensure they are ready to showcase a delicious meal.

IRON THE LINENS

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Runner/Napkins

Whip out your trusty iron and press any linens you plan to use for the big day.  Hate ironing? Send your linens to the dry cleaner for a press. You may notice I have mixed the pattern of the linens.  The colors still correspond and make for a more interesting table.

 

PURCHASE CANDLES

Colored Taper Candles, Set of 2, White

Candles

Planning to have candlelight on your table? Be sure you have plenty of candles on hand ahead of time. Flickering candlelight adds a festive aura to any event. If children will be in attendance, try some flameless candles.  They are very realistic now.

 

COMPOSE A CENTERPIECE

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Get creative with the centerpiece on your Thanksgiving table.  Mine is different every year.  I utilize a mix of what I have on hand with a few new purchases. Flowers always work, but it’s fun to add a nod to the season. I like assembling a mixture of items. Above, I am using faux pumpkins and pears mixed with some crystal candlesticks, gold votives, and mercury glass candlesticks.  I already owned these items and repurposed them for a centerpiece. Explore what you may already have on hand.  Just keep the centerpiece low enough to encourage conversation. Also, make sure to provide room for all the delectable Thanksgiving food. I could go crazy here with ideas! But since the theme of the post is not strictly centerpieces, I will leave that to another time.

ADD SOME NOVELTY

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Gravy boat/Butter dish

A festive table catches everyone’s eye.  Just a touch of something that identifies the holiday is so fun! I purchased turkey plates a couple of years ago.  This year I added a butter dish and gravy boat to compliment the look.

LAYER THE LOOK

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Tablecloth/Runner/Silver charger/Orange charger

White plate/Plaid Napkin/Turkey plate

Create a lush look by layering your table setting.  A white tablecloth creates the first layer on my table.  Next, I added the beautiful grey and orange table runner.  Not one to skimp, I have used two charger plates.  The bottom layer adds some shine in silver. I placed an orange charger atop it for a burst of color. I chose a simple white plate to allow the novelty turkey salad plate to take center stage. Between the white plate and turkey plate I laid a simply folded, elegant plaid napkin. Notice how the colors of the linens tie in with the centerpiece and plates.

The table I have set is definitely more formal, but the same principals apply to any type of setting you choose! Just have fun with it!

Get organized ahead of time and enjoy a festive Thanksgiving! Happy Turkey Day to you and your family!

XO,

Linda