Halloween Not So Haunted House Favorites: Halloween Decorating Ideas

Friday night lights will apply to more than high school Friday night football games this Halloween.  The flicker and glow from jack-o-lanterns, skull sconces and every tricked out decoration in-between will illuminate the evening and catch the eye of the costumed faithful.

skull-sconceSkull Wall Sconce from Moonshine Lamp on Etsy

Halloween decorating has taken on a life all its own in recent years. Decoristas leave no moss covered stone unturned, no craft store unshopped, and no Halloween Pinterest board unseen in search and shop for the ultimate Halloween decor ideas.

flying-monkey“Fly, Fly, Fly.”  Winged Monkey Costume

I’m a traditional old soul at heart when it comes to Halloween decorations. We keep the scarefest very G-rated as not to spook the little ones.  The most frightening thing at our house is the amount of calories in the bowls and bowls of candy.


In the vein of delight over freight, this Halloween decoration diy is share worthy.

tissue paper bells ghoulsCountry Living

Construction-paper eyes and mouths glued onto white tissue-paper bells and then draped with cheesecloth brings forth a ghostly ghoul gang.


Black and orange rules the color palette, Monster Mash is the first tune on the Halloween playlist, and I’ve been known to break out an old pair of men’s cowboy boots, jeans, flannel shirt and stacks of yesterday’s news (0ld newspapers) creating a wicked good cowboy to help me pass out candy. Speaking of haunting hits- here’s a few of the Places In The Home Halloween house favorites.

If your ideas of Halloween pumpkin decorating finds you in the no carve pumpkin zone, fret or fright not.


Invent your very own throwback Halloween hashtag #TBH and channel decoupage days of basket purses and vintage milk cans past.

Remember these purses?

Earliest 1958 Caro-Nan signature penny wood purse Made for Vogue StoresEarliest 1958 Caro-Nan signature penny wood purse Made for Vogue Stores

Spray painted leaves, printables, and/or old photos – all great choices to decorate a no carve pumpkin with.


The Graphics Fairy



The Graphics Fairy

Glitter stickers, acrylic paint and a decorative furniture or curtain finial lend a designer touch and signature style to a Halloween pumpkin.


Stylish decorations don’t have to expensive to be impressive.  Create fab-BOO-lous Halloween centerpiece magic with a couple of dollar store feather boas, a witches hat, and a rhinestone pin.


You can get more bang for your harvest and Thanksgiving decorating buck by not carving the pumpkin and simply surrounding it with wow factor embellishments.


Mingle twinkle lights in and around the feather boas for mood lighting. Wrap average party paper cups in high Halloween style with ribbon in your favorite designer pattern and color.


I like using fabric for tablecloths, table runners, and table skirting.  Velvet and lace add an elegant, creepy edge to the festivities.

Stretch Panne Velvet Velour Red FabricStretch Panne Velvet Velour Red Fabric

Telio Amelia Lace Black FabricTelio Amelia Lace Black Fabric

I stock up on pillar candles and dollar store glass containers and cylinder vases for my Halloween tablescapes.

glass hurricane

Glitter, black beans, candy corn or water dyed with food coloring make great filler choices.


This “may I give you a hand?” serving bowl from Target would make a fun centerpiece anchor.


Another dollar store run for Spanish moss, red apples and glow-in-the-dark insects, and you’re set.


Battery-operated LED votive candles produce the perfect lighting for pathway luminaries.  Safety first always, and this option is a safe alternative to traditional wick candles.

black-red-wax-drip-pillar-candlesBlack And Red Bleeding Drip Flameless LED Pillar Candles

I hope one or more of these Halloween decorating ideas offers inspiration for your Halloween haunted or not so haunted house soiree.

Love your style!

A Most Fetching Friday 9: October

This week’s Fetching Friday features impressions and inspirations associated with the star of the moment, October.


fetching Friday 9

Hello, October.  I’ve been anxiously waiting your arrival.


Berthe Morisot Tureen and Apple


ff-blanketsStyle Me Pretty – Photography by Judy Pak Photography

Seatings and settings.  Crisp evenings set the tone and texture for seasonal tablescapes with attention to cozy details.

rolling-pinRustic Olive Wood Rolling Pin

Currently craving.

ff-apple-pancakeApple Pancake

I hope you have a most Fetching Friday.

Love your style!

From Coast to Coast: The Cuisine of Summer

From sea to shining sea, coast to coast, the hallmark summer celebration of freedom revolves around good times and great food.  The saltwater, freshwater and farm-raised cuisine of summer varies from coast to coast, but it is fried, boiled, steamed, blackened, poached, baked grilled and barbecued with this is how we do it love.  I love a good game of connect the food to the corresponding city and/or state.  When you think about it, food is the claim to fame of many cities and states.  Dedicated foodies travel coast to coast highways in search of gastronomy glory.  All gourmet restaurants, neighborhood cafes, seafood markets, crab shacks, beachside bungalows and river restaurants are open game.  Leave no oyster unshucked, no shrimp unpeeled, no stone crab unturned.


I can’t tell you how many times I have begun a what’s for dinner conversation with the words, “I wish I had the recipe for insert memorable dish here we had when we were in insert memorable destination here.”

Gulf-CoastA misconception about Gulf Coast seafood dishes is that they are swimming in grease or hot sauce or both.  Granted, the key ingredient featured in many Gulf Coast region seafood dishes and recipes has been swimming at one time or another, but the measure of flavor, spice and heat varies from region to region.   I don’t need a map to tell me what part of the Gulf Coast I’m in-  just point me in the direction of the kitchen (indoor or outdoor) and the in-house spice cabinet.  The pot and the spice potions tell the tales.  Get it?

pascals-manale-restaurantPascal’s Manale via Explore New Orleans

Barbecue speaks the universal language of fire it up, throw it on and c’est si bon! I became a seafood barbecue believer the first time I tasted barbecued shrimp at Pascal’s Manale Restaurant in New Orleans.  You can’t talk the cuisine of summer without talking barbecue, and BBQ naturally brings the conversation around to potato salad.  I have not tasted this Potato Salad with Bacon and Barbecue Sauce  Potato Salad with Bacon and Barbecue Sauce Recipe from Food & Wine, but the words barbecue and bacon have my attention.

potato saladPotato Salad with Bacon and Barbecue Sauce Recipe via Food & Wine

Boiling shrimp and crawfish is a way of life down Southern states of the Gulf Coast way.  I’m totally convinced the throw it all in one pot principle of shrimp and crawfish boiling sparked the crock pot revolution.

When Dave the Builder was working in the corporate world, we were active in the office supper club.  This group took a crawfish boil to new flavor heights, but the real deliciousness was surprisingly found in the “sides” that went into the pot.

crawfish-time-paintingCrawfish Time by Dianne Parks

Here’s what made the pot:


whole yellow onions

garlic bulbs


celery stalks

whole carrots

link sausage

red potatoes

corn on the cob


Let me tell you, the crawfish were tasty, but the vegetables were the hit of the night!  Our hostess whipped up a couple of skillets of hot cornbread and the crowd went wild.

Food for thought, people!

I found a great article, Crawfish Boil 101,  from NOLA.com that offers expert advice for the perfect boil.

catfish_cinnamon_chipotle1-710x1065Baked Cinnamon Chipotle Catfish with Sweet Pepper Slaw

Caught in freshwater or farm-raised, coasters love catfish.  Catfish is exactly what it is- a mild, delicious classic comfort food.  I’ve had catfish broiled, blackened, baked, poached, grilled, barbecued and stuffed. Given my plate of preference, I’ll have mine fried crisp with a side scoop of coleslaw, flour battered french fries, two lemon wedges and a couple of green onions.

classic-fried-catfish-lClassic Fried Catfish with Hushpuppies and Tartar Sauce

In the next Coast to Coast installment we’ll be going from Atlantic to Pacific, gee, the seafood is terrific!

Love your style!

Tradition and Thoroughbreds Kentucky Derby Party Ideas

The first weekend in May means it is Kentucky Derby time!  Kentucky Derby party ideas revolve around red roses, mint juleps and fascinating fascinators.


Horse racing reigns supreme in Louisville, and for nearly a century the Early Times Mint Julep has been the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby.

Mint Julep CupMint Julep Cup

Horse racing enthusiasts, socialites and celebrities will flock to Churchill Downs this Saturday to view the Run for the Roses, marvel at the traditional Kentucky Derby hats on parade, and to taste a traditional Kentucky Derby Early Times Mint Julep.


I like to pick up several nickle-plated serving trays from Dollar Tree in various styles to serve mint juleps and appetizers on.   For extra Run for the Roses Derby flair, I clip several roses from front yard flower bed and place on the trays.


No real roses?  No real problem.

faux rose bouquet

Faux rose bush bouquets work too!


In  honor of tradition and thoroughbreds, I present to you the Kentucky Derby Early Times Mint Julep recipe served proudly at Churchill Downs.

The Early Times Mint Julep


2 cups sugar

2 cups water

6-8 sprigs of fresh mint

crushed ice

2 ounces Early Times Kentucky Bourbon

Silver Julep Cups (optional, but highly recommended for the full Kentucky Derby traditional experience).


Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Early Times Kentucky Bourbon. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

Kentucky Derby 

jalapeno-spiked-bourbon-julep-recipedelish ~ photography by Grant Cornett

Traditional with a twist always works!

This Jalapeño-Spiked Bourbon Julep takes first place.

Recipe here.

kentucky derby party ideasThe Stakes Horseshoe Frame


The Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich, a Kentucky original recipe created in 1926 at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, is a perfect Derby Day menu choice.

This recipe from SheKnows plates turkey, bacon, Parmesan cheese, tomatoes and a heavy-handed dollop of bechamel sauce together in all its delicious, rich and Kentucky tradition glory.

Click HERE for recipe.


I’ve got four words for you.





Recipe from The Recipe Rebel found HERE.



Roses and Horseshoes + Mint Juleps = Derby Day celebration must haves.

These cotton napkins from Horse and Hound Gallery are an equestrian equation of epic and proper proportion.




I like several small arrangements of cut roses vs. one large centerpiece.

A combination arrangement of red and white roses perfectly fits in with the Run for the Roses motif.

Karen Scott Deliee Riding Boots

Karen Scott Deliee Riding Boots

I like to incorporate the traditional aspects of horse racing into my Kentucky Derby party ideas.  The pair of vintage English riding boots I purchased from one of my favorite antique malls, Parkway Antique Mall in Maryville, Tennessee, have sadly been misplaced.

May is a great time of the year in retail sales to locate a pair of riding boots on sale.  These Karen Scott Deliee Riding Boots will work perfect in my Kentucky Derby party ideas scheme.

Oliver Gal Artist Co. White Stallion Canvas Wall ArtOliver Gal Artist Co. White Stallion Canvas Wall Art


Saturday’s centerpiece will become my new fall fashion boots.  Now that’s getting your money’s worth.   The black velvet equestrian riding helmet will tie it all together.


Arthur Court Equestrian Horseshoe bowls

Arthur Court Equestrian Horseshoe Bowls (Set of 3)


Diamond Plain Bronco Horseshoe, Size 0, Pack of 4


Diamond Plain Bronco Horseshoe, Size 0, Pack of 4

Horseshoes and horseshoe nut or dip bowl, Kentucky Derby themed fabrics for tablecloth and napkins, mint julep cups, spire salt and pepper shaker set, nickel plated horse bits as napkin rings, and a couple of strategically placed horse and jockey figures and you’ve got a win, place and show-stopping tablescape.

And they’re off!

Love your style!





images via Kentucky Derby, MSNBC-David J. Phillip / AP, HGTV

Setting The Tone and The Table: Easter Tablescape Ideas Part 1

An Easter tablescape can rival fashion’s finery for the spotlight in the Easter parade.  Dressed to impress not only applies to the fashions, but to Easter baskets and Easter tablescapes.  To look upon a beautiful Easter tablescape as a work of art is no over exaggeration of the term.   I’m featuring a two part series this week appropriately titled Easter Tablescape Ideas.

bhg centerpieceBetter Homes & Gardens

A centerpiece full of fresh flowers from nature’s floral department aka our own yards broadens the field for artistic interpretation.

Begin with a vase, jar, tureen, pitcher, decorative coffee can- any type container that floats your boat or flower frog will do.

Fern and magnolia leaves, camellias, hydrangea, knock out roses, palm fronds, daffodils, dogwood branches, bridal wreath spirea, azaleas and  lilies- all eggscellent (you knew it was coming!) centerpiece options.

Inspiration lives in the great and colorful outdoors.

craft-tipNever underestimate the decorative power of paint.  Hobby Lobby makes a great point!

We see oodles of pictures showing lovely kitchen and dining rooms with dining tables polished and pristine.

You won’t see one of our kitchen tabletop.

It’s a working tabletop- one big catchall for house plans, design boards, material lists and shelter magazines.

Now you know my little secret and why I am in total support of the statement, “the kitchen is the heart of the home.”

Tablescapes usually take place on the dining room tabletop, but not this year.


The dining room chandelier is still sitting in the box waiting to be rewired…for the second time.


Dave the Builder stripped the new wiring as he was threading it through the center tube.

He didn’t discover this very important development until he was in the process of hanging the chandelier and the wires sparked in Katy Perry style.

You’re probably thinking it, so I’ll address it.

What’s the point of a tablescape post?

Because I absolutely love sourcing and creating tablescape ideas.

Love your style!

Outdoor Living It Up

Our neighborhood has suddenly become lawn care central.  It’s like a U2 concert block party with the rattle and hum of mowers and blowers. There’s a cloud of pollen as far as the itchy and watery eye can see.  Seasonal allergies how I love to hate thee, but the colors on parade evens things out.

Dave the Builder reminds me the work to rid the porch and patio of pollen, refresh flower pots and beds, and paint and clean the outdoor furniture is so worth it.

When the man is right he is right.

One must prep in order to properly patio- it gets the outdoor living party ball in motion.  Do you refresh or replace outdoor furniture, pillows and cushion?

wicker outdoor chairGiesel Wicker Outdoor Chair from Wayfair


When it comes to the decision to refresh or replace I consider the initial investment of money and retail resource availability.

Big $$ = Refresh

Small $$ and ample availability = Replace

Simple math.  Chic look.  Stylish equation.

Although, the Giesel Wicker Outdoor Chair from Wayfair and the summer chic collection of outdoor pillows big on color, texture and pattern  do make me want to load up the shopping cart.


Outdoor Luxembourg Planter

Decorative outdoor planters give good outdoor living it up visual appeal.



Vegetable and herb gardens unite and produce.  It’s your turn to be in the spring spotlight.  From full-on rows of growing goodness to a patio container garden, fresh is best.

There is something so delicious about the combination of a warm spring evening and a cold summer salad.

I’ll take mine with tomatoes, onions, bell pepper and fresh herbs.

outdoor lighting ideasOutdoor Lighting Options Available from Lowe’s 

The right lighting fixture coupled with the right lighting sets a scene.

When I was four years old my parents took the family to Disneyland compliments of my paternal grandmother’s good luck (she won the trip). Past the Pirates of the Caribbean, It’s a Small World and Tinkerbell flying each night promptly at ten, the white twinkle lights adorned trees stood out in the magical night and made quite an impression on me.

Good lighting will do that.

Deck out the deck, patio and backyard spaces with chic outdoor living it up accent lighting.  Vintage chandeliers, mason jars with tea lights, twinkle string lights adorned trees, tabletop lamps or paper lanterns- all super ideas!

iron chandelier

I purchased two iron chandeliers at auction several years ago and repurposed one as a bird feeder and the other as an outdoor candle chandelier.  I recently replaced the votive candles with battery operated LED tea lights.

Flicker fabulous!

led votive candlesLED Votive Candles from Dollar Tree

Spending time outdoors is a big part of spring and summer fun, making it easy to understand why outdoor living spaces have become extensions of the life lived within our home- a retreat of heart and home.

Is your outdoor living it up escape ready to greet the season?

Love your style!

Super Bowl Party Dip Recipes

What’s a Super Bowl party without dip?   These Super Bowl party dip recipes tip their hat to team towns, classic fan favorites, and regional ingredients.  Click on the links for the recipes, and enjoy!

Hot Caramelized Onion Dip with Bacon and Gruyere

Hot Caramelized Onion Dip with Bacon and Gruyere

Jalapeño Popper Football Cheese Ball Jalapeño Popper Football Cheese Ball

Baked Tex-Mex Pimiento Cheese Dip

Baked Tex-Mex Pimiento Cheese Dip

White Bean Dip

White Bean Dip

Clam Chowder Dip in a Bread Bowl

Clam Chowder Dip in a Bread Bowl

Best Queso Dip

Best Queso Dip