Happy New Year!


Much to my delight we stumbled upon Happy New Year, Charlie Brown on ABC last week. Of course I was excited because I'd never seen it, and our family likes to watch the Peanuts gang on most major holidays. The special first aired in 1986, which explains why I'd never seen it. I was too busy partying during my formative college years.

You've just gotta love Charlie Brown. My favorite lines from the show:

Peppermint Patty: Have you made any New Year's resolutions, Chuck?
Charlie Brown: Yes. You know how I always dread the whole year? Well, this time I'm only going to dread one day at a time.
Peppermint Patty: It's been a great year, Chuck. You'll have to admit that. What do you think, Chuck, would be good rules for living in the new year?
Charlie Brown: Keep the ball low, don't leave your crayons in the sun, use dental floss every day, don't spill the shoe polish, always knock before entering, don't let the ants get in the sugar, never volunteer to be a program chairman, always get your first serve in, and feed your dog whenever he's hungry.
Peppermint Patty: Will those rules give me a better life, Chuck?
Charlie Brown: The better life, and a fat dog.

It has been a great year. What are your rules for living a better life in the new year? 


Cheers!

Hangover car found!

Isn't she lovely
Good news! Our friend and trusty Mercedes-Benz mechanic located my car. And, it's just a hop, skip and a jump away in Florida. He advised that we would need a climate-controlled garage to house it. Too bad we leveled our 1920s garage (not climate-controlled mind you) a few years ago during our renovation. But, I'm sure we could rent one nearby.

I forwarded Matt's email to my husband so he could book his flight to Florida and drive it home just in time for Christmas. His response:

"Thanks.  I will pick up two of them on the way back from closing on the Rosemary Beach house."

Yes, a beach house in Rosemary is also on my wish list.

I called the dealer just to make sure the car was still available. I'm sad to report that it sold for over $200,000. Now, all I want for my birthday is The Hangover car and a house in Rosemary.

Signing off for the year.

May all of your holiday wishes come true!

All I want for Christmas is The Hangover car



Let’s face it being hung over sucks. So far I’ve managed to make it through the holiday season without tying one on. But, I’m worried about New Year’s Eve. We are going to our friends annual rockn' NYE bash. The host -- Mr. M -- is notorious for saying “you’re not leaving, just one more.” In fact he is so persuasive that he apparently convinced a group of guests a few years ago to have a lot more, including shots. The outcome was not pretty. When was the last time you did the worm at 3 am?

Check out the hangover remedy guide in the December issue of Real Simple. Here are 10 ways to avoid and recover from a hangover:
  1. Pop two Hangover Prevention Formula capsules before your first drink. They are made with prickly pear extract, which is known to reduce hangover symptoms. Who knew?
  2. Load up on high fiber foods, especially veggies, which are very beneficial in slowing absorption of alcohol in the blood stream.
  3. Put asparagus on the party menu. The extract from these spears breaks down alcohol absorption. Again, who knew?
  4. When drinking from a Solo cup use its lines to guide your pours. 
  5. Pass on the bubbly and drinks with fizzy mixers as carbonation can speed up alcohol intake. Bummer. Prosecco is my fave.
  6. Choose light colored wine and liquor.
  7. Drink a glass of water in between cocktails.
  8. Take ibuprofen before you go to bed and when you get up in the am.
  9. Eat a light breakfast the morning after like toast or bagels. Skip greasy foods, which can aggravate an upset stomach.
  10. Get off the couch and get moving the morning after. Skip training for your next marathon. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t sweat out alcohol.
Don't forget your mantra: Just say “no” to “just one more.”

This book would make a nice stocking stuffer for the boozers in your life.


Ever wonder where the phrase “hair of the dog” originated? From the Urban Dictionary:
The phrase comes from the expression "hair of the dog that bit you," meaning that the best cure for what ails you is to have some more of it. In ancient times it was literally used to say that if a dog were to bite you, putting the dog's hair into the wound would heal it.
Our friend R.M. was peer pressured into wearing some unsavory temporary tats at our annual holiday supper club dinner last year. Gosh our friends are so weak. I’m getting him this temporary tat for Christmas.

And, speaking of Christmas, I was cruising the Web looking for good photos from The Hangover for this post. Look what I found -- my dream car! I’d like to have this parked in my driveway tied up in a giant red ribbon Christmas morning. That’s all I want for Christmas. I'm not asking for too much, am I?


Meet the new girls on the block: Lulu & Georgia




Step aside One King's Lane. Los Angeles-based e-retailer Lulu & Georgia moved in a few months ago. Founder Sara Sugarman launched the online home decor store after getting her sea legs working in her family's interiors business. I must say it was love at first sight for me.

The store offers rugs, accessories, art, lighting and furniture at affordable prices -- one style is geared toward a girl on a budget. Each category is organized by type, style and color, making your shopping experience a breeze. If you're in the market for a new rug, L&G's got you covered. The rug guide offers tips on how to measure your space to ensure your rug is scaled correctly to your room. Scale always throws me for a loop, so I find this feature especially helpful. Returns within 15 days of receipt are accepted. I love the store's logo and the gals themselves:

Meet Lulu...
She's a globe-trotting romantic. A girl who passionately seeks the thrill of adventure and feels most at home when she's jet-setting to exotic hideaways, vintage suitcase in tow. She'll spend hours scouring flea markets and antique fairs for that perfect, glittery, decorative accent piece and has a special place in her heart for funky, slightly-flawed little treasures. She fills her home with artwork, and appreciates rugs with vibrant hues and unconventional patterns. She loves to paint, draw, and dance, and will never leave home without her favorite pair of five-inch heels.
Meet Georgia...
She's an extravagant hostess. She bakes madeleines and macaroons, and cooks her best with a glass of French wine in hand. She enjoys leisurely lunches with friends and browsing home decor shops. She has a discerning eye for style, and an impeccable ability to pair colors, textures, and patterns. She's the first one to tell you whether or not that Moroccan-style rug works in your living room, or if that vintage brass lamp was worth the price. Her home exudes luxury and glamour, and you'll always find a vase of pink peonies on her bedside table.
I'm so Georgia. Who are you?

Sara has been promoting the e-store by offering specials to her favorite bloggers. Shocking as it may seem, I'm not one of them. Must be because I live on the East Coast. It's a good thing I read so many blogs. Otherwise I would not have been able to swipe one from The City Sage. Get 25% off everything on the site until midnight December 25th! Just enter the code CITYSAGE at checkout.

Don't bite the hand that feeds you

Several weeks ago I was channel surfing and stopped dead in my tracks when I stumbled upon Lifetime's hidden camera series "Prank My Mom."

What's it about? Adult children playing elaborate jokes on their unsuspecting mothers. Here's what Common Sense Media has to say about it:
Each episode features a daughter or son who wants to play a successful prank on her/his mom as a way of getting her riled up, paying her back for a previous trick she played on her/him, or simply showing how much s/he loves her. Hidden cameras follow as the pranksters, with the help of actors, find themselves in some odd, embarrassing, and over-the-top situations. Meanwhile, the selfless moms unknowingly do everything they can to help their kids, even if it means sacrificing some of their their dignity in the process. When the truth behind the lunacy is revealed to the moms, they are presented with flowers, hugs, and laughs.
Showing how much s/he loves her. Aykm? As if we don't have it bad enough already. I'm sorry, but no amount of affection or flowers would make me find these pranks humorous, especially if my dignity was at stake. 

From examiner.com:
From shock, tears and laughter, to panic and near nervous breakdowns, everyone is in on the joke... except the moms. Once they have reached their breaking points, the actors let the moms in on the secret: that they've been pranked.
After being home with sick children for two months (and gone way beyond my breaking point), knowing about this reality trash really irks me. I have absolutely no interest in watching PMM. According to reviews though a lot of people are LOL. Comments posted on tumblr.com
"Prank my Mom is beyond f***king hilarious. I can’t even lol if I did this my mom would kick my a** on national television."
 "i want to prank my mom but i feel like she’d have a heart attack in most of these situations omg."  
"my mom’s talking about how this one show called “Prank My Mom” or whatever is sooo hilarious but if I ever did anything like that to her she would slap me so hard I’d never feel my face again omg."
Smart kids. I'm guessing the senseless adult children on PMM are too young to remember Mommy Dearest.


I love that Common Sense Media includes family discussion questions with their reviews. Here's a good one: "What makes people agree to be on a show like this?" Great question. Does anyone have a good answer? Anyone?

Dr. Q giveaway winner!

Drum roll please. The winner of the Dr. Q oxygen facial is Missy B. of Watusi Designs. Congratulations Missy and many thanks to Heather for her generous gift.

In other news. Right after I published my HouseMint post last week, I learned that Brad Pitt and furniture maker Frank Pollaro unveiled a high-end furniture line in New York last month. You can read more about it in Architectural Digest.


In light of this news, I have revised my reader poll. Don't forget you have to be on the blog site to weigh in.

HomeMint

Estee & Justin
Have you heard of HomeMint? It's part of BeachMint -- touted to be a next generation social commerce company. I've been a member of ShoeMint (never bought anything) since last year, but I was just introduced to HouseMint last week by La Dolce Vita. It's similar to One King's Lane, but has a couple of nice features I like. Not all sales are final. Some may be returned within 30 days for a full refund. And, when you register you complete a free homestyle profile so the designers can recommend pieces for your space. Based on your input you are categorized as a modernist, classicist, wanderer or artist. Of course I'm a classicist.

So here's what's so intriguing to me, Justin Timberlake is one of the designers. Excuse me, designer/curator. Who knew? He and celeb stylist and interior designer Estee Stanley joined forces earlier this year to spearhead the home site. You can read more about the partnership here.

Singer, songwriter, actor, designer/curator -- what's next for Justin?

Speaking of Hollywood stars, who watched MDD Tuesday night? The most entertaining or annoying -- depends on how you look at it -- was Martyn's redo of Stacey Dash's kitchen, dining and living rooms. Martyn's affectations are starting to annoy me, and Stacey's sex kitten performance was beyond over the top.

Don't forget tomorrow is the last day to enter the Dr. Q oxygen facial giveaway. Please read the rules carefully as only two contestants have followed them to a tee. The winner will be announced Monday.

Oh, and answer my new reader poll top right corner.

Down the rabbit hole

Via
Remember when Alice in Wonderland “burning with curiosity” chased the rabbit down a hole never considering how in the world she would get out? Well, that’s what happens to me every time I shop Etsy.com.

Known as the world’s handmade marketplace – Etsy sells handmade and vintage items, as well as arts and crafts supplies. And there is so much of it – in a good way. If you have a few minutes, check out this YouTube video.


Don't those young, idealistic entrepreneurs make you sick. Etsy founder Robert Kalin was 25 when he launched the e-commerce site. Doesn’t he look like Mark Zuckerberg? Smart guy and he’s raking in the dough. Last year, Etsy sales revenue was expected to exceed $400 million. If e-commerce existed when I was in my 20’s, I would have come up with a brilliant idea like this for sure.

Time blocking is a good strategy to use when visiting Etsy. Here are some tips from Christin of Simplified Bee. This never works for me. Perhaps you have more discipline.

Now on to some of my faves.

I’ve found some very affordable original art on Etsy. My favorite shop is goly bard – although Holly's subject matter and color palette have changed since I first purchased. A few years ago, I commissioned her to paint a set of sand dollar images for my coastal-inspired master bath. I’ve been collecting sand dollars for years – love them. In case you’re wondering, legend has it that sand dollars represent coins lost by mermaids. I think I paid $20 per print. Precut mats from Michaels and frames from the back room at Sam Flax made the for a nice display without breaking the bank. Tada!


If you are looking for a similar look, Driftwood Interiors has some coastal-themed prints, as well as florals and Ming vases at very reasonable prices. Originals are exponentially more. If Chinoiserie chic is your bag, The Pink Pagoda has prints in every size, color and style.

Remember the jute and chalk cloth party sacks I used for my Decatur Education Foundation holiday lunch last year? They came form South House Boutique. Visit the shop for other gift bags, stockings and banners.


Of course you know how much I love paper. Little Pumpkin Papers is one of my faves that I mentioned in an earlier post.

Have fun shopping Esty, and don’t forget to time block so you don’t get stuck in the hole. Good luck!

The last supper

In August -- seems like eons ago -- my friend Kristin invited me to a girl’s weekend at her mother-in-law’s house in the North Carolina Mountains. I was expecting a rustic cabin in the woods. Much to my delight, it was an absolutely fab home situated on top of a hill surrounded by stunning mountain vistas. 

After getting our room assignments and unpacking our bags, we headed straight to the kitchen like a pack of mixologists to whip up some cocktails and snacks. That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the weekend.

We did venture outdoors the next day for a short hike. Chanting “lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” we gingerly made our way down the long gravel road. There weren’t any lions or tigers, but there were several bear sightings that day – none by us. We did discuss what to do though -- make a lot of noise -- if we happened upon old Smokey.

Only you --  real housewives of Decatur -- can prevent wildfires!

After what felt like hours, we decided to head home. The trek back up the hill was grueling, especially for me and Kristin who were suffering from planter fasciitis, and Gwinn whose "buttock" was out of whack. What can I say, it sucks getting old.

We made it, which entitled us to more libations and food. After napping, reading and relaxing, we rallied for some more relaxing by the pool down the hill before dinner. It goes without saying that we drove.

Dinner that night was amazing! It was a group effort that turned out to be a culinary delight. It helped that Kristin’s husband is a professional chef and provided us with some provisions for the trip.

As dinner was winding down, someone asked: "If this were your last meal, what would you order and who would serve it?" Taking turns, we discussed in great detail, cocktails, wine, bread, dishes and desserts from fancy restaurants and bakeries around the world. Some mentioned their mom’s famous dishes, which was really sweet. Of course Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) got a few nods. Can I just say that I'm really disappointed that KFC changed its 50-year-old slogan "finger-lickin' good" with "so good." That is so lame. 

I won’t bore you with the details of my personal menu, but I will share my wait staff – a toss up between George Clooney and Ryan Gosling. To me, George Clooney is the epitome of an old-fashioned Hollywood star, like Cary Grant.



Not George's best head shot, but you get my drift.

Besides being a brilliant actor (he was robbed of some Academy Awards in the past few years IMO) Ryan Gosling is pretty darn hot. Ryan was also Jincy’s waiter of choice. Coincidentally, we watched Crazy, Stupid Love later that night. Here’s Ryan at his absolute best.



Our supper club is hosting a "last supper" this week. Gwinn cleverly renamed it "death row dinner." Unfortunately, neither George, nor Ryan, nor Brad, nor Matt will be there to tend bar or wait tables. There was some arm wrestling over who would bring the KFC. Molly won. I had planned to wear my buffet pants with candied bacon in tow. Unfortunately, we can't make it. I know others are covering the bacon in our absence. My apologies to those of you who don’t eat pork, but everything tastes better with bacon, right? The evening promises to be a good time had by all.

Don’t be shy ladies. Who would serve your last supper?

Wreath hanging 101

As I look around my neighborhood, most houses already have wreaths hanging from doors, windows, fences and gates. Hanukkah begins at sundown today. I've already posted about my penchant for decorating for the Festival of Lights. So, I'm just hanging my wreath today.

We had our front door custom made during our renovation three years ago. They just don't make doors like they made 'em in the 20's. When we moved back in, I really didn't want to drill a hole in our brand new (very pricey) door and over-the-door hooks don't work for us, so I turned to Martha for some help.

To avoid making unsightly holes in your door, suspend your holiday wreath from the top of the door frame. Here's how:
  1. Cut a 3-inch-wide satin or grosgrain ribbon long enough, when doubled, to hang wreath at the desired height. 
  2. Loop ribbon around back of wreath form. 
  3. Join ends, and fold them over 1/2 inch. 
  4. Secure to top of door with thumbtacks.
Hang a Wreath Without Making Holes in the Door
Via Martha Stewart.
Martha suggests this technique for mirrors, too: Hang a wreath in front of the glass, and tack the hanger behind the frame.

Thanks, Martha, you're so smart. I hope this tip will help at least a few of you who have not already decked your door.

I used blue ribbon to hang my wreath. I will switch it out, as well as the bow, with white when Hanukkah is over. Do you place your bow on the top or bottom of your wreath? Answer my new poll to let me know. 


Via me. My photography skills need some fine tuning.


Happy Hanukkah!

These are a few of my favorite things...

No, I don't think I'm Oprah, and I'm not going to shower you all with gifts. Wish I could. I'm doing some entertaining over the holidays and I wanted to share some faves I'll have on hand for the festivities.

Let's start with invitations. These days it's such a treat to get one in the mail -- by mail I mean from the US postal service. Sad, but true, they are few and far between. Three online invites I've used (along with my comments):
  1. Evite.com (free, but meh -- speaking of "meh" I love New York Times "The Meh List")
  2. Punchbowl.com (most invites free and pretty classy)
  3. Paperlesspost.com (very classy -- you get what you pay for)
My brother-in-law picked up a bottle of Block Nine Pinot Noir at Greene's a few weeks ago. I'm not a big red wine drinker, but this is light bodied and fruity. Yum! Wine Spectator gives it  90+. At under $15 a bottle serve it at your holiday fete or present it as a hostess gift.



My favorite white is Three Pears Pinot Grigio. Can't go wrong at $10 a bottle. Pretty label too!

2011 Three Pears Pinot Gris

Make sure you have a fully stocked bar and a directory for mixing the perfect cocktail. Drinkology is my fave. It makes for a cute little coffee table book.

Drinkology: Revised and Updated

Treat guests to some nice hand soap in your powder room. My all-time fave is Caldrea No. 14 Basil Blue Sage. Caldrea has recently changed it's labeling, which I don't really care for. But they now offer glass bottle dispensers. Caldrea products are available at the coolest Intown Ace Hardware on the planet.
Basil Blue Sage Glass Hand Soap
And, while you're at it, set out some festive guest towels like these from Mark and Graham (don't forget the free monogramming). West Elm also has a nice selection at reasonable prices.




In addition to making the house look good, you want it to smell good too. I love Seda France candles. Japanese Quince is my favorite scent. The 17 Steps usually stocks a nice selection. Sometimes you can get them cheap on One King's Lane.

Seda France Japanese Quince Mini Pagoda Box Candle

Every year I look forward to Trader Joe's holiday treats. The Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe Joe's are my fave. Grab some now while supplies last. They always run out.


Not on the super sexy side, I rely on a couple of cleaning aids. Bar Keepers Friend has bailed me out more times than I can count -- like the other night when I left a balsamic reduction on the stove unattended for a really long time. No doubt I was working on my blog.

Bar Keepers Friend Multipurpose Household Cleanser & Polish 21-oz.
Tech Stain remover -- available at Intown Ace Hardware -- is another friend to lean on. It removes just about any stain on clothing, upholstery and floor coverings. Check out these tips on how to use it. Have some close by during your party should your guests spill red wine on themselves or your white sofa. Yes, I do have a white sofa. 


Just one more thing. Sur La Table's flour sack and bar mop towels are perfect for drying glassware and china, as well as cleaning up messes.

So what are some of your favorite things?

Beauty Alert: Dr. Q Cosmetics Giveaway!



Don't tell: Madonna's assistant was pictured earlier this week carrying an Intraceuticals Oxygen machine - her secret beauty weapon - out of her hotel room
Via
Madonna’s anti-aging secret is out of the bag, and it’s available right here in Decatur at Dr. Q Cosmetics. My fave aesthetician Heather Schardan has just added it to her treatment offerings, and I was one of her first clients to try it.

What is it you ask? An oxygen facial. Developed in Australia by Intraceuticals, the super facial is known as hydraulic layering—a three-step process to get the best vitamins possible deep into your skin.

Here’s how it works:
  1. Using what looks like an airbrush, a therapist uses cooling, pressurized oxygen to deliver a vitamin-rich serum.
  2. Next, a hydration gel is applied that prevents moisture loss.
  3. Finally, a binding cream is applied that provides a layer of intense hydration.
Unlike other facials and laser treatments like photorejuvination, Heather says clients see instant results. Your skin looks plumper, more refreshed and refined, and tighter. So it’s a great to do before a big event, like a special holiday party or a stroll down the red carpet. Other benefits based on my personal experience: it’s relaxing and pain free, there is no need for numbing aids, and you don’t experience flaky peeling skin that can accompany some chemical peels.

Heather in her luxe spa room.
Dr. Q Cosmetics offers an extensive menu of services. I have tried almost all of them, and endorse them wholeheartedly. Heather offers monthly specials and open houses. I just scored a free Skin Bella facial – one of my faves – at her holiday open house. Shoot her an email to get on her distribution list.

Not only is Heather awesome at her job, she is a very giving person. She spends some of here time working with cancer patients for the Look Good Feel Better program. She rocks!

And, because she is so nice, she’s giving away a one-hour oxygen facial – a $150 value – to one of my lucky readers. If you too want to hydrate, lift and tighten your skin follow these simple giveaway guidelines:
  • You must be a subscriber. Let me say that again, you must be a bluemopheads subscriber.
  • Leave a comment on this post asking to be entered.
  • Send this post to a friend and ask them to subscribe. They must leave a comment that says something like “Marni just told me about your awesome blog, please enter me in the Dr. Q giveaway.”
  • Only those who comment will be entered.
Both you and your friend will be entered. Refer several friends and you will be entered multiple times.

If your comment is rejected, try using your gmail account. If all else fails: email me

The winner will be chosen by random.org

The deadline is next Friday, December 15. Good luck!

Something blue

As many of you know, I live in a Jewish household. And, Hanukkah starts at sundown this Saturday. Having grown up celebrating Christmas, I feel the need to deck the halls for the holiday. It's no easy task. While stores are abound with Christmas decor, the pickings are slim at best for the Festival of Lights.

Last year, my fellow shiksa friend Alisa and I hosted our first annual Hanukkah party at my house. We chose tiffany blue, silver and white as our color palette. Alisa dug out some stunning tiffany blue and silver china from her basement that she had forgotten about. We managed to make the place look festive in spite of the dearth of decorative ornaments on the market. Too bad we didn't take any photos. We will for sure this year. Alisa is a designer and photographer, so don't be shocked when you see good looking pics in a later post.

While we're on the subject of blue, did you know that Tiffany & Co. is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year? To honor this milestone, here's a bit of Tiffany trivia:
  • Tiffany's now famous blue first appeared on its 1878 catalogue (known as the "blue book") to appeal to Victorian brides, who gave turquoise broaches to their attendants.
  • Super Bowl and World Series victors are awarded sterling silver trophies by Tiffany.
  • The company revised the Great Seal of the United States in 1885.
  • In 1968, U.S. First Lady Lady Bird Johnson commissioned Tiffany to design a White House china service, which featured 90 flowers.
Back on topic. I always turn to Martha first. Look what she's done to make the holiday glitter.


la103003_1207_glitters.jpg
via Martha Stewart
I'm not a crafty chick, so this is out of the question. I did have a custom (tasteful may I add) Hanukkah banner made by Janyce May of Little Pumpkin Papers. Check out her Etsy shop for cute holiday banners, gift tags and other embellishments. 

I was delighted to see that Wisteria has a lovely collection of coastal Christmas Hanukkah accessories that are perfect for bedecking and bedazzling the halls: all of this sans the coastal Santa.

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The beaded menorah ornament complete with the holiday story and packed in a jute envelope would make a nice gift. Adorable!

W8494 Beaded Menorah Ornament Seasonal
I'm loving these mercury glass votives and tiny ornaments.
W8374 Calm Seas Votive Holders Lighting
And, these sleek lidded boxes would be fun to fill with chocolate gelt.
W7437 Sleek Lidded Boxes - Small Storage

Before I sign off. Here's some random Hanukkah trivia. Flipping through Reform Judaism mag I came across a "What do you know about Chanukah (yes, it's spelled several different ways) songs" quiz:
Which of these American Jewish song-writers wrote the comical song Chanukah in Santa Monica? a) Bob Dylan, b) Alan Sherman, c) Tom Lehrer or d) Irving Berlin. The answer is Tom Lehrer. Never heard of him.
Who knew that Bob Dylan is Jewish? Born Jewish --Robert Albert Zimmerman -- and raised Jewish, he became a born again Christian in the early 1980's. Jew or not a Jew? "Barely a Jew," according to jewornotjew.com. Entertaining site.

Blog keeping

Heads up: I have a good giveaway this week. Which leads me to offer some suggestions on how to read my blog.

I know most of you subscribe via email. Several people have mentioned that they are unable to leave comments. In order to read a blog properly you must click on the blog title in your email message to enter the blog site. It's much easier to scroll through the post, as well as participate in polls and leave comments. You can not enter a comment in the email message. If your comment is rejected, try using your gmail account. If all else fails send me an email message to maureen@berhold.com.

If you subscribe to many blogs and feeds, google reader apps are the way to go. NewsRack (iTunes link) is currently the best Google Reader app available for iPad and iPhone users.

BTW, the regifting poll resulted in a 50/50 split. Half of you thought regifting was rude and half thought it resourceful. I'll be posting polls on a continual basis so be sure to weigh in. 

Enough said.

We went to see Silver Lining Playbook last night at Tara. Loved it. You know a movie is good when the audience claps at its end. And, all of my go-to reviewers -- New York TimesWall Street Journal and LA Times -- gave it the thumbs up. Word is hotty Bradley Cooper may be up for a best actor Academy Award. 


Bradley Cooper looking fine.

What are your go-to sources for movie reviews?

Thinking about you Alabama fans.

Have a good Sunday.

Faux real?

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is upon us. Have you already bought your tree? 

I was flipping through the October issue of Styleathome magazine and an article about holiday decorating caught my eye. Styleathome is a Canadian shelter magazine. I receive it as a bonus for subscribing to House and Home. At some point I’ll get cut off, but I’m enjoying my free subscription while it lasts.

Speaking of getting cut off, an entire page is dedicated to buying an artificial tree. “Say goodbye to cold-weather chopping (or shopping), hail-storm hauling, set up struggling and shedded needle sweeping. Faux has never felt so appealing!” Say what?

I can't stand faux (aka fake) greenery of any kind, including trees, garlands, plants and flowers. I especially despise silk floral arrangements. This is my personal opinion. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all. Tasteful dried arrangements and wreaths are just fine in my book.

So what do I like? Let’s start with boxwood. Whether planted in your garden, in pots on a doorstep, in a garland or wreath, boxwood is one classy evergreen. Unfortunately, boxwood both real and fake is not cheap. And neither is my go-to garden shop -- Boxwoods. The greenhouse at Boxwoods is packed with living plants to choose from. My fave are the live plant compositions. You can bring your own container or select one from an impressive array in all shapes, sizes, colors and textures. They will line it, fill it with plants and surround it with moss. The outcome is always lovely. Tell them what you want, and they’ll give you a few options at different price points.

Upside: Boxwood’s compositions and topiaries can last for months with some TLC. I’ve managed to keep a few topiaries presentable for over a year. Downside: the shop is in Buckhead.

boxwoods
Boxwoods
I’ve seen some good-looking wreaths and garlands made with boxwood, magnolia leaves, bay leaf, herbs and berries online at Wisteria, Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table. I bought this rosemary, bay wreath three years ago and it still looks and smells good.

Sur La Table $49.95

Gotta go faux? Check out Ballard Designs selection of "forever greenery," including a boxwood wreath that is made of fabric leaves for $89. It looks faux real.

If you haven’t bought your tree yet, please consider shopping Tradition Trees. The Toco Hills shopping center is the closest location. For each tree sold with the below voucher, Tradition Trees will donate $5 to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. You can print this page or email me at maureen@berhold.com for a full-size copy.
 
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