10 Tips for Hosting & Attending Thanksgiving

This holiday is one of my favorite holidays of the year. As you can probably tell from the last few DBKwords posts I’ve shared, there is just something about this holiday and all of the appreciation that goes with it that just brings out all the good feels.

"give Thanks" Chalkboard decor DIY Chalk Tray give Thanks, Hand drawn pumpkins, wall hanging, thanksgiving decor

That said, if you are the host of the Thanksgiving Soiree, you are likely in panic mode right about now… it is less than 24 hours before your guests will be arriving (and maybe some are coming tonight), and you still have little things to get ready!

Well, let me ease your woes. If you still have to set the table, and add some festive decor around your abode, here are 5 things that are so easy, you can be ready in an hour.

  • Add some festivity to your front door. You likely don’t have time to hang a wreath on the door, but you can easily take some card stock, construction paper, etc., and cut out some leafy shapes, write out “Happy” “Thanks” “Giving” or “Give” “Thanks” on the leaves, (one word per leaf) , attach a string to each leaf, and hang them on the front door. Greeting your guests with something cheerful will get them in the spirit right away. Here is my front door wreath for the season and an idea from That’s My Letter of wooden door tags.
  • Add some festive pumpkins around the house. If you really have zero time to do anything, just grab a handful of mini pumpkins (you can find them everywhere at this time of year). Group them together in a few different areas around the house, and voila. If you have time to do something, check out this doily covered pumpkin from Allyson Baker Design, or this paper pumpkin from Shelterness.
  • Use those mini pumpkins for place-cards  on your Thanksgiving table as well. You can add names, or festive tags, or just put them on top of the salad plates to add a pop of color to your table. Taryn Williford made glitter dipped pumpkins to make for a more glam tablescape, while Jennifer at Celebrating Everyday Life tied ribbons on pumpkins and then wrote on the ribbons.
  • Light Candles. The glow of candlelight adds a nice warmth and ambiance to any space, but make sure on this food filled holiday, you are using basic unscented candles so they don’t interfere with all the smells coming from the kitchen! Get out all your candlesticks and tapers to make this glowing candlestick grouping from Snippet and Ink, if you don’t have a stash of similar candlesticks, then group the pillars you’ve got to create a good focal point like West Elm is showing all together on a tray or cutting board.
  • Don’t forget the food! Take a clear container and fill it up with apples, cranberries or mini pumpkins, as shown on Good Housekeeping. If you are cooking all the food you have on hand for the main event, look outside and use things like leaves or acorns to create layered centerpieces like these ones from Being Better 2Gether. If there were ever a perfect night of hosting to use food as a centerpiece, Thanksgiving is your night!

If you are a guest, there are some things you should remember on Thanksgiving (and well, every event you attend).

  • Manners are key, that turkey make look so good you can’t wait to get your hands on it, but wait your turn and remember to say please and thank you, it goes a long way.
  • Bring a little something for the host. Something as simple as a bottle of wine that can be enjoyed with the meal, or saved for after all the guests leave, is a great gesture that any host will appreciate.
  • Compliments are key. Be sure to offer your host at least one compliment (which should be easy on Thanksgiving). Compliment the decor, the food, his/her ability to be so stylish while cooking up a storm… you name it, a compliment or two will make them feel so appreciated for bringing this all together.
  • Offer to help. There are so many things your host has to stay on top of with cooking alone, be sure to check in to see if you can help with anything from opening more wine to clearing the table, and for the love of all things, please don’t make your host do the dishes by themselves.
  • Respect the hosts Thanksgiving style. Many people will say a special prayer on the holidays when everyone is gathered. Be respectful even if it isn’t your thing, bow your head and go along. Some hosts will want to go around the table and say what you are thankful for. This can feel like a cheesy gesture, but give it some consideration and truly offer up some gratitude before you dive in.

Whatever you are doing this holiday and whomever you are spending it with, I hope you have many blessings to be thankful for, and that you have no trouble finding ways to share your gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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Mapping Out Your Gallery Wall

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer and Labor Day marks the unofficial end (despite the fact that temps here reached 100 today). So, even though summer’s not really over yet, we are all diving head first into fall. Out of the heat, into the fall layers, kids are getting back to school, and our fall projects are lining up.

Gallery Wall 012Gallery Wall 0

For me, things will start to settle down a little bit as every night and weekend won’t be jammed packed with running around (whether for me or for clients), and I should be able to get some projects done around my own house!I need to put the finishing touches on the bedroom still and then take some pictures of that space to share with you all here and I can think of about a dozen other things I’d like to do around the house as well.

The first thing on my list, and something with probably the largest impact is to finish hanging our gallery wall. These pictures are from early Spring of this year when I had one of my friends over to take some pictures for the blog to not only map out my own gallery wall, but to document the process to share with all of you as well. About six weeks after these pictures were taken, we had a few friends over for brunch, and as I had been so busy, I hadn’t made time to get the gallery wall hung at that time. The morning before we were meeting with them, I broke out my notes from this planning session and started to try and get the gallery wall up on the wall. I was able to hang one painting before we needed to head out to meet our friends and I’m ashamed to say that that one painting is still the only one up on the wall.

But then, that’s life, right?! So now I want to share with you the process of mapping out your very own gallery wall, and how I mapped out mine, and then hopefully in a week (or so…) I will be able to share more pictures of my gallery wall completed!!

The process:

  1. First things first, you need to know the size of the space you intend to display your art on, so break out your tape measure and get to measuring. note the width (more important for now), and we will come back to the height later.
  2. Once you know how wide your space is, use your tape measure, some blue painter’s tape and your trusty assistant to mark out the width of your gallery on the floor.
  3. Get all of your frames and pieces of art together in one place so you can see what you have to work with.
  4. Once you have a good visual, start laying the larger pieces into your mapped out space.
  5. Build out from the larger pieces with smaller pieces, keeping in mind your spacing. Each area should use the same spacing so that the pieces group well and look balanced even when using different sized pieces and different styled frames.
  6. Swap out pieces to find the arrangement that you like the best and then take pictures so you can remember what it looks like in case you put it off for 6 months.
  7. Measure the overall height and width of your gallery wall. The center of the overall height of the gallery should sit at 57″ from the floor, placing the gallery at a good viewing level for yourself and your guests.
  8. Measure the spacing between your groupings as well as the spacing from the edges of the tape (your available hanging space) to the edges of the outermost pieces.
  9. Lastly, measure from the overall top of your gallery wall to the top of your central piece or your largest pieces and the overall edge of your gallery wall to the edge of your central piece(s), as you will hang these pieces first.

Once you have your gallery all mapped out, and your measurements determined and noted, you can clean up your mess on the floor and then start mapping out your hanging on the wall. Depending on your overall height of your gallery wall (x) and the measurement you got from the top or bottom to the center of this piece (y), you can determine where the screw will need to go. (x/2) will sit at 57″ from the ground. So if your gallery wall is 40″ tall, then it will span from 37″-77″ in height. Again, I like to break out my handy blue painter’s tape and mark the top and bottom of my gallery wall off so that I can use them as a reference while I’m working through hanging the pieces without having to measure it over and over again.

To begin hanging, I always start with the largest piece that sits most centrally located in the wall, or in my case, I have two large pieces balanced out with several smaller pieces, so I started with the largest piece on the left. Using hanging wire to support the pictures, pull the wire on the back to where it would sit if it were hanging on the wall, and measure from the top of the frame to that point (a). Add this measurement to the measurement that you got from number 9 and jot this down. this is the distance from the top of the gallery wall space to the height you will put the screw in at.

Next you need to use the overall width of your gallery wall, and the width from the edge (again, noted in 9), measure from the edge of the picture to the center (where the screw will go), add these two together and you will have the position of your first screw.

It sounds like a lot of steps, but once you have your first piece hung, you will build out the wall from there. You have all of your spacing measured and noted from mapping out your gallery wall on the floor, so you can easily fill in the wall with the rest of your frames until it is complete!

Is your head spinning yet?? What projects do you have planned out for the fall? Hopefully I can get this project wrapped up soon, with lots of images to document the process so I can share more with you soon.

Images By Lindsay Perry, click to expand.

Happy = Pretty

Love this quote by Audrey Hepburn! I’ve got Audrey on the brain since I’m working on an install tomorrow using her pretty (and happy) face.

happy pretty

I think this is such a great point too. No matter how stunning your features, if you aren’t happy, it will show. That is certainly not to say that we all have to be smiling robots with no range of emotion, but rather that when it comes down to it, we can be overall more optimistic, look for the good in people and situations, find the silver lining, and just overall, live happier. When we are happier people, we are prettier people to be around and more people will be drawn in.

I think this can apply to your homes as well. If you are happier and more positive about your space, you can feel better in that space and start to appreciate all the pretty little details that much more. Think about the things you do to keep yourself happy, like making coffee when you wake up, calling your bestie to chat, or nurturing yourself with all of the fresh produce you can find at the farmers market on the weekends. Just as we nurture ourselves, we should nurture our homes. Take a few minutes while that coffee brews to tidy up a surface or sort through some junk mail; take a few minutes after you finish your dinner to clean it all up, run the dishwasher and wipe down the counters; while you are chatting with your bestie, musti-task by Swiffering the floors or dusting your gallery wall.

Remember to take a few minutes to yourself to keep yourself happy, and take a few minutes for your home to keep it feeling happy. I can promise you that a happier house will only encourage a happier you, and then all involved will be their prettiest!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend with plenty of time to recuperate before heading back to work this morning! I have a fun breakfast to share from this patriotic weekend, look for that tomorrow morning, it’s going to be repeated all summer long at our place!

Wedding Season|The Registry

When a couple is newly engaged and planning their big day, putting together a registry is often one of the most fun parts for both bride and groom. It’s something they look forward to and can have fun with, but it is also something that can be quite overwhelming! I wanted to give some pointers on what to think about while you are registering for items for your new home together.

Sunset on the Mediterranean during our honeymoon.

Sunset on the Mediterranean during our honeymoon.

1. First, there are fabulous websites that allow you to register for your honeymoon, register for some upcoming financial goals like your first house, etc., and these are great places to look. I highly recommend that everyone do a honeymoon within a few months of getting hitched. Don’t sweat the cost (but don’t go crazy if you really can’t afford it), you are likely to get some monetary gifts on your big day, although you won’t be able to count on how much, so plan to do a honeymoon fund as one of your gifts. Your honeymoon will build the memories that will last your entire marriage. Our honeymoon was amazing, and I don’t regret a single thing we did or didn’t do and we frequently talk about our time on our honeymoon like it was a dream. Check out Wanderable and Honeyfund. And if you love to travel in general, don’t forget to register for new luggage!

monogrammed luggage

2. Consider large gifts for your friends and family to be able to get you. Often times at showers a group of friends will go in together on one larger gift as opposed to each purchasing a few small pieces. A lot of companies also offer completion discounts for the items you didn’t receive from your registries, so after your big day, you may be able to splurge for that new sofa or those nightstands you’ve been dreaming of for less. But if they aren’t on your registry you won’t be able to apply the discount.

3. Consider all the little things. It takes a lot to make a fully functioning home and all the little pieces really add up. You will use those measuring scoops and cooking-and-serving utensils more than you think, so register for a few more pieces than you need. The worst-case scenario is that once you actually are gifted these pieces you may realize you don’t like to use a bagel stand to slice bagels in so you return it for credit and put it towards that bigger purchase that nobody was able to splurge on for you.

Place Settings

4. Look at the open-stock items for your dinnerware and flatware. A lot of times the sets come with pieces you won’t ever use, so why have them taking up space in your cabinet or coming out of what people can afford to buy you? Instead look towards the open-stock pieces in which you can mix and match pieces to create a place setting you really love and that you can actually entertain with. Once you’ve created your place-setting, ask for one or two place settings more than you think you will ever need (i.e., if you plan to host 8, order 9; if you plan to host 12 order 13), because let’s face it, dishes break. See more on the dinnerware we registered for here, also pictured above.

5. Have fun! This should be something that you and your future spouse can really enjoy. Part of planning your registry is planning what kind of life you want to live together and figuring out the essentials to get you started.

If you are shopping someone’s registry, remember these things too! Plan your purchases based on first what you can afford, decide if you want to go in on something with a group to get a larger item or if you would rather pull a few smaller items together.

In general, I like to get things that remind me of my friendship with that couple. If it is friends you always do game night with, get something on their registry that would help them host their own game night, maybe a chips and dips bowl; if they are friends you often grab drinks with, get them a cocktail shaker or some of their barware; if they are friends that you love to cook with, get them a few of their essential skillets.

Remember that these are likely all things that when they use them in the future, they will stop and think of you and how thoughtful it was for you to get them something that corresponds to your friendship together. It makes it a little bit more meaningful which makes the gift that much sweeter!

Triple Batch Of Pancakes

The Secret to Weekday pancakes 1

I have found that weekday mornings it is almost impossible to have a good breakfast. Every day it’s the same old routine… I make coffee and guzzle the first mug while I’m getting ready, load up my bag and make a second cup to go. But I need more than just coffee (factor kids into the mix and I’m going to be screwed when that day comes!)… so typically I will have a piece of fruit and some protein in the late afternoon at my desk while I’m working. But, you know what would be better than any of that? Pancakes to kick off the day! If only it weren’t such an ordeal to make a batch of pancakes. Weekday Pancakes 3Weekday Pancakes 1

Weekday Pancakes 2

What I like to do when I’m whipping up a batch of pancakes at home is triple the batch and add in some blueberries or chocolate chips. After they have been cooked up, I rip off several pieces of parchment paper, wide enough to fit a pancake, and then I layer on the pancakes. I like to put them in sets of three, with the parchment paper in between. The paper is the perfect size to put a pancake on, fold the paper over, add the second pancake, fold again, and place the last pancake. Then you can take your pancake bundle and put it in the freezer.

Weekday Pancakes 4

Weekday Pancakes 8

Once the pancakes are in the freezer it’s so easy to just grab a bag, put them on a plate and heat them up in the microwave, or pop them right into the toaster oven. They are so good, so easy and they keep you full so much longer in the morning… why not start your weekdays off on a better note? Not to mention if you do have kiddos, this is a serious crowd pleaser with minimal morning effort!

The Secret To Weekday Pancakes 2

Basic White Tee

That moment when you wake up late, you have nothing in your closet to wear, you didn’t pick anything out the night before and you are running late just standing there trying to put an outfit together; the basic white tee shirt will always come to your rescue.

Basic White Tee

What is it about this simple shirt that works so well for any day? It is so versatile. You can dress it up or keep it casual depending on what you pair with it. It can go with jeans or a pencil skirt seamlessly. Add a cardigan, a statement necklace and your favorite booties, and voila, outfit perfection.

The same can be said for your basic home furnishings and that is why I love using neutral whites and beiges for the larger pieces in a space. These are the pieces you aren’t going to change all the time. You want them to be flexible enough to go with whatever accent pieces you are going to bring into the room that week/month/season. They should feel effortless, like they just fit the space.

The lines of the piece should represent your style and taste, but using a neutral just makes the piece work overtime for you. This way you can be sure you really get the most life out of your staple furnishings.

We have a light greige sofa, that has lived in two different homes with us now, each with their own style or theme, and it always works for us and for the space. We have a beige-y neutral platform bed and headboard with simple lines that has been in the same two homes as well with a lot of changing bedding, paint colors, and accent pieces and it always works.

If you are looking to splurge on a new piece for your home and you plan to keep it for a long time, try going with a neutral, you might surprise yourself with how much you like it and even more how you like its flexibility.

Extend The Shelf Life On Fresh-Cut Flowers

If you found the DBK blog by transferring over from the old blog, then you are likely aware of my obsession great love of flowers. I love having them around the house and even find myself moving them around to whatever room I’m spending the most time in so I can enjoy them.

I often gift them to clients upon their project completion as well so that I can use them in my finished-spaces photo shoots. Fresh flowers are a wonderful addition to any space. They add life and color–and unlike a houseplant, no green thumbs are required!

So if you are like me, you love flowers around the home, but can’t grow them to save your life, here are some tips to keep those fresh stems alive longer!

1. Buy budding blooms. The flowers that are still in their budding phase will give you the longest length possible. You will get to see them open them up and enjoy them while they bloom.

2. Change the water. It is as simple as that. Pay attention to the water and change it often. They don’t need fresh water daily, but they do like a nice fresh drink. Make sure to use water that is room temperature so the stems don’t have to adjust.

3. Trim the stems. If you’ve ever cut down your own Christmas Tree, you know about trimming the end of the tree trunk off when you get it home just before you put it into the tree stand. The reason you have to cut it again (after just cutting it in the farm or forest) is because it forms a layer at the cut edge that seals it off from accepting the fresh water, thus causing it to die sooner. If you cut the end off, it will drink up all that fresh water, giving it a longer life. The same goes for your stems. Just cut a small amount every 3-4 days and you will get more life from them.

4. Remove any dead or dying elements of the plant. If you purchased rosebuds with leaves attached, and you like the look of them, use them in your initial arrangement but pay attention to them as they dry out and be sure to trim them away. Any dead or dying element of your arrangement will suck the nutrients away from the healthy elements causing them to go faster. Trim these parts away and the healthy parts will thrive for longer.

And that’s that! Hope this helps you get more mileage from your stems to really enjoy the blooms!