Holiday Table

I am back here blogging after a most lovely family weekend
just being together!

I spent last week styling the tablescape 
with the luxury of time to let it build into what I had envisioned.

I wanted to combine tradition
with some SoCal whimsy.

But on the very top of my Holiday entertaining list
was rearranging our space 
so that it was truly one 
Great Room
rather than two smaller 'rooms'
it has always been in the past.

I learned from throwing my daughter's Bridal Shower
how impactful
simply rearranging furniture can be 
towards the end game 
 of true group inclusiveness.

We  swapped out our upholstered dining chairs
for some retro rentals
which also made the space feel bigger.

Our house by Southern California standards
is actually quite small
but I have never wanted it's size
to hold me back from luxurious entertaining.

I have  found 
many times over the years
that smaller spaces
can actually add to the feeling of intimacy
when entertaining.

I let go of traditionally well placed furniture
as in
moving couches against the wall
forgoing fireplace usage
in order to truly open up the space
so that everyone could feel a part of conversations.

On the opposite side of the room
shelves under the stairs were turned into a well stocked bar
ensuring more space in the kitchen 
for my husband and daughter's
preparation of an amazing meal!

I brought in the same garnishes
for the bar areas
as I used on the dining table.

The front and back patios were also made ready 
if anyone wanted to be outside.

I had my outfit for entertaining picked and ready
high low dress and kimono
sans hat.

That is something I have learned the hard way.
So many times in years past
I would plan and prepare for hostessing at home
only to realize I had not even paid attention to what I was going to wear.
My hostessing mood definitely suffered for it.

Now I know that how I feel about myself and what I'm wearing
is such an important part in my entertaining
the better I feel about myself
the more I have to give to all of my guests!

I also try to make sure I have all of my holiday styling 
guest room prep
done by the day before
so I can be relaxed enough
to savor visiting family
rather than being rushed and frazzled .

I am  ever so grateful that Jeff and Ellis
love to cook our Thanksgiving feast!

People sharing their individual passions
and gifts
make for the very best in celebrating!

I was most happy with this years centerpiece
that I built up from a huge driftwood piece
on top of a grey flannel tablecloth.
It's the same one I used last year HERE.

I love using flannel straight from the fabric store.
The color choice is large
there is absolutely no sewing involved!

To the driftwood I added a spectacular AirPlant 
with planted paper whites in glass urns
finished with slate pebbles.

Two garden cloches added height and structure.

My newest styling addition
tiny dew lights on copper wires
powered by battery packs
that I tucked under the plants.

I am so tickled with these lights
I have added them all over the house!
They have a timer for six hours
with a safety shut off.

I have seen these lights sold all over this season
now even Target carries them
at a great price!

I sprinkled in some SoCal color
with some small citrus.
I garnished each place setting 
with rosemary from the garden.
I held off trimming so I had plenty to decorate with!

I love adding in
collected whimsical salt and pepper shakers
between place settings.
Functional and fun.

I once again used tiny art easels 
with chalkboard names
for place cards.

In the end
it was family sitting around the table
that was the most beautiful part of the 
Holiday Tablescape.

For me
family gathered around a table 
to share a celebratory meal
is sacred time spent.

It's so much more about the togetherness.
The taking the time
to be together
that touches my heart.

Because I am of an age
that realizes what a tremendous gift it is
to celebrate with loved ones.

To hold hands with loved ones with us here today
to keep those who have passed on in our hearts.

Through years with an estranged child
I have learned how to celebrate those who choose to sit at our table
while always having an open heart for those we miss.

This is the second year our oldest son is back with us for Thanksgiving.
I mention this 
to offer hope to those traveling that same painful path.
Things can turn around.

I am so grateful he is back.
I am equally grateful for all those at our table this year.
It felt like a beautiful exhale
to have everyone
including the newest addition to our family
our daughter's husband sitting down together
for a celebratory meal of gratitude.

Such a tremendous gift
simply to be together.

I am of an age
where I have learned 
I can  celebrate holidays  with joy and gratitude
while also keeping my heart open
to sit quietly with those who grieve
with my arms tightly wrapped around.

For this is life.

This is true holidays.

Not everyone comes to the 
 Holiday Table 
at the same place in life.

We must remember 
to give grace to those who grieve
celebrate with joy those who are seeing life from a peak.

It is the love we share
that binds us tight.

May your holiday season be filled with much
joy, love and grace.

As always my friends

I wish you love and joy
as you style your life

linking with
Savvy Southern Style


Wishing  you and yours
a week filled with much 
gratitude, love and kindness.

I will bee taking the week off here
to celebrate 
savoring and enjoying my family.

As always my friends

I wish you love and joy 
as you style your life

Alfresco Dining Southern California Style

Jeff and I threw a lovely alfresco dinner party this weekend
for two other couples.
We have decided among  the six of us 
to host monthly dinner parties
at each other's homes. 
We all bring something to the table
which is such a lovely tradition as well.

Setting up for the dinner party
I realized  just how very long
it has been since
we have entertained just for friends
rather than family gathering events.

This fact made my heart happy
that we are truly moving on
into this new phase of 
Empty Nesters
which sometimes feels like going back to our 
pre children days
but with the richness of adding in  the immense love for our adult children.

After feeling so lost for so long
at the foreboding quietness in our family home
I  am feeling so much better  these days about this transition.

This Halloween passing out candy
at our house
 was the first time I could see families 
Trick or Treating together without a pang of sadness 
at what was for me.

I  write this to remind myself
we can move through the valleys of life
to beautiful new horizons.

But it takes focus
literally putting one foot in front of the other ...

Focusing on beauty and gratitude
each and every day.

When I first began my transition
years ago
when my oldest left for college
I wrote on a chalk board in my studio

Tiny steps + intention = success.

I had written it to encourage myself
about my new business ventures at the time.

But now I realize it is just as important 
during life transitions.

I'm the type of person who too often 
goes all in excessively
only to burn out or be disappointed quickly.

But over the years 
I have learned I do much better
giving myself 
Grace and Self Care
with gentle goals
of new directions.

I have taught myself to focus on
the joy and beauty of life
even in the midst of anxiety.

But it is taking the time to truly reflect on the
I have for my life
that has buoyed me out of depression so many times.

I realize these days
at my age
my time here is finite.

I choose to focus on the simple beauties
that are before me
creating joyful memories
as often as I can.

And to love to the very best of my ability.

As always my friends

I wish you love and joy
as you style your life

I am on a life mission to focus on the joy in my life

Friday Date Night

I took my new 'leather' skirt out for a test run this weekend!
It's a new piece from Target's 
Who What Wear Collection

I paired it with this fun graphic sweater
I picked up at Sun Dancer in Del Mar.

I finally freshened up my carry makeup.

I swear by Chanel's Vita Lumiereaqua foundation,
It has beautiful coverage and is perfect for my dry skin.

Another trusted favorite of mine is 
my Cel de Peau concealer.
It's the very best one I've ever found!

Have you seen the shoe line by Kendal and Kylie?
I'm kind of obsessed with the brand
as I think they are a wonderful design and quality for the price point!

My beaded clutch and tassel earrings are from one of my favorite shops
in San Diego
It's the same lovely boutique I find my fabulous kimonos.

As always my friends

I wish you love and joy
as you style your life

What I Wore ... Furnace Creek Inn - Death Valley

I had no idea 
when we decided to do a 
Road Trip to Death Valley
stay at the Furnace Creek Inn
the hotel would be so magnificent!

Built in the 1920's
part of the National Park systems
the property is definitely an oasis in the desert!

It was 100 degrees with big winds
so the marvelous pool called out to me
like a siren song!

It was a  quick caftan change
to catch the sunset begin to  play out over the desert floor!
It was also a perfect time to take in the gorgeous property!

The bar inside the lobby
was the perfect place to grab a glass of wine
to take outside to the patio with it's 180 degree views!

In the morning 
a peek outside our room
had the moon setting directly across!
It was a truly breathtaking sight to behold.

After an hour of the most amazing sunrise 
I have ever seen
we set off to see what else we might find.

It was an amazing adventure 
to Death Valley's 
Furnace Creek Inn.

As always my friends

I wish you love and joy
as you style your life