Houzz Story: Easy Valentine’s Day Touches for Even the Least Romantic

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching.  Here’s a few simple ways to make the day fun and relaxing for you, your special someone, your family, your friends. Slideshow and story courtesy of Houzz and RedAgape Blog.

2015 Color of the Year: Marsala

WMI_2015colorThe holidays are upon us, and of course you know what that means: it’s almost the new year! 2014 went by fast in a whirlwind of Radiant Orchid dominating every color palette from fashion to home interior. For 2015, Pantone has announced that the color of the year is Marsala, a more earthy tone that is much easier to integrate into the home than bright orange, green, or purple like in years past. This color is described as a “robust and earthy wine red” and in my opinion is perfect for the winter season. Bring it into your home decor collection using cozy throws and pillows, or your closet with some comfy oversize sweaters. Perfect for that below freezing weather that will greet us in the new year!

Get Your Garden Growing: 6 Rockin’ Red Plants for Winter Gardens

Having a splash of color in the garden during the gray winter months is so pretty. Garden writer Charlotte Albers shares in this Houzz article 6 plant varieties to consider planting to set your winter garden ablaze during 2015. Check out the container gardens on the 3rd and 6th slides for ideas you can utilize on your front porch right now. Holly, winterberry, dogwood and evergreen trimmings would beautifully decorate the containers you have at your entry.

Weekend Project: DIY Holiday Ornaments

Plan some fun downtime creating DIY ornaments. These ornaments featured on Houzz can be used on your tree, given as a gift, or dress up a special package. Several of the crafts feature paper and free printable. The baked citrus slices and cinnamon stick trees would be an easy afternoon craft and smell delicious!! Enjoy!

Reestablish Joy This Holiday Season

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b2/Luminaria_at_Lake_Washington%2C_2002.jpgPositively Positive shared the article Three Steps To A Low Stress, High-Joy Holiday Season. The article outlines a 3-part plan so you can actually enjoy the holidays and find the experience to be memorable and stress-free.

The first step is all about reconnecting. I love this quote from the author,

“Let me not mince words here: This sense that we are connected and part of a larger whole is the single strongest predictor of happiness that we have.”

It is my opinion this is especially true when it comes to celebrations. If our goal is to reconnect to those we love, respect and whose company we enjoy, the chances we will be pleased with our holiday experience and gain happy memories from celebration activities grows exponentially.

The second step is to schedule your holiday events and tasks, plus pencil in some downtime to rest and renew yourself. Staying up until 3 am, year after year, to wrap gifts is no fun. And while this step probably should have been started a month ago, it can still be a good exercise for the next week or two. Make a list of the events and tasks you need to do, and want to do. What’s most important? Holiday cards not started— can you send out New Year’s cards instead? Or how about starting a new tradition and sending out Valentine’s Day cards (author Gretchen Rubin’s family tradition discussed in her book The Happiness Project). Using step one’s principle of reconnection is a great way to prioritize the activities on your list.

Step three is all about gratitude. By trading in expectations for appreciation, we experience more joy. This helps reduce, or even eliminate, the post-holiday blues. Pick one thing, right now, that you love and appreciate. Here’s a little dose of appreciation from me: I really appreciate the gift of holiday music in the music styles I like that a Pandora Christmas music station provides. I don’t have to listen to Santa Baby sung by 4 different artists if I don’t want to. I can enjoy listening to White Christmas by The Eddie Higgins Trio instead, which ups my joy quotient in an instant. What is one thing you appreciate right now? I’d love to read your appreciations. Please share in the comment section below.

If you would like to schedule an activity to reconnect with family and friends, or start a new holiday tradition, in the Seattle area, below is a list of a few local activities that last the whole holiday season.

Cheers to making happy holiday memories while leaving stress in the dust!

Photo Credit: By Seattle Municipal Archives (Flickr: Luminaria at Lake Washington, 2002) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Quick Project Alert: Create A Holiday Gift With A Personal Touch

From Houzz, “Soy wax is a perfect carrier for essential oils. For a sweet scent, add rose, lavender, vanilla or jasmine; for a citrus scent, add lemon, mandarin or orange; for a masculine scent, add sandalwood, cinnamon, cedarwood or bergamot, and for Christmas use spices and all of your favorite festive smells. Go to any health food outlet to sniff out essential oil scents and have fun experimenting!” This tutorial offers concise directions, using supplies that are readily available. What a fun way to spend the afternoon with some friends! The candles would be such a special gift – they can be personalized with both the scent and the container used.

Home Decor Inspiration: The Pantone Hotel

iStock_Samples-1024x856As the winter grey closes in, I’ve found myself searching for some inspiration to bring some light and a little brightness back in to my home. In Brussels, the Pantone Hotel just opened, with each room serving as a crisp white canvas to showcase pops of saturated Pantone shades. Designed by Michel Penneman and Oliver Hannaert, the colors range from “bright to subdued” to suit any guests. With this new, out-of-the-box hotel in mind, I’ve thought of a few ways to bring color into your home this winter to fight off the gloom.

1. Blankets and Pillows- Find a few small pieces to add to existing neutral colors in your home, but don’t go overboard. If there’s one color that you feel really good about, go with that.

2. Painted Canvas- Grab the kids or a group of friends and head to the craft store! Some of my favorite pieces of art came from smearing metallic and bright paint across a white canvas… have fun with it

3. Accent Wall- For a bigger change, visit the hardware store and pick a lively new color and paint one wall in your home as an accent wall. Pale Yellow or Mediterranean Blue are popular choices.

4. Dishware- Purchase new juice glasses, mugs, plates, whatever could use an upgrade and will brighten your day. It’s also fun to go to a local paint-your-own pottery studio and create your own!

Have fun with it!