Facelift Essentials For Your Backyard

Whether you just moved into your new home and are wanting to make it feel like yours, or are wanting to spruce up your outdoor space for your family's enjoyment (or to prepare to sell!) here are a few fun decorative pieces that have caught my eye lately... (We live in Southern California so there is no excuse to not be enjoying life al fresco all of the time!)

-Click on each below image for shopping details.-

Deck The Halls: Festive Finds For Your Home

The Holidays are almost here... here are a few of my favorite decorative pieces that I've recently seen online. Some are on sale and the others are incredibly chic investment pieces worth adding to your cart today. 

Glitter Garland from West Elm - a gorgeous accent no matter your style.


Hanukkah Condiment Display from Pottery Barn - doubles as a holder for cocktail nuts, olives, or even some gelt!

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Golden Bow Votive Holder from Pottery Barn - a modern twist that feels elegant.

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Merlot Cashmere Throw from One Kings Lane - sumptuous, a gorgeous color... need I say more? Your guests won't want to leave!

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NEST Classic Holiday Candle - a decadently warm blend of pomegranate, Mandarin orange, pine, cloves, and cinnamon with a hint of vanilla and amber.

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New Year, New Home: What You Need To Do Now To Prep Your Property For the Market

The end of the year is very near; whether you have thoughts of selling in 2018 or simply want to start the New Year enjoying your home to the fullest, here are my top recommendations that you can start today:

1. Think like a buyer...

This can be as simple as doing a walk-through of each room in your home, as if it's on the market and you're evaluating what you like & dislike. This is a terrific exercise for opening your mind to everyday things in your home that you may not even realize because you're so frequently in the space.

2. Ditch the bulk...

Do you have an oversized couch that you absolutely love and won't part it? Many people do, and I understand it's appeal, but buyers will automatically think the room in its is far smaller than it actually is. Remove any bulky furniture from your home that can detract from the value of your property by making it feel smaller than it actually is.

3. Clear closet clutter...

This is the ultimate win-win for you. Taking the time to fully clear out and organize all closets in your home will not only make you feel more relaxed and on top of it, but it will showcase your closet space for what it truly is.

4. Say no to wasted space...

It's wonderful to be able to have an additional bedroom that can be used for whatever you need it to be... an office, a den, a storage room... however, it's easier for buyers to appreciate a space's value when it's given a defined purpose. That way, even if they don't necessarily need a home office like yours, they are able to actually see it as a finished room that they can then use for whatever purpose they want to.

My 2016 blog entry, "Five Steps You Must Take When Selling Your Home," delves deeper into the nitty gritty of each step to take before you list. Read it here:

Vegan, Gluten-Free, & Paleo Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas

Thanksgiving is almost here! Here are some nutritious (yet also very, very delicious!) alternative takes on Thanksgiving classics. Cater to your guests with certain dietary restrictions and preferences while also still offering an enticing, healthier option for everyone else.

Japanese Yams with Cashew Cream 


from Melissa Wood Health

  • 3-6 Japanese yams

  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil

  • 1 TspVanilla Extract
  • 1 Tbsp Kimera Kacao Booster
  • 1 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Cup of Raw Cashews 
  • 1/2 Cup of Water
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Squeezed Lemon Juice

1.     Pre-heat oven to 400 Degrees 

2.     Thoroughly rinse 3-6 Yams (adjust amount according to size of your group)

3.     Cut off ends of yam then slice in wedges

4.     Once halved, slice into wedges

5.     Toss yams in large mixing bowl with one tablespoon of coconut oil

6.     Spice Things Up! Use What You Have! (I used a teaspoon of vanilla extract, a sprinkle of Kimera Kacao Booster, and a pinch of sea salt)

7.     Place wedges skin down on tray and place on bottom rack of oven

8.     Bake for 38-42 Minutes

9.     Top with cashew cream

Cashew cream directions:

1.     Soak ½ cup of raw cashews in 1 cup of water for one hour. 

2.     Rinse the cashews. 

3.     Add cashews to blender (Click Here) with ¼ - ½ cup of water. 

4.     Add ½ teaspoon sea salt to blender. 

5.     Add ½ squeezed lemon to blender. 

6.     Blend for 30-45 seconds until smooth. 

Vegan Mashed Potatoes & Gravy


from Rainbow Plant Life

  • 1 1/2 pounds red-skinned potatoes 
  • 1/3 vegan Earth Balance butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup raw cashews, soaked for 4 hours
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoon sea salt, divided + additional salt for cashew cream*
  • Freshly cracked black pepper 
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil 
  • Chives, sliced (for garnish) 

*Sea salt tastes less salty than table salt, so if you use the latter, use less salt and taste as you go

for the Mushroom Gravy...

  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots (approximately 2-3 shallots)
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil  
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces Shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt + more 
  • Freshly cracked black pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 tablespoons spicy red wine (I used a Syrah)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (or arrowroot powder) 
  • 2 tablespoons plant-based milk
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste 
  1. In a non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and cook the diced shallots until they are translucent and lightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. 
  2. Add the mushrooms and a generous pinch of salt and pepper, and cook for another 8-10 minutes until they release their liquid and become tender. You may need to add a few tablespoons of water to prevent the mushrooms from burning.
  3. While mushrooms are cooking, whisk together the nutritional yeast, cornstarch or arrowroot powder and plant-based milk until you have a thick paste. 
  4. Add the minced garlic, thyme and rosemary and stir for a minute until fragrant. Then add the red wine, vegetable broth and soy sauce, whisking constantly and bring to a boil.   
  5. Add the nutritional yeast paste to the pan, whisking constantly to make sure it dissolves. Then add in the miso paste and continue stirring constantly for a few minutes until the gravy is thick and flavors have melded together.
  6. Finish with salt and pepper to taste. 

Carrot + Cardamom Soup


from Nom Nom Paleo

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 large leeks, white and light green ends only, cleaned, trimmed, and thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1½ pounds large carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch coins
  • ¼ cup diced Braeburn, Empire, McIntosh, or Cortland apple
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 4 cups chicken stock or Bone Broth (from Nom Nom Paleo)
  • ½ cup full-fat coconut milk
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks, along with a generous pinch of salt, and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Toss in the carrot, apple, ginger, and cardamom, and stir until fragrant. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Turn down the heat to low. Cover and simmer until the carrots are easily pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes. Mix in the coconut milk.
  4. Transfer the soup in batches to a blender and process until smooth. Alternatively, purée the soup directly in the pot with an immersion blender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

6 servings
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

Classic Gluten-Free Stuffing


from Whole Foods

  • 6 cups gluten-free bread cubes or 1 package Gluten Free Bakehouse stuffing cubes
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup gluten-free chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Canola spray oil

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Spread bread on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring occassionally, until dried and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool. (If using premade stuffing cubes, skip this step.)

Increase the oven temperature to 325°F. Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallot, onion, celery and carrot and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add sage, thyme, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add wine and continue to cook over medium heat until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Lightly coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with spray oil. In a large bowl, combine vegetable mixture with bread cubes, chicken broth and parsley. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and bake until hot throughout and golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Nutritional Info:  (per serving) 180 calories (60 from fat), 7g total fat, 3.5g saturated fat, 15mg cholesterol, 410mgsodium, 23g carbohydrates, (2 g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 4g protein.


I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your loved ones!

Interior Design Delights: November 2017

The holiday season will be in full swing before we know it -- stock up on decorating and entertaining essentials now so you can spend the next few months being merry & stress-free! Here are a few things that have caught my eye online...

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Farmtable Plank

How dream holiday charcuterie boards are made! Versatile and perfect for any occasion, intimate or large, casual or formal. 

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S/4 Triple Loop Napkin Rings, Matte Silver

These elegant napkin rings instantly dress up any tablescape, pulling it all together with the ultimate ease and style. 

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S/4 Divot Dinner Napkin, White/Gold

Nothing could be chicer -- these golden scalloped linen dinner napkins will not go unnoticed and are fabulous for any special occasion, let alone perfect for Thanksgiving festivities.

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20" Boxwood Dried Wreath w/ Gold Bow, Green

Gold... velvet... the details on this wreath make for a stunning holiday display and a lovely way to welcome guests into your home for the holidays.

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Flamingo Bottle Opener, Gold/Dark Gray

A divine hostess gift for your friend or family member who has everything.

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Halo 2, Gold Leaf

Instantly brighten up any room in your home and breath new life into your space with this impeccably decadent abstract piece, created using hand-applied gold leaf.

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26" Rose & Magnolia Arrangement, Faux

A stunning arrangement worth the investment.

Wishing you the loveliest and merriest of holidays!