Category Archives: Home & Garden

weddingplanning

5 TIPS TO REMOVE STRESS – PLANNING YOUR CHILD’S WEDDING

By Jessica Nance

Many people equate stress with wedding planning, but why? Yes, there are many details and you may feel like it will break the bank to make a perfect day, but shouldn’t it be enjoyed from start to finish? Here are a few practical ways to remove the stress so you can enjoy one of the most memorable days of their lives!

1. Let Go. It’s Their Day

This may be the hardest tip but the most important. Remember that each child is unique and may not want to have the wedding you had or you dream about. Traditional weddings are not trending now and each couple wants to bring in their own personality versus what etiquette may say. If you cannot find it in your heart to agree, you may want to look at hiring a professional planner to help you come to an agreement or meet in the middle. Planners are not counselors, but they are creative and have the experience to know how to talk through each issue that may arise.

2. Know Your Budget Before You Start

You need to have real conversations with your children about what you plan to contribute to their overall budget for their wedding. Make sure you decide if you are going to pay for parts like the dress, venue, and flowers, or if you plan to pay for the total. Many parents struggle to pay for the total wedding, especially if the couple plans to invite a large number of guests or has more expensive ideas for their big day. It is best to decide what dollar figure you plan to spend the minute the ring goes on!

This is the number one reason for stress in the planning process. The average wedding costs approximately $24,000 in Davidson County. This usually makes parents choke up a bit because their wedding cost around $5,000 in the 70s or 80s. Now weddings are a major social gathering and large production with the works for all of the couple’s friends and family. Make sure you save cash for this event because one thing people regret after the wedding is that lingering credit card bill. One idea to help is to look at all-inclusive options that you can pay monthly for the full wedding versus paying for a lot at one time. Just make sure your child knows what you will be contributing so they do not assume and end up stressing out over a bill they did not expect.

3. The Big Day – Help!

This, coming from a professional planner, is one of the major items people forget about until the last minute and forget to include it in the budget – a director! You have spent so much time, effort, and money on this perfect day for your child, but how will it all happen if you are playing the parent role? You can’t help your child get ready, look pretty yourself, greet/host guests, direct people down the aisle, check to make sure the cake arrived, and still keep yourself together emotionally if you are trying to run the show!

Hire a professional director to take what you have invested in and make it all happen without a worry. Focus your time on your family and, more importantly, on your child that is giving their heart to your new son or daughter in law. Directors should create a custom timeline, direct the rehearsal, give you professional advice, move guests from space to space, and coordinate with all of your vendors. Weddings without directors can become a hot mess very quickly. The average professional director with an assistant costs around $1200 for their services.

4. Set Up and Clean Up

OH ME! The dreaded issue of TIME at your venue and all the STUFF that must happen during that time! This is another professional service I would highly suggest you invest in. Some directors can add this service and work it into their team’s timeline. Many think about how long it will take for the actual event, but are never realistic about the time it takes to put everything out and clean it all up. Know what you are contracting when you hire someone. Does the caterer or venue take the trash? How long do you have the venue so you know how to time out the day? What items may need muscle? Did you remember to pay additional for the florist to do a set up of the flowers? So many things will result in stress if you don’t pre-plan for time needed at the beginning and the end. Plus, who wants guests to walk into the ceremony site that is not complete?

5. Knowing Responsibilities and Working Together

This is a subject that can cause stress emotionally. Make sure you know what the couple wants you to be involved in and what they want to do alone. Some have a great relationship and want parents involved in everything, but some find it easier to make the decisions themselves and have you just be there as a supporter. Also, consider the other child’s parents. Most parents want to be involved in some fashion. Plan out in the beginning what task you can give everyone to make anyone that wants to be involved feel, well, involved. Emotions are very high when it comes to planning out one of the biggest steps your child will make, so be considerate of how to respect your child’s wishes but help make others feel important, too.

Side tip: the Bridal shower or luncheon may be a great way to involve people that may not be involved in the wedding.

Hang in there parents! It may be an emotional and slightly bumpy ride, but remember: Be considerate, but honest. Make sure you are supportive, but not in the spotlight. Let your children shine on their day while you enjoy watching what they have become and the adventure they are now undertaking. Hire professionals and get references from people with real experience. Above all, happy planning and congratulations on extending your family!

 

SpringDecor-MantelLg

Introducing Spring Décor into Your Home

By April Lewis

Spring is a season of rebirth. After the long winter months, spring eventually arrives with fresh sprigs of green grass, the trees are dotted with new buds, and specks of vibrant colors are popping up in flower beds all around. Follow along as I show you my favorite spring décor tips and be inspired to introduce spring into your home.
Simplify your Décor

SpringDecor-MantelLgCreate a calm peaceful look by removing the existing layers of your décor so you can begin your spring planning with a fresh palette. Now we can all admit that there is no greater feeling than a fresh start. Clear your mind and your space and get to work!
I love to start fresh with a neutral palette layered with various textures and tones. Vintage books, wood textures, and metal accents are all great elements to incorporate when you are decorating. Think outside the box and get creative with your décor, remembering to have fun and not to put too much pressure on yourself.

Build your Foundation

When planning your décor from season to season, always remember to build your foundation piece first. Your foundation is the base of any design. It’s the piece that grounds the look, whether it’s an antique window accented with a seasonal wreath or similar to the vintage floral china shown in this mantel shot.

This grounding piece to the design will allow seasonal décor, such as this ceramic bunny, to be incorporated into the design with little or no change to the overall look that you have created.

Think Green

There is nothing better than to see fresh hues of greens placed throughout your home. These may require an initial investment, but well worth it in the end. You can also use these pieces as a foundation season after season, implementing relevant seasonal décor items in between.

Faux flowers or fresh blooms are also wonderful to incorporate into your design. The soft hues of the blooms shown in this breakfast room shot create soft visual texture that brings a sense of romance to the design. You will also see that pops of green are strategically placed in the chic chandelier that hangs over the dining table and accented around the whimsical bunny plates that are placed at each table setting.

The table top design overall seems more interesting just by adding these few elements to the mix.

Brighten it up

Bring out the lighter tones in your spring décor and room design with soft whites or pastel color hues. Maybe this is the time to bring out the paint brush or can of spray paint and paint a few décor pieces, walls, or furniture items.

SpingDecor-tableTake a close look at the vintage candlesticks, dining table, and chairs in the breakfast room shot. These all were a dark stain and not very attractive. With a little TLC, these pieces look entirely different and work beautifully into the design.

Be daring and don’t be afraid of paint. Paint is always a perfect solution when you are on a budget and need a fresh new look.
It has been a pleasure to show you spring through my eyes and I do hope that you have been inspired to introduce spring décor into your home. As you begin designing your spaces, be sure to enjoy this process and remember the four design tips I shared with you on how to introduce spring décor into your home: simplify your décor, build your foundation, think green, and brighten it up!

April is a native from Davidson County and hase been an interior designer for over 9 years.  She currently works out of Greensboro, NC.  April is well versed in all design styles and never lets her personal style reflect on her clients home.  “The clients home should tell the story of their life and what they love.” – April Lewis.

 

truffles

Easter Egg Cookie Dough Truffles

Ingredients
½ c. (1 stick) butter, room temperature
¾ c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
½ c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ c. finely chopped walnuts or pecans
Colored candy chocolate melts of your choice for coating and decorating

Instructions
In a bowl combine butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the flour, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until incorporated, beating well after each addition. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour, or until firm enough to handle.

Shape mixture into 1-inch balls by rolling a spoonful in the palm of your hand. If the dough is too sticky, put your fingers into the flour to stop it from sticking to your fingers. Then shape dough balls into flat little ovals or egg shapes. Alternatively, you can roll the dough out to desired thickness, on a floured surface, about ½ inch thickness and use egg shaped cookie cutters to shape the dough to look like flat eggs. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Loosely cover and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes or until firm again.

Melt the candy melts according to the directions on the bag. Dip the cookie dough egg truffles 3-4 at the time into the chocolate, shake off extra and place on parchment paper. Let the truffles sit until hard, about 15 minutes. Once set, melt remaining candy melts. Place in a small baggies and cut a small hole in one corner. Carefully drizzle chocolate over truffles. Store in the refrigerator and serve cold. These can also be frozen for longer storage.

pineapplecarrotcake

Pineapple Carrot Cake

Ingredients

2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
4 large eggs
2 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 c. peeled and grated raw carrots (4 to 6 medium carrots)
1 c. raisins
1 (8-oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 c. coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
Cream cheese frosting (see recipe below)
1 c. shredded or flaked sweetened coconut

 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper and then butter and flour the cake pans. NOTE: You can also make this into a 2-layer cake.

In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice; set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, add eggs and beat on medium-high speed until light yellow or approximately 2 minutes. Slowly add the sugar to the eggs until well mixed and fully incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and beat an additional 1 minute.

Reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly add the vegetable oil. Once all the oil is added, beat the mixture for another 1 minute.

Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and blend in the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the grated carrots, raisins, drained pineapple, and pecans or walnuts.

Divide the batter equally between the prepared cake pans. Bake approximately 40 to 50 minutes or until a long toothpick or wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool on wire cooling rack for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Remove cake from pans and place on the wire racks to finish cooling. While cake is cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting.

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
6 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract*
2 1/2 to 3 c. powdered (confectioner’s) sugar

* For additional pineapple flavor, substitute some of the pineapple juice that was drained off, for the vanilla extract.

In a bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.

To frost the cake, place one cake layer (flat-side up) on a large cake plate. Using a knife or spatula, spread the top of the cake layer with some of the frosting. Place the second cake layer on top (flat-side up) on top of the first layer and spread frosting over the top. Place the third cake layer (rounded side up) on top of the 2nd cake layer and spread the remaining frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Using your hands, gently press the flaked coconut on the sides of the cake.