Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Decorating #5...House Decorations!

There are many things that can inspire you. Whether it be a magazine article you just clipped out of your favorite magazine, something someone you know says in passing one day,
or something you see during your evening stroll.  All things in this world serve a purpose and are there to inspire you and make you know there is something more out there; something that you didn't know about that could change your world! 
My inspiration for this last Halloween post stemmed from Thursday night's events.  I won't go any further without showing you a picture so you know what I am talking about:

Yup!  You guessed it!  I went to my first KISS concert!  And I LOVED IT!  What better way to kick off the Halloween weekend then with some of the best performers (and costumes) of all time!  I have a new found respect for anyone who can pull off standing and dancing in  10" platforms for 2 hours, and the members of KISS did so with such grace and agility!
That said, I woke up this morning with "I Wanna Rock and Roll all Night" singing to me in the background of my thoughts and used last night's concert as a push of inspiration to finish my final Halloween post for the year! Below are some of my favorite things that are sure to make your Halloween Season a bit more festive! 
One of the coolest things I have seen is this Steel Tub with floating apples.  It takes me back to my childhood days of bobbing for apples during Halloween.  Although I don't do much "bobbing" anymore, I still love the game and think this is a great way to keep the memory alive in your house!

This is what you will need:
Steel Tub

Apples (I like to do assorted green and red to add more color)
Tea lights
Paring knife
Lemon juice
What to do:

Every apple will float differently, so see how they balance in water before marking their topsides with a dot.
1. Place the tea light over the dot, and trace around its circumference with a paring knife, inserting the knife vertically as deep as the tea light is tall.
2. Set aside the light, cut the circle into sections, and scoop them out with a spoon.
3. Squeeze lemon juice onto the cut surface to keep the apple from turning brown, and insert a tea light. Repeat with remaining apples.

Another great idea for your Halloween party is this Pumpkin Cooler Below:

This is a real easy and very impressive idea!  All you need to do is cut about 1/4 of the top of the pumpkin off, take the insides out and add a glass bowl to the inside of the pumpkin.  You can then fill it with ice and your favorite drinks!  I would suggest getting a large pumpkin and having a few different sized bowls to try out.  Measure out the height of your bowl as well before cutting the top off the pumpkin!  

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these ice cubes!  You can get these at and these particular ice cubes come in yellow and festive autumn orange.  Check out the website! There are some interesting things on it!

I love this centerpiece above.  It's so simple but to the point.  I actually have red berries like these in my front yard and all you need are some fall leaves and small pumpkins.  Add to a bowl and put in your kitchen or anywhere as a centerpiece.  This will take you well into Thanksgiving! 

There are two things that I especially love about Halloween...Dry Ice and Spider webs!  Above are some  spooky ways to decorate your house with these 2 elements! 

I hope everyone has a very Happy Halloween! to get some rest!  I literally "Rock and Rolled" all night and need to get some sleep so I can continue to "Party Every Day!!!"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween Decorating #4- Festive Front Doors!

First Impressions are important.  Imagine being picked up for your first have the perfect dress on, your hair actually decided to cooperate for the first time in weeks and your heels are rocking!  You have the perfect guy on your arm and you know you look fabulous!  After a few cocktails at the bar, you decide to run to the bathroom to "powder your nose", only to find when you flash those pearly whites, there is the world's largest piece of parsley in your teeth from last night's mashed potatoes you found yourself stuffing in your mouth just 10 minutes before McDreamy came to pick you up! Horrifying...yes!  Lesson learned to forgo the parsely before your first date?...definitely!

Although the look of your front door is not as life or death as the story above, it is important to make a great first impression for your Halloween guests.  So many people love to decorate for Halloween, but never venture outside which is most likely the only place your trick or treaters will see!  I have some great self-explanatory photos of some of my favorite Halloween front doors that you can do before Saturday!  I guarantee your trick or treaters will enjoy your festive door as much as you and your family will!!!

I love the dog!  The wreath is pretty fabulous too!  It is made of tiny pumpkins which I imagine were glued on.  Just add the black ribbon and you are set!

Using Christmas lights is also a big thing for Halloween.  These are actually wrapped around a wire shaped pumpkin.  Anything you can do to help light up the path to your entry will help those little ones out and also create a very festive feel! I love the happy pumpkins, by the way! Also, corn stalks are a big deal right now and add a lot to your fall decor without having to dig deep in your pockets.  You can find these for about $3 a stalk at your local nursery!

Okay, this has to be one of my favorite ideas! This photo is from  I love the pumpkin "tower" placed on the black urns where I assume a topiary sat not too long ago! The black trees are just painted which you could free hand and the artist also poked holes in the pumpkin to create "stars".  Just add orange and white pumpkins around and a spooky wreath and you will be the talk of the neighborhood!

And let's not forget the wreath!  You can do something more festive or something like this wreath above which will take you through Thanksgiving as well!  I love the magnolia leaves and the fall leaves and berries that will add a bit of color to your front door!

For those of you that want to go with more of a spooky direction, then there is only one place I suggest you going...The website is AMAZING!!!! There is a variety of projects you can choose from to make your front yard the scariest thing anyone has ever seen (like this flying crank ghost).  You can browse through the images, click on what project you want to do and get step by step instructions.  You HAVE to check it out!

So whatever you decide to do with your front door this Halloween, be sure to make it fun and inviting, and if you won't be decorating your front door this season, at least take my advice from above and check your teeth for parsley every once in a while!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Halloween Decorating #3...Yourself!!!!

Okay!  If any of you were not having a great day today, I am about to turn that around....with only two photos! 


Yes, you guessed it!  I will be talking about my third favorite Halloween Decorating idea this season...Decorating Yourself! (or your adorable kids or babies!). 

Chasing Fireflies is one of my favorite children's catalogs and they have an extensive library of any and every Halloween Costume you could imagine!  What I love about them is that they have such non-traditional and non-trendy costumes that you could actually pass down to your next child or family member's child! 

I love these children's ghost costumes!  They also have them in adult sizes! 

And of course...they even have something for your dog!!!  This is hilarious!!! If my parent's dog Jake wasn't a male...he would be getting this Dorothy costume for sure!!!  He will just have to settle with the snuggie for dogs I am about to get him!

For the adults out there who aren't afraid to dress up for Halloween, there are some GREAT costumes out there for you as well!  This year, my husband Charlie and I will be dressing up as Rosalie and Emmett from Twilight (I cliche` but everyone says he looks like Emmett so I am going to take this opportunity to play on that!).  I will be getting the blond wig and we are dressing in grey's and white.  I will try to post pictures!!!

Some of the biggest costume ideas this year are:

Michael Jackson (they could have chosen a more believable model!)

Kate Gosselin (wig and all!)

And I couldn't leave out the Octo-mom Costume!!!

But none of these costumes are scary!  I had to dig deep for a costume that makes me cringe to look at it...a costume that has people running the other way when they see it coming down the street....
I hope you are prepared for this...



This guy scares me!!!!  If you dare, be the Burger King man!  You are sure to scare even the bravest!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Halloween Decorating #2 Food!

One of my favorite parts about Halloween is probably something that everyone can appreciate and relate to!  The food! Maybe it's just me, or the Italian in me that gets me excited about this subject or maybe it's the designer in me that loves the idea of a festive spread of orange and black food on the table waiting for your guests. Whatever the case, Halloween is a great excuse to be a little edgy with your food and maybe even a little disgusting!  This is probably the only Holiday where one can celebrate with a plate of "Eyeballs" and actually have excited guests anxiously waiting to try them!

Whether you are expecting to have an adult Halloween party this year, a birthday party for your kids, or just a night in with the family, I have something for everyone in this post!
One of my favorite Halloween/Fall ideas that I recently saw was leaf tortillas.  This is such a colorful and fun way to turn an ordinary chips and salsa dish into something your guests will be talking about all night long!

Here is what you will need:
Leaf-shaped cookie cutter
2 or 3 flour 8-inch tortillas (each one will yield 3 leaves)
Cookie sheet
Pastry brush
Olive oil or Olive oil spray

  1. Preheat your oven to around 400 degrees. 
  2. Cut out the leaf shapes using your cookie cutter.  It's sometimes easier to layer the tortillias on top of eachother (5-6) and cut all together. 
  3. Set the "leaves" on a cookie sheet and dust with a layer of olive oil.  You can use the olive oil spray or real olive oil with a pasty brush.
  4. Bake the leaves until the edges just begin to brown (about 4 minutes). Then remove them from the oven and sprinkle on salt. Serve the leaves with salsa or another favorite dip, or enjoy them plain
Another food that is sure to be a hit is the traditional cupcake (with of course a Halloween touch). With this particular item, the sky is the limit!  You bake any flavor cupcake your little heart desires and then decorate it however you want!

There is a great blog at (photo above) that has some great ideas for any kind of cupcake, or pastry you can imagine.  This photo is pretty self explainatory and a great example of what you can do on your cupcakes.
Since there is a variety of designs, I will show you how to make my favorite cupcake, the spider web cupcake.

Here is what you will need:
White icing (or any color but black)
Black icing/gel in a small tube
Plastic Spider (you can purchase these just about anywhere)


1. Let your cupcakes cool all the way and then add your base icing
2. After your base icing is applied, create 3 rings (like a target) with your black icing/gel around the top of your cupcake.
3. Take your toothpick, starting from the inside ring and gently pull the black icing downward to the outer ring.  Repeat around the whole cupcake!
4. Add your spider and put on a festive plate and you are done! 

    photo from McCormick blog

I could seriously go on and on but will narrow it down to one more item today!  Speaking of serious...this is a desert that I don't take lightly.  One of my favorites and probably soon to be one of yours as well...Gelato! 

Gelato, or the plural Gelati, is the Italian regional variant of ice cream. As such, gelato is made with similar ingredients as most ice-creams around the world, with milk (and cream), sugar (and other sweeteners), flavorings (fruits, nuts, essences, etc.) and air as the main ingredients. It's smooth, buttery texture is not only sure to please your taste buds, but also your tummy!

Because this is one of my favorites, I was of course ecstatic to find a recipe for Pumpkin Gelato on  Click here for the recipe link (try not to look at the nutrition content on the left hand side!!).

After you have made your Gelato, there are some fun ways to showcase your newly made masterpiece!  One of my favorite ways to do this is to serve the Gelato in a small pumpkin.  All you will have to do is cut the top off the pumpkin, scoop or carve out all insides and add Gelato!

There are so many options out there for even the picky eater.  I challenge everyone to try something new this year and maybe you will start your own Halloween tradition!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Halloween Decorating Tradition #1...Carved Pumpkins!

It's my favorite time of year!  Halloween!!!!  I am not sure if it's one of my favorite holidays because my birthday falls only a week before or if it's all that candy!! (my weakness for sure!).  Whatever the case, Halloween is not only one of my favorite days but also one of my favorite holidays to decorate. 
There are so many fun ideas out there right now and I would like to share my top 5 favorite decoration ideas so far this year. I will be posting these ideas up until Halloween.  Today I would like to share my first favorite tradition!
Carved Pumpkins

Now when I was a kid, there weren't as many pumpkin carving tools, ideas and templates as there are now.  I was just happy with the traditional happy pumpkin (see pumpkin on left). Although I loved the happy pumpkin, my dad, who only had one boys, also had to do the mean and scary pumpkin too for himself (which I also enjoyed!).
Fast forward about 20 years and you can now find anything and everything to make your pumpkin be whatever your little heart desires!  One of my favorite designs is this Vulture's Cage Pumpkin which you can find on .  All you do is click on the link and print out the templates on your home printer. 
I am not so sure that I have the carving skills to get this one done, but I might try and post my progress on a future blog.  I am not promising that my vulture won't be deformed or decapitated when it's all said and done but I am going to give it a try!!!
The HGTV website also has some great non traditional templates like this chair template.  I think it's a great idea for a designer hosting a Halloween party or someone who wants to go off the beaten path this Halloween and do something a little less spooky!  

And as I person who loves anything that can make me laugh...

This one is called the hungry Jack-o'-Lantern! (I looked like this yesterday when I forgot to eat dinner!)

This pumpkin obviously did a little too much partying at Martha Stewart's Halloween bash last night! (gross..I know!  But I couldn't keep this image to myself!) Actually if you go to , you will see some very interesting creations and some that are just downright gross (like above!).
Last but not least, I would like to share some photos and ideas for decorating pumpkins without having to use a knife!  This is a much safer and sometimes more creative approach to decorating your pumpkin....

I love the polka-dot pumpkins.  All you need is a circle stencil and some paint.
Stenciled Pumpkins are also a beautiful and very delicate look to your Halloween decor.  You can find stencils at any craft store and all you need is paint.

This is one of the most elegant Halloween or Thanksgiving centerpieces I have found so far (courtesy of Martha Stewart).  I love the white pumpkin filled with a variety of flowers in the center.  All you would have to do is cut the top off the pumpkin and place a bowl inside for the water, then add your flowers. You can then add the smaller pumpkins around the center piece along with autumn colored candles (which you can find anywhere right now).

I hope I was able to inspire you to go outside the box a little this year when carving your pumpkins!  Halloween only comes once a year so make that pumpkin something all your neighbors are talking about and have a very Happy Halloween!!!! 

Thursday, October 1, 2009

For those of you who loved Domino Magazine...

I don't know about you, but the day I found out Domino Magazine was closing their doors and no longer publishing one of the most refreshing home magazines out there, was a sad day for me.  I seriously considered revisiting my coffee addiction after this news but quickly snapped back out of it and am still just having 1-2 cups a day..scouts honor!
I think one of my favorite things about this magazine (besides the cute sticky tabs in the front of each issue so you could mark your favorite pages) was the upbeat articles, colorful projects and fun do it your self columns in every issue.  I also loved that most of the items that they would feature were not only hip, but usually affordable and easy to find!

For those of you who miss this fun and refreshing magazine and have not been able to find something close to it...the wait is over!  There is a new magazine (out as a digital copy only right now) that is very similar to our long lost friend Domino and the best part about it right now and you can go online and check it out for free!  The magazine is called Loony Magazine .  I spent the last hour going through the beautiful, pages and must say that I am impressed!  I totally find the similarity of this magazine and Domino and there is a reason.  The creators of this magazine have ties to Domino which is probably why this first issue has the same creativeness and upbeat vibe. 

So I have talked about the similarities but also want to talk about what I think is better and different about this magazine.  I think there is a slightly stronger emphasis on fashion which I love.  I feel that fashion whether it be in your home or on your body, is so important and totally reflects your style either way.  I LOVE the layouts of this magazine and the advertisements are from a lot of companies that I have never heard about but instantly fell in love with (and will probably be blogging about soon!). Lastly, the houses featured in this issue are so much fun!!!  I think there are ideas and elements of each project that each of us could bring into our homes. 

All in all, I absolutely loved this first issue and hope everyone will take a minute out of their day and take a look at it for yourself!  What a great way to start October!!!!