Country Living...Island Dreaming

November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you and your families a
Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy your day!


November 23, 2015

Winner of the Tree Classics Garland!

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway to win a Tree Classic - Kennedy Fir Harvest - 6 Foot Garland.  I hope I inspired some Christmas decorating ideas!


Congratulations KARENANN!  Your name was randomly selected through Rafflecopter.  I am sending you an email to get your address and Tree Classics will send your garland.  Enjoy and thanks for entering!

Enjoy your week everyone!


November 22, 2015

Last Chance to Enter! (The Tree Classics Garland Giveaway)

Don't miss out!
Today is your last day to ENTER a giveaway to win 

If you missed my original post, you can ENTER HERE.  Just follow the Rafflecopter instructions at the bottom of that page.  The contest ends at midnight tonight, (Sunday, November 22, 2015) and I will be announcing the winner tomorrow!

Good Luck and enjoy your Sunday!


November 19, 2015

My Road Trip to the New Ballard Store

Last week, one of my best friends and I embarked on a road trip to the King of Prussia Mall.  As many of you have heard, Ballard Designs recently opened up a retail store there.  I had been eagerly awaiting the day when our schedules would allow for a day of shopping and last Friday worked for both of us!  It took about an hour and a half to drive down but was totally worth it!!

I could barely contain my excitement when we approached the store...

Ahh...the thrill of stepping into a catalog..

Gorgeous Christmas decor was everywhere.

How perfect does this console look with the red?

Baskets of beautiful decorations.

And plenty of lovely furniture to sink into.  I don't own any of their upholstered pieces (yet), but I made sure I sat on everything.  I am happy to report they passed my comfort test!  Every piece was well made, very soft and comfortable.  I would have no hesitation about ordering something upholstered.  Now, to choose...

I loved each decorated room in the store.  I am trying to find a place in my home so I can buy the light in this office above.

And I was in love with this table!  What a gorgeous piece of furniture and the velvet chairs got me thinking in a whole new direction for my dining room!

I loved this table too, especially since you can customize the color!  Maybe for my kitchen...

And speaking of tables, this entire Christmas dining area really caught my eye.

And all this blue and white Bunny Williams loveliness speaks for itself!  Ahhh...

 If I update my bedroom duvet, I could definitely picture picture these buffalo checks in there.

I couldn't tear myself away from all the huge fabric samples on display.  I took a few small samples home but these larger samples made me want to redecorate my whole house!

I was so caught up in the store gorgeousness, that I didn't get a chance to take pictures of everything.  There was just so much to take in!  And you will be shocked to know that I didn't buy anything!  I was just so excited to touch and sit on everything that I think my mind was on overload!  Plus, now that I have those fabric samples, I have a few ideas for some purchases.  I hope Santa is generous this year...

Yeah, this last photo pretty much sums up my feelings on the whole shopping experience!  The store was beautiful, the sales staff was very friendly and helpful and now I have a whole list of Christmas ideas!

Have you been to a Ballard Designs retail store yet?


November 17, 2015

Decorating with Garland...(and a Giveaway!)

Have you started decorating for Christmas yet?

I usually wait until the day after Thanksgiving to start my decorating.  Since I am still in the planning stage, I was thrilled when a representative from Tree Classics contacted me to review their Kennedy Fir Harvest Garland and to offer YOU a chance to WIN one of your own!

This year marks the 40th anniversary for Tree Classics, and as part of this year's campaign, they are partnering with 40 bloggers to give away 40 different Christmas products.  I was so honored when they asked me to be part of their campaign!

When I received my Kennedy Fir Harvest Garland, I couldn't wait to lay it across my mantel.  This will be the first year with our new stone fireplace and I have been looking forward to seeing some Christmas decor up there!

I have always wanted to try a battery operated garland so I wouldn't have to worry about all those hanging wires!  This garland has a small box where you insert 3 AA batteries (not included), push the on button and you are ready to go!  The garland automatically stays lit for 6 hours and remains off for 18 hours.

The Kennedy Fir Harvest Garland is so pretty and very realistic.  It has just the right amount of LED lights and decorations so you don't need to add anything.

Even though I had planned on keeping the garland on my mantel, I thought it would be fun to see how it looked in a couple other areas in my home...

I tried it on top of my china cabinet and loved it against the red walls in there!

And then when I brought it in the kitchen, I was so excited to see it sparkling up on the shelf against all the white.  Now I can't decide where I like it best!  At least I know I have a bunch of options.  It really is a gorgeous garland!

*Tree classics provided me with a garland in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own. 

Tree Classics was founded in 1976 and has a long history of designing the World's Finest Artificial Christmas Trees.  They have since expanded their range of holiday offerings to include artificial wreaths, garlands and various accessories all designed with the same quality customers have come to know and expect from Tree Classics.  Be sure to visit their website to browse through their huge selection of holiday decor!

And now for your chance to win the 6 Foot Kennedy Fir Harvest Garland with LED Lights...please follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below.
*No purchase necessary.  Open to U.S. residents only.

You can enter through midnight on Sunday, November 22, 2015.  I will announce the winner on Monday, November 23, 2015.  Good Luck!

If you win the garland, where will you display it?


November 12, 2015

A Sisal Substitute for the Stairs

During our recent renovation, we removed our carpet runner from the stairs, refinished the oak with a darker stain and replaced the spindles with white painted ones.

Eventually, I knew we would need a carpet runner.  My kids run around in socks all the time and I have to think of my golden retriever, Rosie.  Those bare stairs were just too slippery.

Red Oak Staircase with Minwax Provincial Stain

I have always loved the look of sisal or seagrass but I didn't want the rough feel on my stairs.  I shared my options with you in a post a few weeks ago - Choosing a Stair Runner.

I ended up choosing a synthetic sisal-look runner and couldn't be happier!...

Sisal Look Stair Runner

This carpet is from Masland Carpets and I chose their Sisaltex line in the color Indochine.  I am not being compensated in any way to mention them, in case you were wondering.

Sisal Look on Stairs - without the sisal-feel

This is definitely the look I wanted for the stairs.

Sisaltex Stair runner in Indochine color - a great substitute for sisal
And it feels so nice on our feet!

Sisal Look Runner on stairs - softer on the feet than sisal or seagrass
We were able to choose the width we wanted and they cut the carpet to our specifications.  Our stairs are 41 inches wide (above the landing) and 39 1/2 (below the landing)...I never realized that until we measured for the carpet...weird.  Anyway, we had the carpet cut at 31 inches wide.   

I also had them cut me a runner for the upstairs hall...
Synthetic Sisal Runner in upstairs hallway - matches stair runner
My husband isn't sure if he wants the runner because he (the previous carpet lover) got used to the look of the wood floor up here.  We'll keep it up here for now though.

Sisal Look runner on stairs
And back down we go...

Sisal Substitute for stairs - It would have been nice to leave the wood stairs uncovered but with a dog and kids, we needed a stair runner.

I am happy with the subtle color and the way it goes with our recently painted foyer.  (Benjamin Moore White Sand).  The rug is also golden retriever color which is a plus!  We have to decorate around the dog in our house!

New Stair Runner on newly stained staircase

 And it's neutral enough to work with the existing foyer rug...or something else if I decide to change it!

White Stair Spindles and sisal look runner - a whole new look for our foyer.

That's one more thing I can cross off my list!  On to the next project!

If you have stairs, do you have a runner on them?

For more inspiration, please follow along...

Linking to:


November 7, 2015

Plaid Table Settings for the Fall and Winter Holidays

You can never have enough plaid when it comes to decorating for fall or winter!

As you can see, I have quite a collection of plaids and checks...

Please note that this post contains affiliate links which means if you click on the product links and purchase something, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Plaids and Checks for fall

But like I said, you can never have enough plaid !  Recently, this runner at Homegoods caught my eye...

Plaid Table Runner
And of course I had to buy it to add to my plaid collection!  A black watch plaid like this one would be pretty for fall as well.

I haven't created a table setting with the runner yet, but I thought it would be fun to look back at some table settings where I have used plaid or checks in the past...

Black and White Checked Tablesetting
I like using black and white checks in the fall.  I bought this tablecloth a few years ago but I found one that looks identical - HERE.   You can see more details about this table setting here - Black and White Fall Table.

Christmas Table with Black and White
And black and white looks great for Christmas too because it's so easy to add color!  You can see more details on this table setting here - Christmas Breakfast Table.

Red and White Fall Table Setting
Red and White Checked placemats work for fall or winter.  I bought these in a Pennsylvania country store years ago and they have held up beautifully in the wash.  I couldn't find any similar ones but  these are similar in color and have that rustic country look.  You can see more details on my table setting here - Fall Table Setting with Apples.

Christmas Table with Red Checks
Small red checks can look festive for Christmas.  I have had these Ralph Lauren napkins for years.  I don't think they are technically Christmas napkins, though.  I was able to find some pretty Ralph Lauren Christmas Napkins - HERE that would work just as well, if not better!  I also found a similar tablecloth you might like - HERE.  I tend to stay smaller with red checks because sometimes they can make the table look too much like an Italian restaurant like this one - HERE.  See more table details here - Christmas in the Country Tablescape.

Checks and Plaid for Christmas - one of my favorite table settings
And I love the checks even more when paired with plaid napkins!  I bought these at Pottery Barn a few years ago but I found a few similar ones - HERE and, HERE.  See more details on the table setting here - Christmas Table with Checks and Plaid.

What is your favorite way to use plaid?
Holiday Table Settings with Plaids and Checks

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November 4, 2015

Planning a Road Trip to Ballard

Yesterday, I practically squealed with excitement when pictures from a new Ballard Designs STORE came across my Instagram!  That was the very first time I discovered this exciting news!  The new store is opening at the King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania TODAY!  I am sure it will be a mob scene so I won't even attempt the trip today but I am definitely planning one!!!

The mall is Northwest of Philadelphia and probably about 1 1/2 to 2 hours from my house.  I could do that drive no problem!  The mall also has some other amazing stores including Lilly Pulitzer, so the trip down there would totally be worth it!  But I would make the trip even if Ballard was the only store there!  

Here are a few of their pieces in my home...
The Alexander Martinot clock and the Newport Demilune with shelf.  See more details here - A Ballard Vignette.

Here is my Sonoma Bookcase decorated for Christmas a few years ago.  See more at Decorating the New Shelves.

And my dining room with the Waldorf Chandelier.

I can't wait to head down to the store to see and touch everything in person.  I have been looking for counter stools for my kitchen but was hesitant to order them without seeing them in person.  Now I can!  Hooray!!

If you want to see a preview of what the new King of Prussia Ballard Store looks like, head over to Home Stories A to Z.  Beth attended a pre-opening event recently and posted a bunch of beautiful pictures.  After reading her post, you will want to make a road trip with me.  

I am hoping Ballard starts opening up more retail stores.  I see a few listed already but they need to come to New Jersey!!  

Do you have a Ballard near you?
Who would like to join me in a road trip?


November 2, 2015

October...Out Like A...Lion?

October isn't traditionally the "Out like a like a lamb" month.  But around here, it doesn't have to be March to go "Out like a lion"...especially when you are Rosie going out for Halloween!

Please note that this post contains affiliate links which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my links below.
Lion Mane Costume for dogs

Look at that innocent face.  She appears so sweet and content in her lion mane Halloween Costume!  Oh but don't be fooled my friends.  This Halloween photo shoot did not run smoothly...

 This is how the photo session began...
Golden Retriever dressed as a lion for Halloween
Immediately, Rosie attempted to pull the mane off. 

Golden retriever trying to pull off costume
 Then started with the head shake...

Golden retriever running
 And then she took off running.

Golden Retriever antics
 Once she wiggled out of the mane, she started biting it.

Golden Retriever chewing on costume
 And tried to pull it apart.

Silly dog
Such a determined little face...

So what's a dog mom to do, but try one more time...
Crazy golden
I couldn't even get a shot of her face in this photo.

Golden running
And once again, she took off!
I was laughing so hard, I had tears in my eyes!

Finally, I gave up and waited until I found her sleeping in the bushes.  I slipped the mane over her head and finally got a sweet photo...
Sleeping Golden in lion costume
 "In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight..."

Lion Mane Costume for dog
Yeah, I got the evil eye for that one!

I thought you might like a good laugh today!

Please note that this post contains an affiliate link which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link below.

If you are interested in dressing up your pet like a lion, this lion mane costume is the one I purchased.

Do you dress up your pets for Halloween?
I'd love for you to follow along so you don't miss a post!

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