Country Living...Island Dreaming

December 31, 2015

My Favorites of 2015

In my last post, I counted down my top 10 Most Popular Posts of 2015.  Each year, I also like to give you a list of my favorite posts of the year.  I started doing this back when I, (being such a computer expert), couldn't figure out how to find my most popular posts of the year.  I have improved a bit with my skills since then but I still enjoy looking back and showing you what I liked.

These favorites of mine are in no particular order.  I just like them for different reasons.  Let's get started so you have time to get dressed for New Years' Eve!

After a very long renovation, I couldn't wait to decorate my new kitchen for Christmas this year...
Simple Christmas Decor in Kitchen
I kept the decor subtle because I am still enjoying the newness of the space but it was still one of my favorites of the year!

Even though we live close to New York, I never get tired of attending Broadway shows...
Favorites of 2015 - Broadway
Not only did I have a fun filled day out with friends, but we were able to meet some of the cast!

This Halloween, I enjoyed making my younger son's dream of being Henry Danger a reality.  The stores didn't carry the costume yet, but we managed to make our own...
Favorites of 2015 - Henry Danger Costume
We had so much fun pulling this costume together and my son was pleasantly surprised with how much he looked like his favorite 'superhero's sidekick'!

I am always up for a good road trip, especially when shopping is involved.
Favorites of 2015 - Ballard Store
Nothing like stepping into the pages of one of my favorite catalogs!

I loved sharing my renovation progress with you...
Favorites of 2015 - Rustic Stone Mantel
And the complete transformation of my fireplace ended up being one of my favorite projects.

I always enjoy writing about funny things...
Sightseeing in Charleston
I liked this post because it gives you a good idea of my sense of humor...and the silly shenanigans that go on in my life.

Speaking of humor, it wouldn't be a favorite list if I didn't include a post about my favorite doggie...
Favorites of 2015 - National Dog Week
I loved this post because Rosie "wrote it" and these are the things I really imagine her thinking in her ever entertaining dog world.

Just a handful of posts, but a few fun ones that stood out for me this year.  I spent a good chunk of the year planning and living through a renovation of our kitchen and downstairs.  Many of my posts dealt with decisions and renovation progress reports.  It's all a blur now but I am happy we survived the mess!

You can view my most popular posts of 2015 (according to Google Analytics) - HERE.

I want to take this time to thank all of you for stopping by to read my little blog this year!  I love sharing my projects and adventures with you and I love hearing your opinions when I have my decorating dilemmas!

I feel so lucky to have gotten to know so many wonderful people through this blog; people who share similar interests and are truly kind, wonderful people who I would be friends with in the real world if we lived closer.  Those of you with blogs have inspired me with your amazing talents and ideas.  I usually start my day with a cup of tea and blog reading to get me motivated for the day!

I will end the year like we always do, spending the evening with our kids and neighbors - (watching Times Square on TV instead of being there!)  Not as exciting as when we were younger, but I wouldn't change it for the world!

Best Wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year!
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What are your plans for New Year's Eve?

My Favorites of 2015 - Calypso in the Country Blog

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December 29, 2015

10 Most Popular Posts of 2015

It's that time of year again..
Time to count down my most popular posts of 2015!

Let's get started!
(Please click the title below each photo to read the full post.)

#10
Pine Cones and Ornaments

#9
Subtle Autumn Accents in the Kitchen

#8

#7
Kitchen Before - and Deciding Between Raised Panel or Shaker Doors

#6
White Kitchen in Progress

#5
Choosing Floor Stains

#4
Subway Tile Backsplash with Herringbone Design

#3
Stairs Before and After

#2
Plaid Table Settings

#1
White Kitchen Reveal and Other Popular Posts of 2015
My New White Kitchen Reveal


2015 was definitely the year of the kitchen for us!  I felt like I spent most of the year dealing with that space in one way or another!  

I hope you all had a wonderful year!
What were your highlights?
I'd love for you to follow along so you don't miss a post!

Top Ten Most Popular Posts of 2015 - Calypso in the Country Blog


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December 20, 2015

Christmas Foyer - Day and Evening

This is the first year we added a Christmas tree to our foyer.  
Come on in and take a look!

Wreath on Front Door

Christmas Tree in Foyer
I have had this artificial tree in our basement for years.  We always get a real tree for Christmas so this was the extra tree for those years I wanted two.  (I only put it up one or two other years!)

Christmas Foyer with Golden Retriever
At first, I envisioned the tree in our dining room but after my son and I started unpacking the tree, the foyer seemed like a better place.  After all, we changed all the flooring to hardwood this year and we also updated our stairs.  What better way to celebrate than with a Christmas Tree!

Christmas Tree with Stairs
I kept the decorations simple with burlap ribbon and red ornaments.  I love the way the burlap looks with my new stair runner.

Christmas Tree by Front Door
I just used a tablecloth for the tree skirt.  It was looking a little sloppy here...

White lights on tree
I love how the whole foyer glows in the evening now.

Christmas Foyer Evening Lights
It just says 'welcome' to me!

White Lights on Foyer Tree

Garland with Lights
It should feel extra festive when the boys descend these stairs on Christmas morning...

Christmas Staircase

Foyer Christmas Tree

Two Christmas Trees
And here is the view into my living room where the real tree stands.  As you can see, we always use colored lights on that tree...traditions...

Christmas Tree with Evening Lights
The white lights on this tree tie in with the banister better.

Christmas Tree Reflection
And I kept the mirror on the wall behind the tree.  I love how the lights reflect in it.  Like I mentioned, this is the first year we have put a tree in the foyer.  Normally this space looks like THIS or THIS at Christmas.

I hope you enjoyed my Christmas Foyer!
I know this added so much more to my Christmas clean-up list
 but I do think it was worth it!

Do you have more than one tree?

Linking to:
DIY Showoff - That DIY Party
Dwellings - Amaze Me Monday
Inspiration for Moms - Inspiration Monday
Karen's Up on the Hill - Something to Talk About
Cedar Hill - The Scoop
Sand and Sisal - Inspire Me Monday
A Stroll Thru Life - Inspire Me Tuesday
Rattlebridge Farm - Foodie Friday and Everything Else
Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays
The NY Melrose Family - Whimsy Wednesdays
DIY by Design - Fall into Fall Party
Pieced Pastimes - Saturday Sparks



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December 17, 2015

Happy 4th Birthday to Rosie

I am spending my day baking for a cookie exchange but I wanted to take a minute to wish my favorite girl a Happy 4th Birthday!  Where does the time go?...

Golden Retriever in Santa Hat

Happy Birthday Rosie!

This picture was taken last Christmas but is definitely one of my favorites!

If you would like to catch up on what my little girl has been doing this year, click any of the links below.  Because with all the holiday preparations you have going on, I know you have time to read dog stories!  LOL!


And if you are craving Rosie's younger days, click on to the Weekend Pupdates tab at the top of my blog.  Those puppy pics are guaranteed to put a smile on your face...

What are you doing today?




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December 16, 2015

Kids' Rooms at Christmas

Yesterday, I took you on a tour of my Christmas Kitchen.  It would be logical to either show you the adjoining family room next or even start at the front door.  But apparently, I am not very logical...Instead, we are heading upstairs to the rooms that were decorated first this holiday season.

My boys' rooms...

Skiing Nutcracker in Boys Bedroom
We are beginning the tour in my 11 year old's room.  He is obsessed with skiing so I was excited to find a skiing nutcracker at Homegoods this year!

Tween Boy Room
This room keeps evolving as he grows.  This year we added the blue and white pin striped duvet from Ikea and also found the red sweater pillows at Homegoods.  The red Fair Isle throw is from Crate and Barrel a few years ago.  And because everyone always asks - the wall color in here is Benjamin Moore Amsterdam.

Christmas Pillows
All last Christmas season, I looked in stores for pillows like these but they were sold out by November.  This year I bought them as soon as I saw them in Homegoods.  I think it must have been September.  Ironically, this year I see red pillows everywhere!  Oh well, at least I have them now!

Christmas Pillows in Kids Room
The reindeer pillow is from Target a couple of years ago and the blue and white striped shams were from Pottery Barn many years ago.  They stay on his bed year round...the reindeer does not...

White Skiing Nutcracker
With the crazy warm weather we are having in NJ, this may be the closest to skiing we get this year!

Tween Boys Room at Christmas
My son is happy with the way his room looks this year.  You know, they are so opinionated at this age...

Golden Retriever on Bed
And who do we have here?  Rosie is obviously loving the room as well.  Goodnight Rosie!

And now we head over to the little kid's room.  Well, he's not that little anymore, but he will always be my baby!

Plaid Flannel Duvet from Lands End
This year I surprised him with a flannel duvet from Land's End.  He has had the same quilt on his bed forever and I thought he needed something cozier and Christmas looking.  Since the colors are red and blue instead of red and green, I think we can keep this in here all winter.

Red and Blue Boys Room
The red blanket makes it feel festive as well.

Red Sweater Star
And above the bed, hangs a sweater covered star I bought at Target a few years ago.  The cardinal above it represents the boys' grandfather who we lost this past spring.  He always loved cardinals and all summer we kept seeing them.  My mother in law told the boys that those cardinals were Papa watching over them.

Red and Blue Kids Bedding
The monogrammed headboard is from Ballard, in case you were wondering.  It used to be white but I dyed it a few years ago.  You can read about those adventures here - Slipcover Dye Project.

Nautical Christmas Bedroom
The red and blue still ties in with the nautical theme we have going in here.

Nautical Wall Art
It may be Christmas time, but we are always dreaming of the beach in this house!

Thanks for stopping by to tour the boys' bedrooms.  You won't be seeing my bedroom for Christmas since I have done absolutely nothing new in there....

Do you decorate bedrooms for Christmas?

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December 15, 2015

Christmas Kitchen

We renovated our kitchen this past summer and I wasn't sure how much (or little) I would be decorating it for Christmas.  Part of me wanted to go all out with decorations and part of me wanted to keep it simple and enjoy the newness of the space.

I decided to stay simple...

Fresh Greens on Chandelier
This was the first year I used fresh greens in here.  I love the way they dress up the chandelier just enough.  I didn't love trying to get the sap off my hands afterwards!

Simple Christmas Decor in White Kitchen
I might end up adding something to the middle of the island...but for now the space is being used for baking cookies!

Deer on White Stove Hood
Originally, I thought I would put a wreath above the hood, but I love the color and shape of the deer against the white.  The brown also works with the wood floors and island.

Simple Christmas Decor in Kitchen
 Yeah, I guess that island looks a little bare...

Christmas Candle with Cranberries
I love using cranberries with my candles.  They seem to last a long time too.

Simple Christmas Decor in Kitchen


Christmas Kitchen Towels
The wreath towel is from Homegoods and the red checked one is from Crate and Barrel last year.  You can never have enough checks and plaids...especially this time of year!

Christmas Kitchen


White beadboard behind shelf
I thought I would fill up the shelf with more but ended up liking the simple look.

Christmas glass cabinets
I am still playing around with my glass cabinets.  I put a few red wine glasses up top for a nice red glow.   
 Snow scene inside jar
My son put this red truck and trees inside a glass jar for me.  I finally bought a few of these jars after seeing them all over different blogs and loving the way the trees and snow (epsom salt) look inside.  Target has the jars for a great price!

Pier One Holiday Tray
I bought this tray at Pier One recently and was happy to see that it is 'food safe' too.  Most of the time when you buy these cute decorative trays, they aren't.  Now what sense does that make?

White Stove Hood


Snowman Vignette
Back in the corner, I have my snowman vignette with only a few candy canes left.  Those kids of mine keep sneaking them.  In previous years, I ended up switching the candy canes to colorful straws.  I guess I better look for those straws again...

Merry Christmas sign


Fresh greens and pine cones
I used some fresh greens and pine cones for the window sill.

Christmas in the kitchen
In previous years, I have hung ornaments or wreaths in the window but I am still enjoying my new bigger windows.  I don't want to block all that light!


Christmas window sill

I hope you enjoyed my simple Christmas Kitchen Tour!

Thanks for stopping by!
Simple Christmas Decor in the Kitchen
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