Memorial Day Weekend: The Unoffical Welcome to Summer!

Summer

Memorial Day Weekend is upon us.  Time to celebrate those who fought for our freedom with family and friends.

While summer doesn’t offically begin until June 21, Memorial Day has become the unofficial start to the summer.  It’s been 90’s here in Charlotte and as we say bring on summer, patios, cocktails, and fun with family and friends!

I love using traditional patriotic colors, but also mixing it up with bright colors.  This tablescape from an event I hosted is the perfect combination of spring and summer colors.  You can’t go wrong with mixing and matching costal, pastels, and classic colors like blue and white.

Memorial Day Weekend Celebration

Everything is in bloom, so use what you have in your yard as a floral centerpiece. You could even add a flower to each place setting as a special touch.

Memorial Day Weekend

Guests were served shrimp cocktail with avocado and a cheese platter as starters. Then dined family style with grilled salmon, grilled squash, zucchini and bell peppers with roasted rosemary new potatoes.   Add fresh bread from your local bakery with a side of olive oil.

Memorial Day Weekend Celebration

One of my favorite and easy summer time desserts is homemade cookie ice cream sandwiches! Adults and kids a like love this one.  You can find the recipe here.  Another favorite is any berry or peach cobbler. You can find my healthy and light recipe here.

The grilled salmon recipe is a family favorite created by my father, Zuheir Sofia, and modified over the years.

Grilled Salmon Filet – Serves 5-6 People

Ingredients

2 lbs salmon filet

1/2 cup Marzetti’s light slaw dressing

1/3 cup of Grey Poupon Dijon Mustard

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon dill

1/2 teaspoon dry or fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon dry or fresh chopped parsley

1/2 teaspoon dry oregano flakes

Pam Olive Oil Spray for grill

Wash filet in cold water. Pat dry. Check for occasional bones in filet. Mix slaw dressing, Dijon mustard, and spices in a small bowl.  Then spread the mixture over the top of the filet. (the skin goes on the bottom).  Put fish directly on outdoor grill, which has been slightly oiled.  Cook over a medium heat for 8-12 minutes until fish begins to flake.  Do not turn.  Skin should peel off easily when filet is removed from grill.  Divide into individual serving and serve immediately.

Wishing everyone a happy Memorial Day Weekend and start to the summer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Room Challenge: Behinds the Scenes & Sources

ORClinkingparticipantCIH

Hard to believe One Room Challenge (ORC) Spring 2014 is over.  For me it’s similar to working on a wedding or event.  You have a vision and a plan.

One Room Challenge Master

You pour all your energy and time into your ORC. You build a network of talented individuals along the way, some of whom become friends.  The big day arrives, the reveal, and you’re finally able to showcase your talents and enjoy the fruit of your labor!

One Room Challenge Master

Speaking of labor, there is a lot of it you don’t see.  The late nights, the frustration that your plan for that perfect item just won’t arrive on time or is not feasible.  The juggling act between work, home life, and ORC. Not to mention all your unattended helpers! In my case it was my little girls and my dog Bailey.  Here are some out takes.

Rolling on the ground in laughterApparently it was so hysterical to come into our master bedroom and play that Charlotte was rolling in laughter on the floor.

Someone's gone shopping in my shotSomeone’s gone shopping right in the middle of my photo shoot for the big reveal.  Oh and do you spy the light fixture boxes behind the door.

That bed looks comfyI spy Bailey getting ready to jump on the pressed bed. Right after this shot he was comfy on the bed and the girls soon followed.

Another behind the scenes moment, which I briefly described in my reveal post, was the story behind the wall sconces install. Ken Kelly with Kelly’s Painting is my go to guy for small projects.  The earliest that he could come over and give me an estimate on switching out the old wall sconces for the new ones was Wednesday night before the big reveal deadline! YIKES! In a panic I was able to negotiate Ken to install the light fixtures that Wednesday night.  However, being prepared for anything, I had taken most of my photos for the big reveal Wednesday with good light.

053However, this photo could have been my BIG REVEAL photo.  As you can see not everything is picture perfect.

Many of you commented on my photography and I would like to thank you for your kind words.  Here are a few photography tips that I learned from the pros: To get the most accurate and pleasing photograph don’t use your flash.  Try to photograph your subject when the lighting is best during the day.

One Room Challenge MasterUse elements in the room to make the photograph interesting, such as this photo of the room viewed through the white inlay mirror.

One Room Challenge MasterLastly, take photographs from different angles for a better image rather than straight on.

I also received kind comments about my styling, which are greatly appreciated.  Here are some easy behind the scenes styling tips: Use items that you already own! For example a vase, picture frame, tray, piece of art, and/or books that will make your space personal and pleasing to the visual eye.

One Room Challenge MasterThis elephant garden stool was given to me by a friend from my DC days working on Capital Hill. I had this piece with the tall vase and flower arrangements in my living, but thought it was the perfect fit for my master.

Another visual pleasing aspect that I briefly touched on was art. Art can be any many shapes and forms. The key is to remember it’s not just for the wall! I grew up learning and loving art! If you haven’t noticed, the Impressionist Movement, includes some of my favorite artists that make this room complete.

One Room Challenge MasterMonet, the founder of the Impressionist Movement, is my favorite artist. His prints from the Mussee d’orsay next to the white inlay mirrors tie this room together.

One Room Challenge MasterThis print is one of Max Agostini’s prints which is also personalized with hand written signature.

Piscaco 1902I found this Picasso 1902 print at HomeGoods. What a find!

ChavmontI love this painting and the gold trim. I wasn’t sure if it fit well next to the white dresser, but ended up being a good contrast next to the blue and whites.

One Room Challenge Master Ballard DesignsLoved these Ballard Design Patch Work tiles for some time and they are even better in person in my master bedroom!

One Room Challenge MasterMy grandparents mirror is finally ready, but I really like the contrast of the grey against the blue with the brown and gold. This was a great find at HomeGoods!

One Room Challenge MasterLove this new mirrored antique accent table, from Target of all places!  Remember how I looked high and low for a perfect accent table?! The grey pictured frame from a furniture and accessory boutique in Sarasota, FL, fits perfectly with décor and gives the room contrast to all the blue.

Here’s a round up of my other fun finds for the master bedroom.

One Room Challenge Target Find

High & Low FindsHere’s a closer look at my high and low finds. The Greek Key toss pillows on the bed, the night stand, lamp, bench, Greek Key tray, circle picture frame, and pillow on the arm chair are all from HomeGoods. The silver lantern is my splurge from a boutique in Sarasota.

Again, many thanks to all my new and old followers, the kind comments, and encouragement! You’re the reason I was able to complete ORC! You’ll find a complete list of all my sources for the room below.  You can also find more details about my sources and my ORC process by starting at Week 1.

I’ll say it again, these interior designers are amazingly talented! If you haven’t check out the professional designers ORC rooms it’s a must see! A special thanks to Minted, Lamps Plus, and Sherwin Williams for sponsoring ORC!

Abby M. Interiors

 Because it’s Awesome

 Bijou & Boheme

Calling It Home

 Chez V

Chinoiserie Chic

 Copy Cat Chic

The Decorista

Design Crisis

 Design Indulgence

 Design Manifest

 The English Room

The Glam Pad

 Little Black Door

 My Notting Hill

 The Pink Pagoda

 Simple Details

 My Sweet Savannah

Verandah House

Don’t forget there were  77 of us Linking Participants and you can see all their ORC rooms here on Calling It Home.

If you thought this was the last ORC Spring 2014 post you are mistaken! I’m working on a fun post coming up next week, after my big event this weekend. Can’t wait to share it with you, so please stop back next week!

Sources

Design & Styling – Sarah Sofia Productions http://www.sarahsofiaproductions.com

Photography and Flower Arrangements – Sarah Sofia Productions

Wall Paint Color – Sherwin Williams Tidewater

Bedding– Restoration Hardware http://www.restorationhardware.com/

Blue Quilted Blanket and Bed Skirt -Martha Stewart Collection from Macy’s http://www.Macys.com

Large Blue Greek Key Toss Pillows – HomeGoods http://www.homegoods.com

Hand Painted Patch Work Tiles – Ballard Designs http://www.ballarddesigns.com/

Night Stands – HomeGoods

Glass Table Lamps with Blue Shades – HomeGoods

Wall Sconces – Lowes http://www.Lowes.com

Blue and White Rug – Target from a few years ago http://www.Target.com

Blue Arm Chair – Lazarus, an old department store established in Columbus, OH that is no longer in business

White and Grey Toss Pillows on Arm Chair – HomeGoods

Antique Pewter Two Tired Mirrored Accent Table – Target

Blue Curtains – Target

Gold Sea Urchins – Target

Grey and White Picture Frame – Conqulique, an accessory boutique in Sarasota, FL

Silver Picture Frame – Pottery Barn http://www.PotteryBarn.com

Greek Key Mirrored Tray – HomeGoods and Sarah Sofia Productions

Small Green Elephant – From my travels to Twain

Small Jewelry Bowl with Initial S – Was a gift from a friend

Candle – France, was a gift from a friend

Greek Key Picture Frame – Target

Glass Pitcher on Dark Wood Dresser – Pottery Barn http://www.potterybarn.com/

Grey Distressed Mirror – HomeGoods

Jewelry Box – Diamond Cellars. http://www.diamondcellar.com/

Elephant Garden Stool – Gift

Tall Glass Vase and Flowers – Michaels

Grey and White Circle Picture Frame – Marshalls http://www.marshalls.com/

Silver Tall Candle Holders – Michaels

Silver Monogramed Tray – Wedding Party Favor

Silver Candle Lantern – Conqulique, an accessory boutique in Sarasota, FL

White Double Dresser – Ashley’s Furniture (from 4 years ago) http://www.ashleyfurniture.com/

Starfish – Target

Oval Glass Vase on White Dresser – Crate & Barrel http://www.crateandbarrel.com/

White Wired Baskets – Marshalls http://www.marshalls.com

White Mirrored Tray – Target

Pink Flower Arrangement on Tray – Target

Sand Dollar Escort Cards – Sarah Sofia Productions from our wedding in Sarasota

White inlay mirrors – Target

Monet Prints – Mussee d’orsay

Silver Antique Looking Frames for Monet Prints – Michaels http://www.michaels.com/

Small Rose Silver Vase Arrangement – Target

Picasso Framed Print – HomeGoods

Upholstered White Headboard – Pottery Barn, Riley

Grey Fabric for Trim – Modern Fabrics http://www.modernfabrics.com

Grey Fabric and Nailhead Trim – Sarah Sofia Productions

Wall Sconces Install – Kelly’s Painting

Mother’s Day: Celebrate You Mom!

Mother's Day

 

Good  GREAT Moms have “messy kitchens, laundry piles, & HAPPY KIDS”! No doubt I need this as a constant reminder that I am in fact not a superhero and sometimes the piles of laundry and dirty dishes can wait if it means my kids are HAPPY!

This Mother’s Day, make your mother HAPPY! I’ve always enjoyed this special day, even before I was a mother, for the fun and creative things you can do to celebrate mom!

As a wedding and event planner I love to entertain and sometimes it’s hard to take a step back, relax, and let someone else do the planning.  I love brunch or any easy but delicious lunch.  Check out my previous year’s post that has a delicious and easy chicken salad recipe here for your Mother’s Day celebration!

If you’re looking for last minute easy DIY craft projects with your kids here’s some inspiration from my daughter Sofia!

A plaque with your child’s handprint or footprint is always a great gift!

Simple Mother's Day CardsA simple Mother’s Day card(s) with your child’s hand print. You can even frame it for mom or grandma!

Thumbody Loves YouThumbody Loves You! You can use your child’s thumbprint and make a bookmark or card and frame it with the same phrase.

Art Work into a bookmarkTurn your child’s artwork into a bookmark! You can do this at Kinkos, but I had it done by Art By Me through Sofia’s preschool.

Art By Me plaque

I have this plaque of Sofia’s artwork displayed  in our kitchen.  I also gave it as gifts to the grandmothers last year.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there! I hope it’s a wonderful celebration!

 

One Room Challenge Week 6 The Big Reveal: Master Bedroom

ORClinkingparticipantCIH

It’s finally here, Week 6 in One Room Challenge (ORC), where I’m revealing my master  bedroom.

Sarah Sofia Productions

It truly has been a challenge and pleasure to participate in this six week interior design challenge with so many talented people!  Many thanks to the talented Linda from Calling it Home for graciously hosting the ORC.   If you’re just joining in the fun you can begin at Week 1 to see the master bedroom transformation.  If you’re a regular, thank you for coming back and keeping me going!

I set out to finish our master bedroom in this around of ORC.  I had made huge strides in the first few weeks of moving into our home before our second daughter Charlotte arrived.  However, if you’ve had a newborn you know very little gets accomplished in those first six plus months.  ORC was the jump start I needed to fully transform our bedroom into the getaway retreat I had envisioned.  Moreover,  I have been inspired by all the participates in ORC, your comments, and feedback! You’re the reason I finished my master bedroom in record time!

The title of this design challenge is fitting, because there are so many unforeseen obstacles and hoops you have to jump through to finish a room in six weeks.  Just because you’re on timeline doesn’t mean everyone else is on the same page.  For instance, I’m still waiting to hear back from Design Services of Charlotte regarding my estimate for my nailhead and fabric trim FAIL! Then there’s Karsey Glass Company that has my grandparents antique mirror and delayed several weeks, which charged me twice, and still hasn’t reconciled or refunded me the charge. FAIL!

However, those wall scones that I bought last week were a little more complicated than I anticipated to install.  I called Ken with Kelly’s Painting last week in a panic. He’s booked solid and couldn’t come until last night for an estimate. He saved the day and was able to install the wall scones just in the nick of time!

And now for the moment you’ve been waiting for… more pictures of the BIG REVEAL!

Before ORC and After ORC

 

One Room Challenge Master

One Room Challenge Master

Sarah Sofia Productions

One Room Challenge

This Davidson College book was my grandfather’s with mementos of his days on yearbook.  I followed in his footsteps years later.

One Room Challenge Master

I decided to keep the comfy blue arm chair and found white and grey toss pillows to even out all the blue and match the antique mirrored accent table.

One Room Challenge Master

One Room Challenge Master

 

 

Room Challenge Master

One Room Challenge Master

One Room Challenge Master

One Room Challenge Master

One Room Challenge Master

One Room Challenge Master

The green elephant I bought during a business trip to Taiwan when I worked for the US Senate. The shells I’ve been collecting with my daughters and remind me of our beach days in Sarasota.

Room Challenge Master

This bench is one of the best finds for this room!

One Room Challenge MasterLove how this white mirrored tray looks with the sand dollar place settings from our wedding (almost 5 years ago) in Sarasota.

One Room Challenge Master

One Room Challenge Master

One Room Challenge Master

One Room Challenge Master

One Room Challenge Master

One Room Challenge MasterOne Room Challenge MasterThis silver monogramed tray was a wedding favor and has been put to great use in our master bedroom.

One Room Challenge Master

One Room Challenge Master

One Room Challenge Master

One Room Challenge Master

One Room Challenge Master

One Room Challenge Master

One Room Challenge Master

One Room Challenge Master

 As you can see my DIY nailhead trim turned out OK GREAT! I went back and forth with the grey fabric trim, even my husband liked it one day and then thought it was too much the next. However, it is here to stay for now!

One Room Challenge Master

One Room Challenge MasterLove this painting of Cannes that was passed down to me from my parents.

One Room Challenge Master

There you have it, our master bedroom after 6 weeks! If you looking for details on the room check out my previous posts. I’ll have a full wrap up post soon. Don’t forget to check out all the other participants in ORC on Calling it Home! Thanks for joining me in this fun six week challenge!

Blue and White Bash: Kitchen Sneak Peak

blue-and-white

If you haven’t noticed I love blue and white! It’s in every room of our house in some shape or form.  Thus, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to participate in The Pink Pagoda, Jennifer’s, Blue and White Bash today!

As a linking participate I join interior designers and professional bloggers sharing our fun blue and white finds or décor.

Today, I’m giving you a sneak peak before the big reveal of our kitchen, which was just completed two weeks ago.  Yes, that’s right, smack tab in the middle of One Room Challenge, and working on our yard after taking down 24 tress.

My favorite find for this kitchen is the jade stone knock off Currey & Company chandelier!

Jade Chandy

It’s perfect with my blue and white pillows and white drapes in the kitchen nook. However, it still needs another light bulb due to it being broken in DIY installation.

Blue & white Pillows

I love this kitchen because there is so much light coming from almost every angle. Here’s a sneak peak at the drapes on the other side of the room.

Blue & White Drapes

As you can see I still need to iron out the wrinkles before the big reveal.

Blue & white serving tray

I absolutely love this blue and white serving tray my parents gave us from their trip to Positano in the Amalfi Coast, Italy.

Blue & white chevron runner

A sneak peak from my daughter Charlotte’s first birthday bash with my blue and white chevron runner that is currently displayed for spring.

Thanks for stopping by and seeing my blue and white in our kitchen! The big reveal of our kitchen is coming soon, after One Room Challenge, so make sure you stop back and see all the details.  In the meantime, please check out all the other linking participates in The Pink Pagoda Blue and White Bash.

Now back to finishing my One Room Challenge. Check out last week’s post in anticipation of my big reveal this week!

Cinco de Mayo celebration!

Cinco de Mayo

Cheers to another reason to celebrate with family and friends, Cinco de Mayo!

I love this holiday simply for the fun, colorful food and drinks! Not to mention the colorful décor you can use if you throw a party!

Short on décor items, don’t worry, Party City has festive party décor and tableware.

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo Party City Tableware

Check out my previous years posts for menu, drink and décor ideas here and here.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Derby Day Inspiration: Queen’s Cup Steeplechase

Queen's Cup Steeplechase

It’s Kentucky Derby Friday y’all!  In honor of the Kentucky Derby tomorrow, I’m sharing some photos from the Queen’s Cup Steeplechase last weekend.

Hats, horseracing, cocktails, and mix and mingling is what it’s all about. Hats off to Beeca Webster and Dee Stephens for their gracious hospitality and tent displays at Queen’s Cup Steeplechase.

If you’re looking for a signature drink and other hot menu items to serve at your Kentucky Derby party check out my previous year’s posts here and here.

Let’s the races begin!

Queen's Cup Steeplechase

Queen's Cup Steeplechase

Queen's Cup Steeplechase

Queen's Cup S+teeplechase  Queen's Cup Steeplechase

Queen's Cup SteeplechaseVendor Credits

Flower arrangement and majority of photography – Sarah Sofia Productions http://www.sarahsofiaproductions.com

Featured photography – DeAnna Stephens and Becca Webster

 

One Room Challenge Week 5: Master Bedroom

ORClinkingparticipantCIH

Welcome back to One Room Challenge Week 5! If you’re just joining in the fun, One Room Challenge (ORC), created by Linda from Calling it Home, is a 6 week challenge where 20 talented professional designers, and professional bloggers/interior designers at heart, like myself, redo a room in their home or a clients. I’m transforming our master bedroom.  To see the full transformation you can start at the beginning, Week 1.

Last week I gave you a sneak peak at all the fun accessories I’ve found for our master bedroom! I also had several outstanding items on my “punch/to do list”. Here’s a sneak peak of where I am today.

008

This is the last shot of the room before the big reveal! I didn’t want to give away too much, but as you can see I made a decision on the toss pillows.

Gold tray

Gold Tray

Operation gold tray is complete! I found this beautiful silver Greek key mirrored tray at HomeGoods that matches perfectly with the gold Greek key picture frame.  A little antique gold spray paint and voila, I have myself a gold tray!

Wall Art

Wall Art

The blue hand painted patchwork tiles from Ballard Designs that I was waiting weeks for finally arrived yesterday! They look even better in person.

page 1

 Antique family mirror or grey distressed wood mirror

After following up with at least 20 different mirror and glass companies, no one in Charlotte is able to cut beveled non straight edges.  Thus, I went back to the first mirror and glass shop and paid for my grandparents mirror to be replaced without beveled edges.  Down side, it will take a few weeks.  Upside, on my third trip to HomeGoods this week I found a beautiful grey distressed sunburst like mirror.  I absolutely love it! However, I’m not sold on it right above the dark wood dresser.

Of course it wouldn’t be a week without a major down side. If you recall, I have an upholstered headboard, Pottery Barn (Riley), and want to make it custom by adding nailhead and grey fabric trim similar to the photos below.

VT Interiors Nailhead

VT Interiors  

A Thoughful Place Master Bedroom

A Thoughtful Place

I finally talked to someone at Design Services of Charlotte and followed up with an e-mail for an estimate. Despite my additional attempts to follow up, I have yet to receive any estimate, and at this point it’s not feasible in my timeline.  UGH! Back to the drawing board…

I headed over to Lowes and bought myself some nailhead trim, a heavy duty stapler, and staples. Yes, that’s right another DIY project is underway and I’m attempting to do nailhead and fabric trim on my own. Bonus to not having to pay a seamstress for nailhead and fabric trim detail on my headboard is being able to splurge on new sconces that will go well with the room’s fixtures.

Wall Sconce

Here’s a sneak peak at some of the other accessories I found.

Silver candle holder

Silver candle holder find in Sarasota

003

White wired basket for magazines or blankets

Here is my initial punch/to do list and what is still outstanding:

  • Nailhead and fabric trim on upholstered headboard
  • Hang wall art above bed – In progress
  • Install new wall sconces
  • Replace broken antique mirror with beveled glass
  • Find grey or neutral arm chair/pillows for blue arm chair
  • Toss pillows for bed
  • Accent table
  • Bench for foot of bed
  • White inlay wall mirrors
  • Hang additional wall art and paintings
  • Buy new wall sconces
  • Gold tray for dark wood dresser
  • White mirrored tray
  • Purchase additional accessories for the room

One more week to go, let’s do this!