December 10, 2016

christmas mantel inspiration

Happy weekend, y’all! Christmas is a short two weeks away, so I thought I’d share some pretty mantel inspo today, in case you need any. I definitely do! 

This year I’m simplifying my holiday décor, and right now my mantel just has an evergreen garland and a variety of tall white pillar candles lined up in varying heights. 

I do really like the simplicity of it, but I’m feeling like it needs an extra dash of something unexpected and fun!

While on pinterest, I do keep seeing some elements that I love. They could work all together, or as featured stars on their own. We need to remember to pair them up tastefully. 

A gold mirror is always a favorite. I also love some silver dollar eucalyptus thrown in. It adds more a modern feel.  

Vintage glass ornaments always offer a touch of glamour and sparkle. Votives and candelabras, when lit, add much needed vibrance and movement to the vignette.

Elements from nature always look great. You have the option of keeping it neutral or adding a splash of red!

Sometimes it’s easier to decorate in a symmetrical fashion, and it always looks good. An evergreen wreath over the mantel is definitely a great idea.

Collections of gold with varying patinas look amazing together, especially with fresh greens. The fresh limes on this garland are a fragrant choice. 

Pine, spruce, juniper, magnolia and pears look so pretty together. Start layering in the middle and work your way out.

Remember to make your mantel a focal point in the room. If your Christmas tree is in the same room, make sure they coordinate with each other.

A simple garland or small tree can be the best choice!   

ciao! fabiana

photo credit:
Martha Stewart
House & Home
Sharon Santoni
House Beautiful
Southern Living
Loloi Rugs
Christmas4u on tumblr

December 9, 2016

a day in crystal cove

Yesterday was such a fun day. I picked up my friend Nancy first thing in the morning to spend the day with her for her birthday, and we headed down to Crystal Cove for a little lunch and shopping

Here’s the front of her house where the aloes are starting to bloom. Orange aloe flowers are so pretty during the winter months here in So Cal, when everything else in the garden is taking some time off. 

Our first stop was Ruby’s Shake Shack at Crystal Cove. We stopped there for a coffee and a date shake and headed down the stairs to the beach to check out the beautiful tree that’s displayed on the sand in the historic district, next to all the old cottages. 

We missed the annual tree lighting there this past Saturday night, but we wanted to catch a glimpse of the tree, especially  since it was such a gorgeous day!  

If you haven’t been to the historic part of Crystal Cove, it should be on your top ten list of places to visit in Southern California. The movie “Beaches” was filmed here years ago, and you can always recognize its iconic turquoise cottage in photos.

They do a really nice job of decorating for the holidays. Just a few holiday lights, the tree and some decorations. It's not over the top, and perfect for taking a selfie or family photo.   

Next we headed to Babette’s for lunch. They have really good healthy food and a beautiful outdoor courtyard with a fire pit, blankets and beautiful tables. I love this quote the have at their reception desk, "you must be the change you wish to see in the world." 

We popped into The Sweet & Saucy Shop to admire their pretty holiday baked goods and munched on a mini cupcake for dessert! Aren’t these french macarons adorable? 

When in Crystal Cove, it’s a MUST to stop by Juxtaposition Home. The styling in that store is always inspiring and fresh, but with a definite vintage vibe. I love how these baskets are displayed on the wall! We picked up a few Christmas gifts there as well as at Banana Republic and Williams-Sonoma.

Here’s another view of the historic district, from above, at the Shake Shack taken by Nancy. And, from the beach, looking down the coast towards Laguna Beach.  

ciao! fabiana

December 8, 2016

my favorite corner of savannah

Savannah, Georgia is one of the prettiest places to visit, and I try to get there once a year when our family vacations in Hilton Head, which is only an hour away from there. 

Driving into this gorgeous city is a real treat! The streets of Savannah are laid out in a grid pattern with 22 historic squares dispersed throughout the city. The squares are small tree-filled little parks filled with live oak trees, Spanish moss and unique historic artifacts and each square is surrounded by beautiful homes, churches and museums.

My favorite square is Madison Square, which has been around since 1839. Lovely architecture surrounds this neighborhood square and it’s also home to my first stop in Savannah, The Gryphon Tea Room, now simply known as Gryphon. This little restaurant is located on the corner in the gorgeous marble Scottish Rites Building, at the meeting of Bull and Charlton Streets. 

My favorite table is on an upper area that faces Madison Square. Through that window you can watch the locals and tourists passing by. It’s my favorite spot in the whole city!     

At one time this location housed an apothecary, and the interior still houses its carved mahogany bookcases and stained glass. The leopard carpet is fabulous!

Every time I visit, Gryphon changes slightly. They’ve been able to accommodate more tables recently, which means less of a wait, hopefully.

Everywhere you look is a treat for the eyes. And don’t forget to look up…

there’s a lot to see!

Here's St. John’s Episcopal Church, which was built in 1853 in the Gothic Revival style.

and next door...

Take a peek at this salmon-pink beauty behind all this fabulous wrought iron, the Green-Meldrim House. It's a great example of Gothic Revival architecture. This Savannah landmark features a beautiful cast iron front portico and is surrounded by ornate ironwork porches on three sides. 

This is where General Sherman wrote his famous letter to President Lincoln towards the end of the Civil War: “I beg to present you as a Christmas-gift the city of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton.”

I love all that Spanish moss!

Great details and gorgeous marble work!

I hope you'll be able to visit too!

ciao! fabiana

December 7, 2016

our new Christmas tree

We’re absolutely loving our new Christmas tree by King of ChristmasIt looks so realistic and beautiful that it's fooled everyone who's visited so far. This isn’t the first artificial tree we’ve had, but it’s by far the best! An added bonus is it came set-up with 900 LED lights, so there’s no need to add any extra lights, like we have with other trees. 

The seven and a half foot tree fits perfectly in our living room which has 9 foot ceilings. The room is small, and the tree's slender proportions are ideal in this space. It looks so pretty "naked", without any ornaments on it and we enjoyed it that way throughout the long Thanksgiving weekend.  

In keeping with our “white Christmas” theme, I chose some of our favorite silver, gold and white ornaments from our family’s collection. I have a soft spot in my heart for all the vintage ornaments we’ve acquired over the years from parents and grandparents. 

It’s so nice to incorporate those with a few new ones (above) I found at Pottery Barn and West Elm. Aren't the little white houses precious? They even come with their own white bottle brush trees in the front. They're cardboard and light-up with the flick of a switch on the bottom. 

Sitting in the dining room now has it's perks. 

The tree topper we had was very ordinary, and I couldn’t find one that spoke to me, until I looked on ebay. There I spotted the same pretty paper ornament that my family had when I was a young girl. Oh, the memories came flooding back! 

The same vintage tree topper with the cherubic angel and the spun glass detail was available on ebay! Gold wings, and pearly white clouds, perfect! Done and bought! And the best news is, it arrived today, and I love it just as much now as I did back then!  

ciao! fabiana

December 6, 2016

ciao christmas table

Our dining room is small and adjoins our living room, so this month I’ve decided to keep our dining room table set in a pretty way so we can enjoy our Christmas tree all month long. 

The warm glowing lights on the tree and the sparkle of the glitter of the ornaments is so cozy and is instantly a mood lifter. I love this chunky macrame table runner. It reminds me of a warm fishermans' sweater and adds great texture to the table.

To continue our winter white theme, I’m just using white ironstone dishes, paired with Gammy's silver and stemware. These glittery gold votives and small brass candlesticks add just the right amount of glitz to the table. I've picked up the candlesticks over the years, here and there, at thrift stores and such.

A few greens on the table can be switched out every few days. I like to clip my italian cypress, olive tree and eucalyptus to keep the table fresh and fragrant.

And it all came together like this: 
Macramé Table Runner:  (similar one) anthropologie 
Dinner Plates: Home Goods
Salad Plates: vintage
Silverware: our Gammy
Glassware: our Gammy
Gold Glitter Votives: Oriental Trading
Brass Candlesticks: vintage
Candles: Trader Joe’s
Table Greens: Trader Joe’s
Silver Lantern Pair: Oriental Trading
Christmas Tree: King of Christmas 

Remember to enjoy the little things! Get out your wedding china and good silver and set a pretty table for yourself or the guests that may stop over during the holidays. 

ciao! fabiana

December 5, 2016

christmas peonies

Last week, I stopped by the Orange County Flower Mart to get some fresh Christmas greens, and I found the most amazing blush colored peonies with a gorgeous red center. I think it's my most favorite flower ever! 

They've been in my dining room ever since and look more and more beautiful everyday. I love how the look with my red transferware Johnson Brothers Christmas tree plates.

We are all in the swing of things now with Christmas and Hanukkah less than 3 weeks away. I have to remind myself to stop and appreciate the little things. 

Breathe, relax, things will get done. A big hug to all of you as we start this week!  

ciao! fabiana

December 4, 2016

a christmas update with chalk paint

Do you have any of those ceramic Christmas houses that are set up in a little village? They are pretty on their own, as most of them have the most fabulous architectural details. 

I haven’t put out my village in years, and this year I thought a few pretty white ones would look amazing lit up from within. 

My husband and I decided we wanted mostly white holiday decor in the house this year, with accents of silver and gold and natural evergreens and eucalyptus branches. Well, those dated ceramic Christmas houses are easy to transform with chalk paint. 

I found the perfect color by Dixie Belle Paint Company called "Drop Cloth". It's not a bright white and not a creamy white... it's perfect! It’s actually a mineral chalk paint, and it applied so easily with great coverage on the first coat. 

I did apply a second coat to cover all the nooks and crannies. It dries super fast, so I could add the houses within an hour to my décor.

The detail on these homes is so cute! It makes me just want to shrink myself and jump into that house. I’ve always had a thing about old houses, especially Victorians.  

Well, don’t worry about painting them, because all the architectural style and holiday décor on these houses is highlighted when painted white.

I used a 1 inch wide flat brush and it worked great. It got into all the nooks and the paint was the perfect consistency and so easy to apply. The paint dried quickly to the perfect mat "bisque" finish that's not too flat. 

Here’s the first one I did.
 I had to use a flash. so the photo is not great.

I am soooo happy with the way they turned out! I lit them with the small lights that they originally came with. They are similar to night light bulbs and are sometimes wired together in groups of 3, 5 or 10.

 When lit, the houses really look amazing! I set up a few of my favorite white and silver bottle brush trees as a backdrop to my snowy white village. 

This is my first time using Dixie Belle Paint, and I am so pleased. I have a few of their other colors and can’t wait to paint my next project, but I may be busy painting a few more houses today in this "Drop Cloth" color. 

The paint goes a long way, and I could probably paint at least three more! Hope you’re having a lovely Sunday.  

ciao! fabiana


While I’m here today, I wanted to share some of my "Tablescaping Essentials" with you. I have a whole page on the Amazon website with my favorite picks for setting a beautiful table.

Quite often time is of the essence, and I have last minute projects or events to work on, so I turn to Amazon for one or two day delivery. You’d be surprised at how many amazing items they have to offer! And I'm constantly updating this page with my new favorites. 

You can check it out here, at Tablescaping Essentials.


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