10 Gorgeous Table Decorations for Fall and Winter

October 7, 2013 at 4:31 pm , by

Hosting for the holidays? It’s time to revamp your frumpy tablecloths and outdated dishware. Get inspired by these craft bloggers and recreate one of these simple (and chic!) DIY tablescapes.

Sweet Something Designs

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To give your tablescape a modern and classy feel, leave it simple and clutter-free. Use leaves as name cards and cover tiny pumpkins with glitter. Stick to metallic shades and find napkins with clean, structured lines.

See more at Sweet Something Designs


Sabrina Soto’s Best Tips for Decorating a Small Space

September 16, 2013 at 8:00 am , by

Since moving to New York City last year, I’ve struggled to make my tiny apartment feel homey. Every piece I own is either a hand-me-down or a Craigslist purchase, and I’m ready to trade my hodge-podge items for a more put-together, adult style. My biggest challenge is sticking to a strict budget—no small feat. So I enlisted the help of Sabrina Soto, HGTV designer and Target Style Expert for Home, to get me started. As a fellow New Yorker, Sabrina knows how much careful planning and consideration must go into furnishing a small space. She shared with me some of her best tips for decorating an apartment, dorm, or small home in innovative ways, and you can be sure I’ll put her advice to good use!

    1. Choose items that do double duty. 
      A modern daybed provides lounge seating during the day and transforms into a comfortable bed for guests at night.
    2. Don’t sacrifice style for function. 
      Innovative solutions like storage ottomans will hide the clutter, provide extra seating, and can even serve as a tabletop.
    3. Maximize your visual space. 
      Wire frame and translucent accessories are on-trend and work well in smaller spaces. Another tip: Use Halogen lights because they are the most like natural light. They are warmer than fluorescent and cooler than incandescent.
    4. Cut the clutter. 
      Clutter is a small space’s worst nightmare. Use colorful baskets like these from Target to keep personal items organized and easy to find. Accessorize in odd numbers. It helps break up the uniformity while adding flow and visual interest.
    5. Avoid decorating boredom without breaking the bank. 
      A reversible comforter lets you change your room’s look in an instant.
    6. Mirrors are your best friend. 
      They reflect light and create the illusion of a bigger space. On a budget and can’t afford a large piece of art? Consider mixing small mirrors and prints to create your own art collage!
    7. Make the most out of limited closet space. 
      A hanging closet organizer is a smart investment and great way to take advantage of vertical storage space.  

 


Become a Mentor

September 12, 2013 at 5:20 pm , by

Fall season’s in full swing and I can’t help but reminisce about high school. Senior year to be exact. Who can forget the whirlwind of emotions: Regents exams, acne, boyfriends, breakups. The list goes on. But perhaps the most stressful time of year was those painstaking few months before graduation, where all of life depended on whether or not I made it into the university of my choice.

This is where a good mentor comes in handy. She’s often your ally and your guide through every hurdle you’ll soon face before entering the grand halls of college: mounts of school applications, reference letters, nauseating financial aid forms, personal essays, etc. For the average 17-year-old from a working-class household, these are daunting tasks. 

Debi Lee (right) with co-mentor Ryan Breir and Indira Lopez Cruz

Debi Lee is one of many dedicated mentors at Minds Matter, a national non-profit organization that shepherds highly motivated, low-income high school students starting sophomore year. “An old roommate of mine asked me to co-mentor with her in 1996 and I’ve been doing it ever since, ” says Lee, a corporate bank executive in New York City. “My parents told my brother and I that the main reason they migrated to the U.S. from South Korea was for us to get a good education. They used to post rankings of Ivy League schools in the kitchen so we’d see it every day.” 

For many students with parents who work long hours, aspiring to top schools, even with a stellar grade point average, is a huge challenge. At Minds Matter, more than 1,400 new and experienced volunteers are dedicated to helping 500-plus young people reach their college dreams.

“It’s been an amazing process,” says Lee. “I look forward to the day when one of my mentees becomes a mentor through Minds Matter. It would accomplish the full circle I have in mind.”

 

 


What Do You Love Most About Thanksgiving Day?

November 20, 2012 at 11:00 am , by

To kick off the holiday season, we asked Journal staffers to share what they love most about Thanksgiving, that wonderful holiday that’s all about good food, friends, family and feeling grateful (with a little football thrown in). We know you’ll relate to these!

• My girls love to bake (that’s Lily and Sophia in action, right). Since I learned all my baking skills from my mom, they always like to whip up a sweet treat with their “Mimi.” This year they’ll be making my mom’s famous “spice cake” (don’t call it fruitcake!), which I was honored to write about for our December issue. The recipe is on page 106 if you’d like to try it too.
Sue Erneta, fashion editor

• Now that my sister, my cousins and I are in our twenties and living across the country, Thanksgiving is one of the few days of the year that we’re all together again, and my life feels about as simple as it did back when I was a kid.
Lauren Piro, assistant editor

• I love that I don’t have to travel on Thanksgiving. Family and friends come to us. It’s a great excuse to stay at home, eat and drink, and sit on the couch. What could be better?
Jeffrey Saks, creative director

• One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories happened last year. My family and I were sitting at the dining table. My mother was in the kitchen, and I heard her in say in a calm voice, “Gab, can you come in here?” I walked in and there was the turkey on the kitchen floor with its juices and grease splattered everywhere. My mom gave me a look that conveyed, “Help but don’t say a word!” (I was called in instead of my sisters because one of them would have fallen to the floor the laughing and the other would’ve shrieked; I’m the least dramatic of the three.) We picked up the turkey, quietly holding in our laughter, and scrubbed the grease off the floor. My mom fixed it up, carved it and served it. It was delicious. We didn’t tell anyone until later. Please note: My mother keeps her floors so clean you can literally eat off them!
Gabrielle Porcaro, associate fashion editor Read more


Get Personalized Decorating Advice From Nicole Balch

May 30, 2012 at 9:53 am , by

Nicole Balch, the guru behind design blog Making It Lovely, has a special treat for Journal readers. Her fresh and fun home office decor was featured in our July issue, and because she’s a cool and generous lady, she’s offering to do one of her famous inspiration boards (like her recent bathroom one, below) for a room in your house that needs a makeover. Just email a photo of the room you want to redo (it can be your home office — or any room you choose!) to yourstories@LHJ.com. Nicole will pick her favorite and make personalized recommendations for your room, which we’ll then feature right here on LHJ.com.


Bid on Art to Help Keep America Beautiful

April 23, 2012 at 5:10 pm , by

Tanya and Tracy are on board with recycling.

Last week I met with the hilarious and down-to-earth designers Tanya McQueen and Tracy Hutson, otherwise known as The Picker Sisters. (The first season of their show, all about upcycling people’s roadside castoffs into cool designs, aired on Lifetime; they’re currently between seasons.)

Since Tanya and Tracy specialize in turning trash into treasure, they were the perfect ambassadors for Glad’s Mess to Masterpiece Art Auction, benefiting Keep America Beautiful. In honor of Earth Day, Glad asked mosaic artist Jason Mecier to create a few works of art using celebs’ trash, with the resulting animal portraits being auctioned off on eBay. Sounds weird? Well, the results are surprisingly striking. I’m a fan of this slightly angry (but hopefully not rabid) raccoon. Read more


Our Favorite Flower Trends Spotted on Pinterest

April 13, 2012 at 10:28 am , by

While Spring tends to be a mixed bag of sun, rain and allergies, it’s the beautiful flowers at this time of year that really kiss the dark days of winter good-bye. Here are some cheery ideas we found blooming on Pinterest this week…

Pink and White Cluster

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For more pretty arrangements, petal over to our In Bloom pin board.