Preparing for Thanksgiving: Decor Planning Guide & Checklist

This year I will be hosting Thanksgiving for the first time.  I am both nervous and excited.  Hosting  any event can be overwhelming but the holidays often come with increased levels of stress.  Instead of allowing myself to become overwhelmed, I am leaning on my tried and true methods for preparing for any special event at my home by starting early and making a plan.

Although I fight it, I operate best in a structured environment, so I have created a structure by developing a checklist.  I use a daily “to do list” to approach my day …so just like everything else, I created a list to prepare for Thanksgiving.

This checklist is specifically for planning the decor.  On Thanksgiving, food gets all of the love but this year don’t overlook your decor.

Download this easy guide for a quick and easy way to plan.

Thanksgiving Decor Planning Guide & Checklist


Happy Holidays 




Turn a Storage Space Into an Outdoor Oasis In One Afternoon

I love enjoying beautiful days outside on my deck, but the direct sunlight is often too much to bear! We purchased a huge patio umbrella a few years ago and it provides great coverage, but I was searching for a bit more.  I wanted a space for outdoor dining and additional space to entertain.   Then it dawned on me…use the space under your deck.  We have an amazing space under our deck that was being used for storage…until my recent stroke of genius.

Excited…I purchased a fantastic outdoor dining set, grabbed some LED outdoor string lights, snagged some affordable outdoor curtains, hung a medallion and presto… an outdoor oasis was born!

Instead of buying curtain rods, I purchased some inexpensive PVC pipes and spray painted them.  I used Rust-Oleum spray paint in Bronze to complement the color of the stain on my deck.   To finish them off, I used Gorilla Glue to affix some curtain finishes that were in the attic. 
I saved money and found a way to reuse some items I had around the house.  In my book, that is considered a big win !

What do you think ?

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DIY Projects on a Travel & Food Blog? DIY Window Seat

So I have been in my home for seven years and there are still so many things that need to be done.  My formal living room sits empty, my kitchen needs to be renovated, the interior wall colors need to be updated, and until a few weeks ago, my outdoor space was pretty lame.   So in addition to discussing great food and travel experiences, I will also share my DIY projects and the many home improvement projects that we are undertaking this year.   

The first project that I took on this year was turning an old TV stand into a window seat.  When I purchased my new TV console a few years ago I planned to donate my old stand to charity.  It had good bones and deserved a good home.  Instead, it sat for two years moonlighting  as a console table in my formal living room.   Wondering if this furniture piece could have a new life, I took to Pintrest for ideas.  Pintrest never fails me!  So of course I found endless things I could turn the stand into.  I really like to DIY but I only attempt things that I can do and do well…so I chose the easiest option: a window seat.  A little padding, a little fabric and a little paint…right?  Well it turns out that there is also a little measuring, a little sanding and a little engineering involved too.

Step 1. Selecting the “soft stuff”: Fabric and cushion materials

I know I wanted my daughters and their guests to have an ultra thick and soft seat, so I went with the thickest foam at the craft store.  I then grabbed some inexpensive cotton fabric that complemented their decor.  After that I followed Erica’s easy technique for making the cushion. The foam was super thick and I am kinda sloppy so I had to pull the fabric super tight so that it would hide my mistakes and smooth out the lumps on the edges.  You need a super sharp razor or straight edge to cut your foam if needed to fit your furniture piece. 

Step 2. Sand and paint your base

I wanted to change the color of the TV stand so I selected my color and went out to Home Depot.  I was all ready to have my color created when I spotted a gallon of  “opps” paint that would also work and for half the price.  So I grabbed my paint and extra pads for my sander and I rushed home to get to work.  It took me about 30 minutes to fully sand the piece and prep it for paint.  I applied two coats of paint to the piece and allowed it to dry overnight.

Step 3. Affix your cushion

After allowing the piece to dry for 24 hours, I started thinking of ways to affix the cushion.  I thought about nailing it but I was not fully sure if the thin MDF backing could sustain nails.  So I settled on using some commercial grade Velcro that I had for a different project.  The Velcro is strong enough to hang a fire extinguisher from so I knew it could do the job. 


Step 4. Make the big reveal !

The girls absolutely loved the seat !




Best wishes on your project . Let me know how it turns out.


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