No words. Just pictures.
I'll be FOCUSED on photos I've taken and
put into categories for Photos On Fridays...

This Friday's FOCUS:
Color Photos I shot in Chicago

Thanks for Visiting!!
Have a Fun Filled Weekend!!


With everyone's mind so FOCUSED on the economy, budgets, and unemployment, does it mean beauty needs to be shoved aside? Not necessarily: you just need to (RE)Think.

"Out with the old and in with the new. It seems this tried and true statement is no longer what people are living by. Here, at such a pivotal crossroads in history, people are deciding what is most important to them, choosing what they want in their surroundings and for the most part, making significant changes."  Dara D'Onofrio - ViVe Magazine, West Palm Beach, FL


With that said, maybe it's recycling, or maybe it's up-cycling, but some beautiful finds can be found right in your own home or at your local thrift store. Over the years, I've found some terrific deals at The Jewish Recycling Center, The Salvation Army, and Goodwill. However, they aren't always in "perfect" condition. Sometimes a little sanding, staining, painting or touch up paint is all that is needed to make a diamond in the rough, sparkle.  

Usually when I've gone thrifting, I've been "hunting" for something (storage, tables, lamps, books, and even clothing). I've kept an open mind on every trip and have been able to economically furnish our home.


This buffet was only ONE of many of the fabulous finds I was able to restore for our home. For only $30, this sturdy wood piece has given me LOADS of storage for table linens (in drawers) and one place for me to maintain all GLASS decorative objects. (TIP:Keeping decor items categorized helps when you're going to (RE)Room a space)

 Halloween with skulls & gauze runner

I've been able to  change the look and lighting of the space by rearranging what is displayed on top. Sometimes it's form: for example with holiday decor or in spring with flowers. Sometimes it's more functional. I've added lamps during daylight savings time, and it's also been used to serve Thanksgiving "buffet" style.

Summertime with a simple fresh cut green and over the door mirror

First Thanksgiving in our new home - Buffet prep

Although it was purchased separately from our dining room table and chairs, the lines are simple enough to coordinate within the space. I have it placed adjacent to our front door, so I've tried to maintain what is displayed to flow into the Living Room area. (TIP: The pops of color from room to room is what gives a space flow.)

 Cash Cab pops of yellow in orchids.

Add & Subtract Summer flow from front door

Add & Subtract Summer from stairs

Surprisingly, when I found this piece, I had no idea of all its versatility until it "lived" in the space. It's also provided a FOCAL POINT in our Dining Room, the bottom of the stairs, and our front door entrance.

White Christmas Dining Space

So if you're thinking you'd like to update the look of your home, or you're in need of a storage piece this holiday: rethink, reuse, recycle AND upcycle.... you'll be glad you did. 


A few years ago, a new line of home dinnerware & decorative products was introduced at the store I use to work for. The line was very contemporary & sophisticated: I wanted EVERY piece of it! The line was by Colin Cowie. It was the first time I was introduced to his style and I liked it. Eventhough we had eventually dropped the line, I still had become a follower of his chic style.

Once again, Colin takes the lead in style. Sophistication in his simplicity is what is incredibly captivating for the environment he creates.

I won't be hosting Thanksgiving this year; but that hasn't stopped me from looking for inspiration. I looked up Colin Cowie to see what newness he brought to the table... and fell in LOVE with his Modern Thanksgiving. (which could also be interpreted into something wintery for the upcoming Holiday season.)

I hope you are inspired as much as I am!

London Calling feature from Metropolitan Home

Photo by David Garcia as featured in Metropolitan Home

Home Decorating: Met Home of the Month for December 2009

Although I too am saddened by the departure of yet another fabulous design publication (Metropolitan Home), I was excited to see a feature done on another one of my inspirational designer icons: Kelly Hoppen. I cannot say enough wonderful things about this talented designer. She has been a SERIOUS influence and inspiration to how I have executed our homes style. Part of the influence is the "order" she gives to a home with its beautiful displays and coordinating flow. After working as a Visual Merchandising Coordinator/Director in Retail as long as I have (26 years) it was always a joy to come "home" to simple order.
(LEFT) Kelly Hoppen Home: From Concept To Reality
NYCLQ's Home posted as Cash Cab on HGTV's Rate My Space(RIGHT)

One of the many installations I'm most proud of of our home, was a post I had made on HGTV's Rate My Space: Cash Cab and Cash Cab Remix. Although the original inspiration came from a photo my husband had taken in NYC, I did "gather" inspiration from books and magazines. One of which was Kelly Hoppen HOME: from Concept To Reality.

As Designer Angelo Surmelis commented in a recent interview, "Don't just copy what you've seen. Reinvent it for YOU and your life." Being inspired by Kelly's color combination, I had also seen a use for the curtain of rings I had found while at work: the rings became a graphic focal point behind the sofa in our living space.

Through reading just some of her many books (Kelly Hoppen STYLE, Kelly Hoppen HOME: From Concept To Reality, In Touch With Kelly Hoppen) I've learned about color, texture, scale, and repetition. Some of here repeating elements are concepts I've also used while creating some impactful visual merchandising statements with clarity.

And that is, after all, what creating a FOCAL POINT is all about?
What do you see when you open the door?

Creating a Gallery Wall In Your Stairway

Image above found on Patricia Gray's blog

What do you see when you go up and down a staircase?
Are you too focused on getting to your destination?
Are you carrying on a chore?
Wouldn't you enjoy being taken away for a moment
by having something enjoyable to look at?

Stairs are yet another place, a blank pallet, we have to express our self.
Stairs are a great place to display our favorite destination photos, wedding photos, family photos, or that interesting art collection that needs
a special space to be displayed.
Stairs are another means of creating a focal point...

Not all art needs to be clustered or even flow the line of the stairs.
We have a staircase with a landing. Since this wall is visible from both up and downstairs, I chose a different means of displaying photos: LEDGE SHELVES.
By utilizing shelves and leaning the photos, it gives more versatility in what is being displayed. These shelves (above) I found on, and were easy to install (thanks to my dear husband!!). They are only 4 1/4" wide, so they do not interfere with passing through. They are also "just" wide enough to incorporate a seasonal touch or two...

Hopefully, this weekend,
we'll be hanging a beautiful capiz chandelier
I also had found at
because this dress (the stairway) is missing its earrings (light fixture)!!


Thanks for stopping by! 

Quotable Tablescapes for Thanksgiving

I've always had an appreciation for inspirational and motivational quotes. While skimming through the web, I came across some thoughtful ways to personalize tablescapes for Thanksgiving (or any holiday) by incorporating some favorite quotes, words, or verses. Pictured below are just concepts, and very easily can be personalized to your own,
to create a beautiful FOCAL POINT on your next tablescape:

(above) found on
Printed ribbon as napkin ties. Guest names hand written onto leaves.

(above) found at CountryLiving - Gridley & Graves
Stamp quotes onto cocktail napkins.

(above) found on Shabby Chic Cottage
Paper wraps for pillar candles
(Consider: length of time burning and your event)

(above) is a great concept (and personal fav!!),
but for Thanksgiving, use acorns as filler as shown below:

Although I'm very much into "change", when you find something that does work, stay with it as a tradition, but always look for ways to make it better. Above is a tablescape I set for Thanksgiving in 2007. I had found enough grapevine pumpkins at a craft store and printed some simple tags for place cards. To further enhance this setting, I would utilize the glass candle verbiage, as well as replace the pumpkins with the printed napkin ties and handwritten leaf.

Favorite Fall Decorations From Rate My Space featured on HGTV

HGTV featured a table setting I had created for Thanksgiving, and I had posted on their Rate My Space site. The focus was on its simplicity. It's easy to create: Use and repeat only 2 colors and one element: nature. The nature feature here was using acorns as the filler in simple glass cylinder candle holders. Grapevine pumpkins added festiveness and an identified place setting. The repeating bi-colors were brown and white. The acorns and pumpkins added texture, tied back to the brown and popped the white.
Simple color pallet for a Thanksgiving Table Setting

Thanks for stopping by!

Organizing a Garage Sale TO SELL!

I put my retail experience to good use this weekend: I had a garage sale! Our gated community advertised a garage sale would be open to the public: so I took FULL advantage of the opportunity! All week, my FOCUS was on purging from closets, from the office, from cupboards, from the attic, and from the garage... all the things that I not only have not used in 6 months or a year, but also purging items that add NO VALUE to my life. Having just past Halloween, you'd think there be something scary about cleaning out the skeletons and dusting off the cobwebs... but it wasn't at all! It was actually a lucrative ($) cleansing.... I even utilized discontinued sale signs from my previous employer to shout out the event! BIGGEST SALE OF THE SEASON! EVERYTHING ON SALE

I started the urge to purge at the beginning of the week by scheduling a closet a day to tackle. Otherwise, the task may have become too overwhelming. While pulling out what I was purging, I was able to keep re-organizing the spaces. I did have "some" treasures I had brought home from my old office, that I did need to create space for (for ex. my 9/11 newspaper collection, colored pens & pencils, floor plan templates, and "ideas" to go through at a later date). What was to be purged, I'd gathered at the top of the stairs, to bring down to the garage. I daily kept piling in the garage until I got to Friday, the day before the sale

(call it the presale)
Friday morning, I Google'd some info about setting up garage sales, and from the info I gathered, I made myself a checklist:

  1. Price dots on EVERYTHING
  2. Larger signs on larger items
  3. Picture of a comparable item to show its value (ex. P1 chair $129 mine @ $30 for same)
  4. Utilize an online price list from the Salvation Army site as a price "guide"
  5. Visited my local thrift stores to check out their pricing on similar items
  6. Utilize banquet tables covered with black sheets cut in 1/2 as cloth.
  7. Categorize items: Home Decor, Fashion Apparel, Books & Music
  8. Colorize these like items so it was easier to "sell" in multiples
  9. Utilize easel-like stands to prop up decorative detailed plates
  10. Utilize a table easel as a handbag stand
  11. Utilize small white boxes w/cotton inserts for jewelry

  1. Repurpose Dry Cleaners hangers to replace our personal hangers
  2. Borrowed a T-Stand rack from "a" store for hanging items
  3. Sell Cd's @ a price point & multiples for incentive ($2 ea. or 3 for $5)
  4. Utilize plexi shoe box storage bin for sale of CD's
  5. Utilize a riser under table for "nest" (height easier to shop vs. on the ground)
  6. Collect plastic grocery bags and paper shopping bags
  7. Play peppy music (makes people BUY more!! )

Friday, I opened the garage, set up one of the tables in the driveway, and began categorizing and pricing the stuff to be sold. When that table was full, I opened up a second table, and continued to sort and price. Afterwards I dragged both tables into the garage. My mom came up Friday night, so she would be my assistant from start to finish on Saturday.
Saturday morning, with the help of my husband, I was able to just lift the tables up, and place them in the driveway ALREADY SET. I angled the tables, so drive-by's could get a glimps of EVERYTHING, but easier for them to spot my trash as their treasure. My husband went to work, and my mom and I sold our hearts out. 
Sales actually INCREASED when I played Micheal Jackson, and decreased when I played Madonna. Neighbors played some reggae on Sunday morning... which was wonderful with the bright sunlight and the breezy weather! Some input I got from FB friends was to ADVERTISE ON CRAIGS LIST. I can't say enough about advertising. Signs, emails, fliers: GET THE WORD OUT so you have the TRAFFIC to support all your efforts!!
Yesterday, by far, had more traffic. Surprisingly though. What I thought WOULD sell, did not. What I thought I would be donating, actually SOLD! So taking these observation into consideration (call it your "hits and misses"), I re-evaluated my strategy and presentations today. I utilized one of the 3 condensed banquet tables to display a colorline of all the window coverings I had for sale. By removing them out of the packages, and displaying them with new lower prices, I sold 6x's as much today then I did yesterday (with LESS traffic!!). On another table I price pointed all the goods (at 12pm) to $1 and SIGNED it large enough to see from the street (sold 1/2 the table!!)
A girlfriend joined me today. She brought over several clothing and shoe items. The 3rd table I had sold down, I was able to turn over to her for all her shoes. Many of the shoes were brand named with their boxes. I used the boxes as risers, and it also called out the brand. We price pointed the table at $5, and she sold 5 pairs off the table. The clothing, we lowered the price as an incentive to a customer who bought 1/2 our inventory!!!
Several customers commented, they "felt" like they were in a store, NOT at a garage sale. They LIKED the fact it was easy to find items, they didn't hesitate to ask if we had something, and even the neighbors REFEREED customers to this sale because they saw the inventory... and visa versa. I even managed to to prospect 4 potential future "customers" for their home "re-design".
When it was time to pack up, my friend and I collected all the clothing and shoes: she's sending them to donations in Haiti. All the chachquis and left over home goods, got piled into the car, to be donated at the Salvation Army, with an inventoried list. This list is itemized and used when filing tax returns, so some $'s are still recouped.

So, with a little FOCUS of your efforts (and merchandising trickery), you too can PURGE your closets, let go of what adds no value to your life, profit from it (to make a car and student loan payment), and add some REAL value to your life: Get to know your neighbors, as well as spend time LAUGHING with your friend or with your mom. Some efforts can even come back to you in the form of a gift:

I had commented on how beautiful this table was to my neighbor. When they packed up Saturday, she came and GAVE me the table!! AND helped me carry it into the house!!

Happy Garage Selling!!


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