Most of us tend to forget the spirit of the season because we get lost in the hustle and the bustle that is inevitable this time of year. The Holidays are all about spending time with family and friends so make sure to keep that in mind when planning for the season ahead. I’ve got some tips to make entertaining easier.

My focus is always on three areas of the house: the kitchen, the pantry and the dining room. Keeping your pantry, kitchen and fridge stocked with the essentials is key.


One of my favorite entertaining essentials is stocking a bar cart like this Threshold Metal & Stone Bar Cart and matching Barware Tool Set with festive beverages and mixers. That way, your guests can have fun mixing their own cocktails and you’re not stuck behind the bar all night.

Pre-Mix one custom cocktail and set out wine, beer, sodas and a big bucket of ice and it’s totally self-serve. Another time saver? Pre-washed and pre-cut Archer Farms Veggies ready to go as soon as you open the bag. Need to freshen up your snack rotation? Try Archer Farms holiday trail and snack mixes that are available for just a couple of weeks during the holiday season, so grab them while you can!

Cranberry Rice Pilaf Recipe

Another tip? Don’t sweat the menu. Sure you want some wow-factor (like a great turkey stuffed with sage and basted with Madeira), but you need some easy go-to recipes. Success® Rice takes just 10 minute to make and can be a key ingredient in some tasty recipes. like this  Cranberry Pecan Brown Rice Stuffing. It’s tasty, elegant and effortless. It’s a great classic recipe with a modern twist that will wow your guests. And there’s a variety of products available including White, Whole Grain Brown, Jasmine and Basmati. Everyone in the family will love it. Success is in the Bag.®

Cranberry Pecan Brown Rice Stuffing

2 bags Success® Brown Rice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp dried orange peel
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp margarine
1/2 cup celery, finely sliced
2 Tbsps shallots, finely chopped (may substitute onion)
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Prepare rice according to package directions. In a medium microwave safe bowl, mix cranberries and orange peel with chicken stock and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Set aside. Heat a large sauce pan over HIGH heat and add margarine. Stir in celery, shallot and poultry seasoning and sauté 3 minutes. Stir in cranberry mixture, pecans, parsley and rice and cook over medium heat for 3 more minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

To toast pecans: Pre-heat oven to 350ºF. Place pecans on a small cookie sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn pecans. Cool.

For more recipes head to

Hope these tips help to make your season more fun and let you actually enjoy hostess duty this year.

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Teaching #Gratitude with a Thank You


Gratitude isn’t innate. It’s taught. So is the art of the personal thank you note.

Parents have to lead by example and model how to be gracious and receive with grace. A big part of that is giving thanks. Since it’s the season on giving, I carve time out to teach my children to look at each gift with joy. Someone took the time, money and effort to pick something special out for them. Even if they don’t immediately LOVE that new pair of long underwear, I expect them to smile, say “thank you” and send a note after.

Having kids write thank you notes is a must to teach them to be grateful. Here are some ideas in how to get them to write great notes of appreciation.

Personalized stationery makes all the difference in motivating your kids to write. Stock up and make sure some new notes appear under the Christmas Tree. Minted has TONS of adorable options that you can personalize. I’m smitten with the Sweet Hello cards and then the Animal Hello cards–those are especially nice since they have lines to guide the kids’ hands.

thank you note tips

Personalized holiday address labels by Mabels Labels. Pick from three limited edition designs for the 2015 season, we are partial to penguins, $12.99 for 100 labels. This plus some Charlie Brown stamps and your kids will love their stash of supplies for letters.

Don’t forget some fun pens. I love Le Pen for the precise tip and fluid motion.

This is not a sponsored post. We are grateful to our brand partners for providing samples.


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Coloring Books for Grown Ups

Adult Coloring

Need to relax? Grab some markers or colored pencils and hop on one of our favorite trends–coloring. Check out some finds to get your creative juices flowing.


Shop EeBoo Metallic Pencils

Oaxaca Colored Pencils

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4th of July Mason Jar Decor and Trivia Game

4th of July Mason Jar Craft

Who’s up for some patriotic fun! Here’s a game to play for the 4th of July and a great way to jazz up your mason jars.

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DIY Cork Craft: 4th of July Flag Trivet


Fun and easy last-minute craft using all those wine corks you’ve saved up (yes, we know you’ve got em). Grab your glue gun, some paint and make a 4th of July trivet.

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Milk and Cookies NYC Day Spa for Kids

girls spa day at milk and cookies

Like mother like daughter(s). Who doesn’t love a bit of pampering! When it comes to salons and spas, the hot spot for kids is New York City’s Milk & Cookies Kids Salon & Spa, the newest kid on the beauty block!

Milk and cookies

The salon is a collaboration of hip cousins, Jataon and Teychenne Whitley. After our first visit, I can attest: these ladies know what kids want.

gummy worm manicure

To celebrate the last day of school and the beginning of summer, I took the girls to the Upper East side for an afternoon of fun. From sparkly manicures to selfie-ready hair, this is the spot to make your kids feel special.

fancy manicure for girls

One went for girlie curls and a sparkly mani. The other wanted sleek hair and a bolder mani. No problem. There are plenty of options. When I asked Tey and Jay what’s trendy, they said this season it’s all about braids: French braids, cornrow braids and fishtail braids. This trend is a favorite of mine since it gets the hair off the girls’ faces. TIP: add some a pop of color with charms and hair bow. The spa has a great little boutique with options for hair accessories.

hair salon


hair cuts

Pink Chicken summer dresses

While the styles differ for my girls, they could both agree upon the cookie bar where they had chocolate milk and fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. They also agreed that they LOVED their breezy dresses from Pink Chicken. The girls are wearing the Charlotte Chevron dress ($66) and the purple embroidered Marabelle Dress (on sale $51) for the photo shoot.

milk and cookies owners

milk cheers

What to expect? Lots of TLC and attention to detail. On our visit the spa was very clean and well-staffed. The decor is kid friendly, think sophisticated whimsy. Oh, and did I mention the dessert bar? This is mecca for kids and an awesome spot to plan a b-day party. The salon boasts party packages such as the Glitzy Glam package, where girls can indulge in spa manicures, pedicures and yummy facials.

spa products

The owners stuck to colors that won’t scare the boys off! Boys can indulge in the Tough Cookie package where boys can play video games and air hockey, all while getting a haircut and Slimy Booger Manicure. When it comes to boy’s trends, try a classic side part with a little product for a cool, messy, wavy look.

milk and cookies card

Plan your visit to
1196 First Avenue (Between 64th & 65th st.)
New York, New York 10065
(646) 850-4032

While you’re on the UES head to Pink Chichken’s Boutique
1223 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10128
(212) 722-9090

This is not a sponsored post. We did get complementary treatments for the girls. The dresses were on loan from Pink Chicken NYC.

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Floral Designs Made Easy

floral designs made easy

To inspire floral designs and create a few of my own, I have been honing my creativity with my new Floral Design Toolkit.

Created by Sarah von Pollaro, a prominent florist whose designs have adorned the White House, the Kennedy Center, and the Macy’s Flower show, this kit is for the flower-challenged. Sarah wants to demystify the art of floral arranging so that anyone on any budget can experience the the joy of flowers.

The complete kit includes the essentials for floral design with floral clippers, floral tape, floral picks, floral wire, and bands, and a Kit Club access code which unlocks online videos on basic techniques, tips, and tricks of floral design.

My daughter and I loved creating our own imaginative designs with fruit and veggies thanks to the floral picks and old sticks thanks to the floral wire. I personally loved the tips with a recipe for homemade flower food, and bright, fun care reminders and floral basics that are included in the kit such as Flower Care 101, How to Make a Tape Grid, and even how a newbie, like myself, can make a Hand Tied Arrangement.

Following the simple instructions, I purchased some flowers from a local flower store and then started by angling the bouquet. Through the instructions, I then made a dome-like shape, cut the stems and held them together with the enclosed rubber bands. As someone who never complied an arrangement, it was that easy!

I also loved how the kit makes this process fun and inspiring as well as how it breaks how simple floral arrangements techniques can be. Not only easier, it is also a cheaper and personal way to go where you can experiment with various techniques and new flowers for less than it would cost to use a florist.

Through the kit, I was able to experiment and have fun with flowers while also learning and creating something unique. As a new skill, I am excited to test out floral arranging for parties as well as a personal arrangement to display in my home

The accompanying website,, is also a fantastic online resource. You’ll find a collection of ideas from holiday how-tos to tips on what vases are the easiest to use meant to provide continuous inspiration.

$20 Flower Arrangement

Sometimes going to a florist doesn’t make sense. For a recent party, I made this quick and easy sunflower arrangement for $20. Placing the flowers into the vase took me about 5 minutes and an arrangement like this would have cost at least $50.



More Floral Design Tips

I always have vase on the table when I am entertaining at home.  I think of it as a thank you to myself for organizing an event.  And if it is a kiddie party it’s a nod to the adults in attendance that I care about my home. Here are my tips for using flowers as decor at a birthday party.

If you are on a budget stick to a single flower bunched together. I can always find relatively cheap tulips here in NYC.  I pick one color and buy a few bunches. At $7 a bunch it make a room come alive.

For kiddie parties, keep things colorful.  My little girl is always thrilled to come pick out flowers.  If there is time I take them to the farmers market.  My July-daughter likes sunflowers–perfect!

Bring your own vase. If you are using a florist, drop off a favorite vase or other decorative item.  Another idea for inspiration is to give your florist a copy of the invite so he/she can see the color scheme.

Get inspired.  The blogosphere is full of talented designers.  A quick search led me to Flower Duet.

Keep them fresh. Real Simple has a good list of tips.

flower arranging tips

 Momtrends was not paid for this post.
We were given a sample for the purposes of this review.



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Love Notes: Ways to Spruce up your Envelopes & Letters

personal and pretty envelopes

Add some art to your personal notes, invitations and Valentine’s. No more blah, boring envelopes. We’ve got 5 ways you can jazz up your envelopes to make the recipient thrilled to open your letter. Perfect for Valentine’s, party invites, birthday cards and holiday greetings. The five tips are easy and perfect for crafty kids or those who are NUTS about stationery.


Momtrends’ channel is all about providing fashion and style inspiration to moms. From the trendiest fashions to the coolest gear to beauty trends, we want you to feel fabulous every day.

Here’s where to find everything we talk about in the video:

TIP 1: Use gel pens and a design for addressing. We like Yasutomo Extreme Gel Pens

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TIP 2: Add a sticker (even a puffy one). We like these gold hearts for Valentine’s Day

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 9.48.50 PM

TIP 3: Add a printed envelop liner. We like these kits from Papersource

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 9.49.07 PM

TIP 4: Roll on some prints with a stamp roller. Get a heart rolling stamper on Amazon

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 9.49.32 PM

TIP 5: Invest in an elegant ink stamp for your return address.  We Papersource for custom stamp pads

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 9.49.43 PM


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Setting a Holiday Table: White and Gold Tablescape

Setting a gold tablescape

Are you ready for the holidays? Are you doing any entertaining? Here’s some tabletop inspiration for you. We’ve used gold as a theme color and added some additional touches.



Momtrends’ channel is all about providing fashion and style inspiration to moms. From the trendiest fashions to the coolest gear to beauty trends, we want you to feel fabulous every day.

Here’s a close-up of the napkin. Head to West Elm for the napkins here and the Fishnet woven table runner here.

accordian fold napkin

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AVEENO® Baby Eczema Therapy

eczema relief for babyDISCLOSURE-BAR-703-1

Did you know October is National Eczema Awareness Month? Over 30 million Americans suffer from eczema, a skin condition that leaves an itchy, red rash. Unfortunately, it’s not only adults that suffer. Babies often have eczema. Little ones get rashes on their faces that can be very uncomfortable and no one likes to see a baby in distress.


I’m working with AVEENO® to educate parents and to offer solutions. I know it can be tough. My youngest had mild eczema as a baby (find out more about the symptoms and treatment of eczema here We found that with the right lotion and skin protection we were able to offer her comfort.

AVEENO® has two specially formulated baby products that parents need to know about. The magic ingredient that Aveeno uses is “Active Naturals® Colloidal Oatmeal” — it’s the #1 natural ingredient recommended by dermatologists. Oatmeal helps relieve the itch associated with minor skin irritations–you don’t need harsh chemicals to get the job done. When the baby stops itching the rash gets better. Don’t you love a natural solution!

Why Aveeno? Like all the skincare from Aveeno, the Baby Eczema Therapy Collection was developed with leading dermatologists. The eczema products have all received the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance.

Does it work? In a clinical study, over 90% of babies showed improvement in multiple symptoms of eczema (roughness, dryness, itchiness, or scaling) when used daily. MOM TIP: Don’t rub baby’s skin dry. Gently pat the skin so the goodness of the finely milled, colloidal oatmeal can stay on the skin to sooth it.

mom tip

Get more information about Aveeno products here

This is a sponsored post to spread the word about eczema. All opinions are our own.

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