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Pretty Inspirational is doing their very first ever Givaway!   Here is what you need to do:

1.  Click on "My Book Stack" on the left side of my blog web page (Pretty Inspirational).  Looks like this:

2.  Select a book you are interested in reading, such as one of these...

3.  Go back to my blog page...Pretty Inspirational and enter a comment that includes your name, the title of the book you want, a quick note about your favorite thing about Pretty Inspirational plus a topic you would like to see me write about in a future blog post.  A comment must be entered by December 11, 2011.

4.  I will be using the highly scientific method of letting my daughter pick a "commenter" out of a hat to determine the winner.  I may pick more then one winner...depends on how many comments I get!!!

5.  The winner(s) will be announced by mid-December so stay tuned.  The book(s) will be shipped to the winner(s) soon after.

For those of you who have never left a comment, here is how you do it:  Click on orange or blue link called "# comments" or "Post a Comment" at the bottom of this post, enter your comment in the box, select "Name/URL" and enter your name, click "Publish Your Comment".

I look forward to reading your comments!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Thanksgiving Tables and a Favorite Recipe

I have twenty three coming for Thanksgiving next week!   Reid and I have been hosting Thanksgiving for many years now so we pretty much have our routine down.  Reid smokes a turkey, I roast a turkey (yes, it's a bit of a contest), we make stuffings, mashed potatoes, a veggie, homemade gravy, and thankfully the rest is brought by our family.  We try new recipes but for the most part we've settled on our favorites, one of which I'm sharing at the end of the post.

Each year I also enjoy setting the table for the big dinner.  I like keeping the decorations to a minimum because I think the food should be the main attraction.  Each year I enjoy looking at pictures for inspiration but always drawn to the simpler table settings.  Below are some images I came across that I thought you would enjoy...

Better Homes and Gardens

Elle Decor

Better Homes and Gardens

Southern Living

Martha Steward

A couple cute kid's table settings....

Better Homes and Gardens

Better Homes and Gardens

I've tried various vegetable recipes but I keep going back to this one.  I tore the recipe out of a Wine Spectator magazine, November 2001 issue.  I highly recommend you cook the vegetables the day before so all you have to do is heat them up in the butter and herbs right before you sit down.  It's a beautiful dish that is yummy too!

Mixed Baby Vegetables in Herb Butter

2 cups baby white and orange carrots,  peeled (I use orange only)
2 cups haricot vert, cut on the diagonal (worth it to get the smaller green beans)
2 cups small brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
2 cups baby beets, assorted colors, peeled
2 cups baby squash, quartered
1/2 to 1 stick butter
1/4 cup each of chopped parsley and chives
A few leaves of tarragon, chopped fine
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot of boiling salted water blanch each of the vegetables until just cooked through, then quickly shock in ice water, to stop the cooking and preserve the color (can do this the day before...highly recommended!).  Add melted butter, season to taste with chopped herbs and a little salt and pepper.  Toss and serve immediately.  Serves 12.  One big caution...if using red beets, add them at the very end or your whole dish will turn pink!

Have a good rest of the week!


NeoCon by iphone

Yesterday, I met Jen, my design assistant, at NeoCon in Baltimore.  NeoCon is a huge exhibit of vendors for commercial settings...offices, schools, hospitals, etc.  We did a two hour whirl wind tour of the exhibit and came away with some great ideas and vendor contacts.

This past summer I worked on a doctor's waiting room and I'm currently working on an office in downtown Annapolis and looking forward to more commercial business.   But I also think there is a great opportunity to use many of these products in the home.  The fabrics would work great for homes with young families, the office furniture would work great for a home office or craft room, and the vinyl, tile, and carpet products would also work through out a home.  Here are some pictures I took at NeoCon with my iphone.  Enjoy!

Above is a colored porcelian tile made to look like vintage wood.  Here some pictures of the product in a few it!

Here's some more porcelian tile by the same company.  Not as colorful but wonderful texture.

Great fabrics that you can rub 100,000 times and still have it look good...

Loved this fabric manufacturer's booth!

This dress was made by a student from carpet fibers...

Some great furniture was on display too.  Apple green and yellow was everywhere!  

I really liked this office furniture with polished chrome.  It's definitely going in my tear file for my dream office...

Plus it can work in your home to as a great media center...

Have a great weekend!