How to Build a Butterfly & Hummingbird Garden, Elegant Lifestyles Magazine, April-May 2022

Article and photos by me!

Researching color trends put me in the mood to paint, and learning how to create a butterfly and hummingbird garden has–ummm-planted the idea in my head! “How to Build a Butterfly & Hummingbird Garden” was published in the April-May 2022 issue of Elegant Lifestyles Magazine, and since it came out, I’ve been thinking about starting one. A couple of years back, when I covered a design mansion and then toured it, there was a lovely, four-season garden. Maybe I can combine the two…

As an added bonus, the butterfly pics accompanying the article are mine! When I showed my wonderful editor, Kara, the photographs I’d taken, she said she’d use them instead of stock photography–yay!

Hon, have you ever planted a butterfly or hummingbird garden? Did you get lots of visitors?

2022 Color Trends: Inspired by Land, Sea, and Sky, Elegant Lifestyles Magazine, April-May 2022

In the mood to paint!

Researching color and design trends for the article I published in the April-May 2022 issue of Elegant Lifestyles Magazine made me re-think my own home. There are several rooms I’d like to refresh, painting them in 2022’s land, sea, and sky-inspired colors. I love how the latest subtle-but-saturated greens and blues are being used as “new neutrals,” giving rooms a nature-inspired, serene feel. Just what I need right about now!

Hon, are you re-painting any rooms? What color are you using?

Sustainable Fashion is Always in Style, Elegant Lifestyles Magazine, Winter 2022

I learned so much researching sustainable fashion for my feature article in the Winter 2022 issue of Elegant Lifestyles Magazine. Though I’d heard of eco-friendly fashion, I didn’t know about innovative fabrics such as “leather” made from mushrooms, “silk” made from oranges, or “cashmere” made from soy. It was fascinating to find out about the processes involved in creating fabric from natural, biodegradable sources, and it was eye-opening to learn what goes on from sourcing to production to shipping to retailing. The business owners I interviewed were happy to describe the merchandise they carry that can be labeled “Ethical Fashion.” And I learned about Capsule Wardrobes, a pared down closet containing quality pieces to mix and match.

Hon, who’s in the mood to spring clean?!

Landscaping Trends That Step up Outdoor Spaces, Elegant Lifestyles Magazine, Winter 2022

The Winter 2022 issue of Elegant Lifestyles Magazine came out last week and in it are two of my articles. Researching the latest landscaping trends put me in the mood for warmer weather and an update of our backyard. I don’t know what we’re doing with the space that used to house a swing set. No rush, thank goodness, because there are so many ideas to choose from!

Candy Cane Cocktail, Peppermintinis

Image source: Brad Hollad for Delish.com

Are you a fan of peppermint? How about when it’s combined with chocolate?

One of my daughters shared Peppermint Bark that a friend made and it was soooo sweet! These Peppermintinis from Delish.com are like holiday bark in a drink! I included this recipe for Peppermintinis in my article for Elegant Lifestyles Magazine, “Ready, Set, Glow! Creative Hosting Ideas: Gatherings with Family and Friends” along with lots of other fun ideas.

Happy holidays, hon!

Seven Healthy Habits-(Self-Care During Stressful Times), Published In Elegant Lifestyles Magazine Winter 2021

“Seven Healthy Habits-(Self-Care During Stressful Times)” is my second article in Elegant Lifestyles Magazine’s Winter 2021 issue. Shout out to Lyn Lilavati Sirota, yoga teacher, children’s book author, and friend who suggested the “Leg Up the Wall” posture for the Yoga section. Shout out, also, to Dr. Lisa Hochman, dermatologist and friend, who commented for the “Cleanse and Moisturize” section.

Want to find out more about Lyn Lilavati’s practice and classes? Check out her blog Feel the Peace.

Hon, hope you take some time for yourself this holiday season.

Ready, Set, Glow! Creative Hosting Ideas, Published In Elegant Lifestyles Magazine Winter 2021

Elegant Lifestyles Magazine, which shut down during the pandemic, debuted its return with a Winter 2021 Holiday Issue. Two of my articles appear in the magazine: “Ready, Set, Glow! Creative Hosting Ideas: Gatherings with Family and Friends” and “Seven Healthy Habits–(Self Care During Stressful Times).”

For the feature article, I thought about how winter holidays appeal to our senses and researched fun ways to add warmth and welcome from the moment guests step in the door. Can you tell I enjoyed coming up with section titles? “Let’s Take an Elfie” = sight. “Happy New Ear” = sound. “Spice it Up” = Scent. “Warm and Toast-y = taste. “Fleece Navidad = Touch. So many ideas to make get-togethers even more inviting and special.

Happy holiday hosting!

Splendor in September at Tyvan Hill

Image source: WWAMC

Splendor in September, the Women’s Association for Morristown Medical Center’s (WWAMC) designer showhouse at Tyvan Hill in New Vernon, NJ, is open through Sunday, October 4th. Proceeds will aid in the expansion of Morristown Medical Center’s Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute. Hon, it’s well worth the visit!

A 3,000-word article I’d written detailing SIS (formerly known as Mansion in May) was to to be published in Elegant Lifestyles Magazine in April and then again in September, but didn’t run. Thankfully, the designer showhouse was a go! Shout out to publicity liaison Kathy Hobbs for being communicative and welcoming.

Although my editor Kara Sibilia couldn’t come, two friends “in the business” joined me for a tour on Sunday.  Interior designer Ina Wallman (Ina H. Wallman Interiors) and real estate professional Jeri Dana (Sotheby’s International Realty) oohed and ahhed along with me as we toured stylish, elegant, creative, inspired and original rooms and grounds. My only regrets? I wish I took more pictures!

What is a Rain Garden?

In my last post, You Don’t Need a Green Thumb to Create Green Landscaping, Published in Elegant Lifestyles Magazine, I mentioned wanting to build a rain garden. Before writing the article, I had no idea what it was, and now I have two ideas where one could be planted in my yard. I love the idea of building a garden that uses water run-off to nourish native plants. According to Family Handyman, ” a rain garden nurtures the land in your yard and protects the environment by channeling rain water and runoff from gutters into a rain garden planted with deep-rooted, colorful native plants.”

A rain garden is basically a plant pond, that is, a garden bed that you plant with special deep-rooted species. These plants help the water rapidly seep into the soil, away from your house and out of your hair. You direct the rainwater from the downspouts to the garden via a swale (a stone channel) or plastic piping. The garden captures the water and, when properly designed, drains it into the soil within a day. You don’t have to worry about creating a mosquito haven; the water drains before mosquitoes even have time to breed.

If there’s an especially heavy rainfall, excess water may overflow the rain garden and run into the storm sewer system. Even so, the rain garden will have done its job. It will have channeled water away from your foundation and reduced the load on the sewer system. A rain garden also reduces the amount of lawn chemicals and pet wastes that may otherwise run off into local lakes and rivers. In some communities, the runoff problem is so big that homes with rain gardens qualify for a tax break! Call your municipality to learn your local policy.

Click here for the materials and steps needed to build this sustainable garden.

What a great family project?!

You Don’t Need a Green Thumb to Create Green Landscaping, Published In Elegant Lifestyles Magazine

Winter may be on the cover, but Spring’s around the corner!

There’s a pretty garden in front of our house but, except for supporting the peonies, pruning the roses, and weeding occasionally, I don’t do that much gardening. There’s lots to learn, especially when it comes to sustainable landscaping. For this article, I found out how to harvest rainwater, upcycle materials, compost yard waste, pave with permeables and, the idea I’d like to add to my spring cleaning list, build a rain garden.

Happy gardening, hon.