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.

Pieces to Keep You Toasty Warm Through Winter, Published In Elegant Lifestyles Magazine

Winter 2020

The February/March issue of ELS came out and, with it, lots of lifestyle articles. The two I wrote for the magazine cover fashion and sustainable landscaping. Whenever I’m asked to write an article on fashion, I flashback to my UMass classes on the history of fashion. I found it fascinating to trace changes in society by studying what people wore. For “Pieces to Keep You Toasty Warm Through Winter,” I researched fabrics (flannel), mountain climbers (puffer coats and vests), and mills (fleece). I also checked out photos of athleisure, a style trend that may not have been coined when I was in college, but was being worn by all of us who ran from dorm to class to work to class again.

Happy reading, hon!

Fabulous Flooring, Published in Elegant Lifestyles Magazine

How are flooring and a throat on fire related?

I learned enough researching finishes for “Fabulous Flooring, Timeless and Trending,” published in the December issue of Elegant Lifestyles Magazine, that when Hubby and I were in London, I could tell the type of distressing done on our hotel’s wide wood plank floors. I highly recommend the St. Ermin’s Hotel, which is in walking distance to Westminster Abbey, not just for the wood floors and stylish rooms, but for the service.

When I woke up in the middle of the night with my throat on fire, I knew I had strep throat. We were supposed to be touring the city that day and taking an overnight ferry to France the next, so I needed to see a doctor asap! What to do? 

The concierge was as helpful as could be! He called doctor’s offices, found one nearby, and scheduled an appointment. I was in and out with an antibiotic in hand. Amazing!

Hon, have you ever gotten sick on vacation? What did you do?


Holiday Gift Guide, Published In Elegant Lifestyles Magazine

Holiday Gift Guide

In preparation for writing “Ideas to Take the Guesswork Out of Gifting,” I took a day off. Well, not really, but window shopping at a bunch of stores didn’t feel like work. I’d never written a Gift Guide before, so it was a challenge to think of people’s ages, stages, and interests and figure out what kinds of holiday gifts would be well-received.

That reminds me, hon–I have more holiday shopping to do!


Small Business Saturday, Published In Elegant Lifestyles Magazine

Thanksgiving’s around the corner…

…and so is Black Friday, the official start to the holiday shopping season. The second article I wrote for ELS is “Small Business Saturday Turns Ten!” which talks about the inception of SBS and what some local towns have planned. In Summit, NJ where I work at a children’s boutique (What do we sell the most? Think lots of kids’ dressy outfits and matching pj’s!), there’ll be carolers, a horse and sleigh, hot chocolate, and more, throughout the season. Tell you what, hon–feeling a holiday spirit makes all difference whether you’re working or shopping.



Style Essentials For Every Season, Published In Elegant Lifestyles Magazine

The November issue of Elegant Lifestyles Magazine is out!

While I was doing research on classic clothes, guess what I found? Clothes that were designed for British and French militaries which became popular when soldiers returned home. Truly functional to fashionable! Camouflage is certainly a print that’s worn by U.S. soldiers and also stocked in stores. The most interesting info was how men’s watches transformed from pocket watches to wristwatches (future post for sure).

Fall 2019 Halloween Decor, Published in Elegant Lifestyles Magazine

The second article I published in the September issue of Elegant Lifestyles Magazine was “Fall 2019 Halloween Decor.” You know what’s funny? Seeing one of the decorations I mentioned in a friend’s home. (Shout out to Sherry and John who take Halloween to the max!)

Guess what hon? More articles are on the way!

Fall 2019 Bridal Trends Article, Part 2

Hon, you know I love a theme!

In my “Fall 2019 Bridal Trends” article, published in the September issue of Elegant Lifestyles Magazine, I had fun with puns. Wedding themed, of course.

White Wedding–wedding dress silhouettes

Wear Your Heart On Your Sleeve–sleeves

Take the Plunge–necklines

“Tier” of Joy–asymmetrical hemlines and trains

Icing On the Cake–capes and shrugs

The Right Suitor–men’s suits

Tie the Knot–ties and accessories

With This Ring, I Thee Wed–engagement and wedding rings

And Match Made in Heaven Wedding Decor