MERRY CHRISTMAS 2017

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Greetings from San Diego! Mr. B and I will be enjoying a nice dinner for two tonight and joining my entire family tomorrow for Christmas morning. I hope your days are filled with love, laughter, and moments that create fond memories for the years to come. All the best for a very Merry Christmas.

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CHRISTMAS IN NAPLES, LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA

Many people outside of the Southern California region aren’t familiar with the neighborhood in Long Beach, California known as “Naples”.  In 1903, a man by the name of Arthur Parson had the vision to build an island like community with a series of canals, streets named after Italian cities, and a series of high arching bridges that now allow gondoliers to propel their gondolas down the water ways (more on that later). The project was completed in the 1920s and the neighborhood has flourished into one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the city. Homes on the canal will set you back several million, even for a major fixer upper or complete teardown. 

Since 1946, the “Naples Island Boat Parade” takes place with groups of decorated boats cruising through the canals. In an effort to avoid the crowds, Mr. B and I avoid parade night and, alternatively, visit Naples during the weeks to follow. The crowds are still there but they are much more manageable. Many of the decorated boats continue to cruise the canals leading up to Christmas so we never feel like we lose out on the experience. We strolled through the neighborhood a few nights ago and I’d share a bit of Naples festivity with you today. If you follow me on Instagram then you may recognize a couple of these pictures.

If you find yourself in Long Beach, California and want to have your own experience on the canals of Naples, be sure to check out Gondola Getaway. In 1998 Mr. B and I received a gift certificate for a ride as a wedding gift and we had a lot of fun experiencing this unique neighborhood from the water. Whether by foot or by gondola, Naples is a great place to experience any time of the year. Caio for now…

DESIGNER BETH ERVIN DECORATES HER ATLANTA HOME FOR CHRISTMAS

Designer Beth Ervin is a woman after my own heart. Her sense of style tends to gravitate toward the traditional but it’s not stuffy or stiff. It’s a balanced look of casual elegance and it seems to work well even in her own Atlanta home located in the prestigious Buckhead neighborhood. Beth Ervin’s work has been featured several times in Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles Magazine, but for the December issue she opens up her abode to share a glimpse of how she’s decorated her colonial home for the holidays. A festive garland and tree look right at home in the family room (so does their dog, Bunny), while small arrangements of fresh flowers are strategically placed in others. The online article mentions “an evergreen garland festooned with gold burlap ribbon cascades down the entry stairwell, and white hydrangeas and green apples fill heirloom silver vessels as centerpieces in the dining room.” The website features just the few pictures shared here. They whet my appetite with a desire to see more of the home (a sign that it might be time to renew my subscription). It’s clear that Erwin prefers to decorate with natural materials (again, woman…own heart….). The touches are small and tasteful but the home looks nothing short of beautiful. Beth Ervin_Christmas_Reviving CharmBeth Ervin_Christmas 1_Reviving CharmBeth Ervin_Christmas 3_Reviving CharmBeth Ervin_Christmas 2_Reviving CharmBeth Ervin_Christmas 4_Reviving CharmBeth Ervin_Christmas 5_Reviving Charm

tabletop christmas trees featured on Reviving Charm

HOLIDAY DECOR: TABLETOP CHRISTMAS TREES

After talking with many people about their holiday decorations, I would venture to say it’s about 50/50 when it comes to whether or not the tree is already up. Is your tree up already?

Adding a smaller tree to adorn a tabletop is a perfect solution for those short on space, don’t want to bother with a full-size tree, or just want to incorporate a bit of extra Christmas cheer.

At Christmas play and make good cheer, for Christmas comes but once a year.  –Thomas Tusser

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If you’re feeling overwhelmed about actually going all out to decorate the tree, I have a solution for you. Try keeping it simple by leaving the tree in its (almost) natural state. You can place it in a container to suit your decor, add pine cones, or just add lights. Easy peasy. tabletop christmas tree 8_reviving charmtabletop christmas tree 10_reviving charmFlocked trees aren’t quite as popular these days but it’s still a great alternative, particularly in a room dominated by white.
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Don’t overlook those special architectural nooks and crannies that you might be lucky to have. Built-ins also provide a great opportunity to showcase a smaller tree. tabletop christmas tree 14_reviving charm

While the focus of this post shows some nice examples of how to incorporate smaller trees indoors, don’t forget that they can also be a great accent at the exterior of your home. A neighbor a few streets over actually puts up a full-size tree near the front entrance to their house but a much smaller tree, like the one below, is a festive way to welcome guests.
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MERRY CHRISTMAS 2016

Merry Christmas! What are your plans for this holiday weekend? Mr. B and I will be hosting a casual dinner at our seaside ranch home and will be welcoming a couple of overnight guests. I love opening our home and sharing it with friends and family. I also look forward to playing “Christmas Bingo”, which has turned into a fun family Christmas tradition. Each member of our family contributes wrapped gifts that are put under the tree just waiting to be claimed by the lucky winners. There’s usually an abundance of gifts so no one gets to go home empty handed. Wish me luck! 

Actual Christmas Day will be extremely low key spent at home. I do hope Mr. B and I get to take a stroll through the neighborhoods and admire the festive Christmas lights. Tomorrow we will also be going through the neighborhood to pass out gifts to the neighbors. reviving-charm-christmas-at-home-quotereviving-charm-christmas-at-home

As you can see from the watercolor image above, we don’t do a lot of decorating for Christmas. I put up a couple of trees (although this year we only did one), garland and a few poinsettia scattered throughout the house. From our house to yours, I hope you enjoy lots of fun, love and warm wishes this Christmas. I wish you the best today and always. xoxo, V.

TUESDAY TIP NO. 2

Welcome to the second post in my new series entitled “Tuesday Tip”, where I will be sharing simple design ideas to help you infuse a quick dose of charm and style into your life on a weekly basis.

If you are like me, your entire focus is getting ready for the holiday weekend. We are down to the wire, my friends! By day I work full-time in an executive position in a very high paced office so my only free time is at night. Needless to say, my evenings this week will be consumed by all things Christmas related. I’ve made my list and will be checking it twice…maybe even three times! The first order of business was buying and decorating our tree last weekend. Since we’ve moved into our seaside ranch home here in Southern California we usually buy and decorate two fresh Christmas trees. We’ve opted to go simple and decided to deal with only one tree this year. This leads me to the Tuesday Tip of the day:

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tuesday-tip-no-2-christmas-quote-ornament-via-reviving-charmIf you are a regular reader of my website then you already know that I enjoy including a phrase or quote into almost every post. I decided to take this concept one step further and add some simple sayings that can be displayed on our Christmas tree. Last year I found a set of mirrored picture frame ornaments and instead of using them for photos, I decided to frame a few greetings for guests. I added a bow made from double faced satin ribbon as a finishing touch. Our tree is outfitted in silver, gold and champagne tones so the “Christmas red”, as I like to call it, is a nice dash of festive color. tuesday-tip-no-2-christmas-quote-ornaments-via-reviving-charm

If you are looking for some last minute tree decor, frame ornaments are relatively easy to find in a variety of shapes and styles to fit almost any decor. If you choose to make your own quote ornaments be sure to keep your phrases simple in order to keep the font size legible.

By the way…I love to hear from my readers and I always welcome feedback. If you have a “Tuesday Tip” that you would like featured on an upcoming post that would benefit readers like you, feel free to send me an email. Happy Holidays!

SERIES DEBUT OF “TUESDAY TIPS”

Welcome to the inaugural post of “Tuesday Tips” here at Reviving Charm! I will be posting an idea (or two) to help infuse a quick dose of charm and style into your life on a weekly basis. Many of us are short on time with our busy lives and busy routines, especially during the holiday season, so the ideas I will be presenting are intended to be things that are relatively simple to accomplish. Anyway, that’s the goal…let’s see how it goes…and let’s roll with it! I hope you enjoy the new series…I’d love to hear your thoughts along the way! Here it goes….

For me, the past few days have been all about “decking the halls” and putting the finishing touches on all our Christmas decorating. I am sure many of you are still busy doing the same so it seemed natural to have this first Tuesday Tip be all about holiday decorating.

Tip No. 1: Fresh wreaths are one of my absolute favorite holiday decorations and I adore this idea of putting them at the center of attention above a mantle. Incorporating wreaths in a variety of different types of greenery introduces various textures that will allow you to leave them in their natural state to enjoy their individual beauty. Be sure to mix a few different sizes in and add a simple bow that coordinates with the rest of your decor to add a dash of color.

Tip No. 2: Fill decorative crystal bowls with fruit, such as oranges or pomegranates, and place them on a mantle or table for a quick way to add an extra element of nature into your holiday decorating.
tuesday-tips-1-christmas-via-revivingcharmSo there you have it…a few quick tips to help you out with your holiday decorating. Enjoy the season! 

MEMORIES INSPIRE A COASTAL CHRISTMAS THEME

On many occasions I have been aboard the beautiful 62 foot yacht, El Navegante. The yacht is typically docked in Newport Harbor (Southern California) during the fall/winter and each year it is decorated to participate in the annual Newport Beach Boat Parade. Over the years El Navegante has won several decorating awards, including the coveted Sweepstakes prize in last year’s parade. As you can see from the picture below, El Navegante’s 2014 elaborate entry was definitely prize worthy. And in case you are wondering…yes, that is real fire ignited from the dragon’s mouth!

El Navegante’s entry in the 2014 Newport Beach Boat Parade earns the Sweepstakes award.

Tonight marks the first evening of the 2015 boat parade, which runs through Sunday, December 20. The Newport Boat Parade is one of the most celebrated holiday events in the United States with this year marking the 107th year of its existence. It is the nation’s longest running lighted boat parade. There’s definitely something to be said for its longevity!

In addition to the elaborate holiday light display on the exterior of the yacht, I have always been quite fond of the Christmas tree that was set up on the inside. The coastal inspired tree design was a simple pleasure I looked forward to seeing year after year. It was at the heart of a gathering space surrounded by friends and delicious catered cuisine. I have wonderful memories of my time spent aboard El Navegante. Those memories inspired this post and played a huge part in the inspiration for my own coastal inspired theme for one of two Christmas trees set up in my own seaside home. While our main tree is traditional in nature with golds, silver and platinum hues, the secondary tree pays homage to the sand and sea with a festive, kitschy coastal theme.

Handmade ornaments made with genuine pearls grace our Christmas tree this year.

Here are a few close up pictures of my own coastal themed tree. If you look closely at the picture above you can see one of several teardrop shaped ornaments I made using genuine pearls. I hand-strung each of the pearl ornaments specifically for use on this tree. Pearls seem totally appropriate for a coastal inspired tree and I particularly like that it adds an extravagant touch!