Christmas Traditions ~ Christmas Eve Fondue

One of many of my childhood memories and family Christmas Tradtions , that I will always cherish, was our Christmas Eve fondue Dinner.  It was this fun interactive meal that allowed us to share a meal and enjoy the festiveness of the fondue experience.  Thinking back I think it was a really clever diversion my parents created to take our attention off of the presents under the tree.

I have been wanting to bring this tradition into my own home for many years and this year I had the pleasure of creating a holiday fondue meal with my mom, my Aunt Trudy and Uncle Jerry and my dear friends and self-adopted parents Burt and Nanette.

Here is our menu and a pictorial glimpse of our evening....

Classic Swiss Cheese
Fondue Neuchatel Oise
blend of Gruyere and Emmentaler
served with baguette bites

Salad - cranberry, onion, mushroom,
carrot, almond and goat cheese over a
bed of mixed greens served
w/ raspberry walnut vinaigrette

New York Strip w/ sour cream dill sauce
Key West Shrimp w/ tomato cocktail sauce
Chicken Breast w/ chile-peanut sauce

Classic Chocolate Fondue
w/ strawberries, bananas,
pineapple and pound cake

What Christmas or Holiday traditions do you have?

The Kitchen Sink - Blanco, Style and Function

Often overlooked as a design element, the kitchen sink is truly an integral part of the Kitchen, it serves a monumental role in the every day function of the Kitchen.  And lets just say the kitchen sink has come a long way.
photo credit Prang's aids for object teaching--The kitchen -  Library of Congress

One company who gives great thought to the function but also the style and design of the kitchen sink is Blanco. 

Family-owned since 1925, BLANCO’s humble beginnings included making copper galvanized parts for cookers and hot water bottles with a team of 30 loyal employees. Today, their company has produced more than 40 million sinks, and is recognized as a world leader in quality, innovation and unsurpassed service.
Long gone are the times when a sink was merely used for function. These days, it can be the muse for a kitchen – or perhaps an entire home. Because of their dedication to quality, they ensure that every sink is inspected multiple times before earning the BLANCO name. It’s just a part of their commitment to their craft and their customers.  (excerpt taken from website)

CERANA is BLANCO’s first Fireclay sink in the U.S. market, and offers a unique reversible design that goes from traditional to contemporary offering exceptional style and versatility.The reversible BLANCO CERANA Apron Front sinkis BLANCO’s first Fireclay sink in the U.S. made of natural material that is highly resistant to shock, heat, acid, discoloration and chips. The unique, reversible design with two different corner radius measurements adds versatility as the ultra slim sink installs to feature either a traditional rounded or contemporary contoured apron front.

Engineered for smaller spaces, CRYSTALLINE'S compact hideway design offers up clean lines, contemporary details, innovative features and premium quality.

A unique chamfered rim edge delivers an intriguing appearance making BLANCO VISION the focal point in any kitchen“BLANCO VISION’s compact design and eye-catching style is perfect for smaller kitchens with limited space,” states Tim Maicher, Director of Marketing for BLANCO. “The high-functioning VISION single bowl comes with a unique chamfered rim edge providing the ideal balance of form and functionality with plenty of space for large pots and dishes.”
As part of the #BlogTourCGN Team, I will be getting a VIP tour of IMM Cologne/Living Kitchen where I will see the latest trends and introductions in kitchen design today from some of the top innovative leaders in the world - including Blanco. BLANCO HAS A PASSION FOR PERFECTION!

Christmas Tree Time2Design 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
Time2Design is decking its halls with Christmas Decorations....

Time2Pack | #BlogTourCGN | BlogTour 2013

Last year I created this I love BlogTour Suitcase Collage Photo and rightly captioned it Suitcase Envy.  It was my way of expressing to many of my blogger/designer friends who were participating that I was, how can I say....well just slightly envious of them jetting off on a BlogTour Interior Designer's dream tour!  Never did I dream that I would be asked to attend.  

Well dreams do come true and I am off to Germany in January where I will be attending the IMM Cologne International Furniture Show, Living Kitchen and a quick trip to Amsterdam as part of BlogTour!  This is one of those moments in life that you pinch yourself because you can't believe it is true.  But it is true, and I am thrilled to have been chosen to participate in Modenus' BlogTour to Cologne Germany in January 2013. 

What is BlogTour you asked? Well here is the scoop....

Fifteen interior design and life-style writers will be taking Cologne by storm in January as part of the latest leg of BlogTour by Modenus.  BlogTour invites groups of carefully selected bloggers to international destinations where they immerse themselves in trade shows, showrooms, design events and local culture.

And here are the selected Bloggers...
Left to right ~ Courtney Price | Alexandra Williams | Darren Morgan  | Tina Ramchandani | Katie Treggiden | Stacey Sheppard | Paul Anater | Sarah Sarna | Brandon Smith | Lisa Smith | Michele Alfano | Kathy Sandler | Carmen Christensen | Todd Vendituoli

As part of BlogTour Cologne fifteen bloggers,  eleven from the  USA and three from the UK and one from Dubai, along with the Modenus editorial team from the USA, UK, and Germany,  will be visiting the giant IMM (International Furniture Fair) and Living Kitchen as well as other design destinations in the city before moving on to spend a day in Amsterdam for a guided tour of the City's design hotspots in collaboration with home design magazine Eigen Huis and Interieur.  BlogTour Cologne runs from  January 13 through January 18, 2013.

Veronika Miller, CEO Modenus
Speaking about BlogTour Cologne Veronika Miller, CEO of Modenus says, “We have never crammed so much excitement and so much inspiration into one tour. This is also the first time a single Modenus BlogTour has included more than one country. We are, of course, looking forward to IMM. It is one of Europe’s most important furniture shows and it will be fascinating to see how the bloggers, especially the American bloggers react to it..“

Recent BlogTours in London and New York have resulted in over forty million social media impressions and hundreds of blog posts. BlogTour Cologne, with its excursion to Amsterdam can be followed on twitter with the hashtag #BlogTourCGN and through BlogTour At-a-glance on .

I look forward to sharing this experience with you and I am just bursting at the seems excited to take this journey.  So be sure to check back for more updates.
photo credit



Interior Design | Fashion | Style Pairing

I am a firm believer that interior design and fashion design are closely linked together.  So often one's personal style in fashion is reflected in their interior design style.  Many times as an interior designer I look to my clients wardrobe to get a glimpse of color and textures they like and are drawn too.  Very often a the color, style and texture of a persons wardrobe is a resemblance of what makes them comfortable, happy and secure.  And as an interior designer these are the exact attributes I strive to achieve when creating a space for my clients.

On a recent trip to High Point Furniture Market, I had the pleasure of stopping into the CompanyC showroom at the exact moment that Gretchen Aubuchon, guest speaker, began her presentation/conversation about fashion's wonderful influence on home decor.  Prior to this I had only been acquainted with Gretchen via our social media connections on Twitter and Facebook.  It was so nice to finally meet her in real life and to hear her speak about how fashion and interior design influence each other was a wonderful happenstance.

And during my visit at CompanyC 's showroom was when I heard about their StylePairing contest.  A great way for CompanyC to carry on the Fashion Influence Theme at High Point Market.  More on the contest in a minute, I  have to say their showroom during market was a fabulous example of how fashion meets are a few photo's I took during my visit.

 Ok so back to the contest... (this excerpt comes from Companyc site)

CompanyC launched their Spring 2013 collection at the recent International Home Furnishing Market in High Point, NC. The theme at market was fashion’s influence on home design and décor. And they were definitely inspired by runway fashions and colors for their spring collection.

They hosted a fun event during market featuring Fashion+Décor’s Gretchen Aubuchon who spoke to  customers and design bloggers about fashion’s wonderful influence on home décor. As part of the event, CompanyC challenged those design bloggers attending to a Fashion+Décor StylePair contest. They had to pair their favorite Company C Spring 2013 collection with hot-off-the-runway styles featured at the Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 fashion shows. 

Here are a few of my StylePairings and my winning entry

This was my winning Entry Click here to see what I won.

Wallpaper Wednesday | Bold Color Vintage Flock

Wallpaper is a great way to make a statement and add a little color.  Here is a great example of how a traditional vintage flock can compliment a contemporary twist. 
photo credit graham & brown

My High Point Maket Experience Fall 2012 #HPmkt

For me High Point Market is a time to experience and explore all things Interior Design.  I use my time at market to see as much as possible and know that I will walk away with insight and inspiration to fuel my creativity in my design business.   I wrote about this in my guest post over at Building Moxie check it out---> What's the big Deal about High Point?

High Point Furniture Market is the Fashion Week of Furniture!  And how fitting that this years theme was Fashion Focused!
 This is but a glimpse of the collection of bags and bits and pieces of stuff collected during my time at High Point Market.  I will be sorting thru this for months ~ ;-) !
Each day as I walked thru showroom after showroom, exploring all of the new and exciting products, I would write down words to describe thoughts and styles that were visible, similar or made a visual impact on me during my time at Market. My list consisted of the following: 

In general what I saw was a great attention to detail and much thought given to the tailored aspect of furniture.  A kind of mid-century meets new industrial with a sophisticated flare.   Be sure to check out My #HPmkt Fall 2012 Pinterest Board

Here are some images I took to capture my experience, I hope you enjoy and would love your thoughts and comments!   


Part of the whole High Point Market Experience is the evening center stage entertainment.  Here my sister and I are hanging out in the crowd.  Is that Mom right there behind us? Good times, good friends and family make High Point Market a time to remember!  

Until next market 
I will cherish my memories, 
my experiences 
and my inspiration!
photo credit ~ Carmen Christensen