How to do Everything Better!

I had a blast on the TODAY show this morning!  Click here to watch!
It’s the little things that can make everyday life seem more luxurious.  In the South, we love to celebrate tradition such as writing a thank you note or using our good silver.  Little touches can go a long way in making yourself or your loved ones feel extra special. 
Here are sometips for injecting a little Southern know-how into basic tasks to make you feel special.

Experts say the first step to boosting happiness and self-esteem is to make your bed in the morning! Every month decorator Phoebe Howard answers readers common decorating questions in Southern Living. In a recent column she addressed how to make your bed. Here is the link:

Invest in classic linens 
·      Always buy the best linens you can afford. 
·      Choose a matching set of sheets, shams, and a duvet cover in white or ivory. Then add a solid-colored, lightweight quilt or coverlet with coordinating European shams.
·      Pick bedding that is light in color and made of linen or cotton—it’s easy to maintain and always in style.
Iron your sheets 
·      Whether you send them out to be pressed or do it yourself with plenty of starch, ironed sheets add a polished touch

Have nice folds

·      For a smart finish, turn your top sheet back at least 14 inches over your coverlet to show off interesting trim details.
·      Fold your duvet in thirds in a Z pattern, and place it at the foot of the bed so it looks nice and fluffy during the day and can be pulled up easily at night.

Layer your pillows

·      Place standard shams closest to the headboard, and then add a pair of European shams. For king-size beds, use three Euro shams instead of two.
·      Finish the arrangement with decorative pillows in another fabric for a dose of personality.
·      Don’t go overboard with the pillows! You should always leave some space between your pillows and the folded duvet cover.
Big Thanks to:
Restoration Hardware: 19th Century Keyhole Metal Arch bed
Mrs. Howard: Decorative pillows
Matouk: Luna Euro shams and quilt; Marlowe sheeting and duvet cover
Arhaus: Belmont nightstand
Serena and Lily: Metallic Suede hemp rug;  Bone inlay jewelry box
Ballard Designs: Ellen lamp and shade
Polish it
·      Remove tarnish from even the most intricate pieces: Place silver on aluminum foil in your sink, sprinkle with baking soda, and pour boiling water over it. The tarnish will literally fall off.
·      Rinse and pat dry to avoid water spots. If you prefer store-bought polish, be sure to apply in a circular motion, wash, and dry.
Use it
·      Silver isn’t just for special occasions. Frequent use brings out that rich patina.
·      Rinse right after using to prevent tarnishing—sulfides from foods like eggs and mayonnaise can stain.
·      Use a gentle dish detergent. (Avoid anything with citrus.) Silver made after 1939 is dishwasher-safe. Just remove before the drying cycle!
Store it
·      Properly storing silver reduces tarnish and upkeep.
·      If displaying in a cabinet, place a piece of chalk nearby—it absorbs chemicals that cause discoloration. Or store in sealed plastic bags.
·      If you have a silver drawer or chest, line it with Pacific Silvercloth, an acid- and sulfur-free material that keeps your treasures spotless.
Whether you’re on your own or entertaining, we say, use the good stuff.  It will remain timeless if you know how to care for it.

Placement is key
-The bar is a central place at any cocktail party so set it up in a place that has ample room for people to approach it.

Create the cocktails
 – Unless you have a bartender, it’s best to serve only one type of cocktail – we recommend a         signature cocktail to add your personal flair to the party.
-Pick a cocktail with no more than 4 ingredients. 3 is best.  This recipe for Watermelon Bellini is a refreshing choice.
-Have friendstaste test a few days before the event
-Set up your bar a few days before, stock extra glassware
To set the mood
-Set thermostat about 8 degrees below what is comfortable
-Replace your light bulbs with a lower wattage bulb, or an amber colored bulb
A few “Don’ts”
-Don’t put candles on the bar
-Don’t forget the cocktail napkins
-Don’t overcrowd the bar with decorations
-Don’t put spirits with 30% or less ABV (alcohol by volume) into the freezer. They will freeze.
Big Thanks to:
Ballard Designs: Jill bar cart and monogrammed paper napkins
Waterford: All decanters and glassware

Taking a few minutes to write a thank you note can make the recipient’s day brighter and it is a great way to start or end your day with an attitude of gratitude!  
“Think in 3’s”
·      Try to send your thank you note within 3 days of receiving a gift or attending an event
·       Only needs to be 3 lines, doesn’t include the salutation or the closing
Thank you for a gift:
-1st line- shows gratitude & acknowledges specifically the gift you received
-2nd line- express how you’re going to use the gift
-3rd line- acknowledge a future meeting or greeting of the person you are thanking
 Thank you for being included at an event:
-1st line: express gratitude for being included
-2nd line: express a specific moment of memory from the event
-3rd line: share your hopes that you’ll meet again soon.

Big Thanks to:
Nico & Lala:
Southern Fried Paper:

How to politely eat fried chicken:

·      Pick the piece that looks the most attractive to you – here is a popular recipe for fried chicken from Southern Living:
·      Wrap a napkin around the end of the piece of chicken 
·      Take really small bites
·      Don’t start talking with your hands while eating
 All of my siblings came to the show with me!  It was such a blast!  
Kari, Kirby and Krystal in the Green Room!


  1. Jennifer @ Belclaire House on September 7, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    This is so great! I love having ironed sheets on my bed. It makes such a difference! My mom used to use her silver for everyday ware and pay me to polish it as extra allowance money. Such great tips! Have a great weekend!

  2. A Walk in the Countryside on September 7, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Congratulations! Wished I could have seen it! Thanks for all the great tips!

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