The Sweetest Way to Kick Off Valentine’s Day at Home

The Sweetest Way to Kick Off Valentine’s Day at Home

We found the best recipes for breakfast on Valentine’s Day

In case you haven’t noticed yet, Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year. Yuck, a Tuesday. If you are anything like me then going out for a nice dinner (or worse cooking one) after a long day at work sounds anything but romantic. That’s why this year I am flipping the script and focusing on kicking the day off with something sweet and what better way to do than with breakfast at my favorite place in the world…my home.

Last year, 11 Sweet Breakfast in Bed Ideas was one of our most popular posts in February so I decided to write a version 2.0. This year’s theme is all about Red Velvetand these recipes are sure to make breakfast on Valentine’s Day, or any other day for that matter, extra sweet. Enjoy!

Red Velvet Waffles | Go Eat & Repeat | Recipe Here

3 Words… Cream Cheese Glaze (mmmm)

Red Velvet French Toast | Cafe Delites | Recipe Here

What I love most about this picture is the fact that Karina added a few raspberries to the plate. In humble my opinion the fruit on this dish basically cancels out the rest of the calories.

red velvet pancakes valentines day breakfast

Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls | No. 2 Pencil | Recipe Here

Dessert for breakfast…yes please!
red velvet breakfast cinnamon rolls

Red Velvet Crepes | Six Sister’s Stuff | Recipe Here

Close your eyes, take a bite and imagine yourself vacationing in Paris.

Red velvet crepe

Red Velvet Pancakes | DAN 330 | Recipe Here

Short stack or full…whichever you choose will  be a delight!

red velvet pancakes

Red Velvet Donuts | Homemade Hooplah | Recipe Here

While most donuts are fried these are actually baked, so don’t feel bad when you reach for seconds.

red velvet donuts

Red Velvet Nutella Hearts | I Love to Cook | Recipe Here

N U T E L L A!!! Need I say more?!

Red Velvet “Skinny” Shake | Mom on Time Out | Recipe Here

You and your honey can satisfy your sweet tooth with this recipe for 2!

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Home Decor Style Tips for Seasonal Transition

Home Decor Style Tips for Seasonal Transition

Embrace fall as a welcome change agent in your home with tips from the seasoned pros at Ethan Allen

The calendar tells us it’s time to prepare for the cooler season inside and out. It’s also time to make some seasonal style changes, according to the design professionals at Ethan Allen.

And they should know; the company has been furnishing beautiful homes for more than 80 years. Ethan Allen designers love fall because it presents so many opportunities for warming things up! Their toolbox is overflowing (fine furniture for every room in the house, art for your walls; rugs for your floors; draperies for your windows; mattresses for sweet dreams; decorative pillows; gorgeous bedding, exquisite accents—the list goes on and on).

Because “cozy and comfortable” are at the top of everyone’s wish list at this time of year, we asked them to help us create a “blueprint” for a gracious, warm, and welcoming home.

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SAY HELLO IN STYLE
No matter your design style, you have only one chance to make a good first impression, so be sure your entryway rocks. It’s both a stage and a place of transition, providing an opportunity to set the bar high for the rest of your home. Choose from Ethan Allen’s diverse lineup—from timeless, traditional, and tony to fresh, fun, and modern—and discover a style that’s all your own. Select a dramatic focal point—like a console with a sweet silhouette—to draw the eye in. Add accents that complement the vignette for balance and a feel-good welcome!

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LIGHTEN THINGS UP
An abundance of pure light is one of the best-kept secrets of fine design. There’s a reason why Ethan Allen’s designers always try to place things “in the best possible light.” And because good interior lighting mimics sunlight, it puts guests at ease in subliminal ways, creating an ambience that feels warm and inviting. It enhances your furnishings, too. For fall—and throughout the year—we recommend lighting that is both quiet and flattering. Think of a room bathed in the glittering lamps of a show-stopping chandelier, or a sophisticated living space lit by versatile clear glass lamps. It’s illumination at its best.

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SIT AWHILE

Don’t you just love it when guests linger at the dinner table? Some say the trick is good wine, good conversation, and a delicious dessert. Ethan Allen’s designers suggest adding comfortable chairs to the mix! Because craftsmanship and quality are of paramount importance when selecting chairs that will get a lot of use, Ethan Allen is a great source. Did you know they still build many pieces by hand, in their own workshops in Vermont and North Carolina? Whatever your dining style, they make it easy to choose refined, well-designed dining chairs for a gracious touch and an eat-in experience that doesn’t get any better—or more beautiful.

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CREATE COMFORT
The look and feel of a guest room can make or break an overnight stay. Furnish yours around an elegant bed (a sheltering sleigh style is nice) to create an effortlessly romantic retreat. A tranquil palette (think mineral blue, white, and taupe) adds elegance. Don’t forget creature comforts: a relaxing chair, roomy chest, night table with good lighting, and sink-in-worthy bedcoverings (Ethan Allen offers all of the above). And remember: Luxury is on the house at Ethan Allen, where professional design services are always free of charge.

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INVITE CONVERSATION
Love the idea of a personal “chat room?” There are many ways to design a room around conversation, but furniture placement is always key. Give sofa and chairs equal time to encourage face-to-face-to-face interaction, but don’t crowd them—and don’t forget to elevate the space with a sophisticated palette. In a hurry to get the conversation started? Ethan Allen’s Custom Quick Ship styles are designed to have your guests kicking back in 30 days or less.*

  • *Delivery times may vary based on your location.

The 7 Do’s of Holiday Decorating When Your Home Is for Sale

The 7 Do’s of Holiday Decorating When Your Home Is for Sale

You can still be festive. These tips will help you celebrate — without alienating would-be buyers.

houzz logo

Houzz Contributor, Neila Deen

Selling your home through the holiday season can certainly come with a few challenges. Chilly, wet weather and falling leaves in November and December might mean more raking and shoveling to keep your home pristine. However, the damp weather and dark skies don’t have to squelch your holiday spirit. In fact, the holidays are a perfect time to showcase the warmth and character of your home to prospective buyers.

If you’ve already got the basics of staging under control — meaning you’ve pared down, freshened up and added a splash of color — you’re ready to follow these seven do’s to create an appropriately festive home for sale.

M&S Christmas 2014

1. Do choose appropriately sized holiday decorations. Be thoughtful about the size of decorations you use. A good question to ask yourself is whether the piece helps to positively showcase the space, light and charm of the room. Or does its large size detract from the best features? Your goal is to be festive while honoring the value of your home.

Autumn Decor

For example, displaying a large multipiece holiday installation might be a family tradition for your living room, but doing so won’t highlight the value and space of that room. Perhaps find a new home for this piece on the front porch, or display only a smaller portion of the installation on a table.

Traditional Living

Similarly, you might have to trade in that huge fresh evergreen tree that you look forward to every year for a slightly smaller version. Large trees and decorations, while festive, may make the room look smaller. Choose an oversized tree only if you have a really large room.

Hill Section Residence

2. Do mind the light. Be sure your holiday decorating efforts don’t block any natural light from windows and doors. Though this may be a common sense tip, it may not be as easy to adhere to as you’d think, since windows are one of the most common places to place holiday decor. Just think of what you see when driving through your neighborhood during the holidays: Many residents affix decorations directly to the windows, place large, brightly lighted trees directly in front of them or install candles or figurines on the windowsill. We just love to showcase our holiday spirit to the world.

Christmas Trees

For the selling season, try placing your holiday pride far from the window. You might put decor outside your front door or, if inside, in an unobtrusive corner. If you absolutely must locate decor near a window, then place it far enough away that the natural light still flows in. Otherwise, by reducing the natural light, you’ll detract from the value of the room.

Scandinavian style on a budget in a small city apartment

3. Do coordinate with the colors of the room. Maintaining a color-coordinated design scheme matters, even when all you want to do is deck the halls in red and green. Remember, every room of your home should be as appealing as possible to prospective buyers. So, if your favorite holiday decorations clash with the colors in your room, think twice about using those specific pieces. Fortunately, there are tons of creative ways to add holiday accents without throwing off your palette.

Home for Chanukah

Metallics are one nonintrusive way to add a little festive holiday flair. Gold, silver or copper holiday accents pair well with almost any color scheme. White is also a peaceful, festive, yet still neutral accent color for almost any holiday decorating effort. Try replacing multicolored tree lights with sparkling white lights to give your room a more elegant feel.

Winter Holiday Decor

4. Do keep movements and sounds to a minimum. Moving parts, loud noises and even festive music will be a distraction for potential buyers. So please don’t welcome buyers with a singing toy soldier or dancing snowman. But if you must have those items on your mantel, then be sure to turn them off during showings. The same goes for flashing lights. Opt for simple white static lights that cast a beautiful glow, creating a neutral holiday feeling for many buyers.

Stoll Christmas House

5. Do decorate to showcase your home’s architectural features. Holiday decorating can give you a brilliant opportunity to highlight your home’s most attractive architectural features. For example, you might wrap a tasteful garland around a beautiful curved staircase. You can showcase your fireplace with accents such as knitted stockings or a strand of lights.

Christmas Decorating

Be mindful not to cover up any valuable structural details such as a beautiful wood floor or crown molding. Remember, less is more when staging, even when decorating for the holidays.

Christmas Holiday Decor

6. Do use exterior holiday decorations to add curb appeal. Holiday decorations are a fantastic way to spruce up the exterior of your home and add some color. Wreaths, thoughtfully lighted shrubs and the occasional ribbon or bow on a mailbox can be tasteful ways to deck the exterior for the holidays. These elements will certainly add curb appeal and pleasantly welcome your potential buyers.

Holiday decorations

While a frenzy of flashing lights and rooftop ornaments might be fun and playful, try not to embrace your inner Clark Griswold. (“National Lampoon” movie-fest, anyone?) Your goal is to sell your house, not distract or even turn off your buyer by creating a neighborhood spectacle.

A perfectly pale interior with Nordic influences

7. Do celebrate the holidays and create a warm, joyful feeling. There’s an advantage of offering your home for sale — and decorating it — during the holidays. If you strike the right balance, your residence will exude a positive energy and charm that can’t be felt at any other time of the year. Done well, your decorated home will offer the kind of warmth that appeals to potential buyers and helps them to imagine living there. So go ahead and celebrate what is likely your last holiday season in that home. Happy holidays!

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Your Home’s November Honey-Do List

Your Home’s November Honey-Do List

Prep your home for the holidays and cooler weather with this list of home to dos that you’ll be especially thankful for.

This month, we’re especially thankful for home. Home is where the family comes together, where we’re protected from the elements, and where love abounds. Your home’s November Honey-Do list will make sure your home is ready for the holidays, prepared for colder weather and loved inside and out.

1. Winterize your home – For most of the country, November is the time when we can no longer deny that the colder weather has settled in. Now is the time to winterize summer tools and appliances like air conditioner units, grills and lawn mowers. Bring garden hoses indoors and check your windows and doors for drafts.

2. Make a Turkey Game Plan – No coach would head to a big game without a game plan up his sleeve. Likewise, no chef should hit the kitchen without thinking through the menu and timeline first. Determine what menu items you can make ahead, decide what responsibilities you can delegate, and take an inventory of your pantry and china cabinet. Oh, and now’s the time to clean that oven, too.

3. Polish the Silver and Dust off the China – Thanksgiving is a special meal, which deserves the best of your entertaining arsenal. Because we don’t often use our special dishes year round, it’s smart to give them a good deep clean and polish before setting the table on Turkey Day.

4. Give your living room a refresh – With the holidays ahead, your living room is sure to get plenty of use. Give the space a refresh by changing out the window treatments for a new look.

5. Use some pest control – Rodents and other pests are opportunistic and seek warmer environments when the temperatures drop. Be sure that they don’t call your house their home by implementing these 5 surefire tricks to pest control.

6. Clear out the gutters – Avoid drainage problems and damage to your home’s foundation by clearing out the gutters before snow and ice wreaks havoc. Here is an easy how-to guide to cleaning rain gutters on your home.

7. Be ready for snow – Before the first winter storm, it’s a good idea to make sure your snow shovels and/or snow blower are in proper working order. Ready to invest in a snow blower after the brutal winter last year? Here is a buying guide from Home Depot that will help you make an educated purchase.

8. Start tackling the December to do list – The holiday to do list is notoriously the longest of the year. Get a head start by ordering your holiday cards, updating your address book, and making a gift wish list for each of your family members NOW. You can even start stringing twinkle lights on your shrubbery before the deep chill sets in. After all, the most important part of the holidays is taking the time to enjoy our family and friends.

Next month we’ll cover everything you’ll need to know to make your home holiday ready.  Until then, Happy Thanksgiving!

Backyard Grilling Cheat Sheet

Backyard Grilling Cheat Sheet

How to grill burgers, steaks, chicken and veggies to perfection on your backyard grill.

This summer and most likely this weekend, you’ll be firing up that grill in the backyard for at least a few meals. Below is a simple cheat sheet you can reference before putting on that apron and refilling the propane or charcoal to make sure your dish is cooked to perfection.

IMPORTANT: Salt and pepper are the building blocks of seasoning regardless of what you throw on the grill. Salt and pepper each side of your beef, pork or poultry before putting on the grill. Salt again when you turn them over. It helps bring out the natural flavors as well as add seasoning. You’ll thank me later.

How to Grill Burgers
Grill for 3-5 minutes per side depending on the thickness and size of the burgers.
Tip: DO NOT EVER press down on the burgers while they are grilling. It makes all those juices that keep your burger tasty spill right out.

How to Grill Hot Dogs
Grill for 5 minutes unless you really like your hot dogs blackened.
Tip: Rotate each hot dog after 2.5 minutes to get grill marks on both sides and add a few small knife cuts across the hot dogs to help them cook evenly without bursting.

How to Grill Steaks
With steaks up to 1 inch thick grill for 3 minutes on each side at high heat for medium rare cook.
With steaks over 1 inch thick grill for 5 minutes on each side at high heat for medium rare cook and rotate steaks clockwise after 2 minutes before flipping to get criss-cross grill marks.
Tip: Position steak across grill grates at a 45 degree angle to get a nice grill mark and when you take them off the grill, let the steaks rest for a few minutes before digging in to allow the juices that bubbled up to the top to settle back into the steak.

How to Grill Tenderloin
Grill for 4 minutes per side at high heat, then indirect heat for about 8 more minutes.
Tip: If you don’t care about grill marks on your tenderloin consider cooking it on top of foil for easier handling and clean up.

How to Grill Chicken Breasts
Grill for 5 minutes per side at high heat.
Tip: Before placing on the grill try to cut the chicken breasts to each be equal in size to ensure they cook evenly.

How to Grill Vegetables
Grill for 2 minutes on each side.
Tip: Grilling vegetables for too long will turn them into mush so you simply want to add some grill marks and char to them. Make sure the grill grates are hot so it will add marks to the veggies.

Remember, don’t keep opening and closing the grill once you put food on it. That releases the heat and makes the cooking temperature inconsistent. Let your grill do its work.

And again don’t forget the salt and pepper for seasoning!

Backyard Bites for a Sizzling Summer Party

Fire up your grill, throw on some shades and get ready for some good eats!

Summer tastes sweet for more reasons than one – sunshine, beach time, and delicious summer treats. The Coldwell Banker Blue Matter team has rounded up recipes for their favorite backyard bites so you can bring the taste of summer to life at home.

Guacamole

guacamole

Recipe from Alton Brown

Tori Lee’s backyard bite pick 

A patio party doesn’t start at our house without eating our bodyweight in avocado.  I find Alton Brown’s recipe to be a guac-afficianado’s dream: bright, fresh and flavorful.

Chicken Sausage & Veggie Skewers

Recipe from Food Network Kitchen

Alexandra Kozinski’s backyard bite pick 

These kabobs are a symphony of flavors that truly deliver backyard bite goodness. This recipe is super easy to make but even more fun to eat!

Lemon Capers and Rosemary Salmon

Recipe from Giada De Laurentiis

David Marine’s backyard bite pick 

There is nothing like a classic burger or dog at a backyard BBQ but if you are looking to switch things up there is nothing better than this easy and delicious salmon dish.

Campfire Cookies

Campfire cookies

Recipe from Holly Ledingham

This sweet twist on a campfire classic is the perfect backyard bite for the end of a perfect summer day spent at home.

Looking for more great entertaining tips? You’ll love these.

20 Egg-cellent Egg Dying Ideas for Easter

20 Creative “Out of the Carton” Easter Egg Ideas

20 Egg-cellent Egg Dying Ideas for Easter

Easter is just a few days away which means it is almost time to dye eggs!

For those who celebrate, I am sure you can remember the good old days of buying thePaas egg kit that came with those little round tablets that you had to drop into vinegar. Somehow your hands always ended up getting stained an odd greenish brown color. I really wish I had known about this GENIUS idea. Today there are so many options! Eggs kits that have glitter, stickers, sparkles and pretty much anything you can think of.

For those who want to skip the kit and think “outside the carton” here are 20 unique ideas for making beautiful Easter eggs. Want to learn how to make these eggs? Simply click the link of the blog where there egg-cellent ideas came from for instructions. 

Monogram Eggs | Lil’ Luna

Monogram Easter Eggs

Natural Dye Colored Eggs | Big Sis Lil Sis

Rubber Band Rainbow Eggs | Inkspired Musings

Watercolor Eggs | Alisa Burke

Flower Pressed Egg | The Magic Onions

String Eggs | Craftberry Bush

Glitter Eggs | Sew and the City

Edible Eggs | Barefoot Witch in the Kitchen

Chalk Eggs | Shelterness

Rhinestone Eggs | Martha Stewart

Metallic Eggs | Think Crafts

Sequin Eggs | Craft Ideas

Sweet Note Eggs | Lil’ Luna

Black and White Easter Eggs | Obviously Sweet

Tissue Paper Eggs | Aunt Peaches 

Waxed Eggs | Magic Onions

Elegant Eggs | Country Living

Punched Eggs | Lolly Chops

The Funniest Elf on the Shelf Ideas We’ve Ever Seen

The Funniest Elf on the Shelf Ideas We’ve Ever Seen

We scoured Pinterest to find the funniest and most creative Elf on the Shelf ideas – go ahead, try to not laugh out loud at these!

Even though Elf on the Shelf was created for kids, it seems like the adults are the ones having all the fun hiding this guy around the house! We scoured Pinterest to find the funniest and most creative Elf on the Shelf ideas – go ahead, try to not laugh out loud at these!

So this is what happens when you end up on the naughty list:

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Via stayathomemum.com

This elf is really going heavy on the sweets:

Via dirtydiaperlaundry.com

He must have rolled right out of bed!

Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Toilet Paper Roll #ElfOnTheShelf

Via formulamom.com

He’s going to need to sing an unforgettable rendition of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” to win these judges over!

The Voice

Via pickleheadsoup.blogspot.com

Polite? Yes. Subtle? No.

Running out of elf on the shelf ideas? We have 75 of them for you!:

Image via skinnymom.com

Elf on the Shelfie

Elf on the Shelf - Its beginning to look a lot like me - Elf changed everyones's computer screen to his picture..Oh No!! - Picklehead Soup: December 2013:

Image via pickleheadsoup.blogspot.com

Guest Room Ideas for the Holidays

Guest Room Ideas

With the holidays quickly approaching, here are some quick ways you can get your spare bedroom in shape for the family and friends you’ll have staying over this season.

‘Tis (almost) the season for elaborate Thanksgiving meals, mouth watering desserts, lively conversations with relatives we don’t see often enough, and the inevitable overnight guest or two…or ten. If you’re like me, chances are you’ve let your spare “guest room” morph into a spare “lets just put everything in there until we figure out where it should really go later” room.

The good news is Thanksgiving is one week away, giving you (ahem..and me) plenty of time to get the spare room ready for the onslaught of guests you might have this holiday season. Let’s take a look at some great guest bedrooms fromcoldwellbanker.com for inspiration.

San Fran

This architectural jewel in San Francisco had the right idea when it came to setting up this guest room. Instead of opting for one very large bed, they decided to have two full-sized beds (arranged very nicely) in the same room. If you have the space, this is a great way to set up a guest room for family and a sly way of forcing them to spend even more time with each other. As far as decor goes, you don’t have to run out and buy a whole new bedroom set. You can achieve a very hip look by incorporating spare pieces you already have in other rooms in your home; like the credenza they’ve got up against the wall of this fantastic guest space.

Listed at: $11,850,000 – San Francisco, California

VT

It doesn’t take much to make your guest bedroom look and feel like home for friends or family staying over. Simple touches like adding an area rug, chairs and some magazines/books can completely transform your space into a zen-like retreat.

Listed at: $1,495,000 – Stowe, Vermont

Color

Our guest rooms may not have stunning views like this contemporary home in Seattle, but a great low-risk way to add some pizzaz to your extra room would be to opt for colorful bed sets. Combine the pop of color you get from bedding with the simplicity of this room’s decor and you have a really vibrant space perfect for visitors.

Listed at: $2,385,000 – Seattle, Washington

Montclair

Want to step your cozy guest bedroom game up? Another great way to add some warmth to a spare room is to simply put some art and photographs on your walls. The fireplace here ties the whole room together and gives the room an extra air of elegance and comfort. If you don’t have a “real fireplace” but still love the look, there are some fabulous electric fireplaces that can be had relatively inexpensively.

A few mouthwatering Kitchens

We’d Like to Cook Thanksgiving Dinner

We couldn’t think of a better place to whip up Thanksgiving dinner than these gorgeous kitchens!

It’s not often I jump for joy at the thought of cooking a meal, but looking at these incredible kitchens stirs up my inner chef. With so many different top of the line appliances, endless counter space, and enough seating room to fit all of my friends and family, the possibilities seem endless. While having a kitchen like these (all in homes currently for sale with Coldwell Banker, of course!) is a treat all year round, Thanksgiving is the ideal time of year to really enjoy the heart of the home. Take a look at these amazing kitchens & tell us which one is your favorite in the comments section!

5 Pelicans Drive, Newport Coast, CA 92657,
Listed by Mary Ellen WeglarzColdwell Banker Residential Brokerage

This kitchen has enough counter space to put out every Thanksgiving appetizer you can possibly make!

61 Shadow Lane, Ridgefield, CT 06877
Listed by Terry ConlonColdwell Banker Residential Brokerage

The open concept flow of this beautiful kitchen allows you to interact with guests at the table while you put the finishing touches on your special Thanksgiving dishes.

4860 E Harbor Rd, Freeland, WA 98249
Listed by Richard LentzColdwell Banker BAIN

There’s no such thing as too many cooks in this kitchen! With enough room for you and a helper or two, you’ll have Thanksgiving dinner on the table in no time at all, so you can relax with a fall cocktail and really enjoy the holiday!

50 Bayside Drive, Atlantic Highlands, NJ 07716
Listed by Christine KuchColdwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Cooking is a lot more enjoyable when you can look out to panoramic views of Sandy Hook Bay, the New York City skyline, AND the Atlantic Ocean from this gorgeous kitchen!


No matter where you prepare Thanksgiving dinner, we hope you & your family and friends enjoy a happy, safe, and delicious holiday!