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Why I love Vera Bradley

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Yesterday I went into the Vera Bradley store at the Galleria in Glendale. I had been there before and was struck by the shear amount of detail the designer put into the interiors of the store. Blue and white buffalo check, toile wallpaper, toile tufted club chairs, painted French commodes, vintage brown leather ottomans...I was home.

I asked the woman helping me who the interior designer was for the store and she said it was Barbara Bradley Baekgaard . Barbara is the co-founder of Vera Bradley. She told me that before founding Vera Bradley she was an interior designer. It all made sense! I rushed home to try and find some of her work. I hit the jackpot! Barbara has an Inn in Florida called "Inn by the Sea, Vera Bradley." Here are a few pics.

The "Inn by the Sea, Vera Bradley"

The Lobby

Bedroom 1 {every guest gets a VB product waiting for them!!}


My Favorite!

Cute Bathroom

I think I could live here. To "support" the Vera Bradley empire I "contributed" my funds. I couldn't resist this weekend duffel bag. It is soo big and can fit everything you need for those little getaways with your sweetie. I got the "make me blush" pattern which is just too cute.

When I walked out of the store the sales person rushed out and told me she had one more thing for me. A water bottle with their newest pattern....What a great VB experience!

What is your favorite pattern?
xoxo Justine

Planning the Perfect Dinner Party

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

{I am domestic and Proud!}

Is it me or have people in their 20’s and 30’s stopped entertaining in their homes? I am hoping to put an end to that nonsense and to start getting people excited to entertain in their homes again. Whatever happened to laying down a crisp white tablecloth, taking out your best china, and displaying a beautiful floral arrangement?
For me, entertaining guests was something my parents did on a regular basis. I grew up polishing my mom’s silver and laying the table with her finest flatware and crystal. Now that I have my own home with my husband, entertaining guests has naturally become a very big part of what my husband and I do on a regular basis.
Let me be the one to inspire YOU to take some time and plan the perfect dinner party. Its not as hard as it may look or sound. It takes a little bit of thought and some planning.  I promise ill make it simple for you.
Setting the Table  {You can modify this to suit your dinners needs}

Personally I think white is beautiful and classic. Its also the easiest to keep clean {Bleach ladies!}

Burlap is also a beautiful choice. A burlap table runner is rustic and elegant. Place this on top of a white tablecloth and your in business! You can purchase burlap tablecloths and runners at shawnees shop.

Floral Arrangements
Go to your local grocery store, flower shop, farmers market, or your backyard! Arrange in one large vase at the center of the table  (remove when dinner is served for easy conversation) or  group small vases together to create a long row of flowers.


If you are going to go with low floral centerpieces give your table dimension by adding a candelabra. Not only will it look beautiful it will create a very romantic feel. I can gurantee you will find one at your local thrift store, eastate sale or flea market for much less!

Whats for Dinner?  {My go-to menu}
Before Dinner Drinks and Apps
Tip *Always welcome your guest with a beverage. Whether it’s a glass of wine, a signature cocktail or sparkling water. This will make your guests feel more comfortable.

Pre-dinner Conversation Food {Finger “snackey” foods placed strategically in the “conversation” areas of the house are a must.}

Dinner Time!
Curried Butternut squash soup  {recipe}

Spinach and baby mixed green Salad 
1. Mixed Baby Greens
2. Spinach
3. Candied walnuts
4. Dried Cranberries
5. Green apples thinly sliced
6. Light vinagerette

Ina Gartens perfect roast chicken with roasted veggies {recipe}

Rice Pilaf {recipe}

Beattys Chocolate Cake {recipe}

*Platter and Serveware Tips
White platters are my personal favorite for presenting your food.
Stainless Steel serveware by Carrol Boyes. Carrol is a South African artist who has turned her talent into an empire. I have about 30 pieces from her collection. They are stunning, truly art. My sister just bought me these mermaid salad servers. Arent they great!!

Have Fun and Good Luck!