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The New Trend: Hot Beverage Bars

I had never really seen a hot beverage bar until I attended a wedding a few years ago and the bride had a lovely one set up with not only coffee but also hot chocolate, peppermint sticks, whipped    cream, those cute little sugar cubes and much more.  I was instantly smitten!  I thought this idea was so great that I couldn't wait to use it, myself, at the next baby shower I was planning.  It was such a great focal piece; not just functional but also unique and aesthetically charming.  I thought, "If I could only have this look every day, it would make me feel as though I were miles away in a French cafe' sipping my afternoon coffee."  That's why whenever my daughter moved to her new home and asked her dad to build her a hot beverage bar,  I was both intrigued and excited.  (And I also wondered why I hadn't thought of that!)

My daughter has a very distinct style in which she has decorated her home; eclectic vintage farmhouse.  So many of her vintage pieces were her grandmother's and she has incorporated quite a few of those into the decor or her hot beverage bar.
Set against the lovely backdrop of a neutral wall on one side and brick on the other this hot beverage bar looks warm and inviting.

The bar was painted a soft, creamy white that would enhance the appearance of the vintage decorative pieces used.

Combining old and new items add to the charm of this piece.

There's nothing as comforting as having your favorite coffee mug filled with your favorite hot beverage on a crisp fall day.

Mason jars, silver spoons and cookies; what a delicious combination!

Wire baskets and wooden and metal crates not only add to the eclectic look, but also serve as functional pieces for storage.

 There are so many options for decorating a hot beverage bar year round.  Think holidays and special occasions.   This bar could easily be transformed by changing the wreath to a holiday themed one and adding some festive cups, napkins and perhaps some unique, subtle decorations.  There are endless possibilities for this bar!  If you, however, are not so great at deciding how to choose a bar for your home or decorating it, the interior designers at Havenly  can help you achieve your own special look so you too can spend time in the solitude of your own home soaking up the aroma of roasting coffee beans and dreaming of far-away places.

PHOTO CREDIT:  Caitlin Jarrell (CaitlinHolli Photography)

Accessorizing to Create the Perfect Fall Wedding Look

Jewelry, I have always believed, is a very personal accessory.  It reflects ones' personality and how it is worn can compliment or take away from an outfit.  There are many things to consider when choosing a piece of jewelry to complement an outfit.  And with fall wedding season upon us I thought it only fitting that we create a fall outfit complete with accessories to create an aesthetically pleasing ensemble.

Fall...what a wonderful time of year to plan a wedding.  The colors are alive and vibrant, welcoming the new season and when invited to a fall wedding event you will want to choose the very best look.  And looking your best doesn't simply mean just choosing a dress and pair of shoes; finish the outfit completely with all accessories looking as though they were simply a part of the ensemble and not a second thought, thrown together at the last minute.

Let's begin with the outfit.  There are several different types of necklines that you may be wearing and different types of jewelry are appropriate for each.  The wrap dress is one of my favorite go-to dresses for almost any occasion and everyone knows that Diane Von Furstenburg is the queen of the wrap dress.  The neckline of the wrap dress is usually a statement in itself, therefore, I tend to keep it simple with jewelry and perhaps only choose a pair of earrings and bracelet.
Whenever I first saw this DVF wrap dress it said, "fall".  The aquamarine and black fine print are rich and beautiful for a fall wedding event.  

I was introduced to Via Spiga shoes years ago and instantly fell in love with them.  Beautifully made and classic; they can literally be worn forever.
This shoe is the perfect choice to wear with the wrap dress.  Almost a bootie but with a dressier, feminine look with the peep toe and skinny heel. 

 Now, let's look at the jewelry to pair with this outfit.  As I mentioned before, jewelry is very personal and I have found that over the years a classic piece of jewelry is always a great investment piece.  And if you haven't started purchasing some investment pieces for yourself then I have just the place to start; AUrate New York.  Crafted in New York by some of the finest artisans, their pieces are not only beautiful and timeless classics but they are also ethically created.  "They source their material in accordance with the highest standards of social, environmental and human rights practices. Their diamonds and pearls are also purchased from conflict-free regions, in compliance with all applicable  United Nations resolutions."  And if that is not enough to impress you, for each piece of jewelry you purchase from AUrate, an economically underprivileged child will receive a book.

These tapered, solid earrings in vermeil are absolutely gorgeous and the perfect accent to the wrap dress.  These earrings are  also customizable and can be upgraded to 14K or 18K. 

Finish the look off with this great leather envelope clutch and cashmere wrap and then you are set for the occasion!
This Italian-made Black Leather Envelope Clutch is the perfect bag for this outfit.  Sleek and simple and just the perfect size to take to a formal event.

For those chilly fall evenings don't forget a wrap.  This Black cashmere wrap , not only cozy, but classic as well, will keep
you warm and looking put together throughout the evening.  

Remember, every occasion is an opportunity to set your style apart from others.  This classic fall ensemble is sure to have heads turning and people asking about your effortless style choices.

                                                             CREATE THE LOOK

                                                                DVF Wrap Dress

                                                          Via Spiga Ida Peep Toe Pump

                                               AUrate New York Tapered Solid Earrings

                                                                 Black Leather Clutch

                                                                Black Cashmere Wrap

Homemade Face Paint Tutorial Just in Time for Halloween

What kid doesn't just LOVE face paint?  I know mine do.  Every time we are at an event that has face painting, we're in line to choose our favorite animal or character to be for the day!  While we were on vacation this summer, we even found some face paint in a toy store, bought some, took it home and voila...we had an afternoon of such FUN flitting around pretending to be all sorts of creatures!

But what if I told you that Personal Creations has written a blog post that tells you how YOU can make your own face paint in the most awesome colors?  Well, I just couldn't resist telling you about their Home Made Face Paint Recipe and not only that but also how to create the prettiest colors!
These are two of the adorable designs you will learn to paint, step-by-step in this article...and just in time for Halloween!

I believe that a child's imagination should be enhanced in any way possible. Whenever I see the smiles on the faces and the laughter in the air from creating something homemade and  simple I know success has been achieved!  Visit the Personal Creation Blog to find out how to make your own face paint, create a palette of beautiful colors and follow the directions on how to paint a ladybug, crown, puppy and flower!

Family Fun Night

I don't know about you and your family, but MY BIG, FAT SOUTHERN FAMILY just LOVES games!
From the oldest to well...almost the youngest (since we do have a few babies) everybody loves playing games.  And I have a cabinet full of them and have also begun to collect children's games as well.

 One of things my crew love to play is card games.  Y'all, these card games could go on forever!  And they have gone on until late at night.  But, oh what fun is had at the table with a handful of people and a deck of cards!
My favorite game is Mexican Train Dominoes.  If you have never played this game then you need to!  It is a domino game with a little different twist and is so much fun.  Often times if we start it too late in the evening we will just leave everything where it is and continue the next day.
One of the newer games that my son brought us to play is called, Ticket To Ride.  This game requires a little more strategy but everybody loves playing it.

      Pick-Up Sticks!  Do you remember that game as a kid?  Well, it's still as fun as ever.
And my little kiddos are really into playing games right now with this classic version of Candy Land being their absolute favorite!

Family game or movie nights are not only fun but also a great way of bonding with your family.  In this day and time, people are so busy with their personal lives and outside commitments that often times family moments and memory making get left by the wayside.  And honestly, that is quite sad.  These are the moments that you will all remember.  And so I challenge YOU to make an effort to spend more time with your family doing fun things!  Perhaps set up a monthly family night where everyone takes turns bringing their favorite game to play.  And while the adults are enjoying a game,  dim the lights and put a movie on for the kids.  Give them popcorn in little bags and recreate the theatre experience in you own home.  And if you need a little help choosing a great movie for them, head on over to PureFlix. There you will find literally thousands of wholesome movies for every age.
They also offer educational videos for homeschool curriculum.  Check it out here!

So... unplug for the evening!  Yep, get off of those cell phones and social media; they can do without you for one evening.  Just spend an evening reconnecting with your family; talk, laugh and get to know what's going on in each other's lives while enjoying a FAMILY FUN NIGHT of game playing!


Fun Educational Kid Activities

I was first introduced to education.com back in July whenever I posted about a great educational summer activity for your kiddos.  I was so impressed with this site and all of the great resources it provides for not only educators, but also traditional and home-schooling parents as well.  And as a former educator myself, I know how important it is to keep students interested in learning with games, puzzles and any other variety of learning materials.  So today I would like to share a cute little  ocean-themed crossword puzzle (and key) with you to share with your little ones!

Under the sea what could it be?  Make a spelling splash with this fun ocean-themed crossword puzzle.  
There are so many more great activities you can find on Education.com.  You can browse the site by activity, grade, subject and lots more!  There are even lesson plans for educators to peruse.  Teachers will love that there are so many activities to choose from that will enhance almost any learning unit and students are sure to love you for choosing something that makes learning fun.  Explore more         
spelling fun at Education.com!


God Gives Us Seasons of Rest To Prepare for the Storms

I don't believe in coincidence.  I believe that God knows all. And He knows it before it ever happens. This past summer Hubby and I spent the month of May in Summerland, Key. It was the best and most relaxing time I think we've ever had on a trip. First, we had never spent an entire month doing whatever we wanted to do, whenever we wanted to do it. In 35 years of marriage. So that,  in and of itself, was a wonderful experience. We spent our days just piddling. He on his boat and I painting. Every day had a boat ride in it and in the evenings we would usually cook our catch of the day and watch movies. It was lazy, sun-filled days. Days I will always cherish. But now that I'm in a different season of life; one where the days are much more difficult with my mother, I realize He had that season of rest planned for me. A season of rest before the storm. So that I could handle the storm.

Some days I don't think I'm handling this season of life well.  It's almost like parenting again. I check with the nurses on the progress of my mother. How is she that day?  Do any issues, such as medications need to be addressed?  Has she been resting OK?  All of these things have become a part of my routine.  And then I make my way to my mother's room.  I walk in and greet her and almost immediately know how the visit will turn out.  Some days she is in pain and miserable so I attempt to make her comfortable. It usually doesn't work, but I try. Some days she's confused. And between dozing will ask me the same questions over and over. I answer them as many times as she asks.  And some days, very rare days now, her mind is clear. And we can talk, have a conversation like old times. But these days are far and few between. That's just how it is. It's her season of life. And she knows enough to know she doesn't like it. I don't like it for her. But "It is what it is."  

My mother doesn't feed herself any more so when I'm there I feed her.  What a humbling experience that has been. And I've had to help them turn her to treat her bed sores. I've seen them. I didn't necessarily want to see them but I had to. And I've been there to turn her and hold her hand while they are changing her diaper. At first, I think this was the worst part.  It wasn't because of the actual changing but because it was at that point that I knew the season in my life had really changed. And she knew hers had changed too. Because she didn't want to be in the shape she's in.  But she knew there was no other choice. There was no going back. 

Hubby and I have had this Alaskan cruise planned for a year. At that time who knew what would be going on?  But the time has come for the trip so off we go. While in the back of my mind is my mother. I've made arrangements for my oldest son to check on her, call me if there is a need.  My sister will be here too since we have been taking turns seeing our mother every other day. Am I apprehensive about leaving?  You bet!  But God knew. He knew whenever we decided to take this trip what season of life I would be in. He knew that I would need a chance to slow down and catch my breath. So I will bask in the knowledge that God is sovereign and He will take care of me in this and every season of my life. 

"To everything there is a season and time to every purpose under the heaven..." Ecclesiastes 3:1

Alaska Bound!

A couple of years ago whenever we were on our river cruise around France, our group of travelers began talking about getting together for another trip.  After the attacks on Paris while we were there our last couple of days, Hubby voiced his concerns about traveling out of the country again.  Well, actually what he said was, "I'm not going anywhere out of this country!"  It was a traumatic experience so I wasn't feeling very good about leaving the good old USA either.  SO...we came up with taking an Alaskan cruise!  We will be traveling with some of the same people from the last trip along with a few new ones for a total of around 16 people.  We will be leaving Thursday for Dallas and then heading to Seattle (another place I have never had the chance to visit!) on Friday and spending the day exploring there.  Saturday we will be leaving on the cruise ship and I look forward to sharing some of my photos on my Instagram account (Follow me @barbararogenmoser).  I will not be posting on the blog until I return so if you just want a little preview of my photos of Seattle and Alaska then hop on over there!  I'll see ya back here the 1st week of October with lots of fun things to share about our next adventure!
                                                                        Bon Voyage!