Modern Holiday Decor

My black addiction is not gothic or morbid.  It’s modern.  I love black.  Yes, my closet is filled with an all black wardrobe and more black shoes than one should ever own. I also especially adore my black velvet chairs that accent my living room.  I have a thing with black.

Last year’s Christmas in our new home was a dust filled construction site, a very white Christmas indeed.  Despite the mess we put up a tiny little tree and made the best of the holidays.  But even in last year’s dust I felt that this home isn’t the style of a wildly colorful tree adorned with the colorful collections of ornaments from past years.  This home felt so minimal and I remember feeling the tree should feel as modern as the home.

I know Kevin would prefer a giant 10 foot tall Christmas tree that skims the very surface of the ceiling and fills the room like a Clark Griswold tree.  He is a go big or go home kind of guy, but I prefer a small skinny little tree. The little tree no one wants, has soft weak little branches, and a big hole on its side.  A tree that I will overload with garlands of white christmas lights and as many silver, gold, and black ornaments as it can hold.   Yes, black ornaments.

When I searched for inspiration on a modern christmas tree I came across deep rich hues for ornaments in plums, navy, and black shades.  I loved the idea of matte black ornaments nestled in the branches, well…that and I also needed black ornaments for my modern holiday door wreath, see the blog here.  

 I love how the modern Christmas tree looks in our living room this year. One year after the renovations have finally wrapped up, here is this small but perfect little tree fitted into the perfect little spot next to those black velvet chairs.  This spot was picked to be viewed from every room and corner of the house.  You truly can see it no matter what room you are in, even if it’s just a branch or reflection of the lights in a mirror. That’s right this year it’s truly a black Christmas with my modern Christmas tree. 

Here is some other holiday touches in the home that have me feeling all warm and fuzzy….


Modern Holiday Door Wreath

I found inspiration on the  Made From Scratch Blog for a simple modern wreath. That post in the link looked like the most fun little Christmas party.   Usually I prefer classic white lights and Traditional reds and greens during the holidays, but I fell in love with the idea of this modern wreath with black ornaments.  It was a good excuse to get my art’s and crafts on! 

My most helpful momma, the queen of all arts and crafts, was here to help me with the task of pruning  and trimming the decorative pine stems from Michael’s.   Using a simple embroidery hoop, I started working from the middle edge  down toward the clasp where we clustered the pine cones and spray painted black ornaments.

Now that we have renovated our entire Miami home into a modern transitional design with a very simple color palette of grays, taupe’s, and black.  This wreath compliments the tone of the interiors and cheerfully greets guests.  Yes, Kevin (my lovely better half), yes the wreath is finished, it’s a modern door wreath. 

Holiday Home Scent

We are a family that LOVES home fragrances and scented candles.  When combined in a home they should all smell good together and not become overwhelming. Mixing scents should be natural and seasonal which is why I love simmering the natural scents on the stove top. See recipe below. Also, here our some tips to mixing and using home fragrances this season. 


There is nothing sweeter than the smell of fresh cut pine and those warm spices that make the holidays feel cozy.  When mixing scents I try to keep use even my favorite smells and perfumes at the right time of season.  The cleaning products, perfumes or soaps, and scented candles are all more items that I carefully select based on scents.    Taking a hint from nature.  All plants and flowers bloom or flourish at different times of the year giving off their natural scents which is most when I try to use those types of oils or aromas. 


Usually all natural scents and seasonal scents do smell wonderful together.   But it is super important to note that using all of them combined can smell like walking through a lineup of perfume spritzers at a mall.  Choose a scent and use it throughout the home.  It’s a clue from department store and hotels.  They have one signature scent in the air throughout their spaces which are tailored to them.  The scent could be a spicy blend or floral citrus that is tweaked with hints of seasonal aromas depending on the time of year.


Whenever possible I always use natural, essential oils for scents.  I prefer cleaning products like Mrs. Meyers or  Simply Spotless and fragrances for beauty like Jo Malone.   Especially during the holidays or a good home cleaning day I love to try all-natural mixes for a fresh scent.   During the holidays I combine my favorite natural flavors in a pot filled with water, simmer on low for hours which fills the house with an awesome aroma.  This mix can even chill over night and be reused the next day, add water if necessary.  See below for my “recipe” or search this link to Pinterest for many more great combinations.



My fresh holiday home scent included: 1 apple, 2 cinnamon sticks, a packet of cloves, 3 small tangerines, 4 star of anise, 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, 1 lemon,  two branches of fresh pine, 1 cup of fresh cranberries, and a pot of water. Simmered for 4 hours, and the house smelled like the holidays have finally arrived!




Apricot Glazed Carrots

I know my purpose is to share our interior remodeling and entertaining decor on my blog.  After all, I do not think I have near the amount of knowledge or skills as many other talented food bloggers, but this is the most delicious recipe I have EVER came across.  Recently discovered in my quest for holiday side dishes, this delightful carrot recipe was simple to prepare, able to be made ahead of time, and can be used year round.




The styling, preparation, and glaze recipe for these roasted carrots was entirely inspired by Carlsbadcravings.com recipe for carrots, which is a honey garlic recipe.  The recipe is great.  I especially loved how his website offers quantity adjustments.  When cooking for 16-20 people I definitely help with that.  Scroll down for recipe details.





I used Apricot Ginger Jam from Stonewall Kitchen.  This jam is one of those amazing finds from my local HomeGoods store.  For those of you who don’t know, the pantry aisle of your HomeGoods is a hidden gem for fun foodie finds. Like the black pasta used at our Halloween Dinner Party.




I may have slightly adjusted Carl’s recipe with the ginger in the jam and used slightly more mustard powder (personal preference).  I also opted for fresh thyme from my small (READ: very small herb garden) which I chopped up and left in a ramekin on the counter over night so it was lightly dried out, and I think made the recipe a bit more earthy.  But this mix is AWESOME, find it here: secret ingredient carrots recipe.


Bonus: Apricot Salad Dressing

For a last minute salad dressing, I used about 1/4″ cup of the glaze with about 3 tablespoons olive oil and 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar.




Thanksgiving Dinner


Our family had such a wonderful time at Thanksgiving.  This past holiday was such a treat for all of us gathered in our backyard at the dinner table.  I think one of the most important things about interior (or exterior) design is how you enjoy the space.  Being that we love entertaining we designed this house and our backyard to be enjoyed by large gatherings of friends and family, just like a Thanksgiving Dinner Party.


Thanks Dad for snapping a picture of me at the table, it’s my “could-be-in-a-magagzine- pose” …well…maybe one day. 😉


Our house is always busy and active.  We love having friends and family over often for casual, even impromptu gatherings.  I love that everyone feels welcomed, as if it is their own home. (Or at least I hope you do, if you are one of those who visit my home and are reading this).  When we started our renovations, furniture selections,  and picked out paint (the washable, durable, boy-proof kind) we kept in mind how the space would be used.


Centerpieces re purposed from the Painted Pumpkins blog  and fresh flowers. 


Considering how the back yard would be used, we planned for a great large deck that could transform from a lazy tanning Sunday to a Friday night Dance party quickly, or in this case a dinner party for 16.  This was the first Thanksgiving I have ever hosted.  From the table decorating to the menu planning, and the cooking, I enjoyed every bit of it. The pumpkins, from the Painted Pumpkins blog even made their grand appearance as centerpieces here at the table and other spots in the house.


  Berry color hued flowers with fresh herbs and ferns from the garden for a simple table decor. 

I loved making the food from scratch and I will share some of the recipes that I will treasure for years like the Apricot Glazed Carrots,  Sage Mashed Potatoes, and the most amazing Italian Sausage Stuffing I have ever had. (If I made the stuffing can I toot my horn? Is that bragging too much? But seriously though, I LOVED IT).   However in this post the table decorating is taking center stage.  It was simple and garden themed, after all we were in our backyard garden.


Basil tied with a fern leaf was the simple table decor. 


With a big thanksgiving meal, keep the appetizer prep and spread simple…champagne and cheese board with some nut mixes. 


Jackie DiCi Thanksgiving Dinner
Moments before the special guest, the Turkey came out.

A very special thank you to my mom.  From the gravy to the details there is so much I could not have done without you.   Also, Mr. Kevin, you sir are the best.  Simply the best!


Thanksgiving Dinner Invitations

Thanksgiving Dinner Invitations

Thanksgiving Dinner Invitations

You’re invited to Thanksgiving Dinner! Ok, so maybe in your family you don’t need an invitation to the annual Thanksgiving dinner. Some family traditions are so deeply rooted  that little changes in regards to the where dinner will be hosted or whose going to get a bit tipsy.  In our growing and changing family, we are getting married, having babies, or spread across the country. Traditions get complicated.

You can never please everyone, but what you can do is just make it special for you and those who are able to be there with you.  This year we were given the honor to carry on the Thanksgiving tradition and host the large family event. It’s our first Thanksgiving in our newly remodeled Miami home and we are VERY excited! For a special little touch, I made invitations to dinner.

You may have noticed from my previous, Painted Pumpkins post that if I have spray paint I will paint something. In a “quick trip to Target” (two hours and lots of stuff I didn’t go to the store for) I picked up a stationary set of blank card stock paper and envelopes and then went home and got a little paint on them.  Each one is unique, I applied painters tape in different patterns each time, and quickly removed it so that I did not ruin the paper.  It came off cleanly with a nice neat paint line.  I love the colors picked for those pumpkins, which will also make another appearance on the dinner table as succulent floral centerpieces, so I see a theme trending here.





Maybe it inspires you to send your own invitation, to someone who hasn’t visited in a while, or someone who is always there, and you want to remind them how much you are looking forward to having them at your table.  Because most importantly, in the digital age of today, the art of snail mail is so much more fun.