Resolve #2: Tie Your Scarf 16 Ways

I so heart scarves! I find any excuse to wear them lol. They're such a simple, versatile, and inexpensive way to add style to any outfit and - of course - keep you just warm enough! The extra large, light weight scarves are my particular favorites, because they're small enough to tie around your next, yet big enough to wear as a shawl. Try a new scarf tie for your next lunch-in or casual to cocktail attire shindig. If you're hosting, a shawl style is more graceful. For my male hosts, try a braided style scarf against a crew or V-neck sweater. The best part of all these styles: use them any day you want to add some spunk to your scarf or outfit ... or to a cold temperature day!



When you're hosting a Winter shindig, don't skip a sleeveless number - just shawl-it with a lovely scarf to kept you warm and to add a total glam factor! Bonus: aim for a soft fabric such as a cashmere blend or modal.




To Tie-For

When you're hosting a more casual affair, show you're the hostess with the mostess with a fashionably tied scarf - it's a total conversation starter. Bonus tip: try these ties for a coffee or grocery run or whenever you don't feel like 'trying' to look good! 

all photos:

all photos:

Share how you tied your scarf and how it made you feel! We always love to hear from you.

And remember: Joy Designs Homes. Take care!

2016 Resolve #1: Cozy-up to a Bright Sweater

We know everyone - almost everyone - has new year resolutions. Some can be so hard to maintain, so we wanted to try something different: give you easily attainable resolutions to keep you motivated! We'll post resolves/goals throughout January for you to try. Let's go!

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Who says bright colors are only for Spring and Summer? What better way to show you're a stylish host then by wearing the unexpected: a bright sweater ensemble! This is a great option for a daytime event or a casual brunch. Check these tips and pics for achieving this look:

  • Aim for a well blended sweater, usually a hint of cashmere (love Italian cashmere) or wool (caution: merino wool can 'ball' up after some time) work well and will last long.
  • I love to balance mine with a dark basic color like black or navy or color block with a deep shade of another color.
  • A good fit, medium to dark wash jean with boots works well for a more casual look.
  • For you ladies, try them with pumps or high-heeled booties, pleated or A-line skirt, and a statement necklace or a string of pearls to add some femininity.
  • For you men, pair yours with a bow tie to add some serious swag!

Here are some casual options:

Totally wear with a matching statement necklace ...

Pair with a cable sweater for a cool and preppy combo ...

Here are some dressy options:

Add some color with a cardigan...

photo courtesy of

photo courtesy of

Add some leather to take your sweater up a notch. Don't forget some pumps....

photo courtesy of

photo courtesy of

Color blocking has never been so easy and so fun ...


Don't run from color in the cold months. Instead, embrace them! Let us know how these worked for you; share your comments! And remember: Joy Designs Homes

Chic Reindeer & Snowflake Socks!

Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy

Who doesn't luvvv colorful, fun, and warm socks? These festive footsies will totally make you glad it's winter and make you want to snuggle up with a warm cup of hot coco while watching a feel-good movie. Did someone say A Christmas Story? These lovelies are tall enough to wear under knee-high boots but cute enough to apparel with tennis shoes or sneakers! Socks are by JCrew and can be found here, herehere, and here!  

Thanks to for sharing these perfect pairs!


5 Simple Tips to Hosting a Flawless Thanksgiving!

It's that time of the year again to give Thanks & cut some turkey! Wow - how time flies. Getting ready for Thanksgiving can be a lot of work, especially if you're hosting. It seems like no matter how soon you start your preparations, there's never enough time. Either the grocery stores are crowed, your to-do list keeps growing, or you haven't started cooking. On top of that, you have no idea what you're going to wear. It can be very stressful. We totally understand, having helped host countless parties and events we know how stressful party planning is. But what we have learned is getting stressed out only delays your preparations and is no fun. That's why we've found staying organized is your friend. You shouldn't be in the kitchen during Thanksgiving; you've got to enjoy yourself too. So we put together five tips for hosting a flawless Thanksgiving party!


1. Have an Approximate Guest Count

When people are hungry, they are hungry. And when it's their turn to spoon some mac and cheese, and there's no mac and cheese left, oh they're going to be agitated. When I was in the catering world, one of the #1 rules was to overestimate everything - especially the number of guests. So let's say you're expecting 15 guests, then cook for 20 - 25 guests. The difference in number may sound small but it makes a whole lot of difference. As a general rule, a 9" casserole dishes feeds up to six to eight comfortably, maybe 10 if you have at least three other dishes for guests to select from. A half size, deep (4" deep) aluminum pan feeds 18 to 20 persons comfortably. Do relay your approximate guest count to any guests bringing dishes, especially if they're brave enough to bring a main dish. And don't forget extra ice for the drinks! Guests will more than likely want to take a plate on the road with them. So don't be afraid to cook a little bit more than expected to attend :) 


2. Stick to a Menu

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Creating a Thanksgiving menu shouldn't be too hard given we all know and love its staples. What, however, sets a dinner party or special gathering apart from any standard dinner is you're leading your guests to the main event - a lovely spread of some yummy entrees! Plus, this gives time for all guests to arrive to enjoy the grand meal together. Don't get me wrong - you don't have to print a menu for everyone to have. But it's a good idea as the host to jot down the menu for the occasion and categorize all the dishes into these three categories:

- Appetizers -

- Entrees & Side Dishes -

- Desserts (includes coffee and teas) -

Remember to place dishes guests are bringing into the above categories too. Organizing your meal is tremendously helpful! It helps you as a host to stay organized by guiding the order you prepare meals (prepare easy meals first and store until ready to serve - trust me) and by prioritizing which meals need to come out when. It's not a bad idea to have a tentative timeline for each category. For example, set aside 1hr for appetizers, 1 to 1.5 hours for entrees, and desserts and coffee for the rest of the evening. Having such time frames will encourage guests to mingle and gives you time to sneak away a few minutes to ensure the next dishes are ready to go.


3. Dress Your Table Beautifully

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It's one thing for food to taste good, but it's even better when it looks good!  Aside for being attractive to the eye, it really gives your guests something delicious to look forward to. It shows you the host really went out your way for well deserved guests.  If you're having a sit down dinner, where you're placing food in the middle of the table, it may be difficult to have a stunning centerpiece. Instead, transfer food into beautiful platters of similar colors/designs (I love white and pewter platters) and focus on using quality pieces (e.g. plates, silverware, napkins) for you table setting. Show off your attention to detail by using place cards in the shape of acorns or leaves and using beautiful serving utensils and salt/pepper shakers. If you have the room, stick to low centerpieces and a simple garland/runner or several small floral arrangements. Avoid tall arrangements unless you are decorating a buffet table. If you're having a buffet, chaffers are helpful and buffet cards add a very nice touch!


4. Be the Chicest Host Ever

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Who said the host can't look fabulous? You're the host, so you have to be the best dressed person of the party. Yes, you will be busy running between greeting everyone and making sure nothing is burning in the kitchen. But you'll just do it all looking chic. To help keep you moving but looking ah-mazing, try a fitted, well-cut sheath dress that has a touch of spandex/stretch to it. A nice caramel, earth tone, navy or black color flatters almost everyone. Pair your dress with some bling accessories, like a stunning necklace or bracelet, and some hott stud earrings or low-maintenance hoops. Throw on some badd pumps (have your ballerina flats nearby) and finish your outfit with a smoky eye or your favorite make-up. Add some red lips and you're done!


5. Light Candles

One of my most fav candle brands ever! Try the sandalwood vanile candle to give your Thanksgiving an autumn aroma. Photo courtesy of

While I was growing up in sweet home Alabama, we would boil cinnamon sticks to scent the home before guests arrived for a party. Not that the food didn't smell delicious, but we didn't want guests to know we just finished cooking :) In hindsight, I would totally do that again, but I'd enlist the help of scented candles. I adore candles; the ambiance they create is undeniable and perfect for a cozy gathering! I'm not saying your home shouldn't smell like your yummy food, but a lovely scent helps set the mood for a memorable time with family and friends. The smell of food is best reserved for when it's actually time to eat :) A few scented candles safety stationed at your foyer, living room and bar/beverage station and whereever guests will gather will do the trick. Light your candles 20-30 mins before guests arrive, and they'll totally love that you were anticipating their arrival!


Let us know which tips you loved and leave us your comments. Have a blessed Thanksgiving! Remember - joy designs homes!