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A Taste of Paradise

Happy Friday! As you’re reading this, I’m lucky enough to be headed to the Bahamas to do a Disney cruise with the fam. I’ve never been on a cruise and while I’ve always kind of thought of them as floating petri dishes, I’ve heard great things about the Disney ones so fingers crossed!

Speaking of the Bahamas, I’ve always loved India Hicks’s relaxed island style. Despite being design royalty as the daughter of David Hicks, and friend to real royalty as Prince Charles’s god daughter and one of Princess Diana’s bridesmaids, she always comes across as laid back and approachable in her design.

If I really had my wish, I’d be ditching the Mickey cruise and relaxing in one of the four houses Hicks rents out on Harbor Island and Windermere Island in the Bahamas.

Here are a few shots of the more modern Windermere property as they were featured in last September’s Coastal Living….


I love the double doors in the corners of the room to maximize light. And, of course, there’s a David Hicks pillow front and center on the bed…still one of my favorite patterns.

Although I might rather stay in one of these adorable kids’ rooms…

I alsohad no idea that Hicks has a line for HSN. I’m always surprised what HSN has–a few years ago they partnered with John Robshaw and remember some of the great stuff Nate Berkus and Jonathan Adler had in their lines for HSN (pre Target and JCP for them)? I got some bedding from the John Robshaw line and it’s held up great…actually as well as any of the other pieces I’ve ordered from him which was a huge surprise.

Here are a few of my favorite things from her line…

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Celebrating July 4th

We’re back! Hope everyone had a great week. Such a good week around here–super busy, but great family time. Started off a fun weekend hanging out at Wilmette Harbor (I think Madeleine has aspirations of hanging out in the South of France…)

Madeleine july 4 harbor

…and fishing off of the back of Grandpa’s boat. My father-in-law has the best view of the Bahai Temple–so beautiful to just sit and watch the light change in the evening.

Madeleine Conor July 4

We then had our big 4th of July party which was a lot of fun. Amy came over early to help prep and keep me focused on my to do list while the rest of our families went to watch the Evanston parade.

Blue ikat pillows, table linens and a few little flags on a red table set a festive tone. BTW, a note to parents–invest in a jumpy house….perfect energy burner…best purchase ever for parties and everyday!

July 4 party 1

Kept the tables super simple–fresh white flowers and a little trail mix in white and blue bowls. I wrapped the glass vases in themed french fry holders from World Market like Amy posted about here.

July 4 Party 2

There are about 30 kids 6 and under at the party so we decided on having one table where a few could sit down–mostly they’re just running around like Lord of the Flies. We used paper from IKEA to cover the table so kids could draw and used duct tape to put a red/white/blue stripe down the center. Fun and practical.

July 4 Party 3 Kids Table

July 4 Party 4 Kids Table

Amy’s husband and her daughter creating a masterpiece…

July 4 Party 5

Snacks were simple and kid-friendly–pretzel rods, popcorn and trail mix–all things that could sit out in a little heat and not get all gross.

July 4 Party 6

July 4 Party 7

Loved  these straws to go with a pitcher of lemonade (both from World Market my go-to source for July 4 decor!) I keep the glasses small because the kids end up leaving half of every drink.

July 4 Party 8

July 4 Party 9


Pulled pork, beans, mac & cheese, potato chips and fruit was on the menu–not exactly low cal, but delich!

July 4 Party 10 Buffet

Andy loves his Hecky’s bbq!

July 4 Party 11

For dessert, we took a crack at recreating another one of the ideas Amy posted about–we put them all on a tray and just brought it out after everyone had eaten.

July 4 Party 12 Dessert

July 4 Party 13 Dessert

July 4 Party 14 Dessert

My kids used duct tape to cover old Vitamin Water bottles. They were supposed to be used for bowling, but in all honesty, ended up being launched around by crazy five and six year olds.

July 4 Party 15

July 4 Party 16

Love this pic of our daughters…

July 4 Party 17

It was extra special for me this year because my brother and sister-in-law were visiting from New Jersey!

July 4 Party 18

And, after all that planning and setting up, in the end it always ends up looking like a disaster!

July 4 Party 20

GREAT day–such a fun party. And to top off the weekend, the five of us headed to the Cubs game on Saturday. Couple of selfies from the game…


This is as good of a family shot we could get!


On a totally separate note, because things are so busy with the kids out of school and client work is picking up, so Amy and I are going to do a summer schedule with new posts on M/W/F and on Thursdays we’ll do a throwback post to one of our favs from last year. We’ll go back to posting every day once the kiddos are back in school! See you Wednesday.

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4th of July Party Decor

My husband is anxiously getting ready to put his chairs out for our local hometown parade (people here put their chairs out four days early to secure a spot!)  I, on the other hand, have been thinking about decor and food ideas for a 4th of July party. Tessa hosts a fabulous party every year after the parade and has put me on the hunt to come up with some holiday decor/food/activities for her party.

Good news is I didn’t have to look very far this year for some great ideas. I recently got my Better Homes and Gardens July issue (thanks, mom!) and they always have the best party ideas.

Here are few of my favorites:

I’ve found most people don’t want to eat too many sweets when it’s 90 degrees out and sweat is dripping off their foreheads. So why not create a snack table with all-American treats. Snacking on some twizzlers or popcorn is much easier than a messy dessert. So skip the apple pie this year and keep it simple.


Better Homes and Gardens

Start saving those cans now…what a fun idea and so easy to recreate.  This is an easy craft that young kids could help with and something to have fun with all summer long. Instead of painting, you could use duct tape, too!

bag toss

Better Homes and Gardens

Here’s an idea where they’ve used french fry liner papers from World Market to create candle and flower vases.


Better Homes and Gardens

So simple and easy to make by using some patriotic ribbon.


Better Homes and Gardens

Great idea for a kids’ table or perfect for a party favor!


Better Homes and Gardens

I love this idea of creating some special snacks for watching the fireworks. Popcorn with M & Ms is always a treat in my household–now if I can only keep my kids up late enough to watch the fireworks this year.

snack cartons

Better Homes and Gardens

And finally, as I was writing this post late last night (finding a moment to myself with the kids at home is becoming harder and harder…) I took a look at last year’s post I wrote and thought I would re-visit the idea. So if you were a reader last year, thank you and hope you liked them the first time, and if you’re newer to our blog, here’s another look at some old but great party ideas.

Keeps the food protected but looks great, too!

4 Men 1 Lady Blog

 Great idea for serving vegetables and dip–we did this for Tessa’s party last year and everyone loved it.


Healthy snack for the kids.


Amazingly cool and refreshing!

Big Bears Wife Blog


Okay, Tessa hope this helps with your party planning.  It’s always a fabulous party!

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