Musings About Life... After Birth



Posted by Chelsea on December 09, 2009

What’s that old saying about houseguests being like fish…both start to stink after a few days? If you need some help on handling houseguests this holiday season, there are some great tips currently up on The Family Groove. Check them out below, and be sure to check out the site for all sorts of other fantastic holiday survival advice.

Guest Room Basics

Start with a quick round of season’s cleaning! There’s no time like the present to go through (toss, organize, donate or recycle) all of your stuff. You know, the stuff that you forgot you had that’s taking up space in the attic, basement, closets, cabinets, etc.

Be sure to give your guests a place to unpack in both drawers and the closet. Provide several empty hangers and either a bench or a stand for their suitcase, too.

Be sure the bed you give your guests is a comfortable one. If you have an old mattress, invest in a topper for added plushness. Fresh sheets and pillows—that are in good shape!—are a must. Provide a quality comforter or duvet and extra blankets.

The bedside table should have a lamp for reading, flowers in a small vase, magazines, books, paper and a pen. Other basics of fine hospitality include a pitcher of water and a glass. A clock and music, either an iPod docking station or Sirius radio, will make your guest feel right at home.

Hang a bathrobe on the back of the door and stack fresh towels in the bathroom. Be sure the shower has shampoo, conditioner and shower gel.

Consider purchasing and having your guest’s favorite tea on hand. Or if your guest favors a particular cocktail, have all the mixings ready to get him or her into the holiday spirit!

Bring a little holiday décor right to their door by placing a wreath or door ornament on their door handle and/or placing a bowl of sparkling ornaments on a tabletop in their room.

Room fragrance or a scented candle keep the air fresh. A small bowl of candy is also a sweet touch.
Just remember: Whether you choose to incorporate some, a few or all of these tips, the idea is to make your guest(s) feel at home.

Colleen Mullaney has enjoyed a long and dynamic career devoted to style and entertaining. Whether it be through her many published works or with her friends and family, Colleen has made it her passion to bring style to the world through floral design, home decorating and crafting. Colleen is a former editor in chief of Family Circle Homecrafts, FTD In Bloom and Jo-Ann magazines. Most recently, she partnered with Chris Madden on the launch of her magazine At Home with Chris Madden.

Her books include Shells, Faux Fabulous Florals (Sixth&Spring) and her popular Punch (in its third printing with Chronicle Books; more than 30,000 copies have been sold in such outlets as Williams-Sonoma and Anthropologie). Colleen will celebrate her take on bridal with One-of-a-Kind Weddings (Creative Publishing) as well as the global entertaining landscape with It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere (Sixth&Spring). Colleen has created interiors for residential and commercial spaces, and she’s designed cottage gardens and floral arrangements for clients up and down the East Coast. You can also see her work in full color on HGTV’s Insider’s Garden and soon on the web with a yet-to-be-announced project. Colleen lives in Westchester, N.Y., with her husband and three children, where she is constantly hosting playdates and dinner parties, toiling in the garden, and working on future projects.

For more from Colleen, go to

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Posted by Chelsea on December 04, 2009

Purchasing gifts for others is never easy. Whether it’s the holidays or any time, really, sometimes, you just need someone to point you in the right direction. The Family Groove has an AWESOME feature up right now with gift guide for nearly every person on your list. Check’ em out, here. There are 18 (18!) total, so you have no excuse to send gift certificates this holiday season. Consider yourself informed.

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Posted by Chelsea on December 02, 2009

This afternoon at 2:15 p.m. EST on XM 155 or Sirius 102, I’ll be joining Broads Molly and Christine to share some of my favorite hostess and teacher (or really, anyone who you feel needs a small token of your appreciation) gift ideas! Here’s what we’ll be checking out:

1) Fresh Frankincense, Myrrh and Gold Oval Soap and Petite Candle Trios, $45 each, or

I get the gold, but who knows what the deal was with the original gifts of frankincense and myrrh? These collections of artisanal, triple-milled, pure vegetable soaps and candles with lead-free wicks, however, leave no room for interpretation. Laced with absolutely delicious, season-inspired scents , each set, which comes in a gift-ready box, is undoubtedly a precious gift.

2) “The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever” and Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever, $16.47 each,

Don’t hate on the way your mom used to make dinner — casserole and slow-cooker cooking is very 2010 (not to mention, convenient. These two books make 70’s-era cuisine gourmet again, and offer tasty, healthy recipes for quick and easy, yet totally elegant meals.

3) Jo Malone Tea Box Deluxe Candle Collection, $395,

The perfect “from the whole office” gift, this limited-edition keepsake is extremely indulgent and luxurious. Nestled in a beautifully textured cream-colored tea box are three uniquely scented deluxe candles complete with engraved Jo Malone candle lids and a silver-plated wick trimmer and candle snuffer. The candle scents include Eau de Cologne, Parma Violets and Sweet Almond Macaroon.


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