Thanksgiving Tablescape

I’m not sure how other families celebrate Thanksgiving, but one of the highlights is the tablescape. My designer uncle and florist friend tackle our Thanksgiving tablescape every year, and they are amazing. Half the fun of Thanksgiving is seeing how they out do themselves, and it becomes a thread in the conversation for the night. After a few years held with restraint (given the recession, it’s best not to be showy), they really out did themselves.

Such thoughtful care put into the details.

Do you notice that there aren’t any flowers in this display? Isn’t that fun? It’s all natural fruits and vegetables providing the myriad of textures and colors.

…adding in some final touches.

A master at work.

Candles lit, as the tablescape is almost done.

The glow of the water and wine bottles add a final texture and color to the tablescape. Tablescapes are meant to be thoughtful, creative and most importantly, fun. So next year assign a few friends the task of tablescape, give them a concept to work with and then let them have fun with it. It’s become such a great tradition for us.

DIY: Backing A Bookcase

Remember how I told you about my blank canvas? Well I’ve been adding to the room (on a tight budget, of course) and I wanted to share this cheap, fast do-it-yourself project.

You can see the beautiful plants I wrote about here, in the photo above. And also the Ikea curtains I added (click here to see their online specs). But do you notice that the back of the bookcase (my roommate left for us) is completely naked? Not only does this mean wires show in the back, but it visually looks cheap and bare. I got a little creative and came up with an easy solution.

Step 1: Layout the bookcase and asses the tools needed. I got out my hot glue gun, some tacks, an exacto knife and my roll of handy trace paper.

Step 2: Measure the width of the bookcase, and cut a piece of trace paper slightly larger than that length.

Step 3: Tack the corners in place, as this is just temporary and to hold the paper in place while you hot glue the corners down.

Step 4: Hot glue just under the trace paper in each corner. In case you ever want to take it out, this will make it much cleaner to remove. Once dry, remove all the tacks. Then repeat this all down the bookcase, being mindful that seems line up to where the bookcase horizontals will cover them.

If you followed the instruction above, your bookcase back should look a little something like this.

Then prop the bookcase back into it’s spot, and notice that by gluing in just the corners, it allows for a gap where cords can fit down which hides them from the front of the bookcase.

How easy was that?! And while it’s only a subtle difference with the trace paper, it makes the bookcase feel much more elegant than it is. If you want to add some more drama with a fun color or pattern, check out your local arts store for fun gift wrap paper, or even contact paper/wallpaper. This DIY bookcase backing can be quite the statement!

Miceli’s

On Friday night, my sister invited me to Miceli’s to use one of her Groupons. The deal was a 3 course meal for $15 (1 appetizer, 1 salad, and 1 pizza). If this deal comes up again, get it!

We made reservations for 8pm at their Universal location. Parking was a little tricky as it was Friday night along Ventura Blvd, but they offered valet (for a cost) or you could search for a spot along the narrow winding side streets leading up into the hills (like I did, because Im a proud cheapskate). I was running a little behind because of an accident on the 101 (per usual), so when I finally found a parking spot and walked half a mile down to the restaurant I was about 11 minutes late. As I walked up to the door of Miceli’s, a family was exiting the restaurant with the mother saying “Im glad we got here when we did, because if you get here after 7p, forget’aboutit!” I continued in, thankful Erica made reservations because the waiting area was packed with people. I apologized for being late and she said that even with the reservation she was told it would be a 15 mintue wait, which was perfect timing given my tardiness. After a few minutes of chatting, Erica’s name was called out by a man with a cone shaped bullhorn. We made our way through a packed restaurant to a back area where they gave the 2 of us a table for 4, which was great because it gave us room to spread out (a rarity at a packed LA restaurant).


This place was like being in a cartoon. The walls are covered in murals representing “old Italy” and hundred’s of chianti bottles in signed straw baskets strung around the restaurant as decoration. In the center of the restaurant a band was set-up. Occasionally the wait staff would get their 15 minutes of fame, jump up there and belt out a song. While singing they also walked around the restaurant with the microphone to make all sections feel included. On this Friday night there was a tween birthday party happening in a section behind out table, which meant the songs karaoke’d were mostly Miley and Bieber (not my favorite, but it made them happy).

When using a Groupon you have to present it while ordering, which basically implies to the waitress, I’m a cheapo that uses coupons. Don’t get me wrong, I love Groupon but when presenting it right off the bat, it always makes me think the service will be less than stellar because the waiter knows we won’t be spending a lot of money. At Miceli’s I was proven wrong, the waitstaff was excellent. Our waitress was a woman in her late forties (?), and she was extremely attentive constantly refilling our drinks and checking in with us. Considering it was a packed restaurant, it was all the more impressive.

Our Groupon allowed us one appetizer (we chose the fried zucchini), one salad (perfect for 2 people), and one pizza. We chose the large veggie pizza, but the deal was even good on their fancier pizzas (up to a $22 regularly priced pizza). What a deal! The food was delicious, the live music and crowds were entertaining, and the service was great. My sister and I each left with a doggie bag of 2 pieces of pizza each, and the total spent on the Groupon and tip came to $22. I highly recommend Miceli’s for families and groups, and remember to make a reservation!

Photo taken from Yelp.com

Shameless Plug: Chaos

My cousin wrote a book and it’s available on amazon + for kindle called Chaos!

Amazon describes it:

New York City, 1976: Heavily-armed, masked men hijack a subway train…and its deadly cargo.
New York City, Present: An expedition vanishes while conducting a top-secret operation deep underground.
A SHATTERED MAN WITH NOTHING TO LOSE…
To locate his missing friend, former urban archaeologist Cyclone Reed must piece together his shattered life and return to the one place on earth he truly fears…Manhattan.
A LOST WORLD FULL OF DANGER…
Soon, he’s storming through flooded subway tunnels, discovering a lost laboratory, battling a mysterious man-eating beast, and scaling a mountainous skyscraper. But as he plunges deeper into the strange and murky legends surrounding a piece of forgotten technology, he begins to untangle a staggering conspiracy.
A SHOCKING SECRET THAT WILL ROCK THE EARTH!
More than sixty years ago, a Nazi physicist created a weapon capable of setting the world aflame. Now, a diabolical industrialist plans to finish the job. At stake is the future of a nation…millions of innocent lives…and one man’s final chance at redemption.
You can purchase it HERE.