Blog Posts by Krista Fabregas

  • Post-holiday cleanup is an ideal starting point for spring cleaning and home improvement projects. But if the sagging economy isn't inspiring costly updates, you can still create a new look, add pizzazz or a make decorative statement on even the tiniest budget. Just add your own creativity to some helpful tips from a few innovative decorators.

    Here are some great ways to make the most of shoestring-budget decorating projects. If you're stuck for ideas on how to make low-cost, high impact changes to your home, check out my list of must-see shows; "Design Cents," "FreeStyle," "Mission Organization," and "Design on a Dime" on HGTV, and "Sell This House" on A&E. Each of these offers loads of inspiration and creative solutions that cost little to nothing.

    Looking for No-Cost Decorating Ideas? Start at Home…

    Design Tip Number 1: Shop… At Home
    When was the last time you rearranged your furniture? Now go one step further. Have you swapped major pieces or decorative accents

    Read More »from User post: Perk up post-holiday homes with these low- & no-cost home decorating tricks from the pros
  • Home find: Wipe-clean placemats that look anything but!

    Cleverly disguised as natural woven fibers or textured fabrics, a new generation of easy-care, wipe clean and washable placemats is gracing tables in worry-free style. So say good-bye to grandma's 60's-era sticky vinyl mats and hello to these easy-care lovelies - just in time for the holidays, too!

    Here are a few of my personal favorites, I have some of each of these in my home and have enjoyed them for years. I've recommended them to many of our restaurant clients, plus they're ideal for families or anyone looking to simplify without sacrificing style.

    These and other wipe-clean and washable placemat styles are available in SimplySmartLiving.com's easy-care placemat collection

    Washable Woven Malibu Oval Placemats - wipe clean or rinse in sink, then just shake dry:

    TableToppers solid-surfact textured vinyl placemats. These come in rectangles in 3 colors, too - totally wipe clean.


    Saleen Woven Placemats - these look very natural and have a true weave with a

    Read More »from Home find: Wipe-clean placemats that look anything but!
  • Well, I guess the obvious answer is I'm avoiding the issue and blogging!

    No... seriously, I have a pretty easy Thanksgiving planned this year, we're taking it on the road and going camping -- turkey, new puppy and all. So, I have managed to sidestep house prep woes this year -- but that has not always been the case!

    I love hosting Thanksgiving, I think even more than hosting Christmas. I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner in all its glory, the russet-hued decorations and the football games afterward. But, I am a working mom and though I manage to keep our small home uncluttered and tidy, if I put a "Martha" eye to it, I'm sure there would be lengthy list of homekeeping wrongs.

    Happily, I learned years ago that my guests were not concerned about dust bunnies under the sofa, as long as the turkey was succulent. Here's how I've managed to host Thanksgivings for more than 15 people on a working mom's schedule and in a house that seats, say 12 on a good day.

    Step One - The Weekend Before

    Read More »from 'Twas the Weekend Before Thanksgiving and All Through the House... How are You Preparing for the Big Day?
  • Make the Kids' Table the Best Seat in the House This Thanksgiving

    Ah, the kids' table... the spot where, if lucky, you might corral busy youngsters for a whopping seven minutes during Thanksgiving dinner. It seems just enough time for them to smear potatoes across their face, drop their plate on the floor, then materialize at the grownups' table just as you're getting seated.

    But there are ways to keep kids entertained while you eat. Here are a few tips for setting a kid-friendly table that keeps kids put, and content, so you can enjoy your meal.

    Start with Kid-Friendly Tableware
    -- The last thing anyone wants to do during a festive meal is clean up broken glasses or dishes, so choose kids' dinnerware wisely. Plastic or disposable dinnerware is (or should be) acceptable for kids even in formal settings. One fun and attractive dinnerware option is Bambu disposable dinnerware, made of, you guessed it, bamboo. They even have sporks! Bambu is the year's hottest earth-friendly dinnerware item. Or consider using durable plastic dinnerware.

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  • On-the-Go Childproofing Checkist: Make Holiday Visits Safer for Baby & More Relaxing for You

    Visits away from childproofed, kid-friendly homes can be stressful and even downright unnerving for parents of young children. New surroundings inspire kids to touch, test and even taste whatever they find. Such curiosity is natural, but it tends to make holiday visits anything but relaxing.

    It's easy to avoid much of this stress -- and potential dangers -- with a little safety pre-planning and some portable childproofing devices. Remember, even seasoned grandparents may have fragile collectibles, dangerous houseplants or dangling drapery cords in child-accessible spots.

    Here are several simple things hosts can do to alleviate obvious safety hazards. Ask if they mind addressing these common safety concerns during your visit:

    • Move fragile or breakable items to higher spots in the room
    • Move houseplants to out-of-reach areas. Even if nontoxic, leaves, flowers and berries can pose choking hazards
    • Remove tablecloths or table runners. These can be pulled off the
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  • Holiday Entertaining in Stress-Less Style

    A bustling kitchen, rooms bursting with friends and relatives, and the ever-popular kiddy table are a few of the joys - and challenges - of holiday entertaining. Whether you're hosting a large family gathering or contributing a culinary delight to the neighborhood potluck, these simple tips and smart entertaining solutions can help make holiday gatherings memorable and worry-free.

    Make Holiday Planning a Pleasant Task
    Advance planning is key to beating holiday party stress -- so make a 30-minute date with yourself to get inspired. Turn on some holiday tunes, brew a soothing drink and get a notebook to jot ideas and must-haves. Take stock of your entertaining and serving essentials on-hand - from platters and gravy boats to tablecloths and napkins - note your needs and shop to fill in any missing items at least one week before the occasion.

    Don't Go for "Broke"
    Hosting a crowd? Eliminate the worry of broken glass and china during busy gatherings by using attractive

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  • Love Testing New Recipes? Cook and Click to Win a Baker's Bundle in Alicia & Annie's Blog Event

    Two fun, free recipe sites have joined forces in a monthly blog event that recipe-seekers are sure to love... and the November contest's prize is simply delicious!

    To better illustrate their thousands of posted recipes, the Cooking with Alicia and Annie Blog holds a monthly event with a tempting prize drawing, and entering is easy. Just do what any cook loves to do... try a new recipe.

    To enter, pick a recipe on the site that interests you, cook it up, take a photo of it, and post a review - plus any additions, variations or tips you have to offer. Choose from mealtime basics, baked goods, desserts, holiday and regional specialties, along with hard-to-find craft, project and gift recipes like popular jar recipes so perfect for holiday gift-giving.

    You can post your recipe result entry on your own blog or on the recipe contest message board provided. All postings are automatically entered in the event drawing, and you can enter as many times as you wish by simply

    Read More »from Love Testing New Recipes? Cook and Click to Win a Baker's Bundle in Alicia & Annie's Blog Event
  • Six Budget-Stretching Secrets of Online Bargain Hunters

    The 2008 holiday season will likely be remembered by shoppers as the "year of great deals." Various factors, from the election to economic woes, are already sending nervous holiday-ready retailers scurrying to attract customers through enticing offers. Nowhere is this more apparent than the internet, where customers can comparison shop to their heart's content. But even savvy online shoppers might have overlooked these six budget-stretching tricks of the online bargain-hunters' trade.

    1. Shop Small and Save the Tax: Most small internet retailers are physically located in only one state, and thus required to collect sales tax only on sales within that state - meaning savings for the rest. Find sales tax information on a website's customer service or shipping page.

    2. Load Up on Flat-Rate and Free-Shipping Offers: If you've found the perfect gift on a website offering flat-rate or free shipping, spend a few extra minutes browsing for others on your gift list. Anything you can add

    Read More »from Six Budget-Stretching Secrets of Online Bargain Hunters
  • Remember Those Plastic Plates You Drew as a Kid? They're Still Around and as Fun As Ever

    Make-a-Plates, the same draw-it-yourself keepsake plates you may remember doing as a kid, are still around and more popular than ever. I'll admit I still have mine from kindergarten, and though it takes more than one hand to count the presidents since then, my plates still look great -- and are quite charming, according to my mother. So, when trying to come up with a fun holiday project for my daughter and her friends, Make-a-Plates popped to mind.

    If you've never heard of Make-a-Plate kits but are looking for a nifty project or gift for kids -- or anyone for that matter -- Make-a-Plates or similar kits for Mugs, Travel Tumblers and Photo Plates are worth a look. Here's how they work:


    • First, buy the Make-a-Plate (mug or tumbler) art kit, which includes art paper, markers, instructions and return envelope.
    • Next, let imagination go wild -- kids create a masterpiece; moms record favorite family recipes; friends create memory plates for brides, graduates, coaches -- the
    Read More »from Remember Those Plastic Plates You Drew as a Kid? They're Still Around and as Fun As Ever
  • Keep Halloween Hazards from Becoming a Real Scare!

    Spooky decorations, creepy costumes and candy-filled visions spur kids - and often the entire family - into a fun-filled frenzy on Halloween. But don't let hidden dangers spoil the evening for your ghouls and booys! Here are ten simple Halloween safety and planning tips to help keep fright night from becoming a real scare.

    10. Fill 'em up first: Send trick-or-treaters off with a full tummy so they won't be as tempted to eat candy before it's inspected.

    9. Have a Trick-or-Treating plan: Accompany young children at all times and send older kids out in a group with strict route guidelines and curfews - and a charged cel phone for emergencies. Don't forget flashlights or glow sticks for everyone, both to see and be seen.

    8. Remember safety basics: Emphasize to kids that Halloween night is no different when it comes to safety. Avoid strangers and dark houses, stay on well-lighted streets on a preapproved route, and take extra care when crossing streets.

    Read More »from Keep Halloween Hazards from Becoming a Real Scare!

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