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A Dresser for Every Room in Your Home

tall lindsey chest entryway

This post is sponsored by Ethan Allen. The opinions are mine.

If you follow me, you know by now that I adore double duty furniture. In my book, green living starts with buying things that will last, which is why I try to buy versatile pieces of furniture.

A dresser is typically associated with the bedroom. But if you select one with the right style, your new dresser or chest can go in any room. I will show you how three dressers feel at home in an entryway, a living room and a dining room. Continue Reading

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My Hot Cocoa and Cookie Exchange Party for Non Bakers (with free printables)

holiday hot cocoa bar

For my second holiday printable post for HP, I was inspired by the cookie exchange party set of Catch My Party. But I skipped the baking part. Instead, I integrated the concept of winter sports and the promotion of local bakers. The idea came to me because we always practice winter sports during the holiday season. It helps to be active during the day and go outside between the night feasts. For me, the beverage of choice after a winter activity is a tasty hot chocolate.

Last weekend, my husband and I went shopping for snowshoeing equipments for us, including our toddler son. Since Zack is too young for skiing or skating, snowshoeing will be our winter activity this year.  I can’t wait for his first time.

With our busy life, I did not find the time to bake cookies this year. I saw many small local bakers who sell cookie mix in a jar or ready-to-eat holiday cookies. Therefore, I devised a cocoa and cookie party where you supply the cocoa bar and your friends bring their exquisite store-bought cookies. We can then exchange what are the best places in town to buy delicious cookies.

The Making of a Hot Cocoa Bar

hot cocoa bar for a snowshoeing party
I printed the the party sign, the paper sheets, the straw flags and the party circles

You will recognize elements of my style in the way I set up my hot cocoa bar for this post. I prefer that people makes their own hot chocolate from scratch instead of making a large batch of hot chocolate. I do this because hot chocolate separates easily. My guests have access to an assortment of hot cocoa powders and chocolate chips from milk chocolate to dark chocolate. To suit all taste buds, I also give them the choice between warm milk only, hot water only or a mix of hot water and milk. It is fun because we can share or experience other hot cocoa recipes.

My favorite hot chocolate fixings are spices (cinnamon, chili, ginger, nutmeg), flavoured sugars. For the adults, I supply mint liquor and orange liquor.

Free Holiday Printables for Your Cookies and Cocoa Party

catch my party holiday cookies and cocoa printables

The Catch My Party Cookies and Cocoa and printable set includes an editable invite to an exchange cookie party, editable tented cards, straw flags, water bottle labels, party circles, party signs, patterned papers, a mini banner, a full-size banner, gift tags, recipe cards, and thank you cards. CLICK HERE to download the entire printable collection.

sponsored by HPAbout our Sponsor

This holiday season, let loved ones know how much you care. Use your favorite photos to create something personalized and unique for everyone on your list. Make it memorable. Make it meaningful. Make it matter. Go to hp.com/holiday for inspiration and ideas.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by HP via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of HP.

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The Santa Milk & Cookies Tradition at My House and Free Holiday Printables

santa milk and cookies table

Santa Claus is a holiday tradition that I cherish. It brings back sweet childhood memories that I wish to transmit to my son. My husband and I can’t wait that our son embrace Santa Claus. Like most babies, our son was scared last year when he sat on Santa’s lap. We have high hopes that our son will come to love the jolly old man in the red suit this year.

Beside reading Santa Claus stories to my son, I want to start a Santa milk and cookies tradition just for him. I can’t wait to hear him laugh as we’ll create new family memories. With all the big celebrations happening during the holiday season, it is important for me to allow some quality time with my husband and my son.

For now, I gave you a head up about the design of my Santa Milk & Cookies table on Christmas eve. The “Santa Treats” printables designed by Hostess with the Mostess were a good starting point. They inspired me to design a playful set up where lovely animals mix with old fashioned winter activities. Displaying a few toys makes that corner more inviting for Santa and for my son.

santa milk and cookies table with toys

On Christmas Eve, I will hang a small carrot bunch on one handle of his red rocking moose. Instead of reading him a book that night, we will tell him how Santa and his reindeers will enjoy our treats. He will be thrilled to help us bring the cookies, especially if he can eat one. I look forward to that night. We won’t forget to capture these precious family moments in photos.

Free Holiday Printables

The HWTM Santa Treats printable set includes party flags, party circles, 5×7″ signs, patterned papers, a “DELICIOUS” garland banner, and blank tent cards. CLICK HERE to download the entire printable set.

santa treats printables set overview

For my Santa treats table, I used one 5×7″ sign, two patterned papers, one party flag and three party circles. I printed the party circles and the party sign on cardboard and the rest is printed on a semi-glossy, high brillance 32 lbs paper. For a holiday party, I like the slight contrast in colors that you get when you mix paper types. I played the matte versus glossy angle with the baubles on the small Christmas tree.

santa milk and cookies table

Do you follow the milk and cookies for Santa tradition at your house? If yes, how do you make it special for your kids?

sponsored by HPAbout our Sponsor

This holiday season, let loved ones know how much you care. Use your favorite photos to create something personalized and unique for everyone on your list. Make it memorable. Make it meaningful. Make it matter. Go to hp.com/holiday for inspiration and ideas.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by HP via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of HP.

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The Gift of Giving with the Doves of Hope Campaign

dove of hope program

During the holiday season, we are solicited to help the least fortunate ones. Besides helping the poor, there is another group that needs our support, cancer patients and their families. These patients — and the family members who take care of them — would prefer to enjoy holiday celebrations rather than go to the hospital for treatments during the holiday. With a simple gesture, you can tell them that they are not alone in the fight against cancer. Your support gives them strength.

The Doves of Hope Campaign

Cancer doesn’t discriminate. It can happen to anyone, young or old, poor or rich, whether you have been good or naughty this year. Cancer patients and parents talked, in this video, about how cancer has changed their lives forever. I was touched when I heard this mom tells how it comforted her to see the dove in memory of her 22 years old son, who died of brain cancer. You know that it can happen to everyone.

doves of hope atrium display

Because you need to heal the body and mind, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation launched 10 years ago the Doves of Hope campaign. The campaign gives patients and their families tremendous hope during their journey with cancer in two ways.

First, you tell cancer patients and their families that you care by dedicating a dove. They have a simple online app for decorating your dove. Cancer patients and their families can feel the love from your dedicated doves in the atrium of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and their online Dove Gallery.

The second part is through voluntary donations made to The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. Your donations are used for research, equipment, improving patient care and their comfort during their journey. Princess Margaret Cancer Centre is one of the top 5 cancer centers in the world. Therefore, funding this hospital can make a difference for everyone touched by cancer.

Here is my dove of hope!

dove of hope
sourcing: My Dove of Hope

Over 55,000 Doves of Hope have been dedicated to people touched by cancer. This year, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation hopes to have 11,000 Doves of Hope dedicated to loved ones. Dedicate yours right now at DoveofHope.ca.

Visit ThePMCF on Facebook.
Follow @thePMCF on Twitter.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation via their PR agency. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.

MEDIA buzz

My Holiday Entertaining Tips for Coup de Pouce

kim vallee interview for coup de pouce decembre 2012

kim vallee interview for coup de pouce decembre 2012

I just want to share an interview that I did for the magazine Coup de Pouce. I was happy to share my entertaining tips with the journalist Annie Richer for an article about the top 10 rules to be the perfect hostess or guest this holiday season.

You can read it all in the December 2012 issue of Coup de Pouce  from page 107 to 111. Etiquette expert Cendrine Chénel also shares her tips. We talk about it from different angles.

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9 Ways to Decorate and Entertain with Chocolate this Holiday Season

lindt lindor chocolate box and holiday gift display

lindt lindor chocolate box and holiday gift display

The delicious Lindt Lindor balls have always been part of my family’s Christmas tradition. Over the years, I’ve used them for decorating my home, for entertaining and naturally, for gifts. So, I was thrilled when I was asked to share how I incorporate Lindor chocolates into my holiday celebrations and entertaining routine.

Let’s start with holiday décor; why not create a festive gift display on a shelf or side table? While most of your gifts will stay under the tree, Lindor’s nested gift boxes bring a sense of order and height to the composition. Adding a few festive decorations will complete the look.

Mini Christmas trees are ideal for small spaces. Try hanging Lindt’s snowman and snowflake balls on a bouquet of white branches with snowflake ornaments and tiny blue baubles. You could also tie the chocolate balls together with fishing line to make a garland for your mini tree.

Creating a wreath with unusual materials adds je ne sais quoi flair to your holiday décor. In the past, I made wreaths with a rustic bird nest, baubles and Tiffany-style boxes. This year, I will transform the red-wrapped milk chocolate balls into a Christmas candy wonderland wreath.

Making your own advent calendar will put many smiles on your child’s face. Between the tree ornaments, the craft supplies, and the little toys, you could reward your kids for their good deeds with a few chocolate treats.

If you are hosting a party or dinner, Lindor balls can garnish a martini (click here for the Chocolate Raspberry Lindtini recipe and for more Lindt chocolate recipes). After dinner, keep your mignardises (tiny, bite-sized desserts) simple by serving an assortment of Lindor chocolates on a platter.

Being creative with your hostess gift presentations doesn’t require being crafty. For example, you can simply fill a ceramic egg crate with delicious chocolate pieces.

Finally, I keep a supply of quality milk chocolate on hand for all my holiday baking needs. Whether it’s homemade brownies for a potluck or a holiday cookie exchange, it’s one less trip to the grocery store. And considering how hectic the holiday season is, that may just be the best treat of all.

sponsored by LindtFor your chance to instantly win one of their Daily Dream Prizes, make sure to enter the Dream with Lindor this holiday season contest on Facebook.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Lindt Lindor via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Lindt Lindor.

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My Guide to Stress-Free Impromptu Holiday Entertaining

charcuterie platter

charcuterie platter for easy entertaining

Everyone is so busy during the holiday season that the only way to see old friends may be to host an impromptu event. It is possible to minimize your effort and create a memorable cocktail party or dinner party. You can pull off any improvised get-together by following a few simple steps.

1. Keep a Well-Stocked Kitchen

Easy entertaining starts with being prepared. During the holiday season, I take no chances. I pack my pantry and fridge with entertaining essentials. Nuts, olives, chips, nachos and dips are lifesavers.

Other must have condiments are jars of mini gherkins and pickled onions. They can garnish your martinis or complement a charcuterie platter. If I entertain more than 6 persons, I usually split my charcuterie platter into two trays.

2. Serve Familiar Dishes

Don’t try any new culinary experience. Instead, cook a delicious, easy to make dish from your repertoire. To cut your shopping time, select recipes with ingredients available at your local grocer.

There is nothing wrong with buying a savory pie from a local shop or serving a stew that was in your freezer.

3. Dress the Table

Even if your meal is not ready, as long as the table is set, your guests will know that you were expected them. Create an instant centerpiece by placing baubles, lemons or vegetables in a clear vase.

If you are running late on cooking, invite your guests to the kitchen, relax and chat with them as they sip their welcome cocktail and you cook dinner. And if someone offers to help, gladly accept the offer.

4. Keep your Bar List to the Minimum

Unless you hired a bartender for your party, opt for one or two cocktails that can be prepared in a pitcher. And it is OK to stick to wine and beers.

If you don’t have a wine fridge, keep a few bottles of white wine bottle in your refrigerator. Get it out minutes before your guests arrive to have it at the right temperature. Did you know that LG Blast Chiller could chill a room temperature bottle of wine in just eight minutes?

5. Quick Cleaning around the House

As long as you pick up the clutter, clean the powder room, and make room in the entryway for coats and boots, you will be all right. If possible, start the party with an empty dishwasher.

My Last Advice

Great conversations in a fun ambiance will go a long way. Whatever you do, remember that your friends come to see you. Pass time with them.

sponsored by LGAbout our Sponsor

The LG Blast Chiller, available in the 3-Door Super Capacity French-Door refrigerator (LFX31935), can chill a room temperature, 12oz beverage in five minutes or a bottle of wine in just eight minutes. By comparison, a typical refrigerator takes about 40 minutes to accomplish this task – even in the freezer. This refrigerator is also among the largest capacity 36-inch refrigerators currently on the market, offering almost 20 percent more space and the ability to store over 50 gallons of milk.

To view entertaining blast or chill content and share your own blast or chill moments, visit the LG USA Facebook page or website.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by LG via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of LG

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Decorate Your Kitchen with the Fashion “It” Colors

pantone_fashioncolorspring2013

Whenever you decorate a room, buy furniture or appliances, one big question is: Which color to choose? Knowing what are the colors of the moments can make all the difference. For one thing, you will able to accessorize with the same colors. The idea is to keep your shopping simple while creating a fresk look.

When it comes to the latest color trends, I turn to a trusted source by designers: Pantone. I usually explore the Pantone Fashion reports and the Pantone Home & Decor report. Fashion colors are updated twice a year. It provides an indication of which colors will stick around the longest?

pantone_fashioncolorfall2012
photo credits: Pantone Fashion color report fall 2012

You probably already have an idea for the neutrals that you wish to use. The big question marks arise with the accent colors. They are many surfaces where you can inject colors. Remember to think 3D when you design your room. Before making any decision, answer a few questions. How do you want to feel when you are in the room? Who will use most the room? At what time of the day?

Couples who like cooking together could bring a his and hers feel to their kitchen by skillfully balancing a French Roast with hints of Olympian Blue and Pink Flambé. Colors that will stand the test of time are Olympian Blue, Ultramarine Green, Bright Chartreuse and Honey Gold. You always see them use in different tints, shades or tones.

Tones (greyed down colors) are what you will see in 2013. As expected, the Pantone Fashion report for Spring 2013 is less bold. It reflects more the home decor colors that I have seen so far for 2013. Colors that are great to decorate with are Lemon Zest, Sunflower, Graded Jade, Poppy Red and Monaco Blue.

pantone_fashioncolorspring2013
photo credits: Pantone Fashion color report Spring 2013

A Balancing Act

bluestar range in red
photo credits: BlueStar

As long as you balance it with neutrals and carefully place it, a bright color will not overpower your kitchen. The center panel of half of my pale wood Shaker kitchen cabinet doors are tinted a rich red. Everything else is neutral and red is my only accent color. I love it!

Many would prefer to punch their design with small items. BlueStar offers you an unique option with their colorful range knobs. They can complement backsplashes, floor tile and seasonal decorations without a big commitment. You can change the color of the BlueStar knobs with the season – or as often as you’d like.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by BlueStar, the maker of pro appliances for gourmet cooks. Each range is fully customizable with an almost infinite combination of burner configurations, colors and sizes. Their pro-quality gas ranges are available in more than 190 colors that align with the latest and greatest seasonal trends.

bluestar ranges

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10 Simple Tips for Selling a Home in the Fall

welcome mat

welcome mat
photo credits: Kim Vallee

Everyone knows that putting on the market a home that shows well increase your chances to sell fast and at the best price. Adapting your home décor to the season is a good start.

1. Do your spring cleaning all over again. You want everything to be sparkling clean. Take the time to neatly store summer items, to de-clutter and to de-personalize every room in your home.

2. Think about your curb appeal. Fall foliage looks amazing in the trees but fallen leaves looks messy. Plus, they make your pathway slippery. So, take the time to often remove the leaves on your pathways and your yard. It will please the home inspector to see that your rain gutters are clean. If they show some wear and tear, add a fresh coat of paint to the door, the porch and to the window frames.

3. Continue your work on your curb appeal by decorating your porch. One superb fall idea is to carve your house number on a stack of pumpkins. Or put a decorative fall urn each side of the front door.

4. Make sure that your entryway or vestibule is inviting. Keep most of your coats, scarves and boots out of sight. If you don’t have an entry closet, install hooks and a mirror for more convenience. Put on the floor a welcome mat.

5. Let the light in with wide open drapes and stores. For visits at night, make sure to light the room properly.

6. Keep it warm. The colder weather can highlight flaws in the isolation of your house. Be prepared to do some repairs to your. If your floor are cold, add rugs.

7. Create a cozy lifestyle by accessorizing your sofa with soft pillows and a plush, luxurious throw. Other ideas would be to stage a reading nook or to dress your table for a fall dinner party.

ikea dining room
photo credits: IKEA

8. Invest in storage solutions that will keep your home neat. Maximize your storage by taking advantage of the vertical space. You can be creative with boxes and labels. Your goal is to send the message that you have enough room to store everything. It also shows that you are care about your home.

9. Appeal to their senses with the smell of fresh cookies, bread baking in the oven, or a large pot of Bolognese sauce on the range brings a Home Sweet Home feeling that is heard to resist. You want the smell of cooking without the dirty dishes or messy countertop.

10. If your house has been on the market this summer, update your photos to your fall decor.

Disclosure: This post is brought by House Buyer Bureau. They buy all types of houses for cash, in any condition and location throughout the England and Wales.

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Cascades Giveaway: And the winner is….

winner of my pretty playhouse giveaway by cascades

winner of my pretty playhouse giveaway by cascades

Cascades and At Home with Kim Vallee are pleased to announce that the winner of My Pretty Playhouse giveaway is Michelle Robitaille. Michelle, check your inbox for my email. We need your address to send you your playful prize. Congratulations to Michelle and a big thank to all participants.

If you did not win, remember that you can always buy a recycled cardboard playhouse at Boutique Cascades. They carry more models. My son enjoys his. One reason to buy My Pretty Playhouse over their other models is that Cascades will donate two dollars to Habitat for Humanity for each playhouse sold in Canada and in the United States.

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Cascades Giveaway: Win My Pretty Playhouse

my pretty playhouse giveaway

my pretty playhouse giveaway

Regular readers of At Home with Kim Vallee are aware of my love affair with playhouses. I always try to provide to my son activities that will develop his creativity and teach him about the real life. This is why I am thrilled to host this giveaway to win a 100% recycled cardboard playhouse made in Canada by Cascades from recycled fibers recovered in Canada and in the United States.

My Pretty House is not just lean on the environment. My Pretty Playhouse will also help build real homes! Cascades will donate two dollars to Habitat for Humanity for each playhouse sold in Canada and in the United States. As a city dweller, I appreciate that My Pretty Playhouse is big enough to entertain a few kids but that it will not too take over my living room.

Giveaway Rules and How to Participate

Prize: One (1) My Pretty Playhouse (MSRP: $34.99) by Cascades.

Deadline: It begins now. We will accept entries through October 22nd, 2012 noon Eastern Time.

Who can Participate: Readers of At Home with Kim Vallee who live in Canada or the continental United States that are 18 years or older.

Random draw: One (1) winner will be selected randomly among the pool of eligible entries received before the participation deadline. The winner will be announced on this site. The winner will be notified by email (using the email he/she supplied on the entry form) and must respond within 7 days to claim the prize.

How to Enter – Fill out all the fields of the form below. The name of the contestants with their answer will be automatically posted at the end of this post. Only one entry per person is allowed per giveaway period. Contestants who enter more than once will be disqualified.

Other Rules

  • We will disqualify any entries that we believe are generated by scripts, and/or any automated electronic system.
  • The use of services to automatically generate email addresses is forbidden and will disqualify the participant.
  • If the winner fails to response to our notification email within 7 days, it is said that he/she forfeits the prize. Then, an alternate winner will be selected randomly.
  • The prize must be accepted as awarded and is not transferable or convertible to cash.

Sponsor: Cascades. The information you provide will only be used for the purposes of this contest.

Good Luck!