Feature Friday: Sarah Sherman Samuel

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Sarah Sherman Samuel, of Smitten Studio, shares the progress of her bright and lively living room. The framed flamingo is everything. So playful and yet, still amazingly chic.

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Osmonds’ line shares comforts of home

January 30th, 2014
By Brian Sodoma
For the full article, click here: Las Vegas Review Journal

He sang his way into our hearts, but now Donny Osmond is making his way into our homes in a very different way. The ’70s teen heartthrob and current Las Vegas headliner recently launched the Donny Osmond Home collection by Donny Osmond and Debbie Osmond; and he acknowledges that although he does most of the interviews, his wife is the one who has really taken the wheel with this new venture.

“I really can’t take the credit for this. It’s really Debbie,” Osmond said in a recent phone interview before he and Debbie’s Jan. 28 meet-and-greet during this week’s 2014 Winter Las Vegas Market.

Donny Osmond Home was also recently showcased at Atlanta’s AmericasMart home show. The brand brings a transitional style anchored in neutral colors, allowing for color accents that “give a pop” to any room, Osmond said. The style stems from Debbie Osmond’s approach to design in the couple’s home, one that blends modern, traditional and, above all, seeks comfort.

“My wife has always been able to establish such a peaceful atmosphere at home. When I go home, it really is a great place to recharge from the world of show business,” Osmond said.

Right now, the Donny Osmond Home collection offers about 1,000 items: accents, tables, area rugs, vases, clocks, benches, cabinets, door hardware, mantels and plenty of other pieces. Furniture and bath lines are in the works. You’ll see plenty of simple grays and cream colors with some furniture that weaves in metals, such as bronze, as well.

But above all, the pieces allow for an owner to add an accent item that’s purple, red or other trending bright color. It’s a line with plenty of traditional touches, a modern flair, but one that works with other elements in a room without overtaking them by being too harsh or edgy.

“The style allows the collection to be flexible with emerging color trends and shift with changing color trends,” Osmond added. “You can’t just come out and say ‘this is our design’ and hope that everybody will like it. … You want to make something that is available to everyone.”

The collection also brings a family theme, with a tagline of “Making Home and Family #1.” Some of the items contain messaging that promotes family. There are also inspirational wooden wall signs, made from reclaimed wood. Some of the messages on them include “Love Makes Everything Better” and “Love Knows No Limits,” and an Osmond collection wouldn’t be complete without a “Soldier of Love” sign.

The line has licenses with Lamp Works, Pearl Mantels, Ellison First Asia, Copper Creek, The Willowbrook Company, Kas Oriental Rugs and others.

“It appears they have designed a fantastic casually comfortable home collection,” said Jill Abelman, owner of a local design studio, Inside Style Las Vegas, who gave the items a quick study online before the meet-and-greet. “My favorite pieces are the candleholders and vases, although I may fall for the lidded vases.”

Longtime friend and now Donny Osmond Home brand manager, Deb Wallace approached the Osmonds about creating the line four years ago. Donny and Debbie liked the idea. But they took their time finding the right design team and manufacturing partners.

How the company runs might be a page from Donny’s book. Osmond is a known technology lover. And technology plays a huge part in how new pieces for the collection come about.

Osmond tells the story of how he and Debbie were in London recently when certain ideas came to her. She sent photos and notes to her team through a Dropbox account. The pair also uses a Houzz website account that allows homeowners to store design ideas when the inspiration comes. The Osmond’s design team members have access to the accounts and are ready to start sketching out potential concepts when their owners kick off a virtual brainstorming session.

“By the time we got home, we had like 10 ideas waiting for us,” Osmond said.

At 56, Osmond is still staying busy on the entertainment side of things. He said he has three main focuses this year: maintaining his residency at the Flamingo Las Vegas, recording an album and slowly rolling out the furniture collection.

“We don’t want to grow too fast. History is replete with failures because everyone has a great idea that grew too fast,” he added.

7 Family Activities to Fill February with Love

heart for Saren

In my family growing up, Valentine’s Day was pretty mellow.

I remember working with my sister to make Valentine cards to bring to school, putting a few conversation hearts in each envelope (after carefully screening what each heart said so that we wouldn’t be giving any boys the wrong idea).  I also remember making elaborate Valentine’s Day mailboxes to bring to school to put on our desks and then everyone would deliver Valentines to everyone else’s mailboxes. On Valentine’s Day morning, we always found our cups at the breakfast table full of candy from our sweet mom. Valentine’s Day was nice. It was sufficient.

Then I went through my teenage years and twenties dreading Valentine’s Day. It seemed like a horrible holiday that caused a lot more pain than joy as it reminded every unattached girl and woman of what she didn’t have. On the few occasions when I did have someone I was dating or interested in around Valentine’s Day, there was plenty of angst trying to figure out what actions or lack of actions on Valentine’s Day might actually mean.

Once I was married, I quickly found that Valentine’s Day angst didn’t go away! Plus I realized that getting flowers and going out to dinner on Valentine’s Day wasn’t all good – the price of flowers in February is crazy and getting a table at a restaurant and finding a babysitter can be way more trouble than it’s worth.

But in the last few years, I’ve learned really love Valentine’s Day. While my husband and I do some special couple-oriented things around Valentine’s Day, we’ve decided to focus Valentine’s Day itself, and really all of February, on celebrating FAMILY love, not just romantic love.

Here are some  activities that help make February wonderful for our family:

1. Heart Attack

One of my favorite family activities is the “heart attack” we give each other. Towards the beginning of the month (usually the first Monday of the month), we cut out construction paper hearts (all sizes and colors), write down what we love about a  family member on each heart (the little kids dictate to someone who can write), then stick the completed hearts all over our kitchen cabinets. It’s great to see what everyone comes up with ands we’re all reminded of the love we share every time we’re in the kitchen. Plus it’s an easy and meaningful way to decorate for Valentine’s Day.

Saren's kids making Valentines cards

heart attack

valentine from Isaac to Saren

valentine to Jared

heart attack in kitchen

2. Jar of Love

jar of love

We started a new tradition last year that we LOVED (got the idea from one of our great Power of Moms readers – thanks, Brianna!).  We brainstormed a bunch of simple little activities that celebrate the love we have for those around us (examples below), wrote each one on a little slip of paper, and put all the slips in a jar.  Each day at breakfast for a week before Valentine’s Day, the kids trade off picking a slip of paper from the jar and then we do the activity on the paper they chose sometime that day. Some days, we don’t quite get to the activity and that’s okay – we put it back in the jar for later or draw out a different activity that might work better for that particular day.  So far, it’s really been a great new Valentine’s tradition.

Here’s what we put in our jar:

  • see how many hugs and kisses you can give today
  • “heart attack” someone’s front door
  • take a treat to someone
  • do a “secret service” for someone in your family
  • do something nice for someone outside your family
  • read a story about loving and caring for others
  • pop some popcorn and watch a fun movie that has a love story (Princess Bride is our favorite)
  • make a special Valentine for a school or church teacher
  • give a sincere compliment to someone today
  • write a nice note or email to someone you love who you haven’t seen for a while (see below for one example)

Here’s a Valentine’s letter one of my kids wrote last year on the day we drew “write a nice note to someone you love”:

Here’s a Valentine’s letter one of my kids wrote last year on the day we drew “write a nice note to someone you love”:

valentines-letter

3. Mommy Dates

During February, I love to take each of my children out for a special little “mommy date.” Since I’ve got a busy schedule and five children, these dates are pretty simple (stuff like picking up a child from school at lunch and going to a favorite fast food place, stopping for ice cream on the way home from a basketball practice, or simply going with me to the grocery store one-on-one and choosing a favorite treat plus the ingredients for a favorite family meal that week).  I try to do Mommy Dates throughout the year and I’m spotty at best.  But during February, I make a real point of ensuring that these special dates happen.

4. Valentine’s Day Breakfast Treats

On Valentine’s Day itself, it’s my tradition to set the table nicely the night before and decorate with some special candies and chocolates for each child (I’ve started keeping heart-shaped containers from year to year, simply refilling them). And I put some of my husband’s favorite treats in his bowl.

We always eat yogurt with granola and berries on top for breakfast (easy, yummy, festive).

valentines breakfast

special treats for valentines

5. Valentine’s Day Dinner 

At dinner on Valentine’s Day, everyone shares something specific that they really love about the person to their left (or right, take your pick!). I like to make a dinner that the family especially loves (one year I did take-and-bake heart shaped pizza which was a big favorite – and so easy!).  I heard of a family that always has a candlelight dinner on Valentine’s Day and I think we’ll try that this year as well.  Candlelight isn’t just for romance – it’s great whenever you want to create a calm and different ambiance for dinner.

6. Valentine’s Notes

Some years, I’ve written a love note to each member of my family and given it to them sometime on Valentine’s Day. In my notes, I’ve written down my current top 10 favorite things about that person.  I love this opportunity to really think about how much I love my children and husband and have shared some beautiful moments with them when I’ve found a quiet moment to share my note with them.

7. “We Love to Be a Family Day”

I love how my Power of Moms partner, April, celebrates this special day in February. We’re going to try it this year. Ideas, instructions and planning templates are found here: A Valentine’s Day Tradition Your Family Will Never Forget.

No matter your circumstances, talents and bandwidth, there are ways you can make February really special as you emphasize the love your family feels for each other and the larger world.  I hope you’ve found some helpful ideas here and please share your ideas below!

QUESTION: What are some of your family’s favorite Valentine’s activities?

CHALLENGE: Do something fun and new to celebrate your family’s love this year for Valentine’s Day.

By Saren Eyre Loosli, Power of Moms

Feature Friday: Rhoda of Southern Hospitality

Donny-and-Debbie-Osmond_thumb-1Rhoda, of the Southern Hospitality blog, came in to meet Donny and Debbie and see the new line during the AmericasMart Atlanta. She is sharing her interview with Donny and Debbie and some shots she took of the showroom over on her blog. Make sure you head on over to check it out. Rhoda has such a fun personality!

Want to be featured? Share your space with us on Pinterest. Can’t wait to get a peek into your home!

 

Feature Friday: Talking With Tami

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Blogger, Tami Reed, of Talking With Tami, shared an interview she did with Donny and Debbie on their new home line. She also snapped some great shots of the AmericasMart Atlanta showroom.

You can check out her interview and photos on her blog, Talking With Tami.

Want to be featured? Share your space with us on Pinterest. Can’t wait to get a peek into your home!

 

AmericasMart Atlanta

The Donny Osmond Home launch at AmericasMart Atlanta was a massive success. If you haven’t already seen the photos on Twitter and Facebook, here are a few peeks into the Donny Osmond Home showroom.

It was so fun to meet fans of the line and, of course, fans of Donny and Debbie.

The line was very well received, positivity flowing in from every person who was able to come visit us at the mart. It has been so exciting to see Donny and Debbie’s vision come to life in the mart showroom. Everything turned out beautifully. IMG_6640IMG_6642IMG_6659IMG_6663IMG_6666

 

Have you browsed the new Donny Osmond Home website yet? What’s your favorite piece?

I’m dying over the Oval Bookshelf and the spike White Ceramic Decor. It’s all just so good.

Streamlining Our Kids’ Stuff

Sports Equipment on White

As we get rolling with the new year, many of us have made resolutions to be more organized. And part of that involves organizing all the stuff that accompanies our wonderful children. From the double strollers and toys of the younger years to the sports equipment and electronics of the teen years, dealing with our children’s abundance of “stuff” is something we all have to face.

I’m no professional organizer by any stretch of the imagination, but like most mothers burdened under the weight of enough toys, books, gear, and clothing to supply a small third world country, I have read plenty of books and articles on the subject and found several useful principles that have worked for me that I’d like to share with you. Please feel free to share what’s worked for you in the comments section below!

The specific principle of organization I’d like to focus on today is the one I feel most effective for getting and staying organized, that of simplifying your stuff. The math is easy: The less stuff you have, the less you have to get and keep organized. So let’s make this really “simple” and break it down into just two categories. Outbound (getting rid of the already existing stuff) and Inbound (controlling the incoming stuff).

Outbound. Between the various books and articles I’ve read (as well as several episodes of Clean House), my favorite tips for getting rid of stuff are as follows:

1) Have a group De-Junk-A-Thon. I like to do one children’s bedroom at a time at the very beginning of the summer, and the play room/game closets every year right before Christmas. Use this time to reminisce with your kids and talk about how nice it will be to give some of these gently used items to children who are less fortunate.

2) The Four Box Method: Throw Away, Put Away, Give Away, Store Away. I actually use laundry baskets, because I use this method mostly for the non-stop clothing carousel at my house. With four children growing through four seasons every year, I have to have some sort of system in place!

3) One drawer, one closet, one countertop at a time. This really makes things do-able in my opinion. Next week I plan to tackle my “junk drawer” that’s overflowing with school, craft, and office supplies. I can easily wrap my head around one drawer.

4) By category: toys, gear, clothing, books. You could definitely use the four box method for each of these categories. No one said you had to use just one system–incorporate as many as you can!

5) Put de-junking on the calendar. Maybe the weekends of daylight savings in the fall and spring would be easy to remember, or the summer and winter solstice. Choose a weekend every 3 or 6 months that isn’t too busy with other activities when you can plan on doing some major de-junking.

6) Determine a specific number of bags or boxes to go out on a regular basis. I have a Catholic friend who likes to get rid of one bag a day for every day of Lent. I like it!

But how do you decide which stuff gets the boot? After all my reading and HGTV watching, here are my suggested Golden Rules of Discarding:

IF . . .

No one has used it or worn it in a year

it bugs you every time you see it

there’s no place to put it or store it

it’s broken and you haven’t fixed it in a year

you have multiples of the same item

it’s not beautiful, inspiring or useful . . .

say goodbye!

My Golden Rules of Discarding are similar to my Golden Rules of Purchasing which make a perfect segueway into part two of this post.

Inbound. Golden Rules of Purchasing: 

IF . . .

it’s an unplanned, impulsive purchase

you don’t have a place to store it

you aren’t committed to take care of it

you can borrow or rent it

you already have one that works for you

you don’t have “real” money for it

you really don’t need it . . .

don’t buy it!

That just about sums it up, but I have two more thoughts specific to moms.

1) Refuse leftovers. For heaven’s sake, please don’t take in other people’s unsolicited leftover toys, clothing, gear, and books unless you really need them! Just smile and say “no thank you” when that nice friend or neighbor tries to give you something you don’t really need or want. Taking in unnecessary stuff is much like eating unnecessary calories in my book. Don’t do it just because you can’t bear the thought of throwing something “perfectly good” in the garbage can. Make friends with your garbage can! (Or your local donations center.)

2) Give experiences rather than stuff. Consider giving your children experiences rather than stuff on their birthdays and Christmas. While we did buy her a few presents, the highlight of my daughter’s 13th birthday last year was going on a hike in the mountains with her dad and to get her hair done at a nice day spa with me. Knowing you will most likely be purchasing presents of some kind, think about giving your children things they actually need like a new backpack or new clothes rather than just handing those things out at random times.

Getting rid of the excess stuff we already have and limiting the amount of stuff coming in is the easiest way to organize a home full of children. The pay-offs are huge not just in terms of space and time spent cleaning, but also controlling materialism in both our children and ourselves.

QUESTION: How do you keep your children’s stuff “simply” organized?

CHALLENGE: Try getting rid of some stuff this week with one of the tips listed above.

Photo by Jhen 41 at http://www.flickr.com

By Allyson Reynolds, Power of Moms