#FreshLookFriday: Make Your Own Holiday Wreath In 5 Easy Steps!

‘Tis the season to be decorating every inch of the house with holiday cheer, and this year’s big trend is wreath making! Here’s how you can make a unique wreath at home in 5 easy steps. All it took for me was one trip to the Dollar Store to grab everything I’d need!

  1. Select & fan out your wreath – Once you’ve picked out your perfect wreath as a base, make sure to fan out the sides by pulling & adjusting the wire (or branches if you’ve picked a real one!). I chose a white wire wreath as my base.
  2. Stamp ribbon- Select stamps that fit the theme of your wreath, and decorate your ribbon. Make sure to leave time to let the ink dry!
  3. Add the foliage – Grab some super glue (don’t glue your fingers together like me!), and add in some accent branches/flowers. I chose some shiny, gold foliage and a bow in the center.
  4. Glue Ribbon – Glue the tip of your ribbon underneath your wreath’s foliage as a starting point.
  5. Wrap ribbon- Then, wrap it around & make sure to glue the other end at the top once you’ve wrapped back around!

Follow this 1 min tutorial video above to see the step-by-step instructions!


#FreshLookFriday: Holiday Hot Toddies Recipe

Looking for a recipe to spice up the holidays? We’ve got the perfect festive blend that not only screams New England, but can be made with our without booze to keep that holiday cheer under control (or let it loose-after all, it is 2020!).

While we made this recipe in a small crockpot, it can also be made on the stove as long as you keep the heat on low, keep stirring occasionally, and add an extra cup of cranberry juice.

Here’s the recipe:

2.5 cups cranberry juice

Honey (as desired)

1 inch ginger

peeled 2 cloves (you can sub several dashes of powder)

1/2 an orange, sliced

1/2 cup cranberries

3 cinnamon sticks (save more for decoration!)

Rum (if desired, add as much as you’d like being careful not to overpower other flavors!)


#FreshLookFriday: How to Design A Living Room You LOVE!

Have you ever been flipping through channels or scrolling through Instagram to come across a perfectly-put together living room and think to yourself, “Nobody’s living room actually looks like that!” Although it might be easier to tell ourselves that, the truth of the matter is that people’s living rooms actually do look that nice in real life. These people that have kids, significant others, dogs, jobs, and everything else also have a living room that looks straight out of a magazine. How do they do it? While they may have hired a designer, if you’re short on budget you too can follow one simple rule that will massively help bring any room together.

The trick? Using the color rule of three. Watch my video below to learn this popular tip I learned from several years of working with interior designers and how you can use it to instantly refresh any room in your home..including that magical, matching living room!


#FreshLookFriday: Cranberry Apple Muffins (Gluten-Free!)

Watch the video for a step-by-step visual tutorial, or follow the steps using this recipe!:


4 Apples (peeled, cored & sliced)

1 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup fresh cranberries

2 beaten eggs

1/2 cup vegetable (or sub olive) oil

2 1/2 cups flour (gluten free or regular)

3 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of salt


  1. Peel, core & slice apples before dicing into small pieces. Place into a medium bowl with sugar & cinnamon, and mix well. Let sit for 10 minutes and preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Once the 10 minutes is up, transfer the apple mixture to a larger bowl & add cranberries, eggs, vegetable oil, flour, baking powder, baking soda, a pinch of nutmeg & salt. Mix together.
  3. Pour into muffin cups & bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!

#FreshLookFriday: Nautical Nordic Thanksgiving Table Setting

Looking for a unique Thanksgiving table setting sure to impress your guests? As a woman who is #TeamSummer with our home’s decor all year long, I came up with a way to incorporate that nautical charm into a Nordic holiday table setting that spoke to both my Scandinavian and Portuguese roots.

Our blank canvas is this gorgeous white farmhouse style table and set of chairs I bought at Wayfair. I’m OBSESSED with the back detail on these chairs! Our rug is a bit of a unique piece designed by NuLoom x Thomas Paul & found here, which I bought as a gift to my husband because the octopus is his favorite animal! The silver & white quatrefoil curtains are also from Wayfair.

First, I found a runner to match the all silver & white theme I wanted. (Mine came from Homegoods, but this one by Amazon is very similar.) Next, I introduced the fall theme with these locally sourced white pumpkins and some silver candles. For the centerpiece, I used an inexpensive tall vase from Michael’s and filled it with shells I found on local beaches.

Now, it’s time to set the table! I chose these silver beaded chargers I also snagged from Homegoods to accent these square white plates from Crate & Barrel. (Here’s where you can find similar silver chargers if Homegoods is out.) For the napkins, I selected a plain white set from Pier1 and folded them using a trick I’d learned waitressing in college.

The Napkin Trick!

  1. Lay the napkin flat on the table.
  2. Take the bottom left corner, and fold it to meet the top right to create a triangle.
  3. Fold in the bottom right corner and bottom left so they make a square.
  4. Pull the napkin through the ring so it looks like a squid!
  5. If these steps seem confusing or it doesn’t look right, watch the step-by-step tutorial in the video above 🙂

For silverware, I stuck with the silver nautical theme by using a set we’d received from Christmas Tree Shops (similar set from Bed Bath & Beyond here). I set the utensils according to table setting standards of having the fork on the left, knife and soup spoon on the right, dessert spoon and fork up top. Any glasses should go to the top right of any setting.

We’re leaving room on this table for my favorite serving platters by Mud Pie Gifts, and I added a splash of color by having fun sprinkling cranberries across the table as a finishing touch.

To see it all step by step and take a look at the end result, watch my video above. Happy decorating!


#FreshLookFriday: Emmalyn’s Banana Bread Recipe!


1/2 cup butter

1 c sugar

2 eggs

4 bananas

1 1/2 cup regular or gluten free flour (yes, it will work the same for this recipe)

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla

As many chocolate chips as you’d like!


1. Cream together butter & sugar. Add eggs & bananas, and mix well.

2. Mix together flour, baking soda and salt. Add this to the previous mixture along with your vanilla and chocolate chips.

3. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.

Enjoy! 🙂


#FreshLookFriday: Organizing That Entryway!

#ICYMI this Friday on Evenings With Emmalyn , I tackled organizing that entryway! It’s the first place our guests see, and the last place we stop before running out the door. It should be able to be both welcoming and functional, right? Here are my tips on how to do just that, with a full blog post on how I did it below.

When we first come home from a long day, what do we do? We walk through the door, kick off our shoes, drop our bags or keys, and keep it moving. Yet that space, which quickly becomes the “drop zone” for all backpacks, shoes, packages, mail, grocery lists, things you want to remember to bring with you in the morning or just plain things you don’t know what to do with yet don’t exactly make for the cleanest and most relaxing entryway when you come home or welcome guests. It’s also the last place you’d think to check when doing those last minute cleanups before those guests DO show up, and nobody wants to be cringing at all the stuff on the side when they go to swing open that door to let in whoever is dropping by. There are two reasons for decorating: making a happy home, and a good impression on your guests. For each of these reasons, the first thing one sees when they walk in makes a bold statement about your home life. Is it family in the kitchen filling the home with delicious smells, ready for a warm embrace? Is it a cozy living room that invites all who enter to take a load off and relax? Maybe it’s an impressive staircase that makes for a bold, beautiful statement!

For our new home, it was a unique combination of a convenient coat closet and right-there stairs that lead to a beautiful landing. The landing, boasting a french door and a window that offers a sneak-peak into our beautiful sunroom, had SO. MUCH. ROOM! It certainly wasn’t what we expected when we first walked in, but I instantly saw its potential to be transformed into a charming, welcoming entryway with plenty of room for us to kick our shoes off and a deep breath at the end of the day. There was just one problem-the COLOR! To me, it felt…vanilla. This room had SO MUCH MORE potential than vanilla! So, hubby and I got to work painting in the beautiful shade of “Gray Owl” by Behr.

Have you ever painted with your significant other? Let me tell you…unless you like to paint, it can be a CHALLENGE! I learned very, very quickly that my husband is NOT a fan of painting. This, for me, was kind of a letdown as I was super excited about the project, but lucky for me he’s a good sport and seeing how happy it made me he stuck it through. We’re both so glad he did-now, the room looks ten times better! On first application, if you’ve never used this particular shade before, it can appear almost white in its first coat. Trust me, keep going..it’s not! Since we had such a light base to begin with, we wound up only needing that one coat to bring out the light grey I fell for in that hardware store.

For us, a recently married couple living in a seaside city, we’re not quite at the point yet where we need the backpack hooks and cubbies. All that means is that we need something simple for the moment: a place to put our shoes, our keys or a bag, some hand sanitizer (lest we forget for a second that we’re in a pandemic), and a way to keep track of what we both have planned to keep our communication game strong.

First, I started with this simple shoe rack from Wayfair. I loved the detail on the sides, and it fit perfectly with the black and white theme I’m going with against the light grey walls (see more about how we painted our entryway here). On the top level of the rack, I left the essentials: paper & pencil so we can leave each other notes if we need it, hand sanitizer, and a lint roller to get all that pesky dog hair. Some simple faux flowers in a glass vase brightened the space up quickly!

Above, I placed a dry-erase calendar so we can keep track of EVERYTHING: our dog’s medications & flea prevention, important dates & deadlines, when certain bills are due, etc. (When it’s the first thing you see when you come in, having a reminder every day makes it easier to stay on top of things!) To the side, a simple picture frame of some of our favorite memories accented the calendar perfectly.

My favorite part of this whole experience was, surprisingly..making our personalized mail holder! Guys..you have NO idea how long I’ve looked for a new mail holder. Shopping from home is really difficult when you just can’t find anything you like online, and know it’s probably sitting somewhere on a shelf at TJ Maxx, Homegoods, or Christmas Tree (aka my three FAVORITE places to shop!). More than restaurants and bars, I honestly think I’ve missed these three places the most through this pandemic. Yet, when you can’t find something you like, sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands and get creative. Luckily, my neighbor happened to be getting rid of an old wall mailbox. From the moment I saw it, I KNEW it had potential to be exactly what I wanted. So, I got to work!

First, I had my husband cut it in half since we only needed one slot for each of us. Next, we sanded it down and added a coat of Benjamin Moore white paint before I began stenciling our names on. Yes, this did take a bit more time than just hitting “click & ship”, but it was SO worth the effort once we finally got it hung up and it matched perfectly!

We all by now have heard Marie Kondo’s rule, if it doesn’t make you happy, don’t bring it in. This echoes a theory by William Morris, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” It’s one of the quotes that first got me interested in interior decorating & design, and was a huge inspiration for me while I worked for a corporate home decor company in Boston. Yes, this means you’re going to have to look in many different places until you find all the right accents. The rug, chair and pillows were from Wayfair, but the picture the room was centered around came from T.J. Maxx, my beautiful whiteboard calendar from Homegoods, and the frame the bottom photo is on from Christmas Tree. It’s taken me YEARS of sourcing for these all to fit together in this way, in the right room, now- and I had many other old things I considered using but didn’t, as well as adding new things. The point is, it takes time and searching for a room to really look like a magazine. “I couldn’t find what I wanted so I just bought this even though it doesn’t match” is a frame of mind that can distract from the entire atmosphere of the room, without even meaning to. Instead, think outside the box: can you paint/spray paint something the right color to match? Can you ask your friends for stores or websites you maybe haven’t tried yet? If you REALLY love something that doesn’t fit, are you willing to change the room around to fit that specific piece? These are all questions that it’s okay to ask, and are common ones you should be asking in every room of your home you touch.


#FreshLookFriday: Style Your Own Beach Picnic!

With all of this gorgeous weather, it’s nearly impossible to fight the urge to get outside and enjoy the sunshine! Finding safe, fun summer activities is on all of our minds right now, and earlier this week I found one that I just HAD to share that is not only safe, it makes for some seriously awesome Instagram pictures, too. Grab your favorite beach blanket-we’re going to go have a picnic on the beach!

Step one is making sure you scope out an isolated area to adhere to social distancing rules. My mom and I wanted to have a mother-daughter picnic, so we went to a local private beach where we knew we’d have enough space to spread out without inconveniencing anyone else. Once you have your location, you can start thinking of how you’re going to style your picnic!

The theme we chose since our picnic would be seaside is..yup, you guessed it, nautical! We wanted to go with a very teal & beachy vibe, and luckily there are so many decor sales going on right now that this was easy and fairly inexpensive to accomplish. While everyone’s look can be completely different, here’s what we used to get that light and airy beachside vibe:

1- Classic White Blanket This one is on sale for $16 on Amazon!

2- Aqua Cotton Round Placemat Check out Pier1’s MASSIVE sale right now!

3- Starfish Plates Ours came from Christmas Tree Shop, which should be opening up soon, but you can find others like them if you prefer to shop from home in the link!

4- White Buffet Napkin Sale These are on a crazy sale right now at Pier 1 (and honestly, who doesn’t need a good set of white napkins on hand?!)

5- Coral Napkin Rings I can’t even tell you how obsessed with these I am, and they ALSO happen to be on a super sale!

6- Starfish Water Glasses I had originally found mine at Christmas Tree Shop, but there’s a nearly identical replica right now at Bed Bath & Beyond.


#FreshLookFriday: Creating A Home Office

Ah, the home office: for many right now, it’s our new best friend. Sure, it can be as simple as moving that old desk we’ve never had to use into an open space, but since we’re all jumping on Zoom calls left and right over here, it’s might be time to create an actual office space. So, let’s get started!

Step one of course is to choose your space. Do you have a spare corner in the kitchen, living room, or better yet- an entire room to dedicate to your new office? Regardless of your space restrictions, all you really need is room for a desk and either a blank wall or an open window in front of you. Remember that post I did a few weeks back on creating a ‘cloffice’? As many of you noticed, one thing was missing: the OFFICE space! That was on purpose, because I believe that this space really does deserve its own spotlight. It’s the space where YOU are going to be growing, creating, and building either for your own brand or for your company. It should be a space that not only fits your personality, but is pleasing enough to look at for as many hours a day as you need to sit your butt down and get to work in it.

Starting in my office, I was lucky enough to have two options so I’m going to share them both with you. Option #1 was a big blank wall, which is PERFECT for Zoom backdrops if I set up a stand that could have the desk in the background! I filled the space with one of my favorite pieces from Oliver Gal, a large gold chandelier canvas print (which you can get here). My second option was to center my desk in front of a large window overlooking our backyard where I could watch my dog play outside. While this was my favorite option and offered some great light into the room, it meant that my camera angle for those Zoom meetings could no longer have my desk behind me, as the light from the window would wash me out. So, I’d have to place whatever I was using (tripod to hold my iPhone or laptop) ON my desk so that the window was sending the light to my face rather than from behind me, which would provide GREAT lighting! However, I’d have to consider what would be behind me: my vanity. For me, that’s okay! Ultimately..I went with the window look 🙂

Now, on to the star of the post: the desk! I bought this super cute white and gold desk from Amazon to match the pink, white and gold theme I have going. Here are the three things to think about when picking out your desk:

  1. Know your budget. There’s no way around it: a good desk is an investment. That being said, if you’re looking for a strong piece that will last for the rest of your life, it’s going to be a pretty penny. However, if you’re just looking for something to work for now that you don’t plan to use as a forever investment, it’s likely not a good idea to spend a ton of money. A decent desk that will get the job done will likely run you between $150-200, and while you can go cheaper it will not only be a hassle to assemble (even mine was a challenge!), but it also may barely feel it can hold the weight of what you need it to.
  2. Know your needs. Many may just need desk space to have a solid Zoom backdrop-and that’s TOTALLY fine! I specifically picked a desk that had at least one drawer as I do have some stationary, files, and notes that I don’t necessarily want causing clutter. That’s key to consider: Do you need a lot of storage space? If not, don’t worry if you fall head over heels in love with something without drawer space. If so, make sure you use a filter when searching to include storage space (if the website allows it).
  3. Know your style. Are you someone who likes a modern workspace, or more chic? Are you traditional, or rustic? If you don’t know, now is the time to find out. The best way to learn about your style is to simply use Pinterest or Google to look up “office space”. Pick several that you like, and see what the described style is. Once you see a common theme, you’ll begin to identify your style. You can then search “modern desk”, “glam desk”, or more!

Once I had picked out mine based on those specifications, the setup was…well..an experience (and there may have been a few times I yelled out, ‘THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE!’) but I felt SUCH a sense of accomplishment when I finished finally putting it together myself. Trust me: if I can do it, you can, too!

Once you have your desk picked out, think about what you’ll need. Do you need a filing system? A mousepad so you don’t scratch the desk? A cupholder for pens? Do you need certain accent pieces to accomplish a specific look? Dive into research on what you need, and get after it! While stores like TJ Maxx & Christmas Tree Shop were my go-to for these things, I’ve learned to lean on online shopping more to explore Pier 1, Target, and Etsy. Here is how mine turned out!

Decor links:

CHANEL print link

Yankee Candle

Paris Gold statue

Silk flowers

Glass beads

Gold supplies holder