How to Decorate Your Home This Holiday Season



“There [is] no such thing as too much plaid!”

No sweeter words were ever spoken than, “Who wants to decorate the tree?” It was always quite the production in my home—we had a 12-foot tree—so you can imagine the amount of Christmas carols we sang our way through.


“Close up of how we ‘wow’d’ our tree [with] a few large ornaments and a lot of specialty garlands!”

Growing up, we were never short on decorations for the tree. My mother had years to accumulate ornaments, a garland, an antique tree topper, and little glass birds, but not everyone has that same luxury. When Christmas approached quickly last year, I realized that I had nothing for my own tree. As a new homeowner, I had limited time (and money) to decorate. Here are a few tricks I used to create a stunning, low-budget Christmas tree:

  • Bigger isn’t always better. Sometimes a 3-foot tree is just as cute as the 14-foot monster. Also, don’t place it on the ground, but rather on a console table to add height before decorating.
  • Garlands are a sweet little trick to make the tree look like you spent hours on it. Find one that is unique—whether that means an oversized traditional beaded garland or a faux snow-dusted one full of berries and pinecones—and weave it through your tree.
  • I’m an old-fashioned, glass-ornament kind of girl. Not only do they look elegant, but they also have prettier designs and larger sizes. Try HomeGoods—they have great prices and you are always guaranteed to walk out with more than you bargained for.

Present Art


“There’s no reason presents can’t be decorative too!”

As an event designer, I take great pride in the way my presents look, making sure that everyone can point mine out under the tree. A trick I use is to layer paper—solid colors and a fun print or two—then wrap the base with two bands of varying sizes, before finishing with a ribbon or bow. For the name tags, address the present directly, writing “to” and “from” on the package or writing their name in a fun decorative font.

Decking the Existing Halls


“Spice up your sofa with a little glitz!”

A quick way to transform your home into a whimsical wonderland is to add little touches, so nothing is overwhelming:

  • Add in some themed decorative pillows, a patterned throw, or furry blanket to your furniture.
  • Incorporate sprigs of pine or evergreen to the table or mantle to bring in a natural scent, while simultaneously brightening up the space.
  • Window candelabras are a must! Find the traditional faux versions that sit on the window sill to instantly bring in that warmth that we all crave during the holidays.

By Taylor Jenkins, Event Designer

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Thankfully Chic: All Things Neutral and Metallic

“Pick a theme and go with it!” they said. Those are sweet, sweet words to designers like me at Syzygy Event Productions.”

I’m obsessed with neutrals this season, so it was a given from the start what color palette I would choose. I didn’t realize how simple and fun it would be until I started to gather old Thanksgiving décor, purchase new ones, and took part in some DIY projects. I went all out; coordinating every item down to the outfits!

A Neutral Tablescape: In order to take your traditional Thanksgiving décor and turn it into a chic and elegant holiday display for your table, follow these three simple tips:

  • Create a focal point: use a combination of gold, white, and neutral colored props and accessories.
  • Search for the perfect white pumpkin! Drive to your local market or craft store to purchase these natural or faux beauties.
  • Mix in some metallic colored chargers, silver/gold toned placemats, and rustic candleholders to add a touch of glam and sparkle.
  • Have fun with it!



Set your table with neutral colored items; add a pop of sparkle and metallics.

Personalized Pumpkins: Make those pumpkins shine! Use gems, spray paints, and glitter to add ambiance and personality to your Thanksgiving centerpieces and accessories.

Thankful Pumpkins: A great family activity can turn into a new family tradition. Have everyone create their own thankful pumpkin or make one for the entire family. Each member can take a moment to write a special message or what they’re simply thankful for this year. A simple yet meaningful way to highlight the true meaning of this holiday!


DIY project: add some glam to your pumpkin!

Custom Backdrops: Whether you buy it online or create it yourself, burlap garlands make for a beautiful backdrop. It’s a simple way to add a custom piece to your festive décor. Go to your local craft store like Michael’s to purchase a burlap garland, spray paint, and stencils. The selections are endless! Grab a fun stencil and fabric spray paint to ensure the perfect visual effect.


Create a warm and inviting Thanksgiving display by making your own custom backdrop and garland.

Festive Drinks: During my recent trip to Nashville, I came across the most refreshing drink. It’s called, the FALL O’THE WHISKEY. By far the best cocktail in town! Take some of your favorite bourbon, and then add a splash of peach purée, and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon. The perfect cocktail for your Thanksgiving Dinner!


  • Weller Bourbon (Jigger)
  • Peach Puree
  • Dash of Cinnamon/Nutmeg
  • Top with Cider (Crispin)
  • Garnished with Cinnamon Apple



Start your dinner with a delicious Fall O’The Whiskey specialty drink!

By Lisseth Orellana, Event Designer

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Lets Talk Live: Memorial Day Entertaining


“It takes a village” – wise words from a woman I admire and hold true every day of my life.

When we get a wonderful opportunity to be on a show like Lets Talk Live the team at Syzygy Events gets really excited and we start brainstorming themes and ideas right away! Even yesterday as we hauled in all of our equipment and details, everyone at Lets Talk Live was amazed at how we can set up everything in 2min-yes I said it 2 minutes for set up! It was the team that made it happen. So I am thankful for my amazing team (“My Village”) as they make me and our company shine everyday with everything we do.

Memorial Day Entertaining: So you can relax on the day of the event we started with things that can prepped/made in advance. I marinated the chicken overnight so the flavor was rich and delicious. Our Chicken recipe originated from the Barefoot Contessa.

Tuscan Lemon Chicken (Serves 2 to 3)
Copyright 2008, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, All Rights Reserved


  • 1 3 ½-pound chicken, flattened
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, halved


Sprinkle the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt on each side. Combine the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, and 2 teaspoon pepper in a small measuring cup. Place the chicken in a ceramic or glass dish just large enough to hold it flat. Pour the lemon marinade over the chicken, turning it in the dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Turn the chicken two or three times while marinating.

When ready to grill, prepare a hot charcoal fire on one side of a grill (or turn a gas grill on low heat). Spread most of the coals across half of the grill. Place the chicken, skin side up, on the opposite side of the grill and place the dish you used for marinating on top of the chicken to weight it. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the underside is golden brown. Turn the chicken skin side down, weight again with the dish, and cook for another 12 to 15 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Place the lemon halves on the cool side of the grill, cut side down for the last 10 minute of cooking. Remove the chicken to a plate or cutting board, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Cut in quarters, sprinkle with salt, and serve with the grilled lemon halves.

My Moms “ Best Potato Salad in the World” Homemade Potato Salad:


  • 3lb Potatoes’ Boiled
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 Cup of Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons of Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tablespoons of Regular Mustard
  • ½ Cup of Onion, Diced
  • ½ Cup of Celery, Diced Small
  • Celery Seed
  • Pepper
  • Paprika for the top for color and flavor

Once the potatoes are boiled and soft with a fork remove them and let them cool. This is a very important part of the process. Once cool cut them into bite sized pieces in a bowl
Combine all the ingredients and stir till smooth, You can add a bit more mayonnaise if needed
YUMMY Now enjoy!

Grilled Peppers: (So honestly I kept this simple)
Sliced the Yellow Orange and Green Peppers in large slices. Put them in a Zip Lock Bag with Olive Oil, Garlic, Salt and Pepper for a couple of hours then carefully grilled them till they got the pretty grill marks and were soft.

Potted Plants and Flowers:
PlantsPic01-EditPlants that can be enjoyed for your weekend celebration and all summer long: I chose this color scheme Yellow, White and Green because it was bright and beautiful and I love the texture. But the main reason because the color makes me smile, It’s that simple. Container planting works for many reasons. You can bring your herbs in when the season is done, Good for small spaces. They also make wonderful table centerpiece and accents to your celebrations. And I love to go pick fresh herbs and vegetables for summer cooking.


Our Guest Baker is Baked by Yael:
She owns brand new company and her shop is right outside the national Zoo ( Great Location)


Baked by Yael is a woman-owned small business based in Washington, DC specializing in cakepops, bagels, rugelach, black and white cookies, and other delicious baked goods.

I made my first bagel during my final year of law school and started baking frequently the summer I studied for the bar exam. I found it to be a wonderful form of procrastination that didn’t involve leaving home (and my stack of bar exam prep books).

In November 2011, I took the plunge and left my corporate law firm job of 8 years to focus on Baked by Yael full-time. Running my own business has its challenges, but so far I don’t regret it at all. Life is short and I think it’s important to make the most of it. I’m passionate about my business and excited about its future.

In January 2015, Baked by Yael opened its first brick-and-mortar store in Woodley Park! Dubbed DC’s first cakepoppery, our shop allows us to bring our products closer to the customer, whom we get to meet face to face! As DC’s first cakepoppery flourishes, I intend to keep my commitment to the community by using my legal skills and by supporting local nonprofits through Baked by Yael’s cause marketing initiatives.

Please check out the rest of our website and visit our online store to place your first order with Baked by Yael! Or stop into our cakepoppery located near the National Zoo in Washington, DC.


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