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Sunday
Jan052014

Happy New Year!

Hi Everyone!!  I so hope you had a wonderful Holiday with your friends and family and a Happy New Year!! I am so sorry I have been under the radar for a couple of weeks but I was sick the entire break! I still had a wonderful time as all my kids were home, and when do I get to sit on the couch for 14 days and watch old movies, and catch up on a CW show called Heart of Dixie.  I've watched 2 and a half seasons and am hooked!!

2014 will be a fun year for me.  With the Houston real estate market being crazy, as well as my work load super busy, John and I decided to renovate our home of 26 years rather than move. Architect Ken Newberry who I have worked with on many amazing projects agreed to help.

I have never liked the exterior of our home built in the 60's although we did make some changes for the better when we first purchased it in the late 80's.  If I were building from scratch I would model the design after architecture that I love from the 20's. Ken definitely had to be creative on this one and as you can see below he met the challenge. 

I was honestly brought to tears when the new elevation was unveiled. Believe it or not this is the same structure.  I love the  slurried brick, new dormers, and metal casement windows. Ken and his talented team turned my house into my dream home!!   Given it’s in our budget after the bidding process,  I am excited to take you with me every step of the way.

Getting ready for the renovation we will be confined to the back part of the house.  This is spurring us on to modifiy what used to be the Segreto offices (above) into space we can use now. My office to the left will eventually become the exercise room but during the construction we will turn it into Kirby's room since she is living at home with us.  The offices to the right are being renovated now to combine my office and a craft room.  I am almost done with it and can't wait to show you the final reveal!!

And of course there are all those New Years resoulutions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Loose weight!!!!   I ordered premade meals from My Bistro MD.  They were having a sale for $99 for the first week.   The food is good, they ship it directly to your home and I was never hungry. I hope it works!!

 

Exercise!!!!!!

 

http://skinnyms.com/shape-up-size-down-absolute-beginners-workout-part-2/

This  are great exercises for people who have not been regular exercisers like me to get you started!!!

 

Beautify!!!!!  Buy New Lipstick--Bobbi Brown's Bikini Pink - a universally flattering nude!!!!!

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Home remedy to whiten teeth I have been wanting to try!!!!!!

Option 1: Put a tiny bit of toothpaste into a small cup, mix in one teaspoon baking soda plus one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide, and half a teaspoon water. Thoroughly mix then brush your teeth for two minutes. Remember to do it once a week until you have reached the results you want. Once your teeth are good and white, limit yourself to using the whitening treatment once every month or two

Option 2: Dr. Oz Teeth Whitening Home Remedy: 1/4 cup of baking soda + lemon juice from half of a lemon. Apply with cotton ball or q-tip. Leave on for no longer than 1 minute, then brush teeth to remove.

 

Soften your feet!!!!

One of the best softening, detoxifying foot soaks ever! Fill a large bowl with warm water and add 1 cup apple cider vinegar with 1 cup Epsom salt. Soak your feet for 10-15 minutes, rinse and lightly scrub with pumice stone. Then say hello to gorgeous feet :)

 I am excited to see what 2014 will bring!!!  Come visit us at the store this week as we are having an everything must go sale!!  (See Below).  Happy New Year to all and back to mmy regualr schedule!!!  Till next Monday!!  xo Leslie

 

Monday
Dec232013

Home for the Holidays

 Can you believe Christmas is here!!!  Each year goes by so fast!!!!

Clients are getting ready for Christmas and it is so fun seeing all the different ways that they have decorated. Above is one of my client's grandson--isn't he a cutie!!!   I hope you enjoy these decorations from the fun home tours I get to see every day!!! They certainly put me in the holiday spirit!!!

 

Simple Slendor!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

Formal Elegance!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 Tablescapes to Dine For!!!!!

 

Its all about the tree!!!!!!

 

Happy Holidays from the Segreto Finishes Team!!!... We had so much fun this year at our annual Christmas party.  With all of our staff and their families we had over a 100 attend.  We always host the event at Tia Maria's Mexican Restaurant on Dacoma street.  Family owned and operated they have our own special room complete with mariachies and great food and service!!

P.S in this shot is left to right is Charles who is Leslie C's Fiance, my husband John who helps with all the bank work and insurance, Leslie C who is my Sr Designer, Karen who runs my office and store, and Isai who runs the plaster crews!!! The picture to the right also includes Andrea who runs the furniture refinishing, art gallery, and helps me with all the scheduling!  What a wonderful management staff I have!!!

 

 

 Each year we give out plaques for exceptional service for 5 years.  We with moving into the shop last year didn't have our Christmas event so this year we had 9 team members that celebrated 5-7 years with the company!  Hats off to them they are exceptional employees!!!!

 

My little dog Charlie got a new coat for Christmas!!!  He is as excited as I am to have Segreto's work featured in the two publications below!!  To end the year I want to make sure you all know how much I appreciate all of you--my wonderful sweet blog readers!!!  I so hope you have a wonderful Holiday with your family and friends and a very Happy New Year!!!   Till next year!!  xo  Leslie

 

 

 

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Sunday
Dec152013

Deck the Halls - and the Table, and the Mantel, and the...

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Christmas time is just around the corner and I can't help but feel in the holiday spirit!! All my kids will be together and there is bound to be lots of shopping, decorating and celebrating!! With this collection of seasonally-inspired decor and fashion ideas, it should be easy to find joy all around you this season!!

Home Decor!!!
While I still love all the white and natural color palettes I discussed in last year's Christmas post, this year I seem to be wanting to add a bit of color!!!

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Maybe it's because I keep having visions of this Cartier store all wrapped in red!! Below are a few decorating ideas for my home this season!!!

For the Tree!!

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Holiday Fruit!
I love using fruit in my holiday decor! Sticking with the red theme, pomegranates, berries, and apples fit the bill!!

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Gorgeous Garland!
There are so many different options for garland! I'm a big fan of the real thing whether it's evergreen, bay leaves, magnolia or other items mixed in fresh from your yard!! Garland works beautifully with so many things!! 

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For the Table!

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Rosemary wreath place card holders! Tie together a long sprig of rosemary with a piece of yarn for a touch of rustic loveliness. Then add a piece of paper interlaced into the leaves with the assigned name for that seat. Your place settings will look and smell divine!

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Just for Kids!!!

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Here's an idea that may actually get your children to set the table for you!! Using the picture above as a guide, arrange your plates and silverware to take the shape of a friendly winter snowman. Brightly colored paper napkins can be used to polish off the look as the perfect scarf and top hat. Don't forget to give your snowman some life with gumdrop eyes and a carrot nose!

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Frosty Beverages and Festive Food!! 
With everybody in such close quarters during parties and family get-togethers, having appetizers and drinks on hand is sure to make everyone a little merrier!!  

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Cheese platters are fantastic appetizers to serve at any party. For an extra flourish, layer cubes of cheese and multi-color grapes in the shape of a Christmas tree and garnish with fresh parsley or thyme for a festive look. Don't forget the celery stalk as the tree trunk!!

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With a colorful presentation and plenty of sugar, this cranberry and rosemary white "Christmas" sangria looks as good as it tastes. Come to think of it, this could double as a centerpiece as well!! 

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For this super cute idea, pour a cocktail or non-alcoholic refreshment into large plastic ornaments you can purchase from the craft store!! Helpful tip: Use a funnel to get the beverage in so you don't end up making a sticky mess!

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A classic winter cocktail with a twist: The eggnog martini!! 

Eggnog Martini

  • 2 1-2 oz. Eggnog
  • 1 oz. Van Gogh Vanilla  Vodka
  • 3/4 oz. Amaretto

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake over ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass and dust with freshly grated nutmeg or cinnamon. Cheers!!!

Seasonal Fashion!!
I can't help but love the glitz and glamour the Christmas season brings!! There is something so dazzling about sparkles, velvet, and lace, especially when it comes to fashion!! Now if I only had somewhere to wear these green velvet Gucci shoes... 

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Happy holidays from Segreto!! May your home become a little merrier and a little brighter with some of the inspiration shared in this post. Till next Monday!! Xo, Leslie

To purchase "Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors" on our website click here or to purchase through Amazon click here.

To subscribe to the Segreto Blog click here.

Sunday
Dec082013

A Designer for the Holidays - Regina Gust

I have seen Regina’s work with Regina Gust Designs (formerly Twins Design Christmas) for years when working in homes around the Holidays.  I was fortunate to get to know her personally when we were in the same fab home(see here) together for an Easter deadline. I thought It would be fun to do a spotlight on her Christmas Decor, since for over 20 years, Regina has been decking Houston’s halls with exuberant decorations and in more recent times was featured in the Frontgate catalogue.  Whether she’s using fresh flowers, natural, glitzy or traditional elements, her creations always get the special “Regina” touch that give them a uniquely lush look.

Regina’s key goal in decorating for the Holidays is to bring joy to each client.  And joy she does bring through customizing each home for the holidays using the clients existing décor as inspiration.  

This wouldn’t fit in my living room for sure, but it is really spreading Christmas cheer for the students at Stephen F. Austin College!  That is Regina, pretty as her tree, putting on its finishing touches. This tree absolutely glitters with its silver and gold decorations, fillers(sometimes call picks) and ribbons. Regina says fillers are essential for creating fullness in every design. 

Fillers are branch like pieces that come in all styles that you can add into a base piece of garland or a tree. A good strategy is to add fillers first then ornaments and add the ribbons last.  

You can get so much inspiration from all the different style represented on the trees at Regina's Holiday Boutique! This tree is adorned with natural decorations: pinecones, snowflakes and burlap ribbon. Every tree should have a little bit of sparkle and clear glass balls catch the light perfectly for a subtle shine in this organic look.

Garlands Galore………. One of Regina’s trademarks  is her stunning garlands, all saturated with ornaments, ribbons and accessories, from elegant to whimsical, all her beauties really make you want to jingle all the way!! 

Flock the Halls……………………. Remember the flocked trees?  Well they are coming back. Regina loves using them for an all white look, mixing them with white ornaments, crystals  and ribbons creating a truly elegant statement.  See how she uses flocking in her designs below!!!!

Don’t stop at the tree!!!.......... To elicit holiday spirit throughout your house decorate, chandeliers, sconces and mirrors and more.

 

Outdoor spaces……………Outdoor mantels  and doors need a touch of holiday, too. Makes you want to snuggle up to the outdoor fire or welcome you into the home.

A fearless approach and passion for flair has helped Regina carve out a special niche in the luxury Holiday and event design market. Constantly evolving, her holiday business has expanded to include Halloween, Easter, Valentines and special events. Thanks Regina for sharing your holiday joy with us!!!  
To contact Regina call 713.426.1226 or email regina@reginagust.com. To get inspired and find a special pieces to add to your own Holiday décor, visit Regina Gust Designs Holiday Boutique at 5005 Larkin, open seasonally M-Sat from 10-5

 Along with our unique gifts, art and accessories we are so excited to feature jewelry designer Candice Dickerson at Segreto for our special Holiday shopping event this Thursday. Look forward to seeing you all! Feel free to pass on the invite or bring a friend!  Till then--xo  Leslie

To purchase "Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors" on our website click here or to purchase through Amazon click here.

To subscribe to the Segreto Blog click here.

 

Sunday
Dec012013

Organize It!

 Most people think of spring time cleaning but because we are starting a home renovation in Jan. I need to de-clutter and organize everything before Christmas descends upon us!! In looking for tips for my own home, I have stumbled on a few faves that I would like to share!!

In the Kitchen!!

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Of course everything Brooke Giannetti, from the blog Velvet & Linen, does is fab! I have gotten to where I like to keep my silverware out - easy access!! Love these converted French candle holders as a silverware caddy!

In our little office kitchen, you can find our silverware living in rustic tin cans that we also sell in the boutique. At around $9 per tin, this is a charming and budget-friendly way to organize your cutlery!! 

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Why is it that the utensil drawers always end up in such disarray? Something as simple as using pretty little baskets and a knife holder can section off much needed drawer space so you can neatly stock all of your serving spoons, knives, and cheese graters in one place!! The Container Store is a great resource for finding small baskets and organizers such as these. If you are starting from scratch I have found a great website Rev-A-Shelf which has pull out baskets, lazy susans, and all sorts of wonderful things to make better use of your cabinetry in your bathrooms, kitchens, utility and craft rooms!  Lowes and Home Depot also carries this line!!

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If you like the idea of using baskets for utensils, try adding larger baskets made for storage as the perfect organizational flourish in a pantry as well!!

At the shop we filled the bottom shelving with baskets like these from Ikea who has amazing prices and put our various items in there - they pull out like drawers and make it so much easier to keep organized in a small kitchen!! 

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For a pantry or small closet, you can remove the shelves and install sliding drawers instead. What a fantastic way to get more from a space!! I, of course, would put a pretty finish on those drawers!!!!

Laundry Rooms!!!

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An inexpensive way to add hanging space to a laundry room or broom closet is to mount a towel rack upside down. Now why didn't I think of this??

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Take it a step further and install multiple towel racks and hang storage baskets from them. Zip ties are great ways to secure your assortment which can be filled with just anything!!! If you're not up for a full do-it-yourself project, Pottery Barn sells the Hannah Basket Wall System which provides the same look and versatile storage starting at $49.

 

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Labeling the baskets, bins, and tins in a laundry room is a great way to stay organized!! Gift tags work well to tie around the weave of baskets while spraying chalk paint in a circle would be a picture-perfect way to decorate and label bins and buckets! You can buy Rustoleum's Specialty Chalkboard Paint from Home Depot which is very easy to apply.

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More sliding drawers! These conveniently hide laundry baskets and can help you sift through your darks, lights, and whites in a snap!!

 

I love this!! Glass jars can make lovely displays out of almost anything including powdered laundry detergent! We carry some wonderful oversized square jars we import from Belgium ($95) that would be perfect for your detergent!

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And of course, you can always utilize an alcove in a wall by hanging curtains that can be drawn closed to disguise anything and add a bit of softness to the room! There are those jars again full of detergent!!!

Bathrooms!!!

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Extra shelf space in your bathroom or even in the small room where the toilet lives can be functional and attractive by employing more of these multipurpose baskets and a few select pieces of decor. Even the toilet paper looks nice!!

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Super versatile PVC pipe comes in extremely handy inside bathroom cabinet doors to store your curling irons, brushes, or even your blow dryer. You can purchase pieces of PVC piping from your local hardware store, Home Depot, or Lowe's, or try looking online - I found some inexpensive options on Ali Baba.

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This open vanity cabinet demonstrates smart ways to tidy up the area under your bathroom sink. By utilizing the insides of the cabinet doors more effectively and adding a multi-level display inside, you can generate a lot of extra space that is visually appealing too! Or try these beautiful three-tier glass jars that we have at the Segreto Boutique for $55 to stack and showcase all of your cotton balls and q-tips!

Wrapping!!!

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Whether for your daughter's hair or for wrapping presents, ribbons and bows somehow always become a tangled mess. With a slotted Tupperware basket and a pair of dowel rods that are smaller than the holes, you can organize spools of ribbon into presentable bins.

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Both of the ideas above are such inventive ways to make use of dead space in a closet or craft room so that all of your holiday and gift wrapping materials are out of the way but still accessible. 

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After that, I'm feeling extremely inspired to get organized!! I am starting redoing my craft room office and will keep you updated on how it goes!! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a fabulous week to come!  Remember not many shopping days left for Christmas.  We have some wonderful gifts left for everyone on your list in our boutique.  Thank you Scout guide for including the Segreto Boutique in The Scout Guide’s 2013 National Gift Guide.  Their collection of the best of the best in 2013 gift giving!!

Segreto’s Gallery & Boutique is located at 1414 Antoine(same street as Ikea), 3 houses north of Westview, in a light house with gray trim and a crushed limestone driveway across from St Regis School. There is no Segreto sign. Extra parking in the back! We look forward to catching up with you all.  Till next Monday! Xo, Leslie

To purchase "Segreto: Secrets to Finishing Beautiful Interiors" on our website click here or to purchase through Amazon click here.

To subscribe to the Segreto Blog click here.