Travel

Again this year, I was notified by an email from Jeremy Bernard, the Social Secretary at The White House notifying me that I was again selected to be among the volunteers to decorate the house for Christmas.  My method for applying was the same as last year.  I wrote a letter to the Chief Floral

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Wednesday evening, after having worked on the decorations for the past five days, all of the volunteers were invited to a reception at the White House. This would be the first of many holiday parties at the house this season. Mrs. Obama estimated that over 100,000 people would get to enjoy the decorations we had created.

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It took an hour for 90 people to get through three security checkpoints to get inside the White House. They were super thorough.

[White House Reception 322]
Green room with trees and wreaths made from recycled magazines and newspaper

Once inside, it was easy to move about the public areas of the house. There was a screen set up in the lower cross hall to screen the President and First Family as they came and went. I am certain they have little privacy, so this was understandable. The house is really beautiful. It feels very intimate for the President’s residence, which surprised me. It is a big house, don’t get me wrong, but the overall feeling is very approachable and welcoming.

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About the second week of October I got a wonderful surprise. It was an email from the Social Secretary at the White House asking me to be one of the 100 volunteers they select each year to help decorate the White House for Christmas. I had written a letter to the Chief Floral Designer and to the Social Secretary back in January telling them of my interest, and finally word came. As I talked with the volunteers once I was in DC, it was clear that we all had done the same thing. We were not really selected on our ability to decorate….or who we were….or what we did in our daily lives. We were selected because of our passion to want to be a volunteer in the People’s House, and to help make it beautiful for the People of the United States. If I learned anything during this week of decorating, I learned that being a proud, helpful American is one of the most important things we can be.

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Laurel Magazine is monthly shelter magazine focusing on life in Highlands and Cashiers, North Carolina and the surrounding community.  They do lots of interesting stories about local happenings, new restaurants, where to stay, what to see and do, and also feature some beautiful homes in the area.  For the September issue, they selected a home

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On our travels we are forever gathering design inspiration to bring back to our clients.  What better place to do that than to visit a few Villas in the Veneto?  We toured three villas along the Brenta Canal.  The Brenta Canal is a natural waterway that connects Venice with Padua.  In the 18th Century (and even

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     On our first day in Venice, we visited the studio of Angela R. Greco on the Ponte Delle Ostreghe, near San Marco.  Angela and her sister have been in this same location for years, and make the most beautiful Venetian style lamp shades I have found anywhere on the planet.  Each shade is made

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Antique shopping is always a part of our travel, and Venice is no exception.  You never know where you might end up, but if you are truly interested in the products a merchant has, and you are polite, doors might open.  Today we were casually walking toward Campo San Maurizio in San Marco and happened

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A favorite stop in Venice is the studio of Bruno Vianello on Calle De Pistor in Castello.  Bruno is a painting restoration specialist whose work appears in the Accademia, the Hotel Danielli, and in many private Venetian collections.  Currently, he is working on a group of Biblical paintings from the 16th century in which he

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  Up until this week, when I thought of Mexico, the beautiful white sand beaches of Cancun came to mind.  Say what you want about the Mayan Riviera; the beaches are among the most beautiful in the world…..even if they are man made.  It never dawned on me that Mexico was really a foreign country.  My

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