Category Archives: decor

Stealing Magnolias by Debra Shriver

 “New Orleanians have long memories and a high tolerance for eccentricity.” – Randy Fertel
If you’re a New Orleanian, you have an intimate relationship with the city. You lovingly talk about its nuances the same way you’d describe a lifelong friend, or a close relative. They might drive you nuts sometimes, but their faults only add to their charm. From decadent recipes to French influenced décor, Debra Shriver tells her tale of embracing the Big Easy lifestyle in Stealing Magnolias, a coffee table book that is not only comprised of her favorite haunts, but her adoration of the culture.

Alabama born and bred, this New Yorker fell in love with the city and found a quintessential French Quarter residence to call her own just weeks before Hurricane Katrina. While the photography alone is worth a glance, Shriver weaves an intimate tale, sharing her NOLA love notes with us as she discovers her neighborhood and decorates her home.  When we hear so much about spikes in crime, increasing property taxes, hurricanes, and crooked politicians (I’m looking at you C. Ray Nagin), it’s a necessity to take a moment to dwell on the positive details that make this city so special.

Stealing Magnolias would make a wonderful gift, or purchase a copy (via Octavia Books) for yourself and be prepared to reconnect with New Orleans. Already have a copy? Be sure to read Valorie Hart’s review of Shriver’s latest book, Spirit of New Orleans on Visual Vamp.
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Decorate with Flowers in Southern Style

While I’ve always loved a lush, almost garishly colorful front yard I’m seriously lacking in gardening skills. Patricia Hall of Serenata Flowers shows us how to brighten up your home with flowers. And no, they aren’t the plastic ones that my grandma has in her front yard. I’m not making that up. -Christy

Flowers grow abundantly in the South, and they are expressions of love for nature’s beauty and the home. Fresh flowers from a garden or landscape are beautiful anywhere, but flower ordering makes them available for entertaining or enjoying any time of the year.

A cut bouquet brings an air of elegance and distinction to a southern home that is unequalled. A welcoming home in New Orleans, Savannah or Charleston always includes a variety of flowers in treasured vases for friends and family to enjoy. Favorites include Fuji mums, gerbera daisies and freesia to create an abundance of color that distinguishes the rooms of a gracious hostess. The bright whiteness of the freesia flower creates a distinct contrast with the colors in an arrangement. Following in the southern tradition that reflects a preference for sweetness, freesia fits beautifully as an accent in any bouquet. Hydrangeas are typically very showy plants that are remarkably beautiful in the pastel colors that complement a home’s décor.








Orchids and lilies add elegance to a room


Orchids provide gorgeous blooms in many shades that range from white to pink that extends to deep purple, breathtaking as an indoor arrangement. They are available all year round as fresh flowers, and they hold up very well for table arrangements. A few stems of lilies make an excellent accompaniment with their stately shape and appearance in a tall crystal vase. Such an arrangement on a table in the foyer welcomes friends and family with an unmistakable aura of southern hospitality.



Lilies are an especially good choice for several reasons. The long bloom time makes them a durable flower to consider for an arrangement, and the beauty and elegance they add are second only to their delightful fragrance. While lilies may cost a little more than some flowers, their extraordinary beauty and long-lasting quality make them a favorite in many homes.








A southern tradition of sweetness and beauty


A hallmark of a traditional southern home, true of New Orleans and other southern cities, is the abundant display of vibrant colors in flower bouquets. Likely coming from a tradition that encouraged the cultivation of gardens, southern families still enjoy the fragrance of flowers in the home. With so many activities available today that compete for time and attention, many families now choose a reliable service for fresh flowers delivered on a regular basis. Seasonal flower arrangements provide a delicate touch of color to any room, especially when they accent the chosen shades in the décor.



The dining room is frequently the heart of the home, and it is an ideal location for a flower bouquet set in a deep cut-glass bowl. White tapers add immensely to the elegance of the display, bringing a sense of warm and welcome to the room. Many flowers in the south exude a delicate, sweet aroma, and it is a lovely scent to have wafting around the room. Roses brim with color and aroma, and they are the classic flower to use in almost any arrangement. Small sprigs of Confederate jasmine add a light scent of the old south that is delicate and sweet.

The southern expression “beauty is as beauty does” sums up the importance of always displaying flowers in the home. They silently represent the love of beauty and the important role that it plays in the functioning of a gracious, southern home.








About the Author


Patricia Hall works part-time for an online florist in the uk and loves to surround herself with flowers at any given point of time. Even in her free time she loves to involve herself with everything flora and fauna.
'To me there is nothing more beautiful and global as the language of flowers - it is the easiest to understand all around the world in the same way. That is one reason why I truly admire flowers for what they represent in some ways - unity of all mankind!'
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