Everything’s Coming Up Roses

coming up roses
This one is shaped like a heart.


I was so thrilled to see my rose bushes in bountiful bloom this year. Then I noticed that the roses all around town were looking spectacular. Everything’s coming up roses, I thought. Whatever bad weather we’ve had this past winter and spring, it sure seems the roses didn’t mind. When I first bought my knockout roses, I had trouble with pests and I struggled to find a solution. I almost gave up on them, but now I am so glad I didn’t. Rose bushes remind me of my grandmother – she had the most beautiful mound of them near a massive rock in her yard. She took such pride in her roses. It’s a nice memory that I now relive every time I look at my roses.

I hope that everything keeps coming up roses this summer. For now, I’ll stop and smell mine as much as possible.


coming up roses

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Tray Chic – Cute and Customizable Serving Trays for Any Occasion

Tray Chic Martini tray

A few weeks ago, at the Shop ’Til You Drop event, I took some time to shop around a bit and stumbled upon a booth that immediately caught my eye.

The table was full of fun and unique decorative trays displayed in a variety of styles, colors and customizable designs.

My gaze immediately fell upon the martini tray shown above. “I have to have that,” I declared to my sister, Karla, and friend, Amy, who were shopping with me. They too loved the collection of servers and made some smart selections of their own. The beauty of the trays is that there’s one for anyone…lake lovers, sports fans, shell collectors, nautical enthusiasts, etc. – you name it, there’s a tray for you. Oddly, Karla, Amy and I all ended up with cocktail themed trays…interesting, no?

Tray Chic Lake house trayTray Chic Boston Celtics tray

Tray Chic

Sally Finnimore started Tray Chic in November of 2015. She was inspired by a project she’d seen on Pinterest. Her own tray was such a success that friends began requesting trays for themselves. The more Sally accommodated, the more requests came in and Tray Chic was born. I love Sally’s clever business name almost as much as I love her trays.

The trays are perfect as hostess gifts or housewarming gifts. They would also make great client gifts for realtors. Of course, the best gifts are the ones we give ourselves (like I did) and these trays are a nice way to add a little whimsy and character to any room in your home.


The trays come in several sizes – 5 x 7 (nice for jewelry), 8 x 10 (dresser) and 11 x 14 (standard) or custom and the handles and frame color can be custom chosen too. The decorative top is a piece of fabric secured under glass that can be swapped out with other pattern inserts of your choice.  I purchased a festive holiday alternative for my martini tray.

alternate fabric insert for Tray Chic tray

Where to Buy

Sally’s trays are on display at the Eighteen Friend Street gift shop in Amesbury, MA and the Deux Amis Boutique in Georgetown, MA. Also, look for her at the North Andover Farmer’s Market on Sunday, June 25st.

If you’d like to reach her for a custom order, do so through her Facebook page.


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Elizabeth Pogor: Artist and Owner of Silver Tie Servers

Art, "Oh My Head" by Betty Pogor artist and owner of Silver Tie Servers
“Oh My Head” by Elizabeth Pogor

I love when I learn something new about someone I’ve known for years. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Elizabeth (Betty to some) through her business, Silver Tie Servers. Her service offers hosts and hostesses, in Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire, the luxury of enjoying their event while she and the Silver Tie Servers crew take care of everything from passing hors d’oeuvres to post-party clean-up.

Only recently did I learn that Elizabeth not only serves with a smile, but she is also a talented artist. She is a graduate of Massachusetts College of Art and Design and has been painting for 15 years. Check out her website, PogorFineArt.com, to see how her colorful canvases reflect her vibrant personality and be sure not to miss her pet page!

Q & A


I had the opportunity to ask Elizabeth about her business and passion and here’s what she had say:

Q. You studied art, but started a business in the event services industry. What inspired you to launch Silver Tie Servers?

A. I’ve always been an artist, even as a small child, that will never change. I’ve also hosted all sorts of events, from birthday parties to elaborate weddings and showers. A few years ago, I occasionally worked for another party hosting company and knew I could run my own service, only better.

Q. How did you discover your passion for painting and art?

A. My father was a professional artist. He was a commercial artist and a painter, very well known on the North Shore and throughout New England. I grew up with a brush in my hand.

Q. Your artwork is vibrant and colorful, just like you. What inspires your creations?

A. Oh my! I love color and I love drama. When I put the two together my paintings create themselves.

Q. You work exclusively with oil paints, why?

A. There is nothing like oils (in my opinion). Other mediums work for many artists, but there is a sensuality to oil paint, like warm butter. They can be manipulated for a period of time, unlike acrylics and watercolor. Once you use oils you fall in love, it’s hard to switch.

Q. When you’re not donning your signature silver tie, how much time do you spend painting/creating?

A. Lately, a lot! I’ve been preparing for a one woman show in August and I probably paint 15-20 hours a week. I’d paint more but there’s the family and animals to tend to… lots going on here.

Q. What would you love readers to know about your art and where can they find it?

A. Every work contains a part of me. When you see one, you will see things I never see – shapes and scenarios that come out on canvas that were once in my mind. My work is subjective. I’ve seen couples argue over their interpretation of my painting, which I find so interesting. People should know that an original piece of any art is not always out of reach and can add so much character to a home or office. I do commissions on a regular basis. You can see some of my work at Good Day Café in North Andover and visit my website (soon to be updated and greatly improved) at PogorFineArt.com. I invite folks into my studio in North Andover for private and semi-private lessons all year long. 

Thank you Betty, for sharing your story and creativity. I look forward to your show.

Art, "Hot Flash" by Betty Pogor artist and owner of Silver Tie Servers
“Hot Flash” by Elizabeth Pogor

Pogor Fine Art on Display

Elizabeth’s art will be on display at Colo Colo Gallery in New Bedford, MA. from August 28- September 17th. Join her on September 9th for her show’s opening event – wine and refreshments will be served.

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Heartwood Kitchens … Redesigned the Heart of My Home

my kitchen designed by Heartwood Kitchens
The bi-level peninsula with view from kitchen to dining room was formerly a wall. Photo by Harkins Photography.


There’s nothing I love more than a good kitchen remodel. Whether it’s my own, a friend’s or one I’ve seen in a magazine, a good kitchen remodel is as exciting to me as that first warm day of spring when all that’s dingy and dull turns new again.

Heartwood Kitchens

When I redid my kitchen in 2011, my excitement was through the roof. Truthfully, I still get giddy about my kitchen today. This is thanks in great part to Heartwood Kitchens and owner Nancy Hanson, who enlightened me to a world of possibilities.

Since my own remodel, I’ve recommended Nancy and Heartwoods Kitchens to more people than I can count. Just a few weeks ago, I got a call from a friend with kitchen questions and I was more than happy to sing Nancy’s praises once again.

What I love about Heartwood Kitchens is that they not only carry a great line of custom and semi-custom cabinetry, but Nancy knows exactly how to help you choose the style, finish and options that suit your taste and budget. More importantly, Nancy knew how to help me see past the confines of my typical, colonial home, kitchen.  She opened my world and my home to a floorplan that encourages free flowing movement, ease of entertainment and a general sense of spaciousness that I never thought my kitchen could have.


I can now work in the kitchen and easily converse with guests in the dining room
I can now work in the kitchen and easily converse with guests in the dining room. Photo by Harkins Photography.


My kitchen is adjacent to my dining room on one side and my sunroom on the other. I wanted each of those spaces to remain intact and serve their original purpose, without changing the footprint of my home. I simply wanted to update the small kitchen I already had. Nancy listened and respected my every wish while offering suggestions to gain space without having to add on. By breaking down walls, that I never considered could come down, she transformed my three spaces into one unified space that I love.

The open space above the sink was once a wall. Now my sunroom, kitchen and dining room feel wonderfully connected.
The open space above the sink was once a wall. Now my sunroom, kitchen and dining room feel wonderfully connected. Photo by Harkins Photography.


The end result is a wide open and inviting space that continues to make me happy with every meal I cook, party I host and cup of coffee I sip. Even smaller details, like my in-island microwave, make me smile.


At the time of my kitchen remodel, I didn't even know a microwave could exist in an island. Now it is one of my favorite things!
At the time of my kitchen remodel, I didn’t even know a microwave could exist in an island. Now it is one of my favorite things! Photo by Harkins Photography.


I was so pleased with the transformation, I wrote a magazine article about the experience aptly titled, Open Wide.

If you are considering a kitchen remodel, allow me to highly recommend Heartwood Kitchens of Danvers. Call (978) 762-7472 or stop into their showroom at 75 Newbury Street, Danvers, MA.

Cabinets by Quality Custom Cabinetry, Inc. Appliances by Sub-Zero and Wolf.

A Heartwood Kitchens Contest

Do you already have a Heartwood Kitchen? I would love to hear about your great experience in the comments section below. Also, check out their Show Us Your Heartwood Kitchen contest on Facebook. Send photos of your Heartwood Kitchen to Heartwood@HeartwoodKitchens.net to be posted on Facebook. The kitchen with the most “Likes” will win a $500 Columbus Hospitality Group gift certificate.

Restaurants include Mistral Restaurant, L’Andana Grill, Mooo Restaurant, Sorellina Boston, Teatro Boston, and Ostra Boston. Voting ends on Mother’s Day. #likemyheartwoodkitchen


For more posts like this, be sure to sign up for my blog in the Subscribe box to the right or Like my Facebook page.

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Floral Design Trends as Seen at the Boston Flower Show

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In another attempt to spend time in Boston, I attended the Boston Flower and Garden Show last week. I dragged Tony along with me, which was funny because he has absolutely no interest in botanicals of any kind. In fact, if I so much as reference a plant by its proper name (i.e. Forsythia) he rolls his eyes. He claims it’s pretentious to “name drop” plant names. Oh right, I should just say the yellow bush – my bad!

Regardless, we had a nice time in the city and I loved seeing the gorgeous displays. I was most interested to see the latest in floral design trends. However, I was also impressed with the landscape and stonework displays. Some were very elaborate.

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This was inside the Seaport World Trade Center


As we walked around, I looked to identify the top floral design trends and popular plants.


As far as plants go, it looks like succulents are still a favorite. They were abundant throughout the show. I imagine the easy care and hard to kill nature of these plants allows them to maintain their popularity. Bonsai creations were also quite attractive to the crowds.

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Succulents galore
Faux succulent arrangement
Faux succulent arrangement
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Bonsai table


While the plant and garden displays were eye-catching, my focus was on flowers. I was happy to discover the Floral Design Competition room tucked in the back of the convention hall. Here, I took my time and perused the colorful and creative arrangements. I looked for patterns in color, structure and flower choice. The trend that most intrigued me was the fusion of floral and sculpture – flowers combined with some kind of manmade structural component. I did find these creations interesting and dramatic, however I prefer the beauty of blooms to stand alone.

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It was nice to get a touch of spring at this event. Hopefully we, here in New England, won’t have to wait too much longer for the real thing.


Feeling blue? Go buy yourself a bunch of happy flowers…sniff and smile. They always do the trick for me.

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