Feast on Your Life

With no gifts, tree, glitzy ornaments or gaudy lights, I look forward to Thanksgiving more than ever this year. Enduring two years of a worldwide pandemic plus massive wildfires and a first ever bomb cyclone on the West Coast, brings perspective to what’s important in life.  I look forward to gathering with people I love to give thanks for our lives, our health, our blessings, our planet, those we love – past and present – and for this sacred holiday filled with love and gratitude.

Backdrop of Our Lives

Crunchy autumn leaves
Crunchy autumn leaves

What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than venturing into your own back yard, a nearby park, a hiking trail or a wildlife area to relish the gifts of the season. Fall brings extraordinary beauty, filling paths where we walk with vibrant colors, textures, patterns, shapes and even sounds as we trudge through crunchy autumn leaves.  What could be more meaningful at this time of year than to show our awe and appreciation for the backdrop of our lives – nature.

Nature’s Embellishment

Mountainside home filled with nature
Mountainside home filled with nature

Rather than buying plastic turkeys to decorate your holiday table, grab some garden gloves, a pair of nippers and a basket to gather fall leaves, berries, pumpkins, colorful squash, leafy branches and the last of summer’s flowers to embellish your home with beauty. Augment your collection with finds from the farmer’s market or the produce section at your local grocery store that offer an abundance of decorative and edible possibilities for your creative spirit.

wine country table
Wine country table

When decorating your table, consider warm colors – hues between red and yellow on the color wheel. Tone-on-tone shades of soft apricot, salmon, rich golds, rosy pinks, bold oranges and vibrant reds speak to the season. Bring in these shades with pomegranates, persimmons, golden dates, red berries and kangaroo paws then compliment the warmth with dark green bay leaves and lime colored seeded eucalyptus for contrast and texture.

festively dressed autumn dinner table
Autumn’s bounty

If you don’t have time or energy to peruse nature’s outdoor gifts, you can find everything you need to create your holiday centerpiece at your grocery store or farmer’s market. Pumpkins, squash, pears and artichokes piled on a platter surrounded by coffee colored eucalyptus pods and brilliant green eucalyptus seeds sets a perfect tone for an autumn feast.

For Your Mantel

arrangement of natural elements paired with art
Pairing art with nature

Your fireplace mantel with artwork above is the perfect place to install a unique fall vignette. Here we placed apricot-colored dates, crimson red pomegranates and creamy yellow green artichokes among luscious shades of textured outdoor greenery. The French blue in the antique painting behind and silvery blue toned pine branches and bay leaves in front cool down the warm palette.

Finally, this mash-up of art and nature’s shapes, colors, textures and patterns are grounded by the gray stone mantel and brown pinecones hanging from the edge – neutral colors that don’t appear on the color wheel – brown, gray, black and white – absorb and reflect light.

Think Outside the TG Box

festively dressed dinner table
Surprise guests with the unexpected

Have fun setting your holiday table this year by thinking outside the box. Mix up colors of plates and napkins, use drapery rings for napkin holders, pull out your wedding china and mix it with funky flatware and mismatched glasses – then tie everything together with color and texture from nature. Do the unexpected and surprise your friends and family with an enchanting holiday table.

Sensual Entertaining

2 candles on side table in front of wood siding

Lighting is the finishing touch. It’s the foundation for creating a soft sensual feeling that will delight all who sit at your table. Dim or turn off overhead lights and turn on lamps. Then add as many candles as you can – tall, short, warm colors and cool colors. These soft sensual beacons of light will cast a magical spell over the room and your guests.

simple and sophisticated table in country barn
Simple sophistication in a country barn

The butterscotch-colored candles lining the middle of the table in this Sonoma barn harmonize with the warm knotty pine walls, armless gold chairs and yellow plates and napkins. They make the room and everyone and everything in it glow.


Golden Gate crew
Our Golden Gate crew

If you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned Golden Gate, our archaic home on Belvedere Island, it is still in critical shape above ground, but her decrepit roots are undergoing a transformation below ground, thanks to our hard-working boots-on-the-ground crew. Trudging through mud, wind and rain, these guys continue to amaze us with their strong work ethic, ingenuity and expertise. Many thanks to Edwin and Carlos and their superb crew for the dedicated renewal of our treasured historic home.

Scott Adelson - social media wizard

I also want to thank Scott for his long-standing commitment to promoting our brand on social media. In addition to his internet marketing skills, this guy is truly multi-talented – an extraordinary painter, talented photographer and seasoned creative writer. LA&A is blessed to have him.

Marshall Miller - accounting extraordinaire

With three degrees in math, some friends call Marshall a genius. I call him my husband and Toby’s dad. But this guy is amazing with numbers that continue to be his passion and my good fortune. He’s also my ever-ready IT guy and oversees the Golden Gate jobsite multiple times a day. Thanks, Marsh, for all that you do!!!

Jackie and Linda
Jackie Schaeffer - editor in chief

Here’s Jackie and me in the Santa Ynez Valley on the central coast of California where she lives. Jackie has been writing and editing our newsletters for years. Currently she sends out the newsletters and edits my monthly blogs. Her passion is overseeing the correct use of the English language, worldwide traveling, cooking in her own back yard with freshly grown herbs and vegetables and Jackson Browne concerts.

digital handywoman logo
webmaster and designer

Cristine is the newest member of our team who lives in Southern California. She posts our blogs each month plus keeps all WordPress systems in check. She is a dedicated high tech digital handywoman whose meticulous attention to detail is a true gift for LA&A.

Toby at Golden Gate
Toby at Golden Gate

We totally adore this tiny creature who makes us laugh and embodies what love truly is every day!

Linda holding a flower to say thank you
Thank you!

And finally, my heart is filled with gratitude for all of you who have followed my crazy path for the past three decades, and those who have signed up recently for our newsletter. I am still passionate about creating beauty and thank all of you for reading my blog, following our Golden Gate journey and posting your gracious and supportive comments along the way – they mean so much!


With love and gratitude,


Linda, Marhsall, Jackie, Scott, Christine and Tobywan-Kenobe

Showing 13 comments
  • Janice Weickum

    Happy Thanksgiving Linda and Marshall and Toby! This entire post is filled with so much inspiration, so many wonderful ideas and the most important reminder that love and gratitude are the foundation of all! Thank you!

    • Martha Springer

      Well written, Linda! Happy Thanksgiving!

      • Linda Applewhite

        Thanks so much for reading my blog!
        Have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration and many blessings to you and your family this holiday season.


  • Joan von Weien

    Happy Thanksgiving to you, Linda and Marshall! Especially to Toby!! I appreciate your spirit filled approach to this time of year, considering your home is undergoing a rising from the ideas you have, and the reality of what is!

    I am doubly grateful for my family, friends, home and last but not least Charlie Brown, who makes me laugh at his merry mischief from the moment he awakens til his last eyelash drops!

    Your home will be especially appreciated when it arises, since you have patiently been waiting through the process.

  • Yvonne Danelle Carpenter


  • Marla Patterson

    Precious Linda and Crew/Family etc.
    What a lovely post. Thanksgiving and giving thanks 🙏🏻 there is nothing better!
    Beautiful inspirational photos and a priceless photo of Toby! Happy Thanksgiving 🍁 love.

  • Maureen Foster

    What a delightful treat is this holiday post!
    So inspiring and makes me look forward to Thanksgiving all the more.
    Happy Holidays Linda and love to you and to all

    • Linda Applewhite

      So great to hear from you Maureen! Thanks for your gracious comment. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and much love!


  • Alexandra Weibel

    Wow Linda,

    This is all so inspiring and to be saved for eternity to look at as a reference when wanting to creating the kind of warm and welcoming fiesta that I see on all of these picture!!!

    Thank you so so much and Happy Thanksgiving!!

  • Courtney Eskridge

    What a blessing you and yours are to us all!The heart and soul you share,the wondorous gifts and ideas that flow from you and the kindness to continuelly give amazes me.Know that you are a bright light to so many.

  • Jenny Duffy

    My best to you and yours for a lovely and blessed Thankgiving holiday. Yours is a life well-lived, filled with love, nature, art, beauty, enjoyment and appreciation for it all.

  • Kay Criley

    Though I’m reading this the day after Thanksgiving, Linda, it warms my heart and inspires my everyday. Beautifully done! You are a gift that keeps on giving. I love you and give thanks for you in my life❣️Blessings to you and Marshall ad Toby.

  • Liz Nichols

    Linda, you are a genius with tablescapes and using nature in your designs. I only wish I had your talent and skills. Beautiful.

Leave a Comment

Rusted Gate with Pumpkins