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What’s on Your Winter Bucket List?

Retreat, check. Relax, check. Rejuvenate, check. It all starts in the bedroom. Photos: Hooker Furniture and Mandarin Blue by Ralph Lauren China.

Resolutions are so last month! What’s more inspiring and realistic for this time of year is this idea: What’s on your winter bucket list?

Chances are, this is a time of year when retreating, relaxing and rejuvenating is high on your bucket list.


There’s a reason the bedroom is often called the master suite. It is where retreat, relaxation and rejuvenation begins, as you prepare your mind, body and soul for glorious spring!

Say yes to flowers and candles, especially for the bedroom, even if it’s just ambiance for one. Even better: flameless candles with timer and remote. Photo: Ikea

The bedroom is a living space to make totally your own, with your true favorite things. Gather photos of those you love most (there’s no better time of year to sift through photos and family memorabilia), all built around your favorite color scheme. Hint: If your winter bucket list includes a new coat of paint, remember blue is the ultimate soothing sleep color. Dragging yourself out of the winter blues might require just that– a little serene blue or spa blue-green in the bedroom.

Think of stylish ways to display happy faces of those you love most. Photo: cgleasondesign

Visit your favorite plant shop for elements of nature that contribute to a better sleep environment: jasmine, English ivy, lavender, English ivy, lavender, aloe vera and varieties of snake and spider plants. Photo: Fab Art DIY


If you pushed yourself all during hectic fall and the holiday season, know that you’re allowed to slow down during the cold winter months and simply rest. Back up your usual bedtime by one hour, turn off your electronic devices an hour before that, and consider yoga or meditation to wind down from the day.

Turn off your electronic devices an hour before bed and consider yoga or meditation to wind down from the day and encourage better sleep. Photos: Pinterest and tskw.org.

Now’s also the time to treat yourself to quality bedding and a gorgeous bed, for both luxury (you deserve it!) and restful sleep that leads to better health. 

With comfort at its core, the Belgian-inspired Boheme Bon Vivant Upholstered Bed welcomes rest with a subtle antique gray finish and simple elegance. Hooker Furniture

The Boheme Nightstand is sized appropriately for that vase of fresh flowers you’ve added to your weekly shopping list. Keep colors soft and only include fragrant cuts, such as lilies, if you’re comfortable with their scent.

 Keep your weekend to-do lists light, and never miss a chance to reach for a blanket and a good book, with the perfect bedside lamp, of course, or a cozy chair for your reading nook.

Read on! The Gideon Swivel Chair from Sam Moore, pairs well with a little natural lighting and the perfect chairside lamp.


Chilly days leave us with time to ponder goals and dreams. Make sure your list for the next month or so includes exploring new healthy interests (a yoga or cooking class?), or finally putting your thoughts on paper by getting back to daily journaling.

Dreaming of warmer days? Poll the family for their vacation wish-lists and use this time to start researching a summer getaway.

Now’s the perfect time of year to poll the family for vacation wish-lists and research a summer getaway. Photo: Round Hill, Montego Bay, Jamaica.

If minimalism and simplicity are part of your new year’s mantra, cleanse your mind — and your resting space — by purging clutter and clothes in the bedroom. (Remember, Feng Shui experts prescribe nothing stored under the bed.)

Rejuvenating is all about real life, mirrored in the Roslyn County farm-to-decor collection in walnut and hickory, with hand-crafted appeal you’ll find hard to resist, and even harder to leave. Hooker Furniture.

So, keep a good stack of novels on hand, even join a new book club while chilly weather keeps you indoors.

Nothing beats a cozy corner space in the bedroom, with the Roslyn County Eight-Drawer Dresser and Landscape Mirror. Hooker Furniture.

Now’s the time of year to linger in your favorite chair by the fireplace…like this Annick Recliner. Photo: Sam Moore Furniture.

Best advice: A new, better you is all about balance. The health benefits of good sleep and rest are powerful, coupled with the mental and emotional benefits of a sweet retreat for love, calm and plenty of sweet dreams.

What about you: What’s on your winter bucket list?


6 Ways to Create a Romantic Retreat

Make a heart-felt impression. Decorate like this. Better Homes & Gardens, Hooker Furniture.

This Valentine’s Day, make an impression that’ll truly last by making your home a romantic retreat. Instead of  flowers that lack power to stay for more than a day or a card that travels by mail,  try something different. Create a romantic refuge that’ll go straight to the heart of your valentine, not only on the big day, but year-round, too.

Gentle curves add a hint of fashion flirt to this room. Photo: Hooker Furniture.

The iconic lines of the Modern Romance kidney-shaped sofa (coming soon to Hooker retailers!) recall a bygone era of innocence when sneaking a kiss or two with the date of your dreams was a daring thing to do.

Here’s how to make dining in the most alluring thing to do. Photo: Hooker Furniture.

With a nod to Belgian style, the Bohéme Ascension Wood dining Table and Bohéme Garnier barrel back chairs  have a pared down, yet lyrical sense that romances the room and everyone in it.

When it comes to romance, sometimes you need to roll with it. Hooker Furniture.

The Highland Park bar cart   makes it easy  for your party of two to pop the cork of bubbly any time, anywhere. Spacious enough to hold lots of snacks, too.

In this bed, a chic sleep (and likely more than a little romance) awaits.

The essence of comfort and elegant simplicity, the Belgian-inspired Bohéme Bon Vivant De-Constructed Upholstered Bed beckons for you and your honey to snuggle, sleep and watch the sun come up in style.

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to get a little cheeky. Better Homes & Gardens, Sam Moore.

Do more than flirt with the idea of a late night romantic téte e téte, make it happen with his ’n her Cheekie Exposed Wood Chairs upholstered in sumptuous velvet and surrounded by fragrant flowers.

Done decorating?  Before lighting candle and turning on the music, do one more thing.  Prepare a home made treat concocted by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh, two of London’s most trendy chefs.

If your honey has a sweet tooth, go straight for the heart with a treat like this. Pedun + Munk, Teen Speed Press.

Raspberry Lollipops



by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh

Gluten-free, Nut-free, Makes 12

We make these in heart shapes around Valentine’s Day, but they’re a wonderful way to make loved ones smile all year-round—in a round shape! You can either shape them by hand or, if you’re after perfection, use bottomless cake rings as your mold: 2 3⁄4-inch/7-cm rings are good for regular round lollipops, but there are all sorts of shapes you can play with, such as hearts, stars, and so forth. Whether you are shaping them by hand or using a cake ring, don’t make these on a rainy or humid day: the caramel will weep and you’ll end up with bendy lollipops (which will not be so smile-inducing). 


2/3 cup/60 g fresh raspberries (about 12)

1 1/4 cups/250 g granulated sugar

3/4 cup/250 g light corn syrup

2 tbsp plus 2 tsp/40 ml water

2/3 oz/20 g freeze-dried raspberries, half left whole and half lightly crushed


  1. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper, then lay twelve lollipop sticks out flat on the lined sheets—the lollipops are large so they require some space— and set aside.
  2. Process the fresh raspberries in the small bowl of a food processor, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a bowl; you should end up with about 2 tbsp of seedless purée. Set aside.
  3. Put the sugar and corn syrup into a medium saucepan and stir in the water. Place over medium heat and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring, until the sugar melts. Increase the heat to medium-high and boil for about 10 minutes, until it reaches 297°F/147°C on a candy thermometer. Precision is key here, but it is better to be 1 degree hotter than 1 degree below. Remove from the heat and add the raspberry purée; take care here, as the sugar will be bubbling. Stir slowly and gently with a metal spoon until combined, taking care not to mix too quickly, as this will create air bubbles that will stay in the lollipops. Once fully combined, lightly stir in the whole and lightly crushed dried raspberries, again taking care as you do so. The caramel should have stopped bubbling by this time.
  4. Immediately spoon 3 tbsp of the mixture onto the top one-third of each of the lollipop sticks. Use the spoon to create a circle if shaping by hand. You’ll need to work fast here, as the sugar mixture will thicken quickly. Divide the freeze-dried raspberries equally among the lollipops. If you are using cake rings (see introduction), place them over the top third of the lollipop sticks and pour in 3 tbsp of the mixture.
  5. Loosely lay a sheet of parchment paper over the top of the lollipops to stop them from sweating. Set aside until completely cool and set; this should take about a half hour. Once cool and set, remove the cake rings (if using) from the lollipops and serve


A candy thermometer is a must here, along with twelve lollipop sticks. The metal cake rings are optional.


These will keep for up to a week in an airtight container, stored between layers of parchment paper.

Reprinted with permission from Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh, copyright © 2017. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC


Super-Stylish Game-Day Ideas

The low entertainment console from the Urban Elevation Collection is as fashionable as they come. Open shelving makes component storage easy and adds character to a room without visually taking up a lot of space. Hooker Furniture.

With America’s favorite sports event almost here, it’s time to talk about all things Super –super-stylish living spaces, entertainment centers and super-easy party snacks.

Since the TV is the focal point of most great rooms, it deserves to be showcased on entertainment center furniture that adds both function and beauty to the space. Here are a few of our favorite super-stylish entertainment centers and some yummy game-day snacks that are super easy to make.

The Curata Entertainment Console conveys modern style while offering all the functionality you need. Its clean, timeless design features open shelving and is accented with stainless brushed brass details and hardware. Hooker Furniture.

We love that the Curata End Table coordinates so beautifully with the Curata Entertainment Console. It’s just the right size for the end of the sofa or next to a chair, yet doesn’t look too matchy-matchy.

Nachos are a natural for a Super Bowl party, so why not make yours a DIY Nacho Bar?

Here’s a link to show you how. Expert tip: this is a great make-ahead recipe that will free you up on game day.

Whether you wall mount your TV or display it on top of the Serramonte Entertainment Console, its generous 69 inches of style is enough to counterbalance the scale of today’s oversized flat screens.

The three-door design of the Serramonte Entertainment Console is ideal for storing movies and electronics while keeping clutter out of sight.

No matter if you’re serving a big crowd or just family, you’ll want a few dishes with substance, like this Philly Cheesesteak Dip.

This Philly Cheesesteak Dip Recipe is easy to make ahead in the crock pot, and it is practically a meal in itself.

While chips and popcorn are easy, your playoff game and Super Bowl guests will appreciate hearty snacks as well.

The glaze on these Bourbon Mini Kielbasas will have them coming back to your party every year.

For maximum display space, check out the multifunctional Kinsey Entertainment Console. Hooker Furniture

The Kinsey Entertainment Console can be used on its own or paired with a couple of Kinsey Etageres to create a coordinated wall system. Its warm, dark finish and circle motif design ensure it’s flawlessly on-trend.

For dessert, nothing could be easier than dressing up pre-made mini ice cream sandwiches.

To make this football-themed icecream treatjust add a wooden spoon to the end and decorate with stripes of frosting for a tasty, unique treat.

Once the game is over and the leftovers are put away, it’s time to rest and relax. Photo: Bradington-Young Mayes Reclining Lounger

After the game, put your feet up in your favorite recliner, like this Mayes 3-Way Lounger. Or if you don’t yet have a favorite recliner, check out the latest styles here.