Mother’s Day 2016 Gift Guide

Mother’s Day is May 8th this year, and that will be here before you know it. So we compiled a pretty comprehensive list, for many budgets and styles. Whether it’s for new or seasoned moms, we’ve got you covered. Your mother is one of the most important people in your life, and has done so much for you. Let’s reciprocate the love. Husbands, this is another great opportunity to treat the mother of your children!

LAFCO Duchess Peony Candle
LAFCO Duchess Peony Candle
  • LAFCO Duchess Peony – Sweet, clean, Duchess Peony! (Powder Room) by LAFCO. She’s sweet and graceful like a duchess would be. I just wouldn’t want to make her mad. Honestly, anything from our astounding LAFCO collection will do for mom. However, if you want to treat her like the nobility she is, Duchess Peony is the route to take! With 100 hours of clean burn time and opulent home fragrance she’ll also have a reusable (and drinkable!) hand blown glass container, this is the gift that just keeps on giving. Margaritas anyone? Hopefully she’ll invite you over for some! Also available in bar soap.

  • Flowers – Endless options, and any budget. Plus, there’s science behind fresh flowers. (The Mental Health Benefits of Flowers) They elevate the mood instantly and have a prolonged impact!
  • Gourmet Coffee – Little Coyote Coffee is one of those things we just happened upon. And we’re so thankful we did. I cannot get enough of this Caramel Creme! Roasted in small batches and to order, these bags of fresh roasted coffee are insanely smooth. I don’t even need creamer, which is saying something.
  • Plants – Similar to how flowers have a positive impact on mood and mental health, so do plants! Now is the time to plant! Get those gardens, pots, and patios summer ready!
  • Spring Silks – Sprigs, swags, wreaths, and more! Select one of our in-house designed arrangements or place an order! Custom orders, and quality silks, she’ll have a one of a kind piece that’ll last for years.
  • Fashion Accessories – Necklaces, bracelets, earrings, scarves, purses, etc. If she’s a fashionista, we’ve got something she’ll love to add to her collection.
  • Thymes Mandarin Coriander Spring Cleaning Set – Better yet, clean for her with her new spring cleaning set! She’ll feel spoiled and adored, just like a mother should be. I mean, she was changing your diapers and taking you to your piano lessons (she may have made you take them, but it comes from a good place!) so this is the least you could do in return. Available in: 3-Wick Candle with Bird Lid, Hand Wash, Hand Cream, Dishwashing Liquid, All-Purpose Cleaner, Home Fragrance Mist.
Large selection of teas, accessories, and mugs!
Large selection of teas, accessories, and mugs!
  • Gourmet Tea – You need to be drinking tea. I don’t care what kind. Green tea, herbal tea, black tea, blended tea, whatever you prefer! It’s so incredibly good for you, and they keep finding more and more benefits to enjoy a cup of tea. We’ve got some of the best tea that has ever passed my lips, and I cannot get enough. Plus, we’ve got the right accessories to help you make the perfect cup!
  • Decadent Truffles – Handmade and richer than a Kardashian, these truffles are D-LISH. Raspberry is always a popular choice, with a raspberry purree center, dipped in white chocolate, then milk chocolate, and drizzled with black chocolate. You can’t go wrong. Available in current selections of Raspberry, Gimme S’more, Sweetie Pie, Over the Top, Macadamia, and Funfetti.
  • Mosaic Frame – Where else is she going to put that picture of you from prom way back when?

Roasted Espresso Candles and Melt

  • Swan Creek Roasted Espresso Candle – This is perfect for the mom who doesn’t drink coffee but loves the scent of it. As far as I have seen, everyone loves the scent of coffee. And Swan Creek has captured it perfectly. With 100% American soy wax, you’re going to get a clean burning candle that also supports American farmers. What’s not to love? Available in 24 oz Jar, 12 oz Jar, and melts. Many other fragrances available.

Goldleaf Gardenia

  • Thyme’s Goldleaf Gardenia – “This smells pretty” a husband told his wife after he washed his hands with Goldleaf Gardenia hand wash. I was cracking up. Because it was a few words, but really…it smells pretty. That’s the easiest and best way to describe it. Available in: Hand Wash, Hand Lotion, Hand Cream, Petite Eau de Parfum, Bar Soap, and Poured Candle.

Apothecary Vials

  • Apothecary Vials – For the Fixer Upper fan, just don’t tell her the second season is on Netflix now, or she’ll never leave the house. Available in an assortment of colors, shapes, and sizes. Pink shown.
  • Home Decor – We like to go for the timeless look around here, with a flair for the drama. Don’t get me wrong, we love trends. However, we have many different pieces that can accent, compliment, or completely change the look you’re going for. With over 25 years of home decor experience, it’s all fun and games until…no wait, it’s still all fun and games. Our passion!

We hope this was helpful in your search for the right thing for mom. Stop in or call, and we’re always here to help! Plus, every time she sees or uses the gift, she’ll think of you! Brownie points.

As always, we offer complimentary gift bagging and wrapping. 😉


How to Freshen Up Your Home! The Right Way.

This should really be titled “How to Freshen up your Home without harsh chemicals

Introducing from our Thymes Collection 

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Thyme’s perfectly captures the fragrance as:

“Fresh. Clean. Green.”

“Lively mandarin oil. Robust coriander. Vibrant grapefruit. Calming lemon balm. Warm sweet marjoram. Fragrant rosemary leaf. Cozy Irish moss. Sacred Atlas cedar wood. Verdant green ivy.”

This fragrance has the cleanliness we all long for in the spring, with notes that still invite you to the space you’re creating. Which product should I feature first? I suppose the one that surprised me the most. Being as we’ve carried Thymes for some time now, I was amazed to know that a dishwashing liquid is available.

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So long, dishpan hands! Swish dishes clean with biodegradable, naturally derived cleaning agents brightened with delectably distinctive scent. Fortified with comfrey extract to soothe and lemon balm extract to help tone.

Sometimes I struggle washing dishes by hand, due to eczema, however this was gentle enough that I didn’t have to worry about it. And I don’t even want to admit how many dishes had piled up when I ended up using my Mandarin Coriander Dishwashing Liquid for the first time. Let’s just say that I washed enough dishes to feed a big 10 school…okay, maybe not that many. But you get the point.

I was pleasantly surprised by the aroma that filled the air while I was doing the dishes I must admit. It’s not my favorite chore (hello vacuuming!) but this made it much easier, because it transported me to a warm sunny day with a light breeze on a patio with a book and a cup of tea. Funny what a fragrance can do, isn’t it?!

Now, onto the next featured product in this line.

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Puts a fragrant finishing touch of clean on counter tops and other non-glass surfaces. Biodegradable cleansing agents and essential oils of orange and lemon gently clean while a light lingering halo freshens the air.

The All-Purpose Cleaner. Having used this before with the Frasier Fir collection (I’m ordering for Christmas already-I know. It’s nuts!) I had some high expectations. Because when I first used the All-Purpose Cleaner in Frasier Fir, I was flabbergasted at how great my office smelled. And that was when I was first moving into it and didn’t even have a candle in there yet. So I know it was all the cleaner. Obviously, this cleaner lived up to my expectations, and I don’t know if it’s just cause I’m excited for sunshine and blue skies, but this exceeded them.

Welcome sunny and warmer days with a fresh atmosphere and fragrance without harsh chemicals! So I have to ask…

What about spring/summer do you look most forward to? Let us know in the comments section below! One of you will be selected 2 days after this post as a winner for a fresh flower arrangement! 😉

Special thank you to Village Home Stores for allowing us to utilize one of their many beautiful kitchen set-ups for photos!

  • Thymes Mandarin Coriander
    • Dishwashing Liquid – $9
    • All-Purpose Cleaner – $9
    • Hand Wash – $14
    • Hand Cream – $17
    • Home Fragrance Mist – $18
    • 3-Wick Poured Candle with Bird Lid – $34


Welcome to the Designs on the Boulevard family, LAFCO!

Remember when we said we have a lot of new product coming? Well, do you know who Oprah is?

Let me rephrase that.

Everyone loves Oprah. You can’t not love her.

She’s endorsed this next line. But I didn’t really look into the product until one of our loyal, and wonderful customers recommended it. Then I knew we better check into this. That’s right, I value your opinion more than Oprah’s. Just saying.

It’s straight from the big apple, and I mean right in the heart of Manhattan.

For me, New York evokes the spirit of the American Dream. And is a global leader in luxury, design, and culture. The place you can drink a cheap beer in a Givenchy gown and not seem too strange. Plus, it gave birth to one of my favorite performers ever. YAS GAGA YAS COME THROUGH! Anyways…

We have a rigorous testing process before bringing in a line such as this. We turn away more than we bring in, but when we bring in we’re in love. Call us picky, but we want the best there is. Which leads me to this new line…

Luxury Articles and Fragrances Company, LAFCO New York.

NYC Designs welcomes lafco1

Let me start with the candles. First, they smell incredible. In house fragrance design by perfumers that have studied all over Europe. SOLD. Second, the glass vessel it comes in is hand blown glass, and have unlimited usability after burning through. Food safe, dishwasher safe. You name it. Margaritas anyone? SOLD. Third, they burn extremely well, slow, and clean. SOLD. Plus they have great throw, which is a major criteria for a candle.

But what about the bar soap?!

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One word. Phenomenal.

First off, these bars are huge. They last seemingly forever, and after being introduced to them, I use these exclusively. Richly moisturizing, and deliciously fragrant, these bars of soap are renown for their luxurious lather and experience.

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Here is my brother’s review. The fact that he’s excited, is huge. I’m putting a screenshot so you know I didn’t make this up. He’s great.

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LAFCO bar soap is all over every publication and the blogosphere. Just this month it was featured in Men’s Health magazine, they recommended the Sage & Walnut bar soap. Thankfully, we have that one. And more. Best seller? Chamomile Lavender. But don’t worry, we’ve got more than those two for you to try out. Another benefit? Completely vegan. Absolutely no animal testing or by-products. Made in Italy for LAFCO New York. Also it will never crack, crumble, or mush. I personally leave mine in the shower, and it’s like a wonderful smelling rock that doesn’t care if water splashes on it.

Here’s some press clippings to help further your curiosity. 😉

You’re not a candle lover unless you’ve tried LAFCO. These candles last way longer than any candle you’re currently burning. Same with the bar soap. And I can say that with confidence. I’ll leave it at this for now… 😉

LAFCO at Designs on the Boulevard in Geneseo, IL. Come sniff and smile! 😀

The Return of The Gallery Wall

If you haven’t noticed this trend creeping up on us for the past few years, you might not be following the blogs, social media accounts, and taste makers I have been. And that’s fine. To each their own. Also, I’ll admit I live and breath this stuff, so it’s pretty much what I do for work, and leisure time. Breakfast just wouldn’t be the same without that twitter feed full of inspiration. Anyway, as if the title of this didn’t already let you know what I’m talking about, the gallery wall is back and with a vengeance. Seriously, it’s snatching weaves, wiping eyebrows off, and taking names. But it’s not the gallery wall you remember it being.

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This new modern take on the gallery wall is inspired by meme culture and social media. It’s not your family’s glamour shots in the stair way, hello 80’s?! AquaNet called…they want their hair back. Actually, I’m also going to give some credit to the Harry Potter movies. Those walls took the term gallery wall to a completely different level, that I swear is almost overwhelming. Almost.

Gallery walls require a really intrinsic sense of self. You have to know who you are and what you like to execute these, and that in and of itself is a work of art. Gather images that speak to you, or that make you smile. It doesn’t have to be serious! Seriously, memes are perfectly acceptable in this kind of style. Superheros, llama weddings, SpongeBob SquarePants characters, who cares! It’s up to you! These are meant to be personal, fun, and beautiful all at once. Play with spacing, and arranging. But first, PLAN. IT. OUT!

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Start on the floor. Plan it out. Visually. Don’t go hammer crazy until you’re sold on your gallery wall. While you can always change it, this helps ensure your decision as well as allow for more arranging of different ideas. Are you going to try and communicate a shape with all of the pictures? Or are you going for a more free-flowing gallery wall? Home decor should be fun, so this is when the playing around really takes off!

These are great for children’s rooms, and give you a great creative outlet!

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Have you noticed more gallery walls in your friends or relatives homes? Or do you have one yourself? We’d love to know what you think about gallery walls in the comments below! 😀 In fact, I’ll be giving a flower arrangement away to a random winner on Friday! To enter, just comment below! ❤

All photos in this post are used with permission from Instagram user @idresstoimpress


How to Properly Burn a Candle

I know what you’re thinking, you light it and leave it, right? No.


I’ve seen too many people tunneling their candles. And candles should not tunnel (unless it’s intentional-I’ll save that for later) when burned properly.

First thing is first, and the first burn is the most important. This is gonna sound absurd, but the first burn on a new candle is the most vital to setting the tone for the rest of its beautifully fragrant life. “The wax has a memory” is what I’ve always been told.

The first burn should go all the way to the edge. That means don’t light a new candle while you’re getting ready for a dinner date. Unless you take 3-4 hours to get ready (we all know THAT person) your candle is not going to reach the edge of the container.

Once you’ve let it burn to the edge, you’re free to blow it out. From here on out, you’re going to want to trim the wick to 1/4-3/4 of an inch from the top of the remaining wax. This should be fairly easy, as the upper part is going to be a bloom of black ash, and will most likely stay on top of the scissors you use to trim the wick. Otherwise, there are wick trimmers you can purchase.

Now, what happens if you’re burning your candle and something comes up and you have to blow it out? You’re going to have some wax that hasn’t melted and you’re going to run the risk of tunneling. Fret not! The next time you’re burning it follow the same rules as before, it just might take a little longer. However, if there is some stubborn outlying wax, place a sheet of aluminum foil over the candle with a hole for the flame (and oxygen exchange), and sealed around the rest of the container. This will help diffuse the heat along the top layer of the wax to help “reset” the wax. You should only have to do this for one burn.

As always, it is an open flame. Treat it as such, and follow the warnings on the candle.

Happy candle burning! I could definitely use the warm glow on a day like this one! ❤ If you have any other questions or comments, please leave a comment below!


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It is September 29th and I have already burned through a Christmas candle. Granted it was a votive size, and I loved it a lot so it got a lot of burn time. I also should clarify that this isn’t just a Christmas candle. It smells like Siberian fir needles, with subtle notes of cedarwood and sandalwood. Is it my fault we assume those scents are for Christmas only?!

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Okay, I really need to share my experience about this Frasier Fir fragrance by Thymes. I heard about it before I smelled it, and thought “yeah, okay, it’s a Christmas tree smell-how great can it be?…” Apparently pretty incredible. Because I will eat those words and yours too, it smells that great. I’m trying my hardest not to swear for intensity of how great it is. I just want my room to smell like it again, and unfortunately I can’t just hoard them all to myself. But the magic of it all was in the burning of it, once the fragrance reached the air.

When I did actually smell the Frasier Fir, I instantly loved it. But I didn’t go madly in love with it until I burned a candle. That’s when I truly appreciated all the layers to this fine fragrance. It’s so clean, and so welcoming, comforting, and relaxing all at the same time. The back of the package even reads, “Mountain fresh and glowing with the aromatic snap of crisp Siberian Fir needles, heartening cedarwood and relaxing sandalwood, Thymes Frasier Fir sets the mood for those special moments that make up our life stories. Creating a tradition to savor… and to share.” Sums it up beautifully, and the packaging is right in line with the Thymes brand, beautiful and elegant.

Stop in a try it out today!

frasier fir at designs


One of my favorite things about style and fashion is that it is constantly changing. It’s also so unique and personal. Home decor is your style and fashion for your home. And we all have different styles. My mom’s passion has been home decor for over 25 years. When I got old enough to carry things, one of my favorite memories is helping my mom carry all of her home decor in a crate with wheels. Multiple crates. She worked relentlessly. Got promotions. Built a team of over 300 people. Met some incredible people. Made friends with them.

For the longest time I knew she wanted her own business. She talked about it and how her and her mom (grandma!) and her sisters (Aunt Linda & Aunt Lorraine!) wanted to open a shop, and call it “Three Sisters & Mom.” Unfortunately, my mom lost her sister to cancer when I was 3, Aunt Lorraine being only 33. Years later, her mom. I can tell she still strives to hold their image highly with her business, with the ideals of scattering kindness and making people feel special. I love when people see that. She doesn’t ask for attention or accolades for it, but I love when she knows it’s being valued.

One of my favorite things is when people say, “Oh, your mom knows my style!” And it’s true. She knows people’s style better than I know my own. When she’s talking with customers (who often become great friends) she listens. She learns so much about an individual. At market we’ll often hear her say, “Oh that mirror is SO Abby!” It’s funny, cause as soon as that mirror comes in, you know who got the most excited to see it?! …Abby. This transfers over to flowers too.

Our home decor department has expanded. Last October we got to offer two whole floors of decor and accessories. Mirrors, clocks, paintings, wall decor, accents, signs, lamps, the list goes on. All of these pieces make up a room. A conveyed message to the people who enter it, “this is who I am. This is what I like.” A few weeks ago, we got to help a friend redo her whole office. We placed all of the pieces on a table to get a cohesive look at how they all interact together. And gasped. It was perfect. It was exactly what she had envisioned, and she selected pieces that I wouldn’t have expected to go with everything. But it did, and she knows I would’ve given my honest opinion. And of course I had to snap a picture. That was a pivotal moment for me. I’ve been here over a year, and someone trusted me to help them design a room. I get it now. I get why my mom is so passionate about all of this, and why it makes someone feel so special. I love it. And I’m hooked. Perhaps my mom and I can start an organization called Home Decoraholics Unanimous. Because let’s face it, we’ve got something for everybody. Casual elegance, rustic comfort, eclectic, traditional. It’s all got a space here. And it’s all got a space in your home. Let us help you make your house a home.

We’re approaching our 4 year anniversary as Designs on the Boulevard, but there are decades of experience behind that. And we’re getting more shipments for the event! 😀 Thank you for being a part of this business, and letting us into your homes and lives. We are both humbled and grateful. Thank you!