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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What I Wore

Black and gray and tan with a pop of pink. After a long day of work in front of a tree in this big walkway area in the building. They put up huge Christmas trees in my building in uptown.

Black and white striped blazer: Target, similar
Black sleeveless knit dress: Target a couple of years ago, similar, similar
Pink scarf: simple pashmina
Gray leggings: Victoria's Secret (dark charcoal)
Tan boots: Target
Mint earrings: Towne and Reese, similar

After I bought one of those bun things from Marshalls and my friend Elisabeth taught me the best way to use it, this was the first day I wore a bun. Well not the first time ever... there were many days of wearing buns for dance but this was the first time wearing one non-dance related. I think it turned out pretty great if I do say so myself.

Linking up to What I Wore Wednesday

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Home Tour

Since I already showed you the mantle in detail, I want to recap what the rest of the house looked like decorated for Christmas. I still have all the decorations up and we plan to take them down next weekend so we can enjoy them as long as possible.

Here is the outside. We used icicle lights, lighted garland and wreaths, plain wreaths, lights along the sidewalk, LED color lights in the bushes, lighted present boxes, a penguin, a wooden snowman sign and wooden reindeer (which we borrowed from my parents) that we put a spotlight on. Oh and you can't forget the cranberry wreath on the door.

It looks like this when it is completely dark. I believe it is important for your outdoor decor to look great during the day and at night.

After driving around to look at lights this year (an annual tradition) we have some ideas for improvements next year.

On the inside in the family room we did two trees this year... the tree we have had for several years now and a 7 ft skinny tree Peggy gave us. I really liked the skinny tree since it was easy to decorate and didn't take up much room. It might sound like a lot to do two trees but last year we didn't even have a tree up or hardly any Christmas decor since we were trying to sell the first house and went to FL for Christmas.

This was prior to having a new tree skirt for my skinny tree sent to me by Peggy.... it looks even better with a proper tree skirt.

I'm sure this won't surprise you but we have a Clemson tree too.... its a mini metal tree. You can sort of see it in the breakfast area in the photo above. I swapped out the red napkin under it for a white one which looked much better with all the orange. I usually get one or two Clemson ornaments each year which I love love and now they have a tree of their own. I added some orange and purple balls to fill it out.

We also put lighted garland on the staircase.

As a reminder here is the mantle again.

I put around other Christmas decor like homemade Santas and angels and snowmen out. And the clay pot tree my mom made us on the coffee table.

I also have a couple of plates up in the kitchen area and a silver wire tree on the kitchen table.

We did our Christmas card ribbon door again on the pantry door. I really like getting the mail during the holidays and adding cards to the door.

Hope you are having a wonderful holiday this year! The worst part will be taking all the decor down so I'm just enjoying it all while I still can.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

4th annual Gingerbread House Making Party

We had such a busy December this year but couldn't miss doing our annual gingerbread house making party... it is one of my favorite traditions. This year we had to squeeze it into a Sunday evening a couple weeks before Christmas. I only took pictures with my phone this time.

We didn't know this at the time but this was actually the last meal Eric and I had prior to the terrible stomach bug of 2013 that plagued more than two dozen from Eric's family.. so it's not super easy to look at these food photos. I think it might be awhile before making some of these items again... funny how that is. I will say that at the time the food was delicious!

Katie made this really cool "wreath" with cheese, olives, tomatoes and crackers using kale as the base.

We had a really great time hanging out with friends and made some spectacular "houses".

Katie and Kyle opted to do a tree as their house this year. After considerable thought the gingerbread house committee allowed this. It has a beer bottle underneath to hold it, really clever!

You might think this house fell apart but Eric and I made it this way on purpose.Naturally, it has the abominable snowman attacking it leaving a wake of destruction.

Can't wait until the party next year.. the big 5th annual!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Mantle

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Here is our lovely Christmas mantle! This was the first time decorating the mantle for Christmas and I really like the way it turned out. The lighted garland is from Target, the wooden reindeer is from Marshalls, I made the dollar store glass hurricanes several years back and filled them with red and silver balls. My mom made our stockings (mine when I was little and Eric's when we got engaged), the snowman is from Hallmark several years ago and the wooden Santa basket is from Peggy which I filled it with pine cones.

Very simple components and easy to put together. I didn't want it to look over-cluttered or too busy.

I only wish the mantle could stay up longer... this year the Christmas decor time is even shorter with how late Thanksgiving is. I'm not sure how I will redecorate the mantle for winter but part of me kinda wants to keep the wooden reindeer. I've grown attached to it and how awesome it looks up there against the white mantle, white mirror and gray walls... maybe I can pass it off as a deer....

Hope yall have a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Gift Guide for Her

If you are trying to figure out what to buy for that last minute gift for your mom, your sister, your mother in law, your girlfriends, your niece, your wife (assuming any husbands read this blog)... you are in luck!

While you don't have time on your side and you need to act quick Christmas is in 6 days people! here are some great gift ideas for the ladies/women/gals in your life. Or perhaps you are all set on your holiday shopping and you can pin this to save for birthdays, Mother's Day, etc.

Bowls - I love love these bowls and have also given them as gifts. I have 6 of them (in different colors) that I'm currently using as decor but they would also be great for soup, ice cream and holding fresh fruit like lemons. At $5 a piece you really can't beat that PLUS Anthropologie does free gift wrapping. They are sold individually in stores so you could mix up colors or get all in one color.

Scarves - I think I own an embarrassing amount of scarves but I know people with even more scarves than me so a girl can always find room for one more scarf. Especially a fun polka dot one. Although I don't have much red in my wardrobe (all the more reason to buy it right?!), I like the red one.. perfect for the holidays and winter time. Would look wonderful with a gray, black or cream sweater.

If you need to physically shop due to the time crunch I suggest Francesca's or Target.

This target one is pretty and looks cozy. I also recently saw some very similar to this in target but also with metallic strands intertwined.... swoon! It was all I could do to not buy it but I was in warm FL at the time so I resisted. This would go with anything.

Label maker - If you have an organized gal in your life this is perfect! I have it on my wish list this year and I cannot wait to buy fun bins to label and organize all my closets. My friend Katie told me about the I Heart Organizing blog and this is the same label maker she uses.

source - eligible for prime
Recipe books - The holidays always has people thinking about cooking. Here are some cookbooks that I think would be winners. I definitely want to get my hands on the Avocado one... yum!

source - eligible for prime shipping

source - eligible for prime shipping
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I actually picked this up recently at Marshalls for around $10 which is another great place to look for cookbooks
Books - If novels might be more her speed then let me recommend a few great books I have read over the past year. Most are chick lit but a few are not. And most seem to be quick shipping... of course if your gift receiver has a kindle then that makes gifting even easier.

On the Island - Tracey Garvis Graves.  Everyone that I know that has read this has enjoyed it. I think I blew through it in 3 days it was so good. If you only pick one book off this list, this is it!

I've Got Your Number - Sophie Kinsella.  Laugh out loud funny. Would make a great movie.

Can You Keep a Secret - Sophie Kinsella.  After I read I've Got Your Number I picked up this one and it was funny and lighthearted too. I think I'm definitely a Sophia Kinsella fan.

Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn.  Finishing this up currently. It's definitely not chick lit... a bit twisted but the mystery/crime solving piece of the story is intriguing

Where'd You Go, Bernadette - Maria Semple.  Okay so I haven't read this yet but I gave it to my sister and she said it was great so I'm going to be reading it in the near future (hint, hint, Laura).

Travel containers - These would make travelling (whether on a plane or just weekend car trips) with your toiletries a breeze. The cheapo ones from Walmart are okay but such a pain if they crack or leak and you constantly have to replace them or double bag them. I plan to get some before my next trip. They come in 2 sizes - 1.25oz and 3oz. Think having both sizes would be handy... 3oz for things like lotion and body wash and 1.25 oz for face wash and creams.

 source - eligible for prime shipping

Colorful skinny belts - I have two of these skinny belts from Target - cobalt blue and orange. I also have a similar one in yellow. They are great pops of color with dresses and target has a huge selection of these in store.

Candles and soaps - If all else fails, I haven't met a girl that doesn't like a great smelling candle and/or soap so pop on over to Bath and Body Works (or Yankee Candle). Here are some smell-worthy scents from BBW, my go-to place for candles and soaps.

Tis the Season, Leaves, Meet Me in Tahiti, Fresh Balsam, Cranberry Pear Bellini, Cinnamon Nut Bread and really anything with Cinnamon in it in my humble opinion.

Any favorite BBW scents? I'm looking forward to stocking up at the next semi-annual sale.

Hope this help you find the perfect gift for her!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How to make a whole box out of a shirt box lid or bottom

Today I'm going to share a little trick with you that my mom taught my sister and I several years ago when we started wrapping lots of gifts ourselves... how to turn half of a shirt box into a whole smaller box.

Ever wished you didn't have to use up whole shirt boxes to wrap smaller items? Ever ended up with one misplaced box top or bottom? Ever ended up with a torn up box top or bottom leaving you with only one usable half? Is it just me or do these tend to rip easily. Well if so this tutorial is for you!

Turn a box lid or bottom into a whole box

In a few easy steps you can create a box out of half of a shirt box or two boxes out of one box!

Step 1: Buy a box. (or use one you already have)

Step 2: Cut a hole in the box. Just kidding, don't do that. But do go watch Justin's video if you are so inclined. Love that skit and JT.

The real step 2 is taking half of the box and folding it down flat if it isn't already.

Then fold over each end of the rectangle to meet up with the opposite folded down side and make a crease as shown in the the 2nd and 3rd photos below.

Step 3: Open the box back up to see where your creases are. Notice how it is the same width as the two sides at the ends. Well this middle piece will become a new "side" in the smaller box you are creating. Then cut slits on the long sides where the creases are. Make sure the slits go all the way to the edge where the box is folded.

Step 4: Fold over half of the rectangle to become the new box top and bring it over the other half using the creases and slits as the new side. If it doesn't seem to fit over the other half well then try the opposite side as the new top instead.

Tada! A whole box is born! I have found this size of box to be perfect for wrapping so many smaller things like books, socks, kids clothes, scarves, gadgets, etc.

This also works for rectangular boxes that are smaller than shirt boxes but made out of that same thin cardboard. Hope this simplifies your wrapping and gives you a wider range of box size options!

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