Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

’tis the Season

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here! Or, insert your favorite holiday cliché to accompany this collage.

Is it weird that I feel more festive this season because of my new bangs? Is it strange that somehow I feel more merriment oozing from my being because I cut certain strands of my hair slightly shorter so they hang against my forehead?


I think I answered my own question.


Bangs or no bangs, it’s finally frigid here and we’re finished with our holiday decorations. The mistletoe candle is a’burnin and we’ve busted out the hot chocolate more than once. I love the holidays! Hope your home is warm, cozy and filled with holiday pom pom garland (tutorial to come)!

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Best Gifts of Christmas 2010

Christmas 2010 is long gone by now, but all this snow we’re getting is making me want to revisit the holiday season. We had a pretty exciting holiday as usual, with a lot of fun family time, and a few pretty superb gifts. If you happen to have to buy another gift for someone special anytime soon, these are our favorite gifts of the holiday season. Some are silly, some are useful, but all of them made us smile extra big on Christmas morning.

Ah, my beloved wayfarers. As you know, I’ve coveted these for quite some time on my sidebar and my dear husband finally gave into my obsession. I felt that maybe these were a bit too “hipster” for me, but my father (the optometrist) reassured me by saying I made a good choice with such a classic design. Yeah, classic. Not hipster. I knew I loved these frames for a reason. Oh, and on a sidenote, I also love my 50mm 1.8 lens that I haven’t used in forever. Just check out how dreamy this picture is! I’m hoping Ray Ban begs me to use it in their next ad campaign.

My second favorite gift was this dress. Get it. Now.

(I couldn’t take a picture of it because it was being washed. From me wearing the heck out of it). I confess: my coworker bought this dress first, and I immediately wanted it. Apparently I’ve had some unhealthy obsessions with clothing items this year, but that’s another topic. I may have mentioned this dress to a certain mother-in-law and what do you know? Santa Claus brought it to me. It’s the most comfortable, most flattering dress in all of existence and you should buy it immediately. Oh, and it comes in petite too.

Why yes, you read that correctly. The little bottle of magic says Poo-pourri. Apparently I don’t have a filter when it comes to this blog. My mom purchased this perfect little stocking stuffer for all of the men in the family and I send my immense gratitude her way today. In the words of my father “this stuff really works”. Enough said. Sidenote: when you start to type “poo” into google, Poo-pourri is the first thing that pops up. Thank goodness.

This is a gift that I actually purchased for my husband, but it won me the award of “best. gift. ever.” so I figured I would share. My good friend and I were talking before Christmas about what I should get my husband (ie. typical guy who likes electronics, music, etc) and she suggested these awesome headphones. She’s in the music biz, so I figured her recommendation was more than adequate. Turns out, it was perfect. Once my husband listened to these headphones for 20 seconds, he was in love. Mushy, gushy, electronic love. I may have made a big mistake with this purchase, actually. Drat.

Care to share any amazing gifts you gave/received this holiday season?

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A Wreath and some Wild Animals

This Christmas season, I decided to forgo the handmade wreath from our local Christmas tree lot (which I still love, btw) and decided to put my crafting hat on. It’s not very often that I have the time to whip up a little crafty goodness, so I worked on this wreath while doing laundry and making vegetable soup. Just call me Suzy Multitasker.

My sweet and (verging on too small) little wreath was so easy to make – a bag of lima beans, my hot glue gun and a dash of patience. I won’t even bother to give a full tutorial, since All Things Thrifty did such a good job for me (I found this link through Aubrey & Lindsay’s Blog). I will say two things about this wreath, though. 1) the 12″ size is a bit too small for me, but I couldn’t find a larger wreath form, and 2) I really think I need to spray paint this white to protect it from the elements and to give it a more uniform look. Seeing as it’s been hanging for a week and that has yet to happen, I think my wreath may be a one season player.

In other holiday decor news, I’d like to share a few little friends I have around the house this season. Every year for work, we have an ornament exchange and there was unintentionally an animal theme this year. Somehow, my house seems to have jumped on that bandwagon as well. Every year I find a fabulous ornament for the exchange, but hesitate to buy a second one for myself. I bought this adorable octopus last year and it pained me to see it going home with someone else. Fast forward 12 months, and I found the same ornament at Paper Source this week – for 30% off! It’s a Christmas miracle, folks.

And this was my ornament I yoinked from a coworker at this year’s exchange. I’m a ruthless Dirty Santa player.

I decided to gussy up the other animals in our house (dog Charlie not pictured – but he does look quite fetching in his Christmas bandana) with some simple red ribbon. Red ribbon around anything instantly makes it Christmas-y. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Happy Holiday decorating, everyone!

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I’m an overachiever

Happy Turkey Day, everyone! Or, in our case, Happy Ham-Turkey-Cornbread Dressing-Pumpkin Cheesecake day! I’m enjoying some relaxing family time before the big feast, and thought I’d share my Christmas wrappings for this year. Yes, I’ve already purchased and wrapped half of my family’s presents, since we split our holidays every year. Some would say I’m an overchiever, but really, it’s just in this department.

Brown craft paper, divine twine and shiny silver ribbon are where it’s at this year. Apparently for me at least.

We picked up all of our wrapping accoutrements from Target this year – based purely on the fact that we were leaving for Thanksgiving in a day and had to wrap one half of the family’s gifts before we left. Luckily, Target did not disappoint and had a nice variety of silver goodness.

Yeah, I made tassels. Martha’s little tutorial that I found on Whisker Graphic’s blog got me itchy to try these. Martha’s look a thousand times better than mine, but hey, she’s a professional crafter. I can’t compete with that.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with full tummies and tryptophan induced comas. :)

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, blogland! Guess how many trick or treaters we had tonight? Zero. Guess how much candy we had for the non-existent trick or treaters? A lot (see exhibit A above). And to put the icing on our lame-filled cake, our heavily decorated neighbors had about 12 kiddos drop by, while we were sadly kid-less. Looks like someone in this house will be having a stomach ache tonight!

Speaking of stomach ache, have you ever tried Pioneer Women’s country fried steak? We decided to cook this up tonight and in the words of my husband, “ohhhh mama”. It literally feels like a ton of bricks in your stomach after about 20 minutes, but it’s totally worth it. I promise we don’t eat like this all of the time, either – some days you just have to have an incredibly unhealthy meal.

A funny little story about our Halloween decorations this year. I’m not the biggest Halloween fan. I’m not against the holiday or anything – I just don’t tend to decorate the abode until Christmas time comes around. We decided to take Charlie up to the park this morning to get a bit of wearing him out running in, and what do you know? Someone had dropped about 30 little pumpkins near a storm drain. What would possess a person to leave a heap of perfectly adequate pumpkins at a neighborhood park?I tried to figure this out while I looked at the loot, and decided that this person was giving me a golden opportunity – free decor! I could have brought home enough pumpkins to lure 100 trick or treaters to our house, but I decided to just bring 3 home to jazz up our front stoop a little bit. They look quite nice next to our new little mums as well.

I’m hoping these flowers will stand the test of time like our geraniums did last year. Evidently mums are very low maintenance and do well in cooler temperatures, so it sounds like the perfect companion to my very black thumb.

On another note, with the cooler weather trickling in, the leaves are really starting to cover our front yard. Every year we loathe the days when we have to rake/mulch/bag the immense amount of dead leaves and we’re always trying to find a way to streamline the process. This year we’re attempting to blow the leaves a few times to a staging area on our driveway, and then spending one long afternoon bagging everything once the trees are dry.

My idea to “streamline the process” was to hire someone to pick up our leaves. For some reason Scott didn’t seem to jump on that bandwagon. Does anyone out there have a less painful approach to gathering leaves that we should know about? We’re not quite used to this arduous process yet, since we both have Floridian roots (where Christmas day consists of shorts and 80 degree weather). Anyhow, hope everyone has a great Halloween and is enjoying the beginnings of Fall!

P.S. Halfway through writing this post, we did indeed get some trick or treaters. Scott was so excited and told them to take as much as they want (rookie mistake) and they proceeded to clean out our entire candy bowl in 5 seconds like a pack of rabid dogs. Oh, and one of them was dressed as Prince, the Purple Rain era. Hilarious!

*A reader asked for the recipe for the country fried steak. I used Pioneer Woman’s cookbook, but it seems like the recipe is here on her site as well. To make the gravy, just add some flour and milk to the leftover grease in your skillet. Disgusting but delicious!

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I love a good letterpress card. I have a hard time finding a card that I don’t like. No, love. Have to fork out 4 dollars and 50 cents so I can have it in my possession kind of love. I popped into my most favorite store today (Paper Source, naturally) in search of a father’s day card and I hit letterpress gold. If you’re in need of a fantastic Father’s Day card (it’s just around the corner, you know) check out this lovely at Paper Source, as well as all the other beautiful cards they have in store.

Now Dad, stop reading. Right now. AVERT YOUR EYES! DON’T RUIN THE MAGIC! Obviously my Dad hasn’t received this card in the mail yet because I’m not that ahead of schedule, but I just couldn’t resist sharing in case someone was in search of a fun card and had yet to find one.

The typewriter font is so perfect for a Dad themed card, and the “check your thank yous” format is brilliant. And the letterpress? Yum.

Some of my favorites? So glad you asked. How about “boldly wearing socks with sandals OR indulging in other fashion no-no’s”? What Dad hasn’t donned a Hawaiian shirt or sported a fetching comb-over? Or how about “embarrassing me in public to build my character”? This has my Dad’s name written all over it – and I love him for that. Happy early Father’s Day to all you papas out there and happy hunting for the perfect card!

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Love Day

Happy Valentine’s Day, blogosphere! I hope you guys are spending this day with the ones you love and relaxing like we are. Whether it’s with a simple, homemade card, to remind your loved ones you care…

… or a yummy heart themed breakfast for two.

We’re taking the time to enjoy a snowy morning here in Charlotte. Hope you’re enjoying a beautiful morning as well!

Scott and I typically forgo the V-day gifts, but we do like to give each other cards to make V-day a little more special than any other ordinary day. Gents, if you’re in the market for a card, check out this awesome one that my husband got for me. It may be the most fantastic card I’ve ever seen. EVER. Check it out on Etsy here.

Happy Love Day, everyone!

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Nifty Gift Idea: Part Deux

Earlier this week I shared a fun little gift that my mom whipped up for my siblings and me, and how you could adapt it for newlyweds, new parents, homeowners, etc. The gift was so super simple to make, and it saved her oodles of money by being DIY, rather than purchasing the photographs from a website. Along those same lines, I made a calendar for my mom that was a big hit, but wasn’t a big hit to my wallet. I’ve seen all of those calendars that Snapfish and Apple offer, but I wasn’t quite sold on the formatting or the standard 8.5 x 11 shape. So, in the name of all things DIY around these parts, I took to my trusty photoshop and whipped up a quick calendar that was even more special because it was completely custom.

I started off with custom front and back covers. The front cover was fun to create because I got to play with different fonts and colors together… making me realize that I need a larger library of fonts to work with. Future project? I also added a little message to mi madre on the back to let her know her lovely children collaborated on this calendar for her, and a date to commemorate the occasion. Also, if you know me and my family, you’ll notice that the last name has been tweaked to something a bit more generic. You have to have some anonymity in the blog world, right?

After the front and back covers were completed, I made one template for my calendars and simply tweaked it for each month but changing up the dates, colors and adding everyone’s birthdays and anniversary dates. I wanted the template to be clean and simple to not take away from the most important part for my mom- the family photographs. I threw in some fun photos of things we had done this year, either as a family or as our separate couples. I loved doing this custom so that I could coordinate the text colors to the pictures I selected – a bit obsessive compulsive? Possibly.

I had this little calendar spiral bound at my local printer, and the grand total came into about $20 for printing and binding. Not too shabby, right? I didn’t take a final picture of the product (bad blogger!) but I used some of Whitney’s Divine Twine, threaded through the spiral binding and tied in a bow, for my mom to hang her calendar wherever she so pleased.

I’ve learned that any gift that was made by hand is a thousand times better than something bought from a store. Don’t get me wrong, anything from Anthropologie is always welcomed with open arms, but a gift like this or something else that took a little time on the part of the giver is a win in my book. Any other DIY gifts out there that you’d like to share?

Divine Twine image courtesy of Whisker Graphics

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Christmas Eye Candy

Merry Christmas, blogland! In honor all things Christmas, and DIY, I’m here to share the explosion of Christmas decorations that is my parents’ house. My mom is the master of all things Christmas and her decorations are really a sight to behold. So, I’ll keep the commentary to a minimum and let you nice people enjoy an eyeful of Christmastime goodness. Enjoy and have a happy holiday!

Look who’s peeping into the frame… Christmas Charlie! And…. I’m lame.

These Christmas card displays were simply made with ribbon and cute little gift tags, courtesy of TomKat studios. Just stick a thumbtack on either side of your door (or bulletin board, etc) and use little binder clips to attach each card or picture.

Glittery coral and garland, shiny birds and pops of lime green really liven up this dining room tree. Oh yes, you may have noticed that there is more than one tree in my parents’ house. There are actually a total of nine trees in this house. NINE. Let’s recap and see how many trees I have in my house? One. Ouch.

Use ribbon to attach your ornaments and fill up some space on a barren tree. Genius, right?

Handmade stockings, with some red velvet fabric, vintage doilies and buttons, and handwritten name tags on simple muslin.

Happy holidays to you and yours! See you on the flip side!

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Slacker Gift Ideas

In the spirit of all things Christmas, I’m here to throw you last minute shoppers a bone. I know that everyone can’t be like me and have their presents well before Christmas eve (or like my co-worker that had all of her shopping done by July), but I also know that slacking is quite the art form. Heck, some people wait until Christmas Eve to purchase their presents (*cough* my brother *cough cough*) and manage to find that perfect something at Walgreens. But, in case your procrastination has left you puzzled on what to get your special someone, you’ve come to the right place. Since the hubs and I spend our holidays in Florida and try to keep our luggage down to a minimum, we decided to celebrate Christmas this weekend and exchange our gifts to each other.  I was quite impressed with our gift selections – not only because we both enjoyed them, but because he gave me quintessential “girl gifts” and I hooked him up with some classic “guy gifts”. I felt that any slackers out there that are searching for some ideas could definitely benefit from us overachievers. So without further ado, our Christmas bounty!

Even though my husband might not scream “macho” to most (sorry honey, it’s true) I felt that his gifts this year were certainly manly enough to appeal to the masses. Case in point: a tool box. Honestly, what guy isn’t obsessed with his tools? And ladies, this is really a gift for you as well. I took our crazy unorganized tool bag and turned it into a svelte, sleek and organized tool box that made my guy’s heart sing. Win win, right?

Of course, the classics are always there – video games and music. I bought Scott an extra Wii remote so we now have a complete set for when our buddies come over for a bowling tourny. I also gave him a hard case for our new iPod classic – basically, any iPod accoutrement is a stellar gift for most lads.

Another fail safe? Books and movies, baby. Scott is the king of puns (aka the Punisher) so I bought him a little joke book to fuel his arsenal. I might be hurting myself with that one. I also couldn’t quite resist a copy of Wayne’s World, only the best comedy of the early 90s (and possibly all time?). You could also supplement this one with “The Hangover” or some other manly flick (ie. not “The Proposal” – sorry ladies).

Ahh, now for the lady gifts. My husband did quite a nice job this year, and I think any woman would be pleased as punch to receive these gifts. Can we say massage? I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t love a massage. And what goes perfectly with a relaxed lady? Well, pajama pants of course. And not any pajama pants, but super duper warm pj pants for this cold blooded soul. Love it.

Another classic? Jewelry. I so luckily received this necklace made by JessLC, a fellow blogger and crafter of lovely pieces of jewelry that I’ve been coveting for quite some time. I also got some divine twine, a great little accent to any craft project, from another fellow blogger and designer of all things Whisker Graphics. I know everyone might not understand the allure of twine, but this was a favorite gift. Check out Whitney’s blog for all the fun things you go do with this little gift! If your lady is anything like me, she’ll get giddy over little things like twine and stationary – how easy is that for a gift?

How about the rest of you? Any foolproof gifts this season? Or are you thanking me 10 times over for saving you on your last minute Christmas gifts?

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