Friday, December 14, 2018

Friday Favorites: Christmas Home Tour, A New Blog to Follow, Becoming, Charmed Boutique & A Fun Package

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Happy Friday!  It's another day off of work for me (I kind of stockpile my PTO for the holidays, haha), and hopefully it will be a great one!

1.  First up, my very favorite post of the week was sharing my Christmas home tour!!!  There is just something so warm about a home at Christmas, all decked out.  With Christmas fast approaching, you will probably find me at home til then (well, of course, when not at work), soaking it all up!

2.  Well, I went down a rabbit hole this week on The Sunny Side Up Blog.  I was talking organization with Lindsay (because she is the organization queen), and she told me about one of her favorite blogs - The Sunny Side Up Blog.  I checked it out and fell in love.  Her house is dreamy, her pictures are pretty, and she, too, loves to organize.  She has a printable library, and all you have to do is enter your name and email to get access.  Definitely worth it - I already printed out three different documents of hers!  

3.  Becoming by Michelle Obama.  After seeing the Michelle Obama special on TV last month, I became curious about her book.  I figured there would be a huge waitlist, but the next time I went to the library, there were multiple copies of her book on the shelf, so I grabbed it.  I am so glad I did, because it was really good.  Learning all about before she became the First Lady was my favorite.  Growing up in Chicago, going to Chicago, meeting her husband, their struggles with was really, really interesting.  And of course, reading about life from the perspective of the 'other half' in politics was really neat, too.  It doesn't get too into politics - I mean it does cover her initiatives and specific happenings during the presidency, but I didn't find it to be political book.  It was more just like, this was my life, and this is how I felt during it.  Very well done.  This is just further proof that I really liked it - I even read it amidst all my Christmas books, so you know it had to be good for me to put those down!  I didn't want to include it in this month's book review, since I was focusing more on Christmas books, but I did feel like it was worth mentioning.  And speaking of my Christmas book review - I updated the post to include a few more books I have read.  You can check that post out here!   

4.  I tend to stick to the same stuff when it comes with jewelry, but I recently added a few things into the mix that I just love.  Both come from my favorite boutique, Charmed.  First up, the Davey Cuff.  It's a David Yurman dupe, but for a fraction of the price (only $12.00!).  I have the Clear/Silver option, and it pairs so nicely with my other 'everyday' bracelets.  And the quality way exceeds the price's really nice.  I love it!  

I also got a pair of emerald Lauren Hope earrings.  It doesn't seem they are up on the Charmed website, but you may be able to find them on the Charmed Boutique facebook page.  I had been wanting a pair of these since I saw them last Christmas, but when I went to go buy a pair, they were already sold out!  I wore them this past Thursday to my company's Christmas party and I know I will be getting a lot more wear out of them between now and Christmas...and all year round, too!  

5.  One of the big highlights of the week was receiving the giveaway I won from Peacock Paper & Gifts!  The picture below is pulled from instagram (@peacockpapergifts / @kelseympeacock), and I am so excited about everything in it - candy, an ornament, two books, AND a new planner?  Those are all some of my favorite things!  I rarely win things, so this was the best surprise!
Before I go, a quick reminder about Monday (12/17).  If you participated in the Ornament Exchange, please link up with Adrienne, Jaclyn and me to share the cheer.  Or, if you don't have a blog, share online with #OrnamentExchange18! 

Linking up with AndreaErikaThe Blended Blog. 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Accordion Tree DIY Ornament

It's that time of year where I share the new DIY ornament my mom and I created.  First, a trip down memory lane.

In 2015, my mom and I used a vintage Christmas light, tiny garland, bakers twine to create an 'All Is Bright' ornament (click here).

In 2016, we grabbed some sticks and whipped together a 'Wish Upon A Star' ornament (click here).

In 2017, all we need was a little bit of paper, hot glue and twine to pull together a Hope Medallion ornament (click here).

Pulling together this year's ornament was a bit more challenging.  Originally my mom had the idea to make a snowflake out of pipe cleaners, and then she had the tree idea.  The tree seemed a bit simpler, so we opted to go that route.  However, it just wasn't turning out.  So we tried the snowflake, and that looked like something crafted by a kindergartner, haha.  So we went back to the tree, added the jingle bell at the top and it made all the difference!

What You Need:
Cream Cardstock
Computer / Printer
Hole Punch
Small Jingle Bell
Hot Glue Gun

1.  Print sheet music on your cardstock.  If you google 'Christmas music printable', then you should be able to find some options.  We went with 'Oh Christmas Tree' to stay on theme.

2.  At the top of the page, on the back, mark the middle (4 1/4 inches) with a little pencil tick.

3.  Cut the page to be 5 1/2 inches long (vertical).

4.  Cut 2 1/2 off each side.

5.  Cut from the middle point (the mark from step 2), to each corner, to form a triangle.

6.  Fold accordion style, with each fold being 1/2 inch.

7.  Once folded, take your hole punch and punch in the middle of the folds.  You may have to do this in sections, since you are using cardstock.  Also, we found that we need to make 3 holes all together to create one big enough for the dowel to slide through.

8.  Thread paper on the dowel.  

9.  With the twine, create a loop to hang with, knotting the ends to the back of the jingle bell.

10.  Cut the dowel to length, cutting at the top so that the cut part is hidden by the point of the tree.

11.  Hot glue jingle / twine to the top of the tree.

12.  Hang on your tree and enjoy!

For as much trouble as we had starting this, it really turned out cute.  And I think you can go so many routes with this.  You could use colored cardstock and other 'tree topper' for different looks, or you could even stain the dowel to be darker, or paint it white.  Lots of options!  


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Christmas Home Tour 2018

Today I am sharing what may be my favorite post of the entire year - my Christmas home tour.  This year is even more special, because it's my first Christmas in my condo.

Welcome!  I was so excited to put candles in the windows, a wreath on the door, and put my grandma's $3 sled find to good use!

Come on in!

First up, is the dining room.  This may be my favorite area in the house.  It was (and still is) the one room that came together so quickly after I first moved, and so easily.  The buffet is the perfect place to decorate, and I love adding a festive pillow to the bench.  And you all know I love my Christmas plates!  The little tree with ornaments used to be in my bedroom, but I got a new tree for that area, so my mom and I found a new home for this one.

Moving along to the living room.  I wasn't sure where to put the tree, but I love having it by the window / door.  I can see it perfectly from the couch while I am enjoying a Christmas movie, or reading a Christmas book.  A few more touches here and there on the end tables, and a simple cluster of mercury glass votives, greens and berries, which may be my favorite coffee table decor thus far, all add some Christmas cheer.  And last but not least, is the mantle.  I was so excited to have a mantle to decorate this year, and I think it turned out so pretty!

Some other odds and ends, here and there...

One of my favorite Christmas crafts adds a little something to the inside of the door.

And we couldn't leave out the half bath!

I found out during the fall that hangings don't do very well on my backdoor, so instead, I add a little something to the door going down to the basement!

Another little craft (post here) my mom and I did in years past gives the pantry door just a little something something. 

Moving upstairs, the loft/office area got some of the more nostalgic decorations.  The tiny tree and snow globe that was in my room growing up, a cloche of vintage bulbs I picked up at an antique store, one of my favorite Santas, and wooden blocks my mom made!

I think my absolute favorite thing, though, has to be my Shiny Brite tree.  I have developed a bit of an obsession with vintage Shiny Brite ornaments, and have collected them throughout the year, with the thought of having a small tree in my room, full of them.  It's just the prettiest thing - both lit and unlit.  All of the ornaments have been found at antique stores, or handed down (like the ones from my grandma and grandpa's first married Christmas).  My mom had the idea of adding in the tinsel garland, and it adds some additional shine to the tree.  

Thanks for stopping by! 

Past Christmas Home Tours:
Christmas 2015 

Linking up with ShellyLindsay and Jessi. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

My 2018 Christmas Card

Sending out Christmas cards has become one of my favorite Christmas traditions.  I absolutely love receiving mail, and hopefully evoke that same feeling I get from getting a card in the mail, in others.

This year I ended up doing my cards through Minted.  I looked at all the various other sites, and felt that Minted had the best 'no picture' options.  So much so, that I had a bit of a time narrowing down all my favorites before landing on 'the one'.

Without further ado....Merry Christmas!
"A Merry Little Christmas" - Vintage Holiday Cards in Evergreen by GeekInk Design.

And, if you are looking for a super easy way to storage / organize your Christmas cards, click here for a post I did last year called DIY Keepsake Card Ring.  It's perfect for those of us who want to take a trip down memory lane, looking at all the Christmas cards of years past, year after year!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Weekend Recap: Low Key Weekend

Hey all!  I hope everyone had a great weekend. 

Mine was pretty low key.  Here are a few highlights:

Going to see Green Book.  This movie was so good.  And what's even better, is that it is based on a true story.

Checking out an new (to me) antique store.  This antique store had some FANCY things, and it was neat to look at them all.  And they had a ton of different china sets...I just love pretty plates.  I figured it was going to be more of a looking store, but I found a few things to purchase - some Shiny Brite ornaments!  They had some I hadn't ever seen before, and only for a few dollars each, so I couldn't pass them up.  In the next few years I may be needing a bigger tree!   

Going to CYCLEBAR.  It has been quite awhile since I was able to do a CYCLEBAR class...and I could tell, haha.  I was struggling a bit, but I am so glad I went.  The people there are just so nice, and I had one of those small world moments when I learned that the instructor also teaches a few fitness classes at my work gym!

Burning a new candle.  I burnt the last of my current candle, and was able to break out a new one - Thymes Frasier Fir.  I wish I could describe how good this candle smells.  It's so good.  And I love when it's time to start a new candle.  When one gets low, I always try to burn it as much as possible so I can break out a fresh one.  There is just something about a new candle!

That's really all I have to share - like I said it was a pretty low key weekend!

Quick reminder - if you participated in the ornament exchange this year, don't forget to mail your ornament by today!  We will be linking up on the 17th to share our ornaments!

Hope you all have a great Monday!

Linking up with Biana anLindsay.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Friday Favorites: Cookie Walk, Grandma & Grandpa's Ornaments, Hosting, Ice Cream & the Weekend

1.  I didn't do a weekend recap this week, so I thought I would highlight some of my favorites from the past weekend.  Saturday morning was my church's cookie walk.  Before I started attending this church, I had no idea what a cookie walk even was.  I was blown away when I worked it last year (everything was sold out with in 45 minutes!), and after having one under my belt, I was excited to work again this year, especially after helping decorate some of the cookies!  

It was another successful year - we had double the amount of cookies, which did mean we had some leftover, but I think those that came were super happy with what they got.  I even was able to snag a box of a few for myself!  While there are all kinds of cookies, I grabbed the decorated sugar cookies.  They are gorgeous, and delicious.  Which I feel like isn't always the case when you buy them from the store.  

My very favorite thing of the whole morning, though, was hearing about why the cookie walk was so special to a particular customer.  Her dad started taking her to the cookie walk - it was a Christmas tradition they always had together.  Every year they would come, and she said it was one of their very favorite things to do together.  Sadly, he has passed, but she says that she still comes every year, to keep the tradition alive.  Isn't that just so sweet?  Being part of the event is a really neat thing, but when realizing how much it means to someone outside the church just makes it that much more special.

2.  I mentioned in my Thanksgiving recap, that on Thanksgiving, my grandma gave us all ornaments.  She hasn't put up a tree for awhile now, and she thought it was time to pass them along to us all.  We stood in the garage, where she had spread them all out, and took turns picking, oldest to youngest.  It was really fun to reminisce while looking at them all, and there was even a bit of 'nooooooo, you took my next pick!', too.  

I think the ones I were most excited about were the Shiny Brites.  I started collecting them this past year, and ended up putting them all on a little tree in my room.  So you can imagine how excited I was to see that my grandma had a bunch...and even more excited when I realized how special they were - they were the ornaments my grandparents got for their first married Christmas!  My grandparents were married in 1953, so these ornaments are 65 years old.  And, just as a little tidbit for my own memory, my grandma said she got them from the dime store.  

My mom bowed out early on after grabbing a few (she has a huge collection already!), then my brother, so it was just me, my aunt, and my cousin and we decided to just go for it.  They grabbed the specific ones they wanted, and then I loaded up on what was left of the Shiny Brites.  

I snapped a picture of them before I hung them on the tree, that way I would always know which ones were my grandparents'.  They will forever be some of the most special ornaments I have.  What a treat it will be unwrap them, and hang them on the tree, knowing my grandparents' did just that themselves...starting with their first married Christmas, and many, many years after.

3.  I had a few girls from church over this week - it was my very first time hosting a get together at my new condo (aside from family visiting).  Although it had me a bit nervous / anxious (my first time hosting!!!), I was even more excited about it.  I think it was a success and even something we are hoping to do at least every other month!  It was great getting to know each other better.  At church, there isn't always time to really talk, so having the opportunity to get together outside of it, was really nice.  And I think I wasn't alone in that feeling!  

While just getting together was nice, one of the girls shared some really interesting takeaways from a recent work conference she attended.  What she shared really gave us all something to think about, and I felt like it was worth passing along, too.  At this conference, they gave them a challenge to pick 5 people in your contacts (or however many), and send those people a text message asking, 'What can I do to improve our relationship?'.  She said at first she didn't want to do it, because it is kind of awkward.  It's a bit random, and do you really what to know that answer?  But she went ahead, sent messages to various people, and waited for the response.  After the initial 'Is everything ok?' question, because let's be real if I got that message, I would be super concerned that something was really wrong, she said it turned out to be a great exercise.  By that simple question, it has helped to improve some relationships.  The key is to do it via text, to give people time to think, and to be more honest.  We all said that if you were to ask someone that question in person, you'd probably get the answer that everything is fine, or something similar.  

Another thing she told us about was asking 'How are you?'.  How many times a day to you ask someone that in passing, not really engaging...or how many times do you get that question and just reply good, as you walk on goes both ways.  But it's important to connect and actually care, because there are days when you do want someone to really ask how you are...and not just ask, but actually care about the answer.  Some days stink, and it helps to talk about it, or some days are great, and it's nice to share that, too.

All in all, it was a great night, and I hope we have many more of these to come!

4.  Lately I have been CRAVING peppermint ice cream.  Which is odd, because I have never had peppermint ice cream before.  The idea of it just sounded so good to me, though.  So, this past week while I was at the grocery store, I picked up some Edy's Peppermint Ice Cream.  It is delicious.  Everything I had hoped for in my mind.  It's a limited edition flavor for the holidays and one I think I will look forward to every year now!

5.  With having people over this week, my condo is spic and fresh and so clean, clean!  Going into the weekend with everything already done is such a wonderful feeling.  And on top of that, my weekend plans are pretty light right now, which is a-okay with me.  I haven't had a weekend like this in awhile!  My hope is that this weekend will be filled with a lot of Christmas - whether it be watching Hallmark movies, reading Christmas books, or checking something off my Christmas Bucket List - maybe even all three!  I am also looking forward to getting back to CYCLEBAR.  It's been awhile, so I know it is going to be tough, but hopefully I am not walking too funny afterwards.  I plan on checking the last two presents off my Christmas shopping list...all in all it should be a really great weekend.  Relaxing, enjoying the season, as well as getting some stuff done!

Linking up with AndreaErikaThe Blended Blog. 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

December 2018 Goals

Another month has come, which means it is time for a new set of goals!

Bullet Journal Setup December - Planning vor Christmas 2017 - tea & twigs

December Goals

1.  Travel toiletry bags / checklists.  This may sound familiar, so surprise, I didn't get this done last month, haha.  It's one I really want to do though, so I'm bringing it back for December.

2.  Closet clean out.  Usually this is something I would do in the new year, but I don't think there is any harm in getting a head start.  Every time I take things out of the house, whether it be to donate, or even just returning a book to the library, I feel so much lighter.  And I know there is a ton of stuff I don't wear, so either I need to be reminded that I have it, or it needs to be packed up for the consignment shop, or donated. 

3.  Work on New Year's Resolutions!  With the new year fast approaching, it's time to take stock of what I would like to accomplish / change next year.  I have a few ideas already in mind, but it's time to nail it down to be ready to go January 1. 

November Goals

1.  Complete Christmas shopping.  Almost!  I still have two items to purchase, but they will be getting done this weekend!

2.  Travel toiletry bags / checklists.  See above - did not get done!

3.  Clean out the freezer.  This one didn't get done either, but it's on my agenda for Thursday night to make it into the trash on Friday!    

Linking up with Kristen.