Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Its the Hap Happiest Season of All!

Its starting to look like Christmas in these parts.  The last of the Fall decor has made its way back to storage and the rotten pumpkins from the front yard have been thrown in the garbage.  The orange and brown and wheat and gourds have been exchanged for red and garland and Christmas lights.  

I love this time of year.  If Fall didn't bring cozy feelings then this season will with cool nights and cocoa.  Christmas movies and traditions.  Last night I found myself sitting with my mug of cocoa staring at the tree.

I wanted a real tree this year.  I decided to go with a miniature version.  I love it.  It goes perfect with a good book.

Cinderella is also enjoying the season.  We have found that she loves candy canes.  I came home from work to find that she had eaten three.  The only part left were the wrappers and some broken pieces.  If you look closely you can see the crazy glint in her eyes from all the sugar!

I'm looking forward to old traditions and starting new ones in our first home.  What special traditions does your family enjoy this season?  I would love to hear about them!

Excuse me while I go watch the tree lighting from Rockefeller Center on TV.  My cocoa is getting cold...  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I'm Back!

Okay.  I think I'm back in the groove of things.  Kinda.  :)

My holiday was pretty amazing and it came at the perfect time.  I was definitely in need of a break from work and the real world.  My grandfather passed away five days before Thanksgiving.  He had been very sick for a really long time and it is good to know that he is no longer suffering.

I threw myself into planning the perfect menu {Paula Dean helped}.

Caleb made the turkey.  This has become tradition and it is always delicious.  Knowing that he is going to make the turkey allows me to put extra effort into the other dishes which I think really makes our meal special.  I'm thankful.

I decided to go with the simple centerpiece of wheat and pumpkins at each place setting.  I loved the way it turned out!


We were lucky to have Caleb's sister and her boyfriend join us for the holiday.  You'll notice there aren't any pictures of people... Caleb hates having his picture taken so I didn't do my usual begging for pictures since I know he doesn't like it.  I could barely stand it, but I think it was the thoughtful thing to do.  :)  No promises for Christmas though! 

I've really had an amazing Fall.  I'm excited to start this new season full of hot cocoa, lights, and time relaxing with a cozy blanket and family.  

Monday, November 26, 2012

I'm so Lazy.


Its been a little bit since I've sat down and actually written a post.  I've been experiencing some major lack of motivation.  Last week I was out of town for several days and then I was focused on the holiday and then I was just enjoying spending time with family so much that I didn't feel like taking time away to sit in front of the computer while everyone else was watching Christmas movies and football and visiting and drinking wine.  Know what I mean?

And honestly I'm still feeling pretty lazy.  So lazy that I don't even want to upload the pictures off my phone that I took of my holiday (plus Blogger is saying I used up all my free storage space on Picassa?  What the....).  

In fact, I've been trying to write this post for the last twenty minutes, but instead find myself looking at Cyber Monday deals (50% off at J. Crew!!!! + Free Shipping) and perusing to find a dress for the imaginary Christmas party I'm going to.  

I was going to leave you with a picture that makes me happy, but please reference previous comments about lack of picture storage and instead imagine that I uploaded a Fall sunset and crimson leaves.  :)  

Happy Monday.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy Saturday After Thanksgiving!

Well Hello! I've been absent for a while, I know. First it was preparing for the holiday, then a trip to Indiana for a funeral, and then Thanksgiving. Now, I'm busy relaxing and recouping with family and focusing on the many things I am thankful for.

I'll be back full force soon, but until then I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with family and friends! See you soon!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Holiday Entertaining: 5 Tips for a Successful Get-Together.

In honor of the upcoming holidays I have yet another post with advice for entertaining.  I know that over the next several weeks I will have a ton of guests in and out of my home.  Some family.  Some friends.  Some neighbors from down the street.  Regardless, I always take my entertaining duties seriously and today I am going to share with you five tips that I think are crucial for a successful get-together!

Me with really long hair... crazy!

1. Think Simple.

So I'm pretty new at this entertaining thing.  I've only been married for about 3 1/2 years which means prior to our blissful nuptials I was in college.  Meaning entertaining consisted of setting out a bag of chips and a case of beer.  Okay, so maybe I have always had a little bit of the Martha Stewart gene running through my veins, but it has definitely taken some practice and good old trial and error to realize that simplicity if usually better.  Its easy to try and do too much and it is just within the past year that I figured out that creating a simple menu with a few special touches makes for a better party.

Preparing only one homemade dip and adding store bought items to the menu enabled me to
be able to keep things simple, but still have a great spread of food at my crafternoon get-together.

2. Plan ahead.

When I am having people over I try to do as many things as possible in advance.  Obviously this doesn't always work out and sometimes I am scrambling to hide the last of the clutter in the closet, bake a cheesecake, and change out of my work clothes just as guests are starting to walk in the door, but if you combine this step with step #1 I think it is the best way to ensure that you also get to enjoy the party.

I try to start thinking about the details of a get-together at least a week in advance.  At this point I will make out a grocery list, do my shopping, and make sure that I have everything on hand that I need.  If possible I will set the table beforehand to ensure that I have plenty of time to prepare food.  This is especially helpful since I almost always am running behind to finish the meal.

I set up this table the night before which enabled me to cross one thing off of my to do list.
P.S. If you are reading this Chad... don't judge my wrinkled table cloth!  ;)  

3. Remember Ice.

Someone told me once that the most important component to any party is having ice.  Wise advice.  So true.  If people have good food and a cold drink they are usually pretty happy.

4. Set the Mood.

Although it is always best to keep things simple, I also like to add special touches.  Is it a Christmas get-together?  Pick up a pack of holiday napkins.  Are you having a rustic Thanksgiving dinner?  Drink out of Mason jars.  Is it your friend's birthday?  Invest in some fun straws to sip your cocktails.  I live in the South now, so what better way to greet a Northern visitor than with a glass of ice cold sweet tea when they walk in the door?!  Its the little things that really make for a special time.

It doesn't have to be elaborate to be special.  A few small touches can go a long way.

Adding sprinkles to the rim of martini glasses really added fun to a birthday celebration.
And it was so simple! Just dip the rims in icing and dip in sprinkles!

5. Be present.

There is nothing worse than planning a get-together, investing a ton of time, and then being stuck in the kitchen the whole evening.  Truthfully, your guests don't want this either.  I have learned that company would rather spend time with their host than have them holed up in the kitchen preparing an elaborate meal.  If you are able to stick to the previous four steps this should be a little easier.  Also, guests can tell if they have a stressed-out, unprepared host and it probably doesn't make for a relaxing evening for them either!  You want the atmosphere to be fun, not frantic.  At the end of the day who cares if you burnt the bread and the cheesecake didn't turn out quite right?  The most important part is spending time with the people you care about.

Also, wouldn't it be nice to join in on the fun?!

My fabulous Muncie friends and me at my Mardis Gras party last spring.  

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Hi!  Can you believe that its already Wednesday?  I'm super excited for this weekend because Caleb and I are actually staying home.  I can hardly wait to get started on finishing off some last minute projects around the house before Thanksgiving...

I'm on a role with actually making the pins that I pin on Pinterest!  This pin is another that I saw a loooong time ago and have been dying to make.  Cute, right?

I want to try this out!
Funky Junk Interiors via Jodi on Pinterest

Here is my version.

I just realized that my white linen is totally caught in the door...
I found the frame at an antique shop for $5.00 and used some picture handing wire and a staple gun to finish it off.  I'm not super crazy about the wire so I may eventually switch it out for something else... any suggestions??  Twine maybe?  I also didn't have clothes pins so I punched a hole in my pictures and used some jute to attach them to the wire.  Not super crazy about that either, but I wanted to use items I already owned.  I have since purchased some clothes pins at dollar tree so I can't wait to hang up more pictures using those.

I may repost this in a couple weeks after I make some changes.  Kinda a work in progress, but I have already gotten several compliments from guests.

Oh, and guess what?!  My Pinterest project from last week was featured on Fortune Favors the Brave by Sarah!  Stop by and check it out.  Stay a while and check out the rest of her blog too.  She's a crafty, amazing cook who likes to read.  Pretty good combo!

Today I am linking this post up with Sarah, Amber, and Melissa for The Pinspiration Project.  The goal is to actually try out some of those pins that you've been drooling over!

Michelle at The Vintage Apple for Oh, How Pinteresting!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Perfect Coke.

Often we hear how these days its all about instant gratification.  We want things how we want them, when we want them, and generally we want them now.  A few months ago I read an amazing book by Gretchen Rubin called The Happiness Project.  In her book she discussed a topic that really resonated with me.  The premise is that this moment... this moment right here, right now is important.  Is there always a need to put things off?  Isn't it important to live in the present?  The example the author used was that she had received a beautiful stationary set as a gift from her sister.  Years went by and she never used the set of stationary because she was always waiting for the perfect opportunity to use this paper, as she did not want to waste it.  But what good was this paper doing being stashed away in a desk drawer for no one to enjoy?

Several months after finishing this book, I am still thinking about this example.  

A couple weekends ago I went to the Coke museum and before leaving every visitor was given a bottle of Coke to take home.  I love Coke.  LOVE.  I brought my bottle of Coke home and put it in the refrigerator thinking I should wait for a special day to enjoy my special Coke.  For the next week I would open the refrigerator and longingly look at the bottle.  I wanted to drink it, but felt like the day or the moment wasn't good enough.  Surely I should wait because the bottle of Coke would be better enjoyed some other time.  You would have thought I had an expensive bottle of champagne the way I was coveting that Coke!

How often are we waiting for this magical moment?  This mystical illusive moment that might never come?

Finally, I came home after work one day and it dawned on me.  Why was this moment not the perfect moment to enjoy my prized bottle?  Sometimes those perfect moments are right there.  Waiting to be made.  

Had I waited I would have missed out on sitting in my quiet, newly decorated living room... sun streaming in the window... alone with my thoughts... ice cold Coke on a crisp and beautiful Fall afternoon.  

I think that sometimes it is so easy to think about tomorrow that we overlook right now.  It was the perfect moment indeed. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Hey You! Check It Out!

Hi!  I hope that you had a fabulous weekend and are well rested and relaxed!  Caleb and I just returned from an amazing trip aaaaallllll the way up to Michigan with our cousins where we watched a football game!

More on that later... I wanted to stop in and make sure that you didn't miss my guest post over at The Chronicles of Chaos on Saturday.  Mia is amazing so you should stay awhile after you read about the ways I decorated my living room on a budget.  Check out some of her posts and be sure to follow her!

Sweet Dreams!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Living Room Reveal!

Haaaappy Friday!

Before I get to my living room reveal, I want to let you all know that I am guest posting over at The Frugal Foodie Mama today as well!  Head on over to see how I created some trhifty Thanksgiving centerpieces and check out Carrie's blog while you're there... its awesome!  I promise, you'll LOVE it!

I am also so excited to be sharing another part of our home with you today!  Our living room!  This is definitely the most used part of our home and where most of our time is spent so it was important to me to make it feel cozy.  There are still a few elements that I want to add, but for the most part its complete and ready for your eyes to see!

This room has definitely come a long way.  I'll give you one guess what color the room was when we moved in...  YELLOW.  Just like all the other rooms in the house before I deyellowfied.  I couldn't find a saved before picture, but here is the post that shows the living room before paint.

I've tried to keep the room fairly simple.  I also chose to use colors {navy, gray, white} that are fairly neutral.  I can add in different accent colors later when I want a change.  Right now I've chosen to use red orange for an accent.

My favorite part of the room is this striped wall.  You can read about how I did it and see my inspiration from Pinterest here.  We also recently purchased a new couch and love seat and I am in love with the color.  Its called slate.

I purchased this oil painting at a yard sale for $2.00.  You can't beat two bucks for a piece of original artwork!  I took it out of the old grungy frame it came with and put it in this white IKEA frame to match the others in the room.

This next piece is my favorite!  Its a 1930's tobacco basket that I found at the Covered Bridge Festival with Ashlee.  I had been looking for something big that would take up quite a bit of wall space and I love this!  The only problem is that Caleb does not... he said he would live with it though... what a good hubby!

Cinderella wanted to be in on the action...
Here is the view of the room from the corner.  {Notice that Caleb was watching NASCAR.  Barf.}

I was excited to be able to showcase my collection of antique ladies' compacts.  I've tried to add little touches of color around the room to tie it all together.  I love turquoise Ball jars and the collection of items that I added on the wall near the entry.

Its so nice to feel like this space is finally our own.  No more yellow.  MUCH more relaxing!  Aaahhh!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I've been working diligently to finish decorating our living room which is a little impossible because I don't think you truly ever finish decorating something.  It always seems to be more of a work in progress.  I have found that as soon as I think I'm finished, I have grown tired of the decor I started with.  Am I the only one?  No?  Okay, good... thanks! 

I have been trying to use colors that are more on the neutral side so that I can update the look with accents.  I've also been making some of the items that are in our living room.  I've had this cute little canvas pinned for several months now and a few weeks ago I finally gathered up the supplies and made my own version.

Wooden letters glued to canvas and then painted over in white
Not on the High Street via Jodi on Pinterest
I shared this picture with you yesterday when I showed you my newly painted front door.  The canvas that looks solid black... yeah, thats my version.

You can see it much better here:

This project was really simple and perfect for this wall.  It was as simple as picking up a few wooden letter at hobby lobby, gluing them to a canvas, and spray painting it.  I already had the canvas so the total cost was about $4.00 which means there will be no guilt when I'm sick of it and want something new!  :)


Sometimes the simple things are the best things.

Today I'm linking up with Michelle at The Vintage Apple

Sarah at Fortune Favors the Brave, Melissa at Lulu & Sweet Pea, and Amber at My Three Bittles!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Paint. And Paint.

I'm determined that I am going to have everything in my home (upstairs) painted before we have company for Thanksgiving.  The more I think about this task the longer my list of items to paint becomes.  So far my list includes: 

1. The sunroom
2. Bookshelf in the office
3. Two chairs
4. Front Door
5. Back door
6. Cabinet to go in the sunroom
7. Wicker chair to go in the sunroom


Yesterday I decided that I better get started.  I had every intention of knocking out the front door and the sunroom.  I decided that those two were the most important on my list.

I started with the front door because I decided that this would be the quickest and easiest project.  I was wrong.  It turned out to be a little bit more work than I had planned.  I wasn't taking into consideration that I had to wash the door and remove all the hardware.  I also didn't realize that the previous owners had put all the hardware on the door while the paint was still wet so it was stuck.  I had to pry everything off and it was not easy.  

Here are the before pictures.  It was a red color.  I didn't hate it, but it was pretty dark and I wanted something a little bit brighter.  The inside of the door was white which I thought was a little plain so I knew I wanted to paint the inside of the door as well as the outside.


I think the after is much better!  It's amazing how much something little like painting your door can make your home feel.  My favorite is the view from the inside!

What do you think?  I also painted all the hardware with stainless steal spray paint.  I'm not sure how long the spray paint will stay without wearing off, but I couldn't stand to leave the brass.  I LOVE how it looks!

I'm super excited to show you all the rest of my living room on Friday!

What great projects have you been working on lately?

I'm also linking up with Lakota for Ta-da! Tuesday!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Holiday Entertaining: Always be Prepared.

This is my absolute favorite time of the year.  The holidays.  Every year, as soon as Halloween is over, I go into super holiday freak mode.  I think its important to note that the when I think of the holidays I consider Thanksgiving equally wonderful.

I went into Hobby Lobby today to pick up a few items for my Thanksgiving centerpiece (yes, I'm already planning this ;)!) and people were already buying their Christmas decor!  I went to Starbucks and they are already using their red holiday cups which to me screams Christmas.  But the biggest shock of all was when I ran in the mall and Santa was there!  Shouldn't he still be in the North Pole on vacation for at least a couple more weeks?!  What happened to Thanksgiving people?!

Mom's Roast Turkey
Source: Simply Recipes

Anyway... one of my favorite things about the holiday season is entertaining.  In honor of the upcoming holidays, and my love for hosting get-togethers, I am going to do a series of posts about holiday entertaining.

Today I am going to talk about rule numero uno: Always Be Prepared.  For anything and anyone to stop by.  The best way to earn holiday brownie points and the reputation of world's best hostest is to always have the basics on hand.

Source: Natasha in Oz

Just picture this...

You and the hubby are sitting on the couch watching t.v. and you hear a knock on the door.  It's your next door neighbor/Great Aunt Susie/Co-worker and they have stopped by to drop off a tin of holiday cookies fresh out of the oven.  Wanting to return the holiday cheer in true Martha Stewart fashion you dash to the kitchen and realize that you don't have a thing to offer.  No cookies.  No coffee.  Nada.

Wood Entry Doors
Source: The Old House
How can you avoid this you ask?  Easy!  Between now and the holidays pick up a few simple items each time you go to the store.  You'll always be prepared for anyone that might stop by or for an impromptu get-together of friends to watch National Lampoon's Christmas vacation!

Here are a few of the items that I have started stocking in my pantry:

Just think... you'll be the picture of holiday cheer when you walk out of the kitchen with your tray of Biscoff cookies and hot cocoa! 

Linking up with Lower Case Letters for: 

miscellany monday at lowercase letters