Friday, November 30, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide for Her

I used my "Favorite Things" board on Pinterest to compile a list of some pretty great items that I LOVE!  Visit my Pinterest link to see way more of all the things I'm obsessed with, you might even find some other great gift or stocking stuffer ideas.
Ray-Ban Pilot Aviator Sunglasses
I LOVE sunglasses.  I love cheap ones, designer ones, mirrored, gradient.  I don't discriminate.  And I love aviators probably the most because they look good on everyone and are chic and flattering.  These are my current favorites.  They are a little larger than the classic Ray-Ban style, but the fit is better than any other aviators I've had.
Lisi Lerch Ginger Earrings in Beaded Gold
I actually just got these in the mail today and I'm in love.  If you watch any Bravo show, you've seen these before.  Lisi Lerch is a favorite with Bravolebrities.  I've loved these Ginger earrings since I saw them on Cameron from Southern Charm.  They come in a variety of colors, but I chose the gold beaded version.  I've got my eye on another pair I've added to my own wish list!
Hunter Short Refined Wellington 
I love these Hunter Short Refined boots because they are a mid calf length and just like the name they are given, they're more refined.  They're less bulky and a little more formal than the classic Hunter boot.  These come in a variety of color combinations, but I love the navy and green the best.  Also, if you can't decide on a short boot or a tall boot, this makes choosing even easier.
Too Faced Natural Eyes Palette 
The Too Faced Natural Eye Palette looks great on anyone.  Pretty neutrals!! 
Gorjana Super Star Necklace
It's no secret I love jewelry.  I especially love dainty jewelry that you can layer.  Gorjana is my absolute favorite designer, hands down!  I have so many of her pieces, I can't even begin to count.  Whether I'm wearing a piece alone or layered with 2 to 3 other pieces, I always get compliments!
I love this Super Star necklace so much! Such a cute and fun piece! (Click the link to Amazon to see how well it pairs with other necklaces)
Rabbit Vertical Wine Opener
And last but not least, why not make opening wine even easier.  I love the vertical wine opener so much better than the classic Rabbit hinge design.  Super easy and I've had mine for years!

Happy Friday!
Maybe you even found something to add to your own wish list this year!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Decking the Halls 2018

Wow!  I realized while writing this that I haven't posted about Christmas decor since 2013 (and now looking back on that tacky gold dining room I did that year, I know why) Things haven't changed a ton with regards to the living room. We still have the giant tree that has been cussed and yelled at since 2012 when we got it.  I came VERY close to listing it for sale on Facebook last week, but as much as I hated to move the large black sideboard into the dining room so that the tree could go in it's usual spot, that would have meant either A. buying a real tree (which would be dead in 2 weeks), or B. Having to find a new fake tree that I liked (which I really didn't feel like doing either.  And even though we fume and fuss over this giant beast every year, keeping it meant not spending more money and things actually worked out with the new furniture placement ....which I'll get to later in this post.
If you want to see prior year Christmas posts, click on the links below: 
(There wasn't  a post in 2010 because I was on maternity leave with a new baby boy) 
Ugh.  Typing that tugs at my heart! 

I haven't changed up the mantle in the last few years.  I still love my milk glass pedestal bowls with silver and gold balls.  One was my granny's and the other I bought at a local antique store.  It was in a window of an office and was piled with paperwork in it.  I remember walking back inside and asking them if they'd sell it to me and they just randomly came up with a price.  
I know I talk about my candles and lanterns a lot, but I just love them!!  The candles flicker like real candles and are battery operated.  If you follow me on Instagram you know how awesome I think these are.  They come in a set of 3 on Amazon.  They are remote controlled and come with 4 and 8 hour automatic shut off.  I loved them so much, I bought a second set.
For link for candles, click HERE.

Let me just share a little about my stacked cookie jar.  My brother likes to play this trick on me with the cookies.  He loves to eat cookies out of my cookie jar, but I see them as more of a vase filler than a grab and go.  I keep fresh ones in the pantry (which he knows), but he loves to either steal a few from the back side and see how many he can take before I notice, or he'll lift the lid and make a big clanging sound to see if my head whips around and I yell at him to 'put down the cookie!"  Sooner or later I'm going to resort to either gluing the lid shut or gluing the cookies together, I haven't decided which.

This wicker tray is sitting on the counter by the sink.  I love using cake stands to add some variety and height.  The mint julep cup was full of candy canes earlier this week, but a little boy decided to knock out a few, and the large glass dome ornament came from Tuesday Morning.  I thought it was precious and it's battery operated.

Glass lidded jar is from Target
Sand and Fog candle can be found at Marshalls, Homegoods and TJMaxx or Amazon
Small cake stand:  Target from last year
Look how cute this little guy is.  B loved this yesterday when he saw me putting it together.  I've had this Southern Living Hemingway Hurricane for years.  I added a little artificial snow from World Market and some bottle brush trees from Target 
The sweet little deer was an ornament I picked up from World Market.  If you're a World Market Rewards member you can opt to receive texts with coupons.  Yesterday the coupon was for a free ornament, so that cute little guy ended up being free.    
Another cake stand occupies the corner by the microwave.  Another bottle brush tree (Marshall's), one of my favorite candle scents, and a new deer I picked up last week from Marshall's as well.  

I have never been completely pleased with the decor in the foyer.  Previously, I had small, dark wood table that was just too weird in this space.  Over the summer, I went on a chalk paint rampage.  I painted a dresser, chest of drawers and this gray hallway table that was in our hallway downstairs.  I also painted over the chandelier painting that was in our dining room and hung it above this table. 
After we got the tree up Saturday and moved the sideboard, we decided to move this table and painting from downstairs to the upstairs hallway and I think it looks SO much better up here.   

Some fresh cut magnolia from the yard, gives this gray vignette some color and perfect for the holidays.  
I added this little grouping of sweet little ceramic houses ($3/ea.) I found in the dollar section at Target.  The tray is also from the Target dollar section ($5).  The bottom has a mirrored base.  I added some more bottle brush trees (all from Target) and some more of the artificial snow from World Market. The houses are lit with battery operated tealights. 
Here's the sideboard that formerly had a home in the living room where the tree is now.  I don't know why on earth I didn't think it would work on this wall, but once we moved it in here on this giant wall that had nothing on it, I realized how much I liked it so much better in the dining room anyway.  The wonderful news is that once the giant tree gets put away, this sideboard is staying where it is.  It's been moved back and forth from the dining room to the living room 4 times now.  FOUR!
If you remember my previous post about these chairs and my breakfast nook, scratch all that.  The round table that used to be in my breakfast nook with these chairs got on my nerves.  It just took up too much space and I missed my little conversation area right off my kitchen.  I sold the table to my mom and moved things back to where they used to be.  I'm really loving these chairs with new table though.  My next purchase for this room will be a rug and chairs for each end of the table.

The garland is just one piece I picked up last year from Hobby Lobby wrapped with some wired striped ribbon. The candle holders are from Target a few years back, and the black candles are Hearth & Hand with Magnolia at Target.  

Lastly, the final details.  Our wedding china, paired with Christmas bowls and some crisp white Potterybarn monogrammed napkins.

I noticed one thing that is now very high up on my list.  I need to update the house tour badly!  Once the holidays are over and things are put back into place, that will be my next goal!

I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving!
There is so much going on through the month of December, I find it hard to fit blogging onto my list of to do's, but as always, I'll be sharing throughout the season on Instagram.

Merry Christmas!!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide for Him

With Black Friday and Christmas shopping right around the corner, I thought it was fitting to compile a list of things that have been a hit over the last few years with my husband.  He's a creature of habit and pretty low maintenance (ok, scratch that, VERY low maintenance), but here are a few nicer items that I know he loves and uses on a daily basis.  
Bose Soundlink Revolve Bluetooth Speaker

Ok, I may have really wanted this for myself as well, so this one was a win win.  I know a small bluetooth speaker that's almost $300 may sound ridiculous, but let me tell you.....this lantern sized speaker will blow you away!  It's super durable, water resistant, and the battery lasts way longer than any other bluetooth device I've ever owned.  I haven't turned on the Sonos system once since we bought this because it's so easy to pair to and I don't have to use the Sonos app.  Perfect to take with you anywhere!

Marmot Quasar Nova Jacket
I have to confess, I was lucky enough to score this down Marmot down jacket from either TJMaxx or Marshalls a few years ago, but it's one of my favorites I've bought him.  It's not as bulky as some of the other puffer coats I've seen, but still super warm.
2 Pack Etekcity Camping Lanterns
I may even order another pack of these this year.  We tend to lose power a lot and these are handy to have around.  Super bright and and collapsible and less than $20 for 2.  Perfect stocking stuffer!

Anker PowerCore Portable Charger

Did I mention we lose power a lot?  These Anker portable chargers are perfect to keep on hand...or when you're being lazy and your phone is at 5% and you don't want to move from your comfy spot on the sofa because there's no outlet nearby.  
North Face Men's TKA 100 Glacier Quarter Zip
Chad loves these pullovers because they are super lightweight.  They are easy to throw on over a
t-shirt when he's outside.  He JUST mentioned he needs more of these so I'm going to add these to my own list.  They also come in a huge variety of colors.

Corkcicle 24 Ounce Tumbler
Yeti who?  I like the lines of these Corkcicle tumblers so much better than the Yeti Ramblers and they are easier to hold in my opinion.  They also come in a variety of colors and as a bonus, these have a nonskid bottom.  Chad has one in matte black and I have the grey.  Great gift for just about anyone.
A few years ago when the soft side Yeti coolers were all the rage, we opted for this RTIC soft pack 30 cooler instead and we are still loving it.  Super durable and keeps items cold just as long as a Yeti but for a fraction of the cost.  They come in a variety of sizes and colors.

Cremo Beard & Scruff Softener 
This is what I end coming home from Target with with after watching the Queer Eye Reboot.  I still love his beard, so some fancy beard cream was a must.  After standing in the men's shaving/beard/mancare section for probably half an hour sniffing all the bottles, this one made it to the cart.

Christmas is in 39 days.  Ouch!  I've got to get moving.  Or start pressing 'add to cart!' 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

You CAN sit with us

I wanted to publish this yesterday in honor of World Kindness day, but life got in the way and I ran out of time, so here goes....

Do you ever wish you could go back in time and have a heart to heart with your younger self?  Lots of times when I hear this question I often think about my later teen years.  How I would have made different choices, or focused more on my education instead of my social life.  This week I came across a piece of my past and the answer to that question has changed.  I wish I could go back and hug my 6th grade self.
B started playing basketball this week for the first time, and coincidentally practice and games are in the same gymnasium that was beside the school I attended in the 6th grade.  The school has since been converted into an apartment complex, but the gymnasium is still there for community use.
I didn't expect walking through those doors again to have such an effect on me.  The outside of the gym has been spruced up a bit.   New windows, possibly a new coat of paint around the door frames, but inside....inside is exactly as I remember it.  The painted tiger paws on the hardwoods have darkened with age, but the same wood slatted bleachers remain.
In 6th grade I made the brave decision to change school districts and attend the intermediate school in the district where my mom taught.  The district was much smaller and I felt more at ease knowing my mom taught at the high school that was virtually across the street.
There are a few things that stand out to me about that first year, but the first day of school is one I won't forget.  Let's rewind back to the early 90's.  No internet, no Facebook, no Instagram.  No means of searching for hashtags or finding ways to see what students and peers from this new school were wearing.  This was the first day of school for a 6th grade girl.  The perfect ensemble was CRUCIAL!  This is where this story gets hysterical, but at the same time MORTIFYING!
Again, this is the early 90's.  I'm coming out of elementary school and entering 6th grade.  Until now, my favorite band had been New Kids on the Block, but I knew these girls were more into MC Hammer and Bobby Brown.  So what does this 6th grade girl choose to wear her very first day of middle school in a new school?  Hammer pants.  That's right ladies and gentleman, yours truly chose to wear the flouncy, billowy pants like the ones worn by MC Hammer in the early 90's.  I topped off my look with black patent leather oxford shoes and accessorized with a black wool hat.  Looking back, I completely understand why I was laughed at, but at the time, I thought this was the way to try to fit in.  Fortunately there is no image of this ensemble for your viewing pleasure.

On that very first day, we filed into that gymnasium for PE and were told to sit in a circle cross-legged to listen to instructions from the coach.  When we got up to leave, my shoes were GLUED to the floor.  The floor had recently been waxed and the faux patent leather on the tops of my shoes had made some sort of bond.  When I went to stand up, they made a loud peeling sound, leaving some of the shiny areas on the outer sides of my shoes on the gym floor.  Thankfully, I was the only one who noticed this at all, but after the snickers and laughs I'd seen pointed my way all day, I couldn't help but wish I could sink through the cracks in that wood floor.
That year was extremely turbulent.  One of the first few days of school in art class, a group of girls moved all the chairs into a corner and wouldn't allow me to sit down.  Even the teacher didn't locate a chair for me, but instead allowed me to stand for the duration of the class.
But the most affected I've become from that nightmare of a first year in middle school came in the lunchroom.  I was a typical, chubby, 12 year old girl.  I was starting the enter a phase where I was paying more attention to my looks and was very self conscious about my weight.  I stood in line, got my lunch tray, and was walking to a table when I tripped. My lunch went flying across the floor.  Embarrassed and pride smashed, but still hungry, I picked up my tray and returned it to it's place and got back in line, but as I reached the cashier, she told me I wasn't allowed to get another lunch since I'd dropped mine.  Someone close by heard her and yelled out "she doesn't need it anyway!"
This moment is etched into my brain like it happened yesterday.  After that day, I never stood in a lunch line again.  I chose to eat either a snack from the canteen or I didn't eat lunch at all.   In hindsight, it's not that terrible.  Kids are mean and cruel in middle school.  But being judged for what I put in my mouth is still an issue for me today.  I detest a buffet and eating in front of any large group of people causes me anxiety.  Do they think I'm putting too much on my plate?  I'm such a klutz, what if I spill it?  What if I have food all over my face and I don't notice?   How ridiculous, right?
I wish I could go back in time and give 6th grade me a giant hug and tell her how it will turn out.  That she would find friends and it all would be alright.  That middle school is basically the speed bump of life.  That there will come a time in your life when you won't need to fit in and look like everyone else.  That you'll develop your own style and care less what anyone thinks about it.  I'd then hand her a flat iron and throw out her Dep hair gel.
But you know what I also would do?  I'd go back in time and also tell myself to be kinder.  I think that first year hardened me a bit.  It made me jaded to social atmospheres and scared of social interaction.  By high school I had a group of friends, but I was only social with my specific group.  I had a hard time trusting people and chose to stay with my own group of friends (like most cliques do).  But I would have smiled more.  I would have tried to make others feel included and special.
To this day, I'm still a little socially awkward.  Big groups of people in a social setting is unnerving for me. On top of this, I have been stricken with one of the worst resting bitch faces you could ask for.
I am fully aware that I come across unapproachable and unhappy, but I'm usually just assessing where I can fit in and not feel awkward or judged.
As I walked through those gym doors on Monday night, it all came flooding back.  The feeling of exclusion and ridicule.  The fear and anxiety.  I'm 39 freaking years old and all the sudden, I felt 12 again.
Every night when I tuck B into bed, we have a few minutes where we talk about his day.  Sometimes I hear that one kid was mean to another kid, or this kid kicked another kid on accident.  The one thing I've tried to talk about even more lately is kindness.   It doesn't matter who is being mean.  It doesn't matter who is leaving you out.  It doesn't matter who doesn't look like you, or like the same things you do.  You never know what that person has going on at home or is battling on the inside.  Always, ALWAYS be the kind kid.