Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Gifting

I love Christmas, I really do. But I've got to tell you, my absolute favorite part of Christmastime is picking out gifts for family and friends.

Anyways, I thought I'd share a couple of fun gifts I gave and received this year. I'll be honest, I went a little crazy with the online shopping. I has boasted to my hubby that I hoped to not step foot into a mall and have everything shipped to us, but alas, I did have to make a mall trip - and to the Galleria no less. Kind of scary. While I freely admit I did most of my shopping via and other big box stores, I did support a few local businesses this year with my gift-buying and of course, I crafted it up, just a bit.

For the mother-in-law who loves champagne (DIY'd): Chalkboard Champagne Glasses
*eesh, can you believe I totally forgot to take a picture of this? Oh well, I made Chalkboard Martini Glasses for a work White Elephant gift, so you get the idea!*

For the sister-in-law to-be: Personalized Wedding Dress Hanger via Handcrafted Affairs on Etsy

For the Parents or In-Laws: Personalized Playing Cards via Shutterfly
*In fairness, I totally stole this idea from my sister*

And finally, here are just a couple of gifts that I loved.
My sister gave me a 6-month subscription to Birchbox. It's a business that sends you a box of high-end beauty product samples each month. You fill out your profile online and they send you customized goodies. Then, if you want to buy any of them, you can get discounts and/or earn points for free merchandise. I just got my first box and I love it!

Of course, some of the greatest gifts are those that are handmade and my previous manager was nice enough to send me a box of goodies (Thanks, MB!). Actually, his partner has a side business, called Beau Tye, where he makes beauty, body and home accessories. I've tested out the Tye Tub Tea and I think I'm in love. Everything smells and LOOKS so amazing. Just FYI if you're looking for great gift ideas for Moms, Grandmas, Hubbies you name it!

Just a few gifts I thought might be of interest. Hope everyone is enjoying some down time before 2012!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Holiday Message

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas, y'all! Well, as I previously mentioned Greg and I decided to do New Years cards this year instead of Christmas cards. Rather be early with New Years cards than late with Christmas cards, right?!

Immediately after sending, we began to worry that our cards were a little too secular. Our respective very Catholic Grammies might worry... but they are all in fun. If we need to re-enact the manger scene in next year's cards, that can be arranged (if someone could kindly let us borrow a baby for the day).

So, I found a cute design I liked at this cute Etsy site (she's fab to work with). Then, we opened up some wine and whiskey (respectively), had a few drinks and snapped a few pics. Here's the final look:

And just for fun, here are a few of the out-takes that didn't make the cut on the card... (You'll notice the crazy white eyes issue we had going on.)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years everyone! I'll probably be back next week with a post or two, but hope everyone is spending the holidays with the people they love most in the world.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A (Facebook) Walk Down Memory Lane

Has anyone checked out the new Facebook Timelines? Well, I strongly encourage it. It will likely be the best and most awkward down memory lane you'll have in a while. Promise.

I learned a few things along the way. Please, let me share.

1. Signing Off.
I joined Facebook in late 2004. Everyone in the sorority house was talking about The Facebook (yeah, remember "The" Facebook?). So, I reluctantly joined. No one exactly knew how they should be communicating. You'll see here my roomie at the time (shout-out Shoup!) and my Big in my sorority (yes it should be capitalized) wrote on my wall, but felt the need to sign their name at the end of the post. Kind of like the first time your Mom texts you and signs it "Love, Mom." You know what I'm talking about...

2. Couples communication
So, Greg and I have been dating since 2003. Oh yes, that's pre-Facebook days for us. As I mentioned before, no one quite knew HOW they should be communicating. Can we say obnoxious couple? The hubby and I had a little chat about this and a pretty long laugh while we racked our brains trying to remember if this was some kind of inside joke or if we were really that cheesy.

3. College was so fun
Sometimes I think I'd like to go back. Then, I get really tired.

4. Over-shar-ing (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)
Did I really need TWO photo albums for Spring Break 2007? I mean, it was REALLY fun, but really?

5. Does Getting Married Take a Whole Year?
Apparently all I did in 2008 involved getting married. Engagement party, showers, bachelor party, wedding, honeymoon. How do I still have friends after that shiz?

6. 2009
Looked like SO. MUCH. FUN. I'm pretty sure it was. Thanks, Facebook, for reminding me!

7. Family-Book
2009 appears to be the year my family joined. And you thought all the terrible pictures of that bad perm (with bangs) were in your attic. Joke's on you! (Or in this case, on me.)

8. Attention Whores
Let me clarify: that's "Attention Whores" not "Attention, Whores." Ummmm, need attention much?? I would've hoped to have grasped how to appropriately use Facebook by 2009, but alas, I apparently had not. Drama queen. Geez.

So, I haven't published my timeline. I'll probably wait until I can get some privacy issues under control and how I want it, but go peruse yours. Take some time, delete photos/posts or just take a walk down memory lane. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I Need a Vacation

I'm... dreaming.... of a white... SANDY BEACH. You thought I was going to say Christmas, didn't you?! Well, I love Christmas as much as the next person. I love spending time with family, I love decorating the tree, I love wrapping gifts (call me crazy, I LOVE wrapping), I love Christmas Eve Mass and celebrating the real meaning of Christmas... And I could really go on. So I am by no means trying to "get through" the holidays, but I just feel like there is just SO much to look forward to in 2012. (More on that later...)
But one of the things I'm REALLY looking forward to is vacation. Greg and I had so many weddings, plane tickets and places to travel last summer, that we didn't have the chance (nor the funds) to take a vacation. In 2010, we went on our first vacation (post-honeymoon) to Fort Lauderdale and had an absolute blast.
 View of the rooftop pool and ocean from our hotel room
 Uh. We seriously considered going back. Seriously. So. Fun.

Ever since then, we've been waiting to go on our next vacation and we just decided on the location. We're going to Key West!
(I just Googled Image-Searched this. I'm pretty sure Key West does NOT look like this... Actually, now that I look at it, I think this is computer-animated)

Last weekend I spent about 3 hours researching locations, hotels and flights. Unfortunately, my planning got caught off by other responsibilities. Things like "laundry" and "cleaning" pulled me away (uh - lame), but I can't wait to start planning the trip after Christmas. Pending vacation approvals from work, we're hoping to get away for about 4-5 days in June-ish.

If anyone has been and has any tips/recommendations, drop me a line! Anyone else already planning vacations a long time away?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Master Bedroom Part Three: Progress

All I want for Christmas - oh do you mean besides the entire West Elm catalog? So despite the holidays, I've started trying to make some progress on our master bedroom re-do. When the bedding I've been wanting for months finally went on sale, I had to order. Unfortunately, I was less than pleased with the color. This is how it went down after opening the box of bedding that was delivered.

Me: Oh man... this is not the color I thought it was.
Hubby: What did you think it was?
Me: I thought it was darker; I want something almost navy. This is more... like a slate color.
Hubby: What was the colored called?
Me: (looking down at receipt in the box) Oh, it's called slate blue. Huh.

So, we went to take back the bedding to West Elm and while we were there, I asked the store manager about a rug that I had been lusting after. Here's the lovely (in orange):

But oddly enough, the orange color disappeared online. Panic-stricken Being afraid I missed my chance, I found a store manager. She said it was in their Spring line and wouldn't be coming back. Then, I got amazing news. It's on sale AND they had one left in the warehouse. Eeeeee!

Normally, the 8X10 is $479 (+ shipping + $25 delivery surcharge, if you order online), but I got it on sale for $329! It took some work to convince Greg that this was actually a FANTASTIC deal for a rug this size, but he liked it, too, so we took this baby home with us.

So, when I say "progress" in decorating our bedroom, I really just mean we bought a rug. But it's one big-ass rug. I found some new bedding (at Target) that I'm thinking about, but it's neutral colored; not the navy I was wanting. We're going to try to do furniture shopping when we get back from Kansas for Christmas. I mean, I basically have everything mapped out from the bed to the nightstands to the wall art. It's just that freakin' furniture... I equate furniture shopping to mattress shopping and car shopping. Pushy salespeople and a decision you'll have to live with for a very long time. But we'll get to it soon.

In the meantime, here are a few other items that caught my eye in store...
(The silver one)

Have a great week!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Scared Straight

Does anyone remember in high school, when they would set up those fake car scenes around campus to scare you out of drinking and driving? You know what I'm talking about... they would have actors covered in fake blood with smashed alcohol bottles near them. Terrifying but you couldn't look away, right?

Or those TV shows that took delinquent teens into prison for a week to see what life is like the behind the bars? I think they called it "Scared Straight."

Well, I found a similar "Scared Straight" for babies.

So, let me back up. It seems as though overnight, my Facebook feed has turned into freakin' BabyCenter. I'm not complaining; I love babies. I adore them. I tear up at the sight of Ultrasound photos. This could be dangerous for a young, happily married lady like myself.

But like I said I am now (temporarily) scared straight. And this show is to blame:

Sweet. Jesus.

This ad alone is enough for me to lock my husband in the guest bedroom.

Other shows and movies seem to glamorize labor and delivery. I think it has something to do with the dramatic, but so sweet storyline that happens (a la The Father of the Bride Part II) or the music that plays right when the babies born that makes you want to bawl your eyes out (Hello, A Baby Story).

Well it turns out that music does not happen in real life, people. I watched this show, One Born Every Minute, the other night and I'm pretty sure I was hiding under my pillow behind the couch, under a blanket, crouched in fetal position rocking back and forth by the end. Apparently it's a little rougher than that... Turns out your body does all kinds of crazy shiz and I'm just not ready to experience that quite yet.

Not yet anyways.

While the show terrifies me, it doesn't seem to be quite as alarming as this upcoming TLC show...

I think I'd rather watch a live water birth than sit through this show. Aw-kward.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Holiday Traditions

So, every family has their own traditions and when the hubby and I got married, I'm not sure that we necessarily MEANT to start traditions, but we have developed a few over the past few years. First, we don't buy each other Christmas gifts. At least not since we got married. Some people think it's rather odd, but the truth is, we don't really need anything. And we're always saving up for the next big purchase for our house (right now: it's bedroom furniture and decorating our bedroom!) Instead, we use the money we would spend on each other and adopt an Angel from the Salvation Army Angel Tree. Then, we go shopping together to buy gifts for our little angel.

We've actually started adopting our angel online and bringing the gifts in to the nearest mall with an Angel Tree. They make it super-easy! This year, we picked out a 10-year-old boy, who - bless his heart - appears to be a little overweight (according to his clothes size). So, we picked him out some clothes from (yet to arrive) and did some toy shopping at Target.

Here, the hubby closely examines the features between two Nerf guns.

(Side note: I just read an article that there are still 12,000 angels that need adopting in DFW, so if you're interested, you can learn more here. Or visit your local Salvation Army's website. Because it is TRULY more fulfilling to give than to receive during the holidays.)

Another tradition we have is that we always decorate our tree together. First, we listen to this Christmas CD that my old roommate gave me YEARS ago (thanks, Cara!) and then we turn on Elf while we finish the tree.

And speaking of decorating the tree, here she is!

I'm just glad to see she's still standing after this weekend. While we were watching Bedlam, Greg nearly toppled the thing over when OSU made its second turnover. Was it the 7+ beers and whiskey or pure Pokes pride? I'm afraid we'll never know.

I also finally knocked out another holiday craft (that makes two down, two to go). As much as I love a cute wreath, I actually don't even have a Christmas one! So when I came across this berry wreath, I had to try it. But let me tell you - if I had to do it again, um, I wouldn't. This craft was quite a little MFer. So. Much. Work.

I bought four little berry garland sprigs from HobLob. First, I cut all the berries off. (This was a two-night ordeal.) Then, I hot-glued them on this wooden letter "B" (also scored from HobLob). Two sentences, but it took me HOURS to get finish.

I actually finished it during the aforementioned Bedlam game this weekend (Way to Go Pokes!). Simply took some leftover burlap material and tied a bow and voila! (Total cost: about 12 bucks. But about 6-7 hours that I will never get back...)

Happy December!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Much Ado about Holiday Cards

Does anyone else get mildly stressed (read: panicky) over Christmas cards. Well, usually I don't. In fact, last year we didn't even send any. [gasp!] Well, we had sent out "We're Moving, Here's our New Address" cards in August, so I decided to skip out on holiday cards, too. (But at least people had our address!)

But that was nearly a year and half ago and I don't want to go falling off people's Christmas card list, ya heard, so I've started researching (i.e. Pinterest-ing and Etsy-ing) holiday cards. Here's the deal, though: nearly all the holiday cards I receive are of our sweet friends with their families (read: dogs and babies). Well, as you know, we have neither at the moment, so I started thinking what we could do besides just sending a generic Christmas card photo of us.
Well, I think I've got it.

One, we're not sending out Christmas cards, we're sending out Happy New Year cards. (I think I might be ahead of the trend here, just wait - these are going to catch on for all those "oh shit, it's mid-December and I need to send out cards" people.) And two, I'm thinking the card will involve alcohol in some way...
Will share soon!
And while we're talking about Christmas cards, I tackled craft #1 of #4 last night. I've been wanting a Christmas card holder for years now (ask the hubby, I whine about this every year) and when I ran across this on Pinterest, I thought, well, yes, I just have to make it.
It only involves 3 items: an embroidery hoop (found at the local craft store), clothespins and hot glue. It took me longer to find the embroidery hoop at the HobLob than it did to make this craft.

I think it will look much cuter once it's filled with cards!

And I picked up this adorbs ribbon that I found for 1/2 off while I was there.

Now, I'm just waiting on the hubby to get home from his business trip to see where we should hang it permanently.
OK, people. I'm equipped and ready for the Christmas cards! Let's see 'em.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday Prepping!

*Cue 'N Sync's "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays" (or fast-forward 15 years and cue Justin Beiber's "Under the Mistletoe.")

It's the Holidays, y'all! Happy Cyber Monday! Who got a great deal? I'll tell you who, THIS girl! {points to self} Our fun actually started Sunday when we came across this sweet little number on Amazon.

It's going in our master bedroom. So, it wasn't originally on our "to buy" list for our master bedroom re-do, but our current TV is so heavy and we didn't want it to scratch our new dresser. Plus, with a great Cyber Monday deals, we just couldn't pass it up!

Today, I saw that West Elm put their popular Organic Pintuck duvet cover (oh yes, the one I've been wanting and talking about for months) for 20% off plus free shipping. So, I saved more than $50 on something I was fully planning on ordering for full price! Um, holler.

The hubby and I decorated for Christmas on Sunday, but I got to feeling like I don't have many decorations. Now that we have this house, the tree and the mantle is about all I can decorate with what I have.

So, with the hubby being out of town this week (boo.), I'm going to craft it up, holiday decor-style (yay!). I made a run to HobLob tonight and scored all of this for about $50 - but it should make 4 different items.

If you're on Pinterest, you probably already know what some of these are. More to come on those later...

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


If you watch (one of our fave shows on TV) How I Met Your Mother, you'll get the reference. But a friend of ours was inspired by the show's annual "Friendsgiving" party. So, we gathered together with a couple of Greg's friends/old co-workers and made a few new friends.

The week before, emails went back and forth about what everyone would bring. I made a few suggestions to the hubby including some kind of dip, an appetizer, a casserole/side dish or possibly a pie. So Greg signs us up for pie - uh correction: two pies. Apple and pumpkin. I was immediately a little on-edge. I know my way around the kitchen, but I happen to be a terrible baker. I don't even have a pie dish. I am like Betty Crocker's white trash sister in the kitchen. If I could over-bake, under-bake, burn, etc. any sort of sweet treat, I probably will.

So, I perused Pinterest and came across two really great recipes for pumpkin and apple pie.

And I would 100% recommend them both. I generally find a way to ruin things that I bake, but they both turned out really tasty!
Here are a few action shots and then the final product:
Can you tell I'm a little on-edge despite the smile? ;-)
Before the lattice work began
Ready for the Oven...
All in all, it was a total success. I had fried turkey for the first time (um, delicious!), amazingly good food (mac n cheese, garlic roasted mash potatoes, turducken and of course pie). Of course I only took one picture, but just to prove that Friendsgiving happened...
Hopefully, many more to come. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fun With Burlap!

Nothing inspires me to get a project done more than knowing that I have people coming over to my house. So, the Hobby Lobby bag that's been sitting in the corner of my living room turned into this cute little number.

This little mini-project was inspired by this pin (as most things I make or buy are found on Pinterest. It's getting a little scary.). On Etsy, it was $24, so I pride myself in doing something for cheaper than I could buy it. Because otherwise, why DIY it?

So I got two yards or burlap and some white ribbon from HobLob (total $13). I started out by measuring my table length, then cutting the burlap (about 15 inches wide). Then, I used my favorite crafting tool ever - hem tape - to "sew" the hems of each side of the table runner and to attach the ribbon.

 Super easy - the whole process took me about an hour. It actually took me, like, an hour and a half but I was watching Biggest Loser and paused numerous times trying to decide whether I was going to cry or not. (It was a really good episode last week!)

I actually wish it was about 2 inches shorter, but it turned out really cute! Kind of shabby chic look, if you will. Here's the detail:

I'm also LOVING what Nate Berky did on his show while preparing a Thanksgiving tablescape. I have leftover burlap so might try this for my coffee table in the living room.

So, then I started Googling/Pinterest searching burlap and found so many adorable things I could do with my leftovers. From holiday gift-wrapping to weddings and more.

I think burlap is the new black. Who knew?!

Happy Monday!