November 29, 2016

Holiday Gifts From Minted

Good Morning!  We are finally getting back in the groove after Thanksgiving break and all my attention is now focused on finishing up my Christmas gift list.  I did a lot yesterday during the Cyber Monday Sales and hope to finish up most everything this week.  We all know Minted for their beautiful cards and invitations, but they also have some really amazing gifts!  Today I thought I would share five of my favorite gifts from Minted. 

One - Art.  Minted has a great selection of art pieces from their community of independent artist.  I recently added a couple of Minted art pieces to my home and love them! 

This Courage to Remember Lily of the Valley by Renee Anne adds the perfect amount of color against my neutral walls.  I choose the matte brass frame which ties in beautifully with some of the gold I'm adding around my home.  I also love this Paperwhite art print by Jorey Hurley.  If you've been around my site awhile, you know I always have paperwhites in my Christmas d├ęcor.  And now I'll have paperwhites in print too! 

Two - Framed Pinboards.  With several gorgeous fabrics to choose from, you can really make it a beautiful place to display your favorite pictures, reminders, and other mementos.  I really like this classically elegant fabric.  The pinboards also come in many different sizes, making it easy to find one that fits your recipient's space.

Three - Personalized Notebooks.  These can be customize for your loved one making them even a little more special.  This pretty one above is called Spring Flourishes.  Once you choose a front design, you can personalize it with a name and then add personal photos or a special quote in the interior. 

Four - Custom Silhouette Art Prints.   A great way to capture a child, pet or loved one in a fun way.  You simply upload a profile picture and the Minted design team turns it into a beautiful silhouette art print

Five - Personalized Stationary.  This Posey Blush Stationary is a design challenge winner and is printed on luxe paper and comes with a complimentary gift box.  A perfect gift for someone special. 

These are five of my favorite Minted gifts, but there are lots more ideas on their site.  Have a great day!

November 28, 2016

Cyber Monday Deals

Well today is the day to save big with your online shopping and knock out your holiday shopping from the comfort of your home!  If you need gift ideas you can check out my full Holiday Gift Guide or check out my top picks below.

The Best Cyber Monday Sales Happening Now From Some of My Favorite Stores

GAP 50% off everything!

J.Crew 40% off everything!  And free shipping with the code MONDAY.

J.Crew Factory 60% off everything, plus 40% off clearance and free shipping!

Loft 50% off everything!

Minted 20% off everything with the code CM2016.

Nordstrom extra 20% off select items.

Pottery Barn up to 60% off.

Old Navy 50% off everything!

Serena and Lily 25% off everything.  Use code BESTEVER.

Target 15% off.

Tory Burch 30% off everything with code THANKS.

Happy Shopping!

November 25, 2016

Black Friday and My Holiday Shopping Guide

Hi there!  I hope you all had a very Happy Thanksgiving!  I am still stuffed from all the delicious Thanksgiving food I ate.  There's no holding back for me at the holidays...I sample everything!!

Are any of you shopping today and taking advantage of the Black Friday deals?  I have actually never went to any stores on Black Friday.  I guess one reason is that we are usually in our hometown on Black Friday and there are no shopping malls or big stores there, and secondly, we are still visiting and enjoying time with our families.  We don't get there as much anymore with our busy kid weekends, so we try to soak it up during the holidays.

Anyways, if you're like me and want to fully avoid the mall craziness, you can get some ideas from my Holiday Gift Guide.  I started my shopping awhile back and saved things I thought were great gift ideas.  Several of the items are things I bought or things our family has received in the past that we really loved as gifts.  I hope it helps spark ideas for you or maybe you are able to find a gift for someone. 

Happy Holidays!

November 21, 2016

Christmas Photo Card Tips

I love heading out to the mail in December and seeing all the beautiful Christmas cards from our family and friends.  My husband and kids are the same...they get just as excited to see everyone too.  We set up a fun little display in our house featuring all the cards and it makes me happy every time I walk by it.  I usually like to have my cards done early, so it's one less thing I have to worry about during the busy holiday time.  I'm not saying that happens every year, but that's the goal.  The past couple of years we actually took our photo at the end of summer.  So today I thought I would share a few tips that have helped make our Christmas card photo sessions run smoothly.

Tip One - Finding Outfits for Everyone

I usually go about this by choosing what I'm wearing first.  If I'm happy with what I'm wearing, it really makes me enjoy our photo so much more.  And you know how the saying goes and it's so true :)  I actually started this year by walking around with my top to everyone's closet to see what I could pull together.  I picked out pieces I thought might work and laid everything out on my bed, switching things out until I liked the combination of clothing.  Laying everything out also helps you see what you might need to purchase.  I also usually like to focus on two main colors.  And because my shirt had a floral pattern, I knew I wanted everyone else to pretty much wear solid colors.  Luckily, my husband had this salmonish colored polo that paired perfectly with my top.  And then for the kids I used gray and chambray.  My daughter's dress has a slight polka dot pattern, but being a smaller pattern it paired well.  And luckily our pup happens to be a color that matches everything!

Tip Two - Getting a Good Photo

This has differed for us over the years, depending on the age of our kiddos.  If you find a Christmas card company that has customizable photo cards, even a casual candid photo can work perfectly.  A couple of our cards in the past when our kids were little I used candid photos and they turned out precious.  But if you're dressing up for a more professional photo, just remember that no matter what the outcome, friends and family are just happy to see an updated photo of you and your family.  Make sure it's a good time of the day for the little ones and that everyone has a full tummy.  Having snacks to bribe the little ones doesn't hurt either.  Take lots of shots.  There is always someone who has blinked or looked away or smiled weird.  But if you snap a bunch there will be one that works and that's all you need.  Have the location picked out and get an idea of where you want to place everyone in the photo.  This might be based on things like kids sizes or clothing choices, but having that figured out before the shoot will speed things up.  You can look up photography ideas on Pinterest or other online sites.  The last two years we took our own photo (with my camera, tripod and remote timer) and it took about 10 minutes.   My kids are at a age now that they know if they just cooperate, it will be over a lot quicker.  This year we had one hiccup, which was that our sweet pup decided to do her business right where we wanted to take the picture.  Nice.  But we had a good laugh and worked around it, literally.  Something to keep in mind if you're including a pet in your photo :)

Tip Three -  Finding the Right Card

This I feel like is pretty easy.  I actually love playing around with designing our card.  With all the options provided by Tiny Prints, there is a card out there for everyone.  Whether you want to do one photo or a collection of photos, they have so many options.  You can customize the cards and really make them personal.  They have several options and layouts for photos and text.  I tend to be a one photo girl and like to keep my cards pretty simple.  Something I've done this year is to have my envelopes addressed both with the return and recipient addresses.  This takes a little work when ordering, but so worth it.  Not only do they look amazing, but when your cards arrive, all you have to do is add a stamp and drop them in the mail.  I have been a fan of Tiny Prints Holiday cards for awhile because of their beautiful cards and easy designing.  Below is one of my favorite Christmas cards, back in 2012 using Tiny Prints

For our card this year, I fell in love with this Rich Wreath Photo Card .  It matched our clothing colors and my top so well.  I also really love the back of the card!  It's different from my full photocards that I've done with most of my cards in the past, but I'm excited to send something a little different this year.

It's a short week for us this week and then we are off to celebrate Thanksgiving!  Have a wonderful day!

November 18, 2016

Thanksgiving Tablescape

Good Morning!  With this week coming to an end, Thanksgiving is fast approaching.  We hosted the last two years and I was excited to put together a pretty Thanksgiving tablescape to share with our families.  This year with our kitchen remodel in progress and the fact that we are heading to my sister's home to celebrate the holiday, I'm going to skip setting a Thanksgiving table.  I actually really love to set a pretty table, but because we will be out of town for the holiday, I'm going to let her handle the decorating and instead look forward to getting our Christmas decorations up.  We have been in our new home for 6 months now and I can't wait to decorate for Christmas!  I've been plotting out where our Christmas would go from our first showing.  We will travel to my sister's for Thanksgiving and fully enjoy the holiday and family time, but I might put my tree up before we head out of town and then finish the rest when we return.

So today I thought I would share my Thanksgiving tablescape from last year.  I really loved how it turned out!  

The main color I wanted to focus on for this table was this purple-plum color and then add coordinating Fall colors to it.  All of my flowers and fresh greenery are from Trader Joes.

I already had the chargers, plates and napkins, so all I had to pick up was the garland, fresh flowers and fruit.  The planter in the middle I also had and it's from Birch Lane.  Love the rustic touch it adds to the table.

I love this time of the year.  From the scrumptious food, pretty decor and family gatherings, I love the cozy feeling the holidays bring.  I can't wait to fully enjoy them!  

And here are also a few more Thanksgiving tables I've done in the past...

November 16, 2016

Cream Cheese Filled Pumpkin Roll

Hi there!  This recipe is one of my absolute favorites this time of the year!  It is perfect for Thanksgiving and I'm yet to find someone who doesn't love it!  Scrumptious, moist pumpkin bread with gooey, buttery, cream cheese filling!  It is amazing!!  So I thought I would share it again in case you are looking for something delicious to bring to your family gathering. 

Pumpkin Roll with cream cheese filling

bread ingredients
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup pecans
  • powdered sugar to sprinkle

filling ingredients
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  1. Mix all filling ingredients together first and allow to sit at room temp until ready to spread.
  2. Preheat over to 375.
  3. Mix flour, baking soda, sugar and cinnamon in bowl.
  4. Next mix in pumpkin and eggs.
  5. Cover cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
  6. Spread bread batter onto paper over pan and sprinkle pecans over top and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Remove from over and turn over onto dish towel.
  8. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and roll up into dish towel and allow to cool for 1 hour.
  9. After cooling unroll and spread filling over the top and re-roll without towel.  (Bread may break, but not to worry, it will still turn out great!)
  10. After rolling with filling, wrap in foil and allow to cool in refrigerator for at least 1 hour or until ready to serve.

Making this can get a little messy, but it is so worth it!  I promise you, it will be sooooo good!!  Hope you enjoy!

Have a wonderful day!

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A few other great recipes for this time of the year are:

November 14, 2016

New House | Kitchen Update: Cabinet Painting

Good Morning!  How was your weekend?  We had a free one as far as kid activities go, but a busy weekend for house projects.  We received a call on Thursday that our painters wanted to come on Saturday to do our kitchen cabinets.   So, Thursday night we kicked it in gear and started removing all the cabinet doors and hardware.  And then I spent most of Friday emptying everything out of the cabinets. 

You may remember from a previous post I did about our kitchen that the cabinets were previously painted this dark brown color.  At first glance they looked like stained cabinets, but once close up we noticed they were actually painted.  And unfortunately the previous paint job was not so good.  None of the doors, hinges or under cabinet lights were removed when they were painted and there were also lots and lots of runs.  After we gave it some thought and ruled out replacing them which you can read about here, we knew if we were going to paint them, they would need some prep work.  So after all doors, drawers, hinges, rollers and hardware was removed, they got a much need sanding.  And because the hinges were painted over, we will be replacing all of those, as well as putting new hardware.

The painters ended up spraying the cabinets and this was our view for all of Saturday.  Despite the really strong smell, I love how fast the spray technique goes and love the nice smooth finish it leaves. 

The last two pictures above were early on Sunday morning.  I was able to crawl in this plastic tent and snap a few pictures.  We did get all the protective materials down on Sunday, but we are still allowing the doors and drawers to fully cure before anything goes back in place.  The paint color is Benjamin Moore Simply White in a semigloss finish.

And just a reminder of what our final look for this kitchen is, here is the inspiration board I created.  I was originally unsure of how the white cabinets would pair with our granite color, but I'm excited to say that I really like it!  Yay!!  Next up will be trim work and the backsplash.  I hope to share more progress soon!

Enjoy your day!