Archive Monthly Archives: December 2013

The Week in Review | December 16-20

I’m signing off for the year. That’s right, the year and start back up on Monday, January 6, 2014. Remember to breathe and enjoy your holidays. Take time for yourself and time to appreciate the warmth and joy of the season.

We’ve been truly blessed this year and I am so looking forward to spending these next two weeks enjoying our home and the people we’ve moved here to be with. I’ll leave you with the final Week in Review of 2013! I look forward to a 2014 filled with new projects and good times! Enjoy your holidays and I wish you the happiest New Year!

Week in Review

  1. So so so jealous of this wrapping station that Jen from I Heart Organizing created. The dowels for paper and ribbon are so efficient!
  2. The ladies at A Beautiful Mess have a couple of great last minute gift ideas. These silhouette mugs are so clever. Pop on over to find out how to make these using a silhouette of a loved one.
  3. Spoon Fork Bacon blog has a quick idea for all those hostess gifts you’ll need this holiday season. Make your own wine wrapping from a paper bag and never show up empty handed!
  4. Another DIY project from Camille Styles– this wax paper snowflake lantern is perfect for a holiday centerpiece or a little glow on an end table.
  5. I would gladly attend this Sparkly Holiday Wine & Crafting party from Hostess with the Mostess blog. Check out all the pics to see the gorgeous table setting, lovely cheese platter, and all the gold leaf crafting fun!

Just Breathe

The holidays can be a dizzying time. So many commitments, so much expectation. We all expect our holidays to look as perfect as our Pinterest boards but in reality, it sometimes feels like we’re pounding cocktails and Christmas cookies and counting the minutes until December 26th. I try to get my Holiday shopping done before Thanksgiving to at least avoid the shopping malls in December. But crowds seem to be unavoidable and with guests coming to town and company party Yankee Swaps, I always seem to be elbowing through the masses at Target for the last roll of wrapping.

It’s not easy for a controlling perfectionist to unwind especially during the holidays but I have my first week off next week since my Honeymoon and I plan on enjoying it! So here’s some tips for you (and me!) to breathe and reboot before 2014.

SET EXPECTATIONS SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

It’s not going to be a Norman Rockwell painting. Toddlers will cry. Drinks will spill. Cookies will burn. Going into the holidays knowing that no one- not even Mr. Rockwell himself- has a perfect family or grace with beverages or flawless baking timing. In other words, shit happens. Roll with it. And maybe arm yourself with some classic clay-mation holiday movies for the kiddies, Bounty paper towels, and some store bought cookies… just in case.

ON-THE-SPOT MEDITATION

Yes, your brother-in-law just called your Christmas tree “nice, if you like that fake, dry look” and your mother glared at you judgmentally as you poured your fourth glass of pinot. But why sulk in a corner or start a fight? It’s Christmas for Christ’s sake! Just follow these steps for an on-the-spot meditation.

  • Take slow, deep breaths to help you slow your breathing and calm your heart rate.
  • Close your eyes and imagine yourself in your happy place- the beach, your bed, a kiddie pool full of puppies, whatever floats your boat.
  • Tense then relax the muscles throughout your body starting with the top of your head down to your pinkie toes.
  • Tell yourself positive things to help you feel better, such as “I can handle anything,” “I am a warrior princess,” etc.

SCHEDULE A HAIRCUT, A MANICURE, OR A MASSAGE

Even if it’s just an hour, it’s an hour you are cut off from those nagging emails, phone calls, and your to do list. Completely give in to that moment and try not to think of what you could be doing. This is your time and might come in handy as that happy place during that on-the-spot meditation!

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Easier said than done during the season of excess but remember what the Grinch realized…”Maybe Christmas, he thought… doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps… means a little bit more!” Limit those gifts to one gift card per adult and three or four gifts per child. It will take all the pressure off you and they will appreciate them more. And pair down that menu to a few staples or better yet, call the caterer or go out to eat. No one said that Christmas means a giant carcass at the table- (spoken like a true vegetarian!) how about some Christmas chili in the crock-pot?

DAILY ME-TIME

We, especially we women, try to do everything for everyone and those things tend to double or triple during the holidays. Make sure YOU are penciled in to that schedule. Ten minutes before bed with your favorite glossy magazine or some time in the morning for a quick yoga session. Something just for you before or after you go take care of all of them!

Keep Calm

May the peace of the season (Ha!) be with you. And when it’s not, just breathe.

That's a Wrap!

Christmas is a week from today! I hope that fills you with excitement and not sheer terror. Although I know some people enjoy starting and completing Christmas shopping on December 24th, I (as you may have guessed) am not one of those people. I aim to finish shopping before Thanksgiving and leave December for decorating, enjoying holiday parties, and my favorite part- wrapping! 

Yo yo yo, this is DJ Jazzy Jul and I’m here to rock the mic!

Oh come on! Had to slip one rapping/wrapping joke in there. Don’t hold it against me. 

So anywho… I love a beautifully wrapped gift and especially for Christmas presents. There are so many fun colors and themes, bows, ribbons, tags, and other add ons to use. I usually go super simple with my paper in either a single color or kraft paper but liven it all up with big bold ribbon. If you’re planning on wrapping this weekend, crank up some Flo Rida or go old school with Run DMC and gather some inspiration from these gorgeous gift wrap ideas!

Wrapping PaperSources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4| 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Embellishments

Sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4| 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

Home for the Holidays

We’ve been busy trimming our home for the holidays! As you can probably imagine, I’m a fan of an understated rustic Christmas look. Sorry to disappoint those that were ready for a cacophony of red and green and a fifty-piece Christmas village complete with fake snow! …Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

There’s something so New England about a wreath in every window and I’m all about a New England Christmas after being down south for so long. Bring on the snow! I made these out of the most realistic looking artificial garland I could find. AC Moore had a lovely faux pine.

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Hung with a thick burlap ribbon on our curtain rods, these wreaths left no holes in our walls and can be reused every year!

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Then there’s this little guy. When we have kids I promise I will do the whole pick out the tree in the cold, lug it into the house, clean up pine needles for a month (plus a month after it comes down)- but for now, I’m thrilled to have this adorable little tabletop tree decked out in golds, browns, and glittery balls.

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Our built ins got some sparkly additions with glass jars full of Martha Stewart shatter-proof ornaments.

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And this driftwood tree was a HomeGoods find. Perfect for a coastal Christmas.

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I don’t know how we’ll go back to a non-holiday look when our built-ins look so lovely packed with these pretties. Guess I’ll have to just buy more stuff! (Wink!)

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These gold mason jars were a fun edition to my housewarming party table but now serve as a perfect holiday centerpiece grouped together on a log slice. We originally had these at our wedding with white candles but a little gold spray paint turned three of them into festive vases for evergreen and gilded leaves and berry branches.

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How do you add a touch of Christmas to your home? Or do you go the Griswold route and think Christmas is no time for minimalism- it’s go big or go home!

Half Bath Reveal

This post is a long time coming! And if any of you happened to visit our house tour page, you may have already gotten a sneak peek! Our half bath is a tiny little room at the back of our house off the mudroom and next to the kitchen. It was our only functioning toilet and sink during our renovation, which means it was absolutely disgusting towards the end there! But now…

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Fresh as a daisy! We replaced the old wallpaper and chair rail with white wainscoting and that same beautiful navy blue paint we used for the back of the built ins. I removed that faux stained glass from the windows a long time ago but now in our new sleek bath, you can really see the impact. A tiny toilet topper was replaced with floating shelves to open up this super small room.

Half Bath

And most importantly, we saved space by shifting the placement of the sink and replacing both the sink and the toilet with sleeker versions. The toilet before was wide with a scalloped cover. We switched it out for the same toilet we used up in the master bath. And a pedestal sink makes much more sense in such a small space. A rustic light fixture and a round mirror finish off the space.

Half Bath 2Remember my inspiration photo from way back when?

Badrum, Pinterest 1_thumb[1]

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Not too shabby!

The Week in Review | December 9-13

Less than two weeks until Christmas! I hope our gift guides helped with some shopping and maybe this Week in Review will help with holiday decorating and festive parties/outings!

Week in Review

  1. Melissa from The Inspired Room created the most beautiful front entryway filled with greenery and twinkle lights and a DIY boxwood wreath chandelier.
  2. Design Mom featured Candice Stringham’s holiday home. All of the photos are stunning but the showstopper has to be her gold branch chandelier with hanging gold stars. Hmm, are we seeing a chandelier theme this WIR?
  3. Kimberly at A Night Owl made some simple ornaments with Martha Stewart Crafts. I think there’s a special place in my heart for log slices!
  4. Definitely stealing this idea from Kathleen from Oh Happy Day. Turn a game night during the holidays into a Reindeer Games Night!
  5. Back in college, all Media Majors completed a final project senior year. A culmination of all our training. I submitted a radio play of the book The Polar Express. In my opinion, it was magical and from then on, I’ve been in love with all things Polar Express. So I’m completely envious of this trip that Danielle from Sometimes Sweet took with her family aboard the Polar Express train! Be sure to read her whole post. What a lovely magical weekend!

Gift Guide 2013 | For Her

I’d be thrilled to receive any of these fabulous gifts for girls but honestly, my favorite gifts are creating memories. A nice dinner out or a weekend away. It’s just so easy to pop on Amazon.com and buy what you need, when you need it. But how often to we treat ourselves to time with the people we love? Not often enough! Especially for us since we’ve spent almost every weekend this year with a paint brush or screw gun in hand. So if I’m really lucky, I hope this Christmas brings me good food, good fun, and good times with loved ones. But let’s look at some pretties anyways…

Gift Guide For Her

  1. The world’s best cupcake delivered to your door? Um, yes please! NYC’s Magnolia Bakery delivers! Personally, I believe their vanilla cupcakes with butter cream frosting in pastel colors is what heaven must feel like. Sincerely.
  2. Nail polish isn’t just nail polish. This year, give her the goods for the perfect mani. A pretty pink or deep red from Chanel never goes out of style.
  3. These Rose Gold Headphones are only for the most posh music lover.
  4. Tis the season to RELAX! She’ll look forward to the new year filled with massages with this Massage Envy gift card. Massage Envy is located all over the U.S. and they are very professional. She’ll be in good hands… literally.
  5. I use pouches to organize makeup, spare office supplies, travel toiletries, or random stuff from getting lost in my purse. You can never have enough pouches and this one from Penguin Books is super cute!
  6. And speaking of books- Coco Chanel’s Biography is on my must read list for next year. Two of her quotes repeat in my head almost daily… “A girl should be two things, classy and fabulous” and “There are people who have money and people who are rich.”
  7. What woman couldn’t use another scarf and this Cashmere Camel Scarf from Nordstrom’s is particularly luxurious.
  8. Diptyque Candles are the best of the best. My favorite scent is Feu de Bois. It makes the whole house smell like a campfire.
  9. This is the gift that will keep on giving. Send a special lady fresh flowers delivered to her home every month! With ProFlowers Flower of the Month Club you can purchase 12 or 6-months of flowers.

Gift Guide 2013 | For Him

I know they say men are difficult to shop for but I just love buying gifts for men. It’s a whole other world of shaving products and sports memorabilia and just about anything in wood or leather! So here are some of my picks for those manly men in your lives…

Him Gift Guide

  1. Everyone could use a classic Moleskine Journal. Take notes in a meeting, jot down to do lists, or my favorite- write love songs for that special someone!
  2. Who wouldn’t want to party with Jay Gatsby? There was plenty of Gatsby related merch available after the movie premiered but I like this classic tee from Look Human.
  3. Make sure your man takes care of that beard he’s been growing since Mo-vember with this stylish shave kit from Mr. Porter.
  4. Wool socks are a must for New England winters. I’m a fan of this old-school pair from J. Crew.
  5. Cozy up with your honey under this ultra-soft Caribou Throw from Hudson’s Bay.
  6. Wood watches are all the rage. Keep time with this teak watch from We Wood.
  7. He’ll survive many a long winter with this Collectors Edition set for the truly obsessed Game of Thrones fan.
  8. For the minimalist, this handmade leather pouch holds just the essentials- phone, cash, card.
  9. An authentic MLB game-played bat that can open your beer? What more could you ask for? Red Envelope has a variety of sports memorabilia but this bottle opener is one of my favorites.

Gift Guide 2013 | For Baby

Where We Are Blog is following right in line with the rest of the Blogosphere this year and assembling a gift guide series. If you haven’t shopped yet, here’s a sampling of some fabulous finds. I’m starting with the kiddos since after all, they really are the reason for the season! Happy shopping!

Baby Gift Guide

  1. With families spread out all over, this personalized Mini Book of Names & Faces from Pinhole Press will help your little one remember Auntie Jules!
  2. I’m a big fan of wooden toys for kids and these Wooden Blocks from Land of Nod are just classic!
  3. I can think of a couple of cuties that would look sweet and snuggly in this Knit Beanie & Booties from Sevenly.
  4. Who can resist this face fresh from the tubbie? Bundle them in this Nursery Snow Leopard Bath Wrap from Pottery Barn Kids.
  5. I love children’s book quotes for a nursery or playroom and this Where the Wild Things Are print from Etsy is perfect for the wild boys and girls!
  6. When your first nephew is named Noah, you develop a certain sentimental attachment to Noah’s Ark toys. This one from Giggle.com is just beautiful!
  7. Another Giggle.com treasure is this Personalized Bowl & Mug. Perfect for Grammies or Aunties to keep at their houses for when VIP guests come to visit!
  8. And who can resist a cute dolly? The Knit Crowd Dolls from the Land of Nod look like my kind of gals!

Mystical Monday

Every year, my college roommates and I try to spend one day catching up and reminiscing. During college and the years that followed we typically spent a fall day in New England enjoying fun on a farm complete with a dizzying corn maze. In the last few years, we’ve taken to Christmastime in Mystic, Connecticut. It’s a good half way point for us with some in Massachusetts and some still in Connecticut. I’ve known these fabulous women for ten years now and this year in particular with husbands and kids in tow, felt like there were so many more years to come!

Mystic

But on to Mystic itself… Christmastime in Mystic Connecticut is magical! It’s a lovely lovely coastal town with a mix of some large homes, old homes, little cottages, and a thriving downtown. We typically eat at Mystic Pizza which was a terrible movie but they make great pizza! Downtown is lovely to walk through but can get pretty crowded and parking is tricky. We usually end up at Olde Mystic Village just next to the Mystic Aquarium.

This little area is filled with cute shops and places to eat/snack. It has a huge parking lot but the paths between shops are closed to traffic so it’s the perfect place to grab a hot cup of coffee and stroll. Back in college, the roomies and I would exchange gifts and then drive around singing carols and looking at Christmas lights. We did this once or twice in Mystic too and I was tempted to stay later and drive around with Jared this year. Maybe when we all have kiddos we can actually spend a weekend at the Whaler’s Inn in Mystic where we have always wanted to stay and spend the evening piled in a car with cocoa and carols.

Thanks for a perfect day roomies! Can’t wait until our next reunion and to see what the next ten years will bring!

B&B

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