twenty eleven.

I'm ringing in the new year sipping on tea, spending the itunes gift cards I've been collecting through the holidays (I've still got a few - any suggestions?), and just overall relaxing at home with my husband. We had lofty plans that involved seeing Tron and seeing our friends in a band play a show that doesn't start until 1 am, but we've decided that home seems more inviting on this cold night. I promise to be more adventurous in 2011.

That being said, I'm compiling a list of goals for the year. They're not "resolutions" because I hate the idea of promising to do something every day / swearing off something / etc and then just forgetting about it a few weeks/days later. These are goals which I am compiling and would love to complete by the end of the year. I may add more as they come to mind, and I'll re-visit this list through the year.

[1] sell something on etsy.
[2] fit back into my skinny jeans.
[3] celebrate our one year anniversary in Julian or outside of San Diego.
[4] travel somewhere I've never been.
[5] advance in my job / or have a new job that works towards my goals.
[6] send Christmas cards to friends and family before Christmas.
[7] cook a full dinner at least once a week.
[8] cook/bake something new (following a recipe) once a month.
[9] read the Bible / spend significant time in prayer every day.
[10] have a day/night full of adventure - and photos to show it.
[11] be the head coordinator for someone's wedding.
[12] regularly sell things on etsy.
[13] prioritize weekly date nights with my husband.
[14] join bank accounts and budget so that we're actually saving.

A new year brings up some questions about this blog as well. Who's reading this? Do you like the way I've been posting lately - with personal life details mixed with inspiration and wedding recaps? Would you rather read a blog full of just crafty inspiration and DIY projects? Or perhaps you would rather I stuck to the wedding talk I started this blog for? I really want to get a grasp of who's reading and what I should make of this blog. I've thought about focusing more on my crafting to help inspire me to accomplish numbers 1 and 12 on my list - or would you rather I make a blog just for crafting - perhaps a collaborative effort with other artists?

I honestly appreciate your feedback and wish you the very best in the coming year.


Merry Christmas from my phone!

In an attempt to document all the Christmas-y things I've done this December, I've snapped a few photos. I've given up on listing every day's events, so here's my December in a nutshell via Android and the FxCamera and RetroCamera apps.

Christmas pretzels, secret santa gift, work party, decorating, wrapping, church Christmas service, new life, shopping, Christmas cookies for the neighbors, and more - it's been a good December.

Looking on my phone, I was a bigger fan of the FxCamera app (the smaller, longer photos), but on here it looks like maybe RetroCam (the square ones) takes a better photo. I like the real polaroid shape of RetroCam, but I like some of the other options available (especially the Toy Cam mode) on FxCamera. What do you think? Do you have a Droid phone and use either of these apps?

Anyway, I'm super excited to have the next few days off and to celebrate with my family. Tonight, David and I are watching White Christmas, and tomorrow morning we're opening our gifts to one another. Tomorrow afternoon/evening his family will be joining my family at my parents' house for dinner - and then I'm upholding my favorite tradition of watching It's a Wonderful Life on Christmas eve. Christmas day it's my parents' house for presents and breakfast, more presents at David's parents' house, and lunch at his grandma's. Christmas, here we come! I hope ya'll have a very merry Christmas and build memories to treasure.



Wrapping gifts may be one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season. I love it so.

Aren't they pretty? I was originally just going to go with a white, gold, and snowflakes theme like the three on top (the snowflake ribbon and tags in the second photo was bought for that plan), and then I came across some rolls of the red and brown wrap at Ikea for only $.99. Eventually I just started using anything and everything around to pretty up my packages. The polka dot ribbon was cut from the fabric that we've been using as a tree skirt, and the ornaments on top came from our own tree (a fifty ornament pack), and will make a great bonus gift for that recipient. I've wrapped a few more since I took these pictures, but they all pretty much go along with these. I'm so excited to deliver these to our loved ones.


Twas a week before Christmas...

... and all through the house...

Christmas. On a super low budget and not nearly as much DIY time as I'd like. I repurposed the ornament exchange decorations to dress up the tree and our little side table. The tree itself and the lovely topper were $20 each from Target. That lovely star/shell ornament was a honeymoon souvenir from Jamaica. We plan on collecting ornaments through the years from memorable trips/occasions/etc. I'm off to decorate Christmas cookies, but I'll be back soon to share some of my favorite gift wrappings and more on these lovely days leading up to Christmas.


Christmas Table-time.

Last week, I got sick and was unable to attend a Christmas ornament exchange and potluck like I'd planned. I was, however, responsible for decorating one of the tables, so I sent all the supplies with my partner in decorating crime, my sister-in-law, and our plan was executed beautifully.

The giant bowl, red ornaments, schnapps glasses, and votives are from Ikea, the gauzy fabric was found at home, and the plates, wine glasses and gold ornaments are from Target. Everything was super cheap and already owned or will definitely be used in the future. I plan on using the whole candles on upside-down stemware thing a lot. Isn't it great?

I know throwing ornaments in glassware and calling it decor is a bit overused now, but I love how it displays both a modern and traditional look of Christmas at the same time. Also, I am all about red and gold this year - plan on seeing lots more of it in my future posts.


Thankful Tablescape.

Um, hi. Is it too late to talk about Thanksgiving? I know you've all probably moved blissfully on to full-fledged Christmas mode (I mean, I certainly have), but I just received some photos from the table settings I did for Thanksgiving from my sister who was the only person with a camera on hand (thanks sister!) Can I show them to you?

So, it was Thanksgiving day, the turkey was just finishing up, and we were about to sit down to eat when I realized the tabe was a disaster. Not only was it not set or festive, it was covered in junkmail and such. Well, I came to the rescue - It's decorating time! So, with basically less than nothing to work with, I pulled this together.

The runner is a mat runner that my mom uses on behind the couch furniture to place photos on (and at Christmas, it acts as the "straw" ground for our nativity set - look, this post is about Christmas too!), the bouquets are bridesmaids' bouquets from my wedding that my mom saved and placed in that vase, the pine cone type dudes and branches are from the backyard. The table cloth and napkins (hello cummerbund fold that I learned while assisting wedding coordinators) are an antique set my mom inherited (as are the plates). Anyway, it's not the best setting ever, but the point is that you can make a beautiful table out of almost anything. There's never an excuse to not decorate. ;)

I want to eat this. now.

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled Christmas/Holiday posts. I'll be back soon with a Christmas tablescape and some more fun.


DIY Wreath Roundup.

There's still plenty of time before Christmas to take on some DIY decorating projects. I remember making a pretty awesome wreath out of a wire hanger and cut up trash bags as a kid, so my heart definitely has a soft spot for homemade wreath goodness. These are a far cry from my childhood school project, but they're still super easy to make from supplies you probably have at home.


make them here and here.


instructions here and here.


make me and me.

And More:

source and instructions.

I'm not quite sure which route I want to take for a wreath of my own. I love love Stephanie's (above) and definitely think it would last longer than the paper ones, but I'm also a sucker for the homey look of the wrapped yarn ones. Which is your favorite?


December days: 1-5.

Okay, so I got sick and didn't take photos or blog about my Christmas exploits these past few days (thank goodness it happened after November). I promise I did do at least one little Christmas-y thing each day, though. For starters, I've had some kind of pepperminty beverage at least four of the past five days, I wrapped at least one gift a day, and I went shopping for decorations for a Christmas party that I ended up too sick to attend. I do have pictures of the table I helped design, though, so I'll be sure to share those with you. I've also enjoyed listening to Christmas music to and from work as well as all throughout the work day since a holiday station has been diligently tuned into on our XM radio.

This coming week (including this afternoon), I have three Christmas parties (David's work, small group, my work), the finishing touches of my gift shopping, and so much more planned. Stay tuned.

What have you done so far to get into the Holiday spirit?


Victory lap.

Well, hello, last day of November - how are you? Today, I am celebrating more than one victory - I successfully (while maybe not wonderfully) blogged every day in November and I won a sales contest at work which lasted the whole month of November. Assuming they really do judge it by items sold and there's no curveball thrown in at the last minute, I should be getting a very nice $100 bonus. Since I've already completed most of my Christmas shopping (I know! I'm shocked too - more to celebrate!), I'm thinking about treating myself. I'm torn between picking up one or two of these guys:

source: Anthro, of course.

Or, going on a nice, expensive dinner date with my husband, something we haven't been able to afford in quite some time.

What would you do with an extra hundred bucks?

Also, be prepared for the blogging more often (or even every day) thing to continue, because I've got some December fun up my sleeve. Ever since experiencing finals season in college when it was supposed to be Christmas season, I've vowed to always do at least one Christmas-y thing every day of December - from drinking something peppermint or wrapping a present to full-blown ice skating and looking at lights. That way even on normal and busy work days I can still feel festive, and the season won't pass me by. I plan to hold myself "accountable" by blogging about my daily Christmas joys.


Tim Walker.

Today, I am oh so inspired by Tim Walker Photography. His images are very whimsical and imaginative. I just want to live inside them.

sources here, here, and here.

Isn't the art of creating an entire dreamland for a photograph so interesting? I love a good portrait or landscape photo, but high fashion and imaginative shoots like these are so lovely.


Anthro wrapping.

I've picked up a few gifts for loved ones so far and David and I are talking about getting our Christmas tree in the next few days. Clearly, the next step (and the one I'm most excited about) is wrapping the gifts so they can go under said Christmas tree. I've become pretty inspired by Anthropologie's gift wrap and baubles.


Sigh. Oh, how I love pretty packages. I'm thinking about picking up some Baker's twine, using these downloadable gift tags, and possibly splurging on some of this pretty paper or some from paper source and going wild. I do think using butcher paper, tissue paper, and other papers with pretty ribbons and tags and such will also look great. Time to get a'wrapping!


Shuffle Time.

Stephanie tagged me on facebook with one of those music shuffle things, and since I can't think of 25 people on facebook who would really be interested in playing along, I decided to post my list here instead.

Once you've been tagged...
(1) Turn on your MP3 player or music player on your computer.
(2) Go to SHUFFLE songs mode.
(3) List the first 25 songs that come up--artist and song title--NO editing/cheating, please.
(4) Choose 25 people to be tagged. It is generally considered to be in good taste to tag the person who tagged you. Other people can join in too.

[1] Polyethylene Part II - Christopher O'Riley
[2] If I Needed Someone - The Beatles
[3] Grapevine Fires - Death Cab for Cutie
[4] Drive My Car - The Beatles
[5] You and I - Audrey
[6] Hey, Soul Sister - Train (I didn't even know I had this song...)
[7] Save Tonight - Eagle Eye Cherry
[8] Hills and Valleys - The Rocket Summer
[9] Violet Hill - Coldplay
[10] Strawberry Swing - Coldplay
[11] I Want None of This - Radiohead
[12] Happy Boys and Girls - Aqua (Yesss! hahaha)
[13] ABC - The Jackson 5 (definitely added for the wedding)
[14] I Believe in a Thing Called Love - The Darkness (more wedding gold)
[15] Street Spirit (Fade Out) - Christopher O'Riley
[16] The Way You Shine - Tyrone Wells
[17] Pity and Fear - Death Cab for Cutie
[18] Map of the Problematique - Muse
[19] Sandstorm - Darude (wedding for sure)
[20] Isn't it a Lovely Night - The Decemberists
[21] Fog - Radiohead
[22] The Wind - Cat Stevens
[23] Phone Call - Jon Brion (Eternal Sunshine score)
[24] The Hazards of Love 1 - The Decemberists
[25] Here Comes a Special Boy - Freezepop

I cheated and skipped a few songs because all my iTunes wanted to play was Christopher O'Riley and Coldplay songs over and over, and I figured a little more variety would be more fun. This is really a very small portion of my music collection because this computer was used for our wedding music and is missing a lot of my music that wasn't used in the wedding.

You're welcome to play along and post your list in the comments or on your own blog. Happy Saturday!


Black Friday.

I opened at work today - needing to begin an eight hour shift at 6 am means no early morning shopping for me. I did, however, get some great deals at Target this afternoon. I was able to pick up a comfy sweater at half off, some super cheap dvds, an ornament set for our soon to exist Christmas tree, and a pretty sweet gift for David at almost half off. Did you know you can print out tons of Target coupons from this site? You pick and choose which ones you want and print 'em out. You can only use one per transaction, but I'm not above coming right back in for another transaction. I got an extra $5 off my ornaments and David's gift added to the Black Friday sale price with those babies.

This is a sad sad excuse for a post, and I just barely made it today as it is, but I have Thanksgiving photos to share with you as soon as I get them from my sister's camera, and I'll be back in full posting swing next week.

Happy weekend!


Happy Thanksgiving!


Today, I'm reminded how very blessed I am. This year, I'm most thankful for my husband, home, health, and hope. Oh, and all you readers, too.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!



My main Thanksgiving responsibility and the thing that I am second most looking forward to (next to my mom's sweet potatoes of course) is our chocolate pudding pie.


While not a typical Thanksgiving dish, this pie has been a traditional staple in my family for as long as I can remember. To make your own, grap a couple boxes of Jello stovetop pudding (NOT instant, trust me, it makes a difference and all the stirring on the stove is worth it) and follow the instructions on the box. Yum.