Christmas Time is Here…

I mentioned in my previous post that W and I were in Vegas and once we returned to Columbia we had company visiting the following weekend. Well in these few days, I was bound and determined to clean the house, put up all the Christmas decorations, and catch up on some work that I should have finished before Vegas. Somehow I did it!

I started by setting out the nativity. I found this nativity last year at Miss Cayce’s Christmas Store after-Christmas sale in my hometown. Miss Cayce’s is the best Christmas store ever in existence! While I was putting this out, I listened to my most favorite Christmas song, “Baby Born to Die” by Bebo Norman. Do yourself a favor and watch this video to hear the song and read the lyrics alongside.

Christmas Decorations NativityNativity by Mark Roberts

After the nativity was in place, I decided to work on our mantle. Our apartment is so small that I didn’t want to worry about clearing off the mantle and then find a place to put everything away, so I decided to keep everything on display and hang our stockings in front. The stocking holders are from an after-Christmas sale at Target last year. The cute little wreaths have a Barboglio look to them so I bought 4 of them at 70% off.

I actually made the felt stockings years ago when I lived in Atlanta. First, I bought the already made felt stockings at Target for $0.99 each. Next I went to Hancock fabrics and bought felt sheets, ric-rac trim, and Fabritac fabric glue. This was a easy no-sew project! I cut the strips and circles out with fabric scissors and simply glued them to the stockings. I made a tree skirt as well. The red felt for the tree skirt was cut from a bolt, but the remaining felt I bought in the sheets.

Christmas Decorations Stockings and Stocking HoldersHomemade felt stockings hung with care
Christmas Decorations Homemade Felt Stockings and Tree SkirtHomemade Felt Stockings and Felt Tree Skirt

Finally I decided to put up the tree and hang the ornaments. I actually waited for W to come home from work so we could hang ornaments together. He told me he “didn’t know where to hang them” and he thought I should do them all by myself. The next day I did so while he was at work again. Our tree is a 4 ft. fake from Target that sits on a Lack side table from Ikea. I have had this tree and table setup for several years but it’s perfect for an apartment. By the way, we will always have fake trees and garlands, as I am allergic to the real thing. Anything real sends me into horrible asthma attacks, so no hating on the artificial here!

Christmas Decorations Christmas TreeOur Christmas Tree

Lastly, I hung our Christmas wreath on the front door. I bought this wreath years ago at Target (also artificial) and decorated the wreath with ornaments purchased that same year. I bought a plastic Rubbermaid wreath holder so I don’t have to take the ornaments off each year. Let me tell you the Rubbermaid wreath holder is worth the investment! I love taking my wreath out each year and hanging it as is – such a time saver!

Christmas Decorations Wreath

Finally I had finished the decorating! We have been in the Christmas spirit since the end of November, including Sophie…

Sophie sports her Christmas bow complete with gingerbread men!

Also, expect more holiday updates on the blog this week, including a look at our first Christmas card!

P.S. All of these married “firsts” are too much fun!

P.P.S.  As always, I apologize for the iPhone pictures – hopefully you get the idea…

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Catching Up

This gallery contains 13 photos.

After a month and half of no posts, I have quite a bit of catching up to do. There are many excuses as to the lack of posts, but let’s cover the important pieces that document what W and I … Continue reading

Orange and Blue

You may remember when I mentioned W and I preparing for our Auburn friends visit to Cola, but I did not reveal another piece of my plans and preparations. In addition to our couch makeover, I wanted to have something hanging on the front door to display our team pride. After doing some research on Pinterest, I decided I wanted to make a ribbon wreath. Typically ribbon wreaths aren’t my style, as I think many of them can look messy, confused, or immature, but the picture below did not seem to be any of those things.

I was determined I could craft one very similar, except mine would be orange and navy blue without the F (as we are Gator haters). I began with the following supplies: a straw wreath form, scissors, floral pins, a glue gun, and ribbon cut into 4.5″ strips. Now I should have noticed that I needed many different types of ribbon, all with different yet corresponding patterns. I, however, did not take note of this and came home with only 5 different ribbons. I started creating my wreath by folding the ribbon strips and pinning them to the wreath form. After several days, I realized I either needed more ribbon or another plan.

Determined to be craftastic, I took a trip to Hobby Lobby and A.C. Moore for more types of ribbon. Sadly, I could not find any orange or navy ribbon that was different than what I already had. I considered returning everything that Hobby Lobby would possibly take back, when I thought I would look on Pinterest one more time for a different type of inspiration. I wanted this craft project to work! I found inspiration photo #2 below and decided to go for it. This idea looked easy and fast – which was great news because it was Friday morning and our guests would arrive that evening.

After wrapping the wreath form with navy ribbon and securing the ribbon with hot glue, I decided I would hang it from the door using a bow. This inspired me to use something different as my focal piece. Using the strips of orange ribbon, I looped them and hot glued them to a round piece of cardboard, creating a flower. The center of the flower I created with another piece of cardboard wrapped in the navy polka dot ribbon. After attaching the flower to the wreath with hot glue, the end result was good enough to hang on the door.

AU Ribbon Wreath

Clearly I need more craft projects and practice to reach my goal. Craftastic – here I come.

The Happs

A lot has happened around here lately leading to a lack of blog posts. There is no way I will bore you with all of the details so here are the main highlights in bulleted form:

  • A while ago I promised some college football news and then never delivered. W and I met at Auburn University so we are HUGE Tiger fans. Two games have come and gone – one with a WIN and the other… a loss. Nevertheless both games were too much fun. The first was here in Cola and we had our best friends visiting for the weekend. We rearranged our couch pillows and throw to celebrate the occasion. The following weekend we visited these same besties in Atlanta for a viewing party at their house. Like I said, too much fun!
    Auburn University decorOur festive couch with orange and blue pillows and a tiger stripe throw!
  • I also promised recipes and have since posted only one. That’s pathetic. I literally have them stacked to share. Rather than dumping them all in this post, I will just let you know that we made this super easy chicken stir fry with some wheat noodles instead of rice. W and I were absolutely amazed at how easy it was to make, how simple it was to clean up, and its deliciousness was equally good served cold the next day for lunch. W says I can make this on a weekly basis and he will never hate it. That is my kind of recipe 🙂
  • The last promise I made and have yet to deliver is news about my latest business venture. You may or may not know that I am a partner of Virtual Marketing Studio and we are the best consultants anyone could ever wish for. I have something else developing that I really am going to devote an entire post to. I’m sure I can force myself to do that next week.

Until then have a freakin’ fabulous Friday and the happiest weekend! I’m going to a happy place in Cashiers, NC with this amazing view!

Cashiers, NC mountains

A Recipe Update

whole wheat pizza doughI have an update on our homemade italian pizzas that you may remember from this post. About a month ago, I received my copy of Whole Living by Martha Stewart for September 2011. There was an article chock full of pizza recipes and a recipe for whole-wheat pizza dough that W and I had to try. I have to say that this whole-wheat dough is really good and has so far replaced the dough we were using before. We can get the crust pretty thin, which we both like, plus the outside crisps really well. Tomorrow night we plan on making this pizza that includes turkey sausage and peppers (also featured in the September issue). MMM!

A Mini-Remodel

While I was home in Texas several weeks ago, my sister Kathleen and I decided to do a mini remodel in my parents’ kitchen. We felt confident after reading so many DIY blogs that we could pull it off. My mom collects iron pieces by Jan Barboglio and many of them are on display in the kitchen, however the cabinet hardware was dated and bronze. We knew the solution was ORB (oil rubbed bronze) spray paint for a coherent look.

Kathleen and I removed every piece of hardware and performed the following steps.

1. We sanded every single pull with high grit sandpaper.

High Grit Sandpaper

2. We then cleaned all of the sanded pulls with liquid deglosser. The fumes from this product are horrendous so definitely do this in a well-ventilated space (i.e. outside).

Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint

3. After our deglosser had at least an hour to dry, we began spray painting the pulls. We stuck the screws through a cardboard box in order for them to “stand” so that we could spray from every angle. Thin, even coats are key here. Kathleen and I ended up doing two coats from each different angle.

Cabinet Pulls Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint

Family Room Pulls Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint

Once we had allowed the spray paint to dry for 24 hours, we started installing all of the pulls back onto the appropriate cabinet or drawer. We finally thought we had a job well done, but when we sat down to relax in the adjacent family room we noticed more bronze pulls. These were massive, ornate, and original to the house (meaning extremely dated and are actually those pictured above). We were back to work immediately, following the same steps. The next day Kathleen and I were set to leave early so I did not get a final picture of the pulls reinstalled. Instead I leave you with a picture of Buster, my parents’ new found mutt, who at times looks homeless but can also be very snuggly.

Missoni for Target: My Story

As a fashion merchandising major who studied abroad in Italy, I have always coveted anything Missoni. When the fashion blogs initially discovered the collection for Target and revealed the lookbooks, I started creating my mental list of personal must-haves (i.e. absolutely everything). This is my story about the pursuit of said personal must-haves.

On Tuesday, September 13, I was there bright and early for the release of Missoni for Target. I woke up early, threw on workout clothes and flip flops, pulled my hair in a ponytail and stood in line at 7:45 with approximately 8 other people. When they opened the store doors, we all calmly walked in and went to the women’s clothing section. I grabbed my size in every. single. piece. of clothing. I then hurried to the shoe section where Target employees were still unloading boxes and loading the shelves. This was extremely helpful as they asked what styles and sizes I needed. They handed them straight to me, then did the same with the customers lined up behind me.

Now that my cart was filled to the brim with clothing and shoes, I grabbed a tie from the men’s section and ran toward the home section hoping for some throw pillows. Sidenote: I was secretly hoping that a stylish Italian designer tie would make up for my sin of gluttony when W saw the total amount spent. The throw pillows were all gone. GONE. Ok – deep breaths – let’s see if I can get the rolling carry-on bag in the luggage section. Also gone. GONE! At this point I’m thinking I did not take the 8 women seriously enough and I could kick myself. I lust over the black and white bike, which is highly unnecessary and $400.

At this point I decide to live by the motto “You get what you get and don’t pitch a fit.” I do have a full cart after all and I need to start trying on these clothes. They will only let me take in so many items at once and I am forced to leave my cart outside the dressing room. I start to panic, because who’s to say that the 20 crazy women now in the store won’t pilfer through my goods. I try on clothes in record timing, not bothering to hang anything back up, and keep switching piles between the dressing room and my cart. Oh God, everything fits, everything seems really well made, and now I’m in a major situation. I cannot spend $1,000 or more for a Target designer. So I find a quiet corner in the men’s section to debate each piece and make my cuts. As Heidi would say, “In fashion, one day you are in and the next you are out. Auf Wiedersehen.”

I limit myself to spending $500. I decide to purchase two wrap sweaters, one cardigan, one dress, two pair of tights, two pair of shoes (heels and flats), headbands, and the tie to make up for my sins. This is actually ideal because I have only spent $350-ish and now I can look to see if they had any online-only items (it’s a sickness I know).

After being denied access to the Target website all. day. long. I am finally granted access around 4:30 pm EST. At this point I call my sister and order clothing for her that she missed out on in her Target store. The home section is perpetually sold out, so no throw pillows for me. I’m about to close the screen, when I think “I should take one more gander while I’m allowed access.” One more section of Missoni goods catches my eye – the electronics section. I order an iPhone and iPad case for myself and my sister and call it a day.

The Best is Yet to Come

I know that I disappeared off the face of the earth, but let me assure you to hang with me! I have many awesome things to post since they have been piling up in my mind, our tiny apartment and my camera. Here are some teasers of the stories W and I owe blogland:

1. Missoni for Target collection – My personal story is coming!

2. DIY renovations – Who doesn’t love these?!

3. Recipes, recipes, recipes – I have a stack of them I need to share with you all!

4. College Football News – Expect some orange and blue to come your way!

5. New Business Venture – I’m so excited about this. It is somewhat related to our blog header 🙂

Next week will be a full week of updates! Plus I’m sure I’ll have more to add to the list after this weekend. So I leave you with a picture of Sophie, who is rocking a faux hawk since her top knot was hacked by a new groomer. Faux Hawk

In Sickness and In Health

I know the title of this post sounds scary, but let me first assure you that W and I are both ok. This is actually about a loved one’s well being and not our own.

Because we are newlyweds, everything seems great and whenever anyone asks us about married life we let them know we are loving it. But it also means we are grown ups who will have some grown up issues to face. Our first hurdle is dealing with a chronic illness that plagues my beloved grandfather, Poppa John (aka The Man). This disease is pulmonary fibrosis and it sucks – hard. He has had it for quite some time now but we have come to a point where it destroys his ability to do almost anything. The smallest effort requires all of his energy and oxygen. It threatens his plans daily because his oxygen depletes quickly and he must rest to catch his breath. The Man comes from a generation of people who work hard, no matter their plight, so all he wants to do is go to the office each day. Like I said, it sucks really hard.

I have been in Texas for two weeks now, one of which Poppa John was in the hospital and the other I spent in my childhood home with my parents and my youngest sister. I was there trying to offer help and comfort to whoever needed it. Although I think we all needed it. My extended family on my mother’s side is not normal – but in a good way. We are extremely close with all of our aunts & uncles (including greats), and cousins (both first and second). My grandmother, Poppy, has been amazing but I suppose that comes with their 60 years together.

I am back at home with W now and we are getting back into our normal routine. He was able to spend a long weekend in Texas over the course of my stay, but two weeks is a long separation as newlyweds. I don’t tell those who ask about marriage and all that it entails these details so this was my chance to talk about it. Prayers for Poppa John would be greatly appreciated – we sure do love The Man.

Life. It Happens.

Wow. W and I have been so busy lately. Have you noticed the lack of posts? Because I’m sure you have. Since the last update we have had two weeks fly by. The first week was busy due to every day things such as working 9 to 5 (this phrase always makes me sing Dolly Parton in my head – I actually love Dolly Parton). This was followed by another weekend in Atlanta where W attended the PGA Championship and I celebrated a girl friend’s birthday. Another week passes working 9 to 5, we fail miserably this week at eating at home, and then it is followed by a weekend of cleaning house, organizing our hectic schedules and allowing our brains to decompress (i.e. doing nothing) but we did eat homemade meals again!

Now that the house has been cleaned I can share a little project I was working on in the dressing room. You might remember we took a little trip to IKEA and I bought some white Ribba frames here.  Well now I am ready to reveal the results of this project! I found the picture below on Pinterest and knew it would be perfect for the wall above the couch in the dressing room.

I had two shopping bags that I had saved because they made me happy. Now they could act as art! I figured that the shopping bags surrounded by other bright and fun pieces could really fill the expanse of the wall. Here is my almost finished product!

As you can see, the wall isn’t totally done as two frames need to be filled and I actually need to purchase another small frame but I think the layout looks great! To frame the shopping bags, I cut them in half down the side panels because they were too bulky to insert as a whole. The Tory bag had a very thick handle of grosgrain ribbon so I had to cut off the knots that held it in place. Rather than have my handles hang in front like the inspiration image, I decided to pull them behind but show bits of them so you know they are there. It was such an easy thing to do. When it came to hanging them, I used the method that John and Sherry of Young House Love used on their wall of frames. I have used the parchment paper/wax paper trick on another project and I find the glossy ads much easier to deal with.

So what do you think? I think its awesome because Ribba frames are cheap, the shopping bags are complimentary (with your purchase of course) and the end result was so easy. Everyone needs a wall of shopping bags!