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Gift Guide for Her

gift guide header-HER Gift Guide - her

ONE ‘Créme de la Créme’ T-shirt with foil lettering tells your best friend that you think she’s, well, the best.  $29 from By Luciana. TWO I love a good USB and this one says, “You’re smart and stylish”.  $36 from Leif.  THREE golden nugget earrings for your favorite little nugget. $45 from The Forma. FOUR horn tumblers from Uganda are perfect for the luxe entertainer on your list. $65 for a pair. FIVE upgrade her tech by giving a cool leather iPad case (or clutch!) $99 from Vuela. SIX Trinkets like this golden star object d’art are things people love, but wouldn’t buy for themselves.  Go ahead and surprise her with it! It’s 7″ wide and is $45 from J. Crew.  SEVEN last year might have been the ‘year of the fitbit’ so make this one the year of the golden fitbit bracelet.  She’ll be happy to add something functional to her arm party. $195 from Tory Burch. EIGHT sustainably harvested cork and reclaimed wood team up for a very cool set of 4 wine corks.  $20 from mfeo. NINE a little glass trinket tray would go well in most homes, so gifting this to the hard-to-buy-for woman on your list is a no-brainer and at just $30 it won’t break the bank.


When it comes to buying for the women in my life, I default to buying things that I love.  I think one of the best gifts is the one that someone wouldn’t buy for themselves, and is frivolous in their eyes.  Maybe it’s not super expensive, it might just be unpractical which is the perfect reason to give it!

More Gift Guides

Past Friday Faves (which make great gift guides too!)


Buy or DIY: Holiday Cards

house of earnest christmas cards

Each year I waiver on whether or not to do a DIY christmas card.  Last year, I made mini rosemary and boxwood wreath cards and I loved them, I sometimes revel in the simplicity (and beauty) of sending a purchased design.  This year, I decided to go ahead a buy a design that I found (and loved!) from Zazzle, but did want to add some sort of homemade touch.

Since my envelopes were brown, I thought it would be fitting to wrap them up in cream string and secure it all with a metallic wax seal. Not only is it cute (and very secure) but I had all of the materials on-hand, so it cost me next to nothing.

house of earnest christmas card wax seal christmas card

So even if your card itself is purchased, don’t feel like you can’t add a personal or handmade touch.  I also thought about filling envelopes with fake snow – which would have been so cute!  Maybe next year!

It’s YOUR turn!  Tell me… Do you buy or DIY?



Gift Guide for Him

gift guide - him

gift guide - man

ONE The whiskey wedge is something that is right down Matt’s alley.  He drank from one last weekend and it’s been on my mind since.  $15 each from Corksicle. TWO Matt doesn’t read too much, but he loves a good book about inventions, innovations, or startups.  The Innovators pretty much hits all of those points and is $21 from Amazon. THREE I like the look of these sunnies and think most modern guys would too!  They’re $105 which isn’t as much as lots of similar brands! FOUR the Pelican Hook Belt is a tad pricey for a belt, but is handmade in Montana and looks pretty damn cool. FIVE I cannot tell you how many BBQ varieties are in our fridge.  Ever since the Big Green Egg came into our lives, Barbecue has been a Souder Staple.  These craft beer BBQ sauces look like they’d be fun to try! SIX I know I already mentioned Eddie Bauer in the ‘mom’ gift guide, but I think they’re doing a great job with their jackets this year.  This field-green puffer vest looks like something Matt would wear over everything in his closet. SEVEN we’re at this weird age where briefcases are a bit old, but backpacks are a bit young.  This leather ‘business bag’ is cool and professional.  $375 from Mark & Graham.


Matt is possibly the hardest man to buy for.  He has a lot of very obscure hobbies (cross-bow hunting and knife throwing?), so it’s nearly impossible for me to buy something correct in the hobby arena.  Since that is the case, I just try to do my part to keep him looking cool. Lots of the stuff I get for him ends up being apparel or accessory related with a few fun things thrown in there.  This year we’re on the fence about if we’re going to do traditional Christmas gifts, or buy activities for our upcoming travels.  We’ll see how it turns out!

In the meantime, I hope you like these ideas and they maybe give you a thought you didn’t have before! Happy Hunting!

See ALL gift guides (so far) here!


Decorate for the Holidays + A giveaway with Loom Decor!


When it comes to decorating for the holidays, I always try to incorporate the color palette that I’m using on my tree and trimmings into the rest of my house.  This also give me an opportunity to branch out of my very regular neutral palette.

This year, I worked with Loom Decor to curate look inspired my the House of Earnest style.  You guys know my living room is mostly neutral, so I went to work pouring through the 400+ fabrics and patterns offered by Loom Decor.  The look I designed to go with my year-round decor, but also to reflect the cozy, rich colors of Christmas.

Houndstooth pattern, glimmering metallic linen, and a gorgeous nature inspired print all support my current palette of gold, navy, and cream while adding in a bit of interest for the holiday season – not to mention additional seating for all the guests who stop by! I always love adding in throw pillows for seasonal shifts, but this year, adding in some big floor poufs is also high on my list.  For people like us to host often you’ll love what floor poufs do for your space and you can tuck them under the coffee table when not in use.

What’s best is that I can store away the red and the rest of the collection goes phenomenally in a neutral space year-round.

loom decor curated collection

House of Earnest Curated Collection:  Red Houndstooth Pillow  |  Gold Lumbar Pillow  |  Gold and Navy Colorblock Pillow  |  Navy Houndstooth Pillow  |  Pantheon Pouf  |  Houndstooth Pouf

My very favorite Pantheon fabric above (the leaves/animals) is usually only available to the trade, but with Loom Decor you make products with designer-only fabrics, so that is a bonus for us non-designers. Make your own styles with loads of designer fabric options, price points, allowing anyone to decorate like a pro.

Why do I tell you all of this?  Because YOU have an opportunity to jazz up your holiday (or non-holiday) space with some textiles as well.  Loom Decor is generously offering $200 to one House of Earnest reader!  Pretty nice, right?

Enter your email address below to be entered! A winner will be chosen next Thursday!  Or you can click HERE to access the giveaway.

Want more giveaways?  We are also running a CUSTOM CHRISTMAS CARD GIVEAWAY with Art of Michelle!  Click HERE for entry info!


Disclosure:  This giveaway is sponsored by Loom Decor.  We are so grateful for their generous giveaway and hope you are too!


Fresh Colonial Christmas: The Entryway


Welcome to the second stop in our holiday home.  On Monday, we showcased our porch, complete with some primitive, rustic touches that were inspired by a recent trip to Colonial Williamsburg and the theme continues as you enter the house.  The entryway is really the most decorated place in our home (besides the tree) because it’s visible from the kitchen, the bar, the living room, and the stairs.

The open white bannister offers the perfect place to really go wild and that’s exactly what I did.


I begun the entire transformation with loads of greenery.  This was important because our stairwell doesn’t have an electricity source, so usually my garlands aren’t lit, but this year they are!  The Martha Stewart LED garland (available at the Home Depot) is battery operated!  I really lucked out finding it.  It’s a bit pricey, but if you (like me) had been wanting to light up a certain spot in you house, you’re gonna love it!

Deep, generous swags on the garlands makes the whole stairway look lush and plentiful.  Magnolia leaves, dried whole oranges, faux apples, and real pomegranates punctuate the peaks of the greenery.  A cinnamon and dried orange garland swags between the greens and adds a wonderful smell!

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A few changes to my regular gallery wall – adding in winter photos and draping a sheepskin over my usually polka dotted chair add a touch of coziness.


The monogram wreath was one of my favorite (and easiest!) projects I did in the entryway.  The full tutorial will be up next week!  Keep reading for tons (literally, there are 16) more photos that show all of the detail and feelings I was trying to evoke in this room.   Continue Reading…


Handmade Holiday: Monogram Copper Candle

embossed monogram candle diy

I hope you’re as excited as I am! Today is the first day in our ‘Handmade Holiday’ series!  We’ll have five gifts which you can make, but look good enough to pass off as store bought.

Monogrammed things are absolutely perfect for this time of the year.  When giving someone a gift, a monogram says, “I thought about YOU”.  It also says, “I didn’t get this out of my gift stash.”  Not that I have a gift stash….

handmade holiday copper candle

I mentioned it in my gift guide, but I get so crazy about why some candles are so expensive.  I would imagine that I has to do with the quality of the ingredients, but some $200 candles just don’t seem worth it to me.  I felt that wrapping a great smelling mall-brand candle in a beautifully shiny monogram would do the trick to make a ho-hum gift seem so chic.



Want the full how to?  It’s next!  Continue Reading…


Dried Orange & Cinnamon Garland

dried orange garland

Yesterday, I shared the first post in my Christmas decor, my porch, with you all.  On the mini trees and strung throughout the green garland, I had a handmade dried orange and cinnamon garland that was a cinch to make.

Not only did the garland adhere closely to my colonial theme, but it is much less expensive than lots of the garlands out there on the market and it smells amazing (win – win – win).

Today, I’ll show you the easy steps so that you can make your own.

colonial tree with orange garland

dried orange slices christmas dried whole oranges

dried orange slices

Slice a few orange in 1/4″ – 1/2″ slices.  Arrange them on a non-stick surface or parchment paper.  Set them in a cool oven and turn the temperature onto the lowest setting your oven will allow.  Mine was 170° F.  Leave the slices in the oven for about 5 hours, then shut the oven off and leave the oranges in there overnight or until completely cool.  They will be fairly dry, but will continue to dry out over time.

whole dried oranges

Using a paring knife, slice the oranges vertically being careful to cut the majority of the way through the skin without cutting the fruit inside.  This will help the moisture of the oranges to escape while drying out and it looks pretty! Arrange the oranges on a non-stick surface and put the pans in a cool oven.  Set the oven temp as low as your oven will allow (again, mine was 170°).  Leave the oranges in the oven for 48 hours.  Yes, two whole days.  Turn the oven off after 48 hours and leave the oranges in there to completely cool down inside and out.  I left mine in the over for another 24 hours.

dried orange christmas garland

When your oranges are dry, you can use them anyway you’d like!  I strung some together using an upholstery needle and twine.  The twine helps the oranges stay put on the garland since it has a rough texture.  Alternate the oranges with large cinnamon sticks.  I found that the cheapest and best cinnamon sticks were at World Market or in the Mexican section of the grocery store (NOT in the baking aisle.

You’ll be happy to see that I’m using this garland throughout my decor and there is more in store to show you tomorrow in my entry way (and pomegranates too – watch out!)



Gift Guide for Parents & Grandparents

gift guide header - parents

gift guide - parents

Welcome to our first (ever) gift guide series!  Each year I just think that people wouldn’t like the very down to earth things that I tend to buy for my loved ones. But then this year, I got tired of seeing $200 candles and bacon everything on gift guides.  I tend to spend a lower amount than maybe most people do as well, so I thought, “hey, people might really like the very normal things I buy for my family.” Due to this thought, I’m sharing with you to the things that are topping my charts for everyone in my life.  My lists won’t be huge, but they’re practical!  If you are someone in my family, you may see one or two of these under the tree, so it’s a total spoiler alert.

First, we’ll start with the women!  ONE Minted’s new foil art is gorgeous and I love that it can overlay a photo making it extra special. This little bow art is so precious and I can guarantee you that any of the women in my life would love it!  They’re between $54-$118 depending on the frame. TWO cowl neck scarves are good for a few reasons, mainly because they’re easy to style and really warm.  This wool tweed cowl from Mark & Graham is just $49 and would again, work really well for both of our moms or even my grandma! THREE most monogram bracelets I see are pretty pricey. This one is just $43 and it’s sterling silver from MitchPersonalized. FOUR this handbag is at the top of the range for us ($278), but we are totally okay going in with some other siblings and splurging on something really perfect.  This leopard bag would go with anything and is such a pretty frivolous surprise for a mother! FIVE If your mother or grandmother is a gardening aficionado, a flower press might be a great idea! They can use the microwave to press flowers very quickly then use them in crafts or in their favorite frame. $28 from Amazon. SIX I love the year-round quilted jacket from Eddie Bauer and at just $90, I feel like I might have to get one for myself too! SEVEN for the mother or grandmother who is creative in the kitchen, a set of flavored olive oils is a wonderful way to get them exploring some new recipes (and you might be able to benefit from this one!).  $40 for a set of four oils.


Now for the fathers and grandfathers.  ONE my dad and grandpa are both big handkerchief guys.  These cute and festive ticking stripe hankies come with free embroidery! $29 for four from Mark & Graham. TWO for the tailgater or outdoorsman, this portable ‘X’ grill folds right up into it’s own carrying case and its just $53! THREE my dad always has a pocketful of toothpicks.  This little leather toothpick case is the perfect everyday treat, plus it comes as a four pack from Ball and Buck, so buy them for just $20 and give them to all your men! FOUR we all know panama hats are in style, they’re cool for dads and grandpas too!  If he is a golfer, fisherman, or dapper dan, he’ll love this packable straw hat.  $80. FIVE a few years ago I started the tradition of buying my dad a new nutcracker each christmas.  This very hefty brass walnut nutcracker from Grandiflora is $48 and perfect for it’s intended use or as a paperweight or object d’art. SIX Although nobody in my family  fishes, most of the men do smoke cigars, so this portable, waterproof humidor is a great gift! $50 from Gorge Fly Shop. SEVEN any music buffs on your list?  One of the biggest collections of black and white photographs from Harry Benson are compiled into one pretty awesome Beatles book.

If you had any awesome gift ideas when brainstorming for your parents or grandparents this year, let us all know in the comments below!


Want more ideas!  Shop ALL of my past shopping round ups HERE!

I also write for the Bali Blog!  Check out today’s post on winterizing your windows!!


Watercolor Christmas Card GIVEAWAY!

art of michelle holiay giveaway

If you like watercolor art as much as me, I know you’ll be ecstatic about this GIVEAWAY!!  Michelle Schneider is a super talented watercolor artist and I was first lured in by her amazing custom house portraits!  Then I discovered all of her talent for painting natural scenes and even pet portraits.

In celebration of the holidays and all of those holiday cards that we send and receive, we’re happy to offer one reader the change to win 50 custom cards from The Art of Michelle!

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Are you as excited as we are?  To make this even better, we’re ending the giveaway on FRIDAY and choosing the winner Saturday morning.  This will give the winner enough time to get the cards this year!  See the entry requirements and term/conditions below!  Good Luck!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Fresh Colonial Christmas Porch


Happy December!  I’m so excited to finally be sharing the start of our holiday decorating.  Last month, I revealed the Colonial style theme that was inspiring my decor this year due to a recent trip to Williamsburg.  I was intrigued by the dried fruits, natural berries, and loads of greenery used to decorate the historical town.  I shared an interview with Liza, a wonderfully knowledgable woman who inspired my decor decision.

It was really important to me to make damn sure that although I’d be channeling a throwback, historical style, my decor would have no similarities to that ‘country’ style you see at Christmas craft shows.  In order to keep the historical visions from getting too country, I made sure to keep the decorations as natural as humanly possible and interjected touches of classic Christmas style.  To get this all done, it made perfect sense for me to partner with the one person I feel exudes country style in a very upscale way – Martha Stewart. I worked with her team to find just the right garlands and greens that matched up with my colonial theme.



I started with a foundation of lots of lush greenery using Martha Stewart Alaskan Spruce greenery (available at The Home Depot) because it looks the most ‘real’ with a lighter green/gray color. It already had the pinecones included, so that was one less thing that made the list of embellishments needed.  I’ve spoke about this before, but it’s really important to me not to start from scratch each year and to utilize what I have at home to get the perfect look.  Starting out with good greenery means that I can change up my embellishments year after year without spending a ton of money every Decemeber.  Getting just the right balance of natural and festive decor for my greens was easy with a few key elements.  Keep reading for all of the steps, sources, and tons more photos! Also, we have a HUGE announcement as well at the way at the bottom of the post!   Continue Reading…

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