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Fresh Colonial Christmas Porch

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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.

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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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Friday Faves 11.28

Friday Faves 11.28

ONE gold and gingham are great together.  C.Wonder Mug at Shopbop.  Shopbops always has amazing sales and for this Black Friday (and entire weekend) they’re offering:

15% off orders of $250+
20% off orders of $500+
25% off orders of $1000+
Includes All Full-Price & SALE Items
Use Code GOBIG14 at Checkout  - SHOP THE SALE

TWO we all know that I love Lulu and Georgia and this Jordan Carlyle Cushion from their site is topping my list right now.  Their black friday sales are great if you’re looking for a larger investment piece like their amazing rugs and furniture.

20% off orders of $250+ using code PUMPKINPIE20
25% off orders of $500+ using code PUMPKINPIE25
30% off orders of $1000+ using code PUMPKINPIE30
Includes All Full-Price & SALE Items – SHOP THE SALE

THREE mini topiaries from Grandiflora Home + Decor are so cute for the holidays.  wrap in mini lights and decorate everything from a mantle to the bathroom vanity.  The Grandiflora sale is good on the entire collection and is great if you’re planning to buy some big pieces!

$25 off when you spend $250 using code BFRIDAY25

$50 off when you spend $500 using code BFRIDAY50

$100 off when you spend $1000 using code BFRIDAY100

Includes all Full-Price & Sale Items – SHOP THE SALE

FOUR stock up on hostess gifts this black Friday at World Market where these monogram jute wine bags are just $2.50… You’d be crazy not to!  The rest of their site (and in store) as some pretty amazing deals too including some Buy-one-get-one!!  SHOP THE SALE

FIVE a chunky knit throw is always the perfect gift for yourself or for others.  This sandy colored knit variety is on sale for $46 down from $78!!  The rest of Nordstroms sale is pretty great too.

They’re offering 20% off select sale items (in store only) and all sorts of sweeping deals online.  SHOP THE SALE.

SIX I love the simplicity and rustic feel of this marble topped side table from Anthropologie.  Today only for black Friday they’re offering 25% off everything in the store!  SHOP THE SALE

 

 

There are lots of great sales going on today!  Make sure you check out my top picks if you’re shopping from the comfort of your computer like I will be!  I have never really gotten into the black friday shopping bonanza mostly due to the high value I place on my sleep and sanity!

What about you? Do you get out there early for the deals?  Or sit back and just enjoy the turkey coma?

 

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Happy Thanksgiving

happy thanksgiving

I am so very thankful for you, my dear readers today!  I wouldn’t have this fabulous of a time blogging if it wasn’t for you!

I hope you all have a wonderful, delicious, and safe holiday!  See you back here tomorrow for some killer deals in a special ‘Black Friday’ edition of our faves!

 

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Two Step Back Porch Revamp

copper lantern repaint

For whatever reason, I always decorate the front of my house, but never the back door.  The reason this is odd to me is that the back door is the one people use.  I know the only person who steps foot on my front porch is the UPS guy.  Even the FedEx guy knows to come to the back!

With holiday guests coming into town this week, I wanted to jazz up the back just a bit to make it feel welcoming and autumnal, but I didn’t have much time to work with.  I wanted to start with my old lanterns which were galvanized (silver), so against a grey house, they just disappeared.  I’d been eyeing some beautiful copper lanterns from Terrain and thought that I could stave off the inner desire to spend over $300 on new lanterns by painting my old ones.

copper lantern upcycle

Although I realize that they don’t quite look identical, I did manage to save some money and get an almost instantaneous change by just using some ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape and hammered copper spray paint.  A few flowers and some colorful leaves that I stole from the neighbors yard, and we were visitor ready. See the ugly ‘before’ and then what a difference 30 minutes made next!

copper outdoor lanterns

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Our Traditional Thanksgiving Table

thanksgiving table setting

As you know from yesterday’s Kahlúa bar post, we enjoyed a pretty amazing Friendsgiving this year.  I wanted to share with you my table so that you could take inspiration for your Thanksgiving (or any holiday dinner) this season.  It was a simple palette that I talked about in my inspiration post.  I wanted to go very classic and traditional with mostly http://www.crateandbarrel.com/essential-dinnerware/f10931 and serve ware and a rust colored plaid for the table runner.  I actually used the same exact plaid that I used on the backs of my invitations so that there was a really wonderful tie-in. Plus, since it was just custom wrapping paper, I was able to cut it to size and make it long enough for my super long table.

thanksgiving place setting inspiration

Aside from the plaid details, I used birch twigs and wood slices from the craft store to give an even more classic outdoorsy look to the table.  More sources, details, and photos below!  Continue Reading…

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Friendsgiving Dessert Drink Bar

thanksgiving kahlua dessert bar

I’m still recovering a bit from our big Friendsgiving that was this past weekend!  I always put together an after dinner drink bar for our friends and this year was no different.  We usually get into something game-related after dinner (sometimes it’s ‘Just Dance’ on the Wii and sometimes a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity or Pit), and everyone always welcomes something sweet and warm after a big meal.

I transferred the goodies into fun bottles to give the bar very stylized vibe.  I feel like people love exploring a fun set up and are bound to try new things.  This year, I’ve put out three types of Kahlúa – Original, Pumpkin Spice, and Peppermint Mocha.  They’re the center focus of the whole drink bar, but there is so much variation in all of the mixers we have, there is no way any two people would ever make the same drink.

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kahlua drink bar

Friendsgiving bar ideas

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Friday Faves 11.21

Friday Faves 11.21

ONE vintage mid century handlebars make the coolest faux antler art – and a bonus is that it also functions as a set of wall hooks, $260.  The brilliant idea came from Hilary at Flea Market RX who is as creative as she is kind!  I had the pleasure of talking shop with her last week!  TWO aren’t these little vintage napkins the cutest?  They would be perfect for a vintage inspired holiday table! $30 for a set of 4 from EthanOllie.  If you like mid century vintage, you have to check out their whole shop. THREE this herringbone throw is darling on it’s own, but then throw in pom pom fringe and you have a winner!! $55 from Waiting on Martha. FOUR I absolutely love the sentiment communicated on this enamel mug… To the Mountains! Just $13 from Meriweather of Montana. FIVE the natural linen monogram cushion is a versatile way to add custom touch to your home.  $48 from Grandiflora Home + Decor. SIX I really love a good apron and think they’re underutilized. When preparing for a dinner party, I always wear one when I’m putting finishing touches on a meal, but after I’m dressed for guests. This one is a beautiful buffalo check linen from Kanorado Shop.

 

Happy Friday guys!  Our Thanksgiving holiday is getting a kick start this weekend with our Friendsgiving tomorrow.  I’ll be planning and cleaning all day today, so I’ll be excited to get a break from the planning and cleaning to have a nice dinner out with my Brother-in-law and Sister-in-law tonight.

Tomorrow, we’ve got a wide array of meals coming from all of our friends and we are managing the Turkey (which we’re smoking in the green egg) and the stuffing (because I’m a control freak and need to make the stuffing). Aside from that, I’ll be creating a Kahlua bar for after dinner sweet drinks (photos on Monday) and serving this layered dessert.  The table will be mostly white with hints of natural linen and plaid (inspiration here).

I’m excited to decorate the table and will share complete photos on Tuesday so you can be inspired for your Thanksgiving!

Have a wonderful weekend, guys!

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Holiday 2014 Theme: A Colonial Christmas

Colonial Christmas

It’s that time!  I know we still haven’t had Thanksgiving and I’m usually very very strict about posting Christmas ideas until after Turkey day, but I just can’t resist this year.  Partially because I’m so excited about my theme and partially because I may have already decorated some (guilty!) and am just too excited to wait.

You all know that I have a somewhat historic home.  It’s historic in the sense that it was built forever ago, but with all of the generations of updates and upgrades, it can hardly be considered in historic shape.  I’ve always had a bit of a struggle to decorate the nineteenth century home in a way that doesn’t feel, well, old.  For this reason, I’ve always stuck with a neutral and sparkly decor palette.  There is something about the neutral palette at Christmas, however, that can seem underwhelming.  When ‘Good King Wenceslas’ or ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ wafts over the speakers, I wish my home was decked with everything decedent and richly colored with bountiful cakes and sugared fruits adorning my table and mulled wine drunk from pewter.  Isn’t it funny how just a song can put you in a certain frame of mind?

So, this year, I’ve decided to succumb to the deep rooted desire of my home to be dressed in old world holiday cheer.  And where else would I look for inspiration that to Colonial Williamsburg.  You know how I absolutely loved my trip there this fall and I was so intrigued by their holiday traditions, that I wanted to use the colonial decor as my framework.

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I had a general idea for how I wanted to take the decorations, but I wanted more information on the how and why behind style, so I reached out to Liza Gusler, the licensing manger for Colonial Williamsburg’s product line, who was so welcoming and informative during our trip in October. I am using her guidance and advice as the basis for our decor, and I was shocked by some of her insights!  We asked her some of the burning questions we had about the history of the holiday in Colonial times and loved hearing her insights!  It’s a long-ish interview, but it will definitely frame how we decorate and give a little insight into some of our current traditions!   Continue Reading…

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Booked!

booked

Guys!  I am so so excited to let you all in on a new development in our lives AND to get your advice!  Matt and I have been planning to take a big trip next spring for our fifth wedding anniversary and we’ve pulled the trigger!  Right after we got married, we actually started talking about this trip… it’s been five years of considering everywhere from South Africa to Australia to Chile, but we landed on spending some time touring around Europe.

My necessary qualifications for the trip were that it must include: Culture, Wine, Beach, Food, Outdoors/Adventure. A big list, no?  So you can now see why all of our considerations were in the running!

We landed on Europe because of the few times I’ve been, I haven’t had the opportunity to wander and relax.  We wanted a place where we could leisurely explore and felt the most comfortable doing that in Europe.  With sixteen days and a rental car, we’ll be able to be flexible with our schedule and go where the wind takes us.

While we have the framework of the trip worked out, I’d love to get your take on if you’ve been to any of these place and the best things to do in each spot!  We’re starting in Paris and will be there for about three days before heading out into the french wine country to the east. After spending a few days there, we’ll continue on into the alps, traveling through Geneva, Gruyere, and whatever other place we decide to explore before landing in Lauterbrunnen.

After a few days of the outdoors, we’ll leave lauterbrunnen in the direction of Rome, stopping in the Cinque Terre for a couple of nights and possibly drinking our way through Tuscany.  We’ve both already been to Florence, so we’re going to bypass on this trip for some of the other Tuscan treasures. Once we get to Rome, we’ll spend a few days there trying our hardest to immerse ourselves in roman culture.  After all of that traveling around, we’ll train to Positano to get a little time by the sea before heading home.

It’s going to be jam-packed, there is no way around that, but we’re excited that it will be a little ‘fly by the seat of our pants’ and we’ll be able to make a lot of decisions on the go.

Ok, so NOW I want your thoughts!  I’d love any sightseeing recommendations, restaurant recommendations, or favorite places you’ve stayed.  We’re still looking for lodging in a few of the cities, so any of your suggestions are highly appreciated!

Now, I’ve got to go do some work and try my hardest not to spend the next four months scouring Trip Advisor!

 

photo sources: 1 | 2 – Riel Photography | 3 | 4 | 5

 

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Party Beverage Bucket DIY

diy champagne bucket

My favorite part of entertaining has always been finding my own way to do things that is cool and low cost.  This particular project is one that I’ve done a few times before for other parties and just love how customizable it is.  Beverage tubs and champagne buckets tend to be one of those things that are weirdly expensive.  I saw an iron one last year that I like and it was over $100! Really, it’s just a tub!

So, I have started using small (bathroom sized) trashcans as a stand-in to keep bottles cold during our parties.  They’re inexpensive enough to not be a big blow to your party budget and with a couple of drawer pulls or knobs from the hardware store and a quick customization they also turn out way more cute than the run of the mill version.

 

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It’s an easy three step process and rolls in at under $20.  Want to make your own?   Continue Reading…

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