Thursday, December 19, 2013

Happy Holidays!

free printable via Design Dazzle


I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with your family and friends!  I'm going to take a bit of time off this week, but wanted to thank all of your for stopping by my little corner of the internet this year.  I appreciate all of you, and look forward to lots more online fun in 2014.  Cheers!

From the Archives: Gift Ideas for Procrastinators

This week has been crazy, y'all.  I took yesterday off work to run 12 errands and still feel like I can't keep up.  I'm sure the next two days will be awful, but then I'll be home free for 9 glorious days!  Unfortunately, I didn't have time for the brand new gift guide I was planning but remembered some great ideas from years past that I wanted to share.

So, for those of you needing to buy a gift in person, here are some ideas:

A Bag of Makeup That's the Right Color
If you're anywhere near an Ulta or department store, take someone up on the offer to assist you by showing a photo of the person you're buying for, and ask for some recommendations on what products would look nice on her.  Then, package it in a cute makeup bag.  You can spend a little or a lot this way, and it won't take long to pull together.



Photographer Sitting Fee
No matter if you're single, married, or without kids, a photo session will probably be a welcome gift for your family. Since this can be expensive, it's a great option if you want to collaborate with siblongs.

P.S. If you're in the Dallas area, check out Zoe D. Photography



Better Versions of Old Household Items
I know I'm not the only person with parents still using wedding gifts received in the late 70's.  I've eaten on many a plate that's older than I am, and have heard my mom and others wish for an excuse to get new dishes/silverware/towels/small appliances/bedding.  That's why I like to just replace it for them, since practical people tend not to get rid of "perfectly good" albeit 32 year old dishes even though they now find them ugly.  So, if you know what your mom (in law) or someone else would like, go ahead and surprise her with new Fiestaware or bedding that she can exchange if she wants.  One year, I re-did my mom's bathroom with new towels, countertop accessories, and artwork and it was a hit!


gifts for mom - replacing old things




A Weekend Away
I don't know many people who would pass up the chance to take a weekend trip with her friend, sister or daughter.  If the lady on your list has relatives out of town that she doesn't see often, offer to drive her.  Or, book a weekend at a spa or a city a few hours away and do things she likes to do.  Even if you have to attend a quilt show or pretend to like scrapbooking, you will survive and it will be worth it to make someone happy.  You can design a cute gift certificate to present on Christmas morning, or even gift a new weekend  bag with the description on a large luggage tag.  Be creative!

image via Inslee.net

Good luck shopping!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Style: Christmas Morning (2013 Edition)

Today's post is my annual Christmas morning style guide, where I assume that everyone else has covered what to wear to parties and we talk about the sort of holiday event that I'm most familiar with - a morning spent with family, in our soft clothes, eating some kind of cinnamon pastry while opening presents.

Since you're as likely to be photographed on Christmas morning as you are at Christmas dinner, it's important to put forth a little bit of effort and make sure you look mildly presentable as you post with your son or nephew and his sweet new lego set.  In my opinion, the best way to achieve this is to wear at least one piece that's not actually pajamas.

Like this:


I think an inexpensive flannel shirt from Old Navy or Target is the perfect partner for leggings and flannel pants, as is your trusty chambray shirt worn over the tank top you slept in.  (Pro tip: For extra butt coverage, pick up a non-ruched maternity tank that will act as a knit dress of sorts)

Another option is to pull out a pair of your favorite running tights or yoga pants, since they're much thicker than your average pair of leggings, but wear them with a long non-pajama tee or button-down and a cozy cardigan.  Easy, right?

Need more ideas? Here are some similar ideas from holidays past:

Friday, December 13, 2013

5 Things Friday

Happy Friday, internet!  Today's post is a quick one, but I hope you're all enjoying the holidays and better weather than we got in Dallas this week.  Four days in my house with a husband and two dogs was too many days.  However, my little buddy made a (literally) miraculous recovery much to the amazement of his vet.  We're very blessed, indeed!  Thanks to everyone for their well wishes, and sweet comments about Baby D's nursery deisgn!

Now, here are five things worth sharing on the internet:

1. I am loving the design of Rebecca Minkhoff's NYC apartment, and can't believe her dining set was $50 at an estate sale!  I'd fight through a crowd to pay $500!



2. This free printable from I Rock So What is so cute and necessary for all guest rooms, including mine.



3. I will be making my usual Snickerdoodle bread loaves over the weekend, but now I'm temped to give these Knock You Naked brownies (via The Pioneer Woman) a shot!  They involve those little square caramels that you get in the bulk candy bin at the grocery store.  Mmmmmm....



4. This week I went to J. Crew Factory and it was magical.  The whole store was 50% off (and still is, online too!), plus an extra 15% off your in-store purchase.  I did some serious Christmas shopping and bought two pairs of flats, an invitation clutch, and two tops for $95.  Seriously.  I got these studded flats for myself for $21 because I'm having a baby and I have a stressful job and reasons.



5. The month of December is so important for shelter pets because many families are adding new additions while kids are out of school, and studies show that they are three times more likely to adopt if they speak to someone who has done so.  Although, we're not chatting in person, please consider this a conversation about how important it is to avoid buying dogs from backyard breeders and pet stores, especially when literally thousands of wonderful pups (and cats too!) are in need of forever homes.  My rescued pit mix, Maggie, is one of the best dogs my husband and I have ever had, and it sickens me to think of others like her being put down in city shelters because it's popular to pay hundreds for mixed breeds that will supposedly look like puppies forever (psssst... they won't) or a purebred puppy (which you can also find at shelters and through rescue groups!)

So, if you've got room in your home for one more soul, please adopt and don't shop.  He or she will love you just as much, if not more, than any other dog because you saved a life.  Now look at this Buzzfeed article that made my cry a little (it's happy!)


Happy weekend!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Gift Guide: For the rest of us...

As much as I love browsing holiday gift guides, I seldom find anything suitable for my friends and family who don't necessarily drool over simple design or trinkets that cost $50. 

So, here's a gift guide that may be the most boring one you see all season, but if you have a no-nonsense dad or family members who have never heard of Jenna Lyons, then you might find it helpful.


For your mom who doesn't like to spend money on herself...
1. This LOFT knit jacket will flatter a variety of body types, especially since it comes in regular, petite, and tall sizes.  It is a little more appropriate for casual lifestyles than a regular blazer, and is unlikely to go out of style in the next few years. And since it's at LOFT, you can get it 40% off (or more) and return in person.



For your sister who returns everything...
If she has a tablet, a subscription to Next Issue is only $9.99 per month and will give her access to 120 magazines in a variety of genres.  You can buy a few months at a time, which will be a great stocking stuffer.


 
For your manly dad who thinks everything is a waste of money...
This week I saw someone seriously suggest a set of Ralph Lauren necktie Christmas ornaments as a great gift for dad or your man.  My dad would think I was insane if I spent $45 on three mini neckties, but I know he'd appreciate a chance to watch the funniest show on TV that most people don't know about - Impractical Jokers(Seriously, N and I sit on the couch and laugh out loud, and it's generally clean humor that you won't be embarrassed to watch with your family)



The dreaded couples gift...
Buying for couples usually ends up as gift card to a restaurant and some wine, which is fine, but if you're buying for family and know they need it, then a Logitech Harmony remote is an awesome gift.  It works perfectly, and consolidates multiple media remotes into one device that you program with your computer.  At our house, pressing "Watch TV" actually completes a three-step process involving the TV and surround sound receiver.  The basic version is only $70, and replaces up to five remotes.



For your grandma...
Did you know that there are companies who will scan thousands of family photos and make DVDs for you?  By transferring boxes of WalMart photo envelopes into digital images, you'll be able to make a great photo book of Christmas gatherings or family reunions through the years. 



For your (female) boss...
Buying an expensive gift for a boss is awkward, but a little trinket is thoughtful and if it's vintage it will seem more personal.  I'm a big fan of the offerings at Sweet & Spark, an online shop for vintage finds, or the thousands of independent sellers on Etsy.  

Tip: Search terms like "1940s bangle" (or 1950s or 1960s) and "vintage Trifari" to find classic pieces that can blend with a variety of styles.

 $27.99 via PastGems on Etsy

  
So, who do you struggle to buy for?  Share your best go-to gifts in the comments!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Baby Cardigan's Nursery: Midcentury Marvel

When I found out that I was pregnant, I started dreaming of adorable nurseries.  I've swooned over Joni Lay's designs for a long time, and couldn't wait to piece together one of my own.  Once we found out that Baby Cardigan is a boy, I began scouring the internet for inspiration and was really bored by the standard formula of chevron print + baby animals = boy nursery (I'm so tired of it!) so I decided to make an adult design more juvenile instead.

Here's where I landed:




So far, this is just a design but most everything has been purchased, and it adheres (in theory) to the criteria that I discussed with my husband:
  • Include as few baby-only pieces as possible, meaning that the design should be able to grow with Baby Cardigan and accommodate his future preferences without requiring us to buy new furniture other than a bed.  
  • No permanent design elements. We are not planning to be in this house long-term, and the thought of painting over a large-scale project like a striped wall or tearing down a large decal (if you're into that) makes me sad.  In this room, the walls are staying neutral and even the gold trim will be washi tape that can be ripped off when we move, or decide to go in a different direction.
  • Not be too babyish, since we both hate cutesy looking pieces.  (This has made registering difficult, since the fabric prints on so many products are awful!)
  • Include Marvel characters, since N is a big fan and looking forward to sharing that world with Baby Cardigan
  • Not contain anything too precious that cannot be cleaned or repaired.  The navy and white rug was bought at 70% off on Cyber Monday and is actually intended to protect our new carpet from a little boy, but it can be steam cleaned if the stains get out of control and was only $205.  The chair is covered in a bonded leather that can be wiped down, and the dresser (similar to the one pictured) is a $150 vintage piece that we are painting ourselves, so any marks or scratches can be covered up with another coat.  
  • The chair needs to be inexpensive or reusable.  We ended up going with a mid-priced chair from La-Z-Boy because I will not spend $1000+ on a chair that won't fit in with the rest of our house, and the cheap options at our local big box stores were awful.  I was also not brave enough to buy a chair I've never sat in when return shipping can cost as much as a new chair.  I'm pretty thrilled with our choice, since it will add to the retro feel of the room and is really comfortable and well made.
  • Overall, the room needs to come together fairly cheaply.  The chair is our biggest expense, but everything else has turned out to be fairly inexpensive.  We know we'll have plenty of other expenses once the baby arrives, and I set a firm budget that's probably equal to what some people spend on a crib and dresser.  Luckily, I've not had any big challenges once I realized that shopping for regular decor is way cheaper than anything intended for a kid space.  (I think it's like weddings in that the prices are inherently higher because of the emotional purchase)
Now is the time where I ask any experienced mamas what things you think I need, especially when it comes to a baby registry?  Or, what are your favorite nursery designs?

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Product Source Information

Rugs USA Homespun Trellis Rug (wait for a sale!)
Argington Bam Crib (I bought mine used)
Marvel Art Prints (ours are 5"x7")
Be Brave print by Charm & Gumption
Nate Berkus for Target Wall Studs

Friday, December 6, 2013

5 Things Friday

Happy Friday, internet!  I hope your city is warmer than mine today, as Dallas is collectively freaking out over the ice falling from our sky and keeping us at home.  I apologize (again) for the silence this week, but I've been incredibly worried about my sick dachshund, Charlie, and I keep watching him to make sure he is still breathing.  It makes blogging seem silly, but I need a distraction.

Now, on a lighter note, here are five things worth sharing on the internet:

1. Last night I watched the NBC remake of The Sound of Music and it was not my favorite.  At all.  But, it made me even more sad to think about all the kids now who won't grow up watching that movie because they'll be too absorbed in their iPads and lack the attention span.  Hopefully Baby Cardigan will be an exception!

Did you grow up singing with the Von Trapps like me?

image lifted from Vulture.com


2. We've made a little progress in Baby Cardigan's room lately, and I was really excited to discover that you can buy washi tape and colored masking tape from regular office supply stores.  My plan is to run a line of metallic gold, jade green, or cobalt blue underneath the white crown molding and around the doorway to add a little pop of color since the walls are remaining gray.  Kinda like this, but not:



3. This thing looks badass and I want it for myself.  I'll make some sweet driveway designs, then enjoy a fruit roll-up and some Kool Aid.



4. My mean husband is making his pregnant wife go to a wedding on December 28th when I'll be almost 30 weeks along.  I do not have anything to wear, and the thought of buying something that I'll wear once makes me sad.  I think Rent the Runway is also expensive for a cocktail dress ($75 for one night? I can pay that much to own something I can resell) so I'm on the hunt for a basic black number I can start wearing now and then load up with jewelry next month.  This one might work:

  

5. I really love this Ikea hack by Amanda Evans of Twenty One Two Designs, which involves a basic shelf and a can of gold spray paint.  Don't they look luxe? 


Have a good weekend - stay warm!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Reader Request: Styling Your LBD for Holiday Events

Good morning!  I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving weekend, and are gearing up for the weeks ahead.  I'm actually relieved that my calendar isn't too full, but today I'm excited to help Becky style her favorite little black dress for the holidays.

Becky lucked out and found a flattering dress at Target, and realizes that it makes zero sense to search high and low for something new when she's got lots to work with already (and 5 kids!).  She can easily take her dress from church to a party by swapping out a top layer and accessories. 


Just for fun, I decided to only feature pieces that are fairly affordable and similar to what's available at national chain stores.  You can also substitute a basic blazer for the structured sweater in the first look, or a regular cardigan instead of the fitted sweater in look three.

So, before you run out to buy a new dress, consider restyling the one you have... and treat yourself to a new bag instead!  I hope this was helpful - if you have any advice for Becky, leave a comment and share it!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

I need another day...

My Sunday looked a lot like this, except without a cat (I'm allergic). 


Our Thanksgiving trip took all my energy away, and time got away from me.  I'll be back tomorrow with something fun to share.

Hope your weekend was wonderful!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Travel Chicly - Without Sweatpants!

I'm not going to pretend that I always dress up when I travel, especially for extra-long flights.  However, there's a difference between being comfortable and being sloppy, and I think lounge wear in the airport is unnecessary.  There are so many soft, stretchy things you can wear without resorting to yoga pants that say PINK on the butt.

Sadly, we'll be seeing lots of Ugg boots and pajamas in public this week, so I wanted to share a little bit of inspiration for a super comfy travel outfit that's still high on style:


Believe it or not, there are stylish pull-on jeans that are soft and stretchy and not intended for grannies.  If you haven't already, get yourself to Last Call and check out Fade to Blue jeans.  They're under $60 and come in lots of different cuts and washes, including a regular boot cut for those who don't like skinny jeans.  (Pro tip: go up a size)

I'm also a huge fan of structured sweater blazers like this one from Gap.  I checked it out in store, and it's the perfect length and looks like a blazer from afar, but much more comfortable and not likely to wrinkle.

Target has got lots of great drapey tees (like this one, pictured) but I'm intrigued by this one with faux leather trim that would add a little edge to basic jeans.  (I haven't seen the tee with trim in person yet, though)

And finally, if you can get your hands on some Elorie ballet flats, buy them.  They are so well made and comfortable (go up a half size, though) and a great deal on Gilt.com.  Mine are the black metallic suede, which have a really subtle shine, and I am seriously considering buying a brown pair as well.  (Update: For $49, I just did!)

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Safe travels, everyone!!  I will be taking the rest of the week off, so please check back Monday for your regularly schedule fashion, baby rooms, and randomness.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Holiday Style: Long Weekend Packing

Happy Monday!  I hope you all had fun this weekend, and that this short work week flies by for all of us.  Since this is one of the busiest travel weeks of the year, I put together a bit of Thanksgiving weekend packing inspiration for those of you who will be away from home.

Here are some outfit ideas that will fit in a carry-on, and take you from airport to eating to shopping to watching The Family Stone while drinking hot chocolate on a sofa (everyone does that, right?)


Have safe travels, ladies!  Let's try not to over pack...

P.S. I'd like to wish a very happy birthday to my mom.  I love you!

Friday, November 22, 2013

5 Things Friday

Happy Friday internet! I hope your week was great, and that you're up to something fun this weekend.  I'm excited to host my family and have an early Thanksgiving dinner, although winter in Dallas appears to be arriving tonight.  Let's all wear sweaters!

Before I freeze, here are five things worth sharing on the internet:

1. I love love love the design that Emily Henderson installed for Joanna Goddard's family apartment.  It's the perfect mix of midcentury and electic, and I would happily copy it in my house.



2.  I really want a spiky turquoise necklace for Christmas, and the ones I want keep selling out on Etsy.  That means I'm not sharing the one I actually want, but this baby is a close second:



3. This week N and I went shopping for the "angels" we adopted for Christmas, and the preschool-aged girl I chose asked for a doll house.  Since she also needs a coat and some other things, I was forced to get a more affordable Barbie "glam vacation" doll house and some Barbies to go inside of it.  Can I just say that I became even more excited to be having a boy after having spent 15 minutes trying to find the right combination or doll and outfit that looked the least like a prostitute?!  I ended up buying two dolls in bikinis, with some dresses that did not look like they belonged at the Bunny Ranch.  What the heck, Mattel?



4. I'm currently reading Major Pettigrew's Last Stand and it's such a good story so far.  I can't believe it's not already a movie starring Bill Nighy.



5. If ever there were a wrapping paper that I would frame in a triptych of panels, it's probably this one by Rifle Paper Co.  You can get three sheets for $8.50, which isn't bad if they're destined for a life as decoration rather than garbage.



Have a nice weekend, ladies!  Stay warm!

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