DIY Succulent Pumpkins

So, there’s this thing called a succulent pumpkin. And it’s pretty darn cute. I’m sure you’ve probably seen one on Pinterest or Instagram. But when one of my customers asked me to come do a workshop on how to create these fall fancies later this month I jumped at the chance. I’ll be teaching more than 50 floral specialists (who are amazing designers — no pressure) how to put these together, so I figured I’d better practice by creating a few samples. Let’s just say it wasn’t the worst way to spend a Thursday afternoon. If you’re looking for a weekend project, I highly recommend it! Here’s how it all went down.

The materials I used were simple and fairly easy to find (especially since I had a sea of succulents to choose from). I was shocked at how quickly they came together and I highly recommend giving this a try for a fun fall project with your friends. Heck, it’s something you could get the kids involved in too if they’re fairly gentle with the plants. The first step? Head to your local farm stand and pick out some pumpkins. I scored these three for a whopping $7.50 at a little place just a few minutes from the office. I was going for small, medium and large here but also wanted to try different shapes and colors. I’m a sucker for a pastel-hued heirloom pumpkin and the donut shape is the perfect perch for succulents. The bright orange of the traditional round pumpkin was a nice base for the blue/green color of the plants. And of course the mini white pumpkin is just too darn cute.

I may just blow your mind with this one, guys. It’s something I didn’t know until I started working at ArizonaEast (like all the other plant knowledge I’ve gained these last three years). Good old Elmer’s Glue is just about the best adhesive you can use for succulent-related projects. It’s non toxic (very kid and pet friendly). It dries clear, and it washes away as you water the plants (which is okay because the plants will be rooted into the moss by then). It doesn’t dry as quickly as hot glue, but as long as you have patience (or some floral wire) that doesn’t really matter. All the tutorials I referenced while tackling this project used hot glue to adhere the plants to the pumpkin and I disagree with that approach. Almost every time I’ve ever used hot glue on succulents they sizzle and dry up which ends up killing them. You could try experimenting with a low temp if you’re dead set, but Elmer’s is a no brainer as far as I’m concerned. 

The next step is the most fun. Pick out your plants! You’ll want to grab one or two echeverias to act as a visual anchor in the front of your design, with lots of leafy, leggy succulents filling in the backdrop.

You’ll need to cut the succulent at it’s base to remove the root system and soil. Don’t worry! You’re not harming the plants! Succulents are resilient and they can last as cuttings for weeks before they dry out. If you glue them to a growing medium (moss in this case) they’ll grow a new set of roots and continue being a happy plant. And what’s even cooler is the root system you left behind will grow another succulent in a few weeks, so don’t throw away those plastic grower pots!

Once your plants are all cut it’s time to start building. The first step is to apply a generous amount of Elmer’s Glue to the top of the pumpkin. Then lay your sheet moss on top of the glue. This will act as the foundation of your succulent arrangement. Use your leafy, leggy succulents as the base, starting in the back, and then build from there. Since Elmer’s Glue stays wet for a while you can rearrange your plants as needed so there’s no pressure to get it perfect the first time. You can do a dry run by layering your plants on top of one another to achieve the look you want before gluing them all into place.

Scroll through the slideshows below to see how I designed all three pumpkins, starting from the largest at the top to the smallest at the bottom. I’m still new to this whole tutorial thing so don’t hesitate to leave me questions in the comments. I’ll be happy to help answer them if I can and I’d love to see photos of your creations. If you happen to post them on Instagram tag me so I can see! 🙂 Happy fall crafting!

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Io Amo L’Italia

It’s been ten days since we’ve been home from Italy and to say we miss it is an understatement. Mike’s already talking about buying a vacation home there. I went into this trip like I do with all our trips — with open arms and no expectations. I’m not big on planning every last minute of a vacation. Once my hotel and flight are booked I don’t worry much about the details and this trip wasn’t much different. In fact, we didn’t nail down our hotel for Rome until two weeks before we left. Mike actually had more preparation to do for this trip than I did since he had to learn how to drive a stick shift, but more on that later. I have a few posts planned that will take you more in depth into a few of our favorite parts of the trip like Rome, Sorrento, and climbing Mt. Vesuvius, but I wanted to start off with a more general post about how Italy made me feel.

This is the face of relaxation

In short, it was incredible. The other night we were on a long drive home from a family reunion and Mike said something that really resonated with me. He said, “Whenever I think about Italy I instantly go back to how relaxed and calm I felt there. It helps me realize how great life is and I don’t worry so much about things that used to stress me out.” It’s so. freaking. true. We were happy in Italy. Not that we’re unhappy at home in Jersey. But Italian life taught us so much about being fulfilled. We stayed with our friend Laura’s family for most of the trip so we truly experienced everyday life with a close knit Italian family. We went to the local cafe for breakfast. We walked to the neighborhood seafood stand to buy mussels for lunch. We drove through the bustling town and looked in awe at the beauty and simplicity of it all. Like most Americans Mike and I are hustling, bustling doers, and we didn’t have to do much in Italy to feel content. Our friend Joe (Laura’s husband) tried to describe the feeling you get when you’re there and as soon as we arrived we instantly got it. Even after 17 days it was so hard to snap back into everyday life. It’s the first time I didn’t feel ready to come home.

Laura’s family were the most gracious hosts we could have asked for.  There’s truly nothing like Italian hospitality. As someone who loves to entertain and have things just so it was refreshing to be in a culture where family and food were the main focus. It was unpretentious, casual, comfortable and warm, and we felt like members of the family. Food was dutifully prepared using time-honored recipes and ingredients were fresh, local and simple. Wine was delicious and savored. One of Laura’s uncle’s (who was visiting from Rome) told me the key to enjoying wine is to never let your glass be too full or too empty. Mealtime was relaxed and relished. Some of our lunches (the main meal of the day there) stretched over the course of two hours, and each time I tried to start helping clean up Nonna would motion to me to sit down and relax. What a foreign concept for an American. What a necessary lesson.

Italians seemed mystified by America. It was so funny and humbling to experience. I lost count of all the American-themed clothes and goods we came across in the little seaside town of Bacoli. Shirts said NEW YORK or BROOKLYN and they even had an American-themed pizza with french fries and sliced up hot dogs that was all the rage with locals (topped with mayo, no less). We were floating in the Mediterranean Sea one afternoon and a young boy heard us speaking English (which was not at all common in Bacoli) and he just started staring at us in amazement. His mother said to Laura in Italian, “I’m sorry for my son, but he’s never heard people speak English in person before, just in the movies.” He had an instant rapport with Mike and they struck up a conversation about American traditions with Laura translating. I remember them bonding over a shared love of “bistecca.” He said to us, “Isn’t the American dream having a single family home with a pool in the backyard and an SUV?” In this idyllic town on the shores of the Mediterranean he was dreaming of America, and all I could think of is the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. All the while we were dreaming of Italy.

Farm to table isn’t a concept there, it’s just life. We woke up each day to the sound of roosters crowing and chickens squawking and knew that’s where Nonna gets her eggs. Fresh produce, meat and seafood were all accessible within a short 10 minute walk from the house, in addition to a little market and a cafe which were the hub for daily life in the town. You shopped for what you needed that day and there was nothing in the house that didn’t have a purpose. The simplicity of everyday life in Italy amazed me and it’s something I hope to emulate. They work to live while we live to work and life flies by before our eyes. I am so incredibly thankful we were able to have this experience at our age because I know it will have an impact on our outlook on life and work in such a wonderful way, and I’m so grateful.

What experiences changed you while traveling? Have you ever visited Italy and, if so, where? What did you think? We’ve certainly been bitten by the travel bug and can’t wait to plan our next trip abroad.

 

 

Cut the Cable Cord

There’s a slew of streaming services out there today. Ya know what? I don’t even think the word slew covers it. Gazillion? Yeah, that’s more like it. From Hulu and Netflix to Sling and Playstation Vue, the tech savvy have a ton of options for cutting the cable cord once and for all. My husband? He’s the epitome of tech savvy. Our house is basically a smart home at this point. We have an Amazon Echo (you know, that “Hey, Alexa?” thing) on both floors, an eco-friendly Nest thermostat, a dead bolt on our front door that’s controlled by an app, a robot vacuum, a robot camera that can ride around the house and check on things when we’re not home, and… need I say more, or have I lost you yet? 🙂

I’m the opposite of tech savvy. I know enough to use all the tech in our home, but how could I tell you how it works or how to hook it up? Nope. Nada. Not at all. But do I appreciate the convenience (and cost savings) it provides? Yup. You betcha. So when Mike presented me with an option to get rid of cable while reducing our monthly bills by more than $100 all without sacrificing our entertainment options — I didn’t even blink an eye. And one day later we were switched from Comcast to DIRECTV Now.

Here’s a low tech explanation of how it works. It’s not that complicated — I promise. We use AT&T for our cellular service and we recently upgraded to an unlimited data plan which somehow ended up being a really great deal. Thank goodness for market competition (I’m looking at you, T-Mobile). For $10 more per month we not only got unlimited data, but we became eligible to use AT&T’s partner streaming service DIRECTV Now.  If you’re like me you’re probably thinking I DON’T WANT A SATELLITE DISH! We had DIRECTV service via Satellite when I was growing up and the service went out the second it rained. But this is different.

DIRECTIV Now can operate through any streaming device (think Amazon Fire Box, Roku, Apple TV, etc.) We’re running ours through an Apple TV for our main TV downstairs and we’re using an Amazon Fire Stick on our TV in the master bedroom. First of all, the guide is INCREDIBLE! You can go through and favorite channels so they show up on a separate list which makes channel surfing easier than ever. All the channels we watch are included in the service, in addition to some we couldn’t get through Comcast (Tru TV, Travel Channel and Viceland). There have been ZERO interruptions in our service since we started using it a few weeks ago. And it even has a ton of content available on demand. So far the only thing it doesn’t include is DVR, but everything I would typically record is available on demand, so it hasn’t been an issue. And Mike tells me the DVR service is coming soon.

But the BEST result of us making the switch has been saving a cool $100 on our cable bill each month. By canceling our Comcast cable service we were able to increase our internet to blast speed and drop our bill from $198 per month down to $89. Pretty awesome, right? Just think about what you’d do with an extra Benjamin in your wallet every 30 days. So. Many. Things.

What do you think? Are you ready to cut the cable cord and start streaming your entertainment? Have you tried any other streaming services? If so, what’s your favorite?

Packing for Two Weeks in Italy

Eeek! Our Italian vacation will be here before I know it, so I’m getting a jump start on packing. We’ll be gone for two weeks overseas so I don’t want to forget any essentials. Luckily we’re traveling with our BFFs who take this trip every year so my friend Laura has been a huge help in guiding me on what to bring and what to leave at home. I’m notorious for packing the night before, but I promised myself I’d be proactive with this trip to avoid last minute stress — and I’m making good progress.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the best packer. Laura amazes me with how thorough she is and how well in advance she has her suitcase ready to go, but packing ahead of time has always stressed me out more than last minute packing. The reason? How can I know well in advance what I’m going to want to wear on my trip? What if I want to wear it before I leave? What if something I need for the trip is still in the laundry? Plus, we’re always so busy leading up to a trip that I just can’t spare the mental power it takes to plan ahead. But I’m bound and determined to change that! With a two week trip I knew I needed to be smart about packing — so I started thinking of what my Italian “capsule wardrobe” should be. With all my laundry finished and a few hours free this morning I got to work.

Hmmm… can you tell what my favorite colors are? 🙂 I’m a sucker for a gorgeous orangey-red. That’s going to be my go-to pop of color in Italy, with lots of white, navy, black and gray neutral pieces mixed in. Here’s a list of what I ended up packing.

  • 7 casual tees
  • 4 casual tanks
  • 4 dressy tanks
  • 5 dressy tops (some with 3/4 to full length sleeves for evenings, but all are super light/sheer)
  • 1 skirt
  • 2 pants (a pair of black stretch denim and white linen)
  • 4 casual shorts (black, denim, olive green and gray)
  • 4 maxi dresses (on the dressier side)
  • 3 shorter casual dresses
  • 2 swimsuits with cover ups
  • 1 sun hat
  • 1 scarf
  • 3 pairs of sandals
  • 2 pairs of sneakers
  • 1 scarf
  • 1 cross body bag
  • 1 clutch
  • Sunglasses

A ton of the stuff I’m bringing can be mixed and matched to be dressed up or down depending on what we end up doing. We’re planning on hitting Naples, the Almafi Coast and Rome while we’re there, so I want to be prepared for everything from a casual day spent at the beach to a busy afternoon sightseeing in the city — and everything in between. What do you think of my list? I’d love to hear your packing tips and tricks! What is your go to wardrobe for long trips away from home?

Master Bath Mood Board

Our dated master bathroom is currently undergoing a much needed renovation and I’m SO excited to share the details. We’ve always looked at our home as an investment so any updates have to be resale friendly. I love our town home. It was a great deal in a nice neighborhood on a decent sized corner lot. But it’s not our forever home. We had a realtor in earlier this year to give us an outside perspective and his biggest criticism was our master bath. We already knew it needed to be done so when he confirmed our suspicions we got serious about making a plan. Months of research later and my plan is finally coming to fruition!

I love the idea of using white and gray as foundational colors with hints of warm brass to make things feel cozy. I decided to use gold accents in places that are more easily interchangeable like the vanity light, mirror and vanity hardware. It’s much more complicated and costly to swap out the shower head, diverter and faucet since those require a plumber, so I chose a timeless brushed nickel for those finishes. It’s simple, neutral and very resale friendly. Do I dream of infusing more custom finishes into my spaces one day? Of course! But I’ll save those choices for my forever home.

This remodel is very budget friendly. Kitchens and bathrooms sell houses so I didn’t want to cheap out, but I’m also being realistic about the sale price of a house like this. A $20,000 (or even $10,000) renovation just doesn’t make financial sense. Luckily my brother-in-law worked in construction before recently becoming a police officer and he’s a DIY nerd like me, so it didn’t take much coaxing to get him on board. And I’d much rather invest in someone who will get the job done then take a risk on an unknown contractor. Once he agreed to help with the project we were off to the races.

Here are some ways I’m sticking to our budget without sacrificing style:

  • Use an inexpensive shower pan but bring the wall tile all the way to the ceiling. Our shower is small, but it’s a standard size. That means we could source an acrylic shower pan from a local big box store and save money on having to tile the shower base. The plumber we hired set the shower pan with Quikcrete to give it added stability for the long haul and we’re thrilled with how it turned out. I chose an inexpensive white subway tile in an oversized style (12″x4″, source “h” below) and opted to bring the tile all the way to the ceiling. This tricks your eye into thinking the shower is much bigger than it really is.
  • Recycle leftover materials from another project. We had a ton of faux wood flooring tiles, mortar and grout leftover from a flooring project in 2015, but I held onto it “just incase” — and boy am I glad I did. The tile will be the perfect foundation of our new, modern bathroom and it’ll only cost us the labor to have it installed (which is super affordable thanks to Jesse, my brother-in-law). We bought the tile at a professional supply store, but I also found it online (source “l” below).
  • Add upgraded hardware to an off-the-shelf vanity. Searching for the perfect vanity has probably been the most time consuming part of this project. Most of the options at big box stores feel chintzy (which is sure to scare potential buyers down the road), but spending $1,200+ on a more custom option just isn’t in the budget. Kudos to my husband for spotting this Scott Living vanity on a recent trip to Lowe’s. It has drawers for extra storage (something our realtor recommended) and a shelf to keep things feeling airy while giving us easy access to towels. Great find, Mikey! 🙂 It already comes with a synthetic stone top that compliments my gray & white theme and at $400 the cost can’t be beat. The low price gives me some wiggle room to add a special touch, so I’m planning to remove the stock hardware in favor of these gorgeous unlacquered brass misson-style pulls that will age with a gorgeous, warm patina over time.
  • Choose one or two places to splurge for a more custom look. I chose to splurge in two key places to give the bathroom extra style. First, we added two shower niches that will be tiled in marble mosaic accent tiles. At $13 per square foot these tiles are much more expensive than the subway tiles, but we only needed four sheets to get the job done. Our second splurge will be this Metal Framed Round Wall Mirror from West Elm. At $249 it’s more expensive than some other key pieces in the room, but it’s the exact style I’m looking for and it’s the first thing you see walking into the space, so it’s worth the splurge (and it blows your basic builder grade mirror out of the water).
  • Add an architectural element to boost character and charm. I wanted to add something to make the room feel extra special. It’s a small space for a master bath so a little WOW factor will go a long way. The trend setter in me wants to add wallpaper in the worst way, but that’s not realistic for resale. Potential buyers could swoon like me, or it could totally turn them off. The solution? Ship lap. My house was built in the early 90s and it really lacks any architectural detail, so this simple infusion of charm and character is just what the doctor ordered. I’ll probably end up painting the whole room a crisp white which will give the ship lap a classic feel like it has always been there.

I can’t wait to see it all come together and, of course, I’ll keep you posted as we make progress. What major renovations are your taking on these days? How do you stay on budget? What are your favorite ways to infuse your personal style into a space?

Source List

a | b | c | d | e | f | g | h | i | j | k | l

Fancy Friday: Mint to Be

Welcome to my first ever Fancy Friday post! One of the things that makes me happiest is finding ways to elevate an everyday situation to feel truly special. Yes, some of my friends have called me extra as a result, but who cares. Paying attention to the details has always been my thing, and it helps amp up my ability to entertain. I’ll be sharing simple and attainable tips and tricks for making things feel fancy without much added effort on the blog (hopefully) each week.

If you follow me on Instagram you’ve seen the incredibly awesome tiered planter that made a debut on my patio this season. It was a very thoughtful birthday gift from my best friends Joe & Laura last year. They gave it to me in May 2016 and it promptly sat in the box. All. Freaking. Summer. Mike and I were both swamped with work and traveling and we just didn’t have the time to dedicate to gardening the right way, so I resigned myself to being a complete gardening failure last year. Isn’t it nuts how our own negative thoughts can be the worst criticism? Ugh…

But when spring finally came again we both made a commitment to finally putting the planter to good use. (Read: we were prepping for my annual Cinco de Brieo birthday party when he suggested we finally put it together and I lost my mind because we had so much else to do excitedly agreed and jumped right in.) Needless to say, I was thrilled we finally made use of it early in the season to start a small veggie & herb garden.

I had no idea what I was doing. This is the first year I’ve really tried my hand at cultivating edible plants. So we chose a few of our favorite herbs and picked up three different types of tomato plants and two types of peppers and with a little sweat equity we were off to the races. My biggest piece of advice? Invest in a drip irrigation line! It’s a major time saver and it snaked easily through the tiers of the planter box. Mike handled this part of the project and once I saw it come together it was way less intimidating than it sounded. And all the necessary materials are available at your local home improvement store.

So, what has been the all star of my container garden so far? M-I-N-T! Mint. Mint. Mint. I’ve developed an obsession for this fragrant, hardy and fast-growing plant. After a juice cleanse and a whole hearted attempt at doing the Whole 30 (more to come on that) since the summer started, I was looking for no-calorie ways to amp up food and drinks, and mint was it.

Here are some of my favorite ways to use mint to make life a bit fancier:

Sweet Potato Toast with Almond Butter, Smashed Blueberries & Mint (Whole 30 compliant)

Take a sweet potato and slice it into several thin slices. You want them to be thin enough to crisp up in a toaster by not so small to fall through the grates. I don’t have exact measurements, so I recommend experimenting to see what’s best for you. Put two slices in the toaster on the highest setting. You’ll need to put it back in two or three times to get the right level of crispiness/warmth. I liked mine when it was warmed all the way through and slightly blackened on the outside. Once toasted, smear a tablespoon of almond butter on each piece. Smash a few tablespoons of blueberries in a bowl and spread on top of almond butter. Then top with julienned mint. I promise, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re not on Whole 30, adding a bit of honey or agave to the blueberries would sweeten it up a bit, but it’s not necessary.

Coconut Mojito Mocktail (Whole 30 compliant)

Cutting out fun stuff like alcohol, cheese and desserts was hard during my Whole 30 program. When I stumbled on this recipe for a Coconut Mojito Mocktail I knew I had to try it. I’m pretty sure I used too much fresh lime juice (hello, sour citrus) but it was still delicious. For looking fancy, it came together quickly and was super easy.

“Spa Water” with Lemon, Cucumber and Mint

Summer is a great time to try and increase your water intake. Drinking “fancy” water (either sparkling or flat) with lemon wedges, slices of cucumber and muddled mint was a way for me to treat myself and help change my habits during Whole 30, and it’s something I’ve continued because I love it so much. I keep all the ingredients prepped and ready in the fridge and it’s become a fun ritual in the morning to make my spa water for the day. I use a stainless steel tumbler so all I need to do is keep adding water throughout the day. It’s the perfect way to stay hydrated while feeling like you’re doing something special for yourself.

What are your favorite ways to feel fanciful? What have you been harvesting from your home grown garden?

 

 

Living Room Refresh

The “house tour” section of my blog is woefully out of date. It’s so funny to scroll through those photos and realize how far my house has come in the last few years. Old photos help me appreciate all the time and energy I’ve spent turning my house into a home since we moved here in March 2013 (shortly after we married). We were lucky enough to score a short sale at a bargain price and scrape enough money together for a very small down payment. And my favorite DIY project to date began as we started transforming the house room by room.

Here’s the living room soon after we moved in.

Not the worst room I’ve ever seen, but looking back at that photo makes me cringe so hard.

Fast forward through four years, three couches, two area rugs and countless gallery wall attempts and the living room reflects my personal style now more than ever. It’s as close to feeling finished as ever. Part bohemian and part elegant with a dash of cozy and a hint of quirky is the best way to describe my style. I’m instantly drawn to anything with a tribal print like kilim or ikat — especially if it features an array of saturated hues. I’m a sucker for color, but a steady foundation of greige (a neutral shade of trendy gray mixed with *gasp* traditional beige) is the common thread keeping it all feel grounded.

Here’s a view from a similar angle of what the room looks like today.

So. Much. Better. Psst… see my little pup hiding behind the coffee table? His fur matches my color palette, but I swear that was a happy accident. 🙂

Here’s a more straight on view. This is what you see at the back of the house when you walk in through the front door, so it’s the first impression visitors get when they walk in.

Loloi’s gorgeous new Javari rug in Berry/Sunrise is the foundation of this room. It was certainly a splurge but I’m at a place where I’m ready to start investing in key pieces and this rug was love at first sight. I’m so happy I pulled the trigger and I’m thrilled with the quality and softness of this rug. Two thumbs WAY up!

The light gray fabric of the Paidge sofa (fabric: performance velvet; color: stone) and rich brown of the Henry power recliner (fabric: top-grain leather; color: tobacco) are similar tones to the rug and I love the way they all came together. Both are from West Elm and, like the rug, were investment pieces — so I went with neutral, durable fabrics that will have longevity. Did I mention this is my third couch in four years? It needs to stick around for a while.

Rounding out the seating area are two modern slipper chairs. The size and scale allow them to float in a high traffic area without making it feel too crowded. These are from Target’s budget-friendly Threshold line and at $129 each they helped balance the cost of the pricier pieces without sacrificing style. The color is called pepper and they throw a navy hue (not black) in person which adds a nice hint of color without competing with the rug.

Three cheers for finally seeing this room come together. It’s such a good feeling! What home-related projects have you tackled lately that make you take a deep, soothing breath when you look at them? What rooms are next on your to do list?

 

Is this thing on?

Whew, it’s been a while (ahem… more than two years) since I’ve updated here. I started this blog for a few different reasons. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback in my personal life and on social media about my home decor and party planning posts — and I wanted to expand on those social snippets to tell a bigger story. With a background in PR, marketing and social media I also had the know how to start a blog (for the most part). The one thing I didn’t have in 2013 was the confidence to truly put myself out there with the potential for negative feedback. For people to criticize me as anonymous followers often do. For someone to think I’m… *gasp* not perfect.

I’ve strived for perfection my entire life. That inner drive is what lead me to accomplish some amazing things at the ripe old age of 29, and it also made me terribly critical of myself (probably more so than any anonymous follower ever could be). But with 30 just around the corner it’s time to shake things up. It’s time to own my opinions and have courage to be who I am. It’s time to take risks and truly chase my dreams. It’s time to realize what I thought my life would become may not be how it ends up, and that’s okay. It’s time to stop trying to be perfect and start being real (and hopefully help inspire others to do the same along the way).

I’m blogging again. But this time my goals are different. I don’t have unrealistic expectations of what “should” be. The word “should” always gets in the way for me. The thought of what I “should” do or how perfection “could” look if only I work hard enough isn’t going to stop me from trying anymore. This blog is going to evolve with me, and that’s okay. It’s more than okay. It’s perfect.

 

Christmas Card Fail

It has rained every weekend since Thanksgiving so we haven’t been able to get a Christmas tree yet. We wanted to get it last weekend — rain. Tried again this weekend — even more rain. Ugh!

Last year, it happened to snow early in the season. We already had our colorful Christmas lights up along the fence so we ran outside, grabbed them and snapped this cute photo for our card. It’s one of my favorite shots of us. Can you believe we took this ourselves — selfie style?

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So this year the pressure is on to snap an even better photo. Ideally I’d like to get a shot of us at the garden center picking out our Christmas tree. The evergreens would make an awesome background on a holiday card.

I’m anxious to get our cards ordered so I decided to try and take a photo inside before we ventured out into the rain (and humidity struck) on Saturday.

It didn’t work. First the olive print was half in the background. And it just looked too busy.

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I took the print down to snap a shot with our plain tan wall in the background, but I didn’t like how these photos were clearly a poor attempt at a selfie.

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Then things just got silly…

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Wish us luck on snapping a more charming photo for our Christmas card this year. 🙂

Fa la la la Living Room

I’m continuing this week’s tour of Christmas decor in my house with a peek at the living room where I’ve decked the halls with red, green and silver accents.
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I mixed some of my old favorites with a few new pieces this year to make the room feel extra festive.
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I splurged on a pair of green and white houndstooth pillows that coordinate with my table runner in the dining room. The couch is the first thing that draws your eye in when you walk through the front door so I focused my attention there this year. A trio of new pillows, glittery garland and DIY holiday-themed art transformed this spot for Christmas. My couch and rug are so neutral that it’s easy to change the look of the room by switching up a few accent pieces and swapping out the yellow pillows for green. My strategy for decorating the living room was to take away yellow and replace it with green which complemented my existing red accents nicely.

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A few silver accents go a long way to make this space feel Christmas-y, too. I found this wreath made of silver, vintage-looking ornaments that I placed on a tray on the coffee table as a statement piece. When we put the tree up it will make my large silver ornaments really pop.

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Silver also makes a statement atop my entertainment center where a bevy of glass Christmas trees in a variety of sizes add interest to this side of the room. I treat my entertainment center as if it were my fireplace mantel (because I’ve always wanted one). It’s one of my favorite decorations in the whole house and I love how it turned out.

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Last but certainly not least is the stairway where I draped the same glittery garland down the banister and secured it with some red and green striped ribbon. I like the fact that you can see the ribbon holding up the garland and I think it gives the banister added character.

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And with that, the tour of our indoor Christmas decorations is complete. Next up I’ll share with you my Christmas tree and our display of lights outside. Also, look out for a new vlog with a video tour of our Christmas decorations which will give you a better feel for the layout of the space!