Friday, December 30, 2011

what are you doin'... new year's eve?

I'll be photographing a beautiful wedding here in Louisville tomorrow, so my New Year's plans are pretty limited... especially seeing that my New Year's date is already in Georgia (insert major sad face here).

But here's what I would be doing New Year Eve... you know, if I had a big night on the town planned... with a big fancy party... and my handsome New Year's date...

I'd be wearing this perfect outfit.

I'd paint my nails something like this.

I'd serve my guests pretty drinks with a little magic in them.

I'd ask my guests to share their New Year's resolutions on these clever coasters.

I'd fill up a time capsule to open at next year's party.

I'd have my midnight kiss under shimmery lights.

But this year, a Facetime kiss will be just as magical:)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

thankful thursday {link up}

{link up your own Thankful Thursday post below}

This Thursday I am thankful for...

1) Little Bailey boo. Over the holidays I got to meet my cousin's adorable baby girl, Bailey. My cousin Melissa and I are just 2 weeks apart and have practically grown up as sisters. It was so sweet to get to hold her beautiful little girl.

2) Puzzles. Does anyone else still love a good puzzle? I can't help it... it's a weakness I have. A puzzle-difficiency. My sister and I do one almost every Christmas, and if I had an extra table in the house I'm pretty sure I'd have a puzzle out year-round. Good thing I don't... I would get absolutely nothing done... ever.

3) My camera. I'm so thankful that I have a way to capture our memories... the big events and everyday moments. After participating in Help-Portrait a few weeks ago, I realized that something as simple as a photo is a true blessing, not to be taken advantage of.

What are you thankful for this week? Grab the Thankful Thursday button from the right sidebar and link up your own post below. Be sure to visit the other Thankful Thursday participants and share the love!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

top 10 :: favorite christmas gifts

I can't believe that Christmas has come and gone... again. It always seems to fly by. I'm still listening to Christmas music for a few more days... just trying to stretch it out a little bit longer. My holiday was frantic, but fabulous. We were in Houston and had a whirlwind weekend of Christmas celebration. I received some super awesome gifts this year... a lot of stuff from my wish list and a lot of surprises too. Here are a few of my favorites...

1) My Pyrrah necklace.
This is what Lance got me this year. I was way excited about it... 1) because I had no idea what he was getting me, and he can rarely keep surprises to himself... and 2) because these necklaces are so flippin' cool. Have you heard of Pyrrah before?? Basically this awesome couple started designing jewelry from 19th century wax seals. Lance picked out the Five Fleur de Lis necklace for me to represent our time here in Louisville (the fleur de lis is the city symbol for Louisville).

2) My James Avery ring.
I had this amazingly beautiful smokey quartz ring on my wish list this year... fully expecting not to receive it. I needed one last thing for my top 10 wish list and I have always loved anything from James Avery... but this one was a tad pricey. My dad always gets "his girls" (my mom, sister and me) a little something special just from him. Well this year, he completely surprised us by giving all 3 of us the gorgeous smokey quartz ring. I love it.

3) My Lulu Lemon pants.
Not all of my gifts were jewelry... I also snagged the awesome Lulu Lemon pants that were on my wish list. I'm hoping these pants are just what I needed to get me motivated to work out again. And... if all else fails, at least I can look like I've been working out... Lulu can always help with that;)

4) My (I mean, our) fancy decorative tray.
This year my grandparents got everyone something for their home. Lance and I lucked out with this beautiful decorative tray. It's huge. I'm already daydreaming about where it will go and what purpose it will serve in our house... I'm thinking breakfast in bed for Julia...

5) My Erin Condren gift card.
I have been eyeing the Erin Condren planner for quite a few months now... trying to decide if that would be my twenty-twelve planner for next year. I am still new to the Erin Condren fan club, but basically everything on her website is amazing. Well, I visited my cousin (and her precious new little baby girl) over the holidays and she let me flip through her planner... and that was all it took... I'm hooked. Lucky for me, my cousin happened to give me an EC gift card... which I will be using shortly to order my new planner!!

6) Our state prints.
Specifically Kentucky and Georgia. I am waaaayyyy excited about these. My sister discovered the B&A Prints shop on Etsy, and we both instantly added these clever state maps to our wish lists. I think it would be really cool to have a little collection for every state that was meaningful to you. We are hoping to eventually add Alabama and Texas to our state wall.

7) My blue Gap jeans.
Well... they're really more like jeggings, I guess. But they are the most awesome jeggings ever. I love the color and I love how comfortable they are. I will definitely be seeing if they have any other colors...

8) My Happiness Project book.
Santa brought me The Happiness Project book by Gretchen Rubin. I have heard really great things about this little book... the subtitle on the cover was all I needed... "The Happiness Project... Or, why I spent a year trying to sing in the morning, clean my closets, fight right, read aristotle, and generally have more fun." Okay, I'm in. It reminded me of my 30 by 30 list... and makes me want to go ahead and create a 40 by 40 list. If this kind of stuff leaves you feeling inspired, then you really need to go over here and read about how this girl celebrated her 38th birthday... amazing.

9) My new watch.
Compliments of my rad sister. I was wanting a new watch for Christmas this year... and my sister totally pulled through for me. I love the tortoise band and the gold details. Love. Love. Love.

10) Mulah. Cash money. Dollar bills.
I mean, who doesn't like a little bit of Christmas cash?!? Lance and I have already agreed to use a portion for some fun spending cash for each of us, while the rest is going straight to savings... well actually, it will probably be used to knock out some more debt. But hey, that is one heck of a Christmas gift if you ask me.

What about you? Did you receive a special gift this year? Or were you able to give a special gift this year? I'd love to hear...

Linking this up to Oh Amanda.

Friday, December 23, 2011

wishing you a sparkly christmas...

Merry Christmas to you and yours! Posts will probably be light over the next few days, but I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas filled with the love of our Savior!

PS... if you are interested in taking a photo of your tree like the one above, there is an awesome tutorial here.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

thankful thursday {link up}

{link up your own Thankful Thursday post below}

This Thursday I am thankful for...

1) Flying to Houston! Lance and I are off to spend Christmas with my family in Houston today! I'm super excited to hang out with my parents and sister and her husband. It should be a fairly low-key Christmas, which I think we are all looking forward to.

2) Date night! Last night Lance and I enjoyed a fabulous date night at PF Changs. It.was.delicious. It was even more delicious since we got to use a gift card!! (Thanks Portia!!)

3) Christmas! It's only 3 days away people! I can't believe how fast it got here... but I plan to savor every moment of it. Time with friends... time with family... and time remembering the birth of our Savior.

What are you thankful for this week? Grab the Thankful Thursday button from the right sidebar and link up your own post below. Be sure to visit the other Thankful Thursday participants and share the love!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

it's beginning to look a lot like chirstmas

We've decorated the house in bits and pieces this year. A little here and there... basically anytime we stumbled on a Christmas storage box in the garage, we put something new up. We have spent the past 4 Christmas' in 4 different houses... so, yeah... there have been some holiday boxes that haven't been unpacked in a while. This was the first year in a long time that we were actually able to get a real tree... therefore... also the first time in a while that we were able to pull out all of our Christmas ornaments. To say I was excited would be a major understatement.

Everything looks just a little different than last year... but you'll definitely see a few familiar pieces...

I was finally able to pull out my little Snow Village collection again this year... it's been a long time since I've seen the glowing lights on these little buildings... 4 years, I think. We decided this village would be safest on top of the bookshelf... you know, to make sure there weren't any massive catastrophes caused by a certain Little Cat.

Here's how the Christmas tree turned out. I love all of the family ornaments and the general homespun look. I wanted to add more colorful ball ornaments, but Lance literally had to make me stop adding things. Christmas trees are one of the few times that I live by the motto, "the more the merrier." And don't even think about stealing any presents from under the tree... see that angel on top? She'll swoop right down and smack you in the head. I mean, look at her... she is ready.

And because Lance put "ornament restrictions" on the big tree... I decided to put up the two tiny 3 foot trees that we bought last year. This one was in the kitchen and had a little bird theme going on. I think it could benefit from a few blue and green ornaments or something of the sort... you know, for a little color... maybe next year.

But speaking of color... this is the "purple tree." And I love it. This one went up in the guest bedroom... mainly so Lance wouldn't have to stare at it's purple-ness all day. There are purple balls, purple feathery things, purple birds (yes, more birds)... it's hard to see in this picture... but take my word for it... this tree is awesome.

The Christmas card wall is right by the back door this year. I'm still using (and loving) my hand-dandy vertical card holder from Pier One. Christmas cards are yet another reason why December ranks as one of my all-time favorite months. I love the photos of loved ones from both near and far... the simple holiday greetings from friends I may not have heard from since last Christmas... it's a little reminder that we are still connected by those simple annual greetings.

I hung one of our twiggy Christmas stars in the kitchen window (right by the cards). I love these stars... I got them several years ago at Michaels for just a few dollars and they are one of my favorite decorations. I love their simplicity.

I hung the other twiggy star over the mirror in our dinning room... which happens to be right over the nativity set this year. Our Willow Tree nativity set is still one of my favorites. I love this whole little set up right here.

Since I ended up having some red Christmas balls leftover after Lance enforced the "ornament restriction," I decided to fill up a glass display vase that I already had in the kitchen. Loving the pop of red.

Ahem... yes, speaking of red... Let's talk about these giant red cones I have set up by the TV. I guess they are supposed to be Christmas trees... but they are really just GINORMOUS sparkly red cones. I bought them 4 or 5 years ago when we lived in our favorite house... and they never looked quite so ginormous on the fireplace there... but.they.are.huge. I feel like at any point they might simply take over our living room and swallow us whole.

Moving right along... my absolute favorite piece this year is still this sweet little musical figurine. The piece belonged to my grandparents and if you turn the Christmas tree it plays "Here Comes Santa Claus." I used to carefully turn the tree over and over again, just humming and staring at the little scene playing out before me... until eventually, I turned that little tree so much that I snapped the star right off. Oops. That's me in that little picture... pre-star-snappage. After my grandma passed away a few years ago, my mom gave me the beautiful piece, along with the photo. I love it.

We decided to hang these cute little snowmen by the stairs... well, I guess technically it's a snowman and snow-woman. They have a little heart that says, "Love will keep us warm." Which hopefully is true, since we've been trying to keep our thermostat set at 63 degrees this winter...

Our mantel is pretty simple this year... a strand of garland and 3 vases of some amaryllis flowers (fake... compliments of Target). Then of course we have our stockings hung too:) I really like how the mantle turned out, simple... but festive.

Santa is chilling on the dining room table this year. He was on the coffee table last year... but after I removed my white pumpkins from this year's fall decorations, I had this perfect little open spot for Santa in that mossy greenery... nestled him right in. I think he likes it there.

And don't forget the presents under the tree! All of our gifts that are going to Georgia later are sitting pretty under the tree for now. I think they add a nice little touch, don't you? And I'm still digging the red & white paper combo that I went with this year.

So, there you have it... it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas over here... good thing too, since it is only 4 days away and all...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

top 10 :: things i hope to do before christmas

There are a handful of things that I'm hoping to accomplish before Christmas day sneaks up on me in just 5 short days! Some are things that simply have to happen, while others are just to enhance the holiday spirit... Here are the top 10 things I hope to do before Christmas...

1) Try a Starbucks peppermint mocha.

2) Pack my bags for Houston.

3) Work on a puzzel.

4) Finish the Breaking Dawn book.

5) Hold my cousin's precious little baby girl.

6) Mail my last few Christmas packages.

7) Order our January cards.

8) Complete a few pages of my December Daily album (for THIS year).

9) Buy Lance's Christmas present.

10) Slow down and savor the true Spirit of Christmas. {printable}

Linking this up to Oh Amanda for Top Ten Tuesday.