Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!


Love, Laurie & Alison

Monday, December 30, 2013

Ringing in 2014

Bubbly Tassle Garland from Shop Sweet Lulu | Gold Foil Balloons from Party City | Chapstick Hydration Lock from Chapstick | Confetti Bar Confetti Wands from The Confetti Bar | Gramercy Dress from Anthropologie | Pro Longwear Lipcreme from MAC Cosmetics


Welcome back! Alison and I have taken a few days off to enjoy the Christmas holidays and spend time with family. This year has been a peaceful one for the most part and has been a year of growth in many areas, particularly this blog. I'm so happy Alison agreed to come on and co-write and curate this blog with me because we work well together and talk out inspirations. Thank you, Alison for joining me in the blogging journey!
I am excited for the prospect of a fresh start that the new year always brings. I'm trying to think of resolutions I would like to make and hopefully will share with you what those are…I'm doing a little soul searching beyond the usual "be a better person" and "be healthier." While I do want to do those things, I want to have a goal that by the end of 2014 I can look back on and say I did my best at accomplishing it. 
Until then, let's think about the party that will ensue before the clock strikes 12 on Tuesday night. Gold and confetti wands anyone? Don't forget to brighten up those lips for a midnight smooch, ladies. 
-Laurie

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Grove Park Inn: A Christmas Tradition



I am being introduced to a few of my main man's family traditions each year of our marriage and this year the new one was Christmas at The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. We met the bro- and sis-in-law in Asheville for a few hours of fun Saturday and visited the Inn for the ginger bread works of art my bro loves so much.



I felt like I was walking through a Food Network competition or something. This things are incredible (as you can see). Not to mention the grandeur of this 100 year old hotel (Happy Birthday Grove Park!). At least 10 U.S. Presidents have visited the hotel and/or made major career decisions while staying at the Inn. I also saw guest names like Helen Keller, the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers. Amazing history in wrapped up in this beautiful building. If you are ever in the area, visit and maybe even stop in for a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants within the Inn. And if you are able to really pamper yourself, visit the spa. I have heard it cannot be beat.

Christmas at the Grove Park:

Grand prize winner or something...It was in a glass case.


We even heard a hand-bell choir!








-Alison

Friday, December 20, 2013

TGIF: Christmas Edition



It is so hard to believe that Christmas is so close. With the weekend starting the Christmas festivities I can't help but feel a little sad that my beautiful Christmas tree (and it was a good tree this year) won't twinkle again for another year, my wrapping paper won't leave subtle sparkles on the floor that I secretly love, I can't watch the timeless movies that I have to see every single year. I feel like just last week we were putting up the best tree I've ever gotten and entertaining my husband's family for Thanksgiving…but then I stop and think. We get so caught up in going going going that we don't stop and sit and love the holiday moments. As I write this and stare at my tree, I remember these past December weekends that are now memories, some of the best memories I've made. It began with my birthday, being cozy with my family and best friends, watching multiple Christmas movies and guzzling cranberry tea; taking my best friend to cut down her tree amongst icy winter weather. The next week brought about a cookie exchange; a group of girls gathering for dinner scattered across my house, laughing and catching up since the previous year we had all been together. My grandmother's birthday brought about a fun dinner, going back in time to a Dickens Christmas in downtown Franklin, driving through a light show and seeing the decorations at Opryland Hotel. This week we have been quiet, going to bed early and taking it easy. It is a nice start to the holiday really, because as my eyes move from the tree to the mantle and my nativity scene, I realize it's so easy to get caught up in the constant revelry that we miss the reason we are celebrating.

In a world where so many opinions run rampant, freedom of speech and the ability to have your own viewshave become ridiculed, I think we need to just be quiet and still and watch the Christmas lights twinkle.

Let's remember that the lights of a small city twinkled over two thousand years ago in a similar way to two travelers who were turned away from an inn. People were too busy, to set on the goings-on around them to realize that an important baby was about to be born. We celebrate this season of giving, thanks and love because that baby was born. While our TGIF post this week may be about our favorite things during the season, I speak for both Alison and myself that our one true favorite thing is that our Savior was born. We do not hide it on this blog, nor do we necessarily flaunt it but we do recognize that our Savior Jesus Christ is the reason we are here today and the reason we celebrate Christmas. Our hope and prayer for you is that you take some quiet moments to reflect on this too.
Merry Christmas weekend.
-Laurie

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Gift-wrapping for All


I have found some lovely gift wrap inspirations on pinterest this year. I have most all of our shopping complete and hope to have the final items on my door step by the weekend...so now its time for the creativity to flow!

Do you have themed wrapping this year? How do you package your gifts? Send us a picture!


This is so simple. Use your scrap yarn to adorn your gifts. Smart. 



This is like a double gift! Fun print to frame and a beautiful package! 
This is just so awesome. Love it.



-Alison


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Winter Travel Ready



For those of us who will travel many miles over the holiday season I bring to you a list of items you might find useful. Typically my southern, winter travels do not bring the headache and frustration of ice or snow. However, I have experienced it a couple of times, unexpectedly, and lets just say it is good to be prepared. I can only imagine how much fun it would be with little ones in the car. So, if you are traveling at all this winter here are some things you might consider having in your trunk most all the time.

AAA has a compact kit that easily fits in any size trunk with most all items you might need (from a shovel to a first aid kit). Another item that is good all the time is an ice scrapper with a brush on one end. The hubs has one and I often steal it. The portable car starter/air compressor is something my dad got me for Christmas one year and I am so glad he did! Not only do I not have to pay for air if my tires get a bit low but I also don't have to worry if I am alone while in need of a jump.

Remember to always pack a few snacks and definitely water. Things high in protein are good options. Fruit is always refreshing but not good to leave in the car in between trips like the bars or individual almond butter packs. While I hope you don't encounter this, the photo here shows a head lamp attached to a gallon of water...great portable lamp for games in the dark (great car games found on amazon for all ages).

Final parting tips: keep your gas tank pretty full, stop frequently for potty breaks (you never know when you might get stuck) and try to maintain a positive attitude.

Safe travels everyone!

-Alison

1. AAA Winter Car Kit 2. Ice Scrapper 3. Car Jump/Air Compressor 4. Barney Butter Almond Butter 5. Kind Protein Bars 6. Soft Light 7. Head Lamp 8. Car Game (Would You Rather...?) 9. Car Game for Kids (Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Cranberry Chicken



Holiday gatherings have been abundant at my house this year, which is always wonderful and festive. I hosted two dinners this past week and turned to my old favorite recipe that constantly reminds me of Christmas time and puts me in the mood for good food and conversation with those you love. Not only is this recipe delicious, it is so easy and quick, which leaves you to flounce around with your guests and enjoy the company!
-Laurie

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Card Collaboration with Confetti Bar



I wanted to do something different and fun for my Christmas cards this year, but wanted to keep it simple and classy at the same time. I love the gold and white look that has been popular lately, as you have seen in our various gift guides last week. I chose a simple "Let It Snow" theme and contacted Jessica at The Confetti Bar for a little collaboration to share with you and a few close friends and family. I love love love her confetti options, they are so fun. You have to check them out and make sure to add a little confetti flair to your next event or invitation (that you of course will order from me, yes?)
-Laurie

Friday, December 13, 2013

Boxed Subscription Gift Guide




We found some pretty fantastic box subscription gift ideas. Some are well known, some maybe not so much. There is even one for the mom of young kids in your life! I love the idea of this gift option because the recipient will continue to get gifts well after the day of celebration (should you so choose of course).

Know a foodie who loves to try new things? Chef Besh (Besh Box) has your go to gift! This is a really nice gift (aka if your budget is larger). The boxes usually include recipes, tools needed to make most recipes, special ingredients and even drinks and music to "add that something special." Sounds pretty awesome!

Love the idea of Umba. Their products are all handmade goods from the US and abroad. It also help artists earn a living wage and Umba is "dedicated to making ethical purchasing decisions." Your giftee might find home goods, accessories, stationery and/or even bath products in their box each month. You can also shop on their site and see what types of products your giftee might get.

Barkbox is the perfect answer for your own pet or for the pet lover in your family. Visit their website...they have the cutest customer photos of pets and their boxes. So cute.

Naturebox is a fun way to get healthy snacks you might not otherwise buy for yourself. It is a really affordable box (at $19.95 a month) for that someone in your life trying start a healthy New Years resolution or for your health-nut someone.

Kiwi Crate. This looks so awesome. Had this been around when I was a kid I would have been all over it. Each month a craft project for your favorite kid is delivered will all the materials needed to create. And the crafts look pretty fantastic. There are usually 2-3 activities in a box and you can even order a "sibling add on" for a "no-fight" experience. So cool.

For the Makers has a really cool gift option in their box subscription. Anyone could send me this. I wouldn't hate it. They send you materials for DIY projects and tips from expert designers to help your giftee along. They have lovely items for sale on their site so I imagine their boxes are equally awesome.

Know someone in love with nail polish? Color me monthly is your gifting answer. For a mere $7 a month your giftee will get a new polish delivered to feed their frenzy. It is a great way to branch out and try new colors you might not normally buy. So fun!

Most of us have heard of BirchBox but it must be shared again. You can customize the type items your lady or gent receives and Laurie is a believer. She isn't the only person giving this company quality feedback either. Check them out!

Have fun gifting and happy Friday!!

-Alison and Laurie

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Fellas Gift Guide

Plaid Photographer Suit by Express Men’s | Tereformo Kit from Birchbox | Bvlgari Man from Birchbox | Wool Tie from Birchbox | Messenger Bag from Etsy | Vintage Soviet Watch from Etsy

If you're like us, you have men in your life that are a little difficult to buy for. We found when we were gathering items for this gift guide, however, that we like a lot of their stuff! If you still need that special something for a wonderful man, choose the "type" of man you have (or prefer!): Polished, Nerdy (but cute!), Manly, Scruffy or High-tech.

Flannel Shirt from J.Crew | Beard Pack from Uncommon Goods | Working Man's Hygiene Kit from Uncommon Goods | Beer Stein from Uncommon Goods | Haymaker Phone Case from Etsy 

Big Bang Theory from Amazon | Space Invaders Bottle Opener from Urban Outfitters | Marvel Faces Tee from Urban Outfitters | Cufflinks from Etsy | Geek Clock from Uncommon Goods

BBQ Set from Brookstone | Xbox One from Best Buy | Tool Kit from Sears | Awkward Family Photos Game from Uncommon Goods | Russian Vintage Clock from Etsy

Pocket Projector from Brookstone | Indoor Helicopter from Brookstone | Apple TV from Apple | Neurosky MindWave | iPhone Alarm Dock from Uncommon Goods | Amplifying Phone Case from Uncommon Goods





Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Ladies' Gift Guide

Pyrite Ring from Etsy | Tangled Pearl Necklace from Etsy | Glitter Bug Georgie from Kate Spade | Stud Bow Knit Long Glove from Kate Spade | The Tulle Skirt by Bel & Beau | Golden Monogram Mug by Anthropologie

We ladies come in all shapes and sizes, with different interests and an abundance of varying loves. We took a few lady "types" and curated gift guides designed to them. Here's a holiday cheers to you, book lovers, tech experts, crafters, glam girls and funny ladies!


Harry Potter Bracelets from Etsy | Alice in Wonderland t-shirt from Etsy | Whale bookends from Anthropologie | Bell Jar Light | Vintage bookends from Etsy | Classic Novels Box set from Barnes & Noble 
C is for Calligraphy Kit by Design Roots | Gold Dipped Vases Kit by Brit & Co. | Skillshare Photoshop DIY Kit by Brit & Co. | Stripey Straws from Shop Sweet Lulu | Cross Stitch Kit from Etsy | Lamp Crochet Kit from Etsy

Spice Up Your Life print from Etsy | Lady Legs Ring Holder from Urban Outfitters | Crazy Cat Lady Mug from Urban Outfitters | Let the Beet Drop print from Etsy | Awkward Moment Card Game from Uncommon Goods | Bathroom Guest Book from Uncommon Goods


Floral Peonies Keyboard Stickers from Etsy | Green Ombre Keyboard Stickers from Etsy | Acoustic Dock from Etsy | Rose Gold Headphones from Best Buy | Wacom Tablet, Bamboo Create from Amazon | Geek Chic Earmuffs from Kate Spade



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Savory Kitchen Gift Guide




It's no secret that we love to cook, hence our Tasty Tuesday column. What better way to celebrate this holiday Tasty Tuesday than with a gift guide? Alison and I selected some of our favorite items from our favorite places (a lot of Anthropologie, we can't resist) to give you ideas for some new and different gift ideas for the cook in your life. Alison chose some practical tools, some entertaining pieces and some tasty looking cookbooks! I chose gilded bits from an apron and little sassy hedgehogs to gold flatware that I am wishing for.
-Laurie

Monogram Table Runner from Pottery Barn | Owl Canister from Anthropologie | Fiona Apron from Anthropologie | Hedgehog Measuring Cups | Bottle w/ Wood Stopper from West Elm | Gold Flatware from West Elm | Relish by Dapne Oz | Potato masher from Williams Sonoma | Cake Stand | Canape Plate from Anthropologie | Fiammeta apron | Dishtowels from Anthropologie | The Chinese Takeout Cookbook | Slow Cooker Revolution cookbook | Dessert Plates from Anthropologie | Soap pump


Monday, December 9, 2013

From our Homes to Yours Gift Guide

Dwell home 1 Dwell home 2 West Elm Pendant Lights West Elm Sectional West Elm Stripe Pillow
West Elm Stripe Throw West Elm Arm Chair West Elm Dotted Pillow  West Elm Vases West Elm Planters West Elm Art

When we decided to do a home-ware themed gift guide I was torn by the things I would share...I told Laurie we had to do something representing our current/current inspiration and our dream homes. 


I wouldn't call it a guilty pleasure because I never feel guilty looking at it, but I love Dwell magazine and the incredible houses architects and pre-fab companies are producing these days. I love all of the natural light and efficiency they bring to their owners and the homes featured in Dwell always seem to be really natural in a sense. I have no idea if I would be really comfortable in a home like this as sometimes this style home feels a little sterile. None-the-less, West Elm is a store I love and that could provide the perfect accessories for someone with a more modern sense of style. Ikea is also a good choice and really antique stores with lots of retro goods. Nostalgia is a great place for that look in Knoxville. Recycling is always a great idea.



My second home love is the rustic/French/cottage type home. This is sort of the look I have going now with the hand-me-down items we own. I love Anthropologie's home goods. I usually shop at antique stores or TJ Maxx if I have extra cash for home items...a little softer on the bank account than Anthropologie. I love the character and charm these items have. I like old things so anything that looks old and loved, I love. Their candles are the absolute best. That is my one splurge in home goods...an Anthropologie candle. I haven't bought a candle anywhere else in the last three years. It just isn't worth it.
Anthropologie Print Anthropologie Dinning Chair Anthropologie Curtain Anthropologie Mercury Glass Candle
Anthropologie Pillow Anthropologie Wall Sconce Anthropologie Mirror Anthropologie Bar Cart Anthropologie Side Table Anthropologie Sofa 






My home style is a little eclectic, a little contemporary with a love of worldly shapes. I have teal, yellow and mercury glass amongst dark warmth in my furniture and my walls. While I am not tired of the style in my house, I do dream of having a monochromatic scheme of beautiful whites, blacks and grays. It's like an empty canvas of style that could constantly change with pops of color. The above is inspired from my home now, I even have some of these pieces. I created a mood board when I was moving into the house and I have to say it looks pretty much like that! I do love the colors but mmm, that clean slate of black, gray and white makes me swoon. I love the pallet of The Doctor's Closet. If you know someone that has a new home, consider their style and really tap into places that reflect that. There are some big ticket items and smaller decor items that are perfect for that little extra spruce this time of the year!


Friday, December 6, 2013

First Friday: Gift Guide for An Art Lover



Welcome to the First Friday gifting edition! I love getting and giving art as gifts! It may seem a little risky and nerve-racking but when you gift good art and know the person enjoys art, have no fear.

To help encourage you I have decided to share some art from a few lovely people I know and a few lovely etsy artists I am now glad I know! These little gems are all very affordable too. Works from well-known artists are always cool but I love the idea of getting a piece I love and can afford from a rising star and following their career as it grows. And who knows...maybe one day you will own something with not only sentimental value but monetary as well! (Definitely not the goal though)

You may recognize one piece from Carri Jobe at the top of our list. And number 12, comes from my ever-talented wedding photographer and friend Eden Frangipane. Eden is able to travel to some pretty amazing places and bring home works of art. The photo featured is one from her trip to Vietnam. She began her trip to Vietnam the day after her birthday and our wedding day. Fun fact.

Anyway, below are links to the artwork above. Be sure to check these artists out and buy some of their lovely work! I am digging watercolor right now and there are some great finds on Etsy like those you see above. Go explore and get your loved ones a gift that they can enjoy for years to come!

1. Carri Jobe 2. Peppered Paper 3. With Bear Hands 4. The Joy of Color 5. HRUSKAA 6. VESNAsART 7. SophieRR 8. PitterPatterNursery 9. Mapity 10. ArtistiicAbandon 11. AliciaBock 12. Eden Frangipane

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas Crafting: Wreath Making Extravaganza



I have to start out by saying--I love having crafty, creative friends! My friend Stacey worked with florals for quite some time and was kind enough to share her knowledge and know-how with me and a few of my friends for a little wreath making. We had such a great time!

A girly event with crafts and snacks is such a weakness of mine. I love any excuse to have people over and make a few tasty treats. My hope is that this post will encourage your inner Christmas crafter and party hoster.

Do not be intimidated. You do not have to go overboard with food. I had store-bought caramel corn, home-made chex mix (make it days ahead of time), warmed brie with cranberry compote, the ever-festive cream cheese with pepper jelly, and chocolate covered pretzel sticks. If you caught my Tasty Tuesday post last week you will find my party spritzer.



Now that we have the food taken care of, here are the supplies you will need for the crafting. You can purchase everything you need from Hobby Lobby or something like it. I am lucky enough to have a holly and spruce tree in our yard that supplied a lot of clippings (and a good deal of inspiration for the project). Look around your neighborhood (or office building if you are me)...make a new friend or two and ask if you can clip some low limbs or clippings from top heavy bushes for your wreath making. And then invite them or make them something with the clippings! I cheated and went to overgrown lots for some of my cedar clippings. This can be such an inexpensive party. I promise.

  • Fresh evergreen clippings/branches (About a five gallon bucket full for one wreath, have more on hand then you think you will need)
  • Wreath forms (We used wire forms)
  • Pruning shears
  • Floral wire
  • Decorative ribbon and/or ornaments (I priced the ornaments per piece that I bought so I wasn't out a ton of money but so my guests could have a variety to choose from too.)
  • Gloves - greenery is really prickly 
If you have any ounce of OCD this might be a bit of a challenging project for you. Greenery does not always play along. This is another reason I say have more clippings than you think you will need; some branches may not bend in the "right place" nor will they all be full enough...it just takes a lot of trial and error.

1.  Choose the items you would like to make your wreath with. You may find it helpful to use a stick to decide how much you would like your greenery to stand out from your wreath and use it as a guide when constructing your wreath. (I had all of my greenery out on my front yard for easy picking.)

2.  Make a small bundle of the items you like and wire the bottom together.
 3. Place the first bundle on the wire frame and wire to the frame. (Do not cut the wire)
4. Place the next bundle on top of the bottom of the first bundle and wrap the bottom, just as you did the first one, and then wire it to the frame. Continue until complete! (It is a little tricky to not cut the wire but it makes for a sturdy wreath.)




A tip I learned about holly...the leaves brown quickly so clip the leaves and keep the berries. Magnolia seed pods are great woodsy additions to wreaths. So are dogwood branches. Dried okra and any other sturdy dried naturals are cool to add in too.
The wreaths may take a little time and will always vary from person to person but it is so so fun!! I have to share some other photos from our shindig. I love how different all of the wreaths are. You will see a swag as well...very easy to make and a good way to use any extra clippings. Hang them inside your home or on pillars or porch posts for added cheer (or around your neck like my friend Kat).

One last thought...be sure to cover any surfaces you don't want evergreen needles or sap to get on. Hence the lovely wrinkled sheet in our photos. :-)

I hope you go out and make you a ring of Christmas cheer! And when you do send us a picture! The sky is the limit with this craft!

-Alison and her crafty friends/neighbors 



Christmas sweaters...oh yeah!! And shout out to pampers for helping me with my diaper cake project. ha




 

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