Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in Review

It was this time last year when the blog dream really blossomed and started to become a reality. My sweet, sweet guy gifted me with the laptop that I use today to edit photos and write these posts. And on the other end, my mom gifted me with a brand new DSLR camera. It’s as if they were both pushing me towards what they knew I always wanted to do. They believed in me enough to invest in my dream and it was time that I believed in it too.

Armed with the tools that enabled me to chase after my dreams, I had no excuse not to try.

So here I am…almost one year later and even though I hit a few bumps along the way, I’m still chasing after it. I’ve come a long way but still I still have so much to learn.

Has my blog been as successful as I want it to be? No. Do I have as many readers as I had hoped I’d have? Not even close. But that’s OK. This blogging business is a beast. I never knew just how intense it was or how much there is to know about growing, promoting, or maintaining a successful blog / brand. It’s insane. But I’m eager to learn.

As 2015 comes to a close, I wanted to take a moment to recap the past 12 months and share some of my favorite posts and projects from 2015.

Ready for the trip down memory lane?

January was my first foray into the blogosphere and you saw me organize our entryway closet. It was a #hotmess but I’m proud to say that the organizational systems I installed almost a year ago are still going strong and this post almost a year later is proof.

Things picked up speed in February when I debated some entryway options to piggy back off the recent entryway closet makeover, I showed you how I make my bed like the hotels do, and tackled another organizational project when I tackled our coffee table drawers.

In March I shared a few quick and simple ways to update your gallery wall frames, shared a yummy recipe for Jamaican Jerk skewers, and turned a garden stool into a use able end table.

April had me really inspired and you saw me share how I turned some cheap-o Ikea curtains into a pair of pom-pom trimmed beauties. I also turned some souvenir paper coasters from a Vegas trip into a set of coasters that are hit with everyone who stops by.

Things slowed down in May after finding out that we were pregnant and preparing for a Hawaiian vacation but I still managed to squeeze in a quick little project for dollar store vases.

After returning from Hawaii in June, I tackled a fun and easy update for a mirror turned bar tray and let you guys in on a few minor changes going on in the living room.

July saw Part 2 of those living room changes and then pregnancy set in and I needed some time off to adjust to all the life changes.

Behind the scenes – August was such a happy month. We had our gender reveal party and announced to our friends and family that we were expecting identical twin girls! It felt so good to let that cat out of the bag after so many months of keeping such a big secret!

September wasn’t as happy. At 22 weeks we lost our girls and took the next little bit to recover from all we had just been through.

In November, I re-emerged and so did the blog. Blogging and pouring my heart and energy into creative and positive outlets has really helped ease the pain. With Thanksgiving just around the corner I shared 10 yummy recipes to try this year, made the easiest pillow covers ever, finally shared about our loss and how we’re coping, and shared a few quick and super simple home hacks here and here.

With December closing out the year the entryway finally got a re-do and this time I think I got it right! After I showed you how to make the easiest pillows ever last month I shared how to make the easiest console table too.  You saw holiday home tour and the perfect New Year’s cocktail for cheersing (I totally just made up a word).

Whew! I think that about does it. At times it doesn’t always feel like I’m accomplishing a whole lot over here but when you compile it all in one place, it makes me feel a tad bit better.

So after all that…what can I say about 2015?

It taught me so much. Mainly about the depths of and the capacity to love.

And how excruciatingly painful loss is.

But I’m more resilient than I ever knew I could be.

So many of my feelings about 2015 center solely on our loss on September 21st. It’s a day I will never forget and one that has forever changed me. Perhaps my feelings about 2015 are biased because of that event but so much before that day seems so insignificant now. I loved 2015 but I hated it too.

My girls were born.

And then they died.

It’s a heavy memory to carry but one I will always be proud to call my own. 2015 did a number on me.

Here’s to a better 2016! I’m looking forward to the future, growing this blog, and chasing my dreams.

No matter how much I’ve lost this past year, I’ve gained so much more because of it.

Cheers, my friends! See you next year!!

Sunday, December 27, 2015


Now that Christmas is over, 2016 will be here before we can say “Happy New Year”! Besides some New Year’s resolutions and a kissing partner, what’s the one other necessity for ringing in the New Year?! Well a drink of course!

I scoured the web and rounded up 10 of the most scrumptious drinks to ring in the New Year with!!
Go ahead…don’t be shy…there’s a drink for everyone! You can thank me later.

Source: Style in Spades

Source: Mantitlement

Source: How Sweet it Is

Source: Damn Delicious

Source: The Artful Desperado

Source: Parenting Magazine

Source: One Charming Party

Source: Real Housemoms

Source: I'm Bored, Let's Go

Which drink will you be cheersing with when you ring in 2016?!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Last Minute DIY Gifts

Today is Day 6 of my 12 Days of Christmas blog series which means we're half way through! Christmas is just a week away (eek!) and even though this post is coming to you late because I've been under the weather a bit - it's still the perfect time to take advantage of today's post.

This weekend is the last shopping weekend until the big day and we all have those last minute gifts on our list for people who either have everything, or for the people we have no idea what to get, don't we? Instead of reaching for the gift cards, today's post is full of easy DIY gifts that you can whip up over the weekend with just a few items and just in time to check those last minute gifts off our gift lists this year.

DIY Watercolor Mugs

Some dollar store mugs and leftover nail polish make beautiful mugs great for the coffee drinker in your life.

Gold Leaf Agate Coasters

Gift me these coasters and I'd be a happy girl.

Baby Rose Sugar Scrub

With just a few simple ingredients, you'll have a gift that leaves your recipient feeling silky smooth.

Marbled Ring Dishes

Get your creative juices flowing and make some beautifully marbled and EASY dishes that can be used for rings and many, many other things.

Crystal Knob Boxes

Top any box with a pretty crystal and I'd be smitten. These boxes are the perfect gift for that girly girl in your life.

Source: Homey Oh My!

There you have it! 5 quick and easy gifts to DIY this weekend that any recipient would love - heck, I just may gift myself a few of these too! I don't know about you but when it's this close to Christmas, I'd rather DIY than buy and who wouldn't with these adorable options?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

8 Christmas Cookie Recipes you HAVE to try this Year

Christmas cookies are a staple at Christmas time. It's almost a sin not to partake, right? It's amazing to me how one holiday can center around so many holiday treats, but who am I to complain? The more cookies, the better!

This time of year there's bound to be cookies of some sort at each holiday gathering or maybe you'll host or attend a cooking exchange or two. For Day 5 of my 12 Days of Christmas blog series, I'm rounding up a whole bunch of holiday cookies that are just too irresistable to pass up - and you shouldn't either!

Eggnog Cookies

Eggnog. Another Christmas staple. Put it in a cookie form and you just can't loose.

Chocolate Chip Snowball Cookies

A fun twist on a traditional chocolate chip cookie that maybe even Santa will approve.

Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tart cranberries paired with sweet white chocolate chips makes this the perfect cookie this holiday season.

Chocolate Covered Turtle Cookies

This salty and sweet combo just can't be beat.

Chewy Lemon Snowdrop Cookies

After all the sweet, you'll definately be craving a change of pace. These chewey lemon snowdrop cookies are will be the perfect choice.

Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies

I love pecans in just about anything. Put them in a cookie form and I'm all in!

Iced Oatmeal Cookies

Iced oatmeal cookies the epitome of a traditional cookie that it has to be on everyone's must-eat list this holiday season.

Source: Mother Thyme

Snickerdoodle Cookies

It wouldn't be a blog post dedicated to cookies if I didn't include my all time favorite, the Snickerdoodle.

So now that you're on that sugar high, which of these are you planning to make? All? I thought so...

Just remember to leave some for Santa.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

5 Ways to Dress up your Gifts this Holiday Season

Today marks Day 4 of my 12 Days of Christmas blog series and I'm already having to much fun!

I’m just about done with all my shopping and hopefully you are too. Every year I try to make a point of finishing early to avoid all the chaos and overcrowded parking lots. Is it just me or do people all of a sudden forget how to park during the holidays?!

With 98% of all our gifts already purchased or enroute, I got started on the wrapping two weeks ago because I worked so hard to finish my shopping early, the last thing I wanted was to get stuck wrapping all the gifts into the wee hours of Christmas morning. #aintnobodygottimeforthat

This year we really made an effort to spend less and to not get carried away in the mass frenzy to buy a bunch of unnecessary “stuff”. While in most respects, I think we were successful, I still wanted to give a little extra attention to the packaging. Even if what we’re giving equates to less – the packaging (I hope) and the thought behind it more than makes up for it.

Today I’m sharing with you 5 different ideas to dress up your gifts this holiday season. A little bit goes a long way and your recipient will definitely notice! Everything I used to dress up any of the packages you see below are items I already had on hand. Nothing new was purchased – and that’s what I love most about today’s post! You don’t have to go out and buy a whole slew of trinkets and toppings to jazz up your gifts…just use what you already have and I’m sure you’ll be surprised.

The layered look

This look was inspired by all those leftover wrapping paper trimmings that are too small for a package but it makes you wanna cry to throw them out. I started with a red buffalo check base, used a length of craft paper down the middle as a “runner” of sorts and black grosgrain ribbon I had lying around from this project to finish it off. I used double sided tape on the underside of the craft paper and ribbon to adhere it to the package. 

The entire look was finished off by some grey and white twine left over from this project in a simple, understated bow. Th craft paper runner acts as a perfect place to jot down your to and from. How awesome is that?

Fabric scrap ribbons

This next package uses some left over fabric from this project to tie together a pretty little package. I started with a stack of gifts all wrapped in craft paper and tied together using a length of black buffalo check fabric from this project. 

To enhance the package a bit I used some polka dot washi tape on the edges of each package and used a sprig of evergreen for a pop of color. A package that looks good but smells good too!

Big Ole Bow

This next gift is a base of black and white hounds tooth (#classic) and literally just a big ole bow. I wrapped the package over and over with some grey and white twine left over from my closet makeover project and affixed the giant red bow. I don’t think I got it quite right but to make the bow I folded the ribbon back and forth in my hand until I had 5-6 loops on either end. I secured the middle of the ribbon loops with a knot, attached it to the grey twine and fluffed until I was semi-satisfied. Please excuse my poor bow making skills. I really tried, I promise.

Craft Paper Ribbon

This next package was a happy accident. I started with a polka dotted craft paper base and paired it with the red buffalo check. When I trimmed the excess paper while I was wrapping the craft paper package I noticed how tightly rolled it was. So I cut tiny strips from the length of paper and instantly had craft paper "curly ribbon". 

My little furry friend made himself at home among the packages. I don't blame him. This rug turned tree skirt is oh-so-cozy.

I secured both packages together with black grosgrain ribbon and wove in the craft paper ribbons for an instant gift topper that ties in perfectly the bottom package. I love happy accidents!

Add an Ornament

For the last package, I just put it all together and let it fly. Mix prints, patterns, textures, you name it…its all fair game! Worried about the outcome? Don’t be! Make sure you have a repeating color throughout – in my case, black – and it’ll all morph together effortlessly into a gift that’s not only fun and playful, but beautiful too. I paired my hounds tooth and red buffalo check and topped it off with a glittery ribbon. Instead of leaving the ribbon tails loose, I left them long and taped them to the underside of the package for another take on a classic bow. Never mind all the rogue glitter that has embedded itself into my carpet! Oye! 

To top it all off I added a dollar store nutcracker ornament I had hiding away. Sometimes it's great to be a hoarder! Plus he totally matches my paper choices! Add your recipient's name to the bottom of your ornament for a built in name tag!

I had so much fun creating these packages and putting together these ideas for you. It's amazing what can be done with a little creativity and the stuff you already have on hand. It makes me want to wrap more and more and more...and maybe I just will!!