2020 in one word

New year. New decade. This last week has brought so many posts, tweets and grams out there speaking of getting in shape, eating better, being more mindful, etc etc etc… Resolution is a word that has been thrown around quite a bit, but those same resolutions are hard to keep and often very lofty. To me, resolutions are often times quite unattainable. They are statements that are meant to vastly change our lives to the point of an unrealistic and unpractical intention. I know myself that I have (been there, done that) with setting soaring resolutions that only resulted in defeat and had me feeling like crap by February for not being able to hold on and push through.

But again, being that it’s a new year, I want to start fresh with a clean slate. After many years, I finally feel like I am in an amazing place where I am ready to take on new things. I am ready for new challenges and tasks to make a commitment to. Those of you who really know me are aware that it’s been one hell of a journey to get to this place I am in, the place where I can finally say yes — I am ready to soar.

With all of this being said, this year I decided to sum up 2020 in one word. And that word is STRENGTH. Strength can take on many meanings and nuances, and that is exactly what I was going for when I chose it.

Let me break it down for you.

Mentally ~ I am stronger in my mind than ever. Years of therapy, work on myself, believing in and trusting others again, and surrounding myself with good people have all led me to where I am now. It has not been an easy road by any means, but in my mind, I feel at peace with myself and who I am. Are there days when I am not so kind to myself? Yep. Are there moments when I just want to crawl into bed and close off everyone and everything around me? Absolutely. But all in all, I am a far cry from where I used to be and it feels so damn good. So in 2020, I want to continue to work on my general mindset and know that I can do anything I put my mind to.

Physically ~ Like many others, I want to finally get in shape again. I do hold my own in terms of overall health, but my body has been holding on almost entirely through a good diet. What I have let go is the exercise piece and that will be coming back this year. I will be working with someone starting on Monday to get my fitness journey going and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

Emotionally ~ I am an over thinker. Overthinking goes hand in hand with anxiety. I lay awake at night badgering myself for things I did and said during the day. I play out every possible scenario in my head of what could go wrong in the future. It is depleting and it needs to stop. This trait has been a topic of many therapy sessions and I have exhausted the subject to the point of me even being sick of talking about it. Quite honestly, at the end of the day, everything I was worried about never even happened. So this year, I have decided to make a conscious effort to not worry so much. I have been told many, many times – if I just be myself, the rest will fall into place. I may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but who is? So all in all, I want to be kinder and gentler to myself and allow myself to live peacefully and in the present because I am freaking lucky to be surrounded by the ones who love me.

To wrap up, I would love to know what your word for 2020 will be. Happy New Year! xo

Our First Project of 2020 ~ Home Office

Our First Project of 2020 ~ Home Office

I know everyone is recovering from Christmas and getting ready for the new year ahead and I’m no different.  That said, I’m so excited about our first project of the new year that I couldn’t wait to share!  I know I mentioned that we wanted to update the foyer and stairs, and that still is in the cards.  But this project goes hand in hand with what we want to do, so it will be a combination project….maybe a little bigger than anticipated.

First, here’s whats going on:  For all of the kids to be comfortable, we need an extra bedroom in the home.  To do this, we decided to turn J’s current office into an additional bedroom. But – he works from home so he definitely needs a space to take calls and work without noise and disruptions.  That said, our front living room is hardly used and it is a decent sized space, so my wheels got turning.  Why not turn that front “formal” living room into an office for both of us?

Because I love a good before and after, here’s a look at the front foyer and staircase that will get a little makeover as I wrote about in this post.

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My Christmas Menus

My Christmas Menus

My favorite month of the year is flying by!  I can’t believe I am finding myself brainstorming and planning my Christmas Eve and Christmas morning meals already.  Wasn’t it just Thanksgiving?  So here I’ve rounded up a few recipes that I will making over the holiday for my family.

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Our festivities are slightly altered this year, so Christmas Eve will look a little different.  After talking it over with J, we decided to take on a standing rib roast for dinner (ie- a seasoned prime rib from a local butcher).  I’ve prepared this cut in the past and it turns out ridiculously good.  My plan is to roast the meat slowly in the oven following this method.

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Next Project: Stair Makeover and Runner Install

Next Project: Stair Makeover and Runner Install

A project that I’ve had on my mind for a while now is a front staircase makeover.  I see so many beautiful staircases on the blogs I follow and design books I read, that it’s so hard to narrow down the look and feel of what I want.

To see what we are working with, here are a few before pictures.  Our foyer is on the larger side and is two stories tall.  It bends to the left with a landing half way through.  As you can see, the carpet has seen better days.  Some other details that I want to update include staining the light wood to match the darker floor OR painting the steps black.  I also want to square off the bottom of the banister rather than having that spiral, and if possible, replace the spindles with more modern, sleeker ones.

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Besides the wood, I think I want a runner so nobody slips.  There are so many designs that I have admired over the years, so here are a few of my top favs that I’m using for inspiration.

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Our Favorite things party

Our Favorite things party

 

I have been wanting to host a “Favorite Things” party for a while now, but life happened and I was never able to do it.  So this was the year!  A “Favorite Things” party can take on many variations.  It’s an especially cool concept because it can be personally tailored to fit your group of gals.

Here’s how I did it….

1.) Create a fun invitation that outlines the details and rules.  Many of my friends were not familiar with the concept, so the invite was a key part for the party to run smoothly.

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2.) Hand them out to a fun group that will appreciate the party and will love to join in on the fun!

3.)  Ask every girl to come in their festive PJs or sweats, as well as bring a favorite bottle of wine and/or appetizer.

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4.)  Each girl should choose one favorite thing of theirs and purchase/wrap three of them.  We kept our prices to around $10 for each gift, but I have seen up to $25.  The more secretive, the better!  Gifts could include candles, face masks, earrings, essential oils, candy, decorations/decor, etc.  Also, colors and styles can vary.  If someone brought a scarf, they could have three different colors of the same scarf.

5.) The day of the party, I set up a table for the gifts to be displayed, as well as a place for the food and wine.  Since everyone was bringing libations and snacks, I only had to have the paper products ready, wine glasses out, and I ordered a large Sicilian pizza from our local pizzeria and had them double cut the pieces.

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Our christmas porch

Our christmas porch

I’m definitely in full-on holiday spirit mode over here!  The house is done, minus the tree, and now our front porch is ready too.  A few weeks ago I posted about my DIY gold hydrangeas.  They look amazing, but we are about to have a major snowstorm so I’m anxious to see how they hold up.  I also added these red amaryllis wreaths this year.  The bright red against the black doors really pops and I loved them even more when I saw them hanging.  They were a Home Goods find last month.  So without further ado, take a look…

The planters before the greens…

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The final result…

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Christmas around our house

Christmas around our house

My favorite time of year is finally here!  I love cozy days (and nights) unwrapping my decorations and moving them around the house.  It’s so relaxing for me to see what I have and remember special Christmases of the past.  This year is the first year that I won’t be decorating my house, so all of our decor is combined.  In keeping with the light and bright theme I have all year through, I stayed with the soft neutrals, texture, with pops of pink, red and green.

We bought this tree ornament a few weeks ago in Quebec and I knew I wanted to display it separately, away from my other ornaments.  This stand from Amazon did the trick!  Note: I did cut the twine string to shorten the ornament to fit on the stand.

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Christmas Sights around Quebec City

Christmas Sights around Quebec City

Last weekend J and I escaped up north to Quebec City, Canada for a long weekend getaway.  While looking at the weather the week before, we quickly realized that it was going to be FREEZING and that changed our clothing prep big time.

Before I get into the exquisiteness of the city, I have to tell you about my boots.  I wanted something stylish, yet extremely warm, and after some research I realized that these JCrew boots were the winner.  I normally don’t do well with online shoe orders, but pulled the trigger anyway.  I was hoping they would work…and they did.  So the moral of the story is: if you need warm winter boots, these are amazing.  I wore them the entire weekend from day to night.  And I just checked, the entire site is 40% off with the code WHYWAIT.  They also come with red laces if you need a change of pace.  For reference…I am usually an 8.5 or 9, but I ordered a 10 so I could wear thick socks.  They worked perfectly!  Onto Quebec City –

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This year’s advent calendar

This year’s advent calendar

For as long as I can remember, I created some sort of Advent calendar for my daughter to open throughout the month of December.  When I met J, the tradition continued on to all the kids, so now they look forward to some sort of daily Advent activity that leads them right up to December 24th.

Some examples of my past ideas include a “book a day” calendar where I found twenty four beautiful holiday children’s books and wrapped/numbered them for each day of the month.  I remember Payton loving this idea and looking forward to the story each night.

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I also found this wooden tree at Target a few years back and filled it with questions about the holiday season.  Each morning, Payton had to open the slip of paper and answer the question or talk about the prompt before she got her Hershey kiss.

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Last year I created these tags and had them numbered in a pretty bowl.  The kids opened one each day and answered (often times we discussed it at dinner), and they also got a piece of chocolate for the day.  Here is a sample of the tags:

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First Home? Where to start…

First Home? Where to start…

A friend of mine recently secured her first apartment where she will be living completely on her own.  She is super excited and can’t wait to have a space where everything is chosen by her alone with no outside influence.  For years, she has been dreaming about this moment…collecting ideas, figuring out her style (what she likes and doesn’t like), scouring Wayfair, and pinning too many pictures to count.

The other day over lunch we were talking about all of the things she will need for her new digs, on a budget of course.  She told me that I needed to write a blog post, or three, of where to start when someone is starting new.  Now I’m not a designer, but I do know what I like, and I also know what I have learned along the way when I was in her same situation.  So here are my tips for anyone who is starting fresh in a new place and is on a budget.

1. Don’t purchase everything at once (or before you move in).

I am a HUGE believer in living in a space for a while before pulling the trigger on pricier items.  If your grandmother’s old kitchen set will do before buying one of your preference, do it.  Live in the space to get a feeling for the flow of life.

2. Scour places like flea markets, thrift stores, and online sources like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.

I can’t say enough about this one.  There are soooooo many pieces out there that are dying to be brought back to life.  I found two Broyhill Brasilia dressers (one with a mirror) at a thrift store a few years back.  I bought both immediately.  The one is in my bedroom and the other is a credenza for the TV.  If you search them up on eBay, they are going for hundreds more that I paid for them.  They are such good, solid pieces of Mid Century Modern furniture.  Here is a photo of my exact piece taken from the site:

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