Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family! Sending you lots and lots of love from Arizona.
We went to my parent’s house for Christmas dinner.
LOVED this stunning vintage dress from Fashion by Robert Black! The black velvet detailing and the light, featherweight layers are exceptional.
I also loved that this year because I didn’t get “things” for my family. Instead, I gave everyone “experiences.”
For example, I got an annual pass to all of Arizona’s state parks for my hubby and my brother. I gave my parents 2 date nights. One to an upscale restaurant, and another for a wine tasting/cooking class. I gave our son tickets for science events and demonstrations he gets to attend with my husband (so they get quality time together…and it’s a present for both of them). We recently came back from Mexico and we took Alan’s parents there for their 2nd time EVER at the ocean as their early Christmas present! (They are 83 & 84 years old). And when my daughter gets home from traveling across Europe, we will take my mom there for a weekend get-a-way too for one of her Christmas presents. And I donated to an international rescue organization in the names of several family members. Because we all wanted to help the families fleeing Aleppo, Syria, and this is a small way we can make a difference.
Cool idea, right?
I’m a HUGE proponent of surrounding yourself with things you love. And because I am blessed to be surrounded by things and people I love, I wanted to share more of life and the beautiful moments in life with them….not with things, but experiences.
Wishing you a year of experiences with people you love the most. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!
I’ve started something that I’ve haven’t done much since 7th grade….
I’ve been experimenting with – and wearing jeans for about a month now. And I’m embarrassed to admit, they are pretty darn cute. And flattering. Maybe I had to avoid them for the past was because for awhile there they were unflattering low-waisted, flared leg styles. Post kids (except gorgeous freaks of nature), who honestly looks good in anything low waisted?
This is a serious question.
So I didn’t wear them. Because they gave me (and millions of other women) muffin tops (no matter how hard we worked out), the illusion of short legs, and low self-esteem. Then began my professional career advocating wearing dresses. Dresses are still my favorite…..but thank GOD (for real) for the invention of skinny jeans.
Specifically HIGH WAISTED SKINNY JEANS.
Thank you baby Jesus! (for real)
Skinny jeans (especially high waisted ones) control your tummy, (bonus points for the tightness encouraging you eat sensible sized portions – because the thrill is challenging yourself to keep that top button buttoned after a meal). They also elongate your legs (especially when paired with heels. Skinny jeans also show off your hard work when you have been working out (and they hold it all together when you haven’t).
So I took this pair of last year’s skinny jeans that were slightly too long and I cut the hem myself – the style right now is a frayed hem. I just paid $200 for a pair of jeans that look like I did the hem myself. So I wasn’t going to waist this opportunity and PAY someone to fray them for me. Now last year’s $200 jeans look like THIS YEAR’s $200 jeans. (And when that’s not in style their next reincarnation will be crop pants…by someone who can sew a hem though).
See?! There are lots and lots of ways to wear them!
Wishing you a beautiful, skinny jeans, legs-for-days kind of day!
Special thanks to the gorgeous AC hotel (my BFF’s swanky new hotel) in Tempe, AZ for letting me shoot in your light and airy space.
We hosted this year’s office Christmas party at our house.
As you may have seen from my Christmas decorations page, I tried something more grown up this year and went with a burlap, white, silver and gold theme.
The decor was not the only thing that was more grown up. We also served more sophisticated food. (It all started because hubby insisted on serving hot food and I felt we needed “easier” food for those that were coming and going at different times. Turns out everyone pretty much came – and left – around the same time so hot food worked out well too! Damn it I hate it when he’s right) 😉
And the best part is everyone said they felt so great after eating. (That’s how you should feel after EVERY MEAL – yes, even when you go to other people’s parties!)
Here is what we served:
- Bruschetta with gluten free crackers and gluten-free bread (that we toasted and quartered)
- Butternut squash & kale salad with sun dried tomatoes, scallions, pine nuts, balsamic dressing, and dried cranberries (hubby didn’t like that I used those but the fresh ones were all gone). This was inspired by a friend who made something similar to this….and it was soooo good!
- Grass fed beef chili with organic beans
- Stuffed eggplant with roasted red peppers, sautéed spinach and fresh herb goat cheese (and some without goat cheese for our vegan and dairy-free team members) topped with shallots and tomatoes with a hint of balsamic. OMGosh this was so good! I can’t take credit for this either because the chef at a recent cooking class taught us this recipe. Holy deliciousness!
- And for desert we had apples sautéed in water and sprinkled with Saigon Cinnamon.
**Note: we call it a Christmas party because at this point in time everyone on our team celebrates Christmas. When someone on our team celebrates a holiday other than Christmas, we are more than happy to call it a “Holiday Party” so EVERYONE on our team feels welcome and included. Because the season is about sharing love with all.
Wishing you a beautiful holiday season! May you enjoy healthy and delicious foods and warm friendships over the year.
It feels like we have grown into the next phase of parenthood. Now that we feel more grown up, we wanted to have a more grown up color scheme and decor for our Christmas decorations.
Because my daughter is volunteering and traveling in Europe for her gap year, it doesn’t feel the same to celebrate the holiday’s without her. So we weren’t sure we even wanted to do much decorating for Christmas. We thought we might put up some of the decor, but leave the tree for another year.
Then our 13 year old son spoke up.
“Mom. The tree is the part that makes everything FEEL like Christmas.” (Especially when you live in sunny Arizona and snow – and green things in general, like trees – are hard to find. So I can see his point) 😉
He also insisted we only put up the sentimental ornaments, which is brilliant because we have somewhere around 400-500+ ornaments that we didn’t have to put up using this advice. Putting up just the pretties white, silver and gold one – and the ornaments that mean something to us, meant considerably less time decorating the tree. And honestly it’s not about having the most beautiful (and perfect) tree! I’d rather have a Charlie Brown tree that is more meaningful. Luckily I feel you can have BOTH a sentimental tree that is beautiful to look at!
I used our 10 foot tree that used to be pre-lit when we purchased it over a decade ago. Last year I cut all of those tiny little lights off and this year I made hubby buy white lights. (Also the first time in a decade we haven’t had rainbow lights – because I wanted to do something a little more “grown up” – in honor of our kids growing up this year). 1000 bulbs later it was done.
Next step was to use burlap ribbon. I found a GREAT priced ribbon on Amazon….but I won’t give you the link because it was a nightmare to work with. Haaa! It sheds and you have the trim the sheddings (is that even a word?) every few minutes. So to save your sanity, here’s what you should look for. Find a burlap ribbon that has the side edges hemmed or fused together so it wont unravel as you go.
Then I tied it around the tree. I also used it on the kitchen barstools (along with a jumbo gold bow). Then I used it on the 2 wreaths I found at Home Goods.
I’m especially proud of the wreath over the fireplace because it was made out of hay and considered a “fall” item so it was marked down an additional 50% – only cost $15! Because it was made out of real hay it was straw colored. So I spray painted it white, and added the burlap ribbon to it to make it fit my “burlap, white, silver and gold” theme this year. Love how it looks!
To Hang up the wreath on the mirror over the fireplace AND the hood over the stove, I used the peel and stick damage free hanging hooks from Command. White for the hood (to match the white hood), and silver for the mirror. I haven’t tried to remove them yet so I DO hope it really is damage-free. Although after I put on the one from the mirror I realized I put the “this side goes on the wall” part of the adhesive strip…well, not on the mirror (wall). So we shall see how easily that comes off! Luckily it’s a mirror so worst case scenario you can always just soak the area to help remove any leftover adhesive. (Hey, I’m a smart girl, but some days are not smart days. Some days are “pretty days”). 😉
Now you’ll just have to pretend that the fluffy white Christmas stockings I ordered came and are hanging on the mantle! Haa!
No matter what colors you use to decorate, from my family to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!