gift ideas and more.

Happy Monday!

Remember when I told you about Pinterest? I use it daily--I'm a little obsessed. It really is a blogger's dream and a great site to find and store all the goodies you find online...

Well, they are doing gift guides starting today and since I've been doing guides for the last month, I thought I would contribute. Some of the items I feature on my guide are:

This guide is centered around things that I would like (I mean, how adorable is that hat?!). If you're interested, check out my and so many others gift guides: here.

P.S. Looking for some new holiday music? Check out the free holiday album from Target available for download. I'm not sure when it expires, so if you'd like it, get it soon...


Christmas Around the Home: Advent Calendar

Did you have a nice Thanksgiving? I hope your bellies were full and you laughed a lot. (which was like my weekend.)

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I'm so ready for Christmas. I think I tell Chad that Christmas is my favorite time of the year at least 3 times a week. Yeah, like he doesn't already know that...  Speaking of Chad, I'm making his our advent calendar today (and, let's face it, tomorrow too)! If you would like yours to look like mine, here's the link I'm interpreting: mini advent tree. I thought I would show you a few advent calendars that might work in your house this December 1st-24th.

In Case You're Interested:

01. Farmhouse Garland Advent Calendar Kit.
02. Burlap Sack Advent Calendar.
03. Christmas Advent Calendar Garland.
04.Baby Sock Garland. via martha.
05.Envelope Advent Calendar.
06. Advent Calendar Pouches.

Stay tuned--later this week I will show you how our advent calendar turned out!  


our prayer.

photo credit: etsy (am unsure where, please leave comment if you know so that I may give proper credit). 
Today, along with so many others, Chad and I are celebrating Thanksgiving with a prayer.

Lord, you have blessed us this year with countless gifts that we can't even being to try and count them all up. You have blessed us with a spouse who cares about our needs and who makes an effort to help us remember how loved we are, a family who lives so close to us, two trusty cars that get us to work and school, a bank account that has not dwindled over our first seven months of marriage (we've never had to deal with the stress of debt and that is a huge blessing), and jobs that are secure in this insecure world, luxuries that we have in our house and in our free time, .

You have given us all that we need and more. When we are reflecting on our year of blessings, we see Your gracious hand in everything and Your timing in all our decisions.

Most of all Lord, thank You for forgiving us every day. For giving us Your Son and for giving us assurance that we will be joining You in Heaven, our true Creator. Help us to praise and to rely on Your Word in times of stress and in times of gratefulness.



Have you guys heard of pinterest? It's a "virtual pinboard where you can post collections of things you love, and 'follow' collections created by people with great taste".

I just started a couple weeks ago, and now it's one of my daily sites. I like that it's just one single place to save things that I find online, instead of having several different places all over my computer.

If you're interested, check it out! And you can add me here.

check out.

Hey friends!

If you haven't see this already, please check out this video of the Real Housewives of SNL (I watched it at work and had to muffle some of my laughter...)
P.S. I'm also watching Parks and Recreation for the first time via Netflix. Am wondering why it took me so long to watch this show!

Am off to start my Thanksgiving Break!


proclamations of Thanksgiving.

Today, I thought I would share something I found interesting...

A couple weeks ago, my church put in their latest newsletter several speeches on the topic of Thanksgiving. Below are some words that I found interesting and wanted to reflect on throughout the week:

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven
We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied
and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined
that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.

God should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged,
as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.
...Set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving
and praise to our beneficent Father
who dwelleth in the Heavens.

-- Abraham Lincoln
(March & October 1863)


What to Give: Volume III

For today's edition of What to Give, I focused on my younger sister Hannah.

Here are a few characteristics of Hannah:
  • While I will never understand it, she likes John Lennon the best. Even better than Paul McCartney...she claims to "hate" Paul. {Dear Paul, I love you and will never leave you.}
  • She is almost 16. She loves hanging out with her friends, experiementing with makeup, and spending time on the computer. {That sounds almost exactly what a 22-year-old does...hmmm.}
  • Books + her = love.
  • Music + her = love. Seriously. All she seems to want for Christmas and Birthdays are iTunes gift cards.
  • She'll be the last one to admit it {being so humble and all}, but she's the artist of the family. When she's drawing a picture, she doesn't just draw stick people. Like I do.
In Case You're Interested

01. 1950 Black Sunglasses. $34.00
02. 1940s Gooseneck Lamp in Red. $62.00
03. Twisted Pencil Case in Red and White. $29.00
04. Cup Cozy in Purple. $16.00
05. 2011 Bookmark Mini Calendar. $6.00
06. Tiny Hearts Sterling Silver Stacking Rings. $46.00
07. Felted Wool Mittens. $36.00
08. John Lennon Print. $15.00


am happy to see you.

Dear Friday: I love you. You being here today means that I can have a weekend filled with long-distant friends in town and my very special date with the hubsters. XO--A.

1. What Christmas song do you loathe?

Ah, Blasphemy! There's not one Christmas song out there that makes me cringe. I am Holly Christmas {not to be confused with my sister Holly Holiday from Glee}. I take my job of singing every Christmas carol and spreading Christmas cheer everywhere I go very seriously.
Okay, I lied. I just thought of one:
Vince Vance and the Valiants: All I Want for Christmas is You.

Watch the video here. Seriously, it's hysterical.

Whenever I hear it, I have to skip it. I just can't bring myself to sing along with this one.

2. Do you and your significant other cuddle at night or sleep on opposite sides of the bed?

I didn't know if Chad and I would be cuddlers or not when we got married (since we'd never shared a bed before), but we are. We kind of have to be since we sleep on a full-size bed. We like cuddling right after falling asleep and then right when we wake up.

Oh, I forgot to mention my other awesome weekend plans: we're shopping for a queen size bed today! We can't wait for those extra inches so that all 3 of us can fit on the bed comfortably (no more feet dangling over the edge for me. yahoo.)

3. Have you ever had surgery?

No I have not. I think that once babies come, I wouldn't be able to say that anymore. I hope I still can, but we'll see.

4. When do you typically have your holiday shopping done?

The week of Christmas. Last year I did a lot of online shopping and this year I will probably do the same. Luckily, we have some presents already (hello, wedding pictures).

5. If money were not an issue (and you HAD to pick something), what would your ultimate luxury item be?

Can I get a few luxury items? I would get new camera equipment. I would also get my house. My dream house. The one that only I know every single detail about.


christmas greetings.

The year I'm so excited to do my own Christmas cards. I got a steal of a deal over at Minted and I love how they turned out. I have a lot of people on the list, so I've been spending some afternoons addressing them and writing some Christmas notes on the back.

I will show you the finished product once they are sent out, but since so many people on my list read this blog, I want them to be surprised when they open their mailboxes in a couple weeks. Stay tuned!


my heart is happy.

Seriously. And I don't know why...

It could be...

because two days ago marked 6 months of being a wife. I've gotta say, having Chad as a husband is better than I ever imagined. We've reached a new level in our relationship, and we're only going up. It's nice to grow in my marriage with him right beside me.

or because I am so giddy over Prince William and Kate's engagement. I think this must have been how my mom felt when Prince Charles and Diana got engaged. I remember when Laura and I had a book about Prince William when he was like 15 and we always looked at the 10 pages of pictures in the middle.  I'm already planning the tea + crumpet party in my head for when I watch the wedding. I was asking Chad what else I could serve British-style and he suggested New Castle. "A lot of New Castle" he said,  "if you want me to watch it with you."  I can't imagine how those two are feeling right now....I watched their televised wedding statement and the questioner had to ask the photographers to stop shooting so that the couple could see the press (even I was getting blinded).

or because Christmas music is going strong on the radio. Yes, it's only one radio station right now, but in my car it's all I listen to. and I love it. I'm one of those radicals who don't wait until after Thanksgiving to start the Ella, Bing, Sufjan, and Frank music fest. I even have a list of all the people who are going to get a Christmas playlist from me this year. (mom, don't fight it--you are getting one!) :)

or because next week is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving break is much needed this year. All I want is to sleep in, watch a parade, surround myself with love, proclaim my thanks, do absolutely no homework, and eat. yeah, in no particular order.

or because it's Pie Week over at Pioneer Woman and I can't get her Pumpkin Cream Pie out of my head. Am hoping that my mom reads this recipe and asks me to make it. (I'm not going to say no...)

or because Chad and I have a date for Saturday. Which includes a viewing of Harry Potter 7 and dinner. Am so excited. Are you, my fellow geeks?? :)


Christmas Around the Home: In the Kitchen

I can't think of anything more traditional than treats at Christmas. Every year, I look forward to getting a plate of cookies (and the always-present Rice Krispies) from my grandma. Ever since I started going out with Chad, we've always gone over to his parent's house for the sugar cookie decorating extravaganza. And every Christmas Eve, we have our food spread of crackers, meats, mini cheesecakes, and apple cider when we open gifts.  I am eager to start my own food traditions with Chad (and my future babies).

Tradition and food go hand-in-hand wouldn't you agree?

Let me just tell you, it was hard to narrow the choices down to nine. I spent days looking in bloggers' archives, Martha's website, and Real Simple. There is just too much good out there. I am just giving you a little sample of what I like; look and see what you can find out there that will inspire you.

In Case You're Interested:
01. Handmade Organic Gingerbread "Gift Tags" {the cutest looking treat on earth}
02. Peanut Brittle {I try to like it, but it always gets stuck in my teeth!}
03. Handmade Edible Gingerbread Mansion {I vote that you make your own--this one is a pretty penny}
04. Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies
05. Holiday Tree Brownies {I want to give dozens of these away, don't you think they would make you so happy?!}
06. Death By Rum Ball
07. Christmas Hats and Stockings
08. Peppermint and Dark Chocolate Spoons
09. Peppermint Candy Picks

9 Treats deserve 9 Links:
* Don't put your cupcakes in regular liners--try these Christmas cupcake liners.
* I would put my Starbucks Gingerbread Latte on one of these letterpress coasters.
* Here's a sassy little Mrs. Claus apron.
* Now that you've liner your cupcakes, make sure to put on these Christmas cupcake pinwheels.
* Visit this site for some holiday cookie inspiration.
* You could put your homemade goodies in these holiday treat bags.
* Or, you could use these personalized holiday labels.
* I am so inspired to make that first Christmas cake.
* Now this is some pretty treat bag packaging.

Do tell: what are your Christmas food traditions? 


What to Give: Volume II

Hello readers!

Volume II of What to Give is for my dad.

You might appreciate this list if you have someone to shop for who:
  • is a grandpa. and Loves it.
  • is a science guy. 
  • is into coffee {decaf for him} and any sort of nut. {peanuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios...he likes them all}
  • is into gardening. and fishing. and golfing {anything to get his body outdoors}
  • is a sports fan. {Minnesota through and through.}
  • likes funny things. {One night, he looked through about 25 pages of people of walmart.}

In Case You're Interested:
01. The Complete Illustrated History of the Minnesota Twins. $19.80
02. Air Plant. $12.75
03. Teak Herb Planters. $19.95
04. Sammy Decaf Jr. (Fair Trade Organic) Coffee. $13.95
05. Grandpa Tee. $28.00
06. Geek Clock. $25.00
07. Herb Seed Bombs. $7.00
08. Sweet and Spicy Pecans. $8.00


this week...

As the holidays creep closer, my weeks fill up more and more. How fair is that? Oh, well.  :)

Here's what I'm looking forward to this week:
  • first off: Conan! I love this man. I already have my DVR set to record every hilarious episode. For more Conan, check out his article in Rolling Stone and Conan through the years. Also, you can check out his Team Coco website were you can see Conan wash his desk. :) 
  • starting the long process of addressing + writing out my Christmas cards. I am hoping to get these and my thank-you notes done before the new year. We'll see how close I get to that goal.
  • making + planning some winter meals for Chad and I. Rachael Ray's magazine is completely inspiring me today. When I was reading it, I would shout out at least 15 recipes I wanted to try before Chad had to kindly tell me to can it.
  • wearing my new coat. I have been shivering on my way to class, so it was time. It's on the unglamorous and  practical side of the coat world {reversible and two coats in one}, but I got it for an insane deal. 
  • watching the 25 Worst Infomercials of All Time with Chad. Chad is such an infomercial fan--we will most likely be watching these right before bed and giggling.
Enjoy your week in November, my friends!



"No one can do everything and I shouldn't feel like I have to. By delegating, I'm able to free up a little time and have learned that other people can do the job. It doesn't always have to be me doing everything. Chad helped me realize that I'm not a failure by asking for help--I am just human."

Find more of my words over at Johanna's blog today!

Christmas Around the Home: In The Living Room

Welcome to the first installment of Christmas Around the Home! I'm so pleased to do this, and I hope that these posts will give you some decoration ideas. Or if you're like me, you'll just appreciate some eye candy.

When I think of Christmas in the living room, I think of a cozy couch, twinkling Christmas lights, and a candle or two on the coffee table. Of course, the living room is the center of Christmas--it's where the tree is and where everyone gathers during celebrations. Hopefully someday I can find items like these which tie some of my favorite things: vintage + handmade.

In case you're interested:
01. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
02. Birch Candle Set
03. Joy Pillowcase
04. Rejoice Candle
05. Snowflake Tealight Holder
06. Silent Night Blocks
07. Winter Whispers Print
08. Tray of Candy Colored Christmas Lights

Bonus! Here are a couple links to help liven up your living room this season:

* I make paper snowflakes with kindergartners every year, but this year maybe I'll make a snowflake curtain. It looks so simple, and imagine how pretty in would look when your Christmas lights are shining through.

* If cutting out paper snowflakes isn't up your alley, this snowstorm tutorial is even easier! {if you can imagine} You only need two items: dental floss + round white adhesive labels!

* Danielle's Christmas decorations are always picture perfect. Luckily, she shared How to Make Felt Holiday Trees with us last year.

P.S. If you'd like to make shopping {especially for clothing} a little easier, download + print these Christmas Cheat Sheets.


What to Give: Volume I

Before we get started--do you guys feel like it's too early to start all the Christmas talk? I, for one, do not. I think Christmastime is going to sneak up on me {It's already 3 weeks until Thanksgiving!}.  Christmas is the best time of the year and I say, the earlier the better. {I'm tempted to start listening to Christmas music--but I'll refrain. For about a week.}

Volume I of What to Give is all about my mom. My mom is one of the best people I know. She has taught me so much from how to sew a button onto a pair of pants to what to do when you find out that your husband is a snorer (note: earplugs).

Volume I is for people in your life who:
  • don't like having stuff in their house. My mom is a clutter-free woman--she doesn't like to be surrounded by too many things.
  • a greenie. A person who uses reusable bags and detests plastic. If it doesn't recycle, she doesn't buy it.
  • fond of antiques. She cherishes classic pieces and things that have been loved for decades.
  • have grandchildren. My mom has one already and one on the way.  It's her favorite pastime right now.
In case you're interested:
02. Plain Reusable Organic Dinner Napkins. $10.00


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