Archive for November, 2011
November 30, 2011
It’s tradition in my family to decorate the Christmas Tree on Black Friday, and this year Scott and I were inspired to keep it going. Although I had to work all day, I was excited to come home, put up our Christmas decorations and start on the tree.
Scott and I have decided to use an artificial tree until we move into a house. Since we live on the 8th floor of a condo (thank God for elevators!) it’s a bit of a hassle getting a live tree in and out. That, and we don’t have the luxury of sweeping all of the fallen needles out into the backyard. They could be swept onto and over our balcony, so I think we’re doing our downstairs neighbors a favor.
An artificial tree it was, and believe it or not we got this one two Christmas’s ago at K-Mart. We waited until the day after Christmas when everything was 75% off and got this pre-lighted beauty for around $50! On top of that, this was the year we got our ornaments, garland, and lights from Target also at a huge discount.
*TIP: If you’re wanting to get a completely new look and/or a new tree, the day after Christmas sales are totally worth the wait.
We set a similar type of tree up last year, but this year is the start of a new tradition where we are only putting new ornaments up that we’ve purchased together.
Without any more babbling, I present to you our very first Hesington Family Christmas Tree:
Just like our other decorations, we kept the fun & funky colors and prints theme going. I told Scott it everything together looked a little like Whoville, but it’s finally grown on me and this year I love it.
Let’s start the tree breakdown with my favorite part: the live animal decor.
I don’t care if you’re a cat person or not…that’s stinking adorable.
Next, the lights. Our Christmas tree came pre-lit, but Scott had a great idea of adding more. We have the pre-lit multi-colored strands, but then added 3 colored to white dimming sets. I like how it changes and gives the tree movement.
After the lights, came the garland, again purchased from Target.
After garland comes ornaments and we stuck to the basics. Part of our After-Christmas purchasing was a small medium and large ornament set. All three came in bright colors, funky patterns, and a variety of shiny, matte and sparkles from Target:
To offset the brightness we added a few matte white ornaments:
From there, we are now only allowing ourselves to add ornaments we purchase together. This ballerina is from our trip to ICE at Gaylord Palms two years ago:
We have also started a tradition of giving each other Christmas ornaments on our dating anniversary, which is New Years Day. The rule is you have to get it after Christmas on sale, and last year Scott got me this adorable fish ornament from Pier 1 Imports:
And last, but certainly not least another highlight is our Christmas Pickle. It’s been a tradition in my family for years to play “find the pickle ornament” on the tree every Christmas Eve.
Whoever finds it first (after it’s re-hidden…of course) gets to open a present on Christmas Eve. It’s a great game for a family of all ages, even one like ours that just constists of me, Scott, the cats and this guy:
Roadie’s great at games, when he’s not distracted by Christmas Tree toys…
(which by the way, has already been destroyed).
Let’s finish off our Christmas Tree Breakdown with my favorite part of decorating: the star.
We had it lit up last year, but the base of it that carried the light disappeared over the year. Somehow, Scott rigged it to stay up so at least we have something up there.
I really want to find a better tree-topper, or even make one of my own. I have some ideas for a DIY project, but don’t want to give too much away just yet.
So that’s our first official Hesington Christmas Tree.
I hope you like it!
Off to try to figure the topper out and get more ideas inspired by Pinterest…
- Have you started decorating or gotten your tree yet?
- Do any of you play the “find the pickle ornament” game?
November 28, 2011
I’ve been hearing Christmas music since the end of September, preparing for The Singing Christmas Trees and am excited that the rest of the world is finally on my page of decking the halls and going on sleigh rides.
As much as I love Halloween and Thanksgiving, nothing beats the tradition of decorating at home for the Holidays. This year we decided to keep it simple, but fun.
You may have picked up on the fact that Scott and I have a decorating sense that you wouldn’t necessarily find in a Martha Stewart Magazine. We like fun & funky colors and prints and share a love for a contemporary dream home made up of unique furniture and pieces.
With that said, I get little approval for anything in the country chic category, so I welcome you to a fun and contemporary Hesington Christmas Decorating Party…
Mini Christmas Trees:
We got the set of teal and mint green mini trees from Urban Outfitters in the After Christmas Sale in 2009. Last year we decorated them with the mini ornaments, also from UO, but this year we added the mini strands of lights which Scott picked up from Michaels. I LOVE these little guys.
We got everything you see in this picture a few years ago from Target. My favorite part about them is the HB & SH initials, which are really crystal lettered broach pins:
I love the funky JOY & NOEL stocking hangers, also from Target:
Oh, yeah…by the time I got finished taking photos around the house Scott added some white Christmas lights to the fixture. I thought it turned out pretty cool:
Candy Cane Trees:
Now, this “believe” sign might have been pushing it for Scott’s taste, but I fought for it (and won). I found the sign and the red and white tree cones at Stein Mart last Christmas. The cones actually came in a set of 3, but I’m still debating on where to set them up.
For now, they’re on top of the aquarium.
There’s nothing more pleasing when you’re washing your hands than to smell a seasonal scent. This Wish Peppermint hand soap was only $4.99 from Home Goods. It is surprisingly strong, which makes it refreshing…and addictive…believe me!
We always display colorful or seasonal napkins in our contemporary napkin holder from Ikea. They have tons of bright and fun napkins there, but for the holidays I found a the “Plenty for All” Raindeer napkins, again from Home Goods.
We also put our “H” napkins on top, which was a present we saved from Christmas last year.
Every time I turn around Scott finds more Christmas lights to put up. Here you can see our curious kitties scoping out what’s going on out on the balcony…
And, of course more lights:
Creative…yes…but I’m still not sure about that one. I love the candle holder though, which was an engagement gift from Pier 1 Imports.
That’s the majority of our Christmas Decor, but keep an eye out for even more coming soon! I’ll leave you with a sneak peak at our first Hesington Family Christmas Tree:
- Do you prefer a contemporary or more country decorating theme?
- When do you normally start decorating for the Holidays?
November 27, 2011
Fashion can seem intimidating to the everyday woman.
Don’t let magazines, designer boutiques or pricey department stores fool you…having a good fashion sense can be affordable to people outside of the industry. I have spent countless hours browsing magazines, websites and personal blogs with my ultimate goal of creating designer looks on an affordable budget.
My first rule of glamming up your wardrobe is accessories. I’m not suggesting that you own jewelery, headbands and a watch for every outfit, but instead that you have a few staple accessories to mix-and-match with a variety of outfits.
Here are my staple (and seemingly favorite) accessories that will dress up any outfit I own:
1. Skinny Belts
I have always enjoyed the look of belts, but have fallen in love with the skinny belt. They come in almost any color and are a quick fix for baggier tops or dresses that seem to be missing a waistline. I found all of these at Forever21 ranging $3.80 – $5.80.
*TIP: The loose end of a skinny belt has a tendency of flapping forward if you’re not wearing it in belt loops. Try a tiny piece of fashion tape to connect the end of the belt to the piece behind it to avoid “flapping”.
I got mine at Stein Mart, but you can find tape at any major beauty merchandiser.
I adore leggings and would wear a pair every day if I could. They are affordable, interchangeable throughout your wardrobe and come in handy if a top or dress gets accidentally thrown in the dryer on High. Pictured are some of my favorite pairs, purchased from a variety of stores including Forever21, H&M and Nordstrom Rack in NYC.
3. Nail Strips
Nail color can be classy, fun and even make a statement with the right color or design. If there’s a special occasion, or traveling in my future, I turn to Sally Hansen Nail Strips for a long-lasting look. I’ve tried all different combinations, using a nail color with a strip on my ring finger only, as well as jazzing up my look with a strip on every finger (pictured). You can find Nail Strips at any major beauty supply store as well as most convenient stores for under $10.
Pictured above is Sally Hansen Nail Strips in Misbehaved.
4. Pink Lips
All Lipsticks are from MAC. Pictured above from left to right:
Sheen Supreme-Full Speed, Amplified-Full Fuchsia, Amplified-Impassioned, Satin-Pink Nouveau, Matte-Pink Plaid, Cremesheen-Creme Cup and lip liner is Process Magenta.
I love pink lips, but occasionally enjoy bright reds, corals, or even a nude lip depending on the outfit. A fun lip color can dress up your going-out look, and depending on the outfit become the focal point of color. I am a MAC fanatic, especially for lips and eye shadows. Most shades go for $14.50, but prove to be worth every penny.
*TIP: Finish your lips with a sheer, shiny gloss.
Pictured above is the 316 MAC lip brush and gloss pot in Shine.
5. Ankle Boots
The great thing about living in Florida is getting to wear ankle boots at any time of the year. If you live somewhere where seasons actually exist, you can still pull off the ankle boot by adding a pair of leggings or skinny jeans. Every boot pictured above came from Forever21 and cost no more than $25.
Put my Fashion Favorites together, (just missing the skinny belt) and you’ll get an outfit like this one:
What are some of your Fashion Favorites?
November 25, 2011
Yesterday, Scott and I got up early to finish off what we were bringing to my family’s Thanksgiving Dinner. Scott completely took over my housewife duties and put together two great dishes for the occasion. I would love to take credit for the delicious sides you see below, but I just wouldn’t feel right doing it. While I was taking a pre-Thanksgiving nap –er, falling asleep on the couch at 8pm– Scott was getting busy in the kitchen getting busy.
The destination was my Aunt Karen’s house and she owns a beautiful ranch in St. Augustine with a gorgeous two-story country-chic house, a horse stable, tractors, a pond, a cook-out gazebo and about 10 acres of land.
Here you’ll find little cell phone service, horses, cows, a donkey, dogs, catfish and good company.
*NOTE: Unfortunately, I forgot to put my memory card back into my camera, (oops) so instead I relied on the Instagr.am app on my phone to document the highlights of our Thanksgiving.
This year was different because we got to bring Roadie with us! My cousins have little ones so there’s always toddlers running about, but this holiday was the first time I was responsible for someone other than myself, well besides Scott <— give the whoopie cushion a rest already will you?!
As soon as we arrived, Roadie couldn’t wait to get out and explore everything:
I swear the little guy has no fear. He walked right up to the horses, stuck his head INSIDE of the gates and barked at them. Besides being amazed at the animals there, he had a hay (get it?) day rolling around in the grass and playing with the other dogs.
We planned to eat our traditional Thanksgiving meal around 1pm, since my cousins had in-laws to visit later on. I’m glad we decided to eat that early because I’m not even exaggerating when I say I am still full from that meal.
I didn’t get to take pictures of everything, but our meal included:
- Turkey and Ham - standards
- My Uncle Bucky’s infamously sweet, Sweet Potatoes
- Macaroni & Cheese (the kind that’s crunchy on top!)
- Green Beans & Potatoes
- Green Bean Casserole
- Rice and Gravy
- Dinner Rolls
- My Mom’s Cherry/Strawberry Jello-Salad
- My Aunt Sandy’s Lime & Cottage Cheese Jello-Salad
and last but certainly not least, Scott’s Cucumber & Tomato Salad with onions, feta cheese and mint tossed in a lime vinaigrette dressing:
We knew all of the traditional starches would be covered, so we opted to bring something different, and sneak in some veggies that weren’t covered in bread crumbs. Everyone seemed to like it, so I’m sure one of us will be making this and I’ll post a recipe in the near future.
After linner (somewhere between lunch + dinner), we were all stuffed like turkeys and took a minute to breathe before digging into dessert. Well, maybe not all of us…by the time I made it over to the dessert table Scott’s Pumpkin Roll was almost gone!
Quickly, I gathered a plate with a slice of the roll (which by the way was his best one yet), home-made buttermilk Pound Cake & a slice of Pumpkin Pie:
I’m not kidding when I tell you the Pumpkin Roll was almost gone within 10 minutes after dinner. I got a few scraps together to form a slice for myself, but it should have really looked like this:
Y-U-M. My family loved it, and we were excited to contribute things worth raving about! I guess you could say our first Thanksgiving as a married couple was a S-U-C-C-E-S-S, Yes.
After a few hours of visiting with the family and laughing at the dogs playing, it was time to head home. Scott and I rode back to Orlando with my dad and grandma and talked about exciting things coming up for us the entire ride home.
When we got to the Daytona area, we stopped mid-conversation when we realized a special song was playing on the radio. Scott and I had a hard time deciding what Our First Dance together as a married couple would be on our Wedding Day, and 2 days before the wedding at the last minute changed it to “Hold Us Together” by Matt Maher.
To get you up to speed: 3 weeks before the wedding Scott lost his job. On top of the stresses of planning a wedding we were now in the mind frame of Where are we going to go and what are we going to do? We had a different First Dance Song picked out, but when we heard this one two days before the wedding it seemed to be playing just for us…so we changed it right then.
My favorite part is at the 2:10 mark:
Hearing that song put a huge smile on my face. What a great reminder…everything is going to be just fine.
And for that, I am so thankful.
Happy Turkey Day, Turkeys!