Monday, November 29, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

I began decorating for Christmas today. 

And by "began" I mean: I carried/drug/pulled everything out of the attic and pilled it on the landing. Then I facebooked and blogged for an hour. Then I made breakfast and watched trashy morning TV. Then I cleaned the kitchen. 

THEN I started decorating. 

So far I have managed to make a HUGE mess and not really accomplished much from a decorating standpoint. I was very much looking forward to getting a tree tonight, however, Mr. Rain impeded on that. 

Here's a preview of my kitchen wreath project from today: 

I like the concept but think it needs more color. You can't really see the red berries that I added up the sides. Maybe use red ribbon instead of white/solver? Add some red ball ornaments instead of berries?


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saturday Snapshots

Some"puppy" is getting big!

Like I mentioned yesterday, love my mom's house at Christmas! 

"What mom? It wasn't me!"

Two of my favorite individuals.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thankful Friday (I missed Thursday...)

I am sitting at my mom's house sipping coffee and blogging and half listening to Regis and Kelly in the background. Ahhh, bliss.

[Side note: I was. Until my grandfather accidentally left the back door open and my mom's dogs sprinted out, followed by my 3 month old Paisley pup. I rallied the beau fiance quickly (who happened to already be wearing shoes) and he and I (barefooted) sprinted through the woods and across the street to corral the trio. Did I mention that it's quite chilly and spitting rain?]

Back to relaxing, as the kitchen is being swept and Paisley barks incessantly at the broom. I don't get it. She tolerates vacuum cleaners but goes nuts over brooms. The fiance is reading in the arm chair and tuning out the world. My grandmother is reading in the other arm chair chit chatting between pages. Why am I giving you a panoramic of my living room, you ask? 

Because these are the things I am thankful for. 

:A mother who still decorates to the hilt because we, her children, love it. It wouldn't be the holidays to me without fresh greenery in almost every room of the house, garlands on the mantles and stairway, a gorgeous Christmas tree in the living room, and Department 56 Christmas cottages lining every shelf and bookcase in the office. It's gorgeous, and feels like home. I get a little sentimental during the holidays, please excuse me. 

:A grandmother who is feisty and speaks her mind on any and everything. She taught me how to fend for myself when I was younger and how to punch (to this day I still have a pretty good swing). She was the baby of 12, Johnnie Sarah (Johnnie, because she was supposed to be a boy and even out the dozen) and she is now a mother of 1, grandmother of 2, and great-grand-puppy-mother of 2! She is incredible and I love her with all of my heart.

:A brother who is one of my best friends. Seriously, I would do anything for the (23 year old) kid. He's funny and witty and smart as hell. He's already working while I am still in school. I am very thankful for him and the friendship we had. Though it hasn't always been that way... As I mentioned, my grandmother taught me to hit, which didn't really help our relationship when we were younger and he wasn't allowed to hit me back. 

:A grandfather who is beyond generous with his family, friends, and even complete strangers. He tends to be a man of few words (unless you get him talking about UGA football) but has a heart of gold. 

:A fiance who loves me unconditionally, even when I am dancing around in my PJs shaking bells and singing Christmas carols off tune. Not that I've ever done that. He. is. incredible. And I have thoroughly enjoyed our first holiday together. I cannot imagine my life without him. 

:Friends who are there through thick and thin; friends that make me laugh and are there when I cry. Friends who help me decorate for suprise parties and friends that remember my birthday every single year without fail. Friends far and near, single, married, and mothers. Friends who will lay in bed and cry with me when my world falls apart and go to breakfast in their sweats with me after a long night of studying. 

I am one blessed girl, every single day of the year. This is definitely a more sappy post, but please forgive me. It's that time of year, I'm allowed. 

I hope that everyone is having/had a blessed and joyous Thanksgiving. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

SUPRISE! The fiance's 30th (suprise!) party

Happy (early) 30th CSB! 

The fiance will be 30 on Thursday. With his birthday falling on/close to Thanksgiving every year it isn't always properly celebrated. He usually is with family (which he loves!) but I thought it would be fun to get his friends together and celebrate. I love birthdays, and feel as if they should be celebrated thoroughly. I also love playing the hostess role and planning/baking/decorating (not a shock to those of you who know me).  CSB took me to Chicago for my birthday- I can't really top that but I wanted to do something special for him, especially since it's the big 3-0!

(Feel free to scroll down to the pictures if you are bored by the details of the process. I won't be offended know!)

Here's some quick advice on party planning from a rookie:

Advice: Choose easy foods that can be prepared ahead or quickly assembled day of event
Considerations: Any allergies/special dietary needs of friends: For example, I have a good friend that is a vegetarian and prepared pimento cheese sandwiches and veggie chilli. Make sure you have options that everyone can enjoy.

I made chili, various sandwiches, and guacamole. I cooked the meat for the chili the day before and stored it in the fridge. I made the pimento cheese for sandwiches the day before, too. Two of my friends volunteered to help day of and were key in helping with the food prep.

I made the cake layers and icing the day before the party and stored them overnight. I assembled and decorated the cake the morning of the party.

Have a "signature" drink or food item that is special to the person you are celebrating. CSB loves the glass bottles of coke. I made a drink menu using the coke and displayed the bottles on the bar. It was a hit! The cake was also golf-themed, a favorite hobby of CSB.

Advice: Do it yourself decor is far cheaper, and my personal opinion, cuter, than pre-made. I made a run to a local party supply store and picked up a few odds and ends but relied mostly on homemade decor. The flag banner is my favorite and could be used for a multitude of occasions. Very simple! All you need is scrapbook paper/construction paper, ribbon, and glue.

For the table I used all silver (well, really more stainless steel than silver) platters and dishes that coordinated but didn't all match. The tiered piece pictured with sandwiches is a piece I've wanted and finally found week of the party for $19.99 at TJ Maxx. Score! I borrowed several pieces from my mom, too.

 With the help of several of my friends as well as CSB's friends the party was successful! CSB was surpised and we all had a great night. The look on his face when he walked in the back door was truly priceless!

We continued the celebration on Saturday at the tailgate. I made a carrot cake- definitely the best cake I've ever made- if anyone needs a good holiday recipe let me know and I will pass along the recipe. Unfortunately I have very few pictures. I did make a banner to make sure everyone knew!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

FREE Christmas cards for blogging? Yes, please.

I have been debating (more on the debate) on sending out Christmas cards this year... I've stalked several online websites for cards and continue to find myself on Shutterfly. A blogging (and real life!) friend  shared Shutteryfly's current (a-mazing!) offer: 50 free cards for blogging about their Christmas cards/products. As I said above, yes, please!
Shutterfly's website has, by far, the best selection of photo Christmas cards! I have browsed through almost all of them in the last week day. I cannot wait to order some! I may order a few Christmas gifts, too- I really like the  desk calendar (for my mom- she'd love a year full of family pictures). I am new to using Shutterfly but have heard only good things form my friends and family that have ordered products. This will be my first year sending out Christmas cards and they have to be just right.  

Here are my 10 favorites, in no particular order: 

Decisions, decisions! Shutterfly, you are incredible and I look forward to ordering my Christmas cards.

As for the debate: Is is "kosher" to send out Christmas cards as an engaged couple with a puppy? I hope so! Be on the lookout for a Christmas card in the near future... Aren't you all (all 4 of you) excited to see which one I choose?  

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas DIY #1: Personalized ornaments

I've been busy the last couple of days! I've started making Christmas ornaments for gifts and for our tree. Here's a preview:

This is the other side of another one, I haven't added the ribbon yet. 

I've also done a UK one for the future in-laws, a UGA one for the grandparents, and a GT one for little brother. I will post them when I am done.

All you need for this is glass ornaments, acrylic paint, and ribbon. Choose your favorite team OR an occasion to be remembered from 2010: Baby's birth, new puppy, engagement, etc.
(Only 2 of the 3 apply to me in the past 2 months, don't get any ideas!)

Also, Hobby Lobby and Michaels BOTH have plain ornaments on sale this week for 50% off. I've been to Hobby Lobby twice (there isn't one in Nashville and I am obsessed!) and Michaels once in the last 2 days. Seasonal ribbon is also 50% off right now at Michaels and ribbon by the spool is 50% off at Hobby Lobby. I also stocked up on ribbon for other projects!

I spent a total of around $15 for 8 ornaments, and paint.  Not the cheapest project I've done but I will get 4 Christmas gifts out of that $15!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

"You can't decorate for Christmas yet, there are still holidays between now and then!"

I truly was ready to decorate for Christmas before the trick-or-treaters showed up at the door on Halloween. I announced this to the fiance, the title of the blog his response. I've held out until now, but it's not going to last much longer! Though I love fall, Christmas is by far my favorite season for which to decorate. Break out the garlands and wreaths and ribbon!

Here are some of my inspirations this season:

I am obsessed with the monogramed (shock!) wreaths. I am planning to incorporate this concept into my wedding and also like it for Christmas. Though this will be my future last initial I will hold out this year! 
(Image from Ballard Design's website) 

These are also from Ballard Design. I want to make the one on the bottom left, with the single ornament. Pretty sure I can.
I love Ballard Design's entire catalog. The prices? Noooot so much. I do recommend all my blogging friends in the Atlanta area check out their outlet, however. I got a great $150 rug for $40 this summer. 

I wish. Thank you Southern Living for making me dream big. 

This was my front door last year: 

Stay tuned for this year's! 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I'm baaaaaack!

Hello to my plethora of 4 (maybe?) readers. Sorry for my recent absence. Life has given me lots to blog about and no time to do it! Here's a summary of my life since engagement:

1. Survived Completed my last week of fieldwork. It was bittersweet!

2. Presented to the entire acute rehab staff at Vanderbilt on traumatic brain injuries... And baked brain cupcakes for the occasion.

2. Hosted yet another tailgate (Paisley's first!)

3. Began wedding planning! (!!!)


4. Started looking at wedding ceremony/reception sites. Apparently folks here in Nashville plan weddings 3 years in advance. 2 of the places I was strongly considering are booked solid through 2011. Well, except a couple of Saturdays in July (both are outdoor venues). Can you say HOT? No, thanks.

5. Took care of the fiance after his wisdom teeth removal. He was a much better patient for me than I was for my mother almost 10 years ago.

(No picture to document, he'd kill me.)

6. Entertained our growing/crazy puppy.

Though it doesn't sound like that much, I've definitely been busy! I'm committing to blogging at least 4 times a week from here on out. I am working on the focus of my blog, too. Probably decor + wedding planning? Stay tuned!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!