DIY: time zone clocks

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not everyone is lucky enough to be as jetset as we are. with Spy’s work trips taking him across the globe for sometimes weeks at a time, it’s tough enough to keep up with where he is, much less whether it’s a good time to call. so when our kitchen clock died recently, i had the brilliant idea of replacing it with 3 new clocks that will tell me the time in the places he visits most. plus, i thought it would be a fun way to help Miss Girl learn to tell time. the only problem was that (of course) i couldn’t find any that i liked. so i made them myself! such a super easy, fun and inexpensive (under $50) project, and i absolutely love how they turned out.

i found this simple clock at Target for just $14.99.

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i bought 3 and honestly had no idea how i was going to get the city names for my 3 time zones (Hong Kong, Paris and Atlanta) on them. the original plan was to get some letter stickers in a font i liked and put them on the outside of the glass. but there was the little problem of the logo on the clock face. seemed like it was going to look messy with that up top and a city name on the bottom. if only there were a way to cover it up . . .

luckily, when i turned the clocks over, i found that the backs come off! no idea why, but they do. that meant i could open up each clock and put a label over the logo. my plan started coming together.

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after some trial and error with sizing and color, i was able to match the off ecru clock face background and cover the logo without making it look too crazy. i would definitely recommend printing these on sticker paper, but of course i didn’t have any.

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thank god for a glue stick. with some careful cutting and gluing, i was able to get it just right. 3 times.

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probably the hardest part of the whole thing was getting them hung in a straight line and evenly spaced. oh, and getting the second hand exaaaaaactly the same on each one. whew.

oops. looks like my next project needs to be a more proper spot to hang all the art that gets created around here! in the meantime, i’m loving that we can easily see the time at home, in Europe and in China in a quick glance (and can’t wait for Spy to go on his next trip!).

turkeys and pumpkins and printables, oh my!

i LOVE Thanksgiving. the minute Halloween was done last weekend, i tore down all the spiderwebs and creepy stuff and started getting psyched about having a homeful of people i love in a few weeks. my mom, father-in-law and sister-in-law will all be visiting with us for the holiday. it’s the first time we’ve ever done Thanksgiving with more than one guest (usually my mom). i love cooking all the fabulous dishes we usually only get once a year and always make too much food. so i’m happy that this year, i have a better chance of not having leftovers until April!

this year, we also have new-to-us family china that we inherited several months ago, when my father-in-law moved into a smaller place. the gold trim was hand painted on by Spy’s great aunts, so it is special and i wanted to create a great table to show it off for the first time in our home.

after a few hours of online searching and buying, my chargers, runner, napkins and napkin rings were all delivered over the course of this week. i dreaded going to Michael’s today to hunt down leaves and other baubles to fill in around my standard candles. probably the only worse fate on a Saturday in Atlanta is Ikea, which i did anyway. tackling both excursions would have sent me into the bottom of a bottle of bourbon that i’m not sure i could swim out of. so, i was really lucky to find enough sparkly things at Target that are technically Christmas, but still read fall and woodsy  . . . and Thanksgiving. score!

i did a trial run today (sans silver and glassware), pulling 2 white pumpkins off the front porch (that still probably need to be washed), dismantling an old wreath and adding a few mason jars with tealights to my standard orange pillars. i think the end result is a nice mix of dressy and casual with burlap contrasting sparkles and gold, real pumpkins contrasting glitter-covered pine cones and mason jars contrasting fancy china and white linens. y’all, i have literally never even attempted to put together a table like this, but i am positively in love with how it turned out and can’t wait to sit down to it in a few Thursdays!

to complete the look in the dining room, i loved the idea of doing some printables in a space where we usually rock this nice quote about home — also something i have never really done before. here’s a dirty little secret about what goes on around here: i create all my images in Keynote and save them out to jpegs. it’s a process, but it has worked thus far. it’s a fine solution for web images, but they’re not hi-res enough for great printing. and i cannot even think about doing the math to create files large enough to get converted to hi-res and not be the size of a postage stamp. i couldn’t find anything anyone else had created that i loved that was also downloadable at a decent size i could print at home and frame in a standard frame.

then, late one night, i remembered the Canva account i recently signed up for. life changing, y’all! seriously. super simple way to create print documents that look great without having to buy and learn any expensive software. there are templates for a bunch of different types of images/documents from Facebook headers to posters and business cards, with some ability to manipulate designs and create your own from scratch.  some matte photo paper and a couple  Ikea frames later and i have a fun display that included zero drama to create. you’re welcome to download them here.

i’m thankful that my holiday look has come together . . . now to start working on what we’ll eat and how we’ll spend our time together while everyone’s here! what are you doing to get ready for Thanksgiving?

Writing 101: the space to write

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for Day 6 (i know. that was a really long time ago), we were asked to describe the place where we write. i’m not quite done with it, but am at a place with my office make-over that i felt like it was finally ready to write this post and have some pictures to share!

for years, i have been writing at my kitchen counter. our home has a really open layout and it just seemed to make sense that i could be writing/working and still be part of the family. but that was just the problem. i was in the middle of everything going on and couldn’t go more than about 12 minutes without being interrupted by somebody wanting something or by a blaring television. even during the early morning or late night when i was the only one downstairs, the view of the dirty dishes in my sink or the neighbor’s house out the window above that wasn’t exactly inspiring. i considered getting a desk for the upstairs sitting room, but decided that since we have a perfectly good office downstairs that no one ever uses, i should at least get that really functioning and try it before exiling myself to another floor.

before . . .

a lot of stuff had just kind of gotten shoved in there over the years. rugs came and went after being destroyed by cat or dog pee. the chair my husband had paid a fortune for when he was a bachelor never felt comfortable to me for more than a nanosecond — not exactly a good fit for hunkering down and writing the great American novel. a file cabinet full of old stationery and camera equipment at one point had to have the the drawer facing ripped off to get it unstuck. and never got replaced. even with my aversion to stacks of paper, i’d let myself slip into stacking things in here just to get them off of the kitchen counter where they were more visible. all together, it made for a place that kind of stressed me out every time i tried writing there.

after . . .

i have a few more spaces to fill with books, pictures and decorative items, but i love this room, now! the shelving cost a bit, but otherwise, i’m psyched to  have pulled this together mainly on the cheap (see image captions for detail). i can’t confirm that no one bothers me in here, but at least the space no longer agitates me and at least, the family has to make a little more effort to find me here. from where i sit, i can look out over most of the downstairs (except the damn kitchen, where i spend so much time anway!) and feel connected to what everyone is doing, but separate from it. i find that having a space just for this one activity brings me a lot of focus and calm when i’m working in here. and hopefully great things will emerge!

now that i’ve got my space shaped up, do you have any thoughts on what i should write here? the second part of this assignment asks us to post a poll to gather ideas for future posts. i’d love to hear your thoughts!

fall is for nesting: 3 home projects for the season

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every year, when the calendar turns to September, my focus turns from working on my tan to working on my surroundings. i think there’s some primal instinct that kicks in and knows in a couple months, i’ll be spending much more time inside, so i better make my home someplace i’ll really enjoy being during the colder months ahead. like clockwork, my brain reset itself this past weekend as summer unofficially wrapped up and my head was filled with visions of organized space, updated decor and seasonal color. lots of time was spent online window shopping and browsing Pinterest. my urge to nest only grew stronger.

then today’s Writing 101 prompt gave 6 words: TREASURE, REGRET, HOME, LOVE, UNCERTAINTY and SECRET and asked us young grasshoppers to “Select one word in this list that speaks to you in some way.” i thought it was the perfect opportunity to share some of the projects i’m excited about doing around my home this fall. so let’s go.

1. my office
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i believe i mentioned it in my last Friday favorites, but things are moving forward! i’m tired of writing at our kitchen counter, surrounded by all the noise and chaos of the house. and we have a perfectly good office that no one ever uses. but with just a couple basic Ikea bookshelves and a bare bones filing cabinet, we really have never had the storage space to set things up to be as functional as i would like. i need to have order around me when i write, so the first piece of business here was to get some real furniture. i’m hoping to do a before and after piece once it all arrives and is set up, but long story short, i spent a lot of the weekend on ballarddesigns.com and running back and forth between their Atlanta outlets trying to get the best deals on a gorgeous and functional shelving system. we had talked about doing custom built-ins, but i just figured this would be faster and less expensive. and i’m all about instant gratification right now. i’ve spent a few nights in there writing just to get a feel for it and i absolutely love it. i feel separated from the family just enough, but can still look out and see them in the livingroom. Monday night, after they all were in bed, i enjoyed the quiet and the view as i looked out with a perspective on my home i have rarely gotten — at the kitchen counter, all i ever see is a sink full of dishes and the next door neighbor’s house out the window! this was way more inspiring. it made me remember how beautiful i think our home actually is and what a damn good job i’ve done making it cozy, if i do say so myself! this is gonna be good.

2. our stuff


i’m a digital girl living in an analog world. sigh. Spy is dying for us to turn a wall in our kitchen into a fancy command center so we can have a calendar and place to write notes and hang stuff. um. isn’t that what Google calendars are for? i pleaded my case for one of those and our current set-up of basic cork board and whiteboard, maybe on a chalkboard painted wall. but to no avail. truth: i’m kind of into the epic DIYness of making this whole thing come to life, but a bit overwhelmed at the same time. and i dread that it will be useless. if everything’s written on a wall at home, how will we be able to check it or add stuff when we’re at work when most of the new items to add happen? c’est la vie. i’ve got a few ideas, a sketch and a color palette in my head. now i’m just looking for the time, mental fortitude and — let’s be honest — a box of wine, to make it happen. stay tuned!

3. our memories


the wall at the top of our stairs is currently filled with a series of famous-in-Richmond Eliza B. Askin line drawings of our favorite watering holes from our respective single days there. yeah, agreed. we may have outgrown those. so, we’ve decided it’s time for the official Woodward wall: a giant family photo collage. now, there is a difference in opinion in the family about what kind of pictures are appropriate to go here — formal family portraits? candids? artsy shots of places we’ve been? not too many of us! do we even have anything hi-res enough to use here? lots of questions and lots of space to fill. so now, i get the fun, yet daunting, yet so-worth-it-in-the-end task of scouring photo files, sourcing the perfect frames and creating the layout. it’s going to be amazing.

Friday favorites: Labor Day edition

soooo looking forward to the long weekend! who’s with me?? the beginning of September always gets me energized to get things organized and (re)start some good new habits. to that end, i have a huge to-do list to tackle over the next 3 days, but instead of feeling overwhelmed i’m excited! here are a few current favorites. hope y’all have some big plans and enjoy the extra day!

1. Clusterfest
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hands down, this is my very favorite weekend in Atlanta all year. every Labor Day weekend, geeks, jocks, gays, rednecks and booknerds descend upon the city and close-in burbs to celebrate in their own ways. this year, looks like we lost NASCAR and the rednecks, but DragonCon, Chick-fil-A Kick-off Game, Decatur Book Festival and even a couple other big local events will be in full swing. check out the full roster. it is literally the best people watching all year! i work downtown in the middle of DragonCon and have already gotten an eyeful of superheros, video game characters and other cosplay far outside my realm of familiarity. can’t wait to head down tomorrow to watch the parade, which always includes a unit or 2 of Stormtroopers walking down Peachtree. coolest. ever. then we’ll head over to Centinnial Olympic Park to catch the SEC crew. and out to Decatur. Miss Girl has already said she should get 5 books because she’s 5. not sure i can argue.

2. new office furniture
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dying for this. i am so tired of working at my kitchen counter. if you ever wonder why my posts are so disjointed and random, it’s because my family drives me insane. i’ve been threatening to contemplating turning our sitting room upstairs into an office just for me: a place to get away. i’ve been looking at girly desks and fantasizing. and then i stepped back a moment. i love being around my family. and the thought of sequestering myself felt a little weird. the fact also remains that nobody ever uses our real, dedicated office space downstairs. so i thought the first thing i should do is fix that up and see if i can work there. i have had my eye on this Ballard Original Office collection for probably years, but never wanted to spend the money. turns out it is 20% off this weekend. when i went into the local outlet at their headquarters right here on Atlanta’s Westside to see if i could pick up wood swatches (i want white, Spy doesn’t. we’ll probably compromise on the grey.), they had a couple of the pieces i wanted, discounted because of minor damage and 40% off this weekend! turns out there is one more outlet i can visit to search for additional pieces. so add one more thing to my list this weekend! hoping i can show y’all a before and after soon!

3. GapKids x ED

just. this. Miss Girl has turned into such a tomboy and i’m wholly supportive of it all. hello, i’m going to have a girl Luke Skywalker for Halloween! it’s like that. so, i was really psyched to see this Gap line this week that at least strives to be a little more gender neutral and positive in promoting different images for girls. plus, it features a couple of these really brilliant, overachieving like 8-year old entrepreneur/brands i keep seeing mentioned. crazy. great marketing. unfortunately, it’s all still probably made by 8-year old non-entrepreneurs in China. but i have to pick my battles.

4. shouting it out
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if you follow me on Instagram, you know that Lily ate a black pen this morning, then ran back and forth across the length of our upstairs with black ink on her paws. i tried to catch her and quarantine her in the bathroom, but on every attempt, her paws just got wetter with shower drippings, which made the ink prints darker when she ran back out on the carpet. long story short, after finally catching her and throwing her in the bathtub, i spent a good part of my morning spraying Shout on and steam cleaning all the spots. a bit more work to do in a few places, but i think the Shout totally made the difference in getting these black stains out of our light beige carpet.

5. Yeezy 4 prez
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and then, in the middle of an already-insane moment in American politics, this happened. i didn’t actually watch the VMAs on Sunday to see the inspiration for this go down (and know he said 2020). but you know what? what the hell. part of me says it’s already a circus, let’s let all the clowns in. part of me says the nation seems to really want a change in who leads us and how we’re led (maybe i’m denying that’s code for wanting to go back to an old white man. yeah, i said it.), so let’s be open to some really new kinds of candidates. you gotta admit, some Kardashians up in the White House would certainly add a little flair. and can you imagine the reality show?? E! must be salivating . . .

Friday favorites: into the woods!

in just a few hours, we’ll be heading to Tugaloo State Park with 4 other families for the weekend. 9 adults, 10 kids (omg, how did we get outnumbered??), 4 yurts and 2 pontoon boats for 2 nights of unlimited fun. we are so excited! the other 4 families are all neighbors or former neighbors. all the kids go to school together (or would if A&G hadn’t picked up and moved to South Carolina. boo.) and i just think they are going to have such an amazing time together, i can’t wait to watch! the adults are all some of my absolute favorite people to hang out with, so i know we all will have a good time, too. this is how memories get made, y’all! anyway,  i’ve got about a million things still to pack and do before it’s time to pick up Miss Girl and hit the road, but thought it would be fun to write a quick glamping-themed favorites post in honor of the coming adventure. i’ll give y’all a full update when we return! have a great weekend, everyone!

koozies for boozies!
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obviously, there will be beer. so obviously, there had to be koozies! really random, but i’m loving Discount Mugs to print these (and the ones i made for our Tybee trip). they do runs as small as 25, which you know is unusual if you’ve ever tried to get any of these things printed. so far, i always get mine double-sided. they have a decent online design tool or you can upload your own art (i’ve only done mine with their tool). this time their designer didn’t match what i’d done, but it was a quick turn-around to get it adjusted and i think they look great. definitely recommend them for this kind of thing!

mood lighting
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so, as i was raiding my pantry at 11:00 last night to find random snacks Miss Girl won’t eat or other stuff we can unload on our friends (not really/really), i found the perfect solution for the 1,000 pack of Ikea votives i’d put in the packing pile: jelly jars! remember that time i made all that peach jam? and then apple? yeah, so i had a dozen jars just sitting on the shelf gathering dust because none of that has happened in forever. they’ll be perfect holders to give a little light and sparkle to our campsite! (image: homedit.com)

grub on the go
TheGirlWhoAteEverythingWalkingTacosi won’t lie. the idea of planning and buying everything for a meal for 20 people that can be stored in a cooler and cooked outside was totally overwhelming to me. thank goodness, in the end, we took the more sane approach of jointly coming up with some really basic meals (burgers and burgers . . . maybe a hotdog) and sent 2 people to Costo to buy everything. in the meantime, though, L had done some searching for good meal ideas and other stuff (love her Pinterest board for it!). this idea for walking tacos is completely fun. didn’t make the cut, but maybe some random Saturday we can make these and eat them in the park. (image: The Girl Who Ate Everything)

speaking of Pinterest . . .
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i mean. i should have guessed, but never really thought about it before. yes, y’all. there is a ton of shit on Pinterest about glamping! probably a good idea i didn’t discover this until like 6 hours ago or i would have made myself crazy finding beautiful, delicious, amazing things to do, make, eat and wear that would never. ever. happen.

lake sunsets
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being on the water is one of my favorite things in life and i’m so excited that we’ve got 2 of these to look forward to this weekend at Lake Hartwell! (image: Southern Lake Living)

Easter booty

bunny_buttwith Easter less than 3 weeks away, i’m thrilled to announce that i am planning absolutely zero crafting, cooking or decorating projects to commemorate the holiday. not a single dyed egg, cute basket or bunny cake for me this year. to tell the truth, i think i’m still not over the whole cakepops ordeal from Valentine’s Day. but more importantly, we will be in France for Easter! i’m not even worrying about what anyone will wear to church since, most likely, we’ll pass by Notre Dame or Sacré Cœur, but won’t set foot inside. the whole experience is amazingly freeing! no lists. no trips to the craft store. nothing to clean up . . .

but it is fun to look — especially knowing i can drool over all the lovely ideas out there without committing to even lifting a hot glue gun. so in the spirit of window shopping, i created a Pinterest board with some of the best Easter goodies i’ve come across over the past couple weeks — from frocks and flowers to bunny-eared everything. all y’all who plan on crafting it up (or even just dressing up) should swing by. and i’d love to see what cute things you’ve found out there, too, so please share!

February first: XO!

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whoa. what a thing today. for real. Spy is gone, so there is all kinds of crazy single mommy/girl time goin’ on around here, plus it is rainy and grey. i used it all as an excuse for 2 things. first, we are seriously knocking out some of the Valentine’s projects from that Pinterest board i mentioned last time. second, i wanted to try something new. literally. on the first of every month, i’m planning on doing something i’ve never done before. and of course posting about it. it’s probably not ever going to be like sky diving or even at all bucket list worthy, but i figure it’s a fun way to stay out of a rut and get a few new experiences under my belt, even if they’re small. so from here on out, you can look forward to a monthly first on the first day of every month. you’re welcome. 

so my February first is making a Valentine’s Day wreath (and also, unofficially, making cakepops, which are in progress as i write . . . stay tuned for more on that upcoming disaster). while i keep a wreath on the door all year round and change them up frequently, i’ve never actually made a Valentine’s Day themed one. now i can officially add crazy wreath lady to my list of eccentricities . . .

8f02253de813ab79ef59b6cb47db1e4aone of my very favorite things from my V-Day Pinterest board was this gorgeous XO wreath. truth be told, i should have just shelled out the $90 to buy it, but 1) i wasn’t thinking that far ahead and 2) what in the hell kind of fun would that have been for you guys?! so that’s the inspiration for this afternoon’s crafting shenannigans.

it all went down something like this: around $80 in florals and ribbon from Michael’s (at 40% off, even! yes, when they ask why we can’t afford to send Miss Girl to college, i will point to this damn wreath.); a tantrum because somebody didn’t get her 3,789th stuffed animal from Michael’s; Wendy’s on the way home because i felt like i was a mean mom all the way through Michael’s between the no stuffed animals mandate and several terse words over the cakepop options (at this point, Mommy really wanted lunch at someplace with actual servers and a deep wine list, but sucked it up); however long Tangled is worth of crafting; and final photos, clean up and here we are. whew. my end result isn’t nearly as gorgeous as this. remind me sometime to tell you about me and quiches. they all end up more like rustic country pies instead of elegant tarts. welcome to my rustic country pie version of the XO wreath.

step 1: obligatory beauty shot of all my materials

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14 pussy willow stems. 4 stems of pink buds. 12″ twig wreath form. 6′ roll of cotton chevron ribbon. floral wire. scissors.

step 2: shot of hardcore tools i had to bring in to finish the job

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yeah, so the garden clippers were necessary to clip off the ends of the pussy willows (and it was still hard as hell!). the staple gun was how i attached the whole shebang to the door. read on . . .

step 3: make the O

this part was easy peasy. i just stuck my pink flowers into the wreath form, end to end. then i worked around bending and shaping them so they formed a circle and filled in the entire form. in a few places, i used my floral wire to tether the stems to the form.

step 4: make the X

his one was a little harder, but basically, i gathered 2 sets of 7 stems each and bound them together with floral wire (first step here was bundling them with some washi tape, just to keep the lengths even and have them contained while i worked with the wire)t. you really can’t see it at all and it’s pretty easy to arrange leaves and buds to cover them up on the front. i had to use the garden clippers to chop off the extra length. then i tied them together in a cross with more floral wire in about 4 places. if we get a tornado, this thing’s a goner, but for normal February gusts, i think she’ll be fine.

step 5: attach everything

okay. here’s where things definitely got a little weird. this for sure is not the best constructed wreath and the door attachment situation is just one more way i proved to myself i have no idea what the hell i’m doing. (fooled ya up to here, huh?) truth: i craft like i cook. it’s usually a totally fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants event and while things usually turn out okay in the end, it ain’t pretty getting there. long story short, i should have taken the time to measure, then connected everything on the table, then hang it. instead, i impatiently hung the ribbon (staple-gunned to the top of the door), then went about attaching the wreath parts. a few random knots and a prayer later, it was up. and, while definitely not perfect. i kind of love it.

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happy February, y’all!

it’s a heart-shaped world

i feel like such a season pusher here. it isn’t even February yet and i’m already posting about Valentine’s Day. personally, i think Valentine’s Day is a commercialized load of well crap fraught with unrealistic expectations and inevitable disappointments (thanks Hollywood and Madison Avenue). that said, there are so many completely cute things to make (and eat)!

with Miss Girl, it’s all about the activities. and with Spy gone, we’re definitely going to need to find some ways to keep busy over the next couple weeks. so i’ve been working on getting out ahead of this whole thing and have put together a Pinterest board with all the best Valentine’s Day DIYs i could find (plus some cheap date ideas and other miscellaneous fun). above are just a few of my favorites. we’ll be trying some of them out over the next couple weeks leading up to the big day (and Spy’s arrival back home — yay!). i’ll definitely let you know what kind of disaster ensues here. with pictures. because you know it probably won’t be pretty, but hopefully will at least make for a good story or two. check out the board and let me know what cute and fun V-Day DIY trouble you’re planning on getting into.

photos:
heart animals – Crafty Morning
heart cookies – Michael’s
Oreo pops – Makoodle
ombre cake – Michael’s
wreath – twoinspireyou
mini lanterns – Good Housekeeping

Friday favorites: holiday decorating edition

happy Friday, y’all! did this full week after the holiday seem almost impossible to anyone else? gaahhh . . . anyhoo, we don’t get our tree until tomorrow and the rest of the weekend will be consumed with doing all our decorating indoors and out. however, we did something different this year and started putting up some of the inside decorations last weekend. okay, honestly, Spy just finally got around to changing the HVAC filters and had to take all the decorations out of the attic to get to that, so we figured we might as well. but whatever the reason, i’m psyched to have a few more little bits of Christmas going up every day. here are just a few of my favorites so far.have a great weekend, everyone!

sassy sayings
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i’ve had this tree for centuries and love having it light up the entrance area by our front door, but new this year are the fun prints above on the picture rail. happened upon them at Michael’s last weekend and thought they would be absolutely perfect to replace another bit of signage we usually keep there year round.

girly trees
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because every 4½ year old needs her own tree in her room. and of course it is pink. duh. all from Target.

holiday farfegnugen
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nerd alert! i have always wanted to put a wreath on the front of my car. don’t judge. this year, i finally did it and i totally giggle a little bit every time i see it. every single time.

holiday kisses
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gotta have a little decorating for me! i usually wear a more neutral lipstick, but have been enjoying pulling out my perfect red this week. won’t be an everyday through the season thing, but it’s fun to mix it up. L’Oréal Colour Riche in Raspberries has been my go-to red for a few years now. mwah!