2012 recap

I need to apologize up front to anyone out there reading...this is a post mainly for me.  While I try to use this blog to offer "lifestyle" tips to those of you who read, I have also found it to be a great way to keep track of some of the things going on in my life.  So, even though this blog has only been around since October, I am going to take the time to do a recap of the highlights of 2012 before the year slips away! 

One of the things I have enjoyed most this year is starting to blog.  It has provided an outlet for some creativity and a distraction from the rigors of law school.  Even more than a distraction though it has given me a chance to connect with many of you- old friends and new.  Thank you for reading and for your support.  I would love to hear the some of your highlights from 2012...feel free to leave me a comment or write me an email!




new year's day outfit

Good Morning!  Today I am sharing a New Year's Day outfit inspiration.  We always have a BIG lunch/dinner on New Year's Day complete with collards, black eyed peas, and rum cake...my mouth is watering just thinking about it.  The lunch/dinner is a time to catch up with friends after a few weeks of nonstop holiday celebrating, travel, etc.  It is also a chance to see the relatives we didn't spend Christmas with- a somewhat extended celebration if you will.  Regardless, there are lots of people to see and spend time with so I like to look put together while doing it!

earrings // top // bracelets // pants // clutch (sold out) similar here // shoes

Although it may be tempting to throw on a pair of trusty jeans after a long night celebrating, I promise an outfit like this won't take much more time or effort...and you can start the New Year off on a fashionable foot!  If the idea of booties is just too much for your tired feet, a cute pair of black flats would also go well with this look.  Throw your hair up in a messy bun, grab some colorful bangles, and welcome 2013!
As a reminder, please consider "following" my blog by clicking the "join this site button" on the right.


new year's eve flapper

Good Morning!  I feel like I have been so focused on Christmas that I have completely neglected New Year's Eve!  I have a low-key evening on the docket and I am super excited, but I wanted to share this look I created for those of you with plans for a big night out on the town.  I love the flapper style dress (as you can tell from this post) and I am all about the traditional black and gold colors.  Add a bright berry lip for some color and a beautiful cocktail ring and you are set to ring in the 2013 in style.    

dress // clutch // ring // lipstick // shoes

What do you think?  Do you have any big plans?
Check back tomorrow for New Year's Day Brunch outfit inspiration.

As a reminder, please consider "following" my blog by clicking "join this site" on the right.


thank you notes

Good Morning!  I hope you all had a VERY Merry Christmas!  

While it may seem like the gifts have just been opened and have hardly been played with, it is time to start thinking about writing thank you notes.  (Check back for my tips on actually writing the note)  I know it seems quick, but this really is the best time to write a thank you...your enthusiasm is still running high, you likely still have a few days off of work or school, and once they are done you can check them off your list and enjoy yourself.  So... to get you in the thank you note mood, I thought I would share this BEAUTIFUL letterpress stationary with you!

Letter press seems to be popping up everywhere these days and is one of the hottest trends in stationary.  The letterpress technique requires the printer to create a plate that is inked and "pressed" into thick, soft paper.  The result is an impression with a 3D quality and it can be colored with ink or left as an impression on plain paper.  I think this card is beautiful and would certainly inspire me to write LOTS of thank you notes this year!

letter press stationary

As a reminder, please consider "following" my blog by clicking the "join this site" button on the right.



christmas eve

Happy Christmas Eve!  It is time to enjoy the hours of wrapping, baking, shopping, stuffing stockings, and making it all look easy :)  Light your favorite Christmas candle, turn on some music, and enjoy time with your family and friends.   Christmas only comes once a year...enjoy it! 



a last minute gift idea

So I have said it before, but now we are really in the final count to CHRISTMAS!  While many of you are on the ball and have had your presents purchased and wrapped for weeks, those of you who may still need a last minute gift or two are in luck...there is still time to make a charitable donation in honor of a loved friend or family member!

While this may be a new idea to some, I can promise that it is quick, easy, and makes for a very meaningful gift if done correctly.  In fact, there are several people on my list who would prefer a charitable donation on Christmas morning to another set of hand towels or a new mixing bowl.  Here are a few quick tips and ideas if making a charitable donation is something you are considering this year.

1. Chose the right charity.  This is KEY!  Consider the person you are honoring with the charitable donation.  What are their interests, passions, or hobbies?  If your mom is an avid gardener, consider a donation to a botanical garden in her honor.  Perhaps your friend recently adopted a puppy... a donation to the humane society may be the perfect gift this year.  There are so many charitable organizations out there you are certain to find one that matches your recipient's interests.

2. Do a little research.  Not sure about which charity to support?  Check out Charity Navigator, a free resources that provides you with a ranking of different charities ranging from large national groups to local grassroots causes.  The site it easy to use with a search bar on the home page for keywords or the name of a specific charity.  If you want to make sure your donation is tax deductible, remember to verify the organization's 501(c)(3) status (a federal status given to organization's that qualify as charitable) before making your gift.  Check out this site for more information on charitable organization's and tax exemption.

3. Make a gift.  Many charitable organizations take donations online, over the phone, or in person.  Regardless of how you make your donation, be sure to provide your name and mailing address so the organization can send you a receipt and you can claim a tax deduction.

4.  Present your gift to the honoree.  Many charitable organizations will send a letter or card (especially during the holidays) announcing to your loved one that a gift has been given in their honor.  Being so close to Christmas, it is probably safest for you to write your own card to your loved one for any donations you make this year.  If you write your own card, it is not necessary to list the amount of the donation.  A simple card that reads "A donation has been made in your name to (organization name)" will suffice.  It is also a nice touch to include a little information about the charity (their mission or their service population) if you have that available.

Making a charitable donation is not only a great last minute gift idea, it is also a chance to connect with your friends and family members in a meaningful way that supports causes and communities they love. Will you be making any charitable donations as last minute gifts this year?

As a reminder, please "follow" my blog by clicking the "join this site" button on the right.


advent calendars

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is having an advent calendar.  There is something about the anticipation and excitement as each day builds to Christmas that has always appealed to me.  I guess the saying that "anticipation is often greater than participation" really does apply to yours truly.

Growing up, our family advent calendar was a "Noah's Ark" theme.  Each day we would open the door to the ark and pull out the animals, two by two, and line them up.  It was simple and beautiful and something we looked forward to all year long.


When Josh and I got married, we searched for the perfect advent calendar for our tiny house.  We didn't have much surface space, so a "Noah's Ark" wouldn't work, but we did find a calendar that can hang on the wall.  While it does leave something to be desired, the anticipation and reminder that Christmas is coming is never lacking.  

While I love my Christmas tree advent calendar, I am always on the search for a new one and this year I have seen so many different options that I love!  BUT, my very favorite (and one I would like to use in the future) requires a little more work on the front end...

Step 1: buy or make 24 tags.  
Step 2: write a different treat or activity on each tag
Some of my favorite ideas include:
 "eat donuts for breakfast" 
"go look at Christmas lights"
"take a gift to a neighbor"
Step 3: create an advent calendar display
The tags could be displayed on a cork board, hanging over a mantle, hanging from a miniature Christmas tree, or even just in a display that has pre-made pockets.
Step 4: get excited for Christmas!

What do you think?  Am I crafty enough to make this happen?  Do you have any favorite advent calendar activities?

As a reminder, please consider "following" my blog by clicking the "join this site" button on the right.


being a house guest

Happy Wednesday!  We are in the final count until Christmas and today I thought I would share a few of my tips about being a houseguest.  Many people travel for the holiday, but even if you aren't traveling this Christmas, keep these ideas in mind for the next time you find yourself as a guest in someone else's home...

Bring a hostess gift.  Your hostess has likely spent considerable time preparing for your visit.  recognize her generosity by bringing a small, thoughtful gift.  Check out a few of my favorite hostess gift picks for this holiday season here


Be tidy.  This means make your bed, hang your towels, and generally keep your items in your room not scattered throughout the house.  On your last day, strip the bed sheets and pile your used towels so the hostess can easily determine what needs to be washed and refreshed.


Make yourself scarce for an hour or two each day.  Go take a nap, read a book, take a walk, or do something that gives your host or hostess a chance to tend to things they cannot get to while they are entertaining.


Say thank you.  I like to bring a note card and leave a thank you note on the bedside table for the hostess but it is perfectly acceptable to send one after you get home as well.  Notice that the note should be written, not an email or e-card...these are not substitutes for a thoughtful, handwritten note... ever.  


As a reminder, please consider "following" my blog by clicking the "join this site" button on the right.


brownie batter truffles

1 week until Christmas!  Where has the time gone?!  Today I thought I would propose a little variety to the typical milk and cookies for Santa...brownie batter truffles!  Fair warning, these things are RICH and though they are yummy, Santa will probably only want to eat one or two at each sitting.  If your family doesn't leave out milk and cookies for Santa try this recipe to give out to your neighbors - I promise they won't be disappointed!

I originally saw this recipe on a blog I follow, Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  If you don't already know about it, check it out.  Mel posts a different healthy and quick recipe every day and she has fantastic (though less healthy) desserts.

The only real change I made to Mel's recipe is that I added fleur de sel to the top of my truffles (rather than the sprinkles she suggested.)  I think this recipe could also be fantastic with some caramel mixed in with the brownie batter and I might try that next time!  I hope you enjoy!

Brownie Batter Truffles
Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

*Makes 2-3 dozen truffles


  • 3/4 C unsweet cocoa powder (I used Hershey's powder)
  • 1 C granulated sugar
  • 1/2 C light brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 C flour
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 12 Tbs butter, melted
  • 8 oz. chocolate (I used the milk chocolate bars you can buy in the baking section of the store)
  • Fleur de sel (for garnish)


  1. In a large bowl, combine the cocoa powder, sugar, brown sugar, salt and flour until it is well combined.  Stir in the vanilla and melted butter until the mixture forms a thick batter.  (If you want to try using caramel, I would add melted caramel squares to the mixture at this point.)
  2. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.  (I used a silpat sheet for this.) Roll the dough into small balls and place it on the parchment paper.  Refrigerate for about an hour until the brownie balls are set.
  3. Prepare another large baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper (I used silpat again.)  Melt the chocolate.  (I used a microwave safe bowl and melted the squares of chocolate for 30 seconds, stirred, and repeated until the chocolate was completely melted.)  Drop a truffle into the chocolate and coat completely.  Using a fork, scoop the chocolate covered truffle out of the bowl and gently lay the truffle on the empty baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper.  Repeat until all the truffles are coated.  Use fleur de sel on top of the truffles before the chocolate sets.  (*Important, the chocolate sets quickly!  I had Josh sprinkle the salt on top of the truffles about 30 seconds after they were placed on the baking sheet.  Much sooner and the chocolate will absorb the salt, but much longer and the salt will not stick.)
  4. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
As a reminder, become a"follower" of my blog by clicking the "join this site" button on the right.  Thanks!



Good Morning.  I know so many have heavy hearts today while headed back to work, to school, or to Christmas preparations.  The tragedy of Sandy Hook remains fresh and the disbelief and horror all too real.  Take a moment today to hug your loved ones a little closer and try to enjoy the rush of errands, cleaning, and baking as you prepare for those you love.  I know I gained some new perspective over the weekend and I am trying hard not to let the moments of craziness slip in and overcome how thankful I am for those I love.

I had planned to share scenes from our annual luminaria celebration today.  Typically on luminaria, the street are filled with carolers, horse drawn carriages, and kids and adults throwing candy from the back of trailers brightly lit with Christmas lights.  All of this happened this year, but amidst the crowds the beauty and simplicity of this Christmas tradition was not lost.

The idea behind lighting luminaries is to light and prepare the way for the spirit of Christ.  Those lit bags were especially poignant this year and served a reminder that heaven has a host of new angels, lighting the way for so many families.

My thoughts and prayers are with Connecticut this morning and with each of you.  May God grant you peace this morning as you head back to your routine and preparations, remembering to cherish this time and those you love.

As a reminder, please consider "following" my blog by clicking the "join this site" button on the right. 


stocking stuffers

Happy Friday!  Christmas is almost here and it's time to start thinking about stocking stuffers!  Stocking stuffers are some of the most fun to buy and it gives you a chance to branch out with some fun and funky gifts.  Here are a few of my picks for this Christmas...pick some up today and cross one more thing off your "to do" list!

desk calendar // portable iphone charger // monogram mug
hand lotion // no crease hair ties
matches // lip gloss // phone screen wipes

Do you have any favorite stocking stuffers this year?

PS: Please consider "following" my blog by clicking on the "join this site" button on the right. 



christmas music and candles + outfit links

Good Morning! When I was thinking about today's post, coming up with things I am thankful for was easy.  The hard part was narrowing it down!  I think it has something to do with coming out of the fog of finals and enjoying all the little things in life I haven't been recognizing in the midst of papers and books.  So, today, here are the two "little" things that are making me immensely thankful.

1. Listening to Christmas Music- with words!  I have been listening to "Classical Christmas" on Pandora for weeks while I have been studying so actually hearing the words to my favorite songs is so fun.  My all time favorite, Faith Hill's "O Holy Night" has been on repeat!  Here are my picks of the season... do you have any favorites I should check out?

2. Burning my Frasier Fir candle- and not feeling out of season!  This is my favorite smell and I literally burn it in my house year-round.  BUT, for about 30 days of the year, burning it makes sense and we are smack dab in the middle of those days.  Go pick up one (or three) today... I promise you'll love it and you might even burn it into the new year!

Finally, thank you so much for the great response to yesterday's post!  I am glad so many of you enjoyed the outfit inspirations and by request I have included links to the items below.  I would love to know your favorites and what you all decide on this season!

sweater // pants // trench
flats // bag // studs // necklace

necklace // pants // sweater (sold out) similar here and here
shoes // bag (color sold out) other colors here

pjs // scarf // robe // slippers // mug
dress // clutch // earrings // shoes // watch // bracelet

Also, as a reminder, please consider "following" my blog by clicking the "Join this site" button on the right.  Thanks!


christmas outfits

Good Morning!  Now that finals have ended and I am starting to think about wearing something other than workout clothes, I have put together a few outfit inspirations for the Christmas season.  I love feeling pulled together over the holidays and as you can see, I tend to favor neutrals with pops of color and gold.  Something about this combination always makes me feel classic and ready for anything occasion!

Many of us travel at some point over Christmas, and I think there is a fine art to traveling in comfort yet still arriving at your destination looking pulled together.  A simple base like leggings and a cream sweater will help with comfort, while a classic trench coat makes you look chic and styled.  Add a bright shoe, a bag large enough to fit your carry-on items, and some simple jewelry to complete the look.

For Christmas shopping, the most important thing to balance is comfort and style.  Stores are crowded and shopping this time of year can be a marathon, so flats are a KEY part of any outfit.  I also like to shop with a large shoulder bag...for smaller purchases just throw them in and then you don't have to carry all those shopping bags!

Christmas Eve is one of my favorite Christmas occasions.  Whether you are eating with family, celebrating with friends, or signing "Silent Night" at a midnight church service, there is something magical about Christmas Eve.  I love this dress paired with a great pair of red pumps.  Keep the jewelry simple with this one so you don't take away from the embellishment of the dress- a pair of simple studs and your grandmother's charm bracelet should do the trick!

Christmas morning is all about being cozy but picture ready!  Without fail my mom takes a picture on Christmas morning that is her all time favorite and it is displayed proudly in a frame, bedhead and all, for the world to see.  These pjs are perfect- festive and more camera worthy than your old tshirt and flannel pajama pants.  Pair them with a warm scarf, cozy slippers and a robe and you will be camera ready all morning long.  AND don't forget your big cup of coffee to complete the look!

Whether you have cocktails with work colleagues, cocktails on Christmas night, or at any other point during the season, a fun red dress will make you feel festive!  I love this one from JCrew factory- on sale now!  Pair it with fun earrings, a bold watch, and a neutral shoe to be a shop stopper.  I also love the classic look of a navy clutch to complete the outfit- refined and not too over the top!

Do you have any favorite outfits or pieces this Christmas season?  

Also, as a reminder, please consider "following" my blog by clicking the "Join this site" button on the right.  Thanks!