Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, y'all! I hope that you get everything on your list this year, spend plenty of time with family, eat great food, and find time to relax in between all of that. I always try to take a minute to reflect in the chaos of Christmas day to remember why we celebrate in the first place.

But the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior- yes, the Messiah, the Lord- has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!"
Luke 2:10-11

May each of you find peace and joy this Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Sweet Homecoming + Weekend Recap

Although I was just home for Thanksgiving, this trip home for Christmas couldn't have come fast enough! I decided to drive the trip home so I could have my car to run around and visit people while here. The drive is about 10 hours from NoVA to my parent's house in Georgia. To say it was long is an understatement! I look forward to doing road trips with passengers again after this experience. At the end of my drive, I was able to perk up from excitement when my car started picking up my favorite radio stations from home! Just fills me with nostalgia and happiness. I have truly enjoyed being home so far- not only is it warmer weather, but I have been able to spend precious and large amounts of time with my family and friends.

Atlanta has gotten a permanent Ferris wheel called the SkyView Atlanta since I've moved away and I have been itching to ride it. I had a lovely girls night with two of my best friends from college, and we took a gondola in the SkyView for a spin! I won't lie, I was really nervous the first time we went around and especially when we stopped. I am afraid of heights but wasn't really worried because I thought being inside the gondola "pod" I would be more comfortable. Thankfully, this was true after a little time had passed and I really enjoyed the ride! Atlanta is one of the prettiest cities I've been to and I'm totally in love with it. Unfortunately, my iPhone photos don't do it justice but here are a few photos from the ride!

SkyView, Ferris wheel
I think it was festively lit for Christmas!
atlanta, city lights, night skyline
The famous "pencil building" as we all called it in college!

My boyfriend flew in Saturday morning and I helped him get a little more Christmas shopping done. Even though it was just 2 weeks since his DC visit, I was still so excited to see him! Before earlier this month, we had gone 6 months {!!!!} without seeing each other! That is way too long in my opinion. While we were out shopping, I found a GREAT deal on a beautiful new pair of Sam Edelman boots. They were on fabulous sale at Nordstrom and I have been looking for a new pair of black riding boots- it was destiny! My new boots are the 'Penny' style and can be seen on Nordstrom's website as well as my Instagram:

'Penny' Boot (Women)
They really are fantastic and I can't wait to wear them more!

On Sunday my guy's mom came down to pick him up {he is from Tennessee} so I will have to wait until this Saturday to see him when I go up to celebrate Christmas with his family! I haven't seen them since last Christmas so that will be really great for me. Christmas time is always hard because there are so many places to be in a short amount of time. My parents are divorced and re-paired so I have 2x the amount of people to visit with around the holidays. Yet another reason why having my car down here is helpful! The hustle and bustle of it all is always fun although there are a ton of moving parts. Thankfully my family is flexible and understanding so it makes things easier for me!

I am hoping to find time to get my gifts wrapped up later today or tomorrow- I got really cute patterned red wrapping paper and an assortment of ribbons to spice things up. I'll get some photos up here as soon as I get it all wrapped! I seriously just can't believe Christmas is THIS THURSDAY!

Are your holidays jam-packed? How do you juggle seeing all of your family? Have you put the finishing touches on your gifts yet? I hope you had a wonderful weekend and if you have any thoughts please share them in a comment below!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Tree Inspiration

Hello there!

I can't believe that Christmas is just 10 days away! I absolutely love this time of year and plan on soaking up each minute I can. This past weekend, I went into Georgetown with a couple of my girlfriends to look at the lights and get a little more shopping done. There are several storefronts who participate in festive displays as well as the art exhibit 'glow' that they had around M Street to really get you in the Christmas spirit. It was really awesome to see and definitely made my Christmas shopping special! After looking at the lights, it made me wish I had my own tree to decorate. I decided not to decorate at all this year because I won't be in my apartment for very long before heading home for Christmas. I have definitely regretted this decision {more than once!}, but it's too late to do anything about it at this point! So to substitute, I created a Christmas tree mood board to share with y'all! I decided to stick with a traditional red theme- nothing screams Christmas to me like a tall, jolly, red tree. 

O Christmas tree
Shop these items below:

How are you decorating this year? Do you decorate even when you aren't spending the holidays in your home?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide: For Him

Happy Thursday!

Today I am sharing with y'all my fourth and final gift guide for this holiday season. {Fear not, I will continue to update my Pinterest board with my picks!} I am a self-proclaimed lover of shopping for guys- yet I still seem to struggle to find unique gifts for all of the special men I am blessed to know. Maybe it just comes with age, but I feel like I've gotten into gift patterns with certain people in my life- dad gets clothing, uncles get sports gear, male cousins get gift cards.. you get the picture. I love a well dressed man, but can't help but wonder if guys get sick of being dressed at each holiday? Thankfully, there are many novelty options for men that allow to you break the routine if you've slipped into one. Here are a few ideas I've gathered for you- happy shopping!

cufflinks / coasters / book / glasses / watch / shoes / jerky / shirt / kit
Personalized cufflinks. As I've mentioned before, I am a lover of personalized items! I am also a firm believer in male and female monograms- male being block letters in order {first middle last} and female in the traditional sequence {first LAST middle}. These cufflinks are great for any age- whether they are about to enter the workforce soon or have been there for 30 years! It never hurts to have atleast one pair and adding the initials ensures that they know which are theirs!

Leather coasters. Almost every home has a liquid-sensitive surface in it, which make coasters a must. I love these leather coasters that look like they are made of wood! They have a rustic and masculine feel while keeping your surface dry. Could he ask for more?!

Cocktail book. I love the simplicity offered in this book. It is a must for any home-bar or masculine coffee table stack and even better for you if you get to taste-test the beverages!

Old-fashioned glasses. Any man would be lucky to have this gorgeous set of glasses to sip from! Williams-Sonoma offers personalization on these babies and I think they make an excellent gift- alone or paired with a nice drink to fill them!

Watch. When you enter the workforce, a watch becomes a necessity! It is no longer socially acceptable to use your phone clock as your primary time source, so why not gift a lucky guy in your life with a professional-looking timepiece? The eco-drive watches don't contain batteries so you don't have to worry about it stopping! He will {hopefully} never be late again.

Sperry boat shoes. Brown shoes are a wardrobe staple. I personally love Sperry's for myself and have given several pairs as gifts. There's nothing like a comfortable pair of shoes!

Unique jerky. I like to throw in an eclectic piece every now and then, and the flavors of this jerky sound great!

Button-down shirt. Most southern men appreciate a good plaid shirt. This pick caught my eye with its pastel colors and Vineyard Vines offer great fitting shirts for guys. Seems like an A+ gift in my book!

Home-brew kit. I have given this exact kit to my beer-enthusiast boyfriend and he absolutely LOVED it. It doesn't take up too much space or require experience- making it a great opportunity for any guy to make his own beer. It's really special to cheers with a drink he made himself!

What are you getting for the lucky guys in your life? Do you have any experience with these items? Are you still unsure of what to get the ladies in your life? Check out my other gift guides for her: boho, gold, & classic.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide: Classic

Well hello there! I can't believe that a week of December has already come and gone- and that Christmas is so close! I am so excited to be headed home for the holidays and to be able to see my family again. That has got to be one of the best things about Thanksgiving and Christmas being only a month apart. This year has been hard for me from a gift perspective- I am normally finished shopping by now but I am pretty stumped on several people in my life. I think that living away from everyone makes it difficult to be sneaky and pick up on good gift ideas throughout the year. How are you doing with shopping this year? If you are stumped as well, here is another gift guide {if you haven't checked out my others check here and here} for that classic loving girl in your life!

bottle / pullover / glasses / bracelet / stationary {sold out; similar here} / scarf / mittens / tray / tech wristlet / necklace

Water bottle. I love the mint color and practicality of this water bottle. It is perfect for taking to work or yoga class. I can't think of something better for a girl on the go!

Monogrammed pullover. Ask anyone who knows me- I love a good monogram. This pullover is extremely cute and affordable. I would throw it on to run errands on the weekend or snuggle up on the couch in this to get me through the winter. Personalization takes a great gift one step further into an awesome gift!

Champagne flutes. These rosy glasses are absolutely divine. They are awesome to have around for a special occasion or any evening you want to take things up a notch. I think they could be a lovely hostess gift during the holiday season.

Bracelet. I adore this pearl bracelet! The pearl look is classic in itself but the anchor detailing makes it perfect! Although the nautical look screams summertime, I think this fits perfectly in a winter wardrobe as well!

Stationary. Every girl needs a good assortment of stationary. I love these note cards because they are so cute yet generic enough to be used in many different situations. These are a perfect gift for any girl right now- we all need to be writing thank you notes through the holidays!

Cashmere scarf. There's no more denying it- we are in the dead of winter. To me, that means layers layers and more layers. A cashmere scarf is not only practical, but it has the right touch of fancy for a friend on your list this holiday! I love having a soft scarf up by my face to keep me warm. 

Mittens. Keeping up with winter weather needs, mittens are a cute and functional gift to give this holiday season!

Tray. I think that every home needs a tray. Not only are they beautiful decorations, but they are functional to hold things together on a coffee table or console. I love this navy striped tray!

Tech wristlet. This is a fabulous gift for any friend who likes to have a fun night out on the town! The wristlet has just enough room for your going out essentials and is so sleek. I also love the color options!

Statement necklace. I am a huge fan of statement necklaces. Is there an easier way to completely change the feel of an outfit besides adding a dazzling necklace? If so, please let me know- I haven't found one! I like to add a bit of sparkle to my work outfits, as well as my weekend wear, so this seems like a gift set to be used!

What gifts are you getting for the classic girls in your life? How is your holiday shopping going? Look out for one last gift guide for the guys and be sure to check out my Pinterest board for more present recommendations!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Giving back this Christmas

Happy Monday!

I was less than enthusiastic when I woke up this morning with another weekend gone by. They seem to get shorter and shorter as you get older, no? I had a particularly special visitor this weekend and was sad that it flew by so quickly. The one thing that functioned as a serious pick-me-up this morning was the fact that I wasn't going into work today. Thankfully, I work for a company that encourages its employees to give back in their local communities. I joined 3 of my co-workers this morning to head into DC to work at the Capital Area Food Bank. {I have to admit I was slightly disappointed that I didn't run into Prince William in the city today!} We spent the day packing boxes of donated food that will be sent out to feed local families. It was extremely humbling to go work with the wonderful people at the food bank and be a small part of the battle to end hunger. I have always been blessed with a high level of compassion and have been looking for a fulfilling way to give back to my new community. Not only was I amazed at the amount of supplies that the generous metro-DC communities have donated, but I was so pleased to hear that some of the largest donations came from grocery stores in the area. Hunger may seem like a surprising problem to have in today's society {especially in the wake of Thanksgiving}, but it is a staggering problem world wide- even here in our own country. One in six people in the US struggle with hunger. ONE IN SIX. That is sickening to me.

As we continue with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it's easy to get caught up in our own lives- our days are filled with shopping, wrapping up the year, arranging travel plans, as well as planning and attending parties. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to take a step back and refocus with the bigger picture in mind. Here in Virgina, one in eight people struggle with having enough food. There is definitely more work to do and I am happy to have found a great place to do my part. Here are a few photos from my day:


This was my first experience at a food bank, and I am really excited to go back when I am able. I HIGHLY encourage you to take some time to give back to your community, especially as we continue through the Christmas season. Please check out the Capital Area Food Bank's website if you are in the metro-DC area for more opportunities or Feeding America's website to find opportunities in your area.

How do you give back in your community? Are you planning to take time out during the holidays to serve others? Please share your thoughts in a comment below!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Holiday Gift Guides: Golden Girl

Hi y'all! I'm back again with another gift guide to get you through your holiday shopping. I'm not sure what it is about this year, but I feel so behind my typical shopping timeline! I did some major damage on Cyber Monday, but everyone I have left is stumping me. Hopefully I will get some inspiration soon! On that note, I have put together a gift guide that shines {literally!} for the gold loving girl in your life.
gift guide, golden girl, gold, christmas
earrings / necklace / candle / charger / tshirt / notebook / bracelet / cards

Glitter earrings. These sparkling earrings are a perfect gift for any glam girl. What a great addition to any outfit that needs some extra shine and I know I would put them to use during the holiday party season.

Golden heart necklace. I am loving dainty jewelry right now. This necklace is so pretty AND has a sweet message on the packaging. Perfect for a girlfriend {romantic} or a close friend!

Polka dot candle. Kate Spade gold + white candle- Need I say more?

Back-up iPhone charger. I love this black, gold, and white combo! The charger is the perfect size to be portable and perfect for that friend who is constantly killing her phone battery while capturing that perfect shot for Instagram!

Gilded t-shirt. This shirt screams glam girl and is perfect to ring in New Years! I love the shiny detailing against the plain white background.

Striped notebook. A notebook this cute begs to be used! I could see this being perfect for your list-making friend, or maybe as a friendly suggestion to that friend who needs to START making lists. We all know one!

Bracelet. I am totally loving this chunky chain link bracelet! It is great on its own or would make a fabulous addition to a stacked look.

Metallic playing cards. Not only are these pretty, but they are entertaining! Perfect for a friend who loves to play card games.

What are your golden must-haves? Did you miss the guide for boho chic gals? Keep checking back for my remaining gift guides for the rest of the season, and check out my Pinterest board for more present recommendations!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Holiday Gift Guides: Boho Chic

Why hello there! I can't believe it's actually time to start thinking about the holidays!! I absolutely love this time of year. I love spending my time hunting for the perfect gift for all of the special people in my life, seeing all of the decorations, listening to the music, being with family, and enjoying all of the traditions I look forward to every year. Giving gifts is absolutely the highlight of this season for me! I love the look on someone's face when you get their gift just right.

To kick off the most wonderful time of the year, I wanted to put together some gift guides for y'all! I am starting off with this guide for her- channeling the inner, laid back chick we all have inside (some buried deeper than others!).

gift guide, boho chic, Christmas gift
bracelet / blanket / phone case / purse / necklace / jewelry holder / ring set / pillow / nail polish / headband

Wrap Bracelet. I am absolutely drooling over Alex and Ani jewelry right now. I love the meaning behind all of the symbols as well as the stacked look. So effortlessly trendy! 

Blanket. With the cold weather setting in, I can't imagine anyone not loving a cozy faux fur blanket! I would live in that on my couch. It's perfect for that friend who just moved, or anyone who is always chilly!

Phone Case. This case is cute and functional. I get nervous just seeing people who carry a phone around without a case- so this could be a great gift for that friend!

Purse. Who doesn't like a great cross-body purse? This one is a beauty and perfect for any purse-loving girl! I love the color options and the small tassel detail is perfection.

Pillows. I love the bright colors here, and the patterned case is a great way to brighten up any room.

Necklace. A gift like this is great for two different people- the girl who always switches out her jewelry, as well as the girl who never wears jewelry! I love versatile gifts and really love giving gifts that people like but wouldn't necessarily buy for themselves.

Jewelry Holder. I am a firm believer that well thought out gifts are the best gifts and who wouldn't love that decorative holder to keep their jewelry organized?! 

Ring set. Stacked rings are EVERYWHERE right now. A whole set is a great gift option because you can wear as many or few as you'd like! Options are always a good thing.

Nail Polish. As I have mentioned before, I am a huge fan of Essie polish! The gift sets are excellent to sample new colors for the season. These are great on their own or as part of a spa day set!

Headband. Last, but not least, I love this knitted headband. Perfect for keeping your hair tame in the wind and your ears warm. What more can a girl ask for?

What gifts are you getting for those trendy friends? Keep checking back for my remaining gift guides for the rest of the season, and check out my Pinterest board for more recommendations!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday! {what an oxymoron, right?!}

Happy belated Thanksgiving! I hope you had the most relaxing and fulfilling Thanksgiving. I absolutely loved going home to be with family- and truly enjoyed my resolution to stay "unplugged" for the day! I really didn't realize how amazing that would be for me and I am definitely looking for other opportunities to have dedicated "unplugged" time moving forward. My sister hosted Thanksgiving for the first time at her new home, and I had a blast helping her prepare. We did as much as we could on Wednesday: set the table, folded the napkins, cleaned the floors, brined the turkey, put up decorations, peeled and cut potatoes, and created a cooking schedule so the dishes could be started at appropriate times. Although we ran into a few stressful points on Thursday, we had a mostly relaxing day and I look forward to incorporating that planning aspect into my future Thanksgiving. One of my favorite details of the day were the "I'm thankful for..." sheets my sister made for our table. We put one at each place setting, and had the guests fill them out as we reflected on our blessings over the past year. It's always a great reminder to step back and remember how blessed we are! Thankfully, my sis snapped a photo that I can steal to share with y'all! :)

Thanksgiving, thankful

At midnight on Thursday night/Friday morning, we set out to do a little Black Friday shopping. Let me just say this now- I think I am getting too old to battle the crowds. Especially since you can get all of the same deals online in your pjs at home! It has been a long standing tradition in my family to head out at midnight to shop until we drop and I will say that I enjoyed spending some sister time with my sissy.. but we were both tired around 2 and headed home to sip on some hot chocolate until we went to sleep! It was a great night. We did decide to wait until midnight to go out for our own form of a protest against shops opening on Thanksgiving day. I do not agree with plucking the employees out of their homes and away from their families to set up the store and work 12 hour shifts starting at 4 or 5 on Thursday. I have had to work on Black Friday in the past, and whether you are earning holiday pay or not you are almost always required to come in for a shift to keep your job. Thankfully, I got out of retail before Black Friday bled into Thursday but I still feel the pain for those who don't have any other choice. Thanks for helping us out with a smile on your face! I am happy to share that I did come away with some great deals for myself and some of my loved ones! {I am a huge fan of getting my Christmas shopping done early}

On Friday, I met up for brunch after a nap with my mom and sister to do a little more shopping at some of my favorite local shops. We found a few great deals, but it was so good to have one last day of girl time! Friday night I headed over to Athens with my dad and step-mom to get ready for our state rivalry game on Saturday. I am still in shock that GT won! It is always a fun game for me because my step-sister attended UGA and I attended GT, so we have a great house divided thing going on! Although we tried not to rub it in, it felt great to enjoy that win with my dad instead of unite in loss against the rest of the fam. This particular game kept me on my toes the whole time. Unfortunately I was only able to attend one game this season, and I unknowingly picked the best game of the season to be at!

What did you do this weekend? Did you host Thanksgiving this year? What did you do to relax during the holidays? Please share your thoughts in a comment below!

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