Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Party Outfit Inspiration

Tonight we are going to Kevin's work Christmas party, and I love getting dressed up for these events. By playing up your existing wardrobe just a bit, you will be the one rocking around the Christmas tree. That might be a weird visual, but you get the idea.

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For something different, go with an unexpected color combo like a white skirt and red blouse.

You are competing with Christmas lights, tinsel, and ornaments. Add a little vintage bling to your ensemble and stand out from the crowd.

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An animal print may be out of the ordinary, but it goes great with holiday colors. Add the print with your clutch, wrap, or scarf.

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Maybe I'm in a sparkly mood, but just plain red nails seem boring for Christmas. Adding glitter to anything makes it festive.

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Now for my favorite part. The Shoes! They can make or break your Christmas party outfit. Go classic with a black stiletto. I love this one from Kate Spade with the bow.

I love this time of year. Merry Christmas!

Amanda

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Update: Postpartum Pounds

This update comes with an ultimatum. I went to the doctor a few weeks ago, and we had a chat about losing the postpartum pounds. We formulated a weight loss plan, and she wanted to do blood work as well.

After the results came back, I got the news that my cholesterol is better but still too high. My doctor suggested that I follow the American Heart Association recommended diet and exercise 150 minutes every week. 

Here's the thing. I have six months lower my cholesterol and lose the weight or go on cholesterol lowering medication. I do not want to take meds in my 30's for something that could cause heart disease. This is an eye opener! 

My doctor also stated that she would put me on a new drug that tells your brain not to be hungry. I hate that hungry feeling when trying to lose weight, and this was her solution to a growling stomach. After a little discussion, we decided to hold off on the hunger drug and try diet and exercise first. 

For the last two weeks I have been sick, and I've lost five pounds. It's not the best way to lose weight, but at least it's a start. 

How are you coming along on your weight loss plan? I would love to hear your progress. 

Amanda

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Etsy: Christmas Treats

It's the most wonderful time of year! It's the time for joy, peace, gifts, and sweet treats. Baking Christmas cookies with my family is one of my favorite holiday traditions. If you don't have time to make your own treats or want to send a delicious gift this year, then consider one of the fantastic treats listed on Etsy. They look so yummy!


These cookies from Sugary Charm look more like art than something eatable. Gorgeous!


Include a spoon with these cupcakes in a jar from Sweet Sister Cupcake. The recipient is going to want to eat it right away.


I have recently been introduced to macaroons, and these from Le Pop Shop look amazing!


Doesn't every one need a little chocolate on a spoon? Just looking at this picture from Bubba's Sweets makes me want a hot chocolate. 


Again, we have artwork in the form of something eatable. You can use these cake pops from Sweet Pops Shop as a stunning centerpiece as well. 

You know I had to include a fruit cake. My husband loves a good fruit cake, and I'm pretty sure he would like this one from Bake Delights.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and many sweet treats.

Amanda

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Quiet Travel Bags for Kids

Tis the season to load up the car, drive long distances with little ones. After one hour they turn into caged animals who screech at the top of their lungs and cause parents to develop an odd twitch. This will happen to you unless you have a plan. The quiet bag is your friend, and it will help maintain your sanity on long road trips or flights.


Ideas for a quiet bag:
Etch-a-sketch
New toy (hot wheels, my little pony, small dinosaur) 
Small Coloring book with a small package of crayons
Snack
Put small toys inside Easter eggs and let them discover what is inside. They will put them back together again and then take them apart.
Metal lunch box with magnets
Felt book
New book
Sock Puppet
Mr. Potato Head
New DVD

The key to success with the quiet travel bag is to do not let the kiddos see what is inside the bag until you get on the road. Divide the quiet bag into a few little bags for long trips. After every stop, give your child a new bag. Put three items in each bag, and they can pick which toys to play with until they next stop. 

What items would you include in the quiet travel bag? 

Have a safe, fun, and quiet trip.

Amanda

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Art of Gift Giving

I always assumed that people know how to give gifts. I always thought it was one of those things that people are born with, but that is not the case. Some people are natural givers, and they think of the best gifts without thinking twice. Then there are those who put thought, love, tons of research into the gift and still give crazy gifts that no one wants. There is an art to gift giving, and with a few observations you can give amazing gifts.


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Pay Attention

It doesn't take much effort to know what people love. You can have one conversation with a person and know what she is passionate about. If you know the person a little better, then pay attention to what they listen to, wear, eat and drink. If a person loves coffee, he will appreciate a travel mug. Last year I bought my secret sister a green tote bag stuffed with goodies. Her favorite color is green. She probably already has a green bag, but it was something she can use over and over again. 

Give Something Useful

Do you have a junk drawer? You are not American unless you have a junk drawer. It is the place all the unwanted and useless gifts go to die. If you are unsure of whether your child's teacher would like another keychain for Christmas, then opt for a safer gift. Give a gift that the majority of people will use in their home or office. 

Need examples of safe gifts? 
Tea towels
Lotion (no funky smells)
Wooden spoons
Candles (again no funky smells)
Coffee
Wine
Stationary
Fuzzy socks
Gift Card
Candy

Gift Cards

People that are natual givers usually loath the idea of gift cards. The gift is a reflection of the person that is gifting and the way they feel about the recipent. For the rest of us, we love the idea of gift cards. They allow us to go shopping, pick out the perfect fit, or put several gift cards together to make one big purchase. If you are in doubt about where to get the gift card, then go with a Visa gift card. 

Ask

Not every gift has to be a surprise. Ask for a list for birthday and Christmas gifts. You can pick from the list and the gift receiver is assured a gift she will love. My husband and I give each other a list every year for Christmas. We pick one item from each of the four categories (something to read, wear, want and need), so there is a little element of surprise. Spouses and friends cannot read minds, so use the list. It will save you money and it  takes the guessing out of gift purchases. 

What rules do you follow when buying gifts?

Amanda

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

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We are having two Thanksgivings this year, and I'm looking forward to the food, football, and spending time with the people I love. God has richly blessed us this year, and we are so grateful. I hope you have a blessed and safe Thanksgiving.

See you next week!

Amanda

Friday, November 21, 2014

Make-Over: Kitchen Chairs

A year or so after Kevin and I were married, our wonderful friends Iain and Carrie gave us their kitchen table. It was an upgrade from our garage sale find, and it was much better than sitting on the floor. Their dog had chewed on one of the chair legs, but it wasn't too terrible.


This is the before look.


After 13 years, I decided that the table needed a makeover. The process was slow going, and then I got pregnant with our third child. It was time to call in the professional. 


The after photo!


Charla finished the chairs, and they look fantastic. The table expands to seat six, but I only had four chairs. 

I found this fabulous bench on Offer Up for $30. It's normally $80 at Ikea. Yay for saving! The table now looks like it fits in my French country kitchen.



Have you refinished any furniture? Would you try it again?

Amanda
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