Feelin’ Flakey

Happy Friday!

What’s amazing about the blogging world is how there are so many amazingly creative people out there. I’m constantly impressed with the style, creativity and wit of my fellow bloggers.

On that note, I wanted to share this awesome paper snowflake tutorial from Bon Temps Beignet that had me TOTALLY inspired. Not only does Liz show you step by step how to make paper snowflakes yourself, but she will literally blow your mind with her amazing designs. How she managed to create a snowflake with a fluer de lis design is beyond me, but the girl is from NOLA so she must have  built-in skills.

Obviously after seeing her post I had to make some flakes for my own apartment window.

 

Now, I do want to admit that my snowflakes kind of stink. BUT, you only see them from a distance (I’m on the 2nd floor) so I figure it’s okay. Plus, they make me so happy. And that’s all that really matters, right?

Have a fantastic weekend, all! xoxo

Top of the Tree, to ya!

Today is my last Thankful November post! First, I want to thank Paisley Print Shoes for coming up with such a great idea on how to keep the “Thanks” in Thanksgiving the month of November. You guys really rock.

Next, I want to say again how thankful I am for this blog, and for all the people who take the time to read it every day. It means a lot to me that you guys are supporting me as I try out something “new.” I look forward to learning more about life and blogging, and sharing it with you every step of the way.

***

While I am on my Christmas decorating kick, I should share that we don’t have a tree yet…or a tree topper.

John and I already decided we want a star. No angel, Santa or otherwise for us. We’re keeping it old school.

This Pottery Barn star makes me swoon. I carried it around the store with me for a good 15 minutes, before I came to the realization it’s about 2 ft tall and about the size of the actual tree we are going to be able to fit into our apartment. Gorgeous, but not for us.

via Pottery Barn

 

So that means it’s time to do some online browsing. Shall we discuss some stars we like (and one we luuuuuurve)?

 

I like this gem-inspired star from Pier 1. All the curly swirls make it a bit more whimsical than other blinged-out toppers I’ve seen.

via Pier 1

 
John would never go for this one, but there’s something totally unique about this sunburst mirror topper. Very different from other toppers out there. Perhaps a bit TOO modern for my traditional holiday style, but I’m sure that there are people out there that would love this on top of their tree.  

via Ballard Designs

 
This star from Neiman Marcus is like the Bentley of tree topper stars. How gorgeous is this thing? Unfortunately the price tag is a bit too much like a Bentley for my taste…

via Neiman Marcus

 
Another jewel-inspired star. This one really brings the bling.
 

via HSN

 
 To switch it up, I found a picture of the Christmas star I grew up with. It was the best thing ever.

via Ebay

 
Want to know why it was the best thing ever? Disco ball and holiday fun all rolled into one. It literally had a disco ball in it, that made the top of the tree a glowing dance party. The Lewis Family keeps it real, yo. Just see this bad boy in action…
via Ebay
*Sidenote, you better believe I would buy this retro/used version if John allowed it.
 
I know you are all running to Ebay right now to snatch that bad boy up.
 
Anyway, shall we get to our mutual favorite?  
 
We both fell in love with this Capiz star from Target. Or shall I say Tar-jay, since this beauty is so gorgeous.

via Target

Seriously, I need it. It’s apparently in “limited stock” at my local Target and it’s not available online, so I’m not going to get my hopes up, but I think I need it. I’ll keep you all posted.

 

What do you all have on top of your tree? Star, Santa, Angel or other? I’ve seen some great trees out there with ribbon bows on top that seem super cute. We’re doing a real tree this year so we probably won’t have it up for another week or so. I’m dying to get it and put our ornaments up! Can’t wait to share pictures with you all once it’s all decorated.

Have a great Wednesday!

So Not Cookie Cutter

Today I am thankful for Christmas music. Christmas music is a SERIOUS mood booster for me. The second one of my favorites comes on I’m smiling and singing along like I have no cares in the world. Man, I love me some Christmas spirit.

***

Attention everyone! I was crafty again!

Yes, I am just as shocked as you are. And this craft wasn’t even inspired by Pinterest. It was from my own head. CRAZINESS.

I went to Michael’s on Black Friday and they were having awesome sales. I ended up buying two packages of snowflake cookie cutters and some heavy sparkle cardstock. I obviously couldn’t buy just plain cardstock. It had to have red, green and gold sparkles all over it. This is very important to the story.

Anyway, I decided to trace the cardstock to the shape of the snowflakes and then used my exact-o knife to cut out the shape. I tried using a scissor, but it didn’t cut as nicely as I wanted.

The next step was realizing I got sparkles EVERYWHERE. All over me, the couch, the kitchen, the living room, John…everything. Not sure how I would have avoided this, but it happened.

After all the shapes were cut out and I took a break to watch Homeland (any of you watching that?? It’s SO good!), I hot glued the cardstock to the back of the cookie cutters.

Then I put some ribbon on these bad boys. I hot glued them starting from the middle of the cardstock, to the top center of the cookie cutter. Gluing the ribbon to the top of the cutter evenly distributed the weight of the cookie cutters so they hung correctly. Otherwise they kind of pulled forward, so you’d see more of the top/back of the cutter then you really want. 

 Then I hung my new beauties in front of my kitchen window.

Get it? Cookie cutters…in the kitchen…

Man I’m good.

So what do you think?? I’m pretty proud of myself and I think they look adorable in our kitchen. Success!

She’s Baaaaack

Today I am thankful for my husband. Marrying John was the best thing that ever happened to me. He inspires me, challenges me, reminds me of everything I want in life, and keeps me sane. He knows exactly what to do to make me smile and tries to do so every day. I am so thankful for the life that we have together now, and the life that we are building for the future.

***

Call off the search teams and rescue dogs! I am alive.

My sincerest apologies for going missing last week. Monday and Tuesday were INSANE at work, and I couldn’t find a second to post. Then Wednesday was my birthday (heehee) and I got distracted and Thursday was Thanksgiving and Friday was Black Friday and well…you get the picture.

But I am back! And with lots to update you on this week.

Like I said, Wednesday was my birthday. I spend the day at the social security office and the DMV officially changing my name. I have to say, I was a little sad to see Lewis go away. That name is a part of who I am, and it not being a part of my name feels a little strange. I’m sure I’ll get used to my new last name, though.

As far as my birthday present…John did good. I’m one of the lucky ones with a husband who’s the best gift giver. Seriously. Check out this new beauty I’m rocking.

I’m in love.

On Wednesday we had a little get-together at the apartment which was lovely, and a nice little prelude to the Christmas Party we are hosting the weekend before Christmas. Our apartment is small, but the layout is pretty decent for a party. Thank goodness!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with our families, and were lucky enough to spend a decent amount of time with both sides. Since John and I are from the same town, splitting the holiday isn’t too tough for us to do. My brother was in town, so I was able to spend some time with my one niece and nephew that I rarely get to see. Plus seeing all the kids together playing so nicely was a treat. I have some GREAT nieces and nephews. I’m one proud auntie.

Friday my mom, sister and sister-in-law shopped until we dropped for Black Friday. I know some people hate shopping on Black Friday, but I absolutely love it. I always get a lot done, and get to spend some quality time with my mom and sisters.

I was also able to start some Christmas decorating around the ol’ apartment. I have a fun craft to share tomorrow (have to put the finish touches on it tonight) but for now I want to show you our fun Christmas-theme window.

I also put out my favorite little Santa. He’s so old school looking and I love him!

Stay tuned for more Christmas decorations. We did a lot this weekend! Hope you all had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving. Did any of you go shopping for Black Friday? Start Christmas decorating? I missed you all!

Cheers to Freakin’ Weekend

It’s Friday, people! Can I hear a hallelujah?!

In the spirit of the weekend, I decided to dedicate today’s post to one of my favorite things — wine.

Red wine, white wine, sparkling wine…I love it all. In fact, I may go so far as to say that I am thankful for wine. I love that you can have a romantic night over a bottle of wine, or spend the day chatting and gossiping over bottle(s) with your close friends. Living on Long Island, I am lucky enough to have quite a few vineyards nearby. It’s so fun to spend the day tasting different wines, comparing them, and feeling like a true wine connoisseur.

I also love wine-themed items as decor. My kitchen has a growing wine theme, with wall art and a cork table centerpiece, and our living room features a pretty extensive wine wall. To me, wine serves many purposes!

Check out these amazing pieces that bring the vineyard right into your home…

One day I will have this wine barrel coffee table. It’s classic yet absolutely a statement piece.

via Wine Enthusiast

Or maybe a wine barrel table with a glass top, to keep things a little softer looking.

via Pinterest

I love the simplicity of this wine barrel chandelier. Gorgeous!

via Restoration Hardware

This wine bottle chandelier is a little more flashy, but still completely classy. Can we expect anything less from Pottery Barn?

via Pottery Barn

Check out this amazing DIY cork artwork. I could only dream of doing something so cool.

via The Viv-Spot Blog

I’d so love to have a wine crate ottoman like this. Functionality and style.

via Pinterest

Or how fun would this little wine crate storage on wheels be holding all your favorite magazines?

via Image, etc.

The most difficult part about having wine-related items in your home is being careful not to go too far. I’m personally not a fan of plastic grapes, or other items of that nature. As with any “theme” it’s easy to go overboard, so you need to watch yourself from falling into the “cheesy” category.

Now excuse me, I need to get through this day so I can go home and open a bottle!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Apartment Cheating

Today I am thankful for relaxing nights with my husband. Last night we ate tacos, drank some coronas and watched television. Seemingly low-key but very good for the heart. It’s nights like those that get me through hectic work weeks.

***

I’ve been day dreaming about owning a house.

Is this seriously happening after only 5 months of living in the apartment of my dreams?

I feel like I’m cheating on our little home. Which frustrates me because John and I looked so long to find it, and we genuinely love living here. The big, retro-vibe kitchen, the hardwood floors, my walk-in closet… it’s a renters dream space. But the budding housewife in me can’t help but sometimes wish for more.

We keep hearing, “it’s a buyers market” and “now’s the time for you guys to do it,” and we know all that. But it’s just not the right time for us.

I don’t want to wish away this time. We’re newlyweds with no real “life commitments.” Sure, we both have demanding careers, but we have no children to raise, animals to care for, lawns to mow. We can travel the world on a whim. That’s what we need right now.

I struggle with living in the moment. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always been looking to what’s next. My parents always talk about how as a little girl I was never content with what I was doing at that moment. From the other, bigger, better rollercoaster at the theme park or the next vacation we go on, I struggled with being grateful for what I had at that exact moment.

I’m working on it.

I’m a do-er, a dreamer and a planner. I struggle to just let things be. That being said, I am trying.

So, I’m sorry little apartment. I hope you know how much I love you and how much I cherish the memories we are making.

If you need to blame someone, blame Pinterest for throwing pictures of houses like this in my face.

Le sigh

Chock full of Chocolate

Today I am thankful for my friends. I have some wonderfully talented, smart, giving and kooky friends out there that I just love to pieces. Many of them, read this blog and don’t make fun of me TOO much for what I write on here. And for that, you guys are the best.

***

I made a new cookie recipe this weekend. I know this is becoming hum-drum around these parts, but I like sweets. Plus I can use this blog as an excuse as to why my pants are fitting more tightly these days.

John picked this cookie out. He’s a choco-holic, so this recipe was calling his name.

The recipe originally called for just bittersweet chocolate chips, but I decided to switch it up (aka they didn’t have those at the store), and I bought a bag of dark chocolate and peanut butter/milk chocolate mix. It’s a chocolate-y jambalaya!

The first step of this recipe is to put a cup and a half of your chocolate chips in a glass bowl and microwave it. Easy enough.

Then, I had to take the three egg whites and beat them to “soft peaks.” This was crazy baker talk to me since I’m hopeless in the kitchen, but I decided to just keep beating and beating and beating, and eventually the egg whites got super fluffy and soft.

Next you take the cocoa, sugar, cornstarch, and salt and mix it all together in a medium sized bowl.

Once you have the dry ingredients together, you combine it with the fluffy egg whites using the electric mixer.

Obviously, I forgot to take a picture of the wet and dry ingredients combined. It made a very pretty light brown color.I’m an awesome blogger.

Once the wet/dry ingredients are combined and fluffy, you combine it with the melted chocolate chips. Isn’t the dark/light chocolate combo pretty?

Once the ingredients are all mixed together, it should be pretty thick. If yours is thick enough, you can start rolling the mixture into cookie balls. My dough wasn’t thick enough for some reason, so I put it in the fridge for about 20 minutes to harden up. When I make this again, I think I will leave it in the fridge for at least an hour. I felt my dough was still a bit too sticky to roll into balls and therefore my balls weren’t as big as they should have been.

Did I just write that?

Lesson learned.

I rolled the chocolate balls in sugar and plopped them on the cookie trays and baked for about 12 minutes.

The finished product?

INSANE CHOCOLATE EXPLOSION.

I kid you not. They are almost too chocolate-y. Normally would say that’s not possible, but I think I rolled the balls too small and the ratio of dough to chocolate chips was off. All I taste is chocolate chips…no cookie!

Also, my cookies didn’t rise as much as they were supposed to. I don’t think I whipped the egg whites long enough. Fail blogger. However, despite being somewhat pathetic looking, they are pretty good tasting!

Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips, divided (again, I used dark chocolate, milk chocolate and peanut butter in my version)
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 2 large baking sheets with nonstick spray.
  2. Melt 1 cup chocolate chips in glass bowl in microwave, stirring twice, about 2 minutes. Cool slightly.
  3. Using electric mixer, beat whites in large bowl to soft peaks.
  4. Gradually beat in 1 cup sugar. Continue beating until mixture resembles soft marshmallow creme. Whisk 1 cup sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl to blend.
  5. On low speed, beat dry ingredients into meringue. Stir in lukewarm chocolate and 1/2 cup chocolate chips (dough will become very stiff).
  6. Refrigerate dough should it not become stiff on its own (approximately an hour if not longer).
  7. Place 1/2 cup sugar in bowl. Roll 1 rounded tablespoon dough into ball; roll in sugar, coating thickly. Place on prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake until puffed and tops crack, about 10 minutes. Cool on sheets on rack 10 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool.

Holiday Madness

I am so thankful for my mom. She’s my best friend, plain and simple. We talk every day and never run out of things to say or do together. She’s my favorite shopping partner, life coach and cooking teacher. Overall, she’s the best role model a girl could ask for. I hope that one day I’m half the mom she is.

***

Can you believe Thanksgiving is only nine days away? And Christmas is next month?

I adore Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday, and I am so beyond excited to start crafting and decorating to the tunes of “A Chipmunk Christmas.”  I’ve already started making notes on what I want to do this year, and even bought this bad boy to help spark my creativity.

If you’re wondering, it’s a pretty good magazine. Nothing so original that’s probably not already on Pinterest, but it’s still a fun read.

Anyway, I noticed that I have kind of skipped over Thanksgiving as far as decorating. Yea, I have my mini-pumpkin on the coffee table, but that’s about it. Since we aren’t hosting Thanksgiving whatsoever, the thought never crossed my mind to spruce up the apartment.

However, we ARE having friends over the night before Thanksgiving for a little pre-bar hopping cocktail party. It’s technically for my birthday, but it’s really just a “Thanksgiving Eve is the biggest bar night of the year so let’s get a few pre-cocktail party cocktails in us before we head to the bars” party.

Phew, that was a mouthful.

So I think I might need to jazz up the apartment a little. Not sure what to do though, since I don’t have much energy time for this. But, there’s so much eye candy out there…how can I not be inspired?

via SAS Interiors

via Frenchie and Flea

via Star Shine Chic

via Old Sweet Water Cottage

Being that Thanksgiving is almost over and it’s literally JUST about time to decorate for Christmas, I’m going to see if  good ol’ nature can inspire my decorating this weekend (cough cough…free stuff).

I’ll keep you posted!

The CLAW!

Today I am thankful for weekends. I had such a relaxing, rejuvenating weekend with John. I actually feel somewhat rested today.

The downside from this weekend? I legit have hands like THE CLAW. As in, Jim Carrey in “Liar Liar.”

I spent the entire day on Saturday writing out thank you cards. You never think when you have a big wedding with 200 people the amount of thank you notes you will have to write afterwards. I’m finally about 4 tables away from being done with this project. Thank goodness. My fingers might never recover.

To add to the insanity, I decided on Sunday that I just HAD to learn how to crochet. Do any of you know how to crochet? Well, let me tell you…I’m terrible. I also apparently don’t know how to hold a crochet hook because I swear my hands are now permanently damaged.

In fact, this blog post just may be too much for me to write with my claws right now.

I’ll be back tomorrow.

Beyond Thankful Friday

Today is Veteran’s Day. A day to honor the sacrifices, courage and patriotism of our service members, past and present.  The selflessness of these men and women are beyond measurable, their unwavering dedication knows no match. I am honored to live in a country that so many people are willing to dedicate their life towards.

To these veteran’s: you are an inspiration, thank you.

Today is also a time to acknowledge military families, especially those who have loved ones serving overseas. With the holiday’s just around the corner, I understand what you are going through must be so difficult. I pray for you and for your loved ones, that you will be reunited soon.

I am the daughter of a USMC Vietnam veteran, married to the son of an Army Vietnam veteran. My brother is a captain in the Navy, who was one of the first people deployed after 9/11. Patriotism runs deep through my veins, to the core of my soul. I am so proud to be an American.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the Veteran’s out there. It is because of your sacrifices I am able to live the life I have, and enjoy even the littlest of freedoms. I am so thankful for you, and you will continue to be in my prayers as always.