Christmas Home Tour

Hi, Friends!

It’s finally time to welcome each one of you into my house for a little Christmas Home Tour! When you’ve lived in the same place for nine years, it’s easy to get in a bit of a rut with decorations, but this year I decided to simplify everything and just put out what I really love.

I love making my porch happy because we spend a lot of time out here year round. We added lights to the swing to make it even more fun!

These slides are ultra comfortable and so fun to have around Christmas time. The girl’s jammies are under $20 for the set and also come in a red and white stripe option.

 

Girls Pajama Sets // My grey sweater // My jeans // My red tassel slides

Red Hunter Boots // Grey pillow // Home Sweet Home Sign

I love having a festive and functional entryway. This bench is where the girls sit every morning to put on shoes and get coats from the hooks. I also envision them here in the future, wrapped up in a blanket reading a good book.

My little office nook is one of my favorite spots in the whole house! It’s a good thing since I spend so much time here. I love the simplicity of just adding the wreath to this otherwise neutral space. This one is very affordable and can be used year round.

Office Chair // Gold lamp // Boxwood wreath

Gather sign  // Rug // 4 Pillow // Garland is Hobby Lobby and only available in stores but similar is HERE

Christmas Tree // White Play Table

Mirror // Sink // Wall faucet // Wallpaper // Sconces

We decided to get a real tree in the living room this year because I just can’t live without the smell! Moving the flocked tree into the kitchen has been my favorite change we made this year. Looking over the counter to this view every day is just so much fun! We’ve also really enjoyed having the girl’s table down here. It’s just the perfect little spot for them to eat and play.

 

 

 

 

Hot cocoa or cider is a must for nightly Christmas movie viewing so having it readily available makes it even more enjoyable. Setting up your own little “station” is so easy but I guarantee every one in your fam will love it!

 

 

Glass goblets // Bowls // Plates

Here’s a little peek into the girl’s room!

 

White iron beds // Bed spreads // Gold dot sheets //Floral wallpaper // Curtain panels

 

Our laundry closet is hidden behind these pretty sliding barn doors that my dad built for us. I love the way these sweet cotton wreaths look with a little pop of red!

Cotton Wreaths// Red and White Stripe Ribbon

Thank you so much for stopping by, sweet friends! If you have any questions about anything we used in our home, let me know! Hope you’re already having a happy Christmas season!

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We Wish You A Cozy Christmas

Do you know what’s better than cozy pajamas, a warm blanket, a roaring fire, and the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree? Nothing. Nothing is better than that!

I know it’s a busy time of year but some of the sweetest moments we experience happen when we slow down and just relax. So here I am with all the relaxation accessories you could possibly need!

Let’s start with some pajama sets. The red and white stripe pants are SUPER soft and cozy. They are fleece and currently on major sale! Also come in grey. My pajamas run a little small so I’d recommend sizing up.

When it comes to blankets, the bigger and softer, the better! I typically lean toward the oversized plush ones that I can get lost in. The blue one is my very favorite and the one I always use at my mom’s house.

There’s nothing worse than cold feet, here are a few suggestions to keep your tootsies toasty all winter long. The pink pom slippers have been a favorite of mine so far this year. I’m wearing them right this very minute.

You can’t get cozy without something warm to drink. Here are a few fun mugs that also make great stocking stuffers!

Thanks for reading, sweet friends! Hope you have a cozy Christmas!

 

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Christmas In New York

Hi, friends! We just returned from the dreamiest long weekend in New York and I’m so excited to share our itinerary with you. My sister, Anna, planned everything to a tee and I wouldn’t have changed a thing! She also has a blog post on seeing New York in a weekend so you can check that out here.

We woke up early on Thursday morning so we could take a 7:30 am flight out of Atlanta. We arrived at LGA about 9:20. We located our bags and called a Lyft to pick us up. We ended up using Lyft or Taxis the entire time we were in the city. Using the taxi service was more convenient because you could just find one cruising and rarely had to wait. If you’re traveling with a lot of luggage (like us!), you’ll want to be sure you get a mid-sized car to accommodate.

I absolutely love this luggage and would also highly recommend this leather overnight bag I got right before we left! Everything is linked at the bottom of the post for you.

We had the car take us straight to the hotel and we went ahead and checked in early. Our room wasn’t quite ready but they did store our bags for us so we could go ahead and start exploring. We didn’t waste a minute before heading to Rockefeller Center to see the tree! It just happened to be on our way to Melt Shop, where we had lunch. I recommend the classic grilled cheese and tomato soup. SO yummy and the perfect thing to warm your soul after walking outside in the cold.

After lunch we headed to Bryant Park to walk around the Christmas Open Air Market. There are a ton of sweet little shops with unique items and there are also pop up snack shops. Our favorite is the Doughnuttery. They have the most amazing cinnamon sugar donuts! The New York Public Library is right next to Bryant Park so we walked around there for a bit before heading back to our hotel to unpack.

We stayed at The Lotte New York Palace and I honestly wouldn’t want to stay anywhere else. The location is perfect. It’s within walking distance to just about every iconic Christmas spot in the city. The rooms are beautiful and the staff is so helpful. You might even get lucky and run into a celebrity while you’re there. We may or may not have walked past Brett Eldridge in the workout room and Taylor Swift stayed in one of their suites just a few weeks before we were there!

After we got settled into our hotel, we headed to Washington Square Park, grabbed coffeee at Stumptown (so good!), and then headed to dinner at John’s Pizza. We asked a local where the BEST place was for New York pizza, and he told us to go to Johns. It did not disappoint! Truly the most delicious pizza I’ve ever had. I wore this sweet ruffle top, which is kind of perfect for Christmas time!

Since it had gotten chillier, we went back to the hotel to change into warmer clothes and then ordered our tickets for the Top Of The Rock. We did the Sun and Stars option so we could go back the next day while the sun was out. Highly recommend this option.

We had a good nights sleep that night and woke up ready for a full day of exploring Friday morning. The day started with a walk to Sarahbeths at Central Park South. Our table wasn’t quite ready, which gave us plenty of time to walk around the outside of The Plaza. You just can’t beat the ambiance in Sarahbeths! The food is also amazing. Two of us ordered the green eggs and the other two ordered the fat and fluffy French toast so we could have a sweet and savory breakfast.

The restaurant is located right outside the park so it’s the perfect day to meander! A few of our favorite places to see are The Gapstow Bridge, The Bow Bridge, and the Bethesda Terrace. This was our first year to find Bow Bridge. If you make it to Bethesda, just keep walking to the left of the lake and you’ll find it.

 

I wore this pretty statement necklace at least three times on this trip. It just instantly makes an outfit feel fab. This coat was a great one to bring because it’s not bulky but will definitely still keep you warm!

We did enough walking around the park to justify a trip to Laduree for macarons. I enjoyed the Madison Avenue location because of how sweet the store front is! My favorite flavors are rose, chocolate, and vanilla. You just can’t go wrong with any flavor and I haven’t tasted anything like these before.

These super affordable pink loafers were just as comfortable as my nikes for walking around the city.

After a quick change of clothes, we headed to Top Of The Rock before our passes ran out. This was my first time seeing the view during the day and it was just stunning! I loved the way this metallic skirt looked in the setting sunlight.

Dinner Friday night was at Carmines, which is a wonderful spot for Italian food. The portions are HUGE so you’ll definitely want to choose one dish and split. We had so much left over! We got banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery to go and ended the day by eating dessert snuggled up in our beds.

The next day we woke up and went to The Real Real to tour their showroom. It was so much fun! They have an incredible selection of designer clothes and accessories for a fraction of the retail price. Since we were already in SOHO, we decided to shop around a bit more. We ate a yummy lunch at Shake Shack near the Flatiron building. Even though it’s an outdoor seating only area, they do have heaters hanging over the tables. So it’s not too bad and totally worth it to eat the most amazing burger and fries ever. Yes, we have Shake Shack in Atlanta but somehow it always tastes better in NYC!

Saturday evening we had dinner reservation at The Polo Bar and it was such a fun experience. This is a spot that’s super difficult to get reservations so Anna had to call exactly 30 days before to get us one. It was worth it to experience the ambiance and the food was amazing too. We paired off and split the steak and holy WOW it was so good! Since we ended up having to wait a while for our table, they also brought us a selection of desserts. If you have enough room after dinner, I’d highly recommend the bananas foster cheesecake. It’ll change your life.

I got a lot of wear out of this fur vest. It’s linked below and also comes in a white option and is fully stocked.

Sunday morning, we got fueled up with coffee and then took a car to Brooklyn for the morning. We took a few photos in DUMBO and then walked across the bridge. That was all we had time for in Brooklyn since we had tea planned for the afternoon. We went back to the hotel to change and then took a car to The Plaza for afternoon tea.

This was our best experience at The Plaza! We have enjoyed our experience in the past but something about this time felt especially magical. The food served with the tea is definitely enough to take care of lunch for the day so keep that in mind when planning your time. We explored The Plaza a bit after lunch and then did a little shopping on Fifth Avenue before heading back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.

Our dinner reservation that night was at Fig and Olive, which was a new spot for us to try. The ambience was really fun and laid back. Since we had just enjoyed lunch at The Plaza, we decided to split a few appetizers for dinner. We had the cheese board and split a selection of crostini. We enjoyed this so much! It was a lighter dinner but perfect for the day we’d had.

The last morning of our trip, we spent packing and organizing. If you saw how many coats I brought, you can imagine how creative my packing situation was! We took our bags downstairs and checked out early so we could do a bit more sight seeing before heading to the airport. The hotel held our bags for us and we went off for breakfast at The Smith. We took a car because it was such a chilly morning and it’s more than half an hour walk to get there. I would recommend the pancakes at The Smith but the breakfast potatoes and grits are also amazing!

We quickly picked up coffee and then went back for a little more shopping on Fifth Avenue. Before we headed to the airport, we grabbed a quick lunch at The Plaza Food Hall, which is a great spot with lots of options to eat. We all got sushi and then Doughnuttery for dessert, obviously.

It was finally time to head back to the hotel to get our bags and go to the airport. Our flight departed at 5, which gave us plenty of time to enjoy the day in the city without getting home too terribly late.

That was our trip! We had such a magical time and I am already looking forward to going back next Christmas! If you have any questions about our trip, please leave me a comment!

Thanks for reading, friends! Here’s a list of everything I wore while on the trip:

 

 

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How To Have A Stress-Free Holiday Season

I know what you’re thinking…. There’s literally no way in the world that it’s possible to have a stress-free holiday season. Most people believe that when the Holidays come, they inevitably bring with them an unhealthy does of stressful and overwhelming days. It always makes me so sad to hear people say they can’t wait til the Holidays are over and it makes me think that maybe we are doing this whole season a total disservice.

Before we go any further, I just want you to know that this post is written just as much for me as it is for you. The whole idea has come from a place in me that is so tired of feeling like the weeks from Halloween to New Year’s are a crazy cycle that I just can’t get out of. After spending the past who knows how many Holiday seasons stressed out, I finally decided it was time to sit down and make an intentional plan to make this year different.

Let’s start out by defining what STRESS even means. We throw that word around a lot but I think if we are going to learn to avoid it, we need to first recognize what it is.

STRESS (noun) a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.

Sounds fun, huh? So the first thing we discover is that stress is the result of something else happening. So stress is a physical and emotional response to some outside circumstance. Now if your Holiday season is anything like mine, there are a lot of circumstances that can’t be controlled. What we can control is how we respond to our circumstances.

SO in a nutshell, here’s our game plan:

Step One: Decide what situations cause stress and see what can change in our circumstances.

Step Two: Look at what circumstances we can’t change and decide how we can respond more positively to them.

This next part is going to take a little bit of time but I think it’ll be worth it in the long run. More than likely, you find yourself stressing out over the same exact things every year but instead of changing anything, you feel helpless and end up on auto pilot. Well, Santa isn’t the only one that needs to make a list and check it twice. It’s time to sit down and make your own list. Identify the things that cause stress and then decide ahead of time how you can respond to each of those situations.

In the spirit of full disclosure, all of these suggestions are coming from my own learned experiences. My hope is that maybe a few of these will jump out at you and help to change your season for the better.

Make a Budget

Too many gifts, not enough money. I’m a big time gift giver. I get SO much joy out of finding just the right gift for the people I love. Heck, I’d probably even get joy out of giving the right gift to a perfect stranger! I just love to give gifts. Financial stress over the Holidays is a huge problem for a lot of us and the only way to really get it under control is to have a budget. Sit down with the brains of the family and decide what you’ll spend on each person on your list. This way, you’ll know exactly what you can afford to spend. The most important part here is that you are all on the same page. Having different expectations is normally what gets you in trouble.

Get Rid Of Expectations

Let me just start by saying that ALL expectations are unrealistic! We think of what we expect as totally reasonable but that’s the problem. This is not a fun one but we have got to identify what our expectations are of family, friends, and ourselves so we can keep them under control, or just get rid of them all together! The Holidays have a way of throwing us all into a frenzy of perceived perfection. I say perceived because it never really is perfect. Let’s remember that things don’t have to be perfect in order to be good. If you’re anything like me, you have to lose the claws buried deep into a need for perfection and just live in the moment. I’m not exactly a roll with it kinda girl but with a little bit of practice, I’m learning to be.

Manage That List

We do the same list of things every single year but it seems like it’s always an overwhelming process, am I right? This year I’m starting my list early so it doesn’t get away from me. My house is already decorated and my list of things to buy is already getting told who’s boss. I know it’s tempting to wait until black friday and beyond to see what deals you can get but I’d recommend going ahead and making your list and seeing what things you can go ahead and buy now since they probably won’t go on sale. Once the item is bought, don’t check it off your list until it’s wrapped and under the tree. Speaking of wrapping… one thing that’s helped me so much in years past is to have a basket where I keep all my wrapping materials so I’m not wasting time running around looking for things when it’s time to wrap gifts. I keep scissors, tape, a pen, bows, tags, tissue paper, boxes, and paper all in the same spot. Assembling it all together in the beginning will save you lots of time in the long run.

Communicate

We all have our favorite things to do around the Holidays so we are planning to sit down as a family and each talk about what we look forward to most. Each family member gets to put their picks on the calendar to make sure it gets done. Put the big things in first and then everything else can happen it if happens. Communicating openly is an important family dynamic all year long but it’s especially valuable around Holiday time. Communication with extended family is really important too. We have found in years past that we are almost always stressed about spending enough time with each side of our family. Matt and I both struggle with disappointing people, especially our parents. What we’ve learned from years past is that we can’t assume that our families will remember our plans. We have to overly communicate what our plans are so everyone is on the same page. We also have to remind ourselves to be fully present wherever we are.

Take Care Of Yourself

This may sound like a really selfish question, but you need to ask yourself what makes your soul feel fed around the Holidays. Is it spending time with certain family members, sitting by the fire watching a Christmas movie, shopping with friends? Whatever it is, if it’s important to you, it needs to happen! The amazing thing is that if your soul feels taken care of, you’re better equipped to be present and fun for your family. You know how on plane rides, the attendant always says to put your air mask on first before helping others? Well, it’s because if you can’t breathe, you can’t help others to breathe. I know that the Holidays are the most tempting time to be the hero and do all things for all people but you’ve got to recognize your limitations and feed your soul. Take time to slow down and be quiet. Take time to reflect and enjoy. Put your mask on first, friend. You being the healthiest version of yourself will only benefit those around you.

One of my very favorite classic Christmas songs is Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. That’s what we really all want, right? A merry little Christmas. So let your heart be light by focusing on what your blessings are and what you’ve got to be thankful for. Maybe your troubles won’t be out of sight, but shifting perspective will at least help them to be out of focus. The very beauty of the Christmas season is that we are together as the Lord allows. So hang that shining star, sister! And have yourself a Merry Little Christmas now!

 

 

 

 

 

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Winter Coats Under $100

The only thing better than sweater weather is C O A T weather and it’s finally arrived in the south! When I was growing up in a family with five sisters, we each got one winter coat, We either got a new one (if we were lucky) or a hand me down. You wore that coat with every single thing you owned. Imagine my dismay wearing a black puffer coat over my Christmas Eve red lace dress. Talk about killing a vibe.

Now a days, I prefer to have a coat closet full of options to wear. Maybe as a way to make up for lost time, maybe just because I love a coat.

Either way, I love having a variety of winter weather wear (say that three times fast!) but that also means that “investment coats” are kind of out of the question. I’ve been amazed at the quality of the coats I’ve been able to find this year for under $100. A few of these I literally had to do a double take when I saw the price.

If you see one you love, and I think you will, I’d suggest snagging it while you can. In my experience, most of the coats are sold out by end of November and it’s slim pickings from there on out.

Here are my picks of winter coats all under $100!

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