Merry Christmas from Us to You!

As Christmas has been approaching, I've doing an advent study. "Advent" means the coming of Christ. It's a time of anticipation, which we mirror in our lives with the decorations, preparations, the search for the perfect gifts, wrapping presents, baking, and hanging stockings. All of these traditions create anticipation for the big day. These things are so fun, but can also quickly become the main event if we're not careful to lift our eyes to the true meaning of Christmas.

You know what I love? The shape of a Christmas tree is a triangle and as a design-enthusiast, I find it so cool that the shape of a triangle automatically draws our eyes to the top of the shape. Isn't that sweet? One of the most iconic Christmas traditions, a lit tree with a star or angel on top, draws our eyes up and causes to us to gaze heavenward. 

God is so faithful to give us little reminders where we need them. This year as I've been wrapping gifts, I've been reflecting on Jesus as the greatest gift. We gift others to bless them and mirror the picture of God gifting us His son. The lights on our trees remind us that He brings light and "He has called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9-10). 

It's become so clear to me that we are living between two advents; the first was Jesus' birth on earth and the second will be when He comes back and makes all things new. All things right. In this life, we will have trouble, pain, and experience grief among the joy, but we can press on with hope because Jesus has come and He's coming again.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." 
Romans 15:13

I'm praying that each of you will find such peace in the gift of Jesus' birth, that your hearts will be filled with warmth and hope, and that you'll live with anticipation of Christ coming again.

Merry Christmas from my little family to yours, sweet friends! Have a blessed Christmas and New Years with your loved ones.


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2018 Christmas Home Tour

With Christmas just a couple days away, I thought it'd be fun to show you our decor around our apartment. It's really similar to previous years, because I try not to buy much new decor since we just have a small place, but I love our Christmas things so much!

When you come in our apartment, you walk straight upstairs and we have this little ledge by the staircase. I LOVE that I get to decorate this like a mantle, since we don't have one of those :)

A little rosemary Christmas tree and poinsettias on the ledge...

Still love my tree print from Lily & Val from last year. I have since filled the white frame with one of our family Christmas pictures. I love it!

I got these houses from Target last year and love how wintery they look (but really, they can be used all year round!)

Our bookshelf houses our manger scene which my friend got us as a wedding gift from Israel. I think it's my favorite Christmas decoration we own!

I found a print yesterday that says "a thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices!" so I switched this picture out with it.

Keeping the buffet simple with a poinsettia and a framed picture of one year when the snow fell in a perfect ribbon shape on the tree outside + some flowers.

Our tree, of course! (PS. our bottom strand of tree lights has gone out twice this should be funny, but it's really frustrated me. So if it happens again I'm going to really *try* to laugh about it!)

In the bathroom I just switched out the paper in my lucite tray for some with gold trees, put out a holiday scented candle my friend gave me for my birthday and then some flowers with greenery.

I also decorated the shelf above the toilet with some mason jar snow globes I made YEARS ago as a DIY project (here) and then a couple other winter decorations.

Our bedroom has a plaid pillow and a PCB home Grateful Hearts Gather Here pillow. It's a simple touch of Christmas/winter, but I love it. I'm planning to get a mistletoe today at Trader Joe's to hang over our bed :)

We also have a pretty poinsettia on our dresser.

At night our little twinkle lights go on the Christmas tree and the bookshelf and it makes me so happy!

Hope you enjoyed this little tour of our home for the holidays!

I'm back in Michigan and will be catching up on some emails and work today and tomorrow, then taking most of next week off to spend with my husband and pup. What will you be up to?


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Last Minute Gifts + Stocking Stuffers Under $50

Hi friends! I had a couple blog posts planned last week, but I didn't get to them because I'm spending time with family and I'm a-okay with that! But I did pull it together today to show you some last minute gift ideas + stocking stuffers that are under $50. We did our family Christmas here in California this past weekend, so some of these items are things I received :)
Here we go!

Coziest PJ's on the planet: I got these and pretty much haven't taken them off since Saturday night! They are the softest jammies I own.

Leather Tote:
T3 Singlepass Curling Iron: I got this for Christmas from my parents and am sooo excited about it!!
Cowl Neck Thermal: 30% off, no code needed
Slip Silk Pillowcase: great for less breakage on your hair, anti aging and bead head!
Embroidered Headband: 30% off
Kate Spade Stud Earrings / Ugg Socks / Slippers / Beanie (many colors) / silk sleep mask / facial roller / Bow hairties (30% off) / Phone Case (30% off) / Lip Polish / Lip Gloss Trio / Growing in Gratitude

Most of these items you have to purchase by TODAY or TOMORROW in order to get standard delivery by Christmas! Hope these little gift ideas help!

Happy Monday!

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How to Throw a My Favorite Things Christmas Party

Okay, friends! I've had lots of you ask me how to throw a Favorite Things party after I hosted one last week. You can have a My Favorite Things party any time of the year, but I think it's extra fun at Christmas (however, now my girlfriends want to do a Valentine's Day version as well, which I think would be just as fun!) Just a disclaimer, this is how I throw my parties...not the right way to do it. I've heard of other ways to distribute the gifts, but thought this was the most interactive!


- Friends!
- Send out an invitation (I did one online...Minted has such cute ones). I'll give you the verbiage below.
- Party snacks. I did small bite apps and desserts + wine and sparkling juice.
- Create a questionnaire for friends to fill out upon arrival.
- Paper cut into small rectangles for friends to write their name on when they arrive.
- Music, of course!
- Finally, your Christmas decorations ;) 

YOUR INVITATION: here's what mine said as a sample!

Hi friends! Join us for our second annual My Favorite Things Christmas Party and enjoy apps, desserts, drinks, gifts & friends!

Everyone should come to the party with 3 of the SAME gifts wrapped. Each gift should be around $10. These gifts can be something you love and want to share with others-- something you consider one of your "favorite things". For example, last year I brought 3 Mrs. Meyer soap sets. Other gifts last year were mugs, a Christmas recipe with the ingredients piled into a cute jar, favorite nail polishes, socks, a journal, paints, etc. 

At the party we will exchange gifts and everyone will leave with 3 gifts! Hooray!

* You'll want to make sure the directions are clear in the invitation, since it's important everyone brings their gifts and sticks to whatever price limit you come up with. Of course, you don't have to have everyone bring THREE gifts, I just feel like that's the most fun and still doable. You could have everyone bring 2 gifts that are $15-20 limit. Some people I know set even larger budgets sometimes...just do what you think your guest list is comfortable with. It is amazing what you can get for $10, though!

Okay, so once the party day has come around, here's what you'll do...

As people enter the party, I have them fill out this fun questionnaire. They fill it out, with no name, and then stash it in the bowl to use later at the party.

Next to this bowl is another bowl with small pieces of paper for guests to write their name on 3 times (the number of times they write their name will correlate with the number of gifts each person brings). Throw their names in the bowl for later as well.

Finger foods are always nice at these types of gatherings, especially because our place is small and there's not a bunch of seating for everyone. I grabbed a variety pack of delicious desserts from Trader Joe's that had these waffle cone pieces, almond snaps, chocolate crunch cookies and other fun things. Then I got an order of Nothing Bundt Cake mini's that I cut in half (I find they get eaten more if they're cut in half...shy friends of mine ;)) My friend brought these delicious chocolate, nut and berry bites and another friend brought white chocolate covered pretzels with peppermint.

For apps I got Trader Joe's feta cheese and onion bites (OH MY GOSH, best ever if you haven't had these! Everyone thinks they're homemade, too!) I also put out my go-to app which is a block of cream cheese with pepper jelly poured over it and an assortment of crackers and bread to eat it with. I put out grapes on the same cracker plate and then a friend brought a great, simple veggie tray. That got eaten up quick!

Okay, back to the party! Have all your guests put their three gifts around the tree or wherever they'll fit in the house. And after some mingling, it's time to gather everyone up!

As the host, I start by picking one of the questionnaire's out of the bowl and reading the answers the person chose. My friends are listening and at the end of reading it, they all have to guess WHO those answers belong to! Once the person is identified, that is the person who will first pass out their gifts! They choose 3 names (or however many gifts each person brings) and pass out their gifts. On the count of 3, those with gifts open them and then the gift-giver explains to the group why that's one of their favorite things. Usually at this point, everyone is passing around the gifts to get a better look :)

Now the person who just distributed their gifts reads the next questionnaire. Once people guess who's it is, that person then draws her three names and passes out her gifts. The cycle continues until everyone goes!
 We had some amazing wrap jobs this year! One friend even tied on "a few of my favorite things" on the label. Another of my bff's (who's gifts you can see behind the white ones) did different plaid papers and ribbons with greenery and a carnation tied on top. I mean, WOW!!

Alright, so I bet you're wondering what gifts were given at around a $10 budget! Here's the whole list:

+ Journal + coffee mug with assorted tea bags
+ Famous seasoning she uses on everything + bath bomb + favorite chocolate chip cookies from a local bakery
+ Magnolia Journal + Mrs. Meyers pine hand soap
+ Christmas Cacti
+ Gold triangle earrings
+ Mug + dark chocolate + a Starbucks card
+ Fun socks
+ Mini bottle of champagne + bath salts
+ Journal + favorite candle
+  Beanie + wool socks
+ A copper mug with the ingredients to make a Hot Toddy

+ And I brought my favorite Trader Joe's candle (because I love candles that smell like baking), Ghirardelli milk chocolate and caramel squares (because I'm from the SF Bay Area and that's where Ghirardelli is located!) and of course, a little Beautycounter hand lotion (because it's safe for your body and smells amazing + moisturizes so well!)

I think I answered all of the questions, but let me know if you have any others! It's such a fun time because you get to hang out with girlfriends and get to know them even more. Again, you don't have to have a holiday theme. I've seen these parties be thrown at random times through the year, for different friend groups to get people to know each other more and I've seen a friend host one of these parties for the women in her neighborhood and I thought that was such a fun idea. This group of friends I hosted for were all the girl leaders for the youth group at our church. I've grown close to lots of them over the years, so it's a great time!!

Let me know if you throw a My Favorite Things party and if you have in the past, tell me how you did it!


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Our 2018 Christmas Cards

Happy Monday!! My parent's and I went to Sacramento this weekend to visit my brother and his wife and my grandparents. It was so fun to see where they live, after my brother just moving here from Dallas. I'm so glad it's easier to see them now when I come for a visit. 

Anyways, we sent out our holiday cards last week to family and friends! I love putting together our outfits, picking out the cards, the stamps and stuffing the cards to send out to our people. I also LOVE receiving Christmas cards in the mail. There's nothing like snail mail (and lots of it!) in December!

This year I was so excited to find Paper Culture for our holiday cards. They have so many gorgeous designs (some with foil, some with florals and color and others more minimalistic...there's something for everyone!) They're also such great prices, I couldn't not share with you. In fact, right now the cards are all 40% off! I thought I'd show you some of my favorite options and then reveal which card we went with below :)

Floral accents in gold foil-- so whimsical and dainty!

Triangle Gold Foil- love the simplicity of this one but glitz of the gold foil

Joyful Gold Foil - I love the word and the name "joy", so this word in big gold foil always gets me!

Holly Berry- for some festive and colorful cards, this is adorable!

Handwritten Joy- simply and sweet + lots of pictures!

Floral- this one is precious! The colors of our outfits didn't really go with it, but had they worked this would have been a top contender!

Greenery- can't go wrong with some Christmas greenery!

Okay, so which one do you think we went with?! I think you'll be surprised!

I just loved the simply lines and neutral background of the triangle gold foil card and once we plugged in our photo to try it out, it looked perfect! I've gotten a bunch of texts from friends and family telling us how pretty our card sweet!

I went with the Santa stamps...not my favorite, but out of the few choices this year, I liked them best ;) Do you guys send out Christmas or New Years cards? 


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Thank you to Paper Culture for our beautiful Christmas cards! All opinions are my own. I only recommend products and items that we use and genuinely love! Thank you for supporting companies that keep MND doors open.

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