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Here’s to a relaxing, fun, and very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

mos 0131sh lowres 5x7 fc shadow; Merry Christmas from

New Year’s Eve Inspiration

inspiration new years eve; New Years Eve Inspiration

One of my favorite holiday activities is shopping.  Despite the holidays crowds, I love hearing the Christmas music in the background and can’t wait for my free sample of hot cider.  Plus, what better time of year than during the after Christmas sales, not only is everything inexpensive but there’s still one more holiday you need an outfit for – New Year’s Eve!  Here are some of my favorite looks:

Best Blog Posts: December 13-20

anna karina; Best Blog Posts: December 13 20

1. A Little Challenge – This post from A Cup of Jo has a great idea to just stop complaining for a week, and to see what it can change. What an inspiring and cool idea!  

img 0559 1024x682; Best Blog Posts: December 13 20

2. Hot Chocolate Gift Basket – I absolutely love this ides from design*sponge for a sweet DIY holiday gift that won’t break the bank.

6a00e54ef2be2d88330147e0cca0ef970b 800wi 757x1024; Best Blog Posts: December 13 20

3. Photo Wrapping Paper – I think this idea from Sweet Paul would be such a cool personal touch to add to any holiday gift; it’s beautiful!

Cardstyle Find #79: Chalkboard Placemats

cardstyle find 79; Cardstyle Find #79: Chalkboard Placemats

This set of 4 Chalkboard Place Mats from b.a.friend is sure to keep your little ones entertained at the dinner table!  Plus, you’ll have a homemade piece of art to put your plates on when they’re done!

How To: Throw a New Year’s Eve Party on a Time-Crunch

how to new years; How To: Throw a New Years Eve Party on a Time Crunch

You’re almost done with the holiday rush when you suddenly realize you agreed to throw this years New Year’s Eve party.  You’re already having to put in extra time at work for everything you missed during the holidays and now you have to take the time to throw a party, too?  Here are some ideas for hosting a great party with little time and effort:

  • Invite: Create a New Year’s invitation to invite your friends, will stamp and send them for you.
  • Activity: Print out or make your own cards with fill in the blanks, such as “The skill I want to learn this year is ___” or  “The good deed I want to do this year is ―――,” or get creative with other New Year’s resolution ideas.  Everyone can fill them out, then take turns reading them out loud and guess which one belongs to who.
  • Appetizers: Stick to finger foods.  Trader Jo’s and other grocery stores have a wide variety of hummus, dips, cheeses, crackers, nuts, and chips and you can even get pre-cut veggies.
  • Entrée: Your guests will already be full from appetizers and won’t want a huge dinner, so stick to something hearty, but bite-sized.
  • Dessert: Ask everyone to bring their favorite dessert. If you’d prefer to make it yourself, try making ice-cream sandwiches. Make your favorite cookie dough in advance when you have time, freeze it, and pull it out and put the cookies in the oven the day of.  Scoop some ice cream in a bowl, add a cookie on top, and you’ll have a delicious dessert.
  • Drinks: Provide the champagne then ask everyone to bring their own favorite drinks and mixes.
  • Music: Don’t forget to create a playlist in advance. Make one full of your favorite songs or one that’s New Year’s themed. If you’re not a huge music lover, ask that friend with the gigantic iTunes library to make one for you.
  • For more details and inspiration, check out Real Simple‘s tips on how to throw an easy New Year’s party.

Outdoor Decorating Inspiration for the Holidays

inspiration board christmas lights; Outdoor Decorating Inspiration for the Holidays

One of my favorite holiday traditions is pulling out all the old decorations from the attic, propping up a ladder, and hanging lights around the house. If you’re looking to add something new to your classic decorating routine, here are some of my favorite ideas from this year:

  • Add twinkle lights to small shrubbery and bushes for easy, no hassle decorating or even buy this pre-lit topiary from Pottery Barn
  • Hang a string of snowflakes from the ceiling or post them in your front yard along the walkway; check out the many snowflake options at Target
  • For something different, try placing some glittering, light-up holly from Target in your trees or around your front door
  • Target also has a vast collection of strings of lights in many different colors, including these LED lights in vibrant purple and royal blue
  • Another easy decorating idea could be to hang some live greens, like this cypress garland from Pottery Barn or the holly wreath from Williams-Sonoma
  • It also may be the year to invest in one of the giant light up holiday characters, my favorite is this Snoopy Christmas Doghouse, but you can check out more at Target and Costco
  • Finally, if time permits, another fun decorating project could be decorating the garage with a Holiday scene or giant snowflakes.  Get a role of packing foam or laminated paper and staple or tape up your designs for an inexpensive, fun project for you and the kids and a treat for the neighborhood to see.

Take 2 Tuesday: Winter Trees

I love the graceful look of tall trees when they lose their leaves for the winter. There’s something so peaceful about an abandoned forest.  I think the holiday card below, designed by Simple Te Design, is a graceful way to send warm holiday wishes!

take two trees; Take 2 Tuesday: Winter Trees

Peace Ribbon Overlay Card from

Snowy Woods from Flickr photographer interchangeableparts

Inspiration Board: Elegant Hostess Gifts

If your family is anything like mine, you probably spend a lot of the holiday season traveling from one family member’s home to the next! Here’s a few sweet ideas to thank your hostess!

hostess gifts; Inspiration Board: Elegant Hostess Gifts Thank You Card by Tori Higa

Emma from White’s Books

Apron From Anthropologie

Monogrammed Mugs from Pottery Barn

Rose Soaps from Crabtree & Evelyn

Heart Shaped Tea Infuser from Pottery Barn

Cardstyle Find #78: Paper Chain Garland

cardstyle find paper garland; Cardstyle Find #78: Paper Chain Garland
Decorating the entire house for the holidays can be stressful, so instead of doing it all yourself, recruit the kids for help.  This paper garland from Paper-Source is already cut and in pieces ready to assemble, all that’s needed is some double-stick tape or glue, so no mess and your time and advice won’t be needed.  Another option is to get your own colored paper and help the kids cut out their own designs for a fun holiday craft.

Cardstyle Find #77: Snowy Village Cakelet Pan

cardstyle find 77; Cardstyle Find #77:  Snowy Village Cakelet PanThese adorable cakelets from Williams-Sonoma invoke one of my favorite parts of my family’s Christmas decor–the snowy village!  I love setting up our old-fashioned holiday village display, and think that these adorable cakelets would make a similarly beautiful holiday dinner centerpiece. After admiring them for the whole meal, guests could dig into these appealing delights.