Easiest DIY Ever: Peace on Earth

How's this for incredibly easy holiday decor? I spent about one minute applying these letter stickers to my globe. Now my office has a subtle holiday touch!

The best part is, you can spin her around for a totally different message.

I hope you are enjoying a relaxing holiday! We are recovering from both the stomach flu and a sinus infection, but we're almost back to full speed. We have a very low key Christmas ahead, and I'm grateful for the rest and recovery time. Work has been so crazy lately, so I'm hugely grateful to have some time off to recharge.

I'm feeling very sentimental lately and am very appreciative for those of you who read this blog. You're the best! *tear*

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Christmas Inspiration: Arizona Holiday

We had the most wonderful, restorative getaway in Sedona, Arizona this past weekend. We had a few hours before sunset when we first arrived, so we wandered around a charming shopping village called Tlaquepaque (Te-la-ka-pack-y).

I was immediately smitten by the unique southwestern-style Christmas decorations. There was some serious inspiration to be had, so of course I snapped some photos!

 Right when we walked into that arched entryway above, we came face to face with two huge doors decorated with massive, colorful wreaths.

Upon closer inspection, I saw that they had sliced up brightly colored serapes and made them into wired ribbon, intertwining them throughout the wreaths. These serapes were the common thread throughout the entire shopping plaza.

I have gourds just like those that I use for my autumn decor, but I would never have thought to incorporate them into my Christmas decorations. I love how well they mix with the pine needles and pine cones.

More serape ribbons adorned the lanterns and doorways. How amazing is that tile?

They took advantage of the empty fountains throughout the shops, filling them with festive greenery. I loved how the glossy red gourds popped against the blue pattern of the tile.

One of the shops had some particularly lush garland around its window display incorporating gourds, red chili lights, pine cones and other dried plants. It's nontraditional, but it totally works in the beautiful desert landscape of Sedona.

I fell hard for this display because I am a big fan of green apples. 

And then I told Scott I wanted him to make me a family sign just like this one!

If you want to see more photos from our trip, you can find me on Instagram. It's so darn scenic over there, I couldn't stop taking pictures!

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A Tale of Two Trees

I've been lobbying the husband for a second Christmas tree since last year, when we put up our regular tree and it suddenly didn't feel like enough. It was our first year living in this much bigger house that had both a living room and a den, so I thought, "Why not have a tree in each space?"

The other reason I really wanted a second tree is because I change my mind every year about how I want to decorate the tree. But we also have this hodge podge of random ornaments we have either been gifted or collected during our travels (we get an ornament as a souvenir for each trip), and none of them match or fit into my trendy, ever-changing Christmas decorations. I figured the perfect solution was to have one tree with all of our sentimental ornaments and another tree that I could decorate in whatever trendy style I like each year.

Scott was against my plan from the beginning. His only reason was that he didn't want to store another tree in the attic. Apparently he is very possessive of the attic real estate.

However, he totally changed his tune once he heard that Home Depot was having a doorbuster Black Friday deal, this 7.5 ft Martha Stewart Living Matthew Fir tree for $80 instead of $180. Suddenly he wanted me to go with him to Home Depot at 5 a.m. to get this amazing deal! I'm not one to argue, so I tagged along in my pajamas and enjoyed the free donuts as he bought me the tree.

 Here's my quick review of the tree: It's really cool that it switches from clear to colored lights at the push of a separate remote control button. You can actually choose between clear, colored, alternating or off. I'm not a huge fan of the colored lights (just not my personal style), but I think it's nice to have the option. I bet if we had kids, they would get a huge kick out of the remote and switching the lights around. It has this cool Quick-Set technology with plugs inside the pole, so you don't have to fish around for plugs to connect each layer to the next. It's super fast and easy to set up.

Now when will they come up with a fake tree that fluffs itself? That would be amazing.

So, here's my new tree! It's colorful and fun and sentimental, filled with all of my favorite ornaments. I topped it with my DIY paper star from last year, but I sure would like to find a light-up star for the top. Any recommendations?

In a nutshell, it looks a little bit like this:

Cozy Christmas Tree

As for our other tree, I put it on top of a wooden box to make it taller. It looked like it was too small with those tall ceilings, so I figured we could MacGuyver a solution to make it work.

As far as decor, my rules were simple. Any ornaments that were neutral or metallic (gold, silver, brown, beige, white, tan, green) were allowed. Absolutely no red ornaments allowed!

The best thing about this color scheme for the tree is that it doesn't clash with the existing decor, which has a lot of blue and grey. I felt like red was an overpowering color in this room, so I'm really happy to keep the red in the cozy den and keep this room with a neutral palette.

Green & Gold Christmas

Do you think I'm a little over the top to have two trees? Which tree is your favorite?

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Holiday Home Tour 2014

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Ours was fantastic. We celebrated two separate Thanksgivings so as you can imagine, our pants feel a smidge tight. 'Tis the season for stretchy pants, right? Right. I'll keep telling myself that.

As soon as Thanksgiving was over, I immediately started decking the halls. There are many things I love about the holiday season, and Christmas decorations are right near the top. I buy a little bit more every year so I can spread the tidings of good tidings of great joy to even more rooms than before! Scott hates hauling it down from the attic but he loves seeing the house looking so festive, so he tolerates my growing collection of holiday decor.

Here's the hard part: There are so many types of decorations that I love, and I don't like to commit to only one style/color. This year I have two very separate "looks" going on, but I tried my best to make it work by confining the themes to separate rooms. It helps that I have two Christmas trees for the first time ever (more on that in a future post), so I get to create two different schemes.

Christmas Decoration Look #1:

Cozy Christmas

Since the den is our cozy, casual living area where we spend most of our time, that's where I focused the traditional, homey decorations. It just feels right to put the traditional stuff next to the warm brick fireplace, don't you think?

Our formal living and dining room already has a very neutral and serene color scheme, and I didn't really want to overwhelm it with a lot of red. So for this space, I opted for a color scheme inspired by my favorite fruit, along with some metallic accents.

Christmas Decoration Look #2:

Green Christmas

Here's how I translated that theme into our house:

The kitchen is directly in between these rooms, so it needed to help make the spaces flow better. Both rooms have some black and white patterns, so I used a black and white tablecloth in the kitchen to tie the rooms together.

I spent most of my time decorating the main living spaces, but I did add some touches of Christmas to the guest room and guest bathroom. I found this red and green quilt at the flea market a few years ago, and I think it adds a nice holiday vibe to the room.

When in doubt, add a poinsettia. Home Depot and Lowe's both had poinsettias for $1 on Black Friday, so we bought a few for the house.

Now that you've seen both schemes, which one do you like better? Do you have a favorite space? I can never decide which style is my favorite, so I'm curious to hear what you think!

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Around Here Lately...

We just returned from a lovely trip to El Paso where we visited family, decorated my nephew's nursery and ate WAY too much food.

We took a photo in front of the mountains because my sister-in-law's view is just too nice to pass up. Doesn't he look handsome? Haha! What a goofball.

I wish I had better photos of my nephew's nursery, but I had to take these at night on my phone. Isn't it cute? My sister-in-law wanted a nautical/under the sea vibe in there, and I think we accomplished that goal. Keep reading for the shopping sources if interested!

Rug •  Curtains: Home Goods • Sailboat Decals (but we got ours at Home Goods for $6) • Lamp • Dream rope wall decor: Pottery Barn Teen (no longer available)

Bedding & MobileGliderLetters (font: Century Gothic)

Dresser: Ikea Hemnes •  Mirror: Home Goods • Shadow Box: Home Goods • Anchor: Hobby Lobby

In other news, I added DIY pom poms to this Ikea Eivor throw after being inspired by Cassie at Hi Sugarplum's original version of the project. It's a bit tedious, but I love how it turned out. Everything is cuter with pom poms! I also consulted Mandi's (Vintage Revivals) tutorial for the same type of project. I used an embroidery hoop to wrap the yarn around like she suggested, which worked well.

We also transitioned our guest room into a workout room! I told the husband that I would really like some sort of cardio machine so I can work out at home, and he found me this awesome elliptical for a steal on Craiglist. My new favorite workout is hopping on the elliptical while watching an episode of Gilmore Girls on Netflix!

Because we turned this room into a workout space, we have to make more adjustments in the next couple of weeks. We'll be installing a flush mount fan with no lights so we don't bump our heads on the lights, and he's going to put in some pot lights to make the space brighter. The Craigslist Master Scott also found an awesome TV on Craiglist that we're going to mount on the wall so I can do workout videos or stream Netflix through the TV. I'm so excited about this space! While it's not very aesthetically appealing, sometimes you have to give up on a room being stylishly decorated to allow it to be extremely functional for your lifestyle. I'm totally OK with that.

We've already had one Thanksgiving dinner with Scott's family, so I'm trying to find some fresh recipes for the upcoming dinner with my parents on Thursday. One recipe that is a must-have is this corn casserole. I made it a couple years ago after finding it on Pinterest, and now it's a staple. If I can cook it, anyone can do it! (Cooking is NOT my thing.) Have any alternatives to green beans and stuffing that you could share? Let me know in the comments!

I'll be back next week with my full holiday home tour. I get so excited to decorate for Christmas, and this year is no different. It took all of my self control to hold off until Thanksgiving is over, but I will be throwing myself in headfirst as soon as the last plate it cleared!

Happy Thanksgiving to you! I hope you have a wonderful holiday filled with happy memories and turkey-induced naps. Thanksgiving naps are simply the BEST.

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