Tuesday, November 26, 2013

These are a few of my favorite stocking stuffers!

Today, I'm linking up with Cheers Y'all and Down with the Dearmores to share my favorite Stocking Stuffers:

(Bear with me...this is my first time to try a collage.  I used Picasa, and I think it turned out okay...but how do I get rid of the frames around the individual items?  Any tips?)

O     N     E

OPI nail polish.  I am not incredibly girly, but I LOVE glittery nail polish.  This color, I Snow You Love Me, is actually from OPI's Mariah Carey Christmas line.

T     W     O

A Starbucks gift card.  Ever since last Christmas (when I got a ridiculous amount of Starbucks gift cards from my students), I have been obsessed with Starbucks and my Starbucks app.  Some people gamble, I work toward gold level and free rewards!  

Also, peppermint white mochas are Christmas in liquid form.

T     H     R     E     E

I love fuzzy socks!  They are cute, cheap, and a great way to fill up large stockings.  These are from Old Navy and are on sale for $3.50.

F     O     U     R

Candy Cane Kisses.

Have y'all had these?  If not, you need to.  They are AH-MAZING.  They are my Christmas kryptonite.  And, again, large volume, small price--so perfect for filling up stockings!

F     I     V     E

Did you know that Bath and Body Works makes mini-candles?  They are the perfect little treat!   And right now, they are 3 for $10.  

I got some in my stocking last year (thanks, Mom!) and loved them.  One of my favorite smells is Marshmallow Fireside.

What are some of y'alls favorite stocking stuffers?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things...

Today, I'm linking up to Cheer's Y'all to share a few of my favorite things.

O     N     E

First off, I've been eying some of Kristen Ley's new prints and cards!

Kristen is one of my sister's best friends and bridesmaids.  She has had an etsy for a while, but just launched a full site for her letterpress business, Thimblepress.

I have several of her prints, but I LOVE this Christmas card.  Can't you just see it framed?

T     W     O

I still love Bath and Body Works and am, thus, still stuck in Junior High.  But I LOVE Christmas smells in everything...which includes bath supplies.

And this Merry Marshmallow Kiss line looks right up my alley.

I know, you probably just threw up in your mouth.  That's okay, more marshmallow scented body wash for me!

T     H     R     E     E

It's getting cold here!  I have most of the cold weather essentials (down jacket, ski jacket, gloves, scarves, long johns), but I'm lacking in hats!

I love this Fair Isle beanie from Gap--cute, but warm! 

F     O     U     R


I don't usually splurge in the makeup area.  I
 get foundation and mascara from the drugstore.  But blush and eyeshadows are my splurges.  

I usually stick with Urban Decay eyeshadows, 
but I am in love with some of these palettes from Too Faced:

I like these colors, plus they have Christmas names!

This set is a good price, and the colors are ones I would use a lot.

I usually use this blush (yeah, just gonna link to that name), but I like the different options in this compact.

F     I     V     E

I've gotten really into sewing lately.  I want to try to hand at some appliqué style projects, but I need a few more tools.

This Fiskar's rotary cutting set seems like a great deal.   Plus, it's at JoAnn's, and they ALWAYS have 40% coupons.  I use the app, so I just scan the coupon at the register.  

What about y'all?  Any dream items you're wishing for this Christmas?

Friday, November 15, 2013

5 on Friday

And again...my only post this week is 5 on Friday.  I just love that I can sort of "blog dump" our week on Fridays!

O     N     E

We went to Philadelphia this past weekend.  It was a sort of there and back again trip for us--Bech needed to get some work done in the studio and I had a baby shower to go to Saturday morning.

We headed out Thursday afternoon, went to a ceramics opening, spent the night and next day with some good friends of ours, another show Friday night (for one of Bech's fellow MFA classmates!), then back home by 11:30 that night.  

It was fast paced, but fun--with a visit to Toys R Us (I bought some groupons for there and needed some Xmas presents for Jack) and Ikea (which included a full on melt down in the middle of the kids section).

My favorite souvenir from our short trip?  Jack's first piece of pottery!  Well, technically his second.  Bech made him a little amphora/drinking cup before he was born.  But it stays far away from his little toddler hands.

But Michael, the friend we stayed with, gave Jack a beautiful Jack-sized mug.  And he LOVES it.  I let him use it (with close supervision)...like daddy, like son!

T     W     O

It's getting cold here!  Two mornings this past week we have had snow!

The weather has gotten warm again this weekend (mid 50's), but then will dip into the the 40's again after that.  I know it won't be long until we have LOTS of snow.

I am not as obsessed with snow as I used to be--I know it will be really cold and I will get sick of it by the end of winter.  But I think it will be really fun to see snow through Jack's eyes.  He was so excited about this little bit of snow this week!

T     H     R     E     E

I have talked before about how much we are loving our new friends here in Pennsylvania.  One of our church friends lives just a couple of minutes away, in the same small town as us.  They have two little boys, one Jack's age and the other 1 1/2 years older.  The boys all play great together...lots of running, yelling, and FUN!

Jack and I invited the boys over for a play date yesterday to decorate cookies.  The two little boys did more eating than decorating, but I think they all had lots of fun.

F     O     U     R

We are home this weekend!  Yay!  

Seriously, we have been traveling sooo much this fall.  And I have loved it all, but I also love lazy weekends at home.  We have plans to hang out with another couple at some point, but nothing else.

Which means I plan to drink lots of hot cocoa and spend lots of time in my pj's.

Just being honest...

F     I     V     E

My sister got Bech and I into Revenge.  Have y'all seen this show?  We love it!

We are still only on season 1, but I have to say, Nolan is my favorite character.

Bech and I don't usually agree on tv shows.  He's a Breaking Bad fan, I like  America's Next Top Model.  So we are always happy to find a show we both like!

I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Memphis, There and Back Again

This past weekend I journeyed down to Memphis for one of my best friend's wedding.

Courtney and I actually met in the summer of 2002 at Mississippi Governor's School, but our friendship was cemented by watching Anne of Green Gables our freshman year at Millsaps.  I transferred schools; she visited.  She went to graduate school in Wyoming; I visited.  I moved to Vermont; she visited.  She was in Pittsburgh; I visited.

So wedding...yup, going to be there.  

Plus, I was in it!

Thursday night I drove to Pittsburgh (2 1/2 hours) and spent the night with the other bridesmaid, Beth Ann (also a college friend).  We got up at 4 a.m. on Friday to begin our 12 hour drive to Memphis for the rehearsal.  We made it just in time (with a truck stop to change clothes, cause we're classy that way) for the rehearsal!

Afterward, we went to The Majestic Grille for the rehearsal dinner, which was yummy!  Even though I had a big wedding (and loved it), I enjoy being a part of small weddings.  We all fit at one (albeit long) table at the rehearsal dinner.  I loved getting to talk to everyone that night.

Courtney and I have a history of taking really bad pictures together.  Part of it is that even though we both have really nice cameras, neither one of us remember often to take people pictures.  Right now Courtney is into dog and nature pictures.  I'm a Jack and food picture taker all the way.  So we don't have much to work with, and what we do has not turned out great.  We tried to remedy that this weekend.  Here's an iphone photo--I thought it turned out cute!

Saturday was wedding day!  We got up that morning and hit the ground running.  Courtney is Orthodox, and I really enjoyed being a part of an Orthodox wedding.  Very different from a Presbyterian wedding, but still very, very beautiful.  I stole this picture from Courtney's blog, and I LOVE it.  Courtney's dress was absolutely perfect and Jared looked quite dashing in his suit!

Afterward, we had a wonderful time at the reception.  Near the end of the night, we started just being silly and putting on old school songs and karaoke-ing.  Definitely not part of Courtney's plans, but I think something that will always be a fun memory and story!

The reception was at the hotel we were staying at, which was good, because Beth Ann and I left at 6 a.m.  I made it back home (to a tired husband and a croup-y 2 year old) at 10:45 that night.  Calling it a long day would be an understatement!

Finally, I need to give a little shout out to the Red Cup.

Thank you, Red Cup, for keeping me going this past weekend.  I couldn't have done it without you.

Starbucks should be paying me for this.  Seriously.

It really was a long weekend, but so worth it.  I loved being a part of Courtney and Jared's wedding...what an honor! 

Friday, November 1, 2013

5 on Friday

It's time for 5 on Friday!

O    N    E

I'm actually writing this on Thursday (I know, I'm such a rebel), because I am going to be on the road ALL day Friday.  My best friend is getting married in Memphis this weekend.  I am driving to Pittsburgh Thursday night, picking up the other bridesmaid, and we are leaving bright and early (like 4 a.m. early) for Memphis.

I am so excited for my friend to get married.  She used to say in college that she didn't know if she'd get married, and if she did, she'd probably be older (not in a negative way, that's just what she always pictured).  So I love that she is getting married now, not never or later!  I love the way it has worked out because  I think her fiance is great.  I already warned her that there will probably be some crying at the wedding.  I am a wedding crier to begin with, and it's even worse when the bride or groom is someone I'm close to.

T    W    O

The bride sent us an email about the drive down, because she did this trip this summer.  Her email cracks me up:

Notice how she has pointed out the closest Sheetz and Sonic?  

Yep, I would say she knows me pretty well!

T    H    R    E    E

Thursday was Reformation Day!

I'm a big fan of Reformation Day.  Mostly, because I'm reformed, so it's a pretty special day.  I love what it means for me and for the history of the Church.  But also, I didn't grow up celebrating Halloween.  Instead, we celebrated Reformation Day. 

One year my family was the 6 days of Creation.  We actually won the costume contest at Reformation Day that year.

Don't ever try to compete in levels of dorkiness with my family.  We will ALWAYS win.

F    O    U    R

I am really into Fall.  I may have mentioned that once or twice (or a million times).  During the fall, I love to make and eat lots of squash and pumpkin recipes.  If the recipe has butternut squash or pumpkin in the title, then I'm hooked.  I even have a Fall Foods Pinterest board.

This week I made Butternut Squash Pasta.  Basically, instead of a tomato or white sauce, you make a butternut squash sauce.  There's no cream or milk, so it's a pretty healthy recipe.  I even made the little fried sage on top.

This recipe was really yummy.  I will definitely try to squeeze it in one more time before fall is over.

F    I    V    E

But as much as I love fall, today is November 1st, which means...

That's right...the red cups are at Starbucks!  

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas!  And I really love Starbucks Christmas drinks!  

I know some of y'all don't approve of celebrating Christmas before Thanksgiving.  And that's fine, I respect that.  But I am totally a fan of celebrating Christmas as early as humanly possible!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Friday, October 25, 2013

5 on Friday

I'm back to 5 on Friday! 

O   N   E

Have y'all heard the song "Royals" by Lorde?  I heard it a couple of weeks ago on the radio and finally downloaded it this week.

Um...obsessed.  Seriously, I love this song.

T   W   O

The Bath and Body Works Christmas candles are out...and on sale!
I got Fresh Balsam.  I get this one every year and it smells amazing.  I know some people swear by Yankee Candle Company's Christmas tree flavored one, but this one is my favorite by far.
And I also got Winter.  I have been burning this one since we got home, and it's so good!  It smells like everything Christmas-y.

T   H   R   E   E

My sister and brother-in-law are coming for the weekend.  They have never lived in a place with a real fall, so I'm excited to do some fall things with them.

Tomorrow morning we are headed to Way Fruit Farm.  It's their "Pumpkin Festival."  They'll have hayrides to the pumpkin patch, fresh apple cider, and a make-your-own caramel apple bar. 

I'm not sure what else is on the agenda.  Definitely some home made chili.  Maybe a walk to the park with Jack?  A drive to look at the leaves?

F   O   U   R

We rode on a train last weekend!  I was actually going to do a whole post about it but didn't get around to it.  So I'll just add it to this post! 

The Bellefonte Historical Railroad Society (whew!) has several train rides throughout the year.  We went on the fall foliage ride, a 2 hour ride to a neighboring town.  Jack LOVED it!  We went with two other families, so Bech and I had fun talking to friends.

Also, this pictures is hilarious.  It was probably in the 40's that morning, and Bech and I were cold and prepared.  Everyone else looks tough...we look wimpy.  This winter will NOT be fun!

F   I   V   E

It's officially two months away from Christmas.  We all know what that means...

Peppermint Ice Cream!

Sadly, this state does not carry Blue Bell peppermint ice cream, which is by far the best.  But I am excited about the Edy's...it looks pretty yummy.  I will let y'all know how it compares.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

8 Things

Have y'all seen this post floating around the internet?  My friend linked to it (and did her own).  And since I feel like I'm in a blogging slump as of late (okay, fine, I am almost always in a blogging slump!), I thought I would join in!

So here are the 8 things every girl should have:

O   N   E

A Go To Drink

I think I should make categories for this one:

Hot Drink -- White Chocolate Mocha, Skim Milk, No Whipped Cream, 3 shots of Peppermint


Cold Drink -- Route 44 Diet Dr. Pepper with Vanilla

And if there is no Sonic, Diet Dr. Pepper

Alcoholic -- Blue Curacao anything.  Totally the way to my heart.

T   W   O

A Go To Karaoke Song

Let's just make this favorite song to sing in the car.  Because I am not about to sing karaoke!

I would go with Taylor Swift.  I love singing along with Taylor Swift.

Or RUF songs.  Because that would go over great in a bar.  

Nothing says "get drunk tonight" like "Jesus I My Cross Have Taken."

T   H   R   E   E

A Uniform

This one totally depends on my job and the weather, so I'll just go with now.

Jeans (Gap or the Loft) and a solid or striped cotton shirt.

Seriously, this may be part of the reason why I keep my closet color coordinated--it's so easy.  All I own is solids or stripes, almost no patterns.

What can I say?  I'm a creature of habit.

F   O   U   R

A Hairstylist They Love

This one is so easy.

Sidney, here's a little shout out for you.  

Sidney is ah-mazing.  I love to go to her for many reasons:

She knows me, so I don't have to make small talk with some random person.

She doesn't make too much fun of me when I read/do homework in her chair.

She can poof my hair like no body else.

She did my hair for Charity Ball, my wedding, Katy's wedding, etc.  

I will do WHATever it takes to not have someone else touch my hair.  She tells me what will look good and does it.  She knows that I always want to do something awful with my hair, and she refuses to do it, which I need.  However, she would not do that to you.  It's only for me, because she knows I make bad hair decisions.

Also, she has the three cutest girls in the world.

Wedding hair.  See, she's pretty good, huh?

F   I   V   E

An Exercise Routine

Um, should I even bother?

I really did use to exercise.  I just haven't made it a priority in a while.  But now exercise consists of walking the hills of Bellefonte with Jack in his stroller.  Which is exercise, albeit not very organized.

S   I   X

A Hobby

Now, hobbies I have.

I LOVE to read.  I would read all day (and obviously not exercise).  I also love to cook and bake and have recently started sewing.

I also adore Christmas.  Can that be a hobby?  Because the amount of time I spend drinking hot cocoa, shopping for Christmas, looking at Christmas things, watching Christmas movies, and singing Christmas music seems like it would make it count!

S   E   V   E   N

A Best Friend

I have several of these.

My mom and my sisters are some of my best friends.  I talk to my mom at least once a day and my sisters at least a couple of times a week.  Not to mention the Braden family texts--which are amazing but, no, you can not be a part of them.

I also have a couple of best friends from all of our moves:  

I get to be in one of my best friends weddings in less than two weeks.  

We went to California to visit my best friend from Malawi.  

I love reading the thoughts of my best friend from high school.

I am seriously missing my best Baton Rouge friend.

And of course, Bech and I have our various couple best friends.

One thing about my friends is that I love people who I can not talk to for three months, see or talk to, and it's like we have seen each other every day.  I just love having people that I feel that comfortable with.

E   I   G   H   T

A Healthy Sense of Self

I hope I have this.  I think I do.  I struggle with contentment and envy (thank you, Pinterest and Instagram), but I think I know who I am and am, for the most part, pretty happy with that.

I'm not sure the original post writer meant this to be individually filled out, but I enjoyed this!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Here Come's the Bride (a couple of months later...)!

This past June, my sister got married.  She just got the pictures back from her photographer and I love them.

One of my favorite things about Katy's wedding was how different it was from mine.  I have been to siblings weddings before that seemed really similar.  And since they were great weddings, it didn't matter at all.  But Katy and I have different personalities, and I love that our weddings showed those differences.

My wedding was inspired by Father of the Bride.  The reception was at my parents house, I wore a vintage style dress, and a New Orleans jazz band played Frank Sinatra songs.  My colors were fall colors--orange bridesmaids dresses and lots of browns and yellows in the arrangements.

Katy's wedding was at The South, a renovated warehouse in Jackson.  The flowers were all white, very sophisticated, almost a New York feel.  Her other colors were navy blue and green.  The groomsmen wore gray suits with succulents on their coats.  The band, Almost Famous, played 80's music.  Everything was so fun, and she added lots of little touches to the reception.

Brother Dave, the bride, me, and Brother Bech.

Katy has always called Bech "Brother Bech."  I am excited to now have a "Brother Dave!"

The Braden girls.
This is just a reminder to myself.  Next time, if you are going to be standing next to your almost 6 foot, model thin little sister, don't order the same style dress as her.  

The Blaise family side, minus two cousins.

We try to get together every couple of years, for a reunion of some sort.  It was great to see them all that weekend, and we will all be together next summer for my cousin's wedding.

And the award for worst ringbearer goes to Jack Evans!

Seriously, he did not take a nap (one of only 3 times in his life that has happened)!  He was grumpy and wild.  Bech actually wanted to send him home before the actual wedding.  But I had a feeling that he could manage it and he did.  He walked down the aisle, holding my hand.  He got to the front, made a beeline for Blaise (his favorite).  We sent him on to Bech's dad, who took him home and put him to bed.  I was sad that he missed the reception, because he would have enjoyed that.  But he could not have handled the rest of the ceremony!

Also, can we talk about those knee socks?  I love my little southern boy!

The bride and groom!

I talked about special touches, and this is one of them.  Katy's friend (and mine!) Kristen Ley is an amazingly talented artist.  She letterpressed Katy's invitation, coasters for the receptions, and the programs.  She makes and sells these confetti push pops that we used for the send off.  Aren't they amazing?

Another fun touch...the photo booth!  There were props to take in and it was so fun.  I visited it several times!

I don't have pictures, but there were also fun hats and sunglasses (actually some of those sunglasses in the pic above are them) handed out, Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Krystal burgers as a late reception snack, and glow sticks in the last hour.  And lots of people stayed late and danced, which was really fun.

Finally, one of my favorite pictures of the whole day.  Before the wedding (but after the pictures), the wedding party was hanging out in the reception area.  The bridesmaids were all sitting around this white couch (you can't tell in the picture, but it was a square all the way around).  The photographer came around and took an impromptu picture of us all. 

I know it's crazy that Katy has this many bridesmaids (especially to a non-Southerner).  But, honestly, these girls are all really special to Katy.  Katy is a good friend and she maintains friendships well.  There were probably 5 other girls she could have asked to be up there too (but that would have been a few too many).  That's just who Katy is, and I was glad that all of these girls were there to celebrate with Katy and Dave!

It was an incredible weekend.  Everything was perfect and so fun!  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

This Weekend

On Friday afternoon, Bech, Jack, and I got in the car and headed to DC.  One of Bech's good friends (and a groomsman in our wedding!) was getting married in Asheville.

We spent Friday night with Katy and Dave and went to Z Burger to celebrate Dave's birthday early.  Katy took a picture of us all there, but I can't figure out how to put it on here.  So...just imagine that we ate at a cross between Fudruckers and 5 guys and we had fun.  Got it?  Okay.

Saturday morning Bech and I hit the road at 5 a.m.  Katy and Dave had agreed to babysit Jack so that we could be childless for the wedding. 

I think Jack had fun!

Bech and I stopped in Spruce Pine, NC, on the way to the wedding for the Spruce Pine Potter's Market.  Basically, certain local potters are asked/chosen to be a part of a small market.  Bech knew and loved most of these potters' work.  In fact, he owns some work from several of them.  He had a blast geeking out and talking to some of his pottery heroes.

Then we drove the rest of the way to the wedding.  It was a beautiful wedding--small, outdoors, and fun.  I was a little nervous because, except for the groom, I literally knew no one there.  But I had a wonderful time talking to and meeting new people.  Bech had worked at Camp Timberlake with Chris (that's how they met), so there was a good amount of Camp people there that Bech knew.

We spent the night in Asheville and got on the road Sunday morning at 8:00.  We made it to DC by 4:30 and home by 8:15.  So basically we were exhausted.  We were gone for about 54 hours, and 25 of them were spent in the car.  But we were so glad we went.

I am ready, though, to go to Asheville again soon, and for a longer weekend.  After all, it is our dream city!