Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Recap: My Favorite Posts

My favorite posts of 2012:

I started the year off with a do-it-yourself spray painting project for our office. Read about the project details here. This was the start of our office/guest room makeover (more updates to follow).

In February I began a photography challenge. I received a new DSR camera for Christmas and this was a fun and challenging project. It is also supported my love for taking pictures. I would love to get into the field of professional photography one day in the future.

The challenge started with "my view today" and this was the photo (dated February 1st, 2012):

In the spring I was busy preparing for Ellie's first birthday party. Her party was definitely one of my favorite memories of 2012. You can read all about the party details here.

The start of Ellie's playroom was one of my favorite posts this year (second to Ellie's party). It was fun to pick out the paint colors and the design for this space. I wanted the room to be bright and welcoming and to pick a color that I wouldn't use in the rest of our home. You can see the colors we chose here. We added a chalkboard wall (inspiration posted here) and we love it. I was inspired by rooms, such as this one:

via Houzz
We announced some exciting news in September to our family using the new chalkboard wall:

via Instagram
And, the updated news that Ellie will have a baby sister (posted in December):

In October I started a "Favorite Items" post that I plan on continuing in the future:

November and December of twenty twelve were busy, but productive months. It was definitely more fun to decorate this year with Ellie being old enough to be excited about the Holidays. I spent a lot of time on Pinterest pinning inspirational Holiday photos (read the post here).

I diy'd a "Merry" Christmas banner in December. I loved seeing this hung on my mantle everyday and will definitely be creating new banners in the future.

Our family had a very fun-filled and festive month of December. I posted about it here. I also loved this year's "Scenes From Our Christmas" and my favorite photo is of Ellie, of course, in her Christmas dress (being silly):

Blogging has become a passion of mine and I want to thank YOU for reading and supporting my blog. I am looking forward to another amazing year with all of you in twenty thirteen!

Friday, December 28, 2012

A (Late) Holiday Mantle Addition

I've been eyeing this white nutcracker every time I was at Home Goods, but I wasn't willing to pay $15 for it. When I saw it at Marshall's after Christmas for only $6 I picked it up. It was worth the over 20 minute wait in line! It also fills the empty spot to the left of the mirror perfectly.

Christmas 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Scenes From Our Christmas

Santa came on Christmas Eve and filled our stockings and left lots of presents under the tree. The first thing Ellie did when she walked down the steps Christmas morning was immediately take the bows off all of the presents. The shiny colorful bows are what first caught her eye! Then, she noticed the doll cradle. She looovvveed it! She wanted to go get all of her babies and put them in it so she could rock it. Although she loved all of her gifts and has enjoyed playing with all of her new toys, she especially loved all her new baby dolls and doll accessories.

Scenes from our Christmas:

Me: "Ellie, smile! Let me see your teeth!"
Ellie: Sticks her tongue out

 The best one I could get!

You can see the difference in photos from when I take a picture and when my husband takes a picture with Ellie. In my picture (below) I am smiling and Ellie is not (she had enough of the pictures at this point). However, when I take the picture Ellie is smiling. You can bet I am jumping and doing silly things to get her to laugh. The photos of me and her both smiling at the same time and looking at the camera are far and few between. It's the memories though, right? 


Can I just tell you how much I loved Ellie's Christmas dress this year? If you follow me on Instagram I had posted a picture of this box:

I ordered her dress this year from Borrow Baby Couture. I didn't want to spend a lot on a dress I new she would only wear once (this was before we found out she is having a sister). When I saw an ad for this website I was immediately hooked. Such a great idea! Ellie's couture dress was priced at over $200 and could be rented starting at $35. I bought the insurance (just in case!) for an extra few dollars. I also filled out a survey and got my first rental for free! All I paid was just $5 for shipping. What a deal! Plus, the dress was beautiful. I loved the full skirt (Ellie did, too) and the big bow in the back. It had little puffed sleeves and it was just so precious. A classic Christmas dress!

Christmas 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Santa Claus is Coming!

The day is almost here when we get to see Ellie's face when she comes downstairs Christmas morning. This is the big anticipated moment. We've been reading about it (Up on the Housetop and The Night Before Christmas, to name a few) and talking about it for months. Santa and his reindeer will land on our roof, he will slide down the chimney and fill our stockings and leave gifts under the tree. He will eat the plate of cookies and drink the milk and take the oats for his reindeer.

I've enjoyed wrapping our gifts (a separate paper color for each of us) and have hid the wrapped presents in our basement. Ellie is curious these days. We'll have to come up with better hiding places in a few years! Her big gift is a doll cradle. A nice one- white, sturdy, and made of wood. I can't wait till she sees it and says, "Woah!" We will definitely be taking video.

It will be a busy, but fun next couple of days. We started off the Holiday with dinner last night at my parents (we welcomed home my sister), and a "seven fishes" dinner tonight (again, at my parents). Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, we have our annual family tradition (with my family) in the city. The Light Show, Reading Terminal, and lunch at Maggiano's. We have been doing this every year since as long as I can remember. Now, we have "plus 1's" and lots of kids (4 to be exact and one on the way). Tomorrow night- dinner with my husband's family. Christmas morning- brunch at my parents (after Santa comes, of course), gifts at my in-laws, then home to nap Ellie, and back to my parents for a big Christmas dinner. Lots of laughter and a ton of love. I couldn't ask for anything more!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday Festivities

I can't believe Christmas is in just 4 days! Luckily we are finished our shopping and can enjoy these last few days before Santa comes. We have really enjoyed this Holiday season. Here are a few photos of the festivities- picking out the tree, decorating, Santa, and visiting a light display.

She was very happy to see Santa, but just not sit on his lap! Those are the best pictures though!

Christmas 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

HGTV Dream Home 2013

This may be the first time I'm saying this about an HGTV Dream Home: I actually like the outside living space more than I like the inside of the home. As I first browsed through the picture galleries of each of the inside spaces I wasn't very impressed. Yes, there is some great inspiration for designing and decorating, but I wasn't in love with any of the rooms. The outside is a different story. It looks so peaceful and relaxing and enclosed. It doesn't look there are neighbors nearby. It would be a true retreat home. It is described as a "Zen coastal cottage on Kiawah Island in South Carolina" (via).

Here are a few photos of the spaces I did like inside the Dream Home:

I love the seating in the entryway. The curtains make it even cozier and would be a comfy reading nook!
This is a clever storage idea for kitchen towels. Easily accessible, too.
I love the gray cabinets and white island. But, I am not loving the color of those chairs. I would have liked to see another pop of color instead.   

This is a corner of the great room. I love the use of the natural colors.
I like the open pantry and the fabric doors.
Master Bathroom
Master Bedroom: I like the two different side tables. The black one is a dresser and the blue is used as a desk, as well.
Love the single side table separating the beds.
I love turquoise, but this is too much turquoise! I like the two-toned walls, but the 4-poster bed should be another color. Hot pink would be fun!

And, here is why I love the outside space so much:

The exterior is gorgeous. A peaceful retreat! I love all of the palm trees surrounding the house.

This view is AMAZING!
This pool is luxurious, especially surrounded by the trees.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Holiday Decorating

I had a lot of fun decorating this year. Not only is it my favorite holiday, but Ellie is loving it, too. I made a few changes to our two mantels this year. I added garland and other holiday accessories, including the DIY banner I mentioned previously to our gas fireplace. We decorated our tree last weekend and put up all the lights outside our house, which Ellie exclaims, "Woah!" every time we turn them on. Ellie loves taking evening walks looking for "more" lights and "more Ho-Ho's." She calls Santa "ho ho." She loves reading Santa books and listening to Christmas music. She fits right into our family!

I found the mercury glass trees and white tree at Home Goods, the berries were found at Michael's (I cut the stems to fit in the vase) and ornaments from Target. The mirror was also purchased months ago at Home Goods, but I hadn't yet found a home for it.

I am loving my DIY "Merry" Banner!
I added the snowflakes that came with a box of ornaments (below) to the mirror using white needle thread and taped them to the back of the mirror. This DIY project was recently mentioned in a post here.

I added faux snow and ornaments to this lantern (Home Goods)
I added some sparkle with a few star ornaments on our chandelier
Our second mantel (over our gas fireplace). The reindeer and sleigh (filled with pine cones) are a new addition. They were my Mom's and I loved them growing up. Ellie loves saying, "hi" to the reindeer every day.
The start of our holiday cards. I taped them to the staircase, as I did last year. I've seen lots of creative DIY projects- next year I'll try one for sure!
A free Christmas printable I found on Pinterest
Christmas 2011
The house ornament is one of our "World Ornaments" we received for our engagement. The hook fell off, but I added it to the mantel because it reminds me of our house. I thought it added sentiment to our mantel.
Our tree!