Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Another One Bites the Dust!

Goodbye 2013, hello to 2014! We're counting it down still in Minneapolis, but to all already in 2014 or still in 2013, we hope you are having a fun night celebrating and we wish you the very best new year!

Cheers to a b*tchin 2014!!!! (Could be the champagne, hope you're excited instead of offended!) 

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Peek Behind the (Shower) Curtain

Well, it took nearly two months but Alex finally completed "Operation Deep Soak" just in time for Christmas... and when I say that I mean like three days before Christmas :)  So, I apologize that I didn't have time to take photos before all the Christmas Crazy began so here's a few teaser pics of our finished  bathtub + shower + tile project (aka Operation Deep Soak)....
Looking pretty nice right?!?  I hope you'll stop back for the whole before and after story too because I always enjoy putting together a post that tells the whole story from where we started with a room all the way through each change we've made- and all that ends up taking a good chunk of time!  I can't help it, it's the kind of thing I really dig sharing on the blog to show all the time, hard work, mistakes, learnings, effort, and pride we take in shaping our home to fit us more and more :)

I'm gathering up all the before and afters this weekend to tell the tale of Operation Deep Soak.  Hope you'll join us, but until then...

What do you think of the preview pics?
What did we miss detailing in the previous Operation Deep Soak posts?
What questions did you have about our project that we should include in the completed post?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Have a Very, Very Merry Christmas!

Alex, Rocco, Sadie and I have enjoyed sharing our projects and silly memories with you this year!  We hope your Christmas day is filled with happiness, love, laughter, and occasional (unavoidable) awkward family moments- that's how it always goes for us anyway :)

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Re-Release of Our "Home Alone Stair Sledding" Classic: Collector's Edition

Have you ever wanted to sled down a staircase like Kevin McCallister did in the holiday classic "Home Alone"?  I know, I know, silly question right- OF COURSE you did, so did Alex and I!!!  That is why we actually did it!
Did you know this crazy event took place in our house three years ago? Yes, we packed snow on our staircase landing, hopped on a sled and shot out the front door just like Kevin McCallister

Why I am bringing this up you ask?  Well, I happened to catch "Home Alone" on TV the other day which made me think of our own stair sledding videos.  I hopped on our blog to watch them again and they were just as funny/silly as I remembered, totally loved it :) But it made me wonder how bad was that for our wood flooring if I should share this story again on our blog?   I know three years isn't a huge amount of time and maybe you've already seen it, but for those who missed it back in 2010 I'm hoping that this is a new delightful little winter surprise (heck this video is still new to anyone that saw the original)!

So here's the "official" press announcement from our studio (aka my You Tube channel)...
We are thrilled to give audiences of all ages a new exciting look at our Home Alone Staircase Sledding style adventure!  We've digitally remastered the three films into one (almost minute long) feature length film sure to become an addition to your Holiday film collection!  Enjoy!

Fun foolish moments make for Happy Holiday memories I suppose?  Hope it made you smile or better yet giggle?  Either way- keep the change ya filthy animal and watch out for the Wet Bandits :)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

My Unsolved Holiday Mysteries

Alright, every holiday season I find myself stumped by the same questions or mysteries you could say I guess?  I've realized it keeps happening because I never figure them out, then once Christmas is over it doesn't matter anymore... until next year.  Then 11 months go by, it's Christmas again and I've got the same issues.  Feels like deja vu I guess, or kind of a yearly Bill Murray Groundhog Day style experience?  This time, I'd like to end the cycle and I'm hoping you can help!  As the wise Robert Stack once said....

Join me.  Perhaps you may be able to help solve a mystery. 

- What you are about to see is not a news broadcast -

1. What is the best guy gift you've ever given to a guy? 
It could be for a brother, boyfriend, brother, husband, dad, uncle, grandpa, friend, whatever!  Because let's face it, the typical "Great Gift Ideas for Him" like ties, cologne, silly gadgets found in the men's section of a department store, power tools, unnecessary electronics, socks, slippers, themed attire includes sports, beer, holiday or humor themes), or a membership to the jelly of a month club are just lame guy gifts.
Image via Messy Nessy Chic
So what the heck is a good guy gift? I want to know!  And please keep in mind that new cars, vacations, diamonds, horses type gifts isn't in my budget :)  gift giving would be super easy if it was though, ha!  New cars & ponies for everyone!

2. If a "let's not do gifts this year" policy is agreed upon, do you follow it? 
Whether it is Alex and I or with family, this is one I struggle with.  I always feel like I should still get a little something for my loved ones even if we have agreed to not do a gift exchange on Christmas... and that has gotten me into trouble a time or two.  I guess my fear is that someone will give me a gift and then I will feel like a jerk if I don't have one to give in return.  So what do you think?  Should you follow the agreement always and if so, should the person that doesn't follow the agreement be considered the jerk?

3. Does anyone else feel a bit blue on Christmas Day too?
Not to sound super scrooge-like or depressed, but I really want to know.  The weird thing is that I enjoy the Christmas season, heck I look forward to it!  I love the holiday get togethers, time with family (when we're lucky enough to get home for the holidays), gift exchanges, food, theme attire including ugly Christmas sweaters), greeting cards,  And ya'll know I LOVE covering our house with Christmas decor and making it all cozy!  But it always feels like you go through all that excitement and get to Christmas Day and it just feels like any other day... which leads to feeling a little let down or sad or something?  I'm the type of person that likes to be on the happy side of things even in bummy situations, but there's always a moment or two on Christmas Day where I have a tough time.  Gosh, that just sounds so depressing right?  I guess it's the truth though, so now that I spilled my guts I'd love to know if anyone else experiences the same and if you do, what gets you out of feeling blue?
Now, I might already know part of the answer to #3 considering Alex and I spent the last two Christmases here in Minnesota alone since we couldn't make the trek to Michigan to be with family- and that leads me to another question...

4. If you are without family on Christmas, how do you spend it to make it feel special?
Alex and I made Christmas Day dinner plans with our neighbor friends that were also without family and that was a ton of fun!  We also thought about finding a volunteer opportunity that would help make Christmas day special for those in need.  What other ways can you make a lonesome Christmas special? Alex thinks we could just take turns sitting in our new bathtub with some holiday treats and nog- By the way, there will be a post this week that covers our finished bath/shower space!  And just to clarify, no we won't be boozed up sitting in our tub eating Christmas cookies and pie in case you were worried :)

*** Okay, now my last and most important question, and this is TOTALLY serious folks! ***

5. Why oh why are there so many TERRIBLE fragrance commercials on TV during the holiday season???  Really, can you say there is a good one out there?  I guess I just don't understand the logic behind most of these ads, like are we supposed to believe that we will become this creature of intrigue that lives a life of exotic vacations, runway walks, one night stands, polo matches, photo shoots on a yacht , and whatever else if we purchase and cover ourselves in that scent?  Or we see them and think, "Yea, I wanna smell like that!" I just don't get it, in all of these scenarios I just think said person would smell like B.O. right?

If I have to crown the worst one though, it's that J'adore Dior ad where Charlize Theron whispers an evil-breathy "J'ADORE".  I swear it's been on TV for like then years now, Santa please make it stop.  Sorry if it sounds like I'm on a rant now, but is anyone else with me?  Do you think the excessive fragrance ads spots are terrible too?

Well there you have it- Perhaps you may be able to help solve my five Unsolved Holiday Mysteries?
Help a gal out!  Be sure to leave a comment!

DISCLAIMER: This program is about unsolved mysteries.  Whenever possible, the actual family members and police officials have participated in recreating the events.  And I am totally kidding with the disclaimer :)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Meet Me by the Mistletoe for Our Holiday Staircase Look!

Well, I wasn't totally finished with my Christmas bonanza or extravaganza or whatever I called it because I realized that our staircase banister and mistletoe decor is totally worth a look too!  I know "staircase decor" isn't all that typical (or necessary) for the holidays, but the little staircase was one of the things I fell in love with most when we chose our home and I love decorating it this time of the year.  It still makes my heart melt a little when I walk through the door, just like it did when we got the house :)

Here's peek at the staircase from our entryway...

Did you catch that fun little touch of mistletoe?  It's a fun, cute unexpected surprise right?!  I had never thought to add any kind of decor above our entryway but it's just so simple and cute- I'm loving it! 
I keep catching Alex under there just hoping I'll happen to walk by so he can get a smooch, hehe!  Mistletoe really rocks :)

When it came to the staircase garland, I used fresh spruce roping, juniper berry bundles, green+gold ribbon and metallic ornaments (same elements used on our mantel and in the dining room).

What do you think of the staircase garland or our little touch of mistletoe? 
Will you be adding some surprise mistletoe in your home too?

I highly recommend the mistletoe... Tis' quite fun if you know what I mean :)  If you need another staircase decor idea click the link to see the Merry Message Along Our Staircase we created during the 2010 Christmas season.

Well, with the staircase covered I guess that rounds out all the holiday decor for this season.  In case you missed any of the other Christmas decor posts, be sure to check out all the ways we decked our halls!  Here are links to our 2013 Christmas Tree, the Fireplace Mantel, and the Dining Room.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Our Green Holiday Dining Room Look and Some Entertaining!

Okay, I know I didn't get my Holiday Dining Room post up yesterday as intended but I have a good excuse- Instead of writing about the Dining Room, I was using it with some of my favorite fabulous ladies!  Yes, we took in all the pretty holiday decor but we mainly soaked up some hot toddies, red wine, and a crap load selection of fine cheeses :) Can you blame me?
Wine, cheese, and chatting it up was too fun to pass up!

So despite falling a little short on my own "Christmas Extravaganza" week, I'll still wrap things up here in the Dining Room.  Let's have a look!
I added fresh greenery above the windows, on the sideboard, and in the table centerpiece.  I have to mention that the best deal I got when it came to the fresh stuff was that boxwood wreath above our sideboard- only $9.99 at Trader Joes, isn't that crazy!?!  Such a deal!  I added in ornaments to all the of the greenery to give it that special holiday feel!

Just like our mantel, I again used juniper berry and long spruce needle bundles with a wee bit of cedar and had two thin birch logs against the back of the sideboard.
I again used juniper berry and long spruce needle bundles with a wee bit of cedar and had two thin birch logs against the back of the sideboard.

For the centerpiece, I placed the spruce needles on the base of the candelabra then layered on the juniper berry and finished off the look with a few ornaments.  I feel like the layered fresh look adds a beautiful touch for our holiday table and it was pretty simple!

The final holiday touch that rounded out the room were the cedar stems I hung above each window.  I used ornament hooks to hang the stems and then hung ornaments from each stem.  Totally simple and really dressed up the look of our windows, right?!
I think that might be my favorite part of the decor this year?  Well that and the fresh, full $9.99 Boxwood wreath :) such a deal!

What do you think of our Dining Room Decor
Are you digging the cedar stems above the windows too?
Do you have a favorite Christmas decor piece this year?  I want to know what it is!

Thank you everyone that posted comments for my mantel post!  I kinda felt like a jerk for writing it then I almost went back to remove it, but it really cheered me up when I read the comments that came through so I let it be :)  I still kind of feel like a jerk but I guess it reminded me that the best kind of writing, whether from me or anyone else, is done with honesty and authenticity.  So even if I am a jerk at least I am the honest kind I guess?  Again, thank you for the kindness and reminder of why I love writing this little blog :)

Click these links if you missed our Holiday Mantel or our 2013 Christmas Tree

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Time to Cozy Up for a Look at Our Holiday Mantel

Our fun little week-long holiday decor extravaganza (if you can call it that?) continues!!!  We've covered the tree, now it's time for a cozy look at our fireplace mantel!
I kept with the same Gold+Green look to match up with our Christmas tree.  BUT- this is the first time I used all fresh greenery for the mantel decor!  It was a bit more challenging, but so fun and rewarding when I got to the final look, I'm feeling so proud of it!

I ended up using long Spruce Pine needles and cut Juniper Berry bundles, then arranged them with ribbon and ornaments to complete the layered look on the fireplace mantel...

Simple and sweet post I guess?!  Love that on a super snowy night here in Minneapolis!

What do you think of the mantel decor?  Or the tree?
Are you getting hit with a crap-ton of snow too?!?! 

Anyone?  Bueller.... Bueller?!?!  Guess I'm feeling like no one is out there anymore :(  Heck, Alex even said that when he gutted the bathroom tub and he isn't even the HBIC- ahem 'Head Blogger In Charge' (blame that acronym on Bravo's Housewives).

I know I haven't been as great at following up with the blog lately, but I hope someone out there is still reading and seeing this stuff?  I still love writing it all, but it's kinda bummy feeling like you are talking to yourself.  Okay, I'm done emoting now, I'd still love to hear from you though :) 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Green and Gold to Go With the Stars & Snow! It's Our 2013 Christmas Tree!

I woke up feeling pretty crummy today sadly but after sleeping/resting in bed until 1:30pm followed by a solid seven hour stretch laying on the couch (I'm pretty worried I made a permanent dent in it, ugh!), I'm still keeping my promise to share pics of our decorated tree today!

So, ho-ho-here it is!  Alex and I are happy and excited to share our 2013 Christmas tree with you :)

A little before and after action of course too!

As I mentioned yesterday, I was really digging the green and gold Christmas look so that is what I decided to go with this year.  We've always had red as a prominent color with our Christmas decor in previous years so it feels like a very fresh look this time around!

We also decided to use the larger clear C9 size string lights instead of the clear mini string lights we've used each year before.  Alex thought of this bright idea to add a vintage bulb look on the tree and I just love it!

What do you think of this year's tree? 
Liking it or are you missing the touch of red? 
I'd love to know what your tree looks like this year too!

I know you kind of got a little peek today, but I will be sharing a full look at our holiday mantel tomorrow too!  Hope to see you then!

PS- if you'd like to see our 2012, 2011, or 2010 Christmas trees, or heck even 2007, click the links! 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Hunt Down & Chop Down Time: It's Our Annual Griswold Style Tree Adventure! Plus a Look at My 2013 Christmas Style Inspiration!

(Once again) In the historic words spoken by Clark W. Griswold, "We're kicking off our fun old fashioned family Christmas by heading out into the country in the old front-wheel drive sleigh to embrace the frosty majesty of the winter landscape and select that most important of Christmas symbols."  

And yes, I know the whole Griswold concept/story is a bit old now, but it's still a hoot of a good time and makes me giggle every year :) so the tradition continues on!
Click the link to see our 2010 tree adventure, 2011, or 2012

Yes, once our quiet Thanksgiving for Two was over (which also included some yummy AND pretty drinks, I totally had to share these with you!)...
Rosemary Gin Fizz recipe here and Hot Gin Toddy Recipe here
... We knew it was time to start covering our house with Christmas and where else do you start but with the tree!  So, we hopped in the car the next day with Rusty Rocco and Audrey Sadie and headed up to the Rum River Tree Farm to hunt down and chop down our 2013 tree.

After much debate and wandering through rows and rows of trees, grumpy cheerful Alex plopped down to chop down the 2013 tree of our dreams :)

Then, we stuffed that bad boy in our trunk (literally!), and got it all set up in the living room to decorate!  We paid just $32 for our self cut tree-such a steal if you ask me!   But man, I can't begin to tell you what mess of pine needles that ended up in our car and house, LOL!

Here's a look once we got it set up, it's just begging for decorations right?!

Here's a look at what I've been feeling inspired by for this year's look/theme.  I'm feeling the Greens and Golds for sure and I'm digging the look of cedar greenery or garland.
Images via Terrain, Good HousekeepingDigs DigsChatelaineRemains SimpleFinders Keepers Market IncA Country FarmhouseHappy Mundane
I've been working hard on getting it finished up along with our mantel and dining room decor- I can't wait to show you what I came up with!!!  I'm planning to share the finished tree tomorrow, then the mantel Wednesday, and the Dining Room Thursday!  It'll be a week long Christmas celebration here! Wooooo!  I'm so pumped! Are you pumped?!  If you're not you better get yourself pumped real quick because a whole lotta Christmas is headed your way!!!  Yep, I'm feeling that good ol' Christmas Crazy feeling, I just LOOOOOVE Christmas like a crazy lady!

How about you?  
Are you busy setting up your Christmas decorations too?  
Was there a theme or color scheme that inspired your holiday decor this year?
Are you a Crazy Christmas type of lady too?!!

I'd love to know!  Hope to see you back tomorrow for our tree reveal!