christmas // in our house

just some of the christmas decorations that are around the house this year! i love that i am slowly collecting more each christmas. the biggest decoration purchase this year we took the plunge and bought a fake tree...and guess what...i don't hate it! the 7.5 ft fraser fur with fresh balsam scented plug in that is posing as our tree is just fine. to be completely honest, it is saving us money (i found out tree for 25 bucks online!!!), mess, and will last longer...which was important this year! we had a busy could weeks before our christmas party, and to buy a tree that would last from december 10th through the new year...well i wasn't sure if a tree from lowes would last that long, and we just didn't have the time (or really...the want to spend the money as most places start at $40) to go cut one down. this is the first time both kenny and i have had a fake tree, and we definitely have not converted from a nice real tree! 

family room // after


SO...today i am finally sharing some pictures of our family room painting update! there are two different greys on the walls. we used valspar "filtered shade" on the wall that has the striped couch against it since it is the same color we used upstairs in our house and that wall connects from the stairway to our upstairs wall. on all the other walls we chose to use valspar "rocky bluffs" which is just a little bit darker. all the trim was also painted white, and the outlet covers and sockets were switched out from a creamy tan color to white. as mentioned in my last post, I love how it all turned out! the next phase of this area will hopefully include: some wall decor, replacing our temporary window blinds for real ones, recessed lighting, mounting the t.v., and possibly having a wood wall behind the t.v., and painting the doors and trim in the hallway white to match the rest of the room. one day i would love to get a nice big sectional couch and ottoman for this room!

-e-

our christmas card


since our christmas cards are out...you, my friends, get to see a blurry iphone version. this year we used cardstore for our christmas card. I wasnt actually planning to do a christmas card, because we didn't really have a nice family picture to use, but my friend meghan was in town and offered to take some pictures for us! they turned out great, and i will be sure to share some soon! cardstore was really easy to use, always have good sales AND they included envelopes with our address typed on the back - less work for me...say whaaat?! anyway, i was really happy with how our cards turned out and i am glad that they are already on the way to family and friends! do you guys send out christmas cards every year?

-e-


picture slacker



so due to the fact that there really hasn't been good light (aka no sunny days..at least when the room has been clean) to take pictures of our updated space, i snapped a quick picture with my phone before our party last week, and while everything was still clean. i'm hoping for a sunny day soon because it really shows the wall colors the best! this little upgrade of painting our family room and bathroom as made such a different and has especially made the family room seem a little bit "warmer". i'm already thinking about what our next little project can be! the last week has been full of house preparations, our christmas party, finishing our christmas shopping, wrapping gifts, sending off packages, and sending out christmas cards. only 3 more days of work and then i am off for almost two weeks! i cannot wait to have time of to spend with family and friends! more pictures coming soon!

-e-

family room // before

when we first moved into our house, the walls were all white. this, in my opinion, was a good thing because it was a clean slate, easy to paint over, and easy to leave "as is" because everything was neutral. so this friday we are hosting a christmas party, which pushed us to do a little touching up in our family room and upstairs bathroom. both of these rooms had some patching on the walls that could use covering and were next on our "refresh" list. currently the family room has wood trim, white walls, mismatch furniture, and minimum decor. the bathroom was the only room that had color on it (a light greyish baby blue), and it also had wood trim. over the last week we (meaning mostly kenny) have been painting the trim, ceilings and walls of these two rooms. here are some before pictures to show what we are working with:


stay tuned for after pictures! a little paint can go a long way in these spaces!

-e-

where i am

my absence over the next week or so is due to my free time being spent decorating for christmas, and painting our family room/upstairs bathroom. progress pictures in the near future!! annnd i am also promising some new updated pictures very soon!!

-e-

easy recipe // granola


i love granola, and it is so easy to make! another added bonus, is that when you make it yourself, you know exactly what you are putting into it, and you can tweak it to how you prefer! i include a lot of nuts in my recipe, but if you don't like nuts you can use dried fruit or try something different! i am actually thinking about gifting granola in mason jars with the recipe attached for christmas gifts for our neighbors and close family friends!  this recipe is adapted from 100 days of real food.

ingredients:

3 1/2 cups of old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup raw sliced almonds
1 cup chopped raw walnuts
1 cup chopped raw pecans
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
6 tbs coconut oil (or unsalted butter)
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
parchment paper
large cookie sheet

directions:

1. preheat the oven to 250 degrees and cover the cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. in a large bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, walnuts, pecans, coconut, sunflower seeds and spices (not the salt).
3. heat the coconut oil and honey in a sauce pan over low heat until they melt and mix well together, then add the vanilla and salt.
4. pour the melted liquid over the dry ingredients and mix well with a spatula so that everything is coated.
5. spread the mixture evenly onto the cookie sheet and bake for 75 minutes. about halfway through, take the pan out and mix the ingredients a bit with a spatula so that it cooks evenly.
6. let the granola cool for about 30 minutes, and it should break apart easily or you can put it into a bag and pound it into small pieces (i am usually able to just break it apart very easily). granola is good for 2 weeks, if stored in an airtight container!

enjoy!

-e-


christmas top five

i'm linking up today on the friday 5s. this week im sharing my top five on my christmas list. this is my top five this year,

{1} This robe from target would be a nice upgrade from what I already have, and it has a hood! it's pretty simple and affordable, but that's just what i need!{2} i would also love a new journal{s}. i used to write a lot more, even if just some basic thoughts, and i miss doing it!

{3} did you know that old navy has "tall" sizes offered online? being 5"9, this is so great for me! in tops i wear a medium, but always end up buying a large because the sleeves or even just the shirt itself is just too short! #tallgirlprobs i love that now ill be able to order some cute button down shirts that actually fit! here are some of the shirts i love:

{4} a few years ago a good friend got me a scarf from GAP and in it the one i still use the most often. it is big, soft, and super warm! they still carry the same style scarf in newer patterns, and i would love to get another one to add to my rotation.
{5} Kindle Paper White (with special offers, Wifi & Free 3G). i love reading, and having a kindle allows the purchasing books at a cheaper rate, and even rent books from the library!

what are your top five for christmas this year?

-e-

linking up with:


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Momfessionals

the vortex returns


snow is still happening here in michigan! that picture above is an unfilterd, and taken through my window yesterday afternoon: a whiteout. the snow that we had gotten from monday-tuesday has exceeded any amount that we got in a 24 hour time period last winter. and last winter was the "BIG-polar vortex" winter. well...its back, and i would say its back in full force! i am so thankful for a job that allows me to work from home, because going out yesterday in my little car was not an option to me!

-e-

year 27




yesterday was my 27th birthday. turning 27 was a bit strange...i'm further now from 25 and closer to 30 (and if we are really technical...i am now on my 28th year of life and just finished my 27th). and i know, i know, im still young and still in my twenties but this last year was my first full year of many things. being far away, it was my first full year of not seeing family for 12 plus months. my 26th year was my first full year of being married. it was also my first full year being a "homemaker"; tackling interior design (or what i think it is), meals on the table each night, being a host to guests, and keeping things clean. i have learned a lot about myself in the last year, more about my emotions, my spirituality, my desires, wants and needs. And while these are things that i learn and grow more in each year, now that i am married, i happens in a whole new and exciting way. when i turned twenty, my vision of where i would be today, at 27, is certainly different that where i actually am. first of all...i most definitely did not think i would be living somewhere that would be cold enough for snow on my birthday...yes, it has been snowing for the last 3 days here in michigan (!). i also thought i would have been married for a longer amount of time, and already starting a family. the honest truth is that i thought i would have a least one babe by now. i didn't think that both my grandpas would already be in heaven. i also wouldn't have imagined that i would be an aunt and how much love i would feel for my niece. isn't t funny how God reminds us -everyday- that his plans are the only plans that matter? i may have had these thoughts of what i would be doing at 27 when i was 20, but after watching my life unravel further as each year goes by, i couldn't have imagined anything happening in any other way. i am so ready for what this year brings and the ways that i will grow and change this year!

-e-

iris visits // no pictures to show


How is it that one of my best friends comes to town and we take no pictures? I literally have 2 pictures from our time together. guess that means we were having too much fun to even remember about documenting it? next time...next time. we made sure to take iris to some local restaurants in town, we did plenty of shopping, and plenty of quality time - which is most important! now i am already looking forward to the next time we reunite!

-e-

chi town // chicago shopping trip


yesterday morning we left the house at 6:15 am to horseshoe the lake michigan coast over to chicago. i have now lived in michigan for 2 years and yet to make the 2 and a half hour trip to this amazing city. chicago is my most favorite city that i have visited {so far...} and i was so pumped to be hitting the pavement for a shopping trip! we took the bus, which made the drive time a little longer, but i did like the convenience of "just being along for the ride" and no one having pressure to drive. we started the day at Garretts to get some popcorn to beat the rush and avoid a very long line. we shopped all day and even hit up a few high end stores for the fun of it. {side note; every time i walk through free people, i fall in love with pretty much everything, then i check the price on the pair of $98 leggings and my brain just about explodes. still love their style though...} the picture of the guy drumming on the plastic bucket? i love his sign: "be prudent, help out a student. giving is living". so...i wonder if he makes more sitting on the street all day rather than working? anyway, we ended the night at cheesecake factory, hence that big bowl of pasta above. love that place! i didnt even get a picture of my cheesecake because i was so excited for that first bite! if you have never tried "adam's peanut butter cup fudge ripple" get it next time your there. seriously. as you can see in the last picture, we hit the beginnings of another november snow on the way home. needless to say, 22 hours later, it is still snowing outside! all together a great trip, and there were even some christmas decorations that snuck in!

-e-

new digs

how excited is everyone for the new look that is now live?! I'm sure your not quite as excited as me and toby are...wait...let's be honest, toby is really screaming inside because he is in yet another selfie. 

that time i became an aunt // avery marie

this last weekend i flew home to visit with family, but most importantly to meet that little ninja turtle above! my first niece, avery, is four weeks old. i was able to spend so much time with her over the weekend (her first halloween-hence the ninja turtle costume), and for that i am so grateful. i also was able to see my sister as a mother; how she stepped right into the role of taking care of her baby girl in every way possible with all the love in the world. i am so, so proud of my sister!

-e-

oh hey, friday!

I am so ready for friday this week! how about you?

1. i finally went to the eye doctor this morning, and now the challenge is to find some new frames! i have always stuck to the classic metal frames, but i think this time i am going to step out of my comfort zone. i'm going to try for something a little more trendy this time...but not too trendy! now the challenge is to find something i like! maybe something similar to this:



2. with the colder temps coming in fast, i have been thinking about some warmer foot gear. and yes, i am thinking about purchasing some uggs. i have had uggs for about 5 years, and last year had to get rid of them because they no longer kept my feet dry when it was wet out. so im actually thinking i may need a new pair since they seem to be the warmest for michigan winters (maybe birthday or christmas?)! i have never been a huge huge fan of uggs, but they are super warm and cozy so, whatever. i like the ugg Sumner style in chestnet--its a little less bulky than the classic uggs, and has the zipper on the side!



3. in less than i week i get to meet my neice! I am so so excited to visit my sister and see her as a mom :)

4. we did some major raking in our yard yesterday, you know, to clear out that first layer of leaves. i wouldn't mind raking if we didn't have to bag them all for removal...but...its the perks of being a homeowner. they sure do look pretty though!



5. i have been thinking about getting a family picture taken for a christmas card this year...what do you think? maybe something a little more personal from us and the dog this year?


Linking up with:


-e-

and the winner is...rug #3


i think i finally found the winning rug. i had been looking everywhere; athome, home goods, big lots, craigslist, online yardsale sites...every where. my one catch to finding a rug was finding something affordable, preferably under $100, which turned out to be an almost impossible task when looking for a rug that is at least 9x11 in size. so finally on craigslist, i spotted this rug. it is originally from pottery barn, 9X11, and 100% wool. i went to look at it...twice...before making my decision. it did need to be cleaned, so i ended up getting the price down to $60! what do you think?




the two rugs below were both contenders, but just not big enough, and never felt right in the space. so, back to the store they go! hopefully i wont have to go through purchasing a rug again for a while!



-e-
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