November 29, 2012

Pinterest Secret Santa

As I've mentioned in posts of yore, I am in love with Pinterest along with about a billion women around the world. So when I suggested the idea of a Pinterest Secret Santa to some of my brightest and besties, I knew most of them wouldn't be able to turn the idea down. Thus, we started the (hopefully) annual tradition of...


Once I forced them got them on board, we scientifically drew names out of a red solo cup. We're classy. With six of us jumping in for some Secret Santa fun, agreeing that all gifts need to be inspired by something we found on Pinterest (or have already pinned), it was game on. We decided to break it up into two exchanges:

1. A gift inspired by Pinterest that is $5 or less (that we are all mailing to each other since we couldn't find a day to get together over the crazy Thanksgiving holiday)
2. A gift inspired by Pinterest that is $25 or less to be exchanged the weekend before Christmas

Luckily, this all came about literally the week that Pinterest launched their secret pin boards, so there's no peaking to see who has pinned what (because, let's be honest, Jill would totally do that #calledout). I'm so excited to share not only what I've made (which will have to come later, obviously), but check out what I already got for my first gift!!

My secret santa made me this adorable wine cork trivet!! How awesome is that?! Obviously they know me pretty well (even though most people I know know I love wine). I love that they kept some of the red wine stained ones facing up too! Doesn't that add such a great bit of color? Plus, I got a little dip holder and some festive holiday towels to boot, so now I can finally add some Christmas spirit to our dreary apartment. Thanks Santa!!

So excited to see what everyone else comes up with too :) Strange how little things like this start to make me feel like Christmas is finally coming, right?

PS: We are not being paid or perked or sponsored by anyone at Pinterest to do this. We're just doing it because we love Pinterest, love each other, love secret santa, and want to give and get gifts. I'm pretty sure the people at Pinterest don't even know I exist, but I still love them anyway.

November 27, 2012

Etsy Winter Wedding Inspiration

When I was planning my wedding a few years ago, I really didn't utilize the wonder that is Etsy nearly as much as I should have. There is just so much available on the site for brides to take advantage of!! So I decided that to get myself in the winter spirit, I would pick out some of my favorite winter-wedding inspired items from Etsy. Link love and vendor shout outs are below if you're interested in any of these for your own wedding!

Chalkboard art has been all the rage for weddings for the past year, but I could totally see this sign being posted up by a hot chocolate stand or something, perfectly seasonal for a winter wedding! Put some soft candlelight by this bad boy and it has cozy written all over it. Chalkboard Sign by Lily & Val

What I love about this boutonniere is that it looks like a snowy day to me - all in one tiny little boutonniere! The one great thing about winter weddings is that there's never a shortage of acorns, and I think those little organic details in these make all the difference. Boutonniere by Erica Cavanagh

I had a clutch very similar to this one for my wedding (lovingly bought for me by my sister), and I have to say, it was one of my favorite keepsakes from the wedding! These are so multi-purpose and if done in neutral colors like these are, can go with just about anything. Bridesmaid Clutches by Keep Bags.

I have actually seen quite a few of these family trees at weddings (and absolutely love that as a guest book idea!) but didn't even think to have it apply for a winter wedding! A thumb print from each of your guests completely turns this into a beautiful winterized piece of art for your home. Fingerprint Guest Book Tree by dovelyday

A muff!! If there is only one reason in the world to have a winter wedding (which, there are obviously way more than that) a muff is it. How elegant would a muff look with some gorgeous snowy photos?! Such a pretty touch to add to the bridal ensemble. This totally brings me back to the crazy Christmas dresses my sister and I used to wear when we were kids, and the dressy winter coats that went with them! Faux Fur Muff by Sew U Designs

These adorable dessert toppers are such a nice little touch to dress up a sweet concoction. These would work great with cupcakes and brownies, but could also be great to use for garnishes on drinks! Just a little something small, but could definitely add a little spark that a normal toothpick wouldn't be able to. Cupcake Topper Food Pick by KraftandNatural

Finally, these little necklaces could be perfect as a bridesmaid or flower girl gift. With the blue gem, initial and snowflake charms, it's a perfect keepsake! They also have these in a multitude of colors, so you could even work in the birthstone of your favorite gals into the necklace as well. Initial Necklace by Mesmeric Jewelry.

Again, all of these gorgeous items can be found at your neighborhood Etsy shop! How awesome is that?! Everything is so unique, and so many of these things could add such a personal touch to a winter wedding. Plus, it's kind of fun to just search on Etsy for all kinds of fun ideas, even if you aren't getting married! Anyone else just randomly browse Etsy, even if they don't have an event in mind? Just me? I may or may not have a couple of holiday gift ideas in the works for people too...

Psst - I wasn't paid or perked by any of these vendors, I just really love Etsy and wanted to support some of my fellow Etsy shops! You should do the same!

November 20, 2012

Jill & Mike's Invites are HERE!

Lookie what I got today!!!

Ah, how much do I love getting mail? Especially mail that's as pretty is this is! Jill worked with Jackie from the Creative Studio on Etsy to do some digital calligraphy for both the outer and the RSVP envelopes and it really turned out so well, especially with the font matching that she did! And I mean come on, check out that envelope liner from Cards & Pockets:

And those stunning purple inserts!

Love, love, love how these bad boys turned out! Definitely a labor of love for my darling Jillian, but well worth the effort. I really love the simplicity of these invites. I'm also in love with hand-drawn maps:

Doesn't it just make all the difference? Who needs Google maps anyway?

I have to say that one of my favorite add-ons that we did with the invites was making the purple inserts printed on both the front and back:

Jill was the one who brought this up, and I think this is such a nice touch. All of the inserts are printed on white paper, but having the purple inserts match on the front and back really makes all the difference! I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who is doing a flood print for their invitations.

I'm so happy with how these turned out, and was even more excited to finally feature these and show them off to the world on my Etsy Shop! Let the rest of the wedding fun commence!

PS: Photos taken (rather poorly) by moi.

November 13, 2012

Young House Love - Book Review

It should probably not come as a shock that I am a huuuuuuuuuuuge Young House Love fan, particularly shown in this post here. I've been reading their blog for years, and as soon as I heard that they were putting a book out I immediately jumped on the pre-order bandwagon. However, pre-ordering happened months ago, so imagine my surprise and delight when this little guy showed up at my door:

Book love! Swoon.

So I cracked into it, and thought I would share some of my thoughts on the book here. Also, there are tons of tidbits on the book at YHL including behind the scenes stuff and additional video tutorials, so definitely check that all out too.

Anyway, back to the book. The first thing I noticed was that this thing is thick. I knew that there was going to be a lot packed into the book just based on following them through the journey of making it, but you could find up to three tips or tricks on any given page, and then obviously some tricks that were more in-depth took up a bit more space.

The book is divided up in to 10 chapters full of ideas including ones for living rooms, kitchen & dining rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, organizing, homemade art, accessorizing, entertaining, painting, and outdoors. All of them have a ton of great ideas, great pictures, and illustrations as well (done by Emma Kelly of Real Simple). And while I did definitely appreciate the amount of photos (because, let's be honest, I'm a visual person), some of the images almost seemed very similar in nature - for example a table, chair, shelf in one photo...then desk, chair, shelf, etc. Obviously there's only so much that you can do within one house and with so many objects, but it really showed how you can interchange all of the different aspects of your house and stylize things to make them feel "new" again. Overall, the photos really show the finished products off well, and I think they did a great job with stylizing everything.

What's great about the book is that it really makes even the bigger tasks that they throw out approachable (painting kitchen cabinets anyone?). Everything is explained in a lot of detail, and they are realistic in their approach. While they obviously have more tools and gadgets at home than the average homeowner, they really make the effort to complete any job in the book with tools that anyone could have at home. The book isn't "dumbed down" by any stretch of the imagination. It is definitely is approachable to the point where by the time I went through it I was like "I could totally dye my comforter" even though that's something that I would fear even thinking about before reading their tutorial.

What I love most about the book is that Young House Love fans will have a lot of new material to read through - seriously about 6 months of blogging worth! - and it is all in John and Sherry's voice. None of their humor was sacrificed in bringing the book together, and you can really see all of their personality coming off of the pages. They even brought in a ton of personal details (talked about in more detail here) that will make fans of their blog feel like they are in on the fun.

While everything in the book is really focused on simple upgrades, art, and finishing touches, you won't find a lot of the advanced material that they sometimes cover on their blog here. Plumbing, electrical, tiling, and the like aren't necessarily items that you could touch on within a page or two, so it's completely understandable as to why they wouldn't have gone that route in this book, but that doesn't rule out what could be coming in their next (hint hint, make it happen!).

All in all, I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for easy and manageable upgrades to their home. I only wish that I had a house so I could start cracking on some of these tips now, but alas I will have to wait until we're officially homeowners! Has anyone else gotten their book yet? What do you think of it? Have you been able to start on any projects inspired by their book yet? Share please, share!

November 08, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like...

...ok, well not really Christmas. I know, I know, I'm usually one of those people who is like "Christmas decorations up in the store in September?! Why would they do that it's not even Halloween????" My general argument is usually "one holiday at a time," a la Nordstrom:

But now I'm realizing that as a merchant on Etsy, I need to step up my game. So, Christmas cards like this one were born in October:

Don't hate me for breaking my own rules. Even though I kind of hate myself a little. So after already feeling bad about that, I decided to hold off on a few more until this past weekend. Having these in November instead made me feel a touch better about myself. It seems like every year it gets harder and harder to get into the holiday spirit. I seriously love the holidays. Literally as soon as Thanksgiving hits and we're all gorging on turkey, it's on. But something always brings on that holiday spirit - and that thing for me, is a good ole classic Christmas movie. 

Thus, the Christmas movie holiday card collection was born! Huzzah! Hopefully these all help get everyone into more of the holiday spirit as well...even if it is a tad early:

Elf Food Pyramid (inspired by the movie Elf...obviously)

Elf Spreading Cheer (Also inspired by our dear Will Farrell)

We Believe (inspired by The Miracle on 24th Street)

Yes, Virginia (not inspired by a movie - I don't think - but still one of my favorite holiday quotes!)

There are many more to come, since obviously I can't leave out The Grinch, Charlie Brown, It's a Wonderful Life, etc. (Classics!) What holiday movies do you guys all enjoy? Any favorite quotes out there that I should include? I've love to get some more inspiration going!

November 06, 2012

Vintage Bike Inspiration

I'm currently working on some wedding invitations that are inspired by a vintage bike theme, and as I often do, I went to Pinterest for some inspiration! Check out some of these two-wheeled beauties:

Clockwise from the top left:
1. Vintage pink bicycle image from here
2. Teal bicycle image from here
3. Red box bicycles image from here
4. End of summer bicycle print from here
5. White basket bicycle image from here
6. Polka-dot bicycle image from here

I just love the look of some of these vintage bicycles! I think this is such a great theme for a wedding too - it adds in just a little bit of whimsy and playfulness. Can't wait to see how these end up turning out!

November 01, 2012

Jillian's Shower

For those of you who don't know, or haven't looked at my Etsy shop lately (shame on you), my BFF Jillian is getting married! Which means that all of the fun stuff that comes with weddings has since followed, including their beautiful wedding shower this past weekend! It was absolutely beautiful and I couldn't wait to share some pics and deets, even though I can't take credit for anything since it was all done by her amazing sisters and brother in law!

The one item that Jill's sisters were kind enough to let me help out with were her shower invitations. We went with a recipe theme, which was quite fitting since Michael actually proposed to Jill on a recipe card while they were making brunch and looking at recipes. Adorable, am I right?

The thought was to have all of Jill's family and friends write out their favorite recipes for the future Mr. and Mrs., and we ended up purchasing a custom recipe box from Exquisite Inks on Etsy for them to house the recipes.

Isn't it adorable?! I seriously could not be more impressed with how beautiful the box was - complete with knobs to hold recipe cards while you cook, and a "From the kitchen of..." inscription on the top lid. Gorgeous! On top of that, Amanda was a dream to work with and was so accommodating with our custom colors for the recipe card inserts and everything - would absolutely recommend her work!

The shower took place at the Iroquois Club in Bloomfield Hills. The venue itself was gorgeous - very rustic, with amazing food to boot. The whole place was decorated so gorgeously - so simple, but totally elegant!

Jill loved the pine cones so much that she was even thinking about incorporating them into her wedding by the end of the day! They were so well themed for such a pretty fall day.

Even the favors for the guests were gorgeous - I'm pretty sure Jill's sister got many of these ideas off of Pinterest so I'm definitely going to have to hunt those links down! Just the simple addition of twine on the gifts added such a nice touch. How cute is that Miss to Mrs sign?! Janey (Jill's sister) used chalkboard paint to get the effect on the flags, and they turned out perfectly.

And a family friend chipped in and made all of the biscotti favors and afternoon desserts!

The day turned out perfectly, and you can tell the future Mr. and Mrs were definitely having a good time - Michael does wear that apron well ;)

All in all it was a beautiful shower! Seriously, I couldn't get over the little touches that were everywhere! It just shows how even the littlest things (pine cones! adorable!) can really bring a warm feeling to an event.

PS: The wedding shower invitations can be found on my Etsy shop here! All photos taken by moi.