Wednesday, December 29, 2010

This Time Last Year...

I don't think it is possible to pack one more thing into the week we just had. Since my last post, we've gone to the Garth Brooks concert (yes, I sang every word to every song and probably could have cried at one point our seats were so good), bundled up for the candlelight Christmas Eve service at our church (beautiful and nostalgic singing all those old favorites), taken a trip down south to spend Christmas weekend with the family (wonderful all around), seen a legitimate, tried-and-true white Christmas in places where that NEVER happens (Tuscaloosa and Nashville), bought an electric heating blanket with my Christmas money because that's what you do when you become an old woman (still trying to decide if it was worth my money), and enjoyed a magnificent day off on Monday that could not have come at a better time (bliss).

So with 2010 drawing to a close and our sights set on 2011, let's play a little game affectionately called "This Time Last Year."

I'll go first, since it's my blog and all. But I would loooovveeee for ya'll to join in the fun and leave me a comment when it's your turn (that means you, blog stalkers who've been reading this for months and never made a peep. You know who you are.) :)

So here we go. This time last year, I was:

Three days away from marrying the most handsome, most wonderful man in town, who was more of a husband to me in the week leading up to that crazy wonderful weekend than he ever could have known.

Starting to realize with utter sadness that I was indeed getting the first signs of what can only be called the FUNK, which came in full force the day before we were married and hung around until Day 2 of the honeymoon. Pro: I slid into my wedding dress with ease.

Sending Mr. T on multiple errand runs and wild goose chases to get items for the New Year's Eve Welcome Party for all of our out-of-town and local friends. While we loved having everyone in our new home to kick off the celebration, let it be said that I do not recommend hosting a party two days before your wedding day. Unless you want to have an absolute meltdown about two hours before your friends' arrivals. But ringing in the new year with everyone who had come from near and far to share our special day with us was something we'll never forget.

Setting my out of office message on my email for a glorious, well-deserved 10 days of wedding celebrations and honeymoon bliss (sorry, no photo of that - though you can picture the grin on my face as I did so).

Watching the weather forecast in disbelief and giving the meteorologist my worst stinkeye when he said it would be a record-setting 11 degrees on our wedding day. And it was. But it was also a beautiful winter's day.

Seriously patting myself on the back and thanking my lucky stars for making the best wedding day purchase ever - my fancy new fur stole to keep me warm!

Wondering how in the world I was going to stuff "faux snow" into all these little envelopes for our farewell, and thinking I might just scrap it altogether, when my wonderful MOH swooped in a day early and saved the day, stuffing the snow in two hours flat. That, my friends, is a good friend. And an excellent maid of honor.

Starting to pack all my swimsuits, sandals and sundresses for our week-long honeymoon in Rivera Maya, Mexico! Truly one of best parts of a January wedding - a honeymoon in the middle of winter (and an excuse to take an anniversary trip to somewhere warm every year).

And finally, feeling incredibly blessed and frankly, on top of the world to have an incredible year full of engagement parties, showers, wedding planning, laughter, tears, mental breakdowns and memories almost behind me. Which made 2009 quite a year to top. And guess what. 2010 was EVEN BETTER. Married life is honestly moons better than I even thought it could be. Now 2011, let's just see what you have in store...

Your turn!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tackiness 2010

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

May I present Tacky Sweater Party 2010! Best. One. Yet.

Busted under the mistletoe. :)

Friday, December 17, 2010


So far this holiday season, I've learned how to make five new Christmas-themed recipes, searched high and low for four angel ornaments for my nieces, been to three holiday parties, have two more on the docket before Christmas gets here in one week (whoa), and have one much-anticipated trip to make home for the holidays.

Is it just me or does anyone else need a weekend of peace?

I feel like my head is spinning sometimes with all the outlook reminders (many self-imposed), shopping lists, grocery runs, and last-minute errands, that I need to remind myself to just stop for a minute, and focus on what matters. For me, that's my husband, my friends, my family (old and new), and the reason we celebrate in the first place - Christ's birth. The best thing I can do this time of year is just be still and soak in all the blessings that have come my way over the past year. Sometimes it is overwhelming to think about just how blessed we really are.

I know this is going to sound completely hypocritical, but unfortunately this weekend is already a wash - the infamous Tacky Sweater Party tonight, Titans/Texans Game Sunday (in a suite, thankfully - sister does not love watching football in 20 degree temps) and a little Garth Brooks on the docket for Sunday night makes for an already full (but very fun) weekend. What I'm really looking forward to is next weekend when we can relax with my family, celebrate Jesus' birth and how incredibly awesome it is that he had a birthday in the first place, and definitely do a little bit of this with my handsome husband by my side.

Wishing you a little peace and quiet, whenever and where ever you can find it!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Heavenly Holiday Home Decor

Tonight Mr. T and I are hosting a Christmas-themed couples baby shower for our FDN (Family Dinner Night) friends, a tradition that began back in his bachelor days when he lived in a townhouse and his sweet neighbors invited him over for dinner.

We've spent the past two days putting the last touches on our Christmas decor - because I can always fine one more spot that needs a little love - cleaning the house top to bottom (him) and making oreo truffles (me). I even printed up a menu, because it makes the planner in me feel better having everything on paper. And yes, I realize how Type A you're realizing I am right now.

I'll be posting some pictures from our party soon, but in the meantime, I thought I would show you some holiday decor that is seriously making me salivate. I mean, I think we did okay for our first go of it in our lovely little house, but MAN are these rooms awesome. I am seriously loving these festive touches of holiday cheer.

I'm a sucker for an all-white bedroom. So serene and peaceful. And these stockings make such a statement!

Mercury Glass = Perfection

Love the warmth of this room, the big fat tree, and those wide wooden planks.

Santas and red polka dots. You can't get more festive than that!

Because kitchen sinks need love too. Not too much, just a little dab'll do you.

If I had a formal sitting room, this is exactly what it would look like. Fireplace and all!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Perfect Post for a Monday...

Not gonna lie...I totally stole this from Think Happy Thoughts blog because A) it is Monday and B) it feels like -2 outside - in Nashville, not Alaska, in case you're curious, which means C) thinking about anything other than how much I would like to be curled up on the couch with a cup of coffee in my frostbitten hands is probably not happening today. And because it's a good way to incorporate some photos of our Christmas decor that we finished up this weekend in our humble little abode. And might I add, I think our tree is soooooo be-yoo-tiful. :)

Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper all the way, unless it's a weird shape that's impossible to wrap and way easier to throw it in a fun bag. I like going with a theme on my paper, and have so much fun choosing it each year. This year it was a velvet flocked red damask paper I found at Target, with a coordinating cousin in black on a shimmery white background. And I found these super-fun hologram gift tags that say "naughty" or "nice" depending how the light hits them for the adults in the family, and some glittery santa hat tags for the kiddos.

Real tree or artificial?
I joined the "real tree" bandwagon for the very first time this year and am NEVER going back. Though it doesn't smell up my house as much as I hoped it would, it was so fun picking out the perfect one at the Christmas tree farm with Mr. T, strapping it to the roof of his car, and putting on Christmas music and decorating it as soon as we got home. Tradition in the making!

When do you put up the tree? Well last year we were getting ready to get married in a few weeks and pretty much running around crazy so we didn't get one at all. Insert sad face. And this year we were in Virginia for Thanksgiving so you can bet your bottom dollar we went the first weekend after we returned to Nashville. We made a date night out of it, and had a fabulous dinner beforehand at the Mad Platter, then bundled up to go pick out our tree!

When do you take the tree down? We'll most likely take it down on our wedding anniversary - January 2. Though it may break my heart a little to see it go, I like to start the new year with a nice, clean house - call it feng shui.

Do you like eggnog? Here's the thing. I want to. Really I do. And I ventured out and tried the chocolate version a few weeks ago from Trader Joe's which is a bit better than the traditional. But I'm usually a one glass and done gal. I have never ever finished a carton.

Favorite gift received as a child? So I totally remember when I was 10 or so and we got our first family computer. I remember my parents had programmed it to have "Merry Christmas" rolling across the screen and I thought we were the coolest, tech-savvy family ever.

Hardest person to buy for? I honestly love the challenge of finding the perfect gift for everyone, but since I grew up buying girl presents for my nieces on my side of the family, buying for our nephews on Mr. T's side of the family is like going into foreign territory in the toy store. Which is why we usually divide and conquer - he chooses the boy stuff, and I handle the girls. Trust me, it's better that way.

Do you have a nativity scene? See post below for the one I painted. So yes, now I do!

Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail, of course! Email? The horror! We just figured out how to display all of ours on ribbon and I absolutely love checking the mail to see what new one arrives. P.S. You can see our fun finished product in this post. I figured it was the only time we could do a "Top 10 in 2010" theme for our Christmas card, so I went for it. The feedback has been quite positive thus far.

Favorite Christmas movie? The Grinch, by a landslide. I love singing that song in my deepest, scariest voice to Mr. T. And have probably already done that at least 3 times.

When do you start shopping for Christmas? I am now a proud member of Team Early Christmas Shop, due largely to the fact we gave my in-laws their presents at Thanksgiving since we'll be spending Christmas with my folks. But you can't pay me to do anything but watch football on Black Friday. Trampling on aisle one? No thank you.

Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Chances are likely, though very rarely. However, I did get this fabulous wreath from my fabulous mother in law last year and plan to recycle it every Christmas until all the pretty silver glitter is gone from its twigs. I added the "Ho, Ho, Ho" this year because I thought it was a fun touch. You like?

Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Is everything in sight an appropriate answer? No? Okay, then spiced cider on Christmas morning, honey-baked ham, casseroles galore, and this lovely concoction that's a lot like an ice cream float that is like the perfect little exclamation point on our Christmas meal.

Lights on the tree (colored or clear)? Personally, I like clear, but I learned this year that the new LED clear lights are totally throwing off the warm white light with their blue-tinted hue. So I had to make three separate trips to find the RIGHT white lights. My tree is so high-maintenance.

Favorite Christmas song? To sing? Again, The Grinch theme song. It brings out the kid in everyone. But you can't beat an a capella "Silent Night" during a Christmas candlelight service. That was a Christmas staple in my church growing up and I always loved how the congregation looked by candlelight.

Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Don't insult me. I have the little prelude to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer engrained in my head. "You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen, but do you recall the most famous reindeer of all..."

Angel, star, or ribbon at the top of the tree? Honestly, I like them all. But this year, we went with a big beautiful red bow with fun little things poking out the top and ribbon streamers hanging down. I luuuuuve it.

Open presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? As a kid, it was always done on Christmas morning. I remember being envious of the kids who got to choose one to open on Christmas Eve, so I may start that tradition with our kiddos one day. We would wake up to see what Santa had brought us that was already out on display, and then open presents a little later, probably to give my parents time to let their coffee kick in. Mr. T and I will be exchanging a little early though, and then opening presents with my family on Christmas morning. However, you see this little book poking up out of his stocking?

I've been writing Mr. T a little message every day (that I remember) and hope to continue that tradition for many years to come. I think it would be fun to look back on. And they aren't all sappy. For instance, after the snowstorm we had on Sunday that kept us cooped up inside with a marathon game of Scattergories and a bottle of wine, I wrote in his book the following day "I love that I beat you in Scattergories." Because I do. Every single time. :)

Favorite children's Christmas song? Again, the Grinch. What, it applies here as well! Okay, okay, Rudoph is also a top contender, but only because I got real excited at all the interjections (like a lightbulb!)

Most annoying thing about this time of year? Crazy drivers and crazier traffic. And P.S. This Alabama native is the first to admit I am not comfortably driving in the icy road conditions we've had the past two days. I'm 10 and 2 the whole way, and if I'm feeling brave, 15 mph. And if someone honks at me, they WILL get my southern stinkeye. Consider yourself warned.

Favorite ornament theme or color? We went with a red and silver theme this year, but used lots of glass and mirrored oraments to reflect lots of pretty light. But I do love this particular little ornament, because it's just so darn cute. It says "Our 1st Christmas."

Turkey or ham on Christmas day? Honey Baked Ham, please and thank you! Turkey is reserved for Thanksgiving, and that would totally mess up the tradition.

What do you want for Christmas this year?
Mr. T does read this blog, and I think he already has some ideas, so I'm going to zip it and see what he surprises me with. It's more fun that way. :)

Does anyone in your family dress up as Santa? That just made me laugh out loud to even think about. No way.

Age you discovered who Santa was?
I want to say I was 8 or 9 but I remember I kept making a BIG production of saying "Thank you, Santa, wherever you are" when I got my gifts because I was afraid if I let on that I knew to my parents, they may not be so generous. But just in case he's reading this, Santa, I want you to see the banner I just made for our stairwell. Because I really do believe. :)

Egg nog, hot chocolate, or apple cider? In order of preference: Cider, Chocolate, Nog.

Traditional colors (red & green) or other colors? You betcha. Unless it's on my Christmas tree, which is red and silver, as I already mentioned. You must not have been paying attention, Mr. Questionnaire.

Do you have any Christmas decorations on your roof? Do you want us to break our necks? No way.

Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas? Merry Christmas all the way and don't you forget it!

Now who wants to join in the fun? Come on, it's the easiest Monday post ever. And you'll be glad to have all these fun memories tucked away in one place when you're re-reading your blog five years down the road.

Stay warm, friends! And have fun making your own traditions this year!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Away In A Manger

So, my little blogettes, remember a few months ago when my friend Liz and I headed down to Sips n Strokes in Franklin and painted this fun little guy?

No? Well, we did. And now that painting has a cousin that's on display just in time for Christmas:

It's no Picasso, but since I didn't have a nativity scene to put out, I thought this was a nice substitute. And y'all. Seriously SO much fun to do!

My friend Amber and I headed up to the new Hendersonville location on a cold Sunday afternoon and had this little beauty ready to take home in a mere three hours. We look pretty proud, don't we?

And yes, I refrained from "sipping" at this particular sips 'n strokes - I didn't want little baby Jesus to be mad at me if I messed him up in my painting. :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

I Believe, I Believe!

I am not, nor will I ever be, a DIY kind of gal. I know it must be so fun to casually say "oh it's just something I made" when friends come over and freak out about how creative something is that you whip together from scratch, but me? I'd rather pay the professionals and get it done right the first time. Because Lawd knows it would most likely turn into an anxiety-ridden disaster of why mine didn't turn out at all like the picture from which I was inspired.

That said, this morning while doing my daily dose of blog stalking over a steaming hot cup of french vanilla-flavored coffee, I came across the most adorable little DIY banner on one of my new favorite blogs, At Second Street. Y'all. It is so easy, even a caveman could do it. And I LOVE easy.

Allow me to share the love with all my fellow believers! Presenting the easiest holiday decor ever.

The fun font! The simple reminder! The EASE! Literally, you print the letters, cut them out, and thread them on ribbon. I am SUCH a fan.

And because we're on the subject of believing, allow me to share with you my new favorite Christmas song that has been stuck in my head all friggin' day, thanks to a coke commercial I saw last night. You are SO going to thank me for this...

Totally digging the video - it is just what I needed to put a smile on my face and remember that there is a Santa, and you can bet I believe. :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dear Santa...

Dear Santa,

As you know I have been really, REALLY good this year. I've learned to cook dinner most nights of the week for Mr. T. and he actually seems to enjoy my feeble attempts. I've walked the pound puppies at the local Humane Society and not snuck one out though I'm always tempted to do that. I've even started a monthly budget, increased my retirement savings plan, and drastically reduced my "personal splurge" category from what it used to be back in my single days. All this to say that if you could please just bring this one little bitty thing, I would be ever so grateful and will try my best not to ask for anything ever again.

That's it. Just a big, fat H&M store in my neck of the woods. Now, I've heard a little rumor that one may be coming to Nashville at the Green Hills Mall in place of Davis-Kidd, but I am not going to let myself get excited about that possibility until it happens.

You've already brought me such happiness with boutiques like Blush in Belle Meade, Muse on West End, and Hemline at the Hill Center, and my wardrobe (not my wallet) thanks you for that. So if you could just make an H&M happen, you would be my new, albeit fictitious, best friend.

Yours truly,
A Bride In Boots
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