Ready for 2011

I picked up my 2011 planner this week at one of my favorite stores- Paper Source! I chose the Curry color--an uplifting, sunny yellow which (I think) brightens my outlook on 2011. I need positive vibes in my life right now even if it's as simple as the color of my planner.

In my previous blog, 2011 Planners, I was considering other options because I'm not too crazy about the boring cover. Once I opened it up, I was pleasantly surprised to find some improvements from last year which made the planner's cover a minor detail.

One of the my favorite features in the 2011 planner- the stickers! There are more than the 2010 and also more variety including stickers for dental, doctor, haircut & nail appointments; a beach chair for vacations; popcorn for going to the movies; and an alarm clock to name a few! I know, I sound 8 years old right now. I don't care. Like it says under my blog title, "it's the simple joys in life that make me smile."

The notes section expanded to "Doodles & Notes," "People & Places: Contact Information" and  "Curiosities"which includes four different sub-sections: "websites to visit," "blogs to explore," "restaurants to visit," and "books to read." 

The planner is also eco-friendly, made from recycled leather and 100% recycled paper! Half way through 2010 I started making efforts to be more earth-friendly and I want to continue that into the New Year!
See ya in the New Year!


Merry Christmas!

courtesy of dryicons.com
Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas! On this Christmas I'm reminded how God can change your life so fast. In one week we have moved home to North Carolina (which I will have to blog about when I have more time), welcomed a nephew (from a distance who was born on Christmas Eve in Pittsburgh), and my sister-in-law got engaged yesterday in Tampa! What an exciting and eventful week! We are thankful for all of the wonderful blessings in our life and looking forward to the New Year! God Bless!


Christmas Classics

With just five days away from Christmas, I want to know what your favorite Christmas movie is?

My personal favorite

Personally, I love the animated stuff: A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolf & Frosty. My mom recorded a tape of the trio back in the 80's so you can imagine that the commercials are almost just as fun to watch. Is it wrong that I don't love the non-animated classics like "It's a Wonderful Life" or "A Christmas Story?"


Giveaway Winner

And the winner is...
Ex-Tek Girl

Thank you for the comments! I really appreciate the responses.

I may have to try this again when people aren't so busy with the holidays! Special Thanks to Shawnee from TinkersCottage on Etsy for providing such an inspirational giveaway!



I apologize for the delay. Okay, here's what you've been waiting on!
If you'll remember from my blog on an Etsy Christmas , one of my favorite items -the Burlap Seashell Shabby Christmas Wreath- came from a shop called tinkerscottage out of Topsail Island, NC. Go check out her shop because there are some really awesome shabby chic items for sale! I love the Family Name sign & the And They Lived Happily Ever After sign, which both make great wedding presents.
She has been gracious enough to donate one of her favorite items, the Pledge Allegiance Colonial Primitive Sign (also available in antique white).

Click to see more

When she told me about this item and her passion for it, it reminded me of my drive home the other day. Something came across the radio about The Pledge of Allegiance and I thought to myself, do I even remember the words? So I tried to remember it in order but I was having trouble, kinda sad, huh? I mean this is something we had to recite everyday in grade school. I should be able to spit it right out without thinking.. I think this sign is a good reminder to display in your home or in a classroom (is that even still allowed?) For me it's a great reminder of our freedom, the flag, and it makes me want to give thanks to those who protect and serve our country whether at home or abroad.  

In order to enter the giveaway, I would like you to comment about how you (if given the opportunity) would work to create change or improve the current state of our country. Maybe it's something large scale like an idea to improve the economy or small scale like a hometown project to help the homeless. I want to know what your passionate about? You can keep your response simple like "education" or "a campaign to support our troops." I would love to hear your ideas! Please be respectful of all ideas and beliefs because that is what it truly means to be an American. Any comments discriminating others ideas will be removed and ineligible. Make sure that you do not leave an anonymous comment.

The Details:
A comment is worth 1 entry but I will double your chances if you also become a follower of my blog, or let me know you are already a follower. If you comment and re-post about the giveaway on your blog, it is worth 3 entries! Please share with your friends on facebook and twitter! If I see it, I will double your chances.

A winner will be chosen at random on Sunday night and will be announced on the blog!
I'm looking forward to seeing your comments! Good Luck!!


Giveaway Delayed 1 Day

Sorry about this folks. I've been in bed with the flu all day and it has been brutal. I'm hoping to have more energy tomorrow and get this giveaway posted. Stay tuned!


Check Back Soon for a Giveaway!

courtesy of icklebabe.com

On Thursday evening, I will unveil my first giveaway on the blog! Check back tomorrow to enter. A winner will be drawn at random on Sunday. Good Luck!! And Merry Christmas!


Best of the South: Savannah Bee

I could really use some of this Beeswax Hand Cream by Savannah Bee today! It's snowing and cold... 17 degrees out right now with a windchill in the single digits. Brrr!!!

Beeswax and royal jelly replenish and nourish skin with essential nutrients. We add softening pecan and peach kernel oils, anti-oxidizing blueberry extract, and healing propolis to create Savannah Bee Company Beeswax Hand Cream. Fresh peach-scented with a rich and creamy texture, our long-lasting formula protects and softens hard-working hands with all-natural moisture.

My hands stack dry and cracked throughout the winter. Until I moved to Pittsburgh, the dryness was minimal but now... I'm constantly putting on hand cream.

Anyone have any favorites for surviving the winter? I'm considering this or L'Occitane products.


An Etsy Christmas

As you may know, I adore Etsy. And this is a great time of year to shop etsy for unique gifts and decorations. Here are a few of my favorites this holiday season. Click on any of the pictures to go directly to the seller's page.

Rusted Tin Snowflake: NestaHome Phoenix, AZ

Mitten Ornament: RedRavenNest
Vineland, NJ

Christmas Apron: LoveDoversClothing: Los Angeles, CA

Burlap Seashell Shabby Christmas Wreath
TinkersCottage- Topsail Island

Love this designer's hand painted signs:
MyFlipFlopz Jupiter FL


16 Days until Christmas!

I was definitlely ready to get into the Christmas spirit this year! I had everything decorated the day after Thanksgiving! I even had presents wrapped (not shown here) the weekend before. I'm not usually that ahead of schedule but we bought all of our gifts in Hawaii this year.

Here's our homely Christmas tree. Next year we are definitely getting a new one. Every year when I get this out, I love how simple it is to put up but I always forget how Charlie Brown it looks. Since we're not staying here for Christmas, and no one really comes over to visit... we decided one more year won't hurt.

Checkout this Countdown to Christmas Clock!


Designing the Perfect Holiday Card

While this has been a year where we have had to be very frugal, I still wanted to make room in the budget for a quality Christmas card. Luckily, Shutterfly is making that happen!

I love their expansive Holiday Collection and Christmas Collection with three different layouts to choose from...

Traditional Folded Greeting Cards

Peppermint Christmas Story
Perfect if you have three kids, or a small family like ours- me, the husband and the dog :).

Flat Stationary Cards

Family Wall Red Christmas Card
This is my personal favorite! Just a heads up for those of you on my list, you might be seeing this one again but with our mugs on it. Being a newlywed, I wanted to use my new initial and establish our new family. I think the monogram in the middle will be perfect to do just that! I plan to incorporate some of our wedding pictures, honeymoon pictures and of course, one of Calhoun.

Flat Photo Cards

Starlight Colored Snowflakes
Love those colorful snowflakes!
Flat Photo Cards are the most affordable option, usually under a dollar per card (based on quantity). This particular one ranges from .44 (for 225+cards) to .71 (for 12). You really can't beat that! And it includes envelopes.

Shipping is free for orders of $50 or more on all orders. Promo Code SHIP50

Among these layouts are hundreds of different designs to choose from. Shutterfly has it all! I may also order some address labels for our new family. I love these because they can be used year round.

Retro Chic

Hope this helps those still searching for the perfect card like myself. Now I'm off to design the perfect card for 2010!

Also, don't forget that bloggers get 50 free Holiday Cards. Click here for the form: http://blog.shutterfly.com/5358/holiday2010-blog-submission-form/

Free Shutterfly Christmas Cards to Bloggers

Look what I found out from Mouth of the South blogger: Shutterfly is giving away 50 free cards for bloggers!!  Here's the submission form to sign up! Just in time too, I was about to order my Christmas cards!


My Hawaiian Christmas Ornaments

While in Hawaii I bought a lot of souvenirs including: playing cards, a magnet, postcards and a 2011 calendar to adorn my cubicle at work. I couldn't help it! I've always been in love with all things Hawaii without ever having gone. My room in college was decorated Hawaiian with a Pottery Barn quilt to boot.
So when I saw these Christmas ornaments on sale at Macy's in Lihue, I  couldn't resist!

I love my Island Santa

In  2007 we began collecting an ornament for the tree to represent each year we've been together. I 'm so excited about our 2010 ornament below!

gotta have a surfboard ornament

Flip Flops or "Slippers" in Hawaii

Mele Kalikimaka!  
(Merry Christmas in Hawaiian)

Are there any special Christmas ornaments you have hanging on your tree this year?


2011 Planners

I love a good planner/calendar to keep me organized throughout the year. I can't function without one.

For a while I was using the Kate Spade planner.  It had everything I needed from monthly calendars in the front, weekly diary throughout and notepad pages in the back.

My Kate Spade collection 2007-2009

Then in 2010 "Kate" decided to leave out the weekly diary section which is my whole reason for needing a planner! Thanks "Kate" (heavy sarcasm). If you were to open the weekly diary section on any given week in one of my planners, you would see that it is filled with little reminders and to-do lists. I NEED this section. So I had to make a change. Very sad, because these planners are only $20-and are pretty much the only thing at the Kate Spade store that I can afford. (FYI-They still charge $20 without the weekly diary section; notepad pages replaced those).

After a lot of searching (just ask my husband), I found a great planner from papersource.com for $29.95. I love it! This planner has everything the Kate Spade had and more (even stickers in the back).  I may choose this one again if I can't find anything else. The only negative is that the cover didn't change for 2011 and the other color options aren't that great. Here's a link to the 2011 to check out the inside.

2011 calendars
This is also what my 2010 looks like.

So, I'm keeping my eye out for that perfect planner to get me through another year. I came across these day planners recently at Tiny Prints by Erin Condren.

I thought the below would be cute since I have a new last name this year that I'm still getting used to...

Taffy:Waterfall from $50 each.

... or this cute one that you can have your picture printed on the cover.

Zen Gems: Chocolate from $55 each.

I'll keep my eye out for some other ones since these are on the expensive end. I'll let you know what I find for 2011.

How do you stay organized? Let me know if you see something I might be interested in!


Our Thanksgiving

My husband and I love Thanksgiving. For some odd reason we love spending all day in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove. Strange, isn't it?
It's kind of become our favorite holiday other than Christmas, of course. It began in 2007, when I moved out to Arizona to live with him. It was our first real meal together and it was my first big attempt at replicating all of the amazing recipes the southern women in my family have concocted over the years. Guess what? It was a total success. I don't know if it was because the expectations were low, but everything tasted amazing that year! So we had to keep it up in 2008. Well, not only did we cook an amazing meal together on Thanksgiving, he proposed the next day.  In 2009 we took over my family's kitchen in Charlotte, and this year we spent it in our own in PA cooking for my husband's family. We love spending this time together, cooking the foods we love for the people we love. And more importantly, giving thanks for all of the wonderful blessings in our life.

So I wanted to share a few pics from our little Turkey Day feast...

I started out the night before baking the pecan pies. So bad for you but yet, so yummy!!

my little pecan pie montage

I also baked my sweet potatoes since it doesn't hurt those to sit out overnight. Timing is everything when cooking, so if you can prep the night before, go for it!

ignore the dirty oven
Onto the Big Turkey Day...

Mixing together all of the goodness that goes inside the sweet potato casserole.

the finished product was my favorite dish

Believe it or not, no pictures of the turkey this year but here's some of our side dishes...

broccoli & cheese casserole, with ritz cracker topping

my husband's cheesy baked mashed potatoes

We also had brown rice, green beans, stuffing, jellied cranberries and rolls.  

Now I'm ready for Christmas!! Bring it on!