Merry Christmas to Me

I must have been a very good girl this year because I got a lot of the things that I wanted.  And, some I didn't even know I wanted!  But, one of the greatest gifts was from Mike:

A brand, spanking new Canon Rebel T1i.  I've already picked out a new strap and fancy purse/bag.  I will look pretty darn good toting this bad boy around.  Too bad I have yet to figure it out, oh well, I'm having fun learning!

Not only did I get my big ticket item, I got a lot of the other stuff I asked for too.

Like the hive vase from West Elm that my mom and dad got me:

While it looks smallish online, it's pretty substantial in real life.  I thought it would go next to the chair in the living room, but it's pretty much the same size as the new lamp I bought.  I'm still working on where to put it.  Most likely it'll stay in the living room because it looks so darn cute with the gray walls and brown furniture.

I also got the lipstick, Shellac nail polish, and grocery bag carrier, among others.  I'm so grateful for everything I got, and had a blast with all my family!  Now we can put all the decorations away and relax!

Dear Santa...

Since it's less than 2 weeks until Christmas, we're not doing a lot of DIY projects around here.  We're in more of a GSD mode, you know, "get shit done".

My parents are coming in this weekend to celebrate and then the regular festivities are next week.  So, we're busy bustin' are butts to get last minute shopping done, wrapping everything before the other one peeks, and getting the house cleaned and ready for company.

Since all that stuff isn't blog worthy, I thought I'd stop in to share some things that I'm hoping Santa leaves under the tree this year: 

1. I bought my first pair of TOMS over the summer and love them!  I have these ash colored ones but, ever since I bought Mike a pair of the limited edition Movember ones, I've been borrowing his, (sometimes without asking - sorry babe!).  I think it's about time I get my own black pair.

2.  I saw a commercial for the new HGTV Magazine while watching what else, HGTV, and knew I wanted it.  I think it'll be like This Old House Magazine but with more flair!

3.  To those that are just blog friends, (those that stop in to see what's happening at our little blog, but don't know Mike and I personally), I never told you that over the summer Mike and I made a little beehive and have been happy beekeepers for the last couple of months!  We've been busy outside trying to get the hive ready for the winter and hope they make it through, and busy inside trying to bring a little 'bee-ness' into the decorating.  I loved this vase even before we got the bees, but now that we're new parents to over 10,000 of the little guys, this is even more cute.  Someday, I promise to write a post of all the beekeeping shenanigans. 

4.  I used to get Shellac manicures and tried a couple places around town, but was never satisfied with it.  Due to shoty work, not the system.  I loved the system.  That's why this DIYer went and bought everything I needed to do it at home.  They've been a little slow going with adding new colors, but they finally have a cute gray color called Asphalt.   

5.  I've always been more of a chapstick kinda girl more than lipstick, but one of my Thirty before 30 things is to start wearing lipstick everyday.  This MAC lipstick in Fanfare has been all over Pinterest lately as a nice natural color.

6.  Mike and I have a thing for ginkgo leaves, and when I saw these charms on Esty I thought they would make a really cute necklace.

7.  I also found these grocery bag holders on Pinterest, and I'm not embarrassed to say I want one in every color.  While Mike takes two or three bags in at a time, I like to try to grab all 13 bags at once to only make one trip.  Most of the time I make it, almost all of the time I get to the back door and spend 10 more minutes trying to figure out how to turn the handle with my elbow or foot.

8.  Finally my DLSR camera, this is a holdover from last year.  And if I don't get one this year, it'll be on my list again next year.  I'm tired of my grainy Blackberry photos, or the dark and unfocused from my point and shoot.  Somebody please take pity on me!

Well there it is.  When I was younger I would have been bummed if I didn't get everything I asked for, but as I've grown up I'm definitely more of a giver, and I've picked out some kick-ass gifts for everyone, so I already know I'm going to have a great time this year.  If I get one or none of the items above I'll be happy, I'll just wait for some after the holidays sales and help myself!

What's on everyone's must-have list this year?  Anyone else buy things for themselves and say they're from Santa?  Nope, just me?

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Our decorations are up!

I'm definitely one of those people that think that you should celebrate one holiday at a time, and the thought of stores preparing for Christmas before we've even cooked the turkey gives me hives.  While I usually ease into the decorating, our December is jam packed, so the day after Thanksgiving we dusted off the decoration bins and got to work.

Last year I bought new ornaments after the holidays at Target for a couple bucks a box along with some silver ribbon and after packing them away and forgetting about them for a year, it was like Christmas morning opening them up to see what I had bought.  I was really glad to see I kept it simple with silver and gold.

I chose the corner with the small table next to the front door to put the tree.  You'll probably think I'm crazy, but last year we actually did it on the other side and blocked the front door.  I think the only reason we did that was because the outlet is on a switch, so our lazy butts didn't have to plug and unplug the lights every night.

The first step was to move the table and ottoman to the other side of the wall, and this move only reinforces my idea of a small bookshelf or piece for that space. 

I put up the pre-lit tree in record time, then waited an hour for Mike to come help me find the one cord and plug that wasn't connected and then proceeded to smack my head as we found it in about 5 minutes.

I added the ribbon and the ornaments and then ran drove the hour and a half to the nearest Ikea for the pièce de résistance, (not to mention Benelli's favorite part), three faux lambskin rugs for the tree skirt.  I've wanted to do this since seeing it on Young House Love years ago.

Obviously, I have no idea how to take a photo of the tree lit up, but it looks great in person.  And, we bought a timer so we can stay lazy and not have to worry about turning the lights on and off.  It's the small things in life that make me so happy.

Growing up, my parents tree was always full of homemade ornaments and a hodge podge of ornaments collected over the years.  Each year my mom, sister, and I would love opening each box and remembering all the different stories behind each one.  One day, when we start having kids, I'd like to have a tree more like that, but for now I'm enjoying making ours a little fancy and elegant.

The one tradition Mike and I do have that we started on our first Christmas together was buying an ornament from a very popular local artist, (check him out here: Don Drumm Studios).  The ornaments run a little pricy, (about $25-$30 a piece), but buying one a year doesn't break the bank and we love walking around the store and showroom and seeing all the other pieces.  It's fun to try to find one that relates to our year and like the ornaments on my parents tree, I like unwrapping them each year and thinking about why we chose that one and the previous years.

Here's the first one we bought together:

Mike added the little polymer heart with an '08 for our first year.  The second year we had gotten our first kitten Vespa and found one with a kitten on it:

Unfortunately, he got really sick right after Christmas and on the vet's recommendation we had to put him down.  He was the first pet Mike and I had together and I'm glad we have a nice way to remember him by every year.  Sniff, sniff.  Okay, on a happier note, after that, we ended up getting Benelli and the following Christmas found another cat ornament, (Don Drumm really likes his cat's, maybe that's one of the reason's we like him so much!).

This is where Mike thinks I'm crazy because I always point out that Vespa's ornament has a moon, like night, and passing, and Benelli's has a sun, like a new day.  Yeah, kinda corny.

So, this year we had an important task to find a new ornament that fit our past year, and I think we found it:

Yep, Santa riding a blimp!  Let me explain, our city is the headquarters of Goodyear and one of the blimp hangers is just a bit down the road.  So, although it's not technically our first year in our house, it's the first full year in our new city, and will always be remembered for all the work we did to make it a home.

So, there's our Christmas tree and a little of our traditions.  Anyone else have some traditions that include blimp riding Santa's?