Sunday, January 31, 2016

the moment

Hey Guys! I decided that before it officially hit February that I should talk about my New Years' Resolution and how I've managed to keep up with it! Why is there a picture of a Christmas tree below? Let me explain.

I was super late posting my annual holiday post. This frustrated me to no end, and now that there is a picture of our 2015 tree on the blog I can rest a little easier at night. I wanted to place our Christmas decor before we traveled to Illinois for Thanksgiving (but my hubby insisted that it was WAY too early, and that I was a crazy person) so naturally I listened to him and waited.

When Brandon finally assembled our black pre-lit tree, he noticed that the top lights wouldn't come on. I was devastated. He fiddled with them for a while, and finally decided that we needed to get more. My thought was that we could just get one small strand for the top. When I sent him a link to order it (what I thought to be an appropriate size strand for only 1/3 of a tree) somehow our signals got crossed because Brandon unstrung the entire tree in anticipation for the new lights. Now if you have a pre-lit tree, you know that each branch is meticulously wrapped and the light strands are in fact a circle and not a line, so once they were off, it was a dreadful idea to even attempt putting them back on. At some point during this time, we also decided to purchase a second "basement tree" a' la' Brandon's parents house, despite the fact that our basement was still lined in boxes. In fact, that's what you see above, our complementary slimline Christmas tree. 

When the new lights came, Brandon strung the tree and we both agreed that it wasn't going to be enough lights, so we ordered another strand. This is when Lasership (for heaven's sake Amazon, please stop using them) dropped the ball and failed to deliver our lights. So naturally Brandon canceled the order. Then the week of Christmas I had what I like to refer to as a "Come to Jesus Moment" (appropriate considering it was his birthday and all) and thought to myself, "You know what self? This IS ENOUGH! You are ridiculous. Simplify and make this work! After all, it's what you do best. Who cares if you don't have an extra 100 lights on your tree? Be thankful you have a tree, a loving hubby,a sweet pup (note the three stockings) and a beautiful home to put it all in."

That was it! I could feel that I was on to something. On December 23, I decided to fully decorate both trees and place one in the entry, and one in the living room. That night I also decided that for 2016 my New Years' Resolution wasn't going to be to exercise more, save more, or blog more. (I want to do all of these things, but somehow as resolutions they always seem less concrete and less attainable.) This year it was going to be:

"Learn how to simplify 
in all things that I do. 
Learn what is necessary. 
Learn what I can do without."

This, my friends, is something I feel that I can stick to. No empty promises, just sorting out my life and getting rid of the unnecessary. I can stop acquiring things just to have them, I can get rid of the miscellaneous stuff that we've miraculously been able to live without for the last 10 months. I can spend less time shopping and more time doing. I can remove the emotion and physical clutter from my life so that I can see God's blessings more clearly! I know that it won't be easy (no New Year's Resolution ever is) but this is something I feel that I can slowly achieve by reminding myself of  this lesson daily, and using this mantra to actually accomplish my outstanding goals. Complex tasks seem less difficult when we break them down into smaller, more manageable tasks, so why not simplify?

So yes, my holiday post was VERY late, and my Christmas trees are STILL up. (I reconcile that decision in my head because I didn't get to enjoy them decorated as long as everyone else.) But know this - I'm not ashamed! I'm happy, and I'm learning to go little easier on myself. So far, I've already begun limiting my purchases to things that I need, and if I buy something home related I must have a definite plan and timeline for its installation. Designers hoard pretty things, and I am no exception.

Finally I can get out of Target without walking the entire store AND I can purchase only what I intended to get (a miracle indeed). I've also been dropping off huge blue bags to Goodwill (instead of shopping there), and recently started a bullet journal to organize my ideas so that I don't waste time constantly thinking about them.  I consider all these small triumphs a very big start! 

Next I want to focus on organization and being more decisive about our home. Side note, does that tree look any less beautiful with only one stand of lights? I didn't think so! Also, share your New Years' Resolutions with me! Now that you're a month in, how is it going? I'd love to hear from you!

I can't wait to share this year with you (and some other things I've been holding on to from the one past). Sometimes I get so stressed about the fact that I haven't updated my blog, and then I remember that unlike other bloggers that I follow and admire, blogging is not my full time job. I have bills and student loans to pay and none of that gets done here. In fact, I generate zero income from my blog, so I have to stop being so dang hard on myself! Not to say that I don't have any ideas, (I have SO many) just very limited time. And for now, I have to be okay with that. My hope is that once I get more into my life simplification process, blogging will become much easier. Thanks for tuning in - Rae 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

etsy gift guide

At first I wanted to create a cool gift guide much like the other awesome bloggers that I follow. A gift guide full of beautiful photographs of home decor, clothing, shoes, and stationery, from well-known clothing and home retailers all around. You know, a wonderful wish list  full of things every chic girl would want. Some things affordable, some things mostly unattainable, and some outrageous things thrown in just to make you swoon, you know, just for good measure. 

Then I remembered that there are plenty amazingly talented individuals out there that are not only making unique, one of a kind items, but these items are reasonably priced AND gorgeous! Why not shine a little light on these successful women entrepreneurs and share them with you if you don't know about them already? Long story short, if you're still searching  for that special gift, consider supporting one of these ladies through their 5 Star Etsy shops! :)

For the fashionista

          Eclectic bracelet mix, set of 3 coffee brown Agates and Jade stones          Amazonite necklace with Ethiopian cross

Marianne Trull is an incredibly gifted jewelry designer who creates one-of-a-kind bracelets and necklaces from semi-precious stones, beads, and gems. She also likes to incorporate vintage pieces into her designs for a unique piece that you simply can not find anywhere else. If you see something you like and you want to collaborate on a similar design, she also accepts custom orders made to fit. Check out more of her pieces in her Etsy shop Theevacollection.  

For the chef 

 Ain't Got Thyme Flour Sack Tea Towel     They See Me Rollin' Flour Sack Tea Towel 

 Wiener Dog Flour Sack Tea Towel     Other Kitchen Flour Sack Tea Towel

The ladies of French Silver Shop have quite the sense of humor! Lexi Schindler and Jennifer Schindler Hahn design and create beautiful flour sack tea towels and cotton onesies with the most clever sayings, or as they like to put it, "Comedy on Cotton". Each image is carefully designed then applied using a commercial heat press to unsure that you can enjoy it for many years to come. French Silver Shop also creates custom bags, invitations, cards, and favors. Basically, if you can press it, these ladies can make produce it! Check out more on their Etsy shop Frenchsilver.

For the creative 

 Pineapple Print Mouse Pad / Fruit Print Mousepad / Mat    Mondrian Print Mouse Pad / Retro Print Mousepad / Mouse Pad / Mat
 Drink Coasters / Party Coasters / Bar Coasters / Coaster Set    Banana Mouse Pad / Fruit Print Mousepad / Office Desk Accessories

Kimberly Hawthorne, the designer behind Little Hawthorne Studio truly knows how to create products that make a girl smile! Kimberly focuses her creative prowess on colorful mousepads, adorable coasters, and wooden handmade earrings that add a bit of spice to some of the most basic parts of our lives. Her earrings are individually sanded and hand painted, and all coasters and mousepads are designed with a smooth fabric top layer and a thick rubber backing to ensure durability. Also, I can not say enough about the pattern play throughout her designs. Everything is so happy! Of course Kimberly takes custom orders in several colorways for many of her products. You can find her Etsy shop at littlehawthorne.

So, do you see any potential gift ideas? Or maybe some pieces that you might need to gift yourself? Check these ladies out! There are only 13 more days before Christmas!!! :)

*This post was not sponsored, I just wanted to highlight some lady entrepreneurs that I really admire! All thoughts and opinions are my own. All images belong to their respective Etsy shops.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

savory and sweet

Hey guys! Getting ready for the season of drinking and eating until you have to un-notch your belt? Well, lots of charcuterie plates have been popping up in my Pinterest feed, so I finally decided to take the plunge and try it. But first I needed a platter suitable for such a savory spread. I picked this one up from Target. It's no longer available online, but I managed to find a few still in stores. I've also seen a plethora of "tree slice" platters at Home Goods, but any beautiful wooden board would do. :)

Round Rough Edge Serve Platter

So far I've managed to experiment twice with a few different combinations, but this one came out the best.

From the left going clockwise:

  • Red grapes
  • Green pitted olives (with pimentos)
  • Prosciutto
  • Toasted slices of bread with olive oil and spices (picked up as a bag for $2 at the Kroger bakery)
  • Ritz crackers
  • Sliced gourmet pepperoni
  • Extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • Goat cheese infused with cranberries (this sweet cheese was great with the savory bread slices)
  • Garlic and herb Laughing Cow cheese wedges (which were wonderful with the Ritz crackers)

Brandon and I actually had this for dinner last night and struggled to finish the whole thing. I must admit, it's nice to do something like this without the pressure of entertaining. Who wouldn't want to treat themselves  with a big glass of wine and a plate of goodies in front of the tv! Also this is a great practice run for when we actually have guests.

Since making this charcuterie plate was so easy (slice things up, arrange them on a pretty platter) I'm thinking it could be a great addition to Christmas afternoon when we're not quite ready for dinner, but need a filling snack. I could also do it when friends come over for an enticing game of Cards Against Humanity. In the future I'll probably add some mixed nuts and maybe some greenery (like fresh rosemary) to fill in the negative space. All in all, it was short, savory, sweet and I didn't actually have to cook dinner. Win!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

fireplace stylings

Call me a rebel, but I was completely determined NOT to mount our tv over our fireplace. Why, do you ask? Well imagine having to tilt your neck up every time you wanted to watch tv. Who am I kidding? Lots of people reading this post are like, "I do that every day". Sorry guys. It's just an ergonomic and cord management nightmare waiting to happen. Are your tv cords swagging off the side of the mantel, and your television components sitting on the floor, or hanging three inches off said mantle? Fix that immediately. Like now. No, really. 

All joking aside, the tv over the fireplace debate is the toilet paper roll over or under debate of the residential design industry. Different strokes for different folks, am I right? Our place actually came designed with an outlet and cord channel behind the drywall (you can see the exit plate on the bottom left-hand corner) but I just...couldn' it. I even bought a tv mount from work with intentions of trying it (shakes head). Therefore our tv ended up on an IKEA PS tv stand adjacent to the fireplace (against the staircase) and my favorite artwork and accessories ended up on the fireplace mantel - just like God intended. Here's a closeup of a few of the things that call this focal point home.  

Above is my $1 Pothos from Kroger in a hot pink summer snack container from Target.

This gentlemanly pen and ink drawing came from Goodwill. On the left are Missoni by Target candles (that I also found at Goodwill, almost never used) and a Target candle votive from the one spot.

If you follow me on Instagram you'll remember my TJ Maxx skully vase/votive and of course the candle sticks came from Goodwill (as a set of three, but only two are shown here).

Here's another snapshot a few weeks later after I changed out my skully and candle sticks. Notice that the Pothos has gotten longer. :) If you recall, the large abstract painting used to hang over our sofa in our last place

EVERYTHING in this photo came from Goodwill. The painting is my fav. The color combination is funky, but that's what I love about it. I used to think it was an abstract painting until Brandon pointed out the guy with a teal hat, pink hair, and a periwinkle shirt. Now that's all I can see. Can you see it? Yes? Oh, sorry. These candlesticks really are a set of two, and I discovered recently that the little green vase has a hairline crack in it, so sadly no more plants are it's future, but nonetheless it's still quite beautiful.

Oh, and here's the Peace Lily that I've grown to love despite the fact that my MIL forced it off on us as we were leaving her house one day. I remember thinking, "What in the world am I going to do with this?" These things aren't even that pretty... or trendy. No, it's not a Fiddle Leaf Fig, but she's ours, and managed to thrive for many years, so now she's an integral part of the family. Also, Lily is quite pretty when it blooms. When we moved in, it took a while for her to get adjusted to change in light. She's finally feeling comfortable now, so I'm definitely relieved. Lily is sitting on a upside down IKEA Tidig bowl in case you were wondering. I'm hoping to re-pot her as soon as I fall in love with an appropriate vessel. So what do you think about the fireplace styling? Cooler than a television mounted eight feet in the air and a neck adjustment from the Chiropractor? I think so too. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

thrifty thursdays

Hey Folks! In keeping with my promise to post more often, I figured I would go ahead and try out a few series posts to keep the momentum going. My lovely friend, Sarah, suggested that I needed to start blogging and Instagramming (Firefox, don't underline my verb! What do you mean that's not a word?) about these cool, quirky, and incredibly inexpensive deals that I happen to come across on my trips to Goodwill and beyond. Sarah, consider your challenge excepted (hugs)! I've decided to call this series, you guessed it, Thrifty Thursdays! This particular post also has a theme because it's all about drink ware. What can I say? This girl likes a good cocktail... in a beautiful glass.  

First, I'll share an oldie but goodie... in honor of Throwback Thursday, if you will. Sarah, remember the time I found a that beautiful lot of decanters just chilling on the rack a Goodwill for $21.67? I made up my mind right then and there that I was done collecting them. I now have roughly 30 and I'm somewhat disgusted with myself. How does one display 30 decanters? Who NEEDS 30 decanters? I told myself that after this find I would pare down and keep my absolute favorites. Ask me how that's going...

Last week I took a trip to Goodwill and came home with more drink glasses than I should have. The ones below were cool and oh-so-manly. The set was under $4 so I basically had to buy them. My thought was that eventually Brandon could keep them in his man cave next to a bottle of scotch. Gotta get that cave together though! 

We don't have many stemless wine glasses, so I thought these would be perfect! They were sweet and bubbly (pun intended), and quite beautiful - especially when filled with red wine because the gold spots become extra vibrant. And at under $3, they were a no-brainer. 

These green glasses were a replacement for green glasses we owned but broke during our move. They are significantly thicker than the ones we had, and at under 3$, why not? I love that they look like they're being heated from the bottom. So fancy!

I picked these owl glasses up, then I sat them down. Then I walked by again and examined them. Then I put them down. Then I went over one more time, and when I realized that they were still there, I gave in and placed them gently into my cart. At less than $4 they were the last set I picked up, and I really struggled internally about them. I was like,"Really, Rae? Do you really need another set of drink glasses? You already have 3 sets in your cart!" Of course I needed them. And just for kicks and giggles, I looked up the marking on them and learned that these "Couroc owl glasses" are selling for more than I would ever pay for a set of glasses on Ebay, Charish, Amazon, and the like. I may have hit the jackpot with these, but I mostly just think that gold on glasses is beautiful, and simply belong at home with me and all of the other stuff I like to hoard. 

I picked up this single Maker's Mark glass because I couldn't pass up the wax drippings. I also thought my husband would love it. It was under $2. Update: This is currently his favorite drink glass... for anything with alcohol. AND it is totally Halloween appropriate.

So the last set I'll share with you is a set of 6 that I picked up at... The Dollar Tree!!! Ladies and Gentlemen, DO NOT sleep on The Dollar Tree! Every now and then that come out with something that is so adorable and I simply can not pass it up. These are also great for fall, but not limited to use in October of course. Update: Here's where I paired one of them with a black and white striped straw for Halloween! This was a wine slushie (Ole' Blue) from Curahee Valley Winery. Yum. Yum

Anyhoo, I love a good deal, so this series will definitely become one of my favorites, Thanks Sarah! Plus I have so much more to share! What about you? Have you found any good drink or bar ware lately? Drop me a link or tag me on Instagram @rajaune! Also, it's our 5 year wedding anniversary today, so plans permitting Brandon and I will most definitely be raising some of these glasses to the occasion. Cheers! :)