My Top 10 Favorite Posts of 2014~

It seems so cliche to say this but I can't believe how fast this year has flown by.  As I looked back through my posts to pick my favorites for this year, many of them seem like they were written in a different lifetime.  So much has happened this year, my entire life is different than it was.   Things are good.  And I am happy.  I am grateful for the difficulties of this past year because it makes my current circumstances that much sweeter.

So now that I've waxed philosophical in the remaining few hours of 2014, let's have some fun looking back through my personal top 10 Favorite Posts of this past year....beginning with January...

This is the master bedroom in our previous house...if you've got the space, I highly recommend this idea...it adds so much storage to any room!

a photo sketch of my previous living room.
In this post I talk about what my home means to me...it's a pretty good read. (If I do say so myself.)

Read more after the break...


A Few of My Favorite Things: 2014 Edition~

A Few of my 2014 Favorite Things

Hello Lovelies!

Today I'm excited to share a few of my current favorite items.  I always love it when people give me recommendations on their favorite products, and I hope that you do too!

So without further ado....and in no particular order....some of my current favorites:

Barr Co. Lotion

My kids gave me some of this lotion for Christmas.  First time I'd ever tried it and I'm in love!! The scent they chose was Fir Grapefruit.  Seemed odd to me when I read the name, but the smell is divine.  Citrus-y with a touch of pine.  And the lotion is thick and creamy.  Lovely.  They bought it at a local boutique, but I know it is also available at Anthro.

So much more after the break...


Frugal Friday~

Welcome to this week's Christmas edition of Frugal Friday!

I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday filled with family, friends and food (of course!)

For this week's Frugal Round-up, I'm sharing a few holiday-inspired posts from last week's Frugal Friday!  Enjoy....

First up, I love marquee signs, and this DIY Rudolph version is simply adorable.  You'll want to hurry over and check out the how-to at Little Red Brick House!

Read more after the break...


The Simple Pleasures of Being Home For the Holidays~

This post waxes a bit philosophical....but it's worth reading, I think...

The kiddos and I had planned on going to visit my sister and her family in Southern California during Christmas break this year.  But as things sometimes go, our planned trip just isn't working out.  So I find myself faced with the idea of entertaining four kiddos over their Christmas break.

In our society, so much emphasis is placed on "go, go, go",  "do, do, do", and "spend, spend, spend".  It seems like life is all about being complicated.  So I sat down with the kids and made a list of things we could do over Christmas break that would be simple and fun.

I love some of the ideas we came up with and thought I'd share them with you.

Our list of Christmas break fun...

Except for going to see a movie (which gets costly with 5 of us) all of the ideas on our list involve minimal expense.  And I make sure we go see matinee movies to minimize the movie expense as well.  None of these ideas are extravagant.  None of them involve much (if any) technology.  They're just ways to enjoy one another's company during the holidays.

One of my goals for this coming year is to simplify our life.  I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel like I run myself ragged trying to make my life Pinterest and Instagram worthy.  And I worry that in doing so, I'm not setting such a great example for my children about what life should really be.  Of course, I want our home to be lovely.  And I want my kids to feel cherished.  I don't think that means that everything we do needs to look like it comes straight from the pages of a magazine.  And so I'm making a bit of change.  I got to thinking...my book is called Decorating for Real Life.  I want to make this blog about real life.  I still want to inspire...I just want to do it in a "real" way.  So on this little blog, I'd like to share ideas that are realistic.  That don't cost a fortune.  That are attainable.  I hope this will resonate with you, my dear readers.  Won't you join me?




Last Minute Gift Basket~

Today I'm partnering up with HomeGoods (one of my favorite stores) to share a gift basket idea that I created using wonderful items I found there.

Here's the thing...if you're a procrastinator, there are still all kinds of wonderful gift ideas at HomeGoods...I just picked up these goodies this last week, and the gift basket turned out wonderfully!

I started by deciding on a theme.  I thought it might be fun to gather up some useful - but pretty - items for the bathroom.  Just because something is useful doesn't mean it can't be fun to look at, right?

Read more after the break...


Frugal Friday~

Welcome to this week's edition of Frugal Friday!

With just one week to go until Christmas, life is getting pretty exciting around here!  We've been battling the stomach flu for the past week, so now I have to make up for lost time.  How about you?  How are your Holiday preparations coming?

And since we're on the subject of the holidays...I have a few fun holiday-related posts to share with you for this week's Frugal Round-up!

First up, I love this Pottery Barn-inspired acorn and driftwood garland shared by Table and Hearth.  So simple and pretty!

Read more after the break...


Creatively Christmas~

The single biggest blessing of blogging for me is the friendships I have made.  How else could I have connected with such amazingly talented people all across the world?  It's like having a giant creative brain trust of real-life friends.  Absolutely amazing - and I'm so grateful for it!

One of my real-life blogging friends is the incredibly talented Jennifer Rizzo.  She is an amazing artist chock full of creativity! She also has a huge heart!  I just LOVE her!

So today, I'm very excited to share with you her new book, Creatively Christmas

In her book, Jen shares fun stories, wonderful Christmas crafts, and beautiful Christmas home tours.  (She's a Christmas house tour ninja - you may recall that I participated in her Holiday Housewalk last week along with 30 or so other amazing bloggers!)

Read more after the break...


Frugal Friday~

Welcome to this week's edition of Frugal Friday!

So glad you could make it!

For this week's Frugal Round-up, I'm sharing a couple of fun Christmas posts that were linked up to last week's party.

First up, this charming entry was linked up by Vintage Finds.  I'm in LOVE with that garland! So pretty!

Read more after the break...


Gift Guide: Casual Winter Fashion~

Today I'm sharing the third in my series of Macy's gift guides!

Everyone has a fashionista on their list, am I right?  So today's gift guide has some great ideas for casual and fun winter fashion to make any fashion-lover happy.  Start with the perfect pair of winter booties, add a pair of distressed jeans and top it off with an amazing chapeau, and you're favorite fashionista will be happy as a clam on Christmas morning!

The above gifts were all Inspired by Macy's winter fashion guide.

This post is sponsored by Macy's.  The opinions expressed are 100% mine.



Christmas House Tour: Sources and Stuff~

Hello Lovelies!

I wanted to start by thanking everyone for your overwhelming response to my Christmas House Tour.  It was so fun to give everyone a sneak peek into Hydeaway Cottage, and share it all dressed up for the holidays!

Today I wanted to share a few sources with you...

First up, the Living Room:  The Christmas tree is from Balsam Hill.  It is the Red Spruce 7.5 Ft. Slim.  The coffee table is the Elysian Coffee Table from DownEast Home.  The sofa is the Ektorp from IKEA with a Svanby Gray slipcover (I don't believe they make this particular slipcover anymore, but I linked to a similar color).  The mirrors are the Songe mirrors also from IKEA.

Read more after the break...


Holiday House Tour 2014~

I'm thrilled to be taking part in Jennifer Rizzo's Holiday House Walk again this year!  Over 30 amazing bloggers are sharing their Holiday decor...I am house #32

If you've just come from So Much Better With Age,  Welcome!  If not, make sure you stop by and see her lovely home!  

Welcome to my new home...just purchased in July of this year!  Buying this house was a leap of faith for me and I'm so excited to share it with you!  The kids and I have affectionately named our little house Hydeaway Cottage.

The Living Room...

The main floor of my home is decorated in a holiday palette of silver and gold with natural elements thrown in for good measure.

Read more after the break...


Frugal Friday~

Welcome to this week's edition of Frugal Friday!

Since the holiday season is now upon us, I thought it fitting to share this adorable wood slat Christmas tree linked up to last week's party by Pneumatic Addict.   Love this!

Read more after the break...


Gift Guide: For the Chocolate Lover~

I'm teaming up with Macy's again to bring you another fun gift guide!

Who doesn't have a chocolate lover on their gift list this year?  (Or who wouldn't want to maybe give themselves something chocolate-related for Christmas - I mean we hardworking folks deserve to splurge a bit, am I right?)

These ideas go beyond the ordinary - like a fondue set, for example, that can be used over and over for endorphin-producing chocolate fests!  Or a lovely throw to snuggle up in while sipping hot chocolate from a pretty mug?  Check out all the ideas below!

All of these great gift ideas were Inspired by Macy's gourmet food gifts

This post sponsored by Macy's, but all the opinions expressed are 100% mine.

Don't Forget Jennifer Rizzo's Holiday House Walk is going on all this week...make sure and come back to see Hydeaway Cottage all decked out in her Christmas finery.  I'll be posting on Friday.



Dining Room Progress~

I am participating in Jennifer Rizzo's Holiday House Walk this week.  My house will be featured on Friday and I'm so excited to show you what Hydeaway Cottage will be wearing this holiday season.

But before I post my holiday decor, I thought I better share a couple of photos of the progress I'm making on the dining room.   First of all, you may recall this post where I mentioned that I had just purchased a pretty settee from World Market.  Well, the dining room proudly boasts the pretty tufted seating at the dining table.


Frugal Friday~

Welcome to this week's edition of Frugal Friday!  Sorry for the delay in getting the party posted this week.  I was recuperating from Thanksgiving dinner. ;-)

Here's a little bit of fun inspiration for today's Frugal Round-up...

I love this pretty little reading nook shared by Love Grows Wild.  So light and bright and feminine!

Read more after the break...


Gift Guide: For The Hostess~

I'm teaming up with Macy's to share some fabulous gift ideas for the hostess this season!

It's that time of year already.  Time to start shopping for holiday gifts.  And today I have a fun gift guide for you.  Do you have a hostess on your holiday gift list?  That person who is always ready to welcome others and who always has the perfect ideas to entertain?  Finding a gift for the hostess on your list doesn't have to be intimidating.  Try a tiered serving tray or perhaps some plated silverware.  Here are some great ideas for the hostess with the mostest...

 Gold Place Setting          Slate Tray Set          Sheets         Rocket Blender    

This post was sponsored by Macy's.  The opinions expressed are 100% mine.



Frugal Friday~

Welcome to this week's edition of Frugal Friday!

Check out the fun posts in this week's Frugal Round-up...

I'm loving this simple wood table runner shared by Blooming Homestead!  Such a fantastic idea and an easy DIY!

Read more after the break....

Thankful Thursday~

Hello Lovelies~

I am thankful for so many things in my life.  So as I sat pondering what it was that I wanted to share with you today for Thankful Thursday, I had a hard time narrowing it down.  But then I thought of the blog.  Of the fact that I can share my thoughts with people all over the world.  This blog has been a blessing to me in so many ways, I would be ungrateful indeed if I didn't include it as a part of Thankful Thursday.

image source unknown

Read more after the break....


The First Glimpse of Christmas~

This post is sponsored by Balsam Hill.

It has been our family tradition since the kiddos were tiny to go to a Christmas tree farm and cut down our tree.  This year, with our new house, I decided that it would be nice to have more than one tree.  A formal tree for the living room and a fun tree in the family room.  Not being willing to give up on the tradition of cutting down a tree, I decided that the live tree would go in the family room, but I liked the idea of a fake tree for the living room.  Especially since the room is "cozier" (read that as small) and I thought a slim tree would work well.

The tree I chose is a 7' tall slim tree from Balsam Hill and it's the perfect size.  So I was really excited when I pulled it out and set it up.  That's when I started wishing I had chosen a pre-lit tree.  (They make those now, Wendy).  But no, some inexplicable side of me wanted to put the lights on the tree myself so I opted for an unlit version.

I pulled out the Christmas lights and started wrapping the tree with them.  I was enjoying myself and the tree was quickly filling up with lights.  My rule of thumb is approximately 1 strand of 100 lights for each foot of tree.  I had more than enough strands.  Or so I thought.  Until one didn't light, and another one burnt out.  You see it coming, right?  I only got lights up half the tree, when I realized that I was going to have to run to the store.

I packed the boys in the car and we ventured out in the freezing cold (of course it was the coldest day of the year so far) to run to the grocery store for lights.  I bought three packs.  It would be the perfect amount to finish the tree.  I got them home and my youngest helped me pull them out of the box.  In my haste, I had purchased lights with white cord.  Sigh.

Read more after the break...


Frugal Friday~

Welcome to this week's edition of Frugal Friday!

I have a couple of fun posts to share for this week's Frugal Round-up...

First, check out this DIY metal-topped console shared by Table and Hearth!  This is such a cute way to update a typical table!

Read more after the break...


Thankful Thursday~

Welcome to Thankful Thursday!

I love taking a moment to think about all of the blessings in my life.  And this week, I am particularly thankful that I am able to live my passion.  

Read more after the break...


6 Cute Ideas for Thanksgiving~

I love Thanksgiving!  Today I wanted to share a few of the fun ideas I've collected on my  Thanksgiving Board on Pinterest.

I have linked to the actual post for each project I featured below, so if you want to pin, please click over to the original post first and pin from there.  Thanks!

I love paper chains...and this Thanksgiving version is a free printable!

This pinwheel Thankful garland is adorable!

Read more after the break...


Frugal Friday~

Welcome to this week's edition of Frugal Friday!

For this week's Frugal Round-up I'm sharing a great chair makeover and a clever DIY Industrial-style light.

First, you all know how much I love a good furniture makeover.  Check out this very pretty desk chair shared by Nicer than New.  Love the crisp white with the pretty blue upholstery.

Read more after the break...

Thankful Thursday~

Hello Lovelies!

Today I wanted to revive a tradition I had a few years ago on the blog.  You see, I absolutely love Thanksgiving.  And unfortunately, I feel like it is the forgotten holiday.  Sandwiched between Halloween -a holiday that celebrates free candy- and Christmas (admittedly my favorite) poor Thanksgiving seems to get lost in the shuffle.

So this month, I want to take a minute each Thursday and focus on something I'm thankful for.  After all, as I mentioned in this post, even in the middle of turbulent and difficult times, there is always something to be grateful for.

I will not deny that this year has been a difficult one.  Getting divorced is never easy.  But despite the hardships of wading through that difficulty, this year has also been full of amazing blessings that I never want to deny or forget.

This week I am particularly grateful for the ability I have to provide for my family.  My children are my everything and the fact that I have the means to put a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs and food in their bellies means the world to me.  

I encourage you, my dear readers, to take a minute today and consider the things you are thankful for. Even if life is horribly difficult for you at the moment, I promise that there is something within it to be grateful for.  Find it, cling to it, and most of all acknowledge it!