Friday, November 17, 2017

Gift Guide: For the Entertainer/Cook


Hey everyone! One thing I really look forward to this time of year is seeing gift guides circulating. I swear, it is such an easier way to shop and get ideas going instead of going straight to a stores site and browsing for endless hours! I hope you will find them helpful (and fun!) as well and get some ideas going of your own. To start off, I thought we would talk about the entertainer/cook with Thanksgiving this coming week. Sometimes it's hard to get gifts for this person because you don't want to just end up giving them more "stuff" but you want it to be useful! I personally love all of these ideas, and have put a few on my wish list!


entertainer/cook

I make a lot of Skinnytaste recipes and she uses her instant pot frequently. I am intrigued so this instant pot is on my list! Seems like the one pot wonder, but quicker than a crock pot.  // We have this garlic press and I swear its the best! I use mine multiple times a week. // These little gingham oven mitts would make the cutest gift for a good cook! // I love this sleek cocktail shaker, it would be pretty on the bar cart year round. // When in doubt, basics that are highly useful always work! I love this dish and hand soap set that comes in the caddy to keep your counter neat. // For a lady that loves fresh flowers or pretty candles, this glass vase with gold wrap is perfect. // This little salt cellar is so cute and under $10. // Pretty napkins are nice for the hostess that has everything and loves to entertain in style!

I hope this helped you out a bit, perhaps even giving you an idea for visiting family this week and needing a little hostess gift! I have started to make my list of guides I want to offer this Christmas, but would love to hear any requests as well. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Fall Into the Holidays - The Dining Room


For our last installment of Fall into the Holidays, we are moving into the dining room! Definitely an important space for so many entertaining needs, so I'm glad we are touching on this with Thanksgiving just a week away. For our dining room, I wanted to maximize the use out of the space and create a few different "stations" for entertaining purposes. To see what the rest of our dining room usually looks like, you can see it here - I did this room for the One Room Challenge this past Spring! On the vintage sideboard, I wanted to make use of it as a bar. I already had the drinks and bar tools in place, but I swapped out the coffee table books and decor that I usually have there (primarily for looks), and added straws and glasses instead. Like most people, we rarely use this room so it doesn't have to be totally functional for serving/entertaining 365 days a year! 


I tied the plaid ribbons to the liquor bottles as a fun touch! I know its a simple thing but adds a lot to the little space! I have been adoring this simple plaid this year. I think it's the cheeriest, classic that takes you from now through Christmas!


I pulled out a few of my favorite wine glasses and low ball glasses and set them on top of a marble cutting board. We have plenty more glasses stored in the china cabinet if we need them, but this is sufficient to have out for now. I also realized I needed to clean them because they had gotten a little dusty not being used! Tip - It's a good to clean them before company arrives, even if they have been stored in a china cabinet!




On the opposite wall we have another small glass door cabinet that I wanted to stack some favorite serving pieces on as a reminder. Does anyone else go through a holiday or event, only to open a cabinet and realize you completely forgot to pull out a favorite serving piece? For right now, I pulled out my chargers, some china, tartan napkins that I got as a Christmas present last year, gold flatware from an estate sale this spring (just the forks are out now, the rest is stored but at least with them in sight I will remember to actually use them!) and then a small monogrammed bowl that is perfect for snacks.





I highly recommend visiting your dining room and tweaking it to make it the most functional for your needs over the next couple months! It's a great feeling to know the dining room is ready for guests whenever that may be!


This series has been a blast and I have walked away with so many new ideas from the following ladies for prepping our homes for the holidays. I hope you all have enjoyed it too!

Shine Your Light

Dimples & Tangles

Crazy Wonderful

Less Than Perfect Life Of Bliss

This Is Happiness

Simple Details

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Fall Into The Holidays- The Living Room


This week we are back with another post for prepping for the holidays ahead. We've hit the kitchen and the bedroom, and now are headed into the living room! I'm going to let you all in on a little secret of mine, I love a clean slate right before the holidays hit. As soon as Halloween is over, I pack up a majority of the pumpkins and fall decor and do a little cleaning of the house. Usually our living room/kitchen is free of seasonal decor a few weeks right after Halloween and before Thanksgiving. It just feels good to do a freshen up and have a sense of calm before I add more seasonal decorations. I want the twinkling Christmas lights and sweet mementos to be the spotlight of my decor and not have to worry about clutter that has been tagging along from season to season. However, once I take away a little I add a little back that is going to get me closer to being ready for Christmas! Does that even make sense? Take a little away, add a little more back in a more sensible way...ok let's go with it!

So, for the living room prep today, I have two parts to this post. 

Part one: Simplify or clean up existing room. For me, this meant pairing down on the bookcases. I took out all the paperback books and stored them out of sight. Something I had been planning to do for a while, just never took the time to do. This cleaned up the look of the shelves so much!! I did a little rearranging here and there, but nothing big. 



Part two: Add in fresh greenery (to be added onto later in the season), switch out pillows and throws, and wash slipcover on the sofa. This year I wanted to use a few larger ginger jars on the mantel and keep it fairly simple. I added fresh magnolia stems to each jar until they looked even. (tip- I like to rinse the leaves off and wipe them down with a damp paper towel before I bring them inside) Anyway, I just love their vibrant leaves that have that heir of "Southern"...and they last so long. I don't even stick them in water, they will sit like this for weeks until I switch them out. After Thanksgiving, I will add a faux magnolia garland to the mantel as well. But, for now the greenery in the ginger jars is a great stepping stone for what is to come! 


I have to tell you too- one of my great friends - ((I know you are reading ;) )) sold me five(!) of her ginger jars this week since she just moved. You know I was on it! I have been looking for more double happiness jars for so long but couldn't pull the trigger! I'm loving my new jars!


I didn't break out any of my true "Christmas" pillows yet, but I did put away a few that leaned towards summer. These red pillows were supposed to go in Weeks' room but the red doesn't match his headboard anymore- however, they are SO perfect for Christmas! I love the bold pop of red. It has instantly transformed our living room into a cheery holiday space! The white slipcover on the sofa got washed (again) and I'm sure I will do it several more times before Christmas. Can I just say I don't know what I would do with out that slipcover?! Kids!


This weeks update was so simple but I hope it inspired you to get thinking about your living room for Christmas! Once again, it feels so good to be ready for the day I pull out those Christmas totes from storage and be able to enjoy the season to come!

Make sure to check out these lovely ladies sharing their spaces today:

• Becky of This Is Happiness • 

• Lisa of Shine Your Light • 


• Jennifer of Dimples & Tangles • 

• Shelley of Crazy Wonderful • 

• Pam of Simple Details • 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Recent Pics - Halloween + Football

It's been a while since I shared some pictures so I thought we were due for a little catchup. Weeks and Frances Ann were THE cutest little cowboy and cowgirl for Halloween last week. My MIL pulled out one of Stephen's old costumes a few months ago (the chaps and vest) and I knew right then and there the decision was made for costumes this year! In true Katie fashion, I waited until the last minute (week before) to try and find a cute costume for Frances Ann that would be equally as cute as the sherpa was for Weeks (this was a high quality costume y'all- nothing like what you see today!) After many searches on Amazon and not wanting to spend $100 on a plastic-y costume that would arrive on time, I resigned to make hers on my own! This picture was the idea behind it, and I followed this tutorial to make her little skirt. I used extra fabric from the skirt for their bandanas just by cutting them in 18" squares, I made some for the pups too! It really was so darn adorable and I'm so glad I made it for her. Weeks' costume was so authentic and he was so darling in it! 


 on me- plaid shirt (similar colors) // AG jeans // boots // vest (this years version)





This weekend we went to Raleigh for the NC State/Clemson game. This time we just brought FA and Weeks got to stay home with Grandma and Granddaddy for some spoiling! The weather really was not ideal with chilly wind and light drizzle from time to time. FA was a good sport, but since Weeks has been sick I'm so glad he didn't have to be out in that weather!



AG jeans // utility blouse // leopard belt // shoes (not pictured here but see them a few pictures below)

Stephen made a boston butt that we slow cooked on Friday night so it was ready for pre-game nachos on Saturday afternoon. If you haven't tried pork nachos, do yourself a favor and try them! We use Santitas chips and layer them queso (key ingredient!), jalapenos, sour cream, salsa, guacamole and the pulled pork. You can also add your favorite beans, chopped tomatoes and lettuce. So good guys.



Someone had THE best time cheering at the game. I won't mention any names.



On Friday on our way into town I convinced Stephen to swing by the mall so I could run in Loft to try on a few tops. I ended up getting the one above which I love, it is so classic and will be a true staple in my wardrobe. It was 40% off and I'm now considering a few other colors. Just so easy for layering having that sense of polish. I couldn't help but snap this photo of this velvet turtleneck I tried on too! I was instantly transferred to Limited Too in 1995...but the crazy thing is I didn't hate it! Laughing to myself over here. I think it would actually be pretty for a holiday party. I think it runs a little big, so size down. PS-What are your thoughts on velvet tops?! You can see my fave shoes here too! This pair is lined with sherpa and they are super comfortable, yet completely adorable. I haven't stopped wearing them since I got them.



Hope you had a great weekend! 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Fall Into The Holidays: The Bedroom


This week we are back with another post on prepping ourselves for the holidays ahead. I have to tell you all, I plan these posts ahead (hence, why I was able to do the post last week when my son had just gotten out of the hospital from pneumonia!) so, I have had plenty of time to soak up that new pantry. Let me tell you, that little pantry is our #bestlittleprojectever. It wasn't overwhelming and it made the biggest impact in our kitchen, we are positively obsessed. Anyway, thats what this series is all about. Take a little thing and make it worth its weight in gold!

This week we are tackling the bedroom, and I have to admit, I was a little stumped at first. In years past, I would change a few throw pillows out on the bed, long after I finished decorating the tree and prepping the downstairs. Our bedroom is almost always an afterthought (something we are slowly changing, bit by bit!) not only for seasonal, but for just everyday life.  I have never been able to settle on the "perfect" design for it, so I have decided to go the slow route and do it bit by bit, piece by piece as it all comes together. You know you need some decor in your bedroom when your husband says "Can we hang some stuff on the walls?" ha!


After being stumped on what in the world I would do, I had an a-ha moment on the most simplest of things to do. This "project" won't take you five minutes and will leave your room feeling so much cozier.


I love the idea of bringing the outdoors in, with greenery, flowers, branches and plants. I do this all the time downstairs- in the kitchen, breakfast room, living room, you name it. I realized I would love to add that element into our bedroom as well- enter the boxwood wreath! These are a great size for a standard window. I just grabbed one of my favorite ribbons from my rather absurd ribbon stash to hang them on. It's not too Christmasy- but definitely perfect for the season to come. If you want to go ahead and hang a wreath in your home now, I would recommend choosing a ribbon in festive colors with out bold prints- something you can stand to see for the next few months :) Instant charm, and instant cheer for the holidays to come!


On the main window, I hung the wreath right from the drapery rod. Our other window is a dormer, and this wreath makes it the cutest little corner ever! We just hung this one right off of a nail.



I want our master to feel airy, fresh, relaxing and clean. This tends to make me gravitate towards lots of shades of white. Adding in the greenery from the wreath warms it up a bit, along with our sweet little gingham sheets! Can't get enough of those. I swear they make the best sheets! I think they lend themselves so well towards the current season too- Christmas they are perfect for red/green festiveness...spring and summer they work great with coastal and floral pairings! The embroidered pillowcases were an estate sale find. I kind of feel like granny-chic with them but I adore embroidery! Don't think I am really old and outdated ok? ;)


At the foot of our bed, I keep our down duvet and this throw blanket that is perfect for keeping warm in the cooler months. Actually, I take that back- I use this throw every single day of the year it is THAT good. Put it on your Christmas list! Not only is is soft but it is so warm and cozy, and is machine washable. In the summertime I just prop it over my feet! 


duvet // throw (find similar on sale here) // bedding

One more thing that I love to do while getting ready for the holidays, or every few months... clear. the. clutter. We are prone to it,  won't deny it. We just got these refinished nightstands about a month ago and still had not taken the time to organize them. I moved my most frequently used items off the top of the nightstand into the top drawer- pen, notepad, journal, devotional and latest book. I'm glad I actually took a few moments to clean up my nightstand, the results are worth it!


I really enjoyed sprucing our room up a bit in the most simplest of ways. Lisa, thank you so much for asking me to join in on this :)

Don't miss these fun posts this week:

Lisa of Shine Your Light
Pam of Simple Details
Julie of Less Than Perfect Life Of Bliss
Jennifer of Dimples & Tangles
Shelley of Crazy Wonderful
Becky of This Is Happiness

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Fall Into The Holidays - The Kitchen Pantry

Hey friends! If you follow me on instagram, you saw that my sweet little boy was in the hospital this week for pneumonia. Never a fun time in the hospital, but we are so thankful to be home and so thankful he is on the road to getting better! I wanted to say thank you for all the prayers, comments and messages that truly lifted my spirits. Thank you, thank you.

I had planned on being a part of this fun series but had to bail for good reason at the last minute, so I'm linking up my post now. Lisa from Shine Your Light asked me to be a part of this series a while back and I knew it would be such a good motivator to get ready for the upcoming holidays. No matter how much I plan, they always sneak up on me and leave me saying I'll do it next year! For the next several weeks a talented group of ladies is sharing ideas to get you ready for the fun season ahead! This week we are kicking it off in the kitchen! 


Lisa of Shine Your Light • Pam of Simple Details • Julie of Less Than Perfect Life Of Bliss • Shelley of Crazy Wonderful • Becky of This Is Happiness 


Last year, when we moved in our home, we focused on a few things we wanted immediately improved in the kitchen- new cabinet doors, new appliances, faucet, lighting, hardware- all the good stuff! Our kitchen turned out just the way we envisioned it, which was important because we spend a lot of time in it. One thing that got pushed to the wayside was the pantry. We sort of did the whole "stuff things here and there" with out much thought into where things went. I knew when Lisa asked me to participate in this fun series, I had to tackle our pantry once and for all! It was embarrassing to have any guests over if they asked where the napkins, crackers, birthday candles were...most of the time I didn't even know the answer to where things were! I've shown you a sneak peek of the "after" now lets take a look at the SCARY "before"...brace yourselves.






My plan of action was to pull everything out. Yep, it all has to come out. We had almost two trash bags full of expired food, or food that I had bought for the kids they ended up not liking, so they were just taking up space (i.e. I'm looking at you raisins!). Most of you won't need to go to this extreme, but we took organizing once step further in our pantry and changed out our shelves for a shallower depth. Ours were way too deep at 18" and 20", which inevitably means things got lost and stuck behind other food. Stephen kept the same support system from the original shelves and switched out the shelves to 12" depth. We also added one more bracket on each shelf for more support and no sagging, which we had before.


When I began to plan my pantry, I did a lot of searching on The Container Store and was smitten with so many of their organizational baskets, but in the end I ended up doing some searches on Amazon and found similar products at prices that were a little more wallet friendly. I recommend if you are organizing your pantry you make a list of the main items you have, and then what sort of container you would like them to be organized in. I didn't want anything "loose" because I knew that would lead to clutter. Here were my categories:

Wire Bins for most frequently used foods with expirations
-Bread
-Fruit/Veggie Packs
-Chips
-Crackers
-Fresh Fruit
-Breakfast
Smaller Wire Bins
-Party Supplies
-Salad Toppings

Plastic Bins for bulk items (found at TJ Maxx)
-Overflow water and drinks
-Pediasure for my son
-Juice bottles
-Napkins/Cups/Plates/Plastic Silverware

Clear Pop Top Containers
-Cookie Cutters
-Pastas
-Baking supplies

Clear Shelf Bins
-Coffee/Tea
-Baking supplies
-Drink Mixes
-Dressing/Dip packages

There were a lot of items in the pantry that shouldn't have been in there that I found other places for in the kitchen...the mixer, serving pieces, recipes boxes, etc. This cleared out a lot of clutter as well, and made way for lots of organized storage.

Once I had everything in place, I was ready to start labeling! This part was so gratifying, by the way. I bought this pack of assorted chalkboard labels that comes with a chalk pen. It comes with 72 labels so you can say I am set with labels for a while! I'm impressed with no smudging so far. If you want to change the label, just wipe it with a wet paper towel. They also can be repositioned and moved if you need to as well. The chalkboard clips on the baskets came from Michael's and tied it all together! These wire baskets were such a great investment for our pantry. Side note- the sides flip up so they are actually stackable in case you need that as well. We don't need that option but I love how my essentials are so accessible.



I have collected most of the OXO containers and the clear shelf bins for a few years, I just never utilized them in the right way. Most of mine I found at TJ Maxx and occasionally would buy a specific container or bin at Bed Bath and Beyond with a coupon!


Wine Bottle Holder that works great for Large Water Bottles






One of my favorite tips- a large mason jar for corralling cupcake liners!


Once I had everything organized it was easy for me to see what I had and what I might need for the upcoming holidays. I like to make sure I have the ingredients for some of my favorite holiday recipes on hand in case I have a few extra hours for baking. Hiding deep in my old pantry was a container of baking powder that I searched for a few weeks ago and never could find! And this is why I needed to organize this mess!

A few commonly used pantry essentials I made note of:
Flour
Sugar
Brown Sugar
Chocolate Chips
Salt
Vanilla
Baking Powder
Baking Soda

And, since I am already thinking ahead to some of my family favorite recipes, here is the link I have shared in the past: Christmas Apps + Sweet Treats where you will find recipes for Buckeyes (seriously, best sweet treat ever), Oyster Crackers (don't blame me when you are shoveling handfuls in your mouth during Happy Hour..they are addictive and so good) and my favorite cheese ball!

This was such a gratifying project, I can't even describe how good it feels to have organized our pantry. Thanks for reading and following along! Join us next week as we tackle the bedroom!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Retail Therapy- 40% off JCrew Faves

I was going to share this tomorrow, but I just saw that this sale ends tonight. J.Crew is offering 40% off some really cute pieces for fall and I listed my five favorites below!


This sweater is so pretty, I especially love the off white and the violet color, although they are all pretty!



Hello, new sweatshirt. You will be cute with my leggings everyday! 


I love that this sporty vest is a bit more feminine with the floral pattern. Love the navy and fall colors!



I bought this last year in the tan color and loved it- I waited towards the end of the season when I could finally snag my size. I'm looking forward to being able to wear it once it finally cools off!


Never underestimate the power of a good ponte! These are so cute with the high waist and button!

Happy Shopping!