Let the Prep Begin!

Hello everyone!  Today is a bit of a reprieve from the cold snap we’ve been having here in Texas.  I want to continue with the Thanksgiving series that we’ve been discussing and show y’all a couple of my inspiration ideas for my guest room/office project that I’m working on finishing before my family visits at Christmas.

Prepping the dinnerware and decor

One of the biggest time consumers that I’ve run into every year is locating and washing all of the dinnerware and all of those beverage dispensers, table linens, glasses, holiday plates, serving pieces and holiday decor pieces that make an appearance this time of year.  Since I moved recently, most of my items are still in boxes and definitely in need of a good wash! This year isn’t going to be a big event as it has been, but I still want to use my favorite pieces to set a classy table.  I pulled out many of my pieces today and plan to wash everything so that it’s all ready to go and I don’t need to waste time on Thanksgiving doing so.  I also pulled out a few more decor items so that I can create a lovely centerpiece.  This year, I’m planning to use what I have on hand so that I can save money and reduce the accumulation of clutter.  I have been on a kick lately using eBay to sell items that aren’t my style anymore, but that’s for a different post.

By now, you should have your holiday plan, menu, grocery list, clean fridge and pantry, and dinnerware and decor that is clean and ready to go. With about a week left before Thanksgiving, you should be feeling pretty dang organized and ready this year!

Guest Room / Office Inspiration

Changing gears…since I’m not having guests this year until Christmas, I have been actively budgeting and coming up with inspiration ideas.  I’m really into the feminine/modern rooms with pink and gold accents. I’m renting the house I’m in now and downsized a bit from my Virginia house so that I could live in the city, so I need my guest room to serve several functions.  I need some clothing/jewelry storage, craft storage and an office/guest room space.  Here are a few of the spaces that I’ve taken some inspiration from:

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Sources:

http://www.ivyclad.com/2012/06/ikea-snafu-hacks.html

http://home-styling.blogspot.com/p/my-work.html

http://www.casaandcompany.com/home/dress-up-your-desk/

http://emilyaclark.com/2014/02/updating-our-master-bedroom-bedding.html

http://theeverygirl.com/how-to-style-a-desk-3-ways-for-the-student-the-post-grad-the-career-woman

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What a Year!

Wow!  I can’t believe that a year has gone by since I started this blog!  It’s been a great year and full of adventure and change!  I made a big move to Texas this year, travelled to Spain (I plan to do a post soon), and got to take a road trip with my mom (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!) & Muddy to most of the Southern states!  It really is amazing how fast time flies!  It seems like it was just yesterday when I wrote my first post!  I know, I dropped off there for a bit, but I’m glad to be back and sharing with you all now!  Here’s to another wonderful year in blogland!

So now that we are 10 days out before Thanksgiving and you all have a solid plan in place, we are going to spend this week discussing cleaning and prepping for the big day.

Cleaning the Fridge and Pantry

Cleaning and organizing the fridge and pantry are probably two of the most important steps you can take this week to get ready for Thanksgiving.  I start by taking everything out of both and then tossing anything that has expired.  I use an all-natural cleaner such as Simple Green to scrub the fridge and then take all of the bins out and give them a good wash too.  I swear by these bins:

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I picked my bins up as a set from Costco.  I’ve seen them at HomeGoods for a good price too.  Once I have everything cleaned, I pop the bins back in the fridge and I’m all set for all the yummy dishes next week.  The bins make it super easy to pull out ingredients for meals and to make room as necessary.

I also use plastic bins in my pantry to sort dry goods and cans.  I prefer the clear bins so that I can see what I have quickly.  As you can see below, I even have a bin for breakfast!  I can quickly pull it out and have everything for pancakes and waffles in one spot!

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Hope y’all are having a great weekend!

Holiday Season is Upon Us

Well I don’t know about you all, but I cannot believe that it’s already November!!  This is the busiest time of year for most people, so I decided that this month I’m going to focus on a series of topics and tips that I use to get prepared for the chaos.  I also decided that I’m going to use the next few weeks before Thanksgiving and again between Thanksgiving and Christmas to focus on being healthier and eating better.

My weekend was busy in Dallas, so I didn’t get a chance to prepare for my week as much as normal, but I’ve used tonight to try to do just that.  I got back into my healthy mindset with a short 30 minute run/walk with Muddy.  The weather has just been fabulous here in Houston!  I’ve also been cleaning out the garage since it became a dumping ground after my move.  I promised myself that I’d spend at least 30 minutes  each night cleaning out all my junk, so I did my time in there tonight too.

Holiday Preparedness

Make a Plan

I think it’s so important to get your ducks in a row, so the first step that I’m going to talk about is making a plan.  The holidays are a time of joy but they can also be quite stressful if you don’t get organized and don’t have a plan.  What I do at the beginning of November is sit down with a big pot of coffee and just write down ideas, important dates/events that I’m already aware of and a list of things that I need to accomplish or purchase.  I update my calendar with any dates that I need to save and any self-imposed deadlines.  This is also the time of year when I schedule the last of my health appointments and my holiday haircut since dates quickly fill up and many people take leave.

This year the holidays are very exciting for me because it is my first Texas holiday season.  I can’t wait to check out all the things going on in the city during this time!  Since I’ll have family visiting this year, my plan includes designing and finishing the guest room’s decor and organization.  As of now, it’s a disaster!  Don’t worry…I plan to have lots of before and after photos once I finish it all!  Since it hasn’t been that long since I moved in, my plan also consists of finishing my living room gallery wall, styling up the deck for the mild winter evenings (love it) and finishing cleaning out the garage.  This winter, I’ll be focusing on organization but more on that after the holidays!  I listed out a few items that I need to purchase for the guest room such as holiday bedding and new pillows.  As I organize everything, I’m also setting aside a donation box and eBay sale box. This is a great time to add in a reminder for any charitable donations you may want to make.

Once you have your overall plan in place, you can tweak it as necessary, but it’ll make for a great basis to keep you sane!  Good luck on those plans!  You’ll feel so much more organized once you have it done…trust me!

Keep reading this week for my next tip on how to plan for Thanksgiving dinner.

Turkey Day Decor

photo-4It has become tradition to host Thanksgiving for any friends who do not have family close by. This year dinner was at my house and we had a fantastic time!  As you can see from the picture to the left, someone was anxious for dinner!  I hope all of you had a great time with your family and friends.  I wanted to share a couple easy entertaining and decor ideas that I put together the night before dinner that made a big impact (I procrastinate but I also have a full-time job, so that’s my excuse).

COCKTAIL BAR

I put together this cocktail bar and stocked it with fun paper straws in fall colors, glasses, non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks, a wine opener, cocktail napkins and a beverage dispenser full of ice water so that my guests could help themselves while I was in the kitchen.  My favorite part of the cocktail bar was the takeout containers.  I had some fun takeout boxes and containers with baker’s twine and late-night snack tags for my guests to mark their containers with.  I found these free printables at Bloom Designs Online.

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TABLE SETTINGS

I used items around the house that I already had on hand so that I did not have to spend any additional money on our table settings.  Often I like to have fresh flowers on the table, but this year I changed it up and used a tan linen table runner as my foundation.  Next, I added a hurricane full of sparkly bronze pinecones to the center of the table and then strung a fall-colored leaf garland along the table and added a few tealights.  For the place settings, I used some bronze-colored fleur-de-lis chargers from Southern Living at HOME, Pottery Barn catering plates and tied each set of silverware with burgundy satin ribbon in the center of each plate.  I added my wine glasses with fun travel-themed Pottery Barn wine charms that I got last year on clearance.  I was so happy with how it came out and the best part was that it cost me nothing and it only took about 10 minutes to put it all together!

thanksgiving table settings

DINNER

Dinner was awesome….but soooo much food!  Honestly, we probably could’ve scaled it back quite a bit, but all of my friends like to cook too and we all like to make sure we have our favorites on the table.  I think I could basically live off of cranberries and sweet potatoes!  Even Muddy got a special turkey dinner mixed with some veggies.  He was in a tryptophan coma too after dinner!  I wanted to share one of my favorite that will continue to be a staple on my table for years to come.  This chorizo cornbread stuffing dish is courtesy of Rachel Ray, but it’s the perfect Southern compliment to any holiday meal.

COMA TIME

Once dinner hit us all and started to make us sleepy, we tuned in to watch a little football together and relax.  One fun addition that I added this year was Turkey Day Bingo!  I found some free printable cards here at The Orange Co. and we had fun playing a couple rounds.  The winner even got a $10 iTunes gift card!  I think it was a nice touch, but next year it would be fun to make up my own cards with funny things that are near and dear to me and my friends.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

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