This & That 12.4.1

Hi friend!  So good to see you here again!  After the weekends where I’m away from my blog, it ALWAYS feels great to get back to it on Monday morning!  That’s when you know you’re doing something you truly enjoy- when day after day, you still look forward to doing it!  Today is going to be one of those random This & That posts.  I think of those as phone chats with you where we just catch up on all kinds of things!

First up, let’s start with this weekend!  In preparation for two! Christmas home tours I’m joining this year, I spent a good chunk of this weekend getting the house holiday ready!  I’m so thankful I pulled down the decor before Thanksgiving because it’s taken me every bit of time to get things decorated!  I’m the kind of decorator that’s torn between wanting things to evolve slowly as the creative mood strikes and also wanting to empty the bins and get them back up in the attic right away! I definitely like a ‘clean’ space, so when there’s garland and glitter and boxes of ‘stuff’ everywhere, it makes me a little crazy!

Here’s a little sneak peek of our Master Sitting Room.  I kept the decor neutral again and relatively simple and it’s always so, so pretty at night when the tree is all lit up!

Christmas tree at night

Tree Chair • Ottoman • Similar Rug • Wreath


Sweater • Jeans • Snowflake Necklace

Snowflake necklace

I received this darling snowflake necklace as a gift from Hallmark & Kohl’s and I’m crazy about it.  It might sound silly, but I’ve always wanted a snowflake necklace and have never found one I fell in love with to buy.  This one is exactly what I had in mind.  It’s shiny and just the perfect size! It’s a limited edition piece, and quantities are limited, but they also have several other pieces I saw that are darling and would make a great gift for someone special.  I’m especially fond of the Mom bracelet, cross necklace and moon & starts necklace.  Each piece of jewelry is crafted in quality materials, and carries a sentimental message to celebrate the season with a gift from the heart.  I think this snowflake necklace makes a perfect gift for your friend, mom, or sister.

I wore it again out to dinner this week :

date night

Similar Camisole • Jeans • Snowflake Necklace • Heels • Leopard Clutch

snowflake necklace

And those jeans have been on repeat, super comfy, dark wash, and a good rip to jean ratio 😉 I wore them with that super soft cowl neck tunic that you can also wear off the shoulder for a more sassy look.

Cowl neck tunic ripped jeans

Top • Jeans • Booties

how to get (good) pics of your kids for Christmas Cards

I took my kids picture for our Christmas card last week and got several great shots!  I have some tips for how to get the kids to cooperate and how to get a shot you’ll want to share.

Let me be the first to tell you that I’m not above bribing the little cutie pies for cooperation during a photo shoot!  It didn’t take much- James asked if he could get a book afterwards!  And he was surprisingly easy when I asked him what he wanted to wear.  “Whatever you think looks good” was music to my ears!!  Not sure how long I’ll hear that!

Pick a good time of day to shoot and not during naptime (if your kids still nap).

I waited for ‘golden hour’ to take these pics so I wouldn’t have to deal with harsh sunlight and spotty spaces and drove to a nearby park area that isn’t too busy.  At the last minute, I decided to bring a stool so Jordan could have something to sit on to keep her still (for a few seconds at least)!

Another idea is to give them something to hold!  It distracts them and also helps keep them in place while they play with something!

Don’t let your own energy be all strict and crazy and weird.  Take a few deep breaths, let the kids be kids, and let their personalities shine through.

I took these pictures with a Nikon D810; Sigma 1.4/50 mm lens; Aperture around 5; Shutter Speed around 1/320; and ISO about 320.

kids Christmas card.4

His Shirt • His Shoes • Her Dress • Her Tights

Jordan kept climbing on and off of the stool and also running around the park, but I just let her and took pics of James while she ran around. When she’d come back, I’d snap more of them together.

kids Christmas card.1

kids Christmas card.2

Don’t give (too much) direction – Natural is Best

A couple times I have direction like asking them to hug or kiss, but mostly I let them do their thing and just kept snapping away, hoping I’d get at least one shot we could use for our pics!

I was alone for this, so it’s not like I had someone waving for Jordan to look at the camera or smile!  That’s okay! When you let your kids be kids and don’t try to force them into something, you’ll get the picture that is most “them” anyway!

kids Christmas card.3

It helped that I let James do a few of his own pics that he wanted to do- “let me climb in the tree” – so I did!

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kids Christmas card.5

And I also bribed him with a candy cane AFTER the shoot!

candy canes

Choosing Outfits

As for the outfits, that was a challenge.  I first decided that Jordan would wear a red dress because I had her red shoes already. So, I looked online at Target, Old Navy, Gap, Nordstrom.

I found two dresses I liked, so I ordered both in two sizes (18 months and 2T)  because you never know what’s going to fit. You don’t want to have to wait to get one dress and it be the wrong size and then have to wait longer to get the correct size. Then, with James, I had to decide if he’d be casual (jeans) or dressy (suit).  In the end, I figured it was both more economical and more “him” to dress him in jeans and I found this festive plaid shirt that coordinated with Jordan’s red dress. I do think his new boots with red laces help pull everything together, as opposed to letting him wear his black sneakers.  He said they were a little too big, but wore them anyway!

And on Jordan, the white tights are too cute!

Picking a Card

We went with Minted again for our cards because we’ve always loved how they turn out and they have the cutest designs. I like how you can upload your image to see at a glance how it will look in each of the cards.  It makes it easier to choose because then you can see if the words are obscuring the photo or the picture looks better in a card with a different background!

New Goodies

That same park, but a different part, is where we snapped these sweater dress pics I realize I didn’t get to show you yet!  The dress is 40% off today, so I wanted to let you know!

sweater dress.1

Sweater Dress • Boots • Rayne Necklace • Earrings • Purse • Blue Aviators • Similar Scarf • Jacket

sweater dress.2

sweater dress.3

Tassel Necklace – this necklace arrived the other day and looks so good with so many outfits this time of year.  I think this exact color combo might be in/out of stock, but it also comes in shades of blue.

Tassel necklace (1)

I braved the mall on Saturday to pick up gifts and (of course) came home with a couple new things for myself also! #couldntresist!!  I got this Patagonia pullover that I showed you in the Cozy Girl’s Gift Guide.  (You can find all this year’s GIFT GUIDES here) It is truly so cozy and soft that I wore it right outta the store!  I also got the white fleece vest that I can’t wait to wear!  And Nordstrom has 10 Personal Points today! 

Patagonia pullover

Pullover • Jeans • Booties

On my wish list

It’s hard to be looking around online for gifts and not see things you want for yourself!  #hangsheadinshame;) I bought this cozy fleece pullover, want these fierce shoes (they’re a lot cheaper than the real thing!) and I’m envisioning all the holiday dresses I could wear them with!

I could go on and on with you, but I gotta get my booty moving- we start photographing the Christmas decor today at 9 am!  I can’t wait to have you over to show you! Seriously, I often wish we could just chill out on the couch and chat over coffee or a glass of wine!

Have a great week friends!




  1. Giuseppina
    December 4, 2017 / 8:47 am

    Love these posts! (And I really wish we could hang out and let Jordan and Isabella play together)

    • December 4, 2017 / 1:03 pm

      That would be awesome!! How is she doing??

    • December 6, 2017 / 8:37 am

      Hi! I have that exact love, peace, hope ring that you have on in one of these pics! I love that tassel necklace, too!!

      • December 6, 2017 / 9:26 pm

        I love that ring! I’ve had it since college- my best friend gave it to me! I cherish it!

  2. Joan S
    December 4, 2017 / 9:51 am

    I must have been reading your blog before I fell asleep last night. I dreamed that you invited me to stay at your house and we decided to paint your daughter’s room and her bed purple. We didn’t get very far before margaritas were involved. We spilled paint on the carpet and the paint started peeling off the walls. Some other bloggers were there, and were dissing the paint color.

    • December 4, 2017 / 1:03 pm

      I’m cracking up so hard about this!!! Soooo funny!!! Sounds like those other bloggers could use a few margs too!

      • Joan S
        December 4, 2017 / 7:09 pm


  3. December 4, 2017 / 10:39 am

    your kids are adorable and every single pic is amazing:D

    • December 4, 2017 / 1:03 pm

      Thanks so much! Sooo glad I got these good pics of them together!

  4. amy
    December 4, 2017 / 8:50 pm

    Love your nail polish! What brand/color is it? I’ve been looking a good white nail polish for a couple years.

    • December 5, 2017 / 10:17 am

      Hi Amy! This is my go-to white- it’s called Alpine Snow by OPI!

    • December 5, 2017 / 10:17 am

      Love it too!! Thanks Ellen, hope you’re having a great day!

  5. Kristen
    December 11, 2017 / 3:00 am

    What color is the paint in that room? I️ love your color scheme and am going with a similar one. Thanks!

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