Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tis the Season to be Busy

We are less than a week away from Christmas Eve/Day which may explain why I haven't updated in nearly 2 weeks. Is it just me or did this Christmas season FLY by?? It was like Thanksgiving happened and now BOOM Christmas!

I've been so busy with cookie swaps, shopping, wrapping, a little more decorating, attending Christmas events and keeping up with the everyday tasks (ie. work and laundry) that blogging totally slipped my mind. However, running here there and yonder and being so busy is why Christmas Calories don't count! :)

I wanted to share a few things I've been up to:

We braved the elements to watch the town Christmas parade. It was the nastiest day! Freezing, drizzling mess!! But I don't miss the parade... it's just not Christmas if you don't go! I had on multiple layers and the tailgate umbrellas were the trick!


This is my 3rd and FINAL tree this year! It has all my "old" ornaments on it. Some from childhood and some snowman from my tree I had when I was in high school. It's always fun to unwrap the ornaments and remember where they came from. I did get the star at Walmart, made a new bow topper and the stocking was a Carolina Pottery find when I bought the other ornaments for the living room tree. I am going to be so sad when these trees have to come down on the 30/31st. I love coming home every evening and turning them on! It just makes the house so spirited!  

Yesterday at work we had our Christmas lunch and exchanged gifts. I made these cute little treats for everyone in my office. It was a just a little something to spread some Christmas cheer! M&Ms and Jesus... what more do you need?

Finally, I guess this is our "official" Christmas picture of 2013. We haven't taken any others.. maybe this weekend when we are celebrating Christmas with my family we will get another one. Hopefully outside... anyways, Merry Christmas! Love, Morgan & William

Stay Lovely...

Friday, December 6, 2013

5 on Friday

Wow! We finally made it Friday! Anybody else think this week has just dragged? Maybe it was because last week was such a short week because of the holiday. Anyways... really glad the weekend is on the horizon! These weekends in December seem to fly by with all the holiday happenings!

We are headed up to Rock Hill tomorrow to spend time with my college friends and attend our 8th Annual Christmas Party! Woah! Can't believe it's been that long since we started this tradition. This year we are having a cookie swap and I'm making 2 different kinds. If they turn out I'll post them next week! :)
Here is a picture from our first 3 Christmas parties back in college! I love this. The first year was in a dorm, the second year was in an apartment, and the third year was in a house! Love these friends so much!

I thought I'd link up today with A. Liz Adventures for 5 on Friday. There is just so much I'm loving this week that it's hard to narrow it down to just 5 things! :)

One: All of the Christmas music playing!! I have a country christmas station on Pandora that I have tuned to perfection that I listen to most of the day at work. In the car I'm listening to SiriusXM Holly station. And occasionally at work/home I listen to specific albums on Spotify. Some of my all time favorite holiday albums are....

a. Mariah Carey... a classic tradition for my generation. Best. Christmas. Album. Ever.
b. Celine Dion... yes! I love her and you can not deny that voice!
c. Lady Antebellum... I bought this album a couple years ago and it has some of my new country versions of classic Christmas songs on it, plus some originals.
d. Ally McBeall Christmas... I've had this since I was in my early teens. I loved the show and Vonda Shepard has some great original Christmas songs on here. 

Two: This.

This is the BEST Christmas smell ever! I love my Scentsy smells, but sometimes they are just too expensive and I knew I would need to burn this smell A LOT for the next month. It smells JUST like a real tree, it makes my artificial trees come to life! :) I burn my warmers at night when all my trees are lit and turn them off before bed. When I come home the next day at 5:30 after work and open my door it smells like Christmas tree, even 24 hours later! Can't beat it for $2.00. Seriously.

Three: Holiday TV Specials

Monday night we watched the CMA Christmas show, Wednesday night we watch the Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting, and Thursday night we wa
ched The Sound of Music LIVE on NBC.
Carrie was Fabulous. That is all.

Four: That I found out I have 2 more days off during the holidays. My last day for 2013 is December 20. So thankful and blessed to have so much time off to enjoy with my family and rest to be refreshed for the start of the new year. It was such a nice surprise. The past two years I've had minimal time off during the holidays. Again, I can not express how much I love my job and where I work!!

Five: The top of my Christmas trees. Again, not to brag but I think I did a bang up job! Seriously, I should do it professionally! 
I really can't stop staring at them.

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Whole30 Wrap up & Unwrapping Christmas

Let's briefly discuss the end of my Whole30 challenge....
Towards the end I got real slack. With the holiday it was just near to impossible to stick to it. I integrated back in some bread and cheese Thanksgiving day and about 20minutes after eating I was regretting it. So that has led me to the conclusion that gluten and dairy are bad for me! I haven't done too great this week either, been super busy and haven't had time to go to the store. I finally got that pizza I'd been craving for a month and that too made me feel awful. So again, bread and cheese must be awful for me. Which is truly tragic because they are two of my favorite foods! Bummer. In the 30 days I lost 7lbs. I think I would have lost more if I had exercised everyday, and not let go towards the end. That being said I'm going to get back on the horse during the week and then because it's the holidays not be so hard on myself on the weekends since we have so many events etc. to attend. When January comes however, it is on! Me + WHOLE30 + the gym = skinny by May! Hooray!

We had a great Thanksgiving holiday! Will and I both had Wednesday before off, we didn't do much. In fact after we ran a few errands he took me over to my parents and I stayed there for the majority of the day helping to cook some of the yummies we ate Thursday. It was nice to spend time with my parents and gmas. Then on Thursday everybody came to my parents for the big meal. We ate and then sat around. It was nice and relaxing!

Here is a pic of my immediate family...

Somehow Will & my other gma got left out of this picture... I really didn't take any pics that day. I have ONE decent one of Will & me, but I look gross so it's not making it on the blog! :)

After Will & I recovered from our big meal, we headed out to Walmart for some Black Friday shopping on Thursday evening. It really wasn't that bad and I got everything I went for & more! Christmas shopping is almost complete! We got there at 5:40 and got out by 7:30. I love our tradition of picking one or two stores to tackle. We don't go to shop though, we go with specific items to get and we like to see how quickly we can get in and out! I know I was "part of the problem" by shopping on Thursday, BUT because it wasn't the middle of the night and people were full and happy the crowd didn't seem to be too mean or aggravated while shopping.

Friday, Will had to go back to work and my parents took the gmas home. I actually had a nice relaxing day mostly to myself. I cleaned my entire house and even cleaned out some cabinets and closets. Made a Goodwill donation pile and found a few items I'd been missing. I mainly cleaned the house because Will's parents were coming to visit for the weekend, and I needed to make the house overly presentable. Plus I wanted to clean up all the usual clutter so I could drag out my Christmas decor! Friday night we had "thanksgiving" with Will's parents (ground sirloin burgers, baked/sweet potatoes, & green beans.)

Saturday morning Will helped me get my nutcrackers out and all the other decorations before he and his dad left for the USC/Clemson game. Will's mom and I started putting out some decorations and then I realized I needed a few things before I could continue so we headed to Carolina Pottery. For those of you who aren't from SC and don't know about it, it's like a christmas explosion of garland, lights, decorations, ornaments, trinkets, etc. Not sure if you remember a couple posts back I mentioned I had a vision for what I wanted my tree to look like, well I think I achieved it!

I got ribbon, deco-mesh, a few ornaments and some more doo-dads to stick in the top of my tree. I LOVE IT!! I couldn't have done it without Will's moms' help! She purchased a few items for it that really set it off! I can't quite looking at it! :)

This is a close up of the top! After we went to Carolina Pottery we went and ate lunch at a new restaurant in my town called Chicken Salad Chick. They have about a dozen different kinds of chicken salad. It was SO delicious!! They also had yummy broccoli salad as a side! I will definitely be going back!
Finally we rounded out the trip by going to Walmart! I had some odd & end type items to get there to complete my tree. The big balls on my tree were at Walmart and they were cheaper than ANY at Carolina Pottery. I also got a few things for my "girly tree." 
Let me explain this "girly tree." If you notice the pot it's in is pink with white polka dots. I got it from Victoria Secret the Christmas I worked there. I had to work the day after christmas starting at 4am and we had to clear out anything that was Christmas before the store opened. They were going to throw this out, I asked if I could have it and they said sure. I got off work about 10am and I carried the tree through the crowded mall only to get to my car and realize that the traffic was horrendous. I waited and hour to get out of the mall parking lot. Then I went to Target and bought bright colored ornaments for it! I took this tree to college my Jr. and Sr. years for my apartment. I love this tree, but this year I decided to give it a face lift! I haven't put it up in 2 years. Last year I was just too busy with grad school. I bought some new ribbon for it, the deco-mesh and some stuff to stick out the top. It couldn't have turned out any better!

Here is a close up of the topper! 
Here are a few of my 45+ Nutcrackers on display!

Finally here is a picture of my center piece. I'm so proud of it! I got the idea from Pinterest, of course. These are REAL antique milk glass vases from my grandmother. The branches came from Walmart, but I think they make a nice minimal centerpiece. I'm not a fan of garland on the table and I don't like centerpieces that obstruct the view of people sitting at the table. I can't wait for my gma to see how I used them. I think I'm going to use them again in January with real brown branches come out of them. Love love love!!

Here is a look at the outside decorations!! 
It's a Christmas explosion at my house! I have one more tree to put up. Will's mom got a new tree and is giving me her old one so I can put the ornaments that normally go on my living room tree somewhere. The majority of those ornaments are snowmen so that tree may actually stay out until January.. not sure yet! :) I really enjoyed decorating this year even if I went a little over the top! I could seriously make a side job out of decorating for other people. Maybe next year... Have a great rest of the week!

Stay lovely...