31 December 2012

songs for 2012

Do you ever think of the ways that songs are the soundtrack to our lives?  You hear a few bars of an old song, and are immediately transported back in time.  Every time I hear that crazy Chumnawamba song about getting knocked down, I'm at Charity Ball in my high school gym.  

I love music, and 2012  gave us lots of good songs. I tend to be drawn to songs with a good story, complimented by rich harmony.

Here are a few of my 2012 favorites:

Or listen here.

30 December 2012

Christmas City Swap 2012

This Christmas, the wonderful Allie of Be Up & Doing hosted a Christmas City Swap.  She matched us up with other bloggers around the country, and our task was to gather local items and put together a city-special package for our recipient. What fun! This is right up my alley (no pun intended), so I signed right up!

I received my package from miss Hannah over at The Homesteady.  Her home city is Northampton, Massachusetts, and apparently that city has a wonderful fragrance, because the package she sent me sure does!  I love these little luxuries.

For my package, I took some help from one of my favorite local boutique wine + coffee shops. We selected some local-to-Wisconsin gin, and some rhubarb hopps to make the perfect gin + tonic, along with the most delectable sea salt caramels I've tasted to date.  I'm a proud Junior-Leaguer, so we topped it off with our local chapter's cookbook, Mad About Food.  

Off it went to Nicole over at Probably Polka Dots!

I had even more fun with the City Swap than I'd predicted. What a wonderful way to connect with other bloggers, support small + local business, and enjoy treats from other geographies, all at the same time.  What fun!

25 December 2012

#love came down

Merry Christmas, all.  I hope you are enjoying lots of laughter with your loved ones.

We enjoyed a beautifully candle-lit Christmas Eve service last night, followed by hors devours and cocktails with family.  My mom is an incredible hostess, and she outdoes herself each year.  We started a new tradition this year of post-rugrat bedtime games and prizes for the adults.  My sister and I shopped yesterday for good prizes and bad, including some XXL granny panties.  They'll re-appear next year I'm quite sure.

In the midst of the excitement, I hope you'll take a moment to reflect on the reason we have to celebrate… our Loving God come down.

Merry Christmas. :)

21 December 2012

20 December 2012

snowpocalypse {and other words that don't exist}

It's a winter wonderland around these parts . We had it coming, really.  Last winter was more like a really chilly fall, and this summer was beastly hot, so much so that most of my time was spent next to my air conditioning vent.  

The snow is falling, swirling, piling, beautiful.  Our office is closed due to the blizzard today {boo ya don't have to take a vacation day today}, which never happens.  The governor declared a state of emergency.  My Christmas tree is lit up and decorated, my coffee pot full.  

I took several days off work this week, which also never happens.  I have a 90 minute massage scheduled for later this morning, and started worrying about 24 hours ago that it would be cancelled due to the weather, thus resulting in 3-4 phone calls. You know, just to make sure it's still on.  Thank heavens it is. I've been looking forward to these 90 minutes for about 92374 days.  

I have big and grand plans for my days off this week.  In preparation for snowed-in day today, I finished my Christmas shopping yesterday.  I also did five million errands I've been putting off for such a day as yesterday.  It was awesome.  Every last letter on that list got crossed off, and I did so many returns I swear I MADE money. Talk about bliss for this type-a.

Today is "bundled up day", and I am.  Until my massage at 11:00. But that's really still bundled and blissful.  On today's agenda is lots of organizing (did you know I LOVE to organize? I just barely ever do it because it takes time, which I don't really have lots of). I'm organizing my various manuals and warranties (a la alejandra.tv) and hanging a little basket in my entry closet for gym towels and heading-out-the-door gear.  Have I mentioned I love Command hooks? I don't love the idea of me wielding a hammer or screws, but those little hooks allow me to do the same stuff without permanent holes. Brilliance.  

Tomorrow is my personal planning + goal-setting day.  I'll take a look at 2012 and its ups and downs.  Upon us is 2013 - another year - and we only get so many.  I'll be spending time with my journal, my calendar, my bible, and this here blog.  And maybe the StrengthsFinder assessment, although I don't have many questions about my strengths and weaknesses, sometimes you just need to hear it again.

I'll be back tomorrow with a Girl Behind the Blog vlog about Christmas traditions.

11 December 2012

howdy hi hello (i have not disappeared)

image via
My apologies for the unplanned hiatus.  At work, junior league, life group, + church, full-on holiday harriedness has hit.  Hard.

Alas... that is life, and here I am.  

In January, I am co-hosting a baby shower for a close girlfriend whose first bebe is due in early February.  The invites arrived today via Tiny Prints, (use code HOLFS for free shipping on orders $49+ now through 12/31and they are SO STINKING cute. I cannot wait to show them to you.  Heavens.

For now, a hint. Like those little mustaches up there? I know, right? That's the hint.

PS. Tomorrow is 12.12.12.  Did you know this is likely the last time any of us will ever see a triplicate date - ever? Crazy, huh? To document it, tomorrow, I'm going to do A Day in the Life.  I'll post it later this week.  

--- xoxo ---

Affiliate links used.

06 December 2012

calendar time :: mama mia it's almost 2013

Can you believe it's already almost 2013?!  Sometimes it's fun to look at some of the major events that happened during the past year.

Here are just a few:

:: London Olympics :: Facebook went public :: Whitney Houston passes away :: leap year :: Encyclopedia Britannica discontinues its printed edition :: Andy Griffith passes away :: 

I realized this week that it's time to hop on the get-a-2013-calendar horse.  So, here I am, galloping away.  The past couple of years, I've relied solely on the calendar on my phone + Outlook at work, but this year, for longer-term planning purposes, I'm going back to good old paper.  Actually writing something down, coupled with seeing the entire month and its contents at the same time works better with my brain.  I can't wait to hang it on the wall next to my desk at home and get to work doing lots of planning!

I've always been a huge fan of Minted's paper products, and recently heard great things about their line of calendars, and some of the changes they've made over the past several months, including a new matte luxury finish.  I can't wait to get it in the mail.

Instead of a typical people-picture calendar, I decided to use all pictures that I've taken of life kinds of stuff.  

Here's the cover...

Oh my goodness, isn't the striped washi tape design just lovely? I love all the designs, and went with the Washi Chalkboard Notes calendar.  And also, because everything's better when it's bigger, I selected the "grand" size, which is 11.5" x 14" .  Ahem. 

The user-interface of the design program is nice and simple - and warns you if you're trying to upload an image that's not a high enough resolution.  See? It told me above, with that exclamation-point-yield thing.  Thank you little thing for not letting me screw up my wonderful work of art.

Minted also has a huge selection of gift ideas, which, if you have recipients on your list who have a love for color, great design, thick and rich papers, and something just a little creative, you may want to check it out.  

Here are a couple of my favorite gift ideas:

OUR WISH  family tree art print

BY THE NUMBERS infographic art print
Isn't the artwork to die for??

What are your calendar plans? Are you a paper or a screen calendar person?

This is a sponsored post. A calendar was provided to me for free. 
All opinions are my own, and I wouldn't do it any other way.  As my grandma Peryl used to say, 
"Integrity - if you have it, nothing else matters. If you don't, nothing else matters."
Affiliate links used.

05 December 2012


1. Taking a tip from my favorite manicurist, I use tin foil-wrapped, polish remover-soaked cotton balls on my fingertips to remove my shellac manicure. Let it sit for 15 minutes or so while you catch up on episodes of Private Practice.  It's way better than heading to the nail salon for the removal.  Also smarter than scraping off the shellac and sending my nails into nuclear shock.

2. This is how far I've gotten on decorating for Christmas.  Yes, those are the halloween baggies my mom made for my life group gals. And yes, I finally remembered to give them to my girls last night - a few days into December.  I guess I have no choice but to follow my own advice.

3. Check out these beautiful blooms. I didn't even edit this image.  Dang, gina. Those are some beauties. And the guy who showed up at my door with them isn't so bad, either. :)

4. I fully realize that everyone in the nation is talking about the weather.  But people, I LIVE IN WISCONSIN. It's cold here like 8 months out of the twelve.  Sixty-four degrees in December is OUT OF THIS WORLD.  Geesh.