30 January 2013

january grey

my car immediately prior to its carwash this weekend. 

It's that time of year, isn't it?  Things are grey, at least in this part of the country.  My car is grey from the salted streets. Event the parking lot is grey.  Lots of days, the sky is grey.  It's mid-winter, and things are a little bland. Except for that cold wind. The cold wind is anything but super-sub-zero bland. 

Although I'm not one that struggles with Seasonal Affective Disorder (that I know of, at least), I sure have to find ways to help the cold days pass. Here in Wisconsin, there are a lot of cold days.

What do I do to keep away the grey?

  • Get to the gym: When it's cold like it has been the past several weeks, there's really not much opportunity to spend time outside. I miss the fresh air, but I do my best to get to the gym. 
  • Use fresh ingredients in my cooking: Even in January, I love fresh ingredients - especially fruits.  It costs a little bit more when nothing is growing regionally, but I still buy a pint of strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries each week, and enjoy them with breakfast. 
  • Use a wake-up light on a timer: I know I talk about it a lot, but setting a light timer for early in the morning so my bedroom is light when I wake up has revolutionized my mornings. I jimmy-rigged mine, but it looks like they actually make these things!
What do you do to keep the grey away? Have you ever considered a mood lamp? I have.

28 January 2013

How to host a non-fussy Mustache Themed Baby Shower

I mentioned recently that I had the opportunity to co-host a baby shower for a good friend of mine who's expecting a sweet baby boy any second (almost literally) now.  You should know… I LOVE hosting showers for friends. It's an opportunity for friends to come together to show friends they are loved and supported and cared for.  What beauty.


My co-host friend (who is also a good friend of mine) and I had no trouble choosing the mustache theme. First of all, it's hilarious. Second of all, they're having a boy.  Obviously. Finally, there are zillions of adorable mustache invitation and favor options out there right now. And so the theme was born.  


We started by selecting these darling invitations from Tiny Prints.

I know, right? Too much.  They served as the perfect backdrop for an enjoyably un-fussy event.

Choosing the venue was also quite simple.  Our first consideration, of course, was cost.  Neither of us felt up to hosting in our homes (one of us lives in a small condo, and the other a home that's for sale and needs to be showing-ready at any time), so we started the search for a comfortable yet classy and delicious venue.  We landed on La Brioche True Food, a local favorite. Their coffee is perfect, and their pastries to die for.  Besides that, our mama-to-be friend loves it there.  Dunzo.

They worked within our price range, and provided a delicious spread of locally-sourced quiche, fresh fruit, coffee, and an adorably simple mustache cake.  It was perfect.


Neither me, my co-hostess friend or my mama-to-be friend are fans of shower games. I think people usually add them into their events because they feel obligated to have them, because that's what people do. Not me. I think they're awkward and not very fun. Except at bridal showers when you record the fiancé answering questions about his bride. I love that one.  In my humble opinion, people want to come, say hello, celebrate the honoree, and get the heck out. I'm just being honest, here people.

Because it's nice for guests to have a little something to occupy their hands and time, we set up a mini polaroid photo shoot and little mustache-hold-up-thingys for guests to take pictures by themselves or with a friend. It was pretty cute.  My co-hostess had the polaroid camera and hold-up-thingys left from her wedding, so we re-purposed them just for this occasion.  Yay. Guests affixed their photos in a small photo book we provided for the mama-to-be after the shower.

Don't let the idea of hostessing intimidate or overwhelm.  Keep it simple and plan with care in mind. It's a great way to show your friend they're loved.


Disclosure: Affiliate links used. Tiny Prints provided the lovely invitations at no cost for this event. All opinions are my own. 

23 January 2013

Currently

Pajaki Chandelier via

Loving: The fact that it's staying lighter in the evenings. It may be sub-zero temperatures in these parts, but at 5:30, we've still got some sunlight!  Here comes spring.

Cooking:  Paula Deen's Hot Chicken Salad.  It's such a nice warm dish for a cold winter lunch or dinner.  I modify a bit and add a can of cream of chicken soup. I also use french-fried onions for the topping, instead of chips, which is what the recipe calls for.  Not only is this dish delicious the first time around, it tastes great as leftovers. 

Watching: Nashville, duh.  I am such a sucker for shows and movies about musicians.  If you haven't' checked it out, I highly recommend giving it a shot.  The music is original, the actors can sing, and the storyline is catchy.

Looking Forward To: The Super Bowl (can we say that on blogs? ahem The Big Game)! No, people, the football is so not the main attraction.   It's the National Anthem and the Halftime Show!  The National Anthem is going to be performed by miss Alicia Keys (here's a preview in case that's not enough to get you in your seat on time (which BY THE WAY I hosted a Super Bowl party last year and wouldn't you know I missed the National Anthem?! It's only my favorite three minutes of the whole dang game!). The halftime show, then is going to be performed by miss Beyonce, who is also quite wonderful, but just got caught lip-syncing the national anthem at this most-recent inauguration. Not cool Mrs. Zee, but I can't wait for your half time show.

21 January 2013

January Birchbox Live Reveal

I've talked before about my love for Birchbox, which I think stems from the fact that forever in my life I've loved a good subscription anything.  Give me a magazine or different citrus each month, and I'm a happy camper.  Birchbox is as much fun as a surprise new magazine (or a box of tangelos, if you will), but with the girly every-kind-of-sample-you-might-want-to-try-before-you-buy twist.

I gift it all the time, in addition to my own subscription.  Additionally, Birchbox recently came out with a little HOME pop-up shop.  Be still my heart.

It took a strong personal recommendation from my sister, though, before I was willing to bit the bullet and signed up, because I wasn't really sure what I was getting myself into.  So… in case any of you are in that same show-me-first mindset, I recorded a little reveal of me opening this month's box.

Enjoy. :)




Here are some ways I've used Birchbox:
  • Happy Birthday!
  • Thank you for your time!
  • Happy New Baby, mama! Treat yourself!
  • New to the beauty thing? Here are some samples to get started with!
  • Impromptu birthday party! Need something quick!
  • I don't know what to get you, but you're a gal, and you'll love this!

And if you think Birchbox might be for you… here's my referral link.

16 January 2013

words to walk with

During my self-imposed Christmas vacation, you may remember that I took one day as a personal planning day.  It's super helpful for me to have time alone in general, and especially helpful when I'm looking to reflect back, for the purpose of making plans for the upcoming year.  

I took some time to write down the good things about 2012.  I also wrote down the things about 2012 that were really hard or disappointing.  There were a few, but it was really healing to think on them and write them down.  I did some planning for this here blog, and I set some real actual goals (not new years resolutions*) I took the StrengthsFinder assessment. The resulting strengths-report did not surprise me, but was nice to reflect on.  I had my caramel brûlée latte in a ceramic mug, because that's a treat, since I almost always drive-thru or have to jet to my next destination.

It was quite lovely.

I think personal planning day is a new tradition for cammie.

Another piece of my time with myself was to select a verse that I hope will provide a framework for my year.  It's a beautiful verse from the Old Testament - Zephaniah (poor guy - nobody ever talks about him), to be specific.



Isn't it beautiful? For this type-A, performance-driven girl, the thought of God taking DELIGHT in me, REJOICING over me…  hard to swallow, but true - and so my 2013 Words to Walk With is born.  

Do you have any words to walk with this year? Did you take some time at year-end to reflect or plan? I'd love to hear what works for you!

*Because they are a setup for failure, and why do that to yourself year after year?

14 January 2013

Lately

Best bud's new baby.  What a peanut. #cantgetenough

Mustache-themed baby shower sneak peak! More to come.

Selfie. 
Helping good friends move in next door.
My muscles aren't huge, but I like to help friends move.  So I bring food.  Pioneer Woman's Sloppy Joes, Clementines, Kettle Chips, Pita Chips + Hummus, Brownies, Assorted Sodas, accompanied by garbage bags and a roll of toilet tissue - because you usually forget to leave one out when you're packing.

New caffeinated non-coffee treat Starbucks Refreshers. Nomnom.

11 January 2013

wedding bells (this is not an announcement)

nerd girl alert:  i. love. weddings.  always have.

i myself have not yet gotten to have a wedding (ahem), and i'm a big believer that the marriage is a gazillion times more important than the wedding itself, so let's not get out of hand.

that being said - weddings are beautiful and people are happy and love is lovely and it brings together all the couples' most special people all in the same room.  doesn't happen again until, well, you're not there.

i recently came across minted's inspiration boards, and their inspiration board challenge (where you can win up to $1000 - wowza!) which is almost like pinterest, in that you create a board of your favorite looks and ideas, to help you crystalize the overall look you're going for.  how fun, right?!  

here's one of my favorites from the inspiration boards i perused…


and a few items from my omg {i'm secretly a wedding inspiration board} board on pinterest...





so go ahead.  create an inspiration board. youknowyouwantto.

09 January 2013

GIVE :: 2012 Christmas Wrapping Theme


Did I show you my wrapping theme for 2012? I love wrapping themes.  For the past several years, I've used brown kraft paper as my base, then accented the neutral brown with festive ribbons and gift tags. So much fun.  

This year, along with the brown kraft paper, I selected preppy accents of polka dotted paper and green striped grosgrain ribbon.  
I'm so pleased with how the crispness of the color, and with how fun it turned out.  I found the ribbon and polka dotted paper at JoAnn Fabrics, and the brown kraft paper came from Ikea, though you can find it at most craft stores (and also Target or similar).  The gift tags came from somewhere on the web as a printable, but I can't for the life of me find the spot to link back.  Please let me know if you know the original source! I would love to credit the artist!

07 January 2013

Favorite Things 2012 :: What I Gifted

Over the Christmas holiday, the gals in my family had our 2nd-annual Favorite Things gift exchange.  I LOVE gift-giving (pretty sure it's my love language), and each year, start thinking in January about what I will gift at our upcoming exchange (girl's gotta think ahead!).  

This fall, I happened to stumble upon Emily Ley's beautiful + fresh website and her correspondingly lovely line of stationary products. As I perused the site, I found Emily's line of Great Day plates, which are adorable and unusual all at the same time.  Thus my favorite things gift for 2012 was born.  

I love gifts that are thoughtful and a little silly all at the same time.  It's so fun to think of us adult ladies setting our very adult tables with these plates after a great day.  LOVE IT.  Plus it's slightly hilarious.

This isn't a sponsored post. The lovely ladies at Emily Ley don't know who I am. Well, actually, Gina, their Creative Director knows me. I emailed her approximately 75 times to make sure my package was going to make it in time.  They're a lovely bunch, I tell ya!  If you shop them (I hope you will), tell them I sent you (especially if you talk with Gina). :)


05 January 2013

favorite links from around the web

Hello weekend!  Don't you just love it?

Here are some of my favorite links from around this great web:



I hope your weekend is full of fun.

04 January 2013

Favorite Things 2012 :: The Goods

My mom, sister, and sisters-in-law all have outstanding taste, so I look forward each year to seeing what they're loving.  It's always really great.  

Here's my haul from this year's favorite things exchange:

  1. Brightly-colored hand-crafted bracelet from Freedom Firm :: To provide sustainable livelihoods to women rescued from prostitution
  2. Super sweet Homegrown Monogram Mug from Anhropologie.  Because I love anything with my initial on it.
  3. Philosophy Lip Shine in Crispy Marshmallow Bars.  Yum.  + LUSH Lip Scrub in Mint Julips.  Dang gina, it's edible.
  4. MixerMate Bowl (eligible for free SuperSaver shipping now!). Tornado-like action mixes more thoroughly with no splatter. From the woman who taught me everything I know about cooking, entertaining, and foodie-ing.

Have you ever done a Favorite Things exchange? What are some of your favorite favorites?

I'll be back on Monday for WHAT FAVORITE I GAVE (drumroll please….)

03 January 2013

Favorite Things 2012 :: Cast of Characters

Last Christmas, the ladies in my family started a new Favorite Things gift exchange tradition.  Getting together and exchanging each of our most-favorite things has become one of our most-anticipated Christmas traditions, and this year did not disappoint.

I have a nice and large family:

Dad D
Mom J
Big Brother M
Little Brother K (not little at all)
Littler Brother T (not little at all)
Little Sister M
and ME! I'm second oldest.

Two of my brothers are married, so I have two awesome sisters-in-law. Couldn't really get  much better than them. 

My sweet niece S gets to tag along (lucky duck!) because she doesn't have any girl cousins to bomb around with while the adult ladies are doing our favorite things thing!

The Cast of Characters:


Aren't they beautiful? I love them.

We headed out to lunch at one of my favorite local eateries (which coincidentally had a bad fire yesterday -- wwaaaaahhhhh boohoo #pleasere-opensoon), and capped off our lunch with our favorite things exchange. 

Come on back tomorrow for all the GOODS that we exchanged.