Ladies in Navy

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Everything in Moderation

Sweater: c/o Aeropostale (on sale!); Top: c/o Aeropostale (on sale!); Jeans: Gap; Boots: c/o Aeropostale; Necklace*, ring: c/o Rocksbox

*Find other Gorjana layering necklaces here

After many a weekend spent in over the last few months, saving, making our own meals, not going to fun events, Ben and I got fed up and had a bit of a full throttle weekend spent out with friends, family, and about Portland hunting for good eats and Christmas crafting. I suppose moderation (in everything, even saving money) is key so as not to go insane from deprivation. A lesson I hope to learn next go around with the savings piece. 

We started Friday with a low-key, TV night in. I went to bed before 11 p.m. and we both had a dribble of wine and a sip of home brew.  But Saturday, we started the morning off with a visit from Ben's family and a delicious lunch out at Ecliptic Brewery for pancetta covered burgers and amazing IPA. We killed time before meeting some good friends at the Rose City gun show out at the expo center and celebrated getting out of there alive and unscathed with an evening of bar hopping. We had wine and my first negroni at Coopers Hall, a flight of sour beers at Cascade Brewing a few blocks away, and then went for a second dinner at Fathead's Brewery in the Pearl. I think that it has become our late night stop for french dips when out wandering the city. May the gods be with my waistline. 

Today, in the torrential Portland rain and car-drowning puddles that built up from leaf-blocked drains, we headed to Schoolhouse Electric and Supply Co's flagship store here in PDX. Somehow, I'd never been. I swooned and fondled everything and left with an inexpensive stocking stuffer for my Dad, but held off on expensive candles, candlestick holders, Christmas ornaments, and dish towels that were gorgeous. We then picked up a breakfast treat at Grand Central Bakery and a rustic loaf for later-on grilled cheese, stopped at Bull Run Distillery hunting for their seasonal aquavit (sadly not in stores yet), and then drove off to start Christmas craft supply shopping. Hours later and drenched to the bone, we left Jo-Ann's with supplies to create walnut mouse ornaments (soon to be on the blog and currently on Instagram). All in all, a wonderful, full, sopping wet, tiring, perfect, busy weekend to kick off a short work week and a Thanksgiving dinner to host on Thursday!

What did you all do this weekend?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Gift Guide: Mom

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Halogen Cashmere Sweater; Kristen Elspeth Layered NecklaceBirds of a Feather Salt and Pepper Shakers; Cashmere Wrap Scarf
Linea Pelle BeltMonogram Floral Stationary;
Heath Ceramics Large Serving Bowl; Rifle Paper Co Les Femmes Calendar; Tory Burch Wallet; Iron Utility Scissors

My "Mom" gift guide looks really similar to my own personal gift guide, mostly because my mom is amazing and has great taste in leather, ceramics, dainty jewelry, and generally pretty things. I think that often moms ask for really useful gifts that aren't spendy or special. I can't count the number of times my own mom has requested dish towels or new plates. It's not half as luxurious or frivolous as presents for your mom should be. So this gift guide focuses on just that - things that are only luxurious and non-utility items.

I know that my favorite gifts during the holidays are always goods that I don't splurge on myself - like cashmere sweaters, gorgeous leather items, or ceramic serving dishes that make a statement. I also am always hunting down pretty paper goods, but often just buy a pack of notecards at Target or some drugstore instead of splurging on the thicker paper and personalized stationary that ups your correspondence game. Finally, my mom has been on the hunt for delicate layering necklaces and I just love this option! Such a pretty piece. Also be sure to check out Gorjana pieces for a good price point!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

DIY: Potato Stamp Wrapping Paper

The smell of a field of Christmas trees on a frosty morning is enough to bring me to tears. It is the promise of the magic of an entire month. It means that decor can start to overflow into the house, that the room will be filled with twinkling lights. It means parties and dinners and the Nutcracker on a freezing cold night, the anticipation of a rare Christmas snow. And it means that presents get to come out of their little cupboards and hiding spots to be wrapped up in ribbon and put out on display. 

My love for, and anticipation of, Christmas is quite probably cloying to others around me and Ben keeps me on a short decor leash come mid-November. Last week, though, we spotted a teensy little potted spruce for sale. And then I saw some glittery birds to add to my table decor. And once the birds and little spruce were up in the corner of the room, I lit my Glade Sparkling Spruce candle and plugged in my Glade Plugins Scented Oil Warmer and our whole house was warm, light, and full of the smell of a wintry forest and all the best piney bits of the season. Each waft of the candle and each time I opened the door to the house and caught a scent of pine, I felt like we had cheated a bit and snagged some of the season before the season had a chance to truly start. That's the magic of it, I suppose, that you let it start to creep into your heart and hearth and all the sudden, your Thanksgiving menu seems much important than sitting, snuggling in front of the Christmas tree breathing in the whole season.

My first DIY project of the holiday season started here, in a mist of spruce smell. I wrapped the first gift I had ready to go and decided (in keeping with my kraft paper obsession) to make a potato stamp (cheap and easy folks!) to DIY my wrapping paper. Read below for instructions!

You'll need:

1 potato
A knife
An ink pad (black, green, red all work)
1 roll of brown kraft paper
Paper towels

Slice a potato in half (hamburger style) so that you clearly have the end of the potato as a "handle" and can use the exposed surface to carve in your shape. Use a pen or pencil to draw out the shape of your item (a tree, a monogram, a stocking or candy cane shape, holly). Be sure that if you want to do a monogram you carve it in the reverse as the image will always appear reversed when stamped.

Cut away the sides of the potato's surface that you do not want appearing on your stamp (remove about 1/8-1/4" of potato, leaving the design raised). Be careful as it can be a bit slippery and unwieldy. Probably not a piece of this project for kids. Once you have carved out your design, dry off your potato and stamp away. The potato stamp will come out a bit imperfect but that is its rustic charm!

Do you have any seasonally awesome DIYs? Share! I'd love to hear how you wrap gifts!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.