Cleaning Up- Christmas Storage Ideas

This is the time of the season when I always feel like I have too much stuff and while that’s probably at least a little true, part of it has to be that I don’t own any Christmas organizational storage containers. I always thought that they were for fancy people who didn’t have enough other things to buy but honestly, with each year, those boxes look better and better.

Our tree is not some gorgeous designer, pinterest-worthy tree. We fill our tree with ornaments from our life and travel and while they aren’t all antique, handmade, glass blown, bajillion dollar ornaments, they’re priceless to me because they represent us. While the world would certainly not end if one of them broke, it’s not like I can just pop over to Paris anytime I wish to replace it (although wouldn’t that be lovely!). And really, the boxes aren’t that bad if you know where to look. Check out this one from Target.

Holiday Ornament Storage

It’s in-store only (sorry guys) but it’s less than $10 and holds 64 ornaments. What’s also nice is that seeing your ornaments is now so much easier. No more digging through boxes and unwrapping paper for 15 minutes trying to find that one ball or another.

Tree Keeper Ornament Tray

For all of you who don’t want to leave your house, this option is $5 off right now and has great reviews. It hold the balls a little bit more snuggly and let’s face it, the bag looks pretty and these can be easily stacked.

Large Wire Basket

This last deal that I’ve found is this brass basket that is just north of $20 and would be perfect for beautifully holding all of those throws and blankets you’re surely going to need now that the weather is cold. Just roll up each blanket tightly and it becomes a beautiful and convenient way to add texture and interest into your room.

So wish me well as I desperately try to get myself off the couch and back to cleaning the house and clearing up decor.


Lovely Links


Here are some interesting, beautiful or inspiring lovely links from around the web this week as I’m hurriedly packing and trying desperately not to stress about leaving in a few days:

We love inviting people over but haven’t really had almost anyone over since we moved. I’m sure we’ll get back into the grove and have parties again once we’re a bit more settled because it feels so strange to not have them. But then I read that dinner parties a thing of the past?

The Pope chuckles meeting his tiniest fan- how adorable!

Trying to fit most of my previous apartment’s decor into the new house has been a bit of a challenge, especially when it’s already time to start decorating for the holidays. I’m trying to keep my decorations more muted and “grown up” this year so I loved these brilliant fall decor ideas without a single pumpkin in sight.

I’m leaving for Ireland Friday and packing this and this to help my skin stay fresh with all of the travel.

Every home decor blogger has mentioned this ottoman lately and it’s life changing (OK, maybe just room changing) abilities.

This FREE printable is beautiful and would be perfect to pop into a frame and give as a gift.

I’m not normally a hat person but I’ve seen everyone wearing these lately and it might be prudent to have something to cover my head out in windy Ireland.

Trying to talk myself out of buying this for our bed, especially since it’s still over 90 degrees here! But oh, the knit!

Self worth vs self esteem– which one we should actually strive for.

What awesome things have you found on the Internet lately? Make sure to check in next week and follow on Instagram and Facebook as I’ll be putting up posts and pics from beautiful Ireland!


Sometimes There’s Clouds

Cloud Art

Lately I’ve felt pretty overwhelmed. When I list out everything that is causing me anxiety, worry, or stress though, I feel like a bit of a whiney brat because so many of those things are awesome. We’re traveling, bought a new house, finishing up work projects, volunteering, etc. and while they’re all wonderful new changes, the happening all at once part is making me feel less than adequate. Back in college I remember learning about how any change, good or bad, causes stress and I’ve thought a lot about that lately. Even with all my great luck (or blessings if you’d like to call it that), I still feel a little “off” sometimes which then leads me to feel incredibly guilty for being ungrateful. This only leads to a downward spiral situation.

But I was driving the other day and saw the most beautiful cloud formations. I love clouds; they’re beautiful and grand and majestic and even sometimes a little moody. And even though they were covering up the sun and obscuring the beautiful sunlight, they were beyond lovely themselves. I thought about how when I lived in southern California I missed the clouds and the constant sun felt like a drain after awhile. I almost think that happiness can be the same way. Constant sunshine, like constant happiness, is not sustainable and we shouldn’t expect it to be. Sometimes there’s going to be clouds and we should not only accept it but embrace it as part of the human experience. As I’ve started picturing my anxieties and feelings as clouds, I’ve come to better realize that they’re fleeting. No feeling, good or bad, can last forever and there is beauty in experiencing the the spectrum. And I’ve come to realize that I’d much rather have a beautiful life than a perfect one, clouds and all.



(Beautiful Painting Source)


Footwear for Anywhere: Shoes For My Next Adventure


I’m not sure if I’m lucky or crazy but tonight I just booked my flight for Dublin, Ireland! Now I know most logical people out there are thinking “wait, didn’t she just buy a 50 year old fixer upper LAST MONTH?” Yes, yes I did. But you see, the husband has to go out there for work and I joked that if he didn’t take me with him, he shouldn’t come home (kidding, not kidding). So we’re going, even though it doesn’t make a lot of sense. It puts some of our home projects out a little bit further out but honestly, I’m OK with it. When we were thinking about buying a house, we worried that buying one would end our adventures so while this trip isn’t necessarily convenient, it’s definitely ensuring we don’t end up spending all our extra cash on the house.

But enough about the house, let’s get back to the trip! We’re going to be there at the very beginning of October with the average temperatures being 50-60 degrees with high likelihood of some rain. So this means I’m going to need some new duds since Austin weather is quite a bit different. I’ve looked and looked for cute and comfy shoes that fit the bill and I keep coming back to the same pair, although in different colors. But look at them, can you blame me?


TOMS Desert Wedge Booties

They’re pretty much primed to be travel shoes. A little waterproof spray and the suede should survive most rain, especially if you got them in one of the darker colors. Amazon reviews (who doesn’t live and die by them, honestly?) swear that they’re comfortable all day long despite the wedge heel. I’ve had TOMS flats before and loved how comfy they were so I’m pretty sure these will be as well. One of the best things about these though, is that I think they’ll look great with the skinny jeans I have now and the flare jeans that are SO in this season.

These booties have been out for a season or two so do any of you have them? If so, love or hate them? Also, I would LOVE to hear any recommendations you have for visiting Ireland! I’m so excited to hear anything and everything you recommend!



(Castle Image Source)

Settling Into Yourself

Peony and Marble

I’m sure that we’ve all had times when we’ve taken a step back and realized that we’re not where we thought we’d be or even who we thought we’d be. It’s not necessarily a comfortable moment but I’m coming to realize that’s OK. In reading Dan Harris’s book 10% Happier he talks about meditation and how we find discontent when our idea of how things should be confronts the idea of how things are. I’ve thought a lot about it and how it relates to my life, my goals, and my general ideology. I’ll admit that I used to be somewhat of a self-help junkie- working at Franklin Covey will do that to you- and I’ve taken so much advice to heart but honestly, there are so many conflicting messages out there. We’re told to by some schools or thought to “never stop improving” and then other camps declare to “love yourself” so much and so hard until everything becomes clear. 

But is any of it true? Are there any magical mantras that will fix lapses in confidence or times when you’re sure you’re the strangest, most unloveable creature? Well, I haven’t read every single book out there but I’m pretty sure that there isn’t. Now it doesn’t mean that all of these writers and gurus are complete hacks (although some of them certainly are) but rather that they found their personal compass, their “personal truth”, if you will, and want to share it. So how do we find our “truth” when we’re in the middle of life, deadlines, and everything else? How do we decide what message we should repeat to ourselves when times feel rough, or when life feels all turned around?

I can’t claim that I have the right answer but I’m working on having the right answer for me. I’m trying to walk that fine line between over-planning and letting go and I’m not always good at it. In fact, I often struggle with the balance of it all. But even though I’m not even close to mastery, I think that it’s good to talk about it with other people. I’m always surprised when I’m struggling with something and find out that there are many other people who are struggling with the same issue, especially when I was sure that I was the only person that couldn’t get it together on that certain thing. I feel ridiculous each time I come to that realization. There is power in common goals and even in common suffering and we do a disservice to ourselves and others when we pretend we have it all together because we don’t. None of us do.

So I’m here today declaring I’m imperfect and still finding my way. I’m still on the path trying desperately to settle into myself, my life, and my relationships with others and that I’m fine with it. Or at least I’m working on it.

Talk About It Tuesday: Have You Hung Up Your Diploma?

University of Texas Diploma

This is the corner of my office. That gray box is filled with art ready to be framed and heaven knows what’s in those manilla folders. Receipts? Insurance info? Your guess is as good as mine. But behind my semi-organized stuff is one of my greatest accomplishments, my college diploma.

I realize that people graduate from college every day of the week- well, mostly in May, but my point is that tons of people finish college. For some people it’s easy, and in four years they’re dunzo. But for me, it wasn’t that way. I had a lot of starts and stops, a lot of people doubting my abilities, and even a university change thrown in there. It’s not that I couldn’t do the coursework, or even that I didn’t want to but it seemed like life kept getting in my way. But I did it. I finally finished (with honors :).

I finished at 26, quite a few years after most people. In fact, the University of Texas (hook’em!) even categorized me as “non-traditional” because I was so old when I transferred in. Believe me, its *awesome* to be considered old in your mid twenties (I forgive you, UT). But despite feeling a little bit old, walking across that stage was truly one of the highlights of my life. So it totally makes sense how I was waiting with bated breath for my official diploma to arrive. I think I had it framed almost immediately. And then it sat on the floor. And it still sits on the floor in that same spot. Shameful, I know.

So my question today is, have you hung your diploma? When you think about it, it’s probably one of the most expensive pieces of paper you own and might ever own. If you’re like me and never have, what’s holding you back? For me, I’m not really sure why. So this week I’m going to locate my hammer and a nail and get my fancy piece of paper up on the wall where it deserves to be.


Why my iPhone is Full of Photos

Photos on my iPhone

*I need to thank you all for the love yesterday- I didn’t expect such an outpouring of support and it was simply wonderful. You guys are the best. A few of your comments actually inspired me to write this post.*

The screen shot above is a mere fraction of the photos I keep on my phone. I have so many photos on my phone, in fact, that my phone is always nearly full. The husband always tells me to delete a few (or more than a few) photos to free up space. Sometimes I do, but most of the time I just can’t. What happens instead is I end up looking through my photos and thinking about the moments each one represents.

Each snapshot is more than the ‘likes’ it receives, it’s a piece of my life. On hard days, or even just really boring moments, I often find mind myself turning on my phone and scrolling through my photos. In doing this, I’m reminded of all of the truly awesome and amazing things about my life. Travel, family, friends, adventures- all of these things are blessings in my life. When life gets a little rough, which it sometimes tends to do, there isn’t much that helps me get out of that funk faster than remembering how good I have it. My phone carries more than enough proof. Proof that I’ve had great moments, truly lived and have been loved.

I will admit that eventually I run out of space (how did I ever think 16 gigs was enough?!) and I have to load some of them to my hard drive. Each time I do this I usually resolve to do two things: 1. Capture and appreciate more of life’s moments and 2. Next time buy a phone with more memory.

Talk About it Tuesday: Would You Buy Baby Clothes Without Having a Baby?

Antique Blessing/Christening Dress

So today I did something I vowed I would never do. I bought baby clothes. For me. Or rather, for the baby that doesn’t quite exist. A little crazy, right? I mean, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen some adorable baby outfit, but this vintage blessing dress instantly caught my eye at an estate sale and I was mesmerized. And now that I think about it, I actually broke two of my personal rules- I bought used clothing at an estate sale. But seriously, did you see that lace and hand embroidery? It was just too delicate and pretty to leave behind, especially since it was only $16!

Even with it only being $16, we’re still childless. Still no squiggly babe arms to fit into those beautiful little sleeves. We’re currently working on the kid thing (and have been for a couple years), so I am a little worried that I might be jinxing it with this purchase. Does that make me even crazier for thinking that? I’m not sure, but fertility issues can do that to ya, I guess. Then there’s also that pesky gender issue. I know that these days boys are wearing dresses but if I ever have a son, I’ll be dressing the little man in adorable pants, not a flowy, cotton dress.

But despite all of these factors, as I picked up the dress and showed it to my husband, he immediately told me to buy it. He knows how crazy I think it is, but he didn’t hesitate. I’m pretty sure that he could tell that despite all of the logical reasons not to buy it, I still really wanted it and this was his way of saying that sometimes it’s ok it to be a little crazy, maybe even a little hopeful.

So packed I’ve got it all packed away, hoping it’ll get some use at some point in the future. And if not, well, I’m that crazy lady who has a baby gown in her closet.