A Christmas Village

christmas_villageIn a previous post, I mentioned that every once in awhile my town has an event that reminds me of the Gilmore Girls’ Stars Hollow. Last night was one of those events. Thousands showed up for a little event called “Christmas Village” that was held at our local fairgrounds. As I was driving over to the event, I kept wondering to myself how on Earth they were going to transform the county fair’s stinky, dirty buildings, used for showing of 4-H stuff and farm animals, and make it into a quaint “village.” To my surprise, they were able to “flip” the space into something quite lovely.

They decorated the roof of each building with white lights and had thetall_christmas_trees doors surrounded by holly and evergreen with lights mixed in. There were also big bows and ribbons adorning little Christmas trees around the area. The centerpiece of the event was the magnificent tree. It was absolutely beautiful with the lights that changed color on it periodically.

There were several local food vendors there selling cider, cocoa, kettle corn, and other seasonal items. Many tradesmen were there selling crafts and creations. For the kids, they had a giant, inflatable slide (40 ft high), a cookie decorating station, reindeer food-making station, and train rides around the fair grounds. On the loud speakers, they played Christmas music and the occasional song from Frozen.

lights_on_treesThe only down side to the event was the number of people attending and the chilly temperatures. I’m not one for crowds or cold weather! I don’t know how many times someone either cut me off while walking or decided to take a Sunday stroll right in front of me. Both of these things drive me crazy!

After we got home, my mom and I warmed up some tea and cider while settling down next to the tree for a Christmas movie marathon. All in all, it was a lovely night!

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Shopping Haul

The thing I love about this time of the year is all of the amazing sales going on! I walked into Belk (department store) and they had Sperry’s for $51 with an additional 40% off! I was close to hyperventilating after I saw that. Believe it or not, I didn’t buy any. I have tons of shoes now and nowhere to put them. Anyway, I did take advantage of a few other sales yesterday!

loreal_nail_polishAt Target, more things were on clearance than ever before. I got a red plaid, flannel queen sheet set for $19.99! Anyone who’s ever bought sheets knows that deals like that are hard to come by. pink_lipstickBrowsing the beauty aisles, I came by a few L’oreal products that were on clearance. I bought a gorgeous green-blue nail polish for $3 and a pink lipstick for $3 as well.

*By the way, if you’re looking for cute, last-minute decorations, Target is practically giving stuff away. See this post for some of my faves. Old Navy is also having some great deals on shoes, pajamas, layering tees, and fleece.

My final stop was at Michael’s craft store. I found super cute tiny gift bows in a pack of 8 for inslee_haynes_fashion_illustrationjust $1. These make great props for Instagram photos and you can’t beat the price. I also noticed they were having a sale on picture frames- 8″ x 10″ for $5.99. I need roughly 12 of these for a wall collage I’m doing with the Inslee Haynes illustrations I bought. Today, I just bought 4 and will wait until the next big sale. Another sale they had was on Mason jars. 8 oz jars were just $1.99! I only needed 4 of them so that was a great deal for me. Post to come on what I do with these Pinterest classics!

Probably the best part of my little shopping trip was when I got home and my mom surprised silver_coated_figurines me with this cute little silver bird I had been admiring at Michael’s but decided not to buy. I love pretty things to sit on my dresser or desk and just look at.

All in all, it was a successful shopping day. It was also my wonderful dad’s birthday. We got him an ice cream cake, took him to Outback Steakhouse, and gave him his gifts. As you get older I’m learning, birthdays aren’t as special. I’ve always wanted to do something big for my dad on his birthday but all the “big” things cost a fortune. Sadly enough, having a clown show up at your party or renting horses to do pony rides just isn’t cool when you’re turning 57.

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Trending for 2014: Lots of Sparkle

holiday_style_trendsOne of the first things I do when I wake up in the morning is check Instagram. Call me superficial or whatever, but it gives me a bit of inspiration for the day! I’ve been tracking and identifying a few key trends I’m seeing for this holiday season. Like you, I’m still figuring out what I’m going to wear for New Year’s Eve. I want to make sure I sparkle though! Luckily for me, the big trends have lots of sparkle!

The first thing on my list of sparkle, are these adorable H&M gold sequined pants. Is it just me or have you been seeing this all over the place? I have half a mind to think they’re incredibly itchy but probably worth it.

The next trend I’m eyeing are tulle skirts. My favorites are from Bliss Tulle but the one in the photo comes from Wardrobe by Dulcinea. These adorable skirts are pricey though. I’d suggest checking out Forever 21 and finding one there. I would also try it on to make sure it doesn’t make you look ridiculous. Some girls can pull this look off and others can’t. I personally cannot!

My next favorite statement right now are cuff earrings. These ones are from Bauble Bar and are the absolute cutest. The price is fairly reasonable as well. I thought the cuff trend would be a little too rock ‘n’ roll for my style but at a recent event I was at one girl really made them look feminine and flirty.

As we all know, the cute t-shirts with adorable sayings on them are ever-so popular. This ‘Cheers’ tee comes from the Couture Kitten on Etsy. I’d love to know how this girl made these fabulous shirts. They look so great with just about anything. Hint: You can totally wear one of these with the sequined pants or tulle skirt!

Finally, I have my eyes set on this fabulous clutch from Kate Spade. Sadly, it appears they don’t sell it anymore. I’m looking through Ebay to see if anyone is selling! I never thought so many girls would turn to clutches as an accessory given that they don’t hold much, but hey, at least it’s cute!

What trends have you been seeing? Let me know with a comment below!

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Christmas Decorating on a Budget

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Oh my goodness, Christmas is a week away! I’m freaking out! I haven’t watched half the movies I wanted to (namely Eloise at Christmastime, Elf, Christmas with the Kranks, and the Santa Clause). I haven’t baked a thing, not a single gift wrapped, still have shopping to do, and I’m not in the Christmas spirit! I keep saying to myself “Liz get in the spirit of the season! Hurry up!” and it isn’t working. I’m getting annoyed and running out of time. The big day is almost here and I haven’t done a thing to celebrate.

Anyway, rant over. I was walking through Target the other day and they have the cutest things for Christmas/winter decor. Some of it was already on sale! I’ve put together a few of my favorites for you guys in hopes of inspiring you to do some last minute decorating! I have so many cute things in mind for next year that I’m stocking up on Christmas everything December 26th.

The first thing I’m buying is that adorable ornament wreath! Everything you see in this post is from Target so it’s affordable. There’s nothing I dislike more than when bloggers or writers try to pass Pier 1 Imports off as “thrifty decorating.” There isn’t anything thrifty about spending $65 on a wreath. However, $20 I can work with.

Most of the pieces shown above I pictured in a living room and dining room setting. For example, the little silver tree could sit on the fireplace mantle or on a coffee table next to a stack of books. My number one tip for decorating is to keep it clean. There’s no need to overload your house (or lawn) with tons of knick knacks. Remember that less is more. Also, stick to a simple color scheme using no more than three coordinating colors.

Still need some Christmas inspiration? Check out my Christmas-inspired Pinterest page!

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Gift Ideas for Her

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This post goes out to all my lovely readers who are struggling to find something to give their besties and to any guys who are trying to figure out what cute gift to give their girl friend this Christmas! I’ve hand selected some of the cutest finds on Etsy that make me (and hopefully the person you’re shopping for) really happy!

Here’s my list of where I found these fabulous creations:

Enjoy your shopping! This week I’m going to try and finish up all of mine and wrap everything up to make it look pretty! Only a few people left to shop for and then I’m done. Picking up some Starbucks to help me with it. #Needcoffee

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Warm and Cozy Spaces

The Log Home
With it being a wintery, cozy climate in my home state here recently, I thought it would be appropriate to create a post featuring some of my favorite things. These things are somewhat seasonal or geographically specific.
Can I just say that I’m loving the antler chandelier though? It makes such a statement and really defines the space you’re in. The two candle stick holders really feed off the vibes from the chandelier as well.
When thinking of warm, cozy places I want to be I think of nice reading chairs, warm jacket and blanket, and a beloved cup of coffee or cider. I added these elements for a homey feel that everyone relates to during this season.
Finally, as more decorative pieces came to my attention, I settled on the gold vase and blue-colored rock formation. They add so much ‘pop’ and excitement to the room. I want to feel happy when I walk into my kitchen and these little touches really make me feel that way!
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Liz Morrison, BA: I Finished Undergrad

Today is a day that’s been four years in the making. Today I submitted my last assignment of undergrad. I’m done. In May, I’ll walk across the stage to receive my diploma, shake hands with the chancellor, and then continue walking straight into my future.

It’s crazy how fast the last four years have gone. I don’t know where the time went honestly. The last thing I remember is packing up my stuff to move on campus and now all of the sudden, I’m a bachelor’s degree holder. I started this journey back in August 2010 when I was just a kid on campus trying to figure out where the heck my classroom was. I can’t believe what a dork I was!

After all this time, I’ve grown so much. College turned me into an adult. It taught me how to think, write, feel, respond, engage, and so many other things. Most importantly, it taught me that no matter how difficult something is, it’s never too difficult to overcome. Some of the most challenging days were when I had to juggle my full time internship with my course load. I often wondered if that would be the day I just gave up and quit. As you might have noticed, I didn’t give up!

The experiences I have had showed me new things about myself I didn’t know. They showed me about life and how things change and progress differently than you might have expected and planned for. More importantly, these experiences created great memories and life isn’t worth living without them.

I gathered a few photos from the last four years to commemorate this day I have worked so hard for. Hope you enjoy them!

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What’s on My Grocery List

Every so often I get in the mood to cook and try my hand at a few recipes. Usually this lasts for about an hour and then I move on with my life. This time, I’m determined to actually buy the right things to cook with (and not let them go bad in the fridge!) Since it’s almost Christmas, I’m trying to lay off the sweets because I know I’ll be having some at every event I go to. I still need my little black dress to fit too!

I started my list with some Tzatziki sauce (greek yogurt, cucumber, and dill mixed together). I’m pairing this with the basmati rice and a little bit of Sumac, which is a Lebanese spice I believe. I figured with the rice some grilled chicken might be nice.

Next, I moved on to feta cheese and cherry grape tomatoes. Adding on that French baguette with some balsamic vinegar and pepper is going to be so good and refreshing. I might even throw in penne pasta if I’m feeling bold.

Last but not least, I’m a lover of pomegranates for their juiciness and crunchy seeds (I love them covered in dark chocolate). An additional snack that I enjoy is almonds for a quick boost in energy and feeling of fullness. Share with me what’s on your list!

grocery_list

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A Pottery Barn Christmas

On a recent trip to the mall, my chestnut praline latte and I went to visit Pottery Barn for Christmas decor ideas. I left with a million ideas and not enough money in my bank account to do them all. Between the carefully placed candles and faux Christmas trees and the twinkly lights strung perfectly on a mantle, I was positive in the future I would need to marry a millionaire for my decorating fantasies to come true.

I think we all look at these stores and wonder two things: 1) Who has the talent to design these gorgeous displays? and 2) Who can afford to buy the things in the displays? The answer to both is very few people. I believe in dreaming, however, and if I want a big house to decorate for Christmas, then so help me I’m going to get it! When we stop dreaming, we stop living.

The thing I love about stores like these is that they remind me of why I work so hard. I’m working towards a better future and in the mean time, I can just admire the work of someone else. Consider the cable knit and faux fur throws. How cozy are they? And the adorable Eiffel Tower Martini glass? I just love it! The subtle touches of “snow” and “ice” on the branches of each of the trees with the lights shining on them remind of a winter sunrise. These small touches make all of the difference in the world. They make your house a home.

What store inspires you during Christmas? Leave me a comment!
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Finals Week Study Session Checklist

finals_weekLast week and this week I’ll be preparing for my final exams in my final semester of college. This time of the year is exhausting and full of sleep deprivation. I have a paper to work on right now actually. It’s usually about finals week when I find a new show I have to watch on Netflix or a hobby I find interesting. Anything to distract myself!

In true college kid fashion, we sport our sweatpants and a Starbucks coffee cup every day of the week leading up to when we take our finals. There are always a few who found ways around this or even prepared months in advance for these all-important few weeks. These are the same ones who look at you perplexed when you say you’ve barely slept all week and have been eating easy mac and cheese at least once a day.

For your convenience, I’ve included a checklist of things to bring with you to the library for your 8 hour study sessions:

  • Highlighters
  • Spare notebook paper
  • Index cards
  • Fine tip pens
  • Antioxidant enriched teas to keep your immune system healthy
  • Motrin for headaches
  • Tissues for your emotional breakdown
  • Earbuds
  • Chargers
  • Small blanket because the library is always cold
  • Carryout/Delivery menu for late night cravings
  • Cheap pair of reading glasses to use when your eyes start to strain
  • Protein Bars
  • Travel mug
  • Textbooks

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