Friday, December 22, 2017

Home for the Holidays 2017


Good morning and Merry Christmas faithful friends, followers and readers!  Let me start by saying how much each and every one of you mean to me.  I know just how precious time is, so the fact that you’ve taken some of yours to read my post(s) really means the world to me.
 

How’s the final push of Christmas prep going for y’all?  Are ya ready and waiting?  Or will you be braving the masses today in hopes of finishing up your shopping?  Either way, I just love this time of year.  Whether it’s the hustle and bustle of the mall or being cozied up at home, Christmastime is my favorite.  The parties, the break from school, the gift giving and the decorating, I love it all.


In the past, our house has been one that’s divided when it comes to a very ‘touchy’ Christmas decorating subject.


White lights or colored lights.


Every year I’m the captain for team white lights and, if you know me or have ever played a board game with me, then you know that I’ll do whatever it takes to win.  What. Ever.  When the girls were younger they were usually on team colored lights with daddy, but as the older two have grown they’ve come around to my purest ways of thinking. 


A few years ago, in a moment of weakness or guilt, not sure which one, I agreed to alternating between colored and white lights every other year.  However, truth be told, I wasn’t totally and completely faithful in that agreement.  I would put up the tree and the decorations while the kids were sleeping or at school and the husband was at work.  When they’d say “Hey, isn’t it a colored lights year”, I would innocently say “Is it?” then promptly change the subject and distract them with baked goods, hot cocoa and/or presents.  One year my husband insisted on colored lights.  It didn’t go well.  I threw a monumental fit and told him that he was ruining Christmas.  I hung the colored lights and my dignity on the tree that year. 


In early November, as I began planning this year’s Christmas décor theme, (because apparently the theme can’t just be Christmas) I had a revelation.  I thought about the Christmases of my childhood and what those looked like.  My mom had knack for transforming our house every year with a beautiful fresh tree, miles of garland, handmade stockings and, you guessed it, colored lights.  In fact, I can remember when she did her first white light tree (somewhere around the early 90’s white lights became the must have in Christmas décor).  While I was instantly sold on the white lights, there was a part of me that was going to miss those sparkling jewel tones that had faithfully and perfectly lit up our living room year after year.  


In that moment of Christmas pasts reflection, I made a decision, and what lights I’d be using that year was only a byproduct of this epiphany.  You see, when I decorate every year it’s not just for the family and I.  Nope, I’m thinking about everyone else and what they’ll think of my Christmas décor.  Will people like how it looks?  Will it be Instagram worthy?  It was a slippery slope of aiming to please that I’d been sliding down for far too long.  Here I was setting aside the wants and likes of my own family in hopes of getting them from complete strangers. 


That settled it.  My family, the only demographic that I should have been focused on pleasing all along, was getting their colored lights, and I was getting a whole new outlook.


We’ve decorated and displayed messy, imperfect gingerbread houses, looked through piles of handmade ornaments from years of classroom projects and laughed at the stories each one told.  We’ve had dance parties by the light of our colorful tree and I proudly displayed a beautiful brightly colored Christmas decoration made by my Great Grandmother.  Simply put, it’s been perfect.  It seems silly to say, but I feel a little like the Grinch when he realizes what Christmas is really all about.  While I knew it all along, it just took a few boxes of colored lights to remind me.


I’m excited to share a little tour of our home with you this Christmas!  I hope the pictures offer more than just décor inspiration and encourage you to fully embrace all that this season has to offer.




 



 











































(This is the wall hanging my Great Grandmother made)


Merry Christmas, God bless and Happy New Year!!


Jessica


PS Thanks for hanging in there with this longer than usual read 😊

Monday, January 23, 2017

Cute and Easy Valentines Ideas

Hello friends and hellooooo 2017!

I hope all you beautiful people are having an extra amazing start to the year.  If you're anything like me, it hasn't really sunk in that it's 2017.
(1. Because you're too busy to even notice, and 2. Because you're in denial).

I do love the New Year though.  The fresh start and promise of new beginnings.  I also love that it always feels like Spring is right around the corner, albeit a very long corner at times. 

The New Year also gets me thinking of the first holiday I get to decorate for and what kind of cute must-have things will be overflowing from the Dollar Spot at Target.  Because let's be real, if it's in that section at Target you HAVE to buy it and you NEED to decorate with it.

That leads me to the purpose of the post, the first 'decorating holiday' of the year!
(Well I guess it's technically the second if you decorate for the New Year.  And if you actually do that then you're an overachiever and we can't be friends.  Lol, totally kidding!  Sort of).  ;)

Valentine's Day.

The day your kids bring home cutely decorated bags overflowing with adorable little cards, heart-shaped candies, pencils with matching tiny erasers that you'll accidentally suck up with the vacuum in a week or less.

Yep, I've always been a fan of Valentine's Day (is it even really a holiday?  I should Google that).  What I'm not a fan of, however, is spending countless hours handcrafting the perfect cards, literally using tweezers to glue on each individual piece of glitter OR going to the store and thoughtlessly buying the first box of Valentine's I see.  I fall somewhere in the middle.  I want our Valentine's to be cute, homemade and fun, but need them to be quick, easy and economical.  Ya feel me?? (P.S. If you go to the store and buy the first box of Valentine's you see, you rock.  I need to try and be more like you).

In the spirit of cute, homemade, fun, quick, easy and economical Valentine's, here are some options that are exactly that.


What kid doesn't love donuts?  Throw some store-bought sprinkled donuts in cellophane bags, tie them up with some ribbon or bakers twine and add the FREE printable tag from Jenny over at Bloom Designs and you're done!!



2.  Valentine You're a Ball (and other cute sayings) 
Shannon and Rebecca of Petite Party Studio have these adorable FREE printables up for grabs.  Just pick up the necessary supplies (cello bags, candy, circle punch, etc.) and you're practically done!  They're all SO cute!



This one would be a fun project for both littles and older kids.  There's no printable, but it was just too cute not to share!  You could do up a big batch and take it in for the class party or package up little bags and include a small store-bought Valentine card, either way, I just love this idea from Hello Wonderful.
 


If candy isn't an option or you just want to go a healthier route, check out this 'cutie' idea from Linda at Craftaholics Anonymous.  It really doesn't get any easier, grab the appropriate fruit, print out the FREE printable tags and package them up!



See, aren't those cute AND easy??  I mean, come on, you're practically already done!  I'd love the hear your thoughts or if you've come up with a great Valentine for your kiddos (or coworkers)!  Let me know if you have any questions too, I'm always happy to help!  Don't forget to show me a little love by sharing this post, liking my Facebook page, and following me on Instagram!

Have a great Monday!

Jessica

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Taco Tuesday!!

It's Tuesday and what goes best with Tuesday??
 
TACOS.
 
It's true!  They're the stuff dreams are made of.
 
If fact, they're so dreamy that one of the first meals I made for my hubby when we were dating was tacos.  With both of his parents being from Mexico and his affinity for authentic Mexican cuisine I KNEW he would be more than a little impressed with my mad south-of-the-border culinary skills.
 
Or so I thought.
 
Apparently, unbeknownst to me, the tacos I grew up eating (your classic ground beef, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, olives, etc.) were a little more 'American' than my mom (and that cute little Chihuahua) had led me to believe. 
 
I'll never forget the moment when I proudly presented my future husband with his taco dinner.  He looked at it, looked at me (trying to and failing at not grinning), looked back at the plate and then said, with brutal honesty -- ahem, loving support, those are not tacos. 
 
Say whaaaaaa?!?!
 
Yep.  It's true.  My tacos weren't actually authentic at all.  I was missing some major key ingredients. 
 
All of them.
 
Flour tortilla  Corn tortilla
Ground beef  Carne Asada, pork or chicken
Lettuce  Cabbage
Cheese  Cilantro
Olives  Salt
Sour Cream  Chile (aka homemade salsa)
Tomatoes  Lime juice
 
As much as I hate being wrong (although in this case I think it's fair to say I had been receiving years of misinformation, basically brainwashed), I have to admit that the 'tacos' I was making don't come close to the real thing. 
 
This one's for you babe. 
 
In writing.
 
I'll admit.
 
You were right.
(Were. This once. Simmer down).
 
Now onto the good stuff, a seriously delicious Taco Fiesta!  Kelly over at Studio DIY threw the most AMAZING Taco Piñata Workshop Party!  Just look at all these maravilloso images from her event!
 
This shot is everything.


 
LOVE El Pato, it's the real deal!  And using the can as a planter?!  Pure genius.
 

 

 

 
Just when you thought it couldn't get any better....
Tacos, crafting AND a swag bag!
#takeallmymoney
 
 
For more pics and all the details click here!
 
Ok amigos, that's all for now!  Happy (Taco) Tuesday!
 
Adios!
Jessica

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

It's A Bug's Life

Hey there all you beautiful readers, followers and friends.  We've made it to hump day and man, did I wanna keep sleeping when that dreaded alarm went off.  So I'm feeling pretty accomplished in only hitting the snooze 3 times.
(That's all it lets me snooze.  Dang smart phone).
 
The other day I was looking for some photos of a past event.  I grabbed the SD card out of the camera and plugged that baby into the computer.
 
Nope.
 
My fears were true.  The only images I had of the adorable Bubble themed party I did for a client were on my phone.
 
So.
 
Totally.
 
Lame.
 
The silver lining was finding photos of not just one, but TWO other parties I had done.  All of which made me realize I really suck at getting party photos posted.
 
Here's the deal.
 
After spending umpteen-million man-hours conceptualizing, planning, creating, procuring and putting it all together, the last thing I want to do is be the photographer, spending a millennia editing my mediocre photos.  When I've got a pro to shoot an event, it's like Christmas getting those photos back and I can't post them fast enough, but Jessica the photographer (that's me) isn't as eager to showcase her photographic work. 
 
Well, I'm gonna get over that.
 
So I'm no Annie Leibovitz.
 
Big deal.
 
I'm not letting a few less-than-stellar photos keep me from sharing all the fun details with you.    
 
Now, let's get to the goods.
 
A few months ago I put together A Bug's Life 5th birthday party for Sally, the cutest-curliest-haired-little-girl!  This party was especially fun because much of my inspiration came from the happiest place on earth!!  If you've ever been to A Bug's Land in Disneyland you know that everything is supersized, making you feel extra buggy, and that's how I wanted the party décor to feel. 
 
Take a look!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 

 

 
 


 
 
 
Here's a list of the items I custom made for this event (which was held at the MAC in downtown PDX):
 
Faux Grass Backdrop
Giant Pencils
Wood Round Cake Stand
Watermelon Prop
Leaf Welcome Bunting
Sally's Birthday Leaf Sign
Bug's Life Character Cut-Outs
Waterbottle Labels
Animal Cracker Box Centerpieces
Napkin Wraps
Bug w/ Rock Candy Party Favor
 
Phew.
 
That wasn't so hard.
 
I hope you enjoyed my 'unprofessional' photos ;) and maybe even found a little inspiration for your next party!
 
XOXO
Jessica