December in Photos

★ Treated myself to the Shoshanna Amulet from BaubleBar to wear for our annual Eggnog & Dessert party after seeing it here.  I adore this statement necklace.

★ Put the finishing touches on our living room tree and on the blue tree in the hallway.  The lights make me so happy.

★ I’ve been saving this book for December – the perfect book to curl up with on a chilly winter night (it’s My True Love Gave to Me).

★ Lots of baking –  chewy chocolate ginger cookies and orange cranberry mini loaves for our party; cannoli cheesecake for Christmas dinner (my first cheesecake!).

★ Eric took me to an amazingly beautiful display at the Dallas Arboretum of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

★ Participating in a fun book photo challenge and remembering some books from earlier in the year.

★ A holiday isn’t a holiday without a holiday mani!

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Playlist: Winter White

Winter White

Some things I’m loving…

Winter, and January especially, is all about white or hushed tones and a bit of sparkle.  I have to share something I’d been coveting forever, and finally treated myself to, in December.

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This is the Shoshanna Amulet from BaubleBar.  I love love love this necklace so much.  I bought it specifically for our holiday party, but I have worn it all throughout December and January and I’m sure it’s going to be on repeat throughout the rest of this season.

I’ve also been in a huge organizing mode, and one of the things that’s really drawing my focus is my makeup storage.  What I have now isn’t working for me, and I’ve basically used the same storage/organization for years.  I’ve spent some time on Pinterest looking at some different options and I think I have some good ideas to get started with it.

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My jewelry organization is definitely in need of a good overhaul too, and I’ve been eyeing this Pottery Barn large jewelry box as a great option.

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Of course, the other thing that’s been getting my attention is our home.  The Christmas decorations are packed away and the house is back to normal.  I love love love all the seasonal decorating that fills our home, but come January I am ready for it to be tranquil, peaceful, quiet.  And all that energy of the new year is swirling around, so I’ve been adjusting some things, moving a few things around, organizing our books…those sorts of things.  It feels good.  And while the rest of the year, I am all about color – in January, I long for whites and neutrals.  The trend of turning books with their pages facing out absolutely fills that need right now – plus, I love this photo.

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And I’m very excited for the release of the next Cupcakes and Cashmere book, aren’t you?

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And of course, I can’t overlook my absolute adoration of the white winter coat.  I want to trade in my black wool coat for something brighter.

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My style idol agrees…

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Or maybe the palest of pinks?  Loving the pairing with white skinnies too.

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And lastly, I had to share…I did something sweet for myself and bought some white peonies for an arrangement next to the bed.  They’ve already made me very happy.  They make me feel very decadent.

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What’s on your playlist this week?

 

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And So We Begin

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Late in 2013 a friend directed me to this post on a favorite blog.  We talked about wanting to make 2014 the year of living deliberately.  I was inspired to be more discerning in where I focused my energy and choosing to plan over my usual flighty approach to things.  Shortly after the new year my world tilted on its axis and while there were some good memories made in 2014, I carried with me some things that weighed heavily on my spirit during the year.  My eyes were opened wide with wonder for the new experiences I embraced, which was a much-needed counterbalance to my heart’s ache over the empty spaces.

It was only in the last weeks of December that I was able to pause and be still and sit with it all.  What I learned in those solitary moments bathed in white twinkle lights was that it is truly time to slow down, to take care of myself, and to be deliberate in my actions.  So much of my life is internal.  I get caught in my thoughts and my dreams and my plans, but to really and truly live deliberately I have to put actions behind those intangible thoughts.  I have learned that I am resilient.  That even when it seems as if everything that was a constant in my world is stripped away, and even when it feels like God has hit me over the head with a 2×4 to get my attention, I’m still standing.

So now the challenge is what to do with what I now know?  What do I want to create in 2015 for my life?

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I want to focus on good stuff.  I know that sounds overly simplistic, but that’s what I want to do.  I want to be happy.  I want to be my authentic self and all that that brings with it.  I want to be excited about life and not just going through the paces.  I want to open myself up to all that life has to offer – even though that means being vulnerable.  I don’t want to look back on 2015 and say “I wish I could have…”  And the critical thing for me lies in the act of doing, not just thinking about and planning, but the actual doing.

So here is what I’m doing –

★ I want to nurture my relationships.  The past few years have been so full of protecting myself from hurt and anger and all those messy emotions that are just part of life.  I shut down and insulated myself against anything that might find the smallest chink in my armor and unravel me.  I want to allow myself to love and be loved, to reach out and connect and be open to giving and receiving. I’ve already started working on a clean slate and letting the past go and have reached out to a couple of people in the hopes of starting a fresh conversation between us.

★ I want to read more this year, and read more involved books and a little less of the potato chip variety.  I set the same goal of reading 25 books that I had last year on Goodreads.  I’ve started reading The Red Tent by Anita Diamant.  After seeing the mini series, it was a perfect choice to pull off the shelf.

★ I want to spend more time on my spirituality.  One of the things I thought about last year was reading the Bible. This weekend I downloaded the She Reads Truth app and started the Bible in a Year plan.  It’s feeding my soul.

★ I want to be more active.  I’ve spent so much time thinking about and goal-setting about losing weight and getting healthy, etc. but it’s time to focus on the doing.  The 2,015 miles in 2015 challenge on Instagram immediately struck a chord with me.  What better way to encourage myself to get moving?  One step at a time!

★ I want to learn new things.  In the past I have allowed myself to become paralyzed by not doing new things for fear of failing.  But if I never try, I never practice, I never take that first step – I will never grow.  I’m learning to knit and I’m practicing because it’s not perfect and I’m still not entirely sure what I’m doing, but I’m learning.  And I’m learning because it makes me happy.

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I think 2015 is going to be challenging, but I hope also it will be rewarding.  I like to think that January is an empty bowl, full of promise and possibility of what’s to come.

And so it begins…

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