New and Improved Christmas Tree

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas trees are supposed to fill you with joy, to remind you of family and friends, of gathering together to honor the birth of a very important little boy two thousand years ago in a far away land.  They should be joyful and exciting.  They can be colorful, but sometimes monochromatic is just as lovely.  They should look like this:

They are not supposed to make you feel humdrum, outdated, and tired.  They are not supposed to look like this:

So, in my quest to de-fratify my Christmas tree, I headed to Target and Hobby Lobby.  $30, a skinny white mocha, 50 glass ornaments and a sparkly tree topper left me with...

What do you think of my tree?  Such an improvement, right?  I'm much happier!

Barbie Prints

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The mats are in and Barbie is up!  What do you think?  I love them!

Christmas Decor!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I feel like such a hypocrite.  I'm typically a major "no Christmas decorations until December 1st" proponent, but this year, I don't know.  I got the bug.  The tree was up by November 24th and decorated too.  Let's not even talk about how long I've had the Barbie tree up.

I've tried to justify my behavior: "My last final isn't until December 16th and I won't have time to decorate during finals because of all the studying."  "It's not like anyone is coming over to see my house, so if I don't tell anyone, it's like it didn't happen."  "It's just because I'm in my own house for the first time."

But the truth is...I'm weak.  I'm a sad little weak girl who is excited about Christmas.  Therefore, even though it's not properly December yet, it is after Thanksgiving (see what I mean about the justification?! It's like a disease with me!), so I feel okay about posting photos.

The Barbie tree in the boudoir.


Glad my mama snagged this one for me when she came out; 
she's going for around $50 on eBay, which no matter how hard 
I tried, I know I could not justify.  She's one of my favorites, 
though. She inspired the gold-accent theme I went with, though 
I had originally considered pink (duh).  Unfortunately, all the mini
ornaments at Walmart weren't a proper Barbie pink, but rather
a magenta-purple pink.  My other option was silver, but I
thought the silver might get lost against the white tree.  Overall,
I'm really pleased with this one.

I feel like there's something inherently wrong with
the fact that the dog has a stocking and I don't...

I have but one question for every guest who
enters my home: Do you believe in Santa
Claus?  Because in this house, we do!

Remember how I said I was thankful for apothecary
jars?  Here's the reason why.  I'm obsessed with this
and the mini ornaments I got at Target to coordinate
with the colors of my living room.

And finally, the tree.  She's a 6.5 ft blue-green Morgan 
Pine from K-Mart.  I'm allergic to real trees, and I love
the ease of having a prelit tree.  Unfortunately, this
tree leaves me somewhat underwhelmed.

I don't know what's off.  I mean, I know I'm missing a topper, but that's because the junk room ate the one my mom gave me.  Aside from that, though, it seems...sparse.  Should I add more ornaments?  Cheap little glass balls?  Or bows? Is it missing bows?  What about ribbon?  What's wrong with my tree?  For lack of a better description, it looks like frat boys did it.  At least, it does to me. Any ideas, dear friends, on how to fix it so that I feel joy instead of disappointment when I look at it?

Please help!

Oh, and one last photo, this time of Lilly, who loves to play under the tree.  Looks like my little punkin is as excited about Christmas as her mommy:

The ABC's of Thanks

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Snatched this off my friend Rachel's blog at {simple.little.joys} and have linked up with another Rachel at Finding Joy to discuss my ABCs of Thanks.  Some are thoughtful, others silly, but all important.  Thanksgiving is a fantastic holiday, really, because it gives us all an opportunity to slow down, turn to our loved ones, and just say, "Thanks."

Finding Joy | The ABC's of Thanks

|a|Apothecary jars.  So inexpensive, but so versatile for decorating.
|b| Bear, my sweet bubbers.  After his health scare earlier this year, I'm glad he's here!
|c| Contracts, the one class I completely understand.
|d| Daddy - I may not always like him, but I always love him.
|e| Exploration. Without explorers, we would have nothing.
|f| Finals, because they are the culmination of a semester of hard work.
|g| Grandparents who remind me of who I came from and who I can be.
|h| Hope.  Dum spiro, spero (While I breath, I hope.)
|i|Ice cream, particularly of the cookie dough variety.
|j| Jokes can make even the grayest day bright.
|k| Kisses from my puppy.
|l|Life, Liberty, and Lilly.
|m| Malteses, though Chloe in specific.
|n| Notebook 3.0, the best notetaking program for Mac ever.
|o| Ollie, my friend's pup.  She's a hoot.
|p| Patience.  I need more of it, but I'm grateful when people grant it to me.
|q| Quiet.
|r| Respiration.  Just breathing is a blessing.
|s| Singing brings joy to my life countless times a day.  Just do it.
|t| Trust, the most precious gift you can ever give or receive.
|u| Umbrellas, the brighter the better!
|v| Vacations!
|w| Wonder. Don't forget to look at things with wonder, just once in a while.
|x| X-Men.  I still remember rushing home by 4:00 to catch it on Fox Family after school.
|y| Yahtzee.  Most aggravating but entertaining game ever.
|z| Zippers, because I'm disgusted by buttons.

Barbie Sketch Update!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I managed to get my hands on the 2011 Robert Best Barbie calendar as I mentioned here from the fabulous three story Barnes & Noble in Georgetown (P.S.  I have decided my life would be much better if I lived in Georgetown...).  So what do I do as soon as I get home?

I always buy my frames and mats at Michael's.  They never let me down and I've always been happy with the end result.  I decided to go with an 11 x 14 frame in a brass tone to compliment the antique brass of my bed.

 (All the photos were taken on my unmade bed - cut me some slack; I've been away!)

It was only after I got the frames home that I noticed they are the exact same frames as is on my Keep Calm poster in my dining room.

Guess I like that frame, huh?  :)  After picking out my frames, I went to look at precut mats.  Unfortunately, I didn't see any I liked and because of the odd size of the sketches, the 8 x 10 mats cut off part of the sketch.  Thus, I went to see about getting some custom mats cut.  Each mat ended up being pretty inexpensive, at about $15 each.  I decided it was worth it, since I would see these every day.  I placed the order and they should be ready in about a week and a half.  I'm sure I'm going to love my semi-custom framing job!

I decided to go with pink mats to compliment the three sketches I chose to frame.  Of all the sketches, only two (I think it was two) were unsuitable for framing because of the placement of the hanging hole at the top of the calendar page.  Therefore, I had lots of options.  I picked these:

I like them because I have a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead and they're all in sort of 1960s chic attire.  And, of course, the pink.  ;)  The last one actually reminds me of my grandmother, who I expect would have totally rocked something like that back in the day.  I know she had that haircut.

Once the mats come in and the sketches are hung, I'll have new photos.  In the meantime, just visualize:

Très chic, non?

Biz Goes to Washington

Monday, November 15, 2010

Full details to come, but some highs (and lows) of my trip to our nation's capital:

15% off Fair Isle dress from Rugby Ralph Lauren because we ate at the cafe in Georgetown!

Georgetown Cupcakes! (Vanilla Birthday Cake = HEAVEN!)

Drinks at Co Co. Sala

Dinner at i Ricchi

Buying my first truly gorgeous undergarments

 Getting scores of compliments on my Lauren Ralph Lauren quilted equestrian vest

Trying Lebanese for the first time and really enjoying it!

 National Zoo!  Love me some pandas - red and giant!

Having my finger sucked like a lollypop by a man I knew for 5 hours

Being groped in general by the "finger man" and not knowing how to make it stop without being rude

Watching my Rebs get beat by those ugly orange Volunteers

Losing the car and myself in downtown DC while all alone (honestly scary!)

Nearly missing the last flight home from both Reagan and Memphis!

It was a delightful getaway, but honestly, I'm glad to be back, in my own bed with my sweet Lilly.  I missed you all and can't wait to get caught up.  I have a tag I need to complete and will hopefully be caught up on my reading and writing by tomorrow!

Christmas Sweater for Lil!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Just ordered this festive sweater for Lilly from Walmart.  It's crazy cute, right?  And less than $10, with shipping.  I love a deal. :)  She's getting her picture made with Santa on Sunday, November 21st at a fundraiser for our local Humane Society.  I thought the green would contrast nicely with her fur and Santa's outfit, and I'm hoping to use them for our Christmas cards.  Fingers crossed the sweater gets here in time!  It's scheduled to arrive between the 17th and the 24th.   If not...well, I guess I'll have to go on a mad dash around town for a backup.

Pondering Christmas...

Darn you, Shutterfly and your fantastic Christmas card offer!  You have wrecked my plans to ignore Christmas until December 1st.   I've picked out the Christmas card card (I'm going with Option 3 from the post below) and picked up these ornaments for my Barbie tree:

"'Movie Mixer' Barbie doll captures the attention of every director at the Hollywood party in this dazzling dusty rose dress by designer Robert Best.  Long white gloves complete the leading lady look and add a touch of Tinseltown glamour.  When you look this fantastic, can a role in a fascinating new film be far off?"

Of course, I'm totally in love with Robert Best's Barbies at the moment.  I'm eagerly awaiting the calendar to arrive for my little art project and honestly, his Barbies are just gorgeous!  How could I resist?

"Star-studded and totally cool, Barbie delivers an awesome performance in the 1986 Barbie and the Rockers ensemble.  Wearing a hot pink tuxedo jacket, matching hose, and a metallic top, Barbie shines on stage with 'New Wave' style.  Long sparkling earrings, bangles, and boots complete the fab trendy look.  No doubt about it, Barbie rocks - millions of fans can't be wrong!" 

Okay, seriously, y'all.  I LOVED BARBIE AND THE ROCKERS.  It was my favorite movie, along with All Dogs Go to Heaven.  Every time my mom and I went to Blockbuster, we rented Barbie and the Rockers.  We rented that movie so many times, I'm pretty sure my mom tried to buy it from the store.  Sure, Jem truly outrageous, but she was no Barbie.

"Barbie doll's weekend always started with a date with Ken.  On this occasion, she chose to wear a sporty blue jumper and flirty open-toe heels.  A flaming red ponytail and bright cherry lipstick give just a hint of romance, while the puffy-sleeved blouse and swirly underskirt add a playful innocence to the ensemble.  A tray of orange sodas in only the beginning to the evening's fun - soon the music will start and Barbie doll and Ken will be rockin' to the beat.  This will be a night to remember!" 

I'll be honest, this one was sort of an impulse buy.  My mom and I went to Hallmark to pick up the Barbie and the Rockers ornament and I saw this one and was like, "Oooh, a ginger!"  I'm sure I've mentioned somewhere in here how much I love redheads.  It's strange and sad, I know, but I do.  I picked Lilly for her red hair.  Actually, I sought out a redhead and in the process found Lilly.  But I digress.  "Friday Night Date" Barbie is pretty and actually, I think she's my first ginger Barbie ornament.

"Barbie never goes out to a holiday party without going all out.  For 2010, the festive fashionista mixes, migles, and dazzles in a classic floor-length gown featuring a full skirt of snowy white.  Its strapless bodice includes accents of eye-catching red echoed by a bow at the hip and an elegant shoulder wrap stretching all the way to the floor.  A sparking tiara adds the crowning touch, completing a fashion statement that only Barbie could make!"

My mom has been collecting the Celebration Barbie ornaments for me ever since the started in 1999.  I have all of them but the one from 2005, which I'm presently bidding on over on eBay (edited to add: She's on her way to me!).  When I was younger, I liked to play with them like little Barbies.  Now that I'm older, I like to play with them as little Barbies.

Just kidding.  I do like how festive they look, and I've given them little nicknames based on their outfits, mostly to be used when decorating the tree.  As in, "Mom, can you hand me Saloon Santa Barbie?" for the one wearing red velvet trimmed in white with a black lace underskirt, or "Mom, where's Russian Barbie?" for the one in green velvet with a long blond braid and a pointy tiara.

"When Barbie walks her dog, it's no casual affair.  This picture-perfect pooch lover exudes style with every step and in every way, guiding her posh pink poodle past busy cafés, trendy little boutiques, and fabulous shops of all kinds.  A girl's got to take good care of her best friend, after all, and what place could be better?  Here Barbie and her well-heeled pup can get in some great exercise...and maybe a little window shopping, too!"

I shouldn't even need to explain this one.  Barbie loves Poodles; I love Poodles.  We were meant to be besties forever.  I had no choice.  I had to pick up "A Posh Pair" and I can't wait to hang her on the tree this year!

Speaking of trees, I have recently purchased a smaller white tree to go in my bedroom to serve as my exclusive Barbie tree.  I have 24 Barbie ornaments, soon to be 25 with my 2005 Celebration Barbie ornament, and I wanted a way to show them off in style.  Just this evening, I purchased this tree from

It's 4 feet tall and prelit.  I'm planning on putting it on top of my dresser so I can have my more traditional Christmas tree (I also collect Old World Ornaments, particularly angel ones) in the front room and my girly-girl modern tree in my bedroom.  I can't wait to curl up on those cold December evenings in my comfy cozy bed and have my Barbie tree serves as my nightlight!

I ordered the tree using Site-to-Store shipping, which was free, and it's scheduled to arrive between November 17th and November 24th, which is perfect timing even if it arrives toward the end of the window for the opening of my Christmas decorating window (December 1st).

Where do you stand on the Christmas decorating window?  Do you barely have everything up by December 24th?  Or do you throw out your jack-o-lanterns and throw up your Christmas lights?  Do you wait until the Friday after Thanksgiving?  December 1st?  What about Christmas music?  When do you start listening?  Any fun or unique Christmas traditions?  Are you like me, with special collections of ornaments or other decorations?  Tell me all about it!  I'd love to hear!

Such A Grownup

Friday, November 5, 2010

Some days, I feel like I'm still a little kid.  These mostly involve days when I'm poor and have to ask my mom for money so I can pick up Chinese take out.  Other days, I feel like an adult.  Like when I clean my house and pay my credit card bill.  Obviously, I prefer the latter.

One of the grownup things I did since moving into my house was to order and mail out change of address postcards.  A lot of my friends are getting married shortly, and I wanted to be sure that they had my new address for wedding invitations.  ;)  That way, if I don't get one, I know it's because they don't love me.  Just kidding.

With Halloween out of the way and Thanksgiving around the corner, it's time to think about Christmas cards.  I'm one of those people who believes that we should savor each holiday as it comes, rather than always looking forward to the one ahead of it.  I refused to decorate for Halloween in September and I'm refusing to jump ahead to Christmas now.  No decorations until December 1st, which is admittedly difficult.  However, I have to bend my rule just a tiny bit because this year, I'm being a grownup and sending out Christmas cards on my own.  No longer will I be added on to my parents' cards.  No!  I am an adult with my own house and my own Christmas cards!  Cards that reflect my personality and my life, rather than my parents. 

My best friend sent out Christmas cards last year, and they were so precious - pink and green and glittery and so totally her, and therefore me, as we are pretty much identical in taste.  I'm a bit more country, and she's a bit more modern, but it's so close.  I want my cards to be like that - to reflect who I am and where I am in my life (pink glittery fun) - rather than reflect who my parents are (golden, trumpeting angels with fancy script).

Luckily, because where I am in my life is a financially-challenged half-grownup student blogger, Shutterfly has an awesome deal going on for bloggers.  If you have a blog and want 50 free Christmas cards, visit  Totally perfect for someone in my situation!  I first heard about this fabulous offer over at Desperately Seeking Seersucker, so after following the link myself and filling out the form, I spent the next hour or so (okay, fine, two hours) playing with different options while I waited to hear back with the exact instructions.  Shutterfly is really easy to use, especially since I had never tried it before.  Look what I came up with on my first time out:

Option 1 (The second line really is centered; I just whited out our last name, so it looks off.)
I found that one in their Christmas Card stationery section.

Option 2 (Same deal with the centering)
This one is one of those long skinny photo cards.  They have tons of options to choose from, and one of the things I like the best about those is that you can change all the text because it's printed just for you.  If you like a design but want it to say Holidays instead of Christmas or vice versa, you have that option with the photo cards.

Option 3
I love this one because I think the red of Holly Jolly looks so pretty with the red bows in Lilly's ears.  This is another of the pretty stationery cards

Did I mention they have coordinating return address labels?  How cute is this one, for all those Lilly Pulitzer lovers out there?  Check out a similar card!

So hard to choose!  I think I'm leaning toward #2, but #3 is so pretty.  Then again, it's hard to beat the classic black-and-white photo of my pup in #1.  What do you think?  Which are your favorites?  But most importantly, have you signed up yet???

The Absolute "Best"

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I have one of the girliest bedrooms belonging to anyone over the age of five.

Pale green walls (double formula of Behr's "Water Sprout" - it's the exact shade of Yoplait Key Lime yogurt), "Breakfast at Lilly's" duvet cover, Euro shams, and bolster (all by Lilly Pulitzer of course), Simply Shabby Chic pale pink ruffled sheets, and MaryJane's Home "Tufted Chenille" white pillow shams.  The bed is a family antique, the lamps and shades are Simply Shabby Chic from Target, and the nightstands I found on eBay.  The Ektorp loveseat at the foot of the bed is from Ikea.

I love it all.  Here's the thing - this is my room.  I don't need to decorate for anyone else right.  Sure, when a guy sticks around long enough to become Mr. Biz, I'll degirlify (and yes, I just made up that word) the space, but for now, I decorate to make me happy, and my bedroom is one of my favorite places in my house.  I love going to sleep in it and I love waking up to it, especially the giant window that lets me guess the weather from the moment I open my eyes (today was grey, cool, and wonderfully fall!).

Did you notice the Lilly Barbie under the nightstand with the two Lilly frames of photos of my parents?  ;)

Now that you're acquainted with my room, and you have a pretty picture of it to look at, you might have noticed that the space above my bed is looking a little bare.  There's a fairly decent sized space between the ceiling and the top of the headboard.  In my last two rooms, my bed was up against a window, so I had curtains as my decor.  Now, though, I need something else.  I've been pondering for quite some time as to what I should put up there.

Today, my friends, inspiration struck.

That's right.  I'm going to use sketches of my first best friend:  Barbara Millicent Roberts, known to her friends as Barbie.  Where am I going to find these sketches, you might ask?  Well, I'll tell you:  Robert Best's 2011 calendar.

Robert Best...Robert Best...where do you know that name?  Here's a face to go with the name:

Still need help?  He was the Barbie designer on Season 3 of Project Runway!  After Heidi bid him "Auf Wiedersehen," he went back to Mattel and has produced, among other things of course, some really wonderful collectible calendars.

 The 2010 calendar's cover

The images from 2010
The 2011 calendar's cover

The images from 2011

I'm still looking for the 2010 calendar, as I love some of the sketches from it, especially last row, 2nd column.  I have that one in the Hallmark Barbie ornament version and remember thinking it was absolutely stunning when I bought it.

Did I mention I have a Barbie Christmas tree?  I do.  :)  Get ready for photos come December 1st; I can't stand Christmas decorations before December.

Anyway, I've ordered the 2011 calendar and will promptly deconstruct it and frame my favorites.  Of course I can't be sure, but I'm leaning toward a some combination of 1r3c, 2r2c, 3r3c, 4r1c, and 4r3c.  I also like 1r1c.  Okay, I like them all, but we'll see.

I also ordered the 7x7 mini calendar, because I was a little worried that the 12x12 standard calendar sized prints would be too large once matted and framed.  Here are the 7x7s:

The thing I'm wary about with the smaller ones is the colorful backgrounds.  I'm worried they might seem a bit too little girly, whereas the off-white backgrounds of the full sized calendar lend an air of sophistication to them.

Then of course there is the 13x18 option from Z Gallerie:

Knowing me, I'll probably not like either of the first two options and snag the above calendar too.  If I do, I'll be happy to share my leftovers with any of my blog readers who might want them.  Actually, even if I don't buy the third calendar, I'll still offer to mail off the unused sketches of the first two calendars to anyone who wants them.  :)  Reduce, reuse and recycle!

Once the project wraps, I'll be sure to post photos.  Has anyone else been struck by inspiration lately?  I'd love to hear about it!