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Countertop Review

This time last year I was packing up our house to prepare for our down-to-the-studs renovation in our kitchen, family room, and master bath as well as the addition of a screened porch. The family room wasn't originally part of the plan, but that's a post for another time. The kitchen was where I really had to plan and scheme, and, yes even fret, to stay in our footprint and budget and to get the function and look I wanted. I love a challenge like this, though, so despite some occasional frustration with my client (aka me! ), I enjoyed the process. A key "want" of mine was honed marble countertops. There are dozens--maybe hundreds--of blog posts, articles, and showroom sites that compare various types of countertop materials and their pros and cons. I read most of them and took notes from a lot of them in the months leading up to our start date. One of the most helpful things was visiting a sweet friend's kitchen, where I was able to ask questions about cleaning, a

We Need a Little Christmas

Isn't it hard to believe Thanksgiving was more than a week ago? My goal is always to have the house decorated by the first Sunday of Advent, and then to add the tree as soon as everyone's home from college. Lots of decorating is finished, but I wanted to change things up and simplify a bit this year, and the result is that I'm still figuring out what goes where. After poring over a few Christmas magazines and books, I decided a little shopping trip might provide some needed inspiration.

forcing paperwhites

I started with the $9.99 boxwood wreaths at Trader Joe's. What a deal! I grabbed two because I love boxwood so much, but the sad reality is that they just don't last indoors here. The Mister saw boxwood wreaths at Home Depot for $19.99, and I saw them at a nursery for $35 and at one of my favorite shops for $85. So, so glad I was able to get them at TJ's!

Trader Joe's wreaths

Wreaths, of course, need bows, and, for me that means a trip to the one and only (well, actually there are three) Wilson's 5 and 10. The original store isn't too far from home, and a trip to Wilson's is always a treat, if you don't mind a certain amount of chaos! You can seriously find anything--archaic office supplies, floral supplies, toys, baking supplies, weird little hardware needs, obscure candies. Honestly, it's hard to put into words. The craziest thing is that the whole store is a bit of a jumble, but you can ask any employee (of which there are many), and he or she can always take you to exactly what you're looking for. 

Wilson's five and dime

Wilson's is famous around here for their astounding selection of fabric ribbon. This is the front half of one side of the aisle! The ribbon department has relied on the honor system for as long as anyone can remember. Scissors, yardsticks, notepads, and pencils are stationed about every six feet of the long aisle of satin and grosgrain and silk ribbon.
tartan ribbon
I love the wired plaid ribbon I found this year. Most of the plaid ribbon I see at fabric and craft stores has metallic thread, which isn't my favorite for our house. I'm already planning to purchase some more of this lovely tartan.
We Took to the Woods
After my foray to Wilson's, I headed to We Took to the Woods, a dramatic contrast to the five and dime. One of my favorite spots for inspiration and one-of-a-kind finds, We Took to the Woods features amazing merchandise and merchandising. Shopping here is always a fun experience. They're usually serving coffee and hot cider, and last weekend, they had Bloody Marys!

We Took to the Woods

Fresh greens deck the beams of the small store.

Gumboots for Winter candle

The shop features beautiful books, antiques, vintage tartans and classics, French jams and mustards, Belgian and French linens, and antique silver. One of my favorite items are the hand-poured candles, made here in town and packaged in kraft paper, bark, or tartan. The long-burning candles come in a number of scents. My favorite for this time of year is called Gumboots for Winter. It's a fragrant mix of pipe tobacco, orange, and evergreen.

bristle brush trees

I added a few bristle brush trees to compliment my Santa collection, which I'll post soon.

Next, I made a stop by a nearby nursery to pick up some paperwhite bulbs, which are already underway in the living room. I'm curious how long it will take for them to bloom. I love their fresh scent, but the Mister thinks paperwhites smell like bug spray!

Back home, it was time to do a little online shopping. I love, love, love the family photo cards from vendors like Shutterfly, Snapfish, Minted, and Tiny Prints, but this year I wanted to do something a little bit different.

There's still a family photo on the other side of the card, but for the front I used a picture of our front door that I created in the app Waterlogue. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

One Christmas decorating and entertaining project that we're already enjoying is this little hot chocolate bar. I set it up on a sled the Mister and I bought on our honeymoon. If only the weather through the window was snowy rather than rainy, it'd be perfect.

hot cocoa bar

The tartan throw both protects the chest from the runners of the sled and adds a touch of color and warmth.

hot cocoa bar

My nightly cup of sugarfree hot chocolate seems like an extravagant treat when topped with a few handful of marshmallows.

It's supposed to be sunny this weekend, so I hope to get some better photos of our Advent and Christmas decorations. I'll share some recipes, too!

Happy Weekend!


  1. Such a beautiful post! I wish you could come and decorate my house:). Even in California some evergreen and plaid ribbon goes a long long way.

    1. Aw, thanks, Lisa. If I'm ever in California, I'll let you know! I picture your house having the coolest mid-century vibe with a few heirloom Grand Tour baubles casually strewn about for sparkle. :)

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  2. I love your Christmas card! I may "steal" your idea for next year!
    And that plaid ribbon! Love! I, too, don't like the plaid with the metallic thread!
    Merry Christmas!

    1. Thanks so much! I love the Waterlogue app! So fun! Glad you like the ribbon, I did go back and get the wider version, and I love it! Now to find some blue/green plaid--my dream-haha! Hope you have a Merry Christmas, too!

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