Modern gift-wrap 101 

In the past I have always loved searching for a cute roll of wrapping paper and some sparkly ribbon to top off my gifts with a gigantic bow. 

This year the trend for gift wrapping is keeping it simple. In other words, simplicity is key.

Although Blake and I weren’t planning on getting gifts for each other this year, I couldn’t help myself when I stepped foot into Target yesterday and saw all of the gift wrapping supplies. So I figured I might as well get a little something to put under our tree, especially since it’s a blogable topic ūüėČ 

 If you have ever felt personally victimized by Target raise your hand.

 Everyone knows that you walk into Target excited to purchase a few things you need, and leave feeling violated and broke because you bought a ton of other stuff that you don’t need. To top it off, you probably forgot to buy whatever it was that you went there for in the first place. We all know the feeling. 

I walk in and immediately get distracted by ‘The $1.00 Spot’. I start looking through the pointless trinkets and think, “I could really use a pack of glow sticks! I mean they’re only $1.00″… Anyway, the dollar section is where I found the string that I used to wrap my presents.

I got a 2yd roll of a white and red string and a 20yd roll of black twine. 

Next I found a roll of brown Kraft paper type of wrapping. 

And finally, I plucked some leaves and little red berry looking things off of the bush just outside my apartment. 

   
   
Obviously the only other supplies that I needed were scissors and tape. 

After I finished wrapping each gift, I took a black Sharpie and wrote my “to’s and from’s” directly onto the wrapping paper. 

  
And yes, as you can see, I did purchase a gift for myself.. It’s just a book I got for the plane ride home.. which I wasn’t planning on wrapping but I figured why not! 

There’s no place like home for the holidays

Moving across the country has taught me a few valuable lessons about myself. The first thing I learned is that the east coast is no place for a girl like me. It’s not horrible or anything, in fact I love it sometimes… but only sometimes. I love the southern vibe and old buildings in our local downtown area. I love the fall foliage and greenery everywhere and I especially love the skies. The skies here are free of pollution and endless strands of telephone wires and the clouds are so beautiful. I guess another good thing is the lack of traffic, but with nowhere to go, that doesn’t really benefit me.

Regardless of the beauty and clean air, I have learned that it’s not so much the place we live, but rather the distance from home that gets to me. It’s been almost 5 months that we have lived here now and it seems like it’s been forever, the first 3 months were the most difficult. It’s easy to make everything seem great on social media, and it’s not my intention to create an appealing facade to make everyone think that it’s the best thing to ever happen to me. But I obviously wouldn’t be posting pictures of myself crying or feeling lonely and bored. I wouldn’t be posting statuses saying how hard it is to be away from home with no friends and a husband who works long hours and when he’s not working he’s either studying his butt off or sleeping. I wouldn’t be complaining about not being able to find a job after applying to multiple places, or telling everyone about the sketchy house cleaning job that I had for a whole 5 hours (although it does make for a pretty good story). I wouldn’t be sharing those things because I wouldn’t want people to think of me as a weak complainer. I am not either of those things…. ok maybe I’m a bit of a complainer but only to my friends and family.

The truth is, it’s hard. I’m not sharing this information to get sympathy, I’m just trying to be real because if anything, this information could be useful or relatable to someone else.¬†Being so far from family for big occasions like Birthdays, Halloween and Thanksgiving has been hard. But by far, the crappiest part was not being able to attend the funerals of¬†friends who passed away. It was such a horrible feeling to not¬†be able to rush over to my friend’s houses to comfort the ones who were affected the most after getting word of the devastating news.

Things have started to get a little easier within the past couple of months. I’ve made some really nice friends plus my mom¬†and¬†my best friend visited me last month. I’ve grown accustomed to the area and I’ve gotten used to seeing pictures and videos of my friends hanging out and doing the things I wish I could be doing (like eating In N Out).

Even though I can never imagine myself wanting to live anywhere other than California ever again, I am thankful for the experience. You see, this chapter of my life has taught me that I am not an east coast person, but more importantly is has made me a more grateful and appreciative person for the people in my life. It’s not like I wasn’t grateful for them before but as I’ve stated¬†in a previous post, whoever said that distance makes the heart grow fonder really knew what they were talking about. I’ve also grown to really appreciate where I come from. The song “There’s no place like home for the Holiday’s” holds a new meaning for me because now I know that the holidays just don’t feel the same unless you spend them at home with your favorite people.

We’re going home for Christmas and I couldn’t be more excited. At my lowest point¬†I would have begged Blake to let me stay in California and fly¬†back here by himself… I know that makes me sound like a horrible wife… but I’ve changed my perspective. Once we come back from Christmas vacation we won’t live here much longer anyway. Might as well try to appreciate it for the few months we have left. I may be lonely but I’d rather be here supporting my husband by cooking and cleaning so that he can focus on studying rather than staying home with family, friends and a job.

In conclusion, I just want to remind everyone that anything you want for Christmas this year is absolutely nothing in comparison to quality time with loved ones.

Thanks for reading and have a blessed day!

 

 

7 tips to lift your Christmas spirit!

December is here, do you feel the cheer? Well if you don’t then I have a few suggestions to get you into the same spirit of Christmas that you had as a kid!

  1. DECK THE HALLS

The most obvious way to get ready for Christmas is to decorate your home. Since it’s officially December now, you can decorate without getting grief from the people who get mad when they see Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving. This year I decorated super early for my own reasons, but normally I try to decorate the day before Thanksgiving because I like to have a decorated home for both holidays. Also, don’t forget the candles! Cinnamon apple, nordic pine, and peppermint bark are just a few examples of the festive scents you can choose from.

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2. CRANK THE CHRISTMAS TUNES

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!”

If you have a bluetooth speaker that connects to your phone I suggest downloading the Pandora app and listening to the Christmas station, there are minimal adds and it plays all of the great classics. If you have a smart TV or one that allows you to watch youtube, you can search christmas playlists. Some even play footage of a fireplace to give you that extra Christmas-ey feel. A real fireplace is always better but for those who live in an apartment like I do, it’s a decent alternative.

3. WATCH YOUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MOVIE

My personal favorite is Elf, I was 11 years old when I saw this movie in theaters and knew instantly that it would be a classic. It honestly may be my favorite movie of all time, I even have a “smiling is my favorite” T-shirt that I found in the boys clothing section of target.. yeah, I might like Elf a little too much. If you’re also an Elf lover then you should know that it will be on ABC family this Friday at 9:30 pm!… can you tell I’m excited? ABC family will also be playing other Christmas classics every day this month until the big day and Netflix has some good options too if you want to skip the commercials.

4. BAKE COOKIES

Get some cute cookie cutters from Target and plan a cookie baking party! My aunt Jill host’s a holiday cookie party at her house every year and it is always so fun. It’s a great way to get all of the ladies in the family together and with each person making their own type of cookie or dessert, we always end up leaving with a huge tupperware full of different treats. If you have kids in your family it would be fun to bake cookies and then decorate them with frosting and sprinkles, it’s sure to be a big mess, but fun nonetheless . If you’re on a diet and would rather not eat cookies, you can still make them but put them in cute little packages to give away as little gifts for neighbors or coworkers.

5. GET TO GIFTING

As much as I like receiving gifts, I enjoy giving them even more! This is probably because I love shopping so much but it’s also because I like to find gifts based on each individual’s personality.  I also love wrapping gifts, I know some people hate it but wrapping gifts is what makes giving them so special. I love making gifts look as cute as possible with pretty wrapping paper and big bows. Once you get all those gifts under you tree it will really start to feel like Christmas.

6. LOOK AT THE LIGHTS

Once everyone gets the lights up on their homes, take a drive around town with family or friends to checkout the best spots near your home. Here is a guide to finding the best lights in the LA area. One of the places on the guide is the Balian house in Pasadena, the home of a famous ice cream manufacturer is covered in over 10,000 lights every year along with other fun holiday decorations. My best friend and I have gone to check out their lights for the past two years and it’s just as awesome every time.

7. TAKE A SROLL ON MAIN STREET

Every big city has a main street, sometimes it’s even called main street. If you’re not sure which street it is, just look for the one that’s covered in lights and wreaths. If your hometown has a Christmas parade, then get all cozy in your winter gear and head out for some Christmas spirit. If your city doesn’t have a parade, then just head to main street with friends or family to grab a peppermint mocha or hot chocolate from the local coffee shop. Maybe bring cards to play a game or just relax and talk about your plans for Christmas and New years.

I could quote Elf all day long but I’ll just leave you with this.

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“BYE BUDDY! HOPE YOU FIND YOUR DAD!” (sorry I couldn’t help myself)

 

 

 

DIY Christmas Ornaments

Decorating for Christmas is one of my favorite things to do! When I was working as a interior designers assistant at¬†Farris Design Studio in Monrovia, I got to decorate a lot of beautiful homes for Christmas time and I’m pretty bummed that I won’t be able to do that¬†this year. Shirley Farris taught me a lot of tips and tricks to give a home an elegant Christmas¬†look. I learned at lot from her as well as my mom and grandma who are also great at decorating.

This year I decided to start early and decorate our apartment in the beginning of November rather than after Thanksgiving because Blake and I will be going home for Christmas. If we had waited until the end of November we would hardly have any time to enjoy our decorated home! I had to explain because I know there are people out there who are totally against decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving… which I really¬†don’t understand by the way! Why it’s a bad thing to want to enjoy the beauty of Christmas while also giving thanks and eating delicious food during Thanksgiving? I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion, that doesn’t mean I have to agree though.

Until my mom came to visit and spoiled us with a bunch of Christmas decorations, I thought I would be on a tight budget when it came time to decorate this year. Luckily my mom hooked us up with some great stuff and now our apartment is filled with the essence of pure holiday joy. BUT when I was trying to figure out a cheap alternative to ornaments earlier this month I decided to make a few of my own and it was actually really fun.

Here are the two types of ornaments that I made for my tree this year:

Pine cones with bows

Bows can make anything look pretty! Making beautiful bows is one of the things I learned from Shirley and it is a skill that definitely comes in handy when decorating for Christmas. This is just a simple bow but I may try to blog about how to make more intricate bows soon too!

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These were simple to make and also really cute. I bought a bag of cinnamon scented pine cones but they weren’t doing a great job of making the apartment smell like cinnamon and I had no idea where to put them so I turned them into ornaments. All you have to do is hot glue a small piece of twine to the top of the pinecone and tie a bow to it. Super easy, and cheap!

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P.S. Almost every ornament in this picture (aside from the snowflake that says 2015 and the chalkboard ornament) were either purchased at the dollar tree or created by me. The one that says “merry& bright” is actually a gift tag, I got a pack of them from Target for a couple of dollars. If you’re on a budget but love to decorate, these are a few ideas to keep yourself from spending a ton of money on decor.

Twine Balls

These were a little more time consuming to make, but it was kind of fun and relaxing. I got a pack of foam balls from the dollar tree and a roll of twine from Michaels then used a hot glue gun to make sure the twine stayed in place as I wrapped it around the foam.

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I made the little loop at the top first then added a bit of glue around the loop and continued to add glue as I was wrapping the twine around the foam cylinder.

I hope this post has provided some inspiration for you. Now start decorating!