Monday, November 23, 2015

Dining Room Table Christmas Centerpiece

A few days ago I posted some dining room centerpiece inspiration for Christmas. I decided to tackle that room first and wanted to share what I ended up doing. I already had these birch candles and wanted to use as much of what I had on hand as possible. I found the wooden sectioned container at Ross for $11. I also already had the berries on hand. So for me, the total cost was only $11 and I will be able to use what I bought for other things throughout the year.

My favorite part is the paper runner though. I had been looking for paper runners on Etsy and they are expensive (also you have to buy then in like 30 feet incriments)! I didn't want to do that. My next idea was to buy normal brown kraft paper and stencil is with polka dots or stripes...but that sounded like a lot of work.

And then I found this WRAPPING PAPER at TJ Maxx. It was $2.99!  and was the perfect width so I didn't need to trim or cut it. I also still have some left to wrap presents!!

It is thicker than normal paper so it is pretty difficult to rip. I was so excited because it was exactly what I was looking for to give my table a contemporary feel...and it was under $3!

TJ Maxx had some great wrapping paper options that were really unique and elegant so check them out.

I love the finished result of my dining room table. Simple, inexpensive and a little modern.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Be offended about something that really matters.

In the past three or four years it seems like America has become a nation that takes offense.

To everything.

I really don't remember this being an issue before that-do you? Maybe I just wasn't paying attention. I think a huge part of it is the internet, specifically social media, but I also think our attitude as a nation as shifted.

We are no longer that nation who comes together for a greater purpose. Fewer and fewer of us strive to understand where someone is coming from. The Greatest Generation is dying and their love of community is dying with them. We are a country that takes offense at everything because we feel like it is our right to have our voice be heard...slightly louder than every other voice.

When you are offended, you feel like you've been slighted. There is a place for righteous anger. There is a time for your to stand up for yourself, but there is also a line and we crossed that line a while ago.

I am offended by American's who close their eyes, ears, and hearts to the growing number of children and adults who are murdered throughout the world by organizations such as Isis.

I am offended by the number of refugees that have fled to our country and have no one to help them.

I am offended by American's who spend too much of their time looking for something to be upset about.

I am not offended by things that don't matter. There are far too many real problems in the world to spend my time worrying about things that don't matter, and there is far too little time.

If you're trying to figure out if it's worth being offended about...ask yourself one question:

"Am I offended because I feel like someone slighted ME, or am I offended because I am hurting for what someone else is going through"

Take a few minutes to write down 3 world problems that are offensive to you. (Start by thinking of a group of individuals who is being persecuted...legitimately persecuted)

Then take another few minutes to think about one way in which you can help with those problems in the next 7 days. Maybe you can donate your time or your money. Maybe you can share a link to the cause's website on your Facebook page so that others can learn about the problem too. Maybe you can pray for them.

And when your seven days are up. Do it again.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Music-Let's Talk About It

So, I think we can all agree that music is the best. Good music speaks to you. It makes you smile. It teaches you something about yourself. It teaches you something about the world.

I've loved me some Country Music now for about 25 years. I remember when Billy Ray Cyrus (you know...Miley's dad) put out Achy Breaky Heart and loving it. It was 1992 and I was five.

Fortunately we've progressed past this song (and this hairstyle).

But I try hard not to stick to this one genre and love a variety of music. We all have those songs that take us back to prom night (hopefully not Barry White...) or to the summer of our junior year. For me those bands are Dashboard Confessional, Yellowcard, The Beatles, Fall our Boy and Green Day. I remember being on our senior trip in Europe and hearing Green Day everywhere we went. Europe loved them some Green Day.

I had friends who listened to different music than me and I learned to love Usher, Jimmy Eat World, Cake and The Killers because some great friends lent me their CD's. (Compact Discs...they used to be put into something called a CD player. It's a long story)

I am impressed by an artist that writes their songs. I feel like most anyone can sing (although not me) but it takes real talent to write. Because of this-Taylor Swift and Eric Church have been my top two artists now for a long time. Both of them have such incredible, incredible talent when it comes to writing. And they can sing pretty well too. Eric Church walks a fine line between country and classic rock and you don't hear that too much.

I've been to both of their concerts and they know how to entertain. Both were excellent.

I try to always keep an eye out for new music that I love and I'll mention a few now.

Chris Stapleton

If you happened to watch the CMA awards you might have noticed him singing with Justin Timberlake. What an AMAZING duo.  All you need to do to go from "who is he?" to being famous is sing with Justin Timberlake. Chris Stapleton gained 100k followers on Twitter within 12 hours.


Her hit Burning House, is what would happen if Adele went over to country. Beautiful. I look forward to hearing more from her.

Canaan Smith:

I love his style and really love that he is from Hampton Roads. His single in the video below talks about Virginia Beach!!

So who do you love? What's your favorite kind of music and what makes an artist "good"?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Christmas Decor Ideas for your Dining Room

I know. I know.

It's only just November.

But...I do love Christmas and before you know it Thanksgiving will be here...which means it's getting very close to time to decorate. I am going to try very hard this year to decorate well. I don't necessarily want to go overboard but I would like to do each room well and with style. I love the idea of a good dining room centerpiece so I thought I would start there.

Here are a few that I've found that have given me some (p)inspiration for my own dining room.

I love this one for a few reasons.

1. It looks simple enough to duplicate
2. I have birch candles like this already
3. Love this table!

This one is also simple, rustic, but beautiful. I love the garland going down the center. 

This one is a bit more traditional and I love the fresh greenery.

Finally, I like this one for either an outdoor dining area or an indoor one. It would be easy to duplicate simply by cutting up a log. 

Stay tuned to see what I end up doing in my own dining room this year!

Monday, November 2, 2015

So, what is it you do?

So, it's come to my attention that people still don't really know what I I thought I'd try to provide a little more info on that.

Here we go.

Up until this summer I was a Realtor. I have been working on and off in real estate since I was 18 and I really did enjoy it. But, my heart wasn't in it anymore and it was a difficult job to do with little ones so over the summer I put my real estate license into referral and started a new venture.

I created a company called Carriage House Lane. CHL is a direct sales company that specializes in unique and modern women's jewelry and accessories. Most of our items are made in the US by small (women owned) businesses. I spent a long time finding a good mix of products that I fell in love with and created our first Lookbook (Fall/Winter 2015). We have a great mix of modern and traditional jewelry and scarves and I'm very proud of our initial product line.

As a direct sales company, CHL sells our products through a variety of venues. We have an online website and also sell through online or in-home Trunk Shows. Our hosts have the opportunity to receive free products when they host these shows. 

We also have Ambassadors. Ambassadors are our representatives and receive commission on all the products they sell. This is a great opportunity for those women who want to work from home. It is a flexible and fun career!

For those who are wondering how they can be involved here are a few ways:

1. Host a show! Host a party in your home or even through FB (all you need to do is invite some of your Facebook friends and you get to take home free jewelry and accessories!)

2. Spread the word! Talk about us to people you meet, and share our posts on your Facebook page. Since we've only been around for a few months we are still trying desperately to get the word out!

3. Help us Brainstorm! Right now, I am trying to get our products into a few small boutiques (or larger ones as well) I would also love to partner with a few schools and use our products for their next fundraiser. If you know of a school or corporation who is looking to do a fundraiser please let me know. We give 25% of all product sales back to the organization to help with their fundraiser! Let me know who you know who might be interested in that (your school band? sports team?)

4. Pray! We have a few applications floating around out there with some larger corporations and I would love to see those turn into something solid. I am also in the process of putting together our Spring Line and would love prayer for that as well. I want to choose products that are unique and will do well.

And of course, if you have any other questions please let me know! 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

But I AM Special!

So, today I came across THIS article.

Read it, soak it in.

Ok, now let's chat.

My first thought was..yay! My husband and I are both generation Y! (He's 8 years older than me so rarely do we share a common childhood experience. I'm all like, "didn't you just love Boy Meets World?" and he's all like, "I didn't get colored TV until college", or something like that)

My second though is, Woah. This totally explains me!!

I frequently feel like I'm waiting for that spectacular thing to happen to me because I'm so special and unique and amazing. (Why is it taking so long BTW?!)

Now, let me take a little break here and mention the following disclaimers that I'm sure have you worried right now:

  •  I realize I am a child of God and that therefore, in that sense, I am 'Special'
  • I have a wonderful life filled with a wonderful husband, great parents and two awesome daughters. I also have great friends and belong to a wonderful church. I am in no way discounting the importance of those things.

I do think this article holds a lot of truth though. Our parents DID tell us that we could be whatever we wanted to be! They encouraged us, inspired us, and gave us every means possible to now that we are grounded our frustration is mounting.

I am quickly approaching 30 and while the idea of being 30 doesn't terrify me (because 30 is so much younger than it used to be and death is not the next stepping stone) I am a little anxious because I feel like I have not accomplished what I felt like I was supposed to by this point. (well...I've still got a year and a half to blow the world's socks off so to speak so let's not get hasty) 

I don't remember the specifics of what I was going to have accomplished by 30, but I know I'm lacking and that can get discouraging.

Also, have you met my husband? 

He's pretty great. 

He also has about three degrees hanging on our wall that constantly remind me of his greatness. I am super proud of him (for realz) but I sometimes see his 8 year head start and his PhD as a reminder of what I'm lacking.

Now...I don't really consider myself a feminist but I think us women can agree that we have a few cards stacked against us in this area. Those darn kids! They're so cute and loveable...but sacrifices must be made and while I don't regret having my kiddos-or staying home with them, I do feel like my career has suffered because of those decisions. 

Oh yea...and did I mention I'm adopted? No big deal really except I read Steve Job's biography a while back and something stuck with me. Jobs was also adopted and if you've read anything about him you know that he thought pretty highly of himself (If you don't believe me just ask Wozniak). He believed that he was even more special because of how frequently his adoptive parents reminded him of that-that they chose HIM above everyone else. 

And trust me, the rest of Gen Y may feel "special" but that's nothing compared to what us adoptive Gen Y kids feel. We are at a whole other level of special. We were literally created for greatness. Trust Me. Which makes the fact that we're not measuring up that much more frustrating!

So...what's our takeaway? Here is one section of that article that stuck with me. 

  1. Stay wildly ambitious. The current world is bubbling with opportunity for an ambitious person to find flowery, fulfilling success. The specific direction may be unclear, but it’ll work itself out—just dive in somewhere.
  2. Stop thinking that you’re special. The fact is, right now, you’re not special. You’re another completely inexperienced young person who doesn’t have all that much to offer yet. You can become special by working really hard for a long time.
  3. Ignore everyone else. Other people’s grass seeming greener is no new concept, but in today’s image crafting world, other people’s grass looks like a glorious meadow. The truth is that everyone else is just as indecisive, self-doubting, and frustrated as you are, and if you just do your thing, you’ll never have any reason to envy others.

I frequently forget this, especially #2. 

Keep Going.
                       Work Hard.
                                             Ignore everyone else. 

Also...I think we can all agree that's there is a pretty solid chance of this post going viral and I'm totally ok with that. 


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Let's Eat (On A Budget)-Spinach and Egg Casserole

I would like to share one recipe each week that meets the following qualifications:

  • Taste's Great
  • Doesn't break the bank (Under $2 a serving)
  • Is Easy

This week's recipe comes from Kalyn's Kitchen and is a dish I made this week for a mom's group I'm a part of. It was very easy and doesn't require too many ingredients and it tasted great too!

Here are the details:

Spinach and Mozzarella Egg Bake
(Makes 8 servings; recipe created by Kalyn.)

5 oz. organic fresh spinach (4 cups packed)
1-2 tsp. olive oil (depending on your pan)
1 1/2 cups low-fat mozzarella (I used a low-fat mozzarella blend from Costco with 6 grams of fat in 1/4 cup.)
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
8 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. Spike seasoning (or use any all purpose seasoning mix that's good with eggs)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 375F.  Spray an 8 1/2 inch by 12 inch glass or crockery casserole dish with olive oil or nonstick spray.  

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add spinach all at once, and stir just until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.  Transfer spinach to the casserole dish, spreading it around so all the bottom of the dish is covered.  Layer the grated cheese and sliced onions on top of the spinach.

Beat the eggs with Spike Seasoning (or other seasoning mix) and salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.  (I use only a tiny pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.)  Pour the egg mixture over the spinach/cheese combination, and then use a fork to gently "stir" so the eggs, spinach, and cheese are evenly combined.

Bake about 35 minutes or until the mixture is completely set and starting to lightly brown.  Let cool about 5 minutes before cutting.  (The egg bake will settle down some as it cools.)  Serve hot.  This is good with light sour cream.  I also like a little Green Tabasco Sauce sprinkled on the top.

This can be cut into individual servings to keep in the fridge and microwaved for a quick breakfast during the week.  Don't microwave longer than 1-2 minutes or the eggs can get slightly rubbery.


So, the total cost for this recipe comes under $7, which comes to about $.80 a serving! AND it's not high in calories. We are headed to the mountains in a month or so and I think this will be a great dish to serve while for breakfast one morning while we are there :)

I hope everyone is having a great Wednesday!