December 29, 2012

Little Red Winter Hat

{Madewell sweater, AG Stevie jeans, Laundry by Shelli Segal coat, Steve Madden boots, Gap hat, Abro handbag}

December 26, 2012

Simple Delights: Christmas Edition

{ Someone found a Christmas pickle! }

{ A quiet holiday dinner for two. }

{ Angel chimes - a magical sound from my childhood. }

{ Cheerful cold weather essentials. }

{ Oh clementine, you tasty, seasonal fruit! }

December 24, 2012

Put A Bow On It: gift wrapping tips

One of my favorite activities during the Christmas season (yes, there's another one) is wrapping gifts. Since I have a little crafty streak, this is a great opportunity to put it to use. Some people say the way the present is wrapped is just as important as the gift itself. I don't know if I agree with this idea, but I can't deny that getting a gift that's beautifully presented doesn't make it feel more special. If anything, it shows that the person put in extra time and effort.

I love creative gift wrapping. Unfortunately I'm not always able to devote that much time to it, especially around the holidays. Yesterday as I was wrapping the last batch of presents, I thought I'd share some tips on how to make the process quicker, and get great results at the same time.

1. Use good quality wrapping paper.
I'm not talking about some fancy paper that's sold by the sheet at some frou frou boutique and costs more than your gift itself. All you need is a paper that's thick enough to resist tearing and fold nicely. There's nothing more frustrating than seeing your paper rip and wrinkle before you've finished. Good quality paper doesn't have to cost a lot. My favorite place to stock up on gift wrap is Home Goods. Most of their rolls are only 3 to 4 dollars, and are excellent quality. Even Target can't beat that.

2. Use different patterned paper within a similar color scheme.
Whenever I wrap gifts for my own family or give multiple gifts to others, I like them to be color coordinated. I find it's more appealing to the eye when the gifts are packaged differently yet compliment each other. This is not important if you're giving single gifts to different households.

3. Put a bow on it!
I'm sure you've heard many times before, those cheap shiny self adhesive bows are a no-no. Perhaps the easiest way to make a gift look more luxurious is to use satin ribbon. Michael's carries a wide selection of colored ribbon. I usually buy them in 2 widths - wider for the larger gifts, and narrow for the small ones. When wrapping large gifts you can go through the spool pretty fast. To be more efficient you can wrap the ribbon in only one direction, around the width of the package. I also save every bow or ribbon from gifts that I receive or products I buy. You can always reuse them for smaller gifts. If satin ribbon is beyond your budget you can also use baker's twine or knitting yarn.

4. Add a tag.
I use a variety of extras to adorn my gifts, from ornaments to feathers to bits of flora, but more often I  add little paper tags. You can buy them in bulk at almost any craft store. I've had mine for a few years and still haven't used them all up. You can attach  them to the ribbon before tying a bow or use them as the only accent by gluing one in the center of the gift. To make it 3 dimensional I like to use adhesive foam dots on the back of the tag.

5. Give it a stamp of approval.
If you have nice handwriting you're lucky. By all means go ahead and write your To's and From's by hand. But if you're like me, who hates her own handwriting, you may want to use rubber stamps. Before working with the gift you may want to test the stamp on a scrap of paper. You don't want your letters to be upside down, backwards or crooked. You can spell out the whole name or just use initials. Stamps work well directly on the wrapping paper or on a tag.

Above all remember, it's not the gift itself that's important, but rather the love that goes with it. These are just some of my tried and true ideas. I'd love to hear about your gift wrapping tips. Happy Holidays!

December 23, 2012


{Christmas pickles and a hedgehog!}

Nearly every year my excitement for Christmas starts growing week by week from the beginning of  the holiday season. It can usually be measured by the frequency of my random Christmas tune singing. It starts off as an occasional humming and turns into constant singing and dancing around the house as we get closer to the holiday. Poor Mr. C can't get a break even while brushing his teeth, because that is another opportunity to do a silly spin in front of the mirror while singing with a toothbrush in my mouth. I can only imagine how annoying this behavior must be to witness, especially when my singing usually goes like "tu tu tu tu tu, tu tu tu tu tu, walking in the winter wonderland!" The other day as, I was tu-tuing yet another Christmas song C suggested to do a video of me singing this way while wearing a tutu. That really cracked me up. Luckily I don't own a tutu otherwise this embarrassing video would really happen. 

As if there wasn't enough excitement going on in our house already, yesterday we went to the Christkindlmarket in downtown Chicago. This close to Christmas the market was very crowded but definitely worth the trip. We browsed through thousands of traditional German glass ornaments (Christbaumschmuck), coo-coo clocks, handmade Christmas pyramids, and other intricate decorations. We tried some chocolate covered treats and sipped hot wine out of mugs shaped like boots to keep ourselves warm. This annual outdoor market is a great way to experience a little bit of European holiday tradition closer to home.

December 20, 2012

Gift Guide: for the bff

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

December 18, 2012


{Theory dress, True Religion jacket, Cole Haan boots, Gap snood (grey version is sold out online but available in stores), Abro handbag}

December 17, 2012

Simple Delights

{Introducing some animal print to my wardrobe}

I found this skirt on sale at Madewell over the weekend.

{Godiva chocolate covered macaroon - a treat from our French friend}

{Adorable little necklace that came in the mail as a thank you note from my favorite store,  Anthropologie}

{A slowly growing pile of gifts under our Christmas tree}

December 13, 2012

Sweater Dress

{Karoo sweater dress, French Connection coat, Jessica Simpson boots, Margot handbag, faux fur snood via TJMaxx, Hue tights, J.Crew necklace}

December 11, 2012

Gift Guide: for the boys

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 78 / 9 / 10

December 10, 2012


{Anthropologie sweater, Willi Smith jeans (via TJMaxx), J.Crew coat and belt, Nine West boots, Margot handbag, cuff via Nordstrom Rack}

December 7, 2012

Simple Delights

{Chrysanthemum minis}

Anything that blooms in December is a delight in my book.

{Sultano Gran Nocciolato - the biggest block of hazelnut chocolate I could find}

I love my Ritter Sport but this was a real  hazelnut chocolate addict's dream come true. It took me a week to eat the whole thing (my beloved Ritter usually disappears without a trace within minutes)! My clothes are really hating me for it right now though. I promise I'll slow it down with this chocolate addiction.

{Balloons in the kitchen!}

{Ceramic hedgehog - our little companion sitting happily beneath the windowsill}

December 6, 2012

Cozy Knit

{Theory sweater, Rag & Bone boots (both via Nordstrom Rack), Willi Smith jeans, Falor handbag (both via TJMaxx), Gap tee, Kenneth Cole necklace}

There are certain things that I always look for in a sweater. This Theory number fulfills just about every one of the requirements. Natural content - check. Warmth factor - check. Itchiness test - pass. Comfort - check, check! It is so soft and cozy that it feels like wearing a blanket. In this weather it makes me want to curl up and go to sleep in it.