Five for Friday: Valentine's Day Edition!

I know a lot of people dislike Valentine's day, but I really love it.  These are some things that have caught my eye lately.

While I know that most everyone's kitchen shelves can't take anymore items, I have to admit that these bowls and cups are cute.
 Of course, I'm also a huge fan of the matching vase.
I think this little jewelry dish is also sweet.
I like Forever 21's jewlery for cheap thrills, and I have to say that this little necklace reminds me of Kate Spade for less than five dollars.
I haven't bought any of the other things, but I couldn't resist buying this adorable onesie for my friend's baby's first Valentine's day. 
Wishing you a lovely weekend.  I'm especially looking forward to it, as my sister is flying in!

Small Changes to Brighten and Organize our Home!

Like seemingly everyone else, I find myself really wanting to spruce up the apartment in January.  A few weekends ago, the husband and I did some purging of things that we don't need anymore, but I find that the apartment is still feeling a bit stifling.  While the husband is away for these next two weeks, I'm hoping to take the time to organize and see if I can pare down my things a bit more.

One area that I'm really struggling with is our bedroom closet.  We're lucky because it's relatively big, but it has to store a lot of things (luggage, toiletries, extra blankets, our hamper, and our actual clothes and shoes).  While everything fits, it doesn't have a door, so now my focus is on trying to make it look nice.

A little thing that I think might  help is a tie organizer.  Currently, the husband's ties are just hanging on a hanger and we hope for the best.  I think this would definitely be a big improvement.
My jewelry is pretty organized, but I decided to add this tray to the mix. 
One little thing I've done this month is re-arrange my nightstand (and also recycle all the old magazines I had squirreled away).  My FIL gave me this cute vase for Christmas, and I love how it adds a little bit of color.
Another pick-me-up is always fresh flowers.  I replaced our dead orchid with a new one, and it's amazing how it changes the feel of our bedroom. 
So those are just a few small changes that make me feel better about our home.  What do you like to do to freshen up your space?

Weekend Recap

A part of me was hoping for a snow delay this morning, but it seems that the D.C. area is going to miss it. This weekend was low-key, as the husband had to leave early on Sunday morning for a business trip.  Saturday was spent packing and running errands, with a date night at our favorite Thai restaurant.  When the husband woke up to leave on Sunday, I saw this pretty sunrise.
Later on Sunday, I went to visit one of my friend's for her birthday.  We went out to lunch and then hung out in the afternoon with her adorable baby. I spent the rest of Sunday evening tidying up the apartment, getting ready for the week, running errands, and watching Scandal.  Certainly not the most thrilling weekend, but sometimes the small moments are the most meaningful.  How was your weekend?

A Birthday Gift for a Friend!

One of my friend's has a birthday coming up this month, so I took a little time to get her gift ready this weekend.  She had a baby about six months ago and went back to work before Thanksgiving, so I wanted to get something that would be somewhat relaxing and just for her.  I decided to put together a "spa" basket, with a giftcard to put towards a massage. I included a loofah, pumice stone, Philosophy body wash, face mask, and a Williams-Sonoma French Lavender candle.  I thought it came together pretty well!
 She also loves dogs, so I got her a cute little trinket dish with a dachshund and some notecards.  Here they are all wrapped up!
I know I'm always the crazy basket lady with themed gifts, but it does make putting everything together so much easier! 

Target Finds: Some Paper Goods!

On Friday night, I stopped by Target to pick up a few things, and of course couldn't resist wondering around.  I had to get a notebook for my grad class, and I am super excited about this one. I also thought this wine bag was too cute not to get.
I'm hoping to send some Valentine's Day cards, so I bought two packs of these. I think it's always fun to get something in the mail.
Do you send out Valentine's Day cards? There are some cute ones out there!

Weekend Recap: Ice Skating and Peanut Soup!

Happy Tuesday!  I was fortunate enough to get yesterday off, and I certainly enjoyed the extra time. We had a quiet weekend, which was what we both needed, since the husband will be traveling abroad soon for a few weeks.  It was nice to get the usual chores done around the house, as well as a few extra.  I was excited on Monday afternoon to drop three bags of things off to Goodwill.  It always makes me feel a little lighter.  The husband also worked on our taxes and went through all of our important papers, so we were definitely able to make some progress on things that need to get taken care of eventually.

We went ice skating on Saturday night, which I'm always scared about doing, but then really enjoy it once we're there.  I'm proud that I didn't fall, and more importantly, I didn't cling to the wall!  Afterwards we enjoyed some hot chocolate and then took some photos while they were refreshing the ice. 
On Monday, I made peanut soup!  I had it at the Boar's Head Inn back in December, and I couldn't stop thinking about how I really wanted to try making it.  While it's not terribly healthy, I decided to just go for it.  I was thrilled that it turned out. I froze it in batches because it makes a lot of soup, so I will have that to look forward to.

Weekend Recap!

This past weekend was the perfect mix of productivity with lots of downtime.  On Saturday, I tackled grocery shopping and finally got a package mailed to my parents.  That evening the husband went to go watch "the game" and I went to go visit one of my friends and her baby.  It's so exciting to see her son; every time I see her he has grown a little bit more and can do more things. 

Sunday afternoon, I finished all of my returns from Christmas, and that is a huge relief.  I did buy a few things at Banana Republic while doing returns (always a hazard).  I couldn't resist this tank for only $5.  I plan on wearing it with shorts and skirts in the spring and summer.
I also couldn't resist this shirt, which was marked down to $7.  It's not super flattering because of my tummy, but the material is really soft.  I plan on wearing it a lot around the house at the end of January while the husband is traveling for work.
It seemed like Williams-Sonoma also had a lot of things on clearance, so I stopped by and stocked up on pumpkin butter.  I'm obsessed with this stuff, and I hope that WS never stops making it.

I also bought two candles and a few sets of their winter "essential oils."
 Sunday night we watched Downton Abbey.  I have to admit that I'm not as excited by this season, but it's still fun.  How was your weekend? 

Five for Friday!

Phew!  We made it through the first week of January 2015!  This week has been busy at work, catching up with everything, but I'm definitely feeling rejuveniated after the break. I've also been enjoying  my Christmas gifts this week...

First, I'm finally in the 21st century with (not only texting) but a smart phone!  The husband helped me find a case inexpensively from ebay, and I really love how cheerful it is. I also got a wallpaper from Emily Ley, which just makes me happy.

 For Christmas, my FIL gave me a giftcard to Banana Republic, and it was burning a whole in my pocket.  I purchased these shoes on sale, and I love the bows.
With all this cold weather and snow, I've been bundling up with the new gloves my sister gave me.
 And I also wore my new sweater from Old Navy.
Because I've been so busy trying to start the new year off right, I've also been really loving my Sugar Paper calendar and agenda from Target.
 How has your first week of 2015 gone?  Have you been surviving all this snow and cold? I hope you have a lovely weekend!

Paris Party!

This past weekend, I hosted my friend's Paris birthday party!  Even though we were traveling until the day before, I was pretty pleased with how easily everything came together (thank you Trader Joe's). I turned our desk into a little dessert table.
I made two little signs that said "happy birthday" in French, and then added a glitter banner that I found at Crate and Barrel during the Christmas sale. Here is a close up of the meringues and macarons.
For the savory food, I made a cheese plate, some French onion dip, quiche, and shrimp (which isn't French, but is always enjoyed).
Most importantly, I think everyone had a good time!  We played some Cards against Humanity and a new game, Selfie, which is like Apples to Apples. I was really happy to have the opportunity to celebrate my friend!


I'm always hesitant to set up a list of resolutions, because it seems that I always fall short of my goals.  However, one of the things that is kind of neat is that through this blog I am able to look back and see that I've at least made some progress towards some of the things I would like to accomplish.  I am keeping this year really simple and my goal is to walk for thirty minutes each day.   The husband also  tolerated my nonsense and we have decided that we are going to make it a priority to go to church at least 12 times.  I know this doesn't sound like a lot, but it's a start and also realistic. What are your goals for this 2015?  It's pretty interesting to think about how much can happen in a year!

Planning a Parisian Inspired Birthday Party!

About a week or so ago, my friend mentioned that she was still trying to figure out what to do for her upcoming birthday.  I love parties, so I offered to throw one, and I'm excited that she accepted!  She wants the theme to be Paris, so I'm thinking that there will be lots of champagne (aka sparkling wine) and macarons.  I was surprised that Pinterest didn't actually provide too much inspiration, as everything seems too over the top or pink/for a 13 year old girl.  I wanted something that wasn't pink, so we are going with black and white as the theme colors. I would love to do a fancy dinner with something like this, but the husband and I don't even own a kitchen table, much less a dining room table. So no fancy dinners for us anytime soon.
Via, Yes, this isn't happening anytime soon.
Plus, I just don't think that really fits the mood (at least that's what I'm telling myself), so I'm hoping it will be more of a fun, casual cocktail party. About the only thing I can replicate from the photos above is the black and white color scheme, so that's what I'm going to try to do.   Both of our husband's will be coming (yay!) and they have big plans to emphasize the casual part of this event, so who knows if this party will have any essence of France or Paris by the time it happens.  I'm thinking maybe not, and that's okay too.

It will just be a small party, and I plan on keeping the food very simple with something along the lines of a cheese plate, fruit, mini quiches, french onion dip, eclairs, and macarons.  To be completely honest, I plan on exploring Trader Joe's frozen food section and hoping for the best. My inspiration is along these lines.
For decor, I made a happy birthday banner in French, and a little "Bonjour" sign on our door.  I'm also hoping to sprinkle some small arrangements of flowers around the apartment.

I couldn't resist some inexpensive party favors, when I found these bags from Forever 21. At just a little more than a dollar, I am in love.  I know they aren't necessary, but I adore stuff like this. 
So that's how the party planning is going!  Have you ever hosted a French-themed party?  We did one a few years ago for my friend's bridal shower, so I feel they are pretty common, but it's always fun to put your own twist on it!