Welcome December...

Welcome December... the last month of the year. Time for even shorter days (and tempers in some cases), cooler nights, holiday gatherings, decorating, baking, cooking, eating and drinking... By the end of the month, we'll be reflecting back at how far we've come, where we are now, and where we want to be... and come up with a list of resolutions to make it all happen. But as for now, I still can't believe we've been here a year...

I feel like the past 2-3 months literally FLEW by. I think part of what sped up the past to months, to the point of not even feeling like they happened was the infamous super storm Sandy. The other happening causing me to lose track of time was the oral surgery I had, and focusing on a healthy  recovery.

Both the surgery and Sandy had happened so close to Halloween, a part of me felt guilty for wanting to participate or celebrate and the other part was tormented by not being able to eat chocolate (other than a fine substitute: low-fat chocolate ice cream!) Part of why I did was seeing how many after Sandy were able to just move on (even though they were right there!) And I had been looking forward to it. I didn't want to slip into some great depression, so I got dressed up and sat outside handing out candy. But the next day, I was back online scrolling thru photos and sharing information about how to help. It wasn't enough, so I cleared closets and loaded 4 40 lb boxes of donations to send to a contact in Jersey and she brought them to the shelters on the shore. I tried to host a donation day at a local shop, but I didn't get a response from my proposal. Soon afterwards, my focus needed to turn to preparing the house for our first guest out here since we moved: Jeff's mom... plus dinner, a special tablescape, and spending time with Jeff's mom while Jeff was at work (all of which gave my hand & arm a much needed rest off the computer!) She enjoys bargain hunting and was very much looking forward to going thrifting with me, which we did plus one day I also drove to Casa Grande to pick her up from Jeff's store, and drove her to Scottsdale and back to our place in the valley...

(Thanksgiving pics)

Thanksgiving eve, I made the stuffing. Thanksgiving morning, I made a pumpkin pie, cleaned stemware, polished silverware, and set the table while Jeff and his mom watched the parade and had some "face time" on Skype with Jeff's sister back in Florida.

Goodbye Fall!

Prepping the house for her also included a little forward planning to prep for holiday. Last year, there was no time for planning for anything other where the tree was going and unpack after our move - Nothing was on the walls except paint. Nothing was covering the windows except the blinds that were here when we moved in. In an effort to create a little familiarity in this new & unfamiliar place, I basically Christmas decorated this place similar to how I had done the year before in Florida: A white tree, loads of bling, and mixing silvers and golds. Since I do have things on the walls now, I wanted to make sure they worked well with our Christmas decor without looking too cluttered, so before Jeff's mom came, I switched the fall gallery wall to a mirrored gallery wall, along with updating some framed pictures to more wintry B&W Ansel Adams prints. I think after living in a more rural & less metropolitan area for a year, the area rubbed off and is reflected in my more simple, understated and organic feel this year: I think out of 20 cartons of Christmas decor in the garage (more meaning ornaments) I think I only used one box... The rest was mixing fresh greens I cut from around our area and mixed into existing wreaths, garlands a-n-d a 7.5' slim pine PRELIT tree we've had since 2005. I took TONS of photos to share some LONG overdue simple DIY projects - can't wait to share!

(re-lighting the tree)

But first, back to the tree: Keeping in mind the key word being "pre-lit", I thought eezy-peezy, right? Nope - every bulb was black and burned out. And being the resourceful person I am, and not allowing things to go to waste, I thought, "Ok - I'll just switch the bulbs (but nothing fit) or remove and replace the strands... How hard could it be, right? (SMH) I was oh so wrong and couldn't that thought couldn't be further from the truth. I would have started on Black Friday, but Jeff's mom was still here, so I spent the majority of last Saturday removing a bowl full of horseshoe shaped clips from practically every branch of the tree. When Jeff came home and saw the cut up strings tossed around the living room (lol) and pile of clips in the bowl, he said he would have just left the bad lights on, and added new ones over the bad - but THAT is the difference between us: DETAILS. I was so frustrated with losing the time doing this, I didn't put the lights on until last Sunday morning. Still frustrated with it, I walked away for a while and worked on something else: Removing the fall stoop and decorating out front. Jeff brought the pumpkins to work to give to an associate so they could use them for target practice (oh yeah - the wild west!) but ironically, when she brought them home, her husband said they were too perfect to shoot up - I seriously LMAO because HE noticed.

 (3 pinspirations)

mixing greens, naturals, silver & gold...

simple DIY detail...

White sofa & greens...

Well after pinning inspirations for the past year, along with collecting some thrift finds along the way, the house is decorated - inside and out. What ever "projects" were worked on are cleaned up and put away, new boxes of Christmas cards (picked up last year after Christmas on sale) are stacked and ready to  be written out with a list of names & addresses on top of the stack. Baking ingredients are stocked in the kitchen and I am SO ready to spend a little time ENJOYING the season.  Hopefully some people I've met the past year will have the time for a house gathering here - either for cookies or cocktails! I'm even tempted to print a few invites to leave at neighborhood homes. I grew up around many family and friends celebrating the holiday every chance they get - from houses FULL of light displays, to pretty party dresses, and good food. I'm way over the club scene but I still enjoying getting dressed up and having a good time (I don't remember the last time I danced!), and what better place to do that than in you (semi) own home for the holidays (I say semi because I know this place isn't "ours.")  I miss my friends from Florida terribly, along with missing family up in New Jersey.

(inspirational quotes)

With a little heavy praying, hopefully God's "plan" for me, my life, my skills, and my talent won't go to waste another year here, and it can bring me to better opportunities to do good, and help restore the shore or so many lives that were disrupted in New Jersey from Sandy.

Belated, but I do hope you were able to enjoy your Halloween, had a Happy Thanksgiving, and had fun putting up your tree this weekend for Christmas. Many of you had let me know you like the "DIY" and home decor posts I've done in the past, so stay tuned...


  1. Hi Gorgeous! Loved this post. Had oral surgery about 10 years ago, and it was worse than anything that I can remember. Feel your pain. And completely understand about moving to another area and making friends...


  2. Can't wait to see your Christmas decorations. I am in New Jersey (but other than a loss of power, some downed trees and missing shingles no real problems from Sandy) but I still haven't gotten my decorations out of the attic! Decorating or shopping - it's a tough choice so hoping you can inspire me!
    Laura Lee

  3. Your house is always so beautiful and loved your table setting. I laughed at your pre-lite tree story. Our tree lasted three years and then poof no lights. We were more like Jeff and just strung additional working lights on top of the old ones. The tree is 9 feet and I just had no patience to even try to remove. We will get a new tree next year!!

  4. The devil is ALWAYS in the DETAILS.....

    Your FAITH is being TEST but BELIEVE God DOES HAVE a PLAN for you BIGGER than you could ever IMAGINE!!!! Get ready for it b/c it is GONNA knock your socks OFF :-)

    Happy Holidays!



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