Monday, November 30, 2015

Our Thanksgiving Week

Hi y'all! I hope you had a great week celebrating. We had a house chock full on Thursday (Ben and Victoria with happy hearts!) and crossed off so many things from our to do lists with Ben home for the week. I also had a pretty successful Black Friday.

I also got a chance to really reflect on how much has changed over the past few years. My brother spent the whole day with us Thursday (which we loved) and we were talking about how growing up, holidays were really different for us... we came from a small family in general but all of our relatives live abroad. Even before my parents divorced, it was only 4 of us, and afterwards 3 no matter what our plans were. It is so cool to see how we went from sorta lonely holidays to almost 30 guests coming to the home I share with my husband. I realized again how incredibly the Lord has blessed me (and my brother) by getting to marry Ben. It's totally changed my holiday experiences. I share this in hopes of encouraging you that if the holidays this year carry any amount of sting for whatever reason.. the worst thing is never the last thing.


We started the week with grocery shopping for the holiday! It went extra smoothly this year. Funny note: I purchased those white fudge oreos to style in a clear cookie jar and it ended up that they are almost gone from all of the guests passing through our house. Haha!


One of the sweetest parts of our week has been lots of time with our niece, Megan. She's getting so big and we love her so much.


On Tuesday night we drove north to Denison, the hometown of one of our best friends who was home from Nashville. It was a sweet night with friends, and Collin's family dog pictured below. On the way home my friends were the ultimate troopers.. my morning sickness medicine wore off and let's just say it wasn't at all pretty. It made me realize just again how grateful I am to have such genuine friends in my life. They weren't at all deterred and I love them. 


Thanksgiving prep was in full swing starting on Wednesday! I mentioned here that I tried to make a pie with pastry art.. I tried again and this time took a photo before it was baked so I could at least pretend it would stay pretty.


I ended up getting a surprise though.. it actually worked! Using egg wash as glue was essential.


I ended up using this dressing recipe last minute.. and loved it!


This year I craved a relaxed holiday. We love hosting.. but I wasn't feeling the extra fluff of tablescapes and linens and china this year. And you know what.. that's okay. I will always love those things, so maybe next year! This year we ended up moving all our furniture around to accommodate extra tables.. I'll cherish these photos in the years ahead. One day when we can live in our dream home, built for entertaining, I'll remember how we used to move furniture to allow people in every spare inch!



This year, Ben helped with the turkey more than ever. He did more of it than I did. There is no feeling like the pride and joy involved with making a turkey haha! :) It never gets old. It's a lot of work, but once a year we'll take it!



I snapped a few pics of our full spread once all the guests arrived.. we have some seriously amazing cooks in our family!




A really fun part of the day was tracking alone with people who had used our turkey recipe this year, most especially my good friend Nicole. We were texting all day about our birds and various other things haha. :) It may sound crazy but I almost teared up when I saw Nicole's finished product!


Although I will note that I wasn't as good at recording as she was.. We had mentioned sending plate pics and when I got hers this is what I was looking at, haha!


Before I cover Black Friday, I'll note that there is an awesome sale going on at Lara Casey shop. This would be a great time to pick up some goodies. We love this team!! 


The whole weekend was pouring rain all over North Texas. So so cold and yucky. But cozy when we were at home. On Friday Ben and I both left early. I had breakfast plans with the girl cousins on one side of the family (so fun!) and then was determined to get my Black Friday on. This sounds crazy, but it's kinda fun to be a part of the hubbub.. and we had two photo sessions to shop for at the end of the weekend. Especially with my growing bump, I was really pleased to find a few things that made me feel pretty, and I loved that they were non-maternity and just a size bigger than usual. I'm hoping this will work for a while longer in my pregnancy so that I'm not feeling like I'm throwing away money on clothes I can only wear for short seasons of life. 


Of course Anthropologie (and their 25% off everything deal!) hit the spot. I had some blackberries and pound cake from this little spread, too! I snagged three sweaters and a dress that will work for at least another few months of pregnancy.. victory! 




This is so random.. but worth a watch! It's long.. but especially if you're a high school musical fan skip to around 8 min.

To finish out the fun week, we had TWO photo sessions on Sunday. Yikes! The first had been on the calendar for awhile, a fun project that you'll see on Friday. We loved working with the amazing Dyan Kethley on this! And after that we had a short session for Ben's parents' Christmas card. The color theme for the family was black, red, and gray. Our outfits are pictured below! 


Like I mentioned above, I feel like my bump really popped this week so I'm glad this dress still worked for pictures. Choosing what to wear was quite the ordeal! 


And now it's Christmas time! Yay for the holly jolly season! :) 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My Day at the Magnolia Silos


On a rainy, yucky November day, I took a day trip to the Magnolia Silos with my friends Kayla and Rachel. I first had the opportunity to shop with Joanna two years ago, when Susannah took me to the Magnolia Home show in Chip and Joanna's farm house. Their product really is amazing and it's really hard to rein yourself in when you know it's an out of the way spot. We had such a great time!


We parked by the pumpkin patch, which was super cute and well done. When I saw the sign with the arrow to the entrance I was genuinely GIDDY to go check it out!


We turned the corner and there it was!!! WOW! I will note that we were surprised at how small the whole thing was. Photos and video make the silos look HUGE. They weren't small, but not as big as what we imagined. Even the building itself was beautiful. The Magnolia logo is just so well done, I think!


Walking in the store I was on sensory overload.. wanting to take tons of photos but also grab goodies! I had my eye on a few things ahead of time, and brought home a few surprises.. including two things for Ben and one for #sweetbabystrader. There was incredibly well done calligraphy everywhere.. so beautiful!






There was even a little corner of the store for 'man stuff' haha! So cute! 


I wish I had grabbed a photo of every single vignette.. everything was just so beautifully styled! 


I was tempted to buy a candle.. but was ultimately swayed by all the other goodies, including a comfy long sleeve Magnolia Farms tee shirt which I'm actually wearing right now.  I did purchase one of the vases shown! I'm not sure if I have the medium or the large but I'm obsessed with it!



Gorgeous setups everywhere!


I've been super into distressed mirrors lately and would love one in our home!


They even had these cute maps of Waco!


And this is looking out the back onto the food truck area.. I imagine that on weekends this fun place is hoppin with sweet families! 


It was such a fun day and all of the employees were so incredibly friendly, eager to hear where we were from. We even signed a guestbook upon entering the shop. It's so sweet to see success come to such a genuine family. Rachel's mom's friend was actually one of the first customers at the new shop.. when her and her friends walked in they were greeted by Chip, Joanna and their parents. They asked if they could pray with them and then paid for their entire purchase. That story just made me love them even more!!! 

My Magnolia Haul 


Scalloped Cake Stand (not available online) 





The one I got Ben has an image of the actual silos 

(mine is actually charcoal with white writing and long sleeve, not available online) 


Ben thought this item was weird but people are always asking where it is at large gatherings, and I thought this was cute!

Texas Forever shirt for Ben (not available online)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

My 2015 Christmas Wishlist

You can find my 2014 Christmas Wishlist here.

I love seeing what's on the Santa Lists of my close friends.. It always helps me refine what would be a great gift suggestion when family asks what I have my eye on. This year is interesting because with a growing belly, searching through the new arrivals at Anthropologie to make the ideal wishlist wasn't really an option. I'm hoping to still make a ton of non maternity options work for me (I'll share more in British Belle posts as the belly develops and this becomes a challenge!) but I anticipate that I'll be trying on in store more than ever before. So this list is all home- and please don't laugh at me for wanting fridge coasters.. Haha! I feel like our fridge gets spills faster than the average family (sigh!) and this would really help me with the cleaning process. Plus it'd be fun to add a bit of color to our house fridge right?



Fridge Coasters
White Marble Lazy Susan (second year on my wishlist.. HINT HINT BENJAMIN LUKE!)
Sorority Christmas Ornament (search etsy for your house)
Scripture Sign for Nursery (We're still deciding which verse we'd like to choose.. so in reality I'd be asking for an etsy gift card!
Doorbell
Monogrammed Earrings
Handheld Steamer
Storage Ottoman  (#sweetbabystrader's toys need a hideout!)
Custom Monogram Cookie Cutter (I'd get vSb- our family monogram!)
Drop Earrings (I like the white ones)

Other things I recommend from recent purchases:
White Jug Vase from Magnolia Market 
Anthropologie Pot (in Medium will fit Ikea plants perfectly!)

What's on your wishlist this year? I genuinely love hearing! :)

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday No. 20

Y'ALL. 13 REAL LIFE PLACES THAT INSPIRED DISNEY MOVIES. YOU MUST READ THIS.

A beautiful post by my dear friend Nicole. 

Okay, and more Nicole posts. This girl is doing such an incredible job of encouraging others in her season. The Straders love the Coles and are praying for this family constantly!

I am so excited about this hair tutorial.. can't wait to try!

On the first Sunday in November, some of the gals in my home group participated in a freezer meal swap. Basically, we made 6 of a meal, brought 5 to home group, and came home with 5 different meals. I have so many thoughts on this which I hope to share in a full post after doing this one or two more times but man... so fun and so exhausting. Making 6 lasagnas is not for the faint of heart by any means. This would have been much simpler had we had an accurate look at how much meat we would need and if we would have browned it in several pots going at once vs one giant pot we had to fill twice. We spent that whole Saturday night at home making lasagna and then resting after a busy few hours in the kitchen. But woooooh doggie! When we came home with a chicken tamale casserole, a southwest turkey chili, a taco salad, a chicken pot pie, and a delicious hearty chili all ready to just thaw and go in the crock pot or oven. I had really been struggling with cooking during the peaks of my morning sickness, and this was such a timely thing to ease me back into a full on cooking routine. I seriously have opened my freezer to look at all the meals several times. #dork





Now, all of our Christmas decor is up. Yippeeee! One too many trips to Target took place to make this happen. Usually I really can resist the lure of going there and buying random items but during the holidays I'm like "okay I need three bags of mint m&ms, and some garland, and a floral" It's crazy but so fun!!


Until we know our sweet baby's gender.. prep around here hasn't been happening. But we are thrilled with the crib we chose and the tiny details I've picked up. 

This is a random share but for a long time I thought that greek yogurt was so yucky- but at some point I had a change of heart and now love it! I love Greek vanilla light and fit and these fruit mix in ones from Fage. I'm trying to keep the snacks healthy (for the most part) so that #sweetbabystrader is getting tons of good things, so this has been a go to!



Last week I went to a Restoration Hardware Warehouse sale (boasting 50%-85% off!) and it was really fun to walk through all of the beautiful pieces. We didn't end up buying anything, but if you had a specific piece in mind (dining room table, for example!) you would have really enjoyed! The majority of it was still way pricey. Meh! 

Ben has been cleaning out our gutters and therefore giving me a heart attack! YEESH!


Last Saturday I got to go to a "Little Pumpkin" themed shower for my dear friend Laura. Laura was my Sunday School teacher during my junior year of high school and has become such a close friend as the years have passed. We've been praying for the Lord to bless Chad and Laura with a baby since that Sunday School class.. and two adoptions later, the Lord blew everyone away with this surprise babe! I can't even think about it without crying. I never in a million years (for tons of different reasons) thought that Laura and I would share the season of pregnancy (14 weeks and 32 weeks in the photo above!) and I am so grateful! We can't wait to meet Elisha James so soon! 


I've been working on gender reveal prep.. and these little shoes are part of it. :) 


Last weekend I tried my hand at pastry art.. YIKES! I will try again, but this was a major fail. Haha!

You can find my previous Friday post here
& all of them here.