Local Holiday Gift Guide

Instead of doing a traditional gift guide, I thought I’d share my local shops I will shopping this year. I think it is so important to shop local this year. Local shops are struggling, but shopping local for the holiday’s this year can really make a difference. Think I can use the word local one more time?

If you have any kids you need to shop for this year I highly recommend Ruckus and Glee. I wish this toy store had been around when I was a kid. It has toys for all ages and every price point. I easily find the perfect gifts when I go there and the staff is beyond helpful. They always have great suggestions and make sure you’re able to find the best gift. Shop in store in Wauwatosa or online this holiday season.

A great way to support your local restaurants and give the foodie in your life a perfect gift is a gift card to their favorite restaurant this year. Restaurants have been hit hard this year and a gift card is a great option to support them. Many also usually have a deal if you buy a certain amount you get a gift card for free, which can be a nice little treat for yourself.

The Sparrow Collective is another spot I like to hit for gifts this time of year. This store features tons of independent artisans who create beautiful home goods, handcrafted tees, jewelry, and art. Much of the work featured is inspired locally by the Milwaukee area. Located in Bayview, you can also shop online this season.

Another great spot to check out is Mod Gen, located in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward. A take on a classic general store- they feature both local and afar products. And these can range from a handmade bar of soap to a beautiful houseplant. You’ll definitely be able to find something for everyone on your list. You can shop online or in stores this holiday season.

And that rounds out my local holiday gift guide. Let me know any other spots you’ll be shopping this season. Hope everyone has a safe holiday season!

Christmas Decor

Hello all! Can’t believe it’s almost that time of year again. With Christmas less than 40 days away I have been getting my Christmas decorations in order. I bought quite a few pieces last year and plan to use them all again. But having a bigger place now I bought a few more items to help get the new place in the festive spirit.

Bright colors

My Christmas color scheme is less traditional. I enjoy a brighter pallete which includes more than just red and green. This whole whole pallete came about last year when I was at AtHome. They had a holiday collection called “Festive Folk” which I absolutely fell in love with. The collection was influenced by Scandinavian Christmas decor. This style influenced me to use plenty of playful colors. Textures such as wool, yarn, and felt are often included in Scandiavian Christmas decor. I have pom-pom yarn garland, along with yarn tassels I hang arounf my home. It truly adds a lot of brightness we would normally not have in our decor.

Bottle Brush Trees

I also keep my decor fairly simply, since everything is so brightly colored. My main source of decoration is bottle brush trees. And they seemed to have stayed for this year’s holiday decor. I can find them almost every place I look. I have an assortment in size and color. And I think you could keep them up for most of winter if your really wanted to. They’re great for small or big spaces.

I love these gold-bottomed trees off Etsy from WittyBash

Gnomes

Fitting with the brightly, Scandiavian themed decor- gnomes are a must! Last year I bought several gnome ornaments that I hung on the tree and around my home. This year I’ve added some small gnome figurines to the mix, which I found at Target.

A gnome tree trooper off Amazon.

The Tree

It’s often the centerpiece of Christmas decor and this year we finally have a full sized Christmas tree. I purchased a 6 ft tree with multi-colored lights already on it from Target. It was easy to assemble and was the perfect height and width. I think the best part is the lights are already on it. As for oranments I bought a pack of shatter-proof in the bright color scheme I have with my other decor. Along with those I also plan to incorporate sentimental oranments from my childhood and maybe some new baubles that hold special meaning to us. Our tree skirt is bright is also in theme- it has pom poms around the edge in various bright colors!

Let me know how you like to decor for the Holidays. I’d love to see how everyone else decorates for this season. Happy holidays and be safe!

Halloween Decor

I started decorating the inside of my home for Halloween in September. And no, that is not to early. I love Halloween, it’s my favorite holiday next to Christmas. And I have always wanted to decorate my whole home for it. My mom had decorations for every season and holiday, but for Halloween she would simply fill our home with pumpkins. I always wanted to take it up a notch. And this year I finally feel like I have in my own home.

The Witches Liar:

My dining room is decked out with potion bottles and “flying” brooms and witch’s hat. I have a potion’s and spell’s book. Skulls displayed throughout and a “haunted” candle stick. Most of these decorations are from Michael’s but I did score some of those $1 potion bottles from Target’s Bullseye section. I love those things! Such an easy and affordable way to decorate and they don’t take up too much space. I also used spiderweb to a create an even spookier vibe fit for any witch.

Boris and his friends:

My living room is where Boris and his friends hang. Boris is a spider by the way. He famously has a song written after him. His webs are spun throughout our living room and he hangs with his friend Inky, the Raven. Inky is perched atop our bookcase watching over us as we dive into all the horror films we can. Along with these mysterious creatures are our friendly bats bursting from their cave.

This was such a fun way to celebrate Halloween this year. It brought a lot of the spooky elements we would normally get from a haunted house to our own home. Next year I’m hoping to really nail the outdoor decorations too. I only put our some tombstones and skeletons this year. Maybe I’ll create a whole graveyard next year? Complete with a coffin.

Hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween from me and our headless butcher!

Happy Halloween from our very own headless butcher!

Quarantine Date Ideas

During this weird time, we’re all trying to adjust. And that means adjusting how you normally do dates! If you’re quarantined with your significant other, setting aside the time to still have date night (or day) is important. It helps create a sense of normal and gives you something to look forward to.

So I thought I would share what me and my significant other are doing for date nights during quarantine.

  1. Cook a favorite meal together- pick something you both love to love to eat. This can be a fun evening making a meal together and great quality time too!
  2. Watch a favorite or new show together and make it the coziest spot in town. We started watching Hanninal (we both love the movie Silence of the Lambs) and we watch maybe 1 or 2 episodes on certain days of the week. It gives us something to look forward to and lets us spend some quality time together.
  3. Pick a movie series to watch and only watch it on certain nights. Get all the supplies you need like blankets, snacks, and drinks. Put down the phone and cuddle up on the couch to watch the movie. Pretend like you’re in your own private movie theater. Currently we are watching all the Marvel movies in chronological order and it has been something to look forward to during the week!
  4. Order from your favorite takeout spot– this is a great way to support your favorite local spots and also create a date night at home! We’ve done this a few times and it always is a nice date!
  5. Have brunch together! We have been taking advantage of this while we’re both at home. Normally we can’t do brunch together because of our work schedules, but now we can. We’ve been cooking brunch ourselves, but you can also order from your favorite breakfast spot. Dedicate and hour or two for this one morning and enjoy!

Some pics from our date ideas are below! We made butternut squash risotto with poached eggs (a favorite meal of ours) and my avocado toast I shared a weeks ago for brunch one day!

I hope these ideas give you some inspiration for date night! And let me know if you have any other ideas too!

The Art of Moving

A few weeks ago…actually back in February I wrote about my pre-moving tips. And now after finally moving into my new place I have some more tips I’d like to share. Because moving is truly an art, that I don’t think anyone has mastered.

  1. Think you have enough boxes or bins- get more, many more. You might think you have enough but you don’t, at least thats what happened to me. Now thankfully we had some overlap between places and could unpack and then reuse the boxes, but that isn’t always the case. The more boxes the merrier.
  2. Hire movers if you can afford them. I had movers for the first time this move and the definitely made the difference. And this made a big difference in the efficiency of being to move everything, especially the larger items. (Sidenote: I had to move during the pandemic and thankfully my movers were still able to come. They wore gloves and I only had them move the very large pieces. I had moved most of our small items before they arrived.)
  3. Pack a bag with all the essentials you’ll need. A friend mentioned this as a great idea and I’m glad I followed her advice. I used my travel kit I always have ready to go and made sure to pack some clothes and shoes in a bag. Then I packed up everything else and was able to find all my necessities like makeup and medicine after getting to the new place.
  4. Overlap between places can help make moving less stressful. Lucklily enough there was about 5 days of overlap between me getting the keys to my new place and moving out of the old one. It definitely reduced my stress and helped me clean both places.
  5. This is for all my pet parents- but have a plan of attack for moving your little furry friends. Moving one cat can be stressful enough but moving three is….well purrfectly awful. Haha see what I did there? Before the move we decided what day the cats were going to the new place and made a list of everything we needed to bring. I also packed things that smelled like me and knew the cats would want. A new place can seem very scary to them, but having a familiar smell can help ease the stress.

I hope you enjoyed my art of moving tips! I think for now I’m going to enjoy the new place and never move again (at least for now). Let me know if you have any tips!

Tips for Working from Home

Hello everyone! In light of what is going on in the world I took some time this past week to prep for the next few weeks and rearranged my upcoming blog posts. I’ve decided this week I’m going to share my top tips for working from home. After working from home for an entire week I think I have nailed down a routine that works for me. Hope you enjoy and stay safe everyone!

  1. Have a designated space for where you work from home. Even if this is your couch, (but I try to avoid working from the couch- makes me more productive) having a specific spot where you are going to work from, I think is important. Designating a specific space as your office allows you to keep some normlcy while working from home. I make sure the area I am going to use as my “office” is clean and has everything I would need at my reach. And this is also helpful if you are going to be working home with others. Each having your own space for work will help you feel less on top of each other.
  2. Make it comfy. One of the perks of working from home is you can wear what you want. Dress in sweats if you feel like it. Use all the pillows and blankets to get cozy. Make working from home as comfy and cozy as you want it to be. The
  3. Keep a schedule/routine. If you have a particular routine during the work week try to keep it as much as possible. I think this helps create some normalcy and keep you on track for getting your work done. I wake up and get “ready for work” which consists of me getting dressed in clean sweats, brushing my hair, maybe applying some makeup, making coffee, checking my phone, and then I head to my “office”. It definitely helps make working from home more normal.
  4. Take breaks. Working from home may be an adjustment for some. So if you find yourself getting distracted from work, take a break. Maybe you organize a drawer you’ve been meaning to or you go on a quick walk. Whatever you decide to do, taking a short break can help you refocus and get back to work.
  5. Maintain regular working hours. This may be part of keeping a schedule/routine but I think working during your usual hours helps keep things balanced. There definitely is a lot of flexibility in which hours you work if you work from home, but if you want to maintain a work-life balance this is a must.

Let me know what tips you have for working from home. And I hope everyone is staying safe!

Pre-moving Steps

In about a month I will be moving and for the next few weeks I will be sharing my moving journey on my blog. For my first moving post I am going to share my pre-moving steps. I start these about a month and a half to a month before my move to help ease the dreadful task of moving. I have moved quite a bit in the last 10 years so I think I have finally found a good routine.

  1. Plan how you want to move. I think this is an important first step to take before every move. Plan when you want to move, if you want to hire movers or not, and the timeframe you want to move everything in. Do you do it all in a day or over a week? Having a plan in place will ease an already stressful situation.
  2. Start saving boxes. We all order items from Amazon and instead of getting rid of those boxes, save them for the move. Also try to save any packing material that may come with these boxes, it makes it way easier to pack delicate items. If you need more boxes try getting some from your local grocery stores or even work. There’s usually boxes you can grab for the taking. And if you want to get something that might last longer than 1 move, plastic bins you can grab at Target or Walmart are also a nice option.
  3. Purge, purge, purge. I always start going through all my things and get rid of anything I am not using or don’t want to move. I think this can make it so much easier to pack. And I think it is a much better idea to do it before you start packing so you don’t feel the panic of doing it while packing.
  4. Organize while purging is another step I take the time to do. It helps me pack much more efficiently and then I can label boxes better. I usually do this about a month before I move.
  5. Then I like to start packing all my non-essential items. It makes me feel so much more prepared to move if I start packing in advance. Then towards my move date I don’t feel as rushed. I usually start packing non-essentials 3 weeks out.

I’ll share more of my moving process as the weeks go on. Let me know if you have any tips for moving? I’d love any advice for making this whole thing a lot easier.

Where to Donate?

When I go through my decluttering process one of the first things I do is usually take what I don’t want is going to goodwill. But recently a friend asked me where else is there to take things you don’t want? And it got me thinking where else can you donate your unwanted items to a better home?

So I started researching. And I came across a ton of new ideas and places. And below I’ll detail my top 5 new ideas/places.

  1. Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore– ” are independently owned reuse stores operated by local Habitat for Humanity organizations that accept donations and sell home improvement items to the public at a fraction of the retail price.” Any proceeds from the stores are used to buildstrength, stability, self-reliance and shelter in local communities. I think this is a great option for unwanted funiture and home items you have. The items can find a new home and the proceeds can help those in need.
  2. For unwanted women’s professional attire look no further than Dress for Success. This organization helps to “empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life“. This organization works in over 150 cities and in 25 countries around the world. And beside donating professional attire you can volunteer or donate financially to help empower more women.
  3. Your local animal shelters are always looking for extra towels, blankets, and linens. Now you’ll need to check with your shelters if they are taking donations but most of the time they are and in need for them too. I think this is great option for any extra towels or blankets.
  4. The Salvation Army– offers a number of options for donating your gently, unwanted items. They have drop-off locations, free pick-ups, and you can even donate your car! The Salvation has been around since 1865 and offers a wide range of solutions to help those in need.
  5. Have unwanted shoes that deserve a good home- look for Soles4Souls to donate them. This organization began in 2006, and distributed over 35 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries this day. Their goal is to wear out poverty by providing short-term relief and long-term solutions. Soles4Souls provides a new pair of shoes for relief in many developing nations around the globe, in times of disaster, and to help bridge the economic gap in the United States and Canada.

I have linked most of the organization’s above and if you have any other ideas or suggestions I’d love to hear about them.

2020

Hello everyone! Welcome back to my blog. I hope everyone had a nice holiday break. I have been taking some time to reflect on what I want to do in the new year. I have been looking to friends/family/bloggers/etc. to get new ideas for this year. And hope to hear from you as well, on what you might like to see.

With that, I think one of the first things I would like to talk about is decluttering! I know it’s sort of cliché to talk about at the beginning of a new year. But I think it’s a big thing to do this time of year and I would love to share my tips for it.

  1. Focus on one room/area/drawer/etc. at a time. Don’t try to do it all at once. It can be overwhelming then. And you might actually not declutter anything if you try going through everything at once. I’m speaking from experience here, as well countless friends telling me this is their #1 piece of advice.
  2. Don’t feel like you have to declutter like everyone else – not everyone needs to do a huge purge, maybe you just need to clean out a drawer. Do what you feel is comfortable.
  3. BUT be honest if you use the item it or not- and if you don’t get rid of it.
  4. If you’re unsure of getting rid of something put it in spot, you’ll see it, and see if you use it- if you don’t, it’s time to go.
  5. Recycle/donate/resell/give to a friend -there are so many options to do with your things you are decluttering- don’t just throw them out. (POST TO FOLLOW ON BEST PLACES TO TAKE THINGS)
  6. If you need some help and inspiration look at decluttering shows like Marie Kondo’s or even YouTube. I find that watching something like this always helps me get inspired to declutter, as well as tips for tackling different areas.
  7. Seasonal items- pack them away when not using to help give you more room. Trying to keep everything out at once is overwhelming and you may forget you have certain items.
  8. Bins! So important to have to organize everything when decluttering. You want to be able to pack things away and store them properly.
  9. Label things- I have decided to purchase a label maker to help me keep track of what is in my bins. Even when I keep similar things together, I still forget what is in a bin and labeling it, I think will help with that.
  10. Have fun with it! Declutter with a friend/play your favorite music/dance while doing/drink wine/etc. Whatever you can to make it enjoyable. Make decluttering something you want to be doing instead of a chore.

Let me know what you think and if you have any more tips!

Holiday Gifting Advice

Today I thought I’d share my advice to find great gifts for those special people in your life. Enjoy!

Your mom:

I always struggle with finding a gift for my mom. I never know what to get her, but I think what I have found what works best. I always suggest getting her things you know she will like. Her favorite perfume or skin cream are examples. Next pamper you mom! Give her a pedicure, Manicure or both! What mom doesn’t love to get her nails done. Comfy things are always another great option. Slippers or robes that are nice and fuzzy and warm since, at least my mom, is always cold.

And finally, something simple, but classic. Like the Kate Spade– One in a million pendant. I bought this for my mom a few years ago and she gets a ton of wear out of it. I almost want to get one for myself, but matching with mom…..

Your Dad:

I usually go for a funny gift when it comes to my own father. One year I gave him Jelly of the month club, like in National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation. Every month on the 25th he received I jelly I had chosen. This ranged from Smucker’s Strawberry Jam, to a local jam maker and even a jelly packet you get at a restaurant. It was a lot of fun trying to find new flavors for him to try. And it turned into a yearly tradition. I’ve now done:

  • BBQ sauce
  • Mustard
  • Chocolate
  • Candy
  • Cheese
  • Hot Sauce
  • Beer

Your significant other:

My advice when trying to find something for your significant other is to keep a list of things they mention throughout the year on your phone. My bf actually taught me this. Our first Christmas together I unwrapped some tassel earrings I had wanted but completely forgot about it. He wrote it down in his phone and the site I mentioned they were on, went back and bought them a few months later. It was one of the best surprises! And very thoughtful!

I think another great option for your significant other is to do something cute and personalized. Maybe you create a book of all your favorite photos or you write down 52 things you love about them, one to read each week. Whatever it is taking the time to do something cute and personalized for them is always a great option.

Yourself:

Yes, you should give a gift to yourself. I know I have a lot going on in my life at times and may tend to focus on every but myself so I think around the holiday’s it’s important to treat yourself!

Maybe you buy those shoes you keep eyeing up, or pamper yourself with a massage. Whatever it is do a little something for yourself during this busy time of year.

Need more ideas for gifts, check out these links. They’re giving me ideas for everyone on my list this year.