3 Ways to Easily Update Your Home for the Holidays

Want to spruce up your home for the holidays without breaking the bank? Decorating doesn't have to be expensive or over the top, it just needs to be YOU! 

It's hard to scroll through Pinterest and Instagram after Halloween without being bombarded with photos of beautiful Christmas trees perfectly adorned with ribbons, ornaments, and lights. Open Pinterest and your screen is instantly flooded with holiday recipes, crafts, and ornately decorated tables and mantels. As much as I want to have a Pinterest and Insta worthy home for Christmas, I tend to stick to a few simply basics to give my home a holiday feel. Here are my top 3 ways to get your home ready for the holidays.

1. Trees. While I am dreaming of the day when I can afford a King of Christmas or Balsam Hill Christmas tree, I have settled on a simple  6.5 ft tree that I bought on Black Friday 10 years ago from Michaels. It makes me itch when I connect the pieces, and half the lights don't work... but I just love the way that added a tree (any tree) to a space instantly makes it feel more cozy! Over the years I have added some mini trees in varying sizes to my Christmas decor. Smaller trees are great for shelves, bookcases, table tops, and centerpieces. Green and flocked trees are my favorite, but there are also trees made of yarn, wood, cork, glitter, brushes, and more. 

When we lived in a tiny 2 bedroom apartment, we didn't have space for a regular sized Christmas tree. Instead we had three small trees that I would place on the back of our upright piano and decorate them with teeny tiny ornaments and lights. It was all we could do, but it made a huge difference in the way our small apartment felt. 

2. Lights. The yearly debate over colored vs white vs warm white lights happens every year. Personally, I love the simple look of white and warm white lights both inside and outside of our home. It allows me to change up the other decor without having to buy new lights to fit my color scheme. With the right lights, you don't have to add much else to create a wintry look and feel in your home. There is something magical about snuggling on the couch with a soft blanket, and your family to watch a Christmas movie, that is made even more fun by only have a few strands of Christmas lights to add a warm glow to your home. 

3. Textiles. Not only can they add texture to any space, but it's a way to have fun with patterns, styles, and colors. You can add bold, colorful throw blankets and pillows to bring in a cheery design palette. If you like to keep things neutral, consider the look above by my friend Tammy Kate on Instagram @paisleypearhome She used a simple worded pillow along with a fun ticking stripe (from my Etsy shop) to create a cozy corner in her home using simple neutral colors. 

The thing I love most about adding textiles to a space, is that you can instantly change the entire look and feel of your home by adding a few simple items. Pillow covers are an easy way to get a whole new look for less than buying an entirely new set of pillows. Neutral throw blankets can be used year round too! 

You can always do more, but these easy 3 updates will get your home ready for the holidays in a flash!

Friday Favorites - Every Day Products

 I am the first to admit that I am NOT a lifestyle blogger. That being said, I try a lot of products until I find what I like, and these are a few of my all time favorite products that I use on a daily basis. 

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with any of these companies or products. I just know what I like and if you are looking to try something new, maybe one or more of these will be right up your alley too! 

#1 Tula Skincare - This is a relatively new addition to my daily routine, but I honestly don't know how my skin lived without it. Their products are all formulated with probiotic extracts and superfoods that help to refresh and brighten my skin. I started out with their discovery kit trial size version (value kit) and got hooked. My skin instantly looked better and felt so much more hydrated. It is a little pricey, but you can buy it online through the Tula website, or at Ulta online and in store. I love when great products are easy to find.  

#2 Tarte Mascara - It has taken my 25 years to find a mascara that I love that won't flake off in the afternoon. I have very light eyebrows and eyelashes, so wearing mascara daily is a MUST. My current go-to mascara to get the job done is by Tarte. They have lots of different styles to meet your needs, but my current tube is the Big Ego. It is a vegan formula that conditions your lashes as well as makes them look beautiful. Even when I don't put on much else, I always have my mascara on! 

#3 Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy Rose Lavender Body Lotion - It's a mouthful to say, but this stuff is magical. Bath and Body Works became HUGE when I was in high school and everyone was misting themselves with body sprays and putting on their lotion in the locker room. I never really got into it until adulthood. Over the holidays last year I placed a few orders online for lotions for gifts for friends and teachers. Well, I earned enough points to get one for me for FREE. This is the scent I chose and I LOVE it! In fact, I need to get another one because I've used almost all of it in the last few months. I put it on right before I go to bed and it has such a calming and soothing scent that really helps me to decompress from the busy day. It isn't a strong scent... just strong enough. 

#4 & #5 Shine Cosmetics Lip Gloss - Who doesn't love a good lip gloss. This brand it absolutely top notch in my book. I also love their eyeliner and lipliners, but my favorite product that they carry is their lip gloss. It stays on for hours and looks great! Their formula is really moisturizing too, which is great because my kips tend to get dry easily -- I'm a gloss and chapstick-aholic. They have lots of colors to choose from for every skin type, but my favorites are Goals and Unicorn. Lately I mix them together and it is the perfect bit of sheen and color for my skin type --- Shine... can you please create a color that combines the two!? Thanks. Their products are hypoallergenic, paraben and gluten free and are animal cruelty-free. The gloss is not tacky at all. I love the encouraging names for their products too! 

If you are looking to try something new, consider giving these a try. Leave me a comment with your favorite every day products! 

5 Tips to Complete Your Unfinished Projects

 When my now 8 year old was born, my husband took two weeks off of work to help out with our older two children and to give me some much needed time to rest and look after our new bundle of joy. On his last day home from work, he decided to tackle a small bathroom renovation that I'd been begging for (and had actually started on my own a few weeks prior to baby's arrival -- thanks to some nesting urges). 

The project? Adding some bead board paneling to the bottom half of the walls in our tiny bathroom. Could it have been completed on the 3-day weekend? Of course it could... it's a tiny bathroom. Did it get done? Nope. That bathroom project drug out for the next 5 years! All the paneling was up, but the nails hadn't been hammered in completely and the patching, caulking, and painting needed to be finished. I had finally had enough and one day just worked on all those little things and got it done. 

Why is it so hard to finish projects that we start? Maybe it's that we lose interest in the project. Maybe it gets to a point where we can no longer tackle it alone. Maybe it's because something more pressing comes up and the last project is put on the back burner. Today's blog post is all about how to finish those kinds of projects. 

Honey Almond Granola Recipe

 Breakfast is hard in our home. Due to my sons dairy, egg, and peanut allergies a lot of the yummy breakfast foods that the rest of the world consumes are just not possible for us. I have been able to adapt some of my favorite breakfast foods like waffles, pancakes, and even French toast. Since I have to make them from scratch it takes a lot of time to make enough of them for our family of 6. So, most mornings we opt for cereal, sunflower seed buttered toast, or sausage. 

I have been working on a recipe for granola though, and have finally figured out the perfect combination to get those larger granola clusters and taste delicious!