Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Look at Our 2014 Christmas Decor

Yikes, can you believe we are just 9 days away from Christmas?!  I'm freaking out a little bit because I am not feeling ready at all!  At least I finally have the tree decorated along with the mantel & dining room!  I meant to get these pics up on Saturday but my hubby returned from his two week Australia + New Zealand trip so... I was, ummm, busy :)

As I mentioned in my inspiration post, the decorations are pretty simple/minimal this year but it still feels cozy and Christmas-y... especially now that Alex is home!  Here's a look at our 2014 Christmas tree & decor!
The most fun I had with the decorations this year was finding a new spot for our tree which ended up being next next to our staircase.  Not sure if it's my favorite tree location but I really wanted to try something new.  Other than that, my favorite details are the large white paper stars and the faux sheepskins, but to be honest with you-  I kind of miss the over-the-top Christmas-y look.  I know I wanted to keep things a bit more simple, clean, and white but maybe our house just looks more charming during the holiday season when it's filled with more Christmas themed decor?  (click to see our 2013 tree)

What do you think?
Are you liking the more simple holiday style or do you miss the uber Christmas-y decorations?
Do you put your tree in the same spot each year?
What decor elements are your favorites this year?

Last but not least, I caught a couple adorable Rocco & Sadie by the Christmas tree moments that I had to share, that one of Sadie snoozing just melted by heart!  

Now, I'm going to get my rear in gear and wrap some presents tonight!  Anyone tackling any fun DIY gift projects this year?  I'd love to hear about them if you are!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Holiday Inspiration and Ornament Frustrations

Hey there!  I've been working on some finishing touches with my Christmas decor this week.  I thought I'd be done with it already but I had to spray paint a slew of ornaments- more on that in a minute!  But I figure before the big reveal, I thought I'd share a few of the images that inspired this year's style!  

While pinning ideas, I started realizing that I was leaning toward a lot of white; white with greenery and just a few shiny accents, nothing too metallic or glitzy.  These pics also inspired me to keep things a bit more clean and simple this year which sounded like an interesting challenge!

So the idea I've been going with is a White Christmas kind of feel or as Alex likes to call it, "A Christmas Void of Color," you decide which sounds better :)

The unexpected issue I ran into with this whole theme idea was finding plain ol' white ornaments.  Who knew?!  I checked Ikea, Target, Menards, JoAnne's, Michaels, and Bachman's (not all in one day, I spread out those disappointing visits throughout the week), no plain white ornaments!  Sure, maybe 4 white ones in a set of 20 with the remaining 16 being useless.  Which made me wonder...

Anyone else feel annoyed with all the color combo ornament sets when you just want one color in particular?  

I know, I know!  I am a Christmas crazy lady wit decor so maybe I am the only color particular weirdo, but I feel like I run into that frustration every year so I had to ask.  Why can't the colors just be separated gosh darn-it!!!  I don't want blue and teal... or a bomb of glitter, arrrgghhhh!!!!

In the end I did what any DIY-er would do and spray painted some old ornaments white.  That task wasn't as easy as I thought it would be either.  Sure, they were plastic ornaments so I should have known.
Oh yea, had my own little paint line set up!  The right image shows the paint coverage progress.
It took probably 5 light coats of paint along with lots of drying time and circulating air to get a good amount of paint color/coverage.  Sort of felt like it was as big of a pain as it was to look for white ornaments, sheesh!!!  Thankfully they're finally dry, some still a little tacky, but they're finally hung!

I'll take pics of all the decor tonight and probably tomorrow morning.  Stop back to check out this year's tree, mantel, dining room and more!  
Hope to see you then!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas, Kangaroos, and Cheesy Potatoes

Yep.  Christmas, Kangaroos, and Cheesy Potatoes are my life at the moment.  No, I haven't gone completely nuts although I'm sure some of my closet friends would argue that I went nuts a long time ago  * ba-dum-tshh *   :)  Sorry, couldn't help myself!  But that's what the real deal is here, I'll explain!

Let's start with the Kangaroos part...
Well once Thanksgiving was over and our visitors hopped on their flights back to MI and CA, Alex also headed to the airport to catch a MUCH longer flight for work.  Where to?  I'll tell you but get ready-  it's going to make you jealous, I'm still REALLY jealous!  My hubby is down under, visiting both Australia AND New Zealand- for work!!!!  Ugh, typing it just made me super jealous again, who gets to do that?!  I am sure there are plenty of people out there that do but no one that I know, I can't even think of someone that has been to either place for vacation!  Have I mentioned that I feel sort of jealous?  He's going to see kangaroos, wallabies, Crocodile Dundee and stuff, ugh!

Okay, moving on from the Kangaroos part to the Christmas part...
With Alex traveling, I am at home doing some Christmas decorating on my own.  Sadly that meant we didn't get to do our annual Griswold Style Christmas Tree Adventure (click the links to see 201020112012 and 2013).  Kind of a bummer but at least we got to squeeze in enough time to go to the local Farmer's Market and pick out a tree together.  Still felt special for us!
I did warn Alex that I was photoshopping him in a kangaroos pouch since he hasn't shared any pics yet :)

Onto the Cheesy Potatoes part...
Well, a couple hours ago I was searching through our fridge and cupboards for dinner options.  If you don't already know, I hate cooking, if I cook it has to be simple (aka Betty Crocker boxed or frozen food entrees).  Alex is the chef in our house thankfully but when he's gone I tend to go on a frozen pizza and cereal diet :(  Anyway, during my search I was also replying to a text from my fabulous photographer friend Amber when I stumbled upon a random (but still well before it's expiration date) box of faux homemade bake-able Betty Crocker cheesy potatoes.

Say what you will, it's not fancy but it sounded damn good so I felt the need to express my excitement about the cheesy potato discovery via text to Amber, I knew she'd understand :)  Due to it's random-ness, she and her husband Dennis told me to blog about it and I thought why not?!  So here we are.

There you have it, Christmas, Kangaroos and Cheesy Potatoes, it all makes sense now right?
I'll also say, if you don't think the potatoes part is randomly funny, it's Amber's fault for suggesting that I share with the blog world :)  Now, I think I need some more before I go to bed, I just might eat this whole giant bowl of cheesy potatoes and land in a couch food coma :) tis' the season I suppose?!

Are you a sucker for cheesy potatoes too?
Did you enjoy reading this post?  I ask because...
I know it's not about home decor or DIY-ing but I really enjoyed writing it so it made me curious.  Please let me know in the comments if you have a moment to!

I'll share some of my Christmas decor pics soon!  Things will look simpler this year than past years (see 2013 here) since we picked out a smaller tree- but wait, who am I kidding?  It probably won't look simple, I really do love Christmas decorating!  Swing by then to take a look! 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Finch's Warehouse Boutique 2014

Finch's Holiday Boutique is back and bigger than ever this year!   Elisa started this event in 2006 in her own home, but this year she has teamed up with Sarah from On Solid Ground Vintage Rentals and utilized her amazing warehouse space for the event.  The result is a one-of-a-kind, enjoyable holiday shopping experience and all the local artists & designers made a donation to the American Cancer Society to participate.  Doesn't the sound of it just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?!

You might be familiar with the 2011 & 2012  boutique posts, but if not here's some background info:
Finch's Warehouse Boutique, formally known as Finch's Holiday Time Boutique, features unique items from over 50 artists & designers- and sorry to any long distance readers! This one if local here in Minneapolis.  This Open House style sale takes place Saturday & Sunday, November 29th & 30th, and Saturday, December 6th.  Check out Finch's Warehouse Boutique Blog for all the event details and location.  

I was able to attend the VIP Sneak Peek last night to snap some pics of all the goodies at the sale and do some of my own holiday shopping.  Here's a glimpse of Finch's 2014 Warehouse Boutique!









There's plenty more up for sale too! I think anyone could check off their entire Christmas gift list with items at Finch's Boutique!   I also must say, it's pretty amazing to see what this boutique event has grown into- Elisa & Sarah you two did such an amazing job!

Which items would you put on your Christmas wish list?

If you are here in the Twin Cities be sure to check it out today, tomorrow, or next Saturday Dec. 6th!

Friday, November 28, 2014

At Home & Thankful

Gobble Gobble and oh my GOODNESS- Thanksgiving sure snuck up on me this year! 

I returned home from my Asia trip a week ago and it's felt really busy leading up to Thanksgiving but now with the turkey and pies behind us, (no pun intended ick!) it feels incredibly awesome to slow down, relax, and enjoy the weekend with my family.

Alex and I hosted for seven this year!  I'm kinda bummed I didn't have a good chunk of time yesterday to share pics of our dining room set up, but here's a glimpse.
It was a bit of a tight squeeze but it was so lovely having having family with us and we had such a good time- perhaps even too much fun because it wasn't easy getting up this morning :)  Needless to say, we didn't do any early black Friday shopping but I am going to head over to Finch's Holiday Boutique now for their VIP Sneak Peek event!   I'll be sure to share some photos of all the goodies made by talented local designers & artists, if you are local too you should check it out this weekend!

Did you snag anything good at the Black Friday sales?
Are you ready for the Christmas crazy to begin?!!

I'm still finishing up my post about my first visit to Vietnam, hope you'll be back to check out the pics and some of the stories- like how we got hustled by some pedi cabs or how I got pretzeled up during a massage :)  For a two day stay, things sure got interesting!  

Monday, November 17, 2014

Vietnam or Bust!

Holy smokes!  I can't believe it's been over two weeks since I've written a post, so unlike the norm for me but the reason things have been quiet for Hammers and High Heels is because I am over in Asia for another business trip- and I mean the good kind of another because these trips never get old to me!

I know I've shared a little bit about some of my past trips and this one includes the usual stops in India, China, and Hong Hong but this trip also includes somewhere totally new- We'll be heading to Ho Chi Minh  City, Vietnam!  I can't tell you how excited I am to see and experience another city and country while we are over in Asia and I guess it's a place I never thought I'd get to see.  I'm just there for two days mainly business focused, but you bet'cher buns I am going to get out there and see as much of Ho Chi Minh City as I can!  Even if I am sleep deprived and delirious like I am right at this second I'm still doing it :)

If you follow me on Instagram you might already have seen some of the trip, but if you don't follow here are a few of those pics along with some new ones (but really if you aren't following on Instagram you should be for the real time action, duh!)

We're already through the India, China and Hong Kong portion of the trip so we're hanging in the airport lounge about to head Vietnam!  I can't wait to share some of the photos and stories from Ho Chi Minh City this time!  See you back here then!

What would you like to hear about from my Vietnam visit or about my trip (or past trips- here, here, here, etc.)?

Are you curious about what Alex is doing while I am away for two weeks?  I imagine he's up to no good :)

Friday, October 31, 2014

My Halloween "Ride in the Sky"

I have a special Halloween treat today!

Although we haven't been as into all the Halloween themed fun like we have in years past, I did still come up with a genius Halloween costume this year.... and it involved Rocco :)  Click the play button to check it out, hope you get a good laugh!

In case there's anyone out there that somehow missed a movie classic called E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, here's a link to the "Ride in the Sky" scene.  

I am thankful that my co-star was a good sport about the whole thing...

Even when he got pooped on.  So rude right?!?  
At least the drive-by bird dropping landed on his blanket and not him!


Have a fun, safe, and Happy Halloween everyone!