Monday, November 30, 2015

Favorite Things - Stocking Stuffers

Today I'm joining Erika & Andrea to share a few of my favorite Stocking Stuffer ideas.  I cannot wait to read everyone's ideas and snag a few new items.  Thanks for hosting ladies!  

My younger kids always seem to be the easiest and the ones I get the most carried away with.  I seriously often end up returning items because the stocking is completely full!  I love giving my kids a few practical items but also include some fun things (like tattoo pens) that I may not say yes to on just an ordinary day during the year.  Of course there are also things like Mad Libs and Silly Putty that remind me of my childhood!  Farkle is so much fun and seriously Carly Jo can stay lost for hours creating with Washi tape.   Band-aids are seriously one of my kids favorite stocking stuffers but I will admit they are not always used just for booboos.  We go through lots of chapstick and pens in this house so those two are always winners.  If all else fails I add some gift cards whether it is iTunes or a fast food restaurant my kids are excited to have their "own money".  
 I go way overboard every year for my older daughter as well.  When she was a teen it was so hard finding fun stocking stuffers and honestly just gifts in general but now I have to put the brakes on or I find myself spending more on her stocking than her gift!  Here are some fun ideas I am NOT giving her this year (just in case you are reading Jordana).  For a little selfie fun a selfie stick as well as a Kate Spade portable charger to make sure she's always ready.  A few purse necessities; Tide pen, refillable perfume and Stila lip color.  Of course the Kate Spade glitter studs, a fun bracelet and some cozy socks are always winners.  Who doesn't love fun pens and markers....I know these are always welcome in my stocking!  And lately infuser water bottles seem to be a big deal and this one has been at a special price on Amazon.  Sometimes something I know she would love but may not be up to spending for herself like Urban Decay eyeshadow primer is something I'll throw in.  I didn't add to the picture but I also think these nail polish remover wipes would be an awesome stocking stuffer.  
 Oh boys....they are just hard all the way around aren't they?   Keith and I typically do not exchange gifts but we almost always have stockings for each other.  This year I'm really thinking he needs a personalized Yeti cup.  He and both my boys will never turn down a new pocket knife and Case is typically a favorite.  It's hunting season around here so adding some hand warmers and beef jerky for the deer stand makes them happy.  I don't know why but underwear and socks almost always become a gift for my men every year.  Lastly this RIF protected money clip would be a nice find in the stocking.  Probably their favorite thing for me to stuff in their stockings is Lottery Tickets.  Who doesn't love to spend Christmas morning scratching to win?

What are your favorite things to receive in your stocking?  

 Hop over here to see all the linkup parties I'm joining!  

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Shop Small Saturday Deal

Are you shopping small businesses this Saturday?  Here are a few special offers from my Rodan & Fields.  

The Amp it Up Bundle is the perfect way to jump in to Rodan & Fields.  The Redefine and Reverse regimens are my personal favorites but you should totally hop over and take the quiz to see which is right for you.  Not a glamorous gift for a teen, but the Unblemish line has worked wonders for my sons breakouts and to me it is a testament to how great it is that he is using it and actually commenting how much better his skin feels.  
As a bonus I'm offering a $10 Starbucks Gift Card for anyone who signs up as a Preferred Customer between November 28th and December 1st.  These Kate Spade studs have been a favorite for me and I will also register any new PC customers during this time into a drawing to win these!  

Are your lips mistletoe ready?  I know this time of year especially my lips are not in tip top shape.  This Holiday Bundle will have your lips kissable in no time.  
Three of my very favorites would fit perfectly in a stocking!  The first R&F product I ever tried is the Micro-Dermabrasion paste and it is still one of my all time favorites and don't sweat the price it last me at least 6 months.  The Multi-Function Eye Cream is a bestseller and I was caught off guard earlier this fall when it was sold out and my supply dwindled.  I must admit one of my because vices is not taking off my makeup at night (gasp) so on nights when I'm lazy these eye cloths are perfect for at least removing my eye makeup.  

If you ever have any questions about any R&F product, please feel free to email me.  

Shop small this Saturday! 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Black Friday Sale Picks

I am a total sucker for a sale but I am also just a little bit crowd averse which makes Black Friday much more enjoyable from my computer.  I've put together a few gift ideas but also some gifts I would love.  Nordstrom is always my top choice due to free shipping and returns.  I also love using Nordstrom in case I purchase a gift someone isn't crazy about because I know they will receive zero hassle returning.  
All gifts I would consider for my 25 year old girl.  Who doesn't love a great pair of sunglasses?  These Ray Bans are a pair I would love but would never buy for myself and they are really at a great price.  Kendra Scott earrings in lots of colors and styles are on sale but these maroon would be perfect for my Aggie girl.  The sparkle Kate Spade earrings are back in stock and I also thought this iPhone cover would make a great stocking stuffer.   Watches are one of Jordan's fave things and I love this Kate Spade.  Seriously the fringe infinity scarf is one of my fave scarfs ever and it's under $10 and will go so fast but it would make such a super gift for girlfriends, teachers, pretty much anyone.  I am pretty boring when it comes to buying purses and typically keep it neutral but if I was gifted a purse in a fun color like this green or blue one I would be over the moon excited.  Kate Spade definitely knows how to design a layered necklace and this one would be such a fun surprise and I love her fun bracelets with little hidden messages.  
 Can I tell you ladies shoes have been my total weakness this year?  I've tried hard not to buy a lot of new clothes and shop my closet instead but I have totally failed in the shoe department.  Over the knee boots have still not made their way to me but at the current mark down these are on their way!  Love these BP booties with a fun pattern pop. I tried on these Toms booties earlier this fall after I had already purchased a pair and I was a little sad because they are so comfortable!  Sam Edelman is always on point and I love these leopard heels and boots.  I've been really eyeing a pair of fringe boots and the reviews on these are really promising.  Lastly, there have been lots of great reviews on these Lucky brown boots so if you are still looking for a pair I would snag these now. 
 If you haven't jumped in the past two years,  you are lucky because this one button cardigan is still available and so on sale.  You NEED this cardigan and all the girls on your gift list will love it.  plaid is so fun and once you see the back of this Lucky brand top you will know it is a winner.  Temps are cooling off even here in Texas and this coat would be perfect to keep you cozy.  
 I have blogged several times about these Hudson jeans and they are marked down to a great price.  If you have ever wanted to try designer denim now is the time with these Hudson Jeans or the Paige skinnies I recently purchased and fell in love with.  Faux leather leggings are one item on my list to try this season and these by Hue look like a possibility.  Today I wore these BP leggings I purchased several years ago and I forgot how much I love them.  

I could seriously go on and on about the sales out there! We actually needed a new vacuum something terrible and I love my dyson but it is 9 years old and has really seen better days so I snagged a new one on Amazon.  I'm also really interested in one of these propane heaters for our back porch.  This is why I suck at shopping for Christmas....the deals end up being so great and I totally shop for myself!  

Hope you all had a super holiday and enjoy your Black Friday no matter what kind of shopper you are!  

Attitude of Gratitude - Week 4

My friend Holly and I would love to challenge you this month to have an attitude of gratitude in all that you do.  Choose to intentionally give thanksgiving for every day blessings we all overlook sometimes.   We hope you will consider joining us each Thursday in November by linking up your post about why you are grateful this month or how you have chosen to have an attitude of gratitude for yourself and others.  
This week we are wrapping up this little ditty and what a better day than Thanksgiving Day to show an Attitude of Gratitude.  

Week one I discussed what it means to be joyful always.  While we may not always be able to be happy about everything going on around us we can still choose to find joy in the every day.  Week two was all about praying continually and I am so glad I learned more about this verse.  Praying continually is not necessarily on your knees head bowed in prayer but more making God present in every thing you do all day long.  Week three is probably the hardest for most as sometimes our circumstances give little to be thankful for but we can always, always know that the ultimate thanks we can give to God comes from turning to him no matter our circumstance.  

Do you notice the very last part of this verse?  All these things are God's will for us...his WILL y'all.   When I first read over this verse I was seriously thinking well geez God that is just a little too much to ask and it really made me feel kind of like a rebellious child not wanting to go the direction my parent was directing me.  All these things really are our choice every single day; joy, prayer and thanks.  Somedays when our hearts are rebellious we refuse to find the joy in anything and we sure do not show love or grace in situations we are faced.  We may even face a circumstance that is so trying all we want to do is blame God and ask why me?  These things are God's will for us because he knows best and he knows only through him can we see the world through a different lens.  

Today I made the choice not to see the joy.  I did not have the attitude of gratitude I've been over here preaching about on this blog.  Having family for Thanksgiving and cooking is something I absolutely find joy in but all through the day satan has tried to steer me away from joy.  My brother called to say he wasn't sure they are going to make it because his wife is not feeling well and disappointment set in immediately.  My hormones are a little nuts this week and I just don't think as clearly so just the act of making a list of the things I needed to grab at the store was giving me anxiety.  Inevitably I always, always pack more into my hours than is even possible and I end up feeling so frustrated.  My mom is here and that sweet thing hand washed all the dirty dishes but of course she didn't "do it like I do" and instead of finding joy in clean dishes I was feeling overwhelmed.  Keith came in, ate the dinner I prepared and promptly planted himself on the couch to watch basketball.  I was left feeling unappreciated, frustrated, sad, alone and oh my gosh ridiculous!!  What was missing in my day was my focus on Jesus.  

As I sat down to write this post I began running through it all and I felt so selfish.  Having an attitude of gratitude has no room for selfish.  Y'all, I am so joyful all of my babies, Keith and my mom will be here tomorrow regardless of who else shows up.  Joyful I was able to go to the store and not think twice about buying all the items to cook way more than we will need tomorrow.  So grateful my husband actually made it home from work tonight and planted himself on our couch because I know some are not so lucky.

If nothing else in my 46 years, I have at least learned to recognize when I have totally derailed.   There was a time in my life when a day like today could have torn me down for weeks; maybe even helped to ruin a marriage.  It is a choice every minute of every day to choose joy and find thanks in our circumstance by turning to God.  He is hoping and waiting for us and the peace that comes from knowing that is amazing.

Those of you who have been reading along we thank you so much!  Your comments have been so heartwarming.   A special thanks to all of you who have linked up with us.  You have been an inspiration to us this month!

Wishing you all an amazing Thanksgiving day!  Wishing you all the joy that comes from knowing Jesus has your back today!

We would love to hear how you are celebrating an Attitude of Gratitude.  Time to link up!  Only rule is you only share original content and share with an Attitude of Gratitude!  Please show us a little gratitude and link back to our blog.
While not required, we would love you to follow us! 
Shelly - The Queen in Between
Holly - While I'm Waiting

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What's Up Wednesday {November}

Today I'm linking up with ShayMel & Sheaffer for this months What's Up Wednesday!  The questions are in green so check it out and join the fun. 

{What We're Eating This Week}

In preparation for the craziness that will occur on my plate Thursday, I have been eating super clean and healthy so far this week.  We have grilled chicken, broiled salmon and roasted veggies each night this week.  Thanks go Dillon bagging a deer opening weekend we also have a freezer full of deer sausage again which is my favorite and we may have cooked a link each night to use for our breakfast each day.  
I will be making spiral ham, my Meme's dressing and this yummy fruit salad which was also hers.  Thankfully my mother-in-law is taking care of the turkey.  
  Recipe here

{What I'm Reminiscing About}

I think the holidays bring so much excitement but it is also a time I missed those who are no longer here just a little bit more than usual.  Pulling out my Meme's dressing recipe and her famous {chocolate cookies} always makes me just a little sentimental.  She was such a great cook and I always loved watching her in the kitchen.  So much she cooked she did by taste and I tend to be the same.  

{What I'm Loving}

This month I have been co-hosting the Attitude of Gratitude linkup with my friend Holly.  If you haven't had a chance to stop by you can visit here.  We will wrap up tomorrow and I have been so encourage by others who have linked up as well as all the sweet comments we have received.  Care to join the fun?  All you have to do is link a post showing your Attitude of Gratitude....being thankful is all it takes!  

{What We've Been Up To}

I took a quick trip to San Diego for work and managed to squeeze in a beautiful California sunset and some great food!  
 If you are ever in the area, Del Mar is a perfect location to watch the sunset.  
And then head on in to Jake's on the beach and just try to find something that is not amazing.   I would highly recommend the mac & cheese stuffed meatball.  

{What I'm Dreading}

I love this season but often struggle with keeping the focus where it needs to be.  Trying to keep the stress level low and actually enjoy the season is just hard some days leading up to Christmas.  I hope by participating in my friend Kim's Advent challenge as well as performing a few Light 'Em Up acts of kindness I will keep a positive and joyful demeanor.  If you would like to know more about either you can read yesterdays post here.  

{What I'm Working On}

We have lived in our house for over 12 years and there are still so many things I would like to complete.  I am so close to finally having my bedroom finished and just need a few more little details to come together.  This rug showed up this month and it is just as perfect as I had hoped!  I also received a bench I ordered from Target and it is so perfect at the end of my bed.  Lamps, a long table for under the long window and I really want to have a sliding door built to replace the double doors into our master bath.  My friends hubby just built her one and when she sent me the below picture I knew I had to have one! 
Target bench on sale here

{What I'm Excited About}

Thanksgiving!  All my babies will be here as well as my mom and my brother & his family and Keith's mom.  I seriously love preparing this meal so much.  

{What I'm Watching/Reading}

Really loving this book right now.  I've really felt the need to push myself a little further lately and this book has some great all around life advice.  
This is the book my friend Kim is hosting a little bible study/advent using.  We started Monday but if you want to join there is still time.  

And I am still watching Friday Night Lights and Gilmore Girls on Netflix!  Hoping to make some real progress over the holidays!  

{What I'm Listening To}

I have been loving this song!  Super excited about starting the Christmas music and driving my family crazy in the next week.  

{What I'm Wearing}

If you follow me on Instagram you already know I have been having so much fun shopping my closet and adding a few new things while participating in some fun little style challenges.  
A little plaid challenge here
 This dress worn 4 ways here
And some fun Target finds here.

{What I'm Doing This Weekend}

I am making a quick trip to Wharton on Friday but when I return on Saturday it will all be about decorating the house for Christmas!  
Last years decor here

{What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month}

Christmas!  I cannot wait to have time off to celebrate with my family.  

{What Else is New}

Cannot think of anything else!

{Bonus:  Christmas Traditions}

Our family must be like the most boring ever.  We really don't have any set Christmas traditions aside from always, always making sure there are tamales present at our celebration.  We almost always celebrate Christmas Eve with Keith's family and Christmas morning with our kids and Keith's mom and sister and then head to celebrate Christmas afternoon with my family.  

Hope you all have an amazing Thanksgiving!  If you are traveling prayers for safe travel.  

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Two Target Treasures

I have to admit I am still a little bit of a novice when it comes to shopping the clothes section at Target.  Don't get me wrong, I love some Target, but I have just never scored too many wins in the fashion department.  That is until this fall.  You guys, Target has been knocking it out of the park this fall.  
 I happened in a few weeks back and ran across this adorable faux suede dress.  The same week the Cartwheel app was also running 25% off all women's clothes!!  Scored this cutie for less than $20!  
I'm still not 100% positive about it but thought I would show you guys a few looks and see what you think.  I seriously love my height and love having long legs but sometimes it poses a bit of a challenge with dresses.  Not sure this would work for work. 
 A little more business casual with this jacket and my fave Kimberly necklace.  
 Ignore the super serious face and just imagine this ensemble on a hot date night. Once I got passed the hubby asking what kind of fake fox I was wearing I'm sure the date would be hot!  Ha! 
 For a more casual look, say even for a family gathering on Thanksgiving day, I added some of my favorite pieces to dress this down a bit.  I love this gold gingham top and you can visit Tara Lynn's Boutique and receive 15% off your entire order with the code Gold.  I cannot say enough about this top and there is plenty of other goodness there.
Code GOLD for 15% off
So what do you think?  Is this dress a keeper?
 Y'all...I LOVE this hat but I must confess I still have not been daring enough to wear it out and about.  I'm totally going to soon though!  
 This open cardigan was the second find, also using the 25% Cartwheel coupon.  This I have totally worn several times already.  
My sweet friend Holly gave me this little bag for my birthday.  It is so fun and the perfect size to hold my phone, lipstick and keys but also fits nicely in a larger purse.   
 I'm loving this layered look over a sleeveless striped swing dress with my favorite fringe scarf. 

I was not able to find the fun little dress online but everything else is linked below.  
Faux Suede Dress (simlar)
Faux Fur Vest (similar) here & here
Bag(great stocking stuffer!!)

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!   Come back tomorrow as Holly and I complete the Attitude of Gratitude series.

Two for Tuesday - Christmas Blessings

I don't know about you but there have been so many years I begin to feel stressed, anxious and sometimes even a little depressed when the holidays roll around.  Often I begin to get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of finding the perfect gift I forget I have already received it.  Assuming I am not alone in this, I thought today I would let you know about two ways you might take your holidays to the next level and help yourself and your family focus on the true blessing of Christmas.  

{An Artistic Advent}

My friend Kim at Hunt &Host {her blog is a gift in itself} has invited everyone to join in an artistic advent.  She has scheduled the reading (which began today but I still think there is time to order the book and get started) centered around Ann Voskamp's book The Greatest Gift.  What could be more fun than reading about the gift of Jesus and participating in a fun craft each week?  Be sure to visit Kim's post here and sign up for her weekly email.

Let’s defy the hustle and bustle, all the commercial chaos the world tells us that Christmas is and have hearts that shine like radiant beacons, beckoning others to join in our peace. To know our Jesus. - Kim Jones of Hunt & Host

{Light 'Em Up 2015}

I'm sure most of you have heard of Courtney DeFeo but I had not until my friend Holly started raving about her.   Well from my perspective, now that I know about Courtney, I would have to say she and my friend Holly may be long lost sisters.  Holly loves list and she loves to show kindness to others so it's a match made in heaven.  This year she watched this video and took it a step further by creating a Facebook group for our Brazos Valley friends to join in the fun.

I will tell you the first year Holly participated in this I was so intimidated.  Every day I felt like a total loser if I couldn't think of anything to do or if I didn't plan well and ran out of time.  That is not what this is about and it is totally a personal choice how much or how little you do.  The biggest thing is that you intentionally keep focused on being kind to others and showing love during this magnificent season.  I often think the biggest problem for me was feeling like I was just "copying" someone else's idea and not being creative.  I mean come on...that's kind of like cheating right?  Heck no!  Courtney has an amazing list of things to do and instagram and search for #LightEmUpActs to see what other families are doing.  Find more here.
I hope you watch this video and it speaks to your heart.  There are so many people out there just needing a little extra love, encouragement and appreciation.  Be the light this Christmas season!

And don't forget to stop back by and join Holly & I as we round up the last week of the Attitude of Gratitude linkup on Thursday.  We have been sharing what it means to us each week to have an attitude of gratitude all focused around this bible verse.  Check out Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3.

Join me linking up with some many amazing bloggers here.  

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Queen's Chronicles - Week 47

So excited to be starting a short week of work.  My family will be coming to College Station for Thanksgiving and I'm excited about cooking and having them all here.  I would like to put forth a little extra effort setting a nice table so I am combing Pinterest for some simple but lovely ideas.  

Here is a little of what was going on week 47...that's right already week 47 completed!  

We celebrated my Mother-in-law's birthday eating at BJ's brewhouse and bumped it up a notch with this triple cookie pizookie.  
Tuesday morning we were awakened at 4:30 to tornado warning alarms and this guy was not ready to get up when it was finally time!  
This little miss started running a little fever on Monday and also complaining of a sore throat and headache.  I instantly was worried about strep and since I was leaving town Wednesday I made her an appointment.  As you can see, by the time we made it to a 3:00 appointment she seemed to be all better.  
Always fun receiving mail with some kudos for one of your kids!   Dillon was among 6 students recognized in November as Student of the Month.  So proud of him.  I always say I'd rather my kids act like toots at home as long as they know how to act in public!! 
Wednesday morning I was up at 3:30am and on a plane by 5:15 headed for DFW and on to San Diego.  I love seeing the world from the air.  Isn't this patchwork beautiful?
We landed in San Diego by 8:15am and had the day to explore.  First stop was Cafe 222 for breakfast.  I love this little cafe and the frittata did not disappoint!  
Then we headed to Coronado to explore the town, visit the Hotel del Coronado for a little history and ended with a margarita.  All of this before 1pm!  
Hello San Diego!  We had an amazing view of the San Diego Harbor from our room at the Westin downtown.   
Thursday morning my girl sent me this picture on her way to take Dutch to playcare.  I LOVE these two! 
I was in San Diego for a workshop and by the time we were released on Thursday it was already dark.  We headed to dinner in the Gaslamp District and stopped at this little Italian restaurant.  I picked the pistachio crusted salmon and it was delish.  
The workshop ended at 3:00 on Friday so we headed out to Del Mar to see this beautiful, perfect California sunset!  
Really do love this girl and we had so much fun just soaking up the beauty.  
Jake's was recommended and did not disappoint.  Grapefruit martini, bacon brussel sprouts and the dinner special slow roated pork.  Yum!  But the most amazing was this not so ordinary meatball which was stuffed with mac & cheese!  Holy yum.  
I lost my drivers on my way to San Diego and oddly enough a fellow Texan found it on her flight to Miami!! She located me through Facebook and was kind enough to mail it back to me.   Just for future reference...if you show up with no ID you will be searched and receive a complimentary full body pat down.  It did make me feel somewhat safe at how much work it was to get through security. 
I made it home just in time for dinner on Saturday and we headed to my friend Holly's for dinner and Aggie football.  Dillon volunteered to go put Hope down for bed and Holly caught this precious moment.  
Sunday morning I headed down to my hometown to celebrate Thanksgiving with this spry young lady.  
With 3 of her 7 great grandchildren.  They all behaved so nicely! 
Carly's BFF Holden rode to Wharton with me to surprise Carly who had spent the weekend with my mom.  We took her on a little tour of the "famous" Tee Pee Motel.  Does your hometown have some little fun gem such as this?

Whether you are staying home or traveling this week, I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving holiday.  Be sure to join Holly & I as we wrap up the Attitude of Gratitude linkup on Thursday.  

Find where I'm linking up here.  
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