Merry Christmas, etc.

Merry Christmas, Happy Boxing Day, etc, etc.

I hope all of you who celebrate Christmas had a wonderful day celebrating; hopefully with friends and family. We had a wonderful day, and a special Christmas Eve the day before.
These photos are two of the projects we made Christmas Eve, more details later.

Boxing Day finds us embarking on a whirlwind trip of Texas. We'll see family, friends, hotels, big cities, and small cities throughout the week. One thing I can be sure of, there will be many Buc-ee's stops! I'll check back during periods of quiet. Until then, enjoy your quiet time.

The Best Gift I Ever Got

The Power of Wonder Woman (Underoos)

My post on the Best Gift I Ever Gave got me thinking about the best gift I ever got. Wonder Woman Underoos, not once but twice. See that picture? That's me circa 1979. My first pair of Wonder Woman Underoos. Y'all, I LOVED those things. I can not adequately convey how much I loved those Underoos. I love Wonder Woman; in part because she stands for feminism-a woman who handles things on her own and saves the day. (This is also one of the major reasons I love the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" tv series so much.) Also, Wonder Woman has cool accessories.

I don't know how often I wore the Underoos, but it was enough that my mom washed them every day and the poor things just feell appart. Poor little 1970s synthetic fabric, I hardly knew ye! Fast forward many years to 2005 and I'm home for Christmas with my unsuspecting husband. I open my gift from my dad and's Adult Wonder Woman Underoos! No kidding. BEST Christmas present ever. You can thank me for not posting the picture of me modeling the Underoos over my clothes. No, seriously, thank me. It was the best gift because my dad thought of it all on his own. He remembered how much I loved the first pair back in the 70s and knew I would love an adult version. I don't collect Wonder Woman memorabilia and had not gotten any Wonder Woman item in decades, which made the gift so much more meaningful. He knew I would love them, and I do.

Now all I need is a golden lasso and Lynda Carter hair and I'm all set!

The Best Gift I Ever Gave

SWAGG is a free mobile app (download here) that lets you shop smarter using your mobile phone. Buy, send or swap SWAGG GIFTS and organize your old school plastic gift cards.

For every download of the app between now and Dec. 31, 2010, SWAGG will donate $1 to Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) , up to $125,000. Stand Up To Cancer, which receives a $1 for every download, up to $125,000, and/or the Sundance Film Festival Sweepstakes, with an AMAZING prize valued at $4,000. Visit the SU2C site for more info There's also a fabulous vacation package at the Ultimate SWAGG Getaway Sweepstakes. Clever Girls Collective and SWAGG are sending a pair of movie fans to the Sundance Film Festival! Download the SWAGG app and then visit the Ultimate SWAGG Getaway Sweepstakes site to enter to win a trip for two to the Sundance Film Festival. Entry deadline is January 3, 2011, 11:59pm, PST.

40th Birthday (Non) Surprise Party

One of my talents (at least I think it is) is finding the perfect gift for the person and occasion. I know that the perfect gift isn't always the most expensive, grandiose, or trendy item (although sometimes, for a certain person, it can be). The perfect gift takes planning and thinking about what the recipient wants. There are a number of gifts I've given whre I think I knocked it out of the park, but this one I know I did. I think big birthdays are a cause for major celebration. My husband turned 40 this summer. He's not a big birthday person AT ALL. He's not a big gift person either. He doesn't really like much of a fuss made over him. However, I think he's outstanding. I LOVE this man. Really, truly, madly, deeply. Still. Every day....OK, enough schmoopy...I started thinking about his birthday about a year in advance. I really wanted to make his birthday special. I initially wanted to try to arrange a hunt at one of the lodges he loves to hunt. But, his birthday is in the summer and it's not great hunting weather (around one million degrees). So, I started operation semi-surprise-40th Birthday Extravaganza/Bonanza!

Since hunting was out, I went to Plan B- Texas country getaway. We love going to our friend's property in the Hill Country. (Just search the archives, I think there are 40 posts about the Texas Hill Country!) So, I knew he'd love spending time at a country getaway with friends. I narrowed down the invite list with a little (unknown) help from the birthday boy himself and began the process of finding a place and a time for everyone to join in the celebration. I was excited about planning a big party, decorations, invitations, putting up photo decorations of my husband, etc. I was ALL OVER IT. Then, I realized the one thing that made this HIS best gift ever- I stopped doing what I wanted to do and started planning the birthday He wanted. In fact, I ended up telling him about the weekend to make sure it was what he wanted. He was very excited about the idea. It turned out to be pretty low key. It was a weekend full of friends, family, beverages, food, fishing, and just being. It lacked the decor, coordinating invites and favors I envisioned. But, it didn't matter; it was perfect for him. The party weekend was about six months ago. I know it was the best gift I gave him because he still talks about how perfect it was. My husband really loved his birthday weekend non surprise party; which makes it the best gift I've given him. I'm sure being married to me is gift enough for him, but this was pretty nice too!

Do you have special gift giving talents? What's the best gift you ever gave?

Learn more about the coolest new app that revolutionizes the whole shopping, gifting, and gift card-organizing experience and Download the SWAGG app to your iPhone or Droid. I was selected for this sponsorship by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity.

Friday Favorite- Favorite Ornaments

Image-Lisa Leonard

Ornaments are a big deal in my family. The adults stopped exchanging gifts a few years ago instead opting for an ornament exchange and a donation to charity. We get new ones every year to remind us of important events, my parents have given me some of my most favorite ornaments from when I was a child. This year I had a really tough time finding the perfect ornaments for everyone. I think I've finally narrowed it down to a few, or I might decide to make ornaments with the girls...If I buy ornaments, these are my current favorites.

I think the snowflake ornament from Lisa Leonard (pictured above) is delightful. I love everything Lisa makes. In fact, last year's ornament for our tree came from Lisa. I think the snowflake might be really nice for my friend, Amanda who had a baby earlier this year.

Image-Rae Dunn
I love stamped ornaments and these clay ones from etsy seller RaeDunn are no exception. I love their simplicity and I think my brother and his family would too.

Image- Nie Nie
This ornament made me gasp when I saw it profiled on Nie Nie's blog earlier this week. I'm definitely getting one, but I'm sure the seller is inundated now, so I'll wait until after the holiday rush. But, really, I LOVE this.

Do you have any favorite ornaments? Are the best ornaments made or purchased? I love the little macaroni and paper ornaments M made this year; those might be the best of all.

A Glittery Shining Christmas

Christmas through the house

Come on in. You can thank me since this is a short tour-I cut WAY down on what I was going to post! I love Christmas and it's hard for me to stop decorating.
I like to decorate the chandelier in our dining room with ribbons for parties and holidays. For Christmas, I add a few ornaments on varying lengths of ribbon. A little pop of festive color.
Our tree; we have an artificial tree that is PRE-LIT (Amen, cue choirs of angels). We ended up artificial after one year when we found thousands of baby spiders in the tree (GROSS-shudder). I usually drape a bunch of ribbon on the tree and scaled back a bit this year. I've seen trees with tied bows all over and think I might do that next year. The red shows up brown for some reason in this picture (new photo editing tools I haven't quite gotten the hang of)-the ribbons and angel are both a deep red.
I have so many precious ornaments, this year's ornament is from Paloma's Nest. Sweet, handmade, with a Southern drawl. Yes.
I have a ton of garlands up. A couple on the mantel, matching garlands on the staircase...
A ton. One of my favorites is the simple twine and art garland with some of the girls' artwork.
One of my easiest and best ideas- my Christmas card display. It's basically necessity being the mother of invention- I needed a way to display all the photo cards we receive, I had some extra ribbon-tape, staples, voila. There's even a card or two from some of my favorite bloggers & friends!
The last thing you see in our house is this great antique tin sign. I love it.
I'm linking this post to the Nester's Holiday party , Kelly's Show Us Your Life Holiday Home Tour, and Julia's Holiday House Tour (What? I love Christmas decorations, people!) but reserve the right to add and edit as time goes by because I really love my Christmas decor and having to cut it down? Well, I'm feeling all jittery about that!

The Polar Express-Texas

This weekend we got together with my family for my nephew's birthday.

My nephew turns 3 today (Happy Birthday, sweet A) and is OBSESSED with trains. His parents thought that going to ride the Polar Express would be a perfect birthday gift. They were right.
We were all able to join them in Palestine, Texas and ride the train.

There was hot chocolate.
Book reading
Time with cousins (and papa) -M, Em are the two with braids.

And, of course Santa Claus.
A great weekend and a fun family outing. If you live anywhere near palestine and have a little one, I highly recommend the Texas State Railroad and the Polar Express ride. (I have not been compensated or sponsored in any way by the Texas State Railroad. I just thought it was a really neat experience.) Do you have any special family trips you make around Christmas? Any Polar Express fans?

Friday Favorite- Christmas Wish List

I got one of my biggest wishes (been on my list for years) this week when Texas FINALLY got rid of Greg Davis. I could write endlessly about why I think Greg Davis was ineffective as the OC, except for his contribution to recruiting...suffice it to say that I am thrilled to have gotten this Christmas wish already! Kate Spade Charm Shoes- are these not the perfect shoe? Everything about this shoe screams, "I enjoy being a girl." Totally impractical, except for those few special occasions where this pair of shoes would quite literally make the outfit. I am in swoon. Wow, Kate Spade has my number.

Kate Spade Kylie shoes. Ok, I admit it, I already have these. I waited for months and found these on super duper sale and snatched those puppies up. LOVE.


Wonder Woman comic book coffee table book. I have loved Wonder Woman since I was a child; I take feminism and woman power seriously! I think this book would be such a pretty addition to my coffee table. Some of my favorite Christmas gifts from years past have a Wonder Woman theme, this would just add to that list.

Anything on your Christmas List? Share your Friday Favorites with me.

Christmas Decorating

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas
I love Christmas and I love decorating for Christmas. Most of my Christmas decor is pretty traditional. I haven't finished it all, but thought I'd show you bits and pieces. First the mantel.
I used two bunches of garland, three types of ribbon (you can never have too much), a couple sparkly reindeers and stars, and little stars from Crate & Barrel (last year on super sale). I basically twisted all the ribbon with the garlands and then began the highly scientific process of sticking the picks in all over the garland until it looked full. Since our mantel isn't too deep (especially after putting two garlands on it), I didn't have room for much, so I added a star for height on either side (Pier One $6!) and some glittery reindeer.

I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. I'm posting this to Layla's Mantel Party...even thought the party was days ago. Well, it's better to be fashionably late than early, right? Right?!

The Lettered Cottage

Love Thursday- Beauty

It's Love Thursday. Karen is the brain behind Love Thursday; today is the official launch for Karen's book. It feels right to dedicate this Love Thursday to the opening quote from her book, The Beauty of Different.

Beauty is something we experience and feel on a soul level. It's more than being pretty or aesthetically attractive-it's an intangible attribute that stirs something deep inside of us.

Each of us-because of all our differences- possesses the power to touch another's soul.

Look closely.

We are all beautiful.