The Good Girls Gift Guide for Everyone Else

Today I am blogging with a group of “Good Girls” again – so fun! Our theme is gifts for everyone else. I had a blast pinning to my hearts content items that I want to buy for the boys. I won’t be able to get everything on their wish lists (hello Jeep Rubicon), but that is why it is called a “wish list” right? I decided to shop for my Handsome (husband), Bub (13 year old) and The Bear (1 year old). Here are my picks, please ignore the ugliest collages I have ever seen….

My Handsome is an outdoorsman as well as a savvy technology guy. Here are a few things I know he will love!

Jeep Rubicon * New Sanuks * GPS watch * Arcteryx Softshell Jacket * Climbing Shoes * GPS walkie talkies * Osprey Backpack

 

My Bub is the funniest kid. When he was 5 his Christmas list was a strawberry plant, a cow and a SoBe drink – that is all. He always wants the most random and funny things. This year his top two items on his list are a 3 pack of sparkling grape juice and a gaming ottoman (I think he knows the cell phone is a no go). Here are some things I know he would be super excited about if they were under the tree. I added a Whole Foods gift card because he is all about their salad bar at the moment and loves making a $9 as often as possible.

Welch’s Sparkling Grape Juice * Lego’s Basics * Whole Foods Gift Card * Grappling Hook * Sea World Penguin Adventure * Tom’s

 

The Bear turned 1 last week and is a very easy going guy. He would rather play with silicone measuring spoons than most toys with the exception of his obsession with big brothers legos. Here are some items I just really think he “needs”.

Cardigan onesie * Duplo’s blocks * GAP hoodie * Tom’s * Melissa & Doug Barn Yard Wooden puzzle

 

Working on this blog helped me solidify my Christmas shopping list, I am terribly behind this year and so I am now inspired and off to get the boys some things they will love and get use out of. Before you head off please visit fellow blogger Tori who writes the fabulous blog “The sTORIbook” for her list of things for everyone else! I guarantee she will have some great items – have you seen how cute she dresses her little one Luke?

For the complete list of items I created for the boys, with links on where to buy them, visit my Pinterest board “The Good Girls Guide“.

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All that Glitters

We all need a little sparkle in our lives and some of us like a lot. Heather and I both love sparkle almost as much as we love Pinterest. Not only do we work together, she has been guest blogging here frequently and we are also cousins…..who used to dress like twins when we were younger (Heather is older by a few months in case you were wondering!)

Lately we have been using the “Secret Boards” on Pinterest to plan parties and share ideas. One our our boards is all about glitter and this week a group of local bloggers decided to put together a blog circle – Patty over at Fete has a great description if you haven’t heard of a blog circle until today. The blog circle is all about glitter so I thought we would join and do a fun, non-work related post about random glittery things that make us smile and share it with all of you.

 

The Good List : A Glam Holiday Guide
Our Top 10 List!

Hello, cupcake! Get in my belly!  This cupcake is so pretty and sparkly, wonder if it comes in gluten free?

How cute and easy to make are these? Add a little sparkle to your office with an easy DIY on thumbtacks.

 

A statement necklace can dress up any outfit and make it go from ok to a show stopper!

 

Toast to a fabulous New Year with this creative center piece to augment your fabulous food.

 

Essie polish is all the rage right now and we LOVE this easy way to dress your color up even more. Perfect for a holiday party or even for Valentine’s!

 

What is better than one statement necklace? How about two? We couldn’t decide between the two necklaces so we had to post both. New Year’s Eve party here we come!

 

Start off your mini me’s glam girl training with ADORABLE sparkly shoes.

 

Every woman needs a LBD. Fun to wear and a girls best friend this is a sparkly take on a traditional favorite for wearing to a Christmas party, ringing in the New Year or even Valentine’s Day.

 

Last but not least these shoes would make anyone feel like Cinderella for a day. A girl can dream right?

 

We hope you enjoyed a few of our favorite sparkly things, you can see more fun things on our (now public) board “All that Glitters“.

For the next post in the “circle” please check out Christina’s All that Glitters post over on her blog, Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget.

What was your favorite thing from the list?

 

Connect with us online:

Pinterest – Jen & Heather

Facebook – JenHeather

Twitter – Jen & Heather

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Decorating your tree? There’s an app for that!

Super excited today to have another post by Heather Bourne. We were discussing tree decorating and she told me about a great app she uses and I said “You have to blog about that!”.  Enjoy – Jen

 

Step by Step Tree Decorating Tutorial

Everyone who knows me knows that I love the holidays. I like decorating and enjoy walking in and out of my home each day with holiday decorations all around.

The center of holiday decorations for many people is their Christmas tree and I want to show you a really great tool for putting a tree together this year that you will really love. For all my “OCD” friends out there that are looking to create that perfect tree…..look no further…..I have an app for you. You can visit Show Me Decorating online or download it in the iPhone App Store on your phone.

You get a menu that allows you to choose your theme, tree and various decorations.

The app allows you to pick your theme and then provides great suggestions based on what you choose. It also provides extremely helpful information, based on your size of tree, on how many bows and yards of ribbon you will need.

You choose your tree height and width (at the bottom).

You then move on to adding bows (if you are using bows in your decor) in which is shows you the placement along with a short video.

Then next is ball placement with great suggestions for using different sizes of balls and how to place branches to create size and depth.

Last you add florals and ornaments with details on grouping, colors stories and themes.

I have used Show Me Decorating to put together my tree and after a few finishing touches I can’t wait to share it on my Facebook and Pinterest pages.

Have you put up your tree yet? What colors or theme are you going to use?

 

 

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Guest Post – Spot decorating for fall

Guest Post – Spot decorating for fall

Today I am excited to have my first guest post! Heather an escrow officer by trade and is know for her decorating and design skills. Hopefully she will start her own blog soon to share more information and decorating tips, but you can follow her on other social media channels in the meantime. -Jen

 

Spot decorating for fall

Decorating for the holidays is one of my favorite things to do. Today I want to show you how to spot decorate areas around your home for fall including your fireplace mantel, a table top, kitchen, porch and a few other decorating ideas and shopping tips.

Let’s start with the fireplace mantel. When decorating use what I call the Z method. Left top – Cluster, Right top – Single, Left bottom – Single and Right bottom – cluster. You want to alternate a cluster of items with a single item.

My fall fireplace

When you spot decorate remember odd numbers, my favorite is decorating in 3’s.

Close ups of top left and bottom right cluster groupings

Another seasonal decorating idea is to add photos to match. Switch out by adding in a fall pumpkin patch photo in your regular photo frames, they can be current or even from previous years. The photo also does not have to be of a person, it can be anything seasonal including a landscape type.

A table top cluster grouping

Enjoy decorating your home and try not to get overwhelmed, each year you can continue to add to your collections. Speaking of adding to your collection, right now is a great time to get fall decorations for a great deal.

Heather’s Hint: If you want to avoid the crowds. Start buying your fall items now and while everyone else is standing in line and fighting over the last matching pumpkin candle on black Friday you can drop in bringing only your receipt and get a price adjustment for the sale price!

DISCLAIMER!! Make sure you ask each and every store location or merchant about their price adjustment policy. Get it in writing so that you can take it with you.

Don’t forget, adding season specific scents to your home ambiance makes it so welcoming to family and friends. My current favorite is Yankee Candle’s Harvest.

My front porch

Heather’s Hint: Add a lantern with a candle at the front door to greet guests with a festive feel and smell before they even walk through your door.

Front porch close up

Where do you get your fall inspiration?

I would enjoy connecting with you on Pinterest, Twitter or on my Facebook page were I share decorating tips and real estate information.

 

 

Heather is a client of Concept Evolution, all ideas and information in the post are hers alone!

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November 2, 2006

November 2, 2006

November 2, 2006 will be a day I will never, ever forget. I can still remember exactly where I was at, driving around a big curve, in Dallas, Texas on my way to work after dropping off Bub at school when my mom called. I still feel sick to my stomach when I recall answering and hearing her sobbing and then my sister screaming uncontrollably in the background. I cannot remember the exact words she said through her tears and sobbing, but when she was able to get out his name…..I knew. I hoped for a second it was an injury, something to hang on to, but it wasn’t. It was something much more final – death.

My last photo with Luke before he left for Iraq.

When you love someone who is in the military and stationed in a war zone there is a feeling you never quite forget. The nagging, uncomfortable feeling you learn to live with every day until that person comes home, or doesn’t. I remember going to Washington, D.C. with a large group of Blue and Gold Star families during the fall of 2007. I told my dad that on one hand a felt a little jealous of the Blue Star families because their loved ones still had a chance of making it home, but that was overshadowed by my feelings of sadness for them because I knew they were still living with that nagging, uncomfortable feeling everyday. When your service member doesn’t come home you are left with a hole, a big, gaping, freaking hole that never goes away.

My favorite photo of Luke & Bub.

I avoided the news after he first left, even more than before I couldn’t bear to hear the news of another life being lost and the reality of war, it hit just too close to home. It was not that I was against what he was doing – Luke understood what he was taking on when he signed up for the Marines, it was something he had wanted to do his entire life and he was great at it. He excelled even more than we knew. You see Luke was a humble guy and until his funeral there were things we had no idea about, such as the fact that he passed every Recon training on his first try which is rare.

My beautiful sister Jes & her Lukey poo.

After all the initial shock wears down, funeral plans are made and carried out, flowers wither and the headstone is placed, a family is left with a hole. You keep moving forward  and you continue to live life, but the fact is that life is never the same and you never, ever forget. No matter how you look on the outside, your insides are changed. Each of my family members remember and embrace Luke’s life and memory in a different way and I love that. There are so many pieces of him that are so ingrained in the fabric of our family I never worry his influence will leave us.

Our last dressed up family photo before Luke deployed.

Today is a day I will never forget because of a man I had the privilege of knowing over half my life, one who I was able to call my friend and “almost brother-in-law”. He loved and respected my sister, was an honorable bonus son to my parents, a big brother to my brothers and an uncle to my son. He connected us to the Holler family and no matter what that bond will never be broken, they raised an absolutely amazing son and I know they are so very proud of the life he lived. Through him we have met some precious Marines and Navy Corpsmen who worked and fought alongside Luke and I am so thankful for them.

The Coker Holler clan.

I choose to use this day for the rest of my time here on earth, to help people see beyond a solemn photo of a handsome, blond haired, blue-eyed Recon Marine to know what a smart, funny, amazing person that he was. He was down to earth, loved God, had strong character and treated people with kindness. I want to continue to share stories about him so that his memory will live on. Remind me to tell you about the time Luke and Jes drove Bub and I back home from Dallas and the turkey froze Bub’s tarantula (Spidey II is still alive and well), and about the time Luke grabbed a guitar and made up a breakup song on the spot to convince me my boyfriend at the time was no good for me and that I deserved better (someone who loved me as much as he loved Jes is what he told me) and the time Bub cut his own bangs requiring me to shave his head and Luke told him carrots would make his hair grow, so Bub ate carrots for a week straight while wearing a hat.

Summer of 2006 when Luke taught Bub to swim – Amphibious Recon guys are the best swim instructors!

I so look forward to seeing him again one day. What an amazing family reunion that will be. Semper Fi!

Here is a video full of photos showing Luke’s personality and many of the people he loved. Enjoy!

 

In memory of Lcpl. Luke B. Holler, KIA 2 Nov 2006, Iraq

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