christmas card goodness (and TWO $200 gift cards!)

We had our family pictures taken this past weekend in preparation for our annual Christmas card. I just love christmas card season … the mailbox is suddenly filled with pretty envelopes and loved ones faces instead of boring bills and junk mail. It’s like a little gift every time you open the mailbox.

family-photos-christmas-tree

I snapped this photo of our photographer working her magic with the kids and then later she sent me a real sneak peek and – oh my goodness – I can’t wait to see the finished photos so I can make our final card selection.

We ordered our cards from Minted last year (shown above) and will definitely do it again this time around. They have amazing designs, excellent quality, quick turn-around and affordable prices. Plus, they started printing with gold foil! That makes me happy.

Here are a few of my favorites this year (how am I ever going to choose just one for our cards this year?!)

2014-favorite-cards-1 favorite-cards-2

So cute, right? There are a million other great designs with fun options for colors and shapes and they even offer envelope addressing for free.

You can order your cards now

// OR //

enter to win $200 in minted wonderfulness!

minted-giveaway Click here to enter.  Minted will select TWO winners.

Giveaway ends Tuesday November 25th. Good luck!

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hardwood floors – the delivery, the demo, the install

new-hardwood-floors

We have new floors in our house. We’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting for the right time and finally made it happen. Things have gone smoothly and fairly quickly and we’re now ready to clean out all the dust, move our furniture back in and get ready for hosting Thanksgiving.  I’ll take photos to show you the finished spaces (it looks so good!) once we have everything put back together, but for now let’s talk about the process of replacing our floors.

To recap, we had blonde maple in our entry (see it here), front bathroom and kitchen. The rest was a taupy/gray carpet (we still have it upstairs) in terrible condition from the past 8 years of kids and dog and entertaining and living. It was time for it to go. We ordered a million hardwood flooring samples, narrowed it down to our top picks and after a few days of staring at them, made our choice.

floors-arrive

We ordered from Build Direct and the process was super easy. I measured, the customer service guys helped us figure out what trim pieces and overage we needed and it was official: our floors were on their way! Delivery day was pretty exciting … except when the handtruck couldn’t get the pallet up the driveway so Ryan and I had to carry each box one-by-one into the house. Let’s just say it was good exercise (ps. there were two of those pallets).

The second I had the chance, I tore that first box open to see our new floors.

open-box

We went with the gray-brown (here is the exact floor) and are very happy with the choice. Yes, we knew going into it that dark floors are a pain to maintain, but the matte finish and dirty brown color will hopefully do a good job of camouflaging dirt. Ask us in a few months if we’re still in love.

With the wood delivered, it was time to rip out the downstairs floors. Continue Reading →

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what we’re wearing (family photos 2014)

photo-outfits-2014

Tis the season for family photos. If I could, I would have photos taken every couple of months. But, alas, I live in reality and not only could I not afford it, my kids would probably go crazy if I forced them into outfits and made them smile real smiles more than once per year. Just kidding. They love it. Sort of. For a few minutes.

This year, we’re doing a mini session with the super talented Stacy Jacobsen (if you live in the seattle-tacoma area, she’s your girl!) at a local christmas tree farm. These mini sessions are ideal for us because they are quick, affordable and we’ll definitely get at least one great shot for our christmas card. Part of the fun for me is pulling together coordinating, but not too matchy, outfits for the whole family using as much as I can from our closets, and filling in with a few pieces where needed. I want everyone to feel comfortable and like themselves (not an easy task for boys who prefer athletic shorts and WSU sweatshirts over jeans and collared shirt …) but it is also my one chance to dress the whole family. I kinda love it.

Here are some close-ups of our outfits with sources:

dad-outfit

shirt / sweater / jeans / shoes

mom-outfit

shirt / sweater / jeans / booties / scarf

no1-outfit

shirt / vest / jeans / shoes / gloves

no-2-outfit

shirt / sweatshirt / jeans / scarf / shoes no-3-outfit

sweatshirt / jacket / jeans / shoes

no-4-outfit

shirt / sweater / skirt / shoes / hat + gloves

Hopefully the photos will turn out cute!

(Last year we wore similar styles – jeans, navy, gray – with a few pops of orange. Paige flew in to seattle for the long weekend and gave us the most beautiful family photos – see a bunch here)

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diy thankful string art

string-art-diy

This year, our thankful tree sits on the bar cart in the dining room. I thought it would be fun to have some sort of interesting art to hang nearby and decided to try a technique I’ve seen and loved all over the web. Here are a few of my favorite string art examples (1 / 2 / 3). My version is subtle and the white string and linen backing look pretty next to the vintage gold frame.

thankful-string-art-bar-cart

Want to see how I made it?! Continue Reading →

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our process for picking white paint

picking-white-paint

Our house is a disaster. And I couldn’t be more excited about it.

We’ve been waiting years to do a few big projects to our house and finally took the plunge. The floors were ripped up last week, the walls needed a fresh coat of paint and the new floors will be installed this week. In the meantime, we’re living in a construction zone with all of our furniture moved out and no stove to cook on (which just means eating out or at friends’ houses and I’m not complaining about that!).

I posted about our flooring options and it was helpful to run through all of the choices and hear what you had to say. We made our final selection, placed the order and have let them acclimate in the house for the past few weeks (sneak peeks coming!).  Well, once we pulled up all the carpet and existing hardwoods downstairs in preparation for the floor install, we decided it was the right time to paint the walls. Normally I’m the painter. I really don’t mind it and do a decent job. But the places that needed new paint the most – the stairway, ceilings, hallways and tall walls in the living room – were not areas I was excited about working on. Besides the difficulty factor, it would also take us weeks, and we just don’t have time with kids and soccer and work and the holidays coming up.

So we hired painters. I’ll tell you what, I may never go back to painting myself again. They do such amazing work and they are quick. Yay for nice people who paint houses for a living!

The only problem is that it costs money. And when you’re paying a bunch of money to have nearly every wall in your house painted, you really, really want to make sure you pick the right color. There are a million bigger issues out there than choosing paint colors, I am well aware. I felt ridiculous going back and forth, painting swatches, staring at five whites that looked exactly the same and yet I also didn’t want to waste money on a color that we didn’t love.

white-paint-sample-pots

We knew we wanted white. I’ve been craving clean, fresh, light, bright. One peek at my living area pinterest board and you’ll instantly see what my eye is drawn to. We moved into our home 8 years ago and the walls and ceilings were all the same khaki-ish color. It’s a fine color, but started feeling dark – especially during our dreary Pacific Northwest winters when the sun doesn’t show up much. So white was the obvious choice. Continue Reading →

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