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!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Salvaged Souvenirs Straight From Amsterdam

Happy Monday everybody!  [Side note: whenever I hear or say that I think "really, is it?", does anyone else do that too?]  Anyway, I think today is a happy Monday because I have Alex back home!  He returned from Amsterdam this weekend and being the sweet husband that he is, he brought home a thoughtful little surprise for me-

Yes, a set of salvaged European speed limit signs with a authentic worn finish- I love them!  He picked these up at a salvage store just outside of Amsterdam called Neef Louis (which means Nephew Louis). 
Alex's cousin Jaimi brought him to this neat salvage & vintage shop knowing it's the kinda place we like :)  His/our cousin Jaimi lives in Amsterdam with her hubby Arnaud and their two kiddos Mila & Remi so Alex also got to stay with them during his trip....
Left: Alex enjoying a local brew with Jaimi (not pictured, darn!); Right: Alex with their kiddos Remi and Mila
I was so excited that he brought home a little piece of Europe for me :)  
Now, I just have to figure out what I want to do with them...

What would you do with the 4 signs?
Would you just mount on a wall?
Or, would you repurpose them in a unique way?

I'm about to do some noodling on Pinterest, but I'd love it if you have ideas to share!  I'm all ears, help!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dead Man's Shoes Vintage & Other Curious Goods

Don't you love it when you find great new local shops when you aren't really looking for them?  That happened to me and my mom over the weekend when we ended up at Dead Man's Shoes Vintage...

Alex was out of town on another business trip so I asked my mom to come for a visit and thankfully she hopped in her little red hybrid and drove on over from Michigan to keep me company over the weekend!   Or maybe she did just to make sure I don't end up in the ER like the last time Alex was gone?  Anyway....
Shopping adventure selfie with mom :)
We were out and about on Sunday heading to a few estate sales and one of the sales happened to be next to Dead Man's Shoes Vintage.  Naturally, when I saw "vintage" I told her we had to stop in to check it out, so glad we did!

The store had oodles of fun vintage clothing, shoes, accessories, furniture, home decor and other fun curiosities or as they describe it-  "A truly one of a kind collection of curious goods".  I also loved the way the store was curated, the mix of color and pattern throughout added to the fun retro vibe and made browsing through every little bit irresistible.

I have to comment on a few items now- the favorite being the Disposable Dress!  Did you know there was such a thing?!?!  The packaging said it was for "shopping, dancing, partying, funning, and house cleaning" and that it was "for today's Swingers".
It made me wonder if this is where the phrase "she'd look good wearing a paper bag" came from?  Because it is really just a paper bag... with a paper belt/sash.  At least it was water resistant and flame resistant so you can't soak your dress with a spilled a drink or get light on fire during your Swingers party :) 

Lastly, I have to tell you that the best thing about this store is that the prices are reasonable!  That's usually my beef with some vintage stores when you find great things but the pricing is outrageous.  I mean, that dress form in the above pic is $42!  Such a deal!

For all you local Minneapolis/St. Paul folks, you should definitely check it out!  After writing about the Disposable Dress I am kind of kicking myself for not buying it, should I go back and get it?

What did you think of Dean Man's Shoes Vintage?

Would you wear the Disposable Dress?

No update on the sofa situation yet due to Alex's business trip (and the warning he gave me if I buy a couch by myself).  Hopefully we'll get to decide and buy this weekend!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Couch Contenders

Ready to meet the top contenders in our search for a new couch?!?  We hope so AND we're also hoping that if any of you own one of these sofas you can tell us if you are happy with your purchase or not :)  Here we go!


In this corner are the "true to our original idea" category are the leather chesterfield style options.  The Home Decorator's Collection option is priced really well and is our current favorite, the downside is that it is online only so we can't sit on it before buying it :(

The look is pretty much what we want as I mentioned in the first post about replacing our current sofa situation, it's just so classic!

The next contenders in the "next best thing" category are some fabric chesterfield style options. We like them just not as much as the leather and the color options we've found aren't the most appealing.  The upside is that some of them are a little more budget friendly and the Martha Stewart option does have a lot of positive online reviews.

Last up in our list of contenders are in the "well that's cute though" category because we both liked these when we came across them during our shopping excursions but they weren't the original look we both agreed on.

Which contender will come out on top???  We still aren't 100% sure on that right now but I can tell you that it might be a while until we have an answer for that unfortunately (wa-wa).  My hubby has to do some traveling for work for a few days and I've been told/warned that I will get in trouble if I buy a couch while he is gone... he knows me waaaaay too well :)   It is a big decision so we want to make sure we do it wi$ely and of course together.

What do you think?  
Which couch contender would you pick?
Do you own any of the couches?  If you do, are you happy with it?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pumpkins and Our Fall Bucket List

Good news!  I was able to get my fall fever to go down a little bit :)  but in case you missed my last post-  I say that because I finally did a wee bit of fall decorating at home.  It's not a lot but the simple switch-er-oo I did to the decor on our dining room sideboard really added the touch of fall I felt like we were missing.

I picked up two green Fairytale/Cinderella pumpkins at Trader Joe's for $6.99 each and a mixed herb plant for $7.99 and then added one of the chalkboards we made with a scrap piece of plywood.  My favorite detail of it all is the "fall bucket list"we added on the chalkboard...
I've seen a few "fall bucket lists" on Pinterest used in fall decor and thought it was a fun idea!  You know how much I love crossing off a to-do list :)  at least it will be fun to-do's to complete this fall!

All and all, just mixed shades of green against black and white with a hint of the warm copper.  Simple but still seasonal!  Maybe it will get a little spookier too as we get closer to Halloween, we'll see!

What's on your Fall Bucket List?
What are your other fall favorites this year?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Fall Fever

I did some sofa shopping earlier this week and unfortunately we haven't found the sofa of our dreams just yet but what I did find was lots of lovely new fall themed decor! Since then, I've kind of had fall decor fever I guess?  Has it hit anyone else too?  I hit West Elm, CB2, and Target, here's a look at a few of the fun things I spotted while I was out and about!

CB2 and West Elm even got me noodling on Thanksgiving decor already!  I mean who doesn't need a poultry shaped tealight holder at their table?!  I also loved their table by number place card holders.

My favorite though was their Chuck Wood Storage.  I wondered if Alex could DIY something similar for us though, hmmm....

Over at West Elm there were more traditional, yet still fresh and modern Thanksgiving decor ideas.  I loved the Wheat Bunches and the Painted Metallic Table Runner.  Hmmm, another DIY idea maybe?

They also had a really fresh sophisticated take on Halloween decor.  I loved their decorative Apple Box, Snake shaped candle holders, and those studded-pyramid shaped candles.

One thing I can say I did NOT like was the X-ray plate set...

I think these would ruin my appetite?  That snake head one especially seems kind of icky!  Would you be able to eat off of them???

I also found a few cozy Threshold things at Target...

All of it got me noodling on what to buy or DIY to bring some fall decor into our home!
I didn't purchase anything just yet but I know I need to change couple things up to get that fall kind of feel- and I have to do something to get rid of my fall fever!

I guess you could even say...
I've got a (fall) fever and the only prescription for that fever is more cowbell new fall decor!

Sorry, it was too hard to resist!  (If you aren't familiar click this link, you'll be glad you did)

What are you fall decor favorites this year?
What decorations are you using for Halloween or Thanksgiving?
Would you eat off of those X-ray snake plates?!?