Saturday, December 27, 2014

My Lace and Burlap Inspired Gift Wrapping

Hellllllo and a very Merry post-Christmas to you all! This past week I have been in Pittsfield visiting with my family, and today I am off to a wedding in Connecticut for my friends Luke and Dani. Finding myself with a bit of free time, I thought I'd check in quickly to show off you how I ended up wrapping all of my Christmas gifts this year.

As evidenced in my Holiday Gift Wrapping Ideas post, I was really digging the idea of using lace, string, or burlap embellishments on plain white and brown wrapping papers. And, by golly, I did just that.

Materials used:
  • brown wrapping paper
  • white wrapping paper
  • 2 different types of lace ribbon
  • 2 different types of burlap ribbon
  • small plastic pearl garland
  • hemp twine
  • hot glue gun
  • tape
  • scissors
After wrapping up all of the presents in either brown paper or white paper (or in some cases, both!), I went to town embellishing each differently with all of my accessories. No two are alike... check them out!

Brown paper gift wrap with white lace and pearl strands

White wrapping paper with burlap, lace and pearl ribbons

Brown paper gift wrap with burlap ribbon and hemp twine

Brown paper gift wrap with lace, hemp, and pearl garland

Brown and white gift wrap with lace and pearls

Brown and white gift wrap with lace and pearls

Brown paper gift wrap with lace, pearl and hemp

Brown and white gift wrap with burlap ribbon and lace

Brown and white gift wrap with burlap ribbon and lace

White gift wrap with burlap ribbon and hemp twine

White gift wrap with burlap ribbon and hemp twine

Brown paper gift wrap with burlap ribbon and lace

Brown paper gift wrap with lace trim

White paper gift wrap, white lace, and white pearls

Brown paper gift wrap wrapped with burlap ribbon

Brown paper gift wrap wrapped with burlap ribbon and lace

Brown paper gift wrap wrapped with lace trim

Brown paper gift wrap wrapped with lace trim

Brown paper gift wrap wrapped with lace and hemp twine

White paper gift wrap with white lace and pearls

Brown paper gift wrap with burlap, lace and hemp twine

Brown paper gift wrap with burlap and lace

Brown paper gift wrap with burlap and hemp twine

Gifts wrapped beneath the tree

I am pretty thrilled with the way these all turned out, considering how often things can go terribly wrong when one is using Pinterest for inspiration. As my friend Derek pointed out, this was all more of an arts and crafts project than a "gift wrap" really haha. As such, I knew that the presents - all paper sealed with tape and all "accessories" secured with hot glue - would not be easy to get into. A small price to pay for all of their aesthetically pleasing outer qualities. I just made sure to pass out scissors to my family so that they could cut through all the lace/ribbon/pearls/burlap and actually get to their presents.

Did you wrap your presents in anything special this year?
What did Santa bring you?


Friday, December 19, 2014

Festive Nails (that I Should Have Posted Last Week)

Heyoooo! This week has been chock-full of me doing Christmas prep in the form of buying and wrapping presents, so I didn't have a ton of time to work on nails. The gift-wrapping that I did has me feeling PRETTY self-satisfied, so it will be super exciting me for me to eventually share that here on my blog with lots of pictures... but in the meantime, here is a re-do of the Christmassy nails I did last week but was unable to photograph at the time.

Emerald green nails with rose gold glitter accents

I used my Revlon Parfumerie polish in the color Balsam Fir and a Maybelline Color Show polish in the color Gilded Rose. All of my fingers besides my ring finger got 2 coats of Balsam Fir, while my ring finger got 3 coats of Gilded Rose. I also topped my middle finger with one coat of Gilded Rose for some extra bling.

Aside from gift-wrapping, this has been a busy week! On Monday evening I had physical therapy followed by a dinner date at Sei Bar with my friend Stephanie and her friend Cris. On Wednesday I spent the evening volunteering at a local food pantry, and last night I had physical therapy followed by a holiday event at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Tonight my friend Kara and I are taking a *romantic* stroll through Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood to look at Christmas decorations. Beacon Hill is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Boston, and the old buildings and cobblestone streets make for a really magical Christmas stroll, so it's been on my list of December must-do's. Thank god Kara agreed to do it with me haha - otherwise it might have been the prettiest, loneliest walk of my year! I'll take pictures of the decorations, and if they come out well I'll post them in a blog.

I hope your week has been going well!
What are your plans for the weekend?
What are you rocking on your nails today?

{Linking with The Nail Files and Friday's Fab Favorites}

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Craft Club #3: Making Holiday Cards

Craft Club marches on! On Saturday, December 6, my friend Stephanie had a turn hosting our monthly club of creativity, and we nourished both our craftiness and our bellies by designing holiday cards while eating pizza.

The Friday before last (December 5), I went down to Steph's Canton condo for a pre-Craft-Club sleepover. We were supposed to watch the first two Home Alone movies, as I had stopped at Target earlier that day and was de-freaking-lighted to find that they were being sold together in a combo pack for only $19.99! However, we discovered in the twelfth hour that the box set I'd purchased was in fact full of Blu-Ray discs, and not DVDs at all. #Impostors. This terrible realization led to much fist-wagging and cursing of the inventor of Blu-Rays. So, confronted with that fail, we just colored in my brand new coloring books (also purchased at Target that afternoon) and watched The Roommate on TV till bedtime. The Roommate, by the way, is a movie so bad that you can't really turn away. We watched the entire thing.

The next morning I ran across the street to get us some Dunkin Donuts coffees, which we sipped while waiting for our Craft Club companions (Lauren and Anna) to join us. Steph prepped her living room by covering the floor with a big white sheet to protect the rug from the glitter bomb that was about to go off. And boy did it.

Once everyone had arrived, we spread out on the sheet, surrounded by all of the supplies that Steph and Anna had bought:
  • blank white and off-white cards/envelopes
  • tons of embossing glitter and accompanying clear rubber stamp pad
  • heat gun for embossing
  • sparkly paper in christmassy colors
  • scissors
  • glue sticks
  • stickers
  • rubber stamps
  • Sharpies in tons of colors
Steph turned on some Christmas music and showed us how to use the embossing materials, and we all got started on our cards. I felt like each of mine took a really long time to conceptualize before I actually began making each one. But whatever - not like we were in a rush. There's no rushing in crafting.

Craft Club: Making Holiday Cards

Art supplies for making holiday cards

Check out the below pair of owls haha! The one on the left was an example card that Steph had made before we arrived, using embossing glitter on both an owl stamp and a Merry Christmas stamp. The one on the right was Anna's first attempt at using the owl stamp, and since the owl looked so drunk we suggested she hashtag it #eggnog.

Holiday cards using owl stamps and embossing glitter

I'd never embossed anything before, and though the glitter was very messy, the end result was really cool. I ended up making four cards...

My first card was made with embossing glitter, a Merry Christmas stamp, and red, green, and white glittery paper:

Merry Christmas card, red, green, and white glittery paper
My second card featured a strand of Christmas lights around the perimeter, with Merry Christmas stamped in the center. I drew the black cord with a Sharpie, but each gold light socket and each colorful bulb is individually embossed. Here's a little step-by-step:

Using gold glitter on a Merry Christmas card
Gold embossed Merry Christmas holiday card
Holiday lights Christmas card

The third card I made was the classiest, I think. Using gold glitter, I embossed the snowflake stamps, and cut out lots of different sized circles from some white and gold glitter paper. The end result was trimmed down so that the circles weren't overhanging, but I forgot to snap a picture of that! 

Holiday card, gold glitter snowflakes, gold and white glittery circles
My last card was my least favorite, but the other girls said it was their favorite that I made! I tried to split the Merry Christmas stamp into two different words, but as you can kind of see each stamp left some trace remnants of the other word in it. Mreh. The gold, silver, and red were each individually embossed. 

Merry Christmas ornament card

Making holiday cards at Craft Club, making a mess

Here's a snowflake card that Steph was working on:

Blue and silver snowflake holiday card

And of course we can't forget about the other important aspect of Craft Club... the food and drink! Here's what we enjoyed that day for vittles:
  • pizza
  • holiday brownie bites
  • red velvet cookies
  • popcorn
  • wine
  • prosecco/cranberry juice mimosas
Steph's boyfriend Gerry had asked us the night before how long we'd be crafting that day, and my response was that the first rule of Craft Club is that there's no "end time" to Craft Club. With that no-limit attitude in mind, we probably spent about 5 hours playing around with our card project that afternoon. Craft Club is seriously the best.

On an unrelated note (you know how much I like my notes to be unrelated), I neglected to post a nail polish blog last week - but it wasn't because I hadn't done my nails. On the contrary, my nails looked awesome and holiday chic, but an unexpected work project found me using my hands extensively to pack up an entire office worth of documents, and my nails were destroyed in the process. My hands and fingers were even covered in paper cuts, so my digits were altogether unphotographable. Apologies. I hope it didn't ruin your week. It certainly didn't ruin mine.

And to bring it back to a related note... you can read about our other Craft Clubs here. :)

Do you send out holiday cards? I don't normally, but this sure gives me a good reason to.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

2 Ways to Style an NFL Jersey

Earlier this week, I was invited to participate in a style challenge with, a retailer specializing in sports apparel. The challenge was to choose an NFL jersey from their site and build a stylish outfit board based around that jersey. Fortunately for Fanatics' social media coordinator, she reached out to me right on the heels of a Patriots win, so the idea of creating a style board based around one of their jerseys sounded DAMN GOOD to me! Hooray for style and football in one fell swoop!

The challenge was to create one outfit, but my excitement may have accidentally overflowed into two different game-day outfits: one for watching at a friend's house (or AT the actual game, if that's how you roll!), and one for staying in, being cozy, and watching from home on a chilly December day.

After browsing around their selection of NFL jerseys (read: navigating straight to the Patriots section), I decided to base my outfits around the women's style jersey of Mr. Rob Gronkowski. It was pretty difficult to choose a player, so Gronk was chosen more or less because he just had a great game on Sunday night against the Chargers. Also because going with Tom Brady seemed too cliché, handsome and talented though he may be. Sigh. #DatSmileDoe.

Below are my two looks, and if you love any of these items, I've included links to where you can buy them (not affiliate links, just REGULAR LINKS).

LOOK 1 - Watching at a friend's house, looking all fly 'n shit:

LOOK 2 - Watching at your own crib, lookin' all cozy, not givin' a whaaaaaaaaaaat:

I obviously chose these jerseys because I'm a Pats fan, but which jersey would you choose? Do you root for a team? Did you choose your team by location, random family loyalty, color scheme? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Granary Burying Ground: Where All the Cool Revolutionaries Go to Get Buried

A few weeks ago, I awoke early on a Saturday, got ready, and left my apartment with the initial intention of heading to my friend Anna's apartment down in Roslindale. A change in plans led me to take a spur-of-the-moment trip into downtown Boston instead, where I headed into one of the old historic cemeteries, snapped a few photos, and then popped into Downtown Crossing and did some Christmas shopping.

The Granary Burying Ground is located beside the Park Street Church on Tremont Street in Boston, and it's old as shet - founded in 1660. While there are about 2300 gravestone markers in the cemetery, there are said to be up to 5000 Bostonians buried there - several of them notable historic figures from the Revolutionary War era. 

Granary Burying Ground, Boston, Massachusetts
.  click for a larger view!  .
Tombstones in Granary Burying Ground, Boston, Massachusetts

Not to drop names, but here are some of the more recognizable people buried in the Granary Burying Ground:
  • John Hancock
  • Paul Revere
  • Samuel Adams
  • Benjamin Franklin's parents
  • Victims from the Boston Massacre
  • Legend has it that the "real" Mother Goose may even be buried here!
Paul Revere's gravestone marker
.  this is a newer grave marker, obviously  .
.  there is an older one next to it  .

As you can see, the old gravestones are super thin and creepy looking.

Gravestones in Granary Burying Ground, Boston, Massachusetts

Many of them are adorned with skulls...

Skull engraving on tombstone in Granary Burying Ground

While the above depicts a skull and cross bones, many of the other gravestones are topped with an engraving of a skull with wings. According to the Freedom Trail website, "One of the most popular motifs was the 'Soul Effigy,' a skull or 'death’s head' with a wing on each side that was a representation of the soul flying to heaven after death." So. Now you know.

Park Street Church, Boston, Massachusetts
.  the park street church  .
This particular cemetery is along Boston's Freedom Trail, so if you're ever in the area doing that touristy activity, you'll get to see this historic gem. There's also another old church and burying ground just a few blocks away at the King's Chapel. 

For more pictures of Revolutionary-era Boston things, check out this blog that I wrote last year!

Have you ever been to Boston? The Freedom Trail and other historic adventures await you :)

Friday, December 5, 2014

Sparkly Grey Nails, A Health Update, and Weekend Plans

I did these nails yesterday so you know that they are 45% peeled off already right now. That's why I need to take pictures of my nails immediately after finishing them - otherwise they will simply not last.

Revlon Diamond Texture silver sparkle nail polish as accent nails with China Glaze Recycle nail polish

Revlon Diamond Texture silver sparkle nail polish and China Glaze Recycle nail polish

This is two coats of China Glaze's Recycle on my pinky, middle and pointer fingers. My ring and thumb nails each have one coat of Recycle topped with one coat of Revlon's Diamond Texture, which is a really opaque, fine silver glitter with larger silver rounds mixed in. I was seriously shocked at how well this Revlon polish covers with just one coat. It does also have a slightly grainier texture to it when it dries.

Grey nails with silver sparkly accents

In other news entirely, the appointment I had with the orthopedic doctor on Wednesday provided both questions and answers about my long-lasting neck/shoulder/arm pain. X-rays on my neck and spine showed what looks like a freaking bone spur on my lower neck, which has been wreaking havoc on the nerves in my whole left shoulder and arm. The doctor also said that my neck and spine were both very straight - like they had no curvature. I looked almost arthritic, which he said I was too young to be displaying. He even asked if I'd been in a car accident! What the actual heck! To answer that question - I was rear-ended in my car literally 10 years ago, but it wasn't something I considered to be a major accident at all. The person who hit me wasn't going that fast - we were entering a rotary in the center of Pittsfield. Could that accident really have set this bone spur in motion?? How would I even know for sure?

Regardless of what caused it, the good news is that it won't require anything invasive (surgery) to fix it. The doctor prescribed 6 weeks of physical therapy, which I will start next week. Hoozah! Maybe my arm will stop going numb soon!

On a way cooler note, I am really excited for my evening tonight and my afternoon tomorrow. Tonight, I'm driving down to Canton to my friend Stephanie's condo and we are going to hang out and have a sleepover! The last time we had a sleepover at her place, we watched a lightning storm, colored in Care Bears coloring books, and watched movies. Tonight we might go ice skating or see a movie, or maybe even color and watch movies again! I'm heading to Target this afternoon to see if they have any copies of Home Alone and Home Alone 2, and if so I'll bring those to Canton tonight as well.

Tomorrow morning Steph is actually hosting Craft Club #3 at her place, so we'll be joined around 11AM by some of our other girlfriends for an afternoon of making homemade holiday cards. I'll bring my camera along - OBVI - and make sure to report back on how it goes. Spoiler alert: It's going to go AWESOMELY.

What are you up to this weekend?
Anything sparkly or fancy festive on your nails today?
Do you send out holiday cards?

{Linking with The Nail Files, Beauty Frenzy Friday, and Friday's Fab Favorites}

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Holiday Gift Wrapping Ideas

The Christmas season is just about my favorite time of the year. I love the holiday lights, the smell of Christmas firs, the carols and holiday songs on the radio (nope, they don't drive me nuts), the crackle and aroma of cozy fireplaces, hot cocoa with way too many (is there such a thing?) marshmallows, and buying presents for my loved ones.

Picking out gifts is something that makes me really excited and happy... but wrapping the gifts also has a special place in my heart. My dad has always been a phenomenal gift-wrapper - think cleanly cut lines, crisp folds, and minimal tape - so the beauty of a finely wrapped present has never been lost on me. Fast forward to this day and age when Pinterest and DIY crafting is abound, and gift wrapping is finally getting the mainstream respect it so plainly deserves. There are entire Pinterest boards dedicated to beautiful wrapping ideas to suit every taste.

And my wrapping taste, personally, is something a little bit earthy-crunchy feeling - and I'm refining that taste as the years go by. For wrapping gifts last year, I went with plain brown parcel paper, tied with a string of hemp cord and a string of red sparkly twine. This year I'm not quite sure what to do, but I hope to make it a step up from last year.

Here are some of the Pins that have been inspiring me so far:





(There are a TON of amazing wrap ideas at this site!!)


This holiday season is certainly going to be a different one than in years past - it already has been - but some things remain the same. With things like songs and snow and friends and Christmas trees and fun gift-wrapping ideas to keep me occupied, this December will still be a good one.

Speaking of good things and gifts... I just bought myself a new-to-me car. Well technically my brother-in-law Doug found it and bought it for me, but I quickly paid him for it and took it under my own wing. It's a 5-speed 2007 Toyota Yaris, and it's just right for me. It's the newest car I've ever owned... the only one that's ever had a line-in jack for an iPod. So that's exciting. #MovinUp.

How are you planning on wrapping your holiday gifts this year? Do you stick with tried-and-true rolls of wrapping paper, or do you like to venture out with some fun additions like the above ideas?