10 Ways to Put Your Style in Your Holiday Decor

Use a color palette that you love, don't be dictated by what decor the stores have to offer. #ad*Today’s post is sponsored by Thymes, but my love for their Frasier Fir collection is all my own! My pine addiction is pretty much lifelong…

Holiday decorating is always hard for me. I don’t love holiday decor. Can I confess that the holiday fragrances are more magical to me than the decor? And I also don’t love that unless you go on a real hunt for cool, less traditional decor, you are stuck with whatever look the stores are selling that year. Thank goodness some of the larger stores are really stepping up in the design area and there are usually some good finds. Over the last few years I have been taking the time to go through the decorations in the garage and getting rid of the things that were bought on a whim, but I don’t love. (A few things I am holding on to simply because the smell reminds me of some awesome childhood memories). I’m trying to grow our collection to include things we are really drawn to and fit our personal style. Today I’m sharing 10 ways to put your personal style in your holiday decor.

1. Pick a color palette that YOU like. While most stores bombard you with decorations that are green, white and red, you can go in a different direction. Whites and silver, with a little sparkle, like in the image above) make for a super wintery look. Similarly, if you love hot pink, add it! Either diy something store-bought or let your friends and family know what you are looking for so they can help you scout out those harder to find decorations.

Make sure you add in your own style to your holiday decorating. #ad2. Don’t pack away the great pieces that you love the rest of the year. Figure out how to incorporate the pieces you love and still have your house feel holiday ready. Create little vignettes for visual interest. And see if there are ways to play up the holidays. Done right, a sleigh bell swag draped on this horses’ neck would be awesome and seasonal appropriate.

Mix in unusual plants to give your house a festive feel. #ad3. Try new plants and flowers in your home that have a holiday feel. Whether they are real or faux, go for something different. Look for berry-like stalks or even forgo flowers and use just greenery. Trader Joe’s is the best for finding unusual, seasonal plants and flowers. Even using just a small amount, mixed in with your usual decor will change the look of the room and have it feel more festive. And that simple Thymes Frasier Fir Pine Needle candle adds the perfect winter look to pair with unexpected foliage.

Add small touches to the things you have around your house all year to bring them in to the holiday spirit. #ad4. Look for great vessels, that match your holiday decor aesthetic, and use them to house your favorite succulents. Tuck in a few berries or even rosemary sprigs to take them from summery desert to wintery and lush. The modern looking white woodgrain soap dish from the Frasier Fir collection would be perfect for a succulent arrangement!

Use your log holder or magazine tote for holiday greens for a festive touch. #ad5. Add some flair in unusual places. Pine branches and glittery, decorative picks add warmth and whimsy to a room and is unexpected when placed in a magazine holder. Skip the usual mantle garland and instead add your greenery around the room at different visual levels. While most things are set on tables or shelves, don’t forget to survey your floor space to see if you can style something on the ground as long as it won’t impede your usual traffic.

Your Christmas tree isn't the only place for ornaments, especially ones that are fragrant. #ad6.  For a lot of us, our trees go up much closer to December 25th (here in CA they dry out and die if you get them too early) which means that we don’t get a lot of time to enjoy our favorite ornaments. There is no rule against using ornaments on house plants. And you get to have your favorites up earlier so you can enjoy them longer.  This Botancial Ornament does double duty as both decoration and room fragrance.

Think outside of the box with your decor.  #ad7.  There are standard phrases used to share holiday cheer, like Noel, Merry Christmas, etc. But I took a cue from my kids, and their excitement for the season, to use a new word for our wall decorations.  I mean, with all the presents and the treats and fun events that happen over the holidays, could there really be a better word? Also these mini mylar balloons are a super fun, celebratory way to decorate. They make your room feel like a party.

Tuck holiday candles throughout your normal decor. #ad8.  Tuck holiday themed candles around your living space to play up the season. Candles, like this one from Thymes, are really nice looking and don’t steal the attention from the style of your room but rather blend in with it. They special holiday scents with a variety of decorative candles so I’m sure you’ll be able to find one that fits in with your style. Some of the gingerbread items come in this gorgeous amber-colored glass!

Choose a signature scent for your house during the holidays. #ad9.  Choose a signature holiday scent. For me, I’m a pine girl all the way. My soaps, candles, etc. are all in this scent. This year I’m using Thymes Frasier Fir collection. The scent is a mix of fir needles, cedarwood and sandalwood.  All of the products layer nicely together to bring a subtle scent to the house all season long. They even created home care products in this scent so even my cleaning can feel more seasonal. I love this reed diffuser set for the smell but also because the reeds mimic the pine needles to me. And like I mentioned in number 6 above, we don’t get our trees for a while. I have to get my pine fix in! And the smell just makes me happy. Yes, I could use it year round, but for me, pine IS the holidays. But if it isn’t for you, they also have gingerbread with spicy notes of cinnamon, cardamom and ginger, yum.

Smells always evoke memories for me, but especially around the holidays. I can easily think of the various smells found in my mom’s boxes of holiday decorations. There’s the Avon candle from when she sold their cosmetics. There is the smell of the ornaments and the tissue they are wrapped in. There is peppermint from the candy canes that get put away with all the other decorations, inadvertently, every year. And there’s pine. Always pine. The scent that I look forward to all year. It signals the holiday season and the joy that I get to share with my own family now.

Don't forget to add a holiday touch to your kitchen. That is where you spend a LOT of time at this time of year! #ad10. Don’t forget the kitchen! I don’t know about you, but the kitchen rarely gets decorated for any holiday. BUT that is where you spend a lot of time during the holiday season with all your baking and holiday hosting. So from this year on, I will be switching to my favorite scent in the kitchen too. And this white, faux wood holder, that this sink set comes in, is sleek and chic but feels wintery. While I can’t say that this will make me look forward to doing the dishes, I  do know when I smell the Frasier Fir, I will have a moment of joy.

Thymes holiday studio sample kit with purchase of $25. #ad Head over to the Thymes site to check out all their amazing scents and shop for yourself or others on your gift list. Once there, you can redeem your exclusive offer for a free Fragrance Studio Sample Kit with any purchase of $25 of more! Thymes creates fragrances that are a mix of familiar and intriguing rooted in botanical perfumery. Drawn from nature, their unique formulations are artfully crafted to create products that are skin-compatible, environmentally friendly, effective and a pleasure to use.

Thank you for supporting the brands, like Thymes, that let me keep blogging. Especially the ones that make the most glorious pine-y fragranced products that make me swoon.


Homemade Cinnamon Hard Candy

homemade-cinnamon-hard-candy-for-christmasGrowing up there were a few things I could always count on my mom to make during the holidays.  One of these things is her Homemade Cinnamon Candy.  Aside from working with boiling hot molten sugar lava, the recipe is pretty easy to make.  I had my mom make it with me (for me) for this post.  Side note, she also fed me and my son lunch while she made the candy.  I think I may make my mom a full-time blog partner.  It works out really well for me.

ingredients-for-cinnamon-candyYou just need some light corn syrup, straight up wonderful white sugar, water and cinnamon oil.  You can find the cinnamon oil at your local craft store.  Oh yeah, my mom also bought all the ingredients.  The cinnamon oil came in a pack of two, each bottle being 1 dram.  We only used one bottle, but if you like you cinnamon light-your-tongue-on-fire hot, you may want to use some of the other bottle as well.

stirring-sugarYou mix the sugar and corn syrup in a sauce pan.

candy-thermometer-and-bat-manThen you add a candy thermometer and wait for the sugar to get up to 300 degrees. I think this may also be known as hard ball stage, can anyone confirm?

making-hard-candy-for-christmasIt will take a while for the sugar to get to the right temperate.  I think it took us about an hour.  And can we talk for a moment about how freaking clean my mom’s stove top is?  Gosh I wish I got her cleaning gene. [Read more…]

Christmas Card 2012


ninja christmas card 2012Well, here it is.  Our family Christmas card for 2012.  Some of you may know the story behind our cards.  If you don’t you will probably want to read it here.  You’ll also get to see all of the other cards we’ve done.  Except one.  I still need to add last years to the site but, well, I just haven’t gotten to it yet.  It’s only two years after the fact…

inside ninja christmas card

My oldest son is OBSESSED with ninjas right now.  He came up with the idea to be ninjas and then we turned it over to my husband to do the rest.  We are so blessed to have people who are willing, dare I say excited, to help us with our card for photography, graphic design and printing.  Sometimes I hate that we usually do these at the last-minute but overall it is a pretty amazing experience.

Thank you Direct Edge Media for printing them!!

What We’ve Been Up To

our happy family photoI’ll be starting back up posting next week but here is what we have been up to in the meantime…First off, I ugly cried today.  I went to download all the pictures from my camera on to the computer and they vanished in to thin air!! They aren’t on the home computer, they aren’t on my phone.  Boo.  I spent hours trying to recover them but I just have to be ok that I lost a lot of Christmas, 4th birthday and birthday party pictures as well as some from the Kismet PR class I hosted right before Christmas.  :(  But I’ve chosen to not dwell on it and we’re just going to proceed like nothing is missing.  I still had the pictures from my Nikon so luckily I do have photos of most of those events on there.  But only a few.

Moving on…we scrambled around getting last minute Christmas stuff together and headed to the in-laws house for their traditional Slovakian Christmas dinner.  We rarely take family photos so I was glad that we snuck one in!

Christmas presentsThe boys got to open a ton of gifts from their cousins and grandparents and then we headed home so they could get nestled in their beds so Santa could come.

Christmas morning breakfastWe had an awesome Christmas morning breakfast with my parents.  Yes, those are cookies and rice krispy treats in the mix.  Every good breakfast buffet has sweets.  Not pictured is a gruyere and ham strata!  Yum!

miles and daddy with hulk handsWe hung out at the house for several days playing with all of the new Christmas toys.  The kids don’t want to stop playing with some of them and wear them around the house for hours.

bday party at pump it upMy youngest celebrated his 4th birthday with a party at Pump It Up.  I will be following up with a post because I was IN LOVE with how Pump It Up handled the party.  For real.

4th birthdayAnd then it was his actual birthday and we had a day full of opening presents and trying to move presents around the house to allow for family to come over later that day for cakes and ice cream.  I’m exhausted.  I’m so glad that we have 5 days left before the kids go back to school!

Posting will resume next week and I’ve got some fun things planned for the upcoming months.  I can’t wait to hear about what you all have planned for 2013!!

Minted Holiday Photo Cards

minted holiday photo cardsHow rad are these Minted holiday photo cards?  As many of you know, my family puts out a themed holiday card each year.  Each year, it seems like it gets closer and closer to Christmas before we finally get our cards out in the mail.  This can be very stressful for a Type A person like myself who suggests, ever so gently, to my husband starting at the end of September that we go ahead and start working on them.  So far, we’ve always gotten them done.  But it’s inevitable that, at some point, our themed card won’t get done.  So each year, I check out the sites I like so I know I have a back up plan, JIC (just in case).  This year Minted is knocking my holiday socks off.  These are my 4 faves and apparently I am REALLY in to red.

I love how number 1 allows for so many fun photo options.  It is a great way to really share some of the fun times you have had throughout the year.  Number two has stripes.  Who doesn’t love stripes?  And that font, along with that preppy blue outlined circle keeps it classy.  Number 3 is graphic and bold.  It lets you share an image of your family, but in a really “art-y” way.  And the geometric pattern of number 4 makes me so happy.  It allows you to spotlight a special image of your kids or family, while still managing to share a good dose of good design.

Have you done your holiday cards for this year?  If you haven’t you better get a move on it.  Call Dez and Tam for your holiday family portrait session and then get moving on your Minted order.  OH!  And have you seen their new party decor?  AND their rad blog with a who’s who of contributors?  Check it out!

Disclosure: On occasion, I receive products, compensation and/or services gratis or at discounted rates. This practice does not influence my point of view or the outcome of the review. All descriptions are factual and accurately reflect my experience. The opinions are my own.