Christmas, Decorating, NaBloPoMo

Trading Turkeys for Trees

(Second to last day of NaBloPoMo)

FINALLY!

I can stop shame-listening to Christmas music in the car along and blast Burl Ives and Mariah Carey proudly in the house!

The Thanksgiving decorations are down, and I’m ready for the 47 bins of Christmas decor to make their way up from the basement! Today we got our trees, and those will go up in the stands either today or tomorrow. One full day getting acclimated to the house and they can be decorated!

Today on the way to get our trees, Little Mister asked me why I like Christmas so much.

“Is it because Santa comes and you get lots of presents?” he asked me.

“No,” I told him. “It’s because Christmas is magical and it makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. And we get to have lots of people over our house all season long to visit us. We make cookies and have parties and stay up late and eat yummy foods.”  And because I get to buy lots of presents for people!

December is by far the busiest and craziest month of the year. Between work and family, there is so much to cram into those 24 precious days: Santa visits, shopping, family parties, work parties, cookie making, Christmas Light spectaculars, decorating, wrapping and…whew!

But I LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT.

In our house, Christmas means the music is always playing, the bar’s always stocked, and we have snacks at the ready – because you never know when someone is going to stop by to say hello and have a cup of cheer.

And that includes a drop-in visit from Santa!

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Is there anything more magical for a child than seeing Santa?

Growing up, I remember many years with our artificial out-of-the-box Christmas tree, and bending the branches into shape and trying to cover up the green pole that held the tree together (my how artificial trees have come a long way!). We’d set up our tree in the basement where my playroom was. I have always been an early riser, and I distinctly remember waking up before the sun had come up, begging my parents to get out of bed in the dark to see if Santa came. (Now that I’m a parent, and we tend to go to bed rather late after our Christmas Eve dinner and putting out all of the gifts and filling stockings, I realized that my parents were likely exhausted and hung over when I wanted them to get up. Somehow, I was blessed with a child who prefers sleeping in no matter what day of the year it is).

At some point we started getting real trees, and I remember going to cut down a Christmas tree one year. I feel like that’s someone you feel you need to do once – bundling up and trekking out into a field where every tree literally looks the same and you have no concept of how big of a tree you need (every tree looks small in the forest…and then you bring it into your living room!). And after that year you realize you’re just as happy going to a place that has already cut the trees for you and you can simply browse them like winter coats on the rack at the mall.

As an adult, we are a ‘real tree’ and an artificial tree family. Each year we get two real trees – one for the family room and one for the kitchen – and we have a small white artificial tree that goes in the Little Mister’s playroom.

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There’s decor throughout our main living space, and there’s always a ‘Christmas Cookie’ or ‘Sugared Plums’ candle burning.

I hope the Little Mister continues to love the traditions we’ve started: getting our trees as a family, decorating, ginger bread houses, cooking making with my mom (he’s mostly a cookie taster!) and having family and friends over throughout the month.

No one loves a party more than our Little Mister, who can work a snacks table like it’s his job!

Time to get decorating! Only one more day of NaBloPoMo!

Christmas, favorite things, Gifts

Best gifts for 2019: kk’s favorite things

With the holidays fast approaching, I thought it a good time to unveil my favorite gifts of 2019!

So here they are, kk’s top 10 favorite items for the kitchen, closet and home.

kk’s best gifts of 2019

1. Go-anywhere insulated wine tote

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Mr. kk and I recently went out to eat at a BYOB restaurant, and as we were getting ready to leave – wine bottles in hand – we realized that we had nothing to carry them in. Not wanting to brown bag it, we had to borrow my in-laws wine bag for the night. I never want to be caught traveling with wine – and without a chic tote to carry it in – again.
Insulated wine tote, Amazon. $22

2. Thermopop Digital Thermometer

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Now that the weather is cooler, we’ve started cooking more and more indoors (even though we DO grill in all weather). These meals usually consist of a hearty meat of some sort, and what better way to ensure everything is cooked to perfection than a stylish thermometer. Bonus: this one is the same color as my stove!
Thermopop thermometer, Thermoworks, $34

3. Ann Taylor Velvet Feather Slides

I think every woman needs a pair of shoes in her closet that are pure froufrou. And this is that shoe. First off, they are a soft velvet. Second, they come in two soft colors that complement any outfit (they are both so beautiful it’s hard to choose!). Third, they have feathers. I’m not sure if I should wear them with my pajamas and robe, or out for a night on the town. Either way, they are gorgeous!
Ann Taylor Verena Feather Flats, $98

4. Silicone lids for pots, dishes and everything else

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These are the kitchen item everyone should have. Cover a saucepan and your sauce or soup can go right in the fridge. Use them to keep foods covered while heating in the oven (they are oven safe!). Or, toss them on a bowl and you’ll have no need for plastic Tupperware. The website says, “They sub in for saucepan lids, store leftovers, keep dinner warm from oven to table, and yes, there’s much more.”
Food 52 Airtight Silicone lids, $40

5. Ninja blender

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I use a blender about 10 times a year (5 of those times when I’m making Ina’s penne vodka sauce). The blender I received for my wedding shower is past its prime, even though it didn’t get a lot of use. We’ve already replaced one cracked plastic piece and now the base is cracked so that when I turn the blender on, the liquid just oozes out the bottom onto the countertop; not exactly a quality you look for in a blender. I don’t need the fanciest blender in the west, but I’d like one that kept the liquid in the glass jar!
Ninja Professional Countertop Blender, Amazon, $69

6. Mer Sea Catalina Travel Sweater

The ultimate travel accessory is not only cozy, but comes in a ton of amazing colors (this is the pink which is gorgeous and the coral is the perfect accent to a tan). Part sweater and part poncho, this goes-with-anything sweater is the perfect travel companion. Lightweight AND warm, drapey AND flattering…it even comes with a cute little bag for easy packing.
Mer Sea Catalina Travel Sweater, $98

7. Camouflage Neoprene Cross Body Bag

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I love me some camo, especially when it’s a stylish accent piece such as sneakers or this chic bag. The subtle camo juxaposed with the black and red stripe make for a striking design and perfect weekend bag that will go with just about anything. Bonus: comes with a small camo wristlet.
Lori’s Shoes Camo Bag, $78

8. Camel Poncho – the perfect layering piece

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I should preface this by saying that I already own this poncho in gray, and I absolutely love it so much I want the camel. And the best part? This poncho is from my favorite place on earth, Target, so you know it’s priced right. A girl can’t have too many ponchos!
A New Day Poncho, Target, $28

9. Ultrasoft comfy pullover

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It’s time to snuggle up for winter! This sweatshirt is perfect for a snow day, or for weekend errands. And because it’s from LL Bean, you know it’s made to last. Comes in 3 neutral colors: gray, black and navy. This top even comes in Petite for us shortys.
LL Bean Ultrasoft Funnelneck Pullover, $54

10. A gorgeous platter for every occasion

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Mr. kk told me I’m not allowed to have any more cheese boards, or else I would have put this on the list. So instead, I’ll share this beautiful serving piece. We do quite a bit of entertaining and this pretty platter will be perfect for Mother’s Day, the Kentucky Derby and a impromptu brunch.
Eres Platter, Anthropologie, $42

Happy shopping, everyone!

 

Christmas

A “vintage” Christmas Trees tradition.

Last year I posted about the vintage Christmas trees, and how I have a few in my family. I imagine my grandmother and Mr. KK’s grandmother didn’t realize that their silly hobby would result in holiday tchotchkes that were worth hundreds of dollars.

Tonight, I went to a vintage Christmas tree painting class so that I could create my very own addition to the ceramic family holiday trees. I’m not artist, but it was fun hanging out with friends and – let’s be honest – drinking wine and eating cheese while we painted.

There were 2 sizes of trees, and I chose the smaller size not wanting to commit to a larger tree with my painting skills such a wildcard.

You can’t have a successful paint night without a delectable BYO snack:

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Here’s a little insider secret: there’s this brown glaze-type paint that makes your tree look like this:

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But when you fire it, it turns into this:

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(note: this is a sample tree, not MY masterpiece)

I decorated the base to feel Christmas-y and think it came out pretty good!

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(that’s some free-hand holly, folks!)

When I walked in the door tonight Mr KK asked me where my tree was. I let him know that it needs to be fired and in a week he could seem my masperpiece!

Me, hard at work painting:

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Excited to see this all fired up and finished, and holding a prime spot in our decorating in our house with its vintage sister trees!

Amazon, Christmas

This is when me and Amazon Prime become BFFs

First off, can I just call out that today is Day 19 of NaBloPoMo and I have posted every day for the last 19 days and Mr. KK hasn’t divorced me yet. NaBloPoMo can be a pretty stressful time in the KK household (especially when it’s 10pm and I haven’t written a post yet, like tonight…) This year, however, has gone rather smoothly with only 11 days left.

A few days ago, I wrote about ordering groceries online for the very first time, against every fiber of my being. Not because I’m not a fan of online shopping, but because I’m a control freak when it comes to picking out my own food.

In case you were wondering, everything turned out fine. The delivery guy insisted on bringing the groceries IN since it was my first delivery, which made Rocco go nuts, but everything was accounted for and the fruit and veggies I did order were fine. And even though I only ordered 4 bananas they sent a bunch of like 9, so Mr. KK is getting his fill of potassium.

I’m actually a frequent online shopper, for everything from clothing to furniture, to books to household items. You name it, I’ve likely ordered it online because it was easier, faster and cheaper. And there’s no better online shopping companion than my friend Amazon Prime.

Because while me and Amazon Prime (AP for short) are good friends throughout the whole year, it’s during the holidays that our true BFF status shines through.

It starts off slow, but then our relationship blossoms quickly. My BFF Amazon starts doing little things like:

  • sending me 2-4 emails a day to see how I’m doing
  • always thinking about me, showing me stuff they think I would like
  • checking in to see how our time together was, asking what they could have done better
  • shows up at my door step bearing gifts

And it’s not uncommon, for Amazon’s daily ‘gifts’ to look something like this:

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That’s 6 packages right there, folks. In one day. Broken up over 3 different deliveries. All Christmas gifts for Little Mister (and one hilarious item for Mr. KK)

And this isn’t a fluke. I’m so enamored by my BFF during the holidays, that I’ll check in with them multiple times a day. Getting their opinions on a certain items. And I hate to admit how many times I’m swayed by the temptress knows at Amazon Prime. Not only do they have everything I need, they also have everything I never knew I always wanted (but didn’t need).

My mother-in-law likes to say that you can find everything on Amazon, even a dead body. And while I hope that’s not true, my BFF AP does seem to be taking over the world.

They recently opening a distribution center in my town, and the delivery time is now like 23 minutes or something. (obviously, I jest)

If it wasn’t for online shopping – and Amazon in particular – I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t survive the holidays. They are my lifeline, and they make life so much better.

Do I care that Amazon Prime is fickle, and being super nice to about 8 billion other people this holiday season? NOPE.

Does it bother me that they are showing me an item that I would like and then they are turning around and showing the same item to Karen in the PTA? NOPE.

I know what me and Amazon Prime have going on is special, and that’s all that matters.

Christmas, Decorating

Hurry it up, Thanksgiving. I’m ready for Christmas.

If you’re like me, in the last few weeks you’ve been wondering where the hell this year went. I could swear it was just 100 degrees out and we were sweating.

Now the trees are bare, we build a fire every night, and the holidays are knocking on my door.

And, to make things even MORE fun, this year there are only 27 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

That’s only 3 weekends to prepare for Christmas: tree getting, house decorating, present buying, holiday meal planning. How is a girl supposed to get everything done and have time for a holiday manicure?

And while I like Thanksgiving – we host every year which is fun, though I could do without the turkey – I’d jump right into full-blown Christmas mode and trade my turkeys for trees if I didn’t think my Thanksgiving guests would be confused by the holiday mash-up.

My holiday worlds are colliding; on Sunday I started my Christmas shopping and made a Thanksgiving menu in the same afternoon. The season says pumpkin but my heart says gingerbread.

Because of how late Thanksgiving is this year, that long weekend is going to be jam-packed with all things Christmas (sorry, Thanksgiving; you’ll still get your one day).

So here’s the game plan on the big holiday switcheroo:

Thursday, November 28th: Thanksgiving! Turkey! Pumpkins! Gourds!

Friday, November 29th (aka: Black Friday): SEE YA, Thanksgiving! All Thanksgiving decor gets packed up, Christmas decor gets brought upstairs and the Christmas trees (yes, trees plural) are purchased!

Last year’s decor prep:

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There are about 20 holiday bins in our basement. When putting it all away last year, I tried to label everything to make it easier on myself this year:

Saturday, November 30th: decorate, decorate, decorate!

Last year I was pretty proud of my red tractor sideboard:

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And the mantel:

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Sunday, December 1st-24th: FULL BLOWN CHRISTMAS MODE. Shopping. More shopping. Planning. Santa visit. Wrapping. Hosting. Last-minute shopping. More hosting.

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be in the garage shame-listening to Christmas songs on Sirius in the car.

 

 

Christmas, Elf on the Shelf

I can’t wait for the Elf on a Shelf to return.

I know some of you will cringe when you read this title; not because it’s about the Elf on a shelf (the creator of whom I’m sure receives hate mail) but because I’m talking about CHRISTMAS before Thanksgiving has even happened.

But I love Christmas. And if I didn’t think my family would boycott, the tree would be up and the house would be decorated before Thanksgiving this year. (Thanksgiving is LATE this year, y’all!)

Last year, I spent time debating whether to Elf or not to Elf, and in the end, decided that I wanted to start the Elf on a Shelf tradition because the Little Mister would get a kick of out if. And, if we’re being honest, I had fun with it, too.

I didn’t do anything too crazy with him – like have him poop Hershey Kisses, or make a snow angel in sugar on the counter (who wants to clean that up?), but our Elf, Jack, had enough antics that made the Little Mister smile every morning.

 

I commend him on his appreciation for fine bourbon, and for leaving the house just as he found it.

Jack will arrive on the Friday after Thanksgiving, in a big box from the North Pole addressed to the Little Mister, with a Christmas book and Christmas pajamas inside.

Suggestions on what antics Jack the Elf should find himself up to this year?

Christmas, NaBloPoMo, shopping

kk’s favorite things: 2018 edition

Everyone is coming out with their best gifts of the season lists, so here are mine!

  1. Lou & Grey Poncho

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A girl can never have too many ponchos, that’s my motto. And, it’s in my signature color: GRAY.

2. Everlane Commuter Backpack

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Speaking of gray, I love the shade of this backpack, perfect for my trips to Boston. This compact size will make it easy for the train rides, and the outer pockets made it easy to reach water, my phone or kindle.

3. Turquoise utensils from WayfairScreen Shot 2018-11-18 at 9.04.17 AM

Our kitchen utensils are approaching 14 years old – which is like 150 in human years. This bright turquoise color will complement my orange stove perfectly.

4. Lap DeskScreen Shot 2018-11-24 at 8.28.57 PM

I haven’t had a lap desk since college, when I would write my papers on my Brother word processor on my bed. This lap desk would be perfect for the times I’m writing blog posts on the couch, trying to balance my lap top…like right now.

5. Anthropologie Spreaders

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These are almost too pretty to get dirty! I love the bright colors and patterns. One more reason to entertain.

6. Crate & Barrel Marble Cheese BoardScreen Shot 2018-11-25 at 5.44.08 PM

One of the gifts I gave to my mother-in-law recently was a square marble cheese board. Every time I’m at her house and it’s out on the table I’m so jealous – and mad that I didn’t get one for myself.

7. Opalhouse Holiday Wreath from Target

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I have resisted the urge to buy this about 73 times (even today, when it is 30% off!). I just love how fluffy and festive it is, everything Christmas should be.

8. Felt Laptop Sleeve

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Just when you thought I couldn’t add any more gray into my life, there’s this awesome laptop sleeve. My Mac will fit snuggly inside, and this case will fit snuggly inside the commuter backpack above.

9.  Scout Duffle Bag

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Oh, how I love me a Scout bag. This duffle is the perfect size for an overnight trip (hint, hint, Mr. KK!), with lots of pockets and a shoulder strap. And a cute little dachshund logo to boot.

10. L.L. Bean Cozy PajamasScreen Shot 2018-11-26 at 3.01.04 PM

I’m always cold, so these cozy flannel pajamas are perfect for me when the temperature drops below 55 degrees. Bonus: they come in petite sizes!

Hopefully you saw something here that would be perfect for someone on your list! Happy shopping!