Thanksgiving + Black Friday Weekend

After attending a few meetings, I left work around lunchtime on Wednesday since it was so quiet in the design studio!

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I had some time to kill before an appointment later that afternoon, so I headed to The Galleria to knock out some Christmas shopping and to browse through Barnes & Noble for a bit. I picked up a few things for Andy’s gift and then put my feet up with an iced Americano with a pump of gingerbread syrup at the bookstore. An afternoon at B&N was just what I needed before the holiday weekend and I’m so glad that I made it a priority. I whizzed through this book (would highly recommend it!) and then started this one but plan to head back to the store in the next couple weeks to read more of it as we get closer to baby time!

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Upon arriving home later that evening, I did some of our Thanksgiving prep to make the morning a little smoother. I quickly whipped up a batch of homemade cranberry sauce (cranberries, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and freshly squeezed orange juice), and prepped a pomegranate so that it would be ready for the salad I was making the next day. This was my first time dealing with a pomegranate (I usually buy them pre-seeded), and let’s just say it was a labor of love. I did the whole “peel it in a bowl of water” trick but it was still very time consuming and messy to say the least!

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The next day, we successfully hosted our first Thanksgiving with his side of the family. Andy and I made turkey, ham, lemon-garlic green beans with almonds, cornbread, and a fall salad while his siblings brought a few other sides and dessert to complete the meal.

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Side note — we recently picked up one of these tools and it is seriously the best thing ever! It saves so much time and makes your life a million times easier — would highly recommend picking one up if you don’t already have one in your kitchen drawer.

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I threw together this autumn-inspired salad and really liked how it turned out! It had spinach, fresh cranberries, candied pecans, pomegranate arils, pumpkin seeds, roasted sweet potatoes, red onion, and apples. I tossed it with a homemade dressing that contained pure maple syrup, olive oil, fresh lemon + lime + orange juice, onion powder, black pepper, salt and cinnamon. I’ve been enjoying the leftovers all throughout the weekend and it’s definitely one that I plan to make again!

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Andy’s sister and brother-in-law brought pies and I swear, there’s nothing like pumpkin pie with whipped cream and a cup of coffee! It definitely hit the spot!

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After the family left, Andy and I settled in on the couch to watch Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. It was the perfect ending to Thanksgiving Day.

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The next day, we headed out for a little Black Friday shopping later in the day (mainly to avoid the crowds). We wound up purchasing this little gadget and a new Christmas tree since the one in the photo above is way too tiny for our new living room! I took a nap upon arriving home and then we spent the evening watching Home Alone 2 (we typically watch a holiday movie or two every weekend leading up to Christmas).

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On Saturday morning, my sister and I ran an errand, grabbed coffees, and walked around the indoor track while catching up. We both agreed that this is something that we should do more often since it’s way more fun to walk with someone than by yourself. :) Another nap happened when I got home that afternoon (seriously, story of my life these days), and it felt SO good!

Sunday was spent washing all of our baby’s clothing while Andy painted the dresser for the nursery. I’m hoping to get all of his clothes organized by size this week so that we can start putting his room together in anticipation of his arrival. I also finished all of the thank you cards from our baby shower and worked on a scarf that I’m knitting — it was such a relaxing day!

What was the best part of your Thanksgiving?
Did you do any Black Friday shopping?

First Round of Holiday Treats

On Saturday, morning, my small group and I met for a virtual meeting (we meet every other time in person) and I always leave feeling so refreshed! It’s been so fun doing this study with these girls and also hard to believe that this is our third year together.

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I’ve been trying to get creative with ways to stay active until my treadmill arrives, so after doing a few things around the house once my small group meeting was done, I headed to a track to walk for a bit while I listened to the latest episode of my favorite podcast. It’s so strange to feel exhausted after something like going for a s l o w walk — definitely not something that I’m used to but am reminding myself that growing a human takes a lot out of you!

Upon arriving home, I started prepping for our sister baking night — on the agenda: homemade Chex mix, Oreo truffles, and Muddy Buddies!

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I mixed up the first batch of dry ingredients before they arrived so that we could get started right away. Our family has always added Kix and Cheerios to our homemade Chex mix (and omit the bagel chips) — I think the Kix are my favorite part!

I had also prepped the Oreo truffle filling earlier that day. It was my first time making the truffles in the food processor and all I can say is that it was a total game changer. It crushed the cookies super fine and then it swirled the cream cheese in so smoothly! I rolled the truffles into little balls and then put them on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet before popping them in the fridge so they could harden. That way, all we would have to do that evening was just dip them in melted chocolate — easy peasy.

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Once my sister and her girls arrived, we got to work right away!

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As batches of the Chex mix baked, we dipped our truffles (which are seriously the BEST thing ever if you’re an Oreo fan) and whipped up a delicious batch of Muddy Buddies. We discovered the secret to good Muddy Buddies is to make more of the sauce than it calls for and it use less cereal so that each piece gets coated and kind of clumps together.

It was so fun to spend the evening making holiday treats with them and we’re already looking forward to making / decorating homemade sugar cookies in a couple of weeks! This holiday season feels like it is flying by so we are trying to do as many holiday things as we can before the season passes.

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The next day, Andy and I hit the shops to knock out a bunch of Thanksgiving-related errands. Our first stop was Starbucks for a holiday drink — I swear, each year the gingerbread latte tastes better than I remember.

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On our way to grab T-day groceries, we made a few pit stops at furniture stores since we’re still trying to find the perfect dining room table. There was a table we liked at West Elm, but we felt like the color was a little too warm for our liking. We’re super picky about furniture and I feel like we are starting to annoy ourselves with the search for a table. The one we really want is something like this but in a cooler toned wood.

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We also stopped at a Macy’s furniture gallery but quickly realized that the tables there weren’t really our style — it was still fun to pop through and look around though.

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After enough messing around with furniture shopping, it was time to get down to business. This was my plan of attack that I crafted before we left the house that morning.

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After three different grocery stores, we finally had everything we needed! We came home, ate a late lunch, and then I headed out to meet my auntie for a coffee date. Catching up with her was the perfect end to a long weekend!

Favorite Thanksgiving side dish?
What recipe does your family like to make each holiday?

A Weekday Date

On our day off last Friday, we headed to a furniture sale that was being put on by a local home staging company. We had first heard about this sale during Parade of Homes and were excited to attend in hopes of finding some pieces for our new house. Unfortunately, the sale was a bust — not much inventory and what they did have wasn’t really our style.

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After leaving the sale, we headed to Michael’s in search of a few filler pieces for our new Christmas planter that we have on our porch. We both felt like it needed a few more red accents, so we picked up a few springs of holiday greenery to stick in the pot. While we were there, we also browsed through their Christmas trees and garlands but didn’t see anything that we loved enough to take home with us.

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We grabbed a quick lunch and then headed to the theatre to see The Grinch. We were both so impressed with the new version of this holiday classic — the animation, story, and music were great!

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Afterwards, we headed to Einstein’s Bagels to see if any of my mugs for them were in the store (I did some dog illustrations for them), but unfortunately all they had was the Caribou Coffee holiday collection in stores. I snapped a pic of this display because it was nice to see all of my designs together as one instead of spread out on different shelves like at the Caribou Coffee shops that we visited last weekend.

We made a quick pit stop for paper plates and napkins since we’re hosting Thanksgiving on Thursday and then we were on our way!

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Since Andy was off from work, he was able to attend our 32 week OB appointment! Baby was measured and got his heartbeat checked — everything is right on track! I have two more OB checks and then I will start having weekly appointments until he is born.

A Target run was our last stop of the day since I needed to grab a few items to make Oreo truffles with my sister and nieces that following day. We grabbed a few groceries, browsed through their Christmas section, and then on our way out we ran into one of my friends and her husband! I used to dislike running into people while running errands and now I really enjoy it — crazy how things have changed since flipping over to the extrovert side of life ;)

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Target had the cutest wrapping paper and gift bags — I always feel so inspired while browsing through items like this.

I was so excited to see the snow falling down as we walked out of Target! We headed home, made dinner, and then relaxed on the couch while watching Christmas Vacation, which is one of our favorites.

Has it snowed where you live yet?
Are you hosting or attending Thanksgiving this year?

Holiday Day Date

On Saturday, Andy and I headed out to do a few holiday-themed activities amidst running errands for the week.

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It was freezing out so we bundled up and I was so excited when it started snowing on our way home later that day! I keep checking the forecast hoping for our first blizzard of the year but so far it’s just been flurries and light dustings. I look like I have no hair in the photo above, but hey, at least I was toasty warm in my hat, scarf, jacket, and gloves!

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After swinging by the library to drop off / pick up books on hold, we headed to Caribou Coffee to check out my contributions to their 2018 holiday collection. We were delighted to find that all of the drinkware I designed + illustrated was on the shelves!

The four mugs above are part of the “value mugs” collection — meant to be purchased and given as gifts. These four are my favorites since they really showcase my illustration skills and they were such a joy to create!

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I also really enjoyed illustrating and handlettering this little winter scene for their kids tumbler and cold cup!

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The two mugs above feature a removable faux leather sleeve that contains a tiny flask on the side — perfect for gifting!

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I typically do the copywriting on the drinkware that I design, but my creative director gave me the idea for this catchy Minnesotan phrase and I thought it was too perfect to pass up!

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I also designed these little coin purses / gift card holders!

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Speaking of gift cards, some of the elements used in my designs made it onto gift cards this year as well!

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This little dude did really well in terms of sales last year, so this year I added an additional sku with him sporting an ugly sweater!

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This stainless steel tumbler features a wintery cabin-inspired pattern.

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A few of my designs made their way onto adorable little ornaments as well!

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After purchasing a handful of mugs from Caribou, we decided to grab some lunch.

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We hadn’t been to Cafe Zupas in what felt like forever, and a warm bowl of soup sounded really inviting on a chilly day!

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After lunch, we headed to a few different stores to check out their Christmas decorations.

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We didn’t end up buying anything but it was fun to look around! I always love looking at stickers when we’re out and about — I’d love to one day have a job designing sheets of them! I thought these ones with the little gingerbread men were the cutest!

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When I was younger, one of our neighbors used to transform her formal living room into a Christmas village filled with tons of these little buildings, people, and accessories to create the cutest little holiday scenes. It was fun to see that they still make these cute little shops and houses!

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Originally, we had planned to see the new Grinch movie and get Starbucks holiday drinks but by the time we got to the theatre, the movie was sold out so we decided to save those two activities for this coming weekend. We wound up at a furniture store to take a look at recliners for the nursery and it ended up being a great choice because they had free cookies and massage chairs. Seriously, a pregnant woman’s dream come true!

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Our last stop of the day was our weekly Costco run — they had so many good samples yesterday with these being my favorite!

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We filled our cart and then headed home! I’m toying with the idea of trying out this recipe this holiday season, hence the massive container of cinnamon.

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Our new Christmas planter rode in the front seat with me to prevent it from tipping over — it’s been so fun to be able to pick out things like this for our new house! We’ve never really lived in a place where we’ve been able to full-on decorate for the holidays / seasons so this has been a treat!

Have you started decorating for the holidays?
What coffee shop is your favorite?

The Return of Summer

Remember how it was all crisp and cool the other week? That all changed this past weekend when it was 90 degrees and humid! We ended up changing some plans around due to the crazy heat but all-in-all, it was a great weekend!

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Last week was really busy so I decided to start implementing one of my monthly goals of using my planner to stay organized. I made little to-do lists for each day and it helped so much — I felt like I got so much accomplished because of this!

Backing up to Friday, is there anything better than coming home to fun packages on your front steps? Upon pulling into our driveway on Friday evening, I saw that my Nordstrom order and our new barstools had arrived — what a great start to the weekend!

After going back and forth on whether or not I loved the color or not, I ended up ordering this cardigan (in the brown spice color) from Nordstrom and I’m obsessed! I can’t wait to wear it to work this week when it cools down again.

I also ordered this little bunting for Little Pang so that he stays all cozy when we’re toting him around town in the bitterly cold winter months! It is so soft and I can’t wait to put him in it!

We ordered these barstools — we had the taller versions and really liked them but the height was just a little too tall for our new center island. We went with the exact same ones in the 24 inch height and they are perfect!

On Saturday morning, we headed out bright and early to run some errands — you know you’re officially a homeowner when trips to Home Depot are a regular occurrence! We swung in there to grab paint brushes and a measuring tape so we can get cracking on painting our living room + dining room this month.

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Afterwards, we ran a few errands and then made a quick stop for lunch before heading out to some Parade of Homes! The mushroom melt with extra pickles at Potbelly’s always hits the spot!

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The first house that we visited was a cute farmhouse style and although that’s not typically our style (we tend to lean more contemporary / slightly modern), it was really nicely done.

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I was also obsessed with this rug that they had in their dining area — I’m hoping to track it down so we can purchase it or find a similar one to put under our table.

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The next house that we stopped at had black doors with gold hardware and I loved them so much! I’m normally an all-white doors + trim kind of person, but these looked so sharp!

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We also toured a few modern homes, which were fun to see — they had so many unique features in them!

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How cool is this staircase right when you walk through the front door?!

We called it a day after a handful of homes mainly because it was just so hot outside — we were sweating just from walking from the car to each house! We relaxed once we got home and after dinner, Andy’s sister and her husband stopped by to see our house and say hi.

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The next morning, I met up with my bestie for a lunch date and then we hit Trader Joe’s for some pumpkin goodies! I left with my favorite pumpkin butter along with the ingredients to make homemade butternut squash soup.

For the soup, I roasted some carrots, onion, and garlic and then whipped them up in the food processor once they cooled down. I added the puree to a big stock pot filled with two cans of organic butternut squash puree, canned coconut milk, and a mix of spices (nutmeg, sea salt, pepper, ginger, and a little bit of chili powder). We enjoyed our soup alongside baked salmon and roasted veggies and it hit the spot!

Ever been to the Parade of Homes?
What’s the temp like where you live?