Thursday, December 19, 2019

Office Holiday Decor

Sweatshirt | Jeans | Necklace | Earrings | HatTurquoise Nutcracker | Pink Nutcracker | Christmas Tree Mannequin (similar here and here

Every year  I go to the see a performance of the Nutcracker Ballet, and purchase a new nutcracker. My collection keeps getting bigger, and it's definitely one of my favorite Christmas traditions. They're a true holiday keepsake. 

These pink feather nutcrackers work seamlessly with my office holiday decor. I love sprucing up every room in the house, and each room has it's own tree. This mannequin tree is perfect for any fashionista. I love how creative and different it is, and I tracked down a similar one here and here. It would be so fun to add to a little girl's bedroom, or to your closet or office. Even small touches during the holidays make a big difference.

You may recognize this fun, sequin sweatshirt from my book review post a few weeks ago. I focused on my latest reads in that post, so I wanted to be sure to link my outfit because so many of you asked about it. I also wanted to showcase this gorgeous hat from Bits and Pieces to Go - it's a statement maker. It's no secret that I love hats, and when I saw this one, I couldn't believe how unique it was. Plus, the colorful rhinestones make it easy to pair with everything in your wardrobe. I will definitely be taking it to NYC with me next week for Christmas!  

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Holiday Plaid + Last Minute Gift Guide

Dress | Slippers | Bracelet | Earrings | Blanket (similar style here and here) | Tree | Flowers 

How cozy is this plaid dress? Perfect for unwrapping presents on Christmas morning, it's comfortable, yet chic. I love the zippered neckline, and the material is a thicker ponte, guaranteeing you'll stay warm on chilly winter nights. 

With the holidays only a week away (Hanukkah is next Monday and Christmas Eve is Tuesday), there's still time to grab last minute gifts for everyone on your list. Everything I've linked below is guaranteed to arrive no later than Christmas Eve, which is perfect for all the procrastinators out there - you know who you are;)  

I've rounded up great items for him, for the kids, and for mom/grandma/you sister/sister-in-law/etc! Almost everything is under $100, with the rare exception of two or three items. With so many gifts to give, it's important to save when and where you can! 

Friday, December 13, 2019

Winter Suede Skirt

Happy Friday, friends! Did anyone else realize it's Friday the 13th? I know people are so superstitious of the number 13 and anything to do with it, but it's my favorite number! Fun fact - Friday the 13th happens on average every 212.35 days (thanks Google) ha! 

Guess what't not 212.35 days away? Christmas! Christmas is less than two weeks away, and I am so excited.  I'm currently home in Wisconsin visiting my family for an early holiday celebration, and was hoping for a little white Christmas to set the mood. There is literally no snow on the ground, but winter is definitely here - it's a {frigid} 30 degrees. I'm definitely not used to the cold anymore!

If you're like me and live in one of the few states that doesn't experience four seasons, this outfit is perfect for you. I've worn it a few times this month, and wore it the other week to a holiday party. Suede is one of my favorite materials to wear during the winter (and velvet too)! 

I've been looking for a great neutral suede skirt, and was thrilled when I came across this one for under $100. This bodysuit is one of my favorite purchases from the last few months, as well. I also have it in black and red.  It's so cute, flattering, and can easily be dressed up or down. It's been one of my most purchased pieces by you guys, and anyone that has bought it loves it too. 

Friday, December 6, 2019

Book Review - Volume Three

Since the summer, I've been a bit behind on my reading. The books on my nightstand keep getting higher, but I plan to start delving into some of them over the holidays.

Whether you're cuddled up by the fire with your Christmas tree sparkling in the background, or on a beach vacation, now is a great time to 'escape.' Below you'll find a list of my five most recent reads. From historical fiction, to a psychological thriller, and even a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in the White House, I'm sure you'll find something that strikes your fancy. 

As before, I've included summary of the book, as well as my rating (1 to 5), and any comments I have. Let's begin...

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

Rating: 5/5. A harrowing novel about the will to survive, to find the truth, and to never forget how powerful a familial bond is. It was a tough read, but opened my eyes to a recent part of history I never knew about. This book wasn't long by any means (about 330 pages), but it took me a while to get through as I wanted to cross reference/learn more about Georgia Tam. In my opinion, the author did a great job of merging the history of the Tennessee Children's Home, with gorgeous and strong characters. 

If you could make one simple choice that would change your life forever, would you?

Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough, Mark a handsome investment banker with big plans. Passionately in love, they embark on a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, where they enjoy the sun, the sand, and each other. Then, while scuba diving in the crystal blue sea, they find something in the water. . . .

Could the life of your dreams be the stuff of nightmares?

Suddenly the newlyweds must make a dangerous choice: to speak out or to protect their secret. After all, if no one else knows, who would be hurt? Their decision will trigger a devastating chain of events. . . .

Have you ever wondered how long it takes to dig a grave?

Wonder no longer. Catherine Steadman’s enthralling voice shines throughout this spellbinding debut novel. With piercing insight and fascinating twists, Something in the Water challenges the reader to confront the hopes we desperately cling to, the ideals we’re tempted to abandon, and the perfect lies we tell ourselves.

Rating: 2/5. Ah what to say about this was entertaining enough, but definitely didn't leave me racing to recommend it to my friend's. The story line was far fetched, and kept getting more unappealing as it progressed. It's part of Oprah's Book Club, so I suppose if you're a die hard follower, give it a go, otherwise I'd say pass.  

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

Rating: 4/5. This book was absolutely divine. The story line seamlessly intertwined love, magic, deception, and the grudges that people can hold on to for forever. The descriptions were perfectly vivid, and made you feel like you were part of the story. It was hard to put down, and always left you wondering what would happen next. With strong characters and a spellbinding plot, it is not a book to be missed. Perfect for all ages!!!!

Olivia Shaw has been missing since last Tuesday. She was last seen outside the entrance of her elementary school in Hunts Point wearing a white spring jacket, blue jeans, and pink boots.

I force myself to look at the face in the photo, into her slightly smudged features, and I can't bring myself to move. Olivia Shaw could be my mirror image, rewound to thirteen years ago.

If you have any knowledge of Olivia Shaw's whereabouts or any relevant information, please contact...

I've spent a long time peering into the faces of girls on missing posters, wondering which one replaced me in that basement. But they were never quite the right age, the right look, the right circumstances. Until Olivia Shaw, missing for one week tomorrow.

Whoever stole me was never found. But since I was taken, there hasn't been another girl.

Rating: 3.5/5. I came across this book in one of those neighborhood book exchange boxes when I was home in WI during the summer. The story was creative, and it was hard not to sympathize with the main character and try to understand the reasoning behind her actions. As the book progressed, I started to piece together the tangled web the author wove, and was still surprised by the ending. An entertaining and creative read. 

A remarkable history with elements of both In the President’s Secret Service and The Butler, The Residence offers an intimate account of the service staff of the White House, from the Kennedys to the Obamas.

America’s First Families are unknowable in many ways. No one has insight into their true character like the people who serve their meals and make their beds every day. Full of stories and details by turns dramatic, humorous, and heartwarming, The Residence reveals daily life in the White House as it is really lived through the voices of the maids, butlers, cooks, florists, doormen, engineers, and others who tend to the needs of the President and First Family.

These dedicated professionals maintain the six-floor mansion’s 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 28 fireplaces, three elevators, and eight staircases, and prepare everything from hors d’oeuvres for intimate gatherings to meals served at elaborate state dinners. Over the course of the day, they gather in the lower level’s basement kitchen to share stories, trade secrets, forge lifelong friendships, and sometimes even fall in love.

Combining incredible first-person anecdotes from extensive interviews with scores of White House staff members—many speaking for the first time—with archival research, Kate Andersen Brower tells their story. She reveals the intimacy between the First Family and the people who serve them, as well as tension that has shaken the staff over the decades. From the housekeeper and engineer who fell in love while serving President Reagan to Jackie Kennedy’s private moment of grief with a beloved staffer after her husband’s assassination to the tumultuous days surrounding President Nixon’s resignation and President Clinton’s impeachment battle, The Residence is full of surprising and moving details that illuminate day-to-day life at the White House.

Rating: 5/5. This book not only gives you a glimpse of all the inner workings of the most powerful address in the country, but you get the opportunity to travel through time and learn more about the President's and their families. It's equally jaw dropping as it is relatable. From heartbreak to laughter, this book reads like a fictional novel, making it easy to forget that these are true stories of the most powerful men in our nation. A great read for a history buff or a novice. 

If you've read, or end up reading any of these books, I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Deck the Halls + An Amazing Giveaway

Sweater | Skirt | Heels (similar style) | Headband | Earrings | Bracelets 

It is officially December, and even though I got the bug to decorate last month, I'm still adding the finishing touches to my home decor. 

Like many of you, I love decorating for Christmas and all things 'holiday.' From Christmas music, to eggnog, family time, and Hallmark movies, it literally is the most wonderful time of year. Plus, you cant't forget about all those presents. Don't even get me started - presents bring out the kid (or devil) in me. I love ripping off the paper, ribbons, bows, whatever it is, and digging into my gifts. Of course I always have a gift for myself too;) Don't we all? My favorite gift naturally is jewelry! Jewelry's not only the perfect accessory, but it's also something that'll never go out of style. It literally lasts a lifetime. 

Over the last few years, I've started straying further from costume jewelry, and focusing more on investment pieces. My go-to for all jewelry needs, is Houston based jewelry, KAIRA. They designed our wedding bands, and most recently my one year anniversary gift - a gorgeous pair of pink sapphire and diamond earrings. Obviously I'm a huge fan of theirs, and love the fact that they are family owned and run. Not only do they have gorgeous one-of-a-kind pieces, but they also have fantastic pieces that are under $1,000. 

You've probably seen me wearing their diamond studs, as well as a few of their rings. One of my favorite rings is their evil eye ring. I've literally worn it everyday since I got it. It goes with everything from jeans to black-tie wear. I'm excited to announce that KAIRA and I have teamed up to give one lucky follower/reader an evil eye ring, valued at $550! The ring comes in yellow gold (featured) and white gold, so it can match anyone's style and personality. Head to my Instagram for all the details on how to enter the giveaway. 


design + development by kiki and co. creative