Thursday, December 31, 2009

{ thursday thoughts...worth repeating }


A favorite "Thursday Thoughts" post from 2009...
and a perfect reminder of all that I hope to accomplish in 2010.

How about you dear friends...what is your wish for 2010?

Thanks to a last minute invite from friends, we're off to the snow for a few days.
Meet you back here Monday.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cheap & Chic: for 2010

Hello sweet readers!
Melissa from Melissa Loves here, so happy to be helping hold the fort over here at my lovely friend Suzanne's for the New Year! I thought I would put together a cheap & chic oufit for a New Year's party. Something comfortable and a tiny bit casual but, with a little flair. Something inspired by this print by Sarah McNeil on etsy.

~facinator here $19.95
~ top here $27.99
~ lovely earrings here (shop) $14.00
~ clutch here $7.50
~ boots here $47.99
~ pants here $12.80
~ necklace here $19.95

Total ~ $150.18

I sure hope you liked it lovelies and Suzanne, thank you so much for having me hun! I hope you are having a wonderful family break and enjoying every moment!


A little Santa in all of us.

Sweet Suzanne asked me to share with you some of my favorite holiday traditions, and I must've started and stopped this list a thousand times. When I was little, really little, my favorite things list would've been about closing my eyes as tight as I could, squeezing them shut and listening to the sounds on the roof... is that him? is that? and then MOM WAKE UP I THINK SANTA'S HERE! That tradition would've been at the tippety top of my {littlest me} favorite things list.

When I got a little older... old enough to see that Santa's handwriting and wrapping paper were quite like my mom's... well, then my favorite things list would've been about wishing for snowfalls on Christmas day... watching A Christmas Story over and over and Ralphie-you'll-shoot-your-eye-out! over again... seeing my family open the cards that I'd made the night before with cotton balls and crayons and glue... and playing with my delicious new treasures for the next several days. These traditions would've been at the tippety top of my {medium me} favorite things list.

And then I got a lot older... old enough to know that Christmas was wonderful but also stressful. Families seemed to fight a bit more... it became a lot about money and less about thought and love... Christmas trees started going up a bit later... the magic of the holidays was around me here and there, but that tangible, prickly, glittery feeling? It was missing.

This year, though, something changed. Our little girl arrived: Devon Whitney. Stinky McStinkpot. Twenty inches and six whole pounds of giggly, warm, loved up and new. She's too little to understand now, but soon she'll believe in Santa, in reindeer, in the importance of cutting paper snowflakes and leaving out snacks for the elves. Sometimes you need a little reminder of that feeling... of waking up to the smell of pine and presents... of hot cocoa and sugar cookies in the morning... of realizing that maybe Santa isn't as big and red and ho!ho!ho! as you once thought, but that there's a little Santa in all of us. This feeling is at the tippety top of my {biggest me} favorite things list.

Psst: Thanks, Suzanne, for having me here. I hope you'll all come visit me at my blogs, The Lil Bee and Feather Report.
Big kiss,

Images from top to bottom, all via We Heart It: Scream Colors; Katherine writes.; Inspirart; and unknown.

Monday, December 28, 2009

i believe...

hey, friends! it's me. karey of mackin ink and also one of the t.ruffle girls. i hope your holiday weekend was pure magic. oh, it was? good. mine, too.

so. my favorite holiday tradition sounds pretty simple. it's to believe. which, for me, gets a bit more difficult with each year. but that just means i need to try to believe harder.

i was a sick little kid. every christmas, mrs. claus sent a special letter telling me how proud she was of me. how she loved that i never complained when i missed trick-or-treating or the circus or birthday parties or playdates with other littles who had cats or dogs or peanut butter or dust or chlorine or hay in their houses. and that i was the greatest little sick kid ever invented.

long after i stopped really really believing in santa, i still believed in his wife.

i've tried to keep my girlies three believing, too. this entails making nine reindeer bowls of food every christmas eve. did you know they all love carrots, oats, beads, and buttons? did you know vixen also enjoys a sprinkling of pink glitter over her snack? blitzen gets an extra dash of something from uncle sugar's bar? or that rudolph never never eats the red beads and - in his typical passive-aggro fashion - positions the only one how-could-you-have-missed-it smack in the middle of his empty bowl? of course you did.

there's the torn piece of red velvet fabric hanging from the girlies' attic door, the red glitter footprint where santa landed, and usually one or two other details that always surprise even me.

uncle sugar and i aren't the tallest parents in the world, which means that the giant tree he bought this year in a panic because our other two trees hadn't arrived from jordan {but sadly showed up two short days after purchase. grrr.} would probably go angel-less. i'm not good with geometry or physics or anything else smarty-smart numberish, but that tree's width multiplied by its height and divided by our short equaled a very. bare. tippy. top. balanced out nicely by the three hundred and forty seven shiners adorning its bottom third. thank you, esmé.

lillie's the one who noticed it first. the angel! she squealed. oh. our angel. the one i bought just after my sister died. tulle and tiara and glitter galore and even a wand. easily one of our most beautiful possessions.

santa must've put her up there! he must've known! this from my grae-girl, who has spent most of the christmas holiday angry with her older sister for not believing hard enough.

we all sat in that magic for a moment. and even though i knew how it had surely happened...for a split second? maybe probably longer than that? i forgot i wasn't supposed to believe in santa claus anymore.

didn't realize how much i'd missed that guy.

warmest wishes and imaginary hugs and kisses to all of you. please visit me at the sweeterie or our etsy shoppe or even mackin ink. i'm always happy to see you. mary is, too. and thanks, suzanne, for inviting me over for the holidays. i will see you in dc soon, yes? say yes. gorgeous photos from for stars will rise again on tumblr.

Friday, December 25, 2009

{ all is calm. all is bright. }

Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.
May your day be filled with love & joy.

photos by moi. holiday card design by tiny prints.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

{a cherished holiday tradition: by guest poster Simply Mel of Reverie}

Being a daughter of a Fire Chief, I grew up welcoming Christmas Day with very early morning sunrises. You see, sometimes, the Chief had to work on Christmas Day, and this meant my brother and I would be roused from our beds to open our gifts before dawn. Dad had to leave for the fire station by 7:00 a.m., so in order for all of us to share in the magic of this anticipated day, we would open all our gifts and share a bit of breakfast before the rays of Christmas sunlight peaked through our frosty windows. It became a tradition (including the Christmases in-between the holiday shifts), a very early morning, blurry-eyed, beautiful family tradition which lasted even after my hero, my dad, the Fire Chief retired.

And as the years went by, I would find myself wide awake just waiting for him to open my door and declare, “Mornin’! Merry Christmas!” We would then run down the stairs and be welcomed by the festive atmosphere of the sparkling-lit Christmas tree surrounded by ribbon adorned presents, the smell of freshly brewed coffee, the local radio station playing Christmas songs, and my Dad standing there with the biggest grin on his face and his camera ready in his hands. This is what Christmas was all about….the pure joy that filled every fiber of his being just watching as his two kids gathered around the tree readying themselves to open all the gifts he worked so hard to give us. Every year he checked our lists and made sure he granted our wishes … the perfect pink 10-speed bike, the ‘you’ll shoot your eye out’ bb gun, and the ‘must have this exact one’ black cashmere sweater (yes, this was only a few years ago!). However, the magical sparkle in his eyes every Christmas morning is the one gift that I will cherish the most – forever and always.

So now that I have my own little crumb, we will be starting a new Christmas morning tradition this year. The ‘early rising syndrome’ seems to run in the family which means I will most likely be following in the Fire Chief’s footsteps. And even though this Christmas, there will be 3,000 miles between me and my Dad, I’ll find comfort and joy in knowing that we will both be greeting the morning sunrise with magical sparkles in our eyes as we reminisce upon and begin a holiday tradition that we will forever hold close to our hearts.

{you can find me daydreaming
here and learn more about all the pretty things I love here.}

blurry eyed Christmas photograph by Gaia Miette McArdle

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Grandma's House

No matter how many Bing Crosby songs I hear, no matter how many twinkle lights I see, and no matter how many cookies I consume, it never really feels like Christmas until I go to my grandparents' house.

My grandmother is 80, has six children, 7 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. Every year, we all convene at her house to celebrate and see who can score the most homemade caramels. The highlight for many of us, though, is her vintage decorations. My dad is the oldest at 60, and he remembers almost all of the trimmings from his childhood. The santas, elves, ornaments and angels are from the early part of the century, and many of them belonged to my great-grandmother. It's as if time stopped, and it's such a wonderful feeling to know that they've brought joy to so many generations.

Seeing my grandparents surrounded by their large family is my favorite part of the holidays, and a reminder to cherish what's important.

Happy Holidays!
Nichole, Little Brown Pen

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

{ the simple things: by guest poster kelli from kelli jane photography }

This December has been different than past Decembers. This December I'm celebrating the spirit of the season through the eyes of my 3-year-old....and maybe it's just me, but isn't everything about Christmas time more magical and fun when you see things through the eyes of a child? Our family traditions seem to be about the simple things we do together....making cookies, drinking hot chocolate, getting all bundled up and going ice skating, decorating our home with colors of red and green, and watching every movie from "Charlie Brown's Christmas" to "Love Actually" (well, technically it's just me watching "Love Actually" over and over again :). It's the little expressions of joy and wonder on my daughters face that have meant the most to me over the past few weeks, and being that I am a photographer, I try my best not to let any of them go uncaptured. I never leave home without my camera....even if it's just my polaroid.

I do plan on starting a new tradition this year and it came about from a vision I had. After the Holiday's are over, I'm going to design a photo book that is solely about how we spent our Christmas; that way, when Christmas comes around next year, we can pull it out and have fun looking at the ways we celebrated in the past. I want to design one for each year to come, and my vision is that hopefully, when my kids are grown, we can pull them all out each Christmas and enjoy looking at our Christmas journeys of the past.

May you be richly blessed this Holiday season!

Monday, December 21, 2009

{ sharing holiday traditions }

photo courtesy of Jay Mather, found here

Ever since I can remember, visions of sugar plums...candy canes and snow fairies have danced in my head at Christmastime, thanks to my favorite holiday tradition, The Nutcracker Ballet. I still recall the thrill of going to see it each year in San Francisco with my grandmother and being utterly captivated by the music, costumes, and scenery. I've loved sharing the same tradition with my own daughter the last couple of years and watching her fall head over heels in love with the story as well. This year, our tradition continued with a very special twist when my daughter auditioned and was cast as a teeny tiny mouse in the Sacramento Ballet's production of The Nutcracker.

Each year, The Sacramento Ballet casts 400+ local children to perform throughout the holiday season with their own company of professional dancers, creating unforgettable, tug-at-your-heart magic on stage. {I recommend having tissues on hand}. It's an amazing experience for the kids to perform with professional dancers in front of such a large (and adoring) audience and the opportunity to hang out backstage and discover the hard work and dedication behind the scenes is priceless. I chaperoned one of the performances and was able to take a few pics. I thought you might like a sneak peek through the eyes of my teeny tiny mouse...

we wait for the cue that it's okay to put on our costumes


and then, we wait...again


we watch the "big girls" & dream of someday playing the part of a party girl or Clara

we have our makeup done


and visit with the **stars** who stop by for a visit


we chase away the butterflies in our tummies


and's SHOWTIME!!!

a new twist on a favorite tradition = a lifetime of magical memories...
what a gift!

P.S. I'll be taking a little bloggy break while my daughter is on winter break from school and will return after the Christmas holiday. In the meantime, I've invited some fabulous blogger friends to stop by S.HOPtalk and share their favorite holiday memories and traditions with you all {as the lovely Mary did earlier today } Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays! xo ~Suzanne

Local readers can find ticket information for the remaining Sacramento Ballet Nutcracker performances (today - December 23rd) here.

{ my favorite holiday tradition : by guest poster mary from pretty good }

Our neighborhood is not for everyone. It’s in a historic part of our city, so the houses are all 150+ years old, and they’re, quite literally, on top of each other. The charm is obvious, but being packed in together tight with your neighbors is something that, when we moved in three years ago, I wasn’t sure how we’d adjust to.

But we fell right in love with our new community. Rather than feeling suffocated, we felt immediately connected with people who were more like family than friends. People who would spend their Saturday helping you expose the hidden fireplace in your living room and would bring you a pair of fresh lobsters they caught earlier that day and were only steps away with a bottle of wine and a roaring fire during a blizzard. So when the holidays roll around, we make it a point to put together special goodies for these special people whose houses we can practically touch when we open our windows.

The first year, we made my husband’s favorite fudge
and proudly delivered them to everyone, until we soon learned that the ex-mayor (who lives just a few houses away) has been wowing everyone with her great-great-great-grandmother’s fudge recipe for years. Ohhkaaay.

The following year, determined to make our mark, we tackled this
amazing, fall-off-your-seat fabulous cinnamon rolls recipe. They were completely, sinfully delicious, but making them turned our kitchen into a total disaster area and although I have been known to exaggerate for effect, I swear I was scraping the sticky butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture off obscure parts of our counter through late June.

Two days ago, on Saturday, with a smidge of a red wine headache, I was thankful that this year I had scoped out something easy (but still wickedly yummy) to make for the neighbors: Oreo truffles
and red velvet cake balls. They're simple, require minimal baking, and are kid-friendly -- because three years here has added a few little ones to these homes.

This new ritual of baking, packaging, and delivering treats door-to-door is one of our favorite things about this time of year. And the very act of creating something to share with others and spreading a bit of cheer is the absolute reason for the season.


{ You might know Mary from her photo blog, pretty good, and her whenever-she-gets-around-to-posting Tumblr. Or, you might not. She’s also fifty percent of the t.ruffle girls, and would like you to know that even though Karey said they’d close up the shoppe for the holidays on Friday, the doors seem to still open. So take a peek inside before she goes to lock up. And have yourself a very, very, super, happy Holiday! }

Thursday, December 17, 2009

{ thursday thoughts }


letterpress poster found here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

{ tis the season for giving: amala gift set giveaway! }

We have a lucky winner... #33, Amanda. Congratulations!!! Please email your address to shoptalkbuzz at gmail dot com and we will ship your lovely Amala gift set to you. Thank you to everyone who participated.

I am so excited to announce today's giveaway from Amala, an organic skincare line out of Germany that's committed to providing "a brighter future for your skin, and the earth." through their pure & natural product collections. Making Amala even more irresistible is their stunning packaging...I feel refreshed and radiant just looking at it.
Now for the details. One lucky reader will receive this lovely Amala Hydrating Spa Valise Gift Set, featuring sustainable skincare tucked into a luxe organic hemp and woven straw travel bag { valued at $102 }. The Hydrate Collection replenishes and sustains skin's moisture level with Egyptian Jasmine, renowned for its nourishing, smoothing and antioxidant benefits for skin.

For your chance to win, simply leave a comment on this post before Monday, December 21st. Be sure to include a way for me to contact you if you're the lucky winner.

That's not all! All S.HOPtalk readers will receive 20% off their entire Amala order through Dec 20th by entering SHOPTALK at checkout. Perhaps it's time to treat yourself to a little something.

Special thanks to Nichole and Amala for sharing this generous offer!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

{ window shopping: spool no. 72 }

spool 72

I absolutely love the gorgeous photo styling and fabulous pretties found at Spool No. 72--such great texture and colors (and dare I say, a tad more affordable than that other lovely shop we all adore).

Stay tuned...I'll be posting another exciting giveaway tomorrow--you're going to la la love it!

Monday, December 14, 2009

{ giveaway winner! }

I asked my daughter to pick a number between 1 and 81 (the number of comments left on the giveaway post) and she picked....

Lucky winner, #33 {Tiff}, who said: "I am loving warm jackets right now!"

Please email your contact/address info. to me at shoptalkbuzz at gmail dot com to receive your very own mini diary from Marta's shop.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the mini diary giveaway. I absolutely LOVED reading all of your comments...they totally put me in the holiday spirit. xoxo

Thursday, December 10, 2009

{ reader giveaway: the mini diary }

Scrumptious new diary covers

The lovely and creative Marta recently contacted to let me know that she's currently creating another batch of her divine mini diaries to arrive in time for the holidays and is taking pre-orders through her shop. I was thrilled...after procrastinating and missing out on her last production run, I've been visiting her shop daily hoping to find more in stock.

Its tiny, fill-in-the blank style makes it easy to pop it into a handbag and jot brief, {happy} thoughts from the day while on the go. I plan to buy one that my daughter and I can share and record both of our thoughts at the end of the day--a new bedtime ritual and the chance to celebrate and share the little things that make both of us happy.

The really good news is that S.HOPtalk readers have the chance to WIN their very own mini diary. Simply leave a comment on this post before Monday, December 14th and tell me something you're currently loving {a favorite smell, sound, book...anything}. A winner will be chosen randomly from the comments left and announced on Monday afternoon. Good Luck!!!

Quick Links:
Marta's always inspiring blog

{ thursday thoughts }

Simple yet powerful, no? Spotted over on this lovely blog.

Psst: I'll be posting a reader giveaway later sure to check back.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

{ holiday gift guide: winter whites }

Wintry whites + a bit of sparkle inspired by the wondrous blanket of snow that fell upon our area yesterday (for the first time in 20+ years).

Metallics  - Bracelets  -

Paper Floral Wreath-Winter Wonderland

Odette cuff on sale at Anthropologie
Ivory winter bracelet by paper flower girl
Victoriana scarflette by Tickled Pink Knits
Orquidea Tea set at Anthropologie
Lollia breathe Bubble bath at Reverie Daydream Boutique
Frosted rose necklace by La Vieja Tun Tun
Paper floral wreath Winter Wonderland by Dana & Carol

Monday, December 7, 2009

{ happy, happy monday }

Happy Monday friends! I am back and catching up after my daughter's fabulous, whirlwind birthday weekend. We kicked it off Friday with a surprise, first-time visit to the American Girl store in LA--so, so fun. She loves the historical characters/dolls and was in awe seeing them all in person. The celebration continued Saturday with a magical day at Disneyland which is still one of my favorite places to visit--and especially so now, seeing it through my daughter's eyes. There were moments we laughed so hard that our stomachs ached. My idea of bliss!

I will be back with a fresh post tomorrow. In the meantime, treat yourself to a visit to Cafe Mom, where the lovely Sheri has gathered affordable gift ideas from some of my favorite bloggers. { You may even spot a few from moi }. xoxo

crochet rose

wooden New York City

Thursday, December 3, 2009

{ thursday thoughts }

The Country House Online Store
I'm off to find some happily ever after at the Happiest Place on Earth...
a certain little someone is turning nine.

P.S. Did you hear...the t.ruffle girls have opened a shoppe where you can find all kinds of happy & magic!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

{ holiday card outtake }


I grabbed my daughter and the pup and headed to the park the other day to shoot some photos for our holiday card. It felt reeeeeally good to dust off my good camera {film} and take something other than quick snapshots. Must make a point to do it more often! This shot is one of my favorites from the day. From a technical standpoint, it may not be perfect, but there's something about it that I love. {Obviously there was something much more interesting than the crazy lady behind the camera.}

P.S. Do you have a recommendation for good photo cards? I've been really happy with Shutterfly, but would love to explore other options as well.

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