Thursday, November 30, 2017

Currently, December 2017.

Here we are, ready to start the twelfth and last month of 2017. We are saying Goodbye to November and Hello to December. Did you know that May and December are my favorite months of the year?! Yes, they sure are - for different reasons. But I will be honest, since Vivian was born January has become a favorite too and to me January is the most special month of the year. Of course, like most of us (especially like most bloggers) I love, love December because 1] I get to deck the halls in every area of my house (today's post will show that too) and 2] I get to wear lots of pretty, fancy and festive looks. I like anything red, green, white, silver, gold, sequined, sparkly, velvet, fur, cozy and warm. So Welcome December!

lighting: the Christmas lights in both of our big trees, the lights outside (in the front of our home, by the evergreen bushes) and of course many different candles throughout the house. I have so many different season smells going on in different areas of the house like the living room, family room, bedroom, bathrooms, kitchen etc. Those candles I am lighting smell like pine-tree, fig, cranberry, vanilla, brown sugar, citrus - just to name a few.  

spending: money like most of us, December is a very expensive month duhhhh. I just ordered Vivian all of her toy presents at Target (I know you are shocked lol) and I added a few festive items for myself too. I am also spending as much time as I can with my loved ones and with my daughter, especially. I am so busy these days and work is crazy during the month of December so spending time with them and less time on Instagram and Insta stories is indeed what this time of year requires. Not everything needs to be documented on Insta stories. I am putting my phone down a lot more these days.

 to be more present. That goes parallel with the above prompt (#2). I am choosing to live the moment rather than take pictures all the time, take mini videos for Instagram, check my Facebook often or read a lot of blogs. I am choosing to be happy and take some time for myself when needed.

sending: nothing actually (not yet). I spent so much time and money on Christmas cards last year. This year I think only our close relatives and closest friends will receive some personalized cards. I will remember my other friends, blogger babes and other virtual friends by writing them e-mails or sending them a virtual post-card instead.

singing: along to Christmas tunes and the new songs by Taylor Swift's new album "Reputation". Each song is so good and each sound is so catchy. I can't help but sing along to the songs I have already learned the words too. I hadn't bought a music album or CD in ages. But I did buy Taylor's new album and I love it. Sorry not sorry.

I mentioned in the beginning of this post how much I love to decorate for Christmas. Today for my look-back portion of these Currently posts, I decided to take a walk down memory lane visiting ALL the Christmas Home Tour posts I have done since when I started blogging in 2012.

This was my first year in Albania after living in Michigan for 14 years. I had only been in Tirana for a month so we had only had our apartment for one month and we still had a lot to furnish and decorate. This year I bought every decoration from top to bottom brand new. The tree was in purple, red and gold. I love those red+gold velvet poinsettia flowers and my ornaments were mostly balls in red and purple but there were also bells, Christmas trees and other ornaments. For the top of the tree I made this huge red mesh bow that definitely stood out. The large bow for the top was made of 100% tulle. I think to this day that is one of my most favorite tree toppers I have ever done. I usually do a few trays, bowls and glasses filled with ornaments. For the coffee table - to which I added a beautiful festive embroidered table cloth (as you can see from the 3rd photo above) - I added a silver tall bowl with red glass ornaments in and around the silver tray there is decorative little evergreen branch. On the bookshelves I have two little snow-globes and three glass bowls one of which has red+gold balls, one has gold bells and the other has purple balls. Later on we purchased a real poinsettia plant which added to the decor of our living room.

Such a special Christmas for me personally as I was almost 9 months pregnant - my first pregnancy. I was lucky to have such a big belly on such a special holiday. My Husband Piro and I even wore matching red sweaters and black pants on Christmas day (last photo). Because we were expecting a little girl, I decided to do a white+pink tree. Almost all the ornaments were new and this was the first year in our new home in Albania. As you can see the tree looks completely different than it did the previous year. The top of the tree had a frosted glass white star and towards the top of the tree I added the very first pair of shoes that were purchased for Vivian: her baby pink Mary Jane shoes. Her little shoes were placed next to an angel and a little heart and these 3 little ornaments on top of the tree represented our upcoming baby girl so well. Vivian had brought so much joy for us in 2012 when we found out we were pregnant and the fact that 2013 would start off with her birth was a huge plus. Vivian was and is our biggest blessing! As always I use red trays+jars, candles, ball ornaments, jars filled with ornaments, glittery branches, evergreen branches, snowglobes and bows to decorate with.

This was the Most Special Christmas of all because it was Vivian's very first Christmas and our first Christmas as parents. This year we bought a lot of girly new ornaments for Vivian. She had a few Baby's First Christmas Ornaments on the tree and a lot of girly ornaments. With Vivian's ornaments I went for a candy theme. The cotton-frosted ornaments were things like cupcakes, candy canes, wrapped candy, cotton candy and more. The top of the tree had a glittery tall gold star. Vivian's first stocking was a Baby Girl's First Christmas stocking in baby pink. The coffee table had a silk embroidered-in-gold tassel square table runner with a clear vase filled with a few evergreen branches and tied with a green ribbon, on each end of it were a gold-orange and a red-orange candle. Of course all the shelving got some decor too. Most of the little glass vases and mini glass balls were filled with tiny red+gold glass ball ornaments. I also placed those gold+red velvet poinsettias around the living room and the kitchen and there were a few furry reindeer around the living room and kitchen area too. Our personalized Christmas cards were placed on the refrigerator and a small porcelain rust red vase filled with poinsettia flowers was on top of our kitchen table.

This was Vivian's second Christmas - she was almost 2 years old - so I opted for a very small, out-of-reach tree. We bought this small 3 feet tree which we put on top of the Entertainment Area. I put an angel on top of the tree and purchased several tiny and miniature ornaments, a lot of which were hand-made and some of them were wooden mini ornaments - so cute. The entire area got decorated with a long embroidered red silk table runner underneath, surrounded by family photos, a few Christmas-tree-shaped candles and mini ball ornaments. I added a few gold glittery butterflies and some velvet bushes to a couple of my flower vases. Every shelf of our bookcase got a little Christmas decor too and I even displayed a few of our Holiday cards on a wall in the living room.

This was my first year back in Michigan - after 4 amazing years spent in the capital of Albania. We put up two Christmas trees at our home, this year, and our main tree was white. All the colorful ornaments glisten on the white tree which has clear/gold lights. There were many different colored ornaments on the tree but they were mostly purple, green, teal, royal blue, lavender, pink and teal. On top of the mantle we have Santa+Mrs Klaus on the middle surrounded by two Small Vintage Holiday Horse Carriages, the Red+Gold Ruffled Silky Trees on the left side, a tall Blue Nutcracker and the 12 days of Christmas set of Nutcrackers on the right side, while on the bottom we have a little teddy with a wreath, a snowman, a Merry Christmas sign, the Black+Cream Porcelain Vase and our Winter White Santa Klaus. The little green tree is in our dining room and it is a small 5 feet tree which has a lot of our meaningful ornaments and a lit star on top. Even our faux green plant got decorated with a red velvet bow and two red velvet poinsettia flowers. The side coffee table has all of our frosted glass decorations: tree with miniature green+red ornaments, reindeer candle holder and santa candle holder. Off the side I have a vase filled with different colorful mesh chiffon and velvet poinsettia flowers which I filled with red+green ornaments.

This was our home last year, totally decked out as you can tell. I went for a colorful tree but mostly with traditional colors: red, gold and green. For the top of the tree I added a few flocked evergreen bushes which have pinecones also. It looks like a dust of snow on top of the tree. For the tree skirt I chose a classic red+green velvet tree skirt. Over the mantle I added a part of my little collection of Santas and Snowmen and on the bottom of the fire-place we have the red velvet skiing boots, a little red wicker basket with 3 Christmas stuffed animals, a deep glass bowl filled with small red, silver and green mirror ornaments and (on the left side) as usual we have the black set of porcelain pieces: tall vase (with woodsy branches), matching bowl and little dog. The side coffee table also has a little glass bowl filled with pink, turquoise, silver and purple little glass ornaments, two red+green present-shaped ornaments, a few family photos and our two large snow-globes.

I hope you enjoyed my Holiday memories of Christmas Home Tours from the past. Part one of this year's Christmas Home Tour will come this Thursday on December 7th. So come back to see how I decorated this year, what I added to my ever-growing collection of Christmas decor, how I decorated the main tree and the mantle, etc. I will also be joined by a few of my favorite blogging friends as it is part three of "The Holiday Series". It will be such a special post so I hope you come in and take a peak at my home.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Thursday Moda #91: Plaid Mini Skirts and French Berets.

Good morning ladies. Oh I have got two very fun outfits for you today and they have two things in common: Plaid Mini Skirts and French Berets. Don't you see the French vibes here?! Actually I wore the first outfit (with the Fun Bird Sweater) this Tuesday when our temps were as high as 62 degrees - hence the bare legs. I got a lot of compliments on this look from co-workers, strangers and even some of you who saw peaks of this outfit on my Instagram - those of you who don't follow me, you should =P. I took the opportunity and seized the moment as far as the nice warm sunny weather goes and I decided to shoot a little dressier, different pattern-mixed Red+Navy Outfit for you. But I kept several elements the same for both looks: plaid mini skirts, bright handbags, beret hats and French vibes. 

So which of these two outfits is your favorite?! I think I like the one with the Who What Wear Asymmetric Wrap Skirt (the first outfit) slightly more.

The Gray Classic Plaid Wrap Skirt can still be found at Target from one of my favorite brands ever - Who What Wear. This same classy and elegant pattern also came in a masculine-inspired blazer and some awesome dressy pants - ahh, wish I had the other 2 pieces. The other skirt has this tailored, sleek windowpane pattern and even-though I purchased the skirt at Loft at a different trip than I picked the Striped, Ruffle-Sleeve Tee (also by Loft), I knew that my first time showing these two new closet finds would be to pair them together. My skirt can still be found at some Loft stores on clearance - here - for half off. Also this Patterned Lavender+Navy Skirt is very similar in style and Loft also has a very similar Black+White version. I tend to wear a lot of fun mini skirts around the Holidays as this recent flashback post also showed. Both of these are perfectly festive for this time of year and pretty thick. When it is colder, just pair them with thick tights.

This outfit came together nicely with all the pattern-mixing I did between the Estate Print Mini Skirt and those sort of grayish Snakeskin Loafers I purchased for a steal at Banana Republic 2 months ago. It all looked so nicely with the bright pinks I paired these with. The Fun Bird Sweater (also by Loft - I need to own some of their stocks lol) is what I would call a Raspberry Pink shade while the Faux Leather Bag (but it looks like real leather and it is very well-made) is more of what I'd call a Fuchsia. This Crossbody Satchel I have had for 1.5 years, is from Target, ladies. I have a bigger version of this bag in bright purple, too. I dressed this up with a dark pink/raspberry lipstick, soft blush (I don't always wear blush on my cheeks) and some Gorgeous Crystal Cluster Gold-Tone Hoops. Both the earrings and all the bracelets in these outfits are by The Limited. Last but not least the Grey Beret looked great with all the rest of the grey in this look.

Fun Fact: I have always loved berets and I remember wearing them since I was about Vivian's age. I have had berets in almost every stage of my life. I used to own some as an adult too but then, before I moved to Albania in 2011 for a few years, I got rid of almost all of them - silly me. I still may have 1-2 in my storage here in US - I will have to look. Anyway, I am glad berets are back in style because in my opinion they are the easiest hats to wear and they are so sophisticated, sleek and make you look French - the epitome of class - in literally a second. I am also glad Baker Boy Hats are back - had a few of those too, I have to dig and find some. Anyhow, both of these berets are from Target and they are both a steal. I love the Grey Studded Grommet Beret - grey is my favorite neutral and plus those grommets are fun. While the Black Beret is as classic and simple as berets go. Both of mine are from the new line "A New Day" and Target has at least a couple of other styles of these berets too - check the out!

And check out those fun French-saying barrettes. They say "Merci" and "Bonjour". I like how they sort of decorate the beret too and from afar they look like mini pins/brooches. Yes, I paid attention to the smallest details. I mention this always but it is those little details that can make or break an outfit.

I love how this outfit turned out. Like I said the windowpane skirt and striped tee are meant to go together. I feel like they are the same exact shade of navy and the same exact dark shade of red. This is more of an evening look, though it can totally fly in an office too (minus the beret and I'd probably add tights too - though it depends on the weather). The Faux Suede Block Heel Pumps by Target have the best tortoise-shell heels and they are so classy and comfy. I also accessorized with a Red Patent Leather Clutch and since I added a few bracelets and those little French Barrettes I kept the earrings simple. To make this outfit even better-suited and warmer for December I'd wear black opaque tights and a black fitted or semi-fitted velvet blazer. I can picture you looking super chic!

Even-though it was Thanksgiving last week, over 80 outfits were linked and I saw so many beautiful color combinations for Winter and so many great cold-weather textures. I must say these ladies nailed the layers. And my friend Amber is even wearing a similar dark plaid mini skirt. For two weeks in a row now, the 30+ crowd killed it!
In 'The First Look of Christmas', Jamie took a gold+black sparkly dress and styled it 5 ways. This look with the chic black fringe poncho and fun little bag was my favorite, though all outfits were nice.
'Peg Leg Trousers and Platform Hiking Boots' look extraordinary on Samantha. If that street is her runway, she nailed it. Love the patterned turtleneck and necklace, too.
'Leopard and Plaid' are perfect for Fall and Winter and Amber knows it. Her sleek leather tote, classic cognac flat boots and quilted vest are great outer accessories.
The 'Velvet Shirt' comes in all kinds of styles and colors now, but there is something about cabernet velvet that makes me have heart eyes.
Jacqueline is 'Pattern Mixing a Midi Skirt' while color-blocking red with cobalt. Stunning and trendy head to toe and it worked!

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