After Christmas Sales Wish List

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We don’t really go big on gifts at our house. In fact, order I told my husband not to get me anything for Christmas this year — that I want to go clothes shopping during the after-Christmas sales. But IF he were to get me something, health here are a few things that I have my eye on.

Charcoal Zip Cardigan from Ily Couture $88.00

Dark_Grey_Zip_Cardigan_3_USE_compactDark_Grey_Zip_Cardigan_USE_compact

I love just about EVERYTHING at Ily Couture, and this sweater has that off-center zipper which is so fun. I like the drapey nature of the sweater too, and charcoal is my favorite goes-with-everything color.

White Venice Watch from Flex Watches $40.00 whiteveniceflex_large

I love the clean, fresh look of this white watch. It’s a unisex watch too, I think, so it’s bigger than a ladies’ watch. It’s casual, but professional at the same time.

Earth Redwood Boots from Footwear Etc $99.99 (sale price) Earth Redwood BootsBoots are just plain fun. These are made by Earth brand, so they are super comfy as well. I can see me pairing these with jeans and that charcoal zipper sweater above. (Another Earth boot I like is in the featured image above.)

VESTA Emerald Suede Loafers from Pluggz (grounding shoes) $134.00 Grounding Shoes by PluggzI’ve been reading about how we should go barefoot more often to “ground” to the earth because of the energy we derive from the earth. That could be all new age hocus pocus, I don’t know, but these emerald green loafers are just adorable and look so comfortable.

Outdoor Orchestra Coat in Navy from ModCloth $111.99 (sale price)Modcloth coatThis coat is classic with just enough modern, funky touches to make it interesting. I love the shape which will accentuate my waist and camouflage my thighs, and the off-set buttons make it unique.

I plan on hitting the after-Christmas sales. Post below if you hear of any really hot sales and what you are planning to buy. Happy bargain hunting. May the force be with you.

#Gift Guide: Robots

My six year daughter is obsessed with robots. She has circled every robotic thing in the Target toy catalog that came in the mail. So I’m betting that you have a robot fan on your shopping list too. I’ve compiled this list of fun robot gifts.

* This list contains affiliate links. If you purchase through one of these links, psychotherapist I will make a small commission, but your cost will be the same.

Merry Christmas, Darling

This post was written as part of “The Songs of Christmas” series that Fellowship North is doing this month. You can subscribe to the email list here.

It may be hard to believe, troche but Barbara and Bob McBryde were totally hip when they were young. They had a large RCA console TV. The top opened up on one side to reveal a built-in stereo radio, viagra and the other side had a built-in record player. The TV held a large record collection full of albums by Frank Sinatra, asthma Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Elvis, Joe Cocker, Linda Ronstadt, The Carpenters, and many more. As a young child, I would spend hours listening to these albums.

Merry Christmas Darling
Me and my mom, Barbara (circa 1973) with that big RCA console TV in the background

One of my favorite Christmas songs is Merry Christmas, Darling by The Carpenters. It’s not so much the words of the song that I love, but how Karen Carpenter’s buttery voice takes me back to 1972 dancing around the house.

Holidays are joyful
There’s always something new
But ev’ryday’s a holiday
When I’m near to you

My childhood brings such pleasant memories like listening to my dad and his friends play guitar or me putting on a show using the brick fireplace hearth as my stage. My hope is that when my daughters are grown that they will think back to their childhood Christmas with the same fond memories and that a song will transport them back in time to 2015.

Shop the domino Gift Guide!

Stripped Down Christmas

We’re creating a stripped down Christmas at the Valley house this year.

Simple tree.

Few presents.

Less busyness.

MORE JESUS.

I don’t want to get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas. I want to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas: Jesus coming to save our world as a little baby in a manger. I want to instill that in my children as well. It’s hard to do in this 2015 world.tree

I admit that I lack discipline. I’m not good at Advent calendars or daily Bible readings or anything that requires continuous commitment. I start off good, web but after a few days I lose focus and my well-intentioned plans go off the tracks.

So here I am making a public declaration of my commitment to keeping it stripping it down to the basics.

From Luke 1: 26In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
God used a young girl named Mary to save the world. I think of my four daughters. Could God use them to save this 21st Century world? And then there’s Elizabeth. She was too old to have a baby, but God allowed her to become pregnant anyway. Her son John would “go on before the Lord…to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1: 17)
God used these two females to change the world. It’s pretty inspiring. I want to be that prepared and willing to be used by God.
What will you do this December to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas?

The Best Way to Wear Red

*This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.

The holiday season is right around the corner and all of those holiday party invites are sure to start rolling in. Red is definitely the color of the season and it is a lot more versatile than you may think. Slip into a scarlet gown for a formal wedding or a burgundy sheath for a casual holiday party. Either way, human enhancement this hue is alluring and Rent The Runway has got you covered. Here are a few red hot looks for the holiday season.

 

#GIFTGUIDES: Gifts that give all year long

reindeer**This post contains affiliate links, impotent and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Christmas decorations are already in the stores (and it’s not even Halloween yet), so I guess that means that I need to start thinking about what gifts to give my family and friends this year. We draw names with my family, and I somehow always end up with my Dad. He is so hard to buy for! So this year, I’m researching “gift a month” options. I think gifts that surprise me every month are so much fun. Here are a few interesting ones that I have found for everyone on your gift list:

FOR DADS:
Scent Trunk sends your guy a box of custom scents tailored to his unique tastes for $18/month.
Root Bizzle is a tie a month club. (AK Valley would love this!) $25/month and cancel at any time.RootBizzle Tie Club

FOR KIDS:
With Groovy Lab in a Box, you will receive boxes full of everything you need to learn about and do hands on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Starting at $23.95/month.Lunar Launch and STEMists
Buddy Box is a monthly care package for kids’ faith that gets them excited about growing their relationship with Jesus. Starts at $22.99/month.

Nerd Block is a toy subscription box for nerds. (This might belong in the Dad category.) Starting at $13.99/month. Nerd Block
Green Kid Crafts sends monthly boxes of discovery and experiments for ages 3-10. You can even get your first box free! Boxes start at $17.95 there after.

FOR FOODIES:
Hamptons Lane sends you curated artisan ingredients, kitchen tools and recipes to make a complete meal such as Spanish Tapas or Coastal Seafood Boil. Box prices vary (around $50ish).

Hatchery offers a monthly box of small-batch ingredients and condiments for the cook in your family. Bundles start at $31.Hatchery Tasting Box
Love with Food offers monthly boxes of all-natural snacks. They even have a gluten-free box. Starting at $7.99/month. 40% off 1st Tasting Box
Veestro sends plant-based, chef-prepared meals each month. The Starter Pack Special is 12 meals plus cookies for $99.
UrthBox sends organic, non-GMO snacks monthly. Starting at $12.99.Healthy Snacks Delivered Monthly

FOR THE LADIES:
Faithbox is a monthly box subscription that ships items to inspire and strengthen your faith. Boxes start at $17/month. Now 10% off.Faithbox - Embrace Your Faith Today!
Julep Maven is a monthly beauty products and nail polish box. Get your first box free, then $24.99 a month. October Birthstone Welcome Box Offer

FOR COFFEE AND TEA DRINKERS:
Bean Box sends a half pound of freshly-roasted whole bean coffee, tasting notes, roaster profiles, brewing tips, and an artisan chocolate. Starting at $17/month. Bean Box Coffee Subscription
Art of Tea offers a variety of handcrafted teas starting at $15/month.

FOR HEALTH NUTS:
Bulu Box offers samples of vitamins, supplements and healthy snacks each month. The boxes are $10/month.The THRIVE Experience is a premium lifestyle plan, to help individuals experience and reach peak physical and mental levels. I’ve personally been using Thrive for just over a year, and I love how I feel using the 3 steps every morning. $150/month on autoshipthrive_foundslide2Bestowed will send someone you care about a monthly delivery of the best healthy food and snacks. Starting at $20/month.Bestowed

 

FOR THE “I LOVE JESUS BUT I DRINK A LITTLE” CROWD:
The Original Craft Beer Club. Need I say more? $39/month. 300x250 new banner
The California Wine Club (might just be my personal favorite) sends wine every month. (Cue the hallelujah chorus.) Boxes start at $39.95.
Plonk Wine Club — 2, 4 or 12 bottles (case) delivered to your or your gift recipient’s doorstep every month. From $49.99.

What gift a month clubs have you tried before and liked (or disliked)? I’d love to hear your feedback.

*NOTE: This information was compiled from ShareASale where I am an affiliate. I earn a small commission when readers make a purchase after clicking on my link. Find a sponsor for your web site. Get paid for your great content.

Cajun’s Christmas Camp

I was recently invited to Cajun’s Christmas Camp at Cajun’s Wharf in Little Rock as part of an Arkansas Women Bloggers promotion. Although I was compensated with food, pathopsychology wine and booze, all opinions here are my own.

2014-11-08 12.54.05-2Jodi Coffee and me (after a glass or two of wine)

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Sarabeth Jones photographing the Oysters Bienville

Cajun’s has long been the BEST RIVER VIEW SPOT for cocktails in Little Rock. In fact, 150 years ago when I turned 21 years old, this is where my friend Janet took me to celebrate. But there is much more to Cajun’s than drinks (Play De Do!), bands, and bar food. The seafood in the dining room is outstanding. Their wine list is extensive. And now they are open weekdays for lunch (M-F, 11-2).

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2014-11-08 12.49.15-1Dan, our wine tour guide

I can highly recommend the Oysters Bienville, the Crab Au Gratin, and the Kung Fu Girl Riesling (see cool bottle above). Seriously, I could have just stopped there, but then my panini came out, then the dessert platter. Oh my. Don’t go here if you’re on a diet. Trust me. 2014-11-08 14.07.15-2We were given a holiday cooking demonstration by Chef Mary Beth Ringgold. Not only did she cook up some awesome mussels and clams in a tomato broth, she shared secrets to the perfect Thanksgiving turkey.

2014-11-08 15.03.05-2Then we had a whiskey tasting. Mine was more of a whiskey smelling, since straight whiskey isn’t my thing.

2014-11-08 15.33.20-2Next was mini pizzas and holiday cocktails. Really!?! 2014-11-08 16.15.09-2Here’s the recipe for the Holly-De-HoHo (pomegranate sangria) pictured above:
One bottle of red wine
2 cups pomegranate juice
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup triple sec
1/4 cup simple syrup
Garnish with pomegranate seeds, green apple, grapes

So please give Cajun’s a try if you’ve never been or haven’t been in a while. You won’t be disappointed. And check them out for lunch sometime soon. If you go this Wednesday, you just might see me there. Please stop and say hello!

2014-11-08 12.59.47Angie Albright and Kyran Pittman enjoying Oysters Bienville

Orange Sweet Rolls

When Anthony and I were in Eureka Springs, men’s health Arkansas, medicine last month, more about we had brunch at a new place called Fresh. They had the most amazing orange sweet rolls. I decided to try to make my own for our Christmas brunch. As much as I love to bake, I rarely make anything with yeast. I don’t like all the mess, and the results can sometimes be a flop. But alas, I decided to give it a go for my special Christmas Day brunch. I found this recipe on Pinterest.

2013-12-24 21.02.32Here’s where I pray that my dough will rise.

2013-12-24 21.13.38
The dough turned out great and the orange sugary glaze was spread on it, then rolled into a log.

2013-12-24 21.18.08
I used dental floss to easily cut the rolls into 1 inch sections. (Anthony first gave me mint-flavored dental floss. I explained to him that wouldn’t work and to hunt down the unflavored kind. He is so good to me.)

2013-12-24 21.24.09
I let them sit overnight to rise up.

2013-12-25 07.16.45
I could have eaten this just like this. In fact, next time I’ll leave the small pan un-iced as the icing is too sweet for me. (Anthony thinks I’m crazy. It’s true.)

2013-12-25 07.23.55
Iced. Perfection.

2013-12-25 07.23.50
Orange infused food porn.

Hatchery Tasting Box

Arkansas Women Bloggers Ornament Swap

Today is reveal day on who our secret ornament swap person was. I sent my homemade ornament to Jeanetta Darley. photo 1(9)I made her a melted crayon in a glass ornament project that I found on (where else but) Pinterest. I love how it turned out looking like a globe. Sure hope it made it to her in one piece.

My secret ornament Santa was Jodi Coffee. She is such a sweetheart! She sent two ornaments — one little Christmas tree made from wine corks and one with a big V on it made from burlap. I love them both! Next time she needs to let me help her drink the wine, abortion so we have more corks (all for our crafts of course).

photo 2(13)

photo 1(12)Ornaments need not be expensive or fancy — just made with love. That’s what makes a Christmas tree extra special.

Merry Christmas everyone!