Gnome for the Holidays

Gnome holiday decorGnome Holiday Decor

Hey Elf on the Shelf, you’ve been replaced. It’s all about gnomes now.

As I asked on twitter, how did gnomes suddenly become a Christmas thing? Do the elves know about this? Are they cool with it?

Not that I’m complaining. I love gnomes. I love gnomes so much that they were the topic of my first magazine (more on that backstory here). In Kindergarten when the teacher asked us to name a word starting with G, I said “gnome,” because it was my favorite word, but she wouldn’t accept it because it didn’t have a G sound and she didn’t want to confuse a classroom of kids who couldn’t read yet. I obviously never fully recovered from this incident, though it was great early preparation for having my work rejected and edited.

If you’re ready to embrace all things gnome, silent G included, here are my favorite ways to decorate with gnomes this season.

Gnome holiday sweaters

Gnomes are now an option for tacky Christmas sweaters–bonus points if it has a clever pun. 10/10 would wear this in public. I’ve bought not one but two gnome-themed holiday sweaters this year because gnomes are my spirit animal. Spirit animals plural? I really should get this grammar thing down. I’m a professional.

 

Gnome tree ornaments

These natural-material gnome ornaments would look so cute on any tree. This year I participated in my first ornament exchange with other alumnae from my sorority around the U.S. I didn’t include any gnome ornaments, but now I’m thinking maybe I should have.

Gnomes in the home

Need a holiday pillow? There’s a gnome item for that, too.

A gnome door

Repurpose fairy garden items from the spring to make a gnome door in your house to add to the magic.

Do gnomes belong in the festivities this year or is it strictly for elves? You decide!

Chi Chi London Dresses for Fall

Update: Get 30% off at Asos through 11/28 with code EPIC30!

I’m writing this post about one of my favorite formal dress brands, Chi Chi London. This post isn’t sponsored–I just seriously love this brand and get a lot of questions about it-but I have used some affiliate links within the post.

I like that you can’t find these styles in any store in the U.S. When you wear one of these dresses you’re sure to stand out. The styles I own are a bit springlike, but the fall line of dresses has red, black and navy dresses that would look great for Thanksgiving, a holiday party or even New Year’s.

For an ultra feminine, modest and classic style, this is my go-to brand.

Here are the three dresses I’ve worn, my thoughts about each one, and where you can get them. Keep reading for my tips on how to get the best deals on Chi Chi London too!

Chi Chi London Amber dress

I was inspired to get this after seeing it on another blogger. The pleats in the waist give most of the brand’s dresses a poufed, 1950s style look and this one is no exception. This dress is very structured. Even though it is gorgeous in person, I didn’t end up wearing it because the structured silhouette kind of dwarfed me. There are petite sizes, however, which I might try in the future. Currently, the floral Amber dress is on sale in limited sizes at ChiChiClothing.com  and at Dorothy Perkins in regular and and petite.

Chi Chi London lace dresses

I love lace so it was an easy choice for me to invest in the lace collection. I wore this to a wedding. The Daisie dress pictured here is also available on sale in limited sizes at ChiChiClothing.com.

The blue Rhiannon dress is one of the brand’s most classic and iconic styles. For more pictures, see how I wore it here.  A similar style is on sale at Asos.

You can also see photos of these dress on my Instagram.

Things to know before ordering from Chi Chi London

Based on the name, it’s not a big surprise that the brand is based in the UK. If you’re in the U.S. there are a few options. You can order directly from the brand’s site, which has the lowest prices especially when items are on sale.  But if it doesn’t fit you’ll have to pay return shipping to Great Britain and last time I checked, it would cost over $33 to return a Chi Chi London dress from the US. And that was the cheapest option through USPS. FedEx and UPS were even more. That seriously eats into the amount you might save. In my case, I ended up selling the dress I wanted to return on Poshmark, which worked out well and I got more money back than I would have returning it.

Alternatively, you can order through Asos or through Modcloth. These sites offer free shipping and returns. So even though you’ll pay more for the dress itself, you might save in the long run. Modcloth tends to charge more for the brand, so you can often save by ordering through Asos which is my recommendation for finding the best deal on Chi Chi London.

Chi Chi London Daisie dress

Another thing to know is that the sizing is all UK sizes, so order carefully!

Let me know if you have any questions about anything related to this brand. I’m always happy to talk about finding the perfect dress!

 

 

A Mini Cheese Plate for Fall

Thanks to Babybel for sponsoring this post. Without tiny, tiny cheese wheels I would not have been inspired to make this whimsical cheese plate!

Fun fall snacking

I tweeted about cheese recently without thinking too much about it, and almost instantly it became one of my most-liked tweets ever. People really like cheese. And when it comes wrapped in wax like a miniature cheese wheel, it’s easy to like it even more. Babybel cheese even got its own Halloween costumes this year:

Make a miniature cheese plate

I thought about all the recipes I could create for this post. I thought about delicious pizza or a decadent sandwich melt. Then I remembered the night I was babysitting two toddlers, and I sliced their Babybel cheese into miniature cheese wedges. And I realized that I could NOT pass up the chance to share my miniature cheese tray with you!

Ingredients

Here’s what it includes:

Babybel cheese, sliced into wedges with a sharp knife

Small chips or crackers

Raspberries from the garden (they’re pretty small so they fit in well!)

The center of a Kale plant

If you don’t have all these things, feel free to improvise with whatever you can think of! Small cookies, grapes, baby carrots…so many possibilities. Isn’t it so cute?

For snacking and entertaining

Maybe you’re wondering what the point of a tiny cheese tray is! Well, it’s a fun snack for kids. It’s a fun snack for adults. If you add a bunch more cheese to the tray, it’s perfect to bring to parties. Cheese gives people something nutritious to snack on right away while they’re waiting for dinner to be served, so I’ve found it’s a fantastic party appetizer. It’s nice to have healthy snacks around at home and at parties during the holidays.

Check out these other amazingly cute snacking ideas to try with your cheese, too!

The individual rounds are perfect for grab-and-go snacks when you have a sports event or are packing a lunch! Who has time to slice a brick of cheese, anyway? One friend even says they taste good frozen, but I have yet to test this theory!

Find Babybel (100% cheese made with real milk) in the refrigerator section at Target, where there are deals this month! It comes in regular, light and more flavors.

Are you a cheese fan? Share your favorite cheese or cheesy food in the comments!


4 Simple Ways to Decorate with Squash and Gourds

Eco holiday decorating

Every year I seem to have a few more squash from the garden than I know what to do with! They end up inside as decorations, which is okay with me. After all, nothing says fall like a bowl of heirloom squash and petite gourds on the counter. It’s an eco-friendly and incredibly easy way to bring a little autumn to any house.

An easy to make fall centerpiece

One thing I love doing with squash is making a centerpiece, as seen above! You can add votive candles and pinecones if you wish, or just use the pretty fruit itself. Decorating, done.

A variation of that, below, is to set the fruit on some pine branches, eucalyptus or other greenery.

Painted pumpkins

This was a fun, easy DIY. Just add metallic paint and glitter to a small gourd for a little shine around the holidays. This will render it inedible though, so save your best pie pumpkins for glitter-free decorating.

Put a bow on it

I had this beautiful black watch plaid ribbon, which totally seemed like fall! So I tied it on the stem of a squash and a little decoration was born.

Outdoor fall decorating

Spruce up the front step with a little display of your squash crop. It’s seasonal, decorative, and totally eco-friendly.

Let me know in the comments if you have a favorite way to display fall’s garden harvest.

I originally published these photos on Midwest Living.

Check that site out for more fall decorating ideas and see what my fellow bloggers have planned for holiday decor, including:

Here’s how to have a minimalist Christmas

How to cure your own olives

Mason jar recipes

Holiday garden gifts

Make a holiday sign with scrap wood

 

 

Stay Warm with Fall Layering

Thanks Cuddl Duds and Bon-Ton for sponsoring this post.

Fall fun

Like any lifestyle blogger, I love fall! Pumpkin spice! Pumpkin patches! Harvesting raspberries and pumpkins from my own garden! But ya gotta be warm while you do all that fun fall stuff.

As a native Minnesotan, I’ve learned how to layer to stay warm. And believe me, when it’s 20 below zero degrees Fahrenheit, the goal is to STAY WARM. (But also to look somewhat cute and be comfortable while staying warm.)

live in layers

Live in Layers

Ways to layer up this fall!

  1. Throw a soft, plushy vest over a turtleneck or sweater
  2. Don’t forget a scarf! Worn draped over your shoulders like I’ve done here, it’s like bringing a little blanket around wherever you go!
  3. Use soft, stretchy leggings like Cuddl Duds (available at Bon-Ton and online) under jeans or pants for extra warmth
  4. Add a base layer like Cuddl Duds cowl neck under sweaters (thumb holes give extra hand warmth)
  5. Tie all the layers together visually with a fun decorative pin. This adds a flair of personality and dresses up your layers. I got this pheasant pin practically free at a rummage sale.

Layering with Cuddl Duds

I am a big, big fan of Cuddl Duds leggings. The waistband is so comfortable, you guys. You don’t even notice it! They’re made with modal and spandex so they’re soooo stretchy. When winter comes, they’ve got you covered in every way. Wear them to bed, under a dress or tunic, and as long underwear under pants.

I went basic for this post, but the brand also has patterned leggings for a pop of fun! I wore a patterned pair in California and got tons of compliments even at the super upscale Stanford Shopping Center.

And now I tried for the first time a Cuddl Duds top, which has a cowl neck and flattering cut. Remember to layer! Throw on a fuzzy vest, a cardigan, another pair of pants over the leggings when it gets REALLY cold.

Have you done any fall things like picking pumpkins yet?

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