Winter Nesting

Good morning!  I hope you had a great start to your week.  How was your weekend?  Ours was BUSY, but really fun, too.  We’re looking forward to a weekend with no plans and hopefully a date night thrown in there.  😉  BUT, it’s only Tuesday, so…

Winter Nesting {Details Blog}

The Christmas decorations have been down for a couple of weeks and I have been busy nesting in our house.  It’s always an interesting feeling when the holiday decorations come down, isn’t it?  The house feels so bare!  I must admit that I do kind of enjoy it, though.  After so much excess it’s usually really nice to put everything away and have a clean slate for the beginning of the year.

Winter Nesting {Details Blog}

I usually take most everything off of every surface to start and add as the mood strikes — no centerpieces, nothing very elaborate…  It’s a nice feeling!  And we clean and scrub the house.  I left these twinkle lights in our tree in the dining area of the kitchen.  I just couldn’t resist — they make me happy!

Winter Nesting {Details Blog}

Incense was a huge part of my life growing up.  I feel like my dad always had some burning!  I’ve been getting into it lately, too.  And I have been loving the scent of Palo Santo wood when I feel like our space needs a little cleanse.

Winter Nesting {Details Blog}

The incense holder I found at World Market, but it needed something to collect the ashes, so I found this marble tray on clearance at Target.  The match striker is also from Target, and I use it for the Palo Santo because it burns better when the burning part is contained — keeps it alive!

Winter Nesting {Details Blog}

Winter Nesting {Details Blog}

I am all about cozy textures — especially this time of the year.  I like to buy these faux sheepskin rugs and use them as throws around our house.  We have one on our bed right now, too.  It’s really Kuma’s now, lol — he loves to snuggle with it, or throw it around and “fight” with it.

Winter Nesting {Details Blog}

My sweet friend Madison gave me these blue and white glass balls for Christmas.  She knows me!  😉  I put them on a collection of mismatched candlesticks for now.

Winter Nesting {Details Blog}

I love the wood candlesticks from Harp Design Co.  My in-laws gave these to us for Christmas and I think they are so beautiful!  I love the natural wood.

Winter Nesting {Details Blog}

I recently found a collection of photos from Grey’s teenager years and my childhood that show us playing music — bass guitar for him, piano for me.  🙂  I put them in a little crystal dish, and this has me inspired to curate other mini photo collections, maybe based on the season.  I’ll keep you posted on that!

How are you cozying up for the Winter season?

DIY Cleansing Stovetop Scent

Good morning!  We’re almost to the weekend!  😉  I hope you’ve had a great week so far.  It’s been a very productive one over here for me.  Lots of good has happened.  I’ll take it!

DIY Cleansing Stovetop Scent {Details Blog}

This is our humble little kitchen where I cook food to nourish our family and where the magic happens on my stovetop when I create yummy scents.  This latest creation was born from a desire for a clean scent — without the cleaning products!  We were taking down our Christmas decorations and I wanted the house to smell fresh and new.  We opened all of the windows (we can do that here in Arizona “winters” 😉 ) and this boiled happily on the stove all day long.  The night before I made this my parents had been over for dinner and I used the eucalyptus leaves from the table setting for this scent.  Plus, after making the blueberry sauce for the cheesecake that I served, I saved the rinds of the oranges and lemons that I squeezed for this purpose!

DIY Cleansing Stovetop Scent {Details Blog}

The ingredients in this stovetop scent are: eucalyptus leaves (I stripped them from the sticks), 2 orange rinds – sliced, 1 lemon rind – sliced, vanilla (I don’t measure, I just pour some in – maybe a tablespoon?), cranberries (again, I don’t measure these – just whatever looks good to me!), and water to fill up your pot.  You do have to watch the pot and refill it throughout the time that it is boiling because the water does evaporate, but most of the time when I make these scents, I have them going all day.  I pick a day that I plan on staying at home and puttering (my favorite!), and these scents waft through the house and, I’m telling you, it is pure HEAVEN.  One of my favorite things in the whole world.

DIY Cleansing Stovetop Scent {Details Blog}

For Christmas, my sweet in-laws gave this beautiful copper pot to me and I will always treasure it.  I have been putting it to good use cooking up all kinds of scents and I know that I will continue to do so for many years to come.

If you want to create your own scents, my best advice is to just think of how you want your house to smell.  Clean?  Festive?  Cozy?  Then think of different spices, extracts, fruits, etc. that smell that way to you.  Things that I always keep on hand are fresh rosemary, lemons, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla extract.  You can make a scent with just those things — and all the rest that you add is just a bonus at that point.  🙂

If you try a recipe, definitely let me know!

What “flavor” combinations sound good to you?

Simple Winter Gathering

Good morning, friends!  I am so excited to have started a new Instagram account just for the blog.  This is going to be fun!  I’m putting my personal Instagram to rest (more on that here) in order to focus on creating more original content and pursuing my actual dreams and goals — not just watching everyone else achieve theirs!  There’s enough success to go around for everyone, and I am venturing out to find mine.  Thanks for being along for the ride.  🙂  Oh, and my new Instagram can be found here.

We had my parents over for a little winter dinner get-together last weekend and it was so much fun.  It was a super cold night so I just put on a pot of chili and whipped up some Jiffy cornbread last-minute.  My mom made a really beautiful charcuterie board so my part was easy — just had the dinner simmering on the stove and it was ready when we were!

Simple Winter Gathering {Details Blog}

I always like to set a pretty table.  We all have different gifts that we give to our guests.  Some of us love to cook elaborate meals.  Some of us love to clean up a storm!  Some of us love to set a table and make pretty.  That’s me.  🙂  I get anxiety sometimes about the food prep and the cleaning prep.  But the table prep?  For me that’s the best part.

Simple Winter Gathering {Details Blog}

This table setting was so simple.  I posted about the centerpiece a little bit last week.  When all else fails, apothecary jars (inexpensive ones from HomeGoods are my favorite), fake “snow” (Hobby Lobby), and Target Dollar Spot trees always look really pretty.  I was inspired by some eucalyptus leaves at Trader Joe’s when I was prepping for the dinner and I knew just how I wanted to use them!  I always like to peruse flowers when I’m preparing for a party or get-together to get my creative juices flowing.  I guess you could say it’s my “starting point.”  One bunch of these was $2.99.

Simple Winter Gathering {Details Blog}

The red charges are from the Dollar Store, and the “napkins” are actually dish towels from IKEA.  I was walking from our hall closet where we keep our linens to our kitchen and I was just lightly twisting the towels, which is what inspired the casual twist on the table.  Happy accidents!  I used my Spode as the base plate and then a large white soup bowl on top so everyone could grab their bowl and load up with chili and toppings, and then rest their cornbread on the plate.  Which brings me to the buffet…

Simple Winter Gathering {Details Blog}

I recently bought an inexpensive rectangular card table from Target that has been such an awesome investment even in this short period of time.  I used it a ton during my Christmas baking season, and I’ve just found another use for it — a buffet station!

Simple Winter Gathering {Details Blog}

I draped a couple yards of fabric that I had on hand over the table and then used a kraft paper “runner” that comes in a roll from the Target Dollar Spot — I think they still have it!  I saw some recently.  I also used my mom’s trick to set out all of my bowls and serving dishes that I want to use and put little paper labels in each.  My sweet Gramma used to do this, too.

Simple Winter Gathering {Details Blog}

I love the simple greenery running the length of the table.  I put candles in a bunch of mismatched glassware that I have.  It was fun — when we were ready to eat, we turned the lights down a little low and had the glow of the candlelight next to the table, too.  The stove was directly adjacent to this table so the flow was very easy and simple.

Simple Winter Gathering {Details Blog}

I miss my Gramma something awful when I do things like this.  But it’s during those times of nesting and arranging that I feel her most.  I feel her cheering me on, I feel her getting excited with an idea, and I really just feel her smile shining upon me.

We have a very tiny house, a very cozy house — hosting in our small space can be a challenge sometimes but I am starting out the year with an intention of doing it more so that I can get more comfortable.  The together time is priceless and I love making memories in our space and filling it with love.  I want to use my house for hospitality.  I want you to do that, too!

For dessert, it was a store-bought Costco cheesecake with homemade blueberry sauce, which was so darn good.  Grey and I have a saying in our house that “no one is too good for a store-bought pie” so I will never ever feel bad about serving something that was pre-made.  Allow yourself to make those memories in your space with as little stress put upon yourself as possible!

Winter As a Feeling

Good morning!  Each season I love to put together a collection of photos that I have found that hold the essence of what that particular season feels like to me.  But I don’t think I have ever done a Winter As a Feeling post!  Most likely because in years’ past, after Christmas I have been ready to put our tree and all of the decorations away by January 1st and swing right into Spring.  I’m finding myself in a much more mindful state this year and I’ll be letting things go little by little.  So much of the reason why I would rip our decorations down in such a hurry is because I was just jonesing to decorate for the next season.  My mind is working so differently now — slower, more intentional.  I’ll be enjoying Winter.  This year there will be a Winter for me.  It feels good.

Our Christmas decorations will probably come down in the next week or so.  But that cozy feeling won’t leave.  It won’t be a mad rush to take everything down at once.  It will be a process.  A gentle letting-go and packing away.  Until next year…

These photos feel like Winter to me.  I can feel all of the cozy textures when I look at these pictures — the blankets and pillows, the metals, the warm fires.  I can also feel the cold floors!  😉  I love a good, cold floor with the heater on in the Wintertime.  I love faux fur blankets, and pom poms, and a splash of greenery, and yes — cold January floors.  This is what Winter feels like to me…

Winter As a Feeling {Details Blog}

This Is Glamorous

Winter As a Feeling {Details Blog}

House Beautiful

Winter As a Feeling {Details Blog}

Coco Kelley

Winter As a Feeling {Details Blog}

Giles & Pike Architects

Winter As a Feeling {Details Blog}

Studio80 Interior Design

Winter As a Feeling {Details Blog}

Charleston Magazine

Winter As a Feeling {Details Blog}

Essential Home

Winter As a Feeling {Details Blog}

Traditional Home

Winter As a Feeling {Details Blog}

Cantley & Company

Winter As a Feeling {Details Blog}

Town & Country

Winter As a Feeling {Details Blog}

Unique Home Stays

Winter As a Feeling {Details Blog}

Coco Kelley

Winter As a Feeling {Details Blog}

The Yellow Note

Winter As a Feeling {Details Blog}

The Inspired Room

Winter As a Feeling {Details Blog}

Apartment Therapy

Winter As a Feeling {Details Blog}

The Inspired Room

Winter As a Feeling {Details Blog}

Crystalin Marie

Winter As a Feeling {Details Blog}

Sunday Suppers

Winter As a Feeling {Details Blog}

The Fashion Tag Blog

Winter As a Feeling {Details Blog}

SF Girl

Winter As a Feeling {Details Blog}

Apartment Therapy

Winter As a Feeling {Details Blog}

Peter Dunham

Winter As a Feeling {Details Blog}

Susan Burns Design

What feels like Winter to you?

Happy New Year! + Our Christmas House

Happy New Year!  It’s officially 2019.  I think this is going to be an amazing year.  For some thoughts on how I’m approaching the new year, head here

Last night it was just me and Kuma at home — Grey was working.  It was a relaxed night puttering around my house and reading.  I read ‘A Christmas Carol’ and I think that was the perfect story for a night like that.  Have you read it?

I wanted to post some of our Christmas decorations that I took photos of at night.  It’s magical at night — I am going to miss this!  The greenery is crispy and it took me a million matches to light all of the candles because I am afraid of matches and fire in general, but this is my favorite Christmas house ever in the history of Christmas houses.  I feel cozy here.  I feel special here.  I feel at home here.

Happy New Year! + Our Christmas House {Details Blog}

Happy New Year! + Our Christmas House {Details Blog}

Happy New Year! + Our Christmas House {Details Blog}

Happy New Year! + Our Christmas House {Details Blog}

True story: the pillows are covered in Kuma fur.  😉  The snowball candle is a nod to Greyson’s Grandmom.  The beads were my Gramma’s.  I loved to play with them when I was little.

Happy New Year! + Our Christmas House {Details Blog}

I improvised Kuma’s stocking holder — treats in a jar, with twinkle lights, of course.  Also a true story — I never filled his stocking because I forgot where I put his presents…  I just found them last night.  Sometimes it goes like that!

Happy New Year! + Our Christmas House {Details Blog}

Happy New Year! + Our Christmas House {Details Blog}

Happy New Year! + Our Christmas House {Details Blog}

Happy New Year! + Our Christmas House {Details Blog}

Our tree makes me so happy.  It’s a hodge-podge.  Ornaments that are old, some new, some from my Gramma’s old tree, some that I made, and some paper chains I made when I was feeling sad.  Because making paper chains makes me feel happy.

Happy New Year! + Our Christmas House {Details Blog}

Happy New Year! + Our Christmas House {Details Blog}

I have had these frames for three years and have been meaning to do just this with them.  I’m not sure why it took me so long, but I love them so much.  Our boy is everything.  ❤

Happy New Year! + Our Christmas House {Details Blog}

Happy New Year! + Our Christmas House {Details Blog}

I hung some pictures up this year.  Some featured events include — our wedding, the day we signed our mortgage, past Christmases, Grey and Kuma snuggling in our bed…  Just the best days.  🙂

Happy New Year! + Our Christmas House {Details Blog}

Happy New Year! + Our Christmas House {Details Blog}

Happy New Year! + Our Christmas House {Details Blog}

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Happy New Year! + Our Christmas House {Details Blog}

Happy New Year! + Our Christmas House {Details Blog}

Happy New Year! + Our Christmas House {Details Blog}

Happy New Year! + Our Christmas House {Details Blog}

I’ll share this stovetop scent recipe soon.  It smells so good!

Happy New Year! + Our Christmas House {Details Blog}

Happy New Year! + Our Christmas House {Details Blog}

I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday season.  I learned a lot.  I felt a lot.  I figured some things out.  I still have things to figure out.  I felt happy.  I felt sad.  I was content.  I was anxious.  I loved.  I got angry.  I felt grateful.  I feel grateful.

Heading into 2019 with perspective.  Goals.  Appreciation.  Love in my heart.

2019, I welcome You.

Here’s To a New Year

I’ve been away for a month, and I wasn’t sure I was coming back.  That’s the truth of it.

As of today, I have been off of social media completely since the day after Christmas, and I honestly am making an intention not to return to it.  Some realizations

-Feelings of “not good enough” and comparison creeping in far too often

-Content that I didn’t wish to see and then could not unsee

-Seeing things that people would post that I found offensive or insensitive and then I would get mad, and it might make me feel angry or sad on a day that I was otherwise feeling happy before

-I am not a parent, but if I saw one more picture of a baby crying or screaming on Santa’s lap, I was going to lose my mind

-Too much time spent scrolling and looking at all the things; not enough time spent doing the creative work

It feels vulnerable to put this list out here for all to see.

And then with a self-imposed social media ban, what about the blog?  Can I still write the blog and not promote it on social media?  I honestly still am not sure.  But as it stands this morning, I am going to try.  Writing this blog brings me joy.  That is my reason for writing and posting.  I have some friends and family members who lovingly follow me and I am really appreciative of that.  I am creative and therefore I must create.  I aim to focus on the content I am creating and less on how many people see it.

We live in a world of Pinterest Perfection.  It is really hard.  People all over the internet are completing grand and expensive projects and I’m over here like Look!  I put flowers in a teapot!  Which is cute and fun… and a huge room reveal it is not.  For me, the reason I wanted to start a blog was because I saw a couple of other bloggers who were sharing ideas that were simple and attainable.  Things I could do with what I had in my own house or apartment already.  Ways that I could love the space I was in by shopping my house.  It was all so simple.

It’s so different now.  But I don’t want to be.  I have a little corner of the internet where I plan on sharing my usual simple, little things that I do when I putter around our humble home.  I’m always discovering things about our house.  Things I love.  I love the home I have and I don’t need anything fancy or anything grand to feel that way.  And I want to inspire anyone who comes by my little blog to not have to go out and spend a fortune just to “keep up” with me.

I’ve never been a New Year’s Resolution kind of person.  I think a few years back I began the year saying I wanted to go to the gym more, which is a fine goal for a new beginning but like most people who make resolutions, it didn’t stick.  This year I have a sentence, I have a word, and I have an intention.

My sentence is: “And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” – John Steinbeck

My word is: Hospitality

And my intention is: Be Maria

Here's To a New Year {Details Blog}

Some goals — to declutter, “need” less…

Here's To a New Year {Details Blog}

Here's To a New Year {Details Blog}

Here's To a New Year {Details Blog}

Take care of people; love on people; consider people; host more… I want to become less afraid of last-minute plans…

Here's To a New Year {Details Blog}

Read more.  Create more time for mindfulness activities — coloring, painting rocks.

Here's To a New Year {Details Blog}

Get better, more consistent sleep.  Try to stick to a schedule, but don’t be too rigid about it.

Here's To a New Year {Details Blog}

Simplify.  Let fresh flowers and plants be all I need to nest most times.  And twinkle lights never hurt.

Here's To a New Year {Details Blog}

More stovetop home scents.  Discover new recipes.

Here's To a New Year {Details Blog}

Next Holiday season — do more to feel present; do less things with more intention.

Here's To a New Year {Details Blog}

Savor this guy.  More snuggles, more pets, more love.

Here's To a New Year {Details Blog}

And this guy.  My protector.  My dream.  My wish.  My heart.  Just looking at this picture brings tears to my eyes.  Spend more time cuddled up on the sofa with him.  Simple coffee dates.  Just be with him.  That will always be enough for me.

Happy New Year!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Good morning!  I was at the grocery store at 5 o’clock this morning.  Anyone else doing any last-minute shopping?  That’s the time to go!  Before the pandemonium begins…  Just me, my coffee, and my sanity.  😉

Grey and I ran out to a few places last night in search of some of the finishing touches I wanted for our Christmas decorations.  It’s so fun to be out and about together this time of the year!  I mean, it’s fun all year, but especially right now.  I’m so excited to put up our tree on Friday…  we are doing something kind of different with the lights on it this year so I will keep you posted about that!  Looking forward to sharing our decorations soon.

Happy Thanksgiving! {Details Blog}

There have been lots of changes going on around here behind the scenes!  More on that in the next couple of weeks or so.  I have been busy working on creating more intentional spaces all around our humble home.  I’m getting really excited about a project that I hope to be embarking upon soon — our current office (aka dumping ground – ha! Just keeping it real…), which we plan to turn in to our “cozy room.”  Stay tuned!

Happy Thanksgiving! {Details Blog}

We have been feeling especially blessed to live in this little nest lately.  We both agree that we need to take more time out of our daily life to really give thanks to God and revel in that gratefulness.  Last Monday was our second year anniversary in our house.  This time of the year is so special for so many reasons — and that anniversary is one of them!  This was the house that waited for us, the house that we waited for.  This is the house where we have experienced some really hard things, and some really magical things.  The real ebbs and flows of life.

Happy Thanksgiving! {Details Blog}

This Thanksgiving, I am definitely going to be actively giving pause to the joy in my heart and noticing all of the beauty we are surrounded by.  Our little pup, our families, our friends, more than enough, food in our kitchen, dreams in our souls, love and forgiveness, new beginnings, opportunity, hope, faith, beliefs, goals, the Lord, and the love of an incredible man — these are the things I am thankful for this year.

Happiest Thanksgiving to you!  I will see you back here next week!