'Tis The Season....

 Has the tryptophan worn off yet? Have you walked off those extra slices of pumpkin pie? Better pull yourselves together because it's time for the holiday rush. There's a lot to do this time of year, but don't let it overwhelm you. Just like the big man himself, make a list to keep track of all your holiday errands and gifts to buy. A list can be very therapeutic when you're being pulled in a million directions. Sometimes when I make one, I'll toss myself a few freebies that I know I can cross off right away. Hey, whatever helps, right? Here are some helpful hints for your big holiday-to-dos:

Gobble Gobble!

I love Thanksgiving for so many reasons. I love that it's the kickoff to the holiday season, and that all the excitement and anticipation leading up to Christmas starts now. I especially love that it brings your family together to celebrate nothing but food and each other's company. And of course I love the leftovers! Our family always celebrates at my parent's house, so I really look forward to coming home and helping with all the preparation. Once the whole family gets here, it's a loud, food-filled day from start to finish.

I'll be confined to the couch today, doing some internet shopping (definitely not crazy enough to brave the Black Friday crowds) so I thought I'd leave you with some great Thanksgiving table settings- because it's not too early to start thinking about next Thanksgiving, right?

What's your LIFE-style?

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Last weekend, as I wandered through the Lord and Taylor Home Goods department, something sparkly caught my eye. It was the kate spade new york display featuring gorgeous bedding, bathroom, tabletop, & home accessories. Having several L&T coupons to burn, it was a no-brainer that I was walking out of here with something. The winner was this great beaded pillow. It's been a great addition to my bedroom! Later, in Handbags & Accessories, I took home a new kate spade new york iPhone cover as well :). Kate seems to be everywhere these days, including a couple of my favorite daily reads, A Piece of Toast and Design Darling! She's just got something for everyone.

It got me thinking...

Pin Board DIY

As much as I love Pinterest, sometimes I get a hankering to do some pinning the old fashioned way. The blank wall above my vanity has been begging to be put to use as a space to hang photos, inspiration, and mementos. I was surprised how pricey a decent looking pin board can be, and I really didn't want to spend close to $90 for something 'brand name'. I also didn't want to settle for one of those boring old brown ones.

I think we know where this is going...DIY Project! For less than half the cost of the pottery barn version I'd been drooling over, I put together my own custom-made linen pin board. The project was super easy and you can find nearly all the supplies at your local hardware store. My only 'splurge' here was for fabric, but it was still a great deal. Baranzelli Fabric, just a few blocks from my apartment, was cleaning house in preparation for their relocation to Tribeca. They were looking to clear out as much inventory as possible, so there were tons of good quality fabrics and prints to choose from. I went in thinking I'd go with something solid, but ended up falling in love with a great graphic pattern instead. I was able to score almost five yards of it for 30% off the price of one! Alright, so I've got a lot left over... maybe some custom throw pillows are in the works? The fabric was definitely worth the price, because the board looks great!
Follow these {easy} step by step instructions to make one of your own....

Pack it up!

I recently took a trip to San Diego with the bf. It was my first time in San Diego and only my second time ever in California. We spent 5 nights and 4 days in Pacific Beach, a neighborhood of mostly new college grads and young professionals (read: party town!!). Although we didn't have great weather the whole time we stayed, I have to say that SoCal was everything I expected: beautiful beaches, palm trees, and surf boards everywhere! We hung out with some seals in La Jolla, went to a fully stocked brunch at the Hotel del Coranado, and made a pilgrimage to Orange County & Laguna Beach (very exciting for the Lauren Conrad fan in me). It was a perfect mini getaway.

Aside from California, I've taken a lot of mini trips and long weekends in the last year and I have to say I've gotten pretty good at packing (which is not to say I pack lightly, just that I know how to successfully pack enough clothes for a week's worth of outfits in one small carry-on). I need to stay organized when I travel since I wouldn't want to risk leaving anything behind when vacation time is over. Plus, having a go-to travel routine helps make sure I don't forget anything important. Here are some travel tips that will simplify your travel routine the next time you're off jet setting!

+ Toiletries bag: For anyone who travels often, it makes sense to have a toiletries bag stocked with all your everyday products. These days you can find almost every product in trial or travel size at your local Bed Bath & Beyond. If not, invest in a set of travel size bottles that you can fill with just enough product for the duration of your trip. I keep an extra cell phone charger in my toiletries bag as well so I don't have to worry about forgetting to pack one or losing my everyday charger.

+ Suitcase layout: This is a big one for me since I always over-pack. Shoes and bulky items are best on the bottom, and I like to roll the lighter items on top to save even more room (although if you can refrain from bringing 15 tops on a 3-day weekend, power to ya!). Jewelry and accessories should be stowed in a smaller compartment so they don't get lost in the shuffle. Also, here's a great jewelry travel tip from Pinterest. This one has saved me HOURS of painstakingly untangling necklaces.

+ Wardrobe: Pack basics that you can easily swap in and out for a couple different outfits. A good pair of dark skinny jeans that can be dressed up or down, white Ts, unique scarves/jewelry to accessorize; you get the idea. I like to bring a nicer outfit on the road too, just in case the weekend takes a turn for the fancy :). One last thing; always bring a jacket! Trust your Mom on this one, okay? She's right.

+ Getting there: Once you're packed and ready to go, make sure you give yourself enough time to get through security and to your gate. It's almost impossible to predict when the security lines are going to be a mess, so give yourself as much time as you can. Make sure you check-in to your flight the night before to cut out this step when you arrive at the airport (and depending on your airline, to snag a better seat on the flight!). You'll get an electronic boarding pass sent right to your phone. Most of the major airlines also have apps you can download to view your itinerary and get real-time flight updates.
Here's a few more pictures from our time in San Diego. We never did make it to Sea World or the zoo, which means there's always next time!

Dipped my toes into the Pacific :)

We stopped for a couple glasses of wine at this little marina on the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach
'The Original' Wahoo's Fish Tacos in Laguna. Highly recommend the Blackened Fish Taco & their amazing Guac! Wahoo!!!
A nice stretch of beach in Laguna.

Loved that everything is in bloom even in late October!

Just a little taste of Hotel del Coronado's INCREDIBLE brunch dessert bar.

Only one casualty at brunch...


I am loving the new ad campaign for One Kings Lane, 'Design is Never Done'.

One of their new television ads stopped me in my tracks the other day for a couple of reasons: First, I love OKL and their products. Their daily emails never fail to sidetrack my workday productivity. Second, how often you see TV ads for e-commerce sites? Chalk this one up to OKL's unbelievable success in the online retail world. They racked up $100 million in sales in 2011, and are on track to double this figure in 2012. Besides raking in tons of revenue, the company has hired several key executives to steer them through this huge expansion phase. They've even added a Careers page to their website to actively recruit new talent. I'm almost tempted to apply- who wouldn't want in on this?

Check out the whole campaign here. Make sure especially to scroll down to 'The Life of a Room.' Drag the slide bar across the timeline to see how a room evolves over time to meet our changing tastes and needs. I love it! It's really inspired me to start making some changes of my own. Now that we've been in our apartment for a year, my roommate and I have decided its time to make a few upgrades to our place. First up, a new console table for underneath our mounted TV and an actual dining table (we've been using a flimsy bar table & chairs set left by the previous renters). In all the excitement, I created a Pinterest board to keep track of our wish list. Check in from time to time to see what we're craving next!