Saturday, November 30, 2013

Leave Nothing to Chance

I've been a lover of jewelry for as long as I could remember. Even as a child, I looked forward to heading to Claire's to pick out a necklace or earrings that would define my elementary-school style. Later, when I was in high school, I worked as a sales associate at a local jewelry store and developed an appreciation for finer jewelry. Today, while I do love my statement necklaces, the pieces I treasure the most are higher quality pieces that I received as gifts from my loved ones. Isn't there something magical about unwrapping a tiny jewelry store box and seeing the perfect necklace or pair of earrings inside?

With that being said, it is really difficult to buy jewelry for other people. Fine jewelry is such a personal thing and it can be really tricky to choose an item that you can be sure will make the recipient happy. Purchasing jewelry for someone else can sometimes leave a lot to chance.

Blue Nile recently contacted me regarding their new application for the Holidays, Leave Nothing to Chance, and I have to admit it is pretty genius. If you are unfamiliar with Blue Nile, they are the world's largest online jeweler. This year, Blue Nile has developed an application that analyzes people's personalities and style to create an infographic and jewelry recommendations.

I created my own infographic this morning and it was pretty spot-on.
I was asked several tongue-in-cheek lifestyle and fashion questions and at the end was determined to be a "queen bee." The jewelry recommendations were definitely my style - elegant yet classic. The best part about this is you can share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to give a subtle hint of what you'd like for Christmas so that you "leave nothing to chance."

Here's a closer look at the beauties Blue Nile picked out for me. I would be so very happy if one of them ended up in my stocking.

Visit Blue Nile and have a little fun with the Leave Nothing to Chance app. Anyone who participates is entered to win a three carat diamond tennis bracelet, valued at $4,500. Could you imagine finding that under the tree on Christmas morning?

See something you like while you're on the Blue Nile website? Blue Nile is offering all A Carolina Mrs. readers a special 10% off discount code now through December 31. Just enter code BNAPP2013 in the reference code at checkout. Stay tuned over the next few days to see my favorite Blue Nile picks as well as a special giveaway.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Lust List - Holiday Cards

With Thanksgiving just days away, I find myself already thinking ahead to Christmas and the holidays that are now right around the corner. Corey and I have never sent out Holiday cards. We intended to do something cute with a clever play on the words “merry/marry” last year for our first married Christmas, however things ended up being pretty hectic in our community as we recovered from Hurricane Sandy. This year, though, I am bound and determined to send out a Holiday card to all our friends and family.

It has been an exciting year with the move back to the Carolinas, both of us starting new jobs, and purchasing our first home. I cannot wait to share all of the fun we’ve been up to with our loved ones. Deciding to send out a card was only half the battle – then we had to go about choosing one.

I recently received an email from TinyPrints and was inspired to check out a few of their Holiday card designs. TinyPrints is a division of Shutterfly that specializes in high quality paper goods. If you are unfamiliar with this darling company, you need to hop on over to their site this instant to take a look. They have everything from invitations and thank you cards to personalized stationary and moving announcements {which Corey and I will be ordering so very soon.}

Of course this time of year I was immediately drawn to the section of their website featuring Holiday cards and there are a number of designs that I am totally in lust with. 

 There are so many cute designs that I am having a tough time narrowing it down to just one! When I do make my decision, I can be sure that they'll go out in time, though because one of the best things about TinyPrints is that they offer two day rush shipping for procrastinators like me.  

Are you sending out Holiday cards this year? 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Elizabeth Lately

Happy Monday, lovelies. I apologize for the little blog vacay I took last week. Sometimes you just need time away from the computer. Sometimes your desk is buried under a mountain of paperwork. Sometimes these both happen at the same time, which was my week last week. 

Since I wrote last, I've celebrated my birthday. This was lots more fun than I anticipated and I ate a lot of delicious food. The Friday before my birthday, my hubs and I headed to one of our favorite pizza restaurants for a date night on a chilly evening. 

My parents and Corey and I went to brunch at Cafe Monte, a cute little French cafe to continue my birthday celebrations. This was pretty delicious as well. I have a weak spot for macaroons, especially the pistachio ones. 

Then the sweet fifth grade team at my school threw me a little birthday gathering, where I ate even more dessert. My coworker made the most phenomenal coconut cake. I NEED the recipe. I also need to spend some quality time at the gym after eating way too many desserts. 

My husband had gorgeous flowers delivered to my classroom on my birthday. All my boys and girls snickered and begged me to read the card out loud. They made my desk look oh so cheerful. Then, when I got home that evening he surprised me again by cleaning the whole apartment and inviting friends over for dinner to celebrate. 

We headed over to our house later in the week to check out the backsplash. I had my heart set on this travertine subway tile backsplash that our builder did not offer. I fought my way into getting it and am sound glad I did. Doesn't it look phenomenal? I keep looking for excuses to drive by and break into my own house so that I can look at it.

Speaking of tile.... I had a little meltdown on Friday afternoon that was slightly reminiscent of when my flower girl's dress was stolen from the apartment mailroom. Back in August, Corey's mom and I went to our builder's design center to pick out all the tiles, cabinets, floors, etc. for our house. I chose the tile featured below on the left for our bathroom with this vision of painting the walls the serene blue color.  When we were by last week, someone was working in the bathrooms so we didn't get to see them. This made me all the more anxious to look at the bathrooms when I was there on Friday. But there was no blue tile to be found! Instead, there is the tile on the right. So at 5:15 on Friday afternoon, I found myself throwing a temper tantrum in the bathroom of my unfinished house. We are waiting to hear something from the tile company today but I am not budging until the chocolate tile comes down.

And that, ladies, is what I've been up to during my absense. Lots of eating and lots of stalking our house. Have a fabulous Monday!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Birthday Dream Wishlist

Today is my 26th birthday! I have always loved birthdays. I love the anticipation, spending extra time with friends, having an excuse to go to dinner at my favorite restaurant, and of course eating cake. My birthday this year is a little anticlimactic, though, with it being on the Tuesday of a really busy week.

Since we close on our house in just four weeks, I made the mature decision to ask for gift cards to stores where I'd seen furniture or other home goods that I liked. This made me feel way too grownup. If price wasn't a factor and I could have anything I wanted for my birthday, I think I'd ask for these goodies:

1. Victoria's Secret pajamas. I will most definitely add a pair of these to my collection this fall. I get a pair every year this time when they have the free offer code for matching slippers, which I just love for when the hardwoods are freezing cold in the morning when I come out to turn on the coffee maker.

2. Canon EOS Rebel SL1 DSLR. I have been absolutely dying for a DSLR for about a year and a half.  I love this specific model because it is a little smaller than most. I lost the charger to my digital camera when we moved - you may have noticed by the absolute abundance of iPhone photos on the blog. Now I'm just boycotting purchasing a new one until I get a new camera.

3. Burberry Brit jacket. This jacket has been on my wishlist for three winters. When I moved to New Jersey, I invested in heavier jackets because it was much colder there. Now I feel like this could get me through most of the winter and looks nice while still going with everything.

4. Kate Spade Beacon Court Garland bag. I just love the delicate hue of this "ballet slipper" pink bag. Pink has always been my favorite color and I totally love to flaunt it. Not to mention the bow - isn't it adorable?

5. Kate Spade Cooper bracelet watch. My current watch is going on ten years old. I've been wearing it since high school and I still do love it. It is beautiful and great quality but sometimes I'm sick of seeing the same watch I've been seeing for the past 100 (!!) months.

These are totally extravagant wishes. This would be my dream wishlist if I could have absolutely whatever I wanted. I feel really content and fortunate with purchasing furniture, though, and am so very excited to move into our house in a couple weeks  (we have cabinets!). My husband did totally spoil me and splurge on one of the gifts above to make my birthday extra special and I am so giddy. Gotta love that man!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Confessional

It has been quite a while since I have done a Friday Confessional and I really do love them. Isn't it great to start the weekend with a few confessions. Here are mine:

I confess... that I am such a wimp when it comes to cold weather now. I was being a total brat while scraping the ice off my windshield in the 22 degree morning we had yesterday. Its hard to believe that when we lived in Hoboken, it was that cold {and often colder} on the regular. How did I ever survive? Luckily, last winter I wised up and got the largest ice scraper you have ever seen so when I do have to scrape the Carolina ice, it at least goes pretty quickly. As I was violently shivering in my car at 6:00 am,   I couldn't help but feel in awe of myself for surviving multiple winters in New Jersey.

I confess... on a similar note {and one that will totally surprise you after my last statement}, I am really missing New York right now. Don't utter a word of that to my husband because I would have a change of heart really quickly if he suggested we go back. The holidays are such a magical time in the area and it kind of bums me out not to see children ice skating in the neighborhood as we take a Sunday afternoon walk, elaborate window displays, and the infamous Rockefeller tree. Plus, I've been bummed during my commute every morning that I don't get to see the Statue of Liberty every day. I find it really odd that I feel this way because I am really, really happy that we are in Charlotte but can't help feeling a little nostalgic at the same time for all NYC has to offer this time of year. We are headed up for a quick trip at Christmas so I am sure I will get my fill then. I'm also pretty positive that flying into Newark airport at Christmas will shake any nostalgia I feel for that area.

I confess... that I am excited to be celebrating my birthday this weekend. I'm looking forward to seeing some friends and having a brunch date with my family. I'm only turning 26 this year but for some reason it has me feeling so, so old {which I am not excited about.} When I turned 24, I was pretty ok with it. When I turned 25 and saw my car insurance rates drop, I actually felt a slight wave of panic. This year, I just feel ancient for some reason even though deep down I know I am not at all. My sweet husband spoiled me with an early birthday present that was at the very tip top of my list. While I have lots of other fun wishes, I'm most excited about adding some more furniture for our new house.

I confess... that I got super giddy yesterday when the Holiday Sirius channels were launched. I really wanted to hold out until after Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and I feel like its getting less and less recognition. Has anyone else noticed that Hobby Lobby brings out their first Christmas decorations the last week in July? Poor Thanksgiving. Anyway, I had to get a little taste of Holiday music on my drive home yesterday. We probably won't decorate for Christmas this year since we're moving the week before and then going right out of town so I think that entitles me to an extra three weeks of Holiday music, right?

I confess... that I am so happy it is Friday! I know I say that every week. I totally love my kids and my job but by the time 3:00 on Friday rolls around, I am totally, completely exhausted {and in need of a cocktail}.

Happy Friday, friends! Do you have any confessions today?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Midweek Randoms

Happy Wednesday, friends! This week is going by pretty quickly which is fine by me. Hopefully your week is going well, too! :)

Monday night I headed to Southpark Mall to Nordstrom for The Charlotte Social's November meet-up. This month's meet-up was a Holiday styling party hosted by Nordstrom's new Topshop department at Bre of Baubles & Bubbly.
I love these meet-ups. I attended my first in July very soon after Corey and I arrived in Charlotte. It made me feel super welcome here to meet some fabulous ladies as we were getting settled in. 
I am so bad about taking pictures lately. I lost the battery charger to my camera in our move and now I'm just trying to survive on my iPhone until after our move when I feel like I can splurge on a DSLR or other nice camera. I do love this iPhone photo of me with Melissa and April

I am so excited Nordstrom has a Topshop section now. I've admired their clothes online for so long now but have never purchased any pieces. You can believe I will be adding some Topshop to my collection very soon. 

Last night I relaxed at home and procrastinated doing the homework for my night class. I've become such a procrastinator lately. This is bad news. I also kept peeking out our window to see if the few, sporadic snow flurries were sticking. I need a great November in New Jersey - style snow storm like you wouldn't believe right now so I can have a day off.  

In other random news, I am totally obsessed with trashy TV this fall. I have such little time to watch in the evenings but you can believe my DVR is always filled to capacity with shows like ABC's Betrayal. Is anyone else watching this? The characters are underdeveloped and the acting is pretty terrible but I absolutely cannot.stop.watching. 

My birthday is in six days. I have a lot of fun "wishes," which I will share soon but I can tell I'm officially old because the only things I actually asked for were gift cards to Pottery Barn and Pier 1. I guess this is what buying a house will do to you! Happy Wednesday, friends!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Weekend in Review

This weekend just flew by! We were busy as can be. I stayed late at work on Friday then headed to the gym as soon as I got home. Corey and I finally unwound with an Italian dinner

I enjoyed some lobster ravioli, which was very good but still made me a little homesick for New Jersey and New York's Italian food. Corey and I are such food snobs after living so close to Manhattan for several years. Charlotte ladies - what are your favorite Italian restaurants??

On Saturday we woke up bright and early and headed to the Pottery Barn outlet I. Gaffney, SC. I have been drooling over the Metropolitan coffee table and we scored it for $160 off.

Then, we headed to the infamous Hickory Furniture Mart. We were in search of a recliner for Corey and wanted to start looking at dining room furniture. We've been having this recliner debacle for quite some time because Corey has been dying for a leather "man chair" that would be perfect for football watching and Sunday afternoon naps. I absolutely hate the big, frumpy look of recliners. The only one we'd both liked rang in at $2,200 and that was not going to happen. We looked at every non-recliner looking recliner in Hickory and finally found one we both liked. 
Hooray! It was really amazing to be able to choose an exact color of leather from 100 samples. You'll have to wait until we move in to see it, though! :) 

We traveled and furniture shipped for 8 hours and were totally exhausted. When we finally made it home, we had dinner, watched a movie, and then went right to sleep. I'm totally shopped out for a while (or at least I will be after The Charlotte Social's Nordstrom event tonight.) 

Sunday was spent entirely doing chores around the apartment and getting ready for a crazy week ahead. Of course I found time to investigate the progress on our house.

The outside is done and it is entirely sheet rocked. We're getting so close now! Five weeks to go!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Five on Friday

Happy Friday, lovelies! To kick off my weekend I am linking up with four fabulous ladies (April, Christina, Natasha, and Darci) to share five things I'm living today.

I'm loving Hazelnut Macchiatos. I am only allowing myself one (err...sometimes two) a week since Corey recently pointed out cutting down on Starbucks could actually buy the couch for our new house. It actually makes me enjoy my twice weekly treat even more.

I'm loving home cooked meals. I'd kind of gotten out if my groove of meal planning recently since we'd been so busy but I forced myself back into the swing of things this week and made several delicious meals. It totally didn't hurt that my mom brought over spaghetti and garlic bread Sunday night.

I'm loving that my sweet husband somehow committed himself to a day of furniture shopping on Saturday. We'll be headed to the Pottery Barn outlet and then to Hickory to the Furniture Mart. He clearly has no idea what he's getting himself into.

I'm loving Fall fashion this year. Seriously I see new items I love every single day. I tell you, those sales emails every morning are dangerous. Outfits where riding boots are the focus are my absolute favorite. Here are a few of my Pinterest inspirations:

I have all of these pieces already. Why have I not thought of pairing them this way??

I'm loving that we close on our house in FIVE weeks! We are beyond excited!! :)

What are you loving today?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Soakworthy Tubs

Life has been so super busy lately the only thing I seem to want to do when I have a moment free is to sink into a relaxing bubble bath. I have to say one of the things I am most looking forward to in our new home is having a larger tub (separate from the shower, finally) to soak in with a good book and a good glass of wine after a long day.

Our bathroom will probably look very builders-grade for some time. It is absolutely the last thing on our priority list to spruce up. In the meantime, I'm drooling over photos on Pinterest of some absolutely "soakworthy" tubs.

Don't these look just heavenly?