Ode to Walmart

Before this week, I had never been to Walmart. I'm a Target girl and the next closest superstore is K-Mart, so it's just never happened. I'll be honest, I was a little scared going into the one near our vacation rental in the Outer Banks, but I was quickly proven wrong. Sure, they're not known for carrying the nicest stuff, but if you look carefully, you can really find some awesome deals and cute things for a reasonable price.

Case in point: their Better Homes and Gardens line. Right now they have a ton of fall tabletop and Thanksgiving pieces that could easily be mistaken for a pricier brand. I couldn't (and still can't) believe how much this stuff resembles Pottery Barn, and the most expensive piece was only $10.

How cute is this pumpkin cookie jar ($10)? I have it grouped with a white ceramic gourd candle holder ($5) and a faux green gourd ($1). They also had a bunch of matching serveware in a leaf motif. I got the platter ($10, shown with a small white leaf bowl for dip which was around $3), bowl ($10, shown with faux apples for $1 each), and trio dip/olive server ($10).
I also wanted to replicate a cute centerpiece I saw in Pottery Barn, so I got this cake stand ($10), a few faux gourds ($1 each), and a large three-wick candle ($7). Throw in a couple faux leaves and wheat stalks and you've got a cute holiday centerpiece.Finally, they have scented jar candles similar to Yankee Candles for $5 each. They burn great and smell incredible. The Candied Caramel Pecan is one of my favorites.
If you're looking for holiday decorations and serving pieces, seriously give Walmart a try. I spent under $100 for what would have easily been over $250 at Pottery Barn, and I love everything!

Printable Form: Housesitter Instructions

When we were getting ready to go on vacation last week, I did a quick internet search for housesitter instructions forms that I could print and fill out, but couldn't find anything that met my needs. So, instead, I typed up a long list of instructions for my in-laws, who are watching the house while we're away.

Since I have a little time on my hands this week, I decided to create my own housesitter instructions form so I'm ready for our next vacation.

If you would like to download this file, just click the link below (or the image above) and save the PDF to your computer. I hope it makes your next vacation a little smoother!

Download the form: Housesitter Instructions

Spooky Spoonflower Fabric Finds

I've been shopping around for Halloween fabric to make some table linens and thought I'd give Spoonflower a look-through. If you don't know about Spoonflower, it's a fairly new online company (founded in 2008) that allows you to create your own fabrics and order yardage in a variety of fabric types. You can also peruse other designers' creations and order their patterns. So, if you have a certain fabric in mind for a project and can't find it anywhere, now you can make it yourself. It's pretty awesome.

Anyway, I came across some really incredible prints that would look great as Halloween table linens or decorations.

I love this orange and cream damask by Muhlenkott:
This cameo print by TenderLovingClaire is pretty spooky:Cameo in B&W
There's something very "Halloween" about this lilac and black damask by Teja Jamilla:Ornate_Gate Black on Lilac
I love this skeleton key silhouette fabric by surlybirdstudio: 46
This one's my absolute favorite. I am just in awe of this intricate pirate-theme Rococo pattern by ceanirminger:
Ro-co-co and a Bottle of Rum
If you haven't been to Spoonflower.com yet, definitely check it out. With an extensive online community of designers, you're guaranteed to find every pattern imaginable in their fabric shop. And, if you don't find what you're looking for, you can make it yourself!

I Heart OBX

So, I don't know how I've never been here before, but my husband and I are in the Outer Banks for our anniversary and I'm in love - with him, of course, but also with the area. When we got here on Saturday afternoon, it was cold and raining and I still fell in love with it. The next day, it was over, I was sold.

I'm glad I love it so much, because even before either of us visited OBX, we had decided that we wanted to someday have a summer house and/or retire here. We are pretty passionate people, mixed with a little bit of crazy, and we like to dream. Once we get an itch to do something, everything shifts to focus on that goal. This vacation has really solidified our long-term goals and inspired us to keep working hard to make the dream come true.

I love the architectural and decorating styles you find in this area. It's the quintessential beach house feel - gabled houses with shingle siding and white trim, brightly painted weathered furniture, and open spaces with beachy touches throughout.



My husband has to do some work today so I'm off to explore Duck and do some shopping. It's the perfect day - cool, crisp and sunny - for walking around with a coffee and getting to know the area.

Martha Stewart Handmade Holiday Crafts Book

Last night I pre-ordered Martha Stewart's Handmade Holiday Crafts book, which includes over 200 craft ideas for every holiday. I'm so excited to get it just in time for the three biggest craft and decorating holidays - Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas!

I also ordered The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl. To be honest, I really didn't know much about her until recently, and was laughing out loud while reading her blog last night. Plus, her recipes seem to be on the heartier side and perfect for the cool fall weather.

I can't wait to get them!

Vacation Checklist

It's already Thursday and I haven't done a single thing to prepare for our vacation on Saturday. Packing for a week at the beach may seem like a no-brainer, but with a full-time job, two dogs, my 80-hour-work-week husband, and cleaning/cooking/grocery shopping, I literally don't have a spare brain cell to think about what to bring on vacation. Luckily, I stumbled upon this great (and pretty) travel checklist on The Project Girl.

I love that it has a section for outfit planning, because I am one of those people who plans my vacation outfits weeks in advance. Also, I think I might bring a copy with me on vacation to go through while we're packing up to come home. I am a serial phone charger forgetter, and since we're staying in a house, I'm sure there will be things scattered all over the place that need to be remembered. Lord knows I won't remember them on my own.

Smooth Sailing

Yesterday, the organization I work for had our annual staff outing. We chartered a 41' catamaran and sailed around the Chesapeake all day, stopping for lunch at Cantler's for crabcakes.

The view while leaving the dock:
Being out on the water has an immediate stress-relieving effect on me. I felt every worry and pending deadline melt away as we pulled away from the dock. Gorgeous weather, great company, and the Annapolis coastal scenery made for a perfect day.

On the Severn River:
P.S. Since I'm obsessed with boat names, I thought I'd add that I absolutely loved the name of the boat we were on: El Segundo Luna de Miel, which translates to "Second Honeymoon." How sweet.
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