Norma Holland

Meet Harmony from Thistles and Twigs!

Hi All!
I’m Harmony and I blog over at Thistles and Twigs

I started my blog about 3 years ago to document the renovation of our old, used-to-be-a duplex, circa 1931, house.  We take DIY to the extreme!

Now we’re about 60% done with our home and loving it a little piece at a time.

If I could offer one piece of advice to fellow DIY’ers it’s BREATHE. Just chill. It will happen. It will get done. Remember to enjoy life in the meantime. This means not every weekend has to include construction.  In case you don’t know DIY remodeling can take a little bit of time. oh. I mean a lot of time. When I first started blogging this fact left big gaps in my blogging timeline. So to fill in the blanks I began to blog about the other things I love! Now Thistles and Twigs is a happy, lighthearted place where I share fashion ideas, home decor (you have to DO something with these spaces once they’re done you know…)  and life with my sweet little family! Let me introduce them to you.

This is my first born Gwen.

She’s 4 and starting kindergarten this year! She’s sweet and silly and tender and I love her to pieces. She also has amazing hair. I have no idea where it came from…
This is Ivy our sweet second born.

She’s 6 months old and has already brought so much joy to our lives.  She’s just now starting to crawl and I love watching our family dynamic flex and bend to adapt to life with 2.
Just look at that gummy smile! How can you not love her!
This is my prince charming, the love of my life the wind beneath my wings… too much? Sorry…I just really love this guy!

We’ve known each other for 12 years and been married for a little over 1/2 that.

He is an amazing husband and father,  He is the muscle behind my extravagant decorating plans and he never ceases to amaze me with what he is able to do. Replace a rotting beam? Sure! Re-plumb a bathroom? No problem! Make countertops out of stainless steel with your bare hands? He’s got this.

I hope you’ll stop by and take a look around but in case that eye candy up there isn’t enough to entice you, here is a little something extra. My very first giveaway!!! Since fashion happens to be one of those things I love I’ve put together a little collection of fall accessories to usher in the new season!! Or drag it in kicking and screaming…where I live it’s still pushing 90 degrees every day…c’ mon already falls!!!!

look for ways to enter down below and thanks to Amy for letting me stop by and say hello to her amazing readers!!

**You must be a follower of the Charming blog to win.
Giveaway begins September 27, 2012, and ends October 3, 2012.**

Lovely Thursdays

Happy Thursday! Welcome to Lovely Thursday: The Link-Up! This link-up creates the opportunity to connect with other bloggers, discover new blogs, and make new friends! So link up your blog or anything else you find lovely. Share your family, fashion, food, crafts, or anything that you love this week.

Lovely Thursday: The Link-Up

+ Follow your hosts
Rekita | Amy | Alisha

Or you can just simply visit their blogs and say hi!
Feel free to leave a comment introducing yourself.

Go visit other blogs that linked up and say hi!
Tweet about this Link-up. Help spread the word!

 

+ Grab the Button.

Labor Day

My lack of Internet access makes this post a little delayed.  I wanted to share with you my Labor Day outfit in which I decided I would celebrate the “rule” of not wearing white after Labor Day, by wearing white on Labor Day.

 

Dress: Kmart; Buckle: don’t remember; Shoes: Blowfish; Earrings: NYC Kiosk; Watch: Target

 

Have I also mentioned that I had my first blate on Labor Day?  It was with the lovely Renee from This Won’t Hurt A Bit.  She was in Atlanta visiting with her sister and fortunately, our schedules were able to allow for us meeting up at one of my favorite little places: a European cafe called Cafe Intermezzo.

 

How To: Travel Lightly

Why, hello!

This post was originally a guest post for the lovely Jessica of Jessica Who?  But since I have gotten a lot of feedback on my travels and such, I wanted to post it on my actual blog.  Here you go!

—–

I’m here to talk about traveling lightly without compromising too much on style.

A bit of a background on me:

I recently got married and honeymooned to Hawaii.  It was awesome.  Both my husband and I have done quite a bit of traveling in our lives.  My mom and I share a love of new places, cultures, and experiences and my husband is an immigrant whose family is spread over four different continents.

My parents love to tell the tale of when we went on my first cruise and I brought “everything but the kitchen sink.”  Well, I was seven and when my parents told me our room would be “roomy,” I wanted to make it feel like home: so I brought a rug.  That’s right, a nice rug that I believe was in the shape of a flower.  I can’t believe my parents never checked a seven-year-old’s luggage.  Silly parents.

Since then, my mom and I have been to Europe a few times and our family has done a few cruises to different places.  Fortunately, I married someone who likes to travel and is pretty travel-smart like I have come to become: I no longer bring rugs on my vacations and I strive to only bring with me what I can carry on to the plane myself.

Last August, we went to visit his family in Europe, as well as do a few sightseeing of our own.  It was our first big trip together and ever.  I’d traveled by myself but never internationally before.

Now when I say big, I mean jam-packed intensity: nine different airports, about ten different flights, and five cities throughout Europe: Venice, Italy; Rome, Italy (including Vatican City); Palermo, Sicily, Italy; Campbeltown, Scotland; and Amsterdam, Holland all in fourteen days.  We were exhausted and couldn’t afford to carry more than what we really needed.  Checked bag charges really add up, friends.  $50 here, $17 here, etc.

But, I am perfecting the art of traveling lightly, friends!  I practiced it again when I went to NYC for a girls trip and then Oahu and the Big Island in Hawaii for our ten-day relaxation and adventure packed honeymoon:

#1.  One, one, one.

always pack one skirt that will go with most of my tops, one pair of pants that will go with most of my shirts, and one or two cardigans that will go with most of my shirts.  Getting the picture?

Skirts are breathable, comfortable, and can be good in cooler weather if you wear tights (like I do).

Cardigans are a fashion must even when I’m at home.  They can really add a lot to an outfit.  They can also cover up your ladies if you just want to pack a few tanks/camis to save some room in your bag, protect your shoulders from the hot sun, or warm you up if you’re on a tall piece of history/nature that has winds or just in a chilly place.

In Europe, I brought jeggings because I love jeggings.  They are breathable (because I gained a few bounds in Europe in spite of all the walking I did) and a darker pair can be dressed up at night.  In Hawaii, I brought a pair of grey cotton capris that were comfortable enough to tour in but also nice enough to wear

#2.  Wearing twice, just as nice.

Who cares if you wear the same outfit twice?  I definitely don’t.

#3.  You really only need three pairs of shoes.

Comfortable shoes you can tour around it is numero uno.  In my recent experience touring NYC, worn out TOMS do not do this.  I took brand new TOMS to Europe and they did just fine.  But they got so worn down it was like I was walking without shoes and support except that I had really constricting material around my feet.  Find shoes that are comfortable.  If you don’t want to wear sneakers, but can’t afford to keep buying new TOMS (or don’t have the problem I did), there are other options out there.

A pair of flats/heels that will go with your outfits for when you want to dress up.

A miscellaneous shoe: if you’re going to Scotland, something for the rain might be good.  But if you know you’re going to a warmer place, flip-flops are probably a great idea.

The only time I recommend adding a pair of shoes is if you are going from warm and sunny to cold and rainy like I did last August.

When I was in Paris for winter 2004, I packed: a pair of boots that I wore on the plane that matched most of my outfits and comfortable flats to be worn with nude color socks.

#4.  Accessories.

For Hawaii, I brought a cute sun hat.  Though some items aren’t practical because they take up space, other things, in moderation, don’t take up that much space and you can also change an outfit up with accessories just like any other outfit.

#5.  Pick items that will go with at least most everything else.

In Europe: I packed jeggings, a grey, skirt, and white capris as my bottoms.  I packed a fun lavender cardigan and a white cropped cardigan.  Most of those items went with the shirts I packed: a white tunic with a braided belt, a light striped top see in the picture of me in Rome, and a few different color camis/tank tops.  Yes, I packed one or two more clothing items, like a bathing suit and a casual dress, but I was essentially set for those busy two weeks in which the weather would vary from day-to-day.

#6.  Load up on underwear.  

No need to dig deep on this one, friends.  However, you can buy laundry detergent especially for travelers that you can do in the sink.  Personally, I don’t even do that, I just use soap and water for my underwears and hang them to dry.  If you know you’re going to be sweating a lot, I’d say pack a few more outfits and look into cleaning options.  But I wear clothes at least two times before I wash them at home anyways.

#7.  Go neutral with pops of color.

I really like the color grey as my neutral color.  So when I go on trips, I usually go for a grey skirt or pair of pants.  Grey is great for me because I’m not taking sides on the whole brown v. black issue.  Plus, it’s not a heavy color to be out in the sun.  In Europe it was a grey skirt that you’ve seen, it Hawaii it was a different grey skirt as well as a grey pair of capris.  I put on color tops and changed shoes to make different outfits without problems or commitments in the “does this match?” department.

 

Well, this ends a long post about traveling lightly.  These are simply my seven tips and tricks to avoiding checking bags, waiting to reclaim bags, and lugging around more luggage than you actually need while walking over a mile each way in the Venetian heat to get to and from your hotel (yes, true story).  Plus, in my experience, I still overpack sometimes.  I hope you find them somewhat helpful!

 

Happily Ever After with Megan

Hey there friends! My name is Megan and I blog over at Mackey Madness.

picture via Brandon O’Neal Photography

 

First of all, a big congrats to Amy and Duncan on their precious wedding! What a beautiful couple! I am so glad that I get to share about marriage today because I really just stinking love. I wanted to share a few “tips” that I’ve learned during my 1 year and 8 months of marriage. Some may be a little common sense and some may be a little of a surprise, but either way, it’s all a learning process.

 

You have to communicate things. 

– I think most all of our arguments end up starting from a breakdown in communication. Honestly, I’m usually the one at fault. My husband is such a great communicator and he wants to speak his feelings and then get over it and be done with it. But I’m a typical crazy woman…and I want to pout and give the silent treatment and bring it up again two hours later. Needless to say, I’ve had to learn how to put the childish ways aside and just communicate openly and honestly from the start. It makes things much smoother.

 

Not every single day will be “the best day of your marriage.”

– There will be bad days in your marriage, whether it’s from fighting or just being tired or other stress in life. And that’s okay. Not every single day can be the best day. Marriage is not about each day being great…it’s about being together in ALL the days…the good and the bad, the great and the not so great.

 

Do not compare your marriage/relationship with others.

– This one is KEY! I cannot even tell y’all how many times I hear women and men compare their marriages/spouses to others…and that’s just a step towards feeling discontent and unhappy. No two marriages should be the same because we are all different. God knew exactly what each of us needed in marriage and He made a partner designed for each of us. He knows what He’s doing.

 

Sometimes marriage feels like a big slumber party and it’s awesome.

– There are days and nights where I just stop and think, “Really?! We are married! We get to be best friends and snuggle all night and it’s the best thing ever!” Marriage is SO fun and makes life a lot better.

 

Men and women are different…so different. Let the little things go.

– There are just some things that men and women will never agree on, so let those things go and learn to laugh about them! My husband is the world’s worst about rinsing his dishes off after eating so that when I find one, it’s caked with food and really hard to get off. But I honestly don’t think it’s worth fighting about and I just remind him to wash them off. There are probably things that I do that drive him crazy, too! Let the little things slide. It’ll make all the difference.

 

And above all else, just enjoy marriage and the blessing that is having a best friend and a support person right there to go through every step of life with. Thank the Lord for your spouse and appreciate them, even when they are doing things wrong. Give love willingly…never hold love back to prove a point.

 

Thanks for having me, Amy! Wishing y’all a long and happy marriage!

Posted by Amy Charming at 07:00  

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Fabulous Design Resources

I once was told design is basically arranging multiple elements in a single space. I think it’s a little more complicated than that, but other times it’s not. You don’t always have to be the most creative, artistic, or web-savvy person to be able to come up with a design, but to begin you should know your resources. I thought I would take a few minutes to put together a little directory of my favorite places to find all things design-related.

 

Design Seeds

You have probably seen these color boards scattered around Pinterest boards and for good reason. You can search by color, season, theme, or even a specific color value. I always recommend my clients to check out this site when looking for the perfect color combo inspiration.

 

Kuler by Adobe

Another great tool to explore, share and create color schemes. It lets you play with different rules, for example, it can find the color that goes best with your favorite shade of mint. It even has a rating system so you can find some of the most popular palettes that suit your fancy.

 

DeGraeve.com Color Generator

Perfect for the visuals out there who respond to photos for color inspiration rather than swatches. This site is awesome because you can upload any hosted image and it will pull the colors automatically, creating your very own color palette.

Google Web Fonts

As a designer, I like using Google fonts because I can easily incorporate them into the CSS of my blog design clients code. If it’s not a Google Web font, installing custom post, date, and sidebar titles can get complicated. If I know I want to use a fun font in the CSS, this is the first place I look for choices.

 

Font Squirrel

This is my go-to site when looking for new fonts, 1) because they are 100% commercial free so I won’t have to worry about using them in my design work, and 2) because they have a high-quality selection, so I don’t have to search too hard to find the good ones.

 

Dafont.com

If you’re looking for a free font, this is usually where you’ll find it. I like how they have them sorted into different categories and list by most popular – I’ve done many downloading sprees here! Just make sure you understand the definition of “free” and read the font’s terms of use before using commercially.

Pugly Pixel

Katrina is an amazing designer, inspires me on every visit, and leads by example. Not only a favorite to find great quality design elements, but also a source for everything design-related. Free downloads, tutorials, and resources galore, or just buy her Blog Bling Kit for $25 for a variety of the best.

 

Stock.XCHNG

Royalty-free stock photos! I was introduced to this site during school, and whenever I needed some good photography, textures, and high-res clip art this is the place I went.

 

Flickr Creative Commons

I was first introduced to this site when looking for old vintage photography I could use for a project. A lot of the photos are shared by Flickr users that agree to release all copyright, but a lot of them are uploaded from old libraries and cities. If anything, it’s fun just to have a look around.

PSD Tuts

If you’ve ever wanted to brush up on your Photoshop skills, this is the place to go. It has an assortment of the most helpful Photoshop tutorials out there and is probably the best resource for those who love our beloved Adobe program.

 

W3Schools.com

I honestly think everyone should have a basic knowledge of HTML and CSS, and this site provides that. I used it a lot in my web courses at school and focused on the HTML and CSS portions, but it also has all kinds of web development information and is great to use as a guide or quick reference.

 

Southern Speakers

Whenever I get stuck on coding in Blogger and need to Google a quick tutorial, this site is the one I most often land on. It has a list of helpful and easy tutorials that anyone can do, and as long as you know how to read instructions and copy/paste, you can pull it off.

 

* * * * *

 

I can’t list them all, but bottom line – there are thousands of sites out there dedicated to creating, sharing, and inspiring – you just have to look and get inspired!

 

Two Anniversaries + Amy is Enceinte

16Jun

We’re ringing in the two year wedding anniversary today.  We’re keeping it low key because we’re planning a nice little getaway this summer and we’re saving up.

So it’s been two years since we got married and one year in our home.  You can view our one-year anniversary photos taken by Elizabeth Buergler, a dear photographer and blogging friend of mine, here.  The pictures turned out beautifully!  So this weekend has been exciting enough, right?

Well, here’s a third reason we’ve been celebrating this weekend:

If you aren’t sure what I’m referring to with “Enceinte,” please refer to this video from the episode “Lucy is Enceinte” on “I Love Lucy.”  Watch from 1:00 to about 3:00.  It’s so lovely!

Anyways, I guess this is my official announcement to this wonderful blogging world I’m in.  I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say and a lot to show you, but don’t worry this is not going to transition to a parenting blog (not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just love being a more general lifestyle and cover many topics!).  So, parenting will simply be a new topic/category that I cover occasionally just like outfit posts or wellness posts.

It’s been a weird time over here in the Charming household since we found out.  Fortunately, I’ve been feeling mostly well.  But the sleeping problems I had before I was pregnant only got worse now that I can’t refer to my trusty sleep aids.  I’ll do more of an update in a little bit, just wanted to officially announce because I’m ready to ask questions on Twitter about if I’m crazy or for tips from all you mommas out there.

Also, need to say a fellow congratulations to Niki from Glossy Blonde!  She’s been a blogger I’ve been following for a long time and she announced her pregnancy the other week and I was just over the moon for her.  Of course, there are other pregnant bloggers, but she announced around when I found out, ergo, a special shoutout to her.

 

Dottie Adele

Meet Valerie Bryant of Dottie Adele!

She is a super cute & super talented seamstress.

 

Dottie Adele was born from my own dream to fill my closet with pieces that are easy to mix and match, so getting dressed is the easiest part of the morning. Pieces that make me feel comfortable, lovely, and confident. This shop is about my journey to fill my own closet with such clothing, and provide it to other women as well along the way!

Discount code:

CHARMING10 for 10% off

 

Dose of Charm Launch + Mega Giveaway!

If you guys were around last year, you may remember the fun Dose of Charm event that A Dose of Paige and I put together. I’m insanely excited to announce that it’s back this year and SO MUCH MORE EXCITING!

We’ve got a ton of fun events planned for this extravaganza but today, we’re sharing this awesome $175 PayPal cash giveaway! It will run from now until November 20th and we promise to get the money to you by November 22nd so you can spend it black Friday shopping (if you’re into that).

A bunch of really awesome and generous bloggers teamed up to help us kick off and we are so thankful!

Here’s what else you can look forward to:

  • On November 14th and November 21stcheck Paige and Amy’s blogs for some fun gift guides! Paige is going to be showcasing her favorite DIY gifts found around blog land and Amy is going to be sharing her favorites from a bunch of Etsy shops!
  • On November 24th, get ready to share your ugly sweater! You can do this from Instagram, your blog, twitter, wherever! Simply show up to Paige or Amy’s blog and link up your photo or post! Get crazy with it!
  • The very next day, on November 25th, we challenge you to create some fun holiday decor! Go crazy and share your blog post on either Paige or Amy’s blog.
  • From December 1-December 5, be checking Amy’s blog for a whole week of Holiday posts for her series “WeDo The Holidays”, while you can check Paige’s for some fun Christmas crafts and DIYs.
  • On December 8th, it’s time to share your favorite holiday edible treats! Bring your blog posts and your sweet tooth to either Paige or Amy’s blog and link up with us!
  • And December 12thkicks off the Holiday Home Tour! On December 12th, you’ll come and link your posts showing off your holiday home and then on December 18th, come back to see if you made it into the finalists. On December 22nd, we’ll round out Dose of Charm by announcing the winner of the home tour!

We’re also going to be doing a twitter party again this year, but the date for this is TBA pending Paige and I’s work schedule. We promise to keep you informed!

But for now, get to enter this awesome giveaway so you can get your Christmas shopping on!

 

DIY “BRIGHT IDEAS” STOCKING STUFFER

Happy December!

To kick off the month, I’m featuring an easy, super affordable DIY stocking stuffer!

Happy Crafting, friends!

Baker’s twine, washi tape, and gift wrap items courtesy of Bahana Splits Boutique.

You will need:

– a lightbulb container, I found mine from Hobby Lobby for like $1

– a computer and printer

– optional: embellishments

Directions:

  1. Search for quotes, facts, or write personal love/inspiration notes.
  2. Print them off, cut them out, fold them, and stuff them in the bottle.
  3. Decorate & enhance with fun items such as baker’s twine, washi tape, and assorted paper products.

Bahana Splits Boutique has such a great selection of items for all sorts of packaging and gift wrapping needs.  And for The Charming Holiday magazine readers, you get a special discount for the holiday season!