December 2014 archive

The Best Posts of 2014

I knew when I first started blogging, I would do a post summarizing my year.  I know I only started at Thanksgiving but, I still got in some great posts and I’m excited about what 2015 has to hold for me and yourstrulyjenn.  I can’t wait to get my hand on some projects in the house and I will attend my first blog conference.  I’m hoping to learn more about editing and photography so my photos will steadily get better and make the blog look more professional.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for stopping by this blog and taking time out of your day to read what I have to say.  It blows my mind that any one other than my family is already reading this blog.  I have already made some great friends through pinterest, instagram and Facebook. I appreciate all the followers that have clicked on those social media buttons and have followed me on bloglvin and twitter as well.

Here are the top 3 blog posts that had the highest traffic this year. Thanks again for reading. See you next year with DIYs, before and afters, round ups, OOTD, room make overs, party planning, entertaining ideas and much more,

The third most popular post was “MAC”nificent Holiday make up. I love MAC make up and apparently so do many of you.  I hope you took advantage of some of their holiday deals.  My daughter was very happy with my Christmas selections.  She loved those glittery pigments.

MAC make up

MAC has some amazing make up waiting for you to try!

The second most popular post was Gift Wrapping Made Easy.  I had a great time getting ready for this post.  I love wrapping gifts. You have to do it anyway, so why not do it in a way that makes people happy.  You may be surprised to know that I wrap gifts sitting in the floor of my closet in the middle of the night with music blaring (and it’s not Christmas music).

Gift Wrap

Some easy gift wrapping tips will make your packages look amazing!

 

The MOST popular post was my Holiday House Tour ,thanks to Jennifer Rizzo’s holiday house walk link party.  I was able to link to her party and get quite a few votes from her amazing bloggers that participated in her holiday house tour.  If you haven’t checked her tour our yet please check that out here http://www.jenniferrizzo.com.

Christmas House Tour

The First Ever Ely Christmas House Tour

I thank all of you for joining me on this amazing journey.  I hope you will all be back for 2015.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Yours Truly,

Jenn

 

Best New Year’s Eve Table Setting

I’ve always wanted to do a New Year’s Eve table and just never have.  We’ve always gone out with friends or done something low key with the kids.  Once I had my color scheme, from there it really came together nicely.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it.

 

I started with silver chargers from Joss and Main (Similar Here and Here).  These give a very timeless and elegant look and can be used over and over on many occasions.

Chargers & China

Base China with Silver Chargers

 

Table Place setting

Finished Table Place Setting

 

Next, I kept my Lenox Eternal China I used in my Christmas table setting, but used Nate Berkus’ line of Fall collection plates from Target.  I love the monochromatic pattern on these plates.  These had just the look I was going for.

 

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NYE Table Setting

New Year’s Eve Table Setting

 

The wintery table runner and the blue and silver napkins are all from Pier 1.  Then, I took silver and white ornamental decorations from around the house to finish off the centerpiece.  I already had all of these pieces so it made for a fun table setting, without breaking the bank.  Now, I can entertain on New Year’s Eve with a beautiful table.  I just have to decide what I’m serving for dinner.

Pier 1 napkins

Pier 1 blue and silver napkins

 

final touches

White, silver, and blue final touches

 

What do you normally do on New Year’s Eve?  Do you even make it to midnight? Do you go out with friends and ring in the new year with a bang?  OR….. Do you hang with family and have a more low key evening?  I would love to hear how you spend your evening.  Leave a comment below.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

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Gift Wrapping

Gift Wrapping Made Easy

Merry Christmas 2014

Christmas Is Here!

This has been such an amazing year for my family.  We have had many blessings answered.  My husband opened a second office for his business and the kids have been thriving in all their activities.  I wanted to take the time to wish your family many blessings in 2015 and hope you will have time to spend with loved ones in the next couple of days.  I will be taking a few days off as we have family coming in from out of town.

Ely family

Ely family portrait

 The Elys wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

The Ely kids

The Ely kids

 

Yours truly,

Jenn

Christmas Traditions

What are your Christmas traditions?  There are so many things that I can remember from being a child that I wanted to carry over into my family when I grew up.  Then, when you get married you merge two families and both sets of traditions become just as important.  I think that is what makes family so special -the merging of two families and creating your own traditions.

Family Christmas Traditions

My family did a count down to Christmas by doing the advent calendar. My mom handmade mine so it is 19 years old.  I love it and it is one of my favorite Christmas decorations.  My kids take turns putting up the  ornament for that day and we track how many more days until Christmas.

advent calendar

My mom’s homemade advent calendar

When I was about 12, my parent’s started giving me Hallmark ornaments each year.  I would get one that had to do with some sort of theme that went along with something I had accomplished that year.  When I moved out, I took my ornaments with me and was able to start my own tree with a really nice set of ornaments. (We all know how much ornaments costs.)  We also have done this with our children.  They have a beautiful collection of ornaments that belong to them.  My tree will look bare when they leave.

Hallmark Ornaments

Some of our Hallmark Ornaments

On Christmas Eve we go to Candlelight service.  We do a lot of singing and get to hear the Christmas story.  It really reminds you of the true reason we celebrate Christmas and going always puts me in a good mood.

My husband’s family opened a gift on Christmas Eve so we added that to our family traditions.  My brother in law’s family also wears matching pajama pants. I really thought that was a great idea so we started opening those on Christmas Eve and wear them all Christmas morning while we open gifts and eat our breakfast.

Our newest tradition is of course Elf on the Shelf.  Our elf is a girl named Jilly.  My children are quite old for Elf on the Shelf, but I have young nieces and nephews so we enjoy having Jilly visit our home for their sake.

Jilly

Our Elf on the Shelf, Jilly

I love hearing how people celebrate their holidays.  Comment below some

of your favorite traditions, old and new.

Yours truly,

Jenn

Gift Wrapping Made Easy

Spicing Up Your Gift Wrapping

I’m close to being done with my Christmas shopping. Yeah Me!!!  I think if I go out one more time, I will have everything checked off my list.  I keep all my lists and notes in this one white composition notebook. If I lost that bad boy, I would be in some serious organizational trouble.  I have so many check list of what I’ve bought, What has arrived, what Santa is giving and you get my drift… I decided this year I wasn’t going to wait until the last minute to wrap the gifts.  My kids have to go to school the day before Christmas Eve.  Can you BELIEVE that???  What are they thinking?? So I’m trying to finish all my “to do list” prior to them getting out for break.   That way we can spend as much quality time together as possible.

When it comes to wrapping gifts, I try to pick out paper that matches my trees and I coordinate the package colors to the certain family parties we attend.  For example, my kids each get their own colored wrapping paper so it is easy to sort on Christmas morning.  Then I put all the presents that go to my grandparent’s party under the “red tree” wrapped in some type of red paper.  It really is an easy system and looks so beautiful.

Black and Red packages

I love using Black and Red together

I love using speciality items to make packages look their best. Ornaments and bows work well.  The red star was an ornament I bought this year from Target.  The Christmas tree frame on the black package was from Michaels.  I also like to buy the fruit bouquets from Michaels and then cut off the leafs, fruit, and pinecones (as seen above).  They usually cost around $14.00. This year I was able to use 1 bouquet on 11 packages. Cookie cutters are always a big hit too.

Frozen wrapping paper

Frozen wrapping paper for the kids

You can’t forget about the kids.  I love adding special things to their packages.  I used the Frozen themed paper for my nieces this year because they both love that movie.  I bought a Frozen cup and attached it to the outside of one of the gifts. I thought the bell ornament was also a cute idea.  I’ve also done lip glosses and nail polishes in the past for tweens.

Blak and Tan

Black and Tan package combination

decorating gifts

Using unique pieces to decorate gifts

The black and tan has to be my favorite paper this year. It just goes to show you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your gift wrapping look nice.  You can take things you have at your house or get things from the Dollar Store and use them to spice up your packages.  Thanks for reading.  I hope you saw a couple ideas that will work for you. Have a blessed holiday.

Yours truly,

Jenn

 

Decluttering for the Holidays

As the holidays are quickly approaching you may start to feel a little overwhelmed with your long to do list.  I’m sure the last thing you want to do is add something painful like decluttering your home. But when I’m feeling stressed it is usually because the walls feel like they are closing in on me. One of the best feelings is to accomplish something that has been hanging over your head.  You can also help someone else by donating your gently used items.

We are doing some remodeling in our home and this really forced me to purge my closets and most of the rooms in the house.  Here are a few tips I learned along the way.  I am in no way an expert, but I’m trying to minimize the “stuff” in our home that we just don’t need. I hope these tips are helpful.

DECLUTTERING For The Holidays

  1. Even if you paid a lot of money for an item (or have only worn it once), if you’re not getting use out of it….. DONATE!  This tends to be the toughest rule for me.  I have a hard time getting rid of something expensive or something I wasted my money on. It’s just collecting dust in your closet, but someone else could really use it.
  2. In your closet, face all the hangers one way.  However, as you wear the clothing hang them back facing the opposite way.  In 6 months, all the clothes that you haven’t worn will still be facing the original way.  These are the clothes that you can give away. (Except maybe for seasonal pieces)
  3. Get your kids and spouse on board.  This doesn’t have to be just your job.  Kids tend to know what they play with and what they don’t use anymore.  It is great for them to get a feel for helping others from a young age.
  4. Invest in some sturdy storage boxes.  I cleaned out our built in desk and storage cabinet in the kitchen.  A lot of it was trash that needed to be thrown away or shredded, but some of it needed to be kept.  However, I didn’t need a bunch of warranties and phone case boxes in the desk area.  So I bought a couple storage boxes and organized the stuff and stored them in the attic.  This way I can get to them easily, but they’re not junking up my kitchen anymore.
  5. Don’t forget to go through things that could be expired like medicines, food from the pantry etc…. Throwing these items away could give you the room you’ve been looking for in that bathroom closet.

I hope you can use some of these tips to make your home a little less cluttered.  I know they helped me, but I’m still a work in progress.

Your truly,

Jenn

Yours Truly Jenn Holiday House Tour

I am so excited to be doing my first Christmas home tour.  Thank you Kelly for opening your home and allowing me to participate in your house tour.  I really enjoy the holidays and I try not to get stressed with the hustle and bustle that can go along with Christmas.  My home is a place of peace for my family and me and I hope you will feel that as you are viewing.

WELCOME TO OUR HOME

9' Hallmark tree

Our main tree with Hallmark and homemade ornaments

This is our 9′ main tree in our living room.  If I only put up one tree, this would be it.  I have all the Hallmark ornaments, homemade ornaments, and ornaments I’ve collected over the years on this tree.  My kids decorate this tree by themselves.  They leave the decorative themed trees for me.

Kitchen view

View from the kitchen

My mantel is simple, but elegant.  I have to work around the tv, but I like the way it turned out.  This year I decided to keep with the traditional green, red, and white color theme.

mantel photo

My red and green mantel display

mantel and tree

The mantel and our main tree

I have several other trees that I decorate.  However, I’m not going to post them all in this house tour.  I try to do a theme and color coordinate the trees around that theme. I decided to do our den in a winter wonderland theme.  I used silver and white and a ton of glitter.  I don’t know if I will be able to vacuum up all this glitter.

Let it snow

Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow display

winter wonderland

Winter wonderland

White and silver tree

My white and silver tree

I hope you enjoyed some of my holiday decorations and trees.  Thank you Kelly for

allowing me to post on your blog.  I really appreciate the opportunity to

share some of my home with all of you.  You can also find some other pictures of my home

decor on my instagram.

Yours Truly,

Jenn

10 Things that Make Me Happy

Christmas time makes me so happy.  It is a time of reflection to really think about all the wonderful things I have in my life and how much I’m thankful for.  I am truly blessed and should have the Christmas spirit all year round.  I think being happy is a conscience decision. If you wake up on the wrong side of the bed in the morning your day just tends to have everything go in the negative direction and you look at things with the glass half empty.  But, if you put a positive spin on your day, things just tend to go your way.  Here is a list of things that just make me happy.  I bet if you had to make a list right now of ten things that make you happy, you would immediately start to smile. So I challenge you to make that list and start your day off right.

Ten Things That Make Me Happy

1.  When my Maltese curls up and sleeps around my neck.

2.  Watching my son play travel basketball.

3. Spending a lazy day at the beach with my family.

4. Watching football games, warm boots, and fuzzy sweaters. (Does that count as three)? 🙂

5. Jeans that fit just right!

6. Watching my daughter’s Youtube channel, Mint2btay03.

7. Watching Netflix and eating Milk Duds mixed in my popcorn.  Go try it!  You will not be sorry.  But you will not thank me for getting you addicted to a new junk food that you can’t turn down.

8. Traveling with my husband.

9. Reading a book on a rainy day.

10. Christmas!!!!!!

My living room

A view of some Christmas decorations in my living room.

 It was really hard to narrow this post down to ten things…

What things make you happy?  Leave me some comments down

below so I can get to know you better.

Yours truly,

Jenn

Christmas Cocoa Bar

There is nothing better than sitting by a warm fire, mingling with friends and sipping on a hot chocolate.  Setting up a hot cocoa bar is the perfect entertaining tool for any type of holiday party.  I have done this type of bar twice already.  Once after a family Christmas brunch and the other was for my daughter’s Cheerleading Christmas party.  Both times it was a big hit.

Christmas Cocoa Bar

Hot chocolate

A nice mug of Hot Chocolate

monogrammed mugs

My monogrammed mugs

Holiday Cocoa Bar Setup

The great thing about this type of bar is, once it’s set up it basically works itself.  You can make it as elaborate or as simple as you want.  I have only done different kinds of hot chocolate, but you could also do tea and coffee if you wanted.

Cocoa bar toppings

Cocoa bar stirring sticks and toppings

You will need a way of warming up your milk or water.  It is also fun to have the hot chocolate flavored stirring sticks.  They come in different flavors.

cocoa bar toppings

Your toppings bar can be elaborate or simple

marshmallows

So many marshmallow flavors

Cocoa Bar Toppings

You can set your display up on a table, beverage cart, or counter in your kitchen.  Here are a list of the items I used as toppings for my cocoa bar:

*whipped cream                                                                                *stirring sticks

*white chocolate chips                                                                    *chocolate chips

*crushed peppermint                                                                       *peppermint stirring sticks

*Gingerbread marshmallows                                                       *miniature marshmallows

*french vanilla marshmallows                                                      *hershey’s chocolate syrup

*caramel syrup

My cocoa bar

My Christmas Cocoa Bar

The last thing to do is enjoy your guests and make you a mug of hot chocolate.   What is your favorite way to entertain this holiday season? Leave me a comment below.

Yours truly,

Jenn

Our Christmas Traditions

Our Christmas Traditions

I was so excited this year to decorate and even more excited to share some of my home with you. I am also sharing these ideas on Jennifer Rizzo’s Holiday House Walk link party. Head over to http://www.jenniferrizzo.com and see all the houses. If you’re new to my blog, welcome! I hope you enjoy this post and stick around to explore.

link party

I hope you can find some inspiration in my holiday decor. My family and I love Christmas so much and we really enjoy having the house decorated when we come back from Thanksgiving break. I am one of those early decorators.  Everything just seems so magical when the trees are lit, your house smells of baked goods (or in my case a Bath and Body Works candle), and you are surrounded by your family members.

Welcome to my home!

 

dining room place setting

My dining room place settings

We don’t use our dining room much, but when we do I love to go all out.  My Lenox Eternal china accented with the Lenox Holiday salad plate comes are just stunning. The red and green really pull together to make a beautiful place setting.

 O Christmas Tree

blue & pink tree

This is my blue and pink angel tree.

This is my blue and pink angel tree that goes right in front of my bedroom.  My husband turns this one on first thing every morning.

Hallmark tree

My Hallmark and homemade ornament tree.

My mantel

My simple, but elegant mantel

Little details

The little details

IMG_1303

Each tree I decorate has a color and theme.

The tree in our living room is our main tree.  It is 9′ and has all our homemade

and Hallmark ornaments.

The rest of the room is decorated in traditional red and chartreuse green.

My tree in the kitchen is 7 1/2′ and is done in the traditional red, green and gold.

It is adorned with bows, picks, and ornaments.

My traditional tree

My red, green and gold tree

winter wonderland tree

My winter wonderland tree

 My newest tree is in our den.  I’ve decorated this tree for 2 years.  This is the room

our family gathers in to watch tv or just hang out.  I decided to do this room in

a winter wonderland theme. I guess I was inspired by Frozen like everyone else this year.

Everything is decorated in silver or white.  This room

just glistens with glittery ornaments, ribbon, flowers, and icicles.

My winter wonderland

My winter wonderland

 Thank you Jennifer for hosting this year’s holiday house walk.  I thoroughly enjoyed

looking at your home as well as the homes of all your participants.

If you haven’t

toured these homes yet you are missing out.

It is important for my family to celebrate Jesus’ birth

as the true meaning of Christmas.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is

CHRIST the LORD. Luke 2:11

Yours truly,

Jenn

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