September 2015 archive

Fall college care package

A lot of my friends have sent their kids back to college.  They’ve been away from home for about a month now.  Luckily, I have two more years before I have to think about that,  I can tell you right now that I won’t do well when that time comes.  I get teary eyed when I hear the graduation song now.  My daughter turned 16 tonight and I’m already having trouble with this milestone.  In honor of all my friends going through this time in their lives, I thought it would be great to show ideas for college care packages.

What do college kids love more than a day off from school???? CARE PACKAGES!!!! I loved receiving any kind of mail when I was in college. When you had a slip of paper in your box indicating that you had a package, it was like you had hit the lottery.  Everyone on campus was always jealous of the person walking back to their dorm with the huge care package.

Today I’m going to help you with some great ideas for a fall care package for your college student or someone who just needs a little pick me up.  All of these things you can easily gather or make yourself.  You know your child better than anyone so you would know what they would like in their package. The items are universal to most kids.


College care packages

Great items to put in a college care package.

Halloween Peeps

Halloween Peeps are great for this time of year.


1. Money-I didn’t have this in the picture, but one of the best things to send college students is quarters.  They need tons of quarters to do their laundry.  I can guarantee this gift will go over well with any student still in a dorm.

2. Food-  Send your child the foods they love and maybe even something for their roommate.  Homemade items are always a winner if you have time to make them and package them properly.  You can’t forget Ramen Noodles.  That is a college must have because it is cheap and easy to make.  A win-win for college students.  You can see in this package, I sent lots of fall treats like Peeps, Oreos, and Brownie Pumpkins.  Your child doesn’t have the luxury of just going to the pantry and grabbing a snack anymore.  If you send the things they are missing, I’m sure they will be very happy.

3. Non food items-  For girls you could send magazines, SD cards, make up remover wipes, razors, nail polish, etc… For guys you could send magazines, razors, socks, deodorant, etc…..

4. Theme Items- Your care package could have a certain theme or seasonal motif. Those are a lot easier to find items to prepare for the box.

5. School colors-  Kids like to wear their school colors or tee shirts sporting their college’s name or mascot.  This is a great gift to get them.

boxed care package

This is what your box may look like when ready to mail.

college student's care package

What college student wouldn’t want this?

I hope this list helped give you some inspiration for your own care package.  The holidays are coming up and you could also send a care package to someone in the military.  They have specific things they need and also things that you can’t send them (depending on the place you’re mailing it to). Please make sure you google a list of items depending on where you’re sending the package before you put their box together.  My daughter’s cheer team did this one year as our community project and it was very rewarding. Good luck with your package and please let me know if you have any good ideas that could help me with my future packages.

Yours Truly,


Fall Home Tour 2015

Welcome to our home tour 2015. I live on the east coast in Virginia with my husband of 20 years and my 2 teenagers. I would love to have an open house so you could stop in and see my home.  Since that is not possible, I will do the next best thing and have a virtual open house.

Last year I didn’t start my blog until November so I didn’t get to do a fall tour. If you are a regular viewer thank you for returning.  If you are new to my site I’m happy to have you and I hope you grab yourself a drink and stay around a while.  It is still in the 90s here, but after Labor Day, I’m always ready to bring out some fall decor.  School starts and I feel like cleaning up and moving everything around.

My day to day decor goes best with my fall decorations.  The colors and textures work well with the decor I already have.  Maybe that is why I like fall so much.  Or maybe it is the chunky sweaters, football, and pumpkin spice in everything.

I tried to take a few fall items and blend them with the decor I’m already using.  I found this to work best with our home and my style.  It also brings a simplicity right before decorating for Christmas (which is an undertaking).

The pictures taken in this post were done by my talented daughter.  She has her own youtube channel called mint2btay03. She is quite handy when it comes to editing so I asked her to help out with this shoot.

Living Room Fall Home Tour

house tour

My living room – yourstrulyjenn fall house tour 2015

orange tray

I added some fall decor to my orange tray.

fall flowers

Candlesticks are from ZGallerie and the flowers are from Target.

Living room view

The white sofas are from Joss and Main.  Our coffee table is from One Kings Lane.


My teacup Maltese is not allowed on the white couches. Hmmm!

I didn’t do much to change the living room.  I changed out my spring pillows and put out my fall colors.  I used dark oranges and gold.  I also placed a fuzzy brown blanket on the corner of the white sofa.  The nights are getting a little chilly here.  Let’s face it though…I keep my house very cold and there are always blankets out for my family and guests.  I also put a couple white pumpkins out along with a fall floral arrangement.  You don’t have to do a lot to transition to fall.  Just change a couple things and you have a whole new look.

Outside Fall Home Tour

back porch

The back porch is done in tan and orange for the fall.


We love to entertain outside in the summer and fall.


orange pillows

Orange pillows from Pier One give this look a fall vibe.

aerial view of porch

I can’t wait to bring out the fire pit and make S’mores.

I hope you found something inspirational in this post.  You may see an idea or color palette that might work in your own home decor.  House tours are my favorite posts by far.  When the seasons change I spend my evenings watching the home tours posted by talented bloggers.  I know the Christmas tours will be coming up soon and I can’t wait. Please share this post if you liked it. I would love to see these pics pinned to pinterest.  It means a lot to me that I’m starting to have some loyal followers on my blog. That is really an incredible thing and I appreciate your return visits from the bottom of my heart.   Keep it up and tell your friends!!!!

Yours Truly,


Styling- by Jennifer Ely

Photography- By Taylor Ely



Put Your Hands Together For…9/9

This week I want to talk about some of the books I completed while on vacation.  I always have a couple books on my bedside table.  If you’re looking for a good read you may want to check out one of these.

Book Talk

The Rumor by Elin Hillderbrand-  This book is definitely an easy beach read. The story takes place during a summer on Nantucket and is based around two best friends and their families. Madeline and Grace’s friendship will be tested, a marriage will be shaken, and their children’s lives will also be affected by small town rumors.  I really liked this book’s simplicity and storyline.  It was the perfect book for me to take on vacation.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins- This is Paula’s debut thriller.  This book will leave you on the edge of your seat wanting to keep reading well into the night.  It’s a book that you won’t want to put down.  I haven’t had one of those kind of books in a really long time.  The book is written through the eyes of the three main female characters and told through their voice.  With this style of writing, you really have to pay attention, but the author really pulls you in from the start.

Rachel, an alcoholic who’s just lost her job is still struggling with her divorce and doesn’t have a lot going for her.  She loves riding the trains and seeing the same people day in and day out.  Recent events lead her to believe something she saw may be of interest to the police.  Is she a reliable source or did what she see really happen?  It’s a must read if you’re looking for a suspense filled book that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio-  This book is actually for young adults, but it is a really good book for all ages.  My son read it in fifth grade and he knew I would love it.  The story is about a deformed middle school student who is going into public school after being homeschooled all his life.  It really is interesting to read about his journey at a time when no one is real sure of where they fit in.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up By Marie Kondo-  I always look at September as my January.  It is a new School year with new teachers, new school supplies, and new schedules.  It is a great time to re-evalutate your resolutions and what is working in your life.  This is the time of year that I like to set new goals for myself.  It always feels like a fresh start for me.  I’m reading this book at the perfect time.  I’m bringing out all my fall items and I’m really trying to widdle down the piles of stuff in the house.  I want to be a good example for the kids as well.  When they see me being neater and organized they tend to do the same.

In the book, the key to keeping your space tidy is to first go through the house and discard items. I totally believe that.  If you’re just moving things from one place to another it really defeats your purpose.  We as a whole just have too much stuff.  If we simplify our lives and take out something for every time we bring in something new it really would make a difference.

I hope you can find a book that meets what you’re looking for.  Hopefully one of these books will end up being your new read. If you’re reading something that you can recommend please leave a comment below.

Yours Truly,



50th Wedding anniversary Celebration

Honoring Loved Ones

Over the weekend, I had the honor of helping my family throw my in laws a surprise 50th wedding anniversary bash. We really were able to keep it a surprise from them as their reaction was priceless. The party was held in a rustic barn at Woodbrook Farms. Our colors were gold, ivory, and blush pink.  We had beautiful lights hanging from the ceiling along with tea lights and mercury glass on the tables. The lighting really made for a romantic, fairy tale feel.

Guests enjoyed a buffet of brisket, chicken, shrimp and grits, green beans, and a mashed potato bar by Pratt’s Barbeque.  The gorgeous, three tiered cake was made by Katherine Bock Hayton.  The beautiful pink, white, and ivory flowers of roses and hydrangeas were done by Humphrey’s Flowers and Gifts. My sister in law painted wine bottles and mason jars gold and put various flowers in them for the beautiful, vintage looking centerpieces.

Woodbrook Farms

Woodbrook Farms was the perfect backdrop for the party.

Gold centerpieces

My SIL painted wine bottles to make beautiful centerpieces.



Beautiful flowers were placed n the entrance.



The three tiered cake was gorgeous.


My children are the two oldest grandchildren.


Grayson is the youngest grandchild.

The Elys didn’t have a wedding cake when they got married so it was very important to us that we got them a traditional wedding cake for this party.  I think the cake turned out exactly like we envisioned it would.

cake cutting

Cutting the cake.



Guests took home bags of S’mores as a token of appreciation.


Guests did sparkers as they watched fireworks at the end of the party.

Guests enjoyed fireworks and sparklers to close out a perfect evening.  As a party favor, we passed out bags of S’mores for guests to take home.

Thank you so much to all friends and family who attended this intimate gathering.  This was such a special occasion for our family and you all made it so memorable. Fifty years is such an amazing accomplishment that should be celebrated.  I am blessed to be part of this wonderful family.

Other post you may enjoy, Fall Decorations, 25 things about me, My Favorite Books

Yours Truly,