Category Archives: Family

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

On one hand, it feels like Christmas was so long ago, but then I see a bit of glitter on the floor from where we took down our white Christmas tree, and it brings it all right back in surround sound. There’s just nothing quite like the holiday season, so I thought I’d recap our laid-back traditions this morning. Selfishly, I wanted to do this in order to relive every last moment, but I also think it’s fun to hear about other people’s Christmas routines, so here goes nothing in case you’d like to know ours!

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

As I’m sure you’ll be able to see, this past Christmas was almost completely overrun by dogs. My parents have three adult labs, John and I have Rocky the hound dog, and my sister brought her 11-month-old puppy, Rory, this year. There is no such thing as quiet during our family gatherings, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

My sister and I have always lived with a house full of pets. I think we can blame it mostly on our dad, who never can seem to say no to a friendly furry face, and the trait has certainly passed along to us. John and I have four pets in our house, of course, and my sister joined the team as a pet mom, herself, last summer.

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Did you know that my parents’ yellow lab, Vinny, only has one ear? I’m sure I’ve mentioned it here on the blog before, but he lost it as a puppy at birth, which is how we managed to adopt him—his funny lopsided expression awarded him the term “clearance pup” per the breeder, and a steeply discounted price tag to match. I don’t think he knows that he looks any different then his lab sisters, though, so promise me you’ll keep the secret?

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Click “Play” on that video above to see our holiday weekend in action, but the majority of it consisted of this routine on repeat: take the dogs on a walk in the woods, drink coffee, supervise wrestling matches between the dogs, drink wine, sit around the fire, cuddle with the dogs. Happily, we also managed to fit in our annual viewing of It’s A Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve, and opened our presents and stockings the next morning. We capped the occasion off with a massive family breakfast around the dinner table on Christmas morning, punctuated by endless (and I mean endless!) Christmas tunes crooning sweetly in the background.

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At HomeI’m so grateful that we’re such a tight-knit clan, and that Christmas is such an easy-going and casual event each year. The five of us (John, my parents, my sister, and me) are pretty quiet by nature and we don’t like big crowds, so a simple couple of days at home with each other and our dogs is just about as good as it gets in our collective opinion. And, boy, was this year good.

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Whether you celebrated Christmas or not, I hope you were able to enjoy some quality time with your favorite folks this past December. Even though we’re already halfway through January, I’d still love to hear about your own holiday vacation, so feel free to leave your stories and traditions in the comments below. Oh, and feel free to click back here to see what Christmas 2016 looked like—not surprisingly, it didn’t look much different then 2017. Have a great weekend, guys!

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

Recap Of Our Christmas Break At Home

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Why We Moved To A Town I’d Never Visited

Why We Moved To A Town I'd Never Visited

Happy Friday! I’m so relieved to finally have the weekend in sight. This week was my first back in the office since Christmas, and it kind of kicked my butt. I’m a creature of habit and routine, so it was nice to pick back up where I left off back in December, but I probably pushed myself a little too hard. It didn’t help that I’ve decided to detox my system post-holidays, so I didn’t have any wine on hand to help quell the stress.

Does anyone else feel like January is one of the hardest months of the year? With resolutions and the type of intimidating blank slate that a new year offers, I think the occasion often opens us up to self-inflicted pressure. We’re practically halfway through the first month of 2018, and I noticed that I’m already chastising myself for not having all sorts of really big things done. I think I’m going to give myself a little bit of grace next week as I come down off this New Year’s high. The fact is that I do have a lot of things planned for the year (including going back to a week-daily schedule starting next week!), so I just need to keep reminding myself that I can do it but that time is a factor in getting me there.

Sorry for that random rant, but I just wanted to mention how I had been feeling in case any of you are in the same boat. Cut yourself some slack as you chip away at those New Year’s resolutions and goals. It’s not going to happen overnight, but if you really want it to happen, it will.

Why We Moved To A Town I'd Never Visited

Another sort of random topic that I wanted to touch on was our move two years ago, and what, in particular, prompted us to move to a town I had never visited before. When John and I started seriously discussing moving away from the town he and I had both been born and raised in, of course, one of the first questions we asked ourselves was, “Where to?” To be honest, now that I’m sitting here thinking about it, I don’t really remember talking about too many places aside from Waynesboro, which is where we are now with moving companies san francisco helping us. Since my work-from-home job is so flexible in terms of location, it really all depended on John’s job. Luckily, an opportunity presented itself within the same company but based out of Charlottesville, Virginia.

With the cost of living so astronomically high in Charlottesville, we decided to look around at neighboring towns to see if anything was worth our house hunt. We considered Ruckersville, which is north of Charlottesville, Crozet, which is a little west but even more expensive than Charlottesville, and also Waynesboro. The latter option ultimately won us over with ultra affordable housing options, its quaint neighborhoods, and the generally quiet pace of life. It’s just 30 minutes from Charlottesville, making John’s job manageable, and its nestled right off the highway near a few of our favorite cities (think: Richmond, Staunton, Lynchburg, D.C.—even Williamsburg is pretty close to Waynesboro at just two and a half hours away).

All it took was one quick summer day drive through Waynesboro to know that it was going to be our new home. It just felt right as we meandered our way through the neighborhoods (filled with homes sporting mid-century character, I might add). We ended up pulling our car into a spot at the local park, and after strolling down to the river hand in hand, Rocky the hound dog trotting along beside us, I just knew it was right.

Why We Moved To A Town I'd Never Visited

Two years later, and that instinct turned out to be just right. I couldn’t love this tiny little town more, and have fully embraced its slower lifestyle, the fresh mountain air, and the almost 50/50 split of young adults to elderly residents (the latter of which we probably identify with more).

I’m not entirely sure what prompted me to tell that little tale this chilly Friday morning other than to encourage you to take a leap of faith and to follow your gut. Intuition is such a powerful thing, and if you feel called (or led or whatever type of action word that comes to mind) to do something, then just do it. Life’s too short to dwell on what might have been, and looking around at our beloved retro ranch as I sit here typing this, I don’t know that I’ve ever felt more at home. May 2018 hold just as much adventure and promise for you, too.

Why We Moved To A Town I'd Never Visited

(Photos by Bethany and Aaron Mallory)
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How To Makeover A Thrifted Table With Paint

*This post was sponsored by KILZ®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

How To Makeover A Thrifted Table With Paint | dreamgreendiy.com + @kilzbrand

You guys know, probably better than anyone, that I love me a good before and after DIY furniture makeover. I’ve wallpapered and painted dressers, had chairs and sofas reupholstered, and I’ve painted trashy secondhand pieces in pastel hues to give them new leases on life. All this to say that I get so much satisfaction out of making over inexpensive thrifted pieces, and today’s project (my first furniture DIY of the new year!) now holds the number one spot on my countdown of favorites.

The ugly little secondhand side table you see pictured below came into my possession from a thrift store here in town and cost just four measly dollars. I was looking for something that could go alongside the extra low leather sofa in our living room to act as a plant and book stand, and this tiny table was the perfect thing. Well, “perfect” in that it was the right stature and size, but not so perfect in finish. Happily, it was nothing a can of paint couldn’t fix.

How To Makeover A Thrifted Table With Paint | dreamgreendiy.com + @kilzbrand

How To Makeover A Thrifted Table With Paint | dreamgreendiy.com + @kilzbrand

My new-to-me table was, I think, intentionally “antiqued” but it had lost a lot of its luster from years of apparent wear and tear. The legs were really wobbly and holding on by threads, plus I felt like the metal trim (while admittedly really pretty!) was too much alongside those elegant legs.

The very first thing I did was use a razor blade to remove the price tag, felt pieces, and other bits of grim from the tabletop. Then, I used a hammer to slowly peel back the metal trim piece, which, thankfully, was held on just by 12 nails—no glue in sight. Because the trim came off so nicely, I was able to carefully flatten it out and it’s now sitting on my work table in the basement to be repurposed for a future DIY project.

How To Makeover A Thrifted Table With Paint | dreamgreendiy.com + @kilzbrand

How To Makeover A Thrifted Table With Paint | dreamgreendiy.com + @kilzbrand

With the table cleaned up and simplified, I turned my attention to rebuilding it piece by piece. I unscrewed the three legs, and squeezed small dots of wood glue inside the open screw holes. I also added layers of glue to the tops of the legs, too, and finished by reattaching all three securely to the underside of the tabletop. The addition of glue on each of the legs helped shore them up and give the table a much sturdier silhouette, perfect for balancing heavy potted plants and stacks of books, per my design vision.

How To Makeover A Thrifted Table With Paint | dreamgreendiy.com + @kilzbrand

How To Makeover A Thrifted Table With Paint | dreamgreendiy.com + @kilzbrand

Finally, after filling all of the cracks and screw head divots with wood filler and sanding it all down again the next day, I was ready for paint. This time around, I put KILZ paint to the test, and can confidently say that I’ll be using it again in the very near future to finish up our still-lingering bathroom makeover. The paint went on so smoothly, as you’ll see in just a minute, and it only took two coats to cover that ugly original finish.

Since I wanted my little side table to sport a matte black finish, I ordered a gallon of flat paint and primer in one in a color called “Rebel” from Walmart (’cause free shipping—yay!). Honestly, I think I probably could have gotten away with buying the smaller can of paint, but I’ve learned my lesson one too many times having to run out for more paint, so I always overbuy now.

How To Makeover A Thrifted Table With Paint | dreamgreendiy.com + @kilzbrand

How To Makeover A Thrifted Table With Paint | dreamgreendiy.com + @kilzbrand

Here’s a random tip! I had just settled down to get started on the painting phase of this project only to realize that I didn’t have any paint trays. Luckily, we had plenty of cardboard, and since I knew I only needed a small amount of paint to roll on top of the table, I dipped my roller right into the paint can, and rolled off the excess on my scrap cardboard. It worked like a charm! For the legs, I simply dipped an angled brush right into the can of paint and slowly spread the paint along the surface of all three, being careful to fill in all of the small details.

How To Makeover A Thrifted Table With Paint | dreamgreendiy.com + @kilzbrand

How To Makeover A Thrifted Table With Paint | dreamgreendiy.com + @kilzbrand

It only took two days and two coats of paint to completely (and I mean completely) transform that once-ugly ultra-traditional side table into a piece fit for our mid-century modern home. There’s just something so sleek and edgy about the table now that it’s all done in matte black color. Sure, the faux antiqued finish on the original table brought out the detailing in the legs, but I think the soft black paint brings those out even more, enhancing the dips and curves as the light hits it.

How To Makeover A Thrifted Table With Paint | dreamgreendiy.com + @kilzbrand

How To Makeover A Thrifted Table With Paint | dreamgreendiy.com + @kilzbrand

One thing you might have noticed when looking at that Before/After shot above is that I made the executive decision to give the side table a true “front” side. Originally, the table legs were oriented at angles to follow the round tabletop, but I glued the legs back on in an even manner. In other words, the flat sides of the legs are all pointed forward. This helps the three-legged stance feel a little more intentional and balanced.

How To Makeover A Thrifted Table With Paint | dreamgreendiy.com + @kilzbrand

How To Makeover A Thrifted Table With Paint | dreamgreendiy.com + @kilzbrand

Isn’t it just so amazing what a can of paint can do? I’m clearly biased, but I think you can hardly recognize the new matte black plant stand from the faux antiqued table it was before. Pick up your own KILZ paint at any local Walmart or Home Depot, and then tell me in the comments below: what’s your first painting project of 2018 going to be?

How To Makeover A Thrifted Table With Paint | dreamgreendiy.com + @kilzbrand

How To Makeover A Thrifted Table With Paint | dreamgreendiy.com + @kilzbrand

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Have Yourself A Merry, Merry Christmas

Have Yourself A Merry, Merry Christmas

We made it to the finish line! Christmas is officially here (well…at least Christmas weekend is within sight), which means it’s time for me to close up shop and step back from work to enjoy uninterrupted time with the people I love. I can’t wait to see everyone’s faces as they tear into the gifts I so happily picked out for them! I’m also especially looking forward to my mom’s annual Christmas breakfast feast, red velvet cake, and the final reveal of our family’s Secret Santa gift exchange. What are you most looking forward to?

Have Yourself A Merry, Merry Christmas

Have Yourself A Merry, Merry Christmas

I’m also really excited to chill out and enjoy a little downtime at home these next two weeks. I plan to sit by the fireplace surrounded by our four fur babes (Tonks is majestically representing the pack below), and dive down deep into the Gratitude Attitude journal I picked up for myself earlier this season.

Okay, that last part’s not entirely true…Truth be told, I actually purchased the journal as a gift to give, but some inner voice kept me from wrapping it up until the very last minute. In the end, I decided it was my intuition trying to tell me that I needed that journal to boost my own mental health as we round out another year. While 2017 hasn’t been a bad year, it hasn’t been a particularly happy one mentally for me, and I feel like I could stand to refocus my anxious heart on gratitude rather than worry.

Have Yourself A Merry, Merry Christmas

Have Yourself A Merry, Merry Christmas

Wreath | Garland | Ornaments | Stockings | Gold Trees | Bottle Brush Trees

I’m now two weeks into the journal, and couldn’t recommend it more if you’ve been struggling with anxiety or any other kind of mental malady. All you have to do is fill the pages in with three things you’re grateful for each day. Simple as that. (By the way, this post isn’t sponsored—I just love the Gratitude Attitude journal that much!).

I was telling my sister just the other night that practicing this type of written gratitude is almost like exercising—it’s training my brain to go straight to positives rather than negatives, and I already sense a difference in my daily outlook on life. It’s affecting mental muscles I didn’t even know I had, and I’m really looking forward to getting extra introspective as I take time off for the holidays.

Have Yourself A Merry, Merry Christmas

Have Yourself A Merry, Merry Christmas

Anyway, I just wanted to pop on quickly today to thank you all so much for your love, support, encouragement, and creative inspiration this past year. It sounds so cliche, but I couldn’t do this job without you. You’re the heart and soul of this digital space, and I can’t wait to go even higher and further than I’ve ever gone before with you all in 2018. Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and may your New Year’s celebration be the best one yet!

Have Yourself A Merry, Merry Christmas

Have Yourself A Merry, Merry Christmas

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for the Dream Green DIY newsletter! The first issue of 2018 hits everyone’s inboxes Wednesday, January 3, and will include a free printable New Year’s Resolution Worksheet. Sign up here!
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Our Wintery Weekend in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

When my sister announced that she was picking up and moving to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to take a job at her alma mater, Wake Forest University, my parents and I reacted with sort of mixed emotions. Of course, we couldn’t have been more excited for her new adventure in a city that she loved so much as a student, but we were also silently (okay…maybe not quite so silently) sad to know she was leaving Williamsburg behind.

If you know our family or if you’ve been following along with the blog for any length of time, then you’re well aware of our love for Colonial Williamsburg. The fresh air, historic architecture, and the general simplicity of the lifestyle at CW is just right up our alley, and I know I’ve already talked Williamsburg up as my antidote for negativity. Happily, now that we’ve had a chance to get to know Winston-Salem a bit better, we’ve found just as much to love.

Keep scrolling for lots of photos from our recent wintery weekend in Winston-Salem, plus a video guide of where to stay, what to do, and our favorite restaurants, too.

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

John and I booked a room at the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel for the weekend since I had been there over the summer and loved it. The room was just as beautiful as I remember, especially the bathroom. I can’t get over how beautiful those lights are, and the wallpaper stole my heart as well. With two mid-renovation bathrooms waiting for us back at home, it was such a pleasure to enjoy a fully finished, ultra stylish bath—even just for two days. One other note: do yourself a favor and make sure to schedule time for drinks and dinner at The Katharine. It’s in the lobby of the Cardinal hotel, and we really loved it—best service we had all weekend!

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

After getting settled in our hotel room, we hopped right back into the car to spend the day with my sister. She gave us a full walking tour of the Wake Forest campus, and I couldn’t recommend it more as an activity the next time you guys visit Winston-Salem. We wandered in and out of buildings, most of which are open to the public, visited Wait Chapel, and even dropped into the library.

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

My sister went to grad school at Wake Forest, but hadn’t been back to “her” section of the library since graduating a few years ago. Needless to say, it was a pretty sentimental experience for her to be back amongst the stacks she had relied so heavily on back in the day. As for me, I could have snapped photos and videos of the books all day long—there’s just something so calming about a hushed library filled floor to ceiling with books. Although we were there for just 15-20 minutes, it was definitely a highlight of the day.

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

Even if you don’t happen to have family or friends who go to Wake Forest as students (or who work there as staff), I would highly recommend a visit while in town. The campus is gorgeous no matter what season it is, and you’ll find plenty to see and do. Don’t miss the campus bookstores, by the way! To see our Winston-Salem weekend in action, click “Play” on the video above, or hop over to YouTube here if you can’t see the embedded video in your current browser.

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

We walked around Wake Forest until our feet ached and our stomachs grumbled so loudly that they couldn’t be ignored. After doing a bit of Googling around on our phones for places to eat, the three of us settled on Foothills Brew Pub for lunch. It was a fairly quick drive from campus and allowed us to roll through a few pretty neighborhoods where my sister dreams of owning a home someday. The pub is nestled in a bustling section of downtown Winston-Salem, but we somehow managed to grab a prime spot before power walking our grouchy tummies into lunch. Get the chicken sandwich and slaw if you go!

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

Next up on our adventure? Old Salem Museums and Gardens. As I mentioned before, our entire family is in a state of withdrawl now that Kat’s no longer living in Colonial Williamsburg, so it was really refreshing to visit the historic district of Old Salem. I love the stark contrast between the cobblestone streets and simple buildings of Old Salem and the towering skyscrapers of downtown just a handful of blocks away. Old Salem is much smaller than Colonial Williamsburg, but even just spending 25 minutes there left me feeling rejuvenated.

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

We wrapped up our weekend with a little window shopping at Thruway Center and dinner at The Porch, followed by some quality time at my sister’s new apartment. A fire in the fireplace, candles burning low, her dog, Rory, snoring away on the couch—It couldn’t have been a better end to our busy day.

Well, folks…This is my very last video of 2017! I’ve had so much fun creating new in-motion content for the site, and hope that you’ve enjoyed getting to see and hear more from us than you ever have before in the seven years I’ve been blogging. My first YouTube video was a completely spontaneous project that has grown into more than 20 mini “films” to call my own. I still have tons to learn, and I’m still trying to find my own distinct style, but I’m looking forward to testing new things in 2018. I can’t wait to show you what I have up my sleeve.

Thanks, as always, for following along, for subscribing, and for making me feel like the luckiest creative gal in the world!

What to do and where to stay in Winston-Salem, NC

*This story was an in-kind partnership with Kimpton Cardinal Hotel. Though compensation wasn’t received, we were given a complimentary stay in their hotel in order to experience it first-hand. All thoughts and opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Dream Green DIY!
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Beat Wintertime Cabin Fever With This Playlist

Beat Wintertime Cabin Fever With This Playlist

We’re in the homestretch toward Christmas, and it makes sense to turn up the holiday tunes as loud as possible now through December 25 (and maybe a little bit beyond, too!). That said, I wanted to set you up with a musical playlist that will take you well past the holidays.

Keep scrolling for my “Wintertime Cabin Fever” playlist, which is filled with songs that John and I will be jamming out to while hiding inside from the cold and snow of the season to come. It’s quite possibly the most random lineup of all time, but…HEY! When it comes to music, I say listen to whatever floats your boat, and these tracks are currently keeping our particular boat sailing away.

Beat Wintertime Cabin Fever With This Playlist

Beat Wintertime Cabin Fever With This Playlist

Beat Wintertime Cabin Fever With This Playlist

Wintertime Cabin Fever Playlist:

  1. Out On The Weekend, Neil Young
  2. Real World, Eisley
  3. This Charming Man, The Smiths
  4. Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head, B.J. Thomas and Burt Bacharach
  5. Alison, Elvis Costello
  6. What Katie Did, The Libertines
  7. Heart Of Gold, Neil Young
  8. We Will Become Silhouettes, The Postal Service
  9. Found Out About You, Gin Blossoms
  10. Fortunate Son, Creedence Clearwater Revival
  11. Jimmy Olsen’s Blues, Spin Doctors
  12. The Night Comes, Eisley
  13. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, The Smiths
  14. Til I Hear It From You, Gin Blossoms
  15. Can’t Get Enough, Bad Company
  16. Chicago, Graham Nash

Beat Wintertime Cabin Fever With This Playlist

Beat Wintertime Cabin Fever With This Playlist

Here’s hoping that our peppy playlist above keeps you energized while you’re avoiding wintertime weather. We’ll definitely be rocking out to the lineup all the way through spring. Now, be sure to leave your own top musical picks in the comments below, or shoot over a link to your favorite go-to Spotify playlist.

Beat Wintertime Cabin Fever With This Playlist

*Photos by Bethany and Aaron Mallory
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Christmas Gift Guide: Manly Man

Christmas Gift Guide: Manly Man

Every year, without fail, John and I struggle over what to get his dad for Christmas. He’s just one of those people who is really hard to shop for, and who rarely asks for anything—bless his heart. Truth be told, both sides of our family are working hard to simplify and none of us is asking for much this year.

The key to the perfect gift amongst our parents and sisters (and for us, too) is practicality. So, with that in mind, I pulled together a dozen gift ideas that I think the guys in your life will love, including my father-in-law. A handful of things are just for fun, but most I think tick the box for usefulness, too. Would you add anything else to the list? Do tell in the comments below!

Christmas Gift Guide: Manly Man

  1. Watch
  2. UNBORED Games Book
  3. Crystal Whiskey Glasses
  4. Long-Sleeve T-Shirt
  5. Stainless Steel Beard Trimmer
  6. Trucker Hat
  7. Quilted Dog Blanket
  8. Energising Face Scrub
  9. PrimaLoft-Lined Shirt
  10. Clif Bars
  11. Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whiskey
  12. Socks

This is actually the only gift guide I plan to publish on the blog this year, main reason being that I feel like we’re all being inundated by these types of posts on other favorite blogs and I don’t want to overwhelm you. I’m a big, big fan of gift guides (clearly!), but the last thing I want to do is seem pushy or sales-y. That’s definitely not the purpose of this blog, rather it’s meant to inspire you to come up with your own creative ideas. So, my hope is that this list above helps put you in the right frame of mind if you’re still on the hunt for a little something to give the guys in your life.

In case you’re totally head over heels for gift guides, though, and can’t get enough of them, feel free to click the linked graphic below to visit the curated Dream Green DIY shop, which is packed with click-able, shop-able ideas. You guys, in particular, might want to sign up for the Dream Green DIY newsletter, too, because the next issue hits everyone’s inboxes next Wednesday, and features last-minute Amazon Prime gifts to order ahead of Christmas day. Sign up here!

Visit the Dream Green DIY shop!

*I earn a small percentage from purchases made by the affiliate links above. Affiliate links are not sponsored. You can rest assured that I would NEVER recommend a product that we don’t use and love ourselves!
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DIY “Days Of The Week” To-Do List Calendar

* This post was sponsored by Oriental Trading

DIY Days-of-the-Week Clothespin Board | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

While a good portion of my DIY projects for Oriental Trading need to be intentionally “evergreen” (meaning they can be used or made any time of the year), this project is definitely something that, I think, works so well for this Christmasy holiday season.

Just think about it! How fun and practical would it be to use this DIY “Days Of The Week” To-Do List Calendar to countdown all of your very favorite festive traditions?! We’re talking Christmas movie nights, greeting card addressing, baking and decorating sugar cookies, maybe even an annual local wreath-making workshop. I know I’m hugely biased, but I would love to use this finished pin board to lay out each of the weeks’ tasks leading up to December 25, because this really is the most wonderful time of year, with to-dos that most definitely don’t feel like chores.

DIY Days-of-the-Week Clothespin Board | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

DIY Days-of-the-Week Clothespin Board | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

When Christmas is over, though, you’ll be able to use the clothespin calendar for any and all of your weekly obligations and events. It’s the perfect way to get you organized before diving head first into the brand new year in just a few weeks’ time. Visit the Oriental Trading Fun365 website now for the full tutorial for my DIY “Days Of The Week” To-Do List Calendar, and let me know in the comments a handful of the projects that are still left on your Christmas to-do list.

DIY Days-of-the-Week Clothespin Board | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

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Our Rust & Gold Christmas Living Room

Our Rust & Gold Christmas Living Room

Well, all I can say for myself is this: I really did try not to use so many photos in this post. I just couldn’t edit the collection down any more. This room is so festive and happy to me, which more than warrants a barrage of photographic evidence—at least in my opinion. I hope you guys don’t mind. My advice? Click “play” on some holiday tunes, grab a second cup of coffee (bonus points for the peppermint-flavored kind!), and settle in to soak up our full Christmas living room tour—22 photos and all.

Our Rust & Gold Christmas Living Room

Our Rust & Gold Christmas Living Room

Our Rust & Gold Christmas Living Room

While the furniture arrangement stayed largely the same this year in comparison to last year, the color palette is practically on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. We went from hot pink and minty blue holiday décor, to a softer, more neutral collection of colors.

Our new earthy art acted as the main source of inspiration for the new palette, as well as our existing leather couch. Alongside those pieces, our old collection of pink and blue ornaments just felt a little out of place. So, I quickly ran out to Target and spent $20 on a set of “rusty” round ornaments to use instead. I was able to combine the new rust-colored balls with our existing set of gold and silver ones from years gone by to fill our white tree with warmth and shimmer.

It just goes to show that you don’t have to spend a fortune year after year on new ornaments to suit your evolving tastes. Just supplement and combine what you already own to remix the look.

Learn more about our earth tone gallery wall here, including 19 other prints to inspire your own neutral art collection.

Our Rust & Gold Christmas Living Room

Our Rust & Gold Christmas Living Room

Our Rust & Gold Christmas Living Room

Our Rust & Gold Christmas Living Room

Earlier this week, I explained how my sister and I went on a mini shopping spree at Tuesday Morning, and how impressed we were by all that we were able to find (and afford). This was a shop I hadn’t been to since my days in high school, but it turns out that the brand has an awesome décor collection up for grabs. We had to edit our haul down quite a bit before lugging our carts up to the cash register because there were so many good picks to be had.

Watch the video embedded above to find out what we bought for the living room and how you can make a lot of the pieces work well beyond Christmas, too. By the way, while the post on Wednesday was sponsored by Tuesday Morning, this one here today is not. I was just that impressed and couldn’t help but spread the love into a second day.

Our Rust & Gold Christmas Living Room

Our Rust & Gold Christmas Living Room

Our Rust & Gold Christmas Living Room

Our Rust & Gold Christmas Living Room

Our Rust & Gold Christmas Living Room

Our Rust & Gold Christmas Living Room

I’m still well into purging mode right now, and am resistant about bringing anything new into our home unless I have a firm place in mind for it. Because of that mindset, I worked hard to style the space with as few traditional Christmas accessories as I could. Those little things add up so quickly and end up wreaking havoc on our basement storage system the rest of the year, so a lot of what you see here will probably end up staying out past Christmas.

The only things I plan to put away come December 26 are the Christmas trees, ornaments, the dried wreath, and our stack of holiday books. Everything else (from the pom-pom garland and artwork, to the new lamp, pillows, tray, and textiles we picked up at Tuesday Morning) will stay right where you see it. By keeping the holiday-themed accents to a minimum, they’re going to take up far less room in the basement, and (my favorite part) it will probably take about 25 minutes to clean up once the holidays are over.

Our Rust & Gold Christmas Living Room

Our Rust & Gold Christmas Living Room

Our Rust & Gold Christmas Living Room

Our Rust & Gold Christmas Living Room

Our Rust & Gold Christmas Living Room

Our Rust & Gold Christmas Living Room

Our Rust & Gold Christmas Living Room

Honestly, after looking through these photos, I feel like it could be even more minimalist. There’s just something about that big white Christmas tree that seems to scream, “LOOK AT ME!” am I right? What do you think? Should we have gone even more muted with our holiday decorations?

I think the room falls somewhere in between minimal and glam, which sounds like just about the most ridiculous combination a home could identify with, but I’ll simply call this my baby step toward minimalism until the 2018 holiday season rolls around. Tell me: what’s your Christmas color palette this year?

Our Rust & Gold Christmas Living Room

*This story was an in-kind partnership with Tuesday Morning. Though compensation wasn’t received, we were given product to style and experience first-hand. All thoughts and opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Dream Green DIY!
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How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar

*This post was sponsored by Tuesday Morning

How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad

Entertaining is something I love in theory, but I honestly don’t do it all that often. I have lots of ideas, and I love perusing other blogs and Pinterest for party ideas, but I personally tend to get really stressed out by the idea of hosting a large gathering.

This past year, though, John and I have worked hard to push ourselves beyond that anxiety, and we’ve successfully had our families up to the house for a few small gatherings (like this one). By keeping our guest list to family, it takes some of the pressure off—after all, we know our parents and sisters won’t judge us for having a home filled with half-finished projects!

The holidays, in particular, always provide lots of motivation to put my hostessing cap on, and this year I’ve decided that the perfect no-fuss, low-stress family gathering is one centered on a simple DIY Christmas hot chocolate bar. I’ve teamed up with the folks at Tuesday Morning to build the perfect holiday buffet, and I’m sharing all of the details (including a must-grab shopping list) below.

How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad

How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad

How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad

How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad

The first thing you’ll need (of course!) is a buffet. The china hutch in our dining room actually transforms into a buffet by clearing and lifting off the top shelf portion, so that’s exactly what we did, but any buffet or console table will do.

If you don’t have a buffet, though, it’s totally fine to clear off your main dining room table to use as a place to set your food and serving dishes. We did this for my dad’s birthday party since we had extended family joining us for that gathering, and it worked out really well. We all ate comfortably in easy chairs in the living room.

How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad

How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad

How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad

How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad

Must-Grab Accessories:

  • Runner or placemats
  • Linen or paper napkins
  • Faux evergreen wreath
  • Large serving bowl
  • Small serving bowl
  • Stack of dessert plates
  • Tiny bowls for toppings
  • Festive tray
  • Mugs
  • Spoons
  • Holiday decorations (ceramic reindeer, bottle brush trees, etc.)

How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad

How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad

How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad

How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad

I took my sister along with me to our local Tuesday Morning (find your own store here) to gather supplies for our little holiday party, and it was an absolute blast. We filled our cart to overflowing with all sorts of things—from pillows (our living room reveal is coming on Friday, so stay tuned!) and plates, to Christmas-themed accents and serving dishes, too. We were able to make our budget go really far, and I love that this set of pieces can be used year after year.

I’m really trying to be extra intentional this year with the pieces I buy for our house. I want to buy things that I know we’ll love year after year, so I wandered the store with that in mind. Every time I picked up an item, I asked myself, “What are a couple of ways I can put this to use?” If I could only come up with one cool way to style the piece, I put it back on the shelf.

I used to go out and buy all sorts of really specific items for a particular party or decorating idea, but I’ve come to realize that my tastes change far too often to shop that way. Instead, I try to buy neutral pieces that work for parties and everyday occasions, for winter and fall, too. You know how a lot of people are into capsule wardrobes? Well, I’m into capsule decor! It’s the same idea of purchasing a few key pieces that work for all sorts of occasions and seasons.

How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad

How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad

How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad

Must-Grab Food:

  • Pre-popped seasoned popcorn
  • Christmas sugar cookies
  • Hot chocolate packets
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Chocolate chips
  • BONUS: Whipped cream at-the-ready in the fridge

How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad

How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #adHow To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad

How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad

How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad

Once I had everything home, I first laid my runner down (an earth-tone beauty that will work any day of the year!), and then placed each of my serving dishes down on top of that. I rearranged until they felt right, and then I filled in the blank spots with Christmas-themed pieces—things like a pair of metallic gold Christmas trees and a few vintage accents that I already had in our holiday stash. As for art, a faux evergreen wreath (you’ll find similar ones at Tuesday Morning!) was all I needed to get the festive point across.

How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad

How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad

In the end, this Christmas buffet took maybe 30 minutes to set up, and since I bought mostly pre-made food from the grocery store, it was even less time-intensive. I hope the styling accents and food shopping lists I put together help get you excited to throw your own hot chocolate party this Christmas.

You can click here to learn more about Tuesday Morning, and to find a store location near you to explore. Keep an eye out on Friday for the reveal of our decked-out holiday living room with even more from our shopping day, as well as lots of decorating advice, too.

How To Style A Christmas Hot Chocolate Bar | dreamgreendiy.com + @tuesdaymorning #ad

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