December 31, 2013

New Year's Resolutions: Awful? or Awesome?

When it comes to New Year's Resolutions, the statistics don't lie: only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions stick to them, and those who don’t usually abandon them after just one week.

Does that mean that we shouldn't make resolutions at all? I hope not! I love the feeling of having a fresh start... and what better time to do it than the beginning of a new year?



I've done a little homework to find out which resolutions are a setup for disappointment and which will allow you to make some real changes this year. 

December 27, 2013

A few days off... {Self-Care Saturday}

Taking a few days off after Christmas is a great way to recharge and prepare for the coming new year. It feels so good to have some time to spend with family, clean up some of the holiday clutter, and just relax! 

And so... for just a while longer, my posts will remain several days apart. Not only will I be taking a much needed break, but I'll be preparing for an awesome new year of blogging and looking forward to sharing it with you!

December 21, 2013

Keep Warmth In Your Heart {Self-Care Saturday}

It's less than a week before Christmas and SO easy to slip into "GO MODE" to get all of those last minute things done. Today I'm reminded to stay focused on the important things and keep warmth in my heart. 

I was recently introduced to the Danish term "hygge" - a vague concept that really doesn't translate into English, but has made Denmark the happiest country on earth, even though they have longer, darker winters than we do here in Minnesota.

Even though I have been saying "HIGGIE" like "JIGGIE" like "Gettin' Higgie Wit It" - it actually sounds more like HYU-gah - and it's even harder to translate!

December 18, 2013

Great DIY Last Minute Gift Ideas

If you're not done with your holiday shopping, no worries! Here are TEN awesome DIY gift ideas that you can totally pull off before Christmas. There's something for everyone and nothing on the list that I wouldn't love personally - which is always the way I pick the projects to feature! 

Some of these are so simple you'll wonder why you didn't think of it before - especially the car air fresheners - but it's certainly not too late to put together some great gifts!

December 16, 2013

When Simplifying Makes Thing More Stressful

Sometimes working to simplify your life gets complicated! As an avid learner of anything that makes life better, I've researched and studied more things about simplifying your life than you can even imagine.

Much of the information out there is great. Some of the information I've shared without trying out first myself. (more on that in a sec.) Some of the suggestions seem too much of a sacrifice - like capsule wardrobes. No thanks!

When simplifying causes stress, it's time to take another look at the whole deal. Here are a few of my thoughts:

December 15, 2013

Life Is Very Short {Sunday Inspiration}


Life is very short, and there's no time for fussing & fighting my friend.

December 13, 2013

Winter Cleaning

When the halls are decked, the gifts under the tree, the stockings hung, it's time to get down to business and do your winter cleaning.

Winter cleaning is a lot different than spring cleaning... During the cold winter months, our windows are closed, and that affects the air quality in our homes. Adding pets, chemical cleaning products, dirt from outside and dust from your heating system only makes things worse! Here are the most important things to do for winter cleaning:

December 11, 2013

Yummy Homemade Treats for Your Dog

Not only are dog treats expensive, but the quality of the ingredients used has been questioned more than once. Dogs have gotten sick, and some have even died, from contaminated pet treats. Here are some fabulous recipes for doggie treats that are a homemade, wholesome alternative. 

December 10, 2013

Beautiful Winter Decorating Ideas

In "Creating A Beautiful Little Christmas" I recommend that instead of filling your home with Christmas decorations, you instead decorate for the winter season. You can add a few nice things that are specific to Christmas, but by decorating for the season instead of for the holiday, you don't have to switch everything out when Christmas is over.

December 8, 2013

It Always Seems Impossible Until It Is Done - Nelson Mandela {Sunday Inspiration}

It always seems impossible until it is done.  - Nelson Mandela

image source: darlingmagazine.org

December 7, 2013

Easy Minnesota Comfort Food: Wild Rice Casserole Recipe

Today for "Self Care Saturday" I'm showing how good I am at self-care by combining YESTERDAY'S recipe post and TODAY'S self-care post. I have a nasty sinus headache but I'm still responsible for feeding the crew around here, and with these below zero temperatures here in Minneapolis, a good old Minnesota hot-dish and a loaf of homemade bread will be a perfect dinner for us.

December 5, 2013

Choices & Illusions by Eldon Taylor {Book Review}

I was sent this book, "Choices and Illusions" by Eldon Taylor, free for review by Hay House, but all opinions are mine.

"Choices and Illusions" is all about the way that your brain works and why your brain causes you to think the way that you do. Every decision that we make is influenced by our past experiences. Those influences can be positive, but they can also cause negative actions that impact the way that we live our life each and every day. 

December 4, 2013

Holiday Tip: Keep the Wine Flowing! VinoVinti Makes It Better

This post brought to you by VinoVinti. All opinions are 100% mine.

In my book "Creating A Beautiful Little Christmas" I talk just a bit about wine and offered a few recommendations of inexpensive choices, but I have to say that I LOVE wine. I love a glass with dinner, or sometimes a glass before bed. My favorite wine is a red that is not too sweet and not too dry - like a medium bodied Zinfandel - nice and SMOOTH!

I'm certainly no wine expert, but I can recommend that you check out my friend Mo's blog at http://mocadeaux.com for some great wine recommendations. She was recently at the San Diego Wine + Food Festival and posted some awesome wine selections that would make great gifts!

Another great gift idea is the VinoVinti. It's the greatest invention that you've never heard of! It removes excess carbon dioxide from wine, improving the flavor and smoothness of any wine. (similar to letting it "breathe" only a LOT faster!)  It uses a patented ceramic rod and vacuum pump to allow the excess CO2 molecules to form a bubble and escape the bottle, leaving behind a much better wine! Check out the video showing how it works... it's amazing!



I expected VinoVinti to be expensive, but it's not! It's $39.95 for everything you need to improve the flavor, feel and finish of any wine. It's not available in a lot of stores yet, so you need to go to their website VinoVinti to buy it, but what a PERFECT hostess gift to give this season! Or how about for that friend who loves wine, but you wouldn't feel comfortable selecting a bottle for her?

I liked VinoVinti on Facebook and you should too. You can read all of the comments from real people who have used VinoVinti and noticed a big difference in their wine. I can't wait to hear back from all of my readers after they give VinoVinti this Christmas so I can hear how much their friends and family enjoy it!

**Please drink responsibly, and as always, only drink if you are at least 21 years old or older**

Visit Sponsor's Site

December 3, 2013

Decorating for Christmas - Oh Christmas Tree!

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is the smell of a real Christmas tree. Because we have a crazy puppy in our house these days, we had to get a little creative! I didn't want a spindly Charlie Brown tree, so we selected our tree, then asked for a fresh cut - a foot above where the tree was originally cut! I did a little more trimming of lower branches after we got home, but I'm pretty happy with the results overall! 

I've been busy refinishing my printers cabinet so that we could get it in the house, but more on that later! Best of all, since the tree is 4 feet off the ground it's completely puppy proof!

December 2, 2013

Now available in PAPERBACK!

"Creating A Beautiful Little Christmas"  is now available for immediate purchase in paperback! Buy your copy on amazon.com! 


December 1, 2013

Small Gifts {Sunday Inspiration}


The right gift doesn't have to break the bank. You can give a small token of your friendship with a small gift. For a huge variety of small gifts, many under $10, visit our small gift guide!  http://www.abeautifullittlelife.com/gift-guide.html

November 26, 2013

Festive Casual Style

Festive casual style is just exactly what it sounds like. Sometimes you need to dress to the nines for a special event during the holiday season, but for the most part you don't need cocktail attire. When you're working, shopping, entertaining or running errands, what you really want is a casual look with a touch of something special to make it more festive.

Start with a single color outfit. Monochromatic dressing not only helps you look thinner, it also adds just a bit of sophistication.

Pin It To Win It


November 24, 2013

Create A Life That Feels Good {Sunday Inspiration}


Create a life that feels good on the inside, not one that just looks good on the outside.

November 20, 2013

"What's for Dinner?" Product Review: eMeals

I was recently approached to test a website called eMeals that not only gives you a customized meal plan for your family, but does a lot more! When you go to the website emeals.com you are immediately able to select a meal plan based on your family size. If you're cooking for 1 or 2 people, select the "For 2" plan. If you're cooking for 3-6 people, select the "Family" plan. The menu plan that you receive is designed so that you don't have a lot of food waste - and that means no wasted money on food, no leftovers going bad in the back of the fridge, and more money in your wallet! eMeals actually saves an average of $1,000 a year by proving a meal plan and grocery store coupons! (click here for more info on the money savings!)

November 19, 2013

HELP! I need advice about ankle boots, please!

One of my most popular posts on the blog is the one about how to wear ankle boots. Over the weekend, I received the following email:

November 18, 2013

Estate Sale SCORE! Antique Hamilton Printers Cabinet

Yesterday Dave and I were at an estate sale just blocks from our house when I spotted an antique Hamilton printers cabinet down in the dusty basement next to a VERY extensive collection of old Playboy magazines. The cabinet had all of the drawers and it was in decent condition and was priced pretty competitively even before we knew that it was 50% off!


November 16, 2013

Stop Feeling Guilty! {Self-Care Saturday}


A little self indulgence can go a long way when it comes to taking care of yourself...But why is it that we still feel guilty when we take advantage of some personal time? There is a difference between selfishness and self care, and taking good care of your needs is never a selfish thing!

November 14, 2013

Quick and Easy Pumpkin Muffin in a MUG!

I'm always hungry for carbs in the morning... a muffin, a cookie, anything sweet and yummy. It makes it really hard to start the day out right! Today I adapted a recipe that I found online for a pumpkin muffin that you can make in about 5 minutes using a coffee mug and your microwave! 

November 11, 2013

Happy Anniversary Dave!


This week we had our 2 year wedding anniversary! Dave and I got married at our home on 11/11/11 and I can honestly say that the last 2 years (along with the 4 before that) have been the happiest years of my life.

Since the traditional gift for the second year wedding anniversary is COTTON, we decided to splurge on a new set of super high thread count cotton sheets for our bed. I made a little stop along the way to purchase some embroidery floss and a hoop so that I could embroider a little heart on his pillowcase. My mom taught me to embroider when I was just a little kid, but it's been about 30 years since I embroidered anything. I think she would be proud of my crooked little heart! Almost as proud as she was of the great guy that I landed. She was right... he's definitely "a keeper!"

November 9, 2013

What Happens When You Keep Going {Self-Care Saturday}

All of the motivation websites say to "KEEP GOING" at all costs... and that's true! In order to accomplish things and make your dreams come true, you can't get discouraged, you can't stop making progress, and you can't give in to pressure. 

we've moved!

a beautiful little life
We've moved... Please visit the new website at www.abeautifullittlelife.com to see the new site and click on the "BLOG" tab to see more posts from "a beautiful little life".

November 8, 2013

Staying Out of the Shopping Trap


This is the first post in a series to help you create a beautiful little Christmas for you and your family this year - and with the black friday ads already being leaked and Oprah's "Favorite Things" all over the news I thought I'd start with a post about shopping during the holiday season.

I saw an article yesterday on how to stay safe on black friday. Meaning how to not get trampled to death at WalMart and how to not get mugged walking from your car to the mall. Merry Christmas! Really? 

Quick - grab a piece of paper and a pen. At the top of the paper, write "2012" and draw a line under it. Now try to list the Christmas presents that you bought last year and who they were for. Ready? GO!

Granted, I have a TERRIBLE memory, but I'm embarrassed to say that I could only remember a few things. The gifts that I remember are the ones that I knew were the perfect gifts...a telescope for my oldest son that I spent hours researching to find an affordable one that wasn't junk...a bigger computer monitor for my younger son that is a gamer. 

The small things - the "fill-in" gifts that I thought were so important - well let's just say that I could have passed. There's the game that hasn't been played, the tie clip that hasn't been worn... good ideas in theory but not necessary. 


I like the idea of 4 gifts - 1 that they want, 1 that they need, 1 thing to wear and 1 thing to read. It may require a bit of customization for the guys that are in desperate need of clothes (all 3 of them) but overall, I think I'll be better off this year skipping all of those little things and focus on the things that will mean the most. 

I know that the research will take a good bit of time, but think of all the time I'll save shopping this year - not to mention the money! And on black friday, I'm sleeping in!

November 7, 2013

Fall After Winter?

Sometimes it snows in April (and May) ... and sometimes leaves fall in November after snow. 
Because of a summer drought, the trees here in the Minneapolis area have not yet finished dropping their leaves. We had a few inches of snow the other night that is quickly melting away, but I couldn't help but run for my camera when I saw the leaves falling on my patio table.


November 6, 2013

"Creating A Beautiful Little Christmas" Free Sample Download!

Bigger isn't always better...especially when it comes to celebrating the holidays. Keeping things small during the holiday season will help you not only maintain your sanity, but it can also help you create a meaningful celebration that you enjoy! 

"Creating A Beautiful Little Christmas" will help you determine what's important to you during the holidays, and create new ideas regarding how you'd like things to be for you and your family this season.






This book contains hundreds of ideas to help you create a beautiful Christmas for you and your family:
  • Decorate your home inside and out beautifully, inexpensively and without stressing out.
  • Look your best all season long by adding a little sparkle and shine to your wardrobe basics.
  • Pledge to take care of yourself and make time to nurture your spirit during this busy time of year.
  • Find meaning in the season, even if you're not religious.
  • Perfect the art of gift giving for everyone on your list.
  • Entertain your guests without breaking a sweat by planning ahead.
By keeping things small, you'll soon see that you have more time available for the things that are really important to you. When your holidays are filled with things that are meaningful to you, you are “Creating A Beautiful Little Christmas.”

To download a free sample of the book, visit amazon.com and request a sample copy to be sent to your kindle. If you don't have a kindle, you can download the kindle app for free and install it on your computer, tablet, or phone and use it to download all sorts of books! 

November 5, 2013

Let the SHOPPING BEGIN!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Mont Bleu for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
Yes, I do still have Christmas on the brain! If you have read "Creating A Beautiful Little Christmas" you'll know that this time of year I recommend that you start planning for gift giving. Start a secret board on Pinterest and start pinning gift ideas for those special people in your life! I love Pinterest... totally addicted! I also have boards where I have pinned general gift ideas for men, women and coworkers!

One of the things that I love this season is all of the cool retro items for women. MAC Retro Lipstick, beautiful patent leather clutch handbags from Christian Louboutin, pressed powder kits from Anna Sui, and I LOVE these compact mirrors! Compacts are one of those things that all of our mothers had in their purse and they are coming back strong! Just look at them to see why...
compact mirror

November 4, 2013

Easy Make-Ahead Freezer Meals

I have Christmas on my brain. After having spent what feels like the last million weeks or so writing about it, I should be all set for the holidays this year!

There is a bit in "Creating A Beautiful Little Christmas" where I talk about planning ahead NOW and freezing some meals. The week before Christmas is always so busy-there is never time to put anything decent on the table, and it's super easy to make a double batch now and put one batch in the freezer for later.

I included several of our favorite recipes that are great freezer meals in the book, and I thought I'd share a few here. Hope you enjoy them!

November 1, 2013

Creating A Beautiful Little Christmas

Creating A Beautiful Little Christmas is ready and available for download here at www.abeautifullittlelife.com. Just on time, too, because with Halloween behind us, the Christmas season is officially upon us!

This book contains hundreds of ideas to help you create a beautiful Christmas for your family and includes over 30 great recipes.

It's priced at just $8.99 and is available for immediate download. The 3 free e-books that come with your purchase will be emailed to you at the address provided at the time of purchase. 

If you have any questions or any difficulties when downloading the book, please let me know immediately, and if you're interested in purchasing a paperback copy of "Creating A Beautiful Little Christmas" let me know. 

Cheers to a peaceful and beautiful holiday season!

October 30, 2013

Perfect PIXIE Haircuts Part 4: 31 Brides with Pixie Cuts

When I married my husband, I was sporting a short little pixie with a sparkly headband and I loved it! But every traditional bridal photo that you see features long, flowing hair with a gentle wave to it, or an elegant updo. 

Why not rock your pixie on your big day? Here are some examples of beautiful brides with super short hair.

Perfect PIXIE Haircuts Part 3: 18 Pixie Cuts with Accessories

When you have short hair, it's challenging to find the right look using headbands, scarves and hair clips. 

Here are some of my favorite pics of women rocking a pixie with accessories!

Perfect PIXIE Haircuts Part 2: 27 Perfect Classic Pixie Cuts

I am always torn between wearing my hair cropped in a super short pixie or wearing it long enough to pull back in a ponytail. I love the ease of having longer hair, but in my opinion there is nothing more chic than a woman with short hair. It just shows a certain confidence and style that never goes unnoticed!

Here are some of my favorite pixie cuts.

Perfect PIXIE Haircuts Part 1: The Asymmetrical Pixie

Miss Miley can be thanked for all of the adorable, blonde asymmetrical pixie cuts out there... and she really knows how to rock it! Here are some of my favorite asymmetrical pixie cuts - including Miley's!

October 22, 2013

Moving Day!

Hello readers! As I worked to prepare to launch my book, "Creating A Beautiful Little Christmas" I realized that I had outgrown blogger. It was time to move on to a platform that provided more options. I'm happy to introduce www.abeautifullittlelife.com, where you'll find not only my blog, but also a new store where you can currently pre-order my book, "Creating A Beautiful Little Christmas." 

I know that my posts have been scarce these days as I work on completing my first book. Thanks to everyone for your support and encouragement as I work towards an official launch on October 30th!



As of right now, my domain hasn't been redirected to the new site yet, but it should be up and running by the time you read this. I look forward to hearing what you think of the new site!

October 20, 2013

Live In Joy {Sunday Inspiration}

source

We cannot cure the world of sorrows but we can choose to live in joy. - Joseph Campbell

October 19, 2013

Creativity as a Form of Self Care {Self-Care Saturday}

I have been blogging each Saturday about RADICAL SELF CARE and how important it is to take good care of ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Today I'd like to talk about using your creative juices - whatever your creative talents might be - as a form of self care.

October 17, 2013

A Beautiful Autumn Day


Today is one of my favorite kind of days. It's 57° outside, partly cloudy and just a light breeze. The colors on the trees are amazing and I just got back from an hour long walk around the neighborhood with the dogs. Life is good!

October 15, 2013

Organizing Your Closet for Fall


It's officially "sweater weather" and I have yet to dig out most of my sweaters from storage. Time to organize my closet and get on it before the snow starts to fall!

October 14, 2013

Fall Makeup Trends From The Runway

The fall runways featured lots of beautiful fresh faces - the smoky eye with a neutral face is strikingly stunning! Here are some of my favorite looks from the fall shows.

October 13, 2013

Always Be A Little Kinder {Sunday Inspiration}

original source unknown

Always be a little kinder than necessary.