Life

Have an Epic 2017

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Gertrude is making a comeback in 2017.

It’s cliche and overwrought now, the idea of telling 2016 to not let the door hit it on the butt as it disappeared into history. It was a hard year no doubt, with the loss of so many familiar and famous faces, an unsettling presidential election, and so much tension worldwide. 2016 wasn’t an entirely bad year, though. I had a couple of significant personal highs, my brother getting married and the birth of my first child being tops of the list for me. But the year is over now and we are just a few days into 2017. I’m not one for resolutions, but for some reason this year it feels important to set a course. My life is dramatically different as I embark on a new year. 2017 Nicole is a very different lady than 2016 Nicole so I’ve taken a couple of days (most of them spent dealing with a fussy, post-shots baby boy) to figure out what direction I want to steer my new year in.

Guys, I’m planning to have an epic 2017.

On Friday I go back to work, but I am in a sense going to a whole new life. My job is amazing and I’ve been able to take on a different job role which in turn gives me a schedule that pretty much lets me be a stay at home mom while still earning a full-time income. This schedule change means my precious baby J is only going to be in childcare one day each week (and right now we’re lucky enough to have a family friend watching him.) It also means that I will actually have the flexibility to pursue some of my creative passions, like writing. Like makeup. Like everything. In 2017 I’m going to be working on my makeup and stylist side gigs, but also combining them with some other pursuits to create a whole image service. I’m also going to be working a bit with Rebecca Lassiter Photography and I am so excited about it. Rebecca took baby J’s first photos and I am obsessed with her work. I can’t wait to see where my creative pursuits take me.

I’m also focusing on my health and well-being this year. Last year was the year of finding out what was going on with myself emotionally and while mental health is always a work in progress I enter 2017 knowing my diagnosis and having a coping plan. What I need to focus on now is my body. Having a baby is hard! Being a mommy after the difficult physical process of birth is almost as taxing. I’ve already lost weight since having the baby, but I want to get myself to a healthy body weight. I’ve started doing Weight Watchers to help me towards my end goal of being literally half my size. It’s not about looking good (though I feel like I will be happier with my appearance) it’s about having my body in the best shape possible as J gets bigger and gives me a run for my money.

And speaking of money…I’m definitely trying to be more financially responsible this year. Expect to see more of my Target exploits, still unsupervised but perhaps a little more savvy. I have killer Target Style. Now I just want to do it on even more of a budget, which of course makes it even more awesome.

2017’s going to be awesome. It’s going to be epic.

What are your plans for 2017?

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House and Home, Life

$50 Fab: Holiday Style

It’s a fair assessment that I like to decorate my house. It’s also a fair assessment that I love Target, that I enjoy being thrifty, and that those three things do not always go together. Decorating can be pricey, I can spend way too much money at Target, and when I’m trying to save money it doesn’t always work well. That being said it is not impossible to get your space fabulous for the holidays on the cheap. It’s taken me a few years to sort it out but this year I finally got it right. I present to you $50 Fab, my best tricks to get great decor on the cheap.

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1.Target Dollar Spot is the best thing ever. There are always neat things in that bargain bin treasure trove and it is a great place to get seasonal items. This year I scored four glitter Christmas trees, three wooden holiday signs, chalkboard reindeer ornaments, a festive chalkboard easel, and some adorable little skis for $33 total. It was enough to add fine details to nearly ever corner of my living room/office area. I spent another twelve dollars on Christmas tree bunting, a small Ikea picture frame, and some candles.

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2. Look for items after the holiday that you can use next year. I’ve gone to day after Christmas sales with my mom and grandmother for years and I often pick up random things that seem like they’d make no sense. I’d pick up random tablecloths, packs of ball ornaments, leftover candles, whatever caught my eye. I’d usually spend less than $20 and have a lot of odds and ends. Those odds and ends can easily be incorporated into a design. Those black and silver ball ornaments I got five years ago? This year they fill my grandfather’s vintage lunchbox not only making a nice design statement but also incorporating family memories into my home.

3. Think outside the box. Is there a beautiful piece of wrapping paper you just love? Frame it. It makes great holiday wall art or even mantle art. Those sparkly fabric placemats I bought after Christmas last year? They can be easily stitched together (or even fabric taped together) to make a unique and fun runner.  Leftover tinsel? Put it in a glass bowl or vase for a bit of pretty bling.

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4. Never underestimate hand-me-downs. When I moved out on my own my mom let me raid some of her unused holiday things. I scored lots of random old vintage things (like electric candle lights) as well as some things that she just didn’t use (like porcelain letters spelling out “joy”.) When a friend was changing out her theme for holiday decorations she gave me some of her European Santa Clause figures.  A family friend passed onto me a stuffed Santa she remembered I liked as a child. These things all round out my decorations, but also incorporate people I love into my home.

5. Be you. Just like last year, Holiday Yoda has his place of honor on my bookshelf. Yes, Holiday Yoda is a talking Yoda toy draped in beads. And I love him.

I’d love to hear your tips for cheap decorating. Give me tips in comments!

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