Kicking off the holiday season with White Christmas at the Aronoff

This past week, I joined Broadway in Cincinnati for opening night of Irving Berlin's White Christmas at the Aronoff Center. Boy was I excited for this one! White Christmas has been my all-time favorite holiday story. From the classic songs to the dance numbers, I've always enjoyed this timeless tale of two performing couples who turned their talent into a game changer for a man who meant so much to many.

First and foremost...the songs! From "Sisters" to "Snow," they bring a smile to my face. (I even ordered an art print with the "Snow" lyrics on it as part of my holiday decor. This year, it will be featured front and center on my mantle.)

The theater experience turned magical when the cast invited the audience to sing along with the headlining song, "White Christmas." For me, that really felt like the official kickoff to the holiday season.

Like most plays, this show differed from the movie and I was pleasantly surprised by the extra dance numbers and additional musical features. One tap routine performed by cast is an impressive showcase of endurance and talent (and that's coming from someone who has judged competitive cheer and dance for years).

At the end of the evening, you walk away with a valuable lesson..."If you're worried and you can't sleep, just count your blessings instead of sheep...and you'll fall asleep counting your blessings." A great reminder for all of us!

You still have an opportunity to see White Christmas yourself. It will be in Cincinnati until Sunday, December 6. Find the schedule and purchase tickets here.

A special thanks to Broadway in Cincinnati for inviting me and the hubs to join them for opening night!

Photos by Kevin White

You're invited: 12 days of Christmas tour of homes

I'm excited to be joining an all-star team of design bloggers for 12 days of holiday home tours. Starting this week, you'll find loads of inspiration from this group of talented ladies! 

December 1

December 2

December 3

December 4

December 7 

December 8 

December 9

December 10

December 11

December 14
Simply Sarah Style | Rough Luxe

On December 15, come back and link up your own holiday home tour! I look forward to seeing how you make your home a special reflection of family Christmas traditions. 

Happy holidays, my friends!

Sensational Celebrations with Just Simply L Party Studio

You know I'm such a sucker for standout party goods. I love to make celebrations extra special by enhancing the visual experience. And I always have a set of go-to supplies in my party pantry. (True story...I do have a party pantry. Don't laugh.)

Without a doubt, I know you can take a table from drab to fab with a few key elements. Party confetti is definitely one of those elements. Just sprinkle across the surface and you can create a festive vibe in seconds. I love it, because 1) it allows you to infuse key colors at an affordable price and 2) you don't have to stress on perfect placement. Just sprinkle and scatter. The more inconsistent the placement, the better.

I was delighted when I discovered Just Simply L Party Studio on Instagram. Talk about a party planner's dream! Lourdes, the shop owner, offers an expansive collection of supplies, including my go-to confetti in a variety of gorgeous color combinations. From clever balloon designs to stationery, straws and stickers, she has it all in her Etsy shop!

Here are some of her products that caught my eye:

You'll have to browse all of her color combinations, plus the preprinted balloons (think bows, cute sayings, hearts and more)!

How just are those bows and the snowflake?!?

Imagine these as your base for wrapping gift cards or small holiday baked goods.

You can even consider these for a hot chocolate bar!

I'm in party supply heaven with Just Simply L and have already incorporated a few of her products into Thanksgiving setup.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends! I'm so thankful for each of you who continue to join me in my journey to add a little bit of pretty to every aspect of life.

This post was was sponsored by Just Simply L, but all opinions are my own.

Our gender reveal party

He or she? What will our little pumpkin be?!?

A few weeks ago, we held a gender reveal party to share our big news with family and friends. I struggled on selecting a concept and color palette. Since our party was the night before Halloween, I thought we should stick with a fall theme, and because pink and blue would be easy, we went that direction too.

I only decorated a small portion of our house...essentially our sunroom. I infused a few fall touches (painted pumpkins, candy apples, etc.) and tried to make several of the goodies myself.

Because we were entertaining a group of 40 people, we kept it simple with just drinks and dessert. I knew that I could not prepare a full dinner for a crowd this size after working all day.

As you can see, Katy from Spoonful of Sugar Cookies never disappoints. She is my go-to resource when it comes to a custom cookie.

My mom and I decorated apples with Candy Melts from Michael's and quickly cranked out some Rice Krispie treats.

God bless my dear goddaughter for volunteering to dig through the massive barrel at Fresh Thyme to pick out all of the blue and pink taffy! And for the record, the blue taste far better than the pink.

We gave out these adorable candy wands from Lisa Frank as party favors. Yes, I said, "Lisa Frank," but this is a different Lisa Frank...You should totally check her out on Instagram. She puts together the most adorable party packs!

On the spot, we asked our parents to the do the honor of cutting the cake. 

They were so surprised and delighted to be heading up the unveiling. 

And I think they were even mores surprised when they cut into the cake!

So we'll be welcoming a baby boy to Team P!

Love something you saw? Here's the source list:
A very special thanks to our dear friend Steve from Brookside Photography for capturing this milestone!

Holiday gift giving with Hallmark Gold Crown

As many of you know, I'm a gift-giving girl. It's in my blood (and even in my logo). I grew up in a family that celebrates all occasions, even going beyond what's expected during the typical holiday season. No matter what the budget or occasion, my family - especially my mom - always knows how to make milestones extra special or show appreciation through the use of a gift.

Now here's a great idea straight from my mom...She keeps a "surprise box" in the closet which houses items she collects throughout the year that can serve as great gifts, say for the party hostess, a teacher or a coach, a friend who's having a bad week, etc. She always has a full stock of giftable goodies ready to go.

Like I said, it's in my blood. I'm naturally a gift-giver. I love to buy people gifts...and the holiday season is no exception. During the holidays, I want to buy for everyone. It's the perfect time to show people how much you value them. Whether you plan to spend $5 or $50, it's the thought associated with the token of appreciation that matters.

Wondering where to find some of the best goodies for the holiday season? I've found that Hallmark Gold Crown stores always offer products suited for a wide variety of audiences. No matter who you are shopping for, you can find the perfect little surprise at your local Hallmark.

I recently visited Hallmark's holiday section to explore quick and easy gift options for the Christmas season. I personally love to take store bought finds and wrap them up in a show-stopping manner. Honestly, if I could be a professional gift-wrapper and make a decent living, I would totally sign-up. (Hey, Hallmark - If you decided to add professional wrappers to your employee lineup, shoot me an email and I'll be there for the interview!)

Today, I'm excited to share three gift ideas I discovered at the Hallmark store in the Crestview Hills Town Center. I picked up the following items because I knew they're so versatile and would work for any female on my to-buy for list. In fact, they would be perfect for a "surprise box!"
Additionally, I picked up the following items to polish off the packages:

To wrap these, I went with my go-to technique: bag and bow.

Bagging and bowing is my solution for making any item more festive in the matter of minutes. Seriously, just keep some cellophane wrap or bags, plus ribbon and gift tags, on hand and you'll always be able to pull together a gorgeous gift in no time.

Ready to see how it's done? I put my bag and bow philosophy to use when wrapping the three new gifts I picked up at Hallmark.

And we're done!

Making store bought gifts look even more special is easy and can be done in minutes.

Have you stopped by Hallmark lately? What finds have you recently discovered there? I especially have my eye on more handcrafted items in their Crafters & Co. line.

A special thanks to Hallmark for sponsoring this post!


Gifting back: A special invitation for you

Please note: Due to the overwhelming interest in this event, we have extended the shopping time. Instead of 6 to 8 pm, please join us from 5:30 to 8:30 pm.

I am delighted to host a gifting back event in partnership with Fort Thomas Central, a charming gift boutique located in the heart of Fort Thomas. I'm a big fan of shopping local and have supported Fort Thomas Central since it's opening a few years ago. This shop offers a variety of designer goods as well as unique pieces from local artisans.

I invite you to join me in shopping for a great cause. Not only will you enjoy 10% off your purchase, light bites and cocktails, you'll also be supporting a good cause. On this evening, 10% of sales will benefit the LifeCenter Organ Donor Network.

You see, organ donation is a cause close to my heart. When I was a junior in college, I lost my dad in a car accident. Even though it will be 11 years this December, I still remember that day so vividly.

It was the Monday of finals week. I started my day with an exam in development psychology. I was actually being tested on all the ways people cope with death and end-of-life decisions. All did I know, that at the exact moment I was taking a test about coping with death, my father was in a horrific car accident.

I went about my day and eventually headed home from campus to eat dinner before heading to cheer practice. It was during that short time I was at home that I received a phone call from my mom that my dad had been in a car accident on a snowy highway and did not make it.

There are no words to describe the feelings I experienced that moment. I was in disbelief. I couldn't believe that my dad started his day getting ready for work and heading out for his commute...just like he did every day. None of us would have ever guessed what that Monday held for him. That morning, the slick conditions on the highway led to a multi-car pileup. My dad was the only one who didn't make it.

Despite the heartache that came with this traumatic, unexpected loss, we eventually found a reason to smile. My dad was a donor and was able to give an invaluable gift to others. Months later, we found ourselves sitting at a family recognition ceremony that celebrated the lives of all local donors. Knowing that my dad was able to pass on crucial elements to people in need gave us comfort in our time of grief.

From my point of view, signing up to be an organ donor is a no-brainer. It's not like you're going to need all of your parts when you pass. Why not pass on the gift of life?

So I ask you to come join me for a festive evening in support of a good cause - raising money for the LifeCenter Organ Donor Network.

Fort Thomas Central Gift Boutique
3 N. Fort Thomas Avenue | Fort Thomas, KY 
Thursday, December 3, 5:30 - 8:30 pm

If you are a local reader and would like to join us for this event, please share a comment below. Just want to make sure I have enough goodies for all of our guests.

Here's to shopping for a good cause and holding your loved ones close!


A housewarming gift for my SIL

My sister-in-law Laura recently moved into her very own apartment. Of course, I can't wait to help her decorate, but in the meantime, I thought I would send over a little pack of goodies to make the place feel a little more homey.

I threw in some of my favorite items that can quickly add personality and spunk to a space:
  • Inspirational art for this ambitious girl 
  • Polka dot straws (for decoration or entertaining)
  • A signature scent
  • The "L" to make her mark
  • Some Kentucky pride

My best gift basket advice: tinsel goes a long way in making things look festive. Buy tinsel by the bag at the dollar store and go to town! I always have some stashed away in my wrapping closet.

I must admit the Kentucky "y'all" towel I picked up from the City Flea was my favorite find for this basket.

We're also big supporters of hand soap from Bath & Body Works. My husband and I get caught up in all of the scents. For this occasion, I opted for a universal scent, instead of a seasonal one. I figured Laura could use it right away or stash it for later.

I love pulling together little surprises like this, because, "Who doesn't love unexpected goodies?"

What are your favorite treats to include in a housewarming gift?
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