November 26, 2014

Gratitude Grams: What Are You Thankful For?

A few days ago, a childhood friend contacted to me to tell me about a campaign she recently just launched for the John Templeton Foundation. The goal is to ignite a chain reaction of gratitude through the sharing of of customizable "gratitude grams." These grams are created, then shared on the gratitude wall as well as any other social media you wish (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, email). You can write one or many! Think about all that you do have to be grateful for and join the movement. Here is some more information from the organization behind their idea:

Help Thanks Lead to Giving 
According to a study* conducted by Robert Emmons, Ph.D., professor of psychology at UC Davis and the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, and the Greater Good Science Center at University of California, Berkeley, exhibiting gratitude can:

·         add up to 7 years to your life,
·         improve your mental and physical health by 10%,
·         and make you 20% more generous.

As you can see, being grateful isn’t just good for you, it’s good for the world. Dr. Emmons hypothesizes that gratitude “moves recipients to share and to increase the good they have received.” In this way, thanks leads to giving.

This holiday season we challenge you to get out there and help share the element of gratitude. Need a few ideas?

1.      Send free, customizable gratitude grams from Make sure to send more than one! It’s fun and a great way to tell people what you’re thankful for and start a chain reaction of gratitude.
2.      Sign up for the HAPPY THANKS-leads-to-GIVING DAY thunderclap before November 27, 2014. This thunderclap will deploy a message of thanks AND giving to Facebook, Twitter, AND Tumblr on Thanksgiving.
3.      Take part in #GivingTuesday on December 2, 2014, a global day of giving.

So what are you waiting for? Go share what you’re thankful for and give a little!

*Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude

So I can give thanks and appreciation to those I love while at the same time live longer and increase my generosity? Well that is just too easy to not take part. Please, take part in the movement, it doesn't take more than one minute. Log on to and make your personal gram!

You can find me on the wall too. Here's a shot of my message. You can visit the wall, my Facebook page or my Instagram to see what I wrote!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone and know I am thankful for all my readers too!

November 25, 2014

A Simple Thanksgiving Table: Use What You Have

This Thanksgiving we will be hosting my parents and keeping it small and casual. I knew I didn't want to go through too much fuss and didn't want to spend any money on the table. I used my good china (Kate Spade Bonnabel) mixed with my favorite blue and white pattern on top. I don't even plan on buying flowers, but rather using pumpkins and my DIY Golden Acorns that I made a few weeks ago. As for the runner, I have a pair of blue and white check curtains that we used in my son's old nursery back in Connecticut. Of course it has been washed, but they are now used for building tents, bundling under the Christmas tree and impromptu table runners! If you have a piece of fabric, roll of wrapping paper or perfect scarf that could be used down the table, do it! Work with what you got and focus on the food and of course the company. We will have another table set up in the kitchen to hold all the food so no one has to reach over tons of plates and bowls. As a side note, I ALWAYS reference this book to remember how to set the table properly. I used to love setting my mom's large dining room table at holidays, but always needed to be reminded where the silverware is placed. Guess things haven't changed!

Other sources:
Placemats: Crate and Barrel
Silverware: Pottery Barn Classic Flatware
Water Goblets: Kate Spade (similar pattern here)
Napkins: Williams Sonoma
Napkin Rings: Pottery Barn
Blue and white plates: Thrifted

November 24, 2014

Weekend Recap

Did everyone have a good weekend? As evidenced above, we did! We had our second experience taking family photos this weekend, and while we only have a few back yet, we are in love! The first time we did photos, our little one was just over a year and wanted NOTHING to do with the experience. Somehow we still managed to get a few good ones, but now that they are both older, it was so much easier! Our photographer is young and just starting out, so her prices were crazy good! She did a wonderful job and I couldn't be any more thankful.  If you live in the Charlotte area and are looking for someone, you can find her at Kristin Dustman Photography. Tell her we sent ya! I'll share more outtakes after the holidays, but we want to give the photos to our parents and want them to be a surprise!

Sunday was a total wash out, so we spent the day in our jammies hanging around the house. There was a mini Robin Williams marathon (Jumanji and Hook) and I managed to finish a few holiday projects I was working on. Here are some sneak peaks that I'll  be sharing in December!

Finally, I've been testing out Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook It's All Good  and took a stab at her "Crazy Good Fish Tacos" on Sunday. They were quite delicious and full of flavor. You can find the recipe online here.  I used Tilapia because it was on sale this week at our store. 

See you all back here tomorrow!