Holiday Snapshots…..

Thanks to copious amounts of eggnog, champagne and mulled wine I have found my holiday spirit or your inner drunkard…..but regardless I am officially relaxing to enjoy the holiday season.  As I settled into my holiday buzz, I realized that  somewhere in my “holidaze” I never posted pics of this year’s holiday decorations.

So I humbly present some shots of the house  decorated for the holidays as we enter into this Christmas Eve….

CourtneyOutLoud Christmas Collage 3 CourtneyOutLoud Christmas Collage 4 CourtneyOutLoud Christmas Collage 5 CourtneyOutLoud Christmas Collage CourtneyOutLoud Christmas Tree Collage

Is it perfection?  Not by a long shot.  Does it need to be?  Nope.  What it needed to be was a warm and welcoming retreat for our family and friends as we gather then near for the holiday.   And it does that in spades.

As the day fades to night, take time to celebrate your accomplishments, appreciate your family and love the moment you are in because it only happens once.  That is my holiday wish for each of you…..stay present and soak it all in.

Okay, I am thirsty again and running out of stuff to spike….. so MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Pardon Me….

Hey y’all I am out today celebrating the grandest holiday of all… Post Christmas Sales.  It’s a tradition I started many years ago when I was too broke to afford normal Christmas shopping.  I would wait until the day after Christmas and rack up some great deals and then promptly place the gifts in the mail with the excuse that the post office delayed delivery.

I am sure that my family knew the real reason their presents were late and were polite enough to play along.  However, since then the tradition has morphed into a full frontal assault on retail including game plans, strategy and synchronized  attack across the city of San Francisco on various retail establishments.

Shopping with me peeps is a battle – it’s fast paced, people may be lost on the field and someone may leave with a black eye but as long as I get cashmere for 70% off all is forgiven.  This is shopping until you drop…..

Now  if you will excuse me, I have to figure out the quickest routes to enter and exit the Saks Fifth Avenue Men’s Store…..

I promise to be back tomorrow with a normal post!  Hope your Christmas was awesome!

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Merry Christmas…….

As you gather with your families and celebrate this holiday season, take a moment to reflect on the riches you  have.  Riches come in many forms and shapes, so take a moment while unwrapping your presents to observe all the other wonderful things you have in your life.

This Christmas I will be making breakfast for The Partner, giving Scruffy his morning walk and making calls to various family members across the country.  Each one of these actions reminds me of the true gifts I have in my life: a loving partner who supports me unconditionally, a pet that has shown me that compassion for all living things will reap a reward, and family that, at times trying, are always there and ready to lend a hand.  These are the gifts I am grateful for on Christmas day.

So to each of you I wish you joy & peace, love & happiness and contentment & serenity on this most glorious of days……….

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My Christmas Tree…….

I mentioned yesterday, I finally got the tree up and I  have to admit that between taking on a new client, school work, holiday shopping and battling a cold the tree almost didn’t get decorated.  Fortunately, I found a small window late one evening and just plowed through it thanks to Theraflu and Pandora radio streaming Christmas music at full blast.

I opted to not do a real Christmas tree this year.  The thought of a live tree seemed too overwhelming, so I opted to use the  white plastic tree I picked up at Wal-Mart last year for $20.  Last season I become obsessed with having a white tree and rushed out and found this one on clearance.  It’s 6’5″ tall and the perfect size for our living room which was not the case when we bought a live tree 2 years ago – that sucker was HUGE.  Because it was the wrong size getting it out of the house once the season was over was a nightmare.  Once it was unfurled, it couldn’t fit down the staircase, so we had to hoist it over the loft into the kitchen and spray the entire first floor in a rain shower of pine needles (not fun).

Fortunately, the artificial white tree proved to be quick and easy to assemble and provided the perfect back drop to the bronze, brown and gold color scheme I envisioned.  However, I did sneak in a few colorful accents to spice things up……

I could not find a tree topper in gold that was not an angel or an extremely clichéd looking star.  So I opted to create my topper out of a stuffed owl and two gold candle wreaths.  I simply wired the two wreaths together and with some fishing line added the owl. It took about 10 minutes total to do and I am quite pleased with how it turned out.

Don’t these ornaments remind you of something Jonathan Adler would do for his stores?  Surprisingly, they are some off-market brand that I was able to pick up at Marshalls for about $1.50 per ornament.  I am totally scouting out my local Marshalls to see if they go back on clearance this year so I can scoop up some more.

Told you that  I snuck in a few hints of color like these fantastic peacock ornaments that I found on clearance at Marshalls last year.

I even bribed a certain adorable dog to get in on the Christmas action.  It’s amazing what Scruffy will do for a well-placed (and well-timed) doggie treat.

I think I may be a full convert to artificial trees after this year with one caveat.  I think fake trees should look, well fake,  hence why I love the white tree.  There is no way in hell unless you are Helen Keller that you would think my white plastic tree is real.  So where do you stand on white trees artificial trees?  Yay or nay?

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Reminder: Shabby Apple Dress Give Away……

As a friendly reminder don’t forget to enter the Shabby Apple dress contest where you can win a free holiday dress!

I have partnered up with online women’s dresses and clothing retailer Shabby Apple to give away the store’s fantastic Boogie Woogie party dress to one lucky reader*.

Click to the original post to see the contest rules and how to enter!  The contest closes this Sunday so if you snooze, you lose.

Have a great Saturday & Good Luck!!

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Shabby Apple Dress Give Away……

I love seeing a beautifully dressed woman.

I may not want to sleep with y’all but  I definitely love helping dress y’all.

Fortunately, online women’s dresses and clothing retailer Shabby Apple feels the same way about helping women dress beautifully and has agreed to give away its fantastic Boogie Woogie party dress to one lucky reader*.

The Boogie Woogie dress is the perfect little black dress for the pending holiday season.  Throw a cardigan over it and it can be worn to your child’s annual school holiday program .  But throw on a pair of heels, a great bracelet and pair it with a wrap and it’s sophiscated enough to be worn to the office holiday mixer.

So how do you get your hands on this versatile beauty?  Simply follow these directions to enter……

TO ENTER** 

1)  Like Shabby Apple on Facebook (they give awesome discounts and promos to their Facebook friends!)

AND

2) Become a follower of the blog.  If you are already a follower, awesome!  If you aren’t, then click on the link under “Follow Me” in the upper right corner to become one!

AND

3) Leave a comment with your contact information with the term “Boogie Down” in the body

4)  For an extra way to enter, tweet a link to this give away and leave a second comment.

*Please note that the give away is only open to individuals with a US shipping address.  There will be no exchanges or returns for the winning dress.

** You must be a follower of the blog to be eligible and you must like Shabby Apple on Facebook.  Maximum of two entries per person.  Additional entries will be disqualified.

***Contest will be open until November 13.***

For those of you who can’t wait to see if you have won, Shabby Apple  was kind enough to give y’all a 10% off code.  Use code the discount code  COURTNEYOUTLOUD10OFF to get savings on Shabby Apple’s array of vintage inspired dresses skirts and sophisticated accessories.

Just let it be said that I never gave you anything!

Good Luck!!

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Holiday Decorations Breakdown…..

Earlier this week my holiday vignette was highlighted on Living Livelier as part of their virtual holiday house tour.  I wanted to breakdown the vignette and explain in a little more detail what went into create it……

Vignette lit up at night.....

– Greenery: The live greenery was found in the compost bin behind my condo complex.  My neighbors had just finished trimming their tree and needed to lop off a few of the lower branches to have it fit into their tree stand.  Lucky for me, I was able to fish the branches out before the day’s meal scraps were thrown on top.  To simulate snow, I lightly dusted the branches with white spray paint..

– White Doves: Well they didn’t start out looking like the symbols of peace they are now.  When I saw them at the Dollar Store, they were cardinal red, but they had potential.  I ended up spray painting them white (gotta love spray paint!) and when they dried, lightly dusting them with silver spray paint.  While the silver paint was still tacky, I sprinkled glitter on their little heads and backs for added sparkle.

Silver Packages: I needed elevation on each side of the vignette for the lanterns, so I wrapped large art books in faux-silver snakeskin I found at Marshall’s to give height.

Pine cones & Jingle Bells: Both were purchased at the Dollar Store ….a bag of pine cones for a dollar and a box of six bells for a dollar.  The other big box craft stores were selling bells for $1.99 for two and pine cones for $3.99 and up for a bag.

Love Birds: Or maybe they are partridges, but in either case, they were only a dollar each at the Dollar Store.  A quick coat of white spray paint in matte completely changed them from hokey to adorable in my opinion.

Lanterns: These are the Ikea lanterns we typically use on our patio during the Summer, but I am all about repurposing!  I bought one more additional small lantern, so I could have a set of each size.  A simple candle from the Dollar Store and they were done…..

Glitter Cones: I bought the cone forms at the Dollar Store with the intent of making feather trees, but when I counted, I had something like 7 birds in the vignette and the thought of adding more feathers seemed a little overkill….plus I was tired.  So I opted for an easy craft project. I spray painted the cone forms silver and while the paint was wet, sprinkled them with clear glitter.  Once dry, I topped each with a bejeweled ornament I clipped from a holiday floral arrangement I had from last year and one of the white doves.

Branches: The silver branches you see in the right corner is just that…a branch I found on a walk that I spray painted silver and propped up.

Silver Ornaments: All the ornaments were bought 2 for one dollar at the Dollar Store.

Paper whites: The flower that just won’t quit! I love these things….honestly they fight you NOT to grow.  I found the bulbs at our local garden center and planted them in a glass vase I already had.  What I love most about paper whites is that you can replant them once the holidays are over.  Just be sure to give yourself 6 weeks to get them to bloom (which you can see in this picture, I did not)….but I by the time I get back from New Jersey, I am sure they will be in full bloom!

So there you have it…..simple, easy and inexpensive.  Holiday decorations don’t have to be cost a ton to have high impact.  For as little as $25, you can wow your friends and family.