Ultimate Shopping Guide For Your Holiday Decor

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One of my favorite things about the holidays are the decorations. I love driving through our neighborhood and seeing all the pretty lights, the giant blow-up snowmen, and the wreaths on every door. New England is a very Christmassy place this time of year (the massive amount of snow doesn’t hurt) and everyone gets in the spirit pretty quickly around here.

Growing up, my parents always went all out with decorations for the holidays. We always had an enormous tree, little handmade snowmen everywhere, and evergreen garland above all the doorways. And that was just the inside. We pulled out huge totes of decorations every year, and spent an entire day spreading them all over the house. Even as an adult, it’s still my favorite activity each holiday season.

But living in a condo makes decorating on this scale a little bit more difficult. Don’t get me wrong, I still go all out! But I try to spread it out a bit more to make it feel less cluttered. Right now we have a small tree that sits on top of our side table, and we’ve put garland and little signs throughout the house. We also have a big wreath on the door, and lights that wrap around our walkway railing. It took a while to find the right decorations for our home, because I’m pretty picky about those details. But after looking at various places at the beginning of the month, I found some great stores for all of our holiday décor needs!

Home Goods

I’ve always loved Home Goods for so many reasons. 1. They have very reasonable prices for what you’re getting. 2. They get a wide array of items. And 3. It’s hard not to buy everything in sight. Right now they have beautiful wreaths (fake) for $24-$45, and they’re excellent quality. I recently bought holiday bath towels for $6.99 each, and they look and feel like they came from Pottery Barn. I easily spend $50+ during each visit, and I always end up with some great designer finds.

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Hobby Lobby

This is the ultimate place for inexpensive glassware and unique signs. If you’re a regular follower, you know my love for signs of all sizes and sayings. Hobby Lobby has atleast 4 aisles dedicated to these. It’s my heaven. And this makes them one of the many great places to find holiday decorations as well. This year I found 4 gold-striped mason jars (great for tea-lights and centerpieces), all for $2 each, as well as tons of unique ornaments that make great gifts. They also have craft items if you prefer customizing some gifts.

Christmas Tree Shop

I know these stores can’t be found everywhere, but I had to include it anyways. I could spend days in one of these stores. They have everything from holiday décor, to snacks and stocking stuffers. It’s a great one-stop-shop for those last minute items, and I usually go in a few times a year. Last year I actually made 3 big care packages to be sent off to different deployed units, and I only spent $45. These care packages contained a lot of $1 items, but I made sure to include the necessities as well as some fun items. If you’re looking to make your own care package or fill some stockings, find one of these stores nearby!

Pier1Imports

Similar to Pottery Barn, Pier 1 has some higher end décor items that make me wish I had more money to shop with. They have beautifully detailed ornaments, dining sets, winter throws, graphic pillows, etc. I honestly love just going there to look, as hard as that is sometimes. If you’re searching for some very unique and detailed items, they have great options.

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R.E.D. Friday: What It’s Really All About

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Among all Americans, there are certain days that we hold very close. Some are in celebration, while others are in mourning. We celebrate the many milestones and achievements, as well as the obstacles that once stood in our way. We celebrate the birth of our nation, and we also mourn for the days in history where a piece of that nation was destroyed. Continue reading

Leading A Healthier Lifestyle: What You Can Change Today

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My least favorite part of the holidays is coming soon: Resolution Season. I call it a season because unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to last. We’ve all struggled with making the big changes, and more importantly, keeping them.

But why do we wait until January to change? Why not do it now, during the busiest and most challenging time of year, so that we know we can truly take on anything? Here are some things you can change today!

1. Drink more water

This is always my number one, because I’m always trying to improve my water intake. I can’t stress enough how important this is. The rule is that you divide your body weight in half, and you drink that much in ounces. But if you’re exercising more frequently or you find yourself overly tired, you should increase accordingly.

2. Stretch!

Stretching does a lot for your body and mind. I stretch before, during, and after excoriate, as well as before bed. It’s helped relieve my lower back aches, and it actually releases the build up of acid from hard workouts.

3. Get rid of 1 unhealthy habit each month 

Sometimes when you look at things on a smaller scale, it’s less overwhelming. Rather than tackling everything at once, start with baby steps. Whether it’s biting your nails or stopping at McDonald’s after work, remove 1 bad habit each month. Keep working at it even if you cave in a few times. My unhealthy habit of the month: stop snacking before bed.

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4. Re-evaluate your goals

Do you know what you want anymore? What exactly are you working towards? Sometimes we get off track and we forget about the lists we made and the plans we swore we would stick to. And that’s okay! But don’t forget to go back and reevaluate those goals and dreams. You can’t reach them if you don’t know what they are anymore. My big goal: Lose some muscle mass/water weight around my legs/hips and tone up. This means less exercise and better diet!

5. Find some peace with yourself 

Our bodies aren’t perfect. But they’re pretty amazing when you really think about it. When I was younger, I was at war with my body constantly, or for no good reason. I didn’t realize how healthy and strong I was until one day, I wasn’t. Find some peace with what is. Accept it, and move on with a different approach to those goals.

What are you changing this month to better your health?

6 Tips To Help You Stay On Track During The Holidays

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The holiday season is my absolute favorite time of year. From the decorations, to the parties, it’s hard not to become completely immersed in all of it. But the holidays can actually be a very stressful time for many. In past years, it’s been a struggle to stay on track with my fitness goals. I always promised myself that I would swear off the cookies and candies, but a few family and company parties later, I would always throw those promises out the window.  Continue reading

10 Must Have Accessories For Your Military Ball

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The military ball is such an exciting time of year for all military significant others. It’s one of few occasions where everyone can get together and enjoy a night of drinks, dancing, and fun. We spend months looking for the perfect dress, which is a key piece to having a great night out, not to mention all of the pictures that will follow. But the accessories you choose can make or break your evening just as easily. Here are some must-haves to guarantee you won’t be heading home early. Continue reading

How I Learned To Let Go Of Negativity

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The last week’s events had me thinking a lot about negativity, and how much of it we all have in our lives. It’s hard to ignore the fact that it surrounds us, either in our daily routine or all through our social media. Negativity is something that we’re bombarded with everyday. We deal with it during our morning drive when we listen to people call in, complaining that it’s Monday. We deal with it when we get to work, and it seems like everyone wishes it was still the weekend. When it’s lunchtime, we see it all across our Facebook feed. We live in a society where negativity is just something that we deal with, as though we don’t have any choice in the matter. But we do have a choice. I’m going to share a piece of my past that shows a more serious take on negativity, and what it can do to us. Continue reading

6 Fun Activities For Veteran’s Day

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Each year, Kyle and I try to make a plan to spend Veteran’s Day together if he has it off. This year we have 3 days off together starting today, so we made some fun plans for the whole weekend! Kyle surprised me with tickets to an Ice Hockey game near base, and we’re going to spend the night at a hotel and have dinner at our favorite restaurant. I’ll be doing a recap on all of the details next week, but today I’m sharing some fun things that you should do this Veteran’s Day. Continue reading