Kelly Christakos Stivers


snippets of christmas around here

Simple has been my motto for Christmas decorations the last few years.  Last year, I was 50% effaced and 2 cm dilated two and a half weeks before Christmas and, because I worked right up until then, I had to punch it into high gear to get the house decorated in case she arrived early.  I wanted a festive homecoming for baby girl, who ended up making her debut two days after Christmas, so I went all out with fresh greens, simple garlands, bowls of clementines, strings of white lights, berry sprigs and all my favorite ornaments.  Simple, yet perfectly cozy and lovely.  This year, with a mobile little one with a penchant for all things glittery and shiny (just like her momma!), I focused on the tree and mantle, keeping treasured pieces waist high or above to avoid temptation! Before my greens completely dry up, here are a few snippets of what Christmas looks like around my house this year:

And I can't forget a shot of this little one, who loves the Christmas lights as much as her momma:

What are your favorite ways to decorate for the holidays?


lydia's turning 1!

In less than two weeks, my baby girl will turn ONE.  How that happened so fast, I do not know, but I try hard not to think about it as just the thought of the impending day reduces me to a blubbering mess.  Please tell me that has happened to you, too? My entire family is coming in for the big day; we have so much to celebrate, so much to be grateful for and I'm so glad they will all be here!  Even though her actual birthday party won't be until next month, I'm still planning on making her actual birthday super special.  I'm sticking with a peach, coral and navy blue color palette with lots of gold accents, of course. Simple flowers, tissue paper pinwheels and homemade birthday cake for the birthday girl:

I went a little overboard on the tissue pinwheels, but I love how delicate they are and I was so excited to find them from Shop Sweet Lulu in the exact colors and sizes I wanted!  I'm going to hang them from the hutch as a backdrop for the table:

When I couldn't find a navy and white striped tablecloth, my sweet, generous, thoughtful aunt came to the rescue and surprised me by having a gorgeous one made!  It looks a lot like this fabric from Premier Prints:

I couldn't believe it when I saw peonies at the grocery store a week ago and I thought they would make the perfect centerpiece!  Pale pink blooms with the navy tablecloth and gold accents would be divine; fingers crossed they will still be around in another week or so! I love the mix of cabbage roses and dahlias in these centerpieces:

I'm making her cake myself and thinking I'm going to try my hand at an ombre layered one and just ice in between the layers and the top, with some gold dust sprinkled on the edges.  Naturally, I must have gold dust.  Now that I think of it, though, that may be a bit of a lofty intention, we will see how it turns out.  Something like this would be perfect (and I love how in this picture, the cake sits atop a navy blue tablecloth!):

I wanted to do something different for a cake topper and when I saw these natural wood numbers, which are actually table number markers from Beholdn, I couldn't resist!  My brother is turning the big 3-0, as well, so I snagged one for his cake, too:

There will be SO many more details to come for her birthday party in January, but I'll be sure to post some snippets from the family celebration, too.  Hope you're all having a wonderful week and getting all your shopping done!  Happy Hump Day!


hgtv dream house - martha's vineyard

Have you guys seen the HGTV dream home on Martha's Vineyard yet?  Let me tell you, it's good.  Really good.  When it comes to beach houses, I'll take small and cozy over sprawling McMansions any day of the week, but surprisingly, this home, despite its size, really does have a cottage feel.  It's classic New England with cedar shakes, floor-to-ceiling beadboard, a blue and white color palette and built-ins as far as the eye can see.  Soaring ceilings, reclaimed wood beams, comfy furnishings and nautical accessories are charming, elegant details that create a light, bright and airy feel that is also luxurious and undoubtedly East Coast chic and I love every single square inch!  I thought a (not so) little beach house tour would be a welcome break from all the Christmas posts, so feast your eyes:

The all white living area reminds me a lot of the one in the movie Something's Gotta Give.  Those vaulted ceilings are amazing, and I love how the reclaimed wood beams add just the right amount of warmth to the space:

I love the navy blue painted bead board on the backs of the built-ins:

Side view.  This whole room is so dreamy!

The detailed moldings are an elegant touch and are absolutely stunning:

Love the layout and all the seating:

Love all the sets of French doors:

A mahogany topped island warms up the all white kitchen:

The kitchen opens up to the living area, which is ideal for entertaining:

A wrought iron hanging lantern is my favorite part of the dining room (and has me back to wanting the same type of lighting for my breakfast area!)

A mix of seating at the dining table gives the space a much more casual feel, despite its elegant surroundings:

Another shot of the stunning paneling in the living room.  STUNNER!

Watery blue painted beadboard in the bathroom is a welcome change from all the white:

The outdoor spaces aren't too shabby, either.  I love all the secluded patio areas off the bedrooms and, of course, I'm dying over the cedar shakes and love how they are paired with hunter green trim and shutters and brass lantern lighting:

To see more of this gorgouse home (and there are a TON more photos that I didn't post here), hurry and head on over to HGTV


christmas gift guide: for the guys

Christmas shopping for my husband, dad and brothers used to stress me out to no end in the past.  I'm always obsessed with finding Christmas gifts that are both meaningful and thoughtful and, let's face it, a sweater or a bottle of cologne usually falls short of both criteria (especially when shopping for the guy who already has everything, which all the men in my life seem to be).  The last few years, however, I feel like I've really fine tuned my search for great gift ideas that any guy I know would love and this year is no exception.  I want to get everything on this list for the hubby and there are a few things I've picked up for my brothers already, as well.  (My dad requested a gallery wall of framed family photos this year!)  Here are my picks for gift ideas for the guys.  I'm pretty excited about each and every one of these!

Love this leather satchel - perfect for carrying essentials and even fits a laptop!

Bleu de Chanel is, hands down, the most intoxicating men's fragrance EVER!

A beer making kit for the brew enthusiast.

These monogrammed brass cufflinks are the perfect finishing touch to a (navy blue!) suit.

Love the leather strap and navy blue face on this chronograph - a dressier take on the classic chrono!

Original Ray-Ban aviators are a must-have for every guy.

Monogrammed double old fashioneds are a great gift for any guy; pair them with a set of whiskey rocks and this ribbed whiskey decanter!

What guy wouldn't love these powerbeats by Dre??

If you haven't played Cards Against Humanity yet, you have no idea what you're missing.  It's the most hilarious, wildly inappropriate card game to play with friends and family and I love it so much, it really belongs on every gift guide because I don't know anyone who wouldn't get a kick out of it!

Love these reinvented classic Nikes

This brass anchor adds a little nautical touch to bookshelves, a stack of magazines or just on its own.  Perfect for the boat or beach lover.

What are some of your favorite gift ideas for the men in your life?


christmas gift guide: fab finds for less than $50

Gift giving is one of my absolute favorite things, but with the list of people to buy for seemingly increasing every year, it can be tricky trying to find great gift ideas on a budget.  While I personally think it's way more challenging finding a gift on a small budget, I'm a firm believer that you don't have to spend a fortune in order to give a fabulous and thoughtful gift.  If you missed Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales, there are still a ton of great options for gifts for everyone on your list.  Today, I'm highlighting some of my favorite gift ideas for less than $50 and each one is as fabulous as the next!  Here are my picks for less than $50:

This tortoise ice bucket is the perfect accessory for the holiday bar.

A bay leaf wreath smells as fabulous as it looks and can be used for cooking throughout the rest of the winter!

Who wouldn't love an oversize clam shell to fill with ornaments or clementines?

A black and white buffalo check cookie jar with gold detailing?  Yes, please!

A Boat, a Whale and a Walrus is my latest obsession.  Filled with stories of chef Renee Erickson's restaurants, seasonal menus and cooking, baking and entertaining tips, this is a FABULOUS read that should be on everyone's wishlist this year! (And the cover is absolutely adorable, too!)

A gold monogram wine stopper is a great stocking stuffer or hostess gift.

These honeycomb vases are stunning in person and so ridiculously well priced!  They look equally amazing filled with your favorite blooms as they do glowing with candles.

Colorful linen satin stitch coasters make a holiday party even more fun!

These gold and plated glass ornaments are a simple, stunning addition to your holiday decor.

You can never go wrong with a rosemary topiary!

This gold anchor looks fabulous on a stack of books, a coffee table or a bookshelf. 

Blue and white ginger jars are always a big, fat YES!

These colorblock mugs come in a bunch of color options and are a beautiful gift idea for the coffee lover in your life!

What are some of your favorite gift ideas for less than $50??