Kelly Christakos Stivers
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Friday
Nov292013

gift guide: for the guy who has everything

If you're braving the crowds today to knock out some Christmas shopping, my hat's off to you.  This year, I'm planning on getting all of my gifting done on Cyber Monday, but if Black Friday is your thing and you need some ideas for the men in your life, here are my picks for the hardest person to shop for on planet earth - my hubby, God love him, being one of them!  When in doubt, I tend to go with alcohol-related, monogrammed or tech goodies; you can't go wrong with either.  Here are some of my favorites this year:

For the manly man in your life, you can never go wrong with the box collection of the manliest man of them all - Clint Eastwood's box set.

This American-made monogrammed leather ipad case by Makr is simple but luxurious (and it's 20% off through Monday!)

In brass or stainless steel, these anchor bottle openers are a perfect stocking stuffer.

These natural soapstones chill whiskey without diluting - genius.

A monogrammed canvas and leather duffle is a classic, practical staple for the gym.

Converse are a classic addition to any guy's wardrobe.

A gunmetal chronograph is a sleek, sexy and just casual enough for every day wear.

If your man appreciates the old school form of a good shave, this chrome shave kit is right up his alley.

Countdown to Christmas in style (and good taste!) with this Whiskey Advent Calendar.  The whiskey lover in your life will LOVE.

Every man needs a supple leather dopp kit to travel in style.  A monogram is a must.

A monogrammed crystal decanter is a beautiful way to display your man's favorite whiskey, bourbon or scotch (and it would look fabulous on your bar cart or makeshift bar tray, an added bonus!)

It may be cliche, but guys love to grill and what better way to celebrate their love for red meat than with a set of steak branders and monogrammed carving board?

 Happy Shopping!

Wednesday
Nov272013

loving lately

While getting my Christmas lists together for family and friends, I managed to stumble onto a bevy of fun finds that I happen to be loving lately myself.  From flattering flared jeans to the most amazing Christmas-scented candle, here are a few things I'm loving lately:

Can I tell you how much I am anticipating being able to get back into my pre-pregnancy clothes again?  Forget the skinnies, I'm all about flared jeans, especially when paired with cozy cable knit sweaters and chunky wedges or layered with button downs, cardigans and cozy scarves for winter.  These ladies' looks are right up my alley:

Krystal Schlegel / Frankie Hearts Fasion

Pink Peonies / A Piece of Toast

These gold foil prints By Luciana are so stunning, I would have a hard time picking just one:

It's officially the holidays around my house when I break out the Frasier Fir candle by Thymes.  It's, hands down, the best Christmas scent and lasts forever!

Anyone who knows me knows I love a beautiful monogram, especially on jewelry and this initialed gold cuff and three monogram bangle are on my radar:

These striped taper candles take my stripe obsession to a whole new level...perfect for adding a touch of whimsy to the holidays:

What are you loving lately?

Tuesday
Nov262013

take a seat

As much as I love decorating for the holidays, when I host Thanksgiving dinner it's always all about the food.  I'd love to say that I lay out a beautiful, decorative spread, complete with gilded pumpkins, artfully tied bundles of wheat, napkins wrapped with fragrant sprigs of rosemary and place cards hand written in perfect calligraphy, but the truth is I'm way more concerned with cooking up an amazing meal- most of my planning ahead of time is dedicated to the delectable goodies I plan on serving and saving as much room on the table for the turkey and all the trimmings. Whether you're hosting a large family soiree or a simple, intimate dinner for two, a little creative expression can make a dramatic, elegant impact at Thanksgiving with little effort and $$ and what better (or easier) way to do that than with place cards.  Here are a few simple ways to welcome your guests and add a little holiday cheer without going overboard:

Leaves from the yard dress up simple white dinnerware with gold spray paint and a black sharpie:

I love feathers for Fall decor and when combined with walnuts and gold embossed cards tied with twine, they make such a gorgeous table setting:

Mini orange pumpkins, covered in gold leaf and tied with raffia and kraft paper initials are an easy, make-ahead DIY:

Fresh pears are inexpensive and rustic on their own tied with ribbon (and look especially fabulous with bittersweet!):

...and sprayed with gold glitter, they become a beautiful focal point of the table:

I love these sprigs of fresh rosemary tied into wreaths - they add a simple, elegant touch and are so easy to make!

It doesn't get much easier (or rustic!) than pine cones adorned with simple cream cardstock:

No time for gold leafing?  Mini pumpkins, given a coat of champagne spray paint and perched atop linen napkins add a little midas touch:

Get guests to write what they're thankful for on kraft paper placemats, a super easy and affordable DIY that even the least crafty person can whip up, are a great conversation starter!

Silverware and a wheat stalk wrapped in linen napkins and tied with jute are an elegant alternative to place cards and would take virtually no time at all to set up:

Do you go all out for Thanksgiving?  What's your favorite way to set your table?

Friday
Nov222013

10 monogrammed hostess gifts for less than $50

With less than a week to go until Thanksgiving, holiday season is officially upon us and that means lots of parties, dinners, get togethers and open houses in the very near future!  Even though we won't be hosting anything big at our home this year (only five weeks to go until Baby Girl's due date!), the list of social gatherings we will be attending between now and then is endless and so I'm stocking up now on goodies to bring for the hostesses!  While I usually rely on a bottle of wine and some homemade sweets, there is no better way to thank your host or hostess than with a personalized gift and thanks to sources like C. Wonder, Mark and Graham, West Elm and Ballard Designs, it's easier than ever to get creative without breaking the bank!  Here are a few of my favorites:

1.  Tote Bags  2.  Cocktail shaker  3.  Cheese board  4.  Striped hand towel  5.  Serving tray

6.  Cocktail napkins  7.  Stemless Champagne flutes  8.  Stationery  9.  Letterpress coaster set

10.  Gold mugs

What are some of your favorite hostess gifts to give?

Thursday
Nov212013

no more black eye: disguise a TV in a fab gallery wall

There is nothing worse than seeing a big black eye, aka a television, staring back at you from over a fireplace or the main wall as soon as you walk into a room.  While it's a necessary decorating evil to have one in most living rooms or bedrooms, builders can sometimes make it even more difficult by running boxes for TV's and electronics in some of the most ridiculous places in a room (I once saw a hook up in a FOYER of a client's new home!)  My favorite trick when you're desperate to disguise the TV is to turn it into part of your decor and draw your eye away from it by setting it amidst a fabulous gallery wall of art, mirrors and family photos.  If done correctly, sometimes it can be hard to even find the flatscreen!  Here are a few great examples I love:

One King's Lane

The Hunted Interior, via

Pottery Barn

Design Sponge

Lonny

Urban Grace Interiors

Lauren Haskett

The Hunted Interior

Houzz

Atlanta Homes

Lisa Sherry