Rain + Red Lipstick + Christmas-ing

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This has pretty much been my uniform lately: jeggings + flannel + cozy cowl + pretty makeup = foolproof. Between the rain, snow and sleet it has been a pretty mucky few weeks.
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But no matter, nothing some red lipstick, a polka dot umbrella, and a second cup of coffee can’t fix. It’s Christmastime!
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I sent out my Christmas cards this week!

See that pretty vintage-y card in the corner? I adore them. 
AND I have my first-ever Christmas tree this year. Isn’t it funny how grown-up things like that make us feel? But don’t worry, it’s not too grown-up, it’s red and white and all sorts of vintage-y and lovely. 
See the little fluffy bird on top of the Merry Christmas sign?! That might be my favorite part 🙂 
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So now it’s back to hot-chocolate-drinking, present-making and Hallmark-movie-watching.

To the Merry Christmas-ing, my dears! 

Christmas Dreaming A Little Early

“So I’m doing, my Christmas dreaming, a little early this yearrrrrrr…” 
I couldn’t resist these beautiful diamonds from Anjolee jewelry when they sent me their website and asked me to review it. So here are some lovely diamond choices should a loved one be looking to gift you with something sparkly this year. If so, you’re in luck, scroll to the end of the post for a discount. If not, do some dreaming with me about Christmas party outfits with extra sparkle! 
Here are three outfits I’d simply LOVE to wear to holiday parties this year…or to find under the Christmas tree! 
This is my absolute favorite outfit and SO perfect for the holidays. Then wear it again at Valentine’s Day, of course! The skirt, the bow shoes, and a simple top…to die for. The unexpected? Lip print, of course. So very Schiaparelli
This is such a grown-up outfit and I love the luxe textures and details. Nothing like leather pants, leopard print booties and a sumptuous top and clutch for the holidays. The unexpected? Leather pants at a cocktail party. Daring, darling!
This is so cute and party-perfect. I’d love to wear this for my birthday in January! Ladylike and lovely. The unexpected? Arrive with a black cape to top it all off. Oolala.
Anjolee also has customizable Gemstone bracelets that make great Christmas presents too! 
AND as a special treat, here is a code for 5 percent off your purchase (since we’re talking high prices here, this discount is totally worth it): Anjolee5
(these are NOT affiliate links)
Here’s to a fun and festive holiday season and hopefully a little something sparkly!
Which outfit is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

#allthethings

This is a new feature 😉 It’s “Hashtag All the Things,” or #allthethings, as it is popularly referred to. It’s the hodge-podge catch-up, favorites, little things posts. So here we go…
The best thing about the day after Christmas? Leftover lasagna. Lasagna and Christmas toffee for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sometimes I really am Buddy the Elf.
Christmas Night, my poem for Darling Magazine, read by me as a special after-Christmas treat! Wearing my Christmas Eve outfit

Can I just take a moment to recognize how amazingggggggggg my hair decided to look on Christmas Day with a terrible webcam shot?! 
Christmas Day outfit: Feather/Velvet hair barette from Anthropologie, Gold Silk Charmeuse Blouse from TJ Maxx yearsssss ago, Vintage black cardigan with black beading, jeans from ON, black lace-up boots from Timberland.

Just a few little things for ya’ll!
Hope you had a Merry Christmas!
xo
Natalie

Christmas Love

Hello dear friends! It is the night of our Savior’s birth, and I am so excited for our church candlelight service very soon here. I just wanted to pop in and say MERRY CHRISTMAS and I am so glad you are all here, sharing a little bit of life with me 🙂 

This is my outfit for Christmas Eve church 🙂 

The coat and hat are vintage and the dress is Modcloth.

And the smile? Courtesy of Christmas love and being beyond-happy. 
(PS Check my Twitter and Facebook tomorrow and Darling Magazine for my Christmas poem!)
Much love to you and yours this Christmastide!
xo
Natalie

Friday Catch-Up

Hi friends! I’ve been missing you all something fierce lately. Let’s have coffee and chat for a bit, yeah?

God has completely stolen my heart, in the best way possible, lately. He has brought me into such a spacious, beautiful place with Him. He has been giving me the desires of my heart and making my heart desire more and more of Him, every day. #blessingsbacktopraise
There are so many little happy blessings, too, like: 
My advent wreath for 2013 with beautiful beeswax candles in a Swedish wooden heart-and-greens candle holder I dressed up a bit. 
Living in a snowglobe lately!
Beautiful special gifts to brighten my heart from someone I really-really-really-really like 😉 
Blessed to be able to share gluten-free desserts over on the lovely Big Girl Small Kitchen site, such as this Frozen Hot Chocolate and something even fancier coming soon 🙂 
Sharing poetry on my heart over at Darling Magazine…where they take such good care of my words. 
These are just a FEW of the many, many wonderful things in my life right now. I can’t wait to keep sharing with you as we prepare for the coming year. 2014 is going to be the BEST YEAR EVER, I’m pretty convinced 😉 
xoxo
Natalie

Vintage Christmas Eve

Vintage hat, vintage rhinestone bow shoulder brooch, and vintage dress.
I bought this dress a few months ago, but it needed a bit of TLC to be wearable. When it comes to vintage, needing a bit of TLC is no problem for me, so I set to work handsewing and cutting off the awkward mid-calf lower tier that was falling apart anyway. I think it turned out very cute shorter! I wish you could see the back better…such a pretty foldover drape with a big satin button on one side.

Sunshine and a bit of snow on the ground for Christmas.

Hello!
My DAD said this was a cute outfit, and that it was very Jackie Kennedy. A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE! 
😉 

I wore it with my red wool coat for a festive touch.

So many pictures. 
Hope you had a great Christmas!

A Red Christmas Dress

{Such a twirly skirt!}
I love sunny Saturdays where I am happy from the moment I wake up, happily embracing the day before I’ve even had a sip of tea. Does my heart so much good. Sunshine doesn’t hurt one bit either!
Christmas is nearly here. Every year it fills me with wonder that the God of the heavens and earth saw fit to stoop on bended knee, to understand the human plight, to give us Jesus at Christmas time and all the year through. You see God didn’t want to play puppet-master with us, to throw us into despair on this lowly planet for his own entertainment. He created us with intent and love. He had purpose. And He didn’t leave us here alone. He sent His son so we can know that He does understand. He has walked these streets, seen these broken people here and He has touched them with His own hands.

He can touch us, too. 
If your heart is a little bit broken this Christmas, be it from divorce or death, be it from stress or illness, let the babe in the manger touch you.
 This is a season of being on our own bended knee, with our hearts, thoughts, and lives laid at the manger like gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And Jesus offers back life everlasting. Love eternal.
May you receive those gifts this Christmastime.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
John 3:16, 17 

Last night, on the first day of winter, the shortest day of the year, the real turning point in the seasons, my small family celebrated Christmas. My brother and sister-in-law are heading over to see her family this Christmas, so we celebrated early. 
There were presents and eggnog; Swedish meatballs and boiled potatoes; there was music and snuggling with the dog and a pretend Rockette performance by yours truly. 

My brother, sis-in-law and I presented a “Dramatic Reading” (more like a comedic reading) of our own version of “The Night Before Christmas.” We read the Christmas story, and my brother sang a song about Lutefisk. We are Scandinavian, after all 🙂

I made a Washi tape Christmas tree, because I’m that hipster/poor/live in an apartment.
What do you think of the chambray shirt under the dress? I wanted to wear my gray polka-dot tights and gray heels, but I couldn’t find the tights anywhere! So the black had to suffice. 
Happy Christmas Weekend, my friends. Travel safe, take heart, and enjoy!

Tea Cakes {with Coffee}

These little tea cakes are just so adorable. They are happy, and that makes me happy 🙂 And they taste about 1000 times better than they look. 

I know these are technically meant to be eaten with tea in the afternoon. But I say, Why not with coffee in the morning? I’m an adult, I can make that call, right? 

Besides, the light was landing on that one in the back, illuminating it and saying, “Pick me! Pick me!” 
Eat dessert first! And by first, I mean, for breakfast!

Oh. Yeah.
I also ate an egg for breakfast because, y’know, adults have to make the tough decisions.

These would be brilliant to have in a pretty basket down on the kitchen counter by the coffee maker for early-rising Christmas guests. They’ll feel like royalty in a 100-diamond hotel. Which is way, way, way better than a 5-star hotel. Duh!
This is the marvelous Gesine’s recipe, which I made gluten-free using Bob’s Red Mill GF flour, added some almond extract, and used my mini-mini bundt pan from Nordicware. Show her the love for this amazing recipe!
 Enjoy! 

Pink & Glitter

We had a snow day this weekend, and what better time to wrap up all of my pretty packages than on a snowy Sunday? Oh my heart is happy!
{get ready for tons of photos}
I find great pleasure in a giant passel of packages wrapped beautifully and coordinating. While there is charm to hodge-podge wrapping, too, this is the way I currently prefer to wrap all of my presents. They just look so pretty and dare I say, glamorous?

All of this was from my stash…having just moved, I couldn’t afford to shell out money on brand new, full-price wrapping paper. The cocoa cups paper is a holdover from last year; the last bit of the precious roll. The pink and gold paper is from my stash…rather vintage-y and yet, modern, too. 

The gold bows and gold ribbon are from my craft stash, too. The pink tags, green twine, and the brown “icing” bags were picked up this summer at one of those fancy boutiques in one of the fancy towns. You know the kind…where the only thing you can afford is some teeny tiny paper bags and a yard of baker’s twine. Granted, they are super cute little paper bags!
And since it was snowing, snowing, snowing, what else to do but bake up the traditional Christmas cakes that take some old-fashioned TIME? You have to beat this batter for 20 minutes by hand, and that’s after chopping all of the nuts and fruit. Then you’re supposed to try, try, try to let it sit in the freezer until Christmas. But let me tell you, it really is worth it. 
Enjoy your Christmas preparations, friends!