Our holiday countdown: Charm Bracelet Advent Calendar DIY

The countdown has begun and it happens every year in the same way.  

I break up with Thanksgiving because I found a prettier, jazzier little number called Christmas.  

Thanksgiving, you are authentic and delicious but Christmas?  Well, it's hard not to let Christmas suck you in with all its texture and shine and its "I don't give a shit what you think of me, I'm wearing these five hundred and sixty-two hanging balls because I like them" attitude.

Christmas, I'm yours until January (that's about the time I remember that our relationship is not sustainable).

For our Christmas countdown this year, I decided to step it up a notch with a calendar that would produce something tangible for Vivi to remember this holiday season by.  The beauty in this advent calendar lies not in its textured design, but in the dainty little charm bracelet it will produce for my four year old.  Each day she will remove the corresponding charm and add it to her bracelet.  

IMG_4557.png

By the end of the calendar, Vivi will be left with a cute little bracelet full of charms to jingle all the way to bed Christmas eve.


Supplies 

Glitter

25 Safety pins

Miniature tree ornament balls

Sharpie

25 Charms

25 Jump rings or charm loops

Jewelry-making pliers or similar (optional)

Chain bracelet for charms

Foam board, approximately 20" x 32"

Straightedge 

Box cutter or similar

2 Skeins of yarn

Hot glue gun

Scotch Tape

Mod Podge

Foam paint brush


Directions

Trace a tall and thin triangle onto the foam board.  You can do this by drawing a baseline with your straightedge, marking the center of the baseline and drawing a perpendicular line straight-up until you have reached the desired height of your tree.  Mine was about 20" wide by 27 inches tall.

Cut out the tree by scoring the foam board with the boxcutter and gently bending until it breaks.

Coat the tree with a thin layer of Mod Podge and douse evenly with glitter.  This will add a hint of sparkle in between the wrapped yarn strands.  

Secure the end of the yarn using scotch tape to the back of the foam board tree.  Begin wrapping the yarn tautly around the tree, adding small dots of hot glue as you go.  A small dab is all you need to secure the yarn to the tree.

Using your sharpie, write the numbers 1 through 25 individually on the ornaments.

Using the pliers (or your hands), pull a jump ring a part by gently twisting it.  Loop the jump ring through a charm and push it closed.  Slide the charm onto a safety pin along with an ornament.  Repeat until all ornaments are paired with a charm.

Hang each charm ornament with a safety pin beginning at the bottom with 1 and ending at the top with 25.  

Note: Charms can add up in cost quickly if you let them.  Since this project was geared to my four year old, I decided cheaper was the most reasonable route.  I found reasonably priced charms at Oriental Trading and at Hobby Lobby in the christmas craft section.

Organic Gold-Dipped Stone Place Card and Setting

This year for Thanksgiving we've got a big crew coming - 12 adults and 4 kids.  I love it.  I'm genuinely excited, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a bit overwhelming.  

For a group of this size I will be renting tables and table cloths as we do not have enough space around our dining room table.  The other addition to this Thanksgiving are place cards.

Some hosts worry that place cards are annoying if not invasive to their guests, but when dealing with a large group, I disagree.  Place cards offer direction to your guests without causing them to feel worried that they've sat in someone's favorite spot.  

Plus, no musical chairs.  

And who can resist the simple elegance of nature's most basic gifts - a rock and a branch?  The most popular toys of kiddos around the world and also MacGyver's two favorite tools.

Materials

Foam brushes

Soft brushes such as paintbrushes or makeup brushes

Paper tags (found in the stationary isle)

Seeded eucalyptus 

Smooth stones (found in the vase filler isle of a craft store)

Gold foil kit

Twine

Scotch Tape


Directions

Wipe stones clean of dust and dirt with a dry cloth.  

Following the instructions in the gold foil kit, apply the foil to the stone in an angular manner.

------ PS - the instructions for gold foiling are crazy simple.  Apply adhesive size.  Wait 30 minutes.  Stick gold foil to it.  Use a soft brush to wipe off the excess and smooth it down.  Apply sealant (optional).

Write the guests' names on the tags.  See this site for an amazing faux-ligraphy tutorial.

Tie the name tags on with twine.  Secure twine on the bottom-side of the stone with scotch tape. 

Set the place card on the plate with a branch of seeded eucalyptus.

How Time Blocking will help you run Your Day Like a Boss + A Free Time Blocking Printable

Scroll to the end of the post to download the free time blocking printable!


How does she get it all done?  

I've asked myself that for years on an almost daily basis whenever viewing the work of another woman.  Pinterest, the beauty of the blogging world, instagram - these are just a few of the mechanisms, as wonderful as they are, that fuel the flames of my comparisons.  

A life carefully curated.

Children sitting around a campfire wearing clothes from a local boutique that effortlessly coordinate while roasting homemade marshmallows for s'mores with homemade graham crackers and hand-poured chocolate leaves.  

The chic and minimalistic breakfast nook with chairs angled from the table as though someone just got up leaving behind their 2/3 full coffee mug and fresh blueberry scone with crumbles.  

And don't forget the succulent.  There's almost always a succulent.

The beauty of a perfectly curated world?  I eat that shit up.

I can't help it - I am complete and total sucker for the perfectly styled life.  I dream of styled photos like those above in my sleep.

And do you know what's not included in those beautiful dreams of mine ?  Laundry.  And screaming kids.  And dirty dishes.  And the Chinese take out I grabbed for dinner the night before because I didn't have time to hit the grocery store.

Real actual life.  

Real actual life is not included in my dreams because my dreams are my #lifegoals as they should be.  

So then back to "How does she get it all done?  How does she make it all look so perfect?"  

The answer - she doesn't.  And she probably never will unless she someday reaches movie star status and even then I think its debatable.

So here's what you have to do if you're plagued with the desire to do everything, be everyone, keep your head on straight, and waltz through life a freaking boss.

IMG_4380.png

1. Recognize that when you're doing one thing, you're giving up something else (usually several something elses)

2. Time block, time block, time block


Recognize that when you're doing one thing, you're giving up something else 

It may sound like a negative perspective, but when I embraced this idea wholeheartedly, I found that I came to terms with idea of not being able to do it all.  I cannot physically cook a dinner from scratch, lead an arts and craft activity with my four year old, prepare homemade baby food for my 10 month old, fold the laundry, write the next blog post, and style the tablescape for the next holiday photo shoot all at the same time.  

Even just imagining a human being trying to complete those tasks simultaneously is comical and we know that.  So why do we trick ourselves into thinking we should be doing more?

If I'm cooking dinner, I'm making sure my kids aren't try to kill themselves, but thats about it.  I'm giving up making baby food.  I'm giving up the blog post.  I'm giving up the laundry. Not forever, but for now.  And that's ok.

The key is remembering that you're only giving up the other things for that very moment.  

Five minutes later, you may be in a different situation.  And then you'll choose something else.  


Time block, time block, time block

The day I began time blocking my schedule was the day I finally felt I had made a huge leap into the idea that I may be somewhat in control of my life.  It was glorious.

Time blocking is the idea that by regularly blocking out sections of your day or week for important tasks, you are creating the space needed to accomplish your goals.  

Whether you are a stay at home mom, work at home mom, work out of the house mom or not even a mom at all, time blocking can work for you.  Through time blocking you are forced to put what is important first rather than what is urgent.

As a work at home mom, it seems almost everything with my two kids is urgent and it usually is.  

Have you ever tried explaining to a hungry 10 month old that her blueberries and cheerios will have to wait?  It.  Doesn't.  Work.

I realized immediately that was not going to change.  However, home care?  Cleaning?  Laundry?  These are definitely not urgent for me, so I needed to stop setting myself up for failure by treating them as such.

Here is my current time blocked schedule.  It takes into consideration Vivi's preschool schedule and Faye's nap schedule (which varies slightly daily).  It allows time for the non urgent things that I have to do (read general pick-up, laundry, grocery shopping) but also includes the important things like my work and activity time with the kiddos.  

IMG_4383.png

To keep myself on this schedule until it becomes second nature, I entered the time blocks into my phone.  At 6 am, I am reminded that it is time to check-in with my work on the blog.  At 2 pm, I am reminded that I need to work on laundry.  I also list a more detailed explanation of the time in my phone as well so I can never possibly say "I'm not sure what to do now".

Its important to remember that the system doesn't always work perfectly.  Sometimes a kiddo is sick or having an off day.  Sometimes I have an appointment to make.  Other times family may be visiting.  You gotta roll with the punches.  

However, after time blocking for about a month now, I've noticed that I am meeting my personal goals more often, the laundry pile is no longer the size of Everest, and I'm cooking dinners on the reg.  

Plus, I feel more in control of my day.  

And that right there sister, is reason enough.


Ready to own your day like the Boss Woman you are?  Download this free printable and begin time blocking your life.

Gathered Gold - Inspired by the Moon

In the Gathered Gold curation feature, I source some of the coolest ideas, inspiration and home + party provisions from around the web.  Let your next DIY, party or room project be inspired by these trending ideas.  


With the days growing shorter and the nights growing longer, my awareness of our moon has resurfaced.  What has also resurfaced is a nagging desire to bring in a celestial feel to parts of my home.  

What is it about our moon that is so intriguing? The way it glows white, yellow and even orange without actually producing any of the light on its own?  The way it appears to change shape in the sky though it's spherical surface remains constant?  Maybe it's the idea that when we look up into the night sky, we're seeing the same celestial bodies that our ancestors saw thousands of years ago.  What ever it may be, use these ideas to inspire you to bring a little moon into your home and soul.  


Lunar Garland - For a party or for a nursery?  Nah, I say for life.

Moon Piñata - What's adorable, white-fringed and filled with delicious candy?  This guy.

Watercolor - Thinking of adding this piece into my decor in the living area.

Moon Earrings - So dainty and cute.  

Moon Phase Wallpaper - A graphic way to incorporate the lunar trend on a full scale while not making the room feel busy.

Night Sky Playdough - I want to make this, take a sample into the paint store and demand 50 gallons of paint color-matched to that exact shade of indigo.  I guess I'll let my kids play with it too.

DIY Moon Wall Mural - The detail of this hand-painted wall is astounding (and apparently remarkably easy with the use of an old-school overhead projector).

DIY Marble Phases of the Moon Wall Hanging - Marble?  Check.  Hangs on the wall?  Yup.  Done in 20 minutes?  For the win.  


Which of these inspiring ideas will you try/buy?  If I can get these kiddos shipped off somewhere for a day, I may just purchase and try them all!

 

Mommy Identity Crisis + How to Handle It When You Have One

How do you get back into blogging when you have been on a no blog/social media sabadicle for 7 months?  No really...I'm asking. 

I've been waffling back and forth on how to write this post - do I make a timeline of every single crazy, happy, bizarre, upsetting, stressful, joyful event that has happened since my last post?  Do I pretend like I never left and jump right on in with design? 

I figured there’s got to be a middle ground and as I stood soaking in the shower last night, mind wandering, it came to me.  How old am I? 

In the shower last night, exhausted, muscles aching from chasing children, holding children, walking children and running upstairs to check on children - I randomly thought - I am 33, right?  Wait...am I?  Or am I 32?  What is this house and how did I get here?  I'm like a living, breathing example of the Talking Head's song Once in a Lifetime.  

And then I literally had to DO THE MATH on my own age

Please try to control your BAHAHAHA’s, cackles and crying face emojis.

But it is true - I had to do the math on my own age and it turns out I’m still only 32.  Phew, and then dancing girl emoji.  But then I fell down the rabbit hole of thoughts starting with “I’m not young anymore”. 

This is a strange thought to have and for me it’s the first of its kind (though I assure you not its last).  I'm not so much feeling physically old as I am more saying goodbye to the life I once had - said life where I thought maybe I might’ve even been hip.  

It's official.  We’ve got two kids and we’ve left our urban life in Cali and moved to the Houston suburbs.  

Life is all about builder-grade, masterplanned communities, good schools, SUV’s [still in denial over minivans], and corporate restaurant franchises that in my California hippie mind chew up and spit out local businesses for fun (Damn the Man!).

I have hardly any regular clothes because 85% of my wardrobe is considered a mom uniform - black yoga pants, sports bras and a workout tees.  Do I workout every day?  Of course not - I have two kids.  They are the workout.  

My life is suddenly so different.  You think when you have your first kid, “Oh no, its official!  We’re in a new life stage!”  And yes, that's technically true, but you can still tell yourself you’re going to be the cool parents.

The parents who take their baby to outdoor music concerts [with baby ear protection of course].  The parents who visit wineries and breweries with the baby in the ergo.  The parents who still want to “have a life”. 

By the time that second kiddo comes along, you’re like, fuck it.  Who’s got time to be cool?  Who’s got time to stop and smell the roses?  To live spontaneously? 

Hell no! I need my home to run like a well-oiled machine.  I need a rigorous routine that perfectly toes the line of predictability and flexibility in anticipation of the kids' every need.  I need clothes that move with me; that I never have to think twice about unless I’m checking for spit-up stains.  I need a car that can hold my kids and their obscene amount of stuff that I have so carefully curated into ten different bags.  I need space where my children can run and play and I don’t have to fret every minute over crime in the area.

I understand this is just my perspective and it has been hugely influenced by the fact that we not only had our second baby, but also moved across the country.

So as I came to the realization last night about my age, I looked around while still in shower and there it was - the notorious head-slapping moment that usually comes after my mind’s been wandering - identity crisis!  I'm having an identity crisis!  

And whenever an identity crisis rears its confusing and ugly head, the one thing you should always do is take a deep breath and…

START WITH WHAT YOU KNOW.  


This is what I know

  • I love to feed people - ain't nothing gonna drag me away from my Le Creuset 7-quart dutch oven.

  • I am a creative entrepreneur at heart no matter how many times I try (or others) to squash the desire like a bug.

  • I love places and things with history, character or a story which is why I am so in love with old architecture.

  • I consider my home a place of comfort, love and self-expression so it's imperative that I work on its design and layout until I'm blue in the face.

  • No matter how great of a mom I am, I will never do things the exact same way my mom did/does and that's okay.

  • Being creative is still an essential part of my being and my favorite ways will always be photography, writing and design.

  • I'm way more comfortable being in public without makeup than I ever was in my twenties.

  • I'm still itching for that wave tattoo though I'm feeling a little nervous to take the plunge.

  • I love my girls and Drew more than anything in world and moving to the burbs was the right decision for our family.


In the end, I realize my insecurities lie in the fact that I dont want to look like or be like the woman to the left and right of me.  

There is nothing wrong with the women to my left and right; I simply want to be my own person even if that means being different [which is a good thing!].  

I want to be me and all that makes me unique even if that seems weird to others.  And the truth is, the “others” I refer to - they’re probably not even paying attention to me because they’re too busy thinking these same things about themselves. 

So now... where is that nearest car lot with the minivans because I’ve got kids to haul to soccer practice. 

Happy Thursday babes.

Coming Back Strong - with a BOSS BABE Giveaway!

Damn, it feels good to be back.  I have missed this.  I've missed YOU.  You have no idea how happy I am that you are still here!  Ok, enough with the sappy reunions, ummkay?  

So it has been just under 7 months [Waah?!?!?!] since my last post and SO. MUCH. HAS. HAPPENED.  

Faye Imogen was born on December 22nd.  She came like a flash of lightening and we almost didn't make it to the hospital.

In February, when Faye was only 7 weeks old, we moved back to Houston - something I had been ready to do for a looooong time.  

Along with the move, we sold our house in the Bay Area, temporarily invaded my parents' home for 2 months, bought a house and moved in, and pretty much went insane trying to keep things stable for our two young children.  But we're here in Texas now and while I really miss the San Francisco Bay Area, I know in my heart, we're home.  

So, what have I got up my sleeve for Everyday Enthusiastic?  Well, stick with me and you will see [sly emoji face].  In all seriousness, I have some big plans for Everyday Enthusiastic.  We've got a little somethin' somethin' happening on the branding side, a little somethin' else with collaborations and posts, and so much more.  Can't stop this creative freight train barreling through my head.  

And just to start our reunion off right, we have a giveaway that is AWE-SOME and is specifically for all you Bad Ass Boss Babes out there.  I've partnered with the amazing Sam from The Pink Envelope to bring you the opportunity to win this super cool basket of Boss Babe goodies.  Just what you need in order to take over the world - Boss Babe style. 

To enter, simply follow the prompts below.  There is no fee to enter and only amazing swag to gain.

 This giveaway is now closed.

A huge thanks to Sam at The Pink Envelope for hosting such an awesome giveaway!