Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Genius! Stocking Rods

Stocking Rods!  Seriously -- this is an amazing idea for your Christmas decor as you get ready for the holidays.  My mom found this idea from South House Designs on Pinterest and posted it to our Facebook wall

When you have more than 2-3 stockings to hang by the chimney with care, the mantel fills up quickly.   Most stocking holders on the market are bulky and can takeaway from the overall look of your mantlescape.  Enter Two stocking hooks and a run of the mill curtain rod.  With these three items you can hang multiple stockings from the fireplace with ease.  Don't have a mantel?  Hang the rod from a window sill, entry table or hutch.  I love it! Head over to South House Designs for more details and pictures!

Just have a few stockings to hang but don't like the traditional stocking holders? (That's me!) Last year, I ordered mantel clips like these from Target in the oil rubbed bronze finish for our two stockings.  I like that they blend in without interfering with my decor.  (Pictures of my Christmas decor to come soon!)

Don't forget to enter the giveaway for the m.elaine beadworks bracelet!  It ends tonight at midnight.  (Come know you want to enter!)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cyber Monday Giveaway: m.elaine beadworks

Happy Cyber Monday! Last week, I enjoyed no less than three fabulous Thankgiving dinners in two cities with countless friends and family members that I love.  I promised you a post on my Black Friday finds-- but I have a confession:  I didn't buy anything.  Therefore, I have nothing to show you. 

I did enjoy the gorgeous fall weather in Downtown Franklin, Tennessee poking in and out of charming boutiques with friends, Jenna and Christina.  Actually purchasing something, however, would have required me to stand in long lines amid masses of people.  Not my thing.  As much as I typically love shopping at malls, boutiques, and outlets, this time of year I prefer shopping from the comfort of my couch in my pjs.

In honor of Cyber Monday (and a comfortable shopping environment), I am offering my first giveaway from m.elaine beadworks.

Need a special gift for a female in you life? Your mother, sister, sister-in-law or friend? I think that you'll love the one-of-a-kind stackable bracelets from m.elaine beadworks.

m.elaine beadworks was started by two fashion forward friends of mine.  Meredith and Rachel are first and foremost best friends who shared awkward teenage years together in Alabama, college trips from Athens to Knoxville and back, weddings and babies -- they’ve truly been through it all making it a natural decision to start a business together.

Meredith draws on her experiences working for a local jeweler and now as the manager of Kelly's Closet, a bridal and ready-to-wear boutique in Atlanta, to design the bracelets, while Rachel utilizes her years of media and advertising experience to promote the brand.

Meredith and Rachel are complete perfectionists (trust me, I know!) and their perfectionism shows in their bead choice.  They only selecting the stones and other materials that make a rich, bold statement. I love that many of their pieces are one-of-a-kind, since they use unique, vintage charms.

What I find really appealing about m.elaine beadworks is their focus on individuality and personal style.   Their bracelets can be worn as a single bracelet, but they are really designed to be worn in sets, or "stacks" as they call it.  You can add to your collection and mix and match pieces for a look that is completely YOU!

Take a look at their gorgeous designs (get ready for an onslaught of photos -- I just loved so many!):


m.elaine beadworks is offering a discount to all Inviting Abode readers just in time for Christmas! 

Simply enter the promo code ABODE at checkout to receive 15% off all of your purchases through the end of the year!

Meredith & Rachel also generously offered to giveaway the bracelet below [gunmetal chinese crystal beads with alternating silver crystal rondelles], worth $58, to a lucky Inviting Abode reader! 
In their words: 
We chose this bracelet because it's a great starter for a stack or an addition to any stack, and it is pretty generic (no skulls, crosses, Buddhas!).  It can be dressed up or down and is just the right amount of sparkle!

Entering is Easy:
  • [required] Like m.elaine beadworks on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know you did and what you'd wear it with below.
  • [extra entry] Follow/Subscribe to Inviting Abode blog by clicking "follow" or "subscribe" on the right hand side of my blog, then leave a comment letting me know you did.
  • [extra entries] Mention this giveaway in a blog post, FB link or tweet, then leave a comment letting me know you did.
  • Please post a separate comment for each extra entry.
  • Please list your email if I don't have a way to contact you.    
  • Entry period closes at midnight EST on Wed, Nov 30, 2011. The winner will be chosen by and will be announced on Inviting Abode on Thurs, Dec 1, 2011.
  • Limited to US residents only.
 Happy Shopping!

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Today (and everyday) I am thankful that I am so incredibly blessed by

my amazing, supportive husband
    my fun, loving (and fun-loving) family & in-laws
    my amazing, inspiring group of girlfriends (this doesn't even come close to capturing all of you)

the personal growth and friendships developed in our small group 

our two crazy, but lovable dogs


our warm, comfortable home

my job and colleagues that allow me to learn, grow, and travel

Did I mention my husband?

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving at Mom & Dad's

When you are one of four kids who have spouses (who are one of three or four kids themselves), significant others, and kids of their own, scheduling is....well, CRAZY.  My parents worked around our schedules and planned a Thanksgiving meal at their house last Sunday. 

We had all the traditional fare; and for the first year, all of the kids brought something to share.  I happily contributed homemade sweet potato souffle (sans marshmallows, add pecans) and pumpkin pie.  I got too caught up in ogling over the adorableness of my niece and nephew (and eating) that I did not take any pictures of our elaborate meal.

I did, however, snag a few shots of my mom's dining room decor for any of you looking for last minute centerpiece ideas of your own.  This year, my mom went with simple, yet beautiful.  (I say simple, because decor in past years have involved such things as my mom drilling holes in over-sized gourds to make gourd vases to line the table.  There you go.  Now you see where I get my craziness creativeness.) 

She started with an over-sized wooden bowl and filled it with all things fall: extra large pine cones, deer antlers from our recent Scotts trip, cabbage planted in ceramic gourd pots, acorns, and decorative balls with fall-like textures (ie, twine, wicker, and feathers).

These photos are very deceiving in terms of scale.  The table the centerpiece rests on is a large square that seats 12 people with 3 on each size.  To give you some perspective, see that large wicker ball in the back?  That has about a 12'' diameter.  Those pine cones are about 12'' long as well.

My parents have a fantastically versatile dining room chandelier.  Essentially, the center is a glass vase that allows them to change out the look from season-to-season (or dinner party-to-dinner party in my mom's case).  I love that the seasonal decor is not limited to the table and sideboard. 

For Thanksgiving, she filled the bottom of the vase with horse chestnuts she collected while visiting my grandmothers in Michigan.  The green leafy stuff (sorry it's so dark!) is more cabbage to continue the look from the table.  She added a few sprigs of red berries from their yard to finish the look.  This room is so gorgeous when all of the surrounding candles (and the wall of candles behind it!) are lit. 

Finally, my mom had her china cabinet all decked out for her Halloween party Thanksgiving.  Note that your buffet or china cabinet need not be limited to the traditional items: dishes, candlesticks, and serving ware.  She has glass cloches, antique bottles, books, and interesting antique finds (such as that iron bathtub foot on the second shelf).  My favorite part of this display, however, is the top.  On the left, she has a grouping that includes a large wicker tray, a wicker covered glass jar, and beautiful green and white pot.  On the right, she has a beautiful antique scale weighing...what else?  A pumpkin!

Ryan and I are celebrating Thanksgiving with his wonderful family in Nashville this year -- with one dinner tonight and a Thanksgiving lunch tomorrow.  The turkey is currently brining in the fridge -- and we will drop it in our Big Easy Oil-less Turkey Fryer this afternoon.  Yummy!

I plan to get ahead on my blog posts while I am here.  A few upcoming posts to look for:
  • What I Want for Christmas (I need to post this soon, as the list keeps growing!)
  • Giveaway on CyberMonday from M.Elaine Beadworks
  • Black Friday Finds
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fall Decorations..Sort Of.

I know that I promised to show you my Fall decorations; however, Sunday I was confronted by THIS before I could take pictures.

That's right.  My husband was overcome by holiday spirit and pulled out all of the Christmas decor.  Whoops.  (Secretly, I am happy.  Every inch of my house is now Christmas-ified...and I love it.  Another benefit?  I was able to take inventory of things I need to buy to add to the decor, like large evergreen branches and outdoor wreaths, before the holidays get too crazy.  Double bonus.)

Anyway, I was able to snap a few photos of the still intact fireplace and kitchen island.  The rest will just have to wait until next year!  I know, right?  How will you sleep in anticipation for a whole year?

What's the best Christmas decor idea you've seen on Pinterest?  I am in FULL Christmas mode now!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Recipe: Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies

Victory tastes so sweet!  My beloved Georgia Bulldogs beat up on the defending National Champions, the Auburn Tigers, to continue our quest to win the SEC East (Sorry, Melissa!).  All that stands between us now is a W over the Kentucky Wildcats next Saturday.  Go Dawgs!

Ryan and I spent the day in Athens tailgating and cheering on our team with dear friends and family. (Hi, Liz & Lindsay!)  A special thanks to my brother for providing an unfailingly fabulous tailgate setup.

What did I bring to share?  After careful perusal of my Pinterest boards Friday, I decided to make these sweet treats: Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies.  They were delicious! The recipe made 65 cookies -- and there was not a crumb left by game time.  I guess that means everyone agreed with me?

(Side note: I actually discovered that I pinned the recipe twice...I guess that means they really sounded good to me.)

The original recipe was on the always delicious baking blog, Two Tiny Kitchens.  I pretty much followed her recipe exactly (though a little less sugar).  One thing to note if trying this out, I made the cookies the night before, and they definitely tasted better the next day.  I am not sure why -- I guess that the flavors needed to meld together.


1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp softened butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar (give or take)
3/4 cup brown sugar (give or take)
Pretzels (you will need about 130 pretzels)
1 bag  semi-sweet chocolate chips

Step 1:
Combine peanut butter and butter in a large bowl with whisk a stand mixer.  Add the sugars and mix to combine.  If the filling rolls easily into balls without sticking to your hands (note: roll in your palm rather than your fingertips to reduce stickiness), you are ready for Step 2.  If not, add a little more of each sugar until you reach a consistency that is easy to roll.

Step 2:
Roll filling into small balls (approximately 1 tsp), then sandwich them between two whole pretzels.  When all the balls are rolled and sandwiched, place the tray in the freezer for about half an hour.

Step 3:
Pour the chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl and heat at 30-second intervals, stirring occasionally until completely melted.  (Note: You will need the entire bag.)  Remove the pretzel sandwiches from the freezer and quickly dip each cookie into the melted chocolate.  When all are dipped, return the tray to the freezer to set up completely.  Store the sandwiches in the refrigerator until serving time.


Want to see what others brought to share?

My mom made this incredible (seriously, I could not stop eating it...notice the missing bottom right corner of dip?  Whoops!) 7-Layer Greek Dip she found on Pinterest.  (She substituted Tzatziki sauce for the cream cheese base.  Delish.)

My friend Liz brought this tasty Fruit Salsa with Baked Cinnamon Chips.   The fresh, crisp flavor of the fruit was such a nice change from your regular tailgate fare.  I ate quite a bit of this too... 

(Note: I am not sure if that's the exact recipe Liz uses -- but it is very similar.  She says she uses all sorts of different fruit depending on what's in season.)

Food, football, and friends?  An all together great weekend.  What's your favorite tailgate recipe?

Friday, November 11, 2011

November Scott Antique Trip

Oh, Scott's.  How I have missed you.  I have not been to Scott's in at least 8 months.  My mom shops Scott's every month for her clients and has all sorts of great inside knowledge-- so we like to go together. But, she only likes to go on Friday's when it's not as crowded or as picked over.   Attending on Friday requires me to take a day off of work, which I can only do every so often.  However, today's finds remind that it's completely worth it!
I took a ton of pictures to share -- see them below:
 (I forgot my regular camera, so these are iPhone shots.  Sorry!)

 Great light green antique leather settee

I love the burlap and chicken wire combination used for these light shades.

Antique sleds were out in full force to prepare for the holidays.  I adore the one I bought last year -- however, I did have to explain to my husband that he could not ACTUALLY use it during last January's snowstorm.

This booth had a huge array of antique game boards.  These would be perfect framed in a playroom, media room, or kid's room!

I really liked the holiday displays in this booth using just silvers, greens, and brown.  I snapped a few photos that I am going to try and recreate at my house this year.  Antlers (see Leigh, they are in!) and greenery inside a lantern makes a simple, elegant winter display.  My mom snagged a few antlers to use at her house.

We chatted with the gentleman from altered for quite a while -- he makes furniture and decorative accessories all out of church pews.  They are AMAZING.  See those two brown benches in front?  They are from the same church -- the lighter one was near a window.  He makes tables, chairs, benches, vases, candesticks, and more all out of the pews.  So cool!   His website is not up quite yet-- but I have his card if anyone is interested.

I saw these European olive picking buckets -- and it was love at first sight.  (Despite their $59/each price tag!)  They reminded me of our trip to the olive groves during our Italian vacation in May. 

Alas!  They were sold.  Much to my luck, however, several other vendors were carrying them.  I saw these olive buckets carried out of Scott's by patrons left and right.  I purchased my own from one of my favorite outdoor vendors for...$35!  These are selling on for $75-$250 right now.  What a steal!

Check out this antique double decanter carrier.  Pottery Barn just added a reproduction of one of these to their new line.  This would make a great Christmas gift for the special man in your life.

How sweet is this antique baby scale?

I'm a sucker for vintage baby blocks.  The booth display spelled my father-in-law's name, Rex.  I had to snap a picture!  (For some reason, Blogger insists on displaying the photo sideways...)

Burlap chests.  Love.

A beautiful seafoam green chest to be used as a sideboard or dresser.  See that white tag?  It says sold.  Merchandise was selling SO quickly today.

Owl andirons for in front of a fireplace.  I bet these sold quickly given the popularity of owls in the design world.

Galvanized table.  Very industrial looking.

Everywhere you looked vendors were carrying vintage suitcases.  A few of these stacked makes a fabulous end table or bedside table.  The cases in this stack ranged from $45-75 -- not bad!

Leigh, this is for you.  You case Ryan 2 doesn't know what to do with his deer feet.  (Seriously, WHO would use this lamp?)

Mom gives her legs a rest among a sea of linen seating options.

Jars, pots, wine casks galore!

I am not always a huge fan of brass-- but there is something about this antique brass light fixture that I just love. 

All of the industrial furniture makes me want another house to decorate...

I thought that this could make a really pretty Christmas centerpiece -- vintage ornaments hung from a lamp shade frame.

Hands reaching to the sky...

I *think* that this is an old dental chair.  As such, I promptly texted my pediatric dentist friend, Leigh, a picture.  We had the following hilarious exchange:

Ashley: This chair looks medical so I bought it for you.  You're welcome.
Leigh: And it looks so comfortable!  Thanks, friend! :)
Ashley: No problem!  If it doesn't fit in your house you can always use it at the office -- it won't scare the kids at all!
Leigh: Perfect!  I'll call it the Magical - not at all for medical experimentation - special chair. 
Ashley:  Hahahaha!

Mantels, pillows, and more olive picking buckets...

I was amazed at the selection of funky chairs.  These remind me of my brother's law office...


I seriously considered these cube trunks for $110. 

 Wine racks...

I can't forget to share Ryan's Christmas present for this year -- a smoker/grill in the shape of a bull!  (The smoke literally comes out of its nose.)  I could not stop laughing!  I was also surprised the bull grill was only priced at $675.  Somehow, I thought that this beauty would be priced higher...

Old light bulbs filling the box -- I just thought this looked interesting...

Mirrors, coral, rocking horse....

Deer antlers my mom snatched up for just $15 each.  (She would want me to inform you that deer shed their antlers every year.  No deer were killed for her decorating desires...)

Pretty chair fabric...

Lamps made out of all sorts of repurposed objects -- gears, water meter covers, coils, etc.  So neat!

Last, but not least, how cool are these orb-shaped iron pieces?  My mom wants to wire one as a light and hang it above her family room coffee table.   I love the idea.

Whew!  That was a lot.  Based on the responses to my previous post, the next posts will be about My Fall Decor, What I Want for Christmas, and a DIY Wall Unit.  I also plan to post a Pinterest recipe I made for tomorrow's UGA football game against Auburn.  Go Dawgs!