Deck the halls with boughs of holly.....

And ornaments because I do not know where you buy holly.

I decorated my house for Christmas, the day after Thanksgiving per family tradition and because I want to get as much time out of my tree as possible. I always love setting up my Christmas decorations. Last year we were finally able to ditch our little apartment tree and we got a nine foot tree from Gertens when they were having a good sale. We have chosen not to get a real tree as they seem to be  A LOT of extra work.  They are messy, you have to make sure they do not fall over (this has happened to people I know multiple times) and I am more worried about our dogs drinking the tree water. Hence, a faux tree! Last year was the first year we put this up and it barely fits. We have vaulted ceilings in the house and the little star on top barely fits. It is one of those trees where the branches are already attached. the first time we put it up the bottom branches fell with a thump. They were ENORMOUS! The corner that is designated for the tree is pretty narrow and this looked like the tree from Christmas Vacation punching holes in walls and windows. We thought we would have to return it. After some problem solving Derek was able to tuck the lowest branches to the center of the tree and that shrunk the diameter significantly. The voila my tree! I prefer to do a color coordinated tree versus a hodge podge tree. We had a hodge podge tree growing up that was filled with old ornaments and trinkets we had made as kids. Seeing as I do not have children I prefer a more sophisticated tree. A couple of years ago I got really settled on gold and black, a bit like a Solid Gold dancer ;) Over the years I have expanded to a couple other colors. Here are some tips I discovered:

1) Start with 2 main colors that will be the center point of your color scheme. Every other color should fall within the same color family but will essentially be highlights to your main colors. For example  my main colors are gold and black my highlight colors are bronze, rust orange, white and some silver. The highlights add some dimension.

2) Get a variety of shapes for ornaments. I have some bulbs, some oblong shapes, various sizes of bulbs, icicles and some ornaments that say words such as "Joy" and "Noel." Various sizes of bulbs help to hide holes between your tree branches to make the tree look bigger. Icicles also are great for this as well. I also typically put small bulbs at the top of the tree not only because proportionately it looks better but there typically is not the necessary space for large bulbs.

3) Get a few filler items such as these. They similarly help hide holes between your branches but add some depth and texture to your Christmas tree. I also happen to think it makes the tree look more luxurious like I am at Macy's :)

4) Lastly, even though you had a color scheme you can still add a few interesting pops of color. I have a few ornaments that are special including a pink monogrammed bulb I got from my Aunt, a Godfather ornament Derek got from his Godson and this beautiful crystal ornament. These can add a nice surprise on your tree and makes it uniquely yours.

christmas tree living room puppies


My puppies wanted to help decorate as well.

I found a few other items that I LOVE and are on my wish list for Christmas decorations I thought I would share with you all (sorry the pictures are not too clear. I am working on getting better at Photoshop, but I promise they are beautiful):

christmas blog post


1) Manzanita Candelbra, West Elm

2) Gold pillar candle, Pier 1

3) Glitter owl ornament, West Elm

4) Glitter feather, West Elm

5) Frost faux garland, Pier 1

6) Gold foil reindeer pillow, Pier 1

7) Brass reindeer, West Elm

8) Frost Hurricane, Pier 1

9) Joy wall sign, Target

10) Faux boxwood kissing ball, Pier 1

11) Lanterns, Pier 1


Happy Decorating! Leave a comment and let me know what you think and your tree trimming tricks!


Happy Thanksgiving!

I wanted to take a minute to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! Today I am grateful for my family, friends and all the blessings in my life.

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Here is my Thanksgiving outfit! I like to dress up a bit because if you are not a celebrity there are so few times in life to get dressed up. So I say take advantage of it:

Dress, ring and necklace: Primp Boutique  

Shoes: Over a year old I do not remember the brand but can find similar here

Boot socks: DSW

Sweater: Bought over a year ago from Victoria's Secret. Similar

Oh! and wine. Also very thankful for wine.

Getting to know me.....

As a new blogger I think it is important for you all to get to know who I am in order to decide if I am worthwhile to follow, which I hope you do :) . I have read plenty of blogs where I did not get a sense of their personality and I moved on. Other blogs such as Zipped and The Small Things Blog caught my attention by either an element of expertise or aspiration that continues to drive me to their site. I found The Small Things Blog due to her expertise in hair and I stuck around for her fun personality and tips. I found the Zipped Blog due to her sense of style and she's local so it's nice to see her wearing things that I could actually get at my local boutique. By following their lead I hope to add my sense of flair to lifestyle blogging, but I digress.

Let's start with some personal info then we'll move to the fun stuff :) I was born and raised in Minnesota, the Twin Cities area in particular. I have three sisters and I am the middle child. I know what you are thinking, middle children are the crazy ones, but for being the Jane Brady of the family I think I have done pretty well for myself. I am married for five years to my husband, Derek. We met in college through mutual friends and have been together for 10 years. That's really weird to see in print, 10 years!

derek baseball

My handsome husband after he caught a foul ball at a Twins game. Despite his current state of excitement I'm pretty sure the Twins lost that day, as they do most days. I swear if Molitor doesn't make some changes I'll.....nevermind that's for another time.

We also have two adorable dogs, Eva and Riggs. Also known as our furry children. Riggs was named after Friday Night Lights character Tim "Riggs" Riggins, swoon. I get asked a lot if he is named after the Lethal Weapon character, to which I typical respond "huh?" He has been with us  for 5 years and we adopted him from a breeder. He's the sweetest but dimmest dog around. He is about 90 pounds but thinks he's 15 pounds and a lap dog at that. Eva is about a little over a year old and we adopted her from the humane society this summer.  After a year of begging Derek to agree to bring another dog home he finally ok'd it but insisted we rescue our second dog. I could not be happier that we did. She is incredibly feisty and a little fighter. She always wants to wrestle and play, meanwhile Riggs wants to lie down and be left alone.....typical only child ;). She also eats her own poop, which is the grossest thing that has ever happened in my life. She's lucky she's so cute.
Riggs is on the Left, Eva on the Right. Taken on her first day at her forever homepuppy

Derek and I moved to Chicago about 10 months after we got married so I could go to graduate school. I have my Master's in Social Work and am working towards full clinical license. Although this will not be the focus of my blog I think it is important to know about me as it influences what I choices I make. When I graduated in 2012 we moved back home into my parent's house. They were very kind to have us. After realizing that apartment rent had shot up like a rocket we decided to buy a house and have been happy homeowners for almost two years. We got very lucky with the condition of our home but there was still plenty of decorating to do. We also have hopes of building a big walk-in closet (the dream!) in the next couple of years. If my closet could look like Cher's closet from Clueless, I might pass out.

Personally I would describe myself as sarcastic, organized, caring, impulsive, anxious and smart. Sarcasm is probably  my most notable and noticeable trait. I make special note of this as it will likely reflect in my writing and I do not want it to be misconstrued. I have been guilty of using sarcasm too soon with people and I can tell you it does not go over well. So if we are going to continue on the blog venture together this distinction needs to be clear upfront to save myself from footinmouthitis.

I find inspiration for my home and clothes in lots of places. I think of my dream locations, New York, Milan, Paris, etc and take influences for my spaces. My sun room in my house I thought about the Hamptons. This direction helped guide every choice I made. For my clothes I prefer the KISS method: Keep It Simple Stupid or if you want to go the classier route you could describe my mantra as Coco Chanel did "Once you've dressed, and before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off." I try to do this with my accessories. I cannot get enough accessories and would wear a ring on every finger if I could. I would not care if it made me look like the crazy bird lady from Mary Poppins I would do it! I also tend to buy cheaper accessories as they go out of trend quickly and I would rather spend $16 to wear it a few times and not feel guilty versus $50 and regret it in two months. I do prefer a more classic style with hints of the latest trends such as classic pieces with pops of the season. I bought a few things lately that I think fit this bill and will post in a few days.

Oh! One more thing before I leave you. I fulfilled a life's dream this Fall. It is something I have been hoping to do and fantasizing about. I visited the original Starbucks in Seattle in October. I LOVE coffee. Words cannot express my deep, unconditional affection for all things coffee. Starbucks is my coffeehouse of choice. I totally support local coffee shops, but when it comes to  my absolute fav it is Starbucks all day, hands down. Please enjoy the pure exuberance of this fulfillment of a dream:

me starbucks

Inaugural Post

Hello and welcome to My Monochromatic Life! I am happy to start this new venture of being a "blogger" for whatever that means. I started this blog because I was looking for a new challenge in life. Call it a quarter life crisis, call it boredom, call it an attention disorder all works and is fine by me :) I find myself on the computer killing time most nights and decided this would be a more fun and productive way to spend my free time. I was truly inspired by other bloggers who either simply share their expertise, fashion sense, or life with their readers. The ability to connect with people is often difficult to calculate and even harder without the nuance of conversation. I am hopeful that I can build a connection with my readers  in the same way the inspirational bloggers have succeeded.

My intention is to share the fun and interesting things with you including fashion, make up, local restaurants, activities and home decor. I am someone who also tends to process out loud and I suspect the events of my life will end up in this blog as well. My hope is to create an open dialogue with readers in where I can learn from you too. Lately I have been venturing out and trying new things. I so enjoy passing along information I have learned to other people and learning from people in return. I look forward to going on this new adventure with you. I also have an instagram account @mymonochromaticlife so be sure to check it out! I hope you can forgive the occasional <!--more typo or misstep while I work out the bugs as you get to know my monochromatic life.

mexico coffee