Procrastinators Unite!

by Lauren Setum

It’s officially the week (and a half) before Christmas; holy cow, time flies! If you’re still looking for gifts, be sure and place any online orders in the next day or so. Many companies won’t guarantee arrival by Christmas Eve after that. Not sure what to get? Take a look at my picks for last minute gifts:

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Clock-wise from top left:

Book {Fashion}: My cousin got me this book for my birthday, and it’s fabulous! You can purchase it through Amazon.

Umbrella {Polka Dots}: This umbrella was previously featured in a Salt and Pippa New Outfit post in a different colorway. I love the various scales of the polka dots; the wood handle and black and white make it a classic. Check out Gina and May’s website for this umbrella and other fabulous designs.

Earrings {Gold}: Designed by local Minneapolis artist, Meghan J. Nelson, these earrings are modern and simple yet intriguing. Her work can be found here in the Twin Cities at I Like You and Paper Hat. If you’re not from the area, check out Meghan’s website.

Rolling Pin {Marble}: For the classy cook in your life; I much prefer this chic rolling pin to typical wooden ones. Get it at Sur la table.

Moroccan Leather Slipper {Coral}: There’s something I just love about these slippers from Heidi Merrick (available in other colors). The pop of color and 100% leather material make them a lovely, unique gift for the holidays.

Brownies {all different flavors}: These brownies, delivered anywhere in the U.S. straight from NYC, are scrumptious. My friends ordered me a box for my birthday, and let’s just say they didn’t last long. Plus, how awesome is the company name? Visit the Fat Witch Bakery website for more details. Oh yeah, and they were featured on Oprah’s list of favorite things in 2002…in case you think Oprah is more credible than me. Ha.

Cup {Yellow Taxi}: I was intrigued by this particular cup because it kind of looks like a really pretty paper cup. In fact, it is actually stoneware designed by Gwyneth Leech and available at Anthropologie. Buy a set of the same design or mix and match all the different designs. Up to you. Either way they’re all fabulous!

Dish Towel {Dachshunds}: For the person who loves wiener dogs. The sweetness of this towel from Anthropologie speaks for itself.

Print {Love Courageously}: This pretty print is from Sevenly. I love this source because $7 of every purchase (all year round) goes to charity. The charity changes each week so check the website to see what your dollars are supporting. This is one of their prints, and I love it…pun intended. There are many other delightful designs though, too, so be sure and take a gander.

Every Homemade Invitation Needs…

by Lauren Setum

Well a frog with a tutu, of course! This year, my cousin and I are planning Christmas day festivities. The theme? The Nutcracker. I really wanted the invites to be handmade so I headed to my local craft store to pick up some materials. I’d intended to purchase a rubber stamp of a nutcracker, but the closest thing they had was a frog with a crown and tutu. Roll with the punches they say. The invites turned out pretty snazzy if I do say so myself. Take a look…

materials

Glitter paper: I used 12×12 sheets from Recollections at Michael’s. It’s a great weight for invites. The link shows other colors than what I used, but your local store should have a pad of this paper in the more neutral colors shown here (20 sheets/pad).

Ivory cardstock: I cut down sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 from Staples

Edge punch: I used this one from Staples to create the decorative edge on the glitter paper

Rubber stamp: How can you not love this Tutu Toad stamp from Michael’s?!

Ink pad: I used Brilliance Cosmic Copper; available at Michael’s

1/8″ circle hand punch: Similar one here

Snowflake binder clasps: These are made by Recollections and are also available at Michael’s

Paper cutter: A similar version of the one I used can be found at Staples. I highly recommend making your cuts using something like this as it ensures that your cuts will be precise and your measurement accurate.

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Step 1: Use the paper cutter to trim the glitter paper to a size just slightly smaller than the envelope you will send the invite in. I used 5.25″H x 7.25″W envelopes, so I cut the paper with those dimensions in mind.

Step 2: Use the edge punch to create a decorative border on the short sides of the glitter paper. You will want to set the punch to Setting #2 so that it creates a border and not a separate strip of paper.

Step 3: Format a Powerpoint document (I find that text boxes are easier to manipulate in this program vs. MS Word) with the text/info you want to include. I was able to fit four text boxes per sheet, but you’ll want to adjust formatting accordingly depending on the size of your invites. The guidelines in Powerpoint are helpful when it comes to placement, and if you view the document at 100% on your computer screen, you can literally put the paper up to the screen to make sure sizing is correct. Once that’s complete, print the text onto the card stock sheets.

Step 4: Trim the card stock so that it is slightly smaller than the glitter paper you just trimmed. You’ll want about 3/8″ of the glitter paper showing as a border.

Step 5: Add the Tutu Toad stamp to the left of the printed text. Let dry.

Step 6: Place one of the trimmed and stamped card stock sheets on top of one of the trimmed glitter sheets. Once placed where you would like it, punch an 1/8″ hole at the top center of the card stock (glitter paper should be punched simultaneously).

Step 7: Use one of the snowflake clasps to bind the two together. Invites are now ready to be stuffed and sent out!

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Music That Moves

by Lauren Setum

I’m not a big reality TV show person, but I do follow So You Think You Can Dance and The Voice. These two shows have managed to keep it classy and showcase some really amazing artists. Every once in awhile, there’s a performance that I find exceptionally impressive like the routines from SYTYCD that I posted back in August. Today, I wanted to share a song sung by Jacquie Lee on The Voice a couple nights ago. I tend to multi-task while watching TV, but when she started singing Angel by Sarah Mclachlan, I put everything aside and just listened.

Jacquie is only 16, but she has such stage presence. The violinists made for a pretty dramatic setting, but I hardly even noticed they were there (don’t get me wrong, kudos to the violinists!). Performances executed as precisely as this one can be really captivating!

If you’re looking to catch a live music performance this holiday season, I highly recommend Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus (if you’re in the area). The group is so talented and entertaining; they always exceed my expectations. See below for performance times and information.

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The Thanksgiving Story

by Lauren Setum

Hope everyone had a fantastic Turkey Day!

This year, instead of Christmas cards, I decided to send out Thanksgiving cards. With all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, I liked the idea of taking one ‘to do’ off the list. Sending cards for Turkey Day was a great way to do that. I laid out the card in Microsoft Powerpoint, sent my documents to Printing For Less and presto! A unique holiday greeting. I mailed them out in orange envelopes from Great Papers (available at Office Max stores). A personalized address stamp from Etsy and the project was complete!

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Why I Have Faith In Doubt

by Lauren Setum

A few weeks ago, knowing that I was about to turn 26, a co-worker asked me (half jokingly, half seriously) if I’d gotten through my quarter life crisis yet. I told her (half jokingly, half seriously) that I was ‘about 75% of the way through it.’ Why doesn’t anyone warn you about this post-college phenomenon? I’ve wondered that more than once over the last year or so, and I posed the (somewhat) rhetorical question to my co-worker during our conversation. Her reply: ‘I think it’s something that’s new and somewhat unique to our generation.’ According to this Washington Post article, she’s spot on…ok, maybe there were some good folks out there trying to give today’s 20-somethings a head’s up. Anyhow, this thing we often jokingly refer to as a ‘quarter-life crisis’ is a totally real thing that pops up about 20 years sooner than the ‘mid-life crisis’ sometimes associated with our parents’ generation. Apparently, feeling like nothing feels right is totally normal. How’s that for an oxymoron?

This past year and a half or so, well, let’s just say I would probably have been a great poster child for the aforementioned concept. Everything from work to personal relationships felt amiss. Post-college graduation, I had pretty concrete ideas about the path I was going to take and what life was going to be like; so when my current situation (at the time) started going against the grain of my ‘picture’, I got frustrated. Still, I figured that ‘this is just what it takes, this is what you have to deal with.’ Looking back, I think that the idea of not following through on these ‘things’ I had dedicated my education and time to made me feel guilty. I had created this really ‘cool idea’ of what I would be doing, and deciding to ditch it and try a new path felt, well, ‘uncool’. For quite some time, ditching out was simply not an option.

Some of us are lucky (yes, lucky) enough to be pushed out of our funk and into something different and more fitting (like the woman in the Post article); some of us are not. Carrie Cunnington is a talent and success coach here in the Twin Cities, and this particular weekly newsletter (excerpt below) from a couple weeks ago entitled, “I’m a Quitter” really resonated with me.

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While individuals who have been ‘shoved’ might feel like the unluckiest person in the world in the moment, I actually think it’s those who feel askew and aren’t being pushed in one direction or another who have it harder. Being stuck in the rut of, ‘I can’t change what I’m doing anymore, it’s too late’ is difficult (and a risky way of thinking!). Handling doubt in terms of major life decisions takes initiative and openness. It’s easy to remain in the ‘comfort and security’ of a current situation and hope something happens that will suddenly make everything work like a well-oiled machine. But, as Carrie points out in the excerpt above, that can take a looooooong time. More often than not, the sense of well-being that we search for comes from within. Instead of trying to ward off feelings of doubt with external things, try changing how you think about and approach a set of circumstances. You might find something you hadn’t expected.

Until recently, I struggled with the idea of doubt and thought it was a completely negative, bad thing. It was synonymous with being confused and lost. I expressed this to a friend who shook her head and said that all it really means is that you care and are self-aware enough to question things. She totally changed my perception. If you think about it, doubt is how we come to have the beliefs we have…if we didn’t question things (whether it be relationships, work, religion, etc) how would we ever see the big picture? We wouldn’t. Doubt, when utilized in the right way, can be a positive thing.

For my 26th birthday, I decided to get myself a present that would basically ‘commemorate’ my 25th year and kick off the upcoming year on a positive note. Bondye Bon by Britney is run by local Minneapolis artist, Britney Daniel. Not only are her custom sterling-silver rings incredibly charming, but all profits go towards her mission efforts; any profit above and beyond that is donated directly to long-term missionaries or organizations working for world change. How awesome is that?! I ordered three rings, and they read: FAITH, LUCKY 13, DOUBT. The ‘faith’ and ‘doubt’ rings seem to contradict each other, but as I’ve already explained, they’re actually two peas in a pod. ‘Lucky 13’ references the calendar year 2013 (aka my 25th year) and is sort of a play on words when it comes to the stereotype of the number 13. Was it a lucky year? Depends how you look at it. I feel pretty lucky that I learned to stop trying to make everything perfect right now…turns out what you really want to do is be at peace with where things are headed.

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Stocking Stuffers

by Lauren Setum

St. Nick‘s is less than three weeks away! I didn’t realize until moving to the Twin Cities that not everyone celebrates St. Nick’s day like southeastern Wisconsin does. For those of you who don’t know about this particular tradition, St. Nick is the one who fills up your Christmas stockings, not on Christmas Eve, but on the evening of December 5th. Here are some stocking stuffer ideas for the upcoming holiday!

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Brown leather gloves from Max Studio; the perfect accessory for 3/4 sleeve jackets.

Pattern by Tricia Guild on Amazon; if you love color and pattern, this coffee table book is for you. Also check out Tricia’s fabric line at Designers Guild

Plaid clutch purse from Zara; I absolutely love the combo of plaid and studs…sassy!

Mom and Me Soy Candles; the scents are scrumptious, AND they’re made locally here in the Twin Cities by a mother/daughter duo!

Pink Packer tee for your pup from Athletic Pets (Pippa would look great in this!)

Silver metallic flats from Zara; who doesn’t love a great tassel?!