2017: my year in review

berner pup

It's that time of year again.....time for a year in review post! These posts may seem silly (and probably pretty repetitive this time of year) but I always love looking back and reflecting on years past. My first EVER blog post was a review of 2011....my how things have changed in six years!

2017 was a great year filled with exciting opportunities and new adventures. I traveled all around the world, checked a lot of things off my bucket list, had a bunch of "firsts." learned to be happy with who I am and where I'm at while working towards my goals and dreams. Of course some crappy things happened - health, home warranties, insurance and finances don't always go according to plan - but taking those things in stride and looking at the big picture makes it all OK. If 2018 is half as great as 2017, I'll be more than satisfied.
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Spending Christmas Cash

outfit inspo
one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine | ten | eleven | twelve
Good morning! I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas filled with joy and cheer. I'm always a little sad that my favorite time of year is over... I know some of you are probably relieved to stop listening to Christmas music everywhere you go and get back to your regularly scheduled programming.... and that's OK! 

One good thing about Christmas being over is spending Christmas cash and gift cards during after Christmas sales! I always *try* to participate in No Shop November and Don't Shop December, so by the time December 26 rolls around I'm ready to go on a shopping spree for ME! I put together some adorable and affordable outfits from Romwe to inspire you to do your own after Christmas shopping! I'm totally crushing on this velvet bodysuit and I love the poncho inspired by Burberry - always  classic! Also, can we talk about these designer dupe heels? Insert heart eyes!
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Merry Christmas from the Martins

christmas card photo
Open Back Sweater | Similar Tulle Skirt | MK Flats
Happy Friday and happy weekend! I wanted to pop in real quick and wish everyone a Merry Christmas. We are heading to my parent's tonight for a Christmas weekend at the lake in NW Arkansas. Cookies, carols and cheer! I love it. No matter how old I am, I will always love waking up on Christmas morning and feeling like a little kid again. We always have orange cinnamon rolls and pigs in a blanket for breakfast after opening presents. It is such a simple breakfast but it is a tradition I always look forward to. 

I thought I'd share our Christmas card photo shoot with you today - I just love how they turned out! These silly pups make any photo better...and more difficult to achieve haha. I wore this same skirt to a Christmas party paired with a plaid button down and leopard flats - I'm not sure which way I like better! I think it would look equally as adorable with a chambray top. 
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NYE Outfit Inspo

new years eve outfit
Velvet Body Suit (only available in black), Similar Here | The Comfiest Jeans | Similar Faux Fur Vest |
Kate Spade Bag | Similar Heels | Gucci Belt, Dupe Here | Lips, Color is "Fiery" 
Picking out the perfect New Years Eve outfit is always such a fun activity! Sparkles, velvet, sequins, silk, fur, leather.....it seems to me that New Years is all about wearing fun and festive fabrics. In years past, I spent my NYEs out on the town. Naturally they included lots of sequins and high heels! As I get older, though, I prefer to stay home with friends and family.....but I still like to look the part! 

The outfit I'm wearing here could be worn out to a casual NYE setting or it can be worn on the couch!  This body suit is seriously the softest thing I've ever worn and these jeans are so comfy and stretchy I could sleep in them. I had to add a touch of sparkle with my shoes - I've had them for several years and I literally only wear them on New Years! I added a few other festive pieces I'm crushing on in the widget at the end of this post. 
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Gift Guide for Stocking Stuffers

stocking stuffer ideas
one: a fun water bottle | two: my fav lipstick | three: pony-tail holders | four: a portable phone charger | five: the cutest contact case | six: a selfie light | everyone's fave chap stick (no number, oops!) | seven: my favorite sheet mask | eight: a pop socket | nine: bath bombs | ten: phone camera lens kit | eleven: a fun mug | twelve: a fun usb drive | thirteen: custom dog breed tie | fourteen: crazy socks | fifteen: a cocktail kit (throw in mini liquor bottles!) | sixteen: beard bomb | seventeen: a kitchen tool kit | eighteen: a tea infuser
With only a week left until Christmas, I hope you are all done with your shopping! But that sounds much easier in theory than it is in reality amirite?! Hopefully by now, though, all you have left are those little last minute gifts and stocking stuffers. According to Santa, girl's stockings are easy to fill with lipstick, nail polish and pony tail holders but guy's stockings are a little more difficult. I tried to include options for both in this post!

Santa always brings me dried pineapple while my brother gets a bag of wintergreen Lifesavers. The toe of C's stocking always gets filled with mini Reese's! Do you get any specific stocking stuffers from the big guy each Christmas? I'd love to hear your traditions!
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Friday Favorites

presents

10 days till Christmas?! Where did this month go? Even though I'm done with my shopping and wrapping, I haven't watched all my Christmas movies yet! I'm guessing many of you are still busy shopping.....or maybe you haven't even started yet?? If that's you, there will be one more gift guide for last minute gifts on the blog Monday, so check back.

For now, I'm gonna share a few things that have happened in real life this month for my monthly Friday Favorites post. It has definitely been a challenging month in the Martin household but a good one.
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Christmas PJ Roundup

christmas pajamas
Long Sleeve Tee | Thermal PJ Pants - size up! | Similar Santa Mug
Raise your hand if you always got to open ONE present on Christmas Eve as a kid. Raise your other hand if it was always a pair of Christmas PJs! As an adult, I've developed an obsession with cute and cozy PJs. I have WAY too many ranging from my husband's torn up t-shirts and baggy sweat pants to fun little lace numbers. Insert monkey covering eyes emoji. Christmas PJs, though, have to be just the right combination of festive, cute, comfy, warm (but not too warm if you live in the south) and modest enough to wear around company or when staying at a family member's house.

I've had my eye out for festive PJs all season in anticipation of this post! I snagged mine on Black Friday but was heartbroken when my doctor told me I could only wear button ups through the end of the year thanks to my shoulder surgery. Womp womp. Luckily there are plenty of festive flannel button PJs out there. I rounded up ALL my favorites Christmas PJs below.
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Gift Guide for Animal Lovers + GIVEAWAY

gift guide for animal lovers
one | two, also love this one for dog people | three: custom illustrated phone case | four, love these for dog people | five, also love this one for the holidays! | six: on my wish list! comes in tons of breeds | seven: a doggie selfie stick! | eight: this candle helps cover up animal smells and the proceeds go to rescues! | nine: LOVE this b/c Chloe always has to ride shotgun | ten: dog or cat Christmas socks | eleven: I've wanted this for years, looks so comfy! | twelve: because dogs need Christmas PJs too! 
Can you believe there are only two weeks till Christmas?!! What the holly berries?! This is always the week I start panicking about finding those last few little gifts for random people. While creating my other gift guides, I came across a ton of cute pet-related items so I decided to do a gift guide for animal lovers. As a crazy dog lady myself, I know these fun gifts would be appreciated by any pet owner or four-legged friend. I included a few other fun finds in this widget:

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15 Ways to Get in the Christmas Spirit

Christmas Spirit Outfit
Bell Sleeve Stripe Top (so flattering!) | Blanket Scarf | Similar Clutch Here & Here | Beaded BraceletHunter Boots | Lips, color is "Fiery"
I typically spend 345 days out of the year looking forward to and anticipating Christmas. You know, that feeling of joy and happiness and magic that fills you up inside? But it seems that with every passing year as I get older and life gets busier and busier, I find it more difficult to get in the Christmas spirit. Instead, I'm worried about checking off my to-do list, getting to work on time and not sneaking too many holiday treats. This year especially, since I am recovering from shoulder surgery, I've been saying "Bah Hum Bug" more than ever before and ya'll.....that's just not OK! Cue Faith Hill, "Where Are You, Christmas?"

I've challenged myself this weekend to get in the Christmas spirit, one way or another! I put together a list of 15 things to help bring out the holly jolly hiding inside. How do you get in a festive mood?
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Preparing for the Perfect Christmas

perfect holiday party
Sweater Dress | Similar Scarf, also love this one and this one | Lips, color is Fiery | Christmas Cup
'Tis the season to deck the halls! Nothing puts me in the Christmas mood more than decorating. Pulling out old favorites and purchasing new pieces to add to my collection - I love every bit! I always seem to put pressure on myself to decorate everything perfectly, though. Let me tell you what... Perfect's not easy!

This year, I insisted on hanging Christmas lights on the exterior of the house as well as putting wreaths on all the windows. Christmas Queen, over here. It ended up looking perfect, like a house straight out of a movie, but my poor husband had to spend two whole weekends on a ladder to meet my high expectations. He strung and re-strung the lights, he took them down and exchanged them for a different color. He called out a professional to help, then said professional quit halfway through. Once it was finally all up and working, a fuse blew. Back on the roof he went! God bless him, he deserves a major award. Thankfully I was able to serve him a glass or two of Red Diamond Iced Tea to show my appreciation. How 1950's house wife of me!
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Gift Guide for Guys

gift guide for guys
one: a cocktail book or cookbook | two: google home, have and love | three: bbq or grill tools | four: a cocktail carry on kit for the jet setter | five: a herschel backpack, have and love | six: a yeti | seven: a decanter & glass set paired with his favorite liquor | eight: a watch | nine: a new wallet | ten: crazy work socks | eleven: a toiletry bag for travel | twelve: a turntable for the music lover | thirteen: nintendo switch - only get him this if you're ok being ignored! | fourteen: a puffy vest | fifteen: a plaid shirt | sixteen: aviators | seventeen: a new hat | eighteen: house shoes, have and love | nineteen: lounge pants | twenty: a stylish but warm sweater, have and love

Good morning and Happy Monday! Can you believe we are already four days into December? Time seriously flies. As a kid, December seemed to be the slowest month of the year but it is definitely not that way anymore. It goes by so fast I don't even need an advent calendar.

I'm slightly freaking out about getting my shopping done in time for Christmas. I pretty much finished buying things for all the ladies in my life but I haven't even started on my husband, dad or brother. Isn't that the way it always is? I save the hardest for last and lets face it, dudes are just really hard to buy for.
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Holiday Party Look

holiday party outfit
Lucky Brand Plaid Top, Similar Here and Here | BB Dakota Leather Skirt, Similar Here and Here, Would Also Look AMAZING with a Sequin Skirt! | Gucci Sock Booties, Similar Here | Kate Spade Bag | Lips, Color is Fiery
How cute is this look for a holiday party? I purposefully made it not tooooo over the top dressy because when in real life do you go to a full-on Christmas cocktail party? Never in my experience. Most Christmas parties I've attended are more like casual get togethers. I'm heading to my neighborhood Christmas party on Sunday and will be sporting my new arm sling, how fashionable!

All the pieces in this look can be worn other ways, too, which I love! I've worn this skirt with chunky sweaters and the top looks great with skinnies and booties for a more casual look. I don't know if plaid button downs will ever go out of style and I'm totally A-OK with it. Do you have any holiday parties coming up? I'd love to hear what you're wearing! There are so many opportunities to spice up your wardrobe this time of year and it makes me so happy!
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