Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas Card 2014

and just like that, it's behind me. my holiday card is complete and sent. each year it gets better, a little more complex. dreaming up an idea to fruition, what fun. we were pleased with our card this year. it started with a vision and developed from there. the idea did not originate with me. i had some inspiration. some very specific inspiration. isn't that what we all do? we see something we love and spin around to replicate it. style is the same way--we see an outfit or a color combination and re-create it in our own form. imitation is the best form of flattery.

my very first step is scouring the internet for images that catch my eye. the images below were front runners. who knows...i may use one next year. i love the natural setting of each and appreciate the relaxed poses. i am not a fan of formal photos. we prefer a casual, candid style image.






since i grew up in the midwest and lived in Colorado all of my 20's, snowfall holds a special place in my heart. it doesn't snow often in raleigh. when it does, most of the city is in fear. i, however, am delighted. i want to drive in it. i want to run through it. i want to stare out the window at it. i want to make a snow angel with it. for all these reasons, #4 was our final choice and became a muse to mimic.

i tracked down the photographer who shot the scene and asked several questions about the image. she was flattered that we wanted to re-create the shot she photographed several years ago.
the priceless secret she shared was about the 'snow.' it wasn't really snow. it was actually potato flakes. yes, you heard that correctly. Hungry-Jack-potato-flakes. after hearing that, i did my research and found that many movie sets use good ol' potato flakes to imitate snow. in person they are a buttery yellow. with the right lighting and a great camera, they reflect as snow.

i convinced southern gent this was a good idea. remember when i said he was a good sport? he truly is.
we gathered my parents and my favorite photographer friend, and all headed to a winter garden. it was important to have firs behind us. small details add up. i blogged some hints about the photo shoot here.

picture this: my mom on a ladder with a spaghetti colander and potato flakes. we were kissing and laughing as she shook the 'snow' in front of us. there was a tarp at our feet to catch the mashers. here are a few outtakes. it took some time to get the right consistency and perfect level of focus.

after much experimenting, we captured the shot! 

and, voila, a card was born!  

going to the mailbox is always the most fun in December. Happy Holidays Lovelies! 
enjoy each moment. imagine, discover, believe! 

previous cards:
here is our post from 2013
2012 christmas photo here
2011 christmas card post here
throw back christmas post here

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

**contest winner**

THIS contest was fun. i received numerous emails detailing holiday traditions with significant  meaning in your lives. thank you so much for participating, you stirred up lots of good feelings. Some shared playful traditions and others were heartfelt. i appreciated the whole gamut. you had me chuckling and sniffling. 

undoubtedly the winner is my dear friend Sally Stansik. she said she didn't expect to win, but i am so happy to award her the grand prize! her submission kindled a spirit deep within. a spirit that exists, but is not always in the lead. kindness. love. generosity. selflessness. 

below is an excerpt from her submission..

"There are so many things that are wonderful and magical and priceless and precious about our holiday, but one thing that stands out to me, is a tradition that my daughter Molly has kept up for many years. Molly became friends with Chelsea in elementary school. Chelsea is a neighbor who happens to have special needs and challenges, and a disease called Prader-Willi. She is a very special girl and our entire family adores her. She “likes" us, but the Stansik she TRULY loves is Romeo, our 12 year old yellow lab. Romeo was a new puppy the year we met Chelsea. Each year at Christmas time, Molly arranges a time to have Chelsea come over and cook, spend time with us (manicures, movies, game-night etc), and most importantly, spending time with Romeo. Many years, we have a “sleepover” - something kids with special needs don’t always get invited to do. This started in elementary school and Molly has continued this tradition, even after Chelsea moved into a group home in the next town over, and even after Molly moved away to college and even now when Molly is working and living at Harvard. It is a precious and priceless time, reminding us of what is, and what is not important. Chelsea teaches us so much despite her challenges. It also makes me proud beyond words, that my daughter has a heart that makes this tradition a priority."

let's each absorb this sentiment from Sally and her daughter Molly and make it a season of giving. make someone smile. give the gift of love. lead with compassion. 
Thank you for sharing this amazing tradition, Sal. watch for an email with your minted. code. 

"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. -Maya Angelou

Sunday, November 30, 2014


song pair: It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas by Michael Buble

i'm back again to talk holiday cards. mine are being sent today. the good news: if you haven't ordered them yet, this might inspire. i have teamed up with minted. to give one lucky winner a $100 credit toward holiday cards. this is hopefully the motivation you needed!
the contest is easy: write to me with a favorite thing about your personal holiday season. 

  • a family recipe
  • a treasured tradition
  • a person you look forward to embracing
  • a commercial that sparks the Christmas spirit
  • a film that brings back memories
  • a collection you unpack each season
  • anything that comes to mind! 

readers have mentioned commenting below is sometimes complicated. you have the option of a comment below or simply sending me an email. liz (dot) tatum (at) hotmail (dot) com

the contest ends Tuesday (December 2) at 11:59pm. i will announce a winner Wednesday. good luck!



Sunday, November 16, 2014


would you think i was nuts if i told you my christmas cards are complete and ready to be sent? well, i'm nuts. normal is boring, i choose passion.

there are two pictures each year i obsess over. the corona commercial and our holiday photo. i think about both of them all year long and gather bits of inspiration for each. both photos appear simple, nothing elaborate. you would never know how much thought goes into them. i want the concept to look effortless, even though there is a bit of production that happens. here are some behind-the-scenes images of our card this year. five of us traipsed through the JC Raulston Arboretum. what a place. there are multiple types of gardens to meander through. we were in search of the winter garden for our shoot.

i'll tell ya, my southern gent is the best sport when it comes to all my quirky ideas.

these were taken at the beginning of october.
i promise to share the final product in early december.

those are some pretty good hints. 

speaking of ordering cards, you should get on that too. last year i chose minted. and was very pleasantly surprised. the quality was superb and the choices are endless. i have tried multiple companies over the years, but minted. truly surpassed their competitors. i have also ordered party invitations from them. they have art, home decor and fabrics too. minted. has asked me to be part of their affiliate program this year. so if you order from them, please click from my site and i will get a little kick back ;)

here is our post from 2013
2012 christmas photo was in this post
2011 christmas card post
throw back christmas card post

i love holiday card season, it's the best excuse to skip to the mailbox. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

caught up!

song pair: Born To Be Wild by Steppenwolf

in an effort to get completely caught up to present day, i have decided to choose one image (feels impossible) from a few favorite end-of-summer events. so here is my attempt:

6th annual family beach week. my 12 year old niece and i concluded the week by waking before dawn to watch the sunrise.
life lesson: always follow through on something you promise. expose young people to amazing things. sacrifice self for the benefit of a child/tween/teen.

southern gent and i planned a quick trip to Key West to surprise one of my closest friends. she is my kindred spirit. i waited all my life to find a friend like her. i believe we have many soul mates in this life, she is certainly one of mine. i miss you V!
life lesson: we are never too old to plan a surprise. the best moments in life are while being generous. don't ever stop being playful. work diligently at staying in contact with those you love.

we traveled to visit southern gent's parents at their new home in the mountains. every time we travel there, we wonder why we don't do it more often. we are so happy they have found their happy home.
life lesson: the mountains restore a sense of zen within. an afternoon at the winery is sometimes all you need. it's never too late for a dream to come true. we should pursue several passions in this life.


southern gent and i traveled with three other couples to new orleans, at the tail end of summer. new orleans chewed me up and spit me out a few days later. i loved it.
life lesson: if you want to connect with friends, go on a trip together. go big or go home. seize the day. embrace new culture. choose experience over shopping.

our one wedding this season was truly sensational. a favorite couple tied the knot and we celebrated at the contemporary art museum, downtown. the best part was the speech the groom made to his bride. i had never seen anything like it.
life lesson: chivalry is key. heirloom tomatoes are always a good idea. sincerity trumps humor. weddings are one of my favorite gatherings. i love supporting a great couple.

i have said it before and i will say it again...we live in the greatest neighborhood. six of us (and there are several more that were unable to make it) crashed a beach town one weekend. we made our mark in two short nights.
life lesson: colored sunglasses can elevate any weekend. bad karaoke should happen often. it's never too late to make lifelong friends. dance like no one is watching. if you lose your voice, it was probably a great night.

it was not easy to breeze through incredible times with only one image, but it had to be done. i am now feeling closer to "up-to-date" and ready to move on from the summer, summer, summer tiiime! 

life lesson: take every opportunity to fill your life with joy.  

Sunday, October 5, 2014

home tweak!

song pair: Warm It Up Kris by Kris Kross

until recently, window treatments were not even on my radar. have you ever noticed that once you start paying attention to something, it's all you can see? when i got my Jeep, suddenly Jeeps were everywhere. so, naturally...window treatments galore these last few months. i knew it had to be my next project. my first line of business was to choose a fabric pattern. since i am not skilled in visualizing from a small swatch, i chose a fabric that was displayed in my favorite shop. the valance was beautiful, but we felt it was too traditional for our home. window hardware was more our style. 
we purchased the 15 yards of fabric and was educated on type of pleats, vertical/horizontal repeats and other specifics i had never considered in my life. 

next up was white window hardware. after narrowing down my 'pins', i took a closer look realizing the hardware was the same. i was on the hunt for the inspired hardware pictured below. southern gent's aunt found me the match (thank you Sally) and the order was placed. 

inspired hardware

the two 8-foot rods were delivered, along with 24 curtain rings and matching finials. they were installed and awaited the custom drapery. 

ta-dah! one of my very favorite home tweaks yet! we didn't make them functional (able to pull all the way across four windows), because it would have have been double the amount of fabric and maybe too bulky. another option would have been to put a third panel in the middle. we love the ample amount of natural light that filters into our home everyday. we felt strongly about preserving the brightness. the frame of the panels was all we were looking to provide and it sure made a wonderful difference in the warmth of our home. we added the bench and one of our faux sheepskin rugs. layers make me feel all cozy on the inside.

now i am eyeing our photo wall, wanting to create change. it is eleven frames situated in a perfect square. where once i thought symmetry was the answer, i am now appreciating the beauty of imperfection. accepting imperfection is one of the keys to living a very happy life. it helps maintain our outlook, perspective and resiliency. i think i need to shake up that photo wall, so it better reflects the beautiful world of imperfection. have an exceptional week, Friends! 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

the home front

song pair: Wagon Wheel by Darius Rucker

southern gent & i purchased our happy little abode when it was 3/4 complete. we have loved every decision the builder and design team crafted and truly believe we couldn't have done a better job. we have not changed a paint color, but have upgraded lighting in a few rooms. the open floor plan drew us in and we appreciated the clean lines and simple look we furnished. a couple years in, we have begun to desire a warmer look. we often move furniture around to forge subtle change. i am learning that layers are important in home design. layers add interest and appeal. i am not one for clutter, so i had to decipher the two. rugs and window treatments add layers. stacks, clusters and chatskis add clutter. i like ample counter space. we love a modern look, but also want it to be inviting and calming for ourselves and our guests.
our entrance way is unique in that it's a 20+ foot hallway. we kept it bare, unsure how exactly to dress it up. the tall wainscoting is sharp and decorative, but makes peripheral decor a challenge. after a little help from my design friend (thank u Julie), we stumbled upon a hand woven, natural fiber 22' runner. we were pleasantly surprised by it's quality and weight. it warmed up the entryway nicely. 

while traveling this summer, we shuffled into a boutique that housed Rifle Paper Co. art prints. that day, we sparked the idea to collect a few of the travel prints that hold significance to us. today they are lining the hall. we love the whimsical, colorful look they provide. it is nice to outfit our home with items that reflect the life we live. 

we have affection for the energy in Chicago. i grew up in a suburb of this great city. 
 our second date was in Los Angeles. we love the liveliness of California.

 we enjoyed an unforgettable weekend in NY City a few years ago. central park, broadway, times square.
San Francisco has a beautiful spirit. one of our favorites. 
   stay tuned for more home front the coming weeks. 

This site was made with love by Angie Makes