Kelly’s Christmas Inspirations 2015

Christmas is right around the corner and once November 26th hits I’m officially allowed by the husband (and America in general) to begin decorating and unleashing the #basic Christmas girl inside. I cannot explain just how difficult it is to pass those home decor aisles at Target or not begin stocking up on gingerbread everything and frosting the crap out of pinecones. The struggle is very real, my friends.

So, in the spirit of the holidays…and mostly because the husband said nothing about my online sharing of everything Christmas…here are my holiday inspirations for 2015!
My Christmas inspirations for 2015! Check out the blog for more details and links to my favorite holiday finds!

Baby’s First Ornament via Rachel Walter

Although my little one isn’t due this Christmas, I couldn’t resist pinning this ornament for next year. This makes for the perfect keepsake for yourself or for a grandparent as a gift!

Monogrammed Red Stripe Baby Sleeper via HeartMelter

Another pin for later item, but how adorable is this holiday onesie….and the monogram? Please. This will be sitting in my Etsy basket for the next 12 months.

Tea Light Centerpiece

I love easy DIY projects and this holiday centerpiece is just that in an adorable small package. I love the look and feel of tea lights in water with the hint of holiday cheer from the holly leaves. We don’t have a fireplace so I have to get crafty with the decorating. Do you know how tricky holiday decorating is with no mantel…it’s like mantels are a quintessential piece of Christmas…

O Holy Night Canvas Print via Lindsay Letters

See what I mean about mantels…there’s no limit to how to decorate one and I am just in L.O.V.E with Holly Mathis’ home tour during the holidays. Luckily Lindsay Letters still has this print available in her shop, but it’s a bit on the pricier end of my holiday budget at $125. However, it’s hand lettered, made in the US and an adorable piece you can save and have for years. I still deciding…

Envelope Addressing Stencil via The Grommet

This is perfect for those handletterers (is that even a word?) out there who have master penmanship and want to self-address their holiday cards. I would consider myself someone with good handwriting, but I typically leave it to the professionals for those beautifully written envelopes. However, this stencil is a great little tool to have on hand for when the inspiration strikes you.

This Girl Loves Christmas Tee via AwesomeBestFriendsTs

I feel as though this tee doesn’t really need an explanation because any girl that shares this sentiment understands why one would even need a shirt like this. They use American Apparel tees, which we all know are super soft and comfortable. Now to only find this same shirt in maternity…

DIY Birdseed Ornaments via Mavis Butterfield

Who says that you should keep the Christmas cuteness indoors? That’s what I thought. Spread your holiday cheer with these easy to make birdseed feeders in the shapes of your favorite holiday patterns using cookie cutters! I remember making birdseed feeders in elementary school and it’s something nostalgic that I’d love to try again as an adult or possibly share with my little one in the future.

Santa Hat Cheesecake Bites via Cooking Classy

Don’t these look absolutely adorable and delicious all at the same time? I love finding new holiday desserts to try and this recipe is easy peasy! Opt to create your own cheesecake using this recipe or use a store-bought one. Then just dress them up with strawberries and pipe whipped cream to create the Santa hat effect!

Wire Frame Holiday Card Display via Lolly Jane

This will be a new addition to the Daniel household this year and instead of creating a cute one like Lolly Jane did, I went the easier route and splurged $40 on Etsy to buy an already assembled wire frame. Being pregnant doesn’t necessarily leave me with a huge DIY bug and the thought of cutting/stapling chicken wire to an old window frame that would take me forever to find, just to stain…I’m tired thinking about it. However, how cute does this card display look?! I love the idea of hanging a wreath in the middle and surrounding it with the holiday cards sent from family and friends. I’m really looking forward to having this in our home this year!

Salt Dough Paw Print Ornament via Crafty Morning

Lastly, this easy DIY project only involves making salt dough (possibly the easiest thing ever to make) and use of the paw print of your furry loved one. I love a good keepsake and making one for our little guy to hang each year just makes my heart melt. Just praying that Murphy is cooperative!

What makes your Christmas/holiday inspirations list?

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Your Guide To Affordable Maternity Wear

Pregnancy brings on a lot of new things and an expanding waistline is unfortunately amongst the first things to go (at least it was for me). I found that it took me quite a while to become comfortable in my new body and finding the right maternity clothes were essential to making myself feel a little bit like myself again. One problem remained: affordability.

I’m not sure if you know just how expensive maternity clothes can be, but I was shocked that in my search for cute maternity clothes I was averaging about $150+ for jeans and $60+ for blouses and shirts. I am a huge advocate for stretching the bank for quality items, such as denim, because I don’t find myself having to replace them that often. In that same breath, I had a difficult time justifying the expense for clothing I’d only wear for a few months. So, what’s a preggo girl to do?

Here are a few ways I’ve been able to save when shopping for my ever changing body.

Stitch Fix

I was overjoyed when I learned that Stitch Fix was beginning to include a maternity line as an addition to their service. I was eager to find out if their stylists were able to find me comfortable and affordable pieces that I could wear from home to work and could last me throughout my pregnancy and beyond. Unfortunately it’s been quite a hit and miss simply because I know my body best and it’s hard to rely on someone else to make style choices for me at this stage in my pregnancy. However, I love discovering new brands and even with the fixes that don’t wow me, I learn more about my own style preferences and am better able to communicate that with my stylist.

Pink Blush Maternity

After some perusing on Pinterest for maternity outfit inspirations I stumbled upon Pink Blush Maternity. I had never heard of this brand before so I decided to check out their website and poke around. OMG do they have adorable stuff! I knew I was in love when I already had five items in my basket and I had only been on their site for a few minutes. Pink Blush has become the answer to my pregnant-self prayers! I now have access to affordable, stylish and comfortable maternity clothes without feeling guilty because I know I’ll be wearing these items well after our baby arrives.

Another great plus: they carry plus sizes, accessories, and shoes! Oh, and don’t forget that nice free shipping on every order.

Here’s a peek at today’s outfit which is pulled from some of the items in my most recent purchase. I was eager to get my hands on this cardigan because it just oozed holiday spirit and I have no problems skipping right into Christmas even if it’s still November.

An easy guide to maternity wear by my newest favorite maternity line! Check out these fall favorites on the blog!

Plaid Open Cardigan | Suede Cuff Top
Denim: Jessica Simpson (similar) | Necklace: Banana Republic Outlet | Booties: Marshall’s

An easy guide to maternity wear by my newest favorite maternity line! Check out these fall favorites on the blog!

Open cardigans are another favorite style of mine at the moment. I rarely ever close my cardigans anyways and the open style allows for a fun draping effect.

An easy guide to maternity wear by my newest favorite maternity line! Check out these fall favorites on the blog!

I’m kind of in love with these elbow patch details!

An easy guide to maternity wear by my newest favorite maternity line! Check out these fall favorites on the blog!

The top has a faux suede neckline and cuff detailing. I love the color and the shirt itself is super comfortable and leaves room for Third Trimester Kelly.

And just to get your holiday style inspirations flowing, here are a few of my current favorite picks from Pink Blush. Which pieces do you like the most?

Here are my top picks from Pink Blush Maternity!

pink blush maternity does not endorse or compensate me for this post. I just love this brand and want to share it with all of you! All opinions expressed are 100% my own.
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Navigating Grief: A Grateful Heart

 Grief: a multifaceted response to loss.

Grief is a natural human response when faced with loss. It can appear in different forms; some more apparent than others. Grief takes time and isn’t something one can simply ‘get over’ even with the passing of years. Grief is not always visible. Grief is uncomfortable and at times debilitating. But, ultimately it’s an important process that one must go through, in their own time and way, in order to accept the loss and once again be able to put one foot back in front of the other.

November 7th is a difficult time for me and for my family and something I’ve debated discussing openly- especially here on the blog. But, as I write this, and the tears drop on my keyboard, I believe it’s time for me to share my story, but better yet, share the gratitude that has grown in the place of my grief.

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Two years ago my sister lost her battle with mental illness, depression, and ultimately drug and alcohol abuse. Two years ago I received a phone call from my mother that for my entire life I had a feeling was coming, but was never quite prepared to actually receive; which changed me forever. Drug and alcohol abuse is nothing new in my family and unfortunately something I had been exposed to throughout my life. Although my parents did everything they could to provide me, the youngest of siblings, with a ‘normal’ childhood filled with the distractions of sports, camp, and playdates, there wasn’t much in the way they could do to shield me from the realities of our family struggles.

It’s unfortunate that growing up I never really had the relationship I had always wanted with my sister. I would always see friends and their relationships with their siblings or watch movies that highlight this typical sisterly bond one is supposed to have. I always wanted that growing up, but as I became an adult I realized that the years of drug and alcohol abuse only widened the gap and that unfortunately I would never be able to cross it to the other side. It was a pretty tough realization, however having that sense of closure was surprisingly freeing.

My sister passed away November 7, 2013 and every year it’s more than a reminder of how precious life is and how we should live each day to the fullest because it isn’t guaranteed. Although those sentiments are true, it’s not the reminder I experience with each passing year. Grief is still very much a part of the memory of my sister. I grieve the fact she isn’t here. I grieve that even though we fought and challenged each other, what I wouldn’t give to just have one more fight with her. I grieve for her young children that were left behind. I grieve that she’ll never know my husband or baby. But ultimately, I grieve for the impact it’s had on my mother.

“Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape.”
-C.S. Lewis

Then anger set in…

I remember being so upset and angry that her death was caused by something preventable. I was angry that I had only gotten engaged a month prior and couldn’t share that moment with her. I was angry that it prevented my mother from being emotionally present. But ultimately, I felt guilty that when looking back on her life and our relationship I didn’t have many nice things to say. That was the hardest. When one dies people are filled with their memories and moments of the good times, but what about if it’s someone who battled their demons and lost? Leaving those behind with scars and hurt beyond repair? Does it make you a bad person?

However, in the last two years my grief has slowed and in its place my grateful heart begins to grow. I am grateful for having my sister in the first place – even through the hardest of times. I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned through my relationship with her. I’m grateful that the human spirit has a means to live on beyond death and is equipped with the ability to heal. I’m grateful for my family and have accepted that we’ve never fit the traditional mold.

I’m grateful to know that I will see my sister again on the other side.

Linking up with…

Ember Grey

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November Currently

It’s Wednesday so that means we’re already halfway through our week and on to getting to enjoy a relaxing couple days away from work appreciating the little things like sleeping in! Or is that just me? On this chilly Wednesday I am linking up with Jenna and Anne for their monthly Currently linkup sharing my November happenings!

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Cooking //
Soups all week! I’ve really come down with some pretty bad allergies and this is the first time I’ve felt horrible my entire pregnancy. I’ve heard that allergy-like symptoms are common during pregnancy (OMG the congestion!), but what I’m experiencing is miserable…and it doesn’t help I can’t do very much about it in the way of meds. So, one way I can feel better (and celebrate some cooler weather around here) are planning delicious soups for the week! Check out the new recipes I’m trying here.

Planning //
Christmas is coming! You guys, I know we’re in November and although I am excited about Thanksgiving dinner, my mind is already planning our annual #verydanielchristmas. Last year it was so much fun to come up with not only movies to watch during the holidays, but create our own traditions as a new family. I really look forward to planning some fun activities for us both here at home and in Texas where we’ll be visiting with his family before the baby.

Smelling //
Cinnamon, Autumn Leaves, Harvest and other glorious fall scented candles. I love lighting candles around the home and having the seasonal scents float throughout. I’m really looking forward to trying a new stovetop potpourri recipe for Christmas. I’ve never done this before, but I love how simple it is!

via Half Baked Harvest

Appreciating //
The kicks and movements of my little peanut are becoming more pronounced and I love that my husband is able to feel and see them. Pregnancy is an interesting time in a woman’s life because we are the ones experiencing every little moment and feeling those changes that are going on. I feel bad sometimes that my husband will never truly understand what pregnancy is like, but I am forever appreciative of these moments where he gets to interact and feel a connection with our little one.

A video posted by Kelly Daniel (@kjdaniel1) on

You can catch a very quick glimpse of our baby boy moving around in there karate chopping mama! It’s literally within the first few seconds of the video. If for some reason it doesn’t play here you can catch it and all of my other shenanigans over at Instagram.

Anticipating //
In a nutshell I’m anticipating Thanksgiving Break from school. This is large in part due to the fact that my husband, dog and I will be jet setting all the way back to my home in Virginia for the long weekend to visit with family. I always try to stay away from air travel during high traffic times, like holidays, but we don’t have much of a choice since we’re working around my school breaks so I don’t have to take time off and miss work.

Linking up with:
In Residence
Gold & Bloom

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