Christmas season is upon us! It seems like once November 1st hits, it’s all Christmas all the time. Generally, I try to keep the season until after Thanksgiving, as Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year (the wholesome family time, the peace of it, the sense of gratitude and love), but there are definitely some things that you can do before Thanksgiving to help make your whole holiday season a lot calmer and stress free.

One of those things is designing and ordering your Christmas cards early so you can get them in the mail right after Thanksgiving. So where else do you turn for the best, most beautiful, and well priced custom cards around? Minted of course! I’ve talked about them before, and I will talk about them again because I love the beautiful variety of cards (for all occasions) as well as their home decor and artwork choices. Heck, I think my whole apartment is mainly decked out with Minted prints, and I constantly get compliments on them!

I thought I would share some of my favorite designs from Minted with you today. Plus, they have really awesome services like free address printing on envelopes and custom stamps to go with your cards.

So you know I have to start where my heart is….and that is with all that shimmers and shines. If you open a card from me without something glittery or sparkly, send help, something is very wrong with me. I mean, just look at this collection right here. The shimmer adds to the holiday feeling without it being too over the top Christmas or cheesy.

This one in rose gold is probably my favorite of all of them. I love it!

I am also really digging moodier colors these days. When paired with the right lightness, it makes a room warm and inviting without feeling cavelike. I think the same goes for those colors on a card. When the black is paired with green and white it feels like the perfect wintery, holiday card.

Then there is always the classic black and white, which I am drawn to more and more (in cards, decorating, my wardrobe). It is a timeless feel and gives you the option of adding a pop of color here and there that really adds that extra oomph.

Also, here are some examples of how Minted will address your envelopes for you. It takes the hassle out of it and looks so beautiful too. Plus those matching envelopes are so nice! It really brings it all together.

Finally, maybe some of my favorite items that you can personalize from Minted are their thank you cards. I was brought up in a family where after every birthday, holiday, and random present giving event, you immediately sat down and wrote thank you cards. I think that is one of the most valuable things I have carried over into adulthood. Both my sister and I religiously write thank you cards, even to our parents (which I think they found kind of weird in the beginning, since they told us we didn’t have to. But my response was, “You taught us to! How can be not?!”). So having my own personalized thank you stationery makes me a giddier than probably normal. In my world the day after Christmas I sit down and write these, so I get excited to send out beautiful thank you cards!

I think this beautiful gold and sapphire one is my pick for this year’s thank you cards….I think. So many choices!

I would love to hear from you about your favorites! Any that are catching your eye just in time to send out for Christmas!? You can view all the holiday cards here and the thank you cards here. Just trying to make it a little easier for you this holiday season!

Now let’s all take a moment of peace and sit back and just breathe in the beautiful world that surrounds us and be thankful for our life. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and here’s to kicking off this holiday season right!!

Thank you to Minted for sponsoring this post! All thoughts and opinions in this post are my own.

  • My Christmas cards from Minted came yesterday and they are gorgeous! Email or text your address to me so that I can send you one. 🙂

    I need to check out their thank you cards because I am completely out of them and like you, I was taught to always send a thank you note.ReplyCancel

    • Ooo I can’t wait to see them! I texted you my address. 🙂 You should definitely check out the thank you cards. I need to go place my order for them now!ReplyCancel

Oh hi there long lost friend. It’s been a while. Thought I would pop in to give a little life update from my pocket of the world.

Why a life update when you are used to seeing home or apartment updates? Because that is where my updates lie now. I live in a beautiful, modern, and awesome 541 square foot apartment that is my favorite place I’ve ever lived. I told my mom that the other day and she shockingly asked, “Really?!”

Why yes Mom! She was surprised because she thought I would have said my old house because I had a whole friggin’ house of 2,000+ square feet to play with plus a yard. But no, this 11 foot ceiling, glazed concrete floor, 541 square foot apartment in the city is my favorite place ever. Although, I hope to say that about every move I make because you should love every step more than the next.

This little apartment of mine is all I need. It fits everything I need and want – and nothing more. It is in the heart of a little gem of a city – not too big, not too small, just right. It is modern, beautiful, and my electric bill is ridiculously, laughably low. Just everything about it fits my phase of life just perfectly.

Yet, its teeny tiny self does make the home updates part of this blog a lot less because, well, there aren’t a whole lot to be made. I’ve shown you the tour in two parts (part 1 and part 2) and there are definitely a few more home posts to come (thanks to my mom and an early Christmas present!), but in actuality it’s mainly looking the same.

Plus, this new lifestyle of mine basically just sleeps here. There isn’t a whole lot of apartment time. There is out to dinner time, walking time, hiking time, gym time, working time, dancing time, pumpkin carving time, movie time….and the list goes on.

Yes, this may be the most social period of my life. Even more so than college (because hey – I’m getting a paycheck now versus going into debt)! My coworkers like to joke about my scheduling because it is rather intense. I mean, I am practically booked every weeknight and all weekend these days.

And that’s exactly how I like it. In fact, I’m an instigator of a lot of these meet-ups. Which if you know me in person, won’t surprise you. I’m a naturally social person who likes to be organized and plan ahead. Just ask my high school friends. I used to grid our time out in blocks so we could figure out when we were all available at the same time. Worked like a charm.

Anyways, about 6 weeks ago I realized I needed to make a change in my life. I had slipped into a pattern I didn’t quite like. I wasn’t in love with the type people I was spending a lot of time with (okay, I’ll stop being so vague – I was dating a guy who was NOT GOOD FOR ME and this wasn’t the first time since I’ve started dating post-divorce). I decided to swear off online dating (this is where the not-so-good guys were coming from, but I’m still pro-online dating, just not for me right now) and focus on surrounding myself with quality people.

I joined Meetup, which is basically a website that helps join people of common interests in the area. Oh my goodness, it has been the best decision of Roanoke so far. I joined a couple of groups but this one for women in their 20’s and 30’s is amazing! I’ve met amazing people, some who are basically neighbors, who are quality, beautiful people, inside and out. We’ve gone line dancing, dining, crafting, trivia nights, and so much more. All of a sudden I have all these amazing people in my life. And now I’m starting to meet the other amazing people they have in their life. Boom. Just like that my life is full of amazing, quality people. I run into them while I’m out. I text them during the day. I make plans with them for fun activities. It’s really quite  a wonderful thing in my life, meeting these women who are in similar stages in life like me, and just get it. They get it all. They get where I am, what I’m going through, and a lot are in similar places.

Since I’ve stopped online dating I’ve also expanded my friends in other ways. The ones that I already have, I have more time for. We’ve done all sorts of fun things and I’ve met their friends….and oh hey – got some dates the good ole fashioned way too. In a very natural, relaxed manner. Which is good, so good.

Also, I have wanted to become more involved in the community and give back, so I joined an organization that is very dear to me – Big Brothers Big Sisters. My sister worked there for years, and I have so much respect for the organization. It’s always been close to my heart but I wanted to be ready and able to fully give my best to my little. So I now am a proud Big Sister to Princess. So far we’ve made crowns, baked muffins, and gone to fro-yo. Next week we’re making brownies. Yup, we are perfectly sweet tooth matched. I can’t wait to see where the year takes me with Princess.

Also, if we are being thorough in my life updates…I want a dog SO BADLY. More specifically, I want a retired greyhound. I ran into a neighbor who has one and was absolutely smitten with her dog. So after spending almost a whole day just researching everything about greyhounds, I knew it was the right dog for me. So now I’m waiting for my time to get my own. But in the meantime I might try to volunteer at the kennel with them instead. One day, one glorious day I will have my own dog.

So basically that’s my life update. I’m not here as much because I am out there living so fully, so happily. Everything about this life of mine makes me oh so happy. Sure, I’m a normal person, and I get lonely sometimes. However, I’ve just come to accept those days, recognize them, and just watch them pass. It is part of this phase of life, and I’m okay with it. Because everything is exactly as it should be, right now, right here.

  • I love that you are living such a full life and having a great time doing it. And I’m glad that you got rid of the guy that wasn’t so good for you. Enjoy your time with Princess. She’s lucky to have you!ReplyCancel

    • Thank you so much Paula! I love everything about Roanoke – including Princess!ReplyCancel

  • Thanks for sharing,Enjoy your time with Princess. She’s lucky to have you! nice post.ReplyCancel

  • Jill Underwood

    Great post!! Nice to see pics from some of the great times we’ve had recently!!ReplyCancel

Hello and welcome back to part two of my furnished studio apartment tour! I revealed part one last week showing the main area when you first walk in. Now we are heading to the second area in the back: the bedroom and bathroom area (with a closet that has a washer and dryer because down with laundry mats! #amiright?!).

So basically you walk past the kitchen, turn the corner, and the bathroom is to your left and the bedroom is straight ahead. Here we go!

My Furnished Studio Apartment | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

My Furnished Studio Apartment | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

My Furnished Studio Apartment | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

My Furnished Studio Apartment | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

My Furnished Studio Apartment | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

My Furnished Studio Apartment | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

My Furnished Studio Apartment | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

My Furnished Studio Apartment | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

My Furnished Studio Apartment | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

My Furnished Studio Apartment | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

My Furnished Studio Apartment | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

My Furnished Studio Apartment | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

My Furnished Studio Apartment | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

My Furnished Studio Apartment | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

My Furnished Studio Apartment | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

My Furnished Studio Apartment | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

My Furnished Studio Apartment | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

My Furnished Studio Apartment | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

My Furnished Studio Apartment | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

My Furnished Studio Apartment | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

My Furnished Studio Apartment | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

My Furnished Studio Apartment | www.rhapsodyinrooms.com

And there you have it! The finale of my furnished studio apartment. But oh my goodness, seeing your place in pictures gives you so many new ideas! The bedding is definitely getting a makeover (already have that in the works), and I think I feel a major purge coming my way. However, that typically happens with me every season. For some reason when the seasons change I feel like going through everything I own and pairing it down.

Next up I’m going to break down the new furniture I bought and where I saved and splurged!

Five months. Five whole months I have lived in my little studio apartment in Roanoke. That means I have lived through a whole season. I have watched the trees bud and blossom and then turn bright green. I have seen the heat rise from the sidewalks and children play in the water feature in the park. I have seen the days get longer and now again get shorter. Five whole months of this whole new city living. Five months that I dare say have been the best of my life. Five months that I describe to people as a “magical bubble of life”.

Since I’ve been in this magical bubble of life, I’ve been living big. So big that the blog has definitely seen a drop in the number of times that I post. I’ve been choosing living over posting. Finally, finally, I am back for a post to show you how I’ve been living in my apartment – with furniture that is. You’ve seen the bare bones, the unfurnished apartment. Now it’s time to see it how I live day to day.

When I say live day to day, I quite literally mean it. I didn’t create beautiful vignettes just to photograph on the blog. This is how my apartment would look if you dropped by on a Tuesday evening unannounced. It’s clean and tidy, but these pictures also show me room for growth, places that look a little too cluttered. Perhaps it’s time for another purge! Just the thought of getting rid of even more stuff makes my heart sing.

Anyways, you’re here for the pictures, so let’s get to it. I’ve decided to split up the tour into two parts. There is the living/dining/kitchen area, and then there is the bedroom/bathroom/closet/laundry room.

Today let’s look at the space where I do most of my living, right when you walk in the door. It’s my combined living/dining/kitchen area!

Ok, there we are. I have taken you on a full 360 of my main room when you walk in. If you’ve been around here long, you may notice that you see some familiar things but there are A LOT of new pieces. I’m going to go into the new pieces I bought in a future blog post – how I decided what to buy and when to save and when to splurge.

I will be back soon with part two of my furnished apartment tour!

  • Alyson

    It looks great! I love the colors and how efficient and charming everything is!ReplyCancel

    • Thank you so much!I’m so happy with it so far! Pictures definitely show your place in a new light so I’m going to make some tweaks after looking at these pictures! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • It’s so cute and and you’ve maximized every bit of space. I hope in your furniture post that you’ll share your opinion of your IKEA sofa. I’d like to know if you recommend one since we are in need of a sofa. I love your tiny table and pretty chairs that you paired with it. Can’t wait to find out where you scored those.ReplyCancel

    • Thank you! I thought so carefully about everything I bought. Spoiler: I LOVE my couch and would highly recommend it.ReplyCancel

I’ve always loved baking. Not only is it therapeutic for me, but of course I also love the end result (or even the middle result because: cookie dough). Baked goods are also one of the ways I express myself. When someone is happy, sad, grieving, celebrating, my initial reaction is to always make them something sweet. Perhaps baking is my real love language.

Over the years I feel like I had tried every cookie recipe on the planet. I loved making them, eating the cookie dough, and then tasting them fresh out of the over. Then, after cooled, I was over them. I just didn’t love any cookie I made past fresh baked. Everyone else would enjoy them, but I would just be over them.

That was, until my friend Katie introduced me to her secret family recipe one wreath making weekend with her.

It was like the heavens had parted when I first bit into this cookie. It was crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. It was absolute perfection. Not only did I love the cookie one minute after they came out of the oven, but I also loved them one day, even one week later.

After that fateful first bite of cookie, I haven’t made another cookie type since. I am 100% sold on these cookies! Plus, they are slightly customizable too, which makes it even more fun.

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (3.9 ounce) package of instant pudding mix (experiment with different flavors)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 (12 ounce) package semisweet chocolate morsels
  • Any other add-ins you like: nuts, sprinkles, etc.

Beat butter at medium  speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugars and pudding mix, beating well. Add eggs and vanilla extract, mixing well.

Combine flour and soda; gradually add to butter mixture, mixing well. Stir in chocolate morsels and any other add-ins; drop by rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheets.

Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Cool on cookie sheets 3 minutes. Remove to wire racks for cool completely.

I use the birthday cake instant pudding mix (Kroger brand is the only one I’ve found) and it creates an amazing taste and those sprinkles are SO pretty. I’ve also made them using finely crushed peanut brittle in them and it created the most amazing caramelized insides that I have ever eaten. Ahhhh-mazing.

Let me know if you make these and what combinations you used! Have fun with it!

  • These look so good!! We love cookies and I’ve never made a recipe that contains pudding mix. Dave thanks you in advance for sharing this recipe.

    P.S. He still talks about the apple pie that you made for us.ReplyCancel

    • Haha. You’re welcome Dave! Ooo and that pie! I need to make that again and share the recipe on here. Enjoy making these cookies!ReplyCancel