Cocktails with Cranberries: A Cosmopolitan Charleston Thanksgiving

Happy Wednesday, friends! Is it me, or is this week flying by?
I'm just "popping" in to share some photos from a little Thanksgiving Eve cocktail gathering we hosted with some out of town friends last Wednesday.  One of my favorite people in the world was in Charleston to spend the holiday, and after a delicious lunch at Jestine's, we headed home to enjoy the beautiful evening around the fire pit sipping libations.

We started with prosecco while our mixologist, Robyn Bird, started making our Charleston Cosmos. Robyn writes an insightful, thought provoking blog over at The Robyn Birds Nest, so check her out!

I purchased these skinny flutes last Christmas season for a champagne toast for my birthday. I was thrilled to have an occasion to use them again. Unfortunately, they are no longer available, but I have linked to some other festive options in the collage below for your soiree.

Over 40 Life and Style Ring In the Holiday Season In Charleston, SC


Over 40 Life and Style Champagne Toast in Charleston, SCFestive, Sparkling  Drinkware for Holiday parties in Charleston, SC
1. Gold Cheers Stemless Flute
2.Rosanna Pink Glass Champagne Flutes
3.Confetti Stemless Champagne Flutes
4.Champagne Bubbles Highball Glass Set
5. Faceted Gold Cocktail Shaker
6.Pop Fizz Clink Tea Towel
7.Metallic Confetti Stemless Champagne Flutes
8. Holiday Contemporary Flutes
9. Gold Rimmed Bubble Glass Champagne Flutes

Setting up for the main course/drink.

Over 40 Life and Style in Charleston, SC

Over 40 Friendsgiving Party in Charleston, SC

Friends Gather For Drinks To Celebrate Thanksgiving in Charleston, SC

Over 40 Lifestyle Celebrations in Charleston, SC

Over 40 Lifestyle Celebrations

Since none of us had finished the prosecco, Robyn had the brilliant idea to pour it into our Charleston Cosmos....and a new drink was born. The extra fizz from the prosecco just took our cosmos to a whole new level! We headed outside to the porch to enjoy the mild November weather, listening to Christmas tunes on the iPad while the boys made a huge fire in the fire pit.

What a great way to start the Thanksgiving weekend!


Black Friday Shopping: Charleston Style

Happy Thanksgiving friends! I hope to write a little recap of our day here in Charleston, but as of this moment, I am fully immersed in my first Black Friday shopping extravaganza from the comfort of my own bed (with my sweet fuzzy little fat kitty curled up next to me).

I'm thinking of writing this on the fly and just add deals live as I find them. I think your first step though would be to quickly sign up for Ebates. Once you have done that, you will receive a rebate for most stores back in your PayPal or by check quarterly!! I like to stack the Ebates on top of discounts I already receive at places like Target or Old Navy.

So sign up on the link below:

So first thing that I found, and it is super limited is 3 Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palettes for $97!!! Too good to pass up, as they were the #1 item on my Christmas list! The color and pigmentation are amazing, and they just happen to smell like chocolate! And, if you have Ebates, theres another 3% rebate!

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palettes

Found this earlier today. Bauble Bar offers fun, trendy costume jewelry that is a blogger favorite. And if you stack with your Ebates, you get another 1.5% cash back!!

Bauble Bar Black Friday Sales The Charleston Lens
Bauble Bar 35% Off Sale

Adorable Tassel Drops

Acrylic Monogram Necklace
Let's check into family favorite, Old Navy. Almost everything is 50% off which you can stack with your Ebates for another 8% cash back That's almost 60% off. Here are a couple items that I have my eye on.

Women's Wool Blend Pea Coat

Flannel Scarf
Penguin Pajamas
I recently took baby girl in to Old Navy, and we found some super soft skinny jeans and a warm ski vest. 
Girls Sateen Leggings (On Sale)
Frost Free Vest
And now for one of my go-to spots for kids' clothing, J Crew Factory! There's nothing in this place that I don't love. And with Ebates, you get another 9% off on top of the 50-60% reductions already taken on most items! Crazy! I think there are even some extra 20% coupons floating around which increases to 25% if you are a cardholder. I'm not sure I can even do the math on that: 50% +9% +20%=80% off? Not really because they take a percentage and then another, or something.......I know how to do it on my phone calculator. But I promise, its a good deal!!
Girls Neon Fair Isle Sweater

Girls Cat Popover Sweater
These are my favorites so far. I will add a few more specials that I love as the night/day tomorrow wears on! Please know that there are affiliate links in this post, so if you chose to shop through the links, I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you. Thanks for shopping with me!!!

Morning Update:

Another of my favorite beauty companies is having a sale, Tarte Cosmetics!!!

25% Off Everything at Tarte Cosmetics
Kendra Scott Jewelry is on sale too!! I never see a discount like this. I have two of the Rayne necklaces that are my daily favorites! The just give and outfit the extra punch it needs! They might be the best necklace ever. Maybe. 

Kendra Scott 20% off
My favorite Kendra Scott Rayne Necklace


The Charleston SC Edition: What's Up Wednesday

{Affiliate Links Used. If you choose to shop through one of the links provided, I may receive a small commission}

Happy Thanksgiving week!! Today, I am linking with a couple of amazing blogs to talk about what's been happening around here lately. Thank you for stopping by, and be sure that you check out the host blogs. I enjoy them and you will too!

What We're Eating This Week:
Mexican food, every chance we get. Some great food truck burgers at our soccer tournament this past weekend. And in a separate, random incident, Chris bought the world's largest box of mozzarella sticks at Costco and immediately brought them home and fried them in a skillet full of coconut oil. Unbelievable. Coconut oil takes everything to the next level. 

Kay's Southern Gourmet Food Truck

What I'm Reminiscing About:
Our trip to Puerto Rico/Caribbean Celebrity Cruise in November 2010. Something about the holidays makes me dream of sitting on the beach in Puerto Rico with steel drum Christmas carols playing in the background. Take me back....

What I'm Loving:
 Free Money. That doesn't happen every day, does it? But it can. Sign up for Ebates, and get a percentage back on almost every purchase you make online and now, in some stores. There is literally no catch. Since signing up, I've received $125 cash back from purchases that I've made online. I'm including a link so that you can sign up before you do all of your online holiday shopping. You can thank me when you receive that first "Big Fat Check."  (Wonder if that's trademarked?) Once your purchases clear, you receive a check quarterly in the mail or in your PayPal for all of your rebates. Simple.Easy. Free!!! Sales Pitch over.

What We've Been Up To:
Soccer. In two days this past weekend, our two children played 8 games, four 5 minute overtimes and 2 penalty shootouts, with one being at 7:15 in the morning. Yep, that was fun! But the kids came away with a gold and silver, so it was successful for all. I practiced dressing so I wouldn't melt one day and bundled up to protect extremities from frost bite the next. 

What I'm Dreading:
How fast this holiday season will inevitably go by.

What I'm Working On:
This blog and posting more regularly. I'm doing research, shopping for a new template, taking notes on every idea that crosses my mind. I'm hoping to get into a rhythm, and create a daily workflow that will make this blog better and better.

What I'm Excited About:
Sleeping in the rest of the week and lounging around a bit with the family!

Holiday lounging over thanksgiving
Brunch Squad Sweatshirt

What I'm Watching/Reading:
I'm always reading others blogs, and I have become addicted to You Tube. I'm planning a post on my favorite You Tubers soon. Kind of a diverse bunch from exotic car collectors to beauty bloggers.

What I'm Listening To:
Christmas Music 24/7. I also want to check out the newish Bruno Mars CD. But because of a little Apple ID issue, I'm afraid to purchase it on iTunes and have to go to the wrong account.

What I'm Wearing:
Pajamas. A lot. My favorite pajama pants are from Target and they are simply divine. They are called the Women's Fluid Knit Pajama Legging and they are slim, soft, and lightweight with some elastic down the leg and around the ankle to keep the pant from riding up. Perfection!

What I'm Doing This Weekend:
Thanksgiving! Last week I shared my menu for a simple family Thanksgiving dinner on the blog. I've  done half of the grocery shopping for that meal at Costco, and will hopefully get the remaining needed ingredients tomorrow at the grocery store. I'd also like to hit Trader Joe's for some flowers for the table.

Here are two previous posts on Thanksgiving if you are running low on ideas for your own last minute Thanksgiving prep:

Family dinner time

What I'm Looking Forward To Next Month:
Charleston is so festive around the holiday and there is magic everywhere you turn. I'm looking forward to seeing the train display at the Belmond Place Hotel, shopping King Street on Friday evenings, and watching my sweet baby girl sing a solo in the Lessons and Carols. I'm so excited to have our Christmas Tree decorated seeing the lights twinkle every time I come down the stairs. 

What Else Is New:
I really want to make this blog a regular endeavor for me, where I can combine my love of Charleston, taking photos, shopping, and home stuff into my own creative home on the web.

What Are your Favorite Thanksgiving Traditions?
 I'm going to leave this for you to answer. I would love to hear what your friends and family do on this holiday. Please comment and tell me how you will spend Thanksgiving Day. Home or away, fancy and festive, or simple and just making's the love and grace for each other that make this day special. And I'd be honored if you would share it!

Many Blessings for ya'll from Charleston!!

Thanksgiving In Charleston: A Simple Menu For Small Family Gatherings

via Rose & Ivy
Hello friends. Are you excited that Thanksgiving is next week? The gorgeous styled photo above is the picture I have in my head for how our Charleston Thanksgiving should look. But in reality, there are only four of us in our family (with two of us are under 16), so those thoughts are just not practical. So after reigning in my  ambitious dreams, I've settled on a simple, kid-friendly menu for Thanksgiving  that won't break the bank or take all day to create. Last year we attempted a large whole bird, and honestly spent all day in the kitchen. After reading about 567 Facebook posts of how people were enjoying their lazy Thanksgiving day, I have decided that we are keeping it simple this year and eating early in the day. So here's a peek into what I am planning for our Turkey Day, perfect for any uncomplicated, affordable, intimate, family meal or Friendsgiving!

The Charleston Lens Simple Thanksgiving Menu

Simple Herb Garlic Roasted Turkey Breast

via Flavor The Moment

Rustic Mashed Potatoes
via Fine Cooking

Brees Beautiful Brussel Sprouts

via Pioneer Woman

Green Goddess Winter Salad
via lelaliscious

Doing double duty with dessert because it gives my little 10 year old baker a job for the day, and gives us a confection that we can grab at will. Someone in my family may eat more than one, or three.

Apple Cider Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream
via The Best Blog Recipes

And since I just found out that a very good old friend will be in town, I'll get the bartender to whip up a batch of this cocktail (if he will just put down the cupcakes long enough).

Cranberry apple Cider Sangria
via Flavour & Savour

So there you have it!! Thanksgiving 2016 is officially planned. Now to make a grocery list, and hit the store before the craziness starts in earnest.

This is actually my second annual Thanksgiving  prep post. To check out last years, click here: 

Thanksgiving Entertaining 2015

Thanks for reading the blog today, and I want to wish you a wonderful, warm Thanksgiving!!!


How to Enjoy Christmas NOW: Hello Christmas, Goodbye Fall!!!!!

Is it too early to start decorating for Christmas? Pack up the pumpkins, kick the Fall decor to the curb?

It seems like Christmas comes earlier each year, with stores filling their shelves with red and green decor the week after Halloween. I know bloggers tend to be the first to jump on this trend because they have blog posts to write and festive photographs to take in order to illustrate their posts and instagram feeds. While there are many commercial reasons to begin the celebration early, it just feels cozy, festive and warm for me to start decorating our home now. I felt my heart skip a beat when the Holly channel on Sirius went live, and I did a happy dance in my car when I saw our local tree lot begin their setup. Our Walmart actually has live Christmas trees for sale in the garden center!!! True, those trees will be in sad shape by Christmas day, especially in the Charleston climate, but the smell was intoxicating. So along with a certain 10 year old "elf", I have decided to take the plunge. Let's do Christmas! After all, its only 37 days away, and who wants to do all that work and only enjoy it for two weeks?

This weekend, we are saying farewell to all the Fall decor that has quite honestly been out long enough. When you fill your home with pumpkins the first week of September, you are done looking at them by middle of November. So here is my plan to bring a little Christmas to our life. I've inserted some shots from past holiday seasons to get you in the mood.....

Southern Christmas decor and design


1. Listen to Siruis/XM Holly/Charleston local 102.5 to bring a little Christmas to your day. When the election has you down, or the controversy seems too much, turn on a little Christmas. It's hard to be mad when you are singing "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas" with Burl Ives. At home, I listen to a variety of personalized Pandora stations, like Michael Buble, Caribbean Jazz Project, and sometimes Enya holiday.

Southern Christmas Front Porch Design

2. Pack up the pumpkins in bubble wrap, and put 'em back in the attic. Pull out the Christmas boxes and inventory the light situation, pulling out decor pieces that you love. Some "elves" may want to spread Christmas cheer everywhere all at once, but I take a more slow and steady approach. Let's decorate the mantle, put out some seasonal scented candles, put a new runner on the dining room table. Keep the ornaments and lights in the attic until you actually have purchased said live tree, or you will be staring at Rubbermaid boxes for three weeks.

Southern Christmas evergreen Design

3. Change out the your pillows, throws, and bedding.  Check Pottery Barn, Target and Home Goods for new throws, pillows and small decor items when you have the opportunity.  I think I have enough of all of these things, though I drool over the Pottery Barn holiday bedding every year. I'll keep watching  sales and maybe add a new red throw, or a pillow if I see a sale. Or maybe add a holiday doormat! Don't forget to grab a few holiday scented candles from Bath and Body Works, or even Walmart! They have great, inexpensive candles in seasonal scents.

Southern Front Porch Holiday Design and Decor with Lights

4. Also, I am planning to plant some winter greenery on my back porch.  Things like white pansies, green lettuces, winter kales and cyclamen look great with white lights wrapped around the banisters. I have several packages of lettuce seeds I hope to plant this week.

Southern Christmas Carolers at City Market

5. Maybe we will start the lights? Every year I wish we had put the outdoor lights up sooner. But the truth is that I hate this job, and often put it off. I'm hoping to enlist a certain teenage boy "elf "to help in this regard.

Southern Christmas Downtown Charleston

While the bulk of our holiday prep will begin in earnest when we get our live tree, I feel that we can enjoy more of the holiday at home if we start now. The kids are young enough to feel excitement in the air, and with the serious issues facing the world today, I want to make our home a warm, safe haven where our kids can make great holiday memories. So, while I am little overwhelmed, but let's gets rolling!!!

To get you started, I've done some of the shopping for you by including these links to stores mentioned in my post: {Affiliate Links: Clicking on these links can result in a small commission for me. Many thanks for using them in your shopping!)

Target Holiday Pillows:
Target Holiday Throws:
Pottery Barn Holiday Pillows and Throws:
Pottery Barn Bedding:
Pottery Barn Kids Holiday Bedding:
Bath and Body Works Candles:
Walmart Scented Candles:
Target Holiday Table Runners:
Target Holiday Decor:

If you have started your holiday prep, comment below and let me know how it's going and how to you get the ball rolling!!! Do you do it all at once or stretch it over a few weeks?

Sending You Candy Cane Wishes!!!