Month: November 2017

2017 Video Game Gift Guide

Your friendly nerdy blogger here offering up a guide to this year’s games for gifting!

The age distinctions are fluid, so when I say “& up” I mean it. We enjoy a lot of the “kids” titles but you probably don’t want to buy one of the violent games for littles or something that’s going to be too difficult, so that’s how Brandon and I approached the categories.

Video Game Gift Guide 2017

Kids & Up

  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo Switch — released Apr. ’17)
    The game has a ‘smart steering’ option so that you don’t have to worry about falling off the track, making it easier for players of different ages and abilities to play together.

  • Lego Super Heroes 2 (Nintendo Switch, XBox One, Playstation 4 — released Nov. ’17)
    My 6-year-old loves this, but even my 3-year-old likes to be Spider-Man and run around, so they can play together (split-screen).

  • Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo Switch — released Oct. ’17)
    Wahoo! Fun for all with some clever throwback gameplay in there.

  • Animal Crossing Pocket Camp (iOS, Android — released Nov. ’17)
    Free! Not really a present you can put under the tree, but do put this on your phone or your kid’s tablet. I’ve been enjoying the heck out of it.

Teens & Up

  • Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Nintendo Switch — released March ’17)
    You can never go wrong with a new Zelda title.

  • The Sims 4 (XBox One, Playstation 4, Mac, PC — released Nov. ’17 for consoles, 2014 for Mac/PC)
    I don’t know why I never picked this up for our computer, but the console version has just been released. I introduced my 8-year-old to the game and we’re both super into it, but she’s a little young to play and needs some help. Meanwhile my in-game house is goood.

  • Stardew Valley (Nintendo Switch, XBox One, Playstation 4, PC — released 2017 for consoles, 2016 for PC)
    Resource management, whee! (We debated putting this in the kids/teens category. Our oldest plays, and she’s 8.)

Adults

  • Assasin’s Creed Origins (XBox One, Playstation 4, PC — released Oct. ’17)
    A fun addition to the series, this time set in ancient Egypt. Supposedly there will be a mode coming without fighting where you can just tour the location.

  • Wolfenstein II (XBox One, Playstation 4, PC — released Nov. ’17)
    Very violent, but if you’re good with killing video game Nazis, there you go. Surprisingly moving at times.

  • Horizon Zero Dawn (Playstation 4 — released Feb. ’17)
    An amazing game with a female protagonist set in a beautiful post-apocalyptic world.

  • Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (Playstation 4 — released Aug. ’17)
    Hey, more ladies! This is a spinoff from the Uncharted series, taking two ancillary characters and exploring their story.

  • Golf Story (Nintendo Switch — released Sep. ’17)
    The 16-bit mechanics of golf with throwback 8-bit style and a fun story.

p.s. Here’s the cute “Letters to Santa” mailbox, and a smaller ornament version.

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© 2017, published by Making it Lovely as 2017 Video Game Gift Guide | One comment | This post may contains affiliate links; I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

The post 2017 Video Game Gift Guide appeared first on Making it Lovely.

from Home Improvement http://makingitlovely.com/2017/11/30/2017-video-game-gift-guide/

Keeping It Simple: Evergreen Wreaths

I opened up the Christmas closet last week and brought out a few bins of favorite holiday things, the same sets of reindeer and bottle brush trees and ornaments that I love. They are once again layered around the house. My style has settled into a predictable palette: I mix metallic sheens with white ceramics and add fresh evergreens and it always pleases me year after year.

The same for my front door wreath, my plan is to work up a similar version of the copper cowbell wreath I made last year since it was so easy: just a few ornaments and ribbons and copper cowbells tied to a flocked wreath I bought at a local tree lot. It took me maybe 10 minutes to assemble and I loved it all season long. Perhaps this year I’ll add a string of lights.

Keeping it simple has allowed me to spend more time lounging in my pajamas with my kids like last night, or meeting friends at the pub for trivia night like tonight. It’s just not worth it to stress out over decorating the house, it should be a joyful time and not one filled with anxiety. So each year I find I do less and less and that means I have more time to actually enjoy the holidays.

Evergreen wreaths are as traditional as it gets, and a symbol of the season. If you’re feeling what I’m feeling, keep it simple by picking up a basic evergreen wreath at a local lot or grocery store to use as your base, then head over to a friend’s house and embellish it together with ornaments, ribbon, or contrasting botanicals.

 

one kings lane

 

I spied various evergreen wreaths online, these look simple enough to recreate with yard clippings or base wreath.

 

camille styles

 

carrie / christmas in London

 

made from scratch

 

garden therapy

 

 

darling Darleen

martha stewart

 

magical christmas wreaths

 

 

stone gable blog

 

forever green flower co

 

sources unknown

 

What choices have you made this season to keep things simple?

 

from Home Improvement https://centsationalstyle.com/2017/11/keeping-it-simple-evergreen-wreaths/

Just Add Statement Earrings

This is my fall/winter uniform. A simple but flattering sweater, cute comfortable shoes (these are sort of a warmer version of the inexpensive flats I wear all the time), and my favorite jeans.( I just went through years of Instagram photos because I was certain there was a photo of me in them. And there is! And you can barely tell. Trust though, these jeans are awesome.) Glasses, rosy lips, and statement earrings.

Also! I’ve been wanting something similar to Chloe’s ‘Faye’ and I’m going to go check out that Ted Baker bag. I think it will do nicely!

Jeans and a Sweater - Just add Statement Earrings

  1. Tippi Sweater, J. Crew

  2. Eugene Small Glasses (Rosewood Tortoise), Warby Parker

  3. Chloe ‘Faye’ Suede and Leather Shoulder Bag, Nordstrom
    This is lovely if you can afford a beautiful luxury bag.

  4. Ted Baker ‘Sophina’ Suede Shoulder Bag, Nordstrom
    Similar elements — the half and half suede/leather, the gold chain, the size and proportions. Not cheap, but certainly a more friendly price. There is a smaller version for $249 too.

  5. 10″ High-Rise Skinny Jeans, Madewell

  6. Nars Lipstick (Tolede), Sephora

  7. Free People ‘Royale’ Pointy Toe Flat, Nordstrom

  8. Rebecca De Ravenel ‘Laeticia Hoop La La’ Earrings, Moda Operandi

  9. Sculptural Face Earrings, Tory Burch

  10. Circlet Earrings, J. Crew

  11. Suzanna Dai Tiered Hoop Drop Earrings, Anthropologie

  12. Annie Costello Brown ‘Popova’ Earrings, Claire V.


© 2017, published by Making it Lovely as Just Add Statement Earrings | No comments | This post may contains affiliate links; I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

The post Just Add Statement Earrings appeared first on Making it Lovely.

from Home Improvement http://makingitlovely.com/2017/11/28/just-add-statement-earrings/

Budget Friendly Brass Lighting

On impulse I began a living room a refresh last week, right in the middle holidays! Crazy I know. I started by covering the existing gray walls with fresh white paint and I bought molding to add additional trim above the existing wainscot to frame my art. I also decided it was time to swap out the light fixtures and I started with a this new brass sconce on the tufted sofa wall.

 

 

When I went searching online for both sconces and mini chandeliers (I need two for the ceiling spots) I found several budget friendly and good looking brass light fixtures under $300.

 

 

 

mod angled / jasper / dauphine

metro / clarke / anglerlayla

feiss conant / opheliamodern gold with shade

mitzi 1 / savoy  / mitzi 2

mod brass geometric / uptown pendant

See also: Favorite Sources for Affordable Lighting

This week I’m adding new molding and art and I’ll share the finished space as we get closer to Christmas. 🙂

 

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from Home Improvement https://centsationalstyle.com/2017/11/budget-friendly-brass-lighting/

Modern Outdoor Dining Furniture for the Victorian

The furniture in this post was provided by Stori Modern.


I have a fantasy version of our backyard in my head that the reality does not match. Not yet, at least. One big step in the right direction is outdoor dining furniture that complements the Victorian, without going for spot-on wrought iron pieces.

Stori Modern Table and Chairs, and a Peacock

Stori Modern makes outdoor furniture in various modern styles (as you might gather from their name), but some of the collections have a nice wink and nod to the past. I chose their Memoir Collection for our outdoor dining area.

Stori Modern Memoir Dining Collection

Stori Modern

The collection comes in red, white, or black. Red isn’t for me, but I do like white dining chairs. So fresh! So cute! I’m feeling darker colors for this house though, so I chose black chairs, plus black cushions.

Stori Modern Memoir Dining Collection. Plus a Peacock.

The details make these really special, but the set is made with synthetic wicker so it should hold up nicely to the elements. We can store everything over the winter as we’ve likely had the last of our warm weather, but we do leave our outdoor furniture in the yard spring through fall and I appreciate a good durable material.

(Obviously the peacock is not left out year-round, or even overnight. He was a special guest for the photos.)

Stori Modern Memoir Dining Chair

I liked the Journal collection a lot for our old home too, but in the end, the modern detailing of the Memoir dining furniture swayed me. I’m looking forward to sprucing up the dining area next spring, and plenty of meals outside again!

Stori Modern Memoir Dining Collection. Plus a Peacock.


© 2017, published by Making it Lovely as Modern Outdoor Dining Furniture for the Victorian | No comments | This post may contains affiliate links; I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

The post Modern Outdoor Dining Furniture for the Victorian appeared first on Making it Lovely.

from Home Improvement http://makingitlovely.com/2017/11/21/modern-outdoor-dining-furniture-victorian/

100 Gifts Under $100

Hello my friends! Today I’m picking up my turkey and doing the last of the grocery shopping. I’m also putting the final touches on my Thanksgiving table, making sure there are enough plates, napkins, glasses, etc. for the crowd of 12 that will be sitting around my table.

To jump start your holiday shopping, I pulled together a group of gift ideas. Everything here ranges from as low as $10 to no higher than $99. I’ve made it EASY to check the prices, simply hover over the items you’re interested in and the price is revealed. Sometimes shops or sites are having sales so clicking over may reveal further discounts.

For Him:

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For Her:

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For Entertainers, Teachers, Coworkers, etc.

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For Kids:

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For the Traveler:

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For Game Players:

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For Tech Lovers:

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from Home Improvement https://centsationalstyle.com/2017/11/100-gifts-under-100/

8 Everyday Things + Weekend Reading

Weekend hellos! I’m in Thanksgiving prep and gift buying mode this week, the same as many of you! I’m making my grocery shopping list and setting my Thanksgiving table. I also have some gift ideas I’ll be sharing next week.

I wanted to kick it off with 8 things I use every.single.day and absolutely love, these make great gifts for you or someone close to you!

 

I don’t carry a regular wallet, I carry this iphone wallet and keep my bank and credit cards in it. It also has just enough room for a few punch cards or gift cards. The baggallini crossbody is my go to everyday bag with just enough pockets, for cellphone, makeup, etc. The Mira double walled water bottle stays by my side from morning workouts to afternoon carpool. (Also cheaper than Swell).

This fluted contrast mug I picked up in Copenhagen. I love its design and it feels good in my hand filled with my morning coffee. This coffee vac keeps beans fresh and has a clean modern design so it looks great on my counter. I found the best daily SPF 50 sunscreen, it’s soft and super moisturizing and I’ve used it everyday for over a year. Pricey but WORTH IT. Every other morning I use one of these Peel Pads, they keep my skin glowing all day. I can’t live without POREfessional I apply it several times a day for flawless looking skin.

Favorite links from the week:

 

The One Room Challenge is always amazing. I especially loved this cozy textured living room makeover.

Six things to remember to tell your house guests.

Furniture retailers who value market share over profits.

Slow cooker Thanksgiving sangria, yum!

Want creamy mashed potatoes? Read this.

I’m a recent convert to brussels sprouts. Here are 15 recipes to consider.

How to win the game of Monopoly, according to math experts.

Interesting: modern day nomads.

7 things to consider before traveling with someone new.

Best inventions of 2017.

Also remember: Arrow Fastener is giving away $1,000 in cash and 100 tools every week until December 17th. Details here!

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from Home Improvement https://centsationalstyle.com/2017/11/weekend-reading-140/

Hilltop Towns of France

I’ve been busy this week preparing for Thanksgiving, cleaning and organizing in anticipation of a house filled with guests. I started to daydream about my amazing trip to France in September and the enchanting hilltop towns.

My trip took me there in early autumn it was still warm. I stayed in Nice for a few days and from there adventured out on a few day trips, two of them being visits to hilltop towns that many of you recommended. Èze was my first stop (on the road to Monaco) and wow what an incredible view you’ll see on the road there. I was on a small group tour and we stopped here just to take it all in.

 

 

Èze as foretold by so many  was absolutely charming. It had a beautiful church and the most magnificent Mediterranean sea views from a botanical garden on top. Everywhere you turn there are vines growing on top of centuries old walls, it’s so charming. I couldn’t help but hum that song from Beauty and the Beast, “Little town, it’s a quiet village, every day, like the one before …”.

 

 

 

 

One of the benefits from traveling alone on this trip was that I could take my time as I walked the twisted streets, grabbing a coffee, popping into a shop, ducking down alleys, stopping along the way to take pictures or video.

In Èze, I loved the color of the church in the middle of the town, its hue just a hint more yellow than my house back home in California.

 

It was so fun meandering the crooked cobblestone streets, climbing up hills to the very top to witness the massive views all around.

St. Paul de Vence was similar in its winding cobblestone streets all protected inside walls on top of a hill. It was larger and took several hours to enjoy it all. The most enchanting part is these hilltop towns are like adult mazes, so fun to explore especially when you have no idea what to expect around every new turn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made a short video of my walks through these towns, meander the streets with me in these next 2 ½ minutes!

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from Home Improvement https://centsationalstyle.com/2017/11/hilltop-towns-of-france/