Creating New Holiday Traditions

Hello again!

Today I want to talk about something that has been on the forefront of my mind recently: Creating new family traditions. As children, we take on the traditions of our grandparents and parents. I have fond memories of decorating the Christmas tree, driving around looking at Christmas lights, and going to my grandparent's houses on Christmas Eve. Then, the inevitable happens. Our grandparents become elderly and may pass away and we...well, we grow up. 

I married my husband a little over two years ago and now we are talking about starting a family. We are still coming up with new ideas, but we have already started some new holiday traditions of our own. I would like to share a few of the Christmas traditions that we have enjoyed, so that maybe they will give you inspiration for starting your own.

Decorating Your Home

Fireplace
Christmas Traditions

The Saturday after Thanksgiving has been designated as family decorating day. We put on a vinyl Christmas album, pull out the tree, and deck the halls! Decorating for Christmas shouldn't feel like a major chore. Instead of trying to rush around, just to get it done, try to enjoy it and take it all in. I so love hanging our ornaments on the tree, because we have already collected many that are sentimental. We have an ornament from our engagement, our marriage, our new home, and we even started picking up ornaments on all of our trips. It's awesome to be able to hang each one and think back on the memories that coincide with them.

Viewing Christmas Lights and Decorations

Christmas Lights

When I was a kid, my dad would drive around some nicer neighborhoods that were well decorated and we would "oooh" and "ahhh" over all of the pretty lights. Over the past few years, Justin and I have started visiting a few different spots to walk around and look at the decorations. There is a huge resort, in our area, that always decorates extravagantly for Christmas and it's free to walk around and look. There are also some areas of the city that are decorated for public viewing. One of our favorite spots is Cheekwood Botanical Gardens (pictured above). They charge for entry, but the lights and decorations are absolutely gorgeous. We bundle up, grab some hot cocoa, and walk hand-in-hand through the lights.

Watching Your Favorite Christmas Movies

There are a handful of movies that we watch every year, before Christmas. I love cuddling up on the couch with one of those Christmas popcorn tins (you know you love those things!) and watching my favorite Christmas movies. Elf and Scrooged are must watch movies for us, this time of year.

Breakfast on Christmas Morning

Christmas Tree

We don't have children yet, but we have already started to set aside time on Christmas morning for our family. We spend the morning making breakfast together, exchanging gifts with each other, and giving our fur babies their new toys and treats. One day we will have little ones to join in on the fun, but for now we are able to enjoy the time with each other.

These are a few of the Christmas traditions we have incorporated into our newly married life and we hope to add more as the years go on. What are some of your favorite traditions? Let me know!

Until next time!

Much Love,

Kimberly
 

Honeymoon in Paris

I’m back again today, to talk to you about the most romantic city in the world. As I have mentioned before, my Hubby and I spent our honeymoon traveling around Europe. I’ve already told you about our (very) quick jaunt through London and now I am going to tell you about the second stop on our trip: Paris! 

Eiffel Tower

We arrived in Paris by train. Specifically, the train that goes from London to Paris, under the English Channel. I love traveling by train even more than flying. You are able to relax and take in the passing scenery, you have more leg space, and depending on how long the trip is, you are served a delicious meal. Once we arrived at our hotel we were greeted by the friendly staff and helped to our room. There were macarons (my favorite!)  and two complimentary glasses of champagne!  

Exploring the city

Maybe it's a little cheesy, but obviously the first thing we wanted to visit was the Eiffel Tower. It was much taller than I could have ever imagined, and the view from the top was beautiful! We were lucky to be there on a clear and sunny day. I was not expecting to see so many peddlers surrounding the Eiffel Tower, but since it's a known tourist spot, I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised. A bit of advice if you do get the opportunity to visit: do not purchase from the peddlers and try not to get tricked into buying. I was innocently handed a rose by one of them and I naively accepted it. I did not realize it was a ploy to make my husband pay him. We were warned ahead of time to not bring out our wallets or purses to make purchases from the peddlers, because they may try to rob you. However, we did not let that take away one ounce of our enjoyment! Up to the top we went and it was like I was living out a scene from a romantic movie. I felt so blessed as a new wife to be able to kiss my husband at the top of the Eiffel Tower.

After the Eiffel Tower, we made our way to another famous stop in Paris: Notre-Dame. One of the most amazing things about our Europe trip, was being able to see these types of buildings. The United States is a baby compared to these countries, so we do not have architecture dating back as far. It was amazing to learn this history of this beautiful cathedral. Construction was started on it in 1163, but it was not completed until 1345. Everything about it was breathtaking! From the massive, stained glass windows, to the beautifully designed architecture. We took a ton of pictures, but nothing compares to taking it in with your own eyes.

Our hotel was close by the Arc de Triomphe, so that was a stop we had to make. The Arc de Triomphe is a monument to those that fought and in the French Revolutionary war.  It sits alone, in the middle of an extremely busy roundabout, in western Paris. The best way to access it, without risking life and limb, is to take the underground passages. At the bottom of the Arc, there is a torch that is lit every evening at 6:30 PM. It's the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It's a beautiful tribute to a hero for France. 

The elevator in the Arc de Triomphe is rarely in working order. The climb to the top is tiring, but worth the view at the end. It's 284 steps on a small, spiral staircase. I workout four times a week and am in good health, yet I still had to stop and take a breather a few times on the way up! 

Food and Culture

I can without a doubt say that the thing I miss most about Paris, is the food! Everything is just so decadent. Of course, this is where I began my love affair with macaron cookies, but it's also where I found out what croissants are supposed to taste like; buttery and flakey on the outside, and warm and soft on the inside. Some of my most fond memories of this trip are just walking around the city, taking in the sights, shopping, and stopping in local restaurants. 

Looking back at these photos, makes me miss it so much! I would have loved to have more time in Paris. We barely skimmed the surface of all there is to see and do, but I am thankful to have the memories that I do. We took advantage of every moment, getting very little sleep in the process. I wore my feet out during the day so I spent most nights, in the hotel, soaking them in the tub and enjoying a hot tea.

Have you ever been to Paris? If so, where are some of your favorite spots? If not, what are you waiting for?!

Paris Honeymoon

Until next time!

Much Love,

Kimberly
 

Craft Lover's Gift Guide

Are you stuffed?! I know I am! I hope that you all had an amazing Thanksgiving and that you were able to spend some time with family. 

Now it's time to go shopping! Today is the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday. I thought I would help you get started by posting another gift guide. This time it's all for the crafter in your life. This could be your mom, sister, or bestie. We all know a lady that loves to create and do-it-herself. Maybe it's even you! 

Craft Lover's Gift Guide

For your friend or family member that loves to crochet. Even if she already has crochet hooks, she would love to get more (they always go missing). Plus, this kit comes with a cute carrying case and other crochet tools.

A laminator is the perfect gift for the scrapbooking, paper crafting, organizing, lady in your life. 

Any one that has a crafting hobby, needs a way to store their supplies. Raskog carts can be used to hold everything from yarn to paint supplies. They have wheels so that they can be moved to wherever you need them.

If you know someone that likes to sew, then this book would be great for them. It includes quick and easy patterns that can be used to make a wide variety of items. 

Do you know someone that enjoys drawing or lettering? If they are a beginner, then this book would be great for them. It has a ton of great techniques for different types of lettering.

If you pick up the Creative Lettering book for your friend, then this set of Tombow art markers would be a great item to pair with it! Even if your friend is an expert at lettering and calligraphy, they will appreciate these high quality markers. 

A nice paper trimmer/cutter would be great for someone you know that loves to scrapbook, make their own cards, or any other paper crafts. I have one similar to this one by Fiskars and I love it!

Happy Shopping!

Until next time...

Much Love,

Kimberly
 

Currently...November 2017

I thought it would be fun to start doing a monthly update on what I am currently loving, reading, drinking, listening to, etc. This will give you a peek at my interests and how they change up over time. I would love it if you would share some of your current loves with me as well!

currently

Reading: 

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover. I actually just finished this book up today. You can read my review on my Goodreads page here!

Listening: 

She & Him Christmas music. Oh how I love Christmas music! It's amazing that I made it to the week of Thanksgiving before I started it back up.

Planning: 

Thanksgiving and Black Friday! I will be working on the holiday, but my mom is planning to have dinner later so that I can join in on the fun. Then, my mom, sister, and I will head out to score some Black Friday deals!

Watching:

The Mindy Project. Unfortunately, I just watched the series finale and I am so sad to see this show end, but I'm glad it went out on a good note. If you have never seen it, then you should check it out! The entire series is streaming on Hulu.

Drinking:

Right now I am loving some Starbuck holiday drinks! I think my favorite so far is the Chestnut Praline Chai Tea Latte. I have it with almond milk and it is delicious!

Enjoying:

My new MacBook! It's rose gold (matches my iPhone, of course) and it is sooo much faster than the seven year old white MacBook, that I had been toting around since college.

Wearing:

Fuzzy Socks. All day, every day. We just had a big drop in temperature here in Tennessee, and my little toes get cold easily, so fuzzy socks are a necessity!

Feeling:

Blessed. As I reflect on what I am thankful for this week, I can't help but realize how blessed I am. 

Currently Loving

So that's what I am currently up to this month! What are your current happenings? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time!

Much Love,

Kimberly
 

 

 

Gift Guide for your Geek Guy

I'm back with another gift guide for you! I had a little help with this one, from none other than my very own geek guy: my husband. He works in cybersecurity, he builds his own (and mine too!) computers, and he love video games. If you have a guy in your life that is a self-proclaimed geek, then this is the list for him! Whether it's your brother, father, uncle, or boyfriend, you are sure to find something here that he will enjoy. So without further ado, here it is:

Gift Guide for Geek Guy

If you didn't know already, Steam is a platform for buying computer games. If you know of a fella that enjoys gaming, then this would be perfect for him.

A pair of high quality, noise cancelling headphones is a must have! These are great for traveling and for around the house. He will be able to listen to his favorite podcast without any distractions.

This bag is perfect for holding onto all of the other items on this list. It's a basic style and made of sturdy material, which most geek guys would appreciate.

Standard pocket knives are a thing of the past! This handy tool has so many uses. It includes: spring-action needlenose and regular pliers, spring-action wire cutters and scissors, wire stripper, knife, package opener, ruler, can and bottle openers, wood/metal file, Phillips screwdriver, and medium and small screwdrivers.

My husband put this on our wedding registry and was thrilled to end up getting it. I know he has used it several times to work on both of our computers and to replace screens on cell phones. If you know a guy that enjoys fixing his own electronics, then this would be perfect for him.

Okay, so this might not be the most glamorous gift, but every guy needs a good flashlight. Not just geeks! This is another item that my husband already owns and I have never heard someone talk about a flashlight so much, so this one must be pretty cool. 

There you have it! Any of these gifts would put a smile on your favorite guys face.

Thanks to my favorite guy for his help putting this guide together!

Until next time!

Much Love,

kimberly hysler blog

How to Manage Stress During the Holdiay Season

It’s the most wonderful time of year! 

Christmas Stockings

As I get older, it seems like the time from Halloween to New Years speeds by faster and faster.  I can barely keep up and just the thought of it can send a shiver of panic through me. Don’t get me wrong. I love the family time, the Christmas music, and the delicious flavors of the season. I just know that I need to prepare myself for the inevitable stress that will come along with it.

So I developed my own strategy to manage stress during the Holiday season. 

1. Plan, Plan, Plan

Christmas Planning

I know what you are thinking: of course I’m going to say this. I’m a planner girl. However, this is definitely the number one way I manage stress around the holidays and it’s a good tool for you, even if you don’t normally plan ahead. If you have a lot of parties to attend or maybe you are hosting a few of your own, then you will definitely need to start planning those out. Otherwise, you may find yourself overbooked and that will lead to MAJOR stress.

2. Budget for Christmas Gifts

Christmas Tree

One of the main things that causes stress this time of year is money. Unless you are the type to start Christmas shopping in July (I wish I was that prepared), then chances are you will find yourself overwhelmed with your list of people to buy for. The best way to combat this problem is to make a list (and check it twice!) of all of the people you have to buy for. Determine what you are capable of spending on each person and write that number next to their name. If you have already been saving for Christmas shopping, then you are ahead of the game, but if you are not ready to buy every single gift right now, just break it into four sections. Spread those four sections over the next four weeks, so that your bank account doesn't take a big hit all at once.

3. Shop Online

Whether you are looking for gifts or you are planning your holiday feast, take advantage of online shopping. Stores are more crowded this time of year and the mad rush to get everything done has put everyone on edge. So much for the Christmas Spirit, right?! Why put yourself through that when you can utilize Kroger or Wal-Mart's grocery pick-up option? As far as Christmas gifts go, Amazon is your best friend. Nothing beats that two day, prime shipping!

4. Don't Neglect Yourself

Relax

Between holiday parties, Christmas shopping, and cooking large meals, it can be easy to forget about your own needs. It's important to stop and take some time to smell the roses. If you find yourself getting stressed out, just give yourself some personal time. Take a hot bath, go get a mani/pedi, or just sit and read a good book. Small things like that can really go a long way when it comes to managing your stress level around the holidays. Do yourself and everyone around you a favor and don't forget to breathe!

5. Take it All in

New Year's Eve

Have you ever woken up on January 2nd and wondered what happened over the last two months? I know I have had that feeling. It's something like a holiday hangover. You know that Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve happened. You just aren't sure what you did. It all went so fast and you were so busy the entire time that you forgot to actually enjoy it. My last bit of advice is to remember to take it all in. The Christmas music, the beautiful lights and decorations, and the precious family time. Try to find those little moments that make the hustle and bustle all worth it.

Those are my tips for managing stress during the holiday season. What are some techniques you have for keeping your cool, this time of year? Let me know!

Until next time!

Much Love,

Kimberly Hysler

Exploring London in 24 Hours

Today, I am starting a new series of blog posts all about my past travels. I have mentioned before that I enjoy traveling, but I haven’t really shared my experiences on this blog. Thankfully, I have always loved scrapbooking and preserving memories, so I have both a mental and physical archive of the trips that my husband and I have gone on. 

I’m going to start from the very beginning: our European honeymoon. More specifically, I will be telling you a little about the first stop on our honeymoon: London, England!

Exploring London

Let me start by saying that this trip was amazing and unforgettable, but we were very limited on time.  We had 11 days to spend in this part of the world and we wanted to see as much as we could. In the future, we hope to go back and spend more time in some of the cities we visited on our honeymoon, but for now I have plenty of fun memories to discuss.

Flying

When we took this trip, in June of 2015, I had never been out of the United States. The longest flight I had ever been on was probably two or three hours long. I love to fly, but the Chicago to London flight was a little longer than I would have liked. We arrived at Heathrow at 11 PM and the airport was practically shutting down. Thankfully, we had our hotel booked right near there so we were able to get some sleep and that made adjusting to the time change easier. 

My husband has family that lives in Oxfordshire, so the first bit of our time in England was spent with them. We took a bus out to the countryside. The landscape was beautiful!

After arriving in Oxfordshire, we spent the afternoon with Justin's family. We were able to see their beautiful home and they took us out to lunch. I tried leeks and Pimm's for the first time and both were delicious, but I especially loved the Pimm's! It was fun to sit around at an English pub, enjoying good food, good drinks, and good conversation with friends and family.

England

After we said our goodbyes, we hopped on the train (minding the gap!) back to London. With only the rest of the evening and part of the next day remaining in London, we knew we had to see a lot in a short time. We headed straight out into town, in search of my favorite places in ANY part of the world: stationery stores! We found Paperchase. It was every planner girls dream! I had previously, only ordered my Filofaxes online, but for the first time I was able to pick up and touch so many planners. I ended up purchasing a Fluoro Pink Original in A5 size. 

The next morning we went out into the city again, this time in search of breakfast! We found a little cafe and Justin ordered a traditional English Breakfast. I had a scone and a latte. The one thing I will miss most from the entire honeymoon trip, is the delicious food that was in every city we visited. After breakfast, we did some more exploring and then it was time to hop on the train to Paris. Not just any train, but the world famous train that goes under the English channel. Below are a few more pictures from the remainder of our time in London.

We would have loved to have more time to explore some of the more popular tourist spots around the city, but we are thankful for the time we did have in London. We were able to experience a small taste of the culture and spend time with family while were there. When (not if!) we go back, we will be sure to spend more that 24 hours in this beautiful city!

I'm going to leave you with this picture of me showing off my planner "haul" from the trip. You can tell that I was super excited!

Planner Haul from Europe/London

Until next time!

Much Love,

Kimberly Hysler

Gift Guide for a Planner Girl

The holiday season is upon us! Halloween has now passed and Thanksgiving will be here before you know it. I know it's hard to believe, but it's time to start thinking about your Christmas shopping list.

Today, I present you with my first gift guide of the season! Because I am a self-proclaimed, planner girl, I thought that would be the best place to start. Below, you will find a list of some of my favorite planning accessories. These are guaranteed to make every planner girl smile!

Gift Guide for a Planner Girl

1.

This pencil pouch is stylish and just the right size to hold a few essential planner accessories.

2.

Washi tape is used for decorating the pages of your planner, but it also has functional uses as well. It's great for covering an appointment that was rescheduled or folding it over the edge of a page to create a flag.

3.

No planner is complete without the perfect pen! I love Paper Mate InkJoy Gel pens. The ink glides on so smoothly that it can make even the worst handwriting look great.

4.

These super cute sticky notes are great for jotting down quick to do lists and reminders.

5.

Most planner girls have a desk area that they use every week for planning time. A desk organizer is a perfect way to have all of your supplies on hand, but also not cluttering your writing space.

6.

The animal shaped paper clips are adorable and would be a great gift for the planner girl in your life. Paper clips are like bobby pins. You can never have too many!

Until next time!

Much Love,

Kimberly-logo.png