Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas on the Cheap

Here are a few of the ways I've been gettin' crafty with it this week.  I cannot take credit for any of these ideas.  Props to Martha Stewart Magazine and the next best thing to friend Jami.

We're on a tight budget this year, so I had to get a little creative with some of my gifts.  To take the sting out of a lame $10 gift card, I added some local Olive Sinclair Chocolate and then wrapped it like a snowman just using white printer paper, markers and some ribbon.  

At the Dollar Tree, you can find silver platters for $1.  Add some chalkboard paint, and ribbon, and you have a very cool chalkboard sign, display, menu, or whatever you want it to be.

Ribbon is 50% off at Hobby Lobby this week.  So are these little plate stands.  They are only $2.50!  Then you can decide to hang it or display it on the rack.  The ribbon just folds down and hides behind it.

I love to have a little something to give friends when we visit during the holidays or as a hostess gifts.  Martha Washington Bon Bons have become an annual tradition for me.  I completely overdosed on the filling 2 years ago, and now I can make hundreds without even being tempted to try one.  But other people rave about them!  And they're just pretty.

Martha Washington Bon Bons
Filling:  Mix and chill overnight
2 pounds sifted powdered sugar
1 can Eagle Brand Milk
2 cups flaked coconut
1 stick of butter (melted) - add another 1/2 stick if mixture is dry
3 cups finely chopped pecans

Dipping Chocolate: Melt in a double boiler
1 cake paraffin wax (can be found in the canning aisle at the grocery store)
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips 
add more chocolate if mixture is too thin, add more wax if mixture is too thick

Dip in chocolate using a toothpick and let dry on wax paper. Drizzle chocolate to cover toothpick holes.

 Place in candy cups, wrap and add a cute tag and ribbon. 

Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tacky Lights!

Last night, I was searching for Nashville neighborhoods with the best Christmas lights and stumbled upon this site called  We found not one...but two houses in Franklin that had an insane amount of lights. Each house also had their own radio station and the lights flashed in time with the music.  It was like finding the "Glee" of Christmas Lights!  Oh, how I love choreography!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tender Tennessee Christmas

This is my all time favorite Christmas to the Carpenter's "A Christmas Portrait".  I like all things cheesy and sentimental at Christmas time.

Tonight I got to hear...

Well they say in  L.A., it's a warm holiday, it's the only place to be...
But a Tender Tennessee Christmas, is the only Christmas for me.  

sung live by Amy Grant at Lipscomb University's Lighting of the Green Concert.  A perfect Nashville moment.

2010 Amy is still as hot as 1983!  :)  

Monday, December 6, 2010

Praise Jesus I have AAA.

Just in case you're wondering...

If you have a 2002 Honda Accord, and you want to warm it up because it's 13 degrees outside, so you turn the heat on full blast and lock the keys in the car (on purpose) because you have an extra keyless entry thingy and it should be no problem to use it to get back in the car, you will be extremely frustrated and panicked when you go out to unlock it because someone at Honda had the bright idea to create a safety mechanism that will NOT LET IT WORK!  And, your husband might be out of town with the extra set of keys, so you'll have to call AAA who will argue with you about your current address and you will tell them that you will update your address just as soon as you have a car that isn't running with the keys in it. Then you will wait over an hour for a very nice locksmith to come and take .5 seconds to open it for you.  And you'll be very late to work. Just in case you're wondering.  :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Recycled Book Garland

I got this idea from my friend Aimee.  Visit her blog to see some of her amazing creations. 

To make this garland you will need:
Card Stock
An old Book
Glue Gun
Permanent Glue Stick
Thick Tagboard or Cardboard
Martha Stewart Circle Cutter (Optional)

In the December Martha Stewart Magazine, there is a 50% off coupon for any of her craft items at Michael's.  This circle cutter is AWESOME!  It really beats looking for lids and candles to trace.  It makes perfect circles in any size you want.  It's normally $24 so with the coupon it's only $12.  Michael's always has 40% coupons in the mail or e-mail also, so you could use that instead.

Find an old book you have at your house.  I found this one at Goodwill for 50 cents.  Cut out the book circles first so you know how big to stagger the other circles.  By the way...the pieces of brown tagboard I used for the back were dividers in the the paper bins at Michael's.  I asked if I could have 3 of them and they gave them to me for free.  You could also use a cardboard box to make it thicker and more rugged.

 It's hard to find pre-made tag board letters big enough.  Plus, they're pricy.  Just print letters and then trace them onto the paper you choose. I used the font Britannic Bold.  Mix it up with different fonts and colors!  Enjoy over your mantle...or over your windows if you are like me and lack a mantle!


I'm home sick...coughing and nursing my poor throat.  But I'm in a very blogtastic mood!  I have a lot to catch up on!  In between administering every home remedy I can think of to keep me from losing my voice...I will be posting some pics of our NYC trip in September and other fun tidbits from the fall.  

If you're in KC tomorrow night...come see me sing (or try to sing) in our bi-annual Yacht Rock extravaganza.  It's such a blast!  We are expecting a very special guest to sit in with us.  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Musician's Corner with Vince Gill

Throughout the summer we've really loved going to Musician's Corner, free concerts on Saturdays at Centennial Park.  Today, we read rumors on Twitter that somebody really special may be stopping by.  The rumors were correct!  It was such a Nashville moment to be sitting in a park and have Vince Gill walk on stage and sing for you.

Can you spot Mat Kearney?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

New York! Part 4

We are very lucky to have a friend named Jason in our lives.  Jason happens to be on a show called Saturday Night Live.  The season premiere of SNL happened to be on my birthday.  And...we happened to be in New York the night of my birthday.  I love when things come together.

This was our 2nd time being at the show together.  Being in the SNL studio is amazing.  It's like a museum.  Photos of classic scenes and characters line the walls.  I wish they allowed cameras inside.  We were also able to go to the cast after-party and after-after party.  It is so much fun seeing all of these people you love and admire in one room.  If only I had the guts to go up and talk to them....


 Billy with Lori Chaffer

 Billy with Don Chaffer

Jason and Billy

Max, Jason and Billy

Kristin Sudeikis and Billy

Here's a selection of photos I'd like to title:

"Really Bad Photos of Celebrities that I'm Too Scared to Talk To" 

Katy Perry's back

Justin Timberlake's back

Blurry Andy Samburg and a bald man's head

Abby Elliot trying to escape the crowd

Haha! I was right, wasn't I?  Horrible pictures.  Oh, well.

This was definitely my best birthday so far!  31 is going to be a fabulous year. 

NEW YORK! Part 3

One of the highlights of the trip for me was getting to see a taping of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon!    I'm such a fan of the show.  It was so fun to see what goes on behind the scenes.  Here are some things I learned at the taping...

1.  It's 100 degrees while you're waiting in line to get in.
2.  It's 30 degrees once you're in the studio.
3.   If it's your birthday, you may get asked to have a dance-off  before the show with the person sitting next to you.
4.  The studio is much smaller than it looks on TV.
5.  The Roots play through entire songs before the show, during commercial breaks and after the show.
6.  If you wave at Questlove, he won't wave back.  But he'll smile at you.
7.  Jimmy laughs at his own Bieber jokes in video segments.
8.  The show isn't taped live, but Jimmy and all the guests do everything in one take.
9.  There are about 35 crew members and staff behind the cameras at all times...unlike a concert or play.  There are lots of people in the way.
10.  Jimmy runs the stairs and stops to say "hi" and shake lots of hands even after the cameras stop rolling.  (He shook mine!)

Here is a video my 3 seconds of fame!  I'm in the second row of the audience on the right hand side at about the 3:40 mark.

NEW YORK! Part 2

I really love being in New York but am always amazed by the way people live in such tight spaces.  We were SO lucky to be able to stay for free in this little apartment in the East Village on the lower level of this building.

When I say little...I mean TINY.  This is not just the bedroom. It's the entire apartment!

You're probably wondering how we sat on that toilet.  Sideways is the answer to that.  HA!

Ahhh...New York.  $1,200 a month for 400 square feet.  Not bad!  :)

Here are some other photo highlights...


Gretchen's billboard in Times Square from Project Runway!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

NEW YORK! Part 1

For my 31st birthday, we got to take an almost free trip to New York!  "Concrete jungle where dreams are made of...." Cue Jay-Z and Alicia Keys.

Here's the story in a nutshell:  Our good buddy, Don Chaffer, wrote an album called "The Khrusty Brothers" which has really amazing songs that center around a story about a family band.  Billy played drums in the live band when they played shows in KC.  Don turned this music and story into a musical.  The musical won a grant to be workshopped in New York.  Billy auditioned and got the part of "Bud" who also happens to be the drummer.  And VOILA!  We end up in NYC.

Here are some pics of the cast rehearsing.