Saturday, November 30, 2013

Shop Small

Small Business Saturday is something I wholeheartedly support.

Shopping on Black Friday, well, I've done the early-morning waking up to beat the deals before the sun rises. But when you think about it, what is the point? I understand that some people need to buy gifts for their kids and they need to be able to spread out the cash. But the electronic-crazed people that go nuts and hurt people are ridiculous. Quite frankly, I'll just sleep in!

But on Saturday, you can count me in! I will support the local shops any day, but what I want to do is explore local shops with great gift ideas, and little restaurants, featuring different towns every Saturday from here until the holidays.

If you support the local shops, and the little guys, you are more likely to get a unique gift that is more specific to the person that you are gifting to.

And then the money stays in the town.

Do you support Small Business Saturday? For the last three years, I have shopped Princeton, New Jersey on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It is the closest little town that is packed with great little shops, awesome food, and great ideas for gifting! This year I will be heading back to Princeton! Follow along on Instagram to see what I find today!

I plan to check out a few little home decor shops, a few clothing shops, a cafe and/or a restaurant, and of course it wouldn't be the same without a stop at the knitting shop!

If you have a town you would like me to explore, let me know, and hopefully I can share my finds with you on Princeton soon!

I hope you all enjoyed a fabulous Thanksgiving with friends and family and made a lot of great memories! I am thankful that I have the means to support the little guys, and not have to bang down the doors at the big box stores yesterday!

Monday, November 25, 2013

5K & a Feast!

I'm not sure about the rest of you, but all I have to do is make it through three days at work, and then I will be rewarded with five days off! More exciting than five days off in a row? Why Thanksgiving of course!

This year, P & I are doing a 5K/month, each benefitting a different cause. This week is our Turkey Trot 5K and it is on Thanksgiving morning! We will be bringing canned food to donate to a local food bank, and then racing away! (Which really just means we're balancing out the extra calories!)

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

For some people Thanksgiving is all about the Turkey. And I'll give it to you, you can't have Thanksgiving without it. But for me it is really all about the smashed potatoes (I'm not really a fan of the super smooth completely lump free variety) and the brussels sprouts! And this year I will be making the brussels for the future in-laws!

I know what you are thinking, and it is probably, ewwwww! Brussels sprouts are gross!

I assure you, they are delicious--and soo easy!

All you do is trim them from the stem, peel off any loose gross looking leaves, and quarter or half them. If they are quartered they will cook much faster.
Give them a good rinse and pat them dry.
Toss them into a baking dish (I usually use a loaf pan, but any baking dish will do) with enough olive oil to coat, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Give them a good stir to make sure that they are all covered with the oils. Cover with foil and they are ready to go in the oven at 375. They will take between 20-35 minutes depending on if you halved or quartered them. You will know they are ready when the leaves are crispy, and you can put a fork through the middle of them without much resistance. 
If you want to kick them up and make them special for the holiday feast....then before you cover with foil, take two strips of bacon, cut in half lengthwise, and then dice. Sprinkle the bacon pieces throughout, then proceed to cover with foil and bake.

Everything will crisp up and they will be so delicious--It's making my mouth water just typing this!

What special dish makes your Thanksgiving dinner? Do you help with any of the cooking or have any special recipes to share?

I'm thankful for my health. Without which, our 5K goals would be unrealistic. (And I wouldn't be able to enjoy the feast afterwards!) Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Getting Your Kids Involved in the Spirit of Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful family holiday. It is a time to get everyone together, to have a feast, and to celebrate.

But the spirit of Thanksgiving is really about just that. Giving thanks!

If you have little ones, get them involved! Let them help with little things around the house, while getting ready for the holiday festivities, and give them thanks for their assistance.

One of the best things that I think you can pass to your children around this season is to give back! Show them what it means to root around in the pantry and find some non-perishables to donate. Help them try to appreciate what they have and how fortunate they are.

I love this fun & festive table-setting idea from Better Homes & Gardens!

After you're done showing them how to be charitable and appreciate giving, and really feeling thanks, reel them back in with some fun! Decorate some mini pumpkins with paint, stickers, etc. to decorate the table and the house with. Have them make paper chains in fall colors to string around the mantle, or along the banister.

Most importantly, remember to appreciate your kids, and your family. In all of their qualities. It can be stressful to deal with the mess of your kiddos while you are trying to clean the house and prep for holiday company. But be thankful for their childish ways. Be thankful for their mysterious minds. Be thankful for their big innocent hearts. And be thankful for their unconditional love.

I am so thankful for all of the babies that I have had the pleasure to know, to nurture, to love and to watch grow. Having worked with kids for so many years, I really do appreciate them. I appreciate how frustrating they can be, and how amazing they can be. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Formal {& Fun} Thanksgiving Table

Monday, we talked about etiquette. Today, we are going to talk about having a little fun with your fancy table.

When you set your multi-plate, multi-glass place settings, you will inevitably need to set a cloth napkin with it. How about practicing some fancy folding to go with it?

Leave it to Martha to teach us how to fold a napkin like a turkey. How cute & appropriate! For instructions, click here.

The other thing that I thought would be fun is mixing up the seating. At these types of family-and-friend get togethers, couples and families sit together. So let's shake it up! Have some new great conversations and make some good memories by mixing it up with some thankful seating.

Come up with a list of thankfuls, and if you need help, you can always ask your guests! Write down each thankful in one word on a piece of paper and a place card. Grab a fish bowl, basket, vase, etc., and put all of the individual words in the container. Put the coordinating place card holders around the table.

When your guests come in, have them choose a thankful, and then when it is time to eat, they will sit at their coordinating place! If your dinner is all family, it will just be fun and silly. If extended family is involved, it will be nice to catch up with some relatives that you don't get to spend that much time with. And if it is with new family or friends, then it will be a great experience. The best part? The thankful cards give your guests something to talk about if they are feeling shy.

So what do you think? Are you planning to add any fun touches to your Thanksgiving dinner?

I'm thankful for my wonderful fiancee, and the road that we are embarking on together!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dining Etiquette {cheat sheet}

Most of us don't have more than a 5-piece place setting, or more than a 5-piece flatware set. In fact, when I tell friends and family that I want to register for china, they all scoff "Are you sure you want to register for china?! You'll never use it!"

Well, I am just the kind of gal who will not only register for china, but I will use it!

And Thanksgiving, and the following holiday season are just the time to use it too! So if you are hosting, bring out your fancy dinnerware, and set a nice table! And if you are not hosting, here are some tips on which piece of silverware to use for which course...just in case you are attending a fancy Thanksgiving. 

Kate Spade "Chapel Hill" China Collection

The plates will usually be set according to how many courses there are. So if there is a soup bowl, and a salad plate, there is sure to be a soup course and a salad course. Again, in this day and age, we may not all be having the type of fancy Thanksgiving dinners in which there will be separate courses. But, nonetheless, if you have a soup bowl, and a salad plate, then use them. There is no need to slop everything on to your entree plate when there is a perfectly good plate already set out for those other parts of the meal.

Lennox stemware, Eternal Gold collection.

Another thing that you may encounter is a seemingly countless number of glasses in front of you. Probably as many as four. Often in multi-course meals, you will use each of these classes. The white wine glass for the poultry or fish course, the red wine glass for the red meat or main course, and the champagne glass for dessert and toasting of course. The fourth glass is your water glass which you will use throughout the dinner. But again, if you are having a more all-in-one type of Thanksgiving, the glasses will all be set in order to give you the choice of which wine you would like to be served.

Kate Spade, Grace Avenue flatware collection.

And finally the flatware. In case you didn't learn from Pretty Woman like I did, you use the silverware from the outside piece to the inside piece. And it's as simple as that!

Later on in our Thanksgiving series we will go over some ways to add some fun to your formal Thanksgiving table, so keep an eye out for that!

I am so thankful to have been raised by such a loving group of parents. Each of them has taught me so many wonderful life lessons, that resonate with me every day. Thanks Mom, Dad and Mr. Jay!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Say Hello! {link-up}

I'm participating in a one day link-up sponsored by the The Every Day Joys!

The Questions:
1. What is your morning routine?
My morning routine changes depending on which alarm I wake up to. The goal is to wake up early enough to get out and walk/jog 2 miles, shower, put myself together, grab breakfast and hit the road... but sometimes the first step gets left out!

2. Are you on Instagram? What's your username, and who are your 3 favorite IGers?
I am on Instagram, you can find me "designbykrystle" & check out what I share there! My three favorite IGers are AP (lvdmorethncrrts) from I love you more than carrots, "AndiEaton" of OuiWeGirl, and "homeontherunway" for great Interior inspiration.

3. Tell us 1-3 of your daily "must-read" blogs.
I always read ChanKnits, I check in with GMarieSews and I check in with fashion blogger MyStylePill a lot too. But I am looking for new blogs every day, and trying to find more time to read!

4. Tell us a little bit about you & your family.
My family is one of those crazy families with lots of branches in our family tree. I am blessed with three loving parents, my mom, my dad, and my step dad; and one beautiful sister. And now that P and I are planning our wedding our family grows even more! Lucky for us, our family is scattered between Washington, Montana, New York, New Jersey, and the Carolinas, so we get to visit a lot of great people in a lot of great places!

5. What are your favorite holiday traditions?
My favorite favorite holiday tradition is hand-made Christmas. We don't celebrate the consumerism that Christmas has become, but instead we pour love into our gifts and make them for our closes family and friends.

6. Tell us one random fact about you, make it fun!
Oy, a random fact?! I may be a little obsessed with nail polish. I polish my nails at least once a week, in a different shade, and I own more nail polish than any one person should!

Thanks Laura for hosting a fun link up! Can't wait to check out your blog and see what new bloggers I can find!

I am thankful for being a part of such a wonderful blogger community!

Follow my blog on bloglovin!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Expressing Gratitude

Welcome to November. Albeit, I'm a little late being that we are a week in already, but nonetheless, here we are!

The big focus of the month is of course, Thanksgiving. And I have an entire month of recipes and decor suggestions to grace your Thanksgiving table. But I also want to focus on the gratitude.

For me, Thanksgiving has always been about 3 things: family, food, and gratitude (not necessarily in that order). 

Expressing your gratitude is so important. For me, it is an important part of running DBK. Reaching out to my clients and readers and let you all know how much you truly mean to me. 

Thankful forest card from Rifle Paper Co.

It is also just an important way to live your life! Think of how good you feel when someone says thank you for something that you have done. It makes you feel really good. To be able to appreciate those around you and give them that feeling of being appreciated, it is such a wonderful gift.

Happy November, and a huge thank you and so much gratitude to all of my clients and readers. Without you....well let's just not even go there. Thank you!