Intentional Gift-Giving

The art of gift giving is sacred in my mind. There is joy in finding a perfectly matched gift for someone who is exhilarating to me. My gift giving strategy for birthdays and holidays does not consist of running into a store just prior to the gifting. Throughout the year, as I take the knowledge of and experiences with my loved ones into account, as I see items that would fit those individuals, I purchase and save them. When you find a perfect gift, you can’t pass it up!

Contrary to the methodology that I employ in gift shopping/giving, culture inundates the population at large with flashy “must have” items for any gift recipient. Since before Halloween, ads with Christmas gifts have been circulating in the newspaper inserts and have dashed across the tv screen. There are things that I didn’t know I “needed” before seeing them in ads (marketing works!), and many lists have been made off of catalogues in my lifetime.

Winter Blues Got You Down?

Americans every day have their routine down perfectly. When summer is here, we take our vacations, visit the beach or travel somewhere exotic. We make sure we slather on that sun block to protect us from harmful rays. At the end of the vacation, we go back into our routine of getting up early when the sun is no longer there to greet us. We work our eight hour shifts, often inside, and too often see the sun setting for the day when we leave, forcing us to drive home in the dark.

What are we missing in winter? Our healthy dose of vitamin D!

Sun and train photo

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The Favorite Book: Part 1

We at Anchor Drop are so very excited to have guest blogger Hezzy joining us. He is originally from Kenya and traveled to the USA to pursue an education. He has a huge heart for helping those back in his home village learn how valuable an education can be. Below is a brief summary of Hezzy’s motive and information about “The Favorite Book Project”, which is his idea to help bring education to his village.

The Favorite Book

The main objective of this project is to promote education where it’s dearly needed especially among the underprivileged children in Kenya.

Born, raised and going to school in Kenya was very challenging for my mother and me.  As my only parent, she worked very hard in faith to provide for our family of two.  Luckily, I was able to imitate her diligence, earned good grades and received government grants to make it through high school.

Miraculously, I made it to the United States of America on a soccer scholarship where I went on to earn two college degrees.  Additionally, I worked extra hard and joined graduate school.  I will soon graduate with an MBA in Management.

Education is the best gift I have received and I would like to pass it along.

Continue reading “The Favorite Book: Part 1”

DIY Table Settings: A Little Effort Goes a Long Way

We have all seen place cards set out on elaborately decorated tables..Are they only for weddings? I think not! Not only do place cards direct guests to their seats, but have the ability (when done correctly) to dress up a table and encourage conversation. What better time to do that, but at holiday gatherings?

Table Dressage

Traditionally, Thanksgiving tables consist of heaping bowls of potatoes, cranberries, pies and, of course, a giant golden turkey. There is something to be said about elevating the experience for guests beyond just the intake of scrumptious dishes. For the past few years, I have been mildly obsessed with creating unique place cards for the Thanksgiving table. The first year, paint card samples, buttons, and flourishing handwriting were utilized. Another year, I made mini pumpkin pies (think Quiche size) and toothpick flags with names printed on them.

This year's place card setting.
Mason jar place settings are perfect for dressing up a traditional Thanksgiving feast.

This year, we have a larger table to set, and we will have little ones with us as well. My vision included wanting a vintage/rustic theme. Thanks to 50 percent off mason jar shot glasses and some mason jar packaged moonshine, my vision came together quite nicely. I’m quite pleased with the direction the place cards will take our Thanksgiving. Please note, the “little ones” mentioned above will be receiving place cards tied on Frozen and Minnie Mouse lip glosses – it’s important to cater these place cards to your audience, after all!

Conversational Atmosphere

The moonshine filled mason jars will no doubt be a visual focal piece on the table. They will,  at the very least, encourage conversation, as their contents is surely a surprise. With place cards, there is the unique opportunity to invite individuals to sit next to one another that might not have naturally gravitated towards each other. This can make or break conversation. My advice would be to place people near one another that may have similar interests or are good at striking up and maintaining conversation with others.

Place cards do not need to be dull and stuffy; dressing a table is an opportunity to let creativity flow and to serve as support to a greater experience through the atmosphere for your guests!

How do you dress up your table for holidays?

Gather Around the Fire Pit/Camp Fire/Bonfire

In the suburbs of Chicago, the words “bonfire,” “camp fire,” and “fire pit” are used interchangeably to describe a fire built in a back yard. If you are from an area where you allowed to burn leaves on your property, have used a tree trunk for a bonfire, or don’t have any neighbors, you may be scratching your head wondering how on Earth those words could mean the same thing.

fire pit, bonfire, camp fire, community

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Pumpkins, gourds and chevron…oh my!

I love Fall. It is the season that reminds me most that I am alive. This is odd, I realize, as it is a season of leaves dying and the earth preparing to go into hibernation. The crisp air encourages my lungs to breathe deep. Color explodes on the branches of trees and swirls around me as the wind blows and the leaves fall. My eyes drink in the beauty of creation and my senses are shocked with the contrast of Fall to the past months of Summer.

Fall Centerpiece

Owing to the fact that I love Fall outside, it is befitting that I would entertain that feeling within the walls of my home as well! My dining room table was my most recent project. A jute table runner with a chevron pattern graces the length of the table. Mini pumpkins (white) from a local farmers market, maple leaf candles bought on clearance years ago from Pier One, and dried hydrangea surrounded by artificial apples make up my centerpiece. I smile every time I see it! Can you picture drinking hot apple cider at a table like that?! Recently, I enjoyed “Fall Sangria” at that table, and was pleased with the entire experience! Continue reading “Pumpkins, gourds and chevron…oh my!”

and the costumes go marching by…

As October progresses, I have found myself thinking about Halloween costumes in my past. I’ve never been super excited about Halloween, but I do love dressing up, so, by default, I enjoy the holiday. I’m looking forward to seeing the neighborhood kids all dressed up and adorable as ladybugs, ninja turtles, and fairy princesses. I choose not to dwell on the creepy costumes.


Warm little princess

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On Sunday, I watched football. If you know me, you know that that is an uncharacteristic statement. I fall asleep when football is on T.V.; I don’t actively engage in the game. However, this Sunday, as I spent time with my grandparents, the football game was the only thing that kept my grandpa from leaving the room; and I got sucked in.

I do have to say, the players pink gloves and shoes, etc. piqued my interest. In the recesses of my NFL knowledge, I do possess awareness that the NFL wears pink during the month of October in support of the breast cancer awareness initiative. However, on that particular day, I started to think more deeply about why they would choose to so demonstratively support awareness of a predominately female cancer (I know that men get breast cancer as well, please just follow my train of thought).

Each of those men on the field has a mother. A grandmother. Some have sisters, cousins, friends. Those big, burly men who lift weights, grunt while plowing into the opposing team, and have muscles the size of trees…they choose to wear pink in support of the women in their lives.

What does wearing pink on the football field do in the long run? On the national stage, it causes people to think and become aware of an issue. You can’ t do anything until you have awareness.  Donations for research are prompted from awareness. Research leads to new medications, treatments, knowledge…which in turn lead to steps forward in the fight against breast cancer.

Although it may seem somewhat insignificant, the color pink carries weight in the fight against breast cancer. Go Pink!

Jeans, Boots and Plaid

These are a few of my favorite things…

Throughout the year, I have to fight the urge to wear fall outfits.  I like being seasonally appropriate in my attire, but I’m always drawn to my leather cowgirlish boots and brown articles of clothing. Eagerly, I anticipate a time when it is seasonally appropriate to bust out the leather boots, knit socks, jeans and, puffy vests and plaid shirts. Must be the Indiana girl in me. The crispness in the air, the burst of flaming leaves, the lure of apple orchards and pumpkin patches…sign me up for that!

Fall also has a way of transporting me through time to some of my favorite memories. Traditionally, I will reminisce about Ireland when the wind blows a certain way and sidewalks have crisp leaves on them. I lived in a 100yr+ YWCA for a semester that was a block from the Irish Sea. The coastal breeze and seasonal coolness “forced” me (I didn’t protest too much!) into wool sweaters and jeans and I spent many days curled up in the yard with my books and a quilt. I find myself yearning for those scenes to be replicated…so, I pack up a bag and head to my second favorite place…Geneva, IL.

Geneva is a little town, west of Chicago by about an hour, and along the Fox River. My desire to enjoy the weather, soak up the reminder that life is happening through the changes in the season, bring me to my favorite coffee shop for a dirty chai tea latte, and then down by the river. The fall foliage is beautiful and the feeling of being wrapped up in a comfy sweater while enjoying it, well…that’s definitely one of my favorite things.

Where are some of your favorite places to visit in the fall? Fill us in so we can add to our lists of places to go and things to do!


Fall Favorite – Plaid