let’s get fancy + a touchstone crystal {giveaway}

a dress for the holidays | really risa

It has been too long since I’ve had a reason to get fancy. I’m not saying I miss working in an office or having nine weddings each summer, but sometimes you just want an excuse to get gussied up, no? This holiday season I plan to do just that. I snagged this Cynthia Vincent dress on the last day of Anthropologie’s 20% off dress sale and I fell quickly in love. It’s incredibly soft (we’re talking pajama soft) and I’m obsessing over the gorgeous, bold print. I paired it with my favorite booties because heels and nearly walking 10-month-olds do not mix (and neither do bare legs and winter, for that matter). As for the gems, this dress can pretty much hold its own, but why not add a little sparkle for the holidays? Plus, you know I’m a sucker for gold details, which makes my simple gold bracelet from Touchstone Crystal and big, bold bangles from Swarovski the perfect pairing.

And because it’s the week of Thanksgiving and I love you guys, Touchstone Crystal by Swarovski has a gift for you AND a friend! Details below on how to enter to win not one but two pairs of gorgeous, sparkly earrings — one for you as a thank you from me and one for you to gift to a very special someone this holiday season.

a dress for the holidays | really risa   a dress for the holidays | really risa

a dress for the holidays | really risa

a dress for the holidays | really risa

a dress for the holidays | really risa

dress | Cynthia Vincent for Anthropologie 
 booties | Madewell
bracelet | c/o Touchstone Crystal
bangles | c/o Swarovski
lipstick | Topshop “All About Me”

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

one (1) winner will receive:
two (2) pairs of earrings by Touchstone Crystal

to enter:
leave a comment on this blog post telling me to whom you plan to gift the second pair of earrings and why

rules:
1) one comment = one entry (maximum ONE entry/comment per entrant)
2) your email address must be included in the comment form so I can contact you

winner:
I will choose one winner at random (via random.org), whom I will contact directly via email. The winner will provide me with her/his name and mailing address. Touchstone Crystal will mail the item directly to the winner.

deadline to enter: Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 5 p.m.

GOOD LUCK!

(this post is sponsored by Touchstone Crystal)

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kitchen before and after + new metal prints

Decluttered Kitchen with Tiny Prints Metal Prints

In my dreams our kitchen gets a complete makeover. I paint the walls and cabinets white, install new countertops, throw out that hideous old microwave, replace all the nickel with brass and get rid of that horrible track lighting and matching pendant. In my dreams (and also on my Pinterest board dedicated to making those dreams come true). In real life, a little decluttering and new artwork does the trick.

Our kitchen is big compared to those found in your typical city townhouse, but over the years it became crowded and cluttered. My husband brought that wooden Ikea wine rack with him when he moved in and at the time it seemed like a good idea to use it as an island. Then we got married and acquired a whole lot of stuff we neither needed nor had cabinet space for and so the wine rack became a catch-all for everything. I’ve been looking for an excuse to clean up the rack itself and the whole space when, like magic, a baby came along! Suddenly my entire day was spent trying to stop a 10-month-old from pulling every single breakable serving dish she could reach off that rack. Then one day while Isla was taking the longest nap in the history of her short but busy life, I emptied not just the rack, but every single cabinet and completely rearranged and reorganized everything. The end result is a wide open space that is better/safer for a crawling/playing baby and a more functional kitchen for us … at no cost! Then I ordered new prints for the wall to replace the generic Ikea black and white ones my husband bought when he moved in and the space finally feels (almost) complete. I went with these gorgeous metal prints from Tiny Prints’ new home decor collection and I think they really pull the space together. Plus, how cute is our little bee in all her messy glory?!

The changes to the kitchen as a whole are pretty subtle, but what a difference they make. Some day I’ll get that all-white kitchen I’ve been dreaming about, but for now, this will definitely do.

Scroll for before and after pictures and details on the prints.

Cluttered Kitchen: Before

BEFORE: See the wine rack taking up the whole space? It was actually very convenient for chopping vegetables and displaying snacks, but it was always in the way. Also notice the clutter on top of the cabinets, on the counters and on the wine rack itself. We used plastic bins from Target to store the items we rarely use and found new homes for everyday necessities in our cabinets. We debated hanging the pots and pans on a ceiling rack above the wine rack to open some cabinet space, but pot racks are expensive and I was afraid it would only add to the clutter and block that gorgeous natural light. In the end, I found the pots a more permanent home in the cabinets and saved the money for other things.

Decluttered Kitchen: After

AFTER: We moved the wine rack against the big, yellow wall, and replaced the Ikea prints with gorgeous metal prints of Isla eating. I cleaned off the counters (except for items we use regularly) and removed everything from above the cabinets. Look how much cleaner the whole space looks! I spend a lot of time in this kitchen cooking for Isla so having everything organized makes life so much easier. Plus, now she can crawl around and bang on her pots and pans and Charles Chips tin without getting stepped on! I’d like to add a bigger rug to make the space look a bit warmer, but I have a few other big items to purchase for other rooms in the house first.

Tin of Charlie's Chips

Decluttered Kitchen: After

Ugh, that track lighting really makes my skin crawl. I think it needs to go sooner rather than later.

Kitchen before and after with TIny Prints Metal Prints

Good riddance black and white prints. They really did not work in this space. They’re in our basement storage if anyone wants them. My husband is apparently very attached to them (he’s apparently allergic to change). I also like having a little corner for our plants. They were getting too much sunlight in their previous homes and now they’re doing quite well. Isla tries to eat them though so that’s not ideal.

Tiny Prints Metal Prints

I mean, could she be any cuter?

Tiny Prints Metal Prints in the Kitchen

It took me two months to choose just three photos out of the literally thousands (I’m embarrassed) I have taken of Isla eating. We debated going with a gallery wall (I even created another Pinterest board for inspiration), but in the end we decided to make Isla the focal point and opted for less is more. I have so many gorgeous photos of Isla and our family together that really need to be printed and hung somewhere in our house, but messy food photos seemed appropriate for the kitchen. I also looked into canvas prints but those felt a bit too formal. Then Tiny Prints launched its home decor collection and I stumbled on these metal prints. They look like real, shiny photographs, but instead they’re, you guessed it, metal. They’re sleek and clean and the color is perfect. The images really pop on the metal. They’re also extremely light, thin and easy to hang with a tiny, pin-sized nail (my husband has an aversion to holes in the wall so this is a very good thing). I absolutely love them.

Tiny Prints Metal Prints in the Kitchen

See. So thin. I’d love to get smaller ones for other spaces in the house. They would also make great gifts for family (since the holidays are right around the corner and I haven’t even started thinking about what to get everyone!)

Tiny Prints Metal Prints in decluttered kitchen

Project Undo Everything My Husband Did When He Moved In feels like it will never end, but I love when a room finally feels like home. In case you missed it, here’s a living room update, another living room update, our vintage chairs that will soon complete the living room update and Isla’s room.

(full disclosure: I found and picked out the metal prints, but they were gifted to me by Tiny Prints.)

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hers and mine | holiday style

hers and mine: holiday style | really risa

What Isla and I will be wearing this holiday season … from her one year photo shoot to holiday parties/dinners and for lounging with family.  Now I just need to find us some first birthday party outfits.

Hers:
1. Zara top + shorts; Freshly Picked gold moccasinsLittle Blue Olive party hat
2. Gap dress
3. Gap pajamas

Mine:  
1. Anthropologie sweater (on sale!); Zara jeans; Madewell booties
2. Cynthia Vincent for Anthropologie Dress; Touchstone Crystals bracelet
3. J.Crew Factory flannel pants (on sale!); Everlane tee

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