FALL HARVEST DECORATING TIPS FOR YOUR MANTLE

fall harvest fireplace decoration 

There’s just something about fall that signals the beginning of all the holiday decorating and festivities and I just can’t contain my excitement. There are points in life that signal a move into adulthood and one of those points happens when you actually start buying decorations for your home with the intent to use them over and over every year. In my 20’s, it was all about do-it-yourself on a dime, since I found zero interest in spending money on home decor and I sure wasn’t going to give up valuable closet space to store anything that wasn’t shoes. Now, I want to find quality, sophisticated decorations that reflect my personal style… but still, on a budget! With that as my motivation, I was excited to partner with Pier 1 to showcase a few of their pieces and how to style them in your home. It really is a great one stop shop for all harvest and Thanksgiving needs, providing everything from home décor that reflects current trends to tablespace pieces that honor all things autumn - pumpkins, falling leaves, weathered woods and cozy knits.

fall harvest fireplace decorations
fall harvest fireplace inspiration 

In my opinion, there’s nothing more iconic to seasonal decorating than a fireplace mantle. It can easily change with the seasons and your personal design aesthetics. So, the mantel is the place I’d always suggest starting first. Since my only free time seems to occur during naps, it did take me a few days and multiple scenarios to make it to this final look, but alas, it worked out better than I had envisioned. This will come as no shock to anyone who knows me or has taken one glimpse at my Instagram… but I’m not one for a lot of loud color. I really wanted something festive on a neutral color palette with bits of metallic mixed in.

fall harvest fireplace decoration inspiration 
fall harvest fireplace decoration 
budget fireplace mantle decoration 

My first order of business is to always find the greenery. I can never have enough greenery. Since I can’t remember to water anything, I stick to the main pieces being artificial and then sprinkle in some real stems here and there in large vases. Pier 1 had an amazing assortment at affordable price points along with these cool cement utensil crocks and glass decanters that I used as a vase. Artificial flowers and plants are surprisingly expensive even when they look overly plastic, so it was refreshing to see these realistic beauties for much cheaper. I start by criss crossing them in the middle and then mix in the gold accent pieces on each side. Same motto goes for white pumpkins as it does for the greenery… more is more is more. I’m addicted to white pumpkins. Plus, they are so easy to paint if you can only find orange ones nearby.

Just the vision of a pillow in a basket makes me want to curl up next to a crackling fire and read a book. So, I made sure to create just that look as well! If you could only touch those pillows in real life.. insanely soft! They round out the fireplace and help balance the overall look. The finished product should always help elevate your mantle to being the true focal point of the room!

What are some of the ways you incorporate and mix up your mantel decor? I’d love to learn and see your favorite examples!

*This post is in partnership with Pier 1, a brand we use around our home. All content and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support my little space of the internet. All of the products mentioned are available at your local Pier 1 Imports store location or www.pier1.com*

THREE TIPS FOR PACKING THE ESSENTIAL TRAVEL WARDROBE

how to pack travel essentials

In collaboration with The White Company

Warm weather vacations are the best kind of vacations mainly because it’s so much easier to pack. Summer clothes are lighter and easier than winter clothes, so you get to bring along a slew of more options! And I’m an options girl. I’m also the most meticulous suitcase packer within my household. Equipped with usually two extensive lists, I’ll start packing at least a day before to give myself plenty of time to think of everything I could possibly need to bring along. At times I wish I was the ‘throw whatever into the suitcase and deal with it later’ person.

But, alas, I’m not.

mom travel essentials

The key to a solid travel wardrobe are three things: simplicity, versatility and quality. You’ll want to be able to swap out pieces and mix and match to create twice as many outfits without having to actually pack twice as much. Since I’m already such a fan of The White Company (they seriously make everything you’ll ever need), I thought it was as good a time as any to test out their products against my travel wardrobe guidelines. The White Company is a British lifestyle brand that recently crossed the pond, opening their first store in New York.

amy parker anderson summer packing list
amy parker anderson summer packing essentials

Simplicity: Just because something is simple, doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Packing pieces that have clean lines, fit well and look chic will always guarantee you look effortlessly put together, regardless of how much time you actually spent getting ready. A fitted white t-shirt is a staple in my suitcase. This white peplum camisole has ‘summer ease’ written all over it and I’m always on the hunt for tanks of this style that are more modest up top. Since I’m constantly with a baby on my hip, a higher neckline is smart to combat the pull down that happens when you’re lugging a human on your body!

Versatility: I try to exclusively pack things that can either be a daytime outfit or an evening outfit. This can be based on how you pair them and your chosen accessories. This tassel scarf is a great example of a day-to-night transition piece. A chic and neutral bag means no clashing scares, and I also like to keep all my clothes within a monochromatic color palette (not surprising, I know), so then everything goes with everything!

Quality: No one wants to arrive to their hotel room only to spend the next hour ironing all of your clothes back to their crisp original selves. You can tell a quality piece of clothing by how it stands up to being folded and cramped for a number of hours. Especially during the summer, all linen pieces are your best options!

If you ever want to be super meticulous, I sometimes suggest trying on outfits before you pack them and taking pictures of yourself in the outfits. Then when you don’t know why the heck you packed that one skirt or what on earth you’re supposed to wear with that particular pair of pants, then you can swipe through your pictures and have full references for your entire travel wardrobe. This may make me sound crazy, but I swear it saves time and energy so you can enjoy your trip and not overthink your wardrobe.

amy parker anderson parker etc 
amy parker anderson parker etc

What are your packing tips for your summer vacations? And where are you going this August?

HOW TO THROW A LAST MINUTE HAPPY HOUR

summer happy hour cheese plate

This post is sponsored by Bota Box. All thoughts and words are my own. 

Have you ever read the book about your love languages? If you haven’t, I’m sure you’ve at least heard the Cliff’s Notes version and that’s really all you need to know. Back in the day, I used to really have the love language for ‘gift giving’. Not the receiving of gifts, but being the person that always finds that perfect gift for loved ones at every occasion. I prided myself on being able to hunt down anything, find it and then wrap it up in a presentation that was unbeatable.

Just as seasons change, I’m finding maybe your love languages do too. Over the past few years, I’ve noticed my gift giving language has really diminished and things like ‘acts of service’ have risen higher. What’s behind this shift? Motherhood! I’ll love you forever if you help clean dishes or pick up toys or hold a baby for me! I just lack the time and energy I once had towards gifts, and as we’ve gotten older, I think experiences are starting to take precedent. Eric and I have decided we prefer date nights and Broadway shows and little weekend trips as forms of gifts. So with his birthday approaching and his current travel schedule being as crazy as it has been, I was determined to find a fun way for us to spend some time together on the one free night he’s home between trips!  

how to make a cheese plate
amy parker anderson parker etc

As with most of my decisions these days, I waited until the last minute and almost forgot what night he was actually going to be home! So, I decided to throw together a little cozy wine and appetizer spread to start off his birthday. In my next life, I want to do nothing more than build cheese plates. Maybe that’s my new love language! Thanks to our local meat and cheese shop around the corner, I was able to whip up this spread quite quickly and thanks to Bota Box, I knew we’d be covered regarding all things wine. With only 20 minutes to put everything together before he got home, I feel like I did a pretty good job! So, I wanted to share a quick little guide to what you’d need to create your own wine and appetizer spread in a jiffy!  

A massive cheese plate or cutting board is a must. I like to start with the big stuff like placing the cheese in separate sections and then I surround them with crackers on one side. Make little stacks of dried fruit and nuts and place those around. The best part of a big cheese plate is to just keep adding things into spaces until it looks entirely full. Anytime I saw a gap, I would just throw some grapes in that direction! As long as you have a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables and handfuls of varying nuts and meats to go along with the cheese, it’s easy to make it appear fancy and grand.

Next, I swiped the flowers from the dinner table and also brought along some floor pillows for something comfy to sit on. Then of course the wine, can’t forget wine! This summer I’ve been really into this portable wine trend. Not only are Bota Box wines more environmentally friendly (100% recyclable) and so easily transported, it’s also extremely delicious and high quality wine. It’s really a brilliant option in this case because, in my haste to get everything ready, I never seem to remember a bottle opener. Thankfully, with these boxes, you won’t need one. The cork free design also allows for the wine to stay fresh for up to three months, in the fridge, and that’s helpful for light weights like myself who can do about a glass or two tops!

I’m always thankful to celebrate another year with my man. We’re in a season where every day is a different adventure. Thankfully, I was able to get everything together within minutes of him arriving home and we enjoyed a perfect summer evening!