In honor of finding my new favorite cardigan, this gave me an idea for a blog post inspired by my new found love! Houston has been particularly cold this year, which I actually don’t mind. The past two winters we have had have been very mild and haven’t gotten much use out of any of my sweaters. This year, it feels like I can’t keep up with how many I actually need. That or my office is just way too cold! That is why I love a good cardigan and makes the perfect desk chair accessory.
Not only is it the perfect addition to your work wardrobe, I sit here typing this blog post wearing this very same cardigan from Madewell as we speak! I love this particular cardigan because the hem is long and is a lot warmer than a sweater that just sits at my waist. I also have been on the hunt for a basic tan cardigan and this was just the one I was looking for. It comes in many different colors and will have to splurge and add another to my closet. Cardigans are always what I pack when I travel. I even have a black Splendid cardigan from high school that I still take on trips with me! I will probably need to retire it soon. After all, it has almost been 10 years. Yikes. As much as I love fashion items and to be on trend, it is important to have basics like this in your closet as well.
Cardigans have always remained a staple in my closet. Whenever I go out to dinner and know it will be cold in the restaurant, then you will be sure to find me and that cardigan in tow! They are great airplane companions and I always bring a big purse to carry on and throw it in when I’m not wearing it. Honestly, they are just great because a true grandpa cardigan doesn’t go out of style, Just like my cardigan, I can’t get enough of my cape coat this season. If you are on the hunt for a good cape coat, be sure to check out my post My Favorite 10 Christmas Traditions. I have picked out several styles of cardigans that I have had my eye on below for you to shop! Christmas is almost here and one would make the perfect piece to wear on Christmas Day or give to a loved one! 
 

 

SHOP MORE FAVORITES HERE

 

It’s so exciting that it’s finally Christmas time! Besides summer, it has always been my favorite time of the year! When I was younger, I always would get so excited about Christmas that I would have my full Christmas List to give to Santa ready in July. Boy, were my parents happy about that! Nowadays, it seems to get to my family later and later. However, I usually start my Christmas shopping pretty early, so I always have a couple of ideas in the back of my mind for myself 😉

This Christmas I will be on a vacation, which, I am keeping a surprise for now. Since I will be gone this Christmas, it has made me think of a couple of my favorite things that I have always looked forward to in the past. While I still may be able to do a couple of these on my list, I am unfortunately going to have to miss out on a couple of my favorite activities Christmas Day and Christmas Eve. I have compiled a list of my 10 favorite Christmas Traditions and I am so excited to share them with you!

 

  1. Moeller’s Bakery – Just about every holiday in the Byrd Household consists of our favorite bakery, Moeller’s. There hasn’t been a birthday where a Moeller’s cake was not present. I especially love their adorable Christmas petit fours, orange rolls, sugar cookies and Stollen bread. Christmas cannot be complete without having these sweets fully stocked around the house!
  2. Decorating My Own Tree – I have always had a little tree that I decorate for myself during Christmas time. I have had a tree since I was about 5 years old, and have always loved to collect ornaments ever since then! I love to collect ornaments when I travel and for all the activities I have done in the past like dance or volleyball. I love this tradition, however, I am looking forward to decorating my very first big tree with Christopher next year! Not only will it be so exciting as our first Christmas together, but I am need of a bigger tree because I have way too many ornaments!
  3. Advent Calendar – Having an advent calendar is seriously one of my favorite things about Christmas time. Not only is it a super fun way to countdown to Christmas, it definitely gets you in the spirit! I love to guess what type of chocolate it is that day. It is something that never gets old to me!
  4. Christmas Lights – There really is nothing better than to have a hot peppermint mocha in hand while looking at Christmas lights, is there? Driving around and looking at Christmas lights has always been one of my favorite activities growing up and even as an adult. It is an activity I have loved to do with my family and my friend’s for such a long time. We love to look at lights all around Houston and always had the most fun looking in my grandparent’s neighborhood when I was younger!
  5. Rudolph – It doesn’t feel like Christmas time until I have watched the 1960’s classic at least 3 times while wrapping presents or decorating my mini tree. If you know me well, you know how much I love animals, so this movie is just too cute! I also love vintage Christmas decorations and love seeing all of the retro details in this movie each year! Although I have seen this movie dozens of times, it always seems to be shorter and shorter each year! Maybe just because I am getting older! 🙂
  6. Christmas Formal – Although this has become a new tradition over the past couple of year’s, this is a tradition I look forward to each year! Chris and I attend a Christmas Formal for a group he belongs to in Dallas. It is a black tie event and will definitely be wearing my red dress from Aidan Mattox this year! If you haven’t read my post about Holiday Party Dresses, be sure to check it out.
  7. Reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas”– Growing up, my Dad has always read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to my sister and me on Christmas Eve. The past couple of year’s, my Dad has liked to put a twist on the classic version making up his own themes as he reads the story. From a Hood Christmas to a Dog Christmas story, all of the themes keep it interesting and hilarious for the whole family!
  8. Christmas Eve – Christmas Eve we have always gone to church, had dinner, open one special present, and then got ready for the big day ahead. I have loved this routine forever, kicking off the evening with a beautiful candlelit service. This year, I will be going on Christmas Day, which I am so excited about. I also can’t wait to debut where I am going to share more stories about my experience soon!
  9. Gingerbread House – A tradition of mine that I have started over the past couple of years has been decorating a gingerbread house! It all started when in college, I had just finished a rough semester of finals and was finally able to come home for Christmas break. I slept almost the entire next day – I have never slept so long in my life! Of course, when I woke up at 5 pm that evening, I had a ton of energy! So, I decided to go to Central Market and buy one of their pre-made gingerbread houses to decorate. I stayed up until midnight decorating it and I had such a blast, that it is something I continue to do every year! Although I wish I had just a random Tuesday off like I did in college, I still am able to make the gingerbread house happen!
  10. Surprise Plates – Growing up, my parents had these adorable Christmas plates that they would only use for the month of December that we would call our “Surprise Plates.” The plate is covered in a plaid print on the outer rim, and on the inside holds a printed image of a reindeer, french horn, bell, or goose. I would always have to have the reindeer growing up! It was going to be such a good day when I did! These are plates my parents still like to bring out now and is still fun for our family to guess which one we have under our meal!

It’s finally December and all I can think about is Holiday Parties! While most girls seem to love fall, I’m all for Christmas and holiday party time! Christmas cookies and treats from my favorite bakery always strike a sense of nostalgia and wonderful time spent with family and friends each year. I always get so excited thinking about Christmas parties and white elephant gift ideas that I have coming up. Some of my fondest memories are at Christmas parties growing up and looking at family photos from the past. Jewel-toned outfits and velvet details really never seem to go away for good, do they?

Since I am a planner (or at least with my outfits) this also strikes the biggest question of all, “what am I going to wear?” I am so excited to have partnered with one of my favorite brands, Aidan Mattox, to show you all some fun outfit options for your next holiday cocktail party or black tie event! Some of you may know me as a part-time professional wedding guest attendee, (check out my adventures here) I have two weddings to attend this season and a black tie event! I am in need of some outfit inspiration and I am so excited to share my top festive picks with you!

SHOP THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES

 

SHOP THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES

I am beyond obsessed with this adorable LBD by Aidan Mattox! It is unlike any dress that I own or have seen lately! It’s very classy, and love that it has a sassy twist across the neckline and is different from just any off-the-shoulder cocktail dress. The dress also is very forgiving, although it is fitted. It also doesn’t ride up and stretches when you sit down. I also love that it is black because it can be easily be paired with many different types of accessories. It would be so fun to throw in a red velvet clutch or some type of festive clutch for the season! I also love this dress because not only is it so fun for a holiday party, it is perfect year-round! Black makes it more versatile and a must-have piece for your closet this season!

I also found a couple other cocktail dresses below. I think these dresses would be perfect for a holiday office party, wedding, or any fun Christmas or holiday event!

 

SHOP THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES

 

SHOP THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES

 

Not only do I love to wear red during Christmas time, it is this season’s biggest color! I am so excited to wear this dress to a black-tie event I have later this December with Christopher! I have always been a big fan of one-shoulder dresses and love the jacquard detailing on the dress. The dress is lined with tulle on the inside at the hem to give it that extra “umph” when laying flat or walking! I love it! Plus, it’s not itchy at all and will be very comfortable to dance in. I think this is the perfect dress to wear to any black tie gala or wedding. I hope it gets cold enough this year so I can pair it with my fur stole!

I also found a couple other gowns below. I think these dresses would be perfect for a black tie gala, wedding or any black tie event for this season!

 

I have been wanting to try some type of activated charcoal powder for a while now! I have seen pictures and raving reviews all over the internet and have always wondered how my teeth would stand against it. I was a little hesitant to try it as putting charcoal in your mouth doesn’t sound like much fun. However, after asking friend’s that have tried different brands, they reassured me I couldn’t taste it and wouldn’t be repulsed by the flavor.

Earlier last month, I was on Grace & Stella’s website and stumbled across their Activated  Coconut Charcoal Powder I knew right then I had to give it a try! I discovered their brand earlier this summer around when I first started blogging. I fell in love with their cute labels and packaging and eventually their products, too. I started off by first giving their Shea Butter Body Lotion a try. If you haven’t read my post about the lotion already, check it out here.

REVIEWING: ACTIVATED COCONUT CHARCOAL POWDER

I started using the Activated Coconut Charcoal Powder the beginning of last week every night. By the weekend, I could already tell a difference! I also want to preface this review by mentioning that I take very good care of my teeth, to begin with. A lot of my everlasting coffee stains are almost completely gone and my overall appearance looks whiter. Not only do I enjoy the smell of this product ( I love coconut) but it didn’t irritate my gums like many other teeth whitening products. A lot of whitening strips tend to cause pain in my gums and with the charcoal powder, I never felt this way. Also, it feels very natural and doesn’t have a bad aftertaste either. Definitely a plus in my book! The only thing I didn’t love about the product is that it can get messy. Afterall, it is a jar of black powder. So, if you have a white sink like me, just be sure to clean after every use and be sure to not spill the jar!

LOVED IT + CYBER WEEK DEALS

Overall, I would definitely recommend this product. I am also excited that I will have it up until my wedding as one jar lasts 6-8 months! So a little really goes a long way.
Grace & Stella is currently offering up to 80% off of their products from Nov 23 – Nov 27. This is not only a great time to stock up on products such as the Activated  Coconut Charcoal Powder, but a great time to get some gifts for family and friends, too!
You can shop the product in this post or HERE.

QUICK TRIP : STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, CO

I am so excited to finally share with you my trip to Steamboat! As you may know, I take a lot of quick trips if you have read my post on Lake Tahoe or my post on Chicago. They are the perfect getaway without having to be too behind at work and just the right amount of refresh that I need! I have been way overdue to visit one of my best friends from college that lives in Steamboat. I decided to finally make the trip there this fall and see her and her husband’s new distillery, Steamboat Whiskey Company! Chris, being the avid traveler that he is, came along with me as he will never turn down an opportunity to explore! Neither of us had ever been before, but it was the perfect visit and such a fun reunion to see our friend’s!
We first arrived by taking a quick flight to Denver followed along by a gorgeous 2-hour drive to Steamboat. There was so much snow on the ground and so many snow-capped mountains! It was especially fun for this Texas girl to see! I couldn’t wait to give my friend the biggest hug and see what life was like living in Steamboat Springs. The weather there was so beautiful – high 50’s, and the scenery was so breathtaking. I have only ever been to Colorado in the summer, so it was so nice to see what it was like in the fall. Unlike Houston, they actually receive a proper fall season! I couldn’t stop staring at all of the Aspen’s and couldn’t remember the last time I saw trees with leaves this yellow.

SHOP THE LOOK

 

MORNING/ AFTERNOON IN STEAMBOAT

Upon arriving in Steamboat we went for a walk on Spring Creek Trail. It was such a pretty day and we were so glad to be able to explore Steamboat while all of the Aspen trees had their leaves. The altitude didn’t seem to affect me the same way it did when I went to Lake Tahoe earlier this summer. If you haven’t been to Lake Tahoe before, then be sure to check out my post here. The trail had a beautiful creek and was the perfect trail for us to walk or ride our bikes. My friend brought her dogs, Gunner and Luna along with us, and they had so much fun on the trail, too!
 
 

STEAMBOAT WHISKEY COMPANY

 

We hiked about 3 miles and saw the perfect scenic tour of Steamboat. After our walk, we went to explore downtown. Steamboat’s downtown is so quaint and loved how you could see the mountains on the horizon while still getting that “downtown” feel. While exploring downtown, we then stopped at Chris and I’s very anticipated part of the trip, Steamboat Whiskey Company!The distillery was actually started by my friend’s husband. After hearing about it for months, we were so excited to finally see it in person! It was also the first weekend that their Cocktail Bar was open and we couldn’t wait to try every drink on the menu – or at least what we could handle 😉 .
We each had our very own tasting of the whiskey and vodka they brewed – The Warrior Whiskey and Ski Town Vodka. The Warrior Whiskey is very special as both owners were former U.S. Navy Seals. A part of the proceeds of The Warrior Whiskey goes to the U.S. Navy Seal fund and other veteran support organizations. Be sure to check out their story here.
We all loved both liquors and went on to try several of their seasonal cocktails. I first opted for the Pumpkin Spice White Russian and it was so delicious! It was like drinking a dessert but not too heavy. It was perfect and made me feel like I was finally enjoying fall, and not the Starbucks kind 🙂 .  I then opted for The Corpse Reviver which included their Ski Town Vodka and was also so delicious. We enjoyed our drinks while playing darts and getting to check out how their whiskey is distilled. The Cocktail Bar had such a cozy setting and was the perfect place to come in and relax and have a drink while catching up with our friend’s. If you ever visit Steamboat and venture downtown, be sure to stop by!
For dinner that night, we went to Mambo’s. It was a favorite of my friend and her husband’s and we couldn’t wait to try it! It’s downtown near the distillery which was super convenient for us to go to after dinner! Knowing my friend and how much she loves pasta and pizza, this place did not disappoint! They also had a pretty awesome wine menu and pair with their entrees. We all ended up, of course, getting pizza and pasta – I had the Margherita Pizza. Chris opted for the Cioppino, which is like a fisherman’s stew. I was able to sneak a few bites and it was so delicious! I highly recommend this dinner spot if you ever visit Steamboat!

SHOP THE LOOK

LEAVING STEAMBOAT

We wanted one good last meal before we made the drive back to Denver to board our flights and ended up going to Winona’s. It is an adorable diner that is only open for breakfast and lunch. We went a little early but it was still so packed. Winona’s had an old school feel, which made it even more special to visit. Winona’s is also known for their massive cinnamon rolls. We, of course, couldn’t leave until we tried one and barely finished it amongst all of us! Their breakfast was also to die for. Between all of us we had eggs, bacon, toast, avocados and all of the other fixings. It was delicious and highly recommend it to anyone that ever visits. It would be a great place to stop in especially on a really cold day or after skiing.
Before Chris and I headed to the airport, we made it back early enough to Denver to explore near Union Station. Chris kept telling me about this restaurant called Snooze that is really popular and always has an insane wait. Lucky for us, there is now a Snooze in Houston, and I am dying to try it! While we were walking around, we noticed the cutest farmer’s market they had going on. There were several booths set up with local shops and booths with fresh fruit. We checked out Mercantile, which is a restaurant in Union Station that also had a booth set up outside. They are known for their pastries and we tried a delicious ham and cheese croissant before making our way back to the airport.

SHOP THE LOOK

This trip felt like the shortest one and we were so so sad we had to leave such a beautiful place. Although I do love my short weekend getaway trips, it was so hard to say bye to my friend. We got a lot of chances to explore but would love to come back up to Steamboat and go skiing and explore even more! Have you ever been to Steamboat? I would love to hear about your visit. Chris and I are ready to go back!
xo,
kristen