...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Everyone knows the kitchen is the heart of the home. A few gift ideas for those who keep it warm…

gift guide : the kitchen

 

1 – acacia pizza peel – Perfect for pizza night.

2 – Thug Kitchen – Because cooking should be healthy and fun(ny).

3 – oil pourer, cruet – Hands down, the best oil / vinegar dispensers on the planet. No drips, no messes. You get a perfect pour every time. (We use the large one for olive oil and the small one for balsamic vinegar.)

4 – melamine bowl – Great for the kids’ snacks.

5 – gold foil kitchen print – Dancing makes everything better.

6 – sustainable bamboo trivets – Earth-friendly. Countertop-friendly.

7 – salt & pepper bottle grinders – Functional and beautiful. Two qualities of a perfect gift.

8 – One Pot – A fresh and easy take on comfort food. *BONUS* – Less dishes to wash.

9 – stainless steel straws – Eco-friendly. Kid-friendly. The only way our kids will drink the green juice we make.

10 – shallow maple bowl – Display fresh produce, or corral coffee and tea brewing supplies.

P.S. – Our juicer is still going strong after two years of almost daily use!

image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

A few gift ideas for those of us who live, work and feel better in a tidy environment…

the tidy house gift guide

 

1 – heritage catchall – Perfect in an entryway or laundry room for emptying pockets.

2 – pinwheel geo box – Use it on a coffee table or bookshelf for stashing playing or flash cards. Gift it with a deck of cards!

3 – angled heirloom pencil holder – Corrals pens for grab-n-go list-making. Don’t forget the pens!

4 – easy clean corded hand-held vacuum – Great for households with pets and / or kids.

5 – hairpin magazine rack – Clever and stylish reading material storage for small spaces. Throw in a few favorite magazines to get ‘em started.

6 – steel and walnut coat rack – Practical and fun near a door or on the back of one.

7 – kraft and gold polka dot planner – For old school folk like myself. If I don’t write it down, it doesn’t happen.

8 – power squeegee – For streak-free windows, mirrors and showers every time. No paper towels needed.

9 – printed woven storage – “I have too many baskets,” said no one ever. *BONUS* – It doubles as a gift box.

And a complete splurge for those who have been extra nice this year ;)

image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

levis legging

Lately I’ve had a lot of people asking me (in real life and on the blog) about my jeans. They’re Levi’s. I discovered them two years ago and they’re my favorite. It only took me 30+ years to find the perfect jeans! Haha. The thing I love about Levi’s is once you find a style you like it makes shopping so much easier. I just grab my style, size and color preference and, BOOM!, they work every time.

The two styles I return to time and time again are the 535 leggings and the demi curve skinnies. I’m petite with a bit of a boyish figure and I like the way these styles give me a curvier look. I have a short torso and I like the low rise of these styles, too. They aren’t low enough to let it all hang out but they are low enough to avoid the dreaded mom jean look. They have the teensiest bit of stretch in them so they hold their shape really well wear after wear, wash after wash, year after year. I have some that are 2+ years old and they look and fit like they’re brand-new.

I like to roll the 535’s and wear them with ankle boots.

levi's demi curve 2

The demi curve skinnies look great with flats or my trusty leather boots. These boots are five years old and they just keep getting better.

So, yeah, I’m always on the lookout for Levi’s. When I find a pair marked down in my style and my size, I have a hard time not scooping them up because I know I will have them for years. Just the other day I found a pair on sale thanks to PoachIt. Have you heard of PoachIt?

poachit 3

PoachIt is a free service that lets you track your favorite items for price drops and it gives you access to coupon codes (that actually work) across the web. Basically, you never miss a sale again. You can follow over 5,000 merchants like Anthropologie, Nordstrom and Shopbop. Use a tracking button in your browser (much like the Pin It! button) to track specific items from other sites. When one of the items you’re tracking goes on sale, PoachIt sends you an email and saves you time, energy and money. There’s also an app to Poach on the go.

poachit

Right now I’m following Levi’s, Target, Madewell, H&M, ASOS, Forever 21 and West Elm. I’m also tracking a few cold weather-specific items like snow boots, hats and leg warmers. We got our first snow of the season last week and I realized how NOT READY I am for winter. My birthday was Saturday and I have a little money burning a hole in my pocket so I’m really hoping those Sorel boots go on sale soon. I’ve lived in the Midwest all my life and I’ve never owned a decent pair of snow boots. As a kid, I always tugged on four pairs of wool socks and wore my dad’s Red Wings to play in the snow!

With Black Friday only four days away, I’m curious: do you do the Thanksgiving / Black Friday shopping thing? I used to when I was younger but it’s such a hassle now. I feel bad for the employees. I know what it’s like to work retail. I was listening to an NPR report this past weekend which revealed that many of the in-store Black Friday deals are recycled from the previous year(s)…same products, same prices. Meaning Black Friday shoppers could actually be paying more for outdated products. No thank you. Plus, I’d really rather spend the day at home with my family. This year, maybe I’ll check PoachIt to see if there are any deals to be had. Would you like to try it too? Lucky for you, PoachIt is offering up a $100 giftcard to spend on anything you want! Find entry details below.

PRIZE: one $100 American Express giftcard

RULES: You must be at least 18 years old and have a shipping address (no P.O. boxes please) within the U.S. One entry per email address.

TO ENTER: Click here and sign up for a free PoachIt account. Then leave a link in the comments section sharing what you would purchase with the $100.

DEADLINE: Enter before 9:00 p.m. EST on Monday, December 1st. One random winner will be announced Tuesday, December 2nd.

WHILE YOU’RE AT IT: I shared my favorite jeans, now it’s your turn! What are your favorite go-to jeans? I recently introduced my friend to Levi’s. She used to buy pricey, designer jeans but all it took was one pair of Levi’s that fit her like a glove to change her mind. She was leery at first because we don’t have the same body types. She’s taller and curvy in all the right places. She found a style that suits her and now she’s a convert!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

11.24.14 / Made Me Smile

blowing out the candles

What day is it? Ha! I feel like the past week was a total time warp. We returned from vacation to a snow-covered house, continued working on the bathroom, celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary, cheered Everett on in a musical performance (he got to speak into a microphone and now that’s all he wants for Christmas…a microphone) and celebrated my birthday, too. Steve and the kids shooed me out of the house on my birthday. They did the grocery shopping and when I came home dinner was in the oven and a big fat chocolate mousse cake was in the fridge. They gave me handmade cards and sang “Happy Birthday.” It was the best. Really, any day that involves chocolate mousse is the best. Am I right?

More good things…

*Someone in Cincinnati just scored this MCM gem. (Because I know someone will ask, it wasn’t us.)

*I grew up living in a barn house. Inside, it looked like a typical house but the exterior was very much a barn complete with red metal siding and a metal roof. So I’m always intrigued when I come across family homes that resemble barns. Case in point.

*Seeing other homeowners’ freshly painted cabinets never gets old.

*Why minimalist interiors are good for you.

austin home tour

*This house in Austin is my jam.

*A herringbone ceiling.

*550 square feet of whoa! (Totally worth the 13 minutes if you have them to waste.)

Have a good one! I will be sharing details of our vacation along with house-related gift guides over the next week or so. I hope you all have plans to spend time with your friends and family this week!

images: 1) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 2) Sarah Natsumi