Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday Wishlisting: Guy Gifts

I asked my husband Sean to help me put together a list of some fun gifts for guys, just in case you all need some last minute ideas.  This list is definitely geared to the more nerdy, gadget-loving fella in your life, though I think there is something for everybody!

Most of this list is also last minute shopping friendly.  If it isn't a gift crate or monthly subscription box, I tried to make sure it was available on Amazon with Prime shipping.  If you aren't signed up for Amazon Prime, you can do the 30-Day trial and take advantage of the free 2-day shipping.  I did that last year before we figured out we could combine our accounts but maintain their independence.

Let's get shopping!

Holiday Wishlisting:  Guy Gifts -
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

1) The Walking Dead All Out War Artist Proof Edition -If you're looking for a gift for a Walking Dead fan, this would be a great one! This 248-page hardcover, featuring the twelve-issue arc from The Walking Dead comic/graphic novel, has artist Charlie Adlard's raw pencil sketches uninked and unaltered from how they appear on his artboard.  This is also the first time the story arc has been collected in a single volume.  $25.81 on Amazon with Prime Eligible shipping.

2) Fire TV Stick - Sean already bought himself this gadget because he couldn't wait.  It is a really great price for a streaming media HDMI stick with Netflix, Amazon Prime video, Hulu Plus, music, games, and more.  Plus, it comes with a remote!  $39.00 on Amazon with Prime Eligible shipping.

3) LootCrate - This is really a nerd guy's dream!  LootCrate is a monthly subscription service all about geeky gamer culture.  Each month features a different theme: zombies, super heroes, Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Nintendo, Aliens, Villains, and other awesome things along those lines.  Just as the themes vary, so does the content.  From candy and stickers, to comics and small magazines, exclusive figurines, graphic tees, decals, cards, posters, and more, there is always fun stuff to look forward to in a LootCrate box.  Sean has received a few of them and really liked them.  I was also impressed that the t-shirt he received was actually a 3X and fit him well.  You wouldn't find that in a girl-oriented box.  You can buy one month at a time (about $20), a 3-month plan ($55 ), or a 6-month plan ($106).  Some deal sites and podcasts have codes for $3 off from time to time as well, so you might want to Google that.

4) Dollar Shave Club - Dollar Shave Club offers quality blades each month for an extremely affordable price.  I actually use their blades myself and love the Shave Butter and Post Shave moisturizer.  For $9.00/month, you receive a 4-pack of 6-bladed razor cartridges with the ability to add on extra razors, shave butter, face serums, etc.  They are great quality products for a fraction of the cost of razors you would get at your local store. (Full disclosure, this link is my referral code, so if you sign up I get $5 to use on the site.)

5) Man Crates - This site offers boxes of gifts in varying themes.  Whether your man is a Retro Gamer, cigar lover, BBQ enthusiaist, golfer, gambler, whiskey connoisseur, or the outdoor survival type (and MORE), there is a gift pack for him.  Some boxes even offer personalization on things like beer glasses as well.  Prices range from $24.99 to $159.99.

6) Omaker Portable Charger - We bought this gadget for our recent vacation.  It came in handy on multiple occasions.  It is small enough to fit into a pocket if need be and not extremely heavy.  With the ability to charge pretty much anything, 2 USB ports, and a high charge capacity, it gets the job done and doesn't break the bank.  $21.99 on Amazon with Prime Eligible shipping.

7) ASUS ZenWatch - Sean just showed this to me and said "I wantses it!!", like he is Gollum and it is the Precious.  Honestly, it seems like a pretty cool watch.  With a classic watch appearance, it can pair with an Android smartphone to answer questions you ask it, view notifications and messages, and even track wellness statistics like your heart rate, step counts, and relaxation levels.  Go-Go-Gadget ZenWatch!  $200 via Google Play.

Holiday Wishlisting:  Guy Gifts -
8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13

8) Imperial Tux T-Shirt - This t-shirt is a fun, geeky must have!  I bought Sean one for our 80s Bunco this year, but it can obviously be worn for any occasion.  The fit was really good and it was a hit at the party! They range in size from Small to 3X and are on sale for $9.99 at ThinkGeek!

9) Pro Tech Electronics Repair Tool Kit - This kit includes a huge array of tools for tinkering and repairing in a case for all the parts - bits, tweezers, suction cup, ruler, driver, spudger, etc. It has a lot of really good reviews. $69.99 on and also on Amazon for $64.99 with Prime eligible shipping.

10) Philips Wake-Up Light - This alarm clock was on Sean's Christmas wishlist, but I am pretty sure he already bought it for himself.  Particularly in the dark winter mornings, he has a hard time getting out of bed.  This clock has a sunrise simulation that is supposed to help wake you up gradually, with 10 light settings and a "gentle beep" to help you get up.  It has 4 out of 5 stars for reviews.  Available for $69.99 on Amazon with Prime Eligible shipping.

11) The Family Handyman - This is a great DIY magazine for your handy guy.  I bought a subscription for Sean last year since we recently bought a house.  He loves getting his issues in the mail and always finds helpful tips and great ideas for things he would love to do to improve our home.  A year subscription is about $10.  If a physical magazine isn't your thing, they also offer versions for Ipad, Kindle, Nook, and Google Play.

12) Death Star Bluetooth Speaker - We are big Star Wars fans here, so we find the Death Star bluetooth speaker pretty fun!  The lights turn on when it is in use and the reviews say it has excellent speaker quality.  It is $69.99 on and looks like it is available at Target for $49.99.

13) Boba Fett Kitchen Apron - I bought this for Sean for Father's Day and he loves it!  He enjoys cooking on occasion (and grilling), so this apron serves him well.  It provides him with a covering that is more his personality than all my girly aprons.  $21.43 on Amazon with Prime Eligible shipping.

I hope you found this list helpful!  Do you have some other ideas for guy gifts or something that was a huge hit in years past?  I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Crafting Diva: Decorative Beaded Christmas Trees

Crafting Diva: Decorative Beaded Christmas Trees -

As promised, today we are talking about a cute and easy Christmas craft you can do, even if you don't consider yourself super crafty.  These beaded trees make really pretty decorations and awesome gifts as well!

I finally made these trees after seeing some similar ones at Target last year for way more money than I was willing to pay.  After Christmas last year, I found some beaded garlands on clearance at Target (in colors that I really liked) and snatched them up. I had this particular craft in mind, so I'm happy I finally had time to make it a reality!

Crafting Diva: Decorative Beaded Christmas Trees -

What You Will Need:
  • Paper Mache/Cardboard cones (You can do one size or multiple sizes.  This is up to you and your decorating needs.  They can typically be found at your local craft store or online. The ones I'm using are 14 inches high. You can find some for inexpensive here.  I bought items from this site when I was making wedding decor.)
  • Beaded garlands. (If you can wait to display these until next year, snatch up clearanced decor after Christmas.  It helps if the beads are similar in size and close together.  I used 1 and a half 9-foot garlands per 14 inch tree.)
  • Hot glue gun and lots of extra glue sticks.
  • Scissors
  • Modge Podge
  • Glitter.  I used a white glitter to give an icy effect, but you can use whatever color you like best.

Crafting Diva: Decorative Beaded Christmas Trees -

I always start my cones at the bottom and work my way to the top.  The first row will definitely need some extra time to dry before you continue working on the project.  Depending on how small or big your beads are, determine how close to the bottom your beads can be without disrupting the sturdiness of the cone.  Start your first row by putting hot glue on the cone and pressing the end of your garland into the hot glue.  I do about three inches at a time.  Hold the beads in place until the glue is pretty much dry.  This ensures a good adhesion.  Once you start working your way up the cone, you won't need to take as much time securing everything.  Also, remember that they call it HOT glue for a reason.  Be careful not to seriously injure yourself.  Although, I burn my fingertips and have glue sticking to them every time. lol

Crafting Diva: Decorative Beaded Christmas Trees -

Continue up the cone with the hot glue and beads.  Finishing the top can be a little tricky.  Before you reach the tippy top of the cone, roughly map out the way the beads will end and where.  I like to make sure I place them in such a way that there is still a bead at the tip.  Generally, they lay in a way that makes them slightly taller than the cone, which is fine.  You just want to make sure you glue them all securely.  Once they are glued to the top, I snip the cord of the garland.  Be careful when you cut the cord so that you don't lose the beads that are still strung up on the garland.  Snipping the cord may also cause the beads at the top of your tree to fall if they aren't all glued down.  If they do fall, gluing them back to the top is easy and does not mess up your tree.

Once you are done with adhering the beads, it is time to decorate with glitter.  I wanted to cover the holes in between the beads a bit.  You could also paint the cone or cover it in fabric prior to putting on your beads.  I used Modge Podge and a small sponge brush to dab glue into all the crevices and then sprinkled a ton of white, crystal-like glitter on top to resemble snow.  This glue dries clear, so remember that things won't be this bright white.

Crafting Diva: Decorative Beaded Christmas Trees -

I left the trees for a couple days to dry.  Once they are dry, shake off the excess glitter.  I also use a big, fluffy, stiff-bristled brush to brush off the excess.

Crafting Diva: Decorative Beaded Christmas Trees -

And TA-DA!  Your tree is ready to decorate your home.  As you can see, the glue dried clear and the glitter does give an icy effect, although not the full on snowy vibe I initially hoped for.  Still they look great and I love the way they turned out!

Crafting Diva: Decorative Beaded Christmas Trees -
Crafting Diva: Decorative Beaded Christmas Trees -
Crafting Diva: Decorative Beaded Christmas Trees -

Other ideas for decorating with cones (holiday or not): Cover them with fabric and embellishments like rhinestones, sequins, buttons, or fringe.  Cover them in decorative moss and use a small planter to make them into topiaries.  Paint them or use Modge Podge to adhere decorative paper to them.  For a similar tree, you can snip off the top of the paper mache and insert a small star topper or even decorative picks as toppers.  The possibilities are really endless!

Are you a crafter?  Have you made similar trees or other Christmas decor this year?  
Let me know in the comments!

Monday, December 15, 2014

What I Wore: Sartorial Medley - Holiday

It is time again for Sartorial Medley, a monthly themed fashion post hosted by myself and Aislynn of Aislynn's World.  (Did you miss the previous posts? Check them out!) We welcome participation from anyone, regardless of your dress size.  Email me your photo and link to your blog post  - diva (at) divinemrsdiva (dot) com.  

To participate, even if you don't have a blog,  just Tweet/Instagram/Pinterest/etc. your photo with #SartorialMedley to be featured in the blog post.  We can't wait to see you rocking your outfits!  (Follow me on Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram @DivineMrsDiva.)

This month's theme is: Holiday.

What I Wore: Sartorial Medley - Holiday - Kiyonna Posh Ponte Peplum Top in Toile Print

I've  been doing a lot of holiday outfit posts lately.  It has just been really fun putting together looks for various functions and events.  Most of my holiday gatherings are very casual in nature, so I love having an excuse to get all dolled up.

We don't have any fancy parties to go to this year, but I wanted to put together a fancier look for a showing of The Nutcracker, an office party, a nice dinner or date, etc.

What I Wore: Sartorial Medley - Holiday - Kiyonna Posh Ponte Peplum Top in Toile Print

I've worn this Posh Ponte Peplum Top from Kiyonna before, though I never had a chance to try this pattern when it came out.  My bloggy friend Kelly raved about it, so I added it to my Gwynnie Bee closet immediately.  A year later, it finally came up and was shipped to me. 

What I Wore: Sartorial Medley - Holiday - Kiyonna Posh Ponte Peplum Top in Toile Print

Despite the name of the top, this patterned version is not ponte but a polyester spandex blend.  I actually think this material fits better than the polyester/rayon/spandex blend of the solid colors.  My solid black top gapes a bit in the center of the chest, but this one lays down smoothly against my skin.  I chose this top in a size 3.  While the fit was really great, I do wish there was a little more room in the peplum area.  Just a couple inches more fabric would suit my tummy area just fine.

What I Wore: Sartorial Medley - Holiday - Kiyonna Posh Ponte Peplum Top in Toile Print
What I Wore: Sartorial Medley - Holiday - Kiyonna Posh Ponte Peplum Top in Toile Print

I paired the toile print top with a black sequin pencil skirt.  The matte sequins add a bit of sparkle and texture, but aren't too showy for more conservative events.  The black velvet wedges have a little bow on top for something a little extra.  If you have plain black shoes, you can dress them up with shoe clips or even clip-on earrings to add some pizzazz.  Because I usually wear my hair down, I opted for a smaller bubble necklace over statement earrings.

A black clutch with sequin bow and sheer pinstriped wrap complete the look for attending a variety of festivities!

What I Wore: Sartorial Medley - Holiday - Kiyonna Posh Ponte Peplum Top in Toile Print
Posh Ponte Peplum Top - Kiyonna via Gwynnie Bee
Matte Sequin Pencil Skirt - Lane Bryant
Black Bow Wedges - Avenue
Satin Bow Clutch - Torrid

What holiday events are you looking forward to this year?   Do you love to dress up or do you enjoy being casual?  Let me know in the comments!  And don't forget to use #SartorialMedley to participate!

Sartorial Medley: Holiday

Sartorial Medley Aislynn - Holiday
Aislynn of Aislynn's World
Sartorial Medley Janeane - Holiday
Janeane of Designing From My Closet

Friday, December 12, 2014

Cheers! - A Holiday Blog Party

Cheers! - A Holiday Blog Party -

Welcome to our virtual holiday party hop!  For this festive post, Liz from With Wonder and Whimsy and Nina of Curvy Mod and myself, teamed up to bring you posts full of holiday fashion, styling and decorating tips, recipes and more!  We each have different party-ready frocks that we've used to inspire our own party themes.  Liz is wowing in SWAK at her Rustic Elegance party, while Nina looks posh in Simply Be at her Glam on a Budget festivities!  After you attend my party, make sure you swing by theirs too! - Kiyonna Wrapped in Luxury Wrap Dress (Cheers! - A Holiday Blog Party)

This is the Wrapped in Luxury Dress from Kiyonna.  I've featured Kiyonna many times and love them so much.  In case you are new to the brand, here are a few tidbits of info: Kiyonna carries sizes 10/12 (0x) to 30/32 (5x).  They provide dresses and separates in a variety of colors, patterns, and textures.  From body con leopard print dresses, sweet lace looks, and easy maxis, to more practical knit tops and pencil skirts, there is something for everyone. - Kiyonna Wrapped in Luxury Wrap Dress (Cheers! - A Holiday Blog Party) - Kiyonna Wrapped in Luxury Wrap Dress (Cheers! - A Holiday Blog Party)

I don't have a lot of opportunities to get really fancy, but when I saw this dress I knew I needed to make an opportunity.  The luxurious velvet fabric and deep teal hue made visions of diamond encrusted sugar plums dance in my head.  This dress inspires opulence, glitz, elegance, and romance. - Kiyonna Wrapped in Luxury Wrap Dress (Cheers! - A Holiday Blog Party) - Kiyonna Wrapped in Luxury Wrap Dress (Cheers! - A Holiday Blog Party)

The fit was magnificent!  I typically have issues with a true wrap dress fitting me well because I am smaller in the bust and larger in the hips.  The dolman sleeves seem to balance out my figure in a way that makes this dress enhance what it needs to and hide the things it can, while still giving me the ease that comes with a maxi dress.  This is the best fitting wrap dress I have tried on to date!  The shoulder and waist feature gathering that creates a beautiful drape in the comfortably stretchy velvet fabric.  While the fabric has a nice weight to it, I didn't find it too thick or stifling.  It truly is spectacular in person. - Kiyonna Wrapped in Luxury Wrap Dress (Cheers! - A Holiday Blog Party)

Despite my best efforts, the teal color of the dress looks very royal blue in my photos.  I want to point out that the dress is definitely teal, but possibly a bluer teal than the website photos.  Because of the shift and shine in the fabric, the color seemed a little different in each room of my house, depending on the lighting.  There is truly nothing I disliked about this dress.  The wrap style was perfect.  The sash length was great.  I'm in love with the supple fabric and color.  It would also make a fabulous New Year's Eve dress!

Because the dress feels like such a statement, I kept the accessories classic and simple - a drop necklace and earring set and strappy sandals. - Kiyonna Wrapped in Luxury Wrap Dress (Cheers! - A Holiday Blog Party)
Wrapped in Luxury Wrap Dress - c/o Kiyonna
Bella Beautiful Drop Necklace - Charming Charlie
Bella Beautiful Drop Earrings - Charming Charlie
Strappy Heels - Payless

Holiday Styling Tips:
  • Holiday fashions should be fun and festive, but you don't want to be self-conscious and uncomfortable.  Think about the fabric, whether you will need to wear shapewear, or what kind of shoes you will need to wear.  Think about the party itself.  Will you be standing  or sitting mostly?  Is there dancing?  Will you be drinking a lot and need to visit the restroom accordingly?  Practical doesn't have to be boring.
  • If sequins and glitter aren't your thing (what a travesty!!), opt for luxurious fabric like velvet or brocade.  Rich, jewel-toned hues are perfect for holiday parties as well.  
  •  Add interest to a basic LBD with accessories - a pretty clutch, a gorgeous scarf or necklace, chandelier earrings, an embellished belt, fabulous shoes, etc.  These items are great ways to add personality and color as well.
  • Make sure your hair and makeup also reflect the dressiness of your attire.  For me, I feel like curling my hair gives me a more polished look.  For parties, I love to play up my eyes and do something fun.  For this particular look, I did a gold to teal gradient  to play off the color of the dress and add a more modern flair to my look.  Glitter eyeliners can add just a touch of sparkle or you can go for an all over shimmer.  
  • Because parties usually involve plenty of eating and drinking, I kept the lips neutral and glossy.  This makes it easy to touch up.  Lip stains that last all day are another great option for parties. 

Cheers! - A Holiday Blog Party -
Cheers! - A Holiday Blog Party -


My decorating aesthetic is more colorful and a mix of kitschy and glitzy, depending on the room.  This dress definitely inspired a more formal and elegant decor style, mixed with shimmer and ambiance.

Monochromatic decor is the easiest way to create a more polished and elegant look for a table scape, mantel, or other location in your home.  Add an accent color or take inspiration from your normal decorating palette.  Most of my home is decorated in teal, turquoise, and green.  For holiday decor, I chose fluffy faux pine garlands for my mantel and stair rail and decorated them with sparkling turquoise and green ribbon, flowers, ornaments, and tinsel.  The decor seems a bit more seamless and adds to the existing decoration instead of clashing.

Cheers! - A Holiday Blog Party -
Cheers! - A Holiday Blog Party -

Whether your festive decorations are layered or minimal, candles are a must!  Everyone looks amazing in candlelight.  Candles can provide a stunning, magical ambiance with very little effort.  Utilize existing objects in your holiday decorations.  Fill wine glasses with ornaments, turn them upside down on a table, and place a candle on top.  The same thing can be done with vases.  Bring out your decorative trays, mirrors, placemats, scarves, jewelry, etc.  Get creative with how you decorate!

Cheers! - A Holiday Blog Party -

If you love to use your crafting skills for DIY projects, now is the time!  Use thrifted candle holders and vases to make your own mercury glass.  Go to town with glitter, glue, spray paint, ribbon, sequins, decorative scissors, etc.  For example, last year I bought six colorful small beaded garlands on clearance at Target.  I hot glued them to tall cardboard cones and filled in the gaps with white glitter to make candy-colored, snowy trees. (That DIY project will be on the blog next week.) Adding personal touches or extra sparkle helps bring your party to life!

Cheers! - A Holiday Blog Party -

I would also encourage you to pay attention to the little details.  Part of what makes a party special is providing a wonderful experience for your guests.  Place settings, menu cards, and other little added touches do not go unseen.  Have a special music playlist going.  Pandora, Spotify, and Amazon Prime all have great selections.  Pull up the Yule Log Channel on your television.  Have some games on hand when the conversation dies down a bit.  Your guests will appreciate all the special time and effort you put into making the party so memorable.

Cheers! - A Holiday Blog Party -


Creating a party menu is both challenging and extremely fun for me.  I love trying new recipes, but these days I have to keep it gluten free at the very least.  Still, there are plenty of tasty options out there, whether you are also saying no to dairy, grain, and sugar...or all of the above.  Keep in mind that you can also adapt recipes to your required dietary lifestyle.

My party menu includes appetizers of Caprese Skewers (always a huge hit at my parties), Walnut Cranberry Pinwheels, and Stuffed Mushrooms.

Cheers! - A Holiday Blog Party -

For the main course: Pancetta-Wrapped Beef Tenderloin with Whipped Horseradish Cream, Wild Rice and Mushroom Pilaf, and Roasted Root Vegetables.  For dessert, White Chocolate Peppermint Mousse.
Cheers! - A Holiday Blog Party -

Don't forget the drinks!  It is easiest and most budget friendly to serve a signature cocktail at your party.  Maybe you whip up a fabulous martini or you may want to offer a Pomegranate-Cranberry infused Champagne Sparkler.  Starting coffee to go with dessert is also a good idea.  I have a coffee bar in my dining room where I use a large coffee pot to make regular coffee and a small pot for those that want decaf.  Setting out a decorative tray with coffee flavoring components is also a wonderful gesture for your guests.  You can include flavored syrups, cream, sugars, Bailey's Irish Cream, and flavored vodkas.

Cheers! - A Holiday Blog Party -

I admit, I can totally go overboard with this party planning stuff.  It is the over-achiever in me.  But if you really want to take it a step further, party favors are the way to go!  For a smaller dinner party crowd, there are plenty of things you can offer your guests at the end of the night.  You can choose to continue the theme of the party into these gifts or have it be a simple gesture.  Some ideas for holiday party favors include: caramel dipped pears, tiny potted Christmas trees, ornaments filled with ingredients for hot cocoa, wine, chocolates, homemade sugar scrubs, mini champagne bottles, or baked goods.  If you plan far enough in advance, you could also infuse your own vodka and give those as gifts.

Cheers! - A Holiday Blog Party -

Thank you for stopping by my holiday shindig!  I hope you had a great time!  For more ideas, examples, how-tos, and recipes on all the topics discussed here, check out my Holiday Party Board on Pinterest.  Don't forget to stop by Liz's Rustic Elegance Party and Nina's Glam on a Budget Soiree on their blogs as well!

Share your holiday styling tips, decorating ideas, and/or favorite holiday recipes with me in the comments!  

Disclosure: I am a member of the Kiyonna Blogger Brigade and they provided me with the dress in this post.  All opinions on the item are my own.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What I Wore: Peg Bundy Realness - Kiyonna Party Ponte Peplum Top, Lane Bryant Genius Fit Capris

If you are younger than a certain age, you have probably never heard of Peg Bundy.  I'm pretty sure most of you are around my age group, so I may not even have to explain.  Peg was a character, played by Katey Sagal, on a show called "Married With Children".  The show ran from roughly 1987 to 1997.  I was never a huge fan of the show because I was a goody goody who thought the entire Bundy family was just awful.  But Peg inspired many people with her loud, skintight fashions.

Married With Children

When I put this outfit together, I was not thinking of Peg Bundy whatsoever.  It was only after looking at the photos that pictures of Peg in her tight pants and leopard tops came flooding back to my brain. - Kiyonna Party Ponte Peplum Top, Lane Bryant Genius Fit Capris - Kiyonna Party Ponte Peplum Top, Lane Bryant Genius Fit Capris

When this top came in my Gwynnie Bee shipment, I just wanted to pair the beatiful leopard print with an unexpected color.  That desire led to my purple capri pants.  While the top is just a little smaller than I would like it to be in the tummy region (I'm wearing a 3), choosing to belt it helped flare the bottom just a tad more and also draws attention upward.  Because of the bolder clothing choice, I kept any accessories pretty simple (for me).  The belt has tiny stud details that mimic the warm golden hue of the leopard print and the glittery flats are a pretty perfect match.  Peg Bundy inspired or not, this was a really fun outfit to wear! - Kiyonna Party Ponte Peplum Top, Lane Bryant Genius Fit Capris
Party Ponte Peplum Top - Kiyonna via Gwynnie Bee
Genius Fit Purple Capris - Lane Bryant (Summer 2014)
Studded Stretch Belt - Lane Bryant Outlet
Bronze Glitter Flats - Torrid (circa 2007)

What colors do you love to pair with leopard print?

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