No Place Like Home for the Holidays


Tuesday, December 20, 2011


We are heading home today. The list of things we are going to do is about a mile long. The agenda includes snowboarding, hockey, hunting, going to the tramp gym, ugly sweater party, gingerbread houses, skyping with my brother on Christmas and MORE. I am mostly excited to just be with my family and enjoy small town Idaho life.

I may blog from the road, I may not. Don't hold you breath.


Beard Party Photo Booth


Monday, December 12, 2011

Take a good look because its not everyday you see this many bearded women.


Surprise Beard Party


Sunday, December 11, 2011

When you have a friend with the last name Beard who has a birthday coming up its hard not to throw her a surprise beard party. So that is what we did. Happy BEARD Day Elyse!

The guests anticipating the arrival of Elyse while we sport our facial hair.
Surprise! She had no idea. Success!
Some of the party details....including our homemade photo booth!

Stay tuned... tomorrow I will be posting our photo booth pictures :)

The Man Gift Guide


Friday, December 9, 2011

Guys say girls are expensive but finding manly things under $25 was rough. In the end I did it! And I even ended up with a few extra. So here you have it, a guide for the grill master and the ninja master, the hairy and the hairless.....your man guide! (I got a lot of ideas from this neat-o website called uncrate that I think you should send on to your husbands. They would love you big time. Click here for the link!)


1// Amazon 4 Mini Grilling Planks $11.16
For the grill master. Adds a delectable smoky flavor and aroma to meats & vegetables.

2// Sur La Table Set of 4 Steak Button Thermometers $20
Option #2 for the grill master. Well done!

3// Etsy Wild Man Beard Conditioner $12.99
The only way some of us women are going to tolerate no shave November and December.

4// Photojojo Macro Cell Lens Band $15
For the techie husband. An easy on/easy off macro lens for your cell phone.

5// Infmetry Carzor $17
Credit card shaped razor and mirror. For a husband on the go. Or a husband who is waiting in line at the testing center and realizes he forgot to shave!

6// Restoration Hardware AM/FM/MP3 Sound Station $19.99
For the retro man. I love this piece. Its a win win, functional and pretty manly.

7// Eephus League Official Scorebook $15
For the avid baseball fan who loves the sport so much he wants to keep score himself.

8// Aldo Luttman Lace-ups $20.99
For your clothing conscious man. Every girl loves a man in navy.

9// Amazon Set of 3 Ninja Knifes $7
For ninja wannabees (which includes all men I believe, except for those who actually are ninjas).

Those of you in Rexburg looking for some good stocking stuffers for the men in your life there is a new candy store next to Dominos Pizza. They have bacon flavored soda, dill pickle flavored suckers, candy with bugs inside it... you know, MAN candy. Go check it out!

AND FOR THE WINNER of the Clinque Chubby Stick.....

Congratulations Melinda! Being first paid off :) Email me at ashsha32(at)gmail(dot)com with your address and choice of color for your chubby stick. Click here to see all the color options.

Thank you everyone else for participating and most importantly following my blog. Good luck with your holiday shopping!

The Creatives Gift Guide


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Today's gift guide is for the creative people in your life. The people that like to make and learn new things. And as always.... under $25! I even have a freebie today!


1// Crate and Barrel Baker's Twine $8.95
When putting this together my husband asked, "What is that stuff even for?"....This stuff is everywhere and can be used for all sorts of different crafts and projects (things that husbands don't even understand). It comes in lots of fun colors too! Go to etsy and type in baker's twine and you will find lots of options and prices.

2// Block Posters FREE + cost of printing!
This site is so fun and has a lot of potential. Do you live far away from family or close friends? Get your family to pose with a Christmas message and then upload the picture their site. It takes the picture and divides it into squares for you. You can make the picture smaller like the one I did or you can make it up to 9.9 ft x 7.6 ft! Then you just print the pages out, trim the edges and put it in a mailer. How fun would it be for grandparents to get a giant poster that they have to put together?

3// Minted Journals $16
Minted is a great site to get your Christmas cards and wedding invitations done but did you know they now offer journals? They have a great variety of fun designs that can be customized for the person you are giving them to. A fun option for someone who is always taking notes or making lists (that's me! I am a notebook addict, just ask my husband).

4// Washi Masking Tape/ Happy Tape $5-$20
It goes by many names but this pretty stuff takes masking tape to a whole new level. This metallic set is my favorite. Good for someone who appreciates details.

5// $25/one month
A gift subscription to the Online Training Library® provides anytime access to over 69,000 easy-to-use video tutorials from experts on Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash, web design, digital video and audio, creative inspiration, and much more. Women, this would be a great hint to drop to your husbands. I know there are many of you out there who want to learn these programs. If you don't have the software and still want to learn? Go to adobe and download their free 30 day trial.

6// Amazon 12 pack of Sharpies $7.82
Classic + Colorful. What more does a girl need to fill her stocking?

Don't forget! Today is the last day to enter my first giveaway. Winner announced tomorrow!
Also, tomorrows gift guide is for the men in your life. Stay tuned!

In the Kitchen Gift Guide


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Oh food glorious food. Some people eat to live and others....well they live to eat. Here are some great $25 and under options for those "live to eat" people on your list. Happy Shopping!


1// Walmart Cocomotion $15 (In store, not online)
The only thing better than rich creamy hot chocolate is rich creamy hot chocolate that makes itself. This is my families #1 favorite kitchen appliance, hands down. Pair it with your favorite hot chocolate and you got yourself a gift. (You may be able to find this online other places but no guarantee that it will be $15)

2// World Market Set of 4 Yuletide Plates $19.99 (sale!)
I love the graphic modern look of these plates. Give the set of 4 to one person or bake some goodies and divide it among friends.

3// Target Beaded Cake Plate $24.95
There are a lot of fun cake plate options out there. I like this one because it works well for holidays or it can dress up your everyday cake (if you are one of those people who make cakes everyday, I know I am).

4// Amazon My Life in France Julia Child $18.63 (new) $4.97 (used)
The way this woman describes food makes you melt into your overstuffed chair. It doesn't hurt that its all about France and love as well. Is there a better combination? No. There is not.

5// Crate & Barrel Fondue Sauce Warmer $9.95 (sale!)
Melted cheese, melted chocolate, melted cheese, melted chocolate. Cheese. Chocolate. CHEESE. CHOCOLATE. Oh the battle.

6// Martha Stewart Everyday Food Magazine 10 issues for $15.00 (Ipad version included!)
My good friend gave this to me last year and I LOVE it. I think I might just have to do a life subscription. If you have a hard time deciding what to cook or if you want to try new recipes then this is a good place to start.

Have you entered my first giveaway yet? Check it out here. Winner picked on Friday!

House and Home gift guide


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One great thing about growing up is getting your own space, even if you are just renting. Its fun to experiment with your style and to make a house a home. Today's guide is a few things I found around the web that make great gifts for brightening up any space. AND the best part? All under $25. Santa ain't rich after all.


1// West Elm Papier Maché Antlers $19
Growing up in Idaho I saw a lot of antlers and animals on peoples walls and I definitely was not loving it. Oh how the times have changed. Since when do I want a dead animal on my wall, really? I feel like a hypocrite to my state. But at least I have not abandoned my roots. This paper maché option is a great compromise.

2// West Elm Metallic Tea Light Holders $10
The easiest way to brighten a small or dark space is to add some reflective surfaces. The combination of candle light and these metallic holders could do wonders for your home. Metallics are in so you can find similar holders nearly everywhere.

3// Etsy Quilted Fox Print by Gingiber $20
Etsy is a great place to find original art work for your home at a great price. I love the colors and patterns of this print. It would even be fun for a girls room/nursery.

4// Amazon Design Sponge at Home $23.50
I assume most of you have heard of Design Sponge. If not, go check it out here. The moment I heard they were coming out with a book I had it pre-ordered. And then when I found out they were coming to San Francisco for the book tour I signed up for that as well (a post for another day). This book is amazing. It is filled with sneak peeks into homes around the world and tips on what they did and how to re-create it. There is a whole DIY section full of fun, new projects. And that is only the beginning.

5// IKEA Patterned Black Tray $19.99
An easy way to get started on transforming your space is to buy a tray. Put it on your coffee table and put some books a vase and a candle on it. This would be a great house warming gift as well.

6// West Elm Log Vase $19
A nice vase filled with a winter bouquet of flowers would be the perfect gift to give when going to visit the in laws for the holidays. I love this wood vase because it looks great with or without flowers and the wood tones warm up a space instantly.

Thank you for all of you who commented and entered in my first giveaway yesterday! For those of you feeling out of the loop.... check it out here and don't forget to comment!

If you want to comment on this post and tell me your favorite or if you have found anything great for the home in your shopping I'd LOVE to hear from you :)

Girly Gift Guide


Monday, December 5, 2011

This week I am going to post a couple of gift guides for those of you who are still hacking away at that Christmas list. OR better yet..... for those of you who would like to give your husband/boyfriend/mom/sister/brother/dad/co-worker a hint as to what they should get you. Today's guide is for the girly side in all of us. And the good news is.... everything is under $25! And some even under $15. YOU ARE WELCOME.


1// Clinique Chubby Stick $15
This is by far my favorite lip product EVER. I am always wanting to wear a little color on my lips but lipstick dries my lips out and lip gloss is too... glossy (husband says so). The chubby stick is a moisturizing lip balm with a little tint, the perfect combo. My favorite colors are whole lotta honey and super strawberry. Go buy some now. even if you put it in your own stocking.

2// F21 Confetti Scarf $8.90
Every woman needs a scarf. This scarf is the perfect way to add a pop of pattern without going to wild. It would even be great if you are into mixing patterns.

3// Sahalie Boot Socks $23.95
Who can resist these socks, really? Cheveron + smart wool peeking out of my boots. Yes please. You can also find them here for 2 for $45.

4// Butter London Glitter Polish $13 (color: tart with a heart)
I don't know if you know this but glitter is IN. And I like it. Lets get sparkly huh?

5// H&M Envelope Clutch $24.95
I love the little gold detail on this clutch. Its classy with a little glam.

6// Target Bubble Umbrella $19.95
Who doesn't want to live in a bubble sometimes? Especially when the weather is threatening.

I would love to hear everyone's favorite from my list. Leave me a comment with your top pick and one lucky person will get a Clinique Chubby Stick mailed straight to their door. Oh yes, I am feeling generous!

*Lucky winner will be picked by random on Friday. Good luck!

Sticky Monkey


Friday, December 2, 2011

I'm a breakfast girl. What can I say. Anytime I can eat something sweet and delicious covered in more sweet and delicious with a side of bacon and call it a meal I AM GAME. Do you share my feelings? If so, I think you need to try this recipe for sticky buns/monkey bread...or whatever you want to call it. Maybe for Christmas morning, or maybe for tomorrow morning because it is just that good. and easy. did I say easy? yes, yes I did. Easy peasy pudding and pie. and sticky buns.


• Frozen Dinner rolls
• 1 cup chopped pecans
• 1 stick of butter (It use to be 2 so be proud of me for cutting it down!)
• 1/2 c brown sugar
• 1/2 small pckg of COOK (NOT INSTANT) pudding (butterscotch if you can find it, if not vanilla will do

To be done the night before

Step 1:
Spray a bunt pan with some cooking spray and sprinkle your chopped nuts in the bottom.

Step 2: Add your frozen dinner rolls and sprinkle the 1/2 pckg of COOK pudding on top.

Step 3: Melt your butter and brown sugar on the stove and bring it to a boil. Then drizzle it on top of your rolls.

Step 4: Let them sit all night and rise!

Step 5: Preheat your oven to 350 and let them cook for 25-30 minutes. When they are nice and golden on the top they are done. Take them out of the oven. Put a plate on top and flip them on to the plate. THEN ENJOY (AND YOU WILL!).

Lost and Found


Wednesday, November 30, 2011


It's the little details that can give a home personality. No, the socks in the corner of your room don't count.
While we lived in Hawaii we would take walks on the beach and collect shells, sand and sea glass. Until a few weeks ago all of the my little beach finds were in a shoe box. But recently I decided to pull them out because hey it got cold and I was missing Hawaii, what can I say.

So, my tip today... use your found objects and display them to remember all the places you've been. You could use rocks, red dirt, sticks, shells. You could also pick up some seeds that are local to the area you are visiting and plant them to make a terrarium.


Above are some examples of containers that you could use.
1// Have kids? Use a vessel with a cork in it. 2// Make a mini memory by using a stemless wineglass 3// Mason jars come in lots of different sizes and are easy to pick up at thrift stores and garage sales. 4// Display more than one container and label them for different beaches or different vacations.

The clutter in your shoe box


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Over the past few months while I was A wall here on the blog I have gained an increasing interest in interior design/decorating. As weird as it sounds I find myself thinking about it. A LOT. Analyzing different spaces while I slip off to sleep and constantly trying to come up with ways to tweak this or that. Am I weird? Is it a phase? WHO KNOWS. But I am rolling with it. And I like it. Scratch that, I LOVE it. And because it is constantly on my mind it was only a matter of time before it leaked here onto the blog.

Recently I have come up with a few ideas and inspirations and I wanted to share them with you. So I will be doing a little series this week. The series will be on connecting the places you go and your home in a fun, creative, economical way.

On our latest trip down the CA 1 I decided that I wanted to find something to remember our trip by. Not just something to shove in a shoe box or clutter my purse like I usually do (does anyone else hold onto their airline tickets? For like years? Please say I am not the only one). I wanted something I could display in our home. Sure I there are always pictures, but more often then not they never leave my hard drive.

On our trip we stopped at a gift shop. It was full of beautiful art, pottery, and quilts done by locals. I would have loved to get my hands on some of it but the price was a little steep for my liking. After some looking I found the art I had been eying but in the form of a card. The cards were only $3 a piece. Which for one card isn't the best price but if you think of it as art then you really can't beat $3 now can you?


These are the two cards we picked out. We loved the colors and how they really did remind us of our trip. I am in the process of hunting down frames at the thrift store and then I have the perfect wall in our front room for them to go on (watch for pictures!).


Here is another example of art in our house that we got on one of my first trips into San Francisco. We stopped at a darling little shop and I saw this map. When I looked closer I realized it was a sheet of nice wrapping paper. At $4 a sheet I wasn't about to get wrap happy. But $4 for a piece of art to hang on my wall, now we're talking. Once I found the perfect frame (IKEA) I trimmed the sides of the map and framed it. Easy art that reminds me of our trip and is a great conversation piece.

Classic Roasted Salsa


Friday, November 25, 2011


Last week when we were deciding on the Thanksgiving menu Alden's sister Afton mentioned that we should throw turkey out the window and have lobster instead! The Aikele's had a tradition growing up of eating lobster tacos in Mexico while visiting their grandparents in southern California. I wasn't too keen on the idea because hey, I am a traditionalist. I like my turkey and I am not too hip on sea food. So like most things in life we compromised. Lobster dinner on Wednesday night and turkey dinner on Thursday night. I now have to say... I am a believer. Tortillas stuffed with beans, avocado, homemade salsa, cilantro lime rice, lobster, and drizzled in butter and fresh lime juice.... um yes please. I know, you just caught yourself drooling right? I fear we may have started a tradition, which means the 5 lbs I usually gain at thanksgiving just turned into 10.

*Scroll down to see the recipe for our easy homemade salsa. Who doesn't love dips this time of year anyway?


Classic Roasted Salsa
Recipe via Martha Stewart Everyday Food Magazine


* 2 large tomatoes (1 1/2 pounds)
* 1 medium white onion, halved
* 3 jalapenos
* 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
* 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
* Coarse salt and ground pepper
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


1. Heat broiler, with rack in top position. Place tomatoes, onion, jalapenos, and garlic in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.

2. Broil until vegetables are blistered and slightly softened, rotating sheet and flipping vegetables frequently, 6 to 8 minutes (garlic may need to be removed earlier if it is browning too quickly).

3. Discard garlic skins. In a food processor, pulse garlic and vegetables until coarsely pureed. Add lime juice, season with salt and pepper, and pulse to combine.

4. Transfer salsa to a bowl and stir in cilantro. (Refrigerate, up to 3 days, or freeze, up to 3 months.)

* The first time we made this we made it with 3 jalapenos, just like it calls for. Holy Tamoleee it was HOT! And we like hot! I suggest starting with one jalapeno or even half with no seeds if you don't like spicy. Then you can always add more to pump up the volume.

Happy Thanksgiving


Thursday, November 24, 2011


Warm and cold
Cozy breaks the ice
Gravy blankets
the mundane reality
Turkey dampens tempers
while sleep takes the pie
Hearts full, stomachs fuller.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I am grateful for my family, both near and far.

CA 1 Road Trip: The Big Picture


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

After arriving in Monterey our virst stop in the morning was Carmel-by-the-Sea. We went down to the beach and then decided to check out a local mission.
Next we headed down the coast and stopped at different view points to take a look at the coast. This stop is Bixby Bridge.
Next we drove through Big Sur, the redwood groves that dot the coast. The elevation jumps and we stopped at Nepenthe, a beautiful indoor outdoor restaurant where we had hot apple cider and breakfast at 3:00 in the afternoon. Being on a mountain, in the forest, on the edge of the ocean eating breakfast might just be as good as it gets.
Alden had heard of this place, McWay falls, and had wanted to go for YEARS. Lucky for us it was part of the drive. Talk about BEAUTIFUL. Can you see the waterfall coming out of the rock? The only down side is there is no accesses to the beach, at least no legal/safe access. Alden was pretty disappointed but in the end we decided it wouldn't be nearly as beautiful if there were a million tourists down there.
Sunset kisses...
The next day we got up and went to Pismo beach to see the Monarch butterflies. It wasn't what I expected (the butterflies were hanging in the trees about 20 feet up) but it was still really neat.
We ended our trip eating Mexican at Morro Bay. That giant rock is actually the pit of an old volcano. Can you believe it?

When doing our research for the trip we came across an article by National Geographic about driving the CA 1. It had lots of great stops, I only wish we could have hit them all. Click here to check out the article.

Road Trippin


Monday, November 14, 2011


Alden and I hit the CA 1 for a little weekend birthday road trip. Alden usually prefers to "do" rather than to "have" for his Birthday.

Here is a sneak peek picture of our adventure. I can't get over those cliffs, that water, and the bridge! Forgive me America for day dreaming about Europe lately.

*Stay tuned for more posts of our trip



Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Alden's birthday week started out with a bang. On Friday while I was at work Alden's sister Addie showed up out of no where. Currently she is going to school at BYU-Idaho but she decided to pop in this weekend for a surprise. And boy were we surprised!

Alden was still in DC on business at the moment, getting ready to board a plane and come home just to catch the tail end of his birthday (hence the need for a brithday week!).

Addie had the idea that we take BART (the subway) into the airport and surprise Alden and his mom as they got off the plane. BRILLIANT! So we got on BART with signs and balloons in hand (and camera!.. only to discover I forgot my SD card...Rats!)

We made it to the airport with perfect time and ran to meet them at their exit. The double surprise made for and exciting start to Alden's 24th Birthday week.

We then ate homemade German chocolate cake and chips a salsa (what birthday boy wants, birthday boy gets).

The next day included garage selling (our favorite past time), brunch at the Hunts, shopping, Thai food, going to the movie Moneyball and stake conference. Pretty much all of our favorite things rolled into one day.

*Picture includes a slice of Alden's cake as well as a card I threw together via this inspiration.

Happy Birthday my darling.
23 was a crazy year mostly. but I am proud of you. I don't know many 23 24 year olds that do what you do. your positive attitude amazes and motivates me daily. I love you more than all the stars.

Welcome to 24. I've been waiting for you.

Happy Halloween


Monday, October 31, 2011


Halloween usually brings out the worst in me. I have a history of bad Halloweens. If it wasn't the terror of coming up with a costume it was the horror of being a vampire when all your friends were princesses. One year a friend and I were too old to go trick r treating and not cool enough to go to parties so we cut some holes in some black garbage bags and put them over our heads and then we ate chocolate pudding with no hands. yum.

Halloween was alright this year. It made a wicked comeback, and it brought me along with it. Thanks to a last minute pumpkin party with friends and a man in a tux (who just so happens to be MY man and James Bond, lucky girl). So here I am, raised from the dead and back to blogging. Happy Halloween Everyone.

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