2021 - Dimples and Tangles

GRADUATION GIFT GUIDE 2021

I wrote a Graduation Gift Guide last year full of the gifts we gave or things that my son found useful throughout his first year in the dorm that would make great gifts.  However, with my daughter now graduating this year and a long gift list to celebrate all of her friends, my wheels have been turning for more gift ideas so I thought I'd put together another guide.  I believe all of the links are still current in last year's post and it has different ideas for the most part from what I'm sharing today, so be sure to check that out too if nothing in this guide catches your eye.  

This is from Graduate Sunday at our church, we haven't had her "real" graduation yet!
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*This post contains affiliate links, including Amazon.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my full disclosure policy here.)


Cash and Gift Cards are always very much appreciated, especially if the student has some bigger ticket items they need to save up for. There are always needs that arise as they are getting set up in their new living space that they might not have anticipated, so it sure is nice to have a stash of gift cards to use for those items. My son's most useful cards were:

Aldi (or local store) Gift Card- he loves having a grocery store gift card so he doesn't have to use his spending money for snacks! 


However, if you're looking for a gift that's a bit more personal, here are some things that my kids and I think would always be used and appreciated.  (Be sure to Pin this graphic for future reference!)

Graduation gift ideas, graduation gifts for boys, graduation gifts for girls, graduate gift ideas



Lap Desk- SO very helpful when a student might choose to work on their bed as a change of pace from sitting at their desk. 

Makeup Train Case Organizer- This bag holds a ton of products and would be perfect to store makeup in for daily use so that it's easy to tuck away when space is tight, not just for travel! 

Handheld Garment Steamer-  Maybe they'll be slightly more likely to steam their clothes than pull out an iron... ha!  

Monogrammed Towel Set- This is a beautiful set with several design and color options, they'll never have to question which towel is theirs. 

Computer Memory Stick- can't have too many of these around!  

Emergency Weather Radio with Flashlight and Power Bank- For many parts of the country, lots of us can say that we lived through hours or days without power this past winter (or storm season).  When tv's and cell phones don't work due to no electricity, this would be extremely helpful to keep students informed, and they can use the crank feature to power their devices! 

Colored Rainbow Metal or Rose Gold Acrylic Tape and Stapler Set- I ordered several of both of these colors to give as girl gifts this year.  Super pleased with the weight and quality, I'll include a roll of tape with it as well so they're all ready to set up their desk.  

LED Tap Lights- Most dorm rooms have dark nooks and crannies that could benefit from some extra light- think closets, wardrobe cabinets, under beds... these battery operated tap lights could be used so many places. 

Outdoor Blanket with Waterproof Backing- Visit most any college campus on a nice day and you're sure to see students out everywhere studying or just hanging out and getting some fresh air.  This blanket would be perfect to lay on the grass for a comfy outdoor study spot!  

Flat Plug Power Strip with USB ports- the flat plug is nice for tight spots, and the standard outlet/USB port combo makes this little strip mighty useful.  We have one stashed under the sofa for plugging in chargers when needed, love it! 

Personalized Stainless Steel Water Bottle-  Many sizes, colors, and designs available, these are super cute and I like the handle which would allow them to clip it to their backpack if desired.  

Portable Hammock with Straps- Hammocking is totally a thing with students!  We've owned a couple of these hammocks for years and have been extremely pleased with them.

Color Changing LED Strip Lights- I recommended these on my Christmas Gift Guide, but since then we've installed them in my daughter's room and she absolutely loves them!  This one is a generous 65' in length, long enough to cover the circumference of most rooms.  She can control the color and features with an app on her phone and sync them up with her music or make them voice activated, super cool for any dorm room! Currently the lowest price I've seen and there's a coupon attached beyond that, I might need to get her a set for her dorm room too! 

Acacia Valet Tray- This is beautiful if you're looking for an extra special gift.  

Layered Initial Link Necklace-  I just gave this to my daughter for her birthday, she's been wearing it daily ever since and said it's her current favorite necklace.  

Small First Aid Kit-  My son is Mr. Prepared and always has something similar to this with him.  One of those things that you might not think about a college student needing... until they need it!  

Portable Device Charger- Not only for their phone but also works for tablets, wireless earbuds, smart watches... would be super handy to have around.  

Wireless Earbuds- These are at a phenomenal price point, and there are 213K+ nearly perfect reviews!  My husband has a pair of these and he can't say enough good things about them- great sound, long battery life, and the noise canceling feature is legit!  Seriously, if he's wearing them around the house I have to get in front of him and flag him down to tell him something!  All great features for a college student as well I suspect!

Bracelet ID Keychain- We have a couple of these and I think they're an inexpensive little useful gift, especially if you want to tuck a gift card in the ID pouch with it! 

Curtain String Lights-  I don't know any girl that wouldn't love these in her dorm room!  

Remote Control Outlet Set- It's a pretty sure bet that most outlets in a dorm room are in an inconvenient spot, behind where a piece of furniture ends up and difficult to get to.  These remote control outlets would be useful, I have a set and absolutely love them!

Cozy Throw Blanket- It seems like dorm rooms are either roasting or freezing, this will keep them cozy on the cold days!  Available in a wide variety of colors. 







P.S.- If you have a graduate and would like your own custom announcements, Minted has some great options and their site is really user friendly to create the perfect card for your graduate.  I was running behind this year with my daughter's announcements and didn't get my order in until last Wednesday, and they were delivered to my porch on Saturday with no extra rush shipping!  Excellent service and we're so happy with how they turned out! 



 Don't forget to check out last year's gift guide for even more ideas!





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4

SPRING HOME TOUR PART 3- BREAKFAST NOOK, KITCHEN, AND BEDROOM

Today I'm sharing a few more Spring photos with you of my Breakfast Nook, Kitchen, and Bedroom.  These might not officially be "Spring Tour" photos as much as just an opportunity to take a fresh round of photos... nothing especially new or extra special, just sprucing up these spaces!



Notice the traveling vase of viburnum today, ha!  I planted some small bushes a few years ago (purely with the motivation to cut them!) and this is the first year they have really exploded. I can't resist putting them everywhere!




See, I stated with these faux stems-



then I cut some viburnum instead when it bloomed- isn't that 1,000 times prettier?  


I'll go back to the faux stems when the viburnum blooms are gone (or maybe my peonies will be blooming by then!), but I'm going to enjoy them while I have them.  I couldn't resist adding some casual place settings to the table.


Table  ||  Chairs and Chandelier- vintage  ||  Gingham Bench- At Home (no longer available)

Pillow fabric is discontinued but here are several good ones I found in the same colorway:




Napkins here or here  ||  Similar Polka Dot Plates  ||  Placemats- At Home  ||  Bamboo Flatware   ||  Salt and Pepper Shakers




Last year I changed out our large chalkboard calendar for the For Like Ever poster and a plate collection.  I do miss seeing our "big picture" calendar at a glance but have enjoyed having this arrangement up. 

Brass Pendant Lights  ||  For Like Ever Poster  ||  Blue and White Vase- At Home  ||  Marble Petal Tray  ||  Striped Towel  ||  Pink Rug  ||  LED Can Lights (LOVE these!)
Wall Paint: Benjamin Moore Manchester Tan, mixed at 25% at Sherwin Williams, Satin
Cabinet Paint: Sherwin Williams ProClassic in Extra White, Semi-Gloss
Island Paint: Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black, Semi-Gloss

Just for fun because I came across it the other day, here's the listing photo of our kitchen when we bought the house.  I just realized that was 14 years ago this Saturday!  Hard to believe we've been in this home for that long (I wrote a 10 year before and after post here- lots of things have changed since then, too!). 







A few months ago I picked up this small lamp on clearance at Hobby Lobby.  It's been years since I've had a lamp in the kitchen and even though we have under cabinet lighting I've enjoyed its charm.  






I included "Bedroom" in the post title, but just realized I actually only have one fresh pic of a new pillow mix on the bed.  New meaning I moved some that I used to have in the Living Room to the Bedroom instead- ha!  I made the blue ikat and leopard pillows but will try to link similar to everything under the photo.  LOVE the floral kilim pillow from my friend Courtney's shop! (Follow her on Instagram for first dibs when she restocks!) 

DIY Headboard Tutorial  ||  Similar Headboards here, here, here, or here










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5

A FEW THINGS... AN EASY CENTERPIECE, NORTH CAROLINA, FAMILY & FEATURES


Every once in a while I have several "little" things I want to share with you but they're not necessarily enough for a full blog post, so I jumble them all together for my "A Few Things" random topics post!  Today I'm sharing a bit of decorating with an easy centerpiece, a bit of travel with a quick trip to North Carolina last week, some family updates and some recents features I've been honored with.  

We recently hosted a casual lunch and I wanted the table to look nice without being too fussy. I didn't have any fresh flowers on hand for a centerpiece, but I had some flats of flowers outside waiting to be planted! (You might remember that I kinda took a page from the same playbook for my Easter Table.)

(*This post contains affiliate links, including Amazon. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.  Read my full disclosure policy here.)
Cabbage Leaf Serving Bowl  ||  Stand- vintage  ||  Blue Gingham Runner


It couldn't have been easier to plop a few of them- still in their plastic containers- into a large serving bowl, then I filled in all empty spots with moss to cover the pots.  This would be a fun idea for a Mother's Day centerpiece too, then after the meal add the plants back to their flat and send them home with Mom! 
I didn't take any photos of the table but I just added some candles to the sides of the centerpiece and by the time I got all of the dishes on the table it looked great!

Last week Ray and I made a quick last minute trip to North Carolina for a personal engagement, but we had a little bit of free time around that commitment.  I've never been to NC before, other than probably passing through on trips through the years, and we were both totally smitten!  We flew in to Raleigh/Durham and were primarily in the towns of Chapel Hill and Greensboro.  We couldn't get enough of the thick, towering trees and beautiful homes.  

A quick online hotel search landed us with a gem!  We stayed in Chapel Hill at the Rizzo Center, a Destination by Hyatt location which is part of the World of Hyatt Hotels.  



This was actually a conference center/hotel combo on the grounds of the historic DuBose family estate, later given to the University of North Carolina.   It's a few miles away from the actual campus, but serves as the perfect retreat and meeting location.  I imagine it's full of alumni at various times of the year when big events on the campus are going on, but it's fully open to the public as well.  The conference center/hotel is shown here (the family home is behind where I was standing to take the photo.)


The back side is a wonderful outdoor area with comfortable seating areas, a gorgeous pool, and firepit.  


A full fitness center is also available located just off of this area. 


For about the same price as the local Courtyard or similar hotels, we thought this had a really nice resort-like feel!  Our stay also included a full hot breakfast buffet in another area of the hotel with its own outdoor patio seating available, spotless well appointed rooms, as well as nice little amenities like free cans of soda, bottles of juice, ice cream, and popcorn at the front lobby.  Oh, and there were many ice machines, water bottle fill stations, sitting areas, and even free laundry available on each floor.  They seemed to think of everything!


I know this is a super specific travel recommendation, but if we were within closer driving distance this would definitely be a regular weekend getaway spot for us!  So, I thought any of you who might be semi-close or traveling to the area for some reason might enjoy this spot to stay.  

Fair warning... I'm about to overload you with photos but everything was so beautiful there I couldn't quit snapping (although the photos can't quite capture the reality)!  


This is the DuBose House (above photo is actually the back of the home, the front is below) which has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I believe it now serves as a dining space for various events.  
 

The grounds and gardens that surround the home couldn't be more lovely.  They are open to freely meander and enjoy each nook and cranny.  


I think we hit the timing just right, the azaleas were blooming everywhere and they were stunning!  I can't imagine the work that went into creating these gardens. 




We had a little bit of time to poke around town and enjoyed discovering the Carolina North Forest with it's variety of hiking trails.   I seriously couldn't get enough of the trees!



I realized later that we were actually there on Earth Day.  There's nothing like being in the middle of it to make you try to fully appreciate God's marvelous creation! 



We also drove around the campus of Duke University.  Beautiful!  We scavenged a souvenir by picking up a runaway baseball that had rolled down the street outside of one of the practice fields, our son who enjoys baseball will get a kick out of that!  



I even stopped by a fabric warehouse that I spotted on the highway while driving from Chapel Hill to Greensboro.  If we had more time I definitely would have searched out more, I'm sure there are great fabric and furniture outlets everywhere!  

We were only there long enough to eat a few meals and always ate breakfast at the hotel, so we didn't get to sample many local restaurants.  We had a few quick meals on the road while we were there, but in Chapel Hill we found Italian Pizzeria III and ate there twice! It's not fancy but is apparent that it's a favorite with the locals and students, the owners were super friendly and seemed to know most everyone that came in.  We had a dinner (Ray had Chicken Fettuccini and I had Manicotti, two thumbs up on both!) and the next day we picked up 2 of their Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches for lunch our our way to the airport.  Delish!  I'm going to be wishing I could get one of those sandwiches here in Oklahoma! Bordering the UNC campus, Franklin Street is packed with atmosphere and local restaurants, I'm sure you couldn't go wrong with most of them!

A few fun family things lately-

The university my son attends canceled Spring Break this year in an effort to keep the students from traveling in and out, so one of my best friends (who also has a college age son with no SB) decided we should do a girls only Ski Trip!  


Our daughters are the same age and have been best friends since they were 3, and we had such a great time in one of our favorite spots- and theirs too- Red River NM.  We did a family ski trip with them 4 years ago, and while we missed the guys this time it was so much fun with just the girls!  I only wiped out once, so I'll consider that a success!  :)


My friend brought some cookies for the girls- aren't they the cutest?  "I know I ski like a girl- try to keep up!"



Easter!  It was a perfect, beautiful day to celebrate our Lord's Resurrection.  

Caleb's Suit  ||  Emily's Dress  ||  My dress and shoes are past season, but this is a cute similar dress!  ||  My Earrings


We normally host Easter at our house, but this year we moved our celebration out to my sister's new property.  Didn't she set a pretty outdoor table for our meal?  We love every chance we get to visit, just wish we were able to more often!


My daughter is a Senior and we've hit the home stretch for allllllll of the Senior activities!  The next few weeks are crazy.  Her SR Prom was last weekend, she went with a group of friends and they had a great time.  She's actually also going to another neighboring school prom soon with more friends.  Since they missed out on all of this last year I guess we're making up for it!  (I told her I was fine with that plan but I wasn't buying 2 dresses- ha!  Thanks to our sweet friend who loaned this one to us for prom #1!)



She can smile pretty but don't be fooled... this is how she really feels when Mom suggests cute photo poses!  🤣


Graduation gown try-on... quite the ensemble, right?  She had just come in from basketball practice.  We'll do better on graduation day and even break out the steamer, ha! 



I'm honored to have one of my photos featured in the current (April '21) issue of HGTV Magazine!  They were doing a story on mixing and matching patterns and included my living room from last year's Spring Tour as an example.  Even after the request is made and details are sent back and forth, I never actually believe a feature will actually happen until I'm holding it in print in my hands!  Such a fun blessing and I'm grateful! 


I'm approaching my 10th Anniversary of blogging (!!) this year, and am so glad for all of online friends I've made along the way- fellow bloggers as well as readers!  I've known Janet for many of those years, have been privileged to meet her in person at a conference, and am always inspired by her lovely home and beautiful photography.  I'm so excited to have a tour of my home featured on her blog Shabby Fufu!



This post grew much longer than I intended, but here's the last thing!  I'm thrilled to have been named a Better Homes and Gardens Stylemaker for the 7th year!  I've only been able to attend the event in person once due to scheduling conflicts and last year it was obviously canceled, but this year it's back- virtually- and I'm looking forward to following along with the sessions!  It's always interesting to see what is up and coming in food, design, gardening, and homemaking.  And there's one HUGE benefit of a virtual event FOR YOU this year, you can join in on some of the sessions too!  Visit the Stylemaker page for the date, time, and more details (I believe it's free for you!). 



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