Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shop Happy!

I am positively giddy this morning knowing Montgomery's Junior League Holiday Market is now open! With monogrammed acrylic pieces, pewter, linens and gourmet foods for the ladies on my list, I get a bulk of my Christmas shopping done during this event each year. A few things will make this shopping experience even better ... .

1. Enjoying the Event with Friends! Emma and I plan to hit the Holiday Market today with girlfriends Stacey and Cathy. I wanted to start off our day of gift-buying with a little gift-giving of my own, so I have surprises for my shopping buddies.

2. Personalized Travel Mugs. I made these for Cathy and Stacey using design-your-own mugs from Dollar Tree. I traced the included pattern onto a fun pink-and-green print, cut out the insert with pinking shears, and added style with trendy monograms. Easy and inexpensive -- a busy bargain shopper's dream!

3. Fill My Cup. I can only think of one thing that would make these mugs any better, and that would be filling them with yummy goodness that celebrates the warmth of the season. I experimented with recipes over the weekend, and here's what we'll be sipping while we shop ... .

Pumpkin Spiced Lattes

Enjoy this delicious coffee drink guilt-free knowing your wallet and waist will thank you for saving money and calories making this at home.

3 cups skim milk
6 packets Splenda artificial sweetener
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
8 ounces double-strength brewed decaffeinated instant coffee
Whipped cream, to taste
Caramel syrup, to taste
1 pinch pumpkin pie spice

Heat milk in a heavy saucepan just until hot and bubbly. Combine the hot milk, sweetener, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice in a blender; blend on frappe setting until frothy. Pour the mixture into 6 coffee mugs to about 2/3 full. Then fill almost to the top with coffee. Garnish each latte with rings of whipped topping, drizzles of caramel and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

I can only think of one more thing that would make this shopping experience perfect ...

4. An Unlimited Budget! Although my husband probably can't approve that request, I will count my blessings anyway. My Christmas shopping list is long, but I'm grateful that it reflects a life blessed with so many people to love. As I fill shopping bags with pretty wares, my heart will be full as I reflect on the priceless gifts of love I am given each day. And although my spending will have limits, joy will not as I take in the blessings of a beautiful autumn day with friends.

With girlfriends, monogrammed gift ware, and a glimpse of the holiday fun still to come this year, I'm shopping happy today!


The Quintessential Magpie said...

Now, how on earth did I know you wre going to say pumpkin spiced lattes??? Believe it or not, Melissa, that's what I turned out to be in a blog test I took once.

Love those mugs. They are cute as can be!


Sheila :-)

Rose said...

I love those mugs!

Mrs. G said...

Melissa, I so want to be one of your girl friends and join you on your shopping trip.
Have a great time shopping.

Like Jellitots said...

Hi Melissa
I stumbled across your blog a few days ago, and I am love it! I have no idea where you find time for everything, but I think you deserve a great big round of applause. Your heart shines through in this blog, and you are clearly a blessing to your friends and family...

God Bless
P.S. I wanted to let you know that I have put a reference to your blog on mine (still in it's baby feet), as I really wanted to share your loveliness with the entire world.

If you want to sneak a peek it's:

Nancy said...

Yum! I'm using this as a shout out for your post. I know it's another one heehee but your page is pure delight for the heart, for the senses! Cannot wait to Southern Living to wake up and take notice!! You would be a great columnist (did I spell that right?!)

Christina said...

Another chapeau for those mugs. I love them!

gr. Christina

sweeter and the bubbas said...

Awwww man, I should have definitely told you I was coming w/you to the HM!! LOL!! Pumpkin Spice Lattes are my current FAV!!!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Perfect post that describes a perfect day for me.....

julie said...

hey melissa! i want one! can you maybe squeeze one more friend on your christmas list? heehee! i love them! i also wanted to let you know that your sweet outfit from blessed be the name should get to you soon if you havent already received it! i would love to hear when you do and whatcha think! thanks!

katie said...

Oh I'm so jealous... I wish I could have gone to the Montgomery Holiday Market today!!

rachael said...

I don't even know how I found your blog, but I am so inspired and hooked!!! I read through some of the old blogs and beg you to give some pointers on picking out an embroidery machine. I am so overwhelmed! I read that you have a Baby Lock Ellure. I don't understand at all if I need an "ultimate box" or embird or software or what in addition to the fabulous machine. Can you help? The projects that I would do are simlilar to those that you do. (Monogramming/Personalizing, etc.) My sweet husband said he would like to get me one for our anniversary- but I don't know what would need to be purchased in addition to the machine. Thanks a million for any help you can provide. LOVE your blog!

Melissa Lester said...

Rachael, thanks for your comment! I am just now reading it, so do hope you will pop back by to read my suggestions. Your husband is so sweet to get you an embroidery machine! My husband gave me mine for Christmas and birthday when Mary Ashley was born, and I still thank him for it every year!

I have a Babylock Ellure, which uses PES files. This is a very common embroidery file format, so I would recommend going that route. I wanted to get a machine locally so I could get instruction and repairs done nearby. The lady who sold me the machine was very helpful in getting me started, and I have gone back for a class to learn applique. So buying locally is definitely something to consider.

When I got my machine, I also purchased the Palette software, which allows me to design everything on my computer screen, then transfer all the embroidery files to a digital card that goes in the machine. (And a helpful tip: the card holds lots of images. For the longest time I ran up and down the stairs using one image at a time!) Another neat feature with this software is that it will pull in all true-type fonts from your computer. I have used Curlz and many other fonts from my computer with great success.

I hope this gives you some things to consider as you prepare to make a purchase. I remember feeling dizzy in the beginning with all the new terminology, but before long you will be a pro!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this project idea. I was pounding my head against the wall trying to think of something different for the ladies I work with and this is it. Your creativity works great for me. I found some at the "Dolloar Tree". I will now work on their favorite colors and have them monogramed. Christmas could not be better. Again thanks!!!!

Rachael said...

Thank you so much! That is really helpful. I am so appreciative of your time and thoughtful blogs!

Anne in SC said...

Love the mugs. I went to the Dollar Tree looking for some today and couldn't find any. Did you get them recently? Were they in a particular section? Thanks also for all the recipes--I've all ready copied/pasted a bunch in a file to try!

Melissa Lester said...

Anne, I bought these awhile back but have seen them recently in our dishware section. I hope your store will have some soon because these make great gifts!

Workin' MAMA! said...

girl, you are certainly an inspiration to us gurls who marvel at your creations! don't you ever ever stop! keep those creative juices flowing onto our pages!

working mama in the nw!

Your Frugal Friend, Niki said...

Love what you did with the mugs. I bought one for Father's Day and let my son have at it for a gift. It was cute. It was heartfelt.

But I never thought of the other possibilities and potential they had until I saw them featured over at Today's Creative Blog. Now I am kickin' my behind that I didn't nab more while they had em!


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