Your Guide To The Holiday Season

It’s officially the most wonderful time of the year!! Now I know you think I’m crazy because it’s only November 1st but let’s face it, I’ve been planning holiday posts since early October. Plus we all know the moment the clock strikes midnight after Halloween it is full force Christmas. Now mind you my pumpkins are going to stay put for a few more days but I’m ready to dive head first in to the holidays here with all of you.

Now I’ve been in a creative rut for both fashion and the blog lately. I know I’ve said that before but this time it’s a little different in the fact that I’m not seeing or feeling enough diversity in the blogging world. I feel like we are constantly seeing the same things over and over and over again. To the point where I get tired of seeing the same sweater styled essentially the same way by 15 different bloggers. And the holidays are no different. It’s the same decor, the same wrapping paper, the same items in the gift guides, the same necklace to spice up a holiday outfit, the same sales and the same Christmas dresses. So I want to make my mark for something different. Something we may not have seen a million times (okay over exaggeration) over.

So here’s what to expect: unique gift guides leading up to Black Friday, unique and affordable home decor ideas, DIY ideas, style and outfit inspo, traditions, self care ideas, Asheville happenings and so much more. These sound like a million blog posts you have already read around the holidays. But I promise you I have tried to make mine a little different.¬†Also social media is going to play a bigger role this holiday season (thank the phone lords for that new phone this year). I’m wanting to do “special segments” on Instagram Stories like how to shop locally, gifts I love to give, shopping for Secret Santa gifts, day in the life Christmas edition and maybe even trying all the insane peppermint flavored product. Even though I have a bunch of ideas scratched out I love hearing from you! What would you like to see on 30 Shades of Stephanie for the holidays?

My goal is to have 30 Shades of Stephanie be on the top of the list of websites you visit during the holiday season. I want you to feel inspired, feel the Christmas spirit and included! The world is in shambles lately, a lot of negativity going on, and the holiday season is a time of happiness, cheer and unity for me. So I want us all to feel that and share it.

A Girl and Her Dog

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”

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Andrew Plyler Design and I have been working with Cove Lake Labradoodles recently and I am proud to announce you will now be seeing the gorgeous mommies (and possibly daddies) and of course some beautiful puppies on the blog on a regular basis! Cove Lake Labradoodles is a breeder of Australian Labradoodles located right here in Western North Carolina. You can visit the website HERE and get all the information on the breed as well as adoption!

This is Gracie, a new mommy to 10 beautiful puppies less than a week ago. For just giving birth a few days prior to these photos, she was such a good sport for me! Addison is so sweet and I love giving her lovings (mainly because she is one of the calmest) every time we visit the Cove Lake family.

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Addison sure is a little ham for the camera and absolutely loves to give wet dog kisses. I could absolutely play with her forever, her spirit embodies what a four legged best friend should be. There’s nothing better than being looked at with those beautiful eyes and begging you for all your attention, which is paid in tail wags and smooches. (And can you believe Addison didn’t get any fur on my new bright sweater due to the breed being hypoallergenic!!!!)

Be Prepared for Cuteness Overload

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Two of these photos are from the iPhone, so sorry for the blurriness, but I couldn’t resist posting this sweet chocolate cutie, Bates! I’m pretty sure over the next few weeks he will become something that puts a smile on my face and melts my heart., but all 6 of these little cuties have already stolen a little piece of my heart!

Photos by Andrew Plyler Design and Post brought to you by Cove Lake Labradoodles

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“The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway”

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Why yes, I did name this blog post after the movie “Frozen” but if you have been in WNC the past week you would know how frigid it has been. It has not been above freezing in the past week and it finally broke above freezing on Sunday. So after I worked on Sunday, Andrew and I decided to head to Brevard, NC to see some snow or waterfalls (because it’s always colder there, and though around 37 degrees in Asheville it was below freezing in Brevard). I wore skinny jeans, a chambray top, warm coat, and beanie. My only downfall was my shoes, I wasn’t expecting as much slush and ice as we found but, I didn’t bust my butt, so they did their job. We headed to Looking Glass Falls in Pisgah National Forest, on the drive up there were ice formations all along the roadside, and the waterfall was no less disappointing. The steps, rocks and water were covered in ice and snow, quite an amazing thing to see; it felt much more colder closer to the slushy water, but maybe it was the frozen mist hitting you in the face. This place is an amazing thing to visit and easy to access (not a crazy hike to get to it) during all the seasons!

We then headed to a cave/waterfall close to Looking Glass (where the rock climbers go)! It was absolutely incredible. You were able to get closer to the ice (very carefully) and even climb into the cave and few the ice from the inside. It was the most amazing thing to climb into a cave and view the frozen forms from a different view. The snow and ice fascinates me so much (the kid in me gets excited) so I was all smiles on the hour and half trip we took!

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Bundled Up for Snow

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Dress-Forever 21 // Leggings-Forever 21 // Booties- Target // Jacket-Old Navy (sold out) // Necklace-Shop Lately // Beanie-Forever 21

It’s snowing in Asheville today uncalled for, so it caught me off guard this morning. (Forgive the white specs in the photos!) It’s been a record low in Asheville this week. You think it’s hard to dress cute while staying warm? Wrong, with some good leggings and layers you can stay warm while facing the frigid outside temps. I love to layer so throwing on a dress and a lighter jacket is perfect for under your winter coat. Boots are a plus right now, so is a hat of some sort. I love this neon beanie that adds a fun aspect to my dreary cold outfit and also keeps my head toasty. I hope all of you have a great (cold and snowy) day today!

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Monday Morning Coffee Break

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It’s Monday, again. Today can not go on with out coffee. I am busy planning and planning some more on the blog and trying to get everything together for my new semester which starts next Monday (and I think I need coffee today). It’s going to be a cold, busy week here in Asheville for me. While I’m planning and organizing blog posts, I would love to hear your input on what you would like to see for the winter months ahead on the blog?

I hope all of you have a great start to your week (hopefully caffeinated)!

Also don’t forget you can share your photos of your dog with Anthony to bring a smile to his face during his treatment! You can share it here!

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Welcoming 2015 With Open Arms

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Happy New Year!!! I can’t believe it is 2015, can you? I’m not one to make resolutions because it just sets yourself up for failure and disappointment. So my only “hopes” for the year is to live every day to the fullest, take joy in the smaller things more, expand my painting, and explore different avenues for the blog. 2015 is going to be great! If you set resolutions what are yours for the year?.

Countdown to Christmas Volume 3

Countdown to Christmas

AHHHHHH, it’s getting so close. 39 days until Christmas. This past week has been so busy, Christmas has been the last thing on my mind but I drove through Biltmore last night and everything looks so beautiful around there and really got my mind set back on track with what I need to do to help you guys and it actually kind of put me in the Christmas mood. It even made me want to listen to Christmas music dare I say, and put up my Christmas tree like now.

Anywho, since time is drawing close, hopefully you already have a budget but now you should make a list and start planning out your holidays including Thanksgiving. You need to figure out what you need to buy for each person and for your menu (for at least Thanksgiving). So go ahead and make that list. Also with it being this close to the holidays I would take inventory of what I do have as far as wrapping paper and decorations so you know what you will need to buy. Go ahead and get those Christmas cards made and have them ready to send out by the beginning of December!

Everyone has been asking about free stuff and things to do around Asheville for the holidays. Make sure you are checking 30 Shades of Stephanie’s Facebook because that is where I will be posting this kind of information. Today there is a link for a sample of Starbucks K-cups!.

Countdown To Christmas Volume 2

It is now 43 days until Christmas and 18 days until Black Friday! (In 18 days I will be decorating my apartment for Christmas.) So in honor of Black Friday being so close, I’m going to let you know a few things I would look into buying on Black Friday.

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1. DVDs. Even though you can download anything and everything online, Black Friday offers some great deals on movies if you can snag them quickly enough.

2. Electronics. When I say this, I say go for an older model of whatever you are buying because it will be the better deal. Also for certain things like tvs go for an off brand besides Sony, it will be the cheaper version as well.

3. Anything from Bath and Body Works. They have great deals on Black Friday, plus you can print out coupons from retailmenot.com and they will still honor them on this day!

4.Bundles. Whether it is for games, consoles, cameras or phone packages; bundles are offered a lot on Black Friday and tend to normally be a better deal.

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Fall, Where Are You

Fall, Where Are You

 

Glasses-DKNY // Scarf-Target // Bomber-Charlotte Russe // Sweater Dress-Target // Leggings-Target // Boots-Forever 21

Last week, it got extremely cold very fast down into the 20’s on some nights here in the mountains. I decided to go up the parkway to take some pictures of the foliage because the colors are truly amazing but when going up the mountain I ran into snow. Not just a dusting on the mountain, it was actually snowing, the roads were slick and the Park Rangers were even putting salt on the road. It looked like a Christmas card up there. The road to Mt. Mitchell (highest point on the east coast) was even closed due to the conditions. I was in no need prepared for it to be that cold on the mountain so I was not dressed accordingly. We need to prepare for this harsh winter that is coming fast, but I was happy to see a little snow before Halloween! Happy Halloween everyone!

Fall, Where Are YouFall, Where Are YouFall, Where Are YouFall, Where Are YouFall, Where Are YouFall, Where Are You.