tree of thanks.

the other day, I shared an genius easy way to eliminate the “musical chairs” at your thanksgiving feast with these natural place cards. I told you they held a second purpose.

amidst the food + wine, it’s important to remember what brought you all together and to be thankful. so what better than to jot it down.

each person finds there seats just before dinner is served. once you arrive at your seat, each person is kindly instructed to open up their place card and write what they’re thankful for. they can then share and/or hang them on a tree.

If your thanksgiving group [family or friends] gets together annually or every few years’d be fun to hold onto them for the next holiday feast.

tree of thanks c/o

tree of thanks c/o

tree of thanks c/o

tree of thanks c/o

what thanksgiving traditions do you hold dear?

get more ideas for your thanksgiving by following along with #LLinaBCvsTurkey. so far place cards + vodka are important.

turkey week.

we’ve officially entered thanksgiving week. which also means, the holidays are upon us! ahhhh. the happiest time of year.

my absolute favorite part is being together, with family. and the traditions, new & old. growing up thanksgiving was always at my [parent’s] house. I knew the drill.

but add another element, that’s [J]. and another hometown, that’s 200+ miles from mine. and you have yourself a tangled web of plans & towns. all of equal importance.

so, today …

[J] & I are making the trek to iowa.

to see my parents. for a few days. [not seeing them was not an option]. we’re going to eat, drink, relax, and be together you should during the holidays.

and on thanksgiving morning, we’re going to get up with the sun. get coffee. and happily drive back to illinois, for a proper thanksgiving feast with [J]’s family.

I’m beyond excited we get to be with both of our families, all the while enjoying our first turkey day together.

here are a couple snapshots of {thanksgiving last year}. at my parent’s.

the table setting. “I am thankful for ..

our thanksgiving tree. each person wrote what they were thankful for inside their name tent. and placed it on the tree. we read each of them aloud at the end of the meal. tears were shed.

then we had a friendly game of flag football in the backyard. the perfect way to burn off that meal.

did I mention I love the holidays?

I couldn’t be happier they’re here!

if you’re traveling, travel safely. if you’re patiently waiting for thanksgiving break, you’re so close. if you’re already on holiday, cheers!

[I’ll be here all week long, so stop back! but for better ‘coverage,’ visit me on instagram: @chelset]

happy monday.

Turkey day at its finest.

I took a 10 day “leave of absence” from New York City and headed West …to the Midwest, that is. It was my first time “traveling” for the holidays (unless you count driving an hour from my college to home) so it was a slight disaster. I booked my flight the week prior to departure, dumb. And the 10 day stint of my trip was purely because those days offered the cheapest air fare. To my dismay, it worked out flawlessly. I flew into Chicago, (The cost to fly into Iowa is similar to the cost of flying from New York to London. Ridiculous!) which meant I got to spend two days w/ my significant other & his family before my family time kicked in. Jeff & I loaded up the car Monday morning with Dunkin Donuts coffee and all my luggage and headed to the halfway point. Now I will begin … (ha) :)

It seems like forever since the last time my entire family got together for a holiday. By entire, I mean my 3 sets of “Aunts & Uncles” (from Colorado & California), Aunt B from Iowa, my 7 cousins, my little brother (also now living in Colorado), my parents, and my grandparents. A holiday just means that much more when everyone is together! We had so much fun!

I dislike the “Iowa” stereotypes, but we definitely fulfilled one during Thanksgiving week ..

Oh yeah baby – John Deere tour. My dad works there. I was much more entertained & amused than I expected to be. And to Thanksgiving day …

Aunt B, Dad, & I.

Obviously besides turkey, pumpkin pie, and football games ..Thanksgiving (post age 21) also goes hand in hand with – wine! I left a wine glass of mine (from college) at my parents, for a rainy day …or to match my dress!

kind of.

We set the table ..

Thanks to a team/family effort all 25 napkins were cut, tied, and 25 personalized place cards were made ..beautifully, I might add.

Each table setting had a place card with the person’s name. They served two purposes. The first was obvious, to ensure you found your seat (adult & kids table alike). The second was the most important. Each person had to fill out what they were thankful for inside their name tent. Once they were finished, they were to place them on our Thanksgiving tree.

Thee Thanksgiving Tree.

(My cousin Paige & I went hunting in the backyard for the branches Thanksgiving morning. We wrapped them with twine and put them in rustic vase my mom had at home). The kids were so excited to write what they were thankful for, they did it before eating! Most of the adults held off onto after seconds! Let’s just say, I think we started a tradition!

Then came another first for our family ..a post-feast flag football game. It was an ABSOLUTE blast. I had an interception and made a beautiful catch for my team, but unfortunately I made a more memorable impact ..let’s just say the yoga pants I was wearing aren’t as black as they used to be and my uncle filmed the whole thing. [HELLO backside ..whoops!] And Uncle Craig, let this serve as friendly reminder ..that video stays within family limits and makes no internet appearances. Thanks from my tush & my former yoga pants!

I'm to the far left - see black pants!

And last but not least, my brother did the dishes. It was the first I’ve ever seen. Definite photo op …

Hey Cole!

On my last night in town, I decided to take the reins and host a farewell Mexican fiesta for my parents, grandparents and good friend, Courtney. Perfect way to end a great holiday week!

My mom drove me to Chicago, handed me off to Jeff’s family, and just when I thought I was hours from an airplane ride back to NYC …I was wrong. My 7:30PM flight was delayed 4 hours. Then it was only delayed 2.5 hours. Then up to 3. To sum it up, my expectations of making it back home that night were dwindling. I was graciously distracted by (my first) no-chip manicure and wine. Then I made my trek to airport. The first thing I saw after getting through security …

cots, a lot of cots.

More “dwindle” to my expectations. But after about 4 hours in the airport, my flight boarded. I landed in NYC at 2:34AM and was greeted by Jeff’s smiling/tired face! :)

Last picture I took ..

manicure & starbucks.

I am beyond thankful for my amazing family, for all of the time I got to spend at home, for my friends (near & far), for the things I complain about (excessively) but am truly glad to have (ie. my job), and for my love.