Guys guys guys it’s that (fantastic) time of the year again! Today is December 1st and you know what that means?!! It’s time for another round of 24 Merry Days of giveaways! 24 days. 24 bloggers. 24 uh-mazing giveaways! We’re going to be spreading some good ol’ holiday cheer left and right!

And you won’t believe the goodness we have in store for you: a Madsen cargo bike, a mini SMEG fridge, Loeffler Randall handbags, a gold bar cart from Dot and Bo, a smart cooking scale + Ipad mini from Drop, an adult and kid balance bikes from Public Bikes, big fat gift cards from West Elm, Anthropologie, The Land of Nod, Lulu & Georgia, UncommonGoods, etc, smart jewelry from Cuff, a pair of boots from Swedish Hasbeens…and SO MUCH MORE! I mean, are you guys drooling yet or what?!

Now you ask, how can you enter? Well, everyday one of the giveaways will be hosted on one of the participating blogs where you’ll get more details on what to do. You can find the calendar of giveaways here. Now I can’t tell you which prize will be given away on what day – but I can tell you that EVERYDAY there is going to be an amazing prize. So make sure to bookmark the 24 Merry Days website for December! Also, you can like 24 Merry Days on Facebook and follow along the giveaway – make sure to like the daily status so you keep seeing them in your feed every day in December :) Now I am telling you – you DON’T want to miss this! Because, what if you were the lucky winner?!

Today, the first giveaway is happening on The Sweetest Occasion, and you can win $400 to one of my favorite brands, West Elm. Click here to check out today’s giveaway! Good luck friends :)

24 Merry Days site design & logo by Gloria Chen.

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Thankgsiving is a funky holiday when you are from Europe. In a way, you feel like it’s not really yours to celebrate because you didn’t grow up with it – when I was little there was no turkey, no pumpkin pie, no football, no Indians and Pilgrims, and no Black Friday. But at the same time, it is everybody’s holiday isn’t it? I mean, it’s hard not to relate to a holiday that’s all about focusing on the things that bless your life. Thanksgiving keeps growing on me. I love looking back at the road I’ve been on and try to imagine what the road ahead looks like.

Coincidentally I just started reading Lean In during our vacation in Hawaii, and why I’m enjoying it, it’s also been making me feel guilty in a way – guilty of some of the choices I’ve made over time. But today I just close my eyes and chose to just savor life as is. No regrets. No wondering what could have, should have been. No guessing. Just life as is. This wonderful life with my little family. 

Wherever you are in this world, and whatever season of your life you are in right now, I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving. Take a look at your life…I am pretty sure the glass is half full :)
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Can you guys believe it’s already almost December? My favorite month of the year, but I wonder if I’ll have much time to enjoy it this year – we plan on moving to the new house mid-December, I won’t have much time to shop for presents… you think the girls will notice if I just pack their old toys and just put wrapping paper around it and just move these boxes to the new house. Tadaaaaaaaaaaaa Christmas presents 😀 hehe.

Thought I’d share some of the gift ideas on my radar for this year – not as extensive of a guide as the one I made last year, but hopefully still helpful :) Happy shopping to all of you who will be brave enough to tackle shopping this Black Friday! If you’re looking for me, I’ll probably be somewhere in the Pacific ocean – taking a little family vacation in Hawaii for Thanksgiving (follow along on my Instagram profile if you want).

1.Love these graphic cheese plates from Baba Souk.
2. The essential Bar book, a classic!
3. Hubby has this chair and LOVES it, definitely a wonderful present
4. A sweet gift to DIY for little kids, DIY Crown and wings
5. Pretty little wooden balance trike at Land of Nod
6. Pretty newspaper holder for the office or living room
7. This bunny ears hat is too adorable!
8. Another great gift to DIY: give bottles of homemade Bailey’s
9. Great aprons from Lint & Honey
10. Pretty sure I need this wooden bath caddy
11. Love everything that Petit Pippin makes. Her softies are my favorite!
12. I’d cuddle under warm and bright throw any day.

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You guys…..we bought a house!Now you know what I’ve been doing these past few weeks – along with working tirelessly on planning another round of 24 Merry Days. I still can’t believe we are home owners…..sounds pretty grown-up, doesn’t it? :)

Back to the house shopping the Berkeley housing market is not joke – so tough to get into! There are too many people wanting to live here and not enough houses coming on the market, so guess what…..bidding wars for every home! And we’re not talking $10 or $20 over asking…way more! And making making all cash offers on top of it. It’s insane!

But that’s all behind us now…..and we’re starting a brand new chapter :) I wanted to wait until we closed to share the news with you all – I am so superstitious! But we  got the keys yesterday and I wanted to share some pictures…not a full tour because I haven’t snapped too many pictures yet, but a little preview :)

The home is older, built in 1920 but has been well loved and cared for over the years, so we don’t have to do too much before we move in – which is perfect since we want to be in there before the holidays :) But oh, do we have dreams for this home, so many things we want to do! It’s so weird, thinking that this is all ours and we don’t have to ask anyone to change things! It has four bedroom, and an in-law unit so that our family from Europe can come and stay with us as much as they’d like!

So you’ll ask, what’s the one thing that made us fall in love with this home? The backyard. Hands down. It is a big lot filled with redwood trees, and we’re still in the middle of Berkeley, It’s like living in a cabin, but in the city. It’s magical. And there is a creek that runs through the lot also, so guess what, to access our backyard we have to cross a bridge :) I can’t wait for us to start making memories there. 

I will share more about our dreams for this home soon…but for now, friends. I shall go to bed. It’s been a looong, exciting, tiring week!



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Hola friend! Is your tech feeling a little down, sad that winter is on it’s way? Well, Jessica from Coco + Mingo and I have a little something to make your tech happy :) This is our third post in this happy tech series – and it’s been so much fun working with someone as amazingly talented as Jessica. And well, she’s pretty awesome all around, to be honest 😉

Living the life I imagined….I think it’s an ongoing battle for me! Battle with what? Well, that good old self-esteem, that “but can I really do those things?”, “am I cut out for it?”…the doubts always creep in somehow. But in the end the minute I decide to stop worrying and stop doing, I realize that really it’s not that bad at all. And in fact, starting to live your dreams is pretty damn awesome :) It’s all about jumping in and reaching out for those stars with your two pretty little hands.

Anyway, hope these free wallpapers for your computer and phone make you happy when you look at them :)

Click here to download:
1280x1024 feather wallpaper (PC)
2560x1600 feather wallpaper (13 inch mac)
2880x1800 feather wallpaper (15 inch mac)
Feather phone wallpaper.jpg

Lettering by Jessica from Coco + Mingo, artwork by me. For personal use only. Not for sale or distribution. If shared, please link back to original post – thank you :)

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Me:Madeline, what do you want to be for halloween?”
Madeline, day 1: ” I wanna be Cruella”
M, day 2: “No, actually, I will be the dog and daddy will be Cruella.”
M, day 3: “No, actually, I want to be a lunch box.” (?!?!?!)
M, day 4: “No, actually, I want to be a pumpkin patch.” (?!?!?!?!?!)
M, final call: “Ok, I’ll be the dog and daddy can be Cruella.”

Man, we cut it close….I mean….a lunchbox costume?! Instead, now I get to see my dear hubby dressed up as Cruella de Vil. Best. Halloween. Ever. Also, Olivia wanted to be a pineapple this year and she requested that her baby sister be a strawberry. AND she convinced her good friend at school to dress up as an orange. So it looks like we’ll have a whole fruit bowl, friends :) Happy halloween!

Images: 1. |2. |3. |4. |5.

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Hubby keeps joking that I am turning into a hippie since we moved to Berkeley…and he might be a tad right :) But hey, nothing wrong with wearing flowers in your hair and trying to live in peace with the environment, right? :) Jokes aside, I’ve been increasingly thinking a lot about chemicals over the past few years, especially since having the girls. What we eat what we put on our skin. I have a mile-long list of things I want to make myself, and on that list was laundry detergent… I gave it a try.

And I guess, more than a try because that’s what I now use for all of my laundry! What do I love about it? Well, I LOVE that it’s easy to make and eco-friendly, that is is WAY cheaper than the laundry detergent you buy in a regular store, and that it cleans the girls’ “i-just-rolled-myself-in-the-dirt” clothes super well!

I am sharing my recipe on the West Elm blog today, so make sure to check it out here :)

Credits: Photography by This Little Street and Jacqueline Knapp. This post was conceived in partnership with West Elm. No compensation was received. All thoughts and opinion are my own.

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Last weekend we went on our annual trip to Little Basin with friends. It was heaven in a campground, lost in a sea of redwood trees. I wanted some fall and it delivered. The crisp air. The smell of the trees. I am not sure what it is about these big old trees, these wise souls. You look up, and you just feel so small and all of the suddenly, it’s like everything is put in perspective. It also helped that we had no cell reception at the campground, so all we did was to enjoy the company of our friends. Nowadays, it’s not so common, you know? I mean, how often do you spend an entire day with friends without checking your text messages or emails at least once?! We made memories for life, and that my friends, is much better than checking out my facebook page :)

The entire weekend was all guitar playing around the camp fire, making s’mores, climbing trees, telling stories.  Aaaaand we may or may not have been drinking this fall sangria all weekend :) I made a big container of it before we left, it was so easy to make and everybody loved it – soooooooo delicious! So I figured I’d share the recipe with you all – see it at the end of the post. I also made a box of these vanilla bean bourbon marshmallows for the adults (I am OBSESSED with this flavor combination right now) and they were a hit even with my friends who don’t like marshmallows. We gulped them down :)

Now all I want is to go on another camping trip, I could live in this redwood forest I swear :) Happy Tuesday, friends, and let me know what you think of the sangria if you try it!

Fall sangria recipe

1 bag of cranberries
2 red apples
2 green apples
2 pears
2 bottles of white wine (pinot griogio etc)
2 liters of hard cider
rosemary and raw sugar for garnish

Cut your apples and pears in cub, and place them with the cranberries at the bottle of your containers. Pour the wine and cider over the fruit, mix and let sit over night in a cool place. Serve cold with rosemary dipped in raw sugar – don’t skip this, it makes a BIG difference :) To get the sugar to stick to the rosemary, quickly dip the rosemary branches in water, get rid of excess water and roll in the sugar. Please enjoy moderately – you can easily cut the ingredients in half if you need less :)

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Victory! Freia slept through the night the past two nights, which she had not done in almost two months….I feel like I am getting my brain back! Haha. Don’t ask my friends how many times I’ve *lost* my keys in the past month. Thank goodness for friends willing to take the girls to school while I turn the house upside down to find said keys. Gaaah. But hey – I see the light at the end of the tunnel now, it feels like things are finally falling into place. Crazy what good this little thing called sleep will do to you 😉 Only hoping I am not jinxing myself my screaming victory too fast 😉

Fall finally arrived here (it was still 90 degrees last week!), and all I want to do is to get time to stop spinning so that I can enjoy my favorite season. Good news is that we’re going camping friends this weekend in the redwoods (same place we went to last year), so you’ll find me rolling myself in leaves and stuffing my face with s’mores all weekend :) I can’t wait for music by the camp fire! 

On that note, a few perfect fall projects: 1. Customized enamel mugs! 2. Wax-dipped leaves |3. Pumpkin tartlets | 4. DIY dream catcher | 5. Squirrel neck pillow – not a DIY, but should be easy to make!|6. Almost like s’mores in a jar 😉

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L: Swedish home via Hus o Hem|R: pumpkin cake apple turbans by Lemon Fire Brigade.

Guys, this house hunting stuff is crazy! Last week we put our very first offer on a mid-century home that we LOVED – we put in a very strong offer….but  our offer still got outbid by $75K. And worst, it was an ALL CASH offer!! Gaaaaah. I mean, who has that kind of money? We were so sad to not get the house, we didn’t realize how emotional this whole process was until we got into it…oh well. Hopefully we find our dream home soon!

Meanwhile, I’ll keep looking at pretty houses that are on the other side of the world while stuffing my face with chocolate….yeah, I feel a whole lot better already 😀 I love this pretty Swedish house – all that wood and the warm hues make me feel of fall and a good old pumpkin spice latte :) And my, can we talk about that super bold wallpaper they used in their daughter’s room? You know I go bananas for a good bold wallpaper!

And with that, how do these pumpkin cake apple turbans sound? Pretty amazing, right? I’ll take a dozen thankyouverymuch. You can find the recipe here on the Lemon Fire Brigade :)

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