In Their Stockings

This holiday season I am so very grateful for the hard working team I have at my office. It's amazing the amount of time you spend with the people you work with- and I'm just lucky to have these bright women in my life. I haven't introduced them on the blog yet so I thought I'd include fun facts about each of them as well as things they would like to find in their stocking this year. 

And it just so happens you can tell alot about someone by looking in their stockings...

1. the book 2. the clarisonic-i'd like to clarify to anyone that may be stuffing her stocking:  she only needs replacement brushes. 3.the socks 4.the candle 5. random glitter owl 6. iphone charger 

1. the book 2. the coffee mug 3. hair ties 4.  the candle 5. the nano 6. the calendarthe ornament

We also have Leslie, my fabulous accountant who spends a couple days/month with us and Katherine who just started interning some afternoons. Needless to say it's a full house. And I don't know where I'd be without their hard work and support. 

Thanks to Sarah, Mary and Marguerite for helping me with this post.... and with everything else.

Oh,  and one more thing girls-

Screen Shot 2012-12-12 at 9.36.47 PM

Cousin Eddie called..... he wants his christmas ornaments back.

I come bearing gifts...

Here comes Christmas...

like a freight train.

My mom keeps calling me "Will you PLEASE just tell me what you want for Christmas?"

I've been avoiding it because my real answer is: NOTHING. I really don't need anything. But I also know that that answer will make any mother go insane 1 week before the holidays. !! <insert train horn>

So, fashionably late, I came up with a few ideas.

(And mom, I do NOT expect any of these to show up under the tree. This is just for fun.:)

1. Honeycomb artwork by my good friend Laura Roebuck

2. Patagonia Pouch

3. Rustic Leather Notebook/{or Diary}-depends on the day

4. Diptyque candle- this scent makes me crazy it's so good

5. Turquoise necklace

6. Foldover clutch

7. Jeffrey Bilhuber's latest book

8. OK I cheated and already got this for myself but the new Black Keys album is amazing. Gold on the ceiling. 

9. Some new jeans from Imogene and Willie- their new Elizabeth cut is higher in the waist and so flattering. These jeans are the real deal- they last forever and keep getting better with every wear. Most of my other jeans live the opposite life. 

10. Shagreen iphone cover

11. The Diana mini-camera- Cuz she's so darn cute. Who wouldn't smile for pictures if they're looking at her?

12. Jewelry travel organizer- (see #5 and #14) 

13. Cognac clogs from the Perfect Pair in Nashville

14. Gold feather ring

15. Cococozy throw blanket- pretty colors and they are really soft!

16.  Stemless wine glasses- handbuilt porcelain pottery from two of my favorite artists and friends- The Cravens out of Foxfire, VA. (I could go on but that's for another blog post) I love these wine glasses and could use a few more to add to my collection! 

Or you can always give back! There's never a better gift. Check out my favorite charities under "Share your nest."

I know the train is around the corner and everyone is frantically trying to pull off Christmas miracles to make everything perfect for the weekend-- but don't forget to love on each other. :)

happy, happy,


We're all stocked up here- with festive trees, 

pumpkins and fall flowers,

and LOTS of candy!! 

that Hoyt and I have been "testing" to make sure none of it is poisenous. 

Busted with the skittles.

Busted spoiling my dog.

Busted making 2 normal jackolanterns and 1 really creepy/dead corpse one. 

I put Mr. Jolly in charge of Finley for tomorrow night for when all the kids come a' knockin. Mr. Jolly, meet Finn.

Finn, Mr. Jolly.

I'm starting to think I should have a sign outside my door that says "Please say 'trick or T-R-E-A-T (spelled out) else you're going to end up with a hungry puppy pummeling you to the ground."

Have a great night! Be safe! Eat lots of sugar.  

Happy Happy.

Last Minute Gifts!


Long cashmere gloves from Jcrew...

Cashmere long gloves

Bookends from Restoration...

Book ends

Moleskine anything... you can find these great litle journals at Barnes & Noble.

Moleskine journal

Games. Fun for all ages- Scrabble, Catch Phrase to name a few...

Scrabble Catch phrase

Laura Mercier Shimmer Bloc- it's the perfect bronzer that can also be used for eyeshadow, etc. I love this product...

Laura mercier shimmer block
Faux Furry Throws- I buy these ALL the time for clients. Not only are they the SOFTEST things you've ever felt they also add texture and coziness to any room. (West Elm has some very similar) 

Fur throw

Some great coffee table books...
Victoria Hagan Suzanne book

Home within Bilhuber

(1) (2) (3) (4) 

This is so random but it's one of those things that makes my life so much easier. My lazy spoon... It's the only one I use when I cook. It's kind of sad how much I love this wooden spoon.

Lazy spoon 

Cosmetic bags at Target- they come in bright, fun patterns and are the perfect size-

Contents cosmetic case

A good candle. Two of my favorites...

Archipelago candle black currant Frasier fir

(1) (2) 

For all the people who are impossible to shop for because they "have everything"- donate to a charitable cause in honor of their name. 


Click here for some ideas.


OK- Off to go shopping!! 


(Queen of Last Minute Gifts)


Southern Flourish & a holiday mantel

Need some festive mantel ideas??

Southern Flourish (one of my new favorite online magazines!) asked me to contribute to their first holiday issue!

Southern Flourish holiday cover
They had me put together a storyboard for a holiday mantel- my category being "Traditional with a Twist." 



Check out the latest issue to see the rest of the article (which includes several other mantels designed by talented ladies!) and all sorts of other holiday goodies.


Southern Flourish moved to a subscription based format of only $10/year BUT they are giving you readers a GIFT- If you use the code RACHELHALVORSON at checkout you will receive all issues for only $8!! (Cool huh.? Do a little nestegg name dropping and get a discount! :)

Thanks to Southern Flourish for including me in this festive issue- I am thrilled to be a part of it!


Happy Thanksgiving

I'm heading out to our farm for Thanksgiving with the family. I can assure you there will be: lots of eating, lots of napping, lots of football, and lots of fishing.

(flashback 20 years)

Oh yes. I could catch a mean fish with that (dirty) outfit. I know y'all want those boots but unfortunately I don't think they sell them online anymore. Or anywhere, for that matter.

I'm looking forward to spending time with loved ones and taking a breather. It seems that time is flying by lately and before we know it another year will be behind us.

This year I have a lot to be thankful for. And I felt like making a list. So here goes… (in no particular order)

  1. My parents. Blog words cannot express how thankful I am for these two.BHwed078 
  2. My best friend. Happens to be good looking and really funny.


3.Boots. All shapes and sizes.

4. A good cup of coffee.

5. Sweet animals… who love you even when you torture them.


*We lost Hobbes (our orange kitty) this past summer. :( I guess I haven’t wanted to admit it on the blog. But I am thankful for Hobbes- thankful that he was our ‘little buddy’ for 3 years. He will be missed.

6. Sleep. Gotta love it.

7. Iphones. Sometimes I curse the day they were invented but I have to admit- they do make life/work a lot easier.

8. My younger brother, Cooper. We used to fight like cats and dogs when we were younger- now we compete together for our parents attention. Us vs the cats and dogs. 

Linville August 2006 075
9. The little things in nature that are so beautiful I have to stop and take a picture.


 10. Music!

11. My friends (old and new). I don’t know where I would be without you guys. This picture is from our wedding and although it doesn’t include everyone I think it accurately illustrates my friendships.

Wedding professional pics 361_2

 12. Hoyt’s side of the family. My in-laws, his brothers and their wives, his sweet grandparents… I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch. And we miss you all this Thanksgiving!

13. This includes my painfully cute nephews and nieces. This pic was a while ago (and it's only half of them!) but I love it. 


14. Fabric samples that show up at my doorstep. And when I find the downtime to sift through them, oooing and ahhing.

15. Help. I’m thankful for Amy who works her boots off in the office and is my right brain. And Leslie who is my part of the brain that I think I was born without- the accounting and bookkeeping part. Thank the Lord for them!

16. My clients! I’m thankful that doing what I love results in lasting friendships. It makes everything worthwhile.

17. A booked schedule.  Although at times it’s overwhelming, I’m thankful for work.

18. Funny youtube videos that have me in tears from laughing.

19. Photo Booth, Yearbook Yourself, FatBooth (Ohhh the tears.)

Photo on 2010-11-24 at 15.41
(anonymous freak)

20. A comfortable bed.

21. My only living grandparent- Elsie Lee, aka “Mimi”. She’s adorable and hilarious. She inspires me to stay young at heart, and I’m thankful for that.


22. FOOD!!! Good, good food.

23. Running Water. (I just asked Hoyt to insert one and this was his.)

24. Marrying a utilitarian. :)

25. Good wine, good conversation.


26. Scrabble with Friends (the real life version). Ok, and Words with Friends (I’m addicted.)


27. Shelter magazines and design blogs.

28. YOU. Seriously… thank you for reading. And for always being encouraging!

29. God’s grace. (See evidence: #1-28)

  Wedding professional pics 629 

Happy Thanksgiving! 





Merry and Bright*

Merry Christmas!!

We're at home with family in Birmingham. 

Internet/phones have been down for the past 3 days. And to top it off the power went out the other night. No reason... a squirrel must have gotten some happy feet on the transformer out here in the woods.

 It's been kind of nice... and gives us an excuse to light every single candle in our house. 


My mom and I decided some 'greenery' was much needed in her table setting. Luckily we live in a wooded area with lots of moss so we grabbed our flashlights and went on a midnight hunt for moss.

Came back with a bag full!



I'm signing off for the week, but before I do- 

What's Christmas without a few humiliating Christmas cards from years past...??


My mom (left) and her two sisters in front of their country christmas tree straight off the farm.

My first Christmas... (or second?)

Ahhh yes. The year we put a donkey in our christmas card. That's my little brother, Cooper. (and the boy to the left? no idea.)  


 A drawing by me, 7 yrs old. Check out my Dad's creepy face...

the picture that went with it... as always- strangling our animals.


Although it's been said

many times, many ways

Merry Christmas    to you!


A Christmas Cottage

Is there anything about that title that isn't enticing? A home is much cozier during the christmas season... but a cottage?? Even better.

This has always been one of my favorite articles out of Cottage Living's December issue back in 2007. 

Kitty white CL053 

And it just so happens that the owner,Kitty White, lives in Birmingham in my (old) neck of the woods! Kitty decorated this adorable cottage with the help of the fabulous architect Bill Ingram and designer Betsy Brown. 

Kitty white CL056

I love her use of natural elements such as berries and birch wood for decoration. For more ideas on how to use branches to decorate click here

*The wall paint throughout is  cloud white  by Benjamin Moore.

Kitty white CL057s
I love this idea: Instead of the traditional sofa/chair combo in front of a fireplace, she put four comfortable chairs around a coffee table.  

Picture 7
Beautiful living room... and tree! Dang. 

Kitty white
 The window panels are the opaque linen window panels from west elm! In white. 

AND the seagrass rugs are the color-bound ones from Pottery Barn

<insider tips from Cottage Living>

Kitty white CL054 

TTN: the mix of materials here is genius. The rustic ceilings mixed with the classic marble countertops, the industrial light fixture mixed with the polished nickel (double**) sinks, the traditional barstools mixed with the metal backsplash behind the cooktop... the mix goes on. 

And notice what appears to be a wood cutting board in between the sinks-?? See it above? Now look at the picture below...
Kitty white CL060ss 

Yet another clever detail that allows for mobile counterspace and easy cleaning.

*The floors were designed by Ingram: diamond-patterned bluestone outlined with strips of hardwood.

Kitty white CL060s
A high-backed banquette and table create a small dining nook in the kitchen.   

 Picture 10 

I love the dark trim and doors in this house. Notice the dark painted shutters in the dining room- if they were white it wouldn't be the same... Agree?

As for the walls: Kitty painted this design herself- with the help of maskingtape! (and patience, I'm sure:) And the ceiling: glossy?! Great, unexpected addition.
 Picture 9
 once again... a good mix.

Kitty white CL059 

Picture 12  

Kitty, the homeowner, now sells her own fabulous creations- from hand painted fabrics to jewelry to children's clothing! Click here to visit her designs online.

Picture 5 Picture 6
 Lastly, in the article Kitty states: "I'd rather have a small space with beautiful finishes than a big space that compromises the details."  With the current state of the economy I think we'll see a lot of this in the upcoming years- and in my opinion it will be a pleasant change. 


all photos from Cottage Living and Southern Living


Vintage Christmas

One of my favorite boutique stores in Nashville is one called Gilchrist-Gilchrist. I recently went in the store and felt like I walked into a winter wonderland. No joke. But it's always like that- The whimsical cottage feel, beautiful vintage finds, the laid-back vibe, good company, soothing music, ALL result in one charming store. 

The owner, Genia Gilchrist, takes shabby chic to a new level. I knew she had style but THEN I saw her house in Southern Living... MAJOR style. Good thing she shared some of her Christmas decorating tips!!.. Here are a few:


Welcome guests with festive porch planters. {These are filled with small spruce trees and filled with magnolia leaves.} Keep it simple, keep it green. (that's my input. Ok, now my input is in green)

That's Genia! She's sweet as pie. And check out her boots! :) 


Indulge your senses- and put a jar in the family room full of Christmas cookies. {Yup. Ours cookies would be gone within a day.}

When it comes to decorating your Christmas tree- MORE is better.


Sneak in Sentimental pieces. Her tree skirt is made out of an old petticoat- a gift from her friend. She took the skirt apart at the seam and laid it around the tree base. ....{ I want one!!}

Set the mood with mercury glass.


Genia is a big fan of mercury glass- and how can you argue with her looking at these gorgeous pictures?? Click here for her very helpful tips on buying mercury glass.

Tie it together with One Color. 

Each year Genia picks a color and buys different types and textures of ribbon in those colors. She ties them to all of her wreaths and even wraps her Christmas presents in them that year! (see picture above of the gift under the tree- Such a good idea! )


Use clear glass to serve as a subtle back drop when displaying Christmas decor.

Hang garlands in unexpected spaces. Don't limit them to front doors and banisters... For fresh garland she recommends The Garland Farm. (Love this image)


Wreaths of three unify a space.

Another one of her style secrets: Stack a few wrapped presents in unconventional spaces to add pops of color in any room!


Group heirlooms or collectibles together to make an impact. (Looks a lot better than having them scattered throughout the house, doesn't it?)

Dress up great finds like this vintage window frame! And mix metallics with fresh evergreens. 

Embellish what you already have. 

Genia incorporates vintage bottlebrush trees and reindeer into her year-round mercury glass collection. She then adds sprigs of greenery and seeded eucalyptus for accents.(this pretty picture reminds me a lot of her store)

To read Southern Accent's full article click here.

And if you are ever in Nashville you must stop by Gilchrist-Gilchrist. Genia's home is just a glimpse into the unique pieces you'll find in her store. Not to mention the friendly little butler that greets you at the door. (Click here to see him)

 And the bedding!!  Oh, the bedding. Which reminds me- I ordered a gorgeous pillow and have been meaning to pick it up from her for weeks. Genia, if you're reading- I promise I haven't forgotten! But I think it'd be best if we met at your house. OKOk, cool.   :)


All photos through Southern Accents by Laurey W. Glenn


Good Things

1. A Face

Unpacking Christmas stuff and finding this dude:


2. A Candle

I had heard about it several places- Style Blueprint and Blueprint Bliss to name a few- and was intrigued... "the best christmas tree candle out there"??? I wonder...

 Then I walked into a client's house last week and immediately said "Oh my gosh-WHAT is that amazing smell?!!" Thyme's Frasier Fir, ofcourse!!

Let me tell you something-the rumors are true... this candle is amazing. 


Go get one.

3. A Great Movie

I saw The Blind Side this weekend... SO GOOD! I absolutely loved it. Hoyt did too. It was such an encouraging, beautiful story that will have you walking out of the theater ready to change the world (and totally forgetting about the fact that going to a movie now costs $10/person) !! 

4. An Ornament 

Three years ago my mom gave us a few ornaments for our Christmas tree. One of the ornaments was a little orange cat that resembled Hobbes. 

Hobbes ignored all the other dangling ornaments... except this one. His mini-me. He literally HATES his mini-me and freaks out every time he sees him.  

Fall pictures 020 Minime
 The ornament will disappear for months and every now and then Hoyt and I will see him-- or what's left of him...

Fall pictures 02ss IMG_0217 IMG_0363

Poor guy... never saw it comin'.

 5. A Bookcase

My new office has been a complete MESS.. until now. I got the BIG expedit bookcase from Ikea! Hoyt was sweet enough to put it together tonight and it has already made the biggest difference. As soon as I clean my office I'll post a picture... promise. But if you're needing something inexpensive to help you get organized- get this bookcase.

 5. NestElf

Picture 2 Picture 3
This year I have been moonlighting as  Santa's helper- finding gifts for kids, wives, the whole family. (I love it!)  I have done quite a lot of online shopping, looking around stores, frequent trips to the North Pole, and flipping through magazines and have found that almost every store is featuring gifts under $50. I've picked some of my favorites and am working on a 50 under $50 post for last minute gifts. Stay tuned!!



Wreath Shopping

Hey friends,

Have you started decorating for Christmas? Are you finished decorating for Christmas? Well... I haven't started. So if you are on the same boat as me you probably could use some spiked egg-nog inspiration. One of my favorite things to decorate with is....

the wreath

Cottage living
via cottage living.... What a great picture!!! Want to eat it up. 

Domino mag
via domino mag

The traditional wreath's circular shape represents everlasting life because it has no beginning and no end...

via martha stewart

Country living wreath
via country living

source unknown

via martha stewart.... for a similar look see 'moss wreath' below. 

Where to hang?

Sure, you can put it over the mantel or on the front door. But consider stepping outside the box this year and place your wreath in a different location. Here are some ideas...

< all images below are from country living unless otherwise noted >

Greenery wreath
Hang a simple wreath in a room you spend a lot of time in. 

I love the picture above because the greenery is all you need to add the perfect pop to your white kitchen. 

Framed wreath country living
hang a wreath inside an empty vintage frame

or on your cupboard... or buffet...

Cockscomb red wreath cl
dried crimson cockscomb glued on a grapevine leaf... for a similar look see 'crimson blossom' below

Wreaths on shelves country living
little wreaths made out of boxwood clippings and wreath wire! Great way to add life to your shelves!! I think I may do this... anyone have a boxwood I could borrow? :)

Country living door wreath
Wreaths don't have to be traditional- you can stick things you like on them.. like in this case- gilded starfish and sand dollars.

I love the image above... The color combination is so subtle and peaceful. Hang a small wreath on the end of your bed like the one above made out of paperwhites.

Or like the ones in this beautiful room...

 Wreaths in bedroom SA
image via southern accents 

Grid of wreaths
A grid of smaller wreaths makes a statement on this blue wall...

Where to buy?
Here are some wreaths I have seen around town, in magazines, and online that I really like (and hope to get one this year!)...

Beautiful holiday wreath of fraser fir, boxwood and arborituvae

If you are in the Nashville you should check out Santa's Trees- they have the most gorgeous garlands and wreaths you'll find in the area- read more about this local company over at Style Blueprint. I trust these girls... you should too. 

I have to admit. I prefer my tree and wreaths to be fresh (it's the smell) but some of these artificial wreaths have been singing to me lately. And you can't beat the fact that you can enjoy them year after year...

Berry wreath target 

Green Berry wreath from Target... $22 

RH pomegranate wreath 

Pomegranate Wreath- Restoration Hardware... $35-$65

WS fall wreath
Williams Sonoma's Fall Wreath... pretty, $149 

Moss wreath timeless elements
Moss wreath from Timeless Elements, $89

GH square wreath
Simple, classic square wreath from Garnet Hill, $86

Crimson blossom wreath 
Crimson blossom wreath from Crate & Barrel, $59.95 

Succulent wreath vivaterra
Succulent wreath!  from VivaTerra.... it's ALIIIIVE!!

I'm loving this one this year.  (From Roost Co.- to the trade) $30. If you are interested in getting one of these leave a comment or email me... I'll hook a sista/brotha up!

Z gallerie wreath Z gallerie wreath silver
Ornament Wreaths from Z Gallerie, $20 

Last but Least $

Berry wreath pier one
Berry Wreath, Pier One, only $19

Which wreath do you prefer? 

The living, the berry, the ornamental, the leafy fall, the natural, or the square?


This Thanksgiving- Branching Out

This Thanksgiving Hoyt and I are branching out,

and hosting his parents in Nashville. !

This Thanksgiving I can barely remember to feed my cat,

so the turkey is coming from Whole Foods. :)

This Thanksgiving I truly have A LOT to be thankul for!!

But not a lot of time to decorate...

So, If you're like me and you're looking for an inexpensive and quick way to spruce up your home for Thanksgiving try taking a look in your own backyard (or your neighbors! :). I am always inspired by the rooms that have branches (dead or alive) as their main source of decoration. 

Pottery barn branches 

via pottery barn


via house beautiful

Birch indoors 

source unknown

Bhg branches 2

 via bhg

Branches stevengambrel
steven gambrel, via habitually chic


Bhg branches 

 via bhg


 via martha stewart

*I realize some of these branches are not 'in season' but you get the idea...

Maple centerpiece
 via martha stewart

via restoration hardware

Domino mag branches 2 

 via domino mag
Methome branches
via met home

via hgtv

Elle decor branches
via elle decor

via restoration hardware


via house beautiful
**fig branches (Where can I find these?! If you live in Nashville and have these in your backyard- call me! I'll gladly swap decorating advice for a few figs)


 This Thanksgiving I plan to get out my pruning sheers and get creative.

and by 'get out my pruning sheers' I mean: Go to Target and buy some. 


Feeling like Fall

Fall is my favorite time of year. 

These images always conjure up those 'fall' feelings- the crisp outside air and the warm, coziness of home... makes you want to grab one of those cashmere blankets, right?

Simon upton elle decor 

via elle decor, photographer simon upton

Apt therapy 

via apartment therapy

Dale saylor elle decor
dale saylor, elle decor

Martha stewart
via martha stewart

via domino

Veranda fall
via veranda

Southern accents mountain porch
southern accents.... I want to go to there.

Some other things that come to mind when it starts feeling like FALL: 

1. Hot apple cider

Hot apple cider

2. Bedknobs and Broomsticks (I dont know why)


3. The brilliant colors that about make me wreck when I'm driving down the street...


4. the ESPN sportscenter tune 


 5. This little halloween dog costume I saw the other week. Makes me laugh every time. Look at the expression on his face... 

Dog costume
"I. am. miserable."

6. Candy Corn,.... massive amounts of candy corn.

Candy corn 

7. And lastly, that one Halloween I dressed up as an old lady.


It was a exceptionally great costume. DIY, I might add. (thanks mom)


*Did my new face in the sidebar scare you??! Hope so. 

**If you are new to reading nestegg and are wondering what kind of freak you have stumbled upon, WELCOME. And I'm actually a dracula- thank you for asking. :)

I SPY... Pumpkins

If you haven't gotten your pumpkin yet.... it's time. 

And if you're bored with the usual jack-o-lantern theme here are a few ideas...

Good housekeeping 3
via good housekeeping

Country living pumpkins BHg
fun displays via country living and BHG

Drill holes bhg
drill hole pumpkins, BHG

Glitter pumpkins martha stewart Tracery interiors
**glitter pumpkins** via martha stewart, and tracery interiors

Good housekeeping

Good housekeeping2
pumpkin stripes, and pumpkin candles via good housekeeping

Katy elliot
I saw this alot in New Hampshire, pumpkins over the door. If you have the house to pull it off, DO it! It looks really cute.      via katy elliot

Pumpkin House Numbers! Another great idea. via apartment therapy

Or you could add a little harmless humor to your decor...

Pumpkin-cork_rect540 apt therapy 
via apartment therapy

Pumpkin couple 

And if you have all the time in the world you can try to pull off Martha's pumpkins. (If you do, please send me pictures!)  

Lace patterned pumpkins martha
lace patterned pumpkins, via martha stewart

Martha stewart
 pumpkins as flower pots, via martha

Thorny vines country living
flowery vine pumpkin via country living

Pumpkin tower country living
pumpkin tower via country living

Polka dot pumpkins bhg Patchwork pumpkins
polka dot and patchwork pumpkins via BHG

LAST BUT LEAST $ (and amount of effort)

Pumpkin candle Pumpkin place cards country living 

pumpkin candle and pumpkin placecard, via country living

If these ideas aren't enough you have a REAL problem you can check out martha stewart, better homes & gardens, and country living- I found most of these images on their websites and they include tutorials for each one. Just google the title I gave for each picture and you'll find it.

Happy Carving!