Category Archives: Lifestyle

piles of pie

It’s Thanksgiving week. I could not be more excited! I am also a little bit nervous because I am cooking Thanksgiving dinner all on my own this year. This morning, I got all of my groceries and I had to call my mom multiple times to ask questions like, “Will this feed all of us?” “Where is corn syrup?” and “I can do this right???”

In our house, pie is the star of Thanksgiving. Hubs LOVES pie. He has been picking out the pie I will make for weeks. Y’all, I’m not kidding. He has stalked Pinterest, Food Network, and so many other websites looking for the perfect pie. Fruit, chocolate, pecan, pumpkin, he doesn’t care. If it has a flaky crust and a sweet filling, he loves it. This year, I am definitely looking forward to the pie. We moved into a new house last week, we both start new jobs this week, and I am working on launching a business. As you can guess, my stress levels have been a little high so I am looking forward to calming myself down with a few slices of sugary goodness.

To celebrate Thanksgiving and it’s special dessert, here are some of my favorite pie recipes. Enjoy!


bacon bourbon pecan pie


chocolate espresso pecan pie


classic pumpkin pie


coconut chocolate cream pie


spiced plum pie


cider caramel apple pie


apple ginger cranberry pie


maple heaven pear pie

Are you drooling? Hub’s ultimately landed on the Chocolate Espresso Pecan Pie so that is what I will be making this week. Let us know your favorite pie recipes and what you will be cooking in your kitchen!

Hope your day is filled with thankfulness and all things merry!


alternative christmas trees

okay. some of you might think i’m one of “those people” that cranks up my christmas music early (nope. can’t stand it for too long), starts posting pictures of my red starbucks holiday cups (well, i’m not necessarily above it), or starts posting christmas countdowns in august (listen, i barely know what year it is), but in reality, while I LOVE christmas and all it stands for and brings– i am not one who SIMPLY CANNOT WAIT TO PUT UP ALL MANNER OF CHRISTMAS DECOR. Go ahead and call me scrooge but something about storing lots of stuff and putting up knick knacks of every shape and size; whether it be snowmen, santa or snowglobes, just doesn’t get me jazzed about the christmas season. instead, i’d rather have a few season-y pieces that still get me in the holiday mood but doesn’t require lots of storage and time. Also, while we’re at it, let’s discuss something else…. the EXORBITANT PRICES OF FAKE CHRISTMAS TREES. first of all, no. and second of all, don’t talk to me about how they last for years and all that because come january 1st, when i have to pack that sucker up for days, i’m gona be mad it wasn’t a real one that i could just toss and sweep up the needles of.

so now that i have thoroughly convinced you that i am a sour scrooge, let me say this: decorating the christmas tree used to be one of my favorite pastimes. me and my three siblings all had about 200 christmas ornaments we had made over the years in various vbs-es and school projects. we all got to put all of ours up there and my mom didn’t worry too much about having a perfect tree because our handmade ornament is what made it special and meaningful. (also, real quick: saw a cheetah print themed tree and.. not okay, people) But, getting all the ornaments out and the tree put together when we only have a few days together around christmas has become a chore. and the trillions of store-bought ornaments starts to seem like money wasted and space taken up. I think recently i have tired of stuff and material items and the excess and so while i hope one day i get to have meaningful tree time with my own family, i’d much rather go easy on spending money and focus more on what the season is really about — family and friends and the grace that was born that day.

so, naturally, when i started seeing alternative christmas tree ideas, i thought “these are genius”. circle claps for the clever people that wanted to celebrate with a tree but didn’t necessarily have the funds, space, time, etc. to go traditional. i already have a fake baby tree (thus nullifying all my previous arguments) but i’m already dreaming of other ways to incorporate a tree without the real thing. let me know what you think!


which one is your favorite? any other ideas, you better send ’em this way!

let’s mix and match

Y’all, I am SO EXCITED today! Why? 1) Saturdays have kind of become baking day in my house and today I am making Chocolate Stout cupcakes. For some odd reason we now celebrate Texas A&M game days with A&M shirts and baked goods. I’m not going to complain because it gives me an excuse to pull out my kitchen aid mixer and eat chocolate. I am already drooling thinking about the cupcakes that will be coming out of my oven later . . . 2) Today we are featuring ANOTHER STYLED SHOOT! This shoot is cute and simple, just the way we like it! We had so much fun doing this, the entire Merry team was together (a rarity) and we spent the night laughing, dreaming, and taking these pictures just as a rainstorm started. Now, more about the shoot!

Do you spend your mornings staring at your closet, unsure of how you ended up with absolutely nothing to wear? Does your closet seem full of years of items you once loved but now have no idea what to do with them? We have been there. As a kid dressing up used to be so much fun and now getting dressed is a part of the day we most dread. Well, it’s time to put the fun back into clothes! Our sweet friend Anna was kind enough to bring over some of her wardrobe. We picked out a few items and put them together in a few simple and fresh ways to give her some new ideas of how to rock some of her favorite pieces. Hopefully, this will inspire you to do the same!



Don’t you love these outfits? They are so simple but adorable! The best part is that you can do exactly what we did at home- get in your closet and start creating new combinations of clothes! Don’t be afraid to try new things, chances are you will end up with some amazing new outfits that came straight from your closet. Put the fun back into getting dressed and start mixing and matching! Share your favorite new combos, we can’t wait to hear what you come up with!

Stay merry

I’m pining over…

Current obsession: pineapples. Pining over them (not to be confused with pinNing, although I am doing that, too). Pineapples have never really caught my eye or made me stop in my tracks before. But recently, I cannot get enough! Not the actual fruit either, ESPECIALLY NOT THE CANNED KIND. Just the look of them. Prints of them, glass ones, painted ones, it’s irrelevant. The point is (get it– they’re pointy?), “I like them, I love them, I want some more of them. I try so hard, I can’t rise above it” (<– tim mcgraw anyone?).

Okay, so I’m feeling fiesty today but I really just like them and need everyone to share my love of them! I also just found out that a pineapple signifies “hospitality” and “good nature” which I would also hope are words that describe me. So I am a pineapple, you guys. I’m going to go now before things get too weird but enjoy these beautiful things







What are you currently loving?

let’s meet Jenna

Good morning, sweet friends, I hope your weekend was amazing! My weekend was filled with traveling, friends, football, football, and did I mention football? Needless to say, I am excited that today is Tuesday and there are no football games (that I know of) that Hubs will want to watch tonight. I am going to enjoy every football free second tonight because I know most of my nights from now until December will be spent watching first downs and third down conversions. Such is the life of a woman who is married to a sports lover.

Now, onto much more exciting things!

Today, we are introducing another member of the Merry team- Jenna. Jenna is by far the coolest person I know. Who else could rock overalls and make them look like an expensive, high-fashion piece? Jenna is an incredible artist and designer. Don’t believe me? Take a peek at her new home that she styled all on her own. The girl is GOOD. One of the best things about Jenna is her ability to laugh at herself. She is incredibly humble, open and kind. She is a long heart-to-heart conversation, a late night diy project, an american flag shirt, and a heart of gold. Jenna is one of the most down-to-earth, loving, and selfless people I know. Am I making you want to be her best friend yet?

Jenna is an amazing addition to Merry. She pushes us creatively, encourages us to be ourselves, and adds a ton of wisdom and style to all of her posts. Enjoy getting to know her better!
merry lets meet jenna

 current jams
 MATT CORBY (dreamy and so talented)  // “come to me” by the village church  // fitzpleasure by alt+j //  all sons and daughters.

 go-to outfit?
Skinny jeans of some color/pattern + simple (and comfortable) top + flats. Or some version of boys clothing dressed up.

 best thing you cook
My style is pretty simple and fresh (when I actually do cook) so its never that complicated. Probably tilapia tacos or some such thing.

 coffee, tea, etc?
If its coffee its gota be sugared and creamed down a lot. And yes, I can feel you judging me from here. OR hot English breakfast tea is a favorite. Or passion tea. Or (my grannys) sweet tea. The bottom line is, I’m a fan.

merry lets meet jenna

best book you have read lately

Been a couple of months but “one thousand gifts” by ann voskamp and “ruthless trust” by brennan manning. Both incredible.

 current top five favorite things

1. My job. Gods pretty cool to provide a job that fit exactly the talents he gave me. Learn more about what we do
2. my new place. I had roommates all through college and those were great years but I was SO ready to live by myself. Its been fun decorating it with all my style. and THE NATURAL LIGHT IS INCREDIBLE. 
3. Iced white chocolate mocha. Just reiterating my love for sugar/cream.
4. Cheez Its. Sorry boutcha.
5. the sky recently has been bomb. Gods been flexin’ his creative muscle. Lovin’ it!

 ideal weekend
Adventures + outdoor activity all day long with people I love dearly! Beach or hiking is preferable.

 best thing about writing for merry?

The way it stretches me creatively for sure! And collaborating with the sister twinz.

merry lets meet jenna

Want to learn more about Jenna? Check out her bio. Want to see her style in action? Follow her on Instagram and Pinterest. I promise you will want to pin almost everything she does.

Merry is definitely a much more creative, stylish, and fun place because of this wonderful girl! I am so blessed to call her friend.

Hope you enjoy your (football free) Tuesday!

let’s have tea


Y’all, we are SO excited to be posting our first ever styled shoot today! This was such a fun project- we got to style, photograph, and hang out with our friends. Doesn’t that sound like a great way to spend a night?

I don’t know why we ever stopped having tea parties. As little girls we would set up colorful tables filled with cups, imaginary food, and occasionally stuffed animals. Those morning teas were special; they were filled with friends, laughter, and sweet moments. Well, it is time tea-parties make a comeback! We created this grown up version of a tea-party for our friends. It has vintage vases, simple place settings, and a whole lot of joy. I don’t know about you but that is how I would like to start my weekends! Plus, as an added bonus, everything we used was from one home, meaning this tea-party did not cost us a thing (Even the flowers were created with plants from the backyard) Ok, enough gabbing, let’s get to the party!

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Goodness, I love how simple and sweet this is. If these images don’t make you want to throw a tea-party I don’t know what will. Go enjoy your weekend! (If it is like mine it will be filled with college football)

Now, anyone want to have tea?



All images owned by MadelineRanda Photography and the Merry team

the digs

after a two-week hiatus, i am back and ready to share my digs with you! I recently moved into a duplex (ish) by myself after living with 11 different girls in 5 years. while having roommates was awesome and i got to live with some of my best friends, i was REAL ready to live by myself. to have my own space, to decorate however i wanted, and to have a place that really felt like me. enter apartment number three; filled with natural light, short on space and easy on the eyes. a new build with character is hard to find and i feel like they kinda nailed it. get ready for picture overload + enjoy!

(and note: yes, i do really enjoy books + america. if only you could see my shoe collection…)


























WHEW. if you survived– congratulations. For being such a small place, i managed to get ample pictures, huh? Here’s some Q + A for you lovelies.

what first drew you to the place?

honestly, natural light was on my list of “musts”. with a small budget and limited options in the rolling metropolis of bryan + college station, texas, searching for a one-bedroom place with the things i wanted was really hard. it was discouraging because i wanted a space to relax and that i felt happy every day waking up in. this place is that for me. ideally, i wanted an older place that had lots of character but this was a good balance. i feel really lucky.

what is at the top of your home to-do list?

i just recently got my green chair (thrifting. ethan allen, wutup) so finally actually feel like i can have friends over to hang. but i really want/need a rug + possibly coffee table and FOR THE LOVE OF PETE- kitchen chairs. i don’t have space for an actual table but there is bar space where i can put two chairs. i’ve been searching for the perfect ones to do a lil paint project on. eating on sofa chairs is getting old fast. most of the other areas i’m content with for now but those three things are a work in progress!

what’s your style?

I used to stress myself out about matching everything and having a certain “style” but mixing and matching is my favorite and makes me feel most at home. I hated the feeling of having a color scheme i felt limited in so i kind of threw out the formalities and decided to just do what i like. i highly recommend it.

ALSO THIS QUOTE IS TRUE: “Have nothing in your home that you don’t know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” William Morris

(aka tell that hoard BYE. you don’t need every tshirt you own from 1999, promise.)

where do you shop most for home decor?

jenna is my name and thrifting is my game. partly cause i’m cheap, partly cause i love the hunt, partly cause i don’t have tons of dough to be spending on brand new stuff anyways, but it has served me well so far. i’d say about 90% of my decor and furniture is thrifted and its fun having stuff that you can’t just find anywhere else. sometimes this makes things more frustrating when trying to find certain things (ie: rugs, kitchen chairs, coffee table, ANYTHING PARTICULAR REALLY), but i prefer it.

alright your turn, what are you most looking forward to doing or updating in your home?

the art of gift giving

hi friends!

yesterday was one of my favorite days. it was my 21st birthday and was spent beautifully with friends and family making sure the day was special. i am such a fan of other people’s birthdays, but when it comes to mine I tend to get uncomfortable. I am awful at accepting gifts, but this year my loved ones made it easy. Big gifts overwhelm me. However, if the gifts represent our friendships and are more thoughtful than expensive- they melt my heart. this year it seemed everyone was bent on spoiling me with personalized gifts that completely wowed me. it got me thinking about what makes a gift amazing- it’s not the money spent, but the thought behind it. not the packaging, but the time put into making it personal. Here are just a few of the lovely gifts that brightened my day and showed me how sweet friendships can be. (p.s. sorry for some of the iPhone pictures. I just had to share.)

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These  precious moments of my day made it one of the best. A bracelet from my parents of an arrow- my photography logo that’s so dear to me. ! homemade card complete with pictures and an Icee cup (we have an Icee addiction) from my summer roommate. ! painting from one of my very best friends that are “sunshine colors because I love sunshine.” A friend got me a life-size Superman cutout because I drew him a Superman for his locker our senior year of highschool that he still has. A surprise party with my YoungLife team. Not to mention the homemade gourmet cupcakes or the Starbucks runs or Austin trip the night before. There were countless other moments that made that day so special, but seeing the thought and the generosity behind the gifts I was given- I have never felt so loved. There is truly an art to gift giving. I hope the next time you have a loved one with a birthday you take the time to personalize their gift and make it unique to y’alls friendship. Let these inspire you!

Love and sunshine.

thursday trends- coral

There isn’t a color I can think of that is more trendy than coral. (do people say trendy anymore?) These peachy, pink, and orange hues are so popular right now. I can’t blame anyone for loving this color. It adds brightness to any room, vibrancy to floral arrangements, and makes even the palest girl look like she has a bronzy glow. SIGN ME UP. (personal note- shouldn’t I be tan considering it is mid-august? instead I look like it is december and I haven’t seen the sun in months. embarrassing)

Here are some of the most fun uses of coral I have seen lately. Go get your coral on.

Fotor0814114326Fotor0814114547Fotor0814113626 (Drinks, Silverware, Skirt (unknown), Flowers, Invitation, Cake, Crown, Table)

See y’all tomorrow!

peace, love, and coral

on why simplicity is often best.

whether it’s a token white t-shirt, classic chocolate cake, or a single flower in a vase; sometimes it’s the simple things that can speak the loudest.

when planning a party, an outfit, a vacation, or even, heck, your life. I think often we get lost in the hundreds of thousands of options. Lots of great options. Lots of unique and fun and crazy and loud options. This gives endless choices that can often lead to being overwhelmed (Side note, name this movie: “I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?” please say you’ve seen this).

Sometimes the answer to your problem is not MORE solutions but less. I think in the world of Pinterest, Sam’s club, and excess, it’s easy to feel like more is more. I think as a creative, it is often making the most of out the least. And when done right, simple details can speak volumes about a person, an event; it can tell a story that might have been lost in the clutter of all the surplus. So I’m not saying you have to only buy one snack– in fact your guests might resent you for that. But before you go all crazy adding toothpick DIY sparkly rainbow poof hearts (or something like that) to your party, think about what is truly meaningful and what you want to express in that particular arena of your life and then execute it a simple way that still feels “you”. I’ve been finding that living minimally (comparatively speaking of course) has challenged me to use what I have, where I am and make it represent who I am and what I want to tell the world.

Here’s some inspiration in simple images that I found compelling:




(photos via: Good Grief, Miss Agnes!, unknown, Occasions Online, and Design Sponge)


And maybe your math teacher was right (and it pains me to say it but), just KISS: Keep it simple, stupid.