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A few weeks ago, my mom loaded me up with all. the. holiday. china., which truthfully was really exciting to me because it meant that we were finally settled enough to host Christmas in our own home… something I’ve been pining about doing forEVER.  Usually, we split holidays between our families and do a little joint celebration, which is fine… but there’s no place like home, right?  True to form, I’ve spent more time playing with my Christmas table setting ideas than actually planning the holiday… because that’s how I roll.  (And because I have an obsession with Kate Spade table linens and coming up with new holiday table setting ideas using said linens.)

journey of doing - Christmas table setting ideaspinthisimage

Last year, I found the Kate Spade All the Trimmings napkins at Home Goods… and I was obsessed.  (I also have these in white, but they don’t look as good with the cream dishes.)  I picked up the last four I needed last week at Marshall’s… which was a total win in my book.  I was thinking I would have to pay full price for them on eBay.  (Remember when you used to be able to get good deals on eBay???)


journey of doing - Christmas table setting ideaspinthisimage


I think we all know that I love a matchy-match (makes things easier when I have no style), but I loved how the holly pattern, the gold and cream Harbour Stripe and the fun holiday phrase linens all came together.  Thennnnn I put just the gold and cream linens on the table and I loved that, too.  What’s not to love about a little shimmer thought?!  Isn’t it amazing how much you can change the look of a table with a small piece of material?  (I’m obsessed. Who knew that TABLE LINENS would be my thing?!)

journey of doing - Christmas table setting ideaspinthisimage

journey of doing - Christmas table setting ideaspinthisimage

I’ve seen the red and cream larabee dot linens (napkins, placemats, table runners, and tablecloths) showing up sporadically at TJMaxx, Marshall’s, and Home Goods, but Bloomingdale’s is always running deals on them during the holidays, too.  Green is harder to find, and I’ve never seen the platinum ones that I use with my wedding china outside a department store.  Last year, I saw the gold and cream and silver and cream harbour drive collection at all the discount retailers, but I haven’t seen them at all this year.

I’ve started collecting the Waterford Snowflake Wishes drinkware; my mom gifted me the clear ones for my birthday last year… once again… found at Home Goods.  I don’t know if we’re going to be as lucky with the red and green ones, but I’m definitely on the hunt.  My mom is on the hunt for some gold flatware… so far everything we’ve tried is too yellow.

journey of doing - Christmas table setting ideaspinthisimage

journey of doing - Christmas table setting ideaspinthisimage

Shop Christmas Table Setting Ideas via Shopstyle:

linking up with jess

  • Leslie @ Martin Manifesto - Beautiful…and so festive! I remember being so excited to show off my Christmas tablescape just two short years ago…but now I’d have to set up a fence around the entire dining room table to ensure my “little helper” didn’t destroy it! Haha.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica @ The Newly - Those Waterford glasses are TO DIE for. Love them! Isn’t it fun finding amazing things at TJ Maxx/Homegoods?!? I love shopping there because I know I will always come away with something great. My hubby doesn’t. Because he know I will always come away with something great. Lol! Thanks for linking up today!ReplyCancel

  • Amy Smith - Thanks for linking up with us! Your table is beautiful. I love how the red makes a statement!ReplyCancel

  • Louann Kristy - This is just fab !!! Love those napkins !ReplyCancel

Or at least it’s going to.

In two hours, my mom, my husband, and I are boarding a plane bound for Munich, Germany.  We’re going on the ultimate Christmas market extravaganza to celebrate my mom successfully completing radiation earlier this year.  I’ll be spending my birthday abroad, too.

I hope you’ll follow along via instagram and snapchat (@journeyofdoing)…. and if you have suggestions, feel free to comment along our journey.  I’m excited to revisit some places we went earlier this year… and add some new cities along the way.

journey of doing - budapest at nightpinthisimage

  • Jasmine - So exciting! I can’t wait to follow along on your trip!! 🙂 Safe travels!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Elizabeth - Have SO much fun in Germany Sara! I can’t wait for the day I can go back to Germany – and to go at Christmas! I have all the heart eyes for your trip – especially as its a trip of celebration for your mom. Can;t wait to see pictures and read about the trip!ReplyCancel

  • Katie Elizabeth - OMG! Have so so so much fun. So happy for your mom. Enjoy your trip!!ReplyCancel

journey of doing - holiday table setting ideaspinthisimage This weekend I had the pleasure to host a birthday celebration for one of the women who has played a large part in my personal development.  I met her when I was in college, and she provided me mentorship, guidance, and an amazing example of strength during that time.  Her husband works abroad and her children are scattered throughout the United States, so it meant a lot to me to be able to celebrate her, especially in light of last week’s election.  With the exception of my in-laws’ coed baby shower, I haven’t gotten to host many activities at our house since we finished the renovation… and I’m anxious to change that… and this gave me the perfect opportunity to start playing some holiday table setting ideas.

Side note: anyone have some napkin ring suggestions?

journey of doing - holiday table setting ideaspinthisimage Last week, while shopping for winter gear for our upcoming post-Thanksgiving trip at the Dillard’s outlet, I found some placemats and napkins* for $1.20/each.  Now, I’ve already owned my obsession with Kate Spade table linens, soooooo I figured at $1.20/piece, I could either find a use for them or sell them.  When I got home, I fell in love with how they look with our wedding china*.  Since most of my Christmas decor is blue (expect to see more in the coming weeks), I figured these would be a fun addition to my holiday decor… and they will also transition nicely into spring and summer.  Definitely a win for $1.20/each.journey of doing - holiday table setting ideaspinthisimagejourney of doing - holiday table setting ideaspinthisimagejourney of doing - holiday table setting ideaspinthisimage I also started playing around with the Kate Spade larabee dot platinum linens* we received for a wedding gift, and I think they set a more elegant table than the harbour drive collection*.  I found the larabee dot linens in ivory last year at Marshall’s, and I think they would be really pretty with our china as well.  Recently, I found a green table runner in the clearance stuff at Bed Bath and Beyond, and I’m excited to see how that looks with my Christmas table settings in a few weeks.  (I’ve also seen the red harbour drive collection at Home Goods in the last few days!)  If you missed it on snapchat (@journeyofdoing), I brought home ALLLLLL the Christmas china from my mom’s house last week.  Bring on the holidays! I’m not going to lie – baking, celebrating with people I love, and playing around with my ridiculous table linen collection has me all kinds of excited for the upcoming holiday celebrations… now I just need to get them planned.

journey of doing - holiday table setting ideaspinthisimagejourney of doing - holiday table setting ideaspinthisimage

Shop this post through Shopstyle:

  • Jasmine - There’s a Dillard’s OUTLET?! That’s amazing! I’m loving the look of the Kate Spade linens. And officially obsessed with your china.ReplyCancel

  • Kate @ Green Fashionista - Such a beautiful setting! You already know I’m loving all things Kate Spade <3
    Green FashionistaReplyCancel

  • cara - What a gorgeous place setting! I’m so excited for the holiday gathering season! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Biana - Love your setting – it’s perfect year round too! xo, Biana –BlovedBostonReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Martinis & Bikinis - The dinnerware collection is gorgeous and dainty! Those are my kind of colors for entertaining.ReplyCancel

  • Katie Elizabeth - Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous!!! I actually picked up simple silver napkin holders at World Market last holiday season and LOVE them! They’re really well made and the price wasn’t bad either!ReplyCancel

  • sara - Your china is so pretty!! I love the subtle silver! And it looks great with the blue! Love.ReplyCancel

  • Hena Tayeb - great ideas. thanks for sharingReplyCancel


Few, if any of you, had the opportunity to be educated in history and politics by my dad.  I was afforded this privilege, so when I wept the first time on November 8, 2016, it wasn’t because my candidate wasn’t winning, it’s because my dad wasn’t here to explain this to me.


A year ago, he promised me that this couldn’t ever happen.  That Donald Trump was unelectable.  That he would never make it on the ballot.


My dad was a smart man; a wise man with an unparalleled understanding of history and politics.  I trusted him.  On November 15, he will have been gone a year.


He will never be able to explain this to me.


And I wept for that loss.


I continued to watch the returns wordlessly.  I silently scrolled through my social media feed.


I saw accomplished, professional, black women that I admire worry that their credibility was further diminished with this election.  I saw accomplished black men that I admire worry about their safety and what will happen to them.  I saw their stories of weeping when Obama was elected president and how that jubilant victory was being diminished for them with each vote that rolled in; progress wasn’t really progress, it seemed.  I saw black women and men wonder how they could further protect their children – the children they already worry about incessantly.

My friends – my bright, accomplished, beautiful friends that many of us look up to as #lifegoals were hurting, and I wasn’t okay with that.  It didn’t seem fair.  It didn’t seem okay.  Why, after all the progress that we’ve supposedly made, do my friends still (rightly) fear marginalization?


And I wept.


I read someone’s post about hoping that the people who voted for this man would be at the buses when they rip Hispanic families apart because that’s what mass deportation looks like.  I recalled every. single. image. I have ever seen from World War II and how the Germans rounded up the Jewish people to send them to death camps.  Not work camps.  They deported them to death camps.  I thought of the families I had unwittingly torn apart by sending my high achieving DACA students to the best colleges in the country, and I wondered if my babies were safe.  If those ivy covered walls would be able to wrap their arms around them since I couldn’t.  I wondered how their parents were feeling.  I felt mind-numbing guilt for dividing families during days of such darkness, but I also knew that by sending them away, I was giving them one of their only chances to escape the systems designed to constrain them for the rest of their lives.  I recalled every single word of the essays I have read in the last few weeks.  The ones that talk about not remembering the details of the small villages they were born into before being whisked away to the United States in search of opportunity when they were merely children.  The ones that talked about the fear they felt when they were separated from their parents to cross the border to escape poverty.  The ones who have never known any other home besides the United States, so when people tell them to go home, they aren’t sure what they are talking about.  The ones who don’t speak Spanish, so, if by chance, they are forced to return to that village that they don’t remember, they aren’t sure how they will survive.


And I wept.


I thought of my students who grew up in refugee camps in third world countries.  Who crawled across borders in the dead of night to safety.  Who grow up in poor communities in the United States and see it as the greatest blessing in the entire world.  Who don’t see their poverty as anything more than riches – because it is so much better than the mass genocide that they left behind.


And I wept.


I thought of my friends who may or may not be Muslim, but may look Muslim to outsiders.  Those friends who were the victims of hate crimes after 9/11.  Many of them are now parents.  I felt the fear that they must feel for their children – because they were only children when people targeted them for being or not being but simply looking  Muslim.


And I wept.


I thought of my LGBTQ family members and friends.  My friends – who had to already display a lot of courage to embrace who they are – how must they be feeling?  We have only recently told the gay community that we are willing to accept their marriages the way they accept and celebrate ours.  Is all that about to be overturned because someone doesn’t agree that their love is the same between heterosexual couples?  Who are we to judge the way anyone loves one another?  And, if we’re Christians, aren’t we just called to love one another?  My Bible didn’t tell me to love only people who are not gay.  How is this still a thing?  Why is this a government issue?  How does the union of two people affect governmental policy?


And I wept.


I thought about those people who must feel marginalized because they have lost their jobs due to trade deals and technology.  I remembered my time as a volunteer job counselor at North Dallas Shared Ministries and the dismay I felt when I realized that hotels required people who wanted to apply for jobs as maids apply online.  I thought about the number of students we work with every day who don’t have the basic computer skills I was afforded despite the fact they have grown up with computers in every classroom — because we have cut education funding so much.  The skills gap is real for many individuals, not just those in the Rust Belt.  I wished that they had considered that they aren’t the only ones who have been left behind by the new economy – many people who don’t look like them have been left behind as well.  I wished that we weren’t so isolated from one another; that we would leave our bubbles.  `


And I wept.


I wept inconsolable tears as the reality of this election set in.  I wept as I watched my bright, beautiful, amazing students grapple with what the results were telling them.  I saw a lot of confusion – for their bright-eyed idealism was being washed away in a single night.  They didn’t slowly become jaded like the people who voted against them… They were quickly facing the reality of the idea that 50 million people didn’t vote for Trump, they voted against their identities.  They voted against the color of their skin, their heritage, their background, their genetic makeup, or who they chose to love — all the things they couldn’t possibly control.  I wondered how I could explain this to them; I wondered if they thought I was part of the problem.  Part of the people who voted against their humanity.


And I wept.


I saw people try and tell us that God is in control – never once acknowledging that God also granted us the greatest gift of all – free will.  The freedom to choose what we do.  And that night, I saw many, many, many people who call themselves Christians choose fear, intolerance, and hate – in spite of what God called us to do.  Be kind.  Serve the least among us.  And, above all else, love.


And I wept.


Make no mistake, I’m not crying because my candidate lost.  I’m crying because we have a president-elect who ran on a platform of intolerance and hate and was elected to represent the American people.


I’m crying because my neighbor’s house is on fire.


I’m crying that because instead of reaching for the water hose, people are telling me it’s not their fault and they won’t help put it out – that these people deserve this.

  • Jasmine - I’m sorry about your father, Sara. I remember seeing posts about it last year and it broke my heart then and now. I know that is a loss that you always carry with you.

    As someone who grew up in West Texas with a Muslim father your words and your strength and support and love is so uplifting. What you DO every single day of your life, with your kids, with those around you, THAT is also uplifting. Thank you for being brave and sharing your words! Love from Louisiana.ReplyCancel

  • SMD @ Life According to Steph - I don’t have the words. I don’t know why people can’t see that this is terrible.ReplyCancel

  • Allison Arnone - I just found your blog through Steph’s and I have to say, this is such a beautiful post. I agree with everything you said and it’s a message that needs to be spread over and over again especially for all the people out there who thinks we’re being ‘sore losers’ over this result. It’s so much more than that. Like you so eloquently said, “Make no mistake, I’m not crying because my candidate lost. I’m crying because we have a president-elect who ran on a platform of intolerance and hate and was elected to represent the American people.”

    I’m also so sorry for your loss.ReplyCancel

  • Kate @ Green Fashionista - Sending you all the *hugs* sweet friend. Such a beautiful post with a great message. I can’t believe a year has already passed, and hope you and your family can find the peace and love that you need during this hard time <3ReplyCancel

  • Caroline L. - Beautifully written, my friend! I have the chills. I want to squeeze your students extra tight, I want to squeeze so many of our brothers and sisters across the nation so tight, and I want to shake so many of them by the shoulders as well – I will acknowledge and accept that as the child of immigrants, as someone who went to a liberal university and as someone who resides in a city on the far left (both geographically and ideologically), I understand my viewpoints and the experiences that have led to them are incredibly different than many others in this country… But even so, it hurts to see just how much it differs from that of the “majority”ReplyCancel

  • Lauren Lately | November 2016 - Bookmark Lit - […] not going to get into it anymore here. Check these ones out if you’re interested: here, here, and […]ReplyCancel

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