Category Archives: Holiday

DIY Emoji Easter Eggs


To be perfectly honest we’re not the BIGGEST fans of dyeing Easter Eggs. As children we were OBSESSED with it, but over the years the excitement has decreased quite a bit (sad but true).

Maybe it’s because we don’t have kids ourselves or maybe it’s because we feel “too busy” to give this tradition the time it deserves. Or maybe it’s just because our eggs always look awful after it’s all said and done! It’s hard to say why we don’t love coloring eggs, but this year we carved out time to give it another try!

We are excited to say that this little project sparked that old flame of excitement.
diy emoji easter eggsWe didn’t come up with this genius idea by ourselves. We actually saw it here, by the extremely talented Studio DIY and decided to recreate the look because it seemed so fun. And that’s exactly what it turned out to be. We had such a blast decorating these goofy eggs together and were pleasantly surprised at how EASYYYY they were.

Rookie tip: If you’re looking for even more emoji ideas (and emoji eggs that look a lot better than ours) make sure you check out Studio DIY’s post. #epic [insert heart eye emoji on repeat here] DIY_Emoji_Easter_eggs-18

Creating them was probably a lot more hysterical than it should have been but who doesn’t love a good emoji?! They’re tiny symbols that bring an instant smile to our faces and one symbol that knows no age boundaries. And we promise, if we could pull off these quirky DIY eggs, we know that you (and your kids!) can too.



  • Yellow, light blue, and white acrylic paint (optional: red)
  • Small paint brushes
  • Black Paint Pen (other colors as needed) – we used red too!
  • A Dozen Hard-boiled Eggs


Easy Steps to Recreate the Look

After cooking the eggs and letting them cool/dry, we painted all of them yellow to start. You could probably use the traditional dye for this step if you’d rather, but we went with paint.  It  seemed less messy and it produced a vibrant yellow color on the eggs.

We painted all of the eggs yellow and let them dry overnight. That much dry time was unnecessary, but it did help cut down on the mess and allowed us to get right to the fun part in the morning — the drawing!
DIY_Emoji_Easter_eggs-11For the details on the eggs, we used black and red paint pens to add our designs. This is where you (and the kids) can get really creative and choose some of your favorite emojis to recreate. DIY_Emoji_Easter_eggs-12After the black parts dried, we added blue and white paint to some of them so that the contrast was bold and bright. We tried using a white paint pen for this step, but found the acrylic paint appeared a lot brighter when added to the eggs.

No Art Skills Required!

After about 10 minutes of doodling, we had all of these adorable little emoji eggs that had us laughing way too hard!

Rookie Tip: We are not skilled artists (not even close!) so these are far from perfect. But the imperfections actually made them more charming and a lot more fun to tackle. Trust us, if ours turned out looking somewhat like emojis, we know that you can totally do this too. <– no art skills required! 

Party Time!

DIY_Emoji_Easter_eggs-3It would be fun to have everyone at a party, or in the family, choose a few of their favorite emojis to recreate. We’re pretty confident that even the adults would have fun (maybe a bit too much fun) with this challenge!  DIY_Emoji_Easter_eggs-15Having a few props on hand (like some fuzzy cotton material for hair) could also be a fun twist in this easy and hysterical project. Whatever you choose to do, we’re pretty confident you can’t go wrong.

Since we both use and heart emojis so much (as evidenced by our easy Emoji Halloween Costume a few years ago), we decided to pick out our faves and recreate the look. How ridiculous are these little cuties?! We think hiding these emojis all over the house on Easter morning would be awesome…and a hunt that pre-teens or teenagers may even find fun!

If you’re not a huge egg-dyeing lover but want to get the kids, family, or friends involved, then this project may be for you. It definitely won us over and still has us LOL [insert laughing emoji + clapping emoji here].




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6 thoughts on “DIY Emoji Easter Eggs

  1. Trang

    You two are so darn cute with this idea!
    Bridget, I love the gray/black lace like top you have on in the above photo. Details please!

  2. Kerri Hansen

    Perfect timing with this post, my kids were just asking me to buy an overpriced emoji Easter egg decorating kit yesterday. I was all “we don’t need to buy that kit, I am sure we can make those on our own!” And now you have taken the leg work out for me! We will be doing this for sure! Emojis are so hot right now, in January we had an emoji themed birthday party and we made emoji valentines in February. So fun and this appeals to girls and boys of all ages. Thanks for sharing! 😘😀😍

    1. DIY Playbook

      You’re going to be the coolest mom ever when you bust these out for the kids!! You’ll have to keep us updated on your DIY emoji eggs, we’d love to see.

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Our Holiday Season 2016


Can you even believe that Christmas Eve is tomorrow? We are so ready to finish work for the day and start our own joyous celebrations! Bridget gets out early for Finals (yay!) & Casey is finishing up a few things at work and then we are both officially on WINTER BREAK!!


But before we take the weekend off to celebrate Christmas, we wanted to share with you our latest seasonal video.

Like our summer video and fall video, we captured all of the activities we did during the holiday season. From our Christmas card photo shoot, to cookie day, to days outside in the snow and adventures in downtown Chicago…our 2016 Holiday video has it all! We hope you guys enjoy seeing a glimpse behind-the-scenes around here just as much as we love capturing these memories and sharing them with you.

Holiday 2016 Video

We still can’t believe Christmas is this weekend…. where does the time go?!

We hope you have a wonderful Christmas! We’ll be back here on Monday with our December Happy Hour post, and then we’ll officially be out of the office until we get back from our trip to Mexico (more on those vacay details and our posting schedule next week).

chicago_christmas-wrigley-buildingAnd most importantly, thanks for all of you have done to make this holiday season a magical one here on the DIY Playbook!! We feel so blessed to have you in our lives and beyond grateful for your unwavering the bottom of our hearts, Happiest Holidays from our homes to yours.


Catch up on some of our past videos here:

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10 thoughts on “Our Holiday Season 2016

  1. Kerri Hansen

    Love ❤️ the video! I am so happy I have discovered your blog this year, I can’t wait to see what you guys have lined up for 2017!
    I want to wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season. Enjoy Mexico, have some guacamole for me! Hugs from North Vancouver, Canada 🇨🇦!

  2. Kara D

    It’s been a whirlwind holiday season for me as well! Enjoy your winter break, wear comfy clothes, sip some bubbly and eat some donuts! May it be drama-free and bright! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


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8 Ways to Add Holiday Cheer to your Home


Can you even believe that Christmas is 9 days away?! chicago_christmas-tree-water-towerWhere did the month of December go? casey-bed-christmas-coffee

We’ve both been spending most of the month Christmas shopping, wrapping gifts, watching Christmas movies, and drinking our fair share of hot chocolate. This truly is our favorite time of the year & we’re taking advantage of this special time!christmas-gifts-boots

We’re guessing you’ve already decked your halls for the holidays, but if you’re looking for EASY TIPS to inject a bit of holiday cheer into your home (perhaps for next year?) then check out this post we wrote for the Zillow blog. We share our tried and true techniques for creating a festive home to celebrate the season.


From our stance on sentimental decor, to easy ideas to inject memories of Christmas’ past, you’ll find it all in our post in “8 Ways to Add Christmas Cheer to your Home.” holiday_christmas_bridget_skirt_gift_necklace-3

And if you’re doing some Christmas shopping this weekend, be sure to reference our Holiday Gift Guide! It’s packed full of great ideas for just about everyone on your list. You can find a direct link here, or click through the guide below.

Tomorrow we continue the tradition of our annual Christmas Cookie Day! We’ll be baking (okay…maybe we’ll be on cookie decorating duty…) all day long and cannot wait to celebrate with some of our favorite people. If you’re looking for the best peanut butter cookie, check out this recipe. One of our faves. christmas cookie dayWe hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend, and remember to soak up every last moment of this season before Christmas is here!



Loft: 50% off EVERYTHING! <— our favorite LOFT sale!

Wayfair: Up to 70% off!

Pottery Barn: Free Shipping with Code MERRY

Nordstrom: Totally eyeing this Madewell sweater. It looks so cozy!


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Favorite Gift Ideas for Him from our Hubbies


If you’re anything like us, buying the perfect gift for those husbands of ours is never easy! It’s not that they’re picky (not at all actually), but we always want to make sure we choose something that they’ll get a lot of use out of over the entire year.

Heck if we’ve learned anything about the types of gifts that our husbands love, it’s the fact that their all-time favorite gifts are ones that they can USE ….A LOT! Since we needed a few ideas for them and figured you may need some ideas for the important men in your life too, we invited Matt & Finn to share some of their most used and ultimate favorite items from 2016. Hopefully these ideas will help inspire you (and us!!) to find a gift for all the important men in our lives!

So without further ado, here’s a double dose of gift ideas from Finn and Matt. Take it away gentlemen!

Finn’s Favoritesfinns_favorite_things_2016-19-pm

1 Tie & Tie Clip Set // 2. Blazer // 3. Watch 
4. Travel Bag // 5. Boots // 6. No Show Socks
7. Kiehls Men’s Grooming Products // 8. Fleece // 9. Jeans

  1. My favorite place for ties, belts, and tie clips: The Tie Bar is a great affordable way for men to expand their wardrobe and accessories. Plus fun and trendy ties for $19 each? SIGN ME UP! I am a huge proponent of tie bars themselves as it makes any man appear a touch more classy and really cleans up a look. mike-finn-blazer
  2. Blazer: I just got this blazer at Express and it was a great addition to the wardrobe. In general these are ideal for any occasion and come in a tailored, slim fit and are 50% off right now! They also have subtle fashion accents like flip out pocket squares and colored lining – allowing you to branch out with no decision to be made!
  3. Watch: Now I don’t personally have this watch, but it’s a big wink-wink to that wife of mine that this is on my wish list. Having a variety of watches is another great way to add some creativity to the outfit and personally I enjoy buying cheap ones just as much as expensive ones to complete the collection.
  4. Travel Bag: This bag is a great price, great color, and it’s the perfect size. It is ideal for 2-3 night adventures and also comes with an isolated pocket to help keep things organized. It can fit a few pairs of shoes and multiple wardrobes or just a simple change of clothes and toiletries.
  5. Boots: Chicago is wet! Need some rain proof boots that you can wear in the snow. I have learned this the hard way time and time again and I finally bought some protective boots and every morning and night I am thankful.
  6. No Show Socks: I have been wearing no-show socks for a long time (Usually stealing Casey’s little socks and using them) but when I would take my shoes off everyone would laugh at me because they would look like ballerina slippers. (My confidence never wavered.) After a few minutes most would ask what they were and how I got them and next time I saw them – boom they had some version of no-shows! However the fashion world has caught up with me and now makes great styled men’s no-show socks that are not embarrassing to show others.Casey Finn
  7. Grooming Essentials: I have learned recently that as we get older it is important we take care of our skin and grooming. (Somewhere my mom is just laughing at that statement thinking about how it was a struggle to get me to put pants on until I was 5…Love you Mom!) However moisturizing and cleaning is crucial, and many men are also into beards these days. Sadly I lack the genetics to produce a lush fun beard, so I am stuck keeping things neat.  However these products protect my baby face from the toughness of shaving. I recommend a sampler kit to start and see what products fit your style.
  8. Fleece: Yet another fashion trend I have stolen from my brothers (shoes, beards, shades, etc.), these are warm and work with any outfit. I generally get very warm very fast in heavier coats and I love these on those nice sunny winter days when you want to stay bundled.
  9. Jeans: I have never bought nice jeans before, but it is worth it when you wear them hundreds of times. These are so soft and I love the range of colors. I know they’re a little pricey (Casey even mentioned that she doesn’t have jeans this nice…), but they’re just that good!

Matt’s Favorites


1 W Flag (Go Cubs!) // 2. Slim Fit Jeans // 3. TOMS //
4. Wireless Mini Speaker //  5. Born to Run Book // 6. Ray Bans //
7. Yoga Mat // 8. Polka Dot Tie // 9. Glass Food Containers // 10. Slim Fit Slacks

  1. W Flag: 2016 has been a very special year for my beloved Cubbies. The decision was made to bring a new addition to our family…the W flag. Similar to Linus and his Blankie, I have grown quite attached to my “W.”chicago_bridget_fashion_fall-cubs-flags
  2. Slim Fit Jeans: If there is one thing I have little patience for, it’s jeans shopping. However, these babies had my heart from the start. I’m trying to rid myself of the baggy, and embrace the slim fit!xmas-insta
  3. TOMS: These have quickly become a staple in my repertoire. Whether it was attending a summer BBQ, or heading out to the Apple Orchard, these shoes were always part of the party. The perfect combination of comfort and style.
  4. Wireless Mini Speaker: There is nothing I love more than listening to podcasts when fixing up some dinner. The JBL Wireless Speaker makes sure that Pro Wrestling Podcasts are permeating throughout Casa de Matkovich on the daily!
  5. Born to Run Book: “Born To Run”- In the Mount Rushmore of interests, Springsteen is my George Washington. So you’re telling me that this book really offers a firsthand account of The Boss’s life in Asbury Park and beyond? I’m all ears (or eyes in this case).Matt_finn
  6. Ray Bans: You know that saying, “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone?” Well, that was all too real this year when my sunglasses were mysteriously misplaced for a few months. When they reappeared in my mother-in-law’s car, I promised I would never take these for granted again.
  7. Yoga Mat: Lately, I’ve been dabbling in some core workouts. This Yoga Mat has been KEY throughout the process.
  8. Polka Dot Tie: Who doesn’t love polka dots? You walk into a room with your head held high, donning a tie sprinkled with polka dots, you’re the poster child of “good time all the time!”
  9. Glass Food ContainersSunday afternoons have turned into the perfect time to prep food for the week. These glass Food Storage Containers let me bring some of my favorite dishes to work every day. Bridget has mastered the art of flooding my culinary abilities with compliments. Am I that good of a cook? Absolutely not. Do these compliments keep me going back to the kitchen? Absolutely. The method to her madness.
  10. Slim Fit Slacks: These dress pants (Express’ Slim Fit Photographers) are a part of my weekly rotation. Whether it is the Grey, Black, or Blue, they will definitely play a lot of innings over the school year!

Now you tell us, do any of your husbands have any favorites that we need to check out in 2017? matt_and_finn_sig

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6 thoughts on “Favorite Gift Ideas for Him from our Hubbies

  1. Erin

    I love how matt says he’s trying to rid himself of baggy jeans! my husband is too!! he’s been slowly doing it over the last couple years. It’s so weird how their tastes evolve and change especially when they realize how much of a bum they look like wearing baggy jeans! hahaha

  2. Trang

    I’ve been wanting to get my husband a blazer that wasn’t too formal, but yet not too casual either. I’m going to give the one Matt suggested from Express a try. Hopefully it fits because there weren’t too many sizes available and I’m not an expert on Men’s sports coat sizes. I’ll keep you posted!


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Tips for Decorating Shelves for the Holidays


Changing up our shelves is one of the quickest and easiest ways that we welcome in each of the seasons. It’s not that we have new decor for each season (our small homes have absolutely NO room to store this seasonal decor) but we do add a few touches or at least rearrange the shelves whenever we can. Just a simple rearrangement makes them feel new to us, even if nothing on them is actually new to our home. family-room-christmas-built-ins-wide

Typically we will “shop our homes” and add existing items from other rooms to these shelves and you’d be surprised how different they start to feel, even without spending any money. Please tell us we’re not the only crazy people that do this. Actually maybe we are… our husbands sure seem to think so!

Either way, here are our budget-friendly tips on decorating shelves for the holidays. Hopefully some of these simple tips will inspire you to refresh your home without spending a ton of money!

Casey’s Tipsbuilt-ins-christmas-tv

Instead of completely removing absolutely everything on our built-ins, I decided to remove a couple items and then inject a few festive touches to all of the shelves. present-books-decor-christmas

The cheapest and easiest way to do that?! Wrapped presents! I used some of the “gifts” (actually just cardboard boxes…) from our Christmas Card Photo Shoot and placed them on our shelves to inject some holiday color! shelves-christmas-decor

This is such a great idea if you plan to change your color scheme up each year since it’s super budget-friendly!


I also added some greenery amongst my shelves. I always love to have some green plants (even if they’re fake) on our built-ins, and swapping out some of those plants for evergreen (these little cute pots are from Michaels) is the perfect way to add a bit of holiday. built-ins-christmas-card-displaychristmas-santa-decor

A few new accessories (like this adorable santa!) filled out the rest of our shelves and really added some holiday spirit. couch-christmas-shelves

Bridget’s Tips

And just like Casey, my go-to decor for the built-ins this holiday season were a few “fake” wrapped gifts. I upcycled a few Amazon boxes that were delivered earlier in the season and even wrapped a few books that were previously on the built-ins. This way each gift was a different size and depth, which made it feel a bit less cookie-cutter.


Plus, wrapping the gifts helped me keep the general color-scheme and neutral feel without spending money on new items. Since I’m still honing my “Christmas style” (<– if that’s even a thing), I don’t want to buy a lot of new decor just to realize I don’t love it next season. #rookiemistake
bookshelf-present-gold-rubbonI’ve also found that putting less stuff on my built-ins is better for me. Take this shelf for example, all that’s on it is a ONE gift. No books, no other accessories, just the one gift.

A few years ago, I would have never kept a shelf this simple but now that I’ve lived with these shelves for four years, I’ve found that they start to feel too cluttered when I overdo them. The simpler and less clutter, the better.
wreath-holiday-built-insI also try to use as much of my regular decor as I can throughout the holidays. I take out the items that are obviously more spring-y or summer-y, but I’m not afraid to mix Christmas in with anything that is neutral or fake plants/succulents that I keep up all year round.

As long as I love these pieces and they’re relatively neutral, I think they can still work for the holidays… especially if you put them in a new spot on the built-ins and pair them with a simple ornament or tiny holiday accessory. Magically this new spot (and new partner) makes the whole look feel new!  christmas-built-in-basket

Both of us also try to incorporate baskets into our decor. We LOVE them because they offer secret storage, can add texture to the look, and can cut down on feeling like your shelves look cluttered. To make these baskets feel a bit more holiday, we simply keep everything that’s already in them there, but then add a bit of greenery, leftover ribbon, or beaded garland on top. It’s SO easy and so darn affordable.
christmas-builtin-giftsAnd last but certainly not least, it’s important that we have fun and mix it up! Unlike Casey, I actually take everything OFF of my built-ins when the new season comes around and try to reorganize the items. The shelves that I really love, I try to keep somewhat consistent but for those other shelves that are just “okay”, I re-work them and add items I have in other parts of the home to make them feel new to me. You would be surprised how much more I start to love an old item when I pair it with something that complements it more. All of a sudden that old item that was always just “okay-ish” is now the shelf’s MVP.built-ins-christmas-decor-holiday-present

Key Takeaways

  1. Use presents

  2. Add greenery

  3. Buy a few items you L-O-V-E

  4. Keep your favorite neutral items up

  5. Add holiday embellishments to baskets

  6. Have fun and don’t be afraid to experiment!


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Our Homes All Decked out for the Holidays!


Happy Friday everyone! We’re excited that the weekend is almost here, but we’re extra pumped because today we’re taking part in the annual Blogger Stylin’ Home Tour to showcase our holiday homes! We’ve loved taking part in BSHT (hosted by the fabulous Lindsay!) each December and are thrilled and honored to be included again this year.

2016-DIY-Playbook-Christmas-Card-Casey-Bridget-packagesAnd today you’re getting double the fun because we’re each sharing our homes all decked out for the season. Yep…2 for the price of 1 #ourkindadeal

wreath-hanging-attach-christmas-cardsIf you’re coming from My Fabuless Life then welcome, we’re so happy that you’re here! And if you’re new around here (first of all, “hi!”), let’s bring you up to speed on The DIY Playbook.

  • There are 2 of us behind The DIY Playbook and we’ve been best friends since high school.
  • Casey lives in a condo in downtown Chicago with her husband Finn, while Bridget lives in a home just outside the city with her husband, Matt.
  • We both live in small spaces, so we only bring items into our homes that we l-o-v-e and we both try to keep our homes as organized as possible.
  • The DIY Playbook began almost 4 years ago (time flies when you’re having fun!), and we truly believe that everyone can create a personalized home without spending a ton of time or money.

letterfolk-halwayOkay, now that we’re all on the same page… let’s get to the good stuff!


When it comes to my home, I’m usually a little afraid of color (you’ll find plenty of white & gray around our space). But for Christmas, there’s just something about the color red that makes my heart happy. So this year, I decided to inject a bit of red into our very neutral Chicago condo. I also included a bit of plaid (like in our Christmas tree), because I can’t seem to get enough of that preppy pattern.







Although I absolutely LOVE Casey’s gorgeous red & plaid holiday decor, I opted for something a little different this year. I removed the red that I have used in year’s past and instead, stuck with more neutrals, greenery, and buffalo check. Because I loved my neutral & buffalo check tree so much, I used that as inspiration for the rest of our house and although our holiday decor is pretty colorless and a lot more “boring”, I’m really loving the natural look!!christmas-tree-blogger-stylin-home-tourneutral_christmas_tree_michaels_makers-4My goal this year was to dress up our home for the holidays without going overboard. And more specifically, I didn’t want to spend a ton of time or money to “deck the halls.” I focused on our dining room, living room, and entryway by adding small touches of natural, neutral holiday elements. I was hoping this greenery, buffalo check and hints of metallic would inject that holiday charm into our home while still allowing us to use most of the decor we have up all year round. dining-room-home-tour-holiday-christmas-tree








Maybe I’m crazy for opting for a neutral and natural holiday theme (I probably am), but I can’t help but love that this decorating was easy, budget-friendly, and feels so warm and cozy. Don’t get me wrong, I love plaid, red and all things traditional-holiday, but trying something new has been a lot of fun this year!


Wow, 2 homes in 1 post…. that’s a heck of a lot of pictures! We hope you enjoyed touring our homes all decked out for the season & maybe (just maybe?!) found a little inspiration to make your home extra special for the holidays! For more gorgeous holiday inspiration, be sure to visit House Seven to keep the Blogger Stylin’ Home tour moving!

2016-DIY-Playbook-Christmas-Card-Casey-Bridget-giftsBut before you head off, we wish you a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year! And for the DIY Playbook newbies stopping by, we’d love to see you again soon!


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16 thoughts on “Our Homes All Decked out for the Holidays!

  1. Julia @cuckoo4design

    So fun and beautiful. I mean everything! And the photos of you two are just the best. I stink at taking pictures like that. Totally envious here 😉 Happy Holidays

  2. Kerri Hansen

    Great post ladies! Your homes are beautiful. Casey I too have 😍 for bright pops of red incorporated into my decor during the holidays! And anything plaid. Bridget I love the natural elements and more subdued pallete of your house. And your “less is more” approach. I think at the end of this holiday season I will be letting go of some pieces that did not “spark joy” when I unpacked them from the …ahem…six large totes I had to haul out of the crawl space in our basement! Happy holidays to both of you!

    1. DIY Playbook

      Thanks so much Kerri! And we feel ya on letting go of pieces that don’t spark joy! It’s so much better to pull out things you absolutely love each year than to be kinda “meh” about certain items. Happy holidays to you!

  3. Amie Johnson

    Both of you have beautiful homes, nicely done. Where is the couch from in Bridgett’s home? Have been looking for a smaller sectional…thanks

  4. Colleen Bansley

    Both of your homes look beyond gorgeous and exude Holiday spirit!! Casey where did you find that JOY piece of deco? I am convinced it is easier to wrap ribbon around a fake tree compared to a real tree- ugh mine doesn’t look as good. The branches are hard to work around. Merry Christmas!!

  5. Kimberlie S Pelletie

    Love your gorgeous homes! I did the same as Casey, but with blue. Makes it seem like a winter wonderland. I also incorporated some buffalo check with the tree skirt and gift wrap. Wanted to ask Casey where she got the gold wire present that is full of ornaments on her built-in?
    Really enjoy the blog. Always read your posts and look through your links. Keep up the good work!

    1. DIY Playbook

      Kimberlie you are so sweet! Thanks for the kind words. The gold ornament present cage is from Pier 1 a few years ago. I’ve always loved it, but haven’t seen it since.

      Happy Holidays!

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DIY Playbook’s 2016 Christmas Card Photo Shoot


Now that we shared our 2016 Christmas Card, we HAVE to tell you guys how this photo shoot was almost an EPIC FAIL!happiest-holidays-minted-christmas-card-diy-playbook

Taking the photos for our Christmas cards has become one of our favorite holiday traditions because it usually results in us laughing hysterically at our own ridiculousness. This year was the first year we didn’t have to press the camera’s self timer and run into our places because we recruited Matt to take our pictures. With him behind the camera, we thought things would run A LOT smoother (and would be a lot less ridiculous)… but boy were we SO wrong!

Allow us to start from the very beginning of how this all went down.

Usually we take our Christmas card photo sometime in November and by then temperatures in Chicago are COLD and we are outside freezing our buns off. Since we wanted to do a more “dressy” look this year, we thought taking these photos while the temperatures in Chicago were still warm would be our best way to wear dresses and not freeze in the process.

So we actually chose a date in AUGUST to get this photo off of our to-do list. We figured with our crazy schedules and the busy Fall makeover project, August was one of the only free weekends we could get the photo and guarantee that the weather would be warm enough to be outside.2016-DIY-Playbook-Christmas-Card-wrapped-gifts-bridget-caseyWell we were right about that, the temperature was perfect for our “photo shoot”, however we didn’t account for other weather details that day.

2016-DIY-Playbook-Christmas-Card-wrapped-gifts-black-whiteWe had a sleepover at Bridget’s and planned to get up super early to get these outdoor photos out-of-the-way before people filled the streets and started looking at us doing our “Christmas in August Shoot” like we were legit crazy. <— we wouldn’t blame them!

We got up, got ready by 7am, and walked outside to a monsoon. IT WAS LEGIT POURING and when we looked at the radar, the rain was not stopping anytime soon.

2016-DIY-Playbook-Christmas-Card-Casey-Bridget-giftsWe should’ve just cancelled the shoot right there, but it was 7am, we were all dolled up, didn’t have many opportunities to get together to shoot, and figured it wouldn’t be a Playbook Christmas shoot without a crazy story like this one. So of course, we opened our umbrellas, tried to get the gifts into the car without them getting wet (fail), drove to this location and waited in the car until the rain let up.

In between showers (literally), we snuck in as many photos as could. As you can see in some of these photos, our curls did not work well with the rain and humidity. #Augustprobs


The good news is that these big smiles on our faces are very genuine because we could NOT stop laughing (once again) at our ridiculousness.
2016-DIY-Playbook-Christmas-Card-black-white-striped-boxWe kept saying that this is what we get for trying to take our Christmas card in August.

And don’t even get us started on trying to find cute, Christmas wrapping paper in stores in August. We were scrambling trying to find paper that worked for the holidays.

Now that it’s December, there’s SO many amazing options in stores! We’ve been snapping pics of the AISLES and AISLES of gorgeous options and texting them to each other saying how nice it would’ve been to have these in our photo! Maybe we should stock up for next year’s early photo?!

2016-DIY-Playbook-Christmas-Card-wrapped-giftBut as much as this photo shoot was wet, humid, and did no favors for our hair, we surprisingly had a blast…. and are still laughing at the 7am stormy craziness!

Lesson Learned: Contrary to what we thought, getting your Christmas Card photo done in August may not have been the best idea (who knew!?).


On the other hand, it came with memories that may make us laugh out loud for years and years to come and a photo that may be far from perfect but one we wouldn’t trade for the world!

diy-playbook-christmas-card-2016Whether your Christmas card turns out as perfect as you had hoped or feels like an epic fail, we hope it brings you laughs and memories for years and years to come! And if we’re being completely honest here, what more can you ask for out of this special tradition after all?! bridget_and_casey_sig

Please tell us we aren’t the ONLY ones who are laughing out loud at ourselves during our annual Christmas Card shoot! We’d love to hear your hilarious/embarrassing/fun/memorable Christmas Card stories!! Or… we’d love to hear if anyone else is brave enough to admit that they tackled their Christmas Card super early <— Are we the only crazy ones?! #dontanswerthat 


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2 thoughts on “DIY Playbook’s 2016 Christmas Card Photo Shoot

  1. Erin

    Oh my lord! it is what you get for trying to shoot holiday pictures in August. It’s kind of like we always lament why are the holiday decorations out before halloween… that’s what this was! but they did turn out fabulous!


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DIY Playbook’s 2016 Christmas Card


Creating a Christmas card here on the DIY Playbook has quickly become one of our favorite annual traditions. Not only do we have a blast getting together to take this yearly photo, we especially love the opportunity to send out these cards to all of the amazing companies/people we have worked with over the year and then share our card with all of you!

And this year is no different. So without further ado, we are SO excited to share The DIY Playbook’s 2016 Christmas card!
diy-playbook-christmas-card-coffee-hoiday-2016We chatted about some of our favorite cards back in October (yes, we are those crazy people who ordered our cards months ago) and ended up picking this card from Minted as our winner because we loved the “Happiest Holidays” message.
happiest-holidays-minted-christmas-card-diy-playbookWe personalized the card by adding this year’s “winning photo”, our name, and of course the year so we can add this year’s card to our collection. If you’re new to the DIY Playbook, you can check out our cards from Christmas’ past here —> 2014 & 2015.
diy-playbook-happiest-holidays-cardIt’s only been a few years of sending out this snail-mail, but we already love looking back at cards from the past couple of years and reminiscing.

We know that getting in front of the camera is not always easy, however, capturing these moments in time is so special. So even if your holiday card isn’t “picture perfect”, it’s a moment in your family’s story that you are capturing forever and to us, that’s pretty darn perfect.

But the best part of this year’s Christmas Card (and really every year’s card so far), is the behind-the-scenes stories of how these photo shoots really happen. Although this picture looks like we’re having the best time ever, there’s a LOT more to the story that you don’t see. This year’s photo shoot was especially “interesting” because it almost turned out to be an EPIC fail. Here are some of the cute outtakes…


… but don’t be completely fooled because there’s a whole lot more to this story and we can’t wait to share the details tomorrow. But until then, we are so excited about how this year’s card turned out and just like the card says, we are wishing you and your family the “HAPPIEST HOLIDAYS”.  

Bridget and Casey Signature

Speaking of Christmas Cards, here’s a super easy way to save them for years and years to come! how to save old Christmas Cards

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8 thoughts on “DIY Playbook’s 2016 Christmas Card

  1. Diana @ Bumps Along the Way

    Super cute! Are one of you using the prop presents as decor? I’m assuming they are props…unless you are THOSE people who not only take their holiday picture in October but also have presents bought…says the person who mailed their cards out 10 days ago…

    1. DIY Playbook

      hahaha we did NOT have our holiday shopping done when we took these. haha! Instead they’re all random boxes (mostly from Amazon) that are wrapped. And yes, we both put some of the presents under our tree for decor #doubleduty

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Neutral Buffalo Check Christmas Tree


I know I’m about a year late, but I’ve recently fallen in L-O-V-E with all things buffalo check. From pillows, to throw blankets, to flannels and scarves, I’ve found myself wanting to buy all things buffalo check lately. There’s just something so cozy about this print.

I think it’s that sense of “cozy meets classic” that inspired me to try to incorporate a little buffalo check into my Christmas tree this year. And when I found the perfect beige buffalo check ribbon at Michaels (not even in the Christmas section!), I instantly knew my plan.

Our First Tree!

This year is extra exciting because we finally caved and got a new tree, instead of using my mom and dad’s original tree that they gave us when we moved in. We loved that small colorful tree, but something around the base broke last year and it wouldn’t stand up by itself anymore. #RIP

The new tree is a gorgeous pre-lit tree from Michaels and it was SO easy to set up, like less than 15 minutes to bring the tree from the box to lit up in the family room.

Wrapping Paper Collection

After I had the ribbon and neutral ornaments picked out, I collected the wrapping paper (including more buffalo check!) from HomeGoods. As you guys already know, we’re big fans of choosing 2-5 semi-coordinated wrapping papers and using that collection to wrap all of our gifts under the tree. This little trick allows our presents to play double duty as functional decor under that gorgeous tree!

Other Tips & Tricks

I added a few flocked branches into the tree to add a layered, full look to our new tree. In person these flocks blend in perfectly but for some reason the camera makes them look way too green. Weird, right?! neutral_christmas_tree_michaels_makers-6I used gold, white, silver, and natural ornaments to add just a hint of glam to this cozy, buffalo-check tree.

I also bought an extra flock of branches and cut off little pieces of this greenery to add onto some of the gifts. I love the simple look of the greenery paired with the ribbon and twine, such an easy alternative for those of us who aren’t amazing at making bows. (I’m still learning thanks to these instructions from Jan last year!!)
neutral_christmas_tree_michaels_makers-3To “tie” together the look of the tree and some of the gifts, I used some of the leftover ribbon from the tree on the gifts.neutral_christmas_tree_michaels_makers-5


neutral_christmas_tree_michaels_makers-21Overall, I’m so excited about our first “official” Christmas tree and love how it flows with the decor of the rest of our home. Neutral, cozy, with mix of patterns is totally my jam and the fact that I can incorporate this look for the holidays is a win-win in my playbook!  neutral_christmas_tree_michaels_makers-14neutral_christmas_tree_michaels_makers-15

A HomeGoods Giveaway!

Now, we’d love to hear how you’re decorating for the holidays. What patterns, colors, or trends are you loving? Let us know your favorite holiday trends and enter below for a chance to win $100 to HomeGoods, and a chance to shop for all those holiday favorites!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Looking for more tree inspiration?! Make sure to check out Casey’s pretty & plaid tree heremichaels-christmas-tree-2016-sparkling

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84 thoughts on “Neutral Buffalo Check Christmas Tree

  1. Heather Aivazian

    Your buffalo check is gorgeous! I’m loving eucalyptus wreaths with black and white striped ribbon!!! (And bristle trees;)

  2. Trang

    Can you just come and decorate my tree Bridget? I have not even thought about what to do. We just got a kitten this year and I’m afraid of the things that will happen to the tree this year.

  3. H Buchanan

    I love the classic red / green / gold decorations! They just warm my house. Both of your tress this year look incredible though!

    Thanks for hosting a giveaway!

  4. Emily Dunham

    I am all about plaid, greens, and mercury votives this year! I have been sticking greens everywhere possible, and adding votives for an extra bit of sparkle! I picked up the cutest plaid paper from Hallmark – houndstooth is on the other side so it was a two for one!

  5. Shanna Schlabach

    I am loving the vintage pickup trucks with trees in the back I’m seeing as Christmas decor everywhere. I may have bought one to match a wooden pallet sign that I have! It has helped me to incorporate pops of red into my silver and gold Christmas decor.

  6. Elizabeth Jones

    Im loving anything wood and galvanized metal this holiday. I swiped up some adorable bark trees from Target and I’m loving them! Im also on the hunt for buffalo check placemats to make throw pillows out of for Christmas!

  7. Jody

    I love how you mixed multiple patterns, including the buffalo check (so cute!), but kept it all in a neutral/glam scheme. So festive and inviting!

  8. Emily

    I love the tree. Very nice and soothing. I’m still building my Christmas decoration arsenal so this year I decided to add pops of red and white. Maybe I will see if I can find red buffalo check ribbon for my tree!

  9. Kara D

    I was fostering a kitten when I pulled out my pre-lit tree. All I did was stick a new tree-topper star from Target on top, and I was going to put on the ornaments after he went to his furever home. But now? I’m really digging the all green, twinkling lights and golden star on top look. I might get some flocked branches to add in, and call it a Christmas!

  10. Marguerite Huber

    I am all about the buffalo check pattern! I have been decorating with a vintagey vibe so far. Vintage santas and brush bottle trees are my favorite!

  11. Nicole B

    I love the vintage vibe and a little pop of glamour!! Add some vintage decor around the house and my old four square is a warm cozy holiday place!

  12. beatrice sullivan

    College girls BEGGED us to wait for them to decorate our tree! We’ll see what they have in mind… on December 13th! but white and red gingham is a granted for our Rocky Mountain Christmas!

  13. Allison

    I usually stick to traditional and sentimental decorations, but I would like to use more plaid and buffalo check textiles.

  14. Liz Gordon

    Very pretty tree! I went for a similar color scheme myself this year: gold and rustic/natural ornaments, and I’m loving it!

  15. Jessica Alayne

    I still really love traditional kraft paper and plaid. But the buffalo check is a fun twist on a neutral. Really cute!

  16. Diana @ Bumps Along the Way

    I finally jumped on the buffalo check train with a scarf…and a shirt to sleep in. Haha, clearly I’m all in. And coordinating my wrapping paper to decor! Forever I’ve been using up what I had but now I can actually make thoughtful purchases!

  17. Steph

    Love that wrapping paper. I’ve been trying to track down more of that gold faux bois paper, but target only had it that one year, several years ago. Clearly I should have hoarded it then!

  18. Kat

    I’ve never done a coordinated Christmas tree. I’m more of an “ALL THE ORNAMENTS” kind of person. But this tree may make me change my mind. 😍

  19. Erin

    Love the buffalo check…I love the neutrals of silver and gold together with pops of color. This was exactly the inspiration I was searching for my Christmas tree!


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Holiday Steals & Deals


Happy Black Friday everyone! We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday surrounded by your loved ones. We both ate & drank to our hearts’ content and we’re excited for another day off today! #4dayweekend

christmas socks coffee Neither of us have ever been ones to wake up super early to hit the stores for deals, but instead we both like to do some online shopping from the comfort of our own homes! There’s nothing like sleeping in after Thanksgiving, sitting in your pjs with a cup of coffee, and browsing deals online to get a start on your holiday shopping <—that is our gameplan all morning long!black-friday-christmas-shopping

We kept our eyes peeled all week long to see what steals & deals are out there and BOY OH BOY are there some good ones! Here are some items we have our eyes on and may just scoop up today!


  1. I’ve been wanting this cuff bracelet for some time now #treatyoself
  2. I’m thinking these gloves may be a perfect mother-in-law gift
  3. This fleece may make its way under the tree for Mr. Finn…
  4. I’m loving this personalized doormat and I think it’s a great gift idea for my sister-in-law and her husband in their new home!
  5. Oh em gee, is this not the cutest plate ever?! I think my 1.5 year old godson would love this!
  6. I purchased these Chicago rocks glasses a few years back for my dad & brothers. Such an awesome gift for just about anyone. I may buy a couple of these just in case I need a last-minute gift!
  7. I keep finding things that I want to buy for myself (oops…), but this Nespresso maker is on serious sale right now (almost $100 off!) I’ve always wanted to be able to have lattes at home..
  8. Word on the street, these NMD shoes are a big deal in men’s fashion. My brother, Ryan, is reaaaallly into shoes and has these ones. So I think Mr. Finn may be getting a pair for Christmas as well!
  9. Loving this buffalo check throw from Pottery Barn. My mom is always adding cute accessories to her house, so this just might make the cut!
  10. Every year I get Finn a new bottle of cologne in his favorite scent for his stocking!


  1. This ruffled shirt is simple but can matched with just about everything! I tried it on in store and have been waiting for it to go on sale (today!!) to finally buy it. Because I loved the fit so much, I may it buy it x2 for my sisters. (I hope they’re not reading!)
  2. Love these mittens for just about any of the ladies on my Christmas list
  3. I’ve been eyeing this teepee for awhile (for my nephew) and saw that it’s half off today!! Should I do it or is 6 months old too young for a “toy” like this?! #auntintraining
  4. How adorable is this disco ball “sipper”?! For $8, it’s the perfect stocking stuffer!
  5. Looking for a flannel? I saw that flannels were $15 (!!) this week at H&M.
  6. I know the timing is all wrong, but this hanging planter is on my Christmas list
  7. Although this is more for pre-teens, I’ve heard so much about this book and NEED to read it before the movie comes out. I absolutely LOVE the “choose kind” message and think this could be the perfect (and meaningful gift) for any youngsters in your life.
  8. My sister’s first Christmas as a mom definitely calls for this adorable sweatshirt. #momlife
  9. I got a phone car charger for my birthday and I’m seriously obsessed with this $20 gift, I literally use it everyday!! I know it’s not the most glamorous gift but it’s so practical and it makes my everyday easier. That being said, I think I may buy a few extra as gifts for a few important people on my list.
  10. I’ve been on the look out for flat nude color booties. I haven’t tried these TOMS on but you guys know how much we love TOMS so this pair recently caught my eye. I plan on trying them on next time I’m at Nordstroms and adding them to my Christmas list if they fit (and go on sale!)

Black Friday Savings

  • Nordstrom: Lots of amazing deals on clothes, shoes, coats & accessories…. & FREE SHIPPING!
  • Shopbop: 15%-25% off using code GOBIG16
  • West Elm: Up to 30% Off Everything with code MOREISMORE
  • CB2: 15% OFF and Free Shipping with code SAVE15
  • Land Of Nod: 20% Everything (including furniture!)
  • Amazon: Deals vary depending on the product
  • LOFT: 50% OFF Everything & Free shipping on orders over $125
  • Target: 30% all apparel & accessories, lots of door busters — including our camera!
  • GAP: 50% off everything with code TGIF50; Free Shipping on purchases of $50 or mor
  • Banana Republic: 50% off one regular priced item with code BRFIFTY; 40% off the rest of the purchase with BRFORTY; FREE Shipping on $50+ purchases
  • Express: 50% OFF Everything (excludes gift cards and featured brands)
  • Old Navy: 50% OFF Everything-Ish, no code needed
  • Etsy: Check with individual sellers for individual deals… especially on Monday!
  • Madewell: 25% OFF your purchase with code THATSALE
  • J. Crew: 40% OFF your entire purchase with code HOLIDAY
  • J. Crew Factory Outlet: 50%-60% OFF Everything and free shipping on purchases over $50

Save the Date

You know we’re all about deals here on the DIY Playbook & so we always have our eyes peeled to get the best bang for our buck. We marked our calendars for these upcoming “days to save” and wanted to share these dates with you so you can save too!

  • Today = Black Friday
  • Tomorrow (Nov. 26th): Small Business Saturday
  • Monday (November 28th): Cyber Monday
  • December 16th: Free Shipping Day!!
  • December 18th: Last Day to purchase online, pay standard shipping and receive your gift before Christmas!!

Gift Guide

And if you missed it, make sure you check out this 2016 Blogger Gift Guide because a TON of the items are currently on sale!! All you have to do is hit the middle “CLICK TO READ” button to view the full, shippable gift guide.

neutral_christmas_tree_michaels_makers-19Once the shopping is done, Casey has big plans for the rest of her Black Friday. She is binge watching the new Gilmore Girls (released today!) with her sister, sister-in-law, and mom! It will be a girls day full of snacks, drinks, and our favorite TV show. Anyone else binging GG today too??


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2 thoughts on “Holiday Steals & Deals

  1. Kerri Hansen

    Love the shopping round up! Lots of great gift ideas… for myself😂. That is the challenge for me this time of year…And all these deals are so hard to resist! I just wanted to weigh in on the teepee idea Bridget…as a mom of three AND as someone who has the girlie version of that pillowfort teepee in her house, I say YES! I am so impressed with the teepee, and the price is amazing. It is really well made and so so cute! Your little nephew is a bit young for it yet, but that could be said for just about anything at this stage, really it’s all about the parents at this point! But the teepee is something he will grow into very quickly, and in the meantime, what a cute addition to his happy camper nursery, which BTW you guys knocked out of the Park! Happy Shopping today ladies!

    1. DIY Playbook

      Aw Kerri, you MADE OUR DAY!! Thank you so much for your kind words AND your advice! We really appreciate the feedback!! Hope you find some awesome deals today. Happy Shopping and thanks again for being a part of the DIY Playbook team. We’re so lucky to have you tuning in =)

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