Nautical Decor with The Lost Buoy + Giveaway!

As a native New Englander, I definitely have a soft spot for nautical decor. After all, when we redid our older daughter’s room a few years ago, we gave it a Cape Cod theme! And you can’t get much more nautical than a painted buoy - it just adds that quintessential New England touch. That’s why I was so excited to find The Lost Buoy on Instagram and give our space some nautical flair.
| This post contains an honest review of product provided by The Lost Buoy |

Nautical Decor with The Lost Buoy + Giveaway!

The Lost Buoy was started by Katie, who grew up in coastal Massachusetts and has many fond memories of beaches, lobster shacks, and exploring in her grandparents old Ford woody station wagon (really, does it get more New England than that?). Katie has turned all these memories and charm into a great line of coastal-inspired decor, clothing, paper goods, and even wedding accents.

Nautical Decor with The Lost Buoy + Giveaway!

Katie was kind enough to send me one of her iconic Striped Lobster Buoys to add some nautical flair to our home. These lightweight, hand-painted buoys are cute in every room but I think I settled on having it add some coastal charm to our door for the holiday - there’s just something about Christmas greens and red lobsters - you can’t go wrong!

The Lost Buoy offers lots of great designs on their Decorative Buoys too - from different New England places, to nautical elements, and even custom color buoys to show your school spirit. And the wedding buoys would be perfect for anyone having a beachside ceremony.

The Lost Buoy definitely has something for everyone who loves nautical or preppy style!

Nautical Decor with The Lost Buoy + Giveaway!
Nautical Decor with The Lost Buoy + Giveaway!
Nautical Decor with The Lost Buoy + Giveaway!

Keep up with the Lost Buoy


* GIVEAWAY! *

Want a chance to win one of these beautiful buoys for yourself? Head on over to my Instagram for a chance to win a Decorative Buoy of your choice to compliment your home. Just look for this post and follow the directions to enter. Good luck!

  Giveaway ends 12/12/18 at 5PM EST.

Giveaway ends 12/12/18 at 5PM EST.


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Tips for Perfect Christmas Cookies + Boston Family Entertainment Giveaway!

Christmas is right around the corner and boy has it sneaked up fast! It’s always hard coming up with gift ideas for family and friends… but these days we’re personally trying to cut back on the amount of “stuff” we buy and give, and focus more on homemade items and experiences for gifts. What better gift than something made with love and the opportunity to create lasting memories? Read on for my tips to make the Perfect Christmas Cookies and then be sure to enter the amazing Boston Family Entertainment Giveaway at the end of the post for a chance to win some spectacular tickets to Boston-area events!
| This post is sponsored and contains affiliate links |

Tips for Perfect Christmas Cookies + Giveaway!

5 Tips for Perfect Christmas Cookies

Sift

Make sure to sift all your dry ingredients. Doing this breaks up any clumps of flour or baking soda, combines everything evenly, and helps make your cookies light and fluffy.

Parchment Paper

Always line your cookie sheet with parchment paper, this is key to getting the cookie bottoms that perfect light golden brown. If you're planning on doing several batches of cookies make sure to round the corners of the parchment with some scissors first, as the sharp corners of the paper can start to burn after a few times in the oven.

Cookie Scoop

A cookie scoop is probably one of the best little investments you'll make in the kitchen and I don't know how I ever lived without mine. Using a cookie scoop ensures you get uniform-sized cookies every time and makes the whole process of getting your cookies ready for the oven go so much faster.

Time

Always bake your cookies for the lower suggested time.  Cookies that are just cooked all the way through make for the softest, chewiest cookies.  If they aren't cooked in the middle yet you can always put them back in for another minute or two, but it's best to start with the lowest time.  

Your Secret Weapon - the "Bread Trick"

Accidentally over-cook the cookies?  Forget to cover them on the counter?  Believe it or not, the magical solution for over-cooked or stale cookies is just a slice of sandwich bread and a big ziplock.  Put all the cookies in a gallon ziplock bag, throw in a slice of bread, seal, and leave for a few hours - the cookies will get softer as the bread gets staler.  Magic!  


Boston Family Entertainment Giveaway
There is so much to see and do for families visiting Boston. We have an amazing Boston Family Entertainment Package that will mean loads of family fun for one lucky winner! Get those Perfect Christmas Cookies Ready! Today's giveaway has been brought to you by the following sponsors: This holiday season, consider experience such as tickets to a show, museum passes or a gift certificate for other fun family entertainment. Experience gifts are a great way to help families create lasting memories.

Ultimate Boston Family Entertainment Package

One lucky winner is going to receive the Ultimate Boston Entertainment Giveaway Package that includes:
  • (4) tickets to Bricktacular at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston (every weekend in Dec.)
  • (4) tickets to Blue Man Group (to be used after Jan. 1st)
  • (4) tickets to American Girl LIVE, a new musical featuring the iconic American Girl characters playing at the Boch Center, Feb. 22-24 (for Friday, Feb. 22 at 7:00 pm)
  • (4) tickets to Archery Games Boston (can be used anytime)
  • Dinner for 4 at South Street Diner (can be used anytime)

Boston Entertainment Giveaway

Official Rules and Conditions: One winner will receive the Ultimate Boston Entertainment Prize Package. No cash value. Open worldwide to adults 18+. One (1) winner will be chosen. Prize must be claimed within 48 hours of announcement or a new winner will be drawn. Prize will be delivered electronically. All entries will be verified. This giveaway is in no way associated with Amazon, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Rafflecopter, or any other entity unless otherwise specified. Giveaway ends 12/16/2018. Enter using the widget below. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out all the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways!

Click to Enter More Giveaways

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An Easy Way to Make Budget Christmas Cards Look Expensive

Looking for a super easy way to dress up your budget Christmas cards?  Emboss the envelopes!  We bought this Embosser on Amazon over seven years ago for our wedding and it’s definitely earned it’s keep. 

The best part is it’s under $20!  This would make a great wedding or engagement gift too.

SHOP: Monogram Embosser (affiliate link)

An Easy Way to Make Budget Christmas Cards Look Expensive
An Easy Way to Make Budget Christmas Cards Look Expensive

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Getting Ahead on Our Christmas Cards with Basic Invite

Typically I am such a procrastinator when it comes to ordering our Christmas cards. I always have good intentions on getting a jump start on them but things always get busier and busier as November comes along. — But not this year! This year I’m happy to say I got them done early - and perfectly - with some help from Basic Invite.
| This is a sponsored post with my honest feedback of Basic Invite |

Our Christmas Card!

^ Our Christmas Cards 2018 !

This was my first time using Basic Invite and I can honestly say that I was very impressed! Basic Invite has tons (over 500 actually) of Christmas and holiday card designs to choose from so the hardest part was picking my favorite design! I decided to go with a cute elf design for our unique holiday photo cards to compliment our own little elves.

But what really blew me away with Basic Invite’s designs? You can customize just about every single detail! Want to make the elves’ shoes purple? You can do that, and choose from many shades of purple to boot. The ability to change all the colors on their card designs - from the background, to the text, to the details - is just incredible with over 180 color options to choose from. This feature is incredibly useful, especially for something like wedding invitations since you can customize all the colors to your exact theme. They also offer over 40 colors of self-seal envelopes to choose from too, so even your envelopes can be on-point.

Basic Invite is also one of the few websites that gives customers the ability to order a printed sample of their actual invitation - that way you can see exactly how it will print as well as feel the paper quality before placing your final order. And when it comes time to place your final order, you can order exactly how many you need - that way you don’t get stuck purchasing card sets in wasteful large lots (a huge pet peeve of mine).

Basic Invite also offers lots of great holiday cards buisness to choose from too! Sending out cards from your business is a smart marketing move and can help boost sales and repeat business in the coming year.

Right now Basic Invite is offering 30% off with the coupon code “HOLI30” - order now and get ahead on your Holiday cards too!

Here are some great holiday card examples from Basic Invite:

Keep up with Basic Invite

- This post was sponsored by Basic Invite but all opinions expressed are my own.  Please see our full Disclosure Policy for more information -   

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DIY Library Tote Bag {FREE Printables for Iron-On Transfer!}

If you have kids you know how tricky it can be to keep track of library books in your home… you bring them home, read them on the couch, and then before you know it they’re mixed in with your own books and quickly forgotten… until you get that late notice from the library (ooops). The best way to keep track of them is to have a designated place to keep them - for us we made a special library tote that has served us well. We use it to bring home books from the library, and as we read them we make sure to return them to the tote so they’re never misplaced. I’ll show you exactly how I made ours, along with two free printables so you can make your own! | This post contains affiliate links |

DIY Library Tote {FREE Printable Designs for Iron-On Transfer!}

Materials:

How-To:

1. First, run your canvas tote bag through the washer and dryer - you need to make sure it’s clean and there’s no more sizing on it from manufacturing which might keep the iron-on transfer from adhering well.

2. Print out your design on the transfer paper. (Please note that the designs I have available for download are ready-to-print PDFs for printing on iron-on transfers, therefore they are already in mirror image - aka backwards.)
*You can find links to download our designs at the end of this post - there are two different designs to choose from!*

DIY Library Tote {FREE Printable Designs for Iron-On Transfer!}

3. Cut out the iron-on transfer design, leaving a border around the edge of the design to help ensure the design will adhere well to the fabric and not lift at the edges.

DIY Library Tote {FREE Printable Designs for Iron-On Transfer!}

4. Make sure to read the instructions for your particular brand of iron-on transfers as these next steps may vary slightly from brand to brand. For the transfers we used, the next step is to heat up the iron then pre-iron the bag to get rid of wrinkles and preheat the fabric for the transfer. Our directions recommend working on a hard surface with a piece of scrap fabric underneath.

5. Carefully place your design face down on the bag and iron it on using a LOT of pressure. I actually stand on a chair to put my full body weight down on it too. You want to iron over the whole design, paying particular attention to the edges to make sure it really adheres well.

DIY Library Tote {FREE Printable Designs for Iron-On Transfer!}

6. After going over your design like a thousand times (an exaggeration, but make sure you go over it a lot to adhere it well). Let it cool completely before carefully pulling the paper backing off and you’re done. Time to go to the library!

DIY Library Tote {FREE Printable Designs for Iron-On Transfer!}

Download FREE Printables for Iron-On Transfer Here:

 Explore Books Logo (prints to approximately 4”x5”)

Explore Books Logo (prints to approximately 4”x5”)

 Go on an Adventure Logo (prints to approximately 4.5”x4.75”)

Go on an Adventure Logo (prints to approximately 4.5”x4.75”)

*Please note that the downloaded PDF files will have the logos in MIRROR IMAGE (aka backwards), since it needs to be printed in reverse on the iron-on transfers.


Want to make a Custom Design?

Build Interactive on Creative Market

I made the designs for these library tote logos by using design files from my husband's Creative Market Shop. If you want to edit these designs or make your own, you can purchase the files from Creative Market and personalize them yourself!

The designs I used were from his Vintage Outdoor Travel Logos and Retro Industrial Logos, Volume 2 series.


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LL Bean Boots Buying + Styling Tips

Those iconic L.L. Bean Boots - everybody's wearing them and everybody wants them, but they can be hard to find!  Last year they were backordered for quite a while - this year I'm sure L.L. Bean will be well prepared and they will be a lot easier to find, but I'd still recommend buying early so you don't risk having to wait.  But before you order, be sure to read our review because there's some things you should know first!  | This post contains affiliate links |

Tips on Buying Bean Boots

Sizing

The sizing for L.L. Bean's "Bean Boots" is definitely kind of tricky and I'd highly recommend trying them on in-store before purchasing, even if you're going to order them online. Bean Boots only come in whole sizes and run BIG. For example, I typically wear a size 8-8.5 (sometimes even a 9) shoe but in Bean Boots I'm a size 7 and they still feel roomy. When trying on the boots make sure to wear what kind of socks you're planning on using them with (whether it's regular thin socks or thick ragg socks ), to get a better idea of the fit.

Women's Bean Boots come in two different rises too - 6" rise or 8" rise.  Try both on to see what's more comfortable and what style you like better.  I personally prefer the 8" rise - here in New England it's a bit more practical with the deeper snow in the winter and I also feel like it's the more classic style. 

L.L. Bean also makes Bean Boot Moccasins and some limited edition styles with fun colors and linings - there are so many options!  

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Where to Buy

During Fall and Winter when there's a big rush on Bean Boots and it may be very difficult to find the exact style and size you want in-store or even online.  You may need to shop around a bit to find what you're looking for.. or wait for your backordered item to come in.  L.L. Bean Outlet stores can be a great resource too!  Boots and other items that were ordered online and returned often end up at the outlets - and at a discount to boot!  (Ha, couldn't pass up a boot pun.)  In fact, I got my Bean Boots for 40% off at the outlets - now that's a great deal!  

One thing to keep in mind about outlet shopping is that they will likely have a large selection of bigger sizes of Bean Boots, and less of the smaller sizes... this is because so many people mistakenly order their normal size without realizing how big they run.  When I bought my Bean Boots at the Outlets, they had tons of sizes 8, 9, and 10 - and the ones I bought were literally the very last pair of size 7's.  

If you decide to purchase your Bean Boots online, keep in mind that coupons or regular L.L. Bean sales may not apply to them because they're such a popular item - you may have better luck earning some rebate money back on your purchase with a program like Ebates.

Styling

What doesn't go with Bean Boots?  Seriously - just about anything goes with them (I've even seen people wear them to their wedding!).  But really you can't go wrong with some fitted jeans, ragg socks, and a cozy pullover.  I've linked to some of my favorite L.L. Bean looks below and all would look great paired with Bean Boots.  

L.L. Bean Style

Scroll sideways to see more ->

Related Posts:  

Originally published 11/1/17

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DIY Wooden Teal Pumpkin | Teal Pumpkin Project

Every Halloween we participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project to promote awareness and inclusion of all trick-or-treaters, no matter their dietary restrictions.  Unfortunately a lot of kids have food allergies, ranging from mild to potentially very dangerous.  These allergies can include dairy, chocolate, nuts, soy, gluten, artificial dyes, and more.  These kids either can't participate in trick-or-treat or have to throw out most of what they get - and when you're a kid that's really rough.  
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DIY Wooden Teal Pumpkin | Teal Pumpkin Project

By having a teal pumpkin out, you're letting kids and their parents know that your house is a safe place to trick-or-treat and you have non-food items available. These can be things like novelty pencils, erasers, stickers, bubbles, crayons, small toys, etc.  You can still give out the usual candy, but it's a good idea to keep the non-food items separate.  This is a great project to allow all kids a chance to feel included in trick-or-treat on Halloween. 

We usually paint a real pumpkin teal each year, but this year the squirrels and chipmunks have been eating all the decorations we put out on our porch (*shakes fist*). So yesterday afternoon during nap time I whipped up a Wooden Teal Pumpkin that can be used for many years to come. And the best part? It cost me NOTHING! I made it all with scraps from our wood bin and paint we already had.

Materials:

How to:

1. Cut your wood scraps down to size if necessary. You need one larger piece for the face, one small piece for the stem, and a piece for the support at the back (the support piece does not have to be triangular, that’s what I happened to have though).

FullSizeRender.jpg

2. Next attach the support piece of wood to the back of the large piece with a screw or nail.

IMG_9594.JPG

3. After that, give it at least two coats of teal paint. Paint it all over, including the sides and back.

IMG_9595.JPG
IMG_9597.JPG

4. Once that’s dry, use black paint to paint a jack-o-lantern face on it and paint the stem piece black as well.

5. Once everything is dry use wood glue to attach the stem to the top of the pumpkin and give a good spray of clear sealer if you’ll be putting it out not under the cover of a porch, etc.

And that’s it! Now you’re ready to put your teal pumpkin out to welcome all kids for Halloween. Happy Halloween!

IMG_9603.JPG

FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) has some wonderful resources on their website - including crowdsourcing maps to identify participating houses, printables you can use to proudly show your support and educate others, and fundraising opportunities to help fund food allergy research and awareness.

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Going “KonMari” on my Daughter’s Bureau

Our daughter’s bureau was a train wreck and I just couldn’t take it anymore. She’s been very much into picking out her own clothes lately and tends to dig around in her drawers until she finds what she wants, without putting anything back the way it was. Today I finally decided to tackle the disaster and emptied her bureau, folded everything in the “KonMari” style, and put it back with order.

 BEFORE

BEFORE

What’s the KonMari style? Well, technically the first step is to only keep what you truly love or use, and purge the rest (I pulled out a few items that she was starting to outgrow, but most of her clothes stayed). Then you fold everything uniformly so it can stand up in the drawers and be “filed,” allowing you to see everything at once. This is a great way to fold your clothes as you can see everything all at once and keeps you from falling into the rut of constantly wearing just what’s on top.

 AFTER

AFTER

As you can see I came up with a basic system for the drawer too - I grouped all her t-shirts together, then long-sleeve shirts, then sweatshirts and tank tops. (This folding technique also seems to be a lot more efficient as there’s even some empty space now!) I also tackled her other drawers too and tidied up her jeans, pants, and PJs. Overall I think it looks great and should help make getting ready for school in the morning a breeze.

How I organized it:

Going "KonMari" on my Daughter's Bureau:  AFTER

I already had my own drawers folded in the KonMari style and love it - it’s so nice being able to see all your options at once when you’re getting dressed in the morning. As for our daughter, I explained the new setup to her and she understands it (she was honestly really excited about her neat drawers when I first showed them to her) - but the reality is she’s five years old and there’s no way it’s going to stay this organized on it’s own. I also don’t think it’s worth nagging her over it to keep it this way, it’s really not a fair expectation for a five year old. So, we’ll see how long this lasts… I’ll do my best to tidy it up when I can and try to keep some semblance of order but it won’t always be picture-perfect and that’s okay. That’s life ;)

One Week Update: She actually kept the system perfectly! Just a few things had fallen over and one item was crumpled up and put back, but 95% of it was still perfect. I’m super impressed that an almost 5-year-old can keep the system that neat. But it goes to show, that if she can do it - so can you!

Related Post:

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