Friday, August 21, 2015

Etsy Favorites: Gifts for Guys

This week we searched Etsy for gift ideas for our husbands. We both have anniversaries this summer and there's no better place to find the perfect gift. Etsy is full of great handmade and vintage finds for the guy in your life.

Canda's picks:

Interstellar T-shirt | Cooper Station Museum
David loved Interstellar (we saw it five times in the theater) and I'm sure he will love this shirt.
 1977 R2-D2 Star Wars Vintage Blueprint Poster
We have a small collection of vintage Star Wars items and this blueprint will be a great addition.

We've been needing a new comfortable unisex camera strap for a while and I think this one is just perfect.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Baby Basics Volume II - Baby Wearing

I am a huge baby wearing advocate. I love all different styles of baby wearing. I think it's so sweet to see a parent keeping their baby close in that way. I have learned over the years that what works for one family won't work for another. Most times when discussing baby wearing it's more so about what the mother or father prefers as far as comfort and convenience. What I've found with my little guy is that he has a big opinion in what we use. 

I made a list of the ones that I've used and either love or prefer otherwise:

I have only used this sling on newborns but I really like it. It's very comfortable and super easy to use. The fact that the fabric is wide across your back distributes the weight well. I also felt like the baby is secure, I never feared that he would fall out. The fabric is cut so the baby sits up a bit and the fabric comes up high enough on each side to keep him in. They even sell an infant support pillow to keep the tinier babies safe and elevated. The price online seems to vary but it's around $30.

This has to be one of the most popular of wraps. It's great in the way that you can wrap it so many ways and it works for all ages. When I wrapped Wolf in it he felt so secure and I was very comfortable. The weight is distributed perfectly. The problem is that Wolf hates it. Sometimes he'll tolerate it if hes very sleepy but the moment he starts to wake up, he throws a fit. He never liked how he couldn't move his limbs in the newborn hug hold. I don't find it to be the most convenient. I don't like how I have 18 feet of fabric to fold and wrap each time. When I'm out and need to rewrap the fabric drags on the floor. A lot of moms swear by it though but Wolf just never liked it. The most basic Moby is $40.

To me the K'tan is kind of like a sling/wrap blend. It has two loops and an extra sheet of fabric so you can use it either way. I think its simpler to use than a wrap but gives you more choices than a sling. It's the best of both worlds! The most basic K'tan is $50.

This guy surprised me. We got this for my husband because the wraps just weren't his thing. Turns out everyone loves it, including Wolf. It's comfortable, easy to use and Wolf can kick, move and look around all he wants. We originally wanted to get the Ergo because as the name suggests it's more ergonomic for the passenger. The price was a little high for us; the Ergo is $115 for the basic model when the BabyBjorn is around $70.

Wearing your baby is a great way to bond. Rather than pushing your baby away from you in a stroller, you are holding him close. In a perfect world we could all just stop everything and carry our babies in our arms all day long but that just isn't realistic (and it will kill your shoulders..trust me). When you use a wrap or a carrier or whichever you prefer you can get things done and still make your little one feel secure. Parents are the ultimate multitaskers.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mad Men Finale Party: Part II

Last week we talked about invitations, decorations and costumes. Now let's talk about fun cocktails and delicious treats that fit into our Mad Men theme.
Mad Men cocktail guide
The old fashioned was the first cocktail to be featured on Mad Men so that is definitely a must have at your party. We picked a few cocktails that shared similar ingredients and also made up a few pitchers so that our guests don't have to craft their cocktail if they don't want to.
Mad Men Party Drinkware
I decided to make a fun party favor that would be useful during the party as well. I purchased different types of glasses at the Dollar Tree and customized them so that they fit in with our Mad Men theme.


I found these images online and cut them out of vinyl with my Cricut. Then I applied the vinyl sticker to the glass and used glass etching creme to etch the design into the glass.


Sticking to our theme, we're serving tasty retro appetizers. We're keeping it simple and offering finger foods like meat and cheese roll-ups, shrimp cocktail, and meatballs.
We hope you've picked up some ideas for your finale party next week. Tag us on Instagram with your party photos, we'd love to see them!


Friday, May 8, 2015

Baby Basics Volume I - Cloth Diapers

Baby basics

A lot of my friends cloth diapered their little ones. In the past I thought it was such a strange thing to do. I thought it would be gross and a lot more work.
I have no problem admitting I was dead wrong.
Let's talk cloth diapers.

There are an insane amount of different diapers to choose from and when I decided I wanted to go cloth I was beyond overwhelmed at first. Thanks to a lot of great advice from friends and reading a million reviews online I chose the ones that I thought would be best for my family. The main ones to chose from are prefold, fitted, pocket, all in one, and hybrid diapers. Thanks to the variety I honestly feel that there is a diaper that would work for anyone.


We used Bumgenius 4.0 one-size with snaps and loved them! They have to be the easiest of all cloth diapers. They have a pocket you stuff an insert into and it all just gets thrown in the wash. The one size part means that they work at all ages. They snap into a small size and unsnap to a larger size so your baby can use them right up until they are potty trained. I feel like you really get your money's worth that way rather than having to buy ones they will just grow out of. We chose snaps instead of Velcro because they tend to last longer and its harder for toddlers to figure out how to undo them. We had 19 of these in several colors but it wasn't quite enough since we didn't have a dryer.


We later ordered six Econobum one-size and that was plenty. These are different because it's just a cover that you lay the prefolds in. These I used only at home and never over night because they don't have the same hold as the Bumgenius ones. What's great about them is that I could use the cover for several changes because all I had to change is the prefold. The prefold that came with them was too thick for now so I just use the inserts from the Bumgenius. They also are much cheaper. The Econobums are about $12 and the Bumgenius are about $18.

As far as the washing part goes, it couldn't be easier! We had a garbage pail next to the changing table lined with a Planet Wise diaper pail liner. Every other day I would throw it all in the wash and use Bumgenius diaper detergent. I always washed it in hot and would do an extra cold rinse at the end to make sure all the detergent was out otherwise it starts to build up and smell funky. I would hang it all to dry and stuff the pocket diapers while watching TV at night. It might sound like a lot of extra work but I didn't find it burdensome at all. You're doing tons of laundry anyway, so what's an extra load? They can stain sometimes but all you have to do is lay them on the grass in the sun and they will be good as new in a few hours. When your little one gets older you can get a diaper sprayer to take care of larger messes before you throw it in the wash.

I also used cloth wipes that I sprayed with a solution made of water, California Baby body wash, and tea tree oil. Cloth wipes makes it so much easier because you can just throw them in with the wash rather than separating them from the diaper to throw them out.

Cloth diapering is worth considering because it's better for your baby, better for the environment and better for your budget. This site goes in much greater detail. When my son was born he was 7lbs 11oz. but most cloth diapers work best starting at 8 or 9 pounds so we used disposables at first. While using them he had two minor diaper rashes but once we started the cloth he didn't have any. We still used disposables sometimes when we traveled so it was less to carry around.

My son, Wolf in his Bumgenius diaper.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Star Wars Day

For Star Wars Day yesterday we did some crafts, wore some inspired outfits and played with some vintage Star Wars Legos. Every day in my household involves some sort of Lego activity. For our craft we made a Chewbacca bookmark! I found the template here a few days ago and we went out and got the supplies in preparation. 

To start, you need 6 pages of felt and glue. You will need light brown, dark brown, black, white, grey, and red. I got an extra sheet of light brown so we can make another bookmark another day.

Next, you cut out the paper template so you can outline the shapes onto the felt. The instructions on the exact order to place them are included in the print out.

For months I've been using an old car dealership business card and a piece of cardboard that I ripped off of a candy box so I'm so glad to have an actual bookmark. It just makes it that much sweeter that it's something that was handmade with my son's help. How did you celebrate Star Wars Day?

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Mad Men Finale Party: Part 1

I don't really want to talk about this, but I think it will help me come to grips with reality. Mad Men is ending. Where else will I be able to study each frame for vintage inspiration or squeal with delight when I spot a vintage dress that I own? Not Keeping up with the Kardashian's, that's for sure.  I'm planning a farewell to Mad Men party and thought I would share some of the details so that you can start planning for the finale as well.

 There are a few elements that should not be missing from your party. Classic cocktails, nostalgic snacks and lots of mid century details. So pour yourself an Old Fashioned, put on Zou Bisou Bisou and let's get planning!

"Ignore a Telegram? You Can't." -Don Draper
 Make an invitation worthy of Don Drapers famous pitch. Add your party details to this blank Western Union Telegram and start your Mad Men theme off on the right foot. To make your own invitation, open the telegram image in Word, place a text box over the image and type your invitation details.

Making and gathering props and decorations is my favorite part of party planning. For this party I'm gathering all of the 60's and 70's décor from my home and making some props that are specific to Mad Men.

Since everyone will be dressed retro styles I want to have a few places that will make great backdrops for fun photos. One way to accomplish this is to print out large photos to make a backdrop. AMC has some awesome high quality photo's available for download that will look great printed large. I also found lots of great  vintage ads online and had them printed as engineering prints at Staples. You can upload your photo online and then pick it up the next day. These are very affordable at $1.99 each and make a large impact on your wall.

 TIP: Make sure to choose the option to Fit Content to Paper when creating your print. Otherwise your image will only print in the middle of the page.

The fashion on Mad Men is practically another character so don't forget to dress the part! You may even want to have a few outfits available for your photo booth.

Try to make your props as realistic as possible. I have a lot of vintage items around my house, so I was able to put together a vignette of items that could have been on Peggy Olson's desk.  I even printed out the Sterling Cooper and Partners Press Release and added that to my typewriter I also made a replica of the telegram Pete received of his mother's cruise ship disappearance to add to my party props. Add an old rotary phone from the thrift store or etsy, a few desk accessories and you're all set.

Check back for Part 2 where we'll talk about cocktails, food and more.

Etsy Favorites : Art Prints

We are always surfing Etsy for prints. The walls in our homes are full of prints from Etsy artists. When we find a print that we love, we can instantly see a place for it in our homes. We put together a few pieces that caught our eye this week so you can swoon over them with us!

Shannon's Favorites:

for my living room:

for my son's room:

for my bathroom:

Canda's Favorites:


for my family room:
Sam and Suzy by Kwanalee
for my guest room:
Whimsical Woodland Girls Watercolor
for my bathroom:
Like a Fish Out of Water

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

May the 4th Be With You

May 4th is right around the corner so I made some inspiration boards to get us pumped and ready to geek out! Seeing how May 4th is a Monday, we might want to start celebrating over the weekend with a marathon or if you are fortunate enough to live near a Disney Park you can ride Star Tours. If you have some kids or just love crafts you can make some Chewbacca bookmarks, a Hoth snowglobe or drink some delicious Blue Milk. The possibilities are endless and it can all start with some sweet threads!

May the 4th be with you

May the 4th be with you

Planning Your Disney Vacation

Vintage Disney Photo

Disney World is one of my favorite places to visit. My first trip to Disney was when I was two years old and I've been back almost 20 times over the years. My husband and I even went to Disney on our honeymoon. There isn't anywhere else where I have more fun or laugh as much as in Disney. Since I've explored almost every inch of Disney World property, I thought I would write a series of posts with tips, reviews and fun ideas for your Disney vacations. Before diving right into planning your vacation, try these time saving and organizational tips.

1. Contact a travel agent. This is by far the best thing I did when planning our last two Disney trips. I contacted Cameron from Destinations in Florida after reading some of her tips and reviews. She was so helpful, and best of all her services are FREE! I asked Cameron why people should book their vacation with her and here's what she said:

Free Discount Watching - As soon as discounts are released I update your reservations, so you get the best deal available.  I offer this service, without you asking!  If your dates don't match the promotion exactly, I will contact you to see if you want to shift your trip to capture the discount.
MousePerks – MousePerks are free perks I send to my clients to help them get excited for their trip.  Things like coloring pages, crafts, puzzles, Hidden Mickey hunts and more.  You will not get these with any other agency since many are exclusive to Destinations to Explore.  You will hear from me weekly from the time that you book until the week that you travel!
Expertise – I can help you get the most out of your trip.  I am a Disney Expert and have traveled with my family, kids, infants, grandparents, special needs children, food allergy sufferers and handicapped family members so I can approach your trip with all the knowledge you will need.
Free Gifts – I send all my clients fun gifts to give to their children before the trip in the mail with their final documents.  Fun little extras like autograph pictures of Mickey Mouse for the kids and more.
Save Time – I create an itinerary for my clients to help them get the most time out of their trip!  On average, most of our guests save up to 4 hours a day waiting in lines at the parks. Dining Reservations – I can recommend and make all dining reservations for you!  This helps you pick out the best restaurants for your family, save time when you arrive to the parks, and even saves you time booking these reservations.  
Money Savings – I am a frugal person, so I specialize in helping my clients get the most for their money including how to maximize your dining plan.
Personal Contact – I am your personal agent and you will have me available to you for any questions or concerns, including when you are at the park. You can call me, email me, text me and more! And Finally- I love helping people plan their vacations!  I plan your vacations like it was my own family’s trip to visit Mickey Mouse!

 2. Research. I can always remember my Dad reading through the latest copy of Birnbaum's Official Guide to Disney before each vacation. I don't think it's possible to research too much, so take the time to read some travel guides like the Passporter or check the Disney Parks Blog for up to date information.

3. Download Disney Apps. An app you'll want to download before your trip is the Touring Plans app. This app will save you hours in attraction wait times. You will receive a customized plan to maximize your time in each park. The My Disney Experience app gives you up to date attraction wait times, a GPS enabled map, the ability to modify your FastPass+ experiences and much more.

4. Disney Planning Binder. Once you've started to make some plans, you'll need a place to keep all of your important documents, reservations and notes. I made a custom Disney binder with sections for each park and each day we were in Disney. This binder can also double as an autograph book. I'll share my binder in an upcoming tutorial.

Next week I'll share some tips for picking the perfect resort for your family and share which resorts are my favorite.

Happy planning!