Could it get any better? I mean, really : the best clients you could ask for? Brilliant ideas? Yes, please!
New wedding invitation suite is here and ready for a glitzy holiday soiree! This package includes a rich chalkboard texture background, with a glitzy gold glitter script, and a sprinkle of glittery gold confetti dots. Pairs well with our “calling all my ‘maids” bridesmaid cards. Save the Date, Invitation, Bridal Shower invite, Thank You cards, and address labels are available in this design. All items can be purchased individually or as a set in the Etsy shop. As always, keep up with the latest happenings by following the FB page.
New holiday cards are here and ready for some seasonally-(in)appropriate fun! This card features a festive llama, complete with an irreverent menorah hat, and holiday-theme bunting. Folded cards and post cards, either printed or in digital format, are available in this design. All printed items can be purchased individually or as a set of four and come with kraft paper envelopes; digital files are ready for you to use with your favorite event site or print at home. Printed and digital items can be purchased in the Etsy shop. As always, keep up with the latest happenings by following the FB page.
Well, this is officially the very first time I’ve ever made cinnamon buns. They’ve always been a little intimidating to someone like myself, the type of someone who can’t seem to roll dough successfully.
Enter the breadmaker. No idea what I’d ever do without this thing. It’s brilliant for all sorts of baking that require kneading dough of any sort. You can add in liquidy things like jam, solids like nuts, and everything in between. It can even be programmed to hang onto those added goodies until exactly the right time, and then add them in when necessary. Luckily, my Breadman Ultimate breadmaker comes with a handy booklet of recipes, one of which is for cinnamon buns.
As I was saying, the breadmaker is a lifesaver. Just add all ingredients from liquid to solid, with yeast being last, set to appropriate setting, and go. For a recipe like this the machine did all steps up through final knead and rise, allowing me to roll the dough out, add filling, and prep for the oven. One small adjustment I made was to use Sucanat in place of sugar. It’s similar to white or brown sugar in that it’s still processed, but different in that it retains it’s molasses content and the associated vitamins and minerals. This gives it a slightly stronger flavor, but it’s still able to be substituted in recipes with not much difference beyond making the item taste a little more rich.
Breadmaker Cinnamon Bun Dough – makes twelve rolls, adapted from the Breadman Ultimate recipe for Cinnamon Bun Dough
1 Egg + enough water to fill 1 cup total
1 Cup Oil
3 T Sugar
1/3 Cup Sugar
1.5 t Salt
3.5 t Bread Flour
2 t Active Dry Yeast
1/3 Cup Butter, melted
1/4 Cup Sugar
2 T Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
3 T Milk, or water
1/2 t Vanilla Extract
Place ingredients in breadmaker, liquid first, then dry ingredients, and lastly yeast on top. Set dough cycle settings. Once cycle is finished, place dough on lightly floured surface, roll to twelve by six inch rectangle, spread with filling mixture, and roll up jelly-roll style, starting with the longest side. Cut into one inch slices, place in greased baking dish, and bake for approximately twenty minutes at 350 degrees. Allow to cool before drizzling with glaze.
I’ve survived my first season of the challenge and am now embarking on another seasonal closet change. Here are the numbers :
Started with a total of 409 items
Number of bins stowed away in June : 3
Number of bins stowed away this time : 2
Additions : 7
Whew! So much better already, but there’s still lots to do since I’ve not yet reached my goal of 100 total pieces. Last month we went over how to approach purchasing additional items to fill holes in the wardrobe, but not the nitty gritty of such an experience. My first step when buying clothing is to look in my own closet. A lot of times I’ve already got something that fits the bill, and if I don’t there’s a chance a little soul searching will show I don’t really need it after all. If it really is something splurge-worthy I’ll give consignment shops a look and see if I can’t find what I’m itching for at a much lower price.
Oftentimes I can totally score a name brand, perfect condition, sometimes with tags still on it item that suits my needs. Occasionally, however, it’s something that can only come from one of a handful of places. This is where those annoying retail emails come in handy – signing up for all my go-to retailers’ emails, stashing them away for a day such as this, and combing through them when I’m looking for something in particular. Is there a super awesome coupon? A big sale coming up soon? Can I wait to purchase this until it goes on sale or clearance?
New holiday cards are here and ready for some seasonally-(in)appropriate fun! This card features two festive llamas, celebrating the season together in their irreverent hats and holiday-theme bunting. Folded cards and post cards, either printed or in digital format, are available in this design. All printed items can be purchased individually or as a set of four and come with kraft paper envelopes; digital files are ready for you to use with your favorite event site or print at home. Printed and digital items can be purchased in the Etsy shop. Grab ’em while they’re hot! As always, keep up with the latest happenings by following the FB page.
Who doesn’t love a good deal? When it comes to being mindful about the things we own it’s important to be mindful about how we acquire these things. Saving ourselves time and spending more wisely ultimately pay off in the long term; better, more mindful purchases now mean less waste later. Nowadays there are myriad apps, tools, and sites touting tips and tricks to help us save time, save dollars, and supposedly make our lives better.
Here I’m sharing my favorites, and will update the list as I find and fall in love with more of them.
This site and app is something I’ve shared before, but it’s worth bringing up again. When I do a little stock taking of the pantry I’ll make two sets of notes in here for the “things we don’t need, yet” and the “things we could use more of if on sale” plus another set of notes that become the final shopping list. That keeps me on track at the store, I can pop in, buy only what we need, and not come home with ten more cans of coconut milk when we’ve already got five in the pantry. Additionally, I’ll keep notes on everything else from things I’d like to remember, to things I’d buy if on a good sale (like a particular color or cut of boot).
There are different plans, including a free option, and additional features beyond note taking abilities.
Also have shared this one. It’s brilliant for keeping track of things that get lost in the back of the pantry or freezer (things really only last three months max in the freezer, people). It’ll alert you to use up that summer squash before the freezer burn sets in. Less food waste = more dollars in our pockets. Another great idea to use this platform for : meal planning.
This is a free item.
We’ve been here before, too, but let’s face it : you need a budget. You can’t go shopping if you don’t know how many dollars you can realistically spend.
There are different plans, including a free option, and there are financial planners available to help with getting things even more on track.
Looking for a good deal? Don’t have time to sift through endless Google results that lead to expired coupon codes and misleading ads? This site provides insight into just those things, sorting out which are legit, which are the best, and allowing you to avoid all that other nonsense. It’s user generated in that it’s members can submit coupons, codes, and deals to the community that are then analyzed by other members and the Slick Deals team. These are vetted and rated, giving you a clear answer about what will work and how.
This is free to use. There is also a price tracker tool that can let you know when prices change on items you’ve got your eye on.
Shop it to Me
If you’re short on time, know what you like, and don’t want to do the searching yourself then this site is for you. Just plug in what you’re looking for, size, brand, item type, etc., and they’ll scour the interwebs on your behalf, sending you suggestions on the best options out there. Keep in mind the things on this site tend to be higher end and name brand.
This is a free service, and will alert you to particular sales and deals once you “heart” things on their site.
This one is brilliant in it’s ease of use. It’s a browser extension which means you download a button that will appear in your browser top corner much like a Pin It button. When you’re poking around your favorite shopping sites, just click that button and it’ll save whatever item you’re currently looking at. It’s a lot like Pinterest for shopping. You save your faves, curate them on their site, and receive alerts when sales or discounts are available for your saved items.
The button and service is free. The methodology here is shop now, buy later. Allowing you the opportunity to peruse, sleep on it, and know you’re getting the best deal possible.
Also a browser extension, this one will alert you in real time to better prices for an item you’re currently looking it. This is done a little discreetly with a small drop down list from the top of your browser with suggestions for other retailers with prices. Definitely handy to see things immediately, and can also be set to send you alerts.
This is a free browser button.
Much like the other price trackers, however, this one is only for Amazon. It’ll tell you the price history for an item, and possibly when the best time to buy might be, as well as alert you to when the price drops or changes.
This is a free service, but only tracks items on Amazon.
This is a magical thing that puts an extension in your browser. All you have to do is your normal online shopping routine, except when you get to the checkout screen Honey will suggest coupon codes, deals, etc. for you to take advantage of in real time. That easy.
It’s a free service with an accompanying browser extension.
New wedding invitation suite is here and ready for a glitzy holiday celebration! This package includes a classic white background, with a sprinkle of gold glitter confetti, and a fancy glittery script. Save the Date, Invitation, Bridal Shower invite, Thank You cards, and address labels are available in this design. All items can be purchased individually or as a set in the Etsy shop. As always, keep up with the latest happenings by following the FB page.
Welp, I’ve survived three months of this nonsense, I mean challenge, and have learned a few things along the way. I suspected I wouldn’t much miss things that were out of sight in the trial separation closet, which is precisely what happened, making it easier to pare things down even more. Also, I had some success with selling items online and via consignment; there were a few items I felt worthy of refreshing and had great success with repairs. Lastly, I realized there are a few holes in my closet. For instance, I love wearing blazers vs. cardigans so tossing all those jackets that didn’t fit the bill and weeding out a number of button front sweaters I never wore freed up space for another blazer or two. Same thing with dresses and skirts; I love to wear a variety of dress silhouettes but am so very picky about style and fit of skirts. Weeding out those skirts I didn’t love and the few dresses I hadn’t been thrilled with allowed more space and opportunity to wear the ones I do like.
That brings me to my next hurdle in this challenge – purchasing additional items that are wants, not really needs, more like could haves. There are big, slightly terrifying questions that come to mind when I think about adding to my closet :
How much to spend on this item?
Quality, fabric, material, color?
What will it be paired with (and should work well together with)?
How do I want it to fit (or how do I want to feel when I wear it)?
Will I know when to stop?
With all of that in mind, I sat down and thought about what advice I’d give myself if I were talking to someone else. Maybe thinking about all those questions above, and going into this shopping endeavor with answers to those questions in mind, might leave me feeling prepared. A few things I’ve found helped in the past are :
Only purchase items that look good on you, not on someone else, including the mannequin at the store and the models in the ads. Buy for your shape! Not the shape you hope to have, not for the weight you wish you were..
You should never have to talk yourself into a purchase. No matter what.
There should be preexisting options already in your closet to pair with this item. There aren’t? Then what’re you buying this for?! Put that thing back right now, girlfriend!
Give yourself twenty-four hours to think things over (especially with big ticket items)
Don’t buy anything that doesn’t fit comfortably, or make you feel like “you” when wearing it.
If there’s a mark or stain and you try to remove it post purchase but it won’t come out return the item. That spot is permanent. Even better : don’t buy it in the first place.
We really only love things in the store, if you aren’t absolutely in love with it in the store you’ll not love it any more at home. Don’t buy something you’re not tickled pink about.