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Monday, February 29, 2016

Music Monday #7

Yes, I slipped some Flo Rida in there. Didn't expect that, did you?

Follow me on Spotify for Music Monday playlists and more.
Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Blue Living Pledge + Giveaway via Fins and Fluke (CLOSED)

I've been part of an amazing organization called Fins and Fluke since its inception in 2012. I've served as secretary of the board since and I am so thankful for so many things, but mostly my amazing team members and our supporters.

Right now we're encouraging people to take the Blue Living Pledge. What that means is that we are encouraging to make not only "green" choices, but "blue" as well.

  • Reduce your carbon footprint
  • Reduce the use of plastics
  • Strive to be fish-free
  • Become a locavore
  • Avoid chemical sunscreens
  • Avoid purchasing items that exploit marine life
  • Take your water sports off the grid
  • Educate yourself about oceans and marine life!
(explanations and further details on each step can be found here)

Oh yeah, I mentioned a giveaway...

Complete the steps below and you'll be entered to win a Samsung tablet!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And while you're at it, why not take the Blue Living Pledge now?

Want to help the campaign grow?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dream home: an ice castle

Spencer and I visited the Ice Castle in Lincoln, New Hampshire today.

I've been dying to explore some ice caves for years and if this is as close as I can get for right now...I'll take it. It was pretty impressive and surprisingly there was no fear looming in the back of my mind of being impaled by a giant icicle. 

  • a 10 year old kid actually tried to push Spencer out of their way
  • holy moly, it was bright! I wish I had thought to bring sunglasses.
  • there was a SLIDE made out of ice...which I didn't go on because I wasn't wearing snow pants and that would've been miserable after the initial 6 seconds of fun.
Lincoln is a little over an hour west of here, and we took the beautiful Kancamagus Highway there and back. Besides getting a bit carsick, it was a great little adventure!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Music Monday #6

This week I was really feelin' some old favorites.

Bonus: this alternative video for Breaking It Up is one of my favorites. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Ran Away to Maine

If you have clicked the little blue Tumblr button on the right side of my page, you know that I also blog at Ran Away to Maine. It's a blog I started in August to basically share/dump the pictures I take all around Maine (and sometimes New Hampshire).

Diana's Bath, North Conway New Hampshire
Find it bigger here
I have a personal Tumblr account, but I never post any original content there. Having a Maine-oriented, all-original content Tumblr is kind of weird because
  • the people who follow me on this blog are SO different than the people who follow me on my personal blog. That's not a bad thing, it's just interesting to me. 
  • I have tons of followers who are fans of the band The Maine. I don't think they understand what my blog is about.
  • I have learned that when you type "please don't delete my caption" most people (usually the first reblogger) read that as "please DO delete my caption!!!!" and that bugs me more than it probably should. 
Friday, February 19, 2016

First VoxBox! Nutrish Dish dog food

It finally happened.

 I finally got my first Influenster VoxBox.

This one contained a 3.75 lb. bag of the new Rachael Ray Nutrish Dish chicken and brown rice dog food.

Kai was pretty jealous.

Here's how the whole VoxBox thing went for me (to learn more about how Influenster VoxBoxes work, visit their FAQ)
  • I got a survey a couple weeks into Influenster-ing that was obviously about skincare, but my answers didn't qualify me so I didn't get that one. Womp womp.
  • A few weeks ago I got a survey from them about dog food, and I was given the impression that basically I was in, but was never really given a solid answer.
  • I got an email that said something along the lines of "we hear you may be getting a Nutrish Dish VoxBox..." That kind of gave it away. I mean, I'd be let down if I didn't get it after that.
  • A week or two later, I found this box on my front porch. 

I wish I could remember the specific timeline for this, but I can't so...whatcha gonna do.

So my first impression of the food was generally pretty good. 
  • U.S. farm-raised chicken is the first ingredient (but let's be real, "farm-raised" can mean a lot of different things)
  • No corn, wheat, gluten, or soy-- which is great because Theo has a sensitive stomach and all those things certainly don't help
  • No poultry by-product meal, fillers, or artificial flavors, preservatives, colors
  • If you look at the food, it actually has dried pieces of carrots, potatoes, and peas
  • It has "real chicken jerky bits" which kinda look like little petrified meatballs 

We slowly mixed it into Theo's current food and we saw no bad effects from it (yes, I mean poop-wise) which was a nice surprise since as I said, Theo has a sensitive stomach. Obviously Theo liked it because he's a dog and he'll eat almost anything.

I'll tell you what isn't sitting well with me. No where on the bag does it say "made in the USA" or "made in Canada" which is something Spencer and I always look for when buying things for Theo. I went onto the Nutrish Dish website and saw nothing, went to the manufacturer's website (Ainsworth Pet Nutrion) and nothing. It did say something about their plant in Meadville, PA but nowhere did they actually come out and plainly say "made in the USA," which is usually a bragging point for companies, so if they can say it they definitely will. I sent Ainsworth an email asking to clarify if all of their products are made in Meadville or even the USA and I'm waiting to hear back, and when I do I'll update this post with their answer.

Update 2/23/16: I received this reply from Ainsworth today:
"Nearly all of our products are made either here in Meadville, PA or at our other facilities in the US. The only exception would be our Nutrish wet dog and cat food products, which are made in our facilities in Thailand."

So there you have it. This dog food that I got was made in the USA. That makes me feel a lot better about feeding this product to Theo. 

*** I received this product complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes and all opinions stated here are mine ***
Tuesday, February 16, 2016

DIY: Save the Dates

Let me say before I begin: this is a DIY for lazy people. Okay, let's continue. 

I'm having a very small wedding and to be honest, I just don't want to spend $100+ on a very small amount of save the date cards. The save the dates that I created are certainly not Etsy-worthy in my opinion, but they'll do and hopefully they will help get the message across that my wedding is going to be casual, low-key, informal, and non-traditional. Well, they might not say all that, but hopefully my wedding website does.

Now, since I am being extremely indecisive, I may not send this out. In two days I might decide that I hate these, get frustrated, and just spend $100+. Or maybe I'll just change the font. We'll see. But anyway.

Here is my sample save the date, it differs from the real one because 
  • I'm not getting married on July 30th. That's actually my birthday.
  • I'm not getting married in Portland.
So here's a brief description of how I made mine:
  • I downloaded a free trial of Photoshop, since the version I have is CS2...and the computer it's on is basically a fossil 
  • I downloaded this font 
  • I searched for a calendar of my wedding month instead of making my own calendar because that was proving to be too complicated. I couldn't get the spacing right. Please remind me to sign up for a Photoshop class
  • I searched for a "black handwritten circle" and used this one, but only used the one on the left
Basically I used the magic of layers and re-sized some stuff and boom, save the dates complete! After about an hour of playing around with it. Remember to save it as a high quality JPEG.

I plan on printing it on some heavier cream paper and mailing 'em out. The cream paper is about $20, I'll need to get some nice envelopes (but I think I may have some somewhere around here), and of course some stamps. I'm not using a calligrapher and lord knows I am completely incapable of doing that myself, so my guests will have to deal with my normal handwriting. I may print some address label stickers and I may order some for myself since I'm currently using freebie ones from various nonprofits. I'm guessing this will cost a maximum of $60. 

They're simple and probably not as formal as some of my family would like (who cares) but they get the message across. Who, what, when, and  (vaguely) where. They already know the why. I mean...just look at him. I love that guy.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Music Monday #5

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Favorites: IKEA

I love IKEA. I truly do.

I remember the first IKEA catalog I flipped through. I think it was the 2000 or 2001 catalog. My favorite item in it was a blue duvet cover with lime green squiggly lines that reminded me of Nickelodeon's trademark slime. I was dead set on getting it, especially after I saw it in the background of the Disney Channel movie, Tru Confessions. To celebrate my 10th birthday my mom and grandma were going to take me to the Potomac Mills IKEA (who needs a big party with friends?) but sadly, I had a bit of an unfortunate fall that day and ended up at Urgent Care getting stitches in my knee. I remember sitting in my kitchen while my mom looked at my wound, begging her, "can we please still go to IKEA? I'll go to the doctor tomorrow, I promise! I'll be okay just give me a band aid!" If you had seen the bloody gash on my knee, you would understand how impractical it would be to forego the doctor that day. IKEA love is strong.

As much as I love online shopping, I love the experience of shopping at IKEA. On weekdays. As soon as they open. Definitely not on teacher workdays or holidays. Have you ever been in a nearly-empty IKEA? I highly recommend it. Have you ever had a Bjorn Palmer (lingonberry juice + lemonade)? I highly recommend it. Have you ever had their vegan veggie balls? Well...I don't highly recommend them, but they're still good. One of the things I love about going to IKEA is always making a fun day out of it. I've never lived closer than at least an hour and a half drive away. Since moving to Maine, the closest IKEA is in Stoughton, MA...three hours away. Someday I'll make it down there. In the meantime I'll continue to write letters to IKEA, asking them to please build a store in Maine or New Hampshire.

My first IKEA trip with Spencer...look at us, just kids.

And now, I give you my tried and true IKEA favorites:
via Pinterst

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Mad Men Finale

I finally finished watching Mad Men and I have so many questions and concerns.

*Spoilers ahead if you haven't finished watching, proceed with caution*

I loved this scene. So. Much. 

  • So Peggy and Ted are over? I was expecting them to get back together...I was counting on them to get back together.
  • I was also suspecting that maybe Peggy and Peter would suddenly be in love and run off together...nope. 
  • Stan is in love with Peggy? Peggy is in love with Stan?
  • Trudy suddenly takes Peter back? He was an inconsiderate husband from the start and just out of the blue she agrees to run off to Oklahoma with him?
  • Why is Glen Bishop such a creep? 
  • I truly hate that the show left off with Betty dying and no hope on the horizon. So that's it? She is gonna die soon and the kids are gonna go live with William? Does Don put up any more of a fight for custody? Or does he accept it because he knows he's kind of a crappy father?
  • WHAT HAPPENS TO DON? He shows some of the most humanity we've ever seen from him and that's it? Does he stay in California? What happens?!
  • Does Roger go through with marrying Marie? 
  • I was rooting for Roger and Joan during the whole show...and nuthin'. Well, they had a baby, so I guess that's something.
  • I was always rooting for Joan in general, and I like that the show ended with her starting her own business. 
  • What happened to Megan? Just kidding, I was never really that interested in her character. 
Monday, February 8, 2016

Music Monday #4

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

DIY: Wedding Planner

DIY wedding planner

I jumped into wedding planning the day after I got engaged. I remembered from back when I worked at a bookstore that there were big binders available full of worksheets, lists, tips, etc. I looked at some on Amazon and they all seemed to be tailored to an heiress who was having a 100+ guest wedding and would do all the traditional wedding things. None of that suited me and I certainly wasn't going to pay $25 for something that would probably only have 3 pages that I found useful.

DIY wedding planner

Here's what I used for my DIY wedding planner:
  • a 3 ring binder, I recommend a 3 inch
  • subject dividers with tabs
  • printer, paper, and ink
  • wedding planning worksheets, I use these and am very happy with them (hint: go through and only print the pages you need, it's time consuming but why waste ink?)
  • plastic business card pages, like these-- I collected 25 business cards at just one wedding showcase, this was a great way to keep them all organized instead of floating around at the bottom of my purse
  • sheet protectors to keep vendor contracts safe
  • a hole puncher, I used a handheld one but I definitely recommend a 3 hole puncher 
  • your favorite wedding magazines 
  • scissors
  • pens
  • glue sticks 
  • or! a pen-gluestick combo, which I love
DIY wedding planner

As you may be able to tell from that list and the above photo, I am not a Pinterest-person. I prefer to cut images out from magazines. Obviously, purchasing wedding magazines can add up. Here are my wedding magazine tips:
  • don't buy an issue for just one article
  • see if the issue is available digitally, usually they are, and usually they're less money or even free (and if you're like me and want to cut things out, you can always print the images/articles)
  • you know how The Knot also has regional issues? I learned the hard way that they re-use articles from previous issues-- check it out before you buy it to avoid redundancy and wasting money
  • sometimes smaller regional wedding magazines all seem to feature the same weddings at the same time--not that I didn't love that June elopement in Acadia National Park, but I don't need to see the pictures in 4 different magazines-- I say again, flip through before you buy
DIY wedding planner

I divided my binder into 8 sections:

 Timeline/Checklist: most magazines have checklists in them, websites have checklists, and the worksheets I posted above have 'em. You could always get ideas from various checklists and compose your own. 
♥ Budgeting: because really, everything else depends on this. I have in this section the current price sheet for my venue and the budget worksheets. 
Hair/Clothing/Accessories: I filled this section with pictures of hairstyles I loved and the beauty plan worksheets. 
Stationary/Guests: in here I keep ideas and information about invitations I loved, worksheets about the stationary, the guest list with contact info, where they are staying while in town, and ideas for place cards.
♥ Ceremony: ceremony worksheets,flower ideas, specific wedding day timeline.
♥ Reception: cake ideas, reception worksheets, music, seating charts, etc.
♥ Vendors: I printed my venue's preferred vendor list and stuck it in here, here is where I put all the business cards, and other vendor info that I found online or got at wedding showcases.
Contracts: keep all your sheet protected contracts back here.

DIY wedding planner

My favorite wedding planning sources:
My favorite Maine/New England oriented sites/publications:

Here's some last words of advice:
  • find local/regional wedding oriented websites/publications-- they are great sources for finding venues, vendors, officiants, planners/day-of-coordinators, etc.
  • speaking of venues, look at something a little different. Parks! A random pretty field! Art museums! Historic buildings! Botanical gardens! Libraries! 
  • once you secure a venue, utilize their preferred vendor list
  • other vendors (florists, photographers, caterers, etc.) probably have preferred vendor lists, too!
  • save and/or print everything (and put it in your binder)
  • make a Google Docs folder full of wedding-related stuff-- links, Excel sheets, guest lists, etc.
Monday, February 1, 2016

Music Monday #3

Happy February, y'all.