Category Archives: How to’s

How to Make a Super Simple Pocket Letter for Your Pen Pal!

I LOVE pocket letters. I love making them, I love following #PocketLetter on Instagram, and I DEFINITELY love opening up my mailbox to find one inside.

I’ve posted some PL’s on the blog before, but today I thought I’d show you an easy way to dip your toes in the water of this particular paper-craftin’ phenomenon. This method is especially fun if you have a pen pal and want a little inspo on something new to send their way.

So, for a more in-depth tutorial, and links to buy the pocket sheets, check out this post. But a quick run-down on the basics —
* each sheet comes with 9 “pockets”
* use your stationary stash to decorate each pocket to your heart’s content
* throw in some goodies for the PL recipient
* give the whole thing a theme or don’t — this is YOUR creation

Let’s take a look at this super simple pocket letter I created for a pen pal —

When you’re just starting out, it can help to give each pocket a “role” to guide the decorations and goodies. These can include —
* TAGS
* TEA
* STICKERS
* LETTER
* EPHEMERA
*MAIL TAG
* HOLIDAY
* WASHI
* and more stickers! 😉

Following that formula, here’s a look at the goodies in the back…

If you’re sending to a pen pal, the most important components are your letter and mail tag. But isn’t it fun to include some other surprises?!

The best part about pocket letter creation is digging deep into your stash and sharing with a friend. Think about the kinds of things your pen pal likes, their favorite colors, what they might appreciate. (For example, I’m pretty sure those vintage V-day stickers and macaron page flags will be a hit with mine!)

You don’t have to go out and buy a bunch of supplies to deliver these mailbox treats either. I happen to be a bit of a washi and sticker collector. But if you’re not, use whatcha got on hand. Use up old wrapping paper, cut images out of a magazine, hand letter a sweet mantra. You get the picture!

Do you love sending and receiving snail mail? Tell me what you like to send in the comments below!

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How I Plan to Put My 2019 Goals into Action

Hello friends! Welcome back to my blog. My name is Beth, if you are new here. I recently shared my 2019 Resolutions and I wanted to expand on this topic in today’s post.

Today I’m going to discuss some specific strategies I’m planning to employ in order to meet my 2019 goals. The new year is such a wonderful time to reflect on the positive changes we’d love to make and the new habits we’d like to adopt. But without a plan for how to stick to these changes, implement new habits, and actually…ya know…FOLLOW THROUGH, we run the risk of setting the same resolutions year after year after year. Know what I mean?

I’m definitely guilty of getting hung up in that little no man’s land between conception and action. I love research and planning and thinking things through. Maybe you’re the same way?

Well then dear friends, let’s do this together! Let’s make a plan and get shit done! Shall we?

Here are some ideas about how to follow through on our 2019 resolutions…

Outline Steps to Success

For each of my resolutions, I’m coming up with a plan of attack that I need to complete in order to succeed.

Integral to this process has been establishing a 2019 GOALS NOTEBOOK. I wrote out each of my resolutions, with blank pages left in between so that I can outline my steps.

It would be really easy to list one of my resolutions as “eat healthier”…and leave it at that. Instead, after my Whole30 reintroduction process, I plan to sit down with my notebook and map out what foods my body best jives with.

For my resolutions about spending more time growing my business and creating materials for this blog, I’m working on defining a schedule and setting due dates.

This gives my brain something concrete to work with so I know what I need to do to reach the end goal.

Schedule for Success

I’ve mentioned before that I really love to approach my day like a puzzle. (It’s why I love planners like this one.) Figuring out how the various pieces fit together to maximize my day and productivity is something I enjoy.

So, with that in mind, I’m not only making it a point to schedule in time for planning out how to achieve my goals…but then using that time to stick those plans into my schedule! Still with me?

For example, today I had a few minutes to devote to my “2019 notebook” and I sketched out a workout plan for February.

THEN…I grabbed my planner and scheduled my workouts for the first week of that month.

I can do the same thing when I make plans for quality time with my husband or writing postcards to friends or deep cleaning once a week.

When I schedule something, I’m making a COMMITMENT. Like, that shit is engraved in my calendar IN PEN (and hell, might even be highlighted!). Commitments are exactly what I need in this, the year of COMMIT!

Connecting with Others

Sharing this process publicly is a nice, healthy dose of accountability! I really, really want to make these things work…because I’m talking about them openly. I definitely think there’s something to be said for our good ol’ internet-age//social media-riddled lives when it comes to this stuff.

However, I also think sharing my goals and the process privately, with trusted loved ones in my life, is also important. This is where I can seek out encouragement (or more realistically…a good kick in the butt when I get lazy) as well as fresh perspectives when and if I get stuck.

Connecting with Self

We’re only about 1/12th of the way through the year. And while I’m still feeling pretty fired up about making the most of 2019, I can’t guarantee I’m going to feel this same way every minute of the next 11 months. So staying inspired is equally important as making and talking about plans.

That’s why my notebook isn’t just for lists and steps and action plans. I also created sections for journaling and mantras and a vision board (!) and quotes.

I want to stay connected to the reasons I set these intentions. These reasons are what gives the process power and purpose.

I hope you found these ideas helpful for planning your own 2019 “follow through.” If you would like some encouragement, motivation, or just want to type your intentions out for someone/anyone to see; LEAVE ME A COMMENT BELOW!

Do you have any specific strategies that have helped you stick to goals? Leave those below, too.

Here’s to achieving our goals in 2019! xoxo

Staying Busy to Keep the Winter Blues at Bay!

staying busy to keep the winter blues at bay*This post may contain affiliate links.

With the nights drawing in and the temperature dropping, we’re starting to become limited with our options for things to do outside. At this time of year, there are no warm ‘golden hour’  walks at 8 pm, dinner in the backyard after work, or sunny picnics at the weekend. It’s all about heading indoors, keeping cozy and finding things to do indoors instead.

I’m all about that winter hibernation, hygge lifestyle…BUT! One thing I’m NOT about? Being bored. I’ve gotta remind myself at this time of year to stay busy. That (and daily doses of Vitamin D) are tantamount to keeping the winter blues at bay.

Here are some ideas for those looooong winter nights (and snowy weekends, too)!

Have a movie/ tv day

When the weather is bad and you just want to relax, a movie or tv day (or evening) is a perfectly acceptable choice. (Don’t let the haters tell you otherwise! LOL) With all the streaming services out there, chances are you have more options than you could ever work your way through. Plus, if you have a niche interest you want to explore, a snow day is a fine time to scratch that itch. Go down the rabbit hole of beauty tutorials on YouTube. Fan of anime? Binge watch as much as you want on this website. Even if you don’t normally indulge in too much tv (can’t relate), a bit of escapism when the weather outside is frightful never hurt anyone. I’m sure I’ll be queuing up Survivor to escape to tropical islands all winter long! 

Related:
18 Movies to Watch When You’re Hibernating
TV Recommendation: Westworld
The 7 TV Shows I Can’t Wait to Watch
6 True Crime Documentaries For Your Inner Detective

Discover a new hobby

Hobbies are important for people of all ages. They help you to build your skills, stay productive when you have free time, and can give your life purpose too. So many of us fall into the ‘work, eat, sleep, repeat’ cycle, especially in the wintertime when heading home from work in the dark. But hobbies can give you something to look forward to on that cold and dark commute home. They also allow you to connect with other people, and maybe even get you out of the house once in awhile. 😉  You could start a new craft from home, write a blog, or attend classes at a local library or community center. Even if your new hobby will be done from home, you can still find ways to connect with others online. Starting a podcast with my friend Katie has been such a fun hobby to pursue. There’s always something to do and lots of sweet peeps online who are just starting out, too! 

Related:
3 Things to Remember When Your Blog Becomes a Side Hustle
In Search Of: More Delight!
How to Make Time for Books
A Spring-Themed Pocket Letter

Work out

During the colder months, it’s easy for a healthy lifestyle to fall by the wayside. With less time spent outdoors we’re naturally less active, and warming comfort foods are a far cry from the light, fresh salads we enjoyed over the summer. However, you can still live healthily without depriving yourself, and there’s no need to go running in the rain every morning before work! Gyms tend to be quieter at this time of year, and if you head down to your local gym or fitness center you might even have the place to yourself depending on the time of day! You can work out and enjoy a steamy sauna afterwards which will make you feel great. Not down for the gym? You can always workout at home. There are plenty of workouts (FO’ FREE) online. If you have a Wii fit, ballet barre, weights, or any sort of exercise equipment–throw it in the mix!

Related:
How to Make Your Own Fitness Challenge
The “All You Need is a Clock” Workout
Found! The Greatest Exercise Video Ever
My 10-Day Ballet Challenge

Do you guys have a plan for staying busy this winter? 

Fall At-Home Date Ideas with Date Night In Box

It’s that time of year again. By the time I’m done with work for the day, it’s already dark outside. The last thing I want to do most nights is bundle up and head back out into the cold. But on the flip side, spending every night ’til Spring binge watching TV shows on the couch isn’t exactly my idea of the greatest love story ever told. So, what’s the middle ground?

Here are a few fall-friendly date ideas that you and your partner can enjoy from home…

1. Cook dinner together while you listen to tunes

Sure, you gotta eat EVERY night but a lot of times that can mean divvying up the labor, grabbing something on the go, or heating up leftovers. For an at-home date night, consider planning something special and then cook together. You can pop a bottle of wine, chat at the table as things are in the oven, and…

 

 

 

…don’t forget the tunes! Pop on a fun playlist that you can enjoy in the background as you cook. Music can really set the tone for the evening so pick songs for the vibe. Romantic, fun, can’t help but sing along — you get the idea.

2. Get cozy & make a craft

You don’t have to go wild with supplies, but putting your heads together to make something is a great way to spend an evening…and looking at the finished product will always make your heart swell. Chet and I spent several weeks one summer figuring out how to turn vintage books into notebooks and the ones we kept bring back such wonderful memories.

Pictured above are the materials we used to make a Christmas ornament (the ink pad was for thumb prints and the ballpoint Sharpie for writing important-to-us dates) and a little tea light candle. Who knows!? If you enjoy a craft enough, you can always consider batch-making a few more…holiday gift-giving is right around the corner! (And that candle was so easy to make, I’m thinking everyone is gonna get one in their stocking this year, lol)

3. Engage in a little friendly competition

 

Playing a game is another great, screen-free option. A lot of games are geared for more than 2 players but do a little research to 2-person games the two of you can get behind. This dice game is a lot of fun! I also can endorse backgammon (though I’m terrible at it, lol), Trivial Pursuit, and Rummikub.

 

 

4. Curl up on the couch with a movie

Ok, ok…so curling up on the couch is SOMETIMES allowed! You’ve Got Mail is the perfect Fall film after all. Other cozy options? Autumn in New York, Good Will Hunting, October Sky, Practical Magic, Remember the Titans, The Blind Side, and When Harry Met Sally.

Plus, checking this one out of from the library with the intention of watching during a fall-themed date night felt way more romantic than clicking something from the queue, ya know?

Wanna leave the planning out of your at-home date nights?

You get all of the above (& MORE!) with a subscription to Date Night In.

Date Night In is a custom created, memorable date night subscription experience that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home. Each box includes interactive activities with ambiance, materials, and suggestions on  how to get the most out of your date. DNI’s highest priority is to help customers connect with their partner. 

And the best part? You don’t have to plan a thing! Everything you need to create a meaningful and romantic date night is waiting for you on your doorstep each month.

 

 

Interested in enjoying a monthly date night from the comfort of your own home? Consider a subscription to Date Night In Boxes. Every month features a new theme for you and your partner to enjoy! 

P.S. Here’s a look at last month’s box.

Ballin’ on a Budget Mini Tips

ten ballin' on a budget mini tips

I have a whole series on the blog that highlights strategies for BALLIN’ ON A BUDGET by way of ditching — ie) ditch the bare cupboards, ditch the gym membership, etc. Today, I’d like to build on this BALLIN’ ON A BUDGET theme with a new series. My favorite budget mini tips. The last series included posts that proposed something for all of us to ditch, in order to free up line items on our budgets, and offered a 4 week plan on how to implement. These mini tips are things you can implement RIGHT NOW. Like, straight away, as soon as you read them!

Whether you’re actively pinching pennies or simply want to re-direct some of those pennies to better serve you, this series is for you!

Here are the first 10 MINI TIPS

1. Automate Payments and Savings Whenever Possible

You KNOW I love a “set it and forget it” option. If you’re able, schedule your bills so that payments are automated. This will save you time, but it will also save you from accidentally incurring any late fees. Similarly, set up a fixed amount that will come out of your paychecks and get whisked away right into your savings account.

2. Price Compare with Amazon

A lot of household and personal care items are available on Amazon. Before impulse purchasing at the grocery or drug store, pop on that smart phone and check out pricing on Amazon. It’s a 30 second search that could save you quite a few bucks. And if you have Prime, you’ll have your items lickety-split anyways.

3. Find Ways to Winterize Your Home

If you live in an area that actually sees seasons, do a little research about how to best keep the heat in and the cold out. Every house and apartment is different so do a quick walk around your space looking for ways to winterize. Performing an audit on your home each Autumn can help you devise a plan for the coming Winter and allow you to purchase certain items before it gets too chilly.

4. Incorporate Affordable Recipes You Love to Eat 

If you stumble upon a meal you’ve made yourself that was both, super budget friendly AND delicious, don’t just leave it as a one off! Work that sucker into your meal rotation. Even if you don’t meal plan (which if you’re trying to save money you totally should!), you can still choose to have the meal every week or every other week. That is, until you get sick of it and have to find a new “cheap meets yummy” favorite…

5. Shop the Produce Section

Everyone knows, if you’re trying to eat healthy, you’ve gotta focus your grocery shopping efforts on the periphery of the store. If you’re ballin’ on a budget, you need to spend the majority of your time in the produce section. Start in this section, get all the deals you can, and then build out your buggy from the rest of the departments.

6. Ask for Cheaper Rates

My belief is that it never hurts to ask for what you want. And if you’re ballin’ on a budget, you want things to be cheaper. Ask for student rates, AAA discounts, special deals, etc. When your cell phone bill goes up, call and see what can be done. The worst that can happen is you get told no.

7. Have a “Buy Price”

Create a little cheat sheet listing food and household items that you like to have in stock. Then, do some research to determine the best sale prices for these items in your area. These are their buy prices. Then, when you’re checking out a store’s circular or see an item on sale, you can refer back to your sheet to see if it’s the right price to stock up.

8. Use Open Source Software

There are so many options out there. If a software isn’t necessary for your work, look into the free versions before plunking down your credit card.

9. Feed Your Freezer

If you double one meal a week and stick the extra servings in the freezer, you will have a plethora of ready-to-go options in no time! These “defrost and heat” meals are perfect for busy (or lazy) nights and will keep you from hitting up a restaurant or take out option.

10. Buy Only What You Need at the Grocery

This hearkens back to the importance of a meal plan, but at the very least, attack your grocery shopping with a PLAN. Make a list, check it twice, and STICK TO IT.

Thanks so much for reading! I know tons of you have your own favorite budget tips – what other advice can you share? On the other end, what aspects of budgeting do you find most difficult? 

P.S. My top tips on getting control of debt.

A Halloween-Themed Pocket Letter

Halloween Pocket Letter

BOO! Halloween is right around the corner! Which means it is the perfect time to bust out some of my more spoooOOOoooky craft supplies. Here’s a Halloween-themed pocket letter I recently whipped up.

Some of the stickers and the washi tape at the bottom were purchased from Blitsy this year (I couldn’t resist!), but the rest of the stuff I had in my stash. My favorite part about making themed pocked letters is going through my craft drawers to pull out anything I think is “on theme.” I usually don’t end up using everything but the process of picking out materials is a really calming activity for some reason.

Now, to tuck some goodies in the back and mail it off to brighten someone’s day.

WANNA SWAP? 

Maybe I’ll even throw in some fun-size candy bars

P.S. A pocket letter inspired by children’s book illustrations!

Painting Party with Date Night In Box

If there is one thing I love, it’s a craft project. Whether it be a pocket letter, a way to display polaroids, or some holiday decor; busting out the washi tape or a glue gun is my idea of self-care! And what better way to double the fun than get Chet in on the action, too.

We recently received our very first Date Night In Box and the theme was *drumroll please* “Painted With Love.” How fun is that?!

Before the box even came in the mail, I got an email with  links to a printable invitation and a personalized music playlist. They really cover ALL the details!

But as soon as I took this puppy out of the mailbox, I was even MORE impressed. The packaging was so adorable and really stuck with the whole painting theme–pantone, water-color REALNESS! Both the printable invitation and the box itself really invoked the idea of a paint and wine class, something I’ve always wanted to do as a date but never got around to. Now our own personal version was showing up at my door! What luck!!

The box came equipped with everything we needed to make our painting date a reality. Tucked inside were a couple canvases, paint and paintbrushes, and other supplies to make the night a success!

There was also a newsletter which had a bunch of recipes to take the date to the next level with a dinner, along with suggestions for movies that would follow the artistic theme of the night…

…as well as a “Colors of Love” quiz to keep the fun conversations flowing.

I LOVE when all parts of an evening are on-theme…so satisfying, LOL!

And the best part? I didn’t have to do any of the planning! Everything I needed to create this meaningful and memorable date night was right at my fingertips.

Interested in enjoying a monthly date night from the comfort of your own home? Consider a subscription to Date Night In Boxes. Every month features a new theme for you and your partner to enjoy! 

DIY: Autumnal Bunting

autumnal bunting

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been giddy with excitement about the new season. So I decided to lean in and put up FALL DECOR! I started poking around in some boxes and remembered that most of my seasonal decor was heavily downsized in the move. But…NEVER FEAR. Where there is a will to give your home an autumnal makeover there is a WAY to give your home an autumnal makeover, mk?

SO…this is your semi-regular reminder from me to you that if you are a hoarder of craft supplies (*ahem*), it’s always best to evaluate your stash before hittin’ the stores. 

A little fabric, a little glue gun action, and a little leftover rope…and wam-bam, thank you MA’AM! An autumnal bunting was mine in less than 20 minutes flat.

To recreate something similar, all you’ll need is:

  • fabric
  • felt leaves (which you can cut out yourself or get a pack at the Dollar Tree)
  • glue gun and glue sticks
  • rope, ribbon, or twine

To assemble, just:

  • cut your fabric into squares
  • fold the top of the fabric back and hot glue the edge down to create a little tube for your rope to string through
  • glue on the leaves
  • string the fabric squares along the rope
  • tie loops at the ends
  • and ENJOY…

Do you ever create seasonal decor with items you have on hand? How are YOU decorating for FALL? Thanks in advance for the inspiration! xoxo

P.S. Check out this post to learn how to make a ZERO COST, 30 SECOND fabric pumpkin! I’ll definitely be making a few of these, too!

6 Ways to Use PicMonkey

If you need to edit photos, make graphics for your blog or social media accounts, or just want an awesome template for an Instagram post, you need to check out PicMonkey!

I’ve been using PicMonkey for years. I rave about it to friends and clients. But I’ve never written a dedicated post about this sneaky lil blogger hack.

So, in case you’ve never heard of PicMonkey before, it is an online image editing tool that is super user friendly and perfect for all my influencers, bloggers, entrepeneurs, and marketing mavens out there! What can you create with PicMonkey? SO. MANY. THINGS!

Here are 6 ways I use PicMonkey for my blog, clients, and personal life…

1. Photo Editing

I love snapping photos on my adventures! Before I pop ’em into a blog post, many of them get a quick edit in PicMonkey. Because my posts aren’t super photo-driven, Photo Shop just doesn’t seem like a worthwhile investment at this time (and I don’t really have time or the desire to learn how to use it — just being real). So this is a great alternative! I usually crop or straighten my photos as needed. Then, adjust the exposure and color. Sometimes I’ll sharpen them, too. Here are a couple images I edited with PicMonkey…

2. Invitations

There are a ton of templates available to make custom invitations for everything from birthdays and graduations, to surprise baby showers and special promotional events. Chet and I actually used PicMonkey to create the “Save the Date” cards for our wedding!

save the date with picmonkey

3. Graphics

I manage website and social media content for several of my clients. PicMonkey is a great way for me to quickly create a graphic for their blog posts or online newsletters. All I do is keep a spreadsheet with each of my clients, which PicMonkey fonts are suitable for their brands, and any HEX color codes. All I need is an image and bada-bing, bada-boom–I’ve got a custom graphic!

everything you need to know to find your blogging niche

4. Cover Photos

Social media cover photos are a fun way to show off a bit of personality, as well as cross-promote across different platforms. I usually opt for a simple look, but I recently created this Twitter cover photo in PicMonkey and thought it was pretty cute! There are a ton of templates available and there’s no going back and forth to get the right size for the right platform.

5. Collages

I also use PicMonkey to create collages. This is how I first discovered PicMonkey — googling an easy way to include multiple photos in a single image. Below, you’ll see a collage I created for my About page as well as the format I used when I was making monthly favorites posts.

6. Brand Boards

Finally, who doesn’t love a good inspiration board??? If you want to put together a cohesive vision for your brand, then I highly recommend checking out the brand board templates on PicMonkey. As an example, I put together a board for Finding Delight. This is to help guide my aesthetic and posts for Fall 2018 and the sort of vibe I’m hoping to convey with my content in the upcoming season. This one is for my personal use, but this is also a great tool for sharing the feel of your brand with others or creating media kits for companies who want to partner with you.

finding delight fall 2018

Have you ever used PicMonkey? What are your favorite features?

How to Find Job Satisfaction (even if you haven’t found your “dream job”)

how to find job satisfaction*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Even in the midst of your dreamiest of dream jobs, work can still seem like a chore. Something you have to check off your list along with mopping the floors and getting your oil changed. They call it “work” for a reason, right? And when you haven’t landed your dream job, or still aren’t sure what that ideal occupation even is, finding motivation can be that much harder.

But everyone deserves job satisfaction in their career, whether waiting tables at the very beginning of their ascent or as CEO on that top rung of the ladder. It’s all about attitude, outlook, and a dash of discipline. 

Not too long ago, broke and in debt, I found myself back at a store I worked at when I was 18. Seven years down the line, it felt like a giant step backwards. But by figuring out the tips below (and trust me, there were times I resisted them), I realized I could find satisfaction in my work…no matter what I was doing. This is the attitude that gets you noticed and helps you to make moves. Sure I’d gotten knocked down a few steps, but climbing back up…and then beyond…was so much easier when I enjoyed showing up at work every day and did my best.

So, let me share the tips I utilized to do so…

Being The Best

No matter what your job, you’ll always enjoy it more if you focus on being the best. Whatever, I’ll say it…winning feels good. Does this mean you have to work yourself to the bone? Not at all. There’s always ways to work smarter not harder, no what I mean? You just have to find that willingness to be ambitious.

I’m competitive anyways so I’ve always got my eye out for opportunities where I can beat people (in a gracious way! obvi.). If you’re not, think about the rewards that motivate you most and focus your energies on receiving those rewards specifically. I’m very motivated by words of praise but you might be motivated by public recognition or money or learning something new! Speaking of learning something new…

Educating Yourself

Even the poopiest of jobs can teach you valuable lessons for later in your career. Dive in! Seek out specialized training, put yourself forward for educational opportunities, and tap the knowledge of co-workers. I pride myself on being a life-long learner outside the work place so I relish any opportunity to learn “on the clock.” Depending on your job this could be anything from taking 30 minutes a day to read industry news, signing up for a wine pairing class, or taking part in an online accredited MBA program in your free time if your company is footing the bill.

My rule of thumb whenever someone asked me “Do you want to learn how to do x, y, or z?” Say YES. A downside to working jobs that are more about paycheck than career path? Monotony! But the more you diversify your skill sets…the less bored you’ll be and the more fun you’ll have!

Finding The Value

Finding the value in your job will not only make your daily effort feel worth it, but could also spark passion. How is your work or your company helping people? What are you doing for the greater good? How are you making an impact? Spend some time connecting the dots here. My retail job at a cooperative grocery store prided themselves on keeping the majority of every dollar spent in our local economy. So, I chose to focus on this value. My efforts were always fueled by a desire to promote local farmers and food. I became super passionate about it! And before I knew it, I was working in the marketing office instead of out on the floor…and I still work in marketing today! 

Keeping one eye on the value is a great way to maintain focus when you’re feeling less than pleased about going in or your boss is angry or some task feels pointless. Not to mention, communicating the value YOU provide is an awesome skill to have in an interview setting, hint, HINT.

Do me a favor – Tell us your job in the comments below and the #1 thing you do to find job satisfaction. Thanks!

P.S. Wanna read more of my career tips? CLICK HERE.