Saturday, November 24, 2018

What it Means to Shop Small

As we head into the heavy gift giving season, everyone has gift giving on their minds. I hope to make mindful movements and purchases, especially now that I am gifting something that took thought when choosing. One of the best things I think someone can do when shopping for gifts is to shop small and local if possible. Shopping small is one of the best ways to contribute to a business owner out there hustling, working their buns off to succeed. You know that product has been made with love and passion. Shopping small AND local will ensure that you are contributing directly to your local economy and the people who are your neighbors. I took a little poll of some of my friends who also happen to run small business. I asked why they viewed it important to shop small and I've got some great answers that will encourage you to shop more mindfully than you may do already!

Face/Food Natural Skincare
"I love to support small and local biz here in my town. Newburyport, MA is full of creative and passionate entrepreneurs, it’s what keeps the pulse of our little city beating! Of course I love to receive orders and have people shop in my store but what really makes me do a happy dance is when I get sincere feedback about how much a customer or client is loving their product and how it makes their skin feel or look . Literally what keeps me feeling passionate about my craft." -Khaki Paquette of Face/Food Natural Skincare ( I love Khaki's Flower Power Healing Toner!)

“Small business don’t have thousands to millions to spend on marketing and promotions like the big box stores. But what we do have are unique products that we work hard to promote and offer great customer service. Small businesses help the local and entire economy with tax dollars and jobs. Nothing makes me happier than when I get an email or a review telling me how much of a difference my products have made to them. And what really makes me happy is when my products are given as gifts. That is such a compliment. “ - Andrea Pierce-Naymon of OY-L (My fave product right now from OY-L is the body butter!)

"Each time an order comes in, I most certainly do a little happy dance! It truly means so much to me that I have loyal customers and new customers who enjoy shopping Pretty Pure. I truly put all of my passion and love into this, which I think is true for all small business owners- there’s a lot of heart there that just makes shopping more meaningful, which is also something we look for when curating our brand selections. Also knowing that my little ones will grow up seeing that you can do anything that sets your soul on fire is something that drives me in the day to day. It’s not easy balancing it all, you tend to wear many hats and have your hands in all aspects of the business where larger companies have a single person for each job, but it is so worth it. It’s worth the connections we have made with our customers, the joy that customers may get from the small notes we include in the packages and the ability to support other small business owners through our shop." - Kristen of Pretty Pure Beauty (If I were you, I'd snag some holiday lip stuff from Kristen's fab collection!)

"As a small business owner I of course do a happy dance every time we sell something! :) However, here at Trellis Beauty the most rewarding part is building long term relationships with our guests through education. Education is empowering, far more than selling a product to someone for us. As a small business we are passionate about every piece of the business which translates to amazing customer service for the guests, and at the end of the day translates into repeat business for us, which translates into sales for us. It’s a win, win!" - Tracy Trellis Gori of Trellis Beauty (In Raleigh, NC? Book a Facial Steam at Tracy's gorgeous little shop!)

"My favorite thing about small businesses is their ability to build community. Behind every small business success story is a team of supporters who pitched in to offer help, advice, funding or became early adopters themselves. Small businesses have the flexibility to choose their suppliers and make sure that everything from the ingredients and packaging they source to their manufacturing and distribution is done ethically and sustainably. This holiday season, we're teaming up with two of our favorite Boston-based businesses for our Think Global, Shop Local Holiday Gift Box featuring Taza's Peppermint Dark Bark, MEM Tea, and our True Moringa Oil" - Emily Cunningham of True Moringa (Snag that holiday gift box, y'all!)

"Small businesses give a personal feel to your shopping rather than just being another customer. When I receive an order, I drop everything to get that order out as soon as possible! I love to hand write thank you notes with every order. It sounds strange but I enjoy clicking the "fulfilled" button on my site and dropping it off to the post office. I track the order like I'm the customer rather than the business to when it was received and then anxiously wait for feedback. Products are made or sold with care and attention. You have the ability to communicate with the owner or a small team rather than a hotline. They appreciate your business and realize that you have many choices so when you're shopping with them, you're promoting something I call "genuine shopping". The products are not mass produced and you're not a number on a customer list, rather a real client to the business." - Sabeen Zia of Muskaan Makeup (Sabeen knows I love her lipstick in Bougie Brunch!)

"We love the trend towards small business and supporting makers. It is something we highly value as a brand and also love to support others. All things are made by someone and to know exactly where, who, and how it was made is a real joy for us. It helps us to respect and value the things we buy and also show gratitude to the makers. It's why we love to shop small! For our shop, when we know customers are happy with the product and also the experience, it makes it all so worth it. We strive for excellence in our shop and it means so much when people have a good experience!" - Rebekah Twinem of Found Shop Vintage  (Rebekah's vintage collection is ever changing, follow her on Instagram for the latest!)

"Being a small business is so hard and so worth it. What we hope people understand is that when you shop locally, in locally owned businesses, you're literally putting food on our tables. You're contributing in a tangible way and spending your money intentionally. When you spend money at small shops, you can rest assured that your dollars are appreciated and that you're investing in your community." - Rachel and Meredith of Forty Winks Lingerie Boutique (You know this Mama is ALL about the lounge wear!)

So tell me... where are you shopping small this holiday season? 

If you're stopping in a brick and mortar shop, be sure to chat up the business owners and tell them what you love about their shop! Shopping online? Leave a little note in the notes section to send a smile over the nets. I guarantee you that someone in that shop will love it! Spread the love and goodness this season, my friends!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Customizable Clothing from eShakti

I have used eShakti multiple times before and I am thinking that I might just return now that you can completely customize your clothes, not just as you did before (remember my first eShakti dress or the dress I went on my first brunch date with Molly in or even my first post Teddy dress?)... I am talking bust sizes, full measurements, the works. You're basically having the entire garment tailored specifically to you!

You can still customize based on your current size but you can also opt to change your garment into just about anything you want-- seriously, take a look. For $9.99 per garment, you're getting an absolutely amazing deal on something that would cost you a fortune to do at a tailor. For those of us that are busty or petite or super tall or whatever your shape or size, you can make something that fits like a glove.

eShakti was one of the first brands that ever contacted me when I first started blogging and is one of the longest relationships that I've had so far. I appreciate that they continue to work with women of all sizes, providing a way for us all to feel special in our garments because they fit and look great. You can create a garment that is as magical as you are without spending all the money. If you have any questions about the process or the quality of the clothes, be sure to leave me a comment below and I'll reply right away. I  gotta go... there's tons of new styles and I can't wait to find the perfect holiday party dress! 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Quick and Easy DIY "Fine Art" Ornament

I don't even know how I found out about this here ornament exchange, hmmm, maybe it was on twitter of all places but yes, I found a crafty blogger ornament exchange and was assigned a partner and here we are, with a DIY "Fine Art" Ornament that I whipped up this past week! My swap partner for this round is Chelc Fox of Inside the Fox Den and after checking out her blog and got an idea of the type of decor she might appreciate, I decided that a handpainted ornament would be perfect for our blossoming friendship! I started with some plain plastic "Decorate your own" ornaments from Michael's (and I saw some smaller ones at Dollar Tree as well). The simplicity of this DIY is you basically need the ornament, a primary color acrylic paint, white acrylic paint and a paint brush. It's so simple and affordable!

I started by painting the entirety of the ornament with the purple metallic craft paint that I picked out. It definitely took two coats to cover (I let one dry then painted again) and wanted to make sure that the ornament was completely covered and you're not able to see through it, unless of course you like the look of it!

While the second coat was still wet, I dipped my brush in the white paint. In order to create the end effect, I swiped the brush lightly back and forth, side to side, dipping the brush back in the white paint when the needed. There's the chance that you could go overboard so I found that starting slow helped me edit myself to create the perfect combination of purple to white. It's really as easy as brushing over a couple of times and letting dry!

I enjoyed myself so much and these are so easy to make that I created a whole collection and even switched up the colors to a light peachy pink on another batch. Chelc was expecting one ornament and she may have gotten four! I just picked up a few more ornaments to play around with the kids because I think this is a really great way to customize and curate your own tree by creating ornaments catered directly to your colors and style!

I'd love to hear if you guys have created anything like this or you've made it a custom or tradition to decorate ornaments in your house-- I think I have found something fun to do with my kids annually, cute right?

Don't miss the rest of our blog posts with tons of DIY ornament tutorials for every type of holiday style and theme-- I know we all had a great time creating!

Our 2018 Blogger Ornament Exchange Link Party

2018 Ornament Exchange Link Party

This year, we have 48 talented bloggers sharing their Christmas ornament tutorials and helping to host the handmade ornament exchange link party! Let's meet the hosts of this year's 2018 Ornament Exchange Link Party!

My PinterventuresNorthern FeelingA Purdy Little House
Create and Babble 2 Bees in a PodAcross the Boulevard
Simply Beautiful by AngelaThe Inspiration VaultFaeries and Fauna
Home on the CornerThis Autoimmune LifeOur Unschooling Journey
Rosewood and GraceShoppe No.5Domestic Deadline
Made In A DayIntelligent DomesticationsCookies, Coffee and Crafts
Tales From HomeMunoforeSuper Mom - No Cape!
Raggedy BitsChristmas Tree LaneC'mon Get Crafty
Making ManzanitaMom Home GuideFrom Evija with Love
Red Cottage ChroniclesCoastal BohemianOur Crafty Mom
Girl, Just DIY!Halfpint DesignsPrim and Propah
Purple Hues and MeFarm Girl Reformed Eye Love Knots
Try It - Like It - Create ItTeadoddlesTwo Purple Couches
Inside the Fox DenKeys to InspirationOur Home Made Easy
Charleston CraftedThe Quiet GrooveChicken Scratch NY
Jordan's Easy EntertainingMom Envy Sparkle Living

2018 Ornament Exchange Link Party

If you have a handmade ornament tutorial, we would love for you to share it on the link party below ⇓⇓

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Ringing in the Holidays with Cost Plus World Market

*This post was created in collaboration with Cost Plus World Market. All opinions are mine.

You may remember last holiday season, Cost Plus World Market held an epic scavenger hunt that had us all awaiting each day’s clues… well, this year, they are upping the ante with their Golden Bell Scavenger Hunt! Every day from Thursday November 1st through Sunday December 9th, I’ll be helping to spread the good word (and the daily clues on my Twitter!) so that you can hunt for prizes every day (except Thanksgiving) at your local Cost Plus World Market location!

It’s really quite simple, you guys! Follow the clues every morning at 8am (via my twitter account at 8am daily plus on the Cost Plus World Market emails, social channels and in store) to find where the Golden Bell is hidden in store each day (Psst. Check out Day One’s Clue Below), be the first to find one of 8 Golden Bells hidden in store and you could receive a $10, $20, $25 or $50 Reward*! Over $1.8 Million in Total Rewards will be given which is just WHOA… Just bring your Golden Bell to the nearest associate to cash in! I don’t know about you but getting to shop at Cost Plus World Market, with a reward coupon especially, is one of my favorite things to do. There are lots of chances to play, Game 1 (store opening to 3pm): 4 Golden Bells will be hidden prior to store opening and Game 2 (4pm to Store Closing): 4 Golden Bells will be hidden for game 2 so whether you’re an early riser or a night owl, you have the opportunity to get in store to win!

Speaking of shopping-- I’ve got my favorite go to Golden picks from Cost Plus World Market this season: Whether it’s Golden Decor, Gold Ornaments or Gold home goods items, there’s no shortage of selection if you need to get your fix! I’ve linked to a bunch of my favorites below, so don’t miss your opportunity to deck your halls out with gold + it up your local Cost Plus World Market for the chance to win with the Golden Bell Scavenger Hunt starting today! I know that my Framingham, MA and Salem, NH stores can’t wait to see you guys-- search here to find your closest location! And here's your first clue!

Shop Cost Plus World Market's Great Gold Selection

What would you treat yourself to at Cost Plus World Market?

*Limit (1) reward per person throughout the Promotion Period (11/1/18 - 12/9/18, regardless of store location(s) visited. EMPLOYEES and DESIGNATED SHOPPERS NOT ELIGIBLE.