Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Tribute to my Mom mom

When we were going through photos for Mom mom's memorial, something that stood out to me very plainly was how chic and well-dressed my grandmother was. I remembered her from my childhood always doing her hair, but that seemed to be a trend started in her youth. Her lipstick, gold earrings and red sweaters highlighted her vibrant and loving personality so well. Mom mom was fun. She was hilarious (without meaning to be.) She was outspoken and voiced her opinions freely. She loved toast, tea, and General Hospital (the soap opera.) She always did her hair and makeup before leaving the house. She lovingly doted on her grandchildren. She was a strong and involved mother. She cared about her community. She was well-known and loved by all.

The photos of her highlighted so well her big and beautiful personality. Her beautiful smile. Her fun polka dot dress. Her children, dressed in coats and matching hats for church. It made me stop and think about my own preservation of self and life through photos. How am I portraying myself and others in snapshots? How am I being portrayed?

Something about blogging has always felt incredibly vain to me. I have grappled (with great difficulty) the concept of documenting my life and self through photos. Who cares about the experiences I have? What I eat? Where I go? What I wear?

But in sorting through photos, in Mom mom's 100 year old house, I realized this:
Our lives have so many facets. The way we present ourselves is one. Photographs capture a feeling in an instant -- a look, a smile, the day's outfit, our homes, our families. Mom mom is forever preserved in images from her wedding day, her travels, holidays spent with family and friends. This is a blessing to her family, who will never forget what she looked like. Though small details may one day fade, we can always turn back to our photographs, to be reminded of the idiosyncrasies of this wonderful soul. How she always wore white sneakers. How she never let herself get gray hair ;) What a boss lady she was. There are wonderful images of her sitting at her desk at work -- she was a working mom and a powerful woman, VP of Human Resources of the Royal Bank of Pennsylvania in a time when women weren't always given the prestige and respect they deserved. She had been retired for more than two decades when she died, yet people from her work came to her memorial. People she hadn't worked with in over twenty years came to honor her, and tell us how amazing she was at what she did. How she connected to others. How she made people valued. How she was respected and loved so dearly.

This is what a photograph can give us. A story. A story about a life, in all it's complicated facets.

More than ever, I feel compelled to tell the story of my own life. Perhaps to preserve it for generations to come. Perhaps to arm my own grandchildren, one day, with the story of our family through images that may one day be faded and somehow, with the every changing technology of our world, out dated.

It may feel vain, but clothes and images tell the story of our lives. Mom mom looked good in almost every photo. She highlighted her best self. Her best, and beautiful self is shining through those photographs. And we will always remember her as the lady in red sweaters, with red nails, and red lipstick -- with gold hoop earrings, black pants, and probably a black turtleneck.

She loved to travel. She loved her children. She loved her grandchildren. She loved her husband. She loved her family. And she looked damn good doing it.

I love you Mom mom, and I aspire to one day be as loving, generous, hilarious, caring, put together, and beautiful as you were. I see your soul in every photograph, and I feel your love pouring through them.

Thank you for all that you have ever given to me and our family.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

How to get your Hygge on this spring

Oh my goodness, how is it MAY already and how did I only post ONCE in the entire month of April!? Things have been really crazy around here to say the least... what with getting engaged, throwing out my back, getting norovirus and being in bed for half the work week, my grandma having open heart surgery... flying to the east coast to see her and spend time with my family... I mean when it rains, it pours am I right?! My grandma is still in the hospital recovering from her second heart surgery but she is doing well and we are thankful and feeling hopeful that things will continue to look up.

So. Goodness knows I need a break!

One of my favorite concepts that a friend of mine introduced me to is "hygge" which has a lot of definitions but is basically the art of being comfy and cozy. I've always thought of myself as a hobbit, and this concept of hygge really speaks to me because it's basically all about self care, enjoying the little things, and being happy with what you have and where you're at.

Normally when people think of getting comfy and cozy they think of wrapping up in warm, soft blankets and cozying up by a fire with hot chocolate and fuzzy slippers. But you can get your hygge on in spring just as well.


To get your hygge on this spring I have the following tips:

- Keep your home stocked with fresh flowers. Change the vases, flowers and water often. Changing the water will help the flowers last longer. You probably have a beautiful vase shoved in a cupboard somewhere that you haven't used all winter that is just dying to be used! This is a great opportunity to use colorful vases and pitchers to brighten up your home and add some liveliness to every room. Pitchers double as great vases :)

- Wear some fun and funky socks. My feet are always cold even in spring! Fun and cute patterned summer socks are a nice way to "bundle" up on warm springy nights on the back porch sipping wine!


- Keep wine chilled in the fridge at all times :) Isn't a light white wine or rose just divine when the days are longer and the sun sets after 7:30?!


- Open your windows. Heck, open your doors if you can! Let that fresh air IN!


- Light some springy scented candles. I love candles that smell like fresh laundry for spring.



- Do some light spring cleaning. Out with the old! In with the new! If you have some wintery items you didn't wear all season that you don't love and that don't give you joy, get rid of them! Donate them! Give them to a friend! Sell them! Get rid of clutter and allow yourself to love every item in your home.

- Meditate. Hygge is all about slowing down and being in the moment. Even if you're new to meditation, take some deep breaths, focus on your food when you eat - really taste it, enjoy the flavors, feel the textures - (this is called mindful eating.) Try doing this at least once a day. You will feel rejuvenated and rejoice in the small pleasures of your life.


Monday, April 10, 2017

gift giving this wedding season

You guys… SH and I are ENGAGED!!! :D I am a fiancĂ©! I HAVE a fiancĂ©! Ah! It’s all happening! We could not be more excited to embark on this new journey together. I can't believe how lucky I am that I get to marry such a wonderful man. 

I have been daydreaming a lot about our wedding (and even the proposal, replying it in my mind,) but I'm also already stressed about finding a venue. Is that normal?! People told me this would be stressful. I guess I should have believed them! I'm trying to enjoy every moment and take in as much as I can because I want to remember this time as joyful and fun, not super stressful! 

Do you have any friends who recently got engaged? I have friends who just got married this past weekend, (congrats Ashley and Gary!), friends who are coming up on their one year anniversary of being married, and friends who are farther along in the wedding planning process than I am. I've been trying to think of some special gifts to give my loved ones in this exciting time, and whenever I think of unique, special gifts I think of Uncommon Goods. They support artisans and craftsmen from all over the world to bring you one of a kind gifts for the special people in your life. They're also committed to sustainability and being socially responsible on top of having ridiculously cute handmade products. How darling is this wine box:

I really want to give it to my friends whose one year wedding anniversary is coming up in a few weeks. Ugh, SO CUTE! And so thoughtful right?! I think they're gonna love it!

I read on some wedding blog that you should light a candle when you're getting ready on your wedding day so that years and years from now, when you want to remember that special day, all you have to do is a light a candle and the scent will take you back! Isn't that such a sweet, romantic idea? I love these because they combine my love of books and candles: 



They would also make a cute bridesmaid gift or nice table decor, don't you think?

If you want to gift a newly wed couple something super sweet but also super practical, why not gift them a custom address stamp? This one is so cute and I love that there are three designs you can choose from:



I would love to have one of these once SH and I are actually living together (actually, try not living in two different states, first!) It's such an exciting time and I can't wait to get deeper into the wedding planning and get closer and closer to our dream wedding. I love thinking about all the personal touches we can add, whether it's with our bridal party gifts or table decor. I'm trying to take it all in and embrace this new stage in life!

If you have any bridal showers coming up, or are planning your own wedding and helping your future hubby look for groomsmen gifts, look no further! Uncommon Goods has great gifts for every occasion, especially weddings!

Thank you to Uncommon Goods for sponsoring this post. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

This Money Saving Coffee Switch

As SH will tell you, I have long stuck up my nose at McDonald's coffee. I guess it's because I associate McDonald's with fast food and fast food with not being healthful. Here's the thing - I've been indulging in Starbucks, Coffee Bean and Illy which are all about $2-$5 depending on what type of drink you get. Multiply that by multiple times a week... or day... and you might be spending $50 in one week on coffee. $50! That's crazy, right?

The obvious solution is to brew your own coffee at home. But if you're on the go, as we often are, stopping at McDonald's for a coffee that only costs $1.09 seems like a pretty good money saving on-the-go coffee switch. The craziest part? Whether you get the small or the large coffee, it still only costs $1.09. I got the large yesterday and sipped on it all morning and into the afternoon.

It doesn't taste like the most amazing cup of coffee I've ever had, but for $1.09, I'll take it and put the money I'm saving toward something I really want in the future.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Clear the Clutter 101: The Spring Purge



Does anyone else ever get overwhelmed by the amount of stuff they have accumulated over the years? I know that I'm not alone... but it seems that clutter isn't something people really like to talk about.

Clutter used to be a source of shame for me. I felt bad that I had so much in my life that I wasn't using, appreciating, or enjoying. I felt burdened by my stuff. I felt overwhelmed. Tired. Ashamed. Constantly bombarded by reminders that I wasn't using the things that I already had and that I had become a slave to papers.  I wasn't really hoarding, and my room wasn't dirty. But... it wasn't the epitomy of cleanliness, either. And who needs calendars, gifted lottery tickets, and receipts from six years ago?! Honestly. Finally one day, enough was enough. I tackled the clutter with the tremendous help from my mother. In fact, I highly recommend enlisting another person to help you tackle your clutter, because things that feel sentimental to you, ("how can I throw out this calendar from 2014? It shows me exactly what I did that year!") are seen as trash to the other person, and are discarded accordingly. (I took a picture of the calendar to reference whenever I need to. Though honestly.... I doubt I ever will!)

Clearing the clutter out of my life has been incredibly freeing. I got rid of that chair (lovingly nicknamed, "crap chair") in my bedroom that housed unpacked boxes from my move for nine. months. Nine months! We moved it to the downstairs living room where it can be actually used... ya know, for sitting on. What a concept!

I'm going out on a limb here... and showing you my very real "crap chair" More like, crap corner!
I threw out old papers, calendars, and planners. I donated organizing containers I wasn't using and no longer needed (oh the irony!) along with candles, jewelry I never wear that wasn't worth much, books I had never read and probably never would read, art supplies, etc. I sold clothing, shoes and more high end accessories online (a post about that coming soon.) I gifted items to people who would actually love and use them i.e. I gave my coworker a sweater of mine that I didn't love, but was in mint condition, that she had been eyeing when I wore it to work one day.

It felt so good to gift things to people who would actually love and use my stuff!

In addition to my "crap chair" I also moved my desk and desk chair out of my room. This created SO MUCH SPACE. So much space! My room is now empty enough that when you stand in the middle of it, it sort of creates an echo when you talk. I also have an empty drawer in my dresser, completely void of anything. Oh how liberating it is to have an empty drawer!

All in all, my spring purge has lifted me mentally in SUCH a big way, I feel freer, calmer, more organized and in control. I felt so weighed down CONSTANTLY by my clutter that it had become part of who I was and how I felt on a daily basis! I can now enjoy my room as the oasis it is. It was very important for me to move my desk out of my bedroom because quite frankly I don't like working in my room. My desk was another "crap pile" gatherer, housing clothes I'd worn earlier in the week, discarded jackets, papers, etc. It was an eyesore!

I know that I'm not alone in feeling down in the dumps because of my clutter. So, here are some helpful tips I have for anyone looking to clear the clutter and do their own spring purge:

1. Just start. 
You will always come up with excuses on why today isn't the best day to start. I recommend starting say, on a weekend when you have nothing else going on. That way you have two full days to dedicate to clearing the clutter. My mom and I spent about 8 hours a day (no joke) last weekend unpacking boxes, moving furniture, ripping apart rooms and then putting them back together. The end result was so worth it!

2. Have trash bags and boxes on hand. 
Get your trash bags ready. You'll need some boxes for donations, too. I made a few different piles - trash bag for trash, box for donations, pile on my bed for things to give friends, etc. When a trash bag is full, take it out immediately. That will help clear up the limited space on your floor or in your living room. Also take the donation box out to the car immediately once it's full. If it's already in your car, it will be more likely to make it to Goodwill as opposed to if it just sits in your garage or hallway for six months. It worked out nicely for us because trash day is Monday. Our trash bins were overflowing by the time I was done but it was okay because the trash trucks came the next day.

3. Figure out what the source of your clutter pain point is. 
Mine is/was paper clutter. It was everywhere. As mentioned previously, I had 6 years worth of old paper that I didn't need. I had never really needed a paper filing system before because I wasn't an adult doing adult things like paying credit card, car, and medical bills. Once you've identified your pain point, move on to step four...

4. Create a system to tackle this pain point.
I needed a filing system. We got out an old filing cabinet and a bunch of folders and I started labeling away. I got a handle on my papers by setting up a filing system and creating folders for things like manuals/instructions, taxes, health, self-improvement, etc. Now when a paper comes my way, I know exactly where it goes, or it goes straight to the shredder.

5. Touch (almost) everything you own.
This might seem like a daunting task and it's probably because it is. Try to touch every item of clothing in your closet and remove anything that a) doesn't bring you joy any more b) brings you negative emotions, like that expensive shirt you bought that still has a tag on it, that you're regretting buying c) doesn't serve you d) doesn't FIT! I got a handle on my closet by combing through what I own and sorting into donate, give away, sell, toss. I had to touch every single item of clothing I owned for this to be effective. Same thing with jewelry. If you aren't ready to part with something, that's okay. Try putting it in a "not sure" box, and then seal it. If you don't miss it in three months, get rid of it! This applies to almost anything you own!

6. Identify the problem and then pivot.
I had to rearrange furniture for me to feel fully comfortable and free in my downstairs living room space which has now essentially been turned into my office. Here was the problem: The teeny little desk in my bedroom wasn't serving me. So what did I need? A large table that could serve as a desk and craft table. How could I make this happen? I had to pivot and think outside the box. Instead of using a traditional desk I would use an Ikea dining table (without the leaf) for my craft table/ desk. Now I have a space to work that serves me and brings me joy.

7. Work with joy in mind. 
I took every single book off of my bookshelf, picked out the ones to donate, and then rearranged them all by color. Now when I walk into my living room I feel so. much. joy!! Looking at the books so beautifully organized on the shelves makes me happy. It's the little things, people! Do things that create joy in your space and in your life.

My amazing joyful bookcase that I love so so much!!

I hope you enjoyed these 7 tips to help you clear your own clutter. What will you get started on today?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

This easy money saving strategy will change your life

Disclaimer: I am not a financial advisor by any means. Use this strategy at your own risk! 

Saving money can help alleviate financial stress, fund fun trips or activities, and make a person feel a sense of accomplishment. 

Today I'm sharing a ridiculously easy money saving strategy that I use. I like to call it, the "Transfer Strategy."

Here is the way the Transfer Strategy works:

You go to purchase something, whether it's a $2 cup of coffee or a $17 top, and instead of swiping your card and spending money on a purchase, you transfer the exact amount of money you are saving by not making the purchase, from your checking account into your savings account.

If your checking account is too low to make the transfer, then you probably shouldn't be making the purchase anyway because you would have had to use your credit card, right? If your checking account isn't too low to make the purchase, then you've given in to your impulse to allow money to exchange hands, but instead of letting it exchange from your bank account into a business', you've allowed it to exchange from your checking account to your savings account. 

The Transfer Strategy encourages you to be more resourceful. Yes, I would love to have a decaf Americano twice a day, 5 days a week. But this would end up costing me about $24 a week (at $2.39/ drink.) At $24 a week, I would be spending $1,248 per year on coffee alone (and that doesn't include any coffee beverages purchased on weekends!) I could just as easily purchase an 80 count of instant coffee packets for $14.16 and my yearly cost of coffee goes from $1,248 to $92. (I figure if I have 80 instant coffee packets, and use 2 per day, 5 days a week, I'll need 6.5 boxes to fund my coffee habit.)

I want to buy a $2.39 cup of coffee? Instead, I'm going to transfer $2.39 into my savings account (or maybe $3 just to make it nice and even.) You will be blown away by how much money you can save in a short amount of time with the Transfer Strategy. What I like about it is that it becomes a fun game. How much money can I add to my savings account today? This week?

What do you think about the Transfer Strategy? Is this something you would like to try? Comment below!



Monday, February 27, 2017

How to Save Money With Groupon Coupons

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

You've probably heard of the website Groupon.com, which offers amazing deals on experiences like skydiving, cruises, weekend getaways, or beauty related things like mani/pedis, blowouts, massages and the like. But did you know that Groupon has a COUPON section of their website that allows you to save at major retailers like Target, Macy's, Best Buy and so many more??

I love being a bargain shopper. Whether I'm shopping a sale or using a coupon, saving money gives me a little feel-good jolt. I'm starting to use coupons more and more, and make it into a sort of game to see how much money I can save when I go shopping. Groupon Coupons is a great place to start if couponing is new to you, or if you just want to see where you can start shaving off a few dollars here and there on items you already buy on a regular basis. Did I mention it's completely FREE to use?? That's right -- you don't have to pay any sort of membership fee and you can print many of these coupons from the comfort of your own home.

Sometimes you don't even have to print off a coupon, the website just points you to retailers that are having amazing sales. For example, American Eagle has 16 coupons on Groupon Coupons right now, and the jeans coupon takes you to the AE website where it's buy one get one 50% off jeans. Pretty nifty! (Or should I say... pretty thrifty? Sorry. I had to!)

There are so many coupons on Groupon Coupons. Plus, you can search for coupons based on where you live, what stores you want to shop at, or just look at all the featured coupons and see what strikes your fancy!

Some examples of coupons I found are:
  • $32 off your first order with Blue Apron 
  • Buy 2 pairs of Sperry for $119 (they normally range anywhere from $60 - $150 dollars for one pair) 
  • 10% off car rental with Dollar 
  • 40% off print orders $40+ at Walgreens

Groupon Coupons allows you to save on a wide variety of things from events to experiences to clothing and home items!

If you're looking to save money and have fun doing it, I definitely recommend checking out Groupon Coupons!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Shop the Nordstrom President's Day Sale! 8 Hot Items



1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

Nordstrom is having a great sale right now!! Everything except the sweater is under $40. Scoop up these great staples before they're gone!

Shop the post:




President's Day Sales:
Nordstrom 40% off select items
Loft 40% off full-priced styles use code HAPPY
J.Crew 30% off + free shipping use code WEEKEND

Friday, February 10, 2017

Valentine's Day Gifts for Him and Her



Valentine's Day is only four days away! Whether you're celebrating with a loved one, friends, or just treatin' yoself, these gifts are sure to do the trick!

Shop the post by clicking the images above or clicking the links below:

1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13/14 

I hope everybody has a great weekend!!

must have items for a living room




My boyfriend just moved into a new house so I'm helping him figure out what he needs for each room :) His old house came furnished so he's had to buy a lot of new stuff. Decorating a new place can be fun but it's definitely time consuming and can be a little overwhelming. Hopefully this will help him and some of you, too.

 I love white with gold accents, so I'm super into this faux marble table lamp and this gold painted side table. I really like rooms to be bright and well-lit, so I'm all about lamps, lamps, lamps. Mirrors are also good to have on the walls because they open up a room and make it brighter.

 Another item that brightens and livens up a space is a plant. I really like how big green leafy plants look in rooms, but in case you're not a plant person, you could always just get a print like the one I linked above. Isn't it nice? I'm big into gallery walls and Lulu and Georgia has a lot of bright, beautiful prints that would be perfect for a girly office or a super cute living space.

It's important to stay organized in your space, so make sure you have a place for your stuff. If you're anything like me you have a lot of books and candles. I have so many and not enough places to put them. I'm planning to get a bookcase like this one for my room for my books, candles, makeup and jewelry. That's the great thing about bookcases, you can put your stuff on display on them and make it look artistic and pretty.

The last important thing about setting up a living space is to pick out a good color scheme that reflects your personality and/or how you want to feel in your home. I recommend browsing pinterest for some color pairing ideas, or you could always head to your local home depot and pick up some paint swatches. It's a good idea to look at what you already own to determine what color scheme you might already have going on, and then build off of that when you go to buy more stuff.

So, what do you think of my picks? Also in case you need it, here is a helpful article of 33 places to shop for home decor online. It has a lot of really good links including some places I had never heard of. Thanks as always for reading!

Shop the post: mirror | side table | table lamp | accent pillows | plant print | rug | bookcase | couch

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The 4 Best Ted Talks You'll Hear All Year

1. Robb Willer: How to Have Better Political Conversations - listen here
2. Deeyah Khan: What We Don't Know About Europe's Muslim Kids - listen here
3. Eduardo Briceno: How to Get Better at the Things You Care About - listen here
4. Sisonke Msimang: If a Story Moves You, Act On It - listen here

Because everyone loves a good Ted Talk, right? Most of these are right around the 12 minute mark, so you can listen on the treadmill, on the walk to your car or on your lunch break. They are in order (so if you can only listen to one, listen to number one.)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Designer Dupes

Crave? Or Save!


Shop the Post:





Ah, how satisfying it is to find dupes for YSL Espadrilles, Prada Mules, Prada Espadrille Wedges and Valentino Rockstud Sandals! Aren't the price differences AMAZING?! Any of these would be perfect for a Valentine's Day outfit, just saying...

Monday, January 30, 2017

Lace Up Top and OTK Boots



TOP: You can get a very similar short sleeve tshirt version on my top here for less than $30 and all sizes and colors are still available! If you want a long sleeve version that looks more like mine I'd say go for this one which is $45. I love the lace up trend I think it is so cute. I've also seen a number of cute lace up sweatshirts which I've linked below!

JEANS: I've had these for a while and you all know I preach Joe's Jeans all day everyday so here are some more Joe's Jeans picks (you can almost ALWAYS find them on sale at Nordstrom Rack.) A lot of Joe's Jeans are on sale right now >> these (were $179, now they are 50% off!!!) these are 40% off (sizes 29 and up available) and last but not least, these are 40% off with limited sizes available. 

BOOTS: Okay over the knee boots are still selling out like crazy so I couldn't find this exact pair I'm wearing but these are very similar (lighter shade of brown.)
This pair is more like the black ones I own that I'm wearing in this post but I wanted to share them because they're too cute to pass up and lots of sizes are still available! Oh and did I mention they're on sale?? (Less than $90 which is a STEAL for boots!)

SUNNIES: I got these c/o from ZeroUV and honestly I thought they were a little weird looking when I first took them out of the package, but they totally grew on me and now I just LOVE wearing them!! You know how some things look bad off but look great on?? These are that type of item. My boyfriend calls them my bug eye glasses :) They are HUGE and they make me feel like a movie star! Anyway these are similar and you can check out ZeroUV sunnies here

BAG: Louis Vuitton Monogram Palermo PM Bag and my babyyy

EARRINGS: my favorite every day studs

NECKLACE:
the large circular one is from Tahiti and is made out of shell with a Tahitian black pearl on it. The one on the gold chain is from my boyfriend and you can shop it here. People always ask me about it because you can't read what it says until you spin it and then it displays a secret message :) How cool is that?

Hope you all have a fab Monday!!! Thanks for reading!

SHOP THE POST:
 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Custom iPhone Case





Phone Case: c/o Caseapp | Sweatshirt: Etsy | Beanie: Gap (similar here) | 
Ring: David Yurman | Bag: Louis Vuitton

Eee how cute is my phone case you guys?! Wanna hear the best part?? I created it!! 

That's right! I created a hand lettered sign, took a picture of it, uploaded it to Caseapp and had it made into a phone case. Once I was finished lettering, I took a picture of my art, uploaded the photo to the Caseapp website, used their site to center it on the case in the way that I wanted, (they also have lots of fun stickers, colors, fonts, phrases, etc. to choose from when you're designing your case) placed the order and poof! It arrived on my doorstep shortly after that! 

I absolutely love my Caseapp custom iPhone case. I love carrying around something I created with me everyday! I'm so proud of it :) If you are an artist you can also have your design printed on your own custom iPhone case. Use the code MAPLEAND20 for 20% off your caseapp.com order. They also do laptop skins. And if you don't want to create your own, you don't have to. They have tons of cute case and skin designs to choose from! 

Do you love this case as much as I do? Leave a comment below if you want to see this case sold on the Caseapp.com website!

Thank you to Caseapp for sponsoring this post. 


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Fair Trade Sashka Co. Bracelets






Bracelets: c/o Sashka Co.  use code MAPLEANDMINT25 for 25% off and free shipping!
Bracelets: David Yurman cuff, old chain link bracelet

Hey everyone!! Happy Thursday! Man this week is flying by isn't it? My boyfriend comes to visit tomorrow which I'm super excited about. We are going camping this weekend (hopefully it doesn't rain too much!) and then I think I'm finally done being out of town for a little while? I have been nonstop on the go since right after Christmas! 

Ok so I am a huge jewelry person -- the items I wear daily have significant sentimental value. I really love bracelets because I feel like they can complete an outfit and speak volumes of your personality and what's important to you just by sitting pretty on your wrist. 

Today I want to introduce you to a brand I'm very happy to collaborate with called Sashka Co. which sells beautiful glass beaded bracelets handcrafted by artisans in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, and these bracelets actually have a powerful message. Your purchases support a great cause: human rights, equality, transparency in business and the breaking of the cycle of poverty- all because they are fair trade bracelets. When you purchase a Sashka Co. bracelet, proceeds from your purchase empower artisans in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal to rise above poverty through fair trade. 

What is fair trade? 

Fair trade means that workers are paid a livable income covering their basic needs (food, shelter, education, health care) and they are paid promptly, too. Fair trade is invested in building direct, long-term, stable relationships between product producers and product importers, thereby providing artisans with consistent work and job security. Fair trade also empowers women by providing equal pay for equal work done by men and women. 70% of fair trade artisans are women, according to the Fair Trade Federation. Often these women are the sole wage earners in their home. Fair trade allows women to earn a living and have safe, healthy employment conditions without discrimination. Fair trade means no forced or exploited child labor. Fair trade terms are transparent. For more information about fair trade go to the Word Fair Trade Organization: http://www.wfto.com/ or the Fair Trade Federation http://www.fairtradefederation.org

This is a social movement to get behind and support. 

What are the bracelets made out of? 
Sashka Co. bracelets are handmade with the world's finest glass beads imported from Japan and the Czech Republic and cotton thread. They do not contain nickel and they roll onto your wrist to accommodate varying wrist sizes. The bracelets do not contain elastic - they are hand crocheted and will shrink to their original size when you put them in hot water.

I don't normally go into such heavy detail about the products I'm wearing but Sashka Co.'s mission really struck a cord with me! Anyway I hope you like the bracelets, they are seriously perfect for stacking. I love the message of empowerment, equality, human rights and breaking the cycle of poverty that they support. I am about to order a whole set (I really love the abstract nepal set.)

I know you're gonna love them! Don't forget to use code MAPLEANDMINT25 for 25% off and free shipping. Thanks as always for reading! 

Thank you to Sashka Co. for sponsoring this post. 


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wednesday Wishlist: Winter Basics





Happy Wednesday! I hope everyone is having a great week! These are some things I'm currently crushing on for Wishlist Wednesday... This leopard beanie sold out pretty fast last year so I'm excited it's back in stock.

So ladies, for on trend winter basics you need the following 8 items: 
1) a cute beanie - especially pom beanies!
2) Mittens
3) Cozy scarf that you'll wear everyday and goes with everything (the one I linked is $25 btw)
4) Uggs, Sorels or Bean Boots to keep your feet warm and dry in rain or snow
5) Running shoes for errands and your new year's resolutions ;)
6) Moto jacket - real suede or leather is best, but if those are too pricy there are some pretty good cheaper dupes out there
7) Off the shoulder sweater 
8) Bell Sleeve top!

I'm loving off the shoulder and bell sleeve trends even in the winter months, aren't you?
Click above to shop the post and thanks as always for reading!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

5 Lovely Links

1. Body positivity!! Lena Dunham's cellulite is left on the cover of Glamour Magazine unedited and we love it! Why do we love it? Because it's her body! And she's not ashamed of it!

2. 10 Expert Tips to Make 2017 Your Most Productive Year Yet - read the article here
I love tips #3 and #10!

3. 26 Bucketlist ideas for 2017

4. 33 Simple Ways to Fall Back in Love With Your Life - it's a cute list! Read it here

5. Unexpected Looks at the Golden Globes

Monday, January 16, 2017

I am freaking cold sweatshirt







 Sweatshirt: Etsy | Jeans: Joe's similar here| Bag: Louis Vuitton | Sneakers: Converse
Beanie: Gap similar here | Sunnies: ZeroUV | Ring: David Yurman (blue topaz, my favorite ring!)
| Earrings: Nordstrom (only $25!)

***

How cute is this I am Freaking COLD sweatshirt from Etsy?! I got it for Christmas and it perfectly describes how I'm feeling as I'm writing to you from Seattle! I love this casual outfit for running errands and lounging around the house. Pom pom beanies are definitely a must-have for the cold. This leopard beanie is next on my wishlist!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

What Every New Home Kitchen Needs

As some of you know, my boyfriend recently moved to the Seattle area and is settling into a new home. I'm here with him now for the long weekend which has been so great! We just made grilled cheese and tomato soup (yum!) and while we were cooking we noticed that he's still missing some key kitchen items (like a plastic spatula.) So, he asked me to compile a kitchen shopping list for his new home. These are items every well-stocked kitchen should have!

Plates, Bowls, Cups, Mugs, Silverware, Napkins, Placemats
- This 18-piece dinnerware set is a good starter. You get 6 bowls, 6 dinner plates and 6 dessert plates for only $30! They are microwave, oven, freezer and dishwasher safe too.
- I also like this Rachael Ray set that comes with 4 bowls, 4 appetizer plates, 4 dinner plates and 4 mugs. They also come in a variety of pretty colors!
- Check out these 10 pub glasses for $17.99
- This is another best-seller on Amazon: 20-piece silverware set (for 4 people)
 
Mixing Bowls of All Sizes
- Stainless steel is preferred by many top chefs: this is a set of 6 for $22
- I prefer glass: this is a set of 10 for $23

Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Simply the best! Pyrex set of 3 measuring cups for $15 
- Another Amazon best-seller: stainless steel measuring spoons on sale for $10!

Whisk
- I love OXO products - we have their avocado slicer and it's pretty sweet! Here is the OXO whisk for $10 

Cutting Board
- I used to use bamboo cutting boards but I actually found that I don't love bamboo or wooden cutting boards because they can be hard to clean. I like this set of 4 OXO cutting boards because they're labelled for what you're cutting - chicken, fish, veggies and red meat. This is a great way to make sure your home and family stays healthy and also is nice for vegans, vegetarians or pescatarians to avoid cross-contamination.

Meat Thermometer
- Meat thermometers can be tricky -- this one is very highly rated with over 4,000 reviews. It's important to find one that you like!

Oven Mitts
- My boyfriend has these silicone pinch oven mitts -- I'm clumsy so I prefer oven mitts that cover the entirety of my hands like these. These are on sale for $11 (normally $20!)

Cookie Sheets and Cooling Racks
- 3 piece nonstick cookie sheets of all the crucial sizes (10x15, 9x13, 11x17) 
- Non stick cooling racks - crucial for baking!

Set of Kitchen Knives
- This Cuisinart 15-piece stainless steel set of knives is ON SALE FOR $45!! It's normally $156!

Can Opener
- $12 for this one

Rubber Spatula
- Technically this is called a turner and this is called a spatula (hint: you need both) 

Wooden Spoon
- You know I love me some OXO! Wooden Spoon here

A Blender
- If you're a smoothie lover like me, The Magic Bullet is AMAZING because you can make a smoothie and then take off the blender and voila you have your smoothie cup to go!
- Blenders can get really expensive but this one is reasonably priced at $27.

Silpat Cooking Mat
- Everybody needs a Silpat Cooking Mat -- you save a ton of time cleaning up and can turn any pan  into a nonstick surface

Lunch Box Kits
- Lunch box kits 
- 42 piece set for $24! 

Slow Cooker
- Well worth the $49! This 6-quart crock pot

Rice Cooker
- This is actually a pressure cooker but I use it to cook rice :) You can use it for lots of different things though like as a slow cooker or to steam/warm/brown etc. It even says you can make yogurt with it but I'm not sure how you would do that!! 

Collander
- These are collapsible which is sweet because collander's can take up a ton of room in your cupboard! Also they are on sale for $13 right now (down from $22)

Mixer
- Everyone needs a KitchenAid mixer!

Dutch Oven
- Dutch ovens can get expensive. This one is $36 and is cast iron!


Thanks for reading! I hope you like this list and that it helps you get settled into your new home!


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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2016: The Year in Review

2016 - tbh, I'm not sorry to leave it behind.

I do want to do a quick recap of what 2016 held for Maple and Mint. Throughout last year, my little corner of the internet looked something like this: Maple and Mint turned 2! I collaborated with some amazing brands like Lancome, Makeup Forever, Uncommon Goods, JORD watches, Pixers and Vegas.com, to name a few. I'm so fortunate to work with such amazing people and companies!

These are my top 9 Instagram posts of 2016:


 Thank you for the love! If you're not following me on Instagram already, let's connect! You can follow me @mapleandmint. 

In 2016 I also sent out my first Maple and Mint e-newsletter, launched a podcast on iTunes (which you can listen to here!!) and began writing for Stay.com. I was also featured in Trendly Magazine which was SUCH a fun and cool experience -- you can read the interview here.

Here were your most loved posts of 2016:
1) Interview with Foster James (I know, she's the coolest, right?)
2) Puffer Jacket and OTK Boots
3) Gearing Up For a New Year

In personal news, David moved to Seattle and started a new job. We started traveling back and forth between LA and Seattle every couple of weekends. My parents moved to LA into a fabulous beach house, my cousin and her long time sweetheart got married and had their first child (he was born over this past weekend!!) I went to four beautiful weddings, and traveled for the first time to one of the most beautiful places in the world, Tahiti.

In some less sunshine and roses news, I quit a job that wasn't working out back in August and was unemployed for three months. Being unemployed really showed me what a privilege it is to be employed, and also helped me clarify my goals going forward. I learned some hard lessons about what it means to be a grownup and take responsibility for my future.

As we continue on this journey together, let's get to know each other better. Follow me on Twitter and Pinterest and let's have some dialogues! I want to get to know all of YOU better because I'm not just writing these blog posts for myself, I want them to be of some help to YOU!

Thank you all for reading, it means the world to me. Happy New Year Friends!!
 

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