WEEKLY WISHLIST: SPRING EDITION

Who is ready for the spring and more warm weather? I know I am! We could all use a little more time outside and more Vitamin D in our lives. With that being said, I put together a list of the essentials in what you would need on a sunny, Spring day for a picnic or out on the town. If you are thinking about investing any of these items, make sure to save these posts for when you need ideas of any kind: gifts for others or as a way to treat yourself.

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All of the pieces on this wishlist are linked according to number to make it easier in case anything sparks your interest. There are other items I’ve listed that aren’t pictured above, so make sure to check out each number. I hope these items channel your inner Reece Witherspoon, Elle Woods or Martha Stewart, so get to shopping and update that wardrobe of yours!

As y’all can see, I had major wicker vibes going on this week. I’ve always been a fan of all things wicker, but my love has definitely grown here recently.

With that being said, pick out a new dress, slap on some nail polish, grab your picnic basket and get to enjoying the beautiful weather, all socially distanced of course. I, personally, am ready to get experience the beauty of the western North Carolina mountains and the fresh air!

XO,

What are your favorite “spring time” essentials, including clothes, bags, shoes etc? What are you looking forward to in the upcoming months?

CONNECT ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

THE EPISTLE PROJECT

With COVID’s end nowhere in sight, we all know what toll guaranteeing has done on people’s mental health, physical well-being and general livelihood.

STORY

The word ‘epistle’ comes from the Greek word epistole, meaning letter or message. Epistles were primarily written communications during the time of the New Testament. For example, Paul, Peter, and John wrote epistles or letters to churches or individuals (Timothy, Titus, Philemon).

Jesus has given His people His love letter, which is His revealed Word. The apostles sent letters to churches to instruct the people there.

With the premise of loving the Lord and loving handwritten letters, the idea of The Epistle Project came about.

For those of who know me, I LOVE receiving mail from family or friends that’s something other than bills. Letters are a great way to allow the elderly to feel included and loved on during this pandemic.

COVID-19 UPDATE

COVID-19 UPDATE (accurate to-date): I am still accepting letters amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Now is a better time than ever, I feel like, to support those are often times forgotten.

The CDC, World Health Organization, and Surgeon General have indicated that there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is being spread through the mail. hehe

Thank you for supporting our elders during this critical effort to fight loneliness. Physical isolation is important for public health right now, but our elders deserve to feel supported, too.

I’d love it if you’d write a handwritten letter today to support what I am hoping to do – bring joy who need it the most.

HOW IT WORKS:

LETTERS THEY LOVE:

In anticipation of Letter to An Elder Day on February 26th, I are collecting cards and mailing these to elders in a local Asheville senior community.

Take a few minutes, sit down and write a letter to an elder (a stranger). Tell them about yourself, tell a joke or a riddle and include a picture if that’s something you feel comfortable with. The biggest thing is to let them know how loved they are.

If might feel difficult at first to be writing to someone you don’t know. My advice: pretend like it’s a normal conversation. What kinds of things would you want to talk about with a stranger?

GUIDELINES:

  • Letters must be legible (large print) and handwritten. Don’t fret if you are not artistic – make your card as what you’d like to receive.
  • Exclude the date (date/month/year).
  • Embrace creativity! Recipients love it when the letters are personal. We encourage you make your letters colorful an fun – photos, crosswords and drawings are great!
  • Be kind and thoughtful. This is a one-way letter exchange, so you will not receive a letter back. Receiving nothing in return is part of the beauty of your act of kindness, and recipients aren’t burdened by feeling obligated or unable to respond.
  • Envelope your letters if you can! It’s so much nicer to receive an enveloped card. If you’re sending more than one letter, leave your enveloping letters unsealed and unstamped to send them in a larger envelope or box.
  • Share your act of kindness! Tag us @theepistleproject, #theepistleproject and #lettertoanelderday.
  • Send as may cards as you’d like! We accept letters year-round, so there’s no deadline for when you must send them by. If you’re cards are holiday-themed or seasonal, send them a month before that holiday or the end of that season. (If your letters are late, we’ll definitely say them for next year)
  • Ready to mail? Yay! Send to:

    The Epistle Project

    8 Timber Court
    Apt. D

    Asheville, NC 28803

If you have any questions at all, PLEASE feel free to message me. I would love nothing more to include your cards with mine and to enandate them with hundreds of letters to read. Help me to jumpstart this “idea” of mine and join me in this journey to see where it goes and how it grows.

SHARE:

If you aren’t ready to write a card just yet, help me in getting the word out. Share this blog or the Epistle Project’s Instagram below.

XO,

DIY CHRISTMAS GIFT PRESENTATION

Public Service Announcement: We are ten days out from Christmas, y’all. Saying that out loud makes my mind race, my heart skip a beat and make me feel like I’m in a state of state of sheer panic. I feel like it was just last month that I was sipping wine beachside and riding around the island on bicycles with my family.

We all know firsthand how quickly the costs of buying presents for friends and family can add up. I feel like my husband and I were pretty prepared throughout the year to pick up gifts here and there, but there is always a mad rush to finish off those checklists last minute. With that being said, anywhere you can save a dime here and there helps to lighten the load for everyone.

I will go over different ways to make easy DIY gift tags and alternate wrapping paper options that will have your loved ones drooling. You might even surprise yourself at how easy and time efficient these can be.

I have always considered myself to be a “crafty” person. Growing up, I could sit for hours coloring, drawing, or painting whatever I could get my hands on. The amount of times I roped my mom into taking me to a craft store was well in the hundreds. (poor Kim) Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a crafter or a DIYer, its okay to start somewhere! It is 2020 after all. Most of these ideas are “fool proof,” but don’t be afraid if they don’t come out exactly as you had planned. Often times, the best aren’t always perfect.

Brown Shipping Paper

Seeing this idea for the first time a few years back, I have found that brown shipping paper works really well when it comes to seamless, yet alternative wrapping paper. There are thousands of options to “dress it up” and make your presents look like you took them to get professionally wrapped. You can buy a role at any office store like Office Depot or Office Supply for well under $5. In years past, I have hand drawn people’s names right on the package and they turned out beautifully. I will have to admit that my calligraphy has got quite a bit better since I first started.

Dried Oranges

Dried oranges tied with ribbon against the brown wrapping paper makes for a breathtaking contrast. I typically go for a white ribbon or burlap twine ( buffalo plaid ribbon if I’m feeling bold), but experiment with whatever will match your “vibe.” Making dried oranges are very simple and quick, so experiment with this whenever you have a few minutes of free time. Pick up a bag of oranges during your next grocery shopping outing and get to baking. Make sure to cut your oranges in thin pieces and lay them flat on a baking sheet.

I’ve also found that doing both naval oranges and blood oranges are cool way to have a variation of color. In my DIY Christmas Decor blog, I also talked about how to make a fresh strand of garland out of these beauties.

Dried or Fresh Flowers

Dried flowers make for a beautiful, yet simple way to also dress up your gifts. If you are wanting to truly DIY these yourself and have them ready in time for Christmas, it would be in your best interest to start yesterday. The best approach I’ve found to dry these beauties has been to tie them at the bottom of the bouquet with string and to hang them upside down in a dark area. They do take a few days to completely dry out, so be patient with them. Although some flowers naturally hold their shape better than others, some sources have also have also said that spraying hairspray over the flowers help to preserve them. A few strands of fresh Eucalyptus or Lavender also smell heavenly while getting the same general gist of the dried flowers.

Paper Tags

With making your own paper tags, there are endless opportunities in what you can do to make your own. Craft Stores, like Michaels or Hobby Lobby, have paper cutting tools that come in squares, rectangles, circles and stars. Buy a few shapes to be able change up your options. Pick up a few sheets of cardstock and sit down to start cutting. As another easy and quick option, invest in a watercolor set to draw simple trees or stars on white card-stock. Remember to keep things simple and light! Punch a hole in the top and tie with ribbon. Wallah! If you have a Cricut like myself, then you know how many hundreds of thousands of options there are when it comes to making your own tags. I remember the hours I spent two Christmases ago making tags and I was sooo pleased with how they turned out.

If you have DIYed any tags or wrapping paper in the past? If so, I would love to see what creations you came up with. Drop any pictures you have in the comments below. If not, what is your biggest fear in holding you back?

TOP SECRET SANTA GIFTS

For those of you who have participated in Secret Santa, White Elephant or Dirty Santa in the past, you know how fun they can be! For those of you who haven’t, below is a little explanation of both games. They are a fun, alternative way to do a gift exchange with family and/or coworkers. My family has done both in years past and loved every minute of it.

Dirty Santa

Dirty Santa is a family-friendly gift exchange game that has been a staple of holiday traditions for many years. The phrase was coined in the Southern states and is called “dirty” because the game involves “stealing” more desirable gifts while scheming to avoid the gag gifts that nobody wants. Rules vary depending on who you are playing with, but the general gist is the same. Each person begins with drawing a number. From there, the person with number one starts by opening a gift. The second person can either steal that gift or open one from the pile. My family has always allowed the #1 player to be the last one the to swap and/or steal after the last person has gone.

Secret Santa

Secret Santa is a game often used for office staffs or as a game for bigger families. Depending on your budget, I have listed gift ideas below that around $20! Good luck shopping and remember to have fun with it. Be intentional with your gifts, but remember not to break the bank.

☆ Wine Tumbler

For those wine connoisseurs in your life, a tumbler paired with a bottle of wine will a sight after gift. Personally, I would go down fighting for this gift if this was in the running for Dirty Santa. You can’t go wrong with a red or white wine, or you could go more bold with a rose. You could also fill the tumbler with some chocolates and you’ve just put out the best gift in the game. Preppy Pineapple Shop has customizable tumblers that are durable and also come with a straw.

☆ Blue Light Glasses

Know anybody that is consistanly on their computer or phone for business? Our constant connection to our smartphones, tablets, and laptops may contribute to headaches, sore eyes, and stiff necks — all symptoms of digital eyestrain. With the majority of our waking hours spent in front of a screen, paired with harmful blue-violet light from devices, it’s no surprise that our eyes are working harder than ever. Blue light glasses are helpful in that they help with protecting your eyes against those harmful lasting effects. Glasses have also made a comeback in the fashion world, so here is your answer. Urban Vogue Shop offers an oversized clear pair of blue light glasses that are unisex in my book.

☆ Fleece Blanket

Now is the time of year to cuddle up with a fleece blanket and a book by the fire. Fleece blankets are an inexpensive, yet practical gift for those homebodies in your life. Target, Kohl’s, and Walmart all have a great selection of fleece that are inexpensive, yet durable. Depending on the price of the blanket, you could also throw in a $5 or $10 gift card of choice to pair with the fleece.

☆ Soap/Body Care Package

Who doesn’t need body care products? Nourish is a soap company based out of Savannah, GA, but has a location in Greenville, SC and Hilton Head, SC that offers a wide array of soaps and handmade cosmetic products. Lush is another body care company that offers bath bombs, shampoo, and body gels that are amazing. Like I said before, check out other shops in your area or check online to see what else you can find.

☆ Whistling Tea Kettle

A tea kettle is great idea in that it suitable for many different uses. You can make tea, coffee, hot chocolate or boil water for your soup with a tea kettle. They have stood the test of time and can also be left out on your stovetop as a decoration. Think about throwing in a set of tea bags or hot chocolate to make it a complete set. World Market makes nicely made, but more budget friendly tea kettles.

☆ Coffee Mug & Grounds

Who doesn’t love coffee and mugs? I have a slight obsession to both – just ask my husband. My kitchen cabinet is spilling over with a lifetime supply of both. Most of us adults rely heavily on coffee to get through the day and would greatly appreciate this gift. Stop by any local coffee shop and check out their selection of coffee for sale. In terms of coffee mugs, Apparent Project sells my favorite mugs of all time. I found AP in Port-au-Prince, Haiti when I visited a few summers ago and stocked up on Christmas gifts for the entire family.

☆ Airpods Case

If you’re doing a more of Secret Santa type game and know who you’re buying for has a set of Airpods, a carrying case would be a great gift. As someone who just splurged on a pair for myself, I have been eyeing a few cases, but haven’t bought the bullet. This is definitely the cheaper alternative and would be greatly appreciated by all Airpod wearers. Check out April and Kiwi and Topgogo who both offer real cool, diverse options.

☆ Keychain

Since we have keys to just about everything of importance in our lives nowadays, a nicer keychain would be a great option for either game. This gift is very practical and could last many, many years. LoomChoi has over twenty different colored macrame keychains available and Unus Leather highlights more of the rustic, leather look.

☆ Candles & Lotion

We all know how delightful a good smelling house can be. Head to Bath & Body Works or find a local artist to pick out a few of the holiday scents. Now is the time that they are in full swing with Christmas scents, so there are hundreds of options to choose from in terms of login and candles. If you’re feeling really bold, you could make your own candle as well. If not, Sweet Water Decor and Zen Body Creations both have some of the best smelling candles and are some of the coolest I’ve seen. This gift will always be a big hit among family or coworkers.


Be mindful in your shopping this Christmas season, folks. We all know how hard 2020 has been mentally, financially and physically on everybody. As shopping for the holiday only gets ramped up, be cognizant of the many talented artists and creators around you. There are so many deserving “small” shops who often get overshadowed by the Fortune 500 companies, but deserve so much credit. As you do your shopping this year, check out Etsy, Facebook Marketplace or other small businesses in your area first. They pour hours of their time and talent into one-of-a-kind products. That is a win-win situation for me, folks.

Be the change you wish to see.

DIY CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS

Christmas is right around the corner, folks! We are only forty days out from today. How crazy is that?! We all know how quickly that time will go. Currently, I have a Christmas playlist blasting through the house and plan to coerce my husband into watching The Santa Claus with me tonight.

We all know 2020 has been a hell of a year. It’s been tough, uncomfortable and not at all what we expected. The economy is in a recession, unemployment numbers skyrocketed overnight and businesses are having to shut down because of the circumstances. Are you on a budget but looking to add more decorations to your tree or in your home? I’ve got you covered! Below are some DIY decorations that are fun, family friendly and budget considerate.

Gingerbread Ornaments

I made these with my mom growing up and loved them! These gingerbread ornaments last years and smell heavenly. These also make great gifts for teachers, neighbors or your Sunday school teacher. This is the recipe that I follow, but feel free to find one that you like. I also added a dab of glue to help keep its shape. Don’t forget to poke a hole in the top to string it with some cute holiday ribbon!

Orange Garland

This garland makes for a beautiful decoration to hang from your hearth or above your bed. I prefer this over store made garland, anyhow. To get the optimal finish on your garland, follow The Ginger Home’s recipe or find one of your liking. This also makes for the best aroma when the oranges are done baking.

Pinecone Name Plates

These pinecone name plates make the cutest decor for a Christmas get-together for family or friends. Find a handful of pinecones outdoors or buy them from the store and spray paint them with a gold or silver spray paint. Cut down a piece of card stock or find your favorite piece of Christmas scrapbook paper and get started writing those names!

Pallet Christmas Trees

If you are into the “bigger scale” project, then this is your scene! My in-laws made my husband and I a set last year and stained them a dark chestnut color. String lights and hang ornaments on your Christmas Pallet tree and voilà! You can also paint them green to immolate more of a “real” tree if that’s the look you’re going for. Making smaller trees is also a great option for keeping them inside as well.

Wooden Sign Decor

With wooden signs, you have endless opportunities! If you have a Cricut or are artistically blessed, in which I am not, then there are so many options in terms of signs you can make. I also have Chalk Couture, which is a chalk-based transfer system that is fool proof. Chalk Couture came out with so many new Christmas designs this year, which has been really exciting to test out. Plan a trip to your local Michaels or Hobby Lobby to check out their wooden section. They have so many different options to choose from. Look at Pinterest for some inspiration if need be!

Stove-Top Potpourri

This isn’t necessarily a “decoration,” but stove-top potpourri is amazing to have simmering at home doing chores or relaxing on the couch curled up with that book you have been wanting to read. I have experimented with lots of varieties that all smell like you set foot onto a tree farm. You can also put ingredients into a mason jars that make for great gifts. This website has some great options you //.

QOTD: What is some of your favorite Christmas decorations, either store bought or handmade?