Chic

Holiday Cookie Swap – Best Practices

I love this time of year – lots of opportunities for family and friends to get together, and generally my favorite types of food – baked goods – are literally on the table.

So, this year a group of us are planning a cookie swap with an accompanying Facebook Live event because it’s fun to bake and decorate cookies, and, pretty much because we like to hang out together. See us on Facebook at Boston City Life at 11:30 am on Friday, December 1st for great swap ideas… and watch me try to decorate a sugar cookie.

Here are the co-conspirators in this event:

Leah – City Living (Boston) – somehow she convinced me to be on camera – I still don’t really know how that happened.

Debbie –  A Little Bit about A Lot of Things

Kim –   Family Friendly Boston

Debbie and Kim are technical support and behind the scenes, unless I can get Debbie on camera? Maybe she’ll sub in!

Now, Leah is the list maker so she’s putting together a check list but I can at least get us started.

First, the guest list – usually 8-10 people work well – but if you’re up for it and want to have a bigger group, that works too! And I like to use Paperless Post for invitations – they have so many pretty ones and it’s easy to keep track of attendees and to send updates to the guests. You know, last minute requests or instructions.

I made a Save the Date Flyer with Paperless Post- so easy to do!

And I chose these invitations:

 

 

 

Love that you can choose by theme  – click here to see how it works.

What are your favorite ways to send invitations? I’d love to know! Wish us luck on the Facebook Live Event!

 

Disclaimer: I received Paperless Post coins to facilitate with this review. All opinion are, as always, my own.

 

Best Gifting Practices – Uncommonly Good

For a long time now we have had a present cabinet. Yes, as in gifts. And, no, I am not super organized. It’s for when I need an emergency gift, you know, when you’ve forgotten an event is coming up – What, you don’t do that? Well, I do and sometimes the cabinet is stocked and I breathe a sigh of relief, and sometimes I am down to some hair ties and a pen.

So I clearly can’t leave special events like birthdays, graduations, weddings or anniversaries to chance, those need more planning, and, well, I have that covered, too. Actually, UncommonGoods does. When they contacted me to share my gift giving practices, I was thrilled – I love their site because they have cool, creative gifts in a wide range of prices, and make shopping by occasion super easy. Located in Brooklyn, NY, they select works from talented artists and artisans, and, as an added bonus, they’re a B Corporation. What is that? It means they do work on social and environmental problems, including wage levels, environmental impact, and giving back to the community. That’s to the good of everyone.

But you need gifts.

Our family just wrapped up one graduation season, and while the next is a ways off, the holidays are around the corner and I’m betting on UncommonGoods to help with my list. Love this dreamy retro camera that takes romantic, light soaked photos and will charm any photographer, artist or film student. The Diana Camera is super cool, dare I say hipster? – and uses 120 film.

The Diana Camera at Uncommongoods.com from Capabilitymom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Math mug Uncommongoods from capabilitymom

Less art and more math? There’s fun with numbers in this math-y mug or great geeking out clock (equations included).

geek equation clock uncommongoods from capabilitymom

Looking for something a bit more personal? You’re covered there, too, with gifts that can be made to honor a special someone. And I love that the Uncommongoods site lets you search by occasion, interest, price, and category. No small feat, that.

And having just reached a milestone wedding anniversary, I also know a bit about great gifts for anniversaries (or weddings). Keeping it personal is key, and so easy to do here. My favorites for couples include these gorgeous faux bois personalized mugs, just pair with your favorite fair trade coffee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new go-to gift: Put together a mixed six pack of local craft beer, the beer labels are cool and the names are usually funny, and if you put that together with these wordy glasses, you have a really thoughtful gift. And you might even pick up a vocab word or two.uncommon goods wordy beer glasses

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feeling the sentiment? Me, too. Love this company,

 

 

Check out their blog  which features their artists, design inspiration, and even more gift guides.

 

Disclaimer: While I did receive payment for sharing this post, all opinions are always my own.

The Fun, and Itchy, Days of Summer

After Bite® "The Itch Eraser" is America's #1 selling insect bite treatment. Its pen-like vial that is easy and convenient to carry and use. The ammonia based product relieves the itch from insect bites. Efficacy studies and 32 years of happy customers prove that it provides IMMEDIATE RELIEF FOR INSECT BITES. After Bite® Kids is specially formulated to provide fast relief for children. We removed the ammonia in order to make this formula non-stinging on sensitive skin. With Eucalyptus Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Baking Soda, Aloe Vera and Vitamin E, this unique cream formula provides relief from insect bites. capabilitymom.com

capability mom The Itch Eraser

Summer means more time outdoors, dinners on the patio, hikes, the beach, lake, or body of water of your choosing, outdoor movies, and, for us, anyway, it also means more bug bites and itchy skin. We are a family who, as a whole, tends to get bites, rashes and dry itchy skin. Really. One year, our daughter returned from camp and looked like she could be on a poster for common skin problems of summer with arrows pointing to different part of her body where she had poison oak, sunburn, bug bites, and a rash from the boat she was in for two days. This same daughter also once (also at camp) had an allergic reaction to an antihistamine cream. Yes, thank you, I know that is not that common. My husband is known to get rashes upon rashes. And once my scalped itched for almost two years (no, thank you, it was not head lice). Yes, we are that family who sends photos to our dermatologist. What is this? Chiggers? Check. Poison Ivy? Check. Contact dermatitis? Check. You would think we would learn to stay indoors, my rash acquiring family and I, but no, we head out time and time again, and we gather all the bug bites, too.

Luckily, there is a local New Hampshire company that makes great products that lets us continue to leave the house and they sent me products to review. How did they know?

Here’s what I know – this company has been making After Bite® “The Itch Eraser” for 32 years and it is top selling insect bite treatment in the U.S. And my particular and itch prone family has all tried and loved it – there is even a a sensitive cream version that I used on the supremely sensitive child, of course. And I like the lock feature on the spray with a clearly notched button so you know which side you’re supposed to hold.

There is also an After Bite® Kids – specially formulated to provide fast relief for children with the ammonia removed so it doesn’t sting sensitive skin. Eucalyptus Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Baking Soda, Aloe Vera and Vitamin E all help to make this cream provide relief from insect bites. I think I’ll bring this to the next family outing with the nieces and nephews. I do love to be prepared so I’ll put some in my Mary Poppins Bag.

capabilitymom.com seabags

From the website:

After Bite + After Bite Kids:  Available at Walmart, CVS, Target, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Kroger, and at afterbite.com. Right now on their site, After Bite is offering a free super cute Professor Bugsbee (their mascot) key chain with the purchase of any two products.

The Itch Eraser is an all-in-one solution that stops the itch and heals skin affected by allergic itches and hives, poison ivy, oak and sumac, sunburns, rashes, redness and insect bites. It’s dermatologist-recommended and easy to apply, and available in a Max Strength Gel, Max Strength Spray and Sensitive Cream for every type of skin itch. Sold at Rite Aid, HEB Groceries, Kinney Drugs, Wegmans, Harmon, Hannaford, Bass Pro, Shopko Grocery, and at theitcheraser.com.

 

Disclosure: I received samples of products to facilitate this review but as always, all opinions are my own.

 

Summer Plans, Part One

For me, summer officially starts on the last day of school but this year was different. Our youngest graduated from high school in June, and there was so much more going on than the usual end of year picnics and the slide into camp schedule. All good things, just really, really different. Prom, graduation, graduation parties, award ceremonies, and family get-togethers- all wonderful but a super busy time. And I have a few part-time gigs going on… so lots of juggling on my part, and I am not really all that good at juggling.

And I always think that summer means slowing down, catching my breath and reading with my toes in the sand.

Do I ever have that summer? Have I ever had that summer? Definitely not, and while I do try to carve out at least a few beach days here and there – I have goals, people! I try to catch up on my reading, get to a Red Sox game or two, and hang out with my family. How am I doing so far? Reading, check – I have this great poster of 100 Essential Novels to keep me on track  – you scratch them off when you’ve read them – so fun!

Then it occurred to me to see how many of these classic books have been made into movies and to watch them this summer. Well, maybe I won’t finish this summer. Here’s what I am watching and reading and, in some cases, re-watching and re-reading. Make it a family movie night, and take turns choosing from your favorite adaptations. All are available on Fios – click on the image for more info.

To Kill a Mockingbird (Gregory Peck)

Pride and Prejudice – any version except the zombie one, but, hey, no judgement if you’re into that.

Gone With The Wind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Gatsby (again, choose your favorite – Redford or DiCaprio). No zombie version available, thankfully.

The Scarlet Letter – Demi Moore or the 1934 version.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, that should get you started with the classics. Also on my list:

The Fault in our Stars

Me Before You

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water for Elephants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Help

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And no summer would be complete without the movie that made me afraid to go in the water for an entire summer.

Yes, Jaws.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclosure – I am a member of a Verizon #BostonFios influencer team (a natural for me – a Verizon superfan!) and we are compensated for social shares. All opinions are, and always will be, my own.

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