Tag Archives: holidays

Link Love: 76

Festive Bambi!

Festive Bambi!

I haven’t posted a Link Love in a while because honestly, I’m avoiding the news.  But I can’t avoid the Internet entirely. Here’s a few things that have peaked my interest lately.

Instead of detention, these students get meditation. Some days I need a mindful moment room too.

Loved this episode on Planet Money about Burnout.

I receive a good amount of emails from people who want to know if they too can live in an Airstream– even with their specific life situation. And my advice is always the same: you can, but you must throw away fears and limiting beliefs about yourself. (Here’s my exact advice.) And here’s more about The Path of Fearlessness.

Looking for ways to decorate a small space this holiday season? Check out these tips from the archives.

For the couple has everything, consider a personalized romance novel as a holiday gift. LOLOLOL.

And sometimes the best gift is in a white envelope. (Serious tears, y’all.)

Hope you are having the happiest of holidays.
love,
melanie

Link Love: 64

rp_Link-Love-1024x102411111111-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x10241-1024x1024.jpg I’ve been feeling incredibly drained lately. I’m chalking it up to simply trying to do too much. That’s why I’m so looking forward to my vacation in Iceland next week. I’m also giving myself the rest of the year off so I won’t be posting for a bit. I need time to decompress, think and just relax. I’ll probably post a bit to Instagram, but I’m hoping to get out of the habit of checking my phone aimlessly. We’ll see how it goes. Until then, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, Happy Happy! Until then, there’s one last Link Love.

Because it’s so easy to be… Addicted to distraction.

Using vertical space in a small space is essential. This homeowner turned ceiling space into an office/playroom!

This Airstream Flying Cloud reno is flawless.

I could look at ghost houses all day. These Mojave desert ghost houses are particularly interesting.

An Entire House That You Snap Together, Like A Toy. It’s incredibly stylish, but it also cost $300,000.

I’m pretty much done with my holiday shopping, but I was #overit before I even started. I’d love to just opt out of gift giving entirely. I don’t need or really even want anything. And most of my loved one’s don’t either. Yes, we are blessed. When I’m feeling discouraged, I look to charitable giving. Here’s some of my best tips for charitable giving.

I know it’s a video from IKEA which is ironic, but this “The Other Letter” video had me in tears.

And because we can never take ourselves too seriously, I will admit to you that I’m irrationally afraid of many things. Squirrel attacks are one of them.

See you in 2016!
love,
melanie

How To Practice Minimalism During the Holidays

how to practice minimalism during the holidays | asmalllife.com

Haul out the holly! Yup, you heard it here first, it’s the holiday season. The holiday season should be one of love, thankfulness and joy, but it can quickly turn into a season of stress, urgency and irritability. Much of my holiday stress comes from the cost of the holidays and simply trying to do too much. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we have to totally dismiss all gift giving and holiday traditions, but we need to keep our expectations in check and practice minimalism during this joyous season. Here how I practice minimalism during the holidays. Continue reading

The $100 Holiday Challenge: Did I make it?!

The $100 holiday challenge: Can you spend just $100 on gifts this holiday season? This lady tried it!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah! This year we are celebrated both! This holiday season I also lost my mind and challenged myself to spend only $100 on almost 20 presents for friends and family. Check out the original post if you need a refresher.

And for those of you who were curious about my strategy, this post explains it. If you’re not feeling extra literary, here’s the short of it: I used coupons, I had a no-gift pact with my husband, I crafted and I shopped early, among other things.

Since it’s now Christmas, I can share the full details with you!

  1. Mom – $2 necklace flea market find
  2. Dad – $10 pants with a coupon at JC Penny
  3. Dog – .99 soft toy from Ikea
  4. Sister – Necklace made from materials at Michaels $10.11 with coupon and Etsy: $10.00
  5. Sister’s cat – .99 soft toy from Ikea
  6. Sister’s boyfriend – $2.78 hat with coupon from Kohl’s and coffee from my CSA (free)
  7. Mother-in-law – Gift basket made with things from the Dollar Tree: $8.00 and a neck relaxer .53 with coupon from Kohl’s
  8. Father-in-law – Set of grilling accessories: $5.33 with coupon from Kohl’s
  9. Brother-in-law – Slippers with coupon from Kohl’s: $6.39
  10. Sister-in-law – Made with same supplies from sister’s present: free
  11. Niece – Finger puppets from Ikea: $4.99
  12. Kid Cousin – $9.99 toy vehicle kit from Ikea
  13. Kid Cousin – $4.79 necklace making kit from Kohl’s with coupon
  14. Gift exchange – Made with same supplies from sister’s present: free
  15. Friend – Ice scraper from Kohl’s with coupon $7.26
  16. Friend – Purse $4.06 with coupon from Kohl’s
  17. Friend’s kid – $10 Groupon
  18. Co-workers – Nuts made with ingredients already on hand and packaged in bags from the Dollar Store $2.00

Total: $100.21

You guys, I got so close! It’s almost unbelievable! Admittedly, I probably didn’t add in tax for everything (which is pretty low here). I would have been under if everything had worked as planned– but of course it never does! I had planned on redeeming some of my credit card/debit card points for gift cards, but they didn’t arrive in time. Although I ordered them a month ago. Ugh!

Regardless, I’m considering this a win!

So what did I learn? Start early– super early. I thought I was starting early enough with a month’s leeway, but I could have used more time. The holidays are such a busy time, I’d love to just be able to sit back and enjoy them without all the shopping and craziness.

Use cash because it’s more tangible and you can easily figure out exactly how much you have left in your budget.

I also learned to look in the clearance section before even looking at something that people might enjoy. Then, use your coupons strategically. I always tried to get things for less than a dollar, if possible.

Check out those savings!

Check out those savings!

And luckily, I have a coupon crazy mom who graciously couponed for me and gave up some of her Kohl’s cash for me.

Happy holidays, ya’ll! It’s been a fun, wild ride, but I’m glad it’s over. I can’t wait for the refreshing start of a new year!

love,
melanie

20 Low-Cost Gifts to Make this Holiday

20 Low-Cost Gifts to Make this Holiday

How is it December already? Weren’t we just pumpkining all the things, jumping in all the leaves and carving all the jack-o-lanterns? Oh well. The holidays are almost here whether I like it or not.  I’m not making all my gifts this year. The handmade holiday challenge that I did last year was kind of insane. But I’ll still make a few gifts and I’ll still try to stay under $100, of course. If you are a fellow nut and want to MAKE ALL THE GIFTS here’s a few (or 20) ideas for low-cost gifts to make this holiday.

For the fashionista:

  1. A knotted bracelet
  2. A clay beads necklace
  3. Polymer clay hair accessories
  4. A holiday crown

For the foodie:

  1. DIY vanilla extract
  2. Upcycle a rolling pin
  3. Low sugar nuts
  4. Infused liquors!
  5. A personalized mug filled with coffee or chocolates

Can you knit or sew? These projects are super fun

  1. A knitted baby cape
  2. A chunky, knitted scarf
  3. A knitted scrubbie
  4. A leather clutch
  5. A look-alike, handmade American Apparel circle scarf

For everyone:

  1. Beeswax candles
  2. Pillows!
  3. A toy for your furry friends
  4. A clay bowl for jewelry, change or paper clips
  5. A hand-painted and customized ukulele
  6. And last, but not least, make everyone’s favorite gift (cash!) a little more exciting with this cash mobile.

What gifts are you making this holiday season? Tell me about them in the comments!

love,
melanie

Link Love: 17

rp_Link-Love-1024x102411111111-1024x10241-1024x1024-1024x10241-1024x1024.jpg Happy Thanksgiving, ya’ll! I hope everyone is at home resting, spending q.t. with family and eating all the baked brie. (Because really, it’s better than turkey!) And maybe in all the madness, you need a little relaxation. I’ve got it under control with this week’s links. Let’s do this thing.

An Airstream hotel on top of a building in Cape Town!

The “New Minimalism.” This apartment is a cute 340 square feet.

10 ways to furnish and lay out 100 square feet.

This coffee table turns into a bed. Genius!

Can a cash grocery budget save you money?

Free printables! These prints are gorgeous. I might print one (or two!) for my office. They’d also make a nice gift!

34 cheap and easy Christmas ideas with free printables!

The best Black Friday fashion deals.

30+ camping and dutch oven recipes.

This story from StoryCorp had me in tears. Plus, StoryCorp travels around in an Airstream!

And it’s always important to give back during the holiday season and throughout the year. Here’s my tips for charitable giving.

Happy Thanksgiving, ya’ll! I am thankful for each and every one of you.

love,
melanie

The $100 Holiday Challenge: Can you spend just $100 on gifts this holiday season?

The $100 holiday challenge: Can you spend just $100 on gifts this holiday season?

The $100 holiday challenge: Can you spend just $100 on gifts this holiday season?

With Halloween over, the daylight hours getting shorter and a crisp cool in the air, I’m suddenly hyper-aware that the holidays are just around the corner. If you could see my face it would look like the “scream” emoji. I know that pretty soon the Christmas carols will be blaring from every shop in town and my fellow type-As and I will be in full panic mode.

Last year I tried a $100 handmade holiday challenge. I tried (and failed) to handmade everyone’s holiday gift for just 100 buck-a-roos. I failed the challenge for a few reasons– the biggest reason was that my grandmother passed away last December and really, hand making gifts seemed less important than spending time with my mom. I also didn’t allow myself enough time to MAKE ALL THE GIFTS! This year I’m taking a healthier approach. I’m still limiting myself to just $100 dollars, but I’m giving myself more time and I’m allowing myself to simply buy gifts too.

So how am I going to make or buy almost 20 gifts for just $100? Strategy, people. Strategy. I know that if I divide the money equally I will have a little over 5 dollars per person (or pet) to spend. That’s not a lot to work with. (It’s a stunningly small number when compared to the average estimated $781 dollars that Americans will spend on holiday gifts this year.) I also know that some gifts will be completely free, while others will go over the $5 estimate.

For the challenge I won’t count supplies that I already own. The $100 includes anything purchased. I will be using coupons and George (my husband) and I have agreed to not get each other anything this year. (A tad boring, yes, but we’d rather put that money toward our ultimate goal of home ownership.) For people, like my co-workers, I plan on simply making some sort of baked goods which will cost significantly less than purchasing something.

My holiday gift list consists of:

  1. Mom
  2. Dad
  3. Dog
  4. Sister
  5. Sister’s cat
  6. Sister’s boyfriend
  7. Mother-in-law
  8. Father-in-law
  9. Brother-in-law
  10. Sister-in-law
  11. Niece
  12. Kid Cousin
  13. Kid Cousin
  14. Gift exchange
  15. Friend
  16. Friend
  17. Friend’s kid
  18. Co-workers

Can I do it? I don’t know, but I am sure as hell going to try. It’s going to be a challenge. I’ll update you along the way, of course. Will you join me in the $100 holiday challenge?!

love,
melanie