I Found the Mother of Affordable Decor at @AtHomeStores

I Found the Mother of Affordable Decor at @AtHomeStores

Call me crazy, but one of my all-time favorite things about any holiday is decorating. Whether it’s putting up spooky ghosts and spiders for Halloween, jingle bells and tinsel for Christmas, or stars and stripes for the 4th of July I find magic in themed decor.

At Home Patriotic Decor

It may have something to do with the ever-changing aspect… I do get pretty bored with the same old same.

With July 4th and Memorial Day around the corner, I found myself browsing for patriotic themed decor. The hunt started while I was still in Iowa and led me to discover At Home and their Waterloo, IA store. They had their Grand Opening on April 22 and 23, just a few days after I left Iowa for North Carolina.

I am setting a day aside so we can go visit the Raleigh store because from what I hear, it’s awesome! Heads up North Carolinians: At Home has brick and mortar stores in Concord, Durham, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Greensboro! Don’t worry, they have lots of stores and a handy store finder tool to help you find one near you!

At Home Patriotic Decor

You can get a feel for what At Home has to offer by visiting their website. For stuff like this though you really want to see everything because the pieces are amazing and I’m not sure the photos do them justice.

To help us get a feel for the company’s work we were sent a few pieces (just in time for the summer holidays!!!). As soon as I opened the boxes I was excited. I could feel the Independence Day spirit pouring in. Or maybe it was the upcoming change of interior scenery… either way, it felt amazing!

At Home Patriotic Decor

These are pieces you want to show off and have front and center for the holidays.

These are pieces people will comment on and beg to know where you got them.

These are pieces that are affordable and well-made!

At Home Patriotic Decorations

The Canvas American Flag Chest is my favorite piece. It can be used year-round to hold trinkets or anything else. It is pretty durable to be so light-weight which makes me like it even more. It opens and closes without creaking or overlapping. It fits in with any other patriotic decor or stands out on its own.

At Home Patriotic DecorationsThe Decorative Wooden “Fireworks” are super neat and when you have more than one become an adorable focal point. These are made for indoor use but they are so, so, so cute outside by a bench or on a porch. I do bring them in at night so weather and nocturnal critters don’t mess them up. The metallic ‘fuses’ on top add some whimsy to an already fun set of decor.

At Home Patriotic Decor

I couldn’t help but check out the entire selection over at the At Home website. It’s amazing and the prices are practical. It truly is the decor superstore! Oh, and they have sales!

That means you can get a head start on the upcoming holidays and save a ton of money. There is more than just holiday decor.

They have everything you could want to update the look and feel of your home at a price that won’t drain your savings. If you can’t tell, I 100% approve of At Home!!

 

Crash Course for Easy Holiday Prep

Crash Course for Easy Holiday Prep

Is that sleigh bells I hear, or is it uncle Ted’s muffler? Whatever it is the holidays are here! Are you ready for the influx of family, friends, and co-workers? In case you’re not, here is the crash course for easy holiday prep.

Kimberly-Clark

Always have paper towels on hand. When you combine cooking, baking, clean-up, and sugared up kids, things are going to get messy. It’s the inevitable truth and the sooner you come to grips with this fact the sooner you can begin enjoying the holidays. Viva Paper Towels are the only paper towels I buy anymore. They have a more cloth like feel than your typical paper towel, and hold up much better too.

Viva Paper Towels make cleaning up a breeze and since they hold up so well you use less. Use them to serve snacks on, fold them into festive designs, use them to drain food. Paper towels are a vital part of surviving the holidays!

Viva Paper Towels

Remember the Kleenex. Kleenex has uses far beyond runny noses. The holidays can be a very emotional time for some. Emotional times usually involve tears. When kids are around you can almost guarantee there will be tears (theirs or ours or both).

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Not only is Kleenex great for catching mascara runs, the festive packaging will only add to your holiday decor. I love how the Kleenex® Perfect Fit increases the festivity of the room without taking up a ton of table space. Kleenex1

Stock up on toilet paper. When you have guests over it is safe to assume they will need to use the bathroom at least once during their visit. The odds increase when guests are staying the night. Don’t disappoint them or send them on a wild goose chase. Instead, stock up on some septic-safe TP like Scott® or Cottonelle®.

I like to leave several rolls sitting on the back of the tank. A cute basket it the perfect way to keep them on hand in an elegant fashion. This can also cut back on the guest snooping – they have no excuses to open your medicine cabinet.

Pro Tip: Take anything embarrassing, illegal, or valuable out of your medicine cabinet! Just because people don’t have a reason to snoop doesn’t mean they won’t.

Cottonelle

This time of year is frantic; just when you finish one thing you find three more things that need to be done. Once it’s over we’re all like “OMG, it’s New Year’s already?” but right now it’s crazy. Oh how quickly we forget!

Here’s something you won’t want to forget: Walmart has everything you need to get through this holiday season.

==> Don’t Miss the Ibotta app! <==

The Ibotta app helps everyone feel the togetherness that comes with this time of year. You can find great savings at Walmart on Cottonelle, Kleenex, Scott and Viva with the Ibotta app. Right now you can get these great deals:

$1 off Cottonelle 12-ct or larger

$1 off Scott 12-ct or larger

$1 off Viva 6-ct or larger

Buy two products and get an extra dollar back

Deck the halls

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

No-Bake Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake with Caramel Swirl

No-Bake Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake with Caramel Swirl

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SweetenTheSeason #CollectiveBias

Pumpkin Spice with Caramel Swirl Cheesecake

When I moved to the Chicago area I had a few worries. The main thing was meeting new people and making new friends. Luckily I had some amazing friends from my teen years already living here. In fact I moved in with one of them! Even luckier (for me at least) my new roomie doesn’t know his way around the kitchen that well so I get to do the bulk of the cooking and baking.

I know to some that wouldn’t be so much of a good thing, but for me it’s amazing. I’m the happiest when I have people to cook and bake for, it’s where I find a lot of my pleasure in life. I’m by no means the best but I like to think I’m pretty darn good. Something else I’m pretty good at is finding shortcuts in the kitchen. As much as I love to cook and bake I don’t always have the time to prepare everything from scratch.

Kraft Holiday Bake Center

With the holidays quickly approaching I have been looking for a happy balance between being in the kitchen and being with friends. The Kraft Holiday Bake Center at Walmart does a great job of making that happen in a budget friendly fashion. All of the necessities for holiday desserts are there with some extra goodies all at affordable prices.  The Bake Center is actually what inspired this recipe that I’m sharing today. It’s amazingly simple and virtually foolproof – anyone can make it and the beauty is there is no baking involved!

Kraft Holiday Bake Center

I picked up some of the necessities while I was at Walmart, came home, and whipped up this Pumpkin Spice with Caramel Swirl Cheesecake.It wasn’t complete until I added the white chocolate drizzle on top; then it was perfection.

Pumpkin Spice with Caramel Swirl Cheesecake with White Chocolate Drizzle

The first thing I did was melt 1/3 cup of Kraft Caramel Bits in a double boiler.

Melt-Caramel

While my caramel was melting I softened 8 oz. of cream cheese in the microwave then blended that with 1/2 cup of milk. Then I added a box of JELL-O Pumpkin Spice Flavor Instant Pudding. I whisked that all together with another cup of milk.

Cream-Cheese

I poured the mixture into a prepared graham cracker crust and swirled the melted caramel through the cheesecake. Then I put that in the fridge for 2 hours to firm.

cheesecake-Swirly

Once the cheesecake was firm I melted 6 squares of BAKER’S White Chocolate (in a Ziploc bag) in the microwave. I used 30 second intervals, squeezing the bag to help it melt during intervals. I cut the tip off of the bag and drizzled the white chocolate all over the cheesecake. I put the cheesecake back in the refrigerator for a couple of hours so the chocolate could settle and voila.

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake White Chocolate Swirl

That was it, if it sounds simple it’s because it is!

This is one of my creative and easy recipes using the Kraft Holiday Bake Center as inspiration, what ideas do you have?

[amd-yrecipe-recipe:57]

2015 Fashionista Gift Guide

2015 Fashionista Gift Guide

The holidays are coming and that means planning and shopping for the perfect gifts. If you have women on your list this year then you are in the right place. We have several footwear suggestions that are sure to put a smile on that special someone’s face. There is a shoe for everyone in this gift guide and even more to choose from on the retailers websites. 

You can go directly to the page to buy your favorite pair by clicking on the image.

Icebug Shoes Fidgi Coolway Caliope Dav Austin Mid Snake Antelope Coolway Bring Blundstone Chelsea Image Map

12 DIY Valentine’s Day Gifts

Shopping for a significant other can be tough – especially when it comes to Valentine’s Day. Sometimes it is easier (and more appreciated) to create something instead of trying to buy the perfect gift. After all, it’s the thought that counts… right?

I pooled my friends about what their preferred gift for Valentine’s Day would be and the majority said they would prefer something handmade. I think this answer sums it up nicely:

Hand made! There’s more sentiment behind it they went out of their way to make you something using everything they know about you.

Of course there is no rule or law saying you have to make a gift, you can more than happily purchase a Valentine’s Day gift. In fact we have some great ideas for those gifts in our Valentine’s Day gift guide! For those of you that would like to create something but need some inspiration I have gathered these 12 DIY Valentine’s Day gifts basically anyone can make.

12 DIY  Valentine's Day Gifts for 2015

 12 DIY Valentine’s Day Gifts

I’m a sucker for frames to show off my favorite memories and a lot of women (and some men) are the same way. This DIY Chalkboard Frame from Crafts by Courtney is so sweet, especially with a personal message stenciled on.

Simply Stacie has a fun way to show your favorite picture off with a DIY Valentine’s Day frame.

Crazy About My Baybah created something no woman can turn down – heart shaped bath bombs. They seem easy enough to make and sound like a great gift for one, or maybe two if you’re lucky.

Maybe it’s just me but I find snow globes extremely romantic. This sweet Valentine’s Day snow globe from Whipper Berry is perfect.

Back to the bathroom goodies, Sugar and Cloth has a recipe for a DIY Love Potion Bath Set. Another great DIY gift for 2?!

A Bubbly Life has a DIY gift even the manliest man can make – Wooden Coasters!

If you want to pick up flowers you can throw a personal touch in with this DIY Sweetheart Vase from The Pretty Bee

StudioDIY suggests filling this heart shaped pinata with candy. I say take it a step further if you must buy a gift (especially jewelry) and add a little extra surprise inside.

Pillows are another gift I could never turn away. These upcycled (from old sweaters) pillows made by Organized 31 are so creative and a great way to keep the favorite sweaters around a little while longer.

One thing that is even harder to resist than bath goodies or pillows is money. What better way to give the gift of cash than with origami? Check out these Dollar Hearts Muslin and Merlot.

If (s)he’s a pro in the kitchen, or even just has a few favorite recipes, framing them is a great way to show you care. These easy Framed Recipe Cards from Home Cooking Memories would make an excellent gift.

You can really go all out and make several or all of these gifts and create a gift basket. You’ll get brownie points for years to come.