The front porch redesign

A couple weeks ago the weather was unexpectedly warm I’ve been selfishly wishing for warmer type of weather so I can paint my front door. I didn’t necessarily want to wait till spring and unfortunately (due to climate change) but fortunately I did not have to wait until spring to transform my front door.

On a warmer Saturday morning s few weeks back I decided to take out my royal blue paint that I purchased at my local Hobby Lobby in hopes to be able to to transform my teal door sometime in the new future.

The paint color I chose was “Midnight Wave “ by Diamond Hard it cost only $10, but make sure to use the 40% off coupon that Hobby Lobby offers you for $4 savings.

I painted three coats and let it fully dry before I put a protective wax over it.

Once the door was completely dry I then started to add some of the decor pieces on the door itself.

I purchased on clearance a wicker basket from target, from the brand Threshold in the color espresso brown. This one isn’t on clearance, but its still a great price! 

I added some faux greenery garland that I had purchased at hobby lobby, again use that 40% off coupon that they offer on their website or wait until florals are 50% off, you could always guarantee that it will happen at least once in the month!

I then purchased the Half Circle Braided Coir Mat by Hearth & Hand™ with Magnolia. I’m simply obsessed with this doormat it’s so adorable and gives off the right work that I was going for!

I paired it with a black and white buffalo plaid rug that I purchased off Amazon, it’s such a great big size 24” x 51” and only $18!

This front porch is far from being complete but I am so happy that I was able to get at least a little bit of it done because I was itching to do it!! I can’t wait to add more stuff when the spring time hits but until then I’m going to love what I have if you have any questions or want to know more please don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, @urbanhippiect

 

Links

Mightnight Wave Paint for Front Door 

Mini Round Decorative Basket 11.25″x 8.75″, whicker basket 

Half Circle Braided Door Mat

Black and White Buffalo Plaid rug

 

DIY: Toy Storage Bench

Never would I have imagined that I would be living in my own toy store! I mean that’s what it sure feels like when you live with a one year old and they have toys coming out of every part of your house.

To combat this every day struggle of toys in any crevice of my house I needed a solution but I also needed this solution to go with the design elements in my home along with my “vision”. Before I looked into building anything I did what I normally do prior to spending $$. I looked at Facebook Marketplace. You would be amazed at what some people throw away/give away/ or simply sell way under price.

Well, I checked the Marketplace and found a bunch of toy boxes and storage cubes, but nothing was “speaking” to me. I decided to come up with my own design and get to purchasing my supplies.

I originally wanted a window seat that my son can one day sit on and read his books, wishful thinking aye! So with that idea, I thought of a wooden crate trick I’ve seen on Pintrest before, they are wooden crates that can be purchased at your local home improvement store. I picked up 3 because as mentioned earlier I originally wanted this bench to go under my window but couldn’t because my son has a tent in his playroom as well and the tent just didn’t look right anywhere else, so we had to move the bench to make it all work.

Once I picked up these three wooden crates, I also picked up (2) 10×12 of Pine wood one to put on the top for the ledge to sit and one to put on the bottom to attach wooden legs to give the bench a few inches off the ground.

I predrilled the holes for the screws to attach the three wooden crates together and I screwed them together with 1 1/4 screws. Once they were all screwed together, I then sanded the crates and the boards themselves to get them smooth to the touch, after all this bench is for a one year old so we need the bench to be as smooth as possible.

After everything was sanded, I took my favorite Dark Walnut stain, I prefer dark walnut because I have a lot of that stain on other areas in my house and just love the look of it. It only took about 2 hours for the stain to settle and the smell to subside.

Now that the stain is dried, it was time for assembly. I connected the first 10×12 Pine wood to to the bottom of the wood crates and then moved on to the second 10×12 Pine wood and connected that one to the top. I used a nailgun to give it a seamless look as well as prevent any screws causing any injury in the future. Once the boards were connected, it was time to add the feet to the bottom to give it a few inches off the ground. Once those were screwed in, the toy storage bench was complete and it was now time to add it into my son’s playroom and store all the toys.

Tools needed for this DIY Toy Storage Bench:

  • (2) 10 x 12 Pine Wood
  • (3) Wooden Crates (already assembled)
  • (4) Wooden Peg legs (height is up to you)
  • Stain (of your choice)
  • 1/8 Drill Bit to predrill
  • 1 1/4 Screws
  • Nail Gun with Finishing Nails
  • Screw Gun

For more DIY’s on a dime and other home decor check out my instagram page. Make sure you give it a follow.

There is also a step by step in my highlights on my IG page.

 

 

The Ultimate Gift Guide 2019

Are you struggling to find the perfect gift this holiday season? Well me too! Just Kidding! I would like to think I have come up with the ultimate gift giving guide to help you narrow down your Google searches and hopefully you land here and impressed with the choices I have given you.

New/ Expected parents, I have probably listed this one first because let’s face it, I am still in this category and my toddler is not old enough to “ask” for things so this is my list of things I would hope he asked for to make mommy and daddy’s life easier.

Let’s talk about this portable high chair from the Paper Store,

highchairThis highchair is an easy on the go  chair with how innovative, practical, and portable it is. I loved this thing and still use it today! It cleans so easily and perfect to have just in the back of your car for “just in case” purposes. Not only that it’s so lightweight and fold’s up just like a lawn chair.

This highchair is usually listed at $69.99 at the  Paper Store but if you purchase The Paper Store’s 2019 Exclusive Cardinal Ornament (Only $3.99, in store or online) they will take 20% off your entire order, that’s a $14 savings on a great gift!

Another awesome gift idea for the parents of a toddler and a toddler that just wants to be involved in the kitchen or whatever their parents are doing. The Adjustable Kids Learning Stool, Kids Kitchen Step Stool with Safety Rail-Solid Hardwood Construction from Amazon 

stool

I love this stool for so many reasons! It grows with the child from ages, 18 months to 60 months!

It helps elevate your baby to counter height. Kids can help out in kitchen: baking, mixing, preparing food, cleaning up, or other hands-on situations. It will make your kitchen full of fun! You could also put it in washing room so kids can brush teeth by themselves. It’s 4 feet high and has settings that can help accommodate the average height of a 12 month baby up to a toddler of 6. It’s made from solid hardwood and carefully coated with durable, nontoxic, lead-free coating. Fences around big standing platform(19.5*13 inch), so kids won’t fall out from high place. The dimensions are, 19.5″L x 14.8″W x 37″H. And they are offering a 30 days free return and life time free parts guaranteeThe price point is a little steep at $130 but this isn’t a one season gift, this is something that can be used day after day!

The Home Bodies: Nothing says “home body” like a warm comfy Sherpa weighted blanket! I love anything Sherpa and then you go and add a weighted blanket to it and now I don’t want to leave my bed or couch. Walmart has a great selection and plus their black Friday deals are insane! blanket

Weighted blankets may be used to help people with anxiety, insomnia, ADHD, or autism to relax, sleep, and wake feeling refreshed.

 

 

 

 

Moms: As a mom I never knew how much I would love a set of new and stylish… towels. There I said it! I love when my kitchen and bathroom display adorable linens that go with my decor! I found the most amazing, soft, and stylish towels at Olive and Linen. Their linens are actually Turkish Towels and I am obsessed! Turkish towels are flat woven, lightweight towels that are both beautiful and functional. IMG_7635_395f4640-5a1f-45d4-bddd-c6276b2560e0_1024x1024Also known as peshtemal, fouta or hammam towel, Turkish towels are more compact and versatile than terry looped towels. They can be used as a bath, beach or kitchen towel as well as a picnic blanket, scarf, sarong, tablecloth and even curtains. They are the ultimate go to piece that you will reach for everyday. Olive and Linen are having a great Black Friday deal, everything is up to 75% off with free shipping!

 

Dad’s: Self Charging Wallet. Say that 10 times fast. This ultimate gift for dad or really anyone will have them thanking you for the thoughtfulness. For the minimalist traveler or just someone thats phone is always dying, this slim case has been designed in tannery leather that softens over time. A modern take on the classic wallet, the updated find has four card slots, one cash slot and holds a full charge to keep you connected during busy work-to-play days. It’s also ready for foil-debossed personalization. slim-leather-charging-wallet-c

The wallet is listed for $79 and to add the personalization it’s only an additional $10 but if you use the code: “Friends” you will get $15.80 off your total and it will only be $77.85 with FREE shipping! What a steal!

 

 

 

 

Long Distance Friends/Loves: So you are far away but still want to show each other you are on each other’s mind. The perfect gift for people who are long distance is the awesome, Long Distance Friendship Lamp found at Uncommon Goods

lightsOn the website you have the option to get one ($99) or two ($198), but what I really love about these lamps are that they, light up loved ones’ lives—across town or across the world.  The function is still the same: Touch yours, and theirs emits the same glow to send a little “thinking of you.” Creating a group? You can also assign colors, so each person gets their own special hue.

Grandparents: The truth is grandparents typically don’t “need” or “want” anything than to be around their grandchildren, so to make them feel near their grandchildren all the time the best gifts for them would be anything personalized. You can find a ton of gift idea’s with personalization on the website, Etsy.  For instance, this blanket that was personalized is so adorable and is one of the great personalized gifts offered on Etsy. il_794xN.2101987871_quml

Etsy connects people looking for unique goods with independent sellers around the world. When you shop on Etsy.com, you can choose from millions of handmade, vintage, and craft supply items created and curated by millions of independent sellers. This is one of the reasons why I tend to use Etsy because I love supporting small business’ and local artist. Local Artist and Small Businesses don’t necessarily need to be the people right outside your home, these are people all across the world and Etsy allows you to support small by doing so.

The Give Back/Stylish gifts:  Have you heard of Pura Vida? Well two Southern California friends—Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman—took a college graduation trip down to Costa Rica in the summer of 2010, they came across two artisans whose colorful string bracelets captured the simple beauty of Costa Rica. Sadly the artist were struggling to survive on their artisan wages, living with their family in a single room with three beds. Desperate to find some way to help, Griffin and Paul asked the artisans to make 400 bracelets to take home with them, they put the bracelets on display in a local boutique, selling out completely within just a few days. And it hit them: These pieces were more than just simple friendship bracelets.3F9A2520_1200x1200_crop_center

I love these bracelets and not just what they mean and stand for but because they are so stylish! Pura Vida is having an awesome Black Friday sale, everything is 50% off! I also have a coupon code: DanielleGiordano20, this code will also give you 20% off your entire order!

 

 

 

 

Child(ren) Gifts:  Let’s be real for a second, toys are what every child wants for Christmas, but lets be practical this holiday season. Toys come and go, they break, pieces get lost, and ultimately, that toy isnt “fun” anymore. But do you know what is fun and what a child may cherish? Experience gifts!

What is an experience gift you may ask yourself, well an experience gift is one that provides a child a memory. From museum memberships to sporting passes, you can give your kids more than just another object for their playroom. It can create memories, help build skills and provide fun for the entire family.

Need some ideas? Here is a few to think of as options,

  • 1. Children’s theater season passes
  • 2. Trampoline jump passes
  • 3. Zoo membership
  • 4. Full session for new sport (gymnastics, football camp, etc.)
  • 5. Trip to the bookstore to pick out new books
  • 6. Local + national state park passes for a year
  • 7. Plane ticket to visit someone special (grandma, aunt, etc.)
  • 8. Pass to an art museum
  • 9. Cooking class for kids
  • 10. Tickets for child + friend for a local play
  • 11. Pottery making classes
  • 12.  Out of country airfare + accommodation (if you want to be truly indulgent)
  • 13. Swim lessons
  • 14. Aquarium yearly pass
  • 15. Subscription box
  • 16. A train ride to somewhere they’ve never been
  • 17. Musical instrument + lessons
  • 18. Flower or herb seeds to plant a garden
  • 19. Ballet classes + tutu
  • 20. Ceramic painting class

 

I hope the gift guide can assist you with coming up with the perfect gifts for your loved ones this holiday season. If you are not interested in purchasing gifts, I will be posting some awesome DIY gift idea’s in next weeks blog post. Check back!

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!

 

The LED Light Hack

Who likes paying the electric bill? No this is not a trick question, well maybe it could be. The truth is, I hate paying for things that in my opinion are necessities but of course big companies will charge you an arm and a leg to use them. Case in point, electricity.

Of course we need electricity to use the lights in our home, but what if there was a hack, and you were able to save some pennies every time you flip the light switch, would you do it?

Well I did and let me just tell you, not only am I impressed with the few pennies we are saving by using this little hack but I am also loving the “options” I have too! Enough is enough, I’ll get to it. My little light hack isn’t a new technique it’s just an updated technique that works for me and my family, I’ll walk you through it.

I purchased these adorable black and gold sconces on Amazon, they were only $36 for 3 of them! Yep! Only $12 each and BOY oh BOY are they regal and give my wall so much depth!

Capture

After purchasing these beautiful light sconces, I went over to good ol’ Amazon again and purchased 6 light pucks that came with 2 remote controllers, again a steal for only $22, that’s a little over $3 a light! HELLOOO Savings!

So you are now probably thinking to yourself, how in the world do you install light pucks to light sconces?.. well here is the tip of all tricks, I have seen on a few blogs that to install these light pucks they used picture frame wire, while that works and all, I thought to myself “Self, when the batteries die, you will have to rewire the picture frame wire all over again” and to me, that just sounds not fun to do, plus this hack is supposed to help save time and energy!

So I took it a step further, I used Liquid Nails and PVC fittings. I took a PVC Fitting, (shown below) and put Liquid Nails on the side that didn’t have the ridges and then adhered to the light puck back.

71bJOyf0YPL._SX425_.jpgPVC fitting Capture.JPGLiquid Nails

The Liquid Nails takes a full 24 hours to adhere so we left them overnight to dry. Once they dried we put the back of the light puck back on and then screwed them into the light sconces, just as you would a light bulb.

 

I love these LED lights because you have the option of a yellow light and white light, you also have the ability to use a timer AND you can adjust the brightness, also did I mention they come with a remote control and can use individually on each light?? You can find this light hack on my Instagram page,  under highlights, “Light Trick” I provide a step by step with video’s and even the links to the products used. I am obsessed with this light hack and will be updating other lights in my house with these! If you use this light hack, please tag #UrbanHippieCT and @UrbanHippieCT, I would love to see them!

The one about anxiety…

I’ve been struggling with writing this blog post for a little bit, one because I like to post happy, inspirational, and fun posts and this one seems kind of uncomfortable. Not so much for me, but maybe for the readers? But then something happened to me last night, something I feel compelled to tell…

Last night, I had an anxiety attack, not your standard “oh my, I feel overwhelmed” attack. A straight up, can’t breathe, can’t move anxiety attack and it literally scared the bajesus out of me. After I installed my light sconces in my living room, and of course documenting it for all to see on IG, I went to relax downstairs in my living room watched whatever trash show was on (I can say that because lets be honest, reality television isn’t the news and I can’t get enough of the televised drama) All of a sudden something came over me and I couldn’t verbalize my thoughts or even what was going on, it took ALL of me and whatever strength I had to walk up three flights of stairs and then finally when I got up to my bedroom, I fell to the ground and tried to muster up the strength to call out to my husband, while he was passed out in bed, let’s just say he did not wake up and I had to work through this attack on my own. I laid there for what seemed like an hour and finally I felt some clarity, drank some water, and somewhere between 12 and 1 AM I fell asleep.

Some of you may be thinking, “Danielle, you need to go get checked out” and some of you may be saying “she’s so dramatic” but I am here to tell you, this has been my wake up call for so many reasons. One, yes, I should call my PCP to get seen but Two, I have not been open about my anxiety to anyone other than my immediate family members because, let’s face it, everyone has their own shit going on, everyone now and again has felt this way at one time or another and I just don’t like going around being vulnerable.

Anxiety for me has always been around, it could probably be something that stems from my childhood, not sure at what age or why or how but I do know when it got far more than random anxiety to straight up an anxiety disorder, as I was giving birth.

A little back history to why I developed Postpartum Anxiety, back in 2017 one week after my beautiful wedding, we found out we were pregnant, two weeks later on Father’s Day of that year, at six weeks pregnant we lost our baby. After trying for over 6 months, we finally got pregnant again and this time, I was a worried wart. And my worrying didn’t stop there, after my my traumatic delivery it felt like my anxiety got worse. For the people that are not familiar with my delivery, check back to my blog post from earlier in the month. A quick recap, my water broke at 35 weeks and had given birth to my miracle man at 36 weeks and following that we had a short stay in the NICU.

Some women suffer from Postpartum Depression (PPD) after given birth, and in my opinion, that disorder is more talked about and recognized than Postpartum Anxiety (PPA). I suffered/suffer from Postpartum Anxiety, I didn’t know this was a thing until my doctor talked to me about it after my follow up last year after given birth. Yes, it has taken me a whole year to talk about this, to open up about it, because like I said being vulnerable is just not my thing.

“Like postpartum depression, which can make women feel tired all the time, postpartum anxiety (PPA) can involve physical symptoms, also. Changes in eating and sleeping, dizziness, hot flashes, rapid heartbeat, and nausea can all be signs of PPA, as well as the inability to sit still or focus on a particular task at hand. For the majority of women, these feelings kick in sometime between birth and baby’s first birthday, but in some cases, they begin much earlier. “Twenty-five to 35 percent of postpartum anxiety cases begin during pregnancy,” says Ann Smith, CNM and President of Postpartum Support International.

Personally, my anxiety comes and goes, I get anxious about how my son is when I am not there, his sleeping, his eating, if hes not feeling well. Is the person watching him washing their hands, kissing him on his lips, sucking/kissing on their hands and feet, doing things I wouldn’t like them doing. What I considered new mom worries, but was told by professionals, they are all valid concerns but I also have to trust the people that I have watch him when I am not there, and that is when I was educated that I may be suffering from PPA.

Unfortunately, PPA is not talked about as much as PPD and in my own opinion, is not recognized as a disorder to many. I know a few people that will say that have anxiety when they just feel overwhelmed in a situation and not fully understanding the debilitating effects PPA can actually have.

While any new mom can develop PPA, those who are especially vulnerable are woman that have personal or family history of anxiety or previous experience with depression, certain symptoms of PMS (such as feeling weepy or agitated), eating disorders, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Women who have had a miscarriage or stillbirth are more susceptible to postpartum anxiety and depression with a subsequent healthy delivery, according to a study by the University of Rochester in New York, because they’re so worried something else might go wrong. Personality may also can come into play.

There are treatments and medications for PPA, however, you will need to discuss these with your doctor if you are feeling that you need more assistance. For me personally, therapy has helped, as well as strong communication with my partner. Talking to people that understand what you are going through and have an understanding that you are not being dramatic is an essential key too.

Friends and family members may not understand what you are going through and that is okay, you do not need to educate them. That was my biggest gripe in the beginning, “You just don’t understand!” and then I would rattle off my feelings and what the doctor told me. 9 times out of 10, they won’t get it and than you’ll get that 1 person that does and that’s great but don’t assume everyone will be understanding or “get it” but also remember, you are not alone. I am not alone and I am so fortunate that I do have a strong support system that understands that I am not being dramatic, difficult, or controlling. I believe self care is SO important because once you become a mom, its not about you anymore, its about that little baby calling you “mama”.

I hope this post helps at least one mama out there or even a partner of a new mom, it’s so easy to put a smile on your face and pretend you are not struggling but it’s not worth it, you will “break” if you don’t open up and communicate, don’t wait until it boils over and you are screaming and crying for someone to understand you, recognize the symptoms and ask for help, you can’t do this alone.

All my love to you, mama’s out there going through this challenge, we are brave warriors. xO

The Best Beef Chili for a Crowd

Have you ever cooked for a crowd? Or maybe you just decided it was too much preparation so you opted for getting the party catered. Well I decided for my son’s first birthday that maybe it would be easier to make the food all myself. Yes, you read that right, I decided to cook all the entrees AND dessert for my sons first birthday for 75 people. I am not exactly sure what award I thought I was going to win by doing this but I did it. And if I do say so myself I did a fan-tastic job, well so I was told. Maybe they we’re being nice or maybe it was true but I do know one of the entrees that I made that went SO fast that I knew it had to be THAT good. It was my beef chili.

Like I mentioned, I thought cooking for the party would be easy and to some extent it really was. My husband and I decided that since the party was going to be right smack in the middle of October we should do fall themed meals, different types of soups and two types of chili, beef and vegetarian. As I mentioned above, my beef chili went so fast I barely have any left overs AND I made it with 30 POUNDS of beef in a 160 QT pot! The video below will provide you a realistic look at how much chili there was.

This recipe was so good and everyone, kids and adults loved it so much that I walked away from that party with barely any left overs. I made the big pot of chili and also provided all the toppings for the Chili Bar. Below is the recipe for the chili and the options for the toppings, you may not be looking to feed 75 people and you can scale this recipe down to the number attendees you will have at your own party.

 

 

Ingredients

  • 30 pounds ground chuck
  • 8 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 green pepper, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 (14 1/2-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 10(8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 3 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 cup chili powder
  • 4 tablespoon sugar
  • 4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • 2teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 4 (16-ounce) cans light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (optional)

Toppings: (Optional)  sour cream, shredded Cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, sliced ripe black olives, avocado, and chips.

How to Make It

Step 1

Cook ground chuck, in batches, in a large skillet over medium-high heat about 5 minutes, stirring until meat crumbles and is no longer pink; drain. Put back in pot, stir in onions, next 12 ingredients, and, if desired, beans. Cook, covered, at HIGH 3 to 5 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard bay leaf. Serve with desired toppings.

 

Step 2

To freeze: Let chili stand 30 minutes. Evenly divide chili mixture into 3 (1-gallon) zip-top plastic freezer bags; seal and lay each bag flat. Stack bags of chili in freezer. Freeze up to 1 month. Thaw frozen chili overnight in refrigerator or defrost in microwave. Pour thawed chili into a 9-inch square baking dish. Cover tightly with heavy-duty plastic wrap, and fold back a corner to allow steam to escape. Microwave at HIGH 6 to 7 minutes or until bubbly, stirring after 3 1/2 minutes.

Urban Hippie : The Evolution

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As most of you know, Urban Hippie, was a name/brand that I came up with back in May of 2009, holy smokes! That was 10 YEARS ago! In Providence in the tiny state of Rhode Island. I was a college senior that was looking for an easy A in one of my business classes and as the tale has been told over the past decade, I was sitting in a class room thinking of something that is “unique and describes you” and that’s when and where Urban Hippie was born, however, Urban Hippie was originally just a tee shirt line.

As my passion for design started to spin off its axes that is when Urban Hippie evolved from unique tee shirt designs to, bath essentials. This girl loves a relaxing bath so of course creating bath bombs and aromatherapy candles came into play.

Then in 2014, I purchased my first home with my soon to be husband and that is when home decor came into the picture. I was being gifted every antique/vintage and straight up pieces of “junk” that didn’t go in other people’s homes so of course since I just purchased a house I certainty needed it more than anyone else, even though none of the pieces complemented each other.

So what does a person that has a passion for design and refurbishment do?… we research and then we paint! We paint all the things. I started to work on my first piece of home decor for myself and my empty home but then soon after I would be getting messages and phone calls from other people that have a piece that they love and can not part with or they want to keep but it just does not go with their design motive or theme of the room. I started evolving Urban Hippie from a tee shirt brand to a lifestyle brand.

I absolutely love being able to assist people with updating pieces that were given to them by family members/friends or being able to breathe new life into a dresser that looked like it was on its last leg or even more, I love creating custom pieces that are never before seen and was just a thought in my clients head.  My joy really comes from people’s inquiries and their excitement on their new retiqued pieces.

Urban Hippie has the capability to really do it all, tee shirts, aromatherapy candles, bath bombs, refurbished furniture, and stationary. Hey, I may even be able to remodel your kitchen if you are interested in having me. I have a hard time saying “no”, especially to projects.

Come follow along with the many things Urban Hippie does, follow us on Instagram @UrbanHippieCT