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

 

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 

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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!

 

Hello, 104 weeks later…

Hey loves!

So it’s been awhile… 1 year 10 months 7 days ago to be precise. A lot has happened in between the last post and today. Let’s do a run down and than we’ll reintroduce.

So since the last post, this lady got pregnant and had a baby boy named, Luca. You would think that would be the only change funny how life works that way… I decided to do a complete career change because when you have a life change everything else changes along with it.

After I had my beautiful baby boy, almost 4 weeks early and after a short NICU stay, I took my allotted 12 weeks of FMLA maternity leave and when I went back to my full time job life as I knew it before I had a child was completely different, that one hour drive to work each day became so painful and dreading, leaving that tiny little face each morning was unbearable when I just had the scariest birth experience.

The truth is as a modern day woman, you’re sometimes not allowed to say “I need time” we’re all suppose to adapt and move on quickly because that’s what society has taught us over the years.

My water broke at 36 weeks and I was working up until the day of even though I knew I should have taken time for myself to prepare my body for this crazy but beautiful body transformation. It’s just crazy to me how the workforce in America has no support for woman especially after bringing life into this world.

Things needed to change for me in order for my happiness and the happiness of my family. We took a big leap and had faith and I left “corporate America” job and decided to put my heart and energy into my family and my small business. We are 1 week away from a year of this big change and I can honestly say it has been one of the best decisions in my adult life.

I may have to hustle a little bit more but it’s so worth it, I absolutely love being able to be present in my family life.

You can follow me and my small business on Instagram, @UrbanHippieCT #UrbanHippieCT

Swap this Cookie for that Cookie

I absolutely love the holiday season and everything that comes with the holidays, the music, the lights, and of course the FOOD!

Over the years the holiday traditions have changed/ evolved and with that the holiday traditions you grew up with are either no longer or have expanded along with family members. I know for me on Christmas Eve it was hosted at my grandparents home, than over the years my parents would host, and then most recently about 3 years ago, I started hosting at my house with my fiance and his family members too.

Over the years family dynamic has changed and the different traditions have emerged. I recently have decided since the holiday season is a challenging one to try to get everyone together that I would start a new tradition, a Cookie Swap or Cookie Exchange.

I started doing some “pintrest homework” how to host the perfect Cookie Exchange.

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Here are some of my tip’s on hosting.

  • Make a digital invite, almost everyone has Facebook now adays or an email. Save money and send the invites out digitally!
  • Request your guests to make ingredients/ directions cards so if there is an allergy a guest will know
  • Don’t know how many cookies to have your guest bring, basically that is up to you but what I did was ask my guests to bring 6 dozen cookies, I had 6 women come so each of them brought a dozen of each cookie home

All of your guests want some kind of guidance!  Some are pros and some are baking for the first time.  Usually, you get someone that breaks the rules, but it’s okay.  As long as you let all of your guests know what you expect, it will all go smooth.

  • Decorate your home, at this time I am sure your home is decorated for the holidays so you may not have to do too much
  • When guests arrive with the cookies have them set up all the cookies in a designed area on the table, I had chalkboard labels to display each cookie name. This makes it easier for guests to know which cookie is which and make it easier for grabbing and voting!
  • Provide a festive drink, you can do hot cocoa, but I just stuck with wine.
  • Provide food/appetizers, while they are eye balling all of those cookies before the trade!  You may choose whether you want your guests to taste the cookies or not at all. Depending upon your budget, you may serve some light appetizers, other sweets, or even a meal. I choose an array of pickings.
  • If you are having a contest, give your guests voting ballets for the categories to vote
    • provide prizes or winner ribbons.

Some Prize Categories can be,

  • Most Amazing Display
  • Prettiest Cookie
  • Most Unique Cookie
  • Most Outrageous Holiday Outfit
  • Door Prize (Ask each guest to bring ONE cookie cutter.  Collect all of the cookie cutters and give them away as a prize!)

Some Idea Prizes can be,

  • Cookie Cookbook
  • Cookie jar
  • Cookie baking sheet
  • Cookie cooling racks
  • Mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon and/or spatula
  • Measuring cups and/or spoons
  • Cookie cutter(s)
  • Cookie sprinkles
  • Pretty apron
  • Rolling pin
  • Parchment paper
  • Oven mitts

Now the time has come to exchange/ swap the cookies!

  • Take a moment to ask each of guests to share a story of the cookie recipe they brought, or their adventures of baking them.  Also, your guests may love to share some of their family holiday traditions.  This gives the others new ideas for their families!
  • Time to trade and exchange the cookies!  I hand each of my guests an aluminum disposable to go container with lid– found at any kind of dollar store.  I line each of them with holiday decorated tissue paper and now my guests are able to go around and fill up their containers!

I hope you all find this information helpful on planning a holiday cookie exchange party! If you are thinking of hosting one, take some bits and pieces from my experience of hosting and make them your own. Enjoy your time with you family and friends, this gathering should be a fun time to kick back and show your baking skills!

. . . .

The cookies I had made were Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies, below is my recipe

Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1 (11 oz.) bag caramel bites
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream/milk
  • 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate baking bars
  • sea salt, for sprinkling on top
Instructions:
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium size bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric or stand mixer, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and vanilla extract until combined.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing between each egg.
  4. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX!
  5. Using a spatula, stir in chocolate chips until combined.
  6. Using a cookie scoop, scoop dough into balls about 1 Tablespoons each and place onto prepared baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
  8. Immediately after taking cookies out of the oven, using handle of a wooden spoon, make indentation into center of each cookie. Let cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet.
  9. In a medium-sized bowl, combine caramel bits and heavy whipping cream. Microwave for 1 minute, stirring until caramel is completely melted. Spoon 1 teaspoon of caramel into each indentation.
  10. In a medium-sized bowl, microwave chocolate baking bars for 30 seconds, stirring after each 30-second intervals until chocolate is completed melted. Drizzle chocolate over cookies and sprinkle with sea salt.

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Mirror Mirror…

One of my favorite DIY is turning a typical ordinary mirror into a work of art!

I love the idea of a mirror as an accent above my dry bar so I added some chalk paint “Cheers” and made it look not so odd to have a mirror so high up.

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Really all I did was grab a chalk marker that I found at my local craft store for $5.00 and practiced how I wanted the word “Cheers” to look and then took a leap of faith and wrote it on the mirror.

DON’T worry if you mess up, just take a little Windex and water and the chalk will come off as easy as 1 2 3. Let dry, and try again!

I am such a fan of dolling up mirrors and even old windows with chalk paint, I even created one for my sister’s waxing business so she can add her services on it! It’s really the perfect and easiest DIY.

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To do a window or glass it’s probably the easiest DIY to do because you can type of whatever you want to write on the mirror/glass tape it on the back and take your chalk pen/marker and just trace the letters from the printed page taped on the back and than Voila! You are now ready to hang a unique piece of art that you created yourself!

December, seriously?

Hey guys,

I know its been a little while since I have written, I apologize for that, its crazy to me that its already December 2nd! How did this happen? I’m not ready for the holidays!

With that being said, I recently have decided to start thinking about DIY Christmas presents because truthfully, with all these wedding expenses, there isn’t enough money coming in as fast as its going out. I am sure all the married readers would understand this.

2 years back, I made an adorable painted mug and put coffee and hot chocolate ingredients in a plastic baggie to accompany the mugs, they were so cute and such a big hit.

With the painted mugs, I made a few different kinds, some had cute little sayings, and some had peoples initials and depending on the recipient I gave either coffee grounds or hot coco ingredients.

The supplies for the painted mugs:

  • Sharpie Pens – thick, thin, all different colors. I chose Green, Red, and Gold Metalic
  • White Mug – white works best, or even a solid color. – I got mine at the dollar store! 
  • Oven 
  • Stickers – for designs

1. To do a monogram design you will need a scrapbook stickers. Pick the monogram/design you want and stick it on your mug. You will want to make sure it’s in the right place/angle etc.

2. Next you will want to make dots ALL around the scrapbook sticker. Do some practice dots on some cardboard before hand. Once ready, start filling in the area around the sticker with dots. Really fill in the area. Add a second color if you like. If you mess up, wipe away with some rubbing alcohol on a q-tip.

3. Once you have the design you want and it’s dry – carefully peel off the scrapbook sticker to reveal your design. Do touchups if you need to.

4. Making sure your area is well ventilated – turn on your oven to 350, set your mugs inside and let them bake for 30 minutes. Once 30 minutes is up, turn off the oven and let the mugs cool down inside. I left it in the oven for a few hours.

5. Then of course, fill and enjoy with your favorite beverage.

 

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Once I have decided on what DIY Christmas present I am going to do this year, I will be sure to post it and with pictures so you can all enjoy.

Melt, Pour, and Wait

 

The three main steps to candle making.

Well there are more steps than just those three, but it is pretty simple to create or recreate candles to your liking. As most of you know I am an upcycler, a DIY enthusiast and I will try and do anything at least once. My most recent obsession is candle making, I love the aroma’s, colors, and look.

Last Christmas my fiance gifted me a candle making set and while I tried it once or twice when I first received the present, I didn’t fully commit to this hobby until very recently. On a rainy day when I was cleaning up my hobby room and found the open box of candle making supplies, I figured hey why not make another candle, I had enough supplies to make at least two so I can toss the box and not clutter the 2 inches of space it took up and at least I will have two new candles in my home.

During my process, I really got into it, I thoroughly enjoyed using my essential oils and creating new fragrances and finally getting the perfect shade of blue and burgundy to match my living and dining room, I am never able to find the perfect colors to match my decor accents. After I had finished up and was waiting for the two candles to cool down and conform to my candle mold I got to thinking, I have dozens of “old” candles that were on their last wick (get it, last wick, haha I crack myself up sometimes) anyways, I figured instead of tossing them I would burn them down and make my own candles with new fragrances and maybe a new color.

The following process is a simply one but you need to be careful, spilled wax isn’t a fun clean up! Gather the following supplies,

  • Wax Chunks, Shavings, Old Candles, or even a block of wax at your local craft stores
  • Boil Bags or heat resistant container
  • Essential Oils
  • Food coloring
  • Wicks
  • Candle Mold
  • Scissors
  • Lighter – to light that baby up at the end

Place the Wax Chunks, Shavings, old candles, or block of wax into the Boil Bags or Heat Resistant Container in a larger pot. Reminder: you cannot put candle wax directly on hear or it will catch fire or evaporate. Turn the hear up high and watch that water boil, the boiling water will slowly start to melt your wax. Please keep in mind that the wax can be difficult to clean up so maybe investing in a cheap, heat safe, pot designated specifically for making your candles would be your best option.

I usually wait until the wax is completely melted before taking it out and pouring into the candle molds but the following temperatures are ideal for different types of waxes,

  • Paraffin wax should be melted until it reaches between 122 and 140°F (50 and 60°C).
  • Soy wax should be melted until it reaches between 170 and 180 degrees (76.6 and 82.2°C).
  • Beeswax should be melted until it reaches roughly 145 degrees (62.7°C). You can go a little bit higher but try not to exceed 175 degrees (79.4°C).
  • Old candles should be melted at around 185 degrees (85°C). Remove the old wicks with tongs.

After the wax is completely melted, its time to add scents to it, the fragrance you choose it entirely up to you! Scents such as essential oils can also be found at your local craft store. Be aware that some scents are stronger than others so slowly put a couple of drops in and add more if you don’t feel the scent is strong enough, stir the scents in well.

Now to add the coloring, you can keep your candle white if you would like, or you can purchase oil-based dyes because normal food coloring is water based and will not work well with the wax.You can generally find specific candle dyes. Read the bottle for the proper amount of dye to put in to achieve a certain color. Add drops of coloring until you have reached your desired color. Stir well.

Now before you pour the melted wax in your candle mold, you need to place a wick in the center of the candle mold. You can use tins, mason jars (my favorite) old teacups, really any thing that will withstand the heat. The metal containers are the safest to go but honestly anything that can withstand the heat of the melted wax will do. I typically put down old newspapers or bills (just kidding about the bills part) under the candle mold so if wax does spill as I am pouring my work space/tabletop is protected. The wick should be in the center of the candle mold with about two inches sticking out of the candle. Loop the end that will be out of the wax around the center of a pen or pencil or really anything that will keep the wick in place ( I sometimes use the wooden shish kebab sticks. Rest the pen or stick across the top of the mold you will be pouring your wax into and make sure the wick hangs down straight into the center of the mold.

Pour the melted wax into the mold. Pour slowly so that it does not spill over. Make sure not to knock the wick out of the mold accidentally. You are the judge of how full you want your molds to be. Beeswax will shrink a little once it has cooled so keep that in mind when pouring it into your molds.

Once the wax is poured into the candle mold, it needs to be cooled, and typically it takes about 24 hours for it to be completely cooled down. The longer you let it cool, the better the candle will look. Once its completely cooled down and the candle looks completely set its time to remove the wax from the mold and trim the wick to a quarter inch of the top of the candle. Keep in mind the longer a wick the taller the flame will be, be cautious and keep the wick smaller so its not so out of control when burning.

Finally you are able to light the wick, burn your candle, and enjoy the perfect homemade candle!

 

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