My Favorite Christmas Gift for 2018!

A blend of botanical poetry by Libby Piper and Illustrated by Renée Fox. Let the plant people take you on a journey, learning the lessons of each in a language that mimics the song of Mother Earth. Their essence comes together to create harmony in a tea infused with their wisdom. Available at HoneysuckleHugs.com.

Introducing the Sugar Paper Planner Luxe Gift Box, our favorite items for those who love to plan and mark their list until it's all done. We put it together with the details we're known for to make gifting easy. Let us do the work for you. Personalization available for concealed planner only.

Pineapple Festa. An explosion of watercolor brush strokes are fused together to create this festive pineapple. A simple, yet bold illustration, this painting is meant to complement my other tropical art prints, including Flamingo Road, Aragosta, and Speckled Seahorse. Available at Minted.com.



Peppermint White Hot Chocolate Recipe

This recipe from Sugar & Cloth is the easiest thing you’ll whip up all winter long. It only takes 5 seconds of your attention, a slow cooker and you’re all set!

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Ingredients:

  • 6 cups of almond milk

  • 2 cups of whipping cream

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 (12 ounce) package white chocolate chips

  • 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract

  • Whipped cream (optional)

  • Champagne marshmallows for garnish

Combine the whipping cream, milk, vanilla, peppermint, and white chocolate chips in a slow cooker. On medium to low heat, let it set for 2.5 hours in the slow cooker, stirring it occasionally making sure all of the chips are melted. 

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Once finished, serve with whipped cream and a champagne marshmallow on top for the garnish, or you can cut the calories of the whipped cream and just add a marshmallow, it looks (and tastes!) great either way.

The 2018 SDC Holiday Collection at Minted

Make a stunning impression with your holiday cards using custom foil and photo options. For a limited time receive FREE custom envelopes with recipient address printing to match your card along with a free foil-pressed calendar celebrating Minted’s 10-year anniversary (while supplies last). 20% off + free shipping any purchase with code BB18AKHCMY (exp 1/31/19). This site contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

HOliday filigree

HOliday filigree

reindeer festival

reindeer festival

shimmer joy

shimmer joy

seasonal supply tree

seasonal supply tree

frosted joy

frosted joy

free foil pressed desk calendar f/minted

free foil pressed desk calendar f/minted

A Royal Flush

In honor of Meghan and Harry's upcoming nuptials, I wanted to showcase some of my favorite royal themed wedding items this week. Following, are my top five.

#5 This cake by London based Maisie Fantaisie has royal written all over it!

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#4 Add a touch of glam with these Christian Louboutin bridal shoes.

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#3 Peach Champagne Sapphire and Diamond Engagement Ring by Sundari Gems

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#2 Classic and romantic with lots of sparkle is the Swarovski Crystal Wedding Tiara by Eden Luxe Bridal

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#1 The Oceane dress and Thicket Sash by Carol Hannah are most certainly princess worthy.

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DIY Photo Studio Under $25

Have you ever wondered how to get professional looking photos without the professional price tag? I'm going to share what I've learned in 4 easy steps. And it costs under $25!

Living in a 600 square foot guest house, I  use my kitchen table as a desk and needed something portable. A soft box seems to be the best solution for my space. What's a soft box? It's basically a nylon cube (or "tent" as some call it) that helps to diffuse the light. When not in use, it collapses into a small bag (kind of like those auto window shades). This is perfect for me because I can store everything under my bed, or in a closet.

1. Purchase a soft box. I pull my desk next to a window with direct sunlight, place the soft box on my desk, insert foam core on bottom and start placing product. Neewer 24x24 Diffusion Soft Box $23.99 on Amazon.

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2. Purchase foam core. This can usually be found at any art store. I get mine at Michaels. Elmer's 16x20 Foam Board.

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3. Start placing your product on the foam core and you're ready to shoot! (Personal note: I've never had any professional photography classes but thought my design background would help with layout and placement). After struggling for years with settings on my Canon Rebel, and buying expensive lenses, I decided to gift myself the iPhone X this past Christmas and haven't used my DSLR since. In the camera phone settings, I'm using "Portrait" mode with "studio lighting." I have a set of desktop lights that I also use with the soft box, but for this particular setup, I used only the light coming in from the window.

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4. Using the photo editing app Snapseed (there are many others out there, but this is my favorite), I will play with the lighting and temperature of the image. If I have retouching to do, I will bring the photo into Photoshop on my desktop, make any necessary adjustments and then adjust the lighting in Lightroom. Here are the iPhone X "portrait" images before Snapseed and after.

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DIY Doodle Notebooks

Need a last minute stocking stuffer?! Well, I've got you covered with these super easy doodle notebooks.

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Supplies:
1. 3-pack of Moleskine notebooks (available at Target, Barnes & Noble or most stationery stores)
2. A black ink pen (I used a Faber-Casetell PITT Artist Pen in Medium purchased at Michaels).

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Instructions:
Using a black ink pen (or calligraphy pen for varying thickness) doodle away on your notebook using illustrations, graphic lines or anything that strikes your fancy. I made all three of these in under an hour, so they aren't just easy, but quick too!

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Merry Christmas from Smudge Design Co.

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