Now that the warm weather is officially here in New England I’m marking the calendar and planning all the days/weekends we are free for trips to Cape Cod. I can’t wait to pack up the car and hit the beach! I’m excited to be partnering up with Christmas Tree Shops and That! to share my favorite beach items with you. A successful beach day comes from great organization and preparation, especially with kids! So I like to start the season off by refreshing items that are broken or missing. This way I’m not running around the night before trying to find all our favorite beach items. Now that I’m further along in my third pregnancy (and very tired) I’m hoping this momma can relax at the beach and watch the kids from a comfy beach chair as they play. A mom can dream right?! I love that Christmas Tree Shops and That! has everything I need to get ready for a beach trip and is also super affordable.
Christmas Tree Shops and That! had everything on my list and more! I knew the kids needed new kick boards, they seem to break or go missing at the end of each summer. For $12.99 and under you can find many sizes and designs for your kiddos. I also grabbed a couple new beach towels, I love their quick dry ones for $9.99. However they have a ton of different beach towels to select from, some are even under $5.00. I also remembered the kids outgrew their beach chairs and last summer they were stealing ours! For only $16.99 each, I grabbed two chairs that sit lower to the sand and are on the smaller side, so it would be easier for them to carry.
I’m always on the look out for smaller bags that I can use to keep items like sunblock, sunglasses, books, playing cards, and goggles inside. I noticed they have these adorable wet bags for bathing suits in fun shapes like sharks and ice cream cones (only $5.99), I plan to also use them to organize those smaller beach essentials that I mentioned for each kid. This way I’m not always digging through my own bag for their small itemsI
I always seem to gravitate towards a color scheme when I’m shopping. This time happened to be pink and green for the kids! I got them each new goggles, pale and shovel, I also grabbed some little books and word searches to add into these cute wet bags. I found Autumn cute jelly shoes(4.99) and a new sun hat ($6.99). I love that I can organize smaller beach essentials into their little wet bags, then throw them in my bigger bag so their stuff is easy to grab.
We usually leave for the beach first thing in the morning to beat traffic. So packing up the trunk the night before saves time and makes me feel a little less crazy in the morning! We are so excited for our first beach day and thanks to Christmas Tree Shops and That! we are ready to go. My daughter even enjoyed helping! I think she is just ready for the beach and to use her new boogie board!
I hope it gives you some ideas of what Christmas Tree Shops and That! have in store, as well as how get ready for your first beach day plus organize some smaller items for your kids.
Have you ever wanted to experience authentic New England coastal small town living? If so, visiting the Cape Ann area in the summer is is a must do. I’m not bias, I promise. I’m actually a south shore girl. If you aren’t from the Boston area that means I’ve spent majority of my life visiting Cape Cod in the summer. It hasn’t been until recently, probably pandemic induced, that I’ve taken the time to explore areas outside beautiful Cape Cod. Towns north of Boston like Gloucester, Rockport and Essex are overflowing with culture, history, cuisine and natural beauty. Last week I was invited to explore the Cape Ann area with a group of bloggers and writers thanks to Cru of Two PR for putting together such a fabulous trip. In this post I’ll share some things to do as well as where to stay and places to check out! If you are ever in the area I hope you find this post helpful!
I can’t say enough amazing things about our accommodations at the Beauport Hotel in Gloucester. This was my second time staying here. In quarantine, we took a night away for our anniversary and got a room with an ocean view. It felt like we were 100’s of miles away from home even though it was just an hour drive! High quality service, beautifully coastal inspired design aesthetic, great food and again the views are stunning! Don’t forget your swimsuit, there is a rooftop pool, hot tub and bar!
Here are some of the things I’ve done and enjoyed during my visit to the Cape Ann area…
If you get a chance to check out the Bubble factory definitely go! It was so amazing to see this craft in action. Learning about the process and actually getting to try it was so cool. But actually it was HOT very hot inside the workroom with the kilns going. Dress in layers or light weight clothing I made the cutest little glass bowl that I can enjoy as a keepsake from this special experience.
We had everything we needed for a day of glass blowing, exploring and lunch in our Parker Clay backpacks. I love that this company has such a great mission. Check them out here and use my code Jordecor10!
Halibut Point State Park was a really cool hike that led to the coast with huge rock formations. Really cool maybe better suited for older kids some parts were very high up and the rocks were a bit tricky to climb over. We loved the views. Ben and I did this in the fall on our Anniversary trip.
If you can get out on the water for a little boat ride I highly recommend it. We did a private sail with our group this past trip. You can schedule via https://schooner.org/. Something about getting out on the water that is just so relaxing. Pack some snacks and drinks, play some music and just take in the beauty of the coastline.
Our Chappy Wraps kept us feeling so warm and cozy while the sun went down. It’s always a little cooler on the water so pack in layers for sure. These blankets are perfect for cooler summer nights and my new favorite gift giving idea! Also thanks to Sperry for outfitting us with our boat shoes. They have the coolest new designs out now that are super on trend. I loved the chunky white sole and heel. The nude color goes with everything too!
This colorful light weight cashmere sweater is perfect for an extra summer layer from Vineyard Vines it really made me feel warm and ready for an evening boat adventure. Paired with these Sperry boat shoes it doesn’t get more classic New England.
Learn about the historic fishing communities and how they inspired the work of famous artists like Henry Fitz Lane at the Cape Ann Museum. This was the perfect way to end this little trip to Cape Ann!
If you’ve ever thought about visiting this area north of Boston I definitely recommend it! So much to do and see, you’ll enjoy being so close to the water and experiencing the history of this fishing community. I really hope you get a chance to visit someday! Let me know below if you have any other favorite things to do or places to eat! Thanks again to all the amazing sponsors of this trip!
Exciting news to share with you all today. We just officially closed on a Mountain house!! Our dreams of owning a vacation home have come true! Ben and I have had many chats over the years of our hope to someday own a vacation home to fix up, enjoy with our family and also rent out. We love to travel and we’ve spent many, many trips, at Air B and B’s over the years.
Our Air B and B experiences have always been much more comfortable, especially with kids, family and groups of friends than at a hotel. As a decorator, part of me also enjoys the Air B and B experience because staying in different style homes with beautiful interiors excites me. We LOVE the idea of having our own place that we can create memories with our family, friends and of course anyone else that would like a trip to New England (maybe you!). We hope to rent it out at some point as well!
We’ve been researching for a long time! To begin the journey, we narrowed down where in New England felt like a good place for us to start this endeavor. Originally we were thinking a New Hampshire lake house. But Cape Cod has too strong a pull on us during the summer. We pivoted and after lots of long talks going through our favorite things about each state and what we really wanted, we knew we wanted a home we could enjoy in the winter. Also, in a state that would attract visitors from around the country, that felt like a true destination and escape. A place that offered beauty and activity in all seasons. Any guesses where our new home is? If you are guessing VERMONT… you are right! We felt pulled to the Green Mountain state. It’s world class skiing in places like Killington to classic quintessential towns with covered bridges like Woodstock. Our mountain home is nestled in central to many great areas!
The time felt right. Yet it also felt a little crazy (yah know with the whole pandemic thing). With travel restrictions and all the open houses being out of state, our realtor had to take us along virtually. We made an offer with out actually seeing this house in person. I know, I know all a little crazy. But with the climate of real estate as competitive as it is these days, you have to take risks and get offers in early. We made an offer with contingencies to cover ourselves. So that made us feel more confident with moving forward sight unseen. We’ve also worked on a lot of house projects over the years and seeing less than desirable photos of a home doesn’t scare us away. In this case, I think the cluttered, bad listing photos actually helped us out. This home wasn’t moving off market. We saw it’s potential right away! It really is so unique looking and a true diamond in the rough.
It still feels so strange to say the words “our mountain home”. It’s very surreal! We already have so many ideas for fixing this place up because it needs some serious TLC. I’m actually going to be using my Home Planner to help me stay organized. Our goal is to get this house ready to rent by the fall. We know that is going to be tight, winter would also be a great goal to shoot for. Hopefully the rest of spring and summer will give us a good amount of time to start the updates. We have lots of plans for freshening up the exterior as well!
So are you ready for more interior photos??? My favorite part is the back of the home as well as the great room. Before I share photos I’ll share our top INTERIOR projects for giving this 1970’s arched ski chalet a MAJOR facelift.
I’ll go into more detail on these things in the upcoming weeks and on Instagram. I’ll also be giving some tours on stories. Once we get back up there. These photos are from the listing and a few from our past weekend in Vermont (the snow all melted).
I didn’t include first level photos. This chalet has three levels. The the first level you walk into has a mudroom, living room and a bedroom. It isn’t truly a basement but it feels like one at the moment because it’s dark and dingy, no bueno! There have been zero updates inside this place since it was built in the 70’s. Ok with out further ado…
Imagine new lower cabinets, fresh counters, open shelving and a beautiful window above a new sink. The fridge situation also needs to be addressed because it is way too big in that spot. I’m looking at some cool smaller retro ones. I considered moving fridge to the opposite side of the kitchen but because of the sloped ceilings it would not sit flush against wall. Also, we plan to add a new oven and dishwasher too! I also want to find a cool island with some modern seating. The beams will stay a darker wood for now, and of course all the lighting will eventually be updated too!
Above the half wall is a loft which has its own balcony. I’ll plan to make that a bedroom with either a day bed or trundle bed for additional sleeping. Can you imagine how much brighter light wall colors and new consistent flooring on this level, PLUS bringing some stone to that fireplace will really enhance and modernize this main floor?
The home has two full bathrooms which also need some updating. I’ll cover that another time. Kitchen, electric and floors are our TOP priorities first.
So there she is in all her 70’s paneling glory. We also want to freshen up the white paint on the arch ceilings. Once the floors are updated and we have fresh paint through out, then some nice furniture/decor/lighting it will look completely different! So what do you think of our mountain house- ski chalet – cabin in the woods?!
Interested in Booking The Arched Chalet once complete?
Can’t wait to take you on this adventure with us! Follow The Arched Chalet IG HERE
We are just getting back from a few days up in the White Mountains in a town just outside North Conway, New Hampshire. A little family getaway and change of scenery was much needed after the holidays. It’s not our first trip to this area. It’s fun in many different seasons and loved it each time. This was the first time we rented a dog friendly cabin right after Christmas with plans to spend our NYE celebrating 2021 in a little home away from home in Bartlett, NH. I had a few requests from my friends on INSTA to share the spot we stayed and some activities we enjoyed.
During this winter getaway we packed the skis + my snow board and hit up both Bretton Woods and Mt. Cranmore. Bretton Woods had stunning views of Mt. Washington and great grooming snow making. Mt. Cranmore which is right in downtown North Conway is perfect for kids and beginner skiers.
What I loved about our Cabin in the woods was the proximity to Jackson, NH which has an adorable downtown with a cute puzzle shop and gorgeous bakery and cafe called Autumn Nomad. We love the Wild Cat Tavern for a delicious dinner, we didn’t go this time but have in the past- it’s such a fun vibe! You’ll also enjoy the many hiking trails, as well as the lower falls and Glen Ellis Falls. It is also near kid friendly attractions like Story Land which we’ve done in the summer when the kids were little (Santa’s Village is also great in the summer just a little further away)!
If you’ve never been to North Conway, there is SO MUCH to do! North Conway is also just a 10-15 minute drive from this cabin where you will find breweries and our favorite country store Zebb’s. Be sure to grab lunch at Horse Feather’s and you must try their Horsefries! The crunchy chicken salad was amazing! The little downtown is full of local small shops and of course the outlets! Also as far as eating out this time around, we cooked in and ordered take out. Red Fox Grill was a repeat and was SO GOOD just down the street from the Cabin we stayed at!
One of my favorite activities we did this past week was the Nestlenook Farm (definitely make reservations) we chose a nighttime horse driven carriage ride through the woods. I would highly recommend it! We brought our own blankets and did the private tour which came with champagne and hot chocolate for the kids! They also have ice skating as well. It’s a really beautiful property with lots of fire pits and Christmas lights.
We were hoping to do some snow shoeing or even snow mobile rides but there just wasn’t enough snow cover for those activities this time around.
HERE is the link to the cabin, I had multiple requests for sharing. I hope you are able to book a little getaway and enjoy some time in the White Mountains. You won’t regret it!
Hey Guys! So I’m currently in the Outer Banks, North Carolina on a little summer adventure with my family. I’ll be sharing some of our trip and experience on my Instagram and once I return here on the blog. But speaking of travel, Today I’m excited to introduce you to my first ever guest blogger – Meliss from Meliss Meets World. Meliss is new to the blogger world and reached out to see if we could collaborate to get her blog out there. I’m so excited to share this post with you, as she specializes in travel! Y’all know I love to travel! Plus, being from New England I get asked a lot about my favorite spots to go with kids. I’m happy to pass these ideas on to you courtesy of Meliss Meets World. Some of these are new to me and some are my favorites, too. Huge thank you to Melissa for taking the time to write this post for my audience while I’m on vacation. So let me introduce you all!
Hey all! My name is Melissa, but everyone calls me Meliss. Wisconsin natives, my husband and I moved to the big city Boston, Massachusetts on a whim and have loved every minute. We didn’t start traveling internationally until moving to Boston, and once we started we have not wanted to stop! Even though our favorite countries to travel to have been New Zealand and Japan, New England has our heart, and we will never stop exploring everything it has to offer! Even though I work full time as a nurse, I recently found a passion for blogging, and started a travel and lifestyle blog Meliss Meets World. Read more about me at MelissMeetsWorld.com.
Once a barren waterfront space occupied mostly with parking lots and a few businesses, the Seaport District is the newest up and coming part of Boston. The district features the ICA, International Contemporary Art Museum and the Harborwalk which runs along 43 miles of the Boston shoreline. Even though it seems there is always constant new construction in this area, there is a good amount of green space and quite a few hip and trendy restaurants with outdoor space, let’s not forget that Trillium Brewery has a spot here too! Probably my favorite thing to do in South Boston is grab unicorn themed soft serve ice cream in a fish shaped cone from Taiyaki, it will definitely earn brownie points with the younger crowds! Once you’ve gotten your very instagrammable cone, head to the Harborwalk. The ICA has a large, outdoor seating area right along the water, and if you continue towards the city there are also quite a few benches and even a few public tables. You could walk in either direction, or stop and enjoy the view!
Known as the city’s largest garden and green space, the Garden offers visitors the perfect paths to walk about in Boston. Don’t miss the “Make Way for Ducklings,” and take a ride on one of the swan boats around the lagoon. If you’re up for a bit more walking, you can continue walking down the picturesque Commonwealth Avenue as it begins at the western edge of the Garden and continues west through the neighborhoods of Back Bay. Not only is Comm Ave a busy, main street, but also has a large green space. Sit and enjoy the sunshine on one of the many benches or have a min soccer game on the lawn.
This is a must when traveling in Boston, but living in Boston and the surrounding areas as well. The Boston Freedom Trail will take you two and a half miles through Boston, just follow the red brick! If the kids are up for it, it will even lead you to Charlestown and if you choose, up the 294 stairs to Bunker Hill Monument. Just some advice, don’t climb to the top at the end of the day after walking the entire trail, it might leave you a bit exhausted, I know I was! The views from the top are pretty incredible, you get a panoramic view of Boston. If you need to stop to take a break, Faneuil Hall Marketplace is a great option, or even any Italian restaurant in the North End. Don’t forget to grab a cannoli before heading home!
Located less than an hour from Boston, Rockport is perfect for a summer day trip that’s not too far from home. This pedestrian friendly coastal town features the most painted building in America and a beach right in town. If you’re headed to the beach in town, Front Beach, make sure to get there early as there is limited metered parking spaces. If you can’t find a spot at a meter, there are multiple residential streets to park. This beach also features recently renovated public facilities. Don’t forget to walk down the touristy Bearskin Neck and grab a piece of fudge at Tucks Candy Factory.
Cape Cod’s Rail Trail is quite extensive, and you could bring your own bikes or rent one along multiple areas of the trail. A bit farther near Provincetown is the National Seashore. Province Lands Trail runs right along it and starts at Province Lands Visitor Center which is right in Provincetown center. This bike trail along the National Seashore offers picturesque views and depending on how far you take it leads straight to the beach!
Every time my husband and I go down to the Cape we never miss a show at the Wellfleet drive in movie theater. This iconic theater dates back to 1957 and will be a hit with children and adults alike! Once you enter the large parking lot, you can choose from any parking spot, at least in the past they have never directed you where to specifically park. Make sure to grab a spot that has a speaker for your viewing pleasure. If you’re bringing a larger vehicle, don’t forget blankets and pillows to enjoy the show. The show will always start a bit after dusk and feature two different movies, usually ones that are recent and still playing in theaters. If you have kiddos that are a bit younger and wouldn’t even be able to stay awake for the entire first show, feel free to leave after the first show. There is always an intermission between each movie, which allows you to get up and stretch your legs a bit. They do have a concession stand and public facilities. It is one of my husband and I’s favorite activities in the Cape, definitely worth the trip!
Located on Maine’s Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park covers 47,000 acres along the Atlantic coastline. The closest town in the area is the quaint Bar Harbor, which is the most idyllic New England town. My husband and I ventured to Acadia for a long weekend, depending on where you are in New England it is quite a drive from Boston, depending on where you’re staying. My husband and I rented a cottage right off Frenchman Bay through AirBnB, complete with two kayaks we were able to use whenever we liked. Depending on the ages of everyone in your party, it’s best to plan your trip through the park and trails ahead of time. Our favorite trail was The Beehive, but it was a bit strenuous to the top, and at one point the only thing separating you from the rock and a long way down is a rope! Our other favorite part about Acadia was seeing a sunrise at Cadillac Mountain, and if you do your research it does come highly recommended. The only downfall is it is quite popular, and you must get there early to get a spot to park. The advantage of getting here early is you can drive all the way up the mountain, and then park your car and find a spot on the grass to enjoy the show. USA Today claims it’s the first sight of the sunrise from October to March. Because of Cadillac Mountain’s height and relation to the coast is the reason it is the first place in the easternmost part of the state where the sun touches the USA! Don’t forget to try some blueberry pancakes during your visit, we had the most delicious ones at 2 Cats restaurant in Bar Harbor.
This northernmost tip of Cape Cod where the Mayflower first landed in 1620 is the perfect place to take the kids for the day. Boston Harbor Cruises departs next to the Boston Aquarium from Long Wharf, and is about a two hour ride to P-town. Bay State Cruise Company is only ninety minutes and around the same price, less than $100 per person. They will recommend you get to the boat a half hour before your departure time, and take advantage to get a spot on the roof deck. Even though $100 per person sounds a bit expensive, it may beat driving which will take a little over two hours one way, without traffic! When up on the top deck and getting close to shore, try to spot the faint tower in the distance, and you’ve spotted Pilgrim Monument. This tower is 252 feet high, and you’re allowed to climb all the way to the top. If you’re looking for other activities in P-town, rent a bike and try to find Race Point Lighthouse. If you take the bike path far enough it will lead you right to Race Point Beach. Take a walk down Commercial Street, where you may find a bit of an eclectic mix of shops. The kids will love grabbing something sweet at the Fudge Factory, located right on Commercial St and home to the world’s best peanut butter cup!
One of our quarantine activities was visiting Walden Pond, actually designated as a historic landmark. Not only is Walden Pond a historic landmark, but it was made famous by Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. This site is perfect for a day of family fun. Bring a picnic and enjoy a day of swimming, taking a leisurely walk around the pond, or visiting a replica of Thoreau’s single-room cabin. Already been to Walden Pond or need a bit more activity for the day? Mount Misery is down the street from Walden Pond and offers a little over nine miles of easy hiking trails in a forested conservation land.
Mystic, Connecticut is always listed among the top ten New England towns to visit, and I can see why! Located right outside downtown Mystic is the Mystic Seaport Museum. This maritime museum feels like an old, harborside village, and even though they ask you to wear a mask during your stay, there is plenty of room to walk around! The village features dozens of historical New England homes and buildings that come from across the New England area, and are not replicas but have actually at one point been transported and maintained by the museum. The museum also features the last wooden Whaleship in the world, built in 1841 and you can tour it for yourself! The only ship older than this one is only the USS Constitution! The best part about the village was the opportunity to take a rowboat into the harbor, and enjoy the view of the village and ships from the water. The museum staff ensure safety first, and provide life jackets, but the rest is up to you! They ask you to stay close within the harbor, but you can take the boat out as long as you like! There is also a restaurant on site that serves alcoholic beverages, and kid friendly options too.
So there you have it! Have you visited any of these cool New England destinations with your kiddos? Any other favorites we didn’t list that you’d like to add? Please leave them in the comment section. If you are visiting the New England area this summer we hope you find these ideas helpful to do with your kids or on your own! Thanks again to Meliss for sharing these amazing ideas while I’m on vacation!
In ONE week we’re surprising our kids with a trip to Disney World!!! I can’t believe we’ve kept this a secret since last summer. So many times I’ve wanted to scream from the roof tops “WE’RE GOING TO DISNEY!” but I’ve miraculously kept my lips sealed tight. It’s been a LONG TIME, ok try almost THIRTY YEARS since I’ve been to Disney world. My parents took my brother and I when I was in third grade. I dug up a couple old photos to show with you. Now all this time later, I’m taking my own kids and it’s so exciting! For this post I thought I would share some tips that other avid Disney go’ers have been kind enough to pass on to this newbie, either on Instagram & IRL friends. I’m also going to share how we plan to surprise them the morning of the trip as well.
Me and Cinderella Circa 1990
Let’s start with the whole planning of this trip. Clearly I haven’t been to the parks in so long, to say I’m a little clueless. I can not take credit for of any of the planning. I’m a planner to a certain extent but I get easily overwhelmed with things I’m unfamiliar with, like giant amusement parks. For this trip I hired a friend that specializes in Disney Vacation planning, it was money well spent, trust me! Keriann at Practically Perfect Vacations planned everything from our families itinerary, the meal reservations, kids experiences, to the fast pass selections and answered any and all questions I had through out the planning process. I had no idea that so much had to be planned SO far in advance. She compared it to planning a wedding and at times it really did feel like that. Lots of decisions!
I was so happy we spent the money to have her help us. Another thing to note, we are so grateful to be renting my best friend’s family time share at Orange Lake Resort. We’re so appreciative!! If (when) we go back in the future we will definitely stay at one of the Disney resorts to have that immersive Disney experience as well. But for the kids first time and to ease into the sticker shock of a Disney trip, we felt this was a great way to ease into it, and the kids won’t know the difference between staying on the property vs. off.
Tips for Disney World:
I would love to to say I’m a Disney Pro and I have it all figured but clearly based on the above I’m not. But I do have a few peeps that have shared their wisdom with me. I wanted to pass them on. Below I’m sharing some of the best money and time saving tips I’ve received so far:
Tips for Packing for Disney:
Other Great Tips from my INSTAGRAM Friends:
I will definitely update this once we surprise them. I’ve been going back and forth with so many ideas. There are so many great ideas for surprising your kids. I looked all over Pinterest too to get inspired. The best ones you’ve shared on Instagram are:
Okay so I’m still figuring out the details. Our flight is taking off at 11 am so we don’t have to wake them up at an obscene hour, thankfully! We plan to act as if it is a normal morning and that they are going to school. I was thinking to pack their back packs with all their disney stuff instead of school stuff with Mickey and Minnie balloons that float up when they open their backpacks. I may have a letter from Mickey attached to Balloon or something that says “no school today we are going to Disney World”. I haven’t figured out the exact details. We thought about telling them the day before but then they won’t sleep and we want everyone rested!
Right now this is what I have to put in their school backpacks:
Are you looking for a fun fall weekend getaway with your family? Looking to get outdoors, peep some fall foliage and just enjoy nature? Did you know that Christmas Tree Shops and That! has everything to make your next camping or glamping experience a success? Keep reading to see my camping/glamping essentials that I purchased From CTS and my overall thoughts on the whole experience.
I’m so excited to be joining a group of amazing bloggers all sharing our fall style ideas. Please be sure to follow through to see all the other creative ways to use the great products from Christmas Tree Shops and that!
We recently went on a family “glamping” trip to Huttopia in the White Mountains and it was SO fun! Of course I had to decorate our grounds to make it feel homey and welcoming. I mean it was glamping after all, so why not! At this point nothing surprises Ben anymore and he got a good laugh at my decor for the camping trip. I love shopping at Christmas Tree Shops and That! they always have the best prices on seasonal decor which keeps me going back season after season. For Fall this year I wanted to do something different, outside our home. Since we were already going on this weekend getaway I decided it would be fun to decorate our camping grounds for us to enjoy for the weekend and make it feel like a home away from home. So while I was grabbing some essentials I also picked up some decorative items to make our spot a little cozier.
You can see in the photo below from when we arrived that the pre-constructed tent (yurt) is really cool. But the picnic table outside isn’t very attractive nor anything you’d really want to dine on or even play games on with out a table cloth. Keep reading to see how I transformed our area with some cute and affordable items from Christmas Tree Shops and That! fall selection out in stores now.
Here is a list of the items I found during my most recent trip to create a cozy fall welcome to our camp site:
If your camping or glamping you want your area to look festive and home-y it will make the whole experience so much more enjoyable and of course much prettier! I purchased some fresh sunflowers at the grocery store and put them in a vase that I already owned and drove with them on my lap the whole ride. That’s how determined I was to make a beautiful setting for us to enjoy! I started by using the table cloth from Christmas tree Shops and That! (they have many beautiful prints and designs for fall) as the base. I then added a row of citronella candles in a coordinating color and these adorable ceramic acorn lanterns. It get’s really dark in the woods at night and it helps to have multiple light sources, of course flash lights are great too, but these little lights created such amazing ambience at night.
Luckily our Yurt/tent had a small kitchenette inside with basic plates, bowls, mugs and cutlery. But, I wanted to be prepared so I bought two adorable fall camper mugs from Christmas Tree Shops and That! and then a bunch of adorable paper plates and to go tins with lids for eating on our laps or storing left over food that we grilled on the fire. I really mixed in things I purchased and items from the Yurt like the glasses and cutlery, and my pot lid turned cheese/cracker plate.
I stuck with a traditional Harvest color scheme for our glamping adventure. I love that Christmas Tree Shops and That! has a variety of seasonal decor so there really is something to fit every home, style or yurt! Can you believe how gorgeous this view was outside our front door? To dress up the paper plates I just layered them over the white ceramic plates from the Yurt and this made our last dinner very special. Ben grilled steak tips and we grabbed a salad from the Air Streamer cafe on site. It’s really an awesome experience to glamp, you mix a little rustic with a little lux.
Camping in late summer or early fall means being prepared for cooler temps. The temps would drop quickly as the sun went down so lots of cozy blankets and warm fires were key. Luckily, Christmas Tree Shops and That had the coziest blankets! I got one for each kid to wrap themselves in when out by the fire and one for Ben and I to share that I knew would look great in the living room once we got home.
The cute little door mat and wood rosette pumpkins are the perfect pop of color and welcome to our Yurt. The kids loved the woodland animal theme. Christmas Tree Shops and That! also has an adorable section of woodland creature decor and I just couldn’t resist this mat. A lot of dirt gets brought into the tent, being in the woods all day will do that 😉 and this really helped keep the tracking in dirt down to a minimum. The plush blankets are insanely soft and warm, the kids loved them! For under $10 it’s a fall camping necessity. I loved moving this adorable pumpkin pillow all around our camp grounds to add another layer of cozy to our outdoor area.
We kept it simple with food and brought a cooler with juice boxes and some beer. I pre-made a mac and cheese that we warmed over the gas stove. It would be great if you pre-made a chili too. Of course we had to have some pumpkin beer and s’mores! I put all the s’mores ingredients on a metal tray but used a package of fall leaves from Christmas Tree Shops and That! as the base to give it that fall feel, it really dressed the tray up an made it looks so pretty. The resort we stayed at also had an air stream cafe on site which had a pizza oven, so we tried that one night too! We really never wanted to leave our beautiful lake view! However I promise we did more than eat the whole time. In between meals there was canoeing, fishing and an amazing salt water heated pool to enjoy too! We played lots of board and card games at the picnic table as well, which was so fun!
Thankfully it wasn’t very buggy because it was cooler. However, we didn’t want to chance it and came prepared with our bug spray and citronella candles all purchased at Christmas Tree Shops and That! I love that I grabbed everything I needed affordably at one of my favorite stores. There you have it! Our family glamping experience!
All in all we had an amazing experience in the White Mountains. We made so many memories. The kids enjoyed time in nature, Ben got his fill of the great outdoors; lighting fires and cooking on an open flame. I had a working bathroom + electricity and an actual bed in the Yurt. So basically we were all happy glampers! What made it a little extra festive was all the great products I found at Christmas Tree Shops and That! and I look forward to also finding ways to use these items through out our home this fall.
Are you a camper? Could you see yourself glamping? I would do it again next year for sure and I think it would be a blast with a group of friends or for a family reunion!
Thank you for stopping by and I hope you check out all the other beautiful homes on our fall tour!
Since returning from Haven Conference 2019 I’ve been soaking in all the knowledge and just goodness from my weekend with some of the nicest and most creative women I’ve ever met. If you’re not sure, Haven conference is a conference for Home Decor Bloggers and DIY’ers that takes place in Atlanta. I started blogging about two years ago however I’ve been a home decor blog reader for over a decade. When I was an Art Teacher in between classes or when I had time, I’d read blogs like Young House Love, Bower Power and Making it Lovely, amongst others of course too (these are some of the OG’s of home blogging). They gave me ideas and inspiration for home decor projects, as we were just getting ready to buy our first home.
I really can’t believe that now I’m on the other side, as a blogger! I have my home decorating business that I’ve mainly built on Instagram. However, I wanted to connect to a platform I have ownership of, because if Instagram ever tanked you guys know where to find me. This year when they released tickets to Haven I knew I had to go! I’ve been working so hard and wanted to take another step towards investing in myself and learning the ropes of blogging. Haven is where you do that. Today I wanted to share 5 highlights of my Haven Experience. If you are thinking about blogging and not sure where to start this is the place to go and learn. Here are my highlights of the trip!
Staying at a luxury Air B & B was for sure a highlight, yes being at the hotel would have been convenient, but for a girl that loves gorgeous design- staying at this beautiful Air B & B was such a treat. Typically, attendees stay at the hotel where the conference is being held. However, myself and a few other girls; Andrea from 31 Girl at Home, Merichelle from We’re the Joneses Brendt from She Gave it a Go, Kelly from The Tattered Pew and Jennie from The Little Bird , had the opportunity to stay here! We were hosted by owner Pam Sesssions and were less than a 10 minute drive to the conference. THIS is the listing to the Air B & B we stayed in if you want to see more photos. Each room was jaw dropping-ly beautiful. Plus these ladies were some of the sweetest people I’ve ever met! If you have a moment go check out all of their beautiful blogs.
The workshops/classes range from photography, to upholstery classes, SEO, Making a Blog, Instagram Growth, Working with Brands and SO much more. Experts in the field lead the classes and offer a wealth of information and personal experience. I did a little of everything and I have to say, one of my favorites was learning how to work with local news stations to increase your brand presence on TV. As well as creating a cool display board with simple easy to use materials such as plywood, muslin, a staple gun and ribbon.
Some of the leading companies in the home category attend and sponsor Haven Conference. Everything from cleaning, to carpentry, to sinks, to paint and cement! Brands that attend go all out with their booth setups. I was so impressed with the level of creativity and eye catching-ness. I mean it is a conference for creatives after all. The Home Depot is the big sponsor of the whole event and shared their new line of home decor products from bedding to towels, which they were personalizing on the spot! Also, companies like Hoover, Rust-O-luem, Hunter Fan Co., Wagner and so many more were all in attendance to meet with us. It was so great to chat with reps from these companies and get inspired by their products for my own home projects and idea, essentially you pitch yourself to them for collaborations.
Being at an event full of creative individuals is nothing short of inspiring and motivating. It reminded me back to my art school days where everyone has a talent, and everyone is trying to hone in on that talent to share it with the world. At Haven Conference it’s the gift of home decorating, building, photography, design and more… talent is overflowing and it would be easy to feel competitive but it’s not it is a community and everyone is there to help each other improve.
I saved the best for last because connecting with others is something that can’t be topped. I’ve spent years building my Instagram account, not to intentionally become an “influencer” (I hate that word) but to share my love of decorating/crafting and to give people ideas on how to make their house a home and to make connections while I was home with two little babies. I have made so many friends these last couple of years on Instagram with people from all around the country, sharing this same passion. To meet these online friends in person and grow that connection… was the best feeling! To know I have a network of friends “colleagues” I can go to when I need advice or help is priceless.
While Paris is still fresh on my mind, even in this jet lagged/head cold fog I have going on. I wanted to start typing up a recap to share with all of you. I tried to share as much as I could in real time as it was happening on Instagram stories, because well I feel like you are all my friends now and I love sharing special moments with those who are special to me.
Ben and I both agreed we wanted to do something special to celebrate 10 years. We really try to be grateful for eachother every day, but let’s face it, most of the time we are focused on trying to keep up with our own businesses, both of which we are the “bosses” of 😉 keep up with the kids schedules, our own health/interests, home and friends. We don’t always make our marriage a priority as I know we should. About 8 months ago we started discussing a special trip for this big milestone. Paris is a city we always thought would be a beautiful destination to visit, the food, architecture and style just scream romantic anniversary getaway, right?
We both love exploring new cultures, and since having kids have chosen to stay mostly travel with the kids on this side of the pond. Choosing destinations like California, Florida and Mexico but knew this time around we didn’t want to just sit on a beach all day. Instead experience another culture, together.
After realizing we still had some travel points saved up to use for the hotel, with our reward points (we stayed at the Renaissance Republiqe Paris Hotel) all we needed to find was a great deal on flights. Over Labor day weekend the prices dropped and we booked with Norwegian airlines. By September we had booked our dream anniversary trip.
Some of you asked if we spoke the language. I wish we could say yes to that. However, neither of us speak french. Honestly it wasn’t a big deal. I was worried about this, we brushed up on the most basic phrases and greetings and that definitely got us through. I even downloaded an app to learn french called Duolingo (highly recommend) Luckily most French people speak a bit of English and if you are polite and pleasant to them they don’t mind helping you out. I always recommend starting with a “bonjour” and ending with a “merci” I mean at least it’s something 😉
Like I said before, brush up on the greetings at least to get you in their good graces. I would definitely remember “parlez vous english?” which means “do you speak english?” this phrase helped us out greatly.
For dining out we sometimes couldn’t understand the menus, some restaurants offered english menus, while others didn’t. If we were really stuck we either googled some words on my phone (we paid for my phone to have wifi for the week to help us with navigation outside the hotel and for any emergencies). However, some really nice servers would help us translate certain things.
If you are having a hard time with a menu, I suggest to ask for whatever is the most popular item on the menu or what they are “known” for. This always worked, as we got to try some of the most delicious food I’ve ever had. Also, please remember that dining in Paris is different then here, they aren’t super friendly or attentive. When they come over they want to know exactly what you want and sometimes you have to wait a bit. It’s nothing against you its just how they roll over there.
For planning our day time activities I’m typically I’m a planner. I like to have everything figured out. However for this trip were somewhat flexible about certain things yet also had some things planned. We knew we wanted to do a couple museums, go to Versailles and have a beautiful dinner view of the Eiffle Tower.
I always recommend making friends with the concierge. Everyday we would check in with them in regards to suggestions or how to navigate the metro. The first day or two was VERY helpful to have them help us with the metro and give us a good understanding of the lay out of the city.
I found the concierge at our hotel to be extremely helpful and knowledgable. Not sure if all hotels are the same but if they take their jobs seriously they should be. We also googled things if we were stuck, and I also used the Local Milk Blog for a lot of AMAZING suggestions on traveling to Paris.
I suggest making reservations for meals especially on the weekends as early as you can and getting tickets to museums through the hotel or online to help skip some of the lines and avoid having no options left when it comes to dining. A couple times we waited to the last minute and some restaurants we really wanted were booked.
Safety- we always felt safe, but we were also careful about our belongings and kept passports in our hotel safe. We always made sure to keep our bags wallets close by, the usual travel stuff.
Have a good wander… We loved not always having a set plan and just seeing where we ended up… like here we stopped in the beautiful Tuileries Garden which took our breath away.
I coordinated a photo shoot for us, I really wanted to remember this trip and didn’t want to come home with 100 selfies of us, which other than these is what would have happened. I didn’t want to ask strangers to take photos either. This may not be for everyone. It was an investment in something we will alway cherish. Ben is such a good sport. I mean he’s been married to me now for a decade, so he knows what to expect, haha! We used Federico, Iheartparis photography and these are a few of our photos which they sent early, as I wanted one to share on our anniversary night. They were so kind to help with that (husband and wife team).
(this dress is almost sold out but find a similar dress here)
After these photos we made our way for a cocktail and then to our dinner reservation overlooking the Eiffle Tower at Cafe De l’homme. I wanted to be sure we spent our anniversary night at a special spot. So I searched for one from early on, a few suggestions in my search were to eat inside the tower for a romantic setting but
a. I’m scared of heights
b. we wanted to see the tower all lit up, if we were inside it we wouldn’t see it.
So we ended up inside a museum in Trocadero Square. You would never know there was a restaurant inside if you were walking by because it is actually in the back of a museum. The only thing that gave it away was this beautiful lit up balloon in the front entrance near a valet. This dining experience was one we’ll never forget. The epitome of a romantic dinner. We had the most beautiful view, we sat outside under a heat lamp it was cool but not cold. We were very comfortable. Our thoughtful Maid of Honor ordered a bottle of champagne sent to the table. Somehow she figured out where we were and sent us a bottle. It was so magical, I seriously almost cried. The food was delicious, I can’t remember every detail of the food other than it tasted so good, we were so busy enjoying the moment.
Basically any Boulangerie/cafe have amazing fresh bread, pastries and cheese & charcuterie boards.
Frenchie – (we ate at this tapa/wine bar the first night but wish we had made reservations across the street at the main restaurant)
Cafe De L’homme– Salmon was actually amazing!
Le Petite Celestin – Two words, Truffle Linguini
Chez Janou– All I can say is get the Chocolate Mousse for dessert
La Cave de Septime– a little whole in the wall tiny bar, serving natural wine ( SO GOOD) great little tapas to go with different types of wine.
Holy Belly – Brunch so amazingly good
Hardware Societe Paris– One of the best breakfast’s I’ve ever had.
In France culture is literally everywhere. We opted out of those touristy-bus situation and followed the locals by walking and using the metro. One day we clocked 11 miles on foot. Let’s just say that justified all the decedent food. On Wednesday we visited the Picasso Museum which we had already been to one in Spain 7 years ago, we realized once we were there, so we wish we had seen another artist work but its always is so spectacular to see these works in person. We also went to the Musee d’ Orsay to see the great impressionists work which was so fun for me since I used to teach my students all about some of these painters like Van Gogh and Matisse.
Our big day trip on Thusrsday was to
I would recommend getting tickets the night before or in advance anyway, we got them through concierge and got the tip to get there at the opening hour of 9am. Then we decided to save money by taking the metro to the commuter rail vs. an organized tour bus. I’m not huge into the organized tour kind of things. Travel there took an hour and was under $20 each to get there and back. It was SO worth the trip. I love period pieces so going back to that time period and see the lavish detail of the interior just BLEW MY MIND. We just used their walking tour guide, for free that you put up to your ear. However I would have maybe liked to hire a real tour guide had their been a group of us.
We also bought tickets to go out into the Gardens. Wow, there really are no words to describe how beautiful the landscape was. They play baroque music in the background and it really just transports you to another time. I wish it had been a sunnier and warmer day but it was fine. When we left around 2pm the line was absolutely insane! So we did it right!!
On Friday night we knew we wanted to see some live music as we are both big live music fans. We inquired with concierge about any local jazz happening and they gave us a few recommendations of which we ended up choosing something in the Jazz distract. The band had Caribbean influence and they were just so talented, they even sat with us and explained some of their music and how it evolved plus the meaning behind it. Truly such an enriching experience!
WEEKEND MARKETS- I knew I wanted to find a market on the weekend to find french treasures. And boy oh boy did we! We were hunting around trying to find one and just like magic, we came up from the metro and saw tents lining the sidewalk. It was exactly what I hoped to find. I asked about it and the concierge said it’s a traveling market that pops up all over town. I wanted everything! I did walk away with this vintage LV wallet.
For anyone looking to hit up an antique market, I was told by an Instagram friend “JesseLauzon” that his favorites “Porte de Vanves” which was just a little too out of the way for the short amount of time we had left. I recommend just asking around on Saturday and searching online when you are there.
The last morning we went to Montmartre, this was something we wish we had done in the evening or on a nicer sunnier day. We took the metro to 18th arrondissement and walked up the steep hill to see the Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur it was stunning! The view from up there was incredible! Unfortunately it was really cold and overcast that day. I would totally recommend this on a clear morning or evening with the city all lit up. We were justhappy to have seen it, climbed the gigantic set of steps and had the most delicious brunch we’d ever had at the top at Hardware Societe Paris.
It would take me forever to write down every detail but I hope this is helpful for anyone traveling to Paris soon. We also loved just strolling along the Siene river, like probably one of my favorites was walking, hand in hand down old cobble stone streets. As cheesy as that sounds 😉 oh and the cheese, lord the cheese.
YES, it feels like we lived in a dream world for a week. We feel so enriched not only as a couple but also just seeing more of the world just makes us feel more alive. Soaking in all the richness of France, from the food, to the history to the arts… it really made us have an appreciation for so much. Especially of course for our own home and kids. Do I wish I could go back to my 20’s and live a couple years there? YUP! We’ll definitely be back to see more and probably with the kids next time. For now, I have to say we’re very happy to be home. I’m so grateful for this wonderful experience. Thank you all for joining along and all your kind comments over on Instagram. If you aren’t following me, I’d love for you to here!
Since I’m spending the summer on beautiful Cape Cod I thought I would share some of my favorite spots with you! As much as I love decorating, DIY and crafting these warm summer days won’t last forever, so it’s best to enjoy them while they’re here. Right? Once a week I’ll try to highlight some of my favorite spots on Cape Cod. Places I go back to year after year, as well as some new- to- me spots! First up this week is a new to me spot…
I’ve had on my bucket list for awhile to try some of the wineries on the Cape. I love wine! I especially love the atmosphere of a winery, so chill and relaxed, sipping the day away. I also love learning about wine; how it is made, the grapes etc… Ben and I traveled to Sonoma several years ago and it was amazing! Going into our visit I kept in mind not to compare the experience to our experience in CA because it would be like comparing apples to oranges. Grapes grow so differently here, the climate and acidity it all goes into play with how the wine is made. I’m by no means a Wine expert AT ALL. However I thought I would share my experience visiting my first winery on Cape Cod.
Here is a little bit about the owners of the www.capecodwinery.com
“The Orlandella Family comes from the small village of San Sossio Baronia, Italy where it has long been known for its fertile soils, quality fruit production and where the people are known for their passion and craft of winemaking. To continue the tradition locally, the Orlandella’s purchased the Cape Cod Winery in 2013.
Our grapevines are planted on a splendid site with sandy gravel soil and gentle slops which are ideal for wine grape growing and parallel the great vineyards of southern France and Italy. The European wine grape varieties we have chosen are particularly suited to the special terroir of the Cape. The extraordinary wines produced from these fruits reflect the very special character of the Cape Cod sun, soil and climate that may be savored in each sip.”
We arrived at the Cape Cod Winery on a late Friday afternoon, it was a beautiful sunny day. It wasn’t too busy however there were several small groups sitting out at tables… As you pull in you see the quintessential weathered shingle house, yet as you drive past it you see something a bit out of place for the area, rows and rows of grape vines! Instantly you are transported, it feels like the Cape but at the same time it feels different. We pulled in and walked up to the greeting desk. We decided to do a tasting which was $10, you get a free glass with Cape Cod Winery etched on it and you get to taste 7-8 of their wines.
They seat you under this beautiful large tent held up by tree trunks, that over look the house and the grape vines. Chill beach-y music plays as they bring over a bowl of oyster crackers and start you with your first taste of the wine. I recommend bringing a little cooler with some of your own snacks too if you like a little more to nibble on while you taste. A cooler with some hummus, carrots or cheese and crackers/ grapes would be delightful with this tasting. They also bring you bottled water as well.
As we go through all the different varieties of their wines, the server explains how they are made. They start you off with the most dry and then you work up to the sweetest. I didn’t know how wines made on the Cape would taste but I sipped with an open mind and pallet 😉
I have to say I had quite a few favorites! Unfortunately they were out of their Sauvignon Blanc (that is usually a favorite of mine) however I loved the Chardonnay because it wasn’t overly oak-y in finish. It was very smooth and subtle. LOVED! I also was a huge fan of their popular Rose, called Mermaid Water. We ended the tasting with a choice of their Blueberry wine or their Cranberry wine. Cape Cod is known for their cranberry bogs and there are many around our beach house. So I went for the Cranberry, it was tart as you can imagine but a bit sweet in its finish. I really enjoyed it!
Post wine tasting I knew I wanted to purchase a couple bottles so we went into their little store do some shopping! you we went into their little store to shop! If you purchase three bottles you get a discount and the more bottles you purchase the more of a discount you receive. Once we made our purchases it was approaching 5 o’clock and I didn’t want to leave! The live music was arriving plus the food trucks. Check on their website to find out more about their hours and the different music/ food vendors that frequent on Wednesday and Friday nights. Tastings are primarily in the day time hours and then in the evening. On a Friday night it’s by the glass only. I recommend doing a tasting first so you know what your favorites are! I hope to go back soon and experience the winery in an evening setting. It was such a treat!!!
Have you ever been to a winery on Cape Cod or anywhere? How did you feel about the experience? Did you find it just as relaxing as I did? I hope you get a chance to check out this cool spot if you’re ever visiting Cape Cod!