3 Handmade Hidden Gems

 

We have a great appreciation for handmade small businesses.  Knowing that someone carefully crafted something and our purchases help their family is amazing.

Today we bring you three shops you probably don’t know about, but definitely should.  Please support them by clicking over and seeing what they have to offer.

 

Created by Rhonda’s friend Bennett, Baths and Bliss expertly handcrafts bath bombs and wooden wick soy candles right in the kitchen in Gulfport, Mississippi.  The products are high quality, amazingly fragrant, and fairly priced.

Shipping is available all over the United States.  Head over to the Facebook page to see current offerings and pricing.

A business run by Ashley’s friend Heather, Mississippi Mayhem offers “Eclectic art for your life” and it definitely eclectic.  With a wide range of There is something for everyone with a sense of humor or a taste for geekery.

Embroidery, cross stitch, keychains, bracelets, and more!  Check out the Etsy shop and start adding to your cart.

Rhonda ran across the shop Hazel & Faith while looking to order custom RATMM wine glasses.  The price was so unbelievable, that she jumped on messaging shop owner Andrea about doing a custom design.  It came out perfectly and more orders are in the works.

The customer service as H&F goes above and beyond, with Andrea sending Rhonda new letters after a dishwasher incident.  Shop Hazel & Faith on Etsy now!  So many fun designs waiting for you.

What are your favorite shops that are currently flying under the radar?  Holiday shopping season is basically here!  We’ll be purchasing from all of these three!

Week In Review: Rhonda

As you know, we had a lot going on and skipped our Week in Review last week.  So I going to to just hit the highlights.  I had a kid-free two weeks, so it was both relaxing and productive, with a good dose of fun!

Tuesday and Wednesday, I took advantage of my solo status and worked at Starbucks and Buffalo Wild Wings…with shopping breaks.  I got a lot of blogging, working, and writing done, along with a healthy dose of people watching.

Thursday and Friday were spent getting some stuff done around the house and relaxing. I worked on some wedding party stuff, which was really exciting.  Friday night was supposed to be the night that Ashley arrived for a visit, but the airline had different ideas, so we invited Stuart’s coworker over to grill.  Stuart grills a mean steak.

Ashley finally arrived Saturday and we had a wonderful whirlwind day.  Shopping, happy hour, a tattoo for Ashley, and a night at the Fort Worth Stockyards.

I finally got to start wedding dress shopping.  More to come on that later.  Suffice it to say, nothing I tried worked, but I got a better idea of what I wanted.

After a Thursday afternoon spent at Starbucks working, Friday brought about a great surprise – Stuart took the day off to take care of our internet issues.  Once those were cured, we went to visit the marketing coordinator at our preferred venue.  We were happy to determine that it is THE place for us.  I’ll tell you more later!  Later that evening, Stuart surprised me with a date night to our favorite steakhouse.  I can’t recommend enough that you try out The Keg in Arlington for the kind of steak that that nearly gives you an orgasm.

We spent Saturday with all the relaxation.  We stopped by an open house for a rental house.  It was oddly situated in a sketchy neighborhood but was a super nice house.    Stuart once again surprised me as we dropped by our wedding venue for a quick beer (they were about to close).  We came home to grill again, which is always a good idea.

Sunday was our final morning without children, so we had brunch, then went to Stuart’s messy-ass office for him to do some work.  Then we hit the road to get the kids, which is always a grand adventure.

What did you do this week?  Get into anything fun?

 

Week In Review – Rhonda

Another week has passed and I have to say, it was a damn good one for me.  I felt great and got a lot done.

Monday was a little bit of a rocky start, as Mondays tend to be.  My kids were cranky and fought half the day.  I did get some work done though, thanks to the power of music to motivate me.  We ran to the post office, which my kids love to do for some reason.

Tuesday, we started a solar system unit, which the kids have really been enjoying.  It’s one of those topics that every age can understand, which makes teaching them much easier.  During their naptime, I had beer and Fritos and tried to relax but I had so much work to do that I really just wore myself out trying to speed-work.

In the evening, I made a stop for some wine and cranked up the music while I cleaned the kitchen.  I got all up in my emotions thanks to music, but it was all very therapeutic. Sometimes you just need a good cry.

Lil’ Mama and I hit up Target on Wednesday, after I successfully placed a highly coveted Lipsense inventory order.  We had a lot of fun checking out their new carnival-inspired toddler girl clothes.  They are to die for.  In the evening, I looked at houses and wedding venues until my eyes were crossing.  Both wedding planning and house hunting are exhausting.

Stuart had the car Thursday, so I did a lot of housework after school.  I also cleaned my makeup brushes and made a lovely margarita to go with the taco salad I cooked.  Stuart came home with a big surprise – my first ever bouquet of flowers.  I have had flowers in the past, just not from a significant other.  It was such a simple gesture, but it meant everything to me.  So did the tequila he brought me.

Friday, we went grocery shopping once Claudia finally woke up.  Food shopping is one of those things I really enjoy, so it’s always a good day when I can do that.  Throw in some beautiful weather and making a few sales and it really was just a lovely day.

Sweet, sweet weekend.  No matter how good my week is, I am always excited for the weekend.  There is nothing better than boozy brunches, time with Stuart, and having help with the kids.  Saturday, we did our usual brunch routine and I played with makeup while Stuart handled some work stuff.  When he got back, we spent time outside grilling and listening to music.

Sunday was a lot like Saturday – brunch, makeup, grilling and hanging outside.  I started the day out by opening my Mother’s Day gifts though.  A stack of birthstone bangles to add to my Alex and Ani collection – PERFECT. They also brought me more flowers!  I got spoiled.

I mean, I don’t think my weekend could have been any better.  It was amazing.  Tell me about your Mother’s Day!

 

What Mom Really Wants: An Unfiltered Gift Guide

Mother’s Day is coming up in just a few days.  You can find gift guides all over the web and for the most part, they all include the same things – flowers, jewelry, spa gift cards.  Those are all great things, but as a real-life mother of four, I’m going to let you in on a little secret – you’re missing some really important shit.

Wine.  Or maybe the mother in your life prefers whiskey, tequila, or beer.  Still good options.  But seriously, give your mother or baby mama the booze of her choice.  It is affordable and can be purchased last-minute (you know who you are).  And you know what?  It’s hard out there for a mama.  She needs this.

Solitude.  When she gets that drink, she is going to need peace to enjoy it.  Nothing worse than sipping on a frosty beer and being constantly interrupted with requests and complaints.  It can be hard to finish a cup of coffee while warm or an adult beverage while cold.  I have been known to drop a couple of cubes of ice in my chardonnay because between potty training, sibling squabbles, and someone always wanting a drink, it can take an hour to finish a single glass.  Even if she isn’t having a drink, time to finish a thought, read a book, or talk to a friend can be so therapeutic.  Some of my best Mother’s Days have been spent solo, shopping, seeing a movie, or napping.  So take the kids out of the house for the day or send her off guilt-free.

Shopping.  Yep, it’s cliche but it is so true.  Most women love shopping.  Maybe she isn’t that person, but I bet she would appreciate free rein to spend a little money on something.  Moms often take care of everyone else first and there’s not time, energy, or money left for herself after everyone else is handled.  Whether she chooses to buy some fresh shrimp, a new mop, or the latest eyeshadow palette, a Visa gift card or just a little grace to spend from the joint account without judgment goes a long way.

Some fucking sleep and help and shit.  Some mothers are lucky enough to have a partner who shares household duties equally, but more mothers do not.  If your partnership agrees on that balance, all is good, but that doesn’t mean that on this day meant to honor Mom, you can’t pick up some slack.  Handle the meals and clean-up, and for fuck’s sake, change the diapers and wake up with the baby.  Acts of service really show appreciation and respect in the way a bouquet of flowers can’t.  At the end of the day, be sure to express you can personally see how much she does and that you truly appreciate her.  After all, isn’t that what the day is all about (aside from upping the revenue for Hallmark)?

What would you add?  What do you most appreciate on Mother’s Day?

 

 

Week in Review: Rhonda

Well it’s been a rough week.  So rough, that I didn’t even think about writing this post until after noon.  I woke up really sick Monday.  A cold morphed into a sinus infection and I was lucky enough to PMS through the entire thing!

Monday and Tuesday were complete blurs…. post office runs, shots of medicine, and lots of time in the bed reading and watching TV.  Overnight, about 2 am on Tuesday morning, we were woken by the weather.  Tornado sirens forced us into our tiny half bath, but we were very fortunate and suffered no damage.

Wednesday, we made a meal plan and a trip to the grocery store.  I was so excited to cook some yummy stuff.

I honestly can’t tell you what happened Thursday, other than drinking lots of coffee and tea for my throat.  I think I had pretty much hit the worst of my sickness.  I legitimately wanted to sleep all day.

Friday was Claudia’s birthday and we took a trip to her favorite place, Target.  She was able to choose one thing out of the dollar spot and naturally, she chose bubbles.  I hate bubbles, but birthday girl gets what she wants. After Target, I made taco salad and packaged up orders.

Saturday, we celebrated Claudia’s birthday in the best way.  As soon as Dustin got here, we had brunch, then opened presents and had cupcakes.

After that, Claudia and Quentin helped Stuart clean his motorcycle before we grilled burgers for dinner.  I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday.

Sunday we woke to lots and lots of rain.  The patio began to flood, but luckily it stopped short.  We had brunch again as usual then after Dustin headed back home, had some tv time in bed.

Sunday night was the ACM Awards, just about my favorite thing to watch all year.  I completed my journal spread and enjoyed too much vodka.

What did you do this week?  Any celebrations?

 

Week in Review: Rhonda

I don’t know why, but it was the longest week ever to me.  I stayed busy and had a great time, but Monday through Thursday absolutely DRAGGED.

On Monday, I drove down to pick up the kids from their dad.  On the drive, Brett Young’s Live from NYC show came on The Highway.  It was exactly what I needed for that drive.  I sang, laughed, and cried the entire way.  His stories behind his songs are what really made the emotions connect.  When we got back into town, Claudia and I went on a last-minute hunt for Valentines, which I absolutely do not recommend.  Claudia was so excited to be reunited with her ‘Tuart, which is always nice to witness.

Tuesday was of course Valentine’s Day.  My homeschool social group held a Valentine’s party.  We find that the one thing previously public-educated children miss the most is school parties and events, so we recreate that the best we can. Our holiday party was good, but this Valentine’s party was epic.  I owe it all to the hostess, Trayci.  She did an amazing job hosting in her beautiful 100-year-old home.

When Stuart got home (at a decent hour for once!), we exchanged our simple valentines.  He gave me a beautiful card and I gave him a framed image of the day I started falling in love with him, paired with the morning after we got engaged, both taken at the same table at our brunch spot.  I topped it with part of a song by Ryan Follese that is so “us.”

But I’ve got one thing right
Here in my arms
And for once in someone’s eyes
I can do no harm
Ain’t no laws up this high
I don’t need these lucky stars
I got you
And I won’t think twice
I got one thing right

We ended the day with a delicious meal I made and some TV in bed.

Wednesday was a day to stay home in a comfy sweatshirt and get some housework and meal prep done with lots of coffee….then cocktails.

Late Wednesday night, the kids were horsing around and Quentin busted his chin.  So Thursday morning, having not had enough sleep, he crawled into bed with me while I was having coffee.  Once we got out of the bed, I got so much shit done.  I don’t know what motivated me, but I was just nonstop all day, washing sheets, cleaning our bedroom, and cleaning out kitchen cabinets.

 

I had planned to finish organizing the kitchen on Friday, but the weather was amazing and our kitchen light was out, so we hit up the playground and the grocery store instead.  Back at home, the kids watched some movies and then we of course greeted Stuart on the patio when he got home.

 

If you aren’t new to this blog or my social media accounts, you know my weekends involve lots of mimosas.  This Saturday was no different.  We started the morning with drinks and brunch at home then Claudia and I “helped” Stuart clean his bike. Late afternoon, we went to downtown Dallas for the kids to hit up the splash pad and get a change of scenery.  It paid off, because they had a great time and slept really well that night.

I had every intention to spend Sunday cleaning out my closet and doing some purging, but being lazy just felt right.  I did pull a few items I don’t wear out of the closet and purge some old photos, but I spent most of the day sipping on assorted beverages, snuggling my people, and participating in spontaneous dance parties with Claudia.  It was absolutely perfect.

I hope your week was equal parts productive and relaxing, because isn’t that the best kind?

 

Crafting Toddler Friendly Valentine’s Day Cards

 

Hey Guys! Ashley here. Since Valentine’s Day is coming up NEXT week, I wanted to show some of the special people in my kids’ lives that we are thinking of them. The first thing that came to mind was to make some Vday cards to mail out. Yeah, I could have easily bought some pre-made Vday cards to give out – but the kids are so small that they can’t really sign their name. I felt like a little crafting of personalized cards was in order.

Obviously, the first step in this whole process was to browse Pinterest for a little inspiration. I wanted to find something that would be easy for Cooper and Sophie to add their input to, and something that wasn’t so complicated that it left me pulling my hair out in frustration and stress after it was all said and done. Crafting with kids is always so much prettier in your head. 😉 I found this cute ‘I Love you To Pieces‘ Vday card idea from the blog Solis Plus One.  I thought it would be perfect AND easy. A win win!

Cooper was super excited to glue down his pieces of paper, and Sophie helped add some stickers. They actually both did really well during the whole thing. I think that going in with realistic expectations of how it would turn out is key – and not stress that he started gluing pieces of paper outside of the heart. 😉

I also did some hand prints of each of their hands to add to the cards that would be going to their grandparents. Grandparents love hand prints…right? 😉 I later cut out the hand prints and glued them to the inside of the cards with their names and the year written on their respective hands. Doing the painted hand prints was a surprisingly not messy experience. I used a foam brush to apply the paint to their hands and then just pressed their hands down on the paper. Once I had all the prints I needed, we rushed to the sink. No articles of clothing or pieces of furniture were ruined in the process!

After they went to bed, I finished up the cards. I added some washi tape decorations to the envelopes, glued their hand prints, and wrote the words on the cards. I am really pleased with how they turned out, and I know their loved ones will be excited to receive them.

Thankfully, I am a craft supplies hoarder – so the only things I had to buy for this project were the stickers and envelopes. I got both of those at Target. This turned out to be a fairly simple and super cute project. 🙂

What are you guys doing for Valentine’s Day Cards? Do you make your own? Please, leave a comment and let us know!

Until next time guys!

Valentine’s Gift Guide: For him, for her, and for the littles

Since February 14 will be here before you know it, we thought it’d be a great idea to put together a little Valentine’s Day gift guide for you guys. We’ve kept it short and sweet, and tried to think of some non-traditional things. Anyone can go grab a bunch of flowers and a box of candy! We wanted to suggest some gifts that your loved one can enjoy year round, and maybe some things that he or she wouldn’t have thought to invest in for themselves.

Nickel & Suede Starter Pack Gift Sets – N&S’s leather earrings make a bold statement, while being lightweight and comfortable.

Sweet Pea – $75.00

Azalea – $75.00

Pretty Drink Cups – If your lady is anything like us, she wouldn’t turn away a pretty SB cup/mug/tumbler. Obviously, it wouldn’t have to be SB, but they sure have some lovely options. You can shop online or in store,you know, if you happen to be doing your VDay shopping last minute. 😉

Pink Hot Cup (10 floz) – $18.95

Personalized Jewelry – One of Ashley’s really good friends from college owns and operates an Etsy shop (Mississippi Mayhem) wherein she makes the cutest stuff including a ton of hand stamped metal jewelry, key chains, etc that are all completely handmade and most are customizable. She also has some really other great pieces of handmade jewelry for sale. We think this Dopamine Necklace would be a great VDay gift for any lady in your life. The dopamine molecule is central to the rewards systems in our brain, and it has become a modern symbol of love and pleasure. So why not gift your valentine some literal love? 😉

Dopamine Necklace – $8.99 plus shipping

Dollar Shave Club Subscription – Your first month of a 2, 4, or 6-blade razor is just $1, with free shipping. Then, they will ship a full cassette of cartridges every month for as little as $3. Cancel anytime with a few clicks.  We use Dollar Shave Club ourselves and can vouch for the quality and service!

Dollar Shave Club Products – If you just want to get him some extra goodies, DSC also offers the option to just purchase their products. Maybe he already has a subscription? Maybe you don’t want to invest in the subscription? Either way, these luxurious products are things he would probably never buy for himself, but he most probably desperately needs them and deserves some pampering!

Easy Shave Butter (6oz) – $8
Disappearing Post Shave Dew (3.4oz) – $9
Mandatory Prep Scrub (3oz) – $9
Vital Pre Shave Oil (1oz) – $9

His Favorite Drinks – The simple gesture of a bottle of good whiskey or a case of craft beer goes a long way!  Rhonda recommends beer from a local brewery and Johnnie Walker Black Label.

Bottle Opener – And speaking of dranks…what beer (or rootbeer?) loving guy couldn’t use a handy dandy portable and fashionable bottle opener?? This is another product from the Etsy Shop Mississippi Mayhem. Her credit card sized personalizable bottle opener would make such a cute gift for that guy in your life.
Credit Card Bottle Opener – $8.99 plus shipping

Books – Giving any kid, of any age, a book for any occasion is never the wrong choice. We found some really cute Love Inspired/Themed books from Target.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse! by Laura Joffe Numeroff– $5.69

Love from The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle – $6.94

Arts and Crafts – Encouraging your children (or someone else’s child) to invest time in arts and crafts is a genuine act of love. Why? Because there are so many benefits that a child can reap from active involvement in various types of arts and crafts activities such as developing fine motor and bilateral coordination, increased imaginations, self regulation, self esteem booster, and bonding. Not to mention, arts and crafts are just a really fun way to spend your time!
Hand Made Modern – Stitch Kit – Heart Ornaments – $7.99

Kid Made Modern Driveway Party Outdoor Kit – $19.99

Hand Made Modern – Wood Grid Top Box – $5.99

We hope that our little list has inspired you, or possibly made your VDay gift a million times easier – because you just clicked one of our handy dandy links that we gathered. 😉 Either way we are wishing for a love-filled February 14th for all of you guys and your loved ones. And truth be told, Valentine’s Day should be about just that. A day that you set aside to show some extra love to all those you hold dear in your life. No presents required. 😉

Let us know if our guide helped you choose or think of a gift, and fill us in on your Valentine’s Day plans!