NEW YEAR'S HOPES AND GOALS

Monday, December 28, 2015




We can’t believe that 2015 is already coming to an end as we’re getting ready to welcome in 2016. This past year we both graduated college, Ray got engaged and started her new job post college and A finally hit the West coast, went to too many concerts, and got a new cat! Things have been crazy, but good!

We’re both excited for the New Year and what is to come, but instead of striving for resolutions which we forget in a week or two, we have some New Year's hopes and goals.

FOR US PERSONALLY

Ray
+ Stay grateful — Life is never perfect and goes exactly the way I want it to, but there is so much to be thankful for everyday. It's not a bad life, just an off day.
+ Explore! My goal will be to travel somewhere new once a year when I am married. I love seeing new sights and taking in new environments. First stop (hopefully) Montana!
+ Stay calm — I need to remember that making a mistake isn't the end of the world. Each mistake is the opportunity to learn and grow from it.

A
+ Live more purposefully to really think about why I do what I do, and do everything to the fullest!
+ Travel more! There’s so much to see out there, and so little time (and money), but it's possible, and something I want to strive to do more of.
+ Invest more into friendships so easily overlooked, but oh so important!

FOR THE BLOG

+ Expand and grow our audience to more awesome readers like you!
+ Spread the word about more local businesses.
+ Support and get to know more bloggers!

FOR OTHERS

+ Show more love. No matter where you’re from, who you are, what you believe, everyone is worth so much more than we can imagine. 
+ Embrace creativity! Whether it’s writing, making art and music, cooking— let your creative juices run wild, it’s good for you!
+ Have compassion. It is so easy to get caught up in life and think about what is best for ourselves. If we just took more time to acknowledge others and be willing to help, the world could be a brighter place.

Now that we’ve shared our hopes and goals for the New Year we would love to hear from you about yours!

#freshstart

CHRISTMAS JAMS

Thursday, December 24, 2015

So, tomorrow is Christmas, and it's supposed to be way way warmer than we’re used to in southeast PA. Since we haven't had any snow this season, we have relied on Christmas albums to get us in the holiday spirit. Here’s a list of our favorite Christmas albums that really get us in the festive mood!























Christmas Eve and Other Stories - Trans-Siberian Orchestra




























What are your favorite Christmas songs and albums? We’d love some new tunes to add to our holiday playlist for next year!   

#christmassingalong 

DIY: Rustic Painted Mason Jars

Monday, December 21, 2015

It's week three of our Christmas DIY countdown! This super simple DIY will give your home a rustic holiday look right away. While last week’s craft featured a DIY Christmas tree terrarium, this week we are using materials that you can totally find in your own home!
Mason jars always seem to be popping up all over Pinterest, crafts stores and even our own homes, so we decided to feature them this week in our DIY!

MATERIALS:

+ Mason Jar
+ Acrylic paint/spray paint
+ Twine
+ Fresh greens (you can get these from the trees in your backyard or your neighbor’s backyard, or at your local pop-up Christmas tree farm! Tip: Be sure to ask before creeping in anyone's yard to cut their trees...)

Step 1: Collect your jars — Big and small, we love them all! 
Step 2: Paint the jars. We used spray paint to create an ombre effect by spraying layers, and also used some crumpled up newspaper to dab on the white acrylic paint. Use your imagination! Let them dry before you add your greens.
Step 3: Add greens and festive twine for that finishing touch!



Ta-dah! Super simple right? Get ready to fill your house with these green-filled jars, decorate for holiday parties or gift them to family and friends. Check back next week to see our next Christmas DIY — You won't want to miss it!

#rusticupyourhome

SEASONS GREETINGS (CARDS)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The best way to complete a gift? With a well-designed holiday card! We’re crazy about all the Christmas cards that have been flooding the Internet this year, and we’re showing you our favorite cards this season from extremely talented designers and illustrators. Check ‘em out to find the perfect card for anyone in your life!


WORTHWHILE PAPER






Have a favorite? Show some love for your favorite paper goods designers below in the comments!

#tisthegreetings

DIY: Christmas Tree Terrarium

Monday, December 14, 2015

Because getting ready for the holiday season always involves decorating every nook and cranny of the house, we’re going to be featuring a different DIY every week until Christmas! So now that you got your craft pants on from our Cinnamon Stick Coaster DIY, get ready for more holiday decorating fun with this adorable Christmas Forest Terrarium!

Lots of this year’s Christmas decor is reminiscent of 1950’s holiday decor—the gaudy, the colorful, and all-around FESTIVE. One of our favorite Christmas trends this year are the colorful little bristle trees! You’ve probably seen them at Target, and stopped to drool over the poppin’ colors like we have all too many times. This quick and cute DIY is our ode to the EVERgreen, EVER stylish bristle tree.



MATERIALS:
+ Bristle brush trees (we got ours at JoAnn Fabrics)
+ Glass mason jar with lid
+ White fabric or stuffing
+ Fabric or hot glue
+ Baker's twine (optional)

Step 1: Glue your fabric or stuffing onto the inside of your lid. This will be the "snow" of your winter jarscape. Next, add some glue to the bottom of your mini trees.

Step 2: Arrange your mini trees in the lid, placing the "snow" around them.



Step 3: Once your forest is planted, screw that lid on the jar, and finish it off with some Baker's twine if you really want a festive look.


This little terrarium makes an awesome table centerpiece, or even a great gift for all your friends! Craft along with us, and share your DIYs on social media using #rayandablog— we can’t wait to see your crafts!


#niftyfiftieschristmas

DIY: Cinnamon Stick Coasters

Monday, December 7, 2015

Because getting ready for the holiday season always involves decorating every nook and cranny of the house, we’re going to be featuring a different DIY every week until Christmas! So get your crafty pants on, and let’s get started!
Nothing screams Christmas more than the sweet smell of cinnamon filling the house. We’re sharing this super simple DIY that only requires two materials. Cinnamon sticks and twine. See below for instructions on how to make this fun DIY perfect for the holidays!


MATERIALS:

+ Cinnamon sticks
+ Baker's twine (or any string will do!)

Step 1: Line up your cinnamon sticks so they're as level as can be, then tie a knot on the first stick, securing the string before you start weaving.

Step 2: Start weaving the string under, over, (under, over...) the cinnamon sticks. Once you reach the last one, loop around the bottom and weave the other way.

Step 3: When you reach your original knot, tie the two ends together. Repeat on other side of the cinnamon sticks.

Now you have a cute, festive decoration and a fragrant scent to fill your home as you set that hot cup of coffee on your new coaster.



Sidenote: Isn't coffee with creamer swirls the most fascinating, beautiful thing, or is is just me?



Oh yeah! These coasters also look super cute with a candle burning on them. When the candle gets warm, you just might smell some cinnamon. Last week we went to a pop-up holiday shop, and Alisa bought this candle from Zoet Bathlatier, an artisanal candle and soap-maker. Do check out her website and her etsy shop—these would make great Christmas gifts with a coaster!

Use these cinnamon coasters with your hot tea to give off a rich, cinnamon scent, or use them for your holiday decoration! Craft along with us, and share your coasters on social media using #rayandablog— we can’t wait to see your crafts!


#spiceitup

CYBER MONDAY DEALS

Monday, November 30, 2015


Happy Cyber Monday!

The day where we spend a good chunk of our hard earned cash on items we probably shouldn't really buy, but do anyway. If you're still searching for the perfect gifts for your family and friends (or let's be honest, just for yourself) then check out these websites that have amazing deals right now. You won't regret it.

Rifle Paper Co.: Up until today this stationary and gift brand is offering up to 30% off items on their site ranging from apparel, planners, phone cases, wallpaper and much more. It is the perfect spot to order intricately designed quality goods.

Madewell: Artful. Cool. Effortless. Just a few words this brand describes themselves as. For timeless pieces for your wardrobe look no further than Madewell. Currently offering 25% off your entire purchase with free shipping and returns. Rachel took this opportunity to purchase the mini transport crossbody bag. Mmm leather.

Shu Uemura: Founded by the Japanese make-up artist, Shu Uemura, this cosmetic company provides quality skincare, make-up and accessories. Right now they're offering free shipping AND 20% off site wide! The free shipping alone is worth it. Be sure to check out their eyelash curler. It's the bomb.

Poketo: The ultimate lifestyle and stationary shop based in the heart of trendy Los Angeles, Poketo has everything from planners and journals, kitchen and home accessories, clothes and even unique greeting cards by designers from all over the country, including yours truly, Alisa. Take 20% off site wide all day when you enter code GIVEART20 at checkout.

Loft: From essentials to trends this clothing brand never lets us down. Today they are offering 50% off everything plus free shipping, the perfect time to order the pieces that have been stuck on your wish list. You can find gifts here for every woman in your life. 

Brit+Co: Everyone knows the name, the blog and the colorful DIYs that are Brit+Co. Through the end of the day, take 25% off your entire order, so that #minimal pendent necklace you've had your eye on, or the cocktail party kit you've been waiting to buy your BFF, can now be yours (or Jen's.)

Target: Last, but definitely not least, this glorious retailer. Not only are they offering free shipping up until Christmas, but to add to the excitement they are offering 15% off site wide today only. Plus, BaubleBar tech accessories have been out and features shiny phone cases, headphones, gem shaped speakers and more. Perfect gifts.

Even though we love these stores oh so much, there are also a lot of awesome local businesses you can support too that may even offer some online deals today! Check them out, and support your local!

#cybershopper



Giving Thanks

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Every year we are blessed with the time to get together with our families, sit down around the table and enjoy a homemade meal made by loving hands. Thanksgiving isn't just a holiday to eat lots of turkey and mashed potatoes, but the opportunity to truly reflect on everything we are thankful for surrounded by the ones we love.

Through the ups and downs of life we all have something to be thankful for, even when we feel at our lowest points.

Here are some things we’re thankful for:

  1. Family- they can be crazy and dysfunctional at times, but we love them!
  2. Friends- through the ups and downs, they’re always there for us, through bandcamp, college and beyond, they’re tried and true!
  3. Freedom- this really rings true knowing everything that’s been happening in the world. We’re so thankful for the freedoms we have in this country and for the people who protect us so that we can have these rights.
  4. The Holiday Season- time to gather with friends and family, enjoy great food and silly conversation never gets old.

As a great reminder of the infinite things to be thankful for, we created this banner all you hashtag-crazies out there will definitely appreciate. Just print out the template, cut, grab some string, assemble, and #givethanks.

What are you thankful for this year?



#justbethankful

WHAT WE'RE INTO

Monday, November 16, 2015

Can you believe it’s already the third week of November?! We can’t either, but we sure are excited for all the great food, fun, and family time to come in the next few weeks! Though life has been pretty busy the past few weeks, adjusting to new jobs and trying to find time to unwind, here are some things we’ve been into lately…
Check out these awesome handcrafted tapestries created by Maryanne Moodie. We would totally put these up in our rooms!

Thanksgiving has got us thinking about (and drooling over) pumpkin pie! Here’s a recipe for mini pumpkin pies we’re dying to try!

On the music side of things, Alisa has been on a hard core Shakey Graves kick, and also nearly fainted at the sight of him live in concert. Luckily, she survived to tell the story.

Cash cats. Cute photos of cats making' it rain.

The amount of bath bombs Lush is offering makes me want to take a bath everyday. Plus, they make your bath water look like a tie dye mess and it's awesome.

#intoit


DIY: Gold-Dipped Pinecone Garland

Monday, November 9, 2015

Today we had an epiphany while shopping… PINECONES. What can we do with pinecones? Spray them gold and hang them up around the house! So that’s where this DIY came from. Just in time for the holidays, this is a super simple project. These three supplies will leave your house feeling very festive. We recommend buying the scented pinecones because they double as air fresheners!


MATERIALS:

+ Pinecones
+ Gold spray paint
+ Twine


1. Gather your pinecones (we got ours at Wal-Mart for under $5!)


2. Grab your spray paint, and spray the top half of each pinecone. Don't worry if it isn't exactly halfway— ombre is totally cool.

3. Once the pinecones are dry, take some twine and tie a knot around the fat part of the pinecone, spacing them out equally among the string.


Voila! This garland looks especially great on a fireplace mantle, but equally as cool on your wall, over your desk, heck maybe even in your car. Go nuts, and happy fall!

#cheaperthananthro

National Cat Day!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

National Cat Day!

Happy National Cat Day! Sorry dog people, today’s all about our friends of the feline PURR-SUASION. In celebration of one of our favorite holidays, we’re featuring our little furballs today and giving them their big breaks...


MEET SKIPPER!

Master: Rachel
Favorite Activity: Sticking his nose in a Sherpa blanket and purring loudly. So loud I'm pretty sure everyone in our town can hear him. Also getting his picture taken, as you can see. He's the most photogenic cat I've ever had.
Alter-ego: Kevin Malone from the Office because he's silly and loves to eat!
Treat of Choice: Nothing. I'm not sure what his deal is. Normal cats love treats...
Pet Peeve: Tummy rubs. He is not about getting those. Ever.


MEET MINDY!
Master: Alisa
Favorite Activity: licking and scratching. She literally never stops.
Alter-ego: Beyonce, AKA, the Queen B. Girl's got sass.
Treat of Choice: leftover cereal milk
Pet Peeve: plastic bags and spray bottles. GET. THEM. AWAY. FROM. ME.

Not sure how to celebrate or treat your little furry friend? PAW-LEASE… Here are 5 ways to celebrate National Cat Day, but surely you can think of other ways to love on your cat today (and always!)

#loveyourfeline

Halloween Inspiration

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

As the leaves are changing color, and the air is getting colder, that must mean that Halloween is creeping up on us! Whether you bob for apples, take your little cousins trick or treating so you can get candy, or just love covering your whole house with seasonal decorations, we’ve made a list of our Halloween favorites this year!



O U R F A V O R IT E C O S T U M E S !




1. Minions are the craze of the year, why not be one?

2. Oui, oui! You probably have the staple piece for this French girl costume in your own closet.
3. This Mary Poppins outfit really is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!


F E S T I V E   D E C O R A T I O N S !



1. Pumpkin carving isn't the only way to make your fall pumpkins one of a kind— check out some of these unconventional pumpkin decorating ideas.
2. This wall of bats is a simple, but effective way to make a statement this Halloween season!
3. These tin can luminaries are so adorable, we want to make them!


S P O O K Y   T R E AT S !



1. These Frankenstein pops are scary cute!
2. Simple, and sweet, we're wrapped up in these Pumpkin Cheesecake Truffle Mummies.
3. Don't know what to do with all that leftover Halloween candy? Make a Halloween candy bark!

To get yourself in the trick-or-treating spirit, we have a spooky download for you!


#trickortreat

National Coffee Day

Tuesday, September 29, 2015





Happy National Coffee Day! This is one of the greatest days of the year, and an ever greater excuse to reach for that second (or third) cup of joe today. Here is a list of places that are participating in free coffee today if you didn’t already have a spot scoped out.

Black, a little bit of cream and sugar, or maybe even that double caramel frappucino, you do you today. Celebrate coffee!


#butfirstcoffee

National Alpaca Day

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Not only did we spend our Saturday drinking coffee and meandering around a local flea market, but also by celebrating National Alpaca Day, spending quality time with, you guessed it, alpacas. Lots and lots of fuzzy, cute and all around glorious creatures. We even brought home "make-and-take" alpacas with real alpaca fiber that we will cherish. If you haven't met and pet an alpaca, we recommend you do ASAP. 


Check your local area to see if there are any alpaca farms near you! It might surprise you how many actually do exist.

#longneckteddybears