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.


+ 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.

+ 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!


+ 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!


+ 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!



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!   


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!


+ 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!



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!


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


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.

+ 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!


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!


+ 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!