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25 Beachy Christmas Ornaments

Happy Holidays! Create the most gorgeous coastal Christmas tree ever with this list of 25 Beachy Christmas Ornaments!

Not only are they the cutest, but they also make great gifts! There is something for everyone on this list, from mermaids to seahorses or starfish and sand dollars.

There are actually 26 items on this list! I kept finding so many gorgeous ornaments it was hard to choose, but I hope you love them all! Just click the link or image to find the item on Amazon.

Hallmark Keepsake Christmas Ornament , A Day at The Beach Sea Shell Wreath

***This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

I just can’t believe how fast the Holidays are approaching. I created this handy list because I’m all about saving time and money by shopping online. Every year, I get new ornaments for my Christmas trees to add to my coastal collection.

You can find the perfect last minute gift for your favorite beach lover that will remind them of their best beach day or summer vacation!

25 Beachy Christmas Ornaments

 

  1. C&F Home Coastal Blue Seahorse

     

2. Have A Very Beachy Christmas Tree Ornament

3. December Diamonds Blue Mermaid Holding a Pearl

4. Old World Christmas Sand Dollar Glass Blown Ornament

5. Beacon Design Coastal Lantern Ornament with Starfish Shell

6. Delton Beach Set of 3 Starfish, Clam Shell, Seahorse Ornaments

7. Old World Christmas House Ornament

8. Kurt Adler Mermaid with Blue Glitter Tail Christmas Ornament

 

9. Santa Sea Life Coastal Tropical Beach Glass Holiday Christmas Ornament

10. Hallmark Keepsake Christmas Ornament 2022 Sunshiny Smiles Beach Vacation Picture Frame

11. Country Marketplaces Starfish On Disc Ornament

25 Beachy Christmas Ornaments

 

12. Midwest Sand Beach Christmas Tree Hanging Resin Christmas Ornament

13. Kurt Adler Starfish Couple Decorative Holiday Christmas Tree Ornament Set

14. Jellyfish Seashell Set of 4 Coastal Ornaments for Christmas Tree

15. Rengöra Blue Sea Turtle, Hand-Painted Ceramic Sea Turtle Christmas Ornament

16. Kurt Adler Set of 2 Blue Starfish and Sand Dollar Shells Christmas Holiday Ornaments

 


17. Kurt Adler Beach Snowman Ornament Pair

18. Old World Christmas Scallop Shell Glass Blown Ornament

19. Old World Christmas Golden Seashell Glass Blown Ornament

20. Midwest Beach Pail with Shells and Shovel Christmas Ornament

21. Cape Shore Tropical Beach Lifeguard Santa Claus Ornament

22. I Love The Beach Sandals Sunglasses Shells Christmas Ornament

23. Mermaid Christmas Ornament, Silver Tone Glitter Holiday Decoration

24. Old World Christmas Beach Bag Glass Blown Ornament

25. Hallmark Keepsake Christmas Ornament 2022, Beach Bliss Adirondack Chair 

These are just some of my favorites but you can see all coastal style ornaments and decorations from Amazon here.

I hope you enjoyed this list! Happy Holidays & Have a very Beachy Christmas!

Also see: The 2022 Holiday Gift Guide for Beach Lovers




Cake Mix Peanut Butter Blossoms

Easy Peanut Butter Blossoms

Everyone loves chocolate and peanut butter together! So here is another deliciously easy cookie recipe using a box of yellow cake mix. The cake mix is used for the cookie dough base, so you don’t have to make them from scratch!

What I love about this recipe is that it’s quick and easy, and there is hardly no measuring which means anyone can make them. Best of all these cookies will be ready to eat in 20 minutes.

***This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

Peanut Butter Blossoms are a holiday cookie staple. I can remember having these along with Sugar Cookies every year at Christmastime. Why not whip up a batch and give them as a gift?

If you prefer to make these from scratch instead you can use this Classic Peanut Butter Cookie recipe instead.

Easy Peanut Butter Blossoms Recipe

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Yellow Cake Mix
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 cup softened Butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup creamy Peanut butter
  • 1 bag of Hershey kisses

 

Directions:

  • Add 1 box yellow cake mix to a large mixing bowl.
  • Add eggs, peanut butter and the softened butter.
  • Beat the ingredients together until completely mixed.
  • Scoop and shape the cookie dough into 1 inch balls.
  • Roll each dough ball into the granulated sugar.
  • Place the dough balls onto a an ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until slightly golden.
  • Remove from the oven and immediately insert Hershey’s Kiss into the center.
  • Let them cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then place on a cooling rack to finish.
  • Enjoy!

 

This recipe yields about 30 cookies. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for about one week to remain fresh. You can also freeze cookies for up to 3 months and they will taste delicious once thawed.

I love to play around in the kitchen with boxed cake mix recipes. I’m not a professional baker, but every recipe in this blog is something that I have learned to perfect over the years so they will always taste amazing!

I hope you enjoy this recipe, thanks for stopping by! Peanut butter lovers also see: Classic Peanut Butter Cookies & Peanut Butter Brownies.

 




2022 Holiday Gift Guide

Image credit: Pottery Barn

 

Season’s Greetings! Are you looking for the perfect gift for beach lovers? Finding the perfect present is never easy no matter who you are shopping for. Year after year, you’re shopping for the same people and it get’s harder but it doesn’t have to be. Use this hand gift guide before you start your holiday shopping.

While making this list, I only chose the best items from Amazon. Everything is either a best seller, a five star item, or some of my personal favorites. There are thoughtful, yet affordable and unique gifts for everyone on this list. Just click on the image to find the item.

***This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

2022 Holiday Gift Guide

Find unique gifts for beach lovers that will impress everyone on your list!

  1. This beautiful handmade sea glass earrings and necklace set is the perfect gift for jewelry lovers! Check out the Sea Stamped Store to see all beach glass designs. You can also create your own gift set.

 

2. These set of 2 stemless wine glasses are hand painted and the perfect unique gift for both wine and mermaid lovers!

 

3. This hand blown glass conch sea shell figurine is the perfect gift for your loved ones that collect seashells.

 

4. Here is a great gift for those that love sea turtles! This cute collectible statue has a beautiful crushed glass mosaic shell.

 

5. This set of 3 nautical aromatherapy candle set is the perfect gift for candle and beach lovers alike. Once the candles are burned, the jars can be re-used and home decor.

 

6. This beautiful mother of pearl photo frame also comes in pink and natural white. Present this gift with your favorite beach photo memories.

 

7. Seahorse candle holders are a great gift for beach lovers! This set o 2 beautiful pillar candle holders also comes in gold.

 

8. Lanterns are the perfect gift for beach lovers! This gorgeous set of 2 silver lantern set can also be filled with candles or seashells for the perfect beachy look!

2022 Holiday Gift Guide

9. Yankee candles are always a great gift idea! Give this Christmas at The Beach scented candle as a reminder of your favorite beach vacation! See all scents from the Yankee Candle Store here.

 

10.  Another great gift idea for mermaid lovers! This warm and cozy mermaids tail crochet blanket comes in 4 colors, perfect for teens!

 

11. Nautical iron anchor candle holders are the perfect rustic decor gift. It comes as a set of 2 for pillar candles.

 

12. Here is another great nautical anchor gift idea. Give this warm cozy beach style throw to anyone who loves a nautical theme!

 

13. These set of 4 coastal mugs are the perfect beachy gift for coffee lovers!

 

14. Here is a gorgeous starfish serving platter for your favorite hostess who enjoys the finer things in life.

 

15. Everyone loves beach Gnomes! These set of 3 cuties are a perfect year around decoration for beach lovers!

 

16. Bella Wind Chimes are the Boho-Beachy gift! They are made of sea glass and come in several colors.

 

17. This beautiful resin starfish bowl comes in 2 beachy blue colors and is the perfect accent piece for any room in the home.

 

18. Remind your favorite beach lover to take a moment and just Breathe with this beautiful framed ocean art print!

 

I hope you found something you love on this list. Why not get a little something for yourself while you’re browsing. You can get any of these items shipped within 2 days if you have a Prime Membership!

Give this membership as a gift or try it free for 30 days, plus you can cancel at anytime. I have been a Prime Member for 3 years and I absolutely love the convenience!

Thank you for stopping by, Happy Holidays! Also see Buttery Soft Christmas Cookies




Simple Coastal Fall Decorating Ideas

 

Happy Fall beach lovers! Keep the relaxed beach feeling all year by incorporating neutral fall colors into your coastal themed home. Beachy colors such as blues, greens, creams and tan are timeless and will never go out of style.

When it comes to fall decorating, it doesn’t have to be all about traditional crimson, yellow, orange and brown. It’s easy to stick to a beachy color scheme by using natural colors such as pastel blues, light aquas, beige, turquoise, sage green and cream. These colors also work beautifully with orange and warm browns.

***This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

I love the beach, but Fall is my favorite time of year, simply because it’s the start of the holiday season. This season, I decided to add keep it simple by adding some new pumpkins to my collection in aqua and white. What’s great about this color scheme, is that it also works for Thanksgiving decor as well. As for Halloween, I just fill the orange pumpkin pictured above with candy.

I also tried to DIY and paint pumpkins and I must admit…(it was a total disaster!) The colors did not match once the paint dried and I ended up with hideous bright teal instead of pale aqua. So naturally I threw them away and headed straight to TjMaxx!

Luckily they had just stocked a fresh collection of beautiful ceramic pumpkins! I grabbed five and happily headed to checkout knowing that my Fall decor would be saved from my DIY disaster.

I have noticed that some stores are not able to keep up with the demand for Fall and Halloween decor. People are starting to decorate earlier or months before the season begins.

I’m including some pics from my home and also some of my favorite DIY ideas from around the web for those who are good at this sort of thing. Then, there is me who is just better at shopping! Haha!

 

Simple Coastal Fall Decorating Ideas

 

Decorate With Beachy Colors

Keep the beach theme by adding Fall neutrals and pastels to your home decor.

 

Style Your Kitchen Island

The island is the center of your kitchen. Make it the focal point of your Fall decor too. Add a colorful table runner and a couple of decorative pumpkins and candleholders to the center of the island to keep if beautiful, yet functional.

 

Create A Cozy Display

Add fall candles, a cozy blanket and some cute pumpkins to you tray table decor.

 

Create A Unique Mantle

Here I added some Eucalyptus Garland that I purchased on Amazon. Then added the aqua and white ceramic pumpkins that I found at TjMaxx.

 

Use What You Have

I keep this display all year around and change out the candles and photo decor with each season.

 

Keep It Simple

 

Create a Festive DIY

I love this gorgeous Mermaid Corn idea From Breezy Designs!

DIY Painted Pumpkins

These chalk painted pumpkins are absolutely beautiful, from ANDERSON+GRANT.

 

I hope you enjoyed these Coastal Fall Ideas! Thanks for stopping by. Also see Coastal Fall Ideas & Inspiration 2022




Easy Cinnamon Apple Crisp

This easy apple crisp or apple crumble recipe (depending on what part of the country you live in) Is perfect for chilly fall mornings! It can be made sweet or tart depending on the type of apples used.

It’s near the end of a long hot summer here in New England, but I am yearning for an early fall. Lately I have been craving one of my favorite fall dishes: Apple Crisp!

I love the beach, but there is nothing like fall in Connecticut! We get the best of both worlds with endless views of beautiful fall foliage along the coastline.

One of my favorite breakfast recipes is apple crisp! The smell of warm apples and cinnamon baking in the morning while I have my morning coffee is heavenly. Fresh sliced apples are topped with a buttery cinnamon oat crumble topping that slightly crisps while baking.

 

***This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

Easy Cinnamon Apple Crisp

Ingredients:

  • 6 Golden Delicious Apples (peeled and sliced)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour

Topping:

  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 stick salted butter cut in small pieces
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup Bisquick or all purpose baking flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

 *Use any apple variety that you like, just remember to adjust the sugar depending on the sweetness or tart of the apples. I like to use Bisquick because it gives the crumbled topping a richer flavor. You can make many variations by adding your favorite berries, raisins, or chopped nuts into the topping.

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a large bowl add apples, then pour lemon juice over and mix
  • Add butter, cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, nutmeg and flour, then mix
  • Place sliced apple mixture into a 8×8 inch baking dish and set aside
  • In a smaller bowl add butter, oats, cinnamon, brown sugar, baking soda and Bisquick or flour
  • Mix together with a fork until all ingredients are combined or appears crumbled
  • Spread topping all over apples
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees

 

*This recipe serves 6 people and takes less than 1 hour to prepare. Apple crisp is best served warm and fresh out of the oven. Top with your favorite vanilla ice-cream for a delicious fall dessert.

For another great fall recipe see: Buttery Soft Halloween Sugar Cookies




Shop Your Favorite Beach Cottage Quotes On Etsy!

Welcome to The Aqua Cottage where we dream in colors borrowed from the sea! I’m so excited to share my new Etsy Shop! Here you can find your favorite beach cottage quotes and printable wall art in all shades of aqua.

 

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

These prints make a great gift for beach lovers. Just click the images or quotes link to find the items on Etsy!

Beach Quotes

For Baby Nursery

My Heart Will Always Be In A Little Cottage By The Sea

Sweet Dreams Little One

Make A Wish Upon A Starfish

My favorite beach quote has always been “My heart will always be in a little cottage by the sea! These cute beach quotes will surely brighten your day and remind you of your dreams of living by the sea.

Thanks for reading, Enjoy!

 




Beautiful Beachy Bathroom Decor

Soothe your soul and create a spa like atmosphere with these beautiful beachy bathroom decor ideas! Browse these coastal style bathroom ideas.

***This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

It’s no secret that I love coastal decor. Growing up in New England surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches is probably why. When I started renovating my home, I knew that I wanted coastal themed decor. I want to feel as if I wake up at the beach everyday! The colors of the sky, sea and sand make me so happy.

Adding beach themed or coastal style decor to your home is a wonderful way to express your love for the ocean and nature itself. Bring a little beach into your home with this list of ten of my favorite bathroom decor items from Amazon. These classic styles, colors and natural elements never go out of style.

 10 Beautiful Beachy Bathroom Decor Ideas

  1. Haus and Hues Framed Ocean Wall Art
  2. Safavieh Quatrefoil Ceramic Decorative Garden Stool
  3. Costa Farms Cat Palm 3-Feet Tall, Live Indoor Plant
  4. Sand + Fog California Beach House Scented Candle
  5. Bekmore Large Apothecary Jar with Airtight Lid
  6. Household Essentials Large Wicker Floor Storage Basket
  7. Aqua Bath Towels Set
  8. Avanti Linens Farmhouse Shell Toothbrush Holder 
  9. Bamboo Shower Bath Mat for Spa Relaxation
  10. Premium Bamboo Cotton Bath Towels

Thank you for reading! I hope you are inspired by to create a cozy home you love. Just click on the links above to find the items in the photo. Also see: Coastal Fall Ideas & Inspiration 2022

 

 

 

 




Buttery Soft Halloween Sugar Cookies

Have a spooky sweet Halloween with these fun and festive sugar cookies! They are my all time favorite holiday recipe for buttery soft and delicious cut out cookies.

I love to bake Sugar Cookies! The possibilities are endless especially for spooky season. These cookies are sure to be a hit at any Halloween party. This recipe yields about 4 dozen cookies.

Halloween Sugar Cookies

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Ingredients:

  • 3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup softened butter (not melted)
  • 1 1/2 cups of granulated white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions: 

  • Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, set aside. In a large bowl, cream together softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add in the vanilla. Gradually blend in the sifted ingredients until fully absorbed. Cover dough, and chill for 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets. On a clean floured surface, roll out small portions of chilled dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters. You can find all kinds of cute and funny Halloween cookie cutters here.

Time To Bake!

  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are barely brown. Allow cookies to cool for on the cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes. Then move from cookie sheets onto wire racks to finish cooling. Once cooled decorate using your favorite royal icing colors and flavors. You can also use buttercream frosting for an fun and easy decorating idea for children.

These cookies will keep their shape nicely and remain soft and chewy long after being cooled. They will be a big hit at parties! They remain fresh for 2-3 weeks if kept in an airtight container.

Bake ahead and store in the freezer. They will remain fresh for 3-6 months as long as they are wrapped tightly in plastic and kept in an airtight container. I honestly don’t know who would wait that long to eat them.  Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy making this recipe, if so share it and also see my classic recipe for Easy Royal Icing!

Also see: 2022 Holiday Gift Guide

 




Coastal Fall Ideas & Inspiration 2022

Prepare your home for autumn with fall decor from Amazon.

It’s never too early to get ready for fall, and if your are currently experiencing a heat wave you may be looking forward to it. You can start decorating as early as August all the way up until the holiday season. It’s no surprise that retail stores like Target And Walmart already have their fall decor and Halloween candy on display!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Coastal Fall Ideas & Inspiration On Amazon

Fall is all about using natural materials. When decorating for fall in a coastal themed home, the usage of pastel blues, neutral fabrics and light shades of turquoise and teal keep things coastal, while adding a nod to the coming holidays. Muted color pumpkins in cream and aqua blue blend perfectly into the coastal aesthetic.

Click to purchase Blue Pumpkin Fall Table Runner on Amazon

 

Here are five ways to add coastal fall to your home decor.

  1. Use cream, white, and aqua muted color pumpkins.
  2. Fill spaces with coastal style candles in neutral colors.
  3. Use white, blue or driftwood lanterns filled with pumpkins.
  4. Fill seagrass or woven baskets with cozy blankets and pillows.
  5. Decorate with seaglass, starfish, and seashells in glass jars.

Also see: 15 Ways To Display Your Seashell Collection

Below is a list of some of my favorite coastal fall finds from the image above. Click the link to find items on Amazon.

  1. Mason Canning Jars Wood Antique Tray Centerpiece
  2. “Give thanks with a grateful heart” rustic sign
  3. Welcome to Our Home Sign
  4. Mud Pie Halloween Ghost Salt & Pepper Set
  5. Boston International Decorative Glass Pumpkin Figurine
  6. Decorative Coastal Flameless Pillar Candles with Remote
  7. The Lakeside Collection Blue Ceramic Pumpkins
  8. Fall Autumn Thanksgiving Harvest Vintage Table Placemats 
  9. 8 Piece Happy Thanksgiving Yard Signs 
  10. Fall Halloween Thanksgiving Pumpkin Welcome Door Mat
  11. Grateful Pumpkin Floral Aqua Throw Pillow
  12. Thankful Pumpkin Floral Aqua Throw Pillow
  13. Blessed Pumpkin Floral Aqua Throw Pillow
  14. The Lakeside Collection 6-Pc. Thanks Pumpkin Set

Fall decorating does not have to be expensive. To keep costs down, I like to stick to staple pieces that transition from season to season using my same color palette.

Also see my favorite recipe for Buttery Soft Halloween Sugar Cookies

I hope you love this list! Happy Fall!

Click to see the Shop Page to find all throw pillows.

 




Sherwin Williams Serenely Paint Color

Want to know how to choose the best paint colors for your home? Start with the colors you love, and then create a whole house color scheme that matches your furniture and makes your happy!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Sherwin Williams Serenely

I recently discovered the most beautiful beachy blue paint color! It is a perfect coastal blue-gray with a hint of green. It’s a calming paint color you will want to use in a bedroom to create a tranquil atmosphere, or use it in a bathroom for a soothing spa effect.

Image Credit: Sherwin Williams

 

I have always been obsessed with Sherwin Williams paint colors! My most favorite place in the world is the beach. It just naturally makes me happy, so I knew when I bought my home I wanted to surround myself with my favorite beachy colors. I wanted to keep that serene, calm coastal atmosphere and also make my home feel warm and inviting. I’m still renovating my home, so I will add more before and after pics later.

Aqua is my all-time favorite color, so I chose a breezy relaxing color scheme in several shades of Aqua that remind me of my favorite beaches. It’s really that simple. Below is The Aqua Cottage’s whole house color scheme. As you can see these colors work well together because they are different shades of aqua blues with green and gray undertones. I always recommend using a crisp clean white for the ceilings and trim. These colors also work well together in Coastal Farmhouse and Lake House interiors.

My Coastal Paint Color Palette

  • TopsailKitchen & Bathrooms- A pretty beachy light blue-green that has slight gray undertones.
  • Sea Salt-Guest Bedroom/Laundry Room- A cool green color with gray undertones that will brighten with daylight then appear soft and muted during the evening.
  • Greek Villa– Hallways- This warm white has deep beige undertones that remind you of a sandy beach.
  • Watery -Living RoomThe most beautiful, almost tropical cool watery aqua blue with green undertones.
  • Serenely-Main Bedroom- The perfect neutral blue gray that reminds you of a cloudy day at the beach.
  • Extra-White-Family Room- A bright, breezy cool coastal white perfect for painting beadboard or shiplap.
  • Pure White- Ceilings/Trim A warm white that ties all of the colors together, perfect for doors and trim.

Sherwin Williams Sea Salt Guest Bedroom

See this rooms transformation here: Before & After Guest Bedroom Makeover

How To Create A Coastal Whole House Paint Color Palette

These are the guides I use to create a matching color scheme. One of the best compliments I receive is how well the different colors flow and transition throughout the rooms into each other.

  1. Start by picking your favorite color.
  2. Choose a clean white trim.
  3. Pick 3 more colors in your favorite color family to create a cohesive look. Repeat these colors throughout your home to avoid getting overwhelmed with color.
  4. When picking several different colors the center of your home for example, the hallways should be neutral as I illustrated with SW Greek Villa in the center of the picture.
  5. Consider your furniture and fixtures.
  6. Get at least 2-3 paint chips in your favorite colors so you can play with the colors against your main color and the white trim color. That way you understand color theory and see how well the colors work together,
  7. Test the color during the daylight and compare the difference shades in the evening.

Image Credit: Sherwin Williams

 

Most important, remember to have fun! You can always use Pinterest, store paint guides, and the color wheel to find inspiration! There are tons of color palettes available to help you choose the best colors for your home! I want you to know I am not a Sherwin Williams affiliate, I have just been a huge fan of their paint for years!

Also I don’t recommend getting color mixes and taking them to get a cheaper product elsewhere. It’s not the same. Your home is your biggest investment. You want to choose a quality paint that will transform your home and last for years to come. See my blog post Before & After Guest Bedroom Makeover  to see what cheap paint does to your walls. You can also sign up for an account to get paint coupons and discounts at the sherwin-williams.com I just got an awesome $20 coupon in my email!

I hope you found this post helpful, thanks for reading!

Are you ready to paint? See Everything You Need To Know About Paint

 

 

 




10 Best Beach Bags Summer 2022

10 Best Beach Bags Summer 2022

Who’s ready for the beach? I know I am! With the temperatures rising thoughts of beach getaways fill my mind. If you are heading to the beach this year, be sure you have all of the beach essentials for a fantastic trip! I can’t tell you how many beach tote’s I have collected over the years! I just love them!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Check out this list of cute and trendy beach bags and totes to help you get ready for vacation and stay organized at the beach or pool. Here you will find some of the best summer bags from Amazon rounded up for you!

  1. Marc Jacobs Women’s The Large Tote Bag– This cute designer tote bag come in 2 neutral colors which makes it perfect for all season use.

 

2. KUAK Extra Large Beach Bag– This waterproof beach tote comes in 6 tropical colors, has a top zipper, waterproof phone case, bottle opener, and key holder.

3. Jessie Women’s Summer Beach Bag– Make a statement with this gorgeous straw tote bag. This versatile bag can be used for the beach, as a travel purse, or evening tote bag.

4. TOP Design Canvas Tote Bag– Love the classy black beach lettering! This affordable canvas tote is perfect for a weekend getaway, short trips, or a day at the beach. 

5. SCOUT Joyride Large Sandproof Beach Bag– This lightweight durable mesh beach tote lets sand escape, and is the perfect go everywhere summer bag. 

 

6. NovForth Beach Bag Extra Large Tote- This fun, festive beach tote comes in 8 bright colors. Also comes in 2 sizes.

7. Ubestpak XXL Beach Tote Bag- This roomy XXL large tote is perfect for mom’s on the go and comes in 4 gorgeous colors!

8. Swig Life Loopi Waterproof Tote Bag– With 16 colors to choose from you can’t go wrong with this waterproof beach utility bag. I love the easy to carry cushioned handles!

9. Columbia Unisex Lightweight Packable Tote– This classic unisex nylon tote from Columbia comes in 5 fun and bright colors, has reflective zipper pulls and a water bottle holder. It also folds into a tiny packable square perfect for travel.

10. CAMTOP Beach Bag Sandproof Canvas Beach Tote- This versatile beach tote is lightweight and durable which is perfect for travel, gym, sport, carry-on, luggage and more. Plus it comes in 10 fun colors!

10 Best Beach Bags Summer 2022

I hope you found this list helpful! if so leave me a comment and let me know what you like! All of these gorgeous bags are available on Amazon. Just click the link or image to find the items. Also don’t forget that Prime Day is July 12th and 13th. If you don’t have a Prime Membership you can sign up here for the 30 day free trial!  Thanks for reading and have a great summer! Also see 10 Summer Beach Beauty Essentials 2022.

 




Easy July 4th Flag Cake

Make your 4th of July celebration a hit with this easy, beautiful and delicious flag cake! There are 2 different variations, one for strawberry lovers or raspberry lovers. This cakes tastes home made and is best made with fresh ingredients!

What makes this cake easy is that it’s made from a box mix. What makes it taste home made is the altered ingredients. I never use water in any of my box cake recipes because water does not add any flavor. I also like to add butter to the recipe because butter just tastes better.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 boxes Pillsbury Moist Yellow cake mix
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, canola, or corn oil
  • 2 sticks melted butter
  • 1 pint or 1 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 2 pints or 2 cups of fresh strawberries
  • 2 pints or 2 cups of fresh raspberries
  • 2 packages of cool whip
  • 1 can of whip cream




10 Summer Beach Beauty Essentials 2022

Smell good all day with this list of beauty must haves! Hello everyone, it’s officially summer 2022 and I have gathered all of my favorite essentials for summer time that I wanted to share with you!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Hitting the beach this summer? These are 10 beach bag beauty essentials you need to smell amazing all day! These products are available for purchase on Amazon, just click the image to shop.

  1. Shield yourself from the sun with this foldable straw sun hat. It comes in 5 gorgeous colors and has excellent UPF 50+ protection.

    Adrinfly Women Foldable Floppy Wide Brim Straw Sun Hat

     

  2. Stay stylish with these Coach Sunglasses, they also come with the case to keep them protected.

    Coach Sunglasses – Caroline / Frame: Silver Lens: Grey Gradient

     

  3. Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub-Moroccan Rose. Use this exfoliating scrub to prep your way to smoother skin before you hit the beach! It has moisturizing shea butter and smells amazing! It also comes in wonderful summer fragrances like Coconut Lime, Tropical Mango, Watermelon, and Island Mist.

Tree Hut Shea Sugar Scrub Moroccan Rose

 

4. After your shower, layer on Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Body Gel Cream. This amazing gel formula instantly absorbs into your skin without that greasy lotion feeling, and the smell lasts all day! I am in love with this product!

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Body Gel Cream

 

5. Next layer on Native natural deodorant in Sea Salt. What I love about this product is that it goes on easy, it’s cruelty free, and aluminum free. I love the beachy scent, plus it also comes in Ocean, and Coconut Vanilla.

Native Deodorant Natural Deodorant for Women and Men

 

6. Escape to a tropical island while adding another layer of fragrance with Tommy Bahama Set Sail Martinique Body Spray for Women. 

Tommy Bahama Set Sail Martinique Women

 

7. Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer comes in 8 gorgeous shades, smells amazing, and gives a natural sun kissed glow! 

Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer

 

8. Keep your lips soft and moisturized with Sun Bum SPF 30 Sunscreen Lip Balm. This lip balm comes in over 6 yummy flavors such as Banana, Coconut, Key Lime, and Mango.

Sun Bum SPF 30 Sunscreen Lip Care with Aloe and Vitamin E

 

9. Your hair will smell amazing with L’ANGE HAIR Sea Salt Spray Texture Hairspray for Bouncy Beachy Waves

L’ANGE HAIR Sea Salt Spray for Hair Salt and Séa Hair Texturizing Spray

 

10. Pack all of your beach essentials in this roomy Beach Please 100% Cotton Canvas Tote Bag! Great for a weekend getaway or day at the beach! 

Santa Barbara Design Studio Beach Please Tote Bag with Leather Handles

 

I hope you found this list helpful, don’t forget to save this list and shop Prime Day July 12-13th! If you don’t have an Amazon Prime Membership sign up for the free 30 day trial here. Have a wonderful Summer 2022!




15 Coastal Grandmother Style Ideas

Coastal Grandmother Style is making waves everywhere and ironically you don’t need to live near the coast or be a grandmother. This new trend blends blue and white color palettes with linen and cozy cable knits. This decorating style is quite similar to the recent grand-millenial trend that favors florals, chintz and soft pastel palettes. Click on the image below to see this amazing beach house!

Image credit Home Bunch Magazine

 

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Think Martha Stewart cozy interiors meets Ina Garten’s stylish Hampton’s beach house. The coastal grandmother  decor style embraces all the little things that make a house feel like home such as cozy throw pillows, oversized slip-covered furniture and lots of natural light. In a nutshell, the coastal grandmother look draws inspiration from the aesthetic seen in Nancy Meyers’ movies—specifically.  Think of the beach house in the movie Something’s Gotta Give which is one of my favorite movies. I loved Diane Keaton’s beach house!

Diane Keaton in Somethings Gotta Give

 

Coastal Grandmother Style is about utilizing what you have available to you in the form of heirlooms and mixing it with classic elements that evoke relaxation and calm. We could all use use a little more peace and calm after the last two years.

Are you wondering how to incorporate the Coastal Grandmother aesthetic into your space?  It’s all about using neutral color palettes, breezy white linen curtains, a mix of antiques and modern pieces,  overstuffed slip-covered sofas and handmade ceramics.

Below are 15 Coastal Grandmother home decor finds, you can click the link or the image to find the items. Click here to see all on Coastal Grandmother finds on Amazon.

15 Coastal Grandmother Finds From Amazon

  1. Hardy Gallery Abstract Beach Canvas Painting Picture 

2. SAFAVIEH Lighting Collection Maxton Set of 2 Table Lamps

3. Sliver Over Spa Blue Candle Holders for Pillar Candles (Set of 3)

4. Safavieh American Homes Collection Samantha Distressed/Cream 2-Drawer Console Table

5. Safavieh Home Antonia Coastal Grey White Wash Rattan Cushion Accent Chair

6. Set of 2 Aqua Square Pillow Covers 

7. Soft Knit Mesh Throw Blanket Teal

8. The Basket Lady Deep Wicker Storage Trunk

 

9. Calla Angel Sage Garden Luxury Pure Cotton Quilt Light Aqua

10. 2 Pack Round Rattan Serving Trays

11. Light Blue and White Flower Chinoiserie Jar

12. Blue Hydrangea Artificial Flowers Heads with Stems

13. Deco 79 18221 Glass Wide Bottle Vase

14. Sunset Trading Ariana Sofa, White

15. Set of 2 Jute Storage Baskets

I hope you enjoyed this post! Many of the items listed above come in several styles and colors so be sure to check them out. Thank you for reading and happy decorating!




Easy Air Fryer Steak & Potatoes

Have you ever tried cooking steak and potatoes in the air fryer? Air fried steak will be your new favorite way to cook steak! This recipe gives you that crispy crust seared outside and a tender juicy inside, best of all they’re easy to make! Now steak can be the main dish any night of the week. I admit when I first bought my air fryer, it stayed in the box unopened because I was afraid to use it! lol now I’m almost a pro.

This post contains affiliate links, see my full disclosure here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 10-oz steaks ribeye, steaks
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Kosher salt
  • 1 Pepper, fresh ground
  • Italian seasoning optional
  • Steak seasoning optional

Air fryer baked potatoes have a crispy skin and fluffy middle.

  • 2-4 Russet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Sea salt, coarse

Instructions for Potatoes:

  1. Start with 2-4 clean and dry potatoes russet potatoes.
  2. Rub with olive oil for crispy skin, then sprinkle with sea salt.
  3. Place in the air fryer and cook the potatoes at 400°F for 15 minutes, then flip and cook for and additional 15 minutes totaling 30 minutes.
  4. Slice in the center, and add seasonings of your choice.

 

Instructions for Steak:

  1. Remove steaks from the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. Pat steaks dry again, rub with a bit of olive oil, then season the steak on both sides with a generous pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper.
  3. Arrange the steaks in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
  4. Cook at 400°F for a total time of 15 minutes, flip the steaks once halfway through or about 7 min after.
  5. Add a small pat of butter to each steak, then rest 5-10 minutes. Enjoy!

If you don’t have an air fryer or have never used one I recommend buying the Dash Tasty-Crisp Air Fryer below. It’s small, compact and won’t take up too much space on your kitchen counters. Plus it’s great for one or 2 people and comes in several colors!

 

I hope you enjoyed this recipe, this will now be your favorite go to meal! enjoy!

 

 

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Spring Decor Must Haves For Your Coastal Home

Spring Decor Must Haves For Your Coastal Home

Are you ready for spring? If you love to decorate for every season, here are some beautiful coastal decor ideas to refresh your home for spring. Home is where the heart is, so if your heart is longing for the beach than is post is for you! Giving your home a spring refresh does not have to be expensive. Add simple touches like a fresh floral centerpiece, seashells and summer lanterns to brighten up your space.

This post contains affiliate links, see my full disclosure here.

I’m patiently counting the days until spring. It’s one of my favorite seasons, I live in New England where it seems winter never ends with our endless snow storms and cold grey days. Here comes the sun! The best time to start decorating is about 3-4 weeks before Easter. With the warm weather approaching, you’ll want to start get rid of clutter and start spring cleaning.

Spring Decor Ideas

Decorate With Flowers

Create a beautiful floral arrangement and use it as a centerpiece in your dining room or on your living room coffee table. Flowers add a bright, fresh pop of color to any room. If you don’t want to use fresh flowers try buying and affordable faux floral arrangement and use them in your favorite vase. Add them to a hanging wicker basket or mason jar for a beachy look. Also add floral accents to colorful vases of different sizes and scatter them throughout your home.

Another great idea is to add colorful seashell planters to any space in the home for a coastal feel. You can find this item buy clicking on the link or image below.

Blue Conch Ocean Series Ceramic Base Serial Set

Add A Gallery Wall

Make any room feel larger and brighter with a coastal gallery wall. Arrange your favorite beach vacation pictures or coastal wall art in beautiful neutral frames with a white border. Add fairy lights to display your favorite photos and add visual interest to the room.

Add A Large Piece Of Scenic Artwork

Freshen up your bedroom by adding a large piece of scenic artwork above your your bed or favorite wall. Artwork can bring together the elements of a room by being a focal point, adding color inspiration, and harmony and more. Use coastal scenes of ocean waves in pastel colors to create a peaceful and restful retreat.

Use Natural Elements

Natural elements such as seagrass baskets, coral, and light oak furniture brings the beach indoors creating a calming relaxing environment and a touch of serenity.  Using mirrors on your walls can not only reflect the natural light to create a brighter space, but can also make your space look and feel larger.

Create A Seashell Display

Upgrade the coastal feel by displaying your tiny treasures using large glass jars, baskets and bowls. They are great for all seasons and coordinate beautifully with fresh flowers for spring. The perfect look for a coffee table or side table.

 

Use Decorative Lanterns

Lanterns are great ways to store and display your favorite ocean themed decor. Add sand, seashells and flowers for a fresh look for spring. Fill with colorful starfish and attach a lantern swag to the top of the lantern or add a faux floral wreath to the base.

Decorate Your Porch

Display a seashell wreath, add a bright striped door mat and surround with planters filled with bright matching flowers for a nautical look.

Paint your porch ceiling haint blue and add lots of bright cheery flowers and coastal pillows.

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed these spring ideas, all of the beautiful images in this post are credited to Pinterest. Visit the blogs shop or click the image below to see all coastal style throw pillows from my Amazon curated collection below. Have a very happy spring!

 

 

 

 

 

 




The Best Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

Classic Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe

***This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

Warning: You won’t be able to stop eating these classic peanut butter cookies. This is one of my favorite cookie recipes! They are easy to make and only take about 10-12 minutes to bake. This recipe yields about 4 dozen and the prep time is only 15 minutes. You will need to chill the dough for about 1 hour. Total prep time is 1 hour and 25 minutes. The cookies will be soft and chewy once cooled but are most delicious when served warm with a glass of milk. Servings: 24

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Cream butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar and white sugar together in a bowl, then beat in eggs.
  • In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt then stir into butter mixture.
  • Place dough in refrigerator for 1 hour.
  • Roll dough into 1 inch balls and put on baking sheets. Flatten each ball with a fork.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes or until cookies begin to brown.
  • Serve while still slightly warm, Enjoy!

Love chocolate and peanut butter? Add another level of flavor by dipping half of this cookie in melted chocolate!

I hope you love this recipe, if you are a peanut butter lover like me, see my recipe for Peanut Butter Brownies! Don’t forget to Pin this recipe!




11 Beachy Aqua Kitchen Finds From Amazon

11 Beachy Aqua Kitchen Finds From Amazon

Did you know that aqua is latin for water? The name is no coincidence with the color. The color aqua soothes your soul and creates an instant sense of home and belonging, but also has the calming effect of the beach. It’s the perfect greenish blue hue for coastal home decor.

This post contains affiliate links, see my full disclosure here.

It’s no secret that I am completely obsessed with the color aqua. Aqua is the color of the ocean. It’s the perfect calming beachy blue that reminds me of all of my favorite beach vacations. It’s also great for coastal kitchen decor. I love to create mood boards in my free time, plus I love Amazon so I am always on the lookout for the latest coastal home decor finds.

You can add subtle touches of aqua to your kitchen collection, or something like a large buffet or furniture piece for a pop of color to brighten up a beachy kitchen.

Click on the links below to find the items on the list.

  1. Aqua Nuance Accent Stem 10 oz Wine Glasses
  2. Watercolor Stripes Kitchen Dish Towels 
  3. Love Mason Jar Sconces Wall Decor
  4. Ceramic Kitchen Utensil Holder
  5. Mariposa Aqua Starfish Dip Dish
  6. Aqua Ruffled Wave Edge Pie Dish
  7. Retro Style Console Table Sideboard Cabinet Buffet Table Aqua
  8. Beachcomber 12 Piece Melamine Dinnerware Set
  9. 18 Ounce Large Coffee Mug 
  10. Renditions Gallery Biscayne Treasure III Nautilus Seashell Painting 
  11. Cosmopolitan Coastal Canvas Framed Wall Art 

I hope you enjoy this post, for more ideas see my blog post How To Decorate With Aqua.

 

 

 




Hello Bunny Easter Cupcakes

“Hello Bunny” Easter Cupcakes

These delicious homemade vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting are perfect for an Easter celebration. They are best served the same day of baking, but will remain moist for up to 48 hours when covered in a sealed container. This recipe can be made with all-purpose flour instead of cake flour, but the texture will be coarser and cupcakes will be as tender. I highly recommend using cake flour. This recipe yields 15 cupcakes, prep time is 1 hour, and bake time is 18-20 minutes.

This post contains affiliate links, see my full disclosure here.

The bunnies are made of marshmallow fondant, but if you don’t want to make homemade fondant you can cheat by using peeps! (I recommend making the fondant a day ahead.) See this handy YouTube video below I found for the easiest fondant recipe.

You Will Need

The highlighted items are linked, you can click on the links to find the items on Amazon to make Marshmallow Fondant for 15 Bunnies

Easy Marshmallow Fondant

 

Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups cake flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • ½ cup milk room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cupcake pan with liners, set aside.
  • In a bowl, sift or whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add butter and sugar. Beat until creamed and fluffy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla extract. Mix until incorporated and smooth.
  • Add half of your dry ingredients to butter mixture. Stir until just combined. Add half of milk, again stirring until just combined. Repeat once more, adding remaining dry ingredients, and remaining milk, stirring until just incorporated.
  • Portion batter between 15 cupcake liners, filling about halfway full.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove pan from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring cupcakes to a wire rack to finish cooling
  • Next, prepare the buttercream frosting while cupcakes are cooling.

Easy Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3-4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  • In a large bowl, add room temperature butter and beat until creamy, about 1 minute.
  • Add confectioner’s sugar and slowly mix until ingredients are fully combined. Then, whip at high speed for 2-3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
  • Add vanilla extract and heavy cream, then whip until fluffy, another 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Separate frosting into several bowls and add food coloring, then add to piping bags.
  • Pipe buttercream frosting with a onto cupcakes, then pipe a small circle of chocolate frosting in the center.
  • Place 3 small jelly beans into chocolate frosting.

Fondant Bunnies:

  • Roll out chilled fondant and cut shapes using mini cookie cutters.
  • Draw faces on and let dry.
  • Shape bunny hands by adding a tiny bit more fondant.
  • Place jellybean into bunnies hands, then place into the center of the frosting.
  • This will hold the bunny and jellybeans into place.
  • Place cupcakes on you favorite platter and surround with plastic Easter eggs or real decorated Easter eggs.
  • Enjoy!

 




25 Beachy Sugar Cookie Ideas

Ready for summer and missing the beach? Get inspired with these 25 “beachy” sugar cookie ideas! They are perfect for any nautical themed party, kid’s birthday party, pool party, or beach wedding. Sugar cookies are my favorite! What I love is that they are not only delicious, but they can also be cut & decorated into any shape.

This post contains affiliate links, see my full disclosure here.

The secret is to start with a great recipe. See my blog post Buttery Soft Sugar Cookies with Easy Royal Icing to get started! Not a fan of baking but you still love sugar cookies? You can purchase, find baking inspiration, tutorials, and fun creative ideas from these talented cookie bakers by clicking on the links to their sites below!

25 Beachy Sugar Cookie Ideas

Nautical Celebration

1. My first favorite nautical design is from sugardotcookies.com. You can order these custom made sugar cookies right from their website.

2. Love these beautifully decorated nautical cookies with floral accents from cookieconnection.com.

 

3. I Love the aqua colors in these beautiful seaside custom cookies from lesbiscuitsjosie.com.

 

4. These sugar cookies with lobster & anchor designs from getcreativejuice.com are great for a nautical themed birthday or seafood bake party!

 

5 These nautical anchor sugar cookies from angelicamademe.com are almost to pretty to eat.

 

Summer Beach Party

6. Celebrate Fourth of July with these navy starfish & seashell cookies from sunnydaysweets.com.

 

7. Aqua and purple are a great color combination for these starfish & flip flop beach themed cookies from sunnydaysweets.com

 

8. You can find these cute and cool sunglass cookie cutters on Etsy!

 

9. This baking kit perfect for a Teen’s beach themed birthday party from globalbelly.com.

 

10. Who’s ready for a summer party? These awesome cookies can be found on whoosbakery.com.

 

Summer Pool Party

11. Make a splash at your pool party with these amazing cookies from cookieconnection.juliausher.com

 

12. Love the beach balls and flip flops in this cookie batch from cloughd9cookies.com 

 

13. These cookies  are perfect for a surfer themed pool party from giveacrafteracookie.blogspot.com

 

14. Relax poolside with these hurricane glass & flamingo cookie cutters found on Etsy, perfect for a tropical themed pool party!

15. Have the best pool party with the cutest cookie treats from jennycookies.com.

 

Beach Wedding Ideas

16. Say ” I do” with these pretty sandy starfish and seashells cookies from cookielicious.co.nz are perfect for a beach wedding.

 

17. Say ” I Love You” with heart shaped cookies from ibakeyoubake.com  perfect for a seaside wedding or bridal shower.

 

18. Starfish and lighthouse cookies are perfect for a nautical bridal shower from weddingomania.com

 

19. Love these delicate pastel coastal cookie designs, perfect for a beach wedding from Nancy Heggemeier on Pinterest.

Image credit Nancy Heggemeier

 

20. These gorgeous cookies are perfect for and ocean themed wedding found on thebearfootbaker.com.

Coastal Kids Birthday Party

21. These pretty sea life cookies from theicedsugarcookie.com are perfect for little girls birthday party.

 

22. This Summer Beach Sandcastle Cookie Cutter Set from Etsy is perfect for a kids birthday party at the beach!

 

23. Check out this Under the Sea cookie decorating tutorial from summerssweetshoppe.com perfect for babies 1st birthday party.

 

24. No time to bake? Order these beautiful custom mermaid baby girl 1st birthday cookies from natsweets.com

 

25. I love these cute cookies from lifesabatch.com, they are perfect for baby boy’s beach themed birthday party!

I hope you enjoyed this deliciously creative cookie post! If so don’t forget to save, pin, & subscribe!

 




10 Beautiful Beach Inspired Kitchen Ideas

It’s no secret that I absolutely love coastal home decor. I’m currently renovating my own kitchen coastal style, so I thought I would share some of my favorite beach house kitchen designs. The beach always gives you the feeling of being calm and relaxed. The tranquil colors of the beach such as the light aqua sky, beautiful sunsets and deep blues of the ocean evoke the feeling of the beach throughout your home. Below are my top 10 favorite beachy kitchen designs, check out the links to their sites for more coastal inspiration.

This post contains affiliate links, see my full disclosure here.

10 Beautiful Beach Inspired Kitchen Ideas

  1. You can never go wrong with a classic white kitchen. I love the clear crystal pendant lights, and touch of green and aqua added to the backsplash that also matches the island chairs.

Image credit: mommythrives.com

 

2. I love the clean look of this kitchen, the pendant lights and navy striped counter chairs.

Image credit: curatedinterior.com

 

3. Teal, turquoise and light aqua bring the colors of the ocean into this home creating a light and breezy feel to this kitchen.

Image credit: beachblisslife.com

 

4. The light beachy sand painted walls,  dark navy island, and pendant lights remind you of deep ocean blues.

Image credit: seapoint.com

 

5. Painted teal cabinets and natural wood uppers give this kitchen a beachy feel, note the rattan pendant lights.

Image credit: decorilla.com

 

6. I love everything about this deep blue coastal design from Pottery Barn.

Image credit: Pottery Barn via  completelycoastal.com

 

7. Love the crisp white, natural wood and light greenish-gray backsplash in this subtle coastal kitchen design.

Image credit: seabringdesignbuild.com

 

8. This modern coastal style kitchen features beautiful aqua, crisp white and beachy grey hues.

Image credit: theplumednest.com

 

9. I love the light and dark blues in this nautical inspired kitchen design.

Image credit:bestonlinecabinets.com

 

10. Love the look of this coastal chic modern kitchen design featuring white cabinets, black countertops and  dark backsplash.

Image credit: Houzz.com

 

I hope these looks inspired you. You don’t have to live at the beach to bring seaside style into your home. For more coastal decor inspiration see my blog post 25 Beachy Knobs & Pulls On Amazon.

 

 

 




Blueberry Buttermilk Scones

Do you love blueberry scones? You don’t need to run to your grocery store or local bakery to enjoy delicious scones fresh from the oven. These light and fluffy blueberry buttermilk scones are simple to make, and the best part is you don’t need to get out of your pajamas to enjoy them. All you need are a few ingredients you likely already have in your pantry, and you can enjoy mouthwatering scones in about 30 minutes.

***This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

It’s winter here in New England and one of my favorite things to do is bake! I love to wake up first thing in the morning and turn on the oven to warm up the kitchen, especially on those extra chilly mornings. This weekend I decided to try these delicious blueberry scones. Their wonderful smell fills the air as I wait patiently to take take them out of the oven to enjoy with my morning coffee.

Blueberry Buttermilk Scones

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons dry buttermilk powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons coarse brown sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, dry buttermilk powder, and salt together in a medium bowl, then add the blueberries.
  3. Whisk together the melted butter, vanilla extract, and 1 cup heavy cream in a small bowl.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Turn the dough out on a floured surface and lightly knead until smooth for about 1 minute.
  5. Divide the dough into two balls. Roll out each ball into 1/2- to 3/4-inch-thick disks. Brush the tops of the disks with the remaining 2 tablespoons of heavy cream, then sprinkle with the coarse brown sugar.
  6. Cut each disk into six wedges. Transfer to the lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 12 to 16 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool, Enjoy!

If you like this recipe share it! For more breakfast ideas see my recipe for Easy Breakfast Quiche, & Banana Pancakes with Coconut.




Sweetheart Valentine’s Day Cup Cakes

Attention Chocolate Lovers! Are you looking for Valentine’s Day baking inspiration? Make these easy Sweetheart Valentine’s Day Cup Cakes for your sweetie to show how much you love them! It’s also a fun treat to decorate with the kids. It’s made from a box mix which means you can make so many different variations of this recipe. The frosting is made from and easy two ingredient chocolate ganache recipe.

You can also use any flavored frosting, the cupcakes will still taste decadent and delicious! Also see my latest Valentine’s Day post 10 Delicious Sugar Cookie Decorating Ideas for more inspiration.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

I also recommend these handy 12-Pack Freshware Silicone Heart Baking Cups from Amazon for perfect the heart shaped cup cakes. Click the image below to find the item.

 

Freshware Heart Reuseable Silicone Baking Cups 12 Pack

 

Ingredients for Cup Cakes

  • 1 box Pillsbury Moist Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 1/4 cup oil

Ingredients for Chocolate Ganache

  • 8 oz  (1/2 lb or about 1 1/3 cup of ) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

 

Sweetheart Valentine’s Day Cup Cakes

 

 

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Prepare silicone baking cups with light cooking spray.
  • Blend cake mix, eggs, milk, oil and butter in a large bowl.
  • Beat with a mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  • Place baking cups on a cookie sheet and fill.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 29 to 33 min.
  • Insert toothpick in the center of one of the cupcakes to check and see if it comes out clean, if so cupcakes are done.
  • Cool 10-15 minutes before removing cup cakes from the silicone baking cups and place on cooling rack.

Prepare Chocolate Ganache:

  • Add chocolate chips to a medium size bowl.
  • Bring heavy cream to a simmer on the stove top, stirring occasionally.
  • As soon it simmers, remove from heat and poor over chocolate chips, swirling the bowl to make sure all chips are covered.
  • Pour over the cooled cupcakes.
  • Decorate top with sprinkles, & Enjoy!

 

I hope you have fun making this recipe! It’s great for anytime you need a quick sweet chocolate treat! Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 




25 Beachy Knobs & Pulls On Amazon

Looking for beachy knobs and pulls for your kitchen & bath renovation or furniture upgrade? Look no further, I have created this list of my top favorites that I found on Amazon. I love the look of coastal style, and adding these tiny elements of beachy hardware will elevate your home decor.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

I’m currently in the middle of my own kitchen renovation and thanks to the pandemic, I find my local home improvement stores have been low on supplies due to supply chain issues or out of stock. If you plan on renovating, see my blog post The Ultimate Kitchen Renovation Guide.

I decided to turn to Amazon to find most of my home decor supplies because I no longer have to drive and go searching only to find out it’s out of stock. I love Amazon Prime because you can still get 2-3 day shipping, plus their prices are competitively low compared to the big box stores! Just click on the images below to find the items.

25 Beachy Knobs & Pulls On Amazon

 

 

1. Franklin Brass Seaside Cottage Starfish Kitchen Cabinet or Drawer Knobs comes in 2 colors, brushed satin pewter & antique white.

2. Cosmas 228SN Satin Nickel Rope Cabinet Hardware Knob

 

3.HARPOON Kitchen Cabinet Pulls, 3″ Inch Bin Cup Drawer Handles come in a pack of 10 in Satin Nickel

 

4. Crystal Glass Crystal Cabinet Knobs Crystal Drawer Pull Handles comes in Aqua Blue & Rose Gold

 

5. Sonoma Cabinet Hardware Nautical Sea Shell Calico Atlantic Scallop Seashell Knob Polished Chrome 

 

6. Franklin Brass PBF661-BSP-C1, Seahorse Drawer Knobs Cabinet Hardware Collection in Brushed Satin

 

 

7. Nautical Ship Rudder Wheel Cabinet Knobs 

 

8. Cosmas Satin Nickel Braided Cabinet Hardware Handle Pull 

 

9. Starfish Cabinet Knobs Pulls Pretty Ocean Theme Single Hole Handles  

10. Laide Seashell Drawer Pulls Handles Ocean Theme Knobs Hardware Decoration

11. Doorknobs Nautical Twisted Decorative Jute Knobs 

 

12. Franklin Brass Brushed Satin Pewter Seaside Cottage Oval Handle Pull

13. Cosmas Satin Nickel Rope/Scroll Cabinet Hardware Handle Pull

25 Beachy Knobs & Pulls On Amazon

14. RRRuo Seashell Drawer Kitchen Cabinet Knobs Beach Ocean Theme Pulls 

 

15. Franklin Brass Cockle Shell Drawer Knobs Cabinet Hardware Collection in Brushed Satin Pewter

 

16. Joyindecor Ceramic Starfish Drawer Pulls Handles for Nursery Dresser Cupboard Wardrobe Kitchen Cabinets

17. Hickory Hardware 3-Inch Newport Cup Cabinet Cup Pull, Windover Antique

 

18. Lovely Starfish Ceramic Cabinet Handles for Kid’s Room Door Handles or Cupboard Knobs

 

19. VOSAREA 2PCS Seashell Knobs Nautical Door Handles

 

20. Retro Seahorse Knobs Cabinet Drawer Cupboard Furniture Door Decorative Single Hole Handles

21. Franklin Brass Seaside Cottage Turtle Kitchen Cabinet Knobs

22. Seahorse Shaped Drawer Handle Pulls Coastal Metal Decorative Drawer Pulls

23. Beach Bum Cabinet Knobs

24. MechWares-Retro Marine Style Cast Iron Drawer Handles

 

25. Octopus Drawer Pulls and Handles

 

I hope you found this fun list helpful, good luck with your renovation!

 

 




How To Save On Renovation Costs

Do you plan on renovating your home? A home renovation can one of the most expensive projects you’ll ever take on, plus you want to try to not exceed your budget. Whether you’re planning an addition, remodeling a room, or upgrading the existing interior or exterior of your home; there are ways to keep costs down and stay out of debt.

If you’re planning on selling your home, you’ll want the spaces you create to appeal to potential buyers. This is less of a concern if you’re planning on making it your forever home. If it’s a starter home or investment property, think about keeping renovations neutral and using decor to make the spaces unique.

***This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

How To Save On Renovation Costs

I recently bought my first home, a fixer-upper in the spring of 2020. I purchased my home during the pandemic which was an excellent time to buy a home but not to renovate it. There were NO contractors available in my are due to the restrictions, but once those were lifted it seemed as if every single contractor was booked solid. So what’s a girl to do? I tried to do as much work as I could. Talk about scary, but fun! First off, I want to explain that I did simple tasks such as painting, demolition, and drywall. I watched a ton of YouTube tutorials for the things I didn’t know how to do, but the best part is not only did I learn a lot, I saved a ton of money!

 

The first thing that you want to do before you start any home improvement project is plan. Plan your project, budget and materials! Then decide what you can  DIY or do yourself! Next, make a list and start gathering and shopping for materials. When I started planning my kitchen reno, I started shopping up to a year in advance for materials. I scoured the clearance sections at Lowes, Home Depot, Amazon and Walmart to save big.

 

DIY Tips To Save Money

 

  • Plan- the amount of time and money you want to spend
  • Make lists of materials needed and use it to compare prices.
  • Invest in good, long lasting tools such as a power drill, nail gun, hammer, ect.
  • Use Pinterest to save ideas and visualize your project.
  • Shop for materials early- check the clearance sections at your local home improvement stores and online.
  • Get your friends to help you.
  • Shop Habitat Restore if you have one in your area. Habitat Restore re-sells tons of home improvement items left over from construction projects and home improvement store donations.
  • Shop Amazon- Amazon has tons of home improvement tools and materials at amazing prices!
  • Paint- You don’t have to hire a painter as long as you have the time and patience to do it. See Everything You Need To Know About Paint

 

*Remember you want to leave the complicated things such as plumbing and electrical up to the professionals and unless you feel comfortable enough that can do-it-yourself.  For example you don’t want to demo something that could cost you more money in the end by having to replace it. DIY is best when you have a small project to complete but if you have a large renovation project, it’s best to consider hiring a general contractor.*

How To Hire A General Contractor

A general contractor will coordinate and execute the construction of much larger home projects. Make sure you find a licensed contractor you can trust by doing phone interviews, and getting at least 3 estimates. Check out this handy checklist and tips from forbes.com on how to hire a general contractor.

Did you know that some home improvement are tax deductible? When I replaced my old front door it costed just over $2000. I was able to claim it as a tax deduction because it was considered and energy efficient home upgrade! See the new front door here. Also see this helpful article about tax deductions from www.thebalance.com.

5 Home Improvements That are Tax-Deductible

 

  • Energy-Efficient Renovations. Type of Savings: Credit.
  • Home Improvements for Medical Care. Type of Savings: Deduction.
  • Home Office Improvements. Type of Savings: Deduction.
  • Rental Property Renovations. Type of Savings: Deduction.
  • Home Improvements for Resale Value.

I hope you find this information helpful! If so share it with your friends, also if you are starting a kitchen renovation see my blog post The Ultimate Kitchen Renovation Guide with free printable checklist! Good luck with your home improvement projects!

 

 




10 Delicious Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookie Ideas

Sugar Cookie Lovers, are you looking for Valentine’s Day Cookie decor inspiration? Here are 25 Deliciously decorated sugar cookie ideas to inspire your creativity this Valentine’s Day! If you looking for a great sugar cookie recipe, see my recipe for Buttery Soft Sugar Cookies with Easy Royal Icing!

Here I have gathered a collection of all my favorite V-day cookie designs.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

10 Delicious Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookie Ideas

1. These Hearts Smiles Decorated Cookies from CookieBugInfo Shop on Etsy are the cutest cookies ever and in my favorite colors Aqua & Pink! Click on image to order incase you don’t want to bake!

2. These beautifully decorated classic sugar cookies are so pretty decorated in soft pinks, rose and pastels from SugarHero.com.

3. These cut out heart cookies are almost too pretty to eat! Image credit: Pinterest

4. These cookies are absolutely gorgeous from momlovesbaking.com, click image to see full recipe!

5. Just chill with your gnomes this Valentine’s day with the cutest cookies ever from hollybakes.com.

10 Delicious Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookie Ideas

 

6. Not all Valentine’s day sugar cookies have to be hearts with these cute envelope shapes from recipemagik.com.

7. Check out these gorgeous custom cookies from bunnycakes.com

8. Deliver a cute message to your sweetone with these valentine heart envelopes from gardenseedsandhoneybees.com

9. No hearts here but love these valentine cookies from cookieconnection.juliausher.com

10. Last, here is a link from thedecoratedcookie.com of 30 BEST VALENTINE’S DAY DECORATED COOKIES ideas from around the web. Cut-out sugar cookies and royal icing.

I hope you enjoyed this post and these amazing cookie decorating ideas, if you like almond flavored sugar cookies, see my blog post The Best Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies, enjoy!

 




25 Beach Cottage Home Decor Finds on Amazon

Do you love the look of Beach Cottage Style? Bring the beach into your home with these 25 coastal style furniture finds on Amazon.

When it comes to coastal style, these affordable furniture finds will look gorgeous in any home including cottage, farmhouse, lake or beach house. For more seaside style inspiration, see my blog post 10 Dreamy Beach Cottage Rooms.

 

***This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

 

25 Beach Cottage Home Decor Finds on Amazon

This Beach Cottage Style collection brings together cozy and casual elements to reflect an easy going way of coastal life. The use of bright whites, tans and neutrals create a clean aesthetic meant to evoke the breeziness of the beach. (click on image to find item)

 

1. Elk Lighting Springtide Table Lamp, Aqua, Polished Nickel – Create a warm and welcoming home with this beautiful Aqua lamp.

 

2. Nearly Natural Zebra Silk Plant, 3 feet – Add a warm tropical touch to any room in your home with this gorgeous plant.

 

 

3. Kenroy Home Rustic Wall Mirror with Natural Rope Finish- Place this nautical rope mirror above the sofa or any wall to ass more natural light into your home.

4. Nearly Natural 5289 6.5ft. Golden Cane Palm Silk Tree, Green – Bring the coast in with this gorgeous palm tree.

 

5. JONATHAN Y 19″ Seashell LED Table Lamp – Use this transitional coastal cottage lamp in any room to complete your coastal decor.

6. Baxton Studio Chavanon Wood and Linen Traditional French Accent Chair – This beautiful cottage style chair will add coastal charm to any room.

7. Sunset Trading Horizon Slipcovered Sofa – This bright beachy white sofa comes in 2 colors.

8. OSP Home Furnishings Kaylee Spindle Accent Chair, This beautiful white framed chair with linen fabric will elevate your living room style, comes in 3 colored fabrics, white, grey and navy.

 

9. Coaster Home Furnishings Rectangular 2-Drawer White Coffee Table – This coffee table is the perfect piece for decorating a coastal style beach cottage living room. 

10. Coaster Home Furnishings Johansson 3-Drawer Writing Desk with X-Shaped Braces Antique White – another beautiful furniture piece perfect for a decorating coastal office.

11. Ashley Furniture Signature Design Ceramic Table Lamps – This set of 2 taupe lamps add soft neutral hues and textural beauty to your home.

12. Signature Design by Ashley – Havalance Flip Top Sofa Table in Whitewash/Brown Wood comes in 2 styles: A sofa table or a coffee table.

 

13. BIRDROCK HOME Round Pouf Foot Stool Ottoman – This Knit Bean Bag Floor Chair in Sage Green is Great for The Living Room, Bedroom and Kids Room

14. These Rattan Back French Country Cottage Dining Room Chairs are perfect for a coastal style dining room and comes in 4 colors and sets of 2-8.

15. This Seaside Lodge White End Table by Home Styles adds a rustic coastal feel to any room in your home, 3 styles available: end table, sofa table and coffee table.

16. Decorative Accent Chair with Studded Details – Light Blue come in 6 colors to complete your coastal decor.

17. Signature Design by Ashley Mirimyn Cottage Vintage Hand-Finished Round Accent Table comes in 3 colors, distressed white (shown) teal and brown or grey and brown.

18. Safavieh American Homes Collection Charlotte Distressed Light Blue Sideboard come in 8 gorgeous colors, click image to see all.

19. Renditions Gallery Abstract Seascape Wall Art Framed Beach Painting

20. Powell Furniture Sadie Long Console Table come in 2 colors, Teal and Cream

21. Safavieh Home Collection Ebo Coastal 4 Tier Etagere come in White and Grey. Use this shelving to display all of your coastal decor.

22. Safavieh Home Collection Mina Modern Coastal 3 Drawer 25″ Bamboo Nightstand, White also comes in 2 other colors.

23. This Liberty Furniture Summer House Queen Panel Bed in Oyster White is a perfect addition to any coastal cottage style bedroom.

24. Progressive Furniture Willow Nightstand in Distressed White also comes in 2 more colors.

25. Safavieh American Homes Collection 5 Wicker Basket Storage Tower, bring the beach into your bedroom with this gorgeous tower of seagrass baskets, comes in 5 colors.

 

I hope you enjoyed these coastal beach house finds! For more inspiration see my blog post 25 Beachy Knobs & Pulls On Amazon.

 




3 Free Printables

Do you love planning? Before I create a recipe, weekly plan, or budget for the month, I plan it out & I also love using free printables. Take control of your life, your finances, & get organized with these 3 free budget, weekly & recipe printables! These are perfect for moms, bloggers, entrepreneurs, & students. New bloggers please see my post The Ultimate Free Blogging Guide for 2022 for more free printables!

 

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

 

Monthly Budget Planner

 

Weekly Planner

 

 

Recipe Planner

 

I hope these planners were helpful, take the guess work out of creating your own and print these today! Enjoy!




Banana Pancakes

 

My Favorite Banana Pancakes

 

There is nothing like waking up in the morning to the smell of these homemade Banana Pancakes. The optional shredded coconut added to the batter gives the pancake flavor a tropical twist, but they still taste delicious without it. This recipe serves 4-6.

***This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups butter milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 ripe bananas thinly sliced
  • 1/4 shredded coconut (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans to garnish (optional)

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk, vanilla extract, egg, butter, and coconut. Then add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients.

Add pancake mixture to lightly buttered skillet or griddle. Top each pancake with 4-5 pieces of banana and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the edges appear dry. Turn with a wide spatula and cook another 2-3 minutes on the other side. Drizzle with maple syrup or honey.

This recipe serves 4-6.

 

Note: You can also add sliced bananas in between layers pancakes once they are cooked if you do not wish to add them while they’re cooking.

You can serve these pancakes immediately or stack on a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven at 200 degrees.

If you love this recipe please share it, Enjoy!

 

 

 




Peanut Butter Brownies

These wonderful homemade Peanut Butter Brownies are a decadent treat for peanut butter lovers! They have creamy peanut butter in the mix and delicious peanut butter chips baked inside. You guys know I love to alter a good box mix recipe, but when comes to brownies nothing beats homemade. This recipe serves 18-24 brownies.

***This may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

1 1/4 cups creamy natural peanut butter

1/2 cup or 1 stick of salted butter softened

4 eggs lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-2 cups peanut butter chips

Peanut Butter Brownies

Peanut butter lovers, rejoice!

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Grease 9×13 in baking pan and place into the refrigerator.
  • Mix flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt together.
  • Combine brown butter, sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl and beat until blended.
  • Add eggs and beat until combined.
  • Stir in the flour mixture and peanut butter chips.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until brownies begin to pull apart from the sides of the pan.
  • Cool in pan or on wire rack before cutting into squares.

 

 

 

Side note:

This peanut butter brownie recipe can be made many different ways by adding chocolate chips, chopped peanuts, Reese’s Pieces or chopped peanut butter cups to the batter. This recipe serves 18-24 brownies.

If you love this recipe please share it! Enjoy!

 

 

 

 




How To Be Happier In The Year 2022

 

Happy Holidays! Are you looking to feel happier in the year 2022? The secret is practicing the art of gratitude!

What are you grateful for? The 2022 New Year is upon us and I just wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past year. Let’s face it, for some this has been a tough year. For others the holidays can be a very sad time of year. You may be dealing with loss, loneliness, grief, anxiety or depression. If you are then this post is for you. Even with the current state of events going on in the world; There is always something to be grateful for. I felt the need to share a little bit about myself and my past struggles because I want to you to understand why your first thought in the morning should be Thank You!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

If you are having a tough time right, now here are some tips to help you through. Remember..

  • Look for something positive in each day.
  • As your life changes, so will your circle.
  • Make yourself a priority again.
  • Your presence matters here.
  • Always believe in yourself.
  • Keep faith that you will make it through.
  • Start each day with a grateful heart.

I remember when I wished for all of the things I have today. You see, I used to be a person who complained a lot. I used to see the bad in every situation and I wasn’t even grateful for my life. I was diagnosed with chronic illness at a young age, so just being able to do ordinary things was a challenge. I thought my life was over. I had so many hopes and dreams I still wanted to accomplish; but how could I now? I became very depressed because my future was so uncertain and guess what? I lost everything!

Not only did I lose my health but my job, friends, family, and the place I lived in. I hit rock bottom. Until I learned to practice gratitude there was no way I could even begin to try and rebuild my life again. Even though you may lose everything at some point, or you may be having a tough time in life; the point is it may be really hard but you will get through it. I might not feel that way, but I can honestly speak for someone who has been through more that I ever thought I could handle. Rock bottom became the solid foundation from which I rebuilt my life!

 

I am Grateful for:

  • Being alive! – Despite all of my health challenges, I’m still here.
  • All of my life experiences, good and bad. I learned how to become a survivor.
  • My wonderful loving friends and the family who truly cares.
  • Buying my 1st home. Something I thought I would never be able to accomplish.
  • My blog. I am able to help and reach many people.
  • Never losing hope or faith in God and myself.
  • All of the people along the way who helped me on this journey of life.

 

 

 

You see there is always something to be grateful for. We may not always realize it, but it’s true. Each day that you are able to wake up and take a breath is a gift!

 

The more you focus on gratitude, the more you will attract things to be grateful for! I know it’s not easy, but slowly start practicing an attitude of gratitude and you will soon see your life begin to change for the better. You will not only begin to feel better, buy you will feel more positive about your situation. You will begin to feel as if you can accomplish anything.

With the new year upon us, another helpful thing I like to do is to set goals instead of new years resolutions. Maybe you want to start a business or a new hobby. Remember most people break their resolutions within the first 1-2 months of new year. Try writing down your goals instead. By writing them down, you begin to manifest them into reality. That way when reflect on the past year, you can look back at your list of goals and you will feel better about the past years accomplishments. Also don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t achieve everything on your list. There is always the next year.

I hope you find this post helpful, is so share it with friends and family or anyone who is having a tough time in life right now. Have a very Happy New Year!

 




Easy Almond Funfetti Cake


Happy Holidays! Are you looking forward to the New Year? Are you tired of baking Christmas cookies yet? I know I am, lol. Why don’t you bake this deliciously easy Funfetti cake for New Year’s Eve? It’s actually a great cake recipe for any occasion such as birthdays, July 4th (think red & blue sprinkles) or Halloween (think Orange & black sprinkles).

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

What makes this cake easy is that it’s made from a box mix. What makes it taste home made is the altered ingredients. I never use water in any of my box cake recipes because water does not add any flavor. I also like to add butter to the recipe because butter just tastes better.

You Will Need:

  • 1 box Pillsbury Funfetti Cake Mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • extra sprinkles
  • cake frosting

Note: You can substitute corn or canola oil (you won’t taste the olive oil at all).

Directions:

  • Set your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Prepare 2 or 3 8-inch round pans to keep cake from sticking by lightly coating bottom of pan with butter.
  • Add  flour to dust the pan then place into the freezer.
  • Blend Funfetti cake mix, melted butter, oil, eggs, almond and vanilla extract in a large bowl until moistened.
  • Beat with a mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Note: Should you choose not to use Funfetti cake mix, use a white box cake mix and add your own sprinkles to the batter at this step.

  • Remove cake pans from freezer, fill each equally with mix.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 29 to 33 min.
  • Insert toothpick in the center of the cake to check and see if it comes out clean, your cake is done.
  • Cool 10-15 minutes before removing cakes from the pan.
  • Choose your favorite frosting, add between layers and then on top of the cake.
  • Decorate top and sides with the extra sprinkles, Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this recipe! If so share it with family and friends. Also see my recipe for Coconut Malibu Rum Cake.

Have a Very Happy New Year!




The Best Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies

Can you believe Valentine’s Day is almost here? Looking for an delicious home made treat to bake for your sweetie or a fun project to do the kids? These yummy cookies have the aroma of a warm fresh butter cookie with a background of wonderful almond flavor. Sugar cookies are my favorite to bake, share and enjoy with loved ones because they are so versatile and fun to decorate. These will taste amazing plain or with royal icing!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Some of my favorite memories are the times I spent with my loved ones in the kitchen baking home made treats. Make this recipe and create those amazing memories for you and your loved ones today!

 

The Best Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup softened butter (not melted)
  • 1 1/2 cups of granulated white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract

The Best Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies

Directions: 

  • Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, set aside. In a large bowl, cream together softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add in the almond extract. Gradually blend in the sifted ingredients until fully absorbed. Cover dough, and chill for 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets. On a clean floured surface, roll out small portions of chilled dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters.
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are barely brown. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks. Once cooled decorate using your favorite icing colors and flavors.
  • This recipe yields 4 dozen. Enjoy!

You don’t have to use royal icing to decorate these cookies especially if you are decorating with young children. Any easy, flavored cookie frosting or sprinkles will do. The idea is to have fun!

I hope you love this cookie recipe, if so share it! Also see my recipe for Buttery Soft Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 




Easy Breakfast Quiche w/ Bacon Cheddar & Broccoli

Having guests over for the Holidays? This savory easy breakfast quiche is a fast delicious & filling recipe your guests will enjoy; plus it will make your whole house smell amazing! This quiche can be prepared the night before, refrigerated then simply pop into the oven 1st thing in the morning. The touch of Bisquick adds a light and fluffy interior.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

 

Ingredients:

  • 10-12 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled or 1 cup
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli crowns, chopped & thawed
  • 1/4 cup Bisquick baking mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-2 ready to bake deep dish pie crust

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pre-bake pie crust on a cookie sheet for 10-12 min or until slightly golden brown
  3. While crust is baking, take a large bowl and add eggs, milk, 1/2 cup cheese, Bisquick, salt & pepper. Whisk lightly until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Remove pie crust from the oven, let cool slightly for about 2 minutes.
  5. Layer cooked bacon, broccoli and the rest of the 1/2 cup cheese.
  6. Pour the egg mixture over the top.
  7. Bake 40-45 minutes or until knife inserted in the middle of the quiche comes out clean.
  8. Let stand 5 minutes out of the oven before cutting, then Enjoy!

This quiche can be enjoyed anytime besides breakfast. I have often made this quiche as a go to recipe when I can’t figure out what to cook for dinner. You can also double this recipe by doubling the ingredients and use 2 deep dish pie crusts. Pop one into the freezer and bake it at a later time. Your family will love this, besides what’s not to love about cheese & bacon?

What I love about quiche is that there are so many different variations that you can make. For example try swapping out the broccoli and add sautéed mushrooms. You can also add chopped onions, or if you have roasted red potatoes left over you can add then into the quiche and it will still be delicious! I hope you enjoy this recipe!




Easy Christmas Cupcakes

Happy Holidays! Baking season is here and this is another on of my favorite easy box cake mix recipes. I use Pillsbury Moist Supreme White Cake Mix. The easy vanilla cupcakes are light and fluffy. They will stay moist and fresh for 4 days. These cupcakes are fun to make and the icing is made from rolled fondant. Just click on the link to see the recipe instructions for the fondant. This recipe yields 24 cupcakes.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Pillsbury Moist vanilla cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk or water
  • 1 stick of melted butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

About the ingredients: I like to save time by altering box cake mix until it tastes home made. I never use water because it takes away from the flavor.

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat your nonstick bakeware with cooking spray or simply use cupcake liners. Blend cake mix, butter, milk, oil, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl on medium speed for 2 minutes. Fill cupcake pans 2/3rd of the way, then bake at 350 degrees for 29-34 minutes. Insert toothpick in center and if it come clean cupcakes are done.  Let them cool 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan and then cool completely before decorating. This recipe yields 24 cupcakes.

You can prepare fondant while cupcakes are baking. See the instructions/ingredients here @ Allrecipes.com 

If you don’t with to use fondant you try other creative ideas like piping icing instead or decorate with your favorite vanilla frosting and sprinkles. They will still look and taste amazing. The important thing to remember is have fun and create wonderful memories with your family! For easy decorating with kids you can add mini Christmas trees on top or their favorite colorful Christmas candy! You can also try decorating with Royal Icing. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 




Easy Royal Icing Recipe

 

Happy Holidays!  December is finally here and that means it’s time for some serious cookie baking! Here is my mom’s classic Royal Icing recipe that so many of you have requested. It’s easy to work with, sets quickly and will  have a nice texture when it dries.  Use this classic royal icing recipe for both flooding and outlining your Christmas cookies.

***This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

Royal Icing Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (Domino confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 3 Tablespoons meringue powder (not plain egg white powder)
  • 910 Tablespoons room temperature light cream (water is optional but it cream adds a richer flavor
  • 1 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract (you can also add your own flavor variations instead of vanilla) but make sure it does not have oil because it will break down the icing.
  • food coloring

How To Make Royal Icing:

  1. Combine all of your ingredients into a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat icing ingredients together on high speed for 1.5 – 2 minutes. The icing on the whisk should have stiff peaks as shown in the photo below, if not keep going but keep in mind the long you whisk the icing the thicker it will become.
  2. If icing becomes too thick, just add a little more cream to achieve the desired consistency.
  3. Divide your frosting into 2 bowls, color as desired. One will be your outline icing, the other will be your flooding icing.
  4. Add a bit of cream or water until the icing achieves a drizzle effect off your spoon.
  5. Decorate your cookies! Use your stiff icing for outlining and your thinner icing for flooding and filling.

 

Once applied to cookies the icing will dry in about 2 hours at room temperature. Enjoy! I hope you found this recipe helpful, if so share it and also see my recipe for Buttery Soft Sugar Cookies! 

 

 

 




Buttery Soft Sugar Cookies

Do you love sugar cookies? I admit they are my favorite cookies to make especially on Christmas Eve. This soft delicious cut out cookie recipe is sure to please a holiday crowd! Use your favorite cookie cutters to make this recipe and add icing once they are cooled. The total prep time is 3 hours (2 hours to chill the dough)  bake time 8 to 10 minutes and yields about 4 dozen cookies.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Buttery Soft Christmas Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup softened butter (not melted)
  • 1 1/2 cups of granulated white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions: 

  • Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together, set aside. In a large bowl, cream together softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add in the vanilla. Gradually blend in the sifted ingredients until fully absorbed. Cover dough, and chill for 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets. On a clean floured surface, roll out small portions of chilled dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters. You can find cute and fun Christmas cookie cutters here.
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are barely brown. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks. Once cooled decorate using your favorite royal icing colors. Enjoy!

These cookies will keep their shape nicely and remain soft and chewy long after being cooled. Bake ahead and store in the freezer. They will remain fresh for 3-6 months as long as they are wrapped tightly in plastic and kept in an airtight container.

I hope you enjoy making this recipe if so share it and also see my classic recipe for Easy Royal Icing!

 

 




The Ultimate 2021 Christmas Gift Guide For Beach Lovers

Happy Holidays beach lovers! Thanksgiving is less than a week away and that means it’s time to start thinking of holiday gift giving. It’s a good idea to start your holiday shopping early given all of the issues with the supply chain. This year I have compiled this list of affordable gift ideas for beach lovers from my personal favorite online store, Amazon. There is something for everyone on this list including Mom, Dad, Teenagers, and even the Little Ones. There are also items for those that love dolphins, mermaids and starfish. Just click on the images below to find the items.

***This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

Shopping for anyone who is not a fan of the beach? You can check out all of the Amazon Early Black Friday Deals here!

1. This beautiful Hallmark faux seashell & seaglass ornament is a great gift idea to remember a special beach vacation. It comes prepackaged in a keepsake box and ready to wrap.

Hallmark Seaglass Ornament

 

2. It’s true what they say that beach days are the best days! This gorgeous photo frame make a great gift for any occasion!

Beach Days Photo Frame

 

3. Another awesome beach day gift, this Hallmark Keepsake Ornament is a Christmas gift for anyone who has just purchased a beach house!

Hallmark Keepsake Ornament

 

4. These wine glasses are a perfect gift for those who love wine and the beach!

Beach Life Set of 2 Wine Glasses

 

5. The Keurig Coffee maker in Oasis is a great gift for anyone with a Coastal style kitchen or someone who’s favorite color is Aqua! It has unique slim design and fits perfectly on a office desktop.

Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker Oasis

 

6.These beautiful tea light votives adorned with seashell print make beautiful home decoration gift or décor for any beach themed event.

Kate Aspen Beach Party Glass (Set of 4) Votive Candle Holders

 

7. Attention Seahorse lovers! This cute tote bag is a cool beachy gift idea and perfect for summertime or all year around.

Seahorse Beach Tote Bag

 

8. Do you know someone who love Sea Turtles? This cute sweatshirt comes in many colors and is a great gift idea for your favorite teenager!

I Love Sea Turtles Woman’s Hoodie

 

8. What a an awesome tote bag for you favorite Beach Bum! This canvas tote can be used for just about anything and was created by The Aqua Cottage’s Amazon Curated collection. See all totes & gift ideas by visiting the shop page here.

Beach Bum Striped Tote Bag

 

9. This beautiful hand blown glass seashell figurine is a great gift and fits any beach decor!

Hand Blown Glass Conch Seashell Figurine

 

10. Do you know someone who loves Apothecary Jars? This amazing set comes with lids and are a great storage gift idea.

Set of 3 Seashell Handle Clear Glass Apothecary Jars

 

11. This beautiful turquoise Stemless Wine Glass is a perfect gift for those that love Dolphins! The creators are Veterans and are handblown, sandblasted and etched to create this tribal design.

Dolphin Stemless Wine Glass

 

12. This beach bag says it all! A perfectly stylish carry-all for Mom’s, Teens, or anyone who loves the beach.  Also  comes “Weekend  Vibes” style.  

 

13. This resin seashell wreath makes a great gift for your neighbor, friends, family or anyone who loves coastal crafted wreaths.

White Seashell and Branch Wreath

 

14. This delicate Willow Tree Angel is hold a conch shell in her hand listening to the sounds of the ocean. A very peaceful gift idea!

Willow Tree Thinking of You Angel

 

15. Yankee Candles make some of the best gifts! Give this coconut scented candle to those who love the beach!

Yankee Candle Coconut Beach Scent

 

16. This beautiful blue Seashorse  pillar candle holder fits perfectly into any space for beach decor.

Seahorse Candle Holder

 

17. Your special person can wish apon a starfish this holiday season with this beautiful glass jar gift idea.

Beachcombers Small Bottle with Pewter Starfish

 

18. These nautical silver ornaments are great for that special man in your life or friends and family’s first Christmas in their new home!

Nautical Silver Ornaments for Christmas Tree

 

19. Decorate your teenager or little ones room with this cute beach design, also make a great gift for flip flop lovers!

Beachcombers Wooden Plaque

 

20. Do you know a special little one who loves beach gnomes! These soft cuddly gnomes are great gifts for all ages!

Summer Beach Gnomes

 

21. Know someone who needs a beach day but can’t escape? This mini Sandbox is a perfect gift for Dad, a fellow co-worker or anyone who needs a little reminder of a beach vacation!

Executive Mini-Sandbox

 

22. This travel mug comes in three beachy cool colors and is perfect for those on the go!

Life is Better at The Beach Travel Mug

 

23. Give this tee to your favorite Beach Bum! It comes in men’s, women’s and several colors!

Beach Bum Tee

 

I hope you found this holiday gift guide helpful, if so share it and if you are looking for more beachy gift and home decor ideas I invite you to join my new Facebook Group AMAZON BEACH DECOR FINDS. As a 10 year veteran Amazon shopper and affiliate I have access to early sales and discounts! Thank you for reading and Have A Very Beachy Christmas!

 

 

 




Shop The Cottage!

 

 

Seas & Greetings from The Aqua Cottage where we dream in colors borrowed from the sea! Are you looking for unique gift ideas for Beach Lovers? Did you know that you can now Shop the Cottage? See the latest collection of seasonal Coastal style throw pillows, beachy tees, and tote bags!

We’re more excited than ever to celebrate the holidays! From sit-down dinners to candy cane hunts to last-minute wrapping, it’s all those moments and wonders of the season that are most enjoyed with family and friends. Spread Seaside Holiday Cheer with these fun & festive throw pillows!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

 

Ready to dress your home in holiday charm? These accent will be there with bells on, and best of all they were all created for my Amazon Store so you can trust that if you are an Amazon Prime Customer you’ll get fast free shipping from one of the most trusted merchants in the world! Just click on the image and it will bring you directly to the Shop.

Christmas and New Year’s decorations are incomplete without the right pillows. Throw pillows provide a comfortable and cozy way to style any interior. The overall color palette and room decor usually determine the type of pillows to choose. If Aqua is one of your favorite coastal colors, then you will love this collection.

 

Seasonal Throw Pillows are a great gift option for beach lovers! It would make sense to buy one that could easily fit into the decor of multiple rooms. Add the finishing touches to your holiday decor and toss your decorative throw blanket on your bed or sofa and enjoy your own personal sleigh ride! Our throws pillows are sure to bring a little extra holiday cheer to your home, all season long – fitting perfectly in any room. Have yourself a very beachy Christmas!

*Best Wishes & Happy Holidays!!

 




Beachy Aqua Christmas Inspiration

Seas & greetings! Can you believe the Holidays are here? It’s my favorite time of year and I get so excited to decorate my new home! For Christmas this year I’m decorating in a Beachy Coastal Christmas theme again! Christmas does not have to be has to be all evergreens and red bows, besides I like a minimum decor style.

 If you love coastal themed decor, Aqua can be a stunning yet beachy accent color for your Christmas Decor style. I hope the The Aqua Cottage inspires fun creative ideas that will provide you with lots of inspiration for Indoor and Outdoor Christmas Decorations. Also see my Pinterest Christmas board for more coastal ideas.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Bring the beach into your home this Holiday Season starting with the front door by adding a festive wreath, a bright & cheery welcome mat, and some mini trees!

 

Welcome the holidays inside with coastal mantel displays, impressing your guests and adding beachy cheer to your home throughout the Christmas season.



Welcome in the holiday spirit with a gorgeous Coastal Tree!

These aqua Christmas ornaments are sure to add a beachy feel to your home and create long lasting memories with your loved ones! I love adding starfish all around my home for the holidays, they’re especially appropriate, as their star shape fits in both Christmas and beach motifs.

Thank you for viewing this post, if you have not put up your Christmas Tree yet I hope I have inspired some Holiday Cheer and you will get started soon! Also for see my post; Have Yourself A Very Beachy Christmas!  Merry Christmas & Warm Wishes from The Aqua Cottage where we dream in colors borrowed from the sea!




5 Delicious Ways to Cook Your Thanksgiving Turkey

5 Delicious Ways to Cook Your Thanksgiving Turkey

The Holidays are here! I’m so excited that I have already put up 4 Christmas trees! Thanksgiving this year lands on November 25! Would I dare skip Thanksgiving? No way, it’s almost Turkey Day! It’s what’s served for Thanksgiving in 82% of American homes. We love this tasty bird and we have 5 tasty and delicious ways to cook one, paired with some of our favorite recipes from around the web. Check them out!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Traditional Roast Turkey

When you want to cook your turkey the classic way, follow the advice of my favorite, Alton Brown from The Food Network. Roasting a turkey is easy as pie. Make sure your bird is thoroughly thawed and follow Food Networks timetable for roasting poultry.  Cook Mr. Tom until his skin is golden brown and your thermometer reads 165 degrees. Alton’s advice on roasting turkeys.

Smoked Turkey

We love roasted turkey. But we also love smoked turkey. Get out your wood chips, get out your grill, and get out of the kitchen to put a twist on the traditional Thanksgiving bird. Josh Vogel’s smoked turkey recipe courtesy of Food & Wine has a step-by-step video to help you perfect the process. Smoking can be time consuming, but it’s worth the wait. You can also make your smoked turkey barbeque style, Cajun style, Tex-Mex style, and more by swapping out the seasonings to suit your taste.

Brined Turkey

Brining your turkey is a simple way to help make your bird more juicy, tender, and flavorful. Brining gives your turkey a good cold saltwater bath before you cook it to help to retain moisture. There are many recipes for a brined turkey, including this one from Martha Stewart, another on of my favorite celebrity cooks which is easy to follow. Just make sure you leave the recommended 24-hour time for the brine part.

Deep-Fried Turkey

Deep frying your bird can make the skin super-crispy and the meat super-juicy. This method of turkey cooking is not for the faint of heart however. Set up your fryer outside, away from houses and cars. Keep children and pets away from the deep fryer. Follow all the instructions on your fryer and don’t leave your set-up unattended. And , of course, make sure your bird is thoroughly thawed. The end result is one of the most moist delicious birds you will ever make!

Beer-Can Turkey

Smoking isn’t the only way to grill a turkey. Beer-can turkey involves placing your bird upright on the grill with an open can of beer in the cavity to keep the meat tender and juicy. However, Emeril has a different spin on the traditional beer can recipe that you cook in a vertical roaster on a BBQ pit. Instead of using the can, pour the beer in the inner well of the roaster and put the turkey on top where it can continue to moisten while cooking.

I hope you enjoyed these Turkey Day ideas, what other menu items are on your dinner list? Why not check out these next 2 delicious recipes to add to your holiday meal. See my go to holiday recipe for savory New England Corn Pudding & Sweet Potato Souffle. Let me know what you think!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Click on the image to See The Full 2021 List Here!




Fall Diy Front Porch Reveal

It’s finally autumn, & I’m so pumped for sweater weather, hayrides, & all things pumpkin! I have set the fall scene on my front porch this year with mums, pumpkins, and lanterns. I wanted to create a cozy welcoming space for family, friends, and neighbors.

Fall Diy Front Porch Reveal

Orange and Aqua work well together for a beachy fall look. This amazing door color is called Sherwin Williams Festoon Aqua. I painted this door in the spring time, you can see the before & after here: New Front Door Makeover

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

 

I found this awesome wreath, doormat, pumpkins & scarecrow at my one of my favorite stores, Christmas Tree Shops. If you are ever in Connecticut you should visit. Notice his shirt matches the door color and ties in nicely with the green pumpkins. The pop of orange seating is two candy buckets turned upside down for Mr. Scarecrow to sit on.

 

This season I wanted real mums & my local Home Depot had a great selection! I hope I can keep them alive as I don’t have a green thumb. lol

This little scarecrow and “Hello Pumpkin” sign I bought at Dollar Tree. I also found burlap ribbons, flower and leaf garland at Dollar Tree to create the large bow on the lantern. Okay so I admit many of the items were purchased and not so much DIY, but I had fun decorating and putting it all together! I hope I have inspired you to get exited about autumn and spruce up your home! Check out my new fall collection in the blogs shop page or click on the image below!

Happy Pumpkin Spice Season!

 

 




25 Nautical & Coastal Lighting Ideas to Bring The Beach Into Your Home

Are you looking for affordable nautical and coastal lighting? If so then look no further. I have searched for days trying to find the most elegant coastal style lighting at a fraction of the price of the big box stores. After updating all of the lighting in my home, I decided to compile this list as a go to guide for beach lovers looking to update their home. Did you know Amazon has some of the best nautical pendants, beachy lamps, ceiling fans and coastal style lighting at amazing prices?

 

This summer, I decided to update all of the light fixtures in my home. I replaced all of the outdated fixtures and replaced the  hideous “boob lights” from the 1900’s. Honestly it was one of the best investments I have made so far. There was a previous fire and some of those wires were scorched and needed replacing anyways. Also there was a lot of the old knob and tube wiring that needed to be removed which could cause a future fire. Updating the lighting is one of the best investments you can make in your home and it does not have to be expensive.

***This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

In this list below, you can find everything from nautical pendants and light fixtures for any room in your home suitable for any price range. Just click on the image to find the item on Amazon. You can also use this list to search affordable lighting ideas to add value to your home.

 

25 Nautical & Coastal Lighting Ideas to Bring The Beach Into Your Home on Amazon

Lighting

This classic hanging metal pendant light is a timeless look for any coastal home.

 

Add class to you beach house with this elegant Semi Flush Mount Ceiling Light & it comes in 3 finishes.

 

Update your foyer or kitchen with this beautiful hanging pendant light.

 

Bring the island in with this Rope Ball Chandelier Hanging Pendant Light Fixture.

 

Add a custom Design to your child’s room with this Nautical Style Flush mount Pendant Light.

Lamps

This Set of 2 Nautical Ivory Shell 22-inch looks great in a Bedroom, Living Room, or Home Office. 

 

This Nautical Table Lamp is an Industrial-inspired lantern style with a galvanized finish metal cage.

Bring the beach in with these modern set of 2 glass lamps, comes in 4 colors!

This set of 2 Candlestick Lamps are a perfect addition to a coastal farmhouse or beach cottage.

This Tropical Seagrass Lamp is a perfect addition to any Beach house.

Coastal Pendants

Bring the coast in with this Seafoam Pendant light.

 

This Set of 3 Single Light Metal Wire Cage Lighting Fixture looks amazing over a kitchen island in a modern beach house.

Update your bathroom with this classic nautical 3-Light Bathroom Vanity in Brushed Nickel Finish.

 

Update your hallway with these Vintage Ceiling Light Fixtures.

 

Update a modern beach house dining room with this Rustic Chandelier.

 

 

Ceiling Fans

This gorgeous Tropical Ceiling Fan with Light Kit is a steal under $100.

 

This Metal Hanging Ceiling Fan is perfect for a beachy kids room.

 

This ceiling fan is perfect for a modern coastal farmhouse.

 

This indoor/outdoor fan is will amazing on a porch or any room in the house.

 

This Modern Contemporary Industrial Indoor Ceiling Fan is a perfect addition to a modern beach house.

Beachy Aqua Hues

Add the beach to any room in the home with this gorgeous Aqua Pendant.

This pendant adds a subtle hint of the beach in light aqua.

 

This traditional Mini Pendant Ceiling Light would look amazing over a kitchen island.

 

Bring the coast in with Nautical Ceiling Light Pendant.

 

Decorate your living or bedroom with this Modern Table Lamp in Light Aqua.

I hope you find this list to be helpful, if so share with anyone you know that is renovating or updating their home. Thank you so much for reading and the best of luck with your new home makeover!

 

 




Pumpkin Spice Latte

Happy Fall Y’all. It’s almost “Pumpkin Spice” season and the cooler weather calls for this delicious Pumpkin Spice Latte to warm you up!  This is one of my favorite recipes!  Best of all, you won’t need to leave your home to enjoy this recipe, or spend money at one of those expensive coffee chains. All you need are a few ingredients and about 10 minutes and you’ll have a warm & cozy beverage ready to enjoy.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk or almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice puree, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup hot espresso or hot brewed coffee
  • Sweetened whipped cream, for serving

Instructions

  1. Combine the milk, pure pumpkin puree, sugar, pumpkin spice puree, and vanilla in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and vent with a small hole.
  2. Microwave until the milk is hot. It should take about 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Whisk vigorously until the milk mixture is foamy, for about 30 seconds.
  4. Pour the hot espresso or hot brewed coffee into a large mug. Add the foamed milk. Top with whipped cream, and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice.
  5. Enjoy!

Decorative Thankful Wood Tray with 3 Mason Jars

Click on link or image to Buy on Amazon

 




15 of The Best Coastal Halloween & Fall Decor Ideas Trending on Pinterest

Welcome Fall or as I call it “Pumpkin Spice Season!” Soon the leaves will be falling and there will be a slight chill in the air, but that doesn’t mean that we have to forget about the beach! It’s time to start decorating for Fall, so I’ve rounded up some of the best coastal Halloween decor ideas from Pinterest to help you get started. These looks blend well in a coastal farmhouse, beach house, or any home cozy home inspired by the sun, sand, and sea. These unique ideas can be used throughout the fall season and year after year.

***This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

15 of the Best Coastal Halloween & Fall Decor Ideas Trending on Pinterest

 

1. Create a tiered tray lined with beautiful aqua and mint green pumpkins for a beachy feel.

Fall Tiered Tray from oflifeandlisa.com

 

2. Decorate you mantel in beautiful neutral colors, Fall decor doesn’t have to be orange.

https://www.stonegableblog.com

 

3. Here is another mantel idea in gorgeous nautical navy.

https://www.makinghomebase.com

4. Create a coastal Holiday tablescape.

https://h2obungalow.com

 

5. Create a festive Thanksgiving table with pumpkins and seashells.

Image Credit: Pinterest

 

6. Check out these beautiful crafty Modge Podge Pumpkins

inlinkz.com

 

7. Add subtle touches of fall all round your home with a tray of pumpkins.

housefullofsummer.com

 

8. Check out these crafty DIY sea creature pumpkins!

kitchenfunwithmy3sons.com

 

9. No time to DIY? Check out this Handmade Coastal Pumpkin from Esty.

BeachByDesignCo

 

10. Create an Easy Coastal Fall Dough Bowl that you can switch up any season.

anchoredsouldesigns.com

 

11. Don’t forget your front porch, aqua and orange pair beautifully together.

Image credit: Pinterest

 

12. Check out these beachy blue painted pumpkins from Completely Coastal.

https://www.completely-coastal.com

13. The Nautical DIY pumpkins are perfect for a beach house porch.

livingporpoisefully.com

 

14. Create a multicolored centerpiece with with beautiful blue and grey pumpkins.

celebratethehome.com

 

15. This coastal farmhouse entryway is warm and inviting.

Image credit Pinterest/ farmhouse.charm via Instagram

 

I hope you enjoyed viewing this list. Just click on the photos to view the site. For more Fall inspiration see my blog post Fall Decorating Ideas for a Beautiful Autumn Season. Have a Happy Fall!!

 

 

 

 

 

 




Coconut Malibu Rum Cake

Coconut Malibu Rum Cake

This buttery Coconut Malibu Rum Cake is a taste of the Tropics and easy to make!

Here is a delicious rum cake that is a simple and easy dessert recipe perfect for Holidays, a beach barbeque or just in time for Labor Day! It’s easy to make and you can use just about any of your favorite box cake mix. I love the ease of a box mix for baking but felt that it sometimes lacked the extra flavor that I wanted. So I started experimenting with different recipes and this by far is one of the best. When I first created this recipe it took about 3 tries to get it perfect. You will notice in the ingredient list below that I substitute the box mix recommendations to add more flavor and make it taste home made.

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see our privacy policy.

The Ingredients

  • 1 box cake mix (I recommend Pillsbury Moist)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup Malibu Coconut Rum
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 bag shredded coconut

The pineapple juice and rum substitutes the one cup of water recommended and adds more flavor.

You can tweak the pineapple juice and just use 1/2 cup of water instead.

Directions

  • Set your oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Prepare 2 or 3 8-inch round pans or 1 13 x 9 – inch baking dish to keep cake from sticking by lightly coating bottom of pan with butter
  • Add  flour to dust the pan then place into the freezer.
  • Blend cake mix,  pineapple juice, Malibu Coconut Rum, 1 stick melted butter, oil and eggs in a large bowl until moistened.
  • Beat with a mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Cake Batter should be a pretty yellow.

Most of the alcohol in the cake mix will cook off in while baking in the oven leaving more of the coconut flavoring behind but not the rum. This is why you add more rum to the cake while slightly hot. It will mix with the butter and will add a delicious buttery rum flavor to the cake.

  • Remove pans from freezer, fill each equally with mix.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 29 to 33 min.
  • Insert toothpick in the center of the cake to check and see if it comes out clean, your cake is done.
  • Continue to poke hole into the cake with a toothpick.
  • Gently pour 1/3 cup of Malibu Coconut rum over cake while still slightly hot.
  • Cool 10-15 minutes before removing from pan.
  • If baking in 13 x 9 – inch baking dish, simply add your favorite white frosting then sprinkle shredded coconut on top.
  • If using 2 or 3 8-inch round cake pans, add the frosting and coconut in between layers, & on top then garnish with maraschino cherries.
  • Cake is best served room temperature or on a hot day you can serve it cold as a cool refreshing dessert.

For more Holiday baking ideas see my recipe for Buttery Soft Sugar Cookies & Easy Royal Icing!

Enjoy!

 




Fall Decorating Ideas for a Beautiful Autumn Season

Hey Y’all, can you believe it’s almost Fall? Haha I have always wanted to say that but seriously, it  seems like summer only lasted about 10 minutes. I am so excited to begin the Autumn season! I’m so ready to start decorating for Fall because here in Connecticut we have had such a stormy, rainy summer. Despite the humid summers, Fall in New England is one of the prettiest places to be.

Fall Decorating Ideas for a Beautiful Autumn Season

Connecticut In The Fall

Image Credit: newenglandwithlove.com

Our quaint little coastal towns against the backdrop of beautiful Fall foliage makes it one of the most beautiful destinations. Although the beaches are my favorite, I am patiently waiting for the cooler days of Autumn. You can hop in your car and take a scenic drive where you’ll find the brightest of yellows, oranges, and reds on nearly every highway and country road.

***This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

Also, I’m a Fall baby! Being born in November just before Thanksgiving is why it’s my favorite time of year! I love sharing unique decor ideas and todays inspirational colors are Aqua and Orange! This combination is friendly, inviting, and transitions well into the holiday seasons.

Some of The Most Beautiful Fall Decor on Amazon

Did you know these two colors work very well together and blend easily with Coastal, Farmhouse, and Fall decor? If these are some of your colors you’ll be sure to like this list that I hand picked for you. Click on the links to find the items below.

  1. Rustic Table Centerpiece Wood Tray with 3 Mason Jars, & Flowers is a beautiful combination of fall colors.
  2. Boston International Decorative Glass Pumpkin in light aqua comes in two sizes and is ideal for autumn, Thanksgiving or any time of year.
  3. Fall Welcome Garden Flag looks great indoors or out and will beautify any room in the house.
  4. Autumn Halloween Christmas Wreath  can be used well into the Thanksgiving/Christmas/Holiday seasons.
  5. Decorative Leaf Velvet Lumbar Plush Throw Pillow comes in several sizes and creates a warm and holiday mood wherever they are placed.
  6. Decorative Teal and Aqua Resin Pumpkins use these to create a perfect coastal fall centerpiece on a decorative tray.
  7. Silk Hydrangea Bouquet  surround this floral piece with small multicolored pumpkins to create a fun festive fall table.
  8. Grateful Pumpkin Floral Aqua Throw Pillow My personal favorites designed for my Shop in orange and Aqua.
  9. Thankful Pumpkin Floral Aqua Throw Pillow use these in an entryway, front porch or any room in the home.
  10.  Blessed Pumpkin Floral Aqua Throw Pillow are great to use throughout the fall season.
  11. Mason Jar Wall Sconces are ideal for indoor outdoor use to add that special fall touch to your home.

I hope you enjoyed this list, and I have inspired you to create a beautiful home!

Thank you so much for reading, and Happy Fall Y’all!




Before & After Guest Bedroom Makeover

Get ready for a miracle bedroom transformation! When I bought my 1947 ranch a year ago, my guest bedroom was literally the ugliest room in the house. It’s also one of the largest rooms in the house and was painted a horrible dark purple-ish blue. Even the baseboards were painted in the same color.

 

 

***Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.***

The first time I came to see the house with my realtor, I remember joking with her about the guest room and naming it “the purple room of doom.” She remarked at how the room would be a challenge, but the house had good bones and it just needed a little tlc. Surprisingly I was ready for that challenge!

I was in love with the home’s layout and it felt big and spacious. But when it came to the guest bedroom I would just keep the door shut as if it was not even part of the house. This continued for about 6 months as I worked on other paint projects.

After transforming the rest of the house I decided it was time to tackle that room. First off I want to say that this room took months to complete. There was a huge water spot in the ceiling, holes in the wall and countless nails and screws all over.

 

The funny thing is each of the four walls was a different texture and material. Now that’s challenge! One wall had wallpaper, the other panel, the other is drywall and one plaster. I thought how in the world can I transform this room into one cohesive space?

First I want to say that this was a complete diy project. The first thing I did was prep the walls by removing all of the nails, screws and wallpaper. The next step was spackling all holes and sanding the walls to a smooth surface. Then it was time to prime the walls.

My first stop for paint and supplies was my local Sherwin Williams store. After explaining my dilemma and then showing them a picture of the “purple room of doom” they recommended their Multi-Purpose Interior/Exterior Latex Primer/Sealer.

This stuff worked amazingly on all of the different wall materials! I was so excited to finally have somewhat normal looking walls!

Next I chose Sherwin Williams Sea Salt Paint. Since it was such a large room I wanted a cozy, calming color that would compliment the rest of the houses beachy theme. I was shocked at the transformation! The ugliest room in the house became one of the prettiest.

My next job was to tackle the baseboard heater. I considered replacing them but then decided to try painting them instead. It took three coats of Rustoleum Ultra Cover White Paint to hide the hideous purple-blue. I’m very pleased with the outcome and the savings were around $400-$600 dollars.

Now that I had a perfect beachy blank canvas, it was time to decorate! I added a Pottery Barn bead board bed and a simple white nightstand from Homegoods. I didn’t want to add too much furniture and clutter the room.

Now I have a beautiful guest bedroom that anyone would actually want to sleep in.

 

Homeowners, you don’t have to spend a ton of money! With the right paint colors and a little bit of time and patience, you can makeover your dream home. Do not be afraid to do it yourself. Anything that you want to learn how to do it is on the internet!

I saved lots of money just by choosing the right paint colors, taking my time, and not hiring a painter. I do believe if there is something that you cannot do, like scary plumbing or electrical projects (hire a professional).

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you would like to do your own paint projects, see my related blog post: Everything You Need To Know About Paint.

 




The Best Beach Day Beauty Finds On Amazon

Attention all Beach Babes! Summer is officially here! Time to start planning your vacations and beach day getaways with these amazing beauty finds. I’m Kendra, and I’ve created a complete list of summer must haves you need from Amazon. And don’t worry, if you don’t live someplace coastal like me, many of these items work great for a lake or pool day!

It’s no secret that I love getting packages in the mail from Amazon! It’s so much better than driving around in the heat and spending hours in the store searching for my favorite products. The links you see below and on my blog are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission when you use them. See my affiliate disclaimer here, and thank you for supporting my blog.

  1. Pacifica Beauty Enlightened Gloss Mineral Lip Shine, Beach Kiss
  2. Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Spray SPF 50
  3. Physicians Formula Murumuru Butter Bronzer
  4. Sea Salt Texturizing Spray for Hair 
  5. Sun Bum SPF 30 Sunscreen Lip Balm
  6. Clinique High Impact Water Proof Mascara
  7. Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Weightless Sunscreen Face Lotion
  8. Hawaiian Tropic After Sun Lotion Moisturizer Hydrating Body Butter
  9. Brazilian Crush Cheirosa Hair & Body Fragrance Mist
  10. Hello Summer Tote Bag for Beach, Gym, Travel, Shopping ect.
Find it here: https://amzn.to/3qeYUC7

Don’t forget the Beach Bag! I hope you enjoyed this list, let me know which are your favorites and have a great summer!




New Front Door Makeover

Hello and Welcome back to The Aqua Cottage where we dream in colors borrowed from the Sea! Today I’m so excited to share with you my renovation of my 1947 ranch. I simply love how this project finally turned out! A new front door can change the look of your entire house. ***This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

The Original Door

My house was custom built in 1947 and came with the original front door which had never been replaced. Back then they did not build according to standard measurement which is 80 inches in height, so I had it custom ordered from Home Depot. Normally it is a 6 week wait time but thanks to covid, that wait ended up being 4 months.

As you can see in the photos below it was pretty warped and had been painted over many times.

I also had Home Depot install my new door, they scheduled and appointment to come out to my home and measure. Upon measuring they also discovered that the door was painted with lead based paint, so they said it was definitely a good idea to replace it! We also discovered there was a 1-2 inch gap underneath the door which allowed hot and cold air in.

 

Out With Old, In With The New!

They really did a great job and the whole project took about 3 and 1/2 hours complete including ripping out the old frame and trim. They also hauled away they old lead based door. The door was installed October of 2020 just in time before winter. (Thank goodness it’s freezing in New England during winter!) Since there was a delay I was not able to paint until spring of 2021. I decided since there was a covered porch to skip the screen door.

Welcome Spring! Time to Paint

 

I used two coats of Sherwin Williams Resilience quick dry exterior paint in Festoon Aqua! You can never go wrong with this paint and it turned out amazing. I’m in love!

The Finished Look!

There is something so beautiful about the color combination of Pink and Aqua! I do not have a green thumb so I purchased these flowers at my local Dollar Tree Store. I found this outdoor rug and these gorgeous planters on Amazon. You can find them here by clicking on the link: Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug or Pure Garden Decorative Outdoor Garden Potted Planter Box, White. I hope I have inspired you to create the home of your dreams! Thank You for your support and allowing me to share my renovation ideas with you!

PS: I know summer is coming, but I am slightly obsessed with pumpkins!! lolol Don’t laugh at me 🙂




How To Decorate With Aqua

Do you love the color Aqua but are not sure how to use it in your home? Find inspiration here and learn how to decorate with Aqua. It’s not just for beach houses!

If you don’t want to paint your walls aqua, here are some colorful inspirational ways to add aqua decor to your home. It can be used in any room in your home.

The color Aqua soothes your soul and creates an instant sense of home and belonging for you.

People who love the color aqua are highly creative. Aqua is a classic color that many turn to when decorating their homes. Closer to green than blue, aqua is refreshing and uplifting. It is creative and light hearted; strong and individual. It also calms the mind and balances the emotions.

The color aqua is naturally serene and calming, but it also reminds us of the ocean. No wonder it’s a natural choice in home decor for people who love the beach!

If you do decide to refresh your home and use the color Aqua to paint, start with this colorful guide from my Beach Cottage Style page.

 

Here are some of my favorite inspirational pics from Pinterest!

Adding touches of Aqua accents & decor around your home is the easiest way to bring the beach into your home. I hope you have enjoyed this post. 

 

 




10 Dreamy Beach Cottage Rooms

Hello everyone, get inspired to refresh your home with these 10 dreamy beach cottage rooms! Beach cottage style brings together cozy and casual elements to reflect an easy-going way of coastal life. When you think of beach cottage decor, white may come to mind. White creates the canvas for bold accent colors such as aqua, navy, turquoise and coral.

***Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.***

Wicker baskets, sisal rugs, rustic wood tones, driftwood, and cedar shingles are all natural elements that give a beachy or waterside feel to your home. The use of natural light, soft tones, and a clean aesthetic is meant to evoke the breeziness of the beach. Basically, it feels like summer year-round inside your house.

  1. Shiplap gives a light and airy feel to this beach cottage living room with neutral furniture accents.

2. This is a great idea to decorate a reading nook with gorgeous coastal wall art as the focal point.

3. This vintage cottage style bedroom is bursting with color for a light and cheery feel.

4. What a great design idea for a small space coastal style entry way!

5. I love everything about this beachy bedroom with aqua blue and navy accents.

6. This beautiful beach cottage style bedroom in shades of white and aqua has natural textiles of cotton and linen, with coastal accents and plants.

7.  You’re going to love this ALYS Beach beauty designed by Birmingham designer, Lisa Flake of Caldwell Flake Interiors. Click the link below picture to see the full house tour.

8. This modern kitchen has light oak flooring than is quite literally the foundation of your coastal style interior design aesthetic.

9. This modern coastal kitchen with aqua blue backsplash and natural barstools create a cozy beach cottage feel.

10. Is there anything more relaxing than a tub overlooking water? What a gorgeous view!

I hope you enjoyed these beautiful design ideas! For more ideas see my Beach Cottage Style page.




Happy New Year!

Hello everyone! Are you ready for 2021? I know I am! I wanted to share some advice as we head into another year of new beginnings. If 2020 has taught us anything, it taught us that our world as we know it can change instantly. I have always felt, one of the best ways to cope with challenges is to escape to the beach to clear your thoughts, rest and recharge.

We all know the beach brings tranquility, peace and healing to the body and soul, but not everyone is able to travel right now. Here are beautiful beach quotes and images that your can refer to when you need a little coastal inspiration.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnGOqvRJtH4

Although many of our lifestyles have changed, we must continue to move forward into 2021 with gratitude and let go of the things that we can’t change. We also need to let go of people or things that rob us of our peace, and no longer serve us.

When we do this, we make room for better opportunities and relationships to come into our lives. Not only do we learn to appreciate those who are truly there for us in our time of need, but we learn how to be there for others. Take this time to strengthen your bond with family and friends.

This year I advise against making stressful new year’s resolutions. Instead try making a list of personal goals you would like to achieve for yourself. People who write down their goals tend to focus and achieve them faster.

Most people who make strict resolutions most likely break them by March/April and may end of feeling guilty for not sticking to them.

Instead of making a list of resolutions, I decided to make a list of goals how I would like to help make the world a better place. Here are some of those goals, hopefully they will inspire and lift your spirits.

  • A random act of kindness and generosity can make the world a better place. A small gesture such as paying for a cup of coffee or someone’s lunch will not only surprise them, but can make a big difference especially if they’re having a bad day. The bonus is that you feel better instantly!
  • Start a gratitude journal. Journaling helps battle anxiety and depression, and gives us an gives us an opportunity to reflect on the good things in life that we are truly grateful for.
  • Treat yourself with more love and kindness. Make yourself a priority this year by adding more self love and care. Start a new hobby or something that you feel passionate about.
  • Donate clothing and food. Next time you’re at the grocery store pick up a few extra items and add them to the donation bin. Also clean out your closets and donate those clothes you no longer wear. It’s less clutter for you and someone could really use those items.
  • Improve your home. Your home is your sanctuary! It’s place where you rest and recharge. Give your home a refresh by painting it in your favorite relaxing beachy colors! Many of us are spending more time at home and improving your living space will definitely make you more happy.
Image Credit Pinterest

I want to thank everyone who supported the blog this year! I really appreciate you and I wish you all the best for 2021.




Welcome The Christmas Cottage!

Coastal Christmas Tree One

Welcome to the Aqua Cottage where we dream in colors inspired by the sea! Are you ready for the Holidays? Ready or not they’re here! Since my home is coastal themed, I decided to put up two coastal themed Christmas trees. The first one above is in the living room with aqua blue accents to match the beachy paint color Watery by Sherwin Williams.

*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links; should you choose to make a purchase using said link, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.*

Coastal Style Living Room

Since there are so many Christmas decorations all around the living I decided to leave the coffee table decorated coastal neutral. I like a more rustic yet elegant look. I got this gorgeous trunk table from Amazon. It holds lots of blankets and has plenty of storage for pillows. Surprisingly it was only a little over $100. You can find it here: Happimess Jacob 30″ Wicker Storage Trunk, in Brown or Natural

 

The Tv shelf mantle is adorned with garland and aqua ball ornaments. The burlap stocking was a simple diy project. You can order these and decorate them anyway you like, find them here: Sunshane Burlap Christmas Stockings Xmas Fireplace Hanging Stockings I used a hot glue gun to attach the starfish. I also found these gorgeous mini Mermaid lanterns at one of my favorite stores. (Christmas Tree Shops)

 

The Christmas trees are decorated in burlap and lace ribbons with and eclectic mix of starfish ornaments.

Family Room Coastal Tree Number Two

This coastal themed tree is decorated in more traditional cream and white colors to match the family room colors. I hope you are inspired to decorate your dream cottage in your favorite coastal colors. Stay safe and healthy this 2020 Holiday season, and for more ideas and inspiration see my original post Have Yourself A Very Beachy Christmas!




Have Yourself A Very Beachy Christmas!

Christmas time is here, it’s our favorite time of the year here at The Aqua Cottage! Are you ready to have a Beachy Christmas? Whether you live by the shore or your home is nestled inland, there are many creative ways to add a coastal Christmas theme to your current holiday decor. Seaside elements such as starfish and seashells in watery colors such as aqua blue add a freshness to your holiday decor.

***This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

Here is a list some of the best Coastal Christmas decor finds on Amazon! Remember to get your holiday shopping and decorations done early and avoid the retail stores this 2020 holiday season! Also get faster shipping when with a Prime membership! Just click on the highlighted link or image to find the item.

  1. Coastal Beach Wreath with Seashell Starfish, Ribbons Add this welcoming wreath to your front door or anywhere inside your home for a warm and festive coastal feel.

2. LTD Coastal Holiday Decor Collection Snowman Figurine & Lighted Christmas Tree Set This gorgeous set is also sold separately and makes a great gift for your favorite Beach Lover.

3. 32 Pieces Multi-colored Resin Pencil Finger Starfish with Gold Rope Starfish Decorative Ornaments  These starfish in traditional festive colors make a perfect addition to any Christmas tree.

4. Coastal Christmas Sea Coral Christmas Rustic Tree Skirt 30 Inch Nothing says Beach House Christmas like this Nautical Tree Skirt adorned with sand dollars.

5. Coastal Wreath Summer House Flag Welcome Nautical Seashells 28″ x 40″ This beautiful flag is a nautical addition to the front door or anywhere in the home.

6. Transpac Coastal Sandman Snowman Figurine This whimsical snowman is the cutest with his beachy hat and starfish buttons.

7. 34ct Christmas Ball Ornaments Shatterproof Christmas Decorations Tree Balls Turquoise is always the perfect coastal color to brighten up your tree.

8. 10 Pack White, Blue & Green White Finger Starfish 4″-6″ Starfish automatically ad a tropical theme to any Christmas decor.

9. Costyleen 16 Inch Christmas Ball Ornament Tree These brightly colored trees come in many harmonious colors that fit in with any style decor.

10. Lucky 99 Christmas Sea Glass Tree, Beach Christmas Tree These aqua blue trees add a refreshing ocean atmosphere to Christmas

11. Sunshane Burlap Christmas Stockings Xmas Fireplace Hanging Decoration DIY Craft (Flaxen, quantity 4) Add starfish to these gorgeous stockings to give them a beachy feel as shown in the image below.

12. Metallic Turquoise Finger Starfish Christmas Tree Ornaments, Set of 6 What a gorgeous color! Love these!

I hope you find this list helpful and it inspires you to create the festive holiday home of your dreams! Sharing is caring! Stay safe and Happy Holidays!!




Why The Beach Is Still Good For You During This Pandemic

Hello beach lovers, this post is definitely for you and for those avoiding the beach due to Covid-19 it may be somewhat controversial.

***This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

When summer began, I was horrified when I saw on the news that authorities in some cities began closing the beaches due to coronavirus. News reporters scolded people for going to the beach claiming it was dangerous. Americans angry at other americans for having fun simply because they could not get to the beach or were afraid to go themselves. We all know how the major news media lies, as many fake overcrowded beach images were plastered all over the news channels. Even cities that have no beaches were featured in the news as having beaches that were packed. Really?

You have to ask yourself why is okay to go to Walmart and stand in line packed in to conformity while trying to remain six feet away from each other as “essential employees” completely ignore the six feet rule while guiding you into the store, and hand over a cart that they have supposedly cleaned and touched?

I want to thank the wonderful and good essential employees for their service and bravery, but I don’t feel that their health was protected at all. They were simply thrown into this virus madness just like the all of us deemed “essential. As someone who worked in the healthcare industry; I was torn between protecting my health and not wanting to leave my job because our patients needed us.

As a beach lover and someone who depends the ocean for my sanity when life becomes too overwhelming, I decided to do some research. It’s been proven by science that the beach is actually still good for you improving your physical and mental health. Here is why:

  • It supports your immune system– stronger immunity means your body can protect itself better from disease.
  • It relieves stress and has the ability to trigger a psychological state of calm and contentment. Right now we are living in very stressful times and the beach is the best escape, (especially from the news).
  • It’s good for your lungs– Studies have shown that there are therapeutic qualities to the salty ocean air that have helped lung disease patients as well.
  • It has healing properties– Ocean water helps with allergies and sinus issues. It can also heal skin conditions and wounds while improving skins elasticity.
  • We really need more vitamin Sea– It clears your mind and restores your soul.

So why on earth would the anyone recommend avoiding the beaches especially during a time when we need it the most? I firmly believe if we all used a little commons sense and truly remain six feet apart from each other, we will be safe at the beach and not need a mask! Do not fear the beach but embrace it, know that you will be okay. If you still don’t feel safe, take drive by the ocean and just park by the water. At least get out there and enjoy the waves and the sea breeze! You can thank me later. Stay safe and God Bless.




A Sneak Peak Of My New Home!

Hello! A lot has happened within the last 6 months! I bought my 1st home, and it’s a 1947 ranch fixer. Although it’s about 20 minutes from the beach, I absolutely love it! I am still surrounded by plenty of water as my house is only 1 minute away from one of the largest rivers running through Connecticut. The Aqua Cottage officially has a home!

***This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

Buying a house during Covid-19 was especially stressful. I started searching for a home in November of 2019. I found my dream home in March of 2020, right around the time Covid hit the US. I wasn’t sure if my job was going to shut down, so this made the whole process even scarier. Luckily, my mortgage company speeded up the whole process, and my job did not shut down until 3 months after I closed on my house!

I am so excited to share with you some DIY pics and projects that I have been working on for the last 3 months. I will also share all of the before and after photos in the future full house renovation reveal. Thanks to Covid I am still patiently waiting for a contractor to renovate my kitchen and bathroom. So here is a sneak peak below.

Family Room

Here is one image from the family room, I am currently working on the fireplace and will add those pics when completed. As you can see I am so ready for fall. I love pumpkins, so I thought why not start decorating for fall a little early this year? I’m a November baby, so fall is my favorite time of year! I had this table special ordered at Barewood Fine Furniture and painted in Sherwin Williams Watery! It is my favorite color.

I had horrible dark brown panel covering the walls in the living and family room. I bought Walldoctor Paintable Prepasted Beadboard Stripes Texture Wallpaper on Amazon. Then painted over it in Sherwin Williams Pure White to brighten up the space. The wallpaper comes pre-pasted, so it was pretty easy to apply. I absolutely love how it turned out, plus no more 70’s brown panel.

The Kitchen

Here is a partial view of my kitchen. The paint color on the wall is Topsail by Sherwin Williams. I am currently without kitchen cabinets so I had to be a little creative with storage.

I built these cottage style shelves that I purchased on Amazon. I will add the tutorial later but you like them, you can find the corbels here. https://amzn.to/3iQvFRr

I also purchased this kitchen storage rack which holds a fairly large microwave. I love the top shelf. As you can see I have overloaded it with aqua canisters. Its very sturdy and yes it can hold a very heavy Kitchenaid mixer. Here is the full pic below with and the link. AmazonBasics Kitchen Storage Baker’s Rack with Table, Wood/Chrome – 63.4″ Height

https://amzn.to/349vTyP

My Living Room

I am a true Aquaholic! As you can see Sherwin Williams Watery is just about everywhere through out my house. I have been obsessed with this color for several years. It just makes your home feel so cozy, comfy and beachy! How could anyone not wake up happy here?

I built the TV shelf using the corbels I mentioned previously and bought a pine shelf from Home Depot. They are pretty awesome because they will cut the wood for you up to a certain amount of pieces for free.

The sofa is from Pottery Barn, and it is the comfiest sofa ever! I am not a Sherwin Williams, Home Depot or Pottery Barn affiliate. I believe when a product is an amazing it should be shared regardless.

Here is some more pics of the living room fall decor, I am so ready. Are you? Orange and Aqua are two bright cheery colors that look amazing together!

The white table, aqua blue lamp, metal wall decor above the TV, and white picture frames were all purchased on Amazon. Just click the highlighted text and you can find so many unique decor items. They were a lifesaver because for the first 3 months of the pandemic, all of the stores in my area were closed, and everyone had to shop from home.

I hope you enjoyed my new house sneak peak, and that you are inspired to create your own cozy cottage style home! Follow The Aqua Cottage for upcoming DIY projects, renovation ideas and my full house tour. Thanks again! Have an awesome day!




Welcome 2020!

Welcome 2020!!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Congratulations, we made it to 2020! It’s been a while since I have posted, but that’s because 2019 was full of challenges that followed right into 2020. First, my printer died or technically stopped printing in color. On the same day that I was given a new printer as a Birthday gift, my favorite (one and only) laptop died! I am not one to run out and impulse buy new electronics, so I tried to have it repaired only to learn that the hard drive was gone and no data was recoverable! There went my $30 in stock photos purchased and my some of my beloved photos.

Now I know those things are minor compared to what’s going on in the world right now. For some people the holidays (thank goodness they’re over) are a tough time to get through. Especially if you aren’t surrounded by loved ones, don’t get along with family, are facing health issues, have recently lost a job, or are simply alone. During the Holidays the media continues to bombard us with images and scenes of a perfect life of health, wealth and family. if you are facing any of these challenges, it can be hard to feel like celebrating.

Remember It’s perfectly okay to take some alone time for yourself.

So here is a fresh new year, ready to be conquered. I’m sure it will present it’s own set of new challenges, but you will make it through. Your past has brought you to the place you should be and life is all about lessons. I want to encourage you to focus on your goals, continue fighting for your dreams, and try to make amends with loved ones. Unlike my computer and my printer, they are not replaceable. Take the lessons of 2019 and turn them into wisdom, and forgive yourself for the mistakes.

Last year I learned that nothing is stable. Not my job, my electronics, or my health. This year has taught me that you should always have a back up plan, especially for your computer! (haha) After much hesitation, I bought a new computer and I love it! I learned to let go of the old, welcome the new, and keep moving forward!

I’m looking forward to the this year, the lessons, the blessings, and the journey! I wish you all peace, success, and a Happy 2020!




25 Amazing Christmas Gifts For People Who Love The Beach

Are you looking for gift ideas for beach lovers? Look no further, as beach lover myself I have gathered a list of gift ideas that anyone will love.

***This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

I love the beach! Spring, summer, fall, and winter I’m there. I just can’t resist being near the sea or listening to the soothing sounds of crashing waves in any season. I guess you could say I am truly dedicated.

I believe that everyone loves the beach. The feeling of the sand beneath your toes puts everyone in a relaxed mood when they step foot in the ocean. If you know someone who’s constantly thinking about their next beachy getaway, then these gifts are right up their alley. There is something for everyone on any budget.

What’s amazing about this list is that not only can you find a great gift for a loved one, you can also find something amazing for yourself! This list is great for anytime of year, but there is something special about Christmas time. It’s when I like to give the very best!  It’s no secret that I love Amazon, I have been an Amazon customer for over ten years. So, I have lots of experience when it comes to choosing quality gifts.

Gifts For The Home

20 oz Big Stemless Wine Glass
  1. Nothing like spending a day with my beaches! Find it here https://amzn.to/2MyRKXs
Barnyard Designs Beach Rules Wooden Box Wall Sign

2. Perfect for anyone who forgets the rules. Find it here https://amzn.to/2BoS18X

Ebros Nautical Ocean Marine Seahorse Drinking Beverage Blue Stoneware Ceramic Mug

3. This Mug is perfect for Seahorse lovers. Find it here: https://amzn.to/2P4vBBH

4. Warm up their home this holiday with scents from the beach. Find them here: https://amzn.to/32xm8a9

Integrity Bottles Set of 4, Sea Turtle Stemless Wine Glasses

5. Calling all turtle lovers! Find them here: https://amzn.to/2P7Der9

GOOD MANORS Stripe Throw Blanket with Fringe in (Light Turquoise)

6. Stay warm and cozy with this cozy Beachy throw! Find it here: https://amzn.to/2pE47Is

Riverside Designs Beach Life Metal Sign

7. This metal sign is all about the beach life. Find it here: https://amzn.to/2J7Ijw1

Pfaltzgraff Everyday The Beach Is My Happy Place Large Coffee Mug

8. Beach lovers will start everyday off thinking of their “happy place.” Find it here: https://amzn.to/2Bv1j3i

3-Piece Coastal Beach Theme Quilt Set with Shams

9. This coastal quilt will spruce up any beach lovers home for the holidays. Find it here: https://amzn.to/2Muv5vg

10. These decorative candles are a perfect reminder of a beach vacation. Find it them here: https://amzn.to/2BtodrD

Sandy Toes & Salty Kisses Nautical Seaside Beach Sign

11. A perfect gift reminder of the beach. Find it here: https://amzn.to/31vjctj

Gifts For Mermaids

 Barn Bath & Body Works 3 Wick Candle Mermaid Life

12. Perfect for anyone who thinks they are a Mermaid: Find it here: https://amzn.to/2VZsgWj

Barnyard Designs Always Be Yourself Unless You Can Be A Mermaid Box Sign 

13. Makes a great gift for that special mermaid. Find it here: https://amzn.to/2MVmhxz

kksme 60 x 80 Inch Always Be A Mermaid Pattern Super Soft Throw Blanket for Bed Sofa Lightweight Blanket for All Seasons

14. Keep your mermaid warm and happy with this colorful throw. Find it here: https://amzn.to/32vWbYl

LARGE BEACH BAG Tote Bag for Women

15. Love these colorful beach totes perfect or Mermaids on the go. Find it here: https://amzn.to/32uNTQI

Mermaid Gifts Sorry Too Busy Being a Mermaid Beach Lover Gift Coffee Mug 

16. The perfect coffee mug for the busy Mermaid. Find it here: https://amzn.to/2oOF2Lb

Gifts For The Cook

KitchenAid KSM155GBSA 5-Qt. Artisan Design Series with Glass Bowl – Sea Glass

17. The ultimate gift for the cook in your home. Find it here: https://amzn.to/2BpvIQx

.

Jozie B Seas The Day Sea Star 18 x 22 All Cotton Flour Sack Towel Set of 2

18. Why not pair these cute kitchen towels with that gorgeous new Seaglass Kitchenaid? Find them here: https://amzn.to/32HF2eF

Pfaltzgraff Venice 16-Piece Stoneware Dinnerware Set, Service for 4, Aqua/White

19. This gorgeous china set will make any beach lovers dining table look amazing. Find it here: https://amzn.to/33KdJQP

Gibson Cape Coral Starfish Serving Bowl One Size White/blue

20. This festive bowl will please anyone who loves starfish. Find it here: https://amzn.to/2ByUBch

Cathy’s Concepts SEA-1110 Seashell Stemless Wine Glasses – 4 Unique Designs

21. These wine glasses are perfect for people who love seashells, and wine. Find them here: https://amzn.to/32tmH4G

Keurig K250 Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer, With Strength Control, Turquoise

22. Know someone with a beachy turquoise kitchen? This Keurig is the the perfect color match! Find it here: https://amzn.to/2P5QTyW

DII Cotton Embroidered Blue Sea Dish Towels

23. A perfect gift for the beach cottage kitchen. Find the here: https://amzn.to/33LfVHH

Brownlow Gifts Galvanized Metal Round Serving Tray, Seas the Day

24. A beautiful serving tray for coastal farmhouse lovers. Find it here: https://amzn.to/35NFcmu

LIFE IS BETTER IN FLIP FLOPS Teal 12 oz Stemless Wine Glass With Lid

25. Life really is better in flip flops! Find this wine glass here: https://amzn.to/2Mwqd8P

I hope you find these ideas helpful. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!




The Best Fall Cottage Decor On Amazon

Can you believe that Fall is already here? There is a crisp chill in the morning air here along the New England coast, and the leaves are starting to change! Some people refer to it as “Pumpkin Spice Season.”  (haha) It’s my favorite time of year although I’m still not ready to let go of summer thanks to my love for the beach. It’s time to reflect back on the year, gather with family and friends and be grateful.

***This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.*** 

As for the beach lovers who just aren’t ready to let go of summer yet don’t worry, I have also added in some fall coastal decor items to inspire you too; and they are all budget friendly. It’s also time decorate for Halloween if you haven’t started already. 

Pretty soon the leaves will begin to fall from the trees and then before you know it, the holidays will be here. Save time and money with this list of inspiring fall cottage and trending coastal farmhouse decor ideas from Amazon . These items transition well into the holiday season. 

  1.  Set of 4 Pumpkin Decoration Cotton Blend Cushion Covers -Nothing says fall like pumpkins and tons of cozy pillows! I cant get enough of them, so I started buying pillow covers instead.

2. Custom Decor Coastal Pumpkin Garden Sign-Everything really is better at the beach, including pumpkins!

3. White Pumpkin with Gold Centerpieces (3 Piece Set)-Don’t you just love white pumpkins? They go with everything!

4. Amish Wagon Decorative Indoor/Outdoor Garden Backyard Planter-This indoor/outdoor wagon comes in 3 lovely colors and can be display all year long.

5. Coastal Fall – Welcome – Garden Size, Decorative Double Sided Flag-You can never go wrong with pumpkins and lanterns.

6. Lamb’s Ear Wreath with White Pumpkins Pinecones Cotton Bolls Fall Front Door Wreath-This wreath is perfect for the coastal farmhouse look.

 

7.Welcome Happy Fall Yall Large Hanging Flags Signs Porch Banner– This door banner also comes in other styles for Halloween and Christmas.

8. Set of 2 Swedish Fall Gnomes – So cute and perfect for fall tiered tray decor!

 

9. Fall Decorations for Home Set of 4 Fall Pillow Covers -Pumpkin spice and everything nice!

 

10. 4 Pcs Wooden Fall Sign Pumpkin Block Set – Place these cute pumpkins anywhere to add a festive fall touch.

 

11. The Pumpkin Express Train– The cutest Halloween Decorations For Fall Home Decor Table Top Figurines

Check out some these decor items and many more coordinating items on Amazon. Many of these items make great gifts for fall October and November birthdays! Enjoy your fall!

Click this image to visit the blogs shop to see all fall decor throw pillows!




The Ultimate Kitchen Renovation Guide

Are you looking to create the perfect kitchen of your dreams? The first step is to figure out your must haves and create a wish list. Proper planning is the key to success. You can use this guide and free printable checklist to plan any style kitchen renovation. I created this article as a guide for my own future renovation and sought expert design advice from contractors and renovators. Now I am more than happy to share it with you! A kitchen is an investment that impacts your quality of life and the value of your home, so you’ll want to invest wisely.

***This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

The kitchen is the most important room in your home. It’s where we live, entertain, and make wonderful memories. Whether you’re creating a brand new kitchen or updating an old one, the key is to tailor it to the way that you live. When planning a renovation, consider choosing eco-friendly products and finishes that are beautiful and sustainable. You want to design a kitchen that not only makes the most of your space and budget, but also improves your quality of life. The modern kitchen is the new command center where we handle most household affairs. Designing a kitchen involves lots of choice. As you start to weigh all of the elements think about longevity.

Before you get started, ask yourself these important questions.

  1. How do use your current kitchen?
  2. What kind of kitchen will suit your needs? 
  3. Do you like the current layout or do you need more space?
  4. Does your kitchen need updating or and extensive remodel?
  5. What is your budget with contingency?
  6. What permits will you need if any?
  7. Are you going to do any of the work yourself or hire a contractor?
  8. What is your time table to complete this project?
  9. Are you renovating with intent to sell?

Are you wondering how much all of this should cost? Of course! Here is fairly accurate prediction of what each part of the renovation should cost. This should give you some ideas on how to break down your initial budget.

Source: National Kitchen & Bath Association.

Assessing The Project

If you are working with a small budget and your kitchen is functioning properly, then you may want to consider a moderate make-over. The easiest and least expensive way to change the look of your kitchen is by applying a fresh coat of paint on the walls and painting the kitchen cabinets. Remember to update the hardware. These minor cosmetic changes plus updating the appliances can dramatically improve the look of your kitchen without spending a fortune. If your floors need updating, consider using durable yet affordable eco-friendly linoleum, not vinyl. All of these projects can be done without having to hire a contractor.

A full or partial renovation means a more time consuming and costly undertaking. The advantage is that you can expand the layout, knock down walls, move the appliances, add more counter space, and update the style. For example relocating the stove may involve installing another gas hook up and vent.  Moving or adding a sink will require additional plumbing. Anything that requires venting plumbing, gas or electricity requires a professional. You can easily remove walls, but if the wall is load bearing you will have to take special precautions to support the structure during the process. I suggest hiring a designer or and architect who can assist with the renovation and assure that you get the best kitchen for your money. Re-configuring space means buying new cabinets, which is the biggest portion of the budget.

A major overhaul is the most expensive type of renovation because it involves adding space to enlarge the footprint. There are many ways to open up and reconfigure most kitchens within their existing space. If you have a small kitchen and you want to add an island, breakfast nook or home office, you will need to consider building and addition or taking part of an adjacent room  such as a den or spare bedroom. I personally prefer knocking down walls to create one cohesive open space such as a kitchen, living and dining room combination. Any additions will require and a new foundation and roof, so you will need to factor the labor, materials and permit fees into your budget. I recommend hiring and experienced architect who can design and integrate your new kitchen seamlessly into your home. 
When planning a major overhaul, you will need to be prepared for any plumbing, electrical or structural issues before you begin. Usually these surprises sometimes sprout up once you begin opening up the walls. Don’t skip on fixing any issues that arise just to save time and money. You want your renovation to add value to your home, so be sure to hire a good contractor and make smarter choices. Yes there is lots to think about, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Your renovation does not have to be a nightmare, there are new innovative products and materials on the market everyday to make it go smoother. 

Before you start planning, think about the following questions. Are you looking for low cost or best quality? Do you want to use the kind of products that will last a lifetime? Will you use eco friendly products that have a low impact on the environment? The truth is although there are lots of choices, there is no right answer for everybody. That because everyone has a different budget. What matters most is figuring out what’s more important to you and why. 

Now that you have answered those questions, it’s time to plan. Whatever the scale of your project, first organize your ideas to allow you to make smart decisions along the way. I highly recommend using Pinterest for inspirational ideas! Don’t focus on trends, but think about both style and function before you make any choices. Think about what would suit your households needs in the future.

  •  Do you cook in your kitchen often, or entertain regularly?
  •  Do you need space for more than one cook? 
  •  Do you have enough cabinets and countertop space?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ll need to incorporate them into your design to make sure the kitchen of your dreams not only comfortable but functional. Remember, you’ll want your kitchen to have lasting value. There are lots of options, but for now you can start planning by answering these questions

Next you will need to consider:

  • How old is your house?
  • Any Asbestos or Lead Paint?
  • What kind of electrical wiring is in place and how old it is.
  • What kind of lighting will you be adding in the ceiling?
  • The kind of insulation in the walls if any.
  • What kind of plumbing is in place, how old is it and is it functioning properly?
  • Are you adding wiring for computers, smart homes and audio and visual components?
  • Can your heating, cooling and Hvac systems handle the changes you want to make.
  • Are your walls plaster or sheetrock?

Now let’s think about the style. What style will you choose? There are over sixteen different types such as Modern, Traditional, Contemporary, Rustic, Craftsman, Industrial, Mediterranean, and Beach to name a few.

My personal favorite design is Beach Cottage Style. A beach cottage style kitchen should be light and airy reflecting the colors of the sea. Your design plan should include white cabinets, but if you have dark cabinets that are paintable, consider lightening them up by painting them in a cool coastal blue.

See list below to shop this look.

Add shiplap, wainscotting, engineered wood, wood look ceramic tile, or bamboo floors for warmth, and chunky open shelves to display pottery and give the kitchen a cottage feel. Next include natural elements in the decor such as flax and linen, and nautical elements such as seagrass, sisal and driftwood.  Remember to add comfortable seating to keep it cozy and casual. I hope you enjoyed this post. View my Pinterest board Coastal Style Kitchens for more design inspiration.

Shop or find items in Image on this list here.

  1. Safavieh Jute Area Rug –https://amzn.to/2lpWAeO
  2. Dining Room Chair – Wood Seat – Set of 2 – Blue/Green- https://amzn.to/2mRyyK6
  3. Solid Wood Dining Table- https://www.jossandmain.com
  4. Kitchen Cabinets- http://www.willowlanecabinetry.com
  5. Wood Look Ceramic Tile Flooring- http://www.BuildDirect.com
  6. Golden Lighting 3602-L-CH-WH http://www.build.com
  7. Seaglass Bottle- https://www.pinterest.com/pin/421368108887254088/
  8. Emerald Coast Countertops- https://www.vetrazzo.com/inspiration/sea-and-sand/?lang=en
  9. Seagrass Baskets- https://amzn.to/2mYktu6
  10. Glass Back Splash Tiles- https://amzn.to/2nyURVd
  11. Cabinet Hardware- http://smarthomekitchen.com/black-kitchen-cabinet/black-kitchen-cabinet-hardware/
  12. Kitchen Canisters- https://amzn.to/2lm00PH
  13. Moen Faucet- https://amzn.to/2ljY3TK
  14. Sink- https://amzn.to/2nyTGVN
  15. Cabinet- http://www.willowlanecabinetry.com
  16. Wall Clock- https://amzn.to/2nsXRlO



Simple Ways To Reduce Daily Stress

 

Are you stressed out? Are you worried or anxious most of the time? The secret to conquering daily stress is in how we start our morning routine.

In our busy, overscheduled lives it almost seems normal to walk around stressed and anxious all of the time. As soon as we wake up and turn on the news, we are bombarded with negative information which is not the best way to start the day. While listening to the radio on the way to work, we may hear more bad news while stuck in traffic. Social media isn’t any better for us. Whatever tragedy we may have missed on the news is right there waiting for us online. Thanks to the advance of technology, we live in an age of constant and immediate information, and that’s not always a good thing. 

***This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

 

Every morning the first thing I would do after waking up was drag myself out of bed, make coffee then turn on the TV and listen to the news. It was my daily morning ritual while getting ready for work. I mainly was interested in hearing the weather so that could plan my outfit accordingly, but the depressing stories in between the forecasts always get me down.

Once I arrived to work, the same terrible news would make its way into chatter around the office. It seemed to follow me like a dark cloud, but then I thought to myself “Oh well, everyone starts the day off with this way.” But why do we do this? Yes it is important to know what’s going on in our world, but this isn’t the way we should begin our day. If you don’t believe so, think about the weekends and how you wake up. Automatically your mind knows to relax and let you sleep in a bit. That’s because our minds are conditioned to do so. 

Signs of stress.

For many years I struggled with anxiety and depression, so I can tell you from experience that these tips provided here today do really work. I have definitely improved the way I start my mornings. Daily stress needs to be reduced and managed. Remember that stress can eventually cause physical and mental health issues. So how do you know if you’re stressed? Chances are If you are walking absently-minded or too caught up in the drama in your own head to see what’s happening around you, then you’re stressed. Here are some physical symptoms of stress and anxiety that you should pay attention to.

  • Your stomach feels upset, achy or cramped
  • You grind your teeth at night
  • You get frequent headaches
  • You often have sleepless nights
  • You have panic attacks
  • You’re feel sweaty or achy all over 
  • Your face breaks out frequently as an adult
  • You have reddish skin or eczema
  • You have a low libido

When you are really stressed out, cortisol “the stress hormone” levels rise in your blood causing increased heart rate and blood pressure which puts your health at risk. Your hormones are out of control which compromises the immune system. Next, the body has trouble producing white blood cells that fight off diseases and infection. This leaves you susceptible to all kinds of illnesses and can also lead to chronic inflammation. If you are experiencing many of the symptoms listed above, then could be suffering from an anxiety disorder. You should talk to a doctor who might recommend that you work with a therapist, psychiatrist or psychologist. Stress is unavoidable, so our main focus should be how to manage it in better, more effective ways. 

Click item to shop below:

 

The best ways to reduce daily stress.

  • Start your day better by avoiding TV, the news, checking phone messages, social media, and emails. For many years I was guilty of waking up and immediately grabbing my phone which can cause instant stress, and who needs that first thing in the morning? Try leaving electronic devices out of the bedroom. If you use an alarm to wake up, try soft music instead of that annoying buzzing sound. For years we are programmed to wake up this way, so why not change to a less stressful morning routine? Take a moment and look outside instead of turning on the weather report. You can always check on this later, after you mind is awake and at ease.
  • Eat Breakfast. You must properly nourish your body in the morning and a cup of coffee alone won’t do. After a long night of sleep, our blood sugar and metabolism are lowest. A healthy breakfast re-energizes the body and get us prepared to take on the day. Say for example you leave for work without eating and then become hungry while on the way to work. You think about grabbing a bite on the way to work, but then suddenly you become stuck in traffic! Now not only are you late for work, but your still hungry and may not be able to eat until lunchtime. This creates instant stress, no it’s not your fault your stuck in traffic or late to work, but you will be able to handle the  stress coming your way better with proper nourishment. Instead of arriving to work hungry and frazzled, you can be ready to move forward, be productive and take on the work day. 
  • Start off the morning with positive thoughts. Your first thought in the morning should be “I’m going to have a great day.” You can think your way into a having a better day by telling yourself just that, even if it’s a lie. Even if you are dreading that board meeting or whatever unpleasant task you have to face. When it comes to positive thinking, think mind over matter. Scientific studies show that thinking positively can moderate your how you handle stress.
  • Just breathe. Practice mindful breathing to get stress out of your system. When you are faced with something unpleasant, just take a moment and take in a deep breath. It’s the quickest and most direct way to calm yourself down.
  • Get moving. Exercise naturally lowers your stress levels and increases your confidence. I helps you to settle into a state of well being by boosting endorphins. (The feel good hormone.) It’s a great way to start the day but if your time pressed in the morning try getting in a couple a quick stretches. Then exercise later on in the evening. It doesn’t have to be anything strenuous. One thing that always helped me during a long work day, was to take a brisk 15-20 minute walk during my lunch hour. This is a great way to get some sunshine during the winter season, when daylight savings time causes it to get dark outside early, or for those affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder. 

Remember that stress, anxiety and depression if not managed properly, can begin to affect your physical health. I was a stressed out child growing up which lead to severe anxiety and depression once I became an adult. I firmly believe that this lead to a diagnosis of chronic illness later in my life. I always wonder if could have done something better to manage my stress when I was younger. Maybe it would have prevented my chronic illness? Now I feel it’s my responsibility to warn others about the dangers of living with chronic stress. Remember that you are your number one priority in life, and to take good care of yourself. If you find this information to be helpful, or try any of these techniques for yourself and like them, share it, I wish you the best!




The Ultimate Guide To Beach Cottage Style

Beach Cottage Style is discovering how to turn your home into a comfortable coastal style retreat. Following this simple guide will help you easily create a home that you love, even if you don’t live near the beach. When it comes to home decor, people always focus on trends, but before you start wondering about the latest trends and techniques, I can assure you this decorating approach will be a breeze. It’s all about creating fresh, clutter free spaces that are cozy and livable. Your home should reflect who you are and what you love. If you are reading this, then most likely you love the beach!

***This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

When I think of the beach, I automatically think about the sun, sand, sky, sea. pale yellow being the sun, tan and white represent the sand, light grays and blues represent the sky and the color aqua represents the sea. These are colors inspired by nature that are easy to incorporate into your home to give it that serene coastal feel. 

I am always amazed at how paint can change a room instantly. Choosing paint can be daunting for some because there are just so many colors! It doesn’t have to be, just keep it simple. Remember the colors of the beach and use that as your paint palette like in the sample below. You don’t have to use these exact colors, try creating you own palette and use this example as a guide.

Here is a guide to help you find the right style for your home.

  • Paint: First you’ll want to lighten up living spaces with fresh coats of neutral paint keeping the rooms light and airy, and always, always paint the trim in white. White trim adds nice clean lines to the room and naturally compliments and enhances the wall color. Paint ceilings in light tinted blues to make the room feel light and airy like the sky.
  • Flooring: Add a sisal rug to lighten up dark floors and make the room feel larger. If you have dark wooden floors, consider painting them a creamy white to lighten up the space and give the room a finished look. If your walls are painted white you can keep the dark flooring to add contrast.
  • Furniture: Next, add time honored furnishings such as a light slipcovered sofa that will keep the room bright and fresh. You can also find potential in things that you already own, for example try adding a fresh coat of paint to old furniture instead of buying new.      
  • Accessories. Add natural materials such as wicker and seagrass baskets for decorative storage. They are great for hiding clutter and warm up any space.
  • Decor: Consider adding subtle nautical decor such as lanterns, sea glass bottles, and coastal wall art. Display your personal collections of sea shells to add unique character to your room. Use memorable beach and vacation photos and have them framed. Surround yourself with the things that you love that make you happy, and remind you of the beach. 

Here is a room by room guide to beach cottage style.

The Kitchen

Your kitchen is the heart of your home, it should nourish you and feed the senses. If it is small and dark then I suggest painting it white to enlarge the space. If you have dark cabinets that are paintable, consider lightening them up by painting them in a cool coastal blue. Not only does it give your kitchen a breath of fresh air, but it will look fabulous against clean white walls.

Then update the hardware on your cabinets with nautical knobs such as seashells, and starfish as shown below. Next, choose window treatments in natural colors such as linen, flax, driftwood or bamboo. Add a sisal or sea-grass rug to tie the rooms together. Style your kitchen with open shelves, aqua or ocean blue colored dishes and accents, and large coral and shell displays.

Joyindecor Ocean Cabinet Knobs

Click here to shop: https://amzn.to/2n1XUoA

The Dining Room

This is the place where family and friends gather together to share a fabulous meal, formal dinner parties, or where crafting and homework is done. Make this a warm and welcoming space filled with lovely things to look. For furniture ideas, start with a large white or light oak table and lots of comfortable seating such as slip-covered or upholstered chairs. Mix and match fabric chairs with rattan or wood. If you have an open floor plan kitchen/dining room combo, you’ll want to stick with like colors in the dining room to tie the two rooms together and make it feel like one cohesive space. 

Upholstered Parsons Chair w/Cover

Click here to shop: https://amzn.to/2lhWjdT

The Living Room

Less is more when it comes to the living room. Beach cottage living is creating a cozy, open and inviting space that reflects you. Opt for flexible seating plans such as a large overstuffed sofa with surrounded by one or two comfortable armchairs. Add in some upholstered poofs or an ottoman with pop of color to add visual interest. 

There is no need to overcrowd the living room with furniture or too many things. A couple of nautical paintings and  artwork here and there and a striped rug will make the room feel very coastal. I personally love the look of a white white slip-covered sofa. It’s so versatile and easy to change up the look in any season. Add a large coffee table or sea grass storage ottoman in front of the sofa. Decorate the top with a large sea-grass tray and place sea glass bottles, flowers, candles and nautical shells. Curtains, drapes and pillows with the same or like colors will add texture to the space and define the room. When displaying collections, group items together for a more unified look.

Click here to shop: https://amzn.to/2l0hBwq

Bedrooms

It’s easy to create those dreamy coastal bedrooms we all see on Pinterest. Remember to stick with the nature’s color palette to create a soothing environment for rest. Furnish the space with things that are warm and soft to the touch. The main focus of the bedroom is the bed itself, so you’ll want to choose bed linens that add visual interest such as a nautical pattern or stripes. You can also use neutral coastal colors such as aqua, coral, yellow or sea blues, just be sure to use lots of fluffy pillows, textures and patterns. 

Choose colors textures and lighting that feel soothing and calm such as a sea glass lamp. Keep window treatments simple with curtains light enough to allow in a cool breeze. Heavy curtains and drapes way the room down. Try bamboo shades to add an appealing textural element to the room. Adding ship-lap to the walls gives them an instant nautical look. 

Nautical Floor Table Lamp, Aqua

Click here to shop: https://amzn.to/2l0Zd6E

Bathrooms

If your bathroom is already a neutral color than its easy to give it a beachy look. If not consider painting it in an ocean blue color. If you bathroom is small then paint it white and add sea-blue candles and accents.  Then, accessorize your bathroom with apothecary jars filled with seashells, sea glass beads, or add starfish, anchors and nautical art to the walls. Add soft and fluffy navy, white or tan bath rug. Update lighting with nautical style wall sconces and vanity lights, and add a nautical bathroom mirror.

 Set of 3 Seashell Handle Clear Glass Apothecary Jars

Click here to shop: https://amzn.to/2mtR4rE

I hope you found this article inspiring, see my blog page “Cottage Decor” for pictures and more inspiration or follow me on Pinterest and check out my board, “Beach Cottage Home” for more design inspiration.




10 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

Today I’m going to do something different. I’m going to reveal 10 things about me you may or may not want to know, but hopefully you do. In my previous blog one thing I never did was share anything personal, but in doing so I also didn’t connect with my readers. It’s still hard for me to open up because I was a shy kid growing up, but I still made friends easily. Well… I’m still kind of an introvert, so here goes the list. Maybe you will be inspired.

1. I’m a nomad. Yup, I’m kind of a free spirit. I like to spend my time roaming the beaches of Connecticut and just about anywhere near the sea. I don’t like to stay in any one place for very long because I get bored easily, My friends often ask me “Where are you living now?” I think it’s kind of funny but why should anyone just stay in one place all of their lives? There is a whole big wide world out there to discover! Plus I believe that travel broadens the mind. You can learn so much about people and different cultures. To me that’s real living. My free spirit used to get me in trouble when I was younger, like skipping school to go to the beach! Thank goodness I never got caught because the beach really is my happy place!

2. I’m a Goofball. I really believe that laughter is the best medicine! People often tell me that I have a twisted sense of humor but I would rather laugh than cry. At times I often find inappropriate things really funny or laugh out loud at the wrong times. Life is too short to go around being all serious all the time. When I was younger, (Like in my late 20’s I spent way too much time working instead of living life and and having fun. I didn’t know it then, but life needs balance, so laugh more and take vacations often. Remember to make time for your friends and family because you won’t want to lose that bond. 

3. I battle a chronic illness daily. This one is a little bit interesting yet complicated. I was diagnosed with Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis in my early 30’s. I had plans on becoming a nurse, but life had a different plan. So here I am. I wouldn’t change a thing because my illness made me who I am today. Plus I am also and advocate and I enjoy helping others who also battle with RA. The beach blog is basically the escape from the reality of my daily battle. Make no mistake this disease will NOT win because I am a true warrior! I am stronger than I have ever been. So if you also are battling chronic illness, I want to let you know that you are not alone and you can reach out to me anytime.

4. I am an author. No, I’m not a millionaire lol, but I did publish self-help books related to living with RA and one children’s book just for fun. Of course it’s about the beach. I believe in the importance of teaching children about keeping the ocean clean. Now if only we could get the adults on board. I started writing as a hobby and before you know it the books were created, and then that lead to blogging which is something that I really enjoy doing.

5. I am happily single, never married and no kids! Yes, you read that right …happily! I do have a wonderful man in my life, but If I were married, I couldn’t be who I wanted to be and do what I love. I used to regret not getting married and starting a family, but as I got older I realized that I am free to follow my passion. I am not saying that you aren’t free if you do have a family though. In fact I desperately wanted children, but my chronic illness did not allow it. Plus it wouldn’t be fair to my kids to have a mom who is sick all of the time.

6. I once lived in Puerto Rico. About fifteen years ago, I made one of the biggest decisions of my life. I decided to quit my job and explore the island of Puerto Rico. Everyone thought I was crazy and some people were just plain jealous, but it was the best thing I ever did. No I am not Puerto Rican; but at that, time “La Isla Del Encanto” had some of the most perfect and beautiful beaches unspoiled by man in the world. So I went exploring. I have no regrets! Just great lifetime memories. I took a one year sabbatical away from the american lifestyle of working, being worried about bills, and chasing the almighty dollar. I only left because I was homesick for Connecticut, but I did try to bring back the entire island in my suitcase! HAHA! Of course I carefully saved and planned for my trip. If you need and escape, plan it but then do it. Life is too short, plus now that I am chronic my travel is limited. I am so glad I did it when I was young and healthy! After seeing the video below, you will know why my favorite color is Aqua.

My Favorite Beach

7. I am bilingual, and I like to hide it. I speak Spanish as a second language. Not perfect Spanish but I did learn a lot while living on the tiny island of Puerto Rico. I also had great friends who taught me the language. The most valuable lesson I learned was how to slow down and appreciate life. I like to hide the fact that I speak Spanish because it’s nice to listen to see what others are saying about you…and then if they say something bad, you can let them know you understood perfectly! Haha Gotcha!

8. I want to move to London. Yes, I want to move to a place that I have never been, but I am too scared to take the 7 hour flight. Okay, I’m a chicken. I would have to move there because If I hate the flight going over I already know I’m not coming back. It just looks so beautiful and I want to explore the beaches of Great Britain! The history, The Queen, The Architecture, The Cotswolds, it all looks so amazing! I want to see Liverpool! One day I will get the courage to go, but until then there is always Pinterest! lolol

Castle near The Sea in Great Britain

9. I’m a “Huge Beatles Fan”, and in another life, Sir Paul McCartney is my husband. Okay, there you have it! I shared my celebrity crush and fantasy life! Haha! Oh how I wish I was born in the 60’s. Check out the funny video below, and Paul in his prime! I still see that same gorgeous man in his eyes now! I think women will swoon over him until he’s 100 years old. At least I will… If you don’t know who “The Beatles” are, then you are too young for this post!  If you want to know who they are, see my post about “Why I love The Beatles and you should too! Oh and by the way, they are the reason I want to go to Liverpool England!

Young hot Paul McCartney

10. I’m an animal lover. Especially DOGS! I have a soft spot for dogs! I just lost my precious yorkie-terrier mix in April of 2018. Ever since then peoples dog’s walk up to me to give hugs and pet them. It’s weird because it’s like they know that I am still grieving her loss. I firmly believe that animals: (all except for snakes) are a gift from God. BTW snake lover’s I’m sorry but those things just terrify me! But, I do love and appreciate most other animals more than ever. If you have recently lost a pet, see my article…..Surviving The Loss Of A Pet.

I hope you enjoyed reading these 10 silly things I shared about me. If you can relate to anything here I would love to hear from you, and remember to “Be yourself because everyone else is already taken!”- Oscar Wilde




5 Reasons Why You Need A Day At The Beach Day!

The Aqua Cottage

Life at times can be hectic. It’s easy to fall into the habit of self neglect. I don’t mean self care, but neglecting your mental well being. Spending just one day at the beach for some not only just put’s things into perspective, but it rejuvenates the spirit! If you are anything like me, you are probably always looking for an escape from reality.

I am a natural dreamer, and I could spend hours staring at the healing water. Nothing inspires my creativity more then spending time at the beach watching the sailboats drift upon the ocean waves! The sound alone makes me very happy! So back to the 5 Reasons why YOU also need a beach day!

It’s been scientifically proven that a day at the beach offers some great health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and boosting the immune system. Breathing in the salty ocean air also helps calm the brain. So there you have it, start making your plans for an escape today! I promise you won’t regret it.

I recently spent this past weekend at the beach, and it’s what inspired me to write this article. It had been a while since I had taken a couple of days off to just enjoy life and do absolutely nothing but gaze into the blue ocean, and just listen to the sound of the waves. I hope I have inspired you to do the same!

 



Welcome to The Aqua Cottage!!

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates. The purpose of this blog is to help you create a beach cottage style home of your dreams.




How To Survive The Holidays

Seas & Greetings! The Holidays are fast approaching so I thought I would create this handy “survival guide” to help you cope with everything from dealing with toxic family, loss, or money problems.

Do you love the holiday season but not the stress that may come along with it? Does family drama seem to be the theme at every family gathering? If so then this article is for you.

***This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

My Personal Experience

As a child who grew up in a dysfunctional family system, I dreaded the holidays. My mother suffered from depression that was never acknowledged. So every holiday began with stories about how she missed her mom, and how we were so lucky to have her as a mother.

Then she began to berate and control us by reminding us that we didn’t deserve anything, including her love or affection. We learned how to play loving family by showing fake affection when company would come over for the holidays. Yet there was always tension and anxiety underneath our fake smiles.

If we didn’t perform well, later on, she would scold us for the tension and sad looks on our faces noticed by other family members. I learned very early on not only to hide my true feelings but that there would be consequences if anyone found out just how unhappy we were.

How To Survive The Holidays With Toxic Family

That’s a lot of pressure to put on a child. As a kid, I often dreamed of what it would be like to spend the holidays as a loving family. I often wondered what it was like to have hugs filled with love, not a cold rehearsed hug that was scheduled once all of the family that didn’t live with us arrived.

As an adult, I made the decision that I would no longer be attending any family gatherings period. I decided that my peace of mind and sanity were more important. Besides, I just wanted to be happy and enjoy myself instead of dealing with someone else’s depression.

 

I have had no contact with my family for almost 5 years. The years of narcissistic control, fighting, and insults has taken it’s toll on my body. I now have to protect my health and sanity due to auto-immune disease. I have the right to remove their access to me, but they don’t think so.

Besides, holidays should be fun! The truth is that you don’t have to attend these dysfunctional family gatherings either. Now I am not telling you to go and cut off your entire family as I did. My reasons for doing so are much more than I can say. I simply choose to love myself and have peace. Something I NEVER had growing up.

No family is perfect, and this is article is not for those who have a loving family.

How To Survive The Holidays

Should you choose to spend the holidays with toxic family remember:

  1. Set boundaries.
  2. Practice mindfulness.
  3. People don’t change.
  4. Set realistic expectations.
  5. Limit your time together.
  6. Have an escape plan.

Should you choose not to attend the family gathering remember:

  1. Find your own meaning for the holiday.
  2. Do something that you really enjoy.
  3. You don’t need to give an explanation.
  4. You are allowed to set boundaries.
  5. You are allowed to walk away.
  6. Surround yourself with those who love you.

If you are hosting a family gathering, you can also uninvite toxic family members. Think of it this way. You spend your time and hard-earned money planning a wonderful holiday, and then someone miserable may come along to ruin it. This is unacceptable!

Life is too short to accept less than you deserve and the truth is, you deserve to have a happy and peaceful holiday celebration. Spend your time with those who really love you instead!

Are you an introvert? If so you may prefer to spend the holidays alone, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I personally do not have children so If I don’t attend get-togethers with friends, I spend the holidays baking and watching my favorite movies.

You may have loved ones that live far away or could be dealing with loss. If so remember to allow yourself to grieve. Don’t cancel the holiday, surround yourself with loved ones and do something special to honor those who are gone.

If you are dealing with money problems, take a good hard look at your finances. You don’t need to impress everyone with expensive gifts if it’s going to hurt your wallet. Stick to your budget, and you’ll be happier plus you can start the new year off with peace of mind instead of debt.

Remember, it’s the thought that counts instead of how much your gift costs. Give your time instead, or do something helpful for someone. You can save tons of money by giving baked goods as gifts. Bake a cake or batch of cookies and give those as a gift instead. People love getting food gifts!

See my easy recipes for Peanut Butter Blossoms & Christmas Sugar Cookies.

I love to spend Christmas Eve baking for my friends and neighbors! I hope you find this article helpful. Thanks for stopping by and remember… You can always escape to the beach!

Happy Holidays!

 




Savory Cabbage Soup With Rosemary & Red Potatoes

 This savory vegetable soup recipe is perfect for chilly fall nights and so delicious.

Fall is just a few short days away here in New England and we are starting to get those cold nights in September. Last night I was craving vegetable soup so I whipped up a big pot for dinner. It’s so yummy and it will make your house smell amazing, so I thought I would share this recipe.

Nothing beats a pot of fresh homemade soup served with warm bread or croutons. It warms you up and it’s a good way to get those veggies in. This soup is easy to make and very filling. The fresh rosemary adds lovely flavor to the red potatoes.

***This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

Savory Cabbage Soup

Ingredients:

  • One Head Of Cabbage chopped
  • 2 Cups cut Red Potatoes
  • 1 Cup Baby Carrots
  • 1 cup of Corn
  • 1/2 Small Red or Purple Onion
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup Celery chopped
  • 1/2 sprig of Fresh Rosemary
  • 1/4 cup of Red Pepper sliced
  • 4 cups Vegetable Broth
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt to taste (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons Italian Herbs

 

Cooking Directions:

  • In a large pot add olive oil, chopped onions, celery, garlic cloves and sauté on medium heat.
  • Next add carrots, corn, red pepper, cabbage and potatoes then stir.
  • Next add 4 cups of vegetable broth, Italian herbs, salt and a sprig of fresh rosemary.
  • Simmer on medium heat for 45 minutes to an hour stirring occasionally until potatoes are done.
  • This recipe serves 4.
  • Enjoy!

I hope you love this recipe! Thanks for stopping by.