Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from Bubby and Bean!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! I just realized that I used this same image in my Thanksgiving post last year, but aside from succulents now sitting where the painted mason jars are in this photo, my mantle looks almost exactly the same this year. So I'm using it again, with the same wishes to all of you here in the states for a wonderful day of gratitude and good food with friends and family. (Even if you're not in the states, I'm still wishing you a happy, relaxing day!) I'll be taking tomorrow off along with the rest of the weekend to hang with my family and try to get some non-work stuff done around here. It's been so busy and I'm really looking forward to a little break (and a lot of mashed potatoes).

In case you missed yesterday's post, you can find all my top secret (not really) coupon codes for this weekend's deals from some of my favorite shops right here.

And if you want to throw together a super easy last minute decor project for today, the free printable and simple tutorial for the Give Thanks banner in this photo can be found here.

I'm incredibly grateful for a whole lot right now, including you guys for your support of Bubby and Bean. Have a wonderful day and weekend!


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My Personal List of this Week's Best Sales & Coupon Codes (!!)

It's time once again for the annual sharing of my personal list of Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday deals! In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, when I come across any seriously amazing deals and/or coupon codes, I record them, then compile a list of favorites to share with you guys (the full list is below).

First, I'm going to do a shameless plug and quickly promote the sale we have going on at Bubby and Bean Art today through Cyber Monday. Use coupon code BLACKFRIDAY2015 to save 20% on your entire purchase. You can use that on our holiday cards (all of which are eco-friendly and made by hand), our art prints, or anything you want. (And thank you for your continued support of our art shop and all small businesses!)

And speaking of small businesses, although the list below is mainly for larger stores, please check out your favorite independent shops (both online stores and physical shops) over the next week, and visit Etsy! Many businesses will be having incredible discounts this weekend, and most don't have the big advertising budgets to announce them far and wide in advance like bigger companies do. You'd be surprised at how much goodness you can find. If you own a small business or Etsy shop and are having a sale, please share it in the comments so that my readers and I can check it out!

And here we go...

  • AMAZON: Special Deals of the Day and Lightning Deals updated every 5 minutes at all week. TIP: If you're an Amazon Prime member, you'll get access to some deals 30 minutes before they're available to the public.
  • AMAZON FASHION: New deals all week at Amazon Fashion
  • ANN TAYLOR50% off everything with code CELEBRATE at Ann Taylor (11/25-11/28).
  • ANTHROPOLOGIE: 25% off everything with code SHOPTOIT at Anthropologie (11/27-11/30).
  • BANANA REPUBLIC: Half off sweaters and 40% off the rest of your purchase (restrictions apply) at with code BRFRIDAY at Banana Republic (11/26-11/27).
  • BUYBUY BABY: Free Shipping on toys and gift + hundreds of others deals at BuyBuy Baby (11/25-11/30).
  • EDDIE BAUER: 30% off all regular priced items + free shipping + free returns on all orders at Eddie Bauer (11/25-11/29).
  • EXPRESS: 50% off everything + Free Shipping at Express (11/25-11/30 at noon).
  • FOREVER 21: Deals starting at $4 at Forever 21 (11/25-11/30).
  • GAP: Early Access 50% off everything (restrictions apply) with code EARLY (11/25), and Cyber Monday 50-70% off everything (restrictions apply) at (11/30).
  • H&M: Up to 60% off (11/26); deals from $4.99 (11/27-11/28); up to 30% off + free shipping (11/29-11/30) at H&M.
  • IKEA: $50 off $200 coupons for the first 100 in store visitors and free breakfast for first 500 in store visitors (11/27), 30% off candles, buy one get one free soft toys and more at IKEA (11/27-11/29).
  • J.CREW: 30% off your entire purchase with code GETSHOPPING at J.Crew
  • KATE SPADE: Up to 75% off + Free Shipping when you spend $175 or more at Kate Spade (11/24-11/28).
  • KOHL'S: An extra 15% off your order with code TURKEYTIME at (11/25-11/27).
  • MACY'S: An extra 10%, 15%, or 20% off with code FEAST + an extra 20%-50% off select items + Free Shipping with $99 purchase at Macy's.
  • MADEWELL: 25% off your entire order + Free Shipping with code CALMDOWN at Madewell (11/24-11/29).
  • MINTED15% off your order, or  20% off your order of $150+ on holiday cards and all gifts (excludes fabric, home decor, and limited edition art) (11/25-11/27). More deals announced on the Minted site for Cyber Monday (11/30).
  • MODCLOTH: Up to 40% off select styles (11/25-11/27) and 25% off everything (11/30) at ModCloth.
  • MOOREA SEAL: Up to 75% off site wide all weekend at (11/25-11/30).
  • NEED SUPPLY CO: Extra 25% off with code FRIDAY25 (11/27) and 25% off with code CYBER25 (11/30) at Need Supply Co.
  • NEIMAN MARCUS: Free Shipping + Free Gift Packaging online (through 12/11) + up to 40% off regularly priced items at Neiman Marcus (11/25-11/30).
  • NORDSTROM: Up to 50% off select styles + Free Shipping and returns (11/26-11/27) at up to 50% off select top brands + Free Shipping and returns at Nordstrom.
  • PAPER SOURCE: Up to 50% off at Paper Source (11/26-11/30).
  • RAG & BONE25% off sitewide + free 2-day shipping at Rag & Bone (11/26 – 11/27).
  • SHOPBOP: Tiered promotion:15% off $250, 20% off $500, 25% off $1000 at Shopbop with code GOBIG15 (11/25-11/30).
  • TARGET: Hundreds of deals up to 50% off site wide at Target (11/23-11/30).
  • TOMS: An extra 10% off sale products + Free Shipping on all orders with code GIVE10 at TOMS (11/26-11/30).
  • URBAN OUTFITTERS: All men's and women's flannels are $29, and select sweaters are $39. (11/25-11/28) Other discounts announced at 11/26 at Urban Outfitters
  • WEST ELM: Take up to 25% off at West Elm with code MOREISMORE (11/25-11/30).
  • WORLD MARKETFree Shipping on orders $100 or more with code JINGLEBELL at World Market (11/26-11/30).
  • ZAPPOS: (This one is my favorite!) Home for the Pawlidayz! From Black Friday to Cyber Monday, Zappos will cover the cost of adoption for the cat or dog of your choice (11/27-11/30).

I hope this list saves you all a little money (and time!) in the coming days. NOTE: I'll be updating this post and adding new deals throughout the week and weekend as well, so be sure to check back. Also make sure to visit Bubby and Bean's sponsors (just click on their images over there in the right sidebar) if you're doing holiday shopping this weekend. Many of them have really great specials going on that you don't want to miss. Happy shopping!

Image source 


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

My Love for Casual Entertaining (+ 2 Mimosa Recipes!)

I love entertaining, but I'm not as big of a fan of elaborate, fancy parties as I am casual, everyday get-togethers. Putting together the occasional elaborate celebration (see Essley's first birthday party; I'm still tired from it) can be fun, but the planning and expenses involved are often draining, and I find that there is little time to actually enjoy myself at the event. My ideal gathering to host is a few close friends at our house to chit chat, listen to music, and relax.

When we do have friends over to hang out, I focus on keeping things laid back and simple when it comes to food and drink - but I do like to add a chic touch to make it feel like more than a college throw-back to a bunch of people chilling on an old ripped-up sofa drinking cheap beer. I usually serve easy snacks that I often already have around the house - cheese and crackers, chips and salsa, and maybe some olives or fruit. Sometimes I'll even just order pizzas. But then I'll offer up a little something fancy for the drinks, like mimosas made with VOVETI prosecco and a couple different kids of juices and pretty garnishes. Doing this makes it feel like a party, but without the extra work. And everyone seems to love it.

Today I thought I'd share recipes for two of my favorite mimosas that I serve on a regular basis when we have friends over. They're so simple that I don't even know whether calling them "recipes" is completely accurate, but they're absolutely delicious. (I may or may not be counting down the days until after this baby is born and I can make myself one again!) The clementine and OJ mimosas are slightly tarter and sweeter than traditional mimosas, and the apple cider mimosas are a delicious change of pace for the fall and winter months.

VOVETI prosecco
orange juice
clementines (for juice and garnish)

Fill a champagne flute or wine glass about half way full with orange juice. Slice open one clementine and squeeze the juice into the glass. Remove any seeds that might fall into the glass and stir. Top with VOVETI prosecco and garnish with a clementine slice.

VOVETI prosecco
apple cider (or apple juice)
apples (for garnish)
course sugar (for rim)

Coat the rim of a champagne flute or wine glass with water and then dip into coarse sugar (I like using gold to match the cider color). Fill the glass about half way full with apple cider or juice. Top with VOVETI prosecco and garnish with an apple slice.

I love using VOVETI prosecco in my mimosas because it has such a delicious combination of flavors (golden apple, pear, and melon, framed by a crisp acidity), and the perfect balance of light sparkle and foam. (It's so, so good on its own too!)  It's great with simple, everyday snacks like I like to serve at my get-togethers, and also incredible with antipasti, sushi, and curry dishes. I also love the fact that VOVETI is upscale yet affordable, making it ideal for everyday pairing or chic entertaining with friends. It's also a high quality, craft prosecco from Italy - only 15,000 cases are produced annually. I highly recommend trying it for your next casual gathering!

Are you a fan of smaller, more laid back get-togethers like I am, or do you like hosting fancier parties? What types of food and drink do you like to serve?

Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


Monday, November 23, 2015

What I'm Wearing Now: November

1. Jersey Tunic Tee, H&M  //  2. I Need Coffee Tee (sadly no longer available, this sleep shirt is back on regular rotation for me)  //  3. Black Tee, H&M  // 4. Fine Knit Cardigan, H&M  //  5. Blockweave Scarf, Madewell  (on sale right now!) // 6. Classic Beanie in Black, F21  //  7Black Leggings, Target  //   8. Hi Top Back Zip Booties in Black, Minnetonka  //  9. Thunderbird II Moccasins, Minnetonka  //  10.  Lightweight Cardigan, H&M   

Okay you guys. I think I'm always pretty straightforward around here. I might only show curated glimpses into my life and leave out most of the personal stuff, but I'm always honest and I always speak in my own voice. And this is why I'm going to tell you (and show you, as seen above) that what I am wearing this month is so boring and so comfort-based that if I hadn't already had almost an entire year of monthly posts invested in the 'What I'm Wearing Now' series, I highly, highly doubt I would have posted this. I love showing you these peeks at my monthly wardrobes, not just to share what I'm wearing at that particular time, but also to give you ideas and inspiration. Well my 8 month pregnant outfits are, for the most part, anything but inspiring. Despite my attempts to put effort into my appearance throughout my pregnancy, I am at that point where I'm so bloated and uncomfortable that putting on maternity jeans instead of the same pair of leggings I've worn for three consecutive days actually feels glamorous (and is also a rare occurrence). I just want to get through the day and be able to do things like put my shoes on my own feet and make it up a flight up of stairs without falling. I haven't given up on style, but I'm pretty far from stylish.

That said, here is what I've been wearing in November, in all its glory. I'm not saying that the individual pieces here aren't cute, because I love all of them. I'm just saying that I'm as lazy as possible when it comes to piecing them together into outfits. And the few pieces you see here don't just represent my favorites or most worn items from this month - they are actually all I'm wearing this month. (Nothing else fits + I just don't have the energy. The end.) Oh, and I when I do wear one of these outfits, it tends to be for several days in a row. Glamorous stuff, guys. Also, I'm always a fan of neutrals, but this month has been completely void of color, which is unusual for me. I have no explanation other than the fact that perhaps I am subconsciously doing whatever it takes to draw the least amount of attention to myself.

Next month will be my final month of 'What I'm Wearing Now' both for 2015 and for my pregnancy. It will be interesting - given how uninspired I'm feeling now when it comes times to get dressed - what next month brings. Regardless, I'll be sharing it. So stay tuned.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Family Time, Health Care, and Taxes

You guys, I'm posting on a Sunday. I know, I can't believe it either. I almost never post on the weekends, but I'll be taking Thursday and Friday off from work to celebrate Thanksgiving weekend with my family, so today seemed like the perfect day to pop in and post about a practical topic, and one that affects all of us - health care. I've written about health care and taxes (which I'll be touching on as well, because they're actually related here) a couple of times in the past, but with open enrollment season upon us, it's a good time to revisit. And although the topics of health care and taxes might seem unusual for a lifestyle and design blog, they're a part of our real lives, and I think they have an important place - even on a blog about pretty things. Read on for my personal story and you'll see what I mean.

During the last open enrollment period, we made the decision to transition from employer insurance through my husband's job to utilizing the open enrollment period and researching insurance through the marketplace to find a different plan. We now had a baby in our family, and we felt like we needed to explore our options. Although we eventually we did settle on a new provider and plan, there were times that the process was confusing. There were a lot of options, a lot of dates to remember, and some things that we didn't understand.

Our journey into getting our own health insurance after having a little one would have likely been much simpler had I had some easy-to-access information in one place, like TurboTax's online healthcare tools. (I found out about them very shortly after we'd already switched.) With another baby arriving in about a month and a half, and after some challenges with our current insurance plan over the past year, we are once again in the process of looking into transitioning to a different company/plan. I am so relieved to be able to access TurboTax's tools to help us make the most informed decision for our soon-to-be family of four - and also to see how they're related to our taxes.

In addition to the key dates infographic you see above, there are several other online tools offered by TurboTax that we've been utilizing to help make our decision - tools that may help many of you as well. This Open Enrollment video is incredibly informative, as is this Income Estimator video. This video explains more about the 1095 A, B and C for Health Insurance that you'll see on your taxes for 2015. And you can find several other videos and tools - from a subsidy calculator to more on income estimating - right here.

Once you decide on your health care policy, you'll need to be informed about it when you do your taxes. Thankfully, TurboTax can help with that as well. They offer a free suite of tools and calculators to help people understand how the ACA will affect their taxes. And they don't charge tax payers any extra fees for health care-related forms to comply with the ACA. For nearly 80% of taxpayers, reporting their health insurance this year again will be as easy as checking a box to indicate they have health insurance. You just answer a few basic questions about your life, and they do all the rest. In fact, reporting your health insurance status in TurboTax is so straightforward, you can easily do it on your smartphone or tablet. It's a great feeling to know that not only will their tools help us figure out with policy is best for us, they'll help us as tax time too.

Health insurance is confusing, and taxes can be too. It's something we're working on ourselves right now, and with open enrollment here, it really did seem like the perfect time to share these online tools and info with you. Now you can head into Thanksgiving week with one less stress about your family's healthcare and taxes, and just focus on enjoying your time together. Awwww.

Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.