Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Our 2018 Family Holiday Cards

Those of you who have been following me for a while know that I hold a special place in my heart for greeting cards - especially holiday cards. Exchanging cards is such an endearing holiday tradition for me, and in my mind, genuinely represents the spirit of the season. And while I don't share a lot of truly personal pieces of my family's life here on the blog or in social media, our annual holiday card is one thing I am happy to share. I get so excited to send them to friends and family, but also feel like I'm sending them to each of you when I write this post each year. (This year is year four!)

Years ago, I only sent cards that I designed myself for the Bubby and Bean Art shop, but when Essley was a toddler, decided that I wanted to find a place where I could order them that (1) was separate from my job and (2) could include a photo of her on the card. I was also at the end of my pregnancy with Emmett, was in the midst of my busiest season for work, and my husband was getting ready to leave the country for his job. So the the task of stuffing, sealing, addressing, stamping, and sending holiday cards sounded really freaking overwhelming. I did all sorts of research into various card companies that offered customization, and when I came across one that had what I considered to be the hippest, more stylish cards around, was blown away to discover that they also offered a service that would do all of the addressing and sending work for me. Four years later, here I am, once again using my forever crush for everything holiday cards, Postable.

If you're not already convinced of Postable's awesomeness just by the gushing I've already done, let me go on. (Side note: I was not paid to say any of this or to review them. True story. I just love their stuff, man!) First, they have a massive selection of truly gorgeous (and funny, and whimsical, and pretty much any other style you want) designs to personalize. Second, they use 100% post-consumer recycled or tree-free 100% cotton in all their cards and envelopes. That's huge. Third, the process is so quick and easy, you won't even know what just happened. It took less than ten minutes for me to upload the photos, greetings, names, and fonts for the writing on the envelopes (the smart font we always choose looks identical to Robbie's handwriting which is a great way to trick their recipients into thinking we wrote them all my hand, mwahahaha), choose addresses from my address book (which is super easy to fill; when I first started using Postable I uploaded a spreadsheet and voila), and check out. And finally, they print, stuff, stamp, address, and mail all of your cards directly to everyone in your address book - which, in their words, saves you thousands of hours of agony and a life of carpel tunnel. I can personally attest to this, friends. The quality of their cards is also top notch. No flimsy, poorly printed cards here guys. Postable's cards are framable. For real.

The style we chose this year is a different than what I've opted for in the past. I usually go for designs that are a little bolder and more in your face, but something about the understated, clean, elegant look of the design we ultimately chose really spoke to me. I love it so much. (That doesn't mean it didn't take me ordering 6 different samples before making a decision though, as seen in the image above. Indecisive and proud, man.) For the back, we went with the only real family photo we got this year, which was from Halloween, was snapped with a cell phone, and is so us. (Wish we could just dress in those costumes everyday, tbh.)

Using Postable for our holiday cards takes a huge weight off my shoulders each holiday season. I've said it before and I'll say it again: they seem to be really nice people who make dope cards and have a very innovative service. And while I do partner with them for these projects, they don't pay me to review their cards. I just genuinely love them and want to share. Oh, and here's something else great about them: they're giving you a whopping 20% off your entire order with code BEAN18. Spreading holiday joy, they are! Told you they're the best.

Who else finds immense pleasure in the act of sending and receiving holiday cards? (Come on. I know I'm not the only one.) Any other mega Postable fans?

This post is in collaboration with Postable.



Monday, November 12, 2018

GIVEAWAY! Win a $150 Gift Card to Gaia Conceptions Eco Clothing

GIVEAWAY! Win a $150 Gift Card to Gaia Conceptions Eco Clothing

It's officially the holiday season (well, almost anyway), and I'm in the giving mood! So I decided to teaming up once again with our friends and long time Bubby and Bean partners Gaia Conceptions for another kiler giveaway! One lucky Bubby and Bean reader will receive $150 to spend in Gaia's online shop, which features endless styles of truly stunning eco-friendly clothing made by hand in the USA. They have hundreds of styles to choose from, each one of which is custom created to your size, color choice, and fabric selection. As I've mentioned before, Essley and I are both proud owners of several their gorgeous designs. And we're excited for one of you to get some Gaia threads of your very own!

Use the form below, and/or, because the main methods of entering this giveaway (worth the most points) involve Instagram, you can also enter directly on IG, right here. There are several options for extra entries as well.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway will run through this Friday (November 16, 2018), and is open to Bubby and Bean readers worldwide. All entries from the Rafflecopter form above and Instagram will be combined. A winner will be randomly chosen and announced here shortly after the end of the giveaway.

Thank you to Andrea and friends over at Gaia Conceptions for giving our readers the chance to win another gift card to their amazing shop. Good luck!


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

My 7 Favorite Holiday Recipes

A Beautiful (and Incredibly Easy) Holiday Snack Spread

Halloween was exactly one week ago, which in today's world means it's full-on holiday season. I have mixed feelings about this, mainly because I love Thanksgiving and I feel like the poor holiday gets lots in the shuffle these days. But I can't deny that I'm pretty freaking fond of all the holiday season brings, especially in the form of food and drink. Today I thought I'd share some of my favorite holiday recipes and not-really-recipes (but pretty food spreads totally count, right?) from throughout the years. Click on the images or links below them for the full recipes. And, um, Happy Holidays?

Potato Leek Soup, Two Ways

Festive Winter Guacamole

Sparkling Winter White Sangria

Holiday Gold Passion Fruit Spritzer

Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes


Monday, November 5, 2018

Giving the Gift of Fun: A Child's First Bicycle

Giving the Gift of Fun: A Child's First Bicycle
This post is sponsored by Huffy; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I vividly remember being 5 years old and walking downstairs on Christmas morning to find a powder blue bicycle with a white basket and big red bow under the tree, and feeling completely overcome with joy. Santa really had heard my wishes and pleas and brought me my dream gift. I rode that bike for years, with training wheels and without. Eventually, my little sister rode it too. Countless memories from my childhood involve my precious powder blue bicycle - from group neighborhood rides on summer nights to swooshing through the fall leaves to joyfully riding it with my best friend in our city parade. Of all of the gifts I received as a child, that bicycle is one that remains strong in my memory as something that stood the test of time, and was treasured through multiple phases of my young life. And since I first became pregnant with my now four year old daughter, I could not wait to give her the same gift of fun that I received so many years ago.

Essley has had a mini practice bike for a while now, but last month, she began asking for a "big kid bike." She told us she was going to put it on her wish list for Santa Claus, "circled and with a lot of stars around it." Since then, she has been doing extra chores, helping with her little brother, and working hard (of her own accord) to prove to us and to Santa that she deserves her big kid bike. And while I know from my own experience that there is little better than spotting your very own bike under the tree on Christmas morning, we decided that we were going to give Essley her holiday wish a little early this year.

We chose this Huffy 12” EZ Build Bike (for ages 3-5), and after she cleaned both her bedroom and the family room the other day, asked her to walk into the family room and close her eyes, and then yelled "Merry Early Christmas!" I'm not sure I've ever heard her scream so loudly, or jump up and down so high. It was honestly more wonderful than I can put into words, seeing her eyes light up and then watching her experience pure joy and excitement as we built the bike together.

One of the things I love most about the Huffy EZ Build bike is that the assembly is so simple, you and your kids to do it together. Essley really enjoyed the process (and I enjoyed how quickly it was finished); for her, it was part of the fun. And thanks to the EZ Build technology that is only available from Huffy, she was out the door and riding down the sidewalk in minutes.

I also love how the Huffy EZ Build Bike is durable, comfortable, and made to grow with your little ones. Essley used to complain about the seat on her smaller bike hurting her, but says this one is "extra comfy." The frame is high quality (made of steel), and the bike features a quick release seat that is easy to adjust as your child grows. It's also a great bike for learning to ride, with a single speed and coaster brake. And lucky for us, it's also very affordable. Winner all around!

Watching Essley's face as she feels the exhilaration of learning to ride her new bike around the neighborhood and experiencing that sense of freedom and pure joy brings back the most incredible childhood memories for me - including that moment when I spotted my first bicycle under the Christmas tree. There are endless toys and games and gadgets we can choose to give our children as gifts, but to me, giving a bike is truly giving the gift of fun. And when it comes to gift giving, I can't think of anything better than that.

(P.S. We heard that Santa will be picking up another Huffy EZ Build bike at Walmart - where they're available - this holiday season to give to Essley's little brother on Christmas Day. Shhhh... )