January 19, 2015

Saturday Snapshots

Have you seen those posts where a blogger takes a picture every hour or so and just gives you snapshots of their day?

I always thought it would be kind of fun - so this Saturday, I did just that!  I was especially excited for this weekend because our schedule was so....empty. Refreshingly empty. We had a few plans with friends on Friday and Sunday, but Saturday was just a blank slate for sleeping in and recharging. Here's how we spent our day:

8:24: Cereal and Frothy Coffee (AKA, poor girl's Cafe Au Lait). I'm currently obsessed with these home-made Cafe Au Laits...maybe I'll give you more detail on my how-to another day ;)

9:13: We are deeeep into a lazy morning. Friends is on Netflix, and I'm catching up on blog reading. Meanwhile, Steve is building things with the coasters that I got him for Christmas. They're from West Elm and meant to be played with.

9:58: Working my way through four books right now! So, catching up a little while I finish my reheated coffee.

12:31: Our lazy morning has wrapped up, and we're heading out to explore some neighborhoods. We're not buying a house. Or maybe we're thinking about it. You'll never know, friends & readers ;)

1:22: Lunch break! Hello Panera.

2:24: We finished up lunch, and are back to exploring. There are just a few more neighborhoods on the list to hit up - which is a good thing, because the sun is coming through the window and I'm starting to get sleepy.

3:12: Back home, back on the couch, and drinking tea with no sugar (New Year's resolutions are still fresh on my mind).

4:48: Okay, they're not thaaat fresh on my mind. Eating icing with a spoon. Whoops.

5:20: The sun started setting and I immediately needed to get outside one more time before it was dark! Dragged Steve on a walk with me. Worth it!

6:55: We decided to make Saturday a night in - so, hello Chinese take-out! Picked it up from our local spot and watched a little House of Cards. Cleaned the apartment some before & after.

PS - notice the blue ceramic chopsticks? One of the most creative wedding gifts we got! Still in love.

10:26: Wrapped up today's chores with a little laundry folding & New Girl. Not pictured: late night dessert (resolutions, schmesolutions).

12:05: Lights out!


January 14, 2015

Free Ad February

Let's see. Where do I begin today?

I've been blogging for about two and a half years now - from college graduation to a new move, to job changes and getting married. It's been a really fun project, but it's been especially fun to see other friends start new projects as well! Lots of things have popped up - wedding services, etsy shops, small businesses, and more. It's encouraging to see other people growing things, and it's motivating as well.

If you're in this bucket of project-starters, though, you know that some parts of it are easy and some are hard. And for me? Advertising can be one of the hard ones. How do I promote my blog without making too big of a deal about it, and how do I make space here for you to promote your work, too? Somehow, it all just feels sticky.

Here's the thing, though -  I don't think that I'm alone on this one. Most all of us have some sort of goal, dream, or new project that we're working on, but we just don't love bragging about it. We don't want to be the voice saying "hey hey! Look at me!"; we just want people to casually glance over at us and say "Woah! She's doing amazing work! I never would have noticed because she's so incredibly humble and not annoying at all, but boy I'm glad I just happened to click on her blog/online store/book today!"

In real life, though, it rarely works like that. We have to put ourselves out there, and we have to let people know what we're working on. So in just a few weeks, while we're still riding the high of New Year's goals setting, I want to help give you a little push.

For the month of February, I'm getting giving free ad spaces on my sidebar to anyone who wants one. No strings, no catch and no feeling sticky about it all. Just a free way to share more about what you're doing with a little bit of a new audience.

Here's how it works:
  1. Comment below to give me a heads-up that you're in - just something quick like "I want in for #freeadfebruary!". This will help me get a quick head-count before things get rolling. 
  2. Send an email to thebluedishes@gmail.com with a quick description of your blog or business - maybe even a few pictures! I'll do a post half-way through the month highlighting everyone participating, so tell me what you want my readers to know about yourself. 
  3. Attach a 250x150 advertisement. If you need help creating one, send me an email and I can help you out (I use picmonkey for everything, and it's fantastic). 
  4. That's it!! All submissions are due by January 25th, and ads will run for the whole month of February.
Whether you're a new blogger, seasoned blogger, etsy-shop owner or entrepreneur, Free Ad February is for you. I think it will be really fun - so I hope you're as excited as I am!

Email, comment, tweet (#freeadfeb), or whatever - just me know what you think. 2015 has barely started, y'all - let's do this!!


January 12, 2015

Throwing a New Year's Party in Eight Steps

I know that New Year's has come and gone for now, but we had so much fun pulling a party together this year that I'd thought I'd share! Of course it's kind of "duh" - it's not hard to pick up some food and put a few drinks out - but this year, we put it together very quickly. We had to really nail down our priorities to make it happen. Here's what we did:

1. Name your Priorities. 

Since we only had a few hours between getting home from Christmas and heading out to Charleston, we had basic goals: a little food, a little drink, a quick clean-up, and some decorations to pull everything together.

2. Decorate.

The perfect thing about New Year's is that you can scope out the marked down Christmas decorations and repurpose them! I made a quick Target run the day before our party and picked up some blue wrapping paper (50% off), white "snow-scene" material (75% off), and a bag of pinecones for a centerpiece (75% off). Other than that, we used some twinkle lights that we took off the tree, and that's about it!

We used the wrapping paper and snow-scene to make a photobooth backdrop, mixed the pinecones with some leftover ornaments, and hung twinkle lights behind our curtains to make everything a little extra festive.

3. Prep some food. We picked out three recipes to make, and then asked everyone to bring an appetizer, drink, or dessert. Having friends pitch in makes it easier!

Since we were short on time, I picked out these ham & cheese sliders, some crock-pot chex mix, and a champagne-cider punch (from the new How Sweet Eats cookbook!) to cover the basics. The chex mix was probably my favorite...I know it's a classic, but making it in the crockpot made our house smell so good all afternoon!!

And of course, the food that our friends made was above & beyond. So many good dips and treats!

 Yum yum. We had good food, for sure!

4. Send an evite. 

Evites made things so easy, especially since we could send a quick email and remind everyone to RSVP. Our apartment is 867 square feet. We were legitimately nervous about everyone fitting.

5. Setup a Photobooth. 

No explanation needed. Always worth it. 

We set ours up in the guest room, partially to help with the flow of people moving around in the apartment. We covered the closet doors in blue wrapping paper, framed it with the snow-scene cotton, and stuck a few snow flakes in there. Bam! Winter wonderland. 

6. Get some games ready. 

You're together till after midnight...so you have all the time in the world. And playing games means that you can give away prizes, and giving away prizes means that you can offload Christmas Candy just in time for New Year's Resolutions. Win-win! We had two different games going off-and-on, so people could jump in and out as they wanted to.

7.  Next step? Do a quick clean-up...

8. And start the party!

Like I said, a photobooth is never a wrong choice. Never ever ever.

This was pretty much our night - we played lots of games, ate food, drank punch, and took pictures. And finally, the last step to throwing a great NYE bash?


You know, it doesn't matter how much space you have - in my opinion, there's always enough room to throw a party with good friends. Just another adventure in Apartment 52!


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