10 Urban Outfitters Home Photos To Inspire You

Have you been bitten by the bug to make over your home now that it’s officially spring? I know I have, and, so far, no room, closet, or cabinet is safe from my need to redecorate and reorganize. I’ve taken loads and loads to consignment stores and charity, and have even begun the process of making over the ugly duckling in our home that no one ever sees: the downstairs bathroom.

Since my budget is next to null because of tax season (yay.), I’m turning to places like Pinterest, my favorite DIY blogs, and even home catalogs to gather inspiration. My hope is that a lot of the projects I have on my list can be done using things we already own, and so far, that’s been the case.

Lately, I’ve been especially inspired by Urban Outfitters home photos. The brand, of course, has no idea that I’m writing this post and it’s not sponsored in any way, but I still wanted to share a big armload of images to help inspire a few of our collective spring refresh projects. Scroll on for all the DIY details and ideas!

10 Urban Outfitters Home Photos To Inspire You

Audio-Technica X UO AT-LP60 Bluetooth Vinyl Record Player: One of our favorite things to do together as a couple is listen to music. Whether it’s on a record player, our bluetooth speaker, or even just on our phones, music is something that never fails to bring us together and inspire conversation. This cool setup—decked out with speakers and cool art—has me feeling like it’s time to finally put effort into decorating around the vintage turntable my in-laws recently gave us.

10 Urban Outfitters Home Photos To Inspire You

Eloisa Carved Wood Platform BedLike much of the world, I’ve fallen hard for bohemian style decor, so this platform bed instantly caught my eye. I love the textured cut outs, and the fact that it looks cool, even with the linens unmade. Try the look out in your own home by layering lots of coordinating textiles and plants around your existing bed frame.

10 Urban Outfitters Home Photos To Inspire You

Rohini Daybed Cushion: Lately, I’ve been trying to carve out at least a couple of minutes to just lay around on the floor of our home. I know that sounds a little crazy, but it seemed like every time I broke away from my computer to run to the kitchen for refreshments, I would spot all four of our fur babies sprawled out on the living room carpet soaking up the sun from our floor-to-ceiling front windows. The other day, I decided to see what all the fuss was about, and it was glorious. Picture pure quiet, broken only by birds singing right outside our windows, and warm sun spilling over my face. A pile of floor cushions like these is pretty much the only way I could make these lazy moments any better.

10 Urban Outfitters Home Photos To Inspire You

Ulla Bandana Printed Rug: If you had looked at our rug collection even just a couple of years ago, you would have seen bold patterns, multi-colored designs, and high impact prints. Nowadays though, I’m finding that neutral rugs are more my style since they allow the rest of our decor to be the star players. Not surprisingly, this simple gray, fringed rug is at the top of my wish list for that very reason.

10 Urban Outfitters Home Photos To Inspire You

Hello Sayang For DENY Eye Blush Tapestry: Did anyone else think, “I could totally make that!” upon sight of this retro-inspired eye-print tapestry? Grab yourself a clean white sheet, some tie-dye ink, and black fabric paint, because that’s pretty much all you need to recreate this drapey wall art.

10 Urban Outfitters Home Photos To Inspire You

Hanna Drop Cloth Floor Pillow: See my little anecdote a few photos up to understand why I decided to add these floor pillows to my list of design-inspiring images! They practically beg for lazy afternoon lounging, and can be easily recreated with a few Euro size inserts and pillow covers from home goods stores like Target or Bed Bath & Beyond. Or, if you want to get the look for free, just toss a pile of pillows that you already have on the floor near a window, and layer stacks of books to make the lounge area feel extra intentional.

10 Urban Outfitters Home Photos To Inspire You

Joni Net Window Curtain: If you love the look of canopy beds, but don’t have the budget to splurge on one for yourself, then this is another great Urban Outfitters home photo to pull DIY decor inspiration from! Just hang a few sheer curtain panels around your mattress using plain rods (or, better still, some cheap white hooks), and you’re done—without breaking the bank.

10 Urban Outfitters Home Photos To Inspire You

Little Korboose Nevada Canvas Wall Art: Truly, no offense to the artist, but you really only need basic drawing skills to recreate this (beautiful!) hand-sketched linear print. Grab a sheet of nice drawing paper, a black Sharpie, wood frame, and you’re good to go. If you want to DIY that textured pillow, too, my pal Molly shares the perfect tutorial for a DIY Modern Pom Pom Pillow on Almost Makes Perfect here.

10 Urban Outfitters Home Photos To Inspire You

Luca Woven Rug: Here’s another monochromatic rug that proves you don’t need to go all out with your floor coverings in order to make a statement. Those cool edgy lines still pack punch, but they don’t keep you from seeing the real stars of the room—things like the fabulous round coffee table and gorgeous wood frame sofa. It’s all about balance, and this room hits all the high notes.

Are you feeling more inspired now to tackle those refreshing spring to-do’s on your list? Leave your own decor ideas and seasonal solutions in the comments below! Oh, and as always my promise to you is that the affiliate links featured in this post spotlight items that I use and love myself.
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Everything You Need For A Casual Brunch Date Out | dreamgreendiy.com

One of my very, very favorite weekend activities (possibly the favorite activity) is brunch. Sadly, John isn’t too keen on brunch type fare, so I’m left waiting for my mom or sister to visit before I can hit my go-to brunch spots on a sunny Sunday morning.

Actually, now that we’re on the topic, I’d like to put a plea out to our little Virginian town: PLEASE MAKE MORE BRUNCH OPTIONS! Waynesboro is decidedly lacking in restaurants with good brunch menus, and no one serves a classic eggs Benedict, which is my top choice for a late Sunday breakfast. If you’re in the proximity of our part of the state, my recommendations (all of which are quite a trek from Waynesboro proper) are Fardowners in Crozet, and Fellini’s and The Whiskey Jar, both of which are in Charlottesville.

Since most of you are from far away, chances are good that your town is kind enough to offer plenty of places to indulge your need for brunch come Sunday morning. If that’s the case, then this below is my dream of the perfect brunch-date-out outfit.

  1. Sunwashed Garment-Dyed V-Neck T-Shirt ($14.95)
  2. Fest Aviator Sunglasses ($55)
  3. Adidas® Unisex Superstar Lace-Up Sneakers ($80)
  4. Artista Cape Scarf ($44.50)
  5. Sapphire Wash Slim Boyfriend Jeans ($54.50)
  6. Leather Braided Tassel Belt ($29.50)
  7. No-show Socks ($10)
  8. Golden Faceted Stud Earring ($9.99)
  9. Bobble Hair Tie ($12.50)
  10. Denim Jacket ($51)
  11. Chevron Crystal Pendant Necklace ($18)
  12. Shoulder Strap Tote ($68.50)

Since we’re still in the midst of that awkward transitional weather between the last lingering whiffs of winter and the first scents of spring, layers are key. An oversized Cape Scarf can be warn on slightly balmy mornings, whereas a classic Denim Jacket will keep the extra chill away just in case.

What do you think? Would you be down to enjoy brunch in this get-up? And let me know in the comments if you like seeing outfit posts here on Dream Green DIY. I never was much into fashion before working for Glitter Guide, but my stylish teammates (and cool features like this one and this one) have me rethinking my aversion to clothes shopping and styling. Let me know if you’d like to see more of these types of roundups because they’re surprisingly fun to curate!

*My promise to you is that the affiliate links featured in this post spotlight items that I use and love myself.
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*This post is sponsored by PersonalizationMall.com

The Perfect At-Home Cheese Board & Wine Tasting | dreamgreendiy.com + @pmallgifts #ad #pmallgifts #personalizationmall

If you were to ask what my favorite dinner is, you’d likely hear a quick reply: “Wine and cheese!” There’s just something so classic, so simple about the combination of flavors, plus I’m a sucker for finger foods. Suffice it to say, my idea of the perfect casual gathering of friends and family almost always revolves around a tray full of wine-filled glasses and a board layered with sliced cheeses and accompaniments.

Have you given an at-home wine and cheese party a try? Even if you invite just a couple of other people over, the occasion almost always results in some pretty fantastic conversation and memories. Today, I’m teaming up with Personalization Mall to share a few tips for putting together your own wine and cheese party (complete with custom trayscutting boards and monogramed glasses), so scroll on for my entertaining advice, plus see it all unfold in real time with a video at the end of the post!

The Perfect At-Home Cheese Board & Wine Tasting | dreamgreendiy.com + @pmallgifts #ad #pmallgifts #personalizationmall

The Perfect At-Home Cheese Board & Wine Tasting | dreamgreendiy.com + @pmallgifts #ad #pmallgifts #personalizationmall

For our party, we decided to anchor the event with a Personalized Cutting Board (that we had etched with a “W” for Waller) laden down with bite size pieces of cheese, fruit, and meats. To make our at-home wine tasting feel a little more formal and fun, I also personalized an Acrylic Serving Tray with my name, and ordered six Stemless Wine Glasses, each customized with a “W.”

Since these types of exclusively-designed monograms and details are always free at PersonalizationMall.com, I didn’t have to worry about overspending for this party. Really, this type of gathering can be downright cheap when you start thinking about it! Middle shelf wine bottles are often well within budget and pack great flavor (I never can tell the difference, although I probably shouldn’t admit that), and a couple of high quality middle range cheeses go a long way, too. Think: $5 or less for each of your wine and cheese choices.

The Perfect At-Home Cheese Board & Wine Tasting | dreamgreendiy.com + @pmallgifts #ad #pmallgifts #personalizationmall

As for cheese board “accessories,” we love to serve things like sliced french bread, crackers, fruit like grapes and green apples (these especially complement cheddar cheeses), plus a few meats like ham and salami for a savory finish. As for sips, make sure to serve at least 2-3 different types of wine and include both white and red varieties, that way you won’t leave anyone’s taste or preference out. Don’t forget to have a carafe of water available on the side though, just in case!

Trying the different combinations of sips and bites is what makes this meal so fun and even a little interactive. Consider making handouts that list the food and drink varieties, then have people share their favorite pairings and notes. Offering this type of list with all of the cheese and wine names also allows everyone the opportunity to recreate their personal favorite flavors and combinations back at home.

The Perfect At-Home Cheese Board & Wine Tasting | dreamgreendiy.com + @pmallgifts #ad #pmallgifts #personalizationmall

The Perfect At-Home Cheese Board & Wine Tasting | dreamgreendiy.com + @pmallgifts #ad #pmallgifts #personalizationmall

Ultimately, don’t feel the need to splurge on your wine and cheese party. The main focus of this type of gathering is conversation and experiencing a range of flavors, so consider focusing your investment on customized serving pieces that will last through hundreds of parties in your home rather than just one night.

Sure, the brand behind said serving pieces sponsored this post, but I’m being completely honest when I say that my confidence in how this party unfolded was because of the foundation pieces I ordered beforehand. As you’ve probably gathered, I’m no expert when it comes to wine, and my palate for cheese is hardly refined, but I know what I love to eat and drink, and our monogrammed trays and glasses helped make me feel like my guests enjoyed themselves, too.

The Perfect At-Home Cheese Board & Wine Tasting | dreamgreendiy.com + @pmallgifts #ad #pmallgifts #personalizationmall

The Perfect At-Home Cheese Board & Wine Tasting | dreamgreendiy.com + @pmallgifts #ad #pmallgifts #personalizationmall

The Perfect At-Home Cheese Board & Wine Tasting | dreamgreendiy.com + @pmallgifts #ad #pmallgifts #personalizationmall

One final tip? We actually served everything—from the gourmet cheeses and fruit, to the three different wines—right on our coffee table, and had our guests sit on floor pillows around the table. It doesn’t get much cozier or casual than that, but the event still felt ultra fancy. It’s all about balance and enjoying the company of your loved ones over delicious handpicked flavors.

Click “Play” on the video above to see how I brought this casual fête to life in our home, and let me know what types of finger foods and wine or cocktails you love to serve in your own spaces by leaving a comment below!

The Perfect At-Home Cheese Board & Wine Tasting | dreamgreendiy.com + @pmallgifts #ad #pmallgifts #personalizationmall

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Dermatologist-Recommended Post-Winter Skincare Buys | dreamgreendiy.com

Let’s talk for a few minutes this morning about self care. I think a large part of my newfound interest in this topic comes from turning 30 last year (I’ll actually be 31 in just a few short weeks!). While I’ve traditionally always been the type of person who wished she was older, I’ve finally hit a wall now that my twenties are behind me.

Specifically, I’m overanalyzing everything about my mind, my body, and my state of life. Am I saving enough for retirement? Probably not. Should I have this irregular heartbeat checked out? I went to the doctor, and it’s likely caused by stress and too much coffee. Is it time to get that mole looked at?

In regards to that latter burning question, I decided it was time to set my 30-year-old self up with a first-ever dermatologist appointment. So, late last year, I scheduled a skin screening in order to, once and for all, kill any anxiety I had over my mildly aging body—specifically, of course, my skin.

Dermatologist-Recommended Post-Winter Skincare Buys | dreamgreendiy.com

Now, before I go any further, I wanted to clarify that neither my dermatologist nor any of the brands listed in this post know I’m sharing these recommendations. It’s all just in the name of offering one real-life story to anyone out there who’s willing to listen, so these are all my honest and candid thoughts on the topic of post-winter skincare.

Anyway, the good news is that I was given a clean bill of health at my skin screening last year, and I have been able to breathe just a little bit easier since trotting as quickly as I could out of the doctor’s office (I may be 30, but medical offices still give me the heebie jeebies).

What I didn’t expect to get from the appointment though was a print-out sheet of dermatologist-recommended skincare products. I’ve been clutching onto this sheet of paper for the past six months, treating it like my little skincare bible. You see, I’m a sucker for lists, so having a doctor-approved breakdown of products was just too good for me to ignore.

In case you’ve been considering your own self care a little more lately, or maybe you’re looking to start fresh this new spring season, scroll on for a list of the dermatologist-approved skincare products that we now keep within easy reach here at home.

Dermatologist-Recommended Post-Winter Skincare Buys | dreamgreendiy.com

12 Post-Winter Skincare Buys

  1. Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion Tube
  2. L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream
  3. Eucerin In-Shower Body Lotion
  4. Eucerin Advanced Repair Body Lotion
  5. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
  6. CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion
  7. O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream (this one’s my favorite!)
  8. Aquaphor Advanced Therapy Healing Ointment Skin Protectant
  9. Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream
  10. Eucerin Professional Repair Rich Feel Lotion
  11. Dove Beauty Bar
  12. Aquaphor Lip Repair + Protect SPF 30 Lip Balm

Of course, some of those are redundant, so don’t go out and buy every single thing on that list. I included a range of products so that you had a list you could use to shop with. My advice to you (and what we did while shopping for our own household) is save this list of products to your phone, and then hit the skincare aisles of your local drugstore. Make use of tester bottles, and choose the products that smell and feel the best to you.

Our personal preferences are all different, so what works for us might not work for you, but at least now you’ll be armed with a starting point. Trust me…Your dried out post-winter skin will thank you for the extra self care this new season.

Dermatologist-Recommended Post-Winter Skincare Buys | dreamgreendiy.com

*My promise to you is that the affiliate links featured in this post spotlight items that I use and love myself. Oh, and please be sure to consult a licensed dermatologist for personalized skincare advice.
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Dream Green DIY Celebrates Six Years!

Six years…wow! Although it’s a little hard to comprehend that I’ve only been blogging for six years as of today, it also feels like I’ve been doing this my whole life. I know that sounds so trite, but when you finally land your dream job, it just tends to make all of those silly little cliches feel real.

Creativity is something that I’ve naturally gravitated toward since day one. In high school, I was always messing around in the art room, and even ran for Art Club president my senior year, a role I took on with pride my last 12 months as an undergrad. And in college, I spent more time in the studio (elbow-deep in sawdust and acrylic paint) than I did sleeping.

Championing the arts (to include anything from music and drawing, to art history and, heck, even taboo things like tattoo art and graffiti) is just so engrained in my personality. So, it really isn’t surprising to me—or to anyone who knows me—that something like blogging ended up as my focus.

This job has allowed me to hone in on my aesthetic as a DIY interior designer, and I’ve also had the chance to test out my ability to problem solve as a crafter and handywoman. Again, it’s cliche as hell, but I never would have had the opportunity to grow into the person I am today had it not been for that little leap of faith I took exactly six years ago.

Dream Green DIY Celebrates Six Years!

As I set aside time this morning to reflect back on just how far I’ve come and how far Dream Green DIY has come, too, I wanted to make sure that I extend a little love your way as well. Of course, none of this would have been possible without your support and encouragement. Your comments, emails, and messages have pushed me to turn this blog into a unique space that’s not just all my own—really, it’s all OUR own. I hope you’ll take a moment to appreciate just how engrained you are in each and every word, project, and headline that publishes here on Dream Green DIY.

From the bottom of my heart…thank you for following along, for voicing your thoughts, and for your constant support these past six years. I’m so excited to continue evolving as a writer, and look forward to exploring new concepts and ideas in 2017.

Before I head out to revel in this little milestone, I wanted to send a dare your way. If you have a secret dream, goal, or desire, I’d love to challenge you to just go for it today. If you really get down to the root of things, those first few steps to making it happen probably aren’t as intimidating as your mind has led you to believe.

Whether it’s finally purchasing your future blog’s domain name, calling your local small business association to get information on opening your dream storefront, or simply emailing someone you admire to set up an informational interview, I hope you’ll take that first tiny step in the right direction today. Who knows! Six years from now, you could be sitting at your own laptop, living your own dream job.

Happy birthday, Dream Green DIY!

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*This post was sponsored by Oriental Trading

DIY Stenciled Floral Gift Bag Toppers | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

There are two things in life that I will never understand: first, how a car engine works, and second, why gift bags are so freaking expensive. Why, oh, why are these disposable paper gift containers so pricey? Of course, the plain ones are usually within budget, but the pretty patterned ones with the trendy quotes and cute layered colors always tend to cost just about as much as the thoughtfully chosen goodies that goes inside the bag itself.

The good news is that we’re all crafty and DIY-inclined, so a boring, solid-colored gift bag is really just the first step for you and me. To prove it this week, I’ve partnered with the fine folks over at Oriental Trading once again to share a step-by-step tutorial for creating your own DIY Stenciled Floral Gift Bag Toppers. These simple embellishments take barely any time to make, and ultimately allow you to transform affordable gift bags into one-of-a-kind works for art.

DIY Stenciled Floral Gift Bag Toppers | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

Hop over to Oriental Trading now to learn how to make your own DIY Stenciled Floral Gift Bag Toppers using scrapbook paper and layered stencils. When I say it couldn’t be easier, believe me…it couldn’t be easier! The possibilities are practically endless, and I can guarantee you’ll never show up to the party with the same gift bag as another guest ever again. Hallelujah!

DIY Stenciled Floral Gift Bag Toppers | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

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Everything You Need To Fill Your Pro Camera Bag | dreamgreendiy.com

While I still don’t know any proper camera jargon, I feel like I do generally know how to use one. I might not understand what all those numbers inside the view finder mean, but my fingers know exactly how to adjust the manual settings to get the right type of image without even having to think about it. It’s all just second nature after six years of learning as I go, and even though I’m entirely self-taught (and have a lot more to learn), I feel like my camera bag is finally feeling more professionally equipped.

Most of the items I’ve linked to below are already part of my everyday camera bag collection (with the exception of that 35mm lens that I’m still saving up for…). It’s admittedly a major investment, so I encourage you to make your purchases one at a time as budget allows. It has taken me the full six years to build this collection, and I’ve had to learn to be patient as I scrimped and saved before making each and every order.

  1. Canon EOS 5D Mark III 22.3 MP Full Frame CMOS with 1080p Full-HD Video Mode Digital SLR Camera ($2,499)
  2. Tiffen 72mm UV Protection Filter ($14.68)
  3. Evecase Large Canvas Messenger SLR/DSLR Camera Bag ($49.99)
  4. Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens ($1,299)
  5. Canon Battery Pack LP-E6N ($64)
  6. Collapsible Multi-Disc Light Reflector with Bag ($17.99)
  7. MeFOTO Aluminum Roadtrip Travel Tripod/Monopod Kit ($199)
  8. Heavy Duty Muslin Clamps ($7.98)
  9. Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM Wide Angle Lens ($1,049.99)
  10. Canon EW-78C Lens Hood ($34)
  11. Canon LC-E6 Battery Charger ($61.30)
  12. SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB CompactFlash Memory Card ($138.95)

Although I’m gung-ho about recommending that you make these types of camera bag purchases slowly, I will say this: if you think you’re going to eventually go with a full frame (as opposed to cropped sensor) camera, save up for that first. Don’t do what I did and start with cheaper camera bodies to “make do.”

I started with a Canon EOS Rebel T5, and then upgraded to a used $600 Canon EOS 7D. It wasn’t long at all before I felt like I needed to spring for the big investment, and I bought the Canon EOS 5D Mark III that I now use everyday. I probably lost at least a couple hundred dollars in the long run, and regret not splurging on the full frame camera from the get-go. See an example of a post I shot with my Canon EOS Rebel T5 here, an example using my Canon EOS 7D here, and one shot with my Canon EOS 5D Mark III here in case you want to compare the visual results.

So, if you want the type of photos that you see pros cranking out, do yourself a favor and buy a top dollar camera body! Although you’ll probably have to eat nothing but Ramen for a few months after the fact, it’s worth it in the long run. Did I miss any essentials in my roundup above (like a remote!)? Let me know in the comments below!

*My promise to you is that the affiliate links featured in this post spotlight items that I use and love myself.
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13 Reasons To Take An Off-Season Beach Vacation | dreamgreendiy.com

Ever since high school, I’ve been infatuated with the Outer Banks. It probably has a lot to do with my first encounter with a Nicholas Sparks book (The Notebook, by the way, and years before it was associated with Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling), but I honestly can’t remember a time when I didn’t think of that little stretch of North Carolina coastline as the most romantic place on earth.

Oddly enough, I’ve never actually been to the Outer Banks during the traditional summer season. I’ve always gone on the edge of the hotter months, and this year was the first that I made the four-and-a-half-hour trek in the winter.

13 Reasons To Take An Off-Season Beach Vacation | dreamgreendiy.com

13 Reasons To Take An Off-Season Beach Vacation | dreamgreendiy.com

13 Reasons To Take An Off-Season Beach Vacation | dreamgreendiy.com

As you know, I’ve been struggling a lot lately with travel anxiety, and probably wouldn’t have taken the trip because of those fears, but my sister, Kat, just so happened to win a discounted excursion to a sea-side rental home, and you just don’t turn down an invitation from my rarely-spontaneous little sister.

We had been planning the trip since her big win last August, and this past weekend was the time that John, Kat, and I ultimately decided on. It wasn’t until we were all three packed up in John’s Land Cruiser, rolling our way down the highway, that we realized with surprise that we were headed to the beach during “Spring Break” season. For three very introverted non-partiers, this was a pretty big deal.

13 Reasons To Take An Off-Season Beach Vacation | dreamgreendiy.com

13 Reasons To Take An Off-Season Beach Vacation | dreamgreendiy.com

13 Reasons To Take An Off-Season Beach Vacation | dreamgreendiy.com

13 Reasons To Take An Off-Season Beach Vacation | dreamgreendiy.com

13 Reasons To Take An Off-Season Beach Vacation | dreamgreendiy.com

Because of work obligations, we were only able to set aside a long weekend for our Outer Banks adventure, but it turned out to be all we needed. Despite the fact that we really only had one full day to spend at the beach, we managed to cram in almost an entire week’s worth of activities: visiting a lighthouse, wandering the aquarium, a drive along the coast, coffee at a bookstore, walking the boardwalk, shopping at the outlets, lots of sandy walks along the water, plus a nice lunch and dinner out.

I’m probably forgetting a few things in that list above (like all of the time we spent escaping from the cold inside our rented beach house with board games and puzzles), but all in all, I think the three of us felt like we made the most of our abbreviated time. The more we thought about it, the more we realized how under-appreciated off-season beach vacations often are, so we put together a list of all the pros you should think about when considering hitting the beach in the fall or winter months.

13 Reasons To Take An Off-Season Beach Vacation | dreamgreendiy.com

13 Reasons To Take An Off-Season Beach Vacation | dreamgreendiy.com

13 Reasons To Take An Off-Season Beach Vacation | dreamgreendiy.com

13 Reasons To Take An Off-Season Beach Vacation | dreamgreendiy.com

Pros Of An Off-Season Beach Vacation

  1. Rentals are cheaper (duh!).
  2. You’ll finally put that hot tub and fireplace to good use.
  3. You won’t have to fight crowds anywhere.
  4. You don’t have to plan as far ahead since there are plenty of homes available. In other words, you can be more spontaneous about taking a trip.
  5. Increased options for housing, so you could nab the nicest house on the block (at a steal, too!).
  6. You can take advantage of off-season admission prices at museums and other area attractions.
  7. Traffic is practically non-existant.
  8. Flights are more affordable.
  9. It’s easier to take time off of work during the off season since it’s not a peak travel time.
  10. You’ll experience more flexible rental days. Companies are more willing to rent out their homes for a few days versus an entire week—it’s not all or nothing this time of year.
  11. It’s just generally quieter and more serene.
  12. You can come for a long weekend and still feel like you saw and did enough since you won’t be fighting crowds or traffic.
  13. An off-season beach vacation forces you to be more adventurous with your activities (ex. You may check out the local maritime museum instead of laying on the beach).

13 Reasons To Take An Off-Season Beach Vacation | dreamgreendiy.com

13 Reasons To Take An Off-Season Beach Vacation | dreamgreendiy.com

13 Reasons To Take An Off-Season Beach Vacation | dreamgreendiy.com

13 Reasons To Take An Off-Season Beach Vacation | dreamgreendiy.com

Our trip was so relaxing that the three of us have even toyed around with the idea of making an off-season trek to the Outer Banks an annual tradition. I’ve always felt like the most beautiful stories come out of North Carolina, so I’m allowing myself to get wholly swallowed up by this neighboring state.

Since getting home, I’ve gorged myself on extracurricular OBX-themed activities, like watching Message in a Bottle on DVD and reading novels set on the southern shore. I’m currently deep into an advance copy of Slightly South of Simple, by Kristy Woodson Harvey, and have loved the fact that I can so clearly picture the wintery beach scenes.

13 Reasons To Take An Off-Season Beach Vacation | dreamgreendiy.com

13 Reasons To Take An Off-Season Beach Vacation | dreamgreendiy.com

13 Reasons To Take An Off-Season Beach Vacation | dreamgreendiy.com

Oh, and as for my travel anxiety? I’m happy to report that my fears were much easier to manage this go-around! Whether that has to do with traveling alongside my two best friends in the world, or all of the awesome advice you guys shared on my blog post, but either way, I’m so thankful that my psyche allowed me to really revel in our trip out of town.

13 Reasons To Take An Off-Season Beach Vacation | dreamgreendiy.com

Click “Play” on that video above to see a few of the highlights from our trip (with the exception of the aquarium, which will get its very own video in a couple of weeks!), and be sure to leave a few of your own Outer Banks family traditions, plus your favorite activities and attractions, in the comments below.

13 Reasons To Take An Off-Season Beach Vacation | dreamgreendiy.com

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How To Set Up Canned Responses In Gmail | dreamgreendiy.com

First, let’s rewind to a post I shared a couple of weeks ago, all about How I Manage To Get To “Inbox Zero” Every Day. One of the biggest time-saving tips I put to use every day in my office is the Gmail lab called Canned Responses. As promised, I’m back with a step-by-step guide that shows you how to turn Canned Responses on in your own Gmail inbox.

Now, I know a lot of you may already have this setting enabled, but for those of you who don’t, prepare to revolutionize your day. I’m also sharing a handful of the pre-drafted templates I use most often in case you want to get set up and started right this very second. Scroll on for all the techy DIY details!

How To Set Up Canned Responses In Gmail | dreamgreendiy.com

How To Turn On Canned Responses In Gmail

  1. Open your Gmail inbox.
  2. Click on the gear icon in the top righthand corner.
  3. Click “Settings.”
  4. Choose the “Labs” tab.
  5. Type “Canned Responses” into the “Search for a lab:” box.
  6. The Canned Responses Lab should show up as you finish typing into the search box.
  7. Choose to “Enable” the Lab, and then click “Save Changes.”

How To Create a Canned Response Template

  1. Click back over to your inbox, and open a new email.
  2. Place your cursor in the body of the email, and type your template into the body. Since the salutation and other details may change from email to email (ex. the brand’s particular name, the pay rate, post publish dates, etc.), I always leave open-ended blocks (ex. “_______”) so I can quickly customize the email before sending it.
  3. If your signature was automatically generated in the bottom of your email, go ahead and delete it since you won’t need it for the Canned Response template.
  4. When satisfied with your template, click the little downward arrow in the bottom righthand corner of the open email.
  5. Hover over “Canned Responses,” and choose the italicized “New canned response…” option in the list.
  6. Type in a general name for your Canned Response, and click OK. (NOTE: keep it short since you only have so many characters to work with—just a word or two)

Now the Canned Response has been saved, and you can close out of the email. When you need the template in the future, simply open a new email, put your cursor in the body, click the downward arrow to open your list of Canned Responses, and insert the appropriate template from there. Create as many Canned Responses as you’d like so that you can you avoid retyping the same types of emails over and over throughout your day.

I’ve included a handful of my favorite go-to email templates below in case you’re a fellow blogger looking to save time when responding to or drafting emails throughout the day, so feel free to scroll on and copy/paste to your heart’s content!

How To Set Up Canned Responses In Gmail | dreamgreendiy.com

In Response To A Brand:

Hi _____ – 

Thanks for your message! I love the concept you shared and would be happy to work the topic into my editorial calendar! Since this is technically a sponsored post with link placement, you can see my media kit here, which details rates and social stats. This would fall under Level _____ pricing. Please let me know if that’s within budget and if you’d be open to a reader giveaway, then we can go from there.

Thanks again!
Carrie

How To Set Up Canned Responses In Gmail | dreamgreendiy.com

After A Sponsored Post Has Published:

Hi _____ – 

Thanks again for working with me on this feature! You will find all of the campaign links below with tagged mentions to ______. I’m excited to watch engagement continue to grow throughout the next week or two. Let me know if you need anything else! 

BLOG
FACEBOOK
TWITTER
INSTAGRAM
PINTEREST

Sincerely,
Carrie

How To Set Up Canned Responses In Gmail | dreamgreendiy.com

When A Pitch Isn’t A Good Fit:

Hi _____ – 

Thanks so much for getting in touch! I personally love the concept, but unfortunately, I don’t think it’s a great fit for my blog. If I can think of a good way to work the piece into my editorial calendar, I’ll definitely let you know!

Sincerely,
Carrie

How To Set Up Canned Responses In Gmail | dreamgreendiy.com

Although those top three templates are geared specifically toward blogging, Canned Responses can be used for your personal messages, too. I actually have one in response to people who reply to my Craigslist ads: “Hi ____ – Yes, it is still available! Are you in Waynesboro? I’m happy to meet you at the Panera here in Waynesboro (right off of 64 at Exit 94) to drop it off to you. Just let me know! Thanks, Carrie” You can customize that template by replacing my city and typical meeting place with your own.

By having these types of professional and personal templates stored and ready to be popped into an email at a moment’s notice, I’m able to drastically cut down wasted time in my office. I would be positively lost without Canned Responses, and am hopeful that this tutorial and my templates will help save you time, too!

How To Set Up Canned Responses In Gmail | dreamgreendiy.com

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*This post was sponsored by Oriental Trading

How To Make And Style DIY Painted Wall Cubbies | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

Before moving from our pint-sized townhouse in Lynchburg to our single family ranch here in Waynesboro, Virginia, John and I rarely entertained overnight guests. Both of our families lived in town, and most of our friends did, too, so we never really felt the fact that we lacked a proper guest room.

But now that we live “out of town,” an hour and a half’s drive from family, we’ve needed to rethink our guest accommodations. My parents have both come to stay, as has my sister, and we’ve even had the occasional friend drop by for a night or two. Happily, our new-to-us home has the perfect number of bedrooms to make my dream of a perfectly-outfitted guest room come to life.

How To Make And Style DIY Painted Wall Cubbies | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

Our guest bedroom now sits across the hall from our own, and is just large enough for a double bed, nightstand, and a bookshelf that we use for extra sheets and towels. The room is maxed out with soft linen bedding, lots of table and floor lamp options for late-night reading, plus just the right amount of surfaces for playing host to overnight bags and travel accessories.

Since we never had a guest room before this house, I had to go through a bit of trial and error as we welcomed guests over. There was the time my friend Rachel came to stay when we found out the doors didn’t latch (a fact we discovered when our curious cat, Tonks, was able to nose her way into the guest room while poor Rachel was trying to change post-drive), and when my parents came to stay and both had to ask for towels. Turns out that hosting guests requires more than just simply offering a clean bed to sleep in.

How To Make And Style DIY Painted Wall Cubbies | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

So, to help make sure our guests are well-cared for and so their every need is considered, I partnered with Oriental Trading to create a set of guest room-inspired Wall Cubbies that serve as the perfect grab-and-go spot for all those little travel necessities that guests might have left back at home. Although I hate to spill the secret, I think it’s safe to say that you’ll never guess what these shelves are actually made from.

How To Make And Style DIY Painted Wall Cubbies | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

Pop over to Oriental Trading now to find out How To Make And Style DIY Painted Wall Cubbies for your own guest room, and tell me in the comments: what are your favorite ways to make guests feel at home?

How To Make And Style DIY Painted Wall Cubbies | dreamgreendiy.com + @orientaltrading

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