Category Archives: Family

Our D.C. Road Trip Recap: Part 1

*I’m partnering with LIFEWTR to bring you this arts adventure story

Our D.C. Road Trip Recap: Part 1 | dreamgreendiy.com + @lifewtr @7Eleven #ad #ahalogycontent

Our D.C. Road Trip Recap: Part 1 | dreamgreendiy.com + @lifewtr @7Eleven #ad #ahalogycontent

I can hardly believe I’m able to say it, but this May will mark 10 years since I graduated from college. A decade sure sounds like a long time, but, frankly, I still feel a whole lot like that creative, semi-scattered 22-year-old girl. I might not have a pixie haircut anymore, and I’ve kinda lost my more carefree attitude (an inevitability, I think, that comes with age), but I’ll always crave art like I did back when I studied it day in and day out as a studio art and art history double major.

Since I’m not able to throw myself 24/7 into creating and appreciating art now that I’m out in the “real world,” I’ve had to find other ways to get my fix. You know I’m not much of a traveler, but there’s just no denying that stepping outside our tiny Virginia town is the best (and, really, the only) way to keep up with the changing arts scene. Today, along with LIFEWTR and 7-Eleven, I’m taking you with me on my latest adventure in honor of the arts. Scroll on to read and watch “Part One” of my recap, and stay tuned for the next chapter of our story later next month.

Our D.C. Road Trip Recap: Part 1 | dreamgreendiy.com + @lifewtr @7Eleven #ad #ahalogycontent

My partner in crime for this particular trip was my little sister. She’d be the first to tell you that she’s no artist, but the two of us have a deeply passionate shared love for all kinds of creative themes—be it architecture, interior design, painting, writing, and, of course, music.

So, when I found out that one of our favorite composers was playing his debut concert at the Kennedy Center in D.C., my sister was the first person I called. Happily, it didn’t take much convincing to get her to agree to a whirlwind 24-hour trip from Virginia to D.C., and, as per usual, I decided to take my camera equipment along to document the ride.

Our D.C. Road Trip Recap: Part 1 | dreamgreendiy.com + @lifewtr @7Eleven #ad #ahalogycontent

Our D.C. Road Trip Recap: Part 1 | dreamgreendiy.com + @lifewtr @7Eleven #ad #ahalogycontent

Our D.C. Road Trip Recap: Part 1 | dreamgreendiy.com + @lifewtr @7Eleven #ad #ahalogycontent

Our D.C. Road Trip Recap: Part 1 | dreamgreendiy.com + @lifewtr @7Eleven #ad #ahalogycontent

Before hitting the road that Friday afternoon, my sister and I made a quick pit stop at 7-Eleven, where we filled up on gas and a few other road trip essentials from the refrigerated water section, like LIFEWTR. I’m already a big fan of all LIFEWTR does to encourage the cultural arts and how they inspire like-minded innovators. I couldn’t have asked for a more well-aligned collaborator for our adventure, and told the team as much the moment they reached out to me.

It doesn’t hurt that, in my opinion, LIFEWTR bottles are easily the more photogenic water bottles on earth. The brand releases bottles featuring designs created by three different artists at a time, with each series tied to a specific theme. The Series 4 bottles that my sister and I picked up at 7-Eleven showcase designs by three emerging artists (Davie Lee, KRIVVY, and Luis Gonzalez) and focuses on the importance of ‘Arts in Education’—something I’m clearly passionate about. You can learn more about the ‘Arts in Education’ initiative here.

Our D.C. Road Trip Recap: Part 1 | dreamgreendiy.com + @lifewtr @7Eleven #ad #ahalogycontent

Our D.C. Road Trip Recap: Part 1 | dreamgreendiy.com + @lifewtr @7Eleven #ad #ahalogycontent

Our D.C. Road Trip Recap: Part 1 | dreamgreendiy.com + @lifewtr @7Eleven #ad #ahalogycontent

With our car now officially packed to the brim, my sis and I hit the road bound for D.C. We talked non-stop the entire two-and-a-half-hour trip, but made sure we kept music from the composer we were set to see at the Kennedy Center playing quietly in the background to help inspire our musical moods. I plan to share more details about our trip in ‘Part Two’ of this story, but for now you can click ‘Play’ on the video below to see it all in action.

Our D.C. Road Trip Recap: Part 1 | dreamgreendiy.com + @lifewtr @7Eleven #ad #ahalogycontent

The point of today’s post is this: I’m just so grateful for those years spent as an art student because of the memories I made that continue to make me crave inspirational adventures like our trip to D.C. The LIFEWTR brand is all about refreshing your creative mind, restoring your creative body, and inspiring your creative spirit, and that’s exactly what happened to me while I was away from home those 24 wild hours. Isn’t it amazing what art can do?

Our D.C. Road Trip Recap: Part 1 | dreamgreendiy.com + @lifewtr @7Eleven #ad #ahalogycontent

Whether you’re a filmmaker, painter, designer, musician, journalist, entrepreneur, or you just appreciate the arts, I hope you set aside time this season to tap into whatever inspires you. I’m already feeling so refreshed after our trip, and I’m pumped about planning more art adventures later this spring and summer. Where should we head next?!

Tell me what makes you feel #MoreInspired in the comments below, and feel free to keep the conversation going by snapping and sharing your own moments of inspiration on social media. Oh, and don’t forget to keep an eye out for the Series 5 bottles from LIFEWTR at your local 7-Eleven. I can’t wait to see how they celebrate the ‘Art Beyond Borders’ theme with brand new bottle art.

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10 Spring Dinner Party Menu Ideas

10 Spring Dinner Party Menu Ideas

Last week, we experienced a glorious glimpse of spring weather here in Virginia. Did you feel it, too? Those 60- and 70-something-degree days were exactly what my sun-starved mind and body needed, and it got me daydreaming about all the things that come with them—namely, springtime dinner parties. The notion ended up sending me down a menu-planning rabbit hole, and I managed to gather a bunch of fun recipes that I can’t wait to try later this season. Scroll on for 10 of my favorites to inspire a spring dinner party of your own!

10 Spring Dinner Party Menu Ideas

10 Spring Dinner Party Menu Ideas

10 Spring Dinner Party Menu Ideas

10 Spring Dinner Party Menu Ideas

1. Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

2. Spring Greens Soup with Baked Parsnip Fries

3. Orecchiette with Peas, Pancetta & Cream

4. Spring Minestrone Soup

5. Honey & Mustard Chicken Thighs with Spring Veg

6. Melon, Prosciutto & Mozzarella Skewers

7. Smashed Chickpea Salad Sandwich with Dill & Spicy Mustard

8. Salmon & Couscous Salad Bites

9. Turkey Panini With Apple, Cheddar & Arugula

10. Watermelon and Prosciutto with Mint & Toasted Almonds

10 Spring Dinner Party Menu Ideas

10 Spring Dinner Party Menu Ideas

10 Spring Dinner Party Menu Ideas

What flavors and recipes do you love during the warmer springtime months? Or do you tend to eat the same way all year round? Leave your recipe links and ideas in the comments below so we can all add to our must-try dishes lists!

10 Spring Dinner Party Menu Ideas

10 Spring Dinner Party Menu Ideas

*Photos by Carrie Coleman
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A Roundup Of Our Go-To Spring Wines

A Roundup Of Our Go-To Spring WinesI’ve probably already mentioned this, but I actually took a mini break from my daily glass of wine right after the 2017 holiday season. I think I just overdid it around Christmas and New Years, so much so that I didn’t even crave wine like I used to. Well, the little hiatus is definitely behind me because I’m finding myself wandering into the wine section almost every time we go to the grocery store, and I’m feeling drawn to local wineries for a weekend refresh more than ever, too.

Now that spring is officially upon us (although I find that hard to accept mentally, what with all the snow we’ve been getting lately), I figured it was a good excuse to wax poetic about our favorite seasonal wines. Of course, you can down a glass of any of these practically all year long, but I tried to focus on our favorites for ringing in the warmer, more colorful months of the year.

A Roundup Of Our Go-To Spring Wines

A Roundup Of Our Go-To Spring Wines

Our Go-To Spring Wines

1. Lange Estate Winery, Pinot Gris: This one is a bit of a splurge, but we love the playful tropical taste. It’s great alongside grilled chicken with a pineapple garnish, making it the ideal pairing for springtime alfresco eating.

2. Veritas Winery, Rosé: If you live in Virginia, you have to come visit Veritas in person. It’s our favorite spot for a Saturday afternoon picnic, especially when complemented by a bottle of their chilled Rosé wine.

3. Onx Moon Dark Red Blend: My love for red wine is usually strongest in the colder months, but we’ve really been enjoying this budget-friendly blend as of late. The rich fruity finish makes it perfect for spring.

4. Carayon La Rosé: Speaking of budget-friendly, you absolutely can’t beat the price on this $5 Rosé blend from Trader Joes. We’re stocking up on it in anticipation of all those warm sunporch-sittin’ days to come.

5. Cupcake Vineyards, Sauvignon Blanc: Pick any day of the week, month, or year and you’re bound to find this wine in our fridge. It’s so light and refreshing.

6. Ancient Peaks Winery, Pinot Noir: This red is another one that perfectly blends jammy fruit flavors, making it a stand-out springtime pick. Try serving it at your next cheese tasting!

7. Bogle Vineyards, Chardonnay: Chances are very good that I include this bottle in every wine roundup I do, but there’s a reason for it. Bogle’s Chardonnay is a classic, whether it’s spring, summer, fall, or winter.

A Roundup Of Our Go-To Spring Wines

Did I miss a wine that you’re loving this season? Do share in the comments because we’d love to add some newbies to our roster. John and I have the nasty habit of sticking just to what we know. We’d love to break out of the box (errrr, barrel) this spring, so please tell us about your own top wine picks, especially if they weren’t mentioned in our list above!

A Roundup Of Our Go-To Spring Wines

*Photos by Bethany and Aaron Mallory; Have you responded to our 2018 reader survey yet? Click here to submit your responses and enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card!
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How To Minimize Pet Odors In A Home

How To Minimize Pet Odors In A Home

With four indoor animals to our name (1 dog and three cats) there’s just no denying that we really have to stay on top of things in order to keep pet odors to a minimum in our home. We’ve come up with a few strategies over the last six years, and I’m happy to report that no one has ever made a comment to us about our house smelling pet-infested. Sure, those visitors could just be playing nice, but I’ve always felt like we did a pretty good job of masking our pack’s scent. Scroll on for a quick list of the strategies that work for us on a daily basis.

How To Minimize Pet Odors In A Home

How To Minimize Pet Odors In A Home

Vacuum Weekly

Since we all know pet fur and dander makes up the majority of unpleasant pet smalls, we make it a point to vacuum our entire house weekly. The way we make this a little more manageable from a timing standpoint (since vacuuming an entire 1,900-square-foot home can take a while) is that we break the process up by floor. We usually vacuum the upstairs in one go, and then a few days later, we tackle the lower floor. Although it’s a simple thing, breaking the chore up into bite-sized chunks makes it much less of a headache. And if we just so happen to get a big burst of energy to vacuum the whole house in one go, it’s one less thing we have to do later in the week.

How To Minimize Pet Odors In A Home

Pet Bathing

Another thing we try to stay on top of is pet bathing. This one, of course, applies mostly to the dog since the cats bathe themselves, but keeping Rocky’s fur nice and fresh is easily the most important activity for reducing pet odors throughout the house. He’s a naturally sweet-smelling pup, and we tend to bathe him only once a month or so, but it’s a top priority in our battle against pet odors.

How To Minimize Pet Odors In A Home

Use Pet Blankets

I wish I could say that we are a “No Pets On The Furniture” household, but we’re just not. It would be impossible to keep our trio of kitties off the couches and beds, and we hate to tell Rocky he can’t do anything that the cats can, so we don’t stop anybody from cuddling on soft surfaces. To keep pet smells from burying themselves in our furniture, we use a lot of blankets and removable covers. We drape blankets on chairs and couches, and cover our beds with comforters fitted with duvets. This means that everything (and we mean everything) is washable and replaceable if we start to smell hints of our furry friends in the fabrics throughout our house.

How To Minimize Pet Odors In A Home

Natural Deodorizers

I hardly ever use aerosol room fresheners in our house anymore, but I do love to keep things like organic reed diffusers in strategic places throughout our house. We’re also big fans of soy candles for hitting a room with a burst of fresh, natural scent. For a bit of a stronger odor minimizer, we fill a spray bottle with plain vinegar and essential oils, and spray it around as needed on the carpet and furniture.

How To Minimize Pet Odors In A Home

How To Minimize Pet Odors In A Home

While it sure takes time (and a bit of an investment) to keep animal smells to a minimum in our house, it’s obviously so worth the effort. I think we’ll always be a pet-filled family, so the process is just something we accept as “the norm,” and, happily, it has been easy to work the strategies I mentioned above into our normal cleaning routines. So, tell me: do you have pets in your home? I’d love to know how you keep pet odors to a minimum, so please share your own advice in the comments below.

How To Minimize Pet Odors In A Home

*Photos by Aaron and Bethany Mallory
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6 Tips For Training An Energetic Puppy

6 Tips For Training An Energetic Puppy

Before my sister’s puppy Rory came into our lives, I never fully appreciated what it must be like to be the owner of an “energetic” dog. Sure, my parents’ three labs are high spirited, but Rory takes things to a whole new level. Thankfully, my sister went into her first pet-owning experience with a can-do attitude, and had already planned to enroll in training sessions with her hypothetical pup right away.

It turned out that the training exercises weren’t just for bonding, though. Rory is an exceptionally energetic dog whose needs seem to shift and change on a minute-to-minute basis. Training is an absolute necessity for Rory, but he has come so far since he was adopted last summer. While he still has his set-backs, Rory and my sister have learned to listen to one another, and have picked up lots of tricks and strategies thanks to the multiple classes they’ve taken together. Read on to hear what’s worked for them in case you, too, are the loving owner of an energetic dog.

6 Tips For Training An Energetic Puppy

1. Consistency

It’s important to build a strong foundation, first thing. Setting a specific time for different activities—anything from feeding time, to walk time—helps both of you feel stable and on the same page. Also important? Don’t let your emotions or state of mind alter that routine. Some days you might think to yourself, “I’m tired today, so if he whines I’m just going to ignore him.” If you change the status quo on him, any type of communication you’ve established will be shot.

It’s amazing how easily dogs form habits, so try making that work in your favor. As an example, on nights when they go to the dog park to run around with neighbor dog, Scout, Rory and my sister walk counter-clockwise around their apartment complex. If Scout’s not able to play, however, my sister walks Rory clockwise around the complex. As soon as she takes a step toward that clockwise route, Rory understands that he’s going for a longer walk and falls into line, knowing the plan.

6 Tips For Training An Energetic Puppy

2. Socialization

Speaking of Scout, the neighbor dog, let’s talk briefly about socialization. Even if your dog is naturally friendly from the start, it’s important to prioritize playtime with other dogs and with other humans, too. Interacting with others makes it less of a novelty, so whenever they meet someone new, they don’t think it’s the most exciting and exhilarating experience of all time. Less excitement equals less barking and jumping.

It also exposes them to other types of pups and people (think: children, men, women, etc.). You can achieve this by signing your dog up for day care, taking them to a dog park, and even boarding them rather then having a friend watch them so they can meet people outside your established network. Take advantage of every opportunity to socialize your energetic dog!

6 Tips For Training An Energetic Puppy

3. Toys

Try to resist having a thought like this: “I don’t want to be that dog owner who constantly buys new toys for my dog.” Energetic puppies and dogs generally do need new toys every week (or at least a couple of times a month) because high energy dogs and puppies wear them out (i.e. destroy them) quickly. Try having different types of toys on hand to keep boredom at bay. Two good examples include colorful stuffed squeaker toys and tough plastic puzzle toys stuffed with food or treats accessed through play.

My sister’s best advice here is this: “Sign up for Bark Box! You might think it’s a luxury to spend $25 a month on a subscription service like this, but if you take into account just how expensive new treats are and how often you need to buy them, it’s a bargain. Plus, all of their treats are made in America.”

6 Tips For Training An Energetic Puppy

4. Clicker

You’ve probably seen show dogs and their trainers use handheld clickers to accentuate a job well done. This concept is easy to put into play at home with an energetic or disobedient puppy, too. Start by getting his attention and click the clicker, then immediately give him a treat. Don’t worry about incorporating a trick into the sequence until he seems to grasp the fact that the clicker means a treat is close behind. After that, you can start marking good behavior on command (ex. a full lie down, a completed sit, a volunteered paw) the second it happens with a click and a treat to help him learn to associate clicks with positivity.

6 Tips For Training An Energetic Puppy

5. Trust

Think about it. You’re asking your high spirited dog to interact with unfamiliar pets and people, stick to a daily food and water routine, and, in the case of training and agility, even going through tunnels and ramps. There’s no way your dog will do these things unless they trust you implicitly, so work on showing your love every single day. You want them to know that you’re there to take care of them and keep them safe, so do your best to resist yelling at them or taking your aggression out on them. You won’t be able to have any effect on your dog’s demeanor without trust.

6 Tips For Training An Energetic Puppy

The last point? Have fun! Every single trainer my sister has worked with has told her that, if she’s tense, her dog will know it and won’t get anything out of the exercises. You have to go into training with a positive attitude and a patient mind. Even if your dog is only energetic for a year or two, that’s a long time for both of you, so you need to figure out how to have fun with it. Balance your time training with lots and lots (and lots!) of play time in order to refocus your dog’s mind on something other than “work.” Try to keep in mind the reason why you’re putting all this time and effort into training: you love your puppy!

Got any training tips of your own to share? Please feel free to speak candidly about your own experiences and pass along some advice in the comments below.

6 Tips For Training An Energetic Puppy

P.S. My apologies to those of you who are signed up to receive blog posts via email. Tomorrow’s unfinished post accidentally went out early yesterday, but the problem has since been fixed. Hope you enjoyed the little sneak peek, and we’ll be back to normal email programming tomorrow morning!
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The Magazines We’re Currently Subscribed To

The Magazines We're Currently Subscribed To

Today, I wanted to talk about magazines, and, in particular, the one’s we read regularly. Although I was about to say I only read magazines during the winter when I’m stuck inside from the cold, I realized (mid-type) that’s not actually true. As soon as the weather starts heating up, I often find myself retreating to our sunroom or a lawn chair set up in the yard where I proceed to read my favorite mags cover to cover. There’s no “season” for me when it comes to magazines. I adore them any day of the year.

That said, I’m pretty darn picky when it comes to the ones I invest in. I love, love, love super thick, glossy pages, and most definitely judge a magazine by its weight in hand. The quality of the paper matters so much to me, as you’ll notice when you scroll on to see the full list of our favorites. Another thing you’ll notice? Not all of the magazines are design-specific. I wanted to make sure I mentioned a couple of John’s favorite magazines in case you’ve got a fisherman of your own in your life (his two favorites both center on that topic). Anyway, enough stalling. Let’s get to that list!

The Magazines We're Currently Subscribed To

The Magazines We're Currently Subscribed To

Magazines To Subscribe To Now

Domino: My favorite features to read in this iconic mag are the home tours. The editors do a really good job of mixing it up each issue in terms of the styles of the homes they feature. Domino has really opened my eyes to designs that I might not have considered on my own (think: Victorian, Scandinavian, Oriental, etc.)

Magnolia Journal: I just started this magazine recently (I know…I’m super late to the game), and am hooked. The features are really well-written and thought out, and cover all sorts of different topics—from mental health and recipes, to home décor.

Atomic Ranch: If you’re a lover of all things mid-century, then do yourself a favor and subscribe to this quarterly magazine. I’ve always appreciated retro home décor and architecture, but now I actually know something about the history, too, because this magazine dives down deep into the topic of MCM design.

The Drake: Although I don’t personally read this magazine (this is one of John’s picks), the cover always features beautiful photography that I really appreciate when I find it sitting out on our coffee table.

Darling: So, I kind of lied on this one. I don’t technically have a full subscription to Darling, but whenever I see it in a boutique shop here in town, I snatch it up. I actually ghost-wrote a piece for the mag while I was working for Glitter Guide, so I have a special place in my heart for Darling. I also really love that they never retouch the women in their magazine. Hear, hear!

AllRecipes: My mom’s the one who is subscribed to this magazine, but we get her hand-me-down copies, and just love it! We might need to splurge on our own mailing of it because we always get tons of meal planning ideas from AllRecipes.

Dwell: I’m particularly fond of the fact that this magazine goes beyond the cosmetic idea of home décor, focusing instead on the heart of a home: its architecture. I learn so much about unique modern design in this coffee-table-worthy magazine.

The FlyFish Journal: This is another favorite of John’s, and one I don’t mind seeing lying around the house. I rarely fish, but I’m so appreciative of the hobby. The photos in this magazine are stunning, and I’ve definitely found myself reading the articles from time to time just to learn more about my husband’s passion for fly fishing.

The Magazines We're Currently Subscribed To

The Magazines We're Currently Subscribed To

The Magazines We're Currently Subscribed To

The Magazines We're Currently Subscribed To

So, tell me: what magazines are you subscribed to right now? Do you have a favorite that I didn’t mention in my list? Of course, I’m also a big fan of classic titles like Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple, and Food magazine, but I tend to pick those up as a treat at the grocery store rather than having a consistent subscription to them. I just have too much to read and get overwhelmed easily by a looming stack of magazines. That said, please leave your suggestions in the comments because I’m very open to the idea of trading out for some brand new-to-me magazines this season.

The Magazines We're Currently Subscribed To

*Photos by Aaron and Bethany Mallory; Don’t forget to sign up for the Dream Green DIY newsletter! The next issue hits everyone’s inboxes on Wednesday, and includes a free St. Patrick’s Day Charades Clue Cards printable. You can sign up to get on the newsletter email list here.
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50 Fun Facts About Me

50 Fun Facts About Me

I thought I’d share something a little light-hearted today: a new video featuring 50 fun facts about me! It’s always nice to take a tiny break from DIY projects to focus on the simple things in life, so this quick four-and-a-half-minute video seemed like the perfect way to ease off on the practical to focus on the fun. In it, you’ll learn about my favorite sound, my real first name, my secret goal in life, the one thing that makes me cringe, my biggest phobia, and so much more.

An At-Home Thanksgiving Picnic For Two | dreamgreendiy.com

Click ‘Play’ on the video below (or hop over to my YouTube channel to see it there), and then leave some fun facts about yourself in the comments down below. It can be anything from a secret hidden talent, the one goal you have in life, or even the story behind your name—nothing is too small to share!

50 Fun Facts About Me

*Photos by Aaron and Bethany Mallory
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6 Ways To Add Self-Care To Your Morning Routine

*This post was sponsored by Folgers Coffee. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

6 Ways To Add Self-Care To Your Morning Routine

Good morning! At least I hope it’s a “good morning.” In case you’re feeling a little groggy—or, dare I say it, grumpy—post-roll out of bed, I wanted to share a few of my go-to tips for making the most of those first few hours of the day. As someone who struggles daily with anxiety, I’ve had to be really strict with myself when it comes to making time for self-care. The six activities I share below were things I’ve added to my morning since we kicked off the new year, and I can tell you that I already feel more centered, more calm, and more optimistic about what each day holds now that I’ve prioritized self-care. Let’s jump right into my suggestions now, as inspired by Folgers Coffee, and I hope you’ll stick around to share your own self-care tips in the comments at the end of the post.

6 Ways To Add Self-Care To Your Morning Routine

6 Ways To Add Self-Care To Your Morning Routine

6 Ways To Add Self-Care To Your Morning Routine

1. First Things First: Coffee!

My “good morning” just wouldn’t be good without a first-thing cup of coffee. To simplify the process, I’ve gotten into the habit of setting out everything I need to brew a steamy cup-full the night before—one Folgers K-Cup pod (my current go-to from Food Lion is Black Silk), a favorite mug, a spoon, and our sugar dish for those mornings when I need an extra jolt of sweetness. I usually drink my coffee black because Folgers Coffee tastes delicious right from the pod without having to “doctor it up,” but a spoonful of vanilla-infused sugar every now and then is a fun way to keep things feeling new.

Honestly, enjoying a fresh-brewed cup of coffee isn’t just a routine thing for me. It goes way beyond that. For me, the act of preparing my coffee, brewing it hot, and then sitting down to enjoy it in the morning is something I relish. In fact, I try to be intentional about not even reading the news or sitting down to answer emails with a mug. Instead, I choose a time in my morning when I’m feeling completely relaxed and at ease so that the coffee punctuates the calm. I now associate coffee with quiet time, so even just the thought of brewing my morning mug makes me feel peaceful and optimistic.

6 Ways To Add Self-Care To Your Morning Routine

6 Ways To Add Self-Care To Your Morning Routine

2. Go For A Walk

When John came down with the flu in January, I took over all of his household duties—things like making dinner, vacuuming, and even walking the dog. Although it was overwhelming the first day, I quickly got into a groove and even found myself looking forward to my morning walk with Rocky, our hound dog. It forced me to get active, and those big gulps of fresh cold air first thing in the morning were downright delicious. Now, even though John’s all better and has resumed his dog-walking duties, I try to set aside 15 minutes every morning to take Rocky on an extra trot around the neighborhood.

3. Read Something

The perfect accompaniment to my first self-care suggestion (i.e. coffee) is a good book or blog post. I love to settle down with a novel I’m reading or with my laptop to browse a few of my favorite home décor websites with a steamy mug of coffee in my other hand. Even just taking an extra 5-10 minutes of my morning to read something other than an email or contract is fuel for my soul before the hectic day gets underway.

6 Ways To Add Self-Care To Your Morning Routine

6 Ways To Add Self-Care To Your Morning Routine

6 Ways To Add Self-Care To Your Morning Routine

4. Think Grateful Thoughts

I mentioned around Christmas time that I had treated myself to the Gratitude Attitude journal, and the ritual is still going strong. The habit of thinking up and then writing down three things I’m grateful for every morning has been so insightful. Even on the hardest, most anxiety-ridden days, I’m able to come up with three things to be thankful for. I may only have the strength to scrawl out something as simple and basic as, “tomorrow is another day,” but it still reminds me that things could be so much worse and that I have so much to be grateful for.

5. Seek Comfort

I used to beat myself up last year when I would inevitably find myself eating breakfast and drinking coffee in bed every morning after waking up, but this year I’ve decided to cut myself a break. If morning “comfort” to me means crawling back into bed for 30 minutes while I tackle necessities like eating a good breakfast, then there’s really nothing wrong with that. It just goes to show that the heart of self-care is all about running with your intuition and not beating yourself up for seeking a little comfort wherever you can find time. Bottom line? Remind yourself to skip the daily internal guilt trips—you don’t deserve them!

6 Ways To Add Self-Care To Your Morning Routine

6 Ways To Add Self-Care To Your Morning Routine

6 Ways To Add Self-Care To Your Morning Routine

6. Prep With A Pep Talk

A friend of mine recently recommended that I tune into Jenna Kutcher’s “Goal Diggers” podcast. Actually, I should amend that statement, because when I say “recently,” I mean that she recommended the podcast to me about six months ago. While the thought was always in the back of my mind that I should give the show a listen, I had so much trouble finding the time to make it work. Then, around the kick-off to the new year, I decided that now was finally the time to make it work, and so I experimented with tuning into the podcast while getting ready in the morning.

Now, it’s an absolute must for me every single day. Even if I only have time for five minutes of listening, I make sure to prop my phone up on the bathroom counter as I’m putting my makeup on. Instead of stressing about my to-do list while I’m doing it, I just clear my head and listen to Jenna’s encouraging voice. Her helpful business tips get me feeling energized just as my earlier cup of coffee has finished working its way into my veins, and I’m basically ready to hit the ground sprinting by the time my morning routine gives way to the work day.

6 Ways To Add Self-Care To Your Morning Routine

What are a few things you do to make your mornings the best they can be? Are you a fellow coffee lover, too? In case it’s been a while since you indulged in K-Cups from Folgers, give the brand a shot this Saturday morning. Your grocer carries a whole range of flavors to choose from, so find your local Food Lion store here and stock up on your favorites from the coffee aisle ahead of the weekend.

6 Ways To Add Self-Care To Your Morning Routine

*Don’t forget to sign up for the Dream Green DIY newsletter! The next issue hits everyone’s inboxes this Wednesday, and includes the only chocolate chip cookie recipe I ever use. You can sign up to get on the newsletter email list here.
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What We’re Watching On Netflix

What We're Watching On Netflix

Maybe it shouldn’t be, but our nightly Netflix viewing is something I tend to look forward to all day long. I’ve unofficially decided that 2018 is the year I stop apologizing or feeling embarrassed about the way I am, so I thought I’d fully embrace our homebody natural today with a chat all about what we’re watching on TV these days!

Truth be told, we’ve actually taken a tiny break from Netflix in order to focus on the Olympics. We temporarily upgraded our Hulu account to their “Live” version, which allows us to tune into a full lineup of network channels, including NBC’s coverage of the games. So, right around 7:30pm, you’ll find John and I (and the pets) cuddled up in the family room cheering on Team USA. The winter Olympics might just be our favorite of the two types, and it has been so much fun to pretend like we’re expert commentators while watching figure skating, snowboarding, skiing—you name it, we love it.

In case you’re wondering what we’re watching whenever we find ourselves needing a little break from the competition, or if you want to add something new to your own queue, scroll on for the full list.

What We're Watching On Netflix

What We're Watching On Netflix

 

What We’re Watching On Netflix

  • Cheers and Frasier: These two are on the same playing field in terms of 1980s/90s nostalgia. We press “play” on an episode whenever we need a little happy escape from reality alongside this great cast of semi-combined characters.
  • The West Wing: This is my favorite show of all time. I’m currently wrapping up my most recent binge watch, and won’t be surprised one bit to find myself starting it right over again when I’m done.
  • Apollo 13: Such a classic. John’s not a fan of this movie (I can’t imagine why—truly), so I love watching it after he goes to bed.
  • Zootopia: I went into this movie with low expectations, but it’s actually hilarious! We’ve watched it two or three times and always end up laughing uncontrollably.
  • Moana: The animation is beautiful, the storyline is super empowering, and I end up bawling at the ending—every.single.time.
  • Planet Earth: John motored through this series while he was down for the count with the flu, and loved it.
  • The Crown: If you haven’t jumped on The Crown’s bandwagon, consider today’s post your challenge to hop to it! It’s beautifully shot and the casting is impeccable. I’m desperate for more.
  • Barefoot in the Park: It doesn’t get much better than Robert Redford and Jane Fonda. Watch for tons of retro home design inspiration, and to “ohh” and “ahh” over Jane’s gorgeous, gorgeous wardrobe.
  • Trolls: Both the movie and their new series! We can’t help bobbing our heads to the music, and the bright, bold colors are dazzling—no matter how many times we rewatch it.
  • Lord of the Rings: I could watch this epic movie over and over and over again. I wish Netflix had the full collection of movies available to watch, but maybe they’ll add to the mix come spring.

What We're Watching On Netflix

What We're Watching On Netflix

What are you watching on TV right now? We have a subscription to Netflix, Amazon Video, and Hulu, but I’m always curious to know if we’re missing out on something with our current go-to lineup. Our “thing” is definitely tuning in to a good movie or TV show in the evenings, so I’d love for you to share what you’re loving in case we feel the urge to break out of our box!

What We're Watching On Netflix

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Heart-Shaped Valentine’s Day Banana Bread

Heart-Shaped Valentine's Day Banana Bread

Thanks to a lot of recent large expenses and credit card bills (apparently I treated myself a little too much over the holidays), I’ve tried extra hard to curb my spending as of late. That means brewing my own cup of coffee at home as opposed to heading out to the café, repurposing home décor we already have to refresh spaces, and looking for other ways (read: free ways) to show loved ones that I care.

Happily, it turns out that you really don’t have to spend a ton of money to feel like you’re treating yourself and those around you. Reading that back to myself, I realize how trite it might sound, but I think its worth the reminder since we’re so saturated with advertising and messaging these days that make it seem like we have to spend big to “have it all.” If you ask me, that’s just not true!

Heart-Shaped Valentine's Day Banana Bread

Heart-Shaped Valentine's Day Banana Bread

Take my homemade heart-shaped Valentine’s Day banana bread for example. This simple holiday gift took practically no time at all to make, used up pantry staples we already had, and yet still made my Valentine feel loved. I consider that a win, win, win—don’t you?

As I’m sure you guessed, the process is super easy and can be adapted based on practically any taste. Just bake up your loaf of choice (might I suggest this tasty banana bread recipe?), cut thick slices, and use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to create custom Valentine-themed shapes.

Heart-Shaped Valentine's Day Banana Bread

Heart-Shaped Valentine's Day Banana Bread

Heart-Shaped Valentine's Day Banana Bread

Come February 14, all you have to do is slip a few of those edible hearts into a glass container or wrap them up in parchment paper, and then add a little handwritten note or card to your Valentine’s lunch box to finish the gift. It’s the perfect little surprise to show your favorite person just how much you care, and you can rest easy knowing that you haven’t blown your budget.

Heart-Shaped Valentine's Day Banana Bread

Heart-Shaped Valentine's Day Banana Bread

Heart-Shaped Valentine's Day Banana Bread

While I wish I had the funds to spoil the heck out of my hubby with state of the art techie gadgets or fly fishing equipment, he and I both know that’s just not possible right now in our stage of life. But the good, great, excellent news is that small homemade gifts, like these little heart-shaped banana bread slices, go a long way in communicating how we feel.

How would you adapt this project to your own Valentine’s preferences? Maybe heart-shaped brownies? Hand-held PB&J sandwiches cut into hearts? The possibilities are endless, but I think, no matter what you do, the treat will bring a nice big smile to your better half’s face this holiday.

Heart-Shaped Valentine's Day Banana Bread

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