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// Springtime in Paris: DIY Decorative Pots



Spring is my favorite! Oh man, when things start turning green again, I get such a rush of motivation, inspiration, and excitement. I truly feel like I'm hitting refresh once the weather starts to break. Forget New Years! Give me Spring!

Since it's still incredibly gloomy and wet around Tennessee, I thought I should start infusing a little greenery around our house to get me pumped for the upcoming season. The challenge for the Michaels Makers this month was "Springtime in Paris" so it was the perfect opportunity to take a few of my favorite colors and add ALL THE PLANTS! I actually did about four different projects for this challenge, but in the end simplicity won out. The little pops of green around my workspace bring me too much joy to ignore.
What I did was incredibly easy and relatively quick. I just spray painted a few terra cotta pots that I picked up at Michaels and then I painted on some French phrases and doodles. The black chalkboard is a stark contrast to the white and pastel pink, but I feel like Parisian women are always so chic and decked out in black, so I went with it. Plus I love how matte it is next to the lighter two. If pink isn't your cup of tea, or you share your space with a less than pastel-compliant partner, you could totally do white, black, and red! These hues fit my workspace so perfectly though, so pink it (always) is! It reminds me of the cherry blossoms and floral stands on every corner. So dreamy!

Now for the more exciting (!!!) portion of this post: a super fun contest announcement! Michaels is giving one lucky winner (plus a guest) a trip of a lifetime! I'm talking a four-night trip for two to Paris, 1,000 euros, a VIP tour of the Louvre (!), and private classes including sketching, floral arranging, baking, and more! (Please don't enter... Like, none of you. Just forget I mentioned it. Because I'm entering and I really want to win! HA! Just kidding, but not really!) Okay, well, if you insist on tossing your hat into the ring, here's what you gotta do: Create your own Parisian-inspired art, floral, baking, or paper crafting project and upload a photo of it to Paris.Michaels.com now through March 31st. You can also share your project on social media using the hashtag #SpringtimeInParis. If you need a little inspiration to get the wheels turning in your head, check out a few of these project on the Springtime in Paris page at Michaels.com, or click through to any of the Michaels Makers posts below! (But really, no need to enter... ;P)

// TeaBoxExpress Jan/Feb Recap (+ Giveaway!)


I really love my role at TeaBoxExpress. I love connecting with customers and sharing sneak peeks of the upcoming boxes. I love being part of someone else's dream, ya know? I feel like I've learned so much about tea since starting my position last summer. I've also expanded my palate of teas, too. Truth be told, I never really enjoyed drinking tea until several years into my relationship with Mike. I mean I'd go to Chinatown in San Francisco a few times a year and enjoy the tea tastings and what not, but I never bought my own to brew at home. Mike started really getting into tea in January of last year. He'd buy any variety that struck a chord with him and I'd taste alongside him. There have been many mornings since that I've made my own cup (or three), and I can honestly say that I am a huge fan. So working at TeaBoxExpress has opened my eyes to so many more flavors and varieties, and it's broadened my collection of cute tea accessories. The two boxes I'm going to share today are seriously wonderful. And I'm not just saying that, I swear!
I didn't manage to get a group shot of the January box because we blew straight through the Earl Grey tea that came with it (Teapigs brand!). It was so good with a little bit of milk. Yum! The first box of the new year was British themed - with earl grey tea, scone mix, clotted cream, strawberry preserves, and a darling creamer with spoon. I kept saying I was going to make the (Sticky Fingers) scones and try them, but it seemed like a weekend thing since I wanted Mike to enjoy them, too. Unfortunately we're usually gone shortly after waking up and well past dark on the weekends. It's our only time to get things done together so we stay on the move. Well I finally decided to use what little time I had yesterday afternoon to make them, as sort of a surprise when Mike got home from school. The scone mix was nice because you only add water. Now I'm normally very skeptical of things that only require water, but these baked up perfectly! The name (Sticky Fingers) is no lie though... holy sticky when mixing! I'm convinced that stuff could help brick a house haha The part of the box that I was honestly really concerned with was the clotted cream. What?! Clotted cream?! That did not sound like something I would enjoy. I'm a bit scared to try new things but all of the reviews for the January box were stellar so I put on my big girl britches and laid it on a scone, then topped it with strawberry preserves. Mike and I tried a bite at the same time. WHOA! So. Freaking. Good! Toby came in and asked for some and loved it, too. Between the three of us the two containers of toppings were scraped clean in merely minutes. Then we said we'd be going to World Market this weekend to try and find a non-sample sized jar. The scones were perfectly fluffy, and the clotted cream and preserves were deliciously sweet. And now I wish we were British!


The February box was so intriguing to me because I knew there were some fun teas included. Andrea came up with the theme for a Valentine's Day box and instantly I was sold. It was going to be great! In the February box was: two SerendipiTea teas (a rose and green tea variety as shown above) and a fun peppermint, chocolate tea. They both smell divine, but I've only tried the rose tea so far! Also included was a bar of Taza coconut dark chocolate, Earl Grey lip balm, a Tea, Spice and Orchid soy candle, and a mesh tea infuser. I loved how many of the February inclusions were about the physical aspect of enjoying tea. Calming and relaxing - I wanted to take a bath with a cup of tea and eat chocolate and burn my candle haha Mike isn't a fan of green tea, but I am. I loved the rose tea so much, and the candle smells divine. The only part I didn't love was the chocolate, which is rare for me... because chocolate! But I just don't love coconut. Luckily Toby was eager and willing to devour it, even with the more bitter taste of the dark chocolate.

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My favorite part about TeaBoxExpress is that it really is all about the experience of drinking and enjoying tea. You're not just sent five samples of random teas. You're sent one or two teas with well thought out assortments of matching treats and accessories. I feel like TBE is unlike any other box on the market for that very reason. Andrea does such an amazing job putting these boxes together.

Now the super fun part! The giveaway! One lucky winner will receive a TeaBoxExpress shipment of their own! You'll get the March box delivered straight to your doorstep! (A little birdie told me the March box is full of fair-trade and sustainable/eco-conscious brands!) 

To be entered to win:

Leave a comment below sharing your favorite kind of tea

(or if you don't drink tea and would like to win this box for someone else:
leave a comment sharing why you think they'd like it!)

For additional (optional) entries, do any of the following (and leave a separate comment for each in order to be counted!): Like TeaBoxExpress on Facebook // Follow @TeaBoxExpress on Pinterest // Follow @TeaBoxExpress on Twitter // Tweet about the giveaway (include a link to the post and tag both @kaelahbee and @TeaBoxExpress)

A winner will be drawn at random next week and contacted shortly thereafter. If you'd like to sign up for TeaBoxExpress yourself, you can get the March box by signing up before the end of the day on March 5th! (If you sign up and win the giveaway, your payment with either be refunded or applied to the April box!) You can use the code CLUELESSGIRL20 to get 20% off your first month's box when you sign up for a recurring subscription. And if you want to shop boxes from the past months, you can do so via the TBE Shop! (The coupon codes don't apply to past boxes however. And they're limited to inventory so you gotta get 'em while you can! But really, go buy October, January and February! They have been my favorites!)

xoxo

PS; Check out the TBE Blog for a sneak peek at March's tea inclusion!

PPS; Mike just said to me "So we're going to World Market today right? We have to get some clotted cream. I had dreams about those scones last night." I can't make this up. They're that good!

// Four Tips To Maximize Productivity + Creativity


I love being productive. Who doesn't, right? But with two kids, it can sometimes be hard. Nevermind trying to be creative. Half of the time I'm just too zonked to feel creative, and the other half of the time I'm just too busy to execute the ideas I come up with. Things have gotten a lot better since I started implementing a handful of these tactics, and I thought I'd share them with you today! This post is in partnership with HP's new x360 tablet and computer system, and their upcoming "That Bass" tour with Meghan Trainor (!!!). Peep the details below!

CREATE AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR

If you're a blogger or utilize social media for your business, an editorial calendar is key! I started using one in 2011 or 2012, and I spend a good portion of time carving out my blog's plan one month at a time. I blogged about my system once before, and it's relatively the same still, but I've found new ways to make it work for me. There's really no skill required. Just plan out your blog or social media posts in advance to ensure that you have quality coverage throughout the month. I really love my method because it allows me to move things around (even to another month!) and go with the flow. You can create an editorial calendar on your computer, Google Calendar, or in a planner like I have. I love being able to write things out and see them in a three dimensional form, so the planner really works for me. If you'd like to see more about how I plan my editorial calendar, let me know and I'll whip up a post!

READ, READ, and READ SOME MORE!

There are endless resources out there for maximizing productivity and creativity. From books to blogs to podcasts (Okay, I guess you listen to that one...), there are so many tips and tricks just waiting to be discovered. I am a huge fan of business books. I can devour half a dozen of them in a month because I get so pumped when I read them. Whether they talk about being a work at home mom, a creative, or just discuss ways to find likeminded people, I am all about it. I feel like we should never stop learning, and thankfully these books and blogs make that so easy. A few of my favorite business-minded books include: The Boss of You, Turning Pro, Craft Inc., Creative, Inc., Blog Inc., Mom Inc., Tribes, and ReWork.

CREATE A "LITTLE BOOK OF IDEAS"

I've written about my "Little Book of Ideas" hundreds of times on this blog. If you've read for any length of time, you've probably seen me reference it before. Just like my editorial calendar, it's nothing special. Just a notebook that I keep in my purse and use to jot down any ideas that I have. I doodle thumbnails for designs, hash out blog features, and keep a running list of topics I'd like to write about. If I'm feeling especially stuck and can't come up with something for the blog, I can pull out my book and see pull out a topic just like that! I also write a lot of lists! I love having an app for that (more on that next), but when it comes to a general "to do" list for the day, a handwritten list is the way to go for me. I love the act of marking them out once finished. There's something so gratifying about that. I usually keep my to do list on a little legal pad and then toss them into my book of ideas if they're on-going. 

Utilize Apps to help keep you on track

If you're more of a digital maven, maybe apps are more your speed. While I love me some handwritten lists, sometimes apps just can't be beat. Mike and I share several "list boards" on Wunderlist together and they make grocery shopping a breeze! Sure, grocery shopping may not be "creative" but it sure is productive. If either one of us notice that we're running low on something, we just pop it on the list and it updates across both of our phones and any other device Wunderlist is installed on. Same goes for Evernote. I love that I can "snip" pieces of webpages to save into Wunderlist, and then I can access them from any device.

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These four tips were inspired by the 4 modes of the new HP x360 tablet and their new #BendTheRules campaign. They include laptop, tablet, tent and stand modes (clockwise from top left)! Mike sort of took over the tablet as soon as it arrived and he (unofficially) made it his own. He's been glued to the Kindle and NPR apps, so stealing it away from him is easier said than done haha It's been super handy (when he's out of the house) though, because I've used it in tent mode to stream YouTube instructional videos on so many things lately! Namely how to set up my new serger that I got for Christmas haha! 

I'm also supposed to tell y'all about the new Meghan Trainor tour that's taking place right now (!!!) across the country. HP is sponsoring her "That Bass" tour and it's sure to be a fun time for all. Linden loves her song "Dear Future Husband" and it's our post-afternoon-nap tradition to dance around in the kitchen to that song and he just laughs and laughs and laughs. 


Do you have any tips you'd like to share on how to maximize productivity? I'm all ears! I need it now more than ever! haha Hopefully some of these tips will help you make the most of your time and talent! xoxo

// Things I Love Thursday v.218

this! ♥
this gorgeous view! ♥
this book is full of amazing animal architecture ♥
this rainbow jumping spider is so pretty ♥
this beautiful bouquet ♥
this hotel concept is NUTS! in the best way. ♥
this tea print is super cute ♥
this illo of cloud llamas (!!!) ♥


// This Ira Glass quote is everything:
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners. I wish someone had told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase; they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative, work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know that it’s normal and the important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you finish one piece. It’s only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take awhile. You just gotta fight your way through.

// Loved Danielle's post on having your own voice. 





// Are you following me on Pinterest? Leave your links so I can follow you!

// Goal: To be half as cute as Roxy.

// Any of you mamas heading out to MommyCon this year?! You can save $5 on your general admission ticket with the code CLUELESS15. I'm hoping to be at the Atlanta event on March 28th, if my schedule permits! Let me know if you'll be there so I can say hey!






// Poll: I need your thoughts... I'm working on changing my blog over like I had shared earlier, but I'm trying to decide what features to keep and what to toss/replace. I haven't done an Instagram Favorites in a couple of months, but should I bring it back/keep it? Or would you prefer a different type of "feature" post? (I have one or two in the works, so I think I'm already leaning toward scrapping it). Maybe this question was pointless haha!

What are you loving this week?

// Linden Atlas - Seven Months

Seven months... it just doesn't seem fair! My happy little guy is turning into a full fledged human. I mean, obviously he's always been human (ha!), but he has so many emotions and he's able to communicate in new ways. My heart just can't handle how much he's grown! I'll gladly say that six months is my favorite age so far! So many milestones and special moments. I just love him so much!

This month Linden:
+ learned to army crawl (and is probably only days away from real crawling! just. like. THAT!)
+ learned that the "alligator death roll" is super fun while mom changes his diaper
+ discovered a love for his strawberry popsicle teether
+ started feeding himself with his bottles
+ learned how to use a sippy cup and now loves it
+ transitioned from full-time cosleeping to sleeping in his own bed all night (!!!)
+ learned to give hugs and kisses (and I die every time!)
+ spent his first night away from mama/home (!!!) and did so well! (we both survived!)

Hopefully we'll start working on sleeping in his own room (!) this month, and getting better at baby led weaning. Still no teeth, but that just makes me think they'll all come at once. Heaven help us!