DIY Wall decor TUTORIAL – Easy wall decor idea

I posted this wall-hanging piece on my Instagram and got requested to share a tutorial. So I’m sharing it here. It costs me under $25 to make (since it was created from scratch, many of the items were found around the house). It was so easy to make. I’m sharing this DIY wall decor tutorial here so you can create one.

You will need:
  1. a 5-6 ft birch pole. I bought one but then returned since I luckily got a board packaging tube that came with the rug I bought from Burke’s Outlet. 
  2. A roll of cream colored ropes (whichever size you prefer) 
  3. Some small cable ties (we always have these at home)
  4. A pack of star shape woods (I gave them to my daughter along with some markers colors of my choice so she can help coloring them)
  5. A pack of round wood slice ornaments 
  6. Faux suede cords in Fall colors
  7. DIY pom poms from left-over yarns
  8. Hemp cord
So here is how I made it:

-I stained the packaging tube with a left-over walnut wood stain from my last project. Now it looks so much like a wood pole and I spent $0 on it. I found a birch pole here if you want to buy a real one. 

-Cut the rope into 11 pieces in different lengths from 4 ft to 5.5 ft.

-Secure the ropes into the “wood pole” with cable ties, remember to hide the knot behind the rope and cut the extra so they won’t appear when you hang it on the wall. 

-Secure the other ends of the ropes with clear elastic hair ties; or you can simply secure and tie bows at the same time with faux suede cords. 

-After this, you have a blank hanging piece. Hang it on the wall however you like. 

-Now is the fun part: hang the charms. Use a hemp cord to attach each charm onto the hanging rope. Get creative with the order and pattern you like. You can also add tons of different charms of your choice besides those I use. 

-Tada! There you have it. Your DIY personalized home decor item. Super easy. 

I hope you enjoy this DIY wall decor tutorial. If you do, please share or pin this post so others can see it. Also check out my other posts for more tips. Thank you.

Fall decor on a budget – How to save for seasonal decor

In partnership with Burke’s Outlet, I’m sharing my tips for Fall decor on a budget.

Fall decor items for living room

As Fall is approaching, it’s started to look and feel different now. The leaves outside started to change colors. Stores started to bring out seasonal items. The whole atmosphere of places around us urges me to change my home style. If you feel the same way but want to stay on a budget, keep reading this post for some tips on Fall decorating. 

Not everyone can afford luxury decor items. Even if the items are not pricey, buying new decorations every season can cost a lot. There are so many styles on how to decorate your home for Fall. No matter what style you pick, these tips below may help you to save some money while still allowing you to change your home seasonally.  

Make money from used items

First off, I would highly highly recommend you to look around the house and list all the items you will no longer need or use. They can easily be posted on second-hand markets. This way you can clear the spaces, make room for new items, and collect some extra money for your project. 

Sometimes I can complete the entire new project just by selling my old stuff. You will feel so proud of yourself for doing that I promise. 

Set a budget

Wherever you shop, whatever style you pick, make sure you set a budget and stick with it. Check prices online before heading to the store. That way you can expect what to get and won’t over spend.

With a budget of $250 on Fall decor, I was able to score a new area rug and some decorative items for the living room such as pillows, faux fur rugs, candles, a potpourri bag, floral arrangement. I also got some fall themed items for table styling as this is the season for gathering. 

Find deals at discount stores

Discount stores are retail stores that sell products at lower prices than traditional retail stores/outlets. Being a discount store doesn’t mean they don’t carry good quality products. You can often find brand name products at these stores. So if your goal is to do Fall decor on a budget, make sure you check the nearest discount stores or online stores like Burke’s Outlet.

Go for all season items

My personal tips is to look for items that you know will look good for more than 1 season. Find the item that can look good in many different home decor styles. That way you can save some money for not having to buy new items to match the season. These items can also be created by you if you have some time to DIY. I created a wall decor piece that I am sure will look good in my space all year long, no matter what holiday or season it is. I will share the tutorial at the bottom of this post. 

Back to the idea of buying all season items, here are some examples I can think of: clay pots or white ceramic posts for indoor plants, a neutral tone rug, leather pillow, all season throw blankets, clear glass jars, etc. These are the items that I am sure will match well with many home styles. If not, they may be transformed just by some little magic works. 

DIY – Do it yourself 

Like I mentioned above, creating decor pieces by yourself is another way to save. I absolutely love looking around the house and finding things that I can utilize to make a decor item. They can be a piece of wood, the left-over roll of yarn, the pine cones that my daughter picked from our trips, you name it. There are many fun ideas you can find on Pinterest. That is where I usually find inspiration. 

Stay on a budget while decorating for Fall by doing DIY

Now what do you think about my new living space, compared to the summer version of it? I took down the frames and hung a DIY piece on. Yes it’s handmade by me. It costs me under $25 to make (since it was created from scratch, many of the items were found around the house). It was so easy to make. I posted it on my Instagram and got requested to share a tutorial. On a separate post, I’m sharing this DIY Wall decor TUTORIAL, check it out if you are interested in creating one.

Again, this DIY wall hanging piece costs me just under $25 and it was very easy to do. DIY projects like this is also a great way to stay on a budget for Fall decor. It’s also an all-season-item since we can change the charms based on the season. For example, snowflakes, bows, and ornaments for Christmas. Since it’s Fall right now, I went for the Fall colors like burgundy, mustard yellow, wood, brown, copper, and dark green. 

It’s okay if you don’t feel like DIYing. Affordable wall decor can be found at Burke’s Outlet. Take a look around on their website and I am sure you will find some great deals. 

Xo,

Vannie

Fall decor on a budget

HOW TO CARE FOR A MONEY TREE PLANT

Before we get into how to care for a money tree plant, let’s learn more about this plant. Money Tree Plant (also known as Pachira Aquatica) is widely recognized with unique braid trunk. It is normally used as perfect bonsai plants which can grow healthily indoors. In natural living conditions, Money tree’s regular height reaches up to 60 feet. However, this kind of plant can do relatively well as an eight-feet-tall (or even shorter) potted tree which commonly appears in many households, especially Asian families. 

Asian people believe that the money tree itself brings happiness, financial fortune and prosperity to its owner. So it is usually found in homes and offices. Famous for being one of the easiest plants to grow indoors, this braid trunk tree generally needs minimum care and infrequent watering. You still need to know some key factors though. So how exactly it is to care for a money tree plant? Let’s take a look at the tips below, I am sure you can grow a healthy plant.

HOW TO CARE FOR A MONEY TREE PLANT
Quick-draining potting mix

Fast-draining pot and sandy peaty soil are two key things for a perfect well-growing money tree. Otherwise, the tree will highly suffer from root rot. More importantly, the pot’s size should not be a lot bigger than the current size of your tree so as not to contain too much unnecessary water during drainage process.

You could re-pot these tropical indoor plants every 2 or 3 years. When the root grows out of the current pot, it’s time you know your money tree needs a new “home”.

Re-pot tropical indoor plants every 2-3 years
Suitable temperature

Money tree’s best growing temperature is approximately 65 – 80 degree

Indirect Sunlight

Place your money tree in the bright area where sunlight can not approach directly. This kind of tree can also do well in low light condition and direct light can make the leaf turn slightly yellow. 

Low-maintenance watering

Since there’s no need to water your money tree regularly, this houseplant has good ability to grow well with only once a week (or once every 2 weeks) watering. My personal tips is to water it only when you see the top 2-3 inch of soil gets dry.

You have to water it deeply and heavily when the soil looks dry. Turn the pot every time of watering for better leaf growth. Besides those tips above, let’s take a look at some more tips on how to care for a money tree plant below.

Extra humidity

As its natural habitat is moist tropical jungles, money tree plants are humidity-lovers. They prefer medium-to-high humidity so keep in mind that you should increase the level of moist surrounding whenever it comes to dry seasons, especially winter. I’m in Arizona though (with very dry weather) and I don’t find it a very big problem.

In terms of Feng shui, it’s not a good idea to position money trees in your bathroom because good fortune (is believed) to get drained away. 

Appropriate fertilizing

Spring and summer are 2 periods of time that money tree plants strongly grow and produce leaves. Therefore, for best results, you should feed your tree once a month during these two seasons. Remember to make sure the soil is damp before adding any fertilizer. 

Fertilizing these houseplants is not necessary during winter when money tree’s growth is fairly slow. 

Regular pruning and shaping

Trim off dead and damaged leaves frequently to maintain a healthy green look for your money tree. 

For a prettier bonsai outlook, you can use pruning shears to shape the tree the way you want. Money tree plants originally have a round shape but you absolutely can re-design it by shaping it differently, depending on your personal style. 

If you don’t want your tree to outgrow so much, prune it more often during leave-producing season. 

All the crucial characteristics above may help you understand more about money tree plants and know how to take good care of those pretty little creatures. Owning one or some money trees as interior decorations can surely brighten your home with a more lively greener air.

I also shared 4 other perfect house plants especially for Fall season. Make sure you check it out.

House Plants for the Perfect Fall Interior

As we roll into fall, the leaves outside begin to redden. The days start to become cooler. The nights a little darker. It’s no surprise that many of us want to spruce up our home decor, to allow our homes to evolve with the changing seasons. 

An easy, green way to accomplish this, is to change up the house plants in your home – or to add some if you’re yet to bring the outdoors in. 

According to house plant experts, it’s a good idea to choose the placement of your indoor plants. You can choose indoor plants base on their light requirements, your own taste, and where you think the plants look best. 

A final tip from the experts to ensure that it’s easy to keep each plant alive, is to group your plants. We can group them based on their watering and nutrition needs to reduce the chance of a lethal mix-up.

There are a whole host of vibrant, autumnal plants which freshen up your home (in both air quality and in style). There are lots of houseplants that would be perfect for bringing the spirit of fall indoors. In this post I’m going to list only four of them:

Amaryllis.

A quintessential fall flower, the amaryllis plant produces white flowers with red veins. They can also be found in pink and purple varieties. Amaryllis bulbs can be potted in mid-October or later. They reach full bloom in November or December, as the Amaryllis plant favors cooler temperatures.

Kalanchoe thyrsiflora.

No plant quite reflects the spirit of fall like the Kalanchoe thyrsiflora. It’s a rosette-shaped succulent. Its dark green leaves are embellished with deep-red edges, echoing the changing of the seasons, as the leaves on the trees outside turn from green to auburn.

These succulents look good all-year-round. However with enough light, they will flower in mid-winter. You can water it only once every two or three weeks.

 Cactuses. 

One of the most popular indoor plants is the cactus. It is in this list for good a reason. They’re extremely low maintenance and come in all sorts of shades, shapes and sizes, so they can be matched to any style of decor. 

One type of cactus – the Christmas cactus – is a fit especially for the fall season. They most often bloom during this period, producing beautiful pink-red flowers, embodying the hues of the fall season.

Oxalis triangularis.

Though this perennial is an excellent addition to your home in any season. Its deep purple leaves – which close each night, and open up again in the morning – add a haunting dimension to any room. It’s perfect for the eerie month of October. 

This plant particularly favors the fall months as it prefers cooler temperatures of around 59°F or less, though it loves direct sunlight. Moreover, it needs watering no more than lightly once per week, though once every two weeks will also suffice.

If you’re considering buying some house plants for your home this fall, be sure to double-check their growth requirements. All that’s left to do, then, is enjoy them, as they brighten up your fall and winter. 

xo,

Vannie

10 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR HOME SMELL GOOD

Not everyone may notice that your frame of mind is silently affected by the scent you are surrounded with, especially when you’re at home. As odors do influence people’s energy, work execution and feeling, fulfilling your home with fancy smells is absolutely necessary. Believe me, if you want to revise your soul and uplift your mood to a better motivated energy, go make your house smell fresh and lively again! 

To go straight in, here are 10 simple ways you can follow immediately to improve the scent of your home:

  • 1. Leave lavender under your pillow

If you’re a fan of pampered feelings whenever you get to bed, drop a tiny amount of lavender oil onto your pillow to make your daily bedtime become more relaxed and spa-like. Moreover, the smell of lavender does amazing favor to a better sleep and a good sleep leads to brighter sunrise.

For better results, you can also add lavender oil to your laundry routine to maintain decent smell everywhere in your cozy home.

  • 2. Scented candles

Using fragrant candles is such a traditional but effective way to upgrade the smell of your interior. And more importantly, those candles give you a wide range of choices, you can either choose a floral scented one or a fruity fresh flavor. 

As modern scented candles nowadays are nicely designed with pretty outlook and different sizes, these objects can also be used for decorating purposes which mostly suit any home. Plus, the light from candles creates such a warm and inviting atmosphere to your indoor space. This kind of romantic effect makes your home more like … a home. 

  • 3. Candle warmer

Original burning candle is great but it’s not supposed to be pleasant for everyone, especially for those who find it difficult to remember to blow out the candle before leaving or before falling asleep. As candle warmer is flameless, it totally causes no harm to your children or pet. 

For candle warmer scores better in making good scent more long-lasting, it probably maximizes aromatic longevity for your living accommodation.

  • 4. Essential Oil Diffuser

Essential oils are far known as indicators of many positive effects to trigger calmness inside human-being. The smell of some certain oils impressively helps to relieve stress and improve the power of concentration which highly result in better work-performance as well as self-calmness.

Using essential oil diffuser can definitely turn your indoor area into a spa with full of complimenting scent and high quality relaxation feeling. Plus, you can easily purchase this equipment on Amazon or many places elsewhere on the internet or even in supermarkets.

  • 5. Indoor scented plants

Comforting your indoor smelling with some fragrant plants is never a bad idea. Here are several kinds of plants which can grow healthily indoors and emit a nice smell to your area: orchids, tea rose begonia, citrus, jasmine, lavender, etc. However, beside producing soothing and calming scents, these houseplants need serious proper care and constant watering every day. 

A home filled with all-natural smell can positively transform your emotional state and productivity.

  • 6. Air purifier 

Equip a suitable air cleansing appliance at home can efficiently alternate unpleasant odors with better refreshing air. Some reliable researches even show that this type of device can help with allergies by removing undesirable airborne components. 

Air purifier will surely filter out all the impurities and improve air quality of your living space, eventually give your home a crystal clean environment which is fulfilled with clear complimenting smell.

  • 7. Homemade room freshening spray

Blowing a new wind into your living habitation by using homemade room spray is by far a brilliant choice. It is absolutely easy to search for a step-by-step instruction showing you how to make a unique essential oil spray; and here is one of my favorite formulas:

Ingredients:

2 oz (1/4 cup) filtered water

20 drops lavender essential oil

15 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients in a dark spray bottle and shake well before each use.

You can definitely alter different types of essential oils to make your own recipe based on your unique personal taste. Let’s make your home smell exactly the way you love!

  • 8. Clean your garbage disposal

That stinky odors of your cooking area may come from garbage disposal where smelly junk food is hiding for weeks. One of the simple ways to sanitize garbage disposal is pouring a mixture of hot water and dish soap down through the drain, do it twice every week to keep your kitchen away from unpleasant smell. 

  • 9. Deodorize your carpet

Baking soda does a great job in deodorizing subtle smell from your carpet. There are plenty of freshening liquid recipes made with baking soda and essential oils (or dried herbs) on the internet, go search for it and make your carpet diligently smell good again.

Or you can just simply use your homemade room spray to apply on your carpet and the result won’t make you regret.

  •  10. Open all the windows

Let’s enjoy the new refreshing airflow by opening up all windows to force out the old stuffy air, and new good air will be invited in. This new air circulation does a great job in blowing out stinky smell and charging new energy to your home with a pure nice scent.

And that’s it!

A living environment with good decent smell positively enhances your standard of living and does wonders for your daily emotion. For long-term good smell, you should regularly follow 10 solutions listed above and enjoy great time at home with your beloved!

Easy Matcha Cookie Smoothie – Smoothies Recipes for Summer

This blog post is sponsored by Shamrock Farms.

Summer during this uncertain time, I found myself in my kitchen a lot more. I am sure I’m not the only one enjoying making delicious desserts. Actually, I am officially team “recipe making” now. So make sure you check my blog often for more recipes to come.

In this blog I’m introducing you to some recipes with cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is a healthy addition to your recipes that makes your tasty recipes harder to resist. Shamrock Farms Cottage Cheese is always a delicious staple in my kitchen. You can also jumpstart your day with cottage cheese as a healthy snack packed with protein.

Now let’s get into some of my favorite recipes:

Are you a fan of matcha? If so, I’m bringing you a simple recipe that you can try at home. I created this recipe after a couple tests to bring you the most balanced flavor: 

The Matcha Cookie Smoothie

Ingredients:

-1/2 cup Shamrock Farms Original Cottage Cheese

-1/2 cup Shamrock Farms Whole Milk

-1/4 cup Shamrock Farms Heavy Whipping Cream (optional)

-1 tbsp matcha powder

-1 tbsp granulated sugar

-a couple OREO cookies

How to turn all those above into a delicious smoothie?

1. Add ½ or 1 cup of ice into the blender.

2. Top the ice cottage cheese, milk, heavy whipping cream, matcha powder, and sugar.

3. Blend until smooth.

4. Break the cookies and add into the blender to continue to blend.

I like it crumby but if you like it smooth then blend a little longer. You can adjust the amount of the ingredients to meet your best taste.


Cottage cheese makes this smoothie a lot more tasty. Shamrock Farms Cottage Cheese is made with pure, fresh Shamrock Farms milk which is high in bone-building calcium and protein. They are available in Original and Low-Fat varieties. 

I also tried some recipes from Shamrock Farms website and love them. Below are my top favorite summer recipes using their cottage cheese.

Click here for this Raspberry Cheesecake Smoothie

Cottage Mousse recipe

Orange Creamsicle Protein Smoothie recipe

Tell me which recipes you would try. If you have your own, comment below, I want to try them too. 

Xo,

Vannie

*Shamrock Farms is a nearly 100-year-old local Arizona dairy company. This brand is my go to when it comes to dairy products since I can feel the high quality in their products. Plus, I love supporting local businesses. 

*You can find other delicious recipes on Shamrock Farms website as well. They also offer $1 off coupons to use on any of Shamrock Farms Cottage Cheese or Sour Cream products. 

Spring updates for our new apartment

This blog post is sponsored by Bealls Outlet, but all opinions are my own.

It feels a lot like Spring this time around in Arizona. That makes me want to add some Spring decors around the house. So I did. I got most of these decor items from Bealls Outlet, my go to store for affordable home products, kids toys, and also fashion.

Before we start going into details, I want to disclose that this blog post is sponsored by Bealls Outlet. But if you follow me on Instagram, you know how much I love going there as you might see me shopping there very often and I shared on my Instagram story all the times. It really is my favorite place to shop while saving. I found so many great deals that would cost me double or more at regular retailers.

Okay now let’s get to the entryway first. I got a small shelf on top of the hall tree bench so I added some small decor items on it, and I love how it looks now. I got the birds, flowers, the pots, and the Home sign from Bealls Outlet for a very good deal. They all are 40-70% off compare to other stores.

The pillow was also from Bealls Outlet. They have many cute pillows including the seasonal ones. Here are the ones I got for my living area.

These pillows and throw blanket are from Bealls Outlet.

The throw blanket is my favorite, it does bring everything together in my opinion. See the peace sign back there? It’s also an item from this store that I’m soooooooo happy I got it.

This decorative pot + plant and the bunny are so cute. Got these 3 items for under $10.

Now turn around to the kitchen, I found some kitchenware and decors in a very good deal.

You can find big brands kitchen tools, pans & pots like (KitchenAid, Cuisinart, T-fal, Farberware, etc.) here for up to 70% off other retailers price.

I saw these kitchen towels and mittens when I was checking out and I knew I have to get them. They are perfect for the season.
Found these Cuisinart glass containers with bamboo lids for half their retailed prices
You can easily find cool organizing stuffs like this counter top fruit holder at Bealls Outlet at a very affordable price.

Walking to the bathroom aisles, I couldn’t resist these cute towels, especially those kitty ones for my daughter. I was thinking to get just one print, I somehow walked out with 3 sets of different prints.

These are for my cat-obsessed-daughter

I also got a similar decorative pot to the ones at my entryway, and put it here at my makeup corner.

There are so many cute shower curtains in the bathroom aisles at Bealls Outlet. I bought this sheer white one plus a clear liner for our bath/shower tub. Also a white shag rug under the curtain.

That was all I bought for Spring decor. I love that I could find these cute items without breaking my bank. Every single time I shopped at Bealls Outlet, I was inspired and motivated, since they always have new items coming in.

Besides the great discounts they already mark down, I was able to get extra 15% off everything. My tips is to shop at Bealls Outlet on Friday if you are under 50 (Monday if you are 50 years old and above) and join their membership (FREE).

You can also earn points every dollar you spend there. Again, sign up is FREE either online or in-store. Here is the link for you to sign up online.

Now tell me what is you favorite place to shop for home decor?

Finding Inexpensive Gifts at Bealls Outlet

This blog post is sponsored by Bealls Outlet

I love gifting as well as receiving gifts. In this blog, I’m excited to share with
you all my favorite place to shop on a budget, especially for holiday gifts:
Bealls Outlet.
Bealls Outlet is an off-price retailer located throughout Florida, Georgia, and Arizona, where you can find great deals in men’s, women’s, kid’s clothing, and toys with up to 70% off other store’s prices.

If you are looking for inexpensive gifts this holiday season, be sure to stop by a location nearby. I’m sure you’ll be able to snag lots of great finds. We shopped there last week and we got so many goodies for gifting as well as for our new apartment.

My daughter got super excited at the toy sections especially when I told her we’re getting a full cart of toys. I also found some of the toys that we were planning to get somewhere else in full prices.
I also did 2 little challenges which was trying to buy gifts for the whole family under $200 total, and under $400 total. And I have to admit it’s harder to hit those limit than not to because all the items I found were such incredibly great deals. Let’s take a look:

Toys for the kids:
-Melissa and Doug Take-Along Show-Horse Stable $29.99 $19.99
-Melissa & Doug 12 Pc Brew & Serve Wooden Coffee Set $19.99 $14.99
-Melissa & Doug Happy Handles Wooden Stamp Set $9.99 $6.99
-Melody Maker Acoustic Guitar $16.99 $9.99

Cozy gifts for the mom:
-Dearfoams Women’s Faux Fur Memory Foam Slippers $20 $9.99
-Calvin Klein Women’s 3 Pc Logo Pajama Set $108 $29.99
-Resort Living Twin Size Velvet Plush Blanket $30 $14.99

Gifts for the new baby:
-Luvable Friends Girls Hooded Owl Robe $14 $7.99
-Lila & Jack Unicorn Baby & Nunu Blanket Set $18 $9.99
-Lil Peach 14×14 First Year Photo Frame $16 $9.99

Other gifts for the home:
-Sunbeam Precision Ceramic Iron $39.99 $24.99
-American Kennel Club 22″ Round Plush Pet Bed $20 $9.99
-Libbey® Glass Baker’s Basics 4-Piece Baking Dish Set $20 $12.99

Total: $182.87 + tax
SAVE: $180

Toys for the boy(s):
-Sharper Image Street Thrasher Radio Control All-Terrain Racer $49 $24.99
-STANLEY Jr. Kids’ Workbench and 6-Piece Toolset $59 $29.99

Toys for the girl(s):
-Gabba Goods Tech Accessories Safe Sounds Unicorn 4-Pc Gift Set $40 $19.99
-Zuru Rainbocorns Sequin Surprise $25 $19.99

Toys for the baby:
-Kids Preferred 30″ Dinosaur Rocker $60 $39.99

Gifts for mom and grandma:
-BeBe Alanna Zip Around Wallet $49 $14.99
-Steve Madden Falli Shopper Tote $108 $39.99
-Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue For Her $40 $29.99

For the dad:
-StillWater Supply Co flannel plaid shirt $48 $17.99
-Sharper Image Heated Ergonomic Massager $40 $19.99

And for the home:
-A Bealls Outlet gift card $50
-Houdini Merry & Bright Tin Gift Basket $57 $39.99
-Urban Space 7pc Comforter Set $98 $37.49

Total: $385.38 + tax
SAVE: $337

Again, If you live nearby a Bealls Outlet, make sure to stop by and check them out. It is also a perfect place for last minute gifts. Who doesn’t love saving??!!

Now share with me your saving tips during this holiday shopping season.

Xo,
Vannie

Tips for first time visit Santa Claus

This blog post is sponsored by Macerich/HGTV Santa HQ but all text and opinions are my own.

This time of the year is the most wonderful time especially through kids eyes. Now that my daughter is three and starts to wonder more, we decided to bring her to HGTV’s Santa HQ to meet Santa Claus and of course to capture some photos. Because it was our first time bringing her to see Santa Claus, we did some searching and learned some tips online. I’m going to share what worked for us, but before jumping to the tips, I would love to shout out to HGTV’s Santa HQ.

You may already saw Santa HQ at the malls nearby if are in California, Arizona, Chicago, Metro New York, and the Washington, D.C. corridor. 

HGTV’s Santa HQ revolutionizes the traditional Santa Claus visit by guiding visitors through an immersive, interactive holiday experience with the use of state-of-the-art digital technology. They offer a new, family-friendly experience that features interactive technology to enhance the entire HGTV Santa HQ visit: Elf Academy.
My daughter was so excited when she could transform into one of Santa’s elves and virtually try on various elf outfits with the Magic Mirror.

There are other features I am sure bigger kids will love like creating their customized Elf-ID card using the new Elf-ID app and a “selfie”, exploring Santa’s Observatory through the use of tablets with Elf-Ray Vision, or standing next to an interactive board to find out which of Santa’s lists – Naughty or Nice – they made.

Don’t want to spend long time in line? Purchase the Fass Pass. This will give you the option to select the date, a 30-minute window of time to use Fast Pass, pre-pay online, upgrade their package by adding a family photo weeks/days in advance, and opt-in to receive text reminders about their Fast Pass window.

We’re in Arizona so we went to one in Chandler Fashion Center in Chandler, AZ. If you are in AZ too, visit ShopChandlerFashionCenter.com/SantaHQ to secure a Fast Pass and pre-purchase a photo package.

Not only that your family will have a fun holiday experience, you will help doing good. In past years, HGTV’s Help Through Holiday Giving has collected more than 66,000 toys benefiting local organizations such as Forgotten Angel Tree, Salvation Army Angel Tree, Toys for Tots, and Spark of Love Stuff a Bus.

Let’s watch a short clip I made for our first Santa Claus visit, and then get to the tips that worked for us.

  • Try to talk about it often WITHOUT telling your toddlers that they will get to go visit Santa Claus. Wait for your kids to show interest first. That’s the key and it works perfectly for us in many other situations.
  • Go online and purchase a Fast Pass and secure your spot. Make sure it’s the time you know your kids will be happiest during the day, not nap time (duh).
  • If you shop often at the mall that has HGTV’s Santa HQ, before the booked time, walk by, show your toddlers Santa Claus and how other kids do (talk to Santa Claus, sit with Santa Claus, etc.) to get them the ideas of it.
  • If you toddlers watch Youtube, find some cute holiday videos that have Santa for them to watch. Or you can show your little ones my video above.
  • The night before, I told my daughter that because she ate very well for the day, and was going to sleep early, she would get to meet Santa Claus in the morning. She was super excited and she actually woke up asking to go to the mall.
  • Last tip: Don’t expect your toddlers to do well the first time. They might cry and it’s okay. You can always try again. Mine looked down almost the entire time there then started to feel more comfortable when the photoshoot started. Now that my daughter asks to visit Santa Claus again and wave him every time we walk by.

The magic of Christmas through a child’s eyes is priceless. I want it to last forever. I’m glad there was no tears at all for our first time visiting Santa Claus and we were able to capture the moment. Have you ever brought your kids to Santa HQ? If yes, how did they do?

Ultimate Bed Bath & Beyond Holiday Gift Guide

This blog post is sponsored by Bed Bath & Beyond but all opinions are my own

First off, I hope everyone had a fun Thanksgiving with family. Today is Black Friday and it’s the best time to shop for gifts in my opinion. I’m sharing some gift ideas for everyone in your family. The best part of this gift guide is that you can get them all in one place: Bed Bath & Beyond.

Before jumping into the gift guide, I personally think giving someone you love the Beyond+, a Bed Bath & Beyond membership is the best idea. It’s the perfect present not only for holidays but also for all of life’s biggest moments like graduation, wedding, moving, etc. This membership gives member a 20% off discount site wide.

Whether you are buying gifts for everyone in your own family (including yourself), or for relatives and friends, these items below are very practical that I know whoever receives them could use them everyday.

Now let’s get to the first gift list: Gifts For the Home. I put together a public gift board on Bed Bath & Beyond website that include all the items below where you can shop directly. Click the image below to see.

I have been using Nespresso VertuoPlus coffee machine and been loving it. It’s a gift coffee lovers will be excited to get

This 9pc set of King size bedding is super cute for Springs. It’s on sale now for about $40

This OXO POP Container set I’m sure anyone would appreciate so much because they are a little pricey but so worth the price. The lids of these containers each has a push button with an airtight seal, perfect for dry foods.

You can click directly on the “Gifts for the home” image to see details on all the other items.

The next group of receivers is the one that is hard to buy gift for: new moms. If you don’t know if they already have the item or not, or don’t know if the items below would work for their parenting style, then a Bed Bath & Beyond gift card would be the best option.

Otherwise, these gift ideas below would be very helpful for a new mom (or dad).

DockATot is one of the popular items moms put on their list. It’s the gift that helps making mom life a little easier. I recommend getting the Grand Dock (bigger size) so it would last through toddler stage.

The DockATot helps making transition and travel with babies/toddlers much easier. It’s that pricey item many moms put on their list but still hesitant to splurge. I’m sure a mom would very appreciate to receive this as a gift because it sure worth the price.

If you know they already have it, then click the “Gifts for new moms” image above to see details and shop other items.

Now let’s take a look at the next idea board. This one is so fun to buy gifts for: Pet parents. There are so many pet care items that a pet parent would need compares to the items they might already have.

A cat towel is never a a failed gift for cat parent. I got this Petmaker 4-Tier Cat Tree for my brother’s cat and he loves it.

Give the gift of clean to pet parents. A cordless vacuum would be amazing. This Dyson V7 Motorhead Cord-free Stick Vacuum would make a pet parent so happy.

There are so many cool pet items on BedBathandBeyond.com, a gift card is also a safe choice.

Lastly, I put together a list of amazing Stocking Stuffer ideas. Click the image below to see the whole board with details on every item.

If you decide to give someone a Nespresso coffee machine (listed above), then don’t forget to include a couple pack of Nespresso coffee pods. There are also many other flavors on Bed Bath & Beyond website.

This Silicone Oven mitten from OXO would be a cute useful gift for someone who loves to bake.

The HubPlus Portable Charger from myCharge is a great gift idea for both men and women. It’s compact and provides up to extra 45 hours of battery life.

4 boards above are my entire Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide that you could get everything all at one place: Bed Bath & Beyond. You can also give someone a BEYOND+ Membership which they can get 20% off every single order. Also, a Bed Bath & Beyond gift card will always be the safest choice.

I have shared my ideas, tell me yours in a comment below. If you did a gift guide, send me a link so I could go see it.

Happy Holidays

xo,

Vannie