How to glue a puzzle (great housewarming gift!)

21 May 2016

We love decorating our walls with fun and meaningful custom made pieces that tell a story or are interesting to look at. A majority of these pieces being trail maps from our favorite ski mountains. I'm always on the lookout for fun items to frame which is why I bought this awesome hometown puzzle from L.L. Bean (shocker!) a couple months ago with intentions of glueing it together and having it framed.

Our home, which is represented by a house shaped puzzle piece, was extremely accurate, honing right in on the street that we currently live on. The rest of the puzzle features miles of surrounding terrain using detailed topographic map data. I'm really glad that I ordered this puzzle with our Boston address, as it encapsulates the "heart shape" that Boston looks like from a map, and the many rivers, wharfs and the Boston harbor that surrounds the mainland. It took maybe two days to complete thanks to the details of the water making it easy to sort and put together. Along with the North End, Beacon Hill and Waterfront, I'm really glad that the puzzle also includes the airport and Charlestown as well, two places that we frequent... often! 

I've never glued and sent a puzzle off to be framed before, so I decided to document the process and make a short little "how to" film out of it to help anyone who is looking to do the same thing!

Products Used in the video:
I've attached pictures and directions below for you to reference to as well.

Transfer your puzzle onto parchment or wax paper to protect your work surface. 

Use a puzzle glue to affix all of the pieces together. I used Modge Podge Puzzle Saver.

Start in the middle and work your way out.

 Use a "scraper" to spread the glue out over the entire puzzle. I used a scraper similar to this one.

Use a foam brush to smooth out the glue and fill in the cracks between the pieces (try to keep all of the brush strokes going in the same direction).

Let the front half of the puzzle dry for 30 minutes before starting on the back.

Once both sides are dry it should be sturdy enough to hold without breaking.

Package the puzzle up to get framed.

Your puzzle should arrive 7 to 10 days later and ready to be hung!

This is such a great custom made gift to give as a housewarming gift or to keep for yourself. 
We will certainly be making more for any future moves!
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View Through My Lens: April

30 April 2016

I started posting these "view through my lens post" to help recap each month through my iPhone shots to keep random snapshots saved and easy to find. They have quickly become my FAVORITE post to write, as I am able to relive each and every little memory from the month.

We started out the month with a bang! L asked me to marry him while we were hiking Cathedral Ledge in North Conway! I was truly shocked and am still on Cloud 9! I can't believe we've been engaged for over a month now - time flies!

Two of our nearest and dearest friends from high school are expecting their first little one this summer, so we put together a little something something for him. We cannot WAIT for his arrival!

We wanted little Levi to have the book, "Make Way for Ducklings", so we ran down to the Public Garden to get this fun photo with Mrs. Mallard and her ducklings. Make way for Spring!

I'm pretty excited about the wedding planning, which I have yet to begin! I designed a wedding planner checklist for my wedding binder and put it up in my Etsy shop. There's nothing like a five page checklist to keep you on track!

Couldn't resist sharing this calendar worthy shot of Macy Cat. She looks tiny compared to this door.

I've become recently hooked on the harvest bowl from sweetgreen, so I took matters into my own hands and put together an easy vegetarian dupe of the delicious salad. Scrumptious!

As I mentioned on here before, I am putting my green thumb to work by attempting to grow a tiny hop garden. A friend kindly gifted me with Columbus hop rhizomes and they have made tremendous growth progress, aside from the cat incident. Oh well!

I'm going to miss these stairs - there is a move in our near future!

I get these random desires to try something new... this month it was needlepoint. Stars and stripes are coming soon!

L's family is visiting this week/end which gave us the perfect opportunity to be tourists in our own city. The following pictures are a few of the adventures that we found ourselves on!

 I always run around the monument in Charlestown, but have never been this close to it. We look like teensy, tiny ants!

 We made it out to a Red Sox game and ended up with AMAZING seats. We could touch the dugout and could practically see the sweat on the players. Not too shabby!

 ...and then it got really cold. Really, really cold.

I attended Taste of the North End for the first time and got to spend the evening with great company! This gets me one step closer to eating my way through the North End!

Boston harbor. Beautiful!

 We had good intentions of going on the Harpoon Brewery Tour, however the wait was 3+ hours! We ordered a flight, noshed on a pretzel, and then walked home.

 After walking past this house everyday for the past year, I finally went inside to tour it. So much fun history here!

 This picture makes me truly appreciate where we live and all of the incredible history that surrounds us. There is no other city that will ever compare. I'm glad that we have been able to spend a little slice of our lives in Boston and encourage anyone and everyone to do so as well!

Looking forward to what May has in store for us!

January // February // March 

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Mother's Day Gift Guide

25 April 2016

With Mother's Day less than two weeks away, it seemed appropriate to build a list of gift ideas that can be used to help pick out a gift for your mom! I wanted to share my top picks that I think mom's would appreciate and get a lot of use out of!

1  /  2  /  3  /  4  /  5  /  6  /  7  /  8  /  9

What are you thinking about picking out or making for your mom for Mother's Day?

sweetgreen dupe: Vegetarian Harvest Bowl

20 April 2016

I'm sure I've mentioned on here before that I tend to stay away from food that starts with "s" and end in "alad", however to my surprise, I may have turned a new leaf. A friend recently introduced me to the world of sweetgreen, and I have been growing more and more interested ever since, one of my favorites being the harvest bowl.

I wanted to share a sweetgreen dupe that I put together at home. It's very similar to the harvest bowl, however it is vegetarian friendly and a few of the ingredients were adjusted to better satisfy my tastebuds.

  • 1/2 cup wild Rice
  • 1/2 cup chick peas
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup apples
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
Combine all of the ingredients into either a large mixing bowl or sealable container and mix until the dressing has been evenly distributed. 

I truly believe that the chopped apples are what do it for me in this salad. Kale is such a boring veggie to eat, however the apples sweeten it up like none other, and the almonds give it a fun crunch! The chick peas and corn also add some fun flavor to it as well!

RANDOM STORY: Unfortunately, there is not a location within convenient walking distance to the North End (yet), however my sister and I made it our mission to have a salad from there this past Monday so we laced up our walking shoes and trekked it out to the Pru to indulge. Our attempt to get sweetgreen turned into a two + hour adventure similiar to Harold and Kumar go to white castle minus all of the smoking. You would think that being a resident of Boston I would have some idea as to the events that go on in this city!? I do... I just don't apply this knowledge when I need to. Of course this past Monday was marathon Monday so the usual route out there had obviously been rerouted since the finish line is very close to the Prudential Center. Boy am I glad we made it out there though! We made it just in the knick of time as the first men and women's finalist were turning onto Boylston Street! The cheering and support from the thousands of spectators that lined the street was so inspirational and the look of triumph on the runners faces as they turned onto Boylston street was amazing! Everyone is so supportive of ALL of the runners and it carries on even after the race when the runners walk around the city wearing their marathon jackets. So much support! I had goosebumps the entire time!

And in case you're sitting on the edge of your seat wondering, yes we did end up finding our way over to the Prudential Center to eat our salads after taking a different route.

 What's YOUR favorite sweetgreen salad?

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Weekend Rambling

16 April 2016

(Little cat, big door... just kidding, she's 12 pounds!)

  • After being introduced to sweetgreen (yummmm) at the end of last month, I'm working on making an easy vegetarian rendition of their harvest bowl that I can throw together at home. So delicious, filling, and healthy! I will share on here once I figure it out!
  • I live in my pajamas, and that is not an exaggeration by any means. I spend more time in them than anything else. They're the first thing that I put on the second I get home everyday and they don't come off unless I need to shower or go out in public. They're comfortable, easy, and I don't care if they get cat hair on them. Great success! The pair I wear most frequently are really meant for Christmas, so I'm on the hunt for some "4 season pajamas", if ya know what I mean! These ones from J. Crew would be ideal, but I'm not sure how well white will do here. I love the idea of this top and bottom set as well, perfect for summer! Any suggestions? 
  • I'm a sucker for Olive Garden's Chicken Gnocchi soup, making me pretty pumped to try this version at home. It's a pretty simple recipe, calling for shredded carrots, onions, rosemary, chicken, chicken stock, lemon juice, heavy cream, parmesan, nutmeg, gnocchi, spinach, garlic, and olive oil. So maybe it's a little involved, but people swear by it and claim that it's much better than Olive Garden's.
  • I am taking a writing for research class for my biology degree that I am 2 weeks (TWO WEEKS, PEOPLE) away from getting. In this class, we had to pick a topic, research it to the Nth degree,  design a research experiment, write an entire report about it and then present it. I chose to study the environmental factors in soil that affect the bitterness levels in hop growth (It's a page turner). I'm no expert, but after all this research and over 2.5 years of working around a microbrewery, I am slowly learning and felt inspired to try my hand at a tiny hop garden. A friend who grows his own hops kindly gave me some Columbus hop rhizomes, and I put them in the soil last week! WELL, we are cat sitting my sisters cat and she accidentally got locked out the room with the litterbox, so being the resourceful cat that she is, dug a big hole in my hop garden and did her business there. I WISH I had saved the snapchats that I sent to my sister, what a big mess to wake up to... the soil was EVERYWHERE!

Enjoy your weekend!
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Wedding Checklist

13 April 2016

Thank you for all of your sweet comments regarding L and I's engagement news last week! We cannot wait to start this next chapter of our lives together. I recapped our engagement story last week and am looking forward to sharing many more details of the wedding planning process on this blog and instagram.  

I think it's important to preface this post by letting you know that this is a project that I have been working on for a while now. Long before I opened my Etsy shop and was engaged, I had been designing a wedding planner that could be downloaded, printed, and digitally distributed. I had the best of intentions, however I kept putting it off and eventually grew tired of the format and original design. I have since begun updating and redesigning the original planner and will hopefully have it up and ready to go sooner than later. In the meantime, I wanted to share with you the five page wedding checklist that will be included in the planner. (:

These five pages are a fraction of the amount of content that will be in the final planner, however, they are the most important. My goal was to design something that was clean and easy to read, as well as a resource to keep your thoughts and ideas organized. Each "time period" is squared off with the corresponding month(s) until the big day, which is labeled above each box.

The extra space makes it easy to check everything off, or circle items that have yet to be completed. If I forgot to include something (which is certainly a possibility, as all brides have a unique list), there are 15 lines on the fifth page where you are able to include other important details.

I put aside a binder, with a bookplate that has our hashtag to work as our wedding bible. All important documents, checklists, receipts, details, invoice's, EVERYTHING wedding related will live in the binder. Once it is full and working for me, I will give you a tour of that as well!

There aren't enough dancing emojis to express how pleased I am that this checklist has been designed, printed and put in my binder. Having something that L and I can reference to throughout the planning process is gold!



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Baby Shower Gift Idea!

12 April 2016

Two of our nearest and dearest friends from high school are expecting a little bundle of baby boy joy this June making L and I both a self-proclaimed aunt/uncle! Unfortunately, we are unable to make the baby shower later this month, however, we did put together a little something for him that will hopefully be an heirloom keepsake.

They asked that in lieu of a card, everyone bring a book instead, an idea that I absolutely love! While perusing Old North's gift shop the other day, I saw the classic, Make Way for Ducklings, leaving me nothing but inspired - what a fitting book that every kid should have! I dragged L down to the Make Way for Ducklings statues in the Public Garden and had a kind tourist take this fun picture of us with the happy Mallard family looking their springtime best!

We taped this picture on the first page of the book and wrote a little note to him.

In addition to the book, I found a shop online that handcrafts natural, heirloom wooden toys that can be personalized. I fell in love with the cow teether, as well as some personalized blocks that spell out his name. They're fun, original, and smell so good! These gifts alone were enough to give me baby fever, they are all so cute --- no babies anytime soon for us though.

I spent way more time that I should have wrapping them up to send them out for shipping, but hey, wrapping's my favorite!

Hopefully these gifts will be a constant reminder as to how much his Auntie K and Uncle L love him! (:

What's your favorite baby shower gift idea!?

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