Last Minute Gift: Vellabox Candle Subscription

My gift guide has only one thing on it: Vellabox candles. 

I first met Vellabox last year and I loved it at first sight. It’s the only subscription box that has come along that I would actually recommend. Clothes, makeup? No thank you. But candles? I burn through candles like crazy. I love their glow and the way they fill a space with the scent of my choice.

The thing is, I don’t actually go candle shopping. Sometimes I wind up in the candle section at a store by accident. So the idea of a box of candles showing up at my house every month sounds like a dream to me.

Also, I don’t really go shopping. So I’ve been ordering gifts online almost exclusively this holiday season, and I’m definitely running out of time. This year we’ll be traveling to see family at Christmas time, so I have to keep everything light and/or shipped to our destination.

vellabox packaging

vellabox candles

That’s why Vellabox is the perfect gift idea for you – it’s only a few days ’til the end of Hannukah and one week ’til Christmas! If you order a Vellabox subscription now, your loved one will get a surprise gift of warmth and deliciousness later. (You can snag a fancy candle from a local store to wrap it up with the printed certificate, but I would just print that and stick in our holiday card.) This is truly a last minute gift that keeps on giving!

vellabox office candle

Vellabox subscriptions are $10-$30 per month. Each comes with at least one candle and a surprise gift, and the boxes at all levels are lovingly hand-packed, making the unboxing experience a delight in someone’s day. This box is the “Vivere” box, that comes with 2 candles and a surprise gift.

I received a complimentary Vellabox. I shared one of the candles and the snack treat with my family, but I kept Granma’s Pumpkin Pie for myself. ūüėČ All opinions are my own.

How To Host a Clothing Swap – New-to-You Clothes For Free

clothing swap topsFour of the many tops I’ve gotten from clothing swaps

For a few years now I have been attending a clothing swap organized by a friend of a friend, and I love the experience so much that I want to spread the joy. The basic idea is that you take the clothes you never wear and bring them to the host’s house, and then offer each piece up to the others who have attended. Whatever doesn’t get claimed by a new owner goes in a giant pile, and gets taken to Goodwill.

clothing swap peacock topFavorite top for work, and peep toe shoes.

It’s a great way to find a good new home for your own stuff, and to bring new pieces into your own wardrobe. Excellent side effect: making new friends. I never take pictures at these events so I’m just using pictures of just a few of the items I’ve added to my wardrobe over the years that way.

Clothing swap skirtBlack and white cotton skirt. I only wore this once and brought to next swap

This idea goes along with the capsule wardrobe concept I’ve been practicing¬†for the past several months (read it about it here on my personal site). The goal¬†is to simplify your wardrobe and stop buying new stuff. With a clothing swap, the new stuff was going to be donated anyway so even if you wind up not loving it, you can just pass it on to donation or bring it back to a future clothing swap and see if it can grace someone else’s closet.

How To Host a Clothing Swap

Set a time and date when you can spend at least a few hours going through clothing and trying things on.

Invite people you think would be into this kind of thing. (Friends who don’t like to wear secondhand clothing might not be into this kind of thing.) Tell them to bring their friends too. A good mix of body types means that everyone who comes is more likely to¬†find something she likes.

Tell them to bring clothing, shoes, jewelry, other items they don’t use anymore but are still wearable. Torn, stained, or broken clothing can probably be fixed but aren’t as likely to be claimed by someone new.

Invite people to bring snacks and put out water and other beverages. All that flying clothing and trying on can make your guests thirsty and hungry. Adult beverages are helpful, too.

Have a separate room like a bathroom or bedroom where shy people can try things on. But don’t be alarmed when people just start stripping in your public space. It’s bound to turn into¬†a Loehmann’s dressing room.

Once enough people have arrived with their stuff, take turns presenting your items to the group. You can just put everything out on racks or tables and make it like a shopping event, but it’s more fun to hear the stories behind the cast off clothing.¬†I’ve heard people say “I loved this dress and wore it to 15 weddings. It’s time for it to find a new home.”

So when it’s your turn, hold up your items and tell people about them. “This is an Old Navy fleece, size medium, that I got engaged in. I don’t think the color works on me, though.” When another person is interested, she raises her hand and you toss the item to her so she can try it on. If two or more people want the same item of clothing, they can work out who gets first crack at it.

If nobody wants your sad old item, toss it in the Goodwill pile. This pile will grow as the event goes on. At the end, people might sift through it, giving those things a second glance.

After the event is over, immediately load the leftovers into your car and take them to a donation center.

Then wash the new-to-you clothing items and add them to your wardrobe. Enjoy!

clothing swap tie dye dressFloor-length tie-dyed dress I wear as a swim cover-up. Cheers!

 

Unique Birth Announcements at Basic Invite

Guess what everyone! I had a baby! Look, I even made a birth announcement!

unique birth announcements baby brady

Okay, that was 10 years ago, but it’s never too late to announce it, right?

Right?

Oh, yeah. It kind of is. In fact, by the tenth year, they just call that a birthday party invitation.

Still, I had fun playing around with the baby boy birth announcements on a new-to-me site called Basic Invite.

When I first visited Basic Invite I was drawn in by their beautiful and easily customizable wedding invitations, RSVP cards, and all of the wedding-related stationery. It made me want to get married! But since my own wedding was 15 years ago and I won’t be having another one, I’ll just have to admire their pretty pictures and hope I get invited to one.

Same with the unique birth announcements offered on Basic Invite. These did not exist (at least online, affordably) when my kids were born. I guess if they did, I was in a new-mom-induced haze and figured my blog posts about them were enough. But look at all of the amazing options new parents have now to mail a physical announcement of the new life they brought into the world.

birth announcement boy in hat

Just like with holiday card websites, you can choose the layout of your card, and you can pick from many different artsy templates of font and color. Basic Invite has organized their templates by theme (botanical, rustic, simple, etc.) to help you narrow the choices down if you wish. And of course you can preview everything before you order. But Basic Invite offers a few different things that I haven’t seen before.

-Colors: other sites give you a few choices for color backgrounds in their templates, but Basic Invite lets you customize them with almost¬†any¬†color. How many times have you had the perfect photo and the perfect layout, but that green isn’t quite right? Here you can tweak each element of the card until it’s perfect.

-Printed samples: not only can you preview your design on the screen, but you can also get a sample sent to you in the mail so that you can see what your design looks like printed, and feel the quality of the paper.

When I¬†decided to play with the customizable birth announcements¬†even though my youngest baby just turned 10 (sob), I found that my favorite feature is indeed that you can customize every little part of this design. Here’s the template’s basic setup:

unique birth announcements basic template

I changed the photo, removed the giraffe’s tutu, and changed the color and content of the text. It was super easy and I got to use whatever colors I wanted. I could even change the background color too but I like this simple layout.

Along with their 40 different envelope colors, free address uploading service, and the pretty, pretty designs, Basic Invite’s custom features make this site stand out among all the other online stationery services. If you are having a baby or a grandchild anytime soon, bookmark this site and start playing with some designs! (Also please tell me about it – I only get my baby fixes in with other people’s babies now!¬†I love to smell new baby heads. It’s one of the most delicious smells on Earth.)

Lucky you, there’s a promotion on birth announcements running now, too. Use the code BIRTH40 to get 40% off these unique birth announcements at Basic Invite! (You don’t have to send me one, but I sure would be delighted.)

Thank you to Basic Invite for sponsoring this post. All opinions, and a sudden strong urge to hold and smell a baby, are my own.