Tidy Home Tidy Mind

It is no secret that I have extreme levels of anxiety. Alas. I get by on the day to day but there is a bonafide way to make me feel in control of my environment. And this, my friends, is tidying up.

Typically, my pattern is that I will not care too much about the clothes I’ve tossed onto our bedroom floor or the stray few hairs on the sink from the weekly occurrence of me brushing my hair. (It’s curly, okay…. curly hair doesn’t need to be brushed as much. At least mine doesn’t).  And then, all of a sudden, I CARE SO MUCH. Hence our room or apartment or wherever has two modes: 1) my stuff is pretty messy or 2) my stuff is perfectly put away and I’ve scrubbed the bathroom top to bottom. And, if you are of this enlightened inclination, this doesn’t have anything to do with gender roles or expectations in my house. Mike is helpful with housework and certainly doesn’t expect me to do it all. However, I am the person in our relationship who tends to like things tidier, so it all pans out. If I suddenly want everything put away and not  a stray sock on the floor, I am happy to pick it up.

Does anyone else feel this way? I feel like I can exhale after finally tiding up, dusting, vacuuming, etc. Maybe this is because one of the reasons things go by the wayside that  would prefer to keep appropriately cleaned up (like the sweatshirt I take off or my pj’s etc. etc.) is because I am particularly busy during that time. Then, when I am not running in a deep panic, I clean up and feel generally relieved about my current state of affairs.

In an attempt to find some middle ground, I want to try to work a few things into my daily routine that keep our space from becoming out of control. Here are a few things I have found helpful:

  • Before bed, clean up the kitchen. Wipe down counters, make sure all dishes are loaded and start the dishwasher. Wipe up spills on the stove. Sweep. Feel joyful that when you come downstairs in the morning, you will be greeted by a clean kitchen.
  • Make the bed in the morning. We are still working on this one. It’s difficult because Sam the dog likes to paw around in the sheets, etc. so bed making is a “strip the bed and remake it” activity every morning. Gone are the days when we could throw the sheet and comforter up from the foot of the bed and it looked decent. Thank you, small Boston Terrier, for throwing our sheet on the floor and moving the comforter 90 degrees every night without fail.
  • Put your clothes either into the drawer from whence they came or the hamper when you take them off.  WHY IS THIS SUCH A STRUGGLE?! Flat spaces and chairs in bedrooms should be banned. We all know clothing with likely pile up on them. Let’s just end the charade. (But how?!)
  • Sprinkle baking soda everywhere and roll in it for good luck. (This isn’t actually a thing but it probably could be. Cheap, full body microdermabrasion, anyone?!)

Are there any small, daily things people could recommend to help me stop with the random bouts of manic cleaning?

 

 

The Terrifying Hobby Horse

I’ve always been a little leery when someone asks me about my hobbies. I just don’t know what to say. It isn’t that I don’t have interests. I do. But how do you explain broad areas of interest to people you barely know. People are more interested in something concrete like “what-you-do-for-fun” than you liking to get coffee with friends or your penchant for true crime TV. What even counts as a “hobby”? Can I include wondering what food I will eat next, purveying Netflix for good shows I haven’t watched, researching how to get rid of extreme anxiety?! No…Okay then.

I once had an interesting date with a guy I met online (who happened to have dated a friend of a friend who he later discovered was a lesbian… is this awkward enough yet?!) who ONLY wanted to talk about HIS hobbies. Occasionally, he would ask about my thoughts on whatever category of thing HE was talking about. But even that didn’t interest him much. Example:

Hobby man: “… so that’s why I really have always loved baseball. What is YOUR favorite sport?!”

Me: “Well, I’m not a huge sports fan, but I like to play basketball and enjoy watching football.”

Hobby man: “OH GOD. I HATE basketball. I do martial arts though….”

Me: “Oh, really?! I did Taekwondo for a year when I was a kid.”

Hobby man: “Taekwondo is a weak marshal art. It looks good on paper, but is ineffective in real life.”

Me: “Oh. Okay… Like communism?”

I tossed in the towel and decided to go the humor route with this man of many hobbies. This coincidentally was also a man who I did not go on a second date with. I envy only his staunch sense of what he likes (and DOES NOT like) to do.

It’s not bad to have hobbies. I think it’s great. I just have no idea what to say my hobby is. Many of the things I care about and spend my time on are not immediately tangible. Furthermore, I’m afraid of people assuming I am an avid connoisseur of whatever it is I casually mention I like doing.

I don’t like telling people I enjoy jogging, reading and doing yoga because the truth is I like to do these things (meaning even have time to do these things) a couple of days a week. I don’t want to risk being classified as a “runner” or a “yogi.” With that might come any combination of the following:

1) Forever being asked about that hobby in social situations and/or getting gifts related to that activity for the next twenty years

2) Possible judgment (such as, “she isn’t thin enough to be a runner” or “she said she likes to read but when I ask what she is reading she doesn’t have new book suggestions”)

3) People thinking you should do that activity with them to bond, but they are actually way more into it than you and it gets awkward fast (jogging with someone training for a half marathon, an advanced hot yoga class, etc.).

Let it be known, I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR PERFECTION, PEOPLE.

Anyway, I am trying to incorporate more of the things that nurture my soul (cooking, talking to friends, playing games with my family, walking Sammy the dog, exercising, crocheting, etc.) into my days. However, I still will probably stare blankly at people when they ask “what do you like to do for fun?” I’d rather they talk about anything else. ANYTHING. The Loch Ness Monster. Big foot. Anime. Video games. My Little Pony. Because, if you really want to know me, just listen to what I say about the topics you choose to discuss. I’m cool with it. You’ll quickly find out I just liking talking to people and occasionally doing other things.

I’m TERRIFIED of the hobby horse.  

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

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I care pretty deeply about how people feel. This might sound noble, but it isn’t always a good thing. It is both my virtue and my vice. When someone is sad or angry or hurt or has an issue with me, I want so badly to resolve it that sometimes I don’t let the situation breathe.

You could ask my husband. He is someone who needs a little space to think things through, especially if we have had a serious discussion or an argument. I, on the other hand, have to actively stop my impulse to sit near him and ask how and/or when we can figure it out. I’m learning and getting better at that though.

Slowly.

I also have to stop myself from comparing myself to others. I want to be the best version of myself and, somehow, this can go awry very quickly. I can think about what I am not rather than focus on how I am doing. Sometimes, this makes me feel depressed and whatever amount of self-compassion I possess (and have desperately worked to cultivate) goes right out the window. This leaves me often blaming myself for things (both situations and perceived shortcomings) that realistically have nothing to do with me. I’m working on this too.

Side note: How do we take responsibility for ourselves but not blame ourselves unjustly? Because not everything is one’s fault, but obviously sometimes a situation is your fault… Maybe knowing the difference is half the battle.The questions of adulthood…

In any event, I have been thinking a lot about the true fact that comparing oneself to others mostly just steals your own joy. Your thighs might not be as toned as hers, you might not be as strong as him, you might not outwardly seem as happy as someone else, but focusing on those people and drawing comparisons negates (at least in your own mind) what you are. It also puts the other person in a weird situation.

Your legs get you from point A to point B. You are strong. You are where you need to be. And if you aren’t, isn’t your energy better used getting yourself to a happier place? (You know what they say… your dreams don’t work unless you do.) That someone else is beautiful or has a lot of friends or has 6 pack abs or is friendly and happy says nothing about you. Nothing. Yet we make ourselves miserable by drawing comparisons where there need not be any. Don’t we have enough to deal with without allowing ourselves to go too far down the rabbit hole of comparison?

To have a more abundant life, I’m working hard on changing my mindset. I encourage you to have a think about the comparisons you draw between yourself and people in your life (or even people on the street, in magazines, on the subway, at Subway…wherever).

I will leave you with these quotes I have been pondering lately:

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”

  • Ernest Hemingway

And…

“I am not interested in competing with anyone. I hope we all make it.”

  • Erica Cook

We all have a unique set of challenges in this life. The truth we have in common is that we all need to respect ourselves and others. We need to be kind to ourselves, to the other humans we share the world with, and stop it with the comparisons.

I hope we all make it. I really do.

A Sushi Date Night

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Awkward lighting makes me look like the joker…

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Our materials (sans the ingredients) ready to roll (har har).

We have had a ridiculously stressful week. Examples of our current stressors include: our money being deposited into someone else’s savings account (HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?!), my insurance company magically not having me enrolled when I went to pick up a prescription, trying to move out of our current apartment while searching for new apartments, Sammy the dog having an unexplained bacterial infection that caused a huge lump on his face… I could go on but I’ll not bore you with the gory details. Long story short, we needed a night out.

I had gifted Mike with a sushi making class for Valentine’s Day. I found an awesome deal on Groupon and I knew he would be excited about it. He is much more of a sushi lover than I. We finally decided to cash in the present. 6 months after the fact. Better late than never, amiright?!

It was a bit of a drive to get to the restaurant that was hosting “Sushi 101” but it was nice to chat and listen to music on the car ride there. We heard this song no less than 5 times on the drive.

Once we got there and the class commenced, we quickly realized it had two parts. They projected a video recorded message on a screen from the chef (who I thought would be conducting the class), then two assistants did demonstrations on how to make three different kinds of rolls. At first I was like “WAIT, WHERE IS THE CHEF?! AHHHHHH. THIS IS NOT WHAT I THOUGHT IT WOULD BEEEE.” But the assistants ended up being a lot of fun and the class felt really relaxed, which I liked. I also overheard them talking about the chef and he sounds like a dick anyway. So, we dodged that bullet.

I was surprised that it wasn’t too difficult to make sushi, just somewhat precise (does that distinction makes sense?!) The main tips were to spread the rice appropriately (not so much as to cover the nori completely with no gaps but enough to make everything stick), to not over or under fill with ingredients, and to roll slowly, making sure no ingredients fall out. Also, cutting the rolls took surprising finesse. You have to gently rock the knife back and forth to cut through. Mike struggled a little with this and his first roll got a bit smashed, but it still tasted great! He caught on after the first roll. It got a lot easier for me too. Practice makes perfect, as they say.

I liked that they put out all the ingredients and let you put whatever you wanted in your rolls. I like creative license. I am not a huge seafood person (by which I mean, I don’t like it) so I stuck with combinations of cream cheese, avocado, mango, tofu, jalapeño and cucumber. They were really yummy. We got to make three rolls each and then do some extras if we wanted, since there were leftover ingredients. SO. MUCH. SUSHI. I had one roll and was stuffed. I got to eat the rest for lunch the next day. Bonus.

Anyway, we had a ton of fun. If you are having a tough week or a rough day, cut yourself some slack, take a break from whatever is burdening you, and do something enjoyable with someone you love.

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The happy sushi makers obligatory date night selfie.

When life gets tough, the tough make sushi, as the old proverb says. It says that, right?!

Cornstarch and Other Groundbreaking News

I made a couple of jaw breaking discoveries about cornstarch this week. First of all here is a killer sauce for stir fry, with cornstarch as its consistency hero:

– The juice of 1 orange

– A minced clove of garlic

– Fresh ginger, ground in food processor or chopped

– Soy sauce to taste

– 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch

Just whisk together all ingredients and pout into a skillet that is over medium high heat, stir it around for a minute or two until it starts to thicken, throw in some veggies (broccoli and carrots and peppers are great, but you do your thang) and voila! We were going to add chicken but ended up not having any (actually, we did have some but we had narrowly let it go bad–kitchen real talk) so we cooked meatless chicken patties, chopped them up, and threw them in at the last minute. It was really good! If you make this, adjust the recipe however you like. I kind of just threw stuff in and tasted it. I do recommend something along these lines though as it is a super quick dinner. Thank you, cornstarch.

The other use is for getting out stains! Mike (my husband if you are unfamiliar with the blog and/or bad with context clues) had a grease stain on a wool shirt he loves. It had been washed and dried at least once, so I didn’t have high hopes for it ever coming out. In a last ditch attempt, I rubbed some dish soap into the stain and sprinkled a healthy amount of cornstarch over the soap. By “healthy amount” I actually mean that the cornstarch came out really quickly so there was a small white mountain on the shirt. I thought it was fine since I wrapped it up neatly before gently placing it in the hamper. However, Sam (our Boston Terrier) was standing next to me when I was collecting the laundry to take to wash and…poof.

Attack of the cornstarch.

Attack of the cornstarch.

Anyway… at least Sam’s plight was not all for naught… The cornstarch treatment actually worked! When the shirt came out of the wash and we let it air dry, the stain was totally gone!

Anyway, in other pressing news:

Ariana Grande licking a donut and saying she hates America earlier this month was investigated by police. No charges were filed in donutgate. This scandal is ridiculous.

I FINALLY LISTENED TO “SERIAL.” Oh my gosh. We listened to the whole season in a week. I am fascinated by true crime and examining what might have gone wrong with a case is kind of my jam. I actually wrote a 31 page paper in high school about Sacco and Vanzetti. I was rapt the whole time. If you haven’t listened and you like that kinda thing, do it now. You won’t be sorry.

Today I realized that a magazine I bought a couple of month’s ago boasts on it’s cover, “Bathing Suits to Solve Every Problem.” When I noticed this I thought, “Solve every problem… like what?! homelessness? poverty? racism? homophobia? sexism?!” On a similar note, my not super svelte self recently bought a slightly cropped top I thought was cute in a store (it was 6 bucks!) and the cashier told me it was a “brave” choice. It’s a crop top. Not chemotherapy. C’mon…

I’ve been super busy with school (and many random panic attacks :() lately so I have slacked a bit on the ol’ blog a bit. I will try to keep up.

What have you been up to this summer? What is an around the house item you find helpful in cleaning, cooking or crafting? Comment or shoot an e-mail to karacterspace@gmail.com and say heywhatsuphello!

Silence is Violence #sayhername

This is a blog post I have wanted to write for a long time but simply did not know what words to ascribe to my thoughts. I have so often mulled over and felt grief about the racially motivated tragedies that have been highlighted in the news over the past year and a half. Notice I said highlighted because this has been happening in our country for years. Racism has not gone away, but as a white woman I do not always notice it. But I am looking at it now. The pain it causes me to think about the dehumanization of blacks and minorities is nothing compared to what is experienced daily by so many. This needs to stop. Silence is tacit compliance. I cannot be silent about this any longer. An excerpt from a post I recently read helped me understand how racism is too often viewed by white people. It read:

White people do not think in terms of we. White people have the privilege to interact with the social and political structures of our society as individuals. You are “you,” I am “one of them.” Whites are often not directly affected by racial oppression even in their own community, so what does not affect them locally has little chance of affecting them regionally or nationally. They have no need, nor often any real desire, to think in terms of a group. They are supported by the system, and so are mostly unaffected by it.

What they are affected by are attacks on their own character. To my aunt, the suggestion that “people in The North are racist” is an attack on her as a racist. She is unable to differentiate her participation within a racist system (upwardly mobile, not racially profiled, able to move to White suburbs, etc.) from an accusation that she, individually, is a racist. Without being able to make that differentiation, White people in general decide to vigorously defend their own personal non-racism, or point out that it doesn’t exist because they don’t see it.

You can read the rest of John Metta’s post here.

Because this unjust system benefits us, we should not rest on our laurels or (worse yet) try to “explain” that racism doesn’t exist or attempt to rationalize racial inequalities. There is not equality (a level playing field, if you will) so you can’t try to say that the “road goes both ways” and “it had nothing to do with race, stop making it about that.” These acts inherently are about race. The system itself is racist.  And, while we are at it, black people cannot be “racist.” Racism (and all -isms including sexism, ageism, etc.) is comprised of prejudice and power. So, a black person could have racial bias or prejudice toward someone but it is not the same thing as racism. It gets under my skin (I can’t imagine how much it upsets people of color) when someone tries to flip a script that was written by white men and try to pass it off as evidence that things are equal.

What we need to do is listen and stop trying to make excuses. Listen, BELIEVE others experiences as part of a system that is rigged against them and ACT. WE NEED TO DO BETTER. WE NEED TO SPEAK OUT.

News and Reviews

News!

I hope that people enjoyed their fourth of July weekend! It is always a bit difficult for me because it is the anniversary of my dad’s death (it’s been four years already). But it is also a happy day. Freedom comes in a multitude of ways. For my dad, freedom from suffering (he had cancer) came in the form of eternal peace. I might do a post later on death in general. Stay tuned. On that joyous note…

We went to Mike (my husband’s) family’s house (his cousin just acquired it and is doing awesome renovations!) on a lake in Maine. It’s the third year I have taken part in this family tradition and the first time our dog Sam has participated. We read and eat and make a fire and smores at night. We drink and laugh and be with family we only see a few times a year. Sam was mostly good but we did have to keep him on a long rope, since he likes to explore far and wide and finds sprinting away from you a lot of fun. Our little Magellan enjoyed himself regardless. Here is photographic proof.

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I have started my second summer class, which is keeping me busy (but far less busy than my previous accelerated course. Good lord. I still have nightmares). It’s Human Development Across the Lifespan. I am preparing a presentation on the Millennial Generation and doing a research paper on the lifelong benefits of preschool and headstart programs. Riveting, I know. The glamorous life I lead.

In other news I am currently in a job which requires end of the fiscal year reconciliation so I have been in a slight panic this week. WHY I AM IN THIS JOB?! I AM NOT AN ACCOUNTANT. AHHHHHH GAHHHH BLAHHHHHH. I don’t often do a look of the day post (this would actually be my first), but if you insist… this is my look of the day/week:

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I was going for a “these numbers are making me nauseous” vibe. This too can be yours. Just look at deeply perplexing excel spreadsheets until you’d rather drink shit flavored bubble tea with Bill Murray. You’re welcome.

When I’m not crying into my keyboard at work, I have been reading a lot. Mike has been too. He found a Jim Butcher series at a used bookstore and has delved right in. I have also been cheering on my childhood friend, Jackie Croft (Miss Vermont USA) who is competing in the Miss USA Pageant in Baton Rouge this week. Regardless of how I personally feel about pageants, she has worked really hard and this is a dream for her. GO JACKIE!

What have you been up to? Leave me a comment of shoot over an e-mail: karacterspace@gmail.com. It would be great to hear from you.

Reviews (of a sort… more like tips but that doesn’t rhyme with “news”)!

  • For some reason, I tend to notice issues with fruit flies more in the summer. Maybe we have more fruit then?! I don’t know. But I’ve tried many things in the past and this season magically stumbled upon the best solution yet.

FullSizeRender-2 BEST. STUFF. EVER.

Just mix about half a cup of natural apple cider vinegar with a splash of hot water and a dollop of dishsoap in a small dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and poke holes in the wrap with a toothpick. Leave it on your counter. In an hour 8 flies had been trapped and drowned in there. Gross but weirdly satisfying. YOU WILL LOSE THE WAR FRUIT FLIES. I DO NOT NEGOTIATE WITH TERRORISTS. Moving on.

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  • I have been reading this book. By reading I mean listening on Audible. I had used a free month of audible to get a book to listen to during a monthly cleaning job I have (makes the time go much quicker!) and was charged for a second month. Note to self, remember to cancel before they start charging… Anyway, it was a blessing in disguise because I came across a book called “The Courage to be Yourself” by Sue Patton Thoele and used my credit to purchase it. It is heavily geared toward women, but there’s some good advice in there for anyone. I really like her approach. If you are want to grow emotionally and develop higher self-esteem (don’t we all?!) I highly recommend it.
  • I have been trying to stay really active this week. So far I have jogged, hiked in the woods with Mike and Sam and done some yoga with Mike. In fact, I am off for a jog when I finish this post. I found that making a playlist that is exactly 20 minutes long (my goal is running 20 minutes 3-4 times a week in addition to yoga and walking) helps tremendously. Here are my current jams:
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    I hope you have an awesome week! I am planning a couple more serious posts that I have been mulling over, so stay tuned for those.

Best,
Kara

Love Wins

The Supreme Court’s momentous decision this week to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states has caused the slogan “Love Wins” crop up in many places, particularly the internet. I’m really glad for this. Because it’s true. Love always wins. And when we stop to look at the love around, and within us, there is a great deal of contentment and peace. Having that love recognized by others is also incredibly freeing, which many experienced this past week.

I have been thinking a great deal lately about contentment. So often we are told “don’t settle!” and “follow your dreams!.” We are encouraged to always reach for more. We want a bigger house, to be thinner, to be more muscular, to be a better friend, wife/husband, daughter/son, to be more devoted to our religion, etc. Don’t get me wrong, it is good to want to grow. Growth is beautiful and necessary for a full life. However, it’s very freeing to look at your own life and be content with it. Lately, I have been feeling very content. The cause of this contentment, I believe, is love. Particularly the love of these two men:

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Stop striving so hard. Stop telling people what to do. Stop worrying so much. Just be. As someone with extreme anxiety, I understand this can be so hard. But as much as you can, let love in. It is always victorious.

Hot Tip Tuesday

Life is too short for shame, so I’ll not apologize for my extreme tardiness on my post for last week (but I’m really sorry there wasn’t a post last week, friends…). Instead, I’ll furnish you with some wisdom from my day-to-day life:

* Keep your receipts. If there is no toilet paper in your stall (and you’re at the movies, and you’re about to see Jurassic World, not to be specific) and you have no other options, they’ll come through for you.

* If you are at a The Dear Hunter concert and the music is too loud and you don’t have earplugs, individually wrapped cough drops work okay (hint: do not shove them in, just lightly rest them inside the outer part of your ear. I will not be responsible for ruptured eardrums).

* Always expect the unexpected. For example, if you thought your adopted Boston Terrier named Sam couldn’t do many tricks (just “sit” and “lay down”) keep holding out that treat. He might just roll over and provide you with a disproportionate amount of glee and entertainment (especially when he occasionally gets stuck halfway through his roll).

* Say you’re sorry when you need to, but don’t apologize for every.little.thing. Especially for women, I’ve noticed “I’m sorry” comes out almost reflexively. My wonderful sister was visiting this weekend and I counted how many times either of us said “I’m sorry” for no good reason. It was way, way too many.

* Do something good for the world at large, whenever you can, in whatever way you are able. Recently, I have gotten involved in this non-profit. Check it out and even give if you can.

* The layout of Walgreens will never make complete sense. Save yourself the frustration.

* Let yourself have down days, but pick yourself up again. I’ve been feeling a bit too negative for my liking recently, so I decided to start making a concerted effort to be positive and focus on being grateful. Not in a phony sense, though. If it’s not genuine it will make you feel weird and pissy- take it from someone who was in the store the other night literally whispering, “I’m breathing out negativity and breathing in positive thoughts” and suddenly wanted to punch the person in front of me who was holding up the line. Which came first in this scenario, the chicken or the egg? Who knows but at least there is protein available…see?!  I’M SO POSITIVE. THE GLASS IS HALF FULL…of poison and bad checkout line etiquette (which are basically synonymous).

So anyways, there is that.

Happy Tuesday! I hope you’re all (hi mom!) well and happy!

The Week(+) I (Almost) Forgot About My Blog

Oh hello there!

Long time no see! I was basically in a cocoon of schoolwork for the better part of last week. They manufacture those during summer classes. They look very much like a snuggie but they are woven from the same cloth as… I don’t know, HELL. But finally, I have burst forth. In the words of Kimmy Schmidt (if you haven’t seen “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” on Netflix , I recommend you do!) “I feel like a butterfly, bursting forth from it’s crystalish and falling from the nest!.” (Until later this week when a boatload of work descends upon me again.)

How was YOUR week?! Any great blog posts or internet sensations I missed? Link them below if there are any must-sees 🙂

When I wasn’t doing schoolwork this week, I assembled a housewarming gift for some friends of ours. It turned out well, was useful and not expensive, so I thought I would share.

I made this:

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Here is how this too could be yours to give to a loved one upon the acquisition of their new digs (avoided saying “housewarming” two times in a row–cha ching!):

  • Go to Homegoods (TJ Maxx, Marshall’s etc. would be fine, too)
  • Pick out some citronella candles (I got a three pack of copper colored handmade ones). I found them in a clearance aisle near lawn and garden items.
  • Choose two useful household products. I bought a lavender aromatherapy all-purpose cleaner and a mango linen spray.
  • Buy something green and alive. I popped by Stop N’ Shop and picked up an African violet.
  • My mother in law had some extra baskets around the house, so I got a basket from her. Homegoods probably has many basket options as well. Baskets can be a bit pricey depending on where you go, so asking if someone has one is never a bad option. Baskets are like opinions. Everyone has a few spare ones that aren’t serving them well. Help them help you.
  • Now is the fun part! Arrange the candles and household sprays in the basket and place the plant at the front. I lined the basket with tissue paper first to make it extra festive.
  • I had a picture frame that we weren’t using, so I wrote “Welcome Home” on a piece of cardstock and placed it in the frame. I nestled the frame in the middle of the basket to tie it all together.
  • I will be tacky and talk about price here: it cost about $15-20 in total.

Our friends liked the gift and the citronella candles came in handy that very evening.

Do you have any go-to gifts for various occasions?! Let me know.

xo,

Kara