Thursday, November 27, 2014

Katie Recommends: Shutterfly

Shutterfly - Holiday Offer

I'm just popping in to mention a few amazing Black Friday deals from Shutterfly and Tiny Prints. I've ordered numerous items from Shutterfly in the past, including a graduation photo book that I will share next week. I've ordered numerous Christmas presents for family members through Shutterfly, they have really neat personalized ideas. But here's a little secret: I never order full-price! There's always a coupon code around the corner.

I'm such a fan of Shutterfly that I decided to become an affiliate of their company! What does that mean for you? Promo codes and coupons for really great offers for the thrifty gal! I'll be adding an ad to my sidebar here on the blog, but I'll also let you know when an amazing offer or two comes along. What does it mean for me? If you click and order through a link that I've shared, or through my sidebar ad, I get a small commission from the sale. Moral of the story: if ordering from Shutterfly or Tiny Prints, I'd appreciate if you use my links! Transparency, y'all.

The Thanksgiving / Black Friday coupon codes that I have to share with you today from Shutterfly:

Offers for new customers:
- One set of free address labels with the code LABELSROCK; offer valid 11/27 - 11/30
- Save $20 off orders of $60 or more with code 20OFF60; offer valid 11/27 - 12/02

Offers for all customers:
- Free 12 month photo calendar with code FREECAL; offer valid 11/25 - 11/28
- 10 free cards with code BLACKFRIDAY; offer valid 11/27 - 11/30
- Free card with code CARD4U; offer ongoing

I've cashed in on a few of the coupon codes myself! There's no gimmick, you will need to pay for shipping. I'll be sharing more coupon codes and deals as they come along, sometimes on the bottom of one of my regular posts, so keep your eyes peeled. Let me know if you get any great deals yourself!

Happy Thursday, and Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Whole 30 Friendly Snack : Fruit and Nut Bites

Whole 30 approved fruit and nut bites on Polka Dot Soup

Dan and I just completed our first round of Whole 30. I hope to discuss our experience in the next few weeks, once I've gathered my thoughts, and Dan may weigh in, too. I am also planning on sharing a few Whole 30 recipes that we developed, just like today's recipe!

We often searched the internet and Pinterest for Whole 30 compliant recipes and ideas. I even created a Pinterest board of Whole 30 recipes that appealed to me, which, to be honest, wasn't that many! One area that was severely lacking was Whole 30 friendly snacks. I don't know about you, but after a month of eating veggies, fruit, and bits of chicken or meat for snacks, a person tends to want some variety. Most Paleo friendly snacks that came up during our search included honey or maple syrup, which are both taboo while completing the Whole 30. I have several recipes for energy bites that I used to use regularly, but they aren't Whole 30 compliant. I came up with a modified version that can be enjoyed guilt free! These fruit and nut bites are gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, grain-free and egg free treats.

Whole 30 friendly fruit and nut bites on Polka Dot Soup

Fruit and Nut Bites : A Whole 30 Approved Snack

1 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1 1/2 c pitted dates
2 heaping spoonfuls of almond butter
pinch of salt (optional)

Begin by soaking the dates in enough boiled water to cover. Let soak for 2 - 3 minutes. In food processor, add all ingredients. Process until the mixture achieves your desired consistence. Use an ice cream or cookie scoop or roll several tablespoons into a ball and place on parchment paper. Let chill in refrigerator. Enjoy!

Note: Raw sunflower seeds aren't high on the list of approved nuts and seeds, but they are one of the least expensive. Keep that in mind when you're snacking on these fruit and nut bites - don't go overboard.

If you give this recipe a try, I would love to hear your thoughts! Dan and I both loved them, and they'll be making a regular appearance when we make healthy snacks. They're a nice change from an apple or orange!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Wear Your Joy Project : Week 4

Wow! We made it! It's been thirty days of wearing my joy, dressing in happiness, and what a ride it's been. (You can read more about the idea behind the challenge here.) Some days I struggled to put that extra bit of effort in, and other days, I was eager to pair some funky combinations of patterns, cool colour combos, or add one more fun accessory. In the end, I found that the days that I took the time to thoughtfully choose an outfit, I felt more at ease about my garments as I went about my day. Taking the extra time is something that most of us struggle with, as busy women and mamas, but we're so worth it. Everyone in our lives benefit when we're feeling confident!

At the beginning of the 30 day challenge, I contacted my inspiration for the project, Kelly Rae Roberts to let her know about what I was doing. Here's what she had to say:
"Since starting the Wear Your Joy Project, and the following series on my blog, I've found that it's a fantastic prompt for people to step into their joy! So glad you're stepping into your joy!"
As part of the project, I have had friends joining me each week here on the blog. From week one, to week two, to week three there have been posts full of smiling faces. Now for the final week, we're going out with a bang: there are three special women that are participating. Ladies, take it away! 

"Hi, I'm Leah! I'm a blogger and a graphic designer. I work at the Horizon Achievement Centre in Sydney, and I live in North Sydney, although I grew up in Baddeck. I loved doing the "Wear Your Joy" project. Thank you, Katie, for the chance to think about what it means to "wear one's joy" -- I found that more so than the clothes I wore each day, I found myself thinking about how a smile is wearing joy on the outside. I also thought about taking my selfies in places that bring me joy: the woods, outdoors, my sunny dining room as I worked one Saturday afternoon. I only took one full-body selfie, but really, my bottom half of outfits doesn't change much on a day to day basis, as I wear a lot of jeans or dress pants. I do love skirts and heels but I also like to sneak walks into my lunch hour, and those articles of clothing don't make that easy to do. I also included my favourite jewelry these days. To sum up: for me, joy (in clothing and in life!) is simplicity, colour, and natural textures. "

This is Ashley, a mama in her mid-twenties.. She's a Canadian that's been transplanted to Boston where she lives with her hubby, toddler, and soon to be born little baby.

"I have a blue problem! It's important to me to add special touches to an outfit, which for me means a fun scarf, belt or earrings! With the cold weather this week, I incorporated my warm knit scarf and my super warn rubber boots that go perfect together!
I had fun thinking of ways to add a little bit of splash to my every day outfits."

"Hey! I'm Heidi and am lucky to call Katie one of my very best friends. I'm a blogger over at Idlehide and feel free to stop by and say hi! I liked this challenge because it made me step out of my usual clothes (work out gear or scrubs) and try to accessorize a bit. I am a very casual dresser so this was a good challenge for me!" 

That wraps up our 30 days of Wear Your Joy! Thanks so much for following along, and I hope it inspires you to dress in happiness daily. Feel up for the challenge? I'd love to hear from you if you took part in the project. "Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces." Psalm 34:5

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

5 Tips for Jewelry Organization

5 Tips for Jewelry Organization | Polka Dot Soup

Several weeks ago, in preparation for the accessory swap that I hosted, I sorted my jewelry collection. By simply getting more organized, my freshly tidied necklaces got more wear in the days that followed than they had in months! I grouped my most worn necklaces by style – statement, delicate, chunky, long. I’m here to share five tips to get (and keep!) your jewelry organized. Here we go!

5 Tips for Jewelry Organization | Polka Dot Soup

Purge Regularly
In order to make the most of your jewelry collection, it’s necessary to purge often. A regular evaluation of your glitzy wares will remind you of pieces that you haven’t worn in a while, and will inspire you to wear it or pass it on.
Group Like Objects
Feel as though you don’t have time to select a piece of jewelry during your morning routine? By grouping similar items together, such as rings in a bowl or necklaces on hooks, you can quickly choose an item to pair with your outfit without struggling through piles of tangled necklaces.

5 Tips for Jewelry Organization | Polka Dot Soup

Keep Your Collection Visible
The biggest contributor to me wearing jewelry is having my pieces visible. I used to have all of my jewelry organized in out-of-sight containers and only wore a necklace or bracelet for special occasions. As soon as I organized my jewelry out in the open, I immediately wore them more!
Make It Fun!
It doesn’t matter if you have a sliver of counter space in your washroom, on your dresser, or an entire dressing table or walk-in closet – jewelry organization can be cute and eye-catching! Small bowls and containers from thrift stores, antique shops, and stores like Winners are my favourite for keeping my jewelry organized. Choosing colorful, artisan bowls or calm, monochromatic plates are both fun choices. Don’t feel like you need to purchase a “jewelry” stand.

5 Tips for Jewelry Organization | Polka Dot Soup

DIY, Baby!
A DIY option is always fun for allowing your necklaces to be tangle-free, and Pinterest has oodles of tutorials. Remember that oddly shaped bowl that you created in pottery class and can’t bare to through out? It’s the perfect bowl for rings! By creating a rack or display for your jewelry, that little bit of personal touch may help you to feel more connected to your collection and wear your pieces more often.

I hope that these five tips help you to see your jewelry and accessories in a new light. Do you have any other suggestions? I’d love to hear from you!

5 Tips for Jewelry Organization | Polka Dot Soup

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