5 Tips for Giving Your Backyard the Perfect Summer Makeover

5 Tips for Giving Your Backyard the Perfect Summer Makeover

Chances are, you need more sunshine in your life. I know I do! The possibilities for getting in that Vitamin D are endless (just don’t forget to lather on the sunscreen. This one is my favorite). But before you start checking flights to the nearest tropical destination, pause and look no further than your own porch or backyard.

5 Tips for Giving Your Backyard the Perfect Summer Makeover

Today, I want to get your creative juices flowing right here at home. Okay, maybe at this exact moment your space doesn’t necessarily look like your ideal paradise. In fact, it might need a little sweeping, dusting and, well, spring cleaning. For now, though, look past the cobwebs. This is where the creativity comes into play. Maybe you need some outdoor journaling time or the perfect space to have girlfriends over for lemonade or perhaps you’re thinking ahead to hosting the neighborhood’s most fantastic 4th of July BBQ. Whatever your dream for the space is, now is the best time to start thinking about how to style your backyard to suit all your summer needs.

5 Tips for Giving Your Backyard the Perfect Summer Makeover
  1. Set the Scene. No matter what you’re doing – whether it’s a solo activity or family time– it’s important to have the right types of spaces. Look for chairs, sofas and loveseats and try to come up with a nice combination of the different types. Create intimate spaces by adding accent rugs (we love this one and this one) and tapestries. The tapestries cover up any cracks or marks in your walls that your’d rather not look at and they can really tie a look together. I felt especially excited about this one because it reminded me a little bit of the mural I did at SCCM. And because I can never get enough sunshine, I picked up this tapestry, too. We really just purchased items that made us feel happy and fit in with the colors we love to surround ourselves with.

  2. Pair with coffee tables, planters, and colorful accent pillows. Our house is in Southern California, so we have a lot of cacti and succulents in our yard. The kind of plants you use will vary depending on weather/climate where you live. I’ve talked about our interior design before (minimal with bright pops of color) and the same is true for our yard. We like clean designs and bold accents. The Yardbird Luna Set fits in with the vibe perfectly. It’s clean, minimal, and neutral. The pops of color come in the form of our accent pillows. Having pillows can make the space feel more bright, comfortable, and colorful. Just make sure to pick up ones that are designed to be outside like this one or this one.

  3. Invest in Quality Products and the right tools to protect them. There’s nothing worse than dusty old outdoor furniture when you want a relaxing space. Sun, wind, and weather have worn them down and now they’re rickety and more than a little dusty. It’s not a good look. Take the time to find beautiful pieces that will hold up over time. But you don’t have to spend a ton of money, either. Yardbird works directly with manufacturers. You don’t pay for the middlemen– just the perfect furniture sets. The Luna set was attractive to us because it’s modern and resistant to all the things the great outdoors might throw at it including: mold, stains, fading, etc. Yardbird also makes furniture covers to protect them – just in case!

  4. Keep it stress-free. The whole point of having a friendly, enjoyable space is to sit back and relax. Enjoy it! You won’t have as much fun with it, if you associate the process with stress. Getting our Luna set was easy and simple. It was delivered to the house and if we’d needed it, Yardbird provides in-house design consultations. The furniture itself is quite durable but it’s also very light and easy to move around. That made styling it a breeze. One way to build that stress-free atmosphere is to encourage certain kinds of wildlife. For example, we have a hummingbird feeder right next to the main seating area. You could also bring in certain plants, like milkweed, if you’d like to attract monarch butterflies.

  5. Be kind to the Earth. Mother nature is a beautiful thing, so as you take a look at what would work best for your yard, keep in mind that it’s important to buy things that are recycled and made responsibly. Not sure where to start? Yardbird’s products are created using some materials (including plastics) that have been taken out of the ocean and off our beaches. They also offset 100% of their carbon footprint.

5 Tips for Giving Your Backyard the Perfect Summer Makeover

One of the best things about having my backyard set up is that I can spend time outdoors and experience a connection with the natural world from the comfort of my own home. Even though the studio is an amazing place to be, it’s always good to be able to get outside, especially when I have to work with certain projects. When working with alcohol inks (which is my latest obsession), it’s advised that the area is well ventilated. Well, what’s better than sitting outside and getting creative? Having a space that’s ready-to-go is wonderful. I’ve even filmed outside, using my favorite desktop tripod. I know Jack loves being able to sit with me and work on his own projects. Right now, he’s really excited about watching and catching bugs and my favorite thing is journaling while the hummingbirds drink from the feeder. (To each their own, right?)

Would love to hear from you - Have you ever gotten creative outside?

Thank you to Yardbird for allowing me to share all these tips and tricks with you.

3 TIPS FOR A TIDY, HAPPY HOME

3 TIPS FOR A TIDY, HAPPY HOME

This post was sponsored by BISSELL, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Whether you're meticulously neat or carefree and messy, the time always comes to tidy up! So, I'm sharing a list of three ways to keep your home just a little bit cleaner. Because of our three Jacks (my two Jack Russell terriers, Buster and Bamboo and my son, Jack), my house can get a little messy at times. That's one of the many reasons I'm so happy to partner with BISSELL for this post.

Seven years ago, Cathy Bissell founded BISSELL Pet Foundation. The foundation's mission is to keep animals out of shelters in a number of ways including adoption, foster care, microchipping and so much more. Every time someone buys a BISSELL Crosswave Pet Pro® and registers their device at www.bissell.com, BISSELL donates $10 to the foundation to help each and every pet find a home! We have been using Crosswave Pet Pro in our home and you can check out the video on my YouTube channel to see it in action. Having clean floors is just one of the many things that help me feel grounded and happy in my home.

LEGO SHELVES!

Here are the 3 tips:

1. Bring in the joy - There are so many ways to organize your belongings to help your living space look orderly, harmonious, and peaceful. Because our home is decorated with neutrals and accented with bright pops of color, one of my staple organization tips is to place your most vibrant items in rainbow order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet. We use this method on everything from my personal library to Jack’s favorite toys and legos. Of course, if something isn’t exactly the right color, I try to find the best-looking place for it. I promise, it looks good even if you have a mauve thrown in next to the indigos! It’s not about perfection, just about bringing in a little order and good vibes.

3 TIPS FOR A TIDY, HAPPY HOME

2. Work smarter, not harder - I’m a small business owner and a mom— which means my to-do list always has something on it. I rely on multi-use products and tools to get the most out of my time while I’m cleaning. A great example of this is BISSELL’s CrossWave Pet Pro because it vacuums and washes the floor simultaneously—both hard floors and area rugs. It cleans wet and dry messes, acting as a mop and vacuum all in one sleek package. Whether it’s paw prints, tiny shoe prints or the little grey and white hairs that seem to get everywhere, my floors see a lot of traffic on a daily basis. CrossWave Pet Pro has a specialized cleaning formula with a light, clean scent. Best of all, it's earth-friendly and safe around pets and kids when used as directed. There are no heavy metals, phosphates or dyes. We use it all throughout our home and the scent leaves our place smelling crisp and fresh. It’s so nice to have a tool that can multitask just like I do!

3 TIPS FOR A TIDY, HAPPY HOME
3 TIPS FOR A TIDY, HAPPY HOME

3. Include the little ones - I don’t think cleaning is anyone’s favorite activity, but there are ways to make it fun and enjoyable for the whole family. Jack is usually an eager helper when it comes to chores. Giving him a small, manageable task helps keep him engaged and learn about responsibility. It also helps me keep things in perspective. Yes, a messy house feels chaotic and unpleasant sometimes and cleaning can be stressful. But the loved ones who make the messes are a huge and valuable part of my life and I never ever want to lose sight of that truth.

3 TIPS FOR A TIDY, HAPPY HOME

Which of the three tips are you most excited to try out in your home? Be sure to share any of your tried and true tips and tricks for a tidy living space in the comments below!

Kidbox LOVE

Amy Tangerine x Kidbox

This little guy has been full of smiles and silliness lately. Four is such a fun age and what a delight it has been to see things through his eyes. He's really into making up jokes (and cracking himself up), asking lots of questions, playing Uno at dinner, Legos, and having photo shoots with Ann-Marie! Recently we got some really happy mail from an amazing new kids' clothing subscription company called Kidbox!

Amy Tangerine x Kidbox

Kidbox is the most convenient, cost-effective and exciting way to get the surprise of style, hand-picked by a stylist, for your child 5 times a year. Each seasonal box includes 6-7 items of clothing and only costs $98. (Be sure to check out the discount code at the bottom to save even more!) Best of all, you only pay for what you keep! With sizes starting at newborn and going all the way up to 14, there's something for every age. 

Amy Tangerine x Kidbox

After taking a short style quiz, each Kidbox is customized to your child's personal preferences based upon the answers. The whole process only took me a few minutes and when I opened the box, I was thrilled with all of the selections!  

Amy Tangerine x Kidbox

Jack clearly loved them, too!

Amy Tangerine x Kidbox

For every box you keep, Kidbox will clothe a child in need...how great is that? We have always tried to infuse the values of giving back in different ways, and this is such a wonderful way that even a four year old can understand. We ended up keeping the entire box, which was a total of 8 pieces and valued at over $200. All the pieces mix and match so well too!

Amy Tangerine x Kidbox

Kidbox is going to be my new go-to present for baby showers and birthday parties; it's the gift that keeps on giving!

Amy Tangerine x Kidbox
Amy Tangerine x Kidbox

Each box comes with stickers, crayons, and postcards packaged neatly in a reusable zippered pouch. His love of arts & crafts continues to evolve and grow almost daily, which makes this crafty mom very happy!

Amy Tangerine x Kidbox

Jack loved coloring the box and spelling out his name with the letter stickers!

Amy Tangerine x Kidbox

DISCOUNT: To receive 20% off your first Kidbox order, use the code JACK20 at checkout. Happy shopping!

This post is in collaboration with Kidbox, all ideas and opinions are my own. As always, my creative partners and I appreciate the support.

Our New Nugget!

amy_november-52.jpg

Jack's playroom has gone through several iterations through the years, and I am happy to report that our newest addition has been a huge hit!  We've been enjoying the Nugget Comfort play couch that we got for Jack recently. It has a way of bringing us all together, whether it's under tents or building castles and obstacle courses, this Nugget encourages family time and play. Not to mention this new Cactus color is pretty close to perfection! One of our favorite books lately is Little Owl Lost. It's such a sweet story and Jack has basically memorized the entire thing, so he can enjoy reading it on his own. 

We love our newest addition, and even Buster approves! Go check out the rest of their new colors and yes - the Nugget covers are machine washable! 

PHOTOS BY Ann-Marie Espinoza | Jack's clothing is from Rabbit LaddersDisclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. I receive a small percentage of sales at no cost to you. My creative partners and I really appreciate your continued support and every little bit helps me to bring you consistent content!

Five Tips for Creating a Stress-Free Home | Art Naturals

Tips for a stress-free home

I may come across as put-together, but trust me, all you have to do is feel my tense shoulders to know that a very different story is going on in my body. I am constantly stressed and anxious about everything from work and finances to whether or not I'm doing all that I can to create a happy life for my family. 

One thing I've learned is that no matter how busy I am or how long my to-do list is, I am much more productive when I make a conscious effort to de-stress. For me, the best place to start is my house! I've found that surrounding myself with things that give me an opportunity to breathe and ground myself helps me to maintain my stress level. I highly recommend creating a calming space that encourages you to relax and remember what's important in life! 

Do you notice a difference in the quality of your work when the sheer quantity of it has started to get to you? I know that I'm not alone in my stress level, and  Art Naturals has asked me to share some tactics that have helped me. 

Here are my top five tips for creating a stress-free home: 

1. Everything in its place. After 30+ years of never having proper homes for all of my belongings, I had had enough of the guilt and frustration that comes from searching endlessly for an elusive item only to end up repurchasing it. I finally realized that I am heavily influenced by my surroundings and when my living space is in disarray, my mind is in disarray. Now I consider myself to be an aspiring minimalist so I try my hardest to keep clutter to a minimum and only bring in pieces that I absolutely love. I am a work in progress and always striving to improve myself, so when I slip up, I let it go and start fresh the next day. I hope to instill this quality in Jack so that he learns the value of being organized from a very early age.

2. Create a cozy space for relaxation and reading. If you're like me, you're probably never further than a stone's throw away from your phone. As much as I love Instagram, I know that I can get easily pulled in and suddenly realize that I spent the last hour or so scrolling mindlessly through my feed instead of paying attention to what was happening in front of me. At night I make a conscious habit of putting down my phone and picking up a book instead. The act of reading instantly relaxes me plus there's nothing better than getting lost in a good story.

3. Choose your favorite photos that remind you of happy times and display them. We have framed images of Jack as a baby on the wall, photo booth strips of me and JC tacked to the fridge, and a handful of other small family pictures on the dressers in our bedrooms. The nice thing about having these photos in frames is that you can easily move them around too. Create little vignettes of happy in various spots. I love when in the midst of a busy day, one of my treasured images will stop me in my tracks and allow me to relive that special moment all over again. 

4. Invite only what you love. We enjoy entertaining and try to make our home as comfortable as possible for family and friends to drop by and share a meal with us. One of my favorite ways to foster community within our home is to have unique conversation pieces that cause others to take note and start a discussion. Since we decided when we bought our house in 2013 that we would only bring in the things we love, our home is full of the things that bring us joy. We have a bookshelf in our main living space that holds some of our favorite books in rainbow order and nearly every person that enters our house makes a comment about it. We also have an owl collection throughout our home that also makes for interesting conversation. 

5. Think about all five senses. Not only is important for your surroundings to appeal to you visually, but they should also bring comfort to your other senses as well. I love having soft textiles underfoot, calm or upbeat music (depending on my mood) playing on our speakers, lots of healthy foods in the kitchen, and soothing fragrances permeating throughout our home. One of my favorite ways to achieve the latter is by diffusing essential oils in this Art Naturals Blue Tooth Oil Diffuser. My go-to essential oil mix is 1-2 drops of tea tree oil, 1-2 drops of eucalyptus, and 3 drops of lavender essential oil. Talk about instant relaxation! 

If you're feeling overwhelmed by the notion of overhauling your home into a spa-like experience, don't panic. My advice would be to be to START SMALL. Choose one area in your living space that already makes you the happiest -- perhaps the room with the best light or the one that is used for savoring your morning coffee -- and tackle that room first. If a room is too large and intimidating, simply start with a smaller spot like an entry way table. Then you can move onto a different area. Once you have created a calming environment in one room, use that momentum to propel you to the next room until you have worked your way through your entire house. 

And if it would make more sense for you to wait until your schedule calms down before you tackle anything on this list, I made a little piece of art that will keep you from forgetting about it. Pin this graphic on Pinterest to remind yourself to take the time to de-stress when you have a chance to!

Create a Stress-Free Home

Now, I'm going to turn it over to you! How do you de-stress when the weight on your shoulders is getting to you? And what are some ways that you're hoping to make your home more relaxing? 

FOR 10% off at ART NATURALS, USE CODE: Diffuser10

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Art Naturals but all opinions and experiences I mentioned are my own. My creative partners and I really appreciate your continued support!