A Frightening Friday Wrap

Whether you call this mischief night, devil’s eve or simply the night before Halloween, we can all agree it has arrived! Our crew will spend it carving up jack-o-lanterns while drinking cups of cider and listening to The Ultimate Halloween playlist on Spotify. Can’t wait!!

It’s been a busy week leading up to this point, but here are a few bright spots along the way:

{ONE} Decorations are set!

I’ve had the pumpkin wreath and orange lights up for a few weeks, but the floating witches’ hats were added yesterday. Can you see them on either side of the door? I used fishing line to hang them from the ceiling. They add the perfect amount of spook-factor when the wind blows.

halloween porch{TWO} Costumes are finished!

Clara is ready to save the world as Supergirl. She knew exactly what she wanted to be as soon as the topic came up in September. We found a Superman tee at Walmart and used this pic as inspiration for the rest of the outfit. I’ll post pictures of her all dolled up tomorrow on Instagram.

Avery, on the other hand, has been teetering back-and-forth on ideas. She contemplated being a wizard until she saw the pointy hat that went with it. #notcool So, I finally gave her a deadline (welcome to my world, sister) and she quickly agreed to be an indian princess. Perfect! I took a white tee and embellished it with leather fringe and ribbon.

Avery carefully chose the ribbon design and did a wonderful job. She’s such an artist in the making. The fabric glue is still doing its magic or else I’d have her model it for you. I’ll share that picture along with Clara’s tomorrow.

(Time will only tell if Evan decides to dress up with his sisters this year. I’m learning that twelve can be a very sensitive age.)

indian princess costume

{THREE} The pumpkin cheese ball is back!

This silly cheese ball was THE biggest hit last Halloween, so momma’s bringin’ it back. It’s easy, delicious and pretty much the only time I let my kids eat Doritos, which is the orange coating on the outside of the ball. It’s worth every bite, though. Seriously. So good. Oh, and the chips are blue tortilla.

{FOUR} Desk makeover in progress!

This is a little sneak peek of my desk makeover. I’ve been gathering (and making) a few things to jazz up my space, and these gold paper clips with polka-dot ribbon are one of my favorites so far. More to come next week!!


{FIVE} It’s time for a Happy Halloween!

halloween quote

Until next week, have a seriously spooktacular Halloween.


PS. Be sure to check out other great bloggers as I’m linking up with Five on Friday and Oh, Hey Friday!



Non-candy Treats that Aren’t Lame

Let me start by saying, I know most kids are grateful for anything they receive on Halloween night. Even the black licorice sticks and Tootsie rolls feel a little love. I mean, it’s sugar.

Non-candy treats can be just as rewarding – especially for kids who have severe food allergies. It’s incredibly thoughtful to consider offering something everyone can enjoy. The Teal Pumpkin Project is a great example of this.

So I’m a fan of non-candy treats. You can start to enter some interesting territory, though.

When kids get things like rolls of dental floss, I imagine it’s like receiving a package of dust cloths for your birthday. “Honey, here are some nice rags to wipe all of our bookshelves with! Happy birthday!” Hmm. While you might need dust cloths at the moment, and they do smell nice, they’re not exactly what you would have chosen as a gift. The same logic applies for Halloween. Think “less trick” and “more treat.”

There are tons of pre-packaged items at the store, such as bubbles, bouncy balls and spider rings.

Those are all great. Pencils are one of those things that are on the fence, though. If kids love writing, they’ll be excited to get some snazzy new pencils. If pencils remind them of homework, you may have entered Choreland. Proceed with caution.

If you want to handout guaranteed non-lame prizes, here are a few to consider.

To verify, my 9-year-old twins said these would be “awesome” in their treat bags.

{ONE} Spider Friends

Kids love little fuzzy things. My girls are obsessed with stuffed animals. So why not hand out little spider friends?

spider supplies

These are easy to make and only require a few simple items: pipe cleaners, pom poms, googly eyes and a glue gun.


Directions: Cut a single pipe cleaner into four equal pieces. Twist them together in the center. Bend each “leg”. Then glue the pom pom to the legs, followed by the eyes. Ta-da! Instant spider – that’s cute, not creepy.

If you’re feeling extra generous, you can package each spider in a cello bag with a piece of fake spider web so he has a place to live once he gets to his new home!

{TWO} Glow-in-the-dark Stickers

Kids are fascinated with things that glow. It’s the only type of toy that requires total darkness, which is both scary and exciting at the same time. And that’s pretty much the definition of Halloween. You can’t go wrong with anything in the glow zone.

glow stickers

I bought a package of 75 stars for $12. Then I divided them up (three to a treat bag) and secured with a neon ribbon to turn them into more of a treat!

{THREE} Boo Bags

ghost pop corn bags

These are just cone-shaped cello bags found at Hobby Lobby filled with popcorn. I added some details with marker to give them a ghostly look. While this is a food item, it’s still considered non-candy. And kids love salty popcorn, especially if they’re headed home to watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown after their hunt!


Such a classic! We watch this every year. What’s your go-to Halloween movie?

I must mention, some parents are picky about letting their kids eat anything homemade, so this idea might be best reserved for the kids you know really well. You can put a personalized tag around the top so they feel good knowing you took time to make them something special.

Any of these ideas are sure to leave your sweet neighbor kids feeling happy – and claiming you a total rockstar. And you didn’t even have to dress like one.

Here’s to an awesome Halloween!



The Perfectly Prepared Pumpkin

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook, and I completely agree!

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook, and I completely agree!

Ahh-ctober. It has lived up to its hype again this year for our family. We’ve had gorgeous cool weather, delicious meals from the crockpot, and plenty of decorations for Halloween. We can’t get enough of the season.

When it comes to carving pumpkins, we’ve made it a tradition to do it the night before Halloween. That way our jack-o-lanterns have fresh faces for the big day, and the squirrels haven’t wreaked too much havoc on our display. So this Friday will be the big day!

We have the carving down to a decent routine. Clara still gags when she touches pumpkin pulp, but that might not ever change. Poor thing.

Here are few tricks we have up our sleeve when it comes to perfectly preparing a pumpkin.

Whatcha need and what to do…

Filet knife: There are all kinds of special carving kits, but I think a filet knife is the perfect tool, because it’s not too flimsy. (And yes, Brandon or I usually do this part.) We turn our pumpkin upside down and cut a hole from the bottom, which makes it much easier to clean – and display a candle. It took me forever to figure out this tip.

Ice cream scoop: This is the most efficient way to remove all of the seeds and pumpkin pulp. This is also the part where Clara suddenly has something urgent to do, like organize her sock drawer. I don’t mind the gooey mess, though. I love pulling out the seeds and roasting them or doing other fun crafty things. Speaking of…

My pumpkin seed ornaments were recently featured on All You magazine’s website. Check it out!

Now back to the carving.

Stencil and dry erase marker: If you’re feeling creative, you can freehand a design with your marker and carve from there. Dry erase markers are great because you can wipe it clean if you make a mistake. If you’re feeling like kicking it up a notch, check out these stencils. There are 700 to choose from, so it’s definitely not lacking in ideas.

I think this one is pretty cute. Don't you?

I think this one is pretty cute. Don’t you?

Bleach: Once your pumpkin is carved, mix 1 tablespoon of bleach with 1 quart of warm water and funnel into a spray bottle. Spray the insides to help preserve it for a bit longer than normal.

Now you’re ready to put a light inside and enjoy your masterpiece!

We’re still trying to decide which pattern we’re going to use. What does your go-to jack-o-lantern face look like? Do share!

Until then, have fun getting ready for the big day. Muahaha!



Winners & Planners Unite

I’m excited to announce that Melissa Liston is the big winner of the 2016 planner! And the Jar of Joy is going Lynn Buss! She’ll receive 100 days worth of joyful notes. In addition to these lucky ladies, I’m sending huge virtual hugs to everyone who entered and helped me celebrate the blog turning one.

In addition to splurging on some spice cake with cream cheese frosting, my parents surprised me with a cute t-shirt that features the Neat Nook logo.

I was so surprised by this sweet gesture. I might have teared up a bit. In hindsight, I probably should have showered before I had this picture taken.

Wasn’t this the sweetest gift? Yes, I teared up a bit.

It was such a fun week, and I hope you all enjoyed the giveaway. With all of this planner talk recently, and the fact that 2016 is only one monthly tab away, has me thinking about what works and doesn’t work about organizing a planner.

I’m sure we all use one, but it doesn’t always get our undivided attention. I know I’ve had plenty of hectic weeks where I abandoned my book, and I undoubtedly paid for it later – like the time I spaced Avery’s orthodontist consult and couldn’t get scheduled back in for two months. That was one of those weeks sans planner.

As a recovering perfectionist, I realize life happens and it’s messy. I also realize that I don’t have to memorize my entire life schedule. I have this pretty little book sitting next to me waiting patiently to be my assistant. So let’s put it to work!

A few tips for organizing our planners.

{ONE} Pick one that fits your life.

Let’s say you have multiple kids with multiple activities, and you’re also starting a home-based business. A calendar that just offers a monthly view won’t cut it. You need a sizable planner with space for everyone and everything in your life. Consider options with full pages for each day, such as The Simplified Planner. If you don’t like carrying a book and writing things down, use a mobile app like Planner Plus that syncs right to your calendar.

{TWO} Color your world.

Meaning, use color codes for each type of activity on your list. My niece, Sarah, introduced me to this tip. She has a set of colored pens that she carries along with her. What I like about this is it gives you a quick visual cue for each day. For example, work/business items are blue, kids’ stuff is green, house needs are orange, and personal things are purple. In addition to breaking up a long, overwhelming list into manageable chunks, color-coding gives you a snapshot of where you spend most of your time. In an instant, you can see what’s a priority in your life at the moment. If you start to feel unhappy or pulled too far in one direction, try to shift some of the colors around. Or maybe it’s time to create a new category for a hobby – and color that baby bright yellow!

{THREE} Legend has it.


In addition to color-coding, you can write symbols next to each item so you know what’s going down. The Day Designer uses the suggested legend shown above, which is helpful. I don’t use all of these marks, but I do star important things and label whether it’s a task or event – mostly for showering purposes.

{FOUR} Multi-devices can totally work.

For example, if you mostly use the calendar on your phone for tracking errands and daily to-dos, that’s great. You can use an offline, paper planner for all of your big-picture planning and goal setting. Don’t feel pressure to fill out both planners, though. Assign each planner a job and make them both work for you!

{FIVE} Include long-term planning.

It’s easy to get caught in the trap of making daily “to-do” lists that help you get things done around the house, but they don’t necessarily make you feel accomplished. I’ve felt this way many times. When I look at a page full of crossed-off items and feel drained versus energized or proud, I know something is off.

This is a clue that I need to look back at the long-term vision I have for myself. Are the things I’m doing and crossing off my list each day moving me in the right direction? If the answer is “no,” it’s time to reevaluate where I’m spending my time. Laundry still needs to get done, but maybe things like weeding the garden could wait until I’ve spent time meditating or reaching out to a fellow blogger.

The Day Designer, shown above, is an incredible planner for establishing your purpose and mission. If you want to live a purposeful life, long-term planning is a must.

{SIX} Get in a routine.

Just like creating any good habit, we need to show up every day and practice. It can be hard, I know. With your planner, though, the good news is that if you spend a little extra time up front, the daily check-in goes much smoother and faster. I try to sit with my planner on Sunday nights, like a little meeting with just the two of us, and I fill out the pages for the week ahead.

I start by looking at my monthly view to catch the big stuff: birthdays, anniversaries, ortho checkups. I transfer those details to the week’s list, and then fill in what I know needs to get done each day. If the week marks the beginning of the month (like next week), I’ll also check in with my annual plan to be sure I’m on the right path toward my goals and making happy, productive decisions with my time.

It all sounds simple enough. I know. If any of us fall out of routine, forget an appointment, skip a week with the planner, there’s no need to freak or feel bad. You’re not alone. It’s easy to get back on track.

And as Glennon Melton says, “We can do hard things!”

Have a productive week, sweet friends.



Friday Wrap: Blogiversary Edition

blogiversaryIn honor of The Neat Nook turning one, I decided to reflect on some of the best blogging advice I received or stumbled upon over the past 12 months. This felt like the perfect way to wrap such a special week. So let’s get right to it, shall we?

Five Great Pieces of Advice on Blogging

{ONE} “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”

I don’t remember exactly where I came across this statement, but it was big for me. I think the reason I hadn’t started blogging long before now was because I was intimidated by all of the gorgeous blogs and talented writers out there who seem to have perfected the art. It’s easy to find lots of “middles” out there, since blogging has been around for many years. Everyone has to start somewhere, though. And I’m learning to simply love where I am.

{TWO} “Be real. Be vulnerable. Show us who you are.”

This was something I heard from a friend when I veeery first started. Like before I had an “about” page, and my profile picture was a headshot from work. Yawns-ville. I appreciated her input so much. The thought was frightening, but she was right. I’m usually more comfortable sitting quietly in the background or cheering safely from the sidelines, but blogging challenges me. It gives me a space to express myself and have a voice – regardless of how quiet and scared it might sound.

{THREE} “Words are powerful.”

One of the greatest masters of words was Dr. Maya Angelou. With her passing last year, many of her quotes and interviews have been shared online. I caught this clip from the Master Class Series on OWN, and thought it was such a brilliant point of view about the words we choose to use.

For anyone who writes and shares their words in public – on a blog, in social media, and even in conversations that can be overheard – it’s important to realize the power you possess. We all need to hold this notion close to our hearts any time we lift our pens or open our mouths to speak.

I love this acronym that reminds us to think first.

{FOUR} “Remember to have fun.”

This advice came from my friend and blogger, Leslie Sisti. She told me too many people take their blog too seriously, and it turns into a chore. No one wakes up excited to do chores. At least I don’t. I took her advice to heart, and I try to do a “fun check” every now and then. On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the most fun a girl can have), I determine how much fun I’m having with the blog. If the score is low and I’m feeling stressed, I know it’s time to change something. Pronto.

{FIVE} “It’s okay to take a break.

As a typical, giddy newbie I started the year strong with frequent posts. As the months went on and life got busy with job changes and new activities for the kids, I started getting distracted. By the summer, I was fizzling out and feeling a little guilty about neglecting the blog.

Right as I was getting ready for one of those “fun checks,” I came across a post by another blogger, who talked about the importance of taking a break when you need it. If you let your readers know what’s up and when you’ll return, all will be well. It turns out, there are a lot of bloggers who take summers off. While I didn’t take a full sabbatical, I did take some non-judgmental time to get centered, inspired and excited to start writing again.

And this is where I am today. Excited. Also feeling grateful for all of the input and support from other bloggers and friends. I still have an incredible amount to learn, but that makes waking up each day more interesting. It’s about the journey, and I thank you for walking a few steps with me today!

Before you go, be sure to enter in the blogiversary giveaway! You have until 10pm Central tonight to enter to win a beautiful 2016 Day Planner or a Jar of Joy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’m also linking up with some fantastic fellow bloggers on Five on Friday and Oh, Hey Friday!




Five New Uses for Pool Noodles

Now that the pool days have come to a close (at least in our neck of the woods) what should we do with all of our noodles?

pool noodles

I say we repurpose them, especially since we’ll end up buying new ones again next year. They never have the same buoyancy after a long winter’s nap.

I found five interesting uses for those foamy floaters.

{ONE} Bracelet Holders

Untangle and organize all of your cute bracelets with the help of a pool noodle. Sounds weird, but it’s genius. Right? Cover them in pretty fabric and let them stand freely on your dresser or line them up in a cute box.

{TWO} Cord Cover

You can use 8 inches or so of a pool noodle to help corral your lamp or computer cords. Cut a vertical slit so the cords tuck nicely inside the center. Voila!

{THREE} Toy Blocker

Do you have a mini Bermuda Triangle under your couch? Countless toys, socks and coins can get lost down there. An easy fix is to wedge a pool noodle in that space. You can cover it with fabric or find a dark-colored noodle if you’re worried about it being visible. The sample pictured has a black foam insert under there. It’s hard to even see it!!

 {FOUR} Boot Inserts

Boots are back in season, so cut those noodles into boot-height lengths to keep your kicks standing tall. Easy and practical, yes?

{FIVE} Pom Pom Shooter

For something not so practical, but full of fun…you need one of these. Take a little scrap of leftover pool noodle from one of the projects above and turn it into something your kids will totally dig. And it will make up for shoving the rest of the noodles in your boots. #winning

What’s your favorite way to repurpose pool noodles? I have so many of them in my garage, I could use plenty of ideas.

Here’s to a well-organized day.


PS. The blogiversary giveaway is still going on. Be sure to enter before this Friday (10/23/15) at 10pm Central.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Neat Nook Turned One!


October marks the anniversary of my first post on The Neat Nook. This crazy endeavor started out as a much-needed creative outlet that allowed me to explore new projects and simply be myself.

It gave me a spot to capture and share the things I love to do, such as writing, decorating, organizing, mothering, gardening, and putzing around my garage trying to invent the next craft-gadget.

Out of all my hobbies, I adore writing the most. I wasn’t sure how to navigate the waters of blogging, though. I felt awkwardly late and underdressed to this hip online party. There are so many beautiful blogs and amazing writers out there. So I turned to my friend and rock-star blogger, Leslie Sisti, for guidance.

She was always generous with advice and encouragement. She would say, “Just keep writing, Kate! You got this!” She was my constant cheerleader and one of the most instrumental people in the creation of The Neat Nook. She invited me to guest post on her blog and introduced me to link up parties, such as Five on Friday. All of which led to new connections and friendships.

Unfortunately, Leslie’s life ended too soon in July of this year. While I miss her friendship dearly, I still feel the echo of her gentle voice telling me to keep writing. So I do.

This past Sunday, I was feeling reflective about the past year. Outside of being proud of my kids and their accomplishments, I was hoping my writing was connecting with readers. There are no bosses to tell you how you’re doing on this thing, which isn’t entirely a bad thing. As I sat in church, praying and contemplating, a song lyric jumped off the page of the hymnbook.

“All the world awakes to light.”

Yes! What a beautiful message on so many levels. I think that’s a perfect motto for the coming year – or maybe forever! Instead of worrying, I should be asking, “How can I be a light that wakes up the world?”

I wonder if I can do this with each person I meet, project I create, and post I write? It’s certainly worth a shot. I feel like we have an exciting year ahead, and I’m grateful to each of you for joining me on this journey.

I want to celebrate YOU by offering a special planner giveaway!

2016 Planner

I depend on my planner like a fish does water. So I felt like it was the most ideal gift I could offer. And right now is the perfect time to order a 2016 planner. I chose this one because it’s not too fussy, yet it has some great features. There’s an annual snapshot, monthly views and each day gets its own page.

2016 Planner year in review

2016 planner monthly view

2016 Planner daily view

This should give you plenty of room to write and roam with your doodles. Plus, it has a gorgeous black and gold pattern, which I’m totally into these days!

That’s not all!


For a second winner, I’m giving away 100 days worth of joy. This Jar of Joy is a custom gift I created, and it includes 100 pretty slips of paper with a different message for each day. It’s sure to spark a little joy in our life.

It’s also something I’m toying with selling in an Etsy store. I have several fun gift ideas that are all geared toward spreading positivity. I’ll be sharing more about that adventure in the coming weeks.

Whether you’ve been with me from day one or just now discovering the blog, I am honored you are here right now. You deserve a shot at winning these darling gifts!

Enter in the link below. The giveaway will end on Friday at 10pm Central. Winners will be announced on the blog and Facebook fan page this Saturday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck, and let’s light this world together!



Giveaway Winner & Weekend Update

This quote made me laugh, because I’m totally wearing my Sunday outfit to work today. Anyone else with me on this? Here’s to having one decision already made before I even woke up!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Before I go any further, though, I’d like to announce the winner of the coaster giveaway. Debbie Ray is the lucky recipient of a set of designer black and gold ampersand coasters from Qostr. Yay, Debbie!


A special thank you to everyone who participated. The 20% discount for Neat Nook readers is still valid through October, so head over to Qostr and use promo code OCTOBER20 at checkout. Maybe grab some Halloween party coasters?

The next Qostr giveaway will be in November – just in time for Thanksgiving. We’ll be unveiling a custom design just for Neat Nook!

Now back to the weekend for a moment, because I’m still relishing in its joy. It was such perfect fall weather here in Northwest Arkansas. Our family spent as much time as we could outdoors.

The leaves are starting to turn bright orange and red, and the air is so crisp it cools your skin and paints your cheeks the perfect shade of pink.

We had friends visit from out of town on Friday night, so we lit an outdoor fire, cooked s’mores and sipped on wine while we visited on the back porch. It was such a happy night.

PS. I highly recommend using Nutella instead of Hershey’s chocolate bars for your next s’mores experience. The chocolate melts right into the gooey marshmallow goodness.

Saturday’s plans took us to the soccer fields to cheer for Evan, then we walked with Leo all over the neighborhood. Now that he has all of his puppy shots, we can take him out on the town. He LOVES exploring the ‘hood more than anything. So far he hasn’t tried chasing the ducks in the lake behind our house. I’m sure that’s a matter of time.

leo morning

The biggest accomplishment of the weekend, though, was pulling down all of our fall clothes from the attic. It was like a mini Christmas. I finally have boots, scarves and sweaters to snuggle in this cool air.

I promise to share some organizational tips this week on how to store your fall clothes.

All in all, I’d say it was a successful weekend. The Nebraska Huskers even won their football game. Finally. And that made Brandon a happy camper to be around!

Now that Monday has officially kicked off, here’s to a brilliant week ahead with plenty of coffee and a shortage of drama.

Oh, and tomorrow is my first blogiversary, which is hard to believe. One year?! I’ll have some fun news to share, so be sure to swing back by.

Until tomorrow, my sweet friends…



Friday Wrap: Feeling Thankful

This has been a whirlwind of a week – in a positive sense. I have been overwhelmed by the support of so many friends and readers of the blog as I branched out in to completely new territory. Let’s dive right into the deets of the week, shall we?

Blogged while sipping on bordeaux. It was a long day.

{ONE} My first official giveaway!

Qostr giveaway

I’m teaming up with my friends at Qostr to give away one free set of designer coasters this week!

This is my first foray into giveaways, so I know it’s not perfect. In fact, I would love and appreciate any feedback on what you would change, add or keep. I’m using Rafflecopter as the platform for entering.

Anyway, my goal is to introduce you to new companies that have fun and beautiful products I think you’ll love. These coasters are one of them.

The giveaway is still on, so be sure to enter by 7pm Central tonight to get your name in the game!

{TWO} The Neat Nook Facebook page

The Neat Nook Facebook page

I went round and round over whether or not I should create a dedicated page for The Neat Nook. I was leaning toward a “yes, just do it already.” But I hadn’t set the time aside. I’m sure it was self doubt wondering who would even care, so why put time into it? That left me posting updates on my personal page from time-to-time hoping my friends would amuse me with all the Neat Nook talk. And they did. Because they’re sweet like that.

When it came time to launch the giveaway, though, I discovered I needed a fan page to promote things on Facebook. There was my answer and motivation. A fan page it is!

It launched on Tuesday, and I already have such wonderful feedback and many “likes”. It’s so encouraging, and I appreciate each and every one of you who took time to stop by and give me a shout out. I take it all to heart!

{THREE} The first blogiversary – coming soon!

first party

I swear, I blinked and whole year flew by. I’ll be celebrating my first blogiversary on October 20th. This endeavor has proven that I can stay dedicated to a hobby longer than 10 days, which is my usual attention/interest span for things. I really do love this. And I hope to keep sharing good and thoughtful ideas with you all. You deserve it. Especially if you’re reading every word of this post. You get bonus points for perseverance.

As for the celebration…I’m still planning a virtual party of sorts. All ideas are welcome. If you’re a fellow blogger, what has worked for you?! I do know part of it will include a special planner giveaway. Watch for more details next week!

{FOUR} Last soccer game of the season


Life beyond the blog continues, and I can’t believe my two little bears are already finished with their fall soccer season. Weren’t we just in swim suits – like a few weeks ago? It feels that way, anyway. Thank goodness Evan still has a few weeks left, but the clock is definitely ticking.

Oh, and I have to share that Brandon received 100% thumbs up on his coaching skills – as voted by his players. He pretty much rocked it.

I know there are soccer mom jokes out there, but I wear the title with upmost pride. I think the sport is awesome for kids – and I love watching them play.

{FIVE} Rosemary gifts


In the midst of total busyness this week, I was honored to have had a personal conversation with a new friend. As we both paused from our work, she shared with me that this week marks the eighth anniversary of her brother’s death.

She went on to tell me a little about his life and the impact he had on others. What struck me was the way she lovingly spoke about him and held back her tears. He’s still very much alive in her heart and spirit. It was beautiful to see, and it provided some much needed perspective. We never know when our time will come.

I wanted to comfort her in some way, so I did the only thing I knew and went to my garden. My mom taught me that rosemary is a symbol of love and remembrance, so I snipped a few sprigs and added some white coneflowers to the mix. After I delivered the bundle to my friend, I realized she was actually the one who had given me a gift this week. She opened up her heart and reminded me to “never give up” on anything in life – because it’s painfully too short.

Here’s hoping you make the most of today. It’s a beautiful Friday, after all.

Love and hugs,




My First Official Giveaway! 10/14/15 – 10/16/15

Friends, I have exciting news to share!

An extremely talented designer and friend of mine is part of a company called Qostr, and we’re partnering for my official first giveaway. This is before my planner giveaway, which is still happening in honor of my first blogiversary. Stay posted for that announcement in the coming weeks.

So what’s Qostr?

Qostr (pronounced “coaster”) is your go-to source for custom and designer coasters. It’s a product of Matchstick Studio, and they’re the perfect way to personalize any party – or even day at the office. Our coffee mugs deserve a fun place to hang, too. Right?

Imagine the kind of coaster you’d find in a bar or restaurant, but printed on FSC-Certified eco-friendly paper. That’s what we’re talking about here.


I love their Instagram coasters. You can turn all of your exotic vacay pics into party props.


So what’s the fun giveaway, anyway?!

My friend has graciously offered to giveaway one free set of coasters (shipping included) this week! You have from now until this Friday at 7pm Central to enter. Details below.

In addition, anyone can order from the Qoster site right now and get 20% off using The Neat Nook promo code of OCTOBER20 at checkout. This code will be good through October 31st.


Ta-da! These are the beautiful ampersand gold coasters we will be giving away this week. There are 8 coasters to a set.

(For anyone who saw my wish list for home office updates, don’t you think I need to get some of these for myself?!)

Now for exciting news, part two! The fun doesn’t end with one giveaway.

Qostr will be offering a custom design exclusively for The Neat Nook each month. I will be hosting a giveaway of these awesome coasters, and sharing a new monthly 20% promo code to all of my loyal readers and friends.

I’m thrilled to be able to offer you something special like this each month. I promise to keep looking for other fun new partners, too, so you can learn about new companies – and get some great products along the way.

Be sure to enter below for this month’s giveaway! Remember, you have from now until Friday at 7pm Central to enter to win. The best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway