Holiday Gift Guide: Everyday Home Essentials

DAY NINE IS HERE! We only have 3 more gift guides left in our 12 day holiday gift guide series. I’m hoping you have been loving these guides so far and they have helped you shop quicker and smarter.

Today’s guide is all about everyday home essentials, things we need and use on the daily. Per usual, I have some amazing (and cute) finds…check it out!

Holiday Gift Guide: Amazon

Greta here coming at you with another one-stop shop gift guide for all your favorites this holiday season. I don’t know about you but Amazon is my jam. I order something from Amazon at least once a week, especially since I’m a prime member and get free ONE day shipping. I love that I can buy literally anything from just one website and get it the next day. For an impatient shopper like me, Amazon is like Candyland. 

Here is my easy breezy ‘one-stop’ gift guide:

Memories That Will Last A Lifetime + The Perfect Gift!

It’s 2018 and I can pretty much guarantee that we all have over 20,000 pictures in our phones. If you have kids, you probably have like 50,000- LOL. Most of us have iCloud or back up our photos on the computer because these are memories we want to cherish forever. But what about when we want to browse through memory lane, is it easily assessable? For an avid iCloud user like me who pays for 2TB storage every month it is and it isn’t. I need to be on wifi in order to access my 55,000 pictures (don’t judge lol) and sometimes it gets annoying because I can’t find the picture I’m looking for.

Next best option?

ALBUMS!

But not the old school ones where you print your grainy pictures at CVS and shove them into a 50 slot album. Then double shove them into one slot because, well you have more than 50 pictures. Do people still do this? I sure don’t…I’ve upgraded to a better, easier, and more organized option- Photo Books!

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Agh, photo books are the most satisfying project I do every now and then. I’m a super anal person and I like things to look a certain way so I like to design them myself- which is super easy to do! However, if you don’t have the time, patience, or creativity then you can have one of the many talented designers at Shutterfly make one for you. You’re probably about to exit out of this blog post because this already adds up to a crazy amount that’s just not worth it right? WRONG! Just keep reading.

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I have been using Shutterfly as my ONLY platform to print quality, long lasting, and inexpensive photo books for about a year now. I’ve recommend it to every single person I know, and they have recommended it to every single person they know. It’s that good! I mean common have I ever steered you wrong?

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This is how inexpensive it is to create your own Photo Book!

Here are my biggest tips when it comes to purchasing a Photo Book from Shutterfly:

1. Wait until they have a sale

Shutterfly ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS has sales, especially on their photo books. About 90% of the time it’s 50% off but the best deals are when they offer “50% off photo books, extra pages & upgrades.” Black Friday is coming up so get your images ready for that day!

2. Designing made easy

It is super easy to come up with your own designs, they provide everything for you (shapes, symbols, fonts, templates, etc). I’m super simple so most of the time, especially if I’m doing an album for a photoshoot, I just like to have pictures with little to no design, just images. They have templates for that too. All you do is upload your pictures and input them into the template you chose. EASY!

3. Order gifts at least 2 weeks in advance

A personalized gift is the best gift you can give someone. It’s way more sentimental than any material object. I love gifting photo books to friends and family because I get to put all of our memories in a sweet book. What’s better than that?

4. Phone images print really well

If all the images you have are from your cellphone don’t worry because they don’t come out blurry and crappy (unless the picture itself is blurry and crappy lol). Your book gets printed by a commercial printer which is powerful and gives you the best quality.

5. Never waste hundreds of dollars on ordering “professional” photo books from your photographer

The only expensive photo book I have in my house is my wedding album because it came with the package I purchased from my photographer. More often than not these cost hundreds of dollars and only include a few images. Why waste your money on a few images when you can print all the images you have from your event? All of Levon’s professional photoshoots (about 200 pictures) get printed into photo books for less than $100.

6. My perfect book is 11 x 8 and hardcover

This is pretty much the size of regular printer paper and it looks just like a book. It’s perfect in my opinion.

 


With that said, I’d like to offer you a

FREE

Photo Book!

OH, and don’t forget to use Ebates so you can get cash back on all your online orders! They now have an easy toolbar download so once you go on a website that Ebates offers cashback, you can automatically activate it and continue shopping.

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I recently downloaded the Ebates toolbar (check the top left corner where you input the URL) and it has made saving money that much easier. I would always forget to utilize my Ebates account before I had the toolbar but just this week I got $145 back from all my online shopping!!!!

Imagine you buy whatever you’re going to buy anyways except you actually get a percentage of the amount you paid BACK! How cool is that! You’d be crazy not to use this awesome service.

Happy photo book designing & shopping ladies!

XOXO,

Greta

 

Real Talk: Can you really do it all?

As most of you have noticed, especially if you’ve been following me for a while, I’ve started to share a lot more about my life. Becoming a mom has made me really vulnerable, in the sense that I crave connection. I want to connect with people. My followers, other moms, business owners, bloggers…just people. Sounds kind of weird but it’s the best way I can describe it.

I’M HAVING A TOTAL CARRIE BRADSHAW MOMENT TODAY WRITING THIS. JUST LET ME HAVE IT. LOL.

Pre-baby, I liked to keep everything private and give a glimpse of my personal life here and there. I mean don’t get me wrong, I still give just a glimpse because at the end of the day I don’t really want to share ALL of my struggles and that’s just the truth.

When I first started blogging it was a way for me to inform people on certain things or teach them my personal tips and tricks. Now, I have this constant light bulb going off in my head forcing me to dig a little deeper.

Today, my son was a little congested and sneezing a little more than usual. I suspect its allergies, but I’m not sure yet. I had a million things I wanted to get done today and got to zero of them. WHY? Because I was spending time with him, making him feel better with lots of cuddles, love, and kisses. That’s obviously more important to me than cleaning his room that’s been looking like a meteor hit for the past few days, doing some backend work on the blog, washing the dishes, opening PR packages, organizing the mess on my vanity…and the list goes on.

He fell asleep on  my chest today for the first time in months. I used to have him sleep on my chest often as a newborn and it was the most amazing feeling in the world. It gave me a total high. I was just enjoying every second of it. His sweaty little head, his adorable pouty lips, his hand on my chest, and his perfect breathing. I felt this incredible rush of energy and emotion run through my body and it made another light bulb go off.

I’ve been laying in bed for 2 hours with my son on my chest when instead I could have gotten two hours worth of blog work done. Two hours worth of organizing and cleaning. A load of laundry…AND maybe even made dinner.

Then it hit me…

I just can’t seem to do it all. NONE OF IT.

I’ve often wondered to myself, how do women have a full-time job and still manage to take care of the kids, make dinner, and keep the household clean?

I’m the type of person that puts 100% effort into anything that I do. BUT how can I be a 100% mom and still check off my list 100% of the time?

Either I have to be a half-ass mom by doing the bare minimum and get all my other stuff done. OR I have to leave everything and be a mom whenever Levon is awake then get to my list once he sleeps…another impossible task because I don’t get to finish anything in time.

+ maybe I just need to make better lists…something more realistic? Idk.

I’m not sure, but I’m totally stuck at this moment. I find myself “stuck” all the time these days. I want to focus on working again but can’t seem to do it because this is a one-man show. I don’t have a team behind this blog, just little old me. Pre-baby I could somehow manage to do it all. But now? I’m not so sure. I just can’t seem to figure it out.

Talk to me guys. What do you think? Can you really do it all? Can you really put 100% of your efforts into EVERYTHING you do in the day?

Whats the secret sauce? TELL TELL.


This was a total spur of the moment blog post. The kind where it popped into my head and I put my son in his bassinet and started typing away. I’m just being really raw and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Mayeb some tips?


Comment below…

XOXO,

Greta

Netflix & Chill | Must See Shows

It’s currently 54 degrees and raining like crazy in LA. I’m curled up in my bed writing this as my adorable munchkin sleeps next to me in his bassinet. Basically it’s the perfect day to Netflix & Chill, right? All I’m missing is some hot cocoa, which I’ll trade in for a cup of coffee since I have a pile of laundry staring at me waiting to be folded (insert an emoji of me jumping off a cliff).

When it comes to binge watching tv shows I’m super picky. Let me tell you what I like:

  1. Strong leading role by a woman
  2. Comedy that’s not stupid
  3. Compelling documentaries on literally everything; people, animals, life, etc..
  4. Drama that you can relate to
  5. Modern and chic home design

Okay, that’s the best way I can describe the types of shows I’m into.

If you are interested in any of the above genres then here’s my list.

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“A dark comedy that focuses on a female con artist who marries people and then disappears with their money.” 

That is the best way I can describe this show except there’s so much more to it. So many twists and turn, man it’s so good. You’ll be hooked within the first episode!

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Inspired by Sophia Amoruso’s best-selling book, this series follows the rise of Amoruso’s multi-million dollar fashion empire, Nasty Gal. Britt Robertson plays the starring role of Sophia, a rebellious, broke anarchist who decides to start selling vintage clothing online. As her passion — and retail fashion empire — begins to grow, Sophia unexpectedly becomes a businesswoman, who starts realize the value (and difficulties) of being the boss of her own life. 

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, watch this!

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Ok where do I begin when it comes to Scandal, hmm. I have watched every season 3 times, that’s how good it is. Kerry Washington makes me want to be Olivia Pope, wear an Armani suit every day, become a crisis manager and talk myself out of everything, go to law school, and have an affair with the president (not the current, or any of the previous lol, but like if Scott Foley was president in real I wouldn’t think twice #sorryhubby). Ugh, she is just sooooo good in this show. Basically her and the president have a passionate love affair and they just can’t seem to cut ties, her father is the head of a secret covert organization called B613 and has crazy power and she cleans up the messes of powerful people who hire her to spin the story their way. Every episode has its own storyline and you won’t be able to get enough.

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Wealth, beauty and status define the people who live in the Hamptons. But one woman seeking revenge could destroy it all. Emily Thorne lived in the Hamptons until an incident ruined her family and their reputation, forcing them out of town. Years later, she has returned to her old neighborhood, blending in with the citizens and making friends, not letting on that she has lived there before. She plans vengeance on those who wronged her father and ruined her family. 

Such a good show that shows a thought out and organized plot to get revenge on the rich and famous who set her father up. It’s interesting to see one woman take down so many powerful people.

6

Netflix chronicles the rise of the cocaine trade in Colombia and the gripping real-life stories of drug kingpins of the late ’80s in this raw, gritty original series. Also detailed are the actions taken by law enforcement as they battle in the war on drugs, targeting notorious and powerful figures that include drug lord Pablo Escobar. As efforts are made to control cocaine, one of the world’s most valuable commodities, the many entities involved — legal, political, police, military and civilian — find themselves in conflict.

If you want a detailed overview about how the lives of cocaine drug lords were, how much money they were making, how they manipulated the government, and how much power they really had then watch this. It is unbelievably good!

7

You know I had to include Gossip Girl on my list. The teenager in me wishes I had Blair Waldorf’s upper east side life. Designer clothes, powerful families, lies, scheming, and a look inside the scandalous lives of Manhattans elite. XOXO, Gossip Girl. Haha I had to!

9

Jon Hamm is gorgeous. PERIOD. Just watch this show for him lol. All jokes aside though this is a great show showcasing life in the 60’s working in a top advertising firm. It mainly gives insight into how life was for both men and women in the work field. It’s another must watch on my list!

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I’m sure everyone has heard of this show by now and it’s an interesting one. Definitely not for everyone because there’s a lot of sexual content lol but something about the moral of the show just hooks you. It shows you what life behind bars for women is like, but more interestingly it shows you their lives and who they were before prison. You’d be surprised to see the many different backgrounds and the great lives lived by some of these people and how one mistake landed them in a maximum security prison.

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Gabrielle Union plays the lead role of Mary Jane Paul, a successful cable news anchor who has a closet packed with designer clothes and shoes, a beautiful home, a nice car, and the drive to achieve even greater heights. Yet something is missing. As Mary Jane looks to start a family of her own to share life’s greatest gifts, she discovers who she really is and the people who help define her.

Successful woman. Nice outfits. Gorgeous house. Lots of wine. #justwatch

2

The famous case of OJ Simpson is depicted in this docu-series and boy is it good. It shows the lives of the prosecutors and how they spent every waking day putting together a case to put OJ behind bars. It’s a good documentary with great actors and if you’re interested a must watch.

 


 

Comment below with your must see shows, I’m always on the hunt for new awesome shows!

Stay warm all my LA peeps!

 

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie!

I am such a fan of chicken pot pie but I’m so tiered of eating the frozen versions I buy at the grocery store, which is why I decided to simplify the process and start making it at home. Oh boy can you taste the difference! This recipe is easy, but a little time consuming (approx. 1 hour 20 minutes) so I’ll list some time saving hacks for you all.

P.S. If you’ve seen my drool worthy snaps of my chicken pot pie then you’d know it’s worth taking the time to make it from scratch 🙂

Ingredients:

Chicken Broth:
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 3-4 carrots
  • 3-4 celery stalks
  • 1 onion
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 3 thyme sprigs (if you don’t have it use a lot of dried thyme)
  • 3 rosemary sprigs (if you don’t have it use a lot of dried rosemary)
  • 3-5 bay leaves
  • Salt (I use Pink Himalayan)
  • 1 tablespoon Black Peppercorn
Pot Pie Filling:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3-4 carrots
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • frozen peas
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lemon pepper
  • 1 egg + splash of water (egg wash)
Pastry:
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
  • 3/4 cup ice water

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Directions:

 Pastry:

Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Then, add the butter and mix with the hook accessory until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Slowly pour in the ice water and work it in to bind the dough until it holds together. Squeeze a small amount together, if it is still crumbly, add more ice water. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. You can even make the dough the night before.

If you are using store bought puff pastry this is when you would take it out of the freezer and let it thaw out.

 

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Fresh dough.

 

Broth:

In a large cooking pot place your chicken and the rest of the ingredients inside and cover with water. If you use pink himalayan salt like I usually do, add about a tablespoon and let it simmer with the broth for a bit. Taste the broth after 10 minutes to make sure the salt is right, if not then add a little more (for some reason pink salt takes a while to give flavor). Once the broth has simmered for about an hour take the chicken out and let it cool. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and cut into chunky pieces.

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Pot Pie Filling:

Melt your stick of butter over medium-low heat. Once it starts foaming slowly whisk in the flour (TIP: if you are using a cast iron pot use a silicone whisk). Then, using a strainer, slowly add in batches of your broth while still whisking the mixture. Add in enough broth so it has a thick soupy consistency. If you accidentally add too much broth just add a little bit more flour to thicken it back up. Cook this roux for at least 10 minutes, constantly stirring to prevent clumps, so the starchy taste of the flour subsides. Add in your carrots, peas, onions, salt, pepper, and lemon pepper. The spices should be to your taste, which is why I don’t include measurements. Cook down the veggies for about 10 minutes, then add your diced chicken and remove from heat.

P.S. Incude as little or as much veggies as you would like. I like more peas than carrots in my pie so I just add more peas.

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Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. If you are using a small conventional oven preheat to 375 degrees.

Take your pastry out of the fridge and let it sit for about 5 minutes.

Sprinkle your counter and pin with flour so the pastry doesn’t stick to everything. Roll out your pastry so it’s about half a centimeter thick, don’t make it too thick or else it won’t cook properly. Then take your ramekin, add an extra inch of dough to the edges, and proceed to cut the pastry. Transfer the pastry to the inside of your ramekin and secure the edges by pushing it onto the dish. Add the pot pie filling to each dish and using that same pastry cutting technique (don’t forget the extra inch) cut out the top layer of the pie.  Take your egg wash and brush the top parts of the ramekin so the covering piece of pastry sticks well. Then cover the dish with your pastry and push down with a fork to secure the edges. Finally, add some slits to the top of the pie and brush with egg wash (I forgot the slits so I went back and added them).

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If your filling is still warm then cook the dish for about 35 minutes OR until the top of the pie is golden brown. If your filling is cold or you refrigerated your pie the night before then cook for about 50 minutes.

Once you remove it from the oven set it aside to cool for 5-10 minutes and enjoy!

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EXTRA…

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