Friday, November 28, 2014

Northeast Bloggers Holiday Gift Guide 2014

Looking for a few special gifts this year?  Want to support your fellow Northeast Bloggers shops and businesses?  Then this gift guide is for you!  Our guide is unique in that we only feature shops from our members, so you know you are support someone local and a fellow blogger as well!

1. Love Forward:
  • Find the perfect homemade gift such as handmade coffee cozy pictured above.
  • Black Friday discount: use code BFEARYLBIRD for 20% off through noon, BFDISCOUNT for 15% off through 4pm!  Also check out the shop's facebook page for even more discounts!
2. On 3 Designs:
  • Find handmade clutches, purses and fashion accessories like the necklace pictured above.
  • 30% off Black Friday through Cyber Monday with code HANDMADE30
3. Philly Loves Lacquer:
  • Handmade and hand-blended artisan nail polish.  Vegan and cruelty free.
  • Black Friday Deal: 25% off the whole weekend- no code needed!
4. younique:
  • Cosmetics and skincare line
  • All month long specials: $12.50 Moodstruck Mineral Eye Pigments and $35 Moodstruck Mineral Eye Pigments set of 4.  Black Friday Specials announced Black Friday on their site!
5.  Arbonne:
  • Certified vegan and gluten free bath/body/beauty products and health and wellness products.
  • Discount: Take 35% off any order of $150+!  Or contact Bekah to create a special package just for you!  Must order through Bekah, as discount codes are not accepted on the website.
6. Elementary Music Teacher:
  • Music and movement songs for kids!  Click the "store" tab at the top of the blog for the shop!
  • Discount: 15% off everything in the shop on 11/28-11/29.
7.  Marion Claire Stationary:
  • Unique handmade stationary and greeting cards.
  •  Black Friday Deal: Free shipping on all US purchases 11/29-12/1 with code THANKSSHIPPING
8.  Taila.Made- Earth Inspired Luxuries:
  • Handmade natural soap, perfect for soothing dry and sensitive skin.  Uses organic materials and packaging and grade A essential oils.
  • Black Friday Deal: Free bar of soap with $20+ purchase!
9.  Petals Table:
  • Find gourmet treats, flavor infused syrups as well as gifts baskets and boxes.
  • Black Friday Deal: 10% off your order 11/28-11/30 with code BFri10
10 and 11: Jamberry
  • We have two Jamberry consultants.  Please choose the one closest to you to order!
  •  Kimberly
  • Jill

Thanks for supporting these home businesses and consultants and fellow Northeast Bloggers!  Happy Holidays!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Blog of the Week: Thank You Honey!

This week's blog of the week is Thank You Honey, written by Sarah!  Sarah live in Pennsylvania, but recently moved up here from Florida so she is still getting used to the cold winters.  Thank You Honey is all about Sarah's adventures in mommyhood and everything in between!  Check out her video interview below!

Sarah is running a huge 12 Days of Giveaways promotion on her blog right now so be sure to enter some of her cool prizes!

 Check out her blog this week and follow her on social media as well! Be sure to read a few of her favorite posts:
Thanks Sarah!  And if you want to be featured as one of our blogs of the week please let us know!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Five Reasons to Support Small Business Saturday!

I have always been a fan of Small Business Saturday. Since it has had a rise in the past few years and Black Friday is getting a worse and worse reputation as it takes over Thanksgiving as well, I wanted to talk about how different these two "holidays" really are. So while the craze of getting all your shopping done and getting great deals is what brings these two shopping days into the same weekend, here are five reasons why Small Business Saturday is the "holiday" you should be supporting more!

1. Supports your local economy.
By spending your money in a small business, that money is more likely to stay and circulate in your own community. Buy from one local business and your helping that person buy from another local business and, probably more importantly, they are able to hire and give jobs to other locals. This is a win-win-win.

2. Family-owned businesses help families grow.
My dad owns his own business and I know that because of his hard work, my brother and I were able to take dance and karate lessons, join sports teams, learn how to play instruments. So just like #1, because people paid my dad, he was able to put that money back into the community through my dance studio and our music teachers, and that allowed my brother and I to have a great childhood. So when you buy local goods, you're not just getting a product or service in return, you're also allowing people to full fill their dreams and giving their family a life.

3. Shopping local saves you money.
This one might take some convincing, but honestly, after you factor in your time and gas money, how much did you really save by driving out to the mall or large chain store? While some products may be more expensive than you might think they should be, consider this, the person handing you the item was more than likely the one who made it. Large companies are able to make things "cheap" because they outsource the creation of their goods and we all know that's not always a great situation for the workers. However by buying local, the money you give for a product or service is going fairly and directly to the source.

4. Shopping local keeps more things local.
Salons, diners, restaurants, daycare, banks, theaters; the list goes on. These kind of industries only stick around if there are local shops to be around and support them in return. Without a way for a local economy to flourish, there is no reason for these other places to stick around.

5. Local shop owners appreciate you more than any big business ever will.
This is obvious, right? If you're active in your community, you more than likely know the owners of these shops anyway. They're your friends, go to you church, or your kids are in the same class. They will always consider you as a person and a valued customer, how many large companies will ever really do that? Local businesses live and die by word of mouth as their main source of advertisement. That usually means a higher level of customer service, more knowledgeable staff, and a higher level of appreciation for their customers because they know that they better they treat you, the more likely you are to come back. Something that not all large companies have been able to emulate.

So for the sake of your sanity, wallet, and community, get out there on Saturday and support the local businesses in your area! Where will you be shopping this Saturday?

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Holiday Season!

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is this week already and that Christmas is just four weeks away? Fall has been flying by and it seems like my to-do list for the Holidays is just getting longer.

It is easy this time of year to get caught up in all that we have to do but we also have to make sure to take time to savor the holiday and enjoy it through the eyes of our children.
Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Holiday Season

 Every family has their own traditions to mark the holidays but I wanted to share a few of my families with you:

1.  During the month of December we like to take time each evening to sit and snuggle up on the couch and watch holiday movies on TV.    It is a great way to unwind after a busy day.
2.Take the time to bake holiday cookies with your children.  Every year my kids and I get together with my mom to bake Christmas cookies. It is three generations of bakers all in the kitchen.  It is a great tradition that all of use enjoy. Even better?  Making cookies goes faster when there are more adults so you can get lots of cookies made in a day.

3.  Add some significance to the countdown to Christmas by using an Advent calendar. advent calendarWe love this Wooden Nativity Advent Calendar with 24 Magnetic Figures and my kids look forward to opening our Advent calendar each day.  In fact, we have four different Advent Calendars that we open each day--that is how much we enjoy it!
4. Finally, we love to get in our jammies, make some hot chocolate and drive around our town checking out holiday light displays while listening to carols on the radio. We all ooh and ahh over the pretty lights and talk about which ones are our favorites.  It is an inexpensive way to enjoy the holiday.

What do you do with your family to slow down and enjoy the holiday season?  

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday 5 Link Up and More Than 5 Awesome Thanksgiving Ideas!

This week's Friday Five will be a little different!  We will still feature the link up so you can share your amazing Friday Five post, but rather than having a Friday Five of our own, we are sharing an awesome round up of All Things Thanksgiving, featuring posts from our members!

We've put together over 25 great ideas for a one-stop-shop Thanksgiving this year!

Recipes, Mains and Sides:
Recipes, Desserts:
Crafts and Activities:
Decor and Centerpieces:
Hosting Tips:
And for the next day:
And now it's time for the Friday Five!  Link up your Friday Five posts below, and be sure to visit some other blogs in the hop!

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Announcing the 20 Days of Chill Writing Challenge!

One thing I've missed over the past several months in blogging is interaction. For a few months, my posts were sporadic and I haven’t visited as many blogs as I usually do.

I’m trying to amend that.

One way to do that is to be part of challenges. For the past few years, I took part in a once-per-year challenge. The goal was simple – a post per day for a full month. Each day, there was a linkup. Most participants visited and comments on everybody’s posts. It was interactive and fun.

Last year, however, was the final year the challenge was being held. It stinks, just because it was so fun and I always enjoyed the people who took part in it.

The concept of the challenge was pretty easy. A post gave the dates and the themes. Each day, you wrote a post with the theme in mind. You then went to the main site, commented on their post (of course!) and linked yours. Then people would be visiting and commenting throughout the day. Lots of fun!
As for the themes? They differed. Some were easy, some hard, some way out there, and some straight to the point. Not everybody did all of the themes. Some did all of them. It all depended on the blog and the person.

That’s what made it fun, though.

But even more fun was the community, the comments, the interaction and everything else. I found some great blogs through this challenge and found some good blogging friends.

One of the fun parts, too, was the bloggers submitting themes to be considered. This way, it truly was a community.

So, I've decided to try and run one of these, too. And I’m reaching out to the Northeast Bloggers Network to hope you’ll join me. It’s my hope you’ll want to post most days, but please – even if it’s just a small part of your post – try and have the theme somewhere. This isn't just a linkup so people can put their post somewhere else – it’s a challenge.

Here’s the deal with the challenge – and in the spirit of the former writing challenge I was a member of, there are no real rules (outside of somehow making the theme part of your post, and making sure when you link up it’s to the direct pot, not just your website!)

What’s that mean?

It means there are no length requirements. No style requirements. You don’t have to post each day. Be part of it when you can, and hopefully that means for the full challenge.

The themes/prompts are there to help guide you. Have fun with them. Be creative with your writing. Interpret as you see fit. Fiction or fact. All up to you.

With that, welcome to the 20 Days of Chill Writing Challenge!

This challenge will be held during January, on weekdays beginning on Jan. 5.

So there will be no weekends for the challenge, just Monday-Friday. That means the dates will be:
  • January 5-9
  • January 12-16
  • January 19-23
  • January 26-30
I’ll schedule my posts to be up by 6 a.m. EST each day at my blog ( I would encourage each of you to check back throughout the day and visit others blogs. I believe you’ll all be pleasantly surprised at how fun this can be and how many interesting posts will hopefully be there.

At this point, I am calling on all of you for theme ideas. I’ll leave this open for 2-3 weeks, and then randomly select 20. All of them will be announced ahead of time, so you can plan accordingly.

There is (hopefully) a Google form attached here (at the bottom of the post) for you to fill out to give some ideas for themes. Conversely, feel free to post them in the comments here as I will keep an eye on this.

On December 18, I will have a post with the dates and themes as well as anything else needed.

Side note – last year, I created a t-shirt through TeeSpring for the challenge. I’ll do that again this year. They do good work and each person who wants one buys it through the website themselves. It’s a campaign, though, so we’ll need to get a certain amount for it to happen. Hopefully, that will work. My plan will be to launch it about a week before the challenge starts and keep it live for three weeks. The logo on this page will be on the shirt. I just need to come up with what color to use for the shirt!

I hope you all will consider this fun challenge. Tell your blogging friends. Let’s make it a good one! The 20 Days of Chill!

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog [at] Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Philly Bloggers Holiday Brunch!

Please join us for a fun meet up to celebrate the holidays together at Creperie Beau Monde in Philadelphia!  This event is open to all Northeast Bloggers, you don't have to live in Philly!  The restaurant is amazing, but not huge, so please do RSVP ahead of time so we can call ahead for a table!  Please RSVP by the 10th.

Email Rachel ( with any questions!

Click here to let us know if you can make it!

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Blog of the Week: Football, Food and Motherhood

This week's blog of the week is Football, Food and Motherhood, written by Stephanie!  Stephanie is a NYC mom who writes about life in the city, healthy eating and her quest to remain a Steelers fan out of water.  Meet Stephanie:

Tell us a little about you:
I am a mom to a very curious two year old boy in NYC. I run two companies, a blog, and am NY Editor for MommyNearest, so to say I am busy is an understatement. My job as editor is to tour and explore the city to find the best events, venues, restaurant, parks, playgrounds for kids - so I think Max might like my job better than I do.

What is your blog about?
Being a mom and the everyday events that happen - dealing with issues like why i won't cut his hair, why i choose to be a co-sleeping parent, why and HOW i try to eat (and cook!) healthy in a tiny little kitchen, all while staying true to my hometown of Pittsburgh by being a Steelers fan through and through.

What is your favorite spot to visit in the Northeast?
Cape Cod. I will live there someday.

What do you love most about blogging?
The endless opportunities in life it can bring - you never know what might pop up!

What is your favorite form of social media?
Instagram. OBSESSED. It's my mini blog - I have even created my own hashtag #growingupmaximo, so one day he can look back and see how he's grown in NYC.

Where do you live and what do you love about it?
NYC! wow - everything. The food, the people, the culture - my son is exposed to a minimum of 4 different languages a day! (his dad is spanish, and our neighbors are Greek and Portuguese). Not to mention what he sees just walking down the street, the museums, the classes, the art - plus our day trips out to upstate where we pick apples, and berries and chase dogs and calves in the pastures.

Thanks for the great interview Stephanie!  Be sure to check out her blog this week and follow her on social media!  Browse a few of Stephanie's favorite post below:

Do you want your blog featured as one of blogs of the week?  Let us know! 

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Maple Bacon Green Beans

Thanksgiving is a little over a week away and I can't believe it! Does anyone else feel like this year has flown by?! I can't wait to see my family and friends and EAT! The food is my favorite part of the holiday season, if we're being honest...

However, my family tends to always make the same traditional Thanksgiving dishes year after year. Not that I don't absolutely love the food, but I feel like it would be nice to spice things up a bit. Green bean casserole is not really my style but maple bacon green beans ARE my style!

 photo FEE68E7A-6B77-456C-834A-EB1146D65FC9_zpsplkutlhl.jpg 
  • A bunch of fresh greenbeans
  • Maple flavored bacon
  • 1/2 cup of minced onion
  • Garlic powder
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper
  1. Boil water for the green beans
  2. While it is boiling cut the ends off of the beans
  3. Cut 4 maple bacon pieces into half inch sections and saute in a saucepan
  4. Once the bacon is crispy add in 1/2 cup of onions and cook until translucent
  5. Cook green beans until 90% done and then add to pan with onions and bacon
  6. Add in a dash of garlic powder, pepper, and salt
  7. Stir thoroughly and cook for additional 8-12 minutes
What Thanksgiving dish would you enhance?