Create Unique, Beautiful, Victorian Christmas Cards (and more!) with Basic Invite

This post was sponsored by Basic Invite, and I am thrilled to share their beautiful products with you!

Every year growing up, I can remember my dad setting up his tripod, my mom perfectly styling (and often sewing!) our outfits, and our whole family coming together take annual Christmas Card photos. Once I got married, I continued the annual tradition making sure to mail out cards to our loved ones each December. I think it’s such a special way to check in with everyone, reflect on the year, and spread holiday cheer. With Christmas just around the corner (yes! Only 83 days! 😯), it’s time to start planning our annual cards! It’s never too early to start planning, right? 😂 Below are some of my tips for picking the perfect card to represent you and your family!

Customize Your Color Scheme
In the past, I’ve selected the perfect picture for our Christmas card, only to realize all of the pre-made designs clash with my image. At that point I have to settle with weird, mixed colors, change to a worse picture, or try and design my own card. It’s so frustrating. Good news! With Basic Invite, you can select the color of EACH element to make sure your card perfectly matches your favorite family picture! How amazing is that?! With 180 colors to choose from, you’re guaranteed to find the perfect match. Plus, I love that you get an instant preview instead of imagining how it will turn out. If the online preview isn’t enough, you can order a printed sample to see a tangible version of the colors and quality of your custom Basic Invite product.

Share Your Year Creatively
Each year, I include a poem with our Christmas card summarizing our year. It’s a fun way to recap our year, and it’s something I enjoy writing! I’ll include our card from last year to give you an example. If poetry isn’t your forte, you could use an acrostic with your family’s last name, share a blurb under a picture of each family member, or make a Top 10 list for the year! I always love reading our friends’ annual highlights when I receive their cards, so I put a lot of effort into how I share ours.

Add Special Details
I think it’s always fun to add special extras whenever you can! One easy way to do that is with your envelope color. Basic Invites has over 40 colors of peel and seal envelopes that can perfectly coordinate with your card. Wouldn’t it be fun to open your mailbox and find a shimmering red envelope holding your friend’s Christmas card? Sign me up! The shimmer doesn’t have to stop with your envelope either. Basic Invite has an entire line of holiday cards with foil, and (no surprise here!) they can be customized to be silver, gold, or rose gold! Perfect for reflecting the magic of the holiday season.

Don’t Forget Anyone
The first year I sent out cards, I compiled a spreadsheet of names and addresses to make sure I didn’t leave anyone out. Each year, I refer back to my list to add and edit as needed. It’s a great way to make sure I don’t forget to send a card to someone special in my life. An even more convenient solution is the Address Capturing Service that Basic Invite offers. All you do is share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media to request addresses, which will be stored in your account and can then be selected during the design process. Basic Invite offers recipient address printing at no cost on all Christmas card orders. Since addressing each envelope is the most tedious part of sending out cards, I think that’s a service everyone can appreciate!

Whether you also send out Christmas cards, love beautiful stationery, or create personalized invitations for every event, this post is for you! Basic Invite has a product for almost every major life moment with everything from personalized Halloween party invitations to Thanksgiving Dinner invitations. No need to wait for December…you can enjoy their beautiful designs year-round!

As you can see, they have something for everyone, and I can’t wait to explore their designs even more to find the perfect card to send out this year! I already have my eye on some of their stunning victorian Christmas cards. If you’re currently planning your cards too, Basic Invite is offering 30% off holiday cards with coupon code: holi3. That can add up to some major savings, so hurry and place your orders! With over 500 completely customizable holiday card designs, you’re bound to find something perfect. Happy shopping!

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Best BeautyBlender Makeup Sponge Dupe! Sonia Kashuk Makeup Blender

Lately, I’ve been on the hunt to find a replacement for my BeautyBlender. While I love that makeup sponge, it’s hard for me to spend $20 every time I need to replace it (which means I usually end up using it for MUCH longer than you’re supposed to… 🙈). Thankfully, I stumbled upon these Sonia Kashuk Makeup Blender sponges, and they’re only $7! I loved the idea of saving 65%, but only if the quality didn’t suffer.

My first thought was that I loved the chic design. It’s a black and white marble pattern, and I actually loved it so much I resisted using it for almost a month! I didn’t want my makeup to dirty it up.😂 It has a flat base perfect for applying foundation and a pointed tip great for areas like under the eyes and around the nose. If you remember, the Flower Beauty sponge didn’t have a tapered enough tip for me to apply makeup to those areas well, so I was hoping this sponge performed better.

As you can see, this thing is HUGE. Like, comically huge. I included my (quite dirty) BeautyBlender for comparison, and I’d estimate the Sonia Kashuk sponge is almost twice as large. On the left is the sponge dry, and on the right is the sponge after I dampened it. If you aren’t familiar with beauty sponges, most of them are recommended to be used when damp. When wet, they absorb less product and allow for a more even, sheer application.

I ended up loving how huge the sponge was, since it cut down my application time by almost half! My foundation and concealer went on smoothly, and the sponge worked great with my setting powder as well. I pumped my favorite foundation  directly on the sponge, and I used less product than usual but got wonderful results. Even though the tapered side was large, the shape was still perfect for using under my eyes and around my nose.

No exaggeration here, people. This is my favorite makeup sponge I have ever tried…BeautyBlender included. As far as I can tell, it’s only sold at Target, which is an added perk as I’ll take any excuse to go there! For a fraction of the cost, perfectly applied makeup, a quicker application time, and a beautiful design, I couldn’t ask for anything better! This will definitely be my new go to makeup sponge!🙌🏻 Do you have any other BeautyBlender dupes I need to try out? Comment below and let me know!

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on these links or make a purchase using these links, I may receive a small percentage of the profit at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Hoots of a Night Al!

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Practice Self-care with a Lone Star Living Flower Delivery!

This post was sponsored by Lone Star Living, and I am thrilled to share their summertime fresh flowers with you!

Did you know that August 27th is National Just Because Day? I’m a huge fan of doing things that bring you joy EVERY day, so I will be celebrating for sure! One of my favorite ways to treat myself is by picking up fresh flowers on my weekly grocery trip. They’re a beautiful, inexpensive way to brighten up my home, and since the H-E-B Blooms department is RIGHT when I walk in the store, I can never resist. 🙂

If I’m being honest though, I would rather curl up on the couch, read a book, and have my groceries and fresh flowers magically show up at my door thanks to an H-E-B Delivery. If only, right? GUESS WHAT? IT’S POSSIBLE. With H-E-B’s Curbside Service, you can order everything online, and they will deliver it to your home…INCLUDING beautiful flowers from Lone Star Living! A flower delivery feels like a luxurious treat to me, so I love that it can be part of my weekly routine now instead of just for special occasions.

If I can spend the few hours I would usually spend grocery shopping enjoying a book, I am a happy girl. At the moment, I can’t put down this series, and the August Bouquet from Lone Star Living is the perfect arrangement to admire while I’m reading. It is full of fun blooms like colorful lilies, yellow daisies, vibrant alstroemeria, and bright roses. This Lone Star Living Bouquet feels like the perfect combination of flowers to wave goodbye to summer. Plus, everyone knows what the end of summer means…the start of school, routines, and a deluge of holidays around the corner. Since I know the stress that lies ahead, I’m savoring these last summer days and taking time to indulge in some self-care.

I know self-care is a popular buzzword right now, and I think that’s because it’s extremely important but often neglected. Personally, I can feel myself relaxing as soon as I put down my phone, close my computer, and pick up a book. Everyone is different, but whether it’s exercising, taking a bubble bath, gardening, reading (like me!:)), or something else, you should always make time for activities you enjoy. Whatever you prefer though, I think everyone loves having fresh flowers (especially when someone brings them right to your door!). So make some time for yourself this month…even if it’s just taking time to stop and smell the Lone Star Living flowers. 😉

Leave me a comment letting me know your favorite self-care activity below!

 

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Best Drugstore BeautyBlender Replacement? Flower Beauty 3-in-1 Blending Sponge Review

Flower Beauty Sponge cheaper Beauty Blender

If you’ve read my blog before, you know I’m a huge fan of drugstore beauty products. I love trying higher-end products from time to time, but I believe that you can get equally amazing results with cheaper products. Based on that, I was so excited to try out a “drugstore” 3-in-1 blending sponge from Flower Beauty. 

Cheaper BeautyBlender Makeup Tool

For the record, I typically use the Original BeautyBlender, and I love it! It costs $20, but it lasts me for several months, so I consider that a good investment. However, I saw that the Flower Beauty Sponge was getting amazing reviews, and it only costs $10 (hello 50% savings!), so I figured I would give it a try!

Drugstore BeautyBlender

As you can see, it’s a beautiful lavender color and offers three distinct areas for applying your makeup. According to their site, “The Precise Tip allows for application around the eyes & nose. The Flat Teardrop Surface may be used for contouring and hard-to-reach areas. The Cupped Base buffs foundation seamlessly to create airbrushed look.”

Flower Beauty Sponge

So, how does it stand up against my BeautyBlender? In some ways it’s better…but in some ways it’s worse. As you can see below, it’s roughly the same size as a BeautyBlender when dry. However, when dampened it. is. HUGE. I loved this! The rounded bottom got so large that I could apply my foundation in half the time! This is my current favorite foundation, so I’ve been pumping it directly on my Flower Beauty Sponge and just dabbing away.   

While I love the larger size for applying foundation, it made applying and blending my concealer under my eyes and around my eyes much more difficult. The “precise tip” gets pretty wide once dampened, so it just doesn’t work for my under-eye area when blending. However, I did like the “flat teardrop surface” for contouring and applying setting powder around my nose.

So I guess you could say it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other. 🙂 The Flower Beauty 3-in-1 Blending Sponge is a great, cheaper alternative for applying your liquid foundation and setting powder quickly, but I would have another tool handy for applying and blending out your concealer. Do you have any other drugstore BeautyBlender alternatives I should test out?

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on these links or make a purchase using these links, I may receive a small percentage of the profit at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Hoots of a Night Al!

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Share the Joy of Summer with Lone Star Living Bouquets

Lone Star Living Summertime Bouquet

This post was sponsored by Lone Star Living, and I am thrilled to share their summertime fresh flowers with you!

Lone Star Living July Bouquet

Summer holds so many celebrations for my family. My dad, mom, sister, and nephew all have summer birthdays, we have an annual 4th of July party, and we take our yearly beach trip to Galveston. Basically, the fun just keeps coming all season long, and summer 2018 has been no exception! We enjoy one gathering after another and each one is an opportunity to showcase Texas, southern hospitality. Want to know the number one rule for any southern celebration? Never show up empty-handed! Whether it’s food, gifts, or flowers, your host will always appreciate your kindness. And I can guarantee no hostess will turn you away if you show up with fresh flowers from Lone Star Living!

Lone Star Living Summertime Bouquet

Our most recent get-together was to celebrate my dad’s birthday at my sister’s home, and I knew the Lone Star Living July summertime flowers were the perfect thing to bring. The bouquet is full of red and yellow roses, lilies, carnations, alstroemeria, and more! The vibrant colors instantly brighten up any space and provide major summer decor inspiration.

Summertime Flower Style Centerpiece

I wanted to use a wide-mouth vase to showcase the fresh flowers, but because of the wide opening, they looked sparse. An easy fix if you have the same issue is to loosely band the flowers together within the vase, and your bouquet instantly looks fuller! Lone Star Living also recommends holding your bouquet by the stems and twisting it around to fluff it. These simple tricks will give you a professional-looking centerpiece in no time!

Fresh Summer Flowers

In case you missed my last post about Lone Star Living, let me share what makes them special. They are a Texas-based floral brand that creates dynamic, stunning bouquets for each month of the year. Their fresh flowers are sold exclusively at H-E-B in the H-E-B Blooms department, and each bouquet comes beautifully packaged in craft paper with the flower food included! As you can see, their July summer 2018 bouquet created the perfect focal point on the table at our birthday party.

Summer Party Fresh Flower Centerpiece

I can guarantee if you show up to your next summer gathering with these blooms, they’ll be equally loved by adults, kids, and pets alike! 😉

Hurry over to H-E-B to grab your own July Lone Star Living Bouquet before the month ends! I’m sure August’s unique bouquet will be just as stunning, but I can’t think of a reason why you shouldn’t enjoy them both. After all, now that you know to never show up empty-handed, you have the perfect “excuse” to purchase all the Lone Star Living Bouquets your heart desires! 😉

Fresh Summertime Flowers Centerpiece

 

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