What's in a Tradition? 15 Stories of Holiday Habits

by Amber Dickson
Holiday traditions
ShutterstockZivica Kerkez

Have you ever wondered why traditions are so prevalent and feel so important around the holidays? As it turns out, traditions reinforce important belief structures. They comfort us with a sense of belonging, and help us express gratitude! Traditions cement existing bonds, and create new ones. If those aren't reason enough for you to hop on board the Tradition Train, consider it this way: traditions usually involve food, and are usually just plain fun.

Christmas traditions vary in their details but the reasons behind them are remarkably similar. Read on for fifteen real-life stories on the importance of tradition, from my community to yours.           

Continue Reading

How to Write a Meaningful Holiday Card

by Amber Dickson
Writing a Christmas card
Photo: Zivica Kerkez/Shutterstock

Sending holiday cards is a wonderful way to connect with friends and family.  Whether it is a few handwritten lines at the bottom of a greeting card or a full-page printed newsletter, the effort you extend is well worth it.  Read on for writing prompts and tips that will transform the blank page in front of you into warm and authentic season’s greetings for those near and dear. 

Continue Reading

How to Throw an Office Holiday Party Your Co-Workers Will Be Talking About into the New Year

by Amber Dickson
office holiday party
Photo: RawPixel/Shutterstock

Are you in charge of throwing the office Christmas party? What a great opportunity!  After all, if it goes well, you can expect plenty of appreciation and accolades. Make sure you don't skimp on the planning, though. If the event is boring and awkward, the party will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Looking for work Christmas party ideas? Read on for tips and ideas sure to make your office party fun, delicious, and full of holiday spirit.     

Continue Reading

Vintage Eye Candy: 70s Interiors That'll Make You Say, "Groovy, Baby!"

by Amber Dickson
1970s interior design
Photo: Unknown

The distinct colors, shapes, and textures of the 1970s give interiors from that era a unique energy. Currently, the decade's distinct vibe is coming back, and influencing current trends in a big way. Yes, 70s style might be considered over-the-top now, but comb through examples from that era and you will find pieces and inspiration that will bring new liveliness to your space all while fitting in to your current decor. Keep scrolling for some rad eye candy!           

Continue Reading

Curbly Original
Fall Style Guide: The Cutest and Coziest Fingerless Gloves

by Amber Dickson
Fingerless Gloves
Source: Martha Stewart

When the air starts to crisp up, wearing layers is key to being comfortable.  Fingerless gloves can be a fun and practical addition to your fall wardrobe.  They add warmth, style, and keep your fingers free for devices and other dexterous tasks.  Read on for a roundup of DIY, buy, and up-cycled options.  You will want to get this kind of cozy into your life.       

Continue Reading

Curbly Original
Save Money, Get Fit: How You Can Achieve Both Fiscal and Physical Fitness at the Same Time

by Amber Dickson
Yoga mat and participant
Photo: RawPixel/Pexels

Generally speaking, we all want to be physically healthier, and we all want to be more financially fit. Gains in both those spheres really boost our enjoyment of life, but attaining both those goals at the same time can seem intimidating. Can you save money and stay healthy? Do the two go hand-in-hand, or do they butt heads? Read on to learn about ways that will help you improve both your bodily and fiscal fitness. Put these tips into practice and reap two-for-one benefits!          

Continue Reading

Paint Stripping Head-to-Head: Which is the Best Finish Remover?

by Amber Dickson
Deck stripper head to head: Which product removes finish better?
Photo: Amber Dickson

 My family moved into our current home last year and knew that come summer, the deck would need some attention. The whole surface was in rough shape.  The latex deck coating had flaked off in large areas and in the places where the finish was still present, it was not well-adhered to the surface. This project was going to require more than a quick clean and re-coat, so I decided to find out which deck stripper would do the best job.

After surviving my first New England winter, I really did not want to spend the entire New England summer sanding down the deck.  Summer in New Hampshire lasts for approximately one week and I was ready to hit the beach.  An internet search revealed several deck stain and finish removers available to non-professionals.  Perhaps this would be the key to an easy deck re-finish.             

Continue Reading

Curbly Original
Forget What You Know About Nautical Decor: The Complete Guide to Coastal Design

by Amber Dickson
Nautical Decor Design Guide
Photo: Chipper Hatter for CM Natural Design

The widespread appeal of nautical and coastal decor makes a lot of sense when you consider the primal and ancient connection humans have to the sea. Being attracted to the water is hardwired into our very cells. Scientific studies have proven what we already know anecdotally: spending time near, on, or in lakes and oceans make us happier and healthier. It's no wonder that so many of us respond to the colors, clean lines, and natural elements of coastal, beach, and nautical decor. It makes us feel good to be reminded of the sea.

If your initial reaction to the term "coastal decor" is negative, it's probably from witnessing too many cutesy and heavy-handed thematic rooms.  We are not advocating buying and displaying any and all items that have a sailboat or seahorse on them. Good decorating never grows out of an overly simplistic theme, and, "Put an anchor on it" is not a valid design philosophy!           

Continue Reading