The Real Housewives of Bucks County is now East Coast Creative!
Make sure you update your favorites to www.eastcoastcreativeblog.com to keep seeing new content! Thanks! -Monica and Jess

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Once a Month Lunches {20 minutes: 35 sandwiches}

So, this isn't a DIY or design post, BUT it will save you so much time that you can work on projects to your heart's content! 
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Confession Time: I don't make the lunches in our house... my beyond awesome husband does.  Yup ladies, sorry he's taken! Anyhow... being the thoughtful wife that I am, I wanted to find a way to make it easier on the hubs so I suggested we try making a whole weeks' worth and freeze them.  Eric was skeptical, but it worked like a charm... i.e. the kids didn't notice! Since I'm a wild woman, I suggested we get a little crazy and the next week we made an entire months' worth! It's a small change that has rocked our making-lunches-with-four-kids world! Lunches are now as simple as grabbing a sandwich and snacks- easy peasy (or so it seems when the hubs is doing it!)

The Once a Month Lunch Secret!
Make a Costco run and buy lots of supplies.  (It really doesn't take two peanut butters or anything, but you never know when Michelle Duggar is reading our blog! Hi Michelle!) 
ingredients collage
 Lay out all your bread.  We divide it up because we have one fluff lover in the house. 
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Okay ladies, do your husbands do any simple tasks so weirdly?  Now, Eric is a dreamboat for making lunches, but he holds the knife and slaps the peanut butter on in such a strange, caveman-like way! 
Oh well, I guess I can live with caveman PBJs. 
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Here's the most important step... you have to peanut butter both sides! The one time I did the lunches, I of course didn't see the importance of this step, so I skipped it and we had soggy sandwiches.  Mommy fail! 

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 The hubs tells me that squeeze jelly makes the process even faster!
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You might notice some of the sandwiches only have peanut butter in the middle... well, here's why!
crust
This tool from The Pampered Chef is so inexpensive and awesome! It turns our normal sandwiches into homemade uncrustables! I pick my battles and I guess I'm still not convinced the edges are any more healthy! If you want to order one, contact our Pampered Chef blog sponsor Jen.

Ta-da! Awesome, complain-free sandwich!
punch sandwich

 We are left with a lot of crusts, and there are some times that we use them in meatloaf, and I've debated trying them as a french toast bake... although, my logical husband reminds me that it's only about $1.89 worth of waste, so sometimes they just become duck bread!   
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Another important detail... Get really good freezer bags.  It makes a difference and keeps them nice and fresh!
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Pack 'em in and you're done! Yup, it's that easy!
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We keep a few bags in the freezer and all the rest in our deep freezer in the basement.  Eric's new favorite midnight snack is grabbing a frozen sandwich and eating it cold.  Weird if you ask me, but he loves it!
freezer shot

So there you have it.  Our little family secret revealed! Maybe everyone has been doing this all along, but it's rocked our world and I strongly suggest you give it a try if you haven't.  Who knows, maybe your hubs will think it looks so fun that he'll take over!
Monica

PS- We can't believe it, but we were nominated as one of  Apartment Therapy's DIY blogs of the year.  However, we need some serious votes.  We're kind of getting smoked by the big blogs! It definitely takes a minute or two to vote, but we'd sure appreciate it.  Go HERE to vote! Thanks so much!

Linking to: TipJunkie

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Making Design Easier {Design Seeds}

You all know it already, and I'm pretty open about sharing this one fact: I am not a designer by trade. I've never taken design classes, and in fact, often dreaded going to art classes in school. I'd call myself an amateur- I do what I like and think looks good in my home. Period. One of the things I find difficult (although, I admit it does get easier the more I do it) is choosing the right colors in my designs. I often have an idea or concept in mind, but getting there is tricky, especially for a non-detail-oriented person like me. Enter Design Seeds:

Design Seeds solves the color dilemma for us by offering tons of color palettes based on things you see every day. Like the colors of Fall? You can find several different palettes incorporating the various colors found in Autumn. Isn't that amazing? If you've been on Pinterest at all, I'm sure you've seen some of these floating around:


Basically, Jessica, the genius behind Design Seeds forecasts emerging trends and comes up with relevant color palettes based on those. She also sells a bunch of books that I would personally love to have on my coffee table or to use as inspiration.

Here are just a few of my favorites:

Wouldn't this be beautiful in a nursery for a baby girl? Love the muted purples.


Can't help but fall head over heels for colors inspired by travel!

 Oh man, this would be a super-fun palette for a summer birthday party, right?

And just in case you were wondering, there is a general rule of thumb when it comes to using color in design:

Use 60 percent of one color, which is your dominant color (think paint on the wall). This is the unifying color- most likely a neutral that ties it all together.  Using 30 percent of your secondary color adds visual interest, like the furniture in the room, and then 10 percent is an accent color. Accessories, pillows, flowers etc. These are the things that make the room shine! Go ahead and take a look at your design inspiration pictures: most likely they are divided within this rule. Crazy, huh? These Design Seeds palettes provide a variety of colors that you can choose from for your home decor, wedding or party planning, and even when choosing an outfit!

Don't you just love it when there are short-cuts for great design? ;)


jess

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mexican Dream {Iberostar Cancun}

In case you didn't know, Jess and I spent a week in paradise...
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Thanks to our friend, Mr. Nate Berkus, we lived in the laps of luxury at the Iberostar Cancun.  Nate and his wonderful staff gave us this trip after our second appearance on his show.  Thanks Nate! 

If you're looking for a place to vacation, we'd totally recommend this resort.  It has only been open two months, and yet the amazing staff made everything run so smoothly.  Other than the incredible location, and beautiful accommodations, the entertainment staff, "The Star Friends" were the best part.  They got these girls out of our chairs, playing balloon volleyball, doing aqua aerobics, taking salsa lessons and more.  Honestly, the staff made this trip amazing.  

Here's a peek into our week...
Mexico collage 1

Check out the resort lobby.  It was beautiful and the decor was unique and stylish.
Mexico collage 2
If you're a mom, take my advice and plan a girls' weekend! We were super excited that two of our gal pals came along on this adventure.  This was the first time in years that we'd gotten away and it was so beneficial.  Having time away from all the distractions of life let us truly relax and also connect as friends.  We spent many nights sitting down by the ocean talking about life.  It was so refreshing to be able to be open and honest and go beyond the surfacey discussions that busy life lends itself to.  Jess and I are so blessed to have some pretty darn amazing women in our lives. 

If I didn't convince you to plan a girls' weekend, maybe more pictures will! 
Mexico Collage 3

Iberostar, you had me at infinity pool. 
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This trip was a perfect way to usher in our 30th birthday year and to celebrate our first, amazing year of blogging.  We've been beyond blessed by this blog journey and we're so thankful to all of you (our readers)!
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So, now we're back to reality, (and for me a fading tan is like a slow, death.  It's horrible to wake up each day, working my way back to pale white) but we're excited about so many projects and ideas that we're working on! 
and now the moment you've all been waiting for...  
The WINNER of the 
Royal Design Studio/Modello Designs giveaway is: 
Congratulations Kara! 
email us to claim your prize!

jess&Monica

PS. Jess and I are super excited and honored to be attending the NYC launch of the New an Improved Ladies Home Journal Magazine this evening.  We'll be strutting our stuff  trying to play it cool as we have our pics taken on the "red carpet".  We'll be sure to let you know all the inside scoop tomorrow! 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Last Giveaway! {Royal Design Studios}

We've been so fortunate to have been featured on some pretty great blogs and websites, but there are a few totally awesome blogs/bloggers who have been major players in our continuing growth.


We've shared our love of Pinterest on more than one occasion and Monica even created a how-to video about it, but now we love it even more. U-CreateVintage Revivals and Home Stories of A to Z were so good to us rookie bloggers. We hope we can pass the blog love forward to other small blogs just trying to grow in the same way they've helped us. And you already know how we feel about The Nate Show. So, from the bottom of our hearts, thanks blogging friends! We appreciate you. :)
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Now, to cap off our Giveaways Galore Week, we have an unbelieveable giveaway for you!


We both have been thrilled with our stencils from Royal Design Studio (you can see my kitchen here, and Monica's wall panels here), but there are endless possibilities and choices for you at
Royal Design Studio. Just check out these beauties:

Indian Paisley Damask Wall Stencil by Royal Design Studio

3079L-Lg-Deco-Damask-Stencil

{Swoon} Ok, time for the details on how to win:

The Prize is a $75 Shopping Spree on Royal Design Studio. (Includes free shipping within the continental U.S.) All entries must be submitted by 11:59pm on February 26, 2012. Winner will be announced on February 27, 2012. 

1. To enter, go to the Royal Design Studio website, pick your favorite stencil and comment with your pick.
2. Extra chances to enter by "liking" the RDS Facebook fan page and/or following them on Twitter and/or following them on Pinterest and commenting so on this post.
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And finally, the winners from yesterday's giveaways:

Scentsy

My Best Friend's Hair
 Kotton Pickin' Kute
Congratulations! Email us to claim your prizes, girls! Thanks for celebrating our one year blogiversary with us this week. It's been fun. :)



jess&Monica

Thursday, February 23, 2012

True Confessions of a Blogger {and a Giveaway}





It feels like I haven't blogged in forever! It's nice to be back... well, honestly if you told me I could jump on a plane now, I'd grab my suit and be gone in an instant.  Mexico was insanely awesome.  I'm going to do a whole post on it next Monday!

So we're supposed to be giving interesting statistics this week... I've got a good one for ya! 


The Disappearing Giveaway...  If you've followed us since the very beginning you might remember a post about our Design Challeng{ed} contest... Or maybe you don't remember because not one single person entered. Ha! We'd only been blogging about two months and it was a major flop! It sure makes us laugh though!

Famous Angelina... Jess wrote a cute post about Cam's 3rd birthday party last year.  It was a cute Angelina Ballerina theme. The post is fine, but nothing over the top.  We didn't have great lighting and all the pictures are so-so... however, thanks to the post's title it was in our top 15 posts for landing pages! So many people have Googled Angelina Ballerina and found us! Ha! 

So maybe we laugh a lot and blush a little over these silly posts, but it reminds us of the amazing road this blog has taken.  We can't wait to look back next year and see what 2012 had for us! 

Now, get ready for some stinkin' awesome giveaways! 
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We have three awesome giveaways for you today! The giveaways are separate entities (in other words, if you win, you don't win them all, but you can enter all three!) Please let us know which giveaways you're gunning for in your comments.

My Best Friend's Hair Giveaway
My Best Friend's Hair is our most recent sponsor and it's the coolest concept! Their site can help you find the best stylists all over the country and get ratings and reviews.  Want to find the best stylist in your area that can deal with insanely thick, unruly hair (that would be my wish)? They can help you with that! They also have tons of info about the hottest cuts and styles- so fun! 
Today they're giving away a Neuma Beauty Hair Products gift set.  I don't know about you, but I love using high quality hair products, and getting them for free is even better! 
To enter: (This giveaway is now closed)
1-Like My Best Friend's Hair Facebook Page and leave us a comment letting us know. 
2-For an additional chance to win,  head over to the My Best Friend's Hair website and either search for a stylist in your area or leave a review of your stylist and then leave a comment letting us know you did. 


Scentsy Giveaway
I must have been living under a rock for a while, because I had never tried Scentsy until Breanne joined our blog last fall.  Honestly, I wake up, walk down stairs, and turn my warmer on immediately, my kids take turns picking out the scents we should use.  It's awesome!  Breanne is giving away one warmer and scentsy bar of your choice! 


To enter: (This giveaway is now closed)
1- Go to Breanne's Scentsy website and then tell us in a comment what scent you'd love to try.  
2-For an additional chance to win Follow RHBC on Twitter and leave us a comment letting us know. 



Kotton Pickin' Kute Hat
My poor kids were all born well before the world thought to make amazingly cute hats- boo! I honestly don't think there's anything cuter than a baby with a sock monkey hat! Krista hand knits all of her hats and lucky for us, she's giving one away! Don't have an itty bitty baby? No worries, she can make them in child and even adult sizes.  I just might buy the hubs a sock monkey hat... actually, I won't because I could possibly die of laughter.  



To enter: (This giveaway is now closed)
1- Go to Kotton Pickin Kute's Etsy Store and then tell us in a comment what hat you love!
2-For an additional chance to win like Kotton Pickin' Kute on Facebookand leave us a comment letting us know. 


Giving things away is so darn fun! I can't wait to announce the winners tomorrow! Hope you're enjoying our week of giveaways just as much as we are!

AND NOW FOR THE WINNERS FROM YESTERDAY!

The winner of the Thirty-one Gifts giveaway is: Dwell Wool Knits! Congratulations! 

The winner of the Dream Dinners meals is: Whitney! (and I promise I didn't cheat just because she's having her first baby! Congrats Whitney!)

(email us your address so we can get you your prizes!)




jess&Monica

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A bunch of Fun Stuff

We're finally back to blogging after our amazing trip to Mexico! We had a great time with great friends and have to admit that this vacation was just what we needed: a break from this crazy, packed-to-the-brim (just like Monica's suitcase) year! We have lots to share about our trip, (especially about the amazing resort we stayed in!), but here's a sneak peek at our totally burnt tan selves:

But enough about that, we're happy to continue on with our interesting statistics from year one:
Yes, we are crazy, but we're committed to growing the blog and seeing where it will take us. Five posts a week is a lot if you ask other bloggers, but we are so thankful that there are two of us to lighten the load. We totally recognize that this partnership is rare, and can honestly say that after blogging together for a year, we're still friends. Ha! Plus, we love giving you guys new stuff to read every day, so even though it's a lot of hard work, it's worth it! 
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We have two awesome giveaways for you today! The giveaways are separate entities (in other words, if you win, you don't win both!) Please let us know which giveaway you're gunning for in your comment.

Ok, so giveaway number 1 is a service that is near and dear to my heart. I've mentioned Dream Dinners  before when I told you that I used to own one with my mom, but just in case you missed it, this place is amazing! You can make a month's worth of meals in less than 2 hours- no prep work or clean-up required!  Check out this post for more details.

This giveaway is open only to local readers (Bucks, Montgomery or Delaware Counties) and is valid only for use at the Colmar, PA store..

If you can't wait for the giveaway, use the new customer code DDNC102012 for 10% off any order of 36 servings or more.

To enter: (This giveaway is now closed)
1. Go to the Dream Dinners website, pick your favorite meal and leave a comment here with why it looks so good to you.
2. For an additional chance to win like the RHBC Facebook page, and leave a comment letting us know you did so.
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Our second giveaway is pretty awesome, too (can you even handle two great giveaways in one day?!) If you ever see us around, you'll notice right away that we love Thirty-One Gifts! We usually have at least one bag each on hand at all times. :) Mandy is a killer consultant so if you have questions, fire away! 

The set includes a Large Utility Tote, Picnic Thermal Tote and an About Town Picnic Blanket (in colors as shown).These items are perfect for sporting events, picnics, playdates, vacation and countless other uses! For more information about these products, check out the new 2012 Spring Catalog.

To enter: (This giveaway is now closed)

1. Go to the Thirty-One Gifts Catalog and pick your favorite product and comment with your pick.
2. For an additional chance to win, like the RHBC Facebook page, and leave a comment letting us know you did so.

Same deal: if you can't wait to win, email your order to Mandy with the code love31 to get 15% off of your order.
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Allright, folks, you have 24 hours to enter! We'll announce the winners of both giveaways on Thursday morning, so don't delay! Good luck!
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And the winner of the Garnish giveaway is Kori!
Email us to claim your prize, Kori. Congrats!




 
jess&Monica