Instantly Framed, Instantly Giftable

Looking for beautiful and unique Mother’s Day gifts that incorporates your Instagram or Facebook photos? Check out the lovely selection from Instantly Framed. Easy, gorgeous framed photos in less than 4 days!

Disclosure: Instantly Framed provided me with my own custom print so I could understand the process and see the quality for myself. I was not required to post, but I loved the finished product so much I had to share it with you.

I don’t know about you, but holidays have a way of sneaking up on me. Even sneakier are the holidays that require gifts. I know they’re coming, but they always seem so far away … until the date is looming and I have nothing to give.

It doesn’t help that I’m an anxious gift-giver. I want so badly to give the perfect thing, that I often suffer from decision paralysis. Because I wait so long to decide on the BEST GIFT EVER, I instead end up giving the most sub-par gift ever. Funny thing, the best gifts often require those troublesome things like running errands across town or 5-7 business days shipping. I know, I know, you say it’s the thought that counts. But sometimes I’d like my recipients to think something kinder than, “Oh! Thanks for getting me this random thing we’ve all seen in the Target before.”

So, news alert: Mother’s Day is coming up. That’s an especially tricky holiday, because who doesn’t deserve something really personal and thoughtful for bringing you into this world? You’re in luck, because I have a great idea for you that:

a) doesn’t involve putting on pants,

b) will be processed and shipped to your door (or your recipient’s door) in no more than four days,

c) will be loved, cherished and beautifully displayed.

Instantly Framed takes a photo from your Instagram or Facebook account, prints it on professional photo luster paper with archival ink, and mounts it into a 12×12 handcrafted walnut wood frame. It’s so easy, and the finished product is so lovely.

Instantly Framed

I snapped this shot of my parents on a whim with my phone and just fell in love with it. It was casual and last minute – we were saying our goodbyes in front of their house after dinner. It’s everything I love about my parents: their enduring love, their smiles, and my childhood home in the background. It’s so easy to let these images languish in our phones or on our computers. Thanks to Instantly Framed, I had it uploaded and ordered through their app in less than 5 minutes. Two days later it was at my door.

Instantly Framed

If you’re anything like me, I bet you have a few of those kinds of photos lingering on your phone. Why not turn them into a thoughtful gift instead? You don’t even need a holiday – just gift one to yourself!

Instantly Framed has kindly provided Just Like The Number readers with a gift code for $10 off your purchase. Just enter SIX10 when ordering. I also have a custom framed print to give away! Enter using the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 11:59 pm ET. Winner will be notified via email and have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. (I want you to have time to get those orders in before Mother’s Day!)

Thanks for entering – I hope you win!

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4 Innocent Traps That Will Foil a Simple Christmas

We all crave a simple Christmas with less stress and more joy. Despite our best intentions, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Avoid these innocent traps, and you’ll be able to truly enjoy a peaceful holiday season.

It’s just two weeks until Christmas, weeks that I’m sure will fly by in the blink of an eye. The tree is up and the house is decorated. In the evenings I make my way through the Christmas card list in a leisurely way, sipping cocoa or a hot toddy and listening to my favorite Christmas tunes. The gifts have been purchased, just waiting to be wrapped. This weekend we have a few Christmas parties and tickets to see a performance of The Nutcracker. Yes, it really it beginning to feel like Christmas.

It’s at this midpoint between Thanksgiving and Christmas that I always feel as if there’s a fork in the road. If there were signs, they would point in two directions. One path would lead you straightaway to a simple, peaceful holiday. The other would lead you twisting and turning towards a holiday full of stress. The problem is, they’re not easily distinguished. The entrances to both paths look like good old-fashioned holiday cheer.

The good news is, as easy as it is to get on the wrong path during the holidays, it’s just as easy to stop and change directions. It’s always okay to reevaluate mid-season. I’ve traveled both paths, and I’ve found that the road towards a stressful Christmas is full of traps that will foil a simple holiday. Avoid them now, and enjoy the holiday to the fullest.

Trap #1: Your Email

Yes, your inbox is a huge source of potential holiday stress. It seems as if every morning between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I wake up to an inbox overflowing with deals, deals, and more DEALS! At the beginning of the holiday season, these notifications can be helpful and cost-saving. I scan all the emails from Shutterfly, Minted, and Tiny Prints before ordering my Christmas cards, and always score a great deal. If there’s something I want to purchase from a certain store, I want to know if I can get more bang for my buck. But after you’ve decided what you’re buying, and – more importantly – after you’ve made your holiday purchases, these emails serve no purpose in your life. They’ll either suck valuable time you could be spending doing things you enjoy with people you like, or they’ll suck your wallet dry by getting “deals” on things you never meant to buy in the first place. Don’t even open them. Try it with me, friends: delete, delete, delete.

Trap #2: The Stores

It starts innocently enough. You’re just popping into the mall for that one last teacher gift, and then you wander to this store and that. Before you know it, you’re buying. Or you’re coveting. Or both. I’ll see something Elena would love, then realize I need to balance it out and buy something else for Eli. Only there’s nothing at this store, so maybe I’ll just run over to this other store and get it. But they’re out. On my way to the other store, I hit traffic. The errands I only planned 2 hours for are now taking up the whole day, meaning that other thing I was going to do isn’t going to get done today. Now I spend the evening stressed about it, and instead of watching a fun holiday show with the kids, I’m yelling at them because inside I’m mad at myself. You see where this is going? Once you’re done with your holiday shopping, stay away from the stores.

I do love to window shop during the holidays, though, so it’s a battle for me. To avoid falling into a shopping trap that will end up stressing me out and costing me more than I intended to spend, I balance it by creating New Year wish lists. Then, when birthdays and the holidays roll around again the next year, I have a list of great gift ideas already waiting for me.

Trap #3: Pinterest and Social Media

I love Pinterest and I love Facebook, but I also recognize that there are times of the year when I need to take a break. This point in the holidays is often one of those times. There are simply too many beautiful ideas, and soon I’m feeling like a failure. How did I not throw a themed gingerbread-house-making party with a fully-stocked hot cocoa bar? Is it too late to make my own Advent calendar? My own vanilla? I should run to Hobby Lobby, it would be so (not-really) easy! (See Trap #2).

Trap #4: Traditions

Before you call me Scrooge, I promise I’m not saying all traditions are evil. The problem arises when you try to fit ALL the traditions into a few weeks. You just can’t do it, at least not without somebody (most likely you) losing their mind. Here’s the thing. All of those little things you want to do add up very, very quickly, and before you know it you haven’t left any margin in your holiday season. The most magical and peaceful holiday moments happen in the margins, when we allow ourselves the freedom to just be. Not rushing from one event to the next, not preoccupied with what’s left on the to-do list, not worried about the credit card bill that will come in January.

If my family is reading this, they’re giving me the big ol’ stink eye right about now. Because of anyone, I am the absolute WORST at trying to pack in as much as possible. I love it all, and I want everyone to love it with me! But not everyone cares as much about the things I think we must do as I do. Instead of enjoying ourselves, we all end up stabby. Try this: the next time you’re all sitting down together, have everyone make a list of their top 3 or 4 holiday traditions. Compare them, and the answers will probably surprise you. My kids love the simplest of things: driving around and looking at the lights with a to-go cup of hot coca, watching Christmas movies, decorating cut-outs. That’s it. That’s all they need for a holly, jolly Christmas.

I can’t remember where I read this, but this was the gist: if you’re life isn’t adding up, subtract something. The same goes for the holidays. If the season isn’t adding up to joy and cheer for you, subtract a holiday-related commitment from it. Skip the cards this year. Don’t bake those cookies. Give your regrets to that party. It will be ok. And if you realize at the end of the season you really missed that tradition? I have good news for you: there’s another Christmas in 2015.

The most important thing I can tell you is that, like anything in life, there are many paths. No two holidays will look alike for any two families, and that’s okay. Give your family, and yourself, the very best gift possible this Christmas: a content and peaceful holiday. It’s enough. You’re enough.

Happy holidays, friends.

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Supreme Dreams of the Pre-Puppy Routine

Visit havertys.com to enter the TEMPUR-pedic contest for your chance to win a TEMPUR-pedic Mattress! This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Havertys. The thoughts and opinions are all mine.

Some girls want diamonds, some girls want flowers, other girls want to be swept away to exotic places. You know what this girl loves? Sleep. If you were to present me with any of those things, and then tell me that behind Door #4 there was a big, comfy bed, a cool breeze, and no alarm clock? Well, you can have your other fancy gifts. This girl’s gettin’ her jammies on.

I don’t even have an excuse, really. For years, I’ve been getting really good sleep. My kids are not babies anymore, which means they can either sleep in or wake up with the good sense to find the iPad and let me sleep. On top of that, it’s summer vacation, so most mornings we don’t have anywhere we have to be. My arch nemesis, the alarm clock, is gathering dust for now. The bedtime routine, and the sweet, blissful 8 hours of sleep that go with it, is wonderful.

So why, oh why, did I have to mess with it? Well, this sweet face is to blame:

And just like human babies, this furbaby is messing with my sleep. We’ve been working on crate-training him, which means he sleeps in his crate while we sleep in our wonderful-made-for-humans-only bed. He is not pleased with this arrangement, and he wants you to know it. The puppy crying is messing with my blissful bedtime routine.

Thankfully, I know this time is short. He’ll eventually catch on and go to bed without whining. And because I have such a great mattress, I’ll fall right back into sleeping like I used to (well, until school rolls around and the evil alarm clock returns). We all have the things we can’t control that mess with our rest, but our mattress doesn’t have to be one of them.

If it is (or if it’s simply time to be a grown-up and buy yourself a real mattress), now is the perfect time to shop for one. AndHavertys is the perfect place to do it. They have a big sale going on just in time for Labor Day (and just in time for you to finally get the good night’s sleep you deserve)!

Of course, it would be even better to win a new mattress, so make sure you enter the Havertys SupremeDream Giveaway! Simply follow the link to the Havertys website between now and September 1, 2014, fill out the form, and you’ll be entered to win a TEMPUR-Cloud Supreme Queen Set. Additional entries can be earned by sharing the giveaway on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #HavertysYawn. See website for official rules. For even more fun and prizes, check out the #HavertysYawn Twitter Party tomorrow (August 27, 2014) at 1 pm ET. You can also find Havertys on Pinterest, Facebook, as well as their own blog.

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