{entertaining with style} Christmas Photo Booth Props Made with Cricut

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Playing dress up is one of my boys favorite ways to spend an afternoon - whether it's a super hero costume, a fireman coat and hat, or an animal mask and tail, it makes them giggle and they beg me to take photos. So for the holidays season, I thought it would be really fun to create some Christmas photo booth props for them and their friends to enjoy!

These adorable Christmas photo props were super quick and easy to make using my Cricut Expore Air, and they are definitely going to keep all the kids entertained at all of our Christmas parties and holiday gatherings this year! Thanks to Cricut for sponsoring this post and bringing some extra laughter to our house this season!

{seasonal style} Color-Dipped Letter Ornaments + More DIY Christmas Ornaments

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Am I the only one who feels like unpacking the Christmas decorations is almost as good as opening presents on Christmas morning? It makes me so excited for all of the joy and magic of the season ahead! Maybe it's a sign that I have to many decorations, but each year I unpack a few decorations that I've completely forgotten about from the year before, and this time around one of those pleasant surprises was the set of color-dipped letter ornaments that I DIY'd for the skinny tree in our living room last season. 

Aren't these red and white DIY Christmas ornaments fun?! I shared a few photos of these on our tree last year, but I never showed you just how easy they were to make, so today I wanted to give you the quick and easy tutorial that saved me a bunch of money!  

How to Create a Comfortable Guest Room with Simple Smart Home Tools

Monday, November 20, 2017

Whether you travel for the holidays, or host friends and family at your home, I think we can all agree on the importance of a comfortable guest room! I'm constantly updating our space to make it more welcoming to our guests, and I've come up with some really fun and easy ideas to add smart home automation tools to our guest suite with the help of my friends at Hive, who are generously sponsoring this post.

{decorating with style} Fun Ways to Encourage Kids to Read

Thursday, November 9, 2017

My boys have toys, and toys, and more toys, but one of their favorite things has always been sitting down with a big pile of books. That makes me such a proud mom! I really hope that their early passion for books will turn into a life long love of reading, so I'm constantly looking for new ways to encourage them to continue reaching for books! 

Tracking Pixel

I know that for some kids, books don't hold the same appeal, and, for some, they may even be a source of frustration. After talking with friends and looking at what has been working well in our house, I've compiled some easy and fun tips to encourage young kids to love books, even before they can actually read the words on the pages! I am grateful to The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) for sponsoring this post. Like me, CRI is dedicated to helping families creating beautiful and safe spaces for living and learning.

{five minute friday} Organizing with Labels that Are Quick & Easy to Update

Friday, November 3, 2017

Raise your hand if you love to label ALL. THE. THINGS? Me too! Labeling is one of the most important steps in the process of creating an organized space, because it makes it easy for everyone in the family to find what they need, and makes it much easier to put everything away where it belongs.

But not all labels are created equal. A label is only good if it's accurate, so it's important to make labels easy to update for those spots in the house where the contents are likely to change frequently. This is particularly true when it comes to any kids space, because we all know how quickly kids grow and change!

{diy with style} 150+ DIY Gift Ideas for Everyone On Your List

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Phew! Halloween is over and I'm breathing a big mom sigh of relief that the last minute DIY costume details all turned out well. I don't know why I always put off the costume making to the last minute and create extra stress for myself. Will I never learn?

This year my goal is to NOT do the same procrastinating when it comes to making DIY gifts for friends and family. Now is definitely the time to get started before the craziness of Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas parties takes over the calendar. 

{diy with style} Our Home Just Keeps Getting Smarter

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Who says you can't teach an old home new tricks?! A few months ago, I told you all about our new Hive Home System, and how it allowed us to bring our decade old house into the smart home generation without any overly complicated updates or high upfront device costs. 

After living with our Hive smart home ecosystem throughout the summer and into the fall, we've continued to discover new ways that it can make our home a smarter, safer, and an even more fun place to live. I told you I'd keep you updated as I came up with additional solutions to make our home work harder for us, rather than the other way around, so today I'm back to chat about four more reasons that I've fallen in love with our Hive Home System this fall! Thank you to Hive for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.


Let me back up and give you a quick reminder of what Hive is all about. Back in June, the UK's most popular smart home brand launched in the US and Canada with their Hive Welcome Home Plan that allowed us an easy way to make our home tech savvy - including the ability to adjust heating and air conditioning, lighting, and appliances from anywhere, and to have each of these components work together to create one cohesive smart home ecosystem, all for one affordable monthly subscription rate! 

In the early summer, we installed:
  • Hive Active Thermostats to control the temperature from anywhere and cut our energy bill
  • a Hive Door Sensor and Hive Motion Sensor, which integrate to automatically turn on the lights when we enter our detached garage, and to alert us of any uninvited guests in the garage
  • Hive Active Light™ bulbs to set schedules and control lights throughout our home
  • Hive Active Plugs to control additional lights in our house that don't use standard size light bulbs
  • the Hive Hub, which is the brains of the operation that allows us to control all the other devices through our smart phones, tablets and laptops.
I was initially intimated by the idea of setting this system up on my own while Scott was out of town, but I was shocked by how simple and intuitive it was. You can learn more about the setup process, and details on how we integrated each component in my Smart Home 101 post.

Since each family and each home has unique needs, Hive has recently introduced three additional subscription plans, including the Hive Starter Plan {$9.99/month}, the Hive Heating & Cooling Plan {$12.99/month}, and the Hive Home Check Plan {$19.99/month}, each of which includes a smart thermostat and a mix of other products, all of which are controlled by the Hive mobile app. You can read more about these plans on the Hive website.

Ok, now let's talk about the new ways that we are using Hive to make the school year run a little smoother, to free up time for the things we love, and even to make our home more fun! 


With school back in session, things get pretty hectic. Between driving carpool in the mornings, heading to client meetings, soccer practice, PTA meetings, and a million other commitments, I'm always on my way out the door to somewhere. 

Getting ready to go usually looks something like this... start to get dressed, run down the stairs to help the kids locate a missing shirt or sock, run back up the stairs to brush teeth, run down the stairs to put breakfast on the table, run back up the stairs to do my hair and throw on makeup, run down the stairs to pack school lunches and run out the door.

Then, as I'm driving away, I too often have a moment of panic where I can't remember if I unplugged the curling iron. 

What to do?! If I pull back up to the house, I'm going to have to unstrap two kids from their car seats and drag them back inside because I can't leave them in the car alone while I run up two flights of stairs to the master bathroom. Ugh! Mama ain't got time for that!

After going through this same routine one too many times in recent weeks, Scott pointed out to me the most obvious of solutions that I'd somehow been overlooking. 

Smart Home System Control Plug In from App

Hive to the rescue! I plugged a Hive Active Plug into the outlet by my bathroom sink that I now use for my curling iron. 

Smart Home System Control Plug In From iPhone App

Now if I leave the house and question whether I remembered to turn off or unplug the curling iron, all I have to do is open the Hive app and tap on the orange circle to switch the Hive Active Plug off. 

If I leave the curling iron plugged in, I can even use the Hive app to turn the Hive Active Plug on in the morning when I'm ready to heat up my curling iron, even if I'm busy downstairs getting the kids prepped for the day. Sometimes just saving those few minutes makes a huge difference on a busy morning. 


Once we're back home for the evening, the juggling act continues. I'm sure any parent can relate to the feeling that you need to clone yourself so you can be in two place as once {or three, or four...}. There's always dinner to be cooked and laundry to put away when I'd rather be playing with the kids, reading library books with them, or enjoying a family dance party.

The boys are old enough now that they will play pretty independently when I have chores around the house that have to be done, but as the days get shorter and the sun continues to set earlier each evening, they boys don't want to go up or downstairs alone if the lights aren't on. 

When we first set up our Hive Home System, we added a Hive Active Light bulb in the boys' bedroom, and set a schedule for it to come on at the time they normally start getting into their pajamas. We then have the light automatically set to dim to a softer night-light setting as bedtime approaches.

Smart Home System light bulb timer schedule

This automatic schedule is perfect for our nightly bedtime routine, but if the boys want to go upstairs to play or read earlier in the evening, I can easily use the Hive app to turn on their bedroom lamp right from my phone rather than having to run up the stairs.

Better yet, we recently purchased an Amazon Echo, which integrates with our Hive eco-system. So now, if I'm in the middle of cooking dinner and my hands are wet or messy, I simply ask Alexa to turn on the light in the boys' room.

Hive Smart Home Integrates with Amazon Echo Alexa

Hive is that extra pair of hands that I need to make life easier during the day-to-day routine of the school year. It makes my mom-heart so full to be able to encourage their independence and love of books rather than always having to say "I'll be there in a minute"! 

Back to School Schedule Smart Home System Light Bulbs


The Colorado weather is always pretty unpredictable, and especially in the fall, the temperatures tend to swing from one extreme to the other, often within days. The volatile temperatures used to make it hard to know what temperature to set the thermostat to when we go out of town. 

But now, thanks to our Hive Active Thermostat, we are always in control, even when we're away from home. Last weekend, we were up the mountains enjoy a little mini-vacation. I checked the weather back in Denver and saw that it was going to get a lot colder than I expected, so I was able use the Hive app to adjust the temperature back home. 

Control your home while traveling with a Smart Home App

It gave me such peace of mind to not have to worry about the house getting too cold and the pipes freezing. And then when the weather warmed right back up the next day, I was able to adjust the thermostat again to not pay to heat the house more than necessary.


My boys absolutely love helping me decorate for each holiday, and this year, they asked if we could add some Halloween decoration to the front porch.

They were so excited to see all of our cute Jack o'Lanterns on the porch, but when the sun went down, I had a big surprise for them!

Hive recently introduced some exciting new products that you can "add on" to your Hive home smart plan, including color-changing Hive Active Lights that can be set to 16 million colors on a spectrum!

I swapped out the regular bulbs in the light fixture on our covered porch for two Hive Active Light Color-Changing bulbs. I took the boys out to the porch to capture their reaction:

When they saw the colored light, they were so excited... when the saw they could use the Hive app to pick any color they wanted, they were in heaven!

Hive color-changing rainbow light bulbs

These are just four of the new ways that we've been using our Hive Home System to make our lives a little easier this fall, not to mention a heck of a lot more fun! If you missed my original post about Hive, be sure to head over there now to get more background info and to read about some of the additional ways that Hive has made our home not only smarter, but also safer.

Are you ready to turn your house into a smart home ecosystem with Hive? Then you're in luck, because you can save 10% of your Hive plan when you use this link and enter discount code HIVEANGELA10 at checkout.

I'm happy to answer any questions you might have, so don't hesitate to leave a comment below!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hive. The opinions and text are all mine. Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand. 

{five minute friday} Dresser Drawer Organizer

Friday, October 13, 2017

If I asked for a raise of hands from all of you with messy dresser drawers, I can just imagine hands shooting up from all corners of the internet! And mine would be raised right there with you... or at least it would have been until last week.

{entertaining with style} Easy Farm Animal Cupcakes

Thursday, October 12, 2017

This week, I got to chaperone my first school field trip and join Beckett's kindergarten class on a trip to a farm for tractor rides and harvesting vegetables. We had such a great time, but little brother Cooper was very disappointed that he didn't get to join us. After all, he is the one who wants to be a farmer when he grows up. {Well, a farmer, a superhero, a construction guy, a fireman, married, and a dad, if you really want the full list of his future plans.}

With all the talk about farms this week, I was reminded that I've been wanting to show you the adorable cupcakes that I made for Cooper's third birthday last year when we had his party at a little farm in town!

{seasonal style} Front Porch Halloween Decorations

Monday, October 9, 2017

The boys are four and five now, and if I could freeze time, I would. These are such fun ages, and I love how excited they get about everything - especially each holiday! For weeks, they've been begging me to decorate for Halloween. We always have quite a bit of holiday decor inside, but this year they also requested front porch Halloween decorations as well.