How to Style Your Shelves Like an Interior Designer

shelf styling tips - don't always center objects

Shelf styling tips from an actual expert (as opposed to someone who just spent too much time browsing Pinterest. ūüėČ )

“Wait, what if I move this right here?” I tap my chin, unsatisfied with the newly decorated shelf that stares back at me. The house is empty, but I’m counting on the universe to answer my shelving questions. No matter what I do, it doesn’t look right.

Whenever I try my hand at shelf styling, it looks like I’m trying too hard. I become obsessive about spacing and symmetry and making everything just so, completely forgetting that I¬†like things that are imperfect. They’re so much more interesting and a million times more real.

In the end, I usually throw my hands in the air and spend the next six hours browsing Pinterest for help (which sometimes results in shelf decorating ideas posts).

All of this is ridiculous considering the fact that my sister is an interior designer. She’s really, really good at this stuff. Yet here I am, talking to my shelf.

I decided to pick my sister’s brain a little to get some of her top shelf decorating tips and tricks so that next time¬†maybe¬†I won’t struggle so much. Be sure to read all the way to the bottom for a free printable shelf styling checklist.

how to style your shelves like an interior designer (with a free printable checklist) - shelf decor - shelf ideas - shelf decorating - shelf styling - shelfie

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A Hands-On Book That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Science

Getting kids excited about science - bath fizzies with DK's Maker Lab by Smithsonian

An award-winning kids science book that will foster a love for science while having hands-on fun.

Step into my house and you’ll find surfaces littered with Ziplock bags open just enough to let the day’s latest slime creation ooze out, bottles filled with unidentifiable concoctions that contain some kind of plant matter, and everyday objects “scented” with copious layers of lotion. My girls love science. They love to experiment with different ingredients to see how they react and to proudly create their own “essential” recipes.

Sometimes, I’m all for this scientific exploration.

Other times, I wonder how long I’m expected to let something sit (bacteria multiplying by the second) while we “wait” for the reaction.

When DK offered to send us a complimentary copy of Smithsonian’s Maker Lab, an¬†award-winning book that encourages kids to build, invent, create and discover through 28 DIY science experiments, I jumped at the chance. Crafty science projects that will work¬†and teach the girls a little bit about the science behind them? What could be cooler?

Getting kids excited about science - bath fizzies with DK's Maker Lab by Smithsonian - kids science book with cool projects and experiments

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6 of the Best Family-Friendly Spots in Mystic, CT

watching the African penguins at Mystic Aquarium

As chocolate ice cream dribbled down my littlest’s chin, a band played in the background, and the sun set behind my family, I could only think one thing: best vacation ever!

We’ve made visiting Mystic, Connecticut a family tradition for years now. Full of New England charm and nestled halfway between New York and Boston just off Interstate 95, it’s the perfect destination for families living in (or traveling through) the northeast.

Over the years we’ve done our share of exploring the area and there are a few family-friendly spots in and around Mystic that stick out for us.

Things to Do with Kids in Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic Aquarium

I’ve been going to Mystic Aquarium since the early 80s. I remember being¬†so excited packing up our minivan with coolers full of drinks and food that would last our family of six all day. We could barely sit still once we hit the road.

Those warm, fuzzy feelings are what made me want to take our girls there. And, for the past five summers, we’ve done just that.

There are so many cool things about this aquarium. ¬†One of the first exhibits we always check out is the beluga whales—this aquarium has the only beluga whales in New England! It is absolutely amazing to watch a gigantic beluga whale swim right past you. They weigh thousands (!) of pounds but they glide by with ease. Ellie couldn’t get enough of them.

beluga whale at Mystic Aquarium

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The Ultimate Big, Fat Baby Giveaway!

New Baby Giveaway | embe swaddle

No, I’m not pregnant.

I am, however, a big fan of babies. I am completely incapable of resisting their soft tufts of hair, delicious wrist rolls and tiny, bird-like mouths. I’m no fool though. I also remember the long, sleepless nights, desperately trying to translate cries and nipples that felt like they were about to fall off.

New mamahood is the strangest mixture of pure bliss and torture. One minute your heart seems to have expanded into your throat. You are so filled with love and gratitude that you might actually burst. The next minute, you’re almost positive that if you don’t get five minutes of sleep you are going to completely lose your shit.

As I transition into a brand new stage of motherhood—my tween starts middle school in a couple of weeks—I wanted to give a little love to the new moms out there. The mommas who can’t see passed the mountain of dirty diapers to a time when life feels manageable again. Whether that’s you or you have a friend or family member in the throes of new parenthood (or some about to find themselves there), this giveaway is one you don’t want to miss.

Cuddles & Chaos’ ridiculously awesome Big, Fat Baby Giveaway

Cuddles and Chaos Big, Fat Baby Giveaway

Before I tell you how you can enter, let’s take a look at the four awesome companies that are making this giveaway happen…

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7 Kids Books That Will Make You Crave Outdoor Adventures

Kids Books About Outdoor Adventures - Ladybug Girl

Have you ever read a book that makes you want to go on an adventure? I’m sure you have. Maybe you wanted to hop over to England after reading Harry Potter,¬†wander around Italy after reading¬†Eat, Pray, Love¬†or explore the Pacific Crest Trail after finishing¬†Wild.

But have you ever stopped to think about the idea that children’s books can do the same thing to your kids?

After reading¬†Ladybug Girl¬†(more on that in a second) with my littlest, she suddenly got very into ladybugs. She wanted to go everywhere in her ladybug rain boots—and, sometimes, the matching rain jacket and umbrella (no matter what the weather). She wanted to stomp in the biggest puddles and conquer the world one polka-dotted step at a time.

It got me thinking about other books we’ve read that inspire outdoor adventures…

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