Working from Home and Finding Balance

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working from home and finding balance via Melissa Creates

I announced in late December that I would be kicking off 2015 as a full time blogger (you can read the full post on how I came to the decision and steps we took to make it happen here). It’s been one month and I’ve already learned so much! I’ve teamed up with my friends at Kraft McCafé coffee to chat about working from home, how I tackle the day and some tips to consider.

Several friends and loved ones asked in my first few weeks working from home if I ever get out of my pajamas. Yes, I do get out of my pj’s, but my secret for getting things done is coffee. Lots of coffee. To stay on top of deadlines, tackle the dreaded inbox and carve out time for brainstorming I rely heavily on coffee. I must admit I like how coffee so sweetly introduces itself to me each morning.

Melissa Creates Morning Routine

Working from home is a big change! I’ve mastered how to start my day the right way, but there’s a few other things I’m quickly learning too. Finding balance is something so many of us struggle with and what works for us varies person to person. Here’s 8 things I quickly learned in my first month working from home and tips to consider:

  • You have to shut it off at some point. I am a total workaholic. I have no issues getting up by 7am and starting my day even if that day is front of the computer ALL DAY LONG. The earlier I get started the better. My first few weeks working from home I watched the clock melt. What works for me is trying my hardest to complete the task I was on the moment the husband says he’s heading home. This can be hard, but you have to shut it off at some point. This gives us time to talk about our day, cook/eat dinner, go for a walk and fit in some TV before I check my messages one last time while laying in bed.
  • Get up and walk it out. In the middle of the day, stop what you’re doing and go catch some sunshine. After spending the first few days in my office working I started to get cabin fever and so did the dog. I take my time checking the mail in the middle of the day and on those super gorgeous days I sit on the porch or walk around the block.
  • Don’t turn on the TV but turn up the tunes. I find it hard to function without noise unless I’m writing. When I’m writing I hit the pause button, otherwise Pandora, my record player or Rhapsody are doing their thing while I work. The TV is too distracting so I never turn it on during my work day. Ever. I also shut off my social media notifications from time to time.
  • Research. In my opinion research is work.  It’s important to stay current, read a few articles related to your industry, pause to look at your stats and write up your monthly/weekly goals. I often check out my Instagram stats along with my blog stats to see what’s working. When are people most engaged? What do they like most? Research is hard work, honestly it’s harder work than styling a table display.

melissa creates morning routine

  • Take advantage of your job from time to time. One of the things I felt guilty about was making calls, grocery shopping, meeting friends for lunch, etc when I was suppose to be working. Um… I work from home which is tough work but it also has its perks. Schedule those lunch dates from time to time and run to the grocery store to get that knocked off your to-do list!
  • Clean up after each assignment/project. Sometimes I’ll leave a small mess from a blog post photo styling or DIY post and begin editing the photos or answering emails. After a few hours I start to get anxious and before I know it I have small piles that need to be cleaned up before I can do anything else. It stressed me out. Now I make it a point to clean up after each crafty masterpiece is created or table display is photographed.
  • Make things functional. I thought I had my office set up perfectly, but after spending triple the amount of time in it I’ve discovered a few things needed to be moved around. You can see my cozy office space here. Shop order packaging is super important to me so this year I started dressing up orders even more. To dress up orders you need more items to do so and that means space. Recently I shared on Instagram a photo of a door organizer that helped get some of my packaging supplies out of the corner and in a more functional manner. Take the time to stop working and make things functional.
  • Don’t go crazy snacking. I don’t feel guilty about having a variety of drinks on my desk and I stick by that. I’m also fine with 1 snack on my desk. What wasn’t working for me was having multiple snacks on hand. I can totally blame the “snacking while you work” on the pregnancy, but in all reality there’s no reason I had chips, donuts and macarons on my desk at 2pm on any given day. Water and coffee are always desk acceptable items to help get you through your day…. but maybe not the overload of sweets.

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Valentine’s Day Breakfast In Bed

Valentine's Day Breakfast in Bed

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I big time fluffy heart Valentine’s Day. Simple celebrations are my favorite and Valentine’s day offers just that, a simple way to show a little extra love to your favorites. The husband and I are pretty lovey dovey each day of the year, but it’s fun to have a day where you think outside of the box to celebrate your love.

So, if you’re searching for a simple way to celebrate Valentine’s Day do so with a stylish breakfast in bed spread. I wish I could start every morning by having breakfast or brunch in bed. Breakfast is my favorite meal, so much so that I’ve been known to have a breakfast meal at 7am and then again at 10am. True story.

Valentine's Day breakfast in bed by Melissa Creates

Valentine's Day Breakfast in Bed

Food is another word for I love you, right?

For my Valentine’s Day breakfast in bed I picked up fresh flowers because everyone should always pick up fresh flowers when they go to the store. And one simply can’t go wrong with doughnuts, a fruit parfait and coffee. Oh my goodness how I love me some coffee. If you’re looking for a more traditional fruit dip and not a yogurt based treat check out my go-to fruit dip recipe here

You can grab your Valentine a stylish coffee mug in the shop here. Breakfast in bed plus a new coffee mug? I would have to say that’s an absolutely perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Valentine's Day breakfast in bed by Melissa Creates

Valentine’s Day Gift for Coffee Lovers

Valentine's Day gift for Coffee Lovers

Hello there, coffee and tea lovers. Let your favorite person know I have your Valentine’s Day gift covered. Well, let them know they have to grab fresh flowers for your new mug and I’ve got the rest covered.

If you’re celebrating Galentine’s Day with your girlfriends grab a few mugs and spoil the ladies this year. They’ll love it! How ever you coffee and tea lovers celebrate I have your back.

Now for a little shop update:
I’ve been working hard on creating new fancy packaging materials for all orders and you’re totally going to love it. If you’re on the newsletter mailing list you’ll see some packaging snap shots and you can spot a few on Instagram too. The packaging has to be just as pretty as the mug of course!  I’m also working hard on new items for the shop. The Doctor Who inspired Bowties are Cool mug will be discontinued soon and new products will debut. I’m not kidding when I tell you I’m working hard on the shop because there should be a Shop Melissa Creates item in everyone’s casa!

Valentine's Day gift for Coffee Lovers


Lincoln’s Blue and Gray Nursery Reveal

Lincoln's Nursery

Oh M Gee. The nursery is ready! I honestly wasn’t sure this day was ever going to come. We spend most of our weekends in this space making it the nursery we always dreamed of. The colors we wanted to stick with were blue (mostly navy blue), gray and white. These colors and mixture of patterns fit the rest of the house and our style perfectly. You can see our cozy living room here. We wanted simple, stylish, minimal and touches of our favorite things. We’re thrilled with the results, but I’m sure I’ll add and tweak a few items over the next week or two. I hear they call that nesting. wink.

Lots of photos and details below! I’m sure you’ll be head over heels for Lincoln’s blue and grey nursery too.

Lincoln's Navy and Gray Nursery Reveal

Lincoln's Nursery Reveal

Lincoln's Navy and Gray Nursery

The custom artwork framed above the changing table might just be my favorite thing in his room. I wrote down a few things that expressed our love for Lincoln and had my gal Kori do her magic. She’s the best and has spoiled our little man with so much love already!

Lincoln Oliver

Our Little Dream Come True

Look At The Stars, Look How They Shine For You

Of course a little Harry Potter had to make an appearance in his nursery. You can view our Harry Potter maternity photos here. Two of our favorite books are properly displayed next to his stylish gray lamp.

Lincoln's Nursery

Nursery Reveal via Melissa Creates

melissa creates nursery reveal

On the honeybcomb shelf (coolest thing ever) you’ll spot vintage glass bottles, a classic nursery book, Doctor Who peg dolls, a baseball signed by Tim Wakefield (go Red Sox!) and a vintage baby cup. This shelf gave us an extra little space to add a few of our favorite things- Doctor Who, baseball and vintage decor.

Having an item in his nursery that was passed down from family means so much to us. The parents sent us home with a rocking chair that came from my stepdads mother. She passed a few years back and he then took the chair for their house. I’m honored it will be getting lots of late night use in Lincoln’s room. Sticking with the blue colors and pattern mixtures it’s like this chair was meant to be in the space. An over-sized pillow for extra comfort and the softest blanket ever paired perfectly with the rocker.

Lincoln's Nursery Reveal

Lincoln's Nursery Reveal

Lincoln's Nursery

Near the crib you’ll spot a Lincoln blanket, made with love dinosaur mobile, more custom artwork and a custom banner. The banner was used at my baby shower and it fit easily in the nursery after. Don’t you just love finding new spots for items made specifically for your family?

Again, I can’t express how much I love the artwork in his room.

Hello There Handsome

Your First Breath Took Ours Away

My husband is a dinosaur fan..well, really a Jurassic Park fan, but what guy isn’t? This project was all the husbands doing and he did an amazing job. This mobile gave us another fun way to add in an item we’re fans of, but with a touch of class of course. I heart staring at it. There will be a full how-to on the dinosaur mobile soon, so stay tuned!

Lincoln's Nursery

Nursery Reveal

Lincoln's Navy and Gray Nursery

Lincoln's Nursery

Star Wars had to make an appearance in the blue and grey nursery. I picked up these Star Wars and Doctor Who prints at a local geek themed event and had the artist sign them. Poster sized photos can be frustrating when it comes to finding ways to display them. All I could find was the cheap black poster board frames, so I bought them and spray painted them white. Spray paint to the rescue!

These fluffy animals are the cutest. One of my sweet friends gifted me this giant basket and it’s awesome. The husband and I like Monsters Inc and think Mike Wazowski is hilarious. SO glad we found a Mike plush toy to add into the mix. I wish you could feel that owl too- best plush animal ever!

Lincoln's Nursery

Lincoln's Navy and Gray Nursery Reveal

This custom handmade bag and my baby wearing products will have me quickly become one stylish mom. I’ve been practicing my baby wearing skills with stuffed animals- true story.

Lincoln’s simple blue and gray nursery totally rocks, right? We took our time adding in touches that fit our personalities and I’m totally patting myself on the back for the work we did AND for completing this project 2 weeks prior to baby’s arrival! We love our little man so much and poured our love and energy into creating a perfect little space. Whenever you’re ready to make your debut we’re ready, Lincoln!

*Thank you to the wonderful companies that create the most stylish products; it’s an honor to have partnered with you on this special space. Thank you to my readers aka friends for supporting these companies just the same.

Honeycomb shelf, changing pad cover, crib bedding and lamp- Land of Nod
Chevron rug, custom Lincoln blanket and stripe pillow- Wayfair 
Custom artwork and banner- Kori Clark
Custom chevron leather diaper bag- Wanda Lopez Designs
Chenille baby blanket and plush owl- Little Giraffe 

Valentine’s Day Drink- Amortentia

Amortentia recipe drink flags

Well hello there, new week! No baby.. yet. We are ready when he is, but he’s the boss so we’re on his schedule. We did some antique shopping and I ate cupcakes & macarons. Pretty much an ideal weekend.

I had fun with this Valentine’s Day sip. Any blog post that I can wrangle the husband in on always ends up being a blast and our outtakes are the best. You don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to enjoy this sip, but my Harry Potter fans will be smitten by this “love potion” inspired drink. In Harry Potter world this is some pretty powerful stuff and just a sip is all that’s necessary to cause some severe infatuation. Grab the two ingredient drink recipe below.

If you’re a newsletter subscriber these drink flags and the drink warning sign are heading to your inbox. Not on the newsletter list? Sign up here

Amortentia Recipe for Valentines day by Melissa Creates

Valentine’s Day Drink- Amortentia

To whip up this delish bubbly drink combine your favorite sparkling water with pink lemonade. Bam! That’s it. I added 3/4 sparkling water and finished filling the champagne glass with the lemonade.

Be sure to be on the newsletter mailing list to get your drink flag freebies. Print, cut and glue the drink flags to your favorite fancy straw, I recommend bold striped straws. Having a little Valentine’s Day gathering? Show off the drinks warning sign by framing it for your guests to enjoy.

Harry Potter inspired Valentine's Day drink by Melissa Creates

Valentine's Day drink by Melissa Creates

Amortentia kisses

This Harry Potter inspired bubbly Valentine’s Day drink will not suddenly make you 9 months pregnant. I couldn’t resist adding this cutesy couple pic into the mix. 

DIY Pencil Arrows for Valentine’s Day

DIY Pencil Arrows for Valentine's Day

I heart Valentine’s Day. Like big fluffy heart it.

We all know I like simple DIY projects and Valentine’s Days welcomes the simplest of crafting with open arms. The kids get to make their masterpieces, the adults get to create something unique for their Valentine and you can’t go wrong with homemade cards/love notes. You can find all sorts of Valentine’s Day craftyness here and more ideas here.

I introduced you to my go-to paper arrows here and now I’m kicking things up a notch with these glitter gold DIY pencil arrows for Valentine’s day. Searching for a gift for teachers, friends, coworkers or neighbors? These DIY arrow pencils paired with cutesy notepads kinda rock (said as I pat myself on the back).

Head over to Living Locurto for more photos and a FREE Valentine’s Day printable!