When Giving Lasts a Lifetime: The Gift of Trees

This post is in partnership with Arbor Day Foundation.

During this time of year, I do my best to focus on what is truly important about the holiday season. For me, a big part of this is showing my family and friends how much they mean to me. This can be through verbal reminders about how much they’re loved, through time set aside to just hang out or enjoy fun experiences together, or through more tangible means like greeting cards and gifts.

When it comes to cards and gifts – whether specifically for the holidays or beyond – there is little I enjoy giving (or receiving!) more than those that make a difference not just in terms of showing my love, but also to a greater cause. Those who know me in real life or who have been reading this blog for a while know that environmentalism is a cause that has been dear to my heart from the time I was a little girl through the almost 15 years I spent working as the head designer for an eco-friendly clothing company through to today. If I can give gifts that help protect the earth, especially in a way that honors the recipient, I am all in.

This is why I knew the second I came across Arbor Day Foundation’s Give-A-Tree® Cards and Trees in Celebration Certificates that I’d found an incredibly special holiday card for one of the most important people in my life – my mama, and a truly meaningful 5th birthday gift for another love of my life (and budding environmentalist!) – my daughter.

From the time I was a child, my mother taught me about the importance of appreciating, respecting, and taking care of the earth – to the point that I gave her the nickname “Nature Woman” in my middle school days. (I’m pretty sure two of the highlights of her life were when I became president of my school’s ecology club and when I started my business designing eco-friendly clothing.) But even if she wasn’t your stereotypical “tree hugger,” I don’t think I could have chosen a more meaningful holiday card for her. Give-A-Tree® Cards are more than greeting cards. By sending one, you are truly giving a gift that lasts a lifetime. Whether sending holiday greetings, a thank you note, or a “just because,” every card you purchase plants a tree in honor of the recipient, which helps bring our nation’s forests that have suffered due to a natural disaster or wildfires back to life. How great is that? There is also free shipping of the cards this month and in December, and you can also personalize the cards for free, with no minimum order required. It’s so easy to choose and purchase the card too, and takes less than 5 minutes from start to finish. I chose the Parchment holiday card for my mom and added a photo of my kids, and you guys, she loved it. My daughter wanted to hand deliver it and as soon as my mom opened it, her eyes filled with tears. For only $ 5.95, we were able to give her something that touched her heart and will last a lifetime.

Just as my mom taught me how and why caring for the earth is crucial when I was growing up, I try to instill the importance of the environment in my children. Both of my little ones also have a deep love for nature outside of me encouraging it, which brings me so much joy. For my daughter’s fifth birthday in December, I wanted to get her something beyond just the regular toys and clothes she receives. I knew a Trees in Celebration Certificate from Arbor Day Foundation would be the perfect gift. For Essley’s special certificate, I just got on ADF’s website, picked a forest (I chose Chippewa National Forest because it’s the closest to us), chose the number of trees to be planted in her honor (I chose 5), and wrote a personalized message to let her know the gift would be in honor of her birthday. It couldn’t have been easier. When the certificate arrived in the mail and I read it to her, her eyes lit up and she told me it was the “most specialist gift ever.” (See top photo above for her reaction.) I wasn’t sure she’d completely understand what it meant, but she did. Later I caught her explaining to her little brother that there were 5 “Essley trees” planted in a big forest because she was turning 5 and she was going to help save the earth. Major proud mom moment! I plan on buying Trees in Celebration certificates for other upcoming birthdays and anniversaries as well. I really can’t think of a better gift than one it is living, lasting, and full of love like this.

If you’re looking for holiday cards and gifts this year that go beyond the average and truly make a difference, I can’t recommend Arbor Day’s Give-A-Tree® Cards and Trees in Celebration Certificates enough. Arbor Day Foundation itself (a 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation and
education organization) is wonderful and does so many positive things to help our earth through tree planting and more. (Their motto is “We inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees.” Love!)  The fact that they offer such meaningful gifts to honors loved ones in such an incredible way is just one more reason for me to love them. And the fact that it’s so quick and simple to purchase the items a huge bonus. I can’t wait to order more this season and beyond.

I am also teaming up with the Arbor Day Foundation to give away a Give-A-Tree Card Holiday 10-Pack (worth $ 39.95)! Just visit my Instagram to enter (you can enter on the photo of my mama and Essley looking at the holiday card), or click here to visit the raffle page for more info.

Who else finds joy in choosing gifts that have a positive impact on the earth or greater good?

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Protecting Your Dog Against Heartworms #Vectra3DDog

Ceva Animal Health, makers of Vectra® 3D for Dogs, has sponsored this post, but all opinions and statements are my own. You’ve probably seen the coverage on the national news the past few weeks of…



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DogTipper

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RSVP for #CevaHoliday Twitter Party!

Ceva Animal Health has sponsored this post and the upcoming party, but all opinions are my own. We all know that the holidays, for all its fun, can also be stressful for us and our pets, whether…



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DogTipper

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Anka makes a discovery

I see her sniffing along the trail:

anka sees something

It makes the leaves rustle, and she leaps back.

it leaps

I come to look, and it’s a very late season garter snake probably out looking for a hibernaculum.

garter snake

Natural History

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Win A Christmas Dog Pin!

I can’t believe it’s already November–and we’re sliding into the holiday season! Maybe it’s because it was nearly 90 degrees earlier this week, but it has taken me by…



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DogTipper

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Actor Jon Bernthal Joins Show Your Soft Side Campaign

He portrayed a zombie slayer in the AMC series The Walking Dead and currently stars as a vigilante battling bad guys in the web series The Punisher. Off-screen, actor Jon Bernthal fights for all…



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DogTipper

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Best Dog Breeds For Families With Kids

Almost 75 million dogs have been adopted into homes that already owned at least one dog. Multi-dog homes are often good for families with kids. There are other dogs to play with so a dog is not expecting constant attention from your children, or you, all the time, and there is always another dog to play with when the family …
Dog’sHealth.com Blog

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Sudden Weight Loss in Dogs: Signs and Symptoms

Sudden weight loss in a dog that is not attributable to increased exercise or activity should be brought to the attention of your veterinarian. Some dogs do experience cyclical weight changes because they live in seasonal climates and are exercised and walked less during the cold winter months.

To be healthy, a dog should have sufficient fat covering the ribs. …
Dog’sHealth.com Blog

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Boxes, Bags, & BUB!

Ever brought home a new (read: expensive) toy for your cat only to see the new plaything rejected in favor of the box or bag it came in? And if you weren’t so darn amused by watching your cat chase the receipt in the bottom of the bag you’d be really mad, right?

Yep, boxes and bags are a big hit. Experts cite numerous innate reasons for the attraction.

  • Concealment. Cats are predators, so these hiding spaces make it easier for them to surprise their prey—like your dog or maybe even you!
  • Stress relief. If I fits, I sits, right? Hardly claustrophobic, studies show that cats find comfort in any space they can squeeze themselves into. Maybe there’s someone new in your home or a conflict with another family member, your cat can find security in a box or bag.
  • Warmth. Quite literally, it’s warmer inside. Cardboard is a great insulator and bags can get warm quickly—just be sure your cat can get out!
  • Me-time. Your cat doesn’t have to be a total introvert to enjoy playing alone. Alone in a confined space, your cat gets to make up his or her own rules of play.

Recreation. While simple to us, cats can see all the possibilities for fun in a box or a bag—peeping, pouncing, teasing, crinkling, chewing, and even sleeping. See how Lil BUB traps giant Spooky in a bag!

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5 Tips for Entertaining Last Minute Guests During the Holidays

Thank you Edwards® Desserts for sponsoring this post. Head to the frozen desserts aisle of your grocery store to pick up your favorite Edwards pie and make entertaining a breeze!

Okay, so yes, it’s only October. But let’s face it – these days, the holiday season begins the second after the last trick or treater rings the doorbell on Halloween night. And even though it can feel long and drawn out and chaotic and busy, I genuinely love the hustle and bustle of this season. I love the nonstop activities, the decor and music and lights, the overall excitement in the air, and even the last minute entertaining. I thrive on it.

That said, I also admittedly tend to feel overwhelmed in November and December, despite my fondness for the chaos. Around Thanksgiving and the December holidays especially, so many friends and family members from out of town are in the area, and we often have people stop by unexpectedly or call to make last minute plans to visit. We absolutely love having friends over, especially this time of year, and I adore entertaining (even if it’s unplanned), but it can be stressful if I’m not prepared. Thankfully, I have found that if I follow a few simple guidelines, it makes the experience of last minute holiday entertaining enjoyable instead of anxiety inducing. And I’m going to share some of my tips with you today!

1. Use decor you already have for a table setting. If I’m hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, I go all out with my tablescapes. But even when we’re just having last minute guests stop by and we’re serving snacks, dessert, or even just drinks, I like to make the table look pretty. This time of year I usually pull gourds from other areas of my house and arrange them on the table. It takes just a couple of minutes, and it makes things feel fun and festive.

2. Welcome with a warm drink. We always have the coffee pot loaded and ready to turn on this time of year, and have a decaf stash ready too. I hit the start button and brew as soon as a guest arrives. I also keep fresh apple cider on hand, and heat it in a pot with cinnamon sticks when friends come over. (A few splashes of brandy make it especially fun!) Hot drinks are a symbol of the season and also make people instantly feel comfortable.

3. Keep Edwards Desserts on hand. This is a last minute holiday entertaining must for me! Everyone loves desserts, and Edwards Desserts makes absolutely delicious pies that are thaw-and-serve (so easy) but taste homemade. I have tried all of the varieties, but my favorites are Edwards Hershey’s Chocolate Crème Pie and Edwards Key Lime Pie, and I have either one or both of them in my freezer at all times during the holiday season. Edwards Hershey’s Chocolate Crème Pie is decadent layers of of chocolate and vanilla crème that are topped with chocolate drizzle, little chocolate chip, and whipped crème rosettes. And the chocolate cookie crumb crust is to-die-for. Edwards Key Lime Pie is a summer favorite of mine too, but I like to have it on hand during the holidays as well to change things up. The key lime filling (which is made with real Key West lime juice; yes please!) sits on a delicious vanilla cookie crumb crust and is topped with whipped crème rosettes. When a guest calls to say they’re stopping by, I just pull them out and thaw (or serve frozen, which is just as good!). They also make for a delightful ending to Thanksgiving dinner, and are perfect to bring to holiday parties and gatherings. Whether I’m serving alongside savory snacks or alone as a treat with coffee, I always serve Edwards.

4. Have a holiday play list ready to go. My husband makes so much fun of my affinity for nonstop holiday music, but I stand proud, guys. I mean, I’m not obnoxious about it; I give it plenty of time before I dive in, and between now and mid (cough cough, early) November, I have a regular old playlist ready to go. But once Thanksgiving is a week or two (or four) away, all bets are off (and the jingle bells are on). If we’re going to be doing last minute entertaining, I am prepared when it comes to music, and that holiday play list begins the minutes guests arrive. You have to ambience, right?

5. Keep things simple. I realize this isn’t a specific, concrete tip, but I genuinely feel it’s the most important one. I tend to go overboard with planning and (as I mentioned earlier) can get overwhelmed with last minute plans, even when I love the excitement of them. This time of year, I really try to stick with the four things above when last minute guests are coming over, and let the rest go. The holidays should be a time for enjoying the company of loved ones, and sometimes simple (but prepared!) is best.

Do you have any tips for last minute holiday entertaining? Who else is a fan of Edwards Desserts? Oh, and make sure you enter the super cool contest Edwards Desserts is hosting, for the chance to to receive a limited-edition, dessert-inspired prize pack. One lucky winner will also be a guest at a sweet holiday celebration in their hometown! So fun!

Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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