This is a sponsored post. I was compensated in the form of a discount, free product, or monetary payment in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.
Well, my friends, we are now halfway done with the first month of 2017. I don’t know about you, but this is about the time I typically lose steam with my resolutions, which is why I didn’t make any this year! Instead of resolutions, I made myself some promises that are not so all-consuming that I am setting myself up for failure. One thing I would like to do is take a little bit better care of myself. Now that I am mostly working from my home, my daily look has gone from cute to pajamas with no stops in between. And while I can totally get on board with the PJ’s look when I am in the comfort of my own home, out and about, it ain’t so cute. So I am trying to step up my fashion game a bit this year, and I have found that it is super easy to make a big difference with a couple of small changes. Mostly these changes come in the form of accessories, and one of my favorite new accessories is my JORD Wood Watch. These watches are absolutely stunning, and they are so unique! When mine arrived, I was sold just on the box alone.
I love the simplicity of this particular style of watch (the Frankie 35 in Zebrawood and Navy). It’s perfect for giving my everyday looks some style, but it can also be dressed up for wedding consultations and networking events (and when it comes to investing in accessories, I am all about versatility).
Now, let’s talk about how I am stepping up my work-at-home-mom style game. This is what I usually wear when I am running around town hanging out with Squirt. (Full disclosure here: my makeup never looks like this on a normal day…I do have a small amount of vanity folks.) You can see how basic (and boring) my look is: jeans, white T-shirt, and flip flops (and no pedicure, because it’s winter y’all).
But by making just a few small changes, I can totally take this look from bleh to stylish mom. I swapped out my regular jeans for skinny gray jeans (which I am obsessed with) and my flip flops for nude ballet flats (cuter, but still comfortable enough for toddler chasing). I added a long necklace (also doubles as toddler hypnotizer when needed) and my JORD Wood Watch (also great for keeping track of time out length, should your little angel need one).
I may not be winning any style awards anytime soon, but hey, I think we can all agree that look number two is way more interesting than look number one.
If you are interested in checking out JORD Wood Watches for yourself (which should be a duh), then you will want to click on this link right here to enter for a chance to win a $100 gift card to use to purchase your very own JORD Wood Watch. In addition, just by entering the giveaway you get a code to receive $25 off your purchase, what what! But please make sure you jump on this deal fast because the contest ends on January 22, 2017 at 11:59 pm (you can redeem your $25 credit until April 30, 2017).
Seriously folks, so in love with my new watch and I am so happy that I have found a couple of easy style tricks to make me feel a little more human and not like a total slob when I am running around LA. Make sure you take advantage of the awesome JORD deals available!
Do you have any easy style tips for me? Let me know if the comments!
If you read any blogs, I’m sure you have seen your fair share of 2017 Goals posts over the past couple weeks.Well, I am no different, I just got off to a slow start already (go me!). But one of the things I love about my motto for 2017 (which you’ll see in a little bit) is that I don’t care if I’m late to the game! This year is about making a life that works for me and for my family. 2017 is the first full year I will be totally self-employed, which means the hustle is gonna be strong with this one y’all. So let’s do this!
These are my goals for the entire year of 2017:
Coordinate at least 35 weddings. I’m exhausted just thinking about it, but the truth is, wedding coordinating is my main source of income so it’s time to get to it. I currently have 15 weddings booked for this year, so I have some work to do to meet my goal. But I’m gonna work it!
Finish writing my book. I recently started a new writing project that I am REALLY excited about. Despite the fact that I have a degree in Creative Writing, I haven’t done anything novel-writing wise probably since college. Now that all of my brain power isn’t being sucked out in the world of education, my creative juices are flowing again and I am pumped to get back in the game.
Travel to three new places. We have a couple of trips tentatively scheduled for summer time, but nothing concrete yet. I’m dying to go back to New York, but I also want to branch out a bit and try some new locations.
Blog on a schedule that works for me. Not going to lie, there were a couple months in 2016 when I was KILLING it on the blog. I was posting three times a week and doing A LOT of work promoting my posts. And while I saw some moderate results traffic wise, it did not even come close to the amount of hours I was putting in. So for 2017, I’m going to post when I feel like it. I love blogging, I have been doing it in one form or another for seven years. But it doesn’t always make me happy, and it certainly isn’t bringing in the big bucks. So for now, I will blog when I have something to say and won’t when I don’t (imagine that).
Read 52 new books. I was reading like fiend over Matt’s Winter Break, but now that I am back to being home alone with Squirt during the week, I have slowed my pace way down. Gotta get back on that train!
Make mini monthly goals/priority lists. Last year I made some pretty strict schedules for myself and they just didn’t work for me, so this year I am going to try to give myself a little more freedom and set some broader goals each month. These will kind of be combo to do lists (like you see below) and goals for the month. I will also have some social media target numbers for each month (that will not include blog pageviews) as I do want to continue to grow my presence there (for numerous reasons which I will expand on later).
Get a literary agent. Part of writing a book is the whole aspect of getting people to read it. I am still looking into going the self-publishing route, but I do want to at least put some feelers out in the world of literary agents and see what happens before I commit to self-publishing.
Be present in my time with Squirt. This is hard for me because I am essentially a work at home mom. I am home with my kid, but I also have shit I need to get done throughout the day. But I need to be better about dedicating hours throughout our day together that are just for him (namely, I need chunks of time when I don’t check my email and social media accounts). I tend to justify looking at my phone every fifteen minutes because you know, it’s my job, but in reality, I don’t NEED to do that, I WANT to. And I need to stop.
Make healthier decisions. Look, I’m not going to sit here and lie and be all like “I love my body no matter what”. I don’t. But I also have no real plans to completely change my lifestyle and/or eating habits. That just ain’t gonna happen. However, there are plenty of times I can make a small swap during the day and do something better for myself and my health and that needs to happen.
Be a rebel all year long. This goal is actually going to get it’s own post pretty soon so I won’t say too much about this, but “Be a Rebel” is my motto for 2017. And yes, it has some ties to Star Wars, which you can read about whenever I decide to publish my “Be a Rebel” post.
So those are my overarching goals for 2017. This month you get a two-fer, yearly goals and my monthly priorities. I’m not going to share all of my monthly minis since some of them will be personal or specific to weddings and jobs I have going on that month. But I will share the ones that seem relevant, and I will share my social media numbers with you.
January’s Mini Goals and Priorities:
–Put together my media kit
–Start planning my sister’s bachelorette party
–Start getting my tax info organized
–Read four books
–Organize stuff for @mynerdycloset (my Instagram pop-up shop) and post more items for sale, and on a more regular basis
Now that we are firmly ensconced in 2017, I finally feel like I can write this post. I think we can all agree that 2016 was just a weird year. The negativity just seemed to get worse and worse and worse as the year went on, and there was a lot to be legitimately unhappy about in the year 2016. It’s interesting for me because in a year of so much hate and anger and sadness, I made one of the best decisions of my life, and personally speaking, I am the happiest I have ever been. So I promise, this post is going to end on a high note. But as Dolly Parton would say, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain. Let’s tackle the enigma (sadly not wrapped in a riddle or cash…high five if you got that reference) that was 2016.
I was bullied out of my job.
Honestly, I have been grappling with how to share this story for months, and I still don’t know that I can do it justice. I wanted to get to a point where I was emotional enough that the story made an impact, but not so emotional that it didn’t have perspective. I don’t know if I’m in that place yet, but I’m going to try. I might go into more details about this situation at a later date, or I might not, but some form of this needs to be out in the universe. Here’s the sitch: For those of you who don’t know, I spent the last eight years teaching both junior high and high school. In the beginning I was just teaching English, but for the last four years, I also got to teach theater, which was my dream job. The school I was teaching theater at is located in the kind of neighborhood where parents are overly involved in their children’s lives, and it happens to be in a suburb of LA semi-famous for shooting out teen and tween stars (like Ashley Tisdale and Taylor Lautner, to name a few). In my junior high theater program I had kids who were legit working actors, on both stage and screen. To say that the parents were challenging would be the understatement of the century. However, for the first two years I had an extremely supportive administration whose bottom line was basically smile and nod to their face and then do whatever the hell you want (you know, since I am the one with a degree and credential). When we got a new assistant principal and principal, that attitude changed. The motto became “If the parents complain about something, you change your program to make them happy.”
It sucked. And I was miserable. I was verbally abused and threatened by multiple parents, and the response of my administration was always, “Let it go”. My final year, things got pretty bad. My AP called myself and my theater teaching partner in to a meeting and accused me of going behind her back and deliberately disobeying a direct order from her. I had proof that I had not done that, because she did not give the order in the first place. When our principal was confronted with this information, he lied and said he was responsible for the miscommunication. I also had proof of his lie. When it came time for me to be evaluated by this AP–who despite the proof could not bring herself to, I don’t know, apologize for calling me a liar and placing restrictions on my program that were not in place for anyone else’s–I asked to be evaluated by someone else. My principal refused my request. I sat through multiple evaluations with the AP who had lied and accused me of something I didn’t do and listened to her tell me that my students had no direction and no purpose (even after they won multiple awards for their work). She observed me one day teaching a lesson that was mandatory for our elective department and then asked me why I would have her come in on that day since the lesson did not relate to my subject (so maybe then, don’t make me teach it?). Every one of her evaluations had comments in it that were in direct conflict with our contract and the stipulations of teacher evaluations. And she topped it off by telling me that after eight years of teaching, and four years of running the most successful junior high drama department our district had seen, that I did not meet the minimum standards of teaching.
As an added bonus on top of the bullying, I also got deal with some sexism, because why not?!?! When I told my principal I was resigning at the end of the year he said, “If that is the decision your husband and you have made then I understand.” Let’s just imagine a principal saying to a male teacher, “If that is the decision your wife and you have made, then I understand.” Right. In addition, the male performing arts teacher on campus did not have to comply with any of the rules that were enforced for my program.
I don’t like to use the bullying term lightly. As a former teacher, I have seen the effects of actual bullying, and I have dealt with both kids and parents inappropriately using the term. But I was bullied out of my job. I sent a file folder full of documents proving wrongdoing on the part of my administration to my union and never heard a word about it. In the end, I knew the only way I was going to be happy was the remove myself from the situation. So I did. I gave up my dream job because an assistant principal targeted me and didn’t relent. The sad thing is it’s only a matter of time before she’s promoted.
Okay, that was a little heavier and more detailed than I originally intended so let’s break this up with some positivity! I was bullied out of my job, but it turns out….it was the best thing that ever happened to me!
Some Highlights from my First Six Months as a Work at Home Mom:
I get to spend every day with my kid. We go to Disneyland once a week. I get to work with amazing couples on the happiest day of their lives. I have a job that allows me to be creative. I get to make my own schedule. I trained my toddler to sleep in until 9:30. I can go to Starbucks whenever I want. I don’t have to change out of my PJ’s if I don’t feel like it. During Squirt’s nap time I can lay in bed and read a book. Or take a nap. Or work on my blog. Or craft. Or watch crappy TV. I finally feel like writing again. I can stay up late. I don’t have a boss. I am not constantly worrying about pleasing other people. I get to see Squirt grow and learn and change and progress. When I have to pee, I go to the bathroom, like right then. I do what I want. Oh, and I am not completely fucking miserable every day.
The 2016 Election (aka Back to the Shitty Stuff).
I don’t think I have anything poignant to say on this topic that hasn’t already been said by people much more eloquent than I am. But here goes. I never imagined I would sit on my couch and cry watching the results of an election. It wasn’t even just November 8th that I cried. I cried multiple times in the following days, not just because Trump won, but because people in my family, that I know and love actually voted for him. That was the hardest thing to come to terms with. How can people who I know are good people put aside the rights of others, the rights of people in our own family, for a tax break? Because that’s how the moderate Trump supporters justify themselves. Trump is going to do wonders for the economy. We’re all going to have so much more money after he cuts taxes. Even if I’m a millionaire by 2020, it wouldn’t be worth sacrificing basic human rights (and tax cuts don’t turn anyone into millionaires). It is really, really hard for me to talk about these issues with my family because they just don’t get it.
I was raised in a very well off suburb of LA (see description of where I taught, above). In comparison to my classmates, we were poor. My mom was a single mom with three kids. She didn’t make a lot of money, and I had less than almost every person I went to school with. But we also weren’t actually poor. We always had a place to live, clothes to wear, and food to eat. We were definitely different from most of our friends, and I’m not taking anything away from my mom’s struggles, she worked her ass off to support us. But that doesn’t change the fact that we still grew up in a white, middle class neighborhood. In the entire 6th grade of my elementary school, I was one of two kids with divorced parents. There was one African American girl in my grade in elementary school and no Hispanics. I grew up in the epitome of the bubble. My extended family all traces back to Oklahoma and the south. I had ancestors on the second boat from England to America. I had ancestors who were slave owners. I remember my great grandfather using racial slurs liberally. My family members told racist jokes at holidays and we all laughed.
These were all things that I knew, they were just my life.I would never have dreamed of calling anyone a racist name. I would not have let an initial racially based judgment form my entire opinion of a person. But I would be a big fat liar if I said I didn’t make those judgments–I did. Mothers on welfare? Lazy. Hispanic kid falling asleep in class? Doesn’t care about his education. If a cop shot a black guy, then he obviously did something to provoke the action. I had always been liberal when it came to gay rights, probably stemming from my background in theater and the fact that I had several gay friends in high school and in my theater career in college. But I would not have been someone to stand up for immigrants or for the poor or for women who need access to Planned Parenthood. Teaching completely changed my perspective on politics. I saw and heard more heartbreaking stories than I could even begin to express here. Basically, teaching allowed me to see the perspectives of hundreds of people who were not like me. I had been making judgments based off of my American experience, and it didn’t really occur to me that others had a different story to tell. The problem with America right now is there’s a whole lot of talking and hardly any listening. Think about it: When was the last time you sat down with someone with a completely different background and upbringing and asked them what it was like? When was the last time you listened to someone’s struggles and put yourself in their shoes? Listening to and acknowledging someone else’s struggles does not diminish your own, but I feel like that is the most common defense. “Well, I didn’t have to use food stamps so why should she?” Maybe because she is not you. How about you ask her why, hear her story, instead of judging her.
I am TERRIFIED of what Trump might be able to do in his presidency. But I’m even more scared of the power of the people who voted for Trump. Are they all terrible, horrible people who are going to go out and commit hate crimes? Of course not. But by voting for Trump, you made it okay for others to do just that, and plenty of people already have and will continue to do so.
Positive Things That Came Out of the 2016 Election:
Okay, there aren’t that many. But there’s always a good side to look at. Thousands of people have spoken out in support of those who now feel unsafe in our country. People have rallied around their friends and neighbors. The majority of voters in our country voted for a female President. People like me, who may have stood quietly by in the past, have found their voice. Millenials–God bless ’em!–proved to be exceedingly in support of Hillary both in the polls (as this map shows) and on election day. So there is hope for the future.
The Death of Carrie Fisher.
I did not expect to be so affected by Carrie’s death. My love for Star Wars is a new thing, so I did not grow up idolizing Princess Leia like so many others did. My brother was a SW fan so I saw the movies often enough in passing, but it wasn’t until recently that I developed my own love for the films. I was sad to hear about Carrie because I know for many girls she was their first example of a strong, intelligent, brave, headstrong, kickass female role model. And I wish I had had that. Maybe if I had idolized Carrie Fisher I would have been more likely to stand up for myself on the countless occasions I have been sexually harassed throughout my life. Maybe I would be able to put myself out there more without fearing judgment from others, or try new things more often, or I wouldn’t just let people walk over me. Obviously, I don’t know if anything in my life would have changed if I had grown up with Carrie Fisher in my life, but the impact she made on the world in terms of feminism and mental health issues cannot be denied. RIP Carrie.
Photo courtesy of Disney
The Only Good Thing (So Far) That I Know of to Come Out of Carrie’s Passing:
A whole new audience is going to watch her movies and hopefully be inspired by her message both on and off screen. Her books are going to reach a new market of people (I ordered The Princess Diarist on Amazon about a week ago and it was the top selling book, and on back order) and they will hopefully look at mental health issues in a new light.
Are you depressed now? If so, I’m sorry. But I would like to end on this final (positive) note: Despite the shittiness that is going on in the world–not just in America, but everywhere–there is always good to be found. Mister Rogers used to talk about how his mom always told him to look for the helpers when there was a scary situation. The new incarnation of Mister Rogers, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, dedicated an episode to this statement with a song reminding kids (and adults) to “Look for the Helpers”. Remember that there are always helpers. Look for those people. Surround yourself with those people. And when you can, be those people. 2017, don’t let us down.
Well folks, it’s that time again, my favorite time of the month (or time to talk about my favorite time of the month because the holidays kicked my butt and I am way behind on posting…but anyways…). Time to reveal the full contents of my Owl Crate subscription box. If you are new to these parts (welcome!) Owl Crate is a monthly subscription box designed especially for lovers of young adult literature. I signed up about eight months ago and I have not been disappointed with the contents of my boxes! December’s theme was EPIC, and this box was the shizz. I loved November’s box, but this month’s was basically made for me (though it did not contain either Richard Madden or Orlando Bloom, so there’s that). But on to the goods! Here’s what we received in the December Owl Crate box:
These Game of Thrones coasters from Dark Horse Comics are the best. Probably my favorite item I’ve ever gotten in an Owl Crate. I am still halfway through book two in the Song of Ice and Fire series (as I have been for about six months), but I am hoping these coasters will encourage me to actually finish reading them soon. If nothing else, they will be a sweet addition to my Season 7 Game of Thrones premiere party (though it may be hard to top the last one, I’m going to try!).
This month’s book is Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst. I am really excited to read this one because it seems like a unique take on fantasy and I am in love with the fact that there is an LGBTQ teen in the novel. It has been bumped up on my TBR list because I am so excited for it.
Obvs I love me some Harry Potter so I was sooooo excited to add to my HP Funko collection. I have to say, I think I like the minis better than the full size, however since I already had a full size Harry, it looks a little funny next to my mini Hagrid (Harry is double the size of Hagrid, which just ain’t right). But this is the cutest Hagrid ever and I love it!
I have loved Jane Mount’s pins from Ideal Bookshelf for a while (please make a Romeo and Juliet pin Jane!!!) so I was stoked to see the Lord of the Rings pin in the box. Not gonna lie, never read the books and I have no intention to, but I loved the movies (I know how that makes me sound, no judging….also I may or may not have had an unhealthy Orlando Bloom obsession back in the day).
Also in the box was this amazing Narnia themed greeting card from Susanne Draws (her artwork has been in the boxes in the past and it’s always so beautiful!) and this Darker Shade of Magic sticker from Miss Phi, along with the monthly pin illustrating the theme.
Honestly, I probably would have been happy with this box with just the coasters and my Hagrid mini Funko, so all the other awesomeness was just a bonus! The January theme is Classic Remix, which should be interesting because despite the fact that I have an English degree and taught English for six years, I haven’t read the majority of classics in the literature canon. So we’ll see what happens! If you are interested in checking out Owl Crate for yourself (and you should!) please use my referral link and help a sista out!
So as some of you probably know, my “real” job (in addition to being a mom) is as a wedding planner/coordinator. I have been coordinating weddings for the past six years, and went full time about six months ago. I own and operate Falon B Weddings in the LA area, and have traveled all over to help brides and grooms make their wedding visions a reality. As we are smack dab in the middle of engagement season, I thought I would share some of my wedding planning tips with you over the next couple of months. These are just the basics, but hopefully they will help any of you future brides and grooms out there get a good jumpstart on planning. More detailed tips and tricks will be coming your way soon, but for now, here’s what to do as soon as you get engaged!
1. Jump up and down, squeal, cry, call your girlfriends, send out lots of pictures of your ring, call your parents, call his parents, call your siblings, stare at your ring for a few hours, buy some wedding magazines, drink some champagne. Got that out of your system? Now it’s time to jump in to the actual planning!
2. As unromantic as this sounds, one of the first steps is to determine your budget. Who is going to chip in and how much are they going to contribute? You really can’t make actual plans until you know exactly how much you have to work with. Once you have the amount you can spend, work out a rough outline of a budget (note that this will probably change over the course of the planning process). Figure out what is most important to you and your betrothed and dedicate the majority of your funds to those areas.
3. Once you have a budget and know about how much you are going to spend, make a first draft of your guest list. This by no means will be your final invite list, but before you can approach venues or caterers, you need a rough guest count.
4. Think about how you want your wedding to feel. Decide on some of the basics. Indoor/outdoor? Time of year? Formal/informal? Get some general details figured out (make sure you include your spouse on this!).
5. Decide on your “must” list. Every couple with have their own list of non-negotiables. Want to get married on your anniversary? Your date is a non-negotiable. Have to have your bridesmaids in pink? That is a non-negotiable. Always dreamed of a live band? Non-negotiable. Try to keep this list to two or three things or your planning is going to be difficult!
6. Start researching venues. Your venue is going to determine many other factors of your wedding–caterers, vendors, music, feel, look, etc. It can also influence your colors, your date and your guest count. Keep those non-negotiables in mind. If you have to have a live band but a venue you like has noise restrictions, you might want to consider another location.
7. Once you have your venue picked out and reserved, the fun stuff really begins. Now you can think about cake tasting, flowers, photographers, music and all the other details that make wedding planning fun.
This is juuuuust the beginning of the wedding planning process friends, but don’t worry, more tips for planning success will be coming to you soon. And if you are in the LA area and want to work with an awesome coordinator (that would be me ;o)) hit me up at email@example.com!
Let me know if you have specific wedding planning questions you want me to answer, just drop them in the comments!
This post contains affiliate links. In addition, I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Ugh, you guys. This book was soooooo good. Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow is about a seventeen year old girl named Charlie who is a cutter. She is sent to an inpatient clinic, but is released after just a few weeks because she can’t pay the fees (so many thoughts on that subject). She ends up traveling to Arizona to meet up with an old friend and she starts to get her life on track. She gets a job, finds a place to live, and seems to be doing okay. Then she meets Riley West, a former one hit wonder rocker with a serious drug and alcohol problem and things start to take a dangerous turn. Charlie has to figure out what kind of life she wants to lead and what kind of person she wants to be (and think about how hard that is to do as a teenager, now couple it with a mental health issue).
I loved this book for so many reasons. One, the writing is beautiful. This is Glasgow’s debut novel, which is actually hard to believe because the writing is so powerful and well-crafted. Two, this is such an important topic and I am so glad that so many young adult literature authors are handling it in such an authentic way (see my review on All the Bright Places if you want another awesome book on teen mental health). I spent eight years of my life working in junior highs and high schools and I can personally attest to the fact that there are so many teens struggling with self harm and the majority of them do a really good job of hiding it. When books like this come out and gain popularity it can have such a tremendous impact on kids who are in a similar situation. It makes my heart happy to think that there are kids out there reading this book and seeing themselves in Charlie. If nothing else, they know that they are not alone.
The main reason I think this book resonated so much with me is that all of the characters are so real. Charlie is the kind of character that makes the reader feel her pain along with her. When Charlie struggles, you want her to be okay. When she succeeds, you cheer on her achievements like you would your best friend’s. The supporting characters are equally as strong and well-developed, and are a diverse and interesting group of people who seem real and authentic.
Whether you are a young adult literature fan or not, Girl in Pieces is the kind of book that everyone should read. Mental health issues are a huge problem in our country (mainly due to the serious stigma that goes along with them) and we need to start the conversation, especially with teens. Books like this can do so much to help that conversation along and I truly hope you will take the time to read it soon.
Holy moly folks, can you believe it is time for another year end round up? I can’t believe that we are already looking back on 2016. Personally, a lot of good came out of 2016 so I’m going to focus on that instead of some of the other atrocities the year had to offer. Let’s accentuate the positive, shall we? Here is what you loved on Falon Loves Life the mostest this year:
10. A look inside the very carefully planned contents of my Disneyland bag. My motto? Be prepared!
9. Over the summer we stayed at the Grand Legacy Hotel in Anaheim, and y’all were interested in what I had to say about the local Disneyland property.
7. AP Days at the Disneyland Resort is always one of my favorite times, and this year’s event was pretty good (though not as good as some years have been, not gonna lie).
6. All the Bright Places was one of the best YA books I have ever read, so I’m not surprised this review made the list.
5. Frozen Live at the Hyperion opened to mixed reviews from Disneyland diehards, these were my personal thoughts on the subject.
4. Anaheim’s only rooftop bar, the Fifth, had it’s grand opening this year, which I was happy to get to attend. I offered you a sneak peek at one of the best fireworks viewing locations there is in the city.
3. It’s hard to believe it has only been a year since I made my first pair of fabric covered ears. I have since made many more, but these Star Wars ones were my first, and your faves.
2. Another popular craft this year was this super cute Harry Potter tote bag that I still love and use all the time.