Monday, October 20, 2014

5 Reasons To Love Fishing + Savlen Sportswear Apparel Giveaway!

If you live each day in the moment, what do you do, where do you go, who would you want to be around?

When Mr. ArtSea Chic and I think about living in the moment, we always go back to the times of when we get to be together outdoors, especially by the water. Being near or inspired by the coast when we fish makes us not just happy, but also like we are free from the hussle of life's routines and demands; it's just us and nature. We love fishing because we get to step back and embrace:

  • Outdoor elements that we are not in control of but can learn from
  • Quality time growing together
  • Journeys to find the best catch
  • Personalities of the fish we're after
  • Grounding ourselves back into what matters most in life

That's the beauty of fishing, and any of you who fish can agree with all of the above! If you've never headed to the water with a fishing pole in your hand, it's never too late to learn how to catch every moment through fishing.

As our passion for the outdoors grows more and more, we often find our paths crossing with outdoor brands we really feel a connection with. One of those for us is Savlen Sportswear by Mike Savlen, an artist, fisherman, and now apparel designer. I've followed Mike on his journey to transform his Savlen Studio paintings into wearable pieces of art over the past few months, and couldn't be more excited about what Savlen Sportswear has to offer and the potential it has to grow even more. "Catch Every Moment" is Savlen Sportswear's motto, and we definitely feel inspired and intrigued to live out that feeling day to day.  

Mr. ArtSea Chic and I stepped out with our little golden girl Andi to put the gear to the test in the elements of south Houston where it's still 85+ degrees! When looking for the right fishing apparel, one of the first things we consider is how we are going to protect ourselves from Texas' heat and direct sun exposure. Neither of us want to end up with mean red itchy sunburns when we get off the water! :| So breathable performance level shirts and hats are crucial for us to enjoy and focus on our fishing.

As you look at Mike's artwork on the apparel you can see how being an avid fisherman has helped him understand the movements, colorations, and environments of his subjects under the waters of our oceans, streams, flats, bays etc. The contrasting colors really captured our eyes and stand out extremely well in natural light.

Mr. ArtSea Chic wore Savlen Sportswear's Liquid Gold tech tee which is part of Mike's fly fishing collection, and a Bad to the Bone Trucker hat part of the in-shore and flats collection. Knowing he was going to be exposed to direct sunlight for half the day, Mr. ArtSea Chic wanted a comfortable performance long sleeve shirt that would vent well, a good fit that provided flexibility throughout his upper body, and a screen print that wasn't heavy - all of which the tech tee was able to provide. The hat he was a little hesitant about just because he was used to always wearing form fitted hats, but the light-weight cotton and mesh material was able to adjust and fit to the right sizing and the crest didn't itch his head. From past experiences with other snap-back hats though, his only concern would be the durability of the back's snaps to last a long time with extensive use.  

One of my favorite things to take in during our fishing trips is Mr. ArtSea Chic's talent for building custom freshwater and saltwater fishing rods. My man has some serious eye for craftsmanship!! :) It's an amazing feeling to fish with a rod that was custom built for a fishing environment of your choice with styling that compliments your personality.

I wore Savlen Sportswear's Sunset Strike tee part of Mike's offshore collection, and a Carolina blue Dockside Cap part of the branded collection. I would really like to see more of a performance long sleeve selection for women's shirts, because short sleeve is the only option right now...and man did I BURN! My neck especially with the shirt's v-neck front. You'll see how red I got in the video near the end of this post. Aside from burning though, the shirt fits great, is a breathable material, and I'd wear it both for fishing and casually. I also had some hesitations with my hat because the back's metal snap adjustment was really hard for me to move to the fit I wanted. I actually had to get my brother to adjust it for me once. Nonetheless, it absolutely provides a stable and secure fit even when wearing sunglasses, venting, and adequate sun block.

Even Andi got to experience Savlen Sportswear and she was lovin' it!

As we fished throughout the afternoon, Mr. ArtSea Chic decided to jig from the top of a bridge - within a minute he caught himself a nice looking bass and the catch of the day! Of course, he was released safely back into the water.

Andi had to have her celebratory redfish from Cabin Critters for being such a good girl. As you can see though, she loves her redfish very very much :) Might be time to get her a new best friend to play with for Christmas.haha

We had a great day near the water! Watch a behind-the-scenes recap from our day and why we love to fish in the video below:

Now we want YOU to go get out there and catch every moment too! Savlen Sportswear is giving two lucky readers a chance to WIN either a men's hat and shirt, or a women's hat and shirt. This giveaway will close at midnight CST on Thursday, October 23. Winners will be announced on Friday, October 24. Special thanks to Savlen Sportswear! Enter below, good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Unless otherwise stated, all content and photographs are ©ArtSea Chic. Please do not copy or distribute photographs without first asking for permission. Paid endorsement disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of compensation for my endorsement, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this blog, which are mentioned in the ArtSea Chic Media Kit. Please know that I only recommend and endorse products and services that I personally approve, appreciate, and feel would be helpful for readers. All ideas and opinions expressed are completely my own. Thank you for supporting ArtSea Chic!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

How To Harvest & Preserve Fall Herbs

Is it truly fall in Texas yet? I don't think our state knows yet. Friday it was 95 degrees outside and yesterday it was 60 degrees. This really has me and my herbs worried because I don't want them to die before I harvest all their goodness!

I decided I wasn't going to take any chances. I put on my winter jacket and work boots for the first time this year and went out into the garden to harvest. This spring I planted Italian oregano, mint, rosemary, basil, and parsley for the first time, and they've survived and grown so much :) In fact, they are doing so well I had to give bundles to neighbors.

You want to make sure to cut the stems as close to the main stem or the bottom of the plant as possible to stimulate new growth. After trimming and clipping this is what I got. Lots and lots of freshly cut stems to prepare to wash and dry. I wanted to stock up specifically on dried rosemary, Italian oregano, and mint to use as seasonings and mint for some tea packets, but there are many other ways to preserve herbs.

To keep the herb's oils separate, I prefer to wash each kind of herb one at a time. Remove all the leaves from the stems and put them into a strainer to wash thoroughly. You will experience an herbal aromatherapy session while doing this, so be sure to enjoy it ;) Your hands will also smell A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.
Along the way you might find white sacks under the leaves. These could be spider sacks or moth cocoons. Neither of which you want to find after washing, so make sure to look under each leaf very carefully.

After you've removed all the leaves from stems and washed them once or twice, you should have something like this...

I laid all my herbs out on paper towels to dry for at least 4 weeks until they got crunchy. Now, I've tried washing herbs still on their stems, then hanging in paper bags until they dried, but it was too messy for me. If you don't have a lot of counter space I would recommend the paper bag method though.

After 4 weeks (depending on how much air flow they get) your herbs should look darker and have dried up all the way and look something like this...

I love reusing glass jars, so instead of storing the herbs in plastic containers I used mason jars and a spaghetti sauce jar. I think this will be enough to get us through the rest of fall and winter :)

Here's a bonus for you though. If you think you might lose a plant or two during the winter, take a clipping of rosemary, Italian oregano, or mint, and place it in water - it will grow roots! It takes several months to get roots to start sprouting, but you got all fall and winter to prepare for your next plant. Propagation is pretty neat huu?

Unless otherwise stated, all content and photographs are ©ArtSea Chic. Please do not copy or distribute photographs without first asking for permission. Paid endorsement disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of compensation for my endorsement, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this blog, which are mentioned in the ArtSea Chic Media Kit. Please know that I only recommend and endorse products and services that I personally approve, appreciate, and feel would be helpful for readers. All ideas and opinions expressed are completely my own. Thank you for supporting ArtSea Chic!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Nightmare Under The Sea Halloween Treat Mix Bag

What's your favorite type of candy? That's probably what you started thinking about just now. I'll just throw it out there - mine is milk chocolate and caramel Ghirardelli squares :) Everyone is in Halloween mode! The stores have bags and bags of candy, costumes, decor, and my Pinterest feed is blowing up with yummy Halloween treats to make at home. But where's all the coastal inspired Halloween candy treats at?? I've seen candy named as goblin boogers, skeleton bones, pumpkin teeth, spider legs, rat eyeballs...those really don't appeal to me.

I don't live on the coast (yet) haha, but if I did, I'd certainly make a point to stray away from traditional Halloween and do something out of the norm. You all might remember when I did my Ice Bucket Challenge a few months ago I donated to and purchased a t-shirt to show my support of their mission to educate the public about conserving, protecting, and rehabilitating tropical coral reefs and the California rocky reefs. Well, I thought Halloween would be the PERFECT inspirational opportunity to showcase their goals to eliminate and bring awareness to the nightmare that's happening under our seas.

Reef Check, based in Los Angeles, was the first international non-profit organization to ever conduct and report findings from their global survey of coral reef health in 1997. Their report summarized that there was no reef in the world that remained untouched by human impacts, and that coral reefs all over the world are declining due to over-fishing, illegal fishing, pollution, and other human impacts. Reef Check has stepped up to the plate with help from volunteers in over 90 countries, to monitor, manage, and protect coral reefs so they can successfully recover back into a sustained reef ecosystem. Their monitoring program is the official United Nations community-based reef monitoring program, how awesome is that?

So how does Reef Check's mission involve candy to me? Instead of goblin boogers, skeleton bones, pumpkin teeth, spider legs, rat about driftwood, dead coral, fish, worms, shark teeth, sea foam, red algae blooms, and jellyfish stingers under a coat of plastic in waves of the sea? How about use the hype of Halloween candy to turn treats into tasty bits of environmental awareness?

Host a late night movie watching party with these treat bags as snacks, have a Halloween treat swap with neighbors the week of Halloween, pass out these treat bags Halloween night, or have a fall themed dinner with these as the dessert. Kids will stop and look at what they are getting, and parents will be able to get involved in explaining to younger children how the ingredients relate to the basics of why we need to protect our oceans... and why there's a bunch of fish and octopus in their food ;) I believe environmental awareness should start in the home, and this is one way to start that conversation.

To make your Nightmare Under the Sea Halloween treat mix bags, you'll need these materials:
  • Plastic sandwich bags
  • Stapler
  • FREE Nightmare Under The Sea printable tag (download here)
  • Lots of yummy sweets and treats

First download, print, and cut out all your printable tags. For this coastal themed Halloween mix, as stated on the tags, I used the below from my local HEB grocery store and mixed everything together in a bowl.
  • Blue sour patch straws = jelly fish stingers
  • Raisins = fish poop
  • Pretzels = driftwood
  • Twizzlers = lobster legs
  • Marshmallows = sea foam
  • Goldfish = golden fish
  • Candy corn = sharks teeth
  • Gummy worms = worms
  • Mini Oreos = car tires
  • Lifesavers = life rings
  • Jolly Ranchers = sea glass
  • Red Hots = red algae blooms
  • Popcorn = dead coral
  • Gummy octopus = octopus
  • Chex Mix = seashells

Gather all your sweets and treats to fill up your sandwich bags half way. You want to have the bag opening facing down for easy opening and closing of the bag without having to tear your tags apart and create a mess. Your sweets and treats should stay at the lower half of the bag, while the upper half remains empty.

Fold your tags in half to create a crease in the middle. Put the tag over the plastic bag and staple the ends together to securely attach the tag to the plastic bag.

**Mr. ArtSea Chic pointed out the spelling mistakes...don't worry, they've been corrected in the downloadable file.

Now I realize that some parents prefer their children not to receive or eat candy that isn't already wrapped, so I used some of the same treats and sweets in full wrapper form as another option to making your bags.

An easy, tasty, unique Halloween treat, and an important environmental awareness message all in one. Give these treat bags a try and let me know what you think!

If you'd like to support Reef Check like I have, browse their store and art gallery for t-shirts like mine, caps, beach towels, books, paintings, and more. Or you can make a quick donation of any amount you'd like.

Unless otherwise stated, all content and photographs are ©ArtSea Chic. Please do not copy or distribute photographs without first asking for permission. Paid endorsement disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of compensation for my endorsement, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this blog, which are mentioned in the ArtSea Chic Media Kit. Please know that I only recommend and endorse products and services that I personally approve, appreciate, and feel would be helpful for readers. All ideas and opinions expressed are completely my own. Thank you for supporting ArtSea Chic!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Blog Elevated: Recap Of My First Blog Conference!

I didn't even know blogger conferences existed until last month when I heard about Blog Elevated through Texas Women Bloggers and started following Blog Elevated on Facebook. Me, a blogger who has been blogging for 3 years had never heard of such an amazing conference where you would meet other bloggers from around the country, connect with mentors and experts in various professions, and learn how to grow your blog, grow professionally, and be inspired to take things to the next level. Let me tell you what, I was hooked. I wanted to be involved and connect with others in the blogging industry through this conference and their community, and so I started to embrace a little change to move ArtSea Chic forward.

A week before the conference hosted at the Moody Gardens Hotel on Galveston Island, I was graciously given a free conference ticket. Of course I was absolutely shocked beyond belief of the kindness and consideration that was shown towards me, a newbie :) Thank you Bobbie and Lisa!! Along with my extreme excitement, I went into panic mode at the same time - what on earth do I bring, wear, handout, etc to a blog conference?! After scouring Pinterest for other blogger's experience recaps, I put together a checklist for myself of what I needed to bring:
  • Business cards printed same day through (where I work haha) 
  • 5 printed media kits with business cards attached to them
  • 3 ring binder including a pencil case for markers and pens, folder, content calendar, pencil case for storing business cards, and stickers to put on the back for partner promotion
  • Printed conference agenda
  • Notepad
  • Business cards of current ArtSea Chic partners to share with other bloggers in the same niche
  • Business casual colorful island attire paired with sandals and heals (maxi dresses, dress shirts and skirts). But ALWAYS have a backup set if the weather decides to change on you at the last minute!
  • If staying overnight somewhere: comfy PJs, makeup and hygiene basics, hand sanitizer, personal towel to make yours stand out against all the white towels, little gifts for roomies, and whatever else you need to feel at home! 
If there was one thing that I could recommend to any blogger going to their first conference not knowing a single person - it would be to take the initiative to REACH OUT and CONNECT with other first time conference bloggers, experienced bloggers, whoever you feel you want to get to know better and plan to meet up at the conference and share the experience together. I can't tell you how extremely nervous I was to ask bloggers who I had never heard of before, and they certainly had never heard of me, to connect and get to know each other during Blog Elevated. Best decision I made was coming out of my little scallop shell :)

I packed up and made the 5 hour road trip down to Pearland to stay with Mr. ArtSea Chic and his family so I wouldn't have to worry about hotel costs. I only have to drive an hour in each day of the conference, so it was pretty convenient. Beautiful drive onto Galveston Island! Blog Elevated was in my kind of area, can you tell? :)

Even though I have been to Galveston multiple times, I had never been to Moody Gardens or the hotel so I wasn't sure what to expect when arriving. But WOW, this place is gorgeous y'all!! It's covered in lush landscape, plenty of  parking, has amazing tropical views, less than 10 minutes to the nearest beach, and an organized layout of the grounds.

I felt right at home. The atmosphere the Moody Gardens Hotel has is one of adventure, island time relaxation, and immersing yourself in the beauty of the island. They recently did $20 million dollars worth of renovations too. Add that to meeting so many amazing bloggers over three days, and this was truly an outstanding experience for me.

Thursday night we were treated to the sweetest welcome reception hosted by Imperial Sugar, with light food and s'mores by the bonfire, drinks, mingling, and DIY beauty scrubs (lips, hands, and body)! So fun, I was sure to use every single scrub when I got home that night. They worked so well, thanks Imperial Sugar for raising awareness about homemade beauty products that are affordable and safe for our skin, I appreciate that so much :)

I also gotta give a shout out to the rest of Blog Elevated's sponsors below featured in our welcome bag of goodies because without these amazing brands and people, I would've never had this life/blog changing experience!

I had such a fantastic night getting to know everyone, but Friday morning started the real crackdown on learning! We kicked off the day with a keynote by Dayna Steele, which really got me excited about what was to come, and really spoke to the ups and downs that I have personally had in my blogging career.

"Don't be afraid to fail... Believe. Passion. Knowledge. Networking. Appreciation. Get out of your comfort zone!" "You never know where this is all going to go...but keep doing it." ~ Dayna Steele

After meeting with bloggers from our niches, we got the pleasure of hearing a brands to bloggers panel with Kroger's Kristal Howard, Feishman Hillard's Vanessa Astros, and Artful Media Group's Julie Pippert. So insightful to hear what brand's are really looking for in a partnership and how to approach brand's with professionalism and the right information.

"You have to approach... Make an investment into your blog's build." ~ Kristal Howard

"If your readers are excited and continuing the are impacting." ~ Vanessa Astros

"I'm going to find where space is available and who to fill it depending on my client..." ~ Julie Pippert

Up next was lunch sponsored by the Galveston Island Visitors Bureau - YUM! We all felt so spoiled with such a feast before us, I mean look at this...are you hungry yet? We also got a chance to learn more about what Moody Gardens has to offer, and that they have over 2 million visitors a year.

After lunch I dove into another breakout session hosted by Marie Bonaccorse of Proctor and Gamble representing brands like Charmin, about how content matters in social media - the right content that keeps you coming back for more and more. She was absolutely hilarious, I loved every second of it!

"If you don't house the inspiration that comes to you, it will be useless." Marie Bonaccorse

Up next we heard Matt Cherry of iBlog Magazine speak about 30 easy changes to make for giant growth. SO HELPFUL. There's so many ways to make improvements, but deciding which is right for you is so important, and what Matt helped us see.

"Don't put hurdles on yourself. They want to hear from you, they have work waiting for you." ~ Matt Cherry

After a long but very informative conference day came to a close, the party was just around the corner!ha I slid off to Galveston Island State Park about 15 minutes from Moody Gardens to see some beach and dig my toes in the sand and water. I had to be back to the hotel before 7 PM for our cocktail party so I made sure to get back a little earlier to grab some dinner with Mr. ArtSea Chic at the hotel's Cafe :)

Come 7 PM we were ready to get pampered thanks to Kroger, CoverGirl, Pantene, Olay, and more sponsors during the Beauty, Bubbles, and Bites cocktail party! There were stations to get your hair styled, nails done, pick some wine and cheeses, information booths, photo booth, and more. Great way to end the night! Thanks Monique for the fabulous hair styling, loved it!!

Being all refreshed Saturday morning for our last conference day felt so good, and Bjork Ostrom from A Pinch of Yum and Food Blogger Pro taught us a few lessons about clapping coordination and paying attention to what you see vs what you're thinking will happen. Very important business lesson right there ;) But aside from the clapping we got some wonderful insight into every day ways to raise income online through different methods and channels. My favorite point he made was that "Affiliate marketing is about TEACHING people about products and services." Being an affiliate marketing manager myself in my full time job, this was so refreshing to hear because it couldn't be more true in order to create the needed relationship between an audience and advertiser to generate loyalty and sales.

"Trust is a more valuable currency than cash...long term it will affect you." ~ Bjork Ostrom

After Bjork's very entertaining and informative speech, we were headed to three breakout sessions and lunch! My first session was with Amy Locurto of Living Locurto to discuss just how much worth we as bloggers have and how much purchasing power we influence. She was very on point about how we should remember just how much effort, hours, material costs, etc we are putting in behind the scenes to price out partnership proposals.

"Women control $12.5 TRILLION of purchasing power worldwide...Bloggers have redefined marketing!" ~ Amy Locurto

My second session was the most informative session during the whole conference for me. We sat down to listen to Helena Swyter from Sweeter CPA about business bookkeeping basics for bloggers and whether we have or will be working towards the right business model for our blogs. I was too busy taking notes and asking questions to snap a pic :)

The last breakout session of the day for me was with Fred Goodall of Mocha Man Style, where he talked about how to represent our own brand as a blog professionally and in the right light that would appeal most to partners. Fred gave us a truly awesome handbook of things to think about when it comes to our blog's purpose, what to think about when working with brands, and even helped coach us through creating our 30 second elevator pitches. Thanks for the opportunity to critique mine Fred!

"Professionalism is the cost of entry for a brand...If they came to you one time, there was a reason. Don't think they won't come back..." ~ Fred Goodall

So I have a confession to make...I was so wrapped up in all these fabulous breakout sessions that I didn't even know I had won a Penguin Encounter from Moody Gardens until they sought me out on Twitter!! Y'all I just about freaked out with excitement!! Penguins are one of my favorite animals :} CANNOT WAIT to return to Moody Gardens to experience this and tell you all about it.

After calming down a bit  :) ...haha we concluded the conference with a closing keynote by Kristen Welch of We Are That Family of how we can change the world through our blogs and make a difference in the lives of others around the world. I also want to give a shout out to Susan Wenner Jackson from Ahalogy and Zach Doty from Forthea for offering their guidance and assistance to me and other bloggers!

But my adventure wasn't over yet! I had the pleasure of taking a VIP tour with a couple other bloggers to see the prep work being done for Moody Gardens' ICE Land: Ice Sculptures with Spongebob Square Pants that will be open to the public November 15, 2014 - January 4, 2015! Our group was the first to see inside, how awesome is that :) We were lead through the tent by the CEO of Moody Gardens, John Zendt.

900 tons of ice transported from Houston's Glazier Foods is being transformed into holiday scenes from the Nickelodeon classic show and kept at 9 degrees F. Carvers will be creating ICE Land for about 6 weeks, making sure the colored ice blocks, which have been matched to Pantone colors from Nickelodeon, are placed correctly given that they are about 300 pounds! This incredible effort is a $5 million dollar investment by the Moody Foundation and its supporters.

All you islanders don't go with flip flops or you'll freeze your lil toes (I wore them and only lasted 5-10 minutes)!! Dress as if you were traveling up North for the winter.haha There will be three slides to go down, the famous pineapple home of Spongebob Squarepants, a designated picture taking area, and more! Moody Gardens is expecting to welcome more than 30,000 visitors if not more for this event, so book your calendars now and make plans with your family to experience this unique island attraction this holiday season. I will be!

A big thank you to Moody Gardens for being such a fantastic host location for Blog Elevated, y'all really made everyone feel at home and like we were heard, seen, and appreciated every single day while we were on your property.

For being my first blog conference, I gotta say I was so impressed with the wealth of information, networking opportunities, and coaching I received in just 3 days. It has definitely changed my life and my blog forever moving forward. So much that I already bought tickets to Blog Elevated 2015 for myself and Mr. ArtSea Chic who recently  launched his blog DirtyTail Fishing (go check it out!). Can't wait till next year :]

Unless otherwise stated, all content and photographs are ©ArtSea Chic. Please do not copy or distribute photographs without first asking for permission. Paid endorsement disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of compensation for my endorsement, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this blog, which are mentioned in the ArtSea Chic Media Kit. Please know that I only recommend and endorse products and services that I personally approve, appreciate, and feel would be helpful for readers. All ideas and opinions expressed are completely my own. Thank you for supporting ArtSea Chic!

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