Shop for Kindness at Mall of America

13 Brands that Give Back to Charity: find them all at Shop for Kindness at Mall of America | Thyme is Honey

Less is more, or so they say, but this little saying has become somewhat of a mantra for me over the past couple of months as we’ve made a goal of simplifying our lifestyle and creating better habits when it comes to consumerism. One aspect of that was downsizing (we went from a 2200 sq ft house to a 1200 sq ft loft), but the other side of it has been learning to live with less and being much more intentional about the products we are purchasing.

Conscious consumerism is nothing new, but it is something that I see gaining momentum, which is why I was so thrilled to see a shopping mecca like The Mall of America lead the way on an amazing initiative called Shop for Kindness. I don’t know about you, but The Mall of America (as Minnesotan’s we affectionately call it MOA) has been part of my entire life. It opened in 1992 and is about a 2.5 hour drive from the town I grew up in. Each fall we’d make our pilgrimage to the mall to do our back to school shopping, and in the summer (if we were lucky) we’d make a trip to Camp Snoopy (the on-site amusement park in the center of the mall, now called Nickelodeon Universe).

Debut is a new space at The Mall of America that can be thought of as a mini pop-up. They fill the space with a curated collection of brands on a rotating basis. The new collection just opened up a couple weeks ago and I was honored to attend the grand opening! This one is called Shop for Kindness and it includes a curated collection of amazing brands (full list at bottom), each of which benefit a dedicated cause or initiative. The event, of course, was a blast, but it was so fun to know that everything being sold was also making a positive impact! I loved learning more about each of the brands, hearing their stories, and learning what type of initiative my purchase would support.

13 Brands that Give Back to Charity: find them all at Shop for Kindness at Mall of America | Roma Boots

I’m really excited to introduce you to a couple of the brands that I discovered at Shop for Kindness and tell you more about their initiatives. The first one is Roma Boots, a company making absolutely adorable rain boots in assorted styles. Their mission is to “give poverty the boot” by providing impoverished children with aid and education. For every pair of boots sold, a new pair is donated to a child in need PLUS 10% of all proceeds help fund educational initiatives around the world. I’ve never owned a pair of rain boots, but was so happy to have these Roma Boots during our recent trip to Duluth (during which it rained a fair amount). I love the Chelsea, a classic, low, matte-black pair that I picked up at Shop for Kindness — they are super comfortable, really functional, and the price point (around $60) is so reasonable when you think of all the good one pair of boots is doing! I know that these boots will be a staple in my closet for many years to come. Purchase your own pair via their website and follow @RomaBoots on Instagram.

13 Brands that Give Back to Charity: find them all at Shop for Kindness at Mall of America | Woodchuck USA

The next brand I discovered at Shop for Kindness and instantly fell in love with was Woodchuck. Not only are their products made in the USA and made using sustainably sourced wood, but Woodchuck plants one tree for every single product that they sell! How amazing is that? Their website has an updating ticker that says they’ve planted 342,962 trees to date and it feels good knowing that I got one of those babies in the ground! Along with an amazing initiative, their products are absolutely gorgeous. I loved the “A Life Well Lived” journal, and knew it would make a perfect host’s gift during our weekend up north. This journal was my favorite design and was actually a collaboration with another amazing brand, Northern Glasses (more about them, below)! But, it was hard to leave without their World Map Coasters or a wooden skin for my Mac! View their products on their website and follow @WoodchuckUSA on Instagram.

13 Brands that Give Back to Charity: find them all at Shop for Kindness at Mall of America | Northern Glasses

Last but certainly not least was Northern Glasses, whose initiative hits especially close to my heart (you know I love hydration!). With every purchase you help make clean water accessible throughout the world. When you get a glass, you help send a gallon of water to people who need it. Water is life, friends, and I can absolutely get behind this brand and their mission. Plus, the glasses are just adorable. We picked out a 4-pack and clearly we went with kind of a woodsy/adventurous theme. They were perfect for sipping a Minnesota-brewed beer while we sat around the campfire during our recent trip! Check out all their designs on their website and follow @NorthernGlasses on Instagram.

I hope that if you find yourself en route to The Mall of America anytime soon, that you’ll plan to stop in and see the amazing brands currently featured at Shop for Kindness. These brands make amazing gifts for graduates, weddings and father’s day! You’ll find Shop for Kindness on the first floor near Zara. These brands will be available there through September 10th, 2017. Here is a full list of the brands available along with their giving initiative.

Dog Friendly Travel: Duluth, MN

Dog Friendly Travel: Duluth, Minnesota | trip planning tips + itineraries for planning your dog friendly vacation in Duluth, Minnesota.

Last week we escaped north to Lake Superior for a couple nights of dog friendly travel in Duluth, Minnesota. We ended up with better weather than we had expected (always a nice surprise!) but did have to dodge rain a time or two. Even with cooler temperatures and a bit of rain, we managed to keep ourselves and Walter very happy and entertained during our time in Duluth, and are excited to share our tips with you! We’ve included suggestions to help you start building your Duluth itinerary and would also suggest checking out the Visit Duluth website for additional ideas!

Dog Friendly Travel: Duluth, Minnesota | trip planning tips + itineraries for planning your dog friendly vacation in Duluth, Minnesota: Sunrise over Lake Superior from Fitger's Inn Duluth MN


Fitger’s Inn has a selection of dog friendly rooms, but you’ll want to make reservations in advance to make sure you secure one before they book up. This is a great place to stay with your dog because the entire complex is dog friendly! Fitger’s Inn has taken what was once their old brewery building and turned it into a mall. It’s kind of a labyrinth of cool shops, restaurants, a brewery and little pubs. It has a european feel and it was easy to imagine we were back in Germany or Austria! Plus, your dog can go into any of the shops, a couple of the bars and is welcome on the patios!

Fitger’s has a great location, with the lakefront and canal park within easy walking distance. We found the area around Fitger’s to be very dog friendly and enjoyed the river walk as a good spot for Walter’s potty breaks. If you plan on biking you’ll appreciate easy access to the city’s bike paths and the fact that Fitger’s is down along the lake front, where it’s flat, and you can get to a lot of great places while avoiding the steep hills. We’d like to thank Visit Duluth for help with arranging our dog-friendly lodging!


Dog Friendly Travel: Duluth, Minnesota | trip planning tips + itineraries for planning your dog friendly vacation in Duluth, Minnesota: dog friendly bars and shops

A Place for Fido – This is an amazing little pet shop located inside Fitger’s (as mentioned, this entire mall is dog friendly). Take your pooch in there to sample a free treat and to pick up a bag of something yummy to enjoy on his vacation! We got Walter a new harness and a bag of Bark Pops. We really appreciated the employees knowledge of the brands they carried and each product’s features and were really happy with the new harness!

Matilda’s Dog Bakery – This is another fun store to take your dog to. Not only is it dog friendly, but it is full of fresh, healthy, home made dog biscuits and treats! Walter was beside himself with all the delicious smells! We ended up grabbing him a bag of their Peanut Butter, Bacon and Maple biscuits and he’s totally wild about them! While you’re in the area grab a human treat and cup of coffee at Johnson Bakery. Their maple longjohn was the best I’ve ever had in my life, hands down (I gushed all about it on Yelp)

Dog Friendly Travel: Duluth, Minnesota | trip planning tips + itineraries for planning your dog friendly vacation in Duluth, Minnesota: dog friendly shops and restaurants

Enjoy the LakewalkDuluth has a great lakefront park with trails and bike paths. It’s a great place to bike, walk your dog, jog or just enjoy the views. It starts at Canal Park, where you’ll find a variety or restaurants, bars, breweries and shops (more about those, below), and extends 7 miles to 60th Avenue East!

Dog Friendly Travel: Duluth, Minnesota | trip planning tips + itineraries for planning your dog friendly vacation in Duluth, Minnesota: canal park and light house.

Canal Park – Dubbed as “Duluth’s Playground” this central spot has great views of the lake, a lighthouse, and access to rocky shorelines and pebble beaches as well as a host of bars, restaurants and shops! The system of bike and walking paths makes it easy to access and get around.

Get Ice Cream – the adorable PortLand Malt Shoppe is super Instagrammy and serves up delicious scoops. Grab one and enjoy it lakeside while your furry friend chases the Lake Superior waves.

Dog Friendly Travel: Duluth, Minnesota | trip planning tips + itineraries for planning your dog friendly vacation in Duluth, Minnesota: Gooseberry Falls and Castle Danger Brewing

Drive the North Shore – Take highway 61 north out of Duluth 40 miles towards  Beaver Bay. Along the way you can tour Glensheen Mansion (if your dog can be safe in the car, depending on weather), enjoy lake views (highway 61 hugs the shoreline the entire way!), stop at Castle Danger Brewing in Two Harbors (dog friendly on the patio), hike with your dog at Gooseberry Falls,  and if you want to drive even further north you can get some amazing photos at Palisade Head. This website has a beautiful North Shore Drive itinerary that starts in Duluth and ends in Portage (142 miles).

These Duluth dining options are all dog friendly on the patio! 

Canal Park Brewing – This one has a fire pit, so it’s a great option for a cold beer or meal if the temperatures are a little on the cool side. We didn’t eat here but the beer and patio get four paws up!
Northern Waters Smokehaus  – Their menu is incredible, highly rated, and they allow dogs on the patio (dog bowls and treats, too)! (their Instagram account, @northernwaters_restaurant, had me drooling before we even left for the trip).
Vitta Pizza – Great pizza (came highly recommended from a friend) and a dog friendly patio.
Little Angie’s Cantina – If you’re feeling Mexican food this little cantina will do the trick! Your dog is welcome to join you on the patio.

Do you have a dog friendly recommendation or something you think we missed during our trip to Duluth, Minnesota! Leave a comment and let us know, we’re hoping to get back up there soon! 

Free Instagram Training

Get Better At Instagram with these FREE Resources from Thyme is Honey x The Mint Academy! Free workbook, tutorials and Facebook Live support!

It’s almost time for me to launch my online class with The Mint Academy!

But before it launches, we’re providing you with free trainings that will help you assess where your account is at and what you can do to start improving it. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been guest blogging over at The Mint Academy, providing short, informative posts on special topics related to the course. If you haven’t been following along, now is the perfect time to get caught up by learning more about each of these topics.

Get Better At Instagram with these FREE Resources from Thyme is Honey x The Mint Academy! Free workbook, tutorials and Facebook Live support!

Blog Post 1: A Quick Instagram Audit + Understanding Hashtags

Blog Post 2: Creating a 5-Minute Plan for your Account

If you work your way through those 2 posts and find yourself with questions, then block off your calendar for tomorrow morning at 10AM CST and join me on The Mint Academy Facebook Page, where I’ll go LIVE, walk through some of the processes and tips mentioned in those first two blog posts and answer your questions. I’ll be coming to you live while on vacation in northern Minnesota….so at the very least you should tune in to see if I have some festive cabin decor for you to enjoy! 😉

Get Better At Instagram with these FREE Resources from Thyme is Honey x The Mint Academy! Free workbook, tutorials and Facebook Live support!

As an added bonus I am also offering my iPhone Photography eBook entirely FREE! This short, 20-page book will teach you all about your native iPhone camera, how to use it’s features to get incredible photos, as well as tips on how to style, edit, and share your images! This is a great way to drastically improve the content you are producing for yourself or your small business! Download the Free iPhone Photography eBook here.

These free trainings and the upcoming online class are a great way to learn more about how Instagram works and how you, as a business owner, can leverage the platform to help generate more business, new clients, better exposure or just grow your following and engagement. Haley and Emily have done an amazing job collaborating with me to create a super helpful guidebook full of notes and tutorials that will help you get started with Mastering Instagram!

If you tend to be an overachiever (*raises hand*), you can read through Blog Post 3: Using Recurring Features for your Brand, and start working ahead on the course curriculum! Hope you’ll check out some of these free resources and consider joining me tomorrow morning at 10AM CST on The Mint Academy Facebook Page for the quick FB LIVE!


Get Better At Instagram with these FREE Resources from Thyme is Honey x The Mint Academy! Free workbook, tutorials and Facebook Live support!

Our Tips for Low-Stress Downsizing, Packing and Moving

Tips For Low-Stress Downsizing, Packing and Moving - how we moved from a 2200 sq ft home to a 1200 sq foot loft with minimal stress and made over $7k selling stuff we didn't need | Thyme is Honey

It’s been a pretty wild but incredible ride around here lately! After deciding to postpone parenthood we made the decision to not only relocate, but to downsize and simplify. To do that we had to sell our 4 bedroom, 3 bath house in the suburbs of Madison, Wisconsin, sell most of what we owned, and decide where the heck we were heading.

For us this move was about trying out a lifestyle that was significantly different from the one we had. Partially as an adventure for a year or two, but also to help us decide which lifestyle fit us best (and hopefully that’d help determine where we land more permanently in the near future).

We relocated to a 1200 square foot loft downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. We’ve been here two weeks and are finally feeling settled in our new home which has given us a chance to reflect on the entire process. We reduced our belongings significantly and made over $7,000 selling things we didn’t need or that wouldn’t work in our new space. The task of having a house full of stuff to sell or move can be very daunting, but here are some of the tips a we learned along the way!

  1. Plan a moving sale and be strategic about the timing – Don’t just make the decision to have a moving sale and arrange it for the only open weekend on your schedule. Try to plan ahead and be strategic about when the sale will take place. Some tips: 1. Give yourself enough time to do as much “heavy lifting” as possible before the sale. This means cleaning out your garage, your storage room, your tool shed, your closet. Those tasks are all time consuming and kind of mentally exhausting, especially if you are downsizing and need to make hard decisions about what to keep, sell and throw. Give yourself a couple weeks to schedule out all of these tasks. 2. Have your moving sale close enough to your moving date that you don’t have to be too inconvenienced by living without a dining room table or mattress, but far enough from your moving date that you can initiate a Plan B and Plan C (more about that in #3).
  2. Promote your moving sale online– If you’ll be downsizing significantly I’d recommend having a moving sale. The more you can promote it, the more traffic you’ll get the day of your sale. We made over $2,000 during our moving sale. I promoted our moving sale on my personal Facebook Page, on our neighborhood social network (NextDoor), on local Facebook For Sale Groups, the Facebook Marketplace and on Craigslist. On the Facebook Groups and on Craigslist I created listings for the sale itself, but also created individual listings for some of the bigger items we had for sale (bikes, bike racks, a bedroom set etc) and included information in the description similar to this: “This item can be viewed and purchased at our moving sale this Saturday, April 15 from 1-4 PM!” I didn’t accept purchases before the sale and this help increase awareness and anticipation. It’s also helpful to join Facebook For Sale groups for any neighboring towns or neighborhoods and promote your sale on all of them. The Facebook Marketplace is kind of newish and Facebook basically walks you through posting there whenever you create a sale post in a group (they make things so easy sometimes, don’t they?). Whip up a quick graphic using Photoshop or a free online service such as Canva, include a few photos of items you’ll have for sale and all the information about your sale — then post it anywhere and everywhere. Disclaimer: you’re obviously posting your address all over the internet on a platform that also provides a lot of additional information about yourself, so this is a good time to lock down your account and be aware of what information is visible to the public.
  3. Have a plan B and Plan C for everything you sell – Have a moving sale and price your items PROPERLY. If you are downsizing you will likely be getting rid of high quality items that are still in great condition. People WILL pay good money for it, you just have to be patient. I’m sure there were people who showed up to our moving sale and thought “Wow, this is an overpriced sale!” and we definitely had people who tried to barter. Sometimes we accepted their offer and other times we felt confident saying “No thank you!” because we already had a Plan B and Plan C for ways to sell that item. For example: I had a lot of name brand, like new clothing that I had to part with. I priced it how it should have been priced ($5-10 for tops, $15-20 for Anthropologie sweaters or jackets, $15-20 for like new GAP jeans). I sold a lot of clothes at the moving sale, but knew that if anything didn’t sell I could list the items individually on Facebook Sale Groups, online sale apps (such as Poshmark) or that I could bring items to a friends garage sale in early June if anything was left. Providing yourself with that Plan B and Plan C along with a couple weeks after your moving sale will help you say no to those low ball offers and get what your items are worth.
  4. Think of the best place to donate items – Your local used clothing shop, salvation army or Goodwill are happy to accept your donations, of course, but I’d also recommend thinking about local organizations who can benefit from particular donations. We donated  3 boxes of kitchen items, some furniture and our old winter jackets to our local Syrian Refugee Resettlement Program. I donated some clothes, shoes and coats to a local women’s shelter. We donated old dog toys, crates and gates to a local dog rescue. I think that being more intentional about where you donate items can help them land directly in the hands of someone who needs it.
  5. Sell items to the new owners – We sold our home to first-time home buyers, who were happy to purchase things such as a couch, a 60″ television, a king size mattress, work bench, 10′ ladder, mower and other items that we weren’t going to need in our new home. We were able to just exchange contact information and arrange the sale through a joint Google Document. I think this worked well for both parties — they got stuff they’d ultimately need, and at a great price — and we were able to sell stuff without wasting time or energy.
  6. Start a “moving basket” right away and keep it handy – I had this small, brightly colored basket that I designated as our “Moving Basket” the second our house sold. Since we were downsizing, selling, packing and moving for about an 8 week period, having this basket on hand and not having to constantly look for tape, markers or price tags was a life saver! In the basket I had: tape (washi, packing and duct), permanent markers, pens, price tags, post it notes, string and labels for identifying boxes.
  7. Start a basket for things you’ll need immediately in your new home – Start a second basket that will contain things you’ll want immediately upon arrival at your new place, and put items in there as you come across them during the downsizing and packing process. Ours had items such as: a box cutter, a roll of toilet paper, garbage bags, bottle opener, and a wine opener (priorities).
  8. Designate areas for “donate” “sell” and “store” – It helps to designate large areas where you can start piles! Being able to physically separate things not only helps you move through the process faster, but also helps you be more efficient with trips to the dump or donation center. I marked ours with big signs identifying what the pile was for and when that area was full, we’d make a trip to drop things off.
  9. Don’t get rid of luggage, tubs or storage containers until after the move – We each had luggage sets and after getting rid of a lot of stuff we ended up with empty tubs, drawers and organizers. We almost took it all to Goodwill until we realized that we might as well use them for packing, and then donate them after the move. The luggage sets were great for packing up our clothing and easily transporting it. Consider saving old towels and blankets, too. Similar to the tubs and luggage you’ll be surprised by how often you’ll use an old towel or blanket during the moving process. They came in great for packing up fragile items or cushioning stuff in the moving truck to prevent damage.
  10. Outsource the final cleaning of your old home – This might not be in everyone’s budget, but man is it nice to finish packing up and leave the cleaning to the professionals. We had a regular cleaning person at our old home in Madison, so we went through her to organize a final cleaning of our home. The cost will likely be around $200-250 depending on the size of your home, but it’s a huge time and stress saver. They’ll do things like clean the stove, microwave and other appliances, vacuum around all the edges, clean the vents and fans and generally prepare your home for new owners.

Free iPhone Photography eBook

Learning to Master iPhone Photography - FREE eBook! Learn how to take better photos for your blog, business or personal life with this FREE iPhone Photography eBook | Thyme is Honey

I’m thrilled to offer literally everything I know about iPhone Photography in an easy-to-read eBook, now available for free download! I’ve been teaching this topic for nearly a year and I love helping people improve their photography. “Learning to Master iPhone Photography” will help you understand the basic function of your iPhone camera, and how to improve the quality and composition of your photos with just a few tricks!

Perhaps you’ve taken one of my Instagram Strategy classes at Revel or perhaps you are awaiting the release of my online class, Mastering Instagram, which launches in May at The Mint Academy. Either way — this book is a GREAT first step if you feel like your images could use an upgrade!

The book is 20 pages long and contains all my best tips for getting amazing photos for your business and life using only your iPhone! I explain all of the best features of the native camera app, but also share all of my favorite editing apps, equipment and props!

So, what’s the catch or what do I want from you? Nothing. I’m not even going to try to capture your email address in exchange for the book. I think that if you read through the book, improve your photos and then realize that you could be applying more strategy and intention to your posts —- then you should consider taking the next step, which is the online Mastering Instagram class. That course is $40 but will be one of the best investments you make in yourself or your business! Sign up for the newsletter to get first access when the course launches.