post

Autumn Traditions

Glorious fall has arrived! This season is a favorite for many who can’t wave good-bye         to the hazy days of summer fast enough as they look forward to the cool crisp air, falling leaves, and smell of wood smoke. And with that anticipation is a myriad of traditions full of nature, fun, and food that touches everyone with a bit of warmth and nostalgia.

Visit a Pumpkin Patch

pumpkinsDo you remember riding in the station wagon to a pumpkin patch in the country? There’s nothing that gets you right into the spirit of all things fall than being on a farm with pumpkins, animals, flowers, and homemade apple cider. Gather friends or family together for a sunny afternoon.

 

Get Lost in A Corn Maze

A trip to farm or pumpkin patch isn’t complete without an attempt at making it through the corn maze, and these days farmers set up some pretty newsworthy designscornmaze that bring together the old and young alike for quite a challenging try. Who will be the first one through this year? Find one in your area here.

 

 

 

caramelapplepumpkinMake a Fall Recipe

When it comes to food, fall means pumpkin, pumpkin,    pumpkin! Pumpkin pies, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin lattes, and just about anything else you can imagine.  But another fun staple not to be overlooked is the beloved caramel apple. This year when you visit the pumpkin farm or orchard, bring home a bushel of apples and try this fun twist on caramel apples which was featured on the The Dating Divas as a guest post from Michelle, of A Little Tipsy. This super fun dessert gives BOTH apple and pumpkin their tasty due!

 

Venture Out to See the Foliage

fallfoliage

When Mother Nature dons her most beautiful wardrobe of the year, we can’t help but want to catch of glimpse of her in all her finery. Perhaps you’ve taken a trip up to New England, where the mountains are ablaze with color, farms ooze fresh maple syrup, and quaint covered bridges beckon travelers to cross over. At any given moment in the country, friends and families are taking road trips, day trips, and walks through parks to drink   in the most spectacular display of the year.

Get In the Spirit with Fall Décor                       

Who can resist adding a bit of fall happiness throughout falldecorthe home with berry branches, pumpkins, and potted mums on the porch to greet guests? Even the simplest touches can bring a warm and happy feel to any room.   So, when you’re out on those walks or visiting the pumpkin farms, gather a bunch of colorful leaves and small pumpkins and gourds and invite fall indoors.
From your fall adventures outdoors to your cozy fall touches inside, we here at Bluemountain.com hope you enjoy every single minute of welcoming autumn with your favorite traditions as you savor the beauty of this awe-inspiring season!

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

post

Brighten Someone’s Day Challenge

09092014_BSD_FB_BMA

Several months ago, we wrote about making people smile and random acts of kindness. The idea was to get people thinking about looking beyond themselves and reaching out to others who could use some cheering up.

Since it’s been a while, we wanted to reconnect and see how it’s going with your new mission to brighten someone’s day­—everyday.

  • Are you making a conscious effort to share and spread kindness as often as possible?
  • Are you surprising and delighting people with anonymous gestures, both big and small?
  • Are you sharing generosity and thoughtfulness with friends and strangers alike?

If so, we’d love to hear about it – or better yet we’d like to see your badge of honor. We invite you to post your good deeds on our Facebook page along with the above image. Simply right click on the image, save it to your desktop, and then post it in your status on Facebook, while including what you did recently to brighten someone’s day.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

post

Letter from the Editor – Hello September!

09202013_Autumn_Seasons_FB_BMA

Hello Blue Mountain Friends,

Poet Helen Hunt Jackson wrote charming poems about all the seasons, but “September” is a special favorite.  Here is an excerpt:

By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer.

As we watch the falling leaves wave goodbye to summer, we have many “lovely tokens” to look forward to in the months ahead.  With the autumnal equinox on the 22nd, come crisp sunny days, soft amber-lit evenings and the ever-changing scenery in breathtaking colors.   Some of us will begin our fall garden clean-up, new school routines and our seasonal closet change-over.  For our friends celebrating Rosh Hashanah, it’s the beginning of a new year that starts at sunset September 24th and ends at nightfall September 26th.  To mark the occasion, we’ve created a beautiful new Rosh Hashanah card that includes the meaning of the holiday.

Many of us will also be celebrating anniversaries. Did you know that more people get married in the fall than in any other season?  Here at Blue Mountain, we are hopeless romantics and we think that autumn is the perfect time to fallin love—for the first time or all over again!  Whether you are totally, completely and ridiculously in love or you are feeling happy and grateful for a lasting and loving marriage, we’ve created new Love eCards and Anniversary eCards to celebrate your relationship.

Other September celebrations include Labor Day on the 1st, and Grandparents Day on the 7th.   We’ve just designed some great Grandparents Day postcards and print at home cards for the special Grandparent(s) in your life.

And remember, you can always Brighten Someone’s Day with cards that say “I care,”  “I’m happy for you,” and “You can count on me!”

Have a wonderful September!

Caroline Leech, Senior Editor
Caroline

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

post

Top 10 Ways to Surprise & Delight your Best Friend (FREE desktop background)

08122014_surprise_delight_BLOG_BMA

Your closest and dearest friend(s) will always have a special place in your heart. And you in hers. You know each other inside and out. You’ve gone through good times and bad. You’ve been there for each other through thick and thin. And there’s no one else you’d rather call your best friend.

But times change—and life happens. You don’t get to see each other as often as you once did. You don’t keep in touch as often as you’d like. And you suddenly somehow feel that an occasional phone call just isn’t enough.

You’d like to change that now. You’d like to reach out to her in some very special way and surprise her with an act of appreciation for your deep friendship. Any ideas of how you’re going to do that?

Don’t give it another thought. Blue Mountain has done all the work for you and compiled a list of 10 fun and exciting ways to reconnect with your BFF. Pick one (or more!) and delight her today!

MAKE A SCRAPBOOK OR VIDEO
Compile a scrapbook or PowerPoint slideshow of the many pictures you have of you and your best friend together. If doing a video, add songs in the background that have a special meaning to you both. Don’t forget to add a personal message that will touch her heart. This will truly become a keepsake.

RECREATE PAST MEMORIES
What did you use to like to do together? Ride bikes? Go bowling? Shop at the mall? Visit an amusement park? Have sleepovers? Recreate that exact kind of day with little notes that will remind her of your past shared memories and inside jokes.

HAVE DINNER TOGETHER
Visit a restaurant in a city that neither of you have ever been to before. Make reservations under your nicknames. Order for each other. Giggle the night away.

WATCH AN OLD SHOW
Rent an old movie that was a favorite of both of yours and laugh/cry through it together. Choose either a popular TV series (like “Leave it to Beaver,” “Father Knows Best,” or “I Love Lucy”) or a classic film (like “Gone with the Wind,” “Casablanca,” or “Titanic”). If a good chick flick about female friendship is more to your liking, choose “Thelma and Louise,” “Beaches,” or “Steel Magnolias.” And don’t forget the popcorn!

MAKE A RETRO DINNER
Cook dinner for your best friend that would be something you both loved as kids. Think retro. Your menu could include such all-time favorites as macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup, salisbury steak or meatloaf with mashed potatoes and peas, chicken à la king, tuna casserole, TV dinners, deviled eggs, spinach dip in a hollowed-out bread bowl, cheese spread in a can with a nozzle plus crackers, baked Alaska, a gelatin mold, or S’mores.

SEND FLOWERS
It doesn’t matter if it’s a magnificent bouquet or a simple arrangement. The important thing is that your friend’s day is made that much brighter when she receives those beautiful flowers from you. You might also want to accompany them with an eCard that expresses your sentiments. For a helpful guide, here is what some flowers signify:

  • Amaryllis – splendid beauty
  • Birds of Paradise – joyfulness
  • Black-Eyed Susan – encouragement
  • Blue Violet – faithfulness
  • Carnation – pride and beauty
  • Chrysanthemum – cheerfulness in old age; fidelity
  • Gladiolus – strength of character
  • Heather – admiration
  • Lily – majesty
  • Pink carnation – gratitude
  • Yellow rose – friendship
  • Zinnia – thoughts of friends

SHARE A SPA DAY
Book an afternoon (or even a full day!) of pampering at the spa for the two of you. Choose from the variety of services offered—from manicures and pedicures, to facials, massages, and body treatments. Throw in a shampoo/style, makeup application, or lunch, too, if available. Then get ready to enjoy a truly restful and relaxing time together.

ENJOY AN OUTDOOR ACTIVITY
Think outside the box on this one. Maybe plant a garden together. Or go hiking (and enjoy a picnic lunch afterwards). Or play in a playground. Or fly kites. Or rollerblade. Or go kayaking. Or run a race. Or…frankly, the world is your oyster.

ATTEND A COOKING CLASS
There’s nothing that brings good friends together quite like food. Choose a class that will introduce a cuisine or technique that’s new to both of you. Then maybe schedule another evening to recreate at home what you learned in class. Don’t forget the wine! Bon appétit!

GET AWAY
Schedule a getaway weekend just for the two of you. It can be as exotic (a trip to Paris!) or as modest (tenting in a national park) as you’d like or can afford. The important thing is that you enjoy your time together and get a chance to catch up on old times!

And now we’d like to surprise and delight YOU, our dear reader, with a free desktop background featuring one of our most popular friendship quotes. To set as your desktop background, simply click the image, and when the new window appears, right click and choose “set as background.”

05202014_friendangel_Wallpaper_BLG_BMA

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

post

What to Write…to Brighten Someones Day

07222014_WTW_BrightenDay_BLOG_BMA

It’s easier than you think to brighten someones day. In fact, we probably don’t realize just how easy it can be. So, why don’t we do more of these random acts of kindness? Oftentimes, people feel that they have to show or exude some grand gesture that’s over-the-top, but the truth is it’s often the “out of the blue” kindness that makes the biggest impact. Something like finding a happy envelope with a real stamp in your mailbox or a fun eCard in your email are the perfect delights to make someone’s day brighter.

But what should you say inside of these surprise notes or letters?  It doesn’t have to be a lot, just genuine. Use some stationery to pen a simple hello, a “thought of you today” message, or even jot down a favorite phrase, quote, or piece of poetry that you think they might find uplifting. We’ve compiled some of our favorite things to write to brighten someone’s day that we thought you might enjoy sharing with someone you care about.

Inspirational Quotes

  • I can go days without talking to you,
    months without seeing you,
    but not a second goes by that I don’t think about you.
  • You are so much sunshine to the square inch!
    _
    Walt Whitman
  • The happiest thing in the world to do
    Is to think of someone dear to you.
  • You are a work of heart.
  • There is joy in sharing the written word.
    (So I thought I’d send you a note!)
  • Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible”!
    _ Audrey Hepburn

Lighthearted Wishes

  • Occasionally along life’s way, you meet someone
    you’ll always remember…someone like you!
  •  Hope your day is easier and brighter…knowing someone is thinking of you.
  • Something’s on my mind…YOU!
  •  Just stopping by with a friendly, “Hi!”
  • Thinking of you? Why, yes…
    With lots of warmth
    And happiness!
  • Thinking of you…and hoping everything’s going just the way it should                   for someone as special as you.

 For Fun

  • You’re a good friend…Not as good as me, since I’m sending you a note just for the hell of it, but a good friend nonetheless.
  • Me: For the first time in life, things seem to be getting better.                                     Life: LOL, give me a second!
  • I’m in desperate need of a 6 month vacation…twice a year.
  • The most fun things in life are either immoral, illegal or they make you fat.
  • Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along,                     listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.
    _ Winnie the Pooh
  • It is more fitting for a man to laugh at life than to lament over it.
    _
    Seneca

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

post

Summer Gardening

07222014_summer_garden_BLOG_BMA
Gardening is the purest of human pleasures.”
—Francis Bacon

Gardens—of any and all kinds—bring both joy and tranquility to those who cultivate and grow them. Whether it’s a flower garden, a vegetable garden, an herb garden, or a purely whimsical garden, it’s a place that becomes your haven. Your sanctuary. Your masterpiece.

Of course, gardens take time and patience. You need to plan, plant, water, and weed. But you also get to enjoy every moment, watching them grow into the magnificent fruits of your labor.

Blue Mountain certainly appreciates the significance of lovely gardens to our readers. That’s why we love to create beautiful eCards that specifically feature a garden theme. Click here to see some enchanting examples—and then be sure to send one to someone special today. Summer gardening is one of the best ways to brighten up any ones yard.

If you already have a garden growing right now, wonderful! If not, we’d love to offer some creative examples of unique gardens you may want to consider growing yourself. Or at least to “oooh” and “aaah” over.

Flower Gardens:

Garden1
Stacy K Floral

Garden2
HGTV

Garden3
Architecture Art Designs

Vegetable Gardens:

Garden4
LLH Designs

Garden5
The Telegraph

Garden6
Juneau Empire

Herb Gardens:

Garden7
Not Just a Housewife

Garden8
Apartment Therapy

Garden9
Persephone Magazine

Whimsical Gardens:

hanselhouse
Hansel and Gretel House

Garden "bed" whimsy at Cambria Pines Lodge
Gardening Gone Wild

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

post

Summer Memories

06242014_Summer_Memories_BLOG_BMA
With the recent arrival of summer, everyone is definitely in the summer mood and anticipating these much-awaited lazy, hazy days.

There are so many good memories that come to mind when summertime starts. We have flashbacks of riding in the back of station wagons for the family trips to the beach or lake, ice-cream cones melting under hot summer skies, running barefoot through the grass catching fireflies, the smell of neighborhood charcoal grills firing up for garden parties and summertime get-togethers and, best of all, daylight lasting so long that the days stretched out in infinite bliss. There are so many wonderful thoughts and feelings that come to mind when summertime is here, that we thought it would be fun to share some of the favorite summer memories from the folks here at Blue Mountain and the reasons why we all love this warm,  sun-shiny season.

“My favorite summer memory is years ago, going to the beach in Rhode Island with my mom and sister, and riding the carousel.”

“I love summer because of gardening!”

“Running through sprinklers has been a favorite memory since childhood, and to this day, while I’m out on a run, I can’t resist running through one if I spot one in someone’s yard.”

“Being in the “way-back” of the station wagon for a trip to the beach or a long trip out west definitely comes to mind every time summer rolls around.”

“I remember listening every afternoon for the fun, melodic music  of our ice-cream man as he came down our street.”

“A favorite summer memory of mine was staying up late, which back then was 8pm or 9pm, and my brothers and sisters and I would be running around outside catching lightning bugs. To this day, it’s never officially “summer” to me until I see that first lightning bug.”

“When I was little, my mother would put on our bathing suits and let me and my sisters dance around in the summer rain.  Oh, how we loved it!”

“I love having coffee on early summer mornings while sitting outside on the porch swing as the world slowly wakes up.”

“Lemonade just seems like summertime in a glass.”

“Our family gets together every year at our lake house and it’s always the highlight of summer.”

“I remember putting playing cards or baseball cards in the spokes of my bike with clothespins, and then you’d go riding down the street making this wonderful little motor sound.”

“I just love being at the beach in summertime and smelling that salty air and hearing the seagulls—there’s nothing like it.”

“My mother would try to get us down for a nap in the summer afternoons, which was tough for little ones to do, and I remember she’d say, “Listen…to the sounds of summer.” I remember laying there listening to the birds singing and the breezes blowing…it worked!”

We’d love to hear what your favorite memory of summer is, or what you love most about it. Please share them with us, and join us in celebrating all the wonderful summer memories that are yet to be made!

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

post

Celebrating “Take Your Dog to Work Day.”

06172014_dog_work_BLOG_BMA

Ask any pet owner and they’ll tell you—their pets are their family. Our lovable fur babies are like our children, and we love them, and spoil them, to our hearts content. Wanting to take them with us wherever we go is natural, which is why we’re all excited here at Blue Mountain this week because this Friday, June 20th we’re bringing our sweet pups to work with us for Take Your Dog to Work Day.

TYDTWD1
Our Senior Editor, Liza McNamara, was kind enough to share some photos from last year’s Take Your Dog to Work Day with you. As you can see, her Old English Sheepdog, Malachi (pronounced Mal-uh-kī), kept things running smoothly around here:

If you’re not familiar with Take Your Dog to Work Day here are some quick facts:

  • Pet Sitters International (PSI) created Take Your Dog To Work Day in 1999 to celebrate the great companions dogs make and encourage adoption from shelters, rescue groups, and humane societies.
  • TYDTWDay encourages employers to experience the joy of pets in the workplace and support their local pet community.
  • This annual event is always celebrated on the Friday following Father’s Day.
  • For cat lovers (and other pets) who cannot participate on TYDTWDay, the entire week leading up to the event, June 16-20, is Take Your Pet To Work Week™.

Not only are we so grateful that we’re able to bring our favorite pals to work with us, but, as animal lovers, we’re happy because the day raises awareness for homeless dogs and is a way to educate people in the company about homeless animal statistics. Plus, it highlights the benefits of pet ownership and the important role pets play in the lives of employees.

TYDTWD2
Malachi also won a handsome bag in our raffle, which made him so happy because he knew it would be pawsitively purrfect for his mom to carry a whole lotta’ treats in. The bag reads, “Life is better with a dog.” We couldn’t agree more!

As you can see by these photos, we at Blue Mountain love our animals to the moon and back, and relish any opportunity to have them by our side. If you’re lucky enough to have a pet of your own to love, or had one in the past, then you know how life-transforming they are and the endless joy and amazing unconditional love they give each and every day. How little they ask from us—a belly scratch, a soft bed, a supper dish…and ultimately, love. So often when we adopt or rescue pets, we may think at first we’re changing their lives when the truth is—they’re changing ours.

TYDTWD3
Here’s a group shot of some of the employees and their lovable pup pals, who participated in Take Your Dog to Work Day last year.

Give your pets a hug from all of us here at Blue Mountain, and if you’re thinking of rescuing a pet, we urge you to take that step and open that door…and let love walk right into your heart.

 

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

post

Brighten Someones Day!

07012014_Brighten_day_BLOG_BMA

Hello, Blue Mountain Friends,

Well, here we are, knee deep in summer!  Isn’t it wonderful?  Like the fireflies that we caught as children, we can release our happy summertime memories and let them light up our days.  Running through the sprinkler, chasing the ice cream truck, or just hanging out with friends, summer was always an enchanting time.  It’s great to celebrate the big events in our lives, but sometimes it’s fun just to appreciate the magic of ordinary moments.

What little things make your day now?  Enjoying summer pleasures with your children or grandchildren?  Baking a cake that turns out just right?  Discovering that the bunnies didn’t eat your petunias?  Finding your lost glasses on your head?   Hearing from an old friend?

Why not be the old friend who lights up someone’s day with an unexpected card?  Here at Blue Mountain, we’ve created a new line of cards for you called Brighten Someones Day , because that’s just what they do.  From their fresh and cheery art looks to their warm and engaging words, these cards are designed to build more meaningful connections with the people who matter most to you.

Today is a perfect day to tell your friends how special they are, share a happy memory, send a surprise love note,  show your gratitude, or say “hi” to someone–just because.  We hope you’ll take a moment and choose a card to Brighten Someone’s Day.  You never know how much the smile you send can mean to someone today.

Caroline Leech _ Senior Editor
IMG_6574_FINAL_Crop Caroline

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

post

Random Acts of Kindness: Part II (FREE printable)

05222014_Kindness_Part2_BLG_BMA
Now that we’ve discussed the beauty and impact of generosity and thoughtfulness towards one another in “Random Acts of Kindness: Part 1,” let’s see how we can actually put this lovely concept into motion and make it come to life.

There are a few different ways to do this. You can initiate the act. Or you could perform an act in response to a kind act bestowed on you (which is called “paying it forward”). You could do something nice for your friends and family. Or you could do something nice for strangers. But regardless of which way you do it and to whom, the most important thing is that you do it without any expectation of reward. These are totally selfless acts that are certain to bring you immense satisfaction and pleasure.

We also want to emphasize that these acts do NOT necessarily require large sums of money or a lot of effort. Even the smallest gestures—as long as they’re performed sincerely and without an expectation of recognition or acknowledgement —can result in the greatest happiness.

We’d now love to share a few ideas with you for FREE acts of kindness:

  • Smile broadly and genuinely at someone who passes you by.
  • Hold the door (or elevator) open for the person behind you.
  • Let someone who’s in a rush cut ahead of you in line.
  • Visit a nursing home.
  • Give a sincere compliment to someone who looks like they could use one.
  • Share magazines you’ve already read with co-workers, friends, etc.
  • Bring in your neighbor’s trash cans.
  • Share extra produce from your garden with someone in need.
  • Write a letter to someone who has made a difference in your life.
  • Send someone an eCard (like this free one from Blue Mountain) for no special reason at all.

And here are some ideas for LOW-COST acts of kindness:

  • Leave a heftier tip than usual for your waiter or waitress.
  • Bring a meal to someone who just had a baby or other major life event.
  • Buy a candy bar (or magazine subscription, etc.) that a neighbor child is selling for a fundraiser.
  • Bring donuts or other delicious treat to work.
  • Put lots of pennies on the sidewalk for kids to find.
  • Pay for someone’s coffee.
  • Leave your change behind in a vending machine.
  • Buy an extra ticket and take someone to an event (e.g., movie, concert, ball game).
  • Send a care package to a soldier.

And as a small gift from us to you, we’ve designed a FREE printable that you can download today and give to anyone you choose. It includes 6 different cards that you can fill out and leave anonymously. Look at these cards as your chance to make someone’s day just a little bit brighter!

To download these free printable coupons, simply click on the image, and once the new page opens, right click to print or save the image to your computer.

05222014_Thankyou_printables_BLG_BMA

And if you’re wondering exactly how the friendly folks at Blue Mountain use these printables to show each other we care, here’s how (along with the recipients’ feedback):

05222014_Thankyou_collage_BLG_BMA

 

 

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail