GUEST BLOG: Cookies & Cocoa Party | Swoozies Inspiration

No one does the holiday’s like Swoozie’s! That’s why we were so excited to see our friend, Adair Currie of Daring Details, blog of Dairing Events. share her holiday party inspiration that is perfect for the family and kids with the help of some of her favorite Swoozie’s decorating and party essentials! Keep reading on how she put together a perfect holiday Cookie & Cocoa party for the kids, with a couple of her own DIY gifting ideas!

Christmas and the holidays have a whole new meaning now that our Adair Lucille is running around, bursting with personality, and constantly getting into mischief. It has also inspired me to think outside the box when it comes to parties and decorations! Thankfully, Swoozies is my spirit animal store and had exactly what I was looking for this season. Vintage Blues, Pinks, and Greens, on tinsel trees have me bursting at the seams to create tablescapes that are kiddo friendly, while also keeping adults in mind. 

This is the first stop in our series, showcasing this tablescape, all the fixin's, and a few DIY gifting ideas from me and my creative friends! 

Thank you to Jenn Guthrie Photography for capturing all the whimsy holiday fun! 

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Want to host your very own Cookies and Cocoa Party? Olivia Grace Paperie and I have created all these printables for you to download for FREE!! Follow this link here:

DOWNLOAD FREE PRINTABLE 

Tip for printing: These are designed in landscape format, with standard 8.5x11 Letter size cardstock paper. You can adjust your printer settings to 'landscape' to ensure the file prints correctly. To print a specific page, download the PDF and choose the page number you would like to print in your printer settings. 

Swoozie's Top 100 Holiday Gifts

You make the list - we’ve got the gifts! We are so excited to share our TOP GIFT LIST of the Holiday Season! See the slide show below to shop some of our favorite picks! For more of our favorite holiday gifts of the season, check out our Holiday Gift Guide online now! {click here}

GUEST POST: FRIENDSGIVING WITH SWOOZIE'S

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it's time for family and friends to get together! One of our favorite Bloggers and friend, Grace Lee, shows us how to host a perfect Friendsgiving with the help of some of her favorite Swoozie's decor!

Never in my college years have I ever hosted a Friendsgiving nor attended one before.

With that being said, my college housemates and I decided to host one for our last year together. Even though our actual Friendsgiving is tomorrow night, I teamed up with Swoozie's to share some holiday decor and inspiration for your Thanksgiving this year. Swoozie's has always been my go-to holiday shop because they always carry the cutest holiday items and they vary every year. 

I want to personally thank Swoozie's for helping me host my first Friendsgiving. I'm excited to be sharing all this wonderful decor with my closest friends tomorrow. 

Also, be sure to check out Swoozie's holiday catalog. There's tons of holiday decor for Christmas and New Year's and promo codes inside! 

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P.S. Swoozie's  is having their Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Event with 20% OFF until WEDNESDAY, NOV. 23.Use online code THANKFUL20 or mention in the store. You can find a Swoozie's near you by checking out their locations here

What are your favorite Swoozie's items?

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It's the Jolliest Time of the Year

The HOLIDAYS are HERE and we are excited to share with you our annual Holiday Gift & Entertaining Guide. We’ve filled the pages with our absolute favorite gifts along with entertaining ideas, because there’s nothing better than giving & gathering with family & friends during the holiday season. Our curated collections are here to inspire the perfect gifts for everyone on your list – gifts for her, gifts for him, gifts for the entertainer, gifts for the glam bestie, gifts for the teacher – we’ve got you covered!

To kick off the season, our gift to you is 20% off everything during our Annual Pre-Thanksgiving Sale. We know your lists are long with gifts to get and parties to plan, so we hope this helps get you started whether shopping in store or online!

It really is the JOLLIEST TIME OF YEAR and adding that extra special pizazz to every gift is what we really love! That’s why we offer complimentary gift wrap services, personalize gifts on-the-spot, and provide those special touches to really make the holidays special!

We wish you the happiest of holidays and most joyous new year, and we can’t wait to share this holiday with you. Also, don’t forget to tag us in your holiday photos and #ShowYourSwoo

We Are Celebrating!

What a month! We’ve always loved October and the celebrations (and weather) it brings – but this October was EXTRA celebratory as we hosted several amazing anniversary events! 

Both Palm Beach Gardens and Greensboro celebrated their 10 year, while Jacksonville celebrated their 1 year! The nights were filled with confetti, bubbly, some of our favorite local vendors and our amazing loyal customers! We couldn't have asked for some of the best nights!  Birmingham celebrated its 11 year so this was super fun to anniversary with local merchants from our 10 year anniversary celebration.

THANK YOU to our loyal Swoo customers and the official SWOO CREW! Thanks for being a part of our journey! Cheers to more celebrations and anniversary events.

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GUEST BLOG: Never Missing an Opportunity to Celebrate Every Day.

To me, there’s nothing better, nothing more rewarding, than inviting friends - new and old - into my home to celebrate life’s happenings. Hearing the lively chatter, seeing the backdrop of smiling faces, knowing they’re happy because they’ve taken time out to do what matter’s most - celebrate life – just makes my heart full.

Taking the time to have these moments of celebrations and enjoying friends and family is my wish for each of you as well. The Coton Colors brand promise of "never missing an opportunity to celebrate every day" isn't just a phrase to me, but a promise that I try to remember daily (even hourly!).

This ambitious mindset of enjoying the everyday celebrations and moments of happy has motivated Coton Colors to design products that help others join us in our celebratory mission. The Coton Colors Dining & Entertaining Collection is designed with just that in mind. Whether you are setting the table for a dinner party to celebrate a friend or sipping a cup of coffee from a stylish mug, just glad you woke up on the right side of the bed, they help elevate everyday moments with ease. And they look darling in your kitchen and around your home, too!

That’s why we are so excited to be launching the Coton Colors Dining & Entertaining collection in Swoozies stores and online! It's a perfect collision of Swoozies’ mission of “always keeping a little bag of confetti, just in case!” and Coton Colors celebratory mindset. Because you never know when you’ll need to toast to a new milestone or raise a glass because you reached the end of a work week. Because let's face it, today is another reason to celebrate, and that’s reason enough.

Cheers!

Laura

Turkey On The Table

In October of 2013, We had only known each other for 5 months when on our walks after school drop-off, the conversation naturally turned to the upcoming holidays. We talked about Halloween and that it's bigger than ever, and how it goes straight from Trick-or-Treating right into the lists of gifts our kids want for the December Holidays. Then one of us said "actually, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday", and the other one quickly replied "it's mine too!". The conversation snowballed into what Thanksgiving means to us - being surrounded by out family and friends, no gifts to exchange, and a huge feast of food made with love. Did we mention no gifts to exchange? We chatted about the fact that the older we get the more meaningful thanksgiving has been to us. Soaking up the time with our loved ones, and the indescribable feelings of the intangible blessings we have been given. We understood that it is what is meaningful to us, and wanted our kids to feel the same way. We asked each other how we could bring meaning and shed a little light on this Holiday that seems to be "forgotten".

In tandem with these conversations about Thanksgiving, were also the conversations about raising kids "these days". It's a different world from which each of us grew up. We shared stories about how each of out family had to make it through some difficult times when we grew up, and in contrast how our kids are exception smartphones by the 5th grade, wanting to wear the most name-brand athletic wear (in elementary school), and are experiencing vacations and travel we didn't experience until adulthood. It's not wrong - just different.We talked about ways we could instill a sense of gratitude in our kids, so they appreciate all of the things they already have, instead of focusing on all the things they don't. How can we give them a foundation of contentment so they appreciate the simple things in life, and recognize that the "extras" are just icing on the cake. 

After much research, we saw how much gratitude plays into a child's happiness; when you focus on the things you have instead of the things you don't, your whole view of the world shifts. In various research the practice of gratitude shows to improve health, grades in school, building relationships, and the way they face adversity. 

Why wouldn't we want to instill this in our children?! As parents, we spend so much time correction bad habits: biting nails, picking their nose, chewing with moth open, leaving the toilet seat up, etc. It feels so much better as a parent to help instill good habits. We believe that being grateful (the inner feeling of good things received) and thankful (outwardly showing appreciation for things) is one of the very best things we can teach our children. It costs so very little to instill gratitude, and it gives them so much. 

Think of all the time and money we spend on piano lessons, karate, tutors, and sports, if we could take part of that time to dedicate to children being thankful, they would see benefits with better grades, better health, less toxic emotions, and a happy heart. Isn't that what we want most for our children. We we're necessarily to start a business (we can barely take a shower and put on make-up most days), but we were looking to start teaching that habit of gratitude with to our children and help others to do so as well. 

Turkey on the Table was born our of love, the desire to spread thankfulness, the hope to give back, and wanting to share that with others. The Turkey on the Table Kit, includes an adorable knit turkey, a book, markets, and Thankful Feathers. The family activity begins with a featherless turkey, and each family member writes what they are thankful for on the Thankful Feathers, which are added to the turkey daily in November. The turkey is the "fully dressed" with thanks on Thanksgiving day. Not only does it help with your family, it also communicated the importance of giving back to those less fortunate. Through our partnership with Feeding America, we donate 1- meals to families in need for each turkey kit sold. 

After 26 days of Thankful Feathers (the daily log of their gratitude) the children will complete with our Turkey on the Table product, they will dig a little deeper on the things that are grateful for. It is easy to come up with one or two.. but by day 24 you will be surprised to see what they start coming up with!!

After Thanksgiving, we know that our children will not hesitate to state making thought christmas list with the newest XBOX games & hover boards, but maybe while doing so they will also be thankful for the warm bed they will sleep in that night! 

We are thankful to Swoozie's for their support and for all the meals they will help us provide by carrying out product. 

XOOX, 

April & Kerry

GUEST BLOG: Support St. Jude's Hospital with Coton Colors

This September, Coton Colors has really made a difference in supporting St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital. When asked to team up to help raise support, Swoozie’s was so excited to jump on board! The Happy Everything Inspire Mug not only is cute, but 100% of the retail price goes to St. Judes! It’s that amazing! Read on to learn more about Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and how this mug is helping make an impact from the President of Coton Colors, Laura Johnson! #inspirehappy

September brings Childhood Cancer Awareness Month- a month so near and dear to my heart as Coton Colors supports St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through our Attached to a Cause program. Years ago, I was asked to design custom products for St. Jude to help provide inspiration and happiness to their supporters and patients. After being asked to lead art therapy workshops for their patients, attending the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Expo year after year and visiting and touring the hospital, my love for them has only grown deeper.  

The pieces we design for St. Jude are always some of our favorites to design each year. Not only do I love that every piece created is sold to bring awareness to St. Jude and the work that they do, but the products and designs are often inspired by the artwork of patients treated at St. Jude. That’s why this year, we were thrilled to design a product to raise awareness during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and share the impact St. Jude has on so many families. The entire retail price of this limited-edition mug will be donated directly to St. Jude.  Yes, you read that right. The ENTIRE retail cost! 

We get asked often, why St. Jude, and not other local hospitals. St. Jude is a hospital unlike any other. Families never receive a bill when their child is treated at St. Jude. Never, ever! Plus, treatments at St. Jude helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since it opened more than 50 years ago. And they won’t stop until there is no child who dies from cancer. With more than 75 percent of the budgeted costs for the hospital covered by public contributions, we ask that you join us in support of them with the purchase of this mug. 

We hope that this mug and the commitment that St. Jude has to ending childhood cancer inspires you to join us in supporting them to end the awful disease. Purchase your mug {or mugs!} today – and help us share a little happy with those who need it most. 

Cheers!

Laura

To purchase a Happy Everything Mug Click Here

GUEST BLOG: Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy

It is with such great pride and honor to share with our readers this guest blog, Embracing Simplicity, Celebrating Joy, from our dear friend, Emily Ley. Her NEW book (launching in October) Grace, Not Perfection is already on our must-read (and live by) list.

Not only will this book will be a revolution for so many women that can connect with Emily’s message, but this post alone will resonate. Emily wants every woman to know that it is okay not to be perfect, but instead be the woman that God created them to be - messy, broken, bruised, talented, tired, loved, and FREE. Keep reading to learn more about Grace, Not Perfection from Emily Ley herself! 

Ladies. Can we talk about something? Can we admit that none of us are doing life perfectly, with six-inch heels, homemade dinner on the table every night, and perfectly behaved children? Because from time to time, I feel like I’m the only woman whose life is a little bit of a circus. I often remind myself that social media is a highlight reel, but I still feel the ache of comparison as I try so hard to keep it together. As a consummate overachiever for years and years, I held myself to an unreachable standard of perfection. But, inevitably, in 2011 my overachiever buckled under the weight I’d asked her to carry for so long. I decided I was done trying to prove to the world that I, too, could “do it all.” Instead, I decided . . . 

I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection.

Goodness, there is so much freedom in that statement. It was a phrase I proclaimed to a friend while circling my living room with a newborn baby on one hip and a laptop on the other. And on that day, my soul was stirred in an enormous way. Why on earth had I been burning my time and giving myself the unnecessary pressure of trying to get it “right?” As they sometimes do, two wonderful things came out of that dark day in 2011. I created the Simplified Planner, a tool that empowers busy women with a fresh start every day. And I committed myself to a standard of grace. It’s a journey that finds me stumbling every day, but a Grace, Not Perfection standard is hopeful, free, nourishing, and achievable. I promise.

I began to explore what this idea of Grace, Not Perfection (GNP) meant as my business grew and, simultaneously, as my husband and I welcomed twins into our now-family-of-five. Life got much more complex and, while they brought more joy, these new additions also brought more stress and more reasons “to have it all together.” 

Cue the white flag. I am done messing with that kind of stress.

On my GNP journey, I’ve learned that organization, routine, and structure are wonderful and completely necessary, but they are far different than the ideals of perfection. Perfection is suffocating. Perfection is impossible. Perfection is unattainable. But structure is calm. Organization is attainable. Grace is the freedom and permission to be who we are – flawed, silly, imperfect, messy, and full of joy.

And I’ve put all the lessons I’ve learned on my five-year GNP journey into a new book. 

Grace, Not Perfection explores tactical, attainable ways to add routine, structure, and balance to your busy days. Throughout its fifteen chapters (with beautiful photographs, checklists, worksheets and more), we will explore what it means to embrace Grace with yourself, your people, and your calling. 

Life may not always be easy, but there is always joy to be found along the journey. Come on, sister – let’s find it together

SATURDAY DOWN SOUTH TAILGATE

We LOVE football season here at Swoozie’s and work all year on bringing you new exclusive items to make sure you have the BEST tailgate on campus! As soon as our collections were complete, we knew we needed to provide y’all with even more inspiration so we teamed up with our friend @amyspartyideas who is known for her over-the-top, oh-so-amazing tailgate spreads. 

When we got to collaborate with her on an Auburn set up, we were, needless to say, SO excited. Amy has the most creative and cute ways to plan any type of party and this tailgate spread delivers! We are excited to introduce her as a guest blogger with her guide to a Saturday Down South Tailgate! Read on and make sure to follow her tips and stock up on her favorite tailgate essentials to make sure yours is just as awesome!

Saturdays down South mean one thing….tailgates!  There is nothing more fun than spending the day gathered around a table full of food with your friends and family just hanging out in the beautiful weather, enjoying each other, and getting excited about the game!

It is even more fun when you get your guests in the game day spirit by going all out for your favorite team.  Shopping at Swoozie’s to grab their cute tailgate gear makes game day so much more festive.   To start, use a tablecloth in your team’s colors to set the scene.  Don’t overlook your closet, I love using my tiger scarf as a table topper.  Make sure you decorate your whole space.  Grab pillows and hang your team’s mascot on your door to get everyone excited.

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Custom napkins for your team are a fun touch!

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Don’t forget the football for those pickup games that keep the kids having fun throughout the day.

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Keep your foods simple and serve at least one healthy option to keep those calories in check throughout the season.  I love my acrylic tray to keep salsa from dripping all over my tablecloth.  Let’s face it, most of us just dip and eat…no plate needed.

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Keep your drink cold all day with your Corkcicle and make it personal with a fun saying to keep track of your cup!

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I just love my longitude latitude bucket!  I made it myself with a discounted bucket I picked up and my Silhouette machine. There are so many cute ones available now! And my favorite glasses are a must at the tailgate.  All of the landmarks and special places of my alma mater are represented which brings back great memories for me and my college roommate who we tailgate with each week.

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Keeping cute coozies on the table ensures that everyone’s drink will stay cool.  And let’s face it, the sentiment rings true for those of us down on the plains.  War Eagle!

Welcome to Our Fall Look-Book!

This is one of our favorite catalogs of the year because we are not only launching our NEW gift and entertaining themes, but this catalog is also a celebration of YOU - our extraordinary customers.

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May All Who Gather as Guests Leave as Friends is our favorite collection of the season because it perfectly embodies how we feel about you, our loyal customers – and we hope the collection equally inspires you when you are entertaining your guests this season.  

Our commitment to you as loyal customers and “guests” of Swoozie’s is to provide you with the very best customer experience amongst the most unique gift and entertaining collections so when you leave Swoozie’s you are a friend – that we get to see over and over.  Getting to know each of our customers, personally, is our #1 priority and we are so thankful for the many friends we’ve made over the past 15 years. Being a part of your big celebrations and everyday occasions inspire our new collections every year and we love seeing you through the stages of life – from graduates to newlyweds and moms to grandmas...the list goes on.

We hope this event helps you kick off the fall with a sense of delight and enthusiasm. 

Flip on to see our favorite entertaining ideas for the upcoming holidays including Halloween and Thanksgiving along with our favorite gift ideas of the season. We continue to bring you personalized options for every occasion so you can put your own style on any gift you give or party you host. And we are excited to share with you even more on-the-spot personalization opportunities when you shop in store.

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Swoozie’s Picks: Back to School

With the summer coming to an end and the fall season on the horizon, it officially means “back to school” season is here. While we are in no rush for summer to end, we do enjoy this time of year when a sense of routine is welcome back into our lives. Whether a mom helping her kids, a college student going back to campus or a working girl prepping for a new season – our list of “back to school” favorites is perfect for girls of all ages!

Check out our Top 10 Back to School items and don’t forget to make this season magical {totally feeling the unicorn vibe}.

Start with a new agenda to get everything organized in an old school way – on paper! We think it’s so much more fun to get creative with planner organization vs. using our iPhones. We have so many to pick from including kate spade new york, Lilly Pulitzer, ban.do, Emily Ley, Rifle Paper and more – all of which can be personalized.

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In addition to the agenda, our other #1 item is definitely the Corkcicle – the top gift of last season and based on the new color palette for fall, will continue to be a must-have for everyone! Totally worth the investment and don’t forget to personalize.

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Here are other top items for the season!

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WORKING GIRL LUNCH & SNACK IDEAS

We are SO excited to introduce Olivia Rink to our followers – she has been a friend to Swoozie’s for over a year – and we could not be more thankful to feature her as a guest blogger with a super timely article. Don’t know about you all, but we are always looking for better, healthier, easier lunch & snack ideas to combat the workday and mid-morning and afternoon slumps. With August in sight (OMG), too, we are feeling extra motivated to get that new routine underway.

When the new ksny 2016 collection arrived, we knew it was a total match for Olivia’s impeccable style and the recipes and tidbits she is sharing, are perfection. Read on and take note – and if you are not following her already, make sure to follow her blog at Olivia Rink, her IG page (stunning) and her FB page.

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How many times have you waited till the last minute to find something to eat for lunch and swung by the drive by window because it’s convenient? If you’re asking me, it’s been a lot more often than it should. I’m WAY better at eating healthy when I plan it out and make an effort in advance to put snacks/meals together for the week. Plus, packing up a lunchbox and bringing it out with me when I leave the house for meetings and things in the city has helped me save money, eat healthier, and guarantee that I never go without snacks throughout the day (avoid getting hangry).

Snacking throughout the day and eating a filling lunch keeps my energy levels up, makes me motivated and focused, and helps me to avoid cravings later in the day. I’m always looking for new snack and lunch ideas to bring with me when I’m out – a good lunch always puts me in a better mood! I’ve gotten into the routine of making some of the same things to take with me when I’m out for the day.

Here are some of my favorite snacks + lunch ideas for on-the-go:

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Happy 4th Y'all!

We love the 4th of July here at Swoozie's {like all holidays} -- but there is something extra special about the 4th with the festivities the day (and weekend) tend to bring. From the time with family and friends to the backyard BBQs filled with delicious food and cocktails to a day ending in fireworks - it's always a celebration we look forward to during the summer.

It also marks the middle of summer, which reminds us we need to plan a lot more mini-vaca weekends to take advantage of the good weather and a more relaxed schedule.  

Photo Credit: @wildchildparty

Photo Credit: @wildchildparty

Here are some of our favorite photos to provide a little inspiration for the holiday weekend ahead!

Photo Credit: @theeveryhostess

Photo Credit: @theeveryhostess

Our friend, Kaitlin, of The Every Hostess, put together a fabulous tablescape for a 4th of July picnic and you must check out her famous 4th of July cocktail recipe

Photo Credit: @theeveryhostess

Photo Credit: @theeveryhostess

Have a HAPPY 4th of July weekend celebrating America with family and friends!

The Swoo Crew

Calling all Brides-to-Be!!!

Calling all Brides-to-Be! Our Annual Bridal Showcase is coming up at all Swoozie's locations at the end of June {check out our registration page to see when your local Swoozie's is having the event}. 

The event brings together local wedding vendors under one roof (Swoozie’s) to provide a fun, casual, and informative evening to learn about the different ways Swoozie’s, along with the local vendors, can help you with your wedding celebrations. We showcase everything from custom and designer invitations, to best-selling wedding favors, to personalized gifts for your wedding party. We also are launching our new exclusive collections from Beau-coup, available at Swoozie's, including bridal shower and bachelorette theme ideas!

The environment provides a much more intimate experience than traditional bridal shows and allows you to place orders that day or start your consultation. Every bride who signs up will receive a FREE bridal swag bag filled with savings, including an Engagement Pass to use for 15% off all wedding orders. Plus, there are several raffle giveaways from Swoozie’s and attending vendors, including custom napkins, personalized bar-ware, and FREE wedding invitations (up to $250.00)... yes, please!

In-Store Wedding Shop

In-Store Wedding Shop

Designer Invitation albums and Custom Invitations 

Designer Invitation albums and Custom Invitations 

Swoozie’s is your one stop shop for everything that has to do with wedding planning – from the moment you get engaged to the bridal shower and bachelorette... all the way to the big day. No matter your style, there are so many gifts, invitations, and favor options for you to choose from – all of which can be customized just for you.

Photo Cred @oliviarink

Photo Cred @oliviarink

Before You Say I Do, Let us Swoozie You {register today!} 

Congrats! 

The Swoo Crew

 

A Guide to Graduation Season

Graduation season is here {hooray Class of 2016}! 

The next 30 days are filled with graduation ceremonies and parties which means gifts to get and invitations to order. This is one of our favorite times of year, whether we are helping the graduate plan out gifts for all the friends or helping mom coordinate all the party details,  the spirit of graduation season is both joyous and contagious {and also serves as a true marker that summer is about to begin!}

Swoozie's In-Store Graduation Shop

Swoozie's In-Store Graduation Shop

 

We’ve put together the top questions we hear from customers at this time of year along with our answers and guidance – including gift giving ideas and inspiration for the parties.

1.       Q: What is the difference between an invitation and an announcement?

a.       You will need to send graduation invitations when you want your guest to attend the commencement and/or graduation party. The invitations are requesting someone's specific presence but can also serve as an announcement.

b.      You will need to send graduation announcements when you want to let your friends and family know of your achievements, but there will not be an actual event that they need to attend. These are the cards a grad sends to family and friends to share the big news about the graduation. It includes information about the graduate, including the school he or she is graduating from, but doesn’t include the time, date or location like an invitation would.

Graduation Invitation 

Graduation Invitation 

 

2.       Q: My son wants to get a gift for his girlfriend. I don’t want to spend more than $25 (or $50) what should I get her?

a.       We love anything from ban.do collection from the peek-a-boo bags and clutches (which are great for travel) to the phone cases and tech accessories.

Our favorite gift ideas for besties

Our favorite gift ideas for besties

b.      Another favorite is the initial kate spade new york drink tumblers which you can make even more personal with her name.

we love kate spade {add your name in gold in the color block!}

we love kate spade {add your name in gold in the color block!}

 

3.       Q: I need to buy a gift for my daughter’s 5 best girlfriends. What can I get for all them that matches?

a.       We have so many great options all at different price points to make sure you stay in budget for the long list of friends you are looking to buy for. Some of our favorite suggestions include personalized cosmetic bags; our best-selling Corkcicle canteens (one of Oprah’s top gifts to the holiday season); personalized tote bags – great for both summer travel and on campus; personalized necklaces; and for the girly-girls – one of our favorite gifts of the season is our new silky floral kimono robe.

 

4.       Q: My daughter is so excited she got into Clemson. Can I get her a package of gifts all college – themed or that our the school colors?

a.       Absolutely! Shop our Monogram Shop to put together a whole collection of collegiate colored gifts (from pillowcases to custom blankets to an acrylic tray you can put her monogram or school on and she can use as a trinket tray).

b.      Plus we have Tervis Tumbler and Smather’s and Branson which all have collegiate themed gifts.

 

5.       Q: I am hosting a high school graduation party. I have no idea what kind of theme it should be? Ideas?

a.       We offer a wide range of options for the graduation party and this year we have 4 primary collections to choose from (that said, you can customize any type party you want with our in-house graphic designer)!

The Tassle was worth the Hassle | YAY | Class of 2016 | It's Been Fun...Glad We're Done

The Tassle was worth the Hassle | YAY | Class of 2016 | It's Been Fun...Glad We're Done

 

Shop our complete Graduation catalog online or shop local Swoozie’s and talk to any of our experts to help you find the perfect gift an plan the most memorable party.

Here’s to the Class of 2016!

The Swoo Crew

Let's Celebrate! Our Favorite Gifts of the Season

We love this time of year – we are in the swing of spring and summer is on the horizon. With the sun shining a little brighter (and longer), more activities and get-togethers really start to fill up the calendar. It’s the season for so many reasons to celebrate from Mother’s Day to Graduations, in addition to all the occasions that are happening year round for you, including birthday parties, girls’ nights out, and wedding festivities.

Photo Cred @cmcoving of Southern Curls & Pearls

Photo Cred @cmcoving of Southern Curls & Pearls

Whether planning a neighborhood block party, attending a bridal shower, getting teacher gifts or prepping for spring break and summer travel, our annual Gift Guide gives you over 500+ gift ideas to help you give the perfect gift for any occasion.

April 2016 Catalog

April 2016 Catalog

In addition to our top gift ideas, we've also included our favorite entertaining ideas for the season. One of our newest is American Summer. We hope it provokes a major sense of nostalgia and the excuse (if you didn’t have one already) to gather friends & family this summer for plenty of BBQs and clambakes and overall outdoor fun. 

From a family weekend at the lake (or wherever your happy place is) to a brunch party with the girls, we've got hostess gift ideas and entertaining essentials to help you with all these special occasions.

 

From our new arrivals to perennial best sellers, we hope you find inspiration and ideas from our curated gift collections for everyone on your list. We’ve also included hundreds of personalized options so whether you are shopping for your mom, sister, bestie, the graduate, or the girl who has everything, you will be able to add your personal touch to every gift you give.

The Swoo Crew

Meet Jen Gotch! Founder + Creative Director of the (one & only) ban.do

We love everything about ban.do – from the collections (that are always both clever and colorful) to the actual girls behind the brand – the ban.do #girlgang. We have such a girl crush on this vibrant group of super talented, super fun, super creative women so when we got a chance to ask Jen Gotch, the co-founder and creative director, about her style of business, inspiration and more… we were excited!

The one & only: Jen gotch

The one & only: Jen gotch

FIRST THINGS FIRST: Is there “one” particular moment, looking back, that really made you think, I want to build a brand? Did you always want to be an entrepreneur? We really just want to know what inspired you to take this career path?

JG: I’ve definitely always loved the idea of having an audience, whether it be dancing for my parents’ friends at dinner parties, or selling things at a local flea market. Connecting with people is a passion of mine and connecting to customers through a brand is really fulfilling. I wouldn’t say there was a particular moment where I thought, “Yeah, I’m gonna build a brand!” But there are enough experiences peppered through my life that make what I am doing now seem very sensible. Leading up to the time we started ban.do, I had been working as a food and prop stylist for over 10 years and had just started getting into photography. Oh, and I was writing two different blogs, too. (What is wrong with me?) I actually started ban.do on a whim with a friend, never expecting it would become more than just a little creative outlet on the side (like I needed another one, sheesh!). Things took off just as my photography career got going. I had my first big shoot in New York for the cover of Real Simple magazine and spent a couple extra days there meeting with people about ban.do. I quickly realized that I wouldn’t be able to manage all 17,000 careers I had started so I chose ban.do. And here we are.

Just as important as the first… is there a story behind “ban.do” (the name) you can share? 

JG: I can tell you one thing for sure, we definitely did not come up with the name using any of the business naming strategies that I now know to be so helpful. Oh no, that would have just made things too easy! So “bandeaux” is the French word for headband (which was primarily what we were making/selling when we started the company in 2008), and although we loved the way it sounded, I thought French words were passé (to use another French word), so I changed the spelling, because I thought I could make a word that had been around forever look cooler (which is a very Jen Gotch thing to do. I’m always convinced I can improve things… sometimes it works and sometimes IT DOES NOT WORK.) Over time there have been challenges with the punctuation and the pronunciation, but now I really like it. It’s so much more than a name now. It represents a big happy FUN team and that’s worth smiling about.

What and where do you find the most creative inspiration? Do you have a favorite Instagram account for inspiration? Or someone/a brand you follow on Pinterest?

JG: I’m really fond of the usual suspects when it comes to finding inspiration… travel, old movies (and when I say old, I don’t mean the classics – I'm talking mostly about 80’s rom coms), swap meets, walking not driving, and of course Pinterest for the days I want to be inspired, but I don’t want to get out of bed. 

Great visual inspiration on Instagram: first of all @shopbando because it is looking sooooo good right now. I’m just really proud of everyone, so I think that should get top mention. @C_L_O  is great for fashion and photography, and @jimmymarble for mood and color.

And on Pinterest: I’ve been really into Bing Bang NYC’s Pinterest as of late. They’re great!!!

What inspired this year’s collection? 

JG: ban.do Spring/Summer 2016 is all about celebrating self-expression, highlighting our strengths, and identifying with our customers. The line is a mix of cute, youthful, sophisticated, and quirky, and it’s a calculated response to looking at what’s around us. We’ve played up fun, irreverence, bright colors, and trends. And it’s all wrapped up in getting the best photos, because that’s how our customer communicates.

this photograph is the EPITOME of fun

this photograph is the EPITOME of fun

Do you have an all-time favorite item or design from the collection this year or in previous collections? 

JG: Everything! In this collection, the compliment postcard book is full of things girls could totally hear themselves saying to a friend, and the love potion sip sip is like having a sip of love potion every day (really effective for crushes). And we're really excited about our inflatables – you can take herbie our happy heart with you to the pool or float on a giant heart-shaped inner tube!

herbie Love

herbie Love

We may be biased, but we love working in a company full of women and all about women. A total synergy, we think, with ban.do. What is the best part about working with all girls (all the time)?

JG: I think the best part is that women tend to be more communicative about their emotions than men, so we are able to connect on a really personal level and also address any issues that come up in a really honest way. 

Any new ideas we can sneak peek and know about for fall? Next year? 

JG: Oh man, we have a ton of fun stuff coming up that makes me want to have a dance party right here right now! Our new agendas are coming out really soon and believe me when I tell you they are insanely good. Basically, we're headed for a ban.do world takeover. And you’re totally invited!



 

Hippity Hoppity: Here Comes Easter

We can’t believe Easter is almost here! The holiday is very early this year, but we are ready and excited to celebrate the Easter bunny’s arrival in just a few weeks. Whether planning the hunt or putting together Easter baskets for the family, here are some entertaining ideas and gift inspiration to help you get in the spirit.

Hosting an Easter Egg Hunt this year? Whether planning for the entire neighborhood or just a small family get together, here is a little inspiration kids (and adults) will love.

1. Start with fun décor

2. Get festive favors and sweet treats for everyone

The goal is to create a setting that allows kids to celebrate the joy of the hunt and adults the ability to relax and just enjoy. Not planning a giant egg hunt this year, but still want to put together a great basket for your loved ones and friends — we have some inspiration for you here, too! We love working with our customers on creative ways to put together Easter baskets because there are so many creative ways to think about the “vessel” and what goes inside. This year, put together the perfect, personalized Easter basket for everyone in the family this year — because we believe no one is too old for an Easter basket!

1. Start with the basket. And just remember, if making a “basket” for someone a bit older, think about an alternative bag they’ll love instead of a traditional basket!

2. Pick out the basket stuffers! And remember to think about basket stuffers are just fun small gifts the recipient will love — it doesn’t all have to be about bunnies or chocolate!  Does your younger daughter love to draw? Get her a new coloring book!

Are you filling a basket for your oldest daughter heading to college? Get her some of her favorite travel size toiletries or a new cosmetic case that she’ll love when she leaves home. We love this BLVD personalized cosmetic bag — it's the perfect size!

Or a new travel journal or one of our favorite new items for spring, the kate spade new york initial tumbler!

When it comes to Easter baskets, we think it is the thought behind the content that means the most and giving it that extra special time to make it feel personalized.

We wish you the happiest Easter Sunday with friends and family...and if you're looking for a bit more inspiration, we love Martha Stewart’s Pinterest board for all the DIY craft ideas you’ll ever need or for plenty of homemade sweets inspiration, and we love everything on Food Network right now!

— The Swoo Crew

This Weekend: 12 Ways to Pamper Yourself {from our Guest Blogger: Olivia Rink}

We're so excited to team up with our friend, Olivia Rink, for tips on how to pamper yourself and the overall importance of taking time for yourself. Check out her latest blog post from OliviaRink.com, featured right here as a guest blog on Land of the Swoo! Enjoy!

The importance of treating yourself is often overlooked. I’ve always struggled with being too hard on myself and I have a pretty tough time turning things off and actually taking the time to just relax. I’m a type-A personality, so I’m programmed to constantly worry about the future, things I need to get done, and my to-do list has the tendency to take over my life (!!)

In small doses, self criticism can be very helpful — it challenges us to take responsibility and constantly work on bettering ourselves. But, before you can better yourself in any way you have to learn to be kind and take care of yourself — because your mind controls EVERYTHING you do.

Take time to treat yourself every now and then with these next few ideas  — it gives you the chance to clear your mind, find balance, and enjoy this beautiful life we way too often take for granted!

Photo courtesy of OliviaRink.com

Photo courtesy of OliviaRink.com

Use code OLIVIA20 on all Swoozies products listed in this post at checkout for 20% off!

1.Take a bubble bath. I couldn’t remember the last time I did this and it definitely won’t be long before I do it again. There’s something so relaxing and stress relieving about hot water. It’s been proven that soaking in water can sharpen your memory, calm your mind, and act as a natural mood-booster.

PHOTO COURTESY OF OLIVIARINK.COM

PHOTO COURTESY OF OLIVIARINK.COM

2. Pour in a little bath oil. For luxurious bubbles, a soothing scent, and a hydrating cleanser, add a little bit of Lollia Wander Bath Oil to your bath tub experience. You can use it in the shower too!

Photo courtesy of OliviaRink.com

Photo courtesy of OliviaRink.com

Photo courtesy of OliviaRink.com

Photo courtesy of OliviaRink.com

3. Light Some Candles. Lighting a candle never seems to fail when it comes to boosting my mood, so why not surround your bath tub experience with them? I like to think I’m somewhat of a candle connoisseur – and Voluspa candles are at the top of my list! Below are my favorites that I’ve filled my bedroom and bathroom with.

Pink Citron | Prosecco Belini | Apple & Blue Clover | Macaron | Suede Blanc

(code OLIVIA20 for 20% off)

Photo courtesy of OliviaRink.com

Photo courtesy of OliviaRink.com

Photo courtesy of OliviaRink.com

Photo courtesy of OliviaRink.com

4. Take care of your skin. When you take care of your body, you feel better! The soaps + lotions from the Lollia line have always been some of my favorites – and the packaging is so beautiful! Their skin softening products are the perfect addition to your bathroom.   [Lavender + Honey Soap |  Peony + Lily Soap |  Lavender + Honey Lotion]

Photo courtesy of OliviaRink.com

Photo courtesy of OliviaRink.com

Photo courtesy of OliviaRink.com

Photo courtesy of OliviaRink.com

5. A fresh mani/pedi can save the day. Sometimes, all it takes is a fresh set of nails to make you feel like you have it all together. Pick a fun new color — it’s an easy mood booster.

Faves: Shorts Story | Alpine Snow | Miami Beet | Big Apple Red

Photo courtesy of OliviaRink.com

Photo courtesy of OliviaRink.com

Photo courtesy of OliviaRink.com

Photo courtesy of OliviaRink.com

6. Read a good book. Reading is a great way to take your mind off your worries and focus on something else. I love reading through design books with beautiful pictures to spark creativity.   [Domino Book]

Photo courtesy of OliviaRink.com

Photo courtesy of OliviaRink.com

7. Splurge on some good products. Sometimes it just feels good to splurge on some good products you know will benefit you. I like to switch up what I use for my body & hair pretty often to test new things out and lately I’ve been using this Aveda Shampoo and Conditioner – smells delicious, gentle on your hair, and leaves it silky and shiny.

8. Make a relaxing playlist. Fill it up with whatever makes you soul happy!

9. Put on your comfiest pajamas (or bath robe) and slippers and wear them all day.

10. Have a glass of wine (or 3)

11. Sleep in. There aren’t many things better for your mind or body than some good zzz’s!

12. Buy a couple bouquets from Costco and arrange them somewhere in your home where you can see them all week – flower power is a real thing people.

Photo courtesy of OliviaRink.com

Photo courtesy of OliviaRink.com

Meagan Gilbert Photography

Hope this gave you some inspiration to remember treat yourself every now and then — it’s the best kind of therapy out there! Thanks for reading you guys, your support and kind words mean more than you know!