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FREE Valentine’s Day Printables

With a background in graphic design, one of my little known hobbies is designing decorative printables. I find it fun and relaxing to create something pretty to hang on a wall or add to a notebook. It makes me happy to express my artistic side this way.

In honor of Valentine’s Day (which is coming up quickly!), I’ve designed some pretty printables I think you’re going to love. These are free printables for you to print out and enjoy. Use them any way you like. They’re my Valentine’s gift to you, all my friends here at Mud Boots & Pearls.








Blanket Scarf Bonanza

When you live in a cold winter climate like New England, a blanket scarf is the perfect accessory for keeping warm. It’s versatile and fashionable—a blanket scarf is incredibly useful.

I’ve talked about my blanket scarf obsession before. I’ve acquired several of them since last fall, and now my collection is complete with gorgeous, soft scarves I can wear on all those chilly days winter throws my way.

I’d thought I’d share a few images of how I love to style my blanket scarves. I did a post a while back about 5 ways to wear a blanket scarf, but I’ve got a couple of favorite ways I wear mine most of the time. I also have a few outfits that look especially suited to wearing a blanket scarf with. You really do have to plan an entire outfit around a blanket scarf! Keeping things proportional is something that is important to keep in mind.

This first scarf is one I got last fall. It came in the fall Fab Fit Fun box, and it’s simply fabulous! It was especially perfect for wearing during the holidays. The color way and pattern are so classic. This particular scarf is from Modcloth, but these can be found almost anywhere now. They are extremely popular and very much still on trend.



Next, this scarf is one I received as a gift from my mother for Christmas. The colors are so pretty. It goes beautifully with grey, which I love. I’ve styled it with a wool cap and long cardigan for a cozy, wintery look.




This final look incorporates a lovely subdued pink blanket scarf with hints of purple throughout. The color combination of this scarf is completely different from the others, making it unique (and ultra feminine). It is much subtler and softer, so it goes with some of my softer colored wardrobe items. I’ve really had a lot of fun finding clothing combinations to incorporate this scarf into.


If you’re looking for an accessory that looks great, adds a lot of interest to an outfit, and keeps you warm and cozy during the cold winter months, you should definitely try a blanket scarf. I am really loving mine!

What I Wore

Outfit 1
Blanket scarf: Modcloth (via Fab Fit Fun)
Skirt: upcycled (via ThredUp)
Shirt: Banana Republic (via ThredUp)
Earrings: (similar)

Outfit 2
Blanket scarf: gift (find one similar here)
Skirt: upcycled (via ThredUp)
Shirt: Ann Taylor (via ThredUp)
Cardigan: Old Navy
Cap: (similar)
Earrings: (similar)

Outfit 3
Blanket Scarf: Zulily
Shirt: Novae
Skirt: Crazy Horse (another ThredUp find)

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links.  Note that I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

Linking up with: Modest Mondays| Hello Monday| Classy Monday | Start the Week Stylish | Watch What I am Wearing | Style Sessions | Style Swap Tuesdays | On Trend Tuesdays | Turning Heads Tuesday | What I Wore | What I Wore Wednesday | Style Me Wednesday | Color and Grace | Who’s Wearing What Wednesday |  Style Spotlight | What Wives WearNo Rules Weekend Blog Party | Friday’s Fab Favorites | Fun Fashion  | Fancy Friday | Fabulous Friday | Fashion Friday | Weekend Wear Linkup

Braided Side Bun Hair Tutorial


Looking for a quick hair style that’s simple to do but looks dressy and oh so chic? Look no further. I’ve got a hairstyle that’s perfect for date night, a formal event, even a not-so-dressy event like everyday life!

This style is also perfect for little girls. My daughter does this to her own hair and when she does, it always looks adorable!

This hair style works best on shoulder length or longer hair. For this style, you will need a comb (or brush), an elastic or hair tie (should be the same color as your hair so that it blends in), and a few bobby pins.

Braided Side Bun
Step 1

Comb or brush hair to one side of the head, keeping the length of the hair over the shoulder.

Step 2

Separate 3 small sections of the hair just above the temple on the side of the head you brushed you hair toward in step 1.

Step 3

Using the sections you just separated out, start braiding down the side of the head, adding additional sections from each side of the braid as you go. (Just do a normal french braid, only it will be positioned at the side of your head instead of the back.)

Step 4

Once you’ve incorporated all the hair into the braid, continue to braid until you reach the ends of the hair, then fasten it with an elastic or hair tie.

Step 5

Begin coiling the length of the braid around and the neck, just below and behind your ear, creating a bun. Be sure to tuck the end of the braid underneath the bun to hide it.

Step 6

Secure the bun well with bobby pins. Check for any stray hairs or anything else that might need to be adjusted.


And there you have it—a beautiful and elaborate looking hair style that only took you a few minutes to do!




Wear a Scarf for Instant Elegance


A scarf is a great way to add a touch of elegance to any outfit. If you’ve read even a few of my fashion posts—or if you’ve ever seen my Instagram feed—you’ve probably noticed that I like to wear scarves.

Scarves are such simple but versatile accessories. Every girl should own a few.


This outfit is a super simple one. However, it dresses up nicely with the addition of a pretty, colorful scarf. A plain long-sleeved tee and knit maxi skirt can be made elegant with an cotton ombre scarf in a complimentary color scheme.

The tee is nothing special, other than the fact that the color is a beautiful lavender. Otherwise, it is a basic wardrobe staple. Everyone probably has something similar. The fit of this particular tee is great; I really like the flattering cut and the way the hem scoops down a bit. It’s from Ann Taylor (though it came to me via ThredUp); almost all of my most flattering clothes are from Ann Taylor.

I sure do love my knit maxi skirts. This one came from Old Navy years ago. This skirt major player in my everyday wardrobe. It’s been a workhorse since I got it several years back. It’s held up really well and it goes with everything.

And it’s grey—THE neutral of the season. I guess that means I can say I’ve been wearing grey since before it was cool….

Last but not least, the scarf. Ah, this lovely scarf came into my possession via the local thrift store for about $2. It’s such a pretty color combination. Vibrant lavender fades into a soft, mossy green. This scarf makes me feel almost regal when I wear it. It’s flowing and elegant and it beautifully compliments almost anything I pair it with.


This outfit goes to show you that you don’t have to spend a fortune to look elegant and put together. A few well chosen accessories paired with some wardrobe staples can make for a lovely look.

(I took these photos in the midst of a snow storm. I liked how the camera captured the snow coming down.)

Do you have a favorite scarf you love to use to bring more elegance to an otherwise simple outfit? If you don’t, you should find one and try it. It’s fun, trust me!

What I Wore

Skirt: Old Navy years ago (similar)
Long sleeved Tee: Ann Taylor (mine came via ThredUp)
Scarf: Thrifted (similar)
Boots: L.L. Bean

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links.  Note that I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

Linking up with: Modest Mondays| Hello Monday| Classy Monday | Start the Week Stylish | Watch What I am Wearing | Style Sessions | Style Swap Tuesdays | On Trend Tuesdays | Turning Heads Tuesday | What I Wore | What I Wore Wednesday | Style Me Wednesday | Color and Grace | Who’s Wearing What Wednesday |  Style Spotlight | What Wives WearNo Rules Weekend Blog Party | Friday’s Fab Favorites | Fun Fashion  | Fancy Friday | Fabulous Friday | Fashion Friday | Weekend Wear Linkup

12 Books to Read This Year


Looking for some good books to read this year? I’ve got some recommendations for you. Here are 12—one book suggestion for each month of the year. Read on to learn what books I recommend and why.

Each year, I set a reading goal for myself. Most years, I set a goal of reading 50 books. I don’t always reach that goal, but it gives me something to strive for. Of those 50 (or less!) books, I try to choose from a variety of genres and topics. It’s good to be strategic in your reading choices. Challenging, informative, or just plain entertaining, different books have different purposes.

Last year, I didn’t quite reach my goal. I did make it to 48 books read. Of those 48 books, several stood out as ones I would recommend to others. Here is my list of 12 books I think you should read this year.


Money-Making Mom: How Every Woman Can Earn More and Make a Difference by Crystal Paine

I’ve mentioned this book before, but I think it bears repeating that this is an excellent read and one I highly recommend. If you’re looking for a way to make money from home, you need to read this book. Crystal Paine is a well-known author, speaker, and blogger. To say she knows what she’s talking about on this subject would be an understatement. Crystal shares some brilliant ideas for making money as a stay-at-home mom (or anyone who wants the freedom to work from home). What I found most inspiring was how Crystal challenges her readers to pursue success with the intent to be able to help others. She definitely practices what she preaches. She is very generous with the resources she has been blessed with. This book gave me the boost needed to start thinking bigger in my own life.

The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

There are a lot of opportunities available right now for those wishing to become entrepreneurs. All it takes is a good idea, a desire to work hard, and a willingness to take a few risks. If you are looking for a way to break free of the typical 9 to 5 job, or if you’re a stay-at-home mom like me and you’re looking for a way to earn some extra income from home, you’ll appreciate this book. It’s a quick read, but it contains a lot of really helpful information.


Daughter of Empire: My Life as a Mountbatten by Pamela Hicks

This book gives a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the British aristocracy in the early to mid twentieth century. It is the memoir of Lady Pamela Hicks, cousin of Queen Elizabeth. If you ever wanted an actual behind the scenes look at the royal family, you will enjoy this book. Lady Hicks was a lady-in-waiting to the queen in the early days of the queen’s marriage. Her father was a prominent figure in World War II military history. She is an interesting and accomplished person in her own right. This one is a captivating read.

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes

If you like The Princess Bride, you will love this book. It is an account of the on-set antics of the cast and crew as told by “Westley” himself. To fully appreciate this book, you should listen to the audiobook narrated by Cary Elwes. Some of the other cast members, as well as director Rob Reiner, lend their voices to the telling. Listen to the audiobook to truly experience this book. We’re huge Princess Bride fans around here, so I enjoyed this book immensely.

Christian Living

Own Your Life: How to Grow a Legacy of Faith, Love, and Spiritual Influence by Sally Clarkson

I consider Sally Clarkson a mentor of mine. I have read her books and gleaned so much from each one. Own Your Life is no exception. In this book, she candidly shares about some of her own struggles and triumphs. She encourages her readers to find purpose in everyday life, to live with intent and find meaning in whatever we are doing. This is an inspiring and insightful read.

Longing for Paris: One Woman’s Search for Joy, Beauty , and Adventure—Right Where She Is by Sarah Mae

There’s been a bit of hype surrounding this book, and for good reason. I think the author, Sarah Mae, hits a nerve for many young moms in today’s culture. Motherhood is hard and sometimes it can be tempting to wish you could escape the mundane routines of your everyday life for exotic places filled with adventure. In her typical self-deprecatingly entertaining way, Sarah Mae encourages her readers to see the beauty and adventure all around us. She shares her own journey toward finding joy and meaning in ordinary, everyday things.


What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

This book is the first of Liane Moriarty’s works that I read and it’s what made me a fan of hers. Extremely entertaining, this is a quick read. The premise of this book is clever and unusual. The main character, Alice, wakes up one day to discover she has amnesia and can’t remember the past 10 years of her life. Her journey to discover who she has become, and why, is fascinating. What she learns about herself is revealing and thought provoking. Like most of Moriarty’s books, be aware that there is a bit of strong language.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This is a powerful and poignant story set during World War II. It is the moving telling of two young lives and how they are affected by the events surrounding them at that turbulent time. Their reactions to what happens and how their lives intersect is what propels this story. Don’t miss this poignant and painfully beautiful story.

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

A book I’ve talked about before, this is an excellent read. It is touching and heart wrenching and challenging. As someone who has experienced similar loss, the dilemma of the main characters resonated with me. The choices they made were not the ones I would have made, but I could understand the motivation behind them. This was a deeply moving story beautifully told.


In The Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick

I was born on Martha’s Vineyard, which means I grew up hearing plenty of stories about the history of whaling in New England. This particular story is one not soon forgotten. The whaleship Essex was run into by a whale; what happened after that is almost unbelievable. This is a chilling account of desperation and survival. Nathaniel Philbrick has a way of describing historical events in captivating detail. All his books are excellent, and this one is no exception. If you are at all interested in whaling, naval history, or human nature in the face of extreme challenges, you’ll appreciate this compelling book.

To Marry an English Lord by Gail MacColl

Downton Abbey fans will enjoy this book. It gives an account of the many daughters of American “new money” millionaires in the mid to late nineteenth century who married into the British aristocracy. The families of these young ladies found them their titled husband in an attempt to bolster their social standing. The resulting marriages were a fascinating mix of happy ones, indifferent ones, miserable ones, and ones of pure convenience. This is an incredibly entertaining glimpse into this interesting time in social history.


Caught Up in a Story: Fostering a Storyformed Life of Great Books & Imagination with Your Children by Sarah Clarkson

This book renewed my vision for reading with my children. As a homeschooling mom and a book lover myself, I’ve always valued reading to my children. It’s been a part of our day-to-day family life since my oldest child was born. Our home is filled with good, well-written classic children’s literature. This book reminded me of what powerful tools those books can be. It’s an inspiring glimpse into how reading can shape a child’s heart and mind. I’d highly recommend this book for any parent or educator.

So there you have it—my 12 book recommendations for this year. Do you have any recent reads you’d recommend? I’m always looking for a good book. Leave a comment if you’d like to share a recommendation.

What are you waiting for? Get reading!

Please note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase something using one of my links.  Note that I only recommend products I believe in. Your support is appreciated!

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