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Christmas Gift Ideas for Guys

“Christmas gift ideas?! Really, Mary? It’s not even September yet!” Yes, really! My mother in law starts Christmas shopping for the next year on December 26th so I think in her book, I would be late to the game! Seriously, look it up on google, it’s a thing! Did you know that in the Philippines they start decorating and prepping for Christmas on September 1st? They even start playing Christmas music! They call it “ber months” which means it’s the start of the year where months end in “ber” (SeptemBER, OctoBER, NovemBER, DecemBER). 

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Shopping for guys has always been the hardest part about Christmas shopping – even shopping for my own husband! I’ve attached my favorite Amazon gift ideas and AliExpress gift ideas but of course if you can find something locally, that’s even better! Amazon even has it’s very own “find a gift” section on their website to make it easy for you. Check it out here. You can find more of my fun finds and gift ideas on my lists here and even join our FREE shopping group on Facebook! 

Home Brewing Kit on Amazon

Money Clip Multi-Tool on Amazon

Ice Ball Glass on Amazon

Nintendo Switch on Amazon

I asked my husband what he would want as a gift and he said, “Anything for a smart home!”

Smart homes are the new “thing” and since we are building our first home, I thought I would throw in some fun smart home gift suggestions. Learn more about our home inspiration here.

Smart Plug on Amazon

Fingerprint Electronic Lock on AliExpress

Google Nest Home Thermostat on Amazon

Wifi Plug on AliExpress

Robot Vacuum on Amazon

We have a robot vacuum and LOVE it!!

I would love to see what you get your partner, dad, and/or brother for Christmas this year! As always, feel free to tag me in posts relating to this blog post so I can share and see too! You can also share and see more shopping suggestions in our FREE shopping group on Facebook! If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there!


Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3


Master Bedroom Inspiration

I am so excited to share our master bedroom inspiration for our new house! If you’re new here, welcome! My husband, Robbie, and I are building our very first home together. You can read about our experience so far and see more of our home inspiration here. To see where you can buy similar (or the same) products that are featured in all of my home inspiration posts as well as all credits on images, head to my inspiration shop here. View and purchase ALL of my Amazon home decor inspiration and ideas here!

When you think of your master bedroom what kind of feeling does it give you? To me, I want to think of our master bedroom as a clean, organized, and clutter free space to relax. We have decided (not just in this home but all of the homes we have lived in together), to not have TV in our bedroom. Check out our inspiration board below.

We want to create a relaxing place for us to enjoy in the evenings and sleep in on the weekends. We’re lucky because we get to have an ensuite and walk in closet! I am excited about adding in all of our own little touches like his and her towel hangers and of course a shower stool!

Some ideas we have for our room is painting the back wall a sage/spanish green color and maybe even adding a linear wood element to the wall. Do you think we should keep it white, paint it green, or paint it green and add the wood element pictured below?

We’re keeping our existing bedroom furniture which is large and wood. However, we are unsure if we will have the space to put the matching tall dresser! I have never had a walk in wardrobe so I need organization ideas! What have you done to save you time and space?!

Although the room is quite simple, we’re looking forward to having big, glass sliding doors that lead onto our large deck! Robbie mentioned adding a bench seat to the right hand side of the deck (at the end).

One thing that I miss about our old rental home, is that the master bedroom had a ceiling fan! It’s definitely on our to-buy list. I am thinking of getting a wood and black fan like pictured in our master bedroom inspiration board.

If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there!


Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

Apple Cinnamon Roll

Apple Cinnamon Roll Bites

One thing I miss about living in Encinitas is the local bakery and Cinnabon. I am not going to lie, Cinnabon is definitely a guilty pleasure of mine. And although my homemade apple cinnamon roll, pull apart “bread” isn’t the same, it IS delicious and super easy to make (which kind of just makes it that much better, right).

This is the perfect homemade cinnamon roll recipe if you don’t have premade dough (or crescents) handy and you don’t have any yeast. You can even use this same recipe and roll out the dough, fill with apples, and place in the oven the same way but more “cinnamon roll looking.” The “pop open” premade “cans/jars” aren’t really common here so I had to find something that I could easily make with what I already had at home.

To read more about my recipes and why I create them the way I do (without specific measurements, times, and temperatures) check out this blog post

Here’s what you’ll need:

Apple Cinnamon Roll Bites

Who doesn't love cinnamon sugar and butter with apples and buns?! Yum!


  • Oven


  • Apples Sliced or Diced
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 1 tbsp Baking powder
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup Butter Cold - Cubed
  • Butter Melted
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Granulated sugar
  • Icing sugar
  • Milk
  • Cream cheese


  • First, combine flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and mix it together. Sometimes I like to add in a bit of extra sugar and cinnamon to the recipe so I add it directly to the dough.
  • Then, cut in cubes of butter and add it to the bowl. Make the bits of butter as small as possible.
  • Gradually stir in milk until the dough comes together (be careful that it doesn’t get too wet and sticky - if it does, just add more flour)
  • Preheat oven (350 degrees F - if you like to know that kind of stuff) and grease your pan with butter.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
  • Cut apples into thin slices. Optional: squeeze lemon juice onto the slices and mix well.
  • Now, this part is kind of up to you, I like to reduce the number of bowls I use so I do this next part in the greased pan but you can also do this in a separate bowl.
  • Melt butter (either just add extra to your existing greased pan or have a separate bowl), make small balls of dough, and roll the dough balls into the melted butter.
  • Then, roll the dough balls in the cinnamon and sugar mixture until they’re well coated.
  • Line the bottom of the buttered pan with apples and/or place apples inbetween the dough balls.
  • Place the dough balls next to each other (touching) in the buttered pan.
  • Cook for 7-10 minutes or until dough is cooked all the way through.
  • While they’re cooking, make your chosen sauce!

Caramel Sauce

  • Melt butter and brown sugar in a sauce pan with a little bit of milk. Don't let the liquid get too hot for too long. Keep stirring until it slightly thickens. Remove from heat and pour on cinnamon rolls. Optional: Add cinnamon!

Easy Icing

  • Mix milk, vanilla, and icing sugar until desired consistency.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Mix cream cheese, vanilla, and icing sugar until desired taste and consistency. If you prefer it a bit thinner, add a touch of milk.

If you make this recipe, please tag me on Facebook or Instagram so I can see your creations!

If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there!


Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3


How to see all the Posts You’ve Liked on Instagram

Have you ever wanted to see all the posts you’ve liked on Instagram? You might have forgotten the image, quote, or post that you passed earlier but really loved and you want to see it again! Well, you can do that!

All you have to do is go to your profile, click the burger menu (the three lines in the top right-hand corner) if you’re on a mobile device, click settings, then account. Then, you’ll see “Posts you’ve liked” towards the bottom.

If you want to unlike a post all you have to do is click the heart again. Don’t worry, the user will not be notified that you unliked their post.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can also search directly in the search bar.

For more social media tips and tricks, sign up to our email list below and join our FREE social media discussions, engagement, and learning group on Facebook here

If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there!


Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

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What is Puddle Co?

If you’ve been around for a little while, you might have seen the release of my new company, Puddle Co. Maybe you have wondered what it is, who it is for or how you can get involved. I’m so excited to dive into what The Puddle Company is all about!

Read below to see how Puddle Co. is supporting non-profits and charities.

Puddle Co or Puddle, is a communication app for professionals and celebrities to give you advice. Whether you’re wanting your business plan reviewed or you simply want to ask a question, Puddle Co. is the place to get drops of knowledge from your most loved professionals and celebrities.

Personalized advice, answers, and feedback from your most admired people

We’ve created an easy, intuitive design so you can easily find who you are looking for – whether you know their name or know their expertise. You can check to see how valuable other users feel each pro’s advice really is so you know that authentic and helpful conversations are happening.

Meet the app that’s changing the game

Our main page features the top Pros of several categories and industries from sports, to entertainment, to management. With search options such as industry & profession, service, and name, it’s easy to start your first puddle of knowledge.

Click on the image to check out our app

“If you’re in the luckiest one per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.”

― Warren Buffett

Puddle Co. recognizes that although everyone deserves to be paid for their time, not all celebrities and professionals want or need all the opportunities (monetary or otherwise) they are given. We want to encourage those that can, to give back to their favorite charities, local communities, and worldwide non-profits. We allow our Pros to choose if they would like to donate their proceeds to a charity or non-profit of their choice*. We also donate 25% of our earnings from those services to a charity of our choice each month.

Who do you want to see on Puddle Co? What would you ask them? Let Puddle Co. know on their Facebook page or Instagram. You can even request Pros directly on our website.

If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

*as long as the charity is registered with Puddle Co. Users and Pros can request  charities that aren’t already on our platform.


Backyard Inspiration

We’re about four and a half weeks into our new home build! If you’re new here: Hi, I’m Mary! My husband Robbie and I are building a new home in New Zealand. For each room in the house, I am posting my inspiration board. Once the home is complete, I will be sharing the inspiration vs. the real thing. I am posting more current updates directly on my Instagram so you can see progress pictures!

See that little patch of grass in the back left corner of the above image? That’s part of our backyard! It’s hard to tell how big it is when I’m so far away. Even the home looks tiny!

One thing that was a must-have for us when we were searching for our home, was a backyard! We wanted something that we could use to host BBQ’s, lounge in the sun, have a garden, and have a dog. We knew that building a home, we would get less land but we still didn’t want to settle on a yard. Luckily, because of the shape of our land, we get the best of both worlds – a three bedroom, two bathroom brand new home with a backyard.

For those that don’t know much (or anything) about purchasing a land and home package: you’re given a home design and a piece of land for one price. But, you’re welcome to make changes as long as it doesn’t affect the outer walls (basically, you can’t make the home larger or reposition the home). You can do things like: upgrade materials, change inner walls, choose your paint colors, change doors and windows, add in heating, raise your roof, eliminate things you don’t want, and more. I won’t spoil all of our changes just yet!

You can take a look at where I got my inspiration and how to create all of my home inspiration looks here! I have even included a few extra items that I love for backyards. You can also check out my full Amazon home decor list here.

One thing that we decided to get rid of was landscaping. Landscaping was a huge cost (I think it was $4k) that we felt wasn’t necessary. With my father-in-laws tools we could spread our own grass seed and with my love for gardening, I could pick out and plant my own plants. In fact, we already have a lemon and lime tree and plenty of other vegetables for a veggie garden. We want to grow as many veggies as possible!

We also got rid of the concrete surrounding the home (on the side of the home and in the backyard which was a concrete deck). Again, this saved us a few thousand dollars. Instead, I wanted stepping stones on the side of the house and we want composite decking for the backyard. Composite decking is wood fiber, plastic, and some type of binding agent. It’s extremely durable and long-lasting. It will give us that wood effect but won’t warp in the rain.

I love coming up with vision boards because it helps me picture everything and how it’ll all come together. You might notice that my vision board has an image of a folding window. That’s one addition that we made to our home to really make it ours. This will be perfect for our wrap around deck. It will create a sense of flow within the dining room towards the BBQ area.

Don’t forget to shop these looks and all of my home decor inspiration blogs here.

If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3


How to Add Special Fonts to Your Instagram Bio

Do you want to make your Instagram profile stand out by including fun and different fonts?


I’ve got a fun hack for you! Adding emojis is always one thing I suggest adding to your profile (my favorite place to find emojis online is but you can even take it a step further with new fonts.

Now, you aren’t actually able to do this directly in Instagram but you can use other apps to make it happen!

One program is called LingoJam. All you have to do is type in bio text, scroll through to choose the font you like best, select/highlight the text, hit copy, and paste it into your Instagram bio. This app is perfect if you want to change your bio directly on your phone or your computer.

Why stop at emojis and fonts? Let’s learn how to add special characters to your Instagram bio too! One easy way to do this is actually on Your HTML Source website. You can easily copy and paste symbols into your Instagram bio from there. They have everything from copyright symbols to greek letters and card suits. Here are some examples of the symbols you can copy and paste:

Now you know how to add special fonts and characters to your Instagram bio! Let me know which emojis are your favorite on this post. And if you use special characters or fonts in your bio, here’s how you can let me know: Take a screenshot of your bio/profile, post it to your stories, and tag me so I can reshare. Don’t forget to join my mailing list for free social media tips and tricks every month (fill out the simple form below). You can also join our FREE social media discussions, engagement, and learning group on Facebook here

If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

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Birthday Weekend on Waiheke Island

It’s my birthday! Well, it was. And here’s a little bit about how it went!

Have you ever been to Waiheke or heard of it before? If not, this is the perfect blog for you!

I’m in the process of writing another blog about love languages but one of my greatest love languages is quality time! Robbie, my husband, knows me so well – he spent the several days leading up to my birthday with me exclusively. That’s a norm for us but this was EXTRA special because we got to take a vacation to Waiheke Island near Auckland, New Zealand. We had been wanting to go to Waiheke for over two years!

We started our long weekend with a trip to Auckland for the night so we didn’t have to wake up too early for our ferry ride the next morning. Robbie surprised me with the most romantic dinner ever at the Sky Tower (the restaurant is called Orbit 360°). WOW! The food was incredible and the prices weren’t actually bad for all that’s included (portions, the view, and access to the Sky Tower itself). We will 100% be going back.

I even figured out how to wrap my infinity dress is a new way and matched my beautiful Mesamie NZ earrings with it! Mesamie gifted me three pairs of earrings for my birthday and I wore one pair every day to celebrate. They were all so comfortable and unique. Find me on Instagram to see even more pictures of me wearing them! 

The next morning we woke up bright and early, walked to Krispy Kreme (which BTW if you sign-up for their email list you get free donuts on your birthday – I am going to add all the New Zealand birthday freebies that I got to my Deals Directory so you can check them out). It was Robbie’s first time at a Krispy Kreme and it definitely didn’t disappoint! 

Our ferry ride to Waiheke Island was NUTS. The water was so stormy, we were bobbing up and down like crazy. I actually said, “I can’t believe it’s legal to be on the water when it’s like this!” 

It was a bit calmer on shore and as soon as we arrived, we headed off to our zip line adventure on Waiheke Island! There were only three zip lines but to get back to the start, we got to hike through their private forest which was filled with natural wildlife (especially birds)! The best part of the zip lining tour/adventure, besides the zip lining itself, was that all of the proceeds from our tickets went to helping restore the forests natural habitats.

After zip lining, we headed to our Airbnb to get ready to continue our day with a few wine tastings. We went to everything from a smaller commercial tasting to a gorgeous, homely Italian winery to a beer and wine tasting at a larger restaurant/winery. One thing that I found really interesting about Waiheke was that every winery was SO different. You never knew what to expect!

The Italian winery, Poderi Crisci, was like something out of a movie. Imagine this: the moment you step out of your car you’re transported to an Italian chef’s backyard – you walk through his renaissance style garden lined with raised garden beds filled with vegetables and herbs that he uses for his dishes. You see a handmade swing hanging from the tree tops and as you sit down and lift your feet, you feel the fresh breeze flow through your hair as you gaze at the mountains, trees, and vineyard. You’re welcomed into the chef’s kitchen to enjoy a beautiful wine tasting accompanied by fresh baked bread and homemade olive oil. As you walk inside you immediately smell the freshly picked daffodils on the table. Each time the doors open, you hear the clinking of his pots and pans that are hanging from the ceiling on an old metal gate. 

The rest of the weekend was spent tasting wine, exploring the island, eating beautiful food, and having plenty of more tours!

One major highlight of our time in Waiheke was with head chef and winemaker, Connie Festa from Peacock Sky. We had our first and only Degustation Wine Tasting! What is does degustation mean? Degustation is “the careful, appreciative tasting of various food, focusing on the gustatory system, the senses, high culinary art and good company.” Connie says, “[Degustation] is the fine art of food and wine pairing!”

Connie prepared several small bite sized dishes to accompany the wine we were tasting. The pictures don’t do it justice. We felt like royalty in our private tasting room as we got to hear directly from the chef herself. 

We loved hearing about Connie’s journey of opening Peacock Sky, her love of cuisine, and all of the wonderful classes and events she hosts (everything from cooking classes and tours to hen’s dos and weddings)! She even sell their divine brownie as a mix so you can make it at home!

We left Waiheke feeling like we had checked off everything we wanted and more. The saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun,” couldn’t have been more true. On Monday morning, we packed our things and headed back to the Ferry to spend the day in Auckland. We didn’t get a chance to go to the top of the Sky Tower after dinner, so we went up on Monday! We had the whole place to ourselves which was absolutely magical. We shopped and hit up all the birthday deals we could before heading back home (with a stop off to see Robbie’s parents).

If you’re following me on Instagram, you might have seen that on top of the incredible weekend that Robbie put together, I also got a wine fridge (which I have been wanting for a long time) and a distiller (thanks dad)! 

Thank you SO much to everyone involved in making my birthday weekend so special! I couldn’t have asked for anything more beautiful.

If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

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How do I Get The Musty Smell Out of Clothes?

It’s winter here in New Zealand and if you know anything about New Zealand, besides that it’s beautiful, you might know that it gets very wet in the winter! Not to mention that most homes aren’t properly fitted for wet weather (leaky roofs, single glazed windows, and improper insulation).

One issue that we’ve been having lately is that our wash ends up smelling musty or moldy. This can even be due to leaving laundry in the washer for too long and forgetting about it or even forgetting about it in your dryer when it’s not completely dried (I can’t be the only one, right?).

I tried a few different ways of getting out the smell but nothing seemed to be working until….

I made a magic musty smell removing potion! Aka white vinegar, baking soda, laundry detergent and fabric softener (optional). Find a list of my favorite cleaning products and tools here.

To read more about my recipes and why I create them the way I do (without specific measurements, times, and temperatures) check out this blog post

Here’s the “recipe” for removing the musty smell out of your clothes:

How to get rid of the musty smell in clothes

Keyword: cleaning, cleansing, clothes, eco-friendly, laundry


  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Detergent
  • Fabric softener (optional)
  • Essential oils (lavender or lemon are good options) (optional)


  • Add your musty clothes to the washer.
  • Sprinkle baking on top of laundry in the wash. Add a few drops of oils to your baking soda if you choose.
  • Turn your washer to warm or hot water and fill accordingly.
  • Add in your laundry detergent and softener as you normally would.
  • Once your wash is done, put in the dryer immediately.

EXTRA TIP: Use the highest heat setting possible as it helps to kill the mold spores. We used medium water heat but then dried our clothes as well.

Other things you can try (especially if you don’t have a dryer):

🧺 Leave your laundry hanging up outside even if it’s cold as long as there’s some sun and it’s not wet outside. 

🧺 Place laundry in front of your heater/heat pump

🧺 Stop forgetting it in your washer (talking to myself here) – on a serious note, if you have this same “issue” try setting a reminder on your phone that you can easily switch on when you start your wash. 

🧺 Place a jar with baking soda and your favorite essential oils in your closet. The baking soda will remove nasty odors and the essential oils make the room/closet smell good!

What do you do when your clothes get musty? If you try any of these tips or tricks or come up with your own, please tag me on Facebook and/or Instagram (@its.mary.taylor) so I can see too! I would love to stay connected.

If you enjoyed reading this and would like more information on home, lifestyle, advice, tips, tricks, and more, follow me on Instagram @Its.Mary.Taylor and on Facebook at Mary Taylor! I can’t wait to see you there! Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest and save your favorite tips, tricks, and recipes.

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3