Halloween Party Inspiration | Homemade Aladdin Costumes

This year we hosted our first EVER Halloween party! Halloween isn’t traditionally a very big holiday in New Zealand but being from the States, I had to show the kiwis what it was all about: dressing up, eating candy, lots of decorations and having any excuse to get everyone together for a party! So, we did just that!

My favorite parts about the party (besides seeing everyone have fun and dress up), were the grazing table filled with Halloween-inspired treats and our DIY homemade Aladdin costumes (including our dog’s Abu costume, of course)! 

Our Costumes

We try to be as eco-friendly as possible which made making these costumes even more exciting! Kona’s, our dog, costume was made out of an old purple pillow case, an old brown sheet, and a red cardboard box. All of which we no longer wanted and were going to donate/recycle. My husband, Robbie’s, costume was made from the same materials except his pants were made from old white winter sheets! And his shirt was just a painting shirt he already had lying around (which he cut the sleeves off of). My costume was a mix of things I already had (like the headband, jewelry, and shirt) and two op shop finds (the pants and a scarf which I used as a belt). Although our costumes weren’t perfect, we enjoyed making them and wearing them!  

The Food

I highly recommend turning your table into a full-on grazing “board” for your next party! Whether you supply everything needed for grazing or your guests each bring something to contribute, it’s a perfect way to have a mix of everything and allow for the optimum snacking experience.

For some Halloween inspired food, we made adorable pumpkin shaped bread (they were way easier than I thought), ghost pastries, deviled egg eyeballs, carrot fingers, and hot dog fingers!

To make the pumpkin-shaped bread, just make your dough of choice and tie around it with string before baking it. When they’re done baking, remove the string and the dough/bread will be in the shape of a pumpkin. Best part is, every pumpkin is naturally different so not all of them need to be “perfect.” Then, add something to represent a stem (we chopped up pretzels and died them green. A celery stick (or little shaved piece of celery/green apple skin/etc) or something already green would be a better option though. 

When dinner time came around, we pulled out the hot dog “bloody” fingers!

To make these, simply cut the “fingernail” out of the top of the hot dog and cut slits where the bends in the fingers would be. Then, cook the hot dogs and watch them transform. Sprinkle with ketchup and they’re ready to be devoured. 

You’ll also see below in the video that Robbie made four different drinks on tap (three beers and one cider) which were a HUGE hit as well! It’s so fun to bring out the kegerator for parties.

The Decor

I don’t have much to say about the decor to be honest. We did the usual, balloons, spider webs, spiders, Halloween table cloths, rats, tombstones, and more. 

We hope you had a lovely Halloween and got some inspiration from our party that you can use in the future too!


Singing off,

Mary Taylor <3


DIY Eco-Friendly Products You Can Make At Home

I’ve always been interested in living as eco-friendly as I possibly can but the last few years I have been even more committed to making it part of my lifestyle. This year we ditched single-use paper towels, tissues, baby wipes, makeup removing wipes, and so much more! We are even in the process of getting rid of liquid soaps. Love eco-friendly ideas just as much as me? You can check out my Eco-Friendly Home Swaps blog here!

This blog post contains affiliate links. I may make a small commission from purchases you make from this blog but I cannot see who purchases you what. You are NOT charged anything additional for using my links. It helps me continue to provide you with fun and interesting blog posts, shopping tips, and suggestions. Thank you for your support. 

Not only can you reduce your grocery bill and weekly spending by creating your own products at home, you can also help the planet! Did you know that more than 552 million shampoo bottles could be ending up in landfills every year?

Here are a few simple eco-friendly home recipes you can easily make from home!

Check out my Amazon list for where to buy some of the ingredients and “tools” (spray bottles, jars, etc), you’ll need to make these eco-friendly products at home!

All purpose cleaner: You’re going to be shocked at how easy this recipe is! You can read the full blog with the recipe here.

Conditioner with apple cider vinegar: Did you know that apple cider vinegar stimulates hair growth and prevents hair loss? It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties. You can make your own apple cider vinegar conditioner by adding apple cider vinegar and water to a spray bottle. After shampooing, spray the apple cider vinegar mixture into your hair and wait one minute. Then, rinse it out! If you want to make it smell better, add a few drops of your favorite essential oils. Please make sure you’re using pure essential oils without synthetics – especially when applying to your skin in any way.

Dishwashing tablets: Here’s what you need:

2 cups of baking soda

2 cups of sodium percarbonate or washing soda

½ cup of citric acid

½ cup of white vinegar

20 drops of essential oil

(Optional) ½ cup of salt

Mix your dry ingredients then add your vinegar slowly. Mix well and add essential oils of choice (some great options include: lemon, peppermint, tea tree, cinnamon, and lavender). Place your mix into an ice cube container and let sit for 24 hours until hardened. Be gentle when using them as they won’t be as tough as the ones you buy from the supermarket.

Bug spray: All you need to make your own bug repellent is 30 drops of essential oils, witch hazel, water, and alcohol (rubbing alcohol or vodka)! Some good essential oils for bug spray include: lavender, lemon eucalyptus, citronella, lemongrass, peppermint, and tea tree. Find these oils on Amazon here. If you’re NZ or AUS based and would like help finding where to purchase these products, please reach out to me via Instagram. Please make sure you’re using pure essential oils without synthetics – especially when applying to your skin in any way.

Which of these were your favorite eco-friendly products that you can make at home? I plan to add even more tips and suggestions for DIY eco-friendly products so don’t forget to pin this blog post and come back later to find more ideas and inspiration.

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

What questions do you have for a wedding

Where to Find Essential Oil Stock Images

Essential oil stock images images can be hard to find but look no further because I have suggestions on where to download doTERRA stock images!

First off, did you know that I create and sell doTERRA images and graphics? You can purchase them directly from me through my Instagram account @oilyimages or contact me if you’d like me to create something specific or see more images and graphics that I have ready to go.

I not only sell images but also essential oil Instagram stories or other engagement graphics and even essential oil recipe graphics!

If you’re looking at hosting a week long virtual event, we can customize a package of graphics just for you. Ask me what classes I suggest you run to get your audience involved!

If you’re looking to purchase several graphics and images and want to incorporate many different styles, you can sign up for a One Drop subscription here. By using this link, you will get an additional 10% off your first purchase (that means you can save up to $22.20 on their Unlimited Yearly plan)! You can check out my vault of images and graphics here. If you see any images here that you would like to purchase separately (without a subscription), please contact me

The FREE option: The last place I recommend looking into is Pexels. It’s one of my favorite stock sites. However, you won’t find as many options here!

I hope you found this blog helpful! Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest to find more essential oil tips, tricks, and recipes.

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

Want FREE social media tips & a monthly content calendar?!


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

person-holding-green-vegetable-beside-orange-fruit-3737698 (2)

Eco-friendly Home Swaps

Did you know that having an eco-friendly home can actually be easy? You might think of eco-friendly as more expensive or even more difficult but it doesn’t have to be.

Here are some really easy and inexpensive eco-friendly swaps that you can do at home:

Swap out your paper towels for unpaper towels. Unpaper towels are just as they sound. There are so many ways to do this depending on your budget. The most favorite (but also most expensive) option would be to purpose pre-cut and pre-rolled unpaper towels (find here). But if you’re like me and can’t afford (or don’t want to spend) $x/paper towel, there are a few other options. These paper towels are actually recycled bamboo. They last a super long time and they’re easily rinsable with just soap and water in your sink. I love these because they look like real paper towels and they don’t need to go in the washing machine. My last suggestion if you want to use unpaper towels is to make your own. You can learn how to make your own here. Plus bonus tips on other things we use instead of paper products.

Flannelette blankets for DIY unpaper towels
Link to bamboo unpaper towels
Cheap reusable shop towels

Now that you’ve gotten rid of paper towels you should also replace napkins. You can find cheap and beautiful reusable napkins online. Then, just throw them in the wash with your other items. 

Cleaning products in plastic containers. Although you might be buying the eco-friendly cleaning sprays and cleaning products, they’re still usually in a plastic bottle. To save money and reduce waste (like throwing away the plastic bottles afterwards), you can make your own cleaning products and store them in glass containers. You’ll still need to purchase the ingredients to make the cleaning products but try to buy in bulk, refill your own containers at a bulk store, or buy powders in recycled cardboard boxes. Check out this blog for a DIY all-purpose citrus spray cleaner. See and click on the images below to check out a couple of great glass container options. 

Link to glass containers
Link to container pictured (great for laundry powder)

Straws! You definitely have seen this one before but I thought I would just throw it in anyways. Ditch the plastic and even paper straws and purchase reusable metal straws. You can find some here.

Going out to eat and usually bring home leftovers? Don’t forget to bring your glass watertight container to put your leftovers in. This way you don’t need to rely on the restaurant to provide a throwaway container that might not be recyclable.

Link to glass food containers

Buy in bulk & use your own containers! This doesn’t just go for cleaning products but also your food! Did you know that bulk stores often allow you to bring in your own containers such as jam jars? If you don’t have any reusable glass jars on hand or want an upgrace, check out a few of my favorite eco-friendly glass container options here.

Say bye-bye to ziplock bags! These reusable ziplocks are my FAVORITE swap of all! I used to try to wash and reuse regular ziplocks (because I hated the thought of throwing them away after one use) but they never dried and were such a hassle. Plus, they never looked clean. Now I have several sets of different reusable ziplocks! For clear, regular looking ziplocks click here. For watertight, large, silicon ziplocks check these out.

Glad wrap or sad wrap? Glad wrap, plastic wrap, or cling film. However you want to say it, it’s a huge waste of plastic and can easily be replaced with beeswax wraps. Once you’re done using them, just give them a rinse and use again. Check out these gorgeous designs.

Link to silicon ziplock bags
Link to beeswax wraps
Link to bag pictured

Baking paper ➡️ baking silicon! We use this tray liner that can be reused again and again. Nothing ever sticks to it so it’s a great replacement for baking paper or tinfoil.

Skip the plastic toys, decor, and household items! Although most of these items aren’t one time use plastics (like takeaway containers and straws are), they’re still contributing to the pass amount of plastic production and waste in the world. Opt for wood items such as toys, toothbrushes, hooks, hangers, 

Check out these inspirational home images below and click on any of them (or click here) to see my shopping list of eco-friendly home items.

Link to Eco-Home Purchases
Link to Eco-Home Purchases
Link to Eco-Home Purchases

Do you have any other eco-friendly swap ideas for us? Tag me in your eco-friendly home inspiration on Instagram @its.mary.taylor and on Facebook here. I can’t wait to see how you use these ideas and your own ideas to create your eco-friendly, green home!

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

Learn how to make

DIY Natural All-Purpose Cleaning Spray

While we lived with grandparents (and parents), I kept thinking about the day we would finally be in our own place so I could start living as eco-friendly as possible. One thing about being an adult is getting excited for weird things like organization and DIY cleaning products. Surely I am not alone! There’s just something special about an eco home. In our rental, we tried our best (only produced 7 bags of trash a year and used “eco-friendly” products) but I wanted to take it the next step. This meant no paper towels, no tissues, no makeup wipes, and no more purchasing cleaning products that I could make (which is pretty much all of them)!

As an Amazon associate, I may earn from your purchases through my links; however, it doesn’t affect how much you pay and I cannot see who makes a purchase.

So the journey really began. I stocked up on glass bottles, which if you’re US based, you can purchase here. And I set out to make my own DIY natural all-purpose cleansing spray with what I had at home. You’re going to be shocked at how easy this recipe is.

Here’s what you need to make your own DIY citrus cleaning spray:

✧ Glass Jar With Lid – buy here

✧ Citrus Peels (we used lemon & orange) *tip below

✧ White Vinegar – buy here

✧ Spray Bottle – buy here

✧ Strainer

✧ Purified Water (optional)

✧ Essential oils (optional)

And here’s what you do with all that:

✧ Put your citrus peels in your glass jar

✧ Fill the jar with vinegar to cover the peels 

✧ Put the jar lid on & shake

✧ Let sit for up to 7 days (minimum 3 days) in a cool, dark place – Shake the jar every day if you remember

✧ Strain the vinegar into your spray bottle

✧ Toss out the peels (or even better, put them in your insinkerator/garbage disposal to clean the inside of your sink & freshen it up)

✧ Optional: add in water to fill your spray bottle or if your vinegar is too strong you can add water

✧ Store in a cool, dark place and use on everywhere from your kitchen to your bathroom

** Extra tip… Enjoy the fruit first! To create even less waste, make this from orange and lemon peels you would have otherwise just thrown away. 


If you learned something new and enjoyed this blog, don’t forget to like me on Facebook and follow me on Instagram. I would love to see your homemade DIY cleaning sprays you make so tag me so I can reshare!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor