Our Floral Themed Baby Shower

When you first got pregnant, were you already dreaming about your baby shower or was that just me? Either way, a baby shower (especially your first baby shower) is such an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime experience (even if you have another baby shower for future babies, there’s something special about your FIRST ever baby shower).

I had the amazing pleasure of working with several amazing companies to help pull off our floral, garden baby shower! A massive thank you to A Splendid Afternoon (decor rentals), Sunrise Sapphires (resin stands/tray), Designs by Hilly (matching baby and mama resin earrings and jewelry tray), Cake Face Cutter Co (designer fondant cookies), and Kiwi Belle Nails (my nail art). Each of these business owners were easy to work with, generous, kind, and enthusiastic. It truly wouldn’t have been the same without these incredible women. All of the signs used throughout the event are also available on Etsy and linked in each photo! 

Custom resin earrings (click the image to follow Designs by Hilly)
Elephant nails (click image to follow Kiwi Belle)

Games and Signs!

Here’s the list of signs and games that you can purchase to print yourself from Etsy (that we used) – purchase here:

1. Don’t say baby (clothespin game)
2. Clothespin gender reveal game (we did this one at our gender reveal party not at our baby shower)
3. Late-night diapers game
4. Baby bottle with marshmallows game
5. Building a library for baby
6. Baby predictions & well wishes sign (not the actual game, that’s below)
7. Baby in bloom sign

We also had each guest fill out a baby predictions form with a “My Wish For You” section (which we are going to cut, laminate, and turn into a book for baby girl) which you purchase and read more about here. We did this instead of asking for advice (because honestly, new parents get enough unwanted advice as it is haha)! 

Click on the image to purchase on Etsy
Click on the image to purchase on Etsy

Opening gifts! One of my favorite parts about attending other people’s baby showers is watching them open gifts. Baby things are just SO cute! And it helped give me ideas of what to ask for. Blog coming soon with recommendations on what to add to your registry!

Food & Treats! We had a late morning/early afternoon baby shower and provided a delicious candy/sweets bar and a large grazing table! This worked really well because people could eat throughout the party, we didn’t need to cook or heat anything, and we didn’t even need plates (clean up was so much easier without needing to clean cutlery and dishes)! We also had a drinks bar with punch, iced tea, juice/soda, and hot drinks (tea and coffee). For the grazing board, I made cute little tea sandwiches which were a huge hit (there were a mix of flavors: ham & cheese, cheese & homemade chutney, and cucumber w/ chutney and cheese). We even used PINK bread!

Our treats table wouldn’t have been possible without A Splendid Afternoon! They provided everything we needed (jars, linen, stand, signs, boxes, tongs, etc) to create the most gorgeous setup. It also wouldn’t have been possible without Cake Face Cutter Co who provided the softest, most delicious, and cutest fondant cookies I have ever seen/tasted! And last but certainly not least, the dessert table wouldn’t have been the same without the gorgeous additions of Sunrise Sapphire’s resin cake and three-tiered cookie stand! It was so fun customizing these pieces to make them perfect for our event (each stand was different but had elements – either rose petals, gold flakes, or colored resin which matched among the three pieces)! 

A Splendid Afternoon also provided this beautiful photobooth, the buntings around the venue, and the cornhole game (which was a huge hit)! I highly recommend having an outdoor and indoor space so people can spread out and your event isn’t 100% weather dependent. We had time to play organized games and time for guests to mingle and play games/do activities on their own too. One game that we loved playing was having guests guess how big my belly was (by cutting a string as long as they thought would fit around me)! Top tip though: instead of having each person come around to measure their string around you, cut a piece that you’ve already measured around you and go to each guest to compare the two.

I couldn’t be more thankful to those that took the time out of their weekend to come to celebrate our little girl. And for all of the amazing gifts we received. It truly shows who is there for you and who wants to continue to be there for you as your life changes (of course we know that there were several people who wanted to be there to celebrate but couldn’t due to COVID as well)! 

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


Fertility Foods | What Food to Eat While Trying to Conceive

Are you patiently, or anxiously, awaiting those two pink lines? Do you feel like you’ve tried everything or haven’t even touched the surface on what you should be doing? Were you hoping to just “do the deed” and get pregnant?

Did you know that the majority of couples become pregnant within six months, says Kenan Omurtag, MD, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis?

However, even past six months, there’s nothing to be worried about. But, regardless if you’ve been trying for only a couple months or many months, it’s completely natural and normal to feel anxious, nervous, upset, disappointed, or disheartened (or any range of emotions to be honest). I know that I personally started to get a bit anxious about it on the second month (obviously not knowing that we would be so lucky to conceive the following month). We know how blessed we are and yet several of our friends conceived their first time ever trying.

Whatever your story is, you’re here to learn more about what we did to conceive. PLEASE NOTE: I am NOT a doctor, midwife, or ANY kind of medical professional. Everything I am sharing is based on prior research and experiences I have had. Please seek medical advice from your doctor if you’re unsure about any of this information and to make sure you devise a plan that is right for you.

Here’s what I incorporated into my/our diet daily based on our research:

  • 2-3 eggs per day
  • A protein bar a day (or just protein in general but it was easier for me to have a protein bar)
  • Reduce sugar intake
  • Little to no “wasteful” carbs
  • 2-3 cups of spinach a day (cooked/raw)
  • 2 Brazil nuts (very important for guys) every day
  • We had already been taking prenatals (eEevit and Menevit) – you should start these at least 3 months before trying for optimal results (it takes about that long for your body to feel/experience the positive effects from the prenatals)
  • Other vitamins (fish oil, magnesium, etc).
  • At least half an avocado a day
  • Bean soups weekly
  • 2-3 fish a week (salmon)
  • A handful of nuts daily
  • 1 banana a day
  • 2-3 cups of herbal tea per day
  • Probioticsd aily
  • Tract basal temperature (more information below)
  • Raise those legs 🤣 iyky (if you know, you know. But if not, read below!)

Basal Temperature: What is it, why’s it important, and how do I track it?

As the Mayo Clinic says, “Your basal body temperature is your temperature when you’re fully at rest. Ovulation may cause a slight increase in basal body temperature. You’ll be most fertile during the two to three days before your temperature rises. By tracking your basal body temperature each day, you may be able to predict when you’ll ovulate.” 

How to test your basal temperature/tips to testing your basal temperature:

  • Keep a mouth thermometer on your bed side table
  • Test as soon as you wake up (do NOT stand up, eat, drink, etc).
  • Record your results right away so you remember and can track it over the coming days/months 

It’s best to track your basal temperature for a few months in advance to get a better understanding of your body. This is because some women can have more than one spike in basal temperature during their cycle. You can also use your basal temperature to avoid pregnancy by intentionally not “baby dancing” when your temperature spikes (it’s a great way of “natural family planning” e.i. not using birth control).

If you’ve tried ovulation tests or have heard about them, you may know that ovulation tests tell you when you are about to ovulate (usually within 24-48 hours of getting a positive ovulation test) but, your basal temperature will tell you after you have ovulated. This a great way to check that you have ovulated and that your ovulation tests were correct. If you are trying to conceive, you want to “baby dance” the day you get your positive ovulation test and the following few days until you get a spike in your basal temperature (remember you need to test your basal temperature EVERY day). 

What do you mean “raise those legs”?

First, a disclaimer: Although this theory is said to not be accurate by many, it has worked for a lot of people I know personally and stories I have read online. If you’re really trying to pregnant, you will want to do everything possible (even something like this that has mixed reviews – of course, when it comes to taking medication/etc. you should always consult your doctor. Do not just try everything you see on the internet).

When I say “raise your legs,” I mean elevate your pelvis area to make sure the sperm is staying within you after you baby dance. Based on what I read, it was suggested for a minimum of 20-30 minutes afterward. This is similar to the advice of not going to the bathroom (urinating) directly after (this has nothing to do with the actual urine because of course this comes from a different place but just gravity/wiping can cause his swimmers to escape). Some people have even used their period cup or disk (inserted it) afterward to make sure there was no leakage. Some even slept with it in overnight. Just be wary that you could get an infection afterward if you keep it in too long (every body is different). I even recently read a story of a woman who had been trying to conceive for over a year and didn’t get pregnant until she used the cup suggestion. So, ya never know! 

Remember, you can try ALL of this and more and still not be successfully conceiving. Then, one month, it happens and you think, “But, I didn’t do anything differently!” We have friends who conceived right away without needing to do any of this, friends who did all of this right away and conceived straight away, friends who gradually introduced these steps, friends who are still trying to conceive, etc. Everyone is different and our experiences are all unique. However you are feeling throughout this journey is validated. You’re allowed to be scared, mad, frustrated, excited, happy, unsure, etc. Whatever you’re going through, you’re not alone.

And again, I am not a doctor or medical professional in any way, shape or form so please take everything I have said today for what you want. Do more research. Talk to friends. Talk to a midwife. Consult a doctor.


I wish you ALL the luck in the world in your journey to conception and pregnancy! If you’d like to connect more on social media, I would love to see you there. You can follow me and contact me directly on Instagram @its.mary.taylor


Signing off,

Mary <3 


My Pregnancy Journey (Up to 12 Weeks)

Let me know if this sounds familiar. You’ve been trying, hoping, and praying to become pregnant. You’ve done ovulation testing every month and basal temperature daily. Waiting to see those two pink lines.

And then, it happens. ➕

You’re pregnant and it’s time to get excited! But wait…

You’re told ‘The first 6 weeks are really fragile. Don’t tell anyone. Don’t get too excited.’ ‘Now that you’ve reached 6 weeks, 10 weeks is really fragile too.’ ‘The safe zone is really 12 weeks. Only tell a few close friends and family members.’ It’s almost like you’re supposed to hide. 🙅🏻‍♀️

Hi, I’m Mary (@its.mary.taylor) and I’m 8 weeks pregnant 🤗🤰🏻

I want to normalize spreading joy and excitement throughout pregnancy – especially in the first trimester. You’re not alone if you’re feeling unsupported because there are little to no resources early on. Because your first midwife appointment isn’t for 8+ weeks and you’re unsure what’s going on with your body. ‘Is this normal? Am I okay?’ Because you ‘aren’t supposed to tell anyone.’ Well mama, I say shout it from the rooftops. Throw positivity towards it. 😍

And of course, know that something could happen but regardless, you’re pregnant right now. You should not only be allowed to be but also encouraged to be excited!

I want to bring you on my journey of my first pregnancy. To tell you like is. Support you. Encourage you. And bring you JOY (and maybe sometimes tears, questions, and pain)!

Before we take it back to the beginning (fertility), let’s recap on the last month. I’m now 12 weeks ~ yay!! which means I have one more week until my second trimester. When they say pregnancy goes quickly, it really does (the minutes and days can feel long but the weeks feel short). Did you find pregnancy to go by quickly or slowly?

I told you it wouldn’t be alllll ups and excitement. This month has been rough and tough. Lots of nausea. Constant 24/7 to be exact. If you’re feeling like this for weeks on end and especially if you’re unable to keep food down, please see your doctor! I was prescribed a pregnancy safe medication to help with the nausea and vomiting and now I’m only slightly nauseous most of the day and severely nauseous rarely. And I keep food down – nearly all the time 🤣

Now that you know the most recent updates, I would love to touch on fertility. Again, as I stated last month, I am not a doctor or a specialist by any means. This is just based on the research I have done and my personal experience.

We are told that on average it takes a healthy couple six months of trying to get pregnant. And although even if we think we truly accept this, when you’re in that time of trying, it feels like forever. You may even see your friends, colleagues, acquaintances, or even random‘s online getting pregnant (planning or not) and feel a little (or a lot of bit) jealous. The first month is fun – it’s the hope and the want but not the need. It’s only been a month. Month two comes around and you’re thinking OK maybe we should be a bit more precise and start to do more research. By month three it no longer just feels like a want but a need. I need to get pregnant. I’m starting to worry. Again, even if we know it’s normal. This is when we started to really dive into research and change what we were doing. A lot of it had to do with diet! Check out this blog for more information on the fertility foods/supplements we started taking (before trying to conceive and during conception). 

The month that we made changes to our diet, we successfully conceived! Now, again, I’m not a doctor and I’m not 100% sure what made it “happen” for us but if you’re at the point of doing everything you can to make it happen, this is what I suggest. Feel free to DM me or comment below with any questions including ovulation testing and basal temperature readings etc 🤍

I am SO excited to take you on this journey with me! To see more frequent updates or chat to me, follow me on Instagram!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3


How I Told My Husband I Was Pregnant

Hi there! Thanks for coming to my blog. I am SO excited to share the story about how I told my husband we were expecting. I haven’t shared this story with many people yet, besides a few close friends/family members maybe. It was a few months in the making because we had been trying to conceive for a little while before getting pregnant.

I had decided I wanted to announce that I was pregnant with something that my husband would resonate with. Hence why I did a beer pregnancy announcement!

The next step was to design and order custom pregnancy announcement t-shirts! Then, I had to plan how I would give my husband, Robbie, the t-shirts and show him mine! 

I decided to also create a custom beer bottle label (pictured below the video) which would be used for the real announcement. Then, I would give him the t-shirts.

Some background to the video: Robbie always fulfills all of my wants and needs.

Before lunch, while he was still in the other room, I placed the custom labelled beer bottle in the fridge and waited for the right timing to capture him opening our drinks drawer and seeing the bottle. However, things weren’t going quite to plan. I made lunch and we sat down directly across from the fridge at our “breakfast” bar/counter. Part way through lunch I sighed, “I am really thirsty!” thinking that Robbie would of course offer to get me something to drink. But he didn’t! I even said, “After all your hard work organizing this morning, you deserve a beer,” but he responded that he didn’t want one. A little later, I mentioned it again while he was in the kitchen. But, again, he took no notice to my “dire thirst!” 

We were supposed to be getting ready to leave but I refused to get up from my seat (as it was the PERFECT place to capture the moment and I didn’t want to miss him seeing the baby announcement beer bottle). So I asked if he could get my shoes for me and I put them on while still sitting at the counter. When he came back in the room, I asked if he could get me a kombucha while I put on my shoes. That’s when this happened….

“First came love. Then came marriage. Then came a baby in a baby carriage.”

SURPRISE! You’re going to be a dad Robbie! 

Robbie, you’re not the only one brewing anymore. Drink up because you’re drinking for two now.”

Thank you so much to everyone who has shared in our pregnancy announcement excitement! We are so grateful for the love and support. I cannot wait to continue to share my pregnancy journey on the blog and on my Instagram. You can follow me here to stay up-to-date!

Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3 


The Big Surprise

After your first date with someone that you really hit it off with, the first question is, “When’s the second date?” Later comes, “When will he propose?” And then, “When’s the wedding,” and “When will you have kids?”

We’re all looking forward to the next part of life. For us, the answer was simple but the steps were more difficult. Although we love children and couldn’t wait to grow our family, we had a checklist of things we wanted to accomplish before having kids.

In July of last year, our finally checklist item was marked off: For my husband, Robbie, to work from home!

And so, the adventure began…

Not a trick, just a treat 🍭
Our family is growing by two little feet! 👣

Based on a true story!

A Burke Production Presents 2 Little Feet, starring Robbie, Mary, & Kona Burke. Introducing ‘Yet To Be Decided.’ Produced by nature & written by our hearts. Directed by “morning” sickness. Featuring lots of ginger & naps.

In select theaters June 2022. 

If you know me personally or even just follow me on Instagram, you may know that I like to do things big. Announcements. Parties. And just life in general. So, creating this pregnancy announcement was just my style! We even did a separate photo for our dog’s Instagram account to really highlight her “Big Sister” promotion (bandana). 

If you’re pregnant too and wondering how you can surprise your family with an announcement, we had tons of compliments on our movie theater poster pregnancy announcement. People had fun looking through all the little details and kept finding new and things to look at (the little kiwi onesie, bottle of ginger essential oil, jar of pickles, stretch mark cream, and ginger sweets were some of my favorite things! 

If you want to do your own movie poster announcement but don’t have photoshop or Canva pro, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d love to help!  

I know I have skipped around a bit and missed some very important details, but don’t worry, they’re coming soon! For now, let’s celebrate what is! 

With love. Signing off,

Mary Taylor <3

home inspiration (3)

Laundry Room Inspiration

I’m so excited to dive into our visions for our laundry room! If you’re looking for laundry room inspiration or garage conversions for your laundry area, this is the right place. 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!

Some of the links included in this blog are commissioned links. This means I may earn a small commission when you use them. I cannot see who purchases what and it doesn’t cost you anything to click on them.

Now, our laundry room is actually just part of our garage but I want to focus on the things we want to do to make a laundry area within it. I even have some tips and tricks to creating a modern and stylish laundry room space in your garage! First of all, take a look at our inspiration board below:

View credits for the images by clicking on this image

Here are some of my ideas on how to make your garage into a laundry room:

  1. Multi-functional organization – what I mean by this is to create an area that can serve multiple purposes such as having a countertop on top of your washer and dryer so that when you have extra space for folding, washing, etc.
Click this image to shop my inspiration board

2. Positioning – place your washer and dryer in a place that will not only be functional when it’s used but also when it’s not in use. Will you stack your washer and dryer or have them placed side-by-side? Do you want them tucked away or out in the open? Think how and where your doors open up and close. You want to make sure that you don’t place your washer/dryer where you’ll need to move, close, or open something else in order to use it.

3. Design & style – if you choose to keep some of your washing products on display, make them pretty! Here’s a list of beautiful laundry room ideas on Amazon!

4. Display when not in use – It’s important to think about what else you’ll be using your garage for. If you’re storing a car in your garage, you probably don’t need to worry too much (or at all) about hiding your washer and dryer when it’s not in use. But, if you’re using your garage as a hang out room (or a brewery/movie theater like us), you might want to consider covering them up. This should play into the design and style! Check out the ideas below that I have found for covering up a washer and dryer that are actually cute!

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

© Susannah Lynn Photography

Anniversary Weekend (Turned Week) | One Year Anniversary Ideas

What a whirlwind the last week has been! We were supposed to celebrate our first year wedding anniversary the weekend before our anniversary, but something came up and we had to reschedule. Our actual anniversary wasn’t until Monday/Tuesday (depending if you want to count US time – where we got married – or NZ time – where we live but it’s a day ahead).

You can read all about our San Diego wedding and our New Zealand wedding reception. If you’re a current bride or bride-to-be and would like wedding inspiration, check out our FREE wedding Facebook group.

This blog post may contain affiliate links and ads. I may earn a small commission from clicks but they don’t cost you anything to use them and they help support me & my family. Thank you for understanding.

I had been planning my surprise for several weeks though and I couldn’t hold out much longer so I followed through with my plans on the Friday before our wedding anniversary. It was a combination of a few people helping me pull off the ultimate surprise! Thank you to my in-laws for secretly sneaking my wedding dress into our apartment (there’s a funny story about that) and to Suzanne from Stellar Backdrops for the INCREDIBLE wood prints.

I put on my wedding dress, laid out Robbie’s wedding outfit (even his bowtie) for him to put on then I set up the living room with my Stellar prints and a platter board and surprised Robbie! I had our wedding video playing in the background and we re-watched it and listened to our wedding speeches over again (while in tears). You can watch our wedding video here.

When I received my Stellar Backdrops order, I was absolutely speechless at how gorgeous they were. I was worried that like other wood prints I have purchased in the past, that the images would look blown out (too bright) and would lack the detail and color in the original image but they turned out perfectly! We love the 3D wood lettering on the wall hanging image and the shape, size, and stand for the hexagon print. We can’t wait to show these off in our home! You can find Stellar Backdrops on Instagram, Facebook, and even on their website! To receive a 10% discount towards your first purchase of their wooden print range – use code THANKYOU10. Valid until 30 September 2020. If you have anything from Stellar Backdrops already or use purchase from them after seeing this blog, take a photo and tag me on Instagram and/or Facebook, I would love to see what you got!

If you’re looking for anniversary gift ideas, prints are a great way to remember your wedding day and have beautiful home artwork! We’re even going to put the wall hanging print as the centerpiece for an entire photo wall in our hallway (if you want to see more about our home building process and home inspiration blogs, you can find me on Instagram @its.mary.taylor and read home-related blogs here).

On our actual anniversary, a few days later, we weren’t going to do anything but Robbie (my husband) convinced me to get off work and head to dinner! He didn’t need to do much convincing because I love exploring new restaurants. We had been wanting to go to a restaurant in the harbour for years so when he told me we were going there, I was even more excited!

The rest of the week included eating out almost every night, hanging out with friends, and relaxing at home. When the weekend came, it was finally Robbie’s day to plan! Saturday morning I slept in and was greeted with a list of activities for the day. I didn’t realize until later that evening why he had chosen all of these activities in the order that he did. Can you figure it out?

Photos, art, picnic, earrings (or errands – to go buy earrings), restaurant. I’ll give you a hint. Do you know what the traditional one year anniversary gift is?

It’s paper! We weren’t going to do gifts this year so he spelled out paper with the first letter of each activity! Although we didn’t actually do everything on the list (it was way too cold for a picnic so we got lunch with his parents instead – which was just as good), we had so much fun with each of the things we did!

I loved that he thought about me and really put effort into our day of celebration. I had been wanting photos for a while but we kept putting it off. It was actually so much more fun than I thought it would be! We walked all around looking for amazing street art and murals in Mount Maunganui. If you come here or you live around here and want to see some street art for yourself, check out this amazing map with locations of street art and murals in Tauranga and Mount Maunganui! Here are some of my favorite images!

Love a good (funny) outtake!

To finish off the day, we went to my favorite Italian restaurant in the Mount. They always spoil us and even set up an adorable candle for us at our booth right by the fireplace. We always get the sharing platter – value for money 100/10.

On Sunday, we got to have another relaxing, go with the flow day. We went to the local farmers market, had massages (best of our lives – and again, another local Mount Maunganui place we often go to), and even sat in the sun at our community pool. For dinner I made the most incredible pulled chicken tacos!

If you’re looking for one year wedding anniversary gift ideas (paper related gift ideas), here are some fun options:

💌 Tickets somewhere (a show, amusement park, plane tickets, etc)

💌 Printed pictures, artwork, or a wedding album (technically made out of paper and if you get a Stellar Backdrop wood print, wood makes paper 😉)

💌 Lottery tickets

💌 A new journal or book (here are some really cool marriage journals that could be fun)

💌 DIY coupons

💌 Magazine subscription

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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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


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


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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