The Most Surprising Thing about Writing an eBook (That No One Ever Told Me About)

The Most Surprising Thing About Writing an eBook (that no one ever told me about) | Personal insights from Lauren Lanker's self-publishing journey. She thought she had researched everything there was to know about launching an eBook...however, there was one BIG surprise that struck her along the way. One surprise that no one had addressed in all the podcasts, blog articles, and eBooks on eBooks.

This past Monday, I launched my very first eBook, Thinking Outside the Gift Box.  It was a project over a year in the making.  You see, I had never written a book before let alone launched a product.   And I desperately wanted to do right by my readers.  I wanted to create a killer eBook that would help bring more joy and deeper meaning to their gift-giving.  And I wanted its pages to be jam-packed with ten times more value than the price. So, I immersed myself in research: I listened to Read more

Gift-Giving Expert Interviews: Sneak Peeks!

The Expert Interviews - Sneak Peek!

What.  A.  Day! Yesterday was the launch of my first eBook, Thinking Outside the Gift Box, and it was one for the record books: full of encouraging texts, comments, a barrage of social shares, a few mini panic attacks when my sales page was acting glitchy, and over 60 sales (eek!).  Thanks to everyone who took the plunge and joined the #thinkingoutsidethegiftbox revolution!  It's an honor to have you along for the journey. I had been working pretty much around the clock in the days prior Read more

“Thinking Outside the Gift Box” is Officially Released!

Thinking Outside the Gift Box!

Am I dreaming?  Or did I just self-publish my first book?  {Shakes head, pinches self.}  Ack!  I most definitely did. It's true, it's true.  The virtual shelves are stacked with copies of Thinking Outside the Gift Box all ready to be shipped to your email inboxes and downloaded to your computer or favorite eReader.  Here's the sales page to prove it! UPDATE: Some people aren't able to get through to buy the book after hitting buy now.  If that's the case, here are direct links to each of Read more

3 Days Till Launch & eBook Sample Chapters!

Hustle time! Gettin' this eBook ready to ship!

Seven years ago, I wrote a bucket list in the back of a book.  30 things I wanted to accomplish by age 30. Some of those dreams became realities... Get my Master's.  Dye my hair red.  Go on a hike. Other faded away or have simply been bumped up to the 40 x 40 list. Ride a bicycle built for two.  Visit Spain.  Perform in a coffeehouse with Lisbeth. And #25 is becoming a reality in three days.  Yes.  Three.  Days. It has been a journey of over a year to get here. 11 months of Read more

FREE Printable Pack: 12 Months of Pre-Planned Dates, Version 2.0

12 Months of Pre-Planned Dates Mini-Book | Such a creative and meaningful gift idea for the loved ones in your life. The FREE Printable Pack also comes with everything you need to create mini-books for Parent-Kid Dates, Friend Dates, and wedding gifts! So many gifts in one!

Some gifts are so much fun to give...they deserve to be given again.  And again.  To all of your loved ones.  And all of your loved ones' loved ones. That's how I feel about the 12 Months of Pre-Planned Dates Mini-Book. It started as a Christmas gift for Mark last year.... ...and then grew to become my most popular freebie by a landslide with over 10,000 downloads (gulp!). Here are just a few of your creative renditions that you've shared with me: And as this mini-gift Read more

The Grand Reveal of my eBook Title, Cover, & Launch Date!

Thinking Outside the Gift Box: 21 Money-Saving & Meaningful Gift Ideas | eBook by Lauren Lanker | coming November 17, 2014 to!

G'day, mateys!  And a very good day it is.  I am biting my nails at a higher rate than usual because of some very exciting eBook updates I get to spill today. As most of you know, one of my biggest bloggy dreams for this year was to write and publish my first eBook.  And after loads of brainstorming, I settled on the topic of gift-giving, and have spent the past few months doing research, writing rough drafts, and most recently, landing on a title, cover art, and launch date.  Whoo Read more

20 Punny Halloween Costume Ideas for Couples

20 Punny Halloween Costume Ideas for Couples | An epically awesome round-up of literal interpretations of the word as portrayed by dynamic duos! There are some great last minute Halloween costume ideas in this mix, too. Prepare to win MOST CREATIVE COUPLE at your Halloween party this year!

So, in 2012, I created my round-up of 20 Punny Halloween Costume Ideas...not knowing how many other pun-lovers there were out there.  But y'all came out of the woodwork! And with your pun-tastic reaction to that post, I just had to follow it up with 20 MORE Punny Halloween Costume Ideas last year.  And you all ate that up like Garfield eats lasagna. So, I'm back this year with more sweet puns, but keep it interesting, I decided to tackle 20 Punny Halloween Costume Ideas for Read more

Punny #Hashtag Halloween Costume Tutorial

Can you guess the pun in this PUNNY Halloween costume? | The knee-slapper of an answer to this visual word-play and the full tutorial for how to create your own couples' Halloween costume over at! It's so much pun!

First, there were The Black Eyed Ps. Then, there was When Life Gives You Lemons....  And his friend, Blessing in Disguise. No, I'm not talking about chart-topping hip hop groups or cliché phrases!  I'm talking about our punny Halloween costumes from the last two years, which you may recall. Of course, the word-play tradition just had to continue, and I'm ecstatic to reveal this year's punny Halloween costume to you today...and it's just as groan-worthy as its predecessors! Are you ready to Read more

Fall Cleaning Before & After Videos with RYOBI’s “Miracle Maker” Pressure Washer

Fall Cleaning with RYOBI's 3100 PSI Pressure Washer

One of the many "perks" to living in the most humid state in the union is that our backyard possesses magical powers to transform into a jungle almost overnight.  In fact, by the end of the rain-soaked summer, a thick layer of dirt, grime, and mold had grown onto our dock, pavers, and fence...blanketing everything in gray.  Well, that's no way to start the fall! We knew we needed a little more power than old-fashioned elbow grease could offer to clean things fact, we needed a Read more

30 D.I.Y. Coaster Gifts

30 DIY Coaster Gifts | A round-up of coaster gift ideas galore, brought to you by A slew of inspiration for coasters made from tile, cork, leather, fabric, and unconventional materials.

Balance has been my word of the year this year.  And in the words of Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof, "How do we keep our balance?  That I can tell you in one word: tradition!" The last two Novembers, I've made it a tradition to make a few sets of D.I.Y. coasters: a set to keep, and the rest to give away as gifts! In 2012, I discovered how to get my hands on free wallpaper samples from Anthropologie {read more about that HERE} and used those samples along with some Mod Podge to create some Read more

Reader Showcase: A Look Back at Summer 2014

Summer 2014 Reader Showcase at where we turn the spotlight onto the readers and check out the inspirational creations they've been working on. They knock the ball out of the park, every time!

First, I'm just bursting at the seams to share a piece of exciting news with you all: Wednesday was a big day for me because...I finished the first draft of my eBook!  {Squeal.} There are still many miles to go before I sleep and heaps of behind the scenes work that needs to happen in order to hit a November launch date, but I feel I have summited the highest mountain in the journey.  And I couldn't have done it without all of the support and cheers that y'all have sent my way.  Thank you, Read more

DIY “Give Thanks” Fall Sign

DIY Give Thanks Fall Sign by Crafts by Courtney | The perfect addition to a fall mantel display, especially one of the coastal variety! Courtney offers great tips on how to use a craft-cutter and some paint to transform a plain wood board into an inspirational work of art.

The other day, my MIL and I were talking about how many fantastic friendships I've made as a result of blogging.  And it's true!  Blogging has put me in direct contact with so many women whose interests align with's almost like meeting dozens of long-lost twins all around the world!  One of those long-lost twins is Courtney.  She shares in my love of Silhouette creations as well as coastal decor.  Plus, in the dictionary, next to "sweet," you'll see Courtney's smiling face.  Meet YOUR Read more

The Beginner’s Guide to Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

A Beginner's Guide to Using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint & Wax: One Beginner's Tips to Another! | I let my intimidation over using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint keep me from exploring the medium for all too long. Now that I have finally given it a whirl, I'm eager to empower other beginners to give it a go. It's SO much easier than you think it is! Especially with this step by step run-down.

You've heard of the five stages of grief, right?  Well, have you heard of the five stages of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint®?  No?  Well, let me enlighten you.... (Perhaps this experience will ring true for some of you.) STAGE #1: Intrigue: "A paint that requires no stripping, sanding, or priming?  Tell me more!" STAGE #2: Intimidation: "Oh wait - - I have to seal it with wax?  Then buff it?  That sounds scary!  I don't think I'm ready for this." STAGE #3: Provocation: "Ugh!  I'm sick and tired Read more

10 Inspiring D.I.Y. Jewelry Displays

10 Inspiring DIY Jewelry Displays

Somedays I wish the internet never existed...and that we could go back to a simpler time when we looked up books in card catalogs and found our way using paper maps.  But then I remember that if it weren't for the internet, I would have never met my kindred spirit who lives and blogs over in Germany.  She sends me real mail, necklaces made from twisted wire, and lets me ramble on her blog sometimes.  Now, it's my turn to host her in my bloggy home.  Readers, meet my friend {and soon to be Read more

“You Make Beautiful Things Out of the Dust” Mirror Decal & Silhouette Promo

Amazing how just some simple text on the edges of a mirror can hold such an impact! "You make beautiful things out of the dust.... You make beautiful things out of us."

One of the wonderful things about living in Orlando, Florida is that our guest room actually serves its intended purpose and isn't just a "catch-all" for junk like our former guest room was. We have friends and family passing through Orlando quite frequently these days: some to visit Mickey, others in town for conferences, and most just to escape the frigid winters up north. Regardless, we love the opportunity to host, and we've been slowly but surely working on making our second bedroom a Read more

Exciting eBook Updates & Blogiversary Giveaway Winners

eBook Updates & Blogiversary Giveaway Winners!

So, I pretty much had a permanent grin slapped on my silly 'ole face starting last Friday and lasting an entire week thanks to you rascals and the barrage of love you poured on me through your Second Blogiversary comments.  Seriously, y'all are too much! I wish I could give each and every one of you a gorilla hug and then secretly leave a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies on your doorstep to surprise you when you get home.  In this hypothetical scenario, no wild critters (or unruly Read more

Second Blogiversary Giveaway: 10 Prizes for 10 Winners!

Join in on The Thinking Closet's Second Blogiversary Giveaway Celebration! 10 prizes for 10 winners at 9/5 - 9/10. Internationals welcome!

Cowabunga, dudes and dudettes!  Today is totally tubular because it marks my Second Blogiversary.  That's right: the Thinking Closet's turning TWO!  {Whoo hoo!} Way Back When... Two years ago, on an ordinary Thursday, I created a Wordpress account, picked a blog theme by the name of Splendio, and published my first post: The Namesake where I told the story behind the original "Thinking Closet" of my youth. In fact, let's take a jaunt back in time for a moment to recall what the blog looked Read more

100 Projects to Usher in the Fall!

100 Projects to Usher in the Fall!

I don't know about you, but we Floridians are sooooo ready for fall!  Things have been roasty-toasty in these parts since early May, and while the thermometer doesn't seem to be letting up, I figure I'll do my part to usher in the fall indoors, hoping that maybe our outdoors will catch a hint! Well, considering my enthusiasm about the new season, you can imagine how excited I was when Corey and Chelsea invited me to be a part of their 100 Fall Project Blog Hop. How does it work?  Well, Read more

5 Creative Ways to Use Contact Paper

5 Creative Ways to Use Contact Paper by Katie from Upcycled Treasures

Do you ever hap upon a blog where every - single - project just blows you away?  And you think, "There's no way this person can be human!  It's just TOO creative!" And then, you have the rare and distinct privilege of getting to meet this person, and you learn that not only are they human, but they're as down to earth as you had dreamed.  And they just exude joy.  Well, this hypothetical situation is my reality.  And this gem of a gal is Katie.  And now you get to meet her, too.... *           Read more

D.I.Y. Mini-Pallet Fridge Organizers

D.I.Y. Mini-Pallet Fridge Organizers. Such a creative and thorough step-by-step tutorial for creating your own personalized mini-pallet crates to help organize those school papers on the fridge and display kids' artwork!

Some people pour their heart into every single word they write, so that by the time you reach the signature on the first correspondence you've ever shared, you're old friends. Stef is one of those people. And I know she is going to work her way into your heart, too, especially when you get hit with her out-of-the-box creativity today! The Space Jam soundtrack said it best: "Y'all ready for this?" *                    *                    *                    *                    * I am Read more

Throwback Puffy Paint Pillow Covers

Puffy Paint Pillow Cover! | Puffy paint is baaaaack, folks, and looking chic as ever. Emily has some great tips and tricks for using puffy paint to embellish d.i.y. envelope pillow covers. Such a fun and easy way to change up decor!

Friends, Romans, countrymen (and women).  Lend me your ears!  It is only befitting to start this introduction with the words of Shakespeare because the wonderful lady you are about to meet is not only a fellow English major...but she also possesses a bust of The Bard, which earns her ultimate cool points in my book.  Oh, and she happens to be one of my dearest bloggy pals of Haven 2013 & 2014 fame.  Alas, I have spoken e're too long.  Let me give the floor to Emily! *                    *   Read more

“Keep Calm” T-Shirt Gift for Teachers with FREE Cut File

"Keep Calm & Always Return My Pencils": Creative T-Shirt Gift Idea for Teachers. Step by step tutorial includes tips n' tricks for working with heat transfer vinyl on your Silhouette machine!

Apparently, lending out pencils as a teacher is akin to giving them away.  Because the second one of my students left the threshold of my classroom with a pencil in hand, I was essentially saying farewell to that writing utensil forever.  Au revoir.  Adios.  Have a nice life.  Teachers in the house, can I witness? When I taught freshman English in Ohio, the disappearing-pencil-problem was a serious one.  Initially, I refused to lend out pencils and simply deducted points if students were Read more

Scarf Week Recap, Giveaway Winners, & My Epic Scarf Fail

Scarf Week 2014! 16 Scarf Tutorials in one week from 4 different bloggers...what a ride!

Well friends, here we are at the grand finale of Scarf Week!  Thanks to each of you who came along for the ride.  It has been a killer week! (yuk yuk.)  I've been amazed by the incredible reception we've received through comments on our blogs and across social media, which makes me think that Scarf Week just might have to become an annual event.  The timing is just too perfect as we prepare for the onset of fall; and well...the Shark Week pun is just too fun to retire just yet. So, save the Read more

“Sew Easy” Turban Headband: Video Tutorial

"Sew Easy" Turban Headband: This video tutorial walks you through every step, making it a fun and easy beginner sewist project! Love how versatile these headbands are...and what great gifts they'd make!

Welcome back to Scarf Week!  Can you believe we're on our final day of tutorials?  Me neither!  What a fun and wild ride it has been. Welp, we're changing things up today, friends.  Yes, we are!  After three no-sew scarves (1, 2, 3), I decided to throw in one with some sewing...but don't get all verklempt!  It's a fantastic project for beginners (like myself!) since it involves just three straight-ish stitches. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that it is "sew easy."  (I know, I know.  So Read more