Monday, February 16, 2015

Why An ORCA Cooler Is The Best Cooler For Your Outdoor Lifestyle

Spring is just around the corner, can you believe it? Hopefully we all start to see warmer weather soon! Until then, now is a great time to start thinking about how you can get outdoors more this year to exercise, enjoy nature, learn a new sport, or travel to a new destination. 

In many cases, you're going to want to have a go-to cooler to keep your drinks ice-cold, sandwiches fresh, and if you're way deep in the wilderness or by the ocean you need a reliable cooler to keep things cold till you get back home. Over 7 months, I tested a 26 quart ORCA Cooler provided by W4 Services, an equipment rental and oilfield supply company based in Canadian, Texas, to see if it could handle the multiple weather climates I'm constantly in, and prove that it was a much better investment compared to any other cooler. 


ORCA Coolers are 100% American made and use 100% USA sourced materials. I love this because not only does every purchase help secure jobs here in America, but the company is also standing behind the promise to invest in our economy and community. A portion of every purchase is donated to national conservation groups, breast cancer research, wounded warrior programs, and local community groups. You're not going to find another cooler company as dedicated as they are!

Each cooler has a lifetime warranty and is certified bear proof, which means nothing is going to stand in your way of a great experience with an ORCA cooler! An initial hesitation I had, given that I'm somewhat a petite woman, was if the cooler itself was going to be heavy without anything being in it. I needed to carry it by myself most of the time, and to my surprise the cooler was very light weighted and the perfect length for carrying.

Some other really ice features that beat out any other cooler:
  • Thickest walls to keep everything cold no matter if you use ice cubes, dry ice, block ice - or nothing! Yup, that's right even if you use no coolant at all (I'll share more on this test later). 
  • Secure lid gasket to let nothing out and nothing in
  • Extendable flex-grip handles that won't make your hands sore
  • Storage cargo net for added hauling of things like sunscreen, bug spray, etc.
  • Drainage spout that lets water flow out quickly
  • 4 non-slip grippers on the bottom of the cooler
  • Multiple cooler colors available 
Sounds like a pretty awesome cooler right? Let's get in to the good stuff now. 

W4 Services got a white ORCA cooler to me right before I left for Sanibel Island in Florida in July last year, which was perfect timing! If you're a beach-goer, having a cooler that will withstand salt corrosion, sun exposure, sand abrasion, and long periods of time in the heat is super important. 

We took the ORCA down to the beach with us multiple times, each time it getting the job done keeping everything cool when using a single bag of ice. But the ultimate test was when we filled the cooler with drinks from the fridge and freshly made sandwiches - and put no ice inside. I wanted to see how long everything would last sitting in 90 degrees and direct sunlight, then getting a salty soak for 2-3 hours before being opened.



Watch below how our ORCA takes on the tide on the shoreline of Sanibel Island!


2-3 hours later after shelling, swimming, and walking a few miles of the coastline we came back to have lunch. Opened the cooler and our drinks and sandwiches were still cold! The cooler had kept practically the exact temperatures of the drinks and sandwiches when we had put them in earlier during the day. That was pretty impressive; no other cooler would've been able to do that.

One of my other favorite things about the ORCA is that I have the storage cargo net area to hold suntan lotion and bags of shells without having to house them inside the cooler.



Cleaning the ORCA was such a breeze, every grain of sand just fell off after two rinses, and the 4 non-slip grippers on the bottom of the cooler held it well when Mr. ArtSea Chic was quickly turning it on each side. It also dried really quick, making it manageable for carrying back up the stairs to our condo.


After such a fabulous experience with the ORCA in coastal temperatures hitting water, sand, salt, and heat, my next adventure when returning to Texas a few weeks later would be a roadtrip to the wilderness of the Frio River in Concan, Texas for the 4th of July weekend.

Every Texan knows the importance of the essentials during 4th of July celebrations. Good BBQ, salsa and chips, ice cold drinks, and time with family and friends down by the river. For being a 26 quart cooler, you can sure fit a lot in it!


We were going to be outside for most of the day while floating the Frio River and sitting outside watching fireworks, so we needed the ORCA cooler to withstand getting thrown around on rocks, water, and keep everything cold when being opened many many times throughout the day.



Our ORCA cooler was put to the test when we decided it was time for it to come with us on the river! It fit PERFECTLY inside a blow-up inner tube we had brought, o we were so excited :) haha. Not only did it fit perfectly, but we knew since it didn't weigh too much when empty, that it was going to hold just fine in the tube when filled with water bottles, beer cans, and a layer of cubed ice.

While on the river for at least 6 hours each time we floated, our ORCA kept the drinks cool and everyone happy! Success.





Mr. ArtSea Chic has had his own personal adventures with the ORCA while at work, hunting, and fishing. He even used the ORCA for keeping a deer head cold and fresh, came in handy!




We've had multiple really great experiences using the ORCA in different environments and temperatures, that Mr. ArtSea Chic and I highly recommend any sized ORCA cooler from W4 Services. It's worth the investment, don't go cheap on your coolers. Save yourself the worry of having to buy ice all the time, of damaging the cooler, and not knowing whether your money is going towards supporting the values you stand by and the workforce on U.S. soil.

W4 Services offers the 26, 40, 58, 75 quart coolers in multiple colors such as pink, white, green, and tan. Make sure to grab a cooler before spring starts so that you're ready for any outdoor adventure you, family, or friends decide to take! Be sure to follow W4 Services on Facebook for great deals and insight into other equipment that will help you get the job done right.

Have any questions or comments about how we've used our ORCA cooler? Leave a comment below!


Unless otherwise stated, all content and photographs are ©ArtSea Chic. Please do not copy or distribute photographs without first asking for permission. Paid endorsement disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of compensation for my endorsement, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this blog, which are mentioned in the ArtSea Chic Media Kit. Please know that I only recommend and endorse products and services that I personally approve, appreciate, and feel would be helpful for readers. All ideas and opinions expressed are completely my own. Thank you for supporting ArtSea Chic!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

21 Ways to Have a Coastal State of Mind & Improve Your Life (even if you're not near the coast)

With a new year among us, I can't help but feel inspired more than ever to set goals for myself and encourage you to take on more of a coastal lifestyle. "I don't live by the coast so I can't really have a coastal lifestyle" you might say. Well, I'm here to tell you that if you desire a lifestyle that will make you happy every day, fulfills your purpose, and helps others be the best they can be - make it happen.

This is a no-excuses year ladies and gents! Get ready to immerse yourself into total coastal living even if you don't live near the coast by committing yourself to at least 5 or more of these ways to have a coastal state of mind.



#1. HARVEST THE SUN
Make sunshine your favorite accessory and get outside more. Plant a garden, explore a state park or wild life preserve on a hike, swim at the pool, join an outdoor yoga class, roller blade in a local park, fish local bodies of water... you choose.

Read more on why Mr. ArtSea Chic and I love to fish here.

#2. EAT LIKE AN ISLANDER 
Create a meal plan inspired by fruits, juices, non-processed meats, wild-caught fish, earthy green veggies, and glasses of water (ehm, no sodas allowed). Throw in a pina colada or bloody mary every now and then, maybe some white wine too.

Feast your eyes further on this dish cooked up on Captiva Island here.

#3. PROTECT YOUR WAY OF WALKING
Update your flip flop collection from flat to supportive soles to keep your feet in good health.

Buy a pair of stylish arch supporting sandals from Juli here.

#4. SEW YOUR IDEAL BEACH TOWEL
Sew your own beach towel bag with pillow insert to fit your unique coastal style and comfort needs. Bold print towel with a plush pillow? Polka dot pillow case with a protective storage pocket? Solid color handles with a beach scene towel? Possibilities are endless.

Follow the beach towel bag tutorial here.

#5. HAVE VIRTUAL WINDOWS TO YOUR DREAM DESTINATION
Daydream with every piece of tech you put your hands on. Set your computer, phone, and tablet backgrounds and screen savers to a picture of your favorite coastal destination.

Download some seriously beachy device backgrounds from Salty Pineapple for FREE.

#6. TRANSFORM SPACES WITH COASTAL COTTAGE ZEN
Declutter spaces and create an airy flow throughout your home. No one likes to feel trapped in a place with mounds of things scattered across on every counter top or belongings that won't be used again piled in a closet.

Read more on how I started my room makeover here.

#7. BRING THE BEACH TO YOUR BATHROOM
Decorate your bathroom to become your in-home spa retreat.

Loving the simplicity of decor in these bathrooms shared by Studio M.

#8. PAMPER YOURSELF
Now actually relax in your bathroom for once.

#9. REDEFINE YOUR WELLNESS STANDARDS 
Invest in non-toxic cleaning and hygiene products to have a safer, more natural, and ocean-approved living environment.

Read more about the ingredients used in my homemade DIY cleaner and beauty products

#10. STRUT YOUR BEST COASTAL STYLE WITH NO SHAME
Make sure you have a sea of fashionable coastal apparel and accessories to wear no matter what the temperature is outside. A woven palm leaf tote is essential.

Read more on what my essentials are here.

#11. HAVE YOUR SUITCASE READY
These style must-haves also need to be on-call for getaway vacations to the nearest body of water.

#12. MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE SEA
Volunteer in a local trash clean-up with your community. Every waterway leads to our ocean. Help keep it clean!

Read more about my experience with the Adopt-A-Beach program's trash cleanups here.

#13. HELP KIDS LIKE COASTAL THINGS TOO
Do you have kids, grand-kids, young nieces or nephews? Do ocean-inspired crafts with them, watch Disney classics with coastal scenes, read books together that talk about marine animals, dress them up in the cutest nautical outfits, and most importantly - take them to the beach before they turn 10 years old.

Browse my favorite coastal ideas for kids and pin your favorites!

#14. BRING A LITTLE ART INTO YOUR LIFE
Invest in a couple staple pieces of coastal art and hang them proudly on the wall. Better yet, try painting your own if you're feeling artsea!

This is my all-time favorite painting that I found on sale for $50 at Garden Ridge (now called At Home).

#15. SET A REALISTIC TRAVEL GOAL
Set a goal to fly or road trip to a coastal destination this year. Pick a destination, time to travel, select activities, then create a budget that will get you there. Turn in your PTO at work and tell others about your exciting goal to hold you accountable all the way through.

I did all of the above for my trip to St. Thomas USVI, see the attractions I went to here.

#16. HOST A LUAU TO REMEMBER
Host a party with your closest coastal-minded friends and family. Tropical drinks, pineapple pinata, ocean water slushies, fruit palm trees ....I mean, who wouldn't want to be at your luau?

Check out OH Lovely Place's DIY pineapple pinata tutorial.

#17. SLEEP HAPPY
Give your bed a pop of resort styled bedding and comfort with a new mattress or foam topper. You'll have the best sleep and dreams of the beach to date.

An ideal cottage by the sea bedding set and DIY headboard shared by The Lily Pad Cottage.

#18. VISIT ALL THINGS THAT CRAWL, ROAR, SWIM, & FLY
Immerse yourself in a little wildlife from around the globe and visit your local aquarium and zoo.

Don't have a zoo or an aquarium near you? Find an Aquarium Restaurant instead, read more here.

#19. CREATE A COASTAL TABLESCAPE
Own dishware, glassware, utensils etc that make you feel like you're going to be prepping a table inside a coastal cottage by the sea.

See how I styled a coastal inspired Easter table with wine glass coasters from Mystic Knotwork here.

#20. KEEP YOUR EYES STRONG
If you don't wear contact lenses, next time you see the eye doctor ask if your insurance will cover a pair of non-prescription UV blocking sunglasses in place of the coverage for contacts. You'd be surprised how less expensive it is to get big name sunglasses plus a protective case from your eye doctor than at a shop in a mall!

Read about how we protected our eyes with COSTA Sunglasses fishing with SoulMate Charters here.

#21. STAY INSPIRED TO HAVE A COASTAL LIFESTYLE
Discover at least 3 new blogs, websites, or influencers that will help you stay inspired to live in a coastal state of mind. Thanks for reading mine! :)


Unless otherwise stated, all content and photographs are ©ArtSea Chic. Please do not copy or distribute photographs without first asking for permission. Paid endorsement disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of compensation for my endorsement, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this blog, which are mentioned in the ArtSea Chic Media Kit. Please know that I only recommend and endorse products and services that I personally approve, appreciate, and feel would be helpful for readers. All ideas and opinions expressed are completely my own. Thank you for supporting ArtSea Chic!

Monday, December 1, 2014

How To Gift Beachy Memories + A to Z Letter Art Giveaway!


Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Now the mad dash to finding great holiday shopping deals is here. Are you the type of person who rather stay at home and shop online than try to make your way through the crowds at the store? Good, me too :)

After adventuring out a few years ago during Black Friday, I swore I would never do it again, the whole craze was just too much for me. I looked back at holiday consumerism, marketing schemes and what we should be trying to embody during the holidays, and decided to go after more personalized gifts, homemade crafts, and spending time with family right after Thanksgiving. So my shopping day is Cyber Monday!

With so many gift ideas out there, it can be hard to decide what to get the island lover in your life. But if you're like me, and really want something that will speak to our creativity, places you've traveled, and life at the beach, look no further than customized letter art gifts from A to Z Letter Art


A to Z Letter Art's owners Deb and Lary have traveled the world, capturing landscapes and nature that resemble letters of the alphabet. They even visit Sanibel Island every year! I bet all you Sanibel Island travelers recognize where those full-color on location SANIBEL letters above were taken! 

S: from the entry door to St. Isabel Catholic Church
A: the Sanibel lighthouse
N: three of Sanibel's native palm trees
I: from the entrance to the Sanibel Marina
B: from under the causeway
E: from one of Sanibel's native palm trees
L: from the sculpture in front of the Sanibel library   

If you've never been to Sanibel Island, put it on your bucket list! It's a true gem in the United States, and my favorite beach destination with all the shelling, seafood, biking, nature walks, and dolphins at sunset you could want in a beach vacation. 

A to Z Letter Art's on location Sanibel art has four different groupings of letters that spell SANIBEL, so any interior island decor style can be found! Each grouping can be built out to either 4'' x 6'' horizontal or 4 x 6'' vertical, with 2'' x 3'' options also available. Anyone who orders a horizontal letter art piece gets a FREE 4'' tall, black twisted wire easel. 

The letter art is displayed in a "floating" frame sequence, with each frame backed by 1/8" thick MDF and a piece of protective glass on the front held by clips. The double rail system on the back of the art is custom built by Lary, and features two hangers on each end for easy hanging. If you rather display the art in the easel, they fit great on mantels, entry tables, coffee tables,or shelving in offices.

Gifting beachy memories of Sanibel Island comes easy with A to Z Letter Art. Here's a couple ideas on how to gift beachy memories through Sanibel Island letter art this holiday season.

1. Plan a spring break or summer vacation trip with friends or family for next year. Surprise them Christmas morning when they unwrap your A to Z Letter Art gift that has captured what memories are to come!

2. If Sanibel Island is your native homeland (lucky you!), treat yourself to a Christmas gift that captures your love for the island.

3. Are you a condo owner? Welcome your guests from around the world with a preview of the island in letter art displayed on an entry wall, or on an easel on the coffee table in the living room.

4. Past Sanibel Island vacationers will love unwrapping any A to Z Letter Art that makes them feel like they have their own piece of the island with them even though they're miles away, and bring back the good times under the sun.

Beachy memories can also be gifted through custom letter art in any word up to 9 letters! A to Z Letter Art has over 900 letters for you to choose from to create your own personalized gift in a word of your choice!

I customized my own A to Z Letter Art piece with the word NURSE to gift to my sister for Christmas.


1. Chose my word to customize
2. Picked the style of each letter
3. Decided on a vertical frame with 4'' x 6'' letter art
4. Then placed my order! Easy.

My sister will be graduating from nursing school next month and likes the beach too, so customizing each letter made the piece complete for the life events about to happen! The art is very well made, and carefully packaged so that it arrives safely and is easy to open and repackage if gifting to someone else.


When it comes to wrapping Christmas gifts, I like to choose a theme to do. This year, I chose brown paper, tight jute string, seashells, and white paint.


Wrapping the letter art was super easy to do because the protective wrapping that it came in was already very well done.


A to Z Letter Art is gifting one lucky reader a holiday treat! Enter our giveaway for a chance to WIN either a custom letter art piece (up to 9 letters) -or- any on location letter art (Sanibel Island, Paris, or Italy)! If you can't wait to see if you'll be the lucky winner, you can also get your own letter art here. The winner will have their prize shipped to them in time to wrap and leave under the tree for Christmas :)

Follow the options to enter below. The giveaway will end at midnight CST on Thursday, December 4 and the winner will be announced December 5. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Unless otherwise stated, all content and photographs are ©ArtSea Chic. Please do not copy or distribute photographs without first asking for permission. Paid endorsement disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of compensation for my endorsement, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this blog, which are mentioned in the ArtSea Chic Media Kit. Please know that I only recommend and endorse products and services that I personally approve, appreciate, and feel would be helpful for readers. All ideas and opinions expressed are completely my own. Thank you for supporting ArtSea Chic!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Homemade Coastal Holiday Potpourri Gift Tutorial


Can we say happy holidays yet? I can't believe we are officially starting the holiday season now. Texas still hasn't made up its mind about the weather though...we were in the low 70 degrees this week, and this morning we are waking up to the high 30s! Makes me just want to grab some hot tea, have the smell of cinnamon rolls baking in the oven travel throughout the house, and snuggle up on the couch with a fleece blanket. :)

If I had to name one thing that helps me get ready for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season at home, it has to be smelling the scents of the holidays. Cinnamon, orange, pine cones, a baking turkey, cloves, rosemary...and when combined together, you're in for a serious aromatherapy session.

In years past, traditionally we have bought potpourri in bags from the store to put in decorative bowls. But as I have been growing in my personal journey of natural wellness these past three years, I decided to take the challenge of creating homemade potpourri from everyday ingredients and essential oils. Sounds good right? IT'S THE BEST! So let's dive in to how you can make your own homemade coastal holiday potpourri to use in your home, or give to friends, family, or neighbors as a gift.

MATERIALS
  • 16 oz. mason jar(s) or a decorative glass bowl
  • Jute string
  • FREE printable gift and instruction tags (download here)
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Leather string
  • Coffee filter
  • Tape
  • Parchment paper

INGREDIENTS
  • Two .75 oz bottles of cinnamon sticks
  • .75 oz bottle of whole cloves
  • .75 oz bottle of allspice
  • Two .12 oz bottles of bay leaves
  • Fresh rosemary springs
  • 2 whole apples cut into thin slices
  • 1 orange cut into thin slices
  • 2 lemons cut into thin slices
  • Mixture of nuts
  • 6 red peppers
  • 8-10 drops lemon essential oil
  • 8-10 drops orange essential oil
  • 8-10 drops cinnamon (cassia) essential oil
  • 8-10 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 8-10 drops clove essential oil 

First thing to get out of the way is making your decorative knotted jute mason jar. For a 16 oz. jar, you'll need to cut a strand to fit around the top neck of the jar, 6 strands of jute string of at least 3 feet, a strand half the size of the jar's bottom, and a strand as long as you'd like to make for the handle. Follow the steps below in the picture to complete!


Once you're done, it's time to bake lemons, apples, peppers (if you want to), and oranges. I baked the lemon and orange slices together since they are both citrus, and then baked the apple slices separately. Each gets baked in the oven on sheets lined with parchment paper at 200 degrees for 45 minutes to start out with, then add 30-45 additional minutes until the citrus slices are see-through, and the apple slices are curled/browned. Don't try to speed things up by baking above 200 degrees, you'll loose all the juicy oils that are needed. Also make sure to checkup on them to make sure they aren't drying up and browning too much.




You should have your slices similar to the above when done baking. Be careful not to brown the citrus slices too much..oops; they still worked though. ;) Let the slices cool down before mixing in with other ingredients.

Once slices are cooled, grab a mixing bowl and your ingredients. Pour everything into the bowl, adding the essential oils last so they soak in. Mix together a couple times. Now breath in...breath out. Breath in...breath out. Are you relaxed and full of holiday cheer now? :)


Next, you're ready to pour into your homemade potpourri into a mason jar(s) or decorative glass bowl. Remember, you can't use plastic because of the essential oils!

If you decide to go with a decorative glass bowl, you can pour each ingredient into the bowl layer by layer if you'd like, or pour everything in together mixed. After that, you're done making your homemade coastal holiday potpourri! If you are making mason jar gifts, continue reading...



Next step is to cover your mason jar with a coffee filter, then cut slits where the filter gets in the way of the jute string handle. To secure the filter in place, use a strand of leather string and tie it off as shown. Try to get this knot down because it's less bulky and allows for the tags to sit great. The coffee filter will let all the good smells out, but keep the ingredients inside the jar until after you've gifted it to someone.



After you have the filter in place and tied off, cut out all your "The Holidays In A Jar" tags. Choose your favorite designs and color combinations by choosing 1 gift tag, 1 instruction tag, 1 top cover, and 1 message tag if you'd like to write a message that can't fit on the gift tag. Fill out your tags with any messaging BEFORE you attach to the jar.



Tape down your top cover as shown above, then hole punch the tag set you chose and thread through the leather string. It should sit nicely and have no problems facing forward if you tied the knot right. Next, to secure the tags and complete the coastal look, take a clipping of jute string and tightly place a knotted bow in front of the tags.

Guess what you're done! How much more satisfying is it to know you can make your own holiday potpourri? It's better for your lungs and overall health, plus it can last even longer than store bought potpourri if you use it in its dry state and reapply essential oils if you'd like over a month or two + simmering on the stove.



------ UPDATE: 1 month after making the dry potpourri

It's been a month since I made the potpourri for single room dry use, now it's time to simmer over the stove so the smells of the holidays travel throughout the house :)

Take a medium pot, fill half way with water and warm on medium heat. Pour in your dried potpourri, do a good stir of everything, and increase the heat slightly so you start simmering the water. Within 20-30 minutes half your house will smell like the holidays, MMmm smells so good!

Check up on the pot every 15 minutes to give it a stir. After simmering for 1 hour, you'll notice everything becomes a little cooked, that's normal. You can simmer for a total of 1.5 hours, that seems to be the ideal time to fill your house with the smell, and prevent the ingredients from getting too cooked.


Get ready to start gifting scents of the holidays in a jar! If you make your own potpourri at home already, what ingredients do you use to get a certain scent? Let us all know so we can try it!


Unless otherwise stated, all content and photographs are ©ArtSea Chic. Please do not copy or distribute photographs without first asking for permission. Paid endorsement disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of compensation for my endorsement, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this blog, which are mentioned in the ArtSea Chic Media Kit. Please know that I only recommend and endorse products and services that I personally approve, appreciate, and feel would be helpful for readers. All ideas and opinions expressed are completely my own. Thank you for supporting ArtSea Chic!

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