Carry On Chico

Carry On Chico

Jon Hart Chicos are great – they’re the perfect size that you can use them for lots of things – makeup, charging cords, medications – the chico is VERY versatile.  You can’t have too many of them, so that makes it the perfect gift for anyone!

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite uses for the Jon Hart Chico – a dedicated “carry on” Chico!  This is one of my best tips for traveling by air because it makes packing so much easier.  I used to make list after list of what I needed to remember to pack, and inevitably I would forget something small that I wished I had.  Now, I keep all of my favorite little “in-flight” needs packed and ready to go in a Chico.  I never have to remember to pack “all the things” – I just have to replenish anything that I’ve used up and grab the bag and GO.

Here’s what I keep stocked in my “carry on” Chico:


  • tissues
  • ear buds
  • gum
  • Tide to go stick
  • ear plugs
  • lip balm
  • a pen (and usually sticky notes too)
  • cough drops
  • hand sanitizer
  • tea and honey

Handy, right?  I think so!  It’s actually a gift I love to give as well – and the concept doesn’t have to only be for frequent flyers.  You could fill a Chico with dance or cheerleading must-haves:  bobby pins, mini hair spray, lipstick, glitter, breath mints, etc. and hot stamp “team work” or “game face” on the outside.   You could also fill a Chico with orchestra needs:  extra strings, resin, a polishing cloth, etc.  That would be fun to stamp with “strings things”.  This would be a great idea for teachers too – they always need little “emergency kits” for the classroom… The possibilities are endless!

The Chico is available in lots of colors, and we can hot stamp a name, initials (or specific phrase like mine) in about 3 days.  It’s a great gift for $34 (and it would be even more cute if you pre-filled it with some of their favorite necessities before gifting it).  What do you think?  Who do you know that could enjoy a dedicated Chico?  Let us know – we’d love to hook you up with this clever gift idea!




Valentine’s Day Brunch for Dinner

Valentine’s Day Brunch for Dinner

For this semester’s Barque Team get-together, I thought it might be fun to have “Brunch for Dinner”.  The benefits would be twofold – a great way for my girls to sample a few of our food products (like buttermilk biscuit mix and local jams)… and second,  I thought it would be easy to cook on a weeknight!

In this post, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the invitation, party details, decorations, menu and party favors – plus an idea you can borrow to spark great conversation at your own Valentine’s Day gathering!

brunch invite

bday mantle

vintage vtines

Since I love Valentine’s Day, I thought that would be an easy theme to work with.  I utilized my collection of vintage Valentines to add a little interest to my mantle.


For the table, I used lots of layering – starting with a simple white tablecloth, then adding a length of sheer pink fabric (on clearance at Joann’s), followed by heart-shaped cut outs and doilies.  To finish it off, more vintage valentines strewn about (some on tiny easels) and a sprinkling of conversation heart candies.  For added ambiance, I combined a few tall white candles with strings of battery-operated, mini copper lights (a new arrival at the store).

vday table 3

bday table

For each place setting, alternating pink and red napkins (folded in the shape of a heart) were adorned with a hand-lettered doily as a place card.  The talented @kelseylaineholt (check her out on Instagram!) made them for us – as well as the food/drink labels – and they really made the tablescape swoon-worthy, don’t you think?

doiliesBefore guests got settled in, everyone was asked fill out 2 “Conversation Hearts”. This idea was inspired by Darcy Miller’s new book, Celebrate Everything – and it ended up being one of the favorite parts of the evening for all of us.  HERE is a link to a free printable with the instructions, which can easily be displayed in a basic 4×6 frame.

You can download the conversation heart templates HERE and HERE – just print them out on pastel colored cardstock and cut out by hand.convo hearts

We collected the completed hearts in a fish bowl, and they later became our dinner conversation starters!  It was really fun to try to guess who each heart belonged to – and it sparked great conversation!  We learned a lot about one another (and laughed a lot too).


The menu consisted of traditional breakfast food – eggs (heart-shaped of course), bacon, sausage, turkey bacon, buttermilk biscuits (see our tips for those here), local jams from Kelle B, fruit, yogurt (with heart sprinkles), and a modified version of Bobby Flay’s Rosemary and Pancetta Home Fries (from the cookbook Brunch at Bobby’s).  To be honest, I’ve made this recipe before and it was delicious, but I must have done something wrong this time – oops!  It didn’t work out as I had planned, so it became mashed the potatoes with rosemary and pancetta mixed in – sometimes you have to improvise!



We tested out a recipe from the Forest Feast Gatherings Cookbook for the bar – Ruby Mimosa Punch – and it was quite tasty!

bar cart sm

brunch babes napsI think a party always needs a favor, and for this one, each of the girls received a ball cap (monogrammed with the Barque logo), a box of conversation hearts, a mini jar of Kelle B Jam, and a Butter London nail polish.  I love how the personalized tags turned out too!party favorsCorny or not, the tags are true – I really do love these girls!  They’re a great bunch, and I’m so blessed to have each one of them working with me.  The best part is I think they genuinely enjoy one other too – It’s not often you can work and play together and enjoy so much laughter.

staff pic smAren’t they they cutest?

teamI hope our Team “Dinner” inspires a few ideas for your own Valentine’s (or Galentine’s) Brunch, and if it does, we’d love to know about it!  Tag us on Instagram  (@barquegifts) or email us photos – we love to see how our friends and customers throw a party!

















Valentine’s Day Lockers

Valentine’s Day Lockers

Love is in the air… and for our customers, we hope it’s in their mailboxes too!  This LOVE-ly locker renovation is inspired by mail for and from your significant other – no matter what you call them!

Here’s a brief behind-the-scenes of our latest locker renovation.


Step 1:  It all begins with a vintage pink wooden chair (discovered at the Round Top Antiques Fair – score!) and a vintage mailbox (from an estate sale).


Step 2:  Add a handful of gorgeously hand-lettered love letters (done by our talented @kelseylaineholt – check her out on Instagram).  You can’t tell in the photo, but we glued these onto a small piece of cardboard so they would stay in place.


Step 3:  Add more letters, piled (and glued) on top of a crumpled piece of paper.


Step 4:  Add more envelopes to the wall so they look like an “explosion” from the mailbox.

Step 5:  Step back and enjoy how cute and adorable your display is!  (Seriously, this is one of our favorite locker renovations yet – LOVE LOVE LOVE how it turned out!  Thanks Kelsey!!!)



New Year’s Eve Lockers

New Year’s Eve Lockers

Our lockers are ready for 2017… and so are we!

We’re thankful that 2016 has been a great year for us, but we’re looking forward to even more fun in the New Year.  Thanks for all of your love and support – I appreciate you guys letting me live this little dream of mine every day!

Happy New Year!  Wishing you and yours all the best in 2017!

– Kandice

A Colorful Christmas

A Colorful Christmas

Y’all, this holiday season has been busy… which is great for business, but that also means that this girl is TIRED!

The sad truth is I was too worn out to put up all of my Christmas decorations this year.  As much as I love my Snow Village, garlands, nativity scenes and Santas, I didn’t have the time or the energy to do it.  I also didn’t want all the STUFF out.  When I put the decorations away, I’m always relieved that my house is clean and clutter-free…  so I decided to bring on all of that feel-good happiness a few weeks early.  The decorations were minimal, and I used a lot of rearranged everyday items, but it was a welcome change that I’ve enjoyed.  Below are a few of my favorite details  from this year’s “Colorful Christmas”:

The Mantle – I opted for retro bottle brush trees and a watercolor painting from my grandmother.  I had the hardest time finding “pastel” stockings, so I ended up spending an hour or so with my mom’s trusty Singer sewing machine to make my own.  They’re not pretty up close, but they’ll work for now.  (These trees are so fun – we even used them to dress up our lockers at the store this year.)dsc_1072sm


The combination of the colorful trees and bright pillows (borrowed from the guest room) make for a cheerful and cozy fireside spot (Lucy agrees).


My Tree – This year I went with a Nordmann Fir, adorned as usual with white lights and my colorful plastic balls.  It’s dog-friendly and easy – exactly what I needed!

dsc_1204smNostalgia – This is my favorite nativity.  For no good reason other than I’ve always loved it.  Since I’ve lived in this house, it’s been an amazing addition to my kitchen decor, mostly because I can keep it safe inside a cloche on the counter.

dsc_1221smA Paper Lover’s Nativity –  I bought this cardboard nativity a few years ago at an estate sale because it’s the same one my mom got from her mother. It fits perfectly on top of my grandmother’s mini piano.


A Bright Entry – A colorful ball ornament wreath and abstract painting by my grandmother at the door kicks off the colorful feel for this year’s decor!


Red/Green Books – Instead of packing up all my books, I decided to utilize the red and green ones for my entryway display.  One less thing to pack up, and a great way to use something I already have out.  It’s a win-win, right?


The Church – This new addition to my decorations has been a favorite – it’s a wooden church for holiday cards!  It checks all the boxes:  cute, useful, and efficient.


Clever Candle Gift in 3 Easy Steps

Clever Candle Gift in 3 Easy Steps

One of our favorite gift ideas this holiday season involves our favorite candle paired with an unexpected surprise – custom matches!

This ideas is so simple (and genius), we can’t believe we’ve never done it before!   It requires 3 easy steps, which we can help you with.

Clever Candle Gift in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Stock up on your favorite candles to give as holiday gifts (don’t forget to grab a few extra for “backup”).
  2. Order custom match boxes or match books from us at Barque (prices range from $37 – $44 for 50 quantity or $48 – $62 for 100 quantity).  Try to come up with a clever phrase you can use that includes candle-like qualities – “warm”, “glow/glowing”, “sparkly”, etc.  We can help you come up with the right message, but if it comes from you, it will be that much more personal and delightful for your recipient.
  3. Use twine or ribbon to tie your custom matches onto the candle (or even the outside of the wrapped package).

It’s a fun add-on to your gift, it’s useful, and it doubles as a gift tag too.  This idea is definitely one we’ll be using this season!

BARQUE BONUS IDEA:  Wouldn’t this concept be cute for birthday gifts too? Your message could read:  “Happy Birthday!  Hope your year ahead sparkles as much as you do.  Love, Tina & John”