Thursday, July 24, 2014

BACK-TO-SCHOOL BACKPACK ROUNDUP AND TATS

Call me Felicity, but I am in loooove with backpacks. It's back-to-school time, and all I want to do is pick out a new one for myself and ravage the school supplies aisle at Target! Organizing notebooks and a planner and pencil case... I could go on and on and on. Anyway...

We have new back-to-school temporary tattoos in our Etsy shop for your kiddos! Customize with school colors and your child's name or their school letters.

We've also rounded up some of our fav backpacks for your littles... unless your child insists on a 
Wild Kratts backpack like mine did! Ugh.

Click numbers for links:
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

We've also got some cute tats for the teeny ones...tattoos to share with the whole class!

-L

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

NO SEW DIY CAFE CURTAINS

Hey friends! Today, I have a super easy cafe curtain tutorial for you! I apologize in advance for the lighting on these pics. Shooting a window is not the easiest for me. One of two home projects I will be sharing tutorials on. My husband and I have been redoing our kitchen for the last couple of months. It has been a long process, and we are 80% finished. I can't wait to share our final reveal. In the meantime, I figured I could show you how I treated our ONE window that we have in our actual kitchen. We originally had blinds that were way too bulky in the window, but they just had to go. This DIY is super easy, makes such an impact and we are both in love with the way it looks. The best part is that it involves NO SEWING! Not even stitch witchery type "sewing". 

I simply purchased a cafe rod and curtain rings from Target ( maybe $10 total). I then went on a hunt for some great napkins or even tea towels of some sort. I wanted something with a pattern, but still neutral in the coloring. I found these lovelies on sale at Anthropologie. No need to look any further!
So, grab your supplies.....

Start with ironing your napkins first to ensure that they lay properly. 
Place your clips (spaced how you would like) across your napkin. I used 4 clips on each napkin.
 String them onto the cafe rod!
 Hang your cafe rod ( about 3/4 of the way high for my window) until you get your desired look. 
Voila!


BTW, we are currently working on a concrete countertop for our island. Say a little prayer.... we are not professionals over here. YouTube and Pinterest have been our kitchen remodeling teachers. Big shout out to all of you who have screwed this up and lived to tell us what NOT to do gone before us. 

Happy Tuesday!!
-J




Wednesday, July 16, 2014

HEALTHY STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE POPS




I picked up these clearanced popsicle molds from Target about a month ago. I had just been waiting for a day that I felt motivated the right recipe to come along to try these out! Aren't they adorable???
I came across this recipe HERE. Strawberries? Greek Yogurt? Cream cheese? And they are healthy?? WHAAAA?

Definitely worth a try! My only recommendation is that I would personally buy skinnier/ taller pop molds. Although, the kids (and moms) ate these up just fine! My friend Rachel came over after a park date and we devoured this yumminess. The recipe calls for a graham cracker crust at the bottom of the mold as well. My graham stash was low, so I only did it for two. We also skipped the chocolate dipping. I know.... Leah will de-friend me now. I can't wait to try more recipes!! It was so fun for Amara to help me in the kitchen, watch them freeze and see what we had created the next morning. They are a sure way to give your kids something nutritious without them even knowing! The best part is that there is no added sugar. These were sweetened with honey. 

Enjoy!!
Any great frozen treat recipes you would like to share?? I am all ears!
-J

Monday, July 14, 2014

PREPARING A GUEST ROOM




Is there really anything better than walking into a hotel room ( or whatever kind of accommodations you have made) when on vacation or a business trip of some sort? Clean sheets, fresh towels, beautiful flowers..... I die for them all! A hotel room, with a beach cottage feel, is exactly what my husband and I wanted our guest room to feel like for friends and family that come to stay with us. Whether it be for a night or a couple of days, I still prep the same.

Our dear friends, who are also newlyweds, came to stay with us for a night after a party we all attended  near our home this past weekend. The sole reason we have a house with more rooms than we need is to be able to open our home up to people. It is a passion of ours to be able to bless people that way. When they ask, we say "yes!" I took some time to shoot the room to show how I set up for these occasions. 

Everything in this room ( excluding the duvet cover and sheet set) has either been handmade, or purchased at an extreme discount!! You can completely make a beautiful space on a dime. 


We tend to call this room our "California room". California is a special place to us because it is where my husband is from, and also where we were married. I found "vintage" San Francisco prints at Goodwill and framed them with clearanced Target frames that I spray painted white. The wooden San Diego print was a gift from my husband. Also, the chair was a thrift find that I spray painted and covered in fabric during our first year of marriage..... 7 years ago.
I love keeping a pen and pad by the bed. Most of my thoughts come to me at night, so I assume the same for my guests I suppose. Ha! Lamp, table and golden crab were clearance finds from Target.
Sconces were handmade by my dad. Love them!
We made our headboard using a drop cloth from Lowe's.
The navy and ivory Pottery Barn pillows were given to us along with a couch that was given to us when we first moved into this house by some super sweet friends. We have held on to them and I added the duvet, sheet set and ikat pillows (clearance find) from Target.
I handmade a little monogram tag and attached it to a fresh bottle of water for our guests when they arrived. Saves them from making a trip downstairs, especially in the middle of the night if they get thirsty. My husband handmade this console table with hairpin legs from hairpinlegs.com and a piece of wood from Lowe's.

A little gold dish for jewelry, coins or any other pocket items...


 End table was a $30 clearance find at a furniture store several years ago.
 Magazines are always a good thing to have stacked up!
 Shell from Target (clearance)

Curtains are old ( and quite short for my taste) clearance finds from West Elm, but they still work for now, and I have always loved the subtle pattern on them.

Hope this inspires you to create a little oasis for yourself or your guests somewhere in your home.
Sweet Dreams!
-J

Friday, July 11, 2014

MY GO-TO YELLOW CAKE RECIPE

Let me preface this post by saying 1. I'm not a food photographer and 2. we wanted to eat it so badly I didn't take many pictures before we destroyed this bad boy!

My three-year-old requested a cake for no reason, and being the fat kid that I am, I was like "sure! why not?!" Problemo- it was 6:00 pm and I was not about to run to the store. I searched Pinterest for the easiest and yummiest cake recipe, and turned up with this gem. This is now my go-to yellow cake recipe! So simple, very few ingredients, in fact I bet you have all of the ingredients in your kitchen right now. Mwuahahaha!

This cake is m-o-i-s-t, slightly dense but light, buttery, and absolutely de-lish. The frosting is my friend, Lori's, go-to vanilla frosting. It's sweet but not disgustingly so. Nice and fluffy.
Scroll down for the recipe.
Notes: 
*If you want your cake to taste fresh and delicious, use fresh and delicious ingredients. I know that sounds like common sense- but seriously- use GOOD and real (read: expensive) vanilla extract, use the best butter, eggs, milk, etc. It truly makes a difference.
*Don't over bake your cake. My rule of thumb is set the timer 5-10 minutes under what the recipe says and keep testing every 2-3 minutes. The cake should be firm with a little jiggle when you gently shake the pan. Put a knife in the middle and it should come out with crumbs on it- NOT clean. Clean means you probably over baked it. But still eat it. Obviously.


RECIPE:

GO-TO YELLOW CAKE

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, room temp
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 tbsp good vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Butter and flour pans (I used 2- 9" rounds).
3. Sift dry ingredients and set aside.
4. Beat butter for 3 minutes. Add sugar and beat another 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and beat thoroughly.
5. Add flour mixture on lowest speed one cup at a time, alternating with milk. End with the flour mixture. Add vanilla and mix well. Pour into prepared cake pans.
6. Bake 25-30 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs. DO NOT over bake- the secret to the yummiest cakes!
7. Cool in pans on wire rack for 5 minutes, then flip out on wire rack and cool completely. 

*adapted from THIS recipe


VANILLA FROSTING

INGREDIENTS: (I halved this recipe for my cake, but here it is in full)
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1/4 tsp salt
1 (32 oz) package powdered sugar
6-7 tbsp milk
1 tbsp good vanilla extract

1. Beat butter and salt on medium speed 1-2 minutes until creamy
2. Gradually add powdered sugar alternating with milk at low speed til blended and smooth
3. Mix in vanilla and food coloring if adding. Whip until desired fluffiness. 

*adapted from Southern Living Magazine


Moral of the story: bake a cake for no reason.
-L

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

HOUSE WARMING IDEAS - FREE PRINTABLES

Our awesome friends, Drew and Kelly, just moved from New York to Nashville this month (everyone's doing it, come on!), and I wanted to give them something special to welcome them to the South. If you need something easy and thoughtful, I designed some housewarming notes for recommendations around town to fill out. (Scroll down for download link.)
You could go all out and do a big basket of goodies with it, share homemade cookies, or just give something simple but much appreciated like a bottle of wine. 

I ended up getting Drew and Kelly THIS AHeirloom Tennessee cutting board I'm obsessed with! You can get a star, heart, or home shape on the city where you live. The perfect welcome to the state. They have states, countries, custom items, and I'm drooling over these gorgeous geo cutting boards. 

One of my fav house warming baskets/bucket I did for friends moving from California to Nashville: healthy snacks, homemade granola, yummy smelling soap, and a subscription to Nashville Magazine.

 I also baked them healthy vegan banana bread (recipe here) - SERIOUSLY delicious! I knoooooow it's healthy and vegan, but for real... it's insanely m-o-i-s-t and delish! Plus I added bittersweet chocolate chips, so how bad could it be? 
(Normally I like to bake yummy fatty cookies, but if you couldn't tell... these people are health nuts!)
I wrapped the banana bread in saran wrap first, then wrapped that in a recycled paper grocery bag and tied with twine. 

Download the housewarming notes HERE and HERE.

Welcome to Nashville, y'all! 
I can type that... just not say it. That's the midwesterner in me!
-L


Thursday, July 3, 2014

FAMILY PHOTO SHOOT - WHAT TO WEAR

We had a little family reunion on my husband's side of the family in St. Louis- so fun! Magic House, Butterfly house, lots of outdoor play- if anyone needs ideas for kiddos in St. Louis, please email me. So much great stuff to do. I grew up in St. Louis, but going back there with littles is a whole new ballgame. 

We had all eight little cousies together and needed to document it! We wanted our outfits to be coordinating, NOT matching, which I think is key in planning family photo shoots. We went with the color scheme of chambray, navy, white, and yellow in different patterns and textures. I love mixing stripes with plaid with solids...to the horror of our photographer! But I think it really worked. If you mix patterns and shades, it looks a little more natural than being totally matchy matchy. Since each family lives in different cities, I did all of our shopping online to make it easy - Gap, J.Crew, and Zara. 
A classic.

I hope this helps give you ideas for your own family portraits!
-L


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