Behind the Scenes of Small Things are Big Things

dirty-side-of-blogging-logoA pretty instagram from @karanoellawsonI have met a ton of rad people through blogging.  One of my favorites is Kara Noel from Small Things are Big Things.  I do not know her well, but she amazes me in every capacity.  She is a fantastic mom of 4, super crafty, funny and totally real.  While she shares cool DIYs that she makes and also her adorable children on instagram, she is not afraid to show you her behind the scenes chaos either.  I’m so glad that she is sharing this with us today.  This top photo is of a craft she made on a book case, that she probably also made, in her home.

A behind the scenes look at some of your favorite bloggers #dirtysideofbloggingAnd this is what was behind her while she was taking that shot.  This scene is totally familiar to bloggers with children.  BTW I get kind of stalker-y about her youngest daughter.  She is so darling!

A behind the scenes look from @karanoellawson and most other bloggers #dirtysideofbloggingAnd these are the shelves below the one that made it on to Instagram.  I totally remember having the great divide on book shelves when the kids were small.  Our nice vases were on the top half and the kids books and toys were on the bottom.  I’m so happy to report that my kids have outgrown that stage!

Thank you, Kara, for keeping it real!

Small Things are Big Things

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Best Frozen Margarita Recipe

Margaritas are the perfect summer drink.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSo last summer I discovered that I really enjoy tequila.  Or rather tequila based cocktails.  I’ve never been a shots kind of a girl and I don’t think my late 30′s, with two small children, is the time to start.   And since I like the flavor of limes so much it makes sense that I would love a good margarita.  About 6 months ago I asked my Facebook followers for their favorite margarita recipes.  They were varied to say the least.  So I decided I would try several of them and see which ones I like the best.  It was hard work, you guys.  But these are the kinds of things I do for you.  Turns out I found the best frozen margarita recipe.  Ever.

Tequila shots, leopard print and Mexican blankets = summer.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI know that the flavor of a margarita depends of the taste of the tequila you are using.  I’m not a tequila expert at all.  I just used what we had in the cupboard.  I see the guys on Real Housewives drinking a lot of Don Julio so I’m guessing that is a good brand to use.  And let’s talk for a second about the lime shortage we are currently facing.  Are you all as broken up about it as I am?  And I’m not even exaggerating about that.  I went to my grocery the other day to get limes for the margaritas, some salsas and guacamole I was going to make.  And my store was completely out of them.  Like, there were no limes in the entire store.  I asked.  Luckily my mom was able to grab a few from her store for me but that is why you see the bottled lime juice in some of the photos.  I’ve had to supplement with it.  It is not ideal.  I’m thinking about starting a fundraising campaign for the lime plight.  My summer relies heavily on limes.  But back to the margaritas.

Mexican blankets, leopard print and margaritas.  Is it summer yet?  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI made a traditional margarita with triple sec, lime juice, tequila and agave.  It was just ok.  And you will notice there is no salt in these photos because I don’t like it anywhere near my margaritas.  You do what you need to do.  Several of the recipes that I had called for beer.  It didn’t really do anything for them.  And one called for Trader Joe’s margarita mix.  I was disappointed.

Do you prefer on the rocks or frozen margaritas?  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI decided since it would be really lush-y to make all these margaritas for myself, I would do it during a family barbecue.  My mom and my sister and I tried all of these and there was no clear winner.  Then my sister says, oh hey, let me make you they kind I drink.  And oh my gosh.  It was, by far, the best one.  And it was frozen!  I don’t usually enjoy frozen cocktails but for this I will make an exception.

Seriously the best frozen margarita recipe.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSo good!  And since you make them by the pitcher, these are great for parties or if you just don’t want to having to make your cocktails one at a time.  So thank you, sister, for sharing this with me.  She says she didn’t make it up and that it is all over the online recipe world.  So we do not take credit with creating this recipe.  Just drinking it and letting you know that it is so very tasty.

Best Frozen Margarita Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 can Frozen Limeade, not thawed (not frozen margarita mix) Add the frozen limeade and keep the can for measuring.
  • 3/4 can of tequila
  • 1/4 can Triple Sec
  • 1 can of ice
  • Splash of agave, optional

Instructions

  1. To a blender add one can of frozen limeade, not thawed.
  2. Use the empty limeade can to help measure the next ingredients.
  3. Add 3/4 can of tequila, 1/4 can of Triple Sec and 1 can of ice to the blender.
  4. Blend on high until smooth.
  5. You can add a splash of agave if you think it needs to be sweeter but the drink is pretty sweet on its own because of the limeade.
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy.
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/best-frozen-margarita-recipe/

 

DIY Jewelry Organizer

Super easy DIY pegboard for your necklaces.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI’ve been dying to share this super easy DIY Jewelry Organizer with you!  I’ve had it done for a few weeks now and I LOVE it.  Not only has it organized what used to be a super messy area in my walk in closet, but I also wear the jewelry more since it is so easy to see and get to.  Last month I came to the realization that I need to be offline more and actually living my life, not just posting about it.  So I decided to start on some projects that I have been wanting to do for a while.  This was the first one.  And I’m delighted with how it turned out.  And it is stupidly easy.

Ugh! The before of my jewelry area.  \\   www.cupcakesandcutlery.comTo give you some reference, this is what the area looked like before.  It is as if burglars came in to my house and ransacked just this one area.  I can tell you one thing positive I’ve learned in all of this, I excel at stacking.  That has got to come in handy at some point in my life, right?

Easy DIY pegboard for organizing jewelry.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThere are no real steps to this DIY and I’ll tell you why.  I went to Home Depot for supplies. First I hit the paint area.  I got some spray primer in white, some gloves and a drop cloth.  Next I headed to the wood area. I found the peg board and to my absolute excitement, found that one side of the peg board was already white!  No painting required.  So I put all the paint stuff back.  And the kind fellow at Home Depot cut the board to size for me.  I knew it needed a pop of color to make it less boring and to frame it out in my closet.  I quickly painted the edges with a neon paint.  I was careful to try to keep it fairly straight the whole way around but I didn’t tape it off or anything.  That is it!  Rad, right?!

Gorgeous necklaces from my grandma's collection.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI picked up a large pack of “s” hooks at Home Depot, as well.  They really are the perfect thing to hang the necklaces from.  For the long, dainty chains, I hung two to a hook.  For the larger, bulkier necklaces I hung them across two hooks, but still stacked them to utilize the space.  What really prompted the need to organize was that my mom brought over all of my grandmother’s old costume jewelry to go through.  There are some amazing pieces in there.  And I really wanted to be able to see them and wear them.

Use fun bowls to organize jewelry.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comFor the bracelets and watches I used different bowls.  My watches are in a really awesome old ashtray of my grandmothers.  And my dainty bracelets are in a cute little hand painted dish that I picked up in Cabo last year on my anniversary trip.  Great memories!

Voluspa candles add an amazing ambiance to a dressing area.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI picked up two acrylic storage boxes for some of my other bracelets that I do not wear as much, as well as a few pair of earrings that I have.  I’m not really an earring gal.  I’m partial to the little diamond studs my husband gave me while we were dating.  And while I don’t burn it in there, this Voluspa candle makes it smell so pretty in here!

Knitted beer cozies and other family momentos go great in a dressing area.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI have two storage boxes, one with the rest of my grandmother’s pieces and one with sunglasses.  And created a little vignette on top of things that make me smile.  I think a dressing room is the perfect place for putting treasured family pieces that might not otherwise work elsewhere in your home.  Take the knitted beer cozy for instance. :)  That was by my grandfather’s side of the bed at their home and brings such happy memories when I look at it.  And the apple frame was by my grandmother’s side of the bed.  The photo is of their dog, Hildy, who was their dog when my sister and I were little girls.  And do you see that blue striped shirt there all the way to the left of this photo?  That is a vintage Hang Ten shirt of my dad’s that I stole from him in high school.  I no longer wear it but I love that I can see it when accessorizing in the morning.  This has become one of my favorite areas of my home.  And it took me about one hour total to paint and organize.  My heart is happy.

Monte Cristo Roll Ups for Easter Brunch with King’s Hawaiian

*This post is sponsored by King’s Hawaiian.  All opinions are mine!

Monte Cristo Roll Ups Recipe.  \\   www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSo I have a thing with Monte Cristo sandwiches.  My mom and I used to head to a restaurant in South Coast Plaza (anyone remember Magic Pan?!) for their Monte Cristo’s, salads with raspberry vinaigrette and delicious rosemary bread.  It is where I fell in love with the salty and sweet sandwiches.  And now when I see them on any menu, I HAVE to have it.  Because you don’t find them that often.  And I have a thing about brunch.  I “go pupule” over a good brunch.  When I was thinking about the perfect recipe for Easter brunch, I thought a Monte Cristo would be perfect.  Easter is all about ham, everything is better with cheese and raspberry jam just about screams brunch, am I right?  What the heck is “go pupule?”  It means go crazy in Hawaiian.  Add this phrase to your lexicon.  It is super fun to say.

Easy to make Monte Cristo roll ups.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWhile a traditional Monte Cristo is pretty much a sandwich made on french toast, I decided that sweetness of the King’s Hawaiian bread would work perfectly for this.  And I also decided that sandwiches are too boring.  I wanted to do this dish a little bit differently. So I decided that Monte Cristo Roll Ups just made sense.  It takes only a few ingredients, and not a lot of time, so I think it is a great dish to add in to your Easter brunch entertaining.  The key is SEEDLESS raspberry jam.  Ain’t nobody got time for all those seeds.  And you need a good gruyere – one that is salty and smells a little bit like feet.  Trust me, it makes this taste the best.  I “go pupule” over a feet-y gruyere.

King's Hawaiian bread for Monte Cristo Roll Ups.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe other step that is a must for this Monte Cristo Roll Up recipe is rolling out the bread.  While King’s Hawaiian is known for its soft, fluffy amazingness, the roll up works better when you make the bread flat (less tearing).  But you could totally skip this step if you want to just make these as normal sandwiches.  But then I might think you are lazy…

A super easy Monte Cristo recipe for Easter Brunch.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comRoll out your bread, layer on the jam, sprinkle on some shredded cheese and add some ham.  So easy.

Baked Monte Cristo Roll Ups.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comPlace the roll ups seam side down on a baking sheet.  It is ok if there are a few small tears.  The ham sort of acts like a barrier to keep the cheese from oozing out all over the place although it will melt out the ends.  You bake them until they are melty and golden brown, about 10 minutes.  And once they are out, you can dust them with a little powdered sugar, which any self respecting Monte Cristo has.

Monte Cristo Roll Ups.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThese roll ups would make a great appetizer if cut up in to slices (does that then turn them in to pinwheels?)  and are perfect for kids.  They could also be made ahead of time and just heated through the morning of.  They are the perfect mix of breakfast in lunch in one dish and are sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Monte Cristo Sandwich Roll Ups for Easter Brunch.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAre you a Monte Cristo fan?  Are you a King’s Hawaiian fan?  They just released their first ever TV commercial.  So exciting!  This family run company is awesome and I’m so excited for them to continue their growth and success.  They are truly the nicest people!  So take a sec and go check out the commercial here.  Please make sure you are liking them on Facebook and don’t forget you can get more recipes right on the King’s Hawaiian site!

Monte Cristo Roll Ups for Easter Brunch with King’s Hawaiian

Ingredients

  • Original King's Hawaiian Sweet, Sliced Bread (about 8 slices)
  • 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 1/2 pound black forest ham sliced from the deli
  • 8 oz. good gruyere cheese, shredded
  • powdered sugar, optional (for dusting once out of the oven)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Roll out 8 slices of King's Hawaiian bread (to about 1/4" thick).
  3. Spread on seedless raspberry jam.
  4. Top with 2-3 TBSP of shredded gruyere cheese.
  5. Add a piece of ham that is slightly smaller than the slice of bread.
  6. Starting at the bottom, begin rolling up the sandwich away from you.
  7. Place seam side down on a baking sheet.
  8. Bake for approximately 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the tops are golden brown.
  9. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/monte-cristo-roll-ups-easter-brunch-kings-hawaiian/

 

 

Branding and Social Media : Be True to Yourself

Beastie Boys quote found in the studio of Design Love Fest.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThere is one big struggle that I have recognized over my blogging career.  Being true to myself.  You can get so caught up in the business side of things that you forget to let your personal style come through.  Or you are afraid that the readers that you have built up so far won’t like the real you.  So I found it SO fitting, when I first walked in to the shared space of Design Love Fest‘s studio in Los Angeles last weekend, and saw this quote on the wall.  Boom.  Right there in my face.  ”Be true to yourself and you will never fall,” Beastie Boys.  I was there for Bri’s Social Media Class but I instantly knew it was going to be about more than that for me.  This is the first time I have seen Bri in person and she was charming and delightful.  She’s super funny and made learning about something as dry as social media enjoyable.  I can totally see why she has found big success with her other classes and workshops.  But Bri is the epitome of being true to who you are at all times, across all platforms.  And it is she who has really lead me down this path of self discovery.  Remember this post here where Bri came to me in a dream?  It’s like, how many times must she tell me to be myself?  I’m finding that is truly the way to discover what your brand is.  And branding and social media go hand in hand.

The @designlovefest studio is bright and gorgeous.  Duh.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis class came at a great time for me.  Last month I pretty much dropped most social media in favor of spending more time on my content.  And also because it can feel like a full-time job to make sure you are posting to every platform and see no real benefit.  Bri showed how often and where she posts to social media and it is totally manageable.  I don’t think I have to choose one or the other.  And while there was a lot of basic info, which was great since there was a wide variety of creative types in all stages of social media in the class, I also gained some new knowledge as well.  I also loved that even though the focus was on social media, it was also a lot about personal branding.  The crossover was very welcome and I came away with a new clarity.  I have a to-do list that I made for myself of things I want to clean up or edit.  I have an achievable social media plan, that demonstrates my brand.  And I have a renewed desire to put my whole self in to everything I do.

Donut Snob donuts and polka dots from the @designlovefest Social Media class.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI feel like my content in the last few weeks is getting closer to my style.  My numbers have dropped a little.  It can’t be all about the numbers and I won’t let it become about the numbers again.  The day before this class I had met with a gal who is going to be helping me with a new logo and look.  I’m excited for what is ahead.  And I look forward to taking more classes from Bri.  She’s legit.  My branding and social media feels more real to me right now than ever before.

Seriously, if she rolls out a new series of Social Media classes you NEED to take it.  OH HEY, SHE DID!   This is not sponsored in any way.  Although she did share these radtastic Donut Snob donuts with us.  These are my opinions and just so you know, I can’t be bought with donuts.