5 Ways to Make Mother’s Day Special

Bake mom muffins in bed! Mother’s Day is fast approaching! You might want to send this post to your husband. Today I am sharing 5 simple ways to make the mom in your life feel a little more special on Mother’s Day.

1. Bake muffins :: A fancy schmancy breakfast is ok too but making muffins (even from a box) is awesome. Not only will she get a nice warm muffin for breakfast, but chances are there are leftovers which means the kid’s breakfast is taken care of for the next few days. It’s the gift that keeps giving. Be sure to serve them with a cute napkin!

Serve mom fruit with an orchid or other pretty flower for Mother's Day brunch! 2. A pretty fruit bowl :: Grab her favorite fruits, make sure it is colorful and tuck a gorgeous bloom (like the stunning orchid above) in to the bowl. It’s silly to say the flower makes fruit better but look at it. Who wouldn’t want to have this in front of them!

Buy her a new coffee cup for her Mother's Day coffee. 3. A new coffee mug :: You know she is going to drink coffee so why not surprise her with a special mug. Make sure it is something that she might pick for herself or plan ahead and order one with a special message or photo on it. It will be a nice touch that she is sure to appreciate.

Leave gummy candy messages around the house. 4. Sweet messages :: Have the kids leave candy messages around for mom to find. Ask them to write out words that describe what they think of their mom. What mom wouldn’t love finding affirming words that she can eat?! You can order Gummy Alphabet Letters here.

Relaxation station for Mother's Day or any other special day for mom. 5.  Relaxation station :: Mother’s Day doesn’t end after brunch. Set up a place for her to hang out the rest of the day. Set out mimosas, some spa water and a comfy place for her to catch up on her reading, pinning on Pinterest or even just sitting in quiet for a few minutes.

These are super simple tips for giving Mom a great Mother’s Day. But of course, these can be used on her birthday, or any other regular old day that you want to show your Mom you care.

*This post contains affiliate links.  Read more about my editorial policies here.

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Gift idea for the Cocktail and Candy Lover

Great gift idea for your cocktail and candy loving friends! How great is that?! It is a decanter full of my favorite candy! As you know, my birthday was this month. I got some ridiculsouly amazing gifts this year including a plane ticket to see my favorite band play in Reno, NV., a book on how the President’s partied throughout history (like who was in to the ale and who practically invented cocaine) and my husband hired a manicurist to come to my house and do pedicures for me and my friends. But this gift was the most thoughtful ever and I had to share it with you. I LOVE Nerds in a borderline, not-okay way. So when Lauren showed up with a decanter full of them, consider my mind blown. Of course I love that it is my fave candy but also that I can reuse the decanter for my favorite liquor. But I think I need to just keep it filled with Nerds. Before I used to eat WAY too many from the king size boxes. But this way I can pour some in to a bowl (it’s far too heavy to pour straight in to your mouth. Not that I tried that…) and keep an eye on your serving size.

Great gift idea for your cocktail and candy loving friends! She brought it all cute with some other amazing gifts in a wooden tray. But you could easily bring just the decanter filled with your friend’s favorite candy and be a gift giving super hero. Thank you again, Lauren! You sure knew how to sweeten my day. Get it…Groan.

*This post contains affiliate links.  Read more about my editorial policies here.

 

Chelada Recipe

Chelada Recipe for Cinco de MayoI’ve always seen Micheladas and been so jealous. I love Corona and think it would be a fantastic ingredient to use in other drink recipes. But I don’t love a Bloody Mary which a Michelada resembles. So when I saw the Chelada recipe in Rachael Ray, I got so excited! It called for just two ingredients and sounded super easy to make. And with Cinco de Mayo coming up, it seemed like the perfect time to try one out.

Easy Cinco de Mayo cocktail idea. A Chelada. I made a batch of limeade from a frozen concentrate (you could also buy ready-made). And then sliced a lime for garnish.

Corona cocktail with limeade for Cinco de Mayo. It is basically 1 part limeade to 2 parts Corona. It was good. But it needed something.

Lime essential oil for a delicious cocktail.So I grabbed my lime essential oil and added a few drops! It was perfect! If you don’t have the oil handy, you can also add a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Chelada recipe. Corona and limeade. Boom. Easy.The Chelada is super refreshing and a great idea for warm weather entertaining. And a great alternative to a margarita on Cinco de Mayo.

Chelada Recipe
 
This beer based drink is a perfect option for Cinco de Mayo and other warm weather entertaining.
Recipe type: Cocktail
Ingredients
  • 6 oz. Corona or other light Mexican beer
  • 3 oz. Limeade
  • 1-2 drops lime essential oil (optional, can substitute a squeeze of fresh lime juice)
Instructions
  1. Fill a glass with ice.
  2. Add beer.
  3. Top with Limeade.
  4. Add lime essential oil or fresh lime juice to taste.
  5. Give a gentle stir.
  6. Consider rimming the glass with salt if you like that sort of thing.

Need other Cinco de Mayo ideas?

These papel picado inspired drink flags are super easy to make a great way to garnish a drink.

My favorite cucumber margarita recipe. Best ever.

The world’s best frozen margarita recipe. At least in my world it is…

You should totally make this Mexican beer, chocolate and chile ice cream.

This spiced Clementine margarita.

Need a snack? This avocado hummus with jalapeno and cilantro is perfect.

You’ll probably want to make this super simple tortilla soup for dinner.

This Mexican caprese tostada will totally hit the spot.

Lazy Girl’s Guide to Photo Styling

The Lazy Girl's Guide to Photo Styling: for blogsHey there, hey. In this age of Pinterest, it is really hard to tell if I have actual regular blog readers or if they are just popping by to check out one project they came across while browsing. Bounce rates are through the roof. And if you know what that means, this post is for you. People like to see pretty images and while they may have come over for a specific post, you want your content, when they click over to the home page to see what you are all about, to grab them and make them stick around. Pretty pictures don’t have to be hard to produce.. For some people, styling photos for blog posts comes super naturally. For me, I have a huge hurdle I have to over come. Laziness. Oh and I have two kids and only a handful of hours where I am kidless to get the work done, but more importantly, I’m lazy. Producing a gorgeous series of blog post photos can be a big undertaking. For a really long time, I didn’t put a ton of effort in to it. But over time, I figured out ways to create better, more visually pleasing images, without exerting a ton of energy. Granted, some photo shoots are more grand and take more time and money to put together, put for consistently good content, here are some tips that will save you effort and hopefully give you more Pinterest worthy photos.

Blog post photo styling tips. Simple ways to make your photos better.Start with a white background. Any one will do. Even a door. Sure it takes a little bit to work around the frame and handles, but you can get really clean, nice shots and you don’t need to paint your walls or freak out because your house isn’t photo ready. I also have a photo frame, that I’ve strung a large piece of white plastic from, to give me a larger space to work with. I leave it up in an area of my kitchen so that it is ready to go when I need it. But this white door idea is super great when I’m feeling super lazy. Or if my work table, in front of my kitchen backdrop, is too full of stuff I haven’t put away from a previous photo shoot. Lazy. Also, any table will work, including a TV tray. Simply throw a cloth on it and get started. I know some people have bought wood and weathered it themselves to make great faux table looks. I ain’t got time for that. You can also get a large piece of wood and paint it white, like I have in the past (but then you have to store it and lug it around). And you can also use white foam core pieces from the local craft store. Prop it up behind your table and you’ve got an instant white background for a few dollars. Don’t think the big bloggers aren’t doing this. Sure, some of their houses have been featured in magazines. But I promise you that most of them do some sort of photo staging such as this.

The lazy girl's guide to photo styling for your blog. Simple tips that help your photos be gorgeous with minimal effort.Pretty pretty glassware. Get some. If you are shooting cocktails, pretty glassware will instantly elevate your photo. You don’t have to spend a ton of money and you don’t need to buy more than 1 or 2. You should also frequent thrift stores looking for interesting glassware. Or you can pick up inexpensive glassware, that you can modify yourself, to make a one-of-a-kind look. Also, glassware will fill out your photo frame. If you are shooting a recipe, but want it to look more like an actual dining situation, you can add some glasses in and it will enhance the feel of the photo. Leave them empty, or even just fill them with water. Or wine. Whatever. Also, consider a prop swap with your blogger friends. I don’t want to shoot every single cocktail recipe in the same glass but I also don’t want to buy expensive glasses all the time. Other local bloggers might feel the same way and it would behoove everyone involved to share their prop wealth.

Blog post photo styling tips. Simple ways to make your photos better.I used to think it was cheating to use fresh flowers or leaves in photo shoots. I would get so bummed out when people would fawn all over someone’s instagram shot and think, you guys! It’s just flowers. I felt like it didn’t really require that much in the way of styling because the flowers did all the work. But people like flowers. And they are super easy to use in photo shoots. So now I use them and/or greenery. It requires less styling and adds SO much. I have stopped buying (when possible due to the season) and go walking around my neighborhood for flowers or branches I can “borrow.” It adds a really great pop of color and a more natural feel to the photos. Something living is always a good boost for a photo (this also includes hands so recruit friends on shoot days when at all possible!). A simple cut flower, next to a cocktail? Boom. Gorgeous photo. Minimal effort. They help to fill in spaces and add another layer to the photo.

How to style photos for blog posts. A lazy girl's guide.Candles are another thing that are super easy to keep around and add a really nice quality to photos. Just make sure that you have burned them before hand so it comes off as a lifestyle-y “I live by romantic candle light at all times” rather than overly staged. You can use groupings of inexpensive candles like above, or look for really great looking vessels holding a scented candle. Or make your own. Also, there are a few photoshop tips you should know that will help you in your photo shoots. If nothing else, learn the “clone stamp” tool. In the photo on the left, you can see a blue mark and wrinkles. With a few simple clicks, I am able to get rid of both for my finished blog post photo. So instead of going to find another table cover or pulling out the iron, I can take care of those things after the fact. You can also learn to brighten your photos which is ideal when you don’t have awesome natural lighting.

Rowenta iron for steaming tablecloths already on the table! And other photo styling tips for the lazy girl. But sometimes you still need to use an iron. A lot of my photos are straight from the front of the table or shooting down from above. But it is always good to get a wide shot, to show the full set up, especially if the focus is on entertaining. This Rowenta iron is crazy awesome and has a vertical steam option so I can get out the wrinkles, while my table is set up, and not miss a beat. And keep in mind that you don’t need to use a tablecloth. You can use anything that gives off the vibe you are after. I’ve used shirts, skirts, towels, blankets, etc. Be creative. And a large piece of muslin fabric is always less expensive than a tablecloth. Grab a few different colors and textures that you can just grab when you start setting up your shot.

I hope these really simple tips will help you to not feel so overwhelmed with photo styling. I hate extra work, but I love traffic. So making a few of these changes might help you increase your traffic as well. It isn’t going to happen overnight, but as you start to develop your look and find your groove, putting a great blog post photo together won’t feel like work at all.

If you are a blogger and you are willing to share your quick photo shoot styling tips, leave them in the comments!

*Iron provided by Rowenta. The Rowenta Pro Master Iron features a precision tip which is awesome for crafters, vertical steaming for use in the upright position on hanging clothes, drapes or tablecloths (works best on hanging fabric with nothing behind it – do not use on the top of a table as the steam might damage the wood). It has variable steam settings and an anti-drip system which prevents spitting and leaking when set on lower temperatures. This is huge! And the iron has a 3-way automatic shut off system that is crazy awesome including shutting off if the iron is knocked over and lays flat for 30 seconds. So you won’t ruin your fabric or burn down your house (probably – this is not a guarantee).

A lot of you probably don’t know this but I spent a lot of my life being an avid ironer (made up word alert). I ironed my full outfit, every single morning, all though high-school and college. And in to my adult years. Even jeans. Even on vacation. Thank you for supporting the brands, like Rowenta, that let you share a little bit more about my loves and quirks with you. A good iron can change your life.

*This post contains affiliate links.  Read more about my editorial policies here.

Saturday Morning Pancakes

Saturday morning pancakes with the kids.*This post was created in partnership with Kohl’s. All opinions are mine and I have a lot of them. 

Over the last year, my husband has started making us pancakes on the weekend. It doesn’t happen every weekend. But they have become a fairly regular occurrance. It is something we all look forward to and has become really special to us. Of course it happens on special ocassions (like birthdays or holidays) but it also makes an ordinary weekend morning feel extra special. Because of our busy schedules, we find it really hard to share meals with each other. Our pancake breakfasts are super informal but mean the world to each member of our family.

Saturday morning pancake tradition. He follows the same recipe each time. Since this is pretty much the only thing my husband cooks, it has been really fun to watch him perfect his technique and see him make this his own. I try really hard to bite my tongue and offer tips. Is that hard for anyone else?

Houseware and entertaining picks from Kohls. #adAlthough the plain pancakes are tasty, lately we’ve been jazzing them up with bacon bits (omg! Do it!) and chocolate chips. Because, chocolate. My husband falls on the less is more side. But I don’t think you can ever have too much chocolate. Sometimes I try to sneak in and add more chocolate chips to my pancakes without him noticing…

Patterned melamine plates, large Food Network spatula, red hand towel and large blue melamine plate c/o Kohls.

On Saturdays, dad cooks pancakes. When the boys wake up in the morning, they immediately grab their electronics and play their favorite games. It keeps them entertained while dad is busy at the stove. I love that if we are having pancakes, it means that we don’t have anywhere to run off to. It’s the perfect family time.

Music in the kitchen. I think I cook better with tunes. And we always have music playing in the kitchen. No matter if I am cooking, or my husband is making his pancakes. We always have a speaker to listen to our favorite playlists. For mornings, my husband generally picks this indie-focused Songza playlist. Or sometimes it is classic rock. And since we usually let the kid’s pick the music at dinner, we finally have control! It’s glorious! No Kidz Bop. Not on my watch.

Sol speaker and clear acrylic ice bucket (no longer on the site) c/o Kohl’s.

Fresh berries for pancake breakfast. My job for the pancake breakfast is very small. I am in charge of the fruit. My kids love berries so I try to make sure they eat them as much as possible. And fresh strawberries are SO AMAZING with chocolate chip pancakes.

Cutting mat and yellow and white bowl c/o Kohl’s

Coffee and pinterest. A perfect Saturday morning. And once my job is done, I get to sit and relax! Yes, you read that right. I get to drink coffee and play around on Pinterest while I have a delicious, home-cooked meal made for ME! It is awesome. I usually hang out in the kitchen, with the music playing, slowly starting the day.

Vera Wang pants c/o Kohl’s

Fresh berries for pancake breakfast.The way they inhale the berries (not the blueberries, they don’t love those), you’d think they never get them…

Tony Hawk tank top c/o Kohl’s

Patterned melamine plates from Kohls. #adWhen the pancakes are close to being ready, we call both boys in to the kitchen. We have a really nice dining table, but we would rather eat in the kitchen. We keep the music playing, pass the syrup around and enjoy being together.

Pokemon shirt c/o Kohl’s

Saturday morning pancakes.More berries please…

Just about every Saturday, Dad makes pancakes and we eat them together in the kitchen. And even more berries please…

As you can tell, Kohl’s has a little bit of everything. I’m in love with the kitchen department and love the Food Network products as well as the selection from Kitchenaid. I love that I can go pick up some new clothes for the boys (and myself, holler!) and a large spatula for my husband to use on his self-declared “world famous pancakes.” It is a great place to go when you need a bunch of different types of things for a special ocassion, whatever that may be in your life. I was supposed to pick up a gift for someone else when I was there. But I got distracted by the LC Lauren Conrad department…And have you seen the cute MILLY for Kohl’s collection?? Adorable!

And one of my favorite parts about Kohl’s is that you can get SO much for your money! I took some time to figure out how to use coupons and Kohl’s Cash and I felt like I stretched my dollar.

For $200, plus some Kohl’s cash I had earned, I got the items noted above: 5 melamine plates, one ceramic bowl, two kitchen towels, a spatula, the cutting mats, the speaker, an ice bucket, the Pokemon t-shirt, the striped tank top and my Vera Wang pants, PLUS a pair of shorts, a short romper, two pairs of underwear, and a bikini top. BOOM. I love Kohl’s.

Thank you for supporting brands, like Kohl’s, that let me share our favorite life moments with you.

*This post contains affiliate links.  Read more about my editorial policies here.