A Sweet Treat + Giveaway!

Chex Muddy Buddies and a Giveaway! Perfect your next shower or any party! Hey guys! My latest post is up over on Babyshower.com. It includes the recipe for this delicious party treat and a giveaway that you don’t want to miss! Head over to the post to check it out. I know you are going to love the two pieces from Crate and Barrel, that you will be able to use over and over for all your entertaining, as well as a few other festive items! Hurry! There is just a few more days left to enter!

Chex Mix Muddy Buddies + Giveaway

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Summer Music : Playlist

Sounds like the 80's but it's not Playlist. The perfect summer playlist. If you like that sort of thing. Sounds like the 80’s but it’s not

I don’t love 80’s music. I mean, of course, I like some songs from the 80’s but it is one of my last choices if I have to choose a musical decade. But I’m SUPER in to music that sounds like it’s from the 80’s but was really made in the last few years. Haim and Twin Shadow were the two that really got me in to this sound. So I made a summer music playlist for you. I realize it is just spring, but CA has been feeling decidedly summery these past few weeks. These songs are perfect for warmer weather, hanging out by the pool or just hanging out with friends. I’m pretty dang obsessed with the Brandon Flowers song, ‘Can’t Deny My Love.” It’s my JAM! Play it loud! P.S. I don’t know how to center the Spotify playlist. Can anyone help a sister out? It’s driving me crazy!

White Russian with Rum Cocktail Recipe #StreamTeam

White Russian recipe with coconut rum  #Netflix #StreamTeamWhite Russian recipe with coconut rum  #Netflix #StreamTeamWhite Russian recipe with coconut rum  #Netflix #StreamTeamThis post is written in partnership with Netflix because I’m a #StreamTeam member, yo! 

My kids are totally at that stage where they notice, and comment, on everything. Including but not limited to: morning breath, extra arm flab, and adult beverages. My husband and I enjoy the occasional cocktail, wine or beer. If you are a regular reader of the blog, you know this. I post cocktail recipes often. And I love my wine. Our consumption is average. But if you were to hear my kids tell it, it would sound like we are ready for a program. They comment consistently when we have a drink. As my goal in life is to be the best parent I can be, it makes me question myself. Am I doing something wrong? AM I drinking too much. The answer, of course is no, but kids really do have a way of getting you to see something from a different perspective.

The White Lie. Kahlua cocktail recipe. #StreamTeamSo I came up with this cocktail that I call, “The Little White Lie” because it looks like iced coffee. But it’s not. It’s more awesome. It’s sort of like a White Russian. But instead of vodka it has coconut rum. And instead of milk it has coconut milk. And it’s so tasty. And perfect for brunch. To be clear, I would not drink this and tell my kids it was iced coffee. If I am responsible enough to drink a cocktail I am responsible enough to have those conversations with my kids. And quite frankly, I don’t drink a lot of brunch cocktails because when you get old like me, they just make you sleepy. We are super lucky that our kids understand that we won’t tolerate lying and the biggest infraction, so far, is when my youngest lied about not brushing his teeth. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this doesn’t change as they get older. But if it does, we’ll deal with it. And then probably have a large adult beverage after they go to bed.  (I kid, I kid…)

Coconut Rum cocktail recipe. Basically a white russian with coconut milk and coconut rum! So tasty! #StreamTeamIt is SO simple. And only needs these three ingredients.

The Little White Lie (a white russian made with coconut milk and coconut rum!) #StreamTeamAnd you just need a glass and a spoon. And some ice. You don’t even have to exert yourself with shaking anything.

Kahlua cocktail recipe with coconut rum! So tasty! #StreamTeamAnd it totally doesn’t matter what order you add it all in. But dang it, how had I forgotten how yummy Kahlua was?

Coconut rum cocktail with Kahlua and coconut milk. Great brunch cocktail idea! I love the way the coconut milk begins to mix with the Kahlua. I wish you didn’t have to stir it and could leave it all marbley and gorgeous.

Brunch cocktail idea. A white russian with coconut milk and coconut rum. The coconut rum gives it a slight sweetness. And I see this being a big player in my summer cocktails. When I’m drinking them responsibly. From time to time.

White Russian cocktail recipe with coconut rum instead of vodka. Do you like a traditional White Russian? You are going to LOVE this!

Coconut rum provided by Captain Morgan

The Little White Lie
 
This is basically a White Russian, but with coconut rum and coconut milk.
Recipe type: Cocktail
Ingredients
  • 1½ oz Coconut Rum
  • 1 oz Kahlua
  • 1 oz coconut milk
Instructions
  1. Pour all ingredients over ice.
  2. Stir and serve.

This cocktail was inspired by the Netflix series called “Bloodline.” YOU GUYS. I’m hooked! I just read that it is coming back for a second season and I’m so excited. I haven’t fully finished the first season yet but it is SO GOOD! It is about a family that has tons of dark secrets. It’s much darker than the shows I usually watch but by the end of the first episode I was sold and promptly watched the next three. The Rayburn family is stuck between a terrible truth and the lies they tell to keep it from being uncovered. It’s set in Florida keys and the moody location is almost like another cast member. The cinematography is stunning and absolutely draws you in. There are twists and turns all over the place and the people you think are good, aren’t as good as they should be. When I started telling my husband about it he was like, “that’s not a show you would usually watch.” And I agree! Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Sometimes it’s good to gently introduce an idea in a non-threatening way. Sharing these Netflix shows with my kids will make it easy for me to create a teaching moment where we can talk about lying in an easy way instead of trying to deal with it in the thick of an incident. Here are some great Netflix shows that can prompt discussions on lying with your kids:

Care Bears Season 1, Episode 8 Untruths and Consequences

A.N.T. Farm, Season 3, Episode 9 Pants on Fire

Jessie, Season 1, Episode 14 Worldwide Web of Lies

And for older kids:

Revenge (my fave!!!)

Pretty Little Liars

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Retreat Planning and Wendy’s Fresh Salads

Wendy's Fresh Salads are a great quick lunch option. #BeyondTheBowl #CleverGirls #ad


I never ever thought that I would be someone who can’t find the time to eat. I love food and I hate to be hungry. But over the last few months, I have found myself missing lunch. It is always on super busy days of shuttling kids around or trying to get in a photo shoot for the blog that I find it hard to take the time to stop and eat. But I’ve also noticed something else. Where, in a jam, I used to be able to eat chips and call it lunch on those busy days, now I am resisting those empty calories. Am I growing up? Maybe a little. Or maybe it is because summer is coming up and I’d like to still be able to fit in to my clothes. And I’ve totally been craving salads lately. I never thought I’d find a decent, fresh salad from a fast food joint! But I did!

A better fast food option, Wendy's Fresh Salads. SO good! #BeyondTheBowl #CleverGirls #adAbout once a week, I pack up all the things I need for photo shoots, and head to Lauren’s house where we work together to hammer out posts for both of our blogs. If we’re lucky, one of us has to shoot a recipe that we can eat for lunch, but last week I needed to grab us a quick lunch on my way over. Have you heard about Wendy’s fresh salads?! OMG! They were so good. And a lot of chains claim to have fresh salads (wherein they use fresh, but then frozen items, which are then shipped to the locations to be assembled on site), these are legit fresh. Like, they cut heads of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and more, each morning for their salads. And the white meat chicken actually looks and tastes like chicken and is made to order when you order a salad. They make the salad from start to finish, at each Wendy’s, as if you would if you were making it for yourself at home. P.S. Wendy’s does not condone smoking. Especially smoking cats. (How hilarious is that shirt?!)

Wendy's Asian Cashew Chicken Salad. A fast, healthy lunch choice. #BeyondTheBowl #CleverGirls #adIt has come time for us to start planning our end of summer retreat for creatives and so we decided to make it a working lunch picnic. Our retreat is always in Palm Springs. And when Coachella rolls around, it is our reminder that we need to get planning. It is a total bucket list item to go to Coachella. Maybe next year we will begin our planning in between sets…a girl can dream, can’t she?

I need to be honest here. I am a fast food lover. I feel like it isn’t trendy to say that but I love a good hamburger/fries/soda combo from time to time. But I wouldn’t have even thought to order a salad. A bad salad is just plain awful. But look at those fresh veggies! They are crisp, not soggy, bright in color instead of not right looking. And that perfectly grilled chicken was so good! Check out this video which follows the romaine lettuce as it is picked in the farm to when it ends up in your Wendy’s salad. Pretty cool. They will be releasing more videos in this series sharing just how fresh the salads are. And for when I’m really trying to eat cleaner, I can skip the dressing and use just a squeeze of lime or lemon. Which will be a really hard switch since the BBQ Ranch dressing was so tasty.

Creative planning picnic. #BeyondTheBowl #CleverGirls #adThere are 5 different salads to choose from. Lauren tried the Asian Cashew Chicken Salad and I did the BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad. Because Applewood bacon and ranch. Yum. We talked about how we want to make our retreat a little bit different this year and set to work showing each other some visual inspiration we had gathered which will guide the look of our creative weekend in Palm Springs. If we couldn’t actually be in the desert, at least we really enjoyed our picnic lunch out in the sunshine. And I am sure if I had put the salad in to a real bowl, Lauren wouldn’t have known it wasn’t a homemade salad, which can’t be said for all fast food salads.

#campmixalot Pool Balloon BannerOur retreats include lots of pool time so you know a salad is the perfect lunch idea…You can see more about year 1 of our retreat and year 2 here and here. Want to come? Let us know here.

Backyard business planning with fresh Wendy's salads. #BeyondTheBowl #CleverGirls #adBeing able to grab a healthy, fresh lunch fast was awesome. Instead of focusing on what we were going to make, we could eat something prepared fresh for us and hash out plans for the retreat. Our retreats have a distinctive look each year and they also have a specific sound. I’m not sure the participants would even pick up on that but for me, a good playlist or even one great song, can really share the vibe I’m going for like nothing else. We brought the music out to our picnic so we could start to dial in what the weekend will feel like. So basically, we brought Coachella to us.

Easy summer picnic with fresh salads. And a little wine. #BeyondTheBowl #CleverGirls #adAnd since this was Friday, and we had a bottle of wine open for one of our shoots, we brought a little out for our picnic. For a minute, it felt like we were not in the middle of a work day but hanging out in the desert. Thanks, Wendy’s!  (Please drink responsibly. Wine is not sold at Wendy’s.) And I’m really excited to have a new go-to lunch option in these salads (I’m going to try the Apple Pecan Chicken salad next!). No more missing lunch because I can’t find something good to eat!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Home Decor Style

Home decorating ideas with pop of color. @SauderUSA #ad #PutTogetherFor a really long time, I thought I had to choose just one style for my home decor. And I couldn’t! I would read magazines and tear out a page and think, “I’m totally Hollywood Regency.” Then I’d come across another look and be like, “I’m straight-up boho.” So I never decorated. Until I had a clear vision, I wasn’t going to spend any money on furniture or decor items. So our house was always very plain. And didn’t reflect my husband and I at all. But the older I get, I realize that I don’t fit in to one style. And that is awesome. I’m totally comfortable with who I am and my personal style doesn’t need to please anyone but my husband and I. And slowly our house has started to feel like a home.

before-photo-tv-credenzaSlowly my husband and I have started to decorate our living room. We are in a rental home so our hands are tied with really making it our own in terms of construction. Our decor all has to be done with furniture and decorative pieces. The last piece of furniture that I was dying to change was the TV stand. We got this one for our wedding. Nothing says romance like a TV stand, am I right? I loved it way back then. But when we had kids, we had to remove the handles since they were sharp and they, somehow, never made it back on. And thanks to having two boys, who love video games, the see-through doors make the mess totally visible. Fail.

@sauderusa credenza for TV storage. #ad #PutTogetherBut then this Sauder furniture piece came in to my life. And my heart and eyes are SO happy! At first I worried that the woods in my house wouldn’t match. Or that the style would be too different to go with my other pieces (note: the grey cabinet is also Sauder and you can see more ways that I have used it here and here). But then I reminded myself that not following “rules” is awesome. And I’m pretty in love with this credenza. It’s about the same size as our last credenza but just a touch higher. It fits in the space really well and the wood tone goes really well with all the color and wood in the room.

Living Room decorating ideas. @SauderUSA #ad #PutTogetherSome people don’t want the TV to be a focal point in a room. But it is my happy place. The TV is kind of like a member of the family.

Great credenza for TV and storage. @SauderUSA #ad #PutTogetherThis credenza has SO much storage and is really well thought out. We (and by we I mean my kids) always lose the Apple TV remote so I’m grateful for this drawer that is hidden behind the center door. My kids know that it HAS to go back in this drawer or they won’t be getting the privilege of using it any more. It has worked great! And the Wii fits perfectly in here as well. I’m so glad that doesn’t sit out anymore. Our cable box will go in the bottom of this cupboard just as soon as we can find an infrared eye that works with our cable system. It’s time to hide that cable box. It’s SO not decorative.

Styled @SauderUSA credenza. #ad #puttogetherHiding the cable box let me actually add a little style to the top of the credenza. This is where my personal style really comes through. I think you should display things that make you happy.  I’m trying really hard to add more plants to our house. It really makes a room feel finished. And I’m trying really hard to remember to water them. Same thing with fresh flowers. I used to always think that I had to go buy a bouquet of fresh flowers from the market. But then I realized that all of our flowers were blooming and I could easily just walk out my front or back door to grab a couple of stems. It’s a really quick way to add some color. And I like all of the colors. I also love to set out a few vintage pieces, like this fish ashtray. It was my grandmothers and I smile every time I see it. Vintage pieces have character and also add a little bit of story to your decorating. And by adding the agate coasters, and marble tray and vase, I was able to layer in more elements that I love.

Pink plant stand or a pop of color in home decor. @SauderUSA #ad #PutTogetherThis pink plant stands is one of my favorite finds ever. It adds that pop of color that I love without making the room feel too pink, which I don’t think would fly with my husband and two boys.  I’m finding the more neon the pink is, the more I love it.

Huf green chair to add pop of color to your home decor. @SauderUSA #ad #PutTogetherSeating in our living room is dumb. Until recently, we only had the couch. Which meant that unless you sit on the side of the chaise lounge part, everyone faces the same direction which makes chit chatting really awkward. And not that we made a huge change, but we did add a chair. And I freaking love the chair. My husband’s friend did a collaboration with a company to create this chair in his signature color. Not only does it help out our seating predicament, but it adds even more color in to the room. And you just can’t go wrong with that white shag carpet. I love the texture it adds.

Home decor with pops of color. @SauderUSA #ad #PutTogetherI love that I can restyle this little vignette from time to time to use other pieces that I love. I can easily change out the plants and flowers and even the candles. The artwork can be swapped out and would be a great spot to hang a framed piece of my kid’s art. But I doubt I will tire from this Just Be Cool print (remember you can download it here!). It’s just perfect.

Home decor ideas for living room. @SauderUSA #ad #PutTogetherEven though the credenza is far from plain, it does not overwhelm the space. It is the prefect piece for our living room. It has its own style but works well with all the other styles in the room. Sauder furniture doesn’t break the bank but you’ll be super impressed by how cool the designs are and the quality of the materials. It has become my go-to for affordable, stylish modern furniture.

family-funBut really the perfect home accessory is your family. My living room could be void of any furniture and as long as my family is with me, the room would be complete. How do you show your personality in your home decor?

The Sauder website is organized in a really user friendly way where you can search by style, color, etc. They also recently put a lookbook together featuring different bloggers and how they styled several pieces of Sauder furniture. Check out the lookbook to see how they infused their personal style in to their  home decorating. It’s such a great tool!

You know I love to share my favorite products and companies with you and Sauder is one of them. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow me to do what I do. Follow Sauder on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. Search #PutTogether to see all the other great looks from this campaign.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sauder. The opinions and text are all mine.