Birthday Gift Ideas

Someone buy these things for me okay? \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy birthday is this weekend!!  Yeah!!  I have no real plans at this point aside from a date night with my hubby.  This year doesn’t feel like it requires a crazy big celebration.  It does however, require a pedicure.  Here are some birthday gift ideas you all can buy for me.

Birthday Gift Ideas

A clutch that screams my name  .  a new sunbrella to keep me shady   .  cool shoes for my feet  .  this super fun picnic  basket/box  .  it’s time to start working on my summer wardrobe and this dress should be part of that  .  and this dress – I wear the heck out my other Novella Royale pieces and I love this print  .  and this fantastic gold tray wants to be in my house.

(You may notice that the link for the shoes is different from the shoe shown.  My husband explained that they change out their selection frequently.  And I’m too lazy to redo my collage.  And in fact I like the shoes in the link even better.)

See last year’s birthday post here.  It’s insightful.  I promise.

Choosing a Rug with your Spouse

*This is part one of a two-part post series I am doing for Flor Modular Carpet Tiles.  All opinions and arguments are mine.

I'm just a girl on a computer shopping for home decor. \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comYou may remember that I got a new dining room rug not too long ago.  It is from Flor and we LOVE it!  The colors make me SO happy and it really was the catalyst for making me want to bring more of my personality in to my home.  So now we’ve decided to add a Flor area rug to our living room.  At the moment, we have a rug in there that we bought two houses ago simply because we had a ton of space to fill and needed cheap rugs.  The color is boring and I just can’t wait to see it go.  Since I picked out the first rug, without even a mention to my husband, I knew it was important this time to let him weigh in on it.  So I browsed the site and he browsed the site and we compared our picks.  Choosing a rug with your spouse takes much compromise, discussion and bribery…

Great Flor Tile choices for a living room area rug.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOh hey, color.  How are you?  And patterns, welcome to the party.  These are my picks.  I felt like I was playing it safe with #2 but thought it might be an interesting choice and a way to really add color to the room with accessories.

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Dark Neutral Flor Tile options for living room rug.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThese are my husband’s picks.  A little bit different feel, wouldn’t you say?  When I got these choices from him I wasn’t that surprised but knew we would have to both compromise a little.

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There are certainly things we need to think about, in terms of the space, that guided our choice.  But I think men and women think very differently about them.  We have two young boys so it had to be something that would hide stains pretty well.  Also this room is very dark by late afternoon.  We aren’t quite ready to get rid of our couch so the rug would have to at least go be able to play nicely with it for the time being.  And since this room adjoins the dining room, where our other fantastic rug is, the two rugs should probably speak the same language.  This was much harder than I thought it would be.

Flor Tiles are a great option for families with children.  \\  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAre you dying to see which one we chose?!  I can’t wait to share it with you!  Our plan is to put it together this weekend so be on the look out soon!

*Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Cupcakes and Cutlery going.  All opinions will always be mine.  Thank you Flor!

Entertaining with Mason Jars from Aladdin

*I was sent product by Aladdin, via Mom Trends, to show how entertaining with mason jars can be easy and fun.  They weren’t wrong.  Plus, I had a blast.  All opinions are mine. Throw a pajama picnic for your best gals with gossip mags, drinks and yummy food. I think I am about to commit blogger blasphemy.  Are you ready for this?  I am not a fan of Mason jars.  What?!  I know.  I can hardly believe it myself.  There is nothing wrong with mason jars.  They just aren’t my cup of tea.  I was apprehensive, to say the least, when I opened up a big box from Aladdin filled with their newest Mason jar entertaining collection.  But as I started to peruse all their products, I found myself excited.  For the most part, these jars are plastic (which is huge considering we are currently building an outdoor space for my family to hang out this summer) and the colors are bright and fantastic.  Aladdin wants people to know that they can entertain with ease with this new collection, found at Wal-Mart.  So I decided to gather some girlfriends for a relaxing girl’s night in.  A pajama picnic is what we would have.  What the heck is that?  We all wear pajamas, we order in dinner, and the host provides yummy drinks and a dessert.  Easy.

A super simple girl's night in: pajama party picnic.I can certainly get carried away when it comes to entertaining.  But I made sure to keep it simple this time.  I set up the one table I would need early on in the day so that I wouldn’t be rushing during homework and bath time for my kids before my friends arrived.  I didn’t leave that fruit water out all day but wanted to take a photo in better light for the purposes of showing the set up to you.  From this shot you can see three of the different products Aladdin has out right now.  The beverage dispenser is SO fantastic!  The jar on this one is glass, which I really prefer in a dispenser.  And that teal color is going to be perfect for all my summer entertaining.  You can see the mason jar drinking glasses and reusable acrylic straws and then the extra-large, hot pink mason jar that I decided to use for flowers.  There were a ton of other great products but in an effort to keep it simple, I decided to not use them all.  My favorite product, however is a double walled mason jar cup with a handle and lid.  It is now my cup of choice for my ever-present ice water.  It doesn’t leave water rings!  Its genius.

Entertaining doesn't have to be hard.  But it should be colorful. As you can tell, I like to mix colors.  So I loved that there wasn’t a set of matched jars in the box.  Mixing colors keeps it feeling relaxed and casual.

#spon I love a good beverage dispenser.  Don't you?  For me it HAS to be a glass jar like this one from @aladdinpmiAs I said, I didn’t want to get carried away but I did add some strawberries to the water.  Crazy, I know!  It really took so little effort but I felt like it was a nice touch and would make my guests feel like I really put some thought in to the preparation.

Put our a super simple beverage bar so your guests can serve themselves. For the drinks, I wanted to make sure we had all our bases covered.  This was a weeknight so I knew some of us wouldn’t want a drink.  But you never know what kind of day people have had.  I’m a people pleaser so it is just as easy to set out some fun options and let the guests have exactly what they want.  I’d been dying to try the Nekter cocktail mixers so I thought this was the perfect time.  They are perfect to mix with alcohol, but you can also just drink straight or mix with club soda.  It was delicious!  It was so fresh tasting and vibrant.  I will be getting that again!

Use scrap leather to cut out drink markers.I used some leather scraps that I had to cut out some quick drink tags.  We could have gone by the color of the cup but who wants to have to remember that? :) I just tied them on with some scrap fabric and I was done.  Super quick and totally in keeping with the theme of easy entertaining.

Add fresh flowers for a pop of color.Since Trader Joe’s has the BEST prices on flowers I picked these up to add another color and some height to the table.  I used one of the super sized Aladdin mason jars as a super easy vase.  I think the bright pink of that jar goes perfectly with the bright yellow of the flowers.

Colorful plastic mason jars make for fun entertainingWith that little bit of prep work done ahead of time, all that was left was to relax with my friends.  We poured our drinks, Erika picked up some dinner on her way over and we were set.  They either arrived in pajamas or put them on once they got here and we enjoyed each other’s company and some reality TV.  I can’t think of an easier way to entertain your girlfriends.

Go check out the rest of the Aladdin Mason jar entertaining products at Wal-Mart.  They will be perfect for all your summer and everyday entertaining.

*Thank you for supporting the brands that allow me to keep Cupcakes and Cutlery going.  These gals would have been drinking out of plain old glasses if not for Aladdin.  Boring.

On Location Shooting

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shooting fashion posts on location when you have kids mean you all take a field trip.As a blogger, sometimes you have to find the right place to shoot a post.  And sometimes that means that you have to drag your kids along on a little field trip.  But they usually find a way to keep themselves busy.  Like rolling around on the sidewalk.  And trying to stand in the street with you.  You can see the final shots from this impromptu neighborhood street shoot here.

And btw, are you following me on Google plus?

Large DIY Tassels Out of Mop Heads

DIY extra large tassels. I’m in love with these extra large DIY tassels.  Do you know why?  Because they look awesome and are made with mop heads!  It can’t get any easier than that.  These are the tassels I shared in my Easter inspiration last week.  So now you can make them too.  If you want.  I’m not going to force you.  I swear.

DIY tassel wall hanging out of mop heads. Are you thinking of all the cool ways you could use these?  You could totally make a cool 70′s inspired wall hanging to go with your macrame plant holder.  Or these would be super cool, in mass, for a party backdrop.  Or strung across a room sort or grouped together  like a chandelier.  I hung these very simply in the photo above but my heart really wanted to make more and go nuts on that wall, installation style.

This inexpensive mop head from Walmart is perfect for making in to extra large tassels. These mop heads have been in my garage for months.  I saw them at Wal-Mart and grabbed 3 knowing that I was going to figure out something to do with them.  They were about $3 a piece, so they are totally economical.  And while I could tell through the bag that they had a hard plastic piece at the top and a metal band around it, I decided to take a chance with them and see if I could manipulate them in some way.  And they were made in the USA.  Boom.  American mop heads are the finest in all the land, so I’ve heard.  Ok, I’ve never heard that but wouldn’t that be the best thing ever if we could travel abroad and when people ask us where we live we would say, “USA, you know, where the best mop heads come from?”

DIY extra large tassel with mop head and embroidery thread and yarn. For your extra large tassel you need one mop head and some embroidery thread or yarn.  Oh and scissors.  I always forget to put the scissors in the picture but I know you all would know to grab some scissors.  If I ever hear of someone trying to cut through yarn with their teeth because they weren’t instructed to use scissors is the day I quit blogging.  And start a commune of non-yarn biters.

Remove the metal band from the mop head to turn it in to a DIY tassel. This is the hardest part of the DIY and it isn’t really hard at all.  I sat down with one of these mop heads and figured out that if you started on one side and pulled the yarn strings out the top of the metal clamp that you could remove the metal clamp.  In fact, when you get about half way through, the metal clamp will slide right off the end of the mop head.  And as you move more of the long pieces through, you realize that there are short pieces in the middle of what was the underneath side of the mop!  What a fun discovery!  And those short pieces totally hide the plastic piece at the top of the head.

Use a little embroidery thread to turn a mop head in to a large tassel decoration. See!  How cute is that little puff at the top!  And you didn’t even have to do anything to get it!  The next part is purely decorative so go where your arty heart takes you.  Mine wanted them wrapped.  So I grabbed some embroidery thread and yarn and just wrapped a few inches near the top.

String up the mop head to hang it as a tassel. I was starting to think that the person who made this mop head was also a crafter when I noticed the plastic piece had a hole in it making it PERFECT for hanging!  So easy.

Large wrapped tassel DIY for home decor or party decorating.How would you use these tassels?

DIY wrapped tassels out of mop heads. I love to use yarn in my crafts so I may have nerded out over this peach yarn with little puffs on it.  I do just want to address the smell of these mop heads.  It makes me think of horses.  I’m not around horses, well, ever.  I don’t really know what they smell like but these reminded me of them.  Maybe a little bit of hay mixed with poo?  It really isn’t that bad.  I would certainly use them for a party or as home decor.  I may not hang them at nose level next to my bed, however.

Extra large tassels for home decor. Pretty excited about these tassels.  I’m trying to figure out how I can incorporate them in to my soon-to-be 8 year old’s birthday party.  But they really don’t scream ‘Minecraft’ do they?