August Loves

This month I couldn’t get enough of…

cotton-candy-flavored-grapesCotton Candy Grapes : :  I found out about these from my friend Pattie Cordova.  They sell them at Sprouts markets and of course I had to try them.  They really DO taste like cotton candy.  It is so odd!  And delicious.

Foam-magazineFoam magazine ::  I’m kind of obsessed.  I always hesitated picking it up at my local bookstore because I’m not a surfer and I didn’t want to be a poser.  I thought it was for awesome surfer chicks.  And it is.  But it’s for everyone else too.  Fashion, ocean, art, music.  I have been reading it the past few months and LOVE it.  It took me everything I had to save the music issue to read until I was on vacation.

ginger-beerYou may remember I mentioned my love of Moscow Mules but for the times when I shouldn’t be imbibing, I just drink the Ginger Beer.  I have had to limit myself to one a day.  Reed’s is my favorite brand (flavor varies depending on the brand you buy) with a crisp, refreshing ginger flavor.  I add about an ounce of fresh lime juice and ice and sip away.

pottery-barn-mirrorI finally got my husband to hang my Willams-Sonoma Channing mirror up in our bedroom.  I LOVE it.  And my husband got excited when he saw Jeff Lewis use the same mirror (or one VERY similar) in an episode of Interior Therapy.

sun-bum-suncreenI took this Sun Bum sunscreen with me on vacation.  Remember my previous post about sunscreen?  Well, the one thing that I had missing was the smell of a tropical scent in my skin protection.  It may seem crazy, but it really mattered to me.  When I found out that Sun Bum smells amazing AND comes in a 50 plus SPF I just had to try it.  And I’m a fan.  The can says it is hypoallergenic and is anti-aging.  Sold.  While summer might be coming to a close, don’t forget that you need to be wearing sunscreen all day, every day.

nixon-blaster-speakerThis Nixon speaker totally made our vacation to Cabo.  My husband and I love music and new we wanted to take a speaker with us.  What is so awesome about this one is that it was designed to withstand the elements, like sand, and is shock and water-resistant.  I came in to our family room to find my husband egging my son on to throw it on the floor!  And so he did.  Several times.  We had it with us on the beach every single day and never worried about where we set it.  The sound is also crazy good, which is well, good for a speaker.  One of my favorite parts is the voice.  Todd Richards, a pro snowboarder, lends his voice for  several phrases that come out of the speaker.  He will tell you when you are about halfway through the battery life (about 12 hours!) and when you turn it off he says, “See you later.”  This speaker is smart AND polite.

mushrooms-and-brussels-sproutsI have always disliked mushrooms.  But all the sudden, my 7-year-old decided that he liked them and has been asking me to make them for him.  So I did and now I love them.  We have them about twice a week.  I keep it simple using Trader Joe’s pre-chopped onion, shallot and garlic sautéed in a little olive oil.  Then I add the mushrooms and whatever other veggie we think we need and over the pan.  We let the veggies cook down a bit and then take the lid off and let the moisture evaporate.  Takes about 15 minutes and then we eat our faces off.  Mushrooms are super high in Vitamin D so at least I know we are getting some sort of health benefit.  But I have promised him every 3rd time that I will cook them with bacon.  It’s all about compromise.

*Disclosure:  This is not a sponsored post.  These are just things I love.  Pottery Barn (a sister company to Williams Sonoma) sometimes sends me products at my request.  The Channing mirror is one such item.  All opinions are mine.


Cool coloring from best kid’s magazine ever!

Do you know about Anorak Magazine?  It is from the UK and it is awesome.  I stumbled across it at a Barnes and Noble a few years ago and pick it up whenever I see it, which isn’t often.  The stories are clever and funny (and quirky thanks to English slang and terms that we aren’t aware of) and the graphics are out of this world.  Its cool, kid appropriate and a great learning tool for teaching kids about other parts of the world.  
I came across this coloring page they did for H&M and thought it was rad.  The download is 3 pages of awesomeness and I’m sure that your kids will love it.  You can download it here.
And for sure check out their newer mag for younger kids, Ploc.  The graphics are vintage-inspired and totally drool worthy. 
Check out more fun stuff on their blog.
Subscribe to the magazine here.
Follow them on Twitter.
“Like” them on Facebook.  
images via Anorak

Lowe’s Creative Ideas…and me

Some of you may have seen this on my Facebook page already but Lowe’s recently posted this video they did at Blogher 11 where they had some bloggers talk about creativity. 
SEE THE VIDEO HERE (I couldn’t figure out how to shrink the movie file size to work on blogger so you can check it out on the Lowe’s Facebook page)  Did you remember to “like” them? 
I wish they would have passed out some ritalin or xanax or something because I am quite twitchy.  But this was a super fun opportunity.  Did you catch my roommate (Blogher roomie, that is) Amy, at the top of the video?! 
They’ve got a lot of fun holiday projects coming up so stay tuned!!! And be sure to visit the Lowe’s Creative Ideas website for more fun tips and ideas! 
If you haven’t yet signed up for the free Lowe’s Creative Ideas magazine do it {here}.
Video and still taken from video courtesy of Lowe’s Creative Ideas

Glitzy and Girly, a Real Simple New Year’s Eve Celebration

Wow.  This is cutting it close.  Posting our New Year’s Eve project on New Year’s Eve… But Lauren and I think it is pretty special and we are so excited to finally be sharing it with you.  Here is how the project came to be…
I read my Real Simple Magazine cover to cover as soon as it arrives each month (to be honest, I skip over anything plant or garden related due to my black thumb).  I tear out the items I want to keep (mainly recipes) and then walk to my recycle bin.  And each month I think there must be something better I can do with this magazine.  Do I do this with all magazines?  Nope.  Us Weekly…wham, bam, thank you ma’am.  Food and Wine…Sayonara.  But there is something about the ink colors used to print the Real Simple pages.  It is so vivid and rich and the texture of the paper is so delightful.  And then it hit me.  I would create a full party from the pages.  But since my two small boys keep me quite busy and I am still have my craft training wheels on, I pushed the thought aside.  Then one day I read an interview with Lauren.  Everything she said told me that she was my Real Simple party soul mate.  I contacted her and without hesitating she became my partner in crime.  That was mid November.  And now we are pleased to finally be sharing this very special project with you all.  Happy New Year!
What started out as a styled shoot ended up becoming a small party.  And it was a blast.  Although Lauren and I met a month and a half ago, we are on the same page with everything we do without even talking about it.  We knew that we wanted to create a New Year’s themed party but as we don’t like to be too “themey” with our celebrations, there are only a few nod’s to traditional New Year’s icons.  Since I have two little boys (who don’t let me decorate their birthday parties in pink) and Lauren is a girly girl we were drawn to add girl’s night elements as well.  And if you know me at all, you know I like dessert.  Like, a lot.  The idea of a dessert and champagne party was a no brainer.  But we wanted to break away from the structured, symmetrical, military-like precise dessert tables we’ve been seeing all over the place.  Dessert anarchy!
Next week we will go in to detail on all the really cool elements of this party and show you all the ways we used Real Simple magazine to put together this gorgeous party!
Quick side note:  Lauren lent me this fab fur vest and I totally felt like Rachel Zoe.  I die.
I can’t leave well enough alone when it comes to parties and entertaining.  This project is proof!   The whole reason I started blogging was for the creative outlet and I have come to learn, over the last few years, that I have too much creativity for my own good.  I really crave sharing it with you and I aim to do just that in the new year.  Maybe Lauren and I will work together again (foreshadow) because we make a great team.  Lauren is crazy creative, a master crafter, super cool, totally sweet and ambitious.  I am so glad that this project brought us together.
We could not have done this party without a few amazingly talented vendors.  I am so grateful to be part of such a creative community of truly generous artists willing to collaborate for the sake of creating something special.  These amazing photographs were taken by Ed of Up Imagery and Desi Mendoza and I am blown away with what they did.  It was a low light situation and they rocked it.  I love their shooting style and I can’t wait to work with them again.  My baking angel, Kristin of Meringue Bake Shop, provided tons of baked treats (full food and drink details next week) that aren’t only visually perfect but taste absolutely amazing!  She is amazingly talented!!! Big thank you to Glue Dots for supplying all the adhesive for this project.  From the minute I spoke to them about our idea, they were totally supportive and willing to help us out with our paper crafting.  They sent both Lauren and I pretty much all of their products to use and they really held this party together (pun intended).  Thank you to Lucid Absinthe, Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut and Segura Viudas Brut Reserva for sending product for this party which in turn lead to lots of giggles.  And of course Real Simple for having such beautiful pages!

Cheap and Chic with Daily Candy and Martha Stewart

I know I said it would be a light posting week but I have to share this great tip for an easy yet sophisticated holiday table.  Daily Candy and Martha Stewart teamed up to share the step by step instructions on how to recreate this look in your own home.  Made up of mainly paper, this design is inexpensive and speedy.  And guess what!?!  There is also a giveaway for a few Martha Stewart craft products!  I’ve already entered (even though I have it on good authority that I am getting one of the items for Christmas – can you really ever have too much Martha?).  Read the full story and see more gorgeous photos over at Daily Candy.

For the giveaway, simply email, mention the giveaway in the subject line and be sure to include your name and address.  Enter until December 17th.  10 winners will be randomly chosen on Decemeber 20th.

And don’t miss the AMAZING gift guides on Daily Candy.

Happy Holidays!

photo via Daily Candy (by Emily Kate Roemer for Martha Stewart Omnimedia)

Rustic without the splinters

As some of you may know, I have been working on a project (check back early Friday morning for details!!!). This project had several “rustic” elements to it. When I hear rustic, I usually think things like rough, uncomfortable, dirty, and not very chic. But as I sat relaxing this weekend, reading my Food and Wine Magazine, this party stopped me in my tracks. Put on by Silkstone, an event company based in NY, this party is the epitome of rustic chic. Those plexi cubes! What a brilliant idea! Look how unsplintery that old wood crate looks in there. And the empty wine bottles. So cool.
Next stop…tabletop. This quick, handmade table is so simple but stunningly beautiful at the same time. Nary a cocktail napkin or other decorative serving piece on the table, the herbs steal the show.
Every element shown, and by George I wish there had been more!, was perfect. And you know I love a do it yourself cocktail bar.
The party was a take on a crush party from the world of wine. Here, instead of having guests get their feet all mucked up, you were invited to use your hands. I hadn’t heard of Silkstone before but this makes me want to see what else they have been up to. And the cool thing about reading the article in Food and Wine online is they have purchase suggestions in case you want to “borrow” the look at home. While the plexi glass cubes they recommend were rather pricey, I’m sure some of the diy-ers out there can come up with a much more economical option.

All photos from Food and Wine Magazine by Michael Turek
******My photo shoot will be up Friday AM. Check back here for the link!