Finding Your Tribe – Blog Business + Printable

some-are-the-beatIt is my favorite thing ever when Tori calls herself a blogging dinosaur. She’s this super cute blond gal, who is super business savvy and I know she just means she has been blogging a long time, but the image of a dinosaur just doesn’t fit her. Her strengths are so different from mine. Sometimes I am jealous of all the SEO and marketing knowledge she has but then I stop myself. We are all suited to certain things. And instead of spending my time wishing I could be more like Tori, I need to focus on my own strengths. The coolest part of finding your “tribe” is that they want to help you. They are willing to share their expertise and knowledge with you. Tori is there for me in a second if I need her help on something or have a question. These relationships aren’t one-sided, though. You have to bring something to the table too, but your friends will help you figure out what you are good at. They will ask you for help in certain areas that you never thought you could provide any value. They will lift you up when you are feeling down and will provide invaluable advice in all kinds of areas. And you will do the same for them. BTW, you NEED to check out all the business articles on Tori’s site. She knows what she is talking about.

If you are a blogger, and haven’t formed a community, move this to the top of your to-do list. Sometimes the relationships evolve naturally and sometimes you have to work to find them. Some of my blogging friendships (which shouldn’t be just pigeon holed as most of these relationships have grown in to full-fledged friendships with these ladies) started out with a simple email letting them know that I admire what they do and think they are doing an awesome job. Some were formed at blogging conferences. There are tons of ways to meet other bloggers. Finding your tribe won’t always be easy, but in the end it is something you will cherish.

There are so many bloggers out there and we all fall in to comparing ourselves to them from time to time. But if we can look at it in a different way, like a vast pool of potential friendships, maybe it would seem less daunting. We are all very different, but together we make beautiful music. On our own we are awesome, but together we are even better.

Do you have a “tribe”? Leave a thank you and link to their blog in the comments so we can all go say hi!

*I took this image in Palm Springs last year on our creative retreat. One of the gals, Tammy, wrote out this song lyric (Alphaville’s ‘Forever Young’) for me. She’s ridiculously talented and I consider her to be part of my tribe. Thank you, Tammy for always being there to support me and for collaborating with me on photos and with your awesome writing! I heart you!

Go check out her Letters To You site!

You can download just the lyrics here:

Build your Blogging Community and free printable.

Letters To You Lyrics


Just Be Cool Printable by Sarah Hearts

Free printable: Just Be Cool I’m so excited to announce that I have another printable for you today!! This phrase, “Just be cool,” is something we say a lot in my family. This is what I tell the boys when they are getting crazy. It’s what I tell them when we talk about how you should treat people. It’s like a new school way of the “do unto others…” saying. And it is also what I’ve been feeling in regards to the blog lately. You remember my goal setting post from Monday? Well, when I start to get all overwhelmed by my to-do list or the gigantic task of figuring out a new name, I tell myself, “Just be cool.” And it totally calms me down. I thought it might be something that you needed in your life right now as well. It doesn’t really mean dress better, or like cooler things than everybody else (although if that is a goal of yours, that totally works!) It just means settle down.

Just be Cool free download printable by @sarahheartsI’ve been trying to work with more bloggers, who I’ve met over the years. So for this one, I reached out to Sarah of Sarah Hearts. I truly admire her graphic design skills and when I asked her to create this printable from me, I basically gave her no instruction. And she sent over this FANTASTICALLY DESIGNED gorgeousness and my heart skipped a beat. It was better than I ever imagined it being! And I am so grateful for her willingness to partner with me on this. Blogging can sometimes be very individual, especially when you think in terms of being cooped up in a house hunched over a computer. So the fact that two bloggers can pair up from one sunny coast (me in Cali) to the other sunny coast, (Sarah in Florida) is so awesome.

Just Be Cool Print for your home.Right now I have the Just be Cool Printable my hallway where my family can see it when we come out of our bedrooms. It’s a great reminder as we start each day and head out in to the world. And yes, that is a giant photo of my husband hanging on the wall. Thanks for asking.

Hot Pink BougainvilleaAnd these Bougainvillea! So good. I have a tiny little patch of them in my backyard that I can see when I work at my “desk” (kitchen counter). But I think I’m going to start cutting them up and putting them in every room. I know I can’t be the only one with a thing for these hot pink flowers!

Free Download: Just Be Cool PrintableBut I digress. I know the detail is hard to see in the other photos, but for serious, this print might be my favorite of all time. Sarah is my favorite. From the colors, to the overall feel of this, I’m in love. So just be cool. And go download the print.

Download the Just be Cool Printable Here!

Now go follow Sarah Hearts.
facebook-sarah-heartstwitter-sarah-hearts pinterest-sarah-hearts  instagram-sarah-hearts

Yes, I can be bossy. :)

Coffee Lover Free Printable

free coffee printable with touches of leopard print for the coffee and animal print lover. Happy hump day, yo. As I get older, I’ve become really in to coffee. Not only do I look forward to my morning cup beginning the night before but I also enjoy finding those places that serve really delicious coffee. I also love the community aspect of coffee. I love how you can sit and enjoy a cup with someone and use it as a way to really connect and spend time with them. I began drinking coffee, right out of college, rather by necessity when I commuted to Los Angeles for my internship. Although I was getting plenty of sleep at night, the monotonous, stop-and-go drive was enough to make me feel like I was falling asleep at the wheel. The simple act of sipping something warm, helped me to focus and drive safely. Previous to this, I had enjoyed only mochas (because who doesn’t like to drink chocolate) as a desserty treat. Fast forward to today, coffee is now part of “me time.” Sure I drink it while I take the kids to school, but I also really enjoy preparing it in the morning and knowing that I am about to start my day and will hopefully make some magic happen. So I will tell you how this coffee lover free printable came to be.

Free coffee lover printable using Beastie Boys song lyricsBecause I am a music lover, certain song lyrics float around in my head. This one, by the Beastie Boys, had been an idea I had for New Year’s Eve cocktails. I reached out to one of my favorite graphic designers, Heather of River and Bridge, and since I waited until the last-minute to work on it, gave her very minimal details of what I was looking for. What came back, though was so much better. When I opened the file and saw more of a coffee cup type cup, my first thought was, “Heather is a genius.” For most of us, our day doesn’t get started without coffee. And I love that this feels empowering. Do you get that? I usually over think everything.

Free printable for coffee lovers and people in to home decorTo me, this says, don’t waste any of the day. Let’s get started and tackle what awesome things lie ahead.

Free coffee lover printableTo me it says, let’s make a change, collectively. Not just on your own, but as a community. Let’s finish the cup and DO something.

This free printable is perfect for the coffee lover in your life. Even better if they love Beastie Boys.And it is also just fun! What does it mean to you?

Download this print, frame it and remind yourself to make the most of your day. Take the day by storm and finish that cup. Sure, it sometimes takes 2 or 3 cups to get going. But use that time to plan your attack. Then tilt your head back. And finish that cup.

The song printable is set up as an 8×10 but you should be able to shrink it to fit whatever size best suits your needs. This would also make a great gift tag for a coffee lover gift!

Finish the Cup Coffee Printable

See more of Heather’s work on her site: River and Bridge

*I’m looking to do more collaborations! Let me know if you think we can work together!



Orange Cardamom Hot Chocolate Recipe

orange-cardamom-hot-chocolate-title-imageHow fun is this?!  I’m part of Sandy Toes and Popsicle‘s Hot Chocolate Recipe Party blog hop.  What that means is that several other bloggers are sharing their favorite hot chocolate recipes too.  After you check out my post I know you are going to want to go check all of them out.  My contribution is this Orange Cardamom Hot Chocolate.  I’ve been wanting to try this recipe out for a while so when Jill asked if I wanted to be part of this party I said YES!  I’ve been super into cardamom lately.  And orange just goes really well with chocolate so I figured they would all work really well together.  As with most of my recipes, I ran it by Kristin to make sure that amounts of each thing and technique sounded right.  And then I set to work to try it out.

orange and cardamom hot chocolateThere are tons of ways to make hot chocolate and it is pretty much a personal preference.  So whatever way you like it, do it that way.  The orange and cardamom will work with whatever base you decide to go with.  I used 1% milk because that is what we had in the house.  But whole milk would make it super creamy and delicious.  And Pioneer Woman likes a mix of milk and cream, and has her own version of orange flavored as well.  YUM!  Grab an orange, about a cup (or more) of semi-sweet chocolate and set to work finding whole cardamom pods.  They aren’t everywhere but I ended up finding them at World Market of all places.  Powdered would work fine too I’m sure if you can’t find the pods.

orange and cardamom hot chocolateThese ingredients smell amazing.  The cardamom pods were not as fragrant as I thought they would be when I cracked them.  Cracking them was really easy.  Place them, one at a time, on the cutting board.  Lay a large chef’s knife (blade aiming away from you) on top of the cardamom pod.  With the heal of your hand give it a quick whack.  It will split the pod without breaking it in to tiny pieces.  The orange flavor is so clean and bright and totally reminds me of Christmas thanks to my mom making me candied orange peel every year while growing up.

hot chocolate recipeWith Kristin‘s approval, I decided to steep the orange peel (being careful not to get the white bitter part when I peeled it with a vegetable peeler) and cracked cardamom pods in the milk.

boil-milk-on-the-stoveWhen heating milk, you need to make sure that you stir often over a medium to low flame so you don’t scald it.  It doesn’t smell good when it burns.  So I’ve heard…

melt-chocolate-in-milkOnce the milk has come to a boil, I skimmed out the orange peel and cardamom pods and threw them away.  Then I added the roughly chopped chocolate to the pan.  I continued stirring until I felt like it was really melted.  I’m not a chocolate expert so I really don’t know why my chocolate stayed looking speckle-y instead of being really smooth.  It didn’t stop me from drinking the end result though.

bart-simpson-coffee-mugAnd doesn’t hot chocolate taste better in a special mug?  This was one of my husband’s from when he was a kid.  His mom gave it to use a few years ago when she was cleaning out her cupboard.  He never uses it but I certainly do.

cardamom-and-orange-infused-hot-chocolateI ladled the hot chocolate in the mug and topped it with another piece of orange peel.  I also sprinkled a little bit of powdered cardamom on top to make sure that when you go in for that first sip you know what you are getting.  Overall the orange and cardamom flavor was subtle but delicious.  This is definitely something I will be making again!


Jill created a download for the recipe card.  Download it below:

Orange Cardamom Hot Chocolate Recipe Card

It prints two to a page so be sure to share it with someone!  Huge thank you to Jill for creating the party and all the printables!

hot-chocolate-recipe-party-imageDon’t forget to go check out the other amazing hot chocolate recipes (each with their own printable recipe card!  Collect them all!):

Caramel hot chocolate – Alma ( )
Nutella hot chocolate – Tee ( )
Mexican hot chocolate – Pattie ( )
Peanut butter hot chocolate – Linsey ( )
Coffee with hot chocolate mix added – Kara ( )
Frozen Hot Chocolate – Jamie ( )
Peppermint Hot Chocolate Floats – Caryn ( )
Hot Chocolate with Marshmallow cream topping – Jill ( )

Styling up a Geometric Back to School Brunch

iced coffee and mimosasI was super flattered when Abigail of Paper and Cake asked me to collaborate (along with Kristin of Meringue Bake Shop) with her on a styled post she wanted to do.  Abigail is a very talented graphic designer and party stylist who I had the pleasure of rooming with in New York several years ago for a Martha Stewart Event.  I’ve used her printable party decor before and when she said she wanted to do a geometric themed set for a back to school brunch, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.  But I have never styled a party for someone else before!  It was very challenging for me.  I am used to being in control over every aspect from start to finish.  But this time I had to focus on only certain parts.  I learned a lot about myself.  I am a quiet control freak.  But many of you who know me, already know that.  Now can we please talk for a minute about these wall decorations.  Yup, totally a printable that you can make to go along with your party set.  Abigail is a genius.

geometric back to school Brunch consisted of a buffet area with some of the most delicious dishes.  Ever.  You guys know I am a huge Kristin fan.  I love her to death.  She’s amazing at baked treats and sweets but she is just as good with savory foods.

eggs pesto goat cheeseShe made a breakfast bruschetta that was insanely good.  It was the perfect brunch DIY station.  She set out goat cheese, pesto and sun-dried tomatoes so you could dress your toast and eggs however you wanted.  Which is a good thing because I would have thrown up all over Abigail’s house had someone made me have sun-dried tomatoes.

breakfast-cereal-panna-cottaI die over Kristin’s panna cotta.  This particular one was breakfast cereal flavored!  SO YUMMY!  She basically infused milk with frosted flakes and rice krispies and then used that milk to make the custardy treat.  I wish you guys could taste it!

meringue bake shopOH NO SHE DI’INT.  There was a DONUT trifle!!

donut-trifle-for-back-to-school-brunchAMAZING!  Sure you can just plop donuts out on a plate for brunch.  But they are even better with creamy goodness and fresh berries.  Seriously.  Do this.  Perfect for holidays…just saying.

egg-bruschetta-wiht-goat-cheese-and-sundried-tomatoSince it was my first time styling, I brought along a ton of dishes and fabrics and random doodads that we might need for the shoot.  When you use Paper and Cake printable party decor you really don’t need much extra in the way of decor.  Abigail puts together a nice little set for you to use.

back-to-school-breakfast-brunchI love collaborating on styled shoots.  It is such a fun and creative way to hang out with people you admire.  And you get to eat the food.

geometric-flowers-for-brunchHow kick ass are these flowers?!  I thought they went perfectly with the geometric feel of the party.

signature-drink-menuFor the beverage station, there were two options.  A make your own mimosa area and an iced coffee area.  Kristin made some creamers to go along with the coffee.  I’ll be sharing a recipe for one of them tomorrow!!  Get ready for it.  It’s amazing.  I’ve been using it in my coffee every day since we did this shoot two weeks ago.

pitcher-of-iced-coffeeI’ve always loved iced coffee but trying to figure out how to get it double strength in order to dilute has always been too much for my pea brain to handle.  Luckily Trader Joe’s came out with an iced coffee concentrate for me.  Yup just for me.

creme-brulee-coffee-creamerFor serious, these creamers blew my mind.  What I loved most is that they were so flavorful but not sweet.

homemade-creamer-by-Meringue-Bake-ShopDo you guys love this brunch and printables as much as I do?  You can find them right here.

geometric-brunch-mimosaCheers to Abigail and Kristin for a wonderful collaboration.  And for letting me finally be in a picture. :)

Printables : Paper and Cake

Food and Beverage : Meringue Bake Shop

Styling : Me (and everyone else too because it really takes a village)

Photography : Me and Abigail (we pooled our photos and I have no idea who took what.  Well I certainly know that I didn’t take the picture of me holding the mimosa…)

Music Inspired Last Minute Valentine’s Printable

music inspired valentine jack whiteHave I mentioned that I like music (she writes sarcastically).  I knew that I wanted to create a printable for Valentine’s Day based on this song lyric above by Jack White of the White Stripes.  I have always loved this line from ‘Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground“.  So I asked Lauren to design the printable since I am a mess with graphic design.  They turned out awesome!

outside of music valentineSo if you have forgotten to do something special for your honey just print one of these out.  Throw on some red lipstick and leave your mark at the top.  Fold it up, seal it and you are ready to go.  Easy.

music inspired valentine tv on the radioThen one day I was listening to TV on the Radio on my iPod and I heard this lyric.  At first I thought they were saying “promise” and it got me thinking.  You really do have to be brave to be wholeheartedly in love.  You give your entire self to someone and you  even though it makes you vulnerable.  You have to be brave to do that.  And then I remember that the song is called “Province.”  Hmmm.  What the heck is that.  So I looked it up and this lyric seems to be taken from a quote by Ghandi.  And it pretty much means promise.

outside of valentineMy husband and I don’t exchange gifts on Valentine’s Day.  But making a cd of our favorite songs would be a great accompaniement.  I’m in love with that striped fabric, aren’t you?  I used my Xyron sticker maker to make the hearts sticky to put on the valentine and also seal it.  Look at me being all crafty.

last minute music inspired Valentine's PrintableBig thanks to Lauren for creating the printable and helping with styling in these photos.

Download your music inspired Valentine’s here:

music inspired valentine’s pdf

*Be cool.  Don’t sell these or steal these to do evil with.