Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Picnic in the Park: Inspiration

AAhh summer: Bike rides, beachin' it, bbq's, and, of course, picnics! I've always been a fan of stealing airline blankets for future picnic use and, well, 'tis the season! Below are some fun items that I've always enjoyed on a picnic and perhaps you will too! (From left to right, starting at the top)A Picnic in the Park

1) First of all, what's the point of loungin' in the sun if you have nothing to show for it afterwards! This MAUI BABE lotion is THE GREATEST! it can take you from "January Office Body" to "Bronzed Beauty" in a few short sun sessions. But remember, there's no sunscreen in it! So remember to load up on that first!!

2) one word: HAVAIANAS! I recently got to spend some time in Brazil and finally got what the big deal with these flop flops is. They may just be the most comfortable pair I've ever owned, and they come in every color as well as some awesome patters! Just Try on a pair and I bet you'll never buy another brand of flippy floppies ever again!

3) I dont understand why people limit board game adventures to the family living room. I say: BUST THAT SHIT OUT! and bring a game like scrabble or connect four along your next park outing. I was recently given this AWESOME travel scrabble game and it has served me well! The new game sets are waterproof and fold up ever so neatly so get one for yourself! and maybe one as a gift! You (and the gift recipient) won't be disappointed...

4) Plaid shirt: Picnic Chic... 'Nuff said.

5) A Crossword puzzle (this may not be for you, but I never leave the house without one... I encourage you to just give it a shot. I suggest a monday crossword for beginners, and I bet you'll be hooked in no time. Plus, studies show that exercising your brain every day with activities like crossword puzzles and other brain games can prevent mental deterioration. Here are a few words commonly found in crossword puzzles and their definition to get you started...
  • Aerie: High nest
  • Epee: Dueling sword
  • Nee: Formerly called, or precedes a maiden name
  • Poi: Polynesian food

6) Everything is better with music. Grab some portable speakers and create a soundtrack to your life! Here are a few tracks on MY soundtrack that really get my feet tappin'.
  • Got to Give it Up: Marvin Gaye
  • Steppin' Razor: Sublime
  • Down and Out in New York City: James Brown
  • Mais Que Nada: Sergio Mendes
  • He Got Game: Public Enemy
  • Hold Ya: Gyptian (the Billy Blue & Nicki Minaj as well as the Major Lazer remix are both great versions too!)
  • Beautiful: Damian Marley

7) Key necklace... nothin' special, just thought it went nicely with the outfit. I've got a necklace with keys that I've collected from some of my travels on it...I would, and probably have, worn it to the park.

8) Wayfarer sunglasses. Any so-cal resident will tell you these are a must. and now that EVERYONES knocking the ray-bans off, you can score a pair for $5 at places like Venice Beach and Swap Meets. Sweet Deal, sweeter look.

9) Jean shorts. Cause Daisy Duke aint the only gal who should be rockin these. Throw on a leather belt with bronze or antiqued looking buckle for a more polished look.

10) And last but CERTAINLY not least: The Quintessential Picnic Item: A WINE (and cheese) KIT! Trust me: once you've discovered collapsible plastic wine glasses you'll never go back to paper cups.. and c'mon.. face're far too classy for a dixie cup!

***A little extra*** also, I recently stumbled across this ADORABLE modern take on a picnic basket. check it yo: MODERN PICNIC BOXES
Well, there you have it folks: A plethora of picnic paraphernalia! Hope this post gets you packing up for the park!

Plaid blouse
$15 -

River Island black sunglasses
£5 -

Havaianas Mens Brasil Flip-Flops
$22 -

Friday, July 8, 2011

Stripes Ahoy! Style & Inspiration

Thank goodness it's summer! And what's so fantastic about summer? (besides the BBQ's, beach trips and your excellent tan...) Getting to rock the nautical look of course!! I'm obsessed. I wait around all year till the weather is appropriate to sport the stripes and, BoNUS, it's a style thats popular year after year! So here's a little collection I threw together to inspire your own seafaring styles and nautical notions.
Bon Voyage!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Making Something out of Nothing: Awesome AND Easy Napkin Rings for ANY occasion!

A while back I was having the fam. over for Easter... and it was my very first time hosting a holiday for them so, of course, I wanted to make it extra special! This meant table decorations, tablecloths, fabric napkins.... the usual... but it was still missing something... NAPKIN RINGS! Nothing makes a table look fancier than some napkin rings! But the guests were arriving in a few hours, certainly not enough time to make a target run to buy what does a crafty gal do? She makes her own!
You really only need three things (plus some scissors):
  • A glue gun (or regular Elmers glue or fabric glue, but then you have to wait for it to dry )
  • An Empty toilet paper or paper towel roll
  • A scrap of Fabric (any kind... i used burlap cause its also what I used to make a table runner, and you don't need much.)
And heres how I did it....(you're essentially just wrapping the paper roll in fabric and glueing it in place... pretty simple! But just in case, here are some directions!)

Step 1:
Cut the paper roll into pieces that are 1/2 - 1 inch wide (depending on how thick you'd like the napkin ring to be.)

Step 2:
Cut out a strip of fabric twice the width of the paper roll and about 4 inches long
Step 3:
Center the paper roll on the fabric. At the end of the fabric strip, place a dot of glue and adhere the fabric to the paper roll.
Step 4:
Fold the fabric over the edge of the roll and glue in place. (you will be glueing the fabric to the inside of the roll)
Step 5:
Glue down the other end of the fabric so all ends are nice and flush with the roll.
and you're done! So easy! and, like i said, you can use ANY fabric! Maybe you need some last minute fourth of July themed napkin rings?
Be creative and enjoy!
Happy (almost) 4th!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Terrific Terrariums! An Ecosystem in a Jar!

If you're anything like me, and enjoy flippin' through design magazines, I'm sure you've also noticed the sudden popularity of desktop terrariums... no, not the ones that house lizards and snakes... the ones with cute little plants inside! These guys are EASY to make and so fun to assemble to fit your (and your home's) style! Also, they're a thousand times easier to care for than a house plant. I went with succulents as my plant of choice, but there are many options.
(the following directions are for a succulent/cactus garden, but its all the same, all you need to do is swap out the cactus soil for regular indoor potting soil, and lose the sand)

You will need the following:
  • an awesome jar/container/apothecary jar/any other creative idea for a container! (as long as it's awesome) ;)
  • activated carbon (sold at fish/pet stores)
  • pea pebbles
  • cactus/palm soil
  • succulents (go for the super tiny ones...)
  • sand or gravel for the top (not necessary... but it makes it look "finished" if you ask me)
  • small brush, ( a paint or makeup brush should do the trick. )
  • and if you're feelin funky, possibly a tiny figurine to put in your tiny ecosystem! (Mine is a lil' man sitting on a log playing a guitar. Picked him up at a flea market in Brazil!) be creative! anything can work!

Step 2:
Clean and dry the glass container. Layer the bottom of the jar with 1 and 1/2 inches of pea pebbles. This provides good drainage for your little plant friends. "Learned the hard way" tip: WASH the pebbles first! You'll be surprised at just how dirty they are right out of the package and it will make your jar look the same.

Step 3:
Add a 1/2 inch layer of activated charcoal on top of the pebbles. This serves as a filter for the plants and will nix any odor or extra moisture.

Step 4:
Add a 1 inch layer of soil on top of the charcoal/pebble layers. Place your new plant friends in your desired arrangement and pull the soil back to plant em. Start with the smallest plants if you are planting multiple plants. Add enough additional soil to cover the plant's root system and fill the holes. After you've got em just where you want, even out the soil and press around the plants to insure they are snug as a bug in a rug in their new home!

Step 5:
Pour enough sand in to make a layer that completely covers the soil. (about 1/2 inch) then use that lil' brush to give your succulent leaves a nice cleanin'. Brush off all the extra sand and dirt and BAM! Terrarium project done!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Love Punch

Strawberries are in season and I've been using them in everything from smoothies to salads! Here's one way to use strawberries to decorate and add a little flavor to your favorite juice, sparkling water, or other beverage.
To make the strawberries into hearts, cut the stem off by cutting two slits in the top at an angle, (i try to round mine like an arch to get more of that bubble heart look, but a simple straight line will do)

Align Right

then cut the strawberry in half and trip the sides to give it a sharp angle. (see photo below)

You can toss the strawberries in the pitcher just like that, or cut them into thinner slices. (I like the keep them in the halves because strawberries will absorb some of the water and get a little mushy if sliced too thin)

Awww... look how cute that is! Yay! I <3 strawberries!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Re-vamped Hanging Letter Organizer

Another renewal!

Here’s my most recent “renew”.... a hanging letter organizer that i found broken at a garage sale and believe I bought for $1.

** Tip: When hunting at garage sales or thrift stores for items to restore, ignore the color or any finishes on them! look for pieces that come apart for easy painting and reassembling! Remember, youre gonna sand and repaint everything and all you really need is a good skeleton...



To Renew this letter organizer, i took the backing off (it was just staple gunned in, as backing usually are..) lightly sanded it, primed it, and spray painted it white. Then I used scrap fabric to wrap the backing, stapled it back on, and voila! a new crisp white letter organizer with a little lime-green, mod flair!!

(also-these letter organizers a EASY to find at any goodwill and re-finishing one is a fun, quick DIY decorating project!)

Delicious AND nutritious! but best of all- quick and EASY!

So its a new year, and with that comes New Year’s resolutions.. and from what i’ve heard, “Getting fit for summer” is on almost everyones list (including mine!) so i thought i’d share some AWESOME low calorie/high taste recipes that are super quick, super easy, and SUPER DUPER yummy!

ps... by substituting simple ingredients like turkey bacon instead of regular bacon, you can still enjoy some of your favorites without the added gross stuff (fats... sodium.. carbs... sugars... trans fats... gross..)

Well Balanced Day-Starters!

Mc-Healthy Egg Sandwich

  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup torn spinach
  • 1 slice reduced fat/low fat cheese of choice (I like parmesan cheese, grated and thrown in while the egg is cooking, but a slice of cheese works too..)
  • 1 slice Canadian bacon (which is suprisingly good for you... a little high in sodium, but waaay better than sausage would be...)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 whole wheat english muffin

In a small bowl, mix egg, spinach, and salt and pepper.

Cook the egg in a small frying pan on the stovetop (or you can spray a small microwave safe bowl with a little non stick spray and microwave it for approx 1min 30sec.)

Heat canadian bacon in frying pan, or in toaster oven...

Toast english muffin and when done, arrange the egg (with the spinach cook in), canadian bacon and cheese in between and enjoy!

BEST healthy french toast EVER! (2servings)

  • 2 Slices whole wheat whole grain bread (something high in fiber-or whatever bread you want, but again- we’re trying to be healthy here!!)
  • 1 lg Egg
  • 1/4 cup non-fat vanillla creamer (the kind for your coffee!, i recommend the trader joes variety..but i recommend the trader joes variety of everything..)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries (or berry of your choice! bananas are also a great topping!
  • butter (or non-stick spray for pan)
  • Powdered sugar or honey (to taste)
  • dollop of plain or vanilla yogurt (optional)

in a bowl big enough to hold a slice of bread, beat the egg, creamer, cinnamon, and vanilla extract together.

place 1 slice of bread in and let soak for approx. 30 seconds on each side or until bread is well-coated.

In a frying pan or on a griddle, cook the french toast on each side until golden brown and egg is cooked.

Cut up strawberries and arrange on top of french toast. Sprinkle a small amount of powdered sugar on top or drizzle a little honey for some added sweetness.. but i like it plain, with a little plain or vanilla yogurt on the side.

Mid-Day Munchies aka LUNCH!

Indian Spiced Chicken Pita (2servings)

  • I boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced seeded cucumber
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1tsp chopped fresh cilantro , or mint
  • 2-3 slices lemon (or 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 2 inch whole-wheat pitas, warmed
  • 1 cup shredded romaine lettuce
  • 1 roma tomato, sliced
  • about 1/4 of an onion -thinly sliced
-Sprinkle chicken with 1 teaspoon garam masala and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook chicken until pink in the center in a grill, in a frying pan, or (my favorite) on a George Forman grill! ( i got mine for $6 at the goodwill!)

-Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.

-Meanwhile, combine cucumber, yogurt, cilantro (or mint), lemon juice, the remaining garam masala and salt and pepper in a small bowl.

-Thinly slice the chicken.

-Split open the warm pitas and fill with the chicken, yogurt sauce, lettuce, tomato and onion.

Yummy Spring Spinach salad with Cranberries and Apple

  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 handful Lettuce (your choice, but remember, the darker the leaf, the more nutritional.. iceberg... may as well be cardboard..)
  • 1-2 strips of turkey bacon, cut up super tiny (or 1/2 tbsp bacon bits)
  • 1/2 granny apple diced (or other light colored apple)
  • 1/8 cup red onion very thinly sliced
  • crumbled bleu cheese (to taste)
  • 1/8 cup dried cranberries
  • Walnuts (halved or whole- to taste)
  • gorgonzola, raspberry vinaigrette, or dressing of your choice. ( i LOVE the champagne pear gorgonzola dressing from Trader Joes)

In Large bowl, toss together all ingredients and serve immediately. (salad gets soggy remember!) if you’re taking this to work or preparing it ahead, just wait to add the dressing until right before you’re ready to eat!

Delicious Dinners!

Its not delivery-Its a healthy veggie pizza!

  • pizza crust/dough (i like the garlic and herb dough from Trader Joes..)
  • 1/2 c pizza or pasta sauce
  • 1/4 c artichoke hearts (canned/drained or frozen/defrosted)
  • 1/3 c mozzarella cheese (skim)
  • onions (sliced thin)
  • spinach (torn)
  • 1/4 green bell pepper sliced lengthwise
  • tomatoes (reg or sundried, sliced)
  • lemon pepper
  • red pepper flakes

roll out dough, spread sauce on evenly, sprinkle with cheese and arrange veggies on top as desired. Season with a dash of lemon pepper and red pepper flakes before baking. Cook as crust directs for 1/2 time on pizza pan and 1/2 time on oven rack.