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A Better Life in Five: Grocery Shopping

farmers market

I know a few people, myself included who just LOVE to grocery shop.  It’s literally one of my favorite things to do. It’s even more enjoyable if I’m in a new town or a new country. This past weekend while in Chicago, My sister-in-law took me to a new grocery shop that opened up on their block and I could have roamed that place for an hour just looking around at the new things and products that are specific to that demographic or region.  It’s total nerd territory, but for whatever reason it’s as good as window shopping in Barney’s for me.

That being said, I know many friends who are the total opposite – who despise grocery shopping.  The trick I’m about to share is for both of our types, however.  Because not only does it keep me on track and reduce aimless purchases, but it helps get you in and out in a snap.

Step One – Write your grocery list

Do not go without a list.  Stand in your kitchen with the pantry open and mentally go through your daily routine. Coffee, milk, sugar, kids lunches, my lunch, etc.  Go through all of the things you need in a regular day.  Then, turn your sites to dinner.  How many dinners do you need?  I usually shop for 9-10 dinners for a two week trip. Get into a cookbook or magazine and pick a few (4-5) new meals to make. For the balance 4-5 meals, think of easy staples that your family loves. Write down anything that comes to mind while standing in your kitchen.

Step Two – Re-write your list according to the layout of your store

This is the magic step. I tear my original list off the notepad and lay it next to a clean sheet.  Then I start to pick out and cross off items as I transfer them to the new list in the exact order that the Trader Joe’s (my grocery store of choice) is laid out.  So I start with the cheese, then meats, then prepared foods, then fruits and veggies, and so on. This is also the time I usually practice my handwriting, since I’m re-writing in a slower manner. 

This method has been a life saver at the grocery store.  No longer will you be standing in the frozen section just look next on your list and there be a dairy item – all of the way across the store. You will save so much time it’s unreal.

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!



photo source: Warby Parker Class Trip


Chicken & Waffle Appetizer Bites

chicken and waffles appetizer

Boy, are you guys gonna love this one! I got the idea from a friend of a friend, but put my own twist on this perfect appetizer.  Making the traditional chicken and waffles in a mini, bite sized version adds to the appeal of such a well-loved dish.

With a skewer in each bite, they turn into an appetizer perfect for grabbing and grazing.  A maple-sriracha glaze finishes them off wonderfully.

mini chicken and waffles chicken appetizers

The recipe is simple enough, grab some frozen popcorn chicken and cook according to the package directions.  Top them onto toasted mini waffles and drizzle with a mixture of one half maple syrup and one half sriracha.

summer appetizer chicken and waffles

I suggest making these chicken and waffle bites for a party where you need hearty snacks or heavy hors d’oeuvres since you could make a meal of these and I promise your friends will want to do just that.


Have fun and enjoy!


Spring Floral Series: Floral Necklace

how to make a flower crown

It’s been a while since I teased you guys with this post where I made a floral necklace.  It’s finally time for my very last spring floral series post to teach you a fun little floral arranging project on how to make this flower necklace.  The necklace could very very easily be a floral crown, so you could use this tutorial for either outcome.

I love the idea of a statement necklace from flowers because it’s so wearable.  Chunky statement necklaces are everywhere and wearing one made entirely from this spring’s flowers is such a pretty take on the trend. The fabulous part is that you could use any colors or flowers you prefer to really make it your own



Are you excited to learn the easy way to get this look?  You just need a few materials and a little patience to make this amazing project.

Continue Reading…


Friday Faves 6.6

Friday Faves 6.6

ONE a beautifully sculptural ceramic stool from Jonathan Adler for JCPenny and it’s only $99. TWO bolga baskets from West Elm are the perfect way to add a little color and a lot of texture to a room, $149. THREE brushed brass hex knobs are a great update to the classic round.  From Schoolhouse Electric for $17. FOUR this indigo patterned rug is draw-dropingly gorg.  I love everything about it! $1264 for a 6′ x 9′ from Joss & Main. FIVE my all-time favorite summer scent is the Coconut Milk Mango from Illume.  I have it in candles, hand cream, perfume, and soap.  It just makes me feel like summer all over. SIX cute little foil notebooks will help you stand out from the crowd!  $14 from Biscuit Home.


It’s Friday!!  I have a morning full of meetings then I’m talking off for Chicago!  I am so excited to get away for a weekend with Matty and have fun with friends before three weeks of craziness begins.  I’ll be staying in Chi-town through Tuesday for a conference and then it’s back to Columbus for a Grandiflora Trunk show on Wednesday, a West Elm event (details soon) on Saturday, then off to Hong Kong on Sunday. Whew!  It’s going to be crazy!

I hope you have a fun and relaxing weekend ahead of you!


Summer Travel: All in a Weekender + A Contest!

weekender travel

Happy Thursday! Don’t you just love summer vacations? I’m getting ready for a weekend in Chicago to visit my Brother-in-law and Sister-in-law and I am so excited. Since we typically reserve our long vacations to take place during the frigid Ohio winters, our summer travel is all about spending a quick weekend somewhere with friends or family. To try and expand on the usual trips to Chicago or Nashville, I bought Matt a book all about 36 hour trips within the US and I am excited to dig into it this summer. What might make these trips even sweeter? If we were to win this contest from CheapOair… the winner will get FIFTY plane tickets to explore the U.S. in 2014 (entry details on their app!).

Usually, since these types trips are quick – starting on Friday after we are done with work and ending on Sunday afternoon – it’s best to spend as little time as possible dealing with logistics (e.g. waiting for bags to off-load). I typically pack in weekender bags, and with all of the travel I do, I’ve developed a few easy tips which work well for me when I have to keep luggage to a minimum.




First, always start with what you’ll wear on the plane and plan from there. Not only are planes and airports cold, but I always try to wear my bulkier items. When traveling domestically, I wear a uniform: A pair of jeans, a tank top, a blazer or sweater, and heels. From there, packing is pretty easy.

Dresses take up little space and can be worn with the sandals you’ve packed or the heels you wore onto the plane. One can also be paired with the blazer for cooler nights. Two tank tops can both be styled with the jeans you wore and dressed up or down, depending on the jewelry and shoes. One regular bra and one strapless with two pairs of undies will be all the extra underthings you need. With this formula, you potentially have 4 additional outfits for just two additional days of travel. I use this as a template for all travel, swapping in-and-out other low-bulk items depending on the particular schedule for that weekend. So what about things other than clothes?  Continue Reading…


Luau Party Planning + The Hunt

One of my favorite things about planning parties is looking for items that will be exactly perfect for the feeling I’m hoping to create.  I talked about it when I shared my idea for a Luau themed party, but I am die-hard about not making this a hokey, grass skirt type event.  I want the dinner party to be as close to a traditional Hawaiian luau as humanly possible (except for the above awesome fringy drink umbrellas… they’re not really authentic, but they’re too cute to pass up).

My desire to have an authentic style luau is why I chose some of the accessories for my party that I did. I was by no means going to hit up the party store, so I stared the hunt at Pier 1 with my eyes peeled for natural colors and natural, tropical textures to help support the theme.  Now, I know that Hawai’i has tons of gorgeous color, but I’ll be getting all of my color through the best avenue – flowers.  Loads of tropical flowers (including fresh orchid leis!) will be used as centerpieces and, of course, around my guests necks as a traditional Hawaiian welcome.


Finding the absolute perfect items takes a bit of hunting… especially with the very narrow scope I was going for, but it’s the hunt that makes it so fun, right?  I couldn’t quite find a tablecloth with the texture that I was looking for, so I thought outside of the box and decided to use curtain panels which happened to be the perfect size for a six foot banquet table (coincidence? I think not). The rattan woven chargers I found added the perfect dose of texture as well and balanced out the green trellis plates (which are melamine!).

side note: have you ever stayed in Hawaii at a more ‘local’ establishment?  There is a certain kind of hand embroidered bedspread at all of the B&Bs I’ve encountered which looks just like these plates!

I am loving what I have so far.  Like I said above, it’s all so natural, I think once the tropical flowers go in it will be totally Hawaiian.  It was a fun experience to put the entire look together!

How do you like the direction so far?  Is it keeping up with the direction I set out to achieve? I cannot wait to style the entire party!



Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Pier 1 via Mode Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Pier 1.


Haute Hostess Video: Planning a Picnic

I have something quite exciting to share with you today!  The video I was working on in New York two weeks ago is live!  It shows you a few tips I have on making the perfect outdoor picnic.

It was so fun to make. They flew me to Long Island to work at the most amazing location (you would have seen the drool-worthy staircase on my Instagram), and treated me like a star.  It was crazy seeing things that I do on an everyday basis here in Ohio (by myself) get taken to a whole other level by a production team, videographers, and art directors. It’s amazing what can be done with a team! We are going to start planning  few more fun videos for you guys too, so I’ll keep you on the up & up!

Until then, enjoy!


Video at Glam.com


“Iron” and Marble Side Table DIY

iron base marble table diy

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Rust-Oleum® via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are my own and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Rust-Oleum®.

Let’s get this Monday kicked off with a little Before & After action!  This project has been a long time coming.  I bought a round marble tabletop at a flea market almost four years ago knowing there would be a perfect opportunity to use it, an opportunity which didn’t come until this weekend.

I was at Matt’s mother’s house looking through her collection of entertaining gear for cutlery to use at our luau (more on that Wednesday) and this beige and gold stone faux finish table base caught my eye.  Sure, the finish was a little dated (hence why it was in her basement) but I loved the shape.  If you squint your eye and look at just the shape, you can tell it would make a great candidate for a paint project.

side table diy spray paint


I had initially wanted to do a fun pop color in a high lacquer finish, but after closely investigating the texture on the table, I thought the stone texture in a bright color would look odd, so I went the total opposite way.  Plus, you guys know how I am with color…

While at the hardware store, I found this soft, slightly metallic iron finish by Rust-Oleum® Universal® .  I’ve used Rust-Oleum® Universal® Gloss & Flat Enamel Sprays on pretty much every spray paint project that I’ve ever done since the inception of this blog.  The metal paints have a wonderful realistic look and they have primer in them.

spray paint table diy

Funny story – I started buying the Rust-Oleum® Universal® paints way back when firstly because of the trigger nozzle, then the preference for the paint stuck.

After it dried and I got my marble top on it, I knew the color and finish were the right decision.  It looks like something you’d get at Restoration Hardware! I was so happy with the result and all for just the price of a bit of spray paint. The whole thing took under 15 minutes.  How’s that for instant gratification?

How do you like the outcome?  I have the table in my stairway landing, the perfect sunny spot for my orchid plant and now it has the perfect table to sit on.


Rust-Oleum Universal Logo


Friday Faves 5.30

bentwood chair, prosecco, bridal shower ideas, picnic basket, grandiflora home and decor,

ONE This has got to be the prettiest bridal shower idea I’ve seen in a long time… bright colors, lots of gorgeous details and a flamingo cake, what else could a girl want?  The whole party was the brainchild of Brittany from The House That Lars Built.  Pop over here to see all of the amazing photos.  TWO when the weather gets warmer, my drinks get colder.  Since I’m not a huge white wine person, I usually stick to prosecco all summer long… mixed with other things or plain, it’s the perfect summer sparkler.  La Marca mini bottles work perfectly for a little here and there without opening a large one. THREE I don’t know why I like this golden glittery horseshoe, I just do.  It would be a really darling little object d’art for the home. $24 from Cast and Crew. FOUR I love this sculptural and modern side chair and guess what?? It’s only $89… believe it! FIVE the most adorable picnic basket ever. That’s all. $52 from Provisions. SIX wow! You guys really like some handwoven rugs!  All of my geometric pink rugs sold out and I only have one of every other color left. crazy town!  $32 from Grandiflora Home + Decor.


Yay!  It’s Friday!  This week was a busy one! Lots of work and play was crammed into a four day work week.  I’m working feverishly on the Luau party (shopping details to come next week) and getting ready for a few business trips that are coming up as well.

This weekend we are hanging around Columbus, chilling with friends and enjoying our patio! I hope you all have a relaxing weekend in store as well!




Grandiflora Summer

grandiflora summer rugs

I’ve been feverishly working behind the scenes on an amazing new line for Grandiflora Fall 2014, but in the meantime, I have a couple of fun updates coming along here and there for a little summer flair.  I am just obsessed with this marigold color mixed with levels of hot pint.  While hot pink normally isn’t my thing, I like what the yellow does to it – making it look like a perfect summer sunset.

While I was traveling last month, I had just the smallest quantity of these gorgeous summer rugs made for you guys.  These are handwoven in 100% cotton and small in size (2′ x 3′), perfect for bathrooms, in front of the kitchen sink, or anywhere your little heart desires.

I hope you love them as much as I do!


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