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Authentic Summer Luau Party

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I have been bursting at the seams to share the outcome of our luau with you!  I’m sure you saw the sneak peeks on Instagram over the weekend, but today I have so many photos all taken by the amazingly talented Allie Lehman who was able to capture us having time best time.

I shared with you guys a month ago what my vision was for the party.  I am obsessed with all things Hawaii, so I wanted to bring the things that I love most about the islands to my friends and family in Ohio.  We teamed up with Pier 1 Imports on the project, sourced some perfect accessories, and were able to create exactly the look I was hoping to achieve – a very classy, non-cheesy, traditional style hawaiian luau.

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When I told people I was having a luau, reactions ranged from people thinking it was the cheesiest theme-y idea ever to people asking if I was wearing a grass skirt (neither happened).  I pulled inspiration from the island feeling that I have when I travel to Hawaii with an aim to create a sunny, relaxed, natural, and rustic atmosphere.  I pulled colors and textures from that of nature rather than that of a party store.  Bright hues came from the tropical flowers and fruits that we decorated with.  I loved Jenn’s idea of using a pineapple as a vase, which is an obvious tie-in to the tropical table.

Mai Tai’s (my absolutely favorite tropical drink) were adorned with fringy umbrellas and a giant wedge of pineapple.  Fresh orchid leis certainly put everyone in the aloha spirit.  There are so so so many photos of all the many details.  Keep on reading for tons more details!

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Continue Reading…

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Outdoor Rope Chandelier DIY

diy rope chandelier

I just love bringing indoor luxuries and comforts outdoors during the summer months.  I have had the idea in my head for a while to create an outdoor chandelier from globe lights and created this super simple DIY using just a few things that you could get at your local shops.  Just a string of globe lights, a hula hoop, and some rope is all you need to get a gorgeous chandelier out onto your patio.

outdoor rope chandelier

Where ever you have an extension cord, you could place this light fixture, the sky is (literally) the limit. Here is how I made it…  Continue Reading…

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Genius Protection for Outdoor Fabrics

outdoor fabric protection

It’s clear from the amount of parties and casual gatherings we host that we spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer.  Last year we created a flagstone patio and furnished it with a lounge set, and this is the first year where we will actually have the same patio furniture for more that two consecutive summers.  Why?

If you have an outdoor space, this scene will be all too familiar.  In previous years, we didn’t act quick enough when a pop up storm… well… popped up, so we ruined cushions, pillows, rugs, and furniture alike. Last year with the new patio, the same events played out. We were super pumped about taking care of the patio, so our rainy day efforts went to the other extreme.  Every time the sky was looking a little grey to the west, we dragged all of the cushions inside for fear of ruining yet another set. The cushions would stay inside and dragging them in and out meant we actually used the patio about half of the time we should.

Over the winter we got some amazing furniture covers (that I am obsessed with since kept out ALL of the snow from our tumultuous winter since we don’t have a garage to store the furniture), but early on I saw the same scene was playing out as impromptu hang-outs diverted inside.

You’ve seen so many photos on instagram of us on our patio (especially if you caught any of the luau photos I posted this weekend) so what’s changed?

Rust-Oleum® sent me a box of their NeverWet™ Outdoor Fabric Water Repelling Treatment…. that’s what changed.  I used up the entire box to cover the sofa, chairs, pillows, and poufs.  The treatment means that water beads off instead of being absorbed.  EVEN on the highly textured poufs I bought from Target a few weeks ago.

protecting your outdoor fabrics outdoor fabric protector

I was very impressed and now I am no longer afraid of the pop up storm.  I still cover my furniture when I leave for an extended period of time, or if there are huge storms brewing, but if we’re caught without covers on during an afternoon rain, a quick wipe off is all that is needed to get rid of the moisture since it doesn’t absorb into the cushions.  No wet bums here!

oh, AND it repels mud and dirt, so the little monster who lives with us is more than welcome to hop up and cuddle.

Keep those cushions uncovered and open to the possibilities of guests, friends, and the pop-up gatherings – not pop-up storms!

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

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Friday Faves 6.13

Friday Faves 6.13

ONE I love this little ‘Oui Oui’ bar necklace from Honey & Bloom.  It’s gold plated brass and just $90! TWO isn’t this the coolest ‘magic carpet’ yoga mat?  I think it would make me want to do yoga more just to show it off! $98 from Anthropologie. THREE You just can’t have enough poms in your life and this pompom blanket from West Elms would be perfectly styled on your patio or in your home. And it’s on sale for $19! FOUR If you feel like you need a bit of personality on your patio this summer, look no further.  This embroidered pouf will rescue any bland room for £95. FIVE this gold leaf console is just gorgeous.  It’s a little mid-century glam but is minimal enough that it won’t overtake any other decor. SIX think optimistic thoughts!  Art from satsuma shibuya will help you get there.

 

It’s Friday the 13th! Are you superstitious at all? I’m not, I’m just hoping the crazies don’t get in the way of all of the hoards of things I have to do this weekend!

I’m gearing up for my event tomorrow morning at West Elm (If you’re in the Columbus area be sure to stop by) and then I’ll be headed home to have the big LUAU party!  If you missed it, I posted first with a mood board for the party, then shared some of the tidbits I bought as well.  I cannot wait to put all of the ideas together and host a big old shindig before I head out of town on Sunday to Hong Kong again.  I will be posting the full party details next week from abroad so keep your eyes peeled!

Although I’m not doing another outfit challenge, I’ll still be instagramming and posting from my travels, so be sure to follow along.

 

See you on Monday from across the world!

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A Better Life in Five: Grocery Shopping

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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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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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…

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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!

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Summer Travel: All in a Weekender + A Contest!

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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.

 

 

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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…

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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.

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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!

 

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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.

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