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Weekend in Hong Kong

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I have a lot of favorites when it comes to Hong Kong.  This is my sixteenth (!!) trip and each time I accumulate another ‘favorite’.  I have a favorite noodle shop, favorite dumpling restaurant, favorite place to get pink champagne, favorite shops and so on.

Each trip, as I familiarize myself more and more, some things get much easier (jet lag) and some things stay just as difficult as day one (lack of personal space). Above all, it’s a city that I’ve still only seen such a small percentage of.  I have much much more to see and do and am eager to keep returning.

I wanted to share some of my photos with you, and give you a taste of my Hong Kong, which based on the diversity and size of the city could be so much different from anyone else’s Hong Kong.

The photo above is of the cafe at Lane Crawford.  The stone tables are stunningly gorgeous and it’s pretty surprising that this is in a department store.  Granted, Lane Crawford isn’t just any department store… they carry all of the major designers and although they’re a bit out of my price range, I still love going to gawk at gorgeous handbags and shoes.

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macarons at Laduree are a must have treat for after a long day of work

for more photos  Continue Reading…

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Friday Faves 4.26

friday faves 4.26

ONE painted silhouettes might be the best idea for mothers day, but given their custom made 4 week lead-time, you should probably go ahead a get one for father’s day. Starting at $85 from Vonjet Silhouettes. TWO a high back woven chair for the outdoors, but it’s beautiful enough to be inside too. $466.00 from Crate & Barrel. THREE I love Mara Hoffman’s resort and swim collections, so when I heard she was doing a collab with Havaianas, I was pumped.  Flip Flops are $48/pair, but will keep you styling all summer long. FOUR I pretty much love every rug that gypsya has, this blue, coral, and white geometric flat weave rug is just one of many gorgeous examples, $288 for a 4′ x 6′. FIVE cute little patterned plates from H&M home for just £4 are a steal! (check out the pink ones too!). SIX ceiling mount lights can be so ugly, but this $79 geometric diamond light from the Young House Love for Shades of Light collection makes up for all the others.

 

It’s been a wonderful week in Hong Kong!  I’ve had a ton of great meetings, solidified some pieces for the Grandiflora fall collection, and had a chance to relax a bit too. I hope you’re been enjoying my fashion challenge so far!  I’ve loved sharing with you guys and being as strategic as possible with my creations.  Today’s outfit might be my favorite (until tonight that is!) so be sure to hop over to Instagram to follow along!

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Three Rhubarb Cocktail Recipes

rhubarb gin fixx recipe

When it comes to distinctly spring flavors, Rhubarb is one of the first things that pops to mind.  I used to stay far away from the tart veggie after summers of eating it raw from my grandmothers garden left me with a bad taste in my mouth (literally). As an adult however, I try to challenge myself to re-try things that I once thought I disliked… Rhubarb being one of them.

I am not known for turning down cocktails, so after trying a rhubarb margarita concoction (which I loved) I decided to try making some other cocktail varieties for you guys who are able to find some rhubarb in the market.  We have three very different drinks for you to try, starting with a ‘Pink Sparkler’.

pink sparkler

The Pink Sparkler uses a classic combination of strawberry and rhubarb to create a base of sweet flavor.  Topped with a crisp sparkling wine, this cocktail becomes well rounded.

rhubarb gin fizz rhubarb rum punch

Next on the list is a Rhubarb Gin Fizz.  Classic Gin Fizzes use lemon or lime juice with superfine sugar, but I’ve subbed the sugar for simple syrup here to integrate the rhubarb flavor and still add sweetness.  Your typical recipe might call for egg white too, but I opted out for this recipe. The result is a very light, tart drink that isn’t overpowering.

Lastly, the Rhubarb Rum Punch is my favorite of the bunch. It tastes like a spring vacation. Orange juice cuts the tartness and a lingering rum flavor adds a slightly tropical twist. It doesn’t look beautiful, so if you don’t like the muddy yellow color, mix a bit of grenadine in.

All in all, it was a lot of fun creating these recipes and you’ll notice that they all use one common ingredient – Rhubarb Simple Syrup.  It’s easy to make, just chop up 2 stems of rhubarb and add it to 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan.  Bring to boiling until all sugar is dissolved.  Reduce to a simmer and let the rhubarb flavor meld for about 5-10 more minutes. Strain to remove the rhubarb chunks and let it cool.

rhubarb champagne cocktail

It’s pretty easy to make flavor infused syrups.  Look for some local rhubarb in your area and give it a try!

 

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Treat Yourself: Mini Scissors

pretty scissors

Happy Wednesday guys! Welcome to ‘Treat Yourself’ a little column where I rationalize fun little purchases.  This happens for one of two reasons, because I’m trying to rationalize the purchase for myself, or because I’ve purchased one of these things, realized multiple uses and think you should know.

When it comes to herb scissors, I own a pair that I bought last year on a whim but have come to love and appreciate in more ways than I originally thought.  When I got my pair, I didn’t have a plan for them other to look pretty for photo styling, but since then, I use them for everything! The super sharp, pointy blades are great for getting into small spaces and snipping mini things – which happens way more than you think.

I keep a set in my closet for all sorts of trimming needs.  I find myself reaching for these little guys when I need a sharp point, because big scissors just don’t cut it (haha).

Do you have some? Any fun uses that you’ve discovered?

 

 

*Scissors shown above are from Brook Farm General Store for a cool $12.

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‘Bonjour’ Stenciled Doormat DIY

stenciled bonjour door mat Good Morning from Hong Kong!  I just arrived here about ten minutes ago after an uneventful (in a good way) flight.  It was 15 long hours, but I was really tired, so I slept through most of it. I wanted to share this lovely DIY doormat that I made this past weekend while I was trying to spiffy up our outdoor areas during the gorgeous weather we were having, but sometimes my best laid plans go awry. Did you notice that I spelled ‘Bonjour’ wrong on the rug. Seriously, Erin? Of course I look at the rug all weekend and don’t even notice until I’m on a plane above the pacific ocean.  As they’d say in Hong Kong, “aiya”… which means something like, “oh geez”. bonjour doormat DIY Anyway, the photos turned out so pretty and I thought I’d still show you all my step by step, then I’ll whip myself up a new rug once I’m home.  For the full tutorial and material list, Keep on reading!  Continue Reading…

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It’s a Travel Challenge!

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If you follow House of Earnest on Instagram, you’ve seen a fair amount of outfits that I share, but I don’t share fashion on the blog because, well, I’m not quite sure why.

I worked in the fashion industry for seven years and spend about as much time making accessory and clothing DIYs as I do home DIYs.  I honestly thought that you guys wouldn’t want to see that part of my life and that by sharing the fashion choices and projects, it would somehow ‘muddy up’ the site I’ve strived to build over the last 3 years.

While I’m not going to go whole hog here and start sharing red carpet events or fashion week news (because, honestly, I don’t care about either of those things), I am going to start showcasing some of the daily choices and thoughts that I encounter when it comes to my wardrobe here at House of Earnest. So, all of that being said, I’m starting today with a REALLY FUN challenge for myself as a way to showcase my resourceful outfit creations and give you guys some major thinking points when it comes to packing for travel. It will also include a fun spin on a previous home decor DIY that I’ve turned into a fashion accessory. Are you excited yet?

Here is the jist of the ‘challenge:  I am packing for a full week abroad in Hong Kong entirely in a carry-on suitcase (21″ roller to be exact).  What you see above is all I’m taking on an 8 day trip.  As soon as you start to think, “eight outfits could totally fit in there”, here comes the fun part.  I’m packing daytime outfits, separate evening outfits, a couple of lounge/vacation outfits, and my workout clothes, toiletries, shoes, all of it.  There will be 18 total outfits. And you guys will see each one.  I’ll share every single outfit on Instagram during the week using #HofETravelChallenge .  You’ll be able to hop on, click on the hashtag and see the entire lot of outfits, what I’m wearing that day, and what I’ve styled different with the same pieces day to day.

wardrobe travel essentials

I’m going to Hong Kong to work on Grandiflora’s Fall line as well as to meet with a couple of other clients for my developing retail manufacturing consulting business. I will have casual workdays, fancy dinners, a dressy dim sum brunch, some sightseeing, dancing, and drinks.  All types of events and all types of outfits.

My secrets to efficient packing are simple:

  • Stick with one color scheme; in this case black/white/army green are constants while other pops of color will be accents.
  • Use animal prints as a versatile neutral.
  • Depend on lightweight, breezy pieces that take up minimal space.
  • “Nest” your accessories.  Jewelry goes inside a small clutch, small clutch inside of another clutch inside of another handbag.
  • Roll up belts and other accessories inside of your shoes.
  • Use shoe bags!  This allows you to shove shoes in the holes around your clothes without them getting everything dirty.
  • Wear your bulkier items.  I wear my jackets or sweaters onto the plane which doubles as a blanket if you’re cold on the flight!
  • Plan two outfits for each piece you bring.  If you have a piece that is only worn once, it better be a statement piece.

To add just another layer (and a rule!) to my challenge, the absolute max I can wear any once piece is three times. That goes for jeans too.  The only things I’m considering exempt from the three wear rule are shoes.

So, every single thing I packed fits into the small roller above.  I haven’t even used my expander (room for shopping!).

Are you going to follow along? Are you ok with me sharing the fashion parts of my life as well as the homey parts?  Follow on Instagram to keep up with the action!

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Mother’s Day Event At Anthropologie!

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Today, we interrupt our normally scheduled Friday Faves for an AWESOME announcement! I’ll be hosting a Mother’s Day DIY at Anthropologie at Easton Town Center in just two weeks!

Spaces are limited, so be sure to sign up quickly! Click HERE for the sign up form.  You’re going to love the gorgeous ‘initial’ shaped floral arrangements we make which will be perfect for the big day.

I can’t wait to see you there!

 

p.s.  I have another really fun project/post coming up on Monday which has to do with fashion, travel, and packing those suitcases.  Get excited!

p.p.s. I am doing the aforementioned travel fashion post because I’ll be heading to Hong Kong on Monday!  If you live in the HK area, email me and let’s meet up for a drink!

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Grandiflora + Makr

small business printing marketing

I do not have a marketing degree.  Or a graphic design degree, or a slew of many other business and design related degrees that someone running their own private label may have.  I only have my little science degree and the experiences I’ve had in the 3o+ years of life I’ve lived.  I say this because I know that some big parts of my business are not my forte.  I do, however, LOVE wrapping gifts, making things pretty, playing with stickers, and sending snail mail.  This is probably why packing up my Grandiflora goodies before they head to their forever homes is such a fun part of my job.

Regardless of the ribbon, tissue paper, boxes, and bows I use, that still leaves one big hole for the marketing (again, not my forte).

I know this is such an important piece of the pie though.  What does the customer see when they open up a package? What do they read? Do they get a sense for who we are? I want them to feel like they’re getting a special, well thought out piece of my company. With all of the things I want a customer to feel, I can tell you that it doesn’t come easy… or cheap.  Hiring out services that aren’t my strength can be a stretch for a new business.   Continue Reading…

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Springtime Lemon Petits Fours

petit four with poundcake

Despite the snow that fell here in Ohio yesterday, it is indeed springtime and you can tell by the brighter, plumper produce at the stores that everything is warming up a bit.  There are so many flavors and scents that make me think of spring, so as soon as the temps start to heat up, I’m usually quick to try a new flavorful recipe.  That is why today me and a few other bloggers are showcasing some fresh, spring recipes for you to try out (links below!)

I am not a huge sweets person, but if I do indulge, I like light flavors like lemon or coconut.  I made these beautiful little petits fours to share at Easter dinner this weekend and they’re so easy I thought you should know about it too. The trick is that I use frozen poundcake to make construction a bit easier. The poundcake is firm and not too fluffy which makes it easy to work with for people who don’t love to bake. Be forewarned, I went a little photo crazy on this one!

mini lemon cakes

Although the pound cake isn’t lemon flavored, a tart filling and a creamy glaze – both laced with lemon – are all it takes to get some big flavor out of these little bites! Ready for the recipe?  Continue Reading…

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Spring Floral Series: The Low Wide Vase

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floral styling in a low shallow bowl

I gave you guys a sneak peek of this arrangement yesterday when I was teaching you how I made this vase (and for under $6).  But today is the day we learn how to make this floral design.  You could use any low, wide vase if you have one on hand, however. It’s absolutely perfect for your Easter table centerpiece.  You’ll wow your family with this one. Aren’t you guys excited?  I am.

I purposefully sought out flowers that had a more romantic, english garden type look instead of the very traditional spring, but if you switched out the roses for irises and the trailing greens for something tight like lemon leaves, you’d have a totally different look.

low wide vase flower arrangement

flower varieties

For a color scheme, I stuck with a monochromatic pinky purple theme.  My flower choice broke down as above.  Recall from my previous posts on floral design that I like to choose a few greens, a focal flower (here the dahlias because they’re the largest), a tall flower (here the larkspur), some irregularly shaped flowers (tulips and roses for me) and the filler which is wax flower here.

Putting them together in a really shallow vase could be a disaster without my favorite floral tool… foam. Don’t be scared, if you’ve never used floral foam before you’re going to love how easy it is.  Let’s start with the step by step shall we? Continue Reading…

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