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Summer Party Planning: A Hawaiian Luau

 

souder luau

Goodness, I love planning parties. I love planning parties almost as much as I love Hawaii. If you’ve talked to me for any length of time, it’s quite likely that I’ve tried to convince you to go to Hawaii.  I’ve just been twice, but boy, do I love it. I even snoop around at the real estate here and there! The traces of plumeria that waft through the air create such a sweet and inviting smell.  The people are so nice, it’s easy to get around and the sights are out of this world.  I don’t have a Hawaiian vacation in my future, nor have a lot of my friends been, so I wanted to bring the best of Hawaii to Ohio (they kind of sound the same!!) for a big summer party. aloha luau party planning Not only do I have big plans, but I have the perfect party playlist for the event that you can download! Continue Reading…

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Color Blocked Tassel Napkins

neon tassel napkins

Happy Tuesday, guys!  I hope your morning is off to a great start!  Today (and everyday, really) I was looking for some fun new linen cocktail napkins since my old ones are a little weathered.  I thought with summer just around the corner, some bright party-ready style would be perfect, but struggled to find some with just the right bit of awesome without restrictive patterns.  I found some plain blue ones in my cupboard and thought it was the perfect opportunity to add some festive pizzazz to them instead of buying something new.

I bought the aqua blue napkins a while back but they always struck me as kind of boring, which is why they’d been shoved in the back of my bar, unused.  I brainstormed about ways to make them funky and cool for summer entertaining.

colorful party napkins

summer party napkins

All it took was a little bit of neon thread to pump these up into some seriously stylish party accessories. Tassels are super easy to make (although they do take a fair amount of thread) so hop on to see the full tutorial!  Continue Reading…

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Give Yourself A Break

AD porch

Let me ask you something. When is the last time you had a list of to-do’s and just completely ignored it? Can you recall a time?

Yesterday was my only weekend day at home since I spent the majority of last week working on a Pier 1 and Glam video shoot on Long Island. It was amazingly fun and if you follow on Instagram, you would have seen a few pics from the project.  As fun as it was, it was work and I was away from home and husband.

I got home late Saturday night and upon waking yesterday I did something very very unusual for me.  I didn’t do one ounce of work. Not one. Usually when I walk I listen to business podcasts, but I listened to music this time.  Usually in the evening while Matt is watching TV, I work on email and outstanding projects. But yesterday I chose to ignore all of these pending items and nagging feelings.  I literally spent two straight hours sitting on my porch, reading magazines, flipping through catalogues, and drinking a nice cold beer.

Do you want to know what happened during this time?  I had a flood of new ideas while perusing those pages. I thought of projects and concepts that were exciting and original. I feverishly tore pages from my mags, took notes, and felt my wheels turning. Now, this might seem like work, but it’s really quite the opposite.  It’s what happens when work isn’t the focus, but when living is the focus.  I liken it to a sort of ‘blissful ignorance’. I know there is a whole slew of things that must be done, but I choose to ignore it and just to spend my weekend day as it was meant to be spent.

I know we can’t do this all of the time, I like to be busy busy busy and not being buys makes me feel…guilty, like I’m not trying my hardest. But, when I can put aside the feelings of guilt and block them out of my mind, I’ve come to realize that it’s invigorating to take control of your day and make a conscious choice to relax.  I can’t say I’m a master at this, I’m far from it.  But I’m learning every day and yesterday I learned that there is great importance in stepping back and just giving yourself a break.

I want to hear from you guys on this one.  Do you ever look at your mounting to-do list (or pile of laundry) and just walk away? What do you spend your guilty ‘you’ time doing?

 

 

 

Photo: Architectural Digest

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Friday Faves 5.16

Friday Faves 5.16

ONE bergama butterfly chair from CB2 in the most awesome, sunny, and beachy pattern.  It’s a SoCal take on a classic for $249. TWO this hand made french butter dish is $48 from Paperclaystudio, but anything handmade and this beautiful is worth every penny. THREE you know when you have a piece of clothing that says ‘hand wash’?  This is the stuff you need to use.  Delicate wash from Caldrea is my go-to when sudsy-ing up fragile or hand-wash only clothes in the bathroom sink.  Not to mention it smells amazing, $10. FOUR Artsy, metallic animals are the perfect accent to these double old-fashioned glasses by Jonathan Adler for JCPenny.  $30 for a set of four. FIVE original watercolor painting from Courtney Khail is so lively and rich.  I love this pineapple painting for how bright and cheerful it is! $350. SIX This color blocked towel reminds me of a creamsicle! It’s woven chambray on one side, terry on the other, and only $24 from Leif.

 

It’s been quite the week!  I am on-location at a shoot for Pier one this week and it’s been a lot of fun!  I’ve posted a few photos on Instagram, but I had to opportunity to have professional hair and makeup done and to work with an amazing crew to complete some editorial type videos!  I can’t wait to share with you guys!

I head home tomorrow, so I’ll have plenty of time to re-coup before I hit it hard again next Monday!

Anything fun in your corner of the world this week?

 

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Treat Yourself: A Marble Must

Treat Yourself - Marble Board

It’s the second in a new column – Treat Yourself – where I rationalize things I love and why I also think you should have them. These are ALL things that I personally own and have vetted.

This one might not seem like a ‘must have’ at first, but hear me out. This amazingly large marble pastry slab is my go-to piece for lots of reasons.  When it comes to entertaining, This makes an amazing cheese board that spans the length of my butcher block.  It holds all the apps, cheeses, nuts, fruits, and charcuterie I could want.  When it comes to rolling dough (usually for homemade pizza) this board keeps the dough cool and prevents it from getting sticky.

But, my biggest use of this slab is for styling.  Yes, for photos you see on this blog, for photos I do for other websites, for anything, really.  I love pulling this piece of marble out to be the beautiful, clean background for lots of photos.

Here is the funny part… I went to a large corporate photoshoot recently where they spent hundreds of dollars on a slab just about this size from a granite retailer.  My slab cost just $49 from Crate & Barrel.  It’s about 24″ x 16″ in size, so it’s substantial, and rings in at under $50.

So, whether you’re a baker, an entertainer, or even a blogger, this is a steal! It’s top on my list of things you need if you want to treat yourself this May weekend.

Have a great Thursday, guys!

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Spring Floral Series: Hand-tied Bouquet

floral styling series header how to make a bouquet

We just have two segments of our Spring Floral Design Series left! Then it will be summer… can you believe it? Today’s tutorial is a bit on the summery side and teaches how to make a hand-tied bouquet which is perfect for giving as a gift at parties or even for an event like an outdoor wedding.

If no events come to mind, however, don’t worry.  The hand-tied method is also really wonderful for getting a round nose-gay type look to a vase arrangement (as shown below).  Whatever your plans, this is an easy (and really fun) technique that is quick to master, so you should give it a try.

handtied bouquet tutorial

Just like our other tutorials you’ll need at least 4 flower types, although I recommend 5.  Choose the following types of flowers: Continue Reading…

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Three ways to wear a headscarf – Video!

three ways to tie a headscarf

Summer is coming and it’s the perfect time to wear brights! If you love interjecting color into your wardrobe, or if it’s a little scary for you (and me!) then accessories are the best way to do it!  I love wearing neutrals, but when it comes to shoes and accessories, that is where I usually like to get a little creative.

I’ve put together the perfect tutorial to show you guys the top three ways I wear scarves in my hair.  Watch and learn!

There is a style for everyone.  The Indie Wrap is the one I employ the most, it covers dirty roots and looks kind of boho glam.  The Preppy Headband is perfect for those new to headscarves and goes with most outfits.  The Retro Turban was taught to me by Chelsea Costa and I have loved playing with it over the past few months.

Start with a large square silk scarf and have fun!

 

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Outdoor Eats: Smoked Chicken Wings

smoked chicken wings

Happy Monday guys!  We spent the weekend enjoying lots of time with friends and family.  The weather was a little touch and go, but we were very happy to get some sunshine yesterday and some time to cook outside at our new outdoor kitchen.  I posted on Instagram last week a little peek of our patio this year (more photos to come!) and lots of you commented on our ‘Big Green Egg’ smoker.  We love smoking regular cuts of meet (brisket, pork shoulder, etc), but have found our favorite thing to make are chicken wings.  A dry rub makes them spicy and adds a ton of flavor without frying and sauces, so they’re not only fall-off-the-bone tender, but they’re also pretty healthy.

Get the smoker going at 300 degrees with your choice of wood chips.  We used hickory chips soaked on bourbon.  While it’s coming up to heat. Put together the dry rub (recipe below) and rub all over the skin-on wings. Place into the smoker and let smoke for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  That’s all!

chicken wings smoked

They’re savory and sweet with the perfect amount of spice.  They’re flavorful enough that you really don’t need any sauce, although if you want to add your favorite BBQ, you could!

Dry Rub Recipe:

  • 2 tbs kosher salt
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 tbs ground cumin
  • 1 tbs cayenne pepper
  • 4 tbs paprika
  • 2 tbs ground sage
  • cracked black pepper
  • Dash of ground ghost chilies (comes in a grinder at Trader Joe’s)

dry rub for chicken wings

If you don’t have a smoker, you can make these in the oven. Just roast at 400 degrees on the middle rack for 20 minutes, then flip over for 10-20 more minutes or until golden brown.  Or if you choose to grill, it’s just about 10-15 minutes on each side of a hot grill!

We make these almost every other weekend in the summer.  They’re a meal on their own and you don’t feel too bad eating a bunch since they aren’t fried or soaked in butter-heavy sauce.

What are your favorite summer cookout recipes?

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Friday Faves 5.9

Friday Faves 5.9

ONE galvanized tiered platter make summer entertaining easier and nixes the need for loads of surface space outside.  $50 from Crate & Barrel.  TWO subtle mirror print pillow allows those of us who are a little less flamboyant with our home decor still capture a beautiful trend. Available from House of Rym for €40. THREE tidy and trendy, this modern side table comes in lots of variations from Habitables in Madrid (but ships to US!), $305. FOUR an outdoor rope rug in navy and white is perfectly preppy from Serena & Lily and the price ($395) for a generous 5′ x 7′ isn’t too bad! FIVE I am in love with these little pom pom shorts from LJC designs.  I have been eyeing them for over a year and today, I’m pulling the trigger. SIX celestial coasters from Anthropologie would have worked with yesterday’s post as well!  I love that each one is gorgeously different and made from hand-glazed clay. $32 for a set of four.

 

It’s the weekend!! We have a jam-packed one, what about you? We have three birthday parties (a 1 year old, a 32 year old, and a 94 year old) and Mother’s day.  Whew, that alone is enough to take up the entire weekend!

We’ve been working very feverishly on our patio to get it ready for summer and I hope to show you some pics throughout the weekend on Instagram.  Matt just finished building an outdoor kitchen to house our Green Egg and the grill and we need to break this bad boy in!!  It has enough space for food prep and a bar set up if needed as well.

We also planted a big tree (Red Bud) and lots of little plants (hostas, lily of the valley, bleeding hears, geraniums, cone flowers, lavender, and azalea), then mulched the entire thing.  It was a solid 4 days of landscaping work and although I am notorious for my black thumb, I am trying to be so so good this year and water my plants regularly to keep them alive.

What is on your weekend agenda?

 

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Seeing Stars

star wall seeing stars constellation pillow seeing stars art seeing stars constellation coasters seeing stars constellation art copy

 

Walking back to my hotel after dinner one night while in Hong Kong I noticed that you can’t see the stars at all there.  Partly due to the city lights and partly due to smog, the skies are gauzy and opaque.  The fact that I’ve been there loads of times and just realized this made me think about how I don’t appreciate them nearly as much as home. We can see them so brightly at home in Ohio, yet I can’t tell you the last time I paid more attention than just the brief seconds that I walk from my car to the house at night.

I know, like Hong Kong, a lot of it has to do with your geographic location.  Big cities and areas with lots of cloud cover are tough, but do you notice them where you live?  Maybe when you’re away on vacation or at a beach home? I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to schedule a ‘stargazing’ night out on your next vacation if you can’t see them at home? Or even just something fun to do out one night with your love? Here 10 great places to stargaze both in the US and abroad.  Check it out, one might just be right near you or a place you’re visiting soon!

 

 

Star Finds: Kids Room | Pillow | Art | Coasters | Art

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