Appetizers for Dinner – A How-To Guide

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Appetizers for dinner spread At some point several years ago, probably due to a mix of laziness and a love for all things savory, I started throwing together light appetizer spreads for small groups of guests. Eventually, as I became more proficient at these types of spreads, they got more elaborate and eventually took over as dinner. Now, I make them quite often, just for our little family, on nights when I both don’t want to cook and also want to feel a bit more grown up. These spreads give you sort of a dining-out experience, while at home, and I often assemble them on the weekends when we’re doing kid things, like watching Frozen for the upteenth time. The kids really enjoy these types of dinner overall, and while each kid has their favorites and picks and chooses what they’ll eat, between the three of them, almost everything gets sampled. Us grown-ups of course eat it all, and I have just as much fun digging through our fridge and pantry, putting the foods together, as I do eating it all.  IMG_4230 The key to a well-balanced appetizer spread like this, is to have a good mix of cheeses, cured meats, simple vegetables, both cooked and/or raw, and a sweet thing or two. Of course a couple of cracker or bread options are important as well. You want a variety of flavors, none too overwhelming and those which complement, enhance or even erase each other.  IMG_4236 Fresh, raw veggies like carrots, celery, cucumbers and even radishes are perfect to munch on in between flavors, to cleanse the palate a bit and to lighten things up, when the salami gets too salty or the sweets become well, too sweet. IMG_4240 Apple slices, stone fruits or even dried fruits which aren’t overly sweet, like dates or apricots, are also great complements to salty cured meats. You can build a true charcuterie with an impressive variety of meats, but I’d rather keep it simple and put out a salami and maybe some prosciutto. IMG_4242 A rather new addition to our appetizer spreads is a raw honeycomb, which I get from a local cheese shop, but originally comes from the Savannah Bee Company. It’s an indulgent addition, but by rationing portions I manage to make it last for a couple of months, although I do have to hide it way up high in the pantry, since I’ve found the kids pilfering it. Raw honeycomb is the purest form of honey you can eat, and is completely edible. We eat it straight, but I especially love small bits of it spread on cheese, then added to a cracker, or a bit on a raw fig sliced in half. Taylor loves to take almonds and dip them in it, and Hayden and Syd just try to stick their fingers right in the box and go for it. Since it is completely edible we indeed eat the whole thing, but plain honey seeps out of the honeycomb freely, so you can easily scoop some out of the box and spread on anything you like, if you’re adverse to chewing on the waxy honeycomb. IMG_4246 IMG_4247 For the cheese portion of the program, I keep it simple and don’t go beyond two to three choices, always including both a hard and soft variety like a goat cheese and grana padano, as well as a more medium textured cheese like a gouda. My favorite cheese shop is Cheese Addiction in Long Beach, and for how little I buy cheese, the occasional trip to pick up some special varieties is completely worth it.  IMG_4250 Another nice addition, on occasion, are some steamed artichokes served alongside melted butter, and boiled potatoes, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. Other “meaty” and filling additions are hard boiled eggs, sweet potatoes or broiled brussel sprouts. It all depends on whether you want to turn on the oven or leave it off all together.  IMG_4264 Next week I’ll share another recent spread I pulled together, with almost entirely different ingredients to give you more ideas. The important thing here is to have fun with it, get creative, and go with your cravings at the time. The reward is a night off from cooking, and a variety of foods to please and satisfy any taste and preference.



Daily Style – Summer of the Birkenstock

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IMG_6406  Shoes – Birkenstock Gizeh; Tank - Athleta; Jeans - Loft; Vest – Lucky Brand  IMG_6407 I didn’t think I would love my Birkenstocks again the second time around, but it turns out I love them even more. I wear them all day, especially when walking around the house and cooking. It may be in my head, but I swear the arch support helps my aching back. I also love that walking on leather soles has helped heal my cracked heels more than ever foot cream ever has. I guess it makes sense, since the plastic most companies use to make their flip flops tends to dry out our feet. And this has now become the sexiest style post ever. Don’t you want to wear what I’m wearing? It’ll cure your aching back and heal your grody cracked soles. Readers often say how much they appreciate my honest, and I never quite understood what they meant. After writing this last paragraph, I think I finally do, although I’m sure there’s a fine line between too much info and honesty. I guess I might as well be the one to cross it! IMG_6415 And you may notice if you click on the jeans link that I am wearing the “curvy” style instead of the ultimate skinny style. I actually have the true skinny from the Loft in dark denim, but for white denim I wanted them to feel a little looser, because for some reason in my mind I worry that if white jeans are too tight, they’ll be too revealing. So there you go, that was my logic for getting the curvy style that has a bit more room. If you don’t have my same irrational concerns about panty designs peeking through your white denim, than get the regular skinny jeans. Both are great! IMG_6439 I’m gonna shut up now, as I feel this post has already revealed too much. Have a good one!

IMG_6448



Daily Style – Royal & Lace

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IMG_6341 Embroidered Top – Lucky Brand; Lace Trimmed Shorts – Loft; Sandals – Red Valentino similar here; Panama Hat – J. Crew; Bag – Marc by Marc Jacobs

You may have noticed a diminishing amount of posts in the personal style category posted here over the last few months. It’s a mixed bag of reasons why, but much of it has to do with a small varied wardrobe of workout clothes and denim cutoffs, and a growing feeling of uneasiness in front of the camera. I was also feeling weird with my age-old motto of “look good, feel good” because over the course of the past year, that sentiment has drastically changed for me personally, and the message I wish to send here. IMG_6356 While I’ll always stand by the sentiment that taking a few extra moments to freshen yourself up for the day has tremendous power in lifting a mood, I now more than ever feel that the looking good portion is a small fraction of the feel good equation. Instead, I now see it more as the icing on the cake. This past weekend, I put on some makeup and got a bit more dressed up not once, but twice, and stopped to take photos when out and about, so you’ll actually see a couple of outfit posts this month. Aren’t you guys just so lucky ha!?! IMG_6359 Our weekend after the fourth was spent mainly outside by the pool, being together just the 5 of us. We went to dinner Saturday night, and then celebrated a friend’s birthday on Sunday. How was your long weekend? Hoping it was relaxing and fun, and that you had a chance to escape the heat and cool off a bit. IMG_6371 IMG_6373 IMG_6383 IMG_6385



Chocolate Coffee Smoothie

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IMG_7316 I’ve never been the type to order a mocha frappucinno from Starbucks, because I’ve always found them to be way too sweet. My husband likes them enough and so I’ve curiously tasted a few sips every now and then, each time hoping I would enjoy it and then understand people’s fascination with them. But each time I’ve tasted one, my taste buds clench in protest from the sugar rush and I just continue to not get it. I do however, like the idea of a chocolaty coffee drink, because chocolate in and of itself is pretty darn good, and then add coffee and well, it should ideally be a match made in heaven. So when I started getting more adept at subbing out traditional super sweet sugars with more natural sugar flavors like dates, honey and maple syrup, I decided to try and make my own mocha frapp at home. Plus, since I now use raw cacao powder on the regular, which is much less sweet than regular chocolate sauce, I figured I would be able to come up with something that wouldn’t leave me with an intense sugar high. Mission accomplished with this beauty.

I made my first pass, pictured here, without avocado, and you’ll notice it takes on sort of an icy appearance. I love it this way, and it is almost a bit lighter in texture, making it perfect for an afternoon pick me up. But when I added an avocado to it, the consistency and texture completely change, transforming into more of a smooth shake. Either way, with or without the avocado, this is a fantastic and easy smoothie to whip up, plus it’s free of artificial ingredients or refined sugars. But adding the avocado does add a healthy dose of good fats and some extra calories, so it’s a nice addition, especially for the morning when you need a full belly to keep you going into lunch time. IMG_7308 IMG_7314 On top of being free of refined sugars, it’s also dairy free and vegan. I continue to make a variety of foods and drinks which are both dairy free and include dairy, as we’re fortunate to not have any lactose intolerance issues in our home, but if I can easily swap out milk for almond milk, I do so readily, as it saves a good bit of money, because in case you haven’t noticed, organic milk is spendy, and just keeps climbing in price.

Some of the other recipes I made last month using almond milk include a dessert, and another dessert. I guess with summer in full force, I have sweets on the brain.

I made a light and refreshing dairy-free vegan peach ice cream with just a few simple ingredients.

And I made a favorite dessert from my childhood, rice pudding, using leftover rice.

Chocolate Coffee Smoothie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A delicious and nutritious dairy free, vegan smoothie.
Author:
Recipe type: Smoothie
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 frozen banana
  • ½ avocado, optional
  • ½ cup of coffee
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 dates
  • ¾ cup Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 cup of ice
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a powerful blender and blend until smooth.

 

These posts, as you know, are kindly sponsored by Almond Breeze USA, and I appreciate their support! Thanks to all of you for supporting the brands who help me do my thing! index



Patriotic Summer Entertaining

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We are back from our trip to New Orleans, where we had a surprisingly awesome time, and I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things. So many friends and acquaintances told us we would hate the city, so we were pleasantly surprised when we discovered we in fact loved it. I’m working on a post to share with you all tomorrow, but for today it’s on to the next thing – 4th of July planning! Our plans are still a little up in the air but I’m definitely rounding up some menu items and thinking I need to run out and do some last minute shopping for supplies and such. To get us in the mood, here’s a round-up of some patriotic outdoor party ware. Patriotic-party 1. electric small space grill 2. festive plates 3. acrylic outdoor cups 4. serving tray 5. beverage container 6. appetizer tray & bowls 7. pretty pillows just for fun 8. American flag cutting board

All these items are from Wayfair Daily Sales. If you haven’t browsed Wayfair yet, it’s basically a site dedicated to all things house and home, from kitchen accessories to furniture. I recently found the best price for my Cuisinart food processor on there, and I also scooped up a Le Creuset cast iron skillet during one of their Daily Sales flash sales.

Daily Sales are just what the name implies; collections of products that Wayfair has deeply discounted, up to 70% off, and offers up for sale for a select time period, usually 72 hours. There’s always a range of products and categories to choose from, and it’s good stuff, not just random one-offs. Like I said, I scooped up Le Creuset, so you know they’re offering up top-notch items. You can sign up for emails from Daily Deals so you don’t miss out below. What are your plans for the 4th? Do you host a big blowout or keep things relatively quiet and simple? I haven’t been feeling well since before our trip, and am thinking a quiet 4th of July is just what the doctor would order.

Wayfair

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This post was sponsored by the lovely folks at Wayfair, but all opinions are my own. I’m a happy and satisfied paying customer, so am thrilled to partner with a great company to help spread the word!



Art’s 40th Birthday Party

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Art40_web_830px-50 Our neighbor’s ran into us this morning and asked if we had hosted a wedding on Saturday night. They heard the band, saw the twinkling lights and had passed by while the catering van was packing up, so they assumed the big hoopla had been a wedding. I had to laugh because it very much felt like I had hosted a wedding, with all the details and time leading up to the big event, and the sad let-down most brides feel the morning after. All that planning, all that fun, to have it flash by in a blink. It was a special night for a very special person, and I’m so happy I went all out for Art’s 40th.  Art40_web_830px-25 We don’t travel much, or as often as we’d like, so instead of spending on a big trip for his 40th, we did the next best thing and celebrated with our closest friends and ate, drank and danced until we were tired and full. Art40_web_830px-32 Art40_web_830px-37 Art40_web_830px-21 Art40_web_830px-20 I decided pretty early on that I wanted to hire a caterer because I wanted to eat well and enjoy the night. I’ve never hired a caterer and very rarely order premade food from restaurants, choosing to do most everything myself to save money and control the menu. Each time I do, I’m glad I put in the effort, but I also wish I had some energy and time to spare so I could actually enjoy the party and our guests. From the beginning I knew we wanted Primal Alchemy to cater the event. We met Chef Paul a few years ago when we had neighboring garden plots at the Long Beach Community Gardens, and Art did some work for him way back when. Specializing in seasonal, local and sustainable farm-to-table cuisine, our lifestyle shift in the last year gave me a new appreciation for his work and I knew the food for the party would be in good hands. I wasn’t wrong. Art40_web_830px-26 Art40_web_830px-12 Art40_web_830px-13 Art40_web_830px-18 There weren’t any pictures captured of the actual food when it was complete, because my dear friend Mary, who snapped all these lovely photos, was too busy enjoying her dinner. I think that fact speaks more to the quality and flavor of the food, than it does to her skills as a photographer haha! Ever the perfectionist, only food that good could throw Mary off her game for a moment. I’m so happy and thankful that she captured the most important moments shared with friends and my guy, though. Art40_web_830px-2 The caterer made the most amazing stone fruit agua fresca, and set up the wine & beer bar area for us. Once the tray passed appetizers were through, they also set up a full bar, complete with the makings for Roberta’s Cookbook’s American Nightmare, found on the Goop site. We’re still enjoying the last little sips of that agua fresca 3 days later, and dreaming of how I can make my own agua frescas so tasty. Art40_web_830px-19 The table settings were a very last minute idea. I originally had the idea to create full and colorful centerpieces using paper honeycomb balls, but when the company I usually order from was shut down for a few days, I had to switch plans. At the very last minute, as I was wracking my brain for ideas, I started thinking of what I wanted to represent, things we love, and in particular, things that would relate to the dinner. I instantly knew I had to incorporate fresh fruit and veggies somehow, so I did some searching around, and used this post from Design Sponge as inspiration in creating my own arrangements. Art40_web_830px-10 I couldn’t be happier with how they came out, and even though it took some last minute running around to find appropriate vessels, they fit with the party theme perfectly. Art40_web_830px-4 I found the containers at Home Goods, and purchased some moss from Michael’s. Heather of River and Bridge was nice enough to at the very last minute, design these lovely menus for the event. The snippets of rosemary was something we added minutes before the party started because the menus kept flying away. Art40_web_830px-9 Art40_web_830px-7 Art40_web_830px-6 To add some color and whimsy to the backyard, I purchased white and aqua paper lanterns in bulk from Amazon, and hung them from our cafe lights. I also placed huge metal and reclaimed wood lanterns around the pool area, porch to welcome guests, and on the drink table. I found them on clearance at Target and I can’t wait to use them throughout the summer. They really added a special feel. I also put some friends to work at the last minute.
Art40_web_830px-15 Art40_web_830px-5 Art40_web_830px-22 Art40_web_830px-23 Besides having a caterer, I also really wanted to hire a favorite local band who has performed at a few friend’s parties. The Joneses were on point as usual and provided fabulous entertainment long enough, and loud enough, for our next door neighbor to call and ask us to keep it down. Art40_web_830px-8 Art40_web_830px-24 In between dancing and eating, some fierce ping pong matches occured. While I don’t always love having the garage open up to our backyard because it’s not always so clean, I do love it on night’s like these, when friends are over and we can all gather around the pool, fire pit and ping pong table, let the kids shoot some hoops or play dodge ball, and everyone can have fun and stay safe and sound. Art40_web_830px-28
Art40_web_830px-30 During sunset we ate dinner and enjoyed our company, and then as night fell we lit some candles, sang happy birthday and the fun really began. Art40_web_830px-40 Art40_web_830px-41 Things started to also blur a little around here too because of the dancing and wine, and I remember being flung and twirled around, and then the next thing I knew we were both in the pool. Art40_web_830px-44 Art40_web_830px-47 Art40_web_830px-49 Art40_web_830px-52 Art40_web_830px-43 I do know that I didn’t do much to stop the toss in the pool, in fact I may have really encouraged it. But I didn’t think I would get tossed in alongside the birthday boy. Luckily my dress survived, and we made sure to take Art’s phone off him before he was thrown in. Greg was a good sport and somehow landed in the pool too. He spent the rest of the night in a pair of Art’s swim trunks and an old t-shirt. Thanks for taking one for the team Greg. Art40_web_830px-53 Art40_web_830px-56 Art40_web_830px-55 Such a memorable night that we won’t soon forget. It was so much fun, and we were so happy many of our closest friends and family members could be there to celebrate Art on this milestone of a birthday. Happy 40th Art! I love you, and I hope you had as good of a time as I did! Art40_web_830px-11



1 Year’s Past, and Finding My Way

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TheKeyTo Two weeks ago, in the midst of the 30 day challenge, I officially celebrated my anniversary of rethinking the way my family and I eat. The day passed without much fanfare, and truth be told it wasn’t really even noticed, because this change has sort of just evolved into a natural way of doing things around these parts. I do still remember the last day I had Jack N the Box, however (Thursday June 6th, 2013 just for the record).

The past few weeks I’ve been going through a little bit of soul-searching in terms of finding my way in this world of healthy eating and cooking. For the first 2-3 months of changing the way we eat, it was all trial and error. One week I went gluten-free, for several weeks I cut out dairy. I worked our way through labels and the pantry in a haze, confused with trying to figure out what to eat outside of Gwyneth’s book. It was clear the book alone couldn’t sustain me and my family for eternity, and so I needed to figure things out on my own a bit so I could feel safe venturing outside the safety net of It’s All Good.

Enter the second stage of my healthy eating adventure; research the crap out of everything!!  Read all the books, scour all the articles, troll the archives of the internet until I find the very end. It was exhausting and overwhelming and at the risk of sounding like a drama queen, left me somewhat crippled with fear at what to eat. I became paranoid, believed most everything I read that supported my sometimes irrational fears, got in online arguments over food policies with complete strangers, and made wildly exhaustive vows to never let certain foods touch my lips again. While I learned a lot of valuable and useful information during that time period, I also wasted a lot of time worrying about things I’ve now found may not be true, and gave too much head-space to things which truly didn’t matter.

This brought me to the third stage of the journey; the cynical stage. There is so much misinformation out there in the health food world, where making wild claims to induce fear is par for the course.  Topics range from toxic baby carrots to toxic oils, and just about anything, if processed enough, can cause cancer. During this third stage, I started finding out that maybe all this fear mongering may not be completely true. So I started doing further investigations and found agendas on both sides. During this stage, my sense for detecting bullshit was heightened, and I started questioning some of the information I had learned during the second stage. While I learned a lot of valuable information during this stage too, it also left me feeling confused again, not sure who was right and what to believe.

Enter the fourth and final stage of this journey, in which I do what I want. Not really, but I really just use some common sense when eating, cooking and shopping. Here are some of the things I keep in mind when I decide what to feed myself and my family. This list is what works for me, and is in no way intended to be a how-to guide on feeding your own family.

1. Try to eat and cook with foods that don’t need a label, most of the time. No label, no need to stress.

2. When eating packaged foods, stick to those with a fairly simple list of ingredients which are easily recognizable.

3. Enjoy foods from all the food groups, including grains, legumes, and dairy.

4. Cook at home most of the time, dine out as a treat.

5. Take wild claims about health hazardous foods with a skeptics eye, and do my own research. So many foods are unfairly demonized in our culture, and so when I read that something can cure autism and something else causes cancer, I do some research to see if there is evidence to the contrary. Most of the time, a simple google search can sleuth out interesting reading information. If you’re concerned about certain foods and want to find out information from both sides, try using search terms that include words like myth or debunked. 9 times out of 10, you will find supporting arguments on both sides, as is the case with this beer article, which this writer debunked. This is just one example in particular. Who’s right? Who knows sometimes? But I just try to always do my own research and decide from there.

6. Don’t stress the small stuff. Cooking and eating at home with great ingredients eases my mind when we’re out and about, exposing ourselves to other possibly “toxic” ingredients.

It brings me genuine happiness that chronicling my own journey this past year has inspired so many others to look more closely at ingredient labels, to join a local CSA and support farmers in their community, to rethink their choices at the meat counter, and to feed their family more vegetables. It’s both awesome and humbling, and some days I feel this strange sense of responsibility in what I post and say. I feel myself pulling back as the readership has grown, especially on Instagram, afraid of posting the wrong thing or saying the wrong thing. I’ve been mulling over some things the past few weeks, trying to decide what this account is going to be, what it is going to represent. And last night I realized that it doesn’t have to be anything other than the unfiltered truth in my own personal way of eating and feeding my family. This past year I’ve gone through periods of rabid research, paranoia, confusion, calm & peace, lots of and anxiety. All over food. I’ve been humbled, encouraged and challenged by many of those following along. I think what many readers from the beginning have all appreciated is my honesty, and so I continue with a renewed sense of that honest truthfulness. I am not perfect, and at times I’ve been afraid of posting things that some may not deem healthy enough or clean enough. I enter year 2 of this journey with the notion that I will never please everyone, and the firm and steadfast belief that the vast majority of us don’t need more fear or confusion when it comes to feeding ourselves and our families well. What we need is common sense, some cajones in the kitchen, more veggies, and positive encouragement. In a word, we need eating and cooking healthy to be approachable, plain and simple. I will continue to hash out science and toxicity questions, concerns and claims with anyone interested, because I believe they’re important, but my personal hope for my IG feed and those reading it, is that you’ll be encouraged to do the research on your own, decide for yourselves, and go from there. Every single one of you is your own wellness warrior. At the end of the day, you’re the one doing the hard work and heavy lifting, and I’m just here to offer ideas and encouragement.

I look back on this past year, and we’ve come so, so far. While I may not be perfect, I recognize the huge improvements and changes we’ve made, and am very proud with what we’ve accomplished. I see my kids asking questions about the foods we eat, I see how much more open they are to eating the new foods I cook up, and how receptive they are to consciously turning some foods down. I hear the appreciation in my husband’s voice in his sincere thanks for a well cooked meal, and I experience the positive results of this hard work in my own body every single day. Cheers to that. And with that, I enter year 2 with positive gusto and happiness.

photo source



Repurposed T-Shirt Into Fringe Necklace DIY

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Repurposed T-Shirt DIY My husband happens to be a bit of a T-shirt hoarder. Not that we don’t all hold on to things we may not need, but he saves T-shirts like they are precious photographs capturing a memory. I’m totally sentimental, so I get it when he doesn’t want to toss out the State Champs T, but the Deron Williams Jazz T-shirt may be dated on several levels (it’s starting to smell, it’s faded, Deron and the Jazz broke up…). But throwing away all the T-shirt fabric strangely makes me almost want to cry. As a DIY-er by diagnosis I talked him into letting me re-purpose one of his old shirts into a chic bohemian T-shirt necklace! What I really love about this DIY is that there are so many variations you can do to make it your own style, however, it is easy and affordable.

DIY T-shirt necklace

What you need:

– If you are starting with a white T-shirt and don’t want a white necklace I suggest you purchase some fabric dye at your local craft store and dye your T-shirt.

– An old T-shirt

– Fabric scissors (or, if you are more crafty-inclined you can use a rotary fabric cutter and mat)

– A thin strip or leather, or a ribbon, or a string will all work great

DIY T-shirt necklace

DIY T-shirt necklace

Step 1: To begin you will want to dis-arm your shirt, literally. What I mean is, take your fabric scissors and cut off both T-shirt arms. You will also want to cut off the neck seam area and the bottom hem area as well. Basically you will cut your T-shirt into a square with no sewn seams or hems.

DIY T-shirt necklace

Step 2: Next, using your fabric scissors or rotary fabric cutter you will cut thin strips of T-shirt parallel to the bottom of your shirt. I cut mine at about 1/3″ thick, which turned out to be the perfect thickness. I cut about 20 strips and had plenty leftover after the necklace was complete. For an XL T-shirt you can easily make two necklaces.

DIY T-shirt necklace

DIY T-shirt necklace

 

Step 3: Once I had collected a pile of T-shirt strips, I then stretched them out. This is really where the magic comes in because, folks, something quite lovely occurs when you stretch a T-shirt out without any hems or seams. It turns into a rope- or yarn-like tool. The strip is no longer a scrap of T-shirt, but a piece of thick string that can be used to knit, or tie up a gift, or even used to create a necklace ;).

DIY T-shirt necklace

DIY T-shirt necklace

DIY T-shirt necklace

Step 4: Now grab that leather rope/ribbon/string that you will use as the base of your necklace, or the part of your necklace that you will tie around your neck. Take a strip of your T-shirt (post-stretched) and using a square knot tie it around your leather strip. The stretched T-shirt strip is probably a circle because you cut it off the bottom of the shirt so it shouldn’t matter where you decide to tie the square knot. If, however, your yarn strip isn’t a circle just fold it in half and square knot tie it to the leather strip. Repeat this step with about 20 of your T-shirt strings, making sure they are centered on the leather strip.

DIY T-shirt necklace

DIY T-shirt necklace

DIY T-shirt necklace

DIY T-shirt necklace

Step 5: Now that you have all this amazing T-shirt string hanging from your leather strip, decide on the look and shape you want your necklace to take. I wanted mine to be in a “V” shape so I carefully cut the T-shirt string ends to form a “V”. T-Shirt Fringe Necklace DIY

 

DIY T-shirt necklace

DIY T-shirt necklace

And how completely easy was that!? All you needed was fabric scissors, a leftover T-shirt, and leather strip to create a DIY necklace all the cool kids will love :).

All photos taken by Pierson Photo Company



Carrot and Orange Power Smoothie

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Carrot and Orange Power Smoothies My husband turned 40 years old this past Saturday. The mental game tied in with the aging process is a strange thing, considering we are literally getting older by the second, but there’s something about hitting the milestones, like 30 and 40, which seem to punch you in the gut a little more and send you in a tailspin of self-analyzation and reflection. The momentous countdown to 40 got him on a quest for a 30 day transformation. He was being silly of course in saying he was going to completely change his life and body in just 30 days, after quite frankly, neglecting to follow through consistent workouts for years, but for him it was more of way to kick start the road to transformation. I have to say I’ve been quite impressed with the small changes he’s made over the last 30 days, which have had a huge impact, including getting to bed and the office earlier.

Following his first visit to CrossFit a few weeks back, I made him this smoothie. It was in between breakfast and lunch, and we were drowning in carrots and oranges, hence the combination. I was trying to replicate the creaminess of the Orange Julius smoothies of my youth, which is also why I used Almond Breeze instead of coconut water or just plain filtered water. I have to say it worked like a charm and the smoothie was a hit all around. Both tangy and sweet, creamy yet refreshing, this smoothie is one you can make all year round depending on your access to beautiful juicy oranges. Carrot-Orange-Smoothie carrot-and-orange-smoothie In continuing my partnership with Almond Breeze, I posted some other great recipes last month including:

Homemade Chai Tea Lattes (this has helped switch up my drink routine, as I ease off the alcoholic spirits during the 30 Day Challenge)

Creamy Dreamy Avocado Dip (most creamy dips use yogurt, mayonnaise, Vegenaise or sour cream to make them rich, this one uses none of those things, making it vegan and husband approved)

Carrot and Orange Power Smoothie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A creamy citrus smoothie that packs a nutrient rich punch
Author:
Recipe type: Smoothie
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces fresh or cooked carrots
  • 3 medium sized oranges peels removed
  • ¾ cup Almond Breeze almond milk
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup
  • 1 cup of ice
  • 1 ripe banana to make it taste a bit more tropical
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a powerful blender and blend till thick and creamy. Enjoy!

 

Thank you to Almond Breeze for sponsoring these posts, and thanks to you guys for supporting the brands who help me do my thing! index



Daily Style – Comfort Zone

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Tigerlily Dress Dress – Tigerlily; Shoes – Shoemint Jordanne (limited sizes but different color here and similar style here, and here), Earrings – Prism Boutique; Bag – Joelle Hawkens (old similar here)

It’s been a while since I’ve published an outfit post over here. I rarely post outfit of the day photos on Instagram either. A while back I mentioned to someone that I was growing increasingly uncomfortable posing for outfit photos, for reasons I can’t really even explain. Additionally, part of the problem is that my outfits from day to day don’t change much at all lately. Many days I stay in workout clothes or yoga gear.

But I got dressed up yesterday for Taylor’s recital, and since we were killing a little bit of time after intermission, I figured we’d shoot some photos since I love this dress so much. Boy did I feel uneasy, definitely out of practice. And come to find out, this dress is actually a cover-up, but I think it works quite well as a dress, don’t you? I’m definitely pushing it on the length a bit, but the longer draped sides help give the illusion of length.  IMG_6033 IMG_6029

The recital went well, although I missed some of it. We had a bit of a meltdown before it, with Taylor sobbing about having to go. She wants to do dance but just not the recital. I’m sort of okay with that, but not sure if this reinforces her tendencies to just want to do the fun stuff and not follow through on the “hard” stuff. Apparently to her, sitting in a room quietly with nothing to do for an hour while they wait to be called is like torture, and since she’s so timid she doesn’t bother getting chatty with neighboring girls to pass the time. Part of me wants to just let her dance for fun, and part of me wants to push her pass her comfort zone because eventually I think she’ll be glad I did. Sounds so silly going back and forth on such a thing, but I often find that with our first, we’re sort of always experimenting with what’s the right thing to do as parents. At any rate, we have a couple of months to decide on something a year down the road. Do any of you have kids involved in an activity, like piano, but skip the recital part of the process? Is that sort of defeating the purpose of the year’s worth of hard work? I can’t decide… IMG_6037 IMG_6060 IMG_6027

Hoping everyone else had a great weekend. This week I’m gearing up for my guy’s big 40th birthday celebration! And our friends the Weems are in town, and my bestie Lea from Arizona is flying in for the special day too! It’s going to be a good, good week.