Friday, May 31, 2013

A Taste of Home in a Jar

It was my sister's birthday last week and I have been patiently waiting for her to receive her birthday present so that I can publish this post!  Even though I paid for 2-day shipping, it took 5 days...but that't the post office for you!

My sister lives on the East Coast and doesn't get to visit as often and she I like.  She always tell me when she's home sick and missing the family.  So I thought long and hard about what I could do to make her birthday special from thousands of miles away.  I thought about what I could cook/bake to send her, but nothing was practical.  The process of freezing something and sending it over was WAY overwhelming to make sure that it would get there in one piece and still be edible. 

So what else could I do, but browse Pinterest for inspiration.  I saw a bunch of pins about "Sunshine in a Jar".  A light bulb went off becuase I always torture her with pictures of the sunshine we have here in Southern California. But I didn't want to ship her a jar of candy and stuff...

So I decided that I definitely wanted to ship her something sweet and homemade - Duh! Cookies! Who doesn't love a batch of home made chocolate chip cookies?  A box of cookies would have been lame, so I combined that idea with the "Sunshine in a Jar" idea and came up with a Taste of Home in a Jar.

I took my whole wheat chocolate chip cookie recipe and layered the dry ingredients in a mason jar.  There was still some room in the mason jar so I just added a sheet of a bright color tissue paper.  I curled some ribbon around it and admired my hard work.  Now, I thought of throwing in a bottle of vanilla extract, but then it made me nervous that it would explode in the box and mess up the card.  So I skipped it.

Now for the card - Seriously? How California is that card?  It's from Papyrus, my all time favorite stationary store.  When I saw it, I knew it was the one.  It's blank inside, perfect for any occasion.

I just want to send more warm birthday wishes to such an amazing sister!

What other " a Jar" projects have you done?  I love the idea and will be trying more of them!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Summer Sandal

Now that Memorial Day weekend is behind us, it officially feels like Summer! The weather might not know it, but it is.

The Summer Sandal

Michael Kors tan shoes / Tory Burch ankle strap shoes / J.Crew ankle strap wedge / Cole Haan flat peep toe shoes / Lucky Brand open toe flat shoes / Tory Burch orange shoes / Wallis flats sandals / Roman sandals / Sperry Top-Sider ankle tie sandals / Chinese Laundry snakeskin sandals

The number one Summer staple are sandals, sandals and more sandals! I am absolutely loving the neon/bright sandals that are out right now! You can mix brights like lime sandals with a magenta purse and take your shorts and t-shirt outfit to another level. While you can never go wrong with a nude sandal, I am so in love with replacing them with a pair of white sandals. I think it's a more crisp and trendly look right now.

So let's throw on a pair and soak up the sun! While wearing lots and lots of SPF, of course :-)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Technically Home Made Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes


1 box of lemon cake mix and ingredients as specified on the box (water, oil, eggs)
1 package of fresh strawberries
1 stick of butter - softened to room temperature
1 package of cream cheese (8 oz.) - softened to room temperature
2.5 cups confectioners/powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Mix the cake batter as directed on the lemon cake mix box.  I like to use an electric mixer on high for twice as long as directed.  I find that it makes the cake more fluffy and moist.

2. Chop 3/4 cup of strawberries and fold into the lemon cake batter.

3. Fill the lined cupcake pan until each cup is 3/4 full. Bake per lemon cake box directions.

4. Remove cooked cupcakes and let cool.

Now let's get to the cream cheese frosting!

5. Combine the butter, cream cheese, confectioners/powdered sugar and vanilla extract into a medium bowl.  Using an electric mixer on low speed, mix the ingredients until smooth.

6. Frost the cooled cupcakes with the cream cheese frosting.

7. Slice the remainder of the strawberries.  Place the sliced strawberries on top of the frosted cupcakes.

Finally, enjoy!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Leopard & Baubles

So since I've been spending much of my money on the new house, I've been shopping my closet a lot to mix up old and new pieces.  Some items, like these shoes, have never even been worn!

Waking up a little lazy from the long weekend, I had to pull something together pretty quick this morning.  When I'm feeling kind of "blah", I like to wear something loud and bright.  It's a psychological trick I play on myself to make me feel more awake and upbeat.  Does it work? I think so!

So now that I have the canvas of a plain top and black slacks, let's spice things up!  I threw on this statement necklace that I got from F21 some time ago and never wore.  Again, feeling lazy this morning, it really made me feel more put together and ready for my day.  I didn't want to go with plain black or nude pumps so I scanned all the shoe boxes hoping to find something different.  What?  Leopard pumps?  Sweet!  What more could I ask for when trying to spice up a boring outfit?!

I've corresponded with a few bloggers about how to step up your mommy style.  The addition of a little one definitely changes your budget and how much time you have to get ready.  One of my all-time rules is to buy a few staples that you can mix and match.  You can always get inexpensive accessories to switch it up a bit.

Now, let's enjoy this short work week shall we?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Black & White

Blazer (MNG, similar here, here and here) - Pants (H&M, similar here, here and here) - Pumps (Kelsi Dagger) - Necklace (F21, similar here and here)
So, this weekend I bought a couple of printed pants so that I can try this trend out.  I like these pants because they are still fashion forward, but not too "loud" so that I can wear them to work.  I first paired them with a 3/4 sleeve black top with pleated shoulders.  Since the printed pants brought so much attention to the bottom half of my body, I thought I needed to tone it down.  But after looking in the mirror, I appeared so short! Standing at 5'4", I can't really afford to loose any visual height.  Well, I love mixing patterns and you all know how much I love stripes, so I tried it on with this white blazer with striped interior and was good to go.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Mommy Skills

Baby S got sick last week.  It is her first time being sick; thankfully, it was just a cough and cold.  But a sick baby means a sick mommy.  Baby S started getting sick around Tuesday last week.  This weekend, I started with the runny nose and cough :(

All this has led me to thinking about my new mommy skills.

1. Learn to eat with one hand, the left one.  Since having a baby, I've learned to hold the baby in one arm while grabbing bites of food with the other, hand that is. 

2. In conjuction with #1, learn to appreciate and enjoy a cold dinner and cold coffee. My little angel is usually really sweet when it comes to letting me cook and eat, but sometimes, she gets a little fussy and just wants to snuggle.  Now that she's reached the "swat at everything in sight" phase, it isn't practical for me to eat or drink when she's in my arms.

3. Learn to relax and take a nap, no matter what time of day it is.  This was a really hard thing for me to get in to, even until now, I stay up late doing things while the baby is asleep and then regret it when I'm exhausted in the morning.  When the baby goes down for the night or takes a morning nap, you should too!  Dishes and laundry can be dealt with later. 

4. The multiple uses of baby wipes.  Spilled something on your shirt? Baby wipes gets anything out, even coffee.  Need to wash your hands, but no sink or bathroom in sight? Baby wipes! Freshen up your make-up? Do a quick swipe with a baby wipe to freshen your face and remove make-up, then re-apply/touch-up. Spilled coffee on the center console of your car? Baby wipes!  I spill a lot of stuff, don't I?

5. Savor every moment. I've always had this overwhelming need to do everything and handle everything.  When I first had my daughter, I felt that I need to keep up with my pre-baby lifestyle and tasks as well as care for a newborn.  The sooner you learn to slow down, the more joy it will be.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Container Gardening

So in my Cara Box reveal (here), I shared that I was going to try to do some container gardening. I've been doing a lot of research and read some books on the subject and I can't tell you how excited I for this!  Above are a couple of the books that I really loved and a picture of my seed starters for sunflowers and poppys.  I'm growing veggies too, but the planters were too big to photograph with the books.  Don't worry, you will get to see them! 

So why do I want to do this? Besides the fact that it would be a great project/hobby for me that will let me be home with the baby, it's a little step that I can take to minimize my carbon footprint and be a little more ecofriendly.  I am realistic; I know I'm not going to harvest crops to feed my family.  But if I can grow 4 carrots to add to a single meal for my husband then that's 4 less carrots I need to buy, 4 less carrots that traveled miles and miles to get to my fridge and 4 little carrots that bring happiness to me. 

Since becoming a mother, I've become much more conscious of things that I put on and in my body.  I've also become more conscious of the impact I have on the world that my daughter will grow up in.  I am one person and my little life decisions aren't going to change the world, but I am one more person helping to make a difference.

I'm so excited to share my progress with all of you!  If you have any tips or ideas, I would love to hear them!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cara Box Reveal - Finally!

My sincerest apologizes for the delay on this post! I feel so horrible. It has just been so ridiculously crazy as posted here, then right after that post, both Baby S and I got sick and are still sick **sad face**

I cannot express how thoughtful this Cara Box from Amber @ Assorted Whimsy is.  We only exchanged a few emails, but each item has really touched my heart.

Insulated to-go cup with reusable ice cubes
If you follow me on Instagram, you know my love for all things coffee.  What totally bums be out is that when I take iced coffee to work, I basically have to gulp it down before the ice melts and it ends up being a waste.  This item is not only perfectly functional, but it decreases my carbon footprint (i.e. no more mid day Starbucks runs for iced coffee and wasteful containers).

Super cute gardening gloves
Okay, Amber...are you totally spying on me or something?!  I've been doing a lot of research on container gardening lately.  I don't have a yard or anything, but I really want to make a little shift to sustainable living.  I'm not unrealistic, I know I'm not going to grow enough food to feed my family, or myself for that matter.  But I thought it would be a fun, therapeutic project that would benifit my family's lifestyle.  So needless to say, these gloves will definitely come in handy!

Felt flowers
These felt flowers with rhinstones in the middle are absolutely adorable!  Can you believe that she even kept my daughter in mind?  I love to sew and do arts and crafts so I can't wait to use these and show you guys! Plus, they are made from 100% recycled fibers.

Decorated mason jar
This mason jar was one of the centerpieces from Amber's baby shower.  By sharing this with me, I really feel the love of this blogging community.  When I started my blog a few months ago, I was really scared to communicate with other bloggers.  I was afraid of what they might think and maybe they wouldn't want to communicate with me and my little corner of the internet.  But Amber and a few others have really made me glad that I started my blog.  I love this mason jar, not just because it's so cute and will go perfectly in a few areas of my home, but because of what it represents to me.  I've seen mason jar crafts on Pinterest that I wanted to try.  This one is so cute; I can't decide if I want to put a candle or flowers in it.  When I do decide, I will be sure to share!

The Gnarly Whale lip balm
Since I found out I was pregnant, I have been very wary and cautious about what I put on and in my body. This lip balm is from an Etsy shop called Gnarly Whale. They provide vegan bath and body products.  The flavor I got is cherry vanilla.  I must say, YUM! It smells so good that I could eat it. I love lip balm. I literally keep them everywhere! I'm typically really picky though because a lot of them leave my lips feeling waxy - but not this one!  It goes on really smooth and doesn't have that waxy/coated texture. They have such an array of flavors to try, too. I'm definitely going to have to order some - Asian Pear, Coconut, Pomegranate and Strawberry Champagne to name a few!

Thank you Amber for the wonderful Cara Box and for touching my heart. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

More Stripes & Denim

I am so in love with stripes for any season.  It's still a little chilly over here sometimes so I took this purple and white maxi dress that I made (tutorial will come soon) and paired with a denim jacket that I also posted here.  When I looked in the mirror, it just looked so blah, like it was missing something.  I remembered that I bought this belt a little while ago and it seemed to really pull everything together.  I threw on some strappy flats and was good to go!
Denim Jacket (Marshall's, similar here, here and here) - Sandals (Old F21, similar here) - Dress (DIY, tutorial coming soon) - Belt (Local Boutique, similar here and here )
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