What an exceptional birthday! I turned 34 last weekend, and we celebrated at a cute pavilion on Devil’s Kitchen Lake. The weather was just perfect, and the full moon that started on Friday the 13th and carried into my birthday things even more special. Wow, I am so thankful for all the wonderful people in our lives!
We love craft beer! We went to the Big Muddy Homebrew Competition in Murphysboro, IL, and it was so fun sampling craft homebrews from all over Illinois and Missouri. This competition leads up to the Big Muddy Monster Brew Fest, in Murphysboro, IL on Saturday, October 5, 2019 (noon - 4pm). Excited to frequent the homebrew tent at the event next weekend!
I’m so happy we had the opportunity to stop by and check out the 100+ Homebrew recipes that were submitted.
Check out the poster I created for the homebrew competition, below. The winner will have their beer recipe brewed at a larger scale, and is a huge honor! **NOTE - Contest has ended.
This post is sponsored by Oikos but all opinions are my own. #OhMGMoments
Time to de-stress and indulge in the simple pleasures of the NEW Oikos Oh! Double Cream Yogurts. There are four indulgent flavors to choose from, can you imagine how good the Salt Dusted Caramel Crème tasted?! This new yogurt is unlike any yogurt you’ve ever had. Made with double the cream versus Oikos whole milk yogurt, to create a one of a kind thick and luscious texture that you won’t be able to get enough of.
Delight your mouth with a spoonful of yogurt, no toppings are needed, That’s because The Salt-Dusted Double Creme Yogurt was such a treat! Enjoy this as a simple treat after a long day, during a movie or TV show, or even as dessert after a yummy home cooked meal.
The anticipation of that next bite is an indulgence in and of itself. As someone who works from home, I am always on the move. I find it hard sometimes to simply let myself relax and enjoy the simple pleasures in life because I know that something or other can be checked off the to-do list.
But, rewarding myself with a tasty snack like this one really helps me stay grounded and enjoy something to myself, time to take a deep breath, and time to indulge.
Learn more about Oikos Oh! Flavors Here!
Double Cream Yogurt Honey Drizzled Blueberry, Magnificent Mixed Berry Rhubarb, Lemon Sweet Cream Delight, and my favorite, Salt-Dusted Caramel Crème. So many incredible flavors to choose from! I would recommend trying one of each to see what you like best.
What flavor would you choose? What are some of your favorite indulgences?
We just got back home from an amazing adventure out west in Montana! We have a soft spot in our hearts for Montana and cannot seem to stay away! Travel fuels our creativity, inspires our work, and helps us bond in ways words cannot describe!
We love driving around the mountains and small towns of Montana, and renting a car from the new Expedia Advantage Add-On program is an excellent choice for a fun road trip like this, through southwestern Montana!
When you book a flight, you can get awesome deals on add-ons like car rentals and hotels. Keep reading to learn more about their awesome deals AND see lots of photos from our recent vacation out west!
Montana is a magical place. "Keep Montana Majestic" is a fitting slogan I thought of as we were leaving this time, because it's such a gorgeous and majestic place that has only 1 million residents - one . We spent a lot of time in southwestern Montana this past month, visiting the areas around Yellowstone including Big Sky, Bozeman, Hebgen Lake, and Ennis, MT. We also spent time in the Missoula area for an awesome rafting trip on the Clark Fork River Gorge. Keep reading to learn more about some of our favorite places in Montana and get insights on these awesome travel deals.
So, if you already have a trip planned, and want to access a SUPER GREAT price on a hotel, this is a great opportunity!
I checked on car rental prices around Missoula, which also unlocked deals on hotels! There were some awesome cars available, and all of the hotels in the screenshot below (with a yellow stripe above their name) offer additional discounts to those who use Expedia Add-On Advantage! I just love saving on travel, so I can use that part of the travel budget for something more fun. Like a rafting trip, which you will see below. We had SO much fun!!
Below, we spent one particularly fun Sunday on the water with a river guide. As a team, we worked together to get the inflatable raft through rapids. We had no clue how much fun we would have, since we generally never plan trips with any sort of guide or service - we love just driving and exploring places that way.
See the car rental deals I found, below, plus more suggestions of awesome places in and around Missoula to visit.
If you ever have the chance to visit downtown Missoula, you will love it! I would even suggest 2-3 days to fully experience a couple of days of shopping plus being able to eat and drink at the MANY bars and restaurants is so much fun. The city is walking friendly but a little spread out, and luckily parking is super easy here in the summer, so feel free to use that rental car to get around town.
We have been so fortunate to visit Ennis, MT several times in the past couple of years. We love the gorgeous mountain vistas in the Madison Valley and I absolutely love how free you feel when you're in such a beautiful place. It's a very small town, but the Madison River runs right through town, as well as being one way people get to Yellowstone, the town's rather small population gets over a million visitors. It's very popular to fly fish in this area, and we love finding a place to let the dogs swim too.
When you're in Ennis, you must check out the Gravel Bar (aka G Bar - see beers in the image below), which has lots of local MT beers and spirits, and their food is really pretty good. They are also opening a brewery next year, which should be really neat. Across the street from G Bar is Willie's Distillery. Deemo's Meats is a place to stop and grab groceries (they specialize in amazing meats and cheeses), and make sure to grab some of their frozen brats near the register - the green onion ones are AMAZING)! Perfect for roasting over a campfire too.
Below, I thought this was so funny. Your typical Monday, with a Side By Side just leisurely driving through town! Some of our other favorite places to visit in Ennis include Plain Jane's (clothing, shoes, and the best Montana gifts ever), Nacho Mama, and Shedhorn, which sells outdoor gear, really nice quality women's shoes and clothing and also hunting and camping gear.
A historic gold mining town situated high above the Madison Valley. This is always a fun place to stop and shop or stroll through the wooden boardwalks that used to be hustling and bustling.
Sure, since Big Sky, Montana sits at around 7200 feet in elevation, it's a great place to ski, snowboard, and snow mobile But, it's an amazingly vibrant and fun place to be in the summer as well. We spent several different days in Big Sky, and saw local music at their free Thursday Night Concert Series, drank a few local Montana beers at their bars, and visited the Big Sky Farmer's Market. The shopping in this area is really wonderful, if you like that sort of thing! There are also amazing restaurants in almost every style of food, so you can please everyone with something delicious!
These Thursday Night concerts are packed - especially this one weekend when the rodeo was also in town. If the line for the beer vendor is too long for your liking, just run into the Hungry Moose grocery store and grab something to drink - you can have open containers in the unincorporated town of Big Sky during these events. Grizzly Outfitters also has the most impressive selection of the latest women's clothing from the best outdoors brands. Yay! During the summer, people also love to mountain bike here, as well as fish the surrounding rivers. The Gallatin River runs through and all around town and is surrounded by huge pine trees.
The Big Sy Farmer's Market was really impressive. While around 90% of the vendors had art, I felt that the quality of most everything was nearly art gallery quality jewelry and decor, made with antlers, beads, and other local materials. This flower vendor was also incredible - I wanted to bring home a huge, rainbow colored array of Montana grown flowers, but that was a bit unrealistic :) There was live music which was also super great, and then you could walk to grab some food in a nearby restaurant or food vendor after walking around. This Montana Alpaca at the Farmer's Market was rather cute too!
Montana Flathead Cherries are in season during the summer, so grab up as many of these as you can if you are in Montana! They're SO sweet and delicious and I would love to bake a cherry pie from them. Huckleberries are also in season, but way, way harder to find than these cherries.
Hebgen Lake was formed in 1959 when an earthquake occurred, causing part of the mountainside to fall into the water, creating a rather amazing lake that is unlike any other place we have ever been. Our friend has a boat slipped on this lake, so we drove out and spent time over several different days in the sunshine! The water is absolutely gorgeous and great for tubing and water skiing too.
This lake is situated along the drive from Ennis to Big Sky. You can also drive through Bozeman instead, but this drive avoids the traffic altogether and it absolutely stunning! You even drive partially through the western part of Yellowstone. making this one of the most scenic cruises you can do in this part of southwestern Montana.
There are so many rivers in Montana, and we loved fishing various places to pull over and get in the water. Below, the Ruby River.
We loved driving around Montana this summer, and if you want any more travel advice, please leave questions or comments in the section below!
I hope you enjoyed this recap of our recent vacation to Montana! Have you ever been to any of these towns pr places in Montana? Comment below to let me know!
This post is sponsored by Zynga, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
Looking for fun and entertaining ways to enjoy the summer? Well I have teamed up with Zynga Words With Friends 2 to help share some fun and easy ways to have fun for FREE. Hey, we can all use a break, right?!
With this fun gift idea + a brand-new version of the Words With Friends app will help entertain everyone this summer. Help create more winning experiences this year, enjoy the thrill of the game.
Learn more about Words with Friends 2 here.
You may be familiar with their first WWF game, but this one is a bit more updated and runs SUPER fast on my phone.
I love how you actually stretch your brain capacity and also learn new words. It’s fun for the whole entire family, and even fun with groups of friends too. I feel smarter during and after playing Words With Friends – I always pull out new words in conversations later that day! The game helps me connect with friends (new and old)!
I have met all sorts of new friends through the WWF app! There are always tons of players ready to start or complete a game with us, every time we login. We play ALL the time, and since we are always on the go, it’s something familiar in each place too.
With all of the Double Letter (DL), Triple Letter (TL), Double Word (DW), and Triple Word (TW) spots on the board, you can really gain a lot of points in just a turn or two.
Some of our highest scoring words are: CLOTS, TAXED, and HANDLED!!
DIY SUMMER GIFT IDEA
I know that rock painting has been around for decades, but I thought that a fun way to commemorate our friendship and share the beauty of the river would be to paint our friends’ names on rocks, then spell out their names in a gift. I had so much fun, and the best part of this crafty activity, is that you may already have everything you need – deeming this a FREE project!
Smooth River Rocks
Acrylic Craft Paint in White, Coral, Mint, and Raspberry
2-3 Small Craft Paintbrushes
Paper To Cover Work Surface
1.) Head to your local river to collect rocks, find them at a craft or hardware store, or find them anywhere else you like!
2.) Wipe off excess dirt from rocks with damp washcloth.
3.) Paint thick, white letters onto each rock. I used two coats of white paint for each letter. Below, you will see some rocks with two coats of white paint and some rocks in-process with only one coat of white paint.
4.) Paint colorful designs on top of white paint, on each rock.
5.) Give rocks as gift and let recipient spell out their names or secret message once they receive your gift! That’s it, and this project was so fun and easy. What a thoughtful gift.
THE FINISHED PRODUCT:
Luckily, The Words With Friends app is free as well, and while I was painting the rocks, my boyfriend Bobby entertained himself with the Words With Friends app on my new phone.
A SENSE OF CONNECTION:
With the weather being so warm and beautiful right now, it was a lot of fun to gather rocks for this project, then gift such a special and thoughtful memento to my friends. I feel like we are even more connected, just like how we will be able to play WWF from afar and know that we are still connecting and interacting.
Do you play Words With Friends yet? If so, what are some of your best words? Do you play with old friends or new ones?
Have a wonderful rest of the summer! Tag me on Instagram with @happysolez if you make this project, and tag the brand, @wordswithfriends on Instagram and as @wordswfriends on Facebook to show them how you spend time playing!!
I was asked by Carusele to participate in the #WalgreensPetshoppe campaign, sponsored by Walgreens. Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.
I was asked by Carusele to participate in the #WalgreensPethoppe campaign, sponsored by Walgreens. All content and opinions are my own.
We recently had the opportunity to take the dogs on a fun camping trip in Montana. There were almost more dogs than people, but that’s how the majority of our gatherings wind up anyway! Here are a few tips to help you through your next camping experience with dogs. We stocked up on TONS and TONS of amazing Petshoppe items from Walgreens before heading out, and since we had a pack of dogs, they all behaved very well because of the Petshoppe treats from Walgreens. What a fun addition to an already amazing weekend.
We have been taking our pups hiking and camping for over ten years now, and we always learn something new each time. It’s such a fun learning experience, and moreover, camping trips are the absolute best way to help our pets get lots of fresh air, exercise, and even social time with other dogs. The campground becomes such a fun experience for everyone. We could hardly imagine a camping trip without our dogs around. Below, our pupper friends Craig and De De came for a visit as well!!! Porter LOVES playing with these two brothers.
TOP CAMPING TIPS FOR PET OWNERS:
1. If there is no water spigot in the campground, or fresh water available, please make sure to pack 2-3 extra gallons of water for your pets per day. They drink a ton of water every time we are camping, especially if it’s super hot out, or if we are in an arid place like the mountains or desert.
2. Bring food and water dishes. Each dog needs their own food dish, and they generally all share their water bowl.
3. We love using our electronic collars to keep our dogs close by. While most camp grounds are going to require dogs on leashes, these e-collars add a bit of extra protection to make sure your dogs are listening to you and behaving around the campground.
4. Stock up on treats because the dogs will need a bit of extra incentive to listen J They also burn so many extra calories while camping, hiking, and swimming, that we always treat them to a few extra treats while camping.
5. Bring soft, supportive, and warm bedding for night time. We bring an air pad for the dogs to use in the tent at night, and we also either cover them with our coats, or bring extra blankets for them. Cabbie loves cuddling in, and Porter loves the chilly air and would never want to be under the covers.
6. Watch your dog(s) around the fire pit. Sometimes dogs will try to play around the fire, or play with extra fire wood, just keep an eye on them!
7. Make sure to keep an eye on your dog(s) at ALL times! They could wander off and disturb wildlife or eat something they find in the woods that could upset their tummies.
Some of our favorite treats from Walgreen’s Petshoppe collections include the Chicken Bites with Pumpkin and Cranberry, Sweet Potatoes with Cranberries, and Chicken Bites with Pumpkin and Cranberry – all of which contain NO corn, wheat, or soy! The dogs all shared very well – we definitely had more than enough to go around.
WALGREENS PETSHOPPE IN-STORE PROMOTIONS
2 for $10 mix and match Petshoppe toys and bones every day
Week of 8/5/18 – BOGO 50% off on Petshoppe Pet Treats
Week of 8/19/18 – Petshoppe Pet Treats and Petshoppe 50 count puppy pads on sale for $7.99!
Porter was extremely interested in every flavor variety, and the Chicken Strips were definitely a crowd favorite :)
Porter had a blast – she stayed up all night looking around the tent, listening for animals and noises that peaked her interest.
Select varieties of Petshoppe treats are Made in the USA – Look for the label on the front of the packaging! They take the utmost care in delivering high quality pet treat, which have no corn, wheat, or soy – perfect for almost every dog!
Their toys have held up super well! Above, the Plush Turtle which comes in two colors. Below, the two Boston Terriers were playing with this Squeaker Pig ALL morning together, it was adorable!
Above, you will see a few more varieties of their treats. We are definitely stocked up for a while. Walgreens Petshoppe offers quality products for your best friends!!
Connect With Walgreens On Social:
Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram / Twitter
Use hashtag #WalgreensPetshoppe to show us how you and your pets enjoy these products too.
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It seems funny to go through the effort to being reusable bags to the grocery store only to fill them up with plastic bags full of produce. Sometimes, the produce needs to be weighed separately, or sometimes the lettuce might be doused in water, and would get all of your other groceries soaking wet. This is the perfect time to use some reusable cotton drawstring produce bags.
I created a few adorable, zero waste produce bags recently, and while many or all of them have sold at our local Neighborhood Co-Op, I thought it would be fun to share some of my hand sewn work, as well as encourage others to use something similar. I sewed these out of some thicker decor weight cotton, but stuc with 100% cotton, except for the drawstring closure.
I used pieces of fabric I already had, washed and dried them, then ironed them. These higher quality brand fabrics always feel so wonderful after they're washed and dried.
Not that Zero Waste is a super new concept, I have been really trying to use as many reusable containers as I can. This really makes me so much more conscious of how much unnecessary waste and packaging...aka...PLASTIC...that I am consuming and bringing into our home. Believe me, I buy a ton of food and other supplies because of all this food photography, so I try to do my part in helping reduce!
These were so fun to make, and here are a TON of DIY Drawstring Bag tutorials to inspire you to make some as well. Enjoy!
This Italian inspired dessert has been described as "sexual" and will make your tastebuds go crazy! Perhaps this recipe will start off your weekend just right! But in all seriousness, since this is a no-bake treat, and can be served in individual jars, it's perfect for summer parties, and everyone is going to love this recipe.
Both rich and somehow light at the same time, the homemade whipped ricotta filling and the familiar taste of coffee really make for a decadent treat.
Easy Eggless No-Bake Tiramisu
Prep Time: 20 min + chill time
· 1 cup (250ml) whipping cream
· 1 cup (250g) mascarpone, softened
· 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
· 1 tsp (5ml) vanilla extract
· 1&1/2 cups espresso or very strong coffee, cooled
· 2 tbsp (30ml) coffee liquor (I used Kahlua)
· 2 dozen lady fingers
· 2 tbsp cocoa powder
1. Beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
2. Mix the mascarpone, sugar and vanilla until combined. Add in the whipped cream and beat again until smooth.
3. Prep small Ball jars by removing all lids, rinsing and drying thoroughly, and setting them all out onto a tray or surface.
3. Stir the coffee and liqueur together. Lightly dip 2-3 lady fingers into the coffee mixture, then place the 2-3 lady fingers into the jars to create the bottom layer of the dessert. Make sure not to soak the lady fingers too much or there will be lots of coffee left in the bottom of the jars. Repeat in all jars.
The Kahlua is optional but adds a nice kick and authentic flavor to the flavor of this dessert!
4. Using the small ice cream scooper, scoop a generous amount of the ricotta mixture over each jar, making them look as much like a perfect scoop of ice cream as possible.
5. Sprinkle cocoa powder (or even hot cocoa mix) through a metal strainer over top of each jar. A light dusting of the cocoa powder really gives them a nicer, upscale look. Enjoy!
The other fun thing about this post is that I get to show off my new kitchen update, we painted and I installed new "tiles" from The Smart Tiles, here!
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This post has been sponsored by Coleman®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Happy Memorial Day Week!
This weekend, I am attending the Summer Camp Music Festival and I am so excited. It’s been almost ten years since I first attended, so I am really looking forward to seeing old friends and listening to some live music. (I will share some photos of the event in this post throughout the weekend!!)
It’s important to set up a cute campsite to have as your home base for the weekend, and the NEW Coleman® Dark Room Tent is a great option you might want to consider! Head to Target to find everything you need for all of your upcoming adventures, and save on Coleman products with this Ibotta rebate offer here!
Since music festival season is upon us, I wanted to share some tips and tricks on how to make camping at a music festival even better, beginning with considering your tent.
This tent comes with a convenient carrying bag too!
Head to Target to get inspiration for your upcoming festivals and summer gatherings!
One of the features I find most appealing about the Coleman® Dark Room Tent would be the roomy interior, which is great for holding everything during the festival - plus, being able to change in the tent is priceless! There is more than enough room for us in here.
I love the dark outer fabric (which is considered their Dark Room Technology), that blocks light! Since you will likely be camping around a lot of other people, it’s so sweet that this tent’s rainfly blocks 90% of sunlight so you can sleep in past sunrise. Since a lot of music festivals have festival goers camp in open fields without trees, shade is very important. If your tent gets super hot in the morning the moment the sun shines on it, think of just how HOT you would be when you’re trying to get some good rest before another big festival day. Getting a little extra sleep is really amazing.
This tent is pretty easy to set up. I would recommend at least having two people on the job, but it’s pretty easy to find a friend to help you set up your tent in this situation. There are three poles, two that go into the actual tent, and one pole that gives the rainfly a nice awning, which would reduce any water dripping into your tent.
Speaking of rainy weather, you never know what to expect here in the Midwest, but this tent will keep you nice and dry because of the WeatherTec system, which uses a tub-like floor with welded corners and protected seams.
One of my favorite parts of any camping trip is actually when we get to head to bed. I do love that part of the night where we get to retire into our ultra comfy sleeping bags, cots, and our awesome, sunlight blocking tent.
In addition to awesome camping gear, we have lots of fun ideas of how to decorate our campsite, a few of which are shown throughout the post.
A dream catcher was so adorable and easy to hang, plus it brings that whimsical element into your campsite.
My favorite décor item would probably be adding an extra large sunflower (from a craft store), which I attached with zip ties.
Use 2 white twin sized sheets and zip ties or ribbons to add inviting softness and volume to your tent. I first folded one sheet in half to find the center. I then attached that to the sheets in an arched pattern. I used two sheets, but you could use a few more to get an even more festive and inviting look.
Think of your campsite as a living room of sorts, and try to create a relaxed, comfortable environment for your group, or for friends you might meet at the festival. Use outdoor rugs, tapestries, solar lights and more to personalize your campsite and make it stand out.
Prepare for the summer with the Coleman® Dark Room Tent and enjoy!
Learn more about my home studio renovation and tips on how to create a smart space of your own, inspired by California Closets and Marie Kondo! Schedule your own consultation today!
Thank you California Closets for sponsoring this post. #MarieKondoXCaClosets
I recently had a very inspiring online consultation with Jessica Ballesteros, a very talented Design Consultant for California Closets. She and California Closets recently teamed up with Marie Kondo, the author of "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and creator of The KonMari Method.
I sent Jessica a brief explanation of what I wanted from my space, and she gave me lots of amazing suggestions and explained what one could expect from an in--home consultation, which I will explain further into this post. After that, she inspired me to completely re paint, and then overhaul the closet in my home studio / photo studio space. I am so excited to share my experience and new space with you!
The company's professional design consultants will collaborate with you to create custom designs at a range of styles and budgets.
To explain the space a bit better, this is one of our three bedrooms, and we had nice Pergo flooring installed a few years ago, but never got around to painting it. We use the space for our photo studio and any other fun and creative projects we come across.
It's a great size space for our photo studio, and the space basically needs to be kept very neat and tidy because when one project is done, we start the next, The space has to be versatile, and changes depending upon what we are working on. These projects range from food and drink recipes to product photography and home decor projects and more!
BEFORE + AFTER
Below, you can see my studio before the transformation. While it definitely wasn't stuffed to the gills with things (yes, it was at one time), it was not very tidy or inspiring. There are things that had been in this closet for years and years, and I would just keep adding thins to it because I didn't have any place else to put them. That should have indicated to me to get rid of some things, but I never gave myself enough time to really dive into making a more inspiring space.
While I did not install actual pieces from California Closets, I did use their mission to inspire my own design.
WHAT I DID
Painting really did help so much. I chose a light grey color called Filtered Shade from Valspar in an eggshell finish.
I also added a metal shelf to the closet, which holds a lot of weight per shelf. This will be amazing to hold props, my cameras, and anything I am using for current projects. This shelf even now has a few empty spaces that can be utilized in the near future for lots of upcoming projects.
I also hung my fabric pieces on hangers, which I use for backdrops or as tablecloths in lots of my photos. I like having a smaller selection of fabrics hung, because then it sets the color scheme for lots of my images, making my posts look more coordinated.
I made sure to keep everything in view, without crowding the shelves too much. I was able to easily store the two large camera cases in the closet and this will overall just be great because I will have everything at my fingertips during photoshoots, instead of having to run to different rooms of the house, which does waste time and energy (which never brought me joy).
IN PROCESS / BEHIND THE SCENES
THE KONMARI METHOD
After reading more into the KonMari Method, here are some key points.
Step 1: Decide what you want to get out of your space.
Ask yourself, what is your ideal lifestyle, and how can this space help you attain that? For me, I want to be a professional, very organized lifestyle blogger, and so this closet space needed to help me with that mission.
Step 2: Declutter and divide like items into groups
Take everything out of the space and organize it into piles of similar items. If there are certain items that do not actually make you feel happy, or that distract you from your initial goal(s), then it may be time to pass those items along. Then, you will be able to better organize those things that you do need.
Step 3: Decide what "sparks joy".
Marie Kondo explains what it means to spark joy. Ask yourself questions like
- Does the item contribute to making you feel good about yourself, your job, and your space?
- Will it help you with that particular job?
If not, then time to remove that item from the space and either discard, donate, or recycle it.
Step 4: Say Thank You and Discard (or Donate)
This is probably the most important and hardest of all of the steps. It's important to first realize how much space you even have for things, because if there are things we just never have room for, it may be time to just simply purge things. It can definitely be "scary" getting rid of things that you are so sentimental or that you have had for along time, but if it's something that you never use, or keep moving back and forth without using or having space for, then it may be time to let it go.
As suggested by Marie Kondo, say a little "thank you" to the items which have served you in the past, and send the items on their way. Discard, recycle, or donate those items which are not fulfilling your mission to "spark joy" in your life, and then give a quickly tidy up or reorganize to the space to now suite your needs better.
For me, I have gotten rid of tons of clothing, old papers, and other photography and food/drink styling related props by asking myself, would I ever really use this again, or is is outdated? Or, is this s timeless piece that I will be able to use again and again?
The Design Consultation with Jessica
As I mentioned, Jessica is a Design Specialist for California Closets, and you can read more about her in the below articles:
She gave me some expert advice, as stated below:
"If you were wanting to try the KonMari method of organizing your office closet you would first start by removing every single item, and I mean everything. One by one you would hold each item deciding what to keep (things that Spark Joy) and what to get rid of. Then putting everything back in an organized way. Using bins or baskets is always encouraged to help compartmentalize items by category if no drawers are available. Mari Kondo loves using boxes inside boxes to help divide things into categories."
I loved her ideas, and utilized as many as I could.
What an inspiring project this has been! I know that going forward, my new space will be an amazing home studio that inspires me each and every time I see it!
Learn more about California Closets Here! And again, check out my studio space after the revamp, below!
California Closets has an extensive range of beautiful finishes to choose from, from clean and simple white, to proprietary textures imported from Italy, all of which are environmentally sustainable and California Air Resources Board (CARB) compliant. You can really go wild and create a dream space of your own.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CheckYourPetFood #CollectiveBias. We are so excited to share our favorite new pet food today!
Happy dogs, happy life - that's my motto! We are definitely dog lovers through and through. We literally don't spend a day away from them unless we absolutely have to. We cater each and every day, as well as each and every vacation to making sure our pups are happy, healthy, and enjoying the right food. Above, you can see our cousin dog Mickey, the English Bulldog. She also LOVES this food so much and could not wait for her turn to show off her new favorite food.
We care about each and every dog in our families, as well as our friends' pets, and we often get asked what sort of food we feed our dogs. That's probably because everyone knows we are such dog lovers.
TIME FOR A REALITY CHECK
It may be time to do a reality check on your dog food. Does it contain real meat? Is it grain free? If not, it’s time for a change…for something that is a better value both to your pet and to you! Meijer has great products for your dog that are full of quality ingredients and at a great price. I love shopping at Meijer for Purina® Dog Chow and Purina® Beneful® products, and I encourage you to do the same. We brought some on our latest vacay, and the dogs were super happy about it.
We treat them like family, so making sure they are fed the right ingredients makes me know they will be happier for lots of years to come. Our two beautiful girls, Porter and Cabbie are definitely food-motivated. This means that I can even give them a few kernels of dog food as a treat, so I stick to their diets properly, and I do not overfeed them. I'd be lost without these dogs, they're my everything!
NOW THROUGH MARCH 3, 2018 - GET $1.00 OFF Purina® Dog Chow (32 lb and smaller) and Purina® Beneful® with mPerks coupons at Meijer!
Porter is only a year and a half old, so she was a bit harder to motivate to sit still. The whole time we were taking photos, she only wanted to sit near the dog food :) She kept pawing at the Purina Dog Chow making sure we knew which one she wanted! While she wouldn't actually sit there long enough to take a portrait of her, I thought this in-action shot of her giving Cabbie a kiss was pretty cute. She loved the food so much.
TREATING THEM LIKE FAMILY
Re-think What You’re Feeding Your Dog - take a closer look at your dog food, and compare its quality and value to what can be found in Dog Chow and Beneful.
Feed Them Like Family - Our dogs are 100% part of the family, too. That means feeding them quality nutrition.
Take Them On Walks and Give Them Plenty of Exercise Through Play Time - I try to walk the dogs for at least one hour, five times a day, weather permitting (basically only rain or SUPER freezing temps will keep me from doing this). While this may seem like a lot of time, I think of those hours that I may spend watching TV or playing on my phone. Time flies, so it's fun to refocus your energy and free time on your pets when possible.
Provide A Comfy Dog Bed - Our pets do need a comfortable and supportive bed. Meijer does have a ton of great options, and while some beds may be made from cute fabrics, above all else, I always make sure to look for a bed that has super thick, supportive memory foam and a washable cover.
Include Them In Travel - like I mentioned before, we always try to take our dogs on vacations with us. We make sure to stay in pet friendly hotels, go camping, or rent a rental house that's pet friendly. More and more, establishments are welcoming well behaved dogs with open arms, so do a quick search for dog friendly travel, and you may find something new! Otherwise, feel free to do a staycation with your pets, and treat them like royalty in your own home.
Take Time To Do Special Dog Activities With Them - while we humans have TONS of things to entertain us like our phones, tablets, games, conversations with other people, etc, dogs only have a limited amount of entertainment just within your home. I love taking the dogs on special car rides to the dog park, pet store, or if I will only be in a store for a few minutes, I sometimes take the dogs for a ride then too. They absolutely LOVE that extra stimulation of a new setting, smells, or environment.
Purina Dog Chow Natural Plus Vitamins & Minerals Dog Food 4 lb
Purina Beneful Grain Free With Ream Farm-Raised Chicken Adult Dry Dog Food 12.5 lb
Now is the time to take advantage of the in store savings, and MPerk deals at Meijer! Here are a few more tips that make me choose Purina products!
Quality Doesn’t Always Mean a Fancy Label - Just take a look at Beneful and Dog Chow. Both brands come loaded with quality nutrition, and they’re backed by Purina—a leader in pet nutrition with 90+ years of experience.
Every Dog Deserves Real Meat - Dogs love real meat. It’s what they seek in nature, and what they deserve. And you deserve to buy it at the prices you find when you shop Dog Chow and Beneful at Meijer.
No More Compromise - Think you can’t get real meat dog food at a price you can afford? Think again. That’s what Reality Check at Meijer is all about—finally, you can get real meat at the right price and don’t have to settle for lower-end dog foods.
Better for Them, and My Budget - Tout the benefits of feeding your dog real meat, quality nutrition like Beneful and Dog Chow, and the positive impact it has on your wallet when you save at Meijer.
What to Look for in a Label - Meat, or meat flavor? Real meat, of course. Showcase the quality ingredients found in Dog Chow’s and Beneful’s label as a part of a ‘label lesson.’
Real Ingredients, Right Prices, Remarkably Easy - Reality Check is all about finding real meat dog food at the right price, and it’s even better when you throw in Curbside shopping—it becomes super easy, too. Order Dog Chow or Beneful for pickup or shipment to your door, and you’re done. You can do it with the rest of your regular grocery shopping for even less hassle.
Learn more about one of the tastiest drinks I've ever had!Read More
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Dr Pepper®. The opinions and text are all mine. #PickYourPepper #Walmart
Summer is definitely here, friends! I’m trying to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible before it gets too dreadfully hot and humid here in southern Illinois. Luckily, there are lots of great picnicking areas and lakes available to us here in and around the Shawnee National Forest so we recently headed out to cool down!
I brought the sweetest summer essentials with me too – cold drinks, SPF, and my new 90s-inspired inflatable float :)
There’s nothing like floating in the lake or river while enjoying a cold drink and some fresh air. I always love to bring a big, floppy hat to protect my face and shoulders from excessive sun. Plus my ever-important sunscreen and my favorite shades - that’s about all I ever need to have a good time.
Dr Pepper sent me this float as part of their new Pick Your Pepper campaign with packaging that was made by millennials, for millennials, that I picked up at Walmart. It’s so unique and I was pleasantly surprised at how big the float was once inflated – it held me afloat in the water just fine! It was a little taller than me, so I could lay back and just float. I am excited to use this all summer and next year!
To claim your very own Dr Pepper Shaped Pool Float, or one of their other cute prizes, get the details below.
When you buy any Dr Pepper 6/15-8/15 this summer at Walmart, you can upload your receipt here to get the prize featured in my blog and/or other prizes like:
Spend $5, get a unicorn beverage holder inflatable
Spend $10, get a Walmart e--Gift Card worth $5
Spend $20, get a 6-pack can/bottle holder with ice pack
Spend $40, get a Dr Pepper bottle shaped pool float
I wound up getting almost everything for our day at the lake at my local Walmart! They have lots of cute summer items left, and some are even going on sale – get everything now before it’s gone.
I found everything from this tie dyed beach towel, which I absolutely LOVE, to my Dr Pepper, snacks, bowls to put the snacks into, summer-themed plastic cups, colorful straws, a cute sun hat, flip flops, and my new favorite summer clutch!!
What are some of your favorite locations to visit during the summer to enjoy the outdoors? Do you tend to stay local, or do you like to drive a few hours to enjoy something even better? Leave a comment below and let me know – we are always on the lookout for travel suggestions!
Also, what are your favorite picnic day snacks to enjoy outside? I went for classic options, and everything paired well together. An ice cold drink always helps the temp cool from inside and out!
This day, we got the most perfect weather ever! A little on the warm side, but the slight, cool breeze really helped keep things feeling great – and luckily kept mosquitoes at bay! It had actually rained earlier in the day, but the clouds cleared just enough to allow us to enjoy the sunset (the best thing in the world to me!). The water was so calm this day.
Now, let’s talk lakeside fashion! I loved this Made You Look Sun Hat from Walmart! Each one of our local stores seems to have a bit of a different selection, so I tried to browse them all for the cutest summer accessories. I also found this pair of mint, crochet-like coverup shorts, near the selection of bathing suits. I also just HAD to grab these donut printed flip flops – after all, it’s summer, right now I’m saying, “I Donut Give A Care” to so many of life’s worries. This great weather is really doing me some good!!!
This "Made You Look" hat is so fun!
In order to offer chilled refreshments on a hot day, I bring a small bag of ice in my cooler, and simply set the drinks into a metal tray. I then dump ice into the tin. The cans chill in about 20 or so minutes, and it’s such a cute presentation! Speaking of presentation, I do love a cute food table display, so I brought out some cute items to the lake with us. I used three tins (one for drinks, one for chips, and one for cookies), two fish-shaped bowls for candies, a wooden box to elevate the drinks, and of course plates and napkins. No utensils were required
Love the three colored tassels on the clutch bag! How adorable for summer!!
Taking a few extra minutes to set up a cute refreshment table really makes a day at the lake even better!
Invite your friends and family out this summer, and connect with them! Create meaningful memories during your summer celebrations that will be cherished forever!
Just wanted to wish my little girl, Porter a Happy Birthday!!!
Here's a portrait of us, both after our fresh, new haircuts!
Are you a food blogger who is currently looking to add a Recipe Card into your blog posts? I've done lots of research and after finding only WordPress plugins and widgets, I have finally found a Squarespace-friendly way to incorporate printable, Pinterest-friendly recipe and instructions to your posts! This means your recipes will finally show the ingredients and instructions into a Rich Pin on Pinterest.
SO excited to have finally found a way to create a Recipe Card that is optimized for Squarespace! I have been searching for months to find some way to code in a recipe card of my own, or even use a plugin. Every single one I've seen is for Wordpress, and I love Squarespace so much that I didn't want to have to switch over. I love the sleek design of my Squarespace template, and while a large portion of food bloggers do use Wordpress, I knew there was some way to stick with it! I am thrilled to share the Recipe Whiz!
The Recipe Whiz is a no-frills form that you input your title, description, yield, prep and cook times, ingredients, and instructions! You are also able to put the Image link to one image of the food too. YAY!
I originally found out about Recipe Whiz here, on the My Life As A Mummy blog, where she explained how it was perfect for Blogger Blogs, which it definitely is!
I would also recommend simply testing this out on one of your already-created recipe posts, since the info is already there for you, to copy and paste into the Recipe Card!
YOUR BLOG POSTS WILL FINALLY CONTAIN A PRINTABLE RECIPE CARD! (SEE BELOW)
YOUR POSTS LOOK GREAT ON PINTEREST - THEY FINALLY APPEAR AS A RICH PINS! (SEE BELOW)
1.) INPUT YOUR RECIPE INFORMATION
When you first visit The Recipe Whiz, the form below will be blank. Simply fill in the details of your recipe below, such as recipe title, cook and prep time, ingredients, and instructions.
At the very bottom of the form below, you will notice a box that says image. To get the direct image link, right click on any photo on your blog and select, Open Image In New Tab. It will open a new tab, and copy and paste that window's website address into this box.
After that, click "Get Microdata" and it will create some code for your Recipe Card.
ADD THE RECIPE CARD CODE TO YOUR BLOG POST
Grab that "Microdata" Coding in its entirety, and in a new or existing blog post, choose Add Code. Simply add this to a coding box on your squarespace post. Save and Publish, and you're done! In addition to the recipe card, I would still include all of this information in plain text, as well as lots of beautiful images. But, this definitely opens up a whole new world for use food and lifestyle bloggers who love using Squarespace!
If you have any questions at all, please comment below and I'll get right back to you! Thank you SO much for reading through this tutorial, and feel free to drop a link to your blog posts that utilize this Recipe Card, below.
Some of the most adorable baby shower ideas ever! I share three simple yet delicious recipes, perfect for a baby shower or any event you're hosting or attending this year!Read More
We are so fortunate to have such a vibrant Farmer's Market for still being in s pretty small city. I shot these photos in late May. It's interesting how some produce is only available a week or two, and I am sure even a few weeks later, the market looks completely different. It's definitely my goal to visit the market as many times as possible this year, especially before those mornings are a balmy 95 degrees with a very high % of humidity.
Also, this year, our weather has just been kind of odd, so I believe that growing seasons for early growing produce was severely shortened and stunted. But, now, the weather has gotten a lot warmer, it's not raining excessively, and the sun is definitely shining and feeding all of those plants!
Here is a sneak peek of the Market, I will share lots more photos later.
I am so happy to be featured as Linqia's May Influencer Of The Month! They've asked me share some of my greatest Pinterest Tips, and it's such an honor to be recognized. Learn more here!Read More
These strawberries are juicy red, taste delicious, and are only available for a short time during the early summer season. See the beautiful berries that were are so lucky to have here in southern Illinois.Read More
Check out one of southern Illinois' best greenhouses, and see all the beauty I found!Read More