Design / Food & Drink

Grapefruit Jalapeno Lime Mocktail Margaritas and Outdoor Entertaining

May 5, 2016

We might have a tiny backyard, but it’s green and shady in the afternoons and evenings. As soon the weather warms up, we eat all our meals outside. I love to entertain outside, when you house is small, like ours, our backyard is another big room to hosting guests.

If you are going to have folks over then, fun drinks are a must. My family might agree that this might just be the best mocktail recipe I’ve come up with. Virgin Grapefruit Jalapeno Lime Margaritas are sweet and spicy and so very very refreshing.

_outside entertaining 10outside entertaininggrapefruit lime jalapeno margaritagrapefruit lime jalapeno margaritas

Virgin Grapefruit Jalapeno Lime Margaritas

  • 6 cups grapefruit juice
  • Jalapeno Lime Simple Sryup (see recipe below)
  • ice
  • raw sugar and lime zest
  • lime wedges
  • thin slices of jalapeno

In a large pitcher with lots of ice, mix the grapefruit juice and simple syrup. Rim the glasses with raw sugar and lime zest. Garnish with limes and jalapeno slices.

Jalapeno Lime Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • juice of 5 limes plus enough water to make 1 cup
  • zest of 5 limes
  • 1 jalapeno sliced

Bring the ingredients to a boil and boil one minute. Pour into an airtight container and chill.

_grapefruit lime jalapeno margaritas 1 grapefruit lime jalapeno margaritas

I set this pretty outdoor table with beautiful dishes from Pier 1. These melamine plates are pretty enough to use inside.

Setting a colorful table outside is easy with Pier 1’s outdoor collections. I used pretty grey dinner plates, fun bubbly glasses, bright green napkins and simple napkin rings made with wooden and painted beads.  I kept the table center simple with a large lantern and some green leaves from my yard.

outside entertaining outside entertaining outside entertaining outside entertaining outside entertaining outside entertaining outside entertaining

This post is sponsored by Pier 1 Imports. Thank you for supporting the companies that help make this blog possible. 

Food & Drink

Chicken Mole Slow Cooker Tacos

May 4, 2016

At this house, tacos are welcome every night of the week. But, with Cinco de Mayo coming tomorrow, tacos are must!  These Chicken Mole Slow Cooker Tacos are going to be a new favorite around here. Mole can be a little tricky and time consuming to make, but this recipe really only requires all the ingredients to be blended in a food processor or blender and then just pour it over the chicken and turn on the slow cooker. Sweet and spicy, mole is a unique flavor that’s sure to be a hit this Cinco de Mayo._mole tacos 1 _mole tacos 2Chicken Mole Slower Cooker Tacos

  • 1 medium onion roughly chopped
  • 1 can of stewed tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 3-4 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. Mexican oregano
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander
  • 50 g or 1/2 bar of dark chocolate (I used 72% Ghirardelli)
  • 6 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • corn tortillas
  • cilantro, radishes, and limes to garnish

Place first 13 in a a food processor or blender, blender into smooth. Place the chicken in the bottom of a slow cooker, cover with the mole sauce. Cook on low for at least 6 hours. Shred the chicken and serve in corn tortillas with fresh cilantro, limes, radishes, and hot sauce._mole tacos 3 _mole tacos 4 _mole tacos 5 _mole tacos 7I love a slow cooker dinner. There’s nothing better then coming home to a meal that’s done and ready to eat! _mole tacos 8


The Laundry Room Plan

May 3, 2016

Let’s talk priorities and real life design. Ya, I’d love to fix a lot of things about my house. Heck, some of them aren’t even for aesthetic or design at all.  Like my windows, they are super inefficient and let all the cold or hot air in. They are almost 100 years old and so most of them don’t even open anymore. But, the budget hasn’t allowed for them to be replaced. And that’s ok, when you live in an old house, you have to be ok with imperfections. It’s all part of the charm.

Now, if you’ve been hanging out with me for a while now, you know that I REALLY want to finally finish my laundry room. It’s been sitting unfinished for 6 years now! Yes, the washing machine and dryer are in there and they work great, but the room is far from done. There’s a broken cabinet that stores all our junk. Really we put it in there 6 years ago as a “temporary” fix, but now after 6 years, this is starting to feel a little too permanent. We also have all the plumbing in place for a sink and baseboards have never been installed. Yep, my home is definitely far from perfect. downy ball

  1. Dust Pan
  2. Wooden Broom
  3. Ironing Board Cover
  4. Downy Ball
  5. Brass Hangers
  6. Laundry Sorter
  7. Striped Light
  8. Dark Cabinets
  9. Brass Drawer Pulls
  10. Wind Chime
  11. Diamond Rug

So, here’s my plan. My washer and dryer work really well. You guys, I’ve got 3 kids, I KNOW laundry all too well! And with the Downy Ball, I’m going to keep loving these machines for a few more years. While I’m not buying new, fancy High Efficiency appliances, I’m going to spend the little extra money I have on making my laundry room a fabulous space.

_downy ball 6I love using this Downy Ball with my loads. There is really nothing better then a soft fluffy towel, wouldn’t you agree? You just fill this bad boy up and it automatically dispenses in the the rinse cycle. It’s a no brainer._downy ball 1_downy ball 5Yep, we are going to finally install some cabinets, a sink and get this room in order! Eeeeek, I can’t wait. Black cabinets and brass hardware is definitely a must. I can’t wait to show you more._downy ball 4_downy ball 3_downy ball 2And this cute little girl is always my assistant and right hand women. She thought I should probably get a picture of her on top of the dryer as well. This shot is a keeper for sure. I’m a lucky mom, I get to do laundry for this fun kiddo.

This post is sponsored by Downy Ball, thank you for supporting the companies that help make this blog possible.

Join the Non HE-Nation! Be proud of your non-HE washing machine! It has been with you for countless spills, stains and spin cycles. And it’s going to be with you for countless more. Buck the high-efficiency trend and be proud to be Non HE! 

With Downy Ball, your non-HE washing machine makes softness simple. All you have to do is fill the ball with fabric softener, seal it and drop it in at the start of the wash. Then let your non-HE washing machine automatically release the fabric softener during the rinse cycle. 

You can’t do that in an HE washing machine! Click here to learn more.


Living Room Spring Refresh

May 2, 2016

Spring has been here for a while now in California, but just this weekend I decided I needed to bring a little bit of that warmer weather and color indoors as well. Really I just bought a pink pillow and a couple plants and moved around the things I already owned.

But, it’s funny how just new accessories makes a space feel totally brand new. I love styling bookshelves and surfaces, but I struggle with feeling like too much stuff can make a small space feel cluttered and busy. I want all my fun little nick nacks out on display, but I’m not sure if they make a small house feel even smaller. For now, my shelves are full, and I’m going to live with it for a while and just see how I feel about it in a week or so. I know what I like and dislike until I put it in my own home. Then I start to question all my choices. This is kind of why I love design so much. It’s always evolving and changing. Even my likes and dislikes. It’s never a sure, set formula that works every time. Design isn’t a perfect Science, it’s an art and it allows you to play and experiment. And really, all the rules can be broken.

So this week, I challenge you to try something new in your home. Spring is the perfect season for change.

_spring living room 9And now, here’s a look at our living room all ready for Spring.
_spring living room14 _spring living room 16_spring living room 2_spring living room 8 _spring living room 15 _spring living room 13 _spring living room 12_spring living room 1 _spring living room 11 _spring living room 10 _spring living room 7 _spring living room 6 _spring living room 5 _spring living room 3So, what do you think?  Too many things on the bookshelves? I hope you have a great Monday friends.


The Week’s End

April 29, 2016

Another week has come and gone and sheesh was this a jam packed one! Monday was spent all day painting the studio (which is almost done!). Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday involved a lot of styling and taking pictures.  I love opportunities that allow me to create and capture. Photography has long been a love of mine, so any chance I can work on improving my skills behind the camera and in the editing room, I’m happy to have. There’s so much I don’t know and sometimes I wish I had time to take a few more photography classes to improve me skills.

And……. all week long I’ve been battling super sensitive, and irritated skin (I over share on snapchat if you are interested – I’m oleanderandpalm there). But, I’m doing a treatment to take care of a bunch of pre-cancerous spots on my skin. I’ve been treating my forehead, temples and chest. This treatment has taken me down this week. It’s really quite painful and not to mention super ugly. The doctor warned me that it would probably give me flu-like symptoms and I’m pretty sure it has. I’ve tried to stay hidden in my house, but it’s not always possible. I feel like I have to explain to everyone why I look so terrible, it’s been a humbling experience that for sure. Anyways, enough about that.

But, the weekend is here! And I couldn’t be happier. I need a morning to sleep in (past 7 am preferably). But, the in-laws are coming next week, so I’m sure this weekend will involve quite a bit of cleaning. I hope you have some fun weekend plans to look forward to.

If you missed some of this week’s posts, be sure to check out my Homemade Chocolate Coconut Granola Bars, some fun Bath Linen Combinations, and black interior doors might be in my future.

ice cream against mint wall

Here’s a few posts that I found interesting this week, you should probably check them out as well:

Happy Friday Friends!


Black Interior Doors

April 28, 2016

Well, we’ve been itching for a change or to make a move, but just haven’t found the right place yet. So, I guess I’ll need to make the changes on the house I already have. Don’t get me wrong, I love me house, but a tiny bit more space would sure be nice.

I’m considering painting some interior door black. The problem is, if I paint one black, do I have to paint the all? I kind of think I have to. What do you think? I’m considering starting with the pocket door that is in between our laundry room and kitchen. If I start with a bedroom or bathroom door, then every door in the hallway will need to be painted. The other thing I worry about is creating a choppy feel to the eye. Our house is small and the rooms are small.  Would black doors just make is feel even smaller? I obviously am torn and have a lot of questions.  I hope you’ll weigh in.

But, black doors sure do look sharp, especially with white walls. Our doors are old and have a great shape and fun original door knobs. Black paint could really help them stand out. Here’s some pretty great examples, that just might convince you as well.

sourceblack door 1sourceblack door 2sourceblack door 3sourceblack door 4source





No More Boring Bath Linen Combinations

April 27, 2016

I think for some folks, it’s still a temptation to just buy the matching set of bath towels, hand towels and bath mat. But, interesting, intentional design is all about the details, and matchy-matchy just has to be avoided. Bath linens are a great place to play with pattern, texture and color. Unlike paint or wallpaper, towels are an inexpensive, non-permanent addition to the room. Really, towels only last a year or two with kids, so you can trade them out in no time at all.

I did a little online shopping and found some fun bath linen combinations that are far from boring. Yes, there are lots of neutrals (you know I love grey!), but with fun patterns and fringe details boring is not an option. No More Boring Bath Linen Combinations

  1. Bath Towel // Hand Towel // Bath Mat
  2. Bath Towel // Hand Towel // Bath Mat
  3. Bath Towel // Hand Towel // Bath Mat
  4. Bath Towel // Hand Towel // Bath Mat
  5. Bath Towel // Hand Towel // Bath Mat
  6. Bath Towel // Hand Towel // Bath Mat
  7. Bath Towel // Hand Towel // Bath Mat

Is there a combination you like best? I think I want #7 in my bathroom, I already have that hand towel. And #2 could be fun for the main bathroom, that my grubby kiddos use.

Food & Drink

A Retro Style Bike and Homemade Chocolate Coconut Granola Bars

April 25, 2016

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Columbia Bicycles, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #RideColumbia bike 5One of my favorite things to do is ride a bike, there’s nothing like the wind in your hair. Plus biking is one of those activities that doesn’t feel like exercise when you are doing it.

We love to take our bikes when we are on vacation. Sometimes the best way to see a new place is on a bike. This slower pace allows for you to not miss fun details along the way. Really you can cover a lot of ground on a bike. and parking is never an issue.

A couple weeks ago I spent a couple days in Palm Springs with some of my blog friends. Sarah of Sarah Hearts, her husband, Kevin, and I decided the best way to take in Palm Springs’ mid century architecture and desert landscapes._red bike 9The next chapter for Columbia has been written. Back in 1877, Columbia started selling bicycles before any other company in the USA. This company knows bikes, Columbia invented the tandem bicycle, a bicycle built for two, expertly capitalizing on their engineering superiority. And now they are rolling out a brand new fleet of beautiful bikes available at Walmart, Target, Toys R Us, Amazon and Dicks. _red bike 8

This cute red bike is Columbia’s 1920’s inspired Archbar 700c Vintage City Bike, available at Target. It has a steel frame, 7-speeds, steel fenders and a retro inspired seat the hand grips. It’s a really smooth, comfortable bike to ride.

_red bike 6And if you are going to ride your bike, you are definitely going to need a snack along the way. You gotta fuel your body. These Homemade Chocolate Coconut Granola bars are jam packed with all the good stuff. They are gluten free and sweetened with just honey and dates (oh and a few semi-sweet chocolate chips). It’s kind of nice to know what you’re putting in your body. I’m not sure if I’ll even be able to eat a store bought bar again. I might have become a granola bar snob. Plus these require no baking, so they are quick and easy to make. _chocolate coconut granola bars 1Homemade Chocolate Coconut Granola Bars

  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 tbsp raw shelled hemp seeds (optional)
  • 2 tbsp flax seed (optional)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4  cup honey
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • pink of salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer place the rolled oats, pecans, hemp seeds, flax seed, coconut, and salt. Place the pitted dates in a food processor and blend until the dates come are one big ball. Place the peanut butter and honey in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds or until it is a liquid.  Add the dates and honey and peanut butter mixture to the oat mixture and mix with the electric mixer until the ingredients are well combined.

Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper.  Firmly pack the oat mixture into the pan.  Sprinkle with the mini chocolate chips and press firmly into the bars. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours. Remove from the pan and cut into 10 equal sized bars.

Wrap the bars in parchment paper and store in an airtight container for a week (if they last that long)._chocolate coconut granola bars 3 _chocolate coconut granola bars 2_red bike 4 _red bike 1_chocolate coconut granola bars 4_red bike 2For more about these fun new bikes check Columbia out on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


The Week’s End

April 22, 2016


Well, it’s been a busy week. The studio is far from finished. I still need to finish painting a couple more walls and then I can start getting things organized. I’m an all-in girl and halfway or half-hearted just doesn’t work for me. So, I’ll be burning the midnight oil tonight to get the space put together. This has been a week of ups and downs. Some great highs and so kind of super lows. Being self-employed is no joke.

Here’s some fun posts to check out this weekend:

We are going camping Saturday night! I hope you have some fun weekend plans ahead of you.



Oleander + Palm is Moving!

April 21, 2016

Yep, I’m moving. Well, my studio is moving, and not very far at all. I’m actually just moving to a much better space down the hall from where I’ve been.  But, I’m moving from less then 200 square feet to 650 square feet – YIPEEE!

If you follow me on snapchat (oleanderandpalm), this is all old news to you. Or if you subscribe to my newsletter, I have already blabbed on and on about this move. I got the keys on Tuesday and started painting yesterday. Today will be lots more painting.

Oleander + Palm studio office

This is my old studio.

I’m really excited for this new, bigger, better space! I’ve been in my old studio for a whole year now, and boy does time fly by when you are working hard. It was kind of a risk last year when I signed a year lease. But, it really turned out to be a smart move to make for my business. We live in a small house and I was tired of working from my dining room table and then having to clean it all up in order to eat dinner. Having a dedicated space also helped me work more efficiently. At home I had the distractions of laundry and dishes. But at the studio, I could just work on blog “stuff”. The studio, which I painted all bright white, also changed my photography for the better. The windows did have a tinting film on them though, so I was always having to correct the white balance on images.

But, then just 3 weeks ago, I decided not to re-sign my lease. I have been actively looking for a bigger space for months now, but just couldn’t find anything. So I told my landlord and decided that I’d just move everything into the garage until I could find something that was a better fit. And then less then a week later, my landlord called telling me that a bigger space with huge windows had just become available. I jumped on it!!! 650 square feet of light-filled space.  

The rent is higher then I thought I could afford, so I invited a couple of friends to share the space with me. They will be using it for photography and as headquarters for an Etsy store. Blogging can be quite lonely, so I’m really excited to be have a space where I can work alongside other creatives.

studio 1 Theses are kind of terrible iphone images.  But, here’s a sneak peak at the new space. The walls are a light grey, which isn’t terrible at all, but they will all be white very soon. There’s nothing like taking pictures in an all white room! It makes all the difference. The ceilings are high, which makes the room feel even 2 studio 3

If you are local, keep your ear out for upcoming events and craft workshops. This is going to be a fun place to gather people.