Christmas Cards

December 13, 2017

Christmas cards are ready! This feels like a huge accomplishment with all the things that are going on this time of year. I think mostly I make photo Christmas cards so that the grandparents have something up to date to put on their fridge. If you can keep the Grandma’s happy, it always feels like a win.

This year, I hired a photographer friend to take our pictures so that I wouldn’t have to stress about it. But, totally out of her control, she got really sick and couldn’t make our shoot. So, I set up a tripod in front of our house and took a family picture before we headed to church. It’s kind of guaranteed that everyone will look halfway pulled together, and I know everyone will be home at that moment. The picture isn’t fantastic, but it’s pretty darn good. It just goes to show that often we like to overcomplicate things. I’m pretty sure the grandmas will be just as happy with this family shot as they were with last year professional images. I kind of like that our house is in this picture too. Who knows how long we will live here, it’s nice to have this landmark in pictures so we can remember or time here. And, when all else fails, slap a black and white filter on the picture and pick a pretty good foil design.

Mixbook makes holiday card making super easy and they have sooo many gorgeous metallic foil designs now.

I ordered this simple Love and Joy design in gold foil. On the back of the card I added more pictures of my cute kids (remember, these are really just for the Grandmas). Their drag and drop feature, makes it so easy to move around images and try out different layouts.

If you hurry and order cards today, you can get 50% off your order. Check out THIS Instagram post for the coupon code.

Now all I have to do is bribe my kids to write out all the addresses on the envelopes. A candy cane and the threat of Santa not showing up should help.

I know I love to get photo holiday cards from friends and family. Do you send out cards? And more importantly, do you have yours ordered and ready to by shipped?

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


Affordable Last Minute Hostess Gifts for Upcoming Holiday Parties

December 6, 2017

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

Affordable Last Minute Hostess Gifts for Upcoming Holiday Parties

It is the season for parties and get-togethers. I hate to come to a party empty-handed. I know how much work goes into having guests over and entertaining. Bringing a little gift is always a nice gesture. I often like to make a homemade gift, but lately I feel like there just isn’t time in the day. In this busy time of year, it’s nice to find some short cuts.

One trip to Pier 1 Impors, and I have four delightful gifts that I think any host or hostess would love to receive. If you haven’t been to Pier 1 Imports lately, you need to go, (or visit their website). It’s so packed with Christmas and Holiday treasures. And not only did I find pretty gifts, but I also found wrapping paper, glittery gift bags + boxes, ribbon, bells, and bows.

Affordable Last Minute Hostess Gifts for Upcoming Holiday Parties

These JOY mercury glass votives were the first thing to catch my eye. Paired with Snowy Birch scented tea light candles, these really can go with anyone’s decor, that’s the beauty of the white and metallics. I wrapped both of these packages in Pier 1 Import’s gorgeous birch bark wrapping paper and then added a couple jingle bells to the top of the package. I have a feeling most of my gifts will be wrapped in this pretty paper this year.

Affordable Last Minute Hostess Gifts for Upcoming Holiday PartiesAffordable Last Minute Hostess Gifts for Upcoming Holiday Parties

This is the easiest, grab and go gift ever. These Holiday Forest jar candles smell of freshly cut fir trees.

Affordable Last Minute Hostess Gifts for Upcoming Holiday Parties

Already festive with their green glass, I simply added a white and gold looped bow and this gift was ready to go. These would also be fantastic gifts for teachers, mail delivers, or maybe your favorite barista.

Affordable Last Minute Hostess Gifts for Upcoming Holiday Parties

If you are headed to a house party, chances are the host or hostess likes to throw a party. So, this pretty Christmas platter paired with a set of marble handled cheese knives will definitely be put to use.

Affordable Last Minute Hostess Gifts for Upcoming Holiday PartiesAffordable Last Minute Hostess Gifts for Upcoming Holiday Parties

I wrapped the cheese knives with metallic silver tissue paper and then tied a ribbon around both the platter and the box and topped the gift with a sprig of Pier 1 Import’s faux greenery. I love these pretty branches, they are very life-like and I divided them up and added them to vases around my house and saved smaller pieces to tying to the top of gifts.

Affordable Last Minute Hostess Gifts for Upcoming Holiday Parties

I’m sure you a sensing a them here, but candles really are such a great gift. I really don’t know anyone who doesn’t love them. This Snowy Birch 3-wick candle is the most pleasant, light scent, that I think everyone will enjoy. It’s a nice generous candle with three wicks. It’s shiny iridescent white glass container shines without even lighting the candle.

Affordable Last Minute Hostess Gifts for Upcoming Holiday Parties

For the easiest wrapping job ever, I simply topped this candle with a pretty platinum boxwood leaf napkin ring.

Affordable Last Minute Hostess Gifts for Upcoming Holiday Parties

I hope this is helpful. I am all stocked up. I have pretty candles, votives and platters all ready to be gifted. And these gifts didn’t break the bank, but I really feel like I have something special to give.

Affordable Last Minute Hostess Gifts for Upcoming Holiday Parties


Holiday Ready!

December 1, 2017

I can’t believe it! Our home is ready for Christmas on Dec. 1st. It’s truly a
Christmas miracle. It feels so good to have our tree up and all the decorations out. Now, we can sit back and enjoy evenings by the fire and fall asleep by the glow of the Christmas tree. Ahh, this really is the BEST time of the year. This year, we did something new, we bought an artificial tree. We will be traveling for Christmas (like we always do) and we just thought this would be so much easier. Now, we won’t have to worry about our tree dying when we are gone. But, boy do I love the smell of a real tree. So, that we don’t miss out on the full Christmas experience, I have Thymes Frasier Fir Candles is every room! Oh my goodness, these candles smell just like a Christmas tree.

The Thymes Frasier Fir scent comes in a few different collections to go with the style of your home – Gilded, Heritage, Statement, Northwoods, and Joyeux. If you have been following me for a while, you know that I love the color green, so I picked candles and soap dispensers that complimented every room in my house.

Pictures are great, but I think sometimes a video really can bring you into a space. So, I made a little video to show you some of the pretty details and how great a candle can make a room look and smell.

Every year I like to add something to our Christmas decorations. I don’t change up themes or color palettes. I really just stick with green and white and all the metalics and shiny things. So this year I added new stockings. I felt like out beautiful 100 year mantel desired new stockings.

Everyone will be getting Thymes Frasier Fir Hand Cream in their stockings. It’s thick and creamy, but not greasy – just right!

My plan of attack to decorating for the holidays is to first of all put away most of my everyday knickknacks. Then, just start making little vignettes on any of the surfaces – like coffee tables and mantels. I try not to over do it. But, it sure is fun to have pretty Christmas things sprinkled throughout the house. And really, candles are as good as it gets when you want to have a little ambience.

Even bathrooms need a little Christmas cheer. I love this hand soap and lotion set. No ugly bottles here, and it comes in the cutest faux bois ceramic tray.

We also rearranged the living room and put the tree in the middle of the window. I actually really love it there. Now, it’s time to sit back and enjoy the season. Not an easy task, when life seems to get busier and busier each year. But, I’m going to light a yummy candle and snuggle up under and blanket and watch a Christmas movie with my family this weekend. I hope you can make sometime to really experience Christmas as well.

Thank you to Thymes for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.


Food & Drink

Curry Frittata and Chai Tea Lattes

November 30, 2017

If you know me, I really like to cook and I cook a lot. But, I’ve actually been using the same pots that I got as wedding gifts almost 20 years ago. And I can’t even count number of cheap fry pans I’ve gone through over the years. I’ve been wanting to upgrade my kitchen hardware (pots and pans) for a while now, so when Made In Cookware asked me to try our their products, I was excited.

After using their 5 quart Stock Pot and 10″ Fry Pan for the week, here’s what I love about Made In. They make premium cookware and believe great cooking experiences are for everyone. There slogan is, “Professional cookware at an amateur price.” I love when great kitchen products are attainable to the average home cook. Because, that’s me! I love how these pans heat evenly, no matter what kid of stove you have (because mine might be the worst). I have a few pans in my cupboard right now that only brown in the very center of the pan, so have to keep moving my food around to get everything evenly cooked. No more cheap non-stick pans for me. You guys, this 10″ Fry Pan came out sparkly clean with no elbow grease at all, and that was after frying potatoes and baking a frittata with cheese in it. If you know your way around the kitchen, I’m sure you are impressed. And one more thing, all this cookware is American-made!

Now, I’m sure you all are feeling the holiday stress mounting like I am. I don’t know how it happens, but December just is CRAZY. I see our calendar filling up, and every evening seems to have some sort of event, party, or activity that we have to be at. I need simple dinners that are healthy and don’t take very much time to make. A frittata is the perfect weekend breakfast, or even better, an quick and easy dinner. And it’s the perfect recipe for testing out the 10″ Fry Pan, because you start this recipe on the stove top and then finish it in the oven.

I decided to give this frittata a little taste of India. This Curry Frittata has just the right amount of spice and lots of veggies to make it a great balanced meal. I really can’t eat Indian food without having chai tea as well. So, sticking with the theme, I also made Chai Tea Lattes.

Curry Frittata

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 half and half
  • 1/4 tsp. each of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. each Curry Powder and Garam Masala
  • 4 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 a red onion chopped finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 potatoes sliced thinly
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 feta
  • 2 Roma tomatoes sliced
  • a bunch of fresh cilantro

Start by heating 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a fry pan. Add the onion and garlic, cook on medium high heat until the onion is translucent.

In a bowl beat the eggs well with a whisk. Add the salt, pepper, curry, garam masala and half and half and mix well. Add the cooked onions, garlic and peas.

Add the remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil and place the potatoes in a single layer. Cook on medium high heat and fry each side of the potatoes until they are golden brown.

Pre heat the oven to 350 F. Pour the egg mixture over the potatoes. Turn the heat to medium and cook for about 5 mins, or until the sides of the frittata start to pull away from the side of pan. Sprinkle the feta cheese over the top of the frittata and place the tomato slices on top. Place the frittata in the oven and bake for about 15 mins or until the frittata is cooked completely through (you can check by placing a knife in the center, and if it comes out clean the eggs are cooked through).

Slice into wedges and top with the fresh cilantro.

I need to give credit to my brother Ash for this recipe. He has spent a lot of time in India and even lived in Sri Lanka, so his chai is pretty dang good. This is an easy one pot recipe the will make sure everyone in the family gets a generous cup or two.

My kids love chai, and while it does have a little caffeine, I think a little tea now and then is totally ok.

Chai Tea Latte

  • 5 cups water
  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 loose black tea leaves
  • 1/4 honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • a 1 inch piece of ginger root, cut into this slices
  • 8 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 8 cloves
  • 1 star anise

Place the 5 cups of water in a large sauce pan. Add the cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, and star anise. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 mins. Add the honey and stir until dissolved. Add the milk and bring back to a boil. once the chai boils, turn the heat of immediately. Pour the chair through a fine metal sieve to remove the loose tea leaves and spices. Serve immediately.

The 5 quart Stock Pot was perfect for this chai recipe. This is a pan I will be using all the time. It’s just the right size for cooking almost everything. It’s not too big, but also plenty big enough for a big pot of soup.

Is there someone on your Christmas list that could use some new pots and pans? Made In Cookware would make a fantastic give. Or maybe you are cooking big holiday meals, now is a good time to upgrade your cookware. Be sure to check out their full collection of cookware I’ve got me eye on the 2 quart Sauce Pan, I think it would be perfect for cooking my morning poached egg in.

This post is sponsored by Made In. Thank you for supporting the companies that help make this blog possible. 


Cost Plus World Market Black Friday Deals

November 20, 2017

Well, I think we can officially start shopping for Christmas. Thanksgiving is just about here and there are some GREAT Black Friday sales out there. I know I’ll be hitting my Bakersfield, Cost Plus World Market this weekend. I’ve got all the details for their awesome Black Friday event and 3 really fun gift guides to help you start your gift shopping. I’ve picked out some awesome pieces for the Coffee Connoiseur, the Budding Baker and the Hopeful Hostess in your life. Cost Plus World Market is a treasure trove of fantastic gift ideas, you don’t want to miss out.

Black Friday is going to be great! The 1st 100 in-store customers get a $10 certificate for Cost Plus World Market. And then on Saturday and Sunday, the 1st 100 customers will get a free tote bag. Also the 1st 100 customers in store on Friday, November 24th through Sunday, November 26th can play the Peru-se Our Store Instant Win Game. All you have to do is scratch the Golden Llama game piece to see if you are a winner! You could WIN one of 3 trips for 2 to Peru!

And there are some fantastic deals that you won’t want to miss like:

*Must be 18 years old or older to receive the $10 Certificate. Certificate is valid in-store on 11/24/17 only.  Not Valid online. Not valid on alcoholic beverages and gift cards. One time use only. No cash value or rain checks issued.

And now for some gift guides to help you start shopping.

Covered Mug // Brew Book

I think everyone knows a Coffee Connoisseur. You are sure to find some really great brewing equipment, good coffee beans, or just a darn cute mug at Cost Plus World Market.

  1. Italian Roast
  2. Coffee Scoop and Clip
  3. Kettle
  4. Blush Mug
  5. Chemex
  6. Small Marble Trivets
  7. Coffee Grinder
  8. Brew Book

Whisk // Rolling Pin // Napkin

Not only does Cost Plus World Market have all the tools you need to start your Christmas Baking, they also carry a lot of the ingredients. I actually buy most of my spices, chocolate and nuts at Cost Plus World Market.

  1. Marble Rolling Pin
  2. Tea Towel
  3. Mixing Bowl
  4. Cookie Cookbook
  5. Apron
  6. Measuring Cups
  7. Pot Holder

Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Do you know some that wants to host more dinner parties? If so, stock them up with all the essentials and you will be sure to be invited over for a home cooked meal. Cost Plus World Market makes Easy Entertaining a reality with everything from drinks, crackers, cheese, salami and all the yummy gourmet treats you need to get a party started. 

  1. Wood Salad Servers
  2. Host Cookbook
  3. Cast Iron Dutch Oven
  4. Covered Casserole Dish
  5. Wooden Cheese Board
  6. Dark Grey Napkins

The post is sponsored by Cost Plus World Market, thank you for supporting the companies that help make this blog possible. 

Here’s so of the deals I will be shopping:

Entertain / Food & Drink

Sweet 16 Spa Sleepover Party

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

Well, I’m officially old, I have a 16 year old. Ya, that happened. I’m all about a good birthday party to celebrate another year of life on earth. I teamed up with OLLY again and Denali invited 5 of her bestie girlfriends over for a “spa” themed sleepover. Encouraging healthier hair, skin and eating seemed like a good way to kick off turning the big 16!

We set up the guesthouse, so that the girls could have a fun night all to themselves. And actually, this was one of the easiest parties I’ve ever put together. I kept the food simple and the gift bags were a cinch to throw together. We just set of them up with a projector for watching movies and I bought a pack of charade cards, which they ended up playing with for a good couple of hours.

In keeping with the spa theme, I tried to provide snack that were on the healthier side. I set of a “spa water” station with fruit, cucumbers and fresh mint for the girls to add to their water. For movie snacking, I put out a big bowl of kettle corn and a pretty platter of berries, dark chocolate and nuts.

I filled little cosmetic bags with face and hair masks, hair ties and clips, and tweezers. Then I wrapped a cute fuzzy eye mask around the outside of the bag. The girls all treated themselves to a face mask while they watched movies.

In the morning, I served the girls raspberry banana smoothies, lots of fresh fruit and little individual Creme Brulee French Toasts.

Spa Themed Sweet 16 Birthday Party

OLLY Girl Multivitamins are already a part of Denali’s daily routine. These yummy, chewables are made especially for girls 12-17 years old. OLLY Girl Multivitamins support strong bodies and bones, immune system health, and energy production. They are formulated with biotin to help with hair and nail growth and work for the inside to support clear, healthy skin. It’s really never to early to start pampering your skin and hair.

Now, who’s going to throw me a spa sleepover party? I NEED one in a bad way. Doesn’t this feel like something you’d like to do with your girlfriends, even if you turned 16 a couple decades ago?


Food & Drink

Host a Relaxed Friendsgiving

November 18, 2017

Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins.

Friendsgiving is such a fun new tradition. I love it’s laid back, casual vibe. All the pressure and stress of hosting a perfect Thanksgiving dinner, is not associated with this simpler get together. This year I’m keeping it as simple as possible, so that I really can just can enjoy a few hours with friends.

I usually like to over think and complicate menus, but this year it’s as easy as can be. I’m serving a hearty Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup, yummy Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins, and Apples Fosters and buttery Cranberry Rosemary Shortbread for dessert. I’m serving double dessert because I have friends who’s diet’s require them to eat gluten free. So, Chef Sam Talbot’s Apples Foster recipe is perfect. Oh, and one more thing, who doesn’t love a pretty cheese and charcuterie board? I almost always put one out before a meal when I have company. It’s a guaranteed way to keep guests happy while you finish up the final touches of a meal. I tried to take all my favorite Thanksgiving flavors and pack them into this easy to-make menu.

Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins.

I gave my table a little Thanksgiving, Fall Harvest touch with some really pretty pieces from Pier 1 Imports. I love adding a couple items to what I already own to freshen up the look for the season. And the star of the table setting is definitely these adorable pumpkin tureens. Soup just got so much better when you can eat it out of covered pumpkin shaped dishes. You are going to want to visit your local Pier 1 or just hop their website before Thanksgiving is here.

Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins.Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins.

Here’s some of the pretty things I used to bring a little harvest cheer to my table:

Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins.

I lined the inside of this pretty utensil holder with plastic zipper bags and florist oasis, then I filled it with a wild arrangement of flowers, leaves and wheat. I think it makes a really pretty center piece.

Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins. Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins.

These gorgeous etched glass hurricanes will probably stay out all year long. And these tall smoke colored glasses really are quite elegant.

Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins.

The Menu

  • Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup
  • Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins
  • A Pretty Charcuterie Board
  • Cranberry Rosemary Shortbread Cookies
  • Apples Foster
  • Sparkling Apple Ginger Mocktail

Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins.

Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup

  • 2 lb. (or about 4 cups) butternut squash (peeled and cubed into 1 inch pieces)
  • 3 tbsp. each fresh sage, rosemary and thyme finely chopped (divided)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil (divided
  • salt + pepper
  • 3 lb. Turkey breast
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 quarts turkey stock
  • 2 cans fire roasted tomatoes (14.5 oz. cans)

Start by roasting the butternut squash and turkey breast. Toss the butternut squash with 2 tbsp. olive oil. Place them on a baking sheet. Place the turkey breast in the center butternut squash. Rub the 2 tbsp. of butter on the outside of the turkey breast. Season everything well with salt + pepper and sprinkle with 1 tbsp. each finely chopped fresh sage, rosemary and thyme. Place in a 375 F oven for 1 hour.

While the turkey is roasting, you will want to cook the wild rice. In a large pot, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil, add the chopped onion and garlic and cook until the onion starts to turn translucent. Add the wild rice and water and bring to a boil. Once the rice comes to a full rolling boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover the pot. Simmer for about 1 hour, or until the liquid is gone and the rice is tender.

At 1 hour of roasting, remove the butternut squash. The turkey may need to roast a little longer, depending on how big it is. Turkey is done when a meat thermometer reads 165 F. Allow the turkey to rest at least 10 minutes before shredding it with two forks. Remove all the meat from the bones and discard any skin.

Now that the rice is done, add the turkey stock, fire roasted tomatoes, butternut squash, turkey and remained 2 tbsp. each finely chopped fresh sage, rosemary and thyme. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 10 mins on medium heat. Season well with salt and pepper. This makes a lot of soup, so you can be generous with the salt, there is nothing worse then flat, bland soup, don’t you agree?

Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins. Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins.

Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins

You will need 2 packages Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix or 1 package Trader Joe’s Cornbread Mix. Follow the directions on the box but instead of using milk, substitute canned pumpkin instead.  Also, add 1 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice and 1/4 cup roasted pepitas. If the batter seams dry, feel free to add up to 1/4 more pumpkin puree. Mix well and place in paper liners in a muffin tin. Sprinkle with a few more pepitas and bake according to the directions on the box.

Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins.

Cranberry Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • a pinch of salt

I made this recipe with my food processor, but if you don’t have one, don’t fret (see the instructions in the next paragraph). Start by chopping the rosemary and cranberries first. Then remove them from the food processor and add the butter and sugar and mix until smooth. Then add the flour and salt and pulse until the dough comes together. Finally, add the rosemary and cranberries back in and pulse until the dough is mixed completely.

And if you don’t have a food processor, follow these instructions. With an electric mixer, beat the butter on high for a minute. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add the flour and salt and beat again until smooth. Add the rosemary and cranberries a mix until it is incorporated evenly.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. Roll out the dough to 1/4″ thickness on a well floured surface. Cut out 1 inch by 3 inch rectangles. Prick the tops of the cookies with a fork. Place the cookies on parchment lined baking sheet. Place the cookies in the freezer for at least 30 mins. Preheat the oven to 350 F, bake the cookies until just golden brown on the edges, about 12 mins.

Cranberry Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

Apples Foster With Coconut and Whiskey Caramel

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 firm apples, cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick rings or wedges (about 2 cups)

Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium. Whisk in the sugar. Remove the skillet from the heat, and add the whiskey. Carefully ignite the fumes just above the mixture with a long match or long multi-purpose lighter. Let the flames die down. Return the skillet to the heat, and add the coconut milk, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to have the viscosity of caramel, about 4 minutes. Add the apples, and cook, stirring often, until the apples are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. (You’ll know the sauce is done when it easily coats the back of a spoon.) Pour this over warm biscuits or some dairy-free ice cream or gelato.

Excerpted from 100% Real by Sam Talbot. Copyright © 2017 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Time Inc. New York, NY. All rights reserved.

Apples Foster Apples FosterHost a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins. Host a relaxed Friendsgiving luncheon with Roasted Butternut Squash Turkey Wild Rice Soup + Pumpkin Spice Cornbread Muffins. White Pumpkin Tureen

Not only are these pumpkin tureens adorable, but they actually keep your soup piping hot. I paired them with my everyday dishes, and they look great! That’s the beauty of white pumpkins, they go with everything.

Fall Florals

I hope you feel inspired to host a friendsgiving this year. It doesn’t have to be decadent and over the top, keep is simple with soup and bread and I guarantee your friends will approve.

Harvest / Fall Table Setting Fall / Harvest Table Setting

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


Black Shiplap Panelling

November 17, 2017


I’ve been itching to tackle another room in our house, but I just haven’t had time. So, in the meantime, I’m just going to keep planning and dreaming. Really, it’s the best part of a renovation or room makeover. It’s the part of any project that is most hopeful, exciting and definitely the least messy.

I’d love to take on our little powder room next. And since it’s a small space, I think it would be fun to do something dramatic like black shiplap panelling. I’m really not a fan of the white shiplap, it feels a little too country for my taste. And it might just be a tad overdone right now. But, painting it black feels a quite a bit more sophisticated to me. I’m such a huge fan of exterior siding painted black, but since I live in sunny southern California, this will never happen for me. So, I think I need to bring this look indoors.

Here’s a few good examples of black panelling done right. What do you think? Do you have opinions on shiplap? And do you prefer traditional white, or does a darker more your speed?

Black Shiplap


Black Shiplap


Black Shiplap


Back Shiplap


Black Shiplap


Black Shiplap


Black Shiplap



One Sofa, Four Living Room Looks

November 10, 2017

I’ve got lots of new projects going on right now that I haven’t said too much about. I’m pretty excited about this latest project. And I think it’s going to be really fun to share the process with you here on Oleander + Palm. I’ve been hired to furnish and style two model homes in a brand new housing division here in Bakersfield. I’m so excited to be apart of Tarina Home’s newest project, Shamrock Hills. I’m going to make these model homes as O+P as possible, with lots of DIYs, thrifted finds and design on a budget. I firmly believe interior styling doesn’t have to cost a fortune, so I want to create spaces where folks can really experience attainable design.

Today I’m sharing a little teaser into the project. Wanna see what I’m going to do with the living rooms in the two houses?

Sven Article Sofa

If I’m going to style a room that’s going to get noticed, I’ve got to start with a really great piece of furniture.

You know when something catches your eye, and you just can stop thinking about it? That’s how I feel about Article’s Sven Sofa. (PS this is totally NOT sponsored.) It’s just a beautiful piece of furniture. I love the midcentury leg, the square arm, the tufted seat cushion and all the gorgeous colors it comes it. I mean, what’s not to love?

I’ve played with my four favorite versions of the Sven and designed four living rooms to go with them. I feel like the Sven Sofa is one of those classic pieces of furniture that works well some many different styles.

I love the casual vibe. It actually feels right for Bakersfield. We really do live in the desert. I love this strong black leather contrasted with all the pale, natural textures.

  1. Joshua Tree Print
  2. Bird Illustration
  3. Round Mirror
  4. Faux Cactus
  5. Terra Cotta Pot
  6. Wicker Chairs
  7. Black Tribal Pattern Pillow
  8. Striped Pillow
  9. Cow Hide Pillow
  10. Black and Brass Lamp
  11. Sven Black Leather Sofa
  12. Rattan Cabinet
  13. Live Edge Coffee Table
  14. Leather Pouf
  15. Pink Patterned Rug

This green sofa gives me all the heart eyes. This look feels a tad sophisticated but still hip and fresh.

  1. Tropical Leaf Print
  2. Typography
  3. Round Mirror
  4. Vase
  5. Plant
  6. Midcentury Chairs
  7. Double Lamp
  8. Midcentury Side Board
  9. Round Coffee Table
  10. Green Velvet Sofa
  11. Tassle Pillow
  12. Black and White Pillow
  13. Leather Pillow
  14. Bird Pillow
  15. Cream Pillow
  16. Brass Side Table
  17. Rug

If you’ve followed here for a while, you know I might be a fan of a pastel Scandinavian look. This look feels like something new for Bakersfield.

  1. Calendar
  2. Black and White Print
  3. Ocean Print
  4. Plant
  5. Chairs
  6. Side Board
  7. Wall Sconce
  8. Pink Fur Pillow
  9. Triangle Pillow
  10. Green Geometric Pillow
  11. Grey Velvet Sofa
  12. Green Side Table
  13. Brass Candle Holder
  14. Round Coffee Table
  15. Grid Patterned Rug

I don’t think my style is very traditional usually, but I do love a few pieces from this style here and there. This look feels the safest, but hopefully not boring.

  1. Black and White Art
  2. Horse Print
  3. Mirror
  4. Floor Lamp
  5. Faux Fiddle Leaf Fig
  6. Wing Back Chairs
  7. Buffalo Check Pillow
  8. White Pom Pom Pillow
  9. Black Lines Pillow
  10. Black Dresser
  11. Camel Leather Sofa
  12. Brass Coffee Table
  13. Cream Rug
  14. Lamp
  15. Turned Leg Side Table

So, which living room do you like best? And why? If I was picking for my house, I think the Global + Green feels most like my current style.  This was a fun creative challenge for me. And I can’t wait to share with you which two styles we are going to bring to life in the models. I’m hoping to take you along every step of the way. So stay tuned.

First stop is the Pasadena Flea Market this weekend!



November 9, 2017

I’ve mentioned this on social media, but I thought I should announce Brandwell here as well. I’m so excited to be apart of this “brand” new adventure.

Here’s what Brandwell is in a nutshell. Brandwell is a game changing brand workshop for you and your business. It’s a two-day immersive workshop that will help you brand and capture your business through strategy, design, content and business planning.

Brandwell Workshop

I’ve teamed up with Shannon and Ashlee of Purveyor House to bring this new project to life. I’m so excited about this collaboration. It feels so good to be working with a team. It’s hard to be working along everyday. I’m really enjoying the community and feedback that I don’t get by working alone here with Oleander + Palm. It’s nice to not have the weight of EVERYTHING on my shoulders alone. We all have strengths in different areas, so it’s fun to see this take shape. It’s also great to be doing something locally here in Bakersfield. I am very passionate about helping our city reach it’s potential. Equipping local business for success feels like a great place to be right now.

Brandwell Workshop

Now, back to the details of the Brandwell Workshop. We are hosting our first workshop January 26-27 here in Bakersfield, CA. This is going to be a very limited space workshop so that we really can work one-on-one with businesses. It’s called a workshop, and it really is a hands-on workshop. This won’t be just be feel good pep talks or inspirational messages, the workshop is going to give businesses real takeaways in the form of customized strategy and even content and imagery that is ready to be used on social media platforms.

Brandwell Workshop

This is just the start, we have BIG hopes and dreams for Brandwell. You can follow along on Instagram for some helpful tips and tools and definitely sign up for the newsletter!

brandwell workshop