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The Week’s End

March 11, 2018

It’s been a while since I’ve shared a little “The Week’s End” post. If you are new around here, this is just a little update post, where I share a little bit about my life lately and sometimes some fun things I’ve found on the internet that I think you should check out.

The last 2 weeks have been a whirlwind. I’m sharing pictures of snow in Sequoias here, but I’m actually enjoying the tropics here in Costa Rica as I write this.

Oleander + Palm - The Week's End (Sequoia National Park)

So, here’s what we’ve been up to:

Two weeks ago we drove up to Sequoia National Park for just the day. California has not had any rain or snow and we finally got a dump. It was gorgeous. Beautiful fluffy new snow, redwood trees, and sunshine – you couldn’t ask for a nicer day. We really live in such a great location. We have very mild winters, but if we want to visit the snow, it’s less then 2 hours away.

And then the very next weekend, we woke up early Saturday morning and decided to head to LA, (which is also less the 2 hours away). I decided I wanted to check our Emily Henderson’s Rummage Sale, just for kicks. Olivia and Dylan went with me. We arrived a few hours after the sale had started, so a lot of the REALLY good stuff was gone. But, I did score a pair of West Elm chrome wall sconces (brand new, in their boxes) for $15 each. And….. a got an awesome midcentury style globe lamp for $15 as well, but the best part is that it came from Kim and Kanye’s house. I think that’s hilarious. I’m totally NOT a fan, but it’s pretty fun to say that a lamp in my house came from theirs. And since we had driven all the way to LA, we decided to head over to LACMA for a couple hours and then grab a bite to eat at the LA Farmer’s Market.

Last week we hosted a Brandwell Meet Up and it was a success! So many local folks came out and chatted business and branding. Brandwell is still keeping me very busy. It’s exciting to see this new venture of ours grow. We have so many big plans and dreams for Brandwell, in addition to the workshops, we are planning some online courses so that we can help businesses beyond just Bakersfield.

The flu finally hit our house last week. My poor husband and son were sooooo sick.  I was panicked that Olivia or myself would get it before or even during our trip to Costa Rica. I credit my recent healthy eating (I’ve been on a 28 Day Reset with Reformed Metabolics), overloading myself with Vitamin C and zinc, and sleeping in a different room from my husband for the last 3 days to staying flu free.

Speaking of the 28 Day Reset, it’s been hard to keep up the healthy eating here in Costa Rica. We really don’t get a choice of food, we kind of just need to eat what is put in front of us. I’m doing my best, eating lots of fresh papaya and trying to limit how much rice I eat (even though it’s served with almost every meal). Don’t get me wrong, the food is really good, it’s just not very low carb or as high in fiber as I’d like it to be. It’s just a week, I’ll get myself back on track as soon as I am home.

Oleander + Palm - The Week's End (Sequoia National Park)

If you are interested in our Mission trip to Costa Rica, I’m sharing details from our days here on my Instagram Stories. Saturday was spent mixing a lot of cement, today we went to church, played with kids and then got to visit a little market. Tomorrow – we are back to mixing cement. It’s not glamorous, but I feel like we are helping this little community. They are building a dining hall to help feed local kids. Many of the children in this area are from Honduras and they are being raised by single mothers that struggle to find child care and put meals on the table while working to try to earn a little income. I’m so impressed with this local church and their vision to help their community. They don’t have much themselves, but God is really using them in a big way.

Design / etc.

The Frame by Samsung

December 20, 2017

This post was created in partnership with Samsung.

The Frame by SamsungThe Frame by Samsung

Christmas came early to the McConnel house. After 10 years with the same small-ish TV, we have made a huge upgrade with The Frame by Samsung. If you recall, in the Summer I played around with the idea of hanging The Frame over our credenza in our living room (see the original post here!). I tried out a few different gallery wall options and dreamed about the possibilities of living without the ugly black box. And now it’s a Christmas Miracle, because we have a new piece of art that we can change and customize. Using the phone app, I simply uploaded one of my own favorite images. I took this picture of a giant oak tree last fall just outside of Bakersfield. I love being able to display my own work. When Spring and Summer arrive, I’m sure I’ll want to change the image to some wild flowers or a warm beach scene.

The Frame by SamsungThe Frame by Samsung

TVs can be such an eyesore when you are trying to decorate your home. I’m always trying to find ways to hide and disguise the traditional TV in a room. The Frame hangs flush to the wall, like a real framed picture, so you can treat it as another piece of art in your room. When you aren’t watching your favorite Christmas movie with 4K UHD viewing, The Frame can display your favorite family photos or you can load it with one of 100 pieces of curated art that Samsung provides.

The Frame by SamsungThe Frame by Samsung

We are hosting a Christmas Open House, and I am soooo excited to have our credenza free of electronics so that I can make it festive and even put out drinks and snacks on it. I love when a party can move from room to room, and folks can mingle and snack in every space. Often with parties, everyone gets crowed right were the food is, usually the kitchen or dining room. But, this year I can put out treats in the living room as well. Anytime I can clear up a surface and hang things on the walls, I feel like I’m winning the decorating and organizing game.

The Frame by Samsung

I’m still playing with the gallery wall in our living room, because I just have too many favorite pieces that I still want to display. But, now I can share a favorite holiday photo in The Frame or switch out the art piece to go with the season without making anymore holes in my walls. You guys, I feel like this is such a design game changer and we actually live in the future!

The Frame by SamsungThe Frame by Samsung

The Frame also has customizable bezels that have the flexibility to perfectly complement your home décor, with three additional bezel options in wood, white or metal. I played with the walnut frame to play with all my wood trim in the house.

The Frame by Samsung

Also, to make the holidays a little sweeter, The Frame 55″ and 65″ sizes are currently $200 off in stores and online! It’s not to late to add to your Christmas wishlist.

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Gingerbread Ice Cream with Crystalized Ginger

December 18, 2017

You know how folks go crazy over PSL (Pumpkin Spice Lattes), well I think they are good, but Gingerbread is where it’s really at for me. It’s my favorite holiday flavor.

If you are a fan of gingerbread like I am, you might like this Gingerbread Cake + Toffee Sauce recipe, these Gingerbread Milkshakes, these Gingerbread Cookies with Lemon Buttercream, or maybe this homemade gingerbread syrup recipe as well.

Gingerbread Ice Cream with Crystalized Ginger

There is no messing around with this ice cream, it’s bursting with flavor – sweet molasses and spicy ginger. And this is the creamiest ice cream you will ever have. It’s actually a cooked custard made with whipping cream (yep you heard me right) and 4 egg yolks.

Gingerbread Ice Cream with Crystalized Ginger

Gingerbread Ice Cream with Crystalized Ginger

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 molasses
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. each cinnamon, allspice and cloves
  • 2 tbsp. crystalized ginger (finely chopped)
  • gingersnap or gingerbread cookies for garnish

In a small sauce pan, combine all the ingredients except the crystalized ginger. Whisk together well. Turn the heat to medium and continue to whisk. It will take about 8-10 mins, but cook until it begins to thicken. It should coat the back of a spoon. Do not bring to a boil, keep the heat on medium.

Pour the custard into a glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge. Cool for at least 2 hours. When the custard is completely cooled you can place it into your ice cream maker and freeze according to your machine’s specific directions. I have a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker and it takes about 20 mins to freeze ice cream. When the ice cream is done, add the crystalized ginger at the end and let the machine mix it in well. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and freeze overnight. Because this is made with cream, it will stay a softer ice cream.

Gingerbread Ice Cream with Crystalized Ginger Gingerbread Ice Cream with Crystalized Ginger

I topped my ice cream with a couple more pieces of crystalized ginger and a Swedish Gingersnap (Pepparkakor). I bought this cute little tin of cookies in Sweden, but THESE are very similar.

Gingerbread Ice Cream with Crystalized Ginger + Swedish Gingersnaps (Pepparkakor)

 

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High School Wisdom For My Teenager

October 30, 2017

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

There are so many things that I feel like a need to teach my daughter before she leaves us for college. And that day is quickly approaching. I teamed up with OLLY to share a couple fun life lessons that I could share with my daughter Denali. When I look back on my high school years there are a couple pieces of wisdom I think I can pass on to her. There are lot of things I would probably do definitely now, but I have a couple nuggets that I think will help her. Of course, the hope is by now we have raised a pretty kind, generous, and hardworking human being. These are just a few bonus tips to get you through these High School years just a little more smoothly.

Here are my 3 pieces of High School wisdom:

  1. Don’t bother with a boyfriend, stick with friends only. Life is so much easier and my High School experience was boy-drama free.
  2. Eat breakfast, even when you are in a hurry, it’s the most important meal of the day.
  3. Learn to love thrifting, you will always have be able to find unique, fun outfits, even when your budget is super tight.

Really this is totally up to Denali, but I have really recommended not wasting her time with the whole boyfriend game while in High School. Boyfriends often bring drama and stress. I watched my friends with boyfriends, and was happy that I just had lot of guy friends instead. It was easier and I really didn’t feel like a was missing out. High School already has so much stress, with activities and academics. It just one less thing to worry about. These things can wait. Friendship, now that’s definitely important. I also think it’s important to learn how to have friends with the opposite sex at a young age.

In my early teens I was not a breakfast eater. I just wasn’t a morning person and having to figure out what to eat and fuel my body with felt overwhelming. But, then I was crabby and worn out until lunch hit. I attended boarding school my last two years of high school. My boarding house parents were from Texas and they made BIG breakfasts everyday! Having that fuel first thing in the morning definitely helped give my body and mind what it needed. I realized that I wasn’t doing myself any favors skipping this meal. Denali’s day starts early with 7 am classes and usually ends pretty late. By the time she finishes cross country practice and puts in a solid 3 hours or more of homework, often she’s crawling into bed around 11 pm. We try to have grab-and-go breakfast options on hand. She doesn’t have time to sit and eat breakfast at the table. So, a hearty breakfast burrito and a OLLY Girl Multivitamins is a great way to give her fuel for the day and she can eat it on the walk to school. Lately we have been making Green Chili + Corn Breakfast Burritos (see the recipe at the end of the post). It’s one of our favorite combinations when we are camping. Now, I make a dozen and then wrap them up and freeze them so that the kids can just grab them, warm them and then hit the road.

OLLY Girl Multivitamins have quickly become a part of our morning 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. Denali is working and playing hard these days and OLLY Girl Multivitamins are helping her maintain a healthy body.

As a high schooler I was an avid thrifter. As I’ve shared before, I grew up overseas in Papua New Guinea. Really there was no other shopping to be found, so I really perfected the art of finding a great outfit for just a couple dollars. I even bought more Junior formal dress for just $2. It was a white flapper dress, and definitely no one else was wearing one in 1994. There something really fun about wearing something you know no one else will ever have. Over the years I’ve taken my kids to many a thrift store, but only recently has Denali realized how great the hunt of thrifting is. She sees that with $20 you can find a whole outfit and often if you shop at the mall, you can’t find a single piece of clothing under $20. It’s fun to see Denali’s style develop. And I love that she wants to do something different and not look like everyone else her age.

I have a few tips of thrifting clothing like a pro. Here what I’m teaching Denali:

  • Accessories –  these are items that are often overlooked. But, a great leather belt can be very expensive to buy brand new. And really, can you have too many scarves?
  • Jeans – with vintage styles always making  a come back, why would you ever pay $50 for a pair?
  • Out of Season – even if it’s Summer, still sift through the sweaters. Shopping out of Season when thrifting can often reveal some hidden gems.
  • Special Occasions – shop for formals and dances. Often these dresses are only worn once, so consignment stores usually have a lot of formal wear that is in great condition. I hate the idea of spending $100 or more on a dress you will only wear once, it feels so wasteful.

Ok, here’s the recipe, as promised.

Green Chili + Corn Breakfast Burritos

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 1 small can of diced mild green chilis
  • 1 cup of frozen corn or canned corn
  • salt + pepper
  • 1 dozen flour tortillas
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • hot sauce (optional)
  • foil and parchment paper

Start by beating the eggs in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a non stick fry pan. Scramble the eggs, cooking on a low heat. When the eggs are almost done, add the corn, green chilis, and cheese. Stir and continue to cook until the the cheese is melted. If the eggs seam a little wet or undercooked slightly, that is ok. These burritos will be reheated in the microwave and this will prevent them from being over cooked and tough.

Divide out the egg mixture to make 12 burritos. Add a dash of hot sauce if you like a little kick. Roll the tortillas and toast both sides in a pan with a little butter. Allow the burritos to cool, then wrap in parchment paper and then foil. Store in the fridge for a couple days or in the freezer.

When you are ready to eat one, remove from the freezer and peel off the foil wrapping. Leave the burrito wrapped in the parchment paper and microwave on defrost for 2 mins and then on high for 30 secs. Wrap the burrito back in the foil to keep it warm and make it easy for eating on the go.

As parents, we definitely don’t have this teenager stage of life all figured out, but we are doing our best to give our kids a healthy start and some life tools to help them be happy and successful.

 

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Camp Chlorophyll

October 11, 2017

This is for all my Bakersfield friends! Do you know about Second Saturday? Second Saturday is Downtown Bakersfield’s monthly weekend gathering that brings the community and businesses together. The goal for Second Saturday is to provide an atmosphere of excitement for what’s good in our city. Each month downtown business owners are highlighted to curate a monthly gathering that is family friendly, fun, and inspired by the seasons.

This Saturday from 10am – 2pm I’m teaming up with the Bakersfield High School Ecology Club to host Camp Chlorophyll. This is a FREE event for kids aged 2-10. There will be fun art and Science activities at the Chlorophyll Wall.  It’s going to hands-on and lots of learning. So, bring your kiddos downtown for Second Saturday.

Come on downtown and let’s hang out. There’s really so much to see and do. Here’s a map and a list of all the businesses that are participating. For more information, you can follow Second Saturday on Facebook + Instagram.

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The Week’s End

September 22, 2017

Well, it feels good to have one more “room” done in our house. If you missed yesterday’s post, my little home office is DONE! I’m ready for the weekend. This week was tough. I felt tired, probably because it was non-stop work, but I also felt like I was getting absolutely nothing done at all. Can you relate? Anyways lots of feelings and worries come along with being exhausted and having a long list of things you just can’t seem to get done. But, I’m looking forward to the weekend, even though I’ll still be working. My parents and brother are in town. So, at least I can put them to work as well, tee hee. And it’s guaranteed that I will not have to cook and my mom will make lots of really yummy food. She’s already make 3 loaves of Caramel Apple Monkey Break and is working on a yummy pork chop and wild rice dinner for tonight. 

The weather is kind of a boring topic, but this week has been soooo lovely. It reminds me how much a love living in Bakersfield this time of year. I’m so excited for Fall. After a very hard Summer, temps in the 70s and 80s are so welcome. Granted, it’s supposed to be back up to 95 F this week again. But, I’ll take this break from the heat happily. And the best part is that we haven’t had our AC on all week long. Just for some perspective, our electricity bill last month was $600 and we don’t even turn the AC on upstairs. The kids have been camping out in the living room most of the Summer. Well, Denali actually has slept upstairs without an AC all Summer, sometimes her room is 98 F. Ya she’s a tough kid.

My brother and I will be building things this weekend. It’s a really fun local project that we are working on. He’s super talented and I always learn things when I work with him. You can follow along on IG stories for lots of behind the scenes.

Anyways, thats the update on my life lately, whether you wanted it or not. I hope you have a great weekend. And if you have a second, here’s a few things I think you should check out on the internet this weekend:

etc. / Food & Drink

Orange Cranberry Rosemary Mock-Mimosa

September 14, 2017

Orange Cranberry Rosemary Mock-Mimosa

It’s been a doozy of a week. I could definitely use a mid-week mocktail! How about you? This Orange Cranberry Rosemary Mock-Mimosa is the perfect drink to get you in the mood for some Fall weather and the those yummy familiar flavors of the holidays. Yep, I said it, holidays. Does that stress you out and get you excited? Fall always feels like the busiest time of year for us. So, I’m currently bracing myself for an even more hectic season. But, today the high is only supposed to be 86 F and that sounds AMAZING!  When I took kids to school this morning it was in the 60s, YIPPEEEEE! When we are in the dead of Summer, it feels like cooler weather will never come. I’m excited for a change in Season.

Orange Cranberry Rosemary Mock-Mimosa

I really do enjoy cooking, especially when it isn’t making dinner on a crazy busy week night. For example, making this candied orange peel for the garnish was actually a really fun process and the results are super pretty.

This drink would be great as a classic mimosa with champagne, or you can make it family friendly and use ginger ale. And if you are hosting a big party, this would be great served in a big punch bowl.

You can find the full recipe over on Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company. And if you don’t have access to their super yummy juice, equal parts 100 % cranberry juice and orange juice can be used for this recipe.

Orange Cranberry Rosemary Mock-Mimosas garnished with fresh rosemary and candied orange peel.

 

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The Week’s End

September 2, 2017

Happy Long Weekend Friends!

We are escaping the heat and heading to San Diego to spend a couple days with my brother’s family. Hoping for some beach time and a just a break from the 110 F weather of Bakersfield. It’s really quite handy to have a brother who lives so close to the beach. Can you say FREE VACAY?

In other news, I thought I should mention that I’m bringing back my newsletter. It’s a great way to get all your favorite O+P content right to your inbox. I’ll be sharing all kinds of exclusive content their, so you won’t want to miss out.

And now, here’s a few fun things I think you should check out:

  • If you are looking for a fun Instagram feed to follow, I’ve got a REALLY good one for you. Pretty colors, plants, vintage, and from the Netherlands – ya, it’s a pretty great combo.
  • This digital wallpaper is super timely with all the eclipse buzz of the last couple of weeks.
  • Yep, totally digging this color for Fall.
  • You know I love a Mocktail, and if it involves rhubarb, I’m all in. Be sure to check out this Rhubarb Collins Mocktail.
  • I wear a neckercheif, scarf, or bandana at least twice a week. Just look at this rainbow of dyed bandanas. I’ve actually dyed and bleached bandanas in the past, but just didn’t share it as a DIY on the blog. Now that I see all the color options that are out there, I’m better stock up on a whole bunch more.
  • This pretty workspace has be wanting to paint another half wall!

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Samsung The Frame TV

June 26, 2017

Ok, let’s play dress up, with my living room. I’m not ready to redecorate the whole space, but I do love changing things up a bit.

The Frame by Samsung - The most beautiful TV you've never seen. Beautiful art when your TV is off.

I don’t know about you, but one of my least favorite things to try to decorate around is a TV. I’d rather not have ours on display, but the truth is, TVs happen. We don’t watch a lot of television, but once the kids are in bed and my brain is dead from the day’s tasks, I need an episode of one of my favorite Netflix shows. To try to give our TV a little less focus in the living room, I’ve hung a gallery wall around it. My hope is that it will blend in and your eye will be caught by an interesting piece of art instead. While we love our current Samsung TV, we have been wanting to upgrade but haven’t found anything to help elevate the style of our room.

The Frame by Samsung - The most beautiful TV you've never seen. Beautiful art when your TV is off.

But, I think there is a solution, a really pretty, stylish solution. Let me introduce you to The Frame by SamsungDesigned in collaboration with designer Yves Béhar, Samsung’s The Frame is the most beautiful TV you’ve never seen. The Frame challenges the traditional black box TV, by integrating a beautiful design with high-quality display technology. The Frame hangs flush to the wall, like a real picture with it’s revolutionary wall-flush mount, and it’s easy to install. And with its single, Invisible Connection The Frame connects to the One Connect Box, eliminating unsightly cables and uncluttered unnecessary clutter, and leaving your space beautifully curated. And don’t worry The Frame is not all beauty, it’s got brains as well. It offers 4K UHD viewing. 

Here’s my living room now:

The Frame by Samsung - The most beautiful TV you've never seen. Beautiful art when your TV is off. The Frame by Samsung - The most beautiful TV you've never seen. Beautiful art when your TV is off. The Frame by Samsung - The most beautiful TV you've never seen. Beautiful art when your TV is off.

So, I decided to play a little in our living room. I took out our current Samsung TV and styled and redecorated the gallery wall over our credenza a few different ways. Then I digitally added in The Frame to see how it would work in our space. And, no surprise, I LOVE it. With The Frame I don’t feel like I’m making design compromises because it fits in with any style of decor. It’s just like playing with another piece of art. 

I played around with 8 different looks and layouts. What do you think?

The Frame by Samsung - The most beautiful TV you've never seen. Beautiful art when your TV is off.

The Frame really is another piece of art for your home. The Frame transforms into a beautiful work of art when you are not watching TV. There are 100 curated pieces of art that you can choose from or you can also upload and display your personal photographs of family and friends as well. This feels like a total game changer for me. As someone who likes to change up things in my home, really often, I would love having the flexibility of being able to change the art in the Frame when I decide I want to play with a new color palette or when I want to change with the season. 

This might be my favorite look, with a framed piece of Tapa Cloth from Papua New Guinea and the stunning redwood tree wood veneer piece my brother made.

Samsung The Frame TV seamlessly works in any room with any design aesthetic.

The Frame also has customizable frames that have the flexibility to perfectly complement your home décor, with three additional bezel options in wood, white or metal. I played with the white frame and this fun architectural image from the curated art that comes with the frame. 

When I’m in the market for a new TV, The Frame will definitely be my first choice. And then all the re-styling and re-decorating of my living room can be made super easy. I get a little giddy thinking about being able to change out art to match the season, color palette or just my mood.

The Frame by Samsung - The most beautiful TV you've never seen. Beautiful art when your TV is off. The Frame by Samsung - The most beautiful TV you've never seen. Beautiful art when your TV is off. The Frame by Samsung - The most beautiful TV you've never seen. Beautiful art when your TV is off.

The Frame just launched and is available in 65” for $2,799 and 55” for $1,999 starting 6/18 on Samsung.com and retailers nationwide.

The post is sponsored by Samsung, thank you for supporting the fantastic companies that help make this blog possible. 

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Looking for a Studio Mate

June 20, 2017

This post really is for local folks only, or anyone who would love to move to Bakersfield. You guys, I have this fantastic studio space downtown Bakersfield. It’s 650 bright, white, light-filled square feet. I’ve had folks share this space with me this last year, but some have or are moving on. So, I’m looking for a new studio mate. Who wants to share this creative space with me?

If you are interested, send me an email at oleanderandpalm@gmail.com with Studio Rental in the subject.