DIY Velvet Earring Tags

December 23, 2017

DIY Velvet Earring Tags

This little DIY is a Anthro hack. When I was in Chicago earlier this month, I saw a cute set of studs all displayed on a velvet tag. I decided this was a great little gift idea I needed to recreate for folks on tighter budgets (like myself). Don’t get me wrong, Anthropologie does everything so well, it’s just a little out of my price range most of the time.

DIY Velvet Earring Tags

So, with a 6 inch length of velvet ribbon, a brass D ring and some hot glue, I gave some inexpensive earrings from H&M, Target, and Forever 21 a much classier presentation. This is a great last-minute stocking stuffer idea, or just a fun gift to hang on the tree for Christmas morning. One of these sets will be going in my daughter’s stocking for sure.

DIY Velvet Earring TagsIt’s pretty self-explanatory, but simply glue down about a 1/4″ of the end of the ribbon to secure the D ring and then cut a V out of the bottom of the ribbon. Then you can just push a few pairs of earrings through the ribbon and secure them with their backs. So easy, and so much better to give then a set of earrings on a cardboard or plastic card!

DIY Velvet Earring TagsDIY Velvet Earring Tags

I now, I better FINALLY finish my Christmas shopping.

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.


A few of my favorite things…

Oleander + Palm Favorite Things

I teamed up with a few of my favorite companies to send out some treats to some of my favorite bloggers. This job I have can be lonely at times, but I am so grateful for the women that support, encourage and inspire me across the internet.

I’m also so grateful for my faithful readers. Ya, that’s you! Without you, there would be no O+P. Thank you for following along on this little blogging journey of mine. I can’t send everyone a gift box. But, I do want to giveaway one box full of all these very fun treats. You can enter on Instagram. Simply go to the post that shows all these treats, tag a friend, and make sure you follow Oleander + Palm on Instagram. I’m only going to run this giveaway till Friday morning so that I can get this in the mail and shipped before Christmas. So, head over there now to enter! And again, thanks for making this job possible for me.

Oleander + Palm Favorite Things

Now, let’s talk about the fun treats in the box. First of all, there is a gorgeous Fossil Hyrbrid watch. It has a gorgeous rose gold face and a tan leather strap. This is more then just a pretty face, it connect to your phone to give you notifications for social media, you can take pictures, it can track you sleep, and so much more. This is a watch you will be wearing for years to come.

Oleander + Palm Favorite Things

If you have followed me for a while now, you will know that I am obsessed with Black Bird incense cones, especially TENOVERSIX! I try to limit myself to burning just one a day, but they smell just so darn good.

Oleander + Palm Favorite Things

Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate is probably the both the prettiest and yummiest chocolate you will ever have! Their shop is located in Eureka, CA (where my parents live), so I always stop in for a bar or two, when I’m in town.

Oleander + Palm Favorite Things

I’m all about a good smell. And I recently discovered Slow North this year. These candles are divine and they have the best smell combinations. They are bright, fresh and burn so clean (oh, and they are pretty candles, they come in lovely glass jars with cork tops and these cute little brass tins).

Oleander + Palm Favorite Things

Oleander + Palm Favorite Things

And last, but definitely not least, the cutest “HERS” key chain from Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Company. If I was to pick one store that represents my style most closely, I would have to say Schoolhouse. You guys, when there catalogues come in the mail, I study every inch of every page. They make and sell the most beautiful things.

Oleander + Palm Favorite Things

Ok, that’s enough chit chatting, now head over to Instagram and enter!


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)



Last Minute Stocking Stuffer Ideas

December 17, 2017

Eeek! Christmas is just about here and I’m NOT ready! While I’m seaching the interwebs for fun stocking stuffers that can be shipped QUICKLY, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite finds. Amazon Prime is my friend these days, knowing I don’t have to pay shipping and these items will be on my doorstep before Christmas is saving me a lot of time and energy. You know I don’t want to be going to the mall. Thank goodness it’s 2017 and we can shop in our PJ’s on the sofa!

So, I’ve rounded up some goodies that I’m filling stockings with and also I few things I hope to find in my stocking. I’ve put together a Last Minute Stocking Stuffers gift guide for HIM and for HER. Maybe this will help you out as well.

  1. Razor
  2. Carhartt Beanie
  3. Wooden Comb
  4. Enamel Mug
  5. Leather Wallet
  6. Wooden Pen
  7. Sunglasses
  8. Beard Oil
  9. Craving Wilderness Patch
  10. Solar Camping Light
  11. Nail Clippers
  12. Coffee

  1. Enamel Mug
  2. Dick Taylor Chocolate
  3. Leather Gloves
  4. Blackbird Incense
  5. Black + White Wallet
  6. Portable Speaker
  7. Fish Fin Nail Clippers
  8. Frasier Fir Refresher Oil
  9. Pink Clay Mask
  10. Salt Box
  11. Sheet Face Masks

So, do you have all your shopping done or are you still scrambling like me? Maybe there are a few items in these guides that will help you out as well.

**This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.


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: