Entertain / Food & Drink

Sweet 16 Spa Sleepover Party

November 20, 2017

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


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.



Our House Decorated for Halloween

October 25, 2017

Today I’m sharing all the little Halloween details we’ve added around our house for this spooky season. Olivia LOVES it. We had so much fun hanging spider webs and sticking plastic bugs and spiders everywhere we could think.

Home Decorated for Halloween

We are hosting a Halloween party again this year, so this is the first layer of decorating. Creepy skeletons and animal parts in jars will come home from Lonnie’s classroom closer to the party. None of this is magazine worthy, or overly styled, I just thought you’d like to see a little peek into how our house looks right now. Maybe there will be an idea or vignette that will catch your eye and inspire you. We’ve collected lots of Halloween bits and pieces over the years, but this year we added some really fun Martha Stewart decorations from Michaels.

I don’t think our decorations are over-the-top, but I did sprinkle a little creepy, crawly all over the house. These gold foil moths are my favorite addition. I love them with a couple pumpkins and some plastic bugs I gold foiled in our sunroom.

I wall of bats swooping across it is always a good idea. This is a quick and easy way to add a bunch of Halloween drama with very little effort.

I added some florals to our living room and dining room. Keeping with the sinister vibe, I chose dark crimson reds, deep burgandys and little black buds. I also added more little plastic spiders and snakes creeping out of them.

Probably about 8 years ago, the kids and I cut out a couple of these owl silhouettes for our windows. They are one of my favorite Halloween decorations and they are just made out of black poster board.

The cement pumpkin candle stick holders are a DIY from a Halloween past.

I love to stick eye balls on planters, paintings and this year I added a big pair to the candy bucket.

When the day of the party hits, I’ll scatter more bats cut outs around. They are a quick way to add a festive feel to a table top.

Moth, spider and snake stickers added to glasses instantly gives them a spooky edge.

Years ago I started collecting beakers, flasks and old bottles. I added fun labels to them and filled them with sweets and flowers for a dangerously delicious candy bar.

And a few light-up bats watch over the treats.

So, I hope you enjoyed a little tour of our house all decked out for Halloween. And now I better go finish those Halloween costumes.


Food & Drink

Peach Ginger Moscow Mule Mocktail

October 17, 2017

I was pleasantly surprised to see fresh peaches still at the grocery store this week. I love ripe, juicy nectarines and peaches in the Summer. So, when I saw them this week I bought I whole box. The last couple of weeks have been crazy with work and travel, so we needed a little Monday afternoon treat yesterday. I made these yummy Peach Ginger Mock-Moscow Mules for my family and we might have also poured this yummy Peach Ginger sauce over vanilla ice cream as well.

Peach Ginger Moscow Mule Mocktail

If it involves Ginger Beer, I’m a FAN! So, any version of a Moscow Mule is a hit with me. This is a great make-ahead mocktail. Make the Peach Ginger sauce, and then just store it in the fridge. When you are ready to serve this yummy mocktail, just mix a little syrup with your favorite ginger beer and you are done!

Peach Ginger Moscow Mule Mocktail

Peach Ginger Moscow Mule Mocktail

  • 3 ripe peaches
  • 2 tbsp. freshly grated ginger
  • juice and zest of one lime
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ginger beer
  • ice
  • peach and lime slices for garnish

In a blender, place the peaches, ginger, lime, sugar and water. Blend of high to make a smooth puree. Pour the puree into a small pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a slow simmer. Simmer for 5 mins. Remove from the heat and pour through a fine metal sieve to remove any large pieces of pulp. Pour into a glass bottle and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

To make the drink, fill a glass with ice add about 2 ounces of the peach syrup (add more of less depending on how sweet you like it). Top off the glass with ginger beer and stir. Garnish with a slice of peach and lime.

And if you would like a spiked version of this drink, a splash of vodka can definitely be added.

Peach Ginger Moscow Mule Mocktail Peach Ginger Moscow Mule Mocktail

Cheers friends!


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.


DIY Modern Fall Wreath

October 5, 2017

Fall seems like the season we welcome folks into our homes. We’ve spent all Summer outdoors and now we are ready to snuggle up indoors for a while. A nice way to start this cooler season is to add a pretty handmade wreath to your door. A wreath on your door says that you are expecting folks to be arriving and you wanted friends and family to have a warm welcoming. This year I made this modern, two toned wreath for something a little different. Instead of traditional Fall leaves in browns and oranges, I decided that this was a pretty palette for Fall.

DIY Modern Fall Wreath

Fall is that transition season taking you from Summer to Winter, so this wreath has a nod to the season before and the season to come. Both boxwood and cotton grown here in Southern California, so I was able to do a little foraging for this project. And the nice thing about both of these materials is that they will dry and still stay beautiful for a long time. This idea of a two toned wreath could definitely be done with other greenery and leaves as well. Pinecones paired with Fall leaves could be very pretty.