Saturday, June 30, 2012

Strawberry Papaya Smoothies


There's something so refreshing and enchanting about papaya.  Just the taste of it immediately places you on a faraway island somewhere in the tropics.  This morning, I decided to make some strawberry papaya smoothies that were both delicious and cooling.  Although I'm a really big fan of smoothies, I don't usually make them myself so I was actually pretty surprised when my blend came out tasting so good!  The smooth, creamy texture of the papaya and sweetness of the berries make for such an incredible mix.  These were definitely the perfect start to our very warm weekend ahead!

Ingredients:
1 cup papaya
1/2 cup strawberries
1 cup milk
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tbsp honey
1.5 tbsp sugar
a dash of vanilla extract
2/3 cup ice

Blend the above ingredients together in your blender or food processor until smooth.  Pour into a pretty cup and garnish with a strawberry heart!


 Who doesn't ♥ strawberries?!


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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Make a Statement

If you've been following my blog long enough, I'd say it's pretty obvious that I'm a huge DIYer.  Things are no different when it comes to accessories.  For as long as I can remember, making simple necklaces and bracelets has always been one of my favorite things to do.  Of course, a part of me loves to indulge in occasional frivolous accessory purchases, but another part of me takes pride in the fact that I can make some pretty things myself, too.  

I found these strings of stones on a recent trip to Michael's and knew instantly that they would make some simple, yet elegant statement necklaces.  I'm always on the lookout for unique ways to dress up my outfits and found that these are just the right pieces to make a statement without looking overdone.  And the best part is that they were so simple to make!

Materials: some pretty stones, chain, clasps, jump rings, and crimp beads, jewelry string, pliers
I chose to make mine long enough to fit over my head without even needing to use the clasp.  I like that the length of these is unique and different than most of my other necklaces, which either fall very long or just below my neck. 
I've already found so many opportunities to wear these necklaces since making them.  I love that they can be dressed up or down, and have found that they go just as beautifully with a fresh white button down for work at the office as they do with a bright coral outfit for the summertime.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Salad


Alas, summer is officially upon us.  To kick off the first day of summer, I decided to make this delicious, colorful salad.  This has become one of my favorite meals to eat during the warmer months, as the flavors and textures are so complex, yet the salad tastes so
wonderfully light.  I love the contrast of the sweet beets, oh-so-creamy goat cheese, and spicy, peppery arugula.  It's funny because up until recently, a "fancy" salad like this was only something I'd order in restaurants--something too complicated to make at home.  But I've since realized that it's so incredibly easy to throw together on a whim, as I usually keep most of the ingredients on hand.  It's the perfect option on a warm afternoon and never
fails to please.

For my salad, I included the following: 
  • 3 cups arugula lettuce
  • 5 boiled, peeled, and chilled beets-sliced
  • A handful of grape tomatoes 
  • 1/4 red onion-sliced
  • A healthy sprinkle of goat cheese
As for salad dressing, I prefer making my own to store-bought. Combine these ingredients for a delicious, homemade vinaigrette:
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cloves of garlic-minced
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • Salt & pepper to taste


 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Manicure Monday: Microbead Mani


Lately, I've been spotting tons of nail designs featuring a recent trend: caviar nails.  The look interests me, as the 3D texture seems so fun and different, but I wasn't sure I was willing to pay $25 for the Ciat√© Caviar Manicure Set from Sephora when I would probably only experiment with the trend once and be done with it.  A few websites mention purchasing microbeads from Michaels to create your own caviar manicures at home--genius!! :)  So off to Michaels I went and picked up some Reflections Microbeads for myself for about $8 for a set of 6 colors.


For this manicure, I wanted something really bright and cheery and since I've been loving corals lately, I chose my OPI nail polish in Charged Up Cherry and paired it with the silver microbeads for a really sparkly pop.  And to apply the beads, I used nail glue.


I painted two coats of Charged Up Cherry and allowed enough time for the nail polish to dry completely.


I was a bit timid to cover my entire nail with the beads for my first try.  Using the head of a straight pin and some nail glue, I decided to create my own design with the beads instead, placing them sparsely about my nail to create a 3d polka dot effect.  When the glue dried, I dabbed the beads with a clear top coat.  

I'm happy with the results and think it makes for a cute, subtle accent nail.  At such a low price point and with so many fun combinations, I'm looking forward to trying out all sorts of designs with these cute microbeads for some of my future manis.  




Monday, June 11, 2012

Wedding Inspiration

I don't know about you, but today I had a serious case of the Mondays.  The weekend seemed to have come and gone and this morning I unfortunately woke up more tired than refreshed.  A good visit home seems to relieve all life's stressors, though.  And by home I mean my parents' house.  My mom and I spent the evening eating Mexican takeout, catching up on our recorded episodes of Gossip Girl, and doing some serious wedding research.  There's something so comforting in the idea that a visit home can be the perfect cure, as those few hours left me feeling rested, refreshed, and ready to stare down the rest of the week.

Still on my mind, though, are thoughts of my wedding, which is less than 8 months away.  I'll admit that we're a little behind in the planning process...okay a lot behind.  But on a positive note, I've spent more time researching for my wedding in this last week than the rest of my engagement combined.  Things seem to finally be taking a little bit of shape and I'm beginning to realize more and more exactly what details are necessary to make my dream wedding a reality.  Below are some thoroughly inspiring images I'm dreaming about incorporating into my most special day.  PS. Follow all of my wedding inspirations here.





Saturday, June 9, 2012

Decorative Tray


My coffee table was looking a little boring and I decided I needed to spice things up a bit.  I found this decorative tray idea on the Martha Stewart website and wanted something similar for my living room.  This project is so simple (I think it took me less than an hour to complete) and customizable since you can choose any color or fabric that suits your liking.  Similarly, you can use any size tray, depending on what you'll be using the finished product for.  I liked the idea of using this large one in my living room, but plan on making some smaller ones in my bedroom to display my jewelry or perfumes.

What you'll need:

  • Baking pan: (I used one I picked up from the Goodwill for $2)
  • 1 yard of the fabric of your choice
  • 1/2 yard of felt in a complementary color
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Scissors
  • Acrylic sheet (I didn't actually use one of these, so I suppose it's optional, but I plan on getting one to fit atop my tray soon...)

1.  Cut the fabric to the size of your tray plus plenty extra to fit over the edges and onto the bottom of the tray.  Also cut the felt to the size of the bottom.  
2.  Spray the top of the tray with the spray adhesive and quickly position the fabric, pressing it into the creases and corners.  Spray the sides and bottom of the tray and neatly fold the fabric over the edges, securing the fabric on the bottom.
3.  Lastly, using the adhesive, adhere the felt to the bottom of the tray, covering any messy edges.
4.  Top with books, flowers, and other decorative items! :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Blueberry Apple Shortbread Pie


The weather has been so lovely lately.  I've been thoroughly enjoying the warm afternoons that remind us that summer is just about here.  And with that comes outdoor fun with family and friends.  This past weekend we enjoyed a barbecue at my parents' house and to complement the all-American spread of barbecue ribs, corn, and my mom's famous potato salad, I decided to bake an apple pie.  Not just any apple pie, though.  Combined with blueberries and a shortbread crust, this Blueberry Apple Shortbread Pie takes the all-American classic to a whole new level.  I was introduced to the recipe by a friend (the same friend who recommended this recipe) and have been itching for an opportunity to recreate the dessert myself.  Though a bit time-consuming, the end result (served √† la mode with a scoop of french vanilla ice cream of course) was so incredibly worth it.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Nailed: Chevron Manicure

For the most part, my nails are generally worn pretty plain--short and square with a light pink or a burgundy.  But every once in a while, I like to fancy things up a bit with a cute design.  Today I decided to experiment with chevrons.  A lot of tutorials I've seen have suggested using tape to get a straight edge when creating your designs, but I found it easier to use a thin brush to create the lines myself.  For this look, I used a fun combination of turquoise + black.  This design is such a unique spin on a traditional manicure and I love that it can be worn simple (like mine) or dressed up a tad with more lines or colors, some polka dots, or maybe some rhinestones...the possibilities are endless!  I paired mine with my fun chevron ring. :)

Turquoise & Caicos by Essie + True Black by Omega Labs.

Three coats of turquoise.

A steady hand + a thin brush to create chevron patterns.

One last look!

Zorrie

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