Happy Monday ya’ll! Goodness it has been far too long since I last checked in here! The past few weeks have been one gigantic whirlwind with non-stop travel and a plethora of fun new projects (if you follow me on instagram you might have noticed I’ve spent about 7 of the last 45 days at home in Seattle). Paris, Barcelona, Keystone, Denver, New York, Denver again…I feel like I’ve wrapped myself around the globe three times over and am just now slightly coming up for air. The entire experience has been thrilling all at once, but lack of sleep, gross re-circulated airplane air, and a “go-go-go” mentality have definitely started to take their toll. I’ve never been more sleepy in my life and I feel a cold coming on…nooooooo!
I’m trying my best to keep all the avenues of life in tact during these periods of solid work but am seriously falling short on most fronts. Does anyone else ever have this problem?? I feel like sometimes this world of social media gives off the impression that everyone is kicking ass at everything all the time. I mean for those of you mama’s out there (Happy belated Mother’s Day by the way!) who are juggling school schedules, naps, play dates, family dinners AND a business or work schedule I salute you!! Doing it all AND well, is no small feat!
I’m so so excited to share all of the fun collaborations I’ve been working on lately especially after I wrap shoot 8/8 this Wednesday. I’ll have a couple days off (yay!) before jumping right back into work mode again, and I’m hoping during those moments of calm I can spend a whole lot more time tucked into my cozy bed and a whole lot more time here on this blog with you. I snapped this shot after wrapping a fun shoot I styled for True North Coffee Roasters this week, and I can’t help but stare at this image and wish it was me leisurely reading the paper this morning. I’m jetting out the door to source some final props and furniture for an upcoming shoot with BHLDN this week, but will check back in soon!
A favorite image from a shoot I styled a few months back for Mount Townsend Creamery. Cause why wouldn’t cheese styling be my idea of a perfect work day? If you ever get a chance to taste some of Mount Townsend’s cheeses you won’t regret it. Promise.
Photography by Rina Jordan. Tags by Julia Manchik. Food and Prop Styling by Jenn Elliott Blake.
I turned another year older yesterday and it got me thinking about my ideal birthday celebration. Although I spend most of my time brainstorming and dreaming up ways to celebrate special occasions for others, I rarely enjoy actually doing so for myself. Adam never fails to ask me year after year what I want to do for my birthday though and I usually answer with one large empty sigh and a big melodramatic : “N-O-T-H-I-N-GGGG”. Now don’t get me wrong. I love spending time with my nearest and dearest, and eating just-out-of-the-oven cake is just about my most favorite thing to do, but celebrating turning another year older just gets to be more and more of a drag as the numerals increase each year, ya know?
So in an effort to rid myself of my Eeyore-like birthday tendencies, I decided to get excited about turning another year older for once! With the help of Bing Rewards and my sweet friend Rina, I set out to plan my most ideal spring birthday celebration complete with a cake with a twist. I wanted to mix it up this year and create an untraditional birthday cake : cue in the pancake! Ever since I got back from Europe last week I’ve had a mad craving for pancakes. Maybe it’s because I just ate enough french croissants and crepes to float home across the Atlantic, but a good old fluffy home-style pancake seemed like just the way to curb my birthday sweet tooth!
But first I had to find a way to create those perfect and fluffy cakes. Oh and of course get those much-needed party supplies as well : cake stand, candles, inspiration for decor, flowers, ya know, the essentials! Luckily using Bing as my research tool, I set out to find a recipe for the fluffiest pancake. One of my favorite features of Bing is their image search which can easily be accessed right from my iPhone. Not only can you set out to search anything and everything, but you can also seek out images by color, category or even those which are copyright protected! Amazing right?
For this particular celebration, I simply wanted a pancake that not only tasted good, but looked good too – therefore the images available via Bing were key! In the midst of searching for that perfect cake, I also used Bing to search for information related to farmers market hours (on Easter Sunday I picked up all my pretty spring assortment of flowers from the Ballard Farmers Market) and the ingredients I would need for my frosting glaze.
Did you know that each time you search via Bing you can rack up points through Bing Rewards and in turn use them to acquire gift cards?! Yes! – you heard that correctly – just by searching for party decor inspiration & the perfect pancake recipe online, I accumulated points which in turn allow me to acquire gift cards for amazing party decor and supplies via websites like Amazon! How awesome is that, right?! Hello pretty white cake stand! Uh, let’s just say Bing Rewards is now this prop stylists new best friend.
I found an entertaining video here and set out to make my cake. With the help of my adorable husband who stayed home to help me master the art of the pancake, we found that like the video mentioned, folding in the whipped egg white vs. just adding the whole egg in at once did make for a fluffier (is that even a word?) cake. We also added chocolate chips and coconut flakes to the mix to add a special sweetness to my pancakes, which I sourced from one of my favorite local shops Delaurenti’s in Pike Place Market. I finished my pancake cake off with a simple powdered sugar + milk glaze on top, and some fresh berries to make my cake layers.
And what party is a party without some pretty decor? Since spring is in full swing in Seattle I loved the idea of incorporating a pretty floral palette, especially since Easter is still on the brain and today is Earth Day! I created a simple garland using the buds of my favorite spring flowers (including some heaven smelling lilac from our front yard, twine, tiny clothespins and washi tape) and also assembled a charming arrangement to be buddies with my cake. Mango orange juice with a touch of champagne in pretty french glasses and voila! My perfect spring celebration, just in time for my birthday. Simple, fresh and sweet.
Photography by Rina Jordan. Styling, concept and floral design by Jenn Elliott Blake.
I’m required to disclose a sponsored partnership between our site and Bing. I have been compensated in exchange for this post in the form of payment, product or experiences.
I woke at 4am once again to the sound of raindrops against our bedroom window and the ache of severe jet lag. Both my pounding headache and the sweet sound of nature made me realize instantly that I’m back in the land of reality.
After spending an amazing two weeks abroad creating, brainstorming & dreaming with close friends, I’ve returned home to a plethora of exciting upcoming projects lumped together with the sheer mania of continued home repairs. We still don’t have a functioning kitchen or bathroom and there are boxes and boxes of stuff in every corner of the house (you are correct in assuming we haven’t even started unpacking yet!). Working from home in the midst of a full remodel is no small feat let me tell ya. I find myself engaging in constant daydreaming just to escape the harsh reality that life is a bit of a mess right now with no end in sight.
It has been a bit challenging to balance home and work life lately and Fridays these day’s don’t feel like Fridays much at all. With Saturdays and Sundays spent fighting the crowds at Ikea, repainting walls and attempting to make just one room in our home “livable” weekends feel like a whole lotta work these days. Looking forward to the day when we can just enjoy the beauty of homeownership, but in the mean time I’m just gonna keep channeling those quiet afternoons people watching at a cafe along the streets of Paris.
In the midst of returning home to the real world, a few links around the web that caught my eye this week:
1. Embarrassed to admit it, but I watched this video at least 15+ times this week. You’re welcome.
2. If you aren’t already watching this show it’s a must. I’m so addicted and have been for years. Revenge has never been so entertaining.
3. So excited to have my own chance to navigate the NYC floral markets for a fun dinner party this month with Anna.
4. If I could have one thing for my birthday next week, it would be one of these amazing classes. Too bad their all sold out through AUGUST!
5. Ummmm seriously, how did I not know about this show?? Thanks for introducing me to my new-found obsession Jill!
6. I can’t believe Easter is right around the corner! Loving this adorable egg decorating idea. Way to think outside the box Kelly!
Happy holiday weekend friends!
Over the past few years I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to travel more times than I could ever have imagined I would in my entire life. When I was a kid, we rarely traveled unless for a summer road trip that only happened every few years. So whenever I get a chance to pack up for a flight somewhere fun for work or play, I’m always eager to find a way to make it happen. And as I’ve become more and more accustomed to traveling, often traveling even very last-minute, the whole packing thing has become sort of a no-stress affair. I’ve come to realize that no matter what you pack, you’ll always end up wishing you’d brought something (that perfect red dress for a dinner at THAT restaurant) or wish you’d left something at home (those shoes that gave you walking blistering just 2o minutes into the trip). So now, I just kind of throw things in a bag and hope for the best really. For this particular trip to France this week, I’m currently coveting a few items that are essential to a comfortable and enjoyable adventure abroad.
pretty colorful flats from madewell (so you can look stylish while running to catch the metro) | dry shampoo by oscar blandi (perfect for those travel days when you’re on the go – I use it even on freshly washed hair to increase volume) | new passport (mine was finally expired & needed a name change) | comfy sweater from steven alan (one of those throw on and go options for chilly nights) | scarf from we are owls (can double as a pillow or eye cover on those long flights) | across the shoulder messenger from zara (make sure it has a zipper to ward off pickpockets) | digital camera from fuji film (i’ve been pining for a new not too bulky digital camera for easy travel) | lightweight jacket from jcrew (one that matches everything and will ward off unexpected afternoon weather changes) | packable hat from moorea seal (for those days you just don’t wanna fuss with your hair) | rose perfume from fragonard (i don’t wear perfume daily but I can never buy enough of this stuff to bring home while I’m in Paris)
Living through the dark and dreariness of winter in the PNW takes a bit of a toll on your mood. Okay a BIG toll! For me this also leads to this overwhelming desire to live and create with some pretty dark & organic, moody & muted colors – if you saw this dinner I styled back in January you know exactly what I mean. So when a winter trip to Palm Springs offered the opportunity to escape the cold and get inspired to create with color I went a little bananas (okay actually a little pineapple!) . . .
One of the goals and intentions for me in attending Meet Make Do was to create without hesitation. To gaze over a pile of craft & floral materials and within a few hours conceptualize, create, and execute a design with someone whom I had just met. I was fortunate enough that sweet Ashley of the amazing blog Sugar and Cloth was kind enough to partner up with me for this tabletop design. Within minutes of putting our heads together we were already cutting fabric and whipping out the hot glue guns. Ashley had the brilliant idea to create a geometric hanging floral arrangement, so I got to work on creating a fun and colorful table setting to ground her gorgeous work. I was flabbergasted by how quickly and how fun it can be to create on the fly! I typically tend to be one of those people who plans things out weeks (at least days!) in advance but for this project we literally created the entire thing and shot it within just a few hours time.
Earlier that morning I had gone on a solo walk around the neighborhood where we were staying, and was inspired by the beautiful and rich colors of the Bougainvillea that seemed to cascade over the walls in every yard. As I alluded to above, I haven’t been drawn towards bold colors recently, so I was excited to push myself to create with some cheery and bright elements. There was this fantastic mid-century looking mustard fabric that complemented my chosen floral palette just right, and which instantly became my makeshift napkins. I hand-stitched a simple knotted row of thread along the bottom of the napkins to play off the arrangements and that magenta color I had been inspired by that morning. I found some pretty linen from our craft closet which I cut and ironed into a quick table runner.
When I think of Palm Springs, I always think of gold and sequins…not sure why exactly, but something about the place just feels all hollywood and glamorous to me. Therein lies the inspiration for the sequined chargers. I can’t remember a time I’ve ever used sequins in one of my designs, but I wanted to go a bit out of my comfort zone and create something with them. Using a sparkly gold sequined fabric, I cut out circle shapes to create fabric chargers. The edges aren’t perfect, but hello people! – whipped those puppies up in just a few short minutes! I love how their texture ended up popping off the table. They paired perfectly with those pretty gold and copper vases.
I probably had the most fun creating the peppy floral arrangements even foraging a few buds from around the yard itself. The majority of the gorgeous flowers were so kindly provided by Flower Muse and kept me captivated for hours. Aren’t those roses & tulips insane?!?!
For tips on how to DIY your own geometric hanging floral pendants & some additional photos from the day, head over to Sugar & Cloth for a full tutorial!
As for that pineapple vase?? It’s easier than it looks I promise : 1. Find a cute (and tall) pineapple. 2. Remove the prickly stem by cutting a hole large enough in the top to hold the diameter of a tall drinking glass or vase. 3. Hallow out the pineapple by cutting out all of the yellow fruit inside making sure to leave enough of the hard pineapple core on the sides to keep it sturdy and strong. 4. Put aside the fruit bits and juices for later to make a smoothie! 5. Squeeze a glass or plastic cup or vase the size of the cut out portion of the pineapple into the center of the hallowed fruit, making sure the container does not peek over the rim of the top of the pineapple too much. 6. Add water to the cup or vase for the flowers to drink. 7. Drop a floral frog or some chicken wire into the bottom of the cup or vase to help secure your arrangement. 8. Assemble your floral arrangement paying special attention to the edges where you want to cover up any places where you might see the lip of the glass or vase peeking above the pineapple. 9. Place on tabletop and enjoy!
For a bunch of other fun tutorials, DIY’s and pictures that blossomed from Meet Make Bing check out these fun posts by some of the other gals who attended or the hashtag #meetmakebing :
- A fun pop-up balloon message DIY from Kelly over at Studio DIY
- The perfect prank for April Fool’s from Brittany over at The House that Lars Built
- Adorable DIY letter pillows from Chelsea over at Lovely Indeed
- A life size putting green from Lexy over at The Proper Pinwheel
- These pretty floral wreaths from Brittni over at Paper & Stitch
- images by Mary Costa Photography - pretty tableware provided by West Elm - post and event sponsored by Bing - all thoughts & opinions are my own.
Although the trip has been planned or anticipated for longer than I can remember, I have yet to mention yet on the blog (or even to practically anyone in my life) that I’ll be heading back to Paris next week. I think all the mayhem with the house over the past few months made me fear this trip abroad might have to be shelved; pushed so far off the back burner that my Paris devoted heart would not only break but shatter into a million little pieces. I was afraid to potentially admit that this decision to purchase a home might just have done the one thing I didn’t want it to do – prevent us from having the ability to travel.
I’ve mentioned it many times before but Paris is that one place in the world that I ache for. It creates a sense of nostalgia unmatched by any other place I’ve been. Ever since I was little I have always had an extremely visceral reaction to even the idea of the city of lights. It wasn’t until our honeymoon that I had my first experience with the city, but immediately upon stepping foot into my first French cafe, it has been the place that makes me feel free, alive, confident. I can barely even speak a full sentence in French without stumbling over my words and second guessing myself, but even if I went and stayed in the city and engaged in complete silence for weeks, I would still feel most at home in Paris.
I anticipate this might just be my last trip to this wonderful city for a really long time. I know some people never even get a single opportunity to visit this beautiful place, so I know I am immensely blessed to be returning for the seventh time. I’ll be meeting up with one of my dearest friends Grant, a person whose kindness and ability to view the world with boy wonderment makes me feel like anything is possible. I’ll also be reconnecting with wonderful Anne who is so graciously and kindly providing me with a place to rest my head at night. I can’t wait to see these two again! I’ll also be making new creative connections, including Jill whom I’ve looked forward to connecting with for longer than I can remember. Jill, Grant and I are already cooking up some fun collaborative projects while I’m in town and I can’t wait to share them with all of you when I return.
For now, as I gear up for the packing phase of my upcoming trip, I’m sharing some cherished images from my dearest friend Michael. He captured these shots during our time together in Paris in the fall of 2012, and every time I look at them I’m immediately transported back to all the fun we had and how much personal growth I experienced during this adventure with close friends.
I’ll definitely be sharing images of next week’s Parisian adventures on my instagram feed and will be coming back home to share here too. Any favorite Paris spots I must check out?? I always gravitate towards those that are tried and true, but I would love some tips for some new places!
images captured by mr. michael newsted.
I’ve been meaning to post these photos for a long while, but am so excited I refrained from sharing them until now. As we are attempting to make our new house into something we can be excited and proud of, I’ve been on the hunt for kitchen inspiration for a long while (I talked about our initial thoughts here) and this kitchen really falls in line with what we have in mind for our own space.
I’ve been really struck by minimal lines and neutral colors lately, and an all white kitchen with butcher block countertops & white subway tiles is really all I can think about. I love how fresh and clean it looks – makes me inspired to cook dinners at home…yay finally! I had the pleasure of assisting the ever so talented Chelsea Fuss during this shoot for HGTV over a year back, even brining along some of my own props for the shoot, and Lisa Warninger did such a fantastic job (she’s so amazing!) of capturing the beauty of this kitchen remodel. Working with these two ladies was such a pleasure and I remember feeling so warm and happy in this kitchen while we were working. It felt so perfectly simple to me.
For more details of this shoot be sure to head to HGTV for the before and after photos of the remodel – I mean how cute is that little window?!
images by lisa warninger. styling by chelsea fuss. styling assistance jenn elliott blake.
This week has been so weird. I feel like it dragged on forever but also flew by faster than I could say “Spring is here! Woo-whooooo!” Our week started off pretty hectic. Our POD storage unit never made its way to our driveway this past weekend. That’s a long story for another day, but seriously think twice before you book with PODS. They don’t include all of the pertinent information for driveway delivery in their contracts, so the delivery driver called 15 minutes before the END of their delivery window to tell us he wasn’t coming because our driveway was too small even though Adam followed the specifications he was told during the delivery confirmation call. We had family in town to help us move in which made it all the more disappointing. Let’s just say, last Saturday wasn’t our best day.
We finally got the POD delivered Monday (and surprise! to our driveway no less!). We frantically moved in after Adam took another vacation day to deal with “house stuff”. We found out on Tuesday our water heater still wasn’t working after a few attempted fixes (day 11 without hot water) and went into a bit of panic mode about one more thing gone wrong with this old house. It has been a lot of panic/breath/regroup moments this week, but we are finding a way to get through it, together. I’m pretty sure that anything that’s financially damaging is just cause for anxiety. When I chipped the top of our new stove yesterday and the tile guy left a sloppy mess-of-a-job & we had to fire him I reached a bit of a breaking point last night, but again, all problems we truly are blessed and fortunate to be dealing with, really. Life could be so much worse.
So after what feels like another exhausting (when will this transition to homeownership be over?) week, I spent some time last night trying to focus on what IS going well. It’s really easy sometimes to focus on all the things that are going really crappy when life hands you sour lemons. Thankfully I have so many things to be grateful for in this life of ours even during these times of immense stress, so I encouraged Adam and I to take some time last night during dinner to think about all the things that went WELL in our day. When we would get off track and say “well this went well, BUT…” I’d make us stop and say “NO. Just things that went well”. You’d be amazed how hard it is sometimes to focus on the good things in life when you’re so exhausted and overwhelmed that just about anything makes you want to lie on the floor and sob.
A few things that are went well for us this week (thankfully there ARE many!) :
1. Spring is here! And it has been super sunny in Seattle. This is HUGE. Ask anybody who survived our dark and ugly winter.
2. Our plumbing is all replaced and the hot water heater is FINALLY working. Hallelujah! AND we didn’t even have to replace the whole thing. Thank heavens!
3. Bailie Bug’s foot is healing. Last week I noticed a really swollen area between the webs on her right foot and after a frantic vet visit, I worried that this was the beginning of the end for our old (almost 10 years old!) lady. Luckily with twice daily foot soaks and some antibiotics it seems to be healing. Phew!
4. We got showers! I’m not going to admit how long we went without them, but after our daily hopes for running hot water and a schedule that wouldn’t seem to quit, we just kind of didn’t have time to take them. Thank gosh for a gym membership. Although, I did feel a little guilty for not actually hopping on the treadmill while we were there last night at midnight. Maybe next week…
5. We have our own bed! And our sofa back. No more sore bones and bums from sleeping on the floor. Yay!
6. I talked to one of my closest childhood friend’s for the first time in months. It’s her birthday today and we’ve been friends since the ripe old age of 9 – lots of history between us. I miss her a lot and it felt amazing to hear her voice. Happy Birthday Bree! I love you!
7. I realized I’m leaving for Paris in less than 2 weeks (holy cow! Where did March go?!) and was able to renew my passport yesterday without too much trouble. After one horrifyingly nasty passport photo taken at Walgreens, I had Adam take a second one at home and it’s not awful. Bonus!
Also some things around the web that brought a smile to my face this week :
1. This video. Talk about a tear-jerker! What a beautiful way to capture a life.
2. How perfect is this tart for spring?! Almost too pretty to eat!
3. Excited for an upcoming collaboration that includes this lovely outdoor entertaining collection.
4. Just about lost my stylist mind when I saw that these folks would be collaborating with these folks this spring. Holding off on picking out wallpaper for the breakfast nook until I see what’s a’coming! SO excited!
5. New website that promises to help couples find fresh date ideas in their city, including some freebies. You don’t have to ask me twice! Hot Cakes brunch here we come.
6. Excited for this gal and her new biz & branding. So pretty and perfectly minimal. Love it!
7. As if I need one more set of flatware to pine over.
8. Eyeing this faucet for our new apron sink in the kitchen. A little boring, but it has a pull out sprayer for Adam and it doesn’t break the bank. I’ll take it!
9. Okay, clearly not smiling about the baby snatching part or the fact that this guy needed some serious mental health support (don’t even get me started on that topic & how this country lacks adequate funding), but relieved this baby got returned to her family. Crazy these sorts of things actually happen in the world!
10. Ummmm…I’m pretty sure there isn’t anything this perfect mama can’t do. This collaborative children’s line with Lauren Moffatt has me wishing I already had my own little gal to dress up for fall.
Happy Weekend friends! I hope you have a chance to enjoy a bit of springtime sunshine no matter where you are! Adam will be outta town with guy pals this weekend, so I’ll have the house all to myself. Scared and excited all at once if ya know what I mean. I’ll be back next week with a fun shoot from Palm Springs and a HGTV shoot I had the chance to collaboration on with some amazing women. Happy Spring!
- painting by my dear friend jenny vorwaller. now that girl ALWAYS brings a smile to my face!
I shared a bit about my recent trip to Palm Springs last week and also instagrammed a photo of the loveliness that was tucked inside the swag bag we got during our stay. And as promised I’m sharing all the details about those wonderful artists whose items were waiting for us in the desert.
Unfortunately my swag bag was stolen in the robbery (SUPER sad face) but I can attest to the beauty of all of the items as I got to cherish them and ‘oooh and aahh’ over them before they went bye-bye. Not all of the items made their way into this photo, but all of the items were seriously kick-ass.
Almond Milk LA | @almondmilkla | The branding and container alone is enough to make me switch from regular to almond!
Coveted Things | @covetedthings | This scarf was oh so soft! Couldn’t stop rubbing my face in it.
Edoughble | @itsedoughble | Mentioned this cookie dough in an earlier post. Run don’t walk. Seriously.
Etta and Billie | @ettaandbillie | I was so looking forward to having this gorgeous soap as our first addition to our new bathroom. It smelled divine and the packaging is so pretty!
Fat Eye Design | @seerosyglasses | These napkins are so unique & bold and would be such a fun way to spruce up any tabletop!
Landis Carey | @landiscarey | That little white ceramic bowl seriously stole my prop stylist heart. So sad it didn’t come home with me.
Lovely Pigeon | @lovelypigeon | Gold foil notebook? Yes, please!
M. Greenwood Jams | @mgreenwoodjames | Still daydreaming about the tasty contents of those jars.
Michelle Dwight Designs | @michelle_dwight | That heart tote bag would make the perfect beach accessory this summer, no?
Mr. & Mrs. P | @loveandcupcakesblog | Dipped flatware…oh I love you. Those robbers sure did have fantastic taste.
Oh So Pretty | @ohsoprettyblog | These smelled as pretty as they looked.
Seoul Little| @seoulelittle | Devastated that necklace is gone. It was GORGEOUS – keep wondering why I didn’t just put it right on when I first pulled it from the bag. Dang it!
We Love Citrus | @welovecitrus | Cutest scissors ever + a cute bag to keep them looking fresh – uh yeah!
Wind and Willow Home | @windwillowhome | LOVE all of their wood dipped pieces. I want a full set of their bowls ASAP.
World Reclaimed | @aloedesigns | Those coasters are so dang cute. Perfect for dinner parties for sure.
The Paper Mama | @thepapermama | All of Chelsea’s woodwork is so fun and playful! Adore her!
Also a big gigantic hug to Bing, West Elm, Minted, Striped Cat Studio, Tweedle Dee Designs, Flower Muse, Shop Sweet Lulu & The Fabric Store LA for helping to make our trip so enjoyable & beautiful! So thankful for your generosity!
image by Mary Costa Photography. styling by jenn elliott blake.