For those of you who know me personally, you will know that this is hands down my favorite time of the year . Not only are we about to break into all my favorite holidays and lots of delicious baked goodness, but it is the return of tights season !! I live in tights, so when it is a sticky ninety something degrees outside and my poor little pale legs are forced out of hiding, I am a sad, sad girl.
It seems to be the kinds of things I enjoy most in life ( coffee and hot chocolate, baking , chunky scarves, tights... you see where this is going ) do not really lend themselves to a summery atmosphere. And so , I hate to be the one to say it , but goodbye summer and hello fall !!
Stay tuned as the cool air also begins crafting season for myself, as I will be getting into DIY housewares in a big way ! That's all for now lovelies .. xx.
Summer , for me is synonymous with eating , and entertaining outdoors. Only thing is, to make the outdoors more appealing, there is usually a fair amount of sweat, labor and flea marketing involved . Since our house is built into a hill , our backyard patio lies about 25 feet below street level providing lots of privacy, but also meaning a giant 15 foot concrete wall. We decided the only way to punch up all the grey would be to add lots of popping colors so that the patio could go from drab to fab. While I was researching some ideas for bringing some festive color to the patio, I stumbled across this cute diy idea for embellishing paper lanterns .
|Punch up plain lanterns with |
festive colored tissue paper
Also, another great way to save cash and reduce waste is to scour your local thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales. Even if you find a piece that doesn't exactly scream perfection, a trip to the Home Depot and a little creativity can really lend itself to creating a one of a kind piece. Have fun prettying up your patio, and send us pics of your before and afters !
Turn on some summer sounds, sip back some sangria and get the grill fired up ! It's finally summer !!!
My Favorite Summer Recipes :
Black Bean Burgers with Wasabi Mayo
1 Can of Black Beans
1/4 C Chopped Shallots
3/4 C Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs
pinch of Salt, Pepper and Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon of Oregano
1/2 tablespoon Wasabi Powder
1 teaspoon Water
3 tablespoons of Mayo
In a food processor , place the beans, shallots, egg , breadcrumbs and spices. Blend until all the ingredients have mixed.
Form the mixture into 6 patties and place in a lightly oiled frying pan so that the burgers develop a nice crispy outside. This takes about 5 mins . Be sure to flip the burgers while on the stove top so that they are cooked equally throughout. ( I find that slightly precooking them helps them to stay together firmly when placed on the grill )
Take the burgers and place on the grill for about 5 minutes on each side to finish cooking .
Top with Wasabi Mayo, tomato slices and whatever else your heart desires and place on bun. Eat.Smile.Repeat.
Grilled Corn on the Cob with Garlic Parmesan Butter
6 Ears of Ripe Corn
1/4 lb farm fresh butter
3 tablespoons of grated fresh Parmesan
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
A pinch of chili pepper flakes
Combine all of the butter ingredients in a food processor. Place in a container and keep at room temperature so it remains spreadable.
Peel the first few layers of husk off the corn , but be sure to leave a few for grilling. Soak the cobs in cold water for about ten minutes to absorb moisture for our grilling.
Remove from the pot and shake off excess moisture. Peel back a side of the remaining husks ( make sure that the corn silk is removed ) and brush with garlic/Parmesan butter mixture. Place husk back over to trap the flavor while it grills.
Rotate the corn as you see the husks beginning to grill. After a few turns place to the side in indirect heat . Let it continue to slowly grill for about 15 minutes.
Remove ears from the grill ( use mitts, they will be hottttt ! ) , peel and discard husks when they have cooled down . Feel free to brush again with the garlic butter , and enjoy !!
Grilled Watermelon with Feta and Balsamic Drizzle
8 slices of Watermelon
1/2 cup of your favorite Balsamic Vinegar mixed with 1 tablespoon Sugar
*or this amazing lil Fig Balsamic variation from O&CO
1 package of Crumbled Feta
A few fresh sprigs of Mint
Prep the drizzle by placing the vinegar in sugar in a small saucepan and cooking on medium heat for about 4 minutes or until it begins to thicken . Remove from heat and set aside until watermelon grills.
Pat the watermelon dry and place on grill . Rotate each side after about 4 minutes ( or until grill marks appear)
Once the watermelon is finished grilling , fan the pieces out on a platter . Drizzle your balsamic syrup and feta. Garnish with fresh mint.
Quick Summer Quinoa
1 cup Organic Quinoa
2 tablespoons of Pesto
1 cup of Cherry Tomatoes
2 cups Chopped Fresh Spinach
Prepare Quinoa as directed on package. Cut cherry tomatoes in fourths and set aside. Chop fresh spinach , so that it can be incorporated into the salad. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix in the pesto. Enjoy!
.....and last but not least DESSERT !!!
Strawberry Shortcakes on the Grill
1 loaf of plain pound cake
2 cups of fresh whipped cream*
1 quart of fresh strawberries
Homemade Whipped Cream:
1 cup of Heavy Cream
2 tablespoons of Sugar
Place a metal bowl and whisk in the freezer for ten minutes.
Remove and place cream and sugar in the bowl. Whisk until stiff peaks form .
Prep strawberries by washing and removing stems. Cut strawberries in half ( lengthwise ). Set aside in a bowl.
Cut the pound cake into ten slices then cube the slices ( about 1" x 1" works well for the grill).
Load up a barbeque skewer with strawberries and pound cake, alternating each selection.
Grill until the cake begins to turn a golden brown .
Remove skewers from the grill and dip the pieces in whip cream and chocolate drizzle for a little extra deliciousness!
Happy griling and stay tuned this weekend for backyard DIY design ideas !
Hard to believe another year has come and gone already , but so it has. We took a snapshot of the trends that we loved this year, and will be more than happy if we never see another " BE CALM AND..." parody again. From faux specs , to day-glo , peter pan collars and lots of lace.... 2012 was a year marked by Olympic pagentry, interstellar discovery , mayan prophecies and of course...bath salt zombies ! We hope you guys had a great year and look forward to 2013 with you ! Heres to another year of raging on this big crazy spinning planet .... xo xo
There is one thing I must address, dear reader, so that you may be warned up front: I AM A COMPLETE LIST JUNKIE. There, it’s out there and I feel better already. I make grocery lists, music- I -need-to own -list (daily publication), to do lists, Places-I- wanna-go-lists..well you get my point. If it weren’t for tiny scraps of paper (yes, I know paper, but I'm an old fashioned kinda gal) and whatever writing implement is closest to me when inspiration strikes, I would pretty much wander around in a haze most of the day whilst nothing was ever accomplished (I now reserve my wander-in-a-haze time for the ten minutes it takes in the morning for my coffee to brew). Getting back to the matter at hand...ah yes, LISTS. We have compiled a list of our favorite summer picks from our favorite cruelty free, earth friendly, and ethical fashion and beauty brands. I am thrilled to present for your perusal, one of my favorite lists:
☀ THE SUMMER ESSENTIALS LIST! ☀
1. LIGHTWEIGHT SUMMER DRESS
"Summertime and the living is easy... "couldn't sum up my summer wardrobe any better than with those lyrics. Airy dresses in adorable summer prints, or abstract tribal designs are what my summer days are made of. Our favorite pick for summer dress is this amazing Komodo Flo Tribal Print Dress available in either grey or pink based prints. The dress is not only Fair Trade, but also eco friendly and made from 100% rayon, a natural material from sustainable tree cellulose.
2. A CLASSIC ONE PIECE
The beach has got to be one of my favorite places to be, despite my alarmingly pale skin .I love the sounds, the bright sights and of course, the awesome tussled texture the saltwater gives to my hair! Nothing epitomizes beach side glamour than a classic one piece halter suit. This Kelly B Aqua Blue Organic Cotton Halter Swimsuit has such a kittenish feel with the halter tie and bright aqua shade, yet the sophistication that comes with the classic silhouette. We chose this swimsuit as our summer pick because it is made with organic cotton and sustainable bamboo .This piece, as well as many more great pieces can be found at Fashion-Conscience.com.
3. AN AWESOME BEACH TOTE / SUMMER BAG
Although I definitely try to pack light for the summer, it seems as though my bags just keep getting bigger and bigger. I like to call this ' The Mary Poppins Effect '. It has also manifested in my outerwear selection these days, but that's another post for another day. Between my summer reading, beach towel, sunscreen, headphones, sandals and room for water and some fruit, I end up basically carrying around small luggage with me. That being said, my pick for a summer tote is this Woven Rattan Beaded Tote from Fair Indigo . It's roomy,gorgeous and ethically made. Fair Indigo , a California based company uses both fair trade practices and organic materials.
4. AIRY SUMMER SHOES
Shoe selection is always a big process for me .There is a trifecta of standards that I hold them to . In the warmer weather I need a shoe that is cooling, comfortable and cute. Now, I love sandals as much as the next girl, but if I'm going to be walking through the city, the last thing I want is open toes. That's where the woven shoes design save the day for me . Our pick for summer are these Komodo Fair Trade Bali Hai Krowang Pumps Shoes. This company practices sustainability by using recycled tires for the soles of their shoes, and items are handmade using ethical business practices.
There has got to be nothing worse in the summer than getting to the beach and realizing you've fogot your sunglasses. I can't recally how many times I've had to spend the day looking at the sights through the tiny squints in my eyes , until finally resigning and buying a pair at the concession stand for three times the price and emblazoned with some huge neon logo. Not a good look for me. I tend to favor the over sized,vintage, golden girls-esque style, with just a dash of grunge, which is why I am seriously coveting this pair from KAYU. These Rawa Bamboo Sunglasses are 100 % UV gradient lenses inset in a beautiful bamboo frame. All of Kayu's pieces are handmade using natural materials and ethical manufacturing processes.
6. CRUELTY FREE SUMMER SURVIVAL KIT
Our natural, cruelty free picks for summer health & beauty
Caswell Massey Lucky Tiger Vetiver Deodorant & Body Spray
Non aerosol, botanical, and not tested on animals .
Kiss My Face Natural Mineral Sunscreen
All natural ingredients that are not tested on animals .
Roger & Gallet Cedrat Fragrant Water
Citron, grapefruit, basil and white amber natural botanics and cruelty free.
Badger Balm Organic Insect Repellent
USDA Certified Organic , and cruelty free.
Paul Mitchell Lavender & Mint Shampoo
Natural ingredients and free from animal testing.
We hope you found this list handy and are just as amped about summer as we are. Check back as we delve into more natural, cruelty free options in the world of beauty, fashion and food. Also, we love discovering new brands that promote an ethical and sustainable lifestyle. If you have suggestions, or ideas, make sure to get in touch with us or leave a comment. ❤