September 19, 2013 | by cyd
Following up on this week’s ode to the best apple recipes for fall, let’s talk cocktails, shall we? We’re tentatively planning a trip to the apple orchard this weekend with the kiddos and a bunch of friends and their families, so I know the apples will soon be overflowing our fruit bowl. By a whole lot. So it only seemed fitting that we talk about whipping some of those beauties into a cocktail or two! (Or, you know, skip the booze if you wanting a refreshing sip sans alcohol.) These three all look mighty fine to me. Pairing fresh apple taste with flavors like ginger, cranberry, elderflower, vanilla and rosemary, we’re skipping the boozy warm apple cider options for now in lieu of crisp, apple flavor that’s in keeping with the season. Because technically it’s still summer, ok? I’m not giving up these last couple of days to the hands of fall just yet!
[Apple cocktails | 1: Apple ginger and cranberry vodka cocktail from What Katie Ate | 2: Apple and elderflower cocktail from Fig & Honey | 3: Honeycrisp apple spiced rum from Running with Tweezers.]
September 19, 2013 | by cyd
Friends, can we chat health and lifestyle for a moment? I wasn’t planning to write this post just yet and, frankly, this is far outside the realm of what we usually chat about around these parts. That said, I know I’m far from being alone in my journey over here and I thought it might be helpful to get real for a moment and share a bit more about where I’m at with you. (Plus, I promised to share more insight into my personal life moving forward, remember?) If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you may already know that last Monday I started following a Paleo diet. Today I thought I’d share a little bit about why that is and how it’s going so far after approximately 10 days.
[Caramel glazed Paleo donuts from Against All Grain.]
In a nutshell? I love it. Some of you who are longtime readers may know that between 2006 and 2008, I lost approximately 110 pounds by cleaning up my eating and working out like a crazy woman. I had gotten really heavy in college and I’d finally had enough. The weight stayed off until 2011 when a series of wild and crazy events (a story for another day) all kind of collided and had this meteor-like effect on my life. I began making excuses, excuses turned into habits, and the weight started to pile back on. This year I have been struggling to try and lose what I gained back and was making little to no progress. Around that time I started hearing a lot of people talk about Paleo. I immediately wrote it off because most people who follow Paleo eat a lot of meat and this girl hasn’t eaten red meat in eight years or poultry in close to five. No way was I going back to eating meat. That said, I have always occasionally eaten fish and seafood, so I thought I’d look into Paleo a bit more and if it seemed interesting I’d modify it to fit my own lifestyle. A week and a half ago I did just that, and I’m pretty sure there’s no looking back at this point.
[Paleo lemon bars from Against All Grain.]
Ok, so if you’ve read this far you probably want to know the numbers, right? Over the last 10 days I’ve lost 7.4 pounds and the inches that are dropping off are blowing my mind. Already it’s more than 1″ from my waist and nearly 1.5″ from my hips. Overall, it’s about 5″ lost in not even two weeks. Mind boggling. Especially after months and months of little to no results. I haven’t changed my workouts at all. I’m still doing the same 5+ hours a week at the gym (or working out at home) I’ve been doing all year. The only thing that has changed in the last 10 days is my diet. I already ate pretty clean so I attribute it to cutting out the wheat and dairy. I haven’t been perfect, but my goal is to be 90% on target on any given day. I have had cream in my coffee a few times. While I love almond milk in a lot of things, there’s nothing like cream in coffee, in my opinion. On Saturday, we went out to eat and I did have a few bites of things that had wheat. But otherwise, I have been following along faithfully.
[Paleo lemonade from Against All Grain.]
I just want to point out, I’m in no way being sponsored or endorsed to talk about this stuff. I will share some links below that I found helpful when researching what Paleo was all about (in a nutshell, it’s no legumes, dairy, wheat, sugar, corn, soy, starches or processed foods), but these are really just for your informational purposes if you’re interested in learning more. I know what it’s like to feel like you’re beating your head against the wall and getting no where with your health goals. I know it all too well. Paleo is also said to be amazing for all kinds of auto-immune disorders, of which I’m luckily free, but it’s something to look into if you have any of those issues. I can assure you we’re not going to be talking about weight loss on the regular around here, but you can definitely follow along on Instagram if you want, because quite often I’m sharing what I’m eating and how things are going. Oh! And if you’re already living Paleo and have additional resources to share, please leave a comment! I’m far from an expert here, after all.
- The Paleo Diet (I read this book first when I started getting serious about learning more)
- Against All Grain (Danielle has tons of Paleo, gluten free, and dairy free recipes and a new cookbook I want!)
- Breakfast at Toast (Danielle is one of the first bloggers I heard talking about Paleo)
- A House in the Hills (Sarah has a ton of recipes, many of which are Paleo or could easily be modified)
- Whole30 (An incredible resource with the ins and outs in good detail)
- Pinterest (Just search for Paleo – loads of recipes come up!)
- Instagram (I use the hashtag #paleo – really good inspiration on there)
If you have any questions, please let me know! Like I said, I’m far from a Paleo expert but I’m learning and enjoying the process so far. Surprisingly so, actually. On day 3 I thought I was going to throw in the towel and I distinctly recall texting a friend and declaring something along the lines of, “I want to face plant into a baguette smothered in goat cheese right now.” But I didn’t and I’m so glad for that. More updates to come as I learn more and have more insight to share.
[All photos by Against All Grain.]
September 18, 2013 | by cyd
If you follow me on Instagram, chances are you’ve seen this photo already. I posted it last week and hinted at the fact that I may soon be leaving behind the work-from-home world to take up residence in a pretty storefront office. (Hooray!) A week later, everything is lining up quite nicely and it’s official! Pending a few last details, I should be working out of this adorable little space within the next few weeks. I am beyond excited, let me tell you.
So what’s it all about? In a nutshell, my cousin who is making a career shift out of a partnership and into her own business needed an office. This one happens to be perfect. We’re talking huge 15′ ceilings with the original tin, gorgeous period light fixtures and those massive storefront windows that positively flood the space with natural light all day long. Located in the downtown area of our town, it’s also within walking distance to restaurants and coffee shops. (Bonus!) It also happens that she and I have been as close as sisters for our entire lives and really rather enjoy hanging out. So one thing led to another and it was decided that I’d move into the office with her and the other lovely girl that works for her. You know, so we can do things like put a giant Christmas tree in the front window. (And if you think I won’t be changing up the window decor at regular intervals, you’re nuts. It’s so on!)
Right now we’re strictly in the planning phase. So we’ve been, you know, digging through our homes and those of family and friends to see what we can repurpose without breaking the bank while still having a space that’s really fun and cozy. Storage is critical. Color is critical. Having a space that is bright and happy? Also critical. Needless to say, good ol’ Craig and his list will be getting a lot of love from us over the next few weeks. In the meantime, I’m already thinking about colors and patterns! Because that’s how I do. We want a space that feels professional but in a way that’s really warm and inviting. We want it to have a touch of a coffeehouse vibe, so when her clients come in to meet they feel like they’re at the home of an old friend. And did I mention we want it to be fun? Fun is a must!
I’ll keep you posted as we make progress and when I’m officially a put-an-outfit-on-and-go-to-the-office kind of blogger instead of the type who wears yoga pants and a top knot more often than I care to admit. I’ll likely be updating more frequently on Instagram than here on the blog though, I’m sure, so be sure to follow along!
[Shop | 1: Two-tone mirror | 2: Black and gold ceramic jar | 3: Task lamp | 4: Charcoal armchair | 5: Dhurrie rug | 6: Gold candleholder.]
September 18, 2013 | by cyd
Over the last several months I’ve found myself increasingly captivated by really great kids photography. To the extent that I felt the need to start an entire Pinterest board dedicated to the cause. All of these images are from Vancouver based Leuie, a boutique overflowing with the most beautiful kids clothes, accessories and home furnishings. Every single image in their lookbook seems to capture the pure, utter joy of childhood in a way that really just speaks to me. There’s a quiet nostalgia to these images that I find so lovely. For more, pop on over to Leuie or follow along on Pinterest!
[Photos from Leuie.]
September 17, 2013 | by kelly
by Kelly Lanza
Fall starts next week. What?! That means we’re headed into the height of gift giving season, and we won’t be coming back out until 2014. Or, if you’re like me, it’s always gift giving season! I just love giving a gift. It may be because I love packaging up that gift (Shh, don’t tell!) and that’s where today’s DIY tutorial comes in. I decided to go all sorts of geometric color block style on you and whip up some gift boxes that don’t need wrapping! These graphic boxes are great for all your gift giving needs, from birthdays to hostess gifting and right on through to the holidays. The best part? They’re totally reusable in the recipient’s home, long after the gift is opened!
- Sturdy gift boxes (I found mine at Paper Source)
- Craft paint
- Paint brush
- Painter’s tape
- X-Acto knife
First you’ll need to tape off your pattern. To make sure the pattern on my lid lined up with the base of the box, I taped the pattern while the box was together. I chose to make random, graphic shapes but you could also make stripes if you wanted!
Once you have your pattern taped off, use your x-acto knife to cut along the edge of your lid and separate it from the base of your box. I still wanted my pattern to go all the way to the top of the box’s base, so I added more tape to continue the pattern up to the top edge too.
Now paint, paint, paint within the shapes you’ve made and then remove the tape and let dry completely. You can also go back in and add more shapes/lines on top of what you’ve already painted, as I did above. Let that dry again.
Now it’s time to give it away, if you can manage to part with it! Fill it, add a gift tag and you’re good to go. No wrapping required!
Wouldn’t it be fun to make mini versions of these as party favors!? Perfection!
[Photos by Studio DIY for The Sweetest Occasion.]
Patterned Paper + Gift Boxes from Paper Source
Craft Paint by Martha Stewart from Michaels
The fine print: Please link with love! As with all of our posts, DIY projects featured on The Sweetest Occasion may not be copied, distributed or reproduced without express written permission. Love and links are always appreciated! If you’d like to share this post, please link to this post directly for the DIY tutorial and do not include the instructions in your own post. Thanks so much! xoxo