Friday Link Love

Hi, guys! By the time you read this, B and I will be well on our way to New York for the weekend. And can I just tell you? It has been well over a decade since I’ve been to the city just for fun (without some professional obligation large or small involved) so this weekend is going to be so much fun. Five Napkin Burger, I’m looking at you, kid. That said, I wasn’t going to run off on you without first bringing you a big dose of link love to help kickstart your weekend properly. I hope you have something awesome planned! Even if it’s just watching a movie while all cozied up on the couch, because we all know that’s my favorite kind of awesome. (We’re big fans of movies on the couch around here.) Here’s wishing you a fabulous weekend – see you here next week! xoxo

New York City | Photo from @megangilger

[Photo and lettering by The Fresh Exchange.]

Oh! One more thing. I mentioned on Monday that I started T25 this week. Just a quick update that I have finished the first week and while the workouts are definitely killer, I’m loving it. I really appreciate that the workouts are only 25 minutes, but leave me knowing I got a really good burn without having to spend an hour or more at the gym. I’ll share more thoughts as I work my way through the program but so far so good!

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A New Home for The Sweetest Occasion

This post is a tale about a girl and her itch to find more room to store her craft supplies and styling props. Heading into 2014, I couldn’t stop thinking about finding a dedicated studio space to call home. Last fall, I mentioned that I was planning to move into a storefront office that my cousin (and ultimate partner in crime) had scouted out as the headquarters for her new business, which remained my intention up until the holidays. At that point, I got so caught up in work and projects and crafting that I quickly realized I was probably best suited to have a space of my own. A space where I could spread out, store and organize all my stuff, and fling glitter around at will. Kelly mentioned it just recently, too, but working from home has become increasingly difficult as The Sweetest Occasion has grown. Sure, I love being able to wear yoga pants all day long and not do my hair if I so choose, but the endless tripping over boxes and bins of supplies and half-finished projects has gotten entirely old. In a nutshell, I’ve overrun our home and it has made it increasingly difficult to enjoy our home for what it is supposed to be.

The Sweetest Occasion - Studio

Right after the holidays, I had some time to start analyzing things for real. As in, not just in the heat of the moment when I was frustrated because our dining room table was yet again buried in supplies and scraps. I have a few big huge life-changing goals in the works this year and I realized that having a dedicated studio space could very well make the difference in my success in achieving those goals. (I swear I’m not trying to be all annoyingly vague on you, I’m just not the type who likes to count my chickens before they hatch!) So January came and with it the constant nagging in the back of my brain that the time was now to pack up The Sweetest Occasion and move her into a home of her own.

The Sweetest Occasion - Studio The Sweetest Occasion - Studio

My parents’ business has been located in a cool old industrial building that’s part of a former manufacturing facility for the better part of 16 years. As I started to actually think about finding a space, I obviously turned to my parents for their thoughts. (They’ve been in business for over 33 years so their advice is typically no joke.) One conversation lead to another and as luck would have it, the next building over from theirs is currently in the midst of being gutted down to the beautiful old bones and converted over into office/studio spaces. And that’s where I found it! My dream studio space. Seen in the top photo above, my dream space isn’t available to be rented out quite yet. (There’s some sort of approval process that the non-profit who runs the buildings has to go through before that can happen.) So in the meantime, I’ve set my sights on a smaller space that will serve to get me out of the house and also gives me first dibs on my dream space as soon as it’s approved to be rented. Which is the part where I tell you that yesterday I received a copy of the lease to review and hopefully I’ll be signing and making it official sometime next week!

The Sweetest Occasion - Studio

To tell you that this move in and of itself is a dream come true is the understatement of the decade. I’ve dreamed of my very own white-washed industrial studio space for so long I can’t even tell you. I’m crazy about the wood beams and exposed electrical and ductwork of the ceilings. I’m wild about the quirky charm of the building itself. I have fingers crossed the original wood floors can be salvaged enough to be deemed usable. (Otherwise I’m thinking a cool paint treatment?) The best part is, my parents are close by so I can wander over to have lunch with them during the day and the studio is less than a five minute drive from home. There’s a few weeks of construction involved before I can move in (namely working on those aforementioned floors, doing some work to the walls and get everything freshly painted), but by March 1st it looks like it should be official and I’ll no longer be a work-from-home kind of gal. Somebody please pinch me now, ok?

I’ll be updating you as things move along over the next few weeks, but definitely stay tuned on Instagram in the meantime! Oh, and if I haven’t said it recently, thank you all for being amazing and sharing in this crazy journey with me. You’re the best a girl could ask for. xoxo

[Photos by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion.]

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Three Valentine’s Day Things

Favorite Valentine's Day Ideas

I’m gearing up to bring you a handful of fun new Valentine’s Day ideas starting next week, but I thought I’d jump start things a bit today with three of my favorites from last year! I’m definitely the type who prefers small, sweet gestures on Valentine’s Day, so something sweet and handmade followed up by a fizzy champagne cocktail loaded with heart-shaped ice is just my speed. Of course, I’ve been pinning Valentine’s Day crafts and gift ideas like a wild woman, so follow along on Pinterest and stay tuned starting next week for more sweet ideas!

[From top: DIY Pipe Cleaner Heart Topper | DIY Chocolate Heart Wall | Pink Peppercorn Grapefruit Fizz.]

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Banana Cake with Honey Cream Frosting

Banana Cake with Honey Cream Frosting

You guys may remember how the lovely Melina of Sugary & Buttery popped by last summer to share her amazing Sky High Raffaello Cake recipe with us. Melina is one of those bloggers who is always amazing me with her sweet confections and her gorgeous photography, so I’m pretty thrilled to have her joining us again. Today we’re talking banana cake topped with a honey cream frosting. Which translates to a whole lot of awesome. Bonus! This cake is seriously simple to make and will basically wow your guests at a weekend dinner party or serve as the perfect mid-week treat. Or want to whip up a yummy homemade cake for a friend’s birthday without slaving in the kitchen for hours on end? Consider this cake a winner!

For the cake:
1-1/2 cups oat flour (or all purpose flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil (or canola oil)
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large bananas, mashed
1/2 cup shredded coconut

For the frosting:
8 oz cream cheese
4 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup powdered sugar

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Preheat oven to 335°F / 190°C. Spray an 8×8 square dish or a 8 inch round cake pan with non stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients except for the sugar. Set aside. In a second bowl, whip sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla extract and applesauce together. Mash the bananas with a folk and mix into the wet ingredients. Add the shredded coconut. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined.

Pour the batter into your greased dish and bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Cool completely before frosting. Adjust baking times if you use a different sized pan.

To make the frosting, whip the cream cheese, honey and sugar with a mixer until well combined and creamy. Scoop the frosting in a piping bag with a large round tip attached and decorate the cake with dollups of frosting.

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Many thanks to Melina for sharing this awesome cake with us today! Be sure to pay her a visit over at Sugar & Buttery where she’s constantly wowing me with her baking wonders. Like this triple layer chocolate marzipan cake. Holy cow. Sign me up for a slice of that one!

[Photos by  Melina of Sugary & Buttery.]

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Color Palette: Olympic Blue + Rouge

Sooo, anyone getting really really excited for the Winter Olympics? If you can picture me waving my arm frantically over here, you get the picture. I’ve been obsessed with the Olympics pretty much my whole life. Kristi Yamaguchi winning figure skating gold back in 1992? Yeah, highlight of my fourth grade life. (Or was it third? It hardly matters. Suffice it to say, it was a big deal to me for some unknown reason.) Not that I’m necessarily partial to the winter games. Just round up a whole bunch of amazing athletes, have them camp out in some random place for two weeks, give me a solid underdog story or two, and I’m a happy happy lady. Today’s color palette is my first ode of the season to this year’s winter Olympics, but you can expect more where this came from.

Color Palette: Olympic Blue and Rouge

p.s. I started a ten week T25 group challenge today! Has anyone tried it? My gym routine has gotten out of whack lately so I’m hoping this is a great way for me to make sure I’m continuing to make fitness a priority. Let me know if you’ve done it! I’ll keep you posted on how it goes, but so far first impressions are good on day 1!

[Photos, from top: Uda Kids | J.Crew | The Tiffin Box.]

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