March 5, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
This post was sponsored by Simply Beverages. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that
so generously allow The Sweetest Occasion to keep on keepin’ on!
Turns out, February was the coldest months on record ever for our area. We’re talking more than 20 days of below zero temperatures and only a single day that even hit freezing. But as cold as we’ve been, there is no denying that spring is on the way. The days are getting longer, the sun is definitely coming around more often and soon enough (I hope) we’ll be wearing flip flops! Today I’ve teamed up with Simply Juice Drinks to share with you some easy tips and ideas for hosting a fun, casual party designed to welcome spring. We’re talking tacos and cocktails – two of my favorites! This is the easiest way to invite friends over for a little spring celebration that is sure to be a hit.
Today we’re talking about one of my favorite ways to entertain, which basically revolves around a food station and a cocktail station. That way guests can come and go throughout the afternoon or evening and nibble and sip as they please. Specifically, it’s all about the taco today. Mind you, we eat all kinds of taco-inspired fare around here all year long, but tacos are fun and easy to make and sure to be a crowd pleaser, which sort of fits with a party designed to celebrate the return of warmth and sunshine, don’t you think?
My favorite way to host a party is to work with everyday items you already own and style them in fun ways to make your party look really fun and special without having to run to the store to buy a bunch of stuff. So here I lined the table with newspaper and then laid all the taco fixings out using my standard white serving platters, mason jars and prep bowls. Something as simple as transferring the salsa from the store bought jar to a mason jar just makes it look that much better. For my taco bar I focused on all of my favorite fillings like black beans, rice, tomatoes, homemade guacamole, salsa, cheese, scallions, olives, the works. I did include chicken, recognizing that some people do prefer a meat option in their taco. The easiest way to do that and keep it super simple? Stop off and get one of those $5 rotisserie chickens at the grocery store. Done and done!
Of course no party is complete with a few good cocktails. That’s where the new Simply Juice Drinks come into play! These new flavors (Fruit Punch, Tropical and Mixed Berry) lend themselves perfectly to crafting really delicious cocktails that all of your friends will love! I am personally loving the Simply Tropical (made with real pineapple and mango juice) made into a really delicious margarita. Just add orange liqueur or triple sec and a good silver tequila, shake and pour over ice. There is nothing better with tacos than a super yummy margarita!
Not surprisingly, the Simply Mixed Berry is my favorite of the flavors! I have a serious love for berries, and pairing the Mixed Berry with my favorite gin and a bit of elderflower liqueur ended up being a very good idea. Serve over ice and load it up with fresh berries and you have an instant party in a glass. You also need to give the Simply Fruit Punch a try with a splash of good bourbon and a wedge of lemon. All three of these drinks are taking up permanent residence in my cocktail rotation. The Simply Juice Drinks are bursting with real fruit taste and they’re made with simple, all-natural ingredients, making them perfect for whipping up fresh, tasty cocktails your friends will love.
The last thing you need is to add a little extra color to your table before your guests arrive. Of course, I’m talking fresh flowers! I spent $10 on inexpensive grocery store flowers (yes, my favorite, we all know) and then trimmed them down and tucked them in a quart size mason jar. They look so pretty and it takes all of five minutes to do. If you buy big flowers that have more than one bloom to a stem, they’ll largely do the work for you when arranging. Choose a monochromatic palette like I did here, with two or three shades of the same color and all you have to really do is plunk them in a jar without a lot of effort and they’ll look so pretty.
Is anyone else totally pumped for spring now? When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with tacos and cocktails. For more recipe ideas, flavor combinations and inspiration, follow along at the Simply Facebook page!
[Design, styling + photos by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion.]
This post was sponsored by Simply Beverages. Read more about our editorial policies.
March 5, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
I think it would be foolish to say that spring is almost here, considering we got more snow and freezing rain a few days ago, but ever so slightly I can feel a shift in the atmosphere this week that tells me that spring is on the way. If you live in a climate with really intense winters, you probably know what I mean. It will still be incredibly cold with snowbanks taller than you are, but something about the time of day the birds come around and the angle of the sun let’s you know that the end is somewhere in sight. Today’s color palette is all about bubble gum pink, clementine and pineapple. Bright, sunny shades that have me feeling excited for spring. Fingers crossed it’s not too far out!
[Photos, from top: Lark + Linen | A Lacey Perspective | Heidi Geldhauser for Paper & Stitch.]
March 3, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
While I’m continuing to recover from the flu, my sweet friend Maddy of Splendid Supply Co. was a gem and created this awesome printable art print to share with you guys. I just love it – thanks, Maddy!
Hello, everyone – Maddy from Splendid Supply Co. here. My dear pal Cyd is a little under the weather (thanks, never ending winter!), so I’m stepping in to help out since pretty homes and pretty parties are sort of my “thing.”
I can’t believe it, but we’re in March already! MARCH. What?! That means, of course, it’s time for St. Patty’s. Now, I love the green and gold pairing that happens around mid-March every year, but let’s face it: St. Patrick’s Day is only one day. I wanted to gift you guys a little somethin’ that was perfectly seasonal but, at the same time, could be used year round. So here it is: my So Lucky to Have You printable poster, exclusively for The Sweetest Occasion. (Click here to download.) Fresh shades of green for the holiday, paired with soft watercolor textures and lovely calligraphy typography to make it perfect for everyday. Enjoy!
[Art print design by Splendid Supply Co. for The Sweetest Occasion.]
March 2, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
This post was sponsored by Valspar. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that so
generously help The Sweetest Occasion keep on keepin’ on!
A little over a year ago when we moved into our current home, I shared a long to-do list of things we wanted to do to make our little house feel like ours while we’re living here. (To remind you, we’re hoping to stay put right here until we’re ready to buy or build a home of our own in a couple of years.) Well, it probably comes as no surprise, but we’re still working on that list! Isn’t that always how these things go? Among those things I really wanted to make happen was painting our front door. It opens into our dining room with a clear view from the living room, so it’s kind of a focal point and was practically begging for a pop of color! No door deserves to go unloved.
A couple of weeks ago the door painting finally got underway thanks to a little inspiration from Valspar. Throughout March, Valspar and Ace Hardware have teamed up to bring you 31 Days of Color, which is a month-long celebration designed to help you discover a new love for color. You can visit thepaintstudio.com starting at 12pm EST every day in March to uncover the Color of the Day from Ace’s exclusive Valspar® or Clark+Kensington® paint lines, along with expert tips and inspiration. While you’re there, you can enter the 31 Days of Color Sweepstakes where one winner will win a $10,000 home paint makeover! By entering, you’ll also be in the running to win a $50 gift card to Ace Hardware, which will be given away daily, to get you started on your next project. Plus, Ace will also be giving away free samples of the Color of the Day to the first 1,000 online entrants at thepaintstudio.com.
So, let’s talk about how to a paint a door, shall we? First, let’s talk about the before situation. The very boring and beat up before situation. The door is a very standard, nondescript builder’s grade steel door. At some point it had been painted, albeit with what appeared to be just one very thin, splotchy coat of a rather bland shade of beige. Honestly, it’s a sad door for how prominent it is in the house and I’d love to know what was originally there back in 1907, but at any rate, this is what we’re working with so an awesome wash of color seemed like the perfect solution.
As it turns out, the Valspar Optimus (which is a paint and primer in one) ended up being the perfect paint for this project. I can say with complete, 100% sincerity that I am in love with this paint! I painted our door in the color Lake Henry (VR056B) in a satin finish, which just so happens to be today’s color of the day! A lot of people will suggest semi-gloss for doors (much like trim), because it is generally the easiest to clean and as our house is generally full of kids (sometimes as many as seven or eight with nieces, nephews and friends included), that was definitely a consideration for me. However, the friendly guy at Ace Hardware promised me that this paint is so durable it would be just fine in the satin finish. Plus, we usually come in and out through the door that enters from our mudroom into our kitchen so I feel confident the satin finish will be perfect.
- Valspar Optimus in satin (I used Lake Henry VR056B)
- Short 2″ angled paint brush
- 4″ paint roller with dense foam rollers
- Kitchen cleaner spray
- Lint-free cloth
- Soap and water
Begin by making sure your door is nice and clean. I first scrubbed mine with a kitchen cleaner spray and a lint-free microfiber cloth. Kitchen cleaner is great for this because it usually has a built in degreaser which will help remove any oils from fingerprints and that kind of thing before you get started. Then follow up by giving everything a good wipe down with hot soapy water. Allow the door to dry completely before moving on. Grab your angled brush and start with a light coat, being sure to work the brush into any of the panel corners or other details where it can be a little tricky to get good coverage. Keep in mind, you’re not going for full coverage with this first coat, you’re just trying to put down a light layer of the color. Also, it’s going to look worse before it looks better! Doors are notoriously scary looking when they only have a little bit of paint on them, so just keep the faith and keep going.
This is where I was at after one coat. I used the brush mostly, but used the roller for the larger flat surfaces of the door. To get all the edges, I just popped the door open and painted right up the edge so I wouldn’t risk getting it on the hinges or the trim. I did not remove the door knob because it was -20° when I was painting so I just carefully cut in around it with my brush. If you go slow, it’s easier than you think! Keep a wet cloth with you and you can quickly wipe up any mistakes. Allow your first coat to dry and then move onto the second coat. The Valspar Optimus paint has such amazing coverage and a slightly thicker consistency that is just beautiful for painting a door like this. My door only needed two coats and a very light third coat just for touching up a few spots I had missed.
And, bam! One super pretty painted door that only leaves me wondering why I didn’t do it sooner. The Lake Henry is a lovely rich, medium blue with just a tiny hint of a teal undertone, which makes it feel kind of like a nautical-inspired jewel tone, which we all know is right up my alley. All in all, it was super quick and surprisingly simple to do. I think it may have taken me about two hours, including dry time between coats.
I think having the door painted such an incredible color just adds so much interest and character to the space, even though we started with a door as basic as it gets. All for about 1/4 of a quart of paint and a couple hours of work. (If you can call painting and dancing to iTunes Radio work. I generally call that fun, personally.) Also, I think this is an amazing idea for renters! Even if your landlord doesn’t want you to paint, this is so simple and requires so few materials that it’s easily something where you could paint it back to the original color before moving out and no one would ever be the wiser. (I won’t tell if you won’t tell!)
Here’s one last look at the before and after side by side. Isn’t it crazy what a bit of color and some paint can do? Also, for the record, I swear my photos are straight, it’s the floors that are sloped. But that’s part of the charm of living in a cute little house that’s more than three times as old as you are. Of all the things we’ve been working on around here, this is the project that I love the most and it has me all kinds of motivated to keep working through our list, slowly but surely! Before this room gets totally put back together, I want to work on waxing the floors and bringing back some of the shine, so I’ll keep you posted on how that works out for me.
Don’t forget to follow along with the 31 Days of Color all month at thepaintstudio.com so you can check out the color of the day and visit the blogger who is featuring that shade! Get yourself inspired to add a little color to your life and freshen things up just in time for spring. Oh, and prizes! Don’t forget you can win prizes, too. We love prizes!
[Photos by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion.]
This post was sponsored by Valspar. Read more about our editorial policies.
March 2, 2015 | by Cyd Converse
Good morning, friends! I hope you all had a great weekend. Thank you so much for bearing with me last week! I’ve only ever had the flu once before and it was a good six or seven years ago and, I’ll be honest, I completely forgot just how awful it feels. After three days of an incredibly high fever, I’m actually still feeling really exhausted and the cough is continuing to plague me, but otherwise I’m definitely on the mend. I will be very real with you and admit that I’ve barely been vertical since last Tuesday. There may or may not be a permanent imprint of my body pressed into the couch cushions. I am trying really hard to stay relatively still for another day or so, because I have a lot of work travel coming up this month and I can’t afford to have this linger. To that end, I’ve been reading up on at home remedies and immune boosters. After nearly a week of prescription and over the counter medicines, I feel like my body is craving some good nutrition-based immunity. Hopefully it’s just what I need to finish kicking this and get back to feeling like myself. Fingers crossed! Do you have any favorite remedies to suggest? Hook me up!
[Citrus Turmeric Juice | Turmeric Honey Super Booster | Orange Green Tea Bath Salts | Melon Detox Juice | Honey Lemon Ginger Jar.]