Our family has always loved picnics, so I am contributing to RedEnvelope’s “Anatomy of a Picnic Guide.” A picnic is a chance to enjoy the outdoors, family and friends and delicious food. When we lived in California we would often head down to the bluff and catch the sun setting over Catalina while enjoying a simple meal. But you don’t have to live at the beach to make a picnic perfect. All you need is a bag to pack a tablecloth or a blanket, a simple meal, a few drinks and you’re set for a memorable picnic at a park, a lake, a beach or even in your own backyard. I use Weck jars to pack my food. They never leak and they look beautiful sitting on the table. Throw in some paper plates and napkins, add a small votive candle or fresh flowers and you’re all set! RedEnvelope has some great ideas, check it out right here.
One of my favorite pasta salads for a picnic is this one from Giada!
I’ll never stop missing those California sunsets!
Later this summer we are going to Italy. We are pretty excited and traveling of course requires a bit of research. This is where Bing comes in….I get rewards for doing what I do best…researching places I really really want to go. Last winter we decided on Tuscany after watching the movie Letters to Juliet. It was a cold and snowy weekend and seeing them them drive through the country side of Tuscany in the summer….well that’s all it took. So with Bing Rewards I can research places to stay, eat, shop, what to bring, flights, car rentals…you name it, I researched it and all while earning points that I can redeem on gift cards that I can use on travel related stuff.
The hotel in the above mentioned movie is actually a real place. It’s called Borgo Scopeto Relais and it really is located in Siena. It actually looks more amazing on their website than in the movie.
Just to make sure I get as many rewards as possible while I search out things to do in Siena, I’ve made Bing my home page on all my devices. It’s that easy to get rewarded! Check out Bing Rewards for yourself!
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.
and one more…courtesy of the Geico commercial . . . and boots and pants and boots and pants. . .
By now you know how much I love to use Engineer Prints from Staples. I’ve used them for birthdays and graduations (here and here) and to decorate Madeline’s dorm room. Staples makes it easy to upload your photos, choose the size you want and pick them up in a few hours or have them sent right to your door. I of course order and pick them up the same day I typically need them. This year I tried something a little different and I actually planned ahead. My kids are 19 and 15 so we’ve done everything for father’s day. Last year we made the DIY gift wrap using some favorite photos and it was a huge hit. Since we can’t repeat ourselves, we decided to make a list of all the funny and sometimes strange things they’ve said over the years. You know those funny little things your kids say and even if they want to forget them, the rest of the family just keeps bringing it up? In a Microsoft word document I typed a list of all of the quotes from my kids alternating between Madeline and Patrick. I tried a couple of font styles and then simply took a photo of the documents and uploaded them to the Staples website under Engineer Prints. I chose the largest size so that we can use it as gift wrap. I think he’s going to love it! So start making your list!
You know when you’ve heard everyone talking about a place, see beautiful photos on social media and then you go and well, it just doesn’t live up to all the hype? Well, Buvette is not one of those places. I follow them on instagram and they post the most beautiful photos in just the right morning light…even on a rainy day. So last week when Madeline and I finally went, we were thrilled with every detail. The service was wonderful, the food delicious, the cappuccinos were seriously so delicious I had three… Madeline eats very slowly, but still, three?! The decor was my favorite part. It’s a bit rustic (obviously it’s in an old building in the West Village, but there were just enough shiny new items to add a touch of elegance. I loved the red cafe chairs and tables on the patio, red geraniums on the fire escape… pretty much perfection. They use a collection of old silver trays, white bone china, big bottles for water and of course cloth napkins all day long. It really is the perfect place. They are practically open all day and night. So when should we meet at Buvette?
Buvette is located at 42 Grove Street in the West Village, NYC. As they say in their about page, they are open sunlight to candlelight.
We recently painted our house white. Benjamin Moore Cloud White with black trim. Easy, hardly any decision making at all, but just what we wanted. Our house is a block off the parade route in our small town and still a well traveled street so I love to decorate at least a little. I use Ikea Burken jars for everything. I have about a dozen and they just rotate from indoors to out for different purposes. I took the tiny flags from the drug store that I’ve had for years and removed the poles. Placed a tiny drop of glue on each corner to secure them to the outside of each jar. Then I lit a small candle that was just the right height to illuminate each flag.
Planters are Ikea, house numbers and back lights are Home Depot. Lanterns on the front porch are original to the house.
When I started thinking about what kind of decorations I would use for my nephew’s graduation I immediately thought of school supplies. The iconic black and white marble composition notebook is synonymous with school and so I made simple place cards using that idea. I created a “Notes” box in Microsoft word and then placed them onto a composition book. I made copies on card stock and simply cut them out. They were attached with a paperclip to a piece of ribbon that I found at Tinsel Trading Co. on Lexington Avenue a few weeks ago in Fordham colors.
I love to use Engineer Prints from Staples for a graduation. I took these on my iphone the day before the party, uploaded them to the Staples website and picked them up a few hours later. So easy and two prints for less than $5.
A Sharpie water based paint pen with a bold tip for a little decoration right at the front door. The cup cake toppers are from Zazzle. They are stickers and along with red velvet cupcakes in Fordam red creating a simple centerpiece. I chose a photo of Ryan from a golf tournament last fall at Yale vs. Fordham. Everything was easy, inexpensive, but personalized with school colors and photos. Congratulations Ryan!
This is a project I did last year for Mother’s Day and again at Valentine’s Day. This time I used the same simple water colors but was inspired by the clay pots and planters in terracotta and zinc. I wrote notes on the back and will tuck them into my mom’s card and packages. It’s an easy project that you could do with your toddler or any age child. Each heart is cut with a heart punch and no two are alike.
Our night will include a little fresh guacamole, quesadillas made from left over fajitas. (I keep making Smitten Kitchen Sizzling Fajitas). The great thing about these fajitas is that making them once is like making two meals. The leftover savory peppers and onions mixed with a little cheese makes the perfect quesadilla. Setting the table starts with a colorful runner I found with a friend in San Diego. She shared her favorite thrift stores and donut spot. Now that was a perfect day! A few religious candles, a re-purposed enchilada sauce can for a vase and of course some festive drinks. Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone!
When we were little, May Day was a big day. Until my sister and I were seven, we lived in Minnesota, so I’m not sure if it’s a Midwest thing or what, but it was a day to be celebrated. Any by that I mean candy and flowers were at the center of it all, but to me it was all about making and filling the baskets. One year my mom actually got strawberry baskets and ribbon ahead of time, but mostly we used whatever we had on hand. Dixie cups, colorful construction paper rolled into a cone shapes with holes punched for a ribbon to be attached as a handle. We would fill the cups or cones with flowers (spring flowers that were popping all over the yard and garden at this time of year) and candy and then hang them on the recipients door, ring the doorbell and run. That was all part of it….that the May Day Basket (cup or cone) was left anonymously. Such a funny tradition that seems to have faded away. I always make a few May Day baskets for my friends and this year I made short bread cookies with a lemon glaze, lemon candies in a weck jar and a lemon-thyme plant.
I sealed each package of shortbread cookies with a 2.5″ round sticker from Minted.com.
Since my May Day theme was lemon I opted for a lemon-thyme plant rather than flowers.
These adorable note cards are from Minted.com. They are made of heavy card stock and add the perfect touch to my baskets.
I used white lunch bags I found at Walmart and just cut a scalloped edge and then used a hole punch. I lined each bag with the top part that I cut off to make the bottom of the bag a little sturdier.
Happy May Day!