Weekend Bits – Links I Love

coffeeimage: jacolynmurphy.com

Kids are howling in protest and mothers are doing the dance of joy as the school year officially starts this week in my area.  Although it does kind of feel like the school calendar is cutting more and more into summertime, I guess we’ll sacrifice in the name of sanity education.  And so I lead off this week’s favorite links with this cute back to school coffee party idea that makes for an easy get together just for moms.

Everyone needs a crisp white shirt (or two or three) in their closet and here are 10 stylish ways to wear one.

I’m guilty of eating boring breakfasts made up of nothing more than a protein bar and coffee but I may change my tired ways after checking out these scrumptious looking morning meal ideas.

The NFL kicked off the preseason this week and I’m ready for some football! To celebrate I’m sharing this recipe I found for beer nachos (you’re welcome husbands).

This chalkboard paint idea for a bathroom is my favorite pin of the week.  It would be fun for a lower level bath and everyone would love adding their own graffiti!

Got a birthday coming up?  Be sure to check out this list of 19 retailers that give you a special treat on your big day.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend Bits – Links I Love

pineappleThe pineapple, traditionally a symbol of hospitality, is definitely trending this summer.  When I was on our beach vacation a few weeks ago, I gave a nod to this trend by sipping pina coladas every day (ha!). But I’m also wearing it.  I picked up the Peter Som tank top from Kohl’s pictured above.  Right now you can find the pineapple motif on everything from iPhone cases to artwork.  Here’s a fun round-up of ways to incorporate this happy fruit.

A shirtdress is an easy breezy piece for summer and you can style it for so many different looks. Here are just a few.

I love random cleaning tips that actually work.  Guess which Kool-Aid flavor gets those lime deposits and stains out of the inside of your dishwasher? Click here to find out.

Kick your corn on the cob up a notch with this grilled cilantro-lime corn recipe.

Summer is far from over and now is a great time to pick up another pair of sandals to get you through the rest of the season.  Here are 14 stunners and they’re all under $50.

Happy Sunday!


image: Kohls.com


Weekend Bits – Links I Love

watermelon-t1“I carried a watermelon.” . . . quick name that 80s movie!

Only one of my all time favs, Dirty Dancing!  Sort of a random way to start this post but I’ve had watermelon on the brain this week and I love that line from the movie.  The grocery stores are filled with bins of juicy, ripe, delicious watermelon.  It’s a fruit that everyone in my family will eat so we’ll load up on it over the next month.  To mix it up some, I found this collection of 12 recipes that include watermelon.

IKEA is opening a store in Kansas City this fall and I can’t wait!  I find lots of cool decor ideas on the web that start with an IKEA item and with a little ingenuity, they’re transformed into showstopping pieces.  These are referred to as ‘IKEA hacks’.  Check out these amazing hacks to get the gist.

Staying on the topic of decorating, here are 6 decorating rules made to be broken with tips on how to pull it off.

This link is a must read for, frankly, everyone who has a social media account.  If you only take away one snippet, let it be this: “Instagram is often a shiny happy world where people post only the moments (and outfits, meals, parties, and destinations) they want people to see (edited and filtered to perfection.)”.  Let me add that it doesn’t just apply to Instagram (*ahem* Facebook).

ICYMI (in case you missed it – took me forever to figure out that acronym on Twitter!), the Nordstrom anniversary sale started on Friday.  It runs through August 3rd.  This is my favorite round-up of pieces under $100 to consider adding to your wardrobe.  Happy shopping!


Celebrate Ice Cream

Did you know that July is National Ice Cream Month?  Yes, you read it right.  The entire month is dedicated to this fabulous frozen dessert.  Like I needed a reason besides the fact that it’s summer to eat more ice cream.  To celebrate this quirky recognition of July, I thought I’d share some of my family’s favorite ways to enjoy this summer treat.

Have a sundae on Saturday!  We like to break out our traditional sundae glasses, fill them with a couple of scoops and customize it with our favorite toppings.

ice crm sundaeimage: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Speaking of toppings, how about this unique way to serve them?  Put your favorites in champagne glasses and tuck them into a rustic crate.

dessert-toppings-barimage: Blowout Party

Ice cream sandwiches…need I say more?

ice crm sandimage: Tartelette

A good friend of mine combines waffles and ice cream for breakfast on her kids’ birthdays.  But I think National Ice Cream Month also qualifies!

ice crm wafflesimage: Pass The Sushi

Sometimes simple is best and it’s pretty tough to beat the traditional waffle cone.

ice crm waffleimage: Copenhagen Cooking

Check out these 8 fun facts about America’s favorite treat.

Weekend Bits – Links I Love

cap wat

Has anyone else noticed that the moment the 4th of July holiday has passed, you start hearing murmurs about summer being almost over?  I’m opting for the glass is half full perspective and plan to enjoy the weeks and weeks of warm weather still ahead of us.  There are so many possibilities for summer entertaining that I haven’t taken advantage of yet.  One of my favorite ideas is hosting a backyard movie night.  And all the visual inspiration I need is right here.

I’ve got a thing for a wall filled with photos and prints displayed in different ways.  My tendency has always been to go with the classic look of black frames with an ivory mat, but I’m loving this twist of using colored mats with black and white prints.  A perfect way to add color to a media room!

My collection of costume jewelry has definitely outgrown the jewelry box that sits on my dresser.  I’m not really a jewelry armoire type of girl so I’ve been looking for fun and different ways to organize my baubles.  I hit the jackpot of roundups with these 75 creative ways to organize your jewelry.  Definitely some pin worthy ideas to try.

It’s the start of tomato season in the Midwest and there are so many delicious ways to use them.  This recipe for caprese salad makes a simple and colorful appetizer.

I’m a fan of finding unique home accessories at vintage shops and flea markets so I enjoyed reading this blog post about using accessories to tell your story.

Enjoy your Sunday!



Weekend Bits – Links I Love

sunsetI hope everyone is having a fun and festive holiday weekend.  Today I’m struggling to get back into a routine after spending a week with my family doing nothing more than lying on the beach and deciding where to have dinner each night.  To ease the transition back to the real world, I’m going to download my vacation photos and relive some of my favorite parts.  While I have hope that I’ll create a photo book, I may also try one of these non-scrapbook ways to capture our vacation (except maybe the photo lampshade – ha!).

Even though the United States is out of the World Cup, it doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy some amazing soccer.  And it’s a great excuse to throw a summer party that has a different spin than the typical backyard BBQ.  Check out these fun party tips for hosting a World Cup watch party.

Speaking of barbecues, I love this roundup of new twists on some classic recipes.  I’m definitely going to try these sweet tea ribs – yum!

You’re not doing summer right if you haven’t enjoyed a popsicle yet.  Here are 10 delicious options if you’re looking to try something outside of the traditional Bomb Pop.



Summer Throwback

lightening bugs

Summer is in full swing and there are plenty of trips to the pool planned along with a vacation to the beach.  But I also want to celebrate the season by sharing some of the simple things I did as a child during the summer with my kiddos.

Family bike ride to the ice cream shop – When I was growing up, my family lived a mile away from a quaint creamery called Adams Dairy.  One of my favorite summer memories is the family biking to the dairy on warm summer nights to enjoy an ice cream cone.

Catch lightning bugs – Firefly or Lightning bug? In the Kansas City suburb where I grew up, it was most definitely a lightning bug.  I loved catching lightning bugs in a jar with the plan to use them as a night light in my room.  Somehow when I woke up each morning, the lightning bugs had “escaped” back to their natural habitat.  Not sure my parents were as into my night light idea as I was.

Picnic at the lake – I love Subway and Jimmy John’s as much as the next person, but there is something to be said for making your own sandwiches at home and using a real picnic basket.  And there are plenty of local lakes to choose from in my beloved landlocked city.

Go to the drive-in – I can remember riding to the drive-in in the back of a pickup truck loaded with pillows, blankets and friends.  These days we’ll strap in with our seat belts for the drive there instead of hanging on to the edge of a truck bed, but we’ll still enjoy a movie in the summer air.

Water balloon fight – We used to celebrate the last day of school by playing Red Rover (anyone remember that one?) followed by a water balloon fight.  Not sure that my kids will take long drinks from the hose as they fill their balloons like I did back in the day, but they will love having a water balloon battle with friends.

Pick-your-own fruit – I enjoy going to the Farmer’s Market but this summer I want my kids to experience picking their own fruit (literally).  Growing up, we had an apple tree in our backyard to snag a snack from.  Luckily there are several local orchards nearby where I can take the kids to pick everything from strawberries to peaches.

What were some of your favorite summertime activities as a child?  Share some of your experiences below or sound off on the firefly vs. lightning bug debate 🙂

image: princesscourts.tumblr.com

Scandinavian Inspired Summer Party

asummerimage: Robert Wojtowicz photography

Today marks the longest day of the year. To celebrate the summer solstice, I’m sharing the ‘Scandinavian Summer Party’ I styled last year for a Pinterest contest sponsored by La Crema Winery. Like most people, I love using the virtual pinboard but I had never heard of a Pinterest contest. When I found out I could dream up my ideal summer party and possibly win prizes or the chance to bring my party to life, I couldn’t resist! I ended up being one of their top 10 finalists which was a huge honor.

I decided on a Scandinavian inspired party because their lifestyle tends to be relaxed, peaceful and yet very sophisticated (all the things a summer party should be!). As I was daydreaming and looking at pins that would represent these attributes, I came across one that I knew captured the Scandinavian spirit perfectly.


All the pins for my board followed this “key ingredient”. I chose the gorgeous, rustic tablescape below because the neutral colors on the tables let Mother Nature be the star of the show.

tablescapeimage: at first blush and co

A hand written menu on brown paper bags filled with a baguette continues the clean, natural theme but is still beautiful and effortless.

amenuimage: Sacramento Street

Flowers from your own garden fit the elegant simplicity of the Scandinavian lifestyle.

flowersimage: Style Me Pretty

Forget Swedish meatballs, salmon is the taste of Sweden. I would serve tapas style appetizers like the ones below.

asalmonimage: IKEA Magazine

My dessert of choice was this Brita cake which is popular in Sweden and Finland.  It has a meringue like crust and is filled with layers of whipped cream and berries. Delicious and light, this is an amazing summertime dessert.  Find the recipe here.

britta cake
When the sun goes down, lights strung through the trees add to the intimate ambiance.

alightsimage: Martha Stewart Weddings

As I entertain this summer, I’ll be focusing on creating the intimacy, comradeship and contentment that is Hygge.  May the spirit of Hygge fill you in every season!

To see my entire Scandinavian summer party Pinterest board click here.  Thank you to La Crema Winery for sponsoring such a fun and creative contest. Cheers!


Weekend Bits – Links I Love

linksilove 6.7.14Swimming at the pool, a lemonade stand and sleepovers, summer vacation has officially started at my house.  We packed so much into the first week that I’m using this weekend to recover and gear up for week #2.  One thing I’m giving a little more thought to is healthy summer snacks to pack for the pool.  I typically throw a bag of pretzels and some Twizzlers in my pool bag and call it good.  When I read this list of healthy pool snacks, I was guilted into putting a little more effort into my snack packing.

Speaking of the pool, if you don’t have a swimsuit picked out yet you need to check out this next link. It features 111 swimsuits for every taste, shape and budget.

And from swimsuits I jump to food.  Not the best segue, I’ll admit, but it’s how my mind works. 🙂  Fish tacos are one of my favorite meals to order when dining out so I’ve been looking for a version to try at home.  This recipe for spicy fish tacos with cabbage slaw + lime crema looks ahhh-mazing!

Father’s Day is next weekend so it’s time to brainstorm some ideas if you haven’t already found the perfect gift.  Here are affordable ideas for the dad who has everything.

“Tropical, creamy and sweet, but not too sweet” is how this mango coconut & orange vodka crush cocktail is billed.  It sounds like the perfect beverage to try for the next adult night at the pool.




Weekend Bits – Links I Love

Daisy1The school year wrapped up for my kiddos this past week and we’re all looking forward to the lazy days of summer.  It won’t be long, though, before I hear the dreaded words “I’m bored” (oh, to have such problems!).  To curb that conversation, I plan to print this free summer bucket list template and have them fill it out so that when they utter that phrase we have a game plan.

When the weather warms up, my hair goes up along with it.  A bun is my favorite go to hairstyle during the summer.  It’s easy to get the casual, messy bun look with this step by step guide.

Beauty benefits of booze?  I saw this headline and had to check it out.  I’ll admit I was slightly disappointed to read that the benefits were gained from using it topically versus digesting it but it’s still worth the read 🙂

I found my own “look for less” this past week and had to share.  I picked up these lace espadrille flats at Kohl’s that look pretty darn close to this Valentino version (but over $400 cheaper).

I have a friend who says her house is always 10 minutes away from being able to host guests.  That’s a lofty goal for me (two kids, two dogs, need I say more?) but this daily cleaning plan might be a good starting point.  It promises that dedicating just 30 minutes a day will keep your house tidy.

This summer, I really want to fix salad (and just salad) for dinner at least one night each week.  First up is this spinach salad with chicken, avocado and goat cheese. Yum!