a kitchen favorite. ziploc baggies.

Don’t laugh. This is quick and kind of ridiculous, but I think you should know about it. I am now in the know and do I dare say that I may {or may not} have ordered like a billion packages because I love them that much.

Remember the other week I shared my new jam? You know, my smoothie jam? If you want a delish smoothie recipe that hits the spot look here. And, if you are like me and it pains you to throw out that last bit of smoothie that doesn’t fit in the cup or doesn’t have any takers, read on. Seriously, read on.

The first question… where have you been all my life? Look at these amaze-ing inventions. Hello, genius.

Zipzicles are my new best friend. You can find them on Amazon and I am not lying when I say they are the smartest thing ever. Pour that leftover smoothie in, pop in the freezer and you have some ready for those kiddos when time is ticking.

Can you imagine the fun? Make your own yogurt squeezers for the little kids. Or, maybe some tasty poolside drinks for the big kids. Come on, it’s just too much fun.

Zipzicles, I thank you.

eat. enjoy. share.

Letter J XO

if you missed my other {morning goodies take a lookey loo. 
see something you like?

{buttnernut squash muffins}

{blueberry banana muffins}

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styling shelves. tips and tricks.

Earlier I shared about the ikea shelves that I turned into something a little more me.  You can find more about it here. Today is a day all about styling. I seriously heart styling anything. Shelves. Mantels. Tables. It’s a serious problem, but it could be good news for you.

I think I have said it a million times before, but I am all about making a statement, albeit while being on a budget. Don’t get me wrong, I could style a room and make it cost big bucks, but that’s not real life for me. The bright side is that there are simple ways to make a shelf look a little prettier without spending oodles of money. A few simple tips that turn it from blah to a little bit of fancy.

  styling tip 1

Truth. Do all things in 3s. My mom taught me this. Make a trio and all is well. This simple trick will make any shelf look a little more polished and a little less thrown together. Believe it or not, in styling odd numbers are your friend.

styling tip 2

 Add some depth and dimension by making sure that you have items of different heights. Adhere to the “rule of thirds” so that everything looks proportionate to one another. Did you know this applies to clothes too?  Varying heights will turn something a-ok into something pretty amaze-ing. Try it. Love it? Hope so.

styling tip 3 As you have heard, I am a total bookworm and I have a huge collection of books. But, I am all about style and sometimes the books don’t actually go with my decor. I have a few tricks to solve that problem that are easy as pie.

  • Rip off the book covers. Gasp. Yes, I really do this. In fact, I just bought 40 books for a women’s ministry event at a local thrift store and ripped off every single cover. Grab those covers, rip them off and tie a few together with twine. The neutral palette of the pages will go with just about everything. Can you find the cover I ripped off on my shelf?
  • Cover with something you have lying around. I have used dictionary pages, atlas pages, newspaper, and even fabric from a ripped laundry basket {that was a cheap one}. When using paper, tape it to the inside covers of the book securing tightly on each side. If you go the fabric route, invest in some spray adhesive and glue it to the cover.
  • Visit a thrift store or Habitat for Humanity. Head over to the hardback cover books {I get mine for $2 each} and start looking underneath the dust jacket covers. Find a color palette or hue that would work in your room and look for books that have similar spine and cover colors. I walked out of our Habitat for Humanity with a stack of light blue and pale pink books for less than $10. Stack them and you have a great addition to any shelf without spending a whole lotta’ money.

What makes you smile? Find an item you love and go on a hunt for more. I stumbled across these two phones at thrift stores and couldn’t get over how cute they were. The white one was a steal for $10 and the black one had to come along too. They are the perfect accessory and add a little interest. For me, it’s phones and scales. Look around my house and you might find a few of those gems hidden. What about you? What makes your heart skip a beat?

styling tip 5

Yep. It’s that simple. Don’t worry about hanging and putting nail holes in the wall, instead find a few frames {notice my trio on the right?} and rest away. An easy way to showcase art without having to worry about symmetry and makes changing out frames a cinch.

Can I tell you one of my favorite parts of these frames? That cutie on the top left is my Grandma. After she passed in November, I found this picture of her working on a Boeing plane in the Seattle factory during the war years. Each day I’m reminded of this special lady who was quite the fashionista, even during the war years. Oh, g-ma. I heart you.

 Are you sold? Did you learn a few new styling tricks? I hope so. Try a few of them out at home and let me know how it goes. This post is a special shout out to my girl Mrs. Barcello who thought I should do this post about five years ago. Here you go, this one’s for you AB. xo

Coming up next week… how to achieve the restoration hardware look on your own shelves for a just under $20.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J XO

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bedroom shelves. my own ikea hack.

Our bedroom is huge. Why do they do that? It totally annoys me. For a personality like me, it means that I have to spend more money buying furniture to make it look ‘done’. Well, after almost three years it is finally done. Deep breath. Then a smile.

I need a statement piece, but this girl is on a budget, so I found something at Ikea and made it a little more me. The whole project cost me under $200, including all the paint. I love when things just work.  Here’s the {before}.

ikea shelf

I started with {two} black bookshelves from the Vittsjo series. Each shelf cost $79 and I was out of that place for just about $160. But, the best part was that my shelves took up six feet of wall space in our room. What could be better?

DSC_0009 After a little bit of styling, some thrifting for books at a Thrift store and visiting ‘my store’ for some unused items, I now look and smile. What started with something that wasn’t really me has turned into a piece that I am smitten with.

thx cards & bookshelves1 thx cards & bookshelves

A few coats of paint and some stylish pieces make any bookcase better. Are you looking to fill up a large space in your house, too? Maybe these will be the perfect addition for your space. A little sweat and then a lotta’ smiles.

Coming up… simple tips for styling shelves on a budget and how to achieve the restoration hardware look on your own shelves.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J XO


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morning smoothie. my new jam.

Listen up, folks. I have a new morning routine and it involves a smoothie packed with everything good. I originally found the recipe on pinterest, but have shaken it up a bit because that’s what I do.

Let me start with it’s easy, simple and tasty without having to be filled with sugar. I am not one for eating the same thing each day, so this should be a good indicator that it really is darn good. I have started incorporating it into my morning each day and can now make it {even with my lil’ helper} in under four minutes flat. For a mama on the run, that’s fast. Oh, and did I mention that it has so many goodies in it that I don’t even think about lunch until it’s actually lunchtime.


{morning smoothie. one for the mini. one for me.}

morning smoothie.


  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 of a lemon, freshly squeezed
  • 3/4 cup cucumber, quartered
  • 1/2 of apple, diced
  • 1 cup frozen berries
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 scoop protein powder


  1. Place all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Puree / blend for two minutes, or until completely pureed.
  3. Pour. Drink. Smile.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes

No need to stress over that mess you just made. I have a little TIP that makes cleaning up even easier. Cleaning your blenders is as easy as…


Seriously yummy and it will fill you up without having those early morning cravings for something else. Blend it. Eat it. And then smile because you are just a little healthier and vitamin packed than you were earlier that day. You’re welcome.

eat. enjoy. share.

Letter J XO

if you missed my other {morning goodies take a lookey loo. 
see something you like?

{buttnernut squash muffins}

{pomegranate muffins}

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thank you cards. for the family. for you.

Delay, yes. Sorry for that. Last week was a long, emotionally exhausting one. Our lil’ thirteen year old doggie had to be put to sleep and it was quite the week. And, there is no handbook that tells you how to make it easier on your kids. It was seriously one of the saddest things ever watching the kids and seeing their sweet tears. Each one of them handled it a little differently, but the good news is that he is in doggie heaven without any more ouchies. Here’s a glimpse into my sweet, sensitive one giving him one last love.

And now, back to our previously scheduled blog post. Thanks for listening…

 Thank you cards. I think they should be all the rage. Doesn’t it feel like in this uber-techy world we are losing some of the good old-fashioned stuff like thank you cards? I am a stickler for it and I make everyone in our family write one, especially after the holidays. I am hoping my kids will thank me someday, but I may be dreaming.

This year I created a simple {thank you} card with enough for everyone in the family. It is some kind of adorable and easy enough to print, cut, write, mail. I know, I know. It might just be too easy.

{you will need}
paper cutter
paper and printer
thank you. card template

{your task}

step 1. print the ‘thank you.’ cards template by clicking {here}.

step 2. cut the template in half {5.5″} and then half again {4.25″}.

step 3. write away. say your thanks.

step 4. mail. smile for keeping some oldies, but goodies real.

 The template is {free} and just for YOU. It’s as easy as copy, print, cut. A cute way to tell those special people in your life thank you.

Hope you likey and want a few for yourself. Now that I step back and look at the previous years, I realize I must have a thing for black and white. Oh well, black never goes out of style, right?

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J XO

did you miss other {thank you} related posts?
Take a lookey loo at what you may have missed before…

{thank you cards. family style.}

{family thank you cards.}

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bookworm. i read. you read.

I think I have told you this before… I am a total bookworm. I love books. I love reading. It’s dorky, but nothing is better than curled up in my bed reading before bed without anyone talking to me. My own little escape.

I’m also part of a book club with a little twist. We meet for happy hour. Say what? What could be better? We read and then meet up for a drink to talk about it {for about five seconds} and then catch up. Fun. Fun. Fun.

With that said, my two favorite books of the season. I read both of them over the holidays and couldn’t put them down. Does it bring out the inner bookworm in you?

My first fave, At the Water’s Edge.

at waters edge {the gist of it}
After disgracing themselves at a high society New Year’s Eve party in Philadelphia in 1944, Madeline Hyde and her husband, Ellis, are cut off financially by his father, a former army colonel who is already ashamed of his son’s inability to serve in the war. When Ellis and his best friend, Hank, decide that the only way to regain the Colonel’s favor is to succeed where the Colonel very publicly failed—by hunting down the famous Loch Ness monster—Maddie reluctantly follows them across the Atlantic, leaving her sheltered world behind.

The trio find themselves in a remote village in the Scottish Highlands, where the locals have nothing but contempt for the privileged interlopers. Maddie is left on her own at the isolated inn, where food is rationed, fuel is scarce, and a knock from the postman can bring tragic news. Maddie begins to see that nothing is as it first appears: the values she holds dear prove unsustainable, and monsters lurk where they are least expected.

And, the other one that kept me turning pages, Secrets of a Charmed Life.

secrets of a... {the gist of it}
Current day, Oxford, England. Young American scholar Kendra Van Zant, interviews Isabel McFarland just when the elderly woman is ready to give up secrets about the war that she has kept for decades…beginning with who she really is. What Kendra receives from Isabel is both a gift and a burden–one that will test her convictions and her heart.

1940s, England. As Hitler wages an unprecedented war against London’s civilian population, hundreds of thousands of children are evacuated to foster homes in the rural countryside. But even as fifteen-year-old Emmy Downtree and her much younger sister Julia find refuge in a charming Cotswold cottage, Emmy’s burning ambition to return to the city and apprentice with a fashion designer pits her against Julia’s profound need for her sister’s presence. Acting at cross purposes just as the Luftwaffe rains down its terrible destruction, the sisters are cruelly separated, and their lives are transformed.

 Maybe one or two of these books will be the perfect addition to some cold weather in need of a cozy couch day. Be a bookworm like me.. follow along.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J XO

did you miss other {book} related posts?
Take a lookey loo at what you may have missed before…

{a whenever reading list.}

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meet my new best friend. you’d like her.

I have a new best friend. I think you will like her. One of my besties, gregory, introduced us. She’s pretty great, but I’m not sure she knows I exist.

May I introduce you to my new bestie, Ali Larter. If I frequented the Hollywood Hills I just know we would be fast friends. We’d probably have lots of dinner parties and meet up at the local farmers market, or maybe catch up over a glass of white wine.

I got her new cookbook from my mother-in-law and I am in heaven. It is seriously the best. I literally read the entire cookbook from our drive from California to Washington front to back. It’s that good. I was drooling. My other half was drooling. And, I now determined to make every single recipe out of the book at least once.

Meet Kitchen Revelry, compliments of Ali Larter.

Not only is she adorable, but her cookbook is broken into months. She focuses on a different theme or menu for each month that is not over-the-top hard. I am already getting excited for hosting some delish dinner parties and get togethers just thinking about it. Imagine the fun. Maybe we should have Varsity Blues playing in the background?

I think you would love it about as much as I do. Get it. Read it. Cook it.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J XO

did you miss other {yummy} related posts?
Take a lookey loo at what you may have missed before…

{barefoot contessa.}

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hello, 2016. it’s going to be a good one.

Have you heard? It’s 2016. New year. New memories.

The theme for this month? A BRIGHT new year with our latest thought… #GOLDdiggers

Who us? Just a bunch of lil’ #GOLDdiggers.
Our focus for the year isn’t on New Year’s resolutions, but goals. You know those things that are actually attainable. I’ve always been one for coming up with a few very ‘doable’ things that make the year a little better than the last.

On January 1st, we sat down to dinner as a family and came up with three goals for each of us that we could focus on for the year. It was one of the best dinners ever. The kids were adorable and it was so darn cute to listen to what they wanted to focus on. Here’s what we came up with.

This board melts my heart because it is a true depiction of each of my little babies. They are all so uniquely different, which can be witnessed in their own little chalkboard section.

Grayson is my lil’ perfectionist who is a realist in all ways and never deviates from the course. Sawyer, on the other hand, thinks outside the lines and has a serious vision in mind that requires none of my advice or help. Lil’ Londyn was determined to do it ALL BY HERSELF because her older bros did it. No changing her mind. Did it take over 45 minutes? Heck, yes. But, the proud smile was worth every second.

Are you going to be a #GOALdigger too? Come along on the ride and share some of your goals. Remember, a resolution can always be broken, but a goal is something we can continually work towards achieving. Start digging, folks.

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J XO

{If you missed it, learn how you can make your own {DIY Chalkboard and Magnetic Wall}. Take a quick peek {here} to find out just how easy it is to transform an empty space into something that will make you smile.}

want to see some other {december} chalkboard walls?
take a lookey-loo at some of my past boards.

{january 2015}

{january 2013.}


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a few of my favorite things. silly, but true.

Yes, this might be a silly post. But, I just think you need to know about my three new favorites. Normally you can count on my to pick out the most expensive thing, but I am kind of proud of myself for these three gems.

Who knows, maybe they would be a perfect stocking stuffer for someone you know. Or, maybe you are browsing your local store and think you might just need them too.

fave thing. ONE.

Don’t laugh. These are seriously my absolute new favorite. They cost my less than $12.00 at Walmart and I am one happy girl.

Ever since our house has burned down I have searched high and low for the perfect tweezer. I have spent a ridiculous amount on one pair from Sephora and then went the cheap route, but still couldn’t find the perfect pair.  That is until I spotted these gold beauties. You can find them in-store at Walmart or look online.

| what you need to know |

  1. They are cute. Gold is the new black. Your eyebrows think so too.
  2. The slanted titanium tip ensure the perfect tweeze. It holds and pulls. Perfect.

fave thing. TWO.

I seriously love this soap. I will not lie when I say that I have 4 extra bottles stashed in my linen closet. When I see it, I buy it. It has found a home in the kids’ bath {new counter reveal coming soon!} and our playroom bathroom.

| what you need to know |

  1. It is cute. And, matches the decor in both bathrooms. You should know that I think soap should always complement bathroom decor. Sad, but true.
  2. It smells delicious and doesn’t dry out your hands.
  3. If I am lucky, Home Goods or TJ Maxx has it for less than $5. Heck, ya.
  4. I love it so much that I found it in bubble bath and hand cream. They are keepers.

A01605 au Lait handwash300 sm

fave thing. THREE.

These are so good. I found them at our local market, Nugget, and I can’t get enough of them. They are chewy and supposedly have grains that will make any girl happy. There are four different flavors and I just might be in heaven.

| what you need to know |

  1. Grab one and put some peanut butter on it and you are ready for the day.
  2. Toasted and with some cream cheese and turkey is another twist that I just feel in love with.
  3. Simple. Easy. Perfect for on the go.Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 10.02.52 PM

{pretend I am singing this next part in a really good voice… probably better than julie andrew}

These are a few of my favorite things... maybe yours too? Three favorites that should make it into your home. What are some of your favorite things?

try. enjoy. share.

Letter J XO


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chalkboard wall. merry you. merry christmas.

I’m late. Way late. The wall got done, but the post never happened. I think December happened. And, I am still trying to keep up.

For this month, I went the easy route. A chance to take a deep breath and spend time remembering what the season is all about. A little shout out to why I heart December.

The theme for this month? It’s the season of giving.

Part 1. A wreath makes everything easier.
Crunched for time? A wreath makes everything just a lil’ bit easier. I love to use anything decorative if I’m ever in a bind for time. I found this treasure at Home Goods and not only is it adorable, but it smells heavenly.

I also re-used the template from my Thanksgiving board, making my life a little easier as well. Hooray. Just like I shared last month, grab some dictionary pages or something from an old book. Trace the needed letter templates that can be found here. Cut it out and add some twine. Hello, beautiful.


2. Keeping our eyes on the reason for the season. 
Two of my favorite lyrics from songs. And, a simple reminder of why  we are celebrating this glorious time of year.

I know, I am a little late to the game. But, who knows, maybe you can use it next year. In the meantime… wishing you a blessed season filled with family, friends and cherished time together.



try. enjoy. share.

Letter J XO

{If you missed it, learn how you can make your own {DIY Chalkboard and Magnetic Wall}. Take a quick peek {here} to find out just how easy it is to transform an empty space into something that will make you smile.}

want to see some other {december} chalkboard walls?
take a lookey-loo at some of my past boards.

{december 2013}

december 2013.

{december 2015.}


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