Color me Happy: Red & Teal

I love love love color!  And what better way to enjoy color then to play with different combos?  As previously mentioned {here}…I’m not much of a matchy matchy kind of girl, so exploring new & different color combos just makes me happy!  My eye is always on the prowl looking for updated pairings that I use for changing out my home decor,  as inspiration for one of my MOSS clients, or as a way to update my wardrobe.  So stay tuned for more Color me Happy inspiration posts to come.

To kick off this happy explosion of color inspiration…lets check out one of my current favs: Red & Teal

A great way to incorporate color is by adding a pop here and there in your home {and by using inexpensive accessories, if you get bored with the combo or feel like changing it up a bit…its easy to do!}  Today you might be in love with red & teal but tomorrow maybe its red & purple or teal & green.  Any way you change it up…with gorgeous color…you can’t go wrong! {Accessories shown below come from Zgallerie, Crate & Barrel, CB2, and West Elm}

I got inspired by this combo the other day and decided to test it out in my powder room.  I was already ahead of the game with the lovely teal paint color on the walls; so i started poking around my house for accessories in shades of red and teal that would fit the bill.  Until this day of experimenting I hadn’t really used a lot of red in my casa so at first i was not so confident that i would have enough to really pull this off.  But after a little searching I had just the right amount of goodies laying around my house!

  • Grouping of succulents planted in a small/short teal pot on a red plate {originally containing a gift of Christmas cookies}
  • Stack of red & teal books as a base to the potted plant
  • Red ceramic vase {filled w/ some smell good dried lavender}
  • Small teal vase {with some red ribbon jammed in the top} & a red candle holder on top of a couple more stacked red & teal books
  • Red pot with Paperwhite bulbs

And voila…We have a little hint of this lovely combo & a FREE refresh to my powder room!  Can’t beat free!!. {Please excuse the not so great photo quality of the powder room pics…used the good old phone to capture this…the camera…is missing in action}

~ Jillian

P.s. This also makes a fabulous wardrobe combo…and chances are you have bits and pieces in your closet that would be perfect together!

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Good Energy

I don’t know about you…but 2011 was a bit of a tough year.  Don’t get me wrong there were some definite highs and wonderful things happening…but there also seemed to be a good amount of tough stuff going on for a lot of people.

For me 2011 was about learning balance even when life gets crazy.  It reminded me how important family is, taught me a bit about myself, and showed me that you never know what is around the corner so you really have to try and enjoy each moment.  If nothing else, with the many challenges that arose this past year I believe there might be a little hidden strength in me that i didn’t realize I had.  Now don’t get me wrong finding balance & staying positive can be next to impossible sometimes, especially when faced with the hard stuff.  It helps to have amazing people around you to support you and help you to see the sunnier side of things.  I am forever grateful for all of the support i received this past year from my wonderful husband and my amazing family & friends.  There is no way i would have made it thru last year without them.

With 2011 behind us and a fresh new year in front of us…i think its time to send out some POSITIVE vibes.  If we all make a conscious effort to throw out a few happy thoughts and good energy when we can, it might just help shift our energy to something a bit more wonderful.  No matter what you believe in…I think we can all agree that it can’t hurt to get those good vibrations out there.  At the very least the more positive your outlook is…the more likely you are to be able to handle the hard times.

So, whenever possible this year…smile.

To a positive & happy 2012

~ Jillian

* Update: After posting this I received a really great comment that I wanted to share.

” Notice what you notice.  When something attracts your attention take the time to appreciate the moment…A singular leaf quivering in the breeze…a small child carefully organizing their attack on a cupcake….the soothing sound of the wind rustling through the woods. It’s all around us every day and sometimes paying attention creates some priceless long lasting memories. All we need to do is notice what we notice”.

{Thank you dad!}

{Guest Post} Girls Gatherings: PCGGE, 8 years in the making…

One of the best things about being a lady and living relatively close to some of your most awesome friends is…what we like to call girl gatherings.  We like to plan them far in advance {let’s be honest…our schedules are crazy these days} and make them…well aWeSoMe.  One of the longest running girl gathering traditions with my ladies is something we like to call… PCGGE.  So without further ado i present a lovely little question and answer session about this fabulous girl gathering tradition with the events original “founder” and one of my favorite ladies…The Mayo…

HSE: Who is The Mayo?

TM: Ah the Mayo.  WELL, Mayo is my last name.  So I’m not just a fan of mayonnaise or of the Kraft company…although I do love me some mayonnaise.  I’m basically your normal, single, outstanding 30-something female.  I have an 8-5 M-F job that generally pays my bills, I have a couple of groups of friends from college/work/neighborhood that I love to hang out with, and I have a cat from college that I treat like a roommate/my child.  I have a few loves that I talk about on my newly minted blog, mayodidit.wordpress.com (soon to be www.mayodidit.com, once I learn how this bloggy codey thing works) that includes crafting, food, and live music. So you know, doin’ my thang just like all the other ladies out there.

HSE: So how’d you get the idea for this “PCGGE” ?!? and what does PCGGE mean anyhow?

TM: After I graduated from university with a BS in Chemistry (what was i thinking?!), I moved in with my parents.  After working a lab job for about a year, I decided that myself and my poor cat had had enough tearing up the interstate just to visit my friends, so I moved to the great ATL where the majority of my friends lived.  That Christmas, after several months of  living on friend’s couches, I finally got settled into a tiny studio apartment and was pretty broke with all those new-place-just-moved-start-up fees.  I decided to invite my girlfriends over for a good old White Elephant party, so we could each get only ONE gift for the whole group.  You know, its hard to get a decent present for each friend when you’ve got 6 or 7 girls who are all very close; cause’ you know if you leave one person out at the tender age of 24, you could hurt someone’s feelings.  When i started asking around to see who was free, we were all SO busy with work parties and family engagements, that we ended up setting the date for the weekend after new years.  I set the rule that instead of a gag gift, get a really GREAT present, and utilize all the after-Christmas sales!  (Double win – SALES and GIFTS!!)  Thus was born the “Post Christmas Girls Gift Event” aka PCGGE.

HSE: How does the gift exchange work at PCGGE?
TM: It’s a traditional White Elephant…Oh, some people don’t know what that is? Okay, okay, for those who don’t know:  So everyone brings one unmarked wrapped gift at the same price.  I make a bowl full of little scraps of paper with numbers and we each draw a number.  Numero Uno gets to choose the first gift under the tree!  It gets unwrapped, we all ooh and ahh, and then it’s Number 2′s turn.  Now Number 2 can either “steal” the present that Number 1 is holding, or open a new gift.  If they choose to steal, that gift has been “stolen” once (a rule of the game is that each gift can only be stolen 3 times…so very often there will be a gift stolen three times and it is “frozen” and that person who stole it the third time ends up with the gift). So the game goes on until all of the gifts have been opened.  Now I know you’re thinking, “Geez, Numero Uno gets screwed!”  But that’s not true.  After everyone is holding an unwrapped gift, Numero Uno has the choice to SWAP gifts one final time with someone (except with any frozen gifts).  So basically – you wanna be Numero Uno…I mean, that’s what life is all about, right?  Being Numero Uno?? Maybe we should rename all White Elephant gift exchanges to “The Game of Life.”…Oh wait, that name is taken.
HSE: What kinds of food & drink goodies are served at PCGGE?
TM: ALL kinds.  Seriously.  I have a handful of randar foodies in my circle of friends; a pescetarian, a vegetarian, a non-pork omnivore, a baconarian…yes, that last one is true.  Okay, it’s not, but it should be.  Since this started out as a “Hey ladies, I’m poor and ya’ll are poor and we should hang together,” we all brought a dish.  That tradition continues.  We get teeny carrot cupcakes from my bakery friend (tsp bakery), Chic-Fil-A nugget trays from my lazy/genius friends, mozz/basil/tomato skewers, cookies, candy, meatballs, chips, salsa, any kind of dip you can think of, buffalo chicken rolls.  There literally is no end to what we bring and what we will eat.  As far as drinks go, it’s wine.  Mostly wine.  I like to get a bottle of the X-Rated Fusion Liqueur a.k.a. “The Pink Vodka,” for a ladies group shot about halfway through the night.  It’s delicious, no one pukes because of it and it’s pink…and delicious.
HSE: What are some of the great stories that have come out of PCGGE?
TM: Wow, that is a question I could answer for days.  There have been so many stories that are now staples in my little social circle!  There are a couple that immediately come to mind.  One year, we had a group of about 10 girls; this was the year that the “You can’t steal your own gift” rule began.  One lady was especially excited about the gift she’d brought, and the fact that it was “dishwasher safe”…well, turns out it was a how-you-say… self pleasuring item for women?!  And then, after it was opened, she attempted to steal it.  “But you guys, it’s DISHWASHER SAFE!” like it was made of gold or something.  Another year, we were a few hours into the party, and one of my dear friends who rarely drinks was enjoying a mommy’s-night-out, stumbled out of the bathroom wearing a pair of my undies over her jeans and a towel rod in hand.  She came to me and quietly said “I puked.  But I cleaned it all up.  I think this is your towel rod?!”  To which another girl said, “Panties over pants!” and suddenly everyone was in my undies drawer pulling all types of underthings over their clothing.  And I thought, “Hey this towel rod would make a great mike if it had a grapefruit on it”… then I shouted, “and while everyone’s in my closet, get a hat on!” (Sidebar: Although I live in Georgia, I have an unreasonable amount of winter hats.)  From there, I have a video of about 6 girls wearing ski hats, sunglasses, underwear over their clothes, and singing Corey Hart’s “I Wear my Sunglasses at Night”
No,  You can not see it.
~The Mayo

The Lovely Lentil

The Lentil…a lovely little dried bean that is quick and easy to prepare and full of lots of health benefits.  They are a great source of soluble fiber (which helps lower cholesterol, keeps that heart healthy and aids in digestion).  Lentils contain high levels of folate, magnesium, B vitamins, minerals and iron!  This tiny little bean sure does pack a punch!

There are probably a ba-jillion ways to prepare lentils; I’ve enjoyed them in soups {try this Moroccan Lentil Soup recipe}, as a side dish or even with an Indian flare.  For me though my favorite way to enjoy them is with a little nod to my German roots {typically served with spaetzle – a type of egg noodle}.

Keller Family Vinegar Lentils*

{*WARNING: as the name suggests these lentils are vinegar-y; so if you are not a fan of vinegar-y things…you might want to avoid BUT if you like things with a vinegar bite…dive on in!}

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag lentils
  • 1/4 to 1/2 stick of butter
  • a few spoonfuls of flour
  • apple cider vinegar
  • salt
Directions:
  • Cook lentils in water until tender {approx 20 mins}; Drain
  • Melt butter & whisk in flour until mixture thickens
  • Stir in mixture to lentils
  • Add vinegar & salt to taste
  • Enjoy

Seriously does not get any easier than that!  They are great served with pork or chicken as a side dish or just on their own!  Very hearty and filling; perfect on a cold day.

Yum it up

~ Jillian

{Guest Post} Go West!: the Adventure awaits

Howdy!  My name is Brittany and I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Jillian since we were young and careless carefree {good ‘ole college days}.  We met through our darling husbands, who have been friends since high school.  Jillian and I share oodles of great memories and have seen each other through the good, the ugly and just about everything in between.  {the woman has more blackmail on me than I care to think about}

I was delighted when she asked me to be a part of a new endeavor that she was pursuing – blogging!  Knowing my love of exploration, Jillian asked that I guest blog about traveling.  I love to travel and honestly would be content spending every penny of my discretionary income on traveling.  But, the responsible adult in me limits that fund to a couple of trips per year.  Sigh…

Because we share a love of nature and hiking, we thought that I should write about my honeymoon trip.  Some would say that my honeymoon was a bit unconventional.  I guess that also somewhat defines my relationship with my husband and our way of life.  We are nature lovers and we enjoy exercising, especially when we can get in some outdoor exercise.  So, naturally, our honeymoon centered around being outdoors, seeing this beautiful country that we live in and a daily hike.

Now, would we love to have taken a two week trip to Italy for our honeymoon?  Of course!  I mean, who wouldn’t?!  But, after spending loads of money on a wedding…the honeymoon funds were pathetic limited.  Not to mention, the dollar to euro exchange rate was not exactly in our favor at the time.  The fact that we are not the sit on a beach and sip cocktails for 7 days kind of people eliminated other obvious honeymoon locations.  The beach is lovely…but, after a couple of days, I get a bit antsy and have to go explore.  We wanted to do something different!

So, we flew out to the lovely west coast city of San Francisco and began a road trip journey.  We spent each of the next 8 days in a different location across California and Arizona, winding our way down to Phoenix, seeing some of the most beautiful and breathtaking scenery this country has to offer.  To some, I’m sure that a road trip for a honeymoon probably does not sound like a great way to relax and unwind.  But, we LOVED every second of it.  I planned it out so we never drove for longer than 4 hours at a time and we did not have a defined itinerary.  We had plenty of time to leisurely explore and enjoy our surroundings at each location.  And, the scenery from the car was nothing to scoff at either!  The car time provided for lots of great conversation too!

Here is a sample of a few of our stops along our journey:

It was the best vacation EVER!  Unless you hate nature and exercise…then it may be the worst.

Stay tuned for more details and photos of our trip….

~ Brittany

Tie it up

As previously stated…I probably own more scarves then most people own socks.  I wear them all seasons (except the REALLY hot ones), wear them with casual outfits, to work, to fancy things…sometimes even with pi’s! Now please don’t judge, most of these have been given to me or made for me by some of my most wonderful and talented loved ones!

Now scarves come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes…the long skinny ones…the chunky knit ones…the silk square ones…the large wrap ones.  So with all these different types {and the fact that i wear them…oh i don’t know…all the time}  you’ve got to have some different Tying techniques to keep them looking fresh and stylish!!  Here are a few of my favorite ties of the “moment”

European Loop

  • Fold your scarf in half; so you have a loop on one end & two “loose ends” on the other end; place scarf around your neck
  • Pull both of the loose ends thru the loop; then tighten & adjust

Modern Loop

  • Drape scarf around your neck; one end longer then the other
  • Wrap the longer end all the way around our neck; creating a loop with two ends all in the front of your body
  • Adjust & fluff the loop

Figure Eight {a.k.a. Twist & Pull}

  • Fold your scarf in half; so you have a loop on one end & two “loose ends” on the other end; place scarf around your neck (same as the first step for European Loop)
  • Holding the loop end open; pull one of the loose ends thru the loop
  • After you pull the 1st end thru; twist the loop once and then feed the 2nd loose end thru
  • Adjust and fluff the figure eight “knot” as needed

DIY Infinity

  • Drape scarf around your neck
  • Take the 2 loose ends and tie them together in a double knot {depending on the look you want and the type of scarf you can tie the knot right at the end of the scarf or further up with loose ends still showing…whatever you prefer}
  • Now you have created one giant loop {or “faux” infinity} so loop around your neck as many times as you want  *You can also tie two different scarves together for this one!!

There are literally unlimited ways to cozy yourself up with a scarf…so get to tying!  Got a few minutes…check out this scarf tying techniques video tutorial (also check out her blog Wendy’s Lookbook for all things fashion and fabulous).

Happy Scarfing

~ Jillian

a place to Dream

Do you ever find yourself drifting off into dreamy land while catching up on your favorite home blogs, flipping thru home design catalogs or perusing online store websites?  Picturing what your current casa COULD look like or what you might want to do to the potential next place you call home?

Many say that the most important place in your home should be your bedroom…the place that you should find the most comforting…the most at home…its the room that you should want to spend the most time in {at least the most quality time}!  I know for some when it comes to decorating your home the bedroom might be the room that gets the least attention?!?!  It is after all one of the rooms that most guests don’t ever see…its a great place to quickly stash things before company is coming over {i promise that doesn’t come from personal experience or anything ~?!/}  So with all the time we spend day-dreaming while we look at all the inspiration out there…its high time we apply some of that inspiration to the place we rest our heads.

Those who know me best know that I will NEVER be a matchy matchy kind of girl…its just not my style.  I love changing it up, combining different patterns and textures, throwing together unexpected color combos.  No bed in a bag for this girl {not that there is anything wrong with a bed in a bag…you just won’t be finding them in my casa}  So after flipping through some of my favorites for fabulous interior goodies…i put together a few “bedding combos” for you to enjoy.  What’s your flavor of the moment…what do you want to see when you wake up  in the morning?  Is it:

Bold & Graphic

A Bright but Cool palette

a Modern Organic

A lovely mix of Textures

* All of the images in these pictures come from: Crate & Barrel / West Elm / CB2 / Pottery Barn / Ikea.

So…grab yourself some inspiration…wether you get it from surfing the internet, poking around at your favorite home store, or even just flipping thru some random magazines.  Don’t be afraid to change it up…but most importantly make sure its something you love!!  {you are the one that has to go to sleep and wake up in it after all!!}

Sweet Dreams!

~ Jillian

Coconut Oil

So i’m just going to come out and say it…no sense in hiding it any longer…I’m in LOVE with Coconut Oil!  Its true…i’m not afraid to admit it.  Coconut Oil is…well…aWeSoMe!  It’s not just for cooking {which it is totally fantastic for…by the way} but there are sooo many more uses for it!

I started my love affair with Coconut Oil while researching a Candida Cleanse {more about that in future posts}.  The cleanse called for taking 1 spoonful of Coconut oil a day…which at first sounded…well gross…but actually its sort of yummy {i think} and wasn’t gross at all!  Because Coconut Oil is a natural anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-fungal and antiviral, its basically anti all the bad stuff!  So not only does it taste yummy {not at all a sweet coco-nutty flavor like you might be used to…its very mild} but its health benefits make it a great choice for all your cooking needs!  A lot of the recipes included in this cleanse called for Coconut oil in place of olive or vegetable oil.  It’s a much more stable oil {its room temperature state is actually as a solid} and can be used at higher cooking temperatures without any concern.

So now we’ve mastered cooking with it {I’ve literally used it in place of other oils for almost all types of cooking} Let’s talk other uses.  Actually just this past month i decided to try out another one of its many uses {that i found reading this blog post}.  When the seasons change my skin tends to go a little haywire.  Parts are dry and itchy, other parts over moisturized and oily; its almost impossible to find a balance so my face ends up looking like a grease ball and a dry flake ball all at the same time?!?!?  Enter the lovely Coconut oil.  After reading about its moisturizing benefits i thought…what the heck.  It can’t hurt right.  So i gave it a whirl and spread it all over my face and neck.  To my surprise it wasn’t overly greasy {although it did take a few minutes to really soak in} and my skin instantly felt better {and smelled pretty yummy too!}  So fast forward to today and my skin is sooo happy!  Its finding its natural balance…no more greasy flaky ball…and my pores have actually cleared up and less blemishes too!  Who would have thought spreading oil all over your face could actually make you break out less?!

So moral of this story…Why not give Coconut oil a shot…

  • try it out in your favorite recipe
  • slather it on your dry skin
  • put a <little> in your palm and use to tame those crazy frizzy fly aways
  • swallow a spoonful to aid digestion and help with an upset stomach
  • remove chewing gum from your hair after that crazy gum tossing war?!
  • clean and polish your finest pair of leather shoes

Seriously i could go on forever…check out this blog for 80 different uses for this wondrous oil!!

Cheers

~ Jillian

{this post was done of my own free will…there were no coconuts hurt in the making…and I was not threatened by any evil coconut oil pushers…i really do just enjoy the stuff}

P.s. It’s usually pretty easy to find in most grocery stores and health stores.  In my local Kroger I actually found it in the green section with all the natural vitamins and supplements.  The brand I am currently enjoying is Nature’s Way Organic Coconut Oil {Pure Extra Virgin}.  So don’t be discouraged if you don’t see it right away…ask someone at the store, it might be hiding!

P.s. s. Make sure to always buy food grade Coconut oil {even if you aren’t actually eating it}; its just a cleaner and healthier option!

The Dirty Life

In the middle of all of the holiday craziness, I decided to take a few minutes to peruse thru a book that my mother in-law had given me as a Christmas present.  Thinking i would just read the first few pages to get a better understanding of what the book was all about, I curled up on the couch under a big, cozy blanket {in my pj’s of course} with my snuggled little puppy girl {the Doodle} fast asleep next to me.

It was almost dinner time and there was a ton to do around the house so I really did plan to just take a peek and then get back into my “Things to get Done while on break from work List.”  Well we can just scrap that list…because there was no packing up Christmas decorations or cleaning out the crowded closet and let’s be honest…i wasn’t trading those Pj’s in for workout clothes at this point.  I realized all of a sudden that i was half-way thru the book…the house was dark {except for the light of my reading lamp} and my stomach was growling!!

The book – The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love {written by: Kristin Kimball}.  A memoir written by a big city girl who stumbles upon a young, small town, organic farmer and in an instant changes her life’s direction!  The book chronicles their budding relationship, starting the local farm of his dreams {which eventually became her dream as well} and all of the crazy challenges they stumbled thru on the way.

At first I’m thinking…i totally want to be an organic farmer that provides a “whole diet” supply of food to the people of a small town {we’re talking meat, veggies, grains, dairy, herbs…the whole shebang}.  How cool would that be!  And then after reading about how crazy their days were, how much work it really was…I may have started to rethink the romantic notion of working a farm the old fashion way.  Jury’s still out on that one…

Even if I don’t live out the wild fantasy of just picking up one day and moving to some small town to start my own little organic farm…the book…a totally fantastic read.

~ Jillian