Wednesday, February 24, 2016

How to: Easy DIY Wall Makeover with Decals

Home decor - with so many options out there, it can be challenging enough to find your own style, so how do you cope with taking another person's preferences into account?

When T and I moved into our new apartment last summer, I knew that one of my biggest challenges would be meshing our home decor styles. After a full decade of living completely on my own, I was used to filling my space with whatever I wanted, anywhere I wanted (glitter! sparkles! sequins!). While I'm still getting in the habit of co-selecting furniture and decor through the lens of "our" style, I'm very lucky because T has been willing to let me sneak some of my personal, girly style in - namely, through these gold dots:  


Yes, we have gold dots on the wall of our kitchen - and I am completely obsessed!!

It all started when I first saw our kitchen's drab gray walls - certainly not completely unfortunate, but they needed something to jazz them up. 


Since we were already embarking on several big paint projects in other rooms, I wanted to keep this one simple so I turned to my new favorite apartment accessory - wall decals! I found these rose gold circles in the clearance bin at Urban Outfitters, but there are plenty of other online options for you to find your perfect decal match.

Decals are pretty simple to apply, but here are some tips that helped me along the way:

* Set your focal point.
Instead of covering the entire kitchen with the gold dots, we concentrated on a smattering in the entryway corner. This way, it has a similar effect to hanging an interesting piece of art as opposed to serving as wallpaper.

* Lay out your pattern.
I played around with several configurations of the dots, but eventually settled on a scattered design where they are unevenly spread out. To me, this was more aesthetically pleasing than evenly spacing them out across the wall and trying to look too "perfect" (and it eliminated any need to measure, which was a big timesaving bonus!).

* Mock up the decals on the wall.
Once you've settled on a pattern, test it out first by using some similarly-sized Post-Its on the wall. Not only will this help you identify any blank spots or areas that are too heavily clustered, but it will also help you maintain your original pattern once you start replacing the Post-Its with the real decals.


* Slowly roll out the decals, from side to side.
Instead of pressing the decals onto the wall from the middle, roll them out from the side (just like how you would apply a bandage) to ensure a smooth, bubble-less application.


* Admire your handiwork, because you're finished!
How easy was that? In less than 30 minutes, you've given your walls a fresh new look! While I love my gold dots and can't imagine replacing them, one of the other perks of using decals is that they are just as easy to peel off when you're craving a new look.


How have you used wall decals in your home?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Five on Friday {February 19, 2016}


Yay for Friday! I'm blogging today from gorgeous Naples, Florida...escaping here each winter puts me right in my happy zone, and I'm so excited to be in the midst of a lazy long weekend filled with sun, sand, and (of course) happy hours! Here are some other things I'm loving this week.

 
Broadway Valentines

T and I celebrated a lovely Valentine's Day on Sunday by exchanging cards and gifts at home together, then going out to eat at one of our very favorite restaurants. One little additional surprise from him were these Broadway Valentine cards with musical-related VDay sentiments; being a total musical theater nerd, they totally cracked me up! Does anyone recognize the musical in the Valentine above?

Favorite new gift

And speaking of Valentine gifts...T's mother sent us an awesome care package with a bunch of her freshly baked chocolate chip cookies (um, YUM) and this adorable Kate Spade coffee mug for me! I've been on the hunt for a new mug for my new office and considering all the other Kate Spade office supplies that I've already purchased, this mug will be right at home in my new space.

Recipe revisit

With all the new recipes readily available on Pinterest and in cookbooks, it can be difficult to find time to revisit some old favorites. I recently made this lightened-up spinach artichoke dip that I shared on the blog over a year ago, and it was once again a huge crowd-pleaser! I definitely recommend trying it out if you're looking for a dip for your next party, since it's incredibly yummy and literally could not be easier to make (once again, I owe it all to my slow cooker!).

Favorite pin

I love a good DIY project that adds a boost of glam without taking up a ton of time, so I just had to pin these gold-dipped balloons - just a few brushstrokes takes them from basic kid's birthday party decor to chic, grownup soiree! I will definitely be creating some for my next event.

Back to Vacation!

Ok, it's back to the beach for me! Wishing everyone a very sunny weekend!


Cheers to AprilAmandaJennieKarliRebecca, Katie, HeatherAndrea, and Tif for hosting today's link-ups!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Homemade Granola


Breakfast has always been my least favorite meal of the day (don't judge me!). I've never understood the whole "breakfast for dinner" phenomenon and I'm guilty of typically skipping it in the morning. I know there are tons of health benefits to this most important meal of the day, so one of my recent goals is to eat at least a small breakfast of Greek yogurt every day. I like to sweeten mine up with some fresh berries and granola, but I've been disappointed with all the sugary, preservative-laden granola options on the supermarket shelves so I decided to make my own (thanks to T's mom for the Pinterest inspiration)!


There are tons of different granola varieties out there so feel free to customize this to your taste, but I like this version because the nuts give it some texture variety and the dried fruit lends a nice pop of sweetness. Not only is it yummy on top of a yogurt parfait but it's also a great snack all on its own (I keep hoarding baggies of it in all of my purses, haha). My favorite thing about this recipe is that it makes a huge batch, so just store it in an airtight container and you've got granola for weeks! So easy, and much cheaper than the supermarket version!

Homemade Granola
(Adapted from Bake Play Smile)


Ingredients
*  1/2 cup almonds
* 1/2 cup cashews
* 1/2 cup coconut oil
* 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
* 1/4 cup honey
* 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
* 1/4 tsp. salt
* 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
* 4 cups rolled oats
* 1/2 cup pomegranate Craisins (or other dried fruit)

Instructions
* Preheat oven to 310 degrees.

* Roughly chop nuts and place in a large mixing bowl.

* Add the rolled oats to the nuts.

* Mix the honey and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir in the brown sugar, and heat for an additional 30 seconds.

* Stir the vanilla, cinnamon, and salt into the honey/coconut oil mixture. Pour into the oats/nuts bowl and stir to combine.

* Line a baking tray with parchment paper and pour the granola in. Bake for 30 minutes or until light brown. While cooking, remove the tray every 10 minutes to thoroughly stir, then return it to the oven.

* With 5 minutes remaining in the cooking time, add the Craisins and stir to combine.

* Remove the tray from the oven and allow it to cool completely so that the granola can harden.

* Once hardened, break the granola up into clusters and store in an airtight container.


What are your favorite easy breakfasts for busy mornings?


Linking up today with Jennifer JuniperKaryn, KristenEmilyMandyMaryMandySusanLisaPamSarah, Lori, Tammyand Natasha!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Five on Friday: {February 12, 2016}


Hey Gals! I'm keeping it short and sweet today because TGIF! So let's jump into my five favorites of the week!

 
80's party

Last weekend we celebrated my cousin's husband turning 40 with an amazing 80's theme party. There's not much more I love than a theme party, especially with such a great theme. Also you really can't beat a great 80's playlist, which meant tons of dancing - I'm pretty sure my feet are still sore, but it was totally worth it!

Valentine's Day Weekend

I'm super excited for Valentine's Day weekend because GG and I have planned a night away on Saturday to go see our very favorite band, O.A.R., down in Atlantic City. It worked out so perfectly that they happened to be playing this weekend, and the fact that it's in Atlantic City makes it the perfect excuse for a night away. GG and I used to love getting away to AC for some fun and gambling before Little M came along, but we actually haven't been since before he was born! So wish me luck at the black jack tables, and feel free to follow me along on Snapchat (kleva21) since I definitely know I'll be oversnapping up a storm with tons of concert footage.


Birthday Swag
My birthday is now officially behind me (by almost 2 weeks now!) but I can't get enough of these new sunglasses GG gifted me. He knows I love me some big sunglasses, so these Tory Burchs are right up my alley, though it's been tough to get them out of Little M's hands

- I think he loves sunglasses even more than I do! But when you look this cute in them, you can get away it - haha.


BFF's who wear the same nail polish...

Ok this one is kind of random, but I still can't get over it so I have to share. When B and I were reunited for my bday dinner, we both started to admire and comment on each others nail polish (as we always do when together) when we realized we were both wearing the same exact polish! And while I know this may not sound particularly amazing to most, the fact that between the 2 of us we probably own over a hundred (no judgement!) polishes, and we didn't even discuss what color we were planning to wear (which we also often do), I found it incredibly crazy that we ended up wearing the same polish. Though honestly, if I think about it, it doesn't surprise me in the least, and just one of the million reasons why we're BFF's fo life.

Married at First Sight

I know I've professed my love of this show before, but I'm even more obsessed with the latest season. Is anyone else watching?! Do you think any of the couples will end up staying together? It doesn't seem too promising, but I'm really pulling for Neil and Samantha - I feel like they are kind of perfect for each other in their own weird ways!

And that's a wrap for today - hope everyone has a great weekend!!!




Cheers to April, AmandaJennieKarliRebecca, Katie, Heather, Andrea, and Tif for hosting today's link-ups!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Party Planner: Galentine's Day (+ Birchbox Giveaway!)


Before we jump into our Valentine's Day festivities, we have another awesome holiday to celebrate - that's right, this Saturday is GALentine's Day! If you're wondering what Galentine's Day is, we'll let our gal Leslie Knope explain it:


Basically, Galentine's Day is an excuse to gather all your favorite gals in celebration of friendship! What could be better?! As BFFs slash co-bloggers, we're obviously in favor of any reason to have more gal time, so we're sharing some easy tips for hosting your own Galentine's Day fiesta. Gather your favorite gal pals and celebrate in style!

DECOR

Who said that roses are just for V Day? We love the special feeling that comes with receiving flowers, so decorate with some fresh, feminine arrangements. Also, we've designed a set of free printable conversation hearts just for Galentine's Day that can be used for food picks, goody bag tags, or as cocktail glass decor as seen below. With messages like "You make my heart glitz" and "I love you more than nail polish", they are perfect for the girly gals in your life! Click here to download your free set.



SIGNATURE COCKTAILS

Raise a glass to your gals with a tasty signature cocktail! For a liquid dessert spin, try our creamy Chocolate Covered Cherry Martini.


If you'd prefer something on the fruity side, our Love Potion Martini features refreshing berry flavors and is best served in a large pitcher for easy refills as the girl talk continues throughout the night.


PLAYLIST

The right tunes can make or break a party, so we recommend some sultry songs from a cute guy...I mean, you knew we just have to suggest our gal Michael Buble, right? There is really no other option for us!


NO BOYS ALLOWED (or maybe just some...)

Obviously there will be no boys making the cut on your Galentine's Day fiesta guest list, but we made a slight exception when we spotted these adorable Single Lady Cupcakes in a bakery display. Make your party a little sweeter by cutting out photos of your celebrity crushes and featuring them as dessert toppers. 


SWEET TREATS

And speaking of sweets, don't forget the desserts! In fact, skip the main food all together and make it a dessert and drinks only party.



We like to serve finger food desserts so that everyone's hands are free for more cocktail pouring. This year, we sampled some absolutely amazing chocolate-covered treats from Shari's Berries - the presentation of these desserts was beautiful, and the taste was even better. They would absolutely be the perfect decadent treat for your party, as well as a yummy favor to send home with your friends!




VALENTINE CARDS

It's always important to take any opportunity to let our special people know how much we care about them, so pick up a box of retro Valentine cards and write silly messages to your gals. It was fun back in second grade, and it still is now! Just find a cute, fun design that showcases something you love, like these adorable burger cards from our gal Emelia


No matter what kind of Galentine's Day plans you have, as long as all of your besties are there laughing together, you know it's bound to be a good time! And here's one way to make it even more fun...we've teamed up with Pam and our other blogger gals to bring you a chance to win a year of beauty, courtesy of Birchbox! Enter below for your chance to win.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

How will you be celebrating Galentine's Day this year?

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