Super easy, super cute baby shower decor

I went to the cutest little baby shower last weekend and absolutely loved the decor. Everything looked super glam, but actually ended up being super easy evening DIY crafts. There were mason jars spray painted in gold metallic paint filled with cute pink and white faux flowers. There were books wrapped in gold metallic wrapping paper.

But my absolute favorite pieces of the baby shower decor were the kids zoo animal toys spray painted in gold. I honestly thought these were fancy trinkets/items you would buy to put on your office bookshelf to make it look more sophisticated but once I picked up the elephant I realized what it was. I love this idea! I honestly might just buy an elephant toy off amazon, spray paint it, and add it to my bookshelf. DIY at its finest.

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Door Decor – Hoop Wreath

Happy Friday! As graduation parties start to wind down (hopefully), there’s more time to just relax and enjoy the summer. Here’s a quick and easy weekend DIY project – the hoop wreath.

Items Needed:
Embroidery Hoop
Floral Garland/Greenery
Floral Wire
Faux Flowers (optional)
Cute wording or sign (optional)

I wanted to decorate our front door with something more unique than just another wreath, so I decided to make a hoop wreath, using the biggest sized embroidery hoop that they had at our Jo-Ann’s. For some reason, Michael’s didn’t have any embroidery hoops, but they did have 50% off all greenery. To make things easier for myself, I got one long summery garland and one bouquet of faux summery flowers. I had also found a $3 chalkboard sign at Target.

How to make a hoop wreath:

This is super simple, just like making a normal wreath. Start with one end of the garland, and cut about 10 to 12 inches of the floral wire; the wire needs to be long since embroidery hoops are pretty thick. Wrap the wire around the garland + the hoop so that it stays in place. Continue working your way around the hoop, wrapping 10 to 12 inch pieces of wire around the garland and hoop every 3 to 4 inches. This is easy, mindless activity so you can do this while watching TV.

I decided to cover my hoop all the way, but I’ve seen some super cute hoop wreaths where they only cover the bottom or 2/3 of the hoop with greenery. Cut the garland wherever you want it to end on your wreath, and wrap one last 10 to 12 inch piece of wire around.

If desired, use the same wire wrapping technique with a few pieces of flowers to add a splash of color. I also added my Target sign and tied it to the top of my wreath before hanging it on the door.

Hope you love it!

Door Decor

Summer Salad Series – Cucumber Salad

Summer Salad Series 1

Swimsuit season is here, but more importantly, it is finally hot outside, so for dinner in the Georgia heat, I like to trade in my chunky chili and hearty pasta for some light, chilled and refreshing meals. And so begins the start of my Summer Salad Series.

This cucumber salad has the perfect mix of crunchy cucumber and juicy tomato with chickpeas and goat cheese. I add in a splash of apple cider vinegar so that it keeps its taste and gets better overnight and into the next few days. We ate this as a side next to our hotdogs and hamburgers on Memorial Day.

INGREDIENTS:
1 MEDIUM CUCUMBER, THINLY SLICED
1/2 CUP CHOPPED TOMATOES
1/2 CUP THINLY SLICED RED ONIONS
1 CAN OVEN BAKED CHICKPEAS
1/4 CUP CHOPPED CILANTRO
1/4 CUP CRUMBLED MEDITERRANEAN FETA CHEESE
1/2 LIME, JUICED
1/4 CUP EVOO
2 TSBP APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
PINCH OF RED PEPPER FLAKES
PINCH OF SALT, PEPPER, CAYENNE POWDER

Instructions:

In a large mixing bowl, toss the cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, chickpeas, and cilantro. Slowly add in the lime juice, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar and then sprinkle on the red pepper flakes, spices, and feta cheese. Toss again gently. Allow the salad to chill in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving. Garnish with basil leaves, if desired.

Enjoy!

& just like that, I’m back!

Wow, it’s been awhile. I work for a Big 4 accounting firm, which to most people doesn’t mean anything, but essentially I have a “busy season” where I work crazy hours at work and don’t have much free time for anything. My busy season this year went from February through May, and by the end of it, I didn’t have a second of me time, I never saw my boyfriend, I hadn’t worked out in weeks, and I just didn’t know who I was anymore. I desperately needed a break – or a vacation. Which is the opposite of the essence of my blog, so I couldn’t bring myself to write/I honestly didn’t have time.

So after some much needed R&R (Miami –> LA and weddings and food/wine festivals) and a new project where I leave work at 5:30 every day, I finally feel like myself again. I’m back, and I have a lot that I want to write about — new door decor, my finished office space, new mini garden, summer salad series, Rocks Box review, Lipsense, new workout clothes, etc. Thanks for sticking around during my silent period, but I’m excited for some fun. In the meantime, check out my travel blog for my recent post on my trip to Asheville.

xo,
Laura

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Easter egg painting

I’m heading into my second busy season — working until midnight during the week and then working on Saturdays & Sundays too — so I spent the last weekend doing a few Spring-time crafts, including painting Easter eggs and making new outdoor decor for our patio.

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DIY: Painted Easter Eggs

Step 1: Hard boil the eggs — Place eggs in an even layer in a pot, and then add water about an inch above the top of the eggs. Place pot over the stove on high and bring to a boil. Turn the heat off, cover the pot, and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, remove from heat and let cool.

Step 2: Place paint tape on the eggs based on your design — Once cool, you can start to decorate the eggs. I decided to go with a two and three toned design.

Step 3: Paint your first color — I used two coats of paint each.

Step 4: Re-tape and then paint your next color — It’s super important to be patient in between colors. The paint on the eggs actually dries faster than you’d think, but you still want to be careful that it has dried all the way before peeling off the tape. Using the same piece of tape, re-tape it on top of the painted side so you can start to paint your next color. I always try taping a tiny section first to make sure that the paint is dry enough to not peel off with the tape. If you’re doing three different colors, go ahead and add on another strip of paint to create your third section.

Step 5: Repeat until all sections are painted. Once done, you may have to carefully retouch a few areas.

Tip: I used the normal, blue paint tape that you can get a any hardware store, but I cut my pieces of tape length-wise in half to make it easier to tape around the egg.

Easy outdoor decor:

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Michaels was having a 60% off all spring flower, garden and greenhouse items sale this weekend, so I grabbed a flower basket and arranged a few flowers and the painted eggs for a temporary festive display. How cute is this basket from Michaels?!

Latest Obsession: Elephant Pants

I recently came across Elephant Pants (literally theelephantpants.com) while scrolling through Instagram, and I am obsessed. Not only are these pants lightweight, super comfortable, totally cute cool and fun, but they also go towards saving elephants. Their story and their mission is amazing, and since they started in 2014, The Elephant Pants has donated over $127K to a variety of organizations that are dedicated to saving elephants. Did you know that elephants are pregnant for nearly two years? Talk about girl power. Click here and get 10% off your first order!

Elephant Pants
Ziggy Harem Pants

Oh, and to make it even sweeter, but not to take anything away from the elephants, The Elephant Pants have also started the Amur collection, which features leopard print products and for each purchase, $1 goes to the African Wildlife Foundation’s Big Cat Saver programs.

Amur Leopard Kimono
Amur Leopard Kimono from The Elephant Pants

Wellness: the Tea Parlor

I’ve had a crazy last two weeks with work – I worked until around 1 am every night, including a Friday night! So finally, when my project wrapped up at 5 pm I was definitely ready to celebrate. There was the Atlanta Brunch Festival on Saturday morning and then the Lee Fields show at Terminal West, so a super lazy Sunday was absolutely necessary.

Tea Room

My friend was in town from Chicago so we decided to try out the new tea room a few blocks down the street from me. There’s a random winter cold front hitting the country, right when we thought spring was coming, so it was the perfect day for the tea room. We both decided to do a tea flight, which was $6 for three tea tastings. We tried an assortment of wellness teas: relaxation, calming, detox, weight loss, stress relief, overall wellness. My personal favorite was the Poet’s Wellness tea. It contains camomile, lavender, calendula petals, Rooibos, almond pieces, and has hints of vanilla – we each ended up buying a bag of this. Tea has so many benefits and I’m excited about coming here more often.

Additionally, it was a nice change of pace and a chic unique thing to do. They also serve high tea for $25, so that is next on my list! If you live in Atlanta, you should definitely try out the Tipple + Rose Tea Parlor and Apothecary.

What’s your favorite tea?

 

Dagne Dover – the Ultimate Work Bag

Treat yourself this Valentines Day with something you’ll use every day – a new work bag.

A few months ago, I decided I needed a new work bag. Mine was a huge tote bag that seemed to swallow everything inside of it so I couldn’t ever find anything when I needed it. I also never really bought myself a nice work bag; I just used a cheap computer bag that I bought when I first started my job. It was time I upgraded to something nice and professional, but I didn’t want to jump the gun and just buy the first bag I saw online. I wanted something that would hold my laptop but also keep everything organized. I stumbled upon a Dagne Dover ad while scrolling through Pinterest, and I was definitely intrigued. It was a little pricey, so I held off on buying it for awhile, but I just couldn’t find another bag that had everything I wanted. I finally bought it, and have been obsessed ever since – I even convinced some of my coworkers to buy one too!

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Here is what I love about my Dagne Dover 13″ Tote:

It’s sleek and sturdy; it fits under the airplane seat, but it doesn’t sag and it stays upright. It’s lightweight, and it looks professional. It also has a zipper, so you can make sure everything stays in there when going through the security line at the airport. Additionally, there’s a detachable keystrap, which has been more useful than you’d think – no more rummaging through my bag, searching for my keys, while standing in front of my car in the parking deck.

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It is super organized. There’s a laptop sleeve that fits my computer perfectly. There is also a thinner sleeve that fits my iPad, or a thin notebook. The main compartment fits my planner and my wallet. There is also a detachable water bottle holder, and two bigger pockets to fit snacks, lotion, lipgloss, my wireless mouse, etc.

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The sleeve side also has compartments to hold my pens, a smaller pocket that holds my iPhone and a thinner pocket that holds my work badge(s) perfectly.

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As you can see, it’s the perfect bag for staying organized and it’s the perfect bag for girls on the go. It’s stylish enough to take straight from work to happy hours and post-work dinners.

 

And now, Dagne Dover is in the process of refining their totes based on customer feedback. The new totes will have reconstructed pockets, more lightweight material, and slightly different sizing – but this also means that the current totes that they have on stock are on sale. Intrigued? Click here to check them out! Sign up for their emails and get 10% off your first purchase! #treatyourself this Valentines Day.

Dagne Dover also has a line of stylish leather bags and a new more casual line. Has anyone gotten the Ava bucket bag? I’ve been thinking about that one for awhile but haven’t seen too many reviews. Let me know your thoughts!

 

Weekend Project – Kitchen Storage

My boyfriend and I recently moved in together, which has been really exciting because it’s given us an excuse to redo rooms and make his condo less him and more us. My old kitchen had open shelves and a lot of the houses we’ve fallen in love with (via open houses and Fixer Upper episodes) have had open shelves. He remodeled his kitchen before I moved in, and there wasn’t really much opportunity to open up the shelves. One day while sitting around brainstorming what other spaces I could redo, a brilliant idea came to mind: put some cool, industrial style floating shelves on the empty wall near the dining table. I did a quick Pinterest search and sent him an example. He was on board instantly. Now, I have more of a classic, chic style and he has more of an industrial style so it’s been fun [and sometimes a challenge] to mesh our wants together. My preference almost always wins, but this time I figured a more sturdy, wood & iron style, mixed with more classic shelf decor would be perfect. He actually found the ones we decided on, and we love the way they turned out!

Before

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After

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We ended up getting these 36″ wide shelves off of Etsy. Yes, we could have probably gotten something cheaper, or built our own, but we really love the way these turned out. However, I have to warn you, these were not very easy to put up. We thought we could accomplish this during halftime of the KU game…we were wrong. Nonetheless, once we finally finished we were all smiles because this little Saturday project turned out much better than we expected.

Travel for work perks

I don’t travel as much as some people for work, but when I do travel for work, these are three of my necessary things: (1) TSA pre, (2) Hertz Gold Plus membership — so I don’t have to wait at the counter to rent a car, and (3) a cute, lightweight 360° spinner wheeled carry-on suitcase. When traveling for work, I typically don’t check in a suitcase so that I can go in and out of the airport as quickly as possible. However, being 5’2 does not make lifting a suitcase into the overhead bin a very fun experience, so making sure that my suitcase isn’t made out of heavy material is also very important. I ended up getting the London Fog carry-on off of Macys.com and I love it! It’s trendy, lightweight, and being able to either roll my suitcase next to me or behind me makes it easy to navigate in any situation.

suitcase

I’m a huge online shopper, and if you are too, I definitely recommend trying Ebates. Ebates.com alerts you of online deals, but more importantly, you can earn cash back on each of your purchases when you shop through Ebates. Right now, you can earn 6% on your purchase from Macy’s! Using Ebates is super easy — you just click on the store you want to shop at, and then you’re routed straight to the store’s website. Buy whatever you want, and then you’ll earn cash back on your purchases. Ebates is also great because there are SO many stores on there: Macys, Target, Amazon, Nordstrom, Sephora, etc. Give it a try! Sign up and automatically get $10 when you click here. Let me know what you think! Do you have a suitcase that you love?