Home Depot Post is Live!

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Happy Friday everyone!  My wonderfully whimsical croquet DIY is finally live on the Home Depot’s Apron blog.  I show how easy it is to personalize a croquet set and create your own mini course.  Best part, you can transport it to any of your summer festivities.

For the next couple of weeks, the blog will feature amazing projects from bloggers all over the country as part of the Outdoor Games Style Challenge.  Check the apron blog each day to see the amazing DIY projects everyone’s created.

I’ll have more photos to share from the photo shoot too, so stay tuned! Have a wonderful weekend!

Santa Cruz!

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Nothing feels more like summer than being at the beach.  Over 4th of July weekend, we headed south for Santa Cruz, CA.  Nothing makes my husband and I happier than getting to the beach.  The Boardwalk has become one of our favorite hangouts in Northern California. We eat crazy foods, play arcade games (we’re quite intense with air hockey), and enjoy the warmer weather.  Santa Cruz reminds us of being home in Los Angeles.

This particular trip, we brought along my husband’s siblings for their first visit.  We’re a bunch of Disneyland fiends, but very pleased!  You really can’t go wrong visiting the boardwalk.  Whether it’s a date, family outing or solitary stroll (seriously I would come alone all the time), you’ll have a great time.

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Pinning for Better Homes & Gardens

Ice cream social invitations from BHG.com

Happy Friday everyone!

Today I wanted to share some exciting news with all of you.  I was selected by Better Homes and Gardens to be a Pinterest contributor for their parties and entertaining boards! Myself along with some really talented bloggers are finding the best ideas on the web.  If you’re in search of the best blogger entertaining ideas follow the Entertaining and Weddings board.  If you want to see the best party ideas featured on BHG.com follow the Blogger Party Picks board. Or better yet, follow both!

There are so many great ideas for summer getting pinned, and I wanted to share some of my favorites with you.

Elegant outdoor party ideas from BHG.com

Bellini cocktail recipe from me! See the recipe here

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Classic Blue Dishes

Maybe it’s because we’re dreaming of a Mediterranean vacation, but my husband and I are currently obsessed with blue dishes.  Each time we head to the store, anything in classic blue grabs our attention.  There are so many affordable options available this summer and lot of options are starting to go on sale!  All the individual pieces are under $10 and most under $5!

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1. Sardinia mug from Anthropologie // 2. Trivsam dishes from Ikea // 3. Blue flower square plate from Sur La Table //    4. Sea dish charger from Zara Home // 5. Lace appetizer plate from CB2 // 6. Promenad dishes from Ikea //  7. Hydrangea dishes from Sur La Table //  8. Denim stripe dishes from Target // 9. Dotted plate from West Elm // 10. Solid blue basket weave from Target

Classic blue works with so many color palettes year round.  Treat it like a neutral when creating a place setting design for your dining table  or party. Here’s a little inspiration to get the creative ideas flowing! Continue reading

Home Depot Style Challenge Preview!

planning-pretty-croquet-diy-8 I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July weekend!  I did the traditional three B’s itinerary: barbecue, beach and brunch.

Today I wanted to give a little preview of my Outdoor Games challenge for Home Depot debuting later this month.  I was given the challenge to set up a summer game using metal as the main material.  I’ve always wanted a croquet court, but we’re in an apartment.  Instead, I setup a super easy to transport croquet field on our building’s rooftop. I created a custom color palette for all the pieces too!  Everything packs up into one easy case and we can take the set with us to parties and picnics.  It’s perfect for summer entertaining!

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I’ll be sure to share when the full DIY will go live on Home Depot’s The Apron Blog!

Lemon Blueberry Cake for Summer Parties

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This cake is perfect for 4th of July!  Definitely a crowd pleaser for BBQs for its light texture after a heavy meal.  The fluffy lemon buttercream is topped with fresh sweet blueberries.  Inside is a lemon sponge cake (or genoise in French) with lemon curd filling and more of the buttercream. Seriously, your friends and family will finish a slice in seconds.

 Lemon Sponge Cake with Lemon Curd


Ingredients, for the cake

5 tbsp of unsalted butter
1 and 1/3 cups of all purpose flower
1 tbsp of cornstarch
6 large eggs
A pinch of salt
1 cup + 1 tbsp of sugar
3 tbsp of lemon juice
1 tbsp of lemon zest

Lemon curd, for the filling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two round cake pans with parchment paper. Do not grease the sides of the pans.  Melt the butter in a small pan on the stove and set aside in a small bowl.  Sift the flour and cornstarch, place in a bowl and set aside.

Next create a bain marie.  A bain marie is a French term for a water bath.  Take a saucepan and add a couple of inches of water.  The rest a stainless mixing bowl on top of the pan, that’s it! Bring the water to a simmer and add the eggs, sugar and salt to the mixing bowl.  While the ingredients gently cook, whisk continuously by hand. Once the mixture is hot to the touch, after about 7 minutes, remove from stove.

Using a handheld mixer or your stand mixer, whisk the egg mixture until pale and tripled in size. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour + cornstarch mixture.  Don’t over mix, just until well blended.

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Alt Summit Recap!

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The “awesome” Bing sponsored dinner thrown by Alison, this girl is crazy nuts and a lot of fun!

Phew what a trip!  Obviously I took a few days to recover, but now I’m ready to share photos, my learnings and an epiphany or two.

You can say I downloaded a lot of information during Alt Summit, a mixture of instruction and interaction.  In the midst of the conference, all you can really do is just experience and try to absorb as much as possible.  I met so many people, discovered new apps, and gained great techniques for photography and video.

I was hesitant to attend the conference. I debated for months after buying my ticket.  I heard mixed reviews, but ultimately decided to make my own opinion.  I’m glad I did.  Sure it was a commitment, but I found a way to cut costs (like staying at the sister hotel, Little America, across the street). One of the gifts was absolutely amazing and made the price feel a little better too.  I got to see Joy Cho, Martha Stewart and enjoy a beautiful hotel.  I focused on technical and business workshops that would normally cost hundreds of dollars to take individually.  So yeah, I got my money’s worth and probably more. And did I mention there were professional photographers following us around!  Thanks to Justin & Brooke, I have good photos to share :)

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So I did freak out a little hearing Joy Cho from Oh Joy! speak. I even asked a question, which I never do!

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Listening to Alice of My Modern Met share her secrets to success in a crowd of focused ladies.

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Learning food photography from Candice Stringham. We all wanted to destroy that chocolate cake!

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Martha Stewart, no matter how feel about her, give her credit for building an amazing brand.  I’m impressed.

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