A few months ago we got the news that we are adding one more to our little party. The new addition has RSVPd for November 10, 2015 and we can’t wait to welcome him or her to our family!
If you know me, you know I like to celebrate the tiniest of moments. Sharing the news that we are having our second child feels like just the right type of thing to celebrate! I’ve struggled with the fact that the second pregnancy doesn’t feel as special to me as the first one did. I’m just as happy about it, just as excited for baby number two, but if feels a little less celebrated none-the-less. It became important to me to make sure I took a little time to celebrate the news of this baby. Of course, we are saving our pennies for the second baby (we know how expensive these things are now!), so didn’t want to do anything over-the-top, but still wanted to celebrate the new addition.
I partnered with Kohl’s to help me celebrate baby number two. Kohl’s is currently striving to be top of mind for families as they celebrate the special moments in life, big or small, together. Their current goal to help be present in the everyday and the extra special moments in life made me very excited to see how they could help me celebrate my second baby. I already love Kohl’s and shop there often. The deals that they offer are hard to beat, and I can find something for the entire family in one shopping trip.
Kohl’s helped us celebrate in a variety of different ways! I knew I’d be able to find the men in the family some clothes for the party, but what I didn’t know is that they also carried baby items, housewares AND maternity wear! The items we found at Kohl’s included:
The best part is that I was able to get all of the above items with a savings of nearly 50% off if I had gotten them all at full price. It made our money go further, which is more important than ever right now!
You know me… no party is complete without free printables! Click the items below to download and print off your own celebration!
Thank you to Kohl’s for sending me a gift card to explore how your products could help me celebrate a life event. I’ve been a fan of Kohl’s for some time and spent my own money as well as the gift card. All opinions are my own. Thank you to readers for supporting the companies that help support this blog.
I love cooking. You can take one look at my “A Well Crafted Pantry” section of this blog for proof of that. However, one thing you won’t find in many of my recipes is a variety of spices. I’m sort of simple when it comes to using spices in my cooking. I like using fresh and dried herbs in cooking, but even that I typically limit to two or three different ingredients. Because of that I’ve stayed away from cooking some of my favorite styles of foods. Part of the hesitation is not knowing if I’ll like a certain spice or spice combination. The other is whether I’m going to use it very often. Then of course, there is the cost! Buying ten different spices to create one dish is not easy to do when living on a budget. Cooking with spices always seemed intimidating and expensive.
Enter my new favorite subscription service. I love subscription services. I’m a member of several for my entertainment, to my blog work to simple pleasures we want to enjoy at home such as food or beverages. I was thrilled when asked to try out a new spice-centric subscription service.
The RawSpiceBar is a subscription service perfect for people like me who want to try different spices and spice combinations, but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg trying them out.
For $6/month you get a small batch of spices delivered to your door with a short story about the spices and the region that they come from along with some recipes. The past three month spice batches included:
How much fun is that? I have never cooked ANYTHING with any of these spices. It is a whole new world of cooking at my finger tips.
I originally wanted to try creating my own recipe with the spices. But, since I had never worked with ANY of these spices before, I decided to try out one of the recipes that were provided.
I made the Punjabi Chicken Tikka Marsala using the Punjabi Garam Masala spice mix and the Tandoori Spices. One of the directions on the recipe was to bring the spices back to life by heating them in a dry saucepan on the stovetop. I cannot describe the amazing smells that were in my kitchen. I want to do this with ALL my spices now!
I made this meal for myself, my husband and my toddler. All three of us ate as much as we could and there was enough for at least 4 more grown adults! I love that the recipes create enough for a crowd. Perfect for when I want to try out a fun new dish with friends.
I do have to say that the recipe card was missing a few bits of important information while cooking. But, the online recipe fixed any of my questions. So, if you read through the card and have questions, jump on the RawSpiceBar website and use the online version of the recipe instead.
Want to give it a shot? Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win one of two 3-month subscriptions to RawSpiceBar! Or, hop on over to RawSpiceBar now to sign up for just $6 a month!
Please read giveaway guidelines. Giveaway begins today, March 26 and ends 12AM PST April 6. Giveaway open to readers in US & Canada only.
Thank you to RawSpiceBar for providing me with a sample subscription to try the RawSpiceBar services and share with readers as well as the giveaway subscriptions. All opinions and images are my own.
Many, many years ago I met the guy that turned out to be my husband. At that time I had no desire to ever be married. I had no desire to plan a wedding. Something strange happened to my very unromantic soul in dating my eventual husband. While I am still pretty sure that he is as happy as I am in the choice to marry, I am not sure he was prepared for what the planning of the wedding awakened in me… a love for weddings that would just NOT die.
I’m excited to be participating with a team of some of Portland’s very best wedding vendors to create a wedding space at the upcoming The Toast Wedding Showcase hosted by Elli.
When I say the very best in Portland’s wedding vendors I mean it! I’ve been inspired and incredibly excited by the ideas and work coming from my teammates for this event. We have a 10X10 space that we are creating with our inspiration coming from selected stationary provided by Elli.com.
I’ll be creating a DIY wedding backdrop that I’ll eventually share here on the blog. In addition I’ll help with the styling of the space. Our rental company Something Borrowed Portland Vintage Rentals is bringing out all the stops with some really fabulous vintage rentals… including a brand new custom built item that will see its debut in this show! Lane’ will also be helping us style the space. The food elements are being put together with a custom menu by local northwest-style catering company, White Pepper. I’ve seen the custom menu and can’t wait see how it all looks! No wedding is complete without some gorgeous floral elements and our florist, Intimo: An Intimate Occasion Florist in Portland, has designed something truly spectacular. Local calligraphy artist Kelsey Malie is lending us talents to help really put the icing on this oh-so-gorgeous cake.
This event won’t only be a great way to gather inspiration and DIY wedding tips, but it also be a way to connect with wedding vendors in Portland that truly care about your event and their craft. In addition to seeing all the cool curated wedding spaces designed just for this event, attendees will also get:
I’m also giving away two sets of two tickets! Bring your mom, your groom, your bride or someone from your bridal party! Make a girls/guys night of it or a romantic evening for two.
Please enter the below giveaway only if you are going to be in the Portland area on March 7th and wish to attend the Toast: Curated Wedding Showcase. Winners will receive notification by March 3rd.
Disclosure: Powell & Mahoney shared a complimentary bottle of their Limited Bloody Mary mix for review purposes. All opinions are my own. Links may be affiliate links. Purchases made from affiliate links help support this blog. Thanks for reading!
Anyone else have the realization that this is the last weekend before the crazy hits? Just me? Couldn’t be.
This weekend is my prep weekend to make it through the next two months. On my calendar I’ve got 3 parties, two photoshoots, 1 fun holiday blog series (with 12 free printables!), holiday visitors, holiday gifts to buy… well, you get the idea. Today is all about prepping the house, the blog, and my holiday gift/card lists. Bring on the bloody marys!
Sometimes I like to take the time to make my own bloody mary mix. I enjoy trying different spices and ingredients. However, I’m a big believer in making life as easy as possible while preserving the tastiness… so, when I find a good bloody mary mix I stock up to bring out as needed. This Siracha Bloody Mary Mix by Powell & Mahoney is exactly what I’d make for myself…. without all the work!
The holiays are surrounded by days where a quick bloody mary bar will be welcome to all involved. Having the family over for a day of cooking for Thanksgiving? Set up the bloody mary bar and a coffee bar for a fun way to start Thanksgiving. Lots of adults trying to stay awake on Christmas morning? Make the early morning wake up easier by setting out your favorite bloody mary mix, some Vodka and/or Tequila and some easy garnishes. DONE.
Lately I’ve really been digging Bloody Marias instead of my normal bloody mary. What’s the difference? Tequila!
Disclaimer: I was provided with complementary tickets by Portland Center Stage so that I may experience Dreamgirls before sharing my experience with you here on the blog. All opinions are my own. Keep reading for a discount so that you can see the show as well!
A little tidbit about me that you might not of known… I’ve ALWAYS been interested in theater. I love watching the lights go down, hearing the hush of a crowd, and being delighted with the talents of people that have prepped and worked all towards that performance. There is just nothing like watching live theater. I’ve never really been someone to act in a play. I auditioned once in college… let me tell you, an Irish accent is NOT easy. Though I was never really quite right for the onstage talent, I loved participating in the creation of a show and watching how everyone worked together to change reality for the course of a show. So, when Portland Center Stage asked if I wanted to check out their production of Dreamgirls I jumped at the opportunity. I’m so glad I did!
I had never seen Dreamgirls before, either on stage or in movie form. I knew that it was a musical about a trio of women loosely based on The Supremes. But, that is about it! Now I want to see the movie and any and all productions of this show going forward. It was such a treat, and not for the reasons I originally assumed it would be! If you are in the Portland area, and like musicals, then I’d highly recommend this production! But, don’t let your location stop you from reading on… you can always watch Dreamgirls the movie!
I expected to go into the show and be wow’d by some spectacular female voices. And, while I was wow’d by some pretty talented women (get to that later) I was unexpectedly blown away by some beautiful and FUN male-led songs! The beginning of the show the ladies didn’t quite have their voices yet. (Little did I know, because remember I had never seen this before, that was part of the plan!) I enjoyed the first number with the women being introduced to the stage. But, when Calvin Scott Roberts playing C.C. (Claridge Conrad) White and Rodney Hicks playing Curtis Taylor, Jr. began to sing Cadillac Car with David Jennings playing Jimmy (James Thunder) Early– WOW. I loved each and every song that these three men sang together. Each had great stage presence and really sold their characters all while hitting their songs out of the theater.
In the beginning I wasn’t entirely impressed with the songs that the women were singing. Little did I know… that was part of the play! As the show goes on the women really start singing. While they clearly had talent in the beginning, they just hadn’t hit their groove as a group! They had me hoodwink perfectly. At the end of the first act when Nattalyee Randall playing Effie Melody White belts out “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” I had tears in my eyes. All the women brought it on stage and I wasn’t disappointed by a single performance. The most exciting performance, for me, was by Mary Patton playing Deena Jones. (I don’t want to give much of the story away just in case you, like me, had never seen anything about the show. I want you to be as surprised as I was!) When Deena, one of the background singers of the trio is given the opportunity to step up as a lead there is a lot to discover. Patton plays demure, quiet and sweet Deena Jones so well in the beginning and hides her powerhouse of a voice during her first song as lead so well that I honestly didn’t see how this fictional group would ever be convincing as a popular musical trio. As she starts to take hold of her inner diva (just a bit) her voice suddenly takes over the entire room. It is gorgeous and powerful.
Portland Center Stage is offering my Portland area readers a chance to see Dreamgirls with a discount! Use the code “PDXBLOGS” to get $5 off any showing. Or, select a Tuesday show or the Halloween showing to receive your ticket for just $20! Click here to buy your ticket today!
The Typographers Dream is showing in the Ellen Bye Studio from Oct. 4 to November 16.
“The Typographer’s Dream follows the story of a stenographer, a geographer and a typographer. During a career-oriented presentation, it becomes hilariously clear that their personal issues just so happen to correspond with their jobs. As with his hit play The Receptionist, playwright Bock tackles the everyday environment of the workplace from a completely unique, and very witty, perspective. ”
Nothing against these awesome ninja socks and the fabulous jelly fish design… but, I think some of my readers can do better! I know I’ll be trying for sure… What the heck am I talking about? Well, the Sock It To Me sock design competition of course!
The first place winner receives 15 pairs of socks, has their design put on socks AND wins $5,000 — not shabby!
Sock It to Me, a Portland-based designer of fun and fashionable socks for women, men, and kids, is inviting sock fanatics from around the world to submit a unique sock design for a chance to win $5,000, $1,000 and $500 in cash and products – and have their design manufactured in Sock It to Me’s next collection.
Yes, you read that correctly… you could have socks made with YOUR DESIGN.
The contest runs from September 5 – 26 and is open to artists of all ages and talents. Click on over NOW to download your design form and get entered!
PS. I love socks. Like, a lot. I’m super excited that Fall is coming and with that is sock and BOOT weather! I’ll be sharing another post soon with free printables for those out there that share my love of socks!
Disclaimer: I was sent some complementary socks in exchange for sharing about this contest. Nothing was promised and all thoughts are my own. I will be entering the contest just like anyone else that thinks socks are awesome. I hope you do too!
Disclaimer: I was sent the Sol Republic DECK for purpose of a review and giveaway. All opinions are my own. I’m excited to bring my readers the opportunity to win one! Thank you for reading the sponsored content that helps keep this blog running!
People are all talking about heading back to school again. It is all over the blogs I read and filling my email inbox with press releases. Because I’m out of college, not a teacher, and a mom of a toddler I haven’t really been thinking about the whole back to school rush. Instead… I’m dreaming of perfect camping supply lists and scheming ideas for this upcoming holiday season. Then I realized, really… that is my back to school! This time of year out come my notebooks and pens ready to study up and plan for ALL THE PARTIES.
A new addition to my study sessions is the Sol Republic x Motorola Deck wireless speaker. I was super surprised when opening up this little, portable speaker to find that it packs a punch. It would be perfect for using at home, camping, parties… the list goes on and on. Speaking of Back-to-School… I would have been so pumped to have this little speaker in my dorm room instead of the HUGE speakers that I had to get the same kind of sound back 10 years ago.
After using this awesome device for the last two weeks I am beyond excited to be able to introduce it to you and offering you a chance at winning it! It would make for a great gift to someone heading off for college, getting married, celebrating a birthday, or having a baby (white noise machine!).
Okay, here is the fun part… the giveaway! I know I’ve gushed a lot about this little guy. Maybe it is because I’m OLD and remember getting my tunes from a huge cassette player that had to be plugged in. Or, maybe it really just is that cool. You’ll have to try it out yourself to find out! A big shout-out to Sol Republic for providing a Deck Wireless Speaker for one of my readers! Thank you!
* This giveaway is for readers 18+ in US and Canada only. The winner must not have won a Sol Republic giveaway in the past 6 months (spread the love!). Entries will be accepted until 12:00 AM Tuesday, August 19, 2014. The winner will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond, the prize will be awarded to someone else. Please read all of the rules and regulations of the giveaway. This giveaway is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Twitter or Facebook.
I’ve been to a lot of wine tastings in my day. Heck, I’ve even hosted several in my job as a trainer at an Italian restaurant. However, this was my first time ever experiencing a wine tasting quite like this… the Pairings Portland Wine Shop invited myself and my fabulous friend Bee to try out their Pairings Basics tasting class so that we could share the experience with readers. I’m so glad I got to experience it!
I’ll start by saying that there is nothing typical about the Pairings Portland Wine Shop. As soon as you walk in you get a feel for the different type of wine experience that you’ll be getting. Instead of wines categorized by variety and price point, the wines sold throughout the store are paired with moods, foods, TV shows, music, weather, and more. When signing up for the Pairings Basics class, be aware that you aren’t signing up for a typical tasting either! You’re signing up for an experience of learning a lot more about what you like about wine and why you like it. You aren’t going to sit there listening to someone talk about the things YOU should be tasting or things YOU should be smelling. Oh, and you’ll only be tasting ONE wine.
That is what I thought too… but, you’ll be tasting that wine over and over again and trying it with different things. Without sounding completely over-the-moon about things… this was a revelation to me! It was amazing seeing how one wine was changed between the simple change of an acid or a fat. To me, someone who throws a lot of parties that include wine and food, it made me realize how I can modify a dish that just doesn’t quite match a wine the way I want it to!
The description of this class says, “you’ll discover the magic of wine and food pairing.” I think the class totally delivers on that description.
More about the Pairings Basic Class:
Wanna see Bee’s review of the class? Check out her thoughts on the Pairings Basic class at The Spicy Bee!
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary class in exchange for my honest opinion of the experience. All thoughts are my own. I am a big believer in trying out and supporting local businesses as I am able and I think will interest my readers.
Disclaimer: I was offered compensation for my work on this post about Amaize Sweet Corn. The below idea for how to cook and eat Amaize is my own. All opinions are my own. Thank you for reading, sharing, commenting, and interacting with sponsored posts on my page. This helps support this blog and keeps original content coming your way!
Little known fact about me… I went to high school in the middle of a corn field. My senior shirt had a caricature of my entire class (all 40 or so of us) in the middle of corn with the caption “Children of the Corn!” Besides being a little bit creepy… it was great growing up with farms all around us! I was raised on tasty corn on the cob, creamed corn, sweet corn, pop corn and the likes. While I don’t eat as much corn as I used to, I do like to dress up salads, garnish tacos, or just eat a perfectly cooked corn-on-the-cob in the hot summer months.
When I received a box of Amaize, a sweet corn, right before heading out camping I knew that I wanted to try roasting it over a fire. Pretty much everything tastes better over a fire while camping. But, I gotta say, cooking over a fire isn’t always the easiest! The heat is constantly changing, you have to make sure your food doesn’t catch on fire, and you have to sometimes deal with smoke. These corn on the cobs were SO worth it though!
PS. Please be careful of fires this time of year and pay attention to your local burning laws!
Disclaimer: This post, while something I am completely and genuinely excited about, came through to me as an opportunity for a affiliate program. The link below is an affiliate link—a small portion of the purchases made from registries created with the below link will help support this blog. Creating a registry is no cost to you! So, you can register away and still help me support fresh content on this blog. Thank you for your support!
I’m a huge fan of Ikea. Nearly my entire house is decorated with Ikea products from their Lack side tables all the way to the frames on my wall. I’m a bit addicted. I can’t tell you how awesome it would have been to be able to register at Ikea for my wedding or for the birth of my son, but I’ll try…
See!? I’m excited.
Okay, but seriously, how cool would it be to register for the home goods that you know your friends and family can afford, that you’ll like, and already work with your existing home goods?
The photos above are Ikea items that are now sitting on my registry!
Click on over and start your registry today! I’d love to know if you’ve set one up and what you’re excited about!
Right after my skin cancer diagnosis I had the opportunity to meet the owner and creator of the sun safe fashion line SummerSkin. Summer Kramer (yep, that is her name!) is seriously such an inspirational powerhouse of a woman that has really made a beautiful brand of clothing that can also help protect you. I was fortunate enough to be able to sample one of her creations— the Endless Summer Scarf. The Endless Summer Scarf is just too much fun because it can be worn so many different ways. I got the scarf the week before my surgery and had fun creating 7 Different Days of SummerSkin Style for my Instagram feed. Over the next couple of Curvy Girl Style posts I’ll be sharing some of my favorite outfits from that week! Check out all the styles I did by looking up#mysummerskin on Instagram!
Last week I shared an easy, casual outfit perfect for a day by the river or out at the Farmer’s market. Today I’m sharing my favorite work outfit from the week. After reading about and seeing the image of a truck driver’s face and the way the sun damaged the side of the face with the most exposure I became much more aware of how much I drive how much sun my face and arm is getting while driving. I often don’t plan on being outside for long when I run out the door for a long day of work, so I don’t really think to put on a hat or extra sun protection. The Endless Summer Scarf has been a great accessory for me during my drives. So much so that I tend to just leave it folded up in my car when I am not incorporating it into an outfit. It covers the side of my face that the sun hits along with my shoulder. Then, when I’m done driving, I just pull it down to make a cute accessory to my work attire.
Outfit details: Shoes // Christian Sirano for Payless (This pump is actually on clearance RIGHT NOW– not an affiliate, just thought you might wanna know!), Skirt // Black Pencil Skirt via Target a few years ago, Tank // Target a few years ago, Necklace // Lucky Brand last Fall, Scarf // Endless Summer Scarf
The Portland Bloggers group recently had the opportunity to visit local party and craft shop Fancy That for a fun crafting event. Lisa, owner of Fancy That, prepped a great customizable craft that each of the bloggers in attendance were able to make for the coffee or tea lover in their lives. Many people talked about giving to friends or teachers. I personally wanted to keep mine for myself! This is a really easy and fun DIY friend gift idea that you can completely customize for the gift recipient.
This isn’t your typical tutorial. It is completely adjustable to your style and materials. Nearly all of the materials can be found at the Fancy That shop who has both an online and brick-and-mortar store.
The picture above shows what each attendee to the craft event received at their table. The tables were also covered with party circles, double sided tape, washi tape, bakers twine, and hole punches. Nearly all items below can be purchased through the Fancy That shop!
Optional items used for decorating and customizing your gift:
Decorate your supplies as you like, put everything in the drink carrier, and deliver to your friend!
I hate to be so simple on a tutorial’s directions… but, this craft was THAT EASY. You can decorate as little or as much as you want. Placing custom tags or printables on items or just labeling with your pen. You can even just put everything in the drink carrier with some napkins and a sweet note and call it good. But, here are some ideas for further inspiration:
PS National Friendship Day is August 3rd!
PPS Love this idea, but aren’t really into crafting? Fancy that is selling an adorable Tea for Two drink carrier with fixins on the website!
** I attended a free craft event put on by Fancy That for Portland Bloggers. Portland Bloggers is a product of my company Jenni Bost Creative Services LLC. This event was a break out event with no promise of posting or review. I just enjoyed my time and thought the craft would fit nicely on my blog. I also believe in supporting local businesses when possible. I hope you enjoyed the craft as much as I did!**
Fondue is one of my FAVORITE ways of eating. I know, I know… some people think cooking your food at the table before you actually get to eat it is ridiculous. Me, I think it is FUN. I always go for the experience of a meal if ever possible (see my recent review of Fogo de Chao for further proof of this fact.)
So, when I was asked if I’d like to review a copy of the Fondue Bible there was very little arm twisting involved. I even had three home fondue pots to choose from!
I’ve tried a couple of the recipes from The Fondue Bible so far and have enjoyed them all. However, today I get the pleasure of sharing a recipe from the book that I loved: Smoked Salmon Fondue. This was a fantastic fondue option for brunch. My husband claimed it as the best breakfast I’ve ever made him.
(affiliate links below)
shared with permission from The Fondue Bible by Robert Rose
Ingredients & Supplies:
I served my Smoked Salmon Fondue with roasted Brussels sprouts (with bacon of course!), apple slices, bagel pieces, and mimosas.
**Lots of pictures of meat coming up. My vegetarian readers may want to jump back in to the mix another day… unless you think photos of delicious, well-prepared meat may sway you to the dark side!**
Recently I had the pleasure of trying out Fogo De Choa. Fogo De Choa is a Brazilian restaurant chain with a gaucho-style steakhouse feel that recently came to Portland, Oregon. My husband and I were invited to try out the restaurant for their recent opening. It was fun getting dressed up and heading out for an evening of fun… it isn’t something we get to do often!
I have always been the person that googles “theme restaurant” or “restaurant with an experience” when I search for special occasion dinners. I like enjoying the whole she-bang of an experience (give me fondue or traditional moroccan cuisine over a fancy schmancy restaurant that I enjoy a dinner in an hour and leave). Fogo De Chao is an experience! It isn’t just sitting down to order a meal and leave. You get to be a part of your meal experience in a dynamic way.
The meal started off with signature caipirinhas and a trip to the salad bar. This is not just any salad bar. There are mounds of vegetables, meats, cheeses, and sides. Guests go and grab their own selection of side items… beware, don’t fill up on all the sides! There will be so much meat that you’ll kick yourself if you’re too full. I was glad that I chose to fill my plate with things that I wanted to eat with my meat and I waited as meats came around so that I could enjoy it all together. We also ordered a shrimp cocktail that was one of the largest shrimp cocktails I’ve seen in my life. Big, beautiful pieces of shrimp!
And then came the MEAT. Oh me, oh my. Meat that is seasoned with sea salt and prepared over the fire is brought around to the tables and sliced right onto your plate. You simple flip over a small coaster when you want meat and flip it back over when you don’t. Flip as many times as you like! Nearly all the meat was made to perfection. One of the chicken dishes I tried was a tad dry– however, I tried it again when a different skewer came around and it was great! So much amazing meat though…
And, then… when we didn’t think we could eat ANY more came the dessert menus. My husband’s face in the photo below entirely describes how we were feeling about this whole dessert thing.
Whatever you do… save room for dessert! I had one of the best key lime pies I’ve ever had.
I obviously enjoyed my experienced at Fogo De Chao. The food was great and it was a lot of fun. Some things you should know if you are going:
* Disclaimer: I received a complimentary dinner at Fogo De Chao to experience the restaurant for possible review. All opinions are my own.