Wednesday, November 22

STYLING | Fall Front Porch


 Before we kiss our pumpkins goodbye and bid farewell to Thanksgiving + the lovely Fall season, I wanted to share our Fall Front Porch with you.

This new house of ours has all of the charm I've ever dreamed of; The front porch, the craftsman style home, the HardieTrim® boards, the shake shingles...even the subtle minty blue I would've never chosen on my own but really love. 

So, with all of that "charm" it's been fun decorating the front porch AND somewhat of a struggle. Choosing the right plant containers to use out front has been challenging because I didn't want to use anything too substantial or regal for our "cottage" home OR something so simple it would seem boring. I knew using ornate urns was never an option so I never tried those. I did however try some cute baskets and even some smaller clay pots. Although I loved the look and the idea of using baskets, they proved to be completely impractical. The baskets started to mold inside from watering - gotta love Florida humidity. The standard clay pots were just too orange and too short next to the brick columns. I was looking for height...and...well...charm.


I'm happy to say I found just what I was looking for after several visits to the garden center at Ace Hardware - and a special order...for these Les Fleur clay pots that have evidently been discontinued. So much for simple. 

They are the perfect faded clay I was looking for and with the addition of these pretty white florals, (White Knight Alyssums), that will apparently last through the Florida winter...I think they're pretty perfect. I'm happy with how it came together. Now...enough talking...I'll just let you scroll.






I have to also mention I lucked out when I found all of the pretty pumpkins you see in this post at a little general store called Andrew's Homestead. It's such a sweet little find and Andrew is such a great guy. I will be sharing more about this little local gem and the treasures Andrew carries...like Kombucha Juice on tap! More on that later.

It's Pie Day tomorrow everyone!! *wink*
And my heart is grateful.
I'll pop in quickly tomorrow to share all of my Thanksgiving desserts with you.

xoxo,
Jess

KEEPiNG iT REAL
Did I tell you how much I LOVE the pretty white flowers?
They actually stink but they're so pretty and cottagey and just my style...I can deal with the smell.
And they do shed some but the positioning on the porch allows the wind to blow the pretty little petals away. Kind of like having an invisible, personal porch Roomba®. Ha!!

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Monday, November 20

FREE | Give Thanks Art Print


We are only 3 days away from feasting with our friends + family, gathering around tables filled with an over abundance of delicious pies food and giving thanks for the pies blessings we enjoy in this life.

My aunt is hosting Thanksgiving this year and she reached out to me to create a "Give Thanks" sign for the "Thanksgiving Tree" she is setting up on a tabletop. It sounds like we'll each get a leaf to write down something we are thankful for, pies obviously, and then we'll add it to the tree.

Well I was so happy when I was given the assignment of making pies with the turn out I decided to make it available as a FREE DOWNLOAD!  -----> link at bottom of post


My aunt requested a custom 18x8 sign but I'm also making pies it available as an 8x10 as well as 4x6.
I figured some of you may want to frame it - as shown in the images above - and some of you may want to add them to your place settings.

Pssst...if you aren't hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year...this would make a fantastic hostess gift!! You're welcome!! *wink*

There are also THREE background options to choose from (see below) and every file size is available in .pdf as well as .jpg format.




I hope you love them and will print them out to add a sweet + simple reminder about what Thanksgiving is truly about....and it's not really about the pies...as much as I'd like to think. *wink*

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD YOUR FAVORITE "GIVE THANKS" ART PRINT 

Happy Thanksgiving to you friends.
I am so grateful for each and every one of you.
May you enjoy the day with your family + loved ones and may we all take a minute to truly count our blessings and "give thanks" for all that we have.

xoxo,
Jess

KEEPiNG iT REAL
1. Don't look to closely....the eucalyptus in the first photo is completely dead and dried out. But it looks great in photos, doesn't it?! *wink*

2. Really concerned about another spot on my face that could potentially be skin cancer again. Trying not to worry and turning it over to God.

3. The Fall decor is coming down and the Christmas is coming out before we head out of town this week. I'll explain my fresh new perspective on Thanksgiving melting into Christmas later this week.

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Thursday, November 9

MAKE iT | Cinnamon Sugar



Sometimes all we need is the simplest of things to bring a little joy to our lives or even usher in feelings that take us back through time.

Today I'm sharing something that does both of those things for me.
We're talking about the perfect ratio of cinnamon + sugar today.

Yep. Seems simple enough.
Cinnamon + sugar...specifically cinnamon + sugar toast. 


It takes me back to my grandparent's kitchen.
It's morning and I can hear my grandparents talking...my grandmother looking out the bay window as my grandfather prepares her simple breakfast - usually coffee and a slice of pecan coffee cake or  maybe toast with orange marmalade.

I can clearly see them with their backs to me, watching the birds in the bird feeder together...discussing my grandfather's next scheme to prevent the squirrels from stealing the bird seed. (his last attempt of vaseline on the post didn't resolve the problem).

I can smell the cup of coffee sitting on the table in front of my grandmother and I can visualize the tiny details etched on the sides of the small, simple corelle coffee cup.  The smell of the perfectly golden toast my grandfather is eating fills the air - very thinly sliced bread from the bakery - butter only. If I'm still enough, I can even hear the specific sound the butter knife makes as my grandfather scrapes it across the perfectly browned toast.

As for my toast, my grandfather sprinkles cinnamon + sugar on top. And it's delightful.
He just eye-balls the amounts of cinnamon + sugar and it always seems to be the perfect ratio.
Wow! So many fond memories and small little details I thought I'd forgotten about.



I've treated my girls to the same cinnamon + sugar toast on occasion and of course, they too thought it was delightful. I often accidentally sprinkle on a little too much cinnamon which then means I have to add more sugar to achieve a more balanced ratio.

The other day, in preparation for my Hot Cocoa Bar this year, I was preparing a salt shaker filled with the perfect cinnamon + sugar combination for one of this year's hot cocoa flavors.

So...as simple as this little secret is...I thought you might appreciate me sharing it with you.



INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 TBSP ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS
Shake it up and it's ready.
Use a ziplock bag or salt shaker for shaking. Or just add it to a bowl and mix well.

Use this for toast, sprinkling snickerdoodle cookies or adding a little bit of extra to your hot cocoa!

That's it!
Easy.
Simple.
And that's my favorite.

PS - Love my copper + glass salt shaker? I found a set of two right here!

Here's to taking a few minutes today to think about something simple from your childhood that floods you with joy and memories you didn't know you had tucked away.

Love you friends!!
xoxo,
Jess

KEEPiNG iT REAL
The Hot Cocoa bar isn't up yet. I made some alterations to the sign and actually moved the piece of furniture I was using into the guest bedroom. J's parents are here visiting from Illinois for the next 5 days so I'll get back to the cocoa bar soon!

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Friday, November 3

SHARE | Eucalyptus Garland Workshop


Hi sweet friends! I have something special to share with you locals before I'm off to enjoy my birthday weekend. And by "locals", I mean my friends back home in the Mt. Dora/Orlando area.

A couple of cute, sweet blogger friends of mine are hosting a really fun workshop coming up on Thursday, November 16th. Grab your girlfriends and enjoy a night out together creating eucalyptus garlands that can be used in your home decorating - think fireplace mantles, tabletops, etc.  

You'll meet at the West Elm Orlando location off of Conroy road from 6:00-8:00 and all of the supplies, cute custom gifts and yummy refreshments are included. Now THAT sounds like my kind of girls night out.

GRAB YOUR TICKETS HERE! - and grab them quickly...it's coming up soon!!

Now...if you'll excuse me, I have some birthday celebrations to start! *wink*
Happy Weekend! And Happy Birthday to me!

xoxo,
Jess

KEEPiNG iT REAL
Almost decided to sleep my birthday away since I stayed up way too late last night and was overly emotional this morning. I woke up to two separate text messages from my two oldest daughters, sent at midnight...while I was sleeping, wishing me a Happy Birthday. It was such a wonderful surprise to wake up to and then it hit me like a ton of bricks that this is the very first birthday I'm having to celebrate without them here with me. *tears* Good news is, Ema is driving up either Saturday or Sunday and Clara will arrive on Monday. *tossing birthday confetti* So it's not all that bad. I'm just a big baby. *wink*

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Thursday, November 2

ELLA STYLE | Snowman Halloween Costume - Again


We are two days post Halloween already and before I dive fully into my favorite month of the year and then my favorite season...I just had to share Ella's Halloween pictures this year.

She deserves an award for making her mom's life super easy - on an every day basis but more so for the fact that she decided to dress up as a snowman AGAIN this year for Halloween). I mean could I have gotten any luckier?


She literally wore the exact same outfit, tights and all except there were four specific details that were different from last year's snowman costume:
1. she wore black boots this year
2. she forgot to wear her white fingerless gloves
3. she wore "space buns" this year instead of long pony tails.

and last but not least in any way....SHE GREW UP TOO MUCH!
How does that even happen? You'd think I'd be used to this by now seeing as how I have two older daughters. Nope! It's still mind-blowing.

Go back and look at last year's photos RIGHT HERE and you'll see what I'm talking about. *tears*






She cracks me up with her random poses and silly faces. I do not ask her to do any of this. She just does it. *giggling*





Of course her American Girl dressed up again too.
Neither Ella nor her "Little Ella" doll seemed to grow in size at all. *laughing*
Although I can't wait for her to grow into those teeth of hers. *wink*
This is always an awkward teeth stage, isn't it!?

It was definitely different this year...trick or treating in a new neighborhood with new friends.
Even though she missed Halloween night with her best friend, I was so glad Piper, a girl from her class and from our neighborhood, invited her to walk around with their 20+ group of kids. We must've walked 5 miles and Ella came home with 5 lbs of candy...1 pound for every mile I guess? (way too much is all I know).

Anyway, tomorrow is my birthday so I wanted to squeeze this post in before I spend the day doing whatever I want...pedicure...shopping for a copper tea kettle, maybe a birthday nap? Not sure yet, I just know I plan on really taking advantage of it being a special day. Ha!!

Love you friends!! xoxo
Jess

KEEPiNG iT REAL
Who's been waiting on the Whole30 verdict?
Remember I told you J and I did a Whole30 together starting on October 1st...so we successfully just finished on the 30th. And remember I told you it was a friendly competition between the two of us...and that I vowed I was going to smash him?
Well...we weighed in on the 31st and he beat me by 1/2 a pound. DANG iT!!

But truth be told, I found a bottle a "Lose Weight" pills he'd been hiding so he's a total cheater. Ha!
He claims they were nothing but "vegetable" pills and that they were "all natural" and that "Oprah endorsed them"....are you kidding me? I know he'll read this so I'm making sure to casually mention it before I congratulate him on his big win! *wink*

So congrats Jay!! You lost 8 pounds and I lost 7.5 - which I was disappointed with since I lost 11 the first time we ever did this. BUT...I'm totally celebrating anyway and I'm still planning on sticking to my healthy eating plan at least 6 days a week...giving myself a little cheat day. But would you believe I still haven't had a lick of sugar...and it's been 3 days...and it was even Halloween people!! So proud of me! *wink*

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