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STYLE | Spring Confectionery Boards

Saturday, April 6


Look at this gorgeous "Fresh Spring Confectionery Board" you guys!!
Remember the Valentine's Day confectionery board (aka charcuterie-style sweets board) I did?
And remember how easy I said it was? And how I mentioned it was really fun to create?

Well what I didn't tell you is that I love them soooo much...I was already scheming + dreaming of ways to create one for the Spring + Easter season. And this week I finally made it happen!!

I spent one afternoon creating 5 different variations of the same Confectionery Board - using the same sweets - just swapping out the floral details and little add-ins.

It's amazing how different each one of them look with such simple changes.

These boards are perfect for intimate gatherings, family celebrations, baby showers, wedding showers, and there's even one I created to be work environment-friendly.

I even named each of the spring confectionery boards based on the vibe they were giving.

So...sit back...enjoy...and let's get this "sweets board" inspiration party started...

FRESH SPRING • CONFECTIONERY BOARD
Simplicity at its best with the use of greenery and a subtle touch of white florals.

SWEET SPRING • CONFECTIONERY BOARD
A whisper of blush pinks adds simple + sweet charm through the thoughtfully placed florals and treats.



SPRING GARDEN • CONFECTIONERY BOARD
The addition of mini clay pots instantly gives this one a spring garden vibe! 



SPRING FAVORITES • CONFECTIONERY BOARD
Foiled Easter candy favorites makes this board fun for the kids + is office environment-friendly

 PLAYFUL SPRING • CONFECTIONERY BOARD
No foil-wrapped candies here...just pretty colors of spring using pastel grab-and-go candies + treats.

So there you go...
5 different Spring inspired confectionery boards...
all using essentially the same sweets + treats.

They are so easy to put together but really do have a "wow" factor to them.
I'd love to know which one was your favorite?
I'm not sure I can decide on a favorite...
BUT...if you twisted my arm and made me pick one...I'd go with the "Fresh Spring"...and then the "Sweet Spring"...and then... *wink*

I'm so hoping today's post proves to you just how easy they are to assemble and then ultimately inspires you to try one of your own!

Happy Spring everyone!
Love you guys!


SWEETS + TREATS I USED:
Reese's Peanut Butter Creme 3D Eggs
Cadbury Classic Eggs
Cadbury Caramel Eggs
Macarons 
Cadbury Milk Chocolate Mini Eggs
Cadbury Milk Chocolate Shimmer Mini Eggs
Meyer Lemon Cookie Thins
Reese's Pieces PB cup minis
Gourmet Jelly Beans
Hershey's Milk Chocolate Eggs - foiled
Hershey's Milk Chocolate Eggs - pastel candy coating
Almond Joy + Mounds Easter Snack Size Assortment (could not find the Easter ones to link them)
Reese's foiled PB Eggs
Walkers Shortbread Cookies
Crispy Cookies filled with Belgian Chocolate
Butter Waffle Cookies
Florals + Greenery were all from Trader Joe's

KEEPiNG iT REAL
I really think this whole "confectionery boards" thing could take off you guys!
I can see these at weddings and all sorts of celebrations.
If we can come up with a way to ship or deliver these...how fun would that business be? *wink*
And if you start seeing these all over the place...remember where you saw them first. *grin*

FREE | Making BIG changes...100 Days Tracker

Friday, April 5


Have some goals you're trying to accomplish?
Well this easy-to-track daily goal checker might just be the thing you are looking for.

• Decide on a daily habit you want to create.
  (ie., 50 pushups/day, 8 glasses of water, read, compliment your spouse, write down something you're
  grateful for on a daily basis...whatever it is you want/need to do.)
• Write it down on this tracker.
• Commit to doing it every day for 100 days in a row.
• Color in a circle every day to celebrate your achievement. (or just "x", "check" or mark the circles)
• Watch your circles fill up as you make your way to your goal.

That's it.

Commit. Keep track. Kick butt.


I created this the other day, inspired by the one Elise Joy created, after more than a month of debilitating pain associated with my piriformis muscle. (I've been sharing on Instagram - you can get caught up over there in my story bubble called PT)

I would have just used the Elise Joy sheet but it kept printing wonky so out of frustration I just created my own.

The physical limitations + excruciating pain has been ongoing since mid-February and needless to say I was feeling pretty defeated.

But then I remembered something Jay says to me all of the time:
"Control the controllables".

I changed my attitude right then and there and decided if I can't exercise and do the physical things I had planned to help me reach my health goals this year...
I can certainly be in charge of what I put in my body...right?

I really just wanted an easy way to track my progress and thought the bubble sheet concept from Elise Joy was brilliant.

If you're feeling inspired to use it to help you with your own goals...
grab the FREE 100 Days Habit Tracker .pdf file right here and print it out!

Here's to making big changes my friends...
xoxo,
Jess

KEEPiNG iT REAL
Yes...for my new habit...I chose to drink celery juice every morning for 100 days.
Haven't heard about celery juice yet?
I've been sharing all about it and the new juicer I got over on my Instagram Feed.

STYLING | Touches of Spring with a Simple Wreath Refresh

Friday, February 22

It was 85º here in Florida yesterday...and today isn't looking much different.
So...I'd say it's completely appropriate to go ahead and share some simple "Spring" touches I made in our master bedroom yesterday.


I did a quick refresh starting with adding some simple greenery to my rustic, sparse, winter-ish and otherwise simple grapevine wreath.

I didn't use any tools...just the built-in "harnesses" (aka braids + twists of the grapevine wreath) to secure the green garland.


I used two 6ft. long faux greenery garlands - actually, the same two I used to create my Thanksgiving table garland and my Christmas table garland, and I just tucked the longer ends of each in-between and through the grapevine. Thats' it. And it took me less than 10 minutes to do...maybe even only 5 minutes.


Talk about versatile. The grapevine wreath is one of my favorite multi-seasonal decorative items and now I love that I've been able to move these garlands to various places of my home and for a variety of seasons.

After I made the wreath I was then inspired to make up my bed using a really pretty mix of my Georgina Anthropologie bedding and a new Bamboo Turkish Bedspread from Thimble + Cloth. 

I then added this simple marble tray filled with some of my favorite things - a stack of green vintage books, a handmade tassel from my friend Pamela at August + May Design Company and an adorable handmade pinch pot from Black Oak Art filled with more faux greenery. I'm thinking a live maidenhair fern would look exceptionally pretty in this spot too.




As much as I loved the simplicity of it I was still wanting to add a little more warmth and "cozy" to the bed. Adding a blanket was my first thought but I ultimately decided to use this Turkish Peshtemal from Thimble + Cloth instead.


The peshtemal is technically a lightweight, absorbent towel but I knew it would create the Spring-vibe I was going for vs. using any of the standard blankets I had laying around. *wink*



I think it worked like a charm.
Are you inspired to start adding some simple Spring touches to your home too?
A few minutes or your time and creativity can make such a big difference, am I right?




PS - Let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram for daily inspiration.
Subscribe here to have new blog posts delivered right to your inbox.

KEEPiNG iT REAL
Jay continues to remove my gorgeous Georgina duvet cover because of the current duvet insert I have....it makes him too hot. 

I purchased the Bamboo Turkish Bedspread from Thimble + Cloth as a quick fix but I'm currently looking for some new bedding and linens to make our bed extra super cozy and inviting (but simple + timeless), and without the "heat" factor.  Check out my some of my recent pins to see the vibe I'm going for.

If you have any affordable suggestions, please send them my way!!

RECIPE | The BEST Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs + Royal Icing Recipes

Thursday, February 14


Are you looking for THE BEST...and THE EASIEST sugar cookie cut-out recipe on the planet?
And when I say "the best" sugar cookie cut-out recipe...I really mean it.
And when I say "the easiest"...I really mean that too.

These beauties are a gift from heaven for those of us who like the idea of sugar cookies but don't have the patience that's usually associated with the "refrigeration required" that comes with your classic sugar cookie recipe.


These cookies are just the right amount of sweet...
just the right amount of soft...
just the right amount of goodness...
and just the right cookie to compliment the delicious royal icing you'll want to decorate them with.

And let me say...although I am no professional cookie baker, I've been using this cookie recipe and royal icing recipe for over a decade and they both work like a charm EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Foolproof.

You won't be disappointed.





THE BEST + EASIEST SUGAR COOKIE CUT-OUTS RECIPE
Yields approximately 48 - 2" cookies

Ingredients
Wet Ingredients
1 c. salted butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla

Dry Ingredients
2 3/4 c. flour (all purpose)
2 tsp. baking powder

Directions
Preheat oven to 400º

Using whisk attachment for mixer, (my favorite mixer on the planet), cream together butter and sugar - scraping sides as needed.
Add egg and vanilla. Mix until combined - scraping as needed.

Remove whisk attachment and replace with paddle attachment.
Add flour and baking powder.
Mix until dough comes clean from sides of bowl.

Turn onto lightly floured surface.
Knead until dough is thoroughly combined and mixed.
Roll out with lightly dusted rolling pin and cut with cookie cutters of choice.

Bake at 400º for 6-7 minutes or until bottoms are lightly golden.
Remove from oven, cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute and then move to cooling rack.
Cool completely prior to icing.

Store for up to 3 days prior to icing.


-----------------------------------

THE YUMMIEST ROYAL ICING RECIPE
Makes a huge batch - feel free to 1/2 the recipe.

Ingredients
3/4 c. warm water
5 TBSP meringue powder - I use this one - which makes about 4 batches of icing
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla (clear vanilla if you have it - otherwise, your icing may take on a faint hint of yellow upon drying - no big deal though)
2 lbs powdered sugar

Directions
Using a mixer bowl with whisk attachment, (here's my favorite one ever), add warm water and meringue powder.
Mix until frothy and thickened. (about 30 seconds - scraping to ensure everything is mixed)

Add cream of tartar and vanilla.
Mix again for another 30 seconds until combined.
Swap out whisk attachment for paddle attachment.
Add all of the powdered sugar to the mixing bowl.
Turn on the lowest speed for about 30 seconds.
Scrape sides to combine.
Mix on lowest speed for 10 full minutes.

Icing will be thick and creamy.
Add warm water to icing until it becomes the consistency you need it to be.

When not using, keep bowl covered with damp tea towel to prevent drying, crusting and flaking.

TIP 1: I typically end up adding between 5-7 TBSP of warm water to reach the consistency I like to pipe with. 

TIP 2: For perfect piping consistency, use spoon or spatula to create "ribbons" of icing in your bowl. When ribbons disappear within 7 seconds...you are good to go.

HELPFUL VIDEOS:
How to Prep + Fill a Piping Bag like a Boss - will link to this tomorrow after it's been posted to my Instagram stories



So there you are my friends.
Two recipes that will change your life. *wink*

Seriously though...once you try this cookie cut-out recipe, you'll never use another one.
And the Royal Icing recipe is pretty bomb too. *wink*

If you try them...PLEASE let me know.
I'd love to see and hear how they turned out for you.

Happy Valentine's Day beauties!!

PS - Let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram for daily inspiration.
Subscribe here to have new blog posts delivered right to your inbox.

KEEPiNG iT REAL
I shared this recipe YEARS ago on the blog but after 10 years of blogging...
well...it's buried deep in the archives.

I thought it was time to pull it to the surface...just in time for Valentine's Day! 

STYLE | Sweets Charcuterie Board

Tuesday, February 12

If you didn't know, charcuterie boards are all the rage right now.
You'll see them everywhere on social media and if your favorite restaurant doesn't already offer one I'm guessing you'll see one on the menu soon.

If you don't know what I'm talking about...charcuterie is a french word referring to meats that have been smoked, dry-cured or cooked. (think bacon, hard salami, or a soft pâté). It's also the french word for butcher shop or delicatessen. So in essence, a charcuterie board is typically a combination of the types of meats I mentioned above beautifully arranged on a board, platter, tray or plate and served to guests for nibbling + grazing. The charcuterie board has evolved to include a few selections of cheeses, fruits, nuts, olives, crackers and spreads, which in my opinion takes things to an entirely new level. Not only does is make for a gorgeous presentation but it also caters to multiple palettes + food preferences.


That said, it's now officially evolved into something even more today with the "Valentine's Sweets Charcuterie-Style board" I've created. Ha!

No meats. No cheeses...just chocolates and treats.
Originally, I was thinking I would just use nothing but chocolates. (since I have an abundance from the work I do for Hershey).


But...I decided to mix in a variety of "cracker-like" cookies, heart-shaped candies, a little bit of fruit, a handful of nuts as well a selection of dips to appeal to more people and most certainly give it a more "charcuterie-vibe".


This was my very first charcuterie-style board and friends...it was SO easy and SO fun.
The options are endless with the items you can use and the many different celebrations you can create them for.

Create a charcuterie tray for two or assemble one for a crowd.
There really are no rules so have fun with it.




Here's everything I used to create mine but these types of boards are so versatile feel free to get creative and use your personal favorites. 

SUPPLIES
Cutting board, platter, tray or plate to feed a crowd or the specific number of people you're expecting
Fresh strawberries
Valentine Pretzels - I couldn't find the ones I bought but these are cute!
Heart Crackers - these are way too expensive - you can find them at some Walmarts
Peanut Butter
Fresh Roses for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS
I started with a slab of marble as my "board", added three small bowls, strategically placed the big items on the board first and then filled in the empty areas with the smaller treats.

To finish it I added a few fresh roses and sprinkled a little bit of rose petals for touches of "Valentine's Day".

-----------------------


I sure hope you'll try your hand at creating one of these.
It really was fun to put together and I'm looking forward to making another one for Easter.


PS - Let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram for daily inspiration.
Subscribe here to have new blog posts delivered right to your inbox.

KEEPiNG iT REAL
Not even kidding when I tell you it took me longer to collect + decide on the items I wanted to use than it took for me to throw it all together. (Less than 15 minutes - for real)
And those dark chocolate mini hearts? YUM!!
First time I've ever tried them and was pleasantly surprised at how good they are!

GIFT IDEA | Valentine's Day Lindt Bar Wrappers

Monday, February 11


A few weeks ago I took a poll in my Instagram stories asking for feedback on some custom Valentine's Day candy bar labels for Lindt's footlong candy bar I recently came across.

I loved the feedback I received...there were so many fun responses.
I ended up combining similar answers and the majority of responses that came through to create 11 different FREE WRAPPERS/LABELS for you to print and use as gifts + treats for Valentine's Day!


The selections include candy bar wrappers for teachers, principals, besties, coaches, friends, and more.

I found these GIANT FOOT-LONG Lindt Bars in my local grocery store for $5.99 - just happened to pass by them one day!! 



They really make a statement and the custom labels help to make them extra special + personalized to gift to the people you love!


I'm taking things a step further and gifting the chocolate bars to all three of my girls along with one of these ADORABLE + super soft stuffed animals that are filled with organic french lavender.

Have you seen these?  These cuties are so snuggly and weigh about 2-3 pounds and can also be heated up in the microwave for some added warmth for cuddle time.

This sweet puppy is for Ella but Ema is getting this adorable Koala Bear and Clara's puppy is sold out but here is one that's similar. 


Friends...as a mama who has struggled with anxiety issues my entire life and having two daughters that struggle as well...these are SUCH a perfect gift. The lavender creates calm, the heaviness of the animal creates security and the softness gives comfort. 

I love them so much I want to get one for myself. *wink*


So, whether you decide to just stick with the chocolate bars...
or add in a plush stuffed animal...
I really hope you're inspired to try at least one of these options.

You could even save the stuffed animal idea for EASTER!!!


Here's all you need to make the Customized Candy Bars Labels...


SUPPLIES
1 - Valentine's Day Lindt Bar Candy Bar Wrapper
1 - sheet of 8.5x11" white card stock
1 - 10.6 oz. Lindt Chocolate Bar <--- this link is from Amazon but I found mine for $5.99 at Publix
Clear Tape to secure wrapper on back
Ribbon (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Print Candy Bar Wrapper onto 8.5x11" white card stock.
2. Wrap around candy bar and secure with tape.
3. Crease edges for a nice finish.
4. Add a ribbon if you'd like to jazz it up a bit.

TIP: If you don't like the gold outer packaging unwrap it to find a plain silver foil wrapped candy bar inside.

Love you friends!!

PS - Let's stay cozy + connected in-between posts...find me on Instagram for daily inspiration.
Subscribe here to have new blog posts delivered right to your inbox.

KEEPiNG iT REAL
There are soooo many different adorable plush stuffed animals to choose from I really don't know which one to pick for myself. Ha!! It took me forever to pick out the ones for the girls.

And honestly, Clara picked out a pink elephant at first and then traded it for the puppy because the elephant nose was a little awkward to snuggle with. (I didn't tell her what i was getting, I just gave her a few "stuffed animal" options to choose from and then when she realized what it was for she chose something she could really get cozied up to). *wink*
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