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LiFE | Pink Magic

Tuesday, October 27

The other morning, I let my dog out of the back door to do his usual routine potty break.
I stood there for a minute, like I usually do, and surveyed the backyard.
I took in the areas of grass that look pitiful, the overgrown koi pond I've been wanting to replace with a fire pit (for 3 years now) and I also just listened to the wind for a minute as it gently rustled the dense forest of trees just beyond our property line.

I stood there lost in another world until I caught a glimpse of the pitiful rose bush to my left that has been neglected through the years and yet still produces a rose or two every now and then - for no good reason. Except of course to remind me it's still alive and barely breathing - no thanks to me.

There it was. A single bloom. Staring back at me.
I had actually seen it the morning before but didn't give it much thought. Today, however, I decided to make my way over to it while Hamilton finished his business.

The roses from this bush are always the most beautiful pale pink and as with all roses, the petals are soft and plush. I leaned into the single rose, closed my eyes and took a very slow, intentional, deep breath in.

I paused...surprised at how beautiful it smelled and how the scent seemed to instantly calm my mind and spirit. Keeping my eyes closed...I did it again, breathing in everything the rose could possibly give me while letting everything else in my mind go.

It's almost as if I had to confirm my initial experience by repeating the process because I almost didn't believe it. How in the world did I find myself in the middle of something so spiritual...from something so ordinary. Whatever the reason, it was exactly what I needed although I hadn't a clue I was even looking for it.

It was a very eye-opening moment for me despite my eyes being closed.
I finally understood with absolute clarity what it actually means to "Take time to smell the roses."

I thought I'd already had this figured out a few years prior when I had an epiphany about the importance of simply taking time to look at them and smell them and even clip them instead of just walking past them.

However, that little epiphany didn't even compare to what spoke to my heart and soul on this particular day. Unsuspectingly, when I closed my eyes and breathed deeply in...
I was fully in the present moment; A moment that seems quite elusive in my life - and I know for many of us.

It was just me and that rose...
and when I closed my eyes I was able to shut everything else out except for the healing that came from the smell that filled every nook and cranny of my withered soul.

Parenting struggles, health concerns, life challenges to name a few - they've taken their toll on me over the last several months and it's been exhausting.

As magical as that moment was...there's something even better?
I've since been able to recreate the experience each time I'm lucky enough to find a bloom or two on the bush. It was not a chance moment never to be repeated. It's actually a place of recurring opportunity. How awesome is that!!??

It's something I wish I could bottle up and keep with me in my pocket so I don't have to wait for new blooms to transport me to that place. I would totally send a bottle to each of you as well.

And yet I think that's where the significance of it really comes into play.
Each rose represents a fleeting moment in life.
Will I take advantage of the moment while it's there right in front of me and breathe it all in?
Or will I allow life to be so busy that I miss it?

The next opportunity you have...I hope you'll find a fragrant rose,
close your eyes, quiet your mind and breathe in slowly and deeply.
There's something very magical about it...something uniquely spiritual.
I finally get it now.

What are ways you keep yourself grounded? Connected? Spiritually fed?
Share your magic. I'd love to hear.

Look...I've smelled roses before and honestly, it's not my favorite scent.
In fact, I avoid anything "rose" scented in candle or potpourri form because it always seems a bit musty and old to me.

BUT....I'm telling you...I've been smelling all of the wrong roses.
This. rose. bush. is. different.
These types of roses do not smell like any other rose I've smelled.
I didn't even realize roses could smell this pretty and after some research, I've since discovered there are all sorts of fragrances for all of the different varieties of roses out there.
I'm currently in the process of putting my feeders out there to find out the name of this specific variety and I promise to post it here when I do! For now, we're just going to refer to it as "Pink Magic". *wink*

FREE | Witch Shoes Cupcake Topper Template

Friday, October 16

I just LOVE these adorable witch legs + shoes cupcake toppers I shared a couple of years ago.
Looking back at the Easy No-Bake Hi Hat Cupcakes post it occurred to me I never provided you with a template for the witch shoes so that you could easily recreate these yourself.

Well I just HAD to fix that dilemma for you and I'm posting the FREE Witch Shoes printable cut-outs today. Cut them out with scissors or use your handy dandy electronic cutting machine!!

All you need now is a cute pack of Halloween party straws to attach the shoes to and some cupcakes!! You're welcome! *wink*

Want a mini witch broom to go with your witch shoes?
Here's a DIY for witch broom cupcake toppers I've shared previously.
And here's the No-Bake Hi-Hat Cupcakes tutorial too...just in case.

I hope you love sprucing up your Halloween cupcakes and treats using these cute witch shoes!!
If you use the free printable and make some of your own I'd LOVE to see them!!
Tag me on Instagram using @pnpflowers or you can find me on Facebook and Twitter too!

Looking for MORE Halloween Inspiration?
I've got lots of ideas on my SPOOKY Pinterest Board, which is actually anything but spooky. It's filled with ideas for Halloween crafts, costumes, treats, and DIY's....including this hilarious "Witch Better Have My Candy" t-shirt, these cool Spiderweb Cupcakes, this adorable Cereal Bowl Costume, my Mini Monster Milkshakes and more!!

See you soon friends and as always...thanks for being here!!

Still no progress on cleaning up my studio.
It MIGHT happen today - but no promises.

RECIPE | Whiskey Caramel Glazed Pumpkin Bars

Thursday, October 15

I'm SUPER excited to share the details of these Whiskey Caramel Glazed Pumpkin Bars with you today...but not for the reason you might think.

You'd naturally think I would be revealing the recipe for these delicious pumpkin filled little morsels, but truth be told, I didn't make these myself.

When I was asked by Tuesday Morning to come up with some "adult Halloween treat ideas" I knew I was going to have to get creative because I still did not have an oven. (our house was struck by lightning back in June and finding a 40" dual fuel range to replace the fried oven we were left with was like looking for a needle in a haystack since they apparently don't manufacture 40" ranges anymore - only 36" and 42"...but anyway - that's another story).

So...I had to come up with some treat ideas in which I didn't actually have to bake, especially since I only had 10 days to put this entire thing together. In addition to the pumpkin milkshakes I chose to make for the Spiders + Spirits themed dessert table I styled, I realized I was going to need some baking alternatives.

Honestly, even if my oven had been working at the time, over the last few years, I have found myself finding "short-cuts" if you will, so I'm not a complete basket case from trying to make and bake everything myself. I think it's important to find a nice balance of offering one or two homemade items and then using my resources to provide the other delicious food items so I can actually enjoy the celebration and not be completely exhausted from the preparation of it.

So back to the pumpkin bars...
and to why I'm excited to share what I'm sharing with you today!!

I ended up finding these Pumpkin Bars in the bakery section of my local grocery store.
Yep. The grocery store. These delicious AND pretty morsels are store-bought.
(If you have a Publix grocery store near you, they are called "Decadent Pumpkin Bars" - and yes, they are every bit of decadent as you might imagine). 

But here's the BEST PART...
In their original state, they came packaged as six rectangular bars.
To jazz them up and make them feel a little more "homemade" I simply cut eat bar in half to make them bite-sized, chopped up some pecans, (I didn't toast mine but you totally could do that), and then I drizzled the caramel on top. Done!!

Placing them in a mini cupcake liner fancied them up even more and they literally went from drab to fab in under 10 minutes. Yes!!

So where does that leave you?
Not only have I shared with you a terrific idea for jazzing up store-bought pumpkin bars if you are short on time for making homemade treats but I have also scoured Pinterest for you to find recipes that seem similar - for those of you looking to make them yourself. 

AND I do have the recipe for the Whiskey Caramel - thank you Southern Living's Fall Baking - Special Collector's Edition Magazine. (It's LOADED with delicious recipes and Southern Living is my go-to source for trying new things because through the many years of experimenting and trying new recipes in their magazines and cookbooks,  I have yet to try something I didn't like OR...that ended up being a partial or incorrect recipe).

Here are the recipes I found on Pinterest.
None of them are exact but any of them can be drizzled with the Whiskey Caramel:

Silky Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie Bars (with Brown Butter Pretzel Crust)
These sound amazing!! They are topped with a Bourbon Whipped Cream so you may want to try that instead OR skip the whipped cream and add your chopped pecans and drizzle on a little Whiskey Caramel. And if you aren't into alcohol, like me, then some regular caramel will do the trick just fine!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Crumb Bars
These don't look anything like the pumpkin bars I served BUT...they look amazing and would be delicious with the caramel glaze. You could even skip the crumb top and just do the pecans and caramel.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars with Chocolate Topping
I love the idea of the oatmeal cookie crust used in this recipe and it sounds close to the crust on the pumpkin bars I served.  Just leave off the chocolate and add your chopped pecans and whiskey caramel.

And here's the Whisky Caramel recipe

Recipe from Southern Living - Special Collector's Edition, Best Fall Baking Magazine 2015
Makes 2 cups

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1/4 cup whiskey
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 large egg
1/2 cup sugar

Stir together 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in saucepan.
Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, 3 minutes or until sugar melts.
Cook, without stirring, 10 minutes or until medium amber in color.
Remove from heat and stir in heavy cream, butter, whiskey, salt and nutmeg.

Whisk together egg and 1/2 cup sugar in a heatproof medium bowl.
Slowly whisk caramel sauce into egg mixture.
Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. (2 minutes or until thickened).

Now you're ready to drizzle...


So there you go...
A great Whiskey Caramel recipe from Southern Living AND some fantastic Pumpkin recipes on Pinterest to try.

Let me know what you think and then get out there and make it a fantastic day!!


I'm down for Southern Living you guys! It's been my long-time favorite magazine and not only that,  my favorite cookbook is the Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook I purchased as a Southern Living At HOME consultant a SUPER long time ago.

The cookbook is SO old that you can only find used copies - in fact, "The All New Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook that came out in 2006, to replace mine, is only available in used condition as well. Yep! My cookbook is a dinosaur - but I still use it every week. Does that mean I'm a dinosaur too? Ha!! And let's not even talk about the beautiful Southern Living House Plans that have occupied a good part of my married years. *wink* Seriously? Southern Living feeds every corner of my creativity!! I LOVE it!!!

iNSPiRE | Pumpkin Everything

Wednesday, October 14

You guys!! I have been a pumpkin pinning crazed lunatic over the last two weeks!
You should TOTALLY go check out all of the DIY ideas, recipes, crafts and all-things-pumpkin on my PUMPKIN EVERYTHING pinterest board. I've been so inspired! You'll be inspired too!! I "pumpkin promise"!! *wink*

Aside from the charming pumpkins shown in the first photo from my friend Tammy, here are just a few more favorites I think will entice you even more to take a peek at my PUMPKIN EVERYTHING PINTEREST BOARD.

I love this idea. Use a dollar store pumpkin and cover them with cornhusks!
Ties nicely into my creamy white, rustic decor!! Love the moss accents too!

Okay. Holy cow! How did someone manage to squeeze everything I love into one cake:
Pumpkin, chocolate, salted caramel and cream cheese frosting! Stop it!!!

These look amazing! They are supposed to be EASY too!

Layers of pumpkin, vanilla pudding and praline crumble goodness...yes please!

I cannot even read this post because it's in another language
but I'm still completely smitten with the presentation and the idea of making these!!

Just wrap your white pumpkins with some bittersweet and call it done. I'm doing this!!

Simple concept here. And I love the addition of straw between each pumpkin for some added texture.

From yours truly - remember this DIY from a few years back?
STILL love it! Who would've thought something so cute could be made from mason jar bands?

Don't forget the delicious pumpkin milkshakes I posted!! They are must-try this season!!

You haven't even seen the DIY Sweater Pumpkins, Pumpkin Spice Latte Donuts, Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts, Floral Moon Pumpkin, No-Carve DIY Balloon Dipped Pumpkins, Pumpkin Snickerdoodles and so many more FUN pumpkin ideas and recipes. May as well just follow my Pumpkin Everything board - there's no end in sight at this point to what I'll be pinning next. *wink*

Stay tuned for the scoop on the Pumpkin Bars and Kahlua + Cream cupcakes from the Spiders + Spirits themed dessert table. PLUS...I'll be sharing the chalkboard signage I used as well! Don't miss it!!

You would absolutely fall over in your boots if you saw the state of my studio right now. I've fallen a couple of times myself, tripping over things. Ha! It's still a disaster from the recent Tuesday Morning project...and to be completely honest, that was just the icing on the cake. It was messy prior to that. I must clean up the chaos that is my life right now!

RECIPE | Pumpkin Bourbon Milkshakes

Tuesday, October 13

Hello Pen + Paper Flowers friends!!
Did you go all weekend anxiously awaiting the recipe for those Pumpkin Bourbon Milkshakes I made for the Spiders + Spirits spiked desserts table for Tuesday Morning?

Okay, so here's the deal.
I don't drink alcohol.
So, as I stepped blindly into the unknown when prepping my "spiked" desserts table for the clever "Spiders + Spirits" themed photoshoot I came up with, I didn't prepare ANY of my desserts using alcohol at all because....

#1: I REALLY wanted to be able to eat the desserts.
#2: I certainly didn't want to spend the money on something I needed very little of and would never use again.

That being said, this recipe is delicious as a non-alcoholic drink making it something kids will love too! AND for those of you who want the bourbon included, it's a recipe with a 5 star rating on the website!! 

Besides, can you really go wrong when you mix vanilla ice cream, pumpkin, fall spices and whipped cream together - bourbon or not? No, you really can't! *wink*

So here you go....

recipe adapted from Sunset Magazine

Makes 6-8 large milkshakes

1/2 gallon + 1 cup vanilla ice cream (I used Breyer's Natural Vanilla)
2 - 15oz. cans of canned pumpkin (I used 1 and 1/2 cans which is more than the original recipe calls for but I wanted mine to have a more pronounced pumpkin flavor - so feel free to adjust it to your liking).
1 cup milk
1/2 cup bourbon (can be omitted, which I did for mine since I don't drink alcohol).
1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger

For garnish:
whipped cream
fresh ground nutmeg

You will be blending the main ingredients in 3 different batches - it won't all fit in your blender at once.

1. Blend together 1/3 of the ice cream, pumpkin, milk and bourbon in blender. Once combined, empty blender into a large bowl and do a second batch exactly the same way. For your third and final batch, add sugar and spices this time. Pour last batch into large bowl with the other two batches and stir everything together to combine well.

2. Fill 6-8 tall glasses with milkshake mixture using a ladle or a pourable measuring cup.

3. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with nutmeg. Don't forget the cute party straw!!

I didn't do this but the original recipe mentioned it so I wanted to share it -especially because I believe adding the bourbon may result in milkshakes with a thinner consistency.

Do everything in step one and use an airtight container instead of a bowl to hold the prepared milkshake mixture. Add lid and store in freezer for up to an hour. Stir and then fill glasses.

I sure hope you will try out the recipe!
I'll definitely be making them again!!

I'll be making them again because although I got to sample them while I made them and J downed a couple on his own, my girls really didn't even get to try them. *frown*
They were all skeptical knowing they had been sitting out for quite awhile during the and out of the refrigerator as I took and re-took photos. They ended up sitting in the refrigerator, on a pretty tray no less, for 3 days before I finally decided to dump them. #partystylingcasualties

STYLING | Spiders + Spirits Halloween Dessert Table (for adults)

Friday, October 9

BOO! Have I got a "treat" for you today!!
I was recently approached by one of my favorite retail stores, Tuesday Morning, to come up with a blog post for the Tuesday Morning site. All I had to do was pick and use some things from their high-quality designer products, (at close-out prices, by the way), using the theme they'd chosen: Halloween-inspired adult treats.

I literally had TEN days to put this all together but I was completely up for the challenge.
Although I don't drink alcohol, my mind went immediately to creating a "spiked" desserts table for adults, thus inspiring the "Spiders + SPIRITS" theme. Pretty clever, right?

I hope you'll hop on over to the Tuesday Morning Blog and check out the full details on the set up as well as to get the scoop on the wonderful products I found and used as part of the dessert table. (Like these realistic-looking old doors that are really just two beautiful canvases I used as the backdrop). LOVE them!!

Feeling inspired for Halloween now?
I've also been pinning some fantastic Halloween ideas to the "Haunted Halloween" Tuesday Morning Pinterest Board so definitely check it out for more inspiration.

Stay tuned to the Pen + Paper Flowers blog because I'll be posting more about the Pumpkin Bourbon Milkshakes, Kahlua + Cream cupcakes and the Whiskey Caramel Glazed Pumpkin Bars that were used on the table.

And...for anyone interested in recreating this, I'll be posting the Chalkboard Signage + labels too!!

Do you love Tuesday Morning too and need to find a location close to you?
Use the Tuesday Morning Store Locator !

Keep up with Tuesday Morning and their fabulous home decor products by following them on their social media platforms:
Tuesday Morning on Facebook
Tuesday Morning on Twitter
Tuesday Morning on Instagram
Tuesday Morning on Pinterest

Want to receive Tuesday Morning emails? Just sign up!

Now...are you ready to throw that Halloween party you've been talking about?
I hope you've been inspired, friends!!!



The 10 day turnaround was crazy to meet but working with Tuesday Morning products was a blast.
My daughter Ema (16), actually did some shopping and brainstorming with me and I think we nailed it!! My studio is an absolute disaster - I'm not even kidding!! Just ask my family!! *wink*

FREE | Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice Art Print :: The Cake Blog

Wednesday, October 7

It's that time of year...
and it's that time of month for another FREE art print over on The Cake Blog.

There really was no other option but to do something related to Pumpkin Spice this month, was there? I'm one of the few mortals on planet Earth who isn't the Starbucks-coffee-drinking-pumpkin-latte-kind-of-girl but I AM a huge fan of anything pumpkin-scented; pumpkin candles, pumpkin wax melts, pumpkin spice air fresheners and of course...a fresh baked pumpkin pie.

As always, the artwork is available as a 5x7 printable art print OR can be downloaded for use as digital wallpaper to spice up all of your digital devices. GRAB it for FREE over on The Cake Blog.

Speaking of pumpkin spice, I'm convinced you will want to check out these delicious recipes for your Fall baking:

Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting and Pumpkin-Seed Brittle
Rustic Pumpkin Bundt Cake filled with Chocolate Ganache

See you back here soon, my pumpkin spice friends!! *wink*

It's been busy over here in my world - with fun stuff, life stuff, kid stuff and just plain ole "stuff".
Looking forward to sharing more with you.
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