...because home doesn't happen overnight.
07.14.15 / Liked & Linked

outdoor wedding

wedding barn

outdoor wedding

How was your weekend? Productive or relaxing? Both? In preparation for a photo shoot (more deets to follow in my next post!), we tackled several tedious projects that we’ve been putting off for years. I seriously don’t know what’s taken us so long but it feels good to cross a bunch of little things off the never-ending to-do list.

We squeezed in a break from the projects to attend a friend’s wedding and managed to snap a quick family photo. We’re still working on the whole looking at the camera thing ;) The venue was a small farm with a gazebo and modern barn. It was so simple and beautiful. Luckily, the rain held off. FYI – 30 seconds after that last picture was taken, Layne wiped out in the mud. I spent the next 20 minutes in the ladies’ restroom hand washing his shirt and drying it under the hand dryer. Ah, real life with kids sometimes feels like a series of mini catastrophes, doesn’t it?

A few things…

*With all the rain and humidity, this anti-frizz polishing milk is the only thing that’s working on my hair this summer.

*Floral portraits that are better than the real thing.

*Die ugly toys, die.

*Loving this kitchen – especially the custom island and desk.

studio matsalla condo

*Condo living never looked so good. (Notice the angled fireplace via the link. Angled fireplaces can be tricky but that one totally works.)

*Getting lost in a photographer’s portfolio.

*Having experienced first-hand what life is like with a severely mentally ill parent, I’m looking forward to seeing Infinitely Polar Bear. Send tissues.

Try something new and scary this week.

images: 1-3) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 4) Vanessa Matsalla for Studio Matsalla

07.07.15 / Liked & Linked

swimsuit lunch

family bonfire

After two months of jam-packed weeks and weekends, we enjoyed some much needed down time last week. The seemingly never-ending rain let up just in time for the holiday weekend so we hit up the pool, ate burgers in our swimsuits, went on family walks, watched fireworks and roasted s’mores. It was simple and perfect.

A few links…

*“Let’s sell the house, sell the car. Sell all of that baby stuff, the garden and kitchen stuff, all that extra stuff. What is all that stuff anyway? Let’s take the kids out of school. Escape the rat race and disappear for a year.” AMAZING.

*My latest architect crush.

*Modern outdoor furniture made from recycled milk jugs.

*Jessica Helgerson’s new farmhouse was recently shot for…the firm’s portfolio? a magazine pitch? an upcoming feature? Whatever the reason, I CANNOT wait to see it. Psst…a sneak peek of the master bedroom.

amber thrane courtyard

amber thrane shasta

*Daydreaming about this creative lady’s cozy courtyard and vintage Shasta camper.

*My go-to cookbook these days when I don’t feel like thinking about dinner. We had the aloha sliders with pineapple relish and Szechwan peasant pork over the weekend. So easy! So tasty!

*After extensive “research,” I’ve concluded that these vanilla marshmallows and this dark coconut toffee chocolate make the perfect s’more. Trust. Oh, wait. Did you think I was paleo? Nope. That cookbook above is excellent whether you follow a paleo diet all of the time, some of the time or never.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday!

images: 1 & 2) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 3 & 4) Amber Thrane of Dulcet Creative

blue apron vacation 2

I’ve been subscribing to Blue Apron for a little over a year now. The family plan is perfect for us: 2 adults, 3 young kids. I use it for especially hectic weeks when our family schedule is extra busy and also for weeks when Steve is out of town and I’m winging the single parenting thing. It’s a huge relief finding the box of farm fresh ingredients on my doorstep, knowing I can postpone a trip to the grocery store for a few more days.

blue apron vacation 4

blue apron vacation 3

Trying out new chef-designed recipes at home gets us out of the dinner rut and gives me more confidence in the kitchen, too. The filipino-style beef picadillo and fish & sweet potato chips are on regular rotation at our house.

blue apron vacation 8

blue apron vacation 6

blue apron vacation 7

The kids are always excited when a Blue Apron delivery shows up. The only part they don’t like is sometimes waiting for me to take pictures of the food before they can eat it ;)

Last fall when we were gearing up for our family vacation to Rosemary Beach, I was making a list of food items to pack. To save money, I was packing breakfast, lunch and snack items. We usually eat half of our dinners out on vacation, but I wanted to cook at least two dinners. (The beach house we rented boasted a full kitchen.) I could see that space in the cooler was going to be tight and that’s when it hit me! Why not schedule a Blue Apron delivery to our vacation rental? And that’s exactly what I did.

I set it up to arrive early in the week, a day or two after our arrival. It was delivered to our porch while we were at the beach but, no worries, the box was refrigerated. It was so convenient! No need to hunt down a local grocery store in an unfamiliar city and then spend way too much vacation time trying to figure out where everything is. No need to buy a box of stick butter just for one tablespoon. All the ingredients are shipped pre-measured so there’s no waste and no rummaging around a rental kitchen for a measuring spoon or cup. (The only ingredients you might need on hand are olive oil, salt and pepper – which our rental supplied but you might want to pack them if possible.)

If you plan to cook on vacation, Blue Apron is ideal. There were a few evenings towards the end of our stay where we didn’t feel like rushing back from the beach, cleaning up and going out for dinner. That’s when I cooked. No one wants to take a cranky, overtired toddler out to dinner at a restaurant, am I right?

Do you have a U.S. vacation coming up? Maybe a staycation? If you plan on cooking, I would suggest giving Blue Apron a try. They deliver to most of the country, including Texas now! As always, shipping is free.

*BONUS* – The first 100 readers will get two meals off their first Blue Apron order FREE! Just click here.

Happy cooking and vacationing!

*This post sponsored in part by Blue Apron. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking