I’ve been on a kick getting new coffee table books lately. I love flipping through them at night whenever I have the chance to sit down and relax. I also really love them for home inspiration, so whenever I’m working on a project I always like to open them up for ideas. I currently have about 12 stacked on my living room table– not only do I love the books themselves, but I love the look of them all stacked up.
I also recently ordered these new coasters because I wanted some sturdy ones and I love them so much I went back to order a second set. I don’t have a tray on this table, but I recently purchased this beautiful one for another table. I love to use trays to group all of your things.
Having a plant or fresh flowers, and some candles to light in the evening also make such a noticeable difference.
I am a major hydrangea lover and limelight hydrangea are my absolute favorite variety. They hold up well in the sun and can withstand our very hot summers here in California (I’m zone 9). They also change into the most beautiful colors that are neutral enough to win my approval for our landscaping.
Another big plus with hydrangeas is that they dry beautifully for you to use inside for decor (the fall colors would be beautiful on your Thanksgiving table!) They are extremely easy to dry– the biggest piece of advice is to get Mother Nature do the work. These blooms will dry perfectly right on the bush in early autumn. Make sure they are no longer fresh white blooms and that they have a paper-like feel before cutting off.
I cut mine from the plant in September, removed all of their leaves, and put them in vases around my home. If you make sure to wait long enough to cut, these will continue drying beautifully right in your home.
I love the look of these blooms placed in a large vintage dough bowl. I found a few fun ones for you here!
I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect table for the corner of my living room so that I could set up a little nook to do some work at. I finally stumbled upon this beautiful antique table and I knew right away it was exactly what I wanted. Don’t be afraid to add a desk in places other than an “office”. I think it’s so charming to add to a corner of your living room, behind a couch, or in your bedroom or guest room. Also, no need to use a desk! Any table will work– as long as you love it, anything goes.
I added some texture with a rattan chair from Mainly Baskets and a rattan mirror from Serena & Lily. I also have this simple brass lamp on my list and plan on swapping out the white shade for a fun pattern. When creating your space, don’t forget some fun baskets or trays for loose paper, a pretty pen holder (you can use a cup, too!), and a nice vase for fresh flowers. Also, a cute pillow can make a big difference. I’ve mentioned before Etsy is a quick and easy source for designer fabrics- you can shop some of my favorites here.
I have been making these cookies from Sweet Laurel on repeat. They are vegan and gluten free and absolutely delicious. Make sure to use precise measurements– just a tad too much oil will result in really flat, greasy cookies and just a little too much flour will make them dry. Although, they are still delicious! The best part is you can eat the batter by the spoonful.
Ingredients: 3 cups almond flour 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted 1/2 cup maple syrup 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract Topping: 1/4 cup date sugar (I used coconut sugar) 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set rack in the middle of the oven. Stir together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk together all wet ingredients and stir into the dry ingredients. Place one inch balls of batter onto parchment lined baking sheets and lightly press down. Sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon combination. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until just golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and place the cookies on a cooling rack.
I’ve had big, hearty salads on repeat over here. While we were waiting on our new baby, I kept stocking the fridge with them– farro, orzo, pasta, black bean and corn– the options are endless and they are so great to have on hand for lunch and dinner. This Mediterranean farro salad is one of my favorites.
The recipe is flexible, so add or remove whatever you wish! I boiled the farro per the directions on the package. While it was boiling, I chopped and tossed everything else into an extra large bowl: cherry tomatoes, cucumber, feta cheese, green onion, marinated artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, arugula, and chickpeas. Drain and rinse the farro, then toss that in. I mixed everything up with lemon juice, olive oil and lots of salt and pepper.
One of my favorite (healthy-ish) summertime desserts is the vanilla cake from Sweet Laurel. I’ve made it for my son’s birthday two years in a row now and I think we will keep the tradition! It’s perfectly sweet and moist. **The only change I make is adding a dash of cinnamon to the cake batter, otherwise this is the recipe from Sweet Laurel:
Ingredients 2 1/2 cups almond flour 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt 2 eggs 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted, plus extra for greasing 1/2 cup maple syrup 1 tsp vanilla extract dash of cinnamon** seasonal berries
For the coconut whipped cream 1 13.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk (I like Let’s Do Organic brand) 1 Tbsp maple syrup 1 tsp vanilla extract
Directions Prepare your 8-inch pan by cutting a circular round of parchment paper to fit the base of your pan. Place the circular parchment round inside the cake pan, then grease the sides of the pan with melted coconut oil. Place eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a bowl. Whisk until well incorporated. Add almond flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Mix until batter is formed, then pour into prepared pan. Bake about 25 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool, then flip cake out of pan onto a cake plate.
For the coconut whipped cream Place can of coconut milk in refrigerator the night before you make your cake. Before you plan to serve your cake, open the can of refrigerated coconut milk. The fat will have risen to the top of the can, with the liquid at the bottom; scoop out only the solids to your mixing bowl, then add the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk together, then refrigerate whipped cream to keep it firm until you are ready to top your cake. To frost your cake, place cooled cake on serving plate and top with prepared coconut whipped cream, followed by organic seasonal berries.
We’re basking in newborn goodness over here with the addition of our new little one, Liv. The cuddles seem extra sweet the second time around, perhaps because most of those new mom worries don’t exist anymore. I’m really soaking up every second! I purchased and was gifted many great essentials for the first time around with Henry, so we have been able to reuse a quite a bit. I did purchase a few more things for Liv and have narrowed down what I really love and think are especially useful.
As with all baby things, this is all extremely personal! There are a million products out there and everyone has their own opinions on each one. You need to figure out what works for you and your baby! With that said, here are my favorites…
Loungers: Especially for a second child, I have found it really useful to have a place to set the baby down. Many will advise not to use for sleep, but when you need to set the baby down to make your coffee or tend to your toddler, it’s nice to have a cozy spot. Our favorite with Henry was the Boppy lounger and that has proven to be true for Liv as well. We also have the Dockatot which has been great, and I especially love having both now that we are in a bigger home. It’s great to keep one upstairs and one downstairs so that you don’t have to continually move them around. The Snuggle Me Organic is another popular one that is very similar to the Dockatot. Once out of the newborn phase, I really love the Babybjorn bouncer– it’s a perfect spot to set your little one while you get dinner cooked!
Carriers: Echoing what I said above, it’s really, really nice having both hands available! Also, I haven’t met a baby that doesn’t love a carrier- close to mom, warm and upright. I love this Babybjorn carrier the best as it’s extremely functional. I also love Solly wraps which come in fun patterns and are especially great for the newborn stage.
Car Seats: If you’re adding to your baby registry, I’d recommend putting both an infant and convertible car seat on there. The first 10-12 months fly by, and you’ll be purchasing a new car seat for your little one before you know it. The Nuna Pipa is our favorite infant car seat, and most of my mama friends would agree. We switched to the Nuna Rava around the 1-year mark and love it. We also have the Clek Foonf which I have only great things to say about, and especially love it now that H is facing forward. It’s a little sleeker so it has been working great for age 2+.
Other Favorites: My favorite diapers are Pampers Pure and for wipes- Water Wipes are a must! I love these for baby washcloths and these for burp cloths (you’ll want a TON of burp cloths to have around!) Babo Botanicals makes my favorite baby products from shampoo to diaper creme. We have and REALLY LOVE the Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair. I feel strongly about my kids sitting at the table with us, so I love that this highchair grows with them. H can now pull right up to the table and sit properly with his feet on a flat surface. I swear this makes a difference in eating and table etiquette. The Lovevery play gym is one of our favorite baby products!
Carrot cake is a family favorite over here and this recipe from Susan Branch is the ultimate. It’s incredibly moist and makes such a statement– I love to make it for my husband on his birthday. This time, I swapped the vegetable oil for coconut oil and it worked beautifully. Sharing the recipe below as well as the image from her book because it’s too cute not to! If you don’t have a food processor, now is the time to get one. It’s one of my favorite kitchen products, and a game changer for shredding all those carrots!
4 eggs, well beaten 1 cup packed brown sugar 1 cup white sugar 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (I used coconut oil) 2 cups unbleached flour 2 tsp. baking powder 2 tsp. baking soda 2 tsp. cinnamon 1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg 3 cups finely grated carrots 1 cup shredded coconut 1 8oz. can crushed pineapple 1 cup golden raisins 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
Frosting: 1/2 cup butter 8 oz. cream cheese 1 lb. box powdered sugar 3 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Oil 3 8″ cake pans (these are my favorite). Set out butter and cream cheese to soften for the frosting. Put pineapple into a sieve to drain liquid. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add oil and mix well. Put in the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients and pour into the oiled cake pans. Bake for 40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when inserted into the center of cake. Cool and frost.
Frosting: mix butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla together until smooth. Frost between layers and on top of the cake.
It’s almost July! July is one of my favorite months for many reasons, and it’s no surprise that the Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays (hard to beat Christmas, but they do compete in my mind). I am a big fan of Americana design year round, but especially for the month of July. I found a few fun picks that are great for celebrating all summer long… hope you enjoy!