On Tuesday, July 14, 2020 we welcomed this sweet little lady into our family. We are all smitten!
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
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!
A perfect packable straw hat with options for ribbon (of course, I choose stripes)
Americana floral smocked one piece for your little girl. Pair with these patriotic boardies for your little guy!
Treat yourself to a really fun pair of earrings– darling with a simple white dress for summer.
I love these farmhouse striped napkins for summer entertaining.
Don’t forget the party garland!
My favorite teak slingback chair is super easy to move around the yard when you have guests and looks darling, too!
A classic RL flag sweater is a must have for baby, kids and mom!
A cozy linen throw to cuddle up with outside on cool summer nights.
What is better than a freshly bathed babe, ready for bed in cozy pajamas? I swear a cute, cozy pair makes a baby sleep better, and nothing is better than having your kiddos match! Henry is wearing Lila + Hayes in this photo– they sent us this super soft, lightweight pair that is perfect for summer. We love them! Lake Pajamas and Kissy Kissy are tried and true favorites for newborns and toddlers. Petite Plume makes elegant, timeless styles. And, we love j.crew for stripes and fun patterns! All of these brands are extremely soft and hold up very well to washes. You can shop some of my favorite picks below… bonne nuit! x
We have been grilling and eating outside every night for the past week– it officially feels like summer! For dinner last night, I roasted up a ton of vegetables and plated with burrata and a leftover spinach basil pesto I had in the fridge. It was delicious! I have a bunch of recipes saved for the next few months and thought I’d pen some of them here for you to enjoy as well. I’m also stocking up on melamine plates and other outdoor dining essentials– some fun ideas linked below for dining alfresco. Bon appetit!
Grilled corn and zucchini salad
Grilled watermelon and feta stacked salads
Charred peppers with lemon ricotta and cucumbers
Potato salad with mustard sauce
Watermelon salad with cucumber and feta
Skirt steak with avocado and tomatoes
Summer stone fruit salad
Cucumber and peach salad with herbs
Spaghettini with roasted tomatoes
Loaded grilled steak salad
Southwest BBQ pork sliders
Blackened salmon burgers
Everything but the kitchen sink pasta salad
Blackberry peach crisp
Browned butter grilled peaches with ice cream
Strawberry yogurt popsicles
Strawberry thyme lillet spritzer
Cucumber mint gimlets
Grapefruit ginger bourbon sour
I am all-in when it comes to a big, cozy white slipcovered couch. I love the non-tailored look as it feels more casual and inviting. You can also have a ton of fun with pillows (you can shop mine and other favorites here) and it washes so easily! Many people are hesitant to get a white couch with kids, but I actually think they can be easier to maintain since they handle washes so well. I wash mine about once a month, unless some dirty little hands get to it more often than that ; )
One thing to make sure of when buying yours is that the fabric you choose is actually washable! The couch we have now is from Pottery Barn– the PB comfort roll arm, box edge back cushion, down-blend fill, with denim warm white fabric. For us, it’s a great middle of the road couch. It certainly won’t last us forever, but I don’t think twice when kids are jumping, or even eating, on it. The other brand I love is Lee, which is higher end than PB and what we have in our living room.
My tips for washing:
• Spot treat stains. We have had berries and wine spilled on this couch and have been 100% removed! The key here is to wash immediately, which can be annoying but it makes a difference. If it’s in the middle of a party, waiting an hour or two will be fine! Remove ASAP and spot treat. I use a basic “clean” stain remover, nothing fancy.
• Always wash on cold. Most HE machines now do best with cold anyway, and I think the fabric stays nicer.
• Use distilled white vinegar! This is a secret weapon when it comes to laundry. It keeps whites white, darks dark, and colors brighter, plus it softens fabric and removes odors. I add laundry detergent as usual, and then about 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar into the fabric softener section (or add into your last rinse cycle).
• Dry as usual, but remove from the dryer when it’s still a little damp. I like to put the slipcovers back on at this time so they are less wrinkly and also fit on easily. I keep the cushions propped up to dry completely before tucking everything back in.
Hope this helps you enjoy your white couch!
Happy Memorial Day weekend! I’m a big fan of this Americana theme year round, but it’s especially fun to get in the spirit this weekend. There are a ton of sales going on, so I thought I would round up some great buys that fit the American theme– red, white, blue, stripes and natural materials. These are also all great for the Fourth!
I love this rattan chair as an accent piece for the living room and this outdoor umbrella– both are 20% off from One Kings Lane.
Serena & Lily has 20% off sitewide– this gingham pillow, seagrass wrapped pitcher, glassware, and darling whale serving spoons are all perfect for outdoor dining.
Add some American Flags with this festive coffee mug and heritage bunting for your home– both are on sale + Pottery Barn is running buy more, save more.
My favorite outdoor teak sling chairs are 20% off! I love them in this striped fabric, and you can pair with these fun beach towels.
This white eyelet dress pairs perfectly with this denim bubble for baby that is 50% off (couldn’t help myself and just bought it in all sizes)!
Fun accessories for mom– these raffia earrings, straw tote bag and seersucker boat shoes.
Lastly, for the home! I love this rattan mirror that is 20% off from S&L.
My favorite way to eat! Who is with me? You probably know what a big fan of cheese and charcuterie boards I am, so I thought I’d mix it up and create more of a “grazing” board this time using my absolute favorite reclaimed wood board. You can read my tips for the perfect cheese board in this post. We will use some of those tips for this board as well! Here are some things to keep in mind:
Buy soft AND hard cheeses
Make sure to get a selection of soft and hard cheeses so that the board has variation. Some of my favorites include: Saint Andre, Toscana Black Pepper, Mt Tam, Aged Gouda, Port Salut, Goat Cheese with Honey, and Humbolt Fog. This is more important when it’s mostly just a cheese board, but I like to offer a soft and hard cheese on this as well.
For a summer grazing board, I like to add a flavored hummus or other light dip for all of the veggies and crackers. Here I used a cilantro avocado hummus, but anything goes.
Cut as much as you can
One of the great things about a cheese board is that it’s easy to grab a bite size piece quickly. Try to cut the cheeses into pieces as much as possible so that this is doable. You will need to keep some of the soft cheeses as is (a log of goat cheese, for example). Same thing goes for fruits and vegetables– try to use bite size or cut into pieces.
Color, color, color!
This is essential when it comes to a beautiful cheese board. Depending on the time of year, fresh fruits and vegetables will help add to great variety of color. I love to keep the green tops on vegetables which helps add beautiful color. I also added some additional greens in this board since I wanted it looking fresh for spring.
Mix-ins are a Must
This one goes without saying! It’s necessary to mix in delicious fruits, nuts, olives, or pickles to both pair with your meats and cheeses, or to eat on their own. I often will slice up a pear or a green apple, or cut figs in half so that guests can create their own bites with different cheeses. Don’t forget to have small piles or containers of nuts (I love marcona almonds), olives, or cornichon pickles. Grapes are always a go-to, too!
Add some toppings
This one isn’t a necessity, but it’s nice to have some small containers of a relish, jam, or honey to spread onto your bite of choice.
Keep crackers and bread on the side
You’ll see in my photo that I don’t have a ton of crackers shown. This is because it would have taken too much room on the board! Just don’t forget to not skimp on various crackers and sliced bread so that there are a lot of options for your guests. I like to use a smaller basket, tray or platter to hold everything.
Variety is Key
Remember that anything goes! The most important thing here is to have variety: cheeses, dips, meats, fruits (dried or fresh), vegetables, olives, pickles, nuts… the list goes on and honestly anything works!
I posted this photo to instagram and got a lot of questions from other pregnant mamas about the dress I’m wearing (it also comes in a pretty red color). It’s extremely flowy, and therefore very bump-friendly! So, I thought I’d round up a few favorites I have found for spring and summer– none are maternity specific, but all should fit a baby bump nicely. This also makes them perfect for after baby and beyond… better to spend on non-maternity so you can get more use out of them!