“The biggest issue that keeps women from reaching their goals is not pushing hard enough. At some point you have to shift your perspective and realize that the number one thing you owe the world is to be your best self. Not only is it your greatest contribution, but it’s all you can truly affect. And it’s what’s going to motivate and inspire others. Unlock your confidence by taking on challenges that you aren’t quite sure you can overcome. When I do something I didn’t think I could do, like compete in a classic triathlon or perform a difficult arm balance in yoga, it really helps me redefine my self-image. And I think when you feel strong and accomplished physically, it transcends into other facets of your life.” Jillian Michaels
When I moved to Gainesville, May 2013, someone told me that by Halloween every year the temperature drops. Two Halloweens later and they are still on point! I found this sweater on a whim at Forever 21 and it turned out to be super comfy and didn’t shrink when I washed it! The necklace and cropped tank are also from Forever 21. The hat which is one of my FAVES is from BCBG! This will be my go to outfit this winter for running errands and blogger meet-ups in downtown! I guarantee you’ll see this one on my Insta at some point. Having lived in Syracuse NY for my freshman year of college, I learned that cold weather doesn’t mean you don’t need sunglasses!! It’s weird I know, but generally when it’s cold in Florida it’s also cloudy so I never thought of freezing temps and sunglasses at the same time. These are my favorite Raybans, they look kind of boyish from this angle but they are so feminine and chic.
Tell me what you think! WINTER IS COMING! #gameofthrones
BASIC GUIDE TO ENTERTAINING LIKE A PRO
Last week I hosted a coffee date as a focus group meeting for the shop! I had so much fun doing what I love. Entertaining is an attitude. There are Dos and Don’ts that make entertaining easier so I’m spilling my beans just in time for Thanksgiving. There is no science to entertaining. Whether your thanksgiving is for 2 or for 20, little pumpkins in the form of potpourri are always a good idea! Let’s start with the planning beforehand:
- Breakfast/Brunch is generally easier to pull off $ wise. (s/o college girls on a budget!) I wanted to homebake something for the group of girls that graciously gave me 2 hours of their time and feedback. So I baked HUGE muffins which were a crowd-pleaser! You can find my recipe in this month’s issue as well. Along with coffee, juice, water (always have water) I served cinnamon rolls!
If I had dinner parties more often I would go straight through my cookbooks and experiment with a different meal every time! Don’t be anxious, what’s the worse thing that could happen? Any hot sauce stories, anyone? If you enjoy cooking but are afraid to try something new on a special night. Try cooking it for dinner on another night beforehand and write down any adjustments you make to the recipe for you to refer to later.
- Food allergies and Veg preferences: Don’t forget your guests’ food allergies and preferences. You want your guests to come hungry and leave happy! Eggplant parmesan is a favorite for my vegetarian amigos.
- Appetizers & Dessert: If your main course is heavy, keep the appetizer light. My favorite, easy appetizers are hummus and pita chips, spinach and artichoke dip, or spinach rolls up using croissant dough. Yes, the little tubes in the frozen aisle! Cracker, fancy cheeses and nuts are a good option too. If you are unsure about your cheese preferences and pairings, see that as an opportunity for a cheese tasting party! Chances are others are equally as lost in the fancy schmancy department.
I’m a big dessert girl. It’s rare not to find something sweet at our place. Whether you serve ice cream, gelato, or bake a cake or buy a pie… the key is to buy something most people will like or to offer more than one option. If you know someone detests chocolate ice cream, get chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream so that person isn’t left with a sweets craving. Cheesecakes are usually a hit-they seem to hit the middle spot between too sugary and to plain. If you are serving wine with dinner, consider getting a dessert wine or serving a dessert that pair well with your choice of wine.
-THE GUESTS AND ATMOSPHERE-
- My favorite time in the night is that point when everyone’s bellies are full and everyone has full cups and conversations are ablaze. Conversation will carry your guests in and keeping them there too, so think of people who have something in common but with plenty of interesting things to say. Your guest list should be dynamic and fun, after all you will want to have fun too! Place conversation starters around the house, or on the table. “Look, I got these at IKEA for 69 cents, can you believe it?” always seems to trail into my conversations.
- Remember your guests will feed off of the energy you bring into the setting, if you are picking up every plate, cleaning every wet spot on your table, or rushing to do dishes your guests will likely try to help you with the dishes or it will interrupt conversation. Just let them be! Like Italians at restaurants, when you sit down to eat the table is yours until you so please. Focus on the table not the kitchen, darling. Plus, your s/o will help with the dishes after everyone says “goodnight!”
- What about music, you ask? Everyone has their own tastes in music and you should consider the likings of your guests as they can certainly spark conversations. Music should never be so loud you cannot hear the person on the other side of the table. Want more fun? Music will do, some related games will add laughter (adults still play twister!), but a paid DJ for a dinner party of friends might be overkill don’t you think? Common gaming necessities include board games (think pictionary or taboo, not monopoly), decks of cards, solo cups (relive your college years!) and ping pong balls.
So you’ve got your menu down, groceries bought, and the house is clean. Now to set it all up:
-DON’T BUY UNTIL THE MORNING OF-
- Anything that will taste best if fresh should be bought the day of i.e. breads, cheese, desserts, fresh vegetables and herbs.
- Flowers: Cut an inch off the bottom of the stems in a diagonal motion and place in fresh, cool water. If you must buy the day before, keep them in a very cool area and away from sunlight as they will wilt faster with more exposure to direct, strong light.
- A clean and de-cluttered table is an absolute must. Your guests will want space to move their drinks, silverware, and plates freely.
- Focusing on the center of the table: The traditional flower arrangement is large and singular in the center of the table but sometimes that’s not the best option. I prefer short multiple arrangements. I like looking across the table and seeing the person sitting opposite of myself. Layering meaningful, unique textures and accessories on your table will add depth to ensure your center table isn’t seen as filled with things that do not have a purpose. Their purpose may be ambience, provide light, smell good or look pretty.
- Linens: Linens are great way to add texture and warmth to your table. I personally, enjoy looking at and the feel of our table (wish I had better pictures) so I limit my linens to table runners and napkins.
- Lighting: Adding candles at different heights can elevate the table’s formality. An easy approach is just to add simple unscented tealights beside your flower arrangements and in between accessories (cue: little pumpkins and acorns)
-MORE RESOURCES FOR YOUR ENJOYMENT & PLANNING-
We hadn’t gone on a date in some time and were looking for a fun, relaxing place to go to. While most people have barbeques with family on 4th of July, Tirso and I decided to give that time to each other. We would have loved to have a nice summer bbq with family but we couldn’t take off for an entire weekend so instead we gathered up drinks, food, and sweets and had a picnic at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens (click for directions) here in Gainesville. If you are on campus you take Archer Rd. past Target and under the highway. The park is a few streets after the underpass.
Tucked away in a corner of the Gator Nation, this park was awesome and although it was pretty humid that day we still had so much fun just laying in the grass. The park is set up as a walking “tour” (unguided) of the park grounds. So if you are interested in seeing all the greenery they boast be ready for a long walk. We were tired after we did the first half that I forgot about the rose garden completely. I was so mad that it had slipped my mind considering how much I love the darn things. So yeah, don’t skip the rose garden! Here are the pics, hope they tempt you enough to gather a basket and head out on a date with your love!
From their website: “Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is comprised of 24 major collections visually accessible from a 1 ½ mile paved walkway. These include the state’s largest public display of bamboos and the largest herb garden in the Southeast.”
Hope you’ll give Kanapaha a visit and let me know how you like it!
YOU WANT COMFORT AND STYLE TO SURROUND YOU
FROM WHEN YOU WAKE UP TO WHEN YOU FALL ASLEEP
This is the FIRST ‘official’ LOOK at our new apartment! When we moved into our newest apartment this August I already had a detailed plan of all the DIYs on the to-do list. The cabinets were my number one priority! We moved into the best apartment in Gainesville! I realize that this statement is biased, but I take a lot of pride in where I live. I think your home is an extension of your personality. Your home should feel like that really good hair day, every day. That’s what I work towards in every DIY project and every rearranging of furniture and accessories. By the way, anything you see with #HappyHome407 on any of my SM accounts is this girl right here showing you through our moving process and our apartment updates.
The cabinets in Happy Home 407 are GREAT don’t get me wrong, I love the cabinets. They’re old, and well-made. They weren’t made the way cabinets are today which is a good thing relative to IKEA and compressed-wood quality. But they needed an update, desperately. You could see the different pieces of wood that were glued together for the doors. The amount of wood was overwhelming and made the kitchen feel small and dingy. The yellow-patterned countertops don’t help much either!
The cabinets are young and fresh-faced, modern and perfectly fit our apartment decor concept. They are a subtle focal point in the open concept that is our kitchen, dining and living room. Think microsized apartment, people, after all we only have 460 sqft. half of that being the bedroom/bathroom side of the apartment. We have made it work though!
Painting the cabinets required three coats of paint and lots of patience. We should have sanded all of the cabinets and started from scratch but it’s a rental and that would have been too much effort for cabinets we may only enjoy for a year or two. So we cleaned every inch of them and then on went 2 coats of this lovely gray shade. I then applied a coat of polyurethane to “protect the wood from water spilling.” It turned out to be a big mistake because it made the cabinets look like an overused, white T-shirt… as in yellowish. So on went a third coat of paint to finish it all off.
I wanted a neat look so I followed all the rules:
-Be sure to take off all hardware. At first it may seem like it’s more work, but trust me painting around hardware will be messy; and cleaning up after you inevitably hit it with a roller… so annoying.
-Protect your floors with a painting cloth or old sheets. Always have a moist rag around for cleaning up spots.
-Tape the edges of the cabinets for a clean line.
Some of you may be saying I’m crazy for putting this much effort into a rental. This is a very valid observation indeed, but I think it’s totally worth it. You knock it out as soon as you move in, when nothing is unpacked and everything is already semi-dirty from the constant movement, and drilling for shelves and what not. Now that we’ve settled in, I’m trying to at least get 1 major project done a month, but you know how things get put on an imaginary list to get done “someday”.
I had to include this photo! How stunning do these white roses look?
I’d love to see your cabinet projects and kitchen inspiration! Comment below!
Start brewing up your cup of coffee because you’ll want to cozy up with this month’s debuting issue of the Lifestyle Newsletter, I am so excited to share it with you all!
Remember to sign up for a chance at free East+Mia goodies and just to… you know… be the FIRST to read every article!!
Goodnight ladies and gents. Or shall I say Good morning.