Taylor's Summer Mix

I know it's almost September and the warm weather is on it's way out (cue hysterical crying), but here in NYC it still feels like full on summer, so I'm going to stay in denial for a little longer :) Here is Taylor's summer mix to carry you through the last little bit of summer. Hope you like it! You can check out our other summer mixes here. What have you been listening to this summer? I'm always up for some new music recommendations!

Shrinky Dink Jewelry on Brit+Co.

Remember this DIY from a while back? Well, I decided to pull out the shrinky dinks again and try my hand at a few more accessories...This is such an easy way to make custom pieces on the cheap. Head on over to Brit + Co to check out my post and get some inspiration for pieces of your own!
Since I last posted we've made the move to New York City! Taylor and I are finally starting to feel fully settled into our new apartment in Brooklyn and falling quickly in love with the city...I can't wait to share some little bits and pieces of  our new home and life with you all. Of course, I'm getting a spurt of creative energy and desire to get back to blogging right before things get crazy again -- I start my Masters of Social Work on Thursday, and life is going to get busy quickly!...but I'm so excited to pursue something I'm so passionate about. I'm thinking this is going to be a pretty great time in my life :)

Summer Lovin' // Summer Mix 2014

Happy second day of summer! It's been hot and humid here on the east coast and summer is definitely in full swing. Time for trips to the beach and picnics under shady trees. Oh, and G+Ts. Always G+Ts. I've been pulling together this mix over the last month or so (in hopes that summer weather would come faster), and collecting new songs as I heard them on the radio/in stores/on TV shows. Of course I had to throw in a bit of my girl Bey. I recently re-discovered the album "4" and have had it on repeat. Also, who else can't stop listening to that "Rude" song? So catchy and perfect for blasting in the car on a hot summer day. Hope you enjoy the mix! What songs are you listening to this summer?

Honey Basil Collins

Ok, so, I'm definitely cheating a little bit here because I didn't actually come up with this cocktail, but this collins from Oven & Shaker was the first drink I wanted to try my hand at when I got home. I figured I'd share the recipe here since not everyone has the privilege of living (+ eating + drinking) in Portland! If you're in Portland, I would highly recommend giving Oven & Shaker a try (get the spicy salami pizza - you'll never have pizza without honey again!).

For this drink you will need a small handful of fresh basil, 2 oz. vodka (I've also found this drink is pretty good with gin), 3/4 oz. lemon juice, a squirt or two of honey (I would adjust this based on your preferences), 2 oz. seltzer water, and ice.
What I do is tear the basil up roughly (not too small) and throw it in my cup with the vodka and honey. Muddle to release the flavor of the basil. Add the remaining ingredients, mix well, and fill your glass with ice. Enjoy your perfect summer drink!

Do you have any favorite summer drinks? I would love to hear! xo

Happy Hour // 6 Cocktail Recipes to Try This Summer!

Today is my last day in Portland before I head to New Hampshire for the summer...The past week has been full of packing/cleaning, visits with friends, and trips to all of my favorite restaurants and bars. I'm gonna miss this little foodie city! Time for me to drink away my sorrows, right? ;) Summer is the season of cocktails in my book, so I'm excited to spend the summer coming up with some new boozy concoctions. Have you tried any of the drinks I made last summer? Here are a few cocktails I can't wait to try! (Most of these would also be pretty easy to make virgin as well).

I'm Still Alive! // Batik Constellation Wall Art DIY on Brit+Co.

Hello hello my friends! You may have noticed that I took a bit of a hiatus from blogging...if you're still around after a month of radio silence, you're the best! I've been crazy busy with getting things together to move across the country and spending quality time with friends before I leave. This big move will be over in two weeks and I'm looking forward to having the summer to do all sorts of projects and post more frequently! There is also another reason for my absence...I recently got hired by Brit+Co as a freelance DIYer and I'm so excited to be contributing to their site! My first project for them was a fun piece of wall art using a dying method called batik...head on over to their site for the full post!

Healthy Eats // Weeknight Dinners

On weeknights sometimes all I want to do when I get home is lounge around and eat a box of mac and cheese. I love cooking beautiful, extravagant meals but during the week it's just not going to happen. To help myself eat healthy during the week I've started to collect some easy, balanced meals that I can throw together quickly. Here are a few that I can't wait to try!
1: Green Chickpea & Chicken Curry with Swiss Chard // 2: Cheesy Quinoa Bowl // 3: Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgur and Yogurt // 4: Baby Bok Choy and Shiitake Stir-Fry // 5: Rosemary Lemon Pasta // 6: Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce // 7: Vegetable Chili with Polenta

What are your go-to weeknight meals?

Guest Post // Tips for Travel (On A Budget)

Happy Friday, friends! I have today off, and I'm pretty darn happy about it. Taylor and I started the day off right with coffee at our favorite new cafe, and I have plans to spend the rest of the going through my stuff for our upcoming garage sale (if you live in the Portland area, contact me and I can give you the details! It's gonna be a good one).

Anyway, I'm just stopping in to tell you all that I wrote a guest post for Jess of Foreign Room and you should go check it out! Jess is in Japan right now (jealous), so she asked me to write a travel related post...I decided to throw together some tips and tricks I've learned throughout my travels. You can read my post here. Happy weekend! xx

Short Hair, Long Dress // One Piece, Two Ways

Happy Saturday, friends! I'm attempting to make up for my recent radio-silence with a double whammy outfit post today ;) I recently got this dress for super cheap at H&M and I'm kind of in love with it. It's super comfy and easy to style...So today I'm showing you two ways I style it: one for day, and one for night!
For the casual day look I threw on a skinny belt, a jacket, and simple jewelry. I was stumped at first about what kinds of shoes to wear with a maxi dress other than sandals or heels, but after searching for some inspiration online and trying a few different things I realized you can definitely make booties work. Especially when their colors compliment your dress perfectly :)
For a fancier night look I put a shirt over the dress and tied it up to create a waistline. This is one of my favorite ways to wear maxis - day or night. In addition to changing up my accessories I also put on some darker lipstick, smudged a little black liner on my top lash, and braided back a piece of my hair. Easy peasy transition to a night look! 
Hope you have a wonderful weekend! Is anyone celebrating record store day today? I wanna get my hands on one of those Sam Cooke albums! Oh, and happy Easter! :)

Outfit Details: Dress//H&M, Jean Jacket//American Eagle, Circle Necklace//Tilde, Boots//Steve Madden, Belt//Aldo, Statement Necklace//J. Crew, Shirt//Urban Outfitters, Wedges//DSW

want // need // wear // read

"something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read"

want: all the hats, now that that sun is out // need: longer weekends to explore and soak in the sun // wear: spring weather calls for flowers in your hair // read: currently reading "May We Be Forgiven" - it's a little depressing, but entertaining!

post inspired by james of bleubird blog, picture sources: one // two // three // four

If You Didn't Like Radishes Before, You Will Like Them Now.

When my dad was visiting a couple of weeks ago we went to a restaurant called Sauvage in SE Portland and I ordered this appetizer. My dad and Taylor were skeptical - radishes, herb butter, parsley? Sounds boring - but I went ahead and got it because I've recently developed a small obsession with radishes. And guess what? This super simple dish ended up being one of the best of the night. So of course, the following weekend I went to the farmers market, got some radishes and whipped up the dish myself. This is so good guys! If you don't like radishes, you should still give this little snack a try. Butter and salt make everything better.
Here's what you will need to do...

Start by making your herb butter. I took the easy route and whipped some butter in a bowl with dried herbs, but you can use fresh herbs if you're fancy/motivated like that. I sprinkled in dried thyme, sage, and rosemary until I felt like the butter to herb ratio seemed right.
Now, slice up the radishes and cut some pieces of bread (extra points if it's fresh). Spread a thick layer of herb butter on each piece of bread (seriously, get crazy), and pile on some radishes. Now drizzle a little bit of olive oil over each piece, sprinkle with course sea salt, and garnish with some parsley. That's it! Best snack ever.
Hope you all had a great weekend!

Springtime is Magic // A Mix

I had grand plans to share a (super yummy) recipe with you all today, but then I got home, put on some music, and got completely absorbed in finding new music and putting together a mix. So instead you get this mix for spring! The first song is one that Taylor discovered recently that I've had on repeat for the past couple of weeks - it is such an incredibly beautiful song. (Also, how catchy is "Girls Chase Boys?" And I love the sentiment behind it. You can see Ingrid's explanation of it right here).

I was just thinking about how these will be the songs that remind me of our last few months in Portland (for now). I found out on Tuesday that I got into the MSW Program at Hunter College, which is where I was really hoping to go, so Taylor and I have both officially decided to go to school in NYC together in the Fall! - it's all feeling realer than ever...and very bittersweet. I'm trying to soak in the Portland Spring weather and recharge for all of the big changes that are to come in the next few months...The other day I even started looking into renting moving vans. Ahh!

PS Did anyone else watch the How I Met Your Mother finale? I'm always a little embarrassed to admit that I like a sitcom, but man do I love that show. Taylor and I have spent many nights cuddled in bed binge watching episode after episode. What did you think of the ending? So many people have said they didn't like it, but I was completely ok with it. Perfect ending, in my opinion :)

Also, have you read this article about why HIMYM connected so deeply with the younger generation? Exactly what I've been trying to explain to my parents! They still don't get it ;)

Giveaway on The Charming Blog!

Hello, friends! I have a little something for you all today to cure your Monday blues. Amy of The Charming is hosting a giveaway on her blog, and was sweet enough to include me! There are a bunch of different ways to enter to win some fun prizes - including one of my tassel necklaces! You can take a look at the details, read about the other sponsors, and enter the giveaway below.

The introductions paragraphs below are clickable so feel free to hop on over to their blogs and social media to say hello! Then scroll down to the bottom to enter the giveaway!
Image Map
Image Map
Now, enter the giveaway below. The giveaway ends midnight next Monday, April 7, 2014. Winner will be announced on the Rafflecopter as well as via email and social media. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Healthy Eats // Guilty Pleasures

Well, it’s only the second round of these “healthy eats” posts and I’m already on to guilty pleasure foods…really, Ella? Oh well, baby steps, right? This week I thought I’d find some healthier alternatives to some guilty pleasure foods (though, if we’re being completely honest I’m not sure that sweet potato fries are any better for you than regular fries. But they just look so good!). This way on those days when you really just want pizza or mac and cheese, you have an option that won’t completely ruin all the healthy eating you did before ;) 

Here are some alternatives to pizza, fries, potato chips, burgers, frozen yogurt, and mac and cheese that I've come across recently. I'm most excited about trying the cauliflower crust pizza. I really hope it tastes as good as it looks.

Spring Break // Seattle

To kick off our Spring Break Taylor and I decided to go for a quick weekend trip to Seattle with our friends Alex and Harrison. I've never had the opportunity to go to Seattle with friends, so it was fun to have a slightly different experience there than I'm used to. We explored the nightlife in Fremont, walked around downtown, had a picnic at Gas Works Park, went to the beach, ate delicious food, and played some pretty hilarious games of Cards Against Humanity. Alex's aunt and uncle were kind enough to let us stay at their house in exchange for watching their sweet pup and cats...and when they got home we got to snuggle their teeny tiny little twin girls. I almost died. Best. Weekend. Ever.

Here are a few (ok, more than a few....I couldn't narrow it down) photos from our weekend!
Walks around the arboretum, and taking silly pictures/staring deeply into each other's eyes.
Walking around the pier.
Pike Place, of course. Mostly to smell the flowers.
Our fancy home-made steak dinner.
Juno dog being sweet.
Picnic-ing at Gas Works Park.

If you'd like to see the post I did about my last visit to Seattle, you can find it right here

Healthy Eats // Salads

Lately I've been trying my best to eat healthy, but last week after I realized that I had eaten pizza for dinner two days in a row, and that the box of Girl Scout cookies I had just bought was completely empty, I realized I need to be even more conscious and intentional about what I'm putting in my body. I can definitely feel a difference in my energy level when I'm eating well. And let me tell you, my job requires a lot of energy.

I find that I get stuck in a rut easily when it comes to cooking...It's pretty frustrating cooking for one (occasionally two if Taylor comes over) while trying to save money. I often find myself wasting food because I can't finish it before it goes off, so I have a couple go-to meals for one that I find myself making over and over again. And this means my diet isn't particularly balanced (let's not talk about how much pasta I end up eating). I want to start trying out some new recipes and building my repertoire of meals that work for my particular situation. Hopefully this will help me be better at meal planning as well so I can save some money! First up, some interesting salads to get those greens in.

What are your go to meals? Do you have any strategies for making sure you're eating well? I'd love to hear!

Follow my Food + Drink Pinterest Board for more healthy (and not so healthy) food inspiration!

A Cocktail Shaker for All You Mason Jar Lovers

The number of jars floating around our house is a little ridiculous. We have them in every size, design and shape. And of course we had to buy the blue ones when they started making them again. Our one male housemate doesn't get the obsession at all and I think he secretly tries to sneak a few of them into the recycling bin every so often...hah! We use them as cups, vases, pen holders, make up organizers, traveling mugs...you name it. A while back I saw these mason jar cocktail shakers and thought, I could make that! Taylor's birthday gifts this year were mostly alcohol themed - he's recently gotten into whiskey, so I got him some whisky and fancy drink making ingredients. I decided to make him a shaker to go along with it. Here's how I did it...
To do this you will need a 32 oz mason jar and one extra lid (just the flat part, not the collar). You can find packages of just these at most stores that sell mason jars. One lid will be for shaking and the other will be for pouring. I decided to cover the shaking lid with some chalkboard tape I had on hand, so we can write fun little messages on it. If you can find some food safe paint that will stick to metal, it could be fun to paint the lids as well. Get creative!
To make the pouring lid you will need a nail, a hammer (or a drill), and super coarse sandpaper (or a metal file would probably work better). Poke one hole at the top, and a bunch of holes on the bottom (see picture). The underside of the lid will be a bit dangerous at this point...I pounded the spikes down with a hammer and sanded it a bit to prevent any cocktail making injuries (it's serious business, guys). That's it! Now go make some drinks. And, uh, remember to drink responsibly, kids ;)

Easy-Peasy Icebox Cake

Every year for Taylor's birthday his mom makes him an icebox cake. Ever heard of it? It's insanely good and tastes like cookies and cream (but Taylor would tell you it tastes like his birthday). When Taylor left home to go to school on the other side of the country, I started making the cake for him each year. His birthday was on Wednesday, so I made it this week and thought I'd share with you all! Luckily, this is the easiest cake to make. Ready to hear what the ingredients are? Ok, go: whipping cream, vanilla extract, sugar and 2 boxes of Nabisco chocolate wafer cookies. That's it!
To make it, whip up a big ol' bowl of whipped cream using about 3 cups of whipping cream. Now, lay down a layer of cookies, cover them in whipped cream, and then lay down another layer of cookies...keep layering the cookies and whipped cream until everything's gone. Don't worry about making a big mess of it...you can make it look pretty at the end! When you're done, stick it in the fridge over night. This is essential because you want the cookies to get soft! Now, try not to devour the whole thing in one sitting :)
I'll be back this weekend with a little DIY present I made for Taylor that I'm pretty excited about!

DIY Tassel Necklace

Ever since I did this tassel pillow project, I've had a bag of leftover tassels and embroidery thread waiting to be used. My roommate Sydney has this gorgeous tassel necklace that I often contemplate stealing...the other day we realized that it would be super easy to recreate and was the perfect use for those leftover tassels. This project took me about 20 minutes and cost a few bucks...and I'm so happy with how it turned out!
Here's what you'll need:
Embroidery thread in a few different colors
Chain and closure - You will need a pretty long strand. I think I ended up getting 6 feet and could have used more. (I used a ball chain since this is what was used in Sydney's necklace - I think this type of chain definitely looks best)

Start by measuring out your loops. I did four loops but but I think if I had enough chain I would have done one or two more (and possibly made the whole necklace a little longer). Experiment around and see what you like best. Just make sure you can get the whole thing over your head since you won't be able to use the closure. Once you have arranged your loops add your closure to the two ends of the chain while still holding onto your loops so you don't lose them.

Now take a little piece of tape and wrap it around all of the chain where the closure is so that your loops stay in place. Take a foot long piece of embroidery thread and cover up the area with the piece of tape by tying knots around it like you would for this type of friendship bracelet. Basically the chain will serve as the threads in the center and you will just use the embroidery thread to tie knots. Make sense? (If not, you could also just cover up the closure by wrapping a little piece of fabric around the area and securing it with fabric glue.)
Now you can start making your tassels. Take a look at this tutorial if you're not sure how to make them. For these ones I used about 6 strands of thread for each tassel. I wanted them to be small enough that they wouldn't be overwhelming. Before you tie a thread around the tassels to secure them, fold them around the chain so they are secured. I put one tassel on each loop of chain. Once you've secured all the tassels, you're done!
Do you have any projects you've done involving tassels? I still have quite a few left! I would love to hear any ideas :) Hope everyone had a great weekend! xx