Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Layered Drinks

We love holidays around here and we love celebrating with good food and great drinks! These fun layered drinks are sure to be a hit at your Fourth of July bash and have your guests wondering how the heck you did it! Want to know how to get those crisp layers without mixing all your colors into one big mess? Keep reading and we'll spill all the tips and tricks to getting it right (because trust us.....we got a few wrong trying).

The big trick to layered drinks is the sugar content and lots and lots of ice. You need to choose 2 or 3 beverages with varying sugar contents (for example: 30 g sugar, 15 g and 0 g). Fill your cup or drink dispenser all the way to the top with ice. Don't skimp and don't skip this step. This is important because it is going to be a shield to prevent your colors from mixing. You are going to layer your beverages by sugar content with your zero calorie beverage being the last to go in. Fill your cup or container approximately 1/3 full of your beverage with the highest sugar content. Pour the next beverage in very, very slowly; making sure to pour it directly onto an ice cube. This will cause the beverage to lightly trickle down around the ice instead of swirling down and mixing with the previous drink. Lastly, pour your zero or very low calorie beverage on top. 

In the example above I used Sobe Pina Colada (25g), Hawaiian Punch Polar Blast (15g) and Powerade Zero Fruit Punch flavor (0g). 

For my sons Eagle Court of Honor I made a layered drink in a large, clear canister following the same instructions as above. That time I used Fruit Punch on the bottom, Blueberry Pomegranate Gatorade (the regular kind.....be sure not to use the G2 unless using for a top layer, because it is low sugar) and Sprite Zero for the top layer.

Although I used red, white and blue as my colors in both these examples, you could get creative and try other colors if using for a baby shower or other holiday. Just be sure to vary your sugar content and go crazy with the ice! Give these fun layered drinks a try and you're sure to impress your guests at your Fourth of July bash this year! 

Friday, June 6, 2014

How to Make a Rental Feel Like a Home

Renting a home can be tricky. With stipulations in lease agreements, it can begin to feel like you are paying a whole lot of money to settle. But with the proper approach, you can turn settling into "settling in," and your rental house (however temporary it may be) can begin to really feel like a home. 
Over the past few years of consistently renting homes, I have gotten pretty good at adjusting my decor from place to place to make each new space work for me, and utilizing the space I am given (or compromising on the space I was NOT). Even for those who own their homes, making them feel comfortable and customized can be a challenge. The tips I've learned can help give warmth and life to any living situation, and will one day help me when I am finally ready to purchase a home of my own. So after all this practice, I'd like to share with you a few of the tips I've picked up to feeling at home in borrowed space.

Introduce Personal Elements:

Nothing makes a home feel more homey than reflection of personality, and reminders of things you love. Displaying photographs of family and friends is a wonderful daily reminder of the people who love you most, which I find instantly brightens up my day, and makes me feel more comfortable. Find attachment with your decor. Your home can feel much more personalized when you are connected with the elements in your design-that old pillow your great grandmother made decades ago, or the wall art you created yourself. I like to think my home tells a story; a story about me. With every project I complete and improvement I make, my little work in progress becomes a bigger part of me, and I of it.

Find Out Painting Limitations:

Each lease agreement is different. You'll want to check with your landlord to find out what the policy is with painting. Then decide on what approach you are going to take based on their answer. Some landlords are completely okay with changes (I got lucky there), and you can paint to your heart's content. At about $20 a can, it is the easiest and most effective way to change the whole feel of a room.

A simple coat of paint can drastically alter the look and feel of a room.
Most landlords will allow paint changes, however, they require you to pre-approve the color with them. That's great! We can work with that. In some instances, they will require you to paint it back to the original color before you move out. In those cases it is up to you to decide if it is worth the effort, based on the amount of time you plan on being a tenet there and the necessity of the change. If you are unable to make changes to the paint, you'll want to think of other ways to brighten up your walls. Vibrant wall art can bring excitement to boring walls. Just make sure before hanging anything that you are allowed to put nailholes in the walls. Since they are extremely easy to fill, most rentals allow it. If not, there are so many great options now for hanging things without a hammer. Command Strips are very strong and sturdy, and even come in hooks. Some of them can hang up to eight pounds!
If you want a more allover effect, gallery walls are great for filling up spaces, or if you are feeling ambitious, you could try something like this genius paint swatch wall (although I probably wouldn't recommend getting all of your swatches from the same store-I somehow don't think they'd appreciate that).


Bring the Outside In:

Bringing natural elements into the home automatically make it feel more alive. You can even look for inspiration in your own back yard. Flowers and plants instantly bring life into a room and brighten up any space. Plus studies show that people who keep plants are more psychologically healthy, positive, and productive. Score!

Give Yourself a Warm Welcome:

They say first impressions are everything. The same goes for your home. The first things you see when approaching or entering your home should be inviting. Whether it be a front porch, an entry way, or even just a welcome mat in front of your apartment door, invite yourself in! Wreaths are a simple and stylish (okay... most of the time) way to warm up a front door, and work well with limited space. Follow us to see our upcoming post on how to dress up wreaths to fit every season, and fun DIY wreath ideas.

Change The Little Things:

While you may not be able to do much about the more permanent fixtures in your home, there are a lot of small things that can be changed to personalize your home, that can be changed right back with minimal efforts. Light switch and outlet covers can be changed in seconds with a screwdriver. Knobs and handles on cabinets and drawers are also incredibly easy to change and come in a wide variety of colors and styles. It's amazing what small changes such as these can do to the overall appearance, and again, can be changed back in no time at all. 

Utilize Space: 

Using the windowsill for storage is ALMOST enough to distract you from the hideousness of the window.
Though it might not always be ideal, work with the space you have to make it work for you. Windowsills, counter tops, plant shelves, tops of cabinets; give these spaces purpose by using them to help enhance your decor.

Create Comfort:

Throw pillows and blankets are a great way to help you feel relaxed, and give the home an air of warmth and comfort.  You can also bring comfort in your home with lighting. While lease agreements can limit the changing of light fixtures (although it's usually allowed if they can easily be changed back), it is important to be mindful of the light (both natural and artificial) in each room, and make adjustments accordingly. If you can, curtains are a wonderful way to both add style, and block out unwanted light, or when drawn, invite in natural light. If you can't hang fixtures such as curtains or blinds, make sure the lighting in each room is suitable by adding lamps. Temperature, color, and scents also have an effect on comfort levels, so be mindful of each of those on a day to day basis. 

Most importantly, be sure that whatever it is you decide to do to your home, it is an inviting atmosphere for you. After all, it's where YOU live. What makes you feel most at home? Have you made any adjustments to your home to make it where you want to live? We'd love to hear tips or feedback from you! 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

How to Regrow Green Onions Indoors

Welcome back to Tip Tuesday lovelies! I've got another life changer for you today. And, it's so easy! Like seriously, you have no idea. But you're about to.

You guys! It's true! You CAN re-grow and re-grow onions to your little hearts content off just one bunch!!! This is another one of those gems that I saw on Pinterest that I had to try for myself. And it's easy peasy, so totally my kind of project.

Here's the details:

Next time you use the green part off the top of a bunch of green onions, leave the white portion at the base with at least a small amount of green above (this is necessary to help with photosynthesis I assume....plus, I just wanted to sound smart by using the word photosynthesis.) I typically leave my stem about 1 1/2"-2" in length.

Place stems in a jar of water and set in an area that will get some natural light. It does not have to be direct sunlight just some natural light. I leave mine on my kitchen counters and it is a good 10-15 feet away from the nearest window and mine still grow great! You will begin to see growth after just one day and it's such a fun project for the kids to watch and monitor the growth. What a fun little project for them to even take care of and be "in charge" of. They'll love it!

You will be able to re-grow them back to full size in approximately a week. Trim off when you need some and they'll just grow back again! And again! They're persistent little suckers I tell ya! Cuz trust me, I can kill just about anything and these just keep growing and growing for me. I can usually regrow each bunch about 5 or 6 times before I notice they're beginning to grow slower and not taste as potent. After all, the water does not have any nutrients for growth. At this point you can try placing them in the ground and they should still take hold in the soil or you can just toss them and start over with a new one. Some claim you can regrow these indefinitely, but I have not found that to be the case, but 5 or 6 more bunches after only paying for one? That's good by me!

A few tips I've found:

I change the water daily or at least every other day to keep it fresh. Trust me when I say if you don't do this, they will begin to stink! You may notice in the photo above that there is one stalk that is starting to change color a bit a few inches above the base. This occasionally happens if you haven't changed the water frequently enough and on occasion it happens even when I'm diligent about changing the water. I have found it helps to rinse the onions themselves off every few days to keep them from getting slimy. In this case, I just rinsed them off and then peeled that portion away from that stem. That onion still grew perfectly and didn't have any other issues.

I've heard this works great with several other items such as garlic, celery, parsley, cilantro and romaine just to name a few. We haven't tried any of these yet, but we'll get on it and be sure to report back our success (or lack of). In the meantime I found this website that details 10 Vegetables & Herbs You Can Eat Once and Regrow Forever. Who knew?

Have you tried this before? Have you tried regrowing any other vegetables and herbs? We would love to know what's worked for you. Please share in the comments and thanks for stopping by!