What We’ve Been Up To

Halloween Fun Stuff For All

Looking for a few last-minute goodies to make Halloween spookier, sillier, and simply more fun? Here are a few of our favorite stuff/things to delight the young and old. Gordon loves a good pair of Skeleton Jammies. He wears them year round. This Halloween Spirit Board Serving Tray will look spooky and chic on my… Read more »


Salmon Chowder Recipe

It’s getting to be sort of cozy and fall-ish around these parts, which means I can indulge my love of making soups. This soup is made with salmon (this recipe calls for raw salmon, but you can easily just pop in some leftover cooked fish instead), which is my go-to protein to feed my daughter…. Read more »

Appetizers, Bacon, Entrées, Recipes, Sides & Veggies

All the Prettiest DIY Home Decor Books to Add to Your Wishlist

pretty-prudent-home-best-books-2There’s nothing we love more than a good home decor book filled with tips and DIY projects. We wrote one, so of course we understand the time and love that go into a creative endeavor like this. Here are a few we are falling in love with during this, our favorite season, the season of cozy.

Start with Sage Living: Decorate for the Life You Want by Anne Sage. Anne is basically the sweetest person ever, and also, her crisp bright style will inspire you and your home.
Get Oh Joy!: 60 Ways to Create & Give Joy from Joy Cho at Oh Joy, and make all your holiday gifts and parties bold and amazing.

We wrote this one. We think it’s pretty good. It has tons of new projects you can’t find on our site. We think you’ll love it. Pretty Prudent Home: Your Ultimate Guide to Creating a Beautiful Family Home.

This one from Victoria Hudgens at A Subtle Revelry, Materially Crafted: A DIY Primer for the Design-Obsessed, will have you working your way through each crafting material until you feel like an expert at everything.

If you love having living greens around you all the time, then Plant Craft: 30 Projects that Add Natural Style to Your Home will inspire you.

This one from Kristen Grove at Simply Grove will help you see your home in a whole new (stylish, comfortable, yet inexpensive) light: Simply Styling: Fresh & Easy Ways to Personalize Your Home.

If you have a family, you’ll enjoy The Creative Home: Inspiring ideas for beautiful living from Geraldine James. You can hustle and bustle and still have a beautiful home.

Do you have a favorite DIY home decor book? Let us know what we’re missing! Stay tuned for our ultimate gift guide to cookbooks soon.


Mid Mod Patio: Before & After

So I showed you the big reveal of my Mid-Century Modern/Boho Patio Re-do, but I thought I’d also share the before-and-after pics because those are always fun. Check them out, with my notes about what went down. It was more work than it appears! But the best kind of work… I believe my real estate agent calls it “sweat equity,” and that is an apt term.

First up is my new fire pit area on the West side of the pool. This side of the house is mostly shaded throughout the day by the large pine and palms. The “lawn” was mostly dead, due to a large, adorable dog that used it as a toilet – luckily my small dog is a city street rat and only likes to pee on cement, so I wasn’t going to have that problem. I debated going with crushed granite like I have in the front yard, but you have to walk on this area to get onto the diving board (and I am not removing the diving board, even though my insurance company recommended it) so I didn’t want to track crushed granite or mulch or pebbles into my pool and therefore into my pool filter. It’s also nice to have a small (it’s less then 100 square feet) patch of grass, and being so tiny it doesn’t require more water than we are alloted (Can you tell I feel guilty for being an Angeleno with a lawn?). So we chose a heartier grass and laid new sod. The one thing I knew I really wanted on the cement pavers was one of these outdoor fire pits. I picked this one from Lamps Plus, and it’s been perfect. The screen on top has kept little hands out of the fire and we have roasted the kind of s’mores memories are made of. I love the modern lines as well, which lent it perfectly to some Acapulco chairs. I was picturing friends reclining around the fire chatting and drinking wine in the winter. Or in the summer. Or pretty much anytime, really.

Before: house-before-80
After: mid-mod-patio-reveal4

Acapulco chairs run about $350-$500 each at furniture stores, so I scoured Craigslist every day for a month until I found someone selling some used ones that he had brought home from his family who makes them in Mexico for $45 each. His sweet wife had just had a baby, and let me meet her at home to check them out, then when they didn’t fit in my car, her husband drove them over to my house! It was a great deal and actually a really fun afternoon. I had originally wanted black Acapulco chairs, but at that price I was like “orange works.” Now I’m so glad I got the colorful ones, as they really pop and work with the bright green of the house’s trim. I also love that two of them rock – Scarlet adores sitting out here with a book and just rocking back and forth in the breeze.

I also did a lot of work back here that might not be as obvious. The garden area above the low cement wall was wild and beautiful, but also a bit of a hot mess – it was filled with dead pine needles about a foot deep, which were home to several brown widow nests (so I called Orkin and cleaned that up), and not one but TWO decomposing possum corpses. That was disgusting, but my new neighbor, who is wonderful (new friends! best part of moving!), hooked me up with her gardener, who came over with his dad and helped me clear everything out and decide what to plant. I kept the palms, mission figs, and a few of the succulents, then I added some new drought-tolerant plants, mulch, and pool-pump-hiding reeds, all of which I will tell you about in another detailed, rambling post about drought tolerant landscaping. I also wanted some fountains, I chose this one originally to put in front of the pool pump to visually block it, but the electricity couldn’t run over to that spot, so I put it by my bedroom window, and now I love listening to it at night. Scarlet loves that it lights up. Then I needed to add a really absorbant door mat, just because of people running inside the house from the pool. The final touch over here is the outdoor party lights. You might not even notice them here, but at night, they are FANTASTIC, because they are very heavy duty – not your average string lights. I chose two sets of these, which, at 100 feet, were enough to string back and fourth four times and light up the whole space with a magical glow. Carleton and I had fun hanging these together, which mostly involved me watching him climb trees while biting my nails, yet still telling him to climb a little higher until they were all perfect.

Before: house-before-83-copy

Over here is the East side of the pool, and also the entrance into the living room/kitchen (where the windows are), and the door to the garage (where the paneling is). The previous owners had built and installed the beautiful red mangaris wood deck, which is perfect. I even asked them to leave their furniture behind when we were negotiating, but it was great, so they kept it (ha). I obsessed over outdoor seating for so long, for months before we moved in, then after we had lived there for a bit. I even asked for your advice on facebook! I had purchase the equipales table and chairs for my previous home just a few months before, so I knew I wanted to keep them, but wasn’t sure how they would work. I had placed them where the fire pit now is for a while, but realized that we never ended up using them because they were so far from the kitchen. We really love to eat outside, so I had to move them over here. In the end, I think it works. I really had to choose between having some lounge chairs or having a table, and I am glad I chose a table, because the pool has a baja shelf and it turns out that the shelf is where everyone wants to lounge anyway. Which is also the reason I chose to get some outdoor umbrellas – there are pre-drilled holes in the deck and the baja shelf to hold them, and the more I live here the more I appreciate the shade they provide. I also just had to grab that candle holder you see on the table. It’s such a great match, right?

Before: house-before-7-copy
After: mid-mod-patio-reveal9

So I knew that I wanted a couch or conversation set of some kind over here. I wanted something big, not a daybed (though I loved the pallet daybed I made for my old house, I also realized over the years I sat on it that I don’t really like to sit on a daybed. They are great for laying down alone, but not so much for sitting with company…everyone’s backs start to hurt). We have a lot of parties with a lot of people, so I wanted a sectional of some kind. I ended up choosing this outdoor sectional which came with all the cushions and the coffee table. I had originally planned to use it in an L-shape, but the deck turned out to be so wide that I think it works all straight like this, which also allowed me to sneak in my old favorite wicker chair from my last house. The quality of this sectional is much higher than I had anticipated. It came flat-packed, so I put off assembling it for a few days, imagining an ikea-like stressful afternoon, but when I finally opened it up, it was just a matter of attaching the backs and legs (I did the entire thing alone), which came with all the tools, extra parts, and even had beautiful matching screw caps, so it really looks like high end hotel furniture from all angles. I like that the wood matches the deck in pattern and color, and the metal has withstood all of the water our pool parties have thrown at it. The two metal and wood stools I have had for several years, also from Lamps Plus, and they work out here as side tables. I added a few succulents potted in cheap terra cotta pots for a little color, and a couple ikea pillows for a little pattern. I also did a lot of planting work on this side of the house, which is not obvious here but will be detailed for you in another post. Overall, this area of our home gets more use than any other spot except our beds.


On the North side of the patio there’s not a ton of space. The pool butts up against the house, with a few feet of decking alongside low cement barriers that contain about 30 inches of pretty pebbles meeting the walls. Cement pavers are randomly spaced on top of the pebbles. I thought I could create more outdoor seating in the area underneath the office window, and add a potting bench with all of my beloved succulents. The bench was about $120 and is my most favorite thing in the entire yard. I love the way it looks, the color, the height, everything about it is exactly what I wanted. I also needed to pull out all the crazy grass around the palm tree and wanted to put a planter on top of the random cement square by the pool. I originally purchased the tall planter for that space from a place around the corner called Jackalope Pottery, but it proved to be weirdly too tall, so I moved it back onto the pebbles against the wall and love it there. Fun fact, the plant that is in the tall planter was originally a tiny little clipping I used in our succulent wreath DIY. The wreath blew apart in a windstorm a year or so after I made it, so I replanted the succulents that were in it, and now I still own almost all of them, and they are huge like this one! I also managed to find some room for my wicker lounge chair in this corner of the pool. There’s a small seating shelf in the deep end of the pool that has a hole in it to hold an umbrella. It works out perfectly to lay back in this lounge chair to enjoy the shade and the view of the pool. This is right outside Scarlet’s room, so she tends to cozy up here with that stripey blanket and a book in the evening.

Before: house-before-31-copy
After: mid-mod-patio-reveal19

So that’s most of my rambling thoughts about this redesign thus far. Did I miss anything? Have any questions or thoughts? Want to come over? Tell me everything!

Before: house-before-2-copy
After: mid-mod-patio-reveal8

Lamps Plus provided me with some of the products I selected for this post. Thank you!


Last Minute Costume: DIY Officer Judy Hopps Zootopia Costume

Scarlet is obsessed with Zootopia– it’s her favorite movie of all time ever. So when she said she wanted to be Officer Judy Hopps for Halloween I had to oblige. She will not let me show a picture of her in it until after Halloween, but here’s the set up. This one was easy to put together… DIY Officer Judy Hopps Zootopia Costume Light Blue long sleeve dance leotard from Leotard Boutique.
Royal Blue Ballet Skirt from Leotard Boutique (She wanted to wear a skirt because she hates pants, but some blue leggings and regular old kneepads would have been great too).
Gray Bunny Tail and Ears (they gotta be gray, according to Scarlet – this is harder to find then you think!) from Amazon.
Carrot Recorder and Badge, from Amazon.
Toy police belt, from Costume Discounters (or you could just do a black belt). Scarlet decided she didn’t want to wear the belt, so back it went, but I thought it added something. Oh well, as long as she is comfortable.
And finally, her officer vest. I picked up some blue felt at Jo Ann. I laid it out and used a tank top of Scarlet’s as a guide to cut two pieces: one for the back, with longer top straps and wider on the sides (so it could wrap around her), and one for the front. I tried the pieces on her and marked where the snaps would go, then used a snap kit to attach them. It took about 15 minutes, easy peasy. Attach the badge and let her dress up! Happy Halloween!


Mid Century Modern Patio Reveal!

mid-mod-patio-reveal9 Eek! It’s finally done! Here’s all the pretty pictures of my refreshed mid-mod meets boho patio at my new house. You can see the before and after comparison pics here, and get all my resources at the bottom of this post. What do you think? Who wants to come over for a swim and some s’mores under the twinkling lights?

mid-mod-patio-reveal2 mid-mod-patio-reveal20 mid-mod-patio-reveal18 mid-mod-patio-reveal6 mid-mod-patio-reveal24 mid-mod-patio-reveal4 mid-mod-patio-reveal3 mid-mod-patio-reveal23 mid-mod-patio-reveal19 mid-mod-patio-reveal14 mid-mod-patio-reveal11 mid-mod-patio-reveal10 mid-mod-patio-reveal8 mid-mod-patio-reveal28 mid-mod-patio-reveal27 mid-mod-patio-reveal25 mid-mod-patio-reveal26 mid-mod-patio-reveal5

Find of all of my resources here to get the mid-mod meets boho look for your backyard:

Lamps Plus (yes, they have outdoor furniture and outdoor decor!)
Wood outdoor sectional couch and coffee table
Criss Cross Metal & Wood Stools used as side tables – they are out of stock, but keep checking their outdoor tables section
Outdoor Umbrellas
Fire Pit
Rock Water Fountain
Potting Bench
White Wicker Set of 2 Chairs – they are sold out, but check their outdoor seating section for similar items
Door Mats
Metal Basket Hurricane Candle Holder
Outdoor Heavy Duty String Lights

Sika Design
Wicker chair and matching Wicker Lounge

Direct from Mexico
Equipales Table and Chairs

Orange Acapulco Chairs – I got them (two rocking, two standard) for $45 each by scouring craigslist every day for a month

Black and White Pillows
Wood Bench
Striped Throw Blanket

Spa Towels

Terracotta pots

Jackalope Pottery
Gray large square planters

Vineland Nursery
New Drought-Resistant Trees, Bushes, Succulents, and Sod

I hope you guys dig it! You should see it at night at lit up with a fire blazing. I’m so happy in this space. Come over for a party!

Lamps Plus provided me with some of the items listed above to create this beautiful space. Thank you!


Nanette’s Baguette and 4 Easy Bread & Cheese Appetizers


Nothing says “Fall” in our house like a cutting board piled high with savory wedges of cheese, melt-in-your-mouth fresh bread, and robust piles of fruits, herbs, fine meats, preserves and pickles. Do we have your attention yet? When our friends at Disney Books asked us to come up with a fun way to share Mo Willem’s new book, Nanette’s Baguette, which is in stores today (October 25th), I knew that it had to involve my families famous cheese plates. Nanette can’t resist cracking into a fresh loaf of bread from the bakery before it even makes it home and we can totally relate. Fresh bread is our weakness too, especially when it’s surrounded by friends, family, and all of the fixin’s.

img_4740 Here are four combos that have been big hits this Fall, especially with the kiddos. If you are looking for a quick meal, party nosh, or even a midnight snack, try one of our favorites cheesy themes.

But first take a look at the trailer for Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems. It’s the story Nanette on her first big solo trip to the bakery. But . . . will Nanette get the baguette from baker Juliette? Or will Nanette soon be beset with regret? Set in a meticulously handcrafted-paper-modeled French village, the uniquely vibrant laugh-out-loud world of Nanette’s Baguette may be Mo’s best creation yet. Get set to krack into an irresistible tale you won’t soon forget!

And now for those yummy snacks




Halloween Fun Stuff For All


Looking for a few last-minute goodies to make Halloween spookier, sillier, and simply more fun? Here are a few of our favorite stuff/things to delight the young and old.

Gordon loves a good pair of Skeleton Jammies. He wears them year round.

This Halloween Spirit Board Serving Tray will look spooky and chic on my coffee table.

The girls love a little something they can wear to school without causing a scene, like this Sequin Cat Ears Headband.

Here are two of our favorite classic board book parodies with a Halloween twist. Goodnight Goon is fit for little ones, The Very Hungry Zombie is a little more… distasteful.

But my very favorite Halloween book is Laugh-Out-Loud Spooky Jokes for Kids. We have a lot of fun bringing this one to the dinner table and sharing some great jokes that we can pass along to friends throughout the season. Even our new readers are loving this one.

A Rocky Horror Picture Show T-shirt can be worn well beyond Halloween, to the next PTA meeting perhaps.

Looking for a last-minute base for your Halloween costume? These gorgeous Leotards add coverage or warmth in a rainbow of colors.

Speaking of goodies that work well beyond the Halloween holiday, I think this You’ve Been Poisoned Mug will bring me pleasure year-round.

Same goes for these Emoji Masks which come in a variety of expressions, including poop. OF COURSE!


Celebrating Ten Years in New Orleans

jaime-carleton-jackson-sqaure-copy Carleton and I have been married for ten years!!! This feels like an accomplishment. We had to celebrate so we shipped our little lovebug off to Grandma and Grandpa’s and headed to the Big Easy. We packed a lot of fun into a long weekend. We had been to New Orleans before, years ago for Jazz Fest, so we skipped some of the traditional NOLA must-dos (like beignet’s at Cafe du Monde and cemetery tours) and instead went full foodie and funky for this trip. We stayed at the Ace Hotel New Orleans in the Warehouse district, which has very good coffee. carleton-at-the-ace-copyIt’s also walking distance to the French Quarter and has a rooftop pool, where we started off with some cocktails. jaime-carleton-ace-hotel-copy Aww. true-adventure-copy
We went for a delicious light meal at Bar Frances, which has a great wine selection and wonderful service before heading to the French Quarter for a drink at Cane & Table, which everyone and their brother had told us was amazing, and they were right.
On the day of our anniversary we wandered around Jackson Square and the French Quarter for a bit, nola-park-copy nola-secret-gardens-copy nola-frnech-quarter-ferns-copynola-scenery-copynola-art-copy

I bought some perfume at Bourbon French, highly recommend stopping in and smelling it all and checking out the funky decor. bourbon french perfumes nola-french-quarter-perfumerie-3-copy

In the afternoon we took a culinary history tour, hosted by Naif, who is fascinating. You’re safe with Naif. Remember I said that. This tour is a must! We did the French Quarter Tasting tour, which was so full of historical facts and sneak peeks into kitchens big and small, and detailed history of cajun and creole cuisine. We started at Tujague’s for beef stew made the same way for over 100 years, Tujague's NOLA then walked over to Creole Delicacies for a history of creole cooking and a tasting of the best rice and beans I’ve ever had. We stocked up on their home-blend spices too. Creole Delicacies Shop We cruised by Faulkner House Books on our way to our next stop – definitely drop in here. nola-faulkner-house My favorite bite was a Mufalleta at La Divina, but the gelato was amazing too. nola-la-divina We rubbed the gate at The Court of Two Sisters for luck, nola-secret-court-of-two-sisters before heading to the fine dining institution that is Antoine’s. We ate in the same room American presidents have enjoyed, and got a sneak peek behind what makes a fine dining restaurant humm. Antoine's Nola I loved seeing the styles of each dining room, from inside and out. nola-antoines-3-copynola-antoines-copy And this sign on the dungeon door made me happy. nola-antoines-the-dungeon-copy Of course from there we went for pralines candy-copy before ending our tour with turtle soup. Can’t say I loved turtle soup, but I was a huge fan of shrimp remoulade. Hot tip: For the best view in the French Quarter, head upstairs at Muriel’s for a cocktail on the balcony overlooking Jackson Square.Muriel's New Orleans It’s also fun to grab an (umm, not tasty) Absinthe at the Old Absinthe House on Bourbon Street. nola-absinthe-house-copy That night we had a truly fantastic anniversary dinner at Compere Lapin, then wandered around the French Quarter, grabbing some street food, buying some street art, listening to jazz, having our tarot cards read, and finishing up the night with my signature drink, a French 75, at Arnaud’s French 75, my favorite cocktail bar of the trip. drawings-in-the-market-copy jaime-nola nola-street-jazz-copyjaime-and-carleton-nola

The next day we headed out for a swamp tour with Cajun Encounters – they were great because they picked us up from the hotel and drove us back after. We saw lots of alligators and birds. I took this selfie on the tour. wild-pigs-copy

On Sunday we planned to do something amazing – kayak the bayou! But then it rained so our trip got cancelled. But you should definitely plan a kayak trip with Kayakitiyat. Instead we laid in bed until an ungodly hour then headed over to Magazine Street for some shopping magazine-street-copy jaime-magazine-street-copyand the most delicious Isreali meal at Shaya – This place was INSANELY delicious, we were so glad we stumbled upon it.

And then we headed home, missing our baby girl. It was a magical tenth anniversary trip. Y’all head to New Orleans ASAP. jaime-carleton-new-orleans-copy XOXOX


Salmon Chowder Recipe

Salmon Chowder Recipe It’s getting to be sort of cozy and fall-ish around these parts, which means I can indulge my love of making soups. This soup is made with salmon (this recipe calls for raw salmon, but you can easily just pop in some leftover cooked fish instead), which is my go-to protein to feed my daughter. She loves “pink fish” but I get bored of it quite easily. I like this recipe because the chowder is not “fishy” at all – and it was a huge hit with my family. You can customize the recipe to whatever you have on hand (add or subtract veggies and herbs), but if you leave out the bacon, just replace with a few tablespoons of healthy oil or fat (butter). Other than that feel free to add and subtract as you wish. I hope you enjoy my Salmon Chowder Recipe… (more…)