Yes, I took a 30 day sabbatical. For all of my adult life, I’ve been going full-throttle. School, work, parenting, more work, side work, fun work. You name it, I want to do it (and am determined to do it perfectly). It’s a blessing to love what you do, but sometimes it can also feel like a curse. Honestly, most days it feels like a tornado that ends with a migraine. (I bet some of you can relate.)
So, when the company I have been working for for the last seven years (The Grommet) announced a new policy that would give me the chance to take a 30 day paid sabbatical, I was equally excited and nervous. I’ve taken a week vacation before (still checking in here and there) but this was an entire new level. I wondered if I could do it. (I also tried negotiating working one day a week during it so I could still get stuff done, I know…pathetic). In the end I took an entire 30 days off.
I wanted to share a few things that I took away from this experience. From the planning process, to how I spent my time, to what I learned when I took a step back and let things
go … for thirty. whole. days.
The planning dilemma I was stressing over what to do with my time off (what a first-world problem to have, I know). But you see, I want everything to be just right. When in my life will I get another chance to take 30 days off? I ran through several ideas. My first thought was to quickly plan an international trip. Over the last two years we’ve traveled a lot (my favorite was to Maine last summer) but never outside of the US. However, my husband couldn’t get that much time off, and traveling with a family of four is pricey. I ran through other ideas like volunteering my time, finally getting that passion project going I’ve been thinking about for years, creating a ton of content for this blog, deep cleaning my house (yes this crossed my mind), and more. In the end my husband asked me what I wish I could do every summer. And my answer? “Fun stuff with my daughters.” I work from a home office and summers are HARD. When the kids are out of school they are always asking to go do fun things and I am always saying “no” because I’m working. I keep business hours so hitting the beach on a Wednesday isn’t something we can just go and do. I realized that I wanted to be able to do whatever they wanted, and just have some summer fun. (more…)
Here is Southern California, it’s basically summer (I mean it was 95 degrees last weekend). So, whether I’m ready or not (my pale skin says, not), it’s time to start thinking about bikinis, beach days, and fun summer activities. During the summer, we like to plan several long weekend trips that are within an hour or two drive. This makes us feel like we are constantly going on vacation! We’ll camp (we have many nearby state parks), definitely head to Palm Springs (my favorite place to mini vaca), and do as many beach trips as we can fit it. Our summer itinerary will also include more mellow things like lazy pool days and backyard dinner parties (with a summer dinner party play list of course). I like the laid back vibe that comes along with summer entertaining.
I do a little pre-summer shopping around this time of year because retailers have all of their new summer accessories and clothes out now and if I wait until we really need it, everything will be gone. Have you ever tried to buy a new bathing suit or cover up in July? Impossible I tell you. I pick up a few things for my daughters and also for myself. This year I am loving all things super bright and also loving the colorful pom poms and tassels that I am seeing on just about everything. The bright colors work so great for summer and can easily go from beach to resort, to a vibrant backyard fiesta. Here’s a few summer essentials that I’m snagging up this week!
I’m not sure what screams “SUMMER” more, bright colors or tassels. I’m thinking this wooden beaded tassel necklaces would look adorable for a summer night out paired with a white or chambray sun dress or shirt. And I’m pretty sure these tassel bracelets will be on my wrist all summer. I love wearing fun bracelets with my bathing suits when I’m hanging out by the pool. I never really could pull of the big earring/bathing suit thing so my go-to are fun bracelets. (more…)
It’s almost May which means it’s almost time to fiesta! I recently got together with Sauza® Tequila to plan this simple Cinco de Mayo backyard celebration for a few of my friends. If you’ve read my past entertaining posts, you know I am a huge fan of keeping things SIMPLE–and that’s just what I did for this party. I’m sharing all the Cinco de Mayo party food, drinks, and easy fiesta-inspired decor ideas with you. You’ll want to pin these simple ideas to your “Fiesta” Pinterest board for later!
The setting was simply my back patio. How easy is that? I pulled my patio table over to a nice shady spot in the yard and it was the perfect spot to set up our fiesta dinner.
I’m a huge fan of incorporating fresh flowers into every tablescape but I never put the pressure on myself to make perfectly arranged centerpieces (simple is key, remember). I picked up some colorful flowers from my local grocery store, trimmed off the stems, and just grouped them together in the center of the table. SO EASY. I mixed in a couple fresh oranges and limes to bring in that citrusy-fiesta vibe.
An easy way to add to a basic table is to layer on textures. I used a burlap runner, wicker chargers, and linen placemats. Not everything matched either–I just used what I had already and ended up with an eclectic, yet festive look. (more…)
Looking for something to make mom? These DIY Mother’s Day gifts are perfect to tuck into a gift basket for that special woman in your life. They are all pretty simple to make and would even be great to give a special sister, friend, or grandma. Make them now and you’ll be ready come May!
DIY Rose Water FaceMist
One thing every mom has in common is that we could all use our own “time out” now and again. That’s exactly why I came up with this DIY. Something as simple as taking a deep breath, and misting your face with a heavenly scented rose water face mist can do wonders for the mind (at least in my experience!). I snagged all of the supplies for this one online and you can even print out my free labels if you want. I think it adds a nice “gift factor” to the bottles. See how to make them, here.
DIY Lip Scrub I love the idea of making a bunch of these diy lip scrubs to have on hand for small Mother’s Day’s gifts. I made these using lavender essential oils but you can swap out your favorite scent. I think orange would be great to use in the morning. Not only were these easy to make, they did not cost a lot of money. You could even get the kids involved in this DIY. See how to make them, here.
DIY Marbled Clay Ring Dish I made these marbled clay ring dishes a couple years ago to give as Mother’s Day gifts and everyone just loved them. I had so much fin making them (they look more complicated than they really are, promise) and love how each one turned out unique from the others. All you really need is some clay from the local craft store. Gifts that are useful and beautiful get extra points in my book. See how to make them, here.
What do you think? Are one of these ideas something she would like? Let me know which DIY Mother’s Day Gifts you’ll be making in a comment below!
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This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
Super Bowl is around the corner and it’s always a great time to gather with friends and family and have a little fun. Whether you’re into the game or, like me, just in it for the half time show, you know you also get excited for the snacks. I mean, how could one not get excited for the food?
I’ve always been intimidated to make a snack stadium tray in the past, but let me tell you, it does NOT have to be so hard.
A snack stadium is really the ultimate game day party food. It covers all the basis because it’s delicious and doubles as party decor. It’s a game day win-win in my book. The key to creating a snack stadium is choosing a really good dip and building your dip-able snacks around it. (Dip-able is a word, right?)
I love to make it easy with Heluva Good! Dips. They have so many unique flavors (I’ll be sharing some of mine next week with more Super Bowl snack ideas!). You can find Heluva Good! Dips in the dairy aisle of the supermarket. They are made with real sour cream and flavorful spices. Keeping it simple it my style. Really you open up one of these dips and you’re ready to go.
Isn’t this cute? And really, you don’t have to be scared to give it a try. If like me, you’ve seen some of those snack stadiums that look like architectural food palaces that seem to defy gravity, and have been totally intimated, this easy snack stadium tray is for you! Start with a great dip, build your snacks around, add a few simple details and you’re ready for kick-off! (more…)
Looking for fun and festive New Year’s Eve Cocktails? If so, you’re in luck. Although I do love to serve a nice bottle of champagne (or two) on New Year’s Eve, I also like to mix things up a bit by offering guests a unique cocktail that they might not have tried before. These three recipes are simple to make and fit the bill for the perfect New Year’s Eve Cocktail. Grab these few ingredients ahead of time and you’ll be ready to play bartender!
First up, a Spicy Tomato Martini that will be perfect to serve anyone who is a fan of martinis or Bloody Marys. (I happen to love both!) It’s crisp and flavorful and really an interesting vodka cocktail to serve. Be sure to grab vodka, Clamato Juice, and Tabasco.
Next we have another vodka option, a Cranberry and Rosemary Cocktail (which you can serve as a mini holiday martini version as well). Mini martinis are fun to serve before dinner or as a dessert drink. Pick up cranberry juice, vodka, and fresh rosemary and cranberries for this one.
Third, we have a twist on the traditional mimosa with this Tangerine and Thyme Mimosa (which became my favorite this season). The tangerine lemonade gives it just enough familiar citrus flavor but a lot lighter than typical OJ. And the thyme makes it just so interesting. Grab Tropicana® Tangerine Lemonade, champagne, sprigs of thyme, and tangerine slices for garnish.
What will you be sipping on this New Year’s Eve? Will you make any of these New Year’s Eve Cocktails? If you do, be sure to tag @HostessTori and #TSCocktails on Instagram!