Slowing down the weekend

Weekends around here feel somewhat like a blur sometimes. We work all week, run around with school, sports, and activities, and then BAM–we have two “free” days to pack in all the other commitments, grocery shopping, and household chores. Before we know it, we’re staring Monday right in the face again. Can you relate at all? Surely I can’t be the only one who feels like she blinks and the weekend vanishes. 

Starbucks latte at home

I’ve come to accept that I cannot technically make the weekend last longer, but I can maybe slow it down (even for just a moment). In an effort to slow down for a few minutes at the start of each weekend, the Mr. and I started have a Saturday morning coffee date–in our pajamas, while at home. No rushing out the door, no scrambling to get ready or be somewhere special. Just the two of us holding hands at the Keurig® machine (okay maybe it’s not that cheesy, but you get the idea).

make a starbucks latte

This is a whole new idea to us because typically you’d find us scurrying through the nearest Starbucks drive-thru window on our way somewhere. But with the new Starbucks® Caffé Latte K-Cup® pods, we now have our favorite coffee at our fingertips. This, my friends, is worth celebrating. It’s such a nice time to enjoy our favorite flavors and spend some quality time together–He loves the Caramel Caffè Latte and I typically go for the Vanilla Caffè Latte!

how to make a starbucks latte

These Caffè Latte K-Cups® come in three delicious flavors, which means you can have a little variety. Although vanilla is my go-to, I do like to change things up between all three (mocha, vanilla, and caramel) while the Mr. sticks with his favorite, caramel.

starbucks-latte-keruig

I also like to add a little breakfast treat to our routine. We just have to wake up early enough so the kids don’t get to them before we do! What do you think? Could your weekends use a slow-down plan?

Stir, Sip, Enjoy. Signature Starbucks® latte flavors, now available in a K-Cup®

Sip It :: Apple Cider Moscow Mule

If you’re looking for a fall cocktail, this Apple Cider Moscow Mule could be your new go-to. The apples, cinnamon, and ginger combine for a nice fall flavor pallet perfect for this time of year. And, if you happen to live somewhere where the weather is still sweltering hot (like I do)…this is perfect because it’s served over ice in a nice chilled copper mug.

apple cider moscow mule

Have you been on the Moscow Mule bandwagon? Typically, I try resist anything overly trendy but you just cannot argue with this drink–it’s so versatile and refreshing! Plus, I have a thing for copper so it doesn’t hurt that you can get so many cute copper mugs! I have a small collection going on and love to mix-and-match the styles.

Apple Cider Moscow Mule recipeApple Cider Moscow Mule recipe

To make this drink you will need vodka, ginger beer, and apple cider (get it fresh from the produce section if you can), and limes. (more…)

4 Ways to Overcome Blogger Burn out

Blogger burn out happens to the best of us. Especially those of us who feel like blogging dinosaurs. September 8, 2008 was the first blog post I ever published here on Thoughtfully Simple. (I’ll spare you the laugh and won’t link to it!). That was over eight years ago and what feels like a lifetime of changes in the blogging world have happened since then.

Many things have changed. For example, you no longer have to understand php and css to get something up and running (don’t worry if that doesn’t make sense).  Now you can get pretty blog themes pre-made … that actually look amazing!  Oh and you know–there are some cool platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat in the mix now. These channels help distribute your content and get new eyeballs on your site. What an amazing time for content creators!

And not to mention, there are so, so, so many blogs to read. Did you now that over two million blog posts are published every day? That’s a LOT of content. Remember back when you read like the same 5 blogs every morning? Now it’s an overflowing buffet of options.

blogger burn out

For those that have been blogging for five years+, sometimes it can feel deflating or frustrating to keep up with all of the changes when, in the past, all you had to do was pump out killer content and connect with your readers. Now, you must figure out the best ways to capture their attention and break through the noise. You want to get more blog readers but don’t know how. Have you had those moments when you feel like a hamster on a wheel? I know that I’ve been there and have talked to so many established blogging friends who have as well.

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4 Simple Halloween Treats

I just realized Halloween is creepin’ up on me (ha, get it!), and I almost started to stress about. I mean, what cute treats am I going to make this year? What adorable crafts will I think of? Who knows (really), only time will tell. I’m totally last minute lately but instead of freaking out, I ‘m just sort of rolling with it.

The good news is, I have a few great Halloween treats already here on the blog for you. I bet you’re nothing like me, and totally ahead of the game.

So, if you’re looking for something cute to make the kiddos, or prepping a party and looking for Halloween party food–I’ve got you covered with these four ideas. They are really easy to make (and you can even cheat and buy store bought cupcakes like I did!). Just click the links at the bottom to go to the individual recipe.

Halloween Treats

Halloween Ghost Cupcakes  | Mini Pumpkin Milkshakes | Monster Eye Lollipops | Cyclops Mini Cupcakes

Will one of these four sweet treats make a debut at your Halloween party? If you make any of them, be sure to share a photo on Instagram and tag me (@HostessTori) so I can check them out! 

DIY Ice Cream Cone Wrappers

Fall, schmall. It might be mid September but here in So Cal it’s 97 degrees. And honestly, even if it was cooler, I believe ice cream is a year-round treat. Are you with me?

DIY Ice Cream Come Wrappers

I’m always looking for simple ways to add a fun touch to things and that’s how I came up with these easy ice cream cone wrappers. In under 5 minutes you can transform an ordinary ice cream cone into a unique one! All you need to do is print them, cut them out, and wrap them around the cone. Simple :) They would also be fun if you’re hosting an ice cream party! (more…)

6 Things your party guests want you to know

tori-tait

I love to play hostess. Inviting people into my home and welcoming them with food and drink is my love language. But not everyone feels natural in that role–I totally get it. In fact, for many of you, the idea of all that planning, prepping, and entertaining might make you feel completely overwhelmed. Heck, that’s the reason I started this blog back in 2007! I want to share tips and inspiration that takes out the overwhelm and leaves you confident and excited to send out those invites or to cook up a special weeknight meal.

But, even I am guilty of the occassional overthinking, overplanning, and overextending myself (just ask my husband and kids!). And I’ll admit I may have had my share of  “company is coming” freak-out moments. But despite the slip ups, overall, I like to keep things simple which translates into a less-stressed hostess and a more welcoming atmosphere for your guests.

So, as you start planning those inevitable holiday gatherings I urge you to try your best to keep things as simple as you can and take pressure off of yourself to “do it all” or make everything “prefect.”

Believe me, you’ll be a better hostess and your guests will have an even better time. In fact, here are a few things your guests wish you knew.

guests

1. They are thankful you are hosting (and they don’t have to)

They didn’t have to make sure their toilets were clean, they had drink ice on hand, or have to be the ones cleaning up tonight’s mess, tomorrow. So basically you’re already their favorite person because you’re willing to host at your home.

2. They can’t tell if you baked the pie or if it came from the store

They won’t be able to tell one way or the other so make it easy on yourself and grab food at the market. Just take it out of the packaging and present it in a thoughtful way. (You know, like Sarah Jessica Parker did in I Don’t Know How She Does It.)

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