Red, White & Blue

 

 

Happy Monday all! The 4th of July has always been one of my favorite holidays, and even more so now that we have two little ones. Every year we celebrate our nation’s birthday with our family in California, and spend the day splashing at the pool or beach followed by an all-American dinner (cue the hot dogs, corn on the cob and cherry pie with ice cream!) as well as spectacular fireworks at my parent’s country club. We are going to let C stay up late this year to watch the fireworks, and I have the feeling he will be thrilled by the brilliant and sparkling bursts of red, white and blue.

As always, I’m trying to plan everyone’s outfits ahead, and I’m thinking of wearing white jeans with a blue and white striped top (aka my summer uniform), red sandals, and a jean jacket to throw over my shoulders since it can be cool once the sun sets. To help inspire your outfit for the 4th, here are a few of my patriotic favorites that would be perfect for everything from a casual BBQ to a dressy dinner. Wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead!

Cooking with Hannah Hairston of Not My Circus

Hi all! I hope everyone is having a wonderful week! Kicking things off with a good friend and some good food, I’m excited to share an interview with Hannah Hairston of Not My Circus, as well as her delicious recipe for Shrimp Scampi Zoodles. Hannah and I have known each other for years – we went to college together and were sorority sisters – and so I’m thrilled to be featuring her on MBB. As charming as she is stylish, Hannah launched Not My Circus  two years ago, setting out to create a lifestyle journal that celebrates modern motherhood, personal style, and a healthy lifestyle. If you haven’t already visited her site, check it out today! It’s beautiful aesthetic of bright and airy images mixed with posts on fashion, kids, and decor make for a must-read. Today, Hannah shares her insights on juggling blogging with motherhood, as well as tips for cooking healthy weeknight meals. Enjoy!


  

You’ve been blogging for a couple years now, and are the mother to two gorgeous girls. What’s the hardest part about juggling blogging and motherhood?

Yes! I started blogging when I was pregnant with my first daughter, Liza.  After a few months of creating content,  I officially launched. I love being home with Liza and Annabelle, but it’s also nice having a creative outlet. The hardest part of staying home and running my blog is time management. I don’t want to give up time with my girls, so I work on the blog wen they’re napping or after they go to bed. I don’t really get much sleep, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

 

Do you like to make dinner during the week or does your husband like to do the cooking? 

I do most of the cooking, but Walker is a great cook too and really enjoys grilling.  We like to eat as a family, which is early with the girls, so it’s hard for him to get home early enough to cook during the week. He grills a lot on the weekends, and we always make extra on Sundays to have for dinner the next day or two.  This is a hue help for me!

 

I know how hard it can be to get dinner on the table with a baby and toddler to look after! How do you keep the girls entertained so you can cook?

The hardest part of cooking dinner for me is definitely the prep. I try to do a lot of the prep work while the girls are napping, and then I set it in the fridge until dinner time. I try to find recipes that aren’t super labor intensive.  I do a lot of roasted vegetables because it’s so easy to pop them in the oven and then focus on cooking the main dish.  I usually pull Annabelle’s activity chair in the kitchen with me or put her in the sling so I can have my hands free, and I will put a stack of blocks or a puzzle on the floor for Liza.  We almost always have music playing in our house, so sometimes Liza will play an instrument and dance in the kitchen while I cook. I also try to incorporate math into every day activities, so I will have her do things like count spice jars or look at a kitchen timer and tell me what number she sees first.

 

What is your favorite dish to prepare?

My favorite thing to make is this Shrimp Scampi Zoodle dish.  It’s so easy to make and is always a crowd pleaser.  We eat this about once a week, and we never get sick of it.  This is definitely something where I prep while the girls are sleeping, then I throw it together in ten minutes when it’s time for dinner.

 

Does Liza like to help cook?

Liza loves to help in the kitchen.  I try to find easy things for her to help with like stirring ingredients together, throwing something away or grabbing a spatula for me.  She especially loves baking cookies.

 

What advice do you have for working moms who are busy with careers and children, and still want to cook a healthy meal for their family?

Cook for multiple days at a time and buy vegetables that a versatile.  For example we will cook a lot of chicken breasts and have them for dinner one night, on salads the next day at lunch, and then make a veggie and chicken quesadilla with whatever is left the next night for dinner.  I always try to keep it really simple.  I buy spinach to put in our morning smoothies, make it as a side, and then throw together some green muffins at the end of the week.  I find using the vegetables I have on hand saves money and time.

 

Top 5 Tips for Styling Beautiful Bookshelves

Hi all! We’ve been in our new house for a couple of weeks now, and are finally feeling settled. While the moving boxes and heaps of paper are long gone, we need to hang art in the boy’s rooms, finish decorating the guest room, and the list goes on. A house seems to be a never-ending project, however I suppose that’s part of the fun! One important task that my mom helped us with during the move, was styling our bookshelves in the den. Styling shelves sounds simple, but it’s really an art, as you want to strike the perfect balance between height and color, and form and function.

In our past home, our shelves were filled (cluttered) with books, silver picture frames, and a collection of decorative objects. In theory this sounds lovely, yet, the shelves never seemed to flow and felt more chaotic than clean. I knew when we moved into this house I wanted books and blue and white porcelain – simple, simple simple – and so my mom and I went to work organizing and re-organizing the shelves. The bookshelves were like a giant puzzle, and we had to figure out how all of the pieces connected together. Thanks to my mom’s expertise, our shelves turned out more beautiful than I could have imagined. I want to share everything that I learned with you all, and so here are my tips for styling brilliant bookshelves.

Tip #1: The first tip I have is for the shelves themselves – if they aren’t already built-in, adjust them so they are all the same height. This will create a uniform and symmetrical look.

Tip #2: Decide on a theme, such as shelves filled with only books, or books and blue and white porcelain, or books and a few picture frames, lucite art, etc. This styling compass will guide your design process so you can have a consistent look.

Tip #3: Organize books by color – create a stack of blue books, red books, green books, pink books etc. This truly looks so incredible, and is one of my favorite parts of our shelves. And in the event you don’t have too many coffee table books, pop over to a used book store and you will be surprised at the fabulous selection of affordable and wonderful options.

Tip #4: Style a combination of stacks of books (those with color coordinating spines) as well as a few beloved books propped up so you can admire their gorgeous covers. FYI – Carolyn Roehm, Tory Burch, Veranda, and Gray Malin are the Crown Jewels of book-case styling.

Tip #5: Keep it simple! Instead of crowding the shelves, strive for a clean, and minimalistic look (see the picture above as an example). That way, you can really appreciate each shelf as a little work of art, as well as the bookshelf as a whole.