Friday, August 31, 2012

Tailgate in Style

     Our entire immediate family all went to USC, so to say we are Trojan football fans is an understatement. Even though Jen and I were mainly in theaters for most of our college careers, we still saw the light of day at a few football games.  Here is a little tailgate outfit in honor of the first USC football game of the season, kicking off tomorrow!  Fight On!





LLLove,
Jen & Jess


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Babies 1st Birthday Inspiration

     One of our lovely friends and readers, has her little daughter, Scarlets, 1st Birthday just around the corner.  She asked us for some party theme ideas, and we were happy to help!  We helped with a "Milk and Cookies" themed 1st Birthday party for our friend Brooke, of Brooke Aliceon Photography, you can see it here.  And below are some other super cute ideas we found.  Enjoy!

 
     First of all, we are HUGE fans of Kelli Murray.  She is an extremely talented artist and designer, and we fell in love with her adorable daughter, Rylee's, 1st Birthday party!  We can't get enough of the tee pee craze going around, it's just too much fun, and such a perfect theme for a park or backyard.  Also, this theme could be used for a boy, "My Little Indian," or a girl, "Indian Princess."  You can see Kelli's full post, here.

     And how cute are these DIY's!  You can view the Feather Cake Topper tutorial here, and the Feather Headband tutorial here.

     We saw this super cute party theme on Kara's Party Ideas, and had to share it.  This theme can also be used for a boy or a girl.  And oh the fun you could have with the food for this party: chocolate covered bananas, PB and banana sandwiches, monkey bread, banana pudding, so many fun possibilities.

     For the invitation, how simple and cute is the little candle tied to the "1."  And what a great idea to have a craft table where guests can make their own sock monkey to take home with them.

     The "Little Bug" is turning One!  We found this theme on Sweet and Saucy, it is so cute for a garden or backyard party setting.  And how appropriate to have little lady bugs as the displayed "bug."  With the touch of ombre, this makes such a sweet theme.

     Whatever theme you pick, as long as it's fun and colorful the kids are going to love it.  One idea, is just to take your child's favorite character, show, or movie and make that the theme.  We thought this Sesame Street themed party we found on Bump Smitten was pretty cute.


And here are a few fun party ideas, no matter what the theme:
      Sugar and Charm made the cutest party hats with the picture of the birthday girl (or boy) on the hat, view the tutorial here.


     Whatever you do, even if it's a simple dinner with your family, you have to get a picture of the babies first cake! :)

     And we love the idea of making a display of all of the baby's first milestones in their first year.  Our friend Allison had a display of pictures of her daughter's first year from month to month leading up to her birthday, which is another cute idea.  Want an easy way to display? Just use twine and clothespins.  If your party is in a park, you could even wrap the twine, pictures, and clothes pins around the trunk of a tree.

     
     Some other tips for Babies 1st Birthday we found on Parenting.com:

1. Watch the clock.  Plan the party to last an hour to an hour-and-a-half.  Babies have short attention spans and run out of energy and interest quickly.  Plan the party for late morning or afternoon -- pre - or post-nap -- when baby isn't tired.

2. VIPs only.  Scale back the guest list to avoid overwhelming your babe and keep costs down.

3.  Ask for help.  Consider hiring a babysitter or asking a family member to help you balance your hosting duties with enjoying your baby's big day.

4.  Create a play place.  Many of the babies in this age range are still on all fours, so baby-proof a play zone filled with age-appropriate toys for your little guests.  Set chairs around the zone for parents to relax and watch.  

5.  Check your treats.  Ask your guests is there are food allergies to consider.  Keep snacks simple, like chopped fruit and graham crackers for the kids, and more grown-up versions for the adults to munch.

6.  Don't stress.  You're still a few years shy of hiring a D.J. and hosting pony rides.  It won't matter to baby whether you throw the party of the season or just celebrate at home with your immediate family.  As long as baby is with you and feels love all around, that's all that matters.  



     Lastly, we'll leave you with a couple other theme options.  One is "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles." This is super cute for a little boy, and you could use paper planes as part of your decorations.  Also most of the themes from our Baby Shower Inspiration post could be used for a first Birthday and/or kids Birthday.  For example, the "Book Theme," could be "Alice in Wonderland" or "Once upon a Time" or "Princess" theme.  I heard of a great idea to give back.  Have each guest bring two books, one for your child, and one to donate.  Start your child's life with the gift of giving.


     And remember, this is also a celebration for the parents for making it through their first year of parenting, so enjoy and celebrate! 




LLLove,
Jen & Jess

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

DIY: Cork Letter

     I made a few of these for the Bars at Jen and Brandon's Wedding.  It was super easy, and looked great. This would be a fun DIY for the kitchen, or near a wine rack in your home.



Materials:
- Large cardboard box
- Pencil and ruler
- Scissors
- Corks
- Hot glue gun
- Thin flat piece of wood (I used free paint stirrers from Home Depot)


1. Gather materials ... you will need a good amount of corks.

2. Using your ruler and a pencil, trace the letter you want.  Use a cork to help mark how wide, in corks,  each part of the letter will be.  For example, one of the legs of the "K" was one cork wide by eight corks long.

3. Finish mapping our the rest of your letter.

4. Use your glue gun to glue the bottom part of each of the corks on your cardboard letter.

5. And you're done!  Depending on what letter you make, you may want to reinforce the legs, so the weight of the corks don't break the letter.  I used free paint stirrers from Home Depot, and glued them to the back of the "K."


     I've learned to always save corks.  I filled a large glass vase with wine corks, and displayed it in our kitchen.  There are so many fun DIY projects involving corks! :)


LLLove,
Jess

Monday, August 27, 2012

Words to Live By


     Once upon a time I fancied myself a writer, a poet, a dancer, and a singer.  All of those things still linger in little pieces of my life.  We never truly lose the creativity that formed who we are, or got us through life's hardest times, but it does find a way to slip from us as we grow older.  Whether it's the distraction of life and new responsibilities, or the intimidation of comparison, we tend to move away from what inspires us and towards what is realistic.
     Though there is a lot to be said for being realistic, if our realism isn't balanced by an outlet we love, our lives will lack passion, inspiration, and in the end joy.  Tap back into what inspires you, what makes you smile, what makes you feel free, and find the life that has been waiting for you. 


LLLove,
Jen


Image via here

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fitness Fashions For Any Budget

     We know it's hard to find the time to drag yourself to the gym, or to a yoga class, or just to get outside and run, so we thought we'd give you some motivation! Even on a budget, everything is more fun with a cute outfit and accessories! 



     Now get out there and make a healthy change in style!

LLLove,
Jen & Jess

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Count Down to Football Season

     It's "Where's the Party Wednesday" and if your home is anything like mine, ESPN is always on, and the world revolves around football! So, with football season swiftly upon us it seemed time to party plan.  This way, even if you don't love football, you can at least have fun decorating!

The Decor:
    We are LLLoving this football themed birthday party from Anatomy of a Dinner Party!  Just change the banner to fit whatever theme you want and Monday Night Football has never looked better.

     This fun, yet manly display is from Occasions Online, and comes with FREE DOWNLOADS for the banners and labels!!  For more photos and to get the free downloads click here


     Astroturf is cheap, fun, and reusable! Make table clothes and coasters! This game day display is from Wants and Wishes.

The Food:
     When it comes down to it, the only thing the boys are really going to care about is the food, so try some of these to score major points.




1) Football shaped whoopie pies from Make Merry Events
2) Football cupcakes from Occasions Online
3) Soft Pretzels from The Food Network
4) Football Oreo Truffles from Bakerella
5) Field Dip, as long as you have guacamole, sour cream, and a frosting tube you are good to go.
6) Football Helmet Fruit Salad (this one looks a little labor intensive, but adorable! from Occasions Online
7) Football Chocolate Covered Strawberries from Sheri's Berries

Let's make this season the cutest, most delicious football season yet! 


LLLove,
Jen & Jess

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

DIY: Heart Bookmark


     Happy "How To's" day!  Now I know that in this lovely technological age of iPads and Kindles, reading a real paper book is rare, but there is something about the smell of the pages and the feel of holding a real book in your hands that still makes me smile ... call me old fashioned.  Recently my mom gave me a little baby sewing machine she never uses, and I've been playing around with it, and that's how this DIY came about.

     It's super simple and you don't even need a sewing machine, just needle and thread. This DIY would make a great little gift for your book club, or a reading savvy friend!  Enjoy!

Materials:
- Needle & Thread
- Piece of Felt Fabric (you can find some at Michaels for about $0.99 or less)
- A Heart Cookie Cutter (or you can do it by hand)
- Sharpie
- Scissors


1. Using your heart cookie cutter, trace two hearts on your felt fabric.

2. Cut out the hearts.  Leave one a full heart, and cut the top off the other.

3. Put the half heart piece behind the full heart, and sew up each side.

4. Push the heart bookmark onto the corner of the page you're on in your book, close the book, and heart marks the spot!



LLLove,
Jess

Monday, August 20, 2012

Words to Live By

photo via here

     Oh Mother Teresa, you had to be a genius with a heart of gold yet again!  What a beautiful quote and a beautiful thing to keep in mind!  People are wonderful, beautiful, and lovable, and in all honesty, I sometimes forget that.  Each person is beautiful in different ways, and we should seek that out and treat each other with respect.  You never know what that persons day was like before you bumped into them.  So choose to love first, and the judgement at the door.


LLLove,
Jess

Friday, August 17, 2012

Focusing on Fitness

     Did watching Olympic Athletes for the past month make you want to get in better shape?...us too.  So we asked our wonderful friend, Matthew Bellows of Vitruvian Personal Fitness Solutions just how we might go about doing that.
     Matt is a certified personal trainer, and has trained in New York, LA, and now in San Diego.  You can visit his website at www.trainvitruvian.com to see testimonials, and what kind of training plans he offers.  


1) How much do you need to exercise to see a difference?  The American Council on exercise recommends a minimum of 30 minutes for 6 days a week. However it all depends on where you’re starting from. If you’re coming straight out of couch potato mode, you can see results with half that amount of time. 30 minutes 3 days a week. 

2) Are there muscle groups that are harder to tone than others?  Which ones?  Nope.  You can’t spot reduce.  You can’t put a stick of butter in the microwave and choose how its gonna melt. And you can’t truly work one muscle group at a time. Your body is one, singular awesome machine, made up of lots of different parts. But they all work together to accomplish every task you do. And the best kind of training will capitalize on that fact. I see too many women doing bicep curls and tricep extension and that ridiculous adductor machine (the one where you sit down present your crotch to the world and squeeze your legs together). These exercises are almost a complete waste of time. Focus on exercises that move more than one joint at a time. What we call “compound exercises”. For example, a bicep curl just moves the elbow joint, but a row or a pullup moves the elbow joint AND works a whole bunch of muscles in your back.  A tricep extension moves just your elbow joint in the opposite direction, but a bench press or a push up, does the same thing, and ALSO works your chest, core and shoulders. This is how your body accomplishes its daily tasks as a multi-functional human being, and this is how you should train. Get off the inner thigh machine and do some real squats and lunges, you’ll get where you want to be in a tenth of the time.

3) What should you do if you want to lose weight?  No matter what hype you hear in a magazine, on E news, or in a late night infomercial surrounding the latest breakthrough diet, cleanse or whatever, at the end of the day weight loss is about 1 thing and 1 thing only. Calories in vs. Calories out.  No cleanse, low carb, low fat, raw food, purple stuff, maple syrup invention will ever trump the simple math. Every person needs a certain amount of energy a day to function, like enough gas in a car to get to a destination. And everybody has their own size of gas tank. If you put just the right amount of gas in your tank to get to your destination, you will maintain your weight. If you put more in than you need to get to your destination, you will store the extra fuel as fat. If you take in less than you need to get to your destination, you will lose weight. That’s basically it. You need to know how many calories a day you need (your metabolism) and create a deficit from that number. Breaking it down, there are 3500 calories in 1 lb of Fat. So you need to create a deficit of 3500 calories in a week to lose 1lb.  For example, if you need 1700 calories a day to maintain your weight. Subtract 500 a day from that number by either eating less or exercising more. Now you’re at 1200 a day, after 7 days, you’ve lost 3500 calories and 1 lb. Good Job! There are some great websites and apps that can help you track all your meals and help you find out how many calories you need as an individual. Some of my favorites are Myfitnesspal.com livestrong.com and dailyburn.com

4) What should you do if you want to tone up?  and is there a difference?  Lift weights.  You have to lift weights. Too many women are scared of this, usually because they think they are gonna come out of the gym in a week like Arnold Shwarzenegger with breasts. YOU WILL NOT BULK UP. This I guarantee. It is an impossibility. Guys can get bulky with years of work and training because they have testosterone. Women do not. Hence, no bulk. The women you see in magazines that are bulky have done some very specific things to get enough testosterone to look that way. You are not doing those things, you’d know if you were. So don’t worry about it. The most successful individuals, who reach their goals and maintain them, lift weights. It must be done. This is what it takes to burn fat and tone up. You basically won't ever reach you goals without it.

5) Any advice for a managing a busy schedule and exercise?  Yes, stop making excuses. I know of no individual alive who doesn’t have time to exercise. And study after study shows how productivity, and brain power increase with exercise. You have to schedule it, like a meeting or a phone call. After a while it will become a habit and you’ll feel so much better you’ll wonder why you ever thought it was a problem. 
You can also take measures throughout your day to increase your activity, take the stairs, park in the back of the parking lot, little things go a long way.

6) Where do you start if you are overwhelmed, or intimidated by the thought of exercise?  Find an activity that interests you and start there. If you’ve always wanted to learn to rock climb, try that, or surf, try that. If you’re having a little bit more fun with it, it won't feel like work. 
The best thing anyone can ever do is enlist the help of a personal trainer. Yes, it costs money, but you only get one body and one life and I believe in making the most of it. Almost all health clubs give you a free session when you join, and I firmly believe its worth the extra bucks to get a couple more to make sure you know what you’re doing and feel like you can get around the gym with purpose. Also, group fitness is almost always free at most health clubs. Get involved in a class. Do a little of both. If you don’t have a gym membership, find a trainer in your area to come to your home or work with you in the park. There is always help if you ask for it.

7) How important is nutrition when it comes to fitness and health?  Nutrition is Paramount. Weight loss is about 85% nutrition, 15% exercise. You can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet. Eating the right amount of calories is the only way you’ll ever lose the fat. Thats the bottom line. Within that bottom line, try to eat protein rich foods like chicken, fish, lean beef, and pork. Also cottage cheese, greek yogurt, and protein bars and powders. Protein is a longer lasting form of energy than carbs and you need it to build muscle and burn fat. And avoid carbs that have a high Glycemic Index. That basically means carbs that burn really fast, like sugar, white bread, white pasta, and white rice. Instead eat hearty whole grains, green vegetables and fruit.

8) How important is stretching after a workout?  It's pretty important. Especially as you get older. Imbalances in flexibility and mobility will affect the way your skeleton sits all day while it fights gravity. The more flexible you are, the more capable you are. And that's really the whole point. 
Along with flexibility, everyone should learn how to foam roll. You know those big foam tubes you see around? They are not pool toys. They are used for what is called Self Myofascial release. Its basically self massage and helps improve performance, prevent injury and pain in a significant way. Just google it or look on youtube and you’ll find simple instructions. It will hurt at first. If it hurts, it means you need it.

True or False - if you want to tone use lighter weights and do more reps?  False, like I said earlier, you will not get bulky, so if you want lean tone arms and thighs, hit the weights and hit em hard.

     An important thing to remember is that every body is its own body. Looking at another person and desiring their arms, or whatever is ridiculous and psychologically damaging. We all come from our own ancestry and have our own DNA that makes up who we are, and that means the shape of your nose. Instead of wasting your time comparing, find a way to improve you. You deserve it. Theres only one you and without you the world wouldn’t be what it is. Make your life the best one it can be by improving yourself. Let other people look at you and want to follow your lead.

     Thanks Matt! I know I just learned a lot.  Hitting the gym may not get you in the 2016 Summer Games, or win you a gold medal, but feeling healthy and good about yourself is worth it's weight in gold, so I'd say it's kinda like the same thing. ;)

     Do you have your own questions for Matt?  You can email him at trainwithmatt@gmail.com.


LLLove,
Jen & Jess

Happy Birthday JJ!

     
     Today is my husband, JJ's, Birthday!  I could not be more excited to celebrate this man!  I am so grateful and blessed to have JJ as not only my husband, but my best friend.  He is my partner for life, and I am loving every second of it! 

     JJ, thank you for being the best husband in the world, and I hope you have the best birthday ever!

All My LLLove,
Jess

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Unique Metallic Party Decor Ideas

     Today we are really going for the gold ... sorry, I had to.  We LLLove these fun metallic party decor ideas, they are such fun ways to add some personality and uniqueness to your next party!

     We LLLove this gold dipped flatware from Anthropologie!  And check out this super cute gold dipped wine glass DIY, here

     We love the effect of just a sprinkle of confetti down the center of the table, we found here! And how cute are the ombre flowers in the gold painted boxes, simple and fun! We found it on the cutest wedding post by Ruffled.

     We can not tell you how much we want to steal this cute idea we found on Style Me Pretty to spray paint little plastic animals as place card holders!  Just make little tags with your guests name on it and tie it around the animal.  Also, if you have two main colors for your event you could dip each half of the animal in two different colors.  And we love this gold fruit DIY, here.  Just make a paper flag with the guest name and stick it in the fruit with a toothpick.

     Now if you haven't heard about Confetti System, they are legit and fabulous!  I did a Confetti System Inspired Tassel Garland DIY, here.  But you can also purchase any of their wonderful decor items, here.


LLLove,
Jen & Jess




Tuesday, August 14, 2012

DIY: Gold Mercury Glass Votives

     It's "How To's Day" and today we are dressing up your old votives and vases with some metallic love that goes a long way to add a warm, vintage feel to any room or event.



What you will need:




1) Clear glass votives ~ I got these from
Michaels and they were 16 for $8.00
2) Gold Metallic Spray Paint ~ from Michaels 
(If you want to make the classic silver Mercury votives use ~ Krylon's Looking Glass Spray Paint)
3) Glitter Paint ~ from Michaels
4) Vinegar and water
5) A kitchen sponge

     Now, I have to admit this DIY involved a little improv and trial and error.  The way you make the classic silver mercury glass is with Looking Glass Spray, but Michael's was out, and I wanted to make gold ones anyway.  So, I bought gold metallic spray and decided to wing it!

Step One:

Spray the votives on the inside with gold spray paint.  Make sure to shake the can well before you use it, and in between sprays.  Start your spray on the drop cloth or paper you laid out first, and then do a quick pass on the votive.  Spray about an inch away from the votive in a circular motion.  The shorter the spray the better.  It's always better to use the "less is more" approach when it comes to spray paint, so you don't end up with streaks and drips.  Once you spray the votive, wipe around the top edge to get off any extra paint that may have gathered.  Do about 3-4 coats, taking a couple minutes to let it dry in between each.  
*Helpful tip: When you are done using spray paint give it a few sprays upside down to clean the nozzle, so the paint doesn't dry in it, and it's ready to use for next time.

Step 2: 

This is where the trial and error part started.  When you use the correct type of paint, you put 1 part vinegar and 1 part water on a paper towel and rub it on the paint until it begins to chip and flake off.  The vinegar did not eat through the gold metallic spray I used, but I do think it weakened it, so I still used it, but I pulled out a kitchen sponge from under my sink and used the rough side to scratch away paint.  That worked great.
If I were to do it again, I would have cut the sponge so that it was a smaller more controllable piece. 

Step 3:


Drop candles in the votives and enjoy!


LLLove,
Jen

Monday, August 13, 2012

Words to Live By


     First of all I love Oscar Wilde, and secondly I love this quote!  I live in LA where I feel like a lot of people get pressured to be and act a certain way.  I strongly believe that God made each and every one of us uniquely different and special with different gifts and talents to share with the world, why stunt that by trying to be a carbon copy of someone else?  Jen and I find that we get pressured when we see super cute blogs, and want to mimic what they do, but then we just say "we are who we are" and we try to stay true to what we like and what makes us, us.  So be your beautiful self, you are one of a kind!


LLLove,
Jess

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Balloon Decor Inspiration

     One of our fabulous readers asked us for ideas for a Balloon Themed Baby Shower, and we are happy to help!  We love the theme "Up, Up, and Away ... A Baby On the Way," and the theme "About to POP!" 
     How much do you LLLove these invitations by Cardtopia Designs on Etsy, and this cute hot air balloon themed dessert table we found on Everything Pretty.
     photos via here, here, here, here, and here

     We think balloons are such a fun and big impact decor idea!  You can simply substitute balloons for flowers.  And we are a little obsessed with the 36" round balloons!!! Just a little tip though, if you are planning on using the 36" round balloons, they are cheap to buy at Party City, but it takes about half a tank of helium to fill just one balloon.
     photos via here, here, here, here, and here

     And balloons are becoming fancy enough for Weddings and big events too!  We LLLove all the bride and groom pictures we've been seeing with balloons, including the cute "XO" balloons above.  Another cute idea, is for the bride to take photos carrying a bunch of balloons, and even heart shaped balloons for wedding photos or an engagement shoot.
photos via here, here, here, and here

     We love the idea of having a mimosa or champagne bar with balloons as "bubbles" backdrop.  And how cute is the above DIY balloon invitation, curtesy of Edyta Photography Blog.  We also are loving the wall of balloons, and you can find the DIY tutorial for the glitter balloons, here.

     No matter what the occasion, balloons give you a big bang for your buck, and will be sure to blow your guests away!


LLLove,
Jen & Jess