Colorful Candy Stripes Desktop Wallpaper (Free Download)

March 11, 2016

candy-colorful-stripes-imac-wallpaper

Happy Friday!!

How was your week? The past couple of weeks for me have been so busy which explains my absence here (whoopsies!), but don’t worry – I’m back on this lovely Friday to share another FREE colorful geometric desktop wallpaper to cheer you up and get you inspired. 🙂

Easter is just a couple of weeks away and whether or not you celebrate it, I always feel that this time of year is so positive and exciting because the weather is getting warmer, the sun is out longer (btw, set your clocks forward this weekend, guys!!), and there are so many fun activities popping up. So to honor the season, I made sure this wallpaper had the sweet, pastel colors you always think of when it comes to the Easter Bunny and/or spring time. 🙂

Go here to download this wallpaper for:
Widescreen (iMac) | Standard | iPad

colorful-stripes-ipad-wallpaper

*Please note that this is a free download for personal use only. thanks! 🙂

If you like this type of modern, geometric design, check out my other free downloads that have that same feel!

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

Sriracha Bacon Fried Rice

February 25, 2016

sriracha-bacon-fried-rice

A lot of the recipes I post here are more on the creative side or for those days where you want to try something new with ingredients that you either use all the time or maybe want to experiment with. Today though, I’m sharing a recipe that isn’t really either of those. Instead, this recipe (or something very similar to it) is something that I whip up every couple of weeks or so in our house when I want to keep it simple and relatively cheap – fried rice!

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Read, Love & Listen // 04

February 19, 2016

geometric-gemstone-abstract

Happy Friday!

How was your week? I felt great after the long weekend last week, but every time I come back to work from a longer-than-normal weekend (even just one extra day off!) it messes up my workflow so much. Does that happen to you? Anyways, now that we’re really into 2016, I’m at the point where I really want to start tackling some bigger projects I’ve been putting off now that I don’t have the excuse of holidays / bad weather to hold me back anymore (fingers crossed we’re done with snow storms for the year!). This painting you see above is a sneak peak into one of those projects that I’m talking about.  If you’re interested, feel free to follow me on instagram where I post day-to-day moments, my workspace and artwork like this!

This weekend we’re going out to celebrate a friend’s going away (back home to Brazil!) and other than that, probably going to do a lot of relaxing at home and maybe pick out a new show to binge watch. Let me know if you have any suggestions! In the meantime, here are a few things I’m reading, loving and listening to lately:

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DIY Abstract Watercolor and Gold Painted Mousepad

February 11, 2016

DIY-abstract-watercolor-painted-mousepad

I finally did it guys! I finally have a new mousepad. I’ve needed a new mousepad for the longest time and it’s one of those things that I didn’t see as a necessity (I already have a wrist rest and surprisingly, a notebook works rather nicely as a makeshift mousepad 😛 ) and it’s also something that, for me, is SO boring to shop for. Computer accessories = major snoozefest. But what I noticed lately was that I was feeling more and more uninspired by my workspace lately, and being a marketer/writer and creative-type who works mainly from home, that’s not a good thing. I knew I needed to add something colorful and inspiring to my workspace immediately(!) and that’s how the idea for this mousepad was born.

DIY-Abstract-watercolor-and-gold-mousepad

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Pink and Gold Geometric Desktop Wallpaper (Free Download)

February 5, 2016

pink-gold-geometric-imac-wallpaper

Happy Friday!

We’re getting tons of snow over here and not the light and fluffy kind, so needless to say I am hunkering down indoors and trying my best to stay warm and cheery. If you’re wondering what that entails, for me that would be wearing a big cozy scarf at my desk, drinking lots of hot beverages, and throwing together this bright desktop wallpaper! 🙂

If you know me, you already know my obsession with geometric patterns, white and gold, so this is just another little free download in my typical style but with some pink in honor of Valentine’s Day, of course! (feel free to check out my other freebies)

Enjoy!

Download this wallpaper for: Widescreen (iMac) / Standard / iPad

pink-gold-geometric-ipad-wallpaper

*Please note that this is a free download for personal use only. thanks! 🙂

What are your plans for the weekend? We have a dinner reservation with friends this evening as well as a weekend full of plans, so I have my fingers crossed that the weather lightens up by then!!

Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by!

Shrimp Scampi Linguine with Zucchini and Parmesan

February 2, 2016

15-minute-shrimp-linguine-recipe-valentines-dish-idea

It’s February now, guys, so you know what that means – Valentine’s Day is coming! I’m admittedly not one of those people who is anti-commercial holiday, because although I do absolutely agree with the argument that you don’t need to designate one day of the year to be romantic and show your love to your loved one(s), no one’s telling you that you can’t be romantic all year AND celebrate Valentine’s Day. It might not have as deep a historical significance as Christmas and Thanksgiving, but hey, why not have a little fun with it, right? 🙂 The main thing for me though, is to do it your own way. Flowers, hallmark cards, chocolates and grand gestures are nice, but the best Valentines are the ones where you convey your love in a sincere way that’s true to your relationship.

For Dave and I, we’ve almost always celebrated Valentine’s Day with an intimate meal at home to avoid the madness and to keep it laid back. In general, I’m the main (ahem, only) cook in the house, so in previous years Dave has transformed our living room into a little “bistro” and treated me to a fancy dinner that he makes from scratch, which have been so amazing especially considering he rarely ever cooks (he’s just not a huge fan of it!). Since this coming Valentine’s Day is the first time in a long time that me and Dave are actually going to celebrate with a dinner out at a nice restaurant, I wanted to re-make one of my favorite Valentine’s Day dishes he’s made for me for in the past – Shrimp Scampi Linguine.

Shrimp-scampi-linguine-valentines-day-dinner

The actual meal he made that inspired this dish was a traditional Shrimp Scampi Linguine with Baked Zucchini Chips as an appetizer, which were both SO GOOD. In remaking the linguine dish, I decided to mix it up by combining those two dishes to make this Shrimp Scampi Linguine with Zucchini and Parmesan. The big bonus about this dish is that it’s decadent and sophisticated enough for a special dinner, but yet comes together so fast – 15 minutes to be exact! Scampi typically has white wine in it, but since I don’t usually have white wine on hand (that I’m willing to spare for cooking… 😉 ), this recipe does not need it. This would be a perfect dish to serve for Valentine’s Day, or any at-home dinner date with friends or your sweetie!

Ingredients:

-1 zucchini, cut into thin half-moons
-1 pound fresh shrimp (about 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined
-3/4 pound of linguine pasta
-3 tablespoons of olive oil
-4 tablespoons of butter
-2 tablespoons minced garlic
-1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
-1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
-1/4 cup shredded parmesan
-salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot of salted water, cook linguine according to package directions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, melt butter and olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and zucchini, season with salt and pepper and sauté for 2 minutes or until garlic is lightly browned and zucchini starts to become translucent.
  3. Add shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 3-5 minutes or just until the shrimp starts to turn pink. Turn off the heat and add lemon juice, chopped parsley, shredded parmesan and red pepper flakes, mixing it all together.
  4. Once the pasta is done, drain and toss it into the pot with the rest of the ingredients. Serve and enjoy!

 

Shrimp-scampi-linguine-valentines-day-dish

What are your plans for this Valentine’s Day? Are you going out or celebrating at home?

Thanks for stopping by!

 

DIY XOXO Clay Pendant Necklace

January 27, 2016

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Do you have a type of project or medium that you’ve never tried before but have been wanting to try for a long time? For me, that medium has always been air dry clay. Sure, I’ve done some sculpting when I was younger in school art classes and just last year I took a Japanese pottery class which was so much fun (and surprisingly difficult!), but I haven’t revisited clay for any projects ever since. I’ve had a package of air dry clay sitting on my shelf for months and I am determined to change this!

So yeah, while I have never tried air dry clay before, from what I’ve heard it’s incredibly easy to work with and so convenient since, duh, no baking required! I told myself I would try at least one small project with it so I thought what better time to dive into it than right before Valentine’s Day? Whether you have a significant other or not, if you’re ever going to make something small, cute and handmade, I say now is the time to do it! 🙂

diy-clay-necklace-valentines-gift

I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, real or costume, and I really only have a few key pieces that I wear on a regular basis which were all gifts to me from my husband. However, every so often I’ll get the urge to wear a colorful bracelet or a cute pendant necklace to change things up and I’ve noticed that I only ever gravitate towards very subtle designs and/or unique details. So for this project, I thought to myself – if I were to give myself a piece of jewelry for Valentine’s day, what would I want it to be? This pink and gold XOXO Pendant Necklace was what I came up with and I have to say, I really love how it turned out! You don’t need any sculpting skills to make it and you can make it any color you like.

Learn how to make this necklace for yourself or your Valentine!:

valentines-day-necklace-diy

Materials: 1-2″ ball of air dry clay / small rolling pin / X and O letter cutters / all purpose craft adhesive / acrylic paint / small paint brush / jump rings / necklace chain with clasp / jewelry pliers / embroidery needle (or similar thin pointed object)

Directions:

1. Roll out your clay until it’s an even thickness, about 1/8 of an inch.

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2. Press out 2 X’s and 2 O’s using your X and O letter cutters.

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3. Gently remove the excess clay and clean up any rough edges of your letters. You can use your embroidery needle (or similar object, like a toothpick) to help remove the middle of the O’s and to smooth out your letters.

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4. With your needle, poke a hole at the top left corner of one of the X’s and at the top right corner of one of your O’s. This is where you will place jump rings to connect your letters to your necklace chain.

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This is what you should have so far! Let these letters dry completely. I left mine to dry for 2+ hours, which is much less time than most clay projects simply because these letters are quite small!

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5. Once your letters are dry, paint them in the colors that you like.

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Set them aside again so the paint can dry.

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6. Glue each of your letters together and then let them dry one last time.

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7. Using your jewelry pliers (I actually used two, one to hold the jump ring and one to bend it), put jump rings through each of the holes you placed on the X and the O.

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8. Add your necklace chain to each end, and then you’re done!

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Oh and since this project uses the tiniest bit of clay in your typical package, here’s a quick clay storage tip: Wrap any unused clay that you want to save with saran wrap or plastic wrap and then place that into a ziplock bag. Make sure you press all of the air out of the ziplock before you seal it. I also then roll the bag onto itself and place a rubber band over it. As an extra step, you can also place the ziplock bag into a mason jar (or multiple jars) and close the top.

Now you can use as little or as much of your block of clay that you want and still have a way to keep the rest useable!

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diy-clay-pendant-necklace-xoxo

After this project I am slightly obsessed with air dry clay and can’t believe I waited so long to use it! Does this inspire you to make your own DIY necklace? What other types of pendants can you think of?

Thanks for stopping by!

Style Board: 2016 Pantone® Color of the Year

January 22, 2016

PANTONE-Big-Chill-Rose-Quartz-Stove-Style-board copyretro stove / cookware set / pendant light / light kitchen / paint colors / dining table / chair
succulents / bar cart / house plants / touchless trash can / flatweave rug

This year and for the first time, PANTONE picked two instead of one color for their 2016 Colors of the Year, Rose Quartz and Serenity, which were chosen to convey rosy warmth and tranquility. I love what these pastel-y colors represent and the fact that they’re softer – a departure from the bolder, more saturated colors that PANTONE has chosen in the past (see past PANTONE Color of The Year picks below). I am also extra partial to these calming shades because they are pretty close to the colors in my banner up above, don’t you think? I must be doing something right! 🙂

PANTONE-past-colors-of-the-year

A decade of Pantone’s colors of the year. PANTONE

Anyways, it was probably a big step for PANTONE to go from one color choice to two since they’ve been choosing just one since the 60s(!), but picking two complimentary shades rather than one color just makes so much more sense. It’s way more inclusive and provides a ton more opportunities with design, and I guess that’s exactly what the folks at PANTONE thought too! I can’t wait to see what the home decor, fashion, and design worlds are going to do with these two colors in the coming year.

There’s one homeware company though, that I know is already working the two new colors of the year into their designs in a big way and that’s Big Chill. Big Chill is known for making ultra cool retro-style refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, wall ovens, hoods, etc, (see their cookware here) in tons of awesome colors, but the one I’m especially drawn to is their pink lemonade option that is strikingly close to PANTONE’s Rose Quartz. If you follow my K I T C H E N pinterest board, you already know that I’m obsessed with all kinds of different kitchen styles, and so this style board was a fun little design challenge to come up with a kitchen style that went with a pink stove (but wasn’t overly feminine)! This is absolutely what my dream pink-accented kitchen would look like.

Would you get a brightly colored stove or refrigerator? Which color would fit into your kitchen design?

Thanks for stopping by and happy Friday!!!

2016 Goal Planning Worksheet (Free Printable)

January 19, 2016

2016-goal-planner-worksheet-free-printable

It feels like not long ago we were celebrating the new year, but just like that we’re already half-way through January! Can you believe it? I have mixed feelings about January: though beginnings are always great and I love that I’ve gotten to celebrate some loved ones’ birthdays this first month of the new year, there’s just so much to look forward to and plan for in the coming weeks and months that it can get really stressful. To make my life a little easier in this regard, I’ve made a more concerted effort to be organized by getting a legit 2016 creative planner, doing a massive clean out of things I don’t need, and finally tackling some projects that I’ve been putting off for a while. I would like to say it’s all been easy-peasy so far, but it definitely has not!

One thing that really helps me, though, when I run into a creative block or find myself unmotivated or when I’m just generally stuck in a rut is to write out my long and short-term goals on a new piece of paper, even if I’ve already written them down somewhere. Is that weird? Even if it is, it’s just very cathartic for me to write things out and visualize things and that’s kind of where this simple, single-page 2016 Printable Goal Planning Worksheet came about.

2016-printable-goal-planning-worksheet

I intended for this to be just something for my own use, but I thought it was so cute that I figured I’d share it with you guys! This is a great little organizational worksheet to have on hand to write down your goals a single time and hang where you can see it, or if you want, since it’s printable, you can print it out multiple times throughout the year.

Download your Free Printable 2016 Goal Planning Worksheet. Enjoy!

*Please note that this is a free download for personal use only. thanks! 🙂

free-printable-2016-planner-worksheet

What helps you stay motivated towards your short and long-term goals?

Thanks for stopping by!

Hearty Winter Vegetable Salad with Sweet Dijon Shallot Dressing

January 15, 2016

winter-vegetables-salad

Happy Friday!!

I mentioned earlier this month that I was making a few small health resolutions for this year – which include drinking less coffee and more tea and eating more fruits and veggies – and I’m happy to say they haven’t been hard to keep at all! I knew from the start that these simple, straightforward resolutions would be way easier to keep than making one big, ambitious resolution but since they’re things that I’m truly committed to and that make me feel good, it’s just a nice feeling to have kept the promises I’ve made to myself. How have you been doing with your new year’s resolutions?

Anyways, today I wanted to share this hearty winter vegetable salad with a sweet dijon shallot dressing that I made recently that really hit the spot. There was a stretch of time last year that I ate homemade salads (and dressings) everyday for lunch using whatever combination of things I had in the kitchen and this salad looks a lot like something I would throw together. This time though, I made it a point to use ingredients that are very winter appropriate like sweet potato, brussels sprouts, shallots, and cranberries. It’s rounded out with some nutty parmesan cheese, savory bacon, and an addictive shallot and dijon dressing that I seriously think would go well with any salad (it’s that good!). The end result is super delicious and satisfying, which is exactly what you strive for in a salad but don’t always get!

winter-vegetable-salad

Ingredients:
For the salad:
1-1.5 cups of baby spinach
1/2 cup brussel sprouts, shaved or finely sliced
1/2 cup sweet potato, finely sliced and sautéed in oil for 3-5 minutes
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup bacon, chopped and cooked
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
For the dressing:
1 shallot, minced and sautéed in oil for 2-3 minutes
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. As with any salad the first step is cutting and prepping your ingredients and, for this one, separately cooking first, your shallots, then bacon, and then sweet potato.
2. As you wait for your bacon and sweet potato to cool, make your dressing by combining your cooked shallots with the remaining dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mixing together.
3. Put all of your salad ingredients in a bowl, top with dressing and enjoy!

salad-with-winter-vegetables

Do you try to incorporate seasonal vegetables into your cooking these days?

Thanks for stopping by!