party : unexpected guests

The idea of unexpected or last-minute guests even freaks out the Martha Stewarts among us. But if you have some entertaining tricks up your sleeves, you can say of course! come on over! without a second thought or much prep.

One of my personal tricks? The cheese plate.

All these bites were in my fridge or pantry. Seriously, I bet you have at least one type of cheese, some fruit, some lunch meat and nuts!

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This is a great idea if people come over before you’re done cooking, or if you need to supplement a menu with something quick and easy! Add a cocktail, and you’ve got yourself a serious spread.

xo, S.

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things we love : daytrips

The last few months have been pretty crazy for me, so Roland and I decided to take a daytrip in the middle of the week. Rachel suggested Saint Helena in Napa Valley – it’s a bit quieter than Napa and Sonoma, so we plotted out an adventure!

Saint Helena is a little over an hour from Oakland, so we stopped at the Oxbow Public Market in Napa.

Then we did two tastings – one at Whitehall Lane and one at Cuvaison. Both were really enjoyable, and we had each place to ourselves, so we both got to learn a lot!

We had a late, super-indulgent lunch at Goose & Gander in Saint Helena. This place was awesome as you can see!

No daytrip is complete without a little detour into the Big City across the Bay. We went to Ocean Beach where we had our first date and where we got engaged, then grabbed some coffee at Four Barrel before heading home.

I definitely recommend Saint Helena if you’re in the Bay Area, but wherever you are, treat yourself to some time off to relax!

xo, S.

eat & drink : perfect pasta

I love pasta.  It’s so easy to make and there are so many different combinations you can use!

ImageThis is one of my favorites!  Penne with sausage, fennel and pecorino.  Click here for the recipe!

ImageThis time I used Aidell’s Italian sausage and cut it into small bite-sized pieces, rather than buying Italian sausage in casings.  It has great flavor!

ImageImageI’m telling you . . . everything about this dish is delicious!  From the sausage and fennel soaked with chicken broth to the sage and pecorino that perfectly finish this pasta!  It’s really a great “fall” pasta, but I like it any time of year!

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xo, R.

home & garden : seeing green

This weekend, Rachel and I went to one of our favorite San Leandro spots – Evergreen Nursery!

Seriously, they have such a great selection of seeds, veggies, flowers, trees – whatever you need! and the staff is so knowledgeable & friendly!

Now that I’m in a gardenless apartment, I’m venturing into the arena of houseplants. The staff helped me pick out some plants that thrive with medium light (which is what we get).

(this lime green pothos plant is my favorite – it makes our apartment more like a jungle!)

I also got some flowers for our teeny-tiny balcony!

xo, S.

things we love : inventive wallpaper

I always love it when the Anthropologie catalog arrives in my mailbox, but this time, I was especially impressed with the storytelling and the styling throughout the spring issue.

Especially eye-catching was this inventive seafoam and pink backdrop that looks to be made of graph paper!


It got me thinking about inventive ways of wall papering, especially if you’re a renter & need to figure out a temporary, removable solution. I’ve got some cabinets & walls in my apartment that are serious eyesores. Here are 3 cool ideas I found that can transform the look of a wall without upsetting your landlord.

1. Super-awesome & imaginative temporary wallpapers by Grow House Grow.

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2. Makeshift wallpaper made from photo prints by A Beautiful Mess.

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3. Sweet wall decal by Surface Collective.

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I’m still not sure how I’m going to deal with my eyesore, but now I have some inspiration. I’m sure you’ll see the project I end up choosing!

xo, S.

Ps, a bonus video on using temporary wallpaper from Grow House Grow – awesome tip!

things we love : belize

I recently returned from a trip to Belize and let me tell you… that country is amazing! I love it there! We spent a few days in San Ignacio, which feels a little like the jungle and the remainder of the trip in San Pedro, which is a lively little beach town on the Caribbean Sea.  The country is so vibrant, the people are incredibly friendly, the food is delicious and there are so many awesome things you can do there!  Here are a few photographs from our adventure!

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Unbelizeable, right?  I can’t wait to go back someday!

make : pantry jars

Before we dive into this post, thank you for waiting for us! Back in October, we accidentally lost all our content (by “we”, I mean ME), and then were swamped in the best way with preparations for my wedding!

We decided to wait until after the wedding and Rachel’s big vacation (I’m sure you’ll be reading about that soon!) to start updating the blog again (and this time, we’re totally going to back it up, so we never lose it again!).

We’re more excited than ever to be bringing you inspiring content every week – we hope you love it!

xo, R & S.

I recently moved into my newlywed nest. Now that the major unpacking and rearranging of furniture is done, I am working on the details and organization.

Roland & I love that we can buy dry goods in bulk from our local grocery stores, but all the bags in the pantry were becoming quite a mess! I found a case of quart-size canning jars at Pete’s Hardware to help contain our nuts & grains!

Originally, I was just going to organize the dry goods in the jars, but I had some leftover chalkboard paint from my wedding (which I’ll be blogging about soon!), so I decided to make labels for the jars that could be easily erased as the contents change.

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Here’s the finished product!

Painting on glass takes some patience. I used blue to tape to mark off the rectangle and did 3 coats. Don’t try to glob it all on, or you’ll get drips. I also used a razor blade to clean up any little smudges.

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I’m so much happier when I look in my pantry, and even more inspired to use the dry goods since I know exactly what I have. I hope this is the first of many organizational projects in my new nest!

xo, S.