If your looking for a little something extra to add to your outfit on a date, seduce your lover or gift to your bestie this Valentines day your in the right place. And just because this is our 2nd annual Valentines day selects published (we’re celebrating 1 year at BBS this week) I found 20 really special items with HEARTS GALORE!

…and last minute this morning I saw some really cute stuff at Anthropologie (of course!) that I didn’t include in the lookbook above, but is worth a glance!

•••

final_4This look says it all!

If you have not noticed,  we have not been serving up new content this January season. I have to admit that January is not my favorite time of the year. I have a habit of burring my head in the sand in January and catching up the latest HBO series, sleeping in late and overall lacking both creativity and motivation. It does not help that the darkness sets in before the end of the workday and my household seems to always be catching one cold after another. This January the days turned into weeks and finally I decided that I had to dig myself out of the darkness (with some help of great friends and family).

I also realized that I need this blog as a  creative outlet more than I expected and in-order to get back into the grove I had to find my creativity again after the drain of Holidays and motivate for my own sanity and personal mental well-being.

Strawberry Blonded’s face above summarized my mood this January and I am so happy to say that the smile and creativity has rushed back into my soul. The days are getting longer, the sun is shinning and I am so grateful for the laughter this little one brings me everyday. She cheers up my dark days and I am now ready to embrace 2015.

final_2

As my first real post of 2015, I wanted to acknowledge soft shades of color that are trending this early spring. I love the soft pinks that are so neutral they mix with just about everything in your wardrobe. I am especially drawn to the contrast of soft pinks mixed and matched with gray.

I found this wool woven coat at Zara semi-annual sale (sold-out) and loved it as a transitional piece for Strawberry Blonded.

Unfortunately, she thinks it is a bit itchy!

It was effortless to pair this woven coat with her gray moto jeans that she has worn out practically.   Her Gray UGG Boots are just too easy to throw on as we walk out the door. Plus she can put them on her self.  The best part of these pictures are that she finally has hair long enough for a messy bun (four years in the making).

final+6We made it though January!  And we are both smiling.   Much more to come in February.

final_6

 

•••

> GINGER GREYHOUND / February 4, 2015
Written by Posted in Eat + Drink Comments 1

final_1Deal of the week 10 for $10 grapefruits!

It is that time of year again, citrus season. My favorite part of citrus season really is fresh squeezed greyhounds as known in our household as “healthys”. There is really nothing more refreshing than fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. When grapefruits are fresh they are a brilliant pink and the citrus scent is intoxicating.  It is a luxury to sip on fresh squeezed greyhounds and at a dollar each,  I will be serving up a Ginger Greyhound for happy hour this weekend.

Ginger Greyhound

Ingredients:   to make a bigger batch – squeeze grapefruits first and store in pitcher.  Nobody can stop at just one!

Grapefruit // Ginger (1” root /peeled) // Lime (wedge) //Rosemary (fresh) // Agave Nectar or simple sugar // Vodka // Ice

Prepare:

Muddle: Ice, ginger, lime wedge, 1” fresh sprig of rosemary

Transfer: remove excess ginger, lime wedge and rosemary sprig and transfer muddle to cocktail grass, add more ice

Pour: 1 shot of vodka on top and add ½ cup of Grapefruit juice. Top off with a teaspoon of Agave Nectar (stir)

 Garnish: Wedge of lime and 6” sprig of fresh rosemary

final3

•••

> NEW GOODS ON ESTY / February 4, 2015
Written by Posted in Design Comments 0

final_1We have finally updated our Etsy Site with a few new designs for Spring.  We are constantly adding new items  so if you don’t see anything that fits your needs today – check back.  You can also shoot us a email and place an order directly from us.

Enjoy!

•••

final_5_FRAs we move deeper into January, the weather seems to be getting colder on both the West and East Coast. Coming off our Holiday visit in France and Germany, Strawberry Blonded leaned a valuable lesson  – how to bundle up for the cold weather. While we were abroad the average temperature never drifted above forty degrees. Growing up in San Francisco, this cold snap meant having to layer up every time you left the apartment. This is something new for us and took some practice.  By the third day in France, Strawberry Blonded leaned to embrace the cold weather and layer up with a hat, scarf, wool jacket and leg warmers.  She insisted on getting all bundled up in the hallway (not to get to hot inside) and absolutely fell in love with wearing mittens.  Once she realized that she could be outside and still be warm, she embraced the extra layers and the cold weather.

final_6_FR

Final_3_FR

I have had a difficult time writing this blog post because these shots were taken in Paris at the Luxembourg Gardens. Given the recent terrorist attack in Paris, I am finding it challenging to write about such an amazing place. My heart goes out to the city and the country and I feel especially connected after just visiting Paris a week before the attack.

The day these photos were taken was a beautiful cold winter day in the gardens and the sun was shinning bright.  Strawberry Blonded was recovering from a bad cold most of the trip and it was the first real day that she got back her energy and just wanted to run free. I loved watching her run though the gardens laughing enjoying her Parisian moment. She would run past the camera and yell ‘Merci’!

Accessories: GAP KIDS // Jacket: Janie and Jack // Shoes: UGG Australia

Final_FR_6

After the gardens we ran into a old carousel that was free to ride, and we all took turns ridding around and around, laughing and snapping photos. Strawberry Bonded could have ridden her horse all day – but eventually we made her get off to get some lunch!

I wish I had more photos to share from this amazing Holiday adventure both in Paris and Germany, but what I found was that I just wanted to live it outside of taking photos and documenting every moment. I wanted to be in the moment and enjoy Paris – the sights, the smell, the art and architecture. It took me thirty-five years to get there and I wanted to selfishly enjoy every second with the family. We walked the city from side to side (15 miles a day), enjoyed the Christmas markets, ate at recommended bistros, climbed the Eiffel Tower and shopped French labels.  It was a magical trip that feels like a dream.

final_1_FR

•••

final_2

Growing up,  the holiday treats would start to arrive the middle of December.   My grandmother had a way of sending the best Christmas treats and we would look forward to getting them in the mail. There were the most delicious roasted peanuts, syrup straight from Vermont and Sweet Sloop (Harbor Sweets). The Sweet Sloops were my absolute favorite – I would rip open the box and have two or three before handing them over for everybody to enjoy.

While I was looking though my cookbooks this Holiday season, I remembered how much I loved that butter crunch toffee sloops and decided that I wanted to make homemade caramels to gift this holiday season. I was planing on sending out a bunch of gifts and wanted to make them personal by including a homemade holiday treat.

Full disclosure –  I have had a few caramel fails. I just started to make candy and so it took a few attempts to get this one right. I even tested out a few different recipes and landed on Ina Garten’s Fleur De Sel Caramels. They only take about fifteen minutes to make and then they have to set for a couple of hours. These caramels are the perfect balance of creamy and salty all in one bite.  They wrap up great in parchment and are easy to ship.  I have even made  a few extra batches to have in the house for guest during the season.

final_1

FLEUR DE SEL CARAMELS (Ina Garten’s recipe) 

Ingredients: 

–  1/4 cup light corn syrup
–  1 cup heavy cream
–  5 tablespoons unsalted butter
– 1 teaspoon fine fleur de sel, plus extra for sprinkling
– 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions
Prep: A baking pan with parchment paper (covering the sides) and brush the paper lightly with oil.

Boil:  In a deep saucepan (6 inches wide and 4 1/2 inches deep), combine 1/4 cup water, the sugar and corn syrup and bring them to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until the mixture is a warm golden brown.

Heat: In the meantime, in a small pot, bring the cream, butter and 1 teaspoon of fleur de sel to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Finish: When the sugar mixture is done, turn off the heat and slowly add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Be careful — it will bubble up violently. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches 248 degrees F (firm ball) on a candy thermometer.

Fill: Very carefully (it’s hot!) pour the caramel into the prepared pan and refrigerate for a few hours, until firm.

Roll, Cut & Wrap:  Starting with a long side, roll the caramel up tightly into an 8-inch-long log and then cut into pieces. Lastly, wrap with parchment.
final_4Happy Cooking!

•••

IMG_0861

The most cold, damp and magical winter white town I have been that sits at sea level. Due to a last minute change in the World Cup schedule I got my ticket the day before I left. It took me 24 hours to get here from Park City… 4 planes later and an hour drive through the middle of nowhere, which I was told resembled the backroads of New Hampshire, I arrived at a cheerful bright lit up city. I realized a couple days in that it was so lit up because in the winter months it only sees daylight from sunrise sometime around 9:30 am and sunset sometime around 3:00 pm (and because of all the Christmas lights!) When it is the daylight hours it’s not a bright everyday sunlight. The sun stays low behind the mountains or clouds, making the first few hours of light a beautiful dawn and the last few hours a fiery dusk. Over the weekend it was always a soft light until the darkness set in again by 4 PM. Fighting jet-lag was no easy task in these conditions, but I set out to explore the city as much as possible.

IMG_0864

I think I fell in love with Åre because of the friendliness of the locals (they speak perfect English, so it’s easy to chat with them), the amazing shopping and really really good food all within small walking distance in the center of the ski in and ski out city center! I had one of the best dinners of the trip at the Liten Krog (the Reindeer was delicious!!!) right off the square and a couple doors down from a fun bar called Broken, that also served really good American bar food.

IMG_0931

Outside each little shop were some chairs with soft furs, candles or small fire pits. It had a way of making it look even more inviting to come inside and get warm. In all of the windows hung large stars, reefs or candelabras lighting. I would have bought so much more home decorations if I could have carried them home and was inspired to shop at Ikea when I get back!

IMG_0870

A couple mornings I found myself in the Åre Bageri which was a cozy cafe coffee shop at the edge of town. They served amazing pastries, sandwiches and great coffee! I kept going back for the sandwiches for lunch.

IMG_0909

I spent a couple evenings at the Åregarden hotel which I can only imagine has amazing accommodations. I went there to meet friends for a drink at their cozy lobby bar and went back to go to their Vinbaren wine bar.  The wine bar was also cozy and had an extensive amount of a wine selection and very friendly bar tenders. They let us try copious amounts and told us the hotel started first with the wine bar.

IMG_0930

One of the night while at the Åregarden bar I learned about the Swedish common phrase/moto LAGOM which means “Just enough,” “Not too much or too little,” “Just right,” “Enough to go around,” or “Fair share.” I thought it made perfect sense about my experience from the women’s amazing style with black and furs to the Christmas decorations in the windows, the decor in fancy hotel lobbies, the simple red houses, overall architecture and the openness of the locals to tourist. It was beautiful in Åre in just the right simple fitting kind of way!

photo

Åre sits on at the base of a rolling mountain on the edge of a frozen lake (see it to the right pictured above). One afternoon we rented skates to go out on the lake. The nice guy we rented the skates from told us on a good year the lake is frozen from Oct until May. The skates were similar to a snowboarding boot and then a very long blade part that we buckled the boot into. It took me a while to get a feel for them to actually start moving fast.

IMG_0894The shop told us we had to wear these ice picks around our neck with an attached yellow whistle (pictured below) in case we fell through the ice. This was unsettling, but he told me it was only precautionary and wasn’t likely to happen. Once we got to the lake there was a clear path that some sort of ice mover must have created, so I stayed on it because I was too scared to venture off otherwise!

IMG_0889We skated until it was dark out at 4 pm. The lake was still lit up bright from the lights reflecting on it from the ski hill and town.

IMG_0883 …3:45 PM looking back on the city!

IMG_0895

…next stop Italy and I’ve got to catch a flight….I really hope I make it back here someday!

•••

> SANTA’S LITTLE HELPER / December 13, 2014
Written by Posted in Eat + Drink Comments 0

santa's little helperIt is crunch time – the final countdown to Christmas!

Gifts still need to be wrapped and holiday treats still need to be cooked.  It is the time of the year where there are people everywhere, slow traffic and just overall heightened anxiety.  With the final few weeks left this Holiday season, I just want to sit back, admire the lights and the tree and enjoy the Holiday without worrying about what I need to do next.  With all this stress, it is time to whip up a Holiday favorite –  Santa’s Little Helper.   This  warm cinder is the perfect treat for this weekend.

It is great to make a few cups before bed or while you are up late assembling gifts for the kids or wrapping presents for family.

Santa’s Little Helper: 

  • 2 cups of Apple Cider
  • 1/2 cup of spiced rum
  • 1/2 lemon squeezed (juice)
  • 1 tbs of honey
  • Lemon and cranberries as garnish (if you want to infuse cranberry into the cinder boil them along with all of the liquid)

Combine all of the ingredients into a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer – serve hot with cranberries and lemon.  You can also add cinnamon sticks, cloves and a touch of nutmeg.

santa's helper

Best of luck getting though your list this weekend and hopefully you will have some time to enjoy the Holiday season!

•••

> DECK THE HALLS / December 12, 2014
Written by Posted in Design Comments 0

option_2

This Holiday season my decor inspiration was rooted in handcrafted holiday elements mixed with vintage treasures. I went to Salvation Army two weeks before Thanksgiving and fell for stacks of pink, silver and gold ornaments that were all on discount.  I even found a few boxes of Shiny Brights!   I bought up the whole lot (everything I could find) and friend suggested I use them to create a vintage ornament wreath.   Multiple trips to The Salvation Army, Past Perfect, Shabata Floral  yielded just enough ornaments to tackle such a large project.  I wanted big impact, so I ended up with a 26″ Styrofoam wreath starter which produced a 30″ wreath!

Once I had finished the wreath, I was lucky enough to find a small snow village  from the 1950’s crafted in Japan.  It fit perfectly with my vintage ornaments and bottle brush trees.  Next year I am going to die my bottle brush trees fun colors, but this year I just ran out of time for that extra step.  I love the look of felted ball garland so  I decided to top off the mantel with a hand felted snowball garland piece.   I found out quickly that felting takes longer than it looks.  I am going to keep working on this garland piece and hopefully it will double in size next year.  Bellow is a quick guide to creating an ornament wreath and now it is time to sit back, sip on some cider and enjoy the Holiday decorations.

final_1DIY: Ornament Wreath

Materials needed:  Styrofoam Wreath started // tinsel // various size ornaments // hot glue gun

Part I:  The Hunt

As I mentioned above, I collected all of the ornaments at various Salvation Army locations, Antique markets, Flea markets and resources at the San Francisco Flower Mart.   I have already started a collection for next year.   It will take double the amount of ornaments you think you will need and you have to have all different sizes.

The bigger the wreath the smaller size ornaments you need because the small ornaments sizes act at the binding that keeps it all together.  Even with second hand ornaments, the wreath does get pricy so you are better looking for ornaments in the off season or buying the lot right after Christmas when everything is on sale.  I wanted to use mostly vintage ornaments because I love the way the glass ages, but you can really use anything and make these gorgeous wreaths.

orniment_wreath_1

Part II:  Assembly

1.  Wrap your Styrofoam wreath started with tinsel (this will help hold the first layer of ornaments)

2.  remove all the tops of the ornaments and discard

3. Heat the glue gun and apply hot glue to the edge of the ornament

4.  Start with the outside circle and then the inside circle as you build you may have to go back and add glue to the sides of the ornaments to get everything to stick together.  Don’t worry if it is not sticking perfect at this time the next layer will just reinforce the base.

5.  Keep adding ornaments (larger first) around the outside gluing both the base and the sides as you build the wreath.

6.  Fill in gaps with smaller ornaments. These will act as the binding that hold the whole wreath together.  Don’t be afraid to use more glue when you get the final small pieces.  You need the wreath to feel secure before you hang it.  Once you go to hang it you may notice that it feels loose in areas. You can go ahead and re-apply glue to any areas that may need to be reinforced.

– The final layer of ornaments you can see the best so it is fun to put the special ones on this layer (for example my vintage pine cones that I added at the top of the wreath).   This project can get frustrating and it will not feel finished until the end, but it is so much fun to put together and admire once it is up.  I can’t wait to work on my next one. I already have a collection for next year!

final_2

And if you need help – there is always Mr. and Mrs. Clause cheering you on!

option_3

•••

Christmas is RIGHT around the corner with the holidays in full swing. Between the traveling to see relatives and the social gatherings, have you had time to start crossing people off your list for presents? We are here to help having scoured all the online gift guides and pulled together the best presents into FOUR categories of gift guides below.

FOR YOUR BFF, CO-WORKER OR NEXT COOL GIRL NEXT DOOR: GIFTS UNDER $50

Because sometimes you just want to give a little something these fun gifts means you care in a fun loving way and you don’t have to blow the budget!

FOR THE MOST CHALLENGING GROUP TO FIND A GIFT FOR: THE MEN IN YOUR LIFE
The men in my life are the most simple creatures I know. When Christmas roles around they actually tell me they want nothing, which makes it even harder without being pointed in some direction. I have learned men love gifts they either find funny or functional.

FOR THE HARDEST GIFTS TO GIVE AWAY: THE WOMEN IN YOUR LIFE
My secret to shopping for the women in my life is buying them something I would buy for myself or like to get from someone else, simple as that. All of these items are on my own Xmas list!

FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE YOU CARE ABOUT THE MOST: THE KIDS IN YOUR LIFE           Kids are the most fun to shop for because the presents are just so cute. It’s hard to go wrong in this area. I love buying clothes or whatever the latest activity is that they really love doing or show they love watching. No matter what, it’s hard to go wrong in this department, but we have some cute things picked out below!

•••

BlondedByStyle.com