Tuesday, February 24, 2015

maternity vacay essentials

This weekend, Chase and I are heading to Scottsdale, AZ for a quick little getaway before the craziness (and fun!) of an OSJ spring/summer line launch, spring weddings, birthdays, and baby brother's arrival. We went to Scottsdale last year and loved it, so we decided to go back.  I can't wait to share our amenities, activities and some of my maternity outfits with you post-vacay.  More than anything, I'm just looking forward to sleeping in, eating breakfast  (my favorite meal!) slowwwwwly with Chase, and soaking in some sunshine poolside. Today, I thought I'd round up some essentials I'll be packing ((alongside some sunscreen and a floppy sunhat!)).

Free People Tunic: This flowy beauty will be perfect as a pool cover up and when we want to jet out for lunch, I can toss on some denim shorts or skinnies and be ready to go.

Sseko Bucket Bag: This will actually be baby brother's diaper bag, but I'm going to give it a little test-drive for our trip. It will be the only time it won't be filled with diapers,  toddler snacks, toy trucks and teething rings. 

Maternity Swimwear: I recently got this swimsuit top in mint because it actually covers my long torso/baby bump! It's a miracle. I mix and match with non-maternity bottoms and since I'll know not a soul at our hotel, I don't mind rocking a two piece to work on my tan ;) Not to mention, all women's swimwear is buy 1 get one 50% off right now online at target. Shop the sale here. 

Skinnies: A good ankle skinny jean is my go-to over shorts  - even in warm weather. These Paige ones look amazing, but I recently got these more affordable ones and they get the job done. Not my favorite jeans I've ever worn, but they'll do. ((my go-to maternity denim is this pair by AG. They're worth the price tag if you live in denim like I do))

Go-To Headwrap: OSJ headbands are perfect for going from poolside to a little shopping and a spring training game. 

Honorable mention: Kimono overlays for layering over these tanks with skinnies and my swimsuit. New fabrics available  soon at OSJ! 


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

a cookie recipe & a local cookie decorating class!

Hey y'all! Today's post is THREE in one. A recipe/guest post from my friend Lizzy for amazing sugar cookies, some royal icing techniques and an opportunity for some locals to take her cookie class this weekend! Bonus? These cookies were inspired by my Weekend (Coffee Donuts Repeat) Tee! How fun is that?

The class is in Boulder at The Cup on Pearl from 6-9 pm on Saturday (February 21st). I would love to see you there! You can sign up /buy your tickets here. There are limited seats available, so snatch yours up quickly. 

Here's a go-to recipe to add to your recipe tin. 

((for the cookies))
1# butter, room temperature
8 oz sugar
1 t salt
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
1# 8oz flour (approximately 3 cups, but I recommend you weigh it)

((for the royal icing))

    3 tablespoons Meringue Powder
    4 cups (about 1 lb.) confectioners' sugar
    5 tablespoons warm water
    food coloring of your choice (if you're using liquid versus gel, adjust your confectioner's sugar to keep it the same consistency)

    ((for the cookies))

    Cream together the butter, sugar, and salt until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.  It's really difficult to overcream butter and sugar, so don't stop until it is really pale.  Add your eggs and vanilla and beat until they are very well combined.  Finally, add your flour in three parts until just combined.  Be careful not to overmix it here, cause that can mess with how your cookie holds it's shape.  Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.  This dough can last in there for a week or so, too!

    Once your dough is chilled, flour your surface, your rolling pin, and the top of the disc of dough and start rolling!  Rolling it out to a smooth, consistent 1/4" thickness is ideal.  As you roll, lift the sides of your dough to make sure it isn't sticking to the counter, that'll get real annoying when you're cutting out your shapes.

    Pick a fun cookie cutter and cut out as many cookies as you'd like (remember you can save the dough for later if you don't need a whole batch immediately).  Use a spatula to get them off the counter without damaging their shape and place them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment.  I use my Silpat for cookies and it works like a dream.  Bake your cookies at 350 for 8-12 minutes.  You'll know they're done when the edges are just turning a golden brown.  The centers will still be pale.

    ((for the royal icing))
    There are a few different royal icing methods.  You can use a thicker icing to pipe the outline and a thinner one to fill it in, or you can do what I did here and make one medium thickness icing and use a slightly wet finger to smooth it over your cookie.

    To make the icing, you're just going to mix all of the listed ingredients together.  That's easy.  You'll know the consistency is right when you take a spoon to lift the icing and it rolls off of the spoon slowly and keeps the shape it pools in for at least 5 seconds.  I know this sounds very specific, but it needs to be stiff enough to hold the outline you draw, but maleable enough to be pushed around and smoothed.

    Once you've got a good consistency going on, either using a squeeze bottle or the smallest round tip you can find with a pastry bag (I use an Ateco 1 as my ideal tip) pipe your outline first.  Then fill in about 90% of the surface area within the outline, it's not important to be too exact.  Then dip your finger in water and gently push the icing around until it fills the entire outline.  Don't let your finger be too wet though, it'll mess with the color and look of your icing.

    To write on the icing as I've done here, I used food gel color and a very small paintbrush.  If you'll be doing any additional designs on your cookies, whether by writing on them or using more royal icing, you have to wait until they are completely hardened.  Put them in the fridge for at least an hour.


    If you want to learn more ((or are a visual learner like me)) and are a local in the Denver/Ft Collins/Boulder, don't miss Lizzy's class this weekend! Again, you can buy your tickets here. It will be so fun (and delicious!). 


    Thursday, February 12, 2015

    a little spring-time outfit inspiration

    We've had the most amazing weather the past few weeks. It heats up to upper sixties and then cools down for a snow day about once a week. Then it all melts off again and by the weekend we are in shorts playing at the park. It's such a tease, because I know the frigid temps and snow is just around the corner (it has to be, right?!), but I can't say that I'm not loving it! 

    Spring is my favorite season for outfitting because it allows for the best bright, colorful prints and layers.  I sized up in these boyfriend jeans to wear with my belly band to account for the bump. Typically, you'll want to size down in a true boyfriend denim.  I lived in these tanks when I was pregnant with Knox, and just bought a fresh batch. They're super long to account for my long torso and incredibly soft - I wear them when I'm not pregnant too ;) And finally, I love these three neutral accessories ((shoes + hat + scarf)) paired with a bright floral clutch. Perfection!

    *you can get 10% off these items/your entire order at shopriffraff.com with the code "ohsweetjoy"


    Wednesday, February 4, 2015

    Sponsor Highlight + Giveaway ((Featuring A Diva and 3 Dudes Design))

    It's been a while since we did a sponsor highlight + giveaway, but we've got some great sponsors this month and I'm excited to share this handmade business with you ((and giveaway below!)).

    "A Diva and 3 Dudes design started in 2009 as a way to channel my inner creativity and explore sharing my products with the world. We offer handmade camera strap covers and other photography accessories. I love trying new styles and color combinations and am always looking for a way to be innovative in my field, while staying true to my handmade roots. I enjoy the process of creating and hope to be a lifelong handmade artisan."

    Link Love:
    etsy // facebook

    Discount Code:
    15% off with the code "ohsweetjoy"

    Giveaway item:

    ((Win the above monogrammed camera strap with Lens Cap Pocket and your personalized initial))

    Want your small business  be featured on the Oh, Sweet Joy blog? Check out the advertising page here to sign up and let's get promoting your business! 


    Monday, February 2, 2015

    Valentine's Day Cards

    Because Valentine's Day is juuuuust around the corner, I thought I'd share some of my favorite handmade cards that I think you'll love. Don't forget about ordering deadlines, in case you want to snag some of these for yourself. Want more Valentine's Day goodness? Click here for some of our previous love day posts that cover outfits to heart shaped goodies.


    Friday, January 30, 2015

    ((on loyalty and hope))

    To be completely honest, it has been a really discouraging few weeks on the business side of Oh, Sweet Joy. I've gotten stiff-armed by countless boutiques, even ones I've worked hard to build a solid relationship with. Between passive and indecisive emails that just lead me on and don't give me a distinct answer, wholesale orders not being followed through with, being completely ignored and just all around bad timing with exciting opportunities that don't get to play out...I'm just feeling  defeated. I try so hard not to wrap my identity up in my brand...but I have to admit it's really difficult not to take things personally and not wear my heart on my sleeve. It's one of those situations where I'm like, "What does it even look like to find my identity in God? How does that tangibly play out in my life?"  I keep asking and pleading with the Lord, "What is it you're trying to show me and teach me here, God?" 

    And I still don't know. However, some things that keep coming to the surface are:

    1. "When we know God and are loved by him, the seasons of life are no longer threatening or crushing because we know that he is good and loving." This is from Chase's sermon this past week, which you can listen to here, if you're into that sort of thing.  When my hope is in God and not the stepping stones of success I try to lay out for myself, I cannot be threatened by a season where things aren't working out. It definitely isn't time to throw a pity party, but instead an opportunity to remember truths that I know and need to choose to believe. 

    2. I value loyalty way too much, especially when I feel that I've been nothing but loyal. When it's not reciprocated I feel betrayed and unloved. But, how dare I demand loyalty of someone to anything or anyone other than God? It's pretty gross to see that in my heart. It's eye-opening and convicting, to say the least, that I want someone to be more loyal to me and my brand than anything else...and if I'm not careful, that can quickly result in an entitled attitude of "Give me your endless support like I've given you or you're dead to me." Ew.

    So, like I said, it's not time for a pity party, but I would love some encouragement and truths that uplift you or even punch you in the gut to snap you out of it when you're defeated and deflated. I'm hoping the comment section below can be something I refer back to when life doesn't go as planned...which is often, isn't it? ;)


    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

    Green Smoothie Recipe

    One of my goals during this pregnancy and for the year is to eat more fruits and vegetables. We eat a lot of homemade meals around here, but I don't usually think through hearty sides or make adding healthy vegetables a priority. One way I've been sneaking veggies into our diet ((and have been since Knox started solid foods)) is throwing kale and/or spinach into our ((almost)) daily smoothies. It's a super easy way to add in some greens without changing the taste of an afternoon treat. The best way I've found to do this is to buy a big spinach and/or kale mix container at costco or Whole Foods and freeze it (you can divide it up into freezer bags if you want, I usually don't). This way, you always have greens on hand and don't have to worry about them going bad.

    I saw a comment on instagram that said they use a green juice as their base and thats something I never thought of. Brilliant! I made a winner of a smoothie this week using some green monster naked juice and produce I purchased at Whole Foods and thought I should share it with you. You could also use some of their fresh pressed juices, but they're not pasteurized and it made this preggo nervous.

    1/4 cup Green Monster Naked Juice
    1/4 cup water
    3/4 cup spinach or spinach/kale mix 
    3/4 cup frozen pineapple
    1 cup coconut Greek Yogurt (good flavor and great source of protein)
    1 banana 
    (optional: ice)

    Add ingredients to blender and blend on low for 60 seconds or high for 30 seconds, depending on your blender. This makes enough for two smoothies. 

    Now, I like my smoothies more on the juice side than on the thick Jamba Juice side. You can alter this to your preferences. 

    What other greens do you throw in? I saw a green drink the other day that had parsley in it. Made me wonder what other green veggies could be thrown in undisguised.