Tuesday, January 19, 2016

New Year Goals

I have a few goals for 2016 that will hopefully help me maintain some sanity, as well as just live a little. When I hit 30 next year, I don't want to look back on my 20's and think "Shoot. I was so worked up about my kids and work and stress and getting all the things done that I should have just relaxed and lived a little!" So, with that said, here are three of my goals for the New Year. 

Adventure. I love to play and do fun things. Who doesn't? We live in such a gorgeous part of the country and it would be a shame not to take advantage of it more often. Sunset Magazine has such great ideas for fun hole in the wall places and quiet resort towns to check out. I'm 20 minutes from my favorite flatirons hike at Chautauqua. We are only 6 hours away from Mount Rushmore and it's just a quick drive up to Estes Park. My favorite thing about this magazine is that it's not about things, but about living and experiences. I'm all about finding one of those "glorious winter escapes."
Purge & Clear space for things I love. One thing I've always prided myself in is not purchasing items that can't be worn or styled at least 3 ways. It's something I always encourage friend for clients that I'm helping with their wardrobes to take to heart as well. The February InStyle Magazine has some great tips on doubling your wardrobe outfit ideas. Just reworking your favorite pieces into fresh outfits will make your closet go twice (or thrice!) as far and that way you can purge all the excess. Getting rid of items I haven't worn in months and months has been so freeing. 

"Me" Time. Self-care is something that friends & family can come along side you and help out with, but ultimately I've decided taking care of myself is my responsibility. It's really as simple as asking my husband to take both kids to the gym with him while I make dinner in the quiet (or sneak away and get a manicure). He is almost always willing to help and if I'm not willing to ask for help, how will anyone know that I need it? A few ways I've been able to carve out some "me time" so far this year: 
1. Grab a couple of magazines and head to my favorite coffee shop for a vanilla latte. 
2. Wake up early and go get groceries before the kids wake up. Or Wake up early and just drink coffee in silence while I dig in the Word. 
3. Paint my nails and watch one of my favorite TV shows instead of working during nap time. 
4. Try a  new recipe while Chase takes the kids to the gym. Taking advantage of childcare is such a win in my book. There's something exciting about opening up a magazine, picking up some ingredients in a healthy recipe that piques your interest and just going for it while listening to some good tunes. Am I right? I am, y'all. I really am ;)

Do any of these goals resonate with you? Make sure to pick up some fun magazines that will  encourage you in your New Year goals, not to add more clutter or things for you to acquire. If you're shopping at Safeway, like I did, Take advantage of $1.00 off participating titles (PEOPLE®, InStyle®, People StyleWatch®, Real Simple®, and Sunset®) with this digital offer until 2/15/16 while supplies last.

How do you find "me" time? What are some of your goals this year? I'd love to hear!


This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and InStyle® and Sunset® Magazines but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #NewYearMeTime http://my-disclosur.es

Monday, January 18, 2016

Tuna Steak Sushi Inspired Salad ((recipe))

Perusing Whole Foods makes me a little ambitious, so I splurged on some tuna steaks but decided to keep it simple with how I prepared them. I ended up making a salad that was TOO GOOD not to share. If you score your ahi tuna on sale or even get a previously frozen portion, you can make this incredibly delicious salad (that can serve 4-5) for around $25. We named it sushi salad because it's fun to say, but feel free to class it up a bit if you make it for friends an call it "tuna steak salad with wasabi soy dressing."

Tuna steaks are intimidating, but surprisingly easy to get right AND the salad dressing is what makes or breaks this recipe anyways. I wanted to dip all the veggies in the leftover and I made it the next day for another salad. Tip: Get your produce and tuna fresh at Whole Foods, but I like to go to a local Asian Market for stuff like wasabi, sesame oil, and such. It' s more fun when you can't read the label ;)

1.5 lbs of fresh tuna
Sesame Oil
Montreal Seasoning or Salt & Pepper
Sesame Seeds
Sesame Oil (optional)
Power Greens or Salad Greens
Wasabi Paste
Rice Vinegar
Soy Sauce
Olive Oil

1. Thinly slice cucumber and radishes. Also cube or slice your avocado.
2. Whisk together 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon (or more) wasabi paste. Set aside and just before serving, whisk in 2 tbsp of olive oil. 
3. Heat skillet over medium-high heat and spray with olive oil cooking spray. 
4. Drizzle some  sesame oil over the tuna steaks and season with montreal seasoning or just salt & freshly ground pepper. When the skillet is heated, toss tuna steaks onto skillet and cook 2 minutes on each side. Let rest before slicing at a diagonal. It should be a deep pink color and the center should be raw, like sushi. 
5. Toss dressing with greens or drizzle at the end. Arrange greens, radishes, cucumber, and avocado on plate. Top with sliced tuna steak. Sprinkle with sesame seeds for a little crunch. 


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Bacon, Goat Cheese & Butternut Squash Pasta ((Recipe))

I love a good and hearty pasta dish. It's filling, usually inexpensive and can feed a crowd. This one is a few recipes I've tried over the years, combined and tweaked to our preferences. It's perfect for Fall & Winter and is delicious as leftovers the next day, too ((if there is any left)).  Make this when you're tired of your turkey day leftovers! ;)

A few options: You can drizzle with honey, add brussels sprouts to your roasted veggies or use prosciutto instead of bacon.  I typically go and grab 4-6 slices of "fresh" peppered bacon from the butcher or prosciutto from the deli counter at Whole Foods instead of buying it in a package. I've also used everything from quinoa pasta (Ancient Harvest brand at Whole Foods) to regular penne and the "vegetable enriched" penne. 

4 slices of peppered bacon
4-6 oz of goat cheese
1 red onion or 2-3 shallots, sliced
1 small-medium sized butternut squash, cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced (or 8 garlic cloves WHOLE, in paper, roasted with the butternut squash)
handful of basil leaves, chopped
1-2 cups of spinach, chiffonade (fancy word for chopping into thin ribbons)
Olive oil, salt and pepper

1. Cube butternut squash, toss in a little bit of coconut or olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper and roast in oven until tender. (425 degrees for 20  minutes should do it) Feel free to add any other winter veggies you love. Note: You don't even need to peel the butternut squash. 
2. In a cast iron pot or dutch oven (I use this one), cook your bacon. When cooked, set aside on paper towel to cool. 
3. Salt some water and cook pasta, according to package directions. When done cooking, drain but reserve some  of the pasta water to add back into the pot. This will help the sauce develop.
4. In the bacon grease, toss in the onion and let it caramelize. When the onions are almost done, turn down the heat to medium-low and throw in the garlic to cook for another minute or two. 
5. Turn heat down to low, add pasta and goat cheese. Add a little bit of pasta water and stir. Add more  as needed until the goat cheese has melted and created a sauce. Don't add too much or everything will get soggy. Add spinach, crumbled bacon, butternut squash and half of the basil. Gently toss. 
6. Salt to taste. 
7. Top with crumbled bacon, fresh basil and if you're feeling fancy drizzle with a tiny bit of honey. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone :)


Saturday, November 21, 2015

handmade holidays gift guide 2015 ((giveaway!))

ONE winner will win all of the loot that the featured artists from our Gift Guide are so generously offering up for grabs. The prize package is valued at over $500! All items are  listed out below and don't forget to see the previous blog post for a list of shops + their discount codes. Please note we are checking/validating entries so please don't say you're following someone for an entry and not actually following through with an actual follow. 

Good Luck!

$20 to All Things Bean
$30 to Gold Confetti Moccs
Set of 3 Succulent Watercolor Prints from The Gold Leaf Co ($25 Value)
Journal + 1 Notebook insert + Le Pen (Value $39) from Gold Standard Workshop
1 (paper) Couple Portrait by Bridget Makes (Value $40)
Tote from Beloved Clothing Co. (Value $18)
Gold Dot Bowl from White Peach Pottery (Value $28)
Custom Monogrammed Bangle Bracelet from Queen Bee Creative Co ($38)
2 Pairs of Druzy Earrings from One Delightful Button ($24)
$20 Shop Credit to Baby Smiths
One Happy Camper Tee from Anchor Grey ($20)
Antique Leaf Earrings from New Creation VA ($16)
1 free tee or item of choice ($30 equal or less value) from Fight Apparel Designs
Grande Diamonds Necklace from Sel Rose Designs ($36)
One Tee from I Am Olive ($24)
$25 to Four Sisters Boutique
Knitted Green Slouchy Hat from Fountain Top Creations ($26)
Oh, Sweet Joy Swag Bag (valued at over $50)
2 Ornaments or $15 off a custom pillow at Joyful House Designs 
Ekata Designs Molly Necklace 

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Hey everyone! The Gift Guide is going strong over on my instagram page . To isolate the posts, search the hashtag #OSJHandmadeHolidays2015. I wanted to compile a list of all the shops in one place with their discount codes, so here that is for y'all. I can't recommend these shops enough. Happy Shopping!

Starry Knight Design >> OSJGIFTGUIDE for 20% off
Gold Confetti Moccs >> OSJGIFT for 40% off
Joyful House Designs >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 15% off
All Things Bean >> OSJGIFT for 10% off
Baby Smiths >> OSJGIFTGUIDE for 15% off

Fountain Top Creations >> OHSWEETJOY15 for 15% off
White Peach Pottery >> OSJGIFTGUIDE for 20% off
New Creation VA >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for $5 off purchases over $25
Beloved Clothing Co >> OSJGIFTGUIDE for 10% off

I Am Olive >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 15% off
Anchor Grey >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 15% off 
Four Sisters Boutique >> OSJGIFTGUIDE for 15% off
Oh, Sweet Joy! >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 10% off
Fight Apparel Designs >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 20% off

Bridget Makes >>  OSJGIFT for 20% off
The Gold Leaf Co. >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 20% off
Shipped to Sea >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 10% off
Gold Standard Workshop >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 10% off
Faith & Paper >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 25% off

Queen Bee Creative Co.  >> OSJGIFTGUIDE for 20% off
Sel Rosé >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 15% off
Poppy Chic Jewelry >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 25% off
One Delightful Button >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 20% off
Ekata Designs >>  OSJGIFTGUIDE for 15% off

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

5th Annual Handmade Holidays Gift Guide ((call for applicants))

It's that time of year again, y'all! I can't believe it. 

One of my greatest joys in running Oh, Sweet Joy! is featuring handmade shops, creative businesses and independent boutiques that work so hard to create amazing products. Along those same lines, it's great for me to share these shops with people/readers not necessarily within this "handmade/blogging bubble" to find wonderfully unique gifts for their loved ones. 

The FIFTH ANNUAL Oh, Sweet Joy Handmade Holidays Gift Guide is the perfect solution to help me do both! The Gift Guide Giveaway alone received over 15,000 views last year. I will be doing the bulk of the gift guide on Instagram this year, since that is where my most engaged readership is at the moment. I will have a list here on the blog and will also have a pinterest board just for participants.  Since the gift guide stays up as part of my searchable blog content, your handmade wares can be seen by over 180,000 viewers by the end of year (based on typical blog traffic). 

I am opening less spots this year (as in - half of last year's amount), to make it more exclusive, more viewer friendly and mostly - more "do-able" for me. Handmade shops, small businesses, online Boutiques and the like - you WON'T want to miss your chance to be a part of the FIFTH annual Handmade Holidays Gift Guide!

Here's how it works:
This year it will be FIVE straight days (think of it as a baller handmade PARTY!) of featured shops in the following categories:
For the Littles (baby + children)
Jewelry (typically the largest and most shopped category!)
Paper (stationery, printables & frameable prints)
Accessorize (hats, scarves, headbands, handbags, knitted/crocheted items)
Wear (clothing, boutiques, graphic tees, etc)

One category will be featured per day and five shops TOTAL each day. This will be sweet and small and not overwhelming for my feed. I want everyone to TRULY be seen. 
After that? We will have a GIANT giveaway. Weeee!!

The fee for each participating shop will be $100 (most shops will only have to sell a couple products to make that back!) and will be paid via paypal. Your Gift Guide feature includes more than just a spot in the gift guide (details upon acceptance, but think social media mentions, product pins, IG shout outs and more!). Shops will also be asked to supply a discount code for the "Handmade Holiday" Gift Guide readers to encourage sales.   Participation in the finale giveaway is recommended, but not mandatory. 

This is SUCH a great way to drive extra traffic to your shop during peak shopping months. You will be exposing your shop to not only my faithful readers and followers, but also to every other participating shops' "fans" as they tell their customers about "Handmade Holidays!"

Want to be included in the fun? 
CLICK HERE to fill out a form to apply. Applications will be closed November 8th.
You will be emailed upon acceptance
((I wish I could accept everyone, there's just not time for that. womp womp))

There are limited spots available (READ: FIVE) in each category, so please apply pronto. Not everyone will be chosen, unfortunately, but my goal is to help promote as many shops as possible. I'm more than excited to highlight and feature so many talented shops...and help you get your Christmas shopping done early! I'm so excited to feature you :)

QUICK TURNAROUND! Apply by November 8th and we'll get things rolling very quickly after that! The dates are November 16th-20th with a giveaway on the 21st. Email for more info if needed! 


NOTE: this is not a giveaway, but simply a gift guide in the form of a highlight and feature. The giveaway is optional for participants. 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Apple Spice Sangria

This sweet and spicy drink will be a favorite as we kick off Fall and head into the Holiday season!  The pinot grigio and apples give a  light and crisp flavor while the cider + cinnamon stick give this sangria recipe a nice warmth. Serve to guests at an intimate gathering or whip up a batch for the weekend. Enjoy.

1 bottle pinot grigio 
1/2 cup caramel vodka ((I used Van Gogh dutch caramel))
2 cups cider ((I use RW Knudsen from Whole Foods))
3 gala apples, sliced and chopped
1 cup sparkling apple juice or sparkling cider
cinnamon stick

1. Stir wine, cider, vodka in large pitcher.
2. Add apples, cinnamon stick and refrigerate for half an hour or so.
3. Add sparkling cider just before serving and serve over ice. Add an extra splash of sparkling cider to each cup if desired. Put a few extra slices of apples for good measure ;)

My preference is to get a cheap bottle of wine. I literally got the cheapest pinot Whole Foods had ($6.99). I figure, if you're dumping juice and such into it then you don't need to buy fancy wine.
To "warm" it up a bit and/or add some depth, add a splash of brandy or bourbon
Optional: Chill wine ahead of time.

Other Oh, Sweet Joy! beverage favorites: