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Daisy Tribe | California Lifestyle Blog » Style - Explore - Creative - Healthy - Our Favorite Things

3 Simple Ways To Green Your Cleaning Routine

On the 50 Shades of Green scale this one is light. By making your own household cleaners, not only will you save your home from all the chemicals in conventional cleaners, but you’ll save money too! There are some wonderful green companies out there making all kinds of household cleaning products – but they come at a price. Here are my favorite DIY cleaning recipes that will save you a bundle and tackle cleaning and disinfecting your home.

 

1 – All Purpose Cleaner Recipe

Fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water

Optional- Add a few drops of Lavendar essential oil for scent

To make this disinfecting cleaner a degreaser as well:

Add 1-2 TBS dish soap (I like Seventh Generation for my dishes)

To make it a hard floor cleaner, I add a couple tablespoons of baking soda as well.

 

2 – Glass Cleaner Recipe

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup rubbing alcohol

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

2 cups warm water

For spot cleaning mirrors or windows, I’ll just put a little rubbing alcohol on a microfiber cloth and wipe down.

 

 

3 – Granite Cleaner Recipe

Don’t use vinegar here as it can strip the seal on your stone!

2 cups water

3 TBS Dr. Bronner’s Castille soap

*Dr. Bronner’s is pricey, but you use so little for SO many purposes – so it’s worth the splurge on a bottle. I like the Tea Tree and Peppermint soap for cleaning!

For soap scum on your shiny bath and sink fixtures, just rub a cut lemon over them and wipe away with a micro fiber cloth.

I should also mention that I use micro fiber cloths for all our cleaning. No paper fibers like with paper towels, streak-free, and you can wash and reuse them over and over again.

 

So there you have it – Three quick and easy recipes for DIY green cleaning you can try today! What are some of your favorite DIY cleaning recipes?

 

Creative Feature – Judy Sun of moortown.

Today’s Creative Feature showcases one of my favorite new jewelry lines called moortown. The So Cal based company, founded by designer Judy Sun, features minimalist geometric pieces that are simple, chic, and easy to wear. I met Judy via Instagram and immediately fell in love with her collection – and was so excited when she offered to forward some of her favorite items in preparation for this feature (you can see them throughout the post – modeled by Janaia, Kendra, and Delia). Today, Judy tells us about her line (including her most favorite pieces), how she came up with the catchy name for her company, and how she likes to spend a Saturday morning (it sounds heavenly)! I hope you enjoy learning more about Judy and moortown.

Pyramid Stud Earrings    |    Octagon Cuff    |    Double Pyramid Ring    |    Hexagon Necklace    |    Triangle Necklace

 

Tell us a little about moortown.

moortown. is a contemporary jewelry line based in Orange County, California. The idea that statement jewelry can be clean, simple, and not over designed is the driving force behind the brand’s signature style. The understated aesthetics is enhanced by the use of quality materials. We create cuffs, earrings, necklaces, and rings that mix and match well for all occasions.

Model: Delia    |    Pyramid Stud Earrings    |    Hexagon Necklace    |    Triangle Necklace

 

How did you come up with the name for your company?

My brother helped me come up with the name for the company. Moortown is actually the street name of our family home. We decided it was appropriate since I spent so much time dreaming and researching about starting my own business there.

Model: Delia    |    Octagon Cuff Bracelet    |    Hexagon Necklace

 

If you had to choose a favorite piece from your own collection, what would it be?

Can I choose two? My most favorite pieces are the octagon cuff and double pyramid ring. I love how the two are edgy and have character without being over the top.

Model: Janaia    |    Octagon Cuff    |    Double Pyramid Ring    |    Hexagon Necklace    |    Triangle Necklace

 

What’s your favorite way to spend a Saturday morning?

My favorite way to spend a Saturday morning is to wake up early to the calm and quiet. I like to feel as if I’m the only person awake while the rest of the world is still asleep. I like to sit in front of my laptop with a cup of coffee and read articles and do some online shopping/browsing.

Model: Janaia    |    Double Pyramid Ring    |    Octagon Cuff    |    Hexagon Necklace    |    Triangle Necklace

 

Do you have any advice for living a creative life?

My only advice is to put yourself out there and try. Whatever it is.

Model: Kendra    |    Bar Necklace    |    Triangle Necklace (left)    |    All photos by Kati Dias

 

Where can we find more of your work?

In addition to our website, you can find us on Instagram: @shopmoortown. We are currently working on our Facebook page.

Above photos via @shopmoortown Instagram

 

Thanks to Judy for sharing her thoughts with us today. I truly enjoyed getting to know her and her brand. Some of my personal favorites from her collection include the bar necklace, hexagon necklacegeometric ring, and skinny rings – which are all available in both silver and gold. I hope you will show her site and Instagram some love! Until next time.

 

Stella Carakasi x Adora by Adrienne Spring Luxe Event

It’s no secret that we here at Daisy Tribe are in love with designer Stella Carakasi’s amazing style. So we were excited to be approached by the Stella team to take part in a special fashion show celebrating a collaboration between Stella Carakasi, Italian designer Adora Bags, and popular lifestyle blogger Adrienne Shubin from The Rich Life (on a Budget). The Spring Luxe Event at the Stella Studio in Berkeley was held to showcase Adora’s limited edition Adora by Adrienne handbag, which was inspired by Stella Carakasi’s spring 2015 collection.

While I was behind the scenes documenting the event, Janaia and Kendra walked the runway along with Adrienne and some new friends. It was such a fun evening with an amazing turnout of support for the collaboration.

When I arrived, I found Kendra and Janaia backstage – they may have been practicing walking in towering heels and willing themselves not to fall! I also ran into Adrienne and Tamera Beardsley, who flew in from Santa Monica for the event.

Each of the models chose a day look and evening look from Stella’s spring collection, styled with Adora bags and jewelry from the Stella Studio, including some gorgeous pieces from local designer Janet Harrer.

Janaia (Daisy Tribe)   |   Cover Story Top   |   Look Sharp Leggings in Navy   |   Adora Bag in Orange

Janaia (Daisy Tribe)   |   Made for Me Jacket   |   Effortless Tee   |   Step Lively Pants   |   Adora Bag in Orange

Kendra (Daisy Tribe)   |   Ultimate Dress   |   Blue Adora Clutch

Kendra (Daisy Tribe)   |   Attitude is Everything Tunic   |   Define Yourself Ankle Pants   |   Adora Bag in Blue

Adrienne (The Rich Life)   |   Cool Easy Cropped Pants   |   Excursion Jacket   |   Quick Study Top   |   Yellow Adora Clutch

Adrienne (The Rich Life)   |   High Definition Dress   |   Cover Me Cardigan   |   Limited Edition Adora by Adrienne Bag

Tori Shubin (Adrienne’s Stepdaughter)  |   Style to Spare Jacket   |   Reimagined Tunic   |   Define Yourself Ankle Pants

Tori Shubin  |   Divine Decadence Dress   |   Orange Adora Bag

Maria (Trendy Mondays)   |   What Goes Around Sweater   |   Basic Camisole   |   Second Nature Capri Leggings

Maria (Trendy Mondays)   |   Divine Decadence Dress   |   Orange Adora Clutch

Tamera (Tamera Beardsley Design)   |   Divine Decadence Dress   |   Director’s Cut Jacket   |   Ankle Pants   |   Adora Clutch

Lawana (Adrienne’s friend)   |   Great Escape Tunic   |   Second Nature Capri Leggings   |   Black Adora Bag

Lawana   |   Play It Cool Sweater   |   Shadow Play Ankle Pants

Sandee (Adrienne’s business partner)   |   Second Nature Capri Leggings   |   What Goes Around Sweater   |   Long Camisole

Sandee |   Attitude is Everything Tunic   |   Long Camisole   |   Second Nature Capri Leggings   |   Black Adora Bag

Shadi   |   In Sync Vest   |   Capri Leggings   |   Black Adora Bag

Here are a few more photos from the night. In addition to the fashion show, attendees enjoyed catering by Whole Foods Market Gilman, Landmark Vineyards, and L’Artisan Gourmet Parisian Macarons. The raspberry macaron by L’Artisan was by far the best I’ve ever tasted – and they also made some adorable yellow and black macarons to coordinate with the colors and pattern from Stella’s spring 2015 line and the Adora by Adrienne bag. If you’ve never had one before, you are seriously missing out! You can order on their website – or if you’re one of the lucky ones, you might find them at your local Whole Foods Market. In addition to the drool-worthy food, guests mingled and shopped the night away. Yarra did an amazing job as stylist and emcee, and I loved hearing from both Stella and Adrienne about how they have inspired each other.

We had such a fun night supporting Stella Carakasi, Adora Bags, and Adrienne. We’ve heard that orders of the limited edition Adora by Adrienne bag have been so successful that they extended pre-orders for an additional week – which means you still have time to get your hands on one! And if you’d like to see more details and photos from the event, please check out these posts by Adrienne and Tamera. Thanks for reading, and I hope you all have a great weekend!

 

Around Here Lately - […] I wrap up this lengthy post, I want thank Daisy Tribe for their recap of the Spring Luxe Event. Kendra, Janaia and Kati, who not only attended the event, […]

Creative Feature – Denise Gasser: When Motherhood and Art Collide


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Denise_Gasser_Art_Header

In honor of Mother’s Day, I am so excited to introduce to you the talented Denise Gasser. Denise is a stay-at-home mother of two adorable boys – ages 2 and 4 and also a mixed media artist with a BFA in Art Education from Utah State University. She grew up in the small cowboy town of Lehi, Utah; then spent a few years in Berkeley, California while her husband was in school (which is where we met). She now ironically lives only blocks away from one of my former places of residence in my hometown of Vancouver, BC, Canada – which I like to refer to as the “Berkeley of Canada”.  She has an affinity for painting trees. She loves using acrylic on wood panels, lots of gold leaf and using vine charcoal in combination with the paint to creative a distinct line quality. I purposely chose to feature Denise around Mother’s Day because of a very unique and moving art series she is working on called “Art After”, which is a commentary on the interruptions that mothers – and well, all parents face whether it be professionally, creatively, personally, etc. Denise will tell you more about this amazing project later on – it’s fantastic! On a more personal level, Denise is one of those people that everybody loves. She has a way of forging genuine connections and relationships with anyone regardless of their age or interests. She is caring, hilarious and witty with a playful side of sarcasm and is all-round a wonderful person.

 

Have you always wanted to be an artist?

Mostly, yes. Though there was a phase when I was really young and I wanted to be a mall worker when I grew up!..ha ha!…due to the simple fact that the mall workers were the most stylish and glamorous ladies I had ever encountered. But art was always my favorite subject and I was 100% positive that I would go to college and major in art. It’s weird though, when I actually got to college I was seriously doubting this plan; it just seemed so impractical. I also wondered if I actually had the artistic talent necessary to make it in this field. I was taking a lot of generals and feeling very confused and directionless. By the end of my third semester I hadn’t taken any art classes and had pretty much settled on doing dental hygiene. But deep down I must have known that would be way too practical.

When did you know without a doubt that art was the pathway you wanted to take? Did you ever want to be anything else?

I guess that’s the thing, I really didn’t WANT to be anything else. I was just so confused and nothing really seemed quite right. Finally, at the end of my second year I enrolled in a 2-D design course, which basically taught the elements and principles of design through drawing, painting, and collage. I absolutely fell in love with art again!  It really felt like I was rediscovering myself…as cheesy as that sounds. It became very clear that art was the obvious path for me when I stayed up all night working on my final art project, even though I also had a final exam in Oceanography the next morning. I literally had a straight A with 100% in my art class, and probably a flat B in Oceanography. Yet somehow I convinced myself that I should spend the entire night collaging, and that a quick study session before my final the next morning would be totally legit. My priorities became pretty obvious at that point! Though I did end up majoring in art education, so I was still somewhat practical.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Oh man, I get inspired by such random things… patterns on coral or fossils in science museums, weird shadows, vintage dresses, children’s illustrations, bright blossoms in my neighborhood, tile patterns on buildings downtown…it’s all over the place. I’ve really had to force myself to channel my energy into specific series of work, but I hope that these moments of enchantment weave their way into everything I make. Trees have been a consistent inspiration for several years now, and make up my largest body of work. They are beautiful, abundant, and allow for a lot of creative interpretation. Since having children, I spend a LOT of time looking at and talking about animals. I’ve made several small animal paintings that are really bright and light-hearted. Though I really have a tendency toward organic imagery, I love the contrast of pairing it with more rigid geometric shapes and patterns. Sometimes it’s fun to really let the geometry take over. I actually did an entire series of purely geometric forms, which was a really good way for me to push my work in a new direction.

Tell me about your “Art After” series:

Art After is a series of mini paintings inspired by my experience as an artist/mother. Some people call this series heartbreaking, some people find it hilarious…honestly, I think it’s a pretty good mix of both. For this project I am working on 5×7 inch panels, and I can only work on each painting until I get interrupted, or until I finish it. If I get interrupted I have to stop working on the painting and I can’t go back and finish it…EVER! I’m hoping to have at least 200 paintings like this, each in different levels of completion. The subject matter is pulled from scattered fragments of daily life with my children, so it really varies a LOT. On the back of each piece I document the start time, the end time, and what the interruption was that forced me to stop. Usually the stopping point is the moment I cannot continue working through the interruptions. Like if one of my kids is hanging on me or trying to ‘help’ me paint, I try to work through it until it gets to the point that I really have to stop. I typically work on this project when the kids are awake, so it’s a nice way to integrate my two worlds of art and motherhood. This idea of integration is sort of how this project came about.

Pieces from Art After

1) Hazy Blue with Charcoal Lines – Time: 14 minutes (8:29 am – 8:43 am). Interruption: Crying baby pulling at my legs.

2) Triangles- Time: 25 minutes (10:01 am – 10:26 am). Interruption: Baby had been holding my phone, I got a phone call and he LOST his MIND when I had to pull it from his fingers.

3) Green and Gray spotty tree – Time: 34 minutes (7:11 am – 7:45 am). Interruption: 3-yr-old is trying to pour himself sprite for breakfast…after feeding himself and baby cold pizza on the floor. And baby is headed for open dishwasher. (And actually ended up crawling inside before I grabbed him).

 

Which leads me to my next question. How did you come up with the idea for your “Art After” series?

After my second son was born I really started to feel like being an artist with kids just wasn’t working. I had a big show coming up later that year, and I didn’t have nearly enough work completed. I was absolutely exhausted, nursing and caring for a newborn 24/7, Liam was three, extremely high energy, and not fully potty trained, and I had a 30-foot-wall to fill with my paintings. It literally felt impossible. The only time I had to paint was after the kids were asleep, but by that time there was just nothing left of me, especially when I knew the baby would be up in just a few hours. I was feeling a lot of ambivalence…loving motherhood and understanding it’s depth and value in my life, but also feeling the weight of it and how it was holding me back from my artistic aspirations. I knew other artist/mothers who were dealing with these same issues and we had planned to do a show together, each with different interpretations of how motherhood affects our creative process. As I was brainstorming my own part of this project I was thinking about the limitations of being an artist/mother, and how I could exploit them in my work. This interruption idea seemed like a perfect solution because it really is a way to just straight up embrace the challenges that typically hinder my work. I feel like accepting and embracing has been vitally important for me, because it leaves less room for frustration and excuses. I think it’s a really important thing to talk about because so many women stop making art after they have children. Plus, motherhood in general is not something many people want to hear about, like you are expected to keep the two things separate if you want people to take you seriously as an artist. It’s been empowering in a lot of ways to open the discussion. So I’m still creating pieces for this series a little at a time, and it is really wonderful to see them all together. It’s a reminder of what I can still accomplish, and how my life as a mother is rich and full, and beautiful in its complexity.

More pieces from Art After

What is the shortest amount of time you have spent on your “Art After” pieces?

Two minutes.

The blue scribbly one above, on the left, was 2 minutes, from 11:00 am – 11:02 am. Interruption: “Baby found marker, removed lid, and crawled into another room.” (That would be Grey! Ha ha).

The chair one above was 6 minutes, from 6:50 pm – 6:56 pm. Interruption: “Baby wants OUT of highchair. He’s shaking the tray trying to break free“.

 

What is the longest amount of time you have spent on your “Art After” pieces?

Two hours. There are a few pieces that lasted over two hours, and were completed after the kids were in bed. I like to do that sometimes for comparison sake.

This one above of the deer went from 10:29 pm – 12:45 am (2 hours, 16 minutes), and on the back I just wrote, “It’s done! Time for bed.” But there are also a handful of pieces that I was able to finish while both kids were awake.

The apricot painting shown above was done from 9:10 am – 9:50 am (40 minutes). On the back I wrote, ‘Feels done! Plus, kids just locked themselves in a room and want to come out.’

What are some of the biggest challenges you face as artist and mother?

Time is a huge factor. I feel like I am in constant motion from about 8am until 9pm. The other big challenge is the emotional and physical drainage that happens in those 13 hours. You invest so much love and attention and energy into your children. You worry about them, you try to teach them things, you try not to scream at them, you feel guilty for letting them watch TV, you try to counteract their attempts to manipulate you, you play with them, try to feed them, carry them around, pretend to be interested in all kinds of weird stuff…it just takes everything you have. If I spent 13 hours a day at a computer, I think I could step away from that and escape into my art with a bit more intensity. But after 13 hours of wrangling children, I’m all used up. There are lots of nights when I just flop on the couch and watch TV, or go to bed early. But many nights I just force myself to get to work. Those late night painting hours are wonderful. I have never regretted spending time in the studio. Never. It’s definitely not easy, and I often question if this balancing act is worth it. But I really wouldn’t be myself without it, so I just find a way to make it work. I think changing my own expectations has been crucial. What most artists can accomplish in a month, might take me six months, but I just have to accept that and recognize that my career will take a slower path. I’m learning to be okay with that.

How do you incorporate art into motherhood? Do you like to paint or sketch with your boys? Do your boys like to do art projects?

We definitely do a lot of art around here…mostly simple things with markers or watercolor. I like to have a sketchbook for each of them so they can pull it out anytime and their art stays in one place. Sometimes I’ll buy a big canvas and put out a bunch of paint and just let them go for it…they love that, but I have to say it’s a bit stressful to watch them flinging the brushes around. I just recently covered an entire wall in white paper so they can experience the uninhibited joy of working on a larger scale [as shown below]. I think the most important way I integrate art into their lives is just to point out beauty in the day-to-day stuff. I try to get them to notice the clouds, or interesting rocks, or even just talking about how nice certain illustrations are in their books. I think noticing is a huge part of being an artist.

Do you find your artistry rubbing off on your two little boys?

I think so, at least a little bit. Once, when Liam was three we were driving in a sad underground parking garage and he said something like, ‘Oooh, it’s so beautiful in here! I love the yellow lights, how they make everything look so golden, like it’s glowing.’ Ha ha! I loved it. He really likes to draw and comes up with some really creative stuff, but doesn’t have a very long attention span yet. Grey, surprisingly, has an incredible attention span for art. Starting around 18 months he could sit in his high chair and color on the same paper for at least a half hour. Once we were all in the backyard playing, and Grey literally covered the entire sidewalk with amazing chalk art for the better part of an hour without stopping. I’ve got high hopes! Ha ha. Though Dan, my husband, and I always joke that our kids will probably reject art, and spend all their time playing football and listening to rap music.

Denise_Gasser_Art_Secondary 3

What are some of your greatest achievements in your art career thus far?

My first time showing work in Vancouver was a group exhibition for emerging artists at the Seymour Art Gallery. I was so surprised that I even got into the show, so I was especially shocked when I got first place, a cash reward, and the Carole Badgley Emerging Artist Award. That was very motivating for me. I also got juried in to be a member of the Federation of Canadian Artists. It’s very cool to be part of a larger organization committed to making connections and creating opportunities for artists. The other achievement that I’m really happy about is my partnership with Plaidfox. They run an incredible website selling furniture and home décor. The owner saw my work in the home of someone who had purchased a couple of paintings and he asked her for my contact info. It was flattering for sure, and it’s been really exciting for me to get involved in the design industry a bit.

Do you have any showcases or projects in the near future or ones that you are currently working on?

I’m working on a new series of trees based on the urban park here in Vancouver called Stanley Park. I’m using really soft organic layers with incredibly bold, bright geometric accents to capture the amazing intersection of wilderness and vibrant urban activity that co-exist so beautifully there. I’m also in the process of starting a company with a good friend, and very talented designer, Alison Foreman. It’s called Paper Scissor :: Party Artistry. We are designing really beautiful decorations for parties and special events, all of which can be emailed in a file to the customer, who will print it, cut it out, and put it together. It’s sort of like a cheater’s way to DIY. We are hoping to offer something truly unique, and high end. I am doing all original illustrations and art-work. Ali takes my illustrations and incorporates her own original designs, patterns, and fonts, and lays everything out. It’s still in the very early stages, but the results so far have been really fantastic. We’re hoping to officially open up shop later this summer.

Want to know more about Denise Gasser?

Visit her website here or like her Facebook page here for updates and to see works in progress.

Want to know where you can buy her work?

Denise has her own Etsy shop, The Curious Line, which can be found here. Finally, and most excitingly, Denise’s brand new series of animal art has just been released on Plaid Fox with more additions to come! Their entire site is fantastic! Prints are being sold through them exclusively.

Thank you Denise for allowing us to see a glimpse of your life as a mother and artist; how you have balanced it all and how you have merged those two worlds to create such a unique, amazing and beautiful series, Art After.

 

* I was totally Inspired by Denise’s Art After series as I had an experience one evening while working on my post where my one child (who was in bed and should have been sleeping) kept coming out of her room and interrupting me while I was supposed to be working. So, I thought it would be interesting to record all the instances that night that my kids had caused me to stop what I was doing to attend to their needs. Of course, I couldn’t leave my post never to be finished again once I was interrupted because this would be a very short and boring post because I would have accomplished almost nothing in that first 15 minutes before I got interrupted. It turns out my 2 year old must have got the “Do Not Disturb” memo because I didn’t need to go into his room once, so these interruptions came solely from my 5 year old within a 2 hour span (#2 and #5 are my favorite). Without further ado, here they are:

1) Comes out of room to tell me she found her younger brother’s sippy cup and hands it to me.

2) Tells me “I need to go potty, it’s an emergency” (even though she just went 15 minutes ago. Then spent the next 15 minutes in the bathroom trying to distract me from sending her back to her room by asking all those hard hitting questions like “why do dogs go to the bathroom on grass?”)

3) Comes out of room with Green Lantern figurine to ask “Why does Green Lantern wear a mask?”

4) Comes out of room to get a drink of water (even though she had a drink of water right before bedtime).

5) Comes out of room with a chair and says “I don’t want this chair in my room because it’s smelly” (??? For the record, the chair does not smell. I have no words).

6) Asks me to fix a tangled yo-yo.

7) Comes out of room carrying a brown pillow, sets it down in front of me and simply states: “There’s a brown pillow in my room,” leaves it beside me and and goes back into her room.

So here’s to Mother’s Day! Let’s hear it for all the amazing, nurturing, resilient, loving, hard-working, strong mothers out there juggling motherhood, work and/or their passions in life. It’s no easy feat…but you got this!

 

Photo credits: Julianne Kozak

Homemade Chocolate Truffles Recipe

Today I’m going to share with you one my favorite gift ideas that is so ridiculously easy and inexpensive – but impressive looking (and tasting, of course). The lucky recipient will be saying “wait, you made these yourself?” and “these are amazing, can I get the recipe?” Bonus: They can be made vegan, too!

These Martha Stewart Chocolate Truffles are the perfect gift for any chocolate lover. I mean, who doesn’t love chocolate? And this truffle recipe has earned some serious street cred over the years. I’ve been asked for this recipe on numerous occasions, including one time where I was literally chased down the sidewalk by my daughter’s school secretary requesting the recipe for the truffles I had just made her for Christmas. In addition, these truffles were voted Best Tasting Chocolate at a blind chocolate tasting with 15 – 20 other chocolates – that also included brands like Lindt and Godiva. With Mother’s Day less than a month away, I can’t think of a better time to make these delicious chocolate truffles for that special woman in your life – whether it be your mom, wife, sister, relative or friend.

 

Chocolate Truffles Recipe:

8 ounces of bittersweet, semisweet or dark chocolate finely chopped if not in chocolate chip form (or vegan chocolate chips for vegan option).

½ cup heavy cream (or canned coconut milk for vegan option)

1 tablespoon liqueur, such as triple sec or framboise (optional; I’ve never used this before)

Unsweetened cocoa powder, for rolling

Note: Use the best quality chocolate you can. The better quality chocolate you use, the better it will taste. For regular chocolate chips, I recommend Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate 60% Cacao. For vegan (and also nut and soy-free) chocolate chips, I recommend these Enjoy Life ones. For chocolate bars, I recommend a dark chocolate with 70% or more cocao from Lindt, Godiva or anything similar.

Directions:

  1. Put chocolate into a large heatproof bowl. Bring cream just to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; pour over chocolate in bowl. Stir in liqueur, if desired. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand 10 minutes. Stir until smooth. Let stand until thick, about 15 minutes.
  1. Pour chocolate mixture into a shallow 8-inch dish or pie plate. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until mixture is very cold and set but still pliable, about 30 minutes.
  1. Using a teaspoon or a 1/2-inch melon baller, scoop balls of chocolate mixture, transferring them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper as you work. Refrigerate truffles 10 minutes.
  1. Using hands dusted with cocoa powder (I prefer to wear surgical gloves), dip each truffle in cocoa powder to coat, then quickly shape truffle into a rough round. Refrigerate truffles in an airtight container until ready to serve, up to 2 weeks; before serving, reshape into rounds, and roll each truffle in cocoa powder, if desired.

 

Rolling Truffles: You can also roll truffles in other things like toasted coconut, chopped nuts, sprinkles, and a favorite – crushed peppermint candy. (Note: Crushed peppermint candy or candy canes do not store well in the fridge. After a day or two in the fridge, the moisture from the fridge will begin to “melt” the peppermint candy and make it chewy rather than crunchy. If you plan to use crushed peppermint candy, roll the truffles in the peppermint candy the same day you are serving them or giving them to someone. Or eat them right away just to be safe).

 

Well, there you have it. The perfect gift for Mother’s Day or for any occasion. Or just for yourself. I won’t judge.

 

Jill - Love these. My favorite is rolling them in toasted coconut with crushed nuts, it makes a nice crunch. Similar to the nuts you could also roll in Heath Bar toffee pieces, but the peppermint note from above applies here too, you have to give it the same day you do it. You could also dip in dark chocolate and top with fleur de sel and let it harden…yum!

Anonymous - Yummy!!!

Etsy Inspiration

I don’t know about you, but I just love browsing Etsy or discovering a new Etsy shop via Instagram where some super creative person out there designs beautiful handmade pieces.  I usually favorite the things that catch my eye so that I can come back to them later or when I’m in need of a gift for someone special.  Here are a few of my latest crushes.  I think the coasters and the planter would make wonderful gifts and I need that arrow quilt hoop for my little one’s nursery. See if you can resist!

newdaisyCoasters   |   Stacking Rings   |   Watercolor Print   |   Arrow Quilt Hoop   |   Geometric Planter   |   Tribal Pillow

 

~ Carmen ~ - Etsy is heaven sent, the perfect way to find one-of-a-kind items. I adore the geometric planter. :]

// ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

Day Tripping – Old Sacramento

One of the things I love about living in the Bay Area is that there are so many options for day trips. My family and I can leave our home near Berkeley in the morning – spend most of the day exploring a beautiful new place – and be home sleeping in our own beds by that night. Within 20 minutes to two hours drive – depending on where we’re going – we can be playing on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk; hanging with otters at the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium; visiting Pier 39, Golden Gate Park, or any one of the museums in San Francisco; driving through the beautiful wine country of Napa and Sonoma; or relaxing in the peaceful Sierra Nevada foothills – just to name a few. We’ll be sharing some of our favorite day trips with you in the coming months, and today I’m going to share some pictures from a recent trip to Old Sacramento. We visited Old Sacramento to check out the local shops, eat lunch, and tour the California State Railroad Museum.

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My kids loved climbing on the train that you can find outside across from Rio City Cafe, as well as the train museum, which is indoors. We bought lunch at the cafe and ate outside on what turned out to be a beautiful and sunny winter day.  

While the kids were at the museum, I checked out some of the little shops in Old Sacramento and stumbled across Artists’ Collaborative Gallery, which boasts art from local artists including photographers, painters, glassblowers and basket weavers. It was a really cool space and I recommend you check it out if you’re ever in the area.

When you’re walking around Old Sacramento, it almost feels like you’ve been transported to another time and place. The streets and buildings look like they’re straight out of an old western movie, and you can even catch a ride in a horse drawn carriage.

Old Sacramento is close to downtown shopping, the river, and the train station. Part of the California State Parks, it’s also home to numerous museums, theaters, shops, and restaurants. A short hour drive from the Bay Area – Old Sacramento can also be reached on the Amtrak Capitol Corridor line which runs between San Jose and Auburn with stops including Oakland, Berkeley, Davis, and Sacramento.

DOWNTOWN-SACRAMENTO-SIGN-W

Where are some of your favorite places to visit in and around the Bay Area? Let us know and maybe we’ll include your destination in our next Day Tripping feature!

 

Leeann @ Join the Gossip - I’ve only been once, but this post is making me want to go back!

Top SF Bay Area Mom and Dad Blogs - […] doing. Bay Area locals will love posts like hidden restaurant gems in Berkeley and Albany and Sacramento Day Trips and followers can catch new posts on their active Facebook […]

Creative Feature – Meet Lynnette Rogers of Janey Mac

Happy Monday! Today we have a really great Creative Feature for you – Lynnette Rogers of Janey Mac. Lynnette is a self-taught graphic designer, mother of four, and creative talent behind Janey Mac – a popular online shop for home decor, including vinyl decals and wall prints. Lynnette shares the story behind her brand – as well as her advice for running a creative business, balancing work and family, and finding inspiration in everyday life.

Tell us a little about yourself. 
I am a mother of 4. We currently live in the foothills of Idaho and my kids love to get out and explore with their friends. Since we finally live on acreage, we are looking for the perfect family dog – or two – to share all of our camping and exploring memories with. I love the warm weather and being outside, so Idaho winters are hard, but the summers are great!

Tell us a little about Janey Mac.
I started Janey Mac in the recession, it was the very end of 2008. Before this I had been working as a draftsman for an architect and my husband is a builder, so we were both deeply financially affected by the the bank failures in the fall of 2008. I had been self teaching myself graphic design in illustrator for the last 6 or so months and had some designs for stationery. My sister in law told me about this website, Etsy. She had been selling clothes on there and thought maybe I could try and sell stationery on there. I opened up a store on Etsy at the end of 2008 – stationery didn’t seem to be doing so well, but I had a bunch of cute designs I wanted to do something with. I noticed that large vinyl decals – firetrucks, trees, etc were on the rise in popularity. So I bought a vinyl cutter and found a vinyl supplier and figured out how to start turning my designs into decals!

This was exciting and super frustrating at the beginning – I had no idea what I was doing, but I was determined to figure it out and I did. Decals started selling right away and we did had a few pretty decent months to begin with. At that point my husband had to take a job in another state so we packed everything up – including the new vinyl business – and headed out. A few months after we moved, the business just sky rocketed in sales. I was pregnant with my 3rd child at the time and my two boys were 1 and 2 years old. My husband and I worked lots of very very late nights after the kids went to bed! The business has been steady and great ever since, and now that my youngest is starting to get a little older and I feel like I am starting to be able to invest more time back into the business again, we will be launching a few new products this year that I am super excited about.

How do you see Janey Mac growing in the near future?
The business has been steady and great for the last six years. I will admit that I have been mostly busy with dedicating my time to my kids, so my to-do list of things I would like to do with the business gets longer each year. Now that my youngest is starting to get a little older, I will be able to start investing more time back into the business again. We will be launching a few new products this year that I am super excited about. We launched digital prints last year. This year we will be adding more designs and adding printed – not just digital – prints as well. And more bedroom accessories to complete the whole room. Most of our sales come from our Etsy shop – JaneyMacWalls – and we have our own website as well – shopjaneymac.com.

Any tips for balancing work and family?
This is a constantly changing balance I have learned. For me, I can’t work with my kids around. I tend to be short with them and then I feel guilty, so I used to work really late nights every night after they went to bed. Now, with only one not in school, I am able to work during nap time – and then I have a nanny that comes in two days a week. I think a family-work life balance is different for everyone – this is what I have learned works best for me and my family. When I am working, I need to be focused and work since I only have a few hours a week to fit this in. And then when I am with my kids and family, I need to be focused solely on them. I also don’t work much during the summer. I love to play and enjoy the warm weather, so I try to get all my designing and new product development done during the school year.

Which of your projects are you most proud of, and why?
I think Janey Mac as a whole makes me really proud. I knew nothing about the vinyl industry and I was able to research and figure it out.

What inspires you?
So many different things inspire me. Seeing a random pattern can trigger a design idea. Watching Shark Tank can inspire a new business method. I think what’s important about inspiration is it comes in so many different forms, the trick is to be able to see it. Different inspirations continue to give me drive in my business. This year’s new product releases comes from an inspiration to brand my company. As I work at trying to brand my company, there are so many different horizons to be inspired by. It’s a fun time in your company when things are changing and expanding.

What’s your favorite way to spend a Saturday morning?
Saturday mornings are all about family. Saturday is by far my most favorite day! If we aren’t heading off to a soccer or basketball game, we are either making a nice big breakfast together or getting ready in the summer time to go out and explore for the day. We also love lazy Saturdays when we sit around and watch college football with our boys and drink hot cocoa.

Do you have any advice for living a creative life?
I think everyone lives a creative life – we are all creative in one way or another. We all have talents in different areas. Everyone loves to be creative or expert at something. It’s hard when there’s a pressure to be creative, like when you have to fit things into deadlines. To me living a creative life, is living the life you want to live, feeling like you are doing exactly what you want to be doing with your life and then excelling at life, trying to be your best with the life you want to have.

Where can we follow you?
Etsy    |    Website    |    Facebook    |    Instagram

Thanks so much for sharing your story, Lynnette! I love what you said about everyone living a creative life – sometimes it’s hard to see it, but it’s definitely true. We all have our own ways of weaving creativity into our worlds – and sometimes all it takes is stepping back a little to see and appreciate it. We wish you much continued success with Janey Mac and we will be following with excitement as you expand your brand this year!