HelloFresh + Our First Box

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Let me tell you, I was so nervous to get our first Hello Fresh box. It sounded way too easy and hell, just too much of a great idea. But we got our first box yesterday and I couldn’t be happier. So let me tell you about my new best friend…

For those of you who have never heard of it, Hello Fresh is an amazing company that wanted to bring the deliciousness of gourmet meals to your doorstep, with the ease of a few button clicks. Choosing from two different types of boxes, for the herbivores or omnivores, you can then choose how many folks you’ll be feeding. You then get to scroll through the mouth watering menu options to choose what will be in your box on your next week’s delivery. Every item, from cloves of garlic and spices to meats and veggies are measured out and come with an easy to follow recipe card for meals you generally wouldn’t attempt on your own. For this week’s delivery, we received three options – Panko Crusted Trout with Lemon Butter Sauce, Parsnip Mash + Broccoli, Homestyle Chicken Fried Steak with Mashed Potatoes + Peas, and Crispy Chicken Biryani with Spiced Basmati Rice, Golden Raisins + Peas.

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Each meal is separated into it’s own box and delivered with ice packs to spare! The ice was still frozen as we unpacked it and our meats were frigid and fresh. Every item was in great condition, no bruising or rotten produce, and the meats and seafood were tightly packed to ensure no openings or leakage.

If you’re still not totally convinced, here’s a couple fun things to think about…

If you need to pause your orders (be it vacation or you just don’t have the funds), do so the Wednesday before your next delivery and you won’t need to worry about being home to receive it or paying for a box you can’t/won’t use.

Take advantage of this offer – $40 off your first box! Try it out, see if it works for you, and save money – what could be better? Click here to take advantage of this deal. Through the site, you save $20 on your first box, but through this link you save $40!

Be adventurous, try this out! It’s a great, easy way to jazz up your eats and a simple way to make date night even more amazing. Check back for how we made our meals and just how tasty they are!

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Succulents + Clippings

After joining the craze of succulents, I wanted to try and grow a few myself. A small variety of crassula was the perfect way to start. I have been reading up on just how to perfectly use clipping to grow new plants, so now I’ll share with you what I’ve learned! For watering, fertilizing, and basic care, my favorite resource is the Cactus & Succulent Society of San Jose. They can tell you much better than I can how to keep your little organisms healthy and thriving.

I started my endeavor with a small succulent, only $2.50 from Home Depot and already starting out a healthy life. After a month of insuring the little guy’s health and survival, I started my project. Carefully, I pulled the lower leaves from the stem. You should here a healthy snap as it seperates. Do this to a few to start, or if you’re in it to win it, as many as you like. The top cluster can also be plucked and treated in the same fashion.

The clippings then need to callous over at the break point. I gave mine a few days to be sure they were dry before taking them to the next step. With a wonderful, sun filled window in our kitchen, I took a shallow dish, a layer of succulent soil (which can be bought at garden centers everywhere) and laid the clippings on top. Plenty of sunshine and a spritz bottle to lightly mist the soil, along with a smudge of patience is all you need now.

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If you’re like me, you check your plants daily… oh ok, like ten times a day. At first I was so concerned that I had pulled the clippings from the main plant for nothing, but sure enough, after 11 days, tiny roots began to shoot from the calloused ends. As the clippings continue to grow and blossom, I’ll post more information and photos!

If you’re looking for an easy, fun, and incredibly cute DIY project, check out my Hipster Horticulture tutorial on how to make a sweet succulent terrarium.

Salty Hair Without Sea Air

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Summer is just around the corner and let’s face it, not everyday can be sun soaked with sandy toes. I’d love to say that each morning I lie on the beach, nothing but waves whispering in my ear and the sweet salt air gently passing by, but reality sets in. There are kids to get to school, a toddler to be fed, laundry to be washed, and a myriad of other tasks that take precedence in my day.

But what about days when I want to rock thos beachy locks without venturing to the shore? I’ve whipped up various batches of salt spray in the past, but below is my own ingredient ratio that I’ve come to love. All it takes is three ingredients, a spritz bottle, and some time on the stove.


What you’ll need:

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  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsps sea salt
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • spritz bottle

Heat water in a small saucepan until simmering. Add salt and oil, stir until salt has dissolved and oil is clear. Most coconut oil is cold compressed in its container, so don’t worry when it appears white at first. As it warms, it will become completely clear! Let the mixture cool and pour into your spritz bottle.

Shake well before each use – my personal preference is to apply to clean, dry hair, but by all means you can use on damp hair too! Scrunch hair after locks are evenly coated and let dry. Ta-da!! Beachy hair sans the beach.

Hipster Horticulture

When beginning a craft involving plants, one of my first thoughts is, “Oh jeez, I wonder how long this one’s going to last.” I most certainly do not have a green thumb, but I also don’t kill everything I try to grow. Terrariums are a wonderful way to keep plants alive and healthy with minimal effort – and they look so cute! The simplicity of this craft makes it perfect for young children, teens, and adults. I do suggest doing this outside or on a covered table to make cleanup easier. It’s always more fun to finish a craft and not have to spend the next hour cleaning it up, especially when you have kids to entertain.

I know it may seem like this particular craft would be on the expensive side, but really it’s quite cheap! A twelve pack of Mason Jars (32 oz) are just $9.99 at Target and are quite versatile. I use these jars for crafts, homemade cleaners, storage, and much more.  These are also lovely gifts for bridesmaids or for wedding centerpieces! Rustic and sweet, they’re so simple and absolutely gorgeous. Succulents and sheet moss are both available in most gardening centers. I purchased a bag of sheet moss and three succulents for less than $9 total. To save a bit, you can simply use the soil that comes with the plants. If you’re like me though, there’s a bag of potting soil waiting patiently on your porch. Rocks, shells, etc., are free!! Just go on an adventure; whether it’s the beach or your backyard, this is a great way to involve kids of all ages.


Mason Jar (I prefer 32 oz)

Potting Soil

Rocks, Shells, Sea Glass, Sand, or Glass Beads

Succulent(s)

Optional Items: Sheet Moss, Figurines, Fake Flowers

Now, the fun part.

Once you have all your items, take the lid off the jar. Arrange your rocks, glass, beads, or whatever else you like in the bottom of the jar. It is completely your personal preference as to how much you put in – just make sure there’s at least a full layer. This will serve as drainage for the terrarium.

There are two ways to do this step; one is with additional potting soil, the other with the soil from the potted succulent. If using potting soil, add about a two-inch layer right on top of your first layer. If you didn’t want to buy the extra soil, just skip on down to step 3.

Remove the succulent from its container. You’ll want to keep most of the soil on the roots. Place the succulent in the jar and spread the clumped soil out among the bottom layer(s). Work a bit  more potting soil around the plant to anchor it securely in the jar. Moderately water the soil.

Here’s where you have a bit of freedom. Sheet moss can be added around the succulent to create a natural feel, fake flowers can be added for a more whimsical look, or small figurines can be placed inside to create a mini forest. Twist the lid on and voila!

Once you screw on the lid, minimal to no watering should be needed. Every couple weeks, check on your creation to make sure the soil is still damp. Keep jars in bright, indirect sunlight. Assignment Remember, succulents generally grow in correspondence to what they are planted in. When buying succulents and jars, make sure you are thinking about what will fit through the mouth of the jar when creating the terrarium. It’s totally fine if a few leaves fall off! Just take them and let them dry out for a couple days. After that, you can actually place them in soil and let them root. They’ll eventually grow into a full-size version of themselves and you can create your own succulent garden.

Thrifty Shorts for the Frugal Mama

I don’t know about you, but as much as I love to be in style and in on trends, I find myself constantly sticker shocked by the prices of some clothes these days! When I was single, managing a retail store, in college… those were the times spending  $50 on a pair of shorts seemed like nothing. But now, even with the ability, I can bring myself to spend so much on something I can make.

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High waisted shorts and jeans are my best friends. After I had Ronin, my once flat and unscathed  stomach became reminiscent of a tiger mauling. My stretch marks made me cringe and the extra skin never fit quite right in my regular pants. I’ve since come to terms with my new “womanly” touches, but still do not want to flaunt my newly aquired decorations.

On that note, I wanted to share a quick and dirty solution to spending an arm and a leg on shorts for spring. This can be adapted for so many women and all you need is roughly $5, 5 minutes and a pair of scissors. Head to your favorite thrift store. For me, I’m about the size of Thumbelina, so I shop for bottoms in the little boys section. However, the beauty of thrift stores is the prevalence of mom jeans. Simply find a few pairs of denim that fit you to your comfort and buy them! The pair I chose was a whopping $1.50. Big spender, I know.

Now the fun part. When you get home, try them on one more time. With a pencil or pins, mark two inches below where you want them to fall on your thigh. Slip them off (carefully if you use pins!) and fold them with the fly inside. Cut along the line you predetermined and don’t worry if it’s not perfect! Remember to cut mildly at an angle for booty room. Now, try them on one more time. Fold the cut edged twice until they are desired length.

  Voila!

Get the Look: Oversized Scarf

I’m in love with the giant, oversized scarf trend. There’s no other way to put it, I’m madly, hopelessly, shamelessly in love with it. I’ve begun to hoard scarves that I feel may fit this trend, but haven’t achieved the oversized glory of the ones I see in magazines and of course, on Pinterest. I finally found a way to achieve my ideal look with a very small price tag. It was as simple as a trip to my parent’s house to pick up some unused fabric remnants. My mom was about to giveaway a gorgeous piece of green plaid woven fabric. As soon as I saw it, I snatched it up and started wearing it. It took a bit of finesse, but I got the giant cloth piece fixed around my neck and let me tell you, it was warm, comfy, and looked adorable!

Here’s how to do it. Just get two yards worth of a fabric and print you love. If your wearing it for more than just a fashion statement, go with flannel, wool, or even fleece. Follow the steps below to get the look!

DIY Holiday Cards

The holidays are in full swing and it’s time to start putting the finishing touches on gifts and making those last minute cards. I’m a huge proponent of DIY and kid-friendly crafts, so I wanted to share one of my favorite card creations with you! It takes just a few minutes and a couple items.

Here’s what you need:

  • Cardstock or Kraft Paper
  • Scrap Book Paper (Construction Paper can be used instead)
  • Scissors
  • Glue Stick

Cut the Cardstock in half width wise. Fold each half. You should have two cards to work with now. Measure a piece of scrapbook paper and cut it to fit the front of one card. One sheet of scrapbook paper usually has two different sides. For instance, the paper I used was green circles on one side and a light wood grain on the other.

Next, cut one, two, or three triangles from the same scrapbook paper. I like to make them different heights and on the skinnier side. An easy way to get perfect symmetry is to fold the paper in half when you’re cutting. The fold will actually help you or your little one know where to glue the back later.

Lastly, cut out a few stars. Mum and dad, this is for you. Either cut out a white or kraft color star (coordinate to the inside card color) or grab a pack of stickers at the store. This is completely your call – the end product will look great no matter what!

Now it’s time to whip out the glue stick. Glue the rectangle of scrapbook paper to your card front. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, you can trim the sides once it has dried. Next, glue the trees on. I really love that these trees aren’t completely glued on. A stripe of glue down the very center will allow the sides to come up slightly and add a bit of dimension to the card. Lastly, glue or stick on your stars!

The inside is another facet of the cards that are completely up to you. I grabbed a calligraphy pen and channeled my inner pinterest. Have your littles scribble a message, write a heartfelt holiday greeting, or attach a photo inside!

Happy crafting folks!


Original Post December 9, 2014 on http://www.atlanticdaydreams.com