Category Archives: D.I.Y. & Honey Do

Peanut Butter, Banana, and Bacon Pupcake Dog Treat

Let me introduce you to our furry family members.  Gidget pictured below is a Black Shepard mix and a “daddy’s girl.”

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Blanca pictures below is our mystery prize since Juice saved her about a decade ago after being abandoned.  She is most definitely a “Momma’s girl!”

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A little over a week ago our two escape artists Shawshanked their way out of our backyard while we were away from home. Which lead me to briefly question why they would ever want to leave our little piece of paradise? Seriously, they live with two full-time “crumb monsters” a.k.a. my hubby and toddler, who leave a trail of delicious crumbs wherever they go. They have a big yard to try to destroy on the daily, dog beds at every turn. But I digress.  Luckily our neighbor saw them running the streets, lured them back into our backyard and secured our gate.
So I added “do something nice for your neighbor” to my to-do list.

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(On a side note, If a scowl could kill!…Oliver inherited this exact scowl from me. In his defense it was a really bright day.)

Then our friend Janell helped us out with our dogs on our last day of vacation and I again pondered what to do to say thank you.

I thought about baking human treats for both, but since I’m not familiar with my neighbors food preferences, the last thing I wanted to do was show up at her door with a dozen cookies only to find out she is diabetic or has a gluten allergy.  That is when it became obvious that I need to make doggie treats!  It was a perfect solution since they both have dogs, and while my own dogs haven’t exactly written up terms for surrender like better food, I figured a few yummy pupcakes might just keep them from trying to escape.  In the words of Michael Scott, it’s a WIN, WIN, WIN scenario.

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I found this great recipe on The Happy Foodie by Martha Stewart for Peanut Butter and Banana dog cupcakes but I decided to improve it immensely with one simple addition;  bacon. Your pups will thank you.  If you would prefer to weigh out your flour and oats into  grams you can use the recipe above but I doubled the batch and converted the recipe to the U.S. Cups.

Peanut Butter, Banana, and Bacon Pup Cake Dog Treats

  • Servings: 48
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A super easy dog treat recipe that your pups will love

 This recipe makes quite a few pupcakes so freeze what you cant use in the next 2 weeks or they make a great gift for your fellow dog lovers.

Ingredients

2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
2/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup bacon crumbles
2/3 cup water

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, mash ripe bananas, add honey and eggs, stir until combined.
  2. Add peanut butter and stir until smooth.
  3. Add rolled oats, flour and baking powder, stir until combined.
  4. Mix in bacon.
  5. Add water and stir gently till combined.
  6. Fill mini cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely.
  7. Store in air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 14 days.

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I hope your fur babies love this treat as much as mine did.
xoxosarah

Lets Flamingle

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In honor of my birthday week I though I’d share my 35th birthday party inspiration; a Tropical Flamingo party.

I have been obsessed with flamingos for almost a decade, it all started on a shooting party in an Arizona dessert. My stepmom Sheri had packed up a box of potential targets including a glorious pink lawn flamingo.  But as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to save it.  I smuggled him out of harms way and stashed “Felipe” in my suitcase.  Felipe the flamingo become my beloved mascot, I even named my apartment “the Flamingo.”
In 2008, Felipe was kidnapped and held for ransom. I unfortunately never saw him again.  But his memory lives on in my heart.

Here is what you need to throw a fabulous tropical Flamingo party.

Decor

Start with a whole flock of flamingos.  But not just any flamingos, go with the original Don Featherstone flamingos, they have the best details.
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I finally decided to try my hand at a balloon arch after drooling over several amazing arches on The House That Lars Built.  You can check out the one pictured above on Wedding Chick or there is a great tutorial on A Beautiful Mess.

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I am in love with this tropical flower backdrop on Blitsy.  Perfect for a D.I.Y photo booth.
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Top the decor off with a pineapple flower centerpiece.

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Menu

I have loved Shirley Temples since I was a little girl but since this is my 35th birthday, not my 5th, I decided to “adult” it up for my party by serving a Dirty Shirley.  Here is a great recipe from The Solstice Table. 

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For an appetizer try this tropical bruschetta.
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For the main course I will be serving Kahlua pork, coconut rice, and Hawaiian mac salad.
For Dessert try coconut cream pie shooters or a gorgeous coconut cake like this one.
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Invitations

Check out these adorable invitations from Carlson and Co on Etsy.

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Happy Flamingling!

xoxosarah

Daring Greatly

My internal battle between wanting to play it safe and wanting to live a creative life is a long one. In Junior High, I wanted to be a writer and joined the journalist staff, but very quickly realized that I did not like my writing critiqued and so I changed course. In college, I wanted to be an interior designer. I was completely in love and enthralled by my History of Furniture course. Yet when it came to my personal designs being critiqued, I hated it and ultimately fled. My defense was always “how can something with no right answer, be wrong?”

The strange thing is that while I clearly did not want my creative work to be criticized, in all other areas of life I handled criticism pretty well. Professionally I used the only time I ever got fired, the worst criticism imaginable, to grow and become a better version of myself. On a personal level if a friend or lover criticized me, I often mulled it over in my head, dissecting how much truth there was in it. Discarding the useless bits but holding on to the true parts, using them to try to do better.

But creatively I just couldn’t take it. So I settled for the least creative degree imaginable in Information System Security. A degree that 8 years later, I have never used because I can’t actually bring myself to get a job in the field.

Over the years, as my passion for baking, crafting, scrap-booking, party planning, decorating, writing, & photography developed, I noticed that they all have a common thread of making things beautiful. I also noticed just how happy I am when creating.  So after years of the same internal question “what do I want to be when I grow up?” I found a home in Living Darling, an outlet for all of my creative passions.

I was immediately flooded with excitement and joy as I worked on learning new things like Photoshop and how to design my website, taking pictures, creating posts and sharing my passion with friends and family. But I was also overwhelmed by the countless things I didnt know how to do and constantly confronted by my fear of being criticized.

My imagination went wild, taking on the form of various hero lifestyle bloggers and designers that I admire, each of them questioning things like my authenticity, uniqueness, and style.

With each blog post I swept these fears aside and kept moving forward but unfortunately they persisted. Slowly chipping away at my motivation and excitement. Until last week when I stumbled upon a forum devoted to bashing one of my favorite bloggers.

I was honestly surprised that such a place existed.  But like most figurative train wrecks, it was hard to look away.  I spent a couple of hours reading through 6 years of post, searching them for a truth that I had maybe missed after all these years of admiration. Trying to reconcile my version of her blog with this one.  Was I wrong to love her work? Was she really such a monster?  I went back to her blog and her Instagram and then back to these horrible comments. And what I found, buried deep within most of those critical posts was jealousy. Jealousy of her success, of the picturesque life she has curated, of her hustle.

I spent days thinking about this forum, shocked that one of my favorite blogs could inspire so many vitrolic comments.  And then I read this quote by Theodore Roosevelt

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Then all at once I felt a huge flood of relief at the inevitability of criticism.   We live in a world full of critics and a vastness of diverse opinions. There is no escaping someone who thinks they could do it better.  If these horrible things are being said about this highly successful, talented blogger, they will always be said about anyone who puts themselves out there in the arena.

In hind sight, I wish I had developed a thick skin early on and accepted that criticism has its place.  That while being vulnerable to criticism sucks, there are much worse places to be like the “cold and timid” sidelines.  But enough with the regrets, I can only hope that someday I will have put myself out there enough that there will be pages of people taking the time to critique my work.   And whether I know victory or defeat, here is to daring greatly.

xoxosarah

Rainbow Sprinkle Bridal Shower

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This invitation by Ink obsession Designs on Etsy was the inspiration for my Rainbow Sprinkles Bridal Shower.

For the decorations we used a clear umbrella, tucked a few tissue fans up inside, and dangled a strand of paper hearts like rain drops.

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For the favors we made our own rainbow sprinkle mix and bottled them up.  Here is a gorgeous tutorial on Something Turquoise.

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D.I.Y. Custom Sprinkle Mix Favor by Something Turquoise

If you would prefer to buy pre-made sprinkles
here is a cute mix by KreativeBakingShop on Etsy
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I really wish I had pictures of the food, but it was 3 years ago, before blogging so Ill just fill you in on the Menu:

  • Rainbow fruit platter, complete with “cloud” fruit dip
  • Rainbow fruit tarts
  • Tulip sugar cookies with pink royal icing
  • An assortment of Quiche
  • bagel and cream cheese bar
  • pickled asparagus and cream cheese wrapped in ham

Here is a cute example of the gorgeous fruit plate my sister-in-law, Suzy made for the shower

Rainbow Fruit Tray

Rainbow Fruit Tray from Makoodle.com

I used “Hello My Name is” name tags for the food labels.  I found these cute labels from EmDashPaperCo on Etsy

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“Hello My Name is” from EmDashPaperCo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was completely spoiled, sprinkled, and showered with love and amazing gifts. It has been fun reminiscing about such a great day.

Happy Friday!

xoxosarah

Vintage Carnival Themed Wedding

In honor of my 3rd wedding anniversary, I’m celebrating with a whole week of wedding posts. Im kicking it off with a photo tour of my vintage carnival theme and giving my advice on how to enjoy your wedding day.

The benefit of being a bridesmaid a few times before actually getting married myself was that I saw first hand just how stressful a wedding can be and how often the bride doesn’t get to enjoy her day.  I really wanted to enjoy my wedding so I came up with a game plan to combat what seemed inevitable.

First, I made a list of the most important priorities that I wanted from my wedding day, for me it was

1. To marry Juice…the whole point of the day right?!

2. I wanted to have fun

3. I wanted my guest to have fun

I kept this list in mind the entire wedding planning process and referred back to it when making budget decisions or dealing with a problem.
The other problem I saw with other brides  was that they had too many things to do to really just relax.  Since I love to plan parties and usually keep control of the reins the entire time, my solution to this one was really tough. But I hired a “Day of Coordinator” anyway.

For me this was by far the best money ever spent!  I got to do all the fun details building up to the wedding and then Leslie Price and Ashley Wilson took care of vendor coordination so I wasn’t bombarded with calls from the florist, baker, chairs, tables, and tent deliveries, the Photo Booth set up, the caterer, and overseeing the setup/decorating of our wedding site.  They nailed it.  They also took care of a few details I didn’t have time for; they made adorable little activity kits for the children at our wedding,  picked up the wedding cake knife that I had totally spaced, and popped popcorn for our send off. They even boxed up a few pieces of cake for Juice and I to enjoy later.

I absolutely loved my wedding day even though it was far from perfect. It rained and poured all morning, with the weather reports showing a 90% chance of rain during the ceremony for most of the day and the generator powering our music cut out just as the flash mob portion of our wedding dance started.  But I just held on to my list and knew that rain or shine, music or not, I was going to marry my love, dance, and have fun.

Here are some of my favorite details from my vintage carnival themed wedding:

  • Liberty Park with Ferris Wheel
  • Invitations with carnival tickets included
  • Hand crocheted doilies everywhere, lovingly made by my extra mom Sheri
  • Pinwheels adorned with ribbons, pom-pom fringe, and ric-rac for flower girls
  • Vintage umbrellas rented from Bella Umbrella
  • Vintage blue Ball jars for vases
  • My grandparents cake topper
  • My adorable wedding cake
  • Circus tent curtains
  • Cupcake garland
  • Billy balls painted blue for my bouquet
  • Bow ties from theBellandtheBeau on Etsy
  • Popcorn, gelato, cotton candy, and lemonade bar
  • Acoustic stylings of Trenton McKean 
  • Photo booth and props
  • Flash mob dance to Hall and Oats You Make My Dreams Come True

Here is the photo Tour

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Vintage umbrellas from Bella Umbrella


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Our fabulous ring bearer


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My grandparents wedding cake topper and my beautiful wedding cake.


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My extra mom gave me this beautiful vintage table cloth and crocheted this gorgeous doily.


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Trenton McKean


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You Make My Dreams Come True

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Check out the cupcake garland my amazing bridesmaid April Vandertoolen helped me make.

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I hope you enjoyed my wedding photo tour. I’d love to hear what you would put on your own wedding priorities list.

Photography credit for all of these wonderful photos goes to Cat Palmer

Toddler Friendly Coffee Table Styling


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My life is filled with messy. Two dogs, a toddler, a husband with a penchant for crumbs and a little chaos. Each night as a part of our bed time routine, Juice and I get on my hands and knees and “help” our O.J. pick up a chaotic slurry of Legos, blocks, toys, books, and stuffed animals. I honestly think that my child’s favorite game is making a mess. After all “mess” was his 3rd word, his 2nd word was hummus. For his 1st attempt at sentence structure he strung them together and said many times with delight “hummus mess” as he painted the kitchen table and himself.

It’s hard to justify making things look beautiful with his constant assault on tidiness . And yet I keep at, if only for a handful of brief moments here and there where every Lego, book, and shoe is tucked neatly away, where the dishes are done, and there is no heaping pile of laundry there to taunt me. I prop my feet up, look around my beautiful little home and savor the bright, cheerful bits that delight me.
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I love a good styled coffee table, they usually start with some gorgeous, architecturally interesting table, add in a mirrored tray or a basket, and then strategically arrange amazing books, flowers or a plant and undoubtedly some sharp, heavy knick-knack to tie it all together.  All of which sound like a trip to the Emergency room just waiting to happen, that or an expensive book in a pile of shreds.

So here is my solution, a coffee table styling that most likely won’t make it in any design magazine spreads but is free of sharp edges, easy to clean, a great place to put your feet up in those rare moments of peace, and makes your living room look put together all while including your child.

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I am all about using what I have and so our once bedroom ottoman became the living room coffee table. For awhile I thought about covering it with some trendy upholstery fabric but after countless leaky “sippy cup” incidents I decided that this bland, microfiber ottoman was just right as it, which is EASY TO CLEAN!  I use books that are specifically for my little one but also match my color scheme (just don’t look too closely at these very loved books), a fake plant that has been put away a time or two when I just couldn’t bare another “teachable moment”  where I redirect him to a book or my secret weapon, a wooden puzzle. Luckily for the most part he now ignores the plant.

I put together a quick inspiration board of kid friendly coffee table styling ideas.

I hope I’ve given you an idea that will make your living room decor a little less of a battle and still makes your home feel beautiful.  For #1 how cute would it be to put two of these floral ottomans side by side. #3 I love the idea of picking up a few old books at a thrift store or yard sale and then covering in cute paper.  For #6&7 I am seriously in love this felt flower shop on Etsy.  Where is my debit card?  #8 make your own pussy willow branches with felt balls, I’m totally going to do something like this in my bedroom.
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1. Floral Ottoman from Joss and Main 2. Blue tray from One King Lane 3. photo credit potterybarnkids 4. Penguin Classic Book Collection 5. Faux succulents  6. & 7. flowers and succulents from the Felt Flower Shop 8. felt ball branch d.i.y 9.mini painted globe

I’d love to hear your thoughts so leave me a comment below and Happy Friday!!

xoxosarah

The Perfect Tea Party Bridal Shower

If you are currently looking for inspiration for an upcoming shower or birthday party, you have come to the right place because I have put together the perfect tea party shopping list.

Last spring I had the honor of helping my dear friend and boss Starla with her daughter Kylie’s bridal shower. Since I adore them both I was really excited to help.

I wanted the event to be whimsical, bright, fun, and a little eclectic.

The food for this shower was a sight to behold; fresh salads, an assortment of delicious tea sandwiches, veggie shooters, hummus shooters, chocolate and pistachio mini bunt cakes, mini lemon cheesecakes, chocolate covered strawberries, and beautiful candy dishes filled with hand crafted caramels and marshmallows.

To continued the eclectic, whimsical vibe I added edible butterflies and canapé flags to many of the dishes.

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Edible butterflies from SugarRobot on Etsy

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Truly Scrumptious canape flags

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Lavender and Vanilla Caramels from Calabasas Candy Co, cucumber sandwiches, and chocolate covered strawberries.

(Since working on this post I have had an intense desire all day to make cucumber sandwiches for dinner. I’m not sure how My hubby Juice or little O.J. would take it but these were so delicious, I might just be willing to risk their disappointment.)

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Truly Scrumptious plates

For the decorations we gathered up miss-matched tea sets from friends, family, and a few stops at the thrift shop. We then pulled an old collection of books from her bookshelves, covered them with craft paper, and added a little lace and ribbon as part of each table centerpiece. About a week before the event Star planted pretty little flowers in a handful of the extra tea cups and had them ready to go the day of the event. To finish off the centerpieces we added large goblets, hot water, and tea flowers.

I also used one of my favorite tricks; micro flower arrangements. We used 2 dozen roses and a “garden bunch” to create 12 mini flower arrangements in gorgeous champagne glitter votive holders. There were flowers everywhere but we didn’t spend a fortune.

All the tables were covered in white linens and then layered with different crocheted tablecloths and mismatched doilies.

Star’s big back yard was the perfect space to add in giant lavender and mint balloons strung with lace.

We strung a large glitter “All You Need Is Love” banner across the front of her Pergola along with an eclectic butterfly garland.

and added delightful little paper butterfly cake toppers to all of the flower arrangements.

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my balloon guy, John with Balloon Architects

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Butterfly Caketoppers from Kiwitinicreations on Etsy

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Champagne Glitter Votive Holder as a mini vase from SweetHeartsStudios on Etsy

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Free to Fly Butterfly Garland from Julamade on Etsy and All You Need is Love Banner from ThreeLeafPaperie on Etsy

The ice tea bar was the perfect solution to having a tea party on a HOT spring day.  Darling paper straws and delicately hued lavender and mint sugar cubes were the sweetest addition to a fabulous, ice cold, glass of tea.

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Iced Tea Bar

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Colored Sugar Cubes from TrioArtisanDesigns on Etsy

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The Perfect Tea Party Paper Straw Combo from Twigsandtwirlsllc on Etsy

For the favors we filled pretty little paper bags with cookies for later and finished them off with hand stamped “thank you” doilies.

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Cookie for Later Favor with these Hand Stamped Doilies from OhJoyGypsy on Etsy and these Favor Bags from theStationeryRoom on Etsy

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As promised here is the perfect tea party shopping list:

Truly Scrumptious Plates

Truly Scrumptious canape flags

Butterfly Paper Caketoppers

Free to Fly Butterfly Garland 

Lavender and Vanilla Caramels

Champagne Glitter Mini Vase

Colored Sugar Cubes

Paper Straws

Hand Stamped Doilies

Favor Bags

All You Need is Love Banner

Edible butterflies 

My balloon guy

I hope this list saves you time and helps you throw a gorgeous tea party.

xoxosarah