Loving :: A Beautiful Mess App

As some of you may know a few weeks ago the Beautiful Mess App was finally released. I was one of many excited about the launch. For some reason though, I waited until last week to buy it. The reviews have been mixed, but in my opinion it's a lot of fun! You can add fun borders, text, doodles, and filters to your iPhone pictures. Nothing fancy, just fun. true to a beautiful mess style. There are also add-ons (0.99) that you can purchase for a wider variety of options. After you're finished you can share your pictures via facebook, twitter, instagram or by e-mail. Even though I'm really enjoying the app,there are a couple of things that are a little bothersome. If you make an error or change your mind about something, you can't undo it, you have to start over (the girls do explain why this is on the app FAQ) and manipulating/resizing items can be a little tricky. not a deal breaker. The app itself is 0.99¢ and the add-ons are 0.99¢. I bought the app +1 add-on. That was $1.98 well spent! Here's a look at the first couple of pics I did:

xo, jen 

Made :: Lavender Simple Syrup

I’ve been wanting to make a flavored simple syrup for some time now and finally made it happen. The flavor of choice: lavender . yum. Of course this meant a trip to the local farmer’s market . The girl that sold me the lavender said it would be super easy to make. She was right. After surfing online and a couple of weeks of drying the lavender, I was ready to give it a whirl.
Great golly was it ever so easy. The taste: amazing! Seriously, it was much better than expected. So that same night, I mixed a little in my Cosmopoliton. The drink was good, but a little sweeter than I normally make. I also made Lavender Italian Sodas. YUM! YUM! I think it'll be nice in a tea or lemonade. Wanna make your own syrup? Here’s how I made it:
 Lavender Simple Syrup:
1c. of water
1c. of sugar
2 tbsp. of lavender buds (dried or fresh)
Combine the water, sugar, and lavender in saucepan over medium heat. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, turn heat down and allow the lavender buds to steep for 30min. or so. Pour the syrup into a clean glass container with a lid. Enjoy.

xo, jen

I Attended Alt for Everyone and all I got was...

1. A WEALTH OF INFORMATION! Here's a couple of nuggets from the classes I took:
Graphic Design 101, 201, 301 with the incredible Laurie Smithwick
A way to create tension is to avoid symmetry, shake things up
Be consistent with fonts you're using on the blog
Photostyling 101 with the brilliant William & Susan Brinson
Build a collection of props- find items at thrift, hardware stores, and dumpster diving (seriously)
Think about the things that I love or make me happy to help discover my aesthetic
Keynote-the Art of being a Goal Getter with the amazing Joy Cho
No is NOT the end of the world. Remember when one door shuts, another opens
Ask yourself, "Do I really want it?" Very important. If you do, don't wait around, go for it
Photoshop for Bloggers by the cute duo Mike & Alma Loveland
Standard DPI for web is 72 and 300 for print- really helpful
How to create a white background in my photos
How to Get Paid What Your Worth by the sassy Sara Urquhart
Have/ set a vision. If it's broad right now, narrow and tighten it up
Have a media kit and don't be afraid to use it!

2. NEW BLOGGER RELATIONSHIPS! Here's a few that are blossoming:
Kristine checkerberrylane / Marissa bourbonandgoose / Ryan thebloomingthread / Alyssa techlovedesign

3. A BOX FULL OF GOODIES! Here's me practicing something from the photoshop class:

the goodies in the box are: a mason jar full of cherry candies from Bing, fun case with goodies from Blue Q, beautiful necklace from Zelma Rose,  cupcake flags from Lingering Daydreams, note cards from Pixel impress, lip balm from Ivory +Ash, crayons from Childhoodlist. thank you.

Alt for Everyone was amazing! If you ever decide to go to any of the conferences they offer, I think you'll be well pleased. Have a great holiday weekend!

xo, jen

Specialty Coffee: The Pursuit of Deliciousness

Are you a coffee lover? Do you need your morning cup of joe to get your day started? Or do you simply enjoy the comfort of something nice and hot that gently awakens your spirit? For me it's the comfort and the rich, smooth taste. love a good dark roast. Here in LA, there are a lot of coffee shops that serve really good coffee! When we moved here one of the first coffee shops that a friend took me to was Lamill Coffee. It was amazing, almost life changing. I had no idea coffee could taste so good. Since then I've had coffee that has left me wanting more.
Earlier this week my husband shared this short YouTube video that highlights three specialty coffee companies, Lamill, Blue Bottle, and Handsome, and I absolutely loved it and wanted to share it with all of you coffee lovers.

xo, jen

Made :: Sauteed Chicken and Farmers Market Salad

Rarely does there seem to be a Saturday that I have time to go to one of me favorite farmer's market, but when I do, I want to buy everything. Fruit was my bounty this last trip. Most times I buy too much and it ends up going bad. This time I was determined to use everything before it spoiled. A salad with fruit was my answer. K made delicious sauteed chicken breast and I the salad. The meal was simple, quick, and delish. This would make an easy weeknight meal.

xo, jen

The salad is kale, quinoa, blueberries, strawberries, nectarine, blue cheese, and a homemade vinaigrette.

Made :: Calling Cards

Last week in preparation for the Alt for Everyone, I decided not only to make a small notebook, but to create a handmade calling card. Only a few though (literally I made four) since there really isn't anyone for me to give them to. Alt for Everyone is an online blogging conference. They were super quick to make and I'm happy with how they turned out.
The bottom half of the card is letterpress printed. I was practicing my printing skills a while back. The top half is written with a colored pencil and the heart with yellow glitter. Next, I cut them down on my handy dandy trimmer and rounded the corners. Easy breezy. Now if I only had someone to give them to :)

xo, jen

Take Your Time

While listening to the radio on my way home from work, the lyrics in a song caught my attention. The song is an 80's tune called Take Your Time by the SOS Band. love old school R&B. It talks about working hard and being busy and how we need to take time to relax, unwind, enjoy each other and life. I totally can relate (as can many of you) to this song. My husband has been working so hard and so many hours lately that I feel like he's not enjoying life the way it's meant to be enjoyed. no bueno. I know this busy time is temporary and look forward to the time where he can slow down and just breathe.
I tried to find a music video, but couldn't. However, I did find a live performance of the song on Soul Train via YouTube. Remember this was the early 80's so no judgement on the clothing ;)

xo, jen 

Strawberry Fields

Spring is here and summer is coming and for the first time ever I'm trying to grow strawberries. I've never grown any type of fruit, only vegetables and wasn't sure if I could grow them successfully. So far the gardening process has been the same as growing vegetables. Not only are the plants growing, but now there are even little baby green strawberries sprouting. Woo hoo, this is so exciting! I can't wait to see them ripe and ready to eat. Hopefully they'll be sweet.
I'd like to try growing another type of simple fruit, but not sure what to try. Any suggestions?  Here's what my "strawberry field" looked like three days ago.

xo, jen

Kickstarter :: Pushing Motherhood

A couple of days ago, I came across this kickstarter video on a blog, ...love maegan, that really spoke to me. I'm not sure why... maybe because every woman that wants to give birth and be a mom, I want them to be able to. People always ask me if my husband and I plan on having a baby. If we did I would be like one of these women in the video having a baby later (anything after 35yrs) in life.  It's true more and more "older" women are successfully giving birth to healthy babies. Still amazed that Halle Berry at the age of 46 is having baby number two. Anyway, I hope the video gets completely funded and that these ladies get what they want. Check it out. xo, jen

Made :: A Sweet Belated Birthday Card

Usually whenever I make something for the first time, I take pictures. However, for some reason for this little cutie, I didn't take pictures like I normally would. It is a belated birthday menu card for a very sweet lady. The couple of pictures that I did take (on the fly) are dark and don't do it any justice; it's super cute in person. The flaps on the card fold in and create an envelope. Guess I'll just have to make another one and take better pictures for you.

xo, jen

Kriss Kross :: Jump

Last night I heard the news that Chris Kelly of the 90's hip hop duo Kriss Kross had passed away. sad. I remember when their hit Jump came out, everyone was blasting it, jumping around, and even started wearing their clothes backwards like the duo was known to do. As much as I'm not a fan of the 90's (stylistic wise), there were a lot of songs that were just fun and Jump was one of them. If you haven't heard it before or want a trip down memory lane, check it out.

xo, jen

Made :: Salmon and Salad

It's been busy, busy around here and cooking dinner has become almost non-existent. As much as I enjoy a meal out, there's nothing like having a home cooked meal. So yesterday, I decided to make cooking dinner a priority...at least for the rest of this week. I knew what to make and had Gwyneth Paltrow's new cookbook, "It's all Good", to thank for the quick, easy, and healthy salmon recipe. It was delicious and best of all, the hubby was encouraged and loved the meal. Now what to cook tonight???

xo, jen
Note: For the salad I used what I a had on hand-arugula, tomatoes, avocado,cheese, and edamame. I used the last of a dressing a week or so ago.