love for #olemiss

a long, long, long time ago, i was a young college freshman, and you know what my favorite part of going to college was? decorating my dorm room. decorating my sorority house room. decorating my summer apartment before senior year. see a trend here?

the circle monogram with burlap
this year, i started the college spaces section of the re-nest studio etsy shop, mostly because i love what's out there now for college decor. bright colors. stripes. chevron. monograms. textures. i love all of it. 

love for mississippi. and, big love for ole miss + oxford!
this week, i had the pleasure of delivering a very special set of custom decor for a young girl's apartment at ole miss. after meeting with her mom several weeks ago, we talked about two different pieces: the favorite state throw pillow cover + the circle chevron framed monogram, but we needed to make it custom to her decor. so, we changed up the fabrics for both to burlap which is so very much trending with home decor right now.

i love making pieces totally custom to decor and this is no exception! hope you like these two new versions of two of the shop's favorite pieces!


a little creative in the kitchen

alright, so we all eat, right? and i'm willing to bet there isn't one person reading this who hasn't gotten totally bored with cooking the same things over and over. and, who felt the need to break out of the rut. well, for me, that was the case. along with the fact that i just wasn't cooking that much. so a couple of weeks ago i gave myself a little kick in the pants.

a quick back story: i'm a healthy eating nut. well, most of the time. i don't do fried anything. i don't do butter. i don't do cream. i do love chocolate. i believe cake is a food group. and i have a long-standing love/hate relationship with diet coke. but for the most part, i'm good. and i'm proud to say that as a mama, i have successfully helped cultivate these habits into my boys. almost a year ago, i embarked on a journey to lose the rest of the baby weight from little mr. re-nest #2, and as part of that, i have ventured into the world of clean eating (most of the time), buying organic (when i can and when the budget allows), and (gasp!) cooking more often. it's been a transition...not one that i (we) made overnight, but one that has happened naturally and i think it's turned out pretty well. (note: mr. re-nest is a total gem when it comes to this...we've been together forever and he's all about healthy eating. well, except for his candy vice.)

as part of this natural process into becoming a kitchen maven, i started meal planning. as in, i sit down and plan out two weeks worth of dinners at a time. (i do two main grocery trips per month...and if we run out of something, i'll run and get it, but mostly, it's the two trips per month. and two times a month, we get an organic produce delivery to our house, which is another totally new and awesome thing that i never would have done.) 
the meal plan. yes, friday, 9/19 says "hot dogs."
that was all for the boys who were home solo. :)

okay, so i want to stop and talk about meal planning for a moment. because it has changed.my.life. i'm not kidding at all when i say this. not one bit. and maybe i'm late to the meal planning game and everyone reading this has been doing it for years, but it has changed so much in our little corner of the world. before this, at 5:00pm, i was panicking about what i was going to make for dinner. that would lead to me standing in front of an open fridge, freaking out more, and then settling on picking up chipotle. and i was cranky about it. now, i always keep my notebook with me, and when i can, i check out recipes on my phone, and just plan out the two weeks when i can. then, when it's time to shop, i note what i need (notice i said what i need), and that's what is bought. pre-meal planning, i had a grocery list that i would print out every time i went shopping, and it had everything on it that were our staples. and i would buy what we needed, but without any plan as to what i was going to do with it. and you know what that meant? lots of wasted money and food that was never eaten. no joke, i've been meal planning now for about six weeks, and by only buying what we are planning on actually eating in that two weeks, our grocery bill has easily been cut in almost half. 

now that i've campaigned for meal planning, let's talk about some of the amazing new recipes i've been trying (which my family has given the gold seal of approval!). many of these i've come across through clean eating websites which i've found through simple google searches or friends of mine that are on the clean eating bandwagon. two of my very favorite sites? skinnytaste.com and committed to get fit, over on blogspot.com.

crock pot sesame honey chicken...this is a total new favorite, and one that both my husband
crock pot sesame honey chicken!
+ kids LOVED. i put it together in the crock pot in the morning, and when we came home from work/school, all i had to do was put rice in the rice cooker, and thirty minutes later, we were eating!

turbofire chili....don't be afraid of the name, because the spice in this is low. the one thing i will say that the recipe calls for that i left out was tomato paste. tomato paste is not something i use at all anymore. if a recipe calls for it, i just up the amount of tomatoes that are called for. tomato paste = not good. (just trust me on this one.)

garlic sweet potato mash....yummmm! sweet potatoes are a superfood, and i am always trying to get my boys (all three of them!) to eat more superfoods. this does it. easy. sweet. very, very good.

skinny garlic parmesan fries....i just made these this past weekend, and i'm so glad i got tired of cutting the potatoes, because i probably would have eaten the entire batch by myself if i'd kept cutting up the 'taters.

hopefully i've inspired you a bit (or just made you hungry!) honestly, i was so skeptical about the whole meal planning thing, but it has been the greatest thing i have done around our house in a long time. so, grab a notebook, or a piece of paper, or your notes section on your smartphone, and start planning! enjoy!


it's official: "frozen" party goodness!

to say that i have been anxiously awaiting this day for a month would be an understatement! that's right, friends, there is more party goodness coming to the party shop on the re-nest store! and, i have a wonderful indiana connection to thank for the inspiration and the reason to launch this new offering! (note: i love social media. love it. it's one of the reasons i have been able to do so many great, custom projects this year. i have had so many friends from long ago, reach out to me and ask me to create handmade greatness for them this year. i have them to thank for thinking of me first, and i have social media to thank for keeping me in front of them. so, facebook, while i sometimes want to quit you, i can't. i digress.)

so, let's talk about how this goodness came about, shall we? a friend of mine from long ago (okay, we know each other from the cole academy days, and i used to babysit her siblings from time to time) - we connected through facebook, and started talking about her daughter's upcoming fourth birthday party. like many little girls, the theme was set..."frozen," of course! one day, i was cruising through pinterest (another fave of mine!) and i was looking for some "frozen" themed inspiration. i had just finished up the new tulle princess wand, and i saw something similar, except with a snowflake on the wand! i sent this mama a picture, and the rest is history! i made up a mock-up of our version of the snowflake/glitter/ribbon wand, and she loved it...so, i started a wand-making operation in the studio!

we settled on twelve wands for the party, and i got to work. lots of ribbon + snowflakes + glitter later, and we had a dozen adorable snowflake wands, ready to make a special party in indiana complete! 

but we couldn't stop there! remember how last week, i mentioned on the facebook page that adding some keepsake canvas decor to a party makes for a great party decor addition, but it's also something you can use in the house later? this mama was my inspiration. her daughter loves elsa so much, that she asked me to design a custom canvas for her to use at the party and then to hang in her playroom after the party was over. how amazing is that?

i got to work sketching up some ideas...i went with some really personalized themes to one that just focused on the castle and elsa. we ended up going with a 16" x 20" canvas, painted with the brushstroke technique combining pink, purple and blue (very "frozen"-esque colors!). centered on the canvas, i did three large scale cutouts of elsa's ice castle....and to make it a little extra "icy" i used a glitter cardstock for all three of the castle layers. to finish it off, i added a very simple, pink elsa silhouette along with a couple of snowflakes to make the piece complete!

what do you think? do you know a little girl who is "frozen" obsessed? oh, and i should mention....the glitter snowflake wand is now available on the etsy store, so check it out!

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