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    DIY, Family, Home

    Margot’s Playset!

    When we first moved into our house we knew that having a playset for Margot was a huge priority. Especially with me being pregnant, I don’t always have energy to get to the park and I don’t foresee that changing when the newborn comes along! I scoured the internet and pinterest for playsets but I kept finding that the only ones I really liked were custom built. We played out the logistics of building our own playset but when it came down to it, it just wasn’t really worth it for us. Julian is pretty good at building things but between weatherproofing all the wood first, planning out a design, cutting all the pieces just right, etc; it didn’t seem easily feasible (and we didn’t want this to be a project going on for months). Next we looked further into the pre-fab options that I liked… and all I can say is; holy cow, I had no idea how much a playset could cost! So, he told me that if I could find a pre-fab playset that I liked that was a reasonable price, we could customize it however I wanted. As it turns out that was a great idea! it was a total win/win for everyone including our pocketbook! I also had a lot of fun planning out changes I wanted to make and seeing them make such a big difference! It ended up looking more like a play house than an actual play set which I really love! . I have had a lot of questions about it so I thought I’d do a quick post with the details and changes we made 馃檪

    Don’t mind the avocado stain on her shirt and dirt all over her knees…she’s a messy kid.

    This is the playset we used

    Online they have it listed for $1299.99 but in the store they were selling it for $999. So definitly worth looking into getting it at your local store.

    • We didn’t instal the front slide. This was mainly began as space issue rather than a problem with it aesthetically, however I really ended up liking how it looks more like a little house. -We then blocked off the opening with extra wood we had, it doesn’t matter if the wood matches if you are going to be painting it anyway.
    • The most obvious alteration: We painted it white – Julian and his dad used a paint sprayer to make it a bit easier and we painted everything except the door.
    • We Removed all of the green window accents and added wood crossbeams to the large upstairs window and the opening where the slide would have been. I stained them to match the door.
    • I changed the door handle to a more modern gold handle that I had left over from our kitchen cabinet remodel.
    • Spray painted the bell gold and moved to to the side of the door instead of on top.
    • Didn’t install the A-frame molding about the door or the flags above the slide- I still have a plan to put a real flag on there but I haven’t quite gotten there yet.
    • One of my favorite changes that we made was moving the grill set to the side. We thought it would be more fun (since the slide was gone) to use the spot the grill was supposed to go as a serving station/open window.
      • To do that we cut a 1×8 piece of wood to fit and used shelf brackets under to hold it in place. I had some marble contact paper on hand so I jazzed up the shelf with that. It seems to be fairing well even with the sprinklers! (More photos below)

    • Since our playset backs right up to some bushes (with just enough room to climb) I wasn’t all that concerned with aesthetics of the rock wall BUT if yours was in the middle of the yard and you wanted something other than the green, yellow, and red ones it comes with, you could look into getting some better looking climbing rocks, I know they sell grey ones etc. Just another idea!
    • Because of my obsession with plants I planted some vines at each corner – my hope is that it will eventually look like a magical fairytale forrest tree house. But thats still TBD. I also hung a little airplant at the “serving area” just by screwing in a hook.
    • Instead of putting the hanging bar between the swings we put our baby swing, which would only be a necessary change if you have a baby, of course.
    • Lastly, I made the upstairs fun by adding some bunting along the top, an outdoor rug and some pillows.
    • I looked into painting the slide so it wasn’t yellow but came up with no good ideas so yellow it is! I actually ended up kind of liking the pop of color but would still be open to something more mellow like a grey…If you come across any options that don’t involve buying a whole new slide- let me know 馃檪

    And that’s it! The painting was a labor of love but most of those customizations were really easy and didn’t require a ton of effort. If you guys are putting it together yourself definitely plan on needing a couple or 3 days to get the whole job done – but you can do it!

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    Food & Drink

    Drink for Good: One Hope Wine (plus dinner party menu)

    We have been so excited about our backyard and hosting friends that for a few weeks there it was a non-stop party at the Hollar home! No complaints about that but we finally took a minute to slow down and have a smaller dinner party with just a few, a menu inspired by Ina Garten (you know that’s always a good sign) and the yummiest wine from One Hope.

    Side Note: Flower arrangement cameo apperance is from the floral arranging 聽tutorial with Hello Honey.聽

    First off, have you guys heard of One Hope wine?! It’s is such a great business! A percentage of every bottle purchased goes to various non-profit organizations. Printed on the back of each bottle it says where exactly the proceeds are going – how cool is that?! They partner with organizations to help end childhood hunger, provide life saving vaccines, provide people with clean drinking water, support cancer medication development, aid veterans in finding a renewed sense of purpose, 聽and the list goes on and on!

    Admittedly, I was skeptical at first that the wine would be any good- don’t get me wrong, I certainly enjoy a nice two-buck chuck now and again but I have also learned to appreciate delicious wines as well and I can tell the difference! Starting at the first sip we were all blown away at how great聽this wine is! I mean really! Bottle after bottle, red after white, it never let us down. Everyone kept saying how impressed they were with it! You really need to give it a try! If you are already buying wine – might as well enjoy it while helping others right? It’s a win/win for everyone. They also have these suuuuper cute glitter bottles that I can’t wait to get my hands on!

    OK, have I won you over yet? I just really want everyone to try this wine because I know you’ll keep going back for more and so much good can come from it!

    You can learn more about it and purchase it here, through conultant Melissa Ferber, who generously provided all of the wine for our party 馃檪

    (In case I need to clarify, I think this is a good time to point out that I only had a few sips of each wine, it probably equated to a glass or so in total. Don’t worry – I didn’t forget that I am pregnant 馃檪 )

    Wine is great on it’s own but as we all know – it’s even better with food. I know, dinner parties can be A LOT of work but they are also A LOT of fun! So, to make things a bit easier I broke down all of the things I made and even how to prep for the party to make its easy-peasy. All of the recipes are inspired by or taken directly from Ina Garten, which means they will be your new favorites. Links to the recipes are below along with some of my own tips and a schedule that allows you to do almost everything before anyone even arrives allowing you to fully enjoy your party and your friends!

    Camembert & Prosciutto Tartines.聽聽

    **alteration: I drizzled some honey on top because I figured, why not, and oooooh man – it was SO good! Do that.

    **tip: make sure all of the prosciutto gets a bit crispy – some of mine didn’t get roasted all the way and the crispy ones were definitely better!

    **alteration: Camembert is like brie but it is a bit stronger, if you would prefer a lighter taste to the cheese you could substitute with brie.

    Filet of Beef with B茅arnaise Mayonnaise

    OK so for this one, I didn’t want to make the mayo myself 聽because of the raw eggs and being pregnant. So, if that is a concern for you here’s what I did and it came out great!

    Saut茅 the tarragon, shallots, & wine (I use One Hope 馃檪 ) as she says to do. I left the vinegar out because store bought mayonnaise already has vinegar in it. Then combine saut茅ed mixture with tablespoon of mustard and 1 cup of store bought mayo in a food processor. Voila!

    **alteration: A beef tenderloin isn’t really an inexpensive piece of meat but it is DELICIOUS and is the consistency of butter. It’s really great for a special occasion. But you could also make the same bearnaise mayonnaise with your favorite cut of steak to make it more of an everyday meal.

    Parmesan Chive Smashed Potatoes

    Butter Lettucewith Mustard Vinaigrette (below)

    Mustard Vinaigrette Recipe (Hollar Family Recipe):
    2tsp salt
    tsp pepper
    3tbs Dijon mustard
    1c apple cider vinegar
    1tbs honey
    1c olive oil
    1c vegetable oil (or canola)

    In dressing shaker, using a blender or hand mixer, mix first 5 ingredients.
    Add olive oil and Vegetable oil and mix again.

    Chocolate Creme Br没l茅e

     

    Day before:

    • Make mayonnaise cover & refrigerate (can be done 2 days in advance)
    • Make creme br没l茅e custard, cook, let cool, cover, & refrigerate.
    • Prep/wash lettuce, dry, cover & refrigerate.
    • Make dressing and refrigerate. (can be done 5 days in advance)

    Day of:

    • Afternoon:
      • Boil potatoes & smash on baking sheet. Cover & set aside until time to cook.
      • Prep chives & parmesan
    • About an hour before guests arrive prepare the tartines and stick in the oven a few minutes before they arrive.
    • About an hour and a half-ish before you want to eat (probably 30 minutes before guests will be arriving) butter meat and stick in the oven.
      • If you have two ovens this works. If you don’t have 2 you can just put roast in immediately after the tartines come out and eat a little later.
      • Another option would be to put the meat on the grill rather than in the oven; this is actually what we did because Julian really wanted to cook it in his Big Green Egg.
      • You can also do what Ina recommends to do and cook roast up to 2 days in advance (store in fridge) and serve at room temp with mayonnaise – she says it’s delicious.
    • When meat has about 20 minutes left stick potatoes in the oven. (If cooking meat in advance just do this 30min before you want to eat)
    • After dinner caramelize sugar on creme br没l茅es.

    **Notice that all you are actually doing while the guests are there is sticking potatoes in the oven and crystallizing sugar for the creme br没l茅es! That gives you the ability to actually enjoy your guests!

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    DIY, Home

    Flower Arranging With Hello Honey Flower Co.

     

    As we continue to welcome the warm months and there’s still a week or two left in peony season, Amy and I thought it would be fun to give you guys some tips on how to take grocery store bought flowers and elevate them to the next level! Amy is owner of Hello Honey Flower Co., a full service flower design company based right here in LA (lucky for me). Her work is both elegant and whimsical. Her arrangements are not old fashioned and stuffy but instead she allows the unexpected patterns of nature to show off their wild side with unsymmetrical arrangements, whispy tulips and wonky ranunculas.

    She and her cutest pup of all time, Lemon, came over one afternoon and she shared all of her tricks for us. Watch the video for her inside scoop and read below for the basic steps of flower arranging as well as some additional pro tips.

     

    1. 1)Start by taping the vase into sections with floral tape in a “#” fashion. This gives a bit of structure for the flowers to rest on and will keep them right where you want them. Floral tape comes in different widths and colors and can be purchased at a variety of places like Michaels and Amazon.
    2. Begin arranging with your greenery. This gives your flowers more of a visual base and helps to fill in bare spots below the flowers.
      • Always cut off leaves and flowers below the water line of your arrangement. Leaves and flowers in the water can pollute 聽the it causing the flowers to die more quickly 馃檨
    3. Next place your focal flower. This is the largest flower you will be putting in. Some good examples are: peonies, dahlias, garden roses; etc.
      • Use the vase to help determine how long the stem should be. Hold the flower next to the vase approximately at the height you want it to stand above the vase line and cut slightly longer.
      • As you place the stems in the vase, insert them so that the stems are going in at an angle allowing them to cross. This, along with the floral tape, helps to keep the flowers in place.
    4. From there you are just going to fill in with your filler flowers and additional greenery; read below for some additional tips and hints!
      • Some ideas for filler flowers are: spray roses, stock flower, queen annes lace, freesia or typically any flower smaller than the focal flower.

    • FORAGE! Amy says that one of the best ways to have natural looking arrangements is to forage for both greenery as well as flowers. You don’t have to go out and buy everything – the arrangements we made were done with both store bought flowers and foraged flowers/greenery.

     

    • Have a good pair of snips- Amy recommends having a nice pair of sheers to cut your stems with. They can be purchased many different places but聽here is one I found on Amazon. Target also has some really cute garden tool sets that include sheers.

     

    • Keep in mind that nature is never symmetrical. Amy likes to mimic this by having free formed arrangements that are often higher on one side and slightly lower on there other, sometimes even with cascading foliage over one side. Inserting flowers like tulips and ranunculus with slightly longer stems can help an arrangement appear more organic and whimsical.

    • If flower arranging is something you really love to do you may want to purchase an inexpensive lazy susan. Here is a $10 option I found on amazon!This allows you to easily see all angles of the arrangement with a 聽quick spin.

     

    • It’s OK to edit the arrangement as you go! Amy said that sometimes she will even cut a flower off if she decided she doesn’t want it rather than trying to pull it out of all the criss-crossed stems.

     

    • Don’t be afraid to cut off leaves, sometimes too many varieties of leaves can start to look busy. You can keep the flower but cut off its leaves to save it from looking too disheveled.

     

    • Our favorite flower arranging book? The Flower Recipe book. It is beautiful and 聽informative. It gives specific tips on different types of flowers, how to keep them alive longest and how to arrange them best.

     

    • Have fun with it!聽Amy tells us that while there are some guidelines to arranging flowers, it is really all about creativity and personal preference! So have at it because you can’t do it wrong 馃檪

     

    Now, if that ^^ doesn’t inspire you I don’t know what will.

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