Take Me There...

I am off to Zion for the week! I'll be back to my daily posts next Monday. I hope you all have a very safe and happy New Year!


Adorned with Jewels

For this New Year's Eve party, spruce yourself up with some over sized, extra sparkly, jewels. I have had access to some old relatives jewelry for quite some time now, and although I always loved the jewelry, I never really thought it was wearable. For one, pierced ears were not always that common, so all of the earrings are clips ons. Even though the clips ons brought endless fun when playing dress up as a child, as an adult, clip ons are pretty painful. There are several things that I admire about my relatives jewelry collection... I love that there are complete coordinating sets of brooches, necklaces, and earrings. Despite the fact that I never really like to be too matchy-matchy, there is something regal and sophisticated about having complete, matching sets of any item. I also love the weight of the jewelry, the items feel solid and nicely made. However, this weight is also what makes your ears quickly hurt when wearing those clip ons.

These jewels are perfect for any party - holiday or not. If you feel like adding some extra femininity to your wardrobe, mix in some of these jewels with an everyday t-shirt and jean jacket. Even though I love the complete set, if you are going casual, it's best to only wear the brooch, or just the earrings, not both.

If you love the look of these vintage brooches, earrings, and necklaces, but do not have relatives that have passed them on to you, you are in luck! Several stores have items very similar to these - some are even clip ons! Check out Bloomingdale's, Kate Spade, and Macy's for some reasonably priced items of similar style.

Maybe your New Year resolution should be to combine extra fancy items with everyday clothes, so you feel extra fabulous, everyday! 




DIY: Pomander Centerpiece

I just became a Wedding Ace over at Wedding Aces! I will be offering weekly advice and tips on all things wedding-floral related. For a step-by-step walk through on how to make an awesome pomander centerpiece for a wedding, the holidays or just because, check out my first article.


Nutty Treats: Homemade Granola

Homemade anything is becoming more and more rare. While it is quite a sad that we rely on store bought and restaurant bought goods to feed our tummies, it is understandable when you realize that it is actually cheaper to go out to eat rather than make home cooked food or baked goods. However, when you eat out, you lose out on the true goodness of each ingredient. Granola is one of my favorite things to make from scratch. Store bought granola does not even compare to homemade. Homemade lets you have control of all your favorite ingredients - I like making sure there are extra cashews and macadamia nuts... the type of nuts that always seem to be missing in other granola. Store bought granola always seems to lack the true heartiness of homemade - the nuts and oats just don't have the crunch and substance that you will find in this recipe. 

Here is the original recipe:

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup slivered almonds

1 cup cashews

3/4 cup shredded sweet coconut

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup raisins

I always tweak this recipe every time I make it. Sometimes I feel like adding more sugar and syrup while others I want different types of nuts and I always skip out on the raisins. Feel free to add or subtract to your personal taste and enjoy!


Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar.

In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.

Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add raisins and mix until evenly distributed.

Recipe from Alton Brown

Homemade granola makes an excellent treat for your friends, family, and neighbors. The batch makes a lot so you will have plenty to share. Simply pour them into decorative cellophane bags or into old milk bottles and tie it up with a nice holiday ribbon. The treat will be sure to please everyone. If you have already finished your holiday gifting, then you can store the granola in Tupperware for your enjoyment. Lately, I have been enjoying it with some acai - quite delicious!


Tiled Beauty

Artistic Tile is a tiling company that has just about every stone, glass, pattern, style, feel, and texture you can think of. Some tiles are like you have never seen, while others are familiar and yet applied in a refreshing way. The tiles are perfectly acceptable to be used in your home, in a restaurant or in a hotel. Entire bathrooms and kitchens can be made over with the use of these gorgeous tiles.



Feature Friday: Aulani Resort, Hawaii

Oahu is receiving a new family-targeted resort by noneother than Disney. On August 29, 2011, the Aulani Resort will open its doors to Disney fanatics and those eager to breath in some island air. The Aulani is located in Ko Olina, in West Oahu (which in my opinion, happens to be next to the best Luau that all the islands have to offer). Ko Olina is out of the hustle and bustle of the tourist and resort covered Waikiki, setting a different pace than most Oahu tourists are used to. In Hawaiian, the word Aulani means, "the messenger of a chief" or "the one who delivers a message from a higher authority." Disney wanted the Aulani to be a place of story telling; a place of sharing and honoring the people and nature of Hawaii to those visiting.

The Aulani truly does do its best to incorporate ancient Hawaiian design and tradition into its rooms and architecture. The structure of the resort lends itself to canoe and ancient Hawaiian woodwork. A major element that is found throughout the Islands is lava rock, which is also scattered around the resort. Disney would not be Disney if there were no signs of Mickey. Although the guest rooms may have traditional Hawaiian quilts, they also have hidden mickeys on them. Hawaiian Mickey lamps can also be found in the gift shop and in rooms. Overall, I do belive that Disney could have gone terribly wrong putting such a large resort in a territorial and yet kick-back place like Hawaii. However, the renderings and images seem to prove that Disney can respect the culture and history of the Hawaiians and incorporate that into their design. 

There isn't a whole lot of subtlty when it comes to fun with Disney. The pools and activities for children (and some adults) look to be like endless fun. With gigantic pools, volcano waterslides, lazy rivers, and a kids clubhouse, it is obvious that this is a family oriented resort. The hotel will also offers several packages for the family to explore the culture, history and land of Hawaii.
Just because this is a family geared resort does not mean that adults don't get to have fun and relax. Enjoy a true Hawaiian healing massage outdoors or visit the spa's reflection pool - designed to mimick an ancient Hawaiian mirror (water in a black lava pool ).