The Ultimate Italian Sandwich

Italian-Sub

Enjoy the warm weather by hitting the outdoors equipped with a blanket, picnic food and wine. This amazing Italian sandwich is perfect on the go – just cut up and share with family and friends.

Ingredients

  • 1 ciabatta loaf
  • 1/4 cup prepared basil pesto
  • 1/4 pound each of sliced Italian cold cuts – salami, pepperoni, sopressata, prosciutto
  • 1/4 pound sliced Provolone cheese
  • 1/4 pound sliced fresh Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup fresh arugula
  • Finely chopped green olives with pimento
  • Roasted red pepper

Instructions
Slice bread loaf, spread pesto and layer meats cheese and toppings as desired.

Keys to a Balanced, Happy Life

Balance_perfect
Don’t Try to be Perfect:
Perfection does not exist and striving for it will only make you miserable. Instead celebrate the individual you are. Embrace it all – your talents, quirks and downfalls – and realize now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.

Balance_perspectiveGain Perspective:
It’s important to take part in a cause greater than yourself, to gain some perspective. At times, we can’t help but get consumed in our own problems, and helping other people makes you step outside yourself and see there are other issues in the world.

Balance_quit
Quit, and Quit Often:
When something does not feel right to you, let it go. All too often we are pressured to try our best, endure, and keep going – but sometimes you are just running in a hamster wheel and need to get off. If you are unhappy, don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life. You don’t have to be what everyone else wants you to be, you just have to be you.

Balance_sleep
Get Sleep:
You need to give your body time to properly recharge in order to give every day your best. When we are running on lack of sleep, our energy levels and judgement become impaired.

Balance_eat
Eat Well:
Your body is your temple and you should treat it well. It will be your home for your lifetime so it is important to fuel it with natural, healthy ingredients as best you can.

Balance_helpAsk for Help:
Whether it is something simple like help preparing dinner, or something larger like coping with a loss, asking for help from others is a natural way for humans to connect. In modern society we have grown further apart, and often times struggle with life’s moments alone. Try asking for help the next time you need it, it will liberate you.

Balance_uncomfortable
Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable:
Going outside of your comfort zone is when you grow and experience what life has to offer. The phrase, “Don’t be afraid” is written in the bible 365 times, as a daily reminder from God to live every day being fearless. If something is scary, but also excites you, you should definitely pursue it.

Balance_forgive
Forgive Others:
Don’t hold resentment, frankly it uses up too much of your own thoughts and energy. Forgive people that you want to keep in your life, and rid yourself of toxic people that are not good for you anyway.

Balance_slow
Slow Down:
Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted. Somehow, in our society, leisure time has become associated with being lazy. Don’t let that mindset become your norm. Slow down, wander for a bit, savor life’s little moments – the outdoors, food, music, family. Taking time to live will only inspire you in other areas, and inspiration is important to keep us going. At the end of their life, no one has ever regretted that they didn’t spend more time working.

Sweet Nothings for Valentine’s Day

Found on http://www.hellolucky.com/wordpress

Found on http://www.hellolucky.com/wordpress

Here are some of my favorite tokens of love for your sweetheart this year.

First up, the folks at Hello Lucky teamed up with CreativeLive this Valentine’s Day to offer 4 fun (and free) printables!

Found on http://honestlyyum.com

Found on http://honestlyyum.com

This Valentine’s Day cocktail from Honestly Yum is just what you and your sweetheart need to heat things up! Find the complete recipe here.

Found on cakewhiz.com

Found on cakewhiz.com

For a simple and affordable token of your love, grab a sharpie and write surprise fruit messages to pack in your kid’s lunchboxes.

Found on theyallhateus.com

Found on theyallhateus.com

Sometimes a dinner in is more romantic than going out to an overcrowded, overpriced restaurant. Here is inspiration or an ombre flower arrangement to set the mood!

What are you doing for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day? xoxo

Serene Gender Neutral Nursery Design

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

A small, unfinished room previously used as storage/office space was transformed into a serene baby nursery with careful space planning, a smart use of functional furniture, a mix of bold patterns and neutral color choices.

The vision for this nursery design was to create a peaceful space for my little boy to relax and sleep. The serene, gray color scheme paired with a graphic rug and loft covering gives the room a balance of interest and subtlety. I made a conscious effort to focus on non-gender specific colors, the design could be equally fitting for either boy or girl.

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

I wanted to give the baby some points of interest in the room without over stimulating, as the overall purpose of the room is to induce sleep. The simple, yet engaging animal wall prints were the perfect solution. Created by artist Sharon Montrose at theanimalprintshop.com, her definitive photographic style is both sophisticated and playful. What I love most is through this series, they help support several organizations devoted to animal rescue, educational programs, and nurturing wildlife.

Nursery3

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

It was important for the pieces and space to be functional as well, so the furniture purchases were extensively thought out. The rug is in anticipation for crawling, the glider for bedtime stories, and storage ottoman for easy clean up of books and toys. Instead of the typical changing table, I opted for an actual full-sized dresser. It has deep drawers that pack a lot of storage so I always feel like I have adequate space, and the height is fine for changing baby. The crib is convertible so that it can grow with the baby into his toddler years. The large mirror sits across from the window and helps keep the nursery bright and airy as it reflects natural sunlight. As an added bonus, my son likes to look at his reflection in the mirror as he is getting changed, which was unexpected and sweet.

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

Nursery4

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

Nursery5

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

Photo credit: Julia Elizabeth Photography, julia-elizabeth.com

Here is a breakdown of the room elements:

Wall Paint: Benjamin Moore
Silver Satin

Rug: Pottery Barn Kids
Herringbone Rug (Gray) 5×8′

Crib: Babyletto
Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib with Toddler Rail, White

Mattress: buybuyBaby
Classica II Deluxe 2-Stage Foam Crib Mattress by Colgate

Bedding: Pottery Barn Kids
Mini Dot Fitted Sheet, Gray

Wall Art: Animal Print Shop
Baby Monkey, Baby Elephant, Baby White Tiger, Baby Giraffe

Wall Art Frames: Pottery Barn
Wood Gallery Picture Frame, 8 x 10″, Modern White

Glider: Babyletto
Madison Swivel Glider, Ecru

Ottoman: Target
Threshold™ Tufted Round Storage Ottoman

Dresser: Ikea
HEMNES 8-Drawer Dresser, White

Changing Pad Cover: Pottery Barn Kids
Harper Changing Pad Cover, Gray

Mirror: Local Homegoods find

Laundry Basket: Local Homegoods find

Plush Animals: Restoration Hardware
Chambray Lion, Chambray Elephant, Chambray Giraffe

Curtains: Pottery Barn Kids
Harper Valance, Gray

Romantic Rose Flower Arrangement

ValentineBoquet2 ValentineBoquet1

Share your love this Valentine’s day with a DIY rose flower arrangement. It’s a perfect gift for your sweetheart, a friend, or yourself!

Roses signify love and romance, so there is no better flower choice on this special day. This unexpected combination of red and hot pink hues will make your heart sing, and the mix of full-sized roses and spray roses create movement and balance within the arrangement.

I used a low, round vase for this arrangement, found at a local Michaels craft store for a couple bucks. Believe it or not, I bought the flowers at my local grocery store – Shoprite! Putting it all together is a cinch, just cut the flower stems to the height of the vase, and mix up the flowers and colors for a beautiful finished piece.

What will you be gifting to your Valentine this holiday?

Healthy and Light Broiled Salmon

Salmon2

Salmon is a healthy dinner choice to give your body a break from overindulging during the holidays. I like this simple, tasty and clean broiled salmon recipe that can be pulled together quickly.

For a complete dinner, this fish dish pairs well with roasted potato and roasted asparagus.

  • 1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets
  • paprika to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 lemon, sliced width-wise
  • I pkg grape tomatoes, sliced in half length-wise

Preheat the oven’s broiler and set the oven rack about 6 inches from the top.

Season salmon fillets with paprika, pepper, and salt, drizzle with olive oil. Slice lemon width-wise and place slices in top of filet.

Line a baking pan with aluminum foil, and coat with olive oil. Place the salmon on pan surrounded with grape tomatoes. Arrange lemon slices on top and cook 6 to 8 minutes on each side side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Enjoy!

Home Office Room Design

Homeoffice2

Found on sweetharmonie.com

If you have the flexibility to work from home, that can be a real plus in managing your life. But when creating a home office, it’s important to set aside a space that inspires production and creativity, and is separated from the distractions of home life.

Here are some exceptional designs to get you excited for planning your own home office:

Homeoffice10

Found on cocokelley.com

Homeoffice9

Found on designlibrary.com.au

Found on parkavenueprincess.tumblr.com

Found on parkavenueprincess.tumblr.com

Found on thetomkatstudio.com

Found on thetomkatstudio.com

Found on home-styling.blogspot.com

Found on home-styling.blogspot.com

Found on designspiration.net

Found on designspiration.net

Found on desiretoinspire.net

Found on desiretoinspire.net

Homeoffice1

Found on dustjacketattic.blogspot.com.au

Found on carlaaston.com

Found on carlaaston.com

Found on theeverygirl.com

Found on theeverygirl.com

Found on michaelanoelledesigns.blogspot.com

Found on michaelanoelledesigns.blogspot.com

Grilled Chicken and Arugula Parmesan Salad

ChickenArugulaSalad

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 lb chicken breast strips
  • 1 pkg arugula lettuce
  • 1 pkg grape tomatoes, cut length-wise
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed
  • 1/8 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Adobo to taste

Directions

Prep chicken strips by sprinkling both sides with adobo, sea salt and pepper – set aside.

In large skillet, combine olive oil, butter in garlic over medium-high heat. Add chicken, cook 6 minutes on each side.

While the chicken is cooking, in large bowl mix arugula and cherry tomatoes. Squeeze one lemon half over and toss the salad. Add extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and ground pepper to taste.

Lay cooked chicken strips on top of salad. Finish it off with shaved Parmesan cheese on top and serve. Enjoy!

Christmas Table Setting

ChristmasTable1

I actually get giddy with excitement when setting a Christmas dinner table. It makes me feel full of joy – anticipating the gathering of loved ones, food and laughter that is to come.

We have dinner later in the day, around 5pm, so tons of candles are a must for lighting ambiance. I have a drawer full of white candles on hand in different heights at all times, to be able to use throughout the year – pillars, tapers, and tealight candles. I like to use an assortment to create interest and movement throughout the tablescape.

Every year I come up with a color scheme and flower selection for the day, this year it was red white and green, using a combination of white roses and red ranunculus.

Christmas-Table4

Each guest went home with a Godiva Chocolate Favor. The gold box and red satin ribbon were packaged so beautifully that I made it part of the table design, by placing a box on top of each dinner plate.

Christmas-Table-3