Friday, January 26, 2018

Quick Tips for Making Your Flowers Last Longer

I don't know a single person who dislikes receiving flowers. Flowers are happy! And while fresh cut blooms are relatively low maintenance, there are a few things you can do to make them last longer. Here are a few tricks I've used at home to make these pretty sprouts last a week or more:

1. Cut the stems on an angle
Typically, you'll have to give flowers a little trim before arranging them in a vase. When you do, cut the stems diagonally with a pair of shears. This maximizes the surface area of the stem that's submerged in water, and it helps the flower absorb the nutrients it needs.

2. Shears, not scissors
So this one isn't a deal-breaker if you don't have shears, but typically, florists don't recommend using household scissors on these tough stems. The reason is, classic household scissors aren't strong or sharp enough to easily cut the stems, which can lead to a poor cut — and then your bloom gets less water. On second thought, it's probably not very good for your household scissors, either.

3. Change the water frequently
This is a biggie. If you've ever washed out a vase, you know flower water isn't always the most clean or best smelling. To keep it fresh, change water every day (or at least every 2-3 days), and remove any flowers that are looking limp. You'll keep the vase's ecosystem clean and the bulbs that are blooming will last longer.

4. Use lukewarm water... most of the time
Florists usually recommend lukewarm water, but I also learned a trick from my friend Cassie at the Ozark Mtn Flower Truck. If you have a bloom that you're wanting to live a little longer, you should use cold water to revive it — even going as far as to put an ice cube or two in the vase! I had never heard that before she told me, and it has worked so well.

5. Consider flower food
If you buy grocery store flowers, or stems from a flower truck, they'll usually include a packet of preservatives — or "flower food". If you find yourself with a gorgeous set of blooms but no flower food, I read a recipe for making your own plant preservatives here. I spotted the above grocery store flowers at my friend Alex's house, and I couldn't resist taking a few photos of 'em. Too pretty!

What are your favorite flowers to keep at home? I'd love to hear. xo!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

SLT Bookclub: January

One of my goals for 2017 was to read more. And, I would say I did read more last year, but I still didn't read quite as much as I intended. Of course, I read a ton of articles online (...and Instagram captions... 😅), but I didn't put in a good plan in place for reading "real" books.

So, now I have a plan in place. It's called accountability. Ha!

My goal is to read a book that's new to me each month, instead of just re-reading the Harry Potter series until I retire or die (whichever comes first).

I'm starting in January with The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. This is a book that's been sitting on my bedside table for a few months; I started it, but got distracted by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. (Hey, at least I'm being honest).

Chapter 7 in this book is titled "How Target Knows What You Want Before You Do", so I'm expecting it to be a page-turner! Anyway, I'm hoping to fly through this in January and share my February choice sooner in case any of you want to read along with me. I'm also planning on sharing this stuff on Instagram using #SLTbookclub, so.. stay tuned!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Queen City Gems, Vol. 4: Whip Solstice

There are a few days in the middle of every cold, hard winter when a Springfield, MO Pineapple Whip lover's dreams come true. And friends, these are the days.

While we're still going to be hanging onto winter for about 8-10 weeks (depending on what the groundhog decides), P-Whip is serving up a little bit of summer this weekend. I ordered mango peach (my favorite!), but if you're more of a grape lover, they have all the flavors in pint-sized perfection to take home. There's more info on location on Pineapple Whip's website.

In other Springfield happenings, D. Clea (you might remember them from this post) is having their album release show tonight! Austin and I are excited to see them play, following both Brian Bulger and Ellie Schmidly. What a lineup!

I hope everybody has a (mango) peachy weekend! Sorry.. couldn't help myself.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Top Home Trends for 2018

Hi, Internet people! Coming atcha today from a week-long trip to Atlanta, Georgia. Why, you ask? If you didn’t know, I have a wholesale account and buy product for a store in my hometown, called The Market.

Living the freelancer life has been a transition, and this little shop of mine is one way I spend my time. I feel lucky to do so! One thing I love about going to market is seeing what’s up and coming, and since I mostly buy gifts and home accessories, those are the trends I’m focusing on in this post.

1. Agate isn’t going anywhere
From end tables to coasters to slivers stacked on your shelves, I saw a lot of agate and crystals at market. They’re such a beautiful way to add something earthy in your home, in my opinion!

2. Mixed metals are huge
Similar to the earth-inspired gems, folks are going for all things flashy in mixed metals. While gold, rose gold and brass are still popular, chrome, matte black and iron are coming into the mix. Really, there’s not a metal that’s uncool these days, so.. good news for the metalworking industry! Ha!

Image via copycatchic
3. Maximalism is coming back, friends!
So, blame this trend on the showrooms jam-packed from floor to ceiling with product. But I have a feeling minimalism has for the most part run its course. Of course, there will always be that cool girl who truly likes clean, simple designs and somehow makes a blank white wall look perfectly styled (talking 'bout you, Karen!) But for the rest of us who like stuff, putting more stuff in your home is back on trend.

Me in a showroom at America's Mart Atlanta
4. Navy walls keep popping up
Blame it on Emily Henderson (or really thank Emily Henderson?!), but I’ve seen a lot of beautiful, navy accent walls lately. A local friend I follow on Instagram (@thisvintagegrove) just switched her living room curtains from white to navy, and I think that’s such a smart way to pick up on this trend without making a huge investment.

Image via Emily Henderson
5. Individuality is a cool thing
Whether it’s a monogram or a limited print run, consumers are going for unique designs. Some of these are one-of-a-kind, and some are collaborations between makers and shops (like Sunwoven for West Elm).

Image via West Elm
Are you thinking about incorporating any of these trends into your home this year? I'd love to hear! xo.

P.S. If you liked this post, share it with a friend! It could even be your mom or that one cashier who always checks you out at TJ Maxx. 💕

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Queen City Gems, Vol. 3: Hotel Vandivort Expansion

If you've been keeping track of my "Queen City Gems" posts or follow me on Instagram, you probably know by now that I'm a big fan of Hotel Vandivort in Springfield. And Hotel V is sending out good news today — something I'm thrilled about! They're expanding to create "The Vantage". It's another hotel with 48 additional rooms, 4,000 square feet of rooftop space (!!!), loads of outdoor seating and a four season conservatory style bar just adjacent to the original hotel.

They're anticipating to open in Spring of 2019, and I'm already planning my staycation. Eeee!

Monday, January 8, 2018

My 2018 Goals

Well, friends. The time has come to set our intentions, hopes, goals and dreams for 2018. Technically, I suppose the time has already come and gone, but the word I chose for 2018 was “grace”, so I’ll give ya some grace if you haven’t set any goals yet.

And if you’re sick of hearing about goals, don’t worry. January will be over soon, and then we can all resume watching Netflix for hours without feeling guilty about that gym membership we never used.

Alrighty, here are a few of my goals — some are my own, and some are ones Austin and I are working on together:

Establish a morning routine
When I first joined the full-time freelancer club, I envisioned a glorious morning routine. I’d wake up at the crack of dawn, of course, complete an hour of yoga, and then sing to myself as I made some very Instagram-worthy avocado toast. Every day. Before 7 a.m.

While the goal may have been a little unrealistic, it was certainly not my reality. So, this year, I’m interested in doing some work to uncover the best morning routine for my needs. I have a hunch avocado toast may still be part of the equation.

Host at least 4 get-togethers in my home
I fully believe an open door and a welcoming environment set the tone for some of our deepest connections. So, hosting more parties may seem like a trivial goal, but I really don’t think it is. When I look back on 2017 and some of my favorite moments, most of them were shared in community either in my own home or in a good friend’s home. I’m excited for even more of that in 2018.

Cook more healthy meals at home
This is one that Austin and I want to work on together. Cooking together is always more fun than cooking alone! For starters, we’re doing the A Beautiful Mess “Weekday Weekend” challenge, and I’m excited to keep working on these habits as the year continues.

Purge unwanted items
This one was on last year’s goal list, and yep, it’s back.

What do you think? What’s on your goal list for 2018?

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Update: My 2017 Goals

Before moving on and sharing my 2018 goals with you, I decided I should take a look back at 2017 and see how I did with my aspirations. If you read this post last January, you saw that most of the goals I shared on my blog were a kind of everyday, lifestyle adjustment. Those are, in my opinion, simultaneously easier and harder than the biggie "quit my job" type of goals since our daily habits are so ingrained into who we are.

OK, so let's recap. Last year's goals:
- Host more people in my home
- Take a trip overseas (and travel more in general)
- Cut the clutter
- Write more (and read more), which had 3 subgoals: blog more than I did in 2016, continue writing for organizations I admire, send more handwritten letters.

Host more people in my home. Technically, this wasn't a very well-written goal because it wasn't measurable. However, I would say that I hosted more people in 2017 than I did in 2016, although I'm not positive because I didn't keep a captain's log of how many parties I had. 🙃

Take a trip overseas (and travel more in general). Yes, and times three! Austin and I were able to go to Iceland, Paris and Croatia for our honeymoon, and I'm so thankful for that experience. We both love to travel, so I have a feeling travel plans will make it into many of our goal lists for years to come. (P.S. The photo above is from the black sand beaches in Iceland!)

Cut the clutter. I'm giving myself a C- on this one because I did cut some clutter, but I still have my high school prom dress laying around somewhere. I'm still hoping to work on this area.

Write more (and
- Blog more than I did in 2016. Yes, BARELY. In 2016 I shared 26 blog posts, and I published 27 in 2017. Ha! But, to be fair to myself, I started blogging for some other companies this year, so I definitely did blog more... just not necessarily here.
- Continue writing for organizations I admire. Yep, and still wanting to do more of this. In 2017, I wrote a ton for Feast, a regional magazine that focuses on Midwest food culture. If you're a Springfield foodie friend (or just curious), you can check out my archives here.
- Send more handwritten letters. Do wedding invitations count? 🤗 Still want to work on this one!

I think it's important to evaluate the progress you've made and consider what goals you should keep trying to achieve before you wipe the slate clean and start over. And be fair to yourself when you don't achieve everything on your list! I didn't accomplish every single thing I intended to for 2017, but that doesn't mean I'm giving up on 2018.