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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

things i’m loving lately: may edition

Here’s a peek at what I’ve been loving this month!

My schedule has been too packed for much pleasure reading lately, but a when I do have time, I use my iPad as an ereader.  I bought this iPad case a couple of months ago and oh, I love love love it!  Though I don’t see that this particular pattern is still available, the Etsy shop it came from (Pencil Shavings Studio) has TONS of adorable patterns and colors.  I love looking at everything in her shop!

Navy may be the new black, or so it seems according to my closet these days.  I have nearly as many navy dresses now as I do black, but I just couldn’t resist adding this one to my collection.  It has been a fantastic purchase and I’ve gotten quite a few wears out of it already, including my brother’s rehearsal dinner a few weeks ago.  The cut is very flattering as so many reviewers on ModCloth have mentioned.  I just love it!

I’m normally an online shopper, mainly because I never have time to actually get to the mall in person.  In early April when we visited my brother and his (now) wife in Atlanta, she and I went out shopping one evening and had such a great time.  We came across these shoes in Madewell and were both smitten.  I rarely buy multiples of the same item but I bought this same style of shoe in three different materials (they had a great sale going on) – the one pictured above, a gray and white stripe (no longer available), and gray (more like off white) suede.  She bought the blue.  At the time I thought I was maybe a little crazy but I have gotten so much wear out of them.  They are an ideal shoe for me at work because they are dressy but still super comfortable.  Highly recommend!

My sweet friend Shanon gave me this necklace and coordinating earrings as a late birthday present and oh, I can’t even tell you how much I adore it.  It is even more beautiful in person!  I sort of want to plan all my outfits around it.

I posted in the past about the various ways I transport cupcakes.  The majority of the time I use my NorPro carrier (still going strong, love it!) but in any situation where I need something disposable or I need more capacity, I use boxes.  Has anyone else noticed that Wilton recently updated their line of bakery boxes sold at stores like Joann’s, etc.?  I wasn’t a huge fan of them before because they were a little on the flimsy side, but now they seem excessively sturdy, not to mention they are also individually wrapped in plastic adding even more waste to the situation.  I made about 300 cupcakes for my brother’s wedding and decided to try out these boxes.  I LOVE them!  They are sturdier than Wilton but far cheaper bought in bulk (I know I’ll use them eventually).  They are also recyclable, which is nice to keep in mind if you must use them.  I don’t normally use inserts, instead preferring my melted chocolate method, but for the wedding because of the huge number, I decided to try these.  This is the downside – they don’t sell 24 size inserts, but two 12’s don’t fit properly into these boxes.  I was able to alter them slightly by cutting off a small portion and making them fit, but in the future I’ll probably just use the candy method.

Guys, I’m so happy to report that we have made great strides in cutting down our paper towel usage.  I bought a set of these unpaper towels about a month ago and they have been fantastic.  We were just discussing it this weekend and both agreed we couldn’t remember the last time we’d needed to replace a roll of paper towels because we just haven’t really been using them.  This Etsy shop (Natural Linens) has a lot of nice products.  I also bought some of the lavender sachets because I’m a lavender addict (the real stuff, not fake lavender smell) and they are also wonderful.

My earring collection has grown to the point that searching for a pair of earrings in my jewelry box can be a chore.  I came across the idea on Pinterest of using ice cube trays to keep pairs together.  I picked up a few stackable trays and am loving this so far!  Much better than trying to find a jewelry box that actually has sections for all those pairs.

We’ve all heard of Pinterest stress, right?  Or maybe Pinterest guilt?  My friend Gail wrote an incredibly eloquent post last week on this topic, specifically about kids’ birthday parties.  As a mom who loves baking, decorating and entertaining, and who also happens to blog about it, this is such an interesting topic to me.  What Gail says rings so true.  If you truly enjoy crafting and entertaining and feel compelled to do it for your child’s birthday, go for it!  But if these things aren’t your strong suit, good grief, don’t stress about it!  I feel awful when readers or friends express these kinds of feelings to me.  I want my blog to inspire people, not to make them feel bad or inadequate in some way.  I think it’s really important to remember that Pinterest is a great source of inspiration, but shouldn’t be what we aspire to.  Really good food for thought – thanks, Gail, for putting it out there.

Disclaimer:  I have no affiliation with any of the products or companies mentioned above.  I’m just sharing things I love with you, because I love them!

  • Shannon

    I love the ice cube tray idea for earrings! May I ask where you purchased the other boxes for that are in the same drawer (holding the bandaids and nail polish)? I’ve been looking for something similar but haven’t had much luck.

  • http://www.spoonfulofflavor.com/ Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor

    I also just use the wilton cake boxes from Michaels or Joanns. I haven’t noticed that they have changed them yet, but I will have to try the ones from Amazon. Thanks for the recommendation for the cloth towels.

  • Karen L

    I have to ask you how you store your unpaper towels. I’ve looked at these before but I struggle with where to put them. We have a tiny kitchen, so a drawer is not an option. Regular paper towels are simple bc they’re on a roll and can tuck into a corner. I’d love to make the switch bc we easily use a dozen a day, but the storage is an issue for us.

  • Lizzi Stremke

    What a great idea for your earring storage! How do you organize your necklaces? I have a tiny jewlery box that is overflowing on to my bathroom counter/bedside table. Changes must be made! :)

  • kelimation

    I LOVE your “things i’m loving lately” posts – your navy heels from a few months ago ended up being the shoes my bridesmaids wore in our wedding a few weeks ago :) Thanks for that tip, and also thank you for the last post today about avoiding pinterest stress. It’s not news to me that I shouldn’t stress about not being the best crafter/entertainer ever, but it always helps to hear, especially from an expert!

  • gailwerner

    Thanks for sharing the link to that blog post, Annie! I have always admired the beautiful spreads you’ve put together for your kids or, for, say, your sister-in-law’s wedding shower, knowing how much of your heart goes into entertaining and how GOOD you are at it! I’m glad you join me, though, in agreement that if it’s not your thing, then it’s just as OK to keep things simple :) (so many things as they relate to parenting, I’m RIGHT there with you on!)

    Also, THANK YOU for sharing those “un”paper towels! What a cost-effective way to address that issue (one we really struggle with in our house too!)

    PS — That navy polka dot dress would look AMAZING with these navy espadrilles I fell in love with at Macy’s over the weekend! Their shoe collection (at least the Macy’s in Ft. Wayne) is to die for! xoxo http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/lauren-by-ralph-lauren-shoes-charla-espadrilles?ID=539241&CategoryID=13247&LinkType=PDPZ1

  • Liz N.

    Annie, what a great May edition of your Favorite Things! That ModCloth dress is gorgeous. I wore my J. Crew striped kimono dress (in the salmon color) to a BBQ this weekend and it felt so comfy! I will need to use the ice cube tray idea for storing my earrings. BRILLIANT! We have a terrible paper towel habit and those Unpaper Towels will be one more step in leaving more of our carbon footprint. Thanks for sharing all of this with your readers!

  • annieseats

    Honestly, they are just folded in a little stack and I put them on the countertop, directly in front of our paper towel holder so it’s easy to grab one instead of a paper towel. I might get a little basket or something for them eventually, but so far the little stack is working just fine.

  • annieseats

    They are from Target – the organization aisle, actually I think the same one with the ice cube trays. They have quite a few different shapes/sizes. I like to buy a variety and somehow they always seem to fit together just right in our various drawers. I use them in the kitchen too and they have been great there!

  • Kendra

    Thank you for sharing Gail’s post! I totally agree with her although I have to admit I Pinterested the crap out of my son’s 1st birthday but we just celebrated his 2nd and it was much, much more scaled down, and every bit as fun! For the record, you do inspire me regularly and I know what is right up my ally and what is out of my league. Regardless your photos and attention to detail whether in a recipe or party ideas are amazing! You have a true gift and you do such a great job of sharing it with others. Also, that picture of Caroline is too much! She is such a cutie. ;)

  • Angela

    I love these posts so much! Thanks for sharing. I tried the Trader Joe’s “un”paper towels and was let down. I’m going to try the linen ones. Thanks for the recommendations.

  • Caroline L.

    Love your picks! The Pinterest issue really is so interesting – I personally find it as a source of inspiration and more like a “pretty things to look at” kind of thing, but I can see how it can be stressful for some. And I looove your covers in that first photo!

  • Sarah Coker

    I just ordered that dress in red. SO cute. I hope I like it as much as you (and all the other commenters) do!

  • Lauren Ochoa

    I read the article you linked and I definitely agree with the central point. Don’t get carried away with creating “Pinterest worthy” events and birthdays are special even if you bake a cake from a boxed mix (gasp!). I like making cakes from scratch so I do it. I also enjoy (very much) seeing how people like you that are very organized and creative create special birthday themes and semi-elaborate celebrations for their kids who (admittedly) will have a limited memory of the event. So please don’t stop! It doesn’t stress the majority of us out at all. I know that I will most likely never plan far enough ahead to have delightful labels and signs for the party which are in keeping with the overall theme and color scheme but it doesn’t diminish my enjoyment of your ability to do so one single bit.

  • Lizzi Stremke

    I thought I commented earlier but I must have forgotten to push send! Agreed on the adorable factor of the earring organization. How do you organize necklaces? I need to come up with a better system than laying them on the bathroom counter/nightstand…

  • annieseats

    Agreed! “Pretty things to look at” is my main use of it. It’s a fun distraction sometimes :)

  • Laura Campbell

    That polka-dot dress is gorgeous. I agree that the cut would be beautifully flattering on most body shapes! Thanks for sharing these great items with us. I haven’t been on your blog for a while but I pretty much love EVERY item in this post! Re multiple shoe purchases…. such a good idea! I’ve often wished I bought two of a favourite item (T-shirts and shoes in particular) as my sole item starts to wear out. I might just take the ‘multiple purchase plunge’ next time!!

  • Kelli Z

    Annie, we’ve used cloth napkins for years now and still when people come over they look at me like I have 3 heads when they ask where the napkins are. I actually started buying regular napkins just for when company is over!

  • Shanon Lacy

    I love that necklace, too! I *almost* ordered it for myself, too. :) Glad you are still loving it!

  • annieseats

    Oh don’t worry, I have no intention of stopping. (Andrew’s birthday is coming up, btw…) I like Gail’s post because I think she states well the general message that I adhere to for most of parenting: do what works for you, not what works for someone else. If you love baking from scratch and/or crafting, more power to you. But I think it’s important that people not stress over it. Kids will love it no matter what.

  • annieseats

    Um, I so did not need to know that this dress also came in red. Oh dear…

  • http://shannonsrainbow.blogspot.com/ Shannon

    I’ve been feeling guilty about the number of paper towels I use – the unpaper towels are just what I’ve been looking for! Thanks!

  • Danielle

    Another great way to store earrings is to use a bead/organizer case from a craft store! It even has a lid so you can travel with it!

  • Jocelyn Wong

    Annie, you’ve definitely inspired me! As an 18 year old, who just completed a busy first year of design school, your blog has inspired me ever since I started reading a year ago, to work on my baking skills and food photography! Thanks to you, I am able to easily whip up a batch of macarons whenever I please, and am finding myself preparing cookie batter in times of stress (seriously, it’s therapy!). This is coming from someone who previously had no confidence in the kitchen whatsoever. Baking now is a huge source of joy and peace for me.

    I find myself constantly referencing things or tips I’ve seen in your blog, and have been asked to organize/cater/decorate a couple birthday parties as a result.

    Thank you for everything, Annie! :D

  • Kimberly Kindall

    I’ve been looking for cupcake boxes!! The Joann ones are just too flimsy as you said. Do you have any idea how many fit in the one you linked too?

  • Misty Lynn

    Love these posts! We have a lavender farm near our home in SC. The owner is from France. Check them out at thelavenderfarmshop.com for lovely natural lavender products. Interesting about Pinterest guilt too…still thinking about that topic.

  • Rayna W.

    That necklace is too pretty! The shoes as well. I love your style!

  • nessa

    I love that dress!

  • http://www.2sisters2cities.com/ 2 Sisters 2 Cities

    Cute stuff! I added a couple of those shops to my etsy favorites to check out again sometime in the future. We go through so many paper towels in our house and I’m sure that is about to be increased two-fold with another baby on the way this month.

    Just wanted to say I agree with your commentary about the topic of using Pinterest as inspiration for parties. I truly enjoy coming up with ideas for a party and pulling together all the little details. However, if it’s not your thing- don’t sweat it! I realize my 2-year old does not need an elaborately themed birthday party, but for me that is one of the more enjoyable aspects of being a mom…I had so much planning his party and look forward to many more fun birthday parties over the years.

    -m

  • Tammy Bre

    I love the dress! I’ll try the unpaper towels, thanks for sharing.

  • annieseats

    Sorry, Disqus was being weird and your comment didn’t show up at first or something. I do have a necklace organizer thing that I bought on Etsy. I’ll try to send you a link soon, and I’ll probably include it in next month’s “things i’m loving”.

  • Sarah

    Have you tried the Trader Joe’s Lavendar Dryer Bags? Amazing!

  • suzannefrees

    We have an abundance of Dollar Stores/Dollar Treasure Stores in the Port Huron area. I never know what I might find that I did not even know I was in need of! There was a huge amount of tiny, plastic lunch box condiment containers, six or eight for a dollar, depending on the size. I also found plastic sandwich boxes and sets of plastic photo holder boxes. All the containers are clear plastic, some have colored lids. The condiment containers are PERFECT for earings, and when stored lid side down, a glance tells you what is in the container. The sandwich and photo boxes are PERFECT for necklaces and bracelets, or sets of matching earings, bracelets, necklaces. They work GREAT for storing the abundance of holiday jewelry I have accumulated. So easy to file away in a drawer, too!!!

  • Janelle

    My mom has been using ice cube trays for her earrings for as long as I can remember. I just got my ears pierced (re-pierced) last summer, and I’m growing a little collection. I’ve been thinking lately I wanted to get some kind of display screen/tower/thingie for them, but I might just get some ice cube trays instead. I’d forgotten about that trick.

  • Morgan

    Annie, are you familiar with brpboxshop.com? I thought about it when you mentioned the cupcakes boxes. They have just about every bakery box size/style/color that you can imagine, including a full line of natural brown boxes (and even inserts for 2 dozen cupcakes). I just started a home-based bakery and I order all of my boxes from them. I really could go on and on about how wonderful they are, but instead I’ll just encourage you to go check them out. I love them and I think that you might, too!

  • annieseats

    Thanks for the info! I’ll have to check them out. I mainly went with those Amazon boxes because I have Amazon Prime and was in a time crunch. I may get some of their inserts though.