Wednesday, July 23, 2014

the easiest skirt ever

Once upon a time, there was a girl who wanted the perfect floral skirt. She had been obsessing all spring and summer long over skirts like these three from her Jessica Wears Clothes board on Pinterest:


The problem: Mid-calf length skirts look terrible on me. Pencil skirts are not the most flattering either. And we won't even get started on how much maxi skirts that don't reach the floor offend my sense of proportion. (Why dear God, WHY?!?) I do adore that "Celfie" shirt above though, I may need to DIY my own version like I did with my "in memory of" shirt.

What does look good on me? Semi-fitted A-line or fuller skirts that hit just above the knee, or higher if I'm feeling frisky. But I hate shopping for just the perfect item like that, especially since I know exactly what I'm looking for and can never find it in stores. And I mean ever, I'm really picky when I know what I want.

This is why I love sewing! I made my own, and I loved it so much that I had to share it with you all and show you how to make it yourself. This is another project nearly as simple as my Anthropologie Oblique Skirt knock off; it takes three seams and about 45 minutes and you too can have one of these:

This tutorial is so simple I can combine all four steps into a single graphic! Much easier for you all to Pin, yeah?  Here it is in all it's glory! (Please excuse my drawing skillz, I'm not used to drawing with a mouse)

I loved it so much I of course had to make two more. The blue floral skirt on the left is a super lightweight polyester, and the skirt on the right (clearly I was feeling a bit friskier as you can guess by the length) is from a giant vintage shirt.

And yes, the graphic tee on the left is a sonic screwdriver inside a caduceus (the medical symbol). You can't see it, but my shirt also says "trust me, I'm The Doctor," because who wouldn't trust a mad man in a big blue box? That's right, I'm a nerd. One who has no shame and doesn't care if certain people think my shirt is ugly (you know who you are!)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Food fail: The spaetzle noodles of doom.

Spaetzle noodles: 1, Jessica: 0.

The recipe was supposed to be so foolproof. Eggs + flour + milk. Sounds simple right? Then you find something with holes in it, press your dough through the holes into boiling water and presto! German noodles. pretty! Yeah, those are not my noodles.

What the recipe doesn't tell you is that when you combine eggs, flour and milk they form one of the stickiest substances known to man. A substance which refuses to be pressed through anything, much less something as small as the holes on a colander or cheese grater. There is no way. It took me five minutes just to scrub it off my hands using soap and hot water!

My second attempt at saving the noodles was to pinch off tiny balls of dough and delicately mold them into a noodle shape. This produced gross-looking wormlike noodles that were thick and chewy. Nope. No go.

So I give up! Does anyone know where you can buy a spaetzle maker? For serious people. Because unless there is some secret I am not getting, this is clearly your only option when making spaetzle.

Defeated by German food.

And if you want to laugh some more, you can check out how I was also defeated by macaroni'n'cheese! And if you're looking for our recipes that know...worked, you can find those here.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Stylish Tips to Keep Your Family Safe from the Sun

Hey all!  We are at the height of summer here in Idaho!  We live in a high desert area and that Idaho sun can be super intense.  It is easy to burn here without proper protection.  We decided to share some of our favorite ways we protect ourselves (and our families!) from sun damage.  This isn't a sponsored post, just a roundup of a few of our favorite summer products!

1. Protect your skin!  This might be the most important tip we have.  As we get older, we've definitely been more aware of how sun can impact our faces.  We both have family histories of melanoma, but we also don't want wrinkles and sunspots making us look older!  Hilary has a bunch of moles on her face, so she uses skincare products with SPF in them to make sure those moles do not become cancerous, and Jessica rocks the gorgeous porcelain skin that is susceptible to sun damage.

We both use a variety of products to protect us, but some of our favorites include e.l.f's tinted moisturizer with SPF 20 in it.  Hilary likes to use this in place of foundation because it covers her dark circles and moisturizes her skin, but doesn't cause acne.
(disclosure: this is a Amazon affiliate link so we get a little kickback if you purchase through Amazon!)

Jessica uses Garnier's BB cream, which is magical stuff. It makes me look airbrushed, which she seriously appreciates since she's in pictures so often! It also moisturizes and has SPF 15. And she uses a base moisturizer with a minimum of SPF 20 every. Single. Day. Even in the winter!

Skincare can be complicated and depending on your skin type, it can be difficult to know which products to buy.  Plus, a lot of them only have SPF 15 or 20 in them.  Some companies like Lancome make tinted moisturizers with higher SPF for ladies with really sensitive skin.  We like the HSN (Home Shopping Network) Skin Care page because it has products for all skin types, including several that have higher SPF ratings and help with wrinkle repair + moisturizing!  

2. Stylish Coverups. Swimsuit coverups have come a long way since the ugly polyester muumuus people wore in the 1980s (no offense, mom!)! There are some gorgeous, brightly colored coverups that are a stylish way to protect your skin when you are hanging out at the beach or pool. Hilary is going to a beach resort in a few weeks and she's excited about the number of affordable, trendy coverups there are at stores like Target and Forever 21. Here's some of our favorite (cheap!) coverups right now:

Stylish Summerwear
Stylish Summerwear by domesticblisssquared featuring a crochet cover-up

3. Kimono Cardigan.  Feeling crafty and want to make your own coverup?  Jessica created a great kimono cardigan tutorial and we love how light and airy it is.  It is a great way to protect your shoulders and back from the sun and looks just as cute over a bathing suit as it does over a tank top and jeans!

4. UPF Protection is amazing!  Two of our little ones have really sensitive skin and burn super easily (even with strong sunscreen).  We love that there are a lot of swimsuits for kids that either a) have SPF (or UPF as its called in fabric) protection built into the suit or b) rashguards (the kind with sleeves) for good upper body protection.  Here are some super cute kids' suits:
Kids swimwear

Kids swimwear by domesticblisssquared on Polyvore

Here is one of our little ones in his rashguard suit (he hasn't figured out the whole "pose-for-mommy's-blog thing"):

5. Hats! Hats hats and also, hats. We both love hats for their ability to protect your delicate facial skin from the sun's damage. Plus, they look really cute! Especially on little kids, if you can get them to keep a hat on their head! Jessica has been known to rock a good hat even in the middle of winter. Hey, it's still sunny in the winter time! This is Idaho after all.

6. Scarves. In the summer, its so easy to get skin damage on your cleavage!  Low cut tank tops, halter tops and bathing suits leave the thinner skin on your chest open to sunburns.  One easy way to combat this is scarves!  Not thick, crocheted scarves, but light, airy, loosely woven ones like Hilary's scarf (we love the light gray combo with her mint shirt!):

She purchased this one new from one of her favorite stores (Runway Fashion Exchange), but we also saw some yesterday at Old Navy!  Hilary's mom is a redhead (meaning she burns a lot), so she wears light scarves almost year-round to protect her neck and chest.

These are just some of our favorite ways to protect ourselves from the bright Idaho sun.  What about you?  What products do you love?  How many of you use makeup with SPF protection?
Friday, July 18, 2014

Kitchen Hack: The easiest way to peel a sweet potato

I (Hilary) love sweet potatoes.  Last year, I shared my favorite way to make mashed sweet potatoes, and over the last year, we've eaten a ton of them as part of our Paleo diet.  There only two things I dislike about sweet potatoes: peeling them and that they take FOREVER to bake.

On a whim, I decided to do things differently and instead of peeling, then baking our sweet potatoes, I boiled them, skin and all!  It worked so well, I figured I'd share it with you guys!

how to peel and boil a sweet potato

Here are the steps:

I washed the sweet potatoes, poked them a few times with a fork, dropped them in a pot of boiling water with the skin on and boiled them for about 45 minutes.

how to peel and boil a sweet potato

At the end of 45 minutes of boiling, I pulled  this out of the pot.  Apparently, the skins literally float off of the potatoes (unprompted!) as they boil:

how to peel and boil a sweet potato

The great thing is 1) I didn't have to peel it at all and 2) the skin stayed on for most of the cooking so the potato retained its shape (instead of falling apart into mush).  The potato itself was slightly firm, but still easily mashable and amazing with a little brown sugar and butter.

I don't think I'll ever peel a sweet potato again.  Seriously.  What about you guys?  When you cook sweet potatoes, skin on or skin off?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I love you like a love song, baby

So this post feels a bit like a cop-out, in that I just posted on Monday about a tank top I made. But dude, it's summer. This is what you make in the summer! Especially when it's 105 degrees outside. At 8pm.

So today I'm showing you another variation on our basic tank sewing tutorial. If you haven't tried it yet, you should! It's my single most used self-drafted pattern, and now has five versions of it I've blogged about, including this one. It's been on constant repeat! 1 // 2 // 3 // 4, and....

...five! I actually think this one might be my favorite. No really! I know I say that every time, but this time I really really mean it! See, I've got a secret, and that secret is that even though I try and avoid it for the blog, I wear a lot of black. Or grey. A lot. And so this version of the basic tank makes me super happy down deep in my black soul.

I used two different kinds of fabric for this one, a jersey knit for the back and a really lightweight cotton print for the front (cut on the bias for those of you who are're not? Pretend you are for me!)

Here's a simple recap of how I made Basic Tank v. 5.0:

1. Choose fabric! Either two contrasting fabrics or two of the same color, with jersey for the back piece. Next time I'll use color, I promise. Cut out your pattern pieces.
2. Finish the front piece with bias tape, I show you how to do that in detail here.
3. Fold over the edges of the back piece of jersey and pin really well. Jersey resists being pinned and will roll.
4. Sew it down! Then you'll sew your back and front pieces together at the shoulders and sides. You're done!

There you have it! Thanks for checking out my slightly repetitive tank top post, and hopefully this inspires you to do some summer sewing of your own. And if you're looking for a place to start you can check out our sewing page!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

grilled pineapple

This post isn't so much a recipe post, as it is a homage to my favorite fruit ever. I can eat an entire pineapple in one sitting, and still ask the other people in the room if they're going to finish theirs using giant puppy dog eyes. My obsessive love for pineapple isn't something many people know about me (well, until now I guess!) but believe me, it's there. This is one of my favorite foods ever, and summer is the best time for eating pineapple, however, because you can grill it.

grilled pineapple

I'm not going to even write out a recipe. Here's what you do:

Super simple. Slice pineapple into rings. Place rings on hot grill. Cook until juicy and slightly charred. Serve with a dollop of ice cream or vanilla greek yogurt like so...

...and you're looking at a variation on what I eat for dessert pretty much any time I grill anything. Or for breakfast. Or on top of pancakes. You get the idea.

The idea here is that I tend to eat much more simply in the summer, because grilling makes everything so much better. Chunk of meat, salad, fruit. Dinner. And in some ways its vastly more satisfying then the most luscious steaming soup. Which I also love. So tell us, what's your favorite way to use your grill in the summer?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Anthropologie peplum tank knock off sewing tutorial

Anthropologie peplum tank knock off sewing tutorial

Today I'm showing you how to make this adorable Anthropologie-inspired tank above!

It's no secret around here that I (Jessica) love Anthropologie. I mean, this isn't exactly my first Anthro hack post! A couple weeks ago, I made my own version of the Oblique Pencil Skirt and showed you how to make yourself one as well (in 30 minutes!):
Last summer I did a tutorial for my own version of the Pattern Pop Tee:

And last fall I made these knock-offs of the Toulouse Earrings:

Today's knock-off was born because I was in love with this Lace Peplum Top, but didn't love the 'lace' part. People I am not a 'lace' woman most of the time, I will only wear it under duress or for very special occasions. And then only in very bright colors like pink. But I did love that this particular tank was light and flowy and white, perfect for summer!

Sadly, by the time I saw this tank, it was completely sold out. But that wasn't a huge problem, because I would never have paid $58 for it anyways (who does that?!?) Instead, I made my own!

Here's how my version turned out:

Anthropologie peplum tank knock off sewing tutorial
Side note, I actually made those shorts too, they're cut offs from some really hideous Target jeans I bought last winter. Way cuter as shorts!

Even though this project didn't turn out exactly like the original, I still love it! Sometimes the back part of a peplum is a little...bulky for me. I actually have some junk in my proverbial trunk, and sometimes extra bulk is not the most attractive! So having the back lay flat is much more flattering. And as I said I'm not really that much of a "lace" girl, so leaving off the lace was a no-brainer.

Anthropologie peplum tank knock off sewing tutorial
Anthropologie peplum tank knock off sewing tutorial

But since this was such a simple DIY, today I'm going to show you how to make your own. I was really simple and only took about an hour to make, and two shirts from the thrift store! Check it out:

Anthropologie peplum tank knock off sewing tutorial

1. You'll need 2 shirts, one tank that fits you well, and one XL shirt in the same color, for making the peplum piece.
2. Cut the hem off of the tank, on the front part of the shirt only.
3. Seam rip the sides of the tank, to about 3 inches below the arm holes.
4. Mark on the front panel where you'd like your peplum ruffle to begin. I marked mine with a pin and that worked great!

Anthropologie peplum tank knock off sewing tutorial

5. Just below your mark on your tank, cut off the rest of the bottom panel. Leave about 1/4 inch for seam allowance.
6. Take shirt #2, the XL one, and cut the entire bottom off of the shirt and the same length as the piece you just cut off of your tank. This will be your ruffle!
7. Cut down one side of your new ruffle piece, to make one long strip of fabric. Leave the original hem intact, it's just so, so much easier, and I'm a fantastically lazy sewist.
8. With the wrong sides together, you're going to pin your ruffle piece evenly across the front panel of your tank (easiest if the tank is inside out), matching up the hems as closely as possible. You can also gather your ruffle piece prior to this step, but because it was jersey and pretty hard to gather evenly, I just pinned it in place along the edge. Once you've got it pinned, sew your ruffle down with a zig zag stitch. Then you'll sew back up the sides of your tank, and you're done!

Anthropologie peplum tank knock off sewing tutorial

Thanks for taking a look at my little tutorial! Hopefully I've inspired you to do some summer sewing of your own. And as always, if you make your own version using our tutorial please send us a picture! In the mean time, if you're looking for more fun sewing tutorials you can check those out on our sewing page. Happy Monday!

Friday, July 11, 2014

shameless Anthropologie ooogling!

Happy Friday all! This week I (Jessica) had to go to Anthropologie to buy a good friend of mine, the lovely Debbie from Road Less Traveled Photography a gift, as she just finished taking new blog pictures of the two of us! (Debbie, if you're reading this, act surprised, ok? And come to church on Sunday...)

Of course since I had to be there, you know I had to check out potential DIY projects. And general oogling.

My daughter loved the strands of sea shells strung together with rope. She loves all things ocean-related, and now wants these for her room! I really liked the weird bird jewelry holder thing, and I loved the contrasting leather bag above.

This dress would be a really cute DIY for winter, with a longer sleeved sweater. I got detail shots of the trim and textured top. I'm headed to the thrift store for this one for sure!

My daughter also picked up this amazing chunky bracelet, she's going to have her mother's taste in jewelry, clearly! And I am absolutely going to make some of my own version of these floral, very floaty shorts. The cute scalloped hem wasn't even sewn, just had a sealant on the edges of the fabric! SO easy!

Well that's my Friday everyone, I hope you all have a fantastic weekend. Make sure to check back next week for a new sewing tutorial on Monday! And if you have a vote as to which of the things above I should try to replicate first, let me know!

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