a birthday countdown is my fave

May 28, 2014

I love birthdays and I love advent calendars so it really only made sense to combine the two.


To make your own birthday countdown you’ll need:
- birthday advent download
- craft matchboxes
- scissors
- double sided tape

All you have to do is print, cut, and adhere the labels to the top of the matchboxes. Then fill with mini prizes such as confetti, balloons, birthday candles, and candy.

PicMonkey Collage

Everybody loves getting attention on their birthday (my dad excluded), give them fifteen days of it.

design: Kirsten Bingham

a printable father’s day card is my fave

May 27, 2014

free father's day card

Dads seem to be pretty straight forward when it comes to gifts. Give them meat, a nap, tell them they’re manly – and they’re happy. This printable card is ready for them to spin the wheel of wish lists and decide just what they want most for Father’s Day.

Get the download and how-to right here on Julep.

design: Kirsten Bingham

fridays are my fave

May 23, 2014


1. Pom pom upgrade
2. Still obsessed with cookie packaging
3. Are double balloons as cool as double rainbows?
4. A grown-up birthday cake with sprinkles (and a funny birthday list)
5. Dine with dots on dots on dots

macaron making is my fave

May 21, 2014

macaron making party

Yes, I know macarons have been replaced with donuts as the it dessert but I’ve wanted to try making them for years (mostly because it pains me to pay $2 a piece for them). I’ve looked at numerous recipes and articles but usually give up when I get to the part where the author states that they are notoriously finicky. I decided if I was going to do it, I was going to do it right. I contacted Emily (who I swear knows every person in the Denver area) and she connected me with Samm Sherman, a local pastry chef, who was willing to spill her secrets. So I gathered up some lady friends and we made a little party out of it.

PicMonkey Collagei
how to make a macaron
how to make a macaron
how to make macarons

Samm used a basic recipe for the cookie. Here are a few tips she shared in the process:

- use a scale for accuracy in measuring out your ingredients
- do not skip the sifting step
- the trickiest part is folding in your dry ingredients, be careful not to overmix
- after piping, let the batter sit until only slightly tacky (about 10 minutes) before baking

how to make a macaron macaron making party
macaron recipe

She also treated us to two different fillings (that’s where the flavor comes in), a chocolate ganache and caramel macchiato buttercream  made with Starbucks® Discoveries Iced Café Favorites™ – Caramel Macchiato.

how to make a macaron
macaron box

It’s easy to pull together a party when it’s centered around an activity that can triple as the refreshment and favor. I had these boxes set out to fill with finished macarons for the taking.

macaron making party

We learned. We chatted. We munched and sipped. A perfect little lady gathering. After seeing how simple it was all to put together, I’ve resolved to make it a regular occurrence.


Bonus! I’ve put together a box to go along with this party. And it’s up for grabs today! It includes:

- theo chocolate bar
stripe twist scarf
- I Love Macarons
- notebooks
- textured mug
- macaron card
- $25 Starbucks Discoveries Iced Café Favorites™ coupons

To enter, simply comment on this post before eod Friday, May 23rd. Winner will be randomly chosen then notified by me via email. Good luck!

*No purchase necessary to participate or win. Void where prohibited by law. Open to legal US residents eighteen (18) years of age or order, except employees and the families of Bellalimento.com (“Sponsor”) or any company or agency responsible for the sweepstakes or any prize provided (“Sweepstakes Participants”). Enter by posting comment on the Site from May 21 – 23 A winner will be selected at random from all eligible entries. The prize is a variety of goods valued at $100. One entry per person, per email address. All determinations by Sponsor are final. Winners will be notified by email and must respond within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. No cash substitutions for prizes and prizes are non-refundable and non-transferable except at sole discretion of Sponsor who reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. Entrant’s name and entry may be used for promotional purposes without additional compensation unless prohibited by law. Winners release Sweepstakes Participants from all claims and damages associated with the Sweepstakes and use of the prize. Subject to all federal, state and local laws. Winner is responsible for any taxes on prize.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Starbucks Coffee Company. All opinions are my own.

photos: Jennifer Little

honeycomb gift toppers are my fave

May 19, 2014

honeycomb gift toppers

honeycomb gift toppers

Wrapping a gift with paper is not my forte. I can never get the corners to lay flat and use way more tape than is socially acceptable. I’d much rather have a good box or bag and slap something cute on top. Enter: honeycomb gift toppers. Get the full tutorial right here on Julep.

cookie packaging is my fave

May 14, 2014

cookie packaging ideas

Six ways to package your blue ribbon winners for National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day (May 15th!):

1. Layered in a canister
2. Coupled with champagne (for the non-bakers)
3. Stacked in a milk container
4. Wrapped in wax paper
5. Divided to conquer
6. Slipped in CD sleeves

PS A chocolate chip cookie taste off

colorful fruit paper cuts are my fave (giveaway!)

May 13, 2014

astro brights paper

It’s painful for me to tell you that it snowed in Denver yesterday. Although I may have wanted to resort to violence (punching a hole into the wall) I decided to instead pull out my Astrobrights paper stash and colorize instad. With Beck by my side, I created these fruit paper cuts while he practiced what I will call color theory (getting marker all over everything).

This project requires no fine art skills (believe me, I have none), only a few supplies you probably already have on hand, and is kid friendly if they know how to use a pair of scissors. Simply freehand cut the fruit and geometric shapes and use a glue stick to put it all together.

astro brights paper
astro brights paper
astro brights paper

You could create a whole slew of fruits (pineapples are all the rage right now).

astro brights paper
paper fruit cutouts

Ready to bust out your own colorful project? I’m giving away a customized package of Astrobrights paper (proof that it’s amazing) and a $50 gift card to Office Depot to help you colorize this spring. All you need to do is comment on this post telling me what projects you have in mind. This giveaway is open for 48 hours. Winner will be randomly selected then contacted by me via email. Good luck!

astro brights paper

Astrobrights is a yamf sponsor but I would like their paper even if they weren’t. See more colorful projects on Facebook and Tumblr.

yangyang pan is my fave

May 9, 2014

Yangyang Pan

Yangyang Pan

Yangyang Pan

Yet again, Yangyang is topping my list of faves with her vibrant abstract paintings. These pieces are from her exhibit, Down the Rabbit Hole, which opens today at Madelyn Jordan Fine Art. I can see the texture through the screen, I can’t imagine how much more beautiful they would be in person. New Yorkers, flock (then buy me a little something for my birthday).

Learn more about the exhibit here.
See more from Yangyang in her Etsy shop.

Have a lively weekend (and don’t forget to call mom)!

a cake and ice cream party is my fave

May 8, 2014

easy birthday party ideas

Cake and ice cream is pretty much the ultimate party theme. It works for kids, adults, birthdays, anniversaries, Arbor Day. Here are a few ideas for a sweet fete, starting with this i scream invitation from Tiny Prints.

easy birthday party ideas
easy birthday party ideas
easy birthday party ideas

For the toppers that broadcast the flavor of the cake as well, I printed block letters (festivo font) on patterned paper and cut them out. Then I attached to gold wire with hot glue. It would be even easier to use letter stickers or chipboard.

easy birthday party ideas
cake and ice cream party
cake and ice cream party

Scoop the ice cream ahead of time and freeze on a cookie sheet – the scoops stay frozen longer (perfect for serving) and it saves you from sticky forearms at the party.

easy birthday party ideas

Bonus, the layered streamers can double as a photo booth backdrop. I shared the how-to right here on the Tiny Prints blog.

easy birthday party ideas

And now, I believe, it’s time for a slice and a scoop.

Tiny Prints is a yamf sponsor but I would like their products even if they weren’t. See more party invitations right here.

the secret to the best happiness bars are my fave

May 6, 2014

nanaimo bars recipe

I posted a photo of this goodness on Instagram yesterday and was surprised by the number of people who expressed they had never heard of happiness bars (also known as nanaimo bars). Okay, so it was only about five people, but in my mind that is too many. So the recipe must be shared.

These layered treats are a go-to favorite that never disappoint. And while I’ve been making them for years, my sister recently shared a secret that makes them taste even better. Simply 1 1/2 the recipe but don’t adjust the pan size (this is a good plan for rice krispie treats too). Since I’m never using the original measurements again, I’ve already adjusted the ingredients in the recipe below. Time for some happiness in bar cookie form.

nanaimo bars recipe

Happiness Bars

- 3/4 c butter
- 6 Tbsp cocoa
- 3/4 c powdered sugar
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 3/4 c nuts (optional – I always leave these out)
- 1 1/2 c coconut
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 3 c graham cracker crumbs (18 whole)

Melt butter and cocoa then stir in remaining ingredients. Press in 9×13 pan and chill until set.

- 3/4 c butter
- 4 1/2 Tbsp milk
- 3 tsp vanilla dry instant pudding
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 3 c powdered sugar

Melt butter and milk together over stovetop. Add pudding mix and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar and vanilla. Spread on the crust and chill until set.

Melt 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips then drizzle and spread on top. Chill and store in freezer, bring to room temperature to serve.

nanaimo bars recipe
nanaimo bars recipe

Remember, there’s no excuse for bad dessert.

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