Last Minute Fun Eats For The Fourth

As the weekend approaches are you starting to think about something festive to make for the 4th?  
Here are a few ideas that are pretty quick and easy to prepare.
Sour Cream Fruit Tart
This is great any time of year with all sorts of different fruits for the topping.  
Try strawberries and or raspberries and blueberries for a patriotic 4th of July dessert.
S'mores Bars
Anything s'mores related says summertime in my book.  S'mores bars are great for bringing to barbecue because they don't have to be refrigerated, travel well and are a jiff to make.  
Just give yourself some time to let the melted chocolate start to harden before you try cutting them up or you will have an ooey gooey mess on your hands that you will be compelled to eat :)

Find yourself some red, white and blue sprinkles and bam, this just turned into a 4th of July dessert!
Like the S'mores Bars, these travel well and are easy and fun to make.  When my kids were small, I found it was best for me to spread the chocolate and give the kids sprinkle duty, so chocolate is not all over ever square inch of the RKT, and the kitchen :)

And one more for the adults......
Red, White & Blue Sangria
Although this takes just a few minutes to prepare, 
sangria is best when it's had a day or two for the flavors to develop, so if you have the ingredients on hand, today would be the perfect time to whip this up for the 4th!
We're heading to the Cape and are looking forward to fun in the sun and on the sea with family.
I can't wait to sink my feet into the sand and look out over the Atlantic!!!!!!
(even if it's only going be in the 70s - I'll still take it!)

God Bless America, 
land that I love. 
Stand beside her, and guide her 
thru the night with a light from above. 
From the mountains, to the prairies, 
to the oceans, white with foam 
God bless America, 
My home sweet home.
Wishing you a happy Independence Day weekend wherever you are and whatever you're doing!


A Pretty Little Makeover and Upcoming Fun

Helllllooooo blog friends!

After a little hiatus I am so glad to be back here 
in my happy little place!

Shine Your Light recently hit the FIVE YEAR mark!!
(I can hardly believe this little baby of mine is five. Where do the years go?)
To celebrate I thought it was high time for a fun blog refresh.

What do you think about my new look?

I worked with Emily at Designer Blogs to customize one her pre made designs and love what she did!  
The price (that included installation!) 
was great and there were so many pretty designs to choose from.  
For a girl like me that likes to change up this space every now and again this was the perfect way to go.
Thanks so much Emily!!

A few changes on the horizon.....
I'm really excited to share more on the blog about my interior styling business that has really blossomed over the past year or so.  More on Shine Design services and projects coming soon!

The "Project Gallery" link in the nav bar will take you to a newly reorganized page that includes art projects, furniture makeovers, DIY decor projects and home improvements, gardening and outdoor space ideas, crafty fun, holidays and season, tips and tricks that include a lot of the Quick Tip Tuesdays, and Shine Kids, which are fun ideas for the munchkins' entertainment.  

I will be continuously adding to these galleries, and I'll also post a tutorial for setting up a gallery on your own blog if you don't have one yet (a suggestion our lovely friend Jennifer gave me ages ago and I promise I will do it soon!)

A new home tour is coming too!
In addition to our five year blogiversary, 
as of August 1 my family will have lived in our diamond in the rough for 5 years!
I'll be posting room updates over the summer.  
Our house is EONS away from finished but I hope by posting our progress it might inspire someone else out there to tackle a not so pretty space and make it a little more lovely.

It feels like we have miles to go until this house is everything we envisioned it could be, but when I look back at where we started five summers ago, the Peach Pit has come a long way baby!!!!

Also coming up...... 
(thanks to an informal poll of some long time readers, also known as friends that tell you straight up, 
"if I go onto your blog one more time and see the Herb Markers at the top of the page, our friendship is over")

more easy peasy ways to update your home
more artsy projects for the non-artists out there
more thrift store furniture makeovers
more quick tips and tricks 
more fun summer appies and desserts
more mocktails and cocktails!!

 What else would YOU like to see on here?

It's truly a JOY 
amidst the busy-ness of our day-to-day tasks, 
and the chaos of our world,
to visit with you here and talk about house and home, family and fun, adventures and amusements,
and all the little things that bring happiness to our lives.

I am looking forward to the next chapter here at Shine Your Light 
and I am SO GLAD AND GRATEFUL that you join me to 
seek out the bright side of life!  

Cheers to a great week ahead lovelies!


Herb Markers

For the past 5 summers I've made cork herb markers for my deck plants.  For some reason I have yet to tire of them - maybe because they take about 5 minutes to make and they add a little whimsy to our deck.  Plus there never seems to be a wine cork shortage around here, so there's that!

I posted about making these back when I first started blogging (2010!!!!!) but thought I'd share a couple quick tips I've learned along the way.  These markers are truly so quick and easy to make, and I think they are cute as a hostess gift along with some potted herbs.

This is all you need - a drill & bit, corks, skewers and a Sharpie.
1 - use metal skewers instead of wood.  I've found the wooden skewers can occasionally turn spotty with mildew, probably depending on how much rain we get and/or how much moisture the plant retains. 

2 - predrill a hole for the skewer with a bit that is just a little smaller than the width of the skewer.  

That's it!  Easy as pie.

Back when my kiddos were little, we painted terra cotta pots one summer day.  
This one was a little remembrance for my Gram and the painted text is still going - 10+ years later!!  
Her plant that used to be in here is long gone however :)

I changed up our deck a bit this year and I'll share it with you soon!  

Wishing you a happy day today!  


For other ways to up cycle corks, check out these posts:


Best Of The Nest:: SPOTLIGHT

Happy Friday darlings!!  
It's been a whole lot of quiet over here while my little family has our month of crazy - 4 birthdays in 3 weeks plus our anniversary, work, lacrosse and baseball, the school year wrapping up.  In the midst of all this my eldest got his license and I don't know whether to crawl under my bed or jump for joy!!!  In a few weeks my short-term job wraps up and I'll be back to blogging on a more regular basis and sharing earth shattering ideas like how to make your cut flowers last longer or how to swirl paint with your kiddos this summer!!  You know - the important things in life!

Last week's Best of the Nest was so much fun - a lot of outdoor spaces and outdoor entertaining ideas were linked up which is definitely getting me fired up for summer shenanigans around here! 

Christine at Little Brags shared her beautiful back patio complete with twinkling lights and pretty styling for Mother's Day.  This is just a sneak peek.....I love her cute candle idea!

Summer of Simple Stylings gave her front porch a makeover for the One Room Challenge, bringing to life her vision of a space that is a gathering spot for friends and family (she built those tables herself!!!)

Becky at This Is Happiness created a dreamy backyard oasis; I just love her beautiful styling and color palette out here!  

Last but not least, while I'm thinking about summer entertaining, I've got my eye on zhushing up my entry with it's 80s tile!  I absolutely adore what Heather at Southern State Of Mind did with her foyer facelift in navy and white.  The addition of a dark wall, bold, graphic art and some pretty styling gave this space a fresh new feel that has me inspired to get moving on my foyer!

Thanks to everyone who linked up and shared all your fabulous home projects, designs, entertaining ideas and recipes.

We're taking the summer off from Best Of The Nest but check back with Kris, Pam, Jennifer and I in the fall for a new spin on our monthly meet up!

Wishing you a wonderful weekend ahead!  



Happy last Friday of May folks!

What a whirlwind month it's been and now it's already time for Best Of The Nest!

Did you get any great projects accomplished?  
If so Kris, Jennifer, Pam and I want to hear about them!

My own favorite project from the month of May was the refreshing of a client living room that incorporated the existing wall color, rug and several pieces of furniture.  It feels like a completely different space with just a few key updates and best of all, my clients love it.
You can find me here…...

Kris shared some pretty and creative solutions for tricky windows from her parents' beautiful home - this box pleat one is my favorite and I'm already planning to use it for a client space!
Kris @ Driven by Décor 

Jennifer signed up for the One Room Challenge craziness too and gave her master bedroom a colorful makeover, complete with a new fireplace, custom drapes, new headboard, and so many other details!
Jennifer @ Dimples & Tangles

Pam refreshed a bedroom for a client for the One Room Challenge with lots of Craigslist scores and gorgeous details like this amazing ceiling!  What a transformation from the before!
Pam @ Simple Details 

Tag - you're it!  Share and inspire with your ONE BEST 
art/craft project, tablescape, room design, home improvement or recipe from April by linking up below.

Not a blogger? Join us on Instagram by using the hashtag #bestofthenestparty 
and tagging at least one of the link party hosts:
Lisa (@lisashineyourlight)  -  Kris (@drivenbydecor)
Pam (@pamsimpledetails)  -  Jennifer (@jenniferdimplesandtangles)

LINK TO YOUR POST URL, not your blog home page.

We're taking the summer off from Best Of The Nest (June - July - August) so we'll have summer show and tell come September!  Enjoy the weekend friends.  XO LS


Easy Peasy Spinach Pesto

I'm strong to the finish, 'cause I eats me my spinach. 
(a gold star for the right guess!)

Spinach pesto, have you ever made it?
It's so good!

This is a great recipe to have on hand for summer barbecues, 
or to use up that bag of spinach in your fridge.
Like basil pesto that I'll start making when my deck planting takes off, spinach pesto is great as a dressing for pasta salad, a topping for grilled chicken, a drizzle on sliced tomatoes and mozzarella, and tons of other recipes you can add it to.  

Super easy to make, so flavorful, 
and a bit healthier than creamy pasta salad dressings!

5 oz. pkg. baby spinach
juice from 1/2 of a lemon
1 clove garlic
1/4 freshly shredded parmesan
pinch of kosher salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

Throw spinach into a blender or Cuisinart and blend until finely chopped. 
Use a rubber spatula to push spinach down.
Add lemon juice, garlic, parmesan, salt and pepper; blend.
With blender or Cuisinart running, slowly add olive oil.
 Over the years we've modified this recipe to use only one glove of garlic so we don't taste it for the next 24 hours or assault anyone with our breath!  

 I love how bright green this pesto is!

I like to toss the pesto with freshly drained pasta while it's still hot, then refrigerate.  
To this tortellini salad I added roasted asparagus and broccoli, but you can add just about any veggies depending on what you have in the fridge!

Pesto can be frozen in ice cube trays and then added to sauces, soups, and pasta dishes for a punch of flavor.

If you grow a great batch of fresh basil this summer, check out this recipe!


Thoughts On Entertaining When Your House Is Less Than Perfect

Hi friends!!  Did you have a great weekend??

I was thinking about those of you who along with me really love tinkering around your house and making things pretty.  For many of us our homes are our canvas and we have millions of ideas of things we'd like to do to tweak it.

This weekend we had a houseful of family and it was tons of fun!  Even though our house was far from picture perfect.....

......there is still a mountain of mulch on our driveway (along with the wheel barrel)....

......some of the annuals I picked up didn't get quite get planted (they're just thrown in the pot for now).....

.......and our overnight guests had a mirror-less bathroom to use since this baby sat in the hallway all weekend.  (yep that's the mirror I bought for our living room, change of plans, now it's going in the kids' bathroom.  We fly by the seat of our pants around here.)

10 or even 5 years ago, I would made myself crazy getting every single thing on my to-do list done before we hosted something at our house.  Because I'm a nester and I love the little details.
But sometimes my urge to make everything pretty and fix up our house and make it all look the way I want it used to make me feel like I wasn't ready to host.  EVER.  Because there were still 50 million things I had to do.  

Do you put a lot of pressure like that on yourself too?

But here's the funny thing - 
NO ONE CARES about all those little things (or even the big things) not getting done BUT ME - 
so why should I stress out about them?

YES if my house looks amazing everyone will ooooh and ahhhh.
But does it make the time we are having more fun?  NO.

YES it would be ideal to have all the finishing touches done before everyone walks through the door.
But if I don't have lanterns hanging on hooks on my deck and urns spilling over with gorgeous flowers and Trader Joe's flowers grouped en masse in vases and all the candles lit and a cute striped runner on the table and karate chopped 22" down filled pillows on the couches, will that ruin the evening? 

 Not so much.

Here's what DOES matter when you entertain:::::

Not being a stressed out host that apologizes to everyone for the house not looking perfect.

Giving yourself a little time to get ready and feel good about your appearance.

Having the bathroom spotlessly clean (the only part of your house that must be really clean, because otherwise - gross.  Agreed?)

Having your public areas of your house generally picked up (for me this means taking a laundry basket and chucking random things in it an hour before guests arrive, and then stashing it on top of the washing machine - anyone else?? :) )

Taking a deep breath when the doorbell rings and letting go of any cute little ideas you had that you just ran out of time for.  It's okay.  You can do it next time.  

Having something for guests to nibble on when they walk in the door (nuts, veggies and dip, cheese and crackers, etc.)

Offering your guests a drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) within moments of their arrival.  

Putting a smile on your face, making your guests feel welcome and at ease, 
and having fun at your own party!!!!

(Do you have any to add?)

The older I get, the more I realize hosting isn't about having our home look pulled together all the time (although come on - that would be wonderful!!) - it's about giving our guests an enjoyable experience.  And sometimes that means getting done what you can, and then letting go of the things you didn't and being a warm and gracious host.

Good food, yummy drinks and lots of supermarket flowers can make up for many a house imperfection!!!!
Cute palm pillow above is part of the deck spruce up that didn't happen quite yet.

Thankfully not getting every single thing crossed off the to-do list does not hinder

hula hoop races....

headstand competitions.....

sign making....

 .....jumping, flipping and laughing.....

and joyful memory making!

To those of you who put a lot of pressure on yourself to make your home just so, 

don't let your half done projects prohibit you from enjoying your home!!!!!

Don't let all the images you see of beautiful and perfect homes on blogs and Pinterest keep you from feeling that your home is worthy of entertaining!!!!!

Because it is!!!!  

Let go of perfect because the projects will get done eventually -
your guests won't care -
you have good times and happy memories to make!