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DIY Halloween Costume: Circus Lion

This cute little lion is perfect all on its own but when you add in a circus wagon and a fire loop wielding ringmaster (coming up next!), it takes this getup to a whole new level of awesome. Starting with a furry snowsuit, faux fur and a feather boa, this fierce little lion was born. It’s a show-stopper, costume contest winner kind of costume, which is totally the best kind. For more DIY halloween ideas, click here.


Furry snowsuit
Gold feather boa
Large chenille stem
Safety pins
¼ yard faux fur fabric
Black facepaint crayon


step-1 Make the mane. Fold the feather boa in half. Center it over the snowsuit hood, and position it to frame the edge of the hood around the face and slightly down the edge of the zipper. Safety pin it in place (I put all the safety pins from the inside of the hood so they were mostly invisible).

step-1 Add fur to the suit. Cut the fur fabric into 3” wide strips, one for the cuff of each arm and leg of the suit. Safety pin the cuffs onto the suit.

step-2Make the tail. Cut two small, roughly 3” triangles of fur fabric. Cut a 12” length of chenille stem and hot glue one end inside a fur triangle. Pin that triangle to the bum of the suit. Hot glue the other triangle around the other end of the tail.

step-3 Tuck your little one in their lion suit and zip it up to where the mane begins. Draw on a little black nose with the facepaint crayon before they wiggle away!

Check out these other DIY Costume Ideas

Stormy Rain Cloud | Ice Cream Man with Faux Cones! | Cotton Candy

Photography: Ruth Eileen Photography | Design & Styling: Jess Blazejewski For SMP Living

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
Behind the Blog: A Couple Cooks

Have I mentioned I love the Behind the Blog series? Because I totally do. Getting to know the folks behind some of my favorite blogs never gets old, and I am beyond thrilled that we get to cozy up with the darling duo behind A Couple Cooks today. I’ve been a big fan for some time now (constantly wishing they would appear in my kitchen right around dinner time), and it’s safe to say I love them even more after getting to know them better. They are kind of adorable in every way.

SMP: What is one piece of advice you would give to a blogger just starting out?

It sounds a little cliche, but be true to yourself. It’s easy to want to compare to other bloggers or give in to advertisers, but stick to your values and voice: it’s what makes you unique and why readers come back to your site! Every day Alex and I have to make choices about what opportunities and content are the right fit for our blog, and how to stay true to our personal brand.

SMP: What is your favorite item in your home?

Can my kitchen be my favorite item? We did a full kitchen renovation and we now spend most of our time in this room. I love to cook and spend time with people I love, and generally both things happen in this room!

SMP: Any guilty pleasures?

The nice thing about our food philosophy is that we’ve removed guilt from our vocabulary, so everything is game (in moderation, of course)! But if you must know, for me: breakfast cereal. I could eat it for every meal.

SMP: Your go-to recipe?

Depends on the situation. If it’s a delicious and relatively easy dinner, we’ve made this Italian White Bean Soup more than any recipe on our blog.

SMP: If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?

Learning to cook can change your life and our world. For most of my life, I was never interested in cooking. It wasn’t until I jumped in that I realized 1. how delicious healthy, whole foods could be 2. how fun the process could be, especially with people you love. I was horrible at it to start, but it helped to have Alex by my side. Through the process, we got healthier and happier, and learned about how the food choices we make can connect us to our community and affect the sustainability of our world’s resources.

SMP: What’s your best tip for balancing work and personal life?

Say no. A lot. Don’t be afraid to say no to things that are not the right fit; not only will they take up your time, but the will pigeonhole you into work that you aren’t passionate about. Stick with your strengths and stay laser-focused on your goals. Remember that rest and play are important too; you can only do your best work when you’re well-rested enough to be open to inspiration. And, find an advocate that will help you stick up for yourself! Mine is Alex–he is amazing at helping me say no at the right times.

SMP: Three things every home should have?

A kitchen island, lots of windows, and some character / charm.

SMP: One thing you can’t live without?

Is it cheesy to say my husband? I literally could not exist without him. He is my best friend, my artistic partner, my business advisor, my soulmate. Next on the list: coffee. Dark roast, Chemex or aeropress style. I’m addicted.

SMP: If you could buy yourself a single gift of any cost, what would it be?

A studio / kitchen space with huge windows and white walls.

SMP: What color do you think will stand the test of trend time?

Gray? I’m obsessed with anything gray in decor and clothing; I hope that it never goes out of style!

SMP: Your top 5 design tips?

Combining modern + antiques
Neutrals with pops of color
Varied textures (rugs, throws,etc)
Adding shiny metals / mirrors

SMP: Advice you’d give to your younger self?

I think about this a lot, actually! Slow down, learn to love the process instead of the end goal. Listen to yourself; make time and space to dream, Give yourself grace to fail and learn. Silence the inner critic who tries to tear you down. Know your boundaries and don’t be afraid to state them. Above all, approach all people with love and humility. Know that everyone has a story and deserves grace and respect.

SMP: What’s one thing you really want to do, but have never done?

Write a book. My other bucket list items are catch a fish (I recently achieved that in Alaska) and retire.

SMP: One place everyone must visit in their lifetime?

Italy. We honeymooned in Rome and on the Amalfi Coast and it was to die for. Can I add two more? Spain — I studied abroad there and am in deep smit with the food, people, language, and landscape — and Greece. We travelled to the island of Santorini recently and it was stunning.

SMP: Stranded on a desert island question… what’s the one cocktail you would take with you?

Margaritas! You can’t be stressed about being stranded with a margarita in your hand.

SMP: Your favorite instagrammer?

Man, I follow so many. I will say Aiala Hernando. She’s an amazing photographer and virtual friend. I’d love to live in her world!

SMP: Do you have any secret talents?

I can salsa dance. I also was a music major and used to play the French horn and piano competitively. Most people I see today don’t know about those phases!

SMP: If you could dine with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

I have to pick just one person? If alive people, Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan, Jamie Oliver, Jose Andres, and Alton Brown. If dead, Julia Child. She’s my biggest inspiration.

Blog: A Couple Cooks

Abby Capalbo

Design, Styling, Parties
A New Twist on Paint Night

I’m always looking for a good excuse for a girls night, and let me just tell you, if I saw this paint night hosted by the lovely Kari Rider, I would have my girls signed up in a hot second. But since Kari is just as sweet as they come, she’s giving us tips on how to recreate just such an evening in the comfort of your own home, cocktails included. Don’t you just love her?

Here at Kari Rider Events, we’re always on the hunt for an opportunity to gather the girls, and we found the perfect excuse jumping on the popular paint and wine night bandwagon. Naturally, we wanted to put our own twist on the night, so we ditched the bold colors and intense scenes of paint nights past, opting instead for a soft and cheery color scheme inspired by the night’s citrus painting. A few fun details—like gorgeous orange and blue blooms from Monterey Farms, jute welcome bags with hand-lettered place cards by Poppy and Scooter, and adorable DIY dip-dyed pillar candles—helped set the tone for a night of palette-sharpening fun (or at the very least palate-sharpening thanks to our signature sparkling citrus sangria!).

Here are five tips for recreating our paint and wine night at home

Choose a Simple Subject

You can find inspiration for your painting subject anywhere. Just remember, your guests are most likely all novice painters, so be careful to choose a subject that isn’t too involved. We chose this orange painting based on its simple design and manageable features.

Enlist a Professional

Even if your guests have some painting experience, it’s best to bring in an instructor to keep everyone on the same page and up to the same pace. Franchise paint night organizations aren’t your only option. For a truly unique experience, try contacting a local artist like we did.

Stick with a Theme

The theme for the evening will most likely stem from the painting subject you choose. Once we decided on the orange painting, we were able to weave that theme through the rest of the event’s details. We went with an orange and blue color scheme—which popped in the flower arrangements by Monteray Farms—served a sparkling citrus sangria as the signature drink, and DIYed Summer Citrus Potpourri Sachets for the welcome bags. To bring in a little more blue, we followed a simple, three-step dip-dyed candle tutorial from Martha Stewart.

Make it Personal

Personal touches go a long way in making guests feel extra special. The attendees of our paint night were greeted with hand-lettered place cards attached to small jute welcome bags and aprons adorned with the Kari Rider Events logo (both lettered by Poppy & Scooter). As an alternative, have a calligrapher letter each guest’s name on Joann Fabric’s twill aprons, or do it yourself if you have pretty handwriting.

Plan Appropriately

Be sure to arrange your table setup so that everyone can easily see the instructor—angling the chairs toward the front of the room is an easy trick. Also, keep in mind this can be a messy event, so dress your tables accordingly. We used drop cloths for our table coverings—an affordable alternative to standard linens and one that fits perfectly with the paint night vibe. Since your guests will be sitting down for long periods of time, your menu also needs to be carefully planned. Gourmet by the Bay chose cold finger foods that paired well with the signature drink and sauvignon blanc at our paint night.

Photography: CJK Visuals | Event Design: Kari Rider Events | Florist: Monteray Farms | Catering: Gourmet By The Bay | Calligraphy: Poppy And Scooter | Apron: JoAnn Fabric | Dip-dyed Candles: Martha Stewart | Event Studio: Kari Rider Events | Instructor: Sarah Hutchison Focht | Invitation Design: Cara Smith Designs | Rentals: Eastern Shore Tents And Events | Welcome Bags: Paper Mart | Wine And Signature Drink: Hair O' The Dog

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
Styling Your Kitchen Sink with Seventh Generation

Much like a bookshelf or a coffee table, a kitchen sink can reflect your design savvy personality. From classic to bright, elegant to modern, we’re showing you three ways to style your sink and express your inner dish soap personality. And with Seventh Generation’s line of natural, eco-friendly products, styling your dishwashing station is insanely easy. We consider it the sudsy, hypoallergenic cherry on top. Have a look at three ways to make your Seventh Generation Dish Liquid shine.

Gussied Up Classic

For this classic sink moment, we paired simple striped dish towels and a pot of pretty hydrangeas with fancy pants marble accessories all in an elegant, black and white color palette. It plays ever so nicely with Seventh Generation’s Lavender, Floral and Mint Dish Soap.

Gussied Up Classic Kitchen Accessories:  Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid in Lavender Floral and Mint | Marble Vase: Crate and Barrel  | Dish Towels: West Elm | Spice Jar Candles: West Elm | Marble Cake Stand: Crate and Barrel | Canisters:West Elm | Natural Sponge: Home Depot | Sponge Dish: West Elm | Rug: West Elm

Pop of Bohemian

Taking a cue from Seventh Generations Lemongrass and Clementine Zest, we set out to infuse our sinkscape with citrusy, warm hues and modern metals. Copper and gold did the trick to add a splash of color along with graphic dish towels and the cutest patterned rug under foot.

Pop of Bohemian Kitchen Accessories: Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid in Lemongrass and Clementine Zest | Faceted Terrariums: West Elm | Dish Towels: Anthropologie | Napkins: Anthropologie | Copper Canisters: Vintage | Copper Basket: Anthropologie | Rug: Urban Outfitters

Fresh Coastal Kitchen

Nothing says fresh coastal kitchen quite like a bowl full of lemons or a pitcher of fresh squeezed lemonade. Add to that cobalt canisters and blue striped towels which just so happen to be the perfect accompaniment to a fresh squeezed sink look. Simply add in the Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid and you’re ready to rumble.

Fresh Coastal Kitchen Accessories: Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid in Lavender Floral and Mint | Sponge Holder: West Elm | Sponge: Crate and Barrel | Blue and White Plates: West Elm | Glass Pitcher: Target | Cutting Board: West Elm | Canisters: Anthropologie | Rug: Dash and Albert


With the help of a few key accessories and your favorite scented Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid, it’s super easy to express your kitchen personality. See what other fun products Seventh Generation has up their cleaning sleeves and then get ready to make those sinkscapes sparkle.


Photography: Ruth Eileen Photography | Design and Styling: SMP Living

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
Champagne Pear Cocktail and Mini Naked Fig Cakes

I’m a big fan of a pretty cocktail. And when it’s paired with a pretty, bite-sized dessert? Well, that’s a home run to me. So this oh-so-lovely cocktail and cake combo from Rebecca With Urban Flip FlopsApril With Tea America and Maxeen Kim Photography is basically my idea of perfection, and you can bet your bottom dollar I’m saving these recipes for my next little gathering.

From Rebecca With Urban Flip FlopsI teamed up with Maxeen Kim Photography and April With Tea America to create some small tea size bites and seasonal cocktails, Sips & Sweets! This cocktail is an easy fresh pear puree, champagne , thyme and gold leaf. So pretty, so easy and so delicious. This would be perfect for a Fall wedding! Paired with mini naked fig cakes, it is perfect for a bridal shower, brunch or wedding.

Pear Champagne Cocktail

Fresh Pear Juice
Fresh Thyme
Fresh Pear
Edible Gold Leaf
Add 2 Tablespoons of fresh pear juice to a champagne coupe. 
Slice pears into thin slivers for garnish
Top juice with champagne. 
Place 1 pear sliver and 1 twig off fresh thyme on glass
Sprinkle with Edible Gold

Two-Bite Buttermilk Naked Cakes with Pink Champagne &  Tonka Bean Buttercream Frosting

Makes roughly 30 two-layer, two-bite cakes using an 8-cavity Freshware silicone popover mold
Buttermilk Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen


3 3/4 cups cake flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 1/3 cup buttermilk
5 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Lightly butter the mold cavities using a pastry brush.
2. Combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Using a fork or  hand mixer, blend the dry ingredients thoroughly. Add the butter and 1 1/4 cup of the buttermilk. Start mixing the batter on low speed and once the ingredients have incorporated, increase the speed and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and the remaining 1/3 cup buttermilk until well blended. Pour one-third of the egg mixture into the cake batter at a time, folding it in completely after each addition. There will be 9 cups of batter; transfer the batter to piping bags, scraping down the sides.
4. Fill each cavity 2/3 full, leaving enough room for the cake to rise.
5. Bake your two-bite cakes for 15 minutes and then increase the time in 3-minute increments, until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Typically it will take 20-23 minutes.
6. Leave your cakes in the baking mold until they are cool enough to handle, and then turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack.

Pink Champagne & Tonka Bean Buttercream Frosting

Adapted from Food Network


4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
6 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons pink champagne (prosecco works just as well if need be)
1/2 a tonka bean, grated
Gel food coloring (if desired)

Photography: Maxeen Kim Photography | Styling: Rebecca With Urban Flip Flops | Cake: April With Tea America