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Behind the Blog: McKenna Bleu

It never fails, whenever I start to put together a Behind the Blog feature, I instantly feel like I made a new best friend. And that is definitely the case with the gorgeous McKenna Bleu. I could sit on that gorgeous white couch of hers and chat about all of our travel dreams over a big ‘ol glass of wine for hours. Until that happens, I plan on getting lost in all these picture perfect images of her gorgeous home.

SMP: Tell us a little about McKenna Bleu

I’m a lover of bright colors, sunshine, one way tickets, pink lipstick, and living in the moment. This blog is my creative outlet that’s turning my dreams into plans.

SMP: Some words you live by?

Work hard, stay humble. Life is better in color!

SMP: Any guilty pleasures?

Oh where do I start, Oreo’s, red wine, online shopping, eating outdoors & Dr. Pepper!

SMP: What did you think your dream job was before your dream job found you?

I always thought I would be amazing as a nail polish namer, how cool would that be?!

SMP: What’s your favorite quote that describes your creative process?

If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it!

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

That it’s never too late. Whether it’s starting a new career path, traveling to unknown places or changing your wardrobe. I’m a big fan of living out of your comfort zone, if your dreams don’t scare you they aren’t big enough.

SMP: If you could do it all over again, would you change anything?

It’s easy to look back and say I should have done this and wish I knew that but at the end of the day it lead me to this place here today. A place of happiness, motivation and content. No regrets here…

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

Celebrate each step! Do not compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. Whether it’s 100 or 150K Instagram followers be proud of each accomplishment.

SMP: What is your favorite item in your home?

My world map, it’s a constant reminder that the world is a big place. I plan to see it all.

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

Plan ahead. If you know you need blog photos or an Instagram be sure you know exactly what you need, get it done first thing in the morning and be present, especially when traveling. Social media never sleeps so I post when I need to and do not spend my day scrolling through my Instagram feed. I give myself time when I wake up and when I go to bed to catch up on what I missed throughout the day.

SMP: Stranded on a desert island question… what’s the one cocktail you would take with you?
Hands down, Blue Moon! Can you make it a case?! Ha

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

Pink! Even if I’m the only person rocking it, you can always count on pink being in my closet.

SMP: Three things every home should have?

Wine glasses, a cozy blanket and good company

SMP: Your most prized possession?

My white couch! I’ve dreamed about this couch for as long as I can remember, I smile every time I walk in my apt.

SMP: One thing you can’t live without?

Love.

SMP: Your secret to success?

Staying true to myself, my brand and building a relationship with my readers.

SMP: One small design change that can make a big impact?

Changing out your pillows, I like to rotate mine for the seasons.

SMP: Number one interior design tip?

Keep it simple!

SMP: Your top 5 design tips?

Use white as your focus color, less is more, splurge on forever pieces, add sentimental items & keep it clean.

SMP: Best moment of your career so far?

Being invited to The House White for the 4th of July party, a memorable moment for me for sure.

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

Kiss all the boys, haha

SMP: Your favorite instagrammer?

@thefatjewish, laughter is necessary everyday

SMP: Your go-to recipe?

Ordering Thai food

SMP: Your most memorable moment?

Standing in the crowd in Coachella watching Ellie Goulding perform, unreal moment realizing my job brought me here.

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

Anna Wintour, I’ve got a lot to learn.

SMP: The best advice you’ve ever received?

To follow my instincts and take the risk!

SMP: One place everyone must visit in their lifetime?

Switzerland, by far the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.

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

I really want to skydive, I will only do in in Dubai over Palm Island. It’s on my list, it will happen soon!

SMP: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Living overseas living out of a suitcase, mark my words.

Photography: McKenna Bleu | Interior Design & Styling: McKenna Bleu

25 Scrumptious Apple Recipes to Kick Off Fall

You wouldn’t be able to tell from the 90-degree weather we’re having here in New York, but fall is right around the corner, and to me that means crunchy leaves under my feet, a crispness in the air, and eating delicious apples everyday (not just to keep the doctor away). I’ve always loved hot apple cider and baked apples, but it’s quite possible that one of these recipes is about to become my new go-to.

The 25 Yummiest Apple For Fall
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The 25 Yummiest Apple For Fall
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More Delicious Treats to Try

S’Mores Pudding Pie | Fancy Grilled Cheese | Perfect Party Dips

DIY Stamped Velvet Guestbook

If you’ve ever seen a beautiful piece of baroque-style stamped velvet and thought, “I wonder how they make that?,” then you’re in luck, because today we’re teaching you the simplest way of how to do just that! Just with a stamp, iron, water, and the guest book of your choice, it’s so easy to make a darling DIY guest book that will surely wow your guests with every page turn!

MustWatch_swash-01

Materials

  • Scissors
  • Stamp
  • Iron
  • Sponge Brush
  • Tape
  • Guest Book
  • Velvet Fabric
  • Spray Bottle Filled With Water
  • Glue

instructions

step-1

Cut a piece of velvet fabric large enough to wrap around both the front and back cover of your guest book.

step-2

Figure out where you want to emboss the velvet. It helps to mark that spot with tape!

step-3

Place your stamp on a surface with the image facing up, and then cover it with the velvet, textured side facing down.

step-4

Lightly mist fabric with water — be careful not to soak it!

step-5

Press with a hot iron for 10 to 20 seconds.

step-1

Center your embossing on your guest book.

step-1

Cut the excess fabric around the edges, leaving about 1 inch extra on each side for wrapping.

step-1

Apply a thin layer of glue on the guest book cover with a sponge brush.

step-1

Gently press the velvet fabric onto the glued surface.

step-1

Glue the fabric over the edges of the book. Tip: no need to be neat — the raw edges will be covered in the end!

step-1

Apply a thin layer of glue on the first page of your guest book.

step-1

Press the first page onto the inside of the cover for a clean look.

step-1

Repeat on the other cover.

Film: Elysium Productions

DIY Personal Olive Oil Jars

Whether you’re hosting an outdoor dinner party, looking for chic favors to make for a sophisticated shower, or simply adore miniature goodies (who doesn’t?!), these personal olive oils are a great DIY for almost any occasion. The best part? They only take few minutes to put together, but can last forever — though we doubt they’ll make it past the main course. Read on for this easy DIY from Fashionable Hostess below!

From Amanda… I always love dipping fresh bread into olive oil at restaurants so I loved the idea of bringing this concept home, and what better way than to provide each guest with their own bottle to enjoy alongside fresh bakery bread and a dish of sea salt.

DIY Personal Olive Oil Jars

Materials

  • Mini glass jars with swing tops; enough so each guest has their own
  • A large bottle of Olive Oil (plan to fill each jar 3/4 of the way)
  • Fresh rosemary (1 sprig per glass)
  • Sea salt (enough for each guest to be given a small dish)
  • Wooden cutting boards to display the finished product (1 for each guest)

instructions

step-1

Fill each of your jars halfway with olive oil.

step-2

Trim your rosemary stalks so they are just tall enough to fill each bottle.

step-3

Place the rosemary stalk in the half-filled bottle, then fill the remainder with just enough olive oil to that the container closes and there are no spills.

step-4

To execute this tablescape, each guest should be given their own cutting board topped with fresh bread (I like a french baguette or dinner roll), a small dish of sea salt (a sprig of extra rosemary on top looks nice!), and their own bottle on olive oil to enjoy.

step-5

Remind guests to take theirs home to enjoy once dinner is over!

Photography and DIY: Fashionable Hostess

Rustic Chic Outdoor Dinner Party from Fashionable Hostess

Ever since moving from NYC to her family’s new home in Nashville, Amanda of Fashionable Hostess, knew she wanted to take advantage of her home’s newfound outdoor space for summer entertaining. And boy, did she. After a single glance at this dinner party, we’re wondering how we can nab an invite to her next rustic chic affair. Scroll on to see it all!

From Amanda… Ever since moving into our home and falling in love with our patio, I knew I wanted to throw the perfect outdoor party to host our first round of guests.  My vision was a rustic chic vibe with lots of greenery, classic stemware, and a few unique DIY details. The outcome was better than I imagined… a dreamy outdoor oasis.

Rather than a traditional centerpiece for my table I created a table runner of moss and placed brass lanterns and a wooden crate overflowing with succulents down the center of the table. My goal was that guests would continue to find new elements they hadn’t initially noticed throughout the dinner, like a hidden candle or a random flower.

To bring this to life I headed to World Market where I was on the hunt for rustic elements to incorporate into the table. There I found an amazing long and narrow wooden crate as well as the lanterns. For the crate, I created a box overflowing with succulents. For the lanterns I bought two of each size and placed one on either side of the succulent box. On either side I also placed a few small floral arrangement of white Dahlias, Eucalyptus and Dianthus ‘Green Trick’ (the green puffs!).

I liked the idea of sending off my guests with a parting gift so that’s where my miniature olive oils came into play. I found the cutest mini glass jars with swing tops and placed a sprig of rosemary inside, and then finished off with olive oil. To complete the look, I placed a small cutting board at each table setting equipped with two bread options, a small dish of sea salt and their own olive oil jar to enjoy. The swap of bread plates for these cutting boards was perfectly in line with the rustic vision I was aiming for!

For glassware and flatware I wanted a selection that would dress up the table a bit without being too formal (no melamine here!). For stemware I chose the Simon Pearce hartland goblet and the white wine goblet for serving wine and water (I love this brand which is American-made and hand-crafted!). Then my gold flatware has been a staple this summer, so of course I chose to use them yet again! Last but not least I mixed and match blue and white napkins which I secured with  a string of burlap! I am looking forward to using this table theme well into the Fall, and hope a few details have inspired you as well!

For the full shoppable post, check out Fashionable Hostess!

Photography and Tablescape: Fashionable Hostess