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A Summer Fresh Flower Wreath

I've admittedly been a pretty crummy friend this summer. In general (with the exception of travel) I tend to be a homebody and I don't make much of an effort to get out and see people, but especially this summer, I've been here hermit-ing myself.

Occasionally (but oh so rarely) I'll make an extra hour for a friend to stop by--- for my own sanity as well as Marlowe's. Half the time we just take a minute to sit and the rest of the time has been used for more art and creative projects--- they're stress free, relaxing, and typically add a bit of extra color to our home. This must be two weeks ago already--- but Halle came by so we could have a bit of flower fun. I spent part of the time editing cookbook photos and these girls spent their time making this fun and beautiful flower wreath.

Sure fresh flower's don't last forever like the fake ones, but their is something so charming about a fresh flower wreath for your home. Now that this one has dried it's actually sitting on our dining room table (around the bunny) as part of a center piece--- I like it a lot! I think would actually be a beautiful addition to some sort of summer or spring party :)

Anyway, it's friday. This past week has been good to me.  Between daytime weddings turned all day celebrations and getting away with our far away friends--- I'm feeling refreshed and new. I'm excited to plan all the little details for our upcoming travel plans---and I'm even excited for a list of home projects and garden projects. If you're looking for a fun and easy home project this weekend, this is a pretty fun one to pass the time :) 

you'll need:
a 10 or 12 inch wooden hoop
thin floral wire
a more filling green flower/foliage such as ferns, gardenia leaves, or seeded eucalyptus
some of your other favorite flowers!

how to:
-begin placing your greenery on top of hoop.
-ask tiny helper to snip two inch pieces of wire and tightly wrap wire around leaves, securing it on back of wooden hoop
-keep adding greens, until you've covered you're whole hoop
-snip stems of flowers, leaving only about an inch or two
-carefully wrap wire around flowers at base, then wrap around wreath and pull tightly to bring wire back to backside.
-if hanging, cut a 10 inch or so long piece of wire. wrap one end around top of wreath and secure.

Tada! A beautiful and welcoming wreath ;)

Hoooray random fun diy! Don't forget to enter the amazing 1,000$ giveaway. Oh and I'll be posting another pretty amazing giveaway in the next few days on instagram. Stay tuned!

Have a great weekend, friends! 

A 1000$ Gemvara Giveaway!


I know I've mentioned it at some point before, but I have jewelry. Mostly of the handmade or incredibly sentimental kind. When my grandpa came to the United States he put down roots for us in a brick and mortar shop specializing in gold and silver. I remember visiting every summer and going through piles of "junk silver" and cases of ring molds for custom rings— always wanting to be able to one day design my own. As time went by, the jewelry part of the business ceased, but I've been able to hold on to a few pieces he made or purchased especially for my grandma. Throughout the years I've been lucky enough to not only collect pieces from my grandmother, but I’m grateful to receive my fair share of sentimental handmade pieces as gifts as well. I love bigger, handmade statement pieces on the day to day, but more than those, I love the more simple and meaningful pieces one gives or receives.
I've been lucky enough to team up with Gemvara to offer you guys a pretty amazing giveaway opportunity. And while jewelry may not be an everyday topic around here, beautiful, love filled jewelry means a lot to me. And even more so--- to be able to choose to share the gift of creating something special for just my mother and I. We have very different taste when it comes to jewelry and style, but we both somehow, separately fell in love with a similar looking ring on Gemvara. As different as our styles are, we both always seem to fall back to black for (wearable) color choices. Also, I'll be honest, it wasn't really planned at all, but I was more than pleasantly surprised to see how perfectly the ring matched my wedding and engagement band ;)

We're heading up to Massachusetts in the next few weeks and I can't wait to share our matching rings with my mother. I know it means a lot to me to be able to do this with her, and I'll assume it means just as much for her ;) We’re different in A LOT of ways, but I’m happy to share this with her. But in the meantime, I'm excited that Gemvara has offered one lucky ohdeardrea reader the opportunity to win a 1000$ gift certificate to choose their very own piece for themselves (and/or someone they love of course!).

one / two / three / four / five

Each piece from Gemvara is handcrafted right here in the United States. And there's no inventory--- which means that each piece you order is especially made for you. And everything is customizable. My favorites were all the yellow, black, and white tones, but there are over twenty different gemstones to choose from and over nine different types of precious metals. 

For your chance to win a 1000$ gift certificate to Gemvara, click HERE, insert your email and get to designing your custom piece (it's fun, trust me). Then simply comment back here on this post with a link to your favorite piece! 

Want a discount? Receive 15% off any order for the next 72 hours simply by clicking THIS link! Hooray! 

*This post was sponsored by Gemvara. Gemvara offers 101 days for returns--- even on engraved pieces! U.S. residents only please! Giveaway ends next thursday. One winner will be chosen and emailed shortly after! Thanks!

Simple Natural Living: A DIY Texturizing Sea Salt Spray

​All Natural DIY Spray for Beach Waves

Why we use it:

Everybody loves a good beach day. Warm sand, cool water and let's not forget those voluminous, perfectly textured and incredibly manageable waves that magically appear in your hair after spending some time in the surf. I've tried just about every product out there in an attempt to replicate this glorious "beach hair" since moving (far) away from the subtropics. I've found a few decent products but they were either full of ingredients that I didn't recognize or insanely expensive. Thus, this super simple, all natural alternative (I also use it to hold up-dos in place and too freshen up my newly converted no-shampoo-hair, but more on that later.)

What you'll need:
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of jojoba oil
  • 7 to 10 drops of lavender oil
  • spray bottle

How to:
In a spray bottle combine the water, salt, and jojoba oil. Next, add in the lavender oil (You can really use any essential oil you like. Cedarwood or rosemary would work really well too.) Shake vigorously! If you're going for waves, spray the solution on wet or dry hair and then give it a good scrunch and/or twist. If you're using it as a styling agent for an up-do, spray on dry hair (with your head flip upside down) and then work it through to the ends with your fingers. And there you have it. Wavy, manageable, yummy smelling hair. 

I use this spray almost every day and haven't had any issues with dryness from the salt (that jojoba oil works wonders.) But everyone is different, so it's probably best to test it out before committing to full time use.


Author & Illustrations by Emily De Nicolais exclusively for ohdeardrea. To see more of Emily's work, click HERE

Pictures Of Recently Enjoyed Things

sleepy faces. morning light. new print. she's so big. 

my big kid. 

art books and polka dot socks

pop up farm stand.

computer days.


color time

wrong settings make for purple lighting.

brunch picnics 


a girl after my own heart, symmetry. 

her new art corner.

A Year And A Half To Make Up My Mind - Decorating An Empty TV Space

So it's officially taken me a year and a half to figure what to do with these middle shelves-- but I did it.

It's funny, for my entire life, I've always been the type to move somewhere and want and need to decorate/organize right away. My anxiety would take over otherwise. But with this house (other than the initial paint and clean up to move in) I've taken a much slower approach. I mean, a lot of it was out of necessity--- when you're moving from a 600 sq ft space to a three bedroom home-- it's going to take a lot of stuff to fill that home--- and I didn't need stuff nor have the money for it. So it's been a slow, but good process building this home.

And even for the stuff that I could have done right away, like these middle shelves for instance--- well, I didn't want to rush or force it. Yes there were things placed inside, but nothing nailed, painted or framed. It's been patiently waiting for the right thing to fill it.

Instathis offered us a print a month or two ago. We looked around our space and Alex and I decided, this could finally be the thing that fills our (invisible tv) space. I've wanted a large print of Marlowe for a while now, but I don't know, I've been weird about portraits lately--- but this one felt right. What made it better than other ideas we discussed was that it was actually printed on wood. I love the brighter patterns in my home (hello, of course!), but I loved how this print asked for attention with woodgrain details, without fighting the other colors in our space. And I know I'm biased (cause this is my favorite picture of all time), but I feel like the photo we chose is perfect. It's just the right amount of cool to not feel like we've gone obsessive parent overboard with a giant photo of our kid instead of a tv. I hope so anyway ;)  haha. 
I didn't think I could like this living room anymore than I already did, but we've been making little and big changes in this living room of ours--- and I do like it more each day. We've moved a few things around on the shelves too--- cleaned it up, detailed it, tightened it up, whatever. But even moving a few things around feels like it makes a big difference. And Actually, as I type, Alex is putting together a piece of furniture for this space (at midnight of course). It's nice to have a few decorative, maybe slightly ocd eyes on this space. I can't wait to share more of the changes as they happen, but for now, I wanted to share these shelves and our Marlowe print, cause I've been staring at them a bit too much lately with all this rain--- but they've been making me smile. 

You can see more photos of our before-shelves in our living room tour

Check out more from InstaThis too---they're seriously a great company, one of the nicest I've worked with. I'm a sucker for growing companies with great personalities. If you're not into the wood look they also offer aluminum prints and coasters too! Oh, and you can upload photos straight from instagram, which we all know is always a convenient plus ;) 

Happy monday, friends! 

ps. Thanks for all your nice comments and messages on friday's post. Some seriously made me tear up with emotion. 

Pizza With Friends - The Progress Of Writing A Cookbook Part 5

Making a cookbook is hard. Much harder than it would really appear. I have a new admiration for cookbook authors. I know I'm dramatically harder on myself than I ever need to be, but this hasn't been easy--- especially doing this mostly on my own, while still running this blog to full capacity, while still being the one to watch over Marlowe for the majority of the day--- feeding her, bathing her, entertaining her, teaching her--- you know, being a mother to her on top of everything else---  well, it's been a very challenging process. Even if I wasn't a mom or didn't have any other commitments, this would be a challenge. And even if I had a partner or team behind me, this would be a pretty difficult process--- substantially easier, but still difficult.

I put a lot on my plate--- literally. I've spent thousands of dollars on food in these past three months.  I've given up the freedom to full day adventures with my kid and meals with my family. It's funny that I've wanted this for so long--- I've wanted to share my whole-hearted ideas of how I see food and it's relationship in my family and how it's evolved and become even more important with a daughter now.

I don't fight many battles. I'm not the combative or activist type. I like to live my life with empathy and love, and hope that others will gain from that. There are a few things I do feel very strongly about though--- like the importance of time with family (and sharing food with your family), knowing where your food comes from, and the importance that food plays in our lives-- and more importantly in our children's lives. I feel very strongly about those things-- and I've wanted to share those things for so long, on paper, within in a book. Not just by living them, but by giving my bit of knowledge or ideas for the people who care to read them. Hoping to inspire people through a bit of my (and our) story and especially through the easy meals we've created or have been taught to us by our mothers and grandmothers over the years.

So yeah, it's funny, to want those things and believe in those things so badly-- and then basically have to give them up for the past few months in order to share them with others. That part has been hard on me. Harder than my self doubt, harder than the long hours, or money spent--- I can self justify those things to an extent--- The part that has been hard, really hard-- has been putting those important things to the side. I've very quickly learned, even more than before, how important those things are to my and my happiness. And more than that, I've learned, I'm not good at faking it. There's no fictional story here, it's not a fairytale. I've learned I'm good at sharing what I know, what I do, my life. But staging things to create a story in three months time (or ever), I'm not good at that. I've been struggling to share what I love about our growth and the process of our quiet enjoyed days, without the actual process existing anymore. I've never been and will never be good at creating a romantic story within a struggle. I've gained a new love for my blog in this process. Silly maybe, but as of now, it's one of the biggest gains--- learning more of what I need and what I love, in "work". I've always liked this space, but now, I've grown to appreciate it even more. I've learned in this process that I am proud of what I've created, just by living my life, unchanged, with the people who are in it.

In hindsight, I would not have signed up to do this on on my own. Even without the blog and without the (very loving and patient) kid. Creating each recipe, cooking each meal as many times as possible, cleaning up, styling, prepping, photographing, (or should I say learning to photograph), recipe testing and re-creating, documenting, 70,000+ words, 125 recipes, and some how finding a way to include myself in pictures, when I'm the only one here to take them--- well, it's been a learning and growing challenge. I'm thankful to push myself, I'm thankful to learn more about what I can and cannot do. And I do know I've learned (very well) in my lifetime that the struggle is often time a very real part of self growth.

The time is closing in now, and realistically this might be my last progress post for a while here. The time that has passed by, well it's time passed, there's no going back. It's now (very quick) water under a bridge. Will everything meet my perfectionist standards in this book by the deadline? No, maybe not. I'm one person, trying to take on the job of too many. But the love is there--- and the yearning for family and the importance of connection to food with family and with our kids (my kid, all kids)--- well it's stronger than ever. I'm so very much looking forward to going back to the things I love the most. To the people I love the most. To quietly spending our time making slow (and quick) meals. To once again actively being part of every single reason I wanted to put this book together in the first place-- real meals filled with love and nourishment. I do hope that my time and effort has allowed me to share that with all of you. Those things are important to me. I hope that even through my struggle, that I can help you fall more in love with these ideas too, once they get out there.

I will, without regret, be spending the next three days with my family (and our friends) and in love with our cooking, farm visiting, and travel adventures--- before coming back to the last two weeks of the biggest project I've ever taken on.

What's the quote?  "I can't do this, but I'm doing it anyway"

I'm doing it anyway.

I hope you all have an amazing, inspiring weekend--- hopefully doing the things you love best and fighting for the love you believe in.

These pictures were from a few weeks ago when we decided to test out some pizza recipes on some pork and cheese loving friends. It was one of the only times we really planned to have people over in the past few months. I love(d) the idea of being able to have friends come test my meals, but this was really the only place there seemed to even be a little bit of time to make it happen. But they approved. And Cameron always approves of Marlowe. They're in love. I'm poking forward to more of all of this. xoxo.

Mini Golfing With Our Growing Mini {Parenting & Growing}

Out of 10 photos alex quickly snapped-- these were the best two. The first one she looks like she's going to whack me. And the second like I'm going to hurt her. When really, the only thing we were both trying to do is get rid of all the crazy swarming mosquitos! Note to self: bug spray always. Note to self and to reader: I will never be in photos (unless marlowe takes them), this is why. 

It was a weird moment for me when I realized we were a family with a kid--- a real kid. I mean, we've been a family for a while now, and it's been awesome. But on a day of finally giving myself a real break--- (this must be a month ago now), I realized whoa--- we're driving somewhere to go do family things. Of course we do things, like parks, picnics, gardens, the beach--- but something like mini golf?--- It just seems so different. It felt like my childhood. It felt out of our norm, but it didn't feel completely crazy either. So I can't help but wonder is it out of our norm, or is it just that she's growing? Does that make any sense? It's so cool and so scary to see her getting so big. 

I ask her all the time, "will you do me a favor and please stop growing?" And she tells me, "no, I'm going to keep growing. I'm going to be a grown up" and she's right. And really, I'm excited for it. And I'm nervous for it. But she's a pretty cool kid. And this family stuff, it's fun too. Though I'll tell you, I don't actually like mini golf--- at all. But I'll do it for her, now and forever.

On the topic of parenting and Marlowe growing--- I'm kidless for the next few days while Marlowe enjoys Disney world and whatever else Orlando has to offer. She's up there with my dad, step mom, my half brother, and some of our long lost Canadian family. Okay fine, they're not long lost, but it sort of feels that way with them living all the way in Canada. Ya know, ay?

This will be the longest that Marlowe will be away from the house--- ever. Even when Alex and I were separated, she wasn't away this long. Not ever. It's scary letting go. I miss her after one day at Grandmas--- but a few days in a row? Ooof. It will be hard. I'm happy for her though--- she's deserves all the fun in the world after this summer. The poor thing has been mostly stuck in here while I work. This is her break, her fun, she's earned it. And for me, this is my chance to work, without interruptions. When she get's back--- she's in for a second treat--- some of the people I love most in the world will be coming here--- a trip planned forever ago--- long before I signed up for this cookbook. I'm looking forward to a few days where my main goal is to enjoy my family and our friends--- and try to capture as many family photos as possible, because we need more of those. Mango farms here we come? I think so. Nicolle asked what to pack. I told her a rain jacket. Mango farms in the pouring rain? Sounds like an adventure to me.

Oh and speaking of growing. Check out this old post. Jeez, we all look different. 
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