Hand Lettering 101

Calligraphy and Handlettering Basics

Have you seen all those cute chalkboard signs and fancy addressed wedding invites everywhere? I swoon over all the beautiful hand lettering, that I jumped on the opportunity to take a beginners hand lettering 101 class with some fellow bloggers and crafters. Since then, I’ve dived a little deeper into hand lettering. There’s so much to learn and you can continue to grow with this hobby because the possibilities are endless.

Some tips..

When choosing the pens – There are SO many different pens out there to use! A variety of sizes, shapes, colors. Do you want fine or thick or purple or pink?! What I’ve found is that you need to find what works best for you. To be honest, I splurged on 6 different pens to hand letter my sisters wedding invitations. I ended up using none. I stuck with a basic ol’ gold gel pen.

When just starting, start with a fine print sharpie and a regular sharpie. They are a cheap option and you can start to get a grasp on if you like thin or thick tips. Remember, if you start with a fine point tip, you can just color in certain areas of the letter to make it thicker. I haven’t tried out any of the calligraphy tips, but I do see that coming in my near future!

Finding your style – I feel like pretty early on you get a general idea of how you write and the general style that you’ll begin with. As time goes on you’ll start to experiment a little more with your style and get a bit fancier. I’m still at the basic level. I’ve found my style and I practice that style over and over. But, I’ve also come a long way since first putting that pen on the paper.

When just starting, start with random lines, circles, twirls, and swirls. Just to get the general feel for the pen, then start moving onto the alphabet – uppercase and lowercase. Practice certain letters over and over that you struggle with.

Handlettering and Calligraphy 101 guide book

Excited to learn more, I received this book Simply Calligraphy by Judy Detrick from Blogging for Books for this review. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the book helpful at all. I figured it would be full of different hand lettering 101 styles, but really it only focused on one style (pictured above) and it’s not one that I find myself liking. I’m definitely planning on trying this style more with calligraphy tips, but with pens I didn’t find it to be my style at all. If you know of a good calligraphy book that shares all different styles, send it my way!

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The Comeback of Overalls

The comeback of overalls with a touch of lace and modern.

There I was sitting in 3rd grade with my pigtails and overalls and my favorite tickle me pink crayon thinking, this is the life! Fast forward 20 years and here I am with my beach waves and overalls and my favorite summer scenery thinking the same. What’s the common denominator here? The overalls. I didn’t think they’d make their way back into my closet, but I am so happy that they did. I’m so happy about the comeback of overalls!

I’d say it’s been about 2 years since overalls have taken the runway again, but designers are starting to become more creative with this cute and comfortable look. While we can still give some street cred to the farmers who started this trend, it’s now all about making them look fashionable. Check out my white lace, 4 pocket, beauties from the cutest shop ever – Thistle and Finn. Thanks to them, I’m rocking the overalls look again. The fact that you can grab them for a cover up at the beach or dress them up with a black crop top and heels is my favorite. Can I get an ‘Amen’ for versatile clothing?! So find a pair with a pattern or a unique back. Or try to find a pair that’s fitted and not super baggy. This look is killer, you just need to add a splash of modern!

The comeback of overalls with a touch of lace and modern. The comeback of overalls with a touch of lace and modern.The comeback of overalls with a touch of lace and modern. The comeback of overalls with a touch of lace and modern. The comeback of overalls with a touch of lace and modern.

So what do you think about the comeback of overalls? Are overalls making an appearance in your wardrobe?

Overalls: Thistle And Finn

Swimsuit: J Crew

Thanks to Thistle and Finn for providing me these overalls in exchange for a blog review. All opinions are my own and it’s true, I seriously love them!

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Munchery Meal Kit

With summer in full swing around here, the temperatures sky rocket to the 120’s and my air conditioner thinks it’s hilarious to stop working. Really, I’m not laughing along with it, but fans on high, traveling, and spending time away from the home seem to be the best solution. When it’s so hot, turning the oven on for long periods of time results in a home as hot as lava. I needed a solution. My wallet was sick of spending a fortune eating at restaurants and there are only so many salads you can make before you start to go crazy. Here’s when the Munchery Meal Kit came into my life.  Gourmet meals that only take around 15 minutes to cook, straight to your front door! I like that Munchery focuses on short cooking times because nobody wants to be hanging out all night in the heat of the kitchen.

Munchery allows you to pick from a variety of meals for the week, seriously there are 18 options this week! Here’s just a few and look at how drool worthy they are…

Munchery Meal Kit Food Options

The Munchery meal kit includes the ingredients for your chosen meals and they ship them to ya nice and fresh, but only when you want. Don’t feel obligated to get meals every week, it’s just when you request them. Then dive in and start cooking! I will say, that 1 of my meals did take about 25 minutes to prepare, instead of the suggested 15 minute meal. But, it was tasty so no complaining! I also had a minor issue with some packaging, but it didn’t scare me away from this company. They have the right idea and they went above and beyond to fix the problem.

Check out two of the meals I indulged on…

The Plaid Box from Munchery is stocked with delicious meals to choose from and delivered straight to your door.

Goat Cheese and Zucchini Flat Bread

The Plaid Box from Munchery is stocked with delicious meals to choose from and delivered straight to your door.

Mediterranean Chicken Wrap

They look delicious, don’t they? That’s because they were! So, what do you say? Give yourself a break in the kitchen and try the plaid box by Munchery. As an added perk (that I love so much) for every meal that YOU order, they donate a meal to a food bank.

Disclosure – this post was sponsored by Munchery. I was given a credit to try the service, but all opinions are my own.

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Superfood Sweet Potato Crusted Quiche

 

Super Food Sweet Potato Crusted QuicheWhat comes to mind when you hear the term Superfood? For me, it’s sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, and eggs. They all take the forefront. This breakfast recipe I’m sharing today is literally stuffed with those superfoods that will have you feeling so ready to tackle your work day. It’s also perfect for any time of day, not just breakfast (win!). This superfood sweet potato crusted quiche is what I like to call…the go-getter. It gets me moving in the morning, which is a seriously difficult task.

This recipe had me thinking, what other superfoods should I be incorporating into my diet? I began researching and noticed that chia seeds made pretty much every list. It’s a good thing, I eat those bad boys like it’s my job. Remember that overnight chia seed pudding recipe I shared? Yeah, that’s still a staple in my home. Some other common superfoods found on Eating Well included oats, turmeric, and almonds. If you want to try something different instead of a superfood sweet potato crust, try switching to teff flour for your crust. Predicted to be one of this year’s superfood, this ingredient has a lot of health benefits. However, the most shocking super food on this list…insects. You heard me! INSECTS. Soon enough we’ll be crunchin’ on cockroaches. No way, I refuse to believe that! What do you think of incorporating superfoods into your diet?! …are you daring enough to start including insects?

SuperFood Sweet Potato Crusted Quiche

Recipe adapted from: www.vitamin-sunshine.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • salt & black pepper, to taste
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 6-8 large eggs (I used 7 and it was perfect)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºf
  2. Coat an 8×8 baking dish with 1 teaspoon olive oil.
  3. Cut the sweet potato into 5-6 smaller pieces and put the pieces into a food processor to chop into small crust pieces. (peeling is not necessary)
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix all together.
  5. Pour all the chopped sweet potato into the greased baking dish and pack into a crust format, cover tightly with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. While the sweet potatoes are baking, thinly slice the red onion, and add it to a frying pan with 2-3 teaspoons of olive oil. Cook over medium low heat, stirring until the onions have softened. Set aside once the onions are very soft and caramelized.
  7. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and mix in spinach, mushrooms parmesan, and spices.
  8. Once the sweet potatoes are done, let cool for a few minutes and loosen the foil. If any of the sweet potatoes have fallen, form into a crust again with a fork.
  9. Pour the egg mixture onto the crust and top the egg mixture with the caramelized onions.
  10. Cover the dish tightly with foil, and bake at 425ºf for another 20 minutes.
  11. Remove the foil, and lower the oven temperature to 320ºf. Bake for another 10-15 minutes, depending on your oven, until the eggs are firm in the center.

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How We Wore It – Casual Flair

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There’s something about mixing a simple look with heels that has me swooning. I love combining the two! The plaid with the ripped jeans are the perfect casual outfit for weekends, but spice it up with heels and you are all set to take it into the night. I like to call this – casual flair! 😉 What do you think? Are you all about the mix?

How We Wore It - Casual with a bit of flair _DSC0829

There are bloggers out there that influence all my different looks! Gentri Lee is definitely one of them. I love her style here, so I grabbed her casual look below as inspiration for my look.

How We Wore It: Comfy Casual

photo from Gentri Lee

Want to know who else joined in on the fun of ‘How We Wore It’ this month? Check out these other bloggers below!

Deidre at Deidre Emme

Madeline at CaseyLand

Riley at Riley Jo Blog

Jessica at Mason Jars and Lemon Bars

Kelsi at Lovestrong

Samantha at The Samantha Show

Emily at Emmy Jake

Rachel at Rachel Sayumi

Robin at Penn & Quill

Ruth at My Little Nest

Britt at My Little Sunshines

Autumn at Stay gold Autumn

Jen at Real Life, On Purpose

Alyssa at Pinsent Life

Emma at Ever Emma

Interested in signing up for ‘How We Wore It’ next month? that would be great! Sign-ups will be in a google doc at the end of the post on Deidre Emme!



Banana Oat Muffins

Flourless Banana Oat Muffins with Walnuts and Chocolate Chips

Look closely at that top muffin in the yellow wrapper, you see a heart shaped walnut hidden in there? That’s because these muffins are love. When you’re trying to lessen your sugar intake (because I ate SO much sugar) you miss all those sweet treats. These are the perfect alternative! I had to add a little bit of chocolate, because this chick needs chocolate. Ya feel me?

These banana oat muffins are full of goods, from vanilla greek yogurt to walnuts, they’re packed with flavor! What do ya think? Are you going to give it a go? Let me know!

Banana Oat Muffins Recipe

Serving: Makes 12 regular sized muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups rolled quick oats
  • 2 medium ripe bananas
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbs honey or agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, broken up a bit (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray muffin tin and muffin liners with cooking spray.
  2. In a blender or food processor, blend all ingredients except for the chocolate chips and walnuts until the batter is smooth.
  3. Pour batter into muffin tin, filling each cavity until it is about 1/2 full adding a few chocolate chips and walnuts into each cavity and then putting the remaining mix on top and topping off with the remainder of the chocolate chips and walnuts.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

 

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Make your own Almond Butter

Make your own Almond Butter Recipe

Remember that time I told you about when I Quit Sugar? Ok ok, so I didn’t really quit sugar, but I was inspired by Sarah Wilson, the author of the I Quit Sugar cookbook, to lessen my sugar intake. I realized how much sugar I was eating, especially since I would go through a container of peanut butter every week or two. Apples and peanut butter, bananas and peanut butter, celery and peanut butter, peanut butter and jelly, you name it – I ate it smothered in pb! I decided I definitely needed to cut out some of that goodness so I decided to splurge on a jar of almond butter. I figured I’d savor the deliciousness and enjoy it slowly. Well plan failed, I still finished it in a week, but it was the best gosh darn almond butter ever! But ya know what was still in that almond butter? …sugar.

I figured my best bet was to make my own almond butter, where I could control the ingredients and spend way less money. So that’s exactly what I did.

To be honest…I’m trying out that healthy kick and I added no sugar (besides a tablespoon of honey) and well, sugarless almond butter does NOT make my heart as happy. But, it’s healthier and it’s cheaper and I eat it at a slower rate.

Make Your Own Almond Butter Recipe

3 cups roasted almonds

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon coconut oil

Put it all in the blender or food processor and just let it go forever and ever and ever. No joke, it took almost an hour until it was full on almond butter. But don’t give up, it does happen! Just make sure you’re scraping the sides and just when you think you can’t mix it anymore, it’ll turn into smooth buttery liquidy goodness.

*I definitely recommend roasted almonds over raw almonds (learn from my mistakes friends!)

So tell me, have you tried to make your own nut butters?



A Touch of Back Jewelry

Peekaboo back dress with added back jewelry from Simply Rustic Co.

Can you believe the summer is almost here? In the summer heat of the desert, peekaboo dresses are seriously perfect! I’m loving the look of an open back, but what’s even more fun?? …adding some back candy to the mix. 😉 Back jewelry adds the perfect sparkle to compliment your back. This Sage Necklace from Simply Rustic Co. is a subtle and delicate touch of jewelry. It’s not actually meant to be used as back jewelry, but what the heck, why not mix things up a bit here!?  Check out some of your current necklaces and see if you can do the same.

Peekaboo back dress with added jewelry from Simply Rustic Co. Peekaboo back dress with added jewelry from Simply Rustic Co. Peekaboo back dress with added jewelry from Simply Rustic Co.

Dress: Forever 21

Necklace: c/o Simply Rustic Co. Sage Necklace

Shoes: Gap

I picked out some open back dresses that I’m swooning over. What are your thoughts on the open back look and adding some back jewelry to the mix?!



5 Steps to Build Confidence

5 Steps to Build Confidence including how to dress the part

I have to admit, I’ve always lacked confidence – especially when speaking. I overthink almost everything I’m going to say. I rarely speak in meetings because when I have a thought I’ll think it over, then by the time I’m done thinking it over we have moved on. Anybody else have this feeling?!

I admit that taking the steps to build confidence are easier said than done. But, even if you pick just one of them you’ll start building confidence in some way. This past year I can say that I’ve definitely grown from using these tips. I force myself to act confident and challenge myself to speak in meetings.

5 Steps to Build Confidence

Accept the compliment. Why is it that when someone compliments us we struggle to accept it? Instead of denying the compliment – recognize it and repeat it and write it down. When you’re being hard on yourself or feeling at a loss, whip out those compliments and remember how worthy, talented and capable you are. It’ll help you pinpoint your strengths as well.

Dress the part. Buy clothing that you feel good in. Try patterns or colors that make you glow instead of drown you out and buy clothing that fits and isn’t overly baggy. If you look good, you’ll feel good. Most important part to dressing the part – wear a smile and stand up straight and tall!

Kill the negativity. Stop telling yourself that you can’t or that something won’t happen. If you have a negative look on something, you’re right – it’s bound not to happen. So think positive and change your thought process on even the most frustrating and challenging of things.

Research and be prepared. It’s likely you aren’t confident because you’re doubting your knowledge on the topic. Prepare yourself for whatever it is that you’re doing by researching the topic or practicing what you’re going to say. For example, as a teacher of the visually impaired, I attend meetings for my students all the time. Before every meeting, I review the student file to make sure I am clear about their eye condition and I practice what I’m going to say over and over in the car before I arrive at the meeting. I know that if I don’t prepare beforehand it’ll sound like an explosion of word vomit during the meeting.

Challenge yourself. Set a goal or a challenge when you’re lacking confidence. I literally have to force myself to act confident sometimes. I challenge myself before a meeting and say, “You will speak up at least once.”

5 Steps to Build Confidence including how to dress the part

5 Steps to Build Confidence including how to dress the part

5 Steps to Build Confidence including how to dress the part

Like I said above, I feel most confident when I like what I’m wearing. This dress by Shopjoyworks paired with a blazer or cardigan is my go-to for meetings.

Dress: Jack by BB Dakota Poet Dress – Shopjoyworks

Necklace: LC Lauren Conrad – Kohls (similar)

Heels: Express



Chatting about FabFitFun

FabFitFun Review

Who doesn’t love a beautifully designed box stocked full of goodies at their doorstep?!  I’m chatting all about FabFitFun and you’ll want to listen!

FabFitFun is a seasonal subscription box that focuses on making you feel fabulous, getting you fit, and all around fun. Each season a box is handcrafted with full size goodies totaling over $200 worth of awesomeness!

I was fortunate enough to receive the Spring into Happiness FabFitFun Box and let me tell ya, it was like my birthday came early!

What kind of goods were on the inside???

  • Herb Garden by MakersKit ($35)
  • Tag Necklace by Jook & Nona ($65)
  • Yoga Mat Strab by Merrithew ($14.99)
  • Countour Kit by ISH ($32)
  • Keratin Gloves & Socks ($9.98)
  • Bath Bomb Trinity by Jus D’Amour ($28)
  • Shaving Emulation Lotion by HelloLegs ($19.95)
  • Argan & Hemp Oil Therapy by Marrakesh ($22.99)
  • Gift card from 31 Bits ($25)
  • Gift card from Sterling Forever ($30)

For a grand total of: $283 and so much FUN stuff! Each box costs you $49, so this is one heck of a mega good deal!

But lucky for you, as a Penn & Quill reader, I’m giving my readers a special little treat. Get $10 off your first box by using the code – QUILL

That means you’re paying $39 for over $200 worth of fun! Well that’s just awesome.

My favorite part of the Spring into Happiness FabFitFun box has to be the yoga mat strap. You see that pink strap hanging down in the picture above? That’s what I’m talking about friends. It’s a yoga resistance band perfect for a total body workout and stretching, but it also doubles as a yoga mat strap to carry your gear! GENIUS!

My advice to you – go sign up (with code QUILL) to get your summer FabFitFun box soon!