Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wedding Planning Wednesday - Skeleton Keys

I adore skeleton keys. I think I first started paying attention to them when my sister started collecting them and even got one tattooed on her. It was one of those things where I'd always look for them to give to her as gifts and eventually I fell in love with them myself.  Last summer, before Mando and I were even engaged, we went to the Long Beach flea market and saw buckets and buckets of antique keys for sale and I mentioned how cool it would be to give those as wedding favors. The idea has stuck with us ever since. When we finally got engaged I explored other options such as jars of raw honey or coffee grounds (can you tell we have eclectic taste?) but we both still loved skeleton keys the best. I love the rustic look and how each key has a past and a story. Isn't that the most amazing thing about antiques after all? I also want to try to incorporate the keys into our theme somehow. Alana had the idea of using them in the boutineers which I love and it gave me the idea to also hang them from the bridesmaids bouquets!

Now that it has been decided, I'm super excited to start antique shopping and collecting keys. Hopefully the flea market still has them for sale! XOXO

*All image sources can be found on my Pinterest wedding board here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

I made these sweet treats almost 2 months ago, and just never got around to blogging them. Late last night I had a sweet tooth and was searching my recipes for something to bake when I came across them. I instantly remembered how delicious and decadent they were and I knew I had to blog about them today. If you like chocolate and peanut butter then this is the recipe for you! It has been adapted from Bake or Break and is sure to satisfy even the biggest chocolate craving!

You will need:
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips + 1/3 cup more for garnishing
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips + 1/3 cup more for garnishing
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
First, preheat the oven to 350° and line your muffin cups with 12 paper liners.

In a large microwave-safe bowl combine your sugar, butter, and water and then microwave on high for about 1 minute or until the butter is melted. Add 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips and stir until they have melted. Add your egg and vanilla extract and then add the flour and baking soda and mix. Allow to cool to room temperature.

When the mixture has cooled, stir in 1/2 cup of both peanut butter chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Spoon the batter  into muffin cups about 2/3 full and bake for 13-15 minutes or until top is set. Place pan on wire rack. The centers of your brownies will fall upon cooling - THIS IS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN. If it doesn't happen then just use the back of a teaspoon to make a hole.

Melt 1/2 cup of peanut butter in the microwave (about 45 seconds). bowl. While brownies are still hot, spoon a tablespoon of peanut butter into the center of each brownie. Top with semi-sweet chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. Cool completely and then shove as many in your mouth as possible! Enjoy! XOXO

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Favorites: Oregon Trails

You may remember this post where I mentioned that it's my dream to move away from California and live somewhere that's quiet, and beautiful, and wholesome. My first choice is, and has always been, Oregon. Neither of us have been there before, but I've read and seen pictures enough to know that this picturesque place is perfect for us. The scenery they have is BREATHTAKING and with both beaches and forests you get the best of both worlds. It's a safe place to live and raise your kids, and we could actually afford to buy a home with lots of land. Honestly, about 75% of my days are spent daydreaming about living there. We've been talking about the idea for months now and decided to take action. In mid-August Mando, Cayden, my mama, and I will be taking an epic road trip up the California coast and through Oregon to the Portland/Mount Hood area where we hope to live. We'll be checking out the neighborhoods, job market, and all the beautiful scenery the place has to offer. The trip is mainly for Mando to see if he likes it (I've already made up my mind) but it's also going to be a vacation for us. We don't often have the opportunity to travel so I really want to make the most of this trip and see everything there is to see. If I can get Mando on board we hope to move after the wedding. And if everything goes well my mom will be joining us. I made a promise to her when I was a little girl that I would always take care of her, and Mando and I would be absolutely thrilled to have her live with us.

Anyway, the purpose of this post aside from sharing the road trip news is to ask for your help! We plan to take the scenic route up Pacific Coast Highway and since we've never been before, we need advice of the must-see places to stop! So far on our CA list is San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Big Sur, Gilroy, and the Redwoods. In OR I want to stop in Klamath Falls, Mount Hood, Portland, and St Helens. Obviously we've never been to these places and have no idea what to see so if anyone has take a trip up the coast, or been in any of those areas I would LOVE to hear your suggestions on places to stop. If you have any other suggestions of places to see I'd love to hear that too! I really want to find some cute, small towns with antique shops, beautiful scenic places, and anything else worth seeing! So please, if you have any advice to share I'm all ears!

I hope you all have a GREAT weekend! For once, we don't have a full schedule so we plan to just hang out as a family and veg! XOXO

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wedding Planning Wednesday - The Venue

Who knew May was such a popular month for weddings? I expected June/July/August/September to be busy, but thought that May was a safe date! Apparently I was wrong however, because several venues Mando and I called were already booked for 2012! We realized that we needed to book our date fast and the hunt for the perfect venue began...

I originally had my heart set on finding and old, rustic barn but believe it or not barns are few and far between in Orange County and the ones that we found were way out of our price range. After the bitter realization that I would not be able to get married in a barn I was determined to find something equally lovely. I had a few requirements for the venue:
  • I wanted the wedding and reception to be at the same location
  • I wanted it outdoors
  • I wanted to get a 'rustic' vibe from it
After checking out 6 different places we ended up choosing the Oak Canyon Nature Center in Anaheim Hills. The nature center offers stunning scenery that just takes your breath away when you see it for the first time. 300 year old oak trees tower over you and you can cross several gorgeous bridges and creeks to a number of hiking trails. It's quiet and tucked away and many people don't even know it's there. The ceremony site consists of rows of wooden benches facing a platform for the bride and groom complete with a wooden arbor. There are 3 options for the reception site, but we like the area to the left of the ceremony site best. To the left of that lies a gorgeous bridge leading to the rest of the nature trails.

What I love is that it meets all of our requirements, is under budget, and all of the money to book the venue goes towards preserving wildlife. I do have some reservations about the backless benches and how 'rugged' the terrain is (we are concerned for our older guests) and I also have a lot of decisions to make regarding decor (Should I get rid of the pink in our wedding colors?) but I'm actually really excited to have our wedding here... I know no matter what I can make it work and our wedding will be a beautiful day!

left: the ceremony site                                            right: the reception site
A closer look at the ceremony site and benches
the beautiful bridge to the left of both ceremony and reception site leading deeper into the nature center
side view of the ceremony site and a view of the 300 year old oak trees

Monday, June 20, 2011

M&M Sugar Cookie Bars

I have been baking, swearsies! Almost every weekend I've been making something yummy and delicious and even photographing it with every intention to blog them. I've just been focusing on other things lately and haven't gotten around to posting them! I first made these M&M Sugar Cookie Bars over Memorial Day weekend and they were a huge hit! I slightly adapted this recipe from Pinterest and I liked them so much that I decided I'm to bake them again for Cayden's party. The recipe is actually really easy and only uses a few ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen!


2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup M&M's + 1/4 cup for topping


Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 9x13 inch glass baking dish.

Melt the butter in a large mixing bowl then stir in the sugar. Let the mixture cook for about 3 minutes and then beat in the egg and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl combine the flour and baking powder. Stir this into the wet mixture and then gently fold in 1/2 cup of M&M's. Pour mixture into greased baking dish and bake for approximately 15 minutes. Then remove it from the oven and top with remaining M&Ms, gently pressing them into the dough. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes or until the top is set and the bars have barely golden edges. Cool completely in the pan before slicing.

If you like sugar cookies then you will definitely love these. They are sweet and chewy and perfect for any occasion. Enjoy! XOXO

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Favorites: Crafty Craftersons

It's no secret that I love to make things. I mean, I love it so much I made a business out of it. Anytime I see something in a store that I like I automatically ask myself 'could I make that?' before buying it. It's a great way to save money and recycle/upcycle materials you have laying around! And when it comes to home decor, there are plenty of DIY ideas out there. I've been on the hunt for some wall art, specifically items to include in a gallery wall, and I've found some great ideas on Pinterest. Here are just a few of my [Friday] favorites!

I love this idea for a gallery wall. Whenever I go to antique stores or flea markets I always see old letters made out of brass or steel and I love them but I never know what to do with them. You could either leave them as-is for the weathered look or spray paint them a fun color and then just attach it to some scrapbook paper and pop it in a frame! If you don't have antique stores near you it's easy to make a large initial out of cardboard and paint it!

I love these yarn wrapped monograms and have been dying to make one. You can cut out the letter from an old cereal box or buy one made from wood or recycled materials from Michaels. Then just pick out yarn that you love and get to wrappin'!

Chalkboard paint is all the rage right now. I love this idea of making a countdown with it because you can use it over and over and customize it whatever way you want! Just get a 2x4, sand it, paint it, and attach vinyl letters that say 'days until'. Easy peasy!
This is one of my favorite finds on Pinterest. Find places on a map that you love or that you've gone to with a loved one, cut it out in a heart shape, and then frame it! It can be used as art in your home or given as a sentimental gift!I want to do this for Mando for the place of our first date, our first apartment, the place I gave birth, the place he proposed, etc.

This is one of the simplest projects I've seen... literally anyone could do it! Cut out pieces of cardboard in various sizes, cover them with pretty fabrics, and BAM! You have yourself a pretty little gallery wall! I think this would be a great way to decorate a craft or play room!
I've been looking for a wreath for my door that I can hang year-round so I was super excited when I saw this. I know Michaels sells these wreaths for pretty cheap as well as the wooden numbers. Slap some paint on the numbers, find some pretty silk flowers and you've got a pretty new wreath to greet your guests!

I challenge you next time you see something in a store to ask yourself if it's something you can make at home! You never know until you give it a try! I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend. I'll be spending it catching up on some crafting of my own! XOXO

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wedding Planning Wednesday - The flowers

Most of the weddings that I've seen are all about the glitz and glam. The bride wants to be pampered and treated like a princess with her big, poofy dress, jewel encrusted centerpieces, and dance floor complete with a custom made monogram. I, on the other hand, would be happy getting married in a barn with 20 close friends and family members and a vintage dress. I definitely prefer the look of DIY weddings and I know that I can create a beautiful day doing the planning and creating myself with a small budget. I love the personal touches you get with a DIY wedding that you just don't get when you use an event planner!

One way I plan to save money is with the flowers. Flowers are one of my favorite things about weddings. And because I worked in a flower shop and assisted with bridal arrangements I plan to go to the LA flower market and do the bridesmaids bouquets and centerpieces for the wedding myself. Here are some of the flowers I'm thinking of using!

Baby's breath is known as a filler flower. It's what you typically see nestled in between your dozen of red roses. I happen to think that it is lovely, delicate, and understated which is exactly the look I'm going for. I'm thinking of using a big bunch of it for bridesmaids bouquets and as far as centerpieces go, I love how it looks displayed in mason jars and antique vases and tea tins. And the best part? Baby's breath is very budget friendly! 

For my bouquet I might go to a florist if I end up wanting something more complex. Right now I'm really liking unique flowers such as ranucnculus and anemones. I think the above arrangement is delicate and whimsical and having the twine wrapped around  would make it tie in really well with my theme.

That's all for now! Tonight and tomorrow we'll be looking at hopefully the last of the venues and if all goes well I'll be able to share which one we chose by next week! YAY! XOXO

**all image sources can be found on my Pinterest wedding board here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

What's new at Mama Matryoshka

Even though I did start making the decor for Cayden's party, I still feel like I'm running behind. It hit me all of a sudden that I have little over a month to finish everything. Ahhhhh! Luckily, I only have one custom order to work on right now so I have plenty of time to really get stuff done. I even had a little bit of down time last week when I ran out of black cardstock and whipped up a new item for Mama Matryoshka!

I'm obsessed with the idea of a fairy princess party for a little girl. Cliche, I know, but I still think that watching little girls play dress-up and letting their imagination run wild is the sweetest thing ever. I really wanted to start making a few things specifically for girl parties because I have a boy and it's easy to get caught up in all the cute boy themes out there. I decided to make some cute ribbon wants that could either be used as photo props or party favors! I used 4 different ribbons with various colors and textures and securely attached them to 12 inch Wilton lollipop sticks. They are perfect for waving around and adding that magical touch to your next party!

My best friend was kind enough to lend her 15 month old daughter to me to use as my model. I have a much bigger respect for children's photographer's because it is not easy! This little girl was running around all over the place with her new magic wand (as little girls should!) and getting a photo that wasn't blurry was not easy!

To see the full listing in my Etsy shop click here. Custom colors are also available! XOXO

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Favorites: Father's Day

I've been so busy worrying about the wedding and Cayden's birthday party (1 month away! When did that happen?!) that I've completely forgotten about Father's Day. Okay, I didn't forget, I just haven't been focusing on it. Mando is the best partner, father, lover, and friend a girl could ask for, so it's really important to me to make this day special for him, especially after the amazing Mother's Day he gave me.

I've been scouring the web for some sentimental and fun ideas, and I've found a few things that I love that don't take too much time or money but are still super sweet. So without further ado, here are my favorite Father's Day gifts...

Themed buckets. I love these buckets. They are useful, manly, and so easy to customize. The first one is for the reno-obsessed father or one with a mile long honey-do list. The second one is filled with car washing supplies and if your husband is anything like Mando, they are OBSESSED with washing their cars!


Framed photos. Every great dad loves pictures of their children and I love the idea of taking a special picture just for dad. The first idea is framing some of your child's artwork with a picture of them making it. I think this is so cool and unique. The second one would work if you have babies who can't draw or paint yet. Just cut-out big letters spelling DAD and photograph your baby holding them! Lastly, if you have multiple children, you can do something like the 3rd picture. I am obsessed with kid/baby feet so this is super adorable to me.

Bake something. I'm always baking for other people that sometimes Mando complains I don't bake anything specifically for him. I thought it would be sweet to bake his favorite carrot cake cupcakes on Father's day and putting them in some cute packaging like the suit and tie bags in the second picture!

There you have it! I hope I've given a few of you some quick and easy Father's Day inspiration. I hope everyone enjoys their weekend! We're off to go check out some wedding venues! XOXO

*All image sources can be found on my Pinterest page here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

We chose a date, our wedding colors, and a new blog series!

So remember when I said that wedding plans are going to consume me for the next year or so? Well, I wasn't lying. I promised myself I wouldn't ask Mando any wedding planning questions the day of his proposal, but for the last 3 or 4 days I've been forcing hours of planning conversations on him. He humors me because he knows how excited I am to plan this, but I have to remind myself often to not overwhelm him! Therefore, I decided to start a new blog series called Wedding Planning Wednesday so you guys can see what I'm loving, what's inspiring me, and what decisions we've made regarding our wedding. Hopefully I'll be able to contain my wedding gushing to once a week although this is your official warning: lots of gushing to come in the next year! I feel like I've been waiting my whole life for this and I plan to enjoy every minute! To kick off the first Wedding Planning Wednesday, I wanted to share 2 decisions we've made in the 4 days we've been engaged as well as my first inspiration board!

The date. I originally wanted a Fall wedding, but the timing just isn't in our favor. I don't want to stress and plan a wedding in 3 months and I didn't want to wait a year and 3 months, so that idea is out. Since we are having an outdoor wedding, Winter was out so it was between Spring and Summer. I didn't want it to be too hot in Summer or too rainy in Spring so we landed in the middle and decided on Saturday, May 12th, 2012. I am a number nerd, and 5-12-12 looks and sounds appealing to me. I love it! Only 11-ish months to go!

The wedding colors. I am obsessed with our wedding theme. We decided to go with a 'Rustic chic' feel and I could not be happier. It took me a long time to choose the colors and it was important they went with whatever season our wedding was in. I wanted romantic, neutral colors and I want a lot of texture. The colors we came up with are ivory/lace, burlap, and a soft and pretty ballet pink as our accent color. I'm surprised that I chose pink (and that Mando agreed), but I think it'll be perfect delicate touch to our rustic event and because it's just the accent color it won't be overwhelmingly girly. I am so, so in love!

That's all for now! Hopefully I'll be able to refrain from posting wedding stuff until next Wedding Planning Wednesday, but it's going to be hard! XOXO

Monday, June 6, 2011

It finally happened...

Yes, you read that right! I'm happy to announce that Mando and I are engaged! FINALLY! He proposed to me on Saturday night and it was perfect.  

How it happened: Saturday afternoon Mando, Cayden, and I were over at my mom's having a garage sale and cleaning out the back yard over there in preparation of Cayden's birthday party. When we were done my mom suggested we take the night off and have a date night and volunteered to watch Cayden for us. After an early start to a long day I almost said no... going home and going to bed early sounded way better. However, Mando convinced me that it would be good to get out of the house and get a break so I reluctantly agreed. We went out to dinner with my mom and Cayden and had some yummy Chinese and then after they went back home we stopped and got some ice cream and took a trip to the lake. The sun was setting after a gorgeous day and all of the families were packing up to go home. We found a quiet bench overlooking the water and were just hanging out and talking. The next thing I knew I turned around and Mando was on his knee with a ring in his hand! I don't even remember what he said I was so nervous! He popped the question and of course I said yes. It was quiet, romantic, and intimate which is exactly what I wanted. I found out afterwards that everyone knew and he and my mom had set up the whole thing. Sneaky, sneaky! We got tons of text and phone calls right after it happened. We are so thrilled and I am beyond excited to start planning... After 3 years, and a baby this wedding is long overdue! Expect to see a lot of wedding planning posts around here, I already know it's going to consume me for the next year or so! Thank you to everyone who has already said congratulations, it means the world to me! XOXO

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Favorites: Wonderful one-pieces

I love Memorial Day because it's recognized as the official start of the summer. It represents the beach, BBQ's, and bathing suits! Sure enough, we spent the holiday weekend in the pool with some friends. Now, I'm not ashamed of my post-pregnancy body... after all, it's what grew Cayden and that is no easy task! I am however 100% positive that I will never be strutting around in a bikini again which is why I've been spending my time scouring the internet for a cute one-piece that I won't be embarrassed in. Luckily, I've found a ton of cute, vintage inspired suits on Pinterest like the REAL vintage ones above. Aren't they amazing? Here are a few of my absolute favorites. Now to actually buy one!

This ballet pink is becoming one of my favorite colors. It's flattering on my pale skin and it's girly while still neutral. I love the criss-cross detailing on the front!

This black halter bathing suit is my absolute favorite. I love the fabric over-lay, sweetheart neckline, and the halter looks super comfy and flattering. If it didn't cost hundreds of dollars and come from Europe I would totes buy it! ;)

This bathing suit is bright, girly, and fun. I love the little ruffle detail along the bottom and the bright color!

This pretty gray suit looks comfortable and effortless! I love the side gathering and the shape!

I like nautical anything, so when I saw this sailor swimsuit I instantly loved it. The plunging neckline is pretty without being TOO revealing and I love the bow detail (of course)! The only thing that concerns me is the horizontal stripes!

Polka dots, vintage cut, halter top... this bathing suit is everything I could ever want and need!

That's all for now! I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend full of warm weather, water, and cute bathing suits! Happy Friday! XOXO

*All image sources can be found on my Pinterest fashion board here.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Domesticated Delight got a sweet little makeover!

So, what do we think of my new blog design? I AM OBSESSED. I have had the Danielle Moss graphic design website bookmarked for over a year now, and I finally decided the time was right for a sweet little makeover! I knew she would do a fantastic job and let me tell you, she did not disappoint. I think she truly captured my style with the red/aqua colors and the graphics and I am so in love. Not only was she was incredibly easy to work with and quick to respond to emails, she was also willing to explain bloggy things (that I probably should have known about already) and gave me her personal opinion on a lot of things which was totally appreciated. If you are thinking of getting a fresh look for your blog, I can't recommend her enough!

A few things to point out: I changed the links on my top navigation bar to include some updated information about my family and added a section for my Etsy shop as well! And guess what? Mama Matryoshka got a makeover too! Make sure to check out the coordinating banner over at the shop... I just think it's the cutest thing ever! I also have a new button, both for my blog and Mama Matryoshka located on the right hand side under Follow Along for those who would like to add it to their site! I plan to get all the buttons from the blogs I've been stalking to add to my page very soon! Fancy!

Let me know what you think of the new design, and I'll be back tomorrow for Friday Favorites! XOXO