Getting back into the swing of things around here, means getting back into the routine of cooking. Cruise ship life has really spoiled us. 😉 Around this time of year, during the summer season, we always love making cold pasta salad. It’s one of the easiest things to whip up before a big week ahead and is perfect for lunch or as a side dish for dinner. Plus, its nice and refreshing with a big glass of iced tea. Growing up, our families would always make this for BBQs or anytime we had an outdoor party. It’s become such a summer staple and something we enjoy doing together. There are so many different variations on this recipe, but here’s a look at how we like to make it.
What you’ll need:
-1 lb of pasta — we like to use farfalle or fusilli
-1/2 red onion
-red wine vinegar
-roasted red peppers
-fresh mozzarella balls
-parmasean-romano blend grated cheese
It’s a pretty easy recipe to throw together, so much so that it feels a little funny to write out instructions, but here we go…
1. Boil pasta till al-dente. After draining, put in the fridge for an hour or so to chill.
2. In a large bowl mix in baby spinach, sliced red onion, fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, roasted red peppers and black olives with a little olive oil.
3. Now add in your pasta! Mix with more olive oil and red wine vinegar. Top with as much black pepper and grated cheese until your heart’s content! Mix again, then serve and enjoy!
Speaking of summer staples, we’ve been pretty obsessed with Banana Republic’s summer styles lately. We’re pretty casual with our day-to-day looks, especially around this time of year in AZ, so shorts (that look like skirts) and tailored button downs are great for staying comfy and cool, while still feeling pulled together and polished. We were both never really shorts people before moving to the desert, but hey there are just some things you gotta go with, so you don’t feel like you’re about to melt. This blue striped tee (for her) and effortless button down (for him), would be perfect for a 4th of July cook out, with some pasta salad, of course! 😉 Scroll through below to see some of our current favorites from Banana Republic. They’re currently having a 50% off sale, which is a pretty nice deal too.
We are also SO glad to finally be enjoying this table in our new place. If you follow along with us onInstagram, you may have read a little about the story behind it here. It was hand-made by our dear friends Leah & Matt from Tremaine Ranch. They are both so talented and sweet. If you are looking for a custom piece, definitely check them out. 🙂
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Thank you to Banana Republic for sponsoring this post. As always all thoughts and opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help support this blog.
We’re a little pillow obsessed over here…there’s no denying that! One of the biggest questions we get asked about with home decor is about our pillows and where to find indigo, mud cloth, and shibori prints. There’s a lot of places selling them nowadays, but some bigger retailers can be really over priced! We love searching on etsy for pieces like these…you can usually snag a better deal and you get to connect with some independent business owners. Here are our top three favorite etsy shops for pillows, throws, and blankets!
Monica is a local business owner in Arizona, and one of the sweetest people! She has a lot of variety in the different prints she carries,
and some with a great pop of color.
MAE WOVEN If black and white patterns are your thing, this shop is perfect! Amelia has a ton of black and white mud cloth pillow options,
along with some great baskets and throws.
ONE FINE NEST
This was the first shop we found when we were searching for indigo and shibori print pillows for our living room.
Since then they’ve add some great blankets too.
This past weekend was one of those really good, soak it all in, don’t want it to end weekends. Nothing particularly spectacular happened, but that’s what we loved about it so much…the specialness in the simplicity. We joined some friends at happy hour on Saturday to say farewell to a friend who’s leaving for the UK, and on Sunday we made a little picnic for brunch by the pool in our complex, then cranked up the record player, sang to our plants, and were a couple of home bodies. We’ve been getting used to our new place and settling in since being back from our travels. It was nice to indulge in the weekend a bit, cook some of our favorite meals, and have some one on one time together. It reminded us of our dating days, when we used to just hang out at one of each others’s houses, listen to music for hours on end, dance around and share stories. It’s hard to explain that moment when “our” song comes on and we both lose it with what are probably the most pathetic dance moves of all time, but finding time to be silly should be at the top of our list every weekend.
As many of you probably know by now, we share a pretty similar style. We’ve realized more than ever lately how alike we are and often we unintentionally match. It must be the twelve years we’ve been together, because the amount of times we’ve stepped out of the closet to realize the other is in a matching chambray or leather bag has become a real thing around here. We recently embraced the matching by picking out his and hers watches from Movado. We have been huge admirers of the brand for quite some time and were so excited to add a couple to our collection. Their Heritage Series is a nod to one of their 1950’s pieces, and we are pretty obsessed with the updated vintage design. Take a peek at the collection here.
Happy weekend! We’re looking forward to getting some r&r after a busy week (that kind of kicked us in the butt), gathering with friends at a little get-together, and a whole of lot of closet organizing. Here’s a peek at some links we bookmarked this week:
It’s no secret we love adding plants to our indoor spaces. Every room in our apartment is full of everything from small cactus and succulents to hanging plants and indoor trees. We’re not exactly sure where our love for bringing the outdoors in began, but thinking back on it a bit, it most likely had something to do with our love for the 60s & 70s, along with vintage home decor. When looking back on old photos of our parents from the 70s, their homes were always full of potted and hanging plants (and a ton of macrame). They add character, purify the air, and bring so much positivity. We love the watering routine. Waking up in the morning and grabbing the watering can is usually the first thing we do when getting out of bed on the weekends, after getting the coffee brewing of course. One of us makes breakfast, while the other is making their way from room to room trying not to forget any plants. We have so many tucked away in each corner, on every shelf, even in the bathroom. Basically, the more plants, the better.
So, how do we take care of them? This is probably one of the most asked questions we get and fear not, we will share all we know about indoor plant care. We never really had green thumbs, but we picked up some tips and tricks along the way, learned what worked and also what really didn’t work and are pretty proud of some plant babies that have been with us for several years now.
So let’s dive in!
WHAT PLANTS ARE RIGHT FOR ME?
This is probably the first thing you should ask yourself when creating your own indoor jungle. Every plant is different and it may sound silly, but considering your lifestyle is the best way to choose which plants to bring in your home and how to hang/display them. We work from home most of the time and thankfully have a lot of natural light in our apartment. If you travel a lot or are gone for most of the day and don’t like keeping your curtains open, low light plants will be a better option for you. Here are a few of our favorite indoor plants that are relatively easy to take care of:
-Fiddle Leaf Fig trees
-Monstera Deliciosa/”Cottage Cheese Plant”
WHERE SHOULD I BUY MY PLANTS?
We are constantly finding new nurseries and plant shops in Phoenix. If you’re local, Berridge Nursery, Dig It, Camelback Flowershop, and The Bosque are some of our favorites that we definitely recommend. There are also some big box stores like IKEA, Home Depot, and Lowes, that have some great options. For bigger purchases like a Fiddle Leaf Fig or large cactus, we like to stick to some more of the local specialty nurseries. In our experience they last longer and continue to thrive more quickly, and you’re more likely to find something a little different and unique. That doesn’t mean that you won’t have luck at Home Depot for example, just our own experience with it. We do pick up succulents here and there at our local Home Depot and still have a ZZ plant from IKEA that is going strong with very little care.
HOW SHOULD I TAKE CARE OF MY PLANTS?
So this will be different for everyone, and especially dependent on the type of plants you have and where you live. In Arizona, the air is VERY dry, so our watering routine may seem a little different. Here’s what works for us…
Leafy Plants: All of the leafy plants in our home (Fiddle Leaf Fig, Philodendrons, Pothos, Snake plants, Fishhook/String of Bananas, Monstera, etc…) we water once a week like clock work. Once on Sunday morning and a little misting in-between during the week (to create a humid environment for them) has done the trick. If you see a plant getting a little droopy here or there, give it a good soak. We saw this happen with our Monstera Deliciosa/”Cottage Cheese Plant”, (which can be a little temperamental). We put it in our bathtub gave it a little shower and it perked right back up. Side note: We’ve noticed those plants in particular really don’t like to be moved often. They get used to where they are in your home and will react to a change in light and/or location.
Cactus: We keep an eye on these and just water them when the soil feels dry. This is usually every two to three weeks and probably one of the easiest ways to bring some greenery into your home.
Succulents: These were the most difficult for us to take care of, because we wanted to baby them, but we are getting better remembering not to over water them and just let them do their own thing with a bit of misting in between. We’ve read and heard all different opinions on this, but in our experience, the more we left the succulents alone, the better they did. They require adequate light, but not direct sunlight, so don’t put them too close to a window. If they look almost bleached in color, they’re getting too much sun. We keep our succulents (and small cactus) on a shelf opposite a window in our living room. So far, so good.
Ferns: We have a Staghorn Fern (pictured on the bench in the photo above), which is such a fun and unique looking plant with fuzzy leaves. We water it twice a week but if you live in a more humid climate or have your fern in the bathroom once a week should be alright. Ferns make perfect bathroom plants!
When purchasing new plants, we always like to repot them a week or so after bringing them home, just so they don’t get “shocked” in their new environment. This was something we started doing the last year with our plants, and it has made a huge difference. Thankfully, we haven’t had to replace one yet. After your plants get acquainted to their new home, take them outside to be repotted.
WHAT ARE SOME DIFFERENT WAYS TO DISPLAY PLANTS? Macrame and beaded hangers, ceramic pots, baskets, the list goes on. We like to use a mix of terra-cotta pots and basket throughout our home. Baskets are an easy way to being a boho touch to any space. We’ve gotten lucky with finding great ones at thrift stores, even one for around $5 in Palm Springs on our last trip there. When using baskets be sure to pick up a plastic tray/floor guard. This will protect your baskets and floors from any damage when watering. Terra-cotta planters are always a nice classic go to, and can easily be found at any local nursery. We’re fans of the white washed look too, plus its a simple weekend project to do with friends. Some sites like CB2 and Crate and Barrel have some sleep solid ceramic pots, for a more modern look. A lot of online stores are also selling plant swings now, which a great way to add a variety of heights and create depth with your plant displays.
Below are a few of our favorite planters from around the web:
Last but not least, mix up the textures and sizes of your plants when creating your indoor jungle. Create a vignette that looks effortless, yet still cohesive with a nice flow. Mix a large floor plant with thicker leaves, a softer airy plant, and possibly something with a bit more structure like a snake plant. There’s really no right or wrong way to do it, as long as it brings you joy and don’t forget to sing to your plant babies!
So we may have just gotten home from more than half a month of travel, but we know it’s only a matter of time before we get the itch to hit the road again. We’ve surprised ourselves with how much traveling we’ve actually done in the past eight months: ten different states across the USA, and we even were able to explore the Mediterranean and Caribbean. With each trip we’re getting a little smarter about how we travel.
Up until a few months ago we were rolling around the same luggage from high school and it wasn’t until one of our bags actually got stuck in the belt at the airport on our way to SXSW, that we realized it was time for an upgrade. Think about that sense of panic that sets in when you’re the last one waiting at baggage claim and there’s not a bag in sight. Yes! Well now imagine a sweet older lady coming over to you and telling you that they actually have your bag pulled aside. Sigh of relief, right? Wrong. Then you hear, “There was a bit of a problem.” You walk over to an office where your luggage basically looks like a torpedo went through it, with a big hole in the middle, and white dust all over it. (Looking back, we really wish we took a photo of it all, but we were too busy frantically stuffing everything into one suitcase and throwing away damaged clothes and toiletries, while trying to catch our ride from the airport.) Somehow it felt off a belt, got stuck in the belt, got run over on the runway…who knows, we never got the full story. Thankfully, we’ve been able to test out, and fall in love with (Can you fall in love with luggage? Well, we’re guilty of it!), the collection from Away. Before leaving for Europe, we were able to get our hands on their carry-ons, and we won’t lie, we were a bit giddy rolling through the airport with all four wheels! Haha. It’s the little things right? Well, today they just released their complete luggage collection, with medium and large size options.
The whole luggage set fits inside one another, just like those cute little Russian nesting dolls you may have had growing up. 😉 The carry-on fits in the medium, and the medium fits inside the large. This is a major plus for us, as we are in an apartment, and every inch of storage and closet space counts!
Here are the exact specs and all the details on each size:
-The Carry-On: 38L capacity / 7.2 lbs. / 21.7” H x 13.7” W x 9” D
-The Medium: 62L capacity / 8.5 lbs. / 25” H x 17.5” W x 10.5” D
-The Large: 86L capacity / 9.9 lbs. / 28” H x 19.5” W x 12” D
We spoke a little about it in our packing post for Europe, but in case you missed it and are considering some new luggage, heres a few reasons why we love Away:
-flexible and durable
-removable and washable laundry bag
-four swivel wheels
-built-in USB ports and chargers for the carry-on model
Away has generously offered our readers $20 off with the code: NEWDARLINGS20 from now through 6/30!
These will be perfect for any summer adventures you may have planned! Happy travels!
Spain! Where do we begin?! We’ve been back from our Mediterranean Cruise with Princess for a little over two weeks now and thinking back on it still feels like a dream. This was a trip we didn’t think we would take till much later on in our lives, so we’re still a little in shock about it all. We keep thinking, “Did that all really just happen?!” Our adventure began in Sitges, Spain…a charming little town about 40 minutes outside of Barcelona. We stayed there for the night before embarking on the ship the next day. Upon arriving at our hotel, we quickly freshened up from our 12 hour flight, thankfully caught a second wind (which was probably more like a third or forth one at that point) and hopped on a bus to Barcelona. We only had 24 hours in the city so we wanted to soak up as much as we could.
Read on to hear about some of our favorite places and see more photos from of our time in
Sitges, Barcelona, Cartagena, Marbella & Puerto Banus! READ MORE
It’s hard to believe we’ve been in our new apartment for over a month already. Half of that month was spent traveling, so it still feels really new and unfamiliar. There’s a lot we would like to do with the place (including getting ready for some of out town guests — can’t wait to host some family in AZ!), but we want to be smart about what pieces we bring in and not go too crazy, as we don’t plan on being in this space forever.
When we first moved to Arizona, into our first apartment together, some family suggested we go superrrr minimal on the furniture and decorating, and hardly spend money on any pieces for at least several months. This advice was given for a few reasons: 1: Save, save, save! As newlyweds it’s easy to get carried away and want to decorate and spend money on your new place together, but budgeting is obviously important (at any age). 2: You don’t know if you’ll be there forever. There are many similarities in the way we grew up and were raised, but housing was very different. One of us moved around a lot growing up and the other lived in the same house until it was time to get married and move across the country. There are some pieces we purchased early on that we ended up selling, but for the most part we are happy we invested in the larger items we did and know they will come with us to a home some day.
In the mean time, we’re in a new apartment, which as we mentioned a while back was totally unplanned, but we’re glad we’re here now. The place is a new build with a lot of great amenities and we feel pretty grateful to have found a place so quickly. Although everything is new and bright, there are some finishes that aren’t totally our style and more on the modern side, i.e.: light fixtures, cabinet hardware, etc… We’ve been huge fans of brass finishes for a long time, and are happy to see them come back around in interior design now-a-days. We’re thinking about bringing in some brass accent pieces and switching out a few light fixtures here and there, to make the place feel more our style. We have our dining room chandelier from the old apartment that we still need to hang up and are on the hunt for a few other pieces that we can bring along with us to a future home that won’t break the bank.
Here are some brass favorites we found while searching the web. Everything from accent pieces to cabinet & drawer pulls, plus this simple brass trimmed mirror from Target. That Threshold section can be seriously dangerous! 😉 (That’s also where we found our night table lamps, for those who asked.)
Well, we would never have guessed it but we’re becoming quite the cruisers. 😉 We’re off again with Princess cruises on a Mediterranean cruise through Europe. We are over the moon excited, as visiting Europe has been a dream of ours for as long as we could remember. (Dancing under the stars in Rome, was one of the things we wrote on the “Before I Die…” wall in San Diego a while back. It may sound corny, but it’s true.) We will be stopping in Spain, Great Britain, France, and Italy. We can’t wait! We leave Phoenix today and head to Philly where we will catch our connecting flight to Barcelona. When speaking about the trip and our port of call in Barcelona to friends and family, this song from the Vicky Cristina Barcelona soundtrack kept popping into our heads and playing over and over. Man, if only all the music from Woody Allen’s films could be playing as we stroll through the streets in Europe. We joked about creating a playlist to listen to while exploring each city. It’s a rather romanticized way to imagine the trip, but we can’t help but feel like it would be the optimal way to experience these places for the first time together. 😉
With each new trip, comes a little more knowledge on how to pack smarter for time away from home. We packed early this time (we know we couldn’t believe it ourselves), and boy did it make things easier. Packing light is always something we’ve aspired to do, but somehow is harder than it sounds. We used to begin packing and before we knew it, we had multiple pairs of shoes, random accessories, and bulky items. We’ll be on an 8-day cruise and then stopping in New York to visit some friends and family before heading back to Phoenix, so wanted to make sure we kept our luggage to a minimum while still bringing all the essentials. Here’s a few tips and tricks we’ve picked up for packing lately…
It’s been a while since we’ve updated our luggage and we are so happy we finally got our hands on these new carry-ons from Away. We’ve been lusting after them for a while, and now we are pretty excited to take them for a spin! (When you start swooning over things like luggage, a shiny washer and dryer, and hey — maybe even a new cutting board, that doesn’t mean you’re getting old, right? 😉 ) Anyway, packing smart should to start with the actual luggage. These are pretty light, which is a major plus when lifting them up in the plane’s overhead compartment and have several different compartments to keep everything from intimates to shoes, to even dirty laundry all separate and in their place. This makes our maybe-just-a-little-too-neat (borderline anal) personalities very happy. They have four wheels and swivel in every direction, which is a major step up from our old carry-ons. It may sound like an obvious feature to look for when choosing a carry-on, but we’ve been distracted in the past with cute duffles, only to get through security feeling like our arms were gonna fall off. Lastly and maybe one of our favorite features, they have built-in chargers and USB ports. Can you say, “game changer”?
PACK VERSATILE ITEMS
Packing versatile items has been so helpful when traveling. It may take a little longer to mentally organize outfits and what pieces can go with what, but in the end we feel like this saves so much space and time. Packing versatile bottoms like black or dark blue denim that can be casual for day and dressed up for dinner at night is always a must in our luggage. For pieces that are more specific like a dress or jumpsuit, change up your shoes and accessories to go from day to night. We found ourselves doing this several times on our last cruise, even though we packed multiple outfits. Done packing? Now think about what you can take out of your luggage. Unless you absolutely love the water, one bathing suit will work just fine. We used to pack multiple, but we would find ourselves going to the pool or beach once a day for a quick dip (sometimes every other day) when traveling. Cruises have formal dinner nights and different events going on daily. Packing one pair of heels for multiple dinners, and one suit with different shirt and tie options has been helpful on saving room. For the most part, it’s pretty casual and we’ll be walking around a ton, so lightweight cotton tops and comfy shoes are what we’ll be reaching for most days.
Click through below to see what we’re packing for our Mediterranean Cruise:
ORGANIZING YOUR SUITCASE: LAYERING + ROLLING
Start with laying your shoes and bulky items on the bottom of your suitcase, then begin rolling your clothes and layering them on top. We’ve heard of the rolling technique for years and it seems like kind of a given, but we didn’t start doing it until recently and now we don’t know what took us so long. Rolling cotton tops, pants, and skirts takes up so much less space than regular folding. Plus, you can get in all those little spots in your luggage that feel like wasted space. Tissue paper has also been helpful for more delicate materials and dressier items. Wrapping and rolling the garment in tissue paper helps it from getting wrinkled during travel. It may feel like an extra step, but anything that saves us time from ironing or a dry-cleaning room service bill is fine with us! When possible, bring sweaters, jackets and hats with you on the flight. You’ll save room, keep your hat from getting squashed in your luggage, and a cozy layering piece with you in case you get cold on while traveling.
What are some of your tips and tricks for traveling?
Follow along with us on instagram the next few days as we explore Europe! Can’t wait to check out the cruise ship and all the beautiful cities!
Father’s Day is coming up and we thought it would be fun (and hopefully helpful) to share some gift ideas. We both have a tough time shopping for our dads…it feels like they have everything they need and they are both kind of work-a-holics. So what can you get them that would feel like a little indulgence or special treat, while still being thoughtful along with a hand written note? Usually around any holiday there are a ton of gift guides floating around the internet and they all have a similar feel. Our dads couldn’t be any more different from one another…one likes sports the other likes cars. One is a little more handy around the house, and the other enjoys the outdoors. One goes to work with a suit and tie each day, and the other works with his hands. So with our very different dads in mind we rounded up a few our favorite items from Jack Spade, that will hopefully give you a few gift ideas for your dad too! They have a great selection of classic pieces, for every type of guy. We may or may not have focused on some travel essentials for them, that would be perfect for when they visit AZ…hint, hint. 😉 (Hello, dads trip!!)
Father’s Day gift ideas:
[Click through to see our favorites + on the photo to be brought to product page.]
We are Robert and Christina: husband and wife, photo takers, adventurers and best friends. We like to laugh too hard, dance all night, and explore together. Here is a little glimpse into our lives in sunny Phoenix, Arizona.