A Nutty Valentine’s Day treat

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Hi Everyone! I’m Nicole, Annette’s blog manager. When Annette asked me to share a Valentine’s Day post with you, I couldn’t wait to get started. Over the years, Valentine’s Day has become one of my favorite holidays.

Whether you’re celebrating with a significant other, your best friends, your children, or your coworkers, it’s a day to stop and remember the good and loving people around you.

My husband and I live in a quaint little neighborhood in Atlanta, and we happen to have some of the best neighbors around. They get packages off of our porch if we’re not home, smile and ask about what we’re up to, and make it a point to always look out for us. As a street, we take care of each other; I love the camaraderie!

I decided I wanted to give a little token of appreciation to each of my neighbors (a nutty Valentine’s Day treat!), and I knew the first place to look was Minted. Minted is an online marketplace for independent artists and designers, and a vibrant playground for paper lovers like me.

You can find everything from photo backdrops to home decor at Minted, but this time of year, I love looking through their Valentine’s Day cards. Of course, Minted has a large selection of photo cards, postcards, and greeting cards, but did you know that Minted also has classroom valentines?

I’ve always enjoyed how cheeky and funny kids’ classroom cards can be, so I knew I would find exactly what I was looking for…and I did! Minted kindly sent me a set of these Nuts Classroom Valentine’s Day cards for the neighbors’ treats. With Minted’s easy to use personalization options, I was able to change the color, select my own wording, add a scalloped edge, and include an adorably nutty background. So cute!

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Once my Valentine’s arrived (within a week!), I picked up some cute food-safe pails** from my local craft store along with Valentine’s Day crafting supplies. I used scrapbooking stickers and ric-rac washi tape to decorate each pail before filling it with Annette’s Big Game Snack Mix from her book, Picture Perfect Parties.

Her snack mix packs a punch and includes a lot of flavors that meld so well together. Plus, who doesn’t love snack mix? Annette’s mix is incredibly easy to toss together and requires no extra work other than picking up the ingredients from your local grocery store. I love that I didn’t have to dirty any dishes, pots, or pans and just could just mix everything together. Her recipes are great like that!

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I can’t wait to leave each of these pails on my neighbors porches as a fun little Valentine’s Day surprise. Let me know if you find any other cute uses for classroom Valentine’s beyond the classroom. Minted has a great selection, and I’m excited to hear your ideas! Thanks for having me, Annette!

xo, Nicole

Thanks to Minted for sending me the classroom valentines seen here in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.

**Be sure to read the labels to get food safe containers for any food crafting.

Photos: Nicole Letts

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Artists Entertain :: Into the Woods with friends for Atlanta Magazine’s HOME

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The latest issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME, is near and dear to my heart. I met the hosts many many years ago: Rinne Allen was working for Rebecca Wood, RWood Studio at the Merchandise Mart selling her gorgeous wares.

At the time, I was designing textiles for a textile company and attended the mart events on a regular basis. I chatted with Rinne and Rebecca as we whiled away the hours during the Atlanta Gift Show. Full disclosure: I was working on my first book at the time, Artist’s Entertain. I hired Rinne to shoot the “pitch” prototype, and while the book never went anywhere, our friendship did.

The years passed. Rinne had children, and grew her photography business, and Rebecca became well-known and very successful. But the one thing that never changed was their pure natural and organic style. I like to say they were the original “hipsters,” the real crafters because they have always lived in a mindful way, and that has never swayed in the 15 years we’ve known each other.

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Their online journal Beauty Everyday, was one of the original beauty blogs out there. Although they never called it a blog; it was just a collected online journal of Rinne’s beautiful photographic inspirations of nature she saw everyday. They posted everyday and this collaboration became the kernel idea for their book of the same title. Last year, they published Beauty Everyday with another creative partner Kristen Bach. Kristen is a new friend, but like her collaborators, she’s clever, creative, and brings a natural sense of a “maker” to all her endeavors. She’s the owner of Treehouse Kid + Craft  in Athens, Georgia. Her infectious enthusiasm makes her the perfect fit for a business that engages kids imaginations. She was a blast at the “Into the Woods” party, and single-handedly created all of the nature crafts for the party.

Rinne and Rebecca and Christy Collaborators for “Beauty Everyday” book Kristen Bach, Rebecca Wood, Rinne Allen.

I so love and respect these friends; they live an authentic life, and that’s the best example of all.

Check out some of the behind the scenes images from the party they invited me to at Sweet Olive Farm:

IMG_0248 Me :: greeted by roaming Lamas now that’s the kind of Hello I could get used to 🙂 IMG_0264 Editor and Chief of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME with a friend. This guy kept trying to eat all the props. IMG_0263 Recipes will be online soon.

Photo Credit : Amber Fouts and Rinne Allen

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Seattle and Portland:: #josephsinseattle #josephsinportlandia

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S E A T T L E

A family vacation was way overdue for us. When Levi decided to do his summer bike ride from Austin to Anchorage with the Texas 4000 team (see Alaska post here), we thought why not take a family vacation? Seattle and Portland are amazing cities, and our son wanted to check them out for possible cities to consider once he graduates. We’ve always loved Seattle because it is one of America’s original foodie destinations, and of course, home to Sur la Table, the original kitchen/cooks store.

Pikes Place Market is a favorite destination. The thing I love about it is that the locals like it and use it as much as the tourists. The flowers are always my favorite section of Pike’s Market, and this time around, it did not disappoint; the dahlias were in rare form. Absolutely breathtaking.

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Another point of interest was the gum wall. Set into the alley below the entrance to Pike’s Place Market, this gross art installation made purely of used gum, is both mesmerizing and disgusting. Although completely icky, I love this photo of Levi and Alex.

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We decided to show the kids our favorite part of NW Washington: the cluster of islands called the San Juan Islands. Plus, we wanted to ride the ferry. We rode out to Whidbey Island, which was a gorgeous ride, and then took the ferry back to Seattle.

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We had breakfast at the London Plane, a gorgeous space, before heading out to Portland for a couple of days. (In my opinion, the space is much better than the food itself; keep in mind the food is hit or miss. This time the croissant we had was amazing, but the yogurt combo was truly weird and bad. However, we all agreed the avocado toast was the best choice).

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P O R T L A N D

Portland is a unique city. I really only knew about it because the TV show Portlandia is so funny. If you have not seen it, Portlandia pokes fun at the uber hipsters that reside there. Skits like “Put a Bird on It” and the radical, over pierced bike messenger that cusses at all the pedestrians and cars that get in his way are hilarious.  I also have a warm place in my heart for the ultra feminists and their bookstore, and the politically correct over liberal mayor played by Kyle MacLachlan.

My favorite episode involves a very “locally farm grown” sensitive couple ordering chicken at a farm to table restaurant. They want to know if the chicken they are ordering has a name, and had a happy life that included chicken friends. Too funny.

I have to say that after doing major damage at the enormous “clog” store with a super-sized selection of clogs…I had to chuckle at my own inner hipster… the salesperson could not have been nicer and more of a character right out of the TV show itself.

I think that show might be pretty right on. The people watching was pretty rad while we tasted beer after our delicious meal at Pok Pok. The micro brew selection was off the hook. We tasted a few samples at Imperial Bottle Shop and Taproom.

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All and all, a pretty hip (ster) place no doubt. I loved Portland, even with its specific and quirky lifestyle.

If you’re a looking for a laid back liberal city, this is probably the place for you…and they make a pretty mean doughnut. Voodoo doughnuts was a happening. The donuts were not as impressive as the super cool vibe of the location. We literally went there on the suggestion of Anthony Bourdain, who I think was probably pretty much stoned through the entire Portland episode, so he pretty much LOVED everything he put in his mouth here (pot is legal here, BTW).

Of course we hit the food truck park for lunch, and had various incarnations of the falafel and bubble tea.

If Portland has anything, it has a handle on how to brand a city. What can I say? I am a sucker for branding.

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Lots to discover in the Northwest, especially the people who were lovely, interesting, and very friendly.

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xx, Annette

for more photos from our trip follow me on instagram

Photo Credit : Me

 

 

 

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Northern Exposure and other Alaskan adventures

 

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As you all might know, our son, Levi, who attends the University of Texas, Austin, rode from Austin to Anchorage this summer. The Texas 4000 is a 4500 mile bike ride that takes place every year over the course of 70 days from May to August and is a fundraiser for cancer research with 70+ riders participating. We met Levi and the team on August 7th in Anchorage, Alaska. It was both emotional and joyous. Needless to say we were thrilled to see our son in one piece and happy after 4000+ miles across America and Canada. We are so incredibly proud and in awe of our son and the entire team.

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Alaska is not a place I had a huge desire to visit. However, we jumped at the opportunity to make this trip a family vacation and meet Levi at the finish line.  By the way, I was wrong about Alaska; it should have been on my list…not only on the list, but at the top of the list. Anchorage is not much to speak of, but if you go 20 minutes in either direction, it is truly magical. They say everything is big in Texas, but with that said, everything in Alaska is HUGE.

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The vistas, the glaciers, the whales, even the flowers are super-sized and glorious. The mountains have a jurassic appearance. Simply put, it is stupendous.

Below are a few places that we ventured. I highly suggest that you take a glacier boat ride which of course includes whale watching. We even saw a couple of whales. Alaska

We fished for salmon, and our guide Alan, with Phantom Tri River Charters,  was awesome. The river and surrounding area is gorgeous. Plus we caught tons of salmon. We also hiked through a Crow Pass trail.

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We had an exceptional dinner at Jack Spratt in Gridwood. Located in a ski community, we enjoyed beautiful views with delicious and inventive fare. I highly recommend the 40 minute drive from Anchorage.

The best breakfast of the trip, hands down, was at Snow City Cafe. They had the best hashbrowns, safe to say, in the world. We went twice, and even with an hour wait, it was well worth it. Oh did I mention the blueberry pancakes the size of your head?

Put Alaska on your list; you won’t regret it. xx, Annette

More Northwest adventures coming next time!

Check out my instagram feed for more pics and info about our Alaska trip.

Photo Credit : Me

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Crushing on Hanna Anderson’s Home Line

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When my kids were little, Hanna Anderson was my go to for kids clothes. They’re Swedish designed, and you know how I feel about Swedish design! I loved it back then because it was known for comfortable, adorable, and durable clothes; Hanna was my fave. My kids always looked bright, happy, and well-dressed. It’s still my go to for baby gifts; everyone loves Hanna.

Well last year, Hanna Anderson launched a home line {read about it here}.  It’s so smart, something just a little different, and I assume it will be as quality oriented as their clothing line. I am so excited to share this with you today. Head over to Hanna for some Swedish style and some great additions to your cozy home.

Here’s what Hanna has to say about her new baby::

Welcome to Hanna Home, our place for super cozy softness that’s crafted to last, beginning with bedding that lets kids be kids. Our mix-it-up colors come in sheets, reversible quilts, and awesome details that finish the room…so every way your littles make the bed (or don¹t make the bed) is the right way. Sweet dreams.

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This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

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