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Danelle

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DIY Porch Makeover

DIY Porch Makeover

Oh, if only we could all live in brand new, crisp white houses with perfect black shutters on all the windows, and inviting porch swings to sit in as we gaze across our perfectly manicured yards. But let’s be honest, most of us live in somewhat outdated, basic middle-class houses with far more weeds in the yard than we care to admit. We’re all secretly hoping that Chip and Jo show up to make our home reno dreams come true! But alas, all of our renovation dreams usually end up being just that–dreams. Haha.

Well, this year my mom has been working hard to renovate our childhood home that was built in 1985 and it can definitely start to get overwhelming. It starts as a room or two and before you know it there’s a project for every room in the house! So to help encourage her along, I decided to surprise her with a little porch renovation. And for $270.88 I was able to really enhance the curb appeal on this 1980s rambler.

If you’re looking to amp up your curb appeal because you’re getting ready to sell your home or just want to smile a little bigger when you pull in the driveway, we’ve got some quick and easy ideas to help you spruce up any porch or patio.

Light fixtures. This swapout definitely gave us some bang for our buck! As you can see these old brass fixtures have seen better days, and for $39 each we were able to switch them out for a much more modern fixture. I honestly never really noticed how bad those old light fixtures looked until we changed them. The new ones give such a polished. complete finish! These lights were surprisingly easy to switch out as well–no electrician required. Just make sure you go to your circuit breaker and turn OFF the power to the porch light before you replace it. THIS STEP IS KEY to avoid getting zapped!

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Fun pillows. Adding pillows to the outdoor furniture really gave a great splash of color and made the porch a lot more inviting. The pillows also made our $14 plastic chairs from Home Depot look a lot classier! These pillows are made with outdoor fabric so they can withstand some of the elements without wearing down or molding. The great part is that you can switch the pillows out quite easily and change the whole look of the porch for different seasons.

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Flowers. And lots of them. I tend to have a black thumb when it comes to plants, but flowers add so much life I knew we had to include them in the porch makeover. My sister taught me a great trick though–that is to buy those large blooming hanging baskets and then plant them in a large pot with soil, rather than growing each plant one by one. Usually those baskets have multiple flower types already grown and blooming, then all you have to do it get them in the soil and water them. It made the pots look like they had been growing all summer long!

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Hopefully you’ve been inspired by our simple porch reno and ideas for your own porch have started popping into your head. Here are the links to all of our porch renovation items. Take a look and happy porch planning!

Pillows:

Navy Painted Floral Pillows, Target, $11.99 each

Embroidered Green Fern Lumbar Pillow, Target, $15.99

Tray:

Galvanized Table Tray, Target, $19.99

Rugs:

Coral Patterned Welcome Mats, Target, $12.99 each

Bench Glider & Chairs:

Outdoor Loveseat Glider, Amazon, $89.99

Taupe Patio Lounge Chairs, Home Depot, $13.97 each

Light fixtures:

Porch Light Fixtures, Lowes, $39.98 each

TOTAL: 270.88

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Uncategorized

Top 5 Ways to Beat a Sunburn

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We’ve all been there. First pool day of the summer or first day of our beach vacay, and we’re roasted and toasted. Burnt to a crisp. Sometimes ten layers of SPF 50 just doesn’t do the trick. But have no fear, we’ve rounded up our top 5 ways to beat a sunburn for you! These methods are ALL TRIED AND TRUE. I swear by them. In no time at all your painful skin will no longer be glowing inferno red and you’ll actually be able to wear normal clothes without gritting your teeth.

  1. Hydration. And lots of it. I’m not talking about drinking “a water bottle” when you get back from the beach. That’s not enough. You’re going to think I’m crazy, but you need to drink a water bottle every hour, if possible. And yes, this means you’ll be peeing like a racehorse (probably every hour as well), but I’m telling you it works. I learned this trick from a friend in college. He grew up surfing in California and has had his fair share of sunburns as a result, but this trick takes the sting out by the next day. If you’re hurting really bad you definitely need to start pounding the water!! I promise, it works.
  1. Cold Aloe Vera. Aloe is no secret. I’m sure we’ve all used it before for to help aid the sunburn sting. But have you tried putting it in the fridge? Game changer! During the summer we keep a bottle of aloe vera in the fridge at all times. There’s something about that COLD gel that can calm even the hottest burn.
  1. Sun Bum Cool Down. You may have heard us talk about this product before in one of our sweet pick posts, but it must be mentioned again! It’s pure magic. I prefer this because it’s less sticky than aloe and seems to take away the heat for a lot longer than aloe does. I put this on as soon as I come in from a long sun-exposed day to help the healing start right away. If the it turns into a bad burn I’ll apply this repeatedly until the skin calms down. This takes that burning sting OUT better than any other lotion I’ve tried (and it smells delicious).
  1. Noxzema cream. Yes, the same Noxzema that you used in junior high as part of your acne-defending face regimen can heal some of the worst burns! Noxzema was actually originally developed as a sunburn remedy and then was later marketed as a facial cream. It contains camphor, menthol, phenol and eucalyptus, among other ingredients to help soothe and calm the skin. When using it for burns apply a layer of the white cream over the burn. Don’t rub it in, just allow it to slowly sink into the skin if possible. Apply it as often as you need until the burn heals. This product not only helps with sunburns, but burns of any kind.  So, whether it’s a sunburn or a stove burn, you’ve gotta have some of this stuff on hand!
  1. Be smart about SPF. Did you know that not all sunscreen is created equal? If you think you’re covered because your moisturizer or foundation have sunscreen in them, think again! According to my thorough WebMD research, you need 7 times the normal amount of foundation to achieve the SPF on the label. No one does this so make sure to use a real sunscreen—not just make up sunscreen. Here are a few more tips to make sure you bring your sunscreen A-game to the next pool party.
  • Broad spectrum coverage is a MUST. There are two types of UV rays—UVA rays (these are the ones that cause wrinkles and premature aging) and UVB rays (these are the ones responsible for sunburns). Make sure your sunscreen has both UVA and UVB protection. According to the FDA, if your sunscreen is labeled “broad spectrum” it covers UVA and UVB. 
  •  No sunscreen blocks 100 percent of UV rays! Ultrahigh SPFs are not much more protective than SPFs of 30 or 50. SPF 15 blocks 93 percent of UVB rays. SPF 30 blocks 97 percent. The increase in protection is even more gradual after that, 98 percent for SPF 50 and 99 percent for SPF 100. So don’t be fooled SPF 100 isn’t doing much more for you than SPF 30! 
  • The real secret is to apply sunscreen early and often. Apply at least 15 minutes prior to exposure and reapply every 2 hours! 
  • There’s no such thing as waterproof or sweatproof sunscreen. Water-resistant technically means it will last for 40 minutes or 80 minutes in the water (depending on the brand)…that’s it! So make sure to reapply often when in the water or sweating.

Cheers to the first day of summer! Hopefully these tips will keep you calm, cool, and careful on all your sunny summer adventures.

Celebrate Eats

America’s Best Donut Shop

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I love donuts. And I eat a lot of them. I’m always on the hunt for the best donut spot in every city I visit. And given that today is NATIONAL DONUT DAY, I wanted to share one of my ALL-TIME favorite donut spot with you–Holy Donut in Portland, Maine. Also, just so you know, I’m not the only one obsessed with this place. The have only been open since 2012, but have almost 900 reviews on Yelp and manage to maintain a near perfect 4.8/5 rating, Trip Advisor has over 1,200 glowing reviews.

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I found this place on a work trip to Portland as, per usual, I was searching for a great donut spot. Some people go sightseeing to get to know a city—I eat donuts. Lucky for me this place was just around the block from my hotel—SCORE. The first day I went there I restrained myself to two donuts. Little did I know that “moderate” decision would only ignite an obsession for these fantastic donuts. You see, these are not just any old donuts. These made-from-scratch donuts use real Maine potatoes as the (not-so) secret ingredient! Yes, potatoes! Who would have thought?? But I’m convinced this is what makes the donuts magical.

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Their texture is superb. They’re not quite a cake donuts, but not quite a yeast donuts either. It’s a perfect mix of the two. It’s like a loaf of potato bread and a pound cake got together and had a donut baby. It’s soft and moist with a perfect density that is enough to fill you up, but not weigh you down.  I’m a sucker for a maple-bacon donut and these guys hit it out of the park. The sweetness of the dough was not over done and was accented perfectly by a thick maple glaze, studded with small splashes of bacon.  It was wow. The triple berry donut had a bright and flavorful glaze made with real berries that was perfectly sweet, perfectly tart, and equally addicting. But we can’t overlook the simplistic supremacy of the sweet potato donut. Like its fellow donut friends, the sweet potato donut had a perfect moist, dense, but not heavy texture. The simple sweetness of the sweet potato was accented by a subtle cinnamon-spice undertone that made this baby absolutely delicious. Oh yeah, and then they topped it with a sweet glaze–YUM. every bite was filled with culinary satisfaction. And then there’s the dark chocolate sea salt donut…this one was my very favorite. I don’t even think I got a good picture of it because I inhaled it SO FAST. I mean, I don’t have to tell you about the beautiful combination that is dark chocolate and sea salt, but just imagine all of that awesomeness in a donut. The bitterness of the dark chocolate is a perfect balance to the sweetness of the dough and each bite is punched with a hint of sea salt. The salt really ties all the flavors together in medley of sweet and savory. It’s a hands down winner in my book.

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Not only do these donuts taste awesome, but they use fresh, local ingredients in their recipes. In addition to plenty of fresh Maine potatoes, they include the highest quality dark cocoa powder and 60% dark chocolate chips in all chocolate donuts and glazes, and only color their donut glazes with fruit juices or vegetable dyes–no fake colors. And all of the donuts are still hand cut!

Oh these donuts, I could go on and on. Suffice it to say that if you EVER find yourself in Portland MAINE, you’ve GOT to try these donuts. And if you ever see a donut made from potato dough anywhere else, you should probably get three. Potato donuts are LEGIT.

There are two locations in Portland (but do not worry…THIS IS NOT A CHAIN. You people know how I feel about chain restaurants…)

Holy Donut
7 Exchange St
Portland, ME 04101

Holy Donut
194 Park Ave
Portland, ME 04102

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Celebrate

Last Minute Easter Basket Ideas

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I’m a sucker for holidays. Growing up my mom would find any excuse to celebrate. No matter the holiday we would wake up to find decorations and some little surprise waiting for us.  I loved this as a kid! It created such a fun, happy environment in our home. She never went over the top with crazy, expensive things, just fun simple things. It was a thoughtful, caring act that had an impact on me. I learned the joy that comes from giving, loving, and serving as I was the recipient of my mother’s countless thoughtful gestures. As an adult, I have become much like my mom and love celebrating with people. So even though I don’t have kids yet, I couldn’t resist buying some fun Easter basket goodies to give away. And naturally, my blogging buddies were along for the ride as we put together some simple, fun Easter basket ideas.  And for those of you that are busy procrastinators, we’ve compiled a list of Amazon Prime finds that will make it here just in time for Easter! You don’t even have to leave your house. Thank you, Amazon. We love you!

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Easter Ideas 2

Easter Ideas

Amazon Prime Easter Finds:

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Eats

Peanut Butter Bacon Pancakes

Peanut Butter Bacon Pancakes sweetlemonmade.com

I first fell in love with bacon pancakes when I was living in Dallas. Dallas has some amazing food, especially brunch, and one of my favorite spots, home to the most delicious bacon pancakes ever, was a place called “Breadwinners.”  Everytime we went there someone had to get the bacon pancakes and there may have been a time or two where we couldn’t decide so we ordered  them “for the table.”  Now, if you’re the kind of person that orders an extra entree for the table so that you can be sure to try all the awesomeness on the menu, we should be friends. If you’re confused by that concept then you should probably just skip to the recipe portion of this post because I’m about to go on and on about my deep love for complex flavors and that would probably just bore you. 😉

Back to the pancakes, so years later while perusing the website of one of my favorites, Joy the Baker, I found this recipe for PEANUT BUTTER and BACON pancakes. Hold the phone! Peanut butter and bacon are one of my favorite flavor combinations, and she put them together in a pancake and topped it with maple syrup??! Be still my soul. Heavenly. This is what I’m talking about–complex flavors! The savory saltiness of the bacon is enhanced by the creaminess of the peanut butter and then rounded out by the sweetness of the maple syrup. Oh, it’s amazing. Then I got even crazier and added some bananas. Because who doesn’t love bananas and peanut butter? The bananas added a freshness to the rich combination and really sealed the deal. You’ve gotta try these! They are pretty straightforward, don’t require crazy ingredients, and can be whipped up easily on a Sunday morning. So go get that bacon out of the fridge and get cooking!

peanut butter pancakes sweetlemonmade.com
Bacon Maple Syrup sweetlemonmade.com

Peanut Butter Bacon Pancakes
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Ingredients
  1. PANCAKES
  2. 1 large egg
  3. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  4. 2 tablespoons all-natural peanut butter
  5. 1 cup buttermilk
  6. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  7. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  8. 2 tablespoon brown sugar
  9. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  10. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  11. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  12. 5 slices crisp bacon, cooled and cut into small pieces
  13. butter or oil for cooking pancakes
  14. BACON MAPLE SYRUP
  15. 5 pieces of bacon
  16. 1 cup real maple syrup
Instructions
  1. PANCAKES
  2. In a medium bowl beat together eggs, butter, peanut butter, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well until mostly smooth. Fold in bacon pieces and let batter set for a few minutes.
  3. Heat a nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Add a teaspoon of oil or butter to the pan, or spray with cooking spray.
  4. Pour 2 Tablespoons of batter onto the griddle. Cook on the first side until bubbles that form start to pop. You can also gently lift up the pancake to make sure the bottom is not overcooking, if it is the pan may be too hot and you will need to adjust the heat. Flip the pancake over with a spatula and cook until golden brown. Repeat until all the batter is gone. Let cooked pancakes rest on a heat proof plate in a 200 degree F oven until ready to serve.
  5. BACON MAPLE SYRUP
  6. Cook bacon until crisp.Drain on plate with paper towel. Reserve 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings for syrup.
  7. Crumble or chop bacon to small pieces and place in small saucepan. Add maple syrup and bacon drippings.
  8. Bring to a quick boil and then simmer on low for 5-10 minutes so the bacon and maple flavors can meld together. Then you're ready to jazz up your pancakes.
  9. PEANUT BUTTER DRIZZLE
  10. melt 3-4 tablespoons of peanut butter in the microwave for 10 second increments until smooth and creamy.
  11. Drizzle on top of pancakes and bacon syrup.
  12. Lastly, if you're feeling crazy, slice a banana and place a few slice atop the pancake.
Notes
  1. Make a note for the buttermilk… “If you don’t have buttermilk you can make your own by adding 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk. Let it sit for a few minutes and then add to the mix in place of buttermilk.
Sweet Lemon Made http://sweetlemonmade.com/

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