Spring Day

When I was in college (#WayBackWhen), we had a day every year called Spring Day. Classes were cancelled, bands played on the quad, and everyone enjoyed the (hopefully) gorgeous weather. It was always such a fun day, spent hanging out with friends as the school year wound down.

In that same spirit, I’m taking today off and declaring it Spring Day 2014. I’ll be back Friday with my weekly link roundup. See you then!

Spring Day | Hello Little HomeDo you have any fun college memories you’d like to share?

Get the Look: Reese Witherspoon

I’ve always loved Reese Witherspoon’s style. She is such a classic dresser and always looks effortlessly pulled together.

Here’s how you can get the look:

Get the Look: Reese Witherspoon | Hello Little HomeThis outfit will take you from spring right into summer, and it’s easy to get her look with a few key pieces:

Are you a fan of Reese Witherspoon? Is this an outfit you’d wear?

P.S. Check out the rest of my Get the Look seriesGet Your Pretty On, Your Whims Wednesday, Your Whims Wednesday, and Random Wednesday.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase something from one of these links, I may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). I only recommend products that I love, and your purchase helps to support the free content offered on Hello Little Home (thank you so much!).

Delicious Berry Cream Tarts

My husband and I enjoy exploring new neighborhoods on the weekends, and by explore, I mean walk around and eat a lot of food.

A few weeks ago, we spent an afternoon walking around Bay Ridge. It’s a somewhat remote neighborhood in Brooklyn that’s only served by one subway line. We weren’t sure what to expect, but we really loved it.

There were so many delicious looking restaurants – everything from Middle Eastern to Greek to Italian – that I’m already plotting my return. Of course, we had to check out a couple places. One of our stops was Paneantico Bakery, where the displays cases were filled with beautiful pastries. I had an amazing berry cream tart that I couldn’t wait to recreate once I got home.

Berry Cream Tarts | Hello Little Home #dessert #cheesecake #fruitYou are going to love these Berry Cream Tarts! I started by baking almond-scented shortbread cookies with a cute scalloped edge. The cookies are topped with a generous dollop of rich cream filling that tastes just like cheesecake! I finished the tarts by piling on the sweet berries.

These tarts would be perfect for a Mother’s Day brunch or anytime you feel like a sweet treat!

Berry Cream Tarts

Yield: 10 tarts

Berry Cream Tarts

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 lb. strawberries
  • 12 oz. blackberries
  • 12 oz. raspberries
  • For the Shortbread:
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 cup flour

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare shortbread:
  3. Place butter, granulated sugar, and almond extract in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until butter is light and creamy.
  4. Add flour to butter mixture. Mix just until dough comes together.
  5. Lightly flour a large cutting board. Place dough on board.
  6. Using a rolling pin, gently roll out dough until it's about 1/4-inch thick.
  7. With a 3-inch fluted cookie cutter, cut out 10 cookies.
  8. Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and, prick each cookie a few times with a fork.
  9. Bake cookies just until the edges start to turn golden brown, about 20 - 25 minutes. Do not overcook.
  10. Remove cookies from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  11. Prepare cream:
  12. Pour heavy cream into the bowl of a stand mixer and, with the whisk attachment, beat until stiff peaks form.
  13. Remove cream from bowl and set aside.
  14. Add cream cheese and powdered sugar to mixing bowl, and with the paddle attachment, mix until completely smooth.
  15. Using a spatula, gently fold 1/3 of heavy cream into cream cheese until well combined. Repeat 2 more times with remaining heavy cream. Set mixture aside.
  16. Assemble tarts:
  17. Hull strawberries and cut into thirds vertically.
  18. Slice blackberries in half vertically, if very large.
  19. Top each cookie with 3 - 4 strawberry slices, placing them around the edges.
  20. Cover strawberries with a 1/10th of the cream mixture, and then press additional strawberries into cream (in between the other berries).
  21. Top each tart with a blackberry or raspberry, and then fill in the sides with additional blackberries and raspberries.
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Berry Cream Tarts | Hello Little Home #dessert #cheesecake #fruitBerry Cream Tarts | Hello Little Home #dessert #cheesecake #fruitEnjoy!

Have you ever tried something so delicious that you couldn’t wait to recreate it at home?

I’m linking up with these link parties, as well as Much Ado About Monday, Take-A-Look Tuesday, Inspire Me Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays, Awesome Things Tuesday, The Makers, The Yuck Stops Here, Create & Share, Wine’d Down Wednesday, Make Bake Create, Your Whims Wednesday, Work It Wednesday, and The Scoop.

Hello, Friday! Link Roundup + Behind-the-Scenes with People StyleWatch & Mary Kay

I had the best experience yesterday. I’m part of the People StyleWatch StyleHunter Network, and I was invited to go behind the scenes of a People StyleWatch and Mary Kay photo shoot!

It was such a cool experience! They’ve been shooting all week, and on the day I was there they were doing still shots with a model. I got a chance to see how they select photos, check out the amazing wardrobe, meet everyone on the team, and take home some samples (yay!).

I also had my makeup done by the extremely talented makeup artist on the shoot, which was really fun. She also does the makeup for Beyonce’s back up dancers, and the look she created for the model was seriously stunning (can’t wait to see it in the magazine).

She gave me some great tips that I can’t wait to try out. Here’s the look she created for me:

Mary Kay Makeover| Hello Little Home #PeopleStyleWatch #MaryKayDon’t I look tan? Here’s what she used: CC Cream in Very Light (it looks so natural); Concealer (not sure what the color was); Mineral Cheek Color in Shy; True Dimension Lipstick in Color Me Coral (love this!); and Mineral Powder Foundation in Beige 1.

She applied the Mineral Powder Foundation last, and that’s what gave me the gorgeous tan. What do you think? I loved it! I can’t wait to try out some of the other makeup I received.

I’m sharing some more behind-the-scenes pics in between my favorite links from the week!

People StyleWatch - Mary Kay Photo Shoot | Hello Little Home This was the studio set up. There was an area for photos to the left (you can see a bit of the backdrop on the floor) and one to the right, too. They are reviewing photos of the model on the computer.

This Carrot Cake Swirled Cheesecake from Frugal Foodie Mama combines two of my dessert favorites. I don’t think I could stop at one piece.

It’s almost picnic season (how much more snow can we get?). When it finally arrives, dress up your table with these cute Picnic Place Settings from Sweet Paul.

These Chocolate Caramel Surprise Cupcakes from A Dash of Sanity look so good!

People StyleWatch - Mary Kay Photo Shoot: Wardrobe | Hello Little HomeI fell in love with this perforated leather top!

Personalize your home with these awesome Restoration Hardware Knockoff Vintage Industrial Letters from blue i style.

Creme de la Crumb shared a Cheesy Spinach Artichoke and Sun-dried Tomato Panini recipe. You need to see the pictures … yum!

I love this Side-Braid Ponytail that Momtrends created for her stylish workout look. Super cute!

People StyleWatch - Mary Kay Photo Shoot: Makeup Area | Hello Little HomeThis was the makeup area. There was another blogger there at the same time (she’s in the chair), and she was getting her makeup done when I took this shot.

Animal prints are part of my everyday wardrobe. (I’m on my second pair of these inexpensive flats.) If this style staple makes you nervous, don’t miss this post from Putting Me Together: Beginner’s Guide: Animal Print in Small Doses.

Learn how to make Restaurant Style Salsa from Joyful Healthy Eats.

People StyleWatch - Mary Kay Photo Shoot: Gorgeous Shoes | Hello Little HomeSo many beautiful shoes!

Save a few dollars on your weekend shopping with these deals (affiliate links):

People StyleWatch - Mary Kay Photo Shoot: View from the Studio | Hello Little HomeThe view from the studio was pretty amazing, too!

Finally, wish your family a happy holiday with a decadent Easter Cake Cocktail from Shake, Bake, and Party in hand. Cheers to that!

Have a great weekend! Anything fun going on?

P.S. Follow me on Pinterest to keep up with everything that catches my eye!

I’m linking up with Style Elixir, Monday Mingle, More Pieces of Me, Funday Monday, Random Wednesday, Get Your Pretty On, and On the Daily Express.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase something from one of these links, I may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). I only recommend products that I love, and your purchase helps to support the free content offered on Hello Little Home (thank you so much!).

Quick DIY: Mini Chalkboard Magnets

Are you a magnet person? My husband is. Everywhere we go, he seems to pick up at least one. He even makes his own magnets from souvenirs, bottle caps, pins, etc. That’s about as crafty as he gets, although he recently told me he wants to start painting!

Our refrigerator is covered with these magnets. For a while I was kind of over them … all I wanted was a clean refrigerator! Joel wasn’t having it though, and I have to admit that it’s  fun to look at each one and think of the memory that’s attached to it.

I decided to surprise Joel recently and came up with a quick DIY project for Mini Chalkboard Magnets. This is such a simple project and would be perfect for kids, too.

Mini Chalkboard Magnets | Hello Little Home #DIY #craftHere’s what you’ll need:

  • wood cutouts (find them at Michaels)
  • chalkboard paint
  • small paintbrush
  • craft paint
  • magnets
  • chalk

OK, let’s get started. You’ll be done in a snap!

Mini Chalkboard Magnets: Step by Step | Hello Little Home #DIY #craft

  1. Using your paintbrush, apply a thin coat of chalkboard paint.
  2. Because the wood is so absorbent, so you’ll need to apply multiple coats (I did 4). The paint dries very quickly, but if you are impatient like me, use a blowdryer to dry the paint in between coats.
  3. Flip the wood cutout over and apply magnets with a thin coat of craft glue. Use more or less magnets, depending on how strong they are.
  4. Add a creative message with chalk. Your chalkboard magnet is complete!

Mini Chalkboard Magnets: Step by Step | Hello Little Home #DIY #craftI love a quick DIY! It’s so nice to have a completed project in under an hour.

Do you collect anything?

 

I’m sharing this post with these link parties, as well as Your Whims Wednesday, Make Bake Create, Create It Thursday, Pin It Thursday, Link’n Blogs, Flaunt It Friday, Craft Frenzy Friday, Be.You.Tiful, Inspire Me Please, Frugal Friday, Remodelaholic, Best of the Weekend, Say G’Day Saturday, Saturday Sparks, Show-licious Craft & Recipe Party, Link It or Lump It, Sunday Soiree, The DIY’ers, Much Ado About Monday, The Scoop, Take-A-Look Tuesday, Inspire Me Tuesday, Awesome Things Tuesday, The Makers, Create & Share, and Work It Wednesday.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase something from one of these links, I may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). I only recommend products that I love, and your purchase helps to support the free content offered on Hello Little Home (thank you so much!).

Springtime Style: Breaking Out My White Jeans

The weather was amazing this past Sunday. I’m talking 70 degrees and sunny with a breeze … perfect!

My husband and I decided to take advantage of the gorgeous day and headed outside.

Springtime Style: White Jeans | Hello Little Home #fashionI also conned my husband into taking a few pictures, which he wasn’t too happy about. He took one for the team though and did a great job!

A little springtime style was in order, too. I broke out my white jeans and wore my first sandals of the season, which was so nice.

Springtime Style: White Jeans | Hello Little Home #fashion(Affiliate Links): Sweater (old): similar; Tank: Old Navy; Jeans: Old Navy; Shoes (old): similar, similar; Earrings (old): similar, similar; Bracelet (old): similar, similar; Sunglasses (old): similar, similar

We started out walking on the East River Parkway and then crossed over to Randall’s Island for some awesome views of the city.

Springtime Style: White Jeans | Hello Little Home #fashionIt was the perfect way to spend an afternoon!

Springtime Style: White Jeans | Hello Little Home #fashionHave you done anything to celebrate spring (fashion or otherwise)?

I’m linking up with Random Wednesday, Beautiful You, I Feel Pretty, Transatlantic Blonde, Your Whims Wednesday, Tres-Chic Fashion Thursday, Fashion Informant, Style Elixir, Monday Mingle, More Pieces of Me, On the Daily Express, Funday Monday, Monday Must Haves, and What I Wore Wednesday.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase something from one of these links, I may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). I only recommend products that I love, and your purchase helps to support the free content offered on Hello Little Home (thank you so much!).

Spicy Black Bean Cakes with Egg, Avocado & Tomato

Breakfast has never been my favorite meal, so it’s kind of funny that I’m sharing two breakfast recipes in a row (see my Mango Yogurt Parfait from last week). How did that happen?

I think it’s the eggs. When I was a kid, I refused to eat them unless they were scrambled or hard-boiled. They’ve slowly grown on me over the years, and I’ve even graduated to runny yolks.

These Spicy Black Bean Cakes with Egg, Avocado, and Tomato are one of my favorite ways to show off a beautiful fried egg!

Spicy Black Bean Cakes with Egg, Avocado & Tomato | Hello Little Home #recipe #breakfastYou are going to love these mildly spicy black bean cakes that are packed with healthy vegetables. A fried egg, fresh avocado, and sweet tomatoes complete the dish, which is equally delicious for breakfast and dinner!

Spicy Black Bean Cakes with Egg, Avocado & Tomato

Serving Size: 4 main dish servings

Spicy Black Bean Cakes with Egg, Avocado & Tomato

Ingredients

  • 4 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium bell peppers, any color, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 15-oz. cans black beans
  • 4 oz. shredded pepper Jack cheese
  • 1 tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatoes, quartered or halved
  • 1 avocado, pitted and chopped
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil (reserve remaining oil) in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add peppers and onions to skillet and cook, stirring frequently.
  3. When peppers and onions are browned around the edges, add garlic, cumin, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes to skillet.
  4. Stirring constantly, cook until spices and garlic are fragrant, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  5. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt.
  6. While peppers and onions are cooking, drain and rinse the black beans.
  7. Add black beans to a large bowl and mash about 3/4 of the beans.
  8. When pepper mixture is ready, add it to the beans and stir well.
  9. Add pepper Jack cheese and cilantro to bean mixture and blend well. Season to taste with salt.
  10. Shape bean mixture into 8 patties.
  11. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  12. Add patties to skillet. Cook until browned on one side and then flip.
  13. While patties cook, spray a small skillet with non-stick cooking spray and place over medium heat.
  14. Remove eggs from shells and add to small skillet
  15. Sprinkle eggs with salt and cook until whites are completely set. Remove from heat.
  16. To serve, place 2 black bean patties on each plate. Top patties with a fried egg and chopped tomatoes and avocado. Sprinkle with additional cilantro, if desired.

Notes

Customize the recipe by cooking the eggs your favorite way (scrambled, over easy, etc.). Or, try serving the patties on buns for a delicious black bean burger.

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Spicy Black Bean Cakes with Egg, Avocado & Tomato | Hello Little Home #recipe #breakfastWas there a food you refused to eat as a kid?

I’m sharing this post with these link parties, as well as The Scoop, Wine’d Down Wednesday, Create & Share, Your Whims Wednesday, Make Bake Create, Work It Wednesday, Create It Thursday, Pin It Thursday, Link’n Blogs, Flaunt It Friday, Craft Frenzy Friday, Be.You.Tiful, Inspire Me Please, Frugal Friday, Best of the Weekend, Say G’Day Saturday, Saturday Sparks, Show-licious Craft & Recipe Party, Saturday Night Fever, Link It or Lump It, Sunday Soiree, and Much Ado About Monday.

Hello, Friday! Link Roundup

Happy Friday! Ugh … this week. First, I was struck down with a mysterious headache/nausea for a few days, and then when that went away, I got a massive case of acid reflux. I’m still recovering from that lovely ailment.

Well, now that I’ve given you way TMI about my boring health issues, let me tell you about something fun I did last weekend. I was invited to attend a panel discussion on olive oil at The Food Conference. It was really fascinating. The panelists talked about how olive oil production has changed over the years, and how that has affected the quality of the oil. Although there is good olive oil being produced around the world, there was a consensus among the panelists that most of the olive oil purchased at supermarkets and consumed at restaurants (even upscale ones) in the U.S. is not very good. One thing that I found really interesting is that most Americans consume only 1 liter of olive oil a year. I don’t know about you, but I use olive oil for pretty much everything. I probably go through a liter every month or two!

After the discussion, we were able to taste four olive oils from Nar Gourmet. Each of the oils, which are produced in Anatolia, Turkey, had a distinctive, lovely taste. After the discussion and taste test, I’m really interested in learning more about olive oil. (Nar products are available for purchase on Amazon if you’re interested.)

On to my favorite links from the week!

Nar Olive Oil Taste Testing | Hello Little HomeMy kind of taste test!

Tomorrow is National Grilled Cheese Day, so don’t forget to mark the holiday. I’d love to try any of these grilled cheese sandwiches: Roasted Apple and Brie with Thyme-Infused Butter, Artichoke Arugula Pesto, Tomato Basil, or Mushroom and Kale. Check out my Sandwich Pinterest board for even more ideas!

I try to avoid using harsh chemicals in my home, so I’m curious to try making my own cleaning products. This Grease-Fighting Natural Dish Soap from Henry Happened looks like a good place to start.

These DIY Beaded Candleholders from Homey Oh My are so pretty.

I love snap peas, and Foody Schmoody’s Warm Snap Pea Salad caught my eye right away. It looks so good!

If you have a black thumb and are looking for easy-going plants, succulents are it. Pick up some plants and then check out The Golden Sycamore’s super cute Painted Mason Jar Succulent Planter tutorial.

Chrysler Building in New York | Hello Little HomeChrysler Building and Grand Central view on a walk in Midtown.

Simply Gloria has a recipe for Huevos Rancheros with Fresh Tomatillo Sauce (one of my favorite breakfasts) that you need to check out.

Don’t think you have time to get crafty? Try this 30 Second DIY Cuff Bracelet from Artzy Creations. It’s seriously gorgeous!

According to Sweet Paul, this is the World’s Best Cake, and I’ve never doubted him.

The idea of Christmas crackers fascinated me as a kid (how I even heard of them, I’m not sure), and I’ve still never had one. I may need to make the Easter Crackers from A Typical English Home to finally satisfy my curiosity.

I have yet to jump on the chia seed bandwagon, although my husband loves them. I’m going to surprise him with this Coconut Vanilla Chia Pudding from Blahnik Baker. Yum!

Hello Little Home Business CardsI got new business cards – which I designed myself -  for my blog!

So. Many. Sales! Save a little money on your weekend shopping with these deals:

  • The Limited: take 40% off everything – sale items included – with code ALL40 at checkout (valid through 4/13).
  • Kohl’s: take 15% off Everything with Code SUN15 or 20% off $100+ with Code SUN20 (ends 4/20). I’m loving the new Peter Som collection (which is 25% off right now), especially the striped empire dress and eyelet skirt.
  • Nordstrom: shop Nordstrom Beauty and receive a free gift with purchase (ends 4/27). Plus, get free shipping on every order.
  • Target: save on select jewelry for spring (valid through 5/10) and save 20% on select heels and flats (valid through 4/19).
  • ChicTweak: get 50% off site wide with code SPRING50. Stock up on gorgeous spring accessories!
  • Philosophy: save up to 35% on select best selling bundles (valid 4/10 – 4/13). The Raspberry Bath Duo is my fave!
  • Lucy: get 25% off the Everyday and Vital collections. Check out the sale section while you’re there for even more great deals.
  • Alex and Ani: shop for all your wedding needs! Charm your bridesmaids with a token of your love, sparkle and shine at your rehearsal dinnerfind something blue, or give the gift of positive energy to your guests.
  • C. Wonder: has lots of great sales going on! Take an additional 40% off sale or an additional 50% off home, plus spend $150 and get 40% off your entire order.
  • Alternative Apparel: get 20% off online exclusives with code XCLUSIVE (valid through 4/13). Stock up on tees and tanks! I have my eye on the Lakeside Dress!
  • Dooney & Bourke: get free shipping when you order $100 or more. Are you a baseball fan? Shop their new MLB Collection! Or if you are non-sporty like me, check out the Camilla … gorgeous!
  • e.l.f. Cosmetics: save up to 40% off purchases at the Secret Sale (valid through 4/14)! Click through the link to see how much you’ll save!
  • Dorothy Perkins: save up to 50% at their huge sale. Stock up on dresses and more!
  • C.O. Bigelow: get a FREE Mentha Lip Balm No. 1131, plus free shipping on orders of $50 or more, with code GOODFRIDAY3 (valid through 4/30).
  • Bauble Bar: check out the String Fling Bracelet Builder. You can get 3 super cute bracelets for $36!
  • World Market: has a few great deals! Save 15% on outdoor items (valid 4/10 – 4/27), 20% off all wine racks (the Aiden wine rack is on my wishlist!), or 10% sitewide with code SAVEBIG10.
  • Best Buy: save $50–$200 on DSLR cameras from Canon, Nikon, Sony, and more, plus get free shipping. There are some awesome deals here!
  • LivingSocial: spend more, save more! Take $5 off $30, $10 off $50 and $25 off $100 with codes 5OFF30, TENOFF50 and 25OFF100 (valid 4/11 to 4/13).
  • Groupon: check out their new wedding collection for dresses, rings, honeymoon deals, gifts, and more.
  • Paper Source: take 25% off custom stamps. No code needed (valid through 4/14).
  • Hancock Fabrics: shop the Sunny Days Sale, plus get an extra 10% off your entire purchase with code AYTTN at checkout (valid through 4/14).
  • Harry & David: use code EGGHUNT to take 10% off Easter gift orders over $39, 15% off orders over $59, or 20% off orders over $99 (expires 4/20).
  • The Cambridge Satchel Company: check out their new Spring Fling Collection. I love the pretty colors!
  • Kidrobot: save big on toys! Take 20% off Futurama Mini Series 2 with code KRFUTURAMA41420, 20% off Marvel Toys with code KRMARVEL41420, 20% off The Simpsons Toys with code SIMPSONS41420, 25% off Street Fighter Toys with code STFIGHTER41425, and 25% off South Park Toys with code SOUTHPARK41425.
  • Sur La Table: shop the Easter sale for up to 50% off Easter essentials!
  • Uncorked: shop the Easter wine sale, plus get free shipping with code ZEROSHIP at check out.

Dylan's Candy Bar Table | Hello Little HomeAn awesome table at Dylan’s Candy Bar!

Finally, a good cocktail is in order! My husband and I used to throw a Derby party every year and served Mint Juleps, of course. Have you ever had one? They are super strong, so just imagine the mayhem that ensued after a few hours of drinking those. Anyway, these Sparkling Mint Juleps from The Kitchen Is My Playground look like a fun twist on a classic. Cheers to that!

P.S. Follow me on Pinterest to keep up with everything that catches my eye!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase something from one of these links, I may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you). I only recommend products that I love, and your purchase helps to support the free content offered on Hello Little Home (thank you so much!).

5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Home for Free

Sometimes it seems like you can’t fix up your home without a lot of money. New couches are pricey, after all. I think we all have projects that were delayed because we just can’t afford them. I know I do!

The good news is that you don’t need a lot of money to have a fabulous home. Here are 5 easy ways to improve your home for free. Yes, no $$$!

5 Ways to Improve Your Home for Free | Hello Little HomeGet Organized

5-ways-to-improve-your-home-for-free-get-organized FYI … that’s not my desk!

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: boring! Hear me out though.

Don’t you love your home just a little bit more when everything is organized and clean? Confession: I am a really messy person. I wish it wasn’t true, but it is. However, anytime I get my apartment clean and organized, it just makes me happy.

So, find that one closet, drawer, or corner that’s been driving you nuts and get to work. Start by emptying it out and getting rid of stuff you don’t need. Then put it back in (neatly!). You can use containers you already have laying around the house, like jars or shoe boxes, to hold everything.

Do you need some inspiration? Check out my bedroom and hall closet makeovers, and find out how I organized my jewelry. I’ve also shared some tips for organizing a small closet, and my Get Organized/Clean Pinterest board has lots of great ideas, too.

Rearrange Your Furniture

5 Ways to Improve Your Home for Free: Rearrange Your Furniture | Hello Little HomeWhen I was a kid, my mom rearranged our furniture all the time. I have very distinct memories of pushing a huge couch into just the right position!

Rearranging your furniture is an easy and fun way to change things up. Why not try moving your bed to a different wall or even move a chair from a bedroom to your living room? Get creative, and if you don’t love it, you can always move it back.

If you don’t want to torture your kids, just get some EZ Sliders (affiliate link). I love those things!

Swap Out Accessories

5 Ways to Improve Your Home for Free: Swap Out Accessories | Hello Little HomeIf you live in a really tiny place like I do, you might not have a flexible floor plan. Most of my furniture cannot be moved anywhere else. There just isn’t room.

If that’s the case for you, too, why not try swapping out some of your accessories? Recently, I moved the pillows from my living room into my bedroom and vice versa. I probably won’t keep it that way forever, but it’s a nice change for now.

You can do the same in your own home. In addition to moving pillows around, try reorganizing your bookcases, grouping a collection together, or moving around knick knacks. Swapping accessories in your room is equivalent to changing your jewelry. Think of the possibilities!

Check out these links for more inspiration: 9 ways to organize books and 20 great collections and ways to display them.

Create Your Own Art

5 Ways to Improve Your Home for Free: Create Your Own Art | Hello Little HomeYou don’t have to be a creative genius to make your own artwork. It could be as simple as framing a favorite letter, magazine clipping, or random ephemera (movie tickets, stamps, etc.).

However, if you do want to break out the paintbrushes, why not try abstract art? Here’s a great roundup of 10 DIY ways to create abstract art.

You can also use programs like PicMonkey to make your own masterpiece (no painting or drawing required). That’s how I created the image above. Get a free copy of my Spring Has Returned printable here.

My DIY-Art Pinterest board has lots of fun ideas to spark your creativity.

Finally, there are tons of printables (like my print above) available for free on the internet. Check out my Printables Pinterest board, or just do a Google search and see what comes up!

Make Your Home Smell Beautiful

5 Ways to Improve Your Home for Free: Make Your Home Smell Beautiful | Hello Little HomeThis might be my favorite idea! Scent has a powerful affect on our mood, so why not make your home smell as good as possible?

I don’t know how warm it is where you live, but here in New York, I’ve been keeping my windows open (just a crack) as much as possible. It’s so nice to air things out after a long, cold winter.

After you refresh the air in your home, introduce scents made with all-natural ingredients that you already have in your kitchen. Check out this post on DIY Room Scents, and learn how to use citrus, herbs, and spices to make your home smell amazing.

I hope that I inspired you to make a few small changes to your home and save some money, too! What is your favorite way to improve your home for free?

I’m sharing this post with these link parties, as well as Creative Inspirations, Pin It Thursday, Link’n Blogs, Craft Frenzy FridayBe.You.Tiful, Remodelaholic, Frugal Friday, I Heart Nap Time, G’Day Saturday, Saturday Sparks, Saturday Showlicious, Link It or Lump It, Much Ado About Monday, Home Stories A to Z, Inspire Me Tuesday, The Scoop, Create & Share, and Create It Thursday.

How to Apply Bronzer

After a cold, snowy winter, I’m excited that it’s finally starting to warm up. I’m picturing lots of picnics in the park and day at the beach soon … all with the perfect tan, of course!

However, as a girl with very pale skin, I’m all about piling on the highest SPF I can find and faking that summer glow. My favorite self-tanner is Jergens Natural Glow. I apply it at night, and in the morning I have a subtle tan that builds up over time. Although I’ve used it on my face in a pinch, I prefer to use bronzer on my sensitive skin.

So I was super excited to learn that my April Maven Box was going to include Julep’s all-new bronzer and blush. It arrived just in time for me to enjoy all those fun outdoor activities with a pretty, glowing skin!

Here’s how to apply bronzer for a natural-looking tan.

How to Apply Bronzer | Hello Little Home #Makeup #Beauty #TanOne of the things I love about the Julep bronzer is that it comes in two shades. I chose the light golden bronze. Too much bronzer on pale skin can make it took dirty, and I like a really subtle glow.

Here’s a before:

How to Apply Bronzer: Before | Hello Little Home #Makeup #Beauty #TanI told you I was pale! Thankfully, it’s easy to fake a tan with a little well-placed makeup.

Follow these easy steps and you’ll have beautiful bronzed skin in no time!

How to Apply Bronzer: Step by Step | Hello Little Home #Makeup #Beauty #TanWhen applying bronzer, focus on areas of your face that the sun would hit. I like to start on the outside and work my way in.

  1. Add a little bronzer to your brush and tap off any excess. Apply it to the side of your forehead and temples, blending well.
  2. Work your way down the side of your face and apply bronzer just under your cheekbones. It helps to purse your lips and make a silly, pouty face! Add more bronzer to your brush, as necessary.
  3. Next, apply bronzer to your jawline. As always, blend well.
  4. Without adding any more powder to your brush, apply bronzer to the center of your forehead, right where the sun would hit. Use your brush to blend in the bronzer well.
  5. Next, apply bronzer to the bridge and tip of your nose. Blend, blend, blend!
  6. Finally, add bronzer to your chin.

I like to finish by adding a little blush to the apples of my cheeks. Julep’s Peach Bellini is the perfect spring/summer shade, although I have my eye on Petal Pink, too.

Here’s a before and after:

How to Apply Bronzer: Before and After | Hello Little Home #Makeup #Beauty #TanAs you can see, I didn’t go over-the-top, just an easy, natural glow.

How to Apply Bronzer: After | Hello Little Home #Makeup #Beauty #TanHere are a few more tips for how to apply bronzer:

  • Look for a shade that isn’t too much darker than your natural skin tone.
  • Use a brush with soft bristles and blend really well after application.
  • Apply bronzer on top of foundation and powder.
  • Start slow. Add just a touch of bronzer to your brush at a time. Tap off  any excess in the pan or apply it to your hand. You can always add more, but it’s hard to take it away.
  • If you do apply too much bronzer, blend a little translucent powder onto your skin. The powder will help tone down the bronzer.
  • Hit the beach ASAP!

Are you a fan of bronzer, or do you like to keep it au naturel?

P.S Would you like to try out Julep? Get your first Maven Box free with the code FREEBOX. I love my monthly boxes. It’s so much fun to try out new makeup and nail polish once a month.

I’m linking up with Random Wednesday, Beautiful You, Tres-Chic Fashion Thursday, I Heart Nap Time, Style Elixir, G’Day Saturday, Monday Mingle, Manic Monday, Funday Monday, Monday Must Haves, and I Feel Pretty.

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