It’s Tax day: Treat Yo Self

My taxes are finally done, so I’m channeling Donna and Tom. It’s time to treat yo self!

Are you expecting a refund? Treat yourself to something fun! Here are my top four picks: treat yo self: splurge via www.HelloLittleHome.com

  1. How cute are these Lovely Ribbon Accent Flats?!?
  2. I am in love with this floral pencil skirt from Loft.
  3. The Cupcake Contest Shoulder Bag from ModCloth is too cute! Even the name is adorable.
  4. Feel like really splurging? I’d spend my money on the Lady City Tote from Foley + Corinna.

Not quite so lucky? Yeah, me neither. Even if you didn’t get a refund, you can still treat yourself to a relaxing spa night. treat yo self with a spa night via www.HelloLittleHome.com

  1. Gather some candles, dim the lights, and take a hot bath.
  2. Give yourself a facial. Here are 10 masks you can make at home. I’m going to try the Banana Mask.
  3. A mani/pedi is a must! My favorite color is OPI on Collins Avenue.

Are you doing anything to treat yourself today?

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Hello Friday! Link Roundup – Stress Relief Tips

If you are anything like me, you’ll be working on your taxes this weekend. Yes, I waited until the last possible minute. Please tell me I’m not the only one!

1040 income tax return

I can’t really think of anything less pleasant or more anxiety inducing tax time, but I was determined not to stress too much this year. So I searched out some ways to get my zen on.

I have a bad habit of snacking when I’m stressed, so I was happy to learn about these 12 healthy foods that help you relax!

green tea with honey and dark chocolateI love to relax with a cup of hot tea. Chocolate doesn’t hurt either!

Have you reached your boiling point? Try one of these 10 on-the-spot relaxation techniques.

Have you heard of laugh therapy?

Sometimes a few minutes of distraction helps calm my nerves. Here’s how to make your own stress ball.

Take a hot shower or bath and wash away your troubles. Use your favorite salt or sugar scrub, or try making this DIY Lemon and Thyme Scrub.

DIY lemon thyme scrubI’ve got my scrub ingredients ready to go!

A massage would be nice, but my pennies are going to the IRS. I’m going to save my money and try this foam roller massage instead.

Don’t have a foam roller? Try a tennis ball massage.

Before you get in bed tonight, clear your mind and let go of your problems. And try these stretches to help you sleep better tonight.

How do you relax when you are working on a stressful activity?

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My Favorite Spring Home Décor Trends

Trends: how do you feel about them? I generally ere more on the classic than the trendy side, but I think it’s fun to punch things up with something new every once in a while.

Here are a few of my favorite spring trends that you can incorporate into your home.

Emerald Green

Emerald green is Pantone’s color of the year, and it is such a rich, beautiful color.  Emerald green is easy to incorporate into your home, and a little goes a long way.

Spring home decor trends: Emerald - Pantone Color of the Year 2013 - HelloLittleHome.com

  1. I absolutely love this overdyed rug from Rugs USA. It has such great depth.
  2. Add a pop of color with the Ovo Table Lamp from Lamps Plus. This lamp would be perfect in a neutral living room or bedroom.
  3. Accessories are a great way to try out trends, and this Malachite Mini Box from Bliss Crystals will never go out of style.

Malachite can be pricey, want to try your hand at recreating it? Try this faux malachite tutorial from Little Green Notebook.

Florals

Florals are always popular in Spring and never seem to go out of style. I like my florals fairly subtle.

Spring home decor trends: florals - www.HelloLittleHome.com

  1. I am obsessed with blue and white (wait until you see my living room), and this Boho Boutique Reversible Pillow Sham from Target is so pretty.
  2. My fantasy powder room would be wallpapered in this Seraphine Wallpaper. The print is so elegant and subtle. J’adore!
  3. If over-the-top florals aren’t your thing, this White Daisy frame from Lamps Plus is an easy way to incorporate the trend.

Brass

Brass sometimes gets a bad rap, but it can add a lot of character to a room if you choose carefully. You can find plenty of brass at a thrift or antiques store. Check out my cute brass elephant!

My thrift store brass elephant: www.HelloLittleHome.com

When it comes to brass, avoid anything too shiny and 80’s and look for pieces with a little patina.

Spring home decor trends: brass - www.HelloLittleHome.com

  1. Add a little charm to furniture from a big box store with brass hardware.
  2. Nate Berkus can do no wrong in my eyes, and I love his Brass Finish Vase from Target.
  3. This West Elm Martini Side Table with Antique Brass finish would look great in a home with more modern or eclectic décor.

Geometric

The last Spring trend I’m excited about is geometric. Geometrics can be incorporated into any style, and you can go subtle or bold.

Spring home decor trends: geometrics - www.HelloLittleHome.com

  1. I love the pattern and color in this Coral Geometric Pillow Cover. So bright and cheery!
  2. The subtle print on this Key City Zola Chair would add interest to a neutral living room.
  3. Art is an easy way to try out trends, and this Geometric Abstract Print from Printwork would add a little punch to a neutral space.

What Spring trends do you plan to try out?

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Spicy Tomato Basil Fried Rice + My Weekly Meal Plan

My husband and I moved to New York a couple of months ago, and while he has a job, I’ve been on the hunt for one. We like eating out, and if it was up to me we’d probably eat/order out most nights. But, for right now, we are on a pretty tight budget.

takeout menus

I’ll usually resort to take out if I don’t have a plan at dinnertime. To combat my laziness, I create a weekly meal plan. My meal plan is simply a list of 5-6 dinners that I store it on my phone. When dinnertime rolls around, I just pull out my phone to see what I’m in the mood.

Weekly meal plan: HelloLittleHome.comThis simple list not only keeps me on track with meal planning, but it also helps minimize trips to the grocery store (I try to go one time per week, max). An added bonus is that there’s usually enough leftovers for lunch the next day. Success!

Here is what I have planned for this week:

  • Spicy Tomato Basil Fried Rice – recipe follows!
  • Baked Couscous with Spinach and Pine Nuts – one of my favorite recipes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Quick Vegetarian Pleasures.
  • Pasta with Marinara and Salad
  • Mushroom Risotto with Steamed Peas
  • Easy Egg and Black Bean Tacos with Steamed Corn – recipe to come!
  • Crock Pot Lasagna with Salad – so easy and delicious! I leave out the beef and add sautéed mushrooms and zucchini instead.

I love making fried rice, because it’s so easy to customize. This spicy version is one of my favorites.

spicy tomato basil fried rice - www.HelloLittleHome.com

Spicy Tomato Basil Fried Rice

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets, stems peeled and sliced
  • 1 pkg. cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
  • 1 pkg. seasoned tofu, cut into bite-size cubes
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice, cold
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1-3 tbsp. sriracha
  • 2-3 tbsp. soy sauce, to taste
  • 5 large basil leaves, julienned
  • sesame oil, optional

Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion. Cook until softened and beginning to brown, stirring frequently.

Add broccoli to pan and cook until it begins turning a brighter green, about 3-5 minutes.

Add tomatoes and tofu. Cook until tomatoes soften a bit and broccoli is tender-crisp.

Remove veggies from pan and set aside. If the tomatoes were very juicy, wipe out the pan.

Return pan to heat and add remaining 1 tbsp. of oil. Add garlic and sauté for 1 min, stirring constantly. Add rice and cook for a few minutes, stirring to coat in oil.

Reduce heat to medium. Push rice to side. Add eggs and lightly scramble. Mix in rice and stir to distribute egg throughout.

Return veggies to pan. Add soy sauce and sriracha to taste. Mix thoroughly. Add basil and a drizzle of sesame oil. Stir well and serve.

spicy tomato basil fried rice - www.HelloLittleHome.com

Notes: This recipe is very flexible. Feel free to add other vegetables or replace the tofu with leftover chicken or other protein.

How do you have any simple meal planning tips?

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