Tuesday, May 26, 2015

GIVEAWAY // Win a $50 Gift Card to Bubby & Bean Art!

GIVEAWAY // Win a $50 Gift Card to Bubby & Bean Art!

After a crazy holiday season, I took a little break from designing new pieces for the Bubby & Bean Art shop in order to give full attention to work for the blog and freelance gigs. Truthfully, I was also feeling a little burned out, and just couldn't find that spark of motivation to fit it into the small amount of free time I had. Then earlier this month, out of nowhere, I got a sudden burst of inspiration and spent several work days doing nothing but creating new card designs. I had so much fun, and it fueled my desire to devote more time to the shop in the coming months. So in celebration of this new collection of cards (we'll just call it the 'summer collection' since any excuse to celebrate summer is a good one in my eyes), I'm giving away $50 to spend on cards, or card sets, or art prints, or whatever you choose!

Use the form below, and/or, because the main methods of entering this giveaway (worth the most points) involve Instagram, you can also enter directly on IG, right here. There are several options for extra entries as well, both on this form and on Instagram (@bubbyandbean).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway will run through June 3, 2015 and is open to Bubby and Bean readers worldwide. All entries from the Rafflecopter form above and Instagram will be combined, and a winner will be randomly chosen via Random.org shortly after the end of the giveaway, then posted here and on IG. Thank you for being the best readers and customers in the world. Good luck!


Friday, May 22, 2015

What I'm Wearing Now: May

What I'm Wearing Now: May // Bubby and Bean

1. Black Straw Islander Tote, TOMS  //  2. Floral Kimono (sadly, the one I've been wearing nonstop, which can be seen in this post just sold out; so I'm showcasing this similar floral beauty instead)  //  3. Anthem Tank, Madewell  //  4. Double Fringe Side Zip Boot, Minnetonka  //  5. Mossimo Bailey Footbed Sandals in White, Target  //  6. Denim Cut-offs (DIYed; way into this similar pair from Rag & Bone)  //  7. Border Print Wide Leg Soft Pants, Joe B  //  8. Girlfriend Jeans, H&M  //  9. Black Embroidered Dress (mine is several years old; this similar style dress is gorgeous)   

Finally, warm weather has arrived! As many of you know, I have a thing for summer clothes, and having to pack my cut-offs and gauzy dresses back up in April - after getting to wear them for two weeks in March while I was in Arizona - was practically tear-inducing. May isn't summer in Chicago by any means, but we've had enough days in the high 70s and low 80s recently to move my favorite pieces of clothing back to the front of the closet - pieces that I've showcased above for this month's edition of What I'm Wearing Now. (If you're a new reader, you can read more about the motivation behind why I started this series by checking out the past editions, right here.)

There has been a lot of light fabric layering happening this month, and although the weather has been more full-length jean appropriate, I have been able to bust out my beloved denim cut-off shorts on several occasions. Quite of few of the pieces I wore in Arizona in March are back on rotation as well, like the wide-legged pants (# 7) and the sort-of-Birkenstockish-but-much-cheaper Target white footbed sandals (#5).  My trusty denim jacket made lots of appearances as well, but I spared you guys putting it into the collage yet again this time around. And yes, once again, there is a kimono. I may be a little kimono obsessed these days (my husband calls me 'Mrs. Roper' despite repeated explanations of how they're not muumuus), but there honestly isn't any other garment I've found that can pull an outfit together while simultaneously being this comfortable. I have several of them, and they each get plenty of wear. I've also been carrying around this insanely gorgeous tote bag from TOMS almost everyday. It's beautiful and practical, and even better, it makes a difference - with every bag purchased, TOMS will help provide a safe birth for a mother and baby in need. Pretty awesome.

What type of clothing and accessory pieces have you been wearing most this month?


Thursday, May 21, 2015

DIY Simple Summer Gathering on a Budget (+ Giveaway from TIKI Brand!)

It's almost my favorite time of year. As my regular readers know, I am perpetually smitten with summer. I adore the sunshine-filled weather, the long days, the vibrant flowers and lush green trees, the fashion (give me all the flow-y dresses!) - pretty much everything about the season has my heart. And one of my most favorite things to do this time of year is to host summer get-togethers with friends.

Recently, I had plans to visit my sister in Indianapolis, and we decided to put together an intimate gathering with a few close friends to welcome summer while I was there. Like me, she has a small space (her patio) for backyard entertaining, so our goal was to spruce it up and add some ambiance without spending a lot of money. I ended up putting together a simple menu of summer-inspired snacks  that included cheese and fruit trays, chips and homemade salsa, a s'mores tray, lemonade and lemon water, homemade sangria, and fruity sodas on ice. For decor, we added a simple banner, some fresh cut flowers, some paper straws and flag drink stirrers (super easy to make; just wrap washi tape around wood skewers), a painted chalkboard sign, and some TIKI Brand torches and tabletop torches. We played music, talked for hours, and had a truly great time celebrating the season. And by focusing on doing things ourselves, we were able to save a lot of money while still creating a festive, colorful atmosphere.

With Memorial Day coming this weekend, I thought that this would be the perfect times to share some tips on how to create your own simple summer backyard gathering on a budget. These suggestions are based on things I've learned over the years with my own summer get-together planning, through trial error. (And after that, you'll have a chance to win some TIKI Brand products of your own!)

Keep the food simple and make it yourself. There's no need to have your summer party catered, especially if you're keeping things small. And hosting barbecues or dinners can be fun, but if you're looking to put together something budget-friendly and without a lot of hassle, stick to snacks and items that don't need to be cooked. Buy a couple of blocks of good cheese to slice, some crackers, some fresh fruit, chips, etc. If you have a fire pit or outdoor fireplace, create a fun DIY s'mores tray for a sweet treat after the sun goes down.

For decor, focus on color and ambience. Rather than spending a ton of money on elaborate decor or hiring someone to decorate, focus on a few key items that will make a statement and can be put together by you. For our gathering, we threw up a plain neutral banner, then incorporated color through the details: a bouquet of bright orange roses, a bowl of lemons, colorful fruit sodas, and some bright yellow paint on the frame of a $3 chalkboard for our 'Welcome Summer' sign. We also added several TIKI Brand torches (several Island King Large Flame Torches, a Geo Pattern Glowing Table Torch, and some Molded Glass Tabletop Torches), which transformed the space with a whole new look and feel in minutes. The flames remained rich and vibrant into the evening, and the Citronella Torch Fuel helped keep the mosquitoes away (bonus!).

Be your own DJ. My husband works in the music industry, and a lot of the summer gatherings we attend (even the smaller ones) have hired DJs, bands, or musicians. You can still have a great night of music (complete with spontaneous dance parties) without having to hire professionals. Create a party playlist on your phone in advance and let your friends choose the songs throughout the night. It's fun and it's free.

Work together. Team up with a friend or a family member and co-host. It's much easier to save money and DIY your food and decor when you have another set of hands to help create and another head to help come up with ideas. My sister and I put our gathering together last minute and on a serious budget, but by working as a team, it was incredibly easy and turned out beautifully.

Think small. I love big summer parties, but the amount of work and money involved to throw one makes them infinitely less appealing to me than more intimate gatherings. Inviting a few friends over for an informal get-together can be just as fun as hosting a big bash, and it's the perfect way to still be able to have fun decorating and preparing food without a big investment.

And now for the best part: one of you is going to win a TIKI Brand Glowing Tabletop Torch, a bottle of Citronella Torch Fuel, and a Snap & Pour Spout! To enter, just use the form below. Giveaway will run though noon on June 4th, and the winner will be announced shortly after.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Do you have any other tips for throwing DIY backyard summer gatherings? I'd love to hear them!

P.S. Check out TIKI Brand's new Spotify page. They have a bunch of cool playlists perfect for outdoor entertaining and relaxing!

Project assisted by Morgan Rainwater and Melanie Baswell. This post is in partnership with TIKI® Brand. All opinions are mine. Thank you for supporting Bubby and Bean by allowing us to post occasional sponsored content. 


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Summer Style Trend: Americana

Summer Style Trend: Americana (via Bubby and Bean)

There is something timeless about the Americana look, especially in the summertime. And right now, it's bigger than ever. To me, this look isn't about all-over blatant stars and stripes (I'd rather not look like a walking flag, thank you) as much as it's about channeling the roots of casual American style. A mixture of rustic workwear, minimalist bohemia, and even a little country - think muted shades of red/white/blue, lots of denim, and effortless-yet-put-together comfort - it's a simple style that works perfectly in the warmer months.

With summer quickly approaching (wooot!), I thought this would be the perfect time to team up once again with my friends over at Kohl's to put together some of my favorite examples of the Americana look, using items from their summer lines. The looks you see above can all be found on the Kohl's website and/or in their stores. (See details for each look below.) My favorites are #1 (the peasant top by Sonoma paired with the perfectly worn in Rock & Republic jeans is the epitome of summer style, in my eyes) and #5 (I could live in the LC Lauren Conrad maxi and Mudd panama hat all summer long).

Are you a fan of Americana style? What's your favorite look from above?

LOOK 1: SONOMA life + style® peasant top ($40), Rock & Republic berlin skinny jeans ($88), Mudd® knit panama hat ($36), Candie's® lyra wedges ($59.99)
LOOK 2: LC Lauren Conrad circle skirt midi dress ($68), Mudd® trisha fanny pack ($34)
LOOK 3: Juicy Couture juicy love 74 racerback tank top ($30), Rock & Republic bumpershoot shorts ($54), SO® sandals ($34.99)
LOOK 4: LC Lauren Conrad lace top ($44), Rock & Republic flare jeans ($88), Mudd® printed square bandana ($26), Mudd® jessie crossbody ($44)
LOOK 5: LC Lauren Conrad mermaid maxi dress ($68), Mudd® knit panama hat ($36), Mudd® anna crossbody ($34)
LOOK 6: LC Lauren Conrad lace top ($44), Mudd® dolphin soft shorts ($36), Candie's® flower embroidered headwrap ($16), SO® sandals ($39.99)
LOOK 7: daisy fuentes® smocked dress ($60), Mudd® matilda tote ($64.00)
LOOK 8: LC Lauren Conrad high-low sweater-knit camp ($36), Juicy Couture roll-cuff bermudas ($44), SO® novelty tote ($21), Mudd® elephant oblong scarf with sequins ($26)

This post is in collaboration with Kohl's.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Rhubarb Rocks: 3 Delicious Drinks + A Simple Syrup Recipe

By Food + Drink Contributor Sara Little

Rhubarb Forever: 3 Delicious Drinks + A Simple Syrup Recipe // Bubby and Bean

I'm a huge fan of bright summer cocktails, and rhubarb simple syrup adds great flavor to a ton of cocktails - for any taste. I'd literally never used rhubarb because it's one of those "obscure" produce items that makes me feel slightly intimidated. But I randomly had a cocktail out recently that used rhubarb simple syrup, and it was so delicious that I jumped at the chance to finally experiment with it. The results were amazing. Here is a recipe for rhubarb simple syrup, along with recipes for three different drinks (one without alcohol, the other two cocktails) with it as a main ingredient.

Rhubarb Simple Syrup

1 c Sugar
1 c Water
3 Stalks of Rhubarb
Zest of 1 Orange

Cut the ends of the stalks of the rhubarb and slice into small pieces. Add the rhubarb, sugar, and water to a pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes. Run the mixture through a sieve into a receptacle and discard the leftover fiber. The syrup you'll get will be a vibrant hot pink and super sweet. You can make this in much larger batched, which I would recommend. All the drinks below require 1-2 ounces of simple syrup, so you can plan accordingly.

Rhubarb Sparkler

2 oz Rhubarb Simple Syrup
1/2 a Lime Squeezed
Sparkling Water

Pour over ice and garnish with a lime slice.

Jalapeño Rhubarb Margarita

1-2 oz Rhubarb Simple Syrup
2 oz Blanco Tequila
1 Jalapeño, Sliced
1 Lime Squeezed

Shake well, then pour over ice using a strainer. Garnish with a lime slice. (For more potent jalapeño flavor, divide your simple syrup batch into two batches before boiling, then add sliced jalapeño to one of the batches to boil.)

Rhubarb Fizz

2 oz Rhubarb Simple Syrup
2 oz Gin
1/2 Lemon Squeezed
Prosecco or Champagne

Shake with ice and pour into champagne glass. Top with Prosecco or Champagne and garnish with a lemon slice.

Enjoy! If you try any of these, please let us know what you think. - Sara

I know I'm not the only one with a watering mouth right now. I love that rhubarb is so huge these days, because it not only tastes amazing, it's also really good for you (even in cocktails, I swear). Sara is an event planner and "expert in indulgence" who has lived in the heart of Sonoma County California's wine country for 12 years.  In addition to sharing her favorite foods and wines, recipes and more as our Food and Drink Contributor, she plans unique, personalized getaways to and events in wine country for her hospitality business, Wine Country Goodness, and travels the country in search of the best places to stay, explore, eat, and drink. You can also find Sara on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.