Foodie Penpal – February

As I’ve mentioned before I participate in a fabulous program called the “Foodie Penpal” program put together by the lovely Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean.  After you sign up {here}, you are randomly matched up with someone to send a package to and another person that will send you a package!  After contacting your person, you put together $15 worth of food yummies {can be anything from local classics, to favorite snacks, to homemade goodies}, package it all up and send it their way!  Then for the bloggers in the world, on the 1st of each month you post about the package you received.  What a fun way to connect with other foodies across the country!

My package arrived in the mail from Paige and as I pulled out all the goodies I literally felt like she had put me in a box…in food form of course!  With knowing very little about me…she just hit the nail on the head!!  I may or may not have immediately opened one of the containers and starting digging in…there’s no proof that actually happened though!

Feb FP-1

For starters there was a box of Spinach & Mushroom Risotto from Lundberg, I LOVE risotto and have actually tried a few other flavors from this brand {so easy & quick to make!} but never the spinach & mushroom {two of my favs} so i’m pumped to try!!  Next out of the box was a  Larabar’s Apple Turnover Uber bar, another item on the list that I haven’t tried before.  I’ve enjoyed many a Larabars in the past but who knew they have an Uber bar line?!?  One of the most interesting items that i’m really PUMPED to try is the Raw Rev 100 Organic Live Food Bar from Raw Revolution.  The flavor is Spirulina Dream which totally oddly piqued my interest.  This strange health food loving girl can’t resist trying something with Spirulina mixed right in!

Feb FP-2

Next out of the box was a bag of Funky Munky Carnaval Mix freeze dried fruit which totally reminds of the summer I spent with my dad at space camp…that’s right kids me and the dadio went to space camp…and it was awesome!  So bring on that freeze dried food!!  My FPP Paige is originally from Atlanta but has relocated to Miami so she wanted to be sure to include something local and lovely, enter the jar of Mango & Strawberry Keylime Marmalade from Mae’s Mango Mondo…really pumped about this.  I can’t decide if i should lap it up with a spoon spread it on some GF bread or make some sort of yummy baked good with it.  Juries still out…i’ll report back.  Also included in this lovely box o’ joy was a Jennies gluten free coconut macaroon {hello…coconut is the bomb!} and a sampling of teas {including my absolute fav Yerba Matte}.

Feb FP-3

Last but certainly not least was a container of grapefruit candies, which are so delicious I’ve already threatened asked nicely for the details on where i can get me some more of them…these were for sure the first thing i dug into.

Feb FP-4

A HUGE thank  you to miss Paige for putting together a fabulous Foodie Penpal Package.  You literally hit the foodie nail on the head with this one lady!!

~ Jillian


Fabulous wreath ideas

* The post was originally featured at the lovely Burlap+Blue!

I love a great wreath.  It’s a fabulous way to dress up your front door…a mirror in your house…really anywhere that you can hang!!  Here is a round up of some of the most creative and most interesting wreaths floating around the internets these days {LOTS of these came from Etsy so be sure to check them out and support the crafty handmade peeps out there!!}  And wreaths go SO far beyond the usual lovely holiday door decor.  You can make them yourself, find fabulous living wreaths, celebrate all sorts of holidays, hang them inside or outside, make them square or round or even in the shape of your favorite letter; the options are unlimited!!

fabulous wreaths





























So dress up your door {or mirror, or cabinets, or back porch} with an unexpected bit of loveliness!!

~ Jillian

Monday Mantra: the Spirit of Love

Happy Monday!  I hope your weekend was a lovely one.  We spent the weekend catching up on the to-do list, visiting with sweet friends and enjoying a little day dreaming about the future {lots happening over here…stay tuned!}  Here in the south we had a little tiny taste of fabulous weather yesterday…here’s hoping that loveliness comes back soon and stays for a while!!  To a fulfilling week filled with positive energy and lots of love…

“You will find as you look back on your life that the moments when you have truly lived
are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.”


~ Jillian

Award Winning – {Recipe ReDux}

I’m thrilled to be a contributor for the fabulous group Recipe Redux.  An online recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians that is focused on creating healthy, good for you dishes that are delicious.  Sometimes this means coming up with new healthy recipes and sometimes it means recreating some of our favorite yummy dishes by making them better for you {but still tasty}.

This month’s Redux is all about the Oscars.  Foods that reflect the movies, the stars or the ceremony itself.  One of the most special places at the Oscars…is the green room.  The place were the stars gather themselves together before their big debut.  So in honor of that, my choice for this fabulous foodie category is “favorite green things”  Green things that are packed with good for you nutrition but are also super yummy.

And the award goes to…The Brussels Sprouts {and the crowd roars}

But not just any old set of brussels sprouts…brussels sprouts that are so delicious even a “non believer” will gobble them up {that’s right honey…i’m talking about you}.


Gather ingredients, preheat oven to 350°, clean sprouts & cut in half

brussels ingredients

Throw cut sprouts in a coconut oil coated pan, and bake until edges start to brown

brussels 2

Toss the cooked sprouts with enough broth to coat

brussels 4

Add a spoon full of capers and shredded parmesan.

brussels 3

Stir until all mixed together, place mixture back in oven to melt the parmesan and enjoy!


Parmesan & Caper Roasted Brussels Sprouts


  • brussels Sprouts
  • coconut oil
  • shredded or shaved parmesan
  • capers
  • tom yum soup starter {or alternate broth of choice…chicken broth, etc}


  • Preheat oven to 350°, clean sprouts & cut in half
  • Throw cut sprouts in a coconut oil coated pan, and bake until edges start to brown, approx 20 minutes {i like to finish them off with a few minutes on broil to get them a little crispy}
  • In an oven safe bowl, toss the cooked sprouts with enough broth to coat, add spoon full of capers {or more if you really love them} and shredded parmesan.  Stir until all mixed together.
  • Place mixture back in oven for approximately a minute so the parmesan can start to melt and enjoy!

*If using broth other then tom yum, add a squeeze of lemon or lime for a bit of acidity.


So delicious, so nutritious, so worthy of this esteemed award…the Brussel…love those things! These yummy little things specialize in detoxifying cancer causing chemicals in your body and ladies…they are extra good for supporting the health of your ovaries!

Soak up the applause Brussels sprouts…soak it up…the audience loves you!!

~ Jillian

*Be sure to check out other Oscar worthy redux yummies!


DIY art

{This was originally posted at the lovely Burlap + Blue}

Filling your home {especially your walls} with things you love adds a personal touch and finishes off your decor.  But purchasing art for your whole home can be expensive!!  So why not get creative, save some cash and make your home truly personalized!?!?  So here is a round up of DIY art tutorials to help nudge you in the right direction and get those creative juices flowing!!

{a collection of burlap or ribbon “nests”!!}

{gorgeous cloth napkins turned framed art!!}

{using FREE paint chips from your local home improvement store!!}

{frame a series of your favorite finds; shells, rocks, buttons or leaves, the sky’s the limit!}


{Cut out ANY shape using scrap craft paper or fabric}

{the options are endless with fabulous sting art!!}

{Update an old {or blank} canvas with paint and tape!}


{capture a special time in your life with the words of a song or poem cut out and framed}

{painted coffee stirrers…coffee stirrers…how creative and fabulous!!}

{Number or letter blocks…easy to achieve with old paper and glue!}

{Combine graphic images to make a modern collage}

{for a large scale piece…consider framing a fabric shower curtain!}

{functional and cute…fabric wrapped cork boards!}


{recycle old classics into new creative art!}


{anything goes with abstract…all you need is canvas and paint}

{capture important dates…graphic & bold}

So get creative and dress up those walls!  The options are endless, all you need is a bit of creativity and imagination.  What kinds of personalized artwork have you created??


~ Jillian

Monday Mantra: Amazing

These mondays…they just sneak up on you don’t they.  Hope everyone had a lovely weekend…mine was filled with tissues, netti pots and snuggles with my doodle girl.  I tried so hard not to catch the germs of the other sickies in my house…but I failed!  So I finally gave in and just relaxed.  On the road to recovery now {mostly from all the doodle sweetness} and ready to start the week.  Today’s mantra comes from the author of one of my new favorite blogs {Enjoy the Small Things}.  For those of you that haven’t popped over to read, i highly recommend!  {you might recognize the image below of her sweet little one!}

“Here’s what I know: no one knows what life may hold, but beyond whatever it is…there is amazing.”
~ Kelle Hampton, Enjoy the Small Things

ballet girl

With joy
~ Jillian

Color me Happy: Sunny Yellow

It’s been so rainy in Atlanta lately…i’m beginning to wonder if we will ever see the sun again {at least for more then one day at a time!!}  So to add that little bit of extra sunshine we’ve been missing {and hopefully to bring on some lovely spring weather} here is an extra dose of sunny yellow.  CoMe on Mr.Sunshine!!  A random assortment of happy, lovely things yellow…enjoy

























Get Inspired! {and add a little extra sunshine to your life!}

~ Jillian

A day of Love

Today is a day for love.  A day to celebrate those you love most.  For me and my family it’s also a day to remember one very special lady.  Two years ago today we lost my Nana.  She was a person that exemplified the meaning of love.  Nothing was more important to her then sharing that love with her family and friends.  So today I wanted to share some of my family’s most precious memories of this feisty lady, who above all else was FULL of love

“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair.  The beauty of a woman must be seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.”

nana 2

“She was a great mother. I really liked spending time with her.
Mom was a special person, she was very friendly and she was always smiling.
~ Debbie

“The star treatment I use to get when we first visited them in Arizona that would p- – s  Donna off, especially as I laid out in the back yard soaking up some sun and Mom would open the kitchen window and ask me if I wanted or needed a beer. What a life.”
~ Mike

“Mom and me would go to church together.  I will love her so much, she was my favorite mother.  I will miss her so much this Valentine’s day”
~ Dale

nana 4

You held my hand when I was afraid
And helped me to mend My first broken heart
You bandaged my wounds, wiped my tears
And kept me from falling apart
You loved me without question, No matter what I did
You shaped me into a confident adult, from such an awkward kid
And I thank god each day, for his greatest gift
Making you my mother
“We all Love and Miss you, think about you everyday and we all wish you A HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!”
~ Tom
“Her falling asleep in the chair with her cross-word book and then telling us she was watching the channel that we just switched from.”
~ Mike
“I fondly remember Phylis and how I joked around with her and how we enjoyed playing Bingo.  Bingo is not a game. It is a family of unrelated people having fun and occasionally winning some money.  I do miss her.
~ George
When I go to bed at night, I feel like mom is watching over me like a guardian angel.  I miss her a lot and I will always love her.
~ Debbie
nana 3

“The fun we had talking & joking about the next CUBS World Series, especially when I’d call her and ask about the CUBS game that day (they would be losing pretty badly at the point of my call), Mom was always a true Cub fan saying they were still a good team, even if they were in last place.”

“She was so welcoming and instantly made me feel like a part of the family”
~ Jeremy

I do miss when we spent the holidays together because I love to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with mom.  I remember helping mom put up the christmas tree and i also helped her decorate the tree, we had a great time together. Now when christmas comes i always think about mom all the time and I feel sad.
~ Debbie

nana 1It’s hard to believe that Mom has not been with us for 2 years.  Of course, she is thought of on the holidays, her birthday and my parents’ anniversary. In between, the unexpected experiences are when I really miss her.  Right now some of the things that make me stop and think about her are:

Phone calls – I still expect to hear her voice saying, “Hi Honey” when she would answer the phone.
Hugs – Mom loved to hug everyone she met. She would always tell you she loved you when she hugged you.
Yarn – She knitted and worked with plastic canvas. There were always handmade projects decorating her home as well as gifts to all she loved.  Every Christmas I set out my embroidered, plastic canvas Nativity set & Jillian has a doll house & furniture – all made with love.
Laugh – Mom had a distinctive laugh that was extremely contagious.
Love – There was never any doubt that she loved her family and friends.  She never met a stranger.
Ice cream – Whenever I have these desserts, they immediately make me think of Mom.  She really enjoyed them and taught all of us that a cereal bowl was the correct serving size for your favorite dessert.
Smile – Mom’s beautiful smile was always present.  It lit up her face and everyone was attracted to it.
Phyllis Rooney, you are missed and loved very much.
Love you,
nana“As we approach the two year anniversary of my mother’s death, I started to reflect on the eulogy that I gave at her funeral. Her funeral was just one week after her death on Valentine’s Day and it seemed everything happened so fast that I really didn’t comprehend what her loss meant during that overwhelming week. I spoke about the great memories that we shared and how important she was to me throughout my life.  She was my ‘cheerleader’ in everything I was involved in…from sports, to my education and career, to raising my family. My mom and dad were there for me through everything and never once did they ever make me believe that I disappointed them or that I was a failure, even when I did fall  short of the goals I had set for myself. She was the one person that I could always count on for support and most importantly, she was there for me when I needed that hug. There was never a time that I left my mom’s presence where she didn’t tell me “I Love You Honey!”. And I can’t remember a time where she didn’t try to smile while we were together. She loved her family very much and she especially loved her grandkids! She created photo albums for each grandkid and she would proudly display them on the coffee table in the living room for everyone to see.
During this time of reflection of her life over the past two years; I’ve looked at pictures and watched videos of our family holidays and its helped me realize more and more how special she was to me. My mom will always hold a special place in my heart and the emptiness of her loss may never be filled. I think of her often, especially when I drive past Kohl’s or when I attend mass on Sunday morning. I envision that she is still there, smiling back at me, waiting to embrace me with a ‘hello hug’…which meant more than she ever knew.”

Happy Valentine’s Day Mom! Your are thought of and missed so often! I love you!
~ Todd

BG (5)

“I love you honey”
I hope your day is filled with wonderful memories and lots of love.  Be sure to give an extra squeeze to those you love most.  Thank you for continuing to stop by HSE and showing us your love…it really means so much!
Love & Joy to all today
~ Jillian

YHL is in the houzz…

Last week we were lucky enough to attend a really fabulous event here in Atlanta…YHL was in the house!!!  John & Sherry from the fabulous blog Young House Love finished up their book tour on a ridiculously rainy and cold Atlanta afternoon.  We were SO pumped to be able to meet these two and chat with them about their super successful blog and book that has just come out!  {if you have not flipped thru their book…DO IT…its a must have in your DIY and crafting arsenal!}  A little rain and wind was not about to stop us!!  So we armed ourselves with lots of layers, umbrellas and some nice warm drinks from nearby West Egg Cafe {also a must try if you are ever in the ATL}.



Now when I say a ridiculously rainy and cold afternoon…I mean it.  Literally the day before this it was like 65 degrees and sunny.  So needless to say, some of us were not so prepared for the chill in the air {hence the latest fashion trend pictured below…}  After about 30 minutes or so in the freezing cold wind tunnel…poor girl’s toes just couldn’t take it!  Thankfully there is a Lululemon down the street that just happened to have a warm pair of socks waiting for her.  Cute look huh?!?


The cold and chills wore off quickly when we got inside and made our way to meet and greet with John and Sherry.  They are so welcoming and so easy to talk to we just started chatting away.


In preparation for their visit to Atlanta, I put together a little “welcoming” present.  Sherry has a mild obsession with ceramic animals {who can blame her…they are awesome} so in honor of that I crafted up a little shadow box of faux ceramics just for them!  {tutorial for this favorite things shadow box coming your way soon or for a sneak peek check out the HSE post at Burlap+Blue}  Here’s hoping this little guy finds a special little place in their home!



John & Sherry not only have a precious little girl, Clara, they also have a fiesty little Chihuahua that Layla is just in love with {I promise…she tells me all the time}  She would not let me leave the house without this sweet little valentine she put together for their fur baby, Burger. {its a doodle bug…from a doodle bug…get it}  I’m pretty sure they would be a match made in heaven…don’t you think?!


As I mentioned, they are so welcoming and easy to talk to we just started chatting away which apparently leads to me making very odd faces {what?!?}  But weird faces and all it was such a blast to finally meet the folks behind the magic!




As an added perk to an already fabulous evening we spent a little time chatting with Katie & Jeremy from the fabulous blog Bower Power!!  First off Katie looks fantastic {for those that don’t know she had a sweet baby boy recently} and is just completely hilarious.  We threatened to leave the kids with Jeremy and scoop her up for a few glasses of wine {better watch out Jeremy…its gonna happen}.


After all the excitment we headed over to West Egg Cafe for a few glasses of wine and some yummy grub!  Overall, a lovely evening!  Huge thanks to the lovely John & Sherry from Young House Love and Jeremy & Katie from Bower Power for a fabulous evening {and for a great excuse to have an always needed ladies night!}


Be sure to check out their rockin’ blog Young House Love as well as their family blog Young House Life.  Jump on over to amazon RIGHT NOW and order their book, Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love.  And check out Katie’s fabulous blog Bower Power too!!

Lots of love to you crafty kids
~ Jillian

{big thanks to Sarah for being our event photographer and for capturing all the good times}

Posted in DIY

Monday Mantra: be True

Happy Monday to ya!  Hope you had a lovely weekend and are ready to kick off this week with a bang.  We had a low key weekend, poor husband was fighting off a killer sinus infection, so we enjoyed some relaxing time with family {so in love with my sweet little niece} and then just did things around the house.  {major spring february cleaning going on at this girls casa!!}  The thing I love MOST about being around little ones is that they are so honest and true.  They laugh when they want to, cry when they need to, think its hilarious to do things like fart or get food all over their faces.  Its a lesson we should all stop and think about.  Stop worrying so much about what others think and what is expected of us…and just BE.

“This above all, to thine own self be true”
~ Shakespeare


Possibly the cutest kid on the planet…right?!?!!

~ Jillian

**Check out an HSE tutorial over at Burlap+Blue today!!