SPACES: a boho rooftop affair

Boho Rooftop Patio Summer Party

Unless this is your first ever visit to the blog, you’ve probably heard – Merry Mag Summer is out!! For one of the bigger features we hosted an intimate and colorful Boho-inspired rooftop affair (p.40). I know, sometimes I think it’s just not fair that I’m so lucky to have a huge rooftop in the middle of the city. But the universe balances things out because I’m unlucky enough to burn in about 5 minutes on that rooftop in the middle of the day if I don’t have an icing layer of sunblock on.

Our friends at Kendall-Jackson Winery were kind enough to supply us with the wine which gave us an excuse to throw a little Bohemian get together. My blogger pal Renee from Re:Creative and I took care of the styling and our friend Selina Whittaker snaped the beautiful photos. Oh right, and we also had some assistance from Harper.

Boho Rooftop Patio Summer Party

Renee and I are both Boho lovin’ babes and collected most of this stuff from our own apartments with a little shopping adventure to two of our faves, Homesense and Anthropologie. At first we attempted to keep it a little more ‘natural’ but it didn’t take long to realize that we’re too much of color junkies to let that happen. It’s pretty hard not to let your bad day go and just enjoy yourself surrounded by this much color. A glass or two of this Chardonnay doesn’t hurt either.

Boho Rooftop Patio Summer Party

I would love to give you a detailed ‘how to’ when creating a Boho look but it’s a tough one because there’s kinda no rules but of course there’s some rules. Makes no sense, I know. It’s all about layering – colors, textures, materials, patterns, decades, global influences, etc. The best rule when it comes to decor is to surround yourself with things you love. Many times a look kinda just happens because you gravitate towards similar styled items. Thanks to Pinterest (follow me here!) and Magazines it’s also really helpful to just look at a million examples of things you like and then duplicate elements you see with your own touch. If you see that 75% of the images you pin have layered carpets then give it a shot.

Boho Rooftop Patio Summer Party

Boho Rooftop Patio Summer Party

Because the look is so busy (in an awesome way) we stayed relatively simple with the flowers. No crazy colors, just some simple, more natural looking stem, buds and greenery in an eclectic selection of vases and pots.

Boho Rooftop Patio Summer Party Florals

Boho Rooftop Patio Summer Party Florals

As for bites, we just made a few light and super easy snacks. Dare I even say that they’re pretty healthy! You can make all of them before your guests arrive so you’re not fussing in the kitchen. We had Creamy Dill Cucumber and Smoked Salmon Bites, Mini Tomato Salad Parmesan Bowls and Fresh Mango Salsa and Corn Chips. You can find all the recipes on the Kendall-Jackson blog. They all paired really well with the Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay, which is great all year but particularly great for summer.

Boho Rooftop Patio Summer Party Smoked Salmon Appetizer

Boho Rooftop Patio Summer Party Tomato Parmesan Bowl

Boho Rooftop Patio Summer Party Fresh Mango Salsa

I live for summer nights like these. Our season is so short and you need to soak it up. I like to bring my plants outside for the season because those poor guys suffer enough in my poorly lit apartment for the other 9 months of the year.

Boho Rooftop Patio Summer PartyBoho Rooftop Patio Summer PartyBoho Rooftop Patio Summer Party

Boho Rooftop Patio Summer PartyWine was flowing, food was enjoyed and there was lots of laughs to go around. It was a pretty perfect way to spend a summer eve. Don’t forget to visit the Kendall-Jackson blog to see more photos and all the recipes and check out Merry Mag for so many more inspiring summer entertaining and craft ideas!

GOOD EATS: watermelon popsicles

watermelon & kiwi popsicles - The Sweet Escape

Being on a health kick in the summer is hard. It’s not impossible but there’s definitely no shortage of temptation. One thing that keeps the sweet tooth at bay for me is fresh fruit and herbal tea popsicles. I feel like I’m cheating but it’s really totally healthy. I’m like a kid, you need to trick me. I’ve tried a few different popsicle recipes but I thought this one for Watermelon Popsicles was especially fun to share.

watermelon & kiwi popsicles - The Sweet Escape

Now you can literally put a stick in a watermelon slice, stick in the freezer and call it a day. There’s nothing wrong with that but then it may look too healthy if you know what I mean. You may not because that’s pretty ridiculous. But if you want to get more cutesy or get the kiddos involved you can make these adorable watermelon popsicles by adding some kiwi and yogurt.


watermelon & kiwi popsicles - The Sweet Escape

The kinda crazy thing is that these popsicles are super sweet, probably more than an artifitially flavored one. All you need is some fresh watermelon, kiwis and your favorite yogurt (I suggest vanilla, coconut or plain) and some kind of blender. A hand blender or bullet is totally fine.

watermelon & kiwi popsicles - The Sweet Escape

Purée the watermelon and pour 3/4 way up the popsicle mold and then let it freeze enough that it’s not really liquid but you can still stick in the popsicle stick. Remove from freezer, add thin layer of yogurt and stick in the popsicle stick then put back in freezer for at least 30 minutes. In the meantime purée the kiwi and then add it on top of the yogurt and then keep them in the freezer until you’re ready to eat them up on a hot day. 

watermelon & kiwi popsicles - The Sweet Escape

watermelon & kiwi popsicles - The Sweet Escape

watermelon & kiwi popsicles - The Sweet Escape

So delish! You can do this with pretty much any fruit combo you like. You can add some juice or more yogurt but you may want to keep an eye on that if you’re trying to keep them super healthy.

watermelon & kiwi popsicles - The Sweet Escape

If you like this, check out our recipe gallery page for some more good eats.

SPACES: a boho chic living room makeover plan

Now that my kitchen makeover is done, I’m itching for more change. Because we’re never happy right? Or is that just me? I know there’s a bunch of home-decor-o-holics out there that know what I’m saying. When you live in an open concept space making changes is like a domino effect. Kichen, check. Time to freshen up the living room!

There’s nothing horrible about the living room but I’m tired of the color palette and want to change some things up. I’ve already done a few little things like update my photo art and give these awesome vintage lamps some new shades but here’s where I started:


Like I said, nothing wrong with it. It was the best I could do when I moved into my place owning absolutely zero furniture. I got the rug & chairs new for a steal then everything else I found on Craigslist, thrift stores or garage sales. (PS: the rug is now for sale if you’re interested, send me a note!). I still love the rug but it’s a bit much with a bright turquoise kitchen, even for a color junkie like me.

So here’s what’s staying:
• vintage coffee table
• vintage credenza
• curtains
• square table (probably)

And here’s what my plan looks like:

Living Room Makeover Moodboard / The Sweet EscapeNot surprisingly I’m going for a mix of modern and vintage elements with a bit of DIY thrown in to make up a Boho Chic look. I would like a modern mid-century inspired sofa and to find some less chunky arm chairs – maybe something vintage in good shape or that I can recover. I’m planning on moving the huge color focus off the floor and sprinkle it in with some fun pillows and art instead. I’m loving this sofa from Leon’s and this rug from Loloi. The art is inspired by this living room from Emily Henderson, I love it! Let’s see how I can put my own spin on it.

I wouldn’t call it super low budget but it’s not a total overhaul and fingers crossed I find some awesome thrifted/vintage deals. What do you think? What’s the next room in your space that you’re dying to makeover?

INTRODUCING MERRY MAGAZINE SUMMER! + 9 no-churn homemade ice-cream recipes

Merry Magazine Summer Handmade Guide

I scream, you scream, we all scream Hooray for Merry! I admit I’m totally like a kid in an ice-cream shop today because I’m sooooo excited to finally share Merry Mag Summer with you. I’ve been teasing you with summer cocktails and florals but now you can see it all. All 100 pages absolutely FULL of awesome handmade inspiration from 20 talented and creative bloggers.

After such an amazing response to our holiday issue of Merry (thank you! thank you! thank you!) we decided to keep the handmade love going and come out with an even MORE inspirational and creative issue. Here’s just a little taste of the cheerful handmade eye candy you’ll find in Merry Summer. It includes home decor, outdoor living, DIY projects, entertaining ideas, food & drink recipes, and some great summer style inspiration & more!

Merry Magazine Summer Handmade Guide

The second Merry Summer was confirmed I knew I wanted to do a big ice-cream story. After trying this no-churn pistachio ice-cream recipe I was hooked and wanted to make a tonne of flavors…and so that’s what I did. Making and eating the ice-cream was fun. Styling and photographing it was a whole other ball game. Even with all my years of experience on professional photo sets I’ve never been so freak’n stressed out. Working with melting ice-cream on a summer day is cray cray. But thankfully I had Andrea there to take the photos and in the end I think we totally pulled it off. We celebrated by eating the props, obviously.

9 no-churn homemade ice-cream recipes / Merry Mag Summer

Is there anything that says summer more than a bowl or cone of ice-cream? The more flavors, the better. If you’re an ice-cream-o-holic this will be the best news you’ll ever hear. You don’t need a machine to make ice-cream at home. In fact you can make it in minutes with only two ingredients plus your favorite flavor.

So here’s the deal, each recipe starts with the exact same 2 ingredient base then you just add different flavor elements. The possibilities are truly endless.

• 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk (note, this is more than an avg. size can)

• 2 cups of 35% whipping cream
• flavor of your choice (see below)

So for each recipe below I started by combining my flavor in one bowl with the condensed milk then whipping the cream to stiff peaks in another bowl and then folding one into the other. Pour into freezer safe container and leave a minimum of 6 hours but preferably overnight. Because I did so many at once I could really tell how the ingredients effected the process overall. For some recipes you’re just adding some chocolate & extract and others you’re adding significant more liquid. In the end they all turned out and were delicious but they did freeze at different speeds and some of them stayed a little softer and others needed about 15 min on the counter before serving. Start with the above base (*except coconut) and then follow the below recipes for each flavor.

No Churn Banana Chocolate Caramel homemade ice cream - Merry Mag Summer

• base recipe
• 2 very ripe bananas
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 1/2 c. caramel or salted caramel sauce (to taste)
• 1/2 c. chocolate sauce

If you’re making your own caramel, do that first and set aside. Mash up bananas well and combine with condensed milk and vanilla. Fold into whip cream mixture. Pour a few thin layers of the ice-cream base with swirls of chocolate and caramel between each one.

No Churn Strawberry Cheesecake Swirl homemade ice cream - Merry Mag Summer

• base recipe
• 8 oz. pack of softened cream cheese
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 2 cups of fresh or frozen berries
• juice & zest of 1 lemon
• 1/4 c. sugar
• graham crackers for garnish

First make your berry swirl by combining the berries, lemon juice & zest and sugar in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil then turn to low heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until all the sugar disolves and berries break down. Then combine the cream cheese and vanilla to the condensed milk and combine with whip cream. Pour 1 layer at a time putting some strawberry mixture between and swirling it.

No Churn chocolate mint homemade ice cream - Merry Mag Summer

• base recipe
• 1-2 tsp. of mint extract  (to taste)
• 1 cup chocolate chunks or chips

Combine the extract and chocolate with condensed milk then fold into whip cream. Do a taste test after you combine with whip cream and add more mint flavor if necessary.
No Churn coconut homemade ice cream - Merry Mag Summer

• base recipe (substitute 1 c. coconut cream for regular cream)
• 1 cup toasted shredded coconut
• 1-2 tsp. coconut extract

This one is the only one here where the base changes slightly. Substitute 1 cup of coconut cream (not milk) for 1 cup of the regular cream and whip as normal. Combine toasted coconut, extract and condensed milk and fold into whip cream mixture. Add more coconut flavor if you want after mixing with whip cream.

No Churn Berry Lime homemade ice cream - Merry Mag Summer

• base recipe
• 1 cup of mixed berry puree
• zest of 1 or 2 limes (to taste)

Combine all your berries in a blender to make puree then combine with lime zest into condensed milk and fold into whip cream.

No Churn lemon curd homemade ice cream - Merry Mag Summer

• base recipe
• 1 cup of lemon curd (or to taste)

Pour 1/2 or 1/3 (depending how many layers of ‘swirl’ you want) of your base ice-cream into your freezer dish then add some lemon curd and swirl around. Add the other layer(s) doing the same thing in between.

No Churn mango ginger homemade ice cream - Merry Mag Summer

• base recipe
• 1 cup of mango puree (buy or just blend ripe mangos)
• 2 tsp. fresh grated ginger (more or less to taste)

Combine mango puree and ginger with condensed milk then fold in with whip cream.

No Churn Oreo homemade ice cream - Merry Mag Summer

• base recipe
• 1 cup of broken oreo cookies 

For this one combine the whip cream & condensed milk then add the cookies right at the end. You can substitute any cookie you like.

Messy Ice Cream Photography

Are you drooling yet?!

You’ll be making ice cream faster than you can eat it with these delicious no-churn recipes. Check out Merry for even more delish summer bites.

DIY: world’s easiest flower centerpiece


easy simple floating flower centerpiece arrangement - The Sweet EscapeI have a super quick but pretty post for you today because I’m hustling HARD behind the scenes to get Merry mag all ready for it’s big reveal on Monday. That’s where you’ll find this super cute flower arrangement along with some other beautiful floral inspiration. I’m calling this the World’s Easiest Centerpiece because that’s what it is. You know it’s easy when it just happens by accident.

easy simple floating flower centerpiece arrangement  - The Sweet Escape

So awhile back I was working on this Mother’s Day Flower Crown DIY post for my friends at Kendall-Jackson Winery and I had all these random stemless blooms left over when I was done. (sidenote: is there a better combo than flower arranging and wine? don’t think so) It seemed like a crime to throw them out so I put them in a shallow bowl with some water and bam! I had a super pretty flower centerpiece. Doesn’t get much easier than that folks.

easy simple floating flower centerpiece arrangement  - The Sweet Escape

This is a great idea for your own kitchen or dining table but also a really affordable option for an event if you need a larger number of centerpieces. The white bowl really helps the colors pop but a clear bowl would make them a bit more visible for the whole table of guests to enjoy. Do they still make floating candles? I’m not sure and I wouldn’t want you to enter to cheesy territory but I’m picturing one simple white round floating candle being a pretty addition for an outdoor summer event. And by ‘event’, I mean absolutely any reason to be outside with something to eat and a drink in your hand. Company & clothes are up to you.

easy simple floating flower centerpiece arrangement  - The Sweet Escape

Have a great weekend everyone! I can’t wait to share Merry with you on Monday. Get ready for summer inspiration overlaod.