Category Archives: Health & Beauty

DIY get well gift cold flu season

DIY Get Well Gift for Cold & Flu Season

It seems like everywhere I turn someone is sick; work, childcare, family, & friends.  Its that not so lovely time of year we fearfully refer to as cold and flu season. I unfortunately succumbed to the germs myself last  week and could have really used one of these “DIY Get Well Gift for Cold & Flu Season.”  Now on the mend, I am hoping to spread get well cheer.



These little gems are the perfect gift to make ahead and have on had this time of year.

Start with a cute mug or teapot. I found these adorable mugs at West Elm today and I picked up this little teapot on clearance at Target a while back.

West Elm Textured Mugs


Things to add:

  • honey
  • lemon  (fresh lemon, bottled lemon juice, or True Lemon)
  • cough drops
  • travel tissue
  • tea bags
  • Emergen-C packets or organic effervesce drink mix
  • lip balm



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Just arrange everything in the container of your choice and give it to your favorite “sickies!”
You could even make several at the same time and keep on hand. Thats where the True Lemon would be perfect.

On a side note, how cute are these tiny honey bears?!


Comment below with any additional things I need to add to my list and when a cold or flu does hit, I hope you and your loved ones a speedy recovery.


Daring Greatly

My internal battle between wanting to play it safe and wanting to live a creative life is a long one.

My first recollection came in Junior High. I wanted to be a writer and so I joined the journalist staff.  But very quickly I realized that I did not want my writing critiqued and so I changed my mind.

In college, I wanted to be an interior designer. A History of Furniture is still one of my favorite college courses of all time. As enthralling as lecture time was, when it came to my personal designs being critiqued, I hated it and ultimately fled. My defense was always “how can something with no right answer, be wrong?”

In most areas of life I handled criticism pretty well. Professionally I used the only time I ever got fired, the worst criticism imaginable, to grow and become a better version of myself. On a personal level if a friend or lover criticized me, I often mulled it over in my head, dissecting how much truth there was in it. Discarding the useless bits but holding on to the true parts, using them to try to do better.

But creatively I just couldn’t take it. So I settled for the least creative degree imaginable in Information System Security. A degree that 8 years later, I have never used.

Over the years, as my passion for baking, crafting, scrap-booking, party planning, decorating, writing, & photography developed, I noticed that they all have a common thread of making things beautiful. I also noticed just how happy I am when creating.  So after years of the same internal question “what do I want to be when I grow up?” I found a home in Living Darling, an outlet for all of my creative passions.

Working on Living Darling has been exciting and joyful . But it has also been overwhelming. The learning curve is immense and I have so little free time between work and family life.

Unsurprisingly, my imagination went wild, taking on the form of various hero lifestyle bloggers and designers that I admire, each of them questioning things like my authenticity, uniqueness, and style.

With each blog post I swept these fears aside and kept moving forward but unfortunately they persisted. Slowly chipping away at my motivation and excitement. Until last week when I stumbled upon a forum devoted to bashing one of my favorite bloggers.

It was shocking and confusing. But like most figurative train wrecks, it was hard to look away.  I spent a couple of hours reading through 6 years of post, searching for a truth that I had maybe missed after all these years of admiration. I kept trying to reconcile my version of her blog with this one.  Was I wrong to love her work? Was she really such a monster?  I went back to her blog and her Instagram and then back to these horrible comments. I finally realized that it came down to jealousy. Jealousy of her success, of the picturesque life she has curated, of her hustle.

I spent days thinking about this forum, shocked that one of my favorite blogs could inspire so many vitrolic comments.  Then I remembered this quote by Theodore Roosevelt

daringgreatlyquoteAll at once I felt a huge flood of relief at the inevitability of criticism.   We live in a world full of critics and a vastness of diverse opinions. There is no escaping someone who thinks they could do it better.

The horrible things I found on that forum were being said about a highly creative, successful, talented blogger and will most likely be said about anyone who puts themselves out there in the arena.

In hind sight, I wish I had developed a thick skin early on and accepted that criticism has its place.  That while being vulnerable to criticism sucks, there are much worse places to be like those “cold and timid” sidelines.

From now on I plan on throwing myself out into the arena and I can only hope that one day I will have done that enough that people will take the time to critique my work.   Whether I know victory or defeat, here is to daring greatly.


Breakfast Salads

Have you ever had a breakfast salad? I know what your thinking…a salad is NOT a breakfast food. Breakfast has rules. Why do you want to break the sacred rules of breakfast?

But if you really think about it, there are way too many silly rules we follow blindly without really thinking about the why. So many of our breakfast foods are born out of convenience.  I totally get it, its way easier to throw a bowl of cereal together for my toddler and grab a piece of toast as I run out the door for work, than to cut up fresh produce, plate a salad, and eat it as drive down the road.

That is where this post comes in.  I have designed the perfect breakfast salad that you can do prep for on the weekend, make the night before,  and travels well.

But before I get into the how. Lets talk about the WHY.

Back in 2006 my little Brother Aaron shared with me this article ( “The Men Who Live Forever,” from Mens Health) . It is a bit of a marathon to read but so worth it, especially if you are a runner or looking to lose weight. To sum up the article, there is a tribe of super athletes in south america that live crazy healthy, long lives.  They can run 100 mile distances well into their 60’s.  Their society is free of murder, suicide, and depression.  After spending time with the tribe, the author takes what he learned about their diet, philosophies, & running techniques and spent a year training to return and run a 50 mile race. To emulate their diet he starts eating salad for breakfast.

This was the first time I had heard about breakfast salads. My mind was BLOWN!!!  and I have been breakfast salad-ing it ever since.

It really is a truly refreshing way to start the day. bs6lowres

The key to a great breakfast salad is a heaping handful of spinach and mixed greens, seasonal fruit, crisp red, yellow, & orange peppers, a nut mixture that adds crunch and protein (I do equal parts dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and slivered almonds), a little feta, and a sweet/tangy dressing.

Corn and black beans would be a great addition to this salad.



I start out with all of this, wash & dry it, cut up the peppers and pineapple, mix my nut mixture, and wind up with this…


You can either put your salad together the night before or in the morning. It takes 5 minutes.  My favorite way to transport salad dressing is in a syringe.  It makes measuring a correct serving size super easy.


I hope you enjoy a new kind of breakfast that gives you energy, is refreshing, and frankly feels like a treat.  Forget those silly rules born out of convenience, grab a breakfast salad and start making your own rules!


What to Expect from Living Darling

I love to cook, bake, plan parties, decorate, and craft. I love being a mom. I want to improve my health in lasting, lifelong ways…Travel the world and create treasured memories with the ones I love.  I want to treasure the little moments.

So here is what you can expect from Living Darling:


Delicious recipes, my ideas on health and fitness, craft projects, decorating ideas, a million posts about my obsession with oatmeal and breakfast salads, parenting tips, party planning, my Husband Juices’ list of Honey-do’s, and pretty much anything that tickles my fancy.

All of these things are in pursuit of a darling life.

I hope you enjoy the journey with me.