House Plant Love

If you have been following along on my Instagram @acarriedaffairdesigns then you know my love for greenery & flowers. However, keeping them alive longer than a couple weeks has always been a struggle for me. To the point I was making a bi-weekly trip to our local garden shop to replace our house plants. Well friends, the cost of doing that was adding up quickly and definitely wasn’t a good long term solution. So I did some research as well as got advice from some plant aficionados and let me tell you, it made all the difference in the world. I am happy to report that after following the plant aficionados advice, I am no longer making those biweekly trips. With that said, I am sharing some of my favorite greenery, the benefits of them, and how to keep them thriving. Believe me, if I can do it, you can do it!

Now let’s talk types of greenery

I currently have all of these plants in my house and they all have made it past week 3! Can you believe that?!? Me, keeping plants alive? It only took all my life. Moving on…

Now let’s talk benefits & care tips for each of these plants

Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

This tree has quickly become my favorite plant in our house. The fullness and the various green tones have me all sorts of heart eyes. Maybe the seagrass basket it’s in has something to do with it being my favorite. 🤔

Benefits: Produces high levels of oxygen and cleans the air of allergens.

Care Tips: Bright consistent light. Turn the plant every few months (once the plant starts to lean towards the light). Keep away from drafty areas.

Watering: Stick your finger in the top of the soil. If the soil is dry about an inch down, then it is time to water your fiddle.

English Ivy

Benefits: Reduces mold spores, benzene, and formaldehyde in the air of your home. To lean more about the benefits of English Ivy read THIS.

Care Tips: English Ivy is poisonous and should be kept out of reach from children and pets. 

Watering: If the soil is dry to the touch, then it needs water. If the soil is most at all, it is fine.

Rubber Plant

The rubber plant is almost impossible to kill, which is probably why it is still going strong! 😂

Benefits: This plant purifies the air and reduces airborne bacteria. It also produces oxygen and eliminates mold spores in the air.

Care Tips: The leaves tend to get dusty. I just wipe them with a damp towel.

Watering: Rubber plants do not require a lot of water. Actually, they are better off under-watered than over-watered. If the soil is completely dry then it is time to water, but if there is any moisture, you can wait to water.

Boston Fern

Benefits: Removes formaldehyde from the air and acts as a general air purifier.

Care Tips: Needs indirect sunlight & humidity.

Watering: Keep the soil damp at all times. I also mist the leaves twice a week to create humidity.

Heart Leaf Philodendron Plant

Benefits: Removes formaldehyde and carbon monoxide from the air. 

Care Tips: Poisonous. Keep out of reach from children and pets. 

Watering: Keep the soil damp. If the leaves turn yellow that means the plant is getting too much water. Brown leaves mean not enough water.

Succulents

Benefits: Removes formaldehyde.

Care Tips: Needs a lot of sunlight and well drained soil. I added rocks to the bottom of this snack bowl turned succulent planter and topped the rocks with soil. Doing this will allow the soil to drain.

Watering: Once every 3-4 weeks.

Tip: Clip some of the the leaves off and lay on damp soil to propagate and grow your succulent garden.

Areca Palm

Benefits: Natural humidifier. Removes, benzene and formaldehyde from the air. 

Care Tips: They need bright indirect light. Direct sunlight with make the leaves turn yellow.

Watering: Keep the soil moist. I water mine about once a week.

Asparagus Fern

Benefits: Improves indoor air quality.

Care Tips: Needs humidity and indirect sunlight. Can prune.

Watering: Mist the plant daily to create humidity. Water when the soil is dry to the touch.

Additional Care Tips

Tip 1: Use planters that have a hole in the bottom. If your planters don’t, put rocks at the bottom so there is room for the water to go. Letting your plant sit in the water can cause the soil to mold.

Tip 2: If you use city water to water your plants let the water sit out overnight before using it. City water has traces of chlorine which can make your plants die.

Tip 3: The advice I got from a gardener at our local garden shop is to push your finger into the soil around the roots, if the soil is still moist then no need to water it. If the soil is completely dry and/or looks like it is separating from the sides of the planter then it needs water.

Tip 4: Put a weekly reminder on your phone to check the plants.

We all have busy schedules, so it is easy to forget about watering your plants if they look ok at a glance. I set a weekly reminder on my phone to check my plants in the evening.

Well friends, that’s all for this post. I hope you enjoyed it! Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions or you can message me on Instagram @acarriedaffairdesigns

Until next time. xo

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My Mother’s Day Picnic

Picnics have always been dreamy to me. I don’t know why, but I’ve always thought it would be the perfect day time activity. I’ve always had this vision in my head with the big blanket, picnic basket, and cheese. Lots of CHEESE!! 

You might be thinking, Whoa Carrie, it’s just a picnic. But I have been planning a picnic since I was pregnant with baby K. I even bought a picnic basket before he was born. But after 2+ years of it sitting in the closet, I finally got to use it!

With having a child under 2, I have made up every excuse possible not to go on one. Just thinking of taking both boys by myself made me exhausted. The sucky part about being married to a chef, the hours. His only day off is Monday and he works every holiday except Christmas Day. Since I work M-F our schedules couldn’t be more opposite.

I had told my husband a few days before the holiday that I was finally going to take the boys on a picnic on Mother’s Day. A part of me didn’t want to go, because I wanted my first picnic to be with my husband and kids. I know it probably sounds silly, but it’s what I wanted.

While I was getting everything together to leave for our picnic, my husband surprised me and walked through the door (with flowers in hand) and told me he was taking me on my first picnic. I almost cried. He told me he knew how much it meant to me and that he wanted to be there.

So I finished getting the picnic basket ready and we left for the park. Baby K had fallen asleep on the way so while he slept, I watched my oldest and husband play catch and I laid on the blanket eating ALL the cheese. That’s acceptable right?! I mean, it was Mother’s Day.

Side note, I used mason jars for the lemonade and yogurt. Those seals are tight! Not one drop leaked out.

After we ate, we walked around the park. It’s crazy how we have lived less than 2 miles from this park for years and didn’t know anything about the history of the ruins tucked away in the park.

If you are interested, THIS ARTICLE provides more detail of the history of the statues. It was pretty interesting, but I am a nerd. 🤓

Anyway…

 As we were heading back to the car I was thanking my husband and oldest son for taking me on a picnic and as I was saying the words I started crying. What a sap. But I was so excited that I got to go on my first picnic with all my boys. It was the perfect day. Just as I had envisioned it. I know the boys did not want to go, but it made it that much more special that they took me with no complaints and let me enjoy my day. Best Mother’s Day EVER!

Well, friends that’s it. Thank you so much for stopping by. Your support means so much to me. ❤️ Also, if I have put you in the picnic mood and you need kid friendly ideas on what to pack, I included our super easy menu below. You can also shop the items in this post at the bottom.

 

The Menu

Peanut butter & banana sandwiches

Cheese & crackers

Lemonade topped with fresh lime juice

Vanilla yogurt topped with granola & blackberries

 

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Habanero & Grapefruit Margarita Recipe

I love margaritas! Especially in the summer and always on Cinco de Mayo. 🇲🇽 Usually I find a recipe on Pinterest, but most of them have a TON of ingredients. Some that I’m not even familiar with. For me, I start to lose interest with recipes when there is a long list of ingredients involved. Anyone else feel that way??

So I decided to make up my own recipe that has minimal ingredients. What’s crazy is my simple concoction actually tasted good! So good, that I am sharing it with you. I will warn you that it is spicy. I mean Habanero is in the title. Even though it has a kick to it, it’s still refreshing.

After pilfering through the spices in our cabinet I found Habanero Lime seasoning. Hence the name. I love it on corn on the cob, so why not try it on the rim of a margarita?? I found the seasoning at Walmart, but if you can’t find it, you can mix a little bit of cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes. Basically the same thing without the lime. I also provided a direct link under “Shop This Post” at the bottom if you want to buy the seasoning.

Ok enough talking, now for the recipe.

Please note, this recipe makes 2.5 – 3.5 drinks (depending on your glass size). I used juice size glasses so it made a little over three. If you are using traditional margarita glasses you’ll want to double the recipe.

Ingredients:

3 shots of tequila silver
2 cups of grapefruit juice
2 red grapefruits
1 jalapeño
Margarita salt
Habanero Lime seasoning

Step 1: Mix some margarita salt and habanero lime seasoning on a plate. This is for the rim.

Step 2: Dip the rim in water then the margarita salt mix.

Step 3: Thinly slice the jalapeño. Muddle half of the jalapeño. You’ll use the other half for garnish.

Step 4: Pour the tequila & concentrated grapefruit juice into a shaker over ice.

Step 5: Cut both grapefruits in half. Set one of the halves to the side. That is for garnish. Squeeze the remaining grapefruits into the shaker then add the muddled jalapeño.

Step 6: Shake the mix and pour over ice. Then garnish with a grapefruit wedge and slice of jalapeño.

Step 7: Enjoy!


Super quick and simple! Bonus, you don’t need google to figure out any of the ingredients.

Well friends, that’s it for this post. If you end up trying this recipe, I would love for you to tell me what you think! Please feel free to comment below or message me Instagram. My handle is @acarriedaffairdesigns

Thanks for stopping by! Xo

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Work Wear Capsule Wardrobe – Part 3

Hello friends and welcome back! For all of you that have been following along, I hope you have found this series encouraging and helpful to start building a work wear capsule wardrobe that you love! Also, congrats on making it to the final part for the #acarriedaffaircapsule series! If you haven’t been following along, no worries! Part 1 is HERE and Part 2 is  HERE. But if you don’t have time to catch up now, that’s ok too! For all of you that are just tuning in, I’ll do a quick recap.

First, let’s define what a capsule wardrobe is. According to dictionary.com it is, a collection of clothes and accessories that include only items considered essential.

Now here is my definition, a wardrobe of pieces you love & feel your best in.

In Part 1, I discussed minimizing your clothing inventory. I donated more than two full trash bags after going through my closet. After my friends went through all the clothes and took what they wanted, I donated the rest to dressforsuccess.org Its a non-for-profit organization that takes gently used work wear clothing and provides them to women I poverty that are trying to find their economic independence and get back in the workforce. It’s truly a wonderful organization and if you haven’t heard of them, I would recommend checking them out to see if you have one near you. It made me feel so good knowing I helped others, while creating a manageable wardrobe for myself. Win, win!

In Part 2, I provided a free downloadable capsule work wear guide that will help you create a wardrobe for work that you love. You can also download it HERE if you’re just getting started.

I created the guide based on my experience as I took the steps to create my work wear capsule. I also asked my fellow women coworkers to review the guide and provide feedback as well as found some inspiration from a couple of guides that were already in-existence. However, the guides I found online were tailored towards everyday wear, whereas mine is tailored specifically for work wear.

So let’s back track a little…I decided to do this series because my closet had become overrun with pieces I thought would look good on me because they looked good on the model in the picture as well as pieces that were way past their expiration date. I’m talking dresses two sizes two small.  Basically I had a little bit of every style based on the clothing phase I was going through at that time. However, that wasn’t really me or what made me feel my best when I was wearing it. It’s a red flag when you put something on and you do the wiggle dance trying to get it on. And with that, I started my capsule journey.

With working in Corporate America, the guidelines on appropriate dress attire is pretty straight forward, but that doesn’t mean your wardrobe has to be boring. The best way I have found to make my work wear outfits pop is with accessories & shoes! So for the remainder of this post I will be talking about my favorite accessories and shoes to turn an average work wear outfit into a stylish and classic one!

First let’s talk accessories. Some of my favorite work wear accessories include:

Watch paired with chunky bracelets 

My husband bought this watch for me for my 30th birthday and I still wear it EVERY DAY.  I love wearing it with my favorite chunky bracelet.

Silk scarves with fun prints

There are so many possibilities to style a scarf. Use it as a belt, wrap it around your neck, use it as a hair accessory. I love to pair long scarves with jeans & flats on casual Friday’s.

Pearls & statement necklaces

Pearls just scream classic, and there are so many variations of them. I love long single strands as well as the layered look. My favorite place to shop for necklaces is J Crew. Shocker, right.

I like to pair statement necklaces with solid button down shirts. It is quick way to make your outfit pop.

Some great places to buy work wear accessories are listed below:

J. Crew

Ann Taylor

White House Black Market

The Loft

Kohl’s

H & M

Now let’s talk shoes! I will admit, I LOVE wearing heels, mainly because I am 5’3 and need that extra boost. But honestly my heart belongs to flats. I love them! Plus you can get them in fun colors and styles to make your outfit pop while not worrying about breaking your ankle. 😉 My favorite flats right now are lace-up and gold hued flats. I wear a lot of black and navy so pairing my outfit with gold hued flats gives my outfit that pop of color that looks classy and stylish. For me shoes are where it’s at. Who’s with me?!? 💃🏻 I spend a bulk of my clothing budget on shoes. My favorite place to find classic, stylish, yet comfortable flats is J Crew. Bonus, more so than not, they have sales, so it’s rare I pay the full price. 🙌🏼

For this last part I am offering some tips & tricks that I have been doing long before capsule wardrobes became a thing that make my pre-work morning routine almost effortless.

First, let me tell you a secret. It only takes me 20 minutes to get ready in the morning. The crazy part is I still look presentable.  Since I work in an office, it’s kind of required.

If your mornings are hectic and stressful, then these simple tips and tricks will make your mornings SO much better. At least that’s what my family says. Also being prepared ahead of time for the next work day will allow you to take that extra time you would have been getting ready to do more important things…like sleeping in. If you know me personally, then you know I hate getting out of bed in the mornings. I am nocturnal, so sleeping every extra second in the morning counts! However, I would consider myself a morning person because once my feet hit the floor I’m ready to go. Weird right? I ask myself how is that is possible on the regular. I think my husband wonders the same thing…

Tip 1: Lay out your clothes & shoes the night before. It sounds trivial, but it truly helps make my mornings less stressful!

Doing this is more of a night before thing. Mainly because you don’t know how you’re going to feel a week from now. Maybe you’ll be bloated from eating too much Mexican food so you won’t feel like wearing your high waist work pants or maybe you didn’t take the time to shave your legs when you showered so skirts and dresses are out of the question.

Actively thinking about how I feel and what I think will look best on me for the next day is always taken into account before picking out my outfit. If I know what shirt I want to wear, but not sure on the bottoms I’ll  search through Pinterest to get some ideas of how I could pair that said item with clothes I already have. Once I figure out what I am going to wear, I set the clothes out on my clothing rack or what I like to call my Inspiration rack. Done and done!

Tip 2: If you are a coffee drinker prepare the coffee the night before.

Every night when I get home from work, one of the first things I do is clean out my coffee tumbler from that day and prepare my coffee for the next morning. I even add the sugar to the mug, put the lid on, and put it next to the coffee maker so everything is ready when I get downstairs from getting dressed.

Tip 3: Set the accessories you plan to wear by your car keys.

Setting your accessories out will prevent you from forgetting them, like I use to…almost weekly. I have a briefcase for my work laptop that I take to work daily, so I set the accessories on top of it. That way I won’t forget them. Then when I go to leave I put the accessories on, grab my briefcase, car keys, work badge, & my coffee then I’m out the door!

And that concludes the #acarriedaffaircapsule series! I hope you found inspiration in this series and encourages you to start building a work wear capsule wardrobe that you love and feel your best in! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or message me on Instagram. My handle is @acarriedaffairdesigns

Until next time. Xoxo

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Please note, some items are not the exact same as pictured. The originals of those items are no longer available.