Upcycled Outdoor Herb Garden

DIY Palette Herb Organizer www.bellalimento.com

As one who cooks a great deal (okay a boat load) it’s important to me that I ALWAYS have fresh herbs nearby. In the spring and summer I typically grow them in containers on my deck which is right off my kitchen. It’s convenient and I’m able to make a mad dash mid cooking to snip exactly what I need. What’s not convenient are the oh say 18 or so containers that I have around every square inch of the perimeter of my deck. It’s kinda out of control. Until I discovered I could turn a palette into an awesome vertical outdoor herb garden.

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How to Improve Your Portrait Photography

www.bellalimento.com

I’m of the opinion that you always have more to learn. Taking classes is a great way to do that. One thing I’m always striving to improve is my photography. While I have come a LONG way since I started my blog five years ago I still am not where I would like to be. Have you heard of the website Craftsy? They offer online classes that are taught by world renowned instructors. Since Craftsy classes are ONLINE they’re available to you anytime (read you can take them in your pajamas) you want for as long as you want, there are no scheduled class times, so you can enjoy them entirely on your own schedule. Each class is taught by an acclaimed instructor and consists of several hours of HD-quality video content.

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Adding a Pop of Pantone Color

Pantone Radiant Orchid

Do you know what Valspar’s Pantone color of the year is? It’s Radiant Orchid. “Radiant Orchid blooms with confidence and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination. It is an expressive, creative and embracing purple—one that draws you in with its beguiling charm. A captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid emanates great joy, love and health” 

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Bring on Brunch

Brunch Food Collage www.bellalimento.comThis post brought to you by Starbucks. Opinions are my own.

Brunch is the perfect easy entertaining scenario. I like brunch because there’s not as much pressure as there would be say hosting a dinner party. Plus there’s COFFEE, lots and lots of COFFEE. Something everyone who knows me knows I’m very passionate about. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays behind us now is actually the perfect time to host a casual brunch for friends and family. To catch up, chat about this and that and consume copious amounts of coffee and culinary creations. That’s exactly what I did last weekend.

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Cooking with Kids

www.bellalimento.com

Sometimes it isn’t WHAT you’re making in the kitchen that’s important – its that you’re in there with your family and friends MAKING memories that you will treasure for a lifetime. Now that’s important. Cooking shouldn’t be a scary process. Just get in there and have fun. So what IF you burn dinner (it happens to all of us). You have a laugh, make a sandwich or go out for dinner. Well unless it’s $25 lb diver scallops and then it’s okay to shed a few tears. But let’s not talk about that. Cooking isn’t rocket science (thank goodness because that I’m NO good at). Nobody starts out being an excellent cook. Being good at cooking is like being good at anything else. Practice makes perfect, at least with this kind of practice you get a snack.

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DIY Play Dough

DIY Play Dough www.bellalimento.com

My kids just went back to school from Christmas break. Despite having many new toys to play with thanks to Santa they still expected wanted to be entertained. Since I absolutely suck at wii games (with the exception of bowling where I rule) and I made more Rainbow Loom bracelets than I care to admit (double fishtail anyone?), I needed a back up plan. One that was preferably on the cheap and didn’t require me to leave the house (have you seen the traffic). In comes homemade play dough.

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So Fresh. So Clean.

Arm & HammerThis post brought to you by Arm & Hammer. Opinions are my own.

Let’s just face it, going to the dentist isn’t high on anyone’s list so I try really hard to make sure that everyone in our house brushes and often. Sadly that’s not an easy chore for me. Does anyone else have to fight with their kids to get them to brush their teeth? Sigh. To keep the whining, moaning and groaning to a minimum I’ve found that spin brushes seem to help. Arm & Hammer has a few fantastic options. For the kids, try Tooth Tunes – Two minutes of music in your mouth. Tooth Tunes is the only toothbrush with Music in your Mouth technology. Just turn it on and start brushing. Dancing is completely optional.

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Wonderful Winter Brunch

Brunch Party Planning www.bellalimento.com
This post brought to you by Starbucks. Opinions are my own.

I love a good party don’t you? I believe the secret to a successful party, no matter the size, is planning. Yes homework it’s something we have even after we finish with school. I know that Christmas is now behind us and New Year’s Eve is literally right around the corner but I’m not ready to put away the festivities just yet. I’m looking ahead to a winter BRUNCH that I’m hosting next month. Brunch is that magical meal that lets you choose from your favorite breakfast items and lunch items. It’s a marriage made in meal heaven and perfect for easy entertaining.

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Ooey Gooey Sticky Chewy Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls www.bellalimento.com
This post brought to you by Scotch-Brite. Opinions are my own.

It’s no secret that I HATE to do dishes. At all. If there was a contest to see who could use the least amount of dishes when cooking/baking I’m pretty sure I’d be on the podium. Thank goodness there are things to help me out with those dirty dishes. You know the ones that you thought you buttered up well enough, or sprayed them in every nook and cranny. The ones that you’d almost rather leave in the sink overnight than try to tackle. Like say ooey gooey cinnamon roll pans?

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Outshine Seasonal Pick Fruit Bars

Outshine Fruit Bars www.bellalimento.com

I’m one of those people that eats ice cream and frozen treats year round. I might be doing it curled up on the couch under a blanket watching HGTV but I’m doing it. Take that winter! And clearly I’ve passed that trait onto my kids because they HAVE to have popsicles and ice cream in our freezer at all times. It’s a thing and I’m guessing because the freezer aisles are stocked with more options that you can shake a stick at that there are a lot more people out there like me too. Naturally when the folks at Outshine asked me to give their seasonal limited edition fruit bars a try I jumped on it.

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DIY Rustic Log Candles

DIY Rustic Log Candles www.bellalimento.com

DIY HOLIDAY FLOATING CANDLES , DIY CINNAMON CANDLES and now Rustic Log Candles. Are you sensing a theme? Am I that obvious? Yes, okay it’s true I happen to love candles. Both of the previous candle posts have been extremely popular posts so I’m guessing y’all like candles as much as I do. Since we’ve established our love of candles, it is probably a good idea to go ahead and stock up on tea lights because I see we’re all going to go through a wagon full. 

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DIY Cinnamon Wrapped Candles

DIY Cinnamon Wrapped Candle www.bellalimento.com

It’s December and I’m kinda in shock to be honest. I blinked and it’s almost a new year. I’m going to TRY very hard to slow down and enjoy this month that naturally happens to be full of social gatherings and soirees. It’s no secret that I do love a good party and details. I love details. Parties are made in the details. It’s those little extra touches that make a big difference. They don’t however have to break the bank.

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DIY Chalkboard Frame

Sweet 16 party www.bellalimento.com

I’m turning into quite the crafter. Pinterest has given me all sorts of new found ideas and I’m running with them. It’s not really because I’m a crafty person, but mostly because I’m stubborn and I think “how hard could that be?” And okay you got me, the whole saving money thing is appealing. Why have I been so crafty lately you ask? We recently threw a sweet 16 soiree for our daughter. I know, I know you’re thinking how can she possibly have a 16 year old right? Because that’s what I think when I think about it. Gah. I figured she was only turning 16 once and that we should do it up. Do it up on my budget meant do it yourself. So Pinterest to the rescue. I thought a chalkboard frame would look fantastic at the entrance of her party tent (and it did).

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DIY Holiday Floating Candles

DIY Holiday Centerpiece www.bellalimento.com

I happen to be one of those people that loves to jazz up their tables for the holidays. Nothing super extravagant or elaborate, because that’s just too fussy pants for me and if we’re being honest those types of ornamentation are probably going to be expensive. I would rather spend my money on quality ingredients that go onto the plate and into my belly if you know what I mean. Or a new pair of Lucchese boots that I’ve had my eye on for a few months. I just can’t help myself when it comes to boots.

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Mixed Food Conference

Mountain Lake Lodge

Last year my friend Susan and I organized a food conference called Mixed. It’s a small boutique conference for approximately 100 food lovers bloggers that is held at Mountain Lake Lodge in Virginia. You might recognize it from the movie Dirty Dancing. If you haven’t seen the movie, stop reading right now and look it up on Netflix, or Amazon Prime (what would I do without that) and then come back when you’re done because you don’t want to miss out on this GIVEAWAY! Not to be pushy or anything (because I would never ever do that would I) but it is one of the best movies of all time right underneath Pitch Perfect of course. We will actually be showing both of those gems at the conference because we like to have just as much fun as we do learning.

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Soups To Get You Through The Cold Season

Homemade Chicken Stock www.bellalimento.com

I love fall. The leaves changing colors, the chunky sweaters, tall boots, boyfriend cardigans and the cooler temperatures.  Cooler means out come the casseroles, stews and soups. Soup makes an appearance at least once a week and more when the sniffles and such set in. Between school and after school activities it’s inevitable in our house. The coughing is already here and I know what’s coming next. In an effort to cut it off before it gets any further we start with homemade chicken soup. It’s not a gimmick I truly believe that it works. I have homemade chicken stock at the ready in the freezer (the secret to a good chicken soup is its base – homemade chicken stock) especially during soup season, on deck is Simply Saline.

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Invino World of Wine

Are you a wine fan but hate the thought of going to a wine store to select a bottle of wine from hundreds and sometimes thousands of bottles of beautifully displayed wines from around the world? That’s me raising my hand behind the keyboard. I adore wine but buying it can be slightly overwhelming. I like what I like and often times find it hard to explain why I like what I like.  I usually end up grabbing the first bottle of Italian Pinot Grigio I see and roll with that. Clearly I’m no sommelier. I’m simply a wine lover who could use a little help.  That help arrived in the form of inclub – insider access for wine lovers.

invino, the flagship property of Good Company Wines and the original private sale site for wine, announces the launch of inclub, a state-of-the-art online wine club that uses algorithm-based selections to tailor shipments to individual palates. The service is consistent with the founders’ pioneering platform of highly curated wine discovery, along with access to the best values online. “We developed hundreds of meta-data points to create palate settings for each member,” says invino and inclub co-founder and CEO Tony Westfall. “This is the first and only 100% customized club that has a Palate Guarantee™. It’s the wine club for the modern enthusiast: personalized and effortless.”  How great does that sound? Now you probably think it will cost you for the service. You’d be wrong. Registering is fast, easy and FREE.

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Savor the Savings with KitchenAid Kitchen Envy

bell'alimento kitchen www.bellalimento.com

Over the past year our kitchen has undergone a major renovation thanks in part to our partnership with KitchenAid. We have posted about our journey (and yes if you’ve ever been through a renovation know that it is indeed a journey) every step of the way. Now that the kitchen is finally complete (cue balloons, confetti and music) we’re so excited to share our opinions on ALL of our KitchenAid Major Appliances in the KitchenAid “Kitchen Envy” series on Viewpoints. If you’re planning on purchasing major appliances and want to save a chunk of change, this is a series you don’t want to miss.

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Say Cheese : Smile Brilliant

Smile Brilliant Giveaway Review

Let’s face it, we all want to have white teeth. I know I do. My love of all things coffee and wine though were coming between me and that dazzling smile despite trying every tooth paste with whitener on the market.  I even tried those whitening strips. Have you tried those? I couldn’t get them to stay in place to save my life. Maybe it was user error but they didn’t work for me. Because of my love for said coffee and wine admittedly my teeth were looking a little dull and dingy so I welcomed the opportunity to try out Smile Brilliant compliments of the company.

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Arm & Hammer: Clean You Need

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

Arm & Hammer is a brand that we all know. Their baking Soda has been helping families for over 165 years, including mine (well not for that long, I’m not that old people, but yes for a long long time). Growing up, I watched my Grandma and Mom use it in hundreds of different ways (yep it’s not just for baking cookies or to get those yucky smells out of your refrigerator). No other product does more throughout your home and yes I’m going to show you. As a member of The ARM & HAMMER Influencer Network I will be sharing my thoughts and experiences about that powerful orange box as well as various other ARM & HAMMER products with y’all over the next few months. They’re all versatile and budget friendly. As a family of 5 (plus an additional fur baby) I can definitely appreciate that.

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