Jordan’s Picks

I felt a slight chill in the air the other night and it made me start to think about sweaters and candles. Here’s a mid-season edit of what is catching my eye.

01 Ceramic Vase / 02 Cardigan / 03 Placemats / 04 Pill Box / 05 Vintage Watch / 06 Mary Janes / 07 White Dress / 08 Checkered Handbag / 09 Brass Bar Cabinet / 10 Woven Pumps / 11 Lamp / 12 Maxi Dress / 13 Twisted Candlesticks / 14 Jumpsuit / 15 T-Shirt

Easy Breakfast Spread in less than 10 minutes

The one silver lining of the pandemic was all our family meal times. I was cooking A LOT. One of our favorite family breakfasts that we’ve adopted into our rotation is a giant breakfast spread. I realize I didn’t invent this but I swear we kind of fine tuned and perfected it. It originally came about because we didn’t have a toaster and it was just easier to toast everything all at once on a cookie sheet. We soon discovered it was a bit of a novelty to lay everything out on a big board at the same time with a ton of different toppings.

Bagels are pictured here but we’ve also used plain ol’ toast or English Muffins. It is honestly so easy and everyone is always impressed. I think the secret to this meal is two things: 1. To toast everything in the oven at the same time and 2. It is good to use small sizes like mini bagels or else cut the toast in half because half of the fun is trying lots of different creations on each one–you can go savory or you could go sweet–the ultimate brunch conundrum, now YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL!

Here’s how I make this giant spread for a big group in less than ten minutes.

  1. Turn the oven on to 450 degrees to start heating up.
  2. Get out a cookie sheet and lightly butter (kids can help!) I usually don’t even wait for the preheat and just throw it in the oven and set a timer for 6 minutes. While it is toasting, I prepare the toppings.
  3. Get out a big cutting board and directly on it cut up: tomatoes, shallots or green onions and avocado. Add a handful of spinach or lettuce. Put out spreads like jam, cream cheese. (Leave space to put your breads.)
  4. Check on the carbs in the oven, they are either ready or need 1-3 more minutes (don’t let them burn!) When they’re ready, dump them directly onto the cutting board.
  5. That’s it! You’re done. Stand there while everyone compliments you. PS: Sometimes I add a bowl of fruit or a smoothie, or a quick batch of eggs depending on what we have in the cupboard to supplement.

What’s your favorite easy breakfast?

Summer Uniform

Do you have a uniform? I started wearing dresses more this summer. I love that it feels a little bit fancy but I throw on some tennis shoes to dress it down and so I can walk all over town and get things done. What’s your uniform?

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Wise Investments No. 1

This a series talking about things you wouldn’t think would come in handy BUT have a surprisingly high ROI (sometimes just in joy.) I’d like to make the case for: A BUTTON MAKER.

I needed buttons for an event ten or so years ago and it made financial sense to buy a button maker instead of paying to have them fabricated. At the time I wasn’t sure what else I would use it for. I underestimated how useful it would be. With a button maker, most of the cost are in the initial price of the machine and paper cutter. After that, the costs of supplies are minimal. Here are some of the ways I’ve used it.

• At the preschool coop fundraiser- I ran a customized button booth to raise money for the school.
• In my children’s birthday party favor bags we made customized buttons.
• For a friend’s going away party we made buttons with their faces on it and we all wore them.
• I was a volunteer art teacher at my children’s public school and we used the button maker many times (kids can use with assistance.)
• At Paul’s birthday party we gave out buttons for guests to wear.
• I was paid to make a small installation at a brand event with a button wall.
• Sold buttons in the Oh Happy Day Party Shop.
• My niece used it to make buttons when she ran for her school election.
• As a family we were learning about feelings and we made buttons with names of emotions on it and you would wear the button you were feeling.
• We cut out circles and had our kids color on them and make buttons out of them.

This isn’t even an exhaustive list! It’s gotten so much use and even made me money. I still have the same one I bought and it’s held up great. Once you make the initial investment, all you need is access to a computer and printer and the button fronts and backs which are really inexpensive. I will note it helps that I know the basics on some graphic design programs but it would work with Microsoft Paint as well.

Eye Spy

They say money can’t buy you happiness but sometimes stuff makes you feel better for a little while. Here are some things I’ve been spying around the internet. (Also I suspect I would be happier with that shave ice machine.)

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Stoop Hang Outs

One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year was to throw elaborate dinner parties. Then of course everything changed with the pandemic. This Summer, when the governor permitted small gatherings we finally started hosting one or two friends over on our stoop outside. 

It was probably all that pent up energy but our casual stoop hangs kept getting more and more over the top. We also learned a lot so it became really easy to throw together. Here are my tips for throwing a small but indulgent outdoor stoop party.

Stoop Hang Outs | Oh Happy Day

Be Prepared
I get anxiety around events so simplifying and preparing things ahead of time is key for me to have a good time. I usually make a menu in the morning and then make a quick trip around noon to the grocery store. I try to think of all the little things that are easy to forget (like water, serving spoons, extra napkins) and set them out in advance.

Drinks
We got really into making mixed drinks during quarantine (another post for another day) so this is one area where we like to have something special or homemade. If I know I have guests coming over, I’ll make an infused vodka or something a few days before. We pick a few cocktails like a spritz and a Negroni to offer guests and make sure we have fresh garnishes on hand well as wine and beer. We always have one interesting non-alcoholic option for kids or nondrinkers. We keep sparkling water around so it’s easy to just chill a few bottles of Pellegrino that we can bring down for water.

Stoop Hang Outs | Oh Happy Day

Assemble Food (don’t cook)
I go through phases of things I enjoy serving but here are some of the types of things that are easy and work well for an outdoor spread. I probably wouldn’t serve all of this. Just pick and choose 3-6 things depending on what I have.

  1. Oysters. These seem fancy but are easy. I get them shucked at our local gourmet deli and they pack them on ice (I keep them in the fridge on ice–I also ask for extra crushed ice to keep in the freezer until it’s time to serve them). I serve with shallots and champagne vinegar sauce and tabasco sauce.
  2. Radishes. These are so crunchy and peppery. I keep stems on but wash really well and cut them in half. I serve in a colander with sea salt sprinkled on top.
  3. Olives. I usually get the pitted kind for picnics just because its easier to deal with.
  4. Crackers. At least one gluten-free kind.
  5. Cheese. I just pick one kind of crowd pleasing cheese like Comte. I pre-cut the cheese (and make lots of jokes for my 10 year old) because it’s a picnic and nobody has time to reach across and and struggle with a knife.
  6. Charcuterie. I pick something a little spicy like Sopressata and get it cut at the deli.
  7. Veggies. A nice pile of carrots cut in half (with a little stem on) look beautiful.
  8. Blackberries or Cherries. I like serving a big bowl of these cold.
  9. Dips. Something premade from the deli is nice to try with a cracker or veggie.
  10. Nuts. Some pretty Marcona almonds are salty and delicious. Or seasoned nuts are easy to keep in the pantry.

There is some preparation with vegetables or getting the mignonette sauce ready–all of that I do in advance. But everything else can be prepared about 20-30 minutes before your guests arrive.

Stoop Hang Outs | Oh Happy Day

Presentation
This is where all those little dishes and pretty napkins I’ve been hoarding my whole life come out and serve their purpose. I have this breakfast in bed tray that I use as a small table. I like using lots of small trays so I can set up a spread at the top of the stoop and at the bottom of the stoop. (We bring down a few chairs so people can stay 6 feet away.)

As you can see most of this is about presentation and assembly (not cooking). We’re always trying a new cocktail or making something special to add into our rotation. But I always remind myself that while it’s nice to have a pretty spread, mostly people are just happy to have good company and something simple to snack on. I do have big plans to make a small custom table that would fit on the stairs. lol.

Would love to hear what kind of gatherings you’ve been throwing during this crazy time?

Happy Habits: How to Automate Your Life

We’ve been talking about setting happy habits in this post and this post. Here are a few tips that I have found to help me automate my daily life systems.

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1 – Meal plan and prep. I am an avid fan of meal planning and having a flexible calendar of what we are eating during the week, so it isn’t too much of a scramble when it is dinner time. I do my best to meal plan and prep on the weekends – cut up fruit and veggies, and make meals easy to assemble during the week. These eco-conscious bags are perfect for snacks and they’re dishwasher and microwave safe. We love the variety of colors.

2 – Automate your grocery shopping as much as you can. As for grocery shopping, between Amazon Subscribe & Save, various meal delivery options, grocery delivery, and pick up, you can have this one in the bag.

3 – Figure out a chore and cleaning system. Pick a day or time to batch your chores. Monday could be laundry day, Tuesday mop the floor day, Thursday dust and vacuum day, etc. 

4 – Get everyone to pitch in to lighten the load. We have a simple chart and point system that is ever-evolving to keep tasks somewhat engaging for our kids. Every day each kid has at least one daily household job; they are in charge of dinner one night a week and their laundry. They earn points and get rewarded with prizes and extra privileges at the end of the week for following through. This chore chart can be personalized for each kid.

5 – Start a family clean up! One of my all-time favorite things we have implemented recently is the ‘7-minute’ clean-up. After dinner each night, we set a timer for 7 minutes (thanks to Alexa!) pump up the jams and clean up dinner, the kitchen, and surrounding family room, and it seriously gives me life. 

Chime in and share what systems you have found to work for you, I would love to hear about them!

Flower Fixation

Flowers in all their unique forms are something I could stare at all day long. I get excited about seeing them used in fresh ways and have noticed a trend in the most beautiful abstract and airy installations for events and parties. Here are some of my favorites ideas from around the web and Oh Happy Day archives.

Flowers | Oh Happy Day

Flower Fixation | Oh Happy Day

Flowers | Oh Happy Day

Flowers | Oh Happy Day

Flowers | Oh Happy Day

1 – Polish Chandelier | 2 – Classic Polish Chandelier | 3 – Hanging Flowers | 4 – Geometric Floral Pendants | 5 – Flowers in Cookies | 6 – Hydrangea Flower Popcorn | 7 – Flower Lollipops | 8 – Paper Flowers | 9 – Flowers and Streamers | 10 – Ethereal Hanging Flowers

Happy Habits: Tips for Getting Stuff Done

I recently finished listening to the audiobook Atomic Habits by James Clear, and it is such a brilliant book! Have you read or listened to it yet? It shares tons of useful tips that helped me clarify my thinking and habit process. (Spoiler alert! It focuses on establishing systems.) It is a book that I already want to read again. The last non-fiction book to resonate that much was this one, also fantastic. The book got me thinking about what systems I already have in place and which ones I can improve. With all of our incredible technology out there, I want to share practical apps that have helped me set up time management systems, and I would love to hear what works for you too!

Happy Habits | Oh Happy Day

1 – Make lists to stay organized, then execute. For digital lists and organization, (I have tried a ton!) the two digital options I keep coming back to are Todoist and TeuxDeux. Sometimes good old fashion post-its help make things happen, or paper systems work too, pick what works for you. This customizable paper looks impressive, and here is another beautiful one if you are tactile and the type to want to hold it in your hand.

2 – Timed tasking. A method that my husband and I use all the time and love is the Pomodoro Technique. It is breaking down your workday into 25-minute chunks (or whatever time increment works for you), and then you take a 5-minute break (to stand up, stretch, etc.) in between. An app we have liked for this method is Focus Keeper.

Happy Habits | Oh Happy Day

3 – Track where the time goes. The app Toggl is a simple one that helps track where the time goes while on the computer, which you can also use on your phone. If you have different projects, it is easy to switch back and forth, and it is helpful to see where your time is going for various projects and clients on the screen. It tallies the time up to see where you have been spending time all day or even all week.

4 – Build and maintain good habits. The Streaks app is a rad to-do list that encourages you to form great habits. Let’s say you want to meditate or drink eight glasses of water, or workout; this app helps you track those goals individually and has a daily running streak to help you accomplish them. It is motivating because it challenges you to keep that digital chain alive consecutively or it will reset back to zero, and you don’t want that!

What apps and time management systems do you use?

Planner Notepad | Clocks )

Pops of Pink

The Autumn colors are super beautiful, cozy and all over the place, yet pink is also showing up this year in a big way for fall, and it is super fun! We’re feeling all kinds of pops of pink today!

Pops of Pink | Oh Happy Day

1 Pink Dress | 2 Lunch in Paris | 3 Clever Gum Packaging Concept | 4 Brilliant Crayons | 5 Pink Lake | 6 Pink Elephant Chocolate Bar | 7 Pom Pom Sweater