OOTD | Keds x Madewell Sungarden Sneakers

In wake of springs’ new trend–florals–Madewell has incorporated this beautiful floral print called Sungarden into their spring line. The print is inspired  by an actual vintage photograph! I recently purchased the Keds x Madwell Sungarden Sneakers and been having an extra spring in my step since. It’s quite nostaglic because I remember wearing Keds as a kid and been loving this faded floral print. (I’m also digging the suede laces) I first saw the print from an exclusive Madewell x Birchbox Sungarden nail emery board in my March Birchbox (Love it!). Birchbox also sent an awesome $25 off of $75+ purchase discount offer. Thank you Birchbox!Keds x Madewell Sungarden sneakers via http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/ootd-madewell-x-keds-sungarden-sneakers/Madewell Sungarden

keds floral shoes via http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/ootd-madewell-x-keds-sungarden-sneakers/Gap for Threadless’ Alphabet “Missing U” shirt. JewelMint’s Heavy metal necklace. Lauren Conrad’s denim jeans. Madewell x Keds Sungarden sneakers.

floral crystal earrings via http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/ootd-madewell-x-keds-sungarden-sneakers/Anthropologie’s Floral crystal baubles earrings

{ photos: jennifer’s iPhone }

{ jou eats } tender greens, santa monica

I’ve been a fan since its original West LA location in Culver City and this Santa Monica TG is the bee’s knees. Not only is it blocks away from Santa Monica beach and 3rd Street Promenade, this location is bright, clean and has a LA-worthy outdoor seating patio.

The Happy Vegan – makes a Happy Tummy out of me. The salad has even sparked a LA Times recipe article and a cult following for health-conscious eaters. (I’ll link the recipe link below) It has fresh, leafy romaine greens surrounded by mounds of their signature quad mini salads (Farro Wheat Salad with cranberry & hazelnuts, Bulgar Wheat Tabbouleh salad, Quinoa Salad with cucumber & beets and Green Hummus). Be Daring! Try making the Happy Vegan recipe.

Sides:
Roasted Veggies – Perfectly roasted Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mushrooms, and carrots.
Rustic Chicken Soup – delicious and comforting chicken soup filled with chunks of potato, carrot, celery, leeks and thyme.

This is always my go-to dining spot when I’m near 3rd Street Promenade. Come on a sunny day, sit in the outdoor patio area and enjoy the weather and deliciously healthy food.

tender greens' happy vegan. favorite! via http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/jou-eats-tender-greens-santa-monica/tender greens' rustic chicken soup via http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/jou-eats-tender-greens-santa-monica/fun food art ! via http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/jou-eats-tender-greens-santa-monica/

Nude nails

nude nails w/ sparkle pop ! via http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/nude-nails/Nude nails with a party sparkler pop. Zoya nude polish in Pandora, Sephora by OPI sparkle in Too Good for Him.

I normally gravitate to pinks when it comes to nail polishes. (If you were to look at my polish stash, it’d look like a basket of iridescent berries). I opted for nude because I wore a pink dress over the weekend and wanted a more muted finish on my hands. I usually dress up my ring finger in a different color for fun. This time I added the sparkle + pop glitter for the party.

OOTD – Florals

OOTD Florals via http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/ootd-florals/Outfit of the Day: Sweater, H&M. Boyfriend jeans, Uniqlo. Navy blue boat shoe, Sperry Top-Sider. Long necklace, JewelMint. Floral scarf.

OOTD Florals via http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/ootd-florals/OOTD Florals via http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/ootd-florals/Accessories: Stacked rings. Vintage earrings.

The weather is beautiful. It’s been one of those in-between days–a comfortable 70 degrees with a slight breeze. It’s too warm to wear a jacket over a long-sleeve shirt.

So I just throw on a floral scarf.

Garden Happenings

An update of whats going on in the garden to mark the beginning of spring.

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Lavender, Feverfew and Daffodils.

We planted some flowers around the garden to help attract bees and other beneficial insects.  They also add color and pleasant scents to the garden.  The lavender is currently blooming while the feverfew and daffodils haven’t bloomed yet.

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Lettuce and Spinach.

We had a bunch of extra lettuce seeds, so we decided to try growing baby greens.  We randomly scattered a variety of lettuce seeds and are planning to pick most of them when they are still young.  We will probably leave a few to grow in to full-size lettuce plants for later.  We also have some larger lettuce that we started on the balcony and transplanted in to the garden.  One of our garden friends also gave us some spinach seedlings.  I’ve always thought that spinach didn’t transplant well because of the long tap root, but the spinach seedlings are doing great.

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Blueberry Bushes.

Our blueberry bushes are growing well with lots of berries.  We haven’t planted them in their more permanent planters yet (still under construction) but they seem to be doing great.  The blueberries are slowly ripening so we plan to cover them with bird netting soon to keep the birds for eating all of the fruit.  We have two varieties of blueberries, Sunshine Blue and Bountiful Blue, both of which have low-chill requirements since it doesn’t get that cold at the garden.  Blueberries also produce more fruit when two different varieties can cross-pollinate.

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Kale, Beets and Carrots.

The kale plants are ready for another harvest and the beets and carrots are growing nicely.  Remember to keep the carrots and beets evenly watered to produce the best roots.

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Strawberry Tower, Strawberry Flower and Baby Strawberry.

The strawberry plants are doing great in the strawberry tower.  There are lots of strawberry flowers and baby strawberries growing so we are eagerly awaiting our first strawberry harvest!

There are still a few garden tasks that need to be completed before we are ready for summer vegetable planting.  We need to finish construction of the redwood blueberry planters (details coming soon!) as well as construction of the tomato and cucumber trellises.  We also need to finalize our garden plan for the summer and figure out what sorts of vegetables we are going to be growing.

Palm Springs Wedding

The Viceroy. Lemons. Skateboards. It’s It ice cream sandwiches. Pool party. Ornate headpiece. Tear-jerking speeches. Instax photos. Awesome friends. Dance, dance, dance.

This wedding had it all. Epic and Beautiful. Congratulations Catharina and Jeremy! You two exude happiness, adventure and life–perfect for each other!

Viceroy Palm Springs - http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/palm-springs-wedding/Pink manicure - http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/palm-springs-wedding/Viceroy Palm Springs Reception - http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/palm-springs-wedding/table setting - http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/palm-springs-wedding/funny faces - http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/palm-springs-wedding/It's It: Mint Ice Cream Sandwich - http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/palm-springs-wedding/

Bargain: Crate & Barrel Free Beats

Crate & Barrel may be known for home furnishings, but recently they’ve been furnishing my iPod with free beats from their site.

They’ve curated their favorite music and released two (pretty awesome) playlists, apps and books to share–for FREE! Get ’em while they’re hot!

Click here to Get the Download

playlist-bannerFree iTunes to download! via http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/bargain-crate-barrel-free-beats/Free iTunes to download via http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/bargain-crate-barrel-free-beats/

Strawberry Tower

We built a stacked redwood and cedar planter strawberry tower over the weekend to give vertical gardening a try. (Planter details will be in another post).

We used both redwood and cedar planters to see which one would hold up better.  Both are insect and rot resistant and the contrast between the red redwood and white cedar looked nice.  Planter dimensions are 15×7.5×7.5inches.  The bottom of each planter has 11 0.5inch drainage holes to allow water to exit the planters.

The planting mix we used was 1/3 screen compost (from the community garden), 1/3 organic potting soil and 1/3 organic azalea mix since strawberries like slightly acidic soil.

The strawberry varieties we planted were “Seascape” and “Sequoia”.  Be sure to check which strawberry varieties do best in your area before planting.

strawberry tower via http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/strawberry-tower/ strawberry tower 2 via http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/strawberry-tower/

strawberry tower 3 via http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/strawberry-tower/ strawberry tower 4 via http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/strawberry-tower/
Strawberry planting.

We started by filling each planter with soil mix and then lightly tamping the soil down to remove air pockets.  The final height of the soil was 0.75 inches from the top of the planter.  The lower soil level makes it easier to water the plants and it also prevents the soil from being washed out during watering.  It also allows us to add a layer of mulch to help retain soil moisture.

After all of the planters had been filled, we used a hand trowel to dig a shallow ditch on one side of the planter (1.5-2 inches deep) to plant the strawberries.  Ideally the strawberries should be planted so the soil level is even with middle of the crown (here is a good picture that shows proper planting depth).  Since we purchased strawberries that were in 6-packs, we just has to make sure that soil level in the planter matched the existing soil level on the strawberries when we planted.  If you wanted to plant bare-root strawberries, you would have to dig a slightly deeper hole to give the roots room to spread out.  After placing the strawberry plants in to the hole, we gently filled the soil in between the plants and lightly tamped to remove large air pockets.  We planted two strawberry plants on each side of the planter for a total of 4 plants per planter (one in each corner).  We also interplanted the two varieties just to mix things up.

The strawberry tower is supported by a 6ft metal t-post driven about 1.5 ft in to the ground where the planters cross (behind the planters so that the wind will blow the planters in to the post).  The bottom planter was set on two patio pavers to allow for better drainage and to provide a level base for the tower.  It is very important to have the base level the all directions before stacking, otherwise the tower will be unstable.

Finally we stacked the planters on top of each other, alternating directions so the boxes formed an “X” pattern.  Then we gave the planters a deep watering to help them establish deep roots.

strawberry tower 5 via http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/strawberry-tower/
Stacked strawberry tower.

Carrots and Beets: Hidden Treats

Recently we planted some carrots and beets in the garden.  Both are very easy to grow and its always exciting to harvest root vegetables since you never know whats hidden under the surface.

Carrots & Beets: Hidden Treats - http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/carrots-and-beets-hidden-treats/ Carrots & Beets: Hidden Treats - http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/carrots-and-beets-hidden-treats/Carrots & Beets: Hidden Treats - http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/carrots-and-beets-hidden-treats/
Carrot and beet seeds.

We planted two types of carrots, Long Imperator and Kuroda just to have some variety.  All carrots pretty much grow the same way with slight variations in carrot length and thickness.

Carrots & Beets: Hidden Treats - http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/carrots-and-beets-hidden-treats/ Carrots & Beets: Hidden Treats - http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/carrots-and-beets-hidden-treats/ Carrots & Beets: Hidden Treats - http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/carrots-and-beets-hidden-treats/
Carrot planting process.

Carrots are best direct seeded in the garden since they don’t transplant well (the long tap root that eventually forms the carrot is very delicate and tends to get damaged during transplanting).  To plant the carrot seeds, we first loosened the soil and removed anything that might impede carrot growth (rocks, branches, etc.) so the carrots could grow long and straight.  Then we made shallow (1/4 inch) trenches using the edge of a hand trowel for the seeds.  After the trenches were made, we sprinkled carrot seeds in to each row trying to keep the spacing between seeds about 1 inch.  Its better to seed slightly heavier and then thin the seedlings later in case some of the seeds don’t sprout.  Then we covered the seeds gently and very lightly tamped the soil to keep the seeds from washing away when we watered.

Beets were planted in the same way, but the spacing between beet seeds was 3-4 inches since beets get much larger than carrots.  Also, while each carrot seed contains only one “seed”, beet seeds actually contain a couple “seeds”.  So don’t plant beets too close together since the majority of the seeds planted will sprout (at least one beet seedling).  Beets can also be transplanted so if there are bare areas where seeds didn’t sprout, you can transplant seedlings as you thin out crowded areas.

Avoid planting carrots and beets in fresh manure or incomplete compost.  The vegetables will grow “hairy” roots and flavor may be affected.  Always mix the compost with the soil well and allow to age for a little while before planting carrots and beets.

After planting, remember to water the seeds gently to make sure they don’t wash away.  The seeds have to be kept moist, but not wet, to have good sprouting.  Overly wet soil will cause the seeds to rot and seeds in dry soil will never sprout.

Carrots & Beets: Hidden Treats - http://itsjoulife.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/carrots-and-beets-hidden-treats/
Carrot (back) and Beet (front) seedlings.

After the seeds have sprouted and the first set of true leaves (leaves that look like miniature versions of full-grown leaves) have appeared, you can thin the carrots to be 2-3 inches apart and the beets to be 3-4 inches apart.  Beets can be harvested when young for baby beets or you can wait till they are full grown for larger beets.  Beet greens can also be eaten so don’t throw them out!  You can check carrot growth by gently brushing away the soil near the base of the carrot tops to check on the size of the carrot, but its always a surprise on how long the carrot is.  Remember to keep the soil evenly moist throughout the growing season to help prevent cracking carrots and you will be rewarded with delicious hidden treats.