Summer Bucket List

Excited for Summer?  You’re not alone!  Here’s a little inspiration for your Summer fun.  What do you have planned this summer?  Any vacations, or adventures?

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Summer Bucket List @howsweetlifeis

I have really missed keeping up with my personal blog and am hoping to revive it this Summer.  Lately, I’ve been caught up in the hustle and bustle of trying to ‘do it all’ and ‘have it all’ and it hasn’t been effective, to be honest with you.  I often find myself juggling too many things at the same time and so much multi-tasking has taken a toll on me.  It’s so hard sometimes to find time to squeeze everything in.  Being an awesome mommy, loving wife, and ultimate boss lady while also finding time to take care of myself has been near impossible, most days.

If you know me, you already know I’m your classic Type A personality.  I like order, planning, and being in control.  I’m rarely spontaneous and don’t like to make decisions ‘on the fly’.  This usually results in days that are fully planned with little (or no) downtime, and I’m left feeling stretched thin and also not productive.

I’ve forgotten how to relax and enjoy the art of ‘doing nothing’.  I’ve been too busy doing things to truly enjoy living life, and I really want to commit to changing this.  I need to stop and smell the roses along the way, instead of simply grabbing them and placing them in a vase because they ‘look pretty’, and not take the time to enjoy the moment.

This Summer, I want to slow down and purposefully make time for what matters in my life – friends, family, and renewing my body and soul.  We only live this life once, and if we don’t slow down to enjoy it, what good is it all?

Join me this Summer as I cross things off my Summer Bucket List and slowly make the move to being less busy and enjoying life more.  No, I will not give up my to-do lists or stop planning my days, but I will intentionally leave more blank space in my planner to sit back and enjoy all the good Summer has to offer.

Hoping you stick around for more updates, and invite you to follow my sweet blog and share your comments.

xo

 

 

Keeping it simple: What’s for dinner? Spicy mussels and chorizo!

One of my favorite summer dishes is mussels in white wine and garlic sauce.  A highlight of my travels is having the classic Belgian meal of ‘moules et frites’ (mussels and fries) in a classic Belgian beer garden restaurant, which opened in London in the mid to late 90’s – Belgo Centraal – and it is still there, in Covent Garden, if you ever visit!  I was lucky enough to frequent this restaurant when it first opened, and was seen as a cutting-edge modern and industrial space, and blessed to return with my husband just a few years ago when we visited London together.

If you love mussels, then there is no better pairing than crispy french fries and a cold (preferably Belgian!) beer.  Well, years later I was brave enough to attempt to recreate this at home, thanks to a very simple recipe I got from a dear foodie friend.  The result was delicious, and I was surprised at how easy it was to make.

The only thing is that it was too ‘plain’ for my Mexican husband — he is a man who eats a jalapeno with every meal and even wants to add hot sauce to Dominican food!  So, imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon this fabulous recipe, that includes spicy Mexican chorizo as well as red pepper flakes to bring a little more heat in.  Needless to say, it was a huge hit!

Spicy Mussels and Chorizo, Recipe and Image via Martha Stewart

Spicy Mussels and Chorizo, Recipe and Image via Martha Stewart

For this recipe, and lots more one-pot dinners and simple dinner recipes, visit my ‘easy dinner ideas’ pinterest board and follow me on pinterest!  You will be inspired for sure, but also will probably leave very hungry and ready to try a new recipe!

xoxo

sweetest mami

ps If you make this, do come back and let me know what you think of the recipe!

Free Printable – Motivational Quote!

Hustle Until You No Longer Have to Introduce Yourself

Hustle Until You No Longer Have to Introduce Yourself (c) Art Print by Sweetest Celebrations

There are times when you have to give it your all to make your dreams come true.  These times are tough, but the reward is worth it.  I’ve been working on my business for a few years now, and it’s finally starting to shape into what I always dreamt of.  This hasn’t been easy, though, and I keep many motivational quotes at hand to keep me going.  When I found this one, it was perfect, since in my industry, I go to many events and work with many talented people I admire greatly, and in the beginning it was really hard being the ‘newbie’.  I’m glad I stayed true to my vision though and took the time to connect with others on a one to one basis, in person and virtually.  This was hard, but so worth it.  Now when I am at an event, it’s so nice to be welcome by people who have actually become good friends of mine, and people I don’t know actually approach me knowing who I am before I introduce myself.

Whatever you do, do it with purpose, and even though it may take time to reach your goals, stay focused and the reward will be great.  I hope this quote motivates you too, and that you find a home for it so you can see it often and stay on track.

xoxo

Chic Master Bedroom Inspiration {pink ivory and gold}

Chic Master Bedroom Inspiration

Chic Master Bedroom Inspiration

Summer breeze, cool and calm…perfect time for a sweetest bedroom makeover!

This inspiration board features blush, ivory and gold, for just the right touch of feminine but also a hint of the modern.

Contact me today for your personalized inspiration board!

xoxo

be merry and bright

The holidays are in full swing around here, and hopefully you are finding time to enjoy time with your loved ones too, amid the chaos and busy times that come with it.  Since my last post, I have been relishing in the little moments that make me so grateful and love every minute of motherhood, despite how difficult it can be at times.  Here a few highlights I wanted to share with you…

We sent out nearly one hundred Christmas cards this year, at the eleventh hour…which I had to design and print at home just to get them out on time!  Needless to say, there are still a few we didn’t manage to get out and I felt a little bad about this, so I wanted to share the card online so EVERYONE can see it…

Duartes-Christmas-Card-2014

We celebrated our girls’ fifth birthday just four days before Christmas, which also makes for a very busy week!  The girls were so happy to be in the company of lots of new friends, and all the kids were over the moon with excitement when they broke the piñata and experienced an awesome sugar rush!

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The last highlight I’d like to share — but definitely not the least important, by far — is what seems like the closest we’ll get to a family Christmas photo for this year.  It was a bit of an impromptu moment actually…we finally arranged a date night and we asked the babysitter to snap a quick photo of us before we went out, but of course, all the kids wanted in!  I love this photo because it captures the raw truth of our everyday life — girls excited to see us leave, and Lucas sad to see us go — it was a bittersweet goodbye, but a much-deserved mini break from parenting, even if ever so brief.

IMG_4019Well, I leave you with a heartfelt thank you and appreciation for keeping up with me and my little family.  Life keeps us all busy but it’s so nice to be able to share these sweetest moments in the hopes that it will brighten your day, and give you a moment to reflect on the little joys in your own life.

Wishing you all a happy new year and all the best for 2015!

Until next time…stay sweet!

xoxo

Haydee 

ps  Those of you who read my last post will appreciate this comment…the Advent cards I made last year finally turned up, just days after I created new ones for this year!!

{a freebie for you} advent cards for your sweetest ones…

Ok, I’ll admit, I’m a little late to the party this year.  Last year, I created a set of hand written advent cards with little messages and treats for my little ones, and I swear I saved them so I wouldn’t have to do it all over again…BUT we took out all the decorations for Christmas this weekend when we put our tree up, and they were NOWHERE to be found…

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Well, we did find Pepito, thankfully – our very own ‘elf on the shelf’, so I asked my husband to create a handwritten note for the kids on the first of December to kick off our advent tradition again, but it’s only the third day and we’ve already fallen behind.

I know it’s late, but hopefully my kids won’t notice.  I created these simple advent cards, using a place card template I use for weddings, which can be customized as needed for each day in advent.  It simply states the number of each day, with a short message “It’s time for…” which can be completed on the inside of the small tent card.  I simply didn’t have the energy right now to come up with 25 advent tokens, and thought it was best if I left it open to fill out as the month unfolds and so I could reuse them again in the future!

I’ve got some ideas I definitely want to reuse from last year, and hopefully you can draw inspiration from these too…

  • It’s time for a holiday sing-along party!
  • It’s time for ice cream sundaes
  • It’s time for a family movie night
  • It’s time for a fun Christmas craft activity
  • It’s time for you to find your new Christmas PJs
  • It’s time for us to bake holiday cookies

Well, if you are like me, and don’t mind being a bit behind with some traditions, I hope you enjoy the free printable –  Advent Cards (click the link to download the PDF).

Oh, yeah, and while I was at it, I also designed our family’s holiday cards, since (again) I fell behind on ordering these online this year and really didn’t think I could get these out on time unless I did them myself.  I hope to print these out soon, so I can get them out to those of you on my NICE list this year…stay tuned, as I’ll be happy to share the photo online once they’ve been mailed.

Until next time, Stay Sweet!

xoxo

Haydee

{grateful}

thanksgiving 2014

me. carving the cake. xo

 

these guys. love them to bits xo

these guys. love them to bits xo

I am so grateful today, for little things and grand things.  This year has been full of accomplishments, celebrations, and sweet moments, but also challenges.  As we recover from a bountiful Thanksgiving, I take this moment to reflect on all I’m thankful for today, and always.  Today, my home and heart are full of joy, as I sit back and watch my lovely children play and laugh, and my loving husband enjoy a much-needed break from his chef duties while he watches football and has a beer.  My life is busy, I’ll be the first one to admit that, but I wouldn’t change anything for the world.  I am without a dull moment, and it’s all worth it.

As many of you know, I finally launched my own business two years ago and it is SO MUCH HARD WORK but also so rewarding.  It’s a thing of beauty to create something on your own and watch it blossom over time.  Sweetest Celebrations is my passion and I have barely touched the surface of everything I want to do with it.  The focus is on celebrating love and designing and styling weddings, but I also feel a need to share more inspiration for your home and entertaining through my business.

I have missed blogging here, on How Sweet Life Is, as it became my outlet for expressing my gratitude and love for my family as well as a way to stay connected with our dearest friends and family.  I have neglected this blog for too long, overthinking what I will share and creating the perfect blog post as an extension of my new creative business, but I realize now that simplicity is best, when it comes to many things in life.  Expect to hear more from me in the future, whether I’m sharing a sweet moment with you that made my day, sharing a sneak peek into my home, or simply sharing a tried and true family recipe that I can’t get enough of.

I tried keeping a journal and it was to no avail.  In an effort to do it all, I have left to much ‘for later’ and regret falling out of touch with my first love – writing.  I have baby books to fill, family photos to hang, and decorating projects to finish.  Follow me as I continue on this crazy and fun journey, and share with you my ups and downs, and turn to my words for comfort on days (like today) when I’m feeling just a bit overwhelmed because there’s just a little too much on my plate…and writing gives me the release I need to continue and feel renewed.

Thank you for taking the time to read my humble blog and stay connected, and thanks to all you fellow blogging mamas who continue to inspire me with your DIY projects and stories about your sweet families.  I am grateful for my little family who keeps me busier than I’d like to be, but also gives me hope and fills me with more joy than my little heart can handle sometimes.

{thank you for all your support and may you find joy in the simplest pleasures, today and always}

Stay sweet.

xoxo

Haydee