DIY: Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub

Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub | Freckled Italian

My skin has not been my best friend these past five months or so (redness, breakouts, and a lot of painful dry skin/flakiness around my nose and chin), and I was really struggling to find a scrub or mask that was both natural and effective. Sometimes I use coconut oil as a moisturizer or a hair mask. So I added some sugar to an almost-empty jar and made a face scrub.

This is not a fancy natural beauty remedy loaded with essential oils. This is sugar and coconut oil, but it works wonders.

Coconut Oil Sugar Scrub

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup white sugar

Instructions:

  1. Microwave the coconut oil slightly so it becomes more liquid than solid. 
  2. Add the sugar. Give it a stir. 
  3. Keep the mixture in your shower or by your sink and use on your face (and hands!) 2-3 times per week.

That's it! If you want to add your favorite essential oils or experiment with other ingredients you can go for it, but this very basic and easy to make scrub has been such a lifesaver for me recently and I really look forward to using it every few days.

DIY: Pallet Herb Garden

DIY Pallet Herb Garden | Freckled Italian

I'm back with another spring post in partnership with Cambria Winery--this time it's a DIY! I picked up an old wooden pallet the other day and turned it into a fun herb garden for our patio. I've been wanting to do this for over a year but never actually made any moves to make it happen, so I'm super excited about it.

It was way easier than I thought it would be, so if you're living in an apartment or townhouse and have limited outdoor space, check out the Cambria blog to see how I did it! There's nothing quite like having fresh herbs at your disposal all the time, especially when it's gorgeous outside.

DIY Pallet Herb Garden | Freckled Italian

DIY | How to Make a Candy-Filled Gender Reveal Cake

Gender Reveal Party Cake | Freckled Italian

One of my friends is expecting a baby in February, and when she said she and her husband were planning to have a gender reveal party, I practically jumped out of my seat and begged her to let me make the cake.

When I was in college, my roommate Raquel and I used to bake all the time and we got pretty good when it came to decorating cupcakes. I hadn't really decorated a full cake before but I knew I wanted to fill the cake with colored candy instead of dying the batter, and it turned out so cute! I was so excited about how it turned out and my friends loved it, so I wanted to share how I did it here on the blog.

Supplies/Ingredients: 

  • 2-3 boxes of cake mix (I used 3 for this but you could easily do 2--you'll need to make enough for 4 round cake pans)
  • Eggs, oil, and water according to package directions
  • Frosting: I used 1 blue, 1 pink, and 3 white (this was more than enough)
  • Piping bag and frosting tips (I used flower and star tips)
  • Blue or pink M&Ms, or any other candy (this doesn't even have to be a gender thing, it's just a fun party cake!)
Gender Reveal Party Cake | Freckled Italian

Instructions: 

  1. Bake cakes according to package instructions. Allow to cool completely. (I made the cakes the night before and cooled them on my counter before refrigerating them in plastic zip-lock bags overnight.)
  2. With a serrated knife, cut the very top (rounded) layer off all four cakes. This allows them to stack evenly.
  3. Take two of the cake layers and use a wide glass to remove a circle from the center of each. These pieces will go in the middle of the cake and store the candy surprise! 
  4. Layer the first whole/no-hole piece of cake on a large plate or cake dish and use some frosting to lightly cover only the top of it. What I did here is use some blue frosting because my friends are having a boy (!) and I wanted the frosting inside to be colored. Stack one of the pieces with a hole in it on top and repeat the frosting on the top. Add the other piece with the hole and frost the top.
  5. Fill the hollow cake with candy and add the top layer of cake. Frost with white icing and then cover the sides of the cake with white frosting as well. Once the entire outside of the cake is covered with white frosting and smoothed to your liking, refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  6. Now it's time to decorate! I used blue and pink frosting to cover the cake with flowers and then mixed the leftover colored icing with some white to make a lighter version of each color, and then I filled in any blank spots of the cake with a star tip. Decorate your cake however you want! The design I did was pretty simple and managed to be pretty impressive in the end.
  7. Refrigerate cake until ready to present/serve. If you've filled it with chocolate candy like I did, make sure you don't leave it out on a hot day!  
Gender Reveal Cake | Freckled Italian
Candy-Filled Gender Reveal Cake | Freckled Italian
Candy-Filled Gender Reveal Cake | Freckled Italian
Candy-Filled Gender Reveal Cake | Freckled Italian
Gender Reveal Cake | Freckled Italian

How cute is that cake? I had to snap a shot at the party later that night after they cut it:

Candy-Filled Gender Reveal Cake | Freckled Italian

New Year's Eve Party Ideas: Small Plates & a DIY Photo Booth

DIY Photo Booth Backdrop | Freckled Italian

Christmas is this week, which means New Year's Eve is just around the corner! This year I wanted to post some ideas for an easy at-home New Year's Eve celebration, complete with small plates (so you don't have to cook) and a super simple photo booth backdrop, because it's not a party without a photo booth! 

Rob and I tested it all out last weekend because I just love you guys so much, and I wanted to be sure everything went according to plan.

Small Bites and Wine Pairings | Freckled Italian

We poured La Crema's Sonoma Coast Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as well as their Monterey Pinot Gris, which paired really well with a wide variety of small bites like smoked salmon and charcuterie. I personally love a meal composed of tapas, so this is perfect--and since New Year's Eve parties tend to be later in the evening, I think you can get away with serving less food since most people will just be snacking. 

New Year's Eve Wine Pairings and Photo Booth DIY | Freckled Italian
Small Plates for New Year's Eve | Freckled Italian

You can very easily make your own photo booth backdrop with a poster board and some tissue paper--check out the full tutorial over on the La Crema blog! I used some festive metallic tissue paper that I think feels very New Years-y.

Photobooth Backdrop DIY | Freckled Italian
Photobooth Backdrop DIY | Freckled Italian
DIYphotobooth-48.jpg

This was my first time using a selfie stick and it's my new favorite thing. Rob and I were totally cracking up! And I don't know about you, but I'm not usually one to print out photos, so I just popped the photo booth shots into a collage maker so we could still get that quintessential photo booth strip. Don't forget the props! It's not a photo booth without a big fake mustache.

What are your New Year's Eve plans this year? If you make a photo booth for your party, let me know--I want to see pictures! (And don't forget to visit the La Crema blog for my full New Year's Eve menu and photo booth DIY tutorial.

DIY Photo Booth | Freckled Italian

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of La Crema. The opinions and text are all mine.

Photos by Rémy Thurston for Freckled Italian.