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The Art of the Meat + Cheese Board

It’s the season for gathering, bonding and of course eating! I’ve struggled so many times trying to come up with what to make to treat my guests. That is until I discovered the lovely “art” of the meat and cheese board. It’s trendy and simple to put together and the board creates a cozy and chill atmosphere. Plus, sharing food tends to be the perfect way to start up some great conversations and it can turn into some truly heartwarming conversations with friends.

I invited my closest girlfriends (also known as my “soul sisters”) Alona, Yana, and Oksana and their dolls Annika, Elsa and Vienna and baby Ace to Chloe’s 2nd birthday play-date. It was 10 am so I didn’t want to serve lunch and everyone had already eaten breakfast. The cheese board was the perfect treat for us mamas and for the babes to nibble on! Here are some ideas on how to assemble that ultimate spread.

1. Start with a giant board.

2. Place your meats on the tray first and place them across from one another- mine created a triangle.

3. Incorporate your cheeses (I love using different textures and flavors).

4. Add in your crackers – the more variety the better!

5. Tie in some dried fruit and nuts.

6. And my favorite step: ADD in everything else that makes your taste buds dance! Such as fresh fruit, jams, honey, favorite sauces, herbs…there is no right or wrong here!

Everyone enjoyed it so much that I ended up making another one the next day as an “appetizer” before dinner for my family. I hope you’ll give it a try and enjoy it as much as I did!

Photography: Michell Strizheus 

Wicker Table:

White Vase & Arrow Cheese Board: Mint+Basil

Dried Floral:

Cake and all ingredients: Hy-Vee

Stay tuned for more from Oksana, her delicate words, + drool worthy home. Explore the rest of her creative eye here:
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A Holiday DIY

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year….” We just couldn’t agree more with this Christmas classic. And while we mourn the lost days of sunshine and bright, golden leaves, we welcome this cozy season with open arms. So grab some hot chocolate, a cozy blanket and settle in for a fun holiday DIY that will surely create a special memory that warms your heart each year as you pull out your Christmas decor.

This time of year is a favorite at our “Nest”. It’s enjoyable for so many reasons but my favorite reason is to use those creative cells in my body that perhaps have been hibernating all year long. Since were all about stretching that penny, here are some ornaments I’ve created and put on my tree this year. Hope it inspires you to go out of your comfort zone and do something unusual and get your family involved doing it!

*All supplies can be found at your local craft store- I purchased all of mine at Hobby Lobby. 

“Paper Lantern”

  1. Items you need: card stock paper, beads (different sizes), hole punch, cord (mine is suede) and scissors.
  2. Cut 8 pieces or paper. Mine are approx. 6in long and 1/2 inch wide.
  3. Line up all pieces and make a hole on each end.
  4. Take a long piece of cord, fold into two and put your beads on the side with a loop.
  5. Line up you holes and thread the paper through both ends.
  6. Add a bead to the bottom and tie your cord to keep the bead secured in place.
  7. Fan out the paper, tie and cut access cord.


  1. Items you need: yarn, scissors, hard cover book, wooden beads and a long & thin tool to help feed the yard through the beads.
  2. Wrap your book approx. 50 times with your yarn
  3. Tie one end really tight and cut through the other end.
  4. Tie the tied end with additional yarn horizontally.
  5. Thread your beads and trim your ends to make them all equal length.

“Feather Ring”

  1. Items you need: wooden ring, beads, feather, cord and scissors.
  2. Wrap your ring 2-3 times with your cord and secure it with your bead but don’t tighten all the way.
  3. Feed the tip of your feather on the back side of the cord.
  4. Tighten to secure everything with your bead.


These ornaments instantly became sentimental and priceless for me. Hope you find a slow and cozy night in the next few weeks, make a cup of hot cocoa (insert drool emoji here), turn on some Christmas music and embrace your creative side with your little ones (or big ones) and perhaps create a few Christmas tradition.

Stay tuned for more from Oksana, her delicate words, + drool worthy home.  Explore the rest of her creative eye here:

Think you could add a little pizazz to what we’re doing here?  Get in touch!  We’d love to see what you’ve got cookin! Info + ideas to




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Re-staging // Shelving // & Transformations

With the change of seasons well underway up North, we are all for fresh starts, fresh decor and transforming our homes into a cozy, little atmosphere that prepares us for the long winter ahead and countless hours spent indoors. Read on to hear how Mint + Basil Ambassador, Oksana, gives here home that “fresh” new feel with items she already has.

I love moving things around in my home as it makes me feel like I’ve hit the refresh button. One of the ways I spruce up my home is by un-decorating and re-staging. Sounds weird, I know! But there’s nothing more satisfying than a “blank canvas”. When the creative juices start flowing, I literally move my entire living room (or whatever room I am working with) to one corner and start with a clean slate, moving things around playing with it until it feels just right. It doesn’t always make sense at first and looks odd but it’s all about the big picture. Today I want to show you how I style my kitchen shelf doing just that, de-staging and then putting it back together.

There are a few things I like to keep in mind during this process….

  1. Start with a clean shelf.
  2. Start with the large pieces first & position them randomly throughout the space. (This part always looks odd and it really doesn’t have to make sense.)
  3. Add in your medium sized pieces next. I like to add texture by layering, for example, placing items both horizontally and vertically (such as plates).
  4. Add in some contrast by placing light pieces in front of dark pieces.
  5. Incorporate everything else! (This is my favorite part!) In my case, I added a glass jar full of carved wooden spoons, cheese board utensils, metal straws & honey spoons. I also added a bit of nature with some dried grass from my backyard. I like to play around and add height and dimension.

I prefer a cohesive shelf and displaying items with a similar feel. I stick with a color scheme or an actual theme. I love simplicity with a pop. I also try to tie in pieces that make me happy and bring heartfelt memories or just things I enjoy (such as coffee- can I get an AMEN!?). My shelf incorporates a lot of simple whites, textured whites, neutrals and to add the pop factor a bit of copper. I begin by separating my items into three sections. Large items, medium pieces and the tiny details. I like to make three piles on my table.

Hope this helps you with whatever project that’s brewing in your creative soul right now. My only advice I can give is to start blank and bare. This can be applied in a lot of areas of our life. There’s something powerful about a fresh start as it often turns into a magnificent transformation.

Stay tuned for more from Oksana, her delicate words, + drool worthy home.  Explore the rest of her creative eye here:

Think you could add a little pizazz to what we’re doing here?  Get in touch!  We’d love to see what you’ve got cookin! Info + ideas to







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Chloe’s First

On account of the change of seasons, we’re bred to accompany the Midwest temperatures in every way we can.  By this you may see scarves resembling blankets and hot coffee in hand at all times.  With Fall in full force, you might have noticed new decor around town or in the doorways of homes – celebrating each and every cool, crisp day as it comes.  Today, we’re presenting the well designed affair of a first birthday for these “wake up to only wrap up in another blanket” types of days.  Our ambassador Oksana uses knits, incorporates anything copper colored, & as much natural light as you can bring to the table as possible.  My oh my, we’re in for a sweet treat.

“The most beautiful events I’ve experienced in my entire life was the birth of my two babies who are now 3 & 1. Seeing their tiny lips and toes for the first time, and feeling their warm little bodies has to literally been the highlight of my life. Seeing my husband swooning and hovering over our little babes making sure they are warm and secure is probably the next best thing. And then it happened!!!  We blinked and you would NOT believe it… a whole YEAR flew by! First birthdays are a huge accomplishment, but at the same time are very devastating because you realize that the newborn scent has worn off and you can hardly lift your baby in the car seat.

And just like that, my husband and I ended up with 2 winter babies. To say the least, we’ve never been fortunate enough to throw those fun outdoor parties that involve slides and inflatables. And I’ve come to terms with the fact that two winter babies mean a lot of indoor celebrations.”


“Chloe’s first birthday was filled with lots of plants, which we brought inside for the winter. We also incorporated knits, copper details and as much natural light as possible. My favorite piece was hands-down the highchair I scored from craigslist that my sweet man restored. And call us cheap (I like to call it being economical) but we pieced together as many things we found around the house to give it a festive feel without breaking the bank.”

“As you’ll notice, pickles and jam are huge at our house. We used the glass jars we’ve accrued throughout the year as candle holders to brighten up our mantel. Some of the jars were wrapped with yarn to add more warmth and texture. We used a wooden crate, that on a regular day gets used to tuck away toys, as a shelf to add dimension to the “cake table”. I repotted all the plants into clay pots to keep everything consistent. Everything that gave off the cozy, inviting and warm feel was brought out to display on this special day. I hope you can find some inspiration here, and if you are like us, and have birthdays where you’re stuck inside, you too can make the most of it. I hope you can spend the day snuggling with ones you love unconditionally; embracing things you already own.”

Stay tuned for more from Oksana, her delicate words, + drool worthy home.  Explore the rest of her creative eye here:

Think you could add a little pizazz to what we’re doing here?  Get in touch!  We’d love to see what you’ve got cookin! Info + ideas to  

0 In B L O G

Breathe, Cleanse, Soak, Repeat.

Climb into your favorite yoga pants, unroll your mat, begin your sun salutations and prepare to have your chakras aligned by our favorite mood booting incidents. Juniper Ridge, creating products out of pure love for wilderness & to protect the wild places they originate from.  Connection.. this also being a key piece in the making of their products, enforcing the idea to find a connection with nature by also finding the connection with parts of ourselves.

Ok we get it.. they’re products are great.  Wanna know what’s even better?  Last year, their efforts protected 330,000 acres of coastal wilderness in Northern CA with the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument.  Yes we said National Monument – in which they grabbed the attention of former President Obama who signed for it.  I’m impressed.  Not only do their products speak for themselves, the company is speaking for the world.  Since starting the business in 2011, donations have been over a quarter of a million dollars backed by eagerly donating 10% of profits or 1% of sales, whichever is greater, to organizations dedicated to protecting their wild.

Products are 100% Wildcrafted and produced using old perfume making techniques including distillation, tincturing, infusion and enfleurage. A hundred years ago, all perfumes were made this way – but today, they are the only ones who handle every step of the process themselves, from beginning to end. These formulas vary from year to year and harvest to harvest, based on rainfall, temperature, exact harvesting location, and season.  Take a look at the name of your Juniper Ridge product, or even the product’s harvest number stamped on the label – each name having it’s own specific meaning to the area in which the product was harvested from or take the harvest number you find and check out their site to see photos of the plants and extraction techniques that were used in the process.We’ve stocked our own store with their Incense & Smudge Sticks… which by frankly have been quite the popular items heading out the door.  Known to “wash off” objects or spaces by blessing, cleansing, and healing, we pulled these products for those in need of some sage therapy or new homeowners looking to bless and cleanse their new space.  Need more from Juniper Ridge?  Check out their site linked below to snag more of their wild products.

>> <<

In other bath & body, and beautiful news, another company we are so excited to introduce is the lovely luxurious line Ebb & Flow.  The first thing we did once they arrived in shop was stare at the pretty little things so don’t be afraid to gift these out as they’ll make any room stand out above the rest.

Based in New York City, Ebb and Flow is a plant based soap that is oh so kind to your skin. Best thing yet, these bars of soap are 100% free of chemicals, and instead are filled with nourishing plant-based essential oils. Ebb and Flow’s earthy scents will have you feeling like you’re breathing in nature’s wild air. Not only will this soap refresh your senses, it will also cleanse your skin and leave it silky smooth.Get it for you, get it for a gift… anybody holiday shopping yet?  I know you’re out there!  We’ve picked out some our favorite scents for you, wander on in & sniff for yourselves.

This Week Only // 10.2.17-10.8.17 // Get Juniper Ridge and Ebb & Flow 15% OFF! In-store or phone orders accepted.  Must mention at checkout.  Not available with any other offer. Stock up + enjoy!

M+B Noteworthy Items:

Gold Lanterns

Texture Pom Pillows

Soap Dishes

Written by: Frankie Hutchinson

Photography: Frankie Hutchinson

Editor: Brynn Joki

Think you could add a little pizazz to what we’re doing here?  Get in touch!  We’d love to see what you’ve got cookin! Info + ideas to  

0 In B L O G

Beyond the Brand, Beyond The Olive

Now…. ever think trading a plain ol’ EVOO for a Beyond the Olive award winning olive oils and gourmet vinegars?  After you see what these puppies can do, you might be updating your shopping list.  And if you think we’re just tooting their horn, we sure as heck are!!  They’ve been named one of the Top 10 places IN THE WORLD to buy olive oil.  Plus it’s local family business and we sure can’t get enough of those.Blackberry Balsamic well paired with Lemon Olive Oil.

Picture this.  Baked chicken wings smothered in the Chocolate Cherry Balsamic or Risotto Alfredo using the one of a kind Arbequina oil.  Leading into Fall season soon, envision a Cauliflower Pumpkin Bisque with the hints of their Smokey olive oil. Now that’s flavor.

Not only are they the most trusted source for California extra virgin olive oils and gourmet vinegars, they pride their company on working directly with small farmers, knowing exactly what practices are used for the milling process. Setting themselves apart from other run of the mill companies, they produce farm direct extra virgin olive oils each and every year.

Basil Olive Oil mouth watering good on vegetables.

Helpful Hints:

-“Extra Virgin” is a grade of olive oil, just as AA is a grade for eggs.  This olive oil must be made solely from olives and entirely by mechanical means- no solvents or chemicals.  It must have no flavor defects and have some olive fruitiness when tasted by a trained recognized taste panel… and personally judging by the amount of times we’ve tasted tested this babies, we could be a part of that panel.

-California law requires the labeling of “California Olive Oil” to be 100% olive based, which is the standard that Beyond the Olive meets with each production and by god their good at it.

-Don’t be fooled by “Extra Light Olive Oil”, simply stated this mean less flavor but calories and fat are the same. Even worse, it is primarily refined olive oil that has been flavored with a little bit of extra virgin, so you are essentially paying more for less.

-The Four Enemies of Olive Oil: Air, Light, Heat, & Time: Opt for darker bottles, shorter shelf life and store in a dark, tightly closed space. Unlike red wine or our fabulous selves, olive oil does not improve with age…so don’t be afraid to use it up!

Toss Raspberry Basil Vinegar on salads. Pair Meyer Lemon with Blueberry Balsamic or Champagne Mimosa White Vinegar.

We are in love with the easy peasy 3-step appetizer Soberdough Brew Bread accompanying the olive oils & balsamic…which we are still on the hunt for a fan-favorite winning combination of the two.  With our focus on the olive oils from Beyond the Olive, might we say they have a great selection of balsamic and wine vinegars that will not disappoint! And by that, we quite strongly suggest their Traditional 25 Star Balsamic known for its centuries old recipe produced in Morena, Italy.  And more so because it is simply amazing.  Swing on down, grab the bread mix, pick up a few bottles, & let us know what pair won your taste buds over.

This Week Only // 9.10.17-9.16.17 // Get Beyond The Olive oils & balsamic at 15% OFF! In-store or phone orders accepted.  Must mention at checkout.  Not available with any other offer. Stock up + enjoy!

M+B Noteworthy Items:

Marble + Wood Spoon Rest

Soberdough Brew Bread Mix

Ceramic white plate

Wooden cutting board

Amber drinking glass

Author: Alli Clark

Photography: Gretchen Hinz

Editor: Brynn Joki

Think you could add a little pizazz to what we’re doing here?  Get in touch!  We’d love to see what you’ve got cookin! Info + ideas to  

0 In B L O G

Be Our Guest

“A wood farmhouse table with blue velvet cushioned chairs creates a nostalgic fête with mint greens, lemon yellows and Juliet garden roses to infuse your senses.  Inspired Home invites you to Be Our Guest and feast your eyes on this carefree summer scene.”

A warm well do to the creative minds who involved themselves with their pure talents & design eyes, and of course Inspired Home Magazine for setting the scene for us to gather round the table.


Mint + Basil: @mint_and_basil

Dining table & chairs, linens, dinner plates, cake platters, vintage green glassware, cookbooks, candlesticks;

White House Company:

Colored goblets, gold flatware, floral plates, candlesticks, napkin rings, wood bowls;

Love Always Floral:

Bouquet of David Austin Juliet garden roses, eucalyptus, Queen Anne’s lace, lisianthus & scabiosa pods

Nichole’s Fine Pastry: 

Key Lime Pie, plated croissants, lemon meringue tart, macarons & iced cookies.


Photos by Yvonne Denault Photography

Pick up your copy or read the full issue here:

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our home || our nest

Proudly introducing our newest member of our growing team, Oksana Silchuk, from Sioux Falls, SD.  A mastermind in the home, she has captivated our design eyes & warmed our souls with her kind, sweet sweet heart.  Yet as her talents grow more and more popular in the public eye, her roots stay grounded with her ideas of what a home is & more importantly how it should feel.  Let your eyes wander below to find inspiration in creating your little nest, & discover what feelings she has found come alive between her own walls.
“A sweet little oasis, a place of deep rest, a cozy corner and in our case, a little nest. My home is a story of who I am and a place I am completely myself. As a mom and a wife all I want for my family is to feel my deepest embrace. My walls help me accomplish that.”

“A photo of my husband and I that sweeps us back to our happiest day, to a little foot print that reminds us of the moment we brought our newborns home, to a bowl that gives me a flash back to pottery class in high school. Gathering and displaying meaningful pieces brings me back blissful moments I never want to forget. They reminds me of how meaningful life is and how precious my loved ones are. Houses are bought and sold, come and go, but a home stays with you forever. Home is a place that our kids feel safe but yet challenged a place where they feel comfortable yet molded. It is a place where they can grow and mature as we prepare them to one day venture beyond the nest.”

“That feeling of relief as you pull into the driveway after a long day, that place where you can sort through your thoughts, that moment in your day where you can finally exhale thats what I want my home to be. Follow us along on @silchuknest for inspirations on how you can create beautiful walls and most importantly a blissful atmosphere regardless of your budget and a window into my life as a mama of two and a wife.”

Well, we loved every little inch of it… how about you?  If so, and you’re in search of more from Oksana, check out the recent feature on KSFY Sioux Falls news here:

For more from her feed:

xoxo, M+B

Editor: Brynn Joki

Think you could add a little pizazz to what we’re doing here?  Get in touch!  We’d love to see what you’ve got cookin! Info + ideas to  


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From Crazy Cat… to Plant Lady

It is no secret that succulents, cacti and the like are in…and we get why! They’re small, cute, and an easy way to bring some life into your living space. Terrariums allow your creativity to blossom …ha….allowing you to choose plants, color, shape and size!  So we’re diving head first into learning what goes into making them to bring you the dirty scoop (my gosh we’re on a roll).  Of course we gotta give a generous heaping shout out to our downtown neighbors, Love Always Floral, in help with designing our final masterpiece.  We couldn’t have done it without you…..seriously.  Now that we have their professional tips n’ tricks, we’ll take you through the ropes to grow your own!First, decide to create an open or closed terrarium.  Either one is an easy task but choosing the right plants for them can mean life or death for your garden. Closed terrariums create a humid environment and are perfect choices for those tiny tropical plants, like ferns, while open terrariums allow more air circulation for plants for succulents or tillandsias, and since we have trouble pronouncing that word, we like to call those air plants.



Succulents have been our favorite little trend so open terrarium it is!  Look for plants in 2” or 4” plastic nursery pots to fit nicely within your vessel. Other plant choices for open terrariums include succulents, air plants, dwarf sansevieria, and cacti.


If you’d rather build for closed, go for miniature ferns, begonias, mosses, African violets, prayer plants, and baby’s tears….. “wait, what?” Like, mind-your-own-business. “Don’t tell me to mind my own business…”  It’s names of the plant….  “alriiiiiiiight alright moving onNow that we’ve gotten that straightened out, time to build!


  1. Start with a half inch layer of larger river rock or pebbles.
  2. Add a layer of moss or smaller gravel.
  3. Add a layer of the soil recommended for your plant. We used arid succulent and cacti soil from Baker Garden & Gift.  The amount of soil you need can vary on the container and plant size, but best bet is to start with about 2 inches of soil.
  4. Place your plants!  Create small holes in the soil for them. Before you place them in the terrarium break up the roots a bit with your fingers. This will allow the plant to take root in its’ new environment.
  5. Top dress with small pebbles, river rock, or moss.
  6. Add any decorative elements, be creative, we know you can do it! 

Maintaining your terrarium:

Most need bright indirect light, so place your terrarium within a bright room. Keep an eye on your plants’ health, though — if leaves are turning brown, you may need to move your terrarium to a less bright location in your office or home.

Now that wasn’t so hard was it??  Head on over to Love Always Floral if in need of assistance, our green thumbs are about worn out for now.

Love Always Floral.
14 Roberts Street
Fargo, North Dakota, ND 58102

Much love, M+B

By: Gretchen Hinz

Editor: Brynn Joki


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Is there anything more quintessential summer than a BBQ? We think not. And now that our favorite season is in full swing, we’re ready to dust off the ‘ol grill and get to cookin’. Because if we’re being honest, food just tastes better grilled. (Can we get an amen!?) Whether it’s a kabob of summer veggies, a rack of ribs or just a nice juicy steak….we’re alllll about that grill life. After all, it is the only type of food that’s totally socially acceptable to eat in a swimsuit, right?

Ever had barbecue sauce so good, you’d consider licking your plate? Well anyway, Lillie Q’s is that good. With a variety of flavors ranging from a traditional, mustard based sauce, to a vinegary flavored sauce and even a white sauce perfect for coleslaw…these folks thought of everything. But they didn’t just stop at sauce, because what BBQ is complete without chips? With five different flavors to choose from and all natural ingredients, we’re hooked and we’re pretty sure you will be too.

Tip: Keep it simple when serving a crowd! Don’t choose too many different types of meats or veggies or you run the risk of overcooking your meat. Spice things up with a variety of sauces and condiments to choose from!

Sauces not your jam? No worries, we gotchu. Meet Spiceology, your new BFF. Seriously though, with names like “Cowboy Crust” “Greek Freak” and “Black Magic” we’re obsessed. Rub these yummies on your meat or sprinkle ‘em on your veggies and your taste buds will seriously FREAK OUT.

Tip: Be sure to cover both sides of your meat or veggies with a good coating of spices and rubs while it’s still raw. This allows the flavors to really cook into the meat, making your meal just that much more delicious.

What BBQ is complete without beer?! And what if we told you we had goods to help you make your own?! Yep. Because how cool is it to tell you friends (as they sip on deliciously, cold beer) “Yeah, I made that.” With a variety of different flavor profiles, you can take home a box full of everything you need to get to brewing. We’ll cheers to that!

Tip: Pair a lighter ale with your barbecue for a more enjoyable experience.

We didn’t reeeeeally know just how important using the right tools on the grill was until we melted our poor, little plastic spatula. With some grills reaching temperatures of up to 800 degrees, it’s super important that you use the right tools on your grill. Nobody likes melted spatula on their burger. We personally love using our stainless-steel LED grilling spatula. It’s bright, flashlight capabilities make those late-night grill-outs even easier.

Tip: Don’t forget to start with a clean grill! But seriously, who wants last night’s burgers on today’s chicken? No thank you.

Don’t forget about dessert! (We never do.) Why not take your s’mores to the next level with gourmet chocolate?! YUM. Our personal favorite, Compartes chocolate, will definitely leave your guests impressed and asking for a second…and a third…and well, you get the point.Tip: Try a white chocolate bar with one of our handmade jams inside your s’mores and really kick your s’mores game up a notch.

Well folks, there ya have it. Our favorite M + B products, tips & tricks to make this grilling season your best yet.

by: Lilly Cristy