Category: good ideas

5 Surprising, Clever Ways To Use Fresh Herbs

This post comes us from our new DIY contributor, Katie of Something Winnerful fame. She writes almost daily about living simply, life before babies, and what you shouldn’t ask a newly engaged woman. Go read her stuff!

Hey there Yes & Yes readers! Sarah has been lovely enough to allow me to drop some DIY knowledge for y’all on her wonderful blog. I’m hoping to share some great tips/projects that go beyond monogramming and chevron – things that help make life a little bit easier.  I’m your girl for helping you DIY instead of buy, reuse instead of throw away, and update the outdated.

Of my many years of navigating being an adult, one of the biggest areas I struggle is not letting food go to waste. My kitchen is basically hospice care for fruits and veggies. After starting my own herb garden, I realized I needed to get my act together if I didn’t want all those herbs to go to waste!

Through trial and error (and a lot of Pinterest), I’ve managed to keep my herbs well-used.  Below are my favorite non-cooking ways to use to herbs!

Keep Mosquitos Away

Enjoy the outdoors without the bug bites. One way to cut down on mosquitos is plant mosquito repelling plants such as lavender, basil, or citronella. Our favorite way to use herbs outside is in our fire pit. Wrap together some lavender, sage, and mint and throw it in the fire and you have a delicious smelling fire and no mosquitos. We typically just throw in several sprigs of rosemary because I love the smell. If you’re feeling super crafty and don’t have a fire pit, you can make your own candles with the herbs in them to burn outside.


Treat Your Dog

Store bought dog treats can have some pretty questionable ingredients in them. Whether you’re picky about what you feed your fur baby or you have a dog that’s allergic to everything, homemade dog treats are the way to go. There are many herbs that are just as good for your dog as they are for you.

If you’re lucky, your dog loves ice as much as my big guy and you can simply freeze herbs with water in an ice tray. Another easy recipe is to toss chickpeas in coconut oil, basil, and thyme then bake on a baking sheet at 245 degrees until crunchy (roughly 45 minutes). This is a treat your puppy AND you can enjoy.


Freshen Up Your Home

Herbs are not only pleasing to the taste buds but also to the nose. The greatest thing I’ve ever done is hang a bouquet of eucalyptus to our shower head. Every shower is like a spa experience now. You don’t have to use eucalyptus though, whatever herbs you fancy would be just as fabulous.

Eucalyptus Shower

Decorate For Parties

I currently have a rosemary bush that is producing more than I could ever cook with. Coincidentally, I also have a new house that’s just waiting for a house-warming party. A quick Pinterest search will give you a million ideas for decorating your home with herbs and greenery. Using rosemary for place cards or on menus is my decor of choice. If you haven’t caught on yet, I love rosemary…and have quite a lot of it.


Sugar Scrubs or Bath Salts

Skip the spa and create your own spa experience with sugar scrubs and bath salts. They are super simple to make and leave your skin feeling super soft and smelling super good. Here’s a great basic sugar scrub that I always keep in stock.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 sprigs finely chopped rosemary
  • Mix it all together adjusting ingredients to your liking then store in a sealed container, like a mason jar, because everything is better in a mason jar.

You can easily make a bath salt using the same ingredients above, substituting 2 cups epsom salt, 1/5 cup baking soda, and lemon essential oil for the sugar, olive oil, and lemon juice. Sugar scrubs and bath salts are also perfect for DIY gifts.


Preserve Them For Later

The good news is, if you find yourself with way too many herbs, you have options if you just can’t use them before they go bad. I typically freeze them in an ice tray with EVOO or other liquid. Drying them is also another easy way to go. Here are a few more ideas for preserving them.


How do you deal with that quickly wilting bunch of cilantro in the crisper? Tell us your ideas in the comments!

Sources: Jonas Weckschmied // 1. Mosquito repellent herbs // 2. Dog treats // 3. Herbs in shower // 4. Rosemary name cards // 5. Bath salt // 6. Hanging herbs

39 Ways To Wring The Last Drops Of Awesome From Your Summer

It’s August 25th and the entire internet is filled with back-to-school guides and I AM HAVING NONE OF IT.Yes, I realize that Minneapolis public schools started class yesterday. Yes, I realize we’ve only got six days till September. But Autumn doesn’t technically start till  September 23rd and we’re scheduled to have temperatures in the 70s and 80s for the next 10 days.I will not go gentle into that good Autumn. I will wring the last drops of sunscreen-scented, watermelon-flavored summer from this season and I invite you to do the same. Let us not rush towards those Pumpkin Spice Lattes before it is time!

To celebrate this season that is totally not over yet, I’m
a) taking Friday afternoon off and meeting 20 friends at Lake Calhoun
b) writing you this listicle

1. Find a new place to swim
A new lake. A river beach. A rooftop pool.

2. Get a truly ridiculous pedicure
Intricate nail art. Rhinestones. Different colors on different nails.

3. Navigate the water in a new way
Dinner cruise. Jet ski. Paddleboard. Kayak. Canoe. Swan-shaped paddle boat. Sailboat. Pontoon with martinis at sunset.

4. Pick flowers and press them
Tuck them in the pages of your favorite books. Discover them in the winter and feel wistful.

5. Climb a tree
Don’t get hurt.

6. Jump off something high into the water
A rope swing. A diving board. A tree? Don’t get hurt.

7. Bring your dog to the lake and let it go swimming
Try not to let it shake off all over everyone.

8. Make yourself an ice cube necklace
It’s exactly as easy as you think!

9. Go camping
Even if it’s in the city or your own backyard.

10. Cook things over a fire
Chocolate cake inside an orange! Baked feta and tomatoes in a tin foil packet! Campfire bread in a coffee can!

11.  Make popsicles
Strawberry rhubarb! Coffee! Sangria!

12. Grill fruit
Seems exotic and exciting – is actually really easy.

13. Learn the summer constellations
Everyone will be really impressed!

14. Go to a drive-in movie

15. Take an underwater camera to the beach and go crazy
But not in a creepy way, right?

16. Make a sand castle
And then run through it.

17. Explore your city by bike
When you explore on two wheels, you see things you’d otherwise miss and you have access to all sorts of hidden trails and back alleyways. Check out your city’s bike sharing program and use Ride The City to map a safe route.

18. Play public transport roulette
Buy an all day ticket, get on the first train or bus that pulls up, get off at the first place that feels interesting. Repeat.

19. Tequila watermelon
‘Nuff said.

20. Fancy jello shots
Greyhound jello shots in grapefruits. Mojito jello shots in limes. Creamsicle jello shots in oranges.

21. Adult snow cones
We’re doing this on Saturday!

22. Roller skate
Down the street. In the basement. At a rink.

23. Hit up garage sales
We all know Labor Day is the height of garage sale season!

24. Drive down a dirt road
Windows down. Radio up. 

25. Make sun tea
Tea bags + mason jar = porch sippin’ goodness.

26. Make weird ice cream
Sweet corn ice cream! Sour cream ice cream! Cereal milk ice cream!

27. Go hiking
Bonus points if it’s a trail you’ve never explored before

28. Check out a weird local tourist trap
Check out and see the things your city is hiding. I’ve never been to the Wabasha Street Caves!

29. See live music from a band you’ve never heard before
Check out the gig list and hit up a bar or patio near you – totally regardless of the style of music that’s being played.

30. Drink/eat on a rooftop
Food tastes better that high up. (Here’s a list of Minneapolis’s best rooftop happy hours.)

31. Re-read your favorite teen books on a blanket
I just re-read this and I loooooved it!

32. Have a brunch picnic by the water
Frittatas travel really well!

33. Have a bbq brunch
Bacon on the grill. Sourdough on the grill. Peaches on the grill. 

34. Throw a theme party
Yes? Yes.

35.  Make that awesome salt spray for your hair so you can have sexy beach waves

36. Watch movies in the park (or your own backyard)
Let’s all watch ‘Adventures In Babysitting’!

37. Wash your car the old fashioned way
Like, with a sponge and a bucket.  In your driveway.  With some Aerosmith playing on the tape deck.

38. Go to the farmers’ market with $20 in cash and buy things you’ve never eaten before
White gourd! Bitter berries! Those purple carrots!

39. Watch a meteor shower

What are you doing to squeeze the last bits of summer out of your August? Tell us all about it in the comments!

photo by death to the stock photo // cc

What’s that you say? Brand-name clothes for $15?

This post is brought to you by a free Saturday afternoon (because you’re not spending it at Goodwill), the thrill of finding something cute for just a few bucks, and 

I think we’ve talked about my love for before. The crazy affordable clothes that are searchable by size, style, and color, the fact that they donate $3 from each purchase to disaster relief, their return policies.

You guys? They’re even better now.

1. They have a new photography policy so now you can see more details before you buy.
2. They measure each item individually, so you get a perfect fit regardless of ‘size’ (I’m looking at you ‘size 6’ Lee Jeans)
3. Soon, they’ll be hosting flash sales for items like art and accessories – but only while supplies last! (Sign up for their newsletter here so you don’t miss out!)

Follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for cute styling ideas or Twitter for their favorite links to cute, fashion-forward stuff!


I do two sponsored posts each month. If you’d like 100-ish words and five links dedicated to you check out my rate and traffic info here or drop me a line at sarah (at) yesandyes (dot) org and we’ll get you started!

2015 Jean Louise “Scout” Finch

Jean Louise was one of those women who was so smart she was good at just about everything, which mostly meant she’d never fully commit to being good at any one thing.
She’d gone to Duke on a full scholarship – based mostly on amazing test scores. She’d never really developed a taste for high school and continued to be annoyed with the entire institution with the exception of field hockey and A.P. English. Once she got to college she changed majors four times (Cultural Anthropology > Earth and Ocean Sciences > Global Health > Philosophy) before settling on the pre-law track.
This quietly pleased Atticus, but he staunchly refused to admit it. Whenever Scout returned home for the holidays he’d complain loudly about his cases and make sure she knew ‘what she was getting herself into.’  Every time she insisted she knew what she was doing, he’d have to take a long swig of sweet tea to hide his grin.
Ultimately, Scout never went to law school. She took a year off after undergrad to ‘find herself,’ leading Outward Bound courses and dating lots of cute people with dreadlocks. She hiked the Appalachian trail and visited Jem in India where he was working with Doctors Without Borders. She hitchhiked across the Sedona but never, ever told her family because she knew they would patently disapprove.
Age 30 found Scout doing deeply unglamorous, deeply important social work in the south. She found housing for people who needed it, connected families to resources, drove her clients to job interviews. Of course, there were trying, challenging days, clients who’d skip appointments or fall off the wagon – again. But every single day Jean Louise Finch did her very best to understand life from other people’s points of view, to climb inside of their skin and walk around in it.
photo found on pinterest – let me know if you’re the original source!

Good Idea: Baby Shower ‘Thank-You’ Text Messages

This is an occasional post series I’m trying out! Short and sweet, sharing clever ideas I’ve picked up from my ridiculously smart and well-mannered friends.


When you enter your thirties, everyone you’ve ever met will begin to have babies. You will become well-versed in Facebook pregnancy reveals (my favorite was a runner friend who changed her profile photo to include a tiny pair of running shoes next to hers!) and you’ll spend every Saturday afternoon at baby showers.

Common etiquette tells us that when we give someone a significant gift – especially a baby or wedding gift – we can/should expect a thank-you note. But when someone is preparing their life for a loud, sleep-depriving new human? Those thank-you notes are probably low on their priority list.

And then they might feel guilty. And you might feel annoyed.

So let’s all steal my friend Laura’s idea: instead of that new mom spending her limited free time handwriting thank-you notes that you’ll immediately recycle, how about she texts you a photo of her baby using the gift you gave her? 

It’s way easier and lots more fun. Just have someone take notes on who gave her what and their phone number so she can photograph and text at her leisure!

If you’ve got any tips for making baby or bridal showers easier or more fun, I’d love to hear them!

photo by Vanessa Kay // cc

Backyard makeover + 5 reasons to write in a coffee shop + Your new mantra

It’s Saturday! Let’s look at awesome links from this month’s sponsors instead of doing our chores!

Want to see your face and products here? In front of 12,000+ people? It’s cheaper than you’d think! Check out my ad rates and info here or drop me a line at sarah (at) yesandyes (dot) org.