Fourth of July DIY

by Mindy Lockard on June 21, 2016

Fourth of July is just around the bend.


Which means soon you will be tossing burgers on the grill and lighting sparklers with friends.  So to help you get a get a jump on your 4th of July planning my sweet girls and I stopped by KING 5 in Seattle to share a few fun and festive DIY ideas for your table this coming holiday.

Join me next week on @TheGraciousGirl’s Instagram for five days of Fourth of July and BBQ tips and tricks sponsored by Kroger.


The Container Store’s Basic Six

by Mindy Lockard on June 18, 2016

Getting college life off to a gracious start is all about being organized! This weekend, July 15th – 21stand August 19th – 21st our friends at The Container Store are hosting a college savings weekend to help college-bound students get prepared and excited for their next chapter in life! Here are a few organizational ideas to keep in mind as you do your college planning.

While Mom might need these…

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Your Student will need The Dorm Room Basic Six:

Chances are this may be the students first time to do laundry and there is a good possibility they’ll have to haul their laundry up and down several staircases throughout the course of their college career – it can be such a pain!  Choose a laundry solution that is portable, easy to carry and will hold all of their clothing, like this Double Folding Mesh Cube.



If you share a common bathroom in the dorm, you’ll need to have a portable solution for all your shower gear. Consider a carrying tote that has a handle for quickly grabbing and holes at the bottom for drainage.



Dorm room closets usually have one thing in common: they’re tiny, dark and they don’t have enough space!  Most of these closet spaces only have one rod that offers 3-5 feet of storage – and in some cases this is shared between two roomates! Before leaving home, select clothes that you really believe you’ll need at college or at least for the first semester. This prevents unnecessary items in your closet.  And to maximize the storage potential of your closet, use hangers that will hold several garments in a very small amount of space or consider a rod doubler that creates an added layer of hanging space!


Walls & Doors:       

Due to strict guidelines set by residence hall officials, drilling and nails are often not allowed.  So what can you do to make the most out of your walls and doors?

Look to your walls and doors to store more than just posters.  A big restriction in most dorms in their policy about damaging the walls.  Most all dorms won’t let you nail or damage the walls, however, you can still add storage – and personality with adhesive hooks or strips!  You can use adhesive hooks to hang anything from a bathrobe to a plant without damaging the wall surface.  They easily remove from dorm room walls and can be reused.



Standard-issued dorm room desks generally don’t provide a whole lot of storage space for all the books, notebooks and supplies you’ll need to have within reach. Use the vertical space above your desk by adding a freestanding shelf – this will give you more space for personal items like picture frames.   Also, use colored organizers such as this document box to separate projects, notebooks and personal documents that normally would clutter a desk.



And then where are you going to put  everything else that you simply can’t leave behind? Look for every inch of available space and maximize every area include under the bed, over the door, on the walls, on the floor – wherever you can find a bit of open space.  Think about storage that serves dual purposes since it will be a small space – for example, use your trunk as a coffee table or eating surface and then consider boxed chairs that double as storage!

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College-bound students can create a Dorm Registry at The Container Store to get exactly what they want and need for their first college space.  Students can create their registry online or in-store with the help of our Dorm Checklist and our Dorm Specialists.

 Oh and don’t forget… Shop Here Get it There

Grads can also take advantage of our Shop Here. Get it There service if they are traveling out of state for college.  This service allows them to pick out exactly what they need for their dorm at our local store and pick it up at a convenient location nearby their college campus. What a time and space saver, especially for move-in!! 


DON’T FORGET! College Savings Weekend Events – June (June 17th – 19th); July (July 15th – 17th) & August (August 19th – 21st)

Sign up the college-bound students in your life to The Container Store’s CollegeSavings Weekend events happening June 17th – 19th, July 15th – 21stand August 19th – 21st!  The weekends will be held inside the Portland store in Bridgeport Village and offer great savings all weekend long – and a fun, party like shopping atmosphere – to your viewers and their college-bound kids.

Plus, by signing up now, they will be entered to win one of ten $1,000 dorm room makeovers!


Perfect Cinco de Mayo | Baked Tostada Cups

by Mindy Lockard on May 2, 2016

Thank you so much for popping over today for some #GraciousEats! With Cinco de Mayo just days away, I’m thrilled you are here and so happy to share one of our all time favorite weeknight meals! I call them Baked Tostada Cups, my family calls them yummy.

So relax and put your feet up while I whip of some of these delicious and super easy Baked Tostada Cups!


Yes, you have to say that while making these cups. It’s a rule.


This is what you need…

  • 1 lb ground sirloin
  • 1 container of fresh salsa
  • 1 can of organic chili beans
  • pinch of salt
  • Olive oil
  • 12 pack of corn tortillas (I prefer no GMO)



  • cilantro
  • sour cream
  • tomato
  • avocado

Step by Step

  1. In a slow cooker add meat, salsa, beans and salt. Cook on high for two hours or until all of the beef is cooked through.
  2. Rub down the sides of muffin tins with olive oil
  3. Put a small tear in a tortilla, turn it into a cone shape and fit inside one of the muffin spots. Repeat until all twelve are full.
  4. Add beef and top with cheese
  5. Bake at 350 degrees or until the sides of the tortillas are golden.
  6. Remove from the oven and top with sour cream, fresh tomatoes, avocado and cilantro!


These little cups make a perfect dinner on Cinco de Mayo and again for lunch on Seis de Mayo.

And yes mi amigos and amigas, that is a fact-o!


KING 5 New Day NW | Gifts for Grads

by Mindy Lockard on April 19, 2016


It’s always a great to wake up in Seattle! I’m so excited to be back on KING 5 New Day NW today to talk about my favorite Gifts for Grads DIY ideas. Here’s a sneak peek at what I will be sharing today.

Photo Glass Magnets!

Okay, so these are my new favorite DIY. They are super easy and perfect to give for a graduate who will so be leaving friends and family behind. Great to help them stay organize and connected to home.


What you need:

  • Magnet Board
  • Glass Rocks
  • Print Instagram photos
  • Mod Podge
  • Magnet Strip
  • Hot Glue Gun

Step by Step:

  1. Select your glass rocks. Go through the bag and make sure the rocks you are using are smooth on the backside. Sometimes there are small imperfections that can distort the photo.
  2. Pick your Photo. Use a glass rock as your guide and trace a circle around the area of the photo you want to use. Cutting on the inside of your pencil mark as it’s better for the photo to be a little smaller on the backside than to have excess paper.
  3. Paint a small amount of Mod Podge on the back of the rock and lay the photo side of the cut out photo on the flat-side of the glass rock.
  4. Cover the backside of the photo with Mod Podge and let dry.
  5. Once your glass rock photos are dry, cut the magnet strips and apply to the backside of the photo with a glue gun.


Voia! There you have it… photo memories that your grad can take with them to college to help them stay organized and have reminders of friends and family far away.

Laundry Love

The idea of graduation gifts are to help celebrate a milestone in one’s life and to help set them up for future success. What’s more important in college than successful laundry? Well, probably academics, but laundry is a close second. I love this personalized Laundry bag that is super cute in a caddy full of detergent and of course quarters.


What you need


  1. Using Word or pages on your computer type out the name or word you want to iron onto the laundry bag. Screen Shot the word and paste it back in the document. Using the arrows flip the word so that it reads backwards. If you have several grads in your life, you can put more than one on a page.
  2. Print out your names or words on the fabric transfer.
  3. Cut it out
  4. DO NOT USE an ironing board and make sure the steam is turned off of your iron.
  5. With the fabric transfer facedown in your desired spot on the laundry bag, iron the paper. Make sure you cover all of the areas and that the paper is completely attached.
  6. Let the paper cool and carefully remove showing the name. Add this to a caddy full of laundry supplies and give with love!

Because Every Grad Needs to Eat!

As I often tell my college students in my programs, learning to feed your self is fundamental to being a successful adult. I tell them this so they don’t arrive at a networking event there for the free food and pile their plate to the moon. Learning the basics of caring for yourself is important.


What You Need

Step by Step

  1. Assemble all of the items in a basket
  2. At the Grad Party or before collect favorite photos from Instagram, digital or home. Have guests glue their photo to the back of the index card and write their favorite recipe on the front. Recipes can be a favorite sandwich, late night snack or easy to make meal.
  3. Put together and gift in the lucite recipe box.

A fun way to send those out into the real world with a  few ideas and supplies for starting to eat on their own.



#EasterBrunch Breakfast Sammies

by Mindy Lockard on February 29, 2016

Are you on the hunt for easy #EasterBrunch ideas?

I’ve teamed up with @BobsRedMill for this week’s #FamilyRecipe

Easter 2016 The Gracious Girl

But until then, here’s a fun and delicious idea for an #EasterBrunch Breakfast Slider Sammies Bar.

Say that five times fast.

These little sammies are a perfect way to let guests create their own delicious breakfast bites and you can enjoy their company. And did I mention that it starts with Gluten Free Buttermilk Biscuits?

Um yeah! They are Ahhhmazzzing.

So let’s get down to buttery biscuits business…


The recipe for these are actually on the back of the Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 package.

  • 2 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Flour plus extra for rolling
  • 2 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter, chilled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3/4 cup plux 1 Tbsp Buttermilk, divided

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt into a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small pebbles. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and 3/4 cup buttermilk. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the eggs and buttermilk. Stir until a soft dough forms. Dough will be slightly wet.

Turn dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap sprinkled with flour. Sprinkle flour over the top of dough and cover with another large piece of plastic wrap. Roll or pat dough to 1/2 inch thick. Remove top piece of plastic wrap. Fold dough in half from bottom to top, then fold dough in half from bottom to top, then fold in half again from side to side. Cover dough with plastic wrap. Cut dough with 2 inch round biscuit cutter (or glass), pressing straight down, don’t twist. Dip the cutter into flour between each biscuit.


Place Biscuits on ungreased baking sheet. Brush with remaining 1 Tbsp buttermilk.


Bake for 18 minutes, or until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before making sammies. The cooler the biscuits the easier they are to slice in half.


Next the fixings! I love sauteed veggies, avocado, cheese and scrambled eggs.


What’s a breakfast sammie without turkey bacon and ham?


Then let your guests loose to build their own Breakfast Sammie Sliders…

They are free to create a classic eggs and (turkey) bacon…


ham and cheese…




or all of the above… my personal favorite.


While we all love a formal #EasterBrunch tables, some times time and space don’t allow for a formal sit down. These Slider Sammies are perfect for a more casual #EasterBrunch. I love to offer my guests little breakfast boats, so they can make sammies and take their breakfast… especially with an all important hunt on the horizon.


Did I mention there aren’t any dishes and you are free to enjoy your breakfast sammie sliders without the clean-up hanging over your head.


Drop a note and tell us your #EasterBrunch ideas and I hope to see you tomorrow at the chat with @BobsRedMill!