Friday, November 25, 2016

Best of Black Friday: For Home, Kids and Friends

This is the first Black Friday I won't be shopping in-stores, since my partner in crime - my mama - is out of town this year. I have to admit the idea of buying all our Christmas gifts online sounds pretty relaxing this year. I'm spending the weekend decorating in preparation for a holiday home tour I'm a part of, plus binging on the new Gilmore Girls (can we just talk about how exciting that is for a second?! Life = made!). Here are a few of my favorite Black Friday sale picks - some for you, some for the little, some for the home and some to gift. Are you an online deal shopper or do you go out to the stores? Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! xoxo



F O R  T H E  H O M E



 

F O R  T H E  L I T T L E



 

G I F T A B L E



*some links contain affiliates

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

2016 Gift Guide



You guys, I had way too much fun picking out the perfect gifts to go in this little guide...kind of like gifting in real life! I love finding just the thing for someone. Something you know they'd love but would never buy themselves. Some are pretty, some are practical, some are a bit of both. I already have a few of them earmarked for a couple people on my list! What are you gifting this year?

BLACK + WHITE

Striped Boxes | These black and white striped boxes are at the top of my personal wishlist and would also make a go-to gift for just about anyone - hostess, bestie, mom, etc.

Illustrated Cards | I am in love with the work of sketch artist Jennifer Vallez of Sophie & Lilli. These cards would make such a charming stocking stuffer or hostess gift.

Holiday Girl Mug | The festive sketch on your daily coffee would make anyone smile

PHOTOS

Chatbooks x Rifle Paper Co | Two of my favorite things, Chatbooks and Rifle Paper, have come together to create the most darling keepsake books, complete with the always-perfect Rifle illustrations of course. I already ordered one and will probably be gifting a few more!

Inlay Frame | Frame a favorite photo and gift it to just about anyone on your list in this chic-yet-classic black and white inlay frame.

SCENTS

Gardenia Candle | Blackberry Candle | Coconut Milk Candle | I love a pretty scent in a modern vessel

HOSTESS

Gold and Marble Coasters | These are at the top of my gifting list - I brought them to a favorite things party recently (if you don't know what that is look it up then go throw one!) and they were a huge hit!

Bouquet Print | You can't go wrong with a lovely piece of artwork to give to your favorite hostesses

JEWELS

Starburst Stacking Ring | Another from my personal wishlist, this chic and stylish ring is a pretty every girl will love

Kendra Scott Earrings | Love Kendra Scott and the white and gold combo is a crowd pleaser if you need a last-minute gift for just about anyone.

Tocca Stella Mini Perfume | I wore a Tocca perfume at my wedding, and absolutely love their scents and their pretty packaging. This mini perfume is totally giftable.

OUT + ABOUT

Gold Stripe Travel Mug | Pretty and practical

Tassel Keychain | I actually have one of these and love it both for making my keys look chic, and for making it easy to find them in the depths of my purse. Win-win!

Camel Gloves | I love having a pair of classic, elegant gloves in the wintertime. Effortlessly chic.

READS

Habitat | Living with Pattern | Styled | Everyone needs a few pretty coffee table books, but most people don't think to buy them for themselves. An easy, fun gift!


*some links contain affiliates

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Advent Calendar Round Up

Does anyone else have Christmas fever early? For some reason this year I'm not a pre-Thanksgiving scrooge and have enjoyed seeing all the early Christmas goodies...first time for everything I guess! It might be because I'm so excited to spend the holidays with our girl. She was still a newborn last Christmas, and while she won't totally understand this year, I think there are some fun traditions we can begin that she will still think are magical. One of those is doing an advent calendar. 



She may not understand the Christmas countdown, but toddlers definitely love structure, plus anything interactive and colorful, so I think the habit of opening a special little box or window every day will be fun for her. 


I had a hard time narrowing down my favorite from all the cute options out there, so I thought I'd round up the most darling advent calendars I came across in my search.

ONE | TWO | THREE | FOUR | FIVE | SIX | SEVEN | EIGHT | NINE | TEN 

I ended going up with the first photo, the Quill & Fox house from Anthro. It's just too magical and whimsical to pass up. I can't wait to see it in her room, and what she thinks of it!


Another tradition I'm excited to start are these kids advent cards from She Reads Truth. It's so easy to let the real meaning of the season slip away in the hustle of the holidays, so I want to make sure our family is centered on the truth of Jesus this time of year. These are a darling, fun way to help kids understand the meaning of Christmas. What are your favorite advent traditions?

*some links contain affiliates

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Weeknight Dinners in 15 Minutes or Less

Recently some friends and I were having a discussion about struggles, and I definitely had plenty of my own to share, but one thing that came up was about meal planning and knowing what to make for dinner every night. I have to admit that I feel like I'm always a bit behind in life, and usually can't totally get my act together, but for some reason we have fallen into a really good rhythm with meal planning for the last few years. So in case it's helpful to anyone, here's the system that works for us.



The short answer? The crock pot (mostly). First of all, I work full time and don't particularly enjoy cooking, so I really don't want to spend any time on it. We also try not to eat very much during the day, so we are both starving when we walk in the door. We've pretty much found the only way we will eat is if dinner is already done. 

We've found 15 or 20 recipes that are easy (seriously - dump and go), healthy and yummy and we choose 2-3 from the list each week. We make up our grocery list on the weekend, get everything at the store, then make one meal every other day, with leftovers on the off nights. We try not to eat out more than once per week, so it's key we have a plan since it's all too easy to just get take out (which of course does happen sometimes!). 

I also try to take basically every short cut available to save time and effort (as long as it's still healthy - we try to eat mostly clean, so I don't do many processed foods). We use instant microwavable rice, frozen veggies in steam bags, and I almost never chop things if I can help it. My husband hates onions, so I always use onion powder instead of chopping up an onion. Instead of fresh garlic, I also use garlic powder, or sometimes the pre-minced. Little substitutions like that can save a lot of time, I've found. 

So, here are our go-to meals, with the non-crock pot ones toward the bottom. There are quite a few soups on this list, which we eat a lot of during the cooler months. When the weather is nice my husband grills either chicken or burgers in place of all the soups (again, pretty simple and easy). A few are my own recipes, the rest are links to the recipes we use (with notes on our modifications). On my own recipes - I put on low before leaving for work for the day. I'm sure you could cook on high in 4-5 hours to shorten cooking time. Happy not-cooking!

  This is the easiest-ever recipe. Essentially you put frozen chicken breasts and salsa in the crock pot and that's it. It's a staple around here.
- Place frozen chicken breasts in crock pot
- Pour in one can salsa
- We serve it over tortilla chips with sour cream, cheese, avocado, etc. but you could also make tacos or anything else with it
 
Almost as easy - pork and beer and you're done!
- Place pork loin in the crock pot
- Pour in one can of beer
- Top with about a tablespoon each (I eyeball it) of garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper
- When finished cooking, drain beer and remove any fat, then shred meat with a fork and coat in barbecue sauce to taste (takes about 3/4 bottle when we do it)
- I often place sweet potatoes in the crock pot on top of the meat to serve as the side

 I'm sure you can find many roast recipes online. This is just my ultra-simple version. Spice it up to your liking!
- Place roast in crock pot
- Add about a cup of chicken stock
- Season with desired spices (onion, garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaf are what I usually do)
- Place red russet potatoes and baby carrots on top of roast
- When finished cooking, drain off liquid and shred meat
 

This one might be our favorite!
 
 This is a close second!
(We just use the instant microwave packages of rice instead of adding rice to the slow cooker. I also add everything at the beginning instead of waiting to add beans, etc.)




(I don’t even bother peeling or cutting up the potatoes first, just mash them up when finished cooking)



And here are some super simple, quick, non-crock pot meals that are easy week night go-tos.

 CHIPOTLE CHICKEN SALAD RECIPE >>
(We use rotisserie chicken to keep it quick and easy. I skip the canned chilis)

Really you can make just about any combo you like into a panini. This is our go-to.
- Butter one side of two pieces of bread
- Spread pesto and mayo on bread. Add turkey lunch meat (or preferred meat), cheese slice and diced avocado
- Place on panini press for 4-5 minutes

 (serve with a nice crusty bread as it’s not a very hearty soup, but is delicious!)

  - Spread about a tablespoon of blackberry or fig jam on small tortilla
- top with shredded rotisserie chicken and cheese of choice (we use mozzarella but if you are more adventurous brie would probably be good)
- place in a hot pan on the stove and cook each side for about 60 seconds, until cheese is melted

 A grilling season go-to
- Thaw frozen chicken breasts in the microwave and cut into chunks (or you can use steak)
- Place chicken and one can diced pineapple in gallon ziploc bag
- Add teriyaki sauce and refrigerate
- Thread chicken and pineapple onto skewers (alternating every other piece) then grill til chicken is cooked through

Oh, and for more easy dinner ideas, follow my recipe Pinterest board here >> 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

A Rifle Paper Co Inspired Floral First Birthday Party


Here it is guys...you better grab a La Croix, sit back, and get ready for some party pretty, because it's photo overload today! I'm sharing our daughter's dreamy, botanical first birthday and I couldn't love how it came together more. {There's a source list at the verrrrry bottom of the post}
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