Friday Favorites

August 29, 2014

I had no idea how busy the back-to-school season is, so I spent much of this week prepping for my little girl's first day of kindergarten (READ: running around like the proverbial chicken). After several repeat trips to the grocery store and Target, and washing/drying/ironing about a million loads of laundry, I am especially grateful for this three-day weekend. And speaking of being grateful, my cousin challenged me to list three things I'm grateful for every day for the next seven days, and I accepted. I'm really looking forward to digging deep and reflecting on my life every day, and being reminded of why I am so blessed. Have a fabulous three-day weekend, and God bless!

Inspired ways to transform a humble box of macaroni and cheese

The most iconic shoe moments in in film. 

A cute idea for keeping track of appointments, meetings, etc

The impending arrival of boot season

Football whoopie pies for my husband.

A New Tradition

August 28, 2014

Today is my daughter's first day of kindergarten, and while I am an absolute wreck (she's been home with me since birth and we've spent nearly every day together), I wanted to make this day extra special for her. When she woke up this morning, I had this decorated chalkboard sign waiting for her.  All it took was a chalkboard (which came with an easel and screws for hanging), a few scrapbooking stickers and gems, and some glitter and glue, all of which I picked up at the craft store--it was simple and very much appreciated. I've decided to start a tradition of marking her first and last days of each school year with a photo of her holding her custom sign. It'll be fun to see how my baby matures over the years as we erase one grade level and write the next one; I imagine the sign will look smaller and smaller as her little hands grow, and her fashion and accessory choices will change dramatically. What I hope never changes though, is the precious smile on her face and the excitement in her eyes. 

Happy first day of school to my sweet girl. Mommy loves you more than life!

Hearty Breakfast Casserole

August 27, 2014

As the most important meal of the day, breakfast also happens to be my favorite meal, and I've been known to serve pancakes or omelets for dinner on more than a few occasions. During the week I typically stick to a quick breakfast of oatmeal with fruit, nuts, and flaxseed meal, but on the weekends I love to get in the kitchen and do some real cooking. I've made this casserole a few times, for my family and for a Bible study brunch, and received rave reviews every time (any breakfast that includes bacon and copious amounts of cheese is bound to be a hit, no?) It's ideal for a crowd, and is totally customizable; substitute the bacon with sausage, ham, or Soyrizo, add some veggies, top with salsa and avocado...the options are endless, and the results are always perfect 

Hearty Breakfast Casserole
1 pound sliced bacon
1 medium sweet onion, diced
6 eggs
4 cups frozen hash browns, thawed
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1½ cups small curd cottage cheese
1¼ cups Swiss cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350° and generously butter a 13x9x2 baking pan. Dice all but 3 slices of the bacon (these will be the garnish). In a large skillet cook bacon until crisp, then allow to drain on paper towels, reserving bacon grease in skillet. Add onion to the skillet and cook until softened. Remove onion with a slotted spoon and set aside. 

In a large bowl, mix hash brown potatoes and cheeses (reserve about ¼ cup of cheddar cheese to sprinkle on top). Lightly beat the eggs and add to potatoes and cheese, then add the diced bacon and onion. Mix well to incorporate all ingredients. Spoon the mixture into the buttered baking pan, top with reserved cheese and garnish with cooked bacon slices. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until set. Let the casserole rest for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Must Have: H&M Cake Stand

August 27, 2014

I got a new H&M catalog in the mail this week and immediately fell in love with this brass cake stand. It's so simple in its design, but the color makes it look fancy. Also, it'll make a perfect stand for jewelry, or on a bookshelf or bar cart. For that price, I can probably get one for every room. 

Friday Favorites

August 22, 2014

Two major milestones occurred this week: I registered my daughter for kindergarten and my baby started walking. Needless to say, this mommy is an emotional wreck! I can't believe my girls are growing up so quickly. Where did my tiny babies go? Naturally I had to torture myself further by looking at old photos and watching videos from when they were infants. Since this is the last weekend before school starts {ugly cries} I want to make it extra special for my little girl--frozen yogurt and a trip to the park will be involved. Enjoy your weekend, and God bless!

Corn and crab chowder with bacon--the perfect meal to help me ease into fall and this whole school business. 

Learning about intentional parenting

Cute ideas for a paint party for the little ones. 

A sweet scarf that I want this instant.

Proof that husbands just don't get fashion.

Must Have: Cable Knit Planter

August 20, 2014

I'm no green thumb. In fact, it seems I just look at a plant and it starts to wither. I think I might have better luck if I had a really cute planter like this one...and if I'm wrong, then it can be a really cute pencil cup.

Best Drugstore Beauty Buys for Fall

August 19, 2014

1.  Carol's Daughter Mimosa Honey Shine Pomade    2.   Sonia Kashuk Red Promisia Body Oil    3.  L'Oreal Paris HiP Studio Secrets Professional Crystal Shadow Duo    4.  Maybelline Volum' Express The Falsies Big Eyes Mascara    5.  Sally Hansen I Heart Nail Art Studs Kit    6.  Burt's Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes with White Tea Extract    7.  Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser    8.  Yes to Coconut Polishing Body Scrub    9.  Rimmel Show Off Lip Lacquer    10.  Milani Liquid Eye Liquid-Like Eye Liner Pencil           

With fall just around the corner, I want to give my beauty arsenal a little overhaul, starting with these drugstore gems.

1.  A sleek ponytail or ballerina bun is perfect for busy fall days. This pomade tames edges, combats frizz, and smells like heaven.
2.  A spray-on body oil that leaves skin silky and softly scented with the most delicious fragrance. I love to spritz this on post shower while my skin is still damp.
3.  A metallic smoky eye is a glamorous twist on a classic, and looks stunning with fall's ubiquitous jewel tones and neutrals.
4.  Besides lip balm, a good mascara is the only makeup I can't live without. This one delivers lots of volume at a very reasonable price.
5.  Suddenly an at-home manicure looks edgier and sexier.
6.  First comes fall, then comes the holiday season. With all that happens post-September 23, who has time for things like rinsing their face? An all natural cleansing towelette that works for all skin types and requires no rinsing is pretty genius!
7.  I'm still a fan of this classic; it works no matter what my skin is going through, and is so gentle I can even use it on my four-year old. 
8.  This body scrub polishes and hydrates dry skin but doesn't leave it feeling greasy, just smooth and glowy.
9.  Nothing says fall like a bold, red lip.
10.  Bright, paint-like colors are a huge beauty trend for fall, and I'm totally into it. I can't wait to try this gorgeous aqua on my eyes.

Host an Unforgettable Emmys Viewing Party

August 18, 2014

The 66th Annual Emmy Awards are less than ten days away (they're Monday, August 25), and whether you like television or not, it's a nice excuse to pop some champagne and do a little partying. Here are a few fun ideas:

  • Hit up your local thrift store and score pieces to help you dress up in red carpet attire, or as a favorite television character, past or present. And if the thought of sitting in a cocktail dress or costume for hours doesn't appeal to you, make it a pajama party--jammies are, after all, quintessential TV-watching attire. 
  • Drape gold sequin fabric or sprinkle gold confetti and glitter over tables and entertainment stands to mimic the Emmy award itself. 
  • Print pictures of your favorite nominated actors or shows--you can use them as posters, placemats, or doodle sheets for when things get boring (as they tend to do on televised award shows).
  • Download songs from the nominated shows and have them playing in the restroom to keep your guests entertained even when they're not in front of the TV.

  • Thanks to E!'s mani-cam, manicures have become an important part of any awards show, almost as important as the designer gowns. Set up a DIY mani station and give your nails a little TLC as you watch live coverage of the red carpet.
  • A drinking game always makes the night more interesting. Pick a buzz word (I like the idea of picking a designer's name for the red carpet) and take a shot or a sip of your drink whenever the word or name is said. 
  • Download the official Emmy ballot and make predictions before the show. Have prizes on hand for the guests who come closest to a sweep (think bottles of champagne or something silly like TV character bobbleheads or chintzy Dollar Store trophies).

Food & Drinks
  • Instead of, or in addition to a food table, place snacks on TV trays and place them in different parts of the room so guests have access to food no matter where they are. 
  • Set up a popcorn station with different toppings and mix-ins. 
  • Serve classic TV dinners or raid your grocery store deli for fried chicken, mashed potatoes and corn and plate them like TV dinners (cover them in foil after they've cooked, both to keep them warm and to give them that throwback TV dinner look). 
  • Create a signature cocktail to go with the evening's theme. It can be one inspired by an award-nominated show (check out last year's suggestions) or something a bit more glamorous, like a champagne cocktail.

image via

Sunshine and Shadows

August 15, 2014

image via Pinterest

Friday Favorites

August 15, 2014

If you have a Twitter account or watch the news, you know that it's been a rather emotional week, and I honestly don't know what to say about any of it. I do know that I'm happy it's the weekend and I'm looking forward to having some fun with my family. I wish you a safe weekend, and God bless.  

An anything-but-boring breakfast.

The gorgeousness that is Croatia, which I just added to my list of dream destinations. (I'm so overdue for a vacation, it's ridiculous!)

Tips for making your own bottled cocktails. (Will definitely come in handy for a party.)

DIY Fruit Wedges.

Remembering a legend.

image via

Balsamic Roasted Veggie Salad & Crispy Goat Cheese Cakes

August 14, 2014

This salad is easily one of my family's favorites, and since I can whip it up in less than half an hour, it makes a perfect weeknight dinner. It's packed with flavor and texture, from the balsamic-infused roasted veggies to the light, crispy goat cheese cakes. A generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice brightens up the whole dish.

Balsamic Roasted Veggie Salad

1 large zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks
3 roma tomatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
½ medium red onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
fresh basil leaves (optional)
lemon wedges 
3 cups salad greens of your choice

Crispy Goat Cheese Cakes
4 oz log of goat cheese
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
¼ cup flour
½ cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed

Preheat oven to 350°. Toss zucchini, tomato, onion, and garlic together in a shallow baking dish, then sprinkle oil and vinegar over them and toss again to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and roast for 10-15 minutes.

While the veggies are roasting, cut goat cheese into ½-inch thick rounds. Dredge first in flour, then beaten egg, then panko bread crumbs. Heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat, and add coated goat cheese rounds. Let brown, then flip to brown the other side. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels.

To serve, plate the salad greens, then top with warm roasted vegetables. If you have fresh basil on hand, tear up several leaves and sprinkle over the salad. Place the goat cheese cakes alongside the salad, and serve with lemon wedges.  

Must Have: Mango Dark Denim Skirt

August 13, 2014

Dark Denim Skirt

I haven't worn a denim skirt in at least eight years, but it's definitely time to revive the trend. This pencil skirt is far more chic than other denim skirts I've had, thanks to the dark denim and fitted silhouette. It can easily transition from running errands with my babies to meeting a client, and then dinner with my hubby.

7 Savvy Moms to Follow on Instagram

August 12, 2014

Instagram, with its pictures of baby animals, perfect shots of the Eiffel Tower, and countless outfits of the day, is perhaps my favorite social media platform, and these seven mamas are at the top of my list of favorite accounts.

June Ambrose
Stylist to the stars June Ambrose is also a self-proclaimed Rock Mom, and her Instagram feed proves it. Not only does she show off pics of her ridiculously adorable (and stylish) kids, but also the amazing-looking meals she whips up for them. 

Hilaria Baldwin
Alec Baldwin's wife is kind of a Baldwin herself (if you don't understand this Clueless reference, please watch the film immediately) and so is her cutie patootie, Carmen. This mommy shares a yoga posture every day with her followers, as well as sweet videos of her baby babbling and pics of her sleeping, playing, and just being all-around precious.

Daphne Oz 
Television personality and new mama Daphne Oz shares pics from her pregnancy, her many cravings, and now, tons of pics of her sweet new babe. Clearly she is enjoying motherhood, and her followers get to experience that "new baby smell" right along with her.  

Taylor Sterling
Glitter Guide's Taylor Sterling chronicled her pregnancy, and her many chic maternity outfit choices on Instagram, and now that her baby girl is here, she shares tons of photos of her sweet little lady and her darling outfits.

Tamera Mowry 
Talk show host and actress Tamera's feed has its fair share of glamorous red carpet pics and gorgeous selfies, but this new mama also gives her followers a peek into her every day life with her too-cute-for-words tot, Aden.

Jenna Lee Photo
This mommy photographer captures real-life moments of her kiddos that truly act as a reminder of what childhood is supposed to be.  Her pictures are honest and sweet and fun and funny and everything we want our babies to experience.

100 Layer Cakelet
The stylish mamas behind the blog of the same name, as well as sister site 100 Layer Cake, have an Instagram feed loaded with images from their site--maternity pics, cute babies, party ideas, and everything in between.

Warm Brownie a la Mode for One

August 8, 2014

Single serving desserts in mugs are a favorite of mine because they're quick and easy, and the perfect way to satisfy a sweet tooth without completely overdoing it. This brownie takes about three minutes to make, including a minute in the microwave, but you would never know it from the rich, fudgy flavor.

Warm Brownie a la Mode
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons water
splash of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
Vanilla bean ice cream or frozen yogurt
Chocolate syrup (optional)

In a 12-ounce mug, whisk together oil, water, vanilla, and salt. Add cocoa powder, sugar, and flour, whisking until well combined between each addition. Microwave on high for 60-75 seconds (60 seconds will yield a gooey, molten bottom; 75 seconds will "bake" through). I like to microwave for 68 seconds to produce an almost fully baked, but still a little gooey brownie. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt and chocolate syrup.

Friday Favorites

August 8, 2014

Ever since we hit August I feel like I've been all go, go, go. This weekend I'm hoping to slow down a little and enjoy what's left of summer. I've got no real plans, but I'm certain a nice long nap and some frozen yogurt will be involved. I bid you a safe and fabulous weekend. God bless!
A Ferris Wheel lamp--simply adorable!

Confetti liner

An interview with Emily Giffin, one of my favorite authors. 

Gold desk accessories

This melty, gooey, insanely delicious-looking panini.

Quirky and Cool Desk Accessories

August 7, 2014

1. Cement Desk Accessories  2. Movie Clapper Highlighters  3. Book Clock  4. News Magazine Rack   5. Jonathan Adler Smartphone Dock  6. Retro Camera Pencil Sharpener  7. Lab-solutely Organized Desk Supply Set     

Whether it's a small nook in the kitchen or a corner office with a view, a work space should always inspire--cool desk accessories definitely help. While my personal style is feminine and sparkly, I can't deny how fun and quirky these desk accessories are.

Must Have: Voluspa Lidded Glass Candle -- Makassar Ebony & Peach

August 6, 2014

This fragrance is perhaps my favorite from Voluspa--it's warm and sexy with a subtle, grown up sort of sweetness, not at all cloying, which makes it perfect for the master bedroom. I've purchased it in an art deco-printed black and gold tin, which I now use to store a few favorite baubles, but I haven't seen it in this chic glass jar until now. Officially. Obsessed.

7 Super Sweet Thank You Cards

August 5, 2014

I'm a big believer in giving thank you cards as opposed to sending texts or emails (see here for tips on writing the perfect thank you note), and I like to keep a variety of sweet cards on hand at all times so I can give them as needed. These cards are just so cute and colorful, I want to add each one to my collection.

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