Love, Life, Cooking, Crafts, and Everything in Between :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

More Stripes and Bow Flats

Okay, I have been SLACKING in the outfit picture taking department. I've actually worn a few outfits that I have loved but I have been so life...that I've taken a turn toward laziness with the cameras.

What fun "life" things have I been doing? Christmas-y things with the hubby! Craft fairs, Christmas parades...homework...more homework...tests....more Christmas fun! lol

I do have ONE simple outfit to share...yay! Yesterday I wore a striped painter's tee (JCrew), skinny jeans rolled up a little ( was 70 degrees out!!), and leather bow flats (thrifted--JCrew). Oh yeah...and a brown leather belt (old--Target). Yes, I rocked black and brown (again)...and I loved it.
I love that deep red polish I am wearing. It's one of Sally Hansen's quick dry colors. I really need to repaint my nails now though...I ruined them with the fabric glue...who knew (here)? Beware people that use the strong fabric glue available at may ruin your manicure! :)

Handmade Burlap Tree Skirt

I have been dying to make/buy some more home-y Christmas decorations these past few years. Recently I saw this pin on Pinterest:
I had to replicate this for my family! There is no tutorial (though if you've read about my previously posted crafts you know I typically like to wing-it anyway), nor is there any real site connection that I could find. I tried my best.

I bought some burlap (on sale!), green acrylic paint (40% off coupon!), paint brushes, and red thread from JoAnn's. I bought red ribbon from Michael's (50% off coupon!). I bought fabric glue from WalMart.

It took me wayyyy too many hours to hand blanket stitch two layers of burlap together in a typical tree skirt shape. I then looked at different ruffled ribbons to decide how I wanted mine look. I finally decided upon a ruffle that trickled from the top of the ribbon.

To ruffle the ribbon I set my mom-in-law's sewing machine to the longest straight stitch and sewed a straight line  from one end to the other(without "locking in" either end of the ribbon). Holding onto the bottom thread of the stitch I just put in, I pushed the ribbon inward until the entire length of ribbon looked as I desired. In order to have the proper length of ribbon after ruffling it I cut the original piece 2 x the size I needed. I attached the ruffle to the burlap with fabric glue.

Next, I free handed some letters and numbers on a piece of paper to work as my stencils on the burlap. I placed my cutouts on the burlap and traced around them with a black Sharpie.
I painted the letters/numbers green. I then painted my left hand, Bailey's left paw, Ryan's right hand, and Petey's right paw green and placed them on the skirt. :)
Yummmy hands!! lol

Finished product??
It looks a little misshapen in this picture, but I assure you it is not! :)
I like it. :) Do you?

The Liebster Award!

I am super excited to announce that Brenna at Awake at Five has nominated me for the Liebster award. From the research that she and other bloggers have done we have found out that the Liebster originated in Germany, means "dearest," and is to show love for "up and coming" bloggers! Fun!

Here's the deal:

The rules seem to change from blog to blog, but this is how I was tagged, so here it goes!

·       Each person tagged must post 11 things about themselves.
·       They must also answer the 11 questions the tagger has set for them.
·       They must create 11 more questions to ask bloggers they have decided to tag.
·       They must then choose 11 special bloggers to tag & award with the Liebster award with less than 200 followers.
·       These lucky bloggers must be told in a comment on their blog. 

11 Random Facts About Me:

1. I was born and raised in the Boston area. Although I now live down south I am truly a northerner at heart! Go Pats/Sox/Bruins/Celtics!! 

2. While most high schoolers in the states take Spanish/French/Latin for a language I was blessed to take 4 years of Russian!! I loved fun! 

3. Though I am 24 (almost 25) and my hubby is 26 we are both always told we look like we should still be in high school....sometimes it gets a little annoying...but we’re told we’ll love that one day! 

4. Our first sweet puppy was adopted having already been named Petey. Ironically, my brother-in-law’s name is Peter! As a joke, Ryan and I call Petey “Peter L. T. the 3rd” whenever he’s in trouble! 

5. I am ADDICTED to polishing my nails, and I LOVE getting new nail polishes! 

6. I have a cross anchor tattooed on my left wrist. It’s super simple but I designed it myself. I got it done when I was 20. It stands for anchoring my hope in Christ (Hebrews 6). It has 3 distinct points to represent the Trinity and some red shadowing to represent the blood of Christ. 

7. I also have a tattoo across the top of my back. It says, “Love always perseveres.” Next to the word “perseveres” is a swallow. The same day I got this tattoo my husband got a swallow tattooed on his bicep. Swallows mate for life and make it through adversity. We both believe that marriage is a lifelong covenant between us and God. We also believe that our love will always persevere. 

8.As much as I love shoes and painting my own toenails....I hate other people’s feet! 

9. A couple of months ago I had a skin cancer scare (the spot turned out to be benign! Thank you Lord!). I didn’t tell many people. My husband supported me every step of the way and even came with me to have a spot surgically removed. I was pretty strong throughout the surgery though I was pretty scared. For some reason, though the procedure went well, I had an overwhelming need to cry as soon as we got to the Jeep. Ryan was SO sweet. He simply embraced me and told me to let it out. Then he treated me with fresh Krispy Kreme and Red Robin!

10. I was a cheerleader during junior high and high school. I was a flyer. I am afraid of heights! 

11. Our second anniversary (of marriage) was spent in my in-law’s basement with Petey...trying to keep cool after nearly a week of no power at our own house (during 100 degree weather) due to Dechero (the wind storm this summer). Their basement was one of our only means of cooling down! We ate Taco Bell because it was one of the only places open in town. It may not have been a glamorous anniversary but it sure was memorable and even fun! 

Brenna’s Questions:
  1. If you could spend a day with any person, living or deceased, who would it be? Sounds lame...but I would spend it with my husband! I love him, and I love spending quality time with him! 
  2. Who or what inspires you the most? People that are genuine about what is going on in their lives and make it through adversity both stronger and still joy-filled inspire me.
  3. Comfort over fashion or fashion over comfort? I would say that if you have seen any good bit of my blog you would know that I enjoy a mixture of comfort and fashion....on the comfy side! lol
  4. Just you and your love on a chilly evening, order dinner in or go out? Dinner in! We’re old at heart.
  5. Best vacation you ever went on? vacation ever?? For my first birthday as a married woman my husband coordinated with my boss to take me home from work early. He took me on a surprise weekend trip to VA Beach and it was wonderful! He had gifts wrapped...ordered dessert into our room...he thought of everything and it was perfection! I’ve been on lots of good vacations though!
  6. Who do you turn to when you need advice? When I need advice I turn to Ryan. We have one of the most open and honest relationships you would ever know...
  7. When it comes to love, are you all in or keep a piece of your heart on the shelf? All in.
  8. If you could have any car, without paying a dime, what would you choose? Jeep or old.
  9. Best day of your life? July 2, 2010
  10. Be honest, how long could you go without electronics?  Minutes, days, weeks?? I would like to think I could make it days....but I’m not so sure!
  11. What brought you into this wonderful world of blogging? I enjoy reading other people’s blogs and one day I figured...why not??

Questions for Nominees!
1.     What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
2.     What is the first thing you notice about other people?
3.     Do you often (or ever) use sarcasm?
4.     What sound do you love?
5.     What is your favorite time of the day/day of the week/week of the month/month of the year?
6.     If you could witness any event (past/present/future) what would it be?
7.     What did you do as a kid that got you into trouble?
8.     What was the first thing that you bought with money you worked for (and not doing chores)?
9.     What is something that you have learned in this past week?
10.  What is the most embarrassing cd/tape that you have ever owned?
11.  How do you want to be remembered?

My Nominees:

Lindsey at My Every Day Loves
Taylor at Peach Gingham
Catie at Catie's Corner
Whitney at PolishedandPink
Christine Marie at Compliments of Christine Marie
Ashley Allison at Pink Margarita Pearl

Thanks again to Brenna for nominating me! Enjoy reading my answers and filling out your own! :) 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Black and White....and Jeans

I was in a black and white mood yesterday. It was brought on by a recently thrifted necklace. The necklace (that you will pictures below) used to have a huge dangle-y thing coming down from the middle. I hated that I took it off. Apart from the necklace I  kept it super simple (shocking!! lol). I wore a white tee (JCrew), a black cardigan (Target...super old), skinny jeans (Hollister), and black suede boots (JCrew) (better pics here, here, and here).

Yay for iphone pics! lol Have you ever altered a piece of jewelry that you felt had lots of potential but needed some help before it was wearable?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Delicious White Chicken Chili

This morning Christy at The Girl Who Ate Everything posted a delightful looking recipe for white chicken chili. I decided that I just HAD to make it for dinner tonight! Not only was it SUPER easy but it was also SUPER yummy!! The only differences between Christy's recipe and what I did was exchange Great Northern beans for Garbanzo beans, exchange Monterrey Jack cheese for Mexican cheese, and skip the Tabasco sauce.

  • 1 onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil(EVOO)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 (15-1/2 ounces) cans Garbanzo beans
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles, drained
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
  • (optional) Tabasco sauce
Super Simple Steps:

1. Saute chopped onion in olive oil.
2. Add broth, beans, chicken, chiles, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, and pepper.
3. Simmer (stirring occasionally) for 30 minutes.
4. Add sour cream and cheese. Mix until cheese is melted
5. Serve and Enjoy! :)

Yields 6-8 servings.

Note: This picture of my bowl of soup does NOT do it justice!! :)

Enjoy :)

Winter White

Today was gorgeous! The weather was perfection. A coat was unnecessary during the day (which I love). I decided to take advantage of the beautiful day. I kept it bright on the bottom with white skinnies (Kohls) and wore a lightweight 3/4 sleeve wool sweater on top (JCrew). For a little pizazz I decided to layer a gray and black striped tee under the sweater. For the love of comfort I finished the outfit off with my suede moccasins (JCrew/Minnetoka)...or slippers (as C likes to call them! lol). The lovely necklace you catch a glimpse of is a gift from my hubby from a few Christmas's ago. :)

Do you wear white during the winter? Or do you still follow the old wives' tale that there shalt be no white after labor day? :)

Christmas Tree, O' Christmas Tree...

Last night Ryan and I had a BLAST decorating our Christmas tree. :) It's not 100% finished yet because there are a few crafts that I would like to do (God-willing...futures posts will come), but it is lovely and home-y. :)

As we put the tree together (we use a faux tree) we played wonderful, old-school Christmas music (I'm talking Frank Sinatra...etc). Loved it! I love when we can goof off and sing and just plain old have fun together.

Once we had done all the tree-stuff that we were planning to do, we attempted to take a couple of pictures with us and with the puppies!! You'll see... :)

How do you decorate your tree? Do you keep it traditional or go for the trends?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fuchsia Cardigan

I have a white, flowy, super low cut tank top that I thrifted a while back. I've never worn it. When I say super low cut I mean SUPER low cut (you'll see). I never knew how to wear it. I've been in a  somewhat experimental mood lately so I figured I'd give this top a shot today.

I paired the white top over a fuchsia tank (thrifted) and under a fuchsia cardigan (thrifted--NY&Co.). I wore this all with my gray skinnies (Kohls) and my new favorite black suede boots (JCrew...see here, here).

I must have looked good because my hubby asked if he could take me out to dinner when I got home! lol We went to Outback. What a treat! Yum!! :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Camel Cardigan

So, I thrifted an awesome camel cardigan (JCrew) a few weeks ago. I have been dying to wear it, but wanted to concoct the perfect outfit for its debut. I think I did a pretty swell job. You decide. :)

I paired the cardigan with a beloved striped tank (thrifted--Madison), and red skinnies (Kohls). I finished the outfit with my awesome suede boots (Jcrew). P.S. I cannot stop touching those boots!! That sounds creepy but I don't really care. Seriously, the outside is made of the SOFTEST suede and the inside is more super super soft leather! Love them. :)

So, from what I've researched, this cardigan was officially named the "Tartine Cardigan." It is merino wool BUT it is lined with a silk chiffon ruffle at the neck and hem. Love it! :) Here is a picture from Polyvore so you can see the details a little better (this is the chocolate colored version).

 I love the little details. That's generally what I fall for. How about you?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Suede Boots

Today I got to have coffee and watch a movie (What to Expect When You're Expecting) with my friend E. We always have a great time chatting and catching up. :) It's always an awesome time when you are dying laughing (in this case at the was pretty funny).

Anyway, for this fun, laid back day filled with errands, lunch with my hubby, cleaning, and friend time, I wore a simple outfit. Today's outfit truly encompasses my typical, most comfortable and simple style. I wore a navy, lace trimmed cardigan (Jcrew--warehouse sale); a gray and white striped tank (GAP--thrifted); jeans (Kohls); and black, suede boots (Jcrew--warehouse sale).

Here I was making sure Ryan would take a pic of my boots! lol

Now, for these boots...I love them! They are super comfortable and the suede is definitely high quality. I would highly recommend these boots if you are looking for some flat, black boots.  I love pretty much everything JCrew. I may even dare to say that they are my FAVORITE store! Now, I will admit, their prices are quite high...but that is why I only buy things from them with gift cards, on sale, at the clearance stores, at the warehouse sales, and at consignment shops. Shop smart people! :)

What brands do you like for boots?

Triple Chocolate Cake Bread

I saw a recipe for a chocolate bread a few weeks ago. I love anything chocolate and this seemed different than your typical chocolate cake so I saved the recipe on my browser for the perfect craving-filled day. The original recipe was enough to make 4 mini loaves. I halved the recipe (which is what I've given you below) to make one regular loaf.

I want to start with a picture of my final product:

Overall it was pretty good. The bread was a little on the dry side(though that could easily be fixed with some more applesauce). I'm not completely sure if I will make it again at this point. I'd like to try other chocolate bread recipes (so if you have a good one feel free to share!). My personal favorite part of this recipe was the chocolate glaze. I had a lot of the glaze left over so I put it in the fridge. After a day it was fudge!! Yum!!! I really want to make some fudge now (I'm drooling). is the recipe for one loaf!

Ingredients for bread:
  • 3/4 cups miniature semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for glaze (I made the full amount of glaze recommended for 4 mini loaves in case I wanted could truly 1/2 this as well if you please):
  • 1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons half-and-half cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt

1. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips; set aside to cool.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

3. Add egg and cooled chocolate; mix well.
4. Add applesauce and vanilla; set aside.

5. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well.

6. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips.
7. Spoon into greased bread pan.
8. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
9. Cool for 10 minutes before removing to wire racks.

10. For glaze, melt chocolate chips and butter in a small heavy saucepan; stir in cream.
11. Remove from the heat; stir in confectioners' sugar, vanilla and salt.
12. Drizzle over warm breads. Cool completely.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Day of Thanks

Today is a day that American's donate to Thanksgiving and we recognize the many blessings in our lives. I try to be thankful everyday, but in honor of this holiday I will share some of the many things I am thankful for.

In pictures, here are some of the people/things I am thankful for!
My Husband! Photo Courtesy of Evan Taylor.

The AMAZING relationship Ryan and I share.

Petey Puppy!

Bailey (the newest addition to our family!!)
I am also thankful for the rest of my family, my friends, quality time spent with others, the roof over my head, the food in my belly, the bed I sleep in, the opportunity to further my education, my health, and love.

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Polka Dots & A Military Jacket

The church Ryan and I attend is filled with casual dressers. On any given Sunday there are multiple men up front, playing instruments, wearing skinny jeans and vneck tees (it's almost embarrassing! To each his own. :) Anyway, I decided against wearing true blue jeans and instead opted for my dark grey skinnies (Kohls). To keep my toes comfy and warm I wore my suede moccasins (JCrew/Minnetoka). It wasn't TOO cold so I kept it simple with layers up top. I wore a hot coral long sleeved tee (thrifted), a black military jacket (Aeropostale from....8 ish years ago?), and a blue/grey polka dot pashmina (Kohls). I love that the outfit was casual and comfortable with a couple of fun color pops! :)

I'm not quite sure why I even own long sleeved tops....I pretty much ALWAYS roll them up anyway! :) Oh well...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Coffee Date with My Love and A Pop of Coral

Ryan and I planned a little Starbucks date to take advantage of their buy one get one free deal regarding holiday drinks. I LOVE their peppermint mocha! Delicious! :) I greatly enjoy when Ryan and I are able to take some time to sit down and just talk with one another over coffee. It is relaxing and reminds me a lot of when we were dating. Fun!!

What did I wear? Simple. I wore jeans (Kohls), a striped tee (JCrew), a vest for warmth (thrifted--Kenneth Cole), and for a pop of color....a coral "pashmina" (Kohls). Oh yeah, and grey bow flats (thrifted--Jcrew)!

This is my favorite way to tie my scarves..."pretzel-like"!

No vest. I hate how the straight lines of the shirt get distorted!

Errand running days can be made simple with the following equation: jeans + 3/4 tee + scarf (or statement necklace) = fun and casual. :) Sweet and simple!

What are your fall/winter staples?