Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Black and Cognac







Dress: Lush | Sandals: Merona | Headband: Tasha | Bracelet (similar styles): Charming CharlieCharming Charlie | Handbag (similar style): Matt & Nat |  Lip Liner: MAC in Staunchly Stylish | Lip Color: Bare Minerals in Slay| Earrings: Nadri | Ring: Nadri

This dress is so simple and super comfortable, but the laid back details of a single side slit and high neckline make it effortlessly chic. It is one of those dresses that will need to be retired by the end of the fair season because I will probably wear it THAT much. I saw this cognac headband the other day and thought it would be the perfect way to round out this laidback look. I love the braided detail and how dainty it is. I paired this outfit with the $33 sandals that I have been overwearing and a leather cognac detailed bracelet. I wore this number to church and had it paired with this jean jacket and it worked perfectly. I am such a fan of easy these days and this is totally one of those ensembles.

My mom and I had such a sweet time being away together last weekend. We never really stopped talking and I missed her the second she left. I totally own that momma's girl life (don't judge). We were both so filled up with so much of God's truth and I totally needed it. I know I failed on my promise to share some of the nuggets I walked away from the women's conference with, but time totally got away from me on Sunday and before I knew it, it was Tuesday afternoon and I was starting into this post. I hope to have a post all about the incredible words of wisdom from last weekend soon. 

I hope your day is as beautiful as you are!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Another Easter Idea



Apparently, I am pushing Easter hard around these parts, but I did warn you all that it is one of my favorite holidays. I love pink and these heels inspired me to build an outfit around them. When I found this almost perfectly matching clutch, I was so excited. The lacey popover dress is under $20 and screams Easter Sunday, while these heels bring it to a whole different sassy level. I accessorized this fun look with some gold and pink jewelry that are a great deal as well. 

My mom and I are heading out of town today to a women's retreat at a church a few hours away and we are so excited. One of my favorite author's is speaking, so it should be amazing and I plan on giving a full report on Monday. My mom and I lived together before we both got married (two months apart), so we used to spend tons of time together. She is one of my closest friends and we love hanging out. We see each other about once a week, but I am really looking forward to having some concentrated time with her this weekend. What are your plans for the weekend?

I hope your day is as beautiful as you are!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Easter Dress








Dress: ASTR the Label Wrap: Merona | Heels: Steve Madden | Clutch (similar styles): Charming Charlie, BP | Earrings: Nadri | Ring: Nadri | Lip Pencil: MAC in Staunchly Stylish | Lip Color: Bare Minerals in Juju 

Can you believe Easter is right around the corner!?! Buying an Easter dress has always been one of my favorite things. I will never forget the pink floral dress I wore around four years old paired with a white hat with a pink ribbon on it. It is one of my favorite holidays and I always look forward to picking out that super springy dress. This dress stuck out to me when I was doing some shopping a week or so ago and I had to have it. It screams Easter! It is so delicate and feminine with the lace overlay. I love that it has a midi hemline but the liner is short. It makes it a sort of sassy, but church appropriate option. Speaking of church, I paired it with the prettiest periwinkle wrap. It is light, but perfect so you don't get any stares for bare shoulders during communion. I finished this gorgeous number off with understated nude heels and clutch. 

I feel like time has been flying lately with no sign of it slowing down. We are just about six weeks out from Tony starting into fair setup and it's all downhill from there. I love fair season, but it seems to be approaching very quickly this year and with a new location at some of our fairs it is a bit daunting. We are so very excited for the business to be growing and can't wait to see where this season takes us. In the meantime we have so many fun things coming up including Easter and Tony's parent's 50th-anniversary party. What are you excited about for the next few months?

I hope your day is as beautiful as you are!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Raspberry Swirl Coffee Cake


It's no secret, I love to bake. The other day at our church small group, one of the ladies brought the most delicious raspberry swirl, crumb topping, coffee cake from this cute market down the street and I was instantly inspired to try to copy it. Honestly, I have nothing against store-bought baked goods, I just have a serious obsession with whipping up something sweet. I have baked plenty of coffee cakes in my day so I mashed together a bunch of recipes that I have used before and this is what I came up with. It isn't quite a copy cat of the other coffee cake but I was really happy with it and so were my taste buds. I hope you enjoy my little experiment!


Ingredients:

Cake
1 cup oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
3/4 tsp salt
1 tablespoon baking powder

Raspberry Sauce
6 ounces raspberries
2 Tbsp sugar

Crumbs
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch


Method:

For the cake


1. Using a stand mixer, mix oil, eggs, vanilla and milk until fully integrated.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, salt and baking powder.
3. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until incorporated. Do not over mix.


4. Pour batter into a greased 9x13 baking dish and set aside.


For the raspberry sauce


1. Combine the sugar and raspberries in a small saucepan.
2. Mash the raspberries well with the back of a spoon or potato masher.
3. Heat over medium low heat until boiling and slightly reduced.


4. Transfer sauce to a strainer over a bowl and push the sauce through the strainer with a spoon in order to separate the sauce from the raspberry seeds. You may need to scrape the other side of the strainer as it may be rather thick at some points.


5. Drizzle about half of the sauce over the prepared batter and swirl with a knife. Set aside.


For the crumbs


1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. You may need to use clean hands to get it fully mixed. It should have a very dry dough consistency. If the dough does not stick together you may need to add a tablespoon or two of milk so that it barely holds a shape when molded.
2. Take a handful of dough and form it into a small log of sorts. Break dime to penny sized chunks off of the log and place them on the prepared batter. Repeat this step until the top is full of crumbs and use the remaining bits of crumb to fill in any spaces on the top.


Final assembly

1. Finish the top of the crumb topping off by drizzling the rest of the raspberry sauce all over.


2. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-32 minutes.
3. Let rest for 10 minutes and enjoy with a nice warm cappuccino.


Friday, March 17, 2017

Transitional and Cozy


1. Necklace: Target (30% Off) | 2. Top: Almost Famous (40% Off) | 3. Heels: Jessica Simpson (50% Off) | 4. Bag: Harper by Hare+Hart (65% Off) | 5. Cardigan: Love by Design (40% Off) | 6. Jeans: Mossimo (50% Off) | 7. Bracelet: Target (30% Off)

I don't know about where you guys, but at this time of year in southern California you either need layers or a complete outfit change midday. I feel like this outfit is a good little in between. This tee is super cute, with its criss-cross front and the detailed back, so it can be worn with or without the cardigan. Long cardigans are a great piece to have for layering all year long. They can be thrown over just about anything to tie an outfit together. I love open toed boots for this time of year. They are kind of still winter but exposed toes are totally spring so you can still get away with wearing a bootie. 

I hope your day is as beautiful as you are!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Daylight Savings







Duster Jacket: BP | Tee: BP | Jeans: Joe's | Wedges: Jeffrey Campbell | Necklace: BP | Earrings: Nadri | Ring: Nadri | Lip Pencil: MAC in Staunchly Stylish | Lip Color: Bare Minerals in Slay

I am head over heels for this lightweight duster jacket and know I will get so much use out of it. Just the other day I wore it over this dress with these heels and it was perfect for a little more than casual night out. Dusters and kimonos seriously have my heart this season. They are great to finish off an outfit and so easy to throw on for an extra layer. So there's that... AND then there are these wedges... They're amazing! I have had them for a couple of weeks now and finally was able to break them out for this outfit. The perforated pattern is gorgeous and they are super light so they are pretty darn comfortable. I am pretty sure I will be wearing these babies out. I have these amazing pieces paired with a simple white tee, my favorite jeans, and some gold accessories. I wore a warmer colored lip pencil with the same lip color that I have been wearing non-stop to compliment this warmer toned outfit. 

Since the time has changed we have been to the beach twice and took and evening stroll through our neighborhood last night, which is quite hilly might I add. We are totally soaking in the later evening sun and it warms my heart. Now, on the other hand, getting used to this time change as far as sleeping goes has been no joke. I know I had a tough time adjusting last year but I don't remember it being this difficult. Also, I don't know about where you live but the spiders have been coming in our house with a vengeance and I am like hop-up-on-the-table terrified of spiders so poor Tony has been working overtime. I mean, I  am so afraid that we made it part of our vows that he kills any and all spiders regardless of size. He sprayed the perimeter of the house last night so hopefully, that will keep them away. 

I hope your day is as beautiful as you are!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Uninvited

I have been a bit of a bookworm lately which is not my norm. I have stopped scrolling through social media in bed and have started reading, so I thought I would share a book every now and again and the insights I learned from it as I have mostly been reading guidance books by Christian authors. 

I finished Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst a few weeks ago thanks to one of my sweet friends putting together a Facebook Group study on it with ladies from all over. It was an incredible book full of knowledge and "I've never thought of it that way" moments for me. This book centers around feeling "less than, left out and lonely" which is how I think us ladies feel far too much, especially in this social media day and age, but there was so much in this book that could be applied to other areas in my life. I just wanted to share a few of those bits with you and explain my thoughts on them, so here goes...
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"Which has really gotten me thinking about all the many times I assign thoughts to others that they never actually think. I hold them accountable to harsh judgments they never make. And I own a rejection from them they never gave me."

Ugh, this totally caught my attention and not in a "Do people really do that?" kind of way. I do this All. The. Time. I have assigned so many thoughts to people based on other things they have said that may or (more likely) may not have said that could by some off chance eventually lead to what I thought. The ridiculous part is, I did not realize how wrong this was until I read this book. There is enough judgment that actually happens out there, so there is definitely no need to assign your thoughts to someone else's mouth. Since having this realization, I have done much better in only ever assessing what was actually said and addressing it head on if I have a concern otherwise. 
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"I'd say, I put God first in my life, but give all my first moments of each day to checking my text messages rather than checking in with His message."

This was such a convicting statement for me. I wanted to raise my hand and yell, "I'm guilty". As I dug deeper into this chapter I found that if you start the day checking in with God's message you will be filled with that first and if you are full of those incredible words you will not be left trying to fill yourself with anyone else's words, or actions for that matter. Realizing the tone we set for each day happens as we open our eyes in the morning has opened my eyes to the fact that I have complete control over that. It has not been perfect, but I have changed the order in which I do things in the morning and I have noticed a shift on those days that I start my day being full of His grace. 
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"But seeking what's fair never cracked the world open to reveal the beautiful reality or a Jesus-loving woman. Only a pure heart with space for grace can do that."

Oh boy, I could frame this one. I have always lived life on the fair side. I try to be fair. I hate when people aren't being fair. "Well that's not fair" comes out of my mouth quite a bit. But, as the old adage goes, life's not fair. Aint that the truth!?! And reading this quote for probably the tenth time, living by faith through grace is the only way to live or we are all just going have our feelings hurt all of the time. The underlying theme of this entire book is living with grace and doing so by remembering the grace we were given by God. We will never have perfect grace for others like Him (we are human), but if we strive to give more grace than we gave the day before, then we are making progress. 
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"Remember: The pain isn't the enemy. Pain is the indicator that brokenness exists"

This rang so true to me. All too often we want to blame our pain on those that we feel may have inflicted it, but those emotions come from a place of relying on others to fill us up whether it be at work, with friends, or at home. That pain is an indicator that we turned to the wrong person to be filled up by in the first place. If we are filled up with by His love, acceptance and grace before going about our day with others, we will completely avoid disappointment that is caused by placing ridiculous expectations on others. This pain of "less than, left out and lonely" ultimately comes from a broken relationship that exists with God because WE CHOSE not to seek Him first. 
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Most women I know NEED to read the message that this book so graciously delivers. It was eye opening and refreshing and if a book like this is a bestseller then you must know that you are not the only one out there feeling these things and that there is so so so much hope in these emotions that most battle daily. Lysa TerKeurst is such a wonderful author and messenger who lays out so many of her own life stories in an effort to be raw and help us understand that we are all in the same boat and for that, I am so grateful.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this post and on this book. Please feel free to reach out!

I hope your day is as beautiful as you are!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Easter Sale Inspiration



The time changes this weekend and the first day of spring is right around the corner which means it's time to start shopping for Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. This gorgeous floral dress is 40% off and it is a brand that I wear quite a bit. It may be super safe but I love pairing any warm colored busy prints with nude accessories. These pumps are a great heel to carry you through events in spring and summer. The floral inspired punch outs are so feminine and the color is very versatile. When your dress is as dainty as this one it is definitely appropriate to pair down and just carry a wristlet. This look is perfectly rounded out with some understated gold jewelry. 

It has warmed up so dramatically and drastically here and there is not really a cool down in sight. I am so excited for the time change so Tony and I can start walking the beach during the week again. Right now the sun is mostly down before he gets home from work. We live about 15 minutes inland from our favorite beach spot and we love to eat dinner, take a stroll and watch the sun go down. This time is precious since as of today we are officially 12 weeks from the start of our first fair of the season. Don't mind me, I will just be over here soaking in the few weeks of spring we have until the madness ensues. 

I hope your day is as beautiful as you are!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

My Latest Obsession







Dress: Dwell + Slumber | Jacket: Merona | Sandals: Merona | Tote: Street Level | Half Cuff Bracelet: Blushes & Gold | Bracelet: Nadri | Ring: Nadri | Earrings: Nadri | Lip Pencil: MAC in Edge to Edge | Lip Color: Bare Minerals in Slay

Have you heard of Dwell + Slumber dresses? Well, you can thank me later because they are amazing. They were introduced to me by a sweet friend of mine and they are amazing. They are super popular with the mom and mom-to-be crowd as they are extremely bump and breastfeeding friendly, but one feel of that soft, cozy, light and flattering material and I was sold as well (no, I'm not pregnant). They are perfect for lounging around the house in and they transition so easily into being out and about by just knotting one side and adding a few accessories. They sell out so fast (like I'm talking within minutes of their restock) and this is one of the few styles they have still in stock right now. They are a small company run by two awesome ladies that I am beyond impressed with. For church on Sunday I knotted the Emery dress and paired it with a jean jacket I picked up the other day. I love these cognac heeled sandals. They are perfect as we transition into spring and summer and they are under $33. I went with gold jewelry to compliment the rest of the warm tones I have going on here and my favorite everyday pink lip color. 

I'm spending the day with my grandpa today. He is my only grandparent that is still here with us and he is a hoot. He and I have always had a very special relationship, but it has blossomed a lot in the last few years. We just really enjoy each other's company. We are heading to one of my favorite spots for lunch and then down to the beach. He loves the beach and goes often "to make sure the ocean is still there". He is super young for his age and pretty popular with the ladies at church, which cracks me up. It should be a really sweet time. 

I hope your day is as beautiful as you are!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Seattle

I'm pretty sure I left a portion of my heart in Seattle. It was amazing. Seattle and the surrounding areas have an amazing mix of every little lifestyle you could want, well maybe minus laying on the beach in the hot sand, but we knew that going in. You can go from the busy hustle and bustle of the downtown area to a quaint small town feel in the matter of about a 15-minute walk. We did so much, but I just wanted to take a minute to recap a few of our highlights.

We stayed at the Hyatt Grand Seattle which is caddy-corner from Nordstrom's flagship store (swoon) and within walking distance of so much. I don't think we could have asked for a better location. The staff was beyond friendly (which is something we found everywhere we went) and the design is craftsman-esque which almost makes you feel like you're up in the mountains versus smack dab in the middle of downtown (perfect to retire to for the evening). Thank you, Hyatt Grand Seattle, for such a perfect stay!



We spent a good three hours at the Starbuck's Roastery our first day and it is probably one of my favorite places ever. Yes, we all love coffee, but Tony is obsessed with everything from bean origin to different brewing techniques and all of the different steps in between. This place was like Willy Wonka and the coffee factory and it did not disappoint. Take the nicest, most passionate Starbuck's employee you have ever met, clone them and multiply them by 100 and that is the staff that you will find there. Each one that we encountered had about a 10-minute conversation with us answering any questions we had and giving us the coolest little tidbits of knowledge. The food was phenomenal, most of it being items that are only served at the Roastery, and they had so many different fun coffee creations to choose from, like my incredible hazelnut bianco latte. It's a must if you're in the area.



We had some seriously gorgeous weather. It was definitely cold, but it barely rained on us at all. We went up in the space needle on the clearest day and it was breathtaking. Seattle is just about surrounded by water on most sides and the space needle is the perfect observation point to see this. I am a bit afraid of heights so it took me a little while to get comfortable with being up there, but they have a great cafe at the top that is perfect for sitting and looking straight out while you adjust to the height. 



We had so much good food, but we ate at two places really stuck out (I'll get to the second one in a minute). Pie Bar is definitely in my top five favorite dessert places of all time. It is literally pie and a bar. They serve a couple of savory pies, the most amazing dessert pies, and handcrafted cocktails. It is the cutest little hole-in-the-wall with the friendliest staff. When we walked in we were greeted with a cheery "Welcome friends!". We had the coconut cream pie and desserted island and both were phenomenal. We went back a second time and I am so so thankful that they are a plane ride away because I don't think my jeans would fit if they were down the street. 


Of course, we had to go to the original Starbucks. It was a super long line, but really neat to see where it all started. Again, the staff here was the sweetest and they even have a Pike Place Reserve Roast that is only sold at this location. We were pleasantly surprised that they did not have their prices jacked up, well because they really could have. We stood in quite a long line, but it moved quickly and was definitely worth it. We also explored the rest of Public Market. We stood and watched fish being thrown for some time and indulged in the best chowder ever at Pike Place Chowder. After stuffing ourselves we strolled along the waterfront park.


This breakfast was the other meal that I just have to share with you. Morsel is a tiny cafe in the University District that serves nothing but their incredible biscuits every way you could possibly imagine. It was phenomenal! We had biscuits and gravy, biscuits and jam and biscuits with roasted garlic, tons of cheese and a fresh roasted tomato dipping sauce (yes, carb overload). At the end of this meal, I wanted to empty my stomach and do it all over again. The service here was also wonderful and they even sent these tourists on our way with their version of cinnamon rolls, compliments of the owner.  


About 30-minutes from downtown is the Boeing plant. If you have any interest whatsoever in how things are made, this is a must. The building alone is worth seeing as it is the largest building in the world by volume. You could fit all of Disneyland and it's parking inside this building and still have 12 acres left over. That aside, I thought it was really neat to see exactly how these beasts of engineering are built since we trust them to carry us through the air. It was a 90-minute tour and you aren't allowed to take your phone or camera with you but they also have a pretty neat science museum to visit after and that's where we took the picture below. 


We rounded our trip out with a visit to Bainbridge Island. Talk about quaint! I absolutely loved it especially for a change of pace. To reach Bainbridge you have to take a 35-minute ferry ride and the view of the city that comes with that is worth it in itself. It is a slow-paced break from its neighboring city. We just walked the little town, wandered in and out of bookstores and local artisans shops, had lunch at the local butcher shop and people watched. It was perfect. 


We both loved Seattle equally and we will definitely be back. I am so thankful for this trip and the memories we made. It was a beautiful time for us to just be and enjoy each other's company. 

I hope your day is as beautiful as you are!
 

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