Monday, December 10, 2018

My Monday | Learn to Rest

Hello everyone!
We have almost made it though another year.
Is anyone as exhausted as I am?
These last few weeks have been especially hard.
It has made me a little frustrated because I am a Christmas fanatic but feel like I have been held back.
I'm sure many of you have reached this point before.
When you feel like all of your hard work has been for naught and you don't think you have the strength to go on.
I am a perfectionist.
I will not do anything without giving a hundred percent.
In school I wouldn't turn in my homework because I would rather get a zero than have someone see something I am not proud of.
Not the best strategy, but it's how I'm wired.
Between family, friends, work, side projects, trying to update our house, plain old adulting (bills, grocery shopping, laundry), trying to find time for each other and what seems like a million other responsibilities, I tend to get worn out.
Especially when I am giving one hundred percent all the time. 
After awhile I feel defeated and start questioning myself.
Did all that hard work pay off?
Have I moved forward at all?
Does anyone notice the endless effort I am putting in?
This leads me to want to stop trying altogether. 
But that is not the answer.

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I have to remind myself that it is okay to rest.
That some things don't have to have my full attention now.
They can wait.
That laundry?
It will be there tomorrow.
Whether I like it or not.
Your friends and family?
They can go a day without seeing you.
Even though they might not act like it. 
Okay, your family can't go without eating...
But maybe have a frozen pizza instead of a roasted chicken and four sides.
Slow down.
Take a break.
Focus on what needs to be done.
Whatever can wait, let it wait.
Then come back better than ever and take the other things down!
What is something you can take off your plate this week?
Leave it below and then come back and tell me how you did. 

All my love,

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Homemade Gingerbread Cake

Hello everyone!
Does anyone else love to bake around the holidays?
It's one of our favorite things to do together.
We have already made several holiday themed treats this year, including this gingerbread layer cake.
Neither of us grew up having ginger flavored anything around the holidays.
It's such a big hit and we felt like we were missing out so we found this recipe and decided to try it out.
While making it I offered Erik a taste and he ended up eating almost an entire cake by himself in minutes.
It's that good!
Needless to say I had to make more to finish the cake.

You will need:
1 and a 1/2 cups of Flour
1 and a 1/2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
1/2 a Teaspoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Ground Ginger
1 Teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon
1/2 a Teaspoon of Cloves
1/2 a Cup of Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
1/2 a Cup of Sugar
1/3 a Cup of Dark Brown Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1/2 a Cup of Molasses
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla
1/2 A Cup of Buttermilk

Preheat your oven to 350o.
Line three round six inch cake pans with parchment paper, grease and flour.
In a medium bowl whisk flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves.
Set aside.
In a large bowl beat butter until smooth.
Add sugars and mix until light and fluffy. 
Add eggs one at a time, incorporating completely after each addition.
Add molasses and vanilla and mix until well combined.
Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. 
Flour, buttermilk, flour buttermilk flour. 
Mix well after each addition. 
Spread batter evenly into your pans.
Smooth top with a spatula.
Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. 
Let cool.

To decorate I used homemade cream cheese frosting.

You will need:
1 Cup of Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
6 Ounces of Cream Cheese
3 Cups of Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla

In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy. 
Add powdered sugar one cup at a time.
Use more or less powdered sugar if needed.
Add vanilla and mix until combined.

Once your cakes have cooled, place a small dot of the cream cheese frosting at the center of your serving dish.
Place one cake on top of the dot, apply a thin layer of frosting to the top of the cake and smooth.
Add the next cake and repeat.
Add the final cake and repeat.
Once you have your layers stacked add frosting around the entire cake and smooth.
The first layer of frosting is referred to as a crumb coat, as crumbs from the cake usually stick to the first layer of frosting.
I liked the look of the speckled crumb coat for the gingerbread cake.
It gave it the look of a naked cake.
If you would like a more finished look let your crumb coat set in the fridge for thirty minutes and then add another layer of cream cheese frosting. 
On top of my cake I added frosted sprigs of rosemary and cranberries.
To frost, wet the rosemary and cranberries and lightly sprinkle with sugar.

I love how this cake turned out.
It's festive but took minimal effort.
And as I mentioned, it's DELICIOUS!
What is your favorite thing to bake around the holidays?

All my love,

Monday, December 3, 2018

My Monday | Social Awareness

Hello everyone!
The holiday season is fully upon us.
As we enter this time of year where we see loved ones from different parts of the world more often, I thought it would be an appropriate time to talk about social awareness.
Social Awareness: To be conscious of the difficulties and hardships of society.
I feel like a lot of people don't have social awareness skills nowadays.
We have become too self involved.
I used to think that as time went on people would gain perspective.
That they would see how others struggle or how hard it is to juggle several things at once.
I have come to learn that that is not the case.
For some people it's just their show twenty four seven.
So, here is a little lesson for you.
If a loved one recently lost their job, be sensitive.
 Don't talk about yours too much, whether it's good or bad.
If they lost a loved one, be thoughtful.
 Don't talk about your loved ones too much, whether it's good or bad.
If they got out of a terrible relationship, be tactful.
 Don't talk about your relationship too much, whether it's good or bad.
If they are struggling financially, be compassionate.
 Don't talk about your financial situation too much, whether it's good or bad
Sounds pretty easy right?

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The holidays can add a lot of unnecessary stress to people.
Financial stress.
Emotional stress.
Even physical stress.
It should be a time of celebration.
So, let's all agree to put ourselves in someone else shoes.
Lets put other's needs before ours.
Lets focus on those who might be struggling this time of year and lighten the load.
Lend them a listening ear.
A helpful hand
A cheerful smile
Lets make this the best holiday season.
For everyone!

All my love,

Sunday, December 2, 2018

DIY Christmas Movie Quote Gift Tags

Hello everyone!
Happy December!
Christmas is on its way!
Every year I have the best intentions to add cute gift tags to my Christmas gifts but never get around to it. 
I end up having to remember who's gift is who's by the shape.
That will not be the case this year as I finally have gift tags.
I made my own!
One of my favorite parts of the holidays is snuggling up and watching Christmas movies.
Certain movies tend to remind me of certain people.
I thought it would be fun to gift someone their present with a personalized gift tag featuring a Christmas movie quote inspired by them.

You will need:
Hole Punch
Items to decorate with, Optional

To start, think of some quotes that would be perfect for the people on your gift list.

I went with:
Son of a nutcracker! - Elf
And a fandpa for your Cousin Leon. - How the Grinch Stole Christmas
I want to wash my hands, my face, my hair with snow. - White Christmas
And none for Gretchen Wieners. - Mean Girls
Is your house on fire, Clark? - National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Every time a bell rings, an angel get his wings. - It's a Wonderful Life
Solve world hunger. Tell no one. - How the Grinch Stole Christmas
You go Glen Coco! - Mean Girls
Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal. - Home Alone
Fra-gee-lay. It mush be Italian! - A Christmas Story

Type the quotes up on your computer.
Print out the quotes.
Using your tag punch or scissors cut the quotes out into a tag.
Punch a hole into the tag to create a place for your ribbon to fit through.
Slip your ribbon through the hole.
Tie the tag to your gift.
I kept my quotes very simple as I wanted to add more to them when they were on the gift.

For instance my dad's favorite Christmas movie is It's A Wonderful Life.
Even if you haven't seen this movie you are probably familiar with it's line "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings."

Adding some jingle bells with the tag was a must.
We want all the angels to get all there wings.

When thinking of Kevin McCallister snarling his lips and mouthing "Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal!" two things came to mind.
One, this awesome "ugly" Christmas sweater I saw years ago. (and still want BTW)
And two, all the pom pom beanies Macaulay Culkin rocks in the movie.

I thought adding some pom poms to the gift would be an appropriate way to honor both.

I know technically Mean Girls is not a Christmas movie.
But I think we can all agree that the Christmas scenes from this movie are iconic.
Obviously I had to create a tag with the famous "You go Glen Coco!" line.
In the movie candy canes are being passed out during the scene and Glen Coco happens to get four which encourages the epic line. 

Adding some candy canes with the tag was the perfect touch. 

If you'd rather spend time making the tags more detailed on the computer go for it!
You can use different colors, fonts and sizes.
 I am not technologically savvy at all.
I usually just type anything I want to print in Word.
Here are my tags if you would like to use them.
I'm sure you could do better.

I love the way these turned out.
They are so simple you can add just about anything to them or they work just fine on their own.
Each one of these quotes brought back a special memory with my loved ones.
I hope they love it just as much as I do!
I can't wait to get the rest of my gifts so I can wrap and add more tags to them.
What is your favorite Christmas movie quote?
Drop it below!

All my love,

Monday, November 26, 2018

My Monday | Play To Your Weaknesses

Hello everyone!
I hope you all had an amazing holiday weekend.
Today I wanted to talk to you about my weaknesses.
Growing up I had a tendency to focus on my flaws.
I was too timid.
Too emotional.
Too quiet.
It took me a long time to realize that what I thought were my weaknesses were actually my strengths.

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I love this quote as it reminds me to play to my strengths.
Or rather, my weaknesses.
All of the things that I thought made me less than make me great.
My timidness has made me a planner.
I am often over prepared in situations which has given me the opportunity to help others.
My high emotions have given me empathy.
It is easier to understand someone when you can relate to their feelings.
My quietness has made me a good listener.
I frequently catch onto subtle things and am able to use them to my advantage.
Some might still see these as weaknesses but I have chosen to see them as strengths.
What do you consider some of your "weaknesses?"
Have they provided you with abilities you might not have otherwise?
No matter how small or insignificant those abilities may seem they make a difference to the world and those around you. 
Play to them.

All my love,

Friday, November 23, 2018

My Christmas Wish List

Hello everyone!
Happy Black Friday!
The holiday season is officially upon us.
I'm sure many of you are working on your gift lists like I am.
It's hard to come up with ideas for others AND for yourself...
I get a lot of inspiration from other people so I thought I would share a few things on my Christmas List this year, ranging from expensive to inexpensive.

I love to bake!
One thing that I still need to add to my baking collection is a cooling rack.
As soon as I saw this gorgeous gold one I knew I had to have it.
And it's only eight bucks!

Image result for whiskey in a teacup

I LOVE Reese Witherspoon and have had my eyes on her book since its release in September.
I have been holding off in the hopes I could get it for Christmas.
I love books like this.
They are perfect to display and add some color to your home and are full of useful tips and tricks that you can pull out at a moments notice.

Nike Tanjun Women's Shoe

I have never had a nice pair of athletic shoes.
My current ones are seven years old, from a grocery store and are falling apart. 
This year I started a new job that is a lot of physical work and I spend the majority of the day on my feet.
 I also started exercising on a regular basis. (Praise me!)
I realized it was probably time to invest in some good shoes.
And these black Nike's will go with almost anything!

Gold Office Supplies

Desktop Storage Drawer Set, Gold - Threshold̢㢠- image 1 of 3

My office has slowly started coming together this year.
Baby steps people.
Baby steps...
These cute gold office supplies will help give it the finishing touches it needs for organization and glam!
They range from $10 to $25 at Target.

I saw sherpa pullovers for the first time last year right before Christmas and wanted one so bad.
I talked myself out of it and am really regretting it as they are a hot item this year.
It looks so cozy and would be the perfect item to help me endure the cold winter months after Christmas.
Plus, it's comfy but you can still look cute!
You can get 25% off the above pullover at Pink Desert for Black Friday.
They also offer free shipping on ALL orders which is a huge win in my book. 

Kristen Ess Gift Set

Kristin Ess Style Reviving Dry Shampoo + Hair French Pin - 4oz - image 1 of 1

Kristen Ess is my girl Lauren Conrad's hairdresser.
She released a line of hair care earlier this year and I have been dying to try it.
While shopping the other day I saw she had these adorable gift sets that include a hair care item and some stunning hair accessories.
They are only $14 and are buy one get one 50% off at Target for Black Friday.
Get on it!

Giving gifts is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season.
I am so excited to snag some good deals this weekend.
I hope that these ideas were able to help you get some ideas for loved ones or yourself.
What are you wishing for this year?

All my love,

Monday, November 19, 2018

My Monday | Gratitude

Hello everyone!
With Thanksgiving this Thursday I thought it would be appropriate to talk about gratitude.
Do you ever find it hard to be grateful?
Maybe you have been feeling really down.
Maybe everyone else seems to be moving forward and you seem to be moving back. 
Maybe some bad news has been lingering in your mind.
I have felt this way.
I have felt this way often to be honest.
Something I started doing to help me change my outlook is to create a list of what I am grateful for each night before I go to bed.
I lay down, think over my day and list everything I am grateful for from it.
I start with the big more obvious things.
My husband.
My house.
My health.
And work my way down to the smaller more specific things.
Warm socks.
The fact that we had milk when I thought we were out.
Tissues with lotion in them.
By the time I am done I am usually crying from the overwhelming realization of how blessed I am.

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In this day and age it is so easy to get lost in material belongings.
Everybody seems to move from thing to thing so quickly.
Each day brings a new purchase.
A new announcement. 
A new must have.
We take the small things for granted and forget how blessed we truly are.
I challenge you to keep a list of what you are grateful for this week.
By the time Thanksgiving comes around I bet you will find your list much longer than you expected.
And the things we should be focusing on will become our priority.
Happy Thanksgiving!

All my love,