Dream Big & Buy The Shoes: June 2016

June 29, 2016

Delicious & Easy Summertime Drinks

Once Summer hits, I am craving constant refreshment. Whether it be in the form of a cocktail or an infused water, bring on the drinks. Not only do I enjoy a tasty drink, but it has to be easy. I'm all about quickness during this season.

Today I've rounded up some of my favorite recipes around the web, including some of my own to make your Summer even more delicious.

To start, infused water is one of my favorite things to make. It's so fool-proof and coming up with new combinations really is fun. I've made a few in the past such as this one jam packed with fruits and this energy boosting combo, but my all time favorite is the Strawberry Lemon Basil Water. You can really taste all the flavors and it's so refreshing.

summer drinks

Mary from Eat Drink & Be Mary shared a recipe for her Red, White and Blue Sangria and I am trying it out this weekend for a friend's party. I love festive drinks and the colors are perfect for the Fourth of July.

holiday drinks
picture via Eat, Drink & Be Mary
While we're on the subject of sangria...I have a personal favorite from my bridal shower last summer. It's my favorite one and it has the best combination of fruits. I love how easy they are to make, and this one was a huge hit at my event. Check out this perfect Summer Sangria if you're in the mood for another great recipe.

summertime drinks

One more adult drink favorite of mine is a Moscow Mule. I love all the variations people have come up with now, and one way to maximize and enjoy the flavor is using a different twist of Ginger Beer like I did in my Maxxed Up Moscow Mule. A few ingredients and you're set to go--they're so cooling and perfect for a hot Summer day.

best mule recipes

Elle from Elle Talk tweeted about a Spa Water Mule and since I'm all about spa water I had to check it out. Turns out it's just as refreshing and amazing as it sounds. A few fresh ingredients and you've got yourself another great Mule.

summer drinks
picture via Elle Talk
For those caffeine lovers (hand raised)...I have the perfect iced coffee recipe to make in the comfort of your own home. I LOVE iced coffee and failed at making it way too many times, until now. The success comes in the steps, so make sure you follow along to get it just right. It's a quick way to get you going in the morning.

homemade iced coffee

I recently dove in to a new recipe book, all about drinks-- Spritz. The Spritz is a bubbly cocktail from Italy which has turned in to a style of drinking. This cocktail book is jam packed with great recipes from all over the globe. Not only are there step by step instructions on how to bring this delicious drink in to your home, but it shares the history of the spritz and how it evolved and passed among countries.

My favorite concoction from the book so far that I can't wait to try out this summer is the Rose All Day.
You will need:
2 oz. Rose
1 oz. Cocchi Americano (an Italian cocktail wine)
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 oz. Prosecco
To make:
Combine Rose, Cocchi adn lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Stir and strain in to a wine glass filled with ice. Top with Prosecco. Garnish if you wish. Cheers!

how to accessorize your bar cart

Some other cocktails from the book I can't wait to enjoy are the Aperol Betty made with orange and grapefruit juices and the Sensa Spritz which includes cucumber and lime juice. All these ingredients scream Summer to me, so this book is just perfect for this time of the year.

I have a few lemonade recipes I want to try this season and am always finding new, great things on Pinterest. Follow along to share in the fun.

What's your favorite Summertime drink? Have you tried any of these before?

I was given a copy of Spritz in exchange for an honest review from Blogging for Books. All opinions are my own.

June 27, 2016

Using Your Voice Wisely

If you follow me on Instagram, you may already know...I'm a proud, maybe over the top, but definitely loving Soccer Stepmom. I grew up playing Soccer from the time I could run at age 3 I was doing it on a field. I didn't do it well to start. Kids all gather together and chase the ball and are just running and kicking...I was one of them. I don't remember much of my early years playing the sport, but I must have loved it because I continued to do it season after season.

To say that I love watching my Stepson play soccer is a very drastic understatement. Watching him play the sport that I grew up loving and learning so much from is complete joy for me. I so badly wanted him to try out for the school team this past year since it was his first year in middle school. That was the plan once we found out they had a team. To my disappointment, he ended up not doing it. He was afraid he wouldn't make the team and was kind of nervous to play. It made me so sad because he's good...actually, he's really good. For never playing on a team largely devoted to instruction and in depth parts of the sport, he does so well. He is left footed which is rare and has one hell of a heart and always shows up with team spirit.
To hear him talk about himself like that is what hurt me more. As parents, we tell Ethan we love him approximately 76 times a day, but maybe we need to be doing something else. We tell him how proud of him we are, how great he's doing in school even when he brings home a C+...because if he's trying his hardest and doing all he can, that is his best....but should we be doing more?

Thursday was an exciting night. He played at my Alma Mater on a college sized field at Penn State Behrend for the first time. Chuck and I sat in the bleachers and cheered him on like we typically do 2-3 times a week throughout the Summer. I had the pleasure of sitting next to a parent from the other team which is usually a joy. ;)
The things that came out of this parent's mouth were not like the usual things I heard on the sidelines. I was appalled as this man went on and on about how awful his son was at Soccer. He went as far as to take pictures of what his son was doing wrong (mind you, the child was playing his position correctly) so that he could show him after the game before he made him run sprints in the driveway.

I get it...you want your child to do good. You want to see your child giving it their all and playing to win. I've coached Soccer, I've refereed soccer, and now I'm a parent of a player...this man's son was doing all the right things, but it wasn't good enough for Dad. It then got to the point at the end of the game that he was calling his child names that I refuse to even type and display on the Internet. My heart broke for this child. The straw that broke my back was when this man's son scored a goal and he MISSED IT because he was sitting there turned to the person next to him explaining what his son was doing wrong.

Tell me...what good was this parent doing? He was SO outspoken, but only to harass his own child. I didn't hear him say one good thing the entire game. Why not use your voice to direct rather than humiliate? To suggest rather than tear down? To uplift rather than diminish?
As adults we have to be role models. Whether if it's for a child of your own, your niece or nephew, a little one you babysit, or a family friend...you need to use your voice wisely.

I'm far from perfect. I have the mouth of a sailor and usually on a round trip to the store express my road rage about once each way in forms no one should have to hear. But I will never be the adult who's tearing a child down. Children are the future of our world. We should be encouraging them to be amazing and showing them the way. My opinion (since we all have them) is that if you're going to be so outspoken, at least use your voice wisely. It's important that we do our job as adults and know when to speak our mind and when to speak from our hearts. 

The next time you think about saying something out loud, please take a moment and question if you're using your voice wisely.

June 24, 2016

Breakfast Potato Skins

If you're looking for a new breakfast idea this weekend, look no further. This one takes a little bit of work, but the end result is more than worth it. It's such a filling meal and all sorts of breakfast loves in just one bite.

breakfast potatoes

I wanted to make something special for Chuck last weekend for Father's Day and since he loves potatoes I had to come up with something involving one of his favorite foods. I enjoy cooking something new for holidays or special occasions to celebrate and make it even more special, but this can be enjoyed any time of the year for a nice hearty treat.

You wil need:

4 large potatoes
8 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
4 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder, paprika and salt
1/4 tablespoon black pepper

To make:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Wrap potatoes with foil and place on baking sheet and bake for 1 hour
Mix 4 large eggs with milk in small bowl and cook on stove until fully scrambled
Remove from heat and place in large bowl
In separate pan, cook bacon then remove and chop in to small pieces and add to bowl with eggs
Combine garlic powder, paprika, salt and black pepper in small bowl and set to the side
Once potatoes are done baking, remove from heat, unwrap out of the foil and let cool for 10 minutes
Change oven temperature to 475 degrees
Cut each potato in half lengthwise and remove the insides until there's 1/4 inch potato left
Put inside of the potatoes in bowl with eggs and bacon and mix
Flip each potato over so the skin is up and coat with olive oil
Sprinkle half the spice mixture on top of the skins and bake for 8 minutes
Flip potatoes over and fill with the egg, bacon and potato mixture
Top with cheddar cheese and bake for 3 more minutes or until cheese is fully melted
You can then add on any additional ingredients you may like on top--green onions, sour cream....I think chopped tomatoes would be great on top too. The possibilities are endless!

Serve & Enjoy!

I love that you get a little bit of each favorite breakfast item in one bite...eggs, bacon, potatoes...and yes, cheese too. They are so filling and perfect for a great meal all in one dish. I hope you enjoy the flavor of the crisp skins and seasonings paired with the fresh eggs, bacon and potato. If you love this recipe as much as my husband loves potatoes, please share it with others and Pin It!

Thank you for reading ((and if you're like me....drooling all over again)). 

June 22, 2016

Let Them Eat....CUPCAKES: Wedding Wednesday

We all know how exciting this is going to be, right?! It's all about the sweets in today's Wedding Wednesday. If you don't already know my love for this stuff, well....welcome to my blog. I'm Emelia, and I'm OBSESSED with cupcakes. Moving on...

There was no doubt about it when we talked about how this would go down. No pieces of cake on plates for guests. Cupcakes, cupcakes, and more cupcakes. I don't remember where my love of cupcakes started, but that's not important because we all know they're perfect and delicious. A little perfectly baked piece of cake in a small little form pretty enough, but not too pretty not to eat....you know it too.
It just so happened that when we were in the midst of wedding planning I also started a new job. One of my co-workers wives was always sending in cupcakes and I learned that she had a side business baking and was pretty excellent at it. Chuck obviously was up for the whole thing, especially being he's not huge on sweets...he let me have full reign in this area of the planning.

You may remember the cupcakes from my bridal shower, which Allie Cakes also did and were over the top amazing. I am a huge fan of her almond cupcakes and even though we had the flavor at the shower, we had to have them again at the wedding...I can't even begin to describe how good they are.
We chose to do a small cake since we had cupcakes for everyone and just needed something simple and fun to cut in to for tradition. We chose a chocolate cake with Bailey's frosting. Throughout the planning process, our baker would send in cupcakes to me at work to try different flavors...totally awesome. Chuck the non-sweets guy really wasn't in to trying many, but did ask if we could do the Bailey's for something and suggested a few of the flavors we ended up choosing for the cupcakes even though he didn't do much taste testing. 
You know it was all SO good when he said after cutting the cake "Wow, that's really good!"...and everyone was raving about the cupcakes after the shower alone so I couldn't wait to hear the reaction at the wedding.

One of the first things I purchased before having a total vision for the wedding was a cake table overlay. I saw it on Tradesy and just had to have it. It was so inexpensive and I loved the rosette look and since we weren't having a huge cake I wanted the table to look really pretty. When discussing with Allie what we wanted in terms of design, I just asked that the cupcakes be purple and gold and the cake itself be gold. I gave her some faux purple flowers that she could use if she wished and the end result blew my mind.

We couldn't get over how beautiful it all was when it came together. Beyond that, everything was absolutely delicious and all our guests were so pleased. We got compliments for weeks beyond the wedding about everything, but always heard about the amazing cupcakes. She matched the cake exactly to the overlay and it was my favorite part of it all.

We purchased the cake topper on Etsy. I went back and forth with what would be fun for the top, but when it came down to it we had to go with what we were calling September 26, 2015--- Best Day Ever. My sweet Gram loved the cupcake idea and told me about five times during the wedding that she was taking one of each flavor home with her and not to tell anyone. I'm not sure if she thought some security was going to stop her or what, but it was pretty cute. We went with Spiced Cake (since it was Fall) with Rum Cream Cheese frosting Almond (had to) with Vanilla frosting and Chocolate (can't go wrong) with Peanut Butter frosting (another winner).

For our cake cutting song we chose Sugar by Maroon 5 and it was so perfect and upbeat. I hear it all the time at work and always smile when I walk through the salon thinking back to that moment of the wedding.


I wasn't even thinking about what would go down during this cake cutting, but looking back makes me laugh so hard. I always felt bad for the Bride who got cake smashed on her, and then it happened to me. It was okay...because Chuck got his payback. Watch and see...

I had cake down my dress, icing in my hair and eyelashes, it was so funny...and he didn't even smash that much! Ethan saved my day and totally got Chuck for it with a smash of a cupcake to the cheek. It was absolutely hilarious and I love that it was all captured in pictures. We had a great time and didn't get toooo messy.

Thanks so much for following along our wedding story...I always look forward to recapping our special day and sharing these posts with you. An extra special thank you to Allie Cakes for making my cupcake dreams come true and R. Frank Photography for these awesome moments on camera. We couldn't have chosen better vendors and friends to make this all happen.

Until next week....

Wedding Wednesday in week's past...in case you missed it:

Details & Vendors:
Photography: R. Frank Photography
Cake & Cupcakes: Allie Cakes
The Dress: Bridal Elegance
Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka (similar)
Bride's Clutch: Rent The Runway
Groom & Best Man  Shoes: Nike Lockwood
Flowers: Afloral (handmade bouquets by the Bride)
Bridesmaid Dresses: Weddington Way
Bridesmaid Earrings: Frou Frou & Frill
Butterflies: Shallowtail Farms

To Travel & Beyond

June 20, 2016

What Drives You?

We all have it in some way, some form....maybe yours isn't as strong as it once was, or maybe it's better than ever.
Drive. Passion. The feeling to keep going and get better. 

When it comes to blogging, my drive has become more intense as time has went on. I started blogging because it was a dream. Simple as that. You see, my motto is- Dream Big. I believe that you're never too young or too old to dream and make them all come true. 
This blog is a hobby for me, and actually I don't want it to be a full time job because I love what I do. It hasn't always been this way though, but that's how this blog has driven me to be even better. 

Writing and blogging have inspired me to keep going and never give up on myself. There has been plenty of days that I've been frustrated taking pictures or up late because I realized I hadn't finished a post. Those many minutes masked in troubling times have shown me that I care deeply about what I'm doing and this hobby has turned in to a passion. 

My passion makes me happy. As I explained last week on my 2nd Blogiversary post, I would have never dreamt when I started blogging that it could fulfill so many things for me. Blogging has taught me that all dreams are within reach if you give it your all. I am creative, I CAN cook, baking is more fun than I thought and so is experimenting. Hot glue guns can be painful, but the result is worth it. After all the times spent finding the right font, adjusting the lighting to be great for a picture, and brainstorming interesting topics to write about are so worth every gray hair because after a really long day, I climb in to bed and I am happy. 

If you're not happy doing what you do, I suggest you step back and evaluate what changes need made. Life can wear you down and take a toll sometimes, it's normal. We all go through points where we question, "What am I doing?" but the best part of it all is finding your way through the storm. Fight, learn, and don't give up. Discover what drives you. 

Me. I'm a dreamer. I am not getting any younger and my dreams aren't slowing down either. Why should they? We only get one chance at this game called life. Live boldly. Be courageous. Find your voice. Most importantly, Dream Big. 

June 17, 2016

Happy 2nd Blogiversary Dream Big!!

Today marks two years of writing here at Dream Big & Buy the Shoes.
As I sit and write this it almost doesn't seem real. How can two years have gone by so fast? In the same sense, I've learned so much and really found my groove and what works for me in this blog world so sometimes I feel like a seasoned blogger.

I've gone from putting out new posts and stressing myself out 5 days a week to writing comfortably 3-4 days a week and learning how to balance it all.
I've learned to stop following things and voices I simply don't believe in because life should be about listening to your heart.
I've really become more comfortable speaking my mind and have really come out of my shell even more and discovered what works for me.

This may sound a little dramatic, but I seriously wouldn't be here without all of you. The feeling I get reading comments about how I've helped someone feel better or when they find a new great mascara that will save them some money or connecting over a love of Las Vegas...THAT is what makes this all worth it at the end of the day. Having a blog and a "following", a group of friends who comes together each day to support one another is a truly amazing feeling. I am constantly lifted up by so many of you. You encourage my passion and help me live an even greater, more blessed and fulfilling life, so THANK YOU!

I thought in honor of my 2 year Blogiversary that I would list out 2 favorite things in a variety of areas and posts, etc.. to make this celebration fun and take a moment to reminisce.

My 2 favorite posts so far this year:
Don't Lose Your Voice
How To Style The Perfect Bar Cart

My 2 favorite recipe posts in 2 years:
Caramel Latte Cupcakes
Loaded Pizza Pasta Salad

My favorite 2 DIY projects in 2 years:
Home Tray
Flower Letter

2 posts that make me laugh:
How To Be A Cupcake
Britney Spears: Reasons Why I Make A Good BFF

2 posts I'm insanely proud of:
Stop The Madness
Why I Don't Mind Getting Older

My 2 favorite colors:
black and purple

My 2 go to foods:
pizza and french fries ( ... so healthy y'all)

2 favorite movies:
Clueless & The Departed

2 must have beauty items:
mascara & a hair tie for this weave (HA! But really...)

In celebration of two years I thought something really great should be given  away to my readers to help kick off this party! You may have heard me talk about my obsession of the Champagne Glow Palette from Becca Cosmetics and Jaclyn Hill. I scooped one up during the pre-order and I'm convinced you all need one too. The official launch of the palette was yesterday, so how about a chance to win one? The fun doesn't stop there....a $50 Sephora gift card will be given to one lucky winner WITH the palette.

 Kate // Emelia

So let's pop the champagne (palette) and get this party started! A celebration is in order for 2 years of blogging at Dream Big & Buy the Shoes and a bunch of my blogger babes are helping me with all the fun. A group of us have put together the chance to win a $50 Sephora Gift Card and Becca x Jacyln Hill Champagne Glow Face Palette to ONE LUCKY WINNER. Details are listed in the giveaway widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you ALL for your endless support, sweet comments, kind gestures and simply showing up to read my happy place on the Internet. In a million years I couldn't ask for a better place to come to each and every day--you make Dream Big and Buy the Shoes one of my greatest dreams come true. I hope you have the best weekend, do some celebrating with me.

Good Luck, Enjoy...and don't forget to Dream Big....and always Buy the Shoes!! XO!

June 15, 2016

Our Reception Entrance: Wedding Wednesday

Last week I shared our bridal party's entrances to the reception and the best song you could ever walk in to. This week it's all about us, that sounds kinda bad, but it was our wedding...right?!

Chuck and I knew what song we wanted to come in to the wedding to years ago. I'm talking 5 years ago before marriage was even a discussion. We were at our friend's beautiful wedding in New Jersey when the song came on for their entrance and we both were like "No way!" It's SUCH a good song, and us being the rap music loving couple we are had to use it at ours. We loved the trumpets, the way the beat hit and the excitement it brings when we hear it. We had to use it... no doubt about it.

We both had a concern with the beginning of the song though. We needed it to stop before any inapporopriate-ness started blaring, because it was too early in the evening for all that. No swearing before dinner. So once again Chuck came in to save the day and looped the intro, giving our DJ a no fail way to mess this up.

As for Ethan, we couldn't have him walk in alone to Britney Spears. Our little man had to choose his own song. He went back and forth and tried choosing our cake cutting song (sorry dude, not happening) but came in to the cutest jam he picked out and it was totally him.

A little side note. In a post to come I want to be really real with all of you and fill you in on some of the stuff that just didn't go right ((there's not much)). One thing I wish was in the cards was a videographer. There's a few moments that I am really sad we don't have on camera in the form of video and that's our vows, the butterfly release and Ethan and us walking in to the reception.
Luckily, we had a kick ass photographer. Seriously, these pictures capture our personalities and what went down so perfectly.  I get the BIGGEST smile looking at them and wish we could walk that walk in one more time. Being announced as husband and wife and dancing our way in to the party was such a blast.

Enough talk...here come the pictures. But not before I reveal our songs.

The Bride & Groom came in to Kanye West "All of the Lights" and Best Man Ethan walked in to "My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark" by Fall Out Boy.

We were hiding down on the steps letting Ethan have his moment so we couldn't fully see what was going on. All we heard were people hooting and hollering and laughing and I quickly peeked up to see him walking in with his arms in the air. I mean, how cute does it get?!
Do you see the guests on the upper level cheering him on? It doesn't get any better than that. He's such a little entertainer and he knows he's cute.

Then it was our turn....

When our song came on I remember looking at Chuck and saying "Let's do this" We both put our hands in the air and started dancing and I have no idea why but as I walked through the tables to get to the dance floor I was high fiving people all around. The pictures crack me up every time I look at them and love how much fun we were all having.

We continued to bust a move or two once we hit the dance floor before slowing it down before our first dance and Ethan joined in too...ha-ha.

The entrance definitely got the party started and was such a fun part of our night. I love love love all of these pictures and looking back at the fun we had.

Here's the songs if you want to hear them--



Thank you for reliving our day with us, checking out the pictures, and maybe even dancing with us. I am always so thankful for your sweet comments. Happy Wedding Wednesday friends!

Wedding Wednesday in week's past...in case you missed it:

Details & Vendors:
Photography: R. Frank Photography
The Dress: Bridal Elegance
Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka (similar)
Bride's Clutch: Rent The Runway
Groom & Best Man  Shoes: Nike Lockwood
Flowers: Afloral (handmade bouquets by the Bride)
Bridesmaid Dresses: Weddington Way
Bridesmaid Earrings: Frou Frou & Frill
Butterflies: Shallowtail Farms

To Travel & Beyond