Dream Big & Buy The Shoes: February 2017

February 27, 2017

Dear Mom...

I don't talk about my Mom too often on the blog because to be honest it sometimes means sad stories and bitterness that she's not here, but that's wrong and I definitely do not want those things to be the only thoughts of her. There's lot of people who have passed on from us on Earth and just because I hurt and grieve because she's not physically here with me, doesn't mean I can't share some things with her. 
While I know she's always with me, and I certainly believe she's watching over me and protecting and guiding me...it's nice to have this space to let it all out and reflect on some important things.
Dear Mom,
I found a man who loves me...for me. He adores me and puts up with my crazy antics- like when I'm really sleepy in the morning and don't like to talk to anyone. You would bring me a glass of milk or cranberry grape juice to start my days...and he brings me coffee. It's pretty awesome and you would love him...he's a total goofball like you, and we love to dance around the house and in the car and just about anywhere. I always talk about how good of a dancer you were.

Turns out I'm a Stepmom now...remember when I didn't like the idea of having one? I give them all the credit , because it's not an easy thing. I don't have all the patience in the world, but I'm learning new things every day. I see why you always wanted to be with your children, because I miss Ethan the second he's not here. You would get the biggest kick out of him, he's the cutest and sweetest little dude with such a big fun personality. Being a parent is really amazing.

I swear I still haven't figured out what I want to do with my life, other than be happy. I just enjoy helping people and seeing them smile. Whether it's planning an event, making a sign, helping a bride or wherever life takes me I just want to be happy. A title at a job doesn't mean as much to me as my title with family...I want to be a good wife and mom and make my family as happy as they make me.

Thank you for pushing me to get a job and showing me what working hard was like. Sometimes I get jealous of people who seem to fly through life so easily, but then I remember that the journey is what usually teaches us the most. From scooping ice cream at age 16 to working two jobs night and day right out of college to get my first apartment...it's all made me realize that it feels good to work hard to get things you want out of life. I even worked at one of your old hangouts in Erie for a few years...it was a fun job and I sometimes wish I could meet you for a drink there to talk about our day.

I remember you telling me I was the most stubborn person you knew. It's still true. I'm hard headed and don't always see the other side. But...I love hard and fight for the ones I love and I know I got it from you. You always, always, always put us first and now that I'm an adult I constantly am reminded of the times I should have been way more appreciative of you. So, thank you for all you did...I know it wasn't easy, but this stubborn one actually does understand now.

I call your parents every day on my way home from work. Gram is still sweet as ever and always asks how everyone is...even my girlfriends, and their babies, and their dogs....every single day. Nanu can't hear so well no matter how many outrageously priced hearing aids he gets, but he takes care of me like he took care of you. I know I can ask him to help me with absolutely anything and he won't ever hesitate. They are always together and it's the cutest thing and I treasure our relationship. I love that we are still so close like we were as I was growing up. They became parents once again raising me after you passed and you would be so thankful for the great job they did. I can't imagine taking in a 17 year old at their age, and I was far from an angel...but they still acted like I was one when they are the true angels.

I know you watch over me all the time and give me strength in the times I need it most. I was so scared of being a wreck on my wedding day, but I just felt this sense of calmness all around me and it was amazing. You were there in the form of a butterfly, and you're in every single family picture...thank you for taking that seat in the front row.


I'm a crazy decorator like you and really like crafty things. Hilarious, right? The girl who despised art class lives for a great DIY. I go crazy at Christmas, and I blame you...but really I love it. The baking, the trees in every room, the happiness at every holiday...it all comes from you. You made my life so damn good growing up and I honestly had no clue while I was in the midst of it. I constantly smile remembering the good times, I'm so thankful for those memories.

I can't stop saying THANK YOU. A lot of times I wish I could pay you back for all you did and the wonderful life and opportunities you gave me, but I'm trying my hardest to live a life you would be proud of every day.

Even if you haven't lost someone close to you, it's always important to step back and look at what your life and what you fill it with. No one can show you or tell you what your grief will look like or act like, but you can get through it any way you want. My grieving process seems to change often, and now this is part of it.
If you take anything from reading my rambling...take a moment each day to reflect and count your blessings. They are all around you, even in the silliest places and sometimes the littlest reminders.

Thank you for reading friends...Xo!

February 24, 2017

My Favorite Perfumes

I never thought that perfumes and various scents would be one of my favorite parts of my beauty routine. Finding new ones and picking the perfect scent out is so fun and a great perfume can start your day just right.
perfumes at sephora
I wanted to share my favorite perfumes with you and why I like certain scents. I hope you share your favorites with me too. And if you're looking for the perfect perfume tray, you can make one of your own in no time at all.

Favorite Flirty Perfume: Prada Candy
It's a nice warm scent that is strongly represented in white musks and caramel. I love the packaging of it and the soothing smell with pops of spice in it. I had a sample of this and used it within a few days that led me to purchase the full size.

Favorite Clean Perfume: Tory Burch Absolu
I don't know about you, but I love a great clean bold scented perfume. This Tory Burch one is so refreshing has ingredients of pink pepper, rose, tuberose, sandalwood and vanilla that make it such a great addition to your vanity. I love the classic Tory design of the bottle too and frequent this scent in the Spring and Summer.

Favorite Good Mood Perfume: Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy
I almost cried when a Sephora employee told me they may stop making this perfume, but thank goodness they didn't. This scent automatically brightens my day so I love wearing it. There is scents of berries, vanilla and honeysuckle that are great mood boosters and a perfect way to start your day.
best date night perfume

Favorite Everyday Perfume: Oribe Cote d'Azur 
If you haven't smelled Oribe hair products, you're seriously missing out. Oribe finally came out with a perfume in their signature scent a few years ago and I couldn't grab it fast enough. A combination of bergamot, jasmine and sandalwood...it's incredible and great for every day wear.

Favorite Date Night Perfume: Mugler Alien
I got a sample of this one in a Sephora order over the holidays, and had to have it...I was obsessed with the scent. I was going to purchase it and then happened to be shopping at Target and found it marked down on clearance- score! It reminds me of being wrapped up cozied by a fire with nice scents of floral and amber. I love this from the designer-
"There is a goddess in every woman that I like to magnify."—Thierry Mugler

Favorite Feminine Perfume: Stella by Stella McCartney
This will always be one that I have at the top of my list. It has a nice light scent that can be worn everyday, but is also very feminine. It's a mostly floral scent, so if you're in to that...this is one for you.
perfume at nordstrom
Other favorites:
Dolce & Gabbana- Light Blue- I've loved this scent for so many years, so this is a classic to me-- like Tommy Girl ;) 

Michael Kors- I enjoy this original scent, but it is a bit strong so I use it sparingly. I love it the best of all the varieties he has come out with.

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Bourbon- when I received the Sephora Perfume Sampler for Christmas I couldn't believe how good this smelled. I then found out that this is Ashley & Mary Kate Olsen's brand...so cool. This is made of vanilla bourbon and oakwood...enough said.

I love love love trying out new scents, and find myself purchasing something new each year. What's your favorite perfume?


February 22, 2017

Currently

I have approximately 39 drafts of posts sitting in my folder, but sometimes I'm just not in the mood for editing pictures, or adding creative content...so instead I'll share a bit of what's on my mind.
Wondering: Why Lifetime even thought that putting the Britney Ever After movie on air was okay...it was awful. I would be so upset if I was Brit.

Thankful For: This beautiful weather. I absolutely LOVE when the sunshine and high temps come out to play in the Winter. It puts everyone in the best mood. We went to the peninsula this past weekend and walked over 3 miles...it was so nice!

Eating: Georgetown Cupcakes. Still. Not sorry.

Wishing: For more hours in the day. I really wish I had more time to read tons of blogs like I used to...but there just isn't enough time mixed in with everything else that needs done.

Buying: This Happy Girls Shine Brighter Tarte palette maybe...I love all the colors in it, and of course the name. They were sold out at my local Ulta, so I'm either going to wait and see if it comes back there or pay the darn shipping. I hate paying shipping!

Cracking UP: Watching Vanderpump Rules right now. Please tell me if you watch you saw Monday's episode of the bachelor and bachelorette party antics in New Orleans...the drag, the craziness...too much...literally laughing out loud right now.

Wondering: When I'll actually catch up on the laundry for more than a span of 45 minutes, or finish all those drafts of blog posts, or not feel the need to clean something. Hmmmmm....

Hope you're all having a great week--enjoy this great weather and soak up the sunshine!

What are you up to lately?


February 20, 2017

To The Next 500....

Today marks 500 posts I've published in this little space of mine. My first post was so random and while I was a little nervous if people would be interested in what I had to say but I also was just doing this to have a little fun. I must admit, some days it's tough keeping up with it all when it comes to blogging. I have dreams of growing my blog, reaching more people, inspiring young women, etc etc....and then a day just happens. A long work day, laundry, dishes that need put away, homework that needs checked, hair that needs straightened...but seriously.


I can't believe it's been almost 3 years because sometimes it feels like just yesterday I had this crazy idea of starting a blog. I've met a few bloggers in person, had the privilege of working with several more and get to connect with so many people I never would have if it weren't for dreaming big and just going for it. There's some people who still don't get blogging...why I do it, what it is, why I would spend all this time doing something on the side that doesn't always pay me, but that's okay. I do this because I love it, because it feels good to get my feelings out, to share some books and beauty products or why I love Britney Spears so damn much. If I make you smile, then I've done my job.

So to those who show up here...Thank you for reading, thank you for listening, thank you for being there, thank you for your support...your uplifting words, kind comments and good advice. Whether you've been reading for one week or one year....I truly appreciate you taking the time to make me and my blog part of your day.

Remember to do something for YOU...you deserve to make yourself happy and you are in control of that joy. Dream big...and always buy the shoes.

To the next 500 friends...Xo-




February 17, 2017

Charlie Chat: Long Time No Chat

Wow...it's been a while since the last time we sat down to talk to my husband. I have a feeling he's been missing this...it could be the random comments from his friends like "I really like when Chuck is on the blog, those are the best days" or when I ask Chuck what I should write about he says "Well you haven't done a Charlie Chat in a while, and people want Charlie." Either way...here we are.


In case you forgot...here's how this works: 
Let's get started. But before we begin here's the rundown.
My questions are in bold italics, Charlie's answers follow and my commentary, if any, is after the *asterisk.

Charlie...it's been a while since we have heard from you.What's new?
 Hey! It's good to be back in <checks note card> the internet! Since we last spoke, I successfully avoided an assassination attempt, turned 36 and bought some obnoxious speakers while I distracted you with a weekend getaway to Lil' Havana.

*How does he already know the next question? Ugh...Charlieeeee!

People tell me that you're a really awesome husband. Case and point- you sent your wife away to Florida for the weekend, no strings attached. Some people were left wondering...why? What's in it for you? 
Funny you should ask, see above. I swear I didn't get an advance copy of these questions. TBH, I know it's been rough on you Angels being apart and since I've been dealing with some separation anxiety of my own, I wanted to save you from it...So I dreamt big and bought the speakers.

*To bring everyone up to speed...the Angels are our girlfriends in Florida- because there's 3 of us ladies...and our Charlie. Legit...this man bought some big ass unnecessary speakers. I walked in to the garage the next morning after I returned home from Florida to see a giant box and yelled "Charlieeeee what the hell are these?!" To which he replied, "Speakers." Men....

What's some advice you have for the couples out there when it comes to being a good partner? Honest communication is the key. And a sense of humor. I've come to find that secrets don't make friends, hard conversations up front beat the hell out of hard explanations after the fact and you can't take yourselves too seriously. Spoiler alert, we all die at the end of this crazy trip so have fun. (Charlie 2.0 is deep, yo!)

St. Patrick's Day is coming...your favorite holiday. Kidding. We all know from that one Charlie Chat that it's Thanksgiving. But in the spirit of beer, what's your favorite kind?
 I'm a Bud Heavy kind of guy. I know that's not the cool thing and I should say some IPA from a local with 12.4% APV but I'm still on the hunt for a beer that tastes like the ones that come out of the faucets at the Budweiser brewery in St Louis.

*He still tells me the story of visiting the Budweiser Brewery...I don't get it, I'm a fan of vodka and tequila...not beer.

It's been snowing a lot in Erie. Do you like the snow? How do you feel about living in one of the top ten snowiest cities? 
Short answer is that I hate it. Longer version is that I really just hate the cold, not really the snow. If it's cold out, there might as well be snow. I used to really like to snowboard and drink hot cocoa and check out the snow bunnies but that was a lifetime ago, so now I can do without. If some of these Southern states would stop passing and upholding laws from the 1950's, we'd be on the first thing moving.

*I honestly just wanted to hear his rant about how much he dislikes the cold. Is that evil? HA!

Valentine's Day has passed, but we can still talk about it. What did you get your wife for Valentine's Day? Where did you get the idea? 
Wait...what? When was Valentine's Day? I'm kidding, obviously. What kind of blogger husband would I be if I didn't order you Georgetown Cupcakes in early January to be delivered on Tuesday? Fun fact: TV cupcakes cost more than a gallon of gas!

*I squealed with joy when they arrived and couldn't wait to get home from work. They're just so pretty...and delicious.
A post shared by emelia🖤 (@emeliaanne_) on

Anything else you want to share Charlie?
 I'd like to address your readers directly now, if I could...I really enjoyed Boston and meeting you, Biana. You had some great tips and you really made the city come alive. I also really appreciate all of the support we received from the blogosphere when we got back. Knowing that you were all reaching out to Emelia and helping her deal means the world to both of us and I am forever in your debt. We should do this again soon. Be sure to like my status, comment below and subscribe for more awesome Charlie Chats. (That's Ethan's YouTube plug. I totes stole it. But seriously, let's do lunch soon.)
*But for real...thank you for all your support...always and especially in the difficult times. It's so nice to know so many people care for not only me, but my family as well. And in case you want to smile today...go ahead and watch this adorable video Ethan made 5 years ago on his own. His little voice, his cough and hilarious facial expressions kill me every time I watch it.


I hope you all have a wonderful fun and warm weekend...I'm ready for sunshine!



February 15, 2017

You Are A Survivor

I read an article a few weeks ago that I came across on Facebook. Sometimes Facebook really makes me laugh...I'll be scrolling down my page and see everything from a baby announcement to a Buzzfeed quiz to determine which Saved By The Bell character you are most like all the way to a really awesome piece of news, all within 5 minutes.
This particular article was discussed how more Mom's need praise. Yes, they totally do. But I got to thinking....don't we all need a little more praise? Believe me, I get it. Mom's do a heck of a lot...I could never ever be a single Mom- so they do even more. What about the other people? There's more than just Mom's out there that deserve a little pat on the back. To me, a survivor is anyone who comes out the other end with their head held high. You do a lot and deserve to be commended too.

To the single Mom making it out the door in one piece only five minutes late this morning, even with a spill of coffee down your shirt ...You Are A Survivor.

To the college graduate hustling at your boring 9-5 and coming home to apply for the career you truly want and not falling asleep until it's all done at 3 A.M. ...You Are A Survivor.

To the man packing lunches in the morning so your wife can sleep in, working hard all day and checking Math homework at night while dealing with technical issues your wife can't handle...You Are A Survivor.

To the girlfriend keeping up with laundry, meal planning, and everything in between...while still making your winged eyeliner look good...You Are A Survivor.

Look in the mirror...You. Are. A. Survivor.  Yes you...every single one of you making it through the day.

Give yourself some credit and a pat on the back...you rock.

Happy Wednesday friends!!

February 13, 2017

101 in 1001: Update Five

Another few months has passed and it's time for another update of My 101 in 1001 List. If you haven't seen these floating around the Internet, you can catch up here. I will warn you, this update does not compare in the fun of the last one in September...but I'm making progress and that counts.




Make homemade pasta- I was so excited when my Maid of Honor gifted us a pasta machine at my bridal shower....and we didn't bust it out until November of the following year after the wedding. I always thought it was so hard to make when I would help my Grandfather on Christmas morning in the kitchen, but it turns out it's not so bad. It's actually fun and Chuck and I are really enjoying making it together.

Stay off electronics at least 20 minutes before bed- This took a while to get crossed off, longer than it should have. It's bad to be on your phone with all the lights off staring at that bright screen. Instead I fall asleep to the TV or read one or two chapters in the latest book I happen to be reading, it's a great alternative. 

Attend a light up night around the holidays- I wish I had some better pictures of this, but I think the story alone will put enough visual in your head. Light Up Night in Pittsburgh is always a huge deal and this year it was so warm out that we decided to make the trip down after work. I'm an awful driver at night...can't see and freak out. At this point Chuck was not driving yet after his medical setback in the hospital. So here I am driving us, starving and almost hit a deer driving down the interstate. I don't know how I saw it, but luckily I did and avoided it. We get to about 20 minutes outside the city and get stopped. Traffic is NOT moving and apparently there was a pretty bad accident. Fast forward about 40 minutes and we are moving...we get in to the city and make it downtown and the traffic again, is NOT moving. I have road rage...to the extreme degree. Ethan keeps asking what's going on, I'm still starving, I'm tired and have to pee and we are sitting in traffic. Everyone is being crazy of course, cutting in front of one another...laying on the car horn...it was insanity. So then, we finally come to a road where we could have turned to find parking and the fireworks start going off. So here we are, sitting in the car watching fireworks and the traffic finally starts crawling. I turn at the light the other direction to head home and basically said "we're not doing this." So we are getting back on the highway overlooking the river and PNC Park watching these beautiful fireworks...I couldn't help but laugh, but not until we were back in Erie. So, we basically "attended" light up night, but next time we will arrive in the city MUCH earlier to truly enjoy it.
Update picture frames with new memories- I finally printed a few more wedding pictures and took down our family one from our Disney Cruise. I don't have a ton of frames around the house...just some of Ethan from school and soccer and our nieces and nephew yearly school pictures. We have a few of us swimming with the dolphins in the Bahamas up too, but I really don't want to take those down because they're so fun.

Make 5 new crafts- When the new Starbucks red cups came out this year I knew I wanted to make a new garland for my Coffee Christmas Tree since they were so fun and there were many different designs. So many of my co-workers and our salon and spa clients assisted me and gave me their cups after they drank their coffee, it was great. I love how it turned out and I knocked another thing off my 101 in 1001 list.
Make personalized Christmas gifts- I really wanted to make at least one personalized gift for everyone on my list, but it didn't work out. I came close though. For my nieces and nephew I made tic tac toe on the go. I made my grandparents a cute chalkboard that they seem to be enjoying. I gifted my Uncle one of my home trays. I made something new and tried my hand at a snowglobe for my Mother In Law. They all turned out pretty well, I hope I can do even more next year.

That's about it for this round...pretty so-so around these parts. I'm excited for the weather to get warm again so I can feel more motivated, for some reason that always helps me.
Here's where I'm at with My 101 in 1001 List--

Blog
Do a blog photoshoot
Introduce a sponsorship program  *January 2016
Grow my blog to be able to work with larger partners such as BlogHer, Social Fabric & more- *October 2016
Update pages (About Me, Best Of, Sponsor) *March 2016 Check them out here: About MeBest OfSponsor 
Meet another blogging friend in real life *September 2016- Biana from B Loved Boston
Update blog files on my laptop *February 2016
Ask to be a guest poster on a blog *April 2016- Alanna & Company
Make a vlog
Invest in business cards
Get published in a magazine *December 2015- Holl and Lane
Get published in an online outlet *December 2015- Holl and Lane 
Start a blog series  *January 2016- Dreamy Instagram Inspo
Start a monthly service created around a blog niche
Find a blogger in my city to connect with
Collaborate with another blogger on a project *January 2016-Beauty On A Budget with Lindsay from Bourbon, Lipstick & Stilettos
Take more photos for fashion & beauty posts
Update old posts February 2016 I updated: Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers & Bacon Wrapped Smokies. I updated SEO on another 10-15 posts in May 2016 also. 

Culinary
Create a recipe book of old family recipes
Make homemade pasta *December 2016
Take a cooking class
Host a dinner party
Create my signature cocktail
Try at least 3 new foods (1/3) 1-avocado 
Bake a new cupcake flavor from scratch  *Brown Sugar Cupcakes
Visit 3 new restaurants and write about them (2/3) 1- September 2016, Mario's Italian Restaurant- Lexington, MA & Cheers- Boston, MA
Invent a new recipe  *December 2015 Chocolate Mint Christmas Dream
Learn how to grill
Eat from a food truck-  *July 2016
Make 100% homemade Thanksgiving dinner

Health & Fitness
Eliminate pop from my diet completely
Try a green smoothie 
Take a barre class
Find a fitness routine that works for me & STICK TO IT
Buy a bike *August 2016
Stay off electronics at night at least 20 minutes before bed
Give myself 30 minutes of relaxation a day with no phone or computer
Eat at least 1 fruit & 1 vegetable per day for 21 days straight (make it a HABIT)
Go social media free for a weekend

Adventure
Visit Napa & explore Wine Country
Have an all girls weekend trip
Travel to a brand new city- *September 2016, Boston & Lexington, MA
Take Ethan to NYC
Go on a Segway tour
Ride in a hot air balloon
Take a one year anniversary trip- *September 2016- Boston
Go skydiving & hope my husband doesn't faint watching me
See Britney Spears in Vegas, again
See Janet Jackson in concert
Frame a large map & track our adventures
Surprise Chuck & Ethan with a trip
Go zip lining
Fly a kite 
Take a drive with no destination planned *August 2016
Go on another cruise (hopefully to the Caribbean)
Go to a Steelers home opener game
Attend a light up night event around the holidays *December 2016
Find a butterfly garden and visit one *August 2016

Professional Growth & Development
Write a children's book
Take on at least 1 "client" and plan an event 
Take a photography class *November 2016
Finish a webinar, whether for my blog or personal growth
Earn a promotion & raise *November 2015, February 2016
Design something for someone- a poster, invite, etc. *April 2016
Make 5 new crafts  (4/5) * 1- Valentine's Garland- February 2016 *2- Patterned Dream Board - March 2016 *3- Foolproof DIY Baby Gift- July 2016 *4- French Fries Halloween costume- October 2016 *5- Christmas Coffee Tree Garland- December 2016
Market my talents and pursue a side business *February 2016-Etsy shop
Start a poem journal

      Just for Emelia
Have another spend freeze for at least one month
Pay off all loans, except for my student loans (that's impossible for the next several years-ha!)
Read for 30 minutes every day *July 2016
Get my wedding dress preserved
Spend the afternoon at the library without worrying about time
Get a new tattoo
Create a special memorial event just for me to honor my mom
Spend the morning at a coffee shop
Get Britney Spears to tweet me back
Find my signature lip color
Get rid of the clothes I will never wear again *January 2016
Get a custom sketch drawn by Brittany Fuson

Home
Make my own coffee table
Organize addresses *January 2016- I used Postable and it's awesome
Make or purchase a new headboard for our bed
Have Christmas shopping done before October 1st
Sell old wedding décor
Host a themed party
Turn some of Ethan’s old t-shirts I have saved in to a quilt
Host a craft party
Make over a piece of furniture
Update pictures frames with new memories *February 2017
Buy our first home
Get a picture of our own photography on a canvas for décor- *September 2016
Find the perfect entertainment stand- *October 2016

For Others
Leave a 100% tip- *September 2016- Mario's Italian Restaurant
Pay it forward & do a random act of kindness for a stranger *December 2015- Starbucks drive thru
Adopt a family for Thanksgiving
Volunteer somewhere with both Chuck & Ethan
Adopt a family for Christmas
Make an Easter basket for a child in need
Make personalized Christmas gifts *December 2017
Clean out closets and donate it all to someone I personally know who needs it *April 2016
Take Ethan to the Lego store & let him spend as much time as he wants in there
Take Ethan somewhere animal related for a behind the scenes look (zoo, park, etc)

Until next update....thanks for following along!


February 10, 2017

Maple Cinnamon Pancake Cupcakes

I love love love breakfast for dinner...or anytime after the actual hours of when you typically eat breakfast. Cupcakes in breakfast form...sold, even better. 


I saw this recipe floating around on Pinterest and spiced it up a bit to make it more interesting and the topping a lot more fun.

serves 6
recipe adapted from Krusteaz

You will need:
1 cup pancake mix
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 tablespoons maple extract

To make:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Line cupcake pan with 6 liners
In a bowl combine the dry ingredients
Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and fold together
Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full and bake for 20 minutes

To make mini pancake toppers:
While the cupcakes are baking prepare a serving of pancakes according to the instructions on the box.
Drop a small spoonful of pancake batter on a heated griddle and cook for about 2 minutes then flip. Remove to cool after fully cooking.

Once the cupcakes are fully cooled you can start to prepare the rest. I topped my cupcakes with cream cheese icing and a few mini pancakes, but I think a short stack of 3 or  4 would also be pretty adorable. I poured some maple syrup on top and warmed them in the microwave for 10 seconds and the end result was pretty heavenly.




I think this makes a pretty awesome breakfast option...but that's coming from someone who's obsessed with cupcakes and cute things. Enjoy!

 Happy Friday! Hope your weekend is filled with delicious eats and dreamy moments.




February 8, 2017

Valentine's Gift Favorites

There is less than a week until Valentine's Day and I'm sure I'm not the only one still picking up a few things for my favorite Valentine's and Galentine's.



I wanted to share some ideas to gift your man, your bestie, your children or whoever may be on your list this year.

Non- Gifts Valentine's Gifts: Gifts are always nice and fun to receive, but so are doing things instead of getting things. I love a good experience instead of something I can put in my closet and never mind being gifted something like this.

I've always wanted to do a cooking class with Chuck. We had looked in to some at this cute place by us, and then it shut down. I think a weekend getaway may be in order that includes a class at Sur La Table ...I've heard that theirs are fantastic.

One thing we always do for Valentine's Day is enjoy a nice night out for dinner at a local place. We just found out that our yearly stop closed...big bummer. So we chose another local restaurant that we have dined at before and I'm excited to see what it's like for Valentine's Day. A nice quiet night with no child at dinner is sometimes necessary.

A paint nite is another fun option...some drinks and a creative outlet for a fun date together, whether it's with your boo or your bestie. It's nice because you can still enjoy conversation during the instructions and painting. Then you can hang your work of art after your fun night painting and...snacking, talking and/or drinking, which I was definitely better at.

For Guys & Gals: There's so many options to gift your Valentine and make things personal but also give them something that's useful too.

I am loving these things from Amara--
Kate Spade makes the CUTEST accessories and I couldn't help but add this chic business card holder to the list.I love all the color options, and of course the gold E.
We all know a good candle is one of the best ways to unwind and make a room a little more cozy. It's even better if it's pretty too, like this one from Voluspa.
This dainty keychain is the perfect addition to make your everyday keys a little cuter. The sweet little macarons and Eiffel Tower make it a bright little something to look at during your day.
Some other great options are--
Swell bottles are awesome--I got one last year for Valentine's Day and it's such a must have item. It's a great gift for absolutely anyone because it keeps drinks cold forever...well, about 24 hours, or if you want to keep something hot- that will last for 12 hours. Crazy awesome!

Cologne or perfume are great ideas because who doesn't love smelling good? If you're not positive what their favorite scent may be...the rollerballs are perfect! I am loving the Elizabeth James Nirvana Rose and if you're a Beauty Insider at Sephora you can earn triple points on any fragrance purchase through Valentine's Day.

Cocktail on the go? Yes please! I love these little carry on cocktail kits and think a Bloody Mary is perfect to be enjoyed any time ofthe day. It's TSA approved- bonus! and even makes two drinks...heck yes!

For the kids:
Snackeez Cup's are so great for on the go or even relaxing at home. Ethan used one for years and we would put water and Goldfish crackers in it...he would take it in the car, use it after school on the couch or take it to the pool. They're great and inexpensive and any Mom will thank you for gifting a child this, it's such a good invention.

So many little ones have tablets, or ipods and even phones these days. An iTunes gift card makes a fun gift for the kids because they can pick out a few games or a movie without having to beg their parents to spend money on one. Ethan always loves getting gift cards and he feels so grown up when he does, because it's his own money to spend.

On the go games are a good idea for everyone involved...no hearing kids complain of boredom in the car, and something small that doesn't take up for much room. For Christmas I made little tic tac toe games for my nieces and nephew. I picked up burlap bags from Hobby Lobby and made the board, then marked X's and O's on rocks to fill the bag.

Are you prepared for Valentine's Day? What are you getting your Valentine?
Thank you Amara for collaborating on today's post--all gift ideas & opinions are my own.


February 7, 2017

January Favorites

I'm so excited to share my first Favorites post of the New Year. I love a new start with fresh ambitious goals, a refreshed outlook on life and so many plans. 


I really enjoy finding things around the Internet to share with you in hopes it brings you some inspiration or an idea to follow through with. 

Favorite Positivity Post: Chelsea always has a way of speaking to me and when I read her words I feel powerful. She shared a post about making your life a place you like to be and it's amazing...everyone must read this. 

Favorite Travel Post: Coming from someone who's only been to Disney once (Me!) it was great to read how Macy did Disney in four days. I definitely want to go again someday, so I pinned this for future reference...so many great tips!

Favorite Purchase: Probably my new Dior mascara. Call me crazy, but mascara is the one product I can't live without. When in doubt, apply great mascara.

Favorite Recipe: I always like finding things that look easy to make and delicious too...that's where Missy from My Shitty Kitchen comes in with this dish. This low carb spinach and artichoke chicken casserole looks to die for. My husband doesn't like all the ingredients used, so I may make it a night we have friends over, so I don't have to eat the whole dish...although I may not mind too much. 

Favorite Moment: Visiting my bestie in Florida was hands down the best thing in January. I miss having her only a few minutes away and spending a long weekend with her was just what I needed.

Favorite Piece of Advice Post: I don't remember how I stumbled upon this post about traveling, but it came at a perfect time...the airport on my way to Florida. My favorite part of The Wandering Blonde's writing was connecting when she said how the feeling of seeing a new city or country stays with you rather than the specific street you were on when you had that beautiful moment. 

Favorite Seasonal Post: Who doesn't love hot chocolate this time of the year? Bonus points for it being pink...which is what Lauren did with hers. Check out this totally fun pink hot chocolate recipe

Favorite Dream Big Posts:
Favorite Recent Sephora Buys

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February 3, 2017

What I Read In January

I'm excited to share January's reads with you since I got so much done and read about one per week. I loved giving you a peek in to what was to come for this month's review and hope you like the variety of what I read.

From a random pick at the library to a surprise book delivered to my door, I really enjoyed every single one this month and am glad I had such a fun selection.

Dear Amy 4/5
I picked up Dear Amy when returning a few books at the library and started browsing a section where they have some newer books on display. I liked the cover and thought the title itself was interesting so I rented it. At first it was a slower story, but as I got into it I couldn't put it down and would find myself fighting to stay awake at night while reading and see what happened next.
Margot is a teacher who writes for the local paper in a "Dear Amy" advice column and one day she gets a disturbing letter like she's never received before. She starts  receiving more and more letters from a girl who has been missing for years and the case gets extremely interesting as time goes on and the story gets more involved.
This book didn't get a very high reading on Goodreads, but the ending and how it came together was really shocking which made it a great read.

Sunset In Central Park 4/5

I read all but 40 pages of this on the plane down to Florida and loved the story, especially from reading Miracle on 5th Avenue and already knowing some of the characters in the series. Frankie is a friend of Eva's who is one of the partners in their event planning business and has always been a pessimist on love, especially after her parents awful divorce. Matt, one of her best friend's brothers has always loved Frankie and decides to explore what she's all about under the layers of her personality. The new revelations between both of them get more and more interesting as the story goes on. I loved this interesting twist on a love story and following along their paths and developing relationship.

Behind Closed Doors 5/5
Another book I finished in one weekend. I'm telling you...cozying up on the couch buried in a book with no plans is one awesome way to enjoy a winter weekend. This was such a good read and so twisted that at first I really didn't know how the story was going to go. It's told from the perspective of the wife, Grace and switches off between the present and the past.
To outsiders, Grace and her husband Jack's life looks perfect...beautiful home, great relationship...but when no one knows what goes on behind closed doors is absolutely crazy. I loved how the story flipped from the present story to what had happened leading up to now and really thought that told it in a unique way. It was shorter book, so it was very easy to read and I would add it to your list of great mysteries.

Although this read started a little slow to me, it had my attention from early on...if that makes sense. I started reading this on the flight home from Florida after a quick nap and was already 10 chapters in by the time the wheels touched the ground. Joe is a college student with a rough home life who has a writing assignment that comes up for English class. He has to interview a stranger and write a brief biography about them so he finds Carl in a local nursing home. Carl has just been released from prison for rape and murder charges on parole to the nursing home because he's dying of cancer. The story gets real interesting when we find out what was going through Carl's head when the murder happened and how Joe keeps everything afloat when dealing with his autistic brother and alcoholic mother. I was finishing the last few chapters late at night in bed and was kind of scared to be reading them in the dark, but I really wanted to finish the book. You know a book is good when it has a grown woman scared of the dark...ha-ha. Such a good read, and I'm so happy Hello Book Lover surprised me with this pick. 

To be honest, I have SO many on my "To Read" list,  I don't know what I'll be checking out this month. Right now I'm starting with Sprinkle With Murder (Cupcake Bakery Mystery #1) since it combines my love of mystery and baking...I'm interested to see what it's like.

Don't forget to link up with Macy and I on Tuesday for your monthly recaps...share your goals, accomplishments or favorites with us!



What have you been reading?


February 1, 2017

Bar Cart Love: Valentine's Day

We all know that one of my favorite places in the house is our bar cart. I found some of the cutest new additions this year that I wanted to share with you to get you feeling lovey for Valentine's Day.

Most of my decor all around the house has been bought in stages...I like to bring a theme together stage by stage, piece by piece. This year, only a few things are new additions, but I still like to switch up the set up every year. 

I went to Home Goods last week to look for one thing and obviously ended up finding the cutest new garland full of gold arrows and pink and red hearts of all kinds, including sparkles. I'm a sucker for garland so I couldn't resist this one, even though it was kind of a pain to put together. 
Of course part of the newness came from Target. They have the cutest stir sticks in the dollar bins lately for each season, so I picked up these red and pink heart stirrers for our drinks.

The towels came from Target a few years ago, and they had some cute ones this season too...hurry and pick some up before they're gone. The sparkly XOXO is from there too...again, a few years ago. The sparkly fabric garland is from Etsy, unfortunately the shop I got it from has closed. I first ordered an Easter one from this shop and loved it so much I picked up a bunch more for other holidays.


The print came from GroopDealz that I framed in a white frame to make it pop a little. It's a fun cute addition that cost less than $5 total- score! 
I forget where I got the little red tree but the cupcake ornaments were a gift and I now bring them out to sweeten things up for Valentine's Day.

The pom garland is from....you guessed it, Target. I couldn't pass it up because I just love pink and red together. I didn't want to have 18 garlands hanging on the front of the cart so I doubled it up and hung it from the handle on the side. 

My Valentine's tree is also up again this year and I haven't added anything new to it this year because I pretty much love it just the way it is. I may have to look for some more ornaments from Pier One though, that seems to be the only place I find non-Christmas ones. 

I love finding new things to make the bar cart even more fun. Do you decorate for Valentine's Day?