February 28, 2013

Wedding Inspiration


I believe that weddings should be an expression of yourself, your relationship, and your family. I've spent my little blog hiatus doing some serious wedding planning with my Mom. As excited as I am for the big day to be here, I am going to miss wedding planning. Yes, sometimes it is stressful, but overall planning for the biggest day of your life is such a joy. I am a girly girl through and through. Blush and gold tones will set the tone for my big day along with romance and beautiful florals, but overall I want everyone to be able to enjoy themselves. I do not want it to only be a memorable day for Will and I, but for everyone who is in attendance. Any brides to be have any advice for pulling inspiration? 

February 25, 2013

Happy Days Ahead

Our engagement photo 

Over the weekend, Will and I attend our marriage preparation counseling course. Honestly, this was something we were both dreading. Twelve hours in a church gymnasium talking about marriage with people we don't know. Just the thought of it seemed awkward and dull. We arrived Friday afternoon with little hope, but the classes turned out surprisingly well. 

We spoke of everything from finance to communication. Important issues in marriage that can be looked over when planning a wedding. As our coaches kept saying, a wedding is a day, a marriage is a lifetime. I know I am young, but this weekend only lead me to believe even more that Will and I are supposed to be together. 

The next few months leading up to our wedding will go quickly. I am having my first dress fitting tomorrow, and meeting with vendors will continue on over the course of the month. But, thanks to this weekend I will always remember what a wedding is really about. 

February 22, 2013

Friday Favorites: Pop of Pink

ONE: Dress TWO: Purse THREE: Necklace FOUR: Pants FIVE: Heels SIX: Bracelet

What true girly girl doesn't love a pop of pink in the spring? It is my go to color year round, but especially in the warmer months. I like to pair it with white for a crisp look or add black to town it down a bit. However you chose to style it, you are sure to stand out.  

February 21, 2013

In the Kitchen: Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

I have a serious weakness for sweet breakfast treats. French toast, pancakes, pastries, it does not matter. But, blueberry muffins hold a sentimental spot in my heart. Most weekends growing up, my Dad would make blueberry muffins. They were the ones from the box, but they were still delicious. This week, I tried to add a little healthiness to my muffins, and they turned out really well. Swapping regular flour for whole wheat, cutting the sugar in half, and using almond milk and greek yogurt instead of buttermilk; these muffins turned out surprisingly good. Try them for yourself below. 

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins 

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 greek yogurt
1 cup almond milk 
1/2 stick melted butter
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 large egg
1 cup fresh/frozen blueberries 

1/3 all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt 
2 tablespoons cold butter cubed

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl coming yogurt, almond milk, butter, lemon zest, and egg. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture. Mix until barley combined, you do not want to over-mix. Fold blueberries into the mixture. Using a large spoon or ice-cream scoop, spoon batter into muffins tins until almost full. 

Place all the topping ingredients in a bowl and cut with a pastry cutter until butter pieces are very small. Spoon topping evenly over muffins.

Bake muffins for 20 muffins, until brown. Serve warm with butter. 

February 20, 2013

Kate Spade Fall 2013

I have been a Kate Spade fan for many years. I was fifteen when I received my first nylon pink bag, and I still have it today. Over the years, my collection has grown tremendously. I even won a Kate Spade scooter last spring! But when they announced a few seasons ago that they would be launching a ready to wear line, I was hesitant. Could they transform their purses into a full collection?

I was silly to have doubted the creative geniuses at Kate Spade. Every season has been fresh and new, but their fall 2013 collection is my favorite. I am hoping to add the black peplum top to my wardrobe this fall. I love the streamlined look of this collection with a ton a black and pops of color. Which piece are you coveting? See the entire collection here

February 19, 2013

Stripes & Leopard

Madewell Blazer (similar), J.Crew Factory Stripped Blouse, J.Crew Necklace (similar), Gap Jeans, Sam Edelman Loafers (similar), Kate Spade Purse 

A dressy casual outfit can easily become very bland. I like to keep things upbeat by adding a pattern or two and a sparkly accessory. Mixing patterns seems like a daunting task, but as long as you keep one similar element, it is actually easy. The easiest way to do this is by color. Here, I used black to keep the look cohesive. Stripes and leopard is an easy mix, but I'm looking forward to trying floral prints this spring. How comfortable do you feel with mixing patterns? 

February 18, 2013

Life Lately

We are already half way through February, who crazy is that? I spent the weekend celebrating Will's birthday (which is actually Wednesday). So, after all that fun, it is a little hard to get going this morning. I hope everyone has a fantastic start to their week. Also, Happy Birthday to my Dad!!!

First: Dots on Dots for a chilly day. // Creme Brulee and bubbly on Valentine's Day. Second: Eating our veggies by devouring spring rolls. // Scheming up recipe ideas. Third: We spent a warm Saturday afternoon at The Little Donkey eating tacos. // A little green dress. Fourth: Stopping by our favorite Birmingham brewery, Avondale. // Cat naps.   

February 15, 2013

Friday Favorites: Golden Flats

ONE: Loeffler Randall, TWO: Rachel Zoe, THREE: J.Crew, FOUR: DV by Dolce Vita

I know what will be on my feet this summer and spring: gold flats. Over the last few seasons, gold has really become an "it" color. I've normally only worn gold jewelry, but I will surly be switching up my routine soon. I will be working these into my closet, and pairing them with dresses and cuffed jeans. Will you be wearing gold flats this summer?

February 14, 2013

Outfit: Black & Nude

Madewell Dress, Banana Republic Trench Coat (similar), J.Crew Boots, J.Crew Necklace (similar), Kate Spade Purse (similar), Tights unknown 

It has taken me longer than I would like to admit to finally make an outfit post. With blogging, you are constantly putting yourself out there, but this felt so much more personal. Something about jumping in front of the camera can make you feel very afraid. I know it is going to take getting used to, but I still feel like a silly little girl having my picture taken. 

It has been on and off rainy here since Sunday. So my trench coat has become my go to piece. I bought this last year as I felt I needed some more adult pieces in my wardrobe. I am so glad I did, because it has really become a staple. And, it goes with almost anything, even a striped dress. 

Also, Happy Valentine's Day! I am wearing something a little more colorful today, I promise. 

February 13, 2013

For Her & Him

HER: ONE Give her something sparkly she can wear year round. TWO Give the gift of cashmere. THREE She can burn this candle and think of you. FOUR Cute and comfy, always a win. FIVE A classic she will wear over and over. SIX A pretty vase to hold her flowers. SEVEN Buy them in pinks and reds. // HIM: ONE Gingham is always a classic. TWO Because you know he is due for an upgrade. THREE Playful yet mature, just like him. FOUR Keep him style with a knit tie. FIVE A silver-rimmed glasses will hold his drink, beautifully.  

Valentine's Day is coming up quickly, well it is actually tomorrow. Will and I choose to keep it simple. He buys me flowers, and I buy him a bottle of his favorite bourbon. But, if you wish to do something a little more fanciful feel free! So, if you are a last minute shopper herd are a few ideas for the love in your life. 

February 12, 2013

In the Kitchen: Eton Mess for Two

A couple of months ago, I made my first Eton Mess. I was inspired by the always lovely and innovate Not without Salt who made it for her Dating My Husband series. So, when it came time to make a dessert for my Christmas dinner date with my fiance, her Eton Mess was what came to mind. Light, fluffy, and with rich differing textures, it was the perfect after christmas dinner treat.

Over the years, Will and I have grown to love cooking together. When we first started dating I was the living in the dorm and Will lived at the fraternity house. So, we were never able to cook. Most of our dates took place at mexican restaurants, usually tagged along by a few friends. It really started my junior year of college when Will returned from Argentina. He brought bake a love for cooking that he has passed along to me. So, for Valentine's Day, we like a make a meal together. He handles the appetizer and main course, and I am in charge of dessert.

I made my original Eton Mess with raspberries, but the ones at the store looked pitiful. I would not normally buy strawberries in February, but these were ripe and full of flavor. Any berry will do when making this, but the strawberries gave it a nice red punch, which ended up being perfect for Valentine's Day.

Eton Mess, serves 2
Adapted from Not without Salt

Vanilla Meringues
4 large egg whites 
1 cup sugar 
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 
pinch of salt 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

In a large glass bowl beat add egg whites and begin to beat with hand mixer on low speed. While the mixer is on low, gradually add the sugar, cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla extract. Make sure to add slowly so egg white do not deflate. Bump speed up to high, and continue to whip until stiff peeks appear. 

Spoon one inch meringues onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 200 degree oven for about an hour, or until meringues are dry. If meringues begin to brown, turn oven off and keep meringues in until the are dry. 

Strawberry Sauce 
1 cup quartered strawberries 
1 tablespoon sugar 

In a medium saucepan combine strawberries and sugar over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes until strawberries have softened and released their natural juices. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve or at least 30 minutes. 

Whipped Cream 
1 cup heavy whipping cream 
1/4 cup powdered sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

In a large glass bowl beat whipping cream on low speed with a hand mixer. Slowly add powdered sugar and vanilla extra. As the mixture begins to combine, bump mixer speed up to high and beat until stiff peeks are formed. 

The way the mess is assembled is completely up to you. I begin with a layer of strawberries, then meringues, whipped cream, and dark chocolate shavings. Repeat until glasses are full, and make sure to top with chocolate shavings. 

February 11, 2013

Winter Skin

For the most part, I have the same skin-care routine year round. Living in the deep south, my skin does not receive the same harsh temperatures that others may face. But, I will be the first to admit that I do not have the best skin. I suffered from terrible acne in my teens. I saw a dermatologist then who put my skin problems to rest, but I handle things on my own now. 

Last summer I gave to all the hype, and purchased the Clarisonic Mia with the acne brush head. I have used to every night since then. It really is worth the money. It goes deeper than washing with hands alone, and leaves your skin super soft. I've used different cleansers with the Clarisonic Mia, but the Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser is may favorite. I have seen a reduction in bumps since using it. It also has a nice warmth to it, which is good on chilly days. 

At night, after washing my face, I apply Philosophy Help Me Retinol Treatment. This helps prevent acne and fine lines (it is never too early). Then for moisture, I apply Josie Maran Argan Oil. I prefer to use this argan oil over a traditional nighttime cream, because it leaves my skin super soft and never greasy. 

In the morning a apply Complete All Day UV Moisturizer SPF 15 Sensitive Skin, and if I am feeling dry I will use Philosophy Hope in a Jar. Once a week I will use Murad Clarifying Mask to make sure skin stays trouble free. 

This is what works best for me, but each person is different. Use what you know and like. Just remember to treat your skin kindly, and it will do the same for you. 

February 8, 2013

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday, everyone! My mom and grandma are coming in town for the day, and we are going to look at my wedding dress. I have not seen it since September, so I am excited and a little nervous. I hope I still love it as much as I did then. Have a great weekend, and be safe if you are stuck in the snow.

February 7, 2013

New Year, New You: Closet Organization

Keeping a well organized closet can lead to easier mornings and greater outfit inspiration. I tend to stick  to organizing by color, rather than seasons. I believe that most clothing can be worn year round, it all depends on how you style it. So, if you are like me and have all your clothes out year round, keeping them organized is key to keeping your sanity. Follow my simple tips below to make your closet a little more organized, and your life a little neater. 

I have more purses than needed, so keeping them organized is key. I have a galley closet with high shelves. Keeping purses on the lowest shelf makes for easy access. Instead of keeping them organized by color, I have the organized by size. So, grabbing a clutch for a night out or large bag for a weekend away is simple. 

Skirts & Pants 
Keeping skirts and pants side-by-side allows for great outfit mixing potential. It is best to keep skirts on clip hangers so they stay wrinkle free, while pants do best folded on hangers. I'm not a huge skirt wearer, so they usually ended up arranged by the most used. But, pants are another story. I prefer to start with black pants, move into jeans, and then end with my colorful or printed pants. This way I can find exactly what I am looking for.

It may not look like I have my tops organized, but there is a system. Like I stated earlier, I do not believe in changing your closet seasonally. Most clothing can be worn year round, it is all about how you style and layer it. So, I have all my tops (not just what is supposed to be in season) organized by color and patter, beginning with the lights and moving to the darkest. 

I organize my dresses just like my tops. Although, instead of starting with the lightest color, I start with red and move by the color rainbow to black and dark patterns. This helps me find the exactly what I want. 

I keep my most worn heels in sight on the upper most shelf in my closet. This allows for easy access and outfit mixing. 

February 6, 2013

Life Lately

As you can tell from these photos, the past few weeks have been filled with delicious meals and snacks.  There is something about the winter that makes you want to sit down to a warm, filling meal, and that is exactly what I have been doing. While I do not want to be a ballon at the wedding, I am still going to indulge a little. Life is all about balance. Work out, eat healthy the rest of the time, and everything should fall into place. How do you balance your life?

February 5, 2013

Grapefruit Gimlet

I'm a cocktail person. Not a beer, wine, or mixed drink girl, a cocktail girl. So, when it comes to scheming up the perfect Valentine's Day date, starting it with a themed cocktail is a no-brainer. The pink hue from the ruby red grapefruit makes this cocktail a great Valentine's Day drink. Have this drink with a light appetizer to start your evening, and make your date night last a little longer. So, shake one up for your honey this year. They will love you forever.

Grapefruit Gimlet for Two
4 ounces gin
4 ounces red grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup

Make sure you use fresh grapefruit juice, so start out by juicing 1 grapefruit. Once juiced, combine the grapefruit juice, gin, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until chilled (the outside of the shaker will frost over). Pour into your favorite coupe glasses and garnish with a piece of grapefruit. 

February 4, 2013

10 Things I love about February

February seems like another January, but it really has a lot going for it. There is Valentine's DayMardi Gras, and my fiances birthday (only important to me, but maybe you know someone special with a birthday this month too). So, there is good amount the celebrate this month. Another great thing this month is that we are one step closer to spring. Daffodils are the first flower to pop up each year, and I am eagerly awaiting their arrival. I will miss the ample amount of daffodils found at Ole Miss, but I'm sure I'll find a place just a beautiful in Birmingham. Another perk to February is fashion week. I cannot wait to see what J.Crew has up their sleeve this year. Their collection last year was beautiful so I know I am in for a treat. Also, stores are deputing their spring collections. Stop in and pick up a transitional cardigan . So, treat yourself to some homemade truffles, have some bubbly in new champagne coupes, and maybe even treat yourself to something pretty this month. 

February 2, 2013

J.Crew Spring Collection

J.Crew released their new spring collection this week. I am always amazed by just how right they get it each season. Everything is always seasonal and fresh, never over done. I have my eye on this pipped shirt and necklace, but I would gladly take any piece. What do you have your eye on for spring? 

February 1, 2013

Super, Superbowl Party


Watching football has never been my favorite pastime, but having friends over for a get together is. Even if you are not a huge football fan you can still throw a great superbowl party. You just need a few pieces to make things run smoothly. First, have a chip and dip bowl or wooden tray to display your favorite party snacks, like chips and guacamole. Keep drinks cold and ready for your guests in an ice bucket with a bottle opener, and glasses on hand. Just make sure you have a drinks and snacks on hand and your party should be a hit. I hope everyone has a great and relaxing weekend. 

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