Weekend Wishlist: 1.31.15 – 2.1.15


Weekend, weekend, weekend!  I’m excited for beautiful weekend weather and these five things….

1.  We live in a 1925 home so recessed can lighting is a dream.  Our reality is lamps on lamps on lamps.  This Home Goods Blog article about adding light and keeping it light is right up my alley.  Home Goods can do no wrong.

2.  Valentine’s Day is right around the corner!  I am working on collecting my favorite V-day stationery to share. Stay posted, and in the meantime check out this list of punny cards from BuzzFeed – the end all be all of lists.

3.  Spring is also right around the corner.  What?! That was fast.  I am loving this ruffled one piece from Antrhopologie for swimsuit season.  One piece means I don’t have to use an entire bottle of sunscreen in one outing.  High five!

4.  Grapefruit Margarita under 120 calories from Wine and Glue.  Enough said.

5.  I have a lot of outdoor time in my future which means SUNSCREEN!  I’d like to look a bit presentable while lathered up in SPF so my go to is always Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer with SPF.  Check out Pink Peonies feminine look using this product.

6.  I’m also thinking a boho braided crown would be ideal for heading outside.  I love this tutorial from Treasures and Travel.  Should we start taking bets on the odds that my hair ends up in a ponytail?

Have a safe + happy weekend!




Must Have Chili Recipes for the Big Game

With the recent Blizzard of 2015, chili sounds like the perfect snack to serve this coming Superbowl Sunday.  I recently tackled two recipes – Meaty Crockpot Chili and Veggie Qunioa Chili- that were amazing!  Best news – one batch makes plenty for a party.  We literally ate both recipes for 3-4 days.

ChiliSo skip the cold dishes in favor of one of these two easy chili recipes:



2 lbs. ground turkey

1 onion – diced

4 cans tomato sauce

1 can diced Mexican tomatoes

1 can diced tomatoes

2 cans pinto beans – drained + rinsed

2 cans spicy chili beans – drained + rinsed

2 envelopes chili seasoning

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tbsp. chili powder

How To: 

Brown the ground turkey  with the diced onion.  Add browned turkey and onion to crockpot with remaining ingredients.  Cook on high for 6-8 hours.  That’s it!


VEGGIE QUINOA CHILI  (adapted from Publix’ Hearty Chili)


1 yellow onion – chopped

1 green bell pepper – chopped

1 can corn

3 cups veggie stock

1 cup quinoa

1 tbsp. canola oil

2 cans  red kidney beans- drained + rinsed

1 can black beans – – drained + rinsed

2 (14.5-oz) cans diced tomatoes

1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce

1 packet low-sodium chili seasoning

How To: 

Boil 2 cups veggie stock, add quinoa, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.  In a large pot, heat oil on medium-high heat.  Add onion, pepper, corn, and garlic.  Cook until tender.  Reduce heat to low.  Stir in beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, remaining 1 cup of stock, chili seasoning, and cooked quinoa.  Simmer 20 minutes.  Voila!

Bon Apetit, football fans!


Best and Worst: SAG Awards

Do I have unusually high standards, or is the red carpet lacking this awards season?  I really struggled finding my top 5 best dressed at Sunday night’s SAG Awards.  And not because everyone was dressed to impress. No, no, no.


My bests feature jewel tones, well-tailored tuxes, and some repeat offenders from the Globes.  I’m so glad that Camilla Alves stepped up her game since the Globes.  Looking like a true star only made her movie star hubby look even worse in his ill fitted blue tux.

Hopefully, my worst dressed list doesn’t need much explanation.  From too nude to wrinkled taffeta, so many gowns looked like something I could find at a boutique and wear as a disgruntled bridesmaid.


I selected Natalie Dormer, front and center, because she has the potential to be so high fashion.  A little edgy and a lotta beauty make her the perfect starlette to wow us on the carpet! King Joffrey would not have approved.

Here’s hoping the Oscars are better!


Weekend Wishlist: 1.24.15 – 1.25.15


Happy Weekend! Here’s what is on my mind….

1.  I joined the healthy living wagon that Nico has been driving for a few weeks now.  As much as I hate to admit that he is right (which he is most of the time), I feel so much better.  We are watching out caloric intake and monitoring weight, BMI, and body fat percentages.  Now its time to inject a little more cardio and strength training to this routine like this circuit workout from Yahoo! Health.

2.  Tampa natives know that Gasparilla is right around the corner, mateys! Instead of carrying a flask or tumbler this year, what about some spiked popsicles?  Try this Bourbon Peaches and Cream Popsicle in one hand and an Ybor City cigar in the other!

3.  Currently coveting:  this houndstooth quilted skirt.  Only $30 right now!  Extra Petite styled it on her Instagram this week, and I am officially addicted to her blog now.

4.  I’ve got Charleston on my mind.  We honeymooned in this beautiful southern destination, and I am ready to make a trip back!  Check out this Harper’s Bazaar guide to a historic, beautiful, and tasty city!

5.  I’ve had a hectic week!  Without going into all the details, I’m really valuing family and grateful for all the blessings in my life.  Love this quote from Cottage and Vine.  

6.  Especially in Florida, warm weather is right around the corner (it’s actually 80 today, but hey it’s not 90!).  Thinking about chopping off my locks in favor of this summer lob.  Gotta start building up my courage now!

Have a great weekend!


Best and Worst of the Golden Globes

This post is coming about a week late, but without further ado I give you my best and worst dress of the 2015 Golden Globes!

Generally speaking, red heads won the Globes for me with Ellie Kemper, Amy Adams, and Emma Stone in my top 5.  It seemed as though Hollywood put glamour back on the red carpet this year.  Of course some starlets opted for plunging necklines that left little to the imagination.  I’m looking at you JLO.

I think most viewers agree on the majority of the worst dressed celebs.  The main theme I notice in my top 5 worst dressed is too much fabric.  Kiera Knightly with a ruffled bib, Claire Danes in a throw blanket, Lana Del Rey in an 80s bridesmaid dress, and Olivia Pope herself as 90s Barbie.  And then there is Rosamund Pike who went the opposite direction showing too much skin.  Typically, I’d love this dress but the new momma should have opted for something with a little more lift.  This fabric pulls the girls down to her belly button.  Sorry, but this dress needs to be gone, girl.


Who rounded out your list?  Can’t wait to see who dresses to impress for the SAG awards!


Weekend Wishlist: 1.17.15 – 1.18.15


Is is just me, or is a lazy weekend in order?  Chilly weather and clouds in the forecast means these 6 mellow things are on my mind.

1.  This is probably the most tasking thing on the list – drawer organizing.  ( I told you – LAZY weekend.)  My master bath vanity is a mess.  It is time to clean those bad boys out and develop some sort of semblance of system in the land of face wash, mascara, and tampons.  I’m getting inspiration from this post by iHeart Organizing.

2.  Unfortunately, the cable went out at our place Saturday night, which means I missed the Golden Globes (and more importantly, the red carpet!).  I’m hoping to catch the highlights and browse The Fashion Police pics this weekend and put together my best and worst dressed, even though I’m pretty sure that Emma Stone wins.

3.  If my last Weekend Wishlist is any inclination, I need to put together a blog planner instead of jotting ideas on sticky notes.  I am loving Designer Blogs’ Kit that includes monthly views, analytics, and social media tips.

4.  Nothing is easier than crockpot meals.  Oddly enough, these meals are also some of the most delicious.  I’m feeling some Chicken Burrito Bowls from thekitchn, how ’bout you?

5.  I’m thinking the perfect attire for this weekend is sweatpants.  Inspired by my spirit animal, Mindy Kaling, I am currently coveting these Zoe Karssen sweatpants.  Check out Shopbop for more options!

6.  After sitting at the computer for just a morning, my back aches like crazy.  I am actually considering taking up yoga to help me stretch out.  I will be starting with these 10 secrets and YouTube.  Wish me luck!

And for your viewing pleasure, check out the SNL Digital Short Lazy Sunday because I’ll be singing this all weekend long.  It’s the Chronic – WHAT – cles of Narnia.

Happy Weekend!


Quick Guide: Best of Birchbox 2014


I am nearing the end of my year-long subscription to Birchbox.  I signed up on a whim for $100 thinking that the monthly package would be something to look forward to and hopefully introduce me to some new brands.

After filling out a survey about my hair color, texture, skin tone, etc, I was excited to get products perfectly catered to my fair skin and sunscreen addiction.  I found that some of the products could not have hit the nail on the head better, however typically half the box was products that I never mentioned liking or using in my questionnaire – things like under eye cream and skincare products (I have extremely sensitive skin so I don’t care for trying lotions that I’m unfamiliar with).

Overall, I tallied up the products that I loved and it more than justified the $100 sticker price.  Just don’t expect many products from their home + food category.  Although, the one thing that I did get (Dang Coconut Chips) was probably one of my favorite things!

So here you are!  The best of Birchbox 2014:


Beauty Protector Conditioner

Number 4 Hydrating Shampoo

Amika Dry Shampoo 


Folle de Joie Eau de Parfum

English Laundry 




Dang Coconut Chips


Coastal Scents Revealed 2 Palette

Pixi by Petra Lip Balm

The Balm Lou-manizer

Beauty Blender 

Benefit They’re Real Mascara



Monday Motivation


I’m getting back into the swing of things on this dreary Monday in Tampa.  With high hopes to achieve resolutions, I’m sure people are pushing themselves to be healthier, more kind, etc.  Always remember that you are a person with your own limitations.  Don’t push yourself – use what you have, and do what you can.

Happy Monday!


Weekend Wishlist: 1.3.15- 1.4.15


Happy New Year! I love the refreshing feeling of starting a new chapter in life.  This weekend, I’m focusing on ways to start the new year on the right foot.

1.  For this past Christmas, Nico and I got a Q+A a Day book for one of our beautiful friends.  Even though we have only filled out a day in it so far, I think this will be a great way to learn more about ourselves and one another.  The questions can range from “What is your mission?” to “What did you wear today?”.

2.  Starting anew is difficult to do when you have a mess to deal with.  I will be using Kate Spade Desk Accessories to add some sanity to work-life this year.  Check out this office inspired by the trendy accessories.

3.  I’m all about sweet potatoes thanks to my sis-in-law.  We had whipped s.ps on Christmas and then s.p fries two days later.  I’m looking to exchange frozen tater tots with this recipe from The Comfort of Cooking for Crispy Baked S.P. Fried.  Yum!

4.  Winter in Florida is pretty beautiful.  There is not much need for trenches or real boots, so I’ll be looking at these tips on how to make the most out of any cardigan.  

5.  After the holidays, there is a bit of a lull in excitement.  To avoid a post-holiday rut, try 1 of these 5 Things to Try this Weekend including planning a winter dinner party.

6.  Put your best face forward this year with 10 Steps to Fresher, Younger Skin in 2015 from The Everygirl.

Looking forward to a great year!


10 Ways I’m Making 2015 Different

72e489719a2db0ddfc4e59060fc68435At just 25 years old, I have found myself saying things like “That’s just the way I am” or “Can’t change that”.  How ridiculous is that?  I have the ability to make myself better everyday.  As this new year approaches, I am focusing on how to better myself and the world around me little by little.  I’ll be focusing on these 10 goals to make 2015 a year of growth for me.

1. Live in the moment – Have you ever been out to dinner with your partner or at drinks with the girls and you can’t help but think about tomorrow’s things to do list? I’ve missed out on little details that make the right now special, and those are moments you can’t get back.

2. Stop worrying about things out of my control – This should probably be number one according to Nico.  I worry about everything, especially things out of my control – flying, other people’s decisions, making everyone happy, and the list goes on and on.  This year, I’ll be stopping to breathe and think it through.

3. Make smart life choices, but don’t forget to be spontaneous – Having been married and purchased a home before I was 25, I feel mature for my age.  Oftentimes, we have conversations about money, babies, the future, and we lose sight of the fact that we are in our mid-twenties.  While I won’t be spending all our savings on sport cars, I will be filling myself with a bit more youth and spunk for life.

4. Be confident – Like most women, I struggle with this frequently.  I will be trying to see myself the way others see me rather than strive to reach unrealistic goals.

5. Volunteer time and efforts – For the last 6 months, I have been volunteering a lot more.  It has really exposed me to things that I would have never known about – human trafficking in Tampa, adoptions, teaching children about nutrition.  Volunteering (and in turn learning about my community) is a priority for 2015.

6. Read more books – Confession: 99% of the time, I will wait for the movie.  I go through phases during which I enjoy cuddling up with a book, and I need to carry that warm fuzzy with me to 2015.  I think Lena Dunham, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler will be helping me along the way.

7. Be less blonde – By this I mean be less of a ditz.  In uncomfortable or new situations, I tend to giggle and come off wrong.  Once again, taking a moment to breathe and think about my actions should nip this in the bud.

8. Focus on health, not a number on a scale – After being a complete glutton over the Christmas season, I am ready to focus on nutrition and general health rather than losing weight.  Even though I’d really like to lose 3 pounds.


9. Stop caring about what other people think  – I’m never going to make everyone happy.  But, seriously, why I am I so preoccupied with what a stranger in Target thinks about my new top?  I’m frustrating myself just thinking about the time I’ve spent caring about what others think.  This year, I’ll be worried about being true to myself first.

10. Travel – This one is difficult for me because I am a creature of habit.  Oh yeah, and I have a debilitating fear of flying.  Hopefully, with a little help from my travel buddies, I will be able to overcome this fear and see the world!

I hope everyone is honest with themselves when making resolutions this week.  Think about what you really want and pinpoint how you can make that happen.  Happy New Year everyone!

Images: SourceSource



Weekend Wishlist: 12.27 – 12.28


I hope everyone had a great holiday season!  I spent lots of quality time with family (hence my recent absence), but now I am back and ready to ring in the new year!

1.  I am very guilty of hoarding wrapping paper and carefully opening packages to keep it as intact as possible.  Thankfully, BuzzFeed has compiled a list of uses for leftover paper.  My favorite is shredding it into paper confetti perfect for when the clock strikes midnight on NYE.

2. I have exhausted my plaid wardrobe recently.  Now I’m looking for some winter alternatives like this blush and gold infinity scarf from Francesca’s.  Still festive and a nice change to dark winter colors.

3.  Looking for some healthy tips on how to use those Christmas dinner leftovers? Look no further.

4.  Uptown. Funk you up.  Uptown funk you up.  This Bruno Mars jam is an instant mood lifter.  And the dancing is on pointe in the video.  Have a watch!

5.  Ready for another holiday?  Me neither, so I’ll be using these 25 DIY New Year’s Eve Projects.

6.  Let’s focus on what really matters – we are so close to awards season!  This year we have NPH, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler hosting so we are in for quite an entertaining few weeks.  Thanks, HelloGiggles, for reminding me that just because the holidays are over, there is so much to look forward to with this Oscar teaser starring NPH.

Have a great weekend!



Weekend Wishlist: 12.13 – 12.14


If it is feeling like winter in central FL, I can only imagine how the rest of the country feels.  I hope you’re enjoying a warm cup of coffee with your morning Weekend Wishlist.  Have a great weekend!

1.  One of my favorite winter looks is tulle skirts.  You can dress them up for a holiday party or pair with a sweatshirt and some sparkle for a more casual look.  I wonder how men feel about this trend, but at the same time I could care less because I LOVE it.

2.  I love including inspiring quotes on the Weekend Wishlist just to inject a little positivity into the world.  This week, choosing was difficult so here are 40 inspiring quotes.

3.  I was recently introduced to macaroons and OMG.  They are the perfect tiny treat.  I’ve read they are extremely difficult to make, but the recipe for these Christmas inspired frostings (milk chocolate mocha ganache, eggnog marshmallow fluff, and white chocolate peppermint buttercream) are to die for.  Festive and delicious is a good way to show up to a party.

4.  Speaking of mmmmmm…check out this warm blueberry hot bread.  That sounds like a great way to start your day, right?! If you’re not feeling this option, the link includes another recipe for a more savory blueberry cornbread.  Win – win!

5.  With all the heels involved in holiday partying, you’re going to need a few tips to avoid severe new year back pain.  These 6 tips to improve your posture will get your through the season and into the new year with some good habits.

6.  I have been coveting this scarf that Southern Curls + Pearls wears for too long now.  Good news – it’s only about $12 now!  I repeat, now is the moment to strike!  If you need a little inspiration, jump around her blog to see all the perfect ways she styles this piece.

Happy weekend!


Holiday Gifts for Every Price Point


This year, my husband and I are taking a hiatus from giving each other big gifts in favor of experience gifts – i.e tickets to a concert, a weekend getaway, etc.  Naturally, this makes me want anything bright and shiny ten times more which basically makes me an expert in the field of holiday gifts.  Here is my complete list of gifts for any price point.  Happy Shopping!

Biscuit Bubble Cocktail Glasses | Gigi New York Uber Clutch | C. Wonder Slippers | Mark + Graham Travel Jewelry Case | David Yurman X Crossover Ring | Lulu + Georgia Gold Flatware Set | Graphic Image Passport Holder | J. Crew PJs | Society Social Blanket | Kohl’s Booties | Rifle Paper Co. Phone Cover | Baublebar Pendant | Sole Society WeekenderKate Spade Watch 



Monday Motivation


Some of my greatest opportunities have come from showing up somewhere when I felt like laying in bed all day.  You never know what is waiting around the corner, so put your best face forward and have a great week!


Weekend Wishlist: 12.6 – 12.7


Another weekend is upon us.  High five!  I’ve got loads of holiday-esque thoughts rolling around in my head this weekend….

1.  Holiday travel can be a pain in the backside.  Pushy crowds, delays, and crying babies don’t exactly scream ‘Merry Christmas!’, but The Everygirl’s guide to packing your carry on in 3 easy tips will make the trip a little easier.

2. We have decided that quality > quantity this year.  Instead of wasting money on meaningless gifts, we are hopping around to spend quality time with our family – memories last a lot longer than a clock from Brookside.

3. After a few times, getting ready for holiday parties can be exhausting.  Shower, blow-dry, makeup, outfit, repeat.  This easy updo from SheSteals.com can be done with damp hair and still look flawless.

4.  Figuring out the perfect hostess gift can be daunting.  Generally, you really can’t go wrong with chilled champagne in a beautiful Glimmer Wrapped Ice Bucket from Anthropologie.

5. Making a beanie look feminine is a challenge.  Kate Spade solved this problem by adding a sweet bow on top.  Genius!  Bows and Sequins styled the bow beanie with some warm preppy accents this year.

6.  Having a wreath on the door says ‘Even though the inside of my home may be a mess, I appear put together.’  Look no further than Fox Hollow Cottage’s assortment of DIY wreaths for the holidays.


Season’s Greeting Cards


After a relaxing week off, I am excited to welcome this holiday season!  Even with all the technological advances these days, the winter holiday season is one of the only times people still send actual cards.  I am a self-proclaimed stationery enthusiast so this makes me extremely happy!  I have compiled some of my favorite holiday cards for your viewing pleasure.

one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight

So whip out those pens and get to mailing!


Weekend Wishlist: 11.22 – 11.23



Happy Weekend!  Had a long week feeling a bit under the weather, but my weekend wishlist is filling me with holiday cheer.  Here’s whats on my radar currently…

1.  With so many amazing events coming up this holiday season, I want to feel my absolute best.  I already do a few items on The Everygirl’s list of The 7 Best Beauty Investments for Yourself, but I’ll certainly be putting more effort into taking better care of myself.

2. I like Thanksgiving more and more each year.  Instead of a day of overeating, I focus on giving back and giving thanks more each year.  This beautiful sign is the perfect reminder of what the day should really be about.

3. Hopefully you won’t be hosting every event this season.  For ideas on what to bring as your next hostess gift, check out Hosting + Toasting’s do’s and dont’s.

4.  I’m pretty sure I have never met someone who would turn down hot chocolate.  With this guide to How to Spice Up Your Hot Chocolate, you can easily create a Hot Chocolate bar at your next party that will please even the pickiest guest.

5.  Midi skirts have officially taken over fashion blogging.  I don’t pretend to be a fashion blogger, but I definitely look to them for inspiration.  I’m currently trying to figure out if my 5’5″ body can rock a midi without sky-high heels by checking out theses 25 Trendy Midi Skirt Outfits.

6.  If you’re tired of bring the usual green bean casserole or deviled eggs to Thanksgiving dinner, check out these 8 Thanksgiving Cocktails from The Glitter Guide for the perfect concoction to compliment your dinner.  Beautiful and delicious!

Let’s get this holiday season rolling!


Feelin’ Muggy


What is up with this weather?  If you must go outside, take one of these stylish mugs for a warm cup of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa.

one | two | three | four | five |six

As for me? I’ll be cuddling up with my favorite Crate + Barrel mug (similar here on clearance). They’re perfect for Sharpie pen projects.

Stay warm!



Weekend Wishlist: 11.15 – 11.16


Happy Weekend!  Most of the country will be pretty frigid this weekend, so I will not be bragging about the sunny + 70 degree weather we will be having here in central Florida too much.  Below I share some perfect things to do inside this fall weekend.

1. I do not have a green thumb.  Like I have said before, I laid a bamboo plant to rest recently.  I am hoping that this list of 9 Air-Cleaning House Plants That Are Nearly Impossible to Kill rings true.  And don’t worry, some of them are really beautiful and require little to no watering and sunlight.  Beautify your home and clean the air with barely any effort? High five!

2. I am currently on a calligraphy high.  I have been searching for the perfect digital translations to jazz up some of my Photoshop work and finally hit the jackpot on the Nectar Collective.  In addition to 10 [free] Gorgeous Calligraphy Fonts they link to, they also suggest red flags to check the licenses for before downloading.

3.  With that cold weather approaching, I need a refresher course on how best to layer clothing.  Glam Radars offers tips and some amazing ideas on how to perfect the layered look this Fall.

4.  Lauren Conrad can do no wrong in the fashion + beauty world, but her Fall Reading List proves there is more to her.  Some of the options on this list have received a lot of press, but others are dark horses that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise.  So cozy up with a blanket, hot coffee, and some of these reads this weekend.

5.  Ever heard of a Brookie? It’s a brownie and cookie in one and the product of Urban Bakes sinfully genius mind.  With holiday gatherings right around the corner, this is a great option that is sure to please all your guests.

6.  Something about the colder weather makes me even more introspective than I am normally.  This article from Huffington Posts explains the 10 Ways Introverts Interact Differently with the World.  I seem to surround myself with extroverts, so realizing that shyness and introversion are not the same is pretty refreshing. Not to mention it justifies holing up this weekend with the hubs and pooch.

Even though its chilly outside, warm your belly with some brookies and your soul with some good reads and call it a weekend!


Laura Hooper Calligraphy Workshop

Recently, my mom and I traveled to Atlanta for a calligraphy workshop hosted by Laura Hooper Calligraphy.  My mom has the most beautiful penmanship, and I have always wanted to learn the art so we decided to take a girls weekend and enjoy the workshop together. (Check out my photo recap of the trip here).


The workshop was hosted at The Ellis Hotel, which is right downtown near plenty of hotels of all price points and lots of dining options.  We opted to stay across the street and walked to dinner.  We found a great Irish pub where we appropriately watched the Notre Dame game.


The event was made picturesque by The Perfect Palette, an amazing resource for designing events, and Lauren Rae Photography.  We were greeted by this beautiful sign that appropriately set the tone for an afternoon of learning, calligraphy, and Instagramming (of course).

The class was a perfect size.  After Laura showed us how to draw each letter, she would come by and give students individual attention. At first it was intimidating, but soon it was obvious what an amazing resource Laura is.


Each place setting featured a beginner notepad + resource guide, additional nibs, a pen, ink, and a delicious Izze.  The room was full of golds and greens combined with geometric designs.  Their team really knew the demographics of the class – all women who appreciate little touches of beauty.


I also have a newfound infatuation with succulents.  I just recently laid a bamboo plant to rest, so hopefully I will do better with these.


When you’re sitting in a class for 3 hours, a little snack is definitely in order.  Their team designed a popcorn bar that had everything you could image from cheese topping to candies.  They continued the green and gold color palette and included a little yellow on the bar.


If Laura Hooper is coming to your area, I would recommend taking her class.  The beginner package that she offers is great, but nothing can beat one on one training.  At the very least you a sure to attend a beautiful event with a delish snack.

For a full overview of the event from Laura herself, check out her blog post.


Weekend Wishlist: 11.8 – 11.9



Am I right? This weekend is pretty jam packed, but this is what’s occupying my mind.

1.  I consider organization a hobby rather than a skill.  Do you ever have those days when you have a million things bouncing around in your head, but you never seem to get them all into one concise thought?  My brain has been in this limbo state almost all week!  Hopefully Refinery 29’s article “7 apps for Getting Sh*t Done” will help me cure my recently diagnosed limbo brain.

2. Do you ever think, “I’m X years old, I should be [insert milestone here].” I have been doing this too often, and will be repeating the “Live your life and forget your age” mantra in my head while I figure out my next steps in life.  Age is just a number anyway, right?  That’s Hugh Hefner’s motto, and he’s doing alright…I think.

3.  This is actually the year!  I will do holiday shopping in advance, and not go broke with the help of The Everygirl’s article and Chippmunk, an easy to use digital coupon site.  Check it out + save save save!

4.  I am currently coveting West Elm’s Parsons desk in lacquer white.  It seems like every amazing blogger’s office (check out all these amazing ideas from Live Creating Yourself for design inspiration) that I pin features this desk.  I have so much style inspiration in this limbo brain of mine that sooner or later I will design the perfect work space…or just keep pinning.

5.  Yesterday, I literally used 4 different purses in the span of 12 hours.  I know I left something in every one of them too, and I am tired of running late because I’m digging through all my bags looking for my sunglasses.  This Slim Purse Organizer on Mochi Things might just be the fix.

6.  Recently, I participated in a blogging webinar where I digitally met bloggers all over the world, including Chloe from Boxwood Avenue.  While reading through her blog, I realized that we both share a love for calligraphy.  Check out her Guide to the Web’s Best Calligraphy Tutorials + Advice and get creative!

Have a great weekend!


Best Planners for the New Year + Tips for Getting Organized



I know what you’re thinking.  Now that Halloween has passed, everything is Christmas.  Well lookout big box retailers, I’m jumping straight to New Year’s! Boo ya! My thinking is you have to order your planner well in advance to have it prepped and ready to go before the ball drops!

Along with the rejuvenation of that weight loss goal that is quickly squashed by Valentine’s Day (mmmm Godiva truffles) and watching that disco ball fall out of the sky, refreshing my organization system is one of my favorite things about the New Year! The smell of fresh pages reminds me that my goals aren’t quite as far away as I may imagine.  So get your washi tape, highlighters, and pens out! It’s time to organize!

1. Kate Spade Gold Dots – This is my current obsession.  This is a 17 month agenda (August ’14 – December ’15) has the ideal amount of space to jot notes with a daily and monthly view without too much room taken up for inspirational quotes and fun facts.  The medium agenda fits great in my totes for the day and is light weight.

2. Lily Pulitzer Trippin and Sippin – I used this planner in college.  Ah, the days of free time and naps.  I’d recommend this planner for more playful whimsicial people.  It has a similar amount of space in the weekly and monthly views to write, and it comes with stickers and an Astrological overlook section.  I haven’t read them all, but I’m assuming pretty much everyone can look foward to good fortune in the new year according to Lily.

3.  Jonathan Adler–  The 2015 agendas aren’t on the site yet, but I imagine they will be similar to the 2014 versions.  I would call this the hybrid of 1 + 2.  It has the functionality of Kate Spade with plenty of pockets for receipts and notes with the fun patterns and bright colors of Lily Pulitizer.  Who knew that if Kate Spade and Lily Pulitizer had a baby it would be Jonathan Adler?

4.  Design Love Planner – This year’s dark horse was found on Etsy, but she also has a great website that I linked to.  Clean lines, fun prints, checklists, and budgeting sections make this planner perfect for young professionals!  It is also a little bit smaller than my other picks so it should fit right into your purse!

5.  The Simplified Planner – Emily Ley has pretty much perfected organized living for the busy woman.  With her Home Base Binder and free printables, there is really no excuse for a messy mom station.  The Simplified Planner features inspirational quotes, sections for meal planning, and a side by side schedule and to-do list.  Since this was designed by a mother + entrepreneur, its perfect for the busy working woman who wants to maintain order on the homefront.

Now that you have the platform, you need the right tools to achieve complete organization.  Use my favorite tricks listed below and enjoy a year of efficiency.



1.  Use washi tape to block off days – Washi tape is not a trend – it can do pretty much everything except solve world hunger.  I love to color code my tapes with a theme like work, volunteering, or vacation and then write the exact details on top of the washi tape.  Without reading exactly what it is I need to do, I know I have something booked.  Plus, it adds a little color to a white page.

2. Keep making lists – I make lists of lists which as you can imagine can be confusing.  So I always have a highlighter to mark the top 5 things I need to get done ASAP.  Once I cross one item off, I highlight another and the vicious circle continues.

3.  Sticky notes for ongoing items – If I randomly think of something that needs to happen in the near-ish future, I write it on a sticky note to stick on my weekly view in my planner.  That way, if I complete my top highlighted daily tasks, I can glance over at my weekly task and tackle some of those.

4. Pencils are not just for middle school – I will always have a pencil with me.  I make lots of tentative plans so that if one engagement falls through, I have a back up.  If I think something has a 50% chance of changing, I write it in pencil.  What I’m getting at is either start carrying a pencil or white out.

5.  Two ways to use paper clips – Depending on the time of year ( i.e. how many pages I have gone through in my planner), I will either clip the day that I am currently working on OR all of the past days.  As I get farther into the year, it wastes too much time to flip through all the past months to get to my daily view, so I bundle them up and clip them – it makes getting to the tasks at hand quicker.  If you’re in the earlier months of the planner, just clip your day.  The clip is less likely to fall out with fewer pages in there.

What do you do to stay organized?  I love new tips and tricks so share them with me below!


Atlanta Road Trip Photo Recap

Isn’t it funny how your parents become your best friends when you grow up?  I was lucky enough to realize this earlier than most.  In the past two months, I have gotten to spend time with each of my parents – just the two of us. If you can swing it, I  would recommend road trips with your parents as a unique way to get to know them individually as an adult.  You really learn a lot about them when you sit in traffic and decide whether or not to parallel park.

My mom and I traveled up to Atlanta for a calligraphy class and to have some girls time.  My mom is and always has been my best friend.  She is the kindest, most gentle, and most generous person I will ever meet.  I am so thrilled that I realize each day that I am more like her than I ever knew, and we had a blast on our trip!  Take a peek at my photo recap below.


Momma was so proud that she parallel parked her beast of a car that we had to capture that moment.  You go girl!


The Festival on Ponce was a great way to spend a beautiful afternoon!  (Check out that sky!) The bi-annual festival features art, jewelry, and hand-made goods.


I consider myself artsy, but not in the “Let’s spend the afternoon at the gallery kind of way.”  The art at the Festival was widely appealing and entertaining to even the least artsy visitors.   Above is art from my two favorite festival finds – Heather Baumbach and Chad Moore of Piffle Pics.


The handmade jewelry scene was on point at the Festival on Ponce.  Cameoko and Cameron Kruse Designs were my favorites with beautiful displays and products.


Also on display were beer bottle candles.  How creative!


My favorite memory from this trip (other than the room service eating, Food Network watching, girl talking Sunday night in our snazzy hotel) was chowing down on a bag of kettle corn from MooseHead Kettle Corn.  They had every flavor you can imagine.  We walked around looking at art and people watching, and even though I spilled most of the bag on the ground in a vendor’s tent, we had a great time!

Thanks for an awesome trip, Momma!  Love you!


S’mores Bar for Under $30


Looking to get rid of your Halloween candy before you accidentally binge on it while watching Scandal? (Not that I did that or anything.)  This weekend we hosted some friends for a bonfire + a s’mores bar.  It was a great way to use our extra candy without tossing it.  Easy and delicious!  Below are the items we included in our set up.  All items were easy to find at Target, and the entire purchase was under $30.

Graham Crackers:  Honey + Cinnamon

Spreads: Nutella + Peanut Butter

Candies:  Reese’s cups, mini Crunch bars, mini Butterfingers, Ghirahelli caramel squares, and white chocolate bars

Marshmallows: Traditional + Neapolitan



Weekend Wishlist : 11.1 – 11.2


Happy Friday!  I hope you are welcoming November with a bang!  Here’s what I’m looking forward to this weekend:

1.  Keaton Row – My genius sister (in law) told me about Keaton Row two weeks ago in Atlanta.  Basically, you answer a few questions about your body type, price points, and color preferences, and you select a stylist who then puts together a lookbook tailored to your style.  I have signed up as a stylist in an attempt to quell my thirst for pricey items by helping others purchase them instead!  If you’re interested in signing up with me, follow this link.

2.  Mindy, be my BFF – Any Mindy Project addicts know that this silly little thing called the World Series has been depriving us of the required weekly dose of our favorite hot Indian gyno.  To hold you over until the next episode, check out this story from Entertainment Weekly about the set, and get a list of stores where you can buy a few of the items that make Mindy’s apartment colorful, quirky, and feminine.

3.  Wrenn JewelryWrenn Jewelry is a small business that makes reasonably priced handmade jewelry.  I love that each piece is unique and adds a little sparkle to any outfit.  You can find pretty much any color in the rainbow, and they even have men’s items like snazzy cufflinks.  Heyyy, early Christmas shopping ideas.

4.  While we’re at it, TSwift, be my BFF – There is just no denying that Taylor Swift’s new album is intoxicating.  Every new song I hear is catchy and different from what we have heard before and a long cry from the country teen we first met.  My favorite (so far) is Out of the Woods.  Take a listen!

5.  Chi Curls – As I’ve mentioned several times, I’m all about Chi curls in the cooler months.  But I must say that I am getting a little tired of the same old curls.  This post by Dirty Looks gives tips for creating 3 different curls using a straightener.

6.  NUTELLA – Move over cinnamon rolls, it’s Nutella Rolls time! I love making warm breakfast foods to enjoy in November and December.  If these aren’t on your menu at some point in the next two months, you’re missing out.  Please excuse me while I salivate for a moment.

Hope your weekend is a happy and safe one!


10 Tips to a Healthy Relationship After 100 Happy Months


Today marks 100 months since my husband, Nico, and I have officially been together.  100 months ago today a goofy teenager danced around Busch Gardens, a Tampa theme park, and asked me to be his girlfriend in the parking lot.  Not exactly the beginning of one of Keats’ romantic poems, but it is the beginning of our story.

Many relationships have seen 100 months come and go unnoticed, but I think that is what makes us special – the little things.  As this milestone approached, I found myself thinking more and more about acknowledging the little details that make a healthy relationship.  The things that you may think don’t matter once you’ve seen each other naked are the most important.

Below, Nico and I have compiled a list of tidbits of advice to couples out there looking to build a healthy relationship…whether you’re in month 1 or 101.

1. Manners –  You’ve probably cursed at your partner more than anyone else, but don’t forget your please’s and thank you’s.   When I clean the house, I always get a thank you.  When I ask for a favor, I always say please.  Just because typical formalities are out the window, doesn’t mean that you should stop showing your partner that you’re grateful for what they do.

2. Smooch – In the beginning, you kissed A LOT right? Well, just because your intimacy has advanced doesn’t mean that kissing is an old trick.  I read once that you should make out for 15 minutes minimum everyday.  And it works!  There’s a special little intimacy to kissing that you should never underestimate.

3.  Know how to be apart – Maybe your partner travels for work?  Or maybe you have barre class every Thursday?  No matter what it is or how long you are apart, it helps.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  It also makes your relationship more dynamic.  Each partner has their individual stories to share with one another that makes them more interesting.

4.  Love notes – Not everyone can write like Nicholas Sparks, but you don’t need to.  When Nico and I first started dating, he was shy about his expressing his feelings verbally, but he nailed it in writing.  I could hear his voice in everything that he wrote.  That made every word so much more genuine and special because I knew they were from his heart.  Even just an “I love you” left on a steamy mirror is special.


4. Don’t fight dirty – This is one that I am still working on.  I used to keep an inventory of wrongs that Nico had done to use in any battle, and that was just wrong.  Nico taught me to fight with the hopes of solving the dispute at hand, rather than winning.  Have one goal in mind when arguing: constructive compromise.

5.  Partner on the big decisions – Never stop partnering on big decisions – anything that involves money, your time, or your family should be decided together.  This is probably one of the elements of our relationship that I am most proud of – we are partners.  We make pro + con lists, we play devil’s advocate, and we come to an agreement….together.

Nico Note:  It’s ok to disagree on the little stuff.  In fact, it’s more interesting when you disagree on the little stuff.

6.  Honesty – Duh, right?  But I am focusing more on honesty with the little things.  I have my unique little quirks that oddly enough not everyone finds as charmingly delightful as I do.  For instance, I used to flick Nico’s nose randomly. (Adorable, right?)  I didn’t think of it as anything, but he really hated it….and he didn’t tell me for YEARS.  When he did tell me, I was shocked but I stopped doing it.  This one little change made each flick-free day a little better for him, and it made me rethink my actions.  Win- win.

7.  Know that you’re weirdos – Dr. Seuss was right, love is mutual weirdness.  I tolerate his “Nico Jokes” (code for the literally the driest jokes you will ever hear), and he lets me throw most of the closet on the bed when I am getting ready to go out.  We dance in the kitchen when we make dinner.  It took us months to get to our first kiss.  But all of these things are why we love each other….and how we know how special the other person must be to love us back.

8.  Keep surprising each other – Nico will plan an entire date and not tell me a single detail because he wants to surprise me.  He will leave little notes around the house to remind me how much he loves me.  He sends me on scavenger hunts – one all around the campus of UF – just for fun.  He asked my best friends and my mom about my engagement ring before he bought it.  He planned 2 separate surprise parties for our engagement. He’s the master of surprise.  Each day is different, and that’s exciting!

Nico Note: Dote upon your significant other at random.

9.  He’s human – Sure, you hold your partner to a higher caliber than his friends or ‘typical ‘guys, but never forget that he’s still a man.  He will make mistakes, he will refuse to install the new garbage disposal for months, he will make a judgmental face at you when you accidentally scare the dog so badly that he falls off the bed, and he will never stop insisting that “This is the Cubs’ year”, but remember that these little habits are what makes them a person – your person.

10.  Grow together – Having started dating in our teens, Nico and I are done a lot of growing together already.  Certainly, you have heard of plenty of couples who have grown apart, but that is because growing closer requires so much more work.  You have to be willing to take risks together, to miss out on things together, and to realize that these supposed sacrifices make you stronger.  Choosing each other over anything else shouldn’t be considered a sacrifice.  It’s a step towards a stronger relationship.  If you grow as people, but the relationship doesn’t grown it won’t last.  (I got that from an episode of Reba.)


I hope that you all honestly look at your relationships in the figurative mirror and make sure to appreciate the little things!  What would you add to the list?  Leave comments + let me know how you got to 100 happy months!

(Happy 29th stud!)


Weekend Wishlist 10.25 – 10.26


It’s beginning to look a lot more like fall in the Sunshine State! That means highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s, but I’ll take it.  With high hopes of cool breezes and keeping my windows open all day, I have a lot of feel-good items on my weekend wishlist!

1.  Caffeinate  in Style – Ashley Brooke Designs is one of my favorite people to follow on Instagram because every shot she posts exudes happiness!  This week she debuted new mugs that are just begging for a latte.  Check them out, and follow her on Instagram stat!

2. Little Milemarkers –  I am working on a post about relationships and love.  A little outside the realm of my typical posts, but it is something that keeps me motivated, so I wanted to share it with you.  Stay tuned to the blog in the next few weeks for a post with plenty of embarrassing stories about me and the hubs.

3. Bloggin Over Thyme –  Mmmm pecan pancakes.  Alliteration and food, does it get any better?  This is a blog by a woman who I worked with briefly in the DC area.  She has a real passion for food, and it is evident in her posts.  Something about pecan pancakes feels even more seasonal to me than pumpkin.

4.  Paris in the Fall –  Fellow Jessica over at Bows + Sequins brings to life how I think my outfits look in my head.  She combines basics beautifully, and I love her surprising pops of color.  Not to mention she recently visited Paris, and the photos are breathtaking!

5.  UGH Painting –  Yes, we are painting our house once again.  We have only been here a little over a year, but already the walls are too much.  This muted blue/gray I discovered on Katie Taylor’s Home tour on The Everygirl is ideal! Now let’s work on convincing my other half.

6.  Nice is the New Mean – If you aren’t reading Refinery 29 daily yet, you need to start now.  This article in particular left me with a warm-fuzzy feeling.  There are far too many stories of diva behavior these days, and reading about celebrities bringing light to more pressing issues than “Who wore it better” is refreshing.  CheersSunshine

Bunco for All Children’s Hospital

Last week was the Inaugural Bunco Night for the Tampa Branch of the All Children’s Hospital Guild.  We were all a bit nervous hosting a bunco event since none of us had played the game before, but it was a great success!  We decided on a Masquerade theme with orange, black, and accents of silver throughout for a little seasonal flare.  The members collected donated prizes from places like The Bar Method, Blo Blow Dry Bar, and Darden Restaurants that were then raffled off.  We also offered dinner graciously provided by The Olive Garden and home-baked sweets like pumpkin cookies and cake pops.



The children from the outpatient center created our centerpieces – handmade masks.  These masks were also auctioned off for any guests who were not able to bring their own mask, but still wanted to participate in the Best Mask Contest.  However, many of our guests had impressive masks!  Ranging from original designs to masks from New Orlean’s Mardi Gras.



Hope to see you at the next ACH Tampa Branch Event, and Happy Halloween!




Weekend Wishlist 10.18 – 10.19


Another crazy week here for me.  Lots of work, events, and meetings leaving little time for catching up on emails or blogging!  I suspect this coming weekend will bring lots of new topics to share with you.  Here are some of the things I am loving this weekend.

1. Dry Shampoo –  Typically speaking, I do not care for dry shampoo.  As a blonde, baby powder always seemed to do the trick.  However, my latest Birchbox introduced me to Amika Dry Shampoo.  As it gets cooler, I am curling my hair with my chi more often and the curls actually last overnight.  With Amika, my bangs and roots look fresh!

2.  Road Trip Scrapbook –  With all the road trips I have been talking lately, I thought it would be a great idea to put together scrapbooks of the trips.  This guide is great to create an authentic one of a kind recap of trips!  I wish I have thought of this before I headed to DC with my dad.

3.  Hotlanta –  Nope, can’t pull that off.  Heading up to Georgia this weekend at just the right time.  I think we will get a good dose of Fall!

4. Ghost –  Adele + Amy Winehouse + Mumford and Sons = Ella Henderson.  I love Ella Henderson’s sound.  She’s soulful but still upbeat.  Hoping to hear more from her on American radio.

5. In a Nutshell-  Recently, I have posted about a few of my favorite accessories.  I came across this post by Southern Curls and Pearls that puts all of them together in a perfectly classic way! Enough words, just check out the post.

6.  Calligraphy Class –  It’s finally here!  I am beyond excited for Laura Hooper’s Calligraphy class in Atlanta!  I purchased a starter kit for Christmas, and I think a little hands on attention will get me on my way! Check out her site to see if she is coming to a city near you!

Atlanta, here we come!


DC Road Trip Photo Recap

Getting back into the swing of things is always tough after vacation.  As I get used to my “normal” schedule, I thought I’d share some of my pictures from my father-daughter road trip to DC.

This was our ride.  One of my dad’s NSX.  Apparently this car has somewhat of a cult following, and we got tons of waves on the road from admiring fellow travelers.


This is Fondant Nico.  He lives in DC.  He was the topper to the grooms cake for Nico in 2012.  He stays in the fridge and looks like new! Now let’s hope that the power never goes out, or else I’ll be introducing Pile of Goo Nico.


Ok, other than seeing family, this was what I was looking most forward to – Harris Teeter’s 7 layer dip.  My high school had a healthy obsession with 7 layer dip, and this is the perfect combination of nostalgia and tastiness.


Me and Pops!  We drove with the top down on a gorgeous day!  I rocked a scarf on my head in an attempt to maintain my perfectly manicured do, and look like a movie star from the 50s.


This was our destination – Gen. Jubal A. Early Ferry that crosses the Potomac River.  We headed into Maryland for two nights of family and friend fun.


My date for a bike ride on the W&OD trail that runs from Leesburg, VA into DC.  The weather was crisp and sunny, and of course I managed to get a sunburn.


Water break photo shoots are a must, right?! I look a lot like this guy, eh?


During one of our breaks, we came across this little furniture store – Olde Mill Furniture in Ashburn, VA.  It had those old wood floors that creak perfectly.  The color palette and friendly environment made for a great pit stop.


Weekend Wishlist: 10.10.14 – 10.11.14


Whew!  I thought that getting back from vacation would be easier if I packed my week with work, volunteering, and minimal down time.  It completely skipped my mind that after days of sleeping in until 10 and eating sweets and fast food on the road that this might not be the best idea. (A photo recap of my trip is coming soon!) Good news: I made it, and I am looking forward to one full day of relaxation this week mixed with some work.  I’m also looking forward to the next 6 things on my Weekend Wishlist.

1.  Lutha! –  I know the show is actually called Luther, but with my amazing British accent it sounds like Lutha!  If you have not gotten on board with this BBC program, you are missing out!  It is the perfect amount of suspense for me and Nico, who doesn’t care for sitting on the edge of his seat quite as much as I do.  I plan on binging this weekend.  There are only 3 seasons, but there is talk of a film.  Fingers crossed!

2. All Children’s Hospital Bunco – Yes, I have already mentioned Bunco for ACH, but it is right around the corner now!  Come out and support ACH Pallative Care Program by playing Bunco, eating Olive Garden, and going home with raffles and prizes. Easy enough, right?!  It is this upcoming Thursday, Oct. 16, from 6-9pm at the All Children’s Outpatient Care Center located at 12220 Bruce B Downs Blvd in Tampa.  You may see some dice cake pops as a take home favor by yours truly.  Check out our Facebook page to RSVP.

3.  A Fresh Start – My make up bag is looking pretty sad.  Dried out mascara, thick lip gloss, and crumbled eye shadow are unfortunately a little too common.  I will be using The Everygirl’s guide on When to Toss Your Makeup religiously as I replenish and restock for fall.

4.  Punkins’! – I really wish Florida had some real pumpkin patches.  Sure, we have road side citrus stands that have a pumpkin here and there, but in the Tampa area a real patch is scarce.  This is one of the few times I miss Alachua County and their corn maze and patches.  However, this weekend, I could really go for the perfect pumpkin.  I am thinking about painting instead of carving this year with inspiration from Lolly Jane’s options.   Less gooey and it will actually last through Halloween.  Suggestions on patches and painting welcome!

5. Being the sunshine for someone else –  In the last few weeks, two of my very best friends have had to face extremely difficult times.  For a moment, it seemed like I became an adult almost overnight having to deal with illness and death.  I have lived a charmed life, and I struggle with giving these beautiful people advice on how to deal with situations that no one should encounter.  The best I can do is try to remain positive, and encourage smiles across the faces of people who have done the same for me.

6. Plunging –  I have been coveting Hunter boots for too long.  Of course, they are great for a typical fall that lasts months.  Florida hasn’t seen one of those in awhile, but I am justifying this purchase by using these bad boys to plunge into puddles during our daily Summer afternoon rainstorms.   I love how Rachel of Pink Peonies styles hers – lots of inspiration for any color boot to fill the days while I’m eagerly awaiting the first day I can wear mine!

Happy Weekend!


Weekend Wishlist: Think Pink



This weekend’s wishlist is a bit different.  I wanted to bring attention to brands that are supporting Breast Cancer Awareness or Breast Cancer Research in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  While I have not been personally touched by breast cancer, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed in their lifetime.  The only item on my weekend wishlist this week is that you consider purchasing some of these fabulous products in support of Breast Cancer Awareness.

one. Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie Survivor Lip Gloss

two.  Loft Scoop Neck Tee

three.  Marc Jacobs Baker Bracelet Watch

four.  Lilli and Tori (Bourbon and Boweties featured)

five.  Ulta Donate with a Kiss

six.  Dillard’s  (Lily Pulitzer featured)

seven.  Avon Breast Cancer Aviator Sunglasses

eight.  Columbia Women’s Tested Tough In Pink Softshell II

nine.  Olay Regenerist Night Cream  (This product is also part of my Basic Bedside Beauty Routine. Works like a charm!)



Work It in Blush, Gold, and Aqua




If you have ever had to bring work home with you (or you always work from home), you know how important having a “happy place” is.  As I write this from my dining table, I image myself in the perfect home office that is bright, functional, and inspirational.  I’ve combined my office essentials to create the ideal blush, gold, and aqua home office.

one  |  two  | three  | four  |  five  |  six  |  seven  |  eight  |  nine   | ten



Weekend Wishlist 9.27 – 9.28



1.  Old Fashioned –  I have been inspired to bake some cookies for one of beautiful friend’s birthdays.  While searching for a recipe, I came across these Old Fashioned Iced Oatmeal Cookies from Saving Room for Dessert.  I remember eating these as a youngin’, and I can’t wait to see if these are like the ones I remember.

2.  Mother + Daughter –  October is a busy month for me!  Later on this month, my mom and I will be hightailing it to Atlanta for a calligraphy class hosted by Laura Hooper at the Ellis Hotel.  We realized that we have never been on a road trip with just the two of us, so we are excited for a girls’ weekend!  Stay tuned for a Road Trip Essentials post.

3.  Father + Daughter – On the other hand, my dad and I have done lots of road trips together.  Also this October, we will be heading up to DC.  Fall in DC was definitely one of my favorite things about living there, so I can’t wait to be able to actually justify wearing boots and seeing the leaves change again.

4.  Mantels with Meaning – Last year, I DIYed a fall wreath for our front door.  Outside of that, we don’t have a lot of fall decor that is versatile.  Creations by Kara showcases 30+ Fall Mantels.  I smell a trip to Home Goods in my future!

5.  Hello, Dolly! –  I absolutely love Dolly Parton.  She’s sassy, honest, and surprisingly deep.  This quote is completely appropriate for this point in my life.  I realized a few months ago that the direction I was going was not making me happy on a daily basis.  I have since made some big changes professionally and personally to align myself better with who I am and who I want to become.  It was risky, but I am so happy to have taken that jump.

6.  Chic Sweatpants? –  This week, Fashionably Lo collaborated with Old Navy and The Everygirl to showcase how to dress up sweatpants.  No, not the baggy sweatpants you wear for yard work, but equally comfortable Tuxedo Striped Joggers.   Lauren said it best, ” Confidence is always the best accessory.”CheersSunshine

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting


I’m not one of those people who are obnoxiously excited about the influx of pumpkin flavor in late September.  But I must say that baking with pumpkin is my favorite!  It has the same moistness as banana without the browning after a few days.  To welcome fall this year, I worked up a batch of pumpkin cupcakes with spiced cream cheese frosting.  I was inspired by a variety of recipes I’ve found.  The pumpkin cupcakes are from Savor Home, and the frosting I made up on my own.  Check out these easy recipes and my special baking assistant below.

Pumpkin Cupcakes: 
 1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup pumpkin puree (about 3/4 of a can)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
Yields: 12 cupcakes


1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cupcake pan with liners.

2. In one bowl, whisk the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

3.  In another deeper bowl, whisk the pumpkin puree, packed brown sugar, granulated sugar, vegetable oil, and 2 large eggs.

4.  Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until just combined.

5.  Fill your cupcake liners about 3/4 of the way using an ice cream scoop.

6.  Bake for 15-18 minutes.  I always start checking mine early, and 18 minutes was perfect for me.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.  Let them cool completely on a wire rack.


Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 oz cream cheese, softened

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice


1.  In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, fluff the softened butter.

2.  Add cubes of softened cream cheese to the butter.  Mix on high until smooth.

3.  While the mixer is on low,  slowly add the powdered sugar.  Mix on high until smooth.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl to incorporate fully.

4.  Add the vanilla extract and mix on low.

5.  Add all your spices and mix until combined.

After all this mixing, I had piqued the interest of a new baking assistant, my goldendoodle named Wrigley.  The little guy used to be terrified of the mixer, but now he knows that if he sits patiently something will unintentionally hit the floor, and he’s called dibs!


I added a little pecan on top to make the cupcakes look a bit more festive.  I love that you can see all the spices in the frosting.  I found that they taste the best when they have sat overnight in the refrigerator.  The cream cheese frosting sets beautifully, and the coolness makes me forget that it is 90 degrees outside.

Happy Fall, yall!



Cheers + Sunshine, 


Fall Favorites 2014


In most parts of the country, Fall is already in full swing!  Seeing the Today show crew out on the plaza with light jackets amazes me when I can open the door and go outside in a bathing suit every single day.  But, I’m not complaining!  To me, this just means I get some extra time to plan my fall style essentials.

I would call my style a hybrid of classic and preppy with a smidge of edginess here and there.  This year, I am foreseeing texture, sparkle, and exciting pops of patterns!

1.  Puffer Vests –  I have envied every girl wearing a puffer vest for too long.  This year, I take the plunge!  For a Tampa Fall (read: 1-2 days), they are perfect to style with a great long sleeve tee.  I’m thinking stripes + glitter to keep a look that can quickly turn hunter-esque a bit more feminine.  Source:  JCrew Factory 

2. Luxury Sweaters – Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it?  But this season is all about sweaters that go the extra mile.  Whether that is leather elbow patches or bedazzled collars, these sweaters are far from typical.  The best part?  They are still so comfortable!  Source: JCrew Factory

3. Oversized + Sexy – This is similar to luxury sweaters in that it sounds like an oxymoron but is actually a comfortable option.  And it is flattering on a body that maybe skipped a view gym trips in favor of a Pumpkin Spice Latte.  This trend matches perfectly with #6 to sex it up and #7 for a day-time look.  Source: Unknown

4. Stacked –  I know this is an older trend, but I love packing on the rings in the fall.  There is something about long sleeves bringing attention down to the hands that makes me give a little extra attention to them in the cooler months.  This featured option is a quality choice, but more affordable ones can be found at Kohl’s. Just make sure that you take them off when washing your hands, as the color can fade easily.   Source: Stella and Dot

5. Go Bold –  I love layering a bold statement necklace with a sweater over a collared shirt in the fall.  It is so easy to get lost in what I call the “Fall Frump”, meaning that anything that covers you completely is acceptable as an outfit.  Adding a little sparkle is an easy remedy to this epidemic.  Source: Stella and Dot

6. Faux Leather –  So was your first thought of Ross from Friends stuck in his leather pants?  If not, here is the link.  Cracked me up.  I think Lauren Conrad thought these through.  They add a little sheen and interest to an ensemble, and they look really comfortable.  Source: Kohl’s  (currently on sale for $21)

7. Skinny Minnie –  Is a skinny jean ever not in style?  I love to amp up my collection in the fall since I am fitting boots over them constantly.  I’ve tried jeggings and yoga pants (I’m sorry), but nothing compares to the perfect skinny jean.  When you find it, I won’t hold it against you if you buy about 15 pair.  Source: Old Navy

8. Bag Lady –  My name is Jessica, and I have a problem.  I have bags busting out of my closet all the time!  I cannot get enough of them.  This smaller style looks perfect for an afternoon in a pumpkin patch or a corn maze.  The black + brown go with any outfit ever.  Really.  Source: Shopbop

9. Plaid + Loafers –  I think this combo is the rare occurrence of two extremely old school things making one awesome modern look.  Don’t get me wrong, this can easily be a trend that looks like it comes from your great-grandfather’s wardrobe.  To avoid this, be sure to choose a more feminine shoe, and a plaid that is versatile.  Source: Shopbop

10. Plum Paws – Alright ladies, put the bright pinks and neons away for awhile in exchange for a beautiful plum.  A great combination of red + purple, OPI’s Anti-bleak adds a little edge to your look without being too out-of-the-box.  Source: OPI (try the nail studio tool to check the color on your skin tone)

11. Revealed –  The Coastal Scents Revealed 2 palette can easily transition from summer to fall.  Just work your way to the right side of the palette.  The plum undertones will complement your nails perfectly!  Source: Coastal Scents

12. Pucker Up! – Don’t forget that Fall is when your skin gets drier.  The avoid flaky lips, try Pixi’s Shea Lip Balm.  This is another find from Birchbox that I love.  I have Honey Nectar, and it really is a great nude and natural color.  It doesn’t leave your lips feeling like sand paper, and the colors fades consistently so you aren’t splotchy.  Function and beauty, people!  Source: Pixi by Petra

Cheers + Sunshine,