Merry Christmas 2013


I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  Ours was laid back and perfect.  We are truly blessed.  I spent some time baking and cooking with my little lady.. she loves to help me in the kitchen.  We enjoyed unwrapping our gifts in the morning, ate lots of food, and napped!  It was just the three of us on Christmas Day, so we snacked on some appetizers.. and for our meal we had ribs, baked potatoes, glazed carrots, and garlic bread.  It was pretty delicious.  I'll be back after the New Year with some totally awesome (and some cliche) goals I have.

But for now, our Christmas in photos.

A Few of my Favorite Things with BRIKA {& giveaway}


I just discovered this really neat website called BRIKA.  It features the work of a ton of artisans and designers... and has so many gorgeous hand-crafted items.  They have a great selection, so you can find something for all the special people in your life!

I've put together 3 different gift-guides.. all things that I'm loving from the website.. at different price points.  There's something to fit every budget!  I love buying from small businesses when I can!

How about that beautiful coral scarf?  I'm a scarf hoarder (nothing wrong with that, right?).. so I was just drooling over all the ones displayed on BRIKA!  And that one-of-a-kind gold and coral bowl.. perfect for dropping your keys in it, or little odds and ends.  I obviously also have a thing for coral.

There are some great gifts that you just can't find anywhere else.. you should really just go browse around!

You could win yourself a $25 gift card to BRIKA!   How awesome is that?!  Use it for some last minute Christmas gifts, or just a gift for yourself (you deserve it!).  To enter this giveaway, just visit BRIKA.. sign up.. it's easy-peasy, promise!  And then leave a comment and tell me what you would put your gift card towards (and a link to the item!) if you won!  Open to U.S. and Canadians 18+.  Winner will be chosen from the comments.  Ends 12/22/13 11:59pm.

Congrats to the winner; BPSCHILT
 Thanks to BRIKA for sponsoring this post.. love them!

Hot Cocoa For One {recipe}


So we've been trapped at home since Thursday night because of a super awesome ice storm.  We've been able to venture to WalMart and all that, but I haven't dared brave the highways... Arkansas drivers in winter weather = scary.  Unfortunately they're not equipped to deal with these situations like they are where I'm from.  If they only had salt trucks...

Doesn't look too bad through the windows.. but all the pretty white stuff, which I wish was snow so we could go out and play.. is just ice.  So we've taken advantage of our long weekend.. doing crafts, baking, and watching Christmas shows... and catching up on getting this house clean!  I've done a lot of sitting on the couch, fire place on, and admiring our Christmas tree with a big mug of hot chocolate.  I've got a nice little recipe, for just one mug of chocolate... easy-peasy..

I know a lot of people love marshmallows in their hot chocolate... and don't get wrong, I like them too... but I honestly much prefer some whipped topping.......... lots and lots of whipped topping.. why not indulge a little, right?  Why make instant when this stuff is just as easy, but 100x better?

Hershey's Hot Cocoa for One
recipe from Hershey's
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons cocoa
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
  • dash salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
 Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in a large mug.  Heat milk in microwave 2-3 minutes, or until hot.  Gradually add milk to cocoa mixture in mug, stirring until well blended.  Stir in vanilla.  Top with marshmallows or whipped topping.  Drink immediately.

Beauty Must-Haves for the Holidays


1.  Hello breath spray; all natural oral care.. to keep that breath fresh!
2.  Yes to Cucumbers daily calming moisturizer; keeps my face from getting dried and irritated in the cold winter months.
3.  theBalm Nude'Tude eyeshadow palette; my all-time favorite palette.. go natural or go smokey.
4.  EOS lip balm; to keep my lips moisturized.
5.  Revlon Just Bitten Kissable balm stain; I love the colors sweetheart and & honey (pictured).
6.  Essie's Bahama Mama; the perfect deep berry color perfect for winter (and holidays).
7.  Vera Wang's Princess perfume; because you have to smell good too.  ;)

These are just some of my most favorite products, that I've been using a lot lately.  I was given the opportunity to try out Hello Breath Spray, and I gotta say, it's now a must-have in my purse.  I love how compact it is, and I think the sleek design is very appealing.  It comes in 4 different 'flavors'... supermint breath spray, grapefruit mint breathspray, mojito mint, and sweet cinnamint.  This breath spray leaves you good to go... the perfect dose of freshness while you're out and about this holiday season.  No alcohol, no ouch, and no worries.  You can find this little cuties at places like Target, CVS, and Walgreens.

What are your beauty must-haves this holiday season?  Comment below, I'd love to hear from you!
And while you're at it, why not enter my giveaway?  Hello has been very generous, and they are giving one of my readers 2 products of their choice!  U.S. residents, 18 and older please. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is sponsored by Hello, but my love for their breath sprays is all my own!



As I said in my previous post, we were blessed to be able to travel to Illinois and spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my family.  It has been a year since we were last up to visit.. since I've seen my niece, nephew, brother, and my sister-in-law... much too long.  It was so nice to just relax, eat delicious food, and visit...

I loved seeing my husband and my daddy in the kitchen together.  I'm definitely thankful for the two main men in my life.  They were makin' sure the bird was perfect... and it was... very tasty.

And my precious niece and nephew, they've grown entirely too much since I've seen them last.  But it was so fun to see Clara play with her cousins, now that she's at that fun age. 

And of course all the delicious food.. we had all of our "traditional" dishes there.. turkey, homemade cranberry relish, rolls, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, scalloped corn, green bean casserole, and my mama's homemade stuffing.  Ending it all with chocolate pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and chocolate cheesecake!

We ended our get-together with a pretty sweet game of Apple to Apples (if you have never played, you need to).  How did everyone else spend their Thanksgiving?  What kind of food is most loved at your family get togethers?

Back to the Grind


Being a part of a military family.. and the fact that my husband and I are from two different states.. I have had the pleasure to call many places home.  Wherever my little family lands, we are home.. but I will always be able to call Arkansas (my husbands home state), and Illinois (my home state) home.  This year we were able to spend a little over a week in Illinois visiting my family for Thanksgiving.  We had a wonderful visit... Clara is so attached to her Nana and Papa that it breaks my heart when we have to say 'see ya later'.  We're definitely thankful for Skype!  I hope you all had a safe an enjoyable holiday.  As I type this, we're on our road trip back home... Hopefully I can get a few photos up soon to recap our visit.

Tomorrow it's back to the grind!  5am is going to come early after this 12 hour car ride.

Things I'm Loving Lately {November}


I thought it would be fun to do a monthly post about things I'm loving lately... hence the title.  ;)  So here it is.. the first "edition"... maybe you'll find something that you'll end up loving too!

This sweet little circle necklace by Erin McDermott.  It's simple and classy.. and I'm a fan of gold jewelry.  I love most of her jewelry line.

 I pretty much love the whole line of Yes To products.  Their shower gels and body washes are fabulous.  I just got the travel sizes of the body washes because we'll be on the go for Thanksgiving - and bonus - they can also be used as a bubble bath.  I love the way they make my skin feel after a shower.

 The Yes To cucumber facial towelette and moisturizer are amazing (and they smell great too!)  I have the towelettes in the mini size so I can use them on the go.. and they're perfect.  They take off all my makeup, they don't leave any residue, and they make my skin feel super soft.  I use the moisturizer every morning and night and it keeps my skin from getting too dry. 

And my last two favorite things.. the Yes To facial cleanser and the spot stick.  This is my go-to face wash for morning and night.. it doesn't dry out my skin, and it removes all of my makeup and residue.  The spot stick is great for when I see a little break out coming on.. it just zaps it away!  ;)

Gnarly Whale Beach Waves spray.  I love this stuff.  It adds volume and waves to my hair... and it's super easy to use, especially in a pinch when you don't have time to do anything else with your hair. 

Mason Jars.  I use mason jars for everything.. including drinking glasses.  We always have a huge stash of them!

What are some of your favorite things this month?

Clara's VeggieTale Obsession {and a giveaway}


My child has a thing for VeggieTales.  For a while she had a thing for Minnie Mouse.. Elmo.. Dora.. but she's always had a thing for VeggieTales.  She's particularly fond of Sweetpea Beauty, though she loves them all.  My husband and I love these movies also.  We love them because each movie has a good, specific message.  For example, Sweetpea Beauty teaches a lesson about true beauty.  And now that Christmas is upon us (is it seriously almost December?), I think it's so important not to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and forget about the 'true light of Christmas'.

VeggieTales has a brand new movie out called Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas.  There's lots for your kiddos to laugh about and learn about in this movie.  It's a great reminder that giving is better than receiving and that it's more than just presents and decor.  Christmas shines most bright and true when you give the love God gave to you!  

Clara takes her Sweetpea Beauty doll with her everywhere.  She sleeps with it, takes it to school... e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e... and it's a nightmare if we forget her.  And she asks all the time to watch VeggieTales.. I love that she loves it.  And I love that she's learning about God while watching them.

There's a new Veggie character in Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas... Silas the Okra.. who is played by Si Robertson of Duck Commander (which I'm sure 99.9999% know who that is).  And I have some very exciting news.... VeggieTales is giving away one copy of Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas signed by Si Robertson himself... to one of my lucky readers!  ;)  You can enter using the rafflecopter form below.. U.S. residents only, please.

OR if you want to grab up the DVD now (or any other VeggieTales DVD), they are having a 40% store wide Christmas sale going on right now... which means you could snag the DVD for only $8.99 plus shipping.  :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
VeggieTales gifted me with this DVD for a review, all opinions are my own.

Chicken & Dumplings {recipe} and Kleenex for Sniffles


This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Kleenex but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #KleenexTarget

It's 'that time of the year"... you all know what I'm talking about.  Sniffles, runny noses, sore throats, and sickness galore.  And it feels like  Ever.  It's one thing after another around here, anyway.. probably doesn't help that I work with kids though, ha ha!

This weekend I've been recovering from a stomach virus, and well, we're all recovering from sniffles.  Arkansas has some insane weather changes... It was 50 degrees the other day and 80 degrees today.  Please tell me how that makes any sense.  This state's weather might be the death of me.  My poor child has had a constant case of the sniffles/runny nose for the past few weeks...

 There are a few ways we try to fight off the icky-ness around here.  The obvious one is lounge around and watch movies.. Clara has that mastered obviously.  When we're sick, we just don't want to do anything.. your body needs it's rest, and I'm a-ok with giving into that.  We always have a big supply of Kleenex in our house.. gotta have some for those pesky sniffles, ya know.  And I love Kleenex because they don't irritate Clara's nose (or mine!) when you're constantly have to wipe them clean.  They also have some fun Christmas prints out now.. because can you really ever have too much Christmas in your house?  I can't.  Stop by Target (use the $1 off coupon from here too!!) and grab you some.. you'll probably need them soon, if you don't already.

And lastly.. my wonderful Chicken & Dumplings.  Nothing warms you up and makes you feel good like a big bowl of comfort food.  The best thing about this?  It's EASY.  Too sick to cook?  Just throw it in the crock pot, it will cook itself.  The leftovers are great, too!

Crock Pot Chicken & Dumplings
  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I usually use about 3 good sized ones, about 1.5 lbs)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can chicken broth (plus more as needed)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • pepper, to taste
  • 4-6 carrots, diced
  • 3/4 cup celery, diced (optional)
  • Grands Flaky Biscuits

Place chicken in crock pot.  Add butter, cream of chicken, and chicken broth.  Add onions, bay leaves, garlic powder, pepper, carrots, and celery.  Cook on high 4-6 hours.

After cooking time has elapsed, shred the chicken with 2 forks.  Then, cut up 4 Grands Flaky Biscuits into 9 pieces each (feel free to add more biscuits if this isn't enough for your liking).  Stir into hot chicken mixture and cook for 30 more minutes on high.  Add more broth as necessary.  Enjoy!!  :) 

Stitch Fix #1


So I got my first Stitch Fix box last week!  I was so super excited to get it.  It's been a while since I've been shopping for myself.. with work, kid, and husband.. it's kind of tough to get out for myself now.  But this made it easy, and it came right to my doorstep.. really can't get much better.

When you sign up for Stitch Fix, they will have you fill out a style profile... a detailed survey asking you questions about your personal style and about what you like and don't like in your wardrobe.  You can even send your stylist a link to your "style" pinterest board so they can get a little better idea of what you want to see in your fix.  Then they'll put together 5 items for you, and send it off!  Sometimes they'll include something that's a little "out there" for you.  But that's the fun part - because you might just like it!

So here's what I got in my very first fix...

1 :: Jasmen Striped & Layered Hi-Lo Shirt by Ellison

It was comfortable, but I'm not a fan of hi-lo things... shirts or skirts.  I know I didn't get a shot from the side, but to me they just look funny.  Not my style - I will be making a note in my next fix for no hi-lo items.  I returned this item.

2 & 3 :: Johnny Skinny Jeans by Kensie Jeans and the Darby Printed Short Sleeve Henley Blouse by Fun2Fun

The jeans were really cute and comfy, however, they were a little pricey for me... there's one particular place I get all my jeans from.  So I didn't really need them.  I returned the jeans, and will make a note for no more jeans in my fixes.

I absolutely adored the blouse.  I love, love, loved it.  It's fun, it's different.. I liked the print.  It's a looser cute shirt, so I think I could have used a smaller size.  I will have to change my sizes in my style profile for my next fix.  I was sad that I ended up returning this item!!

4 :: Kirsten Printed Stud Detailed Blouse by Caramela

I feel that this blouse was a little bit edgy and out of my "norm".. however, I loved it!  But again, the same problem as with the previous blouse.. I would have been more comfortable in a smaller size.  So I had to return it.

5 :: Cavalry Open Lapel Sweater Tunic by Miilla

I fell in love with this tunic!  First, I love tunics.  This one was so soft and the color was a deep purple that I loved.  The open lapel was a fun detail.  And yes, I ended up keeping this one!  I wore this just the other day actually.. I was so excited to put it on.  :)

All in all, I had a really good first experience with Stitch Fix!  I will definitely be ordering another box.  I feel like after ordering my first one, I now know what to put in my notes for the future... like a smaller size, no jeans (I also requested no jewelery or accessories), and no hi-lo's.  It's so much fun to open the box and see what your stylist picked out for you.  They also send you style suggestion tags with each article of clothing, to help you style an outfit with the item!

Want to schedule a fix for yourself?  Click here!

Veteran's Day Weekend


First, happy Veteran's Day to my  Veteran.  My sweet, handsome husband.  For everything he does for our family and for our country.  This weekend we took a little trip to go visit my in-laws because my husband spoke at their church (the church he grew up in) for Veteran's Day.  It was a sweet little speech, that brought tears to my eyes.  In a part of it, he thanked all the men that played an important part in his life.. that helped shape him into who he is today.  Well, I also thank those men... for helping to shape the husband and father that I know today.  A wonderful one he is.

Other than that we did a little walking around in Memphis.. and a bit of relaxing.  And we also went out to eat at Huey's, a super delicious local burger joint.  Also a fun place because they let you blow your toothpicks into the ceiling with your drink straw.  If you're confused, just look at the photos below.. ;)

Not sure why, but it's just their "thing".  It's entertaining to say the least!  I hope everyone else enjoyed their weekend.. and happy Veteran's Day..... don't forget to thank a Vet.