4 Books I Read Last Month

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Over the last few years I've really wanted to make reading a bigger priority in my life. It started when we were living in North Carolina and all of a sudden my friends all loved reading for leisure. Growing up my parents never set rules for how long we had to read each day, or limits on screen time, so we basically did what we wanted with our spare time. I think in high school I only read a total of six books in three years.

Now that I'm older, and my job involves staring at a screen for large portions of the day, I find reading to be a great way to unwind and calm down at the end of a long day of parenting and blogging. A few years ago I wanted to read 50 books in one year and that never happened. But this year, I'm actually on track to make it happen. Here are four books I read last month. 

The Dorito Effect: I already wrote about how much I loved this book. If you're a foodie into a good food book, then this one is it. I loved reading about the agricultural revolution and how it's impacted the quality and taste of our food over the years.

When is a Planet Not a Planet: I saw this in my library last month and really did love it. I read it in one night and it talked about all the reasons why Pluto is not a planet. If you've been curious about it, you should pick up this quick read!

The Book Thief: Derek and I watched this movie a year or so ago when it came out and I knew then I wanted to read the book eventually. I really loved this story because it's the first one I ever read about what it was like to be a German during World War II. You usually here about the Jews, or other countries that were being oppressed at that time, but it was interesting to see how much of it was happening to the Germans as well.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: This book wasn't my favorite. I found myself reading it each night just to get through it. It's about a man who retires with his wife and gets a letter in the mail from an old female employee who is dying from cancer. He decides to leave his wife and walk 500 miles across the UK to see her before she dies. I kept thinking how if Derek ever did that to me I'd kill him.

What are you reading right now? My book list is getting longer by the minute and I love it.

The Leather Leggings

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

If you've been on the internet at all in the last 18 months, you know all the fashion blogging people have been all about leather leggings. At first they were a, "I would never wear that", kind of thing for me. Then I saw Janssen wearing them, and because I strive to be like her in more ways than one... I decided I needed a pair too. I held off on buying them for months and months because I could never any that were cheap enough. I know myself enough to know that there was a big chance I wasn't going to like them, and I wanted to only be out less than $20 on something I may only wear once.

When I was at Target looking for new tights for church a few weeks ago, I saw these leggings for $16.99 and I had to take them home with me. It was a done deal. I wore them for the first time the day I made this Valentine's Day pom-pom pillow and Derek told me, "those are not pants", which basically meant I didn't want to be seen in public in them at all after that. But then I got the guts to wear them to a party on Saturday night and they were well received. So now you know way more about me and my relationship with leather leggings than I'm sure you were ever intending to know.

Shirt: Forever 21
Jacket: old, Similar
Leather Leggings: Target
Shoes: Just Fab
Earrings: Madewell 


My Daily Skincare Routine

Monday, February 1, 2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias Inc, and it's advertiser. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #MyBioréFizz #CollectiveBias

Over the last year or so it has been a goal of mine to find a skincare routine that I really love, and to stick to it on a regular basis. Since we moved to Georgia, I found my skin is a lot more prone to clogged pores, and small breakouts, and it's something I've really been trying to combat over the last 10 months. 

When it comes to skincare, I'm really brand loyal. I only adventure into 2-3 brands because they're brands I tried in middle school, and have just been really loyal to them ever since. I was really excited about working with Bioré on this post because I love their Charcoal Pore Strips, and have been using them for ages, so I was really excited to give the Bioré Baking Soda Cleanser, and the Bioré Baking Soda Facial Scrub a try when I saw them at Walmart last week. When I was researching ways to clear my face up, I had actually read online that baking soda cleaners penetrate pores, so it was excited to give these products a try.

The first thing that I do when I'm getting ready for the day is wash my face. Everyone's skin gets oily, and absorbs bacteria when you sleep, so I like to start my day with a fresh face. I use the Bioré Baking Soda Cleanser first to get off the initial layer of grime that's on my face. 

After the first step I usually do one of two things. If my skin is looking great and clean, I'll just apply a simple anti-aging moisturizer and call it good, or I'll follow up with the Bioré Baking Soda Scrub.

I don't exfoliate my skin everyday, mainly because I don't want to dry it out. Nothing like a dry crusty face to age you 10 years in a matter of minutes. But on days when I need that extra cleaning (usually 1-2 times per week), I follow up with the Bioré Baking Soda Scrub. It's a powder formula that you pour into the palm of your hand, and then mix it with water to form the fizzy scrub. You then gently work it into your skin and rinse for healthy, clean, soft skin! It's been a favorite of mine for the last little while. 

Which skincare products have you been using lately? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below!


Quinoa Breakfast Bowls with Silk

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias Inc, and it's advertiser. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #SilkSipToSpoon #CollectiveBias

Over the weekend my sister-in-law called to see if we wanted to get in on a health challenge that she was extending to the entire family. We're usually not the kind of people to jump on board with these things, but when Derek said yes, I felt obligated like I had to get in on it too. The challenge is like most others that you hear of, eat five servings of fruits and veggies, drink enough water, exercise 30 minutes, be in bed before 11, and eat no sugar. The only thing that makes this one different then all the others that I've entertained the idea of over the last four years is that this one last for eight weeks. This basically means I'm going to give up at 4pm today on the first try, or I'm going to be dead by the end of it. I'll return and report with how I do. 

Since I know myself, I know if I don't get all my fruits and veggies in during the morning, it's basically not going to happen at all. Breakfast bowls are really big and popular right now, and so I decided to try my hand at this quinoa breakfast bowl. It's super easy to make, you just boil quinoa and Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk together for 15 minutes on the stove until the quinoa has absorbed all the Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk, and then you stir in some brown sugar or honey, some cinnamon, and then top it with your favorite toppings. My favorite things to top my bowl off with are Silk Dairy Free Yogurt (found at Walmart), berries, bananas, and almonds. But the best thing is that you can top it off with whatever you like to make it completely your own! 

I love eating this for breakfast because quinoa is a grain that is packed with protein to help keep you full, and so is the Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt. It has 6 grams of protein per serving to help keep you full, and then the fiber and nutrients from the fresh fruits will keep you satified all the way until lunch time. I also love that Silk Almond Milk is a delicious non-dairy, gluten free, lactose free, non-GMO milk, with 50% more calcium than dairy milk, and absolutely no cholesterol and no saturated fat. 

2 cups Silk Almond milk
1 cup quinoa
3 tbsp honey or brown sugar, if desired
1/4 tsp cinnamon
dried fruit, nuts, bananas, berries, for topping

Mix together the quinoa and milk together and then bring to a boil on the stove. Reduce the heat and simmer while covered for 15 minutes. Once all the almond milk has been absorbed, fluff it with a fork and then add cinnamon and top as desired. 

What have you been eating for breakfast lately? Are Silk products part of your morning routine?

Super Bowl Party Inspiration + Free Printables

Monday, January 25, 2016

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias and it's advertiser. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #SweetenTheSpread #CollectiveBias

Every year in high school I always went to my best friend's house to watch the Super Bowl. He was really into parties, and cooking, and so his parents typically left him in charge of making everything look great and appetizing for the evening. Now that I have my own family, and live a solid 16 hours from home, it's my turn to make the Super Bowl a fun and exciting event for my own family. 

As I've mentioned in posts before, if there is one kind of creative activity that really thrills me, it's decorating for parties and making tablescapes. I had so much fun planning this party out, scouring the internet for the best game day printables (linked to at the bottom of the post), and then heading to Target to pick up everything I needed to make it happen.

I was telling Derek that my favorite thing about this party setup was that it was all really simple. For the main food I just bought the fixings to make easy sandwiches, and then had root beer for the drink. There were cookies and chocolate covered pretzels for the dessert, and some Skittles and Starbursts for little goodie bags. This party was so easy, literally anyone could do it. 

I saw this cute idea on pinterest to adhere white duck tape on mason jars in the shape of football laces, and then fill them with a dark soda to make them look like footballs, and I just think they look so cute. Whoever came up with that idea is a pure genius. I then bought the cute straws in the party section at Target, and found the printables for the straws here. These glasses are a permanent staple for any football party from here on out,

For the sandwiches I just bought some turkey, ham, and cheese, and some lettuce and tomatoes, and arranged them on this platter I had in my house. I bought the small bowls for the condiments in the kitchen section at Target, and picked the rolls up while I was there too. I liked this idea because it meant everyone could make exactly what they wanted, and there was minimal effort on my end. 

I really loved all the cute printables that I was able to find for this party. I had this big chalkboard tackle backdrop made at an office supply store nearby and ordered one of the engineer size prints, and I love how it turned out. Since I was already there, I had them print all the other printables for me there too, and I was amazed at how much better the quality was then what I could have done with my own printer. Totally worth it. 

Since M&Ms, Skittles, and Starburst are official sponsors for Super Bowl 50, it was obvious that I had to represent some of my favorite candy in this spread. I made these Oatmeal M&M cookies and they're seriously amazing (recipe below)! I then went ahead and packaged some Skittles and Starburst into snack size baggies and stapled these fun Time Out Treats printables onto them and love how they turned out! To finish off the treats I made some chocolate covered pretzels and added some white sprinkles to give them that football vibe. 

Oatmeal M&M Cookies:
Recipe yields 28 cookies.
1/2 cup butter softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 2/3 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup M&Ms

Preheat oven to 325°

Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and the sugars. Then add the egg and the vanilla and mix together for two minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure everything is incorporated. Then add in the oats, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and mix until everything comes together. Fold in the M&Ms with a rubber spatula until everything is evenly distributed. 

Scoop and roll the dough into tablespoon size balls and then place them on your ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-11 minutes and then let cool on the baking sheet for two minutes before transferring to wax paper, or a cooling rack to finish cooling. 


How will you be Celebrating Super Bowl 50? Will you be incorporating some yummy Mars candy from Target? I know I will be!
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