Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Ups and Downs of Life.

Wow. All I can say is wow when I think of this year. My life lately has been so crazy, it literally feels surreal. Let me just give you an update...

Two weeks ago my parents went out of town for my dads birthday. I was home alone for five days, and during that time Sean's dad was declining very, very quickly. We all knew it was getting towards the end. I was really scared and anxious to be staying by myself during such a stressful time. I worked a lot, and every second I had I spent at Sean's house. I didn't know when everything would end, but I knew that God's timing was going to be perfect. Tuesday night after a long day at work, I decided to finally watch The Fault In Our Stars (I'd been waiting for weeks, knowing what it was about) with a glass of wine and some pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and have a good cry. I didn't know how ironic that moment would feel the next day! I know it sounds stupid and cheesy, but that night I just sat by myself watching this movie, thinking about Sean and his family and their time together. I didn't want to go to sleep, as if I was subconsciously aware of what was going on. I stayed up until 2 am watching TV, wide awake, and when Sean got home from work in the middle of the night he said his dad's breathing was heavy and slow. His dad wasn't responding and seemed to be in a deep sleep. We all mentally prepared ourselves. Wednesday, October 8th, my parents were flying home and my twin sister was flying to Charlotte to visit NC for the weekend. I was going to have the comfort of friends and family around me when I needed them the most. That day, at 1:30 in the afternoon, Sean's dad passed away. He was surrounded by family and prayer, and went peacefully. I'll never forget watching Sean say goodbye, I think my heart literally broke into a million pieces. God's timing is hard, but always greater than what we could pick for ourselves. Day by day we are given more joy and more peace to help us cope with the grief that we all feel. Nothing is worse than losing a loved one, but knowing Sean's dad is no longer in pain and that we'll see him again one day is so comforting! Great is God's faithfulness - His mercies are new every morning! (Lamentations 3:23)

Sean has been so strong. It's insane how much we've gone through together. I feel like we are closer and more in love than some married couples. We are strong! We can face anything! I love him more than I ever thought possible. I truly admire his ability to face challenges with a positive attitude, patience and resilience. This guy is a stud, my best friend, and the love of my life! We're ready for a challenging yet exciting year full of fun and new beginnings.
Top, Urban Outfitters. Scarf, N/A. Sweater, Fab'rik. Bag, Kate Spade. Denim, Urban Outfitters. Sunglasses, Versona. Boots, Forever 21.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Paleo Spinch Dip & A Thrifted Sweater Dress.

With the weather getting cooler there are two things that you definitely must add back into your life and fall routine... game day food and a signature sweater.

This sweater dress, which I found at Goodwill last fall, will forever be one of my favorite finds. It's so cozy and comfy, and looks perfect with a cute heeled bootie. I'm a little obsessed with it. Here's how I styled it last year...
And here's how I styled it this morning before work! Similar, but some electric blue eye makeup instead of the color block with a scarf, and a little pattern with some striped socks. So cozy! (via instagram) ...
Socks, Target. Boots, Forever 21.

Isn't that just so stylish yet sleepy? I love a lazy day outfit. Oh and speaking of lazy days... the other day, as I was laying on the couch watching the Panthers game, I started craving some game day food. I knew I wanted something hot and preferably some type of dip (my favorite), but I wanted it to be healthy, so I whipped up my own version of paleo hot spinach dip. So delicious! Here's the recipe...
Spicy Spinach & Caramelized Onion Dip

-1 bag of spinach
-1 tablespoon EVOO
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-salt and pepper

-1 yellow onion
-2 teaspoons olive oil

-1 avocado
-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
-1 teaspoon hot sauce
-1 tablespoon spicy mustard
-1/3 cup coconut milk
-1 tablespoon creamy tahini dressing
-1 teaspoon pepper
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon lemon juice

What To Do
In a large skillet, saute a large chopped yellow onion with 2 teaspoons of olive oil until caramelized and golden. Dump into a food processor. Add 1 chopped avocado, red pepper flakes, hot sauce, spicy mustard, coconut milk, tahini, pepper, salt, and lemon juice. Pulse and blend until slightly smooth.

In the same skillet, saute 1 bag of spinach with 1 tablespoon of EVOO, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder and desired salt and pepper until completely cooked and wilted. Add spinach to the food processor and blend with other ingredients. Add salt and pepper to the completed dip, to taste.

Pour dip into an oven safe bowl, and sprinkle the top with smoked paprika. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes at 375.

Eat with homemade sweet potato chips, sliced bell peppers or corn chips! Enjoy!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Do you know the muffin man?

Lately I've started going to an Egroup every Wednesday night with one of my college friends. It has been so much fun and I love getting to know girls that are in the same phase of life, and focused on following God's plan. This week I decided to bring a sweet treat to my bible study, since it was my first day after completing Whole 30. Woohoo! I needed the perfect dessert that was gluten free and dairy free, and festive for fall. Here's my recipe for some amazing autumnal muffins, healthy yet decadent!

Double Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

-3/4 cup Pumpkin Puree
-1 cup Justin's Maple Almond Butter
-1/3 cup Agave or Honey
-1 large egg
-1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
-1 teaspoon Cinnamon
-1 teaspoon Baking Soda
-1/2 cup of dairy free, vegan mini chocolate chips (and extra for the top)

Mix all ingredients, excluding chocolate chips, until smooth. Fold in mini chocolate chips. Pour heaping spoonfuls of batter into greased (with coconut spray) muffin cups. Top with extra chocolate chips.

Bake at 325 for 25 minutes, cover with aluminum foil, then bake for 5 more minutes.

Let cool, and enjoy as breakfast, dessert or a chocolaty snack!
Happy October, everyone!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Summer meets Fall.

One of the things I love to do as the weather gets cooler is transition my wardrobe from summer to fall. I like to mix bright, vibrant colors with deep fall tones. Little by little, you move all the autumnal, warm colors into your drawers and racks and before you know it you're geared up fall! It's simple and easy. Boots with shorts and dresses, hats with summery tops and layers, mix it however you may!

Here's one of my first summer to fall looks...

Dress, Forever 21. Kimono, Vestqiue. Hat, No Rest For Bridget. Boots, Forever 21. Bag, Kate Spade.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Can You Believe It?

Another casual, coffee- date outfit post... can you believe it?? I also wanted an excuse to wear the new Nike sneaks that I got for my birthday! Ha.

Obviously you have all noticed these types of looks are my favorite! The other day I asked my twin sister, "What can I wear on my blog to make my outfits more popular and more similar to other well known blogs?" and one thing I realized was that my ensembles aren't super girly! Most popular bloggers are decked out in monograms, bell skirts and frilly detailing. I love those looks, and I do get dressed up in skirts and dresses from time to time, but on an everyday basis I lean towards casual looks! In the future I'm going to try and dress up my ensembles a little more! What do ya'll think I should add to my wardrobe routine? I'd love to hear your suggestions!

Side note: New Charlotte local coffee obsession.  FABO Coffee & Art Bar off of Park Road. Delicious, affordable & a great atmosphere! I'd definitely recommend it!
Top, Urban Outfitters. Shorts, Vestique. Bag, Kate Spade. Glasses, Urban Outfitters. Watch, N/A. Shoes, Nike. White Ring, Hand Picked.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Basics & Brown Sugar.

Since I know I'm going to be in Charlotte longer than I ever planned... I've decided to try and "explore" the city that I've lived in for over 20 years of my life! I'm all about some local flavor, especially compared to cities like Boston and New York, and although Charlotte isn't quite known for it's local flare, I like to hunt it down until I find my favorite spots that are unique to the Queen City. Since I'm a hard-core coffee connoisseur, my go-to adventure is seeking out local coffee shops. Rush Espresso is my new favorite, located in Ballantyne Village, but I also found a little place called Mugs that I tried out with Sean.

One of my favorite things to do is to get up and get a jump start on the day by going out for coffee or breakfast. Throw on some basics, sneakers and your boyfriends tee if you want some extra comfort, forget that messy bed-head, and drive to your ideal spot. Mugs was so much fun to try out! Any quality time I spend with my love is perfect to me. The atmosphere wasn't my favorite, but I got an absolutely delicious almond milk brown sugar latte. It was the perfect ratio of sweetness to espresso. I would definitely go back to get a latte to-go! Yum.

Here are my pictures from that morning...
Tee, Sean's undershirt. Shorts, American Eagle. Sunglasses, Lou Lou's. Sneakers, Converse. Watch, N/A. Bracelet, Fiore Boutique. Ring, Pandora.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

(Past) Boston: Style Files.

This Thursday I'm leaving for Boston to visit my twin sister! If you don't remember from earlier this year, I had a trip planned a couple months ago to visit Laura, and the week that I was supposed to leave I was struck down with a killer kidney stone. So now, finally, I am going on the trip I've been looking forward to all year! 

Boston holds a special place in my heart. Not just because my sister lives there, but because I lived there for 3 months. The history, the architecture, the food, the shopping... it's a magical place. I love how you can wake up in Boston and step outside your door to find the city awake and alive. It's almost electric! It has a cozy, homey, cultural feeling, while still filling you with the excitement and thrill that a big city always does! The atmosphere sends a current through you, feeling even more realistic with the hum of the T under your feet, sending you into coffee shops, bookstores, and breakfast spots galore. You can hunker down in the public library with your novel of choice, or go out for an authentic Italian feast with close friends. 

I'm so, so excited to be back in Beantown! Hugging my twin, and exploring new spots that she's come to call her own over the last year. Cheers to Boston! 

Here's a look back at a few Boston style files...