Meal Plan Monday

Hi Friends!  Hope you had a wonderful weekend!  Ours was a mixed bag- we had a great Friday afternoon with friends at our local pumpkin patch, but then Saturday morning Brantley and I were both struggling with sore throats and allergies!  But we stayed inside most of the day and rested, and started feeling a little better yesterday.

Anyway, on this Meal Plan Monday, here’s what we are planning on eating this week:

Salad Tacos and Spicy Black Bean Soup

We had the Pioneer Woman’s Salad Tacos a few weeks ago, and I LOVED them!  I liked them even better than regular tacos (which is a lot).  It’s pretty simple, you just add a ton of lettuce into the taco shells, then you add the beef, tomatoes, and a simple salsa and sour cream sauce.  They’re simple, they’re light, and so, so good!!  WE have a bunch of leftover black beans that I need to use up, so I’m making Spicy Black Bean soup that I have made a few times that is also sooo good!


Gotta have a pizza night, you know. 🙂

Crack Chicken Tenders, Corn, and Broccoli

We have some frozen chicken fingers, so I am totally taking the shortcut route with this recipe, and am going to make this Crack Chicken!  I think the kids are going to love it with the sweet BBQ sauce and ranch dip.

Roasted Asparagus and Mushroom Carbonara with Salad

I love regular spaghetti carbonara, and this version with asparagus and mushrooms is just that much better!  Last time I made it, it ended up a little greasy, so I’m going to ease up on the olive oil this time and hope for the best.

Slow Cooker Banh Mi Rice Bowls

Y’all.  This is seriously one of my favorite recipes.  It is SO EASY (you throw a few things in a crockpot, cook it for 8 hours, cook rice, chop some veggies, and done), and the flavors are KILLER.  You can sub in white or brown rice, or quinoa, or maybe even noodles!  If you try anything from this meal plan this week- TRY THIS!!  A few friends of mine have tried it, and they have been converted.  It’s a delicious, easy, and healthy meal.  Seriously can’t wait for this dinner again!

So that’s the plan this week.  What are you eating for dinner?

This entry was posted in Eat.

Things I Love: Ponchos

I have been pinning lots of fall cold-weather outfits lately, for inspiration and ideas for when I am getting dressed each day.  I have noticed a pattern in my favorites though– I am really digging shawls and ponchos this year!  There are so many styles and shapes, and the textures, prints, and weaves of the different fabrics really end up transforming the look of your outfit.  Here’s a look at some of my favorite looks I have pinned:

Daily Chic

The Neotrad

Southern Curls and Pearls


Great ideas, right?  So I created my own little round-up of my favorite shawls and ponchos to recreate these beautiful looks this fall.


J Crew Shawl Cape

I love this cape for a monochromatic look with a gray swing top and skinny gray jeans.  Or, wouldn’t it be beautiful with a winter white sheath dress, if you needed a little something for a special event in the cold weather?!

Old Navy Plaid Shawl  

LOVE this for a casual look.  White t-shirt and jeans, or under a navy cowl neck sweater.

Gap + Pendleton Plaid Fringe Poncho 

This one is very similar to the J.Crew one above, and love it with all denim/chambray, or with a thick gray turtleneck sweater and jeans, or just to cozy up with over my jammies or loungewear in the evenings!


This one is so much like my inspiration above, but WHOA the price is great!


So, what do you think of ponchos and shawls this season?  Yay or nay?

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Month: My Miscarriage

It’s hard to imagine these days, with my hours filled with carpool lines, cheerleading uniforms, legos, the toothfairy, sight words, and bedtimes, that there was a time of great loss in my life.  It’s hard to imagine when I look in the eyes of my three healthy children, that there was a time when I wasn’t sure that I would become a mother at all.  In honor of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Month, I thought I would repost my own personal connection to this month, the story of my own miscarriage.  
It has been 8 years now, and though my heart has healed, and I am the very, very proud mom of Brantley, Grayson, and Bennett, I will never forget the baby we lost, and the way that the whole experience reshaped who I am as a human, as a woman, as a mom.  I have a gratitude for my children now that I don’t think I could have possibly understood without my miscarriage.  I have a powerful empathy for other women who go through the devastation of miscarriage that I don’t think can be understood otherwise.  I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, but my miscarriage ended up changing me, and I have grown into a stronger person and a better mother because of it.
So here is the original post that I wrote three years ago.  The words still sting and make me tear up, but sharing my story was and is very cathartic and curative.  Perhaps it will reach someone that needs to hear it.

This is painful for me to write. 
Just rereading that sentence back to myself makes my eyes well up.  My stomach is flipping.  As a defense mechanism, I believe, after I’ve gone through difficult or painful events and after the dust has settled and things get back to normal, I compartmentalize my pain, and I push the memories into a dark corner of my mind and my heart to be filed away.  And I try my damnedest to not go back and not to expose myself to the feelings.  Not to remember.  But, I have been inspired by a few friends to share my story.  A story that I have in common with so many, but (understandably) so few talk about. 
They probably have that same dark corner of their mind full of pain, disappointment, shame and devastation.  I understand.
But I want to share my story, because I want the quiet ones know that they are not alone.  There is nothing wrong with keeping that dark corner unoccupied.  The pain is real, it’s brutal, and it’s shitty.  No getting around it.  And now, more than five years later, it still stings.  It more than stings. 
 It aches. Always. 
One early evening in mid April of 2008, I fell asleep on the sofa as soon as I got home from work.  I don’t really ever take naps, so this was very out of the ordinary.  I knew I had not been diligent about taking my birth control, so I bought a pregnancy test.
It was positive.
Scott and I had not really talked extensively about when we wanted to have kids, and we were not “trying,” but we were thrilled.  We told everyone we knew.  We even got some gifts, and bought a few onesies and jammies for the baby.  We were so, so excited.
I had no idea how far along I was, so I made an appointment with my doctor, went in when I thought I was about 10 weeks along, and due to a last minute work meeting, Scott couldn’t make it.  I wasn’t concerned or upset, no big deal, I’d go by myself and call him immediately after.
I went back to have my ultrasound, laid down.  The tech put the monitor on my stomach.  “There’s your baby!”  she said.  I smiled and looked at my teeny tiny, peanut of a baby on the black and white screen. 
“And here’s where the heartbeat is supposed to be.”
Supposed to be.  As in, Where it should be, but it’s not.
More silence.
“Hold on, sweetie, I’m gonna go get the doctor.”
I began to cry. 
In the quiet solitude of that ultrasound room, I cried.  I knew what that meant.  I’d done enough googling and internet research to know what that meant.  I knew what the lack of pregnancy symptoms over the last 4 weeks meant.  There was no blood, no warning, no hint that something was wrong.  But I knew what a motionless baby, only measuring 7 weeks and 5 days when it was supposed to be 10 weeks meant. 
I knew what no heartbeat meant.
We had lost our baby.
The doctor came in, I cried harder.  She asked if someone could come pick me up, I said no, I was only a mile and a half from home.
 I remember nearly driving off the road because I was crying so hard.
Screaming.  Feeling like I was in a movie, or like this was all a dream.
But it was really happening.  To me.
I got home and called Scott.  I wailed into the phone, “I need you to come home.  You have to come home.”
“Why?  Are you okay?”
“I lost the baby.  I lost our baby.  We lost our baby.”
Scott came home and held me.  I called my mom and we cried.  I will never forget overhearing Scott call his mom.  We had to schedule a D&C, and Scott fought with the hospital scheduler for me to get in the next day. 
Our baby was gone.  We couldn’t handle actually seeing it happen, so we wanted the procedure done as soon as possible. 
I cried all night long.
The next morning we just waited around to go into the hospital.  I was trying my best to hold it together.  We got to the registration desk, they asked what we were there for.  I said, “A D&C.”  And started crying again.
My mom and dad came to the hospital.  My brother and his wife (girlfriend at the time, but now wife) were there.  My brother in law clasped my hand, looked me in the eye, and told me how sorry he was for us.  My sister in law, who was studying out of state at the time and was flying down that particular weekend for the wedding of one of her lifelong friends, changed her plans to come and be with us.  I will never, ever forget the amazing and unwavering support from my family, and each of them being there with us that day at the hospital.  Actually, it was my brother in law’s birthday. 
 May 9, 2008.
The procedure was completed, we went home, we rested, we got my meds, we chatted for a bit with family.  We hung out with my brother in law and sister in law that night.  We tried to get back to normal as fast as we could.  “We’ll just try again,” Scott said, eternally hopeful. 
I had wonderful friends and family stop by, bring flowers, send beautiful cards, bring delicious food, provide wonderful company.  I knew I was loved and cared about.
But our baby was gone.
I wondered why.  I wondered if God was punishing me for something.  I wondered what I had done wrong.  I wondered if something was wrong with me.  I thought to myself over and over,
What if I can’t have children. 
 The thought consumed me.
But we went on with our lives.  The lab results came back showing nothing remarkable, no genetic abnormalities, just a random miscarriage.  Just a statistic.  One of the 20% of pregnancies that end in miscarriage.  This pregnancy was the 1 in 5 that ends in miscarriage.  But I could not get past it.
My body failed me.  My body turned against me.  My plans worked against me. 
I was completely out of control. 
I walked through each day as though everything was okay, but I was empty inside.  I was terribly depressed, I was angry, I was unstable.  But I worked, I socialized, I lived as best I could.  But all I could think about was a baby.
We waited the three months that our doctor recommended before we started trying again.  The first month, I took a pregnancy test the day I should’ve started my period, which was a Friday.
It said “pregnant.”
I told Scott, and again, we were thrilled.  We told our parents, and we all rejoiced, but on Monday, I got my period.  Chemical pregnancy.  No baby.  We told our parents, and we were back to square one.  That period was nothing but failure rubbed in my face.  That period was just confirmation, that oh yeah, your body is supposed to be carrying a child, but, sorry, not this month. 
Another month of crying myself to sleep.  Another month of second guessing myself, my life, my faith, my everything.  Scott, trying to comfort me and reassure me, would tell me that “we’ll just keep trying, it hasn’t been that long.” 
“Easy for you to say,” I’d think.  You weren’t the mother.  You didn’t want a baby this bad. 
It wasn’t your body that the baby died inside of.
But that was all unfair.  He was hurting too.  I wasn’t mad at Scott.  I didn’t blame him. 
I blamed myself.
Again, we moved on.  We worked, each day, in and out.  We did what we were supposed to do to try and get pregnant again.  And I feared that every month would end in disappointment.
And then my period was supposed to come.
But didn’t.  
And didn’t.  And didn’t.  I was too afraid to take a pregnancy test.  I could take a blood test at the employee clinic at the hospital where I worked, so I did.  And I was terrified to call back for the results.
But I did.  And it was positive.  I tried to curb my enthusiasm when I saw Scott, when I got to the restaurant we met at for dinner, and we just hugged.  We told our parents and our siblings, but they all held their breath, not wanting to be hurt again.  Preparing themselves for our hurt again. 
But things were different this time. 
I was sick.  My sense of smell was heightened.  I was exhausted.  But when it came time to go to the doctor, I made sure Scott was coming with me.  And when the nurse called us back to the ultrasound room, I cried the whole way as we walked back.  I tried to take even breaths so I wouldn’t hyperventilate.  I didn’t know if I could hear the solemn words again.  I prayed as HARD as I could, and laid down on the table, holding Scott’s hand so tightly.
The tech put the monitor on my stomach, and we saw the baby.
And we saw the flicker.  We saw where the heartbeat was supposed to be. 
We saw the heartbeat.
We saw Brantley.  
I cried.  But cried such happy tears this time.
My pregnancy progressed, and I called the doctor regularly.  One time I thought I had for sure torn my placenta (indigestion), then the baby wasn’t moving enough and I was sure the cord was wrapped around her neck (she was resting), and I thought for sure I had shingles or impetigo or something (just a heat rash).
I didn’t take a full and complete breath until I held my first born.  On June 11, 2009, at 40 weeks and 3 days, I held my baby.
My Brantley girl.  
The baby that made me a mama.
And then I exhaled, so deeply.
Miscarriages are very common.  My doctor told me that if a woman gets pregnant enough times, she will (statistically) have a miscarriage.  But that does not make it any easier on the mama.  You have plans.  You have dreams and wishes and ideas for your family.  Losing our baby is the mot painful thing I have ever been through.  People try to comfort you by saying well-intentioned things like “God has a plan for you,” and “everything happens for a reason.”  But if you have ever had a miscarriage, you know never to tell another mother who has lost a child that “everything happens for a reason.”  Oh, so you mean that there’s a good reason behind the fact that my child has just died inside me??  Yeah, there is very little comfort in that.
 I tell this very private and painful story because there are so many women who struggle with miscarriage.  With infertility.  With loss.  With depression and pain.  What I want to tell them…
…what I want to tell YOU…
…is that you are not alone. 
It is okay to be really, really angry.
It’s okay to not understand and wish you could.
It’s okay to be angry with your husband because they can seemingly move on so easily, and you just can’t.
You are not alone.  I have felt your pain.
To be honest, I did not recover rom my miscarriage until I was pregnant with Brantley.  And then it was a whole other world of emotions to deal with.  And I have not yet gotten over it.  I don’t think I ever will be able to, completely.
What I will tell you, is that you will get through it, and you can come out on the other side a new and different person.  A better person.  From this experience, you will grow.  Soon after my miscarriage, a family friend of Scott’s told me that if I wanted to be a mother bad enough, that I would be.  It may not be in the way I had imagined, or in the time frame that I had planned, but I would be a mother.  That brought me great comfort, surprisingly.
What I didn’t know at the time, was when she told me that, I was actually already pregnant with Brantley. 
You will see the world differently.  You will see your family differently.  You will love differently. 
I will say, it may be easier for me to say this all of this now, as I reflect upon the three beautiful children that we have since been blessed with, but at the time of my miscarriage, I didn’t have any children yet.  I had no idea what my future held. 
But, I do know this.  God was with me the entire time. 
And He is WITH YOU.
If you can’t find comfort in that right now, I understand.
I was there.
But I hope that you will be able to find comfort. 
And I’ll pray for you and that you can exhale deeply too.

Meal Plan Monday

Hello Friends!  I hope you had a wonderful weekend!  We lounged, watched a lot of football, I released some creative energy and did some DIY projects and painting, and we tried to prepare as we head back to school today after a great fall break!  And of course, after a week of taking it easy, we are jumping in head first with a CRAZY BUSY week ahead of us.  But at least our meal plan will attempt to keep us on track, right?  Here’s what we’re eating this week!

Hearty Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash and Quinoa with a Fall Kale Salad

I am so excited that it is full-fledged soup season!!  We will eat soup once a week at least, all through the colder months, and we are actually pretty good about finishing up the leftovers for lunches.  I have a small obsession with butternut squash, and am anxious to incorporate it into this soup.  And for a yummy salad on the side, we’ll have kale, almonds, cranberries, blue cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette.


Monday night I have a fun work event (wine tasting!!), so I’ll be leaving Scott to handle dinnertime with the kids.  I got a few pizzas to make it as easy on him as possible!

Chicken Zoodle Lo-Mein and Brown Rice

I love Chinese food, and love the idea of subbing in zoodles!  But a few family members, whose names will go unmentioned, prefer rice, so I’ll make a bit of brown rice too. 🙂  I’m looking forward to trying this recipe!

Ham Steak, Sauteed Cabbage, and Roasted Potatoes and Carrots

We have a few potatoes and carrots that need to be used, and we’ll have some leftover cabbage after we make the lo-mein, so I pieced this meal together in the hopes that we will use up the extra produce in the house.  Ham is always a family favorite, so I know that will be a winner.

Pork Tenderloin, Roasted Parmesan Broccoli, and Sauteed Cinnamon Apples

I saw this recipe for roasted broccoli over the weekend, and thought it sounded SO GOOD.  We are big broccoli eaters in this house, and since our stand-by method (steaming) can get a little boring, throwing some cheese on it and putting it in the oven sounds like a good alternative!  We have a ridiculous amount of apples still leftover from our apple picking escapade over fall break, so I’ll be sauteeing a few with cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter for some yummy cinnamon apples, and add an easy pork tenderloin (we have been eating a lot of pork lately- mainly because a tenderloin at Aldi is about $4 versus $8-9 at Kroger!) to have a great fall meal.

Spinach and Ricotta Stuffed Shells and Caesar Salad

And last but not least, a meatless option!  I like to have at least one meat-free dish per week, to save a little money, but also just because we don’t need it!  There are so many wonderfully satisfying meatless recipes that we can throw a few in here and there.  I have a feeling we won’t miss the meat with these cheesy baked stuffed shells.

So that’s the plan for the week!  What are you eating??

Links I Love

Who doesn’t love a little online quiz or an infographic here and there?  So here are some of my favorite links across the interwebs to browse if/when you have the time…

I am so into smoothies (and so are the kids!), and this infographic shows the proper layering technique for a properly blended smoothie.  Excellent!

Times my kids want to talk to me.

Homemade Hummus Hack.  Do you ever make your own hummus?  I am for sure going to try this!

This documentary is so emotional and absolutely heartbreaking.  A must see (watch it on Netflix).  But don’t forget the tissues.

Are you right brained or left brained (I use both sides equally, for the record)?

Don’t waste that leftover coffee (I make mocha smoothies with mine)!!

Have you seen those “magical recipes” on Pinterest and Facebook that claim to be “amazing pancakes with only 2 ingredients!” and the likes?  Here are five of the most popular ones tested out for you.

Word Aversions.  Are your least favorites listed (Mine are–and one sentence in particular about made me gag!)??

ALL TRUE, hahahaha…Drink up.

I was House Stark (sweet!), which house do you belong to?

I am totally trying these chip and cheese pairings.

Love and totally agree with this list of 15 Ways to Be a Better Person (especially #2!)

Meal Plan Monday

meal plan monday graphic

Hi Friends!  Hope you had a wonderful weekend!  We ushered in our Fall Break with a trip to our local small town Fall Festival, which was so much fun, and then took it easy the rest of the weekend.  We have been SO busy lately, so we have been looking forward to Fall Break for an opportunity to relax!  Anyway, we’ll be here a bit and gone a bit, but I still planned a decent little meal plan for the week.  So here’s what we’ll be eating this week:

Spaghetti and Caesar Salad

We are keeping it easy this week, folks!  I think spaghetti is the favorite meal of at least 2 of the 3 kids, so this will be a crowd pleaser.  I like to buy very basic pasta sauce, then add ground beef, an extra can of diced tomatoes, a diced onion, a diced green pepper, and this time we’ll be adding 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms.  Sure, I could get a fancier sauce with everything already added, but I like the addition of the fresh veggies.  And I love Aldi’s pre-packaged Caesar salad, so we’ll be eating it alongside the pasta.  Simple.

Crock Pot Cuban Black Beans and Rice Bowls with Cornbread

If you have been following my Meal Post Mondays for a while, you know that I am obsessed with Rice Bowls  for dinner.  They’re easy to eat and great for the kids because I let them pick and choose the toppings they like to add.  I have made this crock pot black bean recipe before, and it’s delicious on it’s own!  With sides of rice and cornbread, and a wide array of toppings for the bowl (I’m including lettuce, pico de gallo, cilantro, shredded cheese, pickled jalapenos, diced onions, and guacamole!) I don’t think anyone will miss the meat in this dinner!

Honey Baked Chicken with Green Beans and Mashed Potatoes

I collect cookbooks and have so many favorites that I go to on a regular basis (this one, this one, and this one are well-read, and well used!) but my Southern Living Homestyle Cooking Cookbook has pages ripped and stained, with notes in the margins and corners dog-eared because it has so many wonderful recipes that I go to over and over again.  I am so excited to try the Honey Baked Chicken in this cookbook, which marinates a whole cut-up chicken in a mixture of soy sauce, honey, and spices, then bakes in the oven.  I love a good roasted whole chicken, but cutting the chicken up will cut down on the cook time, and the marinade will add some sweet and savory flavor.  The kids love green beans and mashed potatoes (so do I!), and with the chicken, I think we’ll be in for a very comforting dinner.

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

When I create my meal plan for the week, I typically look through the pantry and fridge to see what I already have on hand and build meals off those ingredients.  For some reason, I have 3 cans of condensed tomato soup in the country, so why not have some grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for dinner!!  Kinda like with my tomato sauce, I like to doctor up my tomato soup a bit.  I used basic condensed tomato soup, and add a diced tomato, basil, and Italian seasoning.  And instead of adding a can of water, I add half a can of milk and half a can of water.  I think the milk adds more creaminess and lusciousness, and the tomato and herbs add freshness to the soup.  Again- this is the week of family-friendly recipes!  I like to cut the sandwiches into strips and the kids love to dip their grilled cheese sandwich sticks into their soup

Do you meal plan? What are you eating this week?  I love hearing new dinner ideas!

Five on Friday: Fall Break


Happy Friday, friends!  AND HAPPY FALL BREAK to my local friends!!  We have been SO READY for a nice break from school, and I swear, I feel like we just barely made it!  We have been working so hard, worn out, and just ready to not have a tight schedule to keep for the next week, at least!  And I thought that I hadn’t done a 5 on Friday link up in a lonnnnnnnng time, and decided to drop a few randoms on you today. 🙂


1- Fall Has Arrived!

FINALLY, it seems that summer has released her firm grip on Georgia, and we have had cooler, fall-like temps this week.  And it is GLORIOUS.  We went out for ice cream the other night and ate it outside without sweating to death. Hallelujah!!  It was jeans and long sleeve shirt weather, which is pretty much perfection to me.  I ordered the Apple Dumplings with caramel sauce and ice cream (seen above), and it was the perfect way to usher in my favorite season of the year.  As I make our meal plan for the next week, I am much more drawn towards soups and casseroles, and it’s about time to make my annual switch from white wine back to red (I ought to throw a party?!).  I definitely like red wine far better than white, but I just can’t drink room-temp red wine throughout the summer, when I need something cold and crisp.  But I drink red all fall and winter long.  SO BRING ON THE SHIRAZ!!


2- Trip to Washington DC

I am overdue in sharing that I was lucky enough to tag along with Scott on a trip to DC last week!  He had a conference to attend, and my mom was able to watch the kids for us (Thanks Bammy!!), so we made it a fun little road trip.  Since it’s a 10-hour drive, we made a little pit stop in Dillon, South Carolina, and stayed at a beautiful little bed and breakfast (one of our favorite things we used to do before kids, haha).


Gorgeous, right?!  And though the picture may have you think otherwise, it was VERY affordable for a bed and breakfast.  Find more about The Columns Bed and Breakfast Inn here.


We were starving when we got to town, and went to Shuler’s BBQ for dinner.  WHOA- it was good.  Yes, that is my plate, but NO, I did not eat it all, though there was no lack of trying!


The next morning, we were on the road and ready for DC!


Scott was gone at his conference most of the time we were in DC, so I took advantage of the time and was able to have some wonderful me-time and indulged in a delicious bloody mary brunch with mussels and crusty bread!

Then once Scott was done with working, we were able to visit the indescribably beautiful and moving Arlington National Cemetery.


There was hardly a word spoken between Scott and I at Arlington, it really demanded so much introspection and reverence from us both.  We were both really looking forward to seeing the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.


2016-09-25-17-00-36 2016-09-25-17-00-36

It was amazing and undoubtedly a bucket list moment.


We finished up at Arlington seeing the gravesite of JFK and his family, which was so moving and so beautiful.  We took a taxi back to Woodley Park, where our hotel was, and grabbed some dinner.  There was a Japanese place just about a block away from our hotel, so we noshed on some sushi rolls and ramen bowls!


As much as Scott and I are fans of trying all types of cuisine, we have been so spoiled on Vietnamese Pho, that all we could think as we were eating our ramen, is how much we liked (loved) pho more than ramen bowls!  Maybe we had sub-par ramen?  Perhaps (my sushi roll was AMAZING, though).  But maybe we just prefer the Vietnamese-style noodle soup to the Japanese version.  Either way, we both left dinner with full tummies!

Our last day in DC, we both got a lot of work done, and then met in a charming French bistro again, about a block away from our hotel.


PS- the weather in DC was *perfect* fall temps.  We were in longsleeves and jeans, and very comfortable.  Ah, it was amazing!  As shown above, we sat inside, but beside open windows, and it was wonderful.  We ordered a four course, pri-fixe menu with wine pairings, and it was so much fun!  Though we both like French food, we don’t typically eat at French restaurants!  But it was one of my favorite dining experiences and makes me want to branch out a little bit more.


Our first course started with escargot for me and baked mussels for Scott.  I enjoyed the escargot (I have had better, though, TBH), but the baked mussels were delicious.  I was jealous of Scott’s selection here!


The second course was sea scallops, and they were completely delicious.  I could have just eaten 100 scallops for dinner and been fine.  And I could not get enough of the mushroom risotto underneath the scallops.  Best dish by far!


Third course was Beef Bourguignon, and, not to repeat myself over and over, but it was just delicious!  The beef was tender, the sauce was light but rich and savory, and we both ate every single bite.  Four thumbs up.


And for dessert, Scott ordered our favorite, Creme Brulee, and I ordered the Floating Island, and both were divine.  We love a smooth, not-too-eggy brulee, and it was delightful.  And the floating island was meringue in a creme anglais, and I had to stop myself from licking the plate clean!  We had a wonderful dinner out and enjoyed every bit of our French meal!

We thoroughly enjoyed our long weekend away, and loved seeing Washington DC.  The drive through Virginis, North and South Carolina was beautiful, and we really can’t wait to go back.

3- Starbucks Via Instant Latte- Pumpkin Spice Latte


I’m about to let you in on a little secret…I am actually not a HUGE fan of Pumpkin Spice Lattes!!  {{closes eyes tightly and covers head}} But before you rush my house with torches and pitchforks, you have to understand that I drink my coffee black 90% of the time.  In the other 10% is 9% of the time that I actually get to run through Starbucks and order my PLAIN venti non-fat latte with an extra shot, and that last teeny little 1% is when I want to be crazy and try the newest seasonal offering, or order my obligatory PSL.  And typically the PSL is just too syrupy-sweet for me.  Insert these Via Instant Lattes!!  I grabbed the box of 4 packets the other day at the grocery store, and it made the perfect little cup of spicy pumpkin coffee goodness.  It’s a powdered mix that you add hot water to, so it’s not overly sweet like (I feel) the regular PSLs are.  Anyway, I love them, and it’s worth trying if you want juuuuuust a little taste of the PSL craze like I do.

 4- Fall TV

Reason 432, 971 why I love fall- new TV shows!!  I was pretty much hooked on This Is Us from the first preview teaser that was posted on Facebook, and I totally think it is living up to the hype!  I cried through the first episode, loved #2 (but at the end–where is JACK??!!), and will be watching #3 this weekend.  Hopefully it is the next Parenthood like has been promised!  I have been DVR-ing the new seasons of Quantico and Chicago PD, and watched the first episode of season 7 of Shameless last night (OMG- probably one of my favorite shows ever–you can watch seasons 1-6 on Netflix if you have absolutely nothing to do for the next month–it’s so addicting).  If that wasn’t enough, I started Mr. Robot last night and am TOTALLY hooked.  Luckily there’s only been 2 seasons so far, so it won’t take weeks to get through, haha!  What are your favorite fall shows?



5- Fall Food!!

With the slightly cooler temps, I have been all about casseroles and soups, fresh fall veggies, and comfort food.  I made The Pioneer Woman’s Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Pork Tenderloin the other night, and it was the perfect transitional fall dinner.  Then, I pureed the leftover squash with some broth, a little butter, and a bit of cream, and made a delicious Butternut Squash soup with some parm shaved on top.  YUM.  I could eat that soup morning, noon, and night with a piece of crusty bread and a light salad all fall long, it was so good.  Now the challenge going forward is making all these warm, comforting fall foods a little lighter!  Challenge accepted.

That’s it for me today!  I hope you have a wonderful Friday and a great weekend!

Things I Love: 5 Florals for This Fall

If you saw my fall fashion must-haves post from a few days back, you might remember that one of my favorite must-haves is for a long sleeve floral dress to wear everyday all season long!  Floral prints are totally on trend this fall, and there are tons popping up all over.  Today I’m sharing 5 of my favorite florals (and don’t be surprised if you see me wearing all of them this season!)—

Obsessed with this floral swing dress from Old Navy!  I love buying trendy pieces from Old Navy because their quality has really improved over the last few years, and their prices are AMAZING.  I never buy anything full price (there is always some sort of a promotion or sale), and constantly get compliments on the dresses I get there.  I love this pintuck detail and the swingy, comfortable (ROOMY) fit!  And it also comes in a blouse version if you’d rather pair it with jeans!

Mustard is a big color for fall, and I love this loose, lightweight floral tunic from ModCloth.  With the indigo blues in the print, it will be an obvious match with jeans, and I think it’ll look great layered up with an olive field jacket (or my trusty camo one) for chilly days.


I love that kimonos are still in for fall!  Especially with the weather still a little warm during the day, but chilly at night, a lightweight kimono is the perfect layering piece.  Right on theme, I love this rust floral one from Target (perfect color for fall).

I am in love with this gorgeous floral tunic from Loft!  Actually, Loft has several beautiful and unique floral prints (love this and this too), perfect for the fall.  I think these would be so pretty with a chunky, long cardigan and lace-up pointy flat.  Perfect for a casual business look with skinny pants, or runnings errands and momming around with jeans!


And lastly, this ECI dress from Macy‘s is amazing!!  I love the style, the colors, the print mixing, and feel like you could wear black tights and heels for church or boots and a crossbody bag for shopping or out to dinner.  Another awesome floral dress for the fall.

Which one is your favorite?  Are you as excited about the florals this fall as I am?!

This entry was posted in Fashion.

Fall 2016 Closet Must-Haves

I am so excited about the change in season- and all the fun new clothes that come along with it!!  I might say this every season, but I really like a lot of the trends and a lot of the styles this fall.  So here are the 12 items that are on my must-have list for this fall!
1. High Rise Flares
I think the high rise denim trend is so great.  I think they are so flattering, they tend to fit me better, and keep everything all sucked in!  And I love the flare trend too- right in like with the boho/70’s style that I love.  These will look really cute with some platforms and an off the shoulder top (see #8!).
2. Drapey Leather Blazer
I have a great utility/cargo jacket that I wear constantly, and I have a dark leather moto jacket that I love too, but thought that a lighter tan/brown jacket would be very versatile- cute with a pretty blouse and aforementioned flares, or over a floral dress with booties.
3. Dark Floral Dress
Probably my #1 item on the list is a dark floral printed dress.  I love all the floral prints this season, and being SUCH a dress person, I am loving all the options!  Perfect for right now, with sandals, then a jacket and booties, and later with leggings and boots.
4. Printed Southwestern Scarf
I still love my plaid blanket scarves, and plan to wear them, but I want another option (or a few other options, TBH), too!  I love this southwestern printed style, and can see myself wearing it all fall long.
5. Wine Nails
LOVING the burgundy nail trend, and already grabbed a bottle of polish!  I love the Sally Hansen gel nail polish.  It doesn’t require the UV light, and if you use it with the clear top coat, it stays on, chip-free, for about a WEEK!  That’s about as good as it gets for nailpolish for me.  The shade I got is called Wine Stock, and is a deep, brownish burgundy.
6. High Rise Skinny Jeans
I do still love my skinny jeans, but like I said, I love the high waisted trend!  I wear mostly blousy non-tucked-in tops, so the high waist keeps everything neat and tucked in.  I got one pair from the Gap last year that I practically lived in, and so I need a new pair this year that I can rotate in and out.
7. Big, Thick Neutral Cardigan
I got a few long cardigans last year- one tan and one gray- that I wore over and over.  I love the idea of a thicker knit cardigan sweater to use almost like a jacket over blouses and jeans, or over lighter weight dresses.  I’d love to find a very neutral colored, kind of oatmeal colored one, to wear all fall and winter long!
8. Long Sleeve Off the Shoulder Top 
The off the shoulder trend grew on me over the summer, and I made a few dresses and tops to wear during the summer.  I think, though, that the off the shoulder trend can keep going through the fall (especially here in GA with our mild falls and winters) with a long sleeve!  I love the idea of a chambray version, or a dark floral version, or a pretty jewel toned one.  Or maybe one of each?!
9. Perforated Booties
One of my favvvvvvvorite outfits to wear during the fall is a long sleeve dress with bare legs and boots or booties!  I love the look of so many perforated styles, that are perfect for when the weather is not too cold yet, but a little cool for sandals.  Again- I can totally see these being worn with dresses or jeans.  Love that versatility!
10. Tassel Cross Body Bag 
This bag is probably second to the dark floral dress for my favorites on this list!  You know I love a nice, big tote to carry around as a purse most of the time, but more and more lately, I have found myself only needing a cross body bag or something a little smaller for running errands!  I love this brown tassel cross body bag, and it echos the great 70s style that I love so much this season!
11. Leopard Print Band Watch
I LOVE a good dose of leopard print, and have seen several watches this season with leopard print bands that I just love.  I think it could jazz up an otherwise basic outfit, and would add just enough interest to the neutral colors that I seem to gravitate towards when it’s cold outside.
12. Lace up Pointy Toe Flats
I will spend most of fall and winter in boots and booties, but I love a good flat too.  I love the popular lace up styles this fall, and I think I am going to look for one in burgundy, or gray, or olive, for something just a little bit different.  Again- I love adding a little interest with accessories!
So those are the 12 must have items that I will be on the lookout for this fall.  What will you be shopping for?

Meal Plan Monday

meal plan monday graphic

Hello Friends!  I hope you had a wonderful weekend!  We spent Saturday at the Farmers Market, and then at the football field watching the girls cheer, and then watching football on tv for the rest of the weekend!  Honestly, I am SO not ready for this week, but that’s never stopped a Monday from coming so far, so I went ahead wrote out our meal plan like usual, haha.  Thankfully, it’s a short week since our Fall Break starts on Friday, but until then, here’s what we’ll be eating for dinner this week:

Chili with Cornbread

I mean, we get the slightest drop in temperature, and we are ready for some chili!  Yesterday Scott made chili, and we ate it for lunch and then again for dinner.  I made some corn muffins, and it was delicious!  He made a great big batch, so we’ll likely be eating it for lunch all week long.

Salad Tacos and Jalapeno Popper Grilled Corn Salad

You can never go wrong with Pioneer Woman.  I like the idea of these tacos, because you pack the shells full of lettuce, and then top them with a bit of meat mixture, tomatoes, and a spicy dressing.  Sounds good to me!  For a Mexican side dish, I like to get a little creative.  I quit making the unoriginal rice and beans a while back, because nobody would eat them!  I pinned the Jalapeno Popper Salad a while back and thought it sounded good.  I’ll probably dial back the heat a bit for the kids, but add extra jalapenos to mine and Scott’s!

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia with Steamed Broccoli and Honey Butter Roasted Carrots

Scott is not a huge fish fan (I could eat it everyday), so we don’t have it often, but I try to work it in when I can.  I thought this tilapia recipe sounded good- what could taste bad when parmesan and panko are involved?  Throw a little broccoli on the side, and these honey butter roasted carrots, which are THE BEST, and dinner will be ready in a jiffy.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

I’m going to roast a pork tenderloin with some diced butternut squash, and once they’re both done, toss the butternut squash with some pine nuts, parmesan, and a balsamic vinaigrette over romaine for a yummy fall salad to go with the pork (maybe add some dried cranberries too).

That’s all I’ve got for this week!  What are you making this week?  Any new recipes you want to share?  I love new ideas!

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