Saturday, November 28, 2015

christmas decor

I couldn't wait any our Christmas decorations are officially up :)

100% of what we have out right now (and that is pictured) can be found at Target. Their holiday decor displays and products right now are amazing!

There are still some areas of the house that I want to add to though, but I need to look around a few more stores and see what I can find. I'm going to try and check out World Market, TJ Maxx, and Home Goods over the long weekend. 

Have any of you ladies caved and started decorating yet? I just get so excited for the season and I'll be honest...I can never wait very long after Halloween to dive on into the Christmas spirit!  

Thursday, November 26, 2015


This is the time of year that we are reminded to think on what we are thankful for in our lives, but every year, I can't help but think that I can do better. I should be recognizing and appreciating all that I have on so many more occasions than once a year. So, as I start to ponder on all the blessings I have in my life, I'm making a mental note to make a better effort over the next year...


// aaron

He is the first thing that comes to my mind. 
After spending way too long in a terrible relationship, and being completely frusterated at myself for what felt like such a waste of years of my life, I was shown very quickly that there is always a bigger plan - and things happen for a reason. With timing that seems almost too perfect to be true, Aaron swept into my life and showed me what love truly was. There were many things that could've worked against us...age, location, etc...but none of it ever mattered. It's not all picture perfect - we both have strong and stubborn personalities, and we fight like cats and dogs sometimes, but he is my other half and I am his. 

// my dogs

I always knew I liked animals, but I truly never understood the deep love you could have for them until I was blessed with our first rescue dog, Deedee. I feel like a crazy dog lady, but honestly, I don't care. Deedee, and now Dexter too, are so incredibly important to our family and have taught me so much - patience, unconditional love, selflessness...the list goes on and on. I know the day will come where I have to say goodbye to them, and I dread it with all my being, but that gives me all the more reason to appreciate them and love on them every single day while they are still here with me <3

// health

Not just my own... but more importantly, the health of all my immediate loved ones. I have a friend whose mother was diagnosed very recently with stage 4 breast cancer, and when things like that happen it is truly a wake up call to not only take care of ourselves, but to also be grateful for those in our lives that have their health. 

// our jobs

Shocking that this one is on my list, because I'll be honest - I hate my job on a day to day basis. I'm also not fond of Aaron's either since it takes him away for 3-5 days almost every single week. BUT - these jobs have allowed us to buy our beautiful first home, given me the opportunity to complete a graduate education, and givens us the opportunity to work hard each day to provide for our family. 

I hope you have all had a lovely Thanksgiving with your family and friends, and are going to bed with full bellies and full hearts! xx 

Friday, November 13, 2015

friday favorites - overnight oats

I don't know why I was so late to the party on this one, but I tried overnight oats for the first time the other day and YUM!! Not only are they easy to put together, but they are also a huge time saver because I can prepare breakfast the night before and it's ready to go in the morning. There are so many different delicious recipes you can try matter what you are in the mood for - and so many of them are healthy!

I recently decided to transition to a more vegetarian diet / lifestyle (just cutting out meat...still eating fish, eggs, dairy) I've been really looking for new recipes and ways to incorporate protein into my daily diet. These overnight oats are great because I can use plain Greek yogurt, chia seeds, flax seeds, peanut butter, and even protein powder with them!

For today's Friday favorites, I'd like to share the three overnight oats recipes that I've made so far, and two that I will be trying next! For all these recipes I've used Quaker Old Fashioned Oats and Ball 16 oz canning jars. The jars are shorter than a typical mason jar and can be found in a 4-pack at Target

//  Blueberry Banana

 1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup organic low fat milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup of banana, sliced
1-2 tbsp organic honey

 Add the oats to your jar of choice and pour in the milk. Add a layer of blueberries and then a layer of banana slices. Top with honey. Place in fridge and enjoy in the morning, or a few hours later!

// Lemon Thyme and Honey

I found this on the blog, The Breakfast Drama Queen, and it sounded delicious!
For a direct link to her site - click on "Lemon Thyme and Honey"

1/2 cup oats
1/2 a lemon, squeeze the juice into jar onto of oats
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme (I didn't have this so I left it out)
1 tbsp honey
Extra honey, to serve (added in the morning)

In your mason jar, mix together the oats, lemon juice, vanilla, yogurt, and milk. Remove the thyme leaves from the stems and mix them into the oatmeal along with the honey. Cover the jar and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning, drizzle some extra honey over your oats (if desired) and enjoy!

// Bananas Foster

This is another great recipe I found online, courtesy of the lovely blogger, Laura Fuentes.

1 tsp coconut oil
1 banana, sliced
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 cup oats
1 cup organic low fat milk

In a small saucepan, heat up coconut oil over medium heat. Add bananas, vanilla, and cinnamon to the heated pan and begin to saute until they begin to break down and juice out natural sugars (takes about 2-3 mins). Add maple syrup, stir to combine and cook for another minute - then remove from heat.

Place the oats and milk inside your jar, then pour the banana mixture evenly over the top. Stir to combine and refrigerate overnight.

// Carrot Cake

This is the next overnight oats recipe I would like to try! It's chocked full of protien (23g!) and is under 300 calories. The recipe can be found on the blog, Dashing Dish.

// Ginger Snap

What a cute idea! This one will be great to make during the holiday season.
The recipe can be found on the lovely Jen's blog, Driftwood Gardens.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

petit vour october - cruelty free beauty box

I was so excited when my 2nd Petit Vour beauty box showed up the other week! I was so happy with the items from the first box, I couldn't wait to see what October's had in store.
The theme for this box was "All treat + tricks (and no scary ingredients)".

Habit Nail Polish // Deep Sea - Full Size, worth $18

The first item I pulled out was a full size Habit nail polish in the color Deep Sea.
I love the packaging, and how exciting to get a full sized product! This nail polish alone is worth more than I paid for the box. The formula is great... I just wish the color was a bit more navy and less royal blue, but that's just a personal preference ;)

Hana Organic Skincare Eye Oil // 5 ml, worth $18 (Full size $40)

This is the item I am most excited about from the October box. It is a great amount of product, definitely enough to last a couple weeks - so I'll really get to try it out! Love it so far...

Ursa Major of VT Fantastic Face Wash // 10 oz, worth $6 (Full size $28)

Another great item - very gentle and feels great after taking off my makeup. I love the smell to, it has very mild spearmint-y aroma to it. Only wish I had a bit more to use, since it's already almost gone after using a handful of times!

Essence of Vali Sleep - A Bedtime Ritual // .02 fl, worth $1 (Full size $18)

I am all about using essential oils and pillow sprays at bedtime in order to relax and decompress. I have never had one that you put on yourself before, so this was definitely fun to try! You apply it to your wrists and temples, or can even rub onto your palms and then cup your hands over your nose to breath it in. I honestly think it helps! I've used it one night so far and I remember putting it on, laying down and getting snuggled in bed - then that's it! I was out ;) My only critique would be that I wish it had a bit stronger tones of lavender...but that's just because it is one of my favorite scents of all time! 

I'm very pleased with all the beauty items this month and it was definitely worth my $ a total value of around $43! As always, all the items are from companies that are 100% cruelty free and the products are all vegan. If you are interested in signing up, check them out over at Petit Vour's website

Friday, November 6, 2015

friday favorites

Happy Friday ladies! 
I'm just popping in to share a few of my favorite things from the past week or so. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!

 // sweater weather
It's chilly here, and I am not complaining! There's nothing I love more than curling up on the couch in a comfy sweater with a big blanket and hot apple cider...and snuggles from a certain blue doberman :)

// halloween
We had a great Halloween this year! We spent one night carving pumpkins - Aubrey did a classic Jack-o-Lantern, Aaron did a take on one of his favorite craft beer labels (haha) and I did Jack Skellington from A Nightmare Before Christmas - one of my all-time favorite movies. Trick-or-treat was fun this year too because it wasn't too cold and we found a great couple of streets to hit (hello full sized candy bars!)

// throwbacks
Aaron went through an old phone of his this week and found a million old pictures and videos of our dogs when they were just puppies. It was SO much fun looking through all of them - I can't believe how tiny they used to be! It feels like it only lasted a minute, and then they were huge!
Dexter at just a couple months old in his favorite jammies - that don't fit anymore!

// fall fashion
Hands down one of my favorite seasons as far as clothes go.
Maybe I'm just biased because the colors match my hair haha ;)

Floppy hat / Old Navy - sold out (similar)
White tee / Express
Maxi Cardigan / Target

// holiday decorating
Don't hate me...BUT I just can't wait to get my Christmas decorations up! :)
Especially after discovering Target's new line of holiday home decor and purchasing quite a few things in the store and online! I know it's not even Thanksgiving yet, but I feel like I work so hard decorating, I don't just want them up for a couple of weeks. This photo that Liz Marie posted earlier this week has me itching to get started this weekend! 

Link up with you Friday favorites with any of the lovely ladies below!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

PSA: Target Holiday Decor

  I don't know if many of you have been to your local Target stores lately, but if you haven't...make it a priority! Their new holiday home decor line is out - and it is amazing. As if there wasn't enough to spend my money on in this store already, they went and stepped up their game AGAIN!

I went in the other night to scan the Christmas decor that is typically in the back corner of the store (you know, in the Seasonal area?). Well, there wasn't much there that I was interested in, and it bummed me out, so I made my way back to the front of the store to check out. 

Then BAM! As I walked through the home section... low and behold the most aesthetically pleasing display you ever did see...

I was overwhelmed, but I managed to compose myself and pick out a few items...and kept it to $100 even though I wanted to spend like a thousand ;)

I picked out the mirror tray and large basket.
{although the basket is too big and I'm going to have to return it for the smaller size}

 There were so many other items that caught my eye, and Target online is running a promotion right now...Buy 2 save 10%, Buy 3 save 15% on Holiday Items, and free I'll be ordering a few more things today! 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

a night at the castle

One of my closest group of girlfriends and I love doing spooky things together around Halloween each year. Andrea, Alissa, Abby and I have spent numerous nights at haunted houses, penitentiaries, and hotels... and we are always looking for new places to explore! We've always loved anything creepy, haunted, or bizarre, so October is our favorite month to get together - and Halloween just happens to fall right around Alissa's birthday. This year, Abby discovered an amazing place online called Landoll's Mohican Castle. It's an amazing estate, fashioned like an 1800's castle, in the middle of the forests of central Ohio. 



We had such an awesome time - it was quiet and spooky, but luxurious and unique too. We started with a great dinner at the castle's restaurant and I had my first ever Moscow Mule. It was delicious! I think I have found my new favorite drink :)

The birthday girl!
Then, we went back to our cabin for a bit. We had originally wanted to stay in the actual main castle, but it was totally booked (probably because it was the night before Halloween) we got a great little private cabin, right across from the main castle, which ended up being perfect.

Once it was dark, we hiked up to explore the 19th century German / English graveyard at the top of the property. Most of the gravestones dated back to the early 1800s! 

Finally, we ended the night with some time around the outdoor fire, then some birthday cake and treats in celebration of Alissa's birthday back at our cabin. Such a perfect girls night!!