May 24, 2017

Currently

obsessing//
...over "Bread and Wine" by Shauna Niequist. I love the way she writes about her love affair with food and how sacred a simple meal around the table is. Every time I pick it up I am overcome with inspiration for hospitality and thankfulness for the people I get to do life with.

Image result for bread and wine book

scouring//
...my favorite thrift stores for puzzles. My latest find was a collection of Pixar puzzles and I was so happy I could've done the macarena right there in Savers.  #nerding

craving//
...order in every sense of the word. Right after my 2nd leg surgery this winter, I knew it was going to be a feat to get all the Christmas decorations down. Well a solid 5 months later, they're still up in our loft practically begging to be organized.

My Memorial Day project is to absolutely harness my OCD, sort through everything, make a pile for donations, and get it all put away! I am going to live by this "how to" blog post.

planning//
...our upcoming family vacation to Anna Maria Island, Florida. Any recommendations? And while we're on this topic, I think I need this unicorn pool float.

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listening//
...to the Up & Vanished podcast. If you loved Serial, you will absolutely love this intriguing journey to help solve the real life disappearance of Tara Grinstead. Don't worry, I'm a sissy when it comes to crime scene topics, but I can't stop listening to this one!

admitting//
...that Adam and I planned an entire garden out and then decided it would be too much work.

baking//
...these banana chocolate chip mini muffins. They are SO good.

loving//
...every single moment I can spend on the patio. My favorite moments are the early mornings when the sunlight is soft and golden and I'm curled up in my favorite sweatshirt with coffee in hand. Even better if it involves a smoothie bowl. Absolute bliss.

reading//
..."The Regulars" by Georgia Clark.

laughing//
...at this meme uncontrollably. This is me after binge watching 6 hours of Orange is the New Black.

Image result for black screen after netflix meme

crafting//
...a Kauai vacation recap post (finally!). Reliving every single moment as I sift through the photos.

dreaming//
...up a new adventure. You know when you get in the groove of traveling, the second you get home you are already dreaming up your next adventure. Well, I've got the travel bug (and PTO days to boot!), so I'm ready for more exploring this fall (Asheville is high on the bucket list). Where to, my friends?

.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.


What have you been loving lately, friends?

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May 23, 2017

Gratitude Lately



Lately I'm thankful for secnic walks to the mailbox.




For front door surprises that turn into morning chirping a nest full of feathers.


For weekends spent with this handsome devil and how much our pup loves her daddy.


For cabin weekends full of sunsets and time spent around the table with the ones we love most.


For a thoughtful bestie who creates amazing mail days.


For finding hidden gems tucked into the deepest corner of Home Depot that make my porch happy.



For sister dates, cheersing and wine of the month club.


For a beast that is 10% bark and 90% cuddles.


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For quiet patio mornings and tasty smoothie bowls.
And good books that makes me thankful to do life with my tribe.


.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.


Here's to gratitude and how it makes life fuller, and the smallest things more than enough. As always, thanks for the inspiration, Today's Letters!


  //  What are you thankful for today? //



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April 21, 2017

Chewy Secret Ingredient M&M Cookies


Have you ever had one of those weeks where things have been so crazy busy that you drove home from work with your car radio off? Ahhh, silence.

This was exactly where I found myself yesterday. Even after walking through my front door, my mind was still racing with all of the things I needed to do. So I knew I needed a good distraction and stress relief, and what better way to find that spending time in my favorite little corner of our house baking! I was looking for sweet treat inspiration when a little bowl of pretty pastel m&ms leftover from Easter caught my eye.

Right away, I remembered a recipe I had eagerly saved from the cookie queen herself, Jenny at Picky Palate. She is always posting great recipes and fun treats on her blog and Instagram! Let me just say, this is the best cookie dough ever... not that I had a scoop (or 7...). Yes, it's incredible and the secret ingredient makes it pure magic. This is going to be a go to recipe for me... check it out!

Side note //
I recently had to change my blog URL, so be sure to follow along to the NEW site on Bloglovin here!


Chewy M&M Cookies
 // Lightly adapted from Picky Palate //



Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract (the good stuff!)
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons dry Jell-o instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup m&m candies


Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2) Cream softened butter, brown sugar, and sugar using a stand or hand mixer for about 2 minutes until well combined and creamy.

3) Add the egg and vanilla to the mixture, just until incorporated

4) Add flour, instant pudding mix, baking soda, and salt. Combine ingredients, but be sure to not over mix as it leads to tougher cookies. Hand stir in m&ms and chocolate chips.

5) Once dough is ready, place cookie dough onto a Silpat lined cookie sheet by the large spoonful. I recommend about 1-2 inches of spacing as cookies may spread a little. Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are lightly golden but centers are soft, and let cook on the cookie sheet.

Yields: 12 cookies




Bon Appetit!


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April 13, 2017

NYC Sister Trip

So, apparently it's 2017 and I completely bypassed ever sharing this incredible trip that I took with my sister. 

In 2015. 
The embarrassment is real, folks. 

But it was such a magical trip to be in NYC with my sister at Christmastime - a dream I've always had since I was a little girl - and I don't want to forget one detail! So please let me indulge in a nostalgic walk down memory lane as I remember all of the best sites, sounds, experiences, and views of New York.

My dear friend Katie and I have been friends since the day she was born. We grew up as neighbors/besties always decked out the finest Winnie the Pooh embroidered matching outfits and were inseparable. Now, Katie is a fancy pants lawyer living in NYC, and had been begging us to come out for a visit ever since. Our families have been close for all of time, and I knew it would be an extra fun touch if we had a sister girl trip.


Me, Abby (Katie's sis), Katie, and Lindsay (my sis) 


My sister Lindsay and I hopped on a KC plane bound for the city armed with the latest issue of US Weekly and Serendipity cued up to indulge in. As soon as we landed we met Katie and her sister Abby in the Upper West Side and spent hours catching up over champagne.

The next day, we knew we wanted to hit up Rolf's, a cozy little German restaurant in Gramercy Park known for it's floor to ceiling Christmas decorations and general holly jollyness. What a fun place to kick-off our holiday in the city! Check out more photos of how amazing this place is here.




After lunch we wanted to walk along the beautiful holiday displayed storefronts on our way to the Rockefeller Center area. We passed Bloomingdales, Tiffany & Co., and Macy's to name a few. We were nearing the giant Christmas tree when my sister asked to stop and wanted me to hold a few pieces of paper that were in her purse. I looked down and they were tickets to The Tonight Show with Jimmy (freaking) Fallon! Unbeknownst to me, our friends were filming me the whole time  and got my total freak out moment on video. She pulled off one heck of a surprise, but here's the backstory...

Jimmy Fallon tickets are insanely hard to come by. These highly sought after free tickets go up for grabs one month before (you have to stalk twitter to know what the date will be) and they sell out in less than 10 seconds for the whole month of December. There are THOUSANDS of people trying to get 1 of the 200 tickets for each show (5 shows per week)

So in November we enlisted 3-4 additional friends and family members who could help us log in from different computer to see if me and my sister could get through. I got through and put on the waiting list, but was told I was the only one. Little did I know my sneaky sister got through and was waiting for the perfect moment to surprise me! So within minutes we were rushing to the studio.

PS - If you are visiting Jimmy Fallon, I found these article/blog posts super helpful with how to get tickets:



We checked into the lobby, went through security, and waited in this holding room. It's really strict, no phones allowed, and they have no problem with kicking anyone out who breaks their policies. Even with tickets in hand, they still don't guarantee your seat until you are physically being escorted to an assigned section. 

Once our little booties were in seats we could finally relax. WE MADE IT! The studio is way smaller than it looks like when you watch on TV, and it was so incredible to see the whole crew. 

They have a comedian out there warming up the crowd, The Roots rehearsed and talked to everyone, and the producer ran through audience cues with us. There were giant monitors overhead that would light up saying "APPLAUSE!" and she would really try to ramp up our volume by egging us on with hand gestures.

And then finally... Jimmy came out! Our guests for the evening were Will Smith, Kirsten Dunst, and Calvin Harris - it was such a blast. He was doing the 12 days of ugly Christmas sweaters where he'd give one away to a lucky audience member, so we got to see ourselves on TV a lot - haha! We're pretty much famous and will gladly send you an autographed head shot. :)




The film quickly and straight through, which was super impressive to me, and as soon as it hit 6PM we were free to go! What a fun memory! We had to buy some sweet Tonight Show swag and then met the girls in Rockefeller Center afterward to see the tree lit up and grab a night cap.



The next day we woke up early, and decided to hike down to Chelsea Market to shop. Along the way we passed cute row houses decorated for Christmas and loved every second of Chelsea.





I loved that we also got to walk across the High Line Park, a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. The views were beautiful and it was fun experiencing a little piece of heaven in the middle of the city. We really lucked out for December weather - we didn't even wear coats!



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We dropped by Brooklyn Diner to share the biggest pot pie I've ever seen. On our way back to the Upper West Side we walked by Cafe Lalo, where they filmed You've Got Mail (my fave!).

That night, Lindsay and I went to Matilda on Broadway and had an incredible time. Times Square at Christmastime before/after the Broadway shows get out was super overwhelming for us, so we were glad when we made it out of the shoulder to shoulder chaos.






The next morning we took it easy after walking 6+ miles the day before. We got coffee and went to Central Park for doggy off-leash park hours. I had no idea that the park even offered that, but it was so fun to see dogs everywhere and take Katie's visla Maizey (check out Maizey's city dog adventures here on Instagram)!






We spent the day leisurely tootling around the park, walking through the Christmas market, and eating delicious fancy waffles. 

That night Katie's boyfriend Mark took all of us to the top of the Time Square Marriott to share a fun drink at their rotating restaurant, The View. When you get your napkin it actually has an outline of the buildings and what they're called so you know as you slowly turn. What a great way to end the trip.


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On our final day, we made one more quick jaunt to Central Park for dog park hours before we had to head back to KC. It was a quick weekend but so many fun sister memories were made with Katie and Abby! We're ready to go back already!






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