Leather and Leopard

Wow, I am seriously obsessed with leather (well, faux leather) leggings lately!!  They are so versatile, whether you pair them with a t-shirt or some sequins they still look great.  I will just say that I would have never worn leather pants before but I have gained a new appreciation for it.  No longer is leather just for bikers – seriously!  As usual, little accessories here – just a statement necklace and some lovely leopard shoes (also my new fav).   I love this sweater too, it is v-neck in both the front and back.  I think having it drop in the back a little is so pretty.

Let’s start off the week great! And don’t forget to check out my new facebook page HERE!  Have a fabulous week everyone, let’s start it off with a bang!

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Dolman Double V Sweater: Express (Similar HERE)

Bib Necklace: Forever 21 (Similar HERE)

Black Faux Leather Leggings: Charlotte Russe ( Check it out HERE)

Leopard Pumps: Charlotte Russe (Check it out HERE)

Healthy (not fried) Eggplant Parmesan

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This is somewhat of my own take on Eggplant Parmesan.  It is delicious and I love, love it!  If you have ever ordered Eggplant Parmesan in a restaurant it almost always will come fried.   I DEFINITELY try to avoid  fried foods.  Let’s be honest, they give you a horrible gut ache and they certainly don’t help the figure!  I am by no means a chef, cook, or even amateur cook.  I have a busy schedule, and I like anything that is easy, healthy, delicious, and mostly vegetarian.  This from beginning to being on your plate, only takes about 30-35 minutes.  Which isn’t too bad, in my book!

EGGPLANT PARMESAN CASSEROLE

-2 Large Eggplants, Peeled and Sliced

(Side note: I also use Eggplant on homemade Pizza’s too – delicious!)

-5 or 6 Medium tomatoes, Sliced

-Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (I used Organic Sharp Cheddar and shredded it myself this time)

-Parmesan Cheese

-Organic Pasta or Pizza Sauce  (I try to use organic items, wherever possible)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once you have sliced your Eggplant lightly brush them with Olive Oil and place on a baking sheet.  Bake in the oven until golden brown and remove.  This should take 5-7 minutes or so. In a greased 9 x13 glass pan layer browned Eggplant Slices, Pasta Sauce (Not too much, just spread lightly), Tomato Slices, Pasta Sauce, and Lightly toss over some shredded cheese and some dashes of Parmesan Cheese.   Continue this pattern until you have used all of the Eggplant and Tomatoes.  Place 9 x 13 in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until tomatoes are soft and cheese is melted.  Now, enjoy the deliciousness!!

Have an amazing weekend all!

Basement Rec Area Face-lift

Let’s see in the past 10 years or so I would definitely say that my husband and I have, well…matured.  Hopefully, it happens to all of us someday and I intend to embrace it!  Our basement rec area however, until now had definitely not matured with us!  It has always been a bit boring for years and frankly we don’t use it much.  But, that is all about to change my friends!  I wanted to give it a little face-lift and spruce it up a bit so it would fit our lifestyle, age, and entertaining habits.  When we  entertain we always, always end up in the kitchen.  Don’t get me wrong, I love that it is the heart of the home, but sometimes it is ok for a little change of scenery, and fun darn it!  So, clearly I am not a pro because I really didn’t take before photos but you should get the picture.  Not too much going on, and really, really blah.  So we’ve added a few fun things like a buffet and small liquor selection as well as some inviting lighting and bar stools.  It’s still a work in progress, but for now I can really see us getting some use out of this space.  I hope you too can find a space in your home that has fallen by the wayside that could use a  little “help”.  Buy some new throw pillows, maybe a lamp and give your room a whole new look and feel!  Have a fabulous day friends!

BEFORE

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AFTER

(Don’t mind the pull-up bar and gaudy trophy’s – those would belong to the hubby.  And I’ve been told they are here to stay :))

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Yes, that is an Impala Skull – Straight from Africa courtesy of my avid hunter Dad 🙂

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And more hand-made souvenirs from Africa 🙂 And do you think I have enough pillows on this couch? Nah 🙂

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Setting a Course for Success

Successful people

Image Courtesy of Marc Benioff

What does it mean to be successful?  I think the answer to that question is ultimately up to you; but, I think there are some general characteristics that set a successful and an unsuccessful person apart.  With 2013 just beginning, it is extremely relevant to say that one extremely important aspect of being successful is setting goals – not resolutions.  Resolutions are easy to put on the wayside whereas goals are set up for every day, and not just with the start of a new year.  Which is why I love the saying – “Don’t leave for tomorrow what can be done today.”  I often hear people say I am going to start doing this on this day or I will start my diet on this day.  WHAT??!! Why wouldn’t you start now?  If you already presume a start and an end you probably are creating resolutions, not goals. So quit procrastinating (yes, you) and sit down and spend 15 minutes hashing out some goals.  And by all means keep adding to them!

How can I make my goals work for me and me work for them?  Start small.  Set up a series of clearly-defined goals, some that are more short-term and some that are long-term.  If you set goals that seem too hard or unobtainable it’s easy to become frustrated and give up. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think big but try to set some goals that are quicker to obtain.  You’ll feel better when you achieve those and continue on towards your longer-term goals.  Make sure you write your  goals down.  If you can’t remember what some of the goals you set are because you didn’t write them down, clearly you will not obtain them.  Also, keep your goals in front of you daily – whether it’s on the fridge at home or on your computer screen at work.   If you see them every day you are more likely to stay focused and on-track.   Lastly, tell your goals to someone or share them with co-workers, family etc.  The more people that  know about your goals the more likely they will help you keep accountable.  And most likely, you won’t want to let others down and that will help you work towards your goals as well.

Remember, goal setting and being successful IS for you! Over a year ago, I would have never believed I could actually start my photography business, maintain my own blog, or a healthy-eating lifestyle.  But I GAVE UP ON my fears and stopped worrying that I wouldn’t be able to do these things.  I had to stop thinking about all the negative reasons why something wouldn’t work and focus on one reason why it would.  Stop being afraid of failure and consequences- they are a VITAL and NECESSARY part of success.  Stop trying to please everyone else, and focus on yourself. Stop watching t.v.  Stop comparing where you are now to someone who started 5 years ealier – you WILL get there.  You are completely worthy of obtaining all of your dreams.  So here is my advice to you – be open minded, believe that ANYTHING is possible, THINK BIG (really big), stay grateful, and be WILLING TO LEARN and yet forget everything you’ve ever known about life.  Only then, will you meet your goals and follow your dreams.

Let’s make this week great friends 🙂

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Starting Anew

I know, I know, it has been a long time since I have made a post and a lot has happened during that time.   It has taken some time for me to get the wind back in my sails after the last few months but I am getting there day by day. Back in November, my husband and I received a call that a couple who had just delivered a baby wanted us to be the adoptive parents of their child.   And in the matter of one weekend, we went from being a couple with no children to being the adoptive parents to a little boy that we named Hudson.  Unfortunately, the story doesn’t end there – Hudson’s parents asked for him back after 8 wonderful days with us.  And we were heartbroken.  We aren’t quite healed yet, but we are getting there and we will make it with flying colors.

But, after having to say goodbye to Hudson, we needed some space to think and heal.  So we left, 1 day later.  We booked flights, rented a car, and planned out an epic adventure out West.  We flew into Denver, Colorado and from there we planned to make the trip all the way to California and see the Yosemite National Forest.  We made it happen and it was and will be one of the most memorable trips of our lives.  Below, I want to share with you some of our beautiful images along they way.

We’ve been through a lot together on this road to parenthood, from being unable to conceive for a year on our own, to seeking out medical treatment.  From there we went through two unsuccessful rounds of IVF.  And here we are 4 years or so later, on this journey to adoption that has been anything but smooth.  But that’s ok – we’ve grown as individuals, and as a couple, and we’ve learned to be resilient and appreciative for the good things we experience in life every day.  So, in the past two months I’ve been enjoying family, friends, and the small things.  But I am back and I am ready to return to my happy, positive, and style-sharing self!

Happy New Year friends, may 2013 be the most epic, beautiful, and inspiring year yet!

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Sharing a laugh or two…

Well, it’s post election day and given all of the political chatter I figure we can all use a laugh or two today!   This is the cutest old couple ever!

Happy Wednesday to you all – just remember we are halfway to the weekend 🙂

Winter Plaid and Ankle Boots

I think it’s official – winter weather has begun, all of the leaves are off the trees and I’m already bidding farewell to fall.  It’s my favorite season but it just always seems so short-lived.   So for that reason, I thought it was due time to break out a holiday-inspired flannel patterned scarf 🙂 (Say that 5 times fast, lol)   Here I’m wearing some black skinny’s, ankle moto boots and a soft dolman sweater.  My style is definitely pretty casual I don’t like a ton of accessories, so again pretty simple and easy to recreate!   Stay tuned to the blog in the next couple of weeks I will be starting my give-away’s, so be sure you all register to win 🙂 Here’s to happy styling friends and a happy weekend!

Dolman Sweater: Forever 21 (Check it out HERE)

Scarf: Younkers (Same on Amazon HERE)

Black Skinny Jeans: TJ Maxx

Ankle Moto Boots: Target, (Check it out HERE)

Another Successful Halloween!

Our neighborhood was buzzing last night with hundreds of  Trick R’ Treaters.   I always love handing out candy and seeing all of the kids in their cute costumes!  And so does our dog – he had to inspect just about every child, scaring some and delighting others!  Sadly, I couldn’t get a pic of him in his pirate hat he was just too excited and wouldn’t sit still 😦  I sure do love my opportunity to break out my lanterns to give the front porch a spooky feel.  Perhaps next year we will carve pumpkins again too, I just didn’t have the energy or time this year!  I hope you all had a happy and safe Halloween – now on to my truly favorite holiday – CHRISTMAS! Let the decorating ideas begin 🙂

Too soon??  🙂

 

Thanks Tucker for protecting us and scoping out the action….lol…

Life is like a box of chocolates….

 

Just in time for Halloween, here’s my costume from this past weekend…my husband and I went as Forrest Gump and Jenny.  This is one of my all time favorite movies and so  i knew it would be a fun couples costume!  My bell bottoms are vintage Fredericks of Hollywood jeans which made it super fun 🙂  As for Travis’s outfit he is wearing my running shorts…lol!  We went out downtown and had a great night with some friends!  Stay tuned for my HALLOWEEN post tomorrow!

 

 

 

Skincare You Can Eat

Yep, that’s right I bake with this product, I clean with it, and I use it as my number one skin care item.  If you haven’t guessed already it’s BAKING SODA 🙂  I seriously love this stuff,  I buy it in bulk and I use it for everything!  My motto is when in doubt try baking soda!   I will use baking soda probably once every other day or every third day as an exfoliant on my face.  While in the shower I will pour the size of about two quarters in to my hand and get it a little damp.   Once I do this it becomes a paste and I gently smooth it around my face in a circular motion.  I find this works great to help your skin look fresh and give it almost a sun-kissed look without the sun and damaging effects.  (That’s a whole other story – but please, please limit your sun exposure, wear sunscreen, and DO NOT whatever you do, go into a tanning bed!)

How else do I use baking soda?

1. I use it along with white vinegar to clean my toilets.  I no longer have a toilet wand that turns a disgusting color.  Most people don’t know that vinegar is actually a disinfectant and keeps everything sparkly clean.  I have in the last year or so COMPLETELY rid my home of harsh chemicals.  I don’t know if people realize but the air in our homes tends to be more polluted than outdoors because of the harsh chemicals we use.

2. I use it along with white vinegar to clean my shower.  I simply use a scrubby pad and sprinkle baking soda into the shower and give it a good scrubbing.  To finish, I spritz my shower with white vinegar ( I literally have a spray bottle I use just for this!)  and watch it foam up and disinfect.  Voila, perfectly clean – with NO chemicals.

3.  I use it to freshen up laundry.  Let’s admit it, we’ve probably all left a load of laundry in the washer and forgotten about it only to discover a musty, smelly heap later!  I throw a cup of baking soda in and rewash and it smells good as new!

4.  I use baking soda to deoderize my carpets.  You can buy the cans of overly floral and fragrant, smelly powders to leave on your carpet and vacuum up OR you can use baking soda and your house is left smelling as exactly as it did before – fresh!  I also only spot clean my carpets with Peroxide – I find it works better to clean up spots than store cleaners.  Also, if your child ever gets a bloody nose and gets it on the carpet this will COMPLETELY remove it!

Well, there you have it – I hope you go out and buy yourself a giant box of baking soda and come up with your own uses!  If you do happen to have a unique use for baking soda you can enter it on the Arm & Hammer facebook site for a chance to win $5000 HERE!  And check the many different uses for baking soda HERE.

Have a great weekend and stay tuned to see my VINTAGE HALLOWEEN COSTUME  tomorrow 🙂

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