Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thankfulness Tuesday: New Year

New Years Eve always make me reflect on the past year (even more so than Thanksgiving). So much has happened this past year and it has seriously flown by. It seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating last New Years. So I want to thank all of you, my readers, who have made me feel like I'm a decent blogger ;) Also, the amazing people that have given me the opportunity to build my blog and to blog about their products (some of these are upcoming): Ocean Avenue Boutique, The Prickly Pear Boutique, Alta Moda, Bent by Courtney, Kelly Coleman: Rodan and Fields, Stevie at Truche and Pretty Southern by Leigh. Thanks for taking a chance on someone who's just starting out but that really loves blogging and really loves your products.

I told someone the other day that blogging to me isn't just about getting free stuff or even getting paid (though these things are nice)...blogging is about expressing the things I love and sharing my ideas with others. Heck, you may think that I'm exactly like every other blogger out there...but maybe, just maybe you see something different. I'm not going to write about how easy life is and how my child behaves all of the time. You will most likely see me in outfits that look ridiculous (I'm no self proclaimed fashion queen) and hear me talk about real life.

This past year I have grown as a person. I like to laugh about the fact that this year was my Quarterlife Crisis. I ran my first 15K, I ran my first half marathon, I dyed my hair brown and I started a blog. I guess my crisis could have been worse ;) I'm sure this year ahead holds many wonderful things, but I feel so blessed to have had 2013. Sure, there were hard times...there always will be, but those are what help me grow as a person...those are what make me relate to you. Life isn't about being easy, life is about the people you meet, the chances you take and the blessings you can bestow on others.

I hope that in this year ahead, I can bless you with some kind of words of wisdom and encouragement. This blog isn't about dollar signs...it's about you and sharing a piece of my life with you.

So Cheers to a great 2014 and to making lots of new friends through this blog!

Xo,

J

Monday, December 30, 2013

Menu Mondays: Sweet Potatoes with Cranberries

Don't you just love a side dish that looks fancier than it actually is? Well this one definitely is just like that. It's beautiful and tasty and insanely easy (I mean, have you met me?!). I'm not sure where this recipe originally came from (I stole it from my mom).

The ingredients you need:

4 3/4 lbs sweet potatoes (or yams) (peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces)
3/4 cup maple syrup (the real stuff)
6 tablespoons of butter melted
1 1/2 teaspoons of orange peel zested

6 tablespoons dried cranberries
Chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350 and bring a pot of water to a boil (and salt). Boil the potatoes for 3 minutes and then drain. Transfer the potatoes into a 13x9x2 in glass dish. Mix together the syrup, butter and orange zest together (see below).


Pour the liquid over the potatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat. (Can be refrigerated over night). Bake for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender (basting occasionally). Mix in cranberries and let the potatoes cook for 15 minutes until they are very tender and the glaze is thick. Garnish with parsley and serve.
This dish goes great with basically any meat...it's delicious!

Xo,

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Snapshot Sunday: Christmas

Hope y'all had a very Merry Christmas...we spent the holidays in sunny (and hot Florida). I'm sure you've seen most of these pics (you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook: link on the right).
Before we even got on the road, E busted his chin open...perfect. Nothing a kiss and a Spider-Man bandaid can't fix :)
E and Milly were such great road warriors...we even stopped at a cotton field in South Georgia!
 When we got to Florida (it was 80 degrees) all of the cousins had a great time splashing in the pool!
 We went to a candlelight service on Christmas Eve (my favorite service of the year!).
E put out cookies (and he ate one) and milk for Santa. We didn't have time to make homemade cookies this year, so Santa got Oreos...I'm sure he didn't mind.
It's tradition in our family to read the Polar Express on Christmas Eve. E loved it and wanted to read it over and over.
E was so excited to see what Santa had brought him. Lots of super heroes, Mickey tractor, a fire truck, puzzles...
He thought the orange in his stocking was super funny.
We spent Christmas day with the hub's family. We had a big meal and lots of gifts! And I loved being able to wear a short sleeved Lilly dress in December!
 
 E also got a doctor's outfit...who can resist a doctor in smocking?!
 And then we started potty training...crazy?! It's a lot of work, but we are getting there.
White Russians and Lilly...what a great combo. Thanks to my father-in-law who makes the best White Russians!
E couldn't wait to get home so he could play with his toolbench from his grandparents. So.much.fun!

Hope y'all had a great week!

Xo,

Friday, December 27, 2013

Friday Faves: Christmas Gifts

I hope that all of your Christmas wishes came true. Mine sure did. I got some amazing gifts and I'm only featuring a few of them on the blog today (so I don't go on and on and on). Truth is that this year I'd much rather give E Christmas gifts than even worry about getting anything. The hubs and I decided not to do gifts this year too...it's just easier that way. So without further ado, my Christmas favs.

Why hello there monogram sweater. This Old Navy sweater (from one of my dear friends) is super cute and so cheaper than the Lilly Pulitzer sweater (though I wouldn't argue if someone gave me the Lilly one).
So maybe one day the weather will get cool enough for me to actually wear my Shep shirt, but Vineyard Vines Shep shirts are so nice and cozy. The best part about these is you can throw them on with anything...leggings, jeans, t-shirt, button-up. Size-up on these babies because if you're going to wear anything under it, you'll want a bigger size :)
Did you really think I wasn't going to get a ton of Lilly Pulitzer dresses for Christmas? Obsessed with these two dresses (can it PLEASE be warm enough to wear them now?!). I'm totally busting out the Paula Sweater dress with leggings and boots!
I also won't complain about the bottle of champs we got and many other amazing gifts (I told you, I was only featuring a few).

May you enjoy your Christmas gifts as much as I do :)

Xo,

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Notecards

Y'all, I truly believe in handwritten notes. I think they make a world of difference and are basically non-existent (which makes me super sad). I think it's so important to send thank you notes and E will grow up doing so. Yes, I'm guilty of sending e-mails to people to thank them, but what a difference it makes when you hand write one!

So I found these great notecards in the Target Dollar Bin (www.target.com). Aren't they adorable?! It's an 8-pack for $1 and they are good quality and the envelopes are even cute. I can't wait to write away on these babies!

So rush on to your Target Dollar Bin (and I bet you'll find a few more amazing things too).

Xo,

J

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wellness Wednesday: Rodan & Fields

And once again, I avoid the workout post this week...it's Christmas day, I thought we could celebrate with a wonderful gift I believe you can give yourself this year (even though today is Christmas, you still deserve a special treat). One of my goals in the upcoming year is to really feel more confident. I really hate my skin...and I'm terribly embarrassed to go anywhere without make-up on. It's true, this is a BIG insecurity of mine. Now that you all know, you'll probably check my skin out in every picture and I'll feel even more self-conscious...teasing! So, when I had the opportunity to try and amazing skincare product that people really believe in, I couldn't resist.

It's not often that I get an evening that I'm not chasing a 2.5 year old around plus a dog, so I really wanted to take advantage of pampering myself (just a little bit). I began massaging the Micro-Dermabrasion paste on my face (avoiding the eye area) for about 60 seconds. I really felt like I was cleaning all of the impurities out of my skin (I totally feel like I need to do this once a week). I then rinsed my face off and dried it completely. Next was the most amazing step of all: I put the Night Recovery Serum all over my face (once again, avoiding the eye area) and man did my face feel amazing. I topped it off with the Lip Renewing Serum which made my lips feel super smooth (my lips have been so dry from the wind and running in the cold).

Y'all, I can't explain to you how smooth my face felt. I even made my husband feel it (I'm pretty sure he thought I was a weirdo). My make-up glided on flawlessly and my lips are still nice and moisturized. I'm pretty sure I need everything in this kit! (I do have a birthday coming up...)


Rodan + Fields products are pretty darn amazing. According to their website, "Rodan + Fields® Dermatologists are committed to connecting you with the products, the knowledge, the resources and the opportunities to change your skin and to change your life. Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields, the creators of Proactiv® Solution, launched Rodan + Fields Dermatologists to extend their vision of bringing dermatology based skincare solutions to everyone." "With Rodan + Fields, looking good and feeling confident has never been easier and it's all possible without a trip to the dermatologist's office. Our products are clinically proven to deliver on their promises and this has led to a large and loyal customer base. We’re so confident that you’ll experience real results that all of our products come with a 60-day Satisfaction Guarantee."

The products are sold by independent consultants who run their own virtual franchise. For information about the products and/or a business venture, visit Kelly's page: https://kellycoleman.myrandf.com/.

You can also purchase products from Kelly's page (she is amazing and is super helpful in identifying which products you really need) and receive a free mini-facial (like the kit I described above) when you become a preferred customer (PC). No code needed for this offer. Also, when you become a preferred customer you will get 10% off and free shipping on your order and all future orders. 

You can also click on the Solutions Tool and figure out what products are best for you.  

I promise, you really will love these products (and Kelly too).

Xo,

J

**Disclosure: I was provided a sample for purpose of the review, but the opinions expressed are my own

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Thankfulness Tuesday: Christmas Tradition

I love tradition. I love having something that I know that we are going to do...something to look forward to. Part of becoming a family is creating your own traditions...taking some from his family and taking some from your family. It's fun to come up with new ideas too. A few of my favorite Christmas traditions are advent season, cutting down a tree and Christmas Eve service. I also love Christmas parties and dressing up in fancy clothes.

 

When I was growing up, my mom started the tradition of the advent calendar. Every other day (my brother would get a gift every other day too--so say I got even days and he got odd days) we would get a small gift leading up to Christmas. They weren't big gifts, but small things that we could enjoy throughout the holiday season. I've continued this tradition with E (and will with his future siblings--no I'm not pregnant). Obviously the picture above is not our advent calendar (but we have the same one from Pottery Barn Kids). Each day E gets a small gift (a book, a bath toy, a coloring book, etc.) and we talk about the reason for the season. It was always something I looked forward to growing up and I hope our kids will too.

Tree cutting is another one of my favorite things to do (this picture is from last year). There's nothing better than having a live tree in your home and having your child run through all of the trees to pick one! This year we went with our neighbors which made it even more fun for E.

There's nothing better than a candlelight Christmas Eve service (no picture necessary) and singing Silent Night. It brings chills just to think about it. And then to go into church and sign Joy to the World the next Sunday!

We also love going to Christmas parties. Last year we hosted our Sunday School party at our house. It was a lot of work, but so nice to have our friends enjoy our decorations. We go to several holiday parties throughout the season and it's always nice to be close to loved ones during this time of year.

I hope that you have the most blessed holiday season of all! Much love to you from me!

Xo,

J



Monday, December 23, 2013

Menu Monday: Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

One of my favorite go-to sites for yummy food is Mix and Match Mama (also known as Sean Lowe from the Bachelor's sister). I needed a quick and easy dessert for kiddos and adults alike, so I found this delicious recipe. You can find more whoopie pies at: http://www.mixandmatchmama.blogspot.com/search/label/Whoopie%20Pies.

They are super simple...the longest part is waiting on them to cool before you put the frosting in the center. I'm sure you could make a much more homemade version of these (homemade frosting would be delicious).

Needless to say, the kids loved them and I may have finished off the leftovers (I swear that's why I run...I should weigh 300 lbs).


Shopping List
1 box red velvet cake mix
1/2 cup veggie oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup water
store bought cream cheese frosting
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine cake mix, oil, eggs, and water in bowl. 

Drop by 2 tablespoons onto lined cookie sheet (leave about an inch between each cookie)

Bake 9-10 minutes

Cool on pan 5 minutes, move to wire rack and cool 15 more minutes

Pour frosting into a bowl.  Add in chocolate chips and stir until chips are evenly distributed in frosting.

Take one cookie and place a tablespoon or so of frosting in the center.  Press another cookie on top (this will spread the icing out to the edge).

Yum!

Xo,

J

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Snapshots

I can't believe it's the week before Christmas! I finally got my Christmas cards but still haven't wrapped one thing! Oh well! It's been a week of Christmas parties and fun with our family. Just a few pictures of what we've been up to this week!

We had the hub's office Christmas party at our house this year and copy-cated on of my besties on this appetizer tree (it's actually a lot harder to make than you think). Hopefully the video below of E playing the harmonica works. He stole it from one of Jon's co-workers for white elephant. He was actually pretty darn good!
video
Hope this sweet video works!
 Who knows what E got into on Monday but he ended up with blood gushing from his face...thankfully, Spider-Man makes everything better (I was desperately trying to avoid the ER).
How amazing is this necklace by Bent by Courtney from Alta Moda?! I'm obsessed and I get to wear it for y'all and write about these amazing companies (stay tuned, it won't be too much longer...in the meantime, check out their sites).
I promised to always be a "real" blogger...well this really happened...I was wearing a leather skirt that day too...rough.
E had a fashion show while I was showering. I'm pretty sure he was impressed with his shoe style :)
My office always gives him gifts at Christmas. He was thrilled with a Hess truck, a chocolate tree and a snowman box :)
 And some days, you just have to wear leopard heels.
We made gingerbread houses with our sweet neighbors on Friday...E lasted a good 10 minutes, he was way more interested in eating the candy (still is).
I went running with my brother's dog on Saturday...I was supposed to wear her out...sike...she killed me. We did the first half mile in 3 minutes. The rest was slower, but still I was dead.
We celebrated Christmas with my grandmother and aunt/uncle/cousins. E thought he should eat the butter at the country club (he's definitely well-mannered and refined).
 
 And we ended the weekend with lots of yummy dessert at Anna and Papa's and a million more bots.

Hope you have had a wonderful weekend as we enter the week before Christmas!

Xo,


Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Faves: Prickly Pear Boutique Clutch


 

Before I even begin the review of the clutch, I have to tell you how amazing Amy and the ladies at The Prickly Pear Boutique are.  They are located in Louisville, KY and are seriously the nicest people you'll ever meet. Amy is a doll and willing to go above and beyond in everything to make you happy. I love small businesses and this is definitely one that I'll support for a LONG time!

Okay, now onto the amazingness...Y'all, I can't even begin to tell you how amazing this clutch is! It is awesome. It holds EVERYTHING. It holds credit cards, make up, money and most importantly my EPI pen ;) 

This is my clutch that +The Prickly Pear Middletown, KY featured on her Instagram account. Isn't it beautiful?!
Can you tell how much crap I have in this clutch? It fits soooo  much! I mean it's kind of insane!

It also sits up nicely when your stuff is in it and I love the zip on the top so that your stuff doesn't fall out!
I love that you can carry it as a clutch or use the strap for a purse. I also use it to throw into my big purse (or diaper bag). All of my stuff is in one spot. It's amazing quality and super cute!

It's available in lots of amazing colors (black, brown, gold, bronze, navy, pink, mustard, orange, red, light beige). And any color of monogramming.

AND...it's only $23 plus $8 monogram. The perfect price for a birthday gift!

Check out The Prickly Pear Boutique at @thepricklypearboutique and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thePricklyPearBoutique.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Toddy Thursday: Poinsettia Cocktail

Okay, I know I threw a wrench in yesterday's post by not giving you any workout wisdom and it's about to happen again. I know...I'm so type A personality and predictable that you can't believe I'm changing it up again *gasp* but I am!

I had to fit this in somehow (I'm not so great at this scheduling thing yet) before Christmas because it's just that amazing. In fact, it's so amazing I only took one picture of it myself :)

I love a yummy holiday cocktail and this one is perfect. It's light and refreshing and screams holiday!

You can thank Emeril for this one: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/poinsettia-cocktail-recipe/index.html.


Ingredients

1/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup Champagne
1/2 cup cranberry juice
Crushed ice
2 strips orange zest, each about 1/4-inch wide and 2 inches long

Directions

Combine the vodka, Champagne and juice in a large-stemmed red wine glass. Add crushed ice and stir until the mixture is well chilled. Twist the orange strips over the glass, drop them in, and serve.

So bascially I made a huge pitcher of it by multiplying everything by 10. So my recipe looked like:

2.5 cups vodka
2.5 cups Champagne (I actually added more to this because there was room at the top and I love bubbles)
5 cups cranberry juice (I used a cranberry grape because that's what I had)
Crushed ice
Orange zest (I zested straight into the cup)

It's insanely easy, you can't taste the alcohol at all and it's really pretty! I might be drinking these pre and post Christmas :)

 
Image from foodnetwork.com

Enjoy!

Xo,

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Non-Workout Wednesday :)

I interrupt this Workout Wednesday to bring your our Christmas card (Who needs to work out the week before Christmas anyway?!). I hope you don't mind that I don't have workout advice for you today, but the beautiful Christmas card that we sent to our sweet family and friends.


My brother (http://www.dylanwilsonweddings) is a fantastic photographer out of Savannah. He's amazing and captures such beauty in all of his images. I'm thankful to have a wonderful photographer in our family.

The lake at my parents' house was the perfect backdrop for our pictures. It was freezing and E was not happy wearing just his Christmas clothes. Thank goodness I had the last minute thought to bring our matching camel colored jackets. What I didn't expect that I'd love the pictures in our coats better than the pictures in our dress clothes.

Dress by Banana Republic, shoes (old) by J.Crew and cardigan by Target (see older blog post). Cards were printed at Shutterfly.

Check out my new Facebook page www.facebook.com/georgiapeachmommyblog and my Instagram @georgiapeachmommyblog

Xo,