Friday, March 3, 2017

HelloFresh First Timer + Review

We had our first experience with HelloFresh last week and we loved it! And here's my reasons why.

1. It makes a great at-home date night.
This was the initial reason I wanted to try it. We've been doing weekly dates nights and I thought it'd be fun to do something a little different but still cooking at home together. But it ended up being the perfect break from meal planning and grocery shopping that I needed.

Doing it for our date night was so fun. The meals come with step by step directions and pictures so it was just fun for us to turn on music, get the wine started and divvying up the prep work.

2. Super easy and great ingredients
The other two meals we got, I ended up making by myself but to just go in the pantry and pull out the box of all the stuff I needed for dinner and not have to think about it was such a treat.
I loved that lots of the prep work was already done. Like pre-peeled garlic cloves and de-tailed shrimp!

For me, getting in the kitchen with a new recipe and no kids around my ankles is my happy place. I truly enjoy cooking like this and easy cooking guide is a welcomed relief at the end of a long day.

Also, this meal was our favorite.
Fiesty Shrimp Linguine

3. Generous Portions
The other thing I'll say that I loved is the that the portions for the family pack we got were really generous. Like for this Balsamic Chicken, Josh and I just ate it the first night and later in the week I was able to feed all four of us with the leftover portion.
Our whole family ate the shrimp meal twice. And the left over beef stirfry made quesedillas for the guys and topped a salad for me. We were able to make this 3 meal pack feed us all week.

4. Special ingredients I wouldn't normally have
For me it was fun to use ingredients that I wouldnt' normally have in my pantry.
Like Herbs de Provence for the veggies. So good.
And hoisin sauce for the beef stirfry. We loved it. And it felt like a treat because it's not flavors we have all the time.

Having HelloFresh last week was such a treat for us!
And now you can treat your family by using my referral link for $40 off your first box!
Try it and make your week 1000x better!

 Have you tried it before? Are you a HelloFresh regular? Let me know your thoughts!
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Friday, February 17, 2017

Galantines Brunch + Printable Cards

Galantines Day is one made up holiday that I definitely celebrate.
Because good girlfriends are the stuff of life.

I started doing throwing a little Galentines Day brunch several years ago when I lived in Virginia 
and for me, it was the perfect way to celebrate the girls who had 
invested so much in my life by their friendship. I really encourage you to do this. 
Not Galentines, although that's a perfect excuse, but just celebrate the people who invest
in you. Good friends are among the best things in life and deserve that celebration.

For me the food is the hardest part. So I made it easy on  myself and made stuff that I know how to make and make well. Two types of quiche and hash browns. And bread and fruit are always an easy add on. 

Making these Pink Grapefruit Mimosas was maybe my best decision. So delish.
The recipe is super simple and I just made it up so just go with it.
Equal parts: 
-pink grapefruit juice 
- and champagne 
and then blood orange slice and blueberries for garnish!
(You can always sub grapefruit flavored sparkling water for anyone who doesn't prefer champagne)

I think simple and beautiful is the way to go. 
Pull out a table cloth, the real napkins, put out place settings and maybe grab some fresh flowers
and you'll have yourself a well set table!

I've even made it easy for you and I've included my placards here as a free printable download
I like to do the printables for you guys as a little thank you for all the ways you support my brand and my online shop. So, enjoy and celebrate the people in your life! These would even make cute little encouragement cards to send in the mail! 
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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Currently Wearing

As this January has had some unseasonably warm weeks, I've been taking full advantage.
Sneaking in a Spring look a little early for this month's look.

Currently wearing:

I might be a tad biased since Kerry is my best friend, but her bags and clutches are my absolute favorite! The black leather in this bag is so soft and quality and paired with gold hardware, I get compliments on it wherever I go.

I love this little gold bar necklace and I wear it almost everyday. I actually won it
in a giveaway that Callie Jewelry had and got it initial with G&G on it for my two little boys.
I've had it over a year and it's held up really beautifully.

Deal of the Day
I could not believe it when I saw that these were $13 on Amazon! They looked so much like
real leather in the picture and I was a huge skeptic, but for $13 I decided to take a chance.
And I'm so glad I did. Perfectly neutral with a bit of flair, fit true to size and comfortable!
They're definitely not the quality of real leather, but I'll take a good knock off anyway!

I've told you guys about ThredUp before but I just really love everything they do.
Their customer service and free returns have been so awesome. Since moving to a small town, I've had to depend on online shopping a lot more and it's been nice to be able to find some well priced pieces online since I don't have the resources for clothing thrifting like I once did.
If you've never tried it, use my referral link to get money added to your account 
and buy something cute!

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread - on the Healthier Side

I'm always looking for something to satisfy my sweet tooth but not make feel super guilty when I eat it. So this moist, chocolatey bread packed with veggies and applesauce instead of a lot of oil is one I love to make!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread
2 cups shredded zucchini

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup cocoa

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray and flour a loaf pan and set aside.
2. Use a towel or paper towels to slightly press down on the shredded zucchini to eliminate some of the moisture. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add the brown sugar, eggs, oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Mix to combine. Stir in the zucchini, then fold in the chocolate chips. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.
4. Let the bread cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before serving. Don’t skip the cooling process – the bread will appear underdone if you slice and serve while it’s still warm.

This bread is excellent as dessert with a glass of milk or in the morning with your cup of coffee! Enjoy!
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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Kitchen Counters on a Budget - Concrete Counters

When we were looking at houses online, I skimmed right over our house at first because I was like 'woof, that kitchen.'

But eventually I started to dream and imagine it not yellow.
And then we set out to do the work. Which started with painting. We used the same pretty light gray that we chose for our living room and hallways. 

And that helped a ton. But then we were left with the retro boomerang counters.
Which were kinda fun and made us feel like we were really in a diner when when
would sit in the booth but they just weren't our style.

So, Josh and I went and priced out counters.
And promptly came home and started researching alternate routes. 
Because the cheapest option was gonna cost about $1500 just for our small space and we weren't even in love with it.
So when I saw Young House Love's concrete counters, I showed Josh the tutorial and asked
 him what he thought. It was by far our cheapest option at only about $150 all in with materials but
it would definitely require the most man-hours on his part.
But that has never scared him.

Since the kitchen would be unusable for several days, I took the boys and headed to NY to stay with my best friend so that Josh could get the work done without worrying about us in the way and the boys getting into stuff! 
He followed the YHL tutorial using the feathering concrete.
So if you're wanting to try your hand at this, I suggest following their detailed and step by step tutorial because that's what we did.
We did take the extra step and remove the appliances and sink while doing the work though.

The sanding was the messiest part of the project.

And the drying times in between coats of concrete and then coats of sealer took the longest.

And when we got home the sealer was still drying, so we erred on the side of caution 
and didn't set anything on them for several days.

But once they were dry, I was beyond thrilled with how they looked!

The sealer gave them a nice sheen that made them look even more like a stone.

I can't tell you how much more I like this kitchen without yellow walls and blue counters.

After several months of using them, they have held up really well.
I chalk that up to the good job Josh did on them.
We do have some discolored spots behind our sink where it gets wet a lot and
also where I sit our butter dish, it seems some of the oils have seeped through.
But because of the variated look of the concrete anyways, it blends really well and even adds to the character and charm. 

And we've gotten to enjoy so many good times and great food in our feels-like-new kitchen!

Overall, we are super happy with our decision, they way they look, 
and the money that's still in our pockets. :)

Next up, new kitchen flooring!
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