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Saturday Inspiration

Happy Saturday! I found these lovely words of wisdom this week and thought that maybe some of you would find it as timely as I did.

Be better today than you were yesterday. Start by enjoying your Saturday morning :)

What are you up to this weekend?

High Five For Friday

Today is actually my Sunday - I've had off of work yesterday and today and now have to work all weekend long. But I'll still play along with the rest of the corporate world and pretend that I'm going to have the next two days off, too!

Some fun things happened this week!

1) Trevor and I went apple picking last Saturday! Yes, we finally found a pick-your-own apple place! It was the perfect Fall day - a bit breezy, some clouds, and in the mid 60s - to wear riding boots and sweaters. It was nice to actually spend some time together!

2)  I started my Christmas list this week. It may seem like I'm totally crazy for doing so... but let me explain. Usually I make my list after lots of reminders and in only about 2 hours. Then, I forget to put things that I'd really appreciate on it and end up filling it up with random crap. I'm proud that I'm ahead of the game this year!

3) Last weekend, I spent some time with an old friend. It was nice to just hang out, eat Chipotle, and go shopping! It felt like ages since I had done something like that.

4) This blogging collaboration has been super fun! Mrs. White is hosting a scavenger hunt {and who doesn't love one of those!?!} and I'm honored to be a co-host. The list of things to "find" was released a few days ago and on Monday the 1st {ahh! October already!} we're all going to link up and share the results of our hunts. YOU SHOULD JOIN US!! Head over to Little Homemade Housewife to get the list and then come back here on Monday to link up. We have a great RSVP response, so you should join us :)

5) I got my hair cut this week. I don't think I've ever had it this short. I was afraid it would make my face look wider. Because I have very fine, very thin hair, it's hard to find styles that actually look decent an hour after styling. Do you know of any great products that work on thin/fine hair?

Like every H54F post, I'm linking up to Lauren at From My Grey Desk!

At the Orchard

We did it.

We finally found a local orchard that has enough crop for customers to pick their own apples.
Right off the tree!

If you remember, I've been worried that our yearly tradition of apple picking would be ruined by this spring's crazy weather. Worry no more, because we went apple picking last weekend!

Thank you, Apple Gods.

Yay! Apples!

I caught hubby with his mouth full of apple on that last one!

I'm so glad we were able to find a nice place to pick apples. They're so yummy and cost less than buying them at the store. Of course, no apple picking trip is complete without a caramel apple and some cider ;)
Now, I've got a lot of apple pies in my future!

Happy Fall!

Addicted to Books

It's too bad that every day only has 24 hours.
You know, because I could use a heck of a lot more sleep than I'm getting!

Working all the time and doing homework until I can't keep my eyes open any longer doesn't leave a lot of time for me to think about anything other than just surviving.
But when I do find myself with a little bit of time, I turn to books.

I love that I can get lost in them and be taken to another place entirely. Books are a phenomenal escape from the hectic life that I live.
Have you ever experienced that sad feeling when you finish a book?
It happens to me every.single.time.

My cure?
Another book.

Lately, I've been reading quick and easy mystery books before bed.
Of course, that's not helping my sleep deprivation because I end up reading one three more chapters.

My latest book obsession has been the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. Each book in the series is numbered in its title - there are 18 books {the 19th comes out soon!} - and chronicles a lingerie buyer turned bounty hunter. There's a little romance, a lot of adventure, and a fast paced story line. Everything I need in a book-break!


Why am I telling you this?
Because some of you told me I'd love the first book of the series and I've made it through 12 books in 6 weeks. 
I'm addicted.

Now, I need more book ideas from you guys because I'm going to be out of books to read in this series soon.

So, what have you read and loved?
I'm open to basically anything!

Easy Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Dudes, it's officially Fall.

I'm burning pumpkin scented candles,
have mustard, brown, burgundy, and orange decor all over my house,
and best of all, I'm eating all things pumpkin.

Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin cookies, and some very easy to make pumpkin spice muffins.

Because I have the best readers around, I thought I'd share how I make the yummiest muffins ever. 
You will want to grab a post-it and a pen to make a grocery list because it is in your tummy's best interest to stock up on the ingredients to make these muffins right away. I make about a batch a week {yes, we go through 12 muffins in a week between the two of us, don't judge!} when I'm feeling especially Fall-ish.

Here's what you need:
A box of cake mix - for this particular batch, I used the Classic White. I've had success with the yellow and the chocolate mixes, too, but my absolute favorite mix to use is a spice cake mix. 
A can of pumpkin - not pumpkin pie filling. Pump-kin. That's it. Only pumpkin.
Spices - I love using lots of cinnamon, nutmeg, and some pumpkin pie spice for good measure {when I'm not using the spice cake mix}.

Preheat your oven to 350*F
Put the cake mix, the whole can of pumpkin, and the spices in a bowl and mix. Mix, mix, mix!
I couldn't tell you how much of each spice I use because I never measure - I only eyeball it. I'd guess I use a couple tablespoons of cinnamon, a couple teaspoons of nutmeg, and a single tablespoon of the pumpkin pie mix.

Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray but don't use cupcake liners, they just get too messy with this specific recipe.
Then divide your batter up between the 12 cups.
I like to sprinkle some more cinnamon on top of the muffins before baking, so if you want to do the same, this is the time to do it!
Toss those puppies in the oven for about 20 minutes!

The muffins will puff up when they bake, but they'll hold their general shape. 
No dome-topped muffins here! Only delicious yumminess!

Let the muffins cool a bit and enjoy! I always make sure I have one warm out of the oven because it's in-cred-ible.
They freeze pretty darn well, so if you want to make a whole batch but only eat a few at a time, this will work well for you!

A touch of cake, some fall spices, and a lot of pumpkin! Sounds like the perfect Fall dessert {yes, we eat them as a dessert} or even the perfect baked good to eat while sipping your morning coffee.


His & Her Q&A

Yeah! Another week of questions from Love the Grows!
His&Her Q&A

How would a classmate have described you in high school?
His: quiet and a little bit goofy.
Her: band geek, smart, loud :)

What was a toy from childhood you never had but coveted?
His: Power Wheels
Her: a Barbie DreamHouse

What is your biggest flaw?
His: My procrastination. {Wife agrees!}
Her: Not taking time for myself. I could seriously go days without caring about what I need, how I look, or what I want to do... but then it catches up with me and I seriously regret it later.

What do you do on your bad days to make you happy?
His: Eat Chinese food or have a beer and try to relax or something.
Her: Talk with close friends, Trevor, or my mom. Just talking about bad things makes them seem not as bad.

What does your other half do for you on your bad days to make you happy?
His: Anything you can to cheer me up until you get mad at me for not cheering up :)
Her: He'll make me dinner and do the dishes and give me lots of kisses and listen to me cry and complain for hours.

When you go to an event/party/potluck, what food do you hope is there?
His: Pecan pie!
Her: Depends on who is bringing the dishes, but usually I LOVE the fresh fruit trays.

What are your favorite smartphone apps?
His: hahaha, the telephone :)
Her: Well, to answer this question, we'd need smartphones. Annnnd we don't have any. We're working on it, but we're not quite there yet. I'd predict that Facebook & Instagram would be winners if I did have a smartphone, though!

What is something that always embarrasses you?
His: I don't know, I feel like I'm not that serious that things embarrass me. I can't think of anything except maybe some childhood stories.
Her: Bringing up certain parts of my past. I don't know why; I wasn't embarrassed back then when they happened but
I am now!

What is some of the best advice your parents have given you?
His: When you're dating, never forget that that's somebody's daughter.
Her: It doesn't matter what other people think.                  Family before friends {in the context of choosing a bridal party}.                    Forgive, forgive, forgive.

Who is your celebrity man crush?
His: Steve McQueen - except, he's dead.
Her: Channing. Always Channing.

There you have it! Enjoy!

Saturday Inspiration

I saw this one and I knew it was too good {and too true!} not to share with you, my favorite readers.

Source: via Sevenly on Pinterest

You're never too old to learn!
In fact, I find some of my most enjoyable, memorable, youthfully fun days are those when I can't get enough of learning.

Happy Saturday, I hope this message inspired you to get out and learn today!

High Five For Friday

Happy Friday, my friends! I've had an incredibly busy week and I found myself looking forward to sharing some moments with you today for H54F. Here we go!

1) Last Friday I drove down to Milwaukee with one of my best friends from high school. We met up with two other high school friends to celebrate a wedding-that-never-was by going out for sushi at 10pm, enjoying a couple adult beverages, bar hopping on Water Street, and dancing the night away! The four of us had an amazing time and are planning another night out next month. My feet have never hurt as bad as they did that night {my shoes bruised me on top of some blisters} and it was freaking hard to go to bed at 4am Saturday morning and try to adjust my sleep schedule so I could get up at 4:30a Monday for work. It was all totally worth it!

Here are my gorgeous friends:

2) Lately I've been chatting with Ashley from After Nine to Five. Turns out she and I live pretty darn close to each other! We're meeting up in the next couple of weeks and I'm so excited!

3) Fall TV is coming back! I'm loving this season of Glee and I can't wait for Revenge, New Girl, & Grey's to return in the next week or so.

4) Trevor found us a local place to pick apples! Because it was so warm this March and then got super cold {frosty} in April, all of the apple and cherry blossoms that had been growing in March were then frozen in April. Most apple orchards around our area don't have pick-your-own apples this year and some are closed altogether. If the weather holds out, we're going to be picking cortlands, jonagolds, and honeygolds tomorrow - continuing the tradition!

5) I'm getting geared up to co-host this bloggy scavenger hunt. The list goes live on Monday at Little Homemade Housewife and we'll all link up October 1st. It's going to rock!
This weekend is supposed to be rainy and in the 50s and 60s here - perfect Fall weather!
Starbucks PSL, perhaps? Movie marathon with my hubby? Pumpkin patch?
Whatever we choose to do it's going to be great :)

Whatever you choose to do {tell me in the comments below!}, make this weekend a good one!


Beauty, Day 3

Hey there and happy Wednesday!

Today is day numbero tres {yup, totally bilingual} of Beauty Week!

I hope you've read Monday's post about makeup and yesterday's post about nail care.

Today, Liz at I couldn't help but wonder... has shared a post all about homemade beauty products. I love them all and I'm stopping at the grocery store on the way home from school to pick up a few of the grocery items I don't already have so I can try them all out {I gotta put my bananas to good use!}.

Check out the recipes, experiment, and enjoy!
Just don't eat it all off your face ;)

Have You Met Laura?

Have you met Laura?
She blogs over at Food Snob STL and is my new foodie blog addiction!

Here's what she wants you to know about Food Snob:
My blog is dedicated to wholesome, healthy food made right in my tiny kitchen. My husband, the Food Snob, has Crohn’s disease, which requires him to eat different than most people. Around our house, we mostly follow the Maker’s Diet, eat organically and locally whenever possible, and eat mostly sugar-free (unless it comes from natural sources like honey or fruit). Needless to say, when we got married 3 years ago, this was hardly how I ate. Gone were the days of frozen pizza and pasta for dinner, and I had to learn how to really cook, read labels and take risks in the kitchen for the first time in my entire life.

My biggest goal in our home, and with this blog, is to provide wholesome, healthy meals that anyone can enjoy. When I tell people the diet we follow, the question I most often get is “what do you eat?” People are at times shocked to find out that we foods just like them, I’ve just figured out how to “tweak” them so that they won’t make the Food Snob sick.

Now that we have a baby (check out my Snobby Mommy posts for more baby info and posts) and I’m breastfeeding, I find that what I eat is even more important than ever. I want to lay the foundation for a healthy child and hopefully avoid any allergies or digestives issues like her daddy has. That being said, we’re human. We like convenience and hate doing the dishes and live on budget.

We try to follow the rules most of the time, but we still enjoy going out to eat, going to different events around St. Louis, having friends over, and sometimes a girl just needs some ice cream and hot fudge sauce ;) . The one rule we always follow is that around here, it’s okay to be snobby about what you eat.

Pretty darn fantastic, right?!? Healthy, wholesome, convenience, budget, ICE CREAM?! Um, hello, I think we could be besties!

If you've never been to Food Snob STL, head there now! While you're there, you need to check out her post on Pumpkin Cream Cheese Brownies and Thin Mint Cookies. I've already made a list of things to get at the store so I can make my own soon! She has A. TON. of recipes on her blog that range from boozy banana bread to entire menus for special occasions. 

I also learned about jicama while I was visiting - I've always seen it at the grocery store, but never knew what to make with it. Now I know and I've added jicama to my grocery list. I can't wait to try it out! Speaking of trying something out, this gazpacho recipe is on my to-make list before snowy flakes start to fall and it's too late to eat cold soups!

Stop by Food Snob STL and try a couple of her yummy recipes!

Don't forget to follow her on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook!

Welcome to Beauty Week!

Today kicks off a week full of posts all about beauty from some of my favorite bloggers!
I'm starting the series with a post about my makeup routine. I've also thrown in some tips and tricks that everyone can use!

First, I have to tell you that I'm allergic to basically everything under the sun. Basically, anything that has blue, brown, yellow, or green pigments in it tend to irritate my skin and make it especially hard to wear contacts because my inner eyelids get super puffy and sore.
Even with my allergies, I can still wear bareMinerals products without having any reaction. Trust me, it's taken years to figure out what I can and cannot put on my skin - lots of trial and error!

I'm able to fit all of my makeup products in a small makeup bag which makes packing to travel so much easier. Plus, because my makeup is almost all powder, I don't have to pack it in the 3-1-1 bags when I go through airport security. Score!

Alright, let's get to it!

I never put makeup on skin that hasn't been washed and moisturized. I use whatever face wash I have in the shower or near the sink, but I always use this moisturizer. Yeah, it's cheap. And yeah, there are so many other products out there. But again, I've tried and tried to find something that would help clear up my skin while at the same time moisturizing {without being too greasy!} and Clean & Clear fits the bill.

Before I put any makeup on, I use primer all over. Remember when I posted about my money saving primer tip? I think it works better than Smashbox primer and it's great that it's only a fraction of the cost!

I also use an under eye brightener from Smashbox (top) because my seasonal year-round allergies make me look like I haven't slept in weeks. I just swipe a bit on under each eye and pat it in lightly. Once that's dry, I use bareMinerals Well Rested (bottom left) under my eyes and on the sides of the bridge of my nose. {Don't use it as a concealer because it lightens everything up rather than covering. If you do, you'll be able to see exactly which blemishes you put it on in photos.}
Then, I use bareMinerals SPF 20 concealer Summer Bisque to cover any red spots or blemishes I have. It usually evens out my skin tone so nicely that I sometimes skip the next step.

After the concealer, I apply my bareMinerals MATTE foundation. I have two different shades - fairly light and fairly medium. I use the light one in the winter and I use the medium shade in the summer when my skin is naturally more tan. A bareMinerals makeup counter woman said a lot of people do it that way, so at least I don't feel weird about it!

 You can tell from the photo above, that my all-over face color on the left, Warmth, is well loved!

And that brings us to the next step - using all-over face color. I own Warmth (left) and a combo of Bare Radiance & Faux Tan (right). I don't always use both colors, but I always use Warmth. It's the perfect color!  I swipe it on my cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin. When I use the combo color, I usually only use it on my cheeks because it gives you a bit of sparkle and I don't need any help in the greasy glistening forehead department!

After the all-over color, I quickly cover everything with Mineral Veil and move on. If I need a bit of shine control during the day, I usually just put a bit more of the veil on and it works wonders!

Finally, I work on my eyes.
I line my upper lid with Maybelline liner pot and layer on a combination of colors from my Clinique Spicy palate. If I'm feeling lazy, I sometimes skip the liner and the shadow because I have naturally darker lids anyways. It's like wearing permanent eye shadow!
I switch mascaras a lot but I always end up coming back to my Cover Girl Lash Blast (orange tube). I love the brush and I love their waterproof formula! Lately I've been using e.l.f. mascara, too, but I put it on with the Cover Girl brush.

Curious as to how I get the makeup onto my face? Here are the brushes I use.
Only 4 of them! So simple!

So you're saying "Great, wonderful, yah hoo, who cares! I just want to see what you look like with this stuff on." right?! Well today's your lucky day, my friends. When else do I have a chance to show my makeup-less blemished face to the entire world? Eh, today's as good of a day as any!

Good thing I don't walk around without makeup on too much... only to the grocery store or something early in the morning. Sorry grocery store people!

And there you have it! My review of bareMinerals, my makeup routine, a tip or two, and an embarrassing photo! 

Do you have anything to share with me about your makeup routine? Any products that you can't live without?

Tomorrow is Jazmine's turn to post about something beauty related. She has a personal struggle she's sharing with you, so don't forget to head over to Life As A Young Mom to read all about it! 
Wednesday, Liz at I couldn't help but wonder... is posting about homemade beauty products and I think you're going to love it!
Thursday, Paige from Eloping Stethoscope will be sharing about skin products she swears by - I can't wait to see if there's anything I can try for my blemished face!
Finally, on Friday Aunie from Aunie Sauce is blogging about a hairstyle we all can try and she's hosting a link up party!

His & Her Q&A

Yeah!! My favorite linkup of the week! 

How did your other half make you feel loved this past week?
His: You didn't run off after you met a whole bunch of guys when you were in Milwaukee {they were there from Chicago celebrating a bachelor party, I was there with my best friends from high school celebrating a marriage that never happened}.
Her: He encouraged me to be positive and live in the moment when something unexpected came up.

What was your biggest hobby as a little kid?
His: Playing "farm" or Legos.
Her: I rode my bike around everywhere and I loved doing anything with friends!

What about the world makes you sad?
His: The lack of common sense people have. People don't think about one another anymore - it's just plain rudeness.
Her: The disrespect that people routinely show each other - through politics, road rage, the Internet, at the grocery store - EVERYWHERE. People need to learn to be tolerant. Period.

What about the world makes you happy?
His: Despite our "best" efforts, it still exists.
Her: Travelling and experiencing all of the different cultures. And the kind souls that I meet everyday at work. There are some amazing people out there!

What is your current favorite song? (Post youtube links/videos if possible!)


If you weren't currently married/dating your other half, where do you think you would you be? (I don't know is not allowed!)

His: Possibly still living at home, possibly still going to school for something. I might have explored other jobs I could have gotten. It's hard to say, my life could have gone a lot of different ways.
Her: I wouldn't be living in such a small town - I'd be in Milwaukee or Chicago or an equally large city enjoying the single life with friends! I never saw myself getting married and settling down before I was in my late 20s so I'm sure it would be something along those lines.

What is your favorite outdoor activity?

His: Taking motorcycle rides.
Her: Biking, going to the beach, going for walks around our neighborhood - I have a lot!

What was your favorite memory from the wedding celebration/reception? (NOT THE CEREMONY. If not married yet- what do you most look forward to about your wedding celebration/reception?)
His: I just liked all of the compliments we got on our day afterwards. We worked hard to make everything very 'us' and it reflected it. So many people had amazing things to say and we are still getting compliments over a year later. Getting all of the compliments made me feel like everyone enjoyed it as much as we did!
Her: The day went by so fast, but I loved driving to our hotel in our decorated getaway car, stopping at Culvers for some food because we were so hungry, getting changed, and then heading to my parent's house for a bonfire and after party. It was just nice to hangout with our families and chill after everything. I'd also have to say that our honeymoon was amazing. I know it wasn't on our wedding DAY, but it was part of the celebration!

What are some traditions that you now share together?

His: Apple picking, and going to ShrimpFest at Red Lobster once a year.
Her: Picking apples in the Fall! Buying a Christmas ornament that reflects our past year together every December.

What was your favorite thing that you did this summer?

His: I liked going up north to the cottage with you, that was nice.
Her: The trip to Chicago and Indiana to visit friends. So fun!

I hope you got to know me and Trevor just a little bit more this afternoon :)
Visit Love the Grows to find more blogs that linked up!
His&Her Q&A

Saturday Inspiration

Happy Saturday! It's been a long week for me and I've made some mistakes. When I stumbled across this, I knew it had to be this Saturday's inspiration that I share with you.

We have a fresh start, a new beginning! Our mistakes do not define us!

Now get out there and make today a good one - it's the weekend after all.

High Five For Friday

Let's get right to it - 5 wonderful things from my life this past week:

 I stood up in a dear friend's wedding last Saturday - more about that here - and these were the beautiful flowers that I got to hang on to all day. Pretty, no?

This is one of the best smelling candles I've ever bought! Now I just need to find out where I can buy more like it... hmm.

Watched this emotional movie because to came highly recommended. It's based on a true story and follows a soldier from Iraq home for his burial in Montana. Somber, that's for sure. And definitely worth a watch. Don't forget the tissues.
Picked up a pair of these beauties at Younkers' Goodwill sale. I can't wait to wear them with some jeans and  a sweater!

And lastly, I'm spending today {and tomorrow} with my three best friends from high school. If things would have gone as planned, one them would have been getting married tomorrow. Because the world works in mysterious ways, she isn't, and instead the four of us are surrounding ourselves with love and friendship.

Until next Friday,

Fall Outfits

Some of you may have seen this post when I posted over at Cutesy Bootsie a couple of weeks ago! I also wanted to share it here with those of you who didn't visit Brook's site when I linked to it here. It's a fun little insight into my dream Fall closet and some background on my style!

Fall is right around the corner - I won't be sad to say goodbye to the hot temperatures we've had the past few months and I will welcome cardigans with open arms! Living in Wisconsin, Fall is usually a short-lived season. It seems we go from temperatures in the seventies to temperatures in the thirties and forties in a week. Because of that, my Fall outfits are worn even when the snow flakes begin to fall. Gotta get my money's worth, right?!

Here's a little background about my style and how I buy pieces for my wardrobe: I'm a little preppy. I like polished looks. If it looks like it's from J.Crew but is actually from Target, I like it even better. When I shop, I usually don't look for a specific item - I've learned I get frustrated and easily give up when I do that. Instead, I have ideas of pieces I'd like to buy and I look for something similar, but not exact. This could mean that I've found an outfit that has a pair of brown, open toed flats that I love. When I'm shopping, I look at brown flats, I look at open toed flats, I look at open toed wedges, and I look at brown wedges. I'll show you an example like this {but with a belt} in a minute. So keep reading, would ya?!

You'll notice that every outfit I'm posting has an adorable cardigan - I'm a sucker for the perfect sweater. I think they're preppy enough to make your outfit look tied together but they're {usually} comfy enough to make you never want to take it off {which, of course, would be gross - wash your clothes, people}!

My Perfect Fall Go-To

My Perfect Fall Go-To by tjmcd featuring fringe scarves

I also tend to wear outfits that aren't blah. I like color! I like prints! I like to mix it up! Now, you won't find me with leopard print boots, pink sweatpants, a lime green sweater, and my hair poufed - I'll leave that to the kids from Jersey Shore! You will find me wearing pops of color like the green sweater above and the gorgeous orange below! And that colorful scarf that matches the tank top? Um, YES PLEASE!


Untitled by juju featuring flat shoes

Classic colors have a special place in my heart. Take this navy sweater, for example. I love the color, I love the flowers, I love the cut, I just love it all! A top in a classic color like navy, grey, or black looks sophisticated and can tone down an outfit if you've gone bolder with your pants/skirt/shorts/whatever or your shoes.

New skirt from ON

New skirt from ON by shopmom featuring a ruffle shirt

I hate shopping for jeans. I am in my twenties and have yet to find a pair that I absolutely love. My waist is at least a size smaller than my thighs are {Hi, yes, I have humongous thighs. no matter what I do, they stay big. I'm destined to be Thunder Thighs forever.} and it seems like every brand of pants I try on that are made for "curvy" body types or are "boyfriend" fit end up still being too big in the waist if they fit in the thighs. Because of that, I wear skirts and dresses a lot in the Fall {and Summer... and Spring}. The skirt above and the dress below would definitely get a lot of use in my wardrobe. All it takes is a nice sweater to take both the skirt and the dress from a Summer outfit to Fall.

Ok, so back to that "I shop for clothes at Target, I'm not ashamed to admit it" thing. See that skinny belt that's paired with the dress and the purple cardi below? Yeah. That little thing will set you back almost 200 smackaroos. And if I happen to have 200 bucks just hangin' out, it sure as heck isn't going to be spent on a skinny belt! It's going toward the thousands I owe in student loans, or a car payment, or HECK I'd give it to charity before I'd buy a belt! So if I happen to see an outfit that I really like and something is insanely expensive, I will shamelessly buy it for cheaper elsewhere. So, where would you find a skinny belt that's not six bazillion dollars? Forever 21, that's where. I have a belt that's the twin sister of the mega-expensive belt that I got at F21 for oh, about 1.5% of the belt below. Yeah, I think I paid $2.80 for mine. Big spender!

Pre-Fall 2011: Floral Print Dress

Pre-Fall 2011: Floral Print Dress by caphillstyle featuring a long boyfriend cardigan

The days are getting shorter and the temperatures are starting to dip at night. Fall is coming!

What are you lusting over to add to your wardrobe this season? Do you have any fashion tips you could share?

Baked Potato Soup

It's been a little cooler in Wisconsin for the past couple of weeks which is totally welcome, if you ask me!

I was looking forward to apple picking this weekend because the weather felt cool, my sweaters are making their way to the front of my closet, and pumpkin candles have been burning all day long on my stove... AND THEN I found out that because we had such a weird spring (super warm temperatures in March, then really cold again in April) that there aren't a lot of apples to be picked... which means orchards are not offering pick-your-own this year, they've pre-picked apples instead.
And now I'm bummed! Trevor and I found a great family owned apple place last year and were looking forward to making it a tradition...

Anyway, I'm totally off track now.
Darn apples getting me sidetracked.

I was telling you about the cooler weather lately! Cooler weather = soup weather! And I want to share a delicious {and easy, and healthy} baked potato soup with you that you can make in a flash - tonight, or whenever the mood strikes.

The best part about this soup I'm sharing with you? It's not as carb heavy as the usual baked potato soup. How does such a wonderful thing happen? You use cauliflower in place of some potatoes! It's pretty darn amazing, and you can't even taste a difference!

Here's a link to the original recipe that I started using, but my modified version is what you'll find typed up in this post.

It looks pretty darn great, right?! It tastes just as good as it looks, I promise.

You'll need:
2 baking potatoes (I use small ones)
1 head of cauliflower cut up (I use mostly the florets but throw in some of the stems to bulk it up)
1 1/2 cups of no sodium added, fat free chicken broth
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup fat free sour cream
salt and pepper
*some* cheddar cheese (we only put cheese on our soup after serving it, so this amount is determined by each person)
*some* bacon bits (again, each person puts their own amount of bacon bits on, so this amount is different every time)

Ok! Let's make some soup!

Poke some holes in your potatoes after washing and drying them. Toss them into the microwave for 5ish minutes or until tender. Then, cut up the potatoes into chunks.
While your potatoes are in the microwave, cut up your cauliflower and toss it into a stock pot/soup pot with about an inch of water in the bottom. Cover then bring to a boil. Let your cauliflower "steam" this way for about 5 minutes. Drain the water out.
Add the potato chunks to the pot with the drained cauliflower. Then add the chicken broth and milk and bring to a boil.
Use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree the mixture into a smooth soup. You'll be surprised by how fast it thickens up!
Add the sour cream and salt & pepper to taste. Cook on low for a few more minutes.
Serve it up in bowls and portion your own cheese and bacon bits.

The whole recipe takes 15-20 minutes and is SO filling. I usually only need to eat 1 ladle of this soup to keep me full for the rest of the day. Because this recipe makes so much and is so filling, we always have leftovers. I'm happy to report that the soup is just as good a couple days later as it is fresh.

I've shared this recipe with family and friends and I've only heard good feedback about it! Head to the grocery store and pick up what you need to try this soup tonight!

Enjoy the return of soup weather!

Have you substituted carbs with cauliflower before? Have you liked it?
Have you tried this recipe? What did you think?!

Wedding Weekend

I was in my third and final wedding of 2012 this past weekend and I had a great time! Forgive the quality of these photos... when you're in the wedding party, there isn't a lot of time to snap pictures of the wedding day and Trevor didn't exactly have many opportunities to get good photos either.

My oldest friend married the love of her life in a Saturday afternoon ceremony under some gorgeous willow trees.

I felt so honored to stand next to her as she and her husband vowed to love and care for each other forever.

It didn't hurt that I was part of a wonderful bridal party!

Of course, we had a great time at the reception, too!

Here's to many years of happiness!

When was the last wedding you were in?


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