The holiday shopping season is almost here! Every year it seems like retailers begin their sales earlier & this year is no exception. Unlike my mother, who always gets her lists together well in advance, I’ve never been the type of person that gets her shopping done early. I always say that I’m going to plan ahead so that I can take advantage of the great Black Friday sales, but I’m usually running around the days before Christmas picking up last minute gifts. Well, Thanksgiving hasn’t even arrived yet & there are already plenty of great deals to be found if you’re ready to get your holiday shopping started! Here are some of the best Early Black Friday Sales around.
I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is less than a week away! The weather here has been so crazy that it’s making it difficult to really get into the holiday spirit. Hopefully we’ll get some fall temps soon so I can start wearing my sweaters & ponchos again! Since the start of the holiday season is right around the corner & the holiday party invites are beginning to arrive, I thought that I would start off my gift guide series with ideas for gifts for the hostess. I know how stressful it can be to host a holiday party, so I always like to bring a little something with me when I attend a party in someone’s home to show how much I appreciate their efforts.
I cannot believe that it is already November! Time flies! We have finally gotten some fall weather here & I could not be happier. There are few things that I love more in the fall than cozying up by the fire with a good book! Here are 7 fall book reviews of mysteries & thrillers that I’ve picked up recently:
Hurray! It’s the first day of the best, biggest sale of the year! I’ve rounded up all of my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks for you! If you aren’t familiar with the #NSale, it’s the once yearly sale when Nordstrom releases BRAND NEW fall pieces at discounted prices. This sale truly lives up to the hype – you can get top name designers, think Tory Burch, Rebecca Minkoff, Kate Spade, at seriously low prices! Early access starts today for Nordstrom cardholders, then opens to everyone on July 21. On August 7, everything goes up to full price.
It’s no secret that reading is my all-time favorite hobby & I always have at least one book loaded onto my iPad & another one on my nightstand. My mother has always been an avid reader & my grandmother was a librarian, so I guess that I come by it honestly! Now that summer is quickly approaching & vacation plans are in the works, I’ve been compiling my summer reading list. While my taste in books ranges from YA to historical fiction to chick lit, I’ve found myself gravitating toward mysteries & thrillers lately. Must be all of the Investigation Discovery Channel I’ve been watching! While I can’t get enough of the page-turners, I’ve also included a few beach reads to lighten up the list. I would love to know what you’re reading this summer!
A few weeks ago we took a Sunday day-trip to the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, Texas. Tyler is only an hour & a half drive from our home in Shreveport, so it’s a really easy & fun trip to make in an afternoon. With 85 acres, 6 exhibit areas & over 3,400 animals, it’s an impressive facility for our area. The zoo is beautiful, with winding paths, lots of shade, & carefully designed habitats. I took so many pictures (an obnoxious number), so I’m sharing a small portion & some of my favorite animals today!CONTINUE READING
Last Thursday I had the opportunity to attend The Zoe Report’s first Box of Style event in Dallas, Texas. The event was part of Dallas Start Up Week & began with a panel featuring Marissa Heyl of Symbology Clothing and Katie Sansom of Tribe Alive to discuss the rise of ethical fashion practices in the industry. Both brands were featured in the spring Box of Style. Symbology’s scarf, which I’ve been wearing tied onto my bag since it arrived weeks ago, was handcrafted by women in the desert region of India. Tribe Alive’s black & white handbag was also made by independent artisans in India. I love that both brands were founded by women as a way to provide women in developing countries with meaningful employment & fair wages.CONTINUE READING
Happy Valentine’s Day! I know that some people view this holiday as nothing more than Hallmark holiday, or a cheesy couples’ day, I love Valentine’s Day. In elementary school, I loved decorating a paper bag with hearts & flowers to hang on my chair & collect cartoon cards & candy from my classmates. In middle school, the cards were fewer, but I could always count on candy from my family. In high school, my friends & I celebrated each other by purchasing the roses sold by student council & there was always the fear that you wouldn’t have a boyfriend to bring you something at school. It’s no secret that pink is my favorite color & that I love getting all dressed up, so is it really a surprise that I love a holiday centered around pink, lacy, & ruffled dresses?
But Valentine’s Day isn’t all about the clothes, the flowers, the gifts, the cards. At its core, for me, it’s a day to celebrate relationships of all types. I’ve been lucky to have the same core group of girlfriends for most of my life (going on two decades now – are we really that old?!?) & we love our girls’ nights. While we aren’t having an official Galentine’s celebration this year, we try to catch up as often as we can & celebrate each other’s victories, large & small. It can be a huge, themed birthday party, drinks to celebrate a new, or a phone call when things are tough, we are always there for each other. Over the years, we’ve become more like family than just friends & I think it’s important to take a moment today to really appreciate how rare & special relationships like that are.
I’ve also been lucky enough to have the most amazing man by my side for the last 5 years. In the fall of 2011, I had been out of law school & living in my hometown of Shreveport for one year. I had just finished a one-year judicial clerkship & was beginning my first year of practice with a law firm. I had just gotten out of a pretty awful relationship & wasn’t really looking to rush into another one. I told myself that I would be open to something if it came my way & that I wouldn’t close myself off, but I wasn’t actively searching. On September 9, 2011 (yes, I still remember the date, I’m a dork like that), my friend Angie offered me tickets to an art opening, so I recruited one of my BFF’s, got dressed up, & headed out for a girls’ night. We ran into an old friend of mine, Ian, & his super cute friend, Patrick. Ian, Patrick, Angie, & I ended up going to dinner later on that night. We talked, we flirted, we had a great time! Then, Patrick & I were just friends for several months. Looking back, I am so glad that we took the time to slowly get to know each other. By Christmas, we were dating & have been together ever since! When I walked into an art opening over 5 years ago, I never imagined that I would meet the love of my life, but I am so glad that I was open to the possibility. There are so many reasons that I love Patrick, but I thought that I would open up & share my top 5 for Valentine’s Day.
He is the most supportive man that I have ever known. I am involved in so many activities, probably too many, & even though he gets frustrated with my self-inflicted lack of free time, I know that he is always behind me, 100%, ready to help in any way that he can. He takes the majority of the pictures for this blog & never complains! Can’t beat that!
He pushes me to be the best person that I can be & encourages me to push myself. He has been so encouraging of this little adventure in blogging. I honestly don’t think that I would have had the guts to put myself out there without him. I love that he continually challenges me & helps me to develop new skills.
His ambition & dedication are inspiring to me. I really hope that just a fraction of them have rubbed off on me. I love that he takes such pride in everything that he does, even the smallest things around the house. He truly is “all-in” in everything & never gives up.
He makes me feel appreciated & beautiful, even when I’m not dressed up for a photo shoot & or at my best. It’s so easy, especially in the fashion industry, to get wrapped up in outward appearances, but it’s still nice to have your significant other make you feel sexy & beautiful. It’s also nice to know that he appreciates all of the hard work I put in around the house to make our lives run smoothly.
Finally, he never fails to make me laugh. Seriously, he is one of the wittiest, funniest people that I know. His dry sense of humor & one-liners cannot be beaten! I love that we can be goofy & silly together.
And now, on to the really good stuff…
I love this cookie recipe because it allows you to change it up each time depending on what mix-in you add. Try it with candy sprinkles (aka funfetti in my house), M&M’s, chocolate chips, raisins & oatmeal, chocolate & marshmallows, etc. Check out even more options by clicking the link above! Last night I mixed funfetti sprinkles into the batter, then topped each cookie with vanilla icing & more sprinkles. I know it’s Valentine’s Day, but all I could find were star sprinkles. 🙁 It’s also super easy. I am not a chef by any stretch of the imagination, so if I can make these cookies, anyone can! Here’s what you’ll need:
1 cup Country Crock Spread
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1-2 cups mix-ins
1. First, preheat your oven to 375°.
2. Mix the Country Crock Spread, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, egg, egg yolk & vanilla in large bowl until well mixed.
3. Then stir in the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda until blended. The dough will be soft and creamy.
4. Add in your favorite mix-ins until every spoonful of dough has some of the mix-ins.
5. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets 3-inches apart. I use Reynolds Baking Sheets to keep the cookies from sticking to the pan. They are pre-cut sheets of parchment paper that fit perfectly onto a cookie sheet. Amazing!
6. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until edges are lightly golden. Cool 1 minute on wire rack; remove from sheets and cool completely.
7. Decorate! I used vanilla frosting & extra sprinkles, but you can use whatever floats your boat!
Happy Groundhogs Day! Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, so it looks like we’ll have 6 more weeks of winter. It’s been unusually warm here, but I feel for everyone dealing with ice & snow up north.
I cannot believe that it’s already February! Where did January go? We had my Krewe’s Mardi Gras Bal, which I was the chair of, last Friday night & it was a huge success! I spent the rest of my weekend recuperating. Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, I’m kicking off the month with some gift ideas for guys & gals. Guys are always so hard to shop for! I feel like you can’t wrong with some tasty chocolate or a cozy pullover. Cologne is always a classic choice. For girls, I rounded up some of my favorite spring choices. This bag is the prettiest blush color & has the cutest bow accent, it’s definitely on my wish list! A block heel is still on trend & this cork option will be perfect with spring dresses. Finally, these drop earrings are already everywhere & I can’t wait to snag a few colors!