My Favorite Christmas Cookies

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I do not claim to be a cook – just ask my fiancé about a recent Pinterest fail involving copycat Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets – BUT I do feel confident in my baking abilities so naturally I look forward to Christmas baking all year long! While wedding planning has taken over most of my time – 10 days! – I made time Sunday afternoon to crank up the Bing Crosby and make our family’s favorite Christmas cookies: Tea Cakes.

The recipe comes from an old JCS cookbook that my mom has used since I was little, and we’ve been making these tea cakes ever since with our vast collection of holiday cookie cutters. They’re amazing as is or iced with a simple icing (powdered sugar, vanilla, milk), and while I kept this batch chic with a layer of white icing and pearl green sugar sprinkles, feel free to get your creative on when it comes to decorating your candy canes and Christmas trees!

Happy Holiday Baking!

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XOXO,

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Six Things: Thanksgiving Edition

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[ Festive storefront while shopping in Old Town Spring ]

Happy Monday and I hope you’re all recovering nicely from your Thanksgiving food comas. My Thanksgiving holiday was spent in Houston with my future mother-in-law and co, which was made all the more fun when my brother decided to come along with us for the week! Driving 12 hours through the night wasn’t super but thanks to caffeine and plenty of bad pop music we made it there and back without any speeding tickets or major fights. Since everything is bigger in Texas, we had to pack in all the good stuff into five days, including all the homemade amazingness cooked daily by my future mother-in-law. Not ideal for my pre-wedding “diet plan” but so worth it! My favorite moment of the week was when we paused during our Thanksgiving meal to go around the table and share what we’re the most thankful for this year- it was perfect.

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[ Getting our golf on and enjoying the unseasonably warm weather at TopGolf]

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[ These two weren’t too interested in shopping ]

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[ Mom went to school with Tay’s mom at the ole’ FHU so of course we pulled out the annual ]

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[ Festival of the Lights at Moody Gardens got us all into the holiday spirit ]

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[ The first of many Thanksgivings with this handsome guy ]

Well it’s December 1st which means roughly 24 days until Christmas and 19 days until our WEDDING! It’s hard to believe it’s almost here but I know the Christmas tunes and my wonderful fiancé will keep me jolly during the inevitable mad dash of last minute wedding planning. Have a great week and Merry Christmas!

XOXO,

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Links I’m Loving

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1. Not a morning person? Here are 8 things happy people do every morning. (mindbodygreen.com)

2. I love a good holiday duet and this one is spot on. (hellogigles.com)

3. How to survive Thanksgiving (in gifs). (huffingtonpost.com)

4. Cozy outfit inspiration as the temperatures continue to drop. (glitterguide.com)

5. Ideas for giving back this season, from cleaning out your closet to hosting a pajama party. (laurenconrad.com)

6. Grown-up glitter accessories for Brides-to-be = Obsessed. (brides.com)

7. THIS! Meet the adorable 5-year-old who is combating homelessness with her “little bags.” (today.com)

XOXO,

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Six Things

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[ Perfect work lunch send-off from these lovely ladies ]

Truth be told, I could have used a personal assistant this week. Between packing up the old house, finishing strong my last week at HCCP and moving to a different state – it was a lot. The wonderful thing is that friends, family and my loving fiancé made the week a little easier and dare I say FUN. Other highlights of the week included two wedding showers, a lovely send-off dinner with friends at a favorite spot, watching the first snow, and getting some love from Ms. Zooey Deschanel. Have a great week!

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[ A huge thank you to my friends at HCCP for a super wedding shower ]

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[ …and for capturing this classic shot ]

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[ We’re pretty much pros when it comes to paint touch-ups ]

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[ Gorgeous co-ed wedding shower for us at our new church home ]

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[ Favorite shower detail ]

XOXO,

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Ladies, Let’s Play Nice

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When I hear females saying things along the lines of “I’m not friends with too many women because they’re too much drama” or “I don’t really get along with women usually,”  I can’t help but cringe. After years of experiencing all kinds of female relationships both good and bad, I’ve asked myself the same question over and over again: Why can’t women just be nice to each other?

The truth is, most females, no matter how old they are will tell you that they’ve survived at least one type of mean girl in their past. Whether it was a situation that dealt with putting someone down, being dismissed or just plain ignored, they all seem to boil down to one thing- hatred. The opposite of nice. I just don’t understand it. Why is it that we feel so threatened by the way another woman dresses, speaks or acts that we feel like it’s our job to play polite police? Why is it that sometimes it seems easier for us to speak about what we think is wrong than all the wonderful things that are right?

Ladies, we could run the world if we started showing a little kindness towards each other. As women we should be each other’s greatest allies, not competition, at home, in our circle of friends, at church and in the workplace. Let’s be real, none of us are perfect, so why judge each other so harshly? For starters, we’ve got to change the way we speak to each other. We’ve got to stop saying things without thought of how we’ll make her feel, including:

I could never do that

How are you even managing that?

Oh, did you stop going to the gym?

Do you eat anymore?

You look exhausted

Let’s change the conversation into one we actually want to be apart of, that is uplifting and leaves both parties feeling more confident, like:

You look so happy

I’m proud of you

That’s a great color on you

Great job with _____

You make it look so easy!

Kindness is contagious, so let’s make it our goal to be kind to women everywhere. Maybe you don’t click with her or maybe she happens to be your boss who you rarely understand or hey, maybe she’s the woman in line with a newborn who could use an extra hand – show her some kindness! As women, we may be terrible at receiving compliments but we’ve got to get better at passing them out – one genuine compliment has the ability to carry us for the rest of the week!

Ladies, let’s stop picking each other apart and start supporting each other…only then will we truly run the world.

XOXO,

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Six (and a half) Things

20141104_212733[ Roaring fire at Friendsgiving, courtesy of my fiance ]

This past week was equal parts overwhelmingly busy and all around exciting. We had friends over for one last Friendsgiving at our little place before we move, complete with a potluck style meal and fireside chats in the front yard. The rest of the week included picking out the perfect wedding band (!!!), seeing a best friend give real talk in chapel at our alma mater, meeting with our wedding coordinator to start talking details, and being showered by all the wonderful ladies from the church I grew up in – makes me teary-eyed just thinking about what a lovely afternoon it was! This week means packing, packing, and more packing and from what Al Roker tells me, a cold front of Arctic proportions. Have a great one!

20141104_132349[ I voted then shared my sticker ]

IMG_0645[ Gorgeous corsage made by my dearest friend who has been by my side since we were babies in the church nursery ]

20141109_130924 [ What makes a bridal shower oh so sweet? 7 cakes, of course! ]

IMG_0651[ Maid and Matron of Honor being lovely, and hilarious, as always ]

IMG_20141109_171502[ So thankful for these beautiful ladies who have shaped me into who I am today…and know how to throw an unforgettable bridal shower ]

20141109_155504 (1)[ The heels must come off to tote in all the gifts…also, Charlie was not much help but Dad certainly was ]

 XOXO,

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Links I’m Loving

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1. Winter is coming – let’s keep our skin glowing, shall we? (instyle.com)

2. This is a must have for the next party I throw. (jacquelynclark.com)

3. 5 Signs You’re In A Toxic Relationship. (womenshealthmag.com)

4. Try not to break into a serious smile after watching this. (today.com)

5. Ever wondered what Disney Princesses would look like with realistic waistlines? Then you will love this. (huffingtonpost.com)

6. 5 Ways Your Faith Improves Your Health. (relevantmagazine.com)

7. Meals, hopes and dreams, and lots of other things you should be able to share in a (solid) relationship. (hellogiggles.com)

XOXO,

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Simple Ways To Show Gratitude This Season

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It’s a fact that at any holiday-themed event I love going around the room and giving everyone the chance to share what they’re thankful for. Yep, I’m that cheesy, Hallmark movie-watching girl who oohs and aahs over friends showing gratitude for all the wonderful ways God has blessed us. So with the holiday season quickly approaching and November kicking into full gear, what better time to start getting in the mood to give thanks?! It’s easy to get caught up in our own busy lives and it’s even easier to find all the “30 days of thankfulness” challenges overrated – so I propose we all pick a few small acts of kindness to show others how much we care. You probably show gratitude on the daily without taking the time to recognize it, so how about for the month of November we all take the time to pause and reflect. #Gratitude, y’all. I came up with a working list of acts of gratitude – simple suggestions to inject a little kindness into our lives and make this world a little sweeter. You in?

Send a family member some good ole’ fashioned snail mail just to say you love them

Bake a big batch of cookies and bring them to the office for everyone to enjoy

Buy a coffee for the stranger behind you in line

Clean out your closet/kitchen/garage and make a donation to Goodwill/local homeless shelter

Give a stranger a genuine compliment

Is your best friend home sick? Drop by with their favorite soup and magazines

Set an alert on your phone to take a few minutes every day and pray for specific people in your life who are struggling with various issues

Treat your significant other to dinner at their favorite place

….or (if you’re feeling daring) cook them their favorite homemade meal

Write a letter to someone you look up to and let them know how grateful you are for them

Wrap grocery store flowers in pretty paper and drop them by a friend’s house just because

Send a text to your loved ones and let them know all the reasons you love them

Go out of your way to help a stranger, i.e. hold the door, help with the groceries

Make a list of everything you are thankful for this year

What else?

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Six Things

kp[ Candid taken by the fiance after we found my old Polaroid camera while packing ]

This past week the temperature dropped and it finally started to feel like fall in the South. The roomie and I went to see First Aid Kit at the Ryman – EPIC – and then Mom came to the house and we took care of some wedding details to keep her checklist on track which was paused only when it came time for Scandal. We did Halloween in a big way a la Classyween and ended up passing out over 300 pieces of candy goodness, which luckily didn’t leave much for the rest of us. Oh, and the fiance and I watched Casper for the first time in years only after watching Hocus Pocus per my request, of course. The rest of the weekend was spent attending the most adorable baby shower at a favorite spot of mine, packing up clothes and random items at the old house and shooting a gun for the first time – thank you, Kentucky. Can you believe it’s already November? Let’s make it a great one!

2014-11-03 14.45.34[ Carving the great pumpkin ]

2014-11-03 14.43.31[ M.O.B. and wedding planner extraordinaire ]

2014-11-03 14.48.42[ First annual Classyween was a success! Yes, we basically devoured the entire tray ]

20141101_121132[ The lovely mom-to-be being showered with sweetness at Frothy Monkey ]

XOXO,

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Happy Classyween

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There are few things I love more than a crisp, October night spent snacking and passing out candy to all the adorable (and some slightly scary) trick or treaters, so YES, I am excited about tonight! Luckily our neighbors do Halloween big, shutting down the street for a few hours so all the little ghouls and goblins and princesses are able to trick or treat freely. My fiancé and I plan on putting on Hocus Pocus, passing out candy, and dining on assorted goodness in the form of a charcuterie plate. He has titled this year’s festivities Classyween and I could not be more excited! I love a good cheese and cracker, so naturally I adore a plate full of cheese plus fruit, nuts, homemade popcorn, prosciutto and whatever else looks appetizing. Also, it’s perfect for a night in passing out candy! I’m looking here, here and here for ideas as I craft my charcuterie plate and hoping it will be a big hit…and there’s always candy to look forward to for dessert!

How do you plan on getting in the Halloween spirit tonight? Dressing up? Going out? Staying in? Scary movie or sticking with Charlie Brown?

Happy Halloween, lovelies!

XOXO,

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