Fall 2014 With War..

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I’ve had the same glasses since my sophomore year of college. My eyes have gone through so many funky changes with my pregnancies I just didn’t see the point in getting a new pair if my prescription was just going to change again.

Then I discovered Warby Parker.

And THEN I discovered their fall line.

Be still my heart. Their new line of glasses reminds me of jumping in leaf piles (which I have done before despite living in AZ most of my life), football games, and pumpkin spice lattes. Maybe I wouldn’t have to wear fake hipster glasses anymore. Maybe, just maybe I could actually have a real pair of hipster glasses.

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Online I browsed through many gorgeous glasses and then narrowed it down to five pairs. Lucky for me, Warby Parker has this sweet take home program where you have five days to try on your favorites and decide which ones you want. Super easy right? Wrong. Because for me, that just meant I wanted all five and I had no idea how I could possibly choose. That’s why husbands are such a wonderful thing to have! Andrew helped me narrow it down to the top three. Now I need your help! Which pair should I choose?! I styled the three different pairs with fall inspired accessories i.e. flannel scarves, fuzzy sweaters, and snazzy blazers.

A. The Marshall (Rum Cherry)

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B. Greenleaf (Whiskey Tortoise)

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C. The Chamberlain (Saddle Sage)

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So help me choose! Quick, before my prescription changes again!

Mar Baby Musings: ..

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My sister Marisa is well into her first semester of college at Ave Maria University. It was really hard to see her go but I know that she is going have an amazing four years in Florida. Before Marisa left we had one more “Mar Baby Adventure” (until December).

Marisa and discovered this cute little place called Goodness. They haven’t even been open a year yet but they are already the place to go for healthy eats. There had been a couple businesses in it’s place before but none of them had done very well. I’m almost positive that Goodness will not be suffering the same fate. When Marisa and I arrived we were immediately swooning over the white benches and the cute sign located just outside the restaurant.

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Once we walked in, we were immediately overwhelmed by all the choices. Thankfully Marisa and I looked up the menu before we arrived so we had some idea of what we wanted, it was just a matter of narrowing it down!

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I finally settled on the Cobb salad and the Big Melons fresh pressed juice. Marisa decided on the steak bowl and their hibiscus lemonade.

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Marisa and I both cleaned our plates. The great part? We were full and we actually felt good about it. My sister and I share a love of food but that love often leads to regret…It was so wonderful to find a place with delicious food that didn’t leave us feeling like we over ate. I really wish that I lived closer to Goodness because I would be eating there all the time!

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Before we left, we grabbed an iced coffee for the road. The coffee was so delicious! Strong, but delicious.

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This is definitely a local eat that you do not want to miss! Oh and make sure you visit A Beautiful Mystery for all the outfit details!

Five Favorites Vol..

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So my “wish list” for baby Aria seems to grow everyday. Most of what she needs we already have and I have no doubt that come December her drawers will be full of adorable clothing. However, that hasn’t stopped me from starting a list of little things I’d like her to have but she doesn’t necessarily need. Look, I have to take advantage of the fact that as a baby she will be powerless to stop me from dressing her up and putting headbands on her cute little head. I have about a year before she’s rolling in the mud with her brothers and wants absolutely nothing to do with anything pink or sparkly. It’s just a simple fact. My mom was the third child born and she had two older brothers. You better believe she destroyed 90% of her pretty dresses by playing football in the front yard with my uncles and grandpa. So I’m pretty much preparing myself for the same set up. Anyway… here are my Five Favorite items on my err her wish list right now.

Five Favorites

1. How adorable are these crocheted crowns from Henny & Coco? Why would Aria need one? I have no idea but she would look adorable in one and that’s all that matters. Follow Henny & Coco on Instagram!

2. I feel bad because I didn’t really do much for a”nursery” for Peter or James. I mean they had all the basics but I didn’t decorate it special or anything. But for Aria I want ALL THE DECORATING. I’m currently working on a flower wall for over her crib but I’d also love a gold glitter sign for Little Dovie for over her crib as well. Follow Little Dovie on Instagram!

3. These little moccasins seem to be all the rage in the baby/toddler world. Obviously Aria isn’t going to actually need shoes for a while, but it would be nice to snag a pair for her first few months of life while it’s still a little chilly outside. What color you ask? Gold of course. These little mocs are from Wild Explorers. If you follow her on Instagram she’ll keep you posted on new colors and designs.

4. I’ve been interested in essential oils for quite some time now. I just have no idea where to start. I also don’t want to get caught up in spending a lot of money on oils I end up not using… However, I’d love to get some for the end of my pregnancy and then give certain ones a try once Aria is born. I started following Casey Leigh essentials on Instagram and she has great tips and ideas!

5. I’m kinda obsessed with everything from Sugar Plum Lane boutique. Blankets, burp cloths, leggings etc. If I could, I’d buy one of everything. But alas, I cannot. So I just settle for putting down the entire store on my wish list. Also their Instagram account is adorable and will keep you updated on sales and giveaways!

Well those are my Five Favorites! Have a wonderful day friends!

Dream Night Abroad

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When I was in college I had a hard time deciding what to major in. I couldn’t decide between English Lit. and Classics. So like most things in my life, instead of choosing one I chose both. I loved Classics. I loved studying Greek and Latin and the beautiful ancient cultures they were married to. The Classics department at the UofA also had some amazing study abroad programs. Unfortunately because of swimming I never had the chance to participate in any of them. At the time it didn’t bother me at all. However, once swimming was over and I was a 5th year senior sitting in my capstone class, I found myself wishing I’d had the chance to travel with my peers. I really enjoyed hearing the stories from my professor and my fellow classmates about their trip the previous summer. There was lots of learning involved (obviously) but they also had some wild adventures to share. Listening to their stories was always the best part of class and I always found myself wishing for a chance to have similar adventures.

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That’s why when Smartling, a website translator, asked me to help with their “Night Abroad” project I was super excited. For my imaginary trip I chose Athens, Greece (since that’s where the study abroad program took place). When traveling abroad there are a few things to consider such as language, food, and fashion. Unfortunately the amount of Greek I studied was pretty limited and most of it was in an academic sense (like translating super old writings) instead of actual conversational Greek. However, before a trip to Athens, I’d make sure to learn a few key phrases and definitely consult one of my good friends who is actually Greek! I’d also ask her what are some “must have” foods while over there. My Greek meal of choice is usually a massive gyro topped with tomatoes and lots of tzatziki sauce. So while I would certainly order one while in Athens, I’d like to think that I’d be adventurous enough to step out of my culinary comfort zone. While spending time in another country it’s easy to get intimidated by all the new food choices. Also, if I wasn’t pregnant, I’d make sure to try Ouzo, an anise flavored liquor. This came up a lot in the stories of my classmates and professor, so obviously I’d have to give it a try! I would also make sure to do a little wine tasting too. One of our class projects was an actual taste-testing of some Greek wines. I know…. rough life!

Finally, I’d have to consider what to wear for my dream night abroad. I’m pretty sure that no matter what I was wearing, I’d be labeled as a tourist. However, I’d still do my best to fit in with my wardrobe. Once again, choosing “just one” isn’t my strong suit, so I came up with an outfit for the day and then one for the evening. My day time look was comfy sandals, a maxi skirt and a maternity tee. Since this is pretty much my go-to outfit most days, I decided to mix prints to add a little something special.

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For my evening outfit I chose a summery dress that left lots of room for my baby bump. The last thing I would want would to be exploring a different culture and be uncomfortable. I added some low-heeled yellow strapy sandals to dress up the look a little.

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I hope that some day I really do get the chance to visit Greece and for hopefully more than just one day!

If you could go anywhere for just one night where would it be?

Fun Finds Friday

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Happy Friday everyone! Another fun find coming your way today!

We have several family members and friends who have to eat a gluten free diet. I am in total awe of them.  I can’t imagine having to eliminate it from my meals. I also applaud the work that goes into special recipes and the sacrifices that are made for their health or health of their family. I’ve been told that it gets easier over time which is fantastic! The list of “gluten free” recipes, menu items at restaurants and various food products is only growing.

That’s why I was so excited to discover another gluten free bakery here in Tucson called Got2B Gluten Free. Our whole family enjoyed an assortment of cookies, coffee cake, and blueberry muffins. So to all my gluten free friends…You need to check this place out! The muffins and coffee cake were consumed within a few days but I managed to snap some pictures of the peanut butter cookies and the snicker doodles.

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The muffins were moist and the blueberries tasted fresh. Peter and James gave them a stamp of approval.

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My personal favorite was the coffee cake. The toping was sweet and crumbly! My first bite was followed by shouting to Andrew “This is amazing!” (see mouth full of cake). Peter also enjoyed the cake. Hence…the face plant into my plate. Nobody has time for forks!

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What? Doesn’t everyone consume large amounts of cookies next to goblets filled with flowers? No? Oh ok. Well to all my gluten free friends out there…This is for you! I hope you enjoy!

Chorizo Tacos With..

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Another recipe born from a random pregnancy craving… Normally chorizo is served at breakfast but I found myself really craving it one evening. I have a lot of fond memories of chorizo. Growing up we would stay at my grandma’s house overnight and then always wake up to the smell of coffee and sizzling chorizo.

In order to satisfy my craving, I thought really hard about what I could do to make it more of a “dinner”. Then the chorizo tacos with mango salsa was born! I went to my local butcher (which you should totally do too… much better than the meat at the market) and asked for a pound of chorizo. You can usually make/buy chicken, beef, or pork chorizo. Beef is my personal choice but I know my grandmother usually does a mix of beef and pork. I realize that this is really more of a thing in the Southwest. Not sure if butchers in other parts of the country are going to have chorizo…. However, there a lot of good recipes online for you to consult. I’d share my grandma’s recipe but it’s kind of a family secret…. So yeah. Sorry you’re out of luck there.

After I had my chorizo I picked out things for my mango salsa. Chorizo is a little spicy and very salty so I wanted to have something sweet to pair along side it.

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For the salsa this is what I used:

~1 Mango

~ 2 Roma Tomatos

~2 cups of chopped green onions

~1 cup of fresh cilantro

~Salt and garlic powder to taste

I chopped up all my ingredients and mixed them together. You can use more or less of any ingredient. This recipe makes enough for about 12 tacos with about a cup to spare. You can also get creative with ways to kick up the spice. This version is pretty mild but that’s how I wanted it to be along side the chorizo.

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I put the salsa in the fridge to chill and then I cooked up my chorizo. Oh the smell! Simply heavenly. You brown chorizo basically the same way you would ground beef or turkey. Once the chorizo is done you’re basically ready to plate.

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For constructing the tacos I had soft flour tortillas, cheese, and fresh avocado. On each tortilla I would put a little chorizo, followed by the cheese, then the avocado slices, and finally the salsa. The only thing missing was a cold Corona with a lime. But ya know. I’m pregnant. So that essential ingredient was left out.

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This recipe is now in my meal rotation. It satisfied my pregnancy craving perfectly. I made 12 tacos in all and I still had about half of my chorizo left (totally ate it with eggs the next morning). All in all this recipe makes about a dozen tacos. I’m also looking forward to experimenting with this recipe a little. Some of my family has dietary restrictions that would make it impossible for them to eat this meal. So I want to try chicken chorizo with a mango salsa that has cucumbers instead of tomatoes (is that even still salsa?). If you give this recipe a try let me know how it goes!

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Tutorial on the tissue flowers coming soon!

Five Easy Looks Fo..

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One of my guilty pleasures is some quiet time spent reading magazines like Glamour and Lucky. I love the inspiration that comes from their beautiful pictures and inspiring stories.

But I have to be honest.

Sometimes the stuff in those magazines is just…ugly. I know it’s high fashion but part of me wonders if that means you have to be high to like it. No seriously! Who walks around wearing that stuff? I mean shoes that look like boxes? What? And purses with the fast food logos? Seriously? New York fashion week is just finishing up and a small (unrealistic) part of me would love to go someday, but the bigger (much more realistic) part of me knows that I wouldn’t “understand” half the pieces walking down the runway.

Anyway… I still love flipping the pages of these magazines with a cup of coffee in hand. I basically have to put all the images I see through the “mom filter”. What’s the “mom filter” you ask? Well basically it’s me saying to myself “I see a lot of potential here. How can I capture this look and not look like a freak? Also, how do I make this look affordable?”. So I took five fall trends from my favorite mags and put them through the “mom filter” just for you. Some items probably still belong on the wish list but I can promise not one piece of clothing is over $100. I added an accessory or two to each look just for a little more color inspiration. Ok here we go!

1) Houndstooth

MoodBoard3 copyHoundstooth seems to be the trend that’s never gone away. It just comes in different forms. In one of the magazines they showcased a very tiny houndstooth skirt. No thanks. So I found one that was more of a tea length (which I think is just so classy). Paired with a comfy tee-shirt and a dark red lip, you’re all set. I don’t know about you, but I really love houndstooth with a little bit of red!

Get this look: Shirt//Madwell, Skirt//Chic Wish, Glasses//Modcloth, Shoes//DSW, Lip Tar//Sephora

2) Flannel w/ Statement Necklace

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This trend is hanging around from last fall but that’s totally ok. That whole “lumber jack chic” is still a thing. You see a lot of flannel with jeans but I decided to pair it with a soft tulle skirt. Flannel is really easy to come by and is quite affordable. Tulle skirts tend to be a little pricey but if you’re crafty enough, you could totally make one yourself! Or if you’re like me and the idea of that horrifies you…then you can find some reasonably priced at Oh Sweet Joy!

Get this look: Skirt//House of Fraser, Shirt//Old Navy, Shoes//Sole Society, Necklace//Jeweliq, Satchel//ASOS, Phone Case//Ban.do

3) Peter Pan Dress

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The Peter Pan collared dress (or blouse) is a go-to piece for this fall. Depending where you are, the dress above might need a sweater. Here in Arizona you could totally get away with this through October. Adding a little gold to your outfit is also an idea for this fall. It takes the outfit up a couple of notches. I don’t know about you, but I often find myself wishing for some of the clothing items I had as a child (in a bigger size obviously). The shoes above are perfect for that. Pretty pretty princess forever!!!

Get This Look: Dress//ModCloth, Shoes//J. Crew (Similar), Earrings//Bauble Bar, Eye Shadow//Urban Decay, Thermal Mug//Ban.do

4) Sweatshirt and Full Skirt

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This trend might be more of a leap for some people. The cozy casual sweatshirt with the fancy skirt. Personally? I’d LOVE to try this look out. Unfortunately I’m not sure how it would look with a giant baby bump but we’ll see. One of the magazines had the causal sweater with a completely sheer maxi. Like I can see your underwear sheer. Why? I just don’t even get that. So I decided the look could be easily accomplished with a little more coverage and class. Also, animal print is still in this fall but it’s all about subtlety sneaking it into your outfit. These flats above do the trick!

Get This Look: Sweater//J. Crew, Skirt//SheInside, Flats//(Similar), Bracelet//Bauble Bar, Journal//Evelyn Henson

5) Neutral Shift Dress

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One thing I’m super guilty of is a colorful closet. I read an article that basically described my color/print addiction. I often find myself standing in my closet taking way too long deciding what to wear. My problem was diagnosed as not having enough “neutrals”. It’s so true! I hardly own anything black, white, or tan! Neutral pieces are good to have because you can build off of them with your other colorful pieces. For this fall, the simple shift dress is very popular. Old Navy has a pretty good selection with reasonable prices. For this outfit I found a simple black shift dress and then built off of that.

Get This Look: Dress//New Look, Scarf//ModCloth, Shoes//Seychelles, Bag//Ruche, Earrings//Kate Spade, Pencils//B is for Bonnie Designs

You could certainly accomplish these looks for even less! Hopefully this is just a good starting point. If you use any of these boards for outfit inspiration take a picture! Post it on Instagram and use the hashtag #baristamommy!

Slow Down Mommy..

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I’m not a huge fan of my plans falling apart.

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Allow me to illustrate…. In my mind I knew exactly how I wanted the weekend to go. A little crafting, reading, Jesus time, church, donuts, family time and a productive meeting. That was not quite what happened. This weekend was a busy one and everything I had planned went out the door. Both nights ended with chocolate chip cookies and The Mindy Project (ok so that part was perfect). I just laugh at myself sometimes. I do all this planning and dreaming and then I crumble at the first sight of things going differently then I’d pictured.

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So while I wanted to spend time sketching out ideas for our little rental and diving into my other new books, I’m not ashamed to say that there was some time spent shedding tears. Can I blame the hormones? Sure. But in all honesty….I know that they were rooted deeper. I was just feeling overwhelmed, too much on my plate and too many things to keep track of.

I have big plans and dreams and I have a hard time saying “no” to new projects and adventures. However, I think this weekend was God calling me to reevaluate all the plates I have spinning in the air. My husband and family are top priority of course. Everything else just needs a good hard look. I’m currently brainstorming out something big and praying about whether God is calling me to move forward or not. But before I can even begin to put it together, I have to look at everything else…. Some will things have to go. That leaves me asking the questions, “What am I still passionate about? What would be impossible to give up? What am I willing to give up?”. The need to simplify is overwhelming but in a good way.

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Especially with baby number three just a few months away (?!?!) it’s time to slow down. It’s time to quiet my heart and just listen. So while yesterday I really wanted to end my day with a glass of wine, I settled for a root beer and enjoyed some quiet family time…

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God is telling me to take a deep breath and slow down.

Which is exactly what I’m going to do.

Naked Champagne Ca..

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If you’re on Pinterest I’m sure you’ve seen these “Naked Cakes”. I was personally drawn to them because I was like “What? I don’t have to frost the whole thing?! Sold!” I also love the rustic and simple look of these cakes.

For my cake I decided to play around with a little champagne that we had in our fridge (not like anyone was going to be drinking it anytime soon.) Perhaps putting champagne in a cake would satisfy my craving for a glass of bubbly (it didn’t).

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So this is what I did….

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I picked up some ordinary white cake mix (you can do a mix from scratch but this mom ain’t got time for that). When it came time to add the water I just substituted about one cup of it with champagne. I did two batches (boxes) for my three layer cake. There was leftover batter and I used it to make some small cupcakes. After the cakes were done I let them cool and popped in my (6) cupcakes to cook.

While the cakes were cooling I worked on the frosting.

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I made a simple buttercream frosting and incorporated some champagne while it was mixing. It took a little bit of taste testing to get the consistency and taste just right. I didn’t want the frosting to be too sweet but I also didn’t want it to be bitter either. After I had finally gotten it right, I put it in the refrigerator to set. Chilled frosting is much easier to work with.

By this time my cakes had cooled. I carefully transferred them to plates and then flipped them back over so that their tops were up. Taking a butter knife, I carefully sliced off the rounded part of the first two cake layers. By taking of the rounded tops, it would allow the cakes to stack more evenly.

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I frosted layer by layer (secretly rejoicing that I didn’t have to do the whole thing) and then went back and added a little extra in-between each layer. You could probably do a little messy piping in-between as well. I think that’s why I love this whole naked cake trend, it’s seriously so hard to mess up. It’s just…whatever. It’s a hipster cake if you will. Someday my grandkids will see this cake and be like “Grandma, why didn’t you finish the cake?”. To which I’ll respond “It was just another crazy trend… like my fake glasses and chunky headbands”.

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And my little cupcakes… I left these unfrosted for Peter and James.

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If you decide to give the recipe a try here is what you’ll need:

~Two boxes of white cake mix

~A bottle of dry champagne

~6 eggs

~Vegetable oil (or coconut oil)

~Powdered sugar

~1 stick of butter

~Vanilla extract

Simple Instructions:

~Bake the cakes like the box directs but substitute one cup of water for champagne.

~In a mixer, combine the butter and 1 cup of powdered sugar with one table spoon of champagne. Alternate adding a splash of champagne with powdered sugar until you have the consistency/taste you are looking for. (Some people may prefer more or less of a boozy frosting). If you need liquid but don’t want to use anymore champagne, you can add a splash or two of milk.

~Let the frosting chill for at least 30 minutes.

~Slice off rounded tops of your two bottom layers of cake with a butter knife.

~Frost the tops and layer your cake. Then touch up the sides.

~Add flowers or berries to the top and you’re done!

If you give this recipe a try I’d love to see your results! Also… I have a champagne cake in my fridge that needs to be eaten… let me know if you can help! :)