Monday, October 31, 2016

2nd Annual Falliday Scarf Exchange

Scarves are the universal "hug" for the female population during the fall season.

They make us happy, they always fit, and you can never have too many. 

Okay, that last part isn't true - I'm sure we all have at least 5 scarves in our closet that we don't wear. BUT, alas, every single season - we want more.

Last year I started a "tradition" of a Falliday Scarf Exchange. I'd seen several other people do it, and then after I posted about mine, a few people told me they had one of their own and it made my fall-lovin' heart so dang happy. 

So, to support the true definition of "tradition" - I had another one!

Like I mentioned last year, scarf exchanges are perfect for the following reasons: 

1) They're one size fits all - no one has to worry about sizes
2) You can find a really great deal on a really great scarf (we set a $25 max limit)
3) Scarves are the love language of fall  - there is rarely a scarf that is met and isn't liked
4) They get you in the mood for fall! ...even when it's still in the 90s the night of your party...
...and sadly, #4 has been true both years I've done this. Here's to hoping one day I can remove that one from the list! But probably not. #texas 

#5 should be that I love any reason to buy festive dishes and host a party. Because I do. And I get it from my mama. 

Thanks to the busyness of the fall season, this shindig usually falls on a Thursday night. So this year I implemented a little potluck action and it worked out nicely! But because I'm me, I told them to bring their dishes in tupperware so I could use my pretty fall dishes. They get me. And they still love me. :)
The food table! And that foot on the right is Emily eagerly awaiting me to take my pictures so she could eat. #friendofabloggerproblems
I normally end up with entirely too much food, so this year I tried to scale back. And I still had too much food! There's just so much talking and not enough eating. :)
But I've been grubbin on the leftovers all weekend, so no complaints here. 
We had Turkey and Swiss Hawaiian King Sammiches, along with my Mama's cheese biscuits (a party staple growing up)...
Emily brought Salsa Dip and Lauren brought corn dip. Because we love all the chipping and dipping. If you see all the GF indicators, it's because sweet Em was diagnosed with Celiac last year, so we gotta make sure she has enough to eat! :)
Kristie and I picked up some chutney in New Zealand, so I knew I wanted to have a cracker, cheese and chutney situation. We still aren't entirely sure what chutney is, but we seriously love it. It's like a "preserve" - but from the other side of the world. That's the conclusion we came to.

And for desserts we had pumpkin paleo chocolate chip cookies (courtesy of Lisa), and then I made a cinnamon pound cake loaf, which is one of my favorite fall indulgences and the reason I'm constantly fighting a muffin top. #thestruggleisreal

After eating and catching up, it was time for the exchange! And I thought our gifts were pleasantly and colorfully wrapped this year. As in, I didn't wrap mine in foil this time.
Since last year's exchange was pretty tame - lots of instant satisfaction and very little stealing - we tried to have more action this year. And we are getting better! There was a lot of scheming, mirror-looking, and trash-talking. So it naturally was a feel-good party, you see...

I actually was obsessed with several of the scarves, and honestly wanted to steal them all. 

So this year, I decided to share the links of some of the ones I could find (sadly I couldn't find all of them), and share some other favorites under $25.

PS - That center grey and cream (and brown) scarf won the award for softest scarf of the night! I mean I could have slept in it.  

There were also scarves from Nordstrom Rack, Old Navy, and Forever 21 (like - scarves that I want but can't order online because I can't find them), so make sure you stop in next time you pass one of those stores. Are you getting the message I'm sending here? I seriously wanted them all.
And this is where Jeff would tell me I have entirely too many already and it still feels like summer outside. Men just don't understand. 
After everyone was scarved and satisfied, we played a round of fishbowl and then people headed home. Only after taking a party favor! 
This was a new idea I had for the party this year, and it came to fruition thanks to Mama Reeves. She baked mini-loaves of her apple nut bread, pumpkin bread, and some GF brownies for Emmy girl. 
Next year I think I want to add a banner. Like an etsy one. That says "Falliday Scarf Exchange." I mean, why not? 
Bottom line - I couldn't have done it without this lady right here. Not only did she bake my party favors, but she un-decorated her own house so I could borrow some of her fall decor for my food table. And then she helped me make it all pretty. I'm a party-planner-in-training, but I've got a looooooong way to go to meet this one's skillset!
So Falliday Scarf Party #2 - a sweet seasonal success. 
You should probably have one, too :) 
To see the First Annual Scarf Exchange, click here!
Happy Monday (and Happy Halloween), y'all! While all you parents will be chasing your precious dressed up kiddos around neighborhoods, I'll be chillin on the couch watching Dancing with the Stars. And still eatin' on that cinnamon loaf.
Until next time,

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

So I was planning out my blogs earlier this week, and this wasn't one of them.

Then yesterday morning I was reading the blog of the girl who creates the What's Up Wednesday link-up, and at the end she was all like "don't forget tomorrow is What's Up Wednesday!" 

...and I'm all like, wait what? There's no way it's already the last Wednesday of the month. 

Oh but yes. It is. October has come and gone. 

I mean I know the fall flies by and all, but gracious. I feel like I just completely missed October. 

Nevertheless, I got my act together and we're ready to rock some What's Up Wednesday!

What I'm Eating this Week

Yesterday I posted about my first experience with Shepherd's Pie. Before this experience, the extent of my knowledge was that time when Rachel Green combined the trifle with the Shepherd's Pie for Thanksgiving dinner. So basically not much knowledge at all. 

My bestie Lisa gave me the recipe for her paleo Shepherd's Pie - and I am such a fan! It's great right out of the oven, it's great as leftovers, and it's healthy but still tastes fantastic. 

If you're also new to Shepherd's Pie, I'd HIGHLY recommend her version. And it's quite easy too! We're talking less than 15 minutes to prep. You can check out the recipe here! 

What I'm Loving

If you're friends with me on Facebook, then you know how much I FREAKED out yesterday at the first Gilmore Girls trailer. Last week, the promo pictures were released, so on Friday I talked about how excited I was ...but now? Now I can hardly contain myself. 

Wanna-be-residents of Stars Hollow are LOSING THEIR MINDS over this trailer. And if you've never watched Gilmore Girls, then the trailer will do nothing for you. Gilmore Girls is an investment. With some serious return. Eh - scratch that. Gilmore Girls is basically a religion. And church starts back November 25th.

One month from yesterday, y'all. Jeff and I haven't quite figured out our Thanksgiving plans yet, but as far as I'm concerned - I'm busy on the 25th. 

If you missed the trailer (I am so very sorry for you) and you can watch it here! 

What I'm Working On

Figuring out my life. 

I think I'm having a somewhat delayed quarter-life crisis. I'm just re-thinking and re-evaluating every aspect of my life. And I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing, but it's causing a lot of unsettledness (pretend that's a word). The planner in me doesn't really like the uncertain or the unsettled, so I'm really just trying to hit my knees and let the Lord lead me.

What I'm Excited About

So I know I just talked about television, BUT... I'm so.stinking.excited for the Christmas Hallmark Movies to begin. And the new ones kick off THIS SATURDAY! 

...I know, I know. On Friday I was just defending pumpkins and proclaiming my loyalty to them. But this? This is a whole 'nother level. If you know me but at all, you know I live for these movies. And I get it from my dad. We are baseball people, and we are Hallmark people. And the two are not mutually exclusive.

Last year, I wrote a post on the common themes of Hallmark Christmas movies, and rereading it just made me all the more excited. For all the cheese and all the predictability. If you missed the post, or need a reason to get pumped up - you can read it here

I'm not sure when all the old Christmas Hallmark movies will start airing (#checkyourlocallistings), but this Saturday kicks off the new movies, with a new movie airing every Saturday AND Sunday up until January. (insert hallelujah-hand-emoji here)

You can check out the new movie listings here

What I'm Watching

Umm....between Gilmore Girls and the Hallmark channel (oh, and all my regular weekly shows), I think we're good on that front. 

What I'm Reading

Last weekend I posted this picture on Instagram and claimed this to be one of my most favoritest books. ....and I was only ten pages in. 

Y'all - this book is AMAZING. It's captivating, it's inspiring, it's hilarious. It's just such a good read. And if you've ever heard Chip/Joanna talk, you can actually hear them tell their story. 

I would be highly surprised if you're disappointed by this book.
So you should basically go buy it

What I'm Listening To

....and Brad Paisley has done it again. 

This song gives me all the feels and all the chills. His lyrics just cut through the crap and tug right and your heart strings. I'm seriously hoping he performs this at the CMAs next week!

What I'm Doing This Weekend

Fortunately, my calendar is pretty wide open this weekend. It's rare, it's beautiful, and it's also appreciated considering the next couple of weekends have like no white space on the calendar. SO, I'm going to be reading the Magnolia Story, watching the Hallmark Channel, and saving up on the sleeps. 

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month

Eeeks!! I love November!! 

I'm looking forward to the CMAs, the Baylor/OU game (and hoping for the opposite outcome of last year), the continue of the pumpkin flavors, the Macy's Day Parade, Black Friday sales, being so stuffed I can't move, and the start of Christmas commercials. 

Oh, and for the love, please give me some cooler weather. 
We're still waiting on "fall" down here in Texas. 


And that's what's up! Happy hump day everyone!

Until next time,

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Trim Down Tuesday: Lisa's Paleo Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie. 

I mean does anyone even know what Shepherd's Pie really is? 

Cause I didn't. Not until this week anyways. 

The extent of my Shepherd Pie knowledge began and ended with the one where Rachel makes the Thanksgiving trifle but the recipe pages are stuck together and so she makes half trifle/half Shepherd's Pie. Joey loved it and Ross thought it tasted like feet. #mylifeexperiencesarebasedonFriends

That right there is all I thought of when I heard the words "Shepherd's Pie."

So when I asked Lisa for some easy recipes to make after Baylor Homecoming, I not-so-subtly grimaced when she mentioned this dish. 

She swore to me it was delicious and easy, so I bit the bullet and gave it a try. Only after feeding it to my mother. #guineapignamedsusie

And the verdict was? We both really liked it! I surprised myself and got seconds. My mom surprised herself and liked a healthy meal. There were just so many pleasant surprises that came with this here dish!

You can click over to see Lisa's write up of this dish here, or if you're thumbs are feeling sluggish, I included it below, too :)

OH - and the best part? Lisa recommends all the Trader Joe's prepacked things - so this literally takes like 10-15 minutes to throw together. Hallelu. 

What You'll Need

1 lb ground meat (I used turkey)
1 container of TJ's Mirepoix**
1 bag of TJ's cauliflower florets
2 cloves of garlic (or 2 tsp garlic powder)
1 tbsp EVOO
Dried Basil
Salt-n-Peppa (#shoop)

**Mirepoix from Trader Joes is a pre-diced mix of celery, onion and carrots. If you prefer to slice-n-dice your own you can get the amounts of each on Lisa's page.

 What You'll Do

Brown the meat in a skillet until it's cooked, and add in the veggies until soft
Season with basil, salt, and pepper

Steam the cauliflower in the microwave and place into a blender or food processor (I used the magic bullet) with EVOO and the garlic. Blend until smooshy and soft (they'll look like whipped potatoes).

Pour the meat and veggie mix into an 8x8 baking dish, and spread the mashed cauliflower on top. 
Season with more basil, salt, and pepper. 

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

BOOM. Shepherd's Pie. (No trifle included.)

And y'all it really was good. I had a back-up dish planned for today just in case it wasn't (sorry, Lis - I just wasn't sure). But alas, my girl knows what she's talking about and I'm pumped to be grubbin on these leftovers all week! 

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Until next time,

Friday, October 21, 2016

Friday Favorites

Y'all. It has been a hot minute since I've done some Friday Favorites. 

Probably because every time I make it to Friday I feel like I've been drop-kicked in a pile of cow droppings. (Graphic description necessary for emphasis)

But alas, we have made it to Friday and I am STILL STANDING. So you get some favorites. 
...okay, fine. I have today off. That's the real reason why you get favorites. 

Either way - they're here. So let's get down to business. 

1 - Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Spice Coffee

Okay, so I have done a LOT of taste testing on falliday flavored K-cups, and this has won the coveted prize of being titled my very favorite. It has just enough pumpkin flavor - but still tastes like coffee. Now don't get me wrong, I love a good pumpkin misto from Starbucks every now and then, but that thing is like dessert. I can't drink dessert every morning. 

Well actually I could (and I'm up for the challenge), but I'd be as big as the side of the house. This coffee let's me add a little almond milk, a little sweetener, and enjoy the perfect pumpkin joe. My only complaint is that they don't call it "Dunkin Punkin." Like hello  - how catchy is that? I mean they should probably let me run their fall marketing campaign. 

Speaking of seasonal coffee... I went to the store this week to get some more of this fall goodness when I saw THIS. 

Y'all. This is my Christmas coffee kryptonite. I even blogged last year about how it was the perfect stocking stuffer. But one question. 

Why is it out in the middle of October? 

Like give the pumpkins a fighting chance!

I mean I'll be honest...I picked up a box (Dunkin Punkin in one hand, Starby's holiday blend in the other), but then decided to throw all of my support at the pumpkins until December. 


2 - Favorite Quotes

Speaking of coffee - Jen Hatmaker posted this on instagram the other day and I audibly proclaimed a hallelujah. 

I will not drink black coffee. If that makes me high maintenance and unhealthy then so be it. But I love my tastebuds. I respect them. I want them to be happy. So I treat them right. And if that means my coffee includes a little almond milk and artificial sweetener (pretty sure all my paleo, whole 30, beachbody, advocare, and plexus friends just died a little inside) - then alright. 

Also, I don't ever get political over here, and honestly never will, but I saw this on my newsfeed the other day and it made me chuckle. This is my stance. 


3 - Baylor Homecoming

Ah, Baylor Homecoming. Most definitely one of my top three weekends of the fall. And this year, I got to share the weekend with my future hubby! And I'm pretty sure by the end he felt like green and gold just up-n-ralphed on him. But he survived :) If you missed the recap, you can check it out here.


4 - Gilmore Girls Reunion

And all the Stars Hollow fans rejoice.

These photos surfaced this week, and I sure did save them all and make a collage for Friday Favorite purposes - cause that's how deeply I'm dedicated. I am SO stinking excited for this. I just re-watched the whole series again earlier this year, but I'm wondering if I have time to re-watch it again before November 25th. 

Speaking of November 25th - if you need me, I apologize. I will be stuffed with turkey, recovering from black Friday, and therefore doing nothing but chillin in my jammies watching this four part Netflix series. 

Well, and crying tears of joy. That, too. If you missed the promo video, you can check it out here.


5 - My Dad

Okay, no one will care about this except me. But I want this documented so I can go read/laugh at it later in life. Side note: all of the kids in my family make fun of my mom having a tiny head and my dad having a very large head. It's just a running joke in the family. 

So my mom and I went to dinner on Wednesday, and this was the conversation between my dad and I afterwards:

Are you laughing? Probably not. I can't even type right I'm laughing so hard. Still. I called him after to ask if he was concussed and he said the bleeding had stopped. I just can't with this man. He is too much. 


6 - Sleep Without You - Brett Young
Road Less Traveled - Lauren Alaina

 These are my two current country jams. Brett's song makes me raise my hands and dance in my cubicle. And I love the harmonies. Oh and his eyes. Those things are dreamy. 

So my love for Lauren Alaina goes all the way back to American Idol. It was down to her and Scotty McCreary and I didn't really care who won as long as they'd get married. In case you wondered, they never even dated, but I'm still holding out hope. I'm also still holding out hope for Justin and Britney. I don't let go easily. 

No but really - her song is a good one. It basically talks about being true to yourself and not folding into the mold. Hence, take the road less traveled. And girl has some PIPES. If I could hear her and Carrie duet, my fan girl would be in overdrive.  


And those are my Friday Favorites! This weekend includes a double date, a gender reveal, the fair with my sister/niece, and a large amount of rest-n-relaxation. And all the people said amen.

Happy weekend everyone!

Until next time,
Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Baylor Homecoming 2016

I. Love. Baylor. Homecoming. 

I always loved homecoming as a student, but ever since I graduated six years ago (hi there, old here), it has most definitely become one of my very favorite weekends of the fall. Social media does a pretty good job of keeping everyone up to date, but it certainly can't replace hugging someone's neck. 

This same time last year I did a little rendition of "you know you went to Baylor when..." and being back this weekend just made me think of so many more reasons. I would be in a certain place on campus and it was like a memory nerf gun would start rapidly shooting random memories back into my brain. It was kind of cool - like my own little picture show.  

So this homecoming was pretty important because I allowed invited Jeff to get a dose of the jam-packed, fun-but-exhausting, green-and-gold-filled weekend. He's been down for a couple of games in the past (and the tragedy that was Baylor/OU last year), but never for homecoming. 

The reasoning was two-fold:

1) It's never quite the same experience when it isn't your homecoming, and
2) I had to be sure this relationship was going somewhere before taking this big step :)

But this year I realized there are still some very important people he needs to meet before we get hitched, and homecoming is a perfect place to take care of the majority of them.

Okay - so the run down. There's a homecoming itinerary. It's followed every year. This year we switched a couple things around, but alas - everything was checked off the list. 

We kicked off the weekend by speeding driving quickly, but carefully, down to Waco Friday after work. I was a part of the BRH (Baylor Religious Hour) Choir my whole time in college, and we host  "Singspiration" each year. What is Singspiration? Like a church service without the sermon :) 

It's where alum (and their people) get together and sing worship songs together and then the BRH alum sing two of our "token" songs ....and feel like celebrities. Old celebrities....but celebrities. It's a pretty perfect way to kick off the weekend!

BRH Alum - Jeff took a video of the last minute of I Am. You can listen to it below.

And for those of you who aren't - it's still a pretty good listen :)

We met in BRH ten whole years ago. It was like the Lord said "you (points at me) and you (points at Lisa) - y'all go have fun." And we did. And we still are. This girl is a bundle of joy - and I really would hate to see what the past decade would have been like without her!

Okay. So from Singspiration we walk down 5th street to Fountain Mall (which actually has a fountain now - back in my day it did not) for the bonfire/pep rally. 

I would love to tell you this is me and someone took it - but I borrowed it from Baylor's instagram. It's just way better than any of my bonfire pictures. 

So we hung out at the bonfire, watched the dancers dance, the cheerleaders cheer, and Seth Russell (my crush) give a pump-up speech. Kelsey was a Bryce Petty fan-girl, but my heart belongs to Seth Russell. He just seems like a sweet, Jesus-loving quarterback who is trying to lead a team in a tough time and I really just want to give him a big hug. 

Then we took a couple of picture by the pretty fountain....

And then we took a stroll down to bookstore. Because being back on Baylor's campus makes me want to do nothing more than buy all the Baylor gear. 

When we walked in, Jeff went to the guy side and I went to the girl side. I went over to check on him later and (jokingly) asked if he found anything. Then he just silently walks over to a shirt and stands in front of it. I laughed and said "do you want me to buy it for you?" And he said yes. 

Y'all - my sweet little Sooner is doing his husbandly duties and embracing the Baylor. But I can so tell he's trying to do so in a subtle way as to not be a traitor to OU. Me? I'm pretty awful. Jeff now has two Baylor shirts and I have none. I should probably work on being better at that whole embracing thing  :)

So then when we leave the bookstore we hear ridiculously loud noises and walk out to see the firework show right above us. I seriously am in love with Baylor Homecoming. 

By this time it was 10p and we hadn't eaten dinner. So where do you eat dinner at 10 o'clock at night? George's. #andallthebearssaidamen

George's is a staple. Even outsiders love George's. Jeff s a huge fan of George's. So we ate all the fried things and sat at the Table of Knowledge. And life was good. 

Saturday morning started (entirely too early) with the parade! I'm pretty sure there's some statistic about Baylor's parade being one of the largest collegiate parades in the world. My sorority usually has an alumni breakfast that we go to, but as a lot of my girls couldn't come down this week, I watched it at the Quad - which I actually liked ten times better. 

But first, we needed coffee. 

The guys dropped Lisa and I at Common Grounds to wait in the ridiculously long line while they went and got a spot for the parade.
So we waited.
For almost an hour.

The love for the CG runs deep. 

After getting coffee, we walk over to campus for the rest of the parade.

Totes magotes borrowed this from Baylor's instagram, too. It's just a good picture. 

Okay so not only is the Quad a better view of the parade - but Ryan's mom always sends him with homemade zucchini bread and pumpkin bread to nibble on. And her zucchini bread is one of the best things I've ever tasted. I had bread. I had Common Grounds. I was at the parade. I was just so dang happy. 

Parade crew. All with bread. 

The female three. And that one on the right? She basically runs things on Baylor's campus. And is therefore Baylor famous. And we know her!! 

Jeffrey's first parade experience. And his new shirt he picked out :)

 Hah- okay, funny story. So I really wanted Jeff to meet my friends Nick and Michelle from college (and their sweet little girl!). The parade was crazy so I honestly thought we'd just have a better chance at one of the tailgates. 

So after the parade ended, Jeff said he was going to go throw away his coffee cup. Then like 10 minutes later, he still hadn't returned. So we're all like, okay, should we be concerned? Did he run away? Was this all just too much for him? And then, lo and behold, he returns with none other than Nick and Michelle! Yes, the people he's never met. 

Turns out, Michelle recognized him from social media (thanks, insta!) and just stopped and pointed at him. So Jeff was quite confused at this tiny little nugget of a girl pointing at him. Luckily, she was with Allyson, and Allyson and Jeff are self-proclaimed BFFs. So she made the introductions and they all came to find me! 

We are getting to the point in life where our reunions come with babies. And this one was so stinking cute.

I love watching my friends be moms. Direct quote from Michelle: "Babies are fun. Look, you can just do whatever you want with them and they think it's funny." :)

The cool thing about homecoming is you can turn around and see someone else you know. After saying goodbye to this crew, I turned around and recognized Lucy - so I knew Lauren and Cody had to be close by! 

Lucy's first homecoming! And Lauren and Cody were like everyone's favorite couple in college. We just all took a little longer to find our respective "Codys" :)

And another pic with this one!

So by this point it's almost 11 and we don't have a set plan until noon. So what do I do? I take Jeff to the George's tailgating tent where I know they'll have the OU game playing (as it started at 11). #pointforkaty

But first we had to stop at my new favorite picture spot on campus. I'm so jealous of all the students. They just have it so good these days. (cue the 'back in my day' stories...)

All smiles from this one during the Sooner game. See? I try to keep my man happy. This is me embracing OU. Watching their game at Baylor's homecoming.

We then went to the Bear Walk to try to see Ashton (the Baylor dancer that's an old family friend) - but we missed her. The plus side is someone gave Jeff free pom poms so he was able to truly express his enthusiasm for this day...

(eye roll)

We then went over to Tailgating Alley and did more reuniting and such. We always go to Travis' tailgate. I love this guy. I met him freshman year and we've been friends ever since (despite the fact that he always seems to be making fun of me. He and Jeff bond over that).  He's actually the one who watched Charlie the whole time I was in treatment and such. He's a keeper in my life. He's also about to be a daddy. #somanybabies

Sweet Avery showed back up. Sportin her new gear :)

And then Lisa and I went and stood in line with several small children in order to be the Y. 

I asked Jeff if he wanted to be the Y with me but he quickly said no. I guess we found where he draws the line. :)

We then headed on into the game to watch Baylor completely demolish Kansas. Poor guys. I felt sorry for them. Jeff just kept saying "they're so bad" over and over again. 

In case you wondered, we completely roasted. And I have a V-neck sunburn and a farmers tan to prove it. 

After halftime we went to a souvenir shop in the stadium (I told you - I need all the gear!) and then walked back over to campus. We had a little time to kill, so we....... 

....went back to Common Grounds.

That smile. He's my favorite. 

And yes, I bought that green mug. I saw it when Lisa and I were in line that morning and I couldn't stop thinking about it all day. I seriously have a coffee mug addiction. I should probably see someone about it. And I think Jeff realized this weekend that when we get married, he gets me AND all my mugs. (insert wide-eyed emoji)

After Common Grounds, we walked back over to Waco Hall (seriously - so much walking) and did a quick change in the bathroom for Pigskin!! I was a Sing Chair in college - so Sing/Pigskin obviously have a huge place in my heart, and I was excited to share that with Jeff. You can't take pictures in the hall, so this is all you get. 

And then we drove back to D-town and left the green and gold behind. 

And I'm already looking forward to next year. 

If you were there this past weekend and I DIDN'T get to see you - let's make a point to fix that next year.