Chicken Veggie Bake

Welcome to my first recipe post! I’ve never posted any of my recipes on my blog before, but I have had so many people ask me about this one in particular. This is one of Brian and I’s FAVORITES. I try to make it at least once a week and I double the recipe, which usually gets us through 1 dinner and 2 lunches each!

I originally found this recipe online months ago and completely modified it to make it my own, so feel free to do the same!

DSC_1058

Here are the ingredients you will need:

  1. 1 Tsp. Salt and 1 Tsp. Pepper
  2. 1 lb. Chicken Breast (cubed)
  3. 1 Medium-Sized Sweet Potato (small cubes)
  4. 1/2 Package of Broccoli Florets (could also use asparagus or brusselsprouts)
  5. 1/2 Yellow Onion
  6. 1 Tsp. Minced Garlic
  7. 2 Tbsp. Craisins
  8. 2 Tbsp. Almond Slices (I also add candied pecans sometimes or you can substitute with walnuts or other favorite nut)
  9. 1.5 Tsp. Italian Seasoning
  10. 1/3 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  11. Feta Cheese

DSC_1059

DSC_1065

Keep in mind that I usually double this. It’s easier for me to just use the entire pack of broccoli florets and 1 full onion… and then I get to enjoy throughout the week 🙂

See instructions below:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  • Place cubed chicken on the bottom of a glass pan (no need to grease it) and lightly salt and pepper
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine broccoli, sweet potato, garlic, onion, craisins, almond slices, olive oil and Italian seasoning
  • Toss to coat and and veggie mixture over top of the chicken in the pan
  • Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes (40 if doubling)
  • Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes (25 if doubling) or until chicken is cooked throughout and sweet potatoes are soft
  • Finally, serve topped with feta cheese, always!

DSC_1066

Enjoy!

xoHannah

Advertisements

Minimize Holiday Stress

DSC_0704

Stress is a topic that I haven’t really blogged about, but around the holidays I tend to over-analyze and over-think EVERYTHING, which leads to an increase in my stress levels and a decrease in my sanity levels. After talking to friends and family, I have found that this is extremely common this time of year. I wanted to create a post to address the stress that the holidays can bring and how I, personally have been able to handle it. Hopefully this will help you too!

DSC_0705

This year especially the holidays have totally crept up on me… Thanksgiving is only 3 days away… WHAT?! This also means Black Friday is 4 days away, which is when most people knock out their Christmas shopping. (Don’t worry, I will post a guide to Black Friday later this week). My biggest stress-or this time of year is money and budgeting for gifts. The retail industry has been capitalizing off the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays for years. They put so much pressure on finding the “perfect” gifts and making the “perfect” food for your “perfect” parties where you will wear the “perfect” outfit (I’ll make sure you are covered there). It can be extremely overwhelming! In the past, I have found myself falling into these standards, putting so much pressure on myself (and my budget), but this year I have decided to beat the stress and here’s how:

DSC_0707

1. Start Early

Depending on your schedule and how busy you are, it helps to plan out certain days for shopping, baking, family visits, etc. If you are hosting a party or a get together, plan your menu and make a shopping list ahead of time. This helps with last minute trips to the grocery –and trust me, you do not want to be caught in the grocery a day or two before Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. You can also ask a close friend or family for help with party prep. It depends how many people you are entertaining, but an extra set of hands is never a bad thing!

I also know a lot of people who LOVE to procrastinate (I used to be guilty of this myself). However, I have found that planning ahead and starting your holiday lists early, really does make a huge difference. Specifically, when it comes to shopping, getting your gifts ahead of time helps with that last minute scramble. There is NOTHING more stressful than fighting mall shoppers and traffic the week before Christmas. Not to mention, they may not have something in stock and then it will be too late to order anything. Just ask my dad… I will never forget the year he decided to buy my mom a watch for Christmas on December 23! If you know my dad, he does NOT do crowds, or traffic and he HATES spending money. It was about a 5-hour affair and I could totally feel the stress. Needless to say, I think he learned his lesson!

2. Budget

Before you do your gift shopping, determine how much money you can afford to spend, and make sure you stick to it. The number of gifts you give, doesn’t matter –it’s the thought and the effort behind them. One thing I started doing a few years ago, was making homemade gifts, such as sign paintings/crafts. These tend to go over extremely well since you clearly put a lot of thought and time into them. Here is an article I found with some good homemade gift ideas.

Also, there is nothing more stressful than over-buying or over-extending your budget and watching your bank account dwindle. It’s really not worth it to buy extra expensive gifts if you’re going to sacrifice your peace of mind. That’s why it’s super important to determine your budget ahead of time, and to not stray from it. I also like to track my spending to make sure I am staying within that budget. It also helps to buy over time so you aren’t buying a ton of things at once. For more advice on setting a budget, this is a great article!

DSC_0713

3. Make a list, check it twice

Make a list for who you want to buy for and what you are thinking of buying them. I use the notes app on my iPhone to list everyone I am buying for and gift ideas for them. This also helps tremendously when it comes to planning your budget. As I start getting gift ideas and seeing different promotions, I add them to that person on my list. To stay organized, I make lists for just about everything. This tip sort of goes hand-in-hand with planning ahead (tip #1). I make a list for what dishes I want to cook/bake, and the items I need to get from the store.

It also helps me to keep a calendar of holiday events to make sure I am not over-extending myself and that my commitments don’t overlap. There are so many times that I make plans and completely forget about them when I don’t write it down. This can add to your stress when you feel like you have too many plans and not enough time. This leads to my next tip…

4. Learn to say no

You don’t have to say “yes” to everything! In fact, it’s likely impossible. If you agree to something when you probably shouldn’t or don’t have the time, you will become extremely overwhelmed, which sometimes leads to feelings of resentment.

Friends SHOULD understand that the holidays are a busy time, and that you can’t attend or participate in everything. If it’s not possible to say no to something, i.e. a work commitment, try to remove something else from your calendar to make up for lost time.

DSC_0719

5. Decide what really matters

Ultimately, around the holidays it’s important to remember what matters. Whenever I start to feel myself getting stressed, whether it’s about buying gifts, traveling, etc. I try to remind myself about the important things, like family and all of us being together for Christmas. So when you start to feel yourself getting worked up over broken cookies or spilled hot cocoa, remember the true meaning of Christmas, which is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Something else that can help you realize what truly matters, is volunteering at a local soup kitchen or donating gifts/food to a family in need. There are so many different organizations that give you the opportunity to donate during the season. This can really open your eyes to the struggles of people in your community and give you a new perspective. Any stress or anxiety stemming from buying gifts and cooking/entertaining seems insignificant when you realize how blessed and fortunate you really are.

6. use the internet

The internet is a powerful tool to have in the palm of your hand! If you hate shopping and hate crowds, it’s usually easier to shop online. Plus, you avoid the awful holiday traffic. Most stores have free shipping for the holidays and/or run some sort of special. If you decide to shop in store, I have found it helpful to Google coupons. A lot of times I have found that stores are offering huge savings online that they aren’t always advertised in store.

Also, if I find something online (or in store) I will Google that item to see if another store is offering it at a lower price. A lot of companies will price match competitors so you will purchase from their store. There are also a ton of articles and blogs with gift ideas that can help.

DSC_0720

7. Stick to a routine

It’s easy to let the holidays become a “free-for all.” However, if you usually live a healthy lifestyle, overindulgence and abandoning healthy habits will only add to your stress and leave you feeling guilty. To stay on track, try creating a schedule where you plan ahead some time for yourself. Whether your routine is working out, reading, blogging, etc. it’s important to make sure you stick to it. The longer you go without doing something, the easier it is to put it off altogether. This also makes coming back to reality after the holidays that much more difficult.

Some things that help keep me on track are making sure I get plenty of sleep, having a healthy snack/small meal before going to parties, and doing some type of physical activity daily.

8. Relax

Make sure to carve out some time for yourself to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends. It’s easier said than done, but I think this is extremely important in maintaining your sanity. Even if it’s just 15 minutes to clear your mind, you can feel refreshed to accomplish everything you need to do. One thing that helps me, is going to the gym for a quick workout, or reading a few chapters in a book. Whatever it is that calms you and helps clear your mind, make sure you do it!

DSC_0725

Outfit Details: Top: Free People, old (similar, similar) | Jeans: Nordstrom, $99 (similar only $25) | Bag: Tory Burch, old (similar) | Earrings: Kendra Scott, $55 (similar) | Shoes: DSW, old (almost identical, similar) | Watch: BP, old (similar for $17, similar)

Apart from the chaos and packed schedules, this is truly, in my opinion, the most wonderful time of year. However, if you let gift shopping, entertaining and traveling get the best of you, you could end up missing out on it. Hopefully these tips help you minimize your stress and enjoy every magical moment this holiday!

xoHannah

Denver – Wedding Day!

After months and months of planning the big day was finally here! Everything about Saturday, June 17 was absolutely beautiful and perfect. I am going to apologize in advance for the NUMEROUS pictures that are about to be in this post. But, there were just so many great moments and memories that Doug Treiber was able to capture, so I wanted to share them with all of you.

You read about my trip to the Coors Brewery, the bridal luncheon and the rehearsal dinner, but their wedding day was my absolute FAVORITE!

We had an early start to our morning and showed up at the venue (Erin’s mom’s house) bright and early to get ready. Trust me, it took a village with 11 bridesmaids! I also think that is a testament to the type of people that Erin and Josh are –they have so many close friends and family that adore them because they are just such genuine, loving people!

ErinJoshWedding-362

IMG_0916

IMG_3326

IMG_4350

@Teavana @Starbucks ad?

And I just love how us girls spent the entire day getting ready and meanwhile… the boys were doing this:

ErinJoshWedding-359

ErinJoshWedding-361

But they did get ready eventually 🙂

JoshGettingReadyCollage.png

I also can’t complain… we had some downtime and were able to sit out in the sun, sip some champagne and had an amazing deli lunch delivered. We also (obviously) had to take a ton of pictures.

ErinJoshWedding-490

IMG_4354

ErinJoshWedding-483

ErinJoshWedding-484

ErinJoshWedding-351

ErinJoshWedding-435

Erin’s sister Annie and her sweet baby niece Julia

The girls who did the hair and make up (Planet Laboratories) were amazing and I even reached out to Erin so I could include them in my post. They were SO talented and friendly. They used all Aveda products, which I haven’t really used too much in the past, but now I am obsessed with their makeup line… I never even know they did makeup! I got a simple half updo and wore the rest of my hair down and curled, and despite dancing all night, my curls held perfectly. See our final hair:

FinalHair.png

I also tried fake eyelashes for the first time, and I am not going to lie they were a little uncomfortable at first. Eventually I got used to them and I think they looked great -but I probably wouldn’t get them again unless it were a special occasion. Erin had eyelash extensions (which I have been wanting to try) and they looked amazing… she didn’t even really need to wear mascara with them.

Once Erin had her hair and makeup done, it was time for the “first look.” I think this is a really sweet idea and the photographer got some amazing heart-melting pictures! Here Erin is in her dress! It was so elegant and fit her like a glove. It was as if that dress were made for her. The v-back was beautiful too and simple diamonds around the waistline added the perfect touch.

 

brideFinal.png

So here are some of the pictures that the photographer took during the first look. I’m just glad you can’t see all the girls peeking through the windows in the background! We were also trying to not cry all the fresh make up off our faces!

ErinJoshWedding-500

ErinJoshWedding-507

ErinJoshWedding-567

ErinJoshWedding-569

ErinJoshWedding-600

ErinJoshWedding-619

ErinJoshWedding-810

This last one is my favorite ❤ The garden on the side of Erin’s house was honestly the perfect backdrop for these intimate pictures. As you can tell, her mom’s flowers and gardens were impeccable and just added to the beautiful setting.

After their first look, the photographers took Erin and Josh to the front of the house to do all of the bride and groom pictures. After that, they did all of the wedding party pictures, which was GENIUS! So after the ceremony, we didn’t have to waste time taking pictures, they were already done and Josh and Erin and the rest of the bridal party could just go right into the reception!

ErinJoshWedding-755

ErinJoshWedding-757

ErinJoshWedding-799

ErinJoshWedding-872

ErinJoshWedding-893

ErinJoshWedding-742

ErinJoshWedding-698

ErinJoshWedding-695

ErinJoshWedding-628

ErinJoshWedding-623

ErinJoshWedding-612

ErinJoshWedding-728

ErinJoshWedding-733

Erin with her mom

ErinJoshWedding-946

ErinJoshWedding-957

ErinJoshWedding-959

IMG_4371

Momma & Daddy

So all of these pictures were actually taken before the wedding, but it ended up being perfect because it did sprinkle right after we finished. (They say a little bit of rain on your wedding day is good luck)! As the guests arrived, it was time to walk down the aisle! But first, let’s start with the cutest “ring bearer” ever –Erin’s little nephew, Andrew.

Andrew

ErinJoshWedding-1072.png

ErinJoshWedding-1131

ErinJoshWedding-1079

ErinJoshWedding-1091

ErinJoshWedding-1164

The one thing that they did, which was really sweet was Josh met Erin in the middle of the aisle and walked her down the rest of the way to the alter. They also shared their own vows, which was really special –I’m sure for them– but also for everyone else to hear. I had been good at not crying up until that point. My brother has always been a man of few words, but listening to him talk about Erin and share his love for her with all the guests was so special! ❤

ErinJoshWedding-1041

ErinJoshWedding-1233

ErinJoshWedding-1269

And I now present Mr. & Mrs. Bordner!

2017062117191253-IMG_0650.png

After a gorgeous ceremony it was time for the reception! I would say that the theme of this wedding was garden chic. Everything was put together so beautifully and every little detail was thought of. I wanted to share some pictures of the venue and the decor because it was truly truly beautiful. (I also know most of my friends will steal them to put on their Pinterest boards)!

ErinJoshWedding-979

ErinJoshWedding-1013

ErinJoshWedding-988

A fun and interesting note about these table settings… Erin’s mom actually hand sewed all of the napkins for every guest. This was a great personal touch and she used three different patterns, which tied everything together so nicely.

ErinJoshWedding-1509

ErinJoshWedding-1510

IMG_0696

Erin and Josh still did the traditional wedding cake cutting, but it was just a small cake. So instead of serving that cake to the guests, they had an ice cream bicycle come and handout different flavors of ice cream sandwiches. These were actually really refreshing and really tasty and was such a fun idea (especially if you aren’t a big cake person).

IMG_0677

ErinJoshWedding-1171

IMG_4368

Once the ceremony was over, they held a cocktail hour for the guests before sitting down to dinner. We also went through all the speeches and Erin’s mom gave the most heart-warming toast welcoming Josh into their family –I know he is in good hands living across the country. I don’t think any of the guests minded that two people interrupted…

ErinJoshWedding-1584

ErinJoshWedding-1590

ErinJoshWedding-1603

After the toast, dinner was served buffet style with tons of options and a delicious watermelon salad AND sweet potato fries! And after dinner was when the real fun began! They had a live band, Diamond Empire who was absolutely amazing! There is just something fun and authentic about having a live band interacting with the crowd!

Before sharing pictures from the reception, I did want to share some sweet pictures from their first dance to Die a Happy Man by Thomas Rhett.

ErinJoshWedding-1711

ErinJoshWedding-1725

ErinJoshWedding-1717

ErinJoshWedding-1730

Now for the rest of the pictures from such an amazing night…

ErinJoshWedding-1640

ErinJoshWedding-1689

ErinJoshWedding-1756

Untitled-1

My handsome date!

ErinJoshWedding-1813

ErinJoshWedding-1817

Boston College friends

ErinJoshWedding-1828

My mom’s side of the family

ErinJoshWedding-1843

ErinJoshWedding-1877

Mom & Dad

ErinJoshWedding-1870

Josh and my sweet grandma ❤

And I am so bummed because this is the only picture I have of the back of my dress, which I was so in love with! The beaded detail on it was so intricate and beautiful, I am kind of sad I don’t have more pictures.

IMG_3306.png

I guess I will just need to find another time and place to wear it again 🙂

I think I can speak for all of the guests there, that this was one of the most fun and amazing weddings I have ever been to. (And yes, I am biased). But there was just something so intimate about this backyard wedding in the home that Erin and her siblings grew up in. It was also so much about family and good friends and I am so thankful that these two found each other!

So last but not least…

ErinJoshWedding-1531.png

CONGRATS to the newlyweds!

xoHannah

Denver Trip – Rehearsal & Dinner

If you have been following my last few posts, you will know that my brother Josh married his beautiful fiancé, Erin this past June in the lovely Denver, Colorado.

I may be a bit biased… but this was honestly one of the most FUN rehearsal dinners (and weddings) that I have been to! After the bridal luncheon earlier in the afternoon, we headed over to the rehearsal, then off to The Tavern in Platt Park to help set up for the dinner party.

Here is a picture from the actual rehearsal:

ErinJoshWedding-2.png

I loved that Erin and Josh had their photographer at their rehearsal and the dinner to take pictures and capture some sweet moments. (I am not sure if that’s standard now-a-days)? The Tavern was the PERFECT location… we were up on their rooftop bar, the weather was perfect, food was amazing and the staff was so great!

I was super excited that my mom let me design the invitations for the rehearsal dinner (see below). My parents ended up inviting a good number of people because so many friends and family flew across the country and a lot of our family members and friends hadn’t met Erin and vice-versa with Josh. So this was the perfect way for everyone to meet BEFORE the actual wedding.

JoshErin_Invite2

I crossed out last names for privacy 🙂

I also created a cute little logo to put on the vases on the tables at the ceremony and to add to the menus. I designed 2 signs as well to match the invites (I may have gotten a little excited designing things)! See designs and venue pictures below. My mom also made this adorable slideshow for Josh and Erin of family pictures and pictures from their childhood, which was playing in the background on all the TVs.

Also, I must say… the rooftop location did make a really good backdrop for some photos! (We may have gotten a little carried away). See outfit details below the slideshow:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Dress: Revolve, old (similar, similar)
Shoes: Sam Edelman (similar only $20)
Necklace: Gift from the bride
Bracelets: Bourbon & Boweties
Bag: Tory Burch, old on sale (similar, similar)
Earrings: Baublebar, old (similar)

The rehearsal dinner was also the perfect time to give some speeches so we weren’t taking up too much time talking at the wedding 🙂 My sister and I did a joint speech to the bride and groom and I’m not going to lie, I was slightly terrified! There were so many things I wanted to say (funny/embarrassing stories), but we kept it short and sweet since there were so many people who wanted to toast the happy couple! ❤

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After the rehearsal dinner, we finished off the night at the Marriott’s Hotel Bar. We didn’t stay out too late because we had to get enough sleep for the big day tomorrow!!

Bare with me… only one more post on the big day –coming soon! Happy Friday hope you all have an amazing weekend!

xoHannah

P.S. Photo credit goes to the talented Doug Treiber.

Denver Trip – Bridal Luncheon

Happy bridal luncheon and rehearsal dinner day! ❤

This Friday was such a gorgeous day and we started it off with a luncheon/brunch, mimosas and blood mary’s at the Denver Country Club. This was the perfect time and place for all of the girls to get together and unwind before the madness of the rehearsal and wedding!

IMG_3340

IMG_3341

My sister and I were able to spend some time with Erin, her mom and her sisters and the other bridesmaids. We also had a full course meal with appetizers and sorbet dessert! YUM!

IMG_0882.jpg

Meet the Bordner girls!

IMG_4363.jpg

Bridesmaids

IMG_4290

Dress: Bardot (similar, similar only $29!)
Shoes: Lilly Pulitzer, old (similar)
Earrings: Sole Society, old (similar, similar)
Bracelet: Kendra Scott
Bangles: Bourbon & Boweties

Between the luncheon and the rehearsal, we were able to explore a little bit of Cherry Creek –which is actually a really neat place with a lot of cute boutique shops and restaurants! I would have liked to spend a little more time exploring, but we had a busy schedule so I guess I will just have to save that for next time 🙂

Hope you all survived Monday and have a great rest of the week!

xoHannah

 

 

Denver Trip 2017

I can’t believe it’s been about a month and a half since my little brother tied the knot in Denver, Colorado …and I STILL have not blogged about it <insert embarrassed emoji here>!

This was such a wonderful and fun trip, spending time with family and amazing friends I haven’t seen in a while. There is just something about a wedding that makes everyone happy and there was just SO much LOVE! ❤

First stop on my trip was a tour of the Coors Brewery in Golden, Colorado. I also learned that they own Blue Moon (my favorite beer)… mind blown! We were able to take the grand tour of how they make all of their beer and finished up with some taste testing afterwards.

GoldenCO

Coors_600

The entire process is actually really cool… they even use the fresh water from the mountains during the brewing process.

Halfway through the tour there was a little stop where we were able to try the Coors Banquet beer (which I had never had before). I liked the Banquet, but think I’ll stick to the original 🙂 also, excuse the poor lighting…

Girls

Sisters

Although I enjoyed the tour, I think the best part was the socializing and “tasting” afterwards. We were able to get 3 full samples of their different beer and it was great to relax and hang out with everyone for a while before all the wedding madness set in!

Here’s the entire group…

Coors_Group

Outfit details below…

Outfit

Top: Nordstrom, old (similar, similar)
Earrings: Sole Society, old (similar, similar)
Necklace: Nordstrom, ONLY $14 (similar)
Jeans: Express, old
Shoes: Sole Society, on SALE (similar)
Watch: Michael Kors, old (similar)
Bracelets: Bourbon & Boweties, $20+

Stay tuned for more info on our trip and Josh’s wedding. We had a wonderful bridal luncheon on Friday before the rehearsal dinner and I can’t wait to share all of the pictures with you! Hope ya’ll have an AMAZING weekend!

xoHannah

A Gainesville Graduation

It’s hard to believe my younger sister (by 5 years!) graduated from college 2 weekends ago! I remember my college graduation like it was just yesterday… Although it was actually four years ago almost to the day. I remember the excitement, the fear, and the uncertainty. Even though I had already had a job lined up and my sister is set to go to pharmacy school in August, there is still that uncertain feeling of moving onto the next chapter in life. After that weekend I got to thinking about my college years and feeling nostalgic. Looking back, there are so many things that I could have (and probably should have) done differently, but without those experiences I wouldn’t be where I am today!

At least Haley chose to go to the University of Florida so I had a nice little weekend getaway in the sunshine state. At least that’s what I thought… My weekend actually consisted of a lot of driving, packing, moving, cleaning and lifting heavy furniture. Oh, and food… a lot of good food! And it was all worth it to see my sister walk across that stage Sunday morning with a big smile on her face!

HaleyUFGrad

HappyGrad

My parents, grandma and sister all drove down to Charlotte Thursday night so we could leave early Friday morning. That night I took them to Paco’s Tacos & Tequila for dinner. If you live in the Charlotte area and have not been there and love Mexican you HAVE to go! They have the best, fresh guacamole and margaritas that are out of this world. Also, try the volcano queso dip… don’t ask what’s in it and just trust me 🙂

After arriving in Florida on Friday, we just relaxed and spent some family time together over cocktails and beer… it had been a while since we were all together. We ended up actually staying at a hotel in Ocala (45 minutes away), since Gainesville hotels booked up 6 months before graduation! We were in for a long day Saturday since we had to pack up Haley’s room and load the UHaul truck.

I was up bright and early Saturday morning… I was able to get a quick workout in too, but I would soon realize that was a mistake. We spent the next several hours helping Haley pack, cleaning her apartment and loading up the UHaul. Luckily she did a good job at having everything together so it didn’t take nearly as long as it could have.

UFGradUhaul

And afterwards, I insisted on going back to 3 Natives! This place is SO good… I wrote about it in my blog post about our Naples trip. They honestly have the most amazing acai bowls I have ever had! I haven’t been able to find a place like it in Charlotte, unfortunately.

3natives

We got back to the hotel in time to spend a few hours by the pool and it turned out to be a beautiful day! We had a few cocktails, listened to some good music and took our time getting ready for dinner. Haley had made us reservations at this Italian place called Leonardo’s and it was delicious! The service was excellent, wine was great and the food was so fresh and authentic.

Sisters

Family

GirlsGrandma

Leonardos

After dinner (and dessert) we went to a nearby rooftop sports bar downtown and watched the sun set.

MomRooftop

FamilyRooftop

SisterRooftop
Outfit Details Below
Romper: Nordstrom, ONLY $45!
Wedges: Steve Madden by DSW
Body Chain: Kendra Scott ‘Joslyn’ (similar only $13)
Bracelets: Bourbon & Boweties
Watch: Nixon (similar, similar)
Earrings: Kendra Scott ‘Rogan’ (similar)

On Haley:
Dress: Lilly Pulitzer (similar, similar)
Lace-up sandals: Lilly Pulitzer (similar only $19!)

Sunday morning was the big day! Haley had finally made it and everything she worked so hard for over the past 4 years was all for this moment. I was so excited and so proud of her! After a long ceremony, and lots of coffee, we were able to celebrate with the grad! And by celebrate, I mean we spent the next 7 hours driving back to Charlotte. She will be starting Pharmacy School at Ohio State University in the fall and I can not wait to see everything that she accomplishes there! Best of luck Hales and congrats!

HBGradHaley

GatorFam

HBGradMom

Outfit Details:
Dress: Lilly Pulitzer (similar for $39, similar)
Shoes: Lilly Pulitzer
Bracelets: Bourbon & Boweties
Earrings: Sugarfix by Baublebar at Target (similar)
Haley’s shoes: Lilly Pulitzer
Mom’s dress: Lilly Pulitzer, old

The gang eventually made it back to Maryland on Monday morning… here they are unloading the truck, and my mom clearly loving Haley’s scooter!

UnpackingMD

Scooter

I hope you all enjoy your weekend!

Signature

Weekend in Naples

Last weekend I was able to visit the beautiful town of Naples, Florida for my gorgeous soon to be sister in law Erin’s “last flamingle” a.k.a. Bachelorette party! There were 11 of us and we stayed in an amazing condo a few blocks from the beach. We collectively decided on a flamingo theme… And let me just tell you how cute this idea was and how much fun we had with it! Is she not the cutest?!

IMG_3157.jpg

I left for Florida Wednesday night after work and made a pit stop in Gainesville, Florida to pick up the little sister. Of course I had to wait until her classes were over on Thursday (despite my best efforts, I could not convince her to skip class). So while she was in class, I went for a little run around Gainesville and did some stairs at the stadium. Of course I stopped for a breather and was able to snap this shot.

IMG_3121

It was an absolutely gorgeous day, so I was happy that I could fit in a quick workout before the busy weekend! We were finally able to hit the road (with Starbucks in hand) at 2:30 and arrived in Naples around 7. We made a stop along the way and picked up some drinks, sunscreen, balloons and other decorations.

IMG_3131.PNG

Luckily, Erin was out at the beach so Haley and some of the other girls and I were able to decorate everything and surprise her when she got back. There were two other girls whose flights got in a little later, so we just hung out at the house, waited for them and ordered in. One of my favorite decorations (and I think most of the other girls would agree) was this life size portrait of Erin!

IMG_3130

Not to mention, she is wearing a FLAMINGO bathing suit! Side note: we decided on the theme BEFORE we were able to get our hands on this picture (thanks Josh)! Is she not stunning in this one piece?!

Anyway, we ordered pizza for dinner from a place called The Crust. We got a few different pizzas and let me just tell you how AMAZING their menu is. The Barbeque Chicken was my absolute favorite! If you are ever in the area I would DEFINITELY recommend this place! And one of my favorite things is having left over pizza for breakfast… anyone else do that too? The rest of the night was spent getting to know each other/catching up and just a few cocktails from the margarita machine!

I was so excited for my first beach day of 2017! Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t that great (a little chilly and windy), but the beach is the beach and just being able to relax by the ocean with a Corona had me happy! And as you can see below, we were definitely not going to let a little cold weather get in the way of our fun weekend.

FullSizeRender

IMG_3141

Swimsuit: Everything But Water top, bottom

We ended up having to cut our beach day a little short, but that gave us more time to get ready for Erin’s big night out! (And more time for 11 girls to get ready for her night out). We reserved a VIP table at one of the local night clubs, called The Blue Martini. I am not used to going to a bar and reserving VIP tables –but it was super fun for the night!

IMG_3183

BlueMartini

IMG_3166

Romper: Nordstrom, old (similar for $29, also LOVE this)
Shoes: Guess, old (similar for $39!)
Earrings: Baublebar (short version)
Necklaces: Not sure 🙂
Bracelets: Bourbon & Boweties
Haley’s romper: Lilly Pulitzer (similar only $38!)
Haley’s sandals: Lilly Pulitzer (similar, $22 similar, $24)

We had an amazing night and I think Erin had a ton fun, which was the most important thing! We may have stayed up until 3 AM, but we sure as heck weren’t going to miss the beautiful weather that Saturday!

IMG_3168

IMG_3195

IMG_3175

Bathing Suit: Victoria Secret, old (similar top, $17 bottom, $13)
“Hello Summer” Hat: Nordstrom, only $25!

The weather on Saturday definitely made up for the weather on Friday. We made ourselves at home on Clam Pass Beach and spent the day relaxing in the sun. We stopped by the beach restaurant for lunch and while we were waiting, we obviously had to try their drinks. They made the most amazing piña colada with a rum floater. Definitely a new favorite drink of mine that I discovered on this trip! (As if I needed another).

IMG_3246

All of the girls!

After a full day relaxing on the beach, we made our way back to the condo and got ready for dinner. Since this was our last night, we kept things more low key than the night before and played some fun bachelorette games.

We had reservations for dinner at a place in downtown Naples called HobNob. The food was so fresh (I can honestly say I did not have a single bad meal while I was down there). We shared some appetizers –I would recommend the stuffed peppers, they were to die for! I also tried ceviche for the first time and I was pleasantly surprised. For those of you that don’t know (and I didn’t) ceviche is raw fish marinated in citrus juices and spices. I was surprised that the sushi lover in me had never had this before!

IMG_3191

IMG_3201

Bag: Rebecca Minkoff (similar on sale, similar for $23)
Dress: Nordstrom, old (similar)
Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell (similar, similar)
Haley’s dress: O’Neill, on sale for $25! (also love this)

Once we got back to the condo, we played my fav bachelorette game of the weekend! One of the girls came up with this idea to interview Josh before we left and ask him questions about their relationship, then see what Erin said and how their answers matched up. It was very sweet and had all of our hearts melting!

Haley and I left early the next morning. I stopped in Gainesville to drop her off, then slowly made my way back to Charlotte. 11 hours of driving in total… it was a long day and weekend for that matter, and I was SO exhausted. However, celebrating Erin and my brother and their upcoming wedding was absolutely worth it!

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

If you have any questions about Naples and my trip, feel free to reach out I would love to hear from you! OR if you have questions about fun things to do for a bachelorette party, I can also give you some pointers. Until then…

Signature

Amelia Island Getaway

My sister and I planned a fun little girls weekend away 2 weekends ago and decided to head to Amelia Island down in sunny Florida. It’s a small island right off the coast, a little North of Jacksonville. We had lots of fun catching up and exploring the beautiful island together –see for yourself…

dsc_0070

dsc_0071

This was Sliders Seaside Grill, which was right across from our hotel. It was a neat beach side bar with an amazing ocean view, where we spent most of our afternoons. Each day they had awesome live music and the food was phenomenal! I would definitely recommend the calamari with Rum Punch! We loved this little Tiki Bar… they even had swings at the bar. Unfortunately I did not think to take a picture but you can take my word when I say it was really neat!

dsc_0075

dsc_0082

It was so amazing how you could just drive your truck right out on to the beach. A lot of places don’t let you do that. Of course I was not about to drive my little car out there, but it was still cool to see the locals do it! Once we got checked into our hotel and settled, we started looking up some places to go explore and played total tourists for the rest of the day. We made our way into the downtown area where we did some window shopping and explored some of the local bars and historic sights.

Below are some pictures from the marina and downtown:

dsc_0087

dsc_0088

dsc_0089

dsc_0106

dsc_0107

dsc_0110

img_2598

This was the hotel that we stayed in “Amelia Hotel at the Beach.” While it wasn’t a 5-star resort, I would definitely go back and stay there again. The rooms were clean, comfortable and spacious and the staff was extremely friendly and helpful! You can check out their website and make reservations here. They also have an amazing Groupon deal you can check out here! Unfortunately, I did not stumble upon this until after we got back.

img_2609

img_2610

Overall we had a very relaxing stay and some much needed sister time escaping from the real world for a few days!

See what I wore while exploring downtown and shop outfit details below:

img_2581

img_2582

img_2591

img_2589

img_2585

Jacket: Nordstrom, old (similar, similar)
Top: Loft, $49 (similar for only $29)
Necklace: My Stella & Dot, $98 (similar only $39)
Earrings: My Stella & Dot, $39 (almost identical)
Jeans: Nordstrom, old (similar, also love these)
Booties: Lucky Brand from Macy’s, $84 ON SALE w/ code: WKND!
Bag: Tory Burch, old (similar, similar)

Thank you all for reading and if you have ANY questions about the island, I would be more than happy to answer them and tell you a little bit more about my experience! Hope ya’ll have a fantastic weekend!

Signature

Home for the Holidays

One of the best things about the holidays are being with family and friends. I am so fortunate to have a loving, close-knit family and friends who are like sisters and aunts/uncles, etc. This year was a little bit different… we have a lot of big things coming up in the next year:

  • My parents put our house on the market, so this is probably the last holiday we will spend in our house -which is bittersweet. While I am happy for my parents to take the next steps into retiring, I am still a little sad because of all the amazing memories we have made there.
  • My brother is GETTING MARRIED! In June, and in Denver and I am SO excited to add another sister to our family 🙂
  • My sister is GRADUATING COLLEGE and starting pharmacy school -she has always been super smart and ambitious and I am so excited for her to start this new journey where I know she will ROCK!

So I think there will be a lot changes going on in this upcoming year! This holiday weekend was the perfect way to celebrate all of the changes, reminisce and catch up with each other. After getting home late Wednesday night, my sister and I woke up early Thursday to go to the mall and do some last minute shopping. (Yes we are crazy and we braved the crowds). Once we were done, we indulged in some pampering and my mom, sister, grandma and I went to get our nails done.

Josh got in late Thursday night and of course we had to indulge in a game of cards.

IMG_8073-X5.jpg

Friday was our Christmas cookie day! Every year we make these adorable Santa Claus cookies. It’s a tradition that my mom did as a kid with her family and it has been passed on to us kids. We definitely made a mess in the kitchen, but it was so worth it! Everyone loves these cookies and how can you resist they are just so cute! Definitely a lot of work but after doing this for the past few years we have it down to a fool-proof routine.

img_0559-x4

img_0561-x4

img_8065-x5

Christmas Eve morning we all had a big breakfast and helped my mom get ready for Christmas Eve dinner. The kitchen and dining room was a mad house -cooking and rearranging tables, chairs and making sure the place settings were perfect. Overall it turned out pretty nice – I think. My mom is always such a good host and the food did not disappoint.

img_8078-x3

We always have our good family friends over for Christmas Eve dinner before we go to church. This year there were 12 of us so we had a big table setting which my mom did such a nice job on… one day I hope to be half the hostess she is!

Before everyone came over for dinner we did some gift exchanging (we always open 1 present on Christmas Eve) and this year we let my parents in on the tradition.

So my mom spent ALL summer working on these Santa Claus cross-stitch ornaments and they turned out so great! It was such a thoughtful and sentimental gift knowing she put in all that time and effort and I will truly cherish it.

We also decided to get my parents a wine cooler! They LOVED it! My dad has a big bar he put in our basement and my mom loves wine so this gift was perfect for them… I am actually surprised that they never had one before.

Then of course before church (and thankfully before dinner, where I stuffed my face) we took our traditional family pictures in front of the fire place. (It’s a growing joke between friends and family that you are really important if you get to take a picture in front of our fireplace).

img_8098-x5

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After the candlelight church service we came back home and our family friends also came back for some desserts and spirits (my dad always makes a special holiday drink). Then the anticipation for Christmas morning set in!

I am so grateful that our family is able to have a nice Christmas. As I have gotten older, the presents aren’t as important -but it is still nice that we are able to do nice things for each other. Before opening any presents, we always have to take our annual “sitting on the stairs” picture… it’s funny how much those pictures have change over the years (we all used to be able to fit on one step).

img_8146-x5

One of my favorite gifts that I gave this year was a hand painted picture of our house to our parents. Since this was likely our last Christmas there, I wanted to give something to my parents to take a piece of our home with them wherever they go. This was such a beautiful painting -my friends did an amazing job from the 3 pictures that I sent her and I know my parents really appreciated it. (My mom did get a little teary eyed, which you can kind of see in the picture -sorry mom)!

img_0590-x4

Overall we had a great day and a great weekend. I am so happy my entire family was able to make it home safely so we could all celebrate together. It’s also great to always have my grandma there too! Grandparents are such a precious gift and mine is no exception! She always makes our day just a little bit sweeter 🙂

img_8197-x5

I hope everyone else had a healthy and happy holiday spend with lots of love, laughter and food! And cheers to a happy New Year!

Signature