January 19, 2017

..Baby Shower Attire

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My cousin's baby shower was last weekend and this is the outfit I wore to it. The event itself was so adorable, my family made it a "Peanuts" theme and really went to town. I also had my first "diaper cake" construction experience (photo evidence here). Up until this point in my life I never really imagined myself rolling up 112 tiny diapers into little diaper diplomas and then gluing tulle onto cardboard on a Friday night but I guess that is just what happens when you reach the big 3-0. Everyone had a nice time and it's always a pleasure for me to spend a weekend up in NJ with my sister and extended family. I have one city down and three (or four if you count the one I live in) to go in the next four weeks. Wish me luck!

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January 17, 2017

..Perfect Pink Dresses

..Perfect Pink Dresses
The deets: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

Call me basic, call me lame, call me predictable and cheesy, I don't care. I like to stick to the theme when it comes to holidays and Valentine's Day calls for pink. I wore pink last year, red the year before, way back when, and even on the years I skipped it in my outfit still incorporated pink lipstick or pink shoes. I just enjoy sticking to the plan in that way. On my hunt for a cute one for this year I came across so many different styles and hues. I guess pink is super in right now because my options were aplenty. Here are some of my favorites. Happy V-day outfit planning!

January 10, 2017

..Easy Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake

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I can't take credit for this recipe, I found it here and once I took one look at it I HAD to try it myself. Of course I swapped out the semi-sweet chocolate chips for milk chocolate ones because I am a WILD WOMAN but everything else is the same. She calls this cake "ridiculous" and it truly is, and easy! I love love love any recipe that starts with boxed cake. Don't tell anyone but I think doctored boxed cake is better than from scratch in certain cases, especially this one or anything involving funfetti.

INGREDIENTS (recipe is from http://cookiesandcups.com/)

Cake
1 (15.25 ounce) box chocolate cake mix
1 (3.9 ounce) box instant chocolate pudding
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream 
3 eggs
⅓ cup vegetable oil
½ cup water
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)

Frosting
¼ cup butter, room temperature
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup heavy cream

INSTRUCTIONS

Cake
Preheat oven to 350°F. Liberally grease a 10- inch bundt pan with butter or shortening and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine all the cake ingredients. Mix on low for 30 seconds until combined and then on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, until the cake is set. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then invert the pan onto a cake plate. Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed beat the butter, cocoa powder and powdered sugar until combined. Add in the vanilla and cream and beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes until creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Frost the top of the cake and garnish with more chocolate chips if desired.
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January 9, 2017

..New Year Thoughts 2017

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Photo from last October when we were venue hunting for our wedding in NJ.

I have never been one to stick to set "resolutions." Honestly, who can? I'd like to meet one of the aliens with these super powers. You basically set yourself up for failure and a heaping serving of self loathing when you can't execute the impossible. I didn't even set any resolutions for myself in 2016 and that year went pretty darn swimmingly for me so I know they definitely aren't a requirement for success or happiness. I do, however, think that while last year was amazing, I tend to get complacent when things aren't thrust in front of me. So, because I'm not huge on "resolutions," or even it's less stuck up cousin "goals," I think I can get comfortable with selecting an over-arching "theme" for 2017. Themes are like the cool-mom version of resolutions. The most loose interpretation of the idea, like a target with a bulls-eye takes up 75% of the board and the outer 25% is still considered a "you did great" zone. The "participation trophy" if you will. A theme is the opposite of setting yourself up for failure, it's setting yourself up to be elated with a mediocre performance..which sounds good to me. So, without further ado, the theme I have selected is (drum roll please)... transformation & self-love. Here are just a few of the items that hope to have crossed off my list by December.

1. I want to actually USE the airline credits that I received in 2016 that will expire this year. Go somewhere new, take a weekend to just have fun. Treat myself. Much of my vacation was used on wedding planning last year and while it was super awesome, I need to switch it up from my usual NJ long weekends.

2. I want to do something active (workout, go for a long walk, take a class) 8-10x/month. I know people who work out regularly will think that's nothing but ...baby steps here. I purchased a bunch of cute workout clothes as motivation and it's actually pretty effective.

3. Break out my camera more, learn it's features better. Take more photos of my friends and life (if they allow me).

4. I need to add more fulfillment to my life to transform it a little. This means doing things that I deem scary and breaking from my very comfortable routine, following my heart more, and finding passion.

5. Be a better friend, relative and human in general. I always beat myself up over not making the call or sending the package or even shooting an email. If I take the time to just do the things I intend I'll be nicer to myself later.

6. Keep bringing content to this blog even if it's different so it can transform with me.

7. Keep things simple. Don't worry about the things and relationships I can not change. Don't sweat the small stuff.

8. Be nice to myself. I don't want to be a person that sets that kind of tone anymore. I imagine if I have a family one day I wouldn't want my children to emulate those vibes. In order to be able to set good examples for the little ones in my life (be it friends babies or my own future ones) I need to start with me.
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December 31, 2016

..Best Year Ever

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I know everyone else on planet earth is all like #GTFO2016 but I have to go against the grain here and say it was my favorite year ever. Selfishly, it's definitely because it sort of felt like #theyearofErin and those special years don't just pop up all the time so I want to take the time to properly savor it and show appreciation for 2016 and all the amazing humans that made it so incredible. Here are my top eleven (I tried for ten but just couldn't give one the boot) reasons why it was the effing GREATEST.

1. Our freezing cold engagement shoot that I will cherish forever. The memory of warming up at Faustini's for some wine tasting after just was magic to me.

2. I nested like a mofo. We are still a work in progress but it's my favorite apt we've lived in to date!

3. I got to spend MDW at the actual beach this year! Again, riding the Coastal Highway beach bus with my fiance down the main strip, playing mini golf, and sampling every kind of sweet Ocean City, MD had to offer - flavored popcorn, salt water taffy, ice cream (we split them all) feels like remembering something really special.

4. The most incredible bachelorette party of all time. I actually have guilt about it because I know I will never be able to return the favor - it was that good.

5. I turned 30 and actually liked it! Surprised myself.

6. I was spoiled with the most beautiful showers in VA, NJ, and CT.

7. I survived wedding planning and got married! It was pretty much the best day of my life hands down. I wont get all mushy but nothing can compare. This day alone would make 2016 my favorite year of life.

8. I went on a really awesome honeymoon, some photo evidence here, here, here, and here. We really just went for it all around. You only get one and the trip just feels so amazing and romantic and unique. 

9. I really just felt a continuous stream of love - maybe it's always there but I got to look it in the eyes and give it a big open mouthed kiss this year. Very present indeed.

10. I got to spend my first Christmas with my new husband's family.

11. I am ringing in the New Year in the same fashion that I have basically lived in this past one, spending a candle lit night with my new husband at a fancy dinner at Casa Luca. What's one more romantic night for us in 2016? It was the year of love for me anyway!