A Thankful Heart

Thanksgiving is officially 24 hours away and I'm popping in today to wish you all a wonderful holiday, and to give my thanks for my infinite blessings.

First of all, I'm thankful for my amazing family that has continuously supported me throughout all of my endeavors. I'm thankful for being raised in a loving, happy home, and for a childhood filled with beautiful memories that I carry with me each and every day.

I'm thankful for my amazing man who stands by me, guides me, builds me up, and always has the right words I need to hear; a man who is hardworking, spontaneous, and brings so much fun to our lives. I'm thankful for every past and future adventure we experience together, big and small. I love him so, so big.

I'm thankful for the two most incredible best friends in the entire world. I'm thankful that I have two kick-ass ladies on my side through every obstacle and blessing we encounter through life. I'm thankful for the deep, eye-watering, belly laughs they give me, and that they accept my flaws and back up the many rants I may go on.

I'm thankful for our sweet pup who came into our lives this year. The puppy who chases my feet, puts a smile on my face everyday, and provides me endless comfort. Bosco has truly taught me to just put my phone down and be present, and to enjoy the simple things in life - whether it be an evening walk to our favorite park or warm snuggles before bedtime. He brings us so much joy and laughter.

I'm thankful for our warm, cozy home and all the work we have put into it to make it ours. Although temporary, I can't wait to see what memories we will make here.

Lastly, I am thankful for YOU! Whether you have just stopped by to read a post or two, or you have followed this blog from the beginning - you make blogging worth it!

On top of everything I am eternally grateful for my faith and the angels I have above. I am filled to the top with gratitude by this life I have been blessed with.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. I will be signing off for the rest of the week to enjoy my time with my family.

Quick Friendship Bread

I used to get so excited when my mom would come home with a ziplock bag of friendship bread starter. Not familiar with this occurring regularly in your childhood? Real Amish Friendship bread is made with a starter - something that gets passed around friends. It's sort of like a chain letter. You make the starter, which is a substitute for yeast and takes 10 days to properly make. You then pass your bag of starter among friends so that they can make their own friendship bread. If you've never had this, you are in for a treat. It is the perfect balance of sweet, but not too sweet. It goes perfect with coffee or just warmed up with a little butter. And I'm sure you have *almost* all of these ingredients in your pantry already.

Coming from the generation of instant gratification, I just couldn't wait 10 whole days once I got a craving. So I found a recipe that is super close to the original, doesn't require a starter, and tastes (almost) as delicious - which is saying a lot because that bread is pretty darn delicious.

Quick Friendship Bread 

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup flour

1 cup oil
1/2 cup milk
3 whole eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 (5 1/8 oz) box instant pudding (I used vanilla but I bet butterscotch would be amazing)

Mix your started ingredients until there are no large clumps.

Mix oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla in with the starter

In a separate bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and pudding mix. Add to liquid mixture and stir thoroughly. I used a hand held mixer for almost 2 minutes.

Pour into 2 greased (you can also add a cinnamon sugar mix to the bottom and sides) loaf pans. Bake at 325 for one hour or until done (mine took around 90 minutes).

Sprinkle top with cinnamon and sugar. ENJOY!

[three] on Friday

ONE // We picked out our Christmas tree last Sunday and we are so excited to cut it down next weekend! This is our first year of having a real tree, and although I'm a little nervous I'm going to kill it before Christmas Day even comes, or that Bosco is going to eat it, I am so ecstatic to be starting this new tradition.

TWO // Speaking of which, after we got home from tagging our tree, we were feeling so festive that we broke out the Christmas decorations and decked the entire house. I was so ready to put away all of the oranges and pumpkins. I adore fall, but once November hits I am officially in Christmas mode! I'll be doing a reveal once it's considered more acceptable for people to decorate.. but for now here's a small preview. Christmas decorations are by far my favorite of the entire year!

THREE // Hot chocolate and This Is Us.. my favorite Wednesday night routine. Gosh I sure do love this show. And I swear every episode I watch I love it more and more.. is that even possible? It's one of those shows that you can go from not liking a character to just adoring them in one 50 min episode. Did anyone else not love Kevin's character at first? Even in the most recent episode I just could not be swayed... until the very end. Each of the character's stories are just so complex and intricate, and I think there is something relatable for each one of them.

It's been a pretty uneventful week.. so to spare you from the boredom of reading things I came up with just to fill the last two spots - I'll just end at three this week. Happy weekend!

Holiday Gift Guide 2017: For Her

It's that time of year once again! Wondering what to buy someone this Christmas? I know I am definitely struggling to figure out what I'm doing for gifts this year. This post is filled with all of my favorite things that I 100% recommend as gifting ideas. All of these things have a permanent spot in my (or my friends') home. 

Happy shopping!

1. Clarisonic: I use mine at least once a week and am always amazed at how soft and clean it makes my face feel. Now I love the Clarisonic brand cleansers too, but it can be used with any cleanser/foam really. Also - they have so many new brush heads to choose from and I am dying to try the foundation brush head.

2. Young Living Essential Oils: Their Starter Kit has everything you need to really embrace the essential oil life. Downside - for some of their items, you do need to find a seller. But for individual oils you can usually purchase them right off their site. I love their blends, and use Stress Away and Joy everyday!

3. Essential Oil Car Diffuser: These things are super cheap & efficient compared to consistently buying air fresheners. I had one that I used religiously (until it broke - don't worry, it wasn't this brand!) and I was able to diffuse peppermint or lemon in the morning to help jump start my day.

4. Thirty One Bag: I've been raving about these bags for the past five years. I don't use any other bag to pack for overnight stays. I also love their lunch boxes! They come in so many different patterns and colors, and you can customize them too. Mine have all held up super nicely despite toting 100 pounds worth of stuff back and fourth to girls weekends and trips.

5. Michael Kors Packable Jacket: It's no secret that winters in MN are cold. Despite any sort of doubts I had, this jacket is the warmest, lightest, and comfiest thing in my winter wardrobe. I love them so much that I have two!

6. Kate Space Wristlet: Another tried and true Christmas gift. I received this a couple years ago from a sweet friend and it's my go to purse for any night events. It's small enough to make carrying it a complete breeze, but big enough to fit lipstick, cards, your phone, basically any necessities for a night out.

7. Daisy by Marc Jacobs: This has been my all time favorite scent since I was in the 9th (!!) grade. I wear it everyday and a bottle lasts forever.. I've barely made a dent in the bottle I got last year.

8. Threshold Flannel Sheets: These sheets are amazingly soft and warm, but still breathable. They feel like the extra expensive sheets, but are a super reasonable price.

9. Sweater Knit Blanket: We have a zillion blankets laying around the house - whether they be drapped over the side of the couch or tucked away in a wicker basket. Something about constantly having a cozy blanket available within an arms reach makes a home feel so warm and inviting. Plus there's nothing better than snuggling up under a new blanket and watching Christmas movies all day.

10. Peppi Gel: Okay I can't personally recommend this because I've never used it, but I was so tempted to go to the salon and get my artificial nails removed just so I could try this! I've had several friends say how much they love this stuff. Basically it's a nail kit you buy that comes with everything to do your own gel manicure! It looks so easy and the video is actually somewhat mesmerizing. I don't have enough space to explain it all here, just click the link and check it out!

11. White Barn Candles: The Hot Cocoa & Cream candle is our FAV. It fills our house with such a sweet and delicious aroma. White Barn always has sales on these candles. They burn super well and for a long time.

12. Apple Watch: I was totally one of those people that thought these were completely overrated, but I use mine every single day. It's so nice to be able to go about the house or office not constantly checking my phone. When my watch vibrates I can glance down and see if it's something that actually warrants my attention, or if it's just another email from Old Navy.

13. Beats by Dre Headphones: These have been a lifesaver when working out. They are cordless, so I can go from one end of the studio to the other and can get super loud. The charge lasts forever too!

14. Erin Condren Planner: I've only heard amazing things about these planners. I'm highly considering ordering myself one for 2018. They have so many fun styles! And I know I would get a ton of use out of it.

15. Apple Silicone Case: I blogged about this last Christmas and finally bought one for myself, and they truly are every bit of amazing as I thought. Highly recommended! (Pssst, you can also find some at Kohl's website for a little cheaper)

16. Naked Eyeshadow Palette: Again, something I use everyday. I just love these colors!

At-Home Date Night

Last night we declared it a no-TV night, and guys, it was an incredible night. We are huge TV watchers, and as much as I hate to admit this, we will oftentimes sit in front of the TV while we eat dinner and watch it until we go to bed. It's a bad habit.

I came home from an appointment last night and sweet Andy had a Target bag filled with s'mores ingredients, two books, and a bottle of wine. We poured the wine, turned on some music, and just chatted for an hour (by the way, the This Is Us soundtrack is sooo, SO good. It is perfect cooking/conversation/relaxing background music. Seriously check it out and you can thank me!). After we were all relaxed, we got to cooking our dinner - salmon, rice, and steamed greenbeans. We sat at the table and enjoyed our meal while chatting away.

After clean up, we moved to the livingroom and broke out our new books. I started Amy Schumer's The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo. I am a sucker for biographies and books written by women who powered through something traumatic. While I wouldn't necessarily say this is a biography, it has a lot of life stories and even a few good points of advice and empowerment. It's honestly just hilarious and had me laughing out loud more than once. That being said, it's pretty raunchy too but probably nothing any other woman can't relate to... anyway, moving on :)

We read for awhile and then decided to make our dessert - dark chocolate raspberry s'mores. Yeah, they were every bit of decadent as they sound.

We read a little more, and then called it a night to retreat upstairs to our room where we did watch two episodes of Parks and Rec before turning off the lights.

Ya'll, it was an amazing night. and we decided that "no-TV" night is going to be a weekly thing.

Five on Friday | 11.10.17

ONE // We got these delicious candles this week from White Barn and have been burning them all week! I walked in the door on Tuesday and actually thought Andy was baking brownies, but lo and behold he was just burning this amazing candle. It smells absolutely heavenly and fills our entire house.

TWO // We have been thinking of ways to hide Bosco's eyesore of a kennel lately. It's previous spot was right between the back of our couch and our sliding glass door - so our door was useless except for providing Bosco's kennel with a breeze in the warmer months. Now that it's officially dropped past freezing temperatures, we found a more permanent home for it on the other side of our couch. Andy also went out and bought some wood backsplash to lay on top of it to create a makeshift end table and we actually like it more than the original end table! We are super happy with how it looks and now Bosco doesn't have to be next to the freezing cold window and we can use our door.

THREE // I have officially made my Christmas list of things to do for the season - am I the only one starting to feel the season's anxiety creeping up??? I am going to be working extra hard to cross off everything on that list so I can enjoy the entire month of December with minimal stress.

FOUR // We  made a batch of our favorite one-pot chili this week, and froze some for this winter too! This recipe is a favorite of ours and we always finish every last bit of it.

FIVE // I got some goodies last weekend from one of my favorite little boutiques, Rachel's Closet (for all you locals). This toothpaste is a favorite of mine so far and I also picked up a scarf (which is not online but here is a similar one). I'm unsure as to whether or not blanket scarves are going to be as in again this year. This one is nice and light, but still warm and it's perfect for a chilly casual Friday at work.

BONUS - how darn adorable are these socks that one of Andy's trainees gifted him?? That is actually Bosco's face on them. She took an image we have on Facebook and made a custom pair of socks. Is this not the cutest thing ever??? The company is called Divvy Up Socks and with Christmas coming around it would make a perfect present for anyone who has a pet. I could not stop giggling at these this morning!

Weekend Rewind

This weekend was filled with relaxation, which was definitely needed. On Friday we vegged on the couch with pizza and a movie - the new Pirates of the Caribbean which we loved! It was probably my favorite one out of all of them.

Saturday it was an early morning for both of us. Andy had to work and I headed over to meet my mom, grandma, and two girlfriends for some purse bingo! The luck was definitely on our side this time, because I won a Coach purse (!!!) and my mom won $500!!

I spent Saturday night catching up with my brother and indulging in a couple spoonfuls of cookie dough gelato.

Sunday I enjoyed breakfast and coffee with my family, and then headed home to clean house and complete some organization tasks. Remember in my November Goals post when I said I wanted to clean out our guest closet? Well I can check that one off as completed! I also took Bosco on several walks (he is full of energy these days), redid our chalkboard for Thanksgiving, and made a grocery store trip with Andy.

Speaking of which, if you saw my Instagram, I posted on my story of how much food we were able to get for such a good price! It really pays to have a boyfriend who works for Target, and the other discount options (Cartwheel and RedCard) really add up too! We got the following:

One gallon of 1% milk
Carton of eggnog (tis the season)
4 pack of Light & Fit greek yogurt
Sour cream
2 cans kidney beans
1 can chili beans
2 cans tomatoes
1 can corn
Lawry's seasoning salt
McCormacks steak seasoning
Chipotle mayo
Sliced provolone cheese
Shredded chedder cheese
6 pack whole wheat rolls
6 bananas
1 cucumber
3 peppers
3 onions
2 avocados
Green onions
1 steam-in-bag greenbeans
10 chicken breasts
Package of sandwich steak
4 limes
English muffins
Flatout Wraps
Wheat thins
Tomato juice
10 pack sparkling water
Salad mix
1 rotisserie chicken
Carrot chips
Chocolate chips
Dressing containers
Dish detergent

All for a whopping total of $83! We saved over $30. I. Was. Shocked. For dinner last night we had steak sandwiches. Tonight I'm planning on making a fiesta chicken which is a recipe I found on Pinterest, and tomorrow we have plans for chili. Unfortunately I've been dealing with some bad TMJ pain that is making chewing really difficult, so it might be soup for me tonight - but hopefully after a few days of soft food it will be cleared up!

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