Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

Friday, May 29, 2015

One of my favorite bloggers, Kristine, over at Breakfast with Bentley has nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award! I am nominated, along with several other awesome bloggers, and I am so flattered! Thank you Kristine! Make sure to check out my blog, last Thursday, Kristine was guest blogging and showing us all how to make Welcome Home baskets!! 
This award was created by bloggers, for bloggers. When you accept the award, you are required to answer the questions posed to you by your nominator, and to nominate 8 of your fellow bloggers for the award.

Why did you start blogging?

I started this blog in 2008 trying to figure out my place in the world. I was a senior in college and thought this would be my senior thesis. It turned into so much more. 

What is your favorite topics to blog about?
Food! Life adventures and love are close seconds. 

What do you NOT feel comfortable sharing with your readers?
I've gotten more open over the years, but I would say my failures. It's never easy sharing with the people you respect, the things you suck at. I'm learning.

What do your weekends look like?
Sleeping in, watching sports and spending time with my HUSBAND 
(I'm still not over the fact that he's my husband!) 

What types of blogs do you typically gravitate towards?
Lifestyle. I love blogs abut life, laughter, sadnessrealness, life. 

What is the one piece of advice you could give to other bloggers?
Blog because you want too, not because you have too. 

What is your biggest personal achievement to date?
Ooo, thats tough, probably graduating law school, passing the bar and marrying the love of my life. 

What is your biggest pet peeve?
Liars and people who chomp their gum/food. 

Name one city/state in the United States where you would most like to travel to and why?
New Orleans. Ideas if I go??

Name three traits of a great blogger.
Honesty, passion and humor. 

The Rules:
Thank the blogger who nominated you (link back to their site).
Answer the 10 questions sent to you.
Make up 10 new questions for your nominees to answer.
Nominate 8 fellow bloggers, link them in your post and let them know.

Here are my 8 nominees! 

Here are my 10 questions: 
1. Why did you start blogging? 
2. What's your favorite part about blogging? 
3. Whats your least favorite part? 
4. Why do you follow the blogs you follow? 
5. One blogging regret. 
6. What's your number one cardinal rule about blogging? 
7. What is your number one guilty pleasure? 
8. Wine, beer or coffee? 
9. How would you describe your blog? 
10. Where do you want to travel the most? 

Weekend Recap + my 10 year High School Reunion!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

This past weekend was such a good one. I know what you're thinking, she says that about all her weekend recaps, but this one was especially great.

The weekend began late Thursday night as I flew in to Scottsdale. Jump to early Friday morning and my best friends wedding weekend began. We started with a beautiful bridesmaid lunch where we prayed for Whitney, laughed, cried and prepared for her big day. We had a great rehearsal that night, followed by some really delicious cocktails at The Living Room. Before we knew it, it was Saturday. Whitney was the most stunning bride. We started the morning early with champagne, makeup appointments, hair styling and lots of pictures. The day went off without a hitch and even the Scottsdale weather cooperated and gave us a gorgeous 75 degree day, it was perfect. At 5pm, Whitney began her walk down the aisle, toward her groom, her forever. The ceremony was amazingly tailored to the gorgeous couple and with a kiss (and a fist pump!) they were Mr. and Mrs! It was truly an incredible day. We danced into the night and enjoyed that special moment where of all your friends are in one place. Oh, what a day! Weddings are seriously the coolest thing. I love getting to be a part of someones happily ever forever. Being there to see them say I do, especially when I've watched their relationship blossom from day one is so incredible. I feel so honored that I was able to stand next to Whitney then and now as they venture into married life.
1. Mr. and Mrs. 2. Us four at Whitney's rehearsal dinner. 3. Aren't they stunning?? 
4. My loves, Coti and Sarah. 5. Coti, my heart & my best. 
6. My first wedding as a Mrs with my Mr! 7. The fist pump! 

You probably thought the weekend ended there... but you are wrong. Sunday was my 10-year high school reunion! 10 years. Yikes. A group of my girlfriends (and their husbands/boyfriends) pre-gamed at my house before we made the trek to the restaurant. I cannot lie, I wasn't totally looking forward to this. I mean, I see 90% of everyone on facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, what did I really need to do at a reunion? But, once I got there and saw, hugged and talked with everyone I knew, I was so glad I went. I have gone to SCA since I was in kindergarten and then graduated from SCA, so I've know a lot of these people for over 20 years and I loved catching up with everyone! We have lawyers, professional ice skaters, entrepreneurs, chefs, musicians etc in our class! It was so cool to see all these people I once knew SO well living their grown up life. After our reunion, a small group of us went to In-and-Out Burger, a place we spent a lot of time at in high school. We laughed, ate, reminisced and cried as we said goodbye. It was the best weekend. I wish we could do it all over but this time, slow every little moment down. Here's to the weekend, good friends and great love.

 I'm so lucky to be so close to so many high school friends. My heart is full. 
The gang. 

Top 10 Songs from 2005.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tomorrow I'm doing a really fun weekend recap. 
(1) My best friend got MARRIED!! 
(2) I went to my 10-year high school reunion. 

How is that even possible?? I still feel like nice little 18 year old girl getting ready for the big bad world. Now, here I am 27, married and it just doesn't seem possible! In preparation for my 10-year reunion post, here are the top 10 songs from 2005. Doesn't it seem like music "back then" was so much better than it is now?  

I mean, 1, 2 step? I'm pretty sure that was my prom theme song. 
Don't cha... basically sung by every girl around the country on repeat. 
Since you Been Gone. Yes. 

I love 'oldies' but these top 10 are pretty damn good. I also think this was back when Kayne was still a good person and not the mic-stealing human he is today. Does anyone else miss 50 cent like I do? Thank goodness the Pussycat Dolls broke up though, even though their songs were catchy, I think we can all agree we're better off without :) 

Anyways, enough of my reminiscing... here's the list... and here's my favorite from that list. 

1Mariah CareyWe Belong Together
2Gwen StefaniHollaback Girl
3MarioLet Me Love You
4Kelly ClarksonSince U Been Gone
5Ciara feat. Missy Elliott1, 2 Step
6Kanye West feat. Jamie FoxxGold Digger
7Green DayBoulevard Of Broken Dreams
850 Cent feat. OliviaCandy Shop
9Pussycat Dolls feat. Busta RhymesDon't Cha
10Kelly ClarksonBehind These Hazel Eyes

Avocado Lime Dressing

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

I love salads. Every kind. Pre-made, homemade, restaurant ordered. I love them all. They're a perfect dish for those warm summer months. Another thing I love, making my own dressings. I've seen this one everywhere, but the thought of pureed avocado's kind of grossed me out. I finally gave it and made it and I am SO glad. It's delicious!

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (i ended up adding more once I was done) 
  • 1/4 cup hopped cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • salt to taste 
How to make: 
  1. Blend everything together in a food processor. 
  2. I added a little bit a water and some more lime juice to thin it out. 
  3. This can keep in the fridge up to a week. 
  4. Enjoy! 
 so easy, everything in the food processor. 
I used every veggie I had in my fridge, plus some grilled chicken. 


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Today my best friend marries her best friend. I know, I'm on a sappy love high, I got married two weeks ago and now here I am, watching my best friend and maid of honor marry her love. Is there anything better than watching two people in love? Is there anything better than being able to see the butterflies and a physical reaction to love? If there is, I haven't found it, instead I've found that love is the greatest display of emotion known. Love makes you cry, makes you laugh, makes you nervous, makes you happy, makes you shake, makes you feel love. Love is the greatest emotion.

 It's best said in 1 Corinthians 13:12-14, "For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall fully know, even as I am fully know. And now these three things remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
This post is dedicated to my best. This post is dedicated to her love, the man who will spoil her, love her, honor her and dedicate the next 80+ years to her. Denton, you are marrying the best girl. Whitney, you're marrying your love, your fairytale, your soulmate...the one your heart loves. This is YOUR day. Enjoy it, soak it up. I feel so honored to be standing next to you today. I love you! 
Everyone reading this... I hope your toast your coffee, mimosa, beer, wine, whatever you're drinking, cheers to love, cheers to Mr. and Mrs., cheers to forever.

Happy Friday!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Today is such a happy Friday! Tomorrow, my best friend gets married to her love!! Today, we're spending the day together enjoying this amazing time in her life. I couldn't be happier for her and I couldn't be happier to be involved. In, the meantime, we'll be sipping wine, laughing, taking pictures and preparing her for the walk of her life tomorrow!

Guest Post; Bless This Home

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Today, you're 'meeting' one of my favorite bloggers, Kristine from Breakfast with Bentley. She's from Long Island, New York. She's a former English teacher, current law firm marketing associate and blogger. She's about to celebrate her 2-year anniversary in May and together they have two dogs (Bentley and Lambo)! If you wanna see more of Kristine, visit her Twitter and Facebook! Thanks again for guest-posting Kristine, loved having you! Without further ado. 

The whole idea behind my blog, Breakfast with Bentley, is to capture and treasure those special moments in life, whether it be the quiet time in the morning or a great recipe you perfected, a gift idea for a friend, or even advice to a future bride. Blogging is my way of sharing experiences, memories and ideas with my friends, family and the world. You can find posts on a variety of topics such as DIY projects, cooking, life and family, dogs, entertaining ideas, wedding planning tips and much more! 

I am so excited to be a guest blogger on The Everyday Grace! Kristen is getting ready to walk down the aisle and I'm getting ready to share a great DIY project with y'all! I know who is going to have more fun, but we can pretend, can't we? :) And don't forget to stop on by  and say hello! My blog, Breakfast with Bentley, has some great blog posts on DIY projects, cooking, life and family, dogs, entertaining ideas, wedding planning tips and much more! 

One of our good friends is a real estate agent and after he saw this post, he wanted me to make him a couple of housewarming baskets for some recent homebuyers. What a great gift to give to your clients! He gave me the creative liberty to do something a bit different and I didn't want to disappoint. My mother, a crafting genius in her own right, gave me a great idea. There is a scene in one of her favorite movies, It's a Wonderful Life, where George and Mary Bailey are blessing a new home for their clients. It's a touching moment, and one of my favorite scenes in the movie. They recite this house blessing: 
Mary Bailey: Bread so that this house may never know hunger. Salt so that life may always have flavor.George Bailey: Wine that joy and prosperity may reign forever.I found other variations of this house blessing online and decided to add three more to the poem:Candle - may you always have light through the darkest times.Honey - may you always enjoy the sweetness of life.
At this point, I knew I was going to create a different type of housewarming "basket". Instead of the traditional wooden basket, I found a colander at Home Goods and used that instead. I found a bag of rosemary pita chips (the bread), a candle, and dish towels at Home Goods too. I purchased the honey, salt and wine at a local food store. I placed the dish towels at the bottom of the colander, created these pretty Bless This Home poem tags, and printed out the tags. I cut them, punched a hole in the top and used twine to wrap each of them around the object.I placed each item carefully into the colander and took a step back. I was impressed! What a great looking basket! It is going to be a fantastic gift to someone who just bought a new home. Who wouldn't want to be welcomed with a blessing, wine and some bread?

What would you include in a housewarming basket? 

Thanks again, Kristen, for allowing me the chance to takeover your blog for the day :) I hope you are enjoying every minute of your wedding / honeymoon!

Don't forget to stop by my blog, Breakfast with Bentley, for great blog posts on DIY projects, cooking, life and family, dogs, entertaining ideas, wedding planning tips and much more!

What I'm listening to Wednesday!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Happy Wednesday everyone! I'm throwing it country here today on the blog. Country is my favorite genre and Little Big Town is quickly becoming my favorite. Here is Little Big Town - "Girl Crush" I hope you enjoy. Hint, play this in the car, turn it up loud and belt it out, or don't but that's how I prefer to listen to this jam! We're halfway to the weekend! 

Sriracha Lime Chicken

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It's no secret Adam and I LOVE spicy food. Anything with hot sauce, jalapeños or sriracha, we're in. I just kind of made this recipe up based on what I know we both love. Warning... this is spicy and might make your nostrils burn a bit, but the burn is worth it especially when you throw some avocado on top. Enjoy!

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 4 tablespoons sriracha 
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • avocado
How to Make: 
  1. Mix sriracha and lime juice in a bowl. 
  2. Throw the chicken in and let marinade for 30 minutes (I let it sit for about an hour!) 
  3. In a pan, heat coconut oil to hot. 
  4. Place chicken in pan and cook on each side for 5 minutes. 
  5. Slice some delicious avocado and enjoy! 
mmm....this is where your nostrils will be burning! 
the finished product! 

P.S. Happy Wedding Anniversary to my favorite couple! 
Here's to many more happy years! (and more cute nephews and nieces!) 

Guest Post; Strawberry Banana Bread

Monday, May 18, 2015

Oh boy are you all in for a treat today! Laurel from Simple Splendor is sharing her recipe for strawberry banana bread! Just wait until you see the pictures, I promise you'll mouth will start watering immediately! If you want to check out more of Laurel, make sure to visit her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Hey there, I'm Laurel from Simple Splendor, a lifestyle blog dedicated to healthy living, style, DIY and parenting my {almost} two crazy kids in the OC.  I'm so excited to share with you today one of my absolute favorite recipes.  It's easy, it's fast and it tastes divine!  Thank you Kristen for letting me share with your readers, enjoy!

If you follow my Instagram, you know I've been craving strawberries like crazy the last couple weeks. Fresh, cold, sweet and sooooo good! My go-to breakfast has been plain Greek fat free yogurt with fresh strawberries and agave, it fills be up until lunch and has a good amount of protein.

A local organic farm near by hosted You-Pick strawberries over the weekend so obviously we went.  It was glorious, aside from the 90º heat that is.  We took home close to 7lbs of organic strawberries for less than $13... That is insane!

All weekend I've been making strawberry concoctions to use these delicious berries, we made strawberry ice cream, strawberry smoothies, strawberry popsicles and my biggest success was this strawberry banana bread.  My husband even said "I don't want to discredit your cooking skills but this bread is the best thing you've ever made!"  He ate half the loaf in about an hour.

(adapted from Simply Recipes)
  • 4 very ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup diced fresh strawberries
How to Make
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Mash bananas with a potato masher or fork. 
  3. In a large bowl, mix butter into the mashed banana. Mix in the sugars, egg, and vanilla. 
  4. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. 
  5. Add the flours and mix to combine. Gently fold in the strawberries. 
  6. Pour mixture into a buttered 4×8 inch loaf pan.

This bread was so easy and delicious... It's definitely a keeper in our house!"

Guest Post; 10 Easy Ways to Get Fit

Friday, May 15, 2015

Happy Friday everyone! Today's post comes from Aishah over at Grains&Gains! Working out has been something I've recently come to love and this post has some great tips whether you're an expert worker-out-er, a newbie or someone who just needs some inspiration today! If you want to learn more abut Aishah, go check her out on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!
Never let your circumstances be a weight that pulls you down; use them to be a weight that helps you develop your strengths. 
The sad reality of society today is many of us to start exercising and eating well; we want to join the gym, eat healthier and look good. One of the major problems I have heard many complain of is how expensive it is to join a gym. Girls like myself, who want to train and exercise in female only environments, find it even more difficult given the limited places there are available that offer this service. Many of us have loads of commitment: work, kids, school, and university. It is not always feasible to find time to travel and pay for an expensive gym to work out. We often see motivational quotes telling us to be more productive with our time; productivity does not mean the day will have more than 24 hours!

I have come up with 10 easy ways to build up habits that will add to your fitness. These are great for those who are starting out their fitness journey and are equally beneficial to those who want to develop a fit lifestyle outside of the gym! All are feasible, easy and on a budget. Pick one each week or fortnight and develop it slowly into your way of life! Let me know what you choose and how you get on!

10 Tips to get into tip, top shape!
1. Change of route!
If you are one of those people who takes a bus to work or school, why not walk instead? If not to and fro, maybe just on your way home. If the journey is too far to do this, perhaps get off a few stop earlier so you get a 5-10 minute walk out. Gradually build it up so you are getting off earlier each fortnight to help increase the amount of walking you do. Equally, be honest with yourself if you are a driver; do you really need to drive to the corner shop or cinema or post office? Save the petrol and kill some calories!

2. Stairs vs. lift!
Do not be that person who takes the lift/ elevator for one floor! Walk the stairs regardless of what you are carrying and how many floors you are going up (though if you are carrying a piano, I think the lift is a valid means of transport!). This is a great bit of exercise that does not require much effort; sometimes the time it takes me to wait for the lift at university, I could have walked up and down the stairs 5 times!

3. Do your chores!
Turn those daily chores into a workout! Give yourself a set time for cleaning the whole kitchen or bathroom without taking any rest. Sprint your way through washing the car; set a personal best and aim to break it each time. Never forgetting the actual cleaning part of course!

4. Do a good deed!
So many of us have elderly neighbours, often whom live on their own. In conjunction with number 3, offer to do their cleaning, gardening or shopping for them. If you have no elderly neighbours, offer to babysit for your family and friends. Kids do nothing but keep you on your toes. Do a good deed and crop that waist line!

5. Fit-alise!
Maybe not my best invented word,  but use some of your social activities as a form of exercise. If you have a games console, buy games that require you to get up and be on your feet [would insert examples if I was a games geek, evidently not!]. This is a great way of bring social interaction and exercise together. Get your children, partner, siblings or friends on board!

6. Home sweet home!
There are loads of workouts that can be found on youtube – easy, simple and suitable for beginners.This is great for those who want to save on money or have not got a suitable gym near them. One of my favourites is Fitness Blender; check them out and see what you think. It is also a good idea to invest in some basic home exercise essentials, such as a stability ball and exercise mat, to push your exercise one step further. Start of with simple workouts that you can easily fit into your schedule and build on that.

7. Multitask!
We really are busy people and, on some occasions, can not find enough time for a full workout. Sometimes, I do 3 sets of 10 squats in my kitchen whilst I am waiting for my eggs to boil.  In the adverts between your favourite TV show, do continuous jumping jacks. For each shirt and trousers you iron, do 5 push ups. Blending in your exercise with daily activities can make it easier to make exercise workouts seem less daunting and time consuming. A mansion is not built in one day; slow progress is better than none.

8. The great outdoors!
Our best gym is indeed free. Become a lover of the outdoors and go for a run or walk in your local park. If you have any interesting walking trails or hikes in your local area or somewhere easy to get to, do it! Organise a day trip with friends to places further out – another great way to fit-alise!

9. Car park tragedy!
Those who drive are lucky – no smelly armpits on the train or bus. Though, amongst drivers there is a deep desire to have the parking spot closest to their destination. STOP! Inconvenience yourself and park the furthest away you can. Force yourself to walk with your 10 bags of shopping to the corner of the car park. Sweat off the calories before you even eat them!

10. Back to class!
Look for local fitness classes – zumba, yoga, gymnastics, karate, kickboxing. Find groups that go different sports. There are so many different activities you could be part of; be active, be cool and get involved!

Final, important words: Do things you enjoy, be happy and don’t push yourself too far. The body has limits, know yourself and build from there! Though looking at other people’s achievements is great for motivation, be balanced in how you take things on board; do not belittle yourself due to other people’s success and do not pressure yourself to obtain the same. Enjoy your fitness journey and take small steps to build sustainable habits! Also, have fun :)

Guest Post; Finding Peace in the Chaos While in Costa Rica

Thursday, May 14, 2015

This post is such a good reminder for everyone. When Taylor told me this is what she wanted to share, I was more than thrilled. I love her whole take and it was great for me to remember that not everything goes as planned and thats okay. Taylor is a blogger, writer, proud Millennial, and English major.  Also, a lover of travel, music, books, yoga, fitness, and Gluten Free food. She believes in being a gatherer of experiences and friendships and not a gatherer of things.  If you want to find out more about her (which you should), go visit her on Instagram and Twitter

Sometimes everything falls apart.  That’s life.  But I didn’t want crumbling pieces at my feet during a long-awaited trip to beautiful Costa Rica.  I tend to want everything to go perfectly as planned on a vacation.  But when you spend your first flight puking in an airplane bathroom for six long (very, very long) hours, you begin to realize even exotic travel isn’t an escape from reality. 

That was only the beginning. 

Once my stomach calmed, my boyfriend and I spent hours in the blazing heat wandering through the streets of San Jose, Costa Rica, trying to figure out how to get to Tamarindo, Costa Rica.  A beach city we thought was 2 hours away.   It was 6 hours away. We had no access to wi-fi, and nobody was speaking any English.  My two semesters of college Spanish might as well have been French.  My boyfriend and I realized a little extra research might have been helpful at this point.  But in the age of the iPhone answering every question from “Where can I get a mojito right now?” to “How do you say ‘I need a mojito’ in Spanish?” one does not remember to think for herself. 

We finally got to our lovely hotel in Tamarindo after quite the confusing adventure and thought “All the bad stuff has already happened.  We are home free!”  Then we ended up in the hospital a few days later… each of us… for two entirely different reasons.  We exchanged our wild plans for nursing illnesses.  This was the theme of our trip: unexpected chaos.  One thing after the other.  I wanted to throw a pity party.

Costa Rica is an interesting place to experience stress.  The locals have a common phrase, “Pura Vida.”  It means pure life.  It reflects this idea that life is good and should be enjoyed, even when things go wrong.  People help each other out in Costa Rica.  Why?  Pura Vida! 

People stop working at sunset.  Why?  Pura Vida!  Life is lived to the fullest in this small Central American country.   Pura Vida!

So you know what my boyfriend and I did? We joined in and said, “Pura Vida.”  (We also ordered another round of mojitos!)

The afternoon after our introduction to the Costa Rican medical system, we relaxed on lounge chairs at a beachside lounge.  We watched the sunset.  And the sunsets in Costa Rica are the most beautiful sunsets in the sky.  Neither of us felt great, but there we were.  Living.  Soaking up the final rays of sunshine on that day.  It was bad and good.  It was chaotic and peaceful.   At the same time.

We can make a choice to live a life of chaos or a life with chaos.  Chaos will happen either way, but our perspective can change.   When we life a life of chaos, stress and hardship are all we see.  Then we will feel disappointed and disillusioned about life.  When we life a life with chaos, we know that chaos is only a part of the story.  It’s not about pretending that it’s all good.  It’s about knowing and embracing that there is so much good in the mix too.  Even something as simple as a gorgeous sunset.  And it happens simultaneously – the chaos and the peace.

So they next time you find yourself in a “when it rains it pours” day or month or year. Remember that peace can be found in the chaos.  Remember: “Pura Vida!” 
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