Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate

Christmas this year was extra special to my little family for a couple of reasons. First, it was basically our one year anniversary in our new house. The previous Christmas we had moved in only a couple days before and so we were only able to accomplish minimal decorations and a small Christmas breakfast. This year was the complete opposite. The house was filled with decorations (actually, still is), a giant tree and the smell of fresh bread and Christmas cookies. I even had time to make a dried orange garland – more on that in another post. Not only was our house filled with Christmas spirit, but our hearts were as well as we were able to host not only my family but my husbands family as well. Christmas Eve was dinner with my in-laws, their other children, their children’s children and a couple other in-laws of the in-laws (phew!) that tagged along. I cooked a big prime rib dinner per my husbands request and let the festivities begin. Since I knew children would be present, I wanted to make a special after-dinner drink for them (and the kids at heart).

Continue reading “Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate”

Rosemary Bread

Bread, bread, magical bread. Is there anything better than bread? It’s even better when you can make it at home and serve and eat it warm right from the oven. I had never been one for making bread before. Sure I had tried a couple easy roll recipes now and then, but I had never gotten into making actual loaves or rounds before (other than quick bread recipes like pumpkin or banana). But, this year for my birthday, I bought myself my first ever Kitchenaid – lucky me my birthday is always near Black Friday ;). And ever since having this beautiful piece of equipment, I’ve been baking up a storm. Cookies, cheesecakes, muffins, but best of all bread. I’ve been making about two loaves with every recipe I try so that I’m able to make one and give one away to my carb-loving friends. Their favorite recipe so far? This amazing rosemary bread. I’ve been told it’s identical to the bread from Macaroni Grill, but since I haven’t been there in several years I can’t say for sure. Either way, this bread is delicious, flavorful and perfect as a side or all on its own.

Continue reading “Rosemary Bread”

New Year’s Resolutions 2019

bright-celebrate-celebration-1234390
2018 is coming to a close, and for the first time in several years, I’ve decided to tackle some New Year’s resolutions. I haven’t had many resolutions in the past, I think because I didn’t feel like they were important enough to save for the beginning of a New Year. But this year, I’ve decided to tackle some pretty tough and important items to me, and to hopefully, blog about it along the way.
Continue reading “New Year’s Resolutions 2019”

Hazelnut Coffee Creamer Recipe

pexels-photo-374780As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more and more aware of the foods I put into my body. Mainly, I try to stay away from items with lots of preservatives and ingredients that I can’t pronounce. Some would say that giving up coffee would be a good place to start when trying to rid your routine of things that are less than great for you, but I am a coffee fanatic and so to that I say NAY! However, I did cut out coffee creamer about a year ago and started drinking my coffee black. I think what really got me thinking about it was that fact that you could leave most creamers in those little restaurant cups, or the giant pump bottles, out on the counter, unrefrigerated for days, weeks and maybe even months. That seemed odd to me. Isn’t creamer a sort of dairy product? How is it possible that it can sit out without spoiling? So I looked to the ingredients, and was surprised by all of the ingredients on the bottle that I was unable to pronounce.

Continue reading “Hazelnut Coffee Creamer Recipe”

Maui

22554981_10214688189141379_3593108207684571128_n

Travelling is one of those things that I have made a conscious effort to try and do more of this past year. Since about September of last year my husband and I have been to Kauai (our honeymoon), London, Las Vegas (he actually visited more cities than I did this trip), Oregon (for the kite festival!) and finally Maui. All places were amazing of course, but I found that while doing my research for Maui, that I didn’t find many blogs or sites offering a deeper insight into the actual non-touristy things to do (no more shopping, please). So I wanted to write my own blog post to shed some light for others on the beautiful things and wonderful foods that we got to eat while we were there in October, and let me tell you, we did alot!

Continue reading “Maui”

ThredUp Update

joel-moisa-229262.jpg

So I decided I wanted to do an update about my ThredUp experience. I ordered a few items from them about a month ago, you can read about it here. Unfortunately, only one of the items really ended up working out for me because of fit. This is not to say that this is ThredUp’s fault by any means, it only means that I need to accept that I have a small and awkward body type that makes it difficult to buy clothing online no matter what the brand is. But, I thought I would share my return experience with you, because it was so quick and easy and hopefully it will help someone out there gain the confidence to at least try the online thrifting experience.

Continue reading “ThredUp Update”

Ramble On // Cruelty Free is the Way to Be

pexels-photo-372166

I have been pescatarian for about 3 years now. The decision came because of inspiration from a dear friend who is a hardcore vegan who was always so sweet and encouraging about her ideals – not pushy and preachy like some can be. I grew up on a ranch, so hearing her claims about animals being “friends not food” was not alien to me. I had grown up feeding drop calves and pigs, I hung out with goats and full grown holstein cows and could not argue that they have personalities. Much of their personalities, in fact, reminded me of one of the most common household pets – dogs. I wouldn’t eat a dog, so why am I okay with eating other animals? Once I gave myself this perspective, I knew it was time for a change. And I love it! It’s not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be, and I really truly feel like I am making a difference for animals. Now, I do still eat fish, I left this in my diet because I felt like it gave me one last source of meat-based protein, and to be honest, I guess I just don’t feel that emotional connection with fish. Maybe someday I will venture down the vegan road, but for now, I am happy with my mostly vegetarian lifestyle with the occasional sushi roll.

BUT, another area of my life that I realized was still not completely cruelty-free was my cosmetics. I had never really thought about the “tested on animals” factor until I recently started getting back into purchasing makeup. Why would I cut meat out of my diet only to allow animals to still be tortured through cosmetic and chemical testing?

Continue reading “Ramble On // Cruelty Free is the Way to Be”

Ramble On // Being Grateful

pexels-photo-185406.jpeg

So I’m sitting here scrolling through Facebook (which I actually hate doing, and I have no idea why I get sucked into it – WHY?!) and I CONSTANTLY see people complaining. Whether it be passive aggressive complaining with the vague posts about how “someone” is feeling like they don’t matter because they aren’t getting enough attention (I wonder who that could be…) or just straight up “i hate my life” complaining. You would think this would give me one more reason to stay out of this life-suck of an app, but no. WHY does everyone feel the need to post these sentiments on their Facebook for the whole world to see?? That could actually be another post entirely, but what I always seem to ask myself is why are all these people so dang unhappy? Why do they have so much to complain about? And personally, I think it all goes back to one simple truth – You will NEVER find happiness until you learn to be grateful.

Continue reading “Ramble On // Being Grateful”

ThredUp Online Thrift Store

thredup.jpg

As I said in my last post, I LOVE thrifting – “love” may not even be appropriate as I have recently become addicted to the idea (and action) of buying everything in my life secondhand at a fraction of the amount I’d normally spend. But there’s another shopping method that shares thrifting’s spot at the top of my love list – online shopping. All of the online services such as Amazon, Prime Now, E-Cart (Raley’s) and more make it so easy to order everything your heart desires without having to get dressed or leave your house (with E-Cart you do have to pick up your order, but you don’t actually have to go into the store). I use all of these pretty often to buy everything from body wash to bluetooth speakers – seriously, I ordered a bluetooth speaker on Prime Now this weekend and had it within two hours – SO COOL. Most recently though, I found that my two loves had been combined by someone who must be one of the smartest people on the planet – allow me to introduce you to ThredUp – the Largest Online Thrift Store – otherwise known as heaven. I had not heard of them until I watched this video by Youtube vlogger thataylaa, where she shows all the items she bought and did a try-on video. What-the-what!? You can get super cute, cheap clothes online without having to put on any clothes!? I said to myself with a squeal of joy – I HAD to try it. And try it I did, and I gotta say, I’m impressed. Keep reading to see what I got, how it showed up and to get yourself $10 off on your order. Continue reading “ThredUp Online Thrift Store”

Top 5 Items to Thrift

jessica-ruscello-99566.jpg

Love thrifting? I know I do! But some people are still turned off by the idea of buying items that were once used by others. I get it – you imagine someone sweating all over a shirt – it’s wet, stinky and so not okay – you couldn’t possibly wear it after all that. BUT what if that shirt was an Anthropology blouse valued at $65, and you get swoop it up for a mere $4.99, throw it in the wash and have a new-to-you top – would you reconsider? Think about this, when you stay in a hotel room – and I would think most of us have – you are sleeping on sheets that hundreds, maybe even thousands (ick!), of other people have slept in. And sleep is not all that’s happening on these sheets, people – I’ll let your imagination do the wandering. However, these sheets are stripped from countless numbers of beds to be washed and reused by the next poor soul – and the cycle continues. Sorry – did I just ruin hotels for you? This strange example is how I convinced my husband to at least take a peek at the men’s clothes at our local Goodwill – and what do you know, he went home with a J. Crew t-shirt (so PROUD!), a summer tank and a very nice patterned button-up shirt for work, all for around $15 – #winning! (is that still a thing?). The same goes for dishes, utensils, rugs, blankets and pretty much everything else – I draw the line at intimates and bathing suits… just… no. Not only does a thrifty lifestyle save you a bunch of time and money (I say time because you can usually get all goods at one thrift store *cue angelic choir*), but you are also helping to lessen your footprint on our Mother Earth. So many items are manufactured and sold every day only to later be tossed aside or, in the best cases, donated to your local thrift stores. You are literally helping to save the Earth one thrift trip at a time – it doesn’t get better than that!

AND SO – for my first post, I am going to give you my top 5 items to purchase at a thrift store and why. For those of you that are also located in Sacramento, I’ll even include where I think some of the best thrift stores are for specific items AND throw in some note-worthy sale info. Keep reading to learn how you too can get the best for less, while also earning a grown-up sustainability badge that can make anyone feel better about buying more stuff.

Continue reading “Top 5 Items to Thrift”