Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday Favorites

It's Friday! Which means I'm linking up with Erika, Narci & Andrea to share our Friday Favorites. 

Is it me or are the weeks flying by? Before you know it, it'll be 1,000 degrees and summertime but for now I am LOVING these warmer than usual Spring temps! Dallas has skipped straight over Winter and this girl is loving it. Bring out the floral and the coral lipstick, it's been so refreshing!

One. 

We started the week/ended last week by hosting a super fun Super Bowl party with a few friends and it was such a fun way to enjoy not watch the game. The guys enjoyed the game in the media room upstairs and the girls did what we do best- chat and laugh- downstairs near all the food and drinks. It was a win-win and we had the best time throwing this little party together. 

Mr. Football and the spread. Not pictured is the ridiculous/amazing blow up palm tree cooler for the drinks. When in doubt, always go for a palm tree cooler with an island for icy cold drinks.  #becausewereclassy



Some of the group! 



And 2 of my favorites. 

Two. 

On Saturday my parents, husband and I went out to my NEW FAVORITE restaurant in all the world to celebrate my new job. The food was incredible, the ambiance was perfect, the drinks were divine (why yes, I celebrated with a little cocktail!) and it was such a fun time with my very favorite people celebrating this next chapter in my life. I love them more than I'll ever be able to say and I am truly the luckiest girl in the world to have them by my side. 

 In other news, for all you Dallas folks, you have GOT to try out Hibiscus if you haven't already. You will love it.

Everything we had was incredible from beginning to end and I loved that they had such delicious seasonal low-carb sides. Like the best spaghetti squash known to man. And the most incredible root vegetable mash of LIFE. Like, that's a thing? It is. And I was losing my mind over it more than one probably should.


Three. 

I found these perfect little mozzarella babies at Sprouts and they are wonderful! I brought this little pack of three to work one day this week for a little snack and I loved them. 
I'm having visions of a caprese salad on a stick. And that may or may not be coming to the blog soon! 

Four. 

Flowers sent to my work from my sweet husband are always a favorite! They were absolutely beautiful and I was reminded for the millionth time how much I just love doing life with him. 

Five. 
And speaking of my handsome man, on Wednesday we went to another one of our favorite restaurants to celebrate his new job! He accepted a position that day, gave his company his 2 weeks notice and we celebrated his promotion, an awesome raise and the excitement of this new chapter for him, his career and our little family. 
 Words cannot express just how proud I am to be his wife. Not just on the days where he's accepting job offers and getting rewarded for all of his hard work. I truly feel like the luckiest person on earth to get to walk through life with him as we take on all of the challenges and triumphs the Lord brings us to and through.

I love him more and more every single day. He fills my life with so much joy and laughter and ugggggh, is he cute or what?
#sappysusietoday
#sorrynotsorry 
#itsthatvalentinesloveintheair

Five. 

I posted on my Instagram about a week ago after I tried the most amazing low carb wrap known to mankind. This is serious, y'all! And no, I'm not getting paid to tell you that you NEED to run (not walk) to the store nearest you to get yourself a pack. 
You. will. die. 
I found these at Central Market and they were going like hot cakes. So, without even trying them, I took 2 bags. And BOY am I glad I did! 
The wraps are big and you can totally cut them in half and make a burrito or a wrap and be just fine. 

A friend mentioned he's made pizza with these and I am all kinds of excited to try that out! I figure it has to be amazing. 
And for 8 net carbs.. are you JOKING? 
On Thursday, I had time to actually make a real, live breakfast (weird, right?) so I whipped up the easiest, quickest breakfast burrito using one of the wraps. 
Bacon, egg, cheese and my favorite green salsa.. it was heaven. 

Six. 

This last one is very near and dear to my heart. My mom sent me this video this week of my great aunt Mary receiving an award (one of many) for all of the amazing work that she does through volunteering at a nursing home. That's right. At 88 years-old she volunteers at a nursing home- not where she lives-but as she puts it, "to take care of the old people."

She is so giving of her time in truly serving others and is such a great example of what we should all strive to follow. She is hilarious, so witty and quick & will have you literally in tears laughing so hard with her stories if you spend any time with her. She is just truly the sassiest, sweetest, funniest woman I've had the pleasure of knowing and I am so beyond proud to call her family.

So, if you have 5 minutes today, watch the video. It was literally the best thing I saw all week and I promise you, will fill your day with so much joy and make you want to go out there into the world and do something wonderful because she always does.

Happy Valentine's weekend, y'all & have a very happy Friday! Make it as wonderful as you!

XOXO


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Current Hair Care Favorites


I'm fairly low maintenance when it comes to my hair and I HATE the feeling of product and weight in my hair. Which makes it incredibly fun to find some good products that add volume and texture. But my hair is stick straight, pretty thick and has no natural volume whatsoever, so I've ventured out into the world of hair care AKA the hair section of ULTA and Sephora these last few months and have found some really great quality products that I've been putting to the test and loving. 

One of the questions that I get the most is how I get my hair to look the way it does. 

Well..
 A) Aveda hair color has completely changed my hair and I have an amazing stylist who does great color. My hair hasn't been as thick and healthy as it's been the last 6 years when I started going to an Aveda salon.  
B) I know what works with my hair to keep it healthy. For me, this may be totally sacreligious in the beauty blog world to even type, but.. I don't use your standard in-shower conditioner. I've tried too many and they add too much weight to my hair and I've always loathed the way it feels. So since 2007, I've used this leave-in condiditoner religiously. Like, every. single. day. And it's all I use conditioner-wise. For me, it's been life-changing. And my stylist can't even believe that that's all I use. 
C) I curl my hair almost every day and when I do, I use high quality volumizing products to give my limp hair some lift and some texture to really get the curl to hold. 

I read about this product a while back and found it literally for $4 at Kohls in the clearance section last Fall. I eventually forgot about it and went on thinking I didn't need a texture spray.. until the holidays happened and we were packing for Colorado and I wanted something travel sized to take with in my cosmetic bag. 
Enter: the most amazing texture spray to ever exist. A little goes a long way in adding some grit and volume to your hair but it's been a total favorite the last few months. Most days, I spray my curls with a little bit of this before work and even on my long days, it still manages to look fresh when I get home. I never even knew that was possible. 
It's also good for a little mid-day hair pick-me-up, too. It just really gives your hair that little oomph that it needs to look amazing and back to life at 3 p.m.
I am most certainly going to be re-purchasing the big bottle now that I'm nearly running on empty. 

I found this gem at Ulta after reading the rave reviews about how great of a volumizing product it was without making your hair feel heavy. I've used it and loved it nearly every single day since I bought it a few months ago and I can honestly say there's a noticeable difference in the volume of my hair on the days I use it. It's so lightweight and I adore it. 

I never fancied myself a mousse girl, but this is the one that changed all of my thoughts on this. And boy, does it add some volume! My sweet and VERY hair savvy friend, Katie, recommended forced me to run out and buy it and I have loved what it's done to my boring, lifeless, stick straight hair. Especially on the days I curl my hair, I feel like it just takes me hair as high as heaven and this Texas girl is NOT mad about that. 
I don't use it daily and I really only use it when I want a LOT of volume because this one seriously packs a punch. In the best of ways!

And last but certainly not least, The Moroccan Oil Luminous Hairspray Strong I've used religiously for the last 2 years and it truly deserves its own blog post about why it's my favorite. It's that good. First of all, it smells amazing. Not an hour passes that my husband doesn't mention how great my hair smells when I use this. But more than that, it gives a flexible, strong hold to my curls and makes my hear feel so soft and healthy at the same time. 

I hate a stiff hold with my hair spray where I can't run my fingers through it and make it look a little less "done" and this one is just the ticket to that "I just woke up with hair this good" kinda curls. 
#youknowwhatimean

What hair products have you been trying and loving recently? Any that I should add to my list? Let me know in the comments below. 

Happy Wednesday, friends! Make it wonderful. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, my loves! Today I'm super excited to team up with Erika, Narci and Andrea to share our Friday Favorites! 

One. 


This cardigan. I just can.not. I nabbed it a while back during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale and I have been singing its praises ever since! I first read about it on Sheaffers blog and after about the 100th mention of how soft and cozy it is, I ordered it. It was love at first sight, I can't even tell y'all how cozy and soft it is. 
I came down with a nasty bout of food poisoning early Sunday morning and wrapped myself in this and leggings and was the comfiest, coziest little sick girl in north Texas. I promise. It's like wearing a blanket. And who doesn't wanna wear a cute blanket? It comes in a variety of colors but blue is kinda my thang. It's great for lounging around but it's thick and long (and I think cute) enough to leave the house in and is long enough to cover up your hiney with leggings. 
I LOVE it. 

Two. 

One of my most favorite Christmas presents were the beautiful Erin Condren notepads and notebook for my blog that my brother in-law and sister in-law gave me. They are perfect for blog planning and jotting down little blurbs for the blog and I just love that they're personalized. 
I mean, so cute, right? 


Going into 2016, I didn't have a planner picked out but saw this one and picked out some of my favorite shots and memories of the last year or two and now I have the most special, personalized planner for the next year! 

It came on Wednesday, which was perfect timing! That afternoon I was offered a new position at my current job within the same department. I am over the moon excited and I know that so many fun, exciting things will fill up this little planner over the next year and that it will definitely come in handy in keeping me organized. 

So yay for new, pretty planners and new jobs! Wednesday was a good day. 

Three. 



Big changes are coming to our dining room in the next few months and we spent last Saturday with our designer dreaming and scheming up the most beautiful little plan. I am SO excited and it was so fun to look at all of the fabric options, wood stains, curtain fabrics, curtain rods.. you name it, we looked at it and there's nothing I love more than that sorta thing. 

We've had our dining room furniture since we got married in 2012. We found it used and it was perfect for our cute little home in Colorado. Flash forward to our new house and with the high ceilings, it looks like doll furniture. We've wrestled with the option of refinishing it but the fact is, it doesn't fit with the current space. I love it still and we will be selling it to who I hope will be another happy couple needing some great quality starter furniture for a smaller space. I love that dining set and it was good to us, but we are so excited to see how our new dining room design will fit in better with the current space! 

In other news, I spent all of Saturday wishing I went to design school. Ha! I was reminded of designing and dreaming up our dream wedding we planned and remembered how fun that was to look at all of the paper, the flowers, decor, chairs, linens, everything. I just loved it all. 

Regardless, we're excited and I can't wait to do a blog post with the finished product when it's all done. It's going to be beautiful.

Four. 


Since coming back home from Colorado over Christmas, I have been listening to Red Rocks Worship on repeat. I can't get enough of the songs and their latest album Into the Light is nothing short of beautiful. We listened to it in the car to and from Oklahoma a few weeks ago when we went on a little road trip and I love that there's a mix of everything in all seven songs. 

My in-laws are members of Red Rocks Church in Golden and every time we visit, we go to Sunday service where Nicole Serrano sings on the worship team. And every time I hear her, she just transcends me. She kind of sounds like Colbie Caillat and.. all I can say is wow. Her voice is beautiful and the songs on this album are sung by all of their worship leaders who are all incredible. It's just refreshing and I'm always looking for some new worship music to listen to, especially in the car or on my lunch if my day is crazy. Nothing reminds me of His grace and love like listening to love songs to my Jesus. 
Download it on iTunes if you're looking for something new to fall in love with! 

Five. 


This is easily the best Micellar Water I've ever tried. And y'all, it's crazy cheap at the drug store. There are few things I love more than finding a new gem at the drug store! I've gone ahead and tried nearly all of the other Micellar Waters before this beauty for you (you're welcome) and it even beat out my old favorite- this one- annnnnnd, it's nearly 3 times less expensive! 

I thought nothing would ever, ever compare to my Caudalie Micellar Water but after putting this one to the test, it takes off my makeup like no other cleansing water ever has. I am used to a slightly sticky residue left on my skin that I always hate and I'm also used to these cleansing waters not taking off all of my eye makeup. 

As a matter of fact, when using this one in the bathroom one night before bed, my deliriously sleepy husband even noticed how well it took off my eye makeup. It just leaves the skin feeling so refreshed and super clean, but not so clean that it feels stripped. 

I was skeptical with the price tag that it would perform as well as my more expensive favorites, but this one is now top shelf, my must use every day go-to. I enjoy using it with an exfoliating cotton round all over my face and when taking off my eye makeup, I soak a cotton round and put it over my eyes and press down on the round with my palms and leave it there for 10 or 15 seconds to really get off the day's eye makeup. 
You should definitely try this one soon! 

Six. 

These two. Easily my most favorite of this week's Friday Favorites. Because after a long day at work, who DOESN'T want to be smothered in puppy kisses? 
They love each other. And they are my whole world. 

That wraps up my first Friday Favorites! Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!

XOXO




Thursday, February 4, 2016

Current Snack Time Loves


Whew. It has been a hot minute since I've been on here and boy, have I missed you guys! January is always one of the busiest months in higher education and this last month did not disappoint on the crazy factor. That being said, I've been a little terrible about neglecting my little blog baby, as well as all of you and I promise I'm working on planning ahead so there's not radio silence for weeks on end. But as I so sweetly tell my overwhelmed students, sometimes, life happens. And boy, did it. I was offered a new position yesterday in my current department after interviewing the last few weeks and so I know that planning ahead is going to be key in all areas of my life in making this transition a smooth one. And being prepared. Which is a lot of what this post is about.  

While life has been busy these last few weeks, I've really gotten into a new little groove with my food routine and I've been actively searching out and trying new and different products that are low carb but also are a step outside of the norm of what I typically reach for. Let's be serious, I, like most of you, go for quick and easy. When it comes to low carb snacks, especially, that means that I alternate between the same few snacks that I've reached for consistently over the last 11 months. But at the end of the day, there's gotta be something more interesting than smoked turkey sausage and string cheese, am I right? I thought so, too.

With a new year brings new excitement for the things to come and I've been setting goals and am particularly motivated with the fresh start of 2016. Last year was nothing short of amazing both in my personal life and on the health journey front, and I want to ensure that I can keep the motivation and excitement fresh. And really, nothing is more refreshing than a blank slate in my mind. So, with that, the first week of January I set out to find new foods to try, different snacks to take to work to keep things interesting, and I've come up with a handful of items that I never even knew existed, are fairly inexpensive and keep me intrigued enough in what I brought to snack on to keep me away from the campus bookstore. Where there are Cheetos. And Little Debbie. #hateherloveher

The college where I work is pretty much surrounded by every food option known to mankind. In a 2 mile radius, I could get a kolache, a Whataburger, life changing chicken fingers and fries, the best coconut shrimp known to man and about 5 bazillion other delicious and totally not on plan options. I have always been a "bring my lunch to work" kinda girl for reasons that I honestly can't even tell you. Even before I cared about what I put in my mouth, I brought my food with me probably because we always have leftovers on hand and I can't be bothered with parking on a college campus more than absolutely necesssary. And the middle of the day.. #itaintnojoke 

And especially since starting my weight loss journey, it's been incredibly important for me to be prepared. I've been starving at work with a debit card and cash before and if I'm not prepared, it means the possibility of making a bad choice. But there's nothing worse than that FOMO (fear of missing out) which is real sometimes when my co-workers are munching on free pizza or a tray of amazing, homemade desserts from the pastry arts students.. and I'm over here gnawing on my veggies.  Well, maybe it's not a fear of, but I just loathe missing out on something really good if I'm eating something really boring or not tasty.. it's just a recipe for me to be mad about it. And if I'm mad about it and my mind is set on my option being ridiculous, again, another recipe for disaster. So, really, I feel like I just have a hatred of the MO. (Is that a thing?) 
Sometimes, it just is really, really hard. And annoying. And typically, if I'm starving, annoyed at my lame food option and smelling fresh pizza, bad things can happen. I just know myself.

But these snacks.. are incredible. And I'm pretty sure there's something for everyone. Unless you have a sweet tooth, in which case.. I'm so sorry. But check out my low carb peanut butter cookies because they would be perfect! I haven't found many "go-to" sweet snacks that are easy to get a hold of. Unless my dear friend Lisa comes to see me with a low carb lemon wafer. AKA Heaven.

I found these cheese whisps at Costco and I can't get enough of them. I pack a handful or 2 in a little baggie for when I might want something that tastes like a chip and I love them. In the way of cheese chips, I've tried them all and these are my favorite. I've had the fresh ones from Whole Foods and Central Market and find that too many of them are too "cheesy" and not enough chip-like.. well, these hit it right on the mark. They're good on their own, they're good with a dip. They're just GOOD. 

How handy are these little guys? I found these at World Market and they were very inexpensive. I'm sure it's cheaper to buy a jar of olives and distribute them in a little baggie, but what's the fun in that? If I can't have free pizza on campus, I'm gonna be munching on the cutest little guilt free snacks! And they don't disappoint on the taste factor. 

I was super surprised at how much I liked these. Absolutely no carbs and very cheesy in flavor, but they have more of a crunch to them than the whisps. They're great for on the go, they will tide you over, I just really enjoy them. 

And these.. are so good! If you like green olives, you will love these! I have always been an olive girl and completely forgot about them since going low carb until a friend of mine mentioned how great they'd be as a substitute for chips or something salty. I have SUCH a salt tooth and these are super convenient, super portable, not messy and have a really good flavor. And even better- I don't have the guilt! The flavor is amazing and can we TALK about how adorable the packaging is? Sucker for cute packaging.. right here. 

By this point, if you're not into cheese snacks or aren't picking up that I'm so desperately looking for a healthier Cheeto substitute.. then we may need to re-evaluate or relationship. :) I am, and will always be, a lover of all things cheese. I'm really trying to limit my cheese intake but I can't promise that I haven't substituted real cheese for these crunchy cheese snacks. These guys have blown UP all over my Instagram feed and after the 52258th person mentioned these, I decided I had to try them, too. Immediately. I found these at World Market, too, but now every time I ask them if they have Moon Cheese, they look at me like I really do live in outer space. And this is what my people eat. And what in the heck am I talking about? So I'm assuming that was a one time thing. 

But it's okay. They're worth it. And they live up to the hype! I wasn't a fan of the gouda and I've never really cared for pepper jack, but those are options, too, if cheddar isn't your thing. 

They're crunchy, they're cheddar-y, and they're freakishly addictive. At first bite, I thought "Huh, interesting.." and then I tried another and another and another.. you get the picture. If you love crunchy snacks and you're looking for a good salty snack substitute, you must give these a try! They're hard to find but word on the street is you can find them at Starbucks. 

Sooooo, these veggie chips are INCREDIBLE! And only 2 net carbs for 16 chips! They're a heftier chip, which I love, and although they're great on their own, they would be fabulous with a homemade veggie dip of some kind. Holy moley, they are goooood. I picked these up at World Market, as well, #surprisesurprise and brought them home to a very, very happy husband who also brings a bag to work with him to munch on during the week. He was skeptical, so that's saying a lot. 

I love that it's all natural ingredients, no crap, no chemicals, just veggies. And I'm slightly obsessed with them. I found a parsnip chip that this brand also makes and they don't disappoint, either. The parsnip chips actually taste like a thicker, slightly drier potato chip, if you can believe it.

If you buy one thing from this little list of my new loves, buy THESE! You will adore them. Low carb or not, I would have eaten them at my highest weight and loved them still. That good. 

And again with the cute packaging.. those names! 

I've always fancied myself a kale chip. Homemade, store bought, I love them all and always have. And while I've only made them at home a few times (and they're so easy) when life is busy, sometimes it just makes more sense to buy them. The only issue I have with the store bought versions is that so often they are little carb bombs! And if you're not a Cheeto or a Boulder Canyon potato chip, you're not worthy of being a little carb bomb. Especially if you're kale. #sorrynotsorry
I love truffle anything and although these aren't too truffle-y, they hit all the right notes and are simple and perfect. 
I picked these up at Sprouts and have loved adding these to my little snack rotation. 

While spending time in Virginia with family and getting down to my southern roots last Fall, I tried fresh pork skins for the first time at a little Fall festival in a small town high school parking lot..And sort of have been in love ever since. It's hard to find the perfect pork rinds, though. The ones at the grocery store can be too "barnyard-y" if ya know what I mean, and really, the best ones I've ever had were from that very same Fall festival where 4 southern farmers who may or may not have been wearing tank tops and overalls in 40 degree weather, stood over the fryer and made them and seasoned them while they were fresh and hot. 

But these... are a close second. I love Central Market and found them there. Not a dud to be found in the entire bag and the salsa seasoned pork rinds really pack a punch. 

And if you are lucky enough to have an HEB or a Central Market close to you, pair my favorite pork rinds with my very favorite CARB FREE, all natural queso and have a party. And thank me later. Because this combo is to die for. 

But really, that queso is liquid gold. And is amazing on everything. From pulled pork to eggs.. it's good on anything and we add it to everything in this house. And sometimes, we just add it to a spoon. Hands down my very favorite queso of all time. Which is saying a lot since I feel like I have a PhD in chips and queso.

I found these little gems about 4 or 5 months in to going low-carb at my local Central Market. And while they do have 3 net carbs and there is brown rice in them- which I try and stay away from- on the days where I need to meet my carb count or I just want a crunchy treat, these have been a go-to. 
 I SO enjoy having one every so often. 

I love all of the flavors: chive, strawberry, cinnamon and cheese. They're all good alone but a smear of cream cheese sends them over the top. With the cinnamon kind, I sprinkle additional cinnamon on top of some cream cheese to put them over the edge and I love them.

The cheese flavor honestly tastes like Cheetos Puffs. Not even kidding. But without all the grease and chemicals, obviously. And, sadly, no finger licking. #iknowimnotalone

I have loved having one of these for lunch with a teaspoon or 2 of ricotta smeared over top, some salt and fresh cracked pepper, a few slices of deli chicken or turkey and a few cherry tomatoes on top. Without a doubt, my most favorite new lunch or snack that I've added these last few weeks. It's such a treat and SO incredibly filling. 

And while this isn't a snack (how weird that would be) it is certainly one of my current loves and something that I have so immensely enjoyed. I recently put this in my spice rotation and it has amped up every meal I've added it to. Salmon? It goes over the top. Chicken? Off the charts. 

It's amazing and fresh and herby and chivey and garlicy.. and I'm not even certain that I'm using real words, but you get what I mean. It is happiness in a jar. #justwentthere

All of the herbs in this little jar are perfect and it's just a marriage of incredible flavors that make any simple, run of the mill meal truly special and delightful. I have SO enjoyed this and am already planning on running out before it's gone to have the big jar on stand by in my spice cabinet.  


So there y'all have it! My current snack favorites. What fun snacks have you tried recently? Let me know in the comments below if there's something I need to try or if you try anything I mentioned. 

Happy Thursday, my beauties! Make it wonderful. 

 
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