The Fall Favorites Tag

First things first, no, I did not fall off the face of the earth. I know it’s been forever since I’ve posted anything… In a nutshell, I was blessed with a surge of freelance work, life has gotten a bit busy, I’ve gotten overwhelmed with feeling behind on my blogging, therefore, I’ve been procrastinating… But I decided to kickstart my blogging again with a tag I saw on Youtube from one of my favorite beauty vloggers, Jaclyn Hill.

So let’s get down to business and start a blog version of The Fall Favorites Tag!

Favorite Candle
2015-03-16 15.48.26I honestly have a tie between Leaves and Mahogany Teakwood, both from Bath & Body Works. Leaves has that crisp fall air and apple cider scent that just makes you see golden leaves, plaid, and want to go pick out pumpkins… While my husband says Mahogany Teakwood smells like “the mall” (which it does), it just puts me in the mood for all things fall! I just love both of them…

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Favorite Lip Color
For me, it has to be L’Oreal’s Infallible Le Rouge Lipstick in Unending Kiss. I tend to wear this color throughout the year, but it goes easily with everything in the fall months. It’s moisturizing, creamy, and a great natural color that gives color and definition without being overly bold.

Favorite Drink
2015-09-20 18.52.38-1My favorite fall drink has to be Starbuck’s Carmel Brûlée Latte for colder months, but it tends to come out closer to Christmas. So in the fall when I start drinking hot coffee drinks, I’ve made a substitute. I love getting a White Mocha Latte with half Caramel and half White Mocha. It’s not exactly like the Caramel Brûlée, but it’s just as sweet and cozy!

Screen Shot 2015-10-10 at 8.41.33 PMFavorite Blush
I can’t say that I switch up my blush too much… So for now, it’s NARS’ Orgasm. I got it from my husband in a Christmas gift bag from Sephora this past Christmas and it’s still the perfect shade for everyday wear. It has a slight shimmer, but it’s not overpowering. I love it!

2015-01-09 16.22.32Favorite Clothing Item
When the air starts getting chilly, I can’t wait to break out my comfy navy cardigan. I honestly don’t remember where I bought it from, I’ve had it for a few years… It’s a classic style and just a nice semi-chunky knit! It goes with just about everything and even though it looks big, it’s actually kind of slimming… I love pairing it with a v-neck t-shirt, jeans, and tall boots.

Favorite Fall Movie
For me, it’s not fall until I watch You’ve Got Mail. I know it’s not a seasonal or holiday movie, but it’s become a tradition. Plus, in the opening when Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are talking about “bouquets of sharpened pencils” and scotch tape, it just makes me think of school supplies, falling leaves, and plaid! I absolutely love it! 384266_10151062452625938_1246938523_n
Another fall movie tradition is our Lord of the Rings marathon. We’ve had friends over to watch the movies back to back throughout the years – we even made our own lembas bread (shortbread wrapped in fake plant leaves from Hobby Lobby)! Watching the trilogy every year has been a tradition my husband and I have done since we first started dating…

Favorite Fall TV Show
There aren’t any fall tv series that I watch every year. We honestly don’t watch tv on the airing schedule, since most everything we watch is either on Netflix or Hulu. We always like watching The Office every fall and winter. It’s just a fun show to watch over and over again, and it never fails to make us laugh! We’ve decided (since discovering Parks & Recreation this year) that we’re going to watch The Office in the fall and Parks & Rec in the spring… 😉

Favorite Thanksgiving Food
2014-11-27 13.27.34Mashed potatoes! It’s not Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes. And my absolute favorite are my Granny’s Yukon Gold mashed potatoes! I don’t know what she does, my mom and I make mashed potatoes the same way she does (by the recipe), but hers are always sublime. Yum!

Favorite Halloween Costume
Growing up, we didn’t celebrate Halloween. It’s only been in the past few years of my adult life and working in creative departments at various jobs that I’ve dressed up for Halloween. I dressed up as Rogue from X-Men one year by putting a white streak in my hair and wearing long black gloves…

So what are your Fall Favorites? I’d love to know!

If you have not yet discovered the lovely Jaclyn Hill, I highly recommend you watch her videos. She is so fun to watch, she makes my day every time I watch her videos! Her tutorials are so good and inspiring; I discovered the value of contouring from her! Love her!

Also, if you enjoy tags like this, another of my favorite Youtubers did a version of this tag that’s really fun to watch. Check out Kristina of Pretty Shiny Sparkly’s video!

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Fresh Tomato Bruschetta

#TBT

In honor of food and summer and Throwback Thursday, I felt like sharing a yummy recipe from my old blog! Yes, I once upon a time wrote a blog that mostly consisted of recipes. *I was in a crazy cooking phase as a brand new newlywed in a tiny apartment kitchen… Ah, those were the days!

But aside from the nostalgia, this is a pretty delicious recipe if I do say so myself! It goes great with a fresh salad, grilled veggies, grilled chicken, or a plate of pasta (for my fellow carb lovers)!

Hope you enjoy and hope you all are having a lovely summer!
What’s your favorite summer dish?

The Red Shoe Chef

We were both surprised at delicious this tasted tonight! Neither of us are crazy about fresh tomatoes usually, but we both devoured this dish!

Tomato Bruschetta

-about 12-15 grape tomatoes

-1 garlic clove

-parmesan cheese

-olive oil

-black pepper

-Italian seasoning

-fresh basil

-Pepperidge Farms frozen garlic bread

Dice the tomatoes, chop garlic, and basil. Blend together in a bowl with olive oil. Add parmesan, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Make sure it’s all blended well and chill in the fridge for at least 15-30 minutes. It can be chilled longer if necessary. Bake bread according to the directions. (My husband has me beat on baking this bread, he gets it perfect every time!) Once the bread is toasted and ready, spread the chilled bruschetta over the top and enjoy!

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Monthly Recap – May

Good grief! I’m sorry this recap post is soooo late. Better late than never, though, right…?

May was an extremely busy month, but it always is for us. Between both of our families we have dozens of birthdays and wedding anniversaries, along with Mother’s Day and any weddings or graduations we may be invited to in the middle of Oklahoma’s infamous tornado season…  Despite the busy schedule, May was a pretty good month!

30 for 30 Progress
During May, I realized that I focused on several of the money related goals from my list. I’ve been doing some freelance work for a few clients and during May, working from home began to take over my schedule. I’m grateful for the work, but I’m also realizing how much time building your own business and serving your clients takes when the separation between work and home is not as clearly defined. I’ve been putting together plans and doing research to officially start my business while also keeping up with my deadlines for my clients. I’m looking forward to getting more done in this area in the months to come. Prayers appreciated though. This is a bit daunting.
I also worked on our budget plan and tried to find more ways to utilize coupons and rebates. The encouraging thing that I realized in doing all of this was that in the first five months of this year, without having “a real job” outside the home (hope you caught the sarcasm…), I brought in a little over $800 of extra change here and there. Nothing steady, but it’s become really helpful and nice to get “surprise” rebate/reward checks! 🙂 

Books Read
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I read Amy Poehler’s, Yes Please book and it was really good! I thought it might be similar to Tina Fey’s Bossypants, and it is, but it is also so much more! I have a new appreciation for Amy and who she is as a person. I loved how open and honest she was in her book and how you can see her reflecting on her overall life growth. The book had depth that I wasn’t expecting. I “read” the book by listening to the audiobook, which was quite enjoyable listening to the author read it. Plus, she also had special guests read portions of the book, so it’s a great listen! I want to buy the hardcopy because I would love to jot down several good quotes to remember. Read it. It’s good. 😉 

Fitness
Ok, here’s the thing. I’m one of those people who rarely gets sick, but when I do…it’s bad! I noticed I had a sore throat for a few days that wouldn’t go away. I thought it might be strep, so we went to the doctor. It ended up being tonsillitis. Long story short, I ended up missing several workouts and got off of my workout routine. So my fitness progress took a little bit of a hit this month. 😦

Travel
No travel this month…

Watched
2015-04-06 23.09.11-1I watched a lot of season finales in May! Mad Men had to be the most memorable season finale, though. My husband and I are big Mad Men fans and have watched the series all the way through. It’s one of the few shows that we both “watch” without being off and on our phones or just having it play in the background… When the last episode aired, we both had different reactions to it. Most of the time, I can’t stand good shows, movies, books, or stories ending. I want them to go on forever because I love staying in those worlds. Sometimes I’m not a fan of endings because it’s telling that the writers didn’t know quite how to tie up all the loose ends, but I have to say that the writers for Mad Men did a fantastic job! I was pleasantly surprised and pleased with the ending. My husband was not so excited, he was left kind of miffed for some reason… But to each his own. If you haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy time traveling through Mad Men, I highly recommend it! 

Listened
As I mentioned above, I listened to a few audiobooks this month. I’ve been trying to catch up on my book list and the most efficient and realistic way for me to do that is to listen to audiobooks. Having worked in the publishing industry, I understand that there is a lot of debate and valid reasons as to whether audiobooks “count” as reading or not… I tend to approach is as another method to consume a story. Personally, I don’t have as much time to sit down and read a book. Unfortunately, I tend to fall asleep and loose my spot… #KeepinItReal
I listened to Yes, Please by Amy Poehler and then began reading The Girl on the Train. I’m planning on writing Pepper’s Bookshelf review posts on both, soon! Stay tuned!

Memorable Moments
Family Celebration
May is chock full of opportunities to get together as a family! Since there are so many birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays, we decided to just pick one day to celebrate everything! We all went over to my aunt’s house and celebrated two birthdays, two anniversaries, and Mother’s Day. It seemed like almost everyone got a card or gift, and then we also had everyone’s favorite desserts.
Since it was May in Oklahoma, we expected a few tornadoes, but this year had to be one of the most memorable tornadoes. Flooded StreetThankfully we didn’t experience any damage or have any close calls where we live, but the internet went crazy with #Tigernado. Read more here to find out more of why, but it was probably one of the most unusual storm days we’ve had… Along with the tornadoes, we had record breaking rainfall which caused flooding around the state. Thankfully, though we are now out of a long drought!
We celebrated our four year anniversary this year! It’s crazy to think that we’ve already been together that long, somedays it feels like we just tied the knot and other days, it feels like we’ve been married forever. It was such a good day! Read more here.
Two more milestones happened this month: we’ve officially been homeowners for two years and I left the corporate world a year ago. Time is just flying by so fast!

This Made My Day
Who I Carried Today
I had a guest writer on my blog this month! Memorial Day is an important holiday in our home. I had already planned on writing a post on how I’ve come to view the day and what it means to me. With my husband being a former Marine, I knew he was planning on remembering the day in his own way, but when he came home, he surprised me by asking if he could write a blog post to share his thoughts on Memorial Day. I was a bit surprised, but also excited that he wanted to share. If you knew my husband, the adage “still waters run deep” fits him perfectly. He tends to be a deep and internal thinker, so I love when he opens up to share those thoughts. He’s an excellent writer and I was so encouraged that so many people loved his post! His single post has been the most viewed post on my page so far. I’m pretty proud of him!

Monthly Moral
This month, “grace” was the dominant theme in my day. I began to feel like I’d failed at life or that I would never get caught up from being sick and getting behind on a lot of my projects and daily tasks. I was feeling so discouraged and overwhelmed. When I stepped back and looked at the situation or what was bogging me down, I was reminded to give myself grace. I am not a robot, life happens, I may not even have enough time in the day to tackle my mountain of tasks, but it’s ok. It’s not the end of the world, it will eventually get done. But just because I didn’t get it all done, all in a day, or all perfectly, does not mean that I’m a failure. It’s a challenge to hold onto that mindset, but I’m working on it.

March Makeover – Week 4 & the Final Progress Recap!

Since the last week and a half of March got a bit crazy, I decided to combine the Week 4 Progress Recap and the last few days of the March Makeover together into one final recap. I’ll be honest, this last stretch of the Makeover was a challenge because we had a few extra things going on, so my days felt overly full. But it finally feels so good to have a purged and organized home! I’m glad to have done this project, however I’m thankful to have a little more time in my day now… #feelingaccomplished

So let’s see how the last week panned out:

3/22: Sell or donate your extra stuff // Purge bedding and linens
Since we’re hoping to have a garage sale next month, I didn’t sell or donate anything yet.
I was so glad to go through all of our linens and towels! Our towels weren’t too crazy, but all of our sheets, blankets, and other linens were all over the place and mostly in big plastic storage tubs under our window in our bedroom. They’d been sitting there since we had moved into our house over a year ago because I hadn’t found a place for them… So, I did a little reorganizing and used a hamper that I had bought a few months before from Hobby Lobby during a sale to store all of our blankets. I moved all of our sheets into our bench at the end of our bed and was able to put the remaining linens in our linen closet in the hall. I love that everything has a place and we don’t look like we’re still unpacking in our bedroom. Plus, it’s nice to have more walking space on my side of the bed…

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3/23: Purge and organize wrapping paper and stationery
I have a confession, I’m one of those people that keeps all of the tissue paper I receive during Christmas, birthdays, and any other gift giving ordeal. But then, I tend to buy more wrapping supplies because I both forget about the saved tissue paper and I like to create a cohesive wrapping look when I’m giving a gift. Therefore, I have a ton of wrapping supplies! So, I went through all of them, since they’d been stashed in my office closet and there was no way to make heads or tails of them if I needed to put together a gift for someone in a pinch. I went through everything and organized all the tissue paper, all the gift bags, all the gift tags and embellishments, along with ribbons, bows, boxes, you name it, I’ve probably got it! I got everything all sorted into neat bins and boxes. I decided to store all of my gift bags in a crate and use hanging folders to divide them into categories (Christmas, birthday, wedding, etc.…) so that they would be easier to find. I used another storage box with hanging folders to organize all of my tissue paper. The lid of this storage box has space for gift tags, embellishments, and few other gift wrapping essentials. I stacked it all neatly back in my closet, but I’m hoping to find some shelving that can fit in that spot so I can access it a little easier. But at least for now, it won’t all tumble out!

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3/24: Enjoy some free activities with the family // Purge and organize pet stuff
On day 24, I worked on organizing all of Pepper’s stuff. We store most of her things in our back bonus room by the back door. We have a small shelf that’s pretty much just filled with her food, treats, toys, collars, meds, etc. After going through everything, I had been hoping to be able to fit everything all neatly in just the little shelf, but unfortunately, the shelf was too little, even after I’d tossed out chewed up toys, empty treat boxes, and other things that needed to go. But most of it fits in the shelf and now it’s not all jumbled up various in a bins that you have to dig through. We used a bin in the living room to store her toys, since the living room is the main room she likes to play in, plus keeping everything in a bin on the floor makes it easy clean up for me and easy access for her. She decided to “help” me clean up the living room after I’d put up her toys…by taking them all out again. *sigh*
Our other task for the day was to enjoy a “free” family activity together. Though we didn’t go out and do anything overly active, we did enjoy some relaxing family time on the couch and finished up the last season of Friends. It was so nice to just chill out and enjoy time together. Now we need suggestions on another show to binge watch on Netflix! 🙂

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3/25: Have a “free” date night // Purge mudroom/laundry room
My laundry room is pretty small, so this project didn’t take too long… I mostly just needed to clear out some cluttery hangers and tidy up a few areas. I’m hoping to eventually add in a shelf over my dryer so that I have a little more storage space. So this task was pretty simple!
That night, we enjoyed a free date night at home by eating some leftover pizza, popping some popcorn, and watching the Mockingjay movie.

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3/26: Purge e-mail subscriptions Purge nightstands
Ok, this day was just too busy to start on purging my email subscriptions, so I opted for a more doable task. I swapped these two days since time got away from me. My husband’s nightstand is pretty much always neat and tidy, because that’s just how he is. I, on the other hand, seem to somehow collect all these random things that just turn into a huge pile on my side of the bed… Amongst all the random stuff, I ended up finding most of my missing hair ties, eight (yes, 8!) lotions, a stack of books, four pens, and a pair of winter gloves! Needless to say, I didn’t need all of that to be by my side at night, so I paired down everything and now it all is neat and tidy. Far more relaxing and calming, no longer cluttered and chaotic. *ahhh*

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3/27: Purge DVDs
This was a pretty easy day! I only ended up tossing out one movie and one TV series. I did a massive purge of all of our movies and TV seasons last year because we thought we were going to have a garage sale that ended up falling through. We donated all of the movies and TV shows that we didn’t want any more, so there really wasn’t anything else to get rid of. We still have quite a few DVDs and BluRays, but we really enjoy the ones we held onto. We love movies in this house!

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3/28: Week 4 Progress Recap // Purge nightstands Purge email subscriptions
So this was a doozy! This post, I actually posted to Instagram before I finished. I had to break this task up into two days and I was just purging subscriptions, I’ll have to organize and migrate my emails later… Between the five email addresses I use (yes, five…I need to fix that) I had so many email subscription lists I’d gotten on. I would wake up to about 30-40 emails on average everyday and get even more throughout the day. After I finished up this project (the following day, because it just took too long to do in one day), I noticed my email inbox was receiving less than half of what it had been getting before. Now I just get emails that I actually want to read.

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3/29: Re-assess budget // Purge junk drawer
This day’s task was to purge the junk drawer. Our junk drawer resides in our kitchen and tends to become a catch all over time. Since I’ve been organizing other parts of the house with all of the other daily projects, I was able to relocate a few items that I’d been keeping in the junk drawer. That helped free up a little space in the drawer, so nothing got buried and now we can find those random necessary items easily.
I actually didn’t re-assess our budget on this day, since I knew we would be discussing our budget later on on our planning date.

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3/30: Planning date for April and discuss upcoming goals, events, or projects
// Purge under the kitchen sink
Our planning date actually ended up happening on April 1st, since that was the first day that we were both free to go out and talk through everything.
The purge project for the day was to go through everything that was under the kitchen sink. As I mentioned on Instagram, this is probably one of my least favorite places in our house. The lack of practical storage space and the visit of a mouse within our first year of living in our home made me want to only open up the cabinet door when I absolutely need to. I just try to avoid this space as much as I can (I just don’t like it). But since I needed to organize this area, I rolled up my sleeves and tackled it. I was able to toss out some old dried out cleaners and make some space in the one bin that I keep under there for cleaners and sponges. Now it makes it easier to find what I need quickly. 🙂

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3/31 & 4/1: Celebrate date! // Purge garage
I’m telling you, this last week of this project, just kept hitting some snags! On the LAST DAY of the purge, we ended up running into weather issues. I had to clean up the garage, but it was a hot humid day during the day and then it turned into “a dark and stormy night,” literally! We had hail and strong winds coming in all over the state, plus I ended up having an intense migraine. So this task ended up having to be pushed to the next day (no fooling *wink).
The next day, we had better weather. Thankfully, since we’ve only been in this house for almost two years, we really haven’t accumulated too much stuff yet, which is how we want to keep it! Our goal is to keep our garage clear enough to easily fit both of our cars inside. I was able to rearrange a few boxes and put up some stuff that had been sitting out, so now we can walk around a little easier and it’s less cluttered.
We didn’t end up doing an exclusively celebratory date, but we did do our planning date today while enjoying some coffee. 😉

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And now it’s FINALLY done! I can’t tell you how awesome it feels to have an organized and de-cluttered home! I have such a sense of accomplishment. I had hoped to stick to all 31 days of this project and even though it got a little rough toward the end, I’m glad I finished it out. I think it would be good to do this kind of thing every so often, since life happens and stuff gets stuffed all over the house. Overall, it’s been a really good learning experience.

And now, it’s time to relax a little! 🙂