It’s feeling a lot like the holidays...

11.23.2014

It’s officially feeling like the holidays here in the Daniel household! Usually the husband doesn’t let me begin decorating for Christmas until after Thanksgiving but since we’ll be out of town I told myself I was able to convince him to let me decorate early that way when we return we’re already in the Christmas spirit! Needless to say, whether or not he “let me” or I “convinced him”, I got to work and here’s a little peek into what I got done this evening.

Styling with Stitch Fix #2

11.21.2014

There are affiliate links included in this post and I will be compensated for your purchases using my links.
All opinions are 100% mine and Stitch Fix does not endorse or sponsor this post.

That moment when you get home to see a nice package waiting for you at your door and knowing it’s your next fix is so exciting. I just received my second fix and I was so happy to see my stylist from my first box style me again. Let’s take a look into what I got this time:

What I Wore Wednesday

Birchbox Review + Giveaway

11.16.2014

Last night’s concert was ah-mazing! My husband is a fan of Foster the People and he told me that he had looked into their tour to see when they would be playing near us- being DC at the time. After we had moved out here to CA he looked again and found that they were playing in Santa Barbara and alas tickets were purchased and we were on our way.

I have to say that I wasn’t a huge fan of the band prior to going but I cannot tell you how many Real Housewives episodes and reunions the hubs has sat through over the years and it’s not like he has to twist my arm to get me to a live show either. I was happy to go and was even happier to spend this time doing something my husband wanted to do. 

Overall the show was amazing and the live performances of all the bands where spectacular. One band in particular I have to share with you (maybe I’m the one under the rock here) and they are called Sylvan Esso. It’s a two person set up and the beats mixed with her voice is unreal. Please check them out if you’re looking for some new awesome tunes for your playlists.


Pinspiration + Linkup

11.15.2014

via
Good morning! Well, it’s still the morning for me in CA time. Today the hubs and I will be venturing for the day out to Santa Barbara for a Foster the People concert. We thought to take advantage of the beautiful weather and head up there early and make a day of it!

I’ve never seen Foster the People before but I’m a lover of some live music. So, be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram to keep up with my goings-on today ;)

However, what brings me to my post today is to share with you an outfit inspiration I got from Pinterest (of course!). Today is all about wearing light layers; something you can easily take on and off as the sun starts to set. And this being a concert I want comfortable and practical but also not skimping on the cuteness, haha.

This is my outfit inspiration:
 leopard flats | cuffed jeans | striped shirt | light cardigan | yellow scarf



 For any weekend my main go-to is style for comfort. Since I don’t get to wear jeans at work I love the chance to wear them on my days off. Having a good few pairs of quality jeans is a must for any closet. I recommend a lighter and darker denim. Other good denim staples are white and black. I’ve had my Gap 1969 Always Skinny jeans (similar) since I worked for the company years ago as an undergrad. Don’t be scared to pay for good quality items that will literally last you forever.

Next up are my coveted leopard flats. Leopard print has be IN for a few years now and they’re an accessory that adds a little fun to any outfit. My BR flats are super comfortable!

Banana Republic is having a 40% off your purchase sale which ends on 11/15! Use code: BRFORTY

Striped tops come in all styles, colors, and lengths. Sleeves, sleeveless, or 3/4? Button down (like mine) or no buttons? Knit or silk? It’s your call. I own a lot of striped tops but my favorite is this JCrew Factory hidden-button sleeveless blouse (similar). It’s a few years old but it’s perfect for a day when layering is your BFF.

JCrew Factory is also having a 40-60% off sale with an EXTRA 20% off clearance (which the blouse link is!) until 11/18

I went with a light colored cardigan since I’ll be in the sun most of the day and want to remain cool and not a sweaty beast by noon ;) The yellow scarf adds that pop of color and pairs well with my leopard flats.

What are you wearing this Saturday? 

An InLinkz Link-up

*All descriptions and reviews are 100% my own opinion. I am not endorsed by any company.

Many Mushroom Soup

11.13.2014


Who loves mushrooms? This girl. It’s funny how your tastebuds change as you get older because I remember as a kid picking out the mushrooms and onions in everything and now I can’t get enough of them! This mushroom soup recipe is super simple as it only has a few main ingredients (most of which are the different kinds of mushrooms!) and is packed full of flavor. This no meat recipe is low on calories and has only 1 PointsPlus value! Find the original recipe here.


What I Wore Wednesday

11.12.2014


Wednesday has fallen upon us once again and it was a weird feeling of having work on Monday, being off Tuesday for Veterans Day, then back to work Wednesday. Nonetheless we are halfway through our week and it means it’s time to link up and share what you’re wearing!

Random Inspiration

11.11.2014


Today I broke out my Canon and took some snapshots of my Murphy just for fun. Every now and then I get inspired to just quickly snap whatever is around me and today it’s my little snug-muffin.
Here’s what I captured.

This is my muse today. Everyone, meet Murphy otherwise known as the best snuggler, tug-of-war playing, peanut butter loving, best friend anyone could know. 




Dried flowers from my wedding bouquet.


Thanks for checking out my randomness...
:)

Beef & Bean Chili

11.10.2014


Chili is an ultimate fall favorite of mine and it stems from being a kid and knowing fall was in full swing when my dad would fix a large pot of it and we’d sit and watch football on Sundays. But, this recipe is another one that originally comes from Weight Watchers back when I was counting points. Again, another great thing about Weight Watchers is that you actually lose weight and don’t have to sacrifice the foods you eat.

Ok...plug over. Let’s get on to this hearty and delicious recipe!

Ingredients:
2 tsp olive oil
1 lb uncooked lean beef
*Optional: 1 lb ground beef/bison/turkey
1 medium uncooked onion, diced
2-4 ribs celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 small jalapeños, seeded & minced
28 oz canned diced tomatoes
1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
8 oz tomato sauce
30 oz red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt/pepper to taste


Directions:
Preparation:
We also add lean ground beef to our pot for an extra meaty chili but, with anything, it’s up to you! Ground bison or turkey is another great substitute for beef if you’re counting calories. Dice your meat into bite sized pieces. 

Rinse and drain your kidney beans. 
The recipe calls for only one can (shown here) but we like to double it for our pot.

Mince jalapeño without the seeds (the seeds is where the heat comes from).
Feel free to add some seeds if you desire a more spicy chili!

Dice 1 medium sized yellow onion.
  1. You are going to first drizzle some olive oil in a pot or dutch oven and heat. Once ready, add the onion, celery, jalapeño, and garlic and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes.

Words of Advice: If you don’t like your chili too spicy use your jalapeno’s and red pepper flakes sparingly. The heat will cause the spice to gradually release into the chili so the level of spiciness will fluctuate as you continue cooking. :)

Also, don’t touch the jalapeño seeds with your bare hands as it will cause skin irritation. Wash immediately if you come in contact.
  1. In a separate pan cook your meat (and/or ground meat at this time) but don’t cook all the way through. The beef will continue to cook while simmering in the chili so you don’t want it to become rubbery by overcooking it. Drain any fat and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, add seasonings to the pot of veggies along with salt and pepper. Coat and stir for about 1 minute.
  3. Next, you’re going to add your beef broth, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beans. Bring to a boil for about 1-2 minutes then reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes.
  4. Get in the habit of tasting your chili throughout the cooking process a little at a time. This will help you judge the seasoning and level of flavor or spiciness. This is important, especially with adding salt!
  5. Partially cover your chili during the 30 minute cook-time. 

To Serve:
This recipe yields about 1 cup per serving and serve with fresh shredded cheese and other desired chili fixins! I like to personally substitute plain greek yogurt for sour cream and garnish with green onion.

Enjoy!

Chickpea & Pesto Soup

11.09.2014


Good evening! One of my husband and I’s favorite soups that never gets old is a recipe found from Martha Stewart called Hearty Chickpea Stew with Pesto. Again, we play around with the original recipe and fit it to what flavors we enjoy. It’s a fun way to experiment with different recipes and make them your own. This soup is packed with flavor but light and meat free! Let’s take a look...

Exciting Birchbox Giveaway Coming Soon!

Has anyone not tried Birchbox yet?! I am super excited to begin my subscription again after a few months of having to put it on hold. Right before we moved I left my school district and found myself un funemployed for a little while and therefore the right decision was to put all of my fun stuff on hold like Birchbox and Naked Wines subscription. But hallelujah the day has come for me to welcome Birchbox back into my home and more specifically into my bathroom! 

What other way to celebrate than to host a giveaway?! That’s right! Along with my upcoming post about my November box, I will be giving away a FREE 3 month gift subscription to one lucky winner! So, be sure to follow me via Facebook, Bloglovin, and Twitter for updates as the post is coming soon and the giveaway will be live!

Yes, Please by Amy Poehler

11.06.2014

I love to read but sometimes find myself having difficulty staying with it only because I allow life to get in the way. I’ve mentioned my 'life ADD' before and I hate how sometimes I’ll start a book but never finish it. BUT! It’s a new month, which means there’s time for me to be proactive and work towards my November goals (see post here) and that means find more time to enjoy reading. With that being said, what better way to get excited and motivated than to join a book club?! Luckily there are hundreds of different blogs that host different book clubs and today I’m sharing the one I just joined hosted by Birchbox!


I cannot tell you how excited I am to start reading this book and joining in on the conversation via Twitter using #birchboxbookclub and Birchbloggers Network. I hope you join too!

What books are your favs right now?

What I Wore Wednesday!

11.05.2014

It’s Wednesday and happy hump day to everyone!


I’m not quite sure what it is but I’ve found myself to feel more tired since daylight savings but I’m not sure why since we gained an hour. You would think I’d feel more rested with the extra time we have! 

But, today nonetheless marks the halfway point to our weekend and that’s something to celebrate! Today I am linking up with the gorgeous Lindsey for her weekly link up What I Wore Wednesday over at The Pleated Poppy! I wanted to share with you my more causal look I wore today considering I enjoy those few extra more minutes of sleepy time in the mornings. Again you’ll notice the red scarf making yet another appearance (see post), as well as the cable knit sweater (see post), but it’s fun to see all the different looks you can make simply from a scarf. Here’s mine today... 

What I’m Wearing: The Red Scarf

11.03.2014

 Wool Navy Cardigan: Banana Republic | Bracelet: JCrew Factory | Navy Fitbit
Striped Shirt: JCrew Factory (similar)

Polish: Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure 

Pants: JCrew (similar) | Leopard Flats: Banana Republic

What I Wore #1

Anybody notice how much red and navy I’m loving right now? #sorrynotsorry I’m not sure what it is but I love how the scarf just pulls the outfit together and, not to mention, gives me a bit of warmth on these chilly CA mornings. Scarves are my all time favorite accessory item because they come in all different materials, patterns, and colors. The uses for them are unlimited! The leopard flats are another favorite of mine and you can see them practically everywhere and styled in every possible fashion whether it is casual or more formal.

Here are a few different ways you can style your outfits with a pop of color using a red scarf this fall:

What is your favorite accessory and how do you make it your own?

And be sure to link up and share your mixes with In Residence and Just Jacq!

and don’t forget to also link up with Frizz and Frosting for her Mix It Mondays linkup!


Also linking up with Tucker Up!

Sweater Weather

11.02.2014

I’m breaking out the herringbone vest again so don’t be surprised to see it often. Today on this fall-ish feeling Sunday I’ve paired my vest with a cable-knit sweater, dark denim, and for that splash of color, a red statement necklace. This outfit is comfy, cozy and casual, which are three things I look for when pairing pieces together. So simple but very cute!




Jeans: Kensie (Stitch Fix) | Vest: 41Hawthorne (Stitch Fix) 
Sweater: Banana Republic Factory [similar]
Necklace: The Lucky Knot

What are you wearing today to stay warm?

Prioritizing & Setting Meaningful Goals

It’s Sunday and today is daylights savings time (so don’t forget to fall back!). For the first time in forever it rained here in CA and the temperatures dropped like crazy. No complaining from me since I was happy to break out my heavy PJs (see photo) and snuggle up. Plus the crisp fall weather is something I definitely miss from back home so I’m totally OK with it being a bit chilly out here.

Now that it’s feeling like fall, we've turned our clocks back (yay for gaining an hour), and I’ve got my fresh cup of coffee, it’s time to have some real talk. Nothing serious, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the year is beginning to wind down and we’ve officially hit the start of the holiday season. This means the season of holiday cheer and time spent with friends and family...and of course food (I mean, it’s not a holiday without food that brings you to the brink of diabetes).

Before you know it the new year will be upon us and therefore it’s never too early to begin thinking about your resolutions. I know, smack me now for even talking about the new year when it’s only November but self-improvement is something I’ve always taken seriously and it’s something you can start thinking about today, not necessarily waiting for the ball to drop and to make some quick resolution we both know you’ll crap out on the second week into January. At least that’s how it is for me.

Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle. -Abraham Lincoln

Have you ever started a project or task that you didn’t put too much thought into or it’s something you don’t reaaaallly care about and somehow it never gets finished? Maybe you started that book and then your ADD kicked in and now it’s collecting dust while you have a million other half-finished things laying around your house? That’s typically how my resolutions end because I get distracted by life and simply cannot focus on all the things I would like to improve upon in myself. So, this year I’m getting a head start and will focus just on a few things that I would like to set goals for myself rather than picking BIG goals like losing weight or cutting caffeine, I mean really, those things won’t happen. No, really.

A great article I found on this topic of prioritizing your life and setting meaningful goals came from Forbes, actually. You can find the original article here. What I took away from her ‘guidelines’ were these few things:

Make your goals specific. Don’t just say ‘lose weight’ because it’s too broad. What specifically would you like to improve that would lead to a healthier lifestyle? Sleep more, eat more vegetables, drink more water? These little steps one can take are achievable and move you into the direction you desire.

Make your goals meaningful to you personally. You’ll be more likely to stick with your goal and see it through when it’s something you’re passionate about or take seriously. You wanted to learn that language? Well, begin with one that strikes your interest the most or is something you’re already pretty familiar with. Learning should be fun so when choosing your goals make them fun and not just a task to complete.

Be flexible. Your goals will, and should, change over time. Are you always picking the same thing each year? Switch things up and adapt your goals within your life based on where you are at that moment. Maybe it’s time to change your goals completely. Don’t be afraid to be flexible because life is never a straight line.

I love her idea of ‘pillars’ which are: personal life, fitness & health, personal finance, and work. These pillars will help you define what your goals might be in each part of your life. I am going to try and pick one thing in each pillar to focus on for the next few months. Here’s what I got...

Personal Life: Make more time with the husband to get out of the house and explore CA.
Fitness & Health: Make more of an effort to track my food with my Fitbit app so I know what calories are going in vs out.
Personal Finance: Put more of my paycheck into my savings account and DON’T TOUCH IT.
Work: Continue to put myself out there and not be so shy around new people.

I challenge you to think about what goals you would like to set for yourself this November and, if you’re so inclined, share your goals in the comments. I’d love to hear what you’re improving!

Chicken Orzo & Vegetable Soup

11.01.2014

Happy November! It’s officially the month of soups for me and today I want to share an easy recipe that is healthy, tastes good, and is perfect for leftovers! Yesterday was the first day it rained here in California and today it actually feels like the fall I’m used to back home on the east coast. This is definitely the perfect weather for soup! 

Back in January one of my New Year’s resolutions was to get in shape and a huge motivator was my wedding that June. 6 months to get my eating habits in check...yeah, OK. Luckily with the help of Weight Watchers and getting into a routine of activity, I was able to consistently lose about a pound each week, which is the healthy and safe way to do it. Weight Watchers also taught me how to portion less for each meal and pay more attention to the ingredients and nutrition labels of the foods I eat. One thing I wasn’t expecting when I signed up was their vast recipe choices...and they were actually really good! It didn’t make you eat cardboard and water each week; you could actually enjoy food while on their plan of counting points. However, you will begin to count everything...I mean E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G and I became a little obsessed. Just sayin’.