What I’m Loving Archive

What I’m Loving: 2017 Summer Favorites

As I gear up for the busy Fall season of weddings, portraits, and all things leading up to the holidays, I thought it suitable to share about a few of the things that have made my life a little sweeter during the first half of 2017. From my current favorite fashion obsessions, recipes, and reads, here’s a short list of a few of faves that have been on my list of loves this year!

WRITING BY TYLER KNOTT GREGSON: If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed many of my posts authored with his work linked. I don’t get paid to sponsor his work, I just genuinely love it! As I love writing myself, I can always appreciate beautifully strewn together words. Like many of my current favorite reads, I came across Tyler’s writing on Instagram, and was drawn to how palpable the feeling in the words he contrives. I truly never knew I had a love for poetry until I came across his work. Chasers of the Light and Wildly Into the Dark are two of his works that I own and currently read daily. If you’re looking for an easy read that you can pick up on a crummy day to soothe your restless heart, I highly recommend grabbing one of his books–or even just following him on Insta! You can find his Instagram handle at @tylerknott.

FRINGE WITH BENEFITS JEWELRY: I love watching the journey of fellow entrepreneurs as they attack their passions. Callie, owner of Fringe With Benefits, has an eye for fashion and is constantly leaving me feeling inspired and refreshed by her outfits and accessory pairings. If you’re looking for regular fashion inspiration or a fabulous pair of tassel earrings, Callie’s Instagram accounts are refreshing follows! You can find them at Instagram handles @fringewithbenefitsjewelry and @bluejeanedblonde.

2017-09-20_0001

ZUCCHINI BROWNIES: Yes,  you read that correctly. As I’m always trying to find at least slightly healthy alternatives to recipes, I sought out recently to find a recipe for the occasional sweet tooth that didn’t leave me feeling guilty and sluggish. After trying a few that didn’t turn out so well (ehem, black bean brownies), I came across and tweaked a brownie recipe that called for zucchini. While this recipe does contain wheat flour (which I typically try to avoid), it’s still light and fairly guilt-free. Note: If you are a sweets lover, you may not find these sweet enough; however, I’m more of a “lightly sweetened” type of girl, so I find the level of sweetness to be pretty on point.

Total Time: 50 Minutes   |   Prep Time: 15 Minutes   |   Cook Time: 35-40 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Cup Sugar (I use organic cane sugar)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour (I used whole wheat)
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 1/2 Cups Grated Zucchini, undrained (about 1 Large or 2 small)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9×13 pan.
  3. Combine oil, sugar, egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and stir well. (It will appear quite dry). Gently stir in the zucchini a little at a time and spread the mixture into your prepared pan.
  4. Bake 35-40 minutes. (Once it hits the 30 minute mark, I start checking them).

Dinner with Lauren + Emma

ESSENTIAL OILS: I know, I know. This is all the craze right now, but I have jumped on the bandwagon to start supplementing some of my daily household products, medicines, and just general daily practices with oils and it’s been quite a pleasant journey for me. While I’m not sure I will ever try to supplement all possible things with oils, I have enjoyed gradually learning and supplementing certain aspects of life with them.

Essential oils have enhanced lives for thousands of years, offering a variety of benefits from cosmetic and dietary purposes to spiritual and religious use. The most common practices for using essential oils include aromatic diffusion, topical application, and dietary consumption. These methods bring the pure essence of health-promoting botanicals to your home, family, and life.

I personally first started really looking into oils for emotional support. As a woman, hormones are no freaking joke, and I sought out to educate myself on how I could clean up the practices in my life, from the products I use to the ways I react to situations with the assistance of more holistic approaches and oils.

Some of the health benefits of aromatherapy include its ability to reduce anxiety, ease depression, boost energy levels, speed up the healing process, eliminate headaches, boost cognitive performance, induce sleep, strengthen the immune system, reduce pain, improve digestion, and increase circulation. I’ve seen improvements in many of these areas of my life from the induction of oils into my regimen. I won’t go into intense detail in this post; however, if you have more questions about this, please feel free to comment or message me, I’d love to share with you!

WINE SUBSCRIPTION: This is something I always got offers for in the mail, but never jumped on, as I figured it wouldn’t be quality or cost-effective. However, after having a wine subscription with Naked Wines for over a year now, I can say it’s been both fun and cost-effective!

What I love about this particular wine subscription is that Naked Wines invests directly in winemakers and much less on things like sales, marketing, fancy packaging and other things you can’t taste. Which means you get more bang for your buck.

I also love that with this particular subscription, I pay $40 per month, which goes DIRECTLY into a tab on my account with them, thus, I don’t generally ever pay outright when I order a case of wine. I order a case every 3 months or so when my tab is around $120, and receive what are often $20-30 bottles of wine for about $10 per bottle. As someone who enjoys trying out new wines and pairing it with a home-cooked meal, I love the ease and luxury of this subscription.

If you’d like to try them out, you can use this link for $100 OFF of your first case! I paid about $60 using this coupon for my first case of wine with them. Ehemm, that’s about $5 per bottle for quality wine. I’ll take it. (:

What have you been loving lately? If you think I’d like it, I’d love to hear!

SIGNATURE

Healthy Pesto-Avocado Shrimp Zucchini Pasta + DIY Slime | New Orleans Lifestyle Photographer

This weekend was one for the books in the littlest of ways. There weren’t crazy adventures or breathtaking sights, but there was lots of genuine, soul-fulfilling girl time, big-bellied laughs, and the best food to fill these taste buds. I’ve truly been embracing this slow season of life, letting myself soak in the mundane moments, meditate on the why behind certain feelings, and cultivating a heart open to change and growth, even when it feels uncomfortable or scary.

As this weekend was so fulfilling for me, I thought I’d share a few of the recipes that contributed to it. From healthy, delicious meals to crafts and educational events, it was a jam-packed, yet relaxing weekend. I always get lots of positive feedback from sharing healthy recipes on here, so I thought I’d share one of my recent favorites that we indulged in this weekend!

I try to stay away from pasta, so it’s always fun to find alternatives that are both healthy and tasty. Friday night I made Pesto-Avocado Shrimp Zucchini Pasta and it was SO delicious! Here’s the recipe…

2017

HEALTHY PESTO-AVOCADO SHRIMP ZUCCHINI PASTA

3-4 Zucchini

3 lbs fresh shrimp

3 TBSP Grass Fed Butter

1 TBSP Olive Oil

1 Lemon

1 Jar Basil Pesto

2 Avocados

Feta crumbles (optional for topping)

Seasonings: Salt, Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder

DIRECTIONS: Peel fresh shrimp. Melt butter + olive oil in pan on med-high heat. Once butter is melted, add shrimp and seasonings. Saute until shrimp is fully cooked. Mash two avocados and add to pan along with jar of pesto. Squeeze lemon over all ingredients.

Clean off zucchini and cut off ends. Using a vegetable spiralizer (I use a VERY simple one similar to this), create veggie noodles with the zucchini. Simply add shrimp-pesto toppings and feta crumbles (if that’s your thing) and enjoy!

I was recently introduced to the world of slime on Instagram by a friend and had NO IDEA of how viral the slime trend is right now. In efforts to get my hands dirty with a light-hearted and fun craft, I bought the ingredients and decided to give making slime a whirl. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the slime craze, it’s essentially what you may have played with if you ever partook in the Gak or Silly Putty phase as a child. As with all things in our Pinterest-driven 2017 though, slime has taken a whole new world compared to the simplistic nature it came in years ago. Now, people are adding tons of beautiful colors and textures to it to create an ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) aka “sounds that feel good” aspect to the fun. It’s actually pretty cool!

I had my good friend Lauren and her daughter Emma over for dinner Friday and Emma had endless fun with the slime and rainbow beads we added to it.

2017

If you have children (or even if you don’t) and want to try it out, here’s the recipe I used:

EASY 3-INGREDIENT SLIME

1 cup Elmer’s Glue (white)

1 cup Shaving Cream

1/2 cup Purex StaFlo Concentrated Liquid Starch

Food Coloring (optional)

Glitter (optional

Rainbow Foam Beads (to add in for fun after slime is made)

DIRECTIONS: Mix glue, shaving cream, and starch together in a large mixing bowl. The shaving cream makes the slime fluffier. You can also add food coloring + glitter to get different colors.

If you add too much liquid starch to your slime it gets a little stiff. If this happens, just add a little water – a tablespoon at a time, until the slime puffs up again. Knead and mold the slime until it’s the consistency you like. That’s it!

You can store it in jars, plastic bags, or lidded containers to keep it from drying out.

What new projects or recipes have you tried recently that have enriched your life? I’d love to hear about them!

Happy Tuesday, friends!

SIGNATURE

 

The BEST Time of Year is Here! | Festive Holiday Cocktail Recipe

I love all of the weather changes when they come; however, the start of November is A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y my favorite. Cozy blankets, festive spiked cocktails, cuddling up to the twinkle of Christmas tree lights–there is not much I find more warm and inviting than that, friends. Since yesterday marked the end of Halloween madness, I felt it was safe to get a little festive with some after-dinner drinks last night.

Spiked eggnog is a staple in my house during the holidays, so I decided to share the recipe for the way we like to sip it…

IMG_5240

HOLIDAY SPIKED EGGNOG WITH CHOCOLATE-RIMMED GLASSES

INGREDIENTS:

Eggnog (Regular, not spiked. I prefer Borden or Kleinpeter)

Southern Comfort Liqueur

Almond Bark (comes in huge brick, only need one square to melt)

Heath Bar Toffee Bits (baking aisle)

  1. Melt 1 small square piece of almond bark in a small bowl for 60 seconds. Continue to heat at 30 second intervals until melted. While chocolate is melting, pour out Heath Bar Toffee Bits onto a plate generously. Once chocolate is heated, dip rims of glasses in chocolate, then in Heath Bar Toffee Bits. Place glasses to side to harden.
  2. Mix equal parts Eggnog and Southern Comfort Liqueur. I basically fill my small glass with both, leaving only enough room for ice. (Here’s where your recipe may differ. We like our eggnog strong. Who wants the calories of eggnog without the appropriate liquor? For a less strong drink, simply add less Southern Comfort.)
  3. ENJOY! PS. Nibble on your toffee and chocolate as you sip–it makes for the perfect dessert after dinner!

SIGNATURE

 

Fresh Start Spring: Tips & Tools I’ve Found to Clear the Clutter & Start Fresh

As I mentioned with last week’s post, I’ve really been focused on clearing the clutter in my life via some “Spring cleaning” with intention. From my home, to my body, to my daily routine, I’ve been focused on clearing out the unnecessary and making room to intentionally focus on the things that matter. Spring is when I find myself having the most energy to start fresh, so if that’s the case for you too, perhaps these things might help…

Jennifer Landry

BODY 

I don’t know about you, but I feel best when I’m intentional and feeling fresh from the inside out. For this reason, it’s usually pretty essential for me to feel healthy and rejeuvenated with my diet and clean eating before I can even begin to honestly tackle any other aspects of my life. For this reason, my #freshstartspring began with me working with a nutritionist to clean out the holiday festivities that crept their way into my diet and feel good again in my own skin. Something about a clean diet almost always gets me motivated in all other aspects of my life.

 

HOME 

  • HAVE A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING: Clutter gives me anxiety, bottom line. Having a place for everything is a GREAT way to start days off organized and fresh. Not only does it help when it comes to finding things, but it helps from adding unnecessary additional items into the home. It may be a large initial task to purchase bins and storage for each thing that needs space in your hom,; but I promise, you will feel like a new person once it’s done. Clean out junk drawers, makeup drawers, piles of mail–if it isn’t necessary to your daily/weekly/monthly functioning, TOSS IT!
  • FILE IMPORTANT PAPERS AS YOU RECEIVE THEM: This is a huge one for me. From junk mail, to taxes, to bills, additional papers can quickly pile up in my home. As a result, I went to target and bought manilla folders to label and create a place for each piece of paper that enters my home. Each type of bill has its own folder and is filed in a larger drawer. When you do this AS THEY COME, it never piles up and literally takes only a minute to walk to the file drawer to put it in. I’ve been guilty of letting papers pile up in the past, but oh how much easier this system makes life.
  • MONTHLY BILL CHECKLIST: As I mentioned about everything having a place, this includes a spot where I can physically check off bills as they’re paid. I’m not an auto pay bill type of gal and I cannot tell you how many times in the past I used to question if I paid the bill or not and have to take the additional time to login. I purchased this bill checklist from Etsy a few years ago and have used it ever since. I just saved the file on my computer and print a new one each year. It’s simple and allows me to see all bills in one place.
  • PASSWORD SHEET: With each year, it seems the amount of online passwords grow. What used to be kept on a scratch sheet of paper in the back of my planner, can no longer fit. I recently downloaded a password tracker from Emily Ley’s Free Printable Library, and it’s a great way to start fresh with what may seem like an ever-growing list of scribbled passwords and usernames. Update this yearly and you’re sure to stay organized in that department!
  • CLEAN OUT PHONE PHOTOS: I put this one off FOREVER. It seems as though the amount of photos we store on our phones can grow exponentially by the week. With that being said, rummaging through thousands of photos to delete duplicates, bad ones, and ones that you just don’t need seems like a daunting task. Bite the bullet. Put it on your list. JUST DO IT. And while you’re at it, print those babies so they don’t stay on your phone or get lost forever with a random software crash. I print iPhone photos from time to time onto this wonderful little book from Artifact Uprising. It’s a GREAT way to get the photos off of your phone and document your years in print.
  • PURGE YOUR CLOSET: This is probably the most common “Spring Cleaning” to-do. If you’re a clothes lover like me, it’s important to get rid of the old to make room for the new. Create a separate Instagram to sell your nicer, gently used clothes and donate the rest.
  • CLEAN OUT YOUR PURSE: Ladies, we all know of the most random things that end up at the bottom of our purses. Clean it out along with the rest of your house. You’ll just feel better.
  • WEEKLY UPKEEP: Make a designated day or time every week where you perform basic upkeep and cleaning. The key to maintaining organization and a clean household is to keep up with it. While sometimes it may be easier to put a task off, taking the extra few seconds to put something in it’s place or clean a dish will make all the difference with how much time and energy (and stress) you have to put into it later. I try to use the downtime when I have it on most Sundays for cleaning and upkeep around my house. Dusting, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, washing sheets, are all manageable tasks when I try to tend to them weekly.

MIND & HEART 

  • NIGHT TENDING LIST: This is something I learned from doing business training with Lara Casey and Emily Ley a few years ago, and still practice these things nightly. Every night I go through my general to-do list for the following day. I get my gym clothes out and brainstorm the regular outfit I’ll wear (if applicable after). I fill water bottles, clean out the kitchen sink of dirty dishes and bathroom of dirty clothes. I go to bed with everything in place for a fresh slate the next day. Y’ALL. This sounds so simple, because IT IS. But I cannot tell you how these little things truly impact how intentionally I start my day. The minutes and brain power I save not having to worry about locating clothes, shoes, and other things is spent more productively on the tending list I can do in the morning to get my day productively moving in the right direction. I urge you to try this routine out just for a week or so and let me know how it adds to your productivity.
  • MORNING TENDING LIST: By doing the aforementioned things at night, I’m able to spend the first few moments of my morning (about 30 minutes to an hour) reflecting, catching up on world news, reading, ant mapping out my vision for my day. Having a clear mind in the mornings to not worry about what I have to get done, but instead, to just be has also been very monumental for me.
  • UNFOLLOW PEOPLE YOU COMPARE YOURSELF TO & FOLLOW PEOPLE THAT UPLIFT AND INSPIRE YOU: I’ve blogged more extensively about this topic, here. But TRULY TRULY, just do it. This life is far to short and precious to be down on yourself or in constant comparison with those around you. Feed your mind and soul with things that push you forward and leave the rest behind. It’s really that simple.
  • PODCASTS: While I’m putting makeup on or driving, I’ve found podcasts to be a GREAT way to further educate myself, exercise my mind, and seek out positive ways of pursuing life. If you’re looking for ways to add more value to the in-between moments of your days, I highly recommend finding some podcasts that inspire you. Here are a few of my current favorites: The Lively Show, Being Boss, Serial.
  • SPEND YOUR TIME WISELY: Choose to spend less time around negative people and more time around positive people. Sometimes, the most negative people in our lives are the ones we can’t outright cut out. Even if that’s the case, we can take in more positivity so that we are better prepared to handle emotional clutter. Fill your well so that you always end your day feeling more heart-filled. (NOTE: This particular bullet point is copied directly from Lara Casey’s #freshstartspring movement. She put it so perfectly that there really was no need to put it any other way)

SIGNATURE

What I’m Loving: Spring 2016

I’m not sure about you, but my “fresh starts” never seem to come on January 1st. Perhaps it’s because I prefer to prep myself before I tackle change, or perhaps it’s just because here in the South, at least, we truly aren’t ready for a break from the hustle and bustle of the holidays until after Mardi Gras. I mean, when “Laissez Bon Temps Rouler” sayings don’t start popping up until AFTER the Christmas season, it makes it a little difficult to get focused on resolutions and fresh starts. But, as we are entering March and warmer weather is creeping its way in, so is the desire for change on all fronts, for me at least…

From decluttering to the changing of products and styles with the seasons, I wanted to share with you a few of my personal favorites I’ve been embracing as we begin to enter the sweet days of Spring.

WIL- Spring 2016

1.  LARA CASEY’S #FRESHSTARTSPRING GUIDE TO DECLUTTERING:  From internet clutter, to physical clutter, to heart clutter, to decision clutter, this is a quick-and-easy e-book with tools, tips, and encouragement to celebrate starting fresh this Spring. As I am currently dieting, cleaning out all crevices of my home and office, and reprioritizing what gets my mental focus, this was JUST what I needed to read when I opened my inbox this morning. If you like what you read, I HIGHLY recommend signing up for Lara’s email list. She seldomly sends emails (no inbox overload from her), but when she does, they are worth every bit of the read. Not kidding.

If you didn’t know before this post who Lara Casey is, she’s basically my entrepreneurial hero. She is Publisher/Founder/Editor-in-Cheif of Southern Weddings Magazine, founder of the Making Things Happen movement, author of Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear, Take the Leap, Live on Purpose. I’ve had the opportunity to work extensively with Lara for a year on personalized training for my own business a few years ago and then again at a workshop I attended in the Fall of 2014, and my goodness it was monumental. Lara practices what she preaches and it shows in the fruition of her life’s work.

Lastly, STAY TUNED. Because I have SO much to share on the topic of “Spring Cleaning,” I’ve decided to post an additional post next week on specific tips, tricks, and checklists that I’m using to get organized and rejuvenated this Spring.

 

2.  GENTLEMAN’S BOX: I’m not even going to lie to you, I don’t ever really have a problem shopping style for a man. HA! Nonetheless, I know people who do AND well, I’m also just a sucker for a man with dapper style. So, alas, I bring you Birchbox for men, but better…

Stylish ties and pocket squares, fabulous socks, the list goes on. For $25 a month, your guy can be looking fabulously stylish and you don’t have to worry about stressing over which fishing pole, gun, or manly gadget you know nothing about that you’re going to buy him this year. What’s better? The stuff in each month’s box isn’t sample sized like some monthly box subscriptions and it’s generally worth almost 3 times the cost of the box when sold separately via retail. So, you get nice arm candy and he feels stylish–sounds like a win-win to me.

3.  ANASTASIA BEVERLY HILLS CREAM CONTOUR KIT: This needs no explanation. I promise. If you love makeup, just do yourself a favor. You’re welcome.

4.  SAVVY ROOT SPRING/SUMMER 2016 COLLECTION: The little pretty pictured above is out now, but the rest of the Spring Collection is coming super soon! Nonetheless, peeks on Insta are enough to have me itching for the debut. If you’re not familiar with SavvyRoot, they are F-A-B high-quality leather accessories made by designer Celeste Austin RIGHT HERE IN LOUISIANA. Don’t fret friends around the country (and world), while they are local made (to me) they are fabulous and drool-worthy enough to be shipped, sported, and gifted to anyone in any geographic. For sneak peeks and first news of the SS16 line, follow @savvyroot on Insta or sign up for the mailing list, here!

Happy (almost) Spring, friends!

SIGNATURE