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.

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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!

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