It's Almost The Weekend!

And it's waiting for you once you get off work. What a beautiful Friday we have. This week has been a roller coaster but has ended on a great note. I officially booked my trip to Europe in August and found the perfect little puppy to add to my family. I get her next week and couldn't be happier. Get ready for puppy overload! This is a great weekend ahead of us because we have the Super Bowl on Sunday. Time to watch the Seahawks vs the Patriots and hope no deflated balls are involved. I listed some of my favorite Super Bowl recipes below if you're entertaining. I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

My Favorite Links From This Week:
If you're like me and are trying to achieve a better well being, download this app and use it when necessary. 

All you Bachelor fans out there will get a good laugh out of this

Want to travel but don't know where to go? Give one of these places a try.

If you don't normally follow football, let The Skimm educate you on the Super Bowl matchup.

Some Super Bowl favorites: 





The best Super Bowl drinking game

Styling: Wearing Leggings To Work

Leggings are a girls best friend. Literally, I could eat, sleep, and live in them everyday for the rest of my life and be perfectly content. So why not style them so you can wear them to work too? Most of the time, work is miserable, so at least you can be comfortable while being mis. For this outfit, I wore my thicker leggings with a layered look and a nice statement necklace. If you're going to wear leggings make sure to dress up the rest of the outfit. I don't have to look too nice for work but if you do, I would wear nicer shoes than boots. Try some heels to make it look a little more professional and you're good to go.


Places To Try: Rosebud

This is hands down, one of my favorite brunch places i've gone to thus far. Not to mention, I have been here on more than one occasion. The building itself is so cute. It's an old brick building that has been turned into a restaurant. The place is pretty small so the wait could be long but it is well worth it. They have a long bar on one side and tables on the other. Everything on the menu that I have tried so far is delicious and their lattes are a great way to start your day. I have so many favorites so let me try and narrow them down. To start off with, I suggest the House-made Pimento Cheese, which comes with homemade seasoned saltines. For your main meal, I would go with either the Beef & Cheddar Benedict or the The Nasty Royal. The benedict is one of my favorites because of the combination of pimento cheese and braised brisket. This is a great southern twist on a classic. The Nasty Royal is equally as good. It is a french baguette with ham, brie, and an egg. Their is also some truffle oil used in the ingredients that make it better than you can even imagine. This sandwich is also about as big as my face so you can either leave super full or take it home and eat it later. For sides definitely get the seasoned potatoes. If you want great food + a great atmosphere, you need to go try this place out. I hope y'all love it as much as I do! 

Visit their website to see their full menu.  

Dark Chocolate Cake With Cocoa Almond Buttercream Frosting



Last week, the family and I celebrated my grandma's 91st birthday and I was put on cake duty. My grandma is a huge chocolate lover so I knew this cake would be perfect for her special day. The cake was a hit with the whole family and was super easy to make. I highly suggest it for any future events!

What You Need
{Dark Chocolate Cake}
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups dark cocoa powder
3 TSP baking powder
3 TSP baking soda
2 TSP salt
4 cups sugar
2 sticks of butter, melted
2 cups milk
4 large eggs
1 TBS vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups boiling water

{Cocoa Almond Buttercream}
2 1/2 sticks of butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa almond butter
1 TSP vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 TBS cream (optional)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Spray 4 9-inch pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pans with parchments paper and spray again with nonstick cooking spray. 
3. In large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until combined. 
4. Using a mixer, beat together sugar and butter. Add milk, eggs, and vanilla. Mix until combined.
5. Pour in boiling water and mix on low until fully combined. The batter will be very thin but don't worry, it's suppose to look like that!
6. Divide the batter between the 4 pans and bake in oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 
7. Once cake is done cooking, let cool for 10 minutes and then run a knife around the pan to loosen the edges. Take cake out of pan, remove parchment paper, and let cool on cooling rack. If you aren't assembling the cake right away, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze until you want to assemble it.  
8. To make the buttercream, cream the butter until smooth and creamy. Add the powdered sugar in increments until fully incorporated. Add cocoa almond butter, vanilla, and salt and beat until light and fluffy. If frosting is too stiff to frost with, add up to 2 TBS of cream. Make sure to do a little at a time until you reach desired consistency. 
9. To assemble the cake, find a plate or cake stand to serve the cake on. Place a layer of the cake on the plate and smear a thin layer of buttercream over until covered. Repeat with remaining layers until all are on top of each other. There should be 4 total layers. Leave the top open and cover the sides with a thin layer of frosting. Place in fridge for 10 minutes.
10. Take cake out and cover the rest with the frosting. Decorate it however you'd like, but I used chocolate shavings to tie in the chocolate cake. I also used What's Up With The Buells' free printables for the cake topper. 

I hope this cake helps make someone's day very special!

Update On My Life


I feel like a lot has changed since I started my blog, so I decided to do a little update. I guess since I graduated, let's see...almost 6 month ago, I can't keep calling myself a recent college grad. It still feels like just yesterday though, scary how fast time flies. I am still living with my mom (deep breaths), but I am saving so much money. Plus, she is only here during the week for work. I want to move out, but I just don't think it's the right time for me quite yet. Job wise, I am officially working with my mom as an assistant until I start repping my own lines. I am also still working my PR internship with Timeesha Duncan Media and it is a lot of fun. I get to do both from home so it is great! I am still employed at my serving job, but I don't serve very often but keep it just incase anything ever happens.

Since i'm living at home, i'm thinking of getting a puppy or young dog. It gets lonely here on the weekends because my mom takes our dog with her up to the lake. I have been wanting to get one for some time but didn't want to have to worry about paying expenses for a new dog as well as a monthly rent+utilities. But since I won't be moving out anytime soon, it would be the perfect time. My top priorities for a new dog would be 1) little shedding 2) medium-large size that isn't so big that it would drag me around on walks 3) gets along with other dogs and 4) is adorable. Currently, I'm thinking a mini Goldendoodle but am still searching.

As far as new year resolutions, I'm still sticking to most of them, go me! I've started practicing French a little everyday to brush up on my skills and I plan on taking a photography class in the Spring. I love traveling to new places and this year I already have Otter Rock, Oregon and Las Vegas booked!! I cannot wait! I'm trying to read more this year, so this month I'm reading Message In A Bottle by Nicholas Sparks and so far it's really good. Next up, is Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I've been going to the gym basically every day and eating clean (except the occasional brunch). I've also been mixing up my workout with more classes and other machines. I wanted to volunteer more this year and earlier this week, I filled out a volunteer form for the Boys and Girls club right by my house. I'm hoping to tutor or mentor a child a couple times a week! I don't want to bore you with too much about my resolutions, so take away...I'm doing a good job sticking to them so far! 

How are y'all doing with sticking to your resolutions? Good I hope!

Happy Rainy Friday!


As much as I wish I could be outside playing around in the rain, it is way too cold and misty out there. And, even though it is a gross day, it is the best day of the week. It's Friday!! I will take my Friday rain, shine, or storm, because as long as it has a weekend after it, i'm one happy girl. Luckily here in Atlanta, today is really the only rainy day we'll have this weekend so I can explore more of the city with pretty skies. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend ahead! 

Here are my favorite links from this week:
Healthy food is expensive so Thrive Market is here to help. Shop online and get great food at wholesale prices. 

Looking for a new book? Try one of these that inspired Oscar-worthy films

Caution: don't watch this in a quiet room. 

Neiman Marcus is having a great sale with extra 25% off now through Monday.

I know everyone is busy and it's hard to eat healthy when you don't have the time. This article gives you tips to make it a little easier. 

Show Me Your Mumu Flash Sale Picks

                   
                    
                   
               
                                                  

Styling: Floppy Hats

 



Floppy hats are a great addition to any outfit. Especially when you don't want to put much effort into your hair or want to shelter yourself from the rain. I styled my hat with a royal blue J. Crew top, leggings, Splendid boots, Ralph Lauren bag, Kendra Scott stackable rings, black stone ring, and a Michael Kors watch

Shrimp, Tomato, & Spinach Over Zucchini Pasta

{serves 4} 

What You Need
1 TBS butter
2 TBS olive oil, separated
1 lb. shrimp, uncooked and deveined 
6 garlic cloves, minced and separated
Paprika
Salt
5 medium tomatos, diced
2 cups cooked spinach
3 medium zucchini, spiralized 
Pepper
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/2 TSP crushed red pepper
Parmesan, shredded

Directions
1. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 TBS olive oil and 1 TBS butter and cook until melted. 
2. Add the shrimp and 2 1/2 cloves of garlic. Cook on that side for 1 minute. While shrimp are cooking, sprinkle the non-cooking side with salt and paprika. 
3. After 1 minute, flip shrimp over and cook the other side for additional 2 minutes. 
4. Once shrimp are cooked, add tomatoes, spinach, 2 1/2 gloves of garlic, and 1/2 TSP crushed red pepper. Mix well and remove from heat.
5. In separate non-stick skillet, heat 1 TBS olive oil over medium heat. Add spiraled zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Once zucchini is cooked, 6-8 minutes, add back to shrimp mixture. 
6. Add lemon juice and season with salt and crushed red pepper, if desired. 
7. Warm on stove over medium heat until all is cooked through. Top with shredded parmesan and enjoy!

{modified via Julia's Album}

Bon Weekend!


Yippie, another weekend is upon us! With this dreary week, I can't wait for some sun to finally come out so I can get outside and explore. I plan on checking out the new Krog Street Market and having some much needed girl time. I hope you all have a fabulous weekend ahead! 

Here are my favorite links from this week:

Want some great food but don't want to spend a fortune? This link is your new best friend.

Check out Hopper, a website that helps you save on airfare. Now, go to that beach you've been dreaming about. 

Change up your breakfast with a chia yogurt power bowl or these whole wheat pancakes.

Watch Jimmy Fallon and Chris Hemsworth have a water battle. It's too great not to watch. 

Make 2015 Your Year!


1. Find New Inspiration
Whether it's a new hobby, a bible verse, a destination, a painting, etc. find something that inspires you each day. Inspiration can help motivate you to accomplish your goals and we all know we need a little help in that department. Create an inspiration board at home to keep your creative juices flowing. Take a solo trip to somewhere you've been dying to go and if you can't afford to do that, just put yourself in a new environment. Serve at the local soup kitchen or help out at the boys and girls club. Open your mind up to different perspectives and it can really change your life. 

2. Be Healthier 
Get outside more. Exercise more. Eat better. If you sit at a desk working all day, try getting up and walking around during your lunch break or as much as you can. Pre-plan your meals for the week to ensure healthy choices instead of quick frozen foods or fast food. These are all things we strive to do but somehow end up forgotting in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. This year make this change. You'll find yourself having more energy and feeling great. 

3. Get Organized
Start organizing your days the night before. Pick out your clothes, meals, and goals to you want to accomplish for the next day. If you plan on going to the gym after work, pack your bag so that you don't forget anything. This will save time and energy in the morning and give you more time for you to relax and get ready for the day. If you work from home or are still in school, organize your work space so that it's enjoyable to work at and is a space you can get done what you need to without digging for hours. If you don't have a planner, get one (I highly suggest the Day Designer). It will make your life 100 times easier. 

4. Surround Yourself With Only The Best People
Who you surround yourself with can really determine the kind of person you are. Make sure you surround yourself with people that have qualities you admire and possess or strive to possess. Make sure everyone in your inner circle motivates you and builds you up. Get rid of the people who hurt you or don't contribute to your growth. Put the past in the past. And grow with better people in the future. 

5. Un-Plug Every Once And A While
Our world is so technology driven now, it's scary. Take some time to turn off social media, emails, and the TV to focus on yourself and the present moment. Take time to focus on your goals and what you need to be doing to accomplish them. Hang out with friends and family without playing on your phone. Read a good book or draw something amazing. Try meditating. Just make sure to take the time to get away from technology and focus on what is most important in your life. 

6. Grow
Been dying to move somewhere new? Go. Hate your job? Find a new one you love. Always wanted to take photography classes. Sign up. This year, learn new things and watch yourself grow tremendously. If you're not growing, you're not living. This year, one of my resolutions is to learn 5 new things and I plan on fully accomplishing that. So far, i'm planning on taking a photography class and learning French. Figure out what you'd like to learn and even better if it helps you accomplish your goals. 

7. Embrace Yourself
Everyone struggles with confidence but don't let that affect you this year. Learn to embrace you for you and you will be much happier. Stop letting that voice in your head bring you down or tell you you're not good enough, because you are. If you like to dance, dance like nobody's watching whenever needed. Want to try a new fashion trend? Rock it with confidence. As long as you love you, that's all that matters. 

Piperlime Sale Picks- Extra 60% Off Ends Today!



            




   




    

Places To Try: Le Petite Marché


Here's another great spot to add to your must try list. Le Petite Marché is open for breakfast and lunch everyday and let me tell you, it is absolutely delicious. It is located in the Kirkwood area of Atlanta. The space alone is so open and inviting, I could stay there for hours just drinking a coffee. Le Petite Marché is a restaurant as well as a market with locally-made pantry items. I went for lunch so I haven't tried their breakfast but that will definitely be happening in the near future. It does get pretty crowded and there isn't much seating inside, but they do have outside seating for nicer days. You order at a counter but also have people running around to get you anything you may need. The staff is super friendly and attentive, helping us first timers figure everything out. We decided to order The Wild Wes (pictured), Basil Chicken & Pesto, and The Sarah all with parmesan tater tots (duh!). My favorite was The Wild Wes because it is a BBQ panini with cheddar, bacon, and chicken. They also give you a ranch dipping sauce on the side. The other two were very good as well but there is just something about a BBQ panini. The parmesan tots were to die for and were great dipped in ranch as well. They also have delicious coffee to help wake you up if needed, which I definitely did. I recommend anyone in the area try out this hidden gem, because I promise you won't be disappointed. P.S.- Don't forget to fill out and read the cute little guest book at your table when you go!

Check out their website for the menu and some history of this quaint marché. 

Styling: Tassel Necklaces







Tassels are everywhere. I mean everywhere. Necklaces, bags, earrings, shoes, etc. all are including  tassels and the trend is only growing. They're a great addition to any outfit and have major bonus points for being really fun to play with. This particular tassel necklace is from Spec-Takular Boutique in Dawsonville, Georgia. Spec-Takular is an optometry office as well as a stylish boutique carrying glasses, jewelry, home decor, and other accessories. This necklace has grayish-clear beads with cream beads toward the top and a brown tassel at the bottom. I paired this with a cream Madewell sweater, dark jeans, and cream booties. This tassel necklace would make a great statement piece on any outfit. Check out Spec-Takular for more varieties and other wonderful items! 

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms With Goat Cheese, Spinach, & Turkey


These stuffed mushrooms are delicious, plus super healthy for you! It has a decent amount of steps but I promise, it's well worth it. I served mine over a bed of spinach but it would also go well with a salad or some veggies. 

What You Need
1 28 oz. can of tomato sauce 
2 TBS olive oil
Salt
Pepper
2 shallots, finely sliced & separated
6 oz. baby spinach
1/2 lb ground turkey 
Italian seasoning
2 TBS unsalted butter
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs 
1 garlic clove
8 large portobello mushrooms 
4 oz. goat cheese log, sliced into 1/4" slices

Directions
1. For the mushrooms, preheat oven to 425° and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and a wire rack. De-stalk the mushrooms and drizzle with 1 TBS olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook mushrooms for 3-5 minutes and then set aside.
2. Brown the turkey on stove and season with desired amount of Italian seasoning. Set aside.
3. For the spinach, Heat 1 TBS olive oil on the stove over medium heat. Add 1 shallot and sauté until translucent and soft. Add spinach and sauté  until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
4. To make the breadcrumb topping, melt 2 TBS unsalted butter over medium heat. Once melted, add 1 shallot and cook for 30 seconds. Add the Panko crumbs and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, or slightly brown. Make sure to constantly stir so they don't burn. 
5. Bread the goat cheese slices with the breadcrumb mixture.
6. To assemble the mushrooms, make sure they are still on the wire rack in the pan, top with a large spoonful of tomato sauce. Next, top with the wilted spinach and cooked turkey. Then, top with a slice of breaded goat cheese and sprinkle with remaining breadcrumbs. 
7. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until goat cheese has softened and breadcrumbs are a golden brown. 
8. Enjoy! 

{Modified recipe from Blogging Over Thyme}

Wednesday Wish List: Workout Edition


1. Vaasa Sports Bra  2. Nike Futura Logo Racerback Tank  3. C9 by Champion Women's Feather Print Legging  4. Salar Capri  5. S'well Hand Painted Textile Collection Water Bottle    
6. C9 by Champion Women's Training Tank

Happy Weekend!


Hurray for Friday finally being here! This work week has been non stop and I can't wait to relax and do nothing. It's also my sisters last weekend home, so I'm excited to spend it with her. I'll probably try out some new restaurants and explore more of the city. I hope y'all have fun activities planned. If anyone is going to Sam Smith, I am super jealous and hope you have a blast!

Here are my favorite links from this week:

Don't have anything fun planned for this weekend? Take a beer tour through 3 popular Atlanta breweries.

Want to spend the weekend bing watching Netflix? Browse through this list. 

For my gym goers, here are some fitness mistakes you don't know your making.

Need something to bring to this weekends brunch? Make this blueberry muffin cake. It's delish!

J. Crew is having an extra 40% off certain sale items. I bought this shirt and i'm obsessed. I also love this, this and this.  

Montego Bay, Jamaica Trip Recap

This is a little late, but I wanted to give y'all a recap of my recent trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica. First off, the house was amazing and had the most beautiful views of the island. When we first got there, we were welcomed by the most friendly staff and instantly threw on our bathing suits. Coming from 40° weather, we needed some sun asap.

Here's our view from the back of the house:

The next day, we went to the market with our cook to pick out food for the upcoming week. It was a great experience and everyone was super friendly. I even got to try fresh coconut water right out of the coconut! I don't think i'll ever be able to drink store bought coconut water again.

Here's one of the tents at the market:

Here's the vendor, Mark, cutting open our fresh coconut:

Here's me with my coconut water:

After the market, we went to catch our dinner for the night. We went into a small fishing village and were taken to an area on the water with several beautifully handcrafted boats: 

All five of us got in one of these boats and were off to catch us some lobster. We didn't actually get to pull them in but we got to watch and it was pretty cool. There were so many! The lobsters in the Caribbean are different from Maine lobsters because they don't have claws but they tasted the same. 

Here's our guide pulling in the trap:

My mom, sister, and I on the boat:

Here's a picture of me holding a lobster, they were really prickly by the way and kept squirming. It actually hurt to hold them for too long:

The next day we headed to Doctor's Cave for some R&R and had delicious frozen drinks called The Bob Marley:

That night we went to dinner at a place called HouseBoat, which was absolutely amazing and had a great atmosphere. I recommend anyone in the area to go here.

We had to ride a little boat to the restaurant, but it wasn't far at all:

Here's a picture of The HouseBoat Restaurant {via Island Buzz Jamaica}: 

Our house was located in the Rose Hall neighborhood. Rose Hall was an old plantation home built in the 1770's and is known for being the most beautiful house on the island. This mansion welcomed us each time we headed home for the day and was extremely regal and majestic. The house is said to be haunted by "The White Witch" and offers tours only at night. Sadly, we did not go on one. 

We walked to the house one morning to look around (I was a little scared):

Another night, we went to eat at Sugar Mill restaurant which was super fancy and full of bright Christmas lights. The food and service was spectacular! But if you're a guy, make sure you wear pants or they'll make you change. Or like us, give you the chefs. My mom's boyfriend had to wear some tight white scrub looking pants because he came in shorts. It was hilarious and the staff was dying laughing too. They even got pictures with him in the outfit (he's a local celebrity now), sadly I don't have any of them. 

Here's a picture of everyone at Sugar Mill Restaurant:

On the last day, we went to Rick's Cafe in Negril. It was about a two hour ride from our place but it was well worth it. It is located at the end of a point, has a cliff you can jump off (35 feet), and is a great place to watch the sunset.

Here's us girls at Rick's:

Watching the sunset go down was beautiful: 

Overall, Jamaica was an amazing trip and I would love to go back again someday. The airport even has a restaurant dedicated to the Jamaican bobsledding team and plays the movie Cool Runnings on repeat all day, so you gotta go. 

{Photo credits: Anna Wright}